Two Takes on Hanukah

Richard, at Tikun Olam, has a piece up entitled Hanukah: Holiday of Spiritual Renewal or Jewish Nationalism? This summation is, I think, a good review of what Hanukah is becoming. Growing up I only knew the miracle story from my friends. The nationalist aspect is new to me, even now. 

Muslim holidays have been politicized, albeit in a different way, for quite some time. The celebration of the Prophet’s birthday is a touchstone of Wahabbi ideology. To recognize the uniqueness of the Prophet in any way is to commit a sin in their worldview. The Hajj has always been a good time to try to take over Mecca and show how politically weak the guardians of the shrine are. Even entry to the sanctuary is limited and defined as a political act.