Happy Chanuka; Merry Christmas.
Chanuka's a quieter holiday. True, we put our menorahs (candleabras) in our family room window, where theoretically neighbors can watch the display increasing by one light each night, climaxing next Friday evening, when all eight (plus the shamash, or "helper") celebrate the triumph of Jews faithful to God over those willing to assimilate. The menorah in the window publicizes God's part in the miracles of the holiday, and shows our fidelity, saying, "count us among those who uphold God's laws."
It's almost ironic that culturally, Christmas and Chanuka are so often linked as dual celebrations of the season. Christmas marks the materialization of the spiritual, the coming to earth in human form, of God. Giving gifts and putting up Christmas trees and decorations (increasing "stuff") extends the idea of God's taking tangible form.
Chanuka focuses on the non-physical--flame, light--and ridding the Bait HaMikdash (Holy Temple, in 164 BCE) of man-made gods. It celebrates the Temple's rededication to its prescribed functions, and we to the special non-spacial stratum of Jewish study and concentration we overlay on our concrete activities.
Not to imply that Jews eschew the physical (or that Christians ignore the spiritual). The holiday of Purim affirms God's (hidden) role in physicality, and we express that by feasting and drinking and testing what we see (by wearing costumes) and hear (by twice listening to the Book of Esther). But that's later, in March (actually the Jewish month of Adar). Right now, as darkness seems pervasive here in the Northwest, with late dawn, cloudcover, and early night-time, we need to know that there's more than just what we're able to discern.
For Jews, Chanuka is the victory of light, of God's immaterial essence, over Hellenistic, hedonistic, touchable idols in our world.
Which of course relates to...Tiger Woods. Some say he is a broken idol. I don't really follow such sordid stuff, an achiever, a hero, whose wholesome image is merely a veneer for betrayal, lying, adultery--the short-sighted selfishness that many call "just sex" and excuse with a shrug.
I don't think women are so charitable in their views of philandering sports stars. Every phone call, every text message, every step through a door and unacceptable placement of his hand was a transgression. It's not like there was one suggestive word, though that, too would be a choice. Every single action directed toward a mistress or sex-mate was a cut in the basis of his marriage, in the trust expected by his wife, and by extension the fans and sponsors who believed not just in his talent but in his character. It's not "just sex" but the destruction of the package that is the person. The once-honorable person.