On the Fifth day of Khanike

On the Fifth day of Khanike YouTube gave to me five golden rings five torah books.

Notes: First, the spelling in the header may look real unusual, and you may think I made it up, but it is the spelling that the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research came up with as the ‘standard’ transliteration for the Yiddish and Ashkenazic pronunciation of the holiday.

Second, I decided that today would be where the two holiday songs briefly merged. The one I am composing, if you will, and the original Christmas version. Because the Twelve Days of Christmas, as a song, may have a history that resembles some of Khanike’s traditions. Some say it originated in 16th century England during religious persecution as a sort of mnemonic device to teach catechism. (Others argue there is no hard evidence for this.) This is similar to the popular story that the dreidel originated in ancient times when the Syrian Greeks forbade the study of Torah. Alas, this origin story has been refuted as well.

The Five Gold Rings in the 12 Days of Christmas are supposed to represent the Five Books of Moses — which is the Torah. Khanike doesn’t appear in the Torah, it appears in the Book of Maccabees. (There is only one Book of Maccabees in the Jewish scriptures. Some non-Jewish scriptures have a second one.) This is why Khanike is considered a ‘minor’ holiday to some. Not minor in its importance, but since there are no Torah commandments relating to it, there are no required observances. One of the 613 commandments is that no additional commandments be written. So any holiday that commemorates events that occurred after the events in the Torah have no required observances/rituals associated with them. There are traditions, but that’s different. So there’s no requirement to rest from work, or to go to the synagogue during the eight days, except of course there is a requirement to rest from work on the Sabbath, and there is always at least one of those during any 8 days.

While Khanike isn’t in the Torah, the Torah is certainly important to Khanike, as the holiday centers around freedom to practice one’s religion.

The video choice contains the Miami Boys Choir singing a medley of two Khanike blessings, and three songs. It includes Maoz Tzur (Rock of Ages), which is probably the most popular religious song for Khanike. You can find several videos of different choirs singing this song, but I chose the Miami Boys Choir video for two reasons. 1) I felt the voices of the children were more uplifting then the voices of the adults in most of the other videos. 2) The song is completely in Hebrew in all versions, but this is the only video I saw that has subtitles, and I know a lot of my readers don’t understand Hebrew.

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