The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Monday, December 18, 2006

The Sad Case of the Hanukkah Bush

There's something rather odd about the Chanukah Bush . . .
or perhaps I should say Hanukkah Bush . . .
That seems to be the preferred spelling for this cross-cultural monstrosity.
It justs strikes me as such a pathetic thing.


I never had tree envy. Besides the Jewish pride with which I was raised, Chanukah was always the far cooler holiday. For one thing, we got presents for eight nights . . . Even better, we would get cash . . . Cold hard cash to spend how we wanted (It helps to avoid the "That's what I wanted last year syndrome")
As well, it was simple math
-Chanukah Menorah = Fire.
Tree = Wood.
Fire + Wood = More Fire, no Wood.
Menorah = Winner, Tree = Looser.

Yet even if someone does have tree envy, why, oh why, the Hanukkah Bush?
It seems so empty, it says "We have nothing" so we're going to copy you . . .
Why when Chanukah has so much joy? So much vibrancy and warmth, so many wonderful customs . . .
And to sell it out for a tree? A tree that even gentiles admit is nothing more than a pagan ritual that has anyway sold its soul to the emptiness of American Consumerism . . .

The very name points out to something is wrong with the Hanukkah Bush.
It's a Hanukkah . . . Bush.
Yes, a bush.
Webster's says a Bush is:

1 a : a low densely branched shrub b : a close thicket of shrubs suggesting a single plant
2 : a large uncleared or sparsely settled area (as in Australia) usually scrub-covered or forested wilderness -- usually used with the
Yes that's right . . . we Jews, even when settling on apologeticist, assimilationist stance, still manage to remain self-deprecating .
They don't want to have a Hanukkah tree, a Hanukkah Oak or Hanukkah Redwood . .
No, it's a Hanukkah bush, a Hanukkah shrub . . . a Hanukkah Lichen perhaps?

It's interesting, in a certain psychological sense, that the bush is used to celebrate the Post-consumerist Holiday Season; besides the defeatist reasons listed above, I mean.
After all, where was Moses, head of the Jewish people, chosen other then the burning bush . . .
Rashi explains that G-d picked the image of a burning bush to give over this most important message to the future redeemer of Israel since the bush was so lowly, as if to say: I am with you in your troubles, even when you are as lowly and despised as the bush.
Even when we try to hide, G-d is there with us.

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A Simple Jew said...

Very nice!

Mottel said...

Glad you liked it.

yitz said...

Great post! I just loved this part:
As well, it was simple math
-Chanukah Menorah = Fire.
Tree = Wood.
Fire + Wood = More Fire, no Wood.
Menorah = Winner, Tree = Loser.

Which brings to mind this pasuk/verse from the Haftorah of Parshas Vayishlach:
והיה בית יעקב אש, ובית יוסף להבה, ובית עשו לקש,ודלקו בהם ואכלום, ולא יהיה שריד לבית עשו, כי ה' דיבר. Meaning, "And the House of Yaakov is fire, and the House of Yosef is a flame, and the House of Esav is straw; it will ignite them & consume them; & there will be no remnant of the House of Esav, for Hashem [G-d] has spoken." Ovadiah, 1:18.

Mottel said...

How fitting.
So much more so knowing what Edom is.