ahah santa Hanukkah :DDD
Tonight, we will be lighting the second candle on the Chanukiah. When most of us think of Channukah, we think of Dreidels, doughnuts and menorahs. However, people often neglect one of the main elements of the Chag – the history behind it and the assimilation of the Hellenised Jews. One of the unfortunate victories of the Greeks, was their ability to influence the Jews to abandon their customs and their Jewish identity. They were, “Hellenised”. In contrast to this, the Maccabees showcased both spiritual and physical strength as they were not only victorious over a huge Greek army, but they were also able to defy this negative spiritual influence. They did not forsake their Jewish identity – as Matthias said מי כמוך באלים ה
Unfortunately, the Jewish Nation still confronts this threat, over 2000 years later. As the Gen 08 Survey, a report about Jewish continuity in Australia, proved, assimilation is one of the greatest threats facing Australian Jewry today. Furthermore, recent research has shown that approximately 48% of Jewish Americans are marrying out. This demonstrates that the message of Chanukah is still relevant today. We must continue to learn from the Maccabees to hold onto our Jewish identity, and to perpetuate it by passing it on to future generations.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe once said “Our independence of thought and conduct are not our weakness but our strength”. He explained that the Jewish People are intrinsically different to all other nations. We can only fulfil our mission in this world – making a “דירה בתחתונים” - a residence for G-d on this earth, by preserving this separation and being a מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ – “a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.’ “
Menachem Begin, the only religious Prime Minister of Israel elaborated on this idea. He explained that the reason that the Jews are separate is not because there is only one Jewish state in the world or because Hebrew is the official language of one country in the world but because we are something unique a “nation-faith” –. This means that we are not just a nation – the Jewish People, but also a religion – Judaism. One cannot be a member of Am Yisrael without being Jewish, and one cannot be Jewish without being part of Am Yisrael. The two MUST go together. If we assimilate, if we forget our religion, if we fail to preserve our Jewish identity – we cease to be different and cease to exist.
Therefore, we as Jews today must take the words of the Rebbe and Menchem Begin as a warning. We must take inspiration from the actions of the Maccabees and guard our Jewish identity. It is by sanctifying Shabbat, learning Torah and keeping to the laws of Brit Milah and Kashrut, like the Maccabees, that we can pass on the the tradition from Moses at Mt. Sinai and ensure Jewish survival. This is why the role of Jewish education is so important. Jewish Day Schools educate their students about Jewish history, but most importantly, infuse them with a strong Jewish identity which ensures a flourishing future for the Jewish nation.
חג חנוכה שמח
דברי ראש הממשלה בביקור בחטמ”ר אפרים
Mine is the colourful one. I <3 it.
Missing the point. Completely.
Happy Channukah from France