6 Kislev 5772
Does anyone besides me find it terribly ironic that we Jews celebrate our victory over Greek Hellenism at the same time of year that the Western world celebrates the continuation of Hellenism in its Roman form?
Wiki: "The Romans absorbed much of what the Greeks had originated, added their own spin and introduced it to the rest of Europe." And from there, it made its way to the New World where it still thrives today.
Greece was regarded as the pinacle of culture and civilization in its time and its legacy to Western Civilization commands respect even today. From ancient Greece came theater, democracy, art & architecture, and mythology, among other things.
Those who admired and imitated ancient Greek culture and thought were known as Hellenists. Many Jews during the time of Greek rule over Eretz Yisrael were enamoured of all things Greek and they were the ones who rushed to offer sacrifice to the Greek gods, incurring the wrath of the Maccabim as well as Hashem. Hanukah marks the victory of those who remained faithful to Hashem and Torah over the anti-Torah values of the Greeks and Hellenists.
The Maccabim may have defeated the Hellenists in Eretz Yisrael, but Hellenism remains alive and well in the modern world. Today, it is called Judeo-Christianity. Just as the ancient Hellenists in Eretz Yisrael attempted to fuse Greek culture and values with Judaism, so the modern Hellenist tries to combine Roman Christianity and its Greek foundations with Judaism.
According to Wikipedia: Promoting the concept of America as a Judeo-Christian nation became a political program in the 1920s, in response to the growth of anti-Semitism in America. The rise of Hitler in the 1930s led concerned Protestants, Catholics, and Jews to take active steps to increase understanding and tolerance.
In this effort, precursors of the National Conference of Christians and Jews created teams consisting of a priest, a rabbi, and a minister, to run programs across the country, and fashion a more pluralistic America, no longer defined as a Christian land, but "one nurtured by three ennobling traditions: Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism." "The phrase 'Judeo-Christian' entered the contemporary lexicon as the standard liberal term for the idea that Western values rest on a religious consensus that included Jews."
It would seem then that this trend was started by Jews who wanted nothing more than to assimilate; to become accepted as Jewish Americans rather than as American Jews. So, just what are some of the "Judeo-Christian" values that so many Anglo Jews hold dear to their hearts?
Democracy - where society is ruled by whatever the majority decides should be law .
Freedom - where everyone follows his own conscience, a highly unreliable indicator of what is good and worthwhile.
Pluralism - where there is no absolute right and wrong, but "you have your truth and I have my truth."
Equality - where everyone starts from the same position, despite the fact that this has never been born out by reality.
Individualism - where the individual's "rights" sre set above what is best for the community.
These "values" have nothing to do with the "Ten Commandments." the so-called basis for our "common heritage." These are not Jewish "values" at all. Not only are they not Jewish values, but they are actually the opposite of what the Torah teaches us.
Democracy - The Creator gave Israel 613 commandments and they are not open to a vote.
Freedom - We left off being slaves in Egypt, so we could become servants of Hashem.
Pluralism - G-d made Jew and gentile and that should be the extent of pluralism. Mankind has no right to create artifical religions and grant them equal status to the that which was revealed by the Creator.
Equality - Besides the fact that it does not exist in any reality that we know of, it also does not exist in the Torah. The Cohanim are greater than the Leviim and the Leviim are greater than the Yisraelim, the positions of King and the Cohen Gadol are restricted to those who qualify by birth only, etc.
Individualism - Judaism upholds the good of the community over the supposed rights or entitlements of the individual.
So, despite what the Hellenists promote and prefer to believe, there really is no meeting ground where "shared" values intersect. Is the whole Judeo-Christian ethic bit just another Greco-Roman myth then?
The Myth of a Judeo-Christian Tradition
...'After all, we worship the same God', the Christian always says to the Jew and the Jew never to the Christian. The Jew knows that he does not worship the Christ-God....
...Talmudic scholar Jacob Neusner: "Theologically and historically, there is no such thing as the Judeo-Christian tradition. It's a secular myth favoured by people who are not really believers themselves."
...Joshua Jehouda, a prominent French Jewish leader, observed in the late 1950s: "The current expression 'Judaeo-Christian' is an error which has altered the course of universal history by the confusion it has sown in men's minds, if by it one is meant to understand the Jewish origin of Christianity . . . If the term 'Judaeo-Christian' does point to a common origin, there is no doubt that it is a most dangerous idea. It is based on a 'contradictio in abjecto' which has set the path of history on the wrong track. It links in one breath two ideas which are completely irreconcileable, it seeks to demonstrate that there is no difference between day and night or hot and cold or black and white, and thus introduces a fatal element of confusion to a basis on which some, nevertheless, are endeavouring to construct a civilisation." (l'Antisemitisme Miroir du Monde pp. 135-6).
...The Jewish scholar Dr. Joseph Klausner in his book Jesus of Nazareth expressed the Judaic viewpoint that "there was something contrary to the world outlook of Israel" in Christ's teachings, "a new teaching so irreconcilable with the spirit of Judaism, " containing "within it the germs from which there could and must develop in course of time a non-Jewish and even anti-Jewish teaching."
...Gershon Mamlak, an award-winning Jewish Zionist intellectual, recently claimed that the "Jesus tradition" is essentially the ultimate extension of ancient Greek Hellenism and is in direct conflict to Judaism's "role as the Chosen people".
...Evidently the concept of a common Judeo-Christian tradition has more to do with post 1945 politics and a certain amount of 'public relations' than it does with historical and Biblical reality.
But, try telling that to those Jews who admire the trappings and celebration of Christmas - the ultimate Western cultural holiday.
This could be the poster for today's Hellenism. The Maccabim would have declared war on the purveyors of this atrocity. Can we do any less?