This post from three years ago is worth re-posting. Even though the presidents have changed, the sentiments have not...
***15 Kislev 5777
What is the connection between Hanukkah and Purim? Those Jews in attendance at this event are no different than the ones who attended King Achashverosh's banquet.
Obama Holding Two Glatt Kosher Chanukah Receptions At White House Tonight – Says ‘Nes Gadol Haya Po’They say the same thing about Passover - that it's a celebration of "freedom". And yet, the Jewish people merely exchanged one master for another, one mode of servitude for another. We were freed from slavery to Egypt so that we could serve HKB"H. We traded the yoke in Egypt for the yoke of Torah and mitzvot.
"President Barack Obama says Chanukah is a reminder that of all the blessings enjoyed in the U.S., the most meaningful is freedom. ...He says families putting candles in their windows are embracing the freedom to proudly practice their religion and defending the rights of others to do so."
"Today in the White House, as you will soon do in your homes, we recall Hanukkah’s many lessons: How a small group can make a big difference. That’s the story of the Maccabees’ unlikely military victory, and of great moral movements around the globe and across time. How a little bit can go a long way, like the small measure of oil that outlasted every expectation. It reminds us that even when our resources seem limited, our faith can help us make the most of what little we have."The holiday of Hanukkah exists davka to proclaim that this victory was a miracle wrought from Above; that had HKB"H not helped us, none of it could have happened. These remarks by the US President serve only to deny the uniquely miraculous nature of the event and strip it of any connection to the Menorah and the rededication of the Beit HaMikdash which are central to the story.
"This is the season that we appreciate the many miracles, large and small, that have graced our lives throughout generations, and to recognize that the most meaningful among them is our freedom."He trivializes the Hanukkah events. While paying lip service to "miracles", he lumps Hanukkah in with "the many".
"Everybody in America can understand the spirit of this tradition. Proudly practicing our religion, whatever it might be — and defending the rights of others to do the same — that’s our common creed. That’s what families from coast to coast confirm when they place their menorah in the window — not to share the candles’ glow with just your family, but also with your community and with your neighbors."Nothing could be further from the true spirit of Hanukkah than this. Not in the wildest imagination can Judaism be said to represent freedom of worship for all religions. The Maccabees did not fight a costly and bloody 25-year war to enable all people everywhere to worship whatever god they choose in whatever manner they wish. God forbid! They led the way in mesirut nefesh in order to enable the Jewish people to continue their service of the Master of the Universe in truth and righteousness and purity.
"As many of you know, the name 'Hanukkah' comes from the Hebrew word for 'dedication.' So we want to thank you again for your dedication to our country, to the historic progress that we’ve made, to the defense of religious freedom in the United States and around the world."The United States and its vaunted democracy (a Greek word) is the very embodiment of Greek values in the world today. Among the worst of its crimes is the assimilation of the Jewish people resident in its midst, which is what is really being celebrated here - not Hanukkah.
And make no mistake about it, Diaspora Jews!! It is unavoidable. No matter how 'frum' your community, you cannot live among the goyim in their impure lands and not absorb their tumah. You are assimilating - some more slowly than others to be sure, but assimilating nonetheless! No holiday is less suited to celebration in the Diaspora than Hanukkah.
Additional note to readers: Nothing written here is meant to criticize President Obama. It is meant to point out the vast difference between how "they" perceive our holidays and how "we" are meant to perceive it and the slippery slide that it is for Diaspora Jews. It is meant to point out the incongruity of Jews "celebrating" the victory over the Greeks inside a Greek Temple to Democracy with the world leader of present-day Hellenism.