Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ is not only the best, but also the most heartwarming and secular Christmas tale ever written; thus being a great pre-Rosh haShana read for a nice Jewish boy like me. It’s also a great read for anyone who is eager for some revelations. The first chapter, ‘Marley’s Ghost’, doesn’t intend to tell the afterlife of the reggae legend; Camden Town wasn’t always inhabited by hipsters; and English language used to sound quite different some 200 years ago. Finally, the most shocking fact – name Scrooge wasn’t at all invented by Walt Disney. Scrooge McDuck is merely a cartoon interpretation of Dickens’ repentant and Christmas-ignoring miser – Ebenezer Scrooge.
Scrooge could have been Jewish – Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ already features a Jewish villain called Fagin, more often bluntly named as ‘a Jew’. Is Scrooge not stereotypically Jewish enough? There’s something even more Jewish about him – his name, Ebenezer. Here’s some wiki on it:
The word “Ebenezer” comes from Hebrew and is actually two words pronounced together: Even Haezer. It is usually transliterated as a proper name by dropping the definite article (Ha) from the Hebrew word for “help” (Ezer) and putting it together with the Hebrew word for “stone” (Even) to create: “Ebenezer.” The etymological roots of the word, thus defined, should demonstrate that an “Ebenezer” is, literally, a “Stone of Help.” The Biblical Scripture reads as follows:
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’ So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel; the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The towns that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.” (1 Samuel 7:12-14 NRSV)”
Being a Biblical name (just as David or Michael), Ebenezer is the only Hebrew thing attributed to Scrooge. Luckily.