Eight lights later…

I wrote here about a page of Talmud I had never seen before that I found to be somewhat Chanukah-related. If you missed that post, go back and read it first. I asked for comments before I gave my interpretation.

Elfsdh found it interesting that Adam takes a naturalistic view of the occurrence rather than “the more obvious conclusion to the hypothesis: ‘Because of my eight days of fasting, God forgave my sins, and now the days are getting longer!’” Though it might seem like the most obvious conclusion, if we slip into a Talmudic rabbinic mindset, it isn’t. The rabbis here transform Adam into one of them. The Talmud generally takes the viewpoint that the world works like clockwork in an order that God ordained from the beginning. Check out this, and scroll down to 5:9 for more.

My main point with this text is that even though it is perhaps not intended to be about Chanukah directly, but rather about pagan celebrations, there is some great intertextuality to be had here. We too have an eight-day winter festival. Ours, we might say, is a Jewish reclamation of Adam’s pure celebration of God, which was corrupted by pagans.

I also like that the rabbis acknowledge and attempt to explain the near-universality of a winter light celebrations in cultures that experience winter. They offer us a uniquely Jewish explanation for that phenomenon.

With that, a final Chappy Chanukah to you all.


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