Squandering the Victory of Chanukah

Were the Maccabees alive today, they would likely be shocked. Their story of 2,000 years ago is virtually the same today. The Temple Mount that they liberated, and which the State of Israel recaptured almost forty years ago, is still off limits to Jews.

Daryl Temkin,

Daryl Temkin
Daryl Temkin
Arutz 7
As strange as this might sound, the Chanukah story of over 2,000 years ago is, in many ways, recurring in our own time.

The original story, around 160 BCE, was that of Greek Hellenistic ideology and victory over the vast extent of the Greek empire. At that time, the Greek empire covered large parts of the European, Middle Eastern, Persian and African regions. Greek control was based not only on physically killing the conquered, but more so on the successful promulgation of Hellenism and its indoctrination of the masses.

With dictatorial authority, Hellenism was the supreme value that everyone, if they wanted to live, had to accept. Hellenism stressed a worship of man's physical perfection and physical pleasures, an encouragement of sexual extremes and pedophilia, a worship of polytheistic gods and idols, and a disrespect and disdain for monotheistic religious standards; as well as the one decent aspect of Hellenism - a love for science, philosophy and education.

Judaism, which shared a love for learning with Hellenism, shared nothing else. However, over time, the popularity of Hellenistic life began to erode the Jewish soul to the extent that Jewish assimilation into Greek thought and society became a fast-paced reality. This Jewish assimilation - which made acceptable, and even popular, the abandonment of Jewish belief and values - grew to the point that the future existence of the Jewish people became endangered.

Leading Jews were able to make rational arguments for supporting a policy of Jewish appeasement to Greek society and Hellenistic thought, even though it was an existential risk to Jewish existence. The Jewish desire for Greek societal acceptance and for "being loved" influenced the trend for assimilation and appeasing attitudes.

As Hellenism gained strength among Jewish assimilationists and appeasers, the emboldened Greeks embarked upon desecrating Jerusalem. In order to more fully express the Hellenistic conquest of Jewish life, the Greeks erected an idol of the Greek god Zeus upon Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Then, to further demonstrate their desecration of Jewish values and the Holy Temple site, they roasted a pig upon the Temple altar.

Although many Jews of that time felt that it was important to just go along with the Hellenist demands, not to make waves, and just accept that Judaism would have to cease, the family of Matityahu refused. They abhorred the attitudes of the Jewish assimilationists and Hellenism appeasers who were accommodating the Greek efforts to wipe Judaism out of existence. A revolt was staged against the Hellenists and the Maccabee army, small in strength and numbers but grandiose in spirit, conquered the mighty and numerous Greek army in a miraculous and definitive victory. That victory made it possible for Jewish life to be reconstituted in the land of Israel. That victory also paved the way for Judaism to continue to this very day.

Today, great thanks and praise for the heroic Maccabee leadership continues. However, if the Maccabees were alive today, they would likely be shocked. Their story of 2,000 years ago is virtually the same today. The Temple Mount that they liberated, and which the State of Israel recaptured almost forty years ago, is still off limits to Jews. The Maccabean rekindling of the Menorah on the Temple Mount, if attempted today, would be an act of incitement, likely considered imperialistic aggression, a breach of International law, an offense to human rights, and could potentially ignite a most intense intifada.

Today, Jews are not allowed to set foot on the Temple Mount without being escorted by an appointed Muslim guard. The guard makes sure that the Jew only stands in a restricted location and that the Jew does not utter any potential prayer.

As many celebrate Chanukah, known as the holiday commemorating religious freedom, it is astonishing that the very geographic location of the renowned religious freedom story is the very place of today's extreme and total religious intolerance.

Chanukah reminds the world that there is a multi-thousand-year-long history of Jewish sovereignty throughout the land of Israel, in the city of Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount. It is the fly in the ointment for all those who support, tolerate and excuse the Arab and worldwide attempt to deny - as well as erase evidence of - Jewish ownership and settlement of the land of Israel, which happened centuries prior to any Arab immigration.

Today, Jews are limited, and in many instances prohibited, from having any rights to their own historic roots. Meanwhile, in an attempt to erase traces of Jewish history and land ownership, Arabs are free to destroy and trash the remaining Jewish historic artifacts from the Second Temple era on the Temple Mount. Jews who are commonly prevented from building new homes in their ancient Biblical lands watch as Arabs are free to build a new and additional mosque upon the Temple Mount.

Thankfully, the Maccabees lived at a time when "political correctness" didn't run the world, which allowed them to save Judaism and the Jewish people. Today, it is sad to say that many, if not most, Jewish leaders both in Israel and in the Diaspora would likely fear and oppose the "politically incorrect" actions of the Maccabees. The consequences of being "politically correct" and appeasing Hellenism would have only led to Jewish annihilation and extinction. It must be recognized that the Maccabees were right and the "political correctness" of the day would have been gravely wrong.

Chanukah does not represent the infamous quote that Israel is "tired of fighting and tired of winning." Chanukah is not about political correctness, appeasement and self-sacrifice so that the nations of the world will like you. Chanukah is a holiday that commemorates Jewish strength and willingness to stand strong for the essential life values and moral leadership that Judaism uniquely contributed to this world.

Chanukah, a word which means "dedication", is a devotion to strength, spirit and passion to stand steadfast for that which is right, and to never accept moral or spiritual defeat. Chanukah is also a refusal to be blinded by darkness as well as by "political correctness."

A mighty light comes forth from Chanukah to not only reveal the desecration of the Temple Mount and the attempts to spiritually destroy the soul of the Jewish people, but also to illuminate the greatest threat now being clearly articulated daily: the diabolical plan and burning desire to destroy the physical existence of the State of Israel and untold numbers of the Jewish people. In 2,000 years, the struggle for Jewish existence and sovereignty remains, in many ways, the same; but, most importantly, the devotion to achieve a Chanukah victory must never wither.

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