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What’s the Scariest Part of Chanukah? (2023)
What’s the Scariest Part of Chanukah? (2023)
As Chanukah is about to settle in here, I found my mind swirling with ideas.
First thing that comes to mind- Fear.
I think of fear because I know so many people have a huge fear around Chanukah – DONUTS, LATKES, FRIED OREOS, FRIED PICKLES. Everything is fried. And you know what that means. Everything is toxic right?
If you eat fried food for 8 days, obviously, that’s gross. That’s bad – isn’t it?
Wait- hold on- aren’t we supposed to eat fried food?
Now I am confused….
Let’s go down memory lane together, shall we.
Why do we as jews, eat fried food on Chanukah?
Ok, I am no historian, but I believe these are the general facts: as with many Jewish holidays- someone wanted to kill us. The beis hamikdash was desecrated. There was only enough oil to light the Chanukah candles for 1 night, and the oil lasted 8 nights.
We won the war!
Therefore, we have 8 nights of Chanukah, and we also have 8 nights of lighting oil and of course eating oil.
How can we guarantee we eat the most amount of oil- we fry things in oil!!!!!! Ding, ding, ding- you got it!
Ok, let’s talk about our enemy- yavan.
What were some of the characteristics of yavan? Well – they didn’t believe in the holiness of the soul. They believed in glorifying the body. They believed the way someone looked on the external, very much defined how someone was internally.
Is this a Jewish value- hmmm, let me think, I think NOT.
Hmmmm, fast forward to 2023- what are we afraid of this Chanukah?
Are we afraid of donuts? Latkes? Oil? Weight gain?
Are we afraid of our enemies surrounding us on all sides?
Why does antisemitism exist in the world? Anyone know? For all of us watching the news and scratching our heads, and just wondering with all of our heart and soul and might, how on earth can the world see this as Israel’s fault – let’s look at the facts that we know as Jews.
First of all, this is what we all know ensued. Hamas terrorists (and many other terrorists), try to kill and annihilate the jews. We have power over Israel, and all around Israel are Arab countries.
We have a tiny strip of land for the jews. Why did this come about? Because in the 1930s/40’s Hitler somehow managed to convince an entire country to hate us and kill us. 6 million jews later, it was decided that jews need a safe place to go.
Now we have Israel. But the Palestinian don’t want us to have Israel, they want all the Arab countries and Israel. So where should we go?
How about this, on Oct 7th 2023- Hamas terrorists invade innocent civilian populations and not only kill, they mutilate, behead, dismember, and burn people alive. Some 1200 people that is. The worst massacre in a day since THE HOLOCAUST.
Now it’s December 7th, and the entire world has turned on—-wait for it—-not Hamas- not the terrorists that killed, mutilated, beheaded, dismembered and burned people alive- some 1200 people. Not the people that surround Israel and threaten them on a daily basis.
It’s… the Jews.
So let’s get back to antisemitism.
Do you know that G-d told us that when we assimilate, when we take on values that are not Jewish values, the rest of the world will come up against the jews. They know we are different, but we don’t know, we don’t remember that we are different.
Are our Jewish values – that the way that we look defines us?
Are our Jewish values to categorize someone (including ourselves) based on if we do or don’t eat FRIED food on Chanukah- you know, like the food we use to commemorate the miracle Hashem performed for us!
This Chanukah – let’s remember who we are. Let’s remember what our true values are. Let’s remember that food is meant to enhance our holiday, not ruin it. Remember that, restricting almost always leads to bingeing. If not bingeing then an eating disorder. If not an eating disorder, then, food and body image WILL take up more headspace then the really important things in life.
Let’s celebrate who we are. Our history. Our miracles. Our one and only G-d, who has saved us before and saved us again.
So, Chanukah is not that scary after all. Enjoy your Chanukah and all the yummy treats that come with it:)
And even if you eat fried food for 8 days straight, you’ll be okay!
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Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.
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