Temple Shabbat Shalom
Christmas-Chanukah Table Service
Shalom and welcome to our Seder. Before ordering your table service kindly review the Chanukah Seder. Review the texts of the Book of Judith and Daniel. Review the book of John and notice that Jesus celebrated the holyday. (10:22-23).
We move to a new level of observance when we discuss Christmas at the Chanukah Seder and Chanukah at a Christmas Seder. Interfaith dialogue is most crucial to couples who are living in relationships that demand understanding. The Catholic theologian Hans Kung teaches that the final goal of ecumenicism is real Peace between the religions. His program is three tiered:
No Peace among the nations without Peace among the religions.
No Peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions.
No dialogue between the religions without investigation of the foundations of the religions.
We add: No dialogue and investigation of foundation teachings without opportunities to dialogue. Also, as we enter this new Promised Land we need reconnaissance troops to fight the only true holy war, the war against ignorance and the confusion about fundamentals that leads to fundamentalism.
Step one is to go beyond folk tales and ask the difficult questions. Our efforts are not to ignore our differences and create a new age uniform religion. The Church still insists that it is better for Christians to marry Christians. Liberal Judaism seeks the conversion of Christians to its reformed vision of Israelite religion. Misunderstanding between Jews and Muslims is so great that one rarely finds Jewish Muslim couples. In fact, Temple Shabbat Shalom has more Hindu Jewish couples.
For children Santa Claus exists and the oil actually burned for eight days. Teaching our children magical stories makes sense for the enchanted world of children. Then we must grow up and put on our critical thinking caps and experience wisdom based on the power of our questions.
1.) Why do Christians not celebrate Chanukah?
2.) Did Jesus ? See John 10:22-23.
3.) How many years ago did the Chanukah story take place? Add 167 to the date and you have your answer,2,174 in 2007.
4.) If my religious instruction stopped at adolescence where do I look for an adult understanding of Chanukah and Christmas?
5.) Where do I learn the fundamentals of religion?
Remember, as we attempt to answer these questions, religion is always part of
our culture and helps define how people live. Folk tales and customs are an
essential part of life. When we return to the sources and read on our own we
discover that Jesus did in fact celebrate Chanukah and
The entire point of the question;” What would Jesus do” is that all Christians do it too.
Chanukah predates Christmas by more than a century and a half. If the revolt had
failed, and the Jews destroyed, we would not have Christianity.
If you have time review the Chanukah Seder. Then contact Ezra the Bookfinder
(Google or yahoo and click)and purchase:
1.)Rebecca’s Children by Allan F. Segal
2.)The Crucifixion of The Jews, The Failure of Christians to Understand the
Jewish Experience by Franklin H. Littell
3.) A Handook of Judaism by Aryeh Kaplan
For parents with children:
For parents with children we focus on fun-damentals. What type of cookies will
we bake for our wonderful December Seder? Whole wheat of course, perhaps
Tree of Llife Menorah treats. Keep a Seder cookbook. We will do recipe
Remember the Seder will change year to year depending on who is at your sacred
table, the guests, and your choices on the Haggaddah or narrative.
What follows are resources and suggestions.
A Seder for December
Kindly reference the generic Seder for the order of the meal.
The Four Exclamations:
How different this December night is from all other nights!
On this night we honor two great traditions and proclaim opportunity, and not dilemma!
On this night let us light only unity candles.
On this night we discuss the estrangement between our religions so we may then discuss reconciliation!
On this night we move beyond presents to The Presence!
Our story begins in the beginning, where God creates the order (seder) of creation by speaking. Imitating god we create our worlds by the ordering of chaos. Religion and ritual are true when they teach us how to master the mystery of righteous living, so let this Seder begin.
We speak of the Abrahamic Religions when we seek to master the core teachings of the monotheisms. Actually our Patriarchs and Matriarchs existed before religion; and that is their enduring charm. They served from love, since the Torah had not been revealed, and remain role models for those who move beyond fundamentalism in modern religions.
The Exodus was experienced by all; past and future Israelites, and the Passover Seder is universally understood as Our Story. The Ten Principle Teachings of Moses revealed on the Mountain are also universally embraced. Only a Joshua could conquer the Promised Land and only modern Joshua’s and Rahab’s sue for Peace between the religions.
We did not live a holy life in the holy land so exiles become our only possible Tikkun. Our Judges lacked judgment and our Kings forgot they had a King so we devolved into civil war. Israel scattered like the spores of a dandelion and the twelve tribes were no more. The tribe of Judah would define the future of our people.
Judah Maccabbee was the first Rabbi, conducting the revolt according to his understanding of the Book of Deuteronomy. The over pious of his time, the First Chassidim, hid in caves and allowed themselves to be slaughtered in the name of tradition. His High Priest successors took the title of King, violating the Torahs separation of those powers. The Temple they rededicated is destined for
destruction along with the Israelite religion based on the ancient models of holiness.
The original teachers of the Oral Law, like Judah Maccabbee based their innovative reading of Torah on the evolving canon of written scrolls. In Pirkay Avot, part of the Mishna usually translated as “Chapters of our Fathers”, (but more accurately “Principle Teachings”) we discover the first mention of a rabbi, as Rabban Gamaliel teaches us that we are all to be masterteachers (Rav) the Hebrew root word for Rabbi. The Apostle Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel, and this must be kept in mind when we study Paul’s teachings.
Rebecca’s Children: The Struggle Begins
As Professor Segal teaches the time of Jesus marks the beginning of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This is foreshadowed in The Book of Genesis (25:23) talking about Rebecca’s children:
Two nations are in thy womb
And two people shall be separated from thy bowels;
And one people shall be stronger than the other people
And the elder shall serve the younger.
I know this is not what you learned in Sunday school. Esau was born first, but, according to the Rabbis, Jacob was conceived first.
Rebecca’s response to the struggling is “Why am I?”, something to reflect upon.
Each claim to be the beloved firstborn until today.
The birthright actually goes to all who acknowledge that both are Rebecca’s children.
The Bible remains divided, as were the brothers, into first born and sup planter, into Old and New. Both claim to be Torah, God Truth.
Another way to think of the Bible is : The Father Scripture, from Genesis to Malachi; and The son scripture, from Matthew to Revelation. This puts Elijah literally in the middle. Elijah commands the father to turn to the son.
Elijah warns that calamity will befall an estranged relationship between Rebecca’s children or grandchildren.
The New Testament does not supercede the Old. No son has a right to dishonor his father. Nor does Jacob displace or supplant Esau.
We are one family sitting at one table in worship and this must be the future of humanity or religion will fail.
We open our family Bible to rediscover Judah and Jesus and Paul and Rabban (Rabbi) Gamaliel.
We celebrate this Chanukah and Christmas the way Jesus did, by visiting the temple and declaring our dedication by the lights of Gods teachings,