(///outdone.lipstick.behind – The Western Wall, Jersualem, Israel)
Every year, the same broigus. The Rabbi was fed up with it. Yet here they were again, Morty and Samuel sitting a few feet away from each other in his living room, boiling with rage.
“This should be a joyous time,” the Rabbi insisted. “But instead you ignore our traditions and the things that make our festival special.”
“He refuses to lay off,” Morty complained.
“I can do what I like,” Samuel rebutted.
“Enough, both of you,” the Rabbi insisted. “Enough.”
He shook his head. It had started out harmlessly enough. A few years previously, newcomer Morty had built an ostentatiously large Menorah outside his house to celebrate Hannukah. People came every night to see him light it. But Samuel, three doors down, felt that as the elder statesman of the community, the attention belonged to him, so he countered with a larger Menorah the following year.
Not to be outdone, Morty added frills – a fairground carousel, a spaceship. Samuel worried about falling behind so created an elaborate steam ship and an ornate dressing table, complete with giant lipsticks for candles.
The bad blood was such that the community dreaded Hannukah and increasingly felt unable to celebrate its message of deliverance and rebirth of the Jewish people, instead forced to pick sides between gaudy Menorahs.
“This cannot go on,” the Rabbi said. “And it won’t. What is it this year? The London Eye up against giant waxworks of biblical figures?”
They were both silent.
“It stops now. Follow me.” The men glared at each other and then dutifully trooped out of the room and into the Rabbi’s garden.
They stood in the dark silence for a moment. “Well?” Samuel asked eventually.
“Just this,” the Rabbi replied, and flicked a switch.
There in his garden, floodlights revealed the most glorious outdoor Menorah they had ever seen. A temple theme. Intricate brickwork. Goblets of oil for the lights.
“You will stop fighting because you won’t go against your Rabbi. And to be honest, you can’t beat this.”