Well, as of this writing we are in the middle of October, a busy month with so much activity going on. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Football, Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur, eating lots of stuff with apples in it, trees bustling with colorful leaves, Halloween, and so on. But did anyone notice something in that list? The 3 holidays perhaps? Especially how 2 of them are Jewish holidays and the other one isn't?
Ah yes, that is right. Even though Halloween has become so secular over the past several years, it is technically a Christian holiday, originating from Celtic harvest festivals with pagan roots such as the Gaelic festival of Samhain.
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Rosh Hashannah is the Jewish new year, and we get to eat apples and honey. Yom Kippur is when we forgive for the sins we have committed. We don't get to eat anything all day.
If we Jews know that Halloween is a Christian holiday, why do we choose to celebrate it anyway? Is it the candy we get to eat? The trick-or-treating in which the excessive amount of candy we eat is distributed? The Costumes? The pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns? The ghosts? The goblins? The witches? Halloweentown? What is it that made Halloween a secular day of festivity?
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We have been told by the supreme authorities of Judaism to stay away from Halloween because it is not a Jewish holiday. We celebrate it anyway with no feelings whatsoever of guilt. It really is the struggle- to celebrate, or not to celebrate. And then in under 2 months, Christmas comes, a holiday that is so more important in our society than the other 2 religious holidays- Purim and Hanukkah.
I feel that today in a religiously and culturally diverse society, we are given free will- the ability to choose what we want to do (in this case celebrate Halloween.)
Because Purim really can't come soon enough....