“Dad, you know why most of the kids in my class like Hanukah?”
“They just like the presents. But not me, I’m in it for the latkes!” my son said proudly.
“You know why I like Hanukah?” I replied.
“I know, I know, the Maccabees used asymmetric warfare…” my son groaned.
“How do you know about that?”
“You kept talking about it last year. Asymmetric warfare, using classic insurgent tactics and the terrain to defeat a conventionally stronger enemy. Blah, blah… The year before that you kept talking about olive oil and the rise of Mediterranean societies.”
“No, this year I am into Hanukah for something even bigger, better, and more exciting!”
“You got the rapid-fire Nerf gun?” he asked hopefully.
“No, and anyway it is for me, not you! Anyway, Hanukah is about the fundamental conflict between Greek civilization and Jewish civilization. It is a tension that underpins Western civilization. Think about this, in synagogue inscribed on the Ark are the words ‘Know before whom you stand.” While the inscription at the oracle of Delphi instructed people to ‘Know thyself.””
“Dad, do you have to make everything so boring?”
“Think of Moses vs. Aristotle!”
“So Moses hits Aristotle with his staff, then Aristotle rears up on his hind legs ...”
“For the last time, Aristotle wasn’t a centaur. He was a philosopher who gave long lectures while pacing around the Lyceum in Athen.”
“He walked and talked a lot, no wonder you like him so much.”
“Anyway, they didn’t live at the same time. It is about their ideas…”
“Dad, you are making it boring again.”
“Be quiet and light the candles. I am going to open up my new Nerf Gun and find out if you were really listening when I was talking about asymmetric warfare!”