Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Yevonim Are Winning

In very recent times,  the DIP father has been using an expression, much to the exasperation of some of our children.  And it is now, I think, more relavant than ever.

The Yevonim are Winning.  Or, The Yevonim Have Won.

Normally I think I would have even put an exclamation point after this statement (The Yevonim Are Winning!!) , to show a lightness, a brevity, a humorous side.  But I can't.  I'm too disturbed.

My husband began using this term when he feels our children are too entwined, enthusiastic, or involved in pursuits he feels are very....Yevanim-like.  Mainly, I believe, he means sports.  He was never a huge fan type.  He followed, he cheered, he was disappointed  (mainly disappointed. That's what happens to Oriole fans).  But he was never obsessed with it.  And never ever had or has made judgements about other people who Really Love The Game.  Whatever The Game may be.  But for our children, it has saddened him to sometimes see too much involvement and enthusiasm...Okay, I'll call it obsession, time wasting, whatever......with organized sports, or popular trends.   And his reference to the Yevanim was clearly that- The ancient Greeks who glorified the beauty of physical prowess and ability, the antithesis to some of our Torah ideals.  So if the kids go on and on about something in sports, or something very new and popular in the American culture, that was discussed just a little too long and often at the Shabbos table, he will say (with a cheeful yet somewhat disappointed and sad look) "Oy! The Yevanim are WINNING!!".

But today I had a conversation at the mechanic with Luke, who converted for his wife.  He told me he's having the Chanuka Bush again, but it's going up a lot earlier, on Thanksgiving.  So he can have Chanuka, Thanksgiving, and early Xmas all at once.  Luke is not religious (actually not really jewish), so I understood his enthusiasm for all the holidays in one, the Menurkey, Thanksgivukkah, Chanaving, etc.

I am not sure why so many frum people are embracing this coinciding of Chanuka and Thanksgiving. 
Really,  who cares??
I don't have a problem with frum people celebrating Thanksgiving, either by eating a traditional turkey/stuffing/cranberry/pie dinner, watching whatever football game is on, visiting with family.

But why are so many frum people going on and on about this?? and why are they proudly talking about how they are cooking food entwining these two themes? How can they? One is our sacred, holy, spiritual celebration of redemption, and Hashem's miracles!  The other is a secular holiday!

  I am so sad that so many, many people don't see that if we can compare and combine our beautiful holiday with another holiday (even IF it doesn't have religious overtones), then the Yevanim have definitely won. 

Please don't be a lurker. Let this post be the one you respond to.


Mystery Woman said...

Thank you! I thought I was the only one wondering about that.

Princess Lea said...

My family doesn't observe Thanksgiving. It did sometimes make me uncomfortable how frum Jews seriously host a turkey dinner, especially when we have too many days of the year that we overeat as it is.

But on the other hand, there are those who grew up with a more American influence, and perhaps to show gratitude to this wonderful nation that has been the best to Jews since the dawn of time, we give thanks that the Puritans managed to survive and pave the way for Jews to live in peace.

The same way many frum Jews happily celebrate the 4th of July. Throughout the diaspora, while the Jews were in many other countries, they also celebrated the nations' holidays. Because Albania saw their Jewish population as Albanians as opposed to Jewish interlopers, they wouldn't hand over their Jews to the Nazis. They survived, along with any Jewish refugees that managed to get sanctuary there.

I don't think the Yevanim are winning. I think that the key to Jewish survival has been, "If you don't bend, you break." No matter how we claim otherwise, we absorb the values of the surrounding cultures while we wait for Moshiach. The Yevanim invaded Eretz Yisroel and tainted the population; now we are the ones to are on shaky terrain. But after 2,000 years we are still here, even when our ancestors said a bracha for the tsar.

So while it still makes me squirm, I don't consider Thanksgiving to be the slippery slope. Heck, we're Jews; we don't need an excuse to eat. The message of the holiday is to be grateful, which we are supposed to be every day. There is nothing wrong with a further reminder.

daughtersintheparsha said...

princess lea-
I think you missed my point.
I don't mind people who celebrate Thanksgiving, whether due to their American-influenced upbringing, or a sense of gratitude to the USA. I have a problem who embrace the calendar coincidence and make a big fuss of all ways they can infuse thanksgiving into their chanuka. Alot of people make cranberries, turkey, pumpkin pie (I do!) when they have a large crowd. I am disturbed that frum people are promoting the mix of the two "holidays"

ur forshay neighbor said...

why did you delete my comment?

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you are still posting!
And I completely agree, Chanukah should just stand on its own.

Thomas said...

I find the excitement about "Thanksgivukah" distasteful due to what I perceive as its childishness and kitsch, but not necessarily its un-Jewishness.

daughtersintheparsha said...

@forshay neighbor:
didn't see a comment from you, nothing deleted. you would see a "comment deleted by..."

daughtersintheparsha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
daughtersintheparsha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FBB said...

I agree with your thoughts on mixing the holidays, but it doesn't surprise me. There is very little left sacred, even among the Orthodox.

And I understand the idea of celbrating American Holidays, but Thanksgivng is different. I have expounded upon it in the past:

(Also on the topic of this post, and it's eerily similar! comments welcome!