|The eighth day of Chanukah, all of the candles/oil pots are lit and shining brightly.|
Judaism is a religion that combines the holy and the profane, relegating them to specific times and needs.
Last night at the Chanukah Party for our "golden-agers" in Shiloh, we heard a fascinating talk by Ya'akov Avramson about the message of the Chanukah story. (I had been invited to attend to help translate his talk into English. Yes, age-wise I can be there as a member, but I'm usually to busy to attend the events.)
We were told that the aim of the Greeks was not to physically destroy, murder us all. They were not like Haman of the Purim story or the Nazi Holocaust. The Greeks just wanted to destroy the Jewish Religion, to keep us alive as Greeks/Hellenists, to follow their way of life.
So, since this wasn't a physical-military war, modern philosophy would then conclude that our weapons should be in the mind, hasbara, an information campaign as it would be called today. Or maybe, as someone sitting near me said, it was more like the Spanish Catholic Inquisition, which resulted in Jews hiding their religious practices for generations and centuries until completely lost to the Jewish People.
But what did happen? How did we fight the Greeks? With our minds or with military weapons? We actually used and needed both religious and military means and leaders to defeat the Greeks and liberate the Temple Mount and Holy Temple! Who led the fight? It was the Jewish spiritual leader, the High Priest Matityahu who galvanized the Jewish People and led the fight.
One day the henchmen of Antiochus arrived in the village of Modin where Mattityahu, the old priest, lived. The Syrian officer built an altar in the marketplace of the village and demanded that Mattityahu offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Mattityahu replied, "I, my sons and my brothers are determined to remain loyal to the covenant which our G-d made with our ancestors!" ...Before his death, Mattityahu called his sons together and urged them to continue to fight in defense of G d’s Torah. He asked them to follow the counsel of their brother Shimon the Wise. In waging warfare, he said, their leader should be Judah the Strong. Judah was called "Maccabee," a word composed of the initial letters of the four Hebrew words Mi Kamocha Ba’eilimHashem, "Who is like You, O G-d." (Chabad)Matityahu and Yehuda didn't bury themselves in a study hall praying; they formed an army. Even though the Jewish Army was smaller and had fewer weapons than the Greeks, Gd made a great miracle. The Jewish People were victorious! That's because our strength and victories come from Gd. That is why even today, when our enemies bombard us and shoot us, most of the missiles miss their targets and cause minimal damage. But we still must fight our enemies with military might and weapons, not pacifism.
Gd's assistance comes in "matching funds." When we militarily fight our enemies in the name of Gd, then Gd assists us, and we win!That is the Chanukah message. The brightly lit Chanukiyot, Chanukah Menorahs all over the world are more like "visual aids" to remind us and our enemies that our lights from Gd are the strongest and most lasting!