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This is the first night of Hanukkah, in a year when wishing a friend "Happy Hanukkah" seems fraught.

For starters, as both observant and secular elites remind us every year, Hanukkah is not a major holy day in the Jewish faith. The celebration is apparently problematic in other ways, too, as its origin story involves violent resistance, not heaven-sent miracles. That said, the fighting was in the cause of self-determination against a colonizing power, which you'd think might earn some points among today's progressives. But apparently, they have other fish to fry.

Fortunately, things haven't gotten to the point of a "war on Hanukkah," to paraphrase a familiar trope, and for most American Jews and non-Jews alike, lighting the menorah is simply one more beautiful ritual of the season.

The problem this year is that with some 290,000 Americans dead from a raging pandemic, and another 1.2 million dead around the world, it's harder to celebrate our cherished traditions than in years past. But, as any good politician would tell you, we still do it "for the children" -- and that's a pretty good reason.

So that's today's homily -- no history lesson this morning, as I'm working on a column that I hope you'll see on RealClearPolitics' front page tomorrow. 

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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