Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Let's Pretend: Today's Elections at The Time of the Maccabees

Democracy, elections such as we take for granted didn't take place in ancient times, but human nature and idealism, etc have always existed and haven't changed. There are just different labels, laws and customs. So, I'm going to tell you what I think our ancient heroes, led by Judah the Maccabee would have done if faced with the sort of Knesset Elections we are being faced with this Jewish Year of 5775, (2015 on the goyish calendar.)

A little background on Judah Maccabee:
Judah Maccabee was a fearless leader, a brilliant battlefield tactician and a man capable of inspiring thousands to take up arms in the battle for the preservation of Judaism. It was Judah Maccabee who conceived of ways for the Jewish forces to out-maneuver the larger, better equipped and seasoned Greek army. When at last the Jews captured Jerusalem, rededicated the Temple and witnessed the miracle of the oil, it was with Judah Maccabee as the leader of the Hasmonean family and at the head of the Jewish army of liberation. (Torah.org Who Was Judah Maccabee Anyway? by Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf)
This was a time in Jewish History when we weren't totally independent or sovereign in our Land. Our Holy Temple was in ruins and the Greeks ruled us, not only administratively, but they also forbade the practice of Judaism.
The festival of Hanukka celebrates the military victory of the Judeans over the Hellenist Syrians in the second century BCE, as recorded in the Al Hanissim thanksgiving prayer added to our Amida prayers and Grace after Meals for the eight days of the holiday; the festival also celebrates the ideological victory of Judaism over Greek Hellenism, as symbolized in the kindling of the Menorah, the Holy Temple candelabrum signifying “the illumination which is Torah.” Hence we were engaged in a two-pronged struggle; a national war of independence against the heirs of the military conqueror Alexander the Great, and a spiritual Kulturkampf against the wisdom of ancient Greece, which that same Alexander wished to dominate the entire civilized world at that time.
Moreover, as is clear from the historical writings of Josephus Flavius and the Apocryphal Books of the Maccabees, the enemies who were vanquished were not only the gentile Syrians but also the Jewish secular assimilationists, especially the ruling priestly aristocracy who had become bitten by the “bug” of Hellenistic culture and who wished to transform Judea into a Greek city-state (See Victor Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews). (Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Riskin)
Their actual aim was the destruction of us as a people united by our Jewish religion.

Our war, the fight of the Maccabees against the Greeks, had to be a battle on two fronts, and there was no compromise. Taking a "Centrist" view would not give us a victory. I have no doubt that Judah the Maccabee would oppose the Likud of Binyamin Netanyahu and also the NRP aka Jewish Home of Naftali Bennett. Moderation under any name was not in his ideological or political lexicon. Judah the Maccabee would also oppose the Chareidi parties, because they only take on religious battles and in principle ignore national and defense issues.

I have no doubt that today's Judah Maccabee would be an active member and supporter of Otzma Yehudit (formerly Otzma LiYisrael,) led by Michael Ben-Ari.

The lesson of the Chanukah story is that compromise with our enemies is dangerous.When someone wants to destroy you body and soul you have to fight on both of those fronts. There is no negotiations. The only political group that understands this is Ben-Ari's Otzma Yehudit!


Unknown said...

You are right. I will also vote for Ben Ari. The political statement of voting for the only party which is prepared to fight for its principles is important. Happy Hanukkah!

Anonymous said...

Voting for Atzmat is a wasted vote becuse they will not get 3.25% of the votes . And a wasted vote is like giving 50% of your vote to the left.
Therefore one must vote for a large party which is the closest to your beliefs.
Don"t waste your vote and chas ve chalila ebable the left to form a Government.

Batya said...

Steve, it's a self-fulfilling prophesy. More than the required percentage agree with their policy, so if everyone voted for them, they'd be in!

Batya said...

Yonathan, amen!

Sammy Finkelman said...

Judah the Maccabee was very careful to get the support of the Senate.

Sammy Finkelman said...


In 168 BC Antiochus led a second attack on Egypt and also sent a fleet to capture Cyprus. Before reaching Alexandria, his path was blocked by a single, old Roman ambassador named Gaius Popillius Laenas, who delivered a message from the Roman Senate directing Antiochus to withdraw his armies from Egypt and Cyprus, or consider themselves in a state of war with the Roman Republic.

Antiochus said he would discuss it with his council, whereupon the Roman envoy drew a line in the sand around him and said, "Before you cross this circle I want you to give me a reply for the Roman Senate" – implying that Rome would declare war if the King stepped out of the circle without committing to leave Egypt immediately.

Weighing his options, Antiochus decided to withdraw. Only then did Popillius agree to shake hands with him.

While Antiochus was busy in Egypt, a rumor spread that he had been killed. The deposed High Priest Jason gathered a force of 1,000 soldiers and made a surprise attack on the city of Jerusalem. The High Priest appointed by Antiochus, Menelaus, was forced to flee Jerusalem during a riot. On the King's return from Egypt in 167 BC, enraged by his defeat, he attacked Jerusalem and restored Menelaus, then executed many Jews.

Batya said...

Sammy, thanks for the additional information. And do you agree that he'd vote for Otzma?