DAY 1272: Tonight’s Tradition

December 24, 2015
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 1272: Tonight’s Tradition


Reflection on tonight’s Chinese Dinner & A Movie event…

Dear Hevreh,

A brief search of Facebook events reveals the extent to which the custom (minhag) of Chinese Dinner and a Movie on Christmas seems as powerful as any biblical or rabbinic law (halakhah). This should not be surprising. Whether it’s eating bagels and lox on weekends, placing rocks on gravestones, or arguing over the check, Jewish customs are extremely potent markers of Jewish practice and identity. The rabbis knew this. Even in a system whereby laws (halakhot) were authoritative because of the weight of biblical precedent or rabbinic decree, customs held great sway because they were created and maintained by the people (amkha). In some instances, customs were so deliciously “sticky” that they “supersede the law” (minhag mevatel halakhah) (Halakhic Process, p. 211).  In other words, there are times when what we should do (i.e. follow the law) takes a back seat to what wedo do (i.e. enact our own customs). So, if you’re eating Chinese dinner tonight (especially at my house), remember that we’re following in a great tradition that might not have been mentioned in the Talmud, but was hinted there; a custom that was created by the people and because it was such a delicious custom it has persevered to become one of our finest traditions.

Merry Chinese Dinner and a Movie,

Rabbi Ari Saks  

Category : Holidays Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
Tag :