October 24, 2002
Our Holiday or Not?
Here comes Halloween! Do we, as Jews, celebrate this holiday or not? Well, it's based on a pagan holiday. But even some Jewish holidays are based on pagan agricultural festivals. However, this holiday tends to get a little preoccupied with witches, spirits and black magic. It celebrates death more than life. So, although dressing up as a ghoul is quite imaginative, it is not what some Jews believe ought to be celebrated. We have our own dress-up festival: Purim, which celebrates Jews overcoming death. On Purim, we go from door to door, not begging for treats, but giving them out in the form of mishloach manot (gifts to our friends).
So, if you decide to walk from door to door this Halloween, think of it as walking midor l'dor, that is, celebrating the movement of life from one generation to another.