Hanuka – The Forgotten Lesson

Hanuka – The Forgotten Lesson

by HaRav Ariel Bar TzadokCopyright © 2009 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.

Today, for the most part, people are mentally dim and are easilyled. Our modern media intoxicates the world which for the mostpart has become dull and desensitized to the all fundamentalprovocations going on around us and around the world. Today theworld shakes from the battles between the religious and theatheist/secular or between western Christian based culture andeastern Muslim based culture. Two great giants loom on the horizon growing bigger and strongerpolitically and economically and yet, no one in the east or westseems to care or express concern. Yet, when over the next fewdecades China and India emerge as the two new worldsuperpowers many are going to awaken to the fact they they areno longer “king of the hill.” With new powers in place and new cultural practices expected asthe norm, many will either go with the flow and abandon their traditional old way or they will stick totheir traditions and possible promote conflict with the new and encompassing. What I speak of nowbelongs to our future, but this type of conflict in nothing new. It is old as humanity itself. The big boyalways wants to dominate in every way and the little boy had better follow suit, or else. This is exactly what happened in ancient Israel. In those days the Grecian empire of Alexander theGreat served as the world superpower and after the founder’s death continued in the forms of thegovernments established by his generals. Alexander was considered by most to be an enlightened ruler.Although he militarily conquered many nations, he was warmly embraced by many. This was not thefortune faced by his surviving generals. Their rule was not one of benevolence or enlightenment. Theyimposed their rule, their culture sand the laws by force, regardless of public opinion. Then, as today, most had no stomach for a fight, so most simply decided to ignore the provocation andto go with the flow, abandoning their traditional old culture and embrace the new. Well, ancient timesdid not have the modern media to distract the minds of gullible masses. So there was still a strongpopular resentment to the imposition of the new and the desecration and abandonment of the old.Such impositions were provocative offenses and the populace suffered much insult and misery. Yet, there comes a time when as we say, the final straw breaks the camels back. Rebellion occurs,violence erupts, the social order is challenged and anarchy reigns. Ruthless violent repression canrestore order for the immediate time being, but unless issues are addressed to appease an arousedpublic, the repressed resentment only simmers, looking for any and all opportunities to rise again inwhatever clandestine and sinister form that it can. This is how terrorism is born. And terrorism cantake numerous forms other than outright violent attacks.Social resistance in the form of passive but consistent allegiance to the “old ways” and equally ignoringor avoiding the edicts of the new regime is as successful in thwarting a social take-over as is any militaryintervention. Both Russian and American troops have learned this lesson recently in Afghanistan. Try asthey may to break the will of the people and all invaders ever succeed in doing is breaking the backs ofthe people, but never their resolve.

KosherTorah.comThe nature of resistance against an overwhelming authority is also not lost to the so-called Palestinianpeople. Their resolve against modern Israel is so strong that in the end their resolve alone is turningworld public opinion in their favor, in spite of their usage of terrible violent attacks upon innocentcivilians. Modern Israel, at one time the tiny David in a sea of Arab Goliaths has now been transformedinto an evil Goliath itself against the small and mighty so-called innocent Palestinian people. It seemsthat the so-called Palestinians have learned lessons from the likes of Judah Macabee and use his verytactics against his descendants. What an irony of history; the descendants of those enemies defeated by the Jews now use Jewishwisdom and resolve against the Jews, who themselves are acting with the carelessness and lack ofinsight of their ancient enemies. It so proves what George Santayana said, “Those who cannotremember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” Here we come to the crux of the issue. Hanuka is not just a commemoration or celebration of a victorylong past. Rather Hanuka is and must be remembered as a lesson that teaches us that only resolve andperseverance can resolve a violent conflict. In order to win the fight, any fight, battle must be absoluteand victory must be no less absolute. Seeking peace at any cost is the tolerance of weakness and aclear sign of lack of resolve. The modern forms of conflict that involve all sorts of talk about peacewould have been viewed as insanity in ancient days. After all they suffered, the ancients were notwilling to forget and not willing to forgive. Theirs was an all or nothing fight. And only after greatsacrifice and loss did they succeed in victory.As for us today, the public media had pretty much deadened our resolve in most arenas of social andpolitical interest. Today we do not understand the passion of our ancestors and we do not sympathizewith their resolve and sacrifice for victory and freedom. As such, we live today more like psychologicalslaves, oblivious to our actual condition and happy to just express token verbal objection to ourcondition rather than express any exertion to actually do something about it.Yes, Hanuka was a lesson of the past that most likely will not be repeated any time soon. In spite of thepresent conflict in the Holy Land, today’s Jews are no Maccabees. Indeed, they are more like theenemies of the Maccabees in their complacence and lack of commitment to fight the good battlesufficiently to win the day. So, barring any Divine Intervention the enemies of today’s Jews who fight tomake Jerusalem theirs might actually succeed in their endeavors. After all, their resolve is stronger andtheir sacrifice greater. Wars are won by the mighty, regardless of their force of arms. When there is awill, there is a way; when there is no will, there is no way.Ancient Israelis understood this message.Modern Israelis and Jews have forgotten it.I for one do believe in Divine Intervention and I do believe that the Hand of Heaven will express itselfyet again to save a most undeserving people from a most deserved fate. Thank G-d for His Divine Mercyfor Israel would not survive now or ever without it.Hanuka is a time to remember the price of victory. It is not cheap! We can light all the Hanuka lightsthat we want but we must remember that the purpose of light is to cancel out darkness. We will nevercancel out darkness or defeat evil all the while that we lack the resolve, the commitment and thesacrifice necessary to win the day. All our Hanuka lights will be nothing but hollow and empty shells ifwe fail to remember what it is that they are supposed to really be.Victory requires pride, sacrifice and resolve. Compromise is a weakness that victorscannot afford. Freedom is reserved for those who fight for it. Standing up against allthe odds is the Macabee way. Who today amongst the descendants of the Maccabeesstands up to be a Maccabee?

2Copyright © 2009 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply