2nd Candle of Hanukah
Chanukah: A Celebration of Zealotry
If the Maccabees were fighting today, how would the JEWISH world view them?
By: Donny Fuchs
The original hero of Chanukah, Matityahu the Kohen Gadol of Modi’in, was a true Jewish zealot and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. He was an extremist by any definition. Make no mistake about it. I use these terms complimentary, despite the fact that modern ears hear these terms and associate them with negative ideals. As the great Pinchas was a great Jewish zealot who rose up alone at the moment of truth, so too was Matityahu one of those rare men who seized the moment. Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism, and were it not for the heroic actions of Matityahu and his sons, the spiritual integrity of Judaism would have been destroyed on the treif altar of Greek idolatry and hedonism. True Jewish zealousness has no commonality with the “zealous actions” of your average hothead. To be zealous for Hashem is to be pure in Torah thought, and repulsed by the manifestation of chillul Hashem on this earth. Far from mindless rage, thinking leads to action. The faculty of emotion is fueled by reason.
Most self-identifying Jews today, regardless of denominational affiliation or ideological leaning, regard the Maccabees as true Jewish heroes. As is often the case over time, history became distorted, and the Chanukah of today has become something different than it once was. Most Jews celebrate a false Chanukah that has nothing in common with historical reality. It has become sanitized. In a warped sense of irony, modern day Jews celebrate the Maccabees for everything they were not; multi-culturalists, defenders of religious liberty, religious pluralists, etc. The stark reality is that most Jews would have deemed them terrorists by today’s standards. Chanukah isn’t a universal “festival of lights” for Jews to share with gentiles. The Maccabees were Jewish zealots who waged a brutal war against the Greeks who tried to destroy the Jewish soul. Chanukah is not a celebration of universalism. It is the very epitome of Jewish exclusivity.
From a contemporary context, one should consider the following:
- Were the Maccabees around today, Netanyahu would send an army of Yassamnikim thugs to destroy them.
- Being registered on the Maccabee internet mailing list, would mean a surprise visit from the Shabak.
- Leftists would scream for Maccabee blood and applaud brutal crackdowns, as would Israel’s media elite and her morally relativistic peers in Israeli academia. Secular Jewish organizations worldwide would revile the Maccabees.
- The Anti-Defamation League would use their vast resources to monitor the Maccabees and any Maccabee affiliated offshoots. True to form, their intel would be shared with the U.S. State Department, CIA, FBI, and various Israeli government agencies.
Because it wasn’t just the Greeks. The Maccabees fought violently against Jewish hellenists who tried to destroy Torah. When Matityahu saw a Jew publicly defiling The Almighty’s name in the town of Modi’in, he didn’t stand by and tolerate the man’s freedom “to worship as he saw fit.” He slaughtered him with his sword and started a revolution. Yahadutlionizes him and his sons for sanctifying the Almighty’s name and saving Judaism from extinction. History is for the victors. We celebrate Chanukah because Judaism survived because of the Maccabees actions. The irony is that Hellenists revised history, and needing heroes they coopted them, sanitized their legacy, and Chanukah is considered parve today. Hence, the Maccabees, the zealots of Masada, and Bar Kochba can be accepted as heroes by the State of Israel today.
Should You Keep Chanukah this year? The following TRUE or FALSE quiz will be helpful. Do you believe?…
- That interfaith-dialogue with Christians is a noble endeavor that serves to bring the two faith communities closer.
- That Jews should take any and all aid from Christian evangelicals and messianic Christians.
- That Israel should continue to grant equal rights to all of her citizens and allows all faiths to worship as they see fit.
- That in the absence of any danger to the mother, a woman should have the right to abort a fully formed fetus.
- That homosexuals should have the right to parade through the streets of any city in Israel. Or that homosexuals should have the right to marry in Israel.
- That a Halachic definition of “who is a Jew” has no place in state affairs.
- That Israel should continue to endanger our own soldiers to protect Arab civilians in order to retain a moral high-ground.
- That havlagah or “self-restraint” is a Jewish ethic that must be a part of the IDF’s ideology.
- That even theoretically, a Halachic state (by truly G-d fearing people of Torah) is contrary to democracy.
If you answered TRUE to even one of these questions, then in the spirit of intellectual integrity, you should boycott Chanukah this year. Chanukah symbolizes Judaism’s complete rejection of the profane influences of the world. It represents the commitment to oppose those foreign ideologies that threaten the nation and if necessary to use the sword in defense of the Jewish body and soul. This is the Chanukah that leftists want to destroy.
Missionaries In Our Midst
I have written several articles about the spiritual threat of missionaries in Eretz Yisroel, in particular, the danger of evangelical Christians who have infiltrated religious Jewish communities in the Shomron. Many kipah wearing Jews have been actively bought by the endless sum of Christian dollars that the enemy is able to throw at Jews and their various projects, in exchange for a ticket into their daily lives. Some of these Jews are misguided and naive. Others are not so innocent. Hakadosh Baruch Hu knows what is in every man’s heart.
The problem is that these spiritual threats would have never been able to infiltrate into the Torah world without the aid of self-appointed leaders who will have to answer for their sins. Some are wont to spout the nonsense of a nonexistent Judeo/Christian ethic, which by its very definition is an oxymoron and contrary to everything we stand for. The Jewish ethic is by its very nature contrary to Christianity. No such concept exists. And to align with idolatry in the war against the Arabs is to sacrifice the Jewish soul for the illusion of a united Christian front against the Arabs. There are two kinds of death for the Jew. And throughout history, the death of the Jewish soul is the greatest tragedy of all.
If you support interfaith-dialogue with Christians, taking money from evangelicals, and allowing Esau to pick grapes in the liberated vineyards of Judea and Samaria, then you share the values of a Jewish hellenist. I don’t care how well you know the laws of shmitah, or whether you attend a daily daf yomi. Those with seichal know precisely whats going on, and no Rabbi on earth can kasher a pig. To those who have befriended the notorious Waller family and their cohorts, they are aligning themselves with idolaters who want to harm Am Yisroel. The actions of such groups as Hayovel run by the Wallers are as dangerous an assault as anything Am Yisroel has ever faced. Those who support them are Jewish hellenists. Matityahu would have loathed the Wallers, and he would have had no patience (to say the least) for those who are aiding them.
MesiratNefesh and Pragmatism
From a purely survival instinct, if someone demands that you worship Baal or have your throat slit open, the “pragmatic” thing is to save your throat and bow down to the idol. Judaism requires something else sometimes. The Halacha requires you to refuse, even if it costs you your life. The Halacha isn’t always pragmatic or “wise” from a conventional standpoint. At times, the Halacha requires us to fight to the death, even when the odds are against us. The battle of the Maccabees was neither smart nor pragmatic through a conventional standpoint. They made things worse in the short term. And in the long term we won, even if the later descendants of the Maccabees betrayed their own legacy.
The day will come when we extricate all physical and spiritual contagions from Eretz Yisroel. The legacy of the Maccabees lives on. One day soon, Jews will embrace it and incorporate the Maccabee model as the solution to destroying the Arab enemy, dealing with all spiritual threats, and sanctifying the State of Israel. Every truly religious Jew believes this. The challenge of the Maccabees looms before us. Will we join Matityahu and fight for the L-rd, or will we serve Baal, Asheirah, or the erev rav elite who deify themselves?
One day soon, a new generation of Maccabees will arise. Am Yisroel will never die, and there will always be a select few who rise up to define and defend the Torah truth.
With Fire and Blood. Chanukah Sameach!