Chanuka — defeat or victory?

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3 Responses

  1. Toby Katz says:

    R’ Charles Sheer, director of Hillel at Columbia University, writes in an Edah article reprinted in New Jersey Jewish News:

    For all the fuss we make about “our winter holiday,” most modern Jews would identify more with those who tilted toward assimilation than with the Maccabees. …
    Yet truth be told, it was the passion of those intolerant and rejectionist Maccabees that enabled traditional Judaism to survive. Those zealous few who rejected assimilation and suffered martyrdom rather than violate Shabbat or kashrut saved Judaism and the Jewish nation. Our unwillingness to imitate their tactics must be coupled with a deep appreciation for their contribution, and our own efforts must integrate their passion.

    On the other hand, our successful integration has been at a price. A review of recent population studies and the research shared at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities regarding the waning Jewish commitments of today’s youth clearly illustrate that assimilation has altered the way Jews identify with their heritage.

  2. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    I thought that the monarchy established by the sons of the Maccabees wasn’t kosher because they were
    kohanim, and that a priest can’t be a king.

  3. Toby Katz says:

    CH is right. The Talmud considered the original Maccabees, who defeated the Greeks and purified and renewed the Temple, to have been heroes and righteous men. However the Talmud was very critical of them and especially, of their descendants, for maintaining a monarchy that should by rights have gone to the tribe of Judah — to the family of King David. The Maccabees ended up, in the second and third generations, becoming Hellenizers not much better than the ones they had defeated.

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