Friday, December 8, 2017

why i'm not a maccabee and yet i am

they were torah-belt hebrews
down from the galilean hills
to stuff orthodoxy or their unsparing version of it
into hebrew mouths
while lopping off remaining
hebrew foreskins.

why i am a maccabbee
even though i'm not
because they fought for self-determination
against a cosmopolitan empire
because though their cause was wrong
their cause was right

let's face it
their revolt against the greeks
led to the hasmoneans, herod etc.
a dynasty of toadies for none other than greeks and romans the maccabbees opposed

why i can celebrate hanuka
though
is the way the holiday was softened and transformed over jewish history
the long history may i remind of you of galut, Jewish exile

songs and traditions grew up around hanuka that had nothing to do with apocalyptic war

i was raised up with some of these
as transplanted from the old to the new world
vis a vis pogroms and the long circuit of Jewish history

and warmed to them

so i can celebrate Hanukkah

diseased as it my be
by now
at the root
with
christmas

with which it shares nothing

but a winter season

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