“The lights of the menorah embody the spirit of the Jewish people. A spirit that has outlived the atrocities of every tyrant. In the heart of the flame that has burned for a thousand years lives the soul of a people. ”
Holidays are a calendar. They mark points in emotional and physical time. They remind of us who we are.
Many of those celebrating Chanukah celebrate a holiday that does nothing more than celebrate ‘celebration’, the rituals and rites of entertainment, a special food, a symbol whose meaning they don’t remember and a little family fun.
Chanukah is many things but it is not a safe holiday. It is a victory celebration in a guerrilla war. It is a reminder that Obama’s war on Jerusalem was preceded long before him by Antiochus’s war on Jerusalem. It is a brief light in a period of great darkness.
The great irony of Chanukah is that those likeliest to strip away its historical and religious meaning would have been fighting against the Macabees. The battle to preserve the meaning of Chanukah is part of the struggle to preserve the Jewish traditions and culture that the left attacks.
Today’s struggle for Jerusalem, for Judaism, for freedom of religion and a meaningful life continues that same old struggle of Chanukah.
The overt militarism of the Chanukah story has made it an uncomfortable fit for liberal Jews who found it easier to strip away its dangerous underlying message that a time comes when you must choose between the destruction of your culture and a war you can’t win. In those dark days a war must be fought if the soul of the nation is to survive.
There are worse things than death and slavery, the fate that waited for the Maccabees and their allies had they failed, the fates that came anyway when the last of the Maccabees were betrayed and murdered by Caesar’s Edomite minister, whose sons went on to rule over Israel as the Herodian dynasty.