Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Meaning of Hhanuka

I've mentioned a few times so far on this blog that in college I was a member of the local Live Action Role Playing group. Most of the time I was the only observant Jew there, and got to explain stuff to the other gamers about Jewish holidays and practices; you know, the usual stuff like "I'm just getting a soda here at the diner we're hanging out at after the game because nothing here's kosher" and "technically I could come to the game/event on Saturday, but since it's outside I'd be pretty useless not being able to carry objects around"...

The college LARP group I was part of (there was another semi-related group I also played with, but it wasn't directly chartered by the student association) had two different aspects:

BOFFING Practice = fighting with foam weapons
L.A.R.P. Events = grown-up games of make believe

Technically, the way it was set up was that the boffing practices were for the purpose of training for the events. Our game had a (stereo)typical medieval-fantasy setting, and so there was a lot of sword-fighting. At the practices we played all kinds of beat-your-friends-up-with-foam-weaponry games, including mass melees, capture the flag, one-on-one rotating duels, and team vs. team battles.

So one night, we're having boffing practice with our PVC-pipe-covered-in-foam-and-duct-tape swords (and axes, staffs, daggers...) in a large wood-floored event room in the University Union building, and it happened to be some night of Hhanuka. And right on the other side of the doors, in one of the Union building's main lounges, the local Chabad was having a big menora-lighting ceremony with music, free food, and their distinctive straight-armed hhanukiya.

We take a break from running and slaying each other, and I'm watching the lighting through the open door (a bit self-conscious as to the spectacle Chabad was making), and "Hando" (one of his characters' names) comes up to me and watches also. Now, Hando is not Jewish in any way, and is also a really big imposing guy with lots of piercings, tattoos, and spiky accouterments. Piercings, tattoos, and spikiness notwithstanding, he's actually the kind of guy you can describe as a "big teddy bear". Really nice guy. Just a bit scary-

Anyway, "Hando" comes over, looks at the hyooge Chabadian straight-armed menora, and remarks, "Y'know, if we could get that thing and wrap it in foam and ducttape, it'd make a crazy nine-bladed weapon!" And then he got all quiet and sheepish, and said, "Oh no, I'm sorry, that wasn't sacrilegious was it?"

My response?

"No, not at all, don't worry about it. After all, while Christmas may be about 'peace on Earth and goodwill towards men' — Hhanuka is all about guerrilla warfare! So it'd be perfectly appropriate to turn a menora into a giant nine-bladed sword!"

So remember, people.

Don't let anyone tell you that Hhanuka is about peace and love.

Hhanuka is all about the guerrilla warfare.

(and burning stuff)
so hhave a



Anonymous Your P.M.Y.F. said...

Speaking of Larping and Boffing in public, tsktsktsk, very sad. Someday you'll see that it is the darkside of the nerd spectrum.

12/25/2005 10:18 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Whoa, welcome to the blogosphere! You have a new pseudonym, btw, if you missed it; it's "Ághám". If you can't figure out why IM me :-P
Unless you prefer [M]PMYF, that is.

Anyway, LARP rules. Don't be a hater!

Hmm interesting... the "word verification" word is xmytwim. Looks like "x my twin" :-P

12/25/2005 10:23 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

This post had me laughing. What a great picture of a nine bladed menorah! Happy Hanukah, by the way.

12/26/2005 12:10 AM  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Once I got past the phrase "boffing practice" - this post was hilarious! This post may be the catalyst for reclaiming Chanukah from Adam Sandler....let's hope so...

12/26/2005 12:39 AM  
Blogger Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

Oh my...yes, I can see it all, 'cause I've been there. SCA, not so much LARP, but I boffed in college some.

Happy Chanukah!

12/26/2005 1:31 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

"Sacrilegious", not *"sacreligious".

12/26/2005 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Mike Koplow said...

"so have [sic] a HHAPPY HHANUKA": U misspelled "hhave."

12/26/2005 9:56 PM  
Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

How often do you post? I'm having trouble catching up...sheesh

12/27/2005 1:01 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

MG & MK:

Thanks for the corrections!


i alternate between once a day and once a week, depending on how many ideas and/or how much time i have.

12/27/2005 1:11 AM  
Blogger Mirty said...

That was very helpful. Thank you! ;)

As for your spelling of Hhanuka - I have to add that to my list.

12/27/2005 2:49 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


I should have mentioned this before, but I dabbled in the SCA for one winter also during college. Never really got into it though, there was way too much research involved ;-) .

12/28/2005 3:32 PM  
Anonymous willendorf said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/02/2006 12:41 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

hey willendorf5761!

please email me!


1/02/2006 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Willendorf said...


1/03/2006 11:01 AM  

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