Temple Shabbat Shalom
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.
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
No Peace among the religions without dialogue between
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 their enchanted world. 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? (Hint:Add 167 to 2016 and you have your answer.)
4.) If my religious instruction stopped at adolescence
where do I look for an adult understanding of Chanukah
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
If you have time review the Chanukah Seder.
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
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?
perhapsTree of Life Menorah treats. Keep a Seder cookbook. We
will do recipe exchanges.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
What follows are resources and suggestions.
A Seder for December
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
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 exile 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
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 supersede 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,