"The vast majority of American people like Merry Christmas! It is a Christmas occasion... Yes, the holidays... we do have Thanksgiving, but we've had Thanksgiving... If my Jewish friends want to celebrate Hanukkah, you know I just learned what Hanukkah means... It means "They rested 25." It has to do with the fight against the Maccabees. After the battle they rested- 'Hanu'. And then 'Khah'- on the 25th day, they went to Jerusalem. I mean, it's a nice holiday, but it's relatively recent."
- Pat Robertson
Ok, so first off, Pat's claim about the "true meaning of Hanukkah" is just a midrash. Hanukkah is actually a word in of itself, meaning dedication. You know, because they're dedicating the Temple? I know, it's so straightforward it's hard to believe.
Yes Pat, there have been various half-baked allegorical interpretations of the name over the years, as per the longstanding rabbinical tradition of being bored while studying and having nothing better to do than pull random explanations out of your butt, but so what? Stop giving your goyishe audience barely digested or understood tidbits about Judaism. We'd just as soon you not mention us. Really, we won't mind.
Incidentally, while Pat is correct that Hanukkah has only recently become a MAJOR Jewish holiday, the celebration itself has been around for almost 2,000 years. It's mentioned in Josephus' Book of Antiquities and the Gospel of John, as well as the Books of Maccabees and the Talmud. Compare that with American Thanksgiving, which has been gracing our calendars and making for awkward school faculty meetings for only a scant few hundred years. And you're saying Hanukkah is recent?
Hat-tip: Media Matters.