Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, tried to explain the Hanukkah story on Monday — and failed spectacularly.
Emhoff, the first Jewish person in his position, who is helping to lead the White House antisemitism “strategy,” posted a now-deleted explanation that combined elements of several different stories, none of which connected to the other — or made any sense.
The story of Hanukkah and the story of the Jewish people has always been one of hope and resilience. In the Hanukkah story, the Jewish people were forced into hiding [sic]. No one though they would survive of that the few drops of oil they had [sic] would last.
But they survived and the oil kept burning.
During those eight days in hiding [sic], they recited their prayers and continued their traditions. That’s why Hanukkah means dedication. It was during those dark nights that the Maccabees dedicated themselves to maintaining hope and faith in the oil [sic], each other, and their Judaism.
In these dark times, I think of that story.
The post was deleted, after much mockery.
As Breitbart News explained last week:
Hanukkah (or Chanukah), also known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates the liberation of ancient Israel from Syrian-Greek occupation in the 2nd century B.C. The Maccabees, whose under-equipped warriors were vastly outnumbered by Greek troops, nevertheless won a decisive victory. According to tradition, when the Maccabees arrived at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been corrupted by pagan worship, they found only enough oil to last for one night — but, miraculously, it burned for eight.
Emhoff is right that Hanukkah means “dedication,” but not in the sense of “devotion”; rather, the altar of the Holy Temple was dedicated (or rededicated) to its original, holy purpose, rather than pagan worship.
Harris, too, has had trouble explaining Hanukkah in the past.
Monday marked the fifth night of Hanukkah. The eighth and last night is Thursday, and holiday officially ends Friday, Dec. 15.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.