Happy Archetypal Hanukkah

Whose holiday is Hanukkah? In the mode of examination that we use in our book, “God’s Favorite Prayers,” we answered that it is the “priest’s” festival. The holiday prayer, “And for the miracles…” recounts a narrative of historical figures who serve as “avatars of the priestly archetype”. In fact, we explain there, “The Hanukkah narrative glorifies an actual priest, Mattathias, and celebrates his victory of reclaiming and purifying the Temple.”

But we do admit with glee that there are more archetypes at work in this liturgy and in the festival. We see elements of the redemptive theme of the “celebrity” in the assertion in the prayer that the Hanukkah victory, “…brought about a great deliverance and redemption for your people Israel to this very day.”

And we see the “scribal” values of the importance of the Torah and commandments interjected in the liturgy in the depiction of events that brought about the priestly struggle and ultimate victory:

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