Winter Revolution: A Holiday Playlist for the Rest of Us

5 12 2010

1. Matisyahu – “Miracle”

Why it’s on the list… This new song by Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu is a great addition to the anemic number of good Hanukkah songs.

But maybe that shouldn’t be surprising considering that from a religious perspective, Hanukkah matters a whole lot less than Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot or Passover.

But the story of Hanukkah dovetails nicely with Christmas. As Judaism 101 puts it, “It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar.”

The Nativity features a confrontation between faithful Jews and Roman tyranny. And according to tradition, the Maccabean Revolt features a confrontation between faithful Jews and Seleucid/Hellenistic tyranny. There are more than a few of us who see some strongly anti-imperialist messages in both. (See: Rabbi Michael Lerner at Tikkun magazine.) Something to think about.

Oh, and by the way, there are a lot of people in the world who don’t celebrate Christmas. It’s one of the joys of living in a pluralistic society. So there.



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One response

8 12 2010

Great playlist! And I agree that the “Praise Santa” segment from Boondocks is pretty great! “Revolution” as a Christmas selection is a great idea, too…

I’d throw in some classics like “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” (simple yet profound) and “O Holy Night” (bit of abolitionist commentary).

I’ve been listening to a classical rendition (from the London Philharmonic) of Messiah over the last few holiday seasons. There’s some good stuff that Jones didn’t include. I had “Thou shalt break them” (from Ps. 2, follows the verses sung in “Why do the nations rage…”) stuck in my head last week. And of course, there’s the famous “Hallelujah Chorus”: “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ…” Hallelujah, indeed…

Have you heard Beck’s “Little Drum Machine Boy”? Hilarious and fun. 🙂

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