358 – Nittel Nacht

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Ahh, Christmas Eve. While all of the gentiles sip their eggnog and wait for Santa Claus to shimmy down their chimney, the Jewish people have a different tradition. We call tonight “Nittel Nacht,” though most people have probably never heard of such a thing (in all honesty, I just learned about it myself). In the Middle Ages, when times weren’t so good for our people (the more things change…), many towns and provinces forbade Jews from appearing in public on Christmas Eve. Good thing too, as the alternative could lead to violence against the “Christ-killers.” Thus the day became a sort of holiday-of-necessity for the chosen people. The Rabbis declared studying Torah and having sex illegal on that day, but encouraged secular reading and game-playing instead. We are lucky to live in an age where widespread persecution of Jews is no longer so popular, but it would be a shame to forget the weight that such a day used to carry.

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