Friday, December 3, 2010
I think the "I throw my latkes in the air sometimes, singing eyyyyooo! Spin the Dreidel!!!!" line is stuck in everyone's head at the moment.
In case you don't know what I'm referring to...
(Were sufganiyot really not mentioned??)
Speaking (well writing. Actually...typing) of sufganiyot -- my friend showed me this hilarious video:
We were all cracking up! :D
I ALWAYS miss Israel and seminary during Chanukah. I was (and am) extremely close with my roomies. We all lit together and gazed at the lights, had an awesome chagiga, had crazy hyper moments (that was every day, though!), and ate sufganiyot, of course ;)
(Uri's Caramel Sufganiyot!)
The environment in Israel is always just so special. During Chanukah, everyone lit outside and the family togetherness was simply heartwarming.
My amazing friend shared a nice dvar Torah with me about Chanukah.
"Yavan" (Greece) in Hebrew is spelled "yud" "vav" "nun"...the three letters are shaped as vetical lines that ascendingly get longer. The Greek culture focused mainly on the body, on the external factors of a person. They worshipped the body and idols, both of which are extremely materialistic & don't have any potential or spiritual growth. "Yavan" also means "quicksand" in Hebrew. That's because materialism and physicality are like quicksand...they grab you and then pull you in, making it laborious to get out and save yourself.
Now, clearly, not ALL materialism is bad. Mesillat Yesharim makes it clear that as Jews, we raise the physical by incorporating spirituality into it. But certain mentalities are totally antiethical to Judaism. For example, being so obsessed with our blackberries, to the point that we can't focus on davening or learning Torah. Why can't we turn off our phones for 30 minutes? Are we THAT attached to the meaningless gadgets? More attached to them than we are to HaShem?
Another example that comes to mind is Tzniut. The Yevanim didn't have ANY concept of modesty. If they wore any clothing, it was very minimal. They wanted to show off the body as much as possible. Some girls think that as long as they're wearing a long sleeved shirt and some form of a skirt, they're good to go. They can get by without having anyone chastize them. But it doesn't have to do with criticism! It has to do with appreciating yourself (your holy neshama) enough to cover up -- to the point that your body isn't the main factor that you're associated with. To tell people: I'm more than my body. I appreciate my myself, I have a brain, I have thoughts, feelings, ambitions, etc. And that's what makes me -- not my body.
I have to deal with this a lot. Magazine, media, models, and all of the shtuyot aside, which outfits really are appropiate for a bat yisrael to wear? It requires a lot of thought, honesty, and inner strength. If any frum man rejects a girl because she's dressed tzanua, then what does he value, exactly? Does she really want to have such a husband? I know that I don't.
A third example is competition. Yevanim were beyond competitive. They had olympics, contests, etc. There's NO SUCH THING as competition in the Torah! Each individual is an important and significant member of Klal Yisrael. It's assur to step on someone to "make it big" -- be it at school, work, etc.
On Chanukah, there was a "Nes" (miracle) for the Maccabees, who didn't give in to Greek culture.
We all have "Nisyonot" (tests). Our lives are filled with Nisyonot and part of missions is to pass those tests. Nisayon in Hebrew is spelled "Nun" "Samech" "Yud" Vav" "Nun"
If you take away the last three letters (which spell "yavan"), you end up with "Nes" (miracle). If we take the "Yavan" out of our mentality and our lives, then b"H we'll see a great Nes in each of our lives! :)
Wishing you all a Chag Chanukah Sameach and Shabbat shalom! May we all have the strength to stay away from all of the harmful shtuyot, and may we merit to see miracles in our daily lives!