Happy Chanukah Maccabee Fighters of Judea
In defiance against the cultural persecution of the Jews by the Seleucid Syrian-Greek Hellenists, the Jewish revolt was sparked by Mattathias the Hasmonean, patriarch of the Maccabees, who refused to obey the direct commands to violate the Laws of Torah. When called upon as the leader of his village to sacrifice to the Greek gods, Mattathias replied, “Though all the nations that are under the king’s dominion obey him, . . . yet will I, and my sons, and my brethren, walk in the covenant of our fathers.” After a skirmish where Mattathias and his sons slew the troops in their town of Modiin, he called out before taking to the hills, “Whoever is zealous for the Law, and maintaineth the covenant, let him follow me.” The fighting continued for three years until the occupying Seleucid Syrian-Greeks were driven from the lands of Judea. The story continues with the miracle of the single day’s amount of sanctified oil for the Temple Lamp lasting eight days, the amount of time it took for more Blessed Oil to be sanctified and readied.
Where Chanukah is so very significant today is in the geography of the Maccabee war against the occupiers of Jewish land. The battles and lands identified with the Jewish people was largely the lands north, south, and east of Jerusalem, today the land the world is telling the Jews is not their land. Perhaps the world needs to learn what happened to the Seleucid Syrian-Greek Hellenists and their King Antiochus IV when they tried to separate the Jews from their G-d and their Lands. Perhaps it is time for a modern day hero like Mattathias to rise against those who deny Jews their ancestral home. Perhaps he will have a son like Judah Maccabee to finish the fight and restore the ancient lands to the Jewish people. Perhaps, during this year’s Chanukah we can remind ourselves of our history, which includes Judea and Samaria as Jewish lands. Perhaps it is time to remember and to teach the world the truth.
Happy Chanukah. May the Festival of Lights fill our homes with the Light of Torah and the warmth of our kinship to our Holy Lands given us by the L-rd our G-d.
Beyond the Cusp