ed note–Again, as we have said here on occasions too numerous to recount, it is the mis-understanding/mis-characterization of the real nature of Judaism and its autonomic, volcanic and VIOLENT hatred/rejection of all things Gentile that makes it the danger that it is to the continued existence of mankind.
The only thing more dangerous than the intrinsically anti-human properties of Judaism itself is the willing disinterest/stupidity on the part of those Gentiles–both in the individual and collective spheres–in coming to rational grips with the nature of Judaism and its plans for everyone, all 7 billion of us presently residing on God’s green earth, a piece of real estate which the followers of Judaism believe belongs to them and to them ONLY.
As far as H’Nooka itself and what is its intrinsic hatred of Gentile culture, please note 2 items–
1. The MILITANT demands on the part of Organized Jewish interests to MAKE SURE that in the ‘public sphere’, there are no celebrations of the birth of Jesus Christ, whom the Jews hate with unquenchable fire and fury, while at the same time, GIANT Menorahs are erected for all to see, a ‘private joke’ amongst Jewry how the once-Christian culture of the Greco-Roman West has been conquered and subdued as a result of what has been the DELIBERATE and well-coordinated/well-organized war against Christian society,
2. The UTTER INSUFFERABLE STUPIDITY of those Gentiles–again, both in the individual and collective spheres–who not only willfully, but indeed, GLEEFULLY walk around chirping like mindless, brainless birds ‘Happy H’Nooka’ to their Jewish ‘friends’ and neighbors without as much as a micro-milligram of understanding of what the celebration is all about or what they are doing.
The Jewish Daily Forward
Plenty of everyday people today treat Hanukkah as a type of ‘Jewish Christmas’. It has a nice little story about miraculous oil, plus you decorate your house and give gifts, just like Christmas.
Even plenty of Jews feel this way; Hanukkah provides a way for us to participate in the music, media and cheer that dominates the Christmas season. After all, for many of the people taking advantage of Black Friday sales or putting up yard displays of lights and inflatables, Christmas is barely even Christian anymore — it has become an American holiday about Santa and reindeer and presents, and Jewish Americans don’t want to miss out.
This Christmas-centric celebration of Hanukkah would make the Maccabees — the stars and heroes of the Hanukkah story — go to war. Again. This time against the American Jews who so love celebrating the Maccabees’ last war, whether or not they know it.
A Maccabean nightmare
Hanukkah, you see, is actually about zealotry, war and the killing of assimilated Jews. Today it may be about eating fried foods, lighting candles in the dark of winter and unwrapping gifts with your family on each of its eight nights, but the original holiday commemorates a bloody war not only between the Maccabees and the Greeks but between violent, zealous Jews and their assimilated Jewish neighbors.
Not everyone knows this; the holiday has been simplified to make it more appealing to the masses. Growing up, I was taught that Hanukkah was about the miracle of the oil, in which the Jews needed to keep the temple lit but only had enough oil for a day. Miraculously, it stayed lit for eight days, long enough to get more oil, and now we celebrate by eating oily foods and lighting candles.
This is, however, but a very small part of the Hanukkah story. Scholars believe the ‘miracle of the oil’ part was added later on in the holiday’s development, to spice up the story and make it more about God and less about war, fratricide and bloodshed.
The holiday is really about the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire, a Hellenistic state that ruled over the area of Judea in the beginning of the second century BCE. Initially the Seleucids allowed the Jews to practice their religion without restrictions, but eventually took over the Jewish temple and were using it for sacrifices to Zeus, so a priest named Matityahu, and his five sons — including Judah HaMaccabee — began a violent revolt against the empire.
But that war was not really just between Jews and Greeks. It was also–mostly in fact— between Jews and other Jews.
During the Seleucid Empire, there was a movement to create a universal, Hellenistic culture throughout the Greek empire, and there was a movement of Jews — often called Hellenistic Jews — who didn’t mind this; they incorporated Greek cultural practices into Jewish life while largely maintaining their own traditions. They did not feel that being Jewish precluded their participation in Hellenistic culture, and eagerly joined in Greek life, not unlike many secular or assimilated American Jews today who hang stockings next to their hanukkiahs.
The Maccabees rejected the idea of Hellenistic Judaism, however, and the two movements disagreed as to who would become the High Priest in the temple, causing violent conflict. While one Seleucid emperor, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, did crack down on Jewish freedom of worship, defiling the temple and forbidding circumcision, the internal Jewish theological disagreements on purity of practice were also a major motivating factor in starting the Maccabean revolt — possibly a greater factor even than the Seleucid rule itself. What’s certain is that the Maccabees fought against and killed their Hellenized brethren during the war.
This means that the Maccabees’ win and reclamation of the defiled temple was not a victory for the Jewish people as a whole, but rather for a specific form of Orthodoxy and interpretation of Judaism. Their win helped start the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled the region for about 100 years, until Herod took over, and they instituted Hanukkah as a celebration of their reclamation of the temple.
Of course, they may have won the battle, but the Maccabees lost the war; after the Romans’ destruction of the temple, Jews were forced into diaspora, where they absorbed all kinds of traditions, even developing new languages such as Yiddish and Ladino that mixed Hebrew with local tongues. Assimilation was essential to survival, and has enriched and diversified Jewish traditions and practices for centuries. Much of the Talmud is even devoted to refining traditions and interactions between Jewish communities and their gentile neighbors.
It’s ironic that Hanukkah — a celebration of strict Orthodoxy and vicious, violent repudiation of Jewish assimilation into gentile culture is today often most beloved by the most assimilated Jews, who are trying to fit in with a dominantly Christian culture with decorations and gifts that model themselves after their Christmas counterparts.
But despite all of this, the Maccabees’ message can still be felt in even the most assimilated Hanukkah celebration — any Jew celebrating Hanukkah is doing so as a way of maintaining their connection to Judaism in the face of the Christian hegemony that dominates in the U.S.
They may be more Hellenistic than Maccabean, but they’re still trying to hold onto Jewish practice and are celebrating its survival.