31 Comments
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Hannukah is far and away my favorite holiday. As a kid (and to an extent now) it was shiny candles, games, and friend food. But as an adult I love your idea of thinking of it as a rededication to better or higher or at least more deeply thought through ideals.

Expand full comment

You hit the telling of the adult story out of the park! I only learned it in grad school. I appreciate the comparison of how we can view Washington and Jefferson with a critical eye. It’s a must. Thanks for bring me light. I’m all in for that.

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Thank you, Rabbi. I very much appreciate your willingness and dedication to truth telling. all of it, not just the comfortable bits. I believe the humility to hold the truth gently and firmly, rather than clutching it makes mercy possible.

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Patriarchy being the relentless shared characteristic of all of the above, then and now. The details of religion, philosophy, geopolitics change -- but not the patriarchy. The "One Right Way thinking, of so much determination to go to the mat over power and purity—to go to war, to break away, to go from thinking about the collective to thinking about me, me, me" is a major and glaring characteristic of patriarchy.

(If the "collective good" is centered within patriarchy, it tends to be a very specific/exclusive collective)

Expand full comment
Dec 7, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Thank you Rabbi.

This raises (again) some very important and contemporary questions about how we deal with our idols (pun intended), especially when they fall from grace. Or the evergreen "do we ditch the entire life of past heroes when we learn some uncomfortable truths about them, or do we simply acknowledge they were just humans, did some good and did some bad ?". I don't have an answer but I very much like the way your text feeds these reflections for me.

Also, I do thank you again for stating again the most important things, what matters most. It's the lights of Hanukkah for me, the gift of Light: let's share for everyone some light, warmth, and hope in these difficult times as we're all in this together.

Expand full comment

As a Christian Pastor, I can recognize careful scholarly work. It was illuminating for me and I thank you! Thank you for your careful scholarly work as well as your spiritual heart which reaches me always.

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Another lovely post, Rabbi. It's reminding me a lot about the way you framed Genesis as the story of generations of Abraham's family repeating the same mistakes instead of confronting their painful past. Bringing in the American Founders helps, too. We can celebrate something even as we debate it!

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Todah, Rabbi, and Hannukah Sameach.. I so appreciate your thoughts and insights, and the words you put them into. I just was reviewing the history of the Maccabean war a few days ago; not at all pretty. Having friends and family who are serving / have served in a few different nation’s military, war is not pretty, but as Koheleth says ....

(Whoa, I didn’t expect my thoughts to take that turn as I was writing this..... Back to my original track.)

I’ve battled with my belief in G*d throughout my life, certainly more when I was younger and everything in life was presented (or taken) as a clear dichotomy. It is so much “more comfortable” in one respect, to know life and G*d are far biggest than I can totally comprehend - and to know that wrestling with these questions is part of life and growing up. (Okay, “Yitchak” is part of my Hebrew name. Yet another unexpected turn - but this certainly gives me thoughts for contents of a drash.)

I’m now at a stage in life (Yay for maturing) when I can accept there are no easy answers - and that I sometimes I must simultaneously hold opposing positions, or are they positions that are not so much “opposing” as actually othogonal to each other, operating in totally different dimensions. (“Both these and these are the words of the living G*d”)

So - as you can see - your thoughts, your essays, have given me the totally unexpected gift this morning of some very serious thoughts. What a wonderful and meaningful gift this morning. Thank you for being my teacher.

Expand full comment
Dec 8, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Mmm, thank you for this complicating narrative. Serendipitously, I pulled the Temperance card from my tarot deck, a card that’s about balance, not in a both-sides false equivalency, more like a yes-and dialectic. I’m grateful for your insight and guidance into the messy nuances of almost-too-easy holidays.

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

I am grateful to you, Rabbi DR, to all the fellow-travelers on "Life is a Sacred Text, and to all the billions of living things in this wonderful earthly eco-system. May we all feel more connected to each others' wellbeing so we can better our planet. I am celebrating our togetherness.

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Todah, Rabbi, your eloquent words are always soothing to my soul....this quote so deeply resonated with me .... "But even being glad for an aspect of history does not mean that we should stop thinking critically about it." It is an aspect of being Jewish that I dearly love(just celebrated two years since my conversion) that we question, debate, dialogue and accept that sometimes there are no satisfactory answers or conclusions to be found....Hanukkah Sameach....Happy Hanukkah!

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Thank you, Rabbi. I'm grateful you're still "over here and continuing to be a Jew". You bring us all comfort and light.

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Brilliant as always! Thank you, Rabbi, for your willingness to talk about the uncomfortable truths.

Expand full comment
Dec 7, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

“I’m wary about writing about this, but I also feel a responsibility to write about this. “. I’m happy that you wrote this piece and really resonate with the wariness. I haven’t had some of the necessary conversations about the various wars and uneasy prospects for peace that I might have had. I respect how Rabbi Ruttenberg models informed commentary during a tumultuous time.

Expand full comment
Dec 7, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Thank you!! This is important & every year I crave a community of people willing to bring a brave, critical lens to this as we (I hope) mindfully celebrate one of my favorite holidays. Thank you for taking the time & for sharing 🙏🏾🩵

Expand full comment
Dec 6, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Wow! I would guess at least 90% of this post referenced parts of the Chanukah story I knew nothing about. I enjoyed learning more about this holiday and how it relates to what we are living through now. Thank you so much for this piece.

Expand full comment
Dec 7, 2023Liked by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Also, this is a bit of a tangent, but I’m surprised to learn I’m not the only person who has thought about the U.S. revolutionary war and wondered if this part of North America would be better or worse if it had remained under British rule instead of U.S. rule 😞

Expand full comment
author

BUT DOLLY PARTON

Expand full comment

I am a casual Dolly Parton fan. But I didn’t know she wrote a song about that??? Or did she mention it in an interview.

Expand full comment