ב׳ לחודש התשעי תשס״ו
Thirty days before a festival, it is traditional to review the associated hallachoth, in order to observe it properly. Festivus falls on Shabbath Hanukkah this year. The last time Festivus fell during Hanukkah was 5763, and the last time it fell on Shabbath Hanukkah was 5760, seven years ago! So, it is particularly crucial to review the hallachoth associated with this special occurrence.
For those of you unfamiliar with this Jerry Seinfeld Show created holiday, I will refer you to the Wikipedia entry for some introductory information, and to the Festivus Book with a forward by Jerry Stiller (Festivus founder and patron Frank Costanza), for more detailed information. Now, I was originally concerned when I saw that Festivus, held on December 23, coincided with both Shabbath and Hanukkah this year. But, then I realized that the calculation of the beginning and end of Festivus is according to the lu'azi (goyshe) calendar. When Shabbath and Hanukkah go out on Saturday night, it is still December 23, and still Festivus. The Festivus Se'udah is traditionally held at night anyway. Thus, there are no immediately apparent conflicts between nor amongst these holiday observances.
Airing Of Grievances
The airing of grievances takes places during the se'udah, the Festivus meal. Now, it is very important that one keeps oneself occupied during the Shabbath preceding, so as not to interfere with the Shabbath atmosphere, and its joyous nature. One may also not make not of grievances during Hanukkah, for similar reasons. There is a mahloqeth as to whether one may write the grievances down, at all, even before Hanukkah. I hold to the opinion of the Kalashnokover Rebbe, who rules that if one must write a grievance down, then it is not a "real" grievance.
Festivus Se'udah Recently a question came up as to what actually must be served at the se'udah. According to Seinfeld-fan.net the answer to this question is "whatever you want." However, there are those who follow the minhag of eating Paella, the kosher-adaption, of course, as this is both festive and Estelle Costanza's specialty. It is believed that this minhag is derived from the remez in Season 5, Episodes 82-83 when the Seinfelds avoid going to the Costanzas for Paella. A small minority hold to the minhag of including of a "big salad" at the table (Season 7, episode 116), in honor of Elaine. Although, these are mostly feminists who want to aggravate the situation by bring up one of George's biggest grievances, the one against the big-hairdoed, physical therapist character played by Michelle Forbes (That's Ens. Ro to you Star Trek: TNG fans.) who took credit for bringing Elaine the big salad, even though it was George who bought it for her. Others still, hold that soup is forbidden at the se'udah as it brings up images of George's traumatic experience with the Soup Nazi (Season 7, episode 116). There is no issue with the Festivus Se'udah serving additionally as Malaweh Malkah (lemavdil), as long as one has the appropriate kawannah (intent).
Feats Of Strength The feats of strength may certainly NOT be performed on Shabbath (p'shita). This is not an issue this year. As previously stated, the night of December 23 falls on Mossa'ei Shabbath.
Festivus Pole One may not set up the Festivus Pole neither on Shabbath nor during the entire eight days of Hanukkah. Since the Festivus Pole is, according to patron Frank Costanza, "very low-maintenance," it should be easy to set up soon after Havdallah. It is assur to decorate the Festivus Pole. One who does so b'shogeg (mistakenly) must participate in the attempts to pin the ba'al habayith down. One who does decorates b'meizid (purposefully) is hayav to lashes. And, one who decorates the Festivus Pole with tinsel, which patron Frank "finds distracting,"...well,...let's just say, I'd watch my back if I were you!
And with that Happy Festivus to all! And to all a good night!