The ‘holy season’ brings light to the secular world

We live in gulous and it’s never as obvious as during the ‘festive’ or ‘holy’ season. Apart from it being a completely secular event that devoted Christians understand is a commercial invention that has nothing to do with religion, secular Christians, atheists and agnostics alike seem to get enthralled by the idea of Christmas. For them, like for many secular Jews who see Jewish festivals only at face value, this season provides the lift, the light and the holiness that propels them through the rest of the year. As much as they wouldn’t admit it themselves they cling so strongly to a festival that’s so full of commercialism and externalities because it is the only time they feel connected to something even a little bit spiritual. For them, the very faint glimpse of something eternal and meaningful is worth hanging onto, no matter how much they consciously or unconsciously pretend that they’re not interested in its meaning, only the presents. It’s a very human response as we all crave for some meaning and depth every once in a while. How much more so is this true for the Jewish people, whose essence (our neshama) is holy in every way. It’s no wonder that secular Jews don’t mind getting into the festive season with their friends and colleagues. They too crave a bit of light. If only they were to ask a little more, let their curiosity rule instead of their fear, let their open-mindedness guide them instead of their egos. If only they were to open their minds and hearts and delve into the depths of their own festivals, to find the truths, to see what truth feels like. Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t need to pretend that it’s all about the presents and could be satisfied with the extraordinary depths of their Yiddishkite.


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