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The Mysterious Holiday

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It lasts eight days, longer than just about any other Jewish holiday. There are arguments over its sole commandment. So little is known about Hanukkah that the Talmud is forced to ask: “What is Hanukkah?”

Hanukkah marks a decades-long struggle of a few devout Jews against the Hellenic dynasty and its Jewish collaborators. Hanukkah was not about physical oppression, rather the fight to save Judaism from those who ordered it destroyed — all in the name of modernity.

The Jewish collaborators were in the forefront of the fight against Judaism. They pressured King Antiochus IV to stamp out the Jewish religion, ban circumcision, force the downtrodden masses to violate the Sabbath and women to submit to sex with the rulers. The collaborators, known as Hellenists, turned the Temple Mount into a sports arena, erected an alter to Zeus and sacrificed pigs. Ordinary Jews were forced to bow down to idols on pain of death. Under the Seleucid regime, the persecution was unprecedented and meant to destroy the faith of Israel.

The prayer for Hanukkah tells little of its history. But the prologue is telling. It reminds us that G-d is performing the same miracles today. We face the same threats as our ancestors did some 2,200 years ago — a Jewish elite backed by the gentile powers that targets our faith and observance.

The late Rabbi Meir Kahane said that if the State of Israel had understood the meaning of Hanukkah, it would have outlawed the holiday. After all, the state was founded on the principles of secularism, assimilation with the........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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