Hebrew Hammer: The true story of Hanukkah


Ah, Chanukah. That festive time of year where we light candles, indulge in fried foods, and celebrate… a brutal civil war? Join Yael and Schwab as they complicate the story we all thought we knew. What did the Maccabees really fight for? How should we feel about their legacy? And who is Helen?

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Schwab: Welcome to Jewish History Unpacked where we do exactly what it sounds like, unpack awesome stories in Jewish history.

Yael: I’m Yael Steiner and my childhood dream was to stay in school forever.

Schwab: I’m Jonathan Schwab and I am in school forever.

Yael: Schwab, first off, happy Hanukkah.

Schwab): Happy Hanukkah, Yael.

Yael: It’s your turn to teach me. What are we gonna be talking about?

High Priest pouring oil over the menorah.

Schwab: You know what? I feel like it’s a great week to talk about Hanukkah. We usually cover stories that are not as familiar, but this week we’ll be giving much greater context to this story that you might be familiar with and perhaps parts of the story that you’re not as familiar with. Emotional disclaimer: Getting into the true history of Hanukkah and some of the more complicated and gory details is gonna change the way you view this holiday. It really has for me as I’ve spent time preparing for this episode.

Yael: So this is a behind the music situation where I’m gonna find out something really terrifying about my favorite rockstar?

Schwab: Yeah, and the story we usually have on Hanukkah is a very warm and positive one, and the real story we’re gonna talk about today is definitely a lot more complicated and a lot darker.

Yael: Before you start, I just wanna make sure that you’re not gonna tell me anything that is going to affect my ability to enjoy jelly donuts or latkes.

Schwab: (laughs) We’re just gonna ruin all the other parts of the holiday, but the jelly donuts and the latke will remain unspoiled.

Yael: Perfect.

Schwab: When you think about Hanukkah, what comes to mind as the core theme of the holiday?

Yael: Besides the jelly donuts and the latkes?

Schwab: Number one theme, jelly donuts and latkes. Number two theme?

Yael: I think about, I’m wearing two hats here. On the one hand I’m gonna say I think about the Jewish victory over the Greeks who are trying to erase Jewish culture and Hellenize everyone. But really, I think about the canister of oil that was supposed to last one night and miraculously lasted eight.

Schwab: Those are both such great examples of the way that we think about Hanukkah typically.

Yael: The first one was a total lie. I never think about that, but I just don’t wanna sound stupid right now.

Schwab: The second one, the story of the miracle of oil, we’re not gonna spend a lot of time talking about. We are gonna spend a lot of time talking about the first one, but part of what we’re gonna talk about is how the things that you said, I want to repeat back what you said, the Jewish victory over the Greeks who were trying to erase Jewish culture. And every part of what you just said, Yael, is wrong.

Yael: What else is new?

Schwab: (laughs) It’s much more complicated than that, I’ll say.

Yael: I am here to learn. My mind is open.

Schwab: We’ll get there. But definitely what it is really about, the Jewish victory part, I think is really important and I think the real core theme is Jewish survival. And there can often even be this tension of Jewish survival, does that mean clinging as staunchly as possible to traditions and practices at any cost, or is it adapting and accommodating to new context that we’re in, and therefore ensuring that Jews survive even if what Judaism is, and what Jewish culture is, and what Jews do, changes over that time?

Yael: Yeah. I think that’s a huge tension in modern Jewish life. But I’m curious what that has to do with (laughs) Hanukkah.

Photo of Wojciech Stattler’s “Maccabees.”

Schwab: And so that tension in the story of Hanukkah came, not just to a tension between two different schools of thought, but actually to a very violent and bloody civil war. And that’s one of the main things that I wanna get across when we’re telling this story of Hanukkah is that the war was largely between different factions of Jews, not between Jews and Greeks, but really between groups of Jews who saw things very, very differently.

Yael: And what were the two sides of that battle?

Schwab: The two sides were the Hellenized Jews, and we’ll discuss what Hellenism is ’cause you already brought it up also. And the Maccabees, who were traditionalists and zealots, fought very strongly for maintaining a Judaism that looked as it had in the past and strongly resisted any change from any external culture in any way.

Yael: In a modern lens, that kind of staunchness often is portrayed as being negative and close-minded.

Schwab: And insular, yep.

Yael: Certainly in my Jewish education, the Maccabees were always portrayed as superheroes. We learned songs in school that talked about Judah Maccabee as, you know, this conquering hero, almost like Robin Hood or a swashbuckler.

Schwab: Yeah. He definitely buckled some swashes. But we’ll talk about Judah Maccabee. He definitely was a hero in many senses, but was also a really complicated character. I think it’s probably pretty safe to say we’re here today and we are who we are today because of the Maccabees, but at the same time, many of their choices and many of the things that they did, which might seem very foreign to us in a modern context from looking back from the 21st century, it, it might be hard to identify with them.

Yael: So, did the Maccabees actually instigate a war against their fellow Jews? Or were they attacked first?

Schwab: No, they instigated. So let’s back up and let’s get there. So, the context in which all of this is happening, right, is like very brief history: Fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great conquers much of the Middle East and Europe. after he dies, his Greek empire is split up into different Greek kingdoms and the land of Judea, modern day Israel, the land where the Jews were living; where the Temple exists and where they were practicing the Temple service as they had been for a while, is in the Seleucid Greek kingdom, which is just one of the Greek kingdoms. And a big part of this Greek culture is Hellenism. And we probably all learned a little bit about Hellenism back in, I don’t know, sixth grade, and then again in 10th grade, I wanna say (laughs).

Yael: I think that’s actually spot on. Like, those were definitely the years.

Schwab: Yeah. So, what is Hellenism from your memory of those years? What is Hellenism?

Yael: When I think of Hellenism, I think very vaguely about the Greeks trying to sway the Jews to become more like them. And this doesn’t necessarily only apply to Jews. I think they tried to make a lot of people like them.

Schwab: Yes, definitely.

Yael: I think about like physical perfection of the body, um, I don’t know when, like the Ancient Olympics happened, this quest to attain physical perfection, um, athleticism.

Schwab: Not just attain the physical perfection but like, have it on display and compete and show.

Yael: If you got it, flaunt it.

Schwab: Exactly. Greeks were definitely very into that, yeah.

Yael: Um, so, I’m sure that there are other intellectual tenets to it.

Schwab: Right. there’s a whole philosophy to it, too. And there’s art elements. And there’s also a religious piece. And part of Hellenism is that, that everything is all sort of connected, you know, like that, you have your religion and you have your art and you have your philosophy and you have your athletic thing, but like, it’s all part of, there’s this dominant culture of being Hellenized that, that everything gets rolled into.

Yael: Is Helen a person?

Schwab: (laughs) Honestly, now that we’re talking all about it, I don’t know what the term means or where it comes from.

Yael: It sounds really dumb to ask (laughs).

Schwab: When I was preparing for this, I was prepping by talking it over with my six year old son and he repeated it back to me (laughs) as the Helen Jews. It’s like, oh, Jews named Helen.

Yael: I know a lot of Jews named Helen, and they’re all lovely. But I’m assuming it’s not named after them.

Schwab: No. Maybe the other way around.

Yael: You’ll get back to me.

Schwab: This big part of it is sort of just creating one universal culture. Um, and I remember when we studied this in 10th grade, we used this term cultural diffusion, which is like this idea that culture spreads through trade and war. Um, we don’t talk about this a lot on the podcast, but part of my background academically is I actually studied chemistry in college-

Yael: Oh, I did not know that.

Schwab: Yeah, oh, fun fact. Uh, and cultural diffusion is such an interesting term because diffusion in the scientific context is just things moving kind of passively from areas of, of high concentration to areas of low concentration. Uh, but that’s not what was… D-diffusion really isn’t the right term here because this culture was being not so subtly, in, in fact often by great force, exported and imposed on. This, this culture was being pushed-

Yael: Pushing those ions out to the the outer rings of the model that I can’t now remember. Rutherford or Bohr. I did not study chemistry. You’re saying this wasn’t something that just happened.

Schwab: Right. The Greeks were very actively trying to create this universal culture that everyone could be part of. And one of the rather ingenious strategies for this was rather than replacing the existing local cultures in places, it was all about incorporating and sort of synthesizing an existing local culture with a Greek culture. And the Greeks didn’t burn down the Temple, they were not looking to replace Jewish culture by burning down the Temple and building a new one. For them, success was transforming the existing Jewish Temple into a temple to Zeus, which actually did happen at one point. They were successful at that. Um, so they didn’t want to, at least originally, eliminate all the elements of Jewish culture. They wanted to find a way to, sometimes slowly, sometimes very quickly, uh, transform the Jewish culture into a combined Hellenized version.

Yael: So, they didn’t wanna knock it down, they kind of wanted a remodel from within. Like, they wanted to get in with the Jew’s good graces and then slowly transform the institutions the Jews had into more Greek facing institutions.

Schwab: Which is a brilliant strategy and it worked, right? Like if they had totally gotten rid of the Temple and instead put up a new one, I don’t know that a lot of Jews would’ve gotten on board that plan. But this plan of, of, you know, slowly changing the culture over time, um, saying, “We have this whole philosophical approach to things. You can use this philosophical approach to analyze your Hebrew Bible.” Um, and that was adapted by these Hellenized Jews who began to use a lot of the tools and symbols and practices of Hellenism and Hellenistic Judaism emerged as a very serious and very real sect of Judaism in Judea at that time.

And this Hellenistic Judaism, there are parts of it that might sound like a real departure to us, like the notion of changing the Temple service and having it be a temple to Zeus, I think it’s fair to say, not a good thing. But translating the Bible into the commonly spoken language, to me that sounds like something that we do pretty often today and is a really good thing.

Yael: It creates access to more people, but I guess it goes back to the question that you asked before, is it better to have more people with access or is it better to have fidelity to the traditional text or the traditional customs and have fewer people observe them more “purely.”

Schwab: Yes. I think you’re saying it so well and this has come up in other episodes that we’ve talked about. We talked about this with, in the Napoleon episode and the French Revolution, of this, this drive to be part of the larger culture. And being willing sometimes to sacrifice some of the cultural elements or some of our traditions or some of our history, for a chance to be part of the larger world and be citizens of something. and that was definitely at stake here too. Being Hellenized meant being part of this emerging world power.

Yael: So, was Judah on board for any of this? Or he was very anti-Hellenist?

Schwab: So Judah Maccabee is part of this reactionary group. So a lot of this Hellenizing was taking place in the cities. This is the, the urban elites; the priests in the Temple were very involved in this, and often more in the rural areas, in the mountainous region, there were people who were against it, and there was a reactionary group of zealots first led by Matthias, or Mattityahu. This is now in the second century BCE, and Mattityahu and his five sons lead a movement to sort of overthrow this Hellenized Jewish control. Again, did not start out as a revolution against the Greeks, it started as a revolution against the Hellenized Jews in control of the land who were making a lot of changes.

Mattityahu appealing to Jewish refugees (illustration by Gustave Doré from the 1866 La Sainte Bible)

And this reminds me, one of the other changes I think that, that for the Maccabees, for Mattityahu and his sons, was a really radical departure, was circumcision. A lot of the Hellenized Jews no longer were circumcising their male children and some people were even doing something called an epispasm which is a reversal of a circumcision.

Yael: Yikes.

Schwab: Yikes very much. Of the many things that I researched, that was one where I said, oh, I don’t need to know any more detail than just what this is.

Yael: Yeah. That is very extreme. So clearly this was not a passive situation. This was fairly active, to the extent that you would really harm yourself.

Schwab: So the Maccabees, Mattithyahu and his son, start this revolt against the Hellenistic Jewish rulers. they were really fed up with this external influence on Jewish practice and they didn’t fight against the external influence, they fought against the Jews who’d been allowing and acceding to that external influence

Yael: And this just started as like a combative situation? Did they try to negotiate it, or like they literally picked up a sword and went-

Schwab: No. The way that they saw it was, this has come about because of compromise in politics and negotiation and now this demands a strong reaction and this needs to be met with violence. So from the very beginning, this was not a moderate campaign. And they had a wide following. This was not Mattithyahu and his five sons on a hilltop. There were a lot of Jews who did feel fed up with the Hellenistic Jews. Some of them felt fed up just, you know, with a corrupt ruling elite. It wasn’t really always about religion. Some of them just wanted to see change. But the Maccabees embarked on a particularly brutal campaign and especially, I guess, like horrifying in some ways to think about because it was a campaign against their own brethren. They were fighting against their fellow Jews, and pretty violently. And one of the things that they did, just to come back to circumcision, ’cause we gotta stay on that topic is they would sometimes raid villages and kidnap boys and young men from that village who had not been circumcised and forcibly circumcise them.

Yael: That’s terrible.

Schwab: It’s definitely not a moderate tactic

Yael: Wow. Yeah. I can see why you gave that warning earlier in the episode. I mean, I think the “heroism” of Judah Maccabee is so deeply ingrained in me, has been hammered into me for so long-

Schwab: Was that a deliberate pun? That it’s been hammered into you?

Yael: It was not. Is there a hammer in Hanukkah?

Schwab: Yeah. There are questions of what the origin of the name, Maccabee is. And, and one of the theories is that it comes from the Hebrew word for hammer, and that perhaps Judah, or perhaps one of his brothers, um, used an actual hammer as an implement of war.

Yael: So, what you’re saying is that Judah Maccabee was the OG Hebrew Hammer.

Judah Maccabee from Die Bibel in Bildern

Schwab: He is the OG Hebrew Hammer.

Yael: No offense to my brother’s NYU softball team. But it was Judah Maccabee who started it.

Schwab: How did that softball team do (laughs)?

Yael: I have no idea, but I really like the t-shirt.

Schwab: Oo, cool. In addition to being a particularly incredible fighter, he was also a brilliant military commander. And part of his brilliance was his brutal approach, because he was so unwilling to compromise, he did things that few people, I think anticipated or thought he would do. Um, and one of them… So, as the war goes on, the actual Greeks or the Seleucid Greeks come to the defense of the Hellenized Jews. And we did skip over a little bit, but there were also, it wasn’t all only the Hellenized Jews were doing the objectionable things, um, but the Greek rulers sort of as tensions escalated, um, a particular Greek ruler also started to do some pretty persecutory stuff, and, and, started with the whole, like we’re gonna rededicate the temple to Zeus. So, the Greeks also bad in this story.

Yael: Got it.

Schwab: So I read this story and I said we just have to like talk about this one ’cause it’s so good. Um, the Battle of Emmaus. Um, so Judah has a very small fighting force of a couple of thousand warriors and the Hellenized Jews with Greek backup probably have 10 times that number, uh, plus far more superior technology and resources and all of that.

Um, and Judah finds a way to sort of get the message to, to his Greek enemies, uh, that he’s camping out at a specific site. and-

Yael: Why would he want them to know that?

Schwab: So, he is gonna ambush them. He very surreptitiously somehow lets them know where it is that he’s gonna be camping out. And then he prepares his army and does this thing. Well, this is talked about in the Book of the Maccabees, which is one of the records that we have at the time. and this is probably a slightly embellished version, but he sends any of his soldiers who are slightly hesitant or newly married, or don’t have complete faith in him as a leader, he sends all those guys home.

Yael: How merciful.

Schwab: Yeah (laughs). He has an even smaller fighting force of the really dedicated people. So the Greeks are gonna come ambush his camp, which he knows because that’s the idea he planted in their heads, at night. And while they are coming to do that, he force marches his entire army a different route than the one that the Greeks are coming on, and he goes to the Greek camp while they’re all out looking for him, and they burn it to the ground, and trash it, and take all the good weapons that they left behind and stuff. which I think for most people probably would’ve been enough. Like, wow, great. you tricked your enemy. You got them to like come after you all night, destroyed their camp while they’re away. Great job.

Yael: You’ve disarmed them. Like this should be the end of it.

Schwab: Yeah. after looking for you all night and being disappointed they didn’t find you, they’re coming back to their camp and all their stuff is messed up. But not only did he do that, but then he set an ambush for the Greeks once they returned from looking for him all night, to their destroyed camp. He then attacked them, and they were exhausted from marching all night. I don’t understand why his army wasn’t also exhausted-

Yael: No-Doze. They took No-Doze.

Schwab: (laughs). And inspired by the fervor of Judah, they attack the Greeks and end up routing this much larger army and sort of chasing them several times as the Greeks desperately try to find somewhere to rest.

Yael: Was the Greek army also populated by Hellenized Jews?

Schwab: Yeah. So it’s a mix. It’s like the Hellenized Jews and also the, you know, professional big league Greek army from the capital.

Yael: Got it. So, Judah was pretty ruthless?

Schwab: Yeah. But because of his ruthless tactics, he does eventually beat the Hellenized Jews and fight this much larger empire essentially to a stalemate, to the point where a new Greek ruler comes in and says, “This is just not worth it. We don’t really need to be fighting against this, like, ragtag army in this backwater hill country. We’re willing to just basically let you do what you want to do, and restore a pretty large degree of self-governance. And say, we’re not gonna get involved in your religion in any way, and you can practice it basically the way that you want.”

Yael: But it’s nice that the Greeks are now gonna let them practice more freely, obviously, grateful for that, but if his problem is really with the other more assimilated Jews, I don’t see how that solves the problem.

Schwab: Yeah. And a lot of his supporters were fine with that. They said, “Look, you know, we got what we wanted. We can practice the way we want to practice. We have a pretty large degree of self governance back in our hand. We can run the country the way that we want to. The Greeks are, are pretty cool with us at this point.”

But Judah says, “This is not enough. We have to basically go all the way. We have to completely get rid of all traces of Hellenism from this country. We have to fight until the Greeks are totally gone out from our land.” And he is sort of biting off more than he can chew, and is losing a lot of support from the people who had supported him up to now. And he eventually then is killed in battle in this second campaign to just continue the fight. Like, doesn’t really go much of anywhere, and also, in doing that, one of the things he does is, say “I’m gonna make an alliance with this new up-and-coming empire, the Romans. That will help us fight the Greeks,” which like, spoiler alert, maybe wasn’t the best call (laughs).

Yael: Oh, I didn’t realize that, that Judah and I guess the other Maccabees, or I guess, Hasmoneans, they allied with the Romans?

Schwab: Yeah. Like, turns out that maybe wasn’t the best empire to align yourself with. Like, maybe, maybe not allying yourself-

Yael: … with your ultimate oppressor. Interesting.

Schwab: Yeah, that wasn’t the best people to make an alliance with. Yeah. And this dynasty, the Hasmoneans, their descendants become this dynastic kingship, which is interesting also because they were a priestly family. Mattityahu was, you know, related to the high priest in the Temple.

Yael: Didn’t he also declare himself the high priest?

Schwab: Yeah. He was like, “I should be the high priest, not this other high priest who’s doing all sorts of non-priestly stuff.” And historically there had been a division between the priests and the monarchs, or the political rulers of the kingdom. And the Hasmoneans were just like rolling it up all into one of like we’re gonna run the priesthood, and the military, and the government. And that also sort of just looking back, hasn’t always been looked on so kindly. Not just in the present day, but a lot of Rabbinic tradition is very wary of that.

Yael: co-mingling the political leadership and religious observance, because the priesthood wasn’t just a, you know, elevated cast, they were actually doing religious service in the Temple on behalf of everyone else.

Schwab: Right. And, and at least in the way it’s discussed in Tanakh, in the Bible, is that in order to perform that service well, they actually need to be completely removed from the military in any way.

Yael: Right, and if I, I remember correctly, the reason why Solomon, Shlomo built the Temple, and not his father David was that David had been a military warrior. And because he had blood on his hands, he couldn’t merit to build the Temple.

Schwab: You are definitely remembering correctly. Yes.

Yael: Clearly (laughs), the Maccabees have, I mean, I don’t wanna say they only have blood on their hands, but they have blood on their hands.

Schwab: Yeah. And the Maccabees not only had blood on their hands, but largely Jewish blood on their hands.

Yael: I don’t wanna get ahead of anything here, but this seems to me like a, a pretty major omission from what I understand to be conventional Jewish education. And certainly Jewish cultural education. Do you think that’s just because it’s not flattering, or do you think that there’s a reason why? Because we celebrate Hanukkah, and we, like, we associate this holiday with this family so deeply. And we don’t learn anything about them. The real, we don’t learn the real story.

Schwab: Yeah. The real story. again, I think, we wouldn’t be here today if not for them, but it, by the same token, this is a complicated story, and not one I think that’s easy to tell, especially to younger kids. Um-

Yael: Yeah, for sure. I think it’s really interesting, actually, that so much about the Maccabees’ campaign is anti-assimilationist. I guess I learned about that a little, but it was never stressed as the major theme of the holiday. Because I think that often in modern observance of Hanukkah, you hear a lot of discussion of assimilation. You hear, you know, people worry that Hanukkah, due to its timing in the calendar, and being so closely aligned with Christmas is that the meaning of Hanukkah has been lost and it’s completely become the Jewish Christmas. And that’s all it is and will be to future generations of Jews, which is obviously highly assimilationist.

Schwab: Yeah, yeah. And also is interesting because of all the holidays to, for that to happen to, like, Judah Maccabee, this is the very thing (laughs) that he fought against and the notion of Hanukkah, you know, being associa – He didn’t know about Christmas because it didn’t happen yet.

Yael: Right. But yeah, he would hate what Hanukkah has become.

Schwab: He would absolutely hate, like the idea of walking through the lobby of my apartment building, seeing a Christmas tree and a menorah next to it, Judah Maccabee would not be a fan of that.

Yael: So, you’re saying Judah Maccabee would not want his Starbucks cup to say Happy Holidays? He would rather have a Starbucks cup that says Merry Christmas and be, feh! Christmas.

Schwab: I think so. And it’s, it’s interesting that you say that because I’m like, what’s a modern metaphor for Hellenism? And in some ways, the like Happy Holidays, Christmas tree decoration is sort of a very Hellenistic thing of like, here’s the universal, ubiquitous culture, but it’s like not our culture, you know? (laughs) Like, it came from somewhere, and like, discussion for a very different podcast, not Jewish History Unpacked, but like, Christmas trees didn’t originate in Christianity (laughs). That, that was like an adopted symbol already from a whole different thing. Um, but the notion of one culture being the dominant culture, and we can all sort of be part of it, and that’s fine, you know, and it’s not even about religion, it’s just about culture. This is just about us all, like, sharing the same thing. That’s the very same-

Yael: It’s the season of light. And what you do on Hanukkah, you light lights.

Schwab: Yeah. Like, that is exactly the thing that Judah fought against. You know, saying like, “No. There, there is something distinct about Judaism-

Yael: We should have this separation. I understand that and I think that it is very important for us, as modern Jews, to have our own unique celebrations, but I will be honest that there are so many Jews out there in the world who already so highly assimilated that I’m almost inclined to say that the fact that Hanukkah and Christmas are mushed together culturally is a good thing. In that they wouldn’t celebrate Hanukkah at all if not for the fact that it’s enticing for them to have something to do and something to celebrate during this overwhelming Christmas season. It’s like, “Oh, you’re Jewish, it must be Hanukkah for you. Happy Hanukkah. And I know that because it’s Christmas for me.”

Schwab: Yeah. But I think you’re so right that because of the association, Hanukkah get like a great visibility to it. I don’t know, like-

Yael: Yeah, like, we don’t have any Shavuot movies on Disney Channel.

Schwab: Yeah. Or, or even, you know, there’s a menorah in the lobby of my building because there’s a Christmas tree. But there’s no other Jewish… Like, they don’t put up a shofar for Rosh Hashanah. Yeah.

Yael: Right. Yeah. That, I mean, I guess that’s a good point. If Christmas didn’t exist, no one would have a menorah on their town square or in their lobby or their office building. It’s like, oh, a Jewish holiday actually gets press because of its proximity to a non-Jewish holiday. And, and that to me, even though Judah Maccabee might hate it, to me, that’s a little bit promising. if it’s bringing people, even a teeny bit closer to their heritage, and making them appreciate a small element of Judaism in a world where it’s very hard to do that because of the overwhelming assimilationist influences. I’m not gonna poo-poo that.

Schwab: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t, it seems hard to argue with it when you put it that way.

Yael: Don’t worry, I’m sure you can find plenty of people who would be glad to debate me.

Schwab: (laughs) Yes. Yeah. One of the things that I’m thankful for is that at least this isn’t something we’re fighting wars over, you know?

Yael: Thank God.

Schwab: Like, Jews can disagree and we can get mad at each other and we can even say not nice things, but at least this isn’t devolving into bloody civil wars, at this point.

Yael: And I hope it stays that way. And I am on a much sillier note, I’m really glad you didn’t ruin jelly donuts or latkes for me.

Schwab: (laughs) Great. So, all of that having been said, when you light candles and celebrate Hanukkah this week, Yael, how is this gonna change the way that you celebrate Hanukkah?

Yael: Well, because I take everything you teach me very seriously and internalize it, it will be sitting somewhere  in my consciousness. And to be a little bit more serious, I do think that I will be cognizant going forward of more elements of the holiday. But, as I mentioned, it would take a lot to uproot my love of this holiday. And I’m not asking my apartment building to remove the Hanukkiah from the lobby. it’s really sweet. I like it. And it does feel good to be acknowledged in the public sphere. So, you haven’t ruined Hanukkah for me.

Schwab: Great. Okay. I’m glad.

Yael: I hope preparing this episode hasn’t ruined it for you.

Schwab: I think there were parts where I felt sort of less hopeful, and less excited about Hanukkah, but now that it’s actually here, I appreciate the complexity for what it gives me.

Yael: That’s very mature.

Schwab: Yeah. Thank you. And I feel like I’m going to, after tonight, definitely take much more seriously making sure to have enough jelly donuts.

Yael: Yes, you should. They are delicious.

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