Tag Archives: Judah the Maccabee

How Hanukkah can Inspire us just when we need it the most

Oil Hanukkah Lamp

The Jewish holiday  of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a holiday that revolves almost entirely around miracles.  The miracle most people know about is the miracle of the Menorah, and how one day’s worth of oil lasted for 8 days.  But the bigger miracle of Hanukkah, and the one that is particularly inspiring in the world we live in today, is the battle fought by the Jewish people lead by the Maccabeess over Syrian and Greek rule, and the victory won when facing the most difficult of odds.

It is the story that actually relates today to not only the biggest fear of the Jewish people but for anyone whose freedom is being threatened. The leadership the Jews were fighting wanted far more than control, they wanted to eliminate any other religion or ideology other then their own.  The similarities to today’s radical Islamic groups is eerily similar.  Even the  fact that the leadership was Syrian, as ISIS bases itself in the Syrian town of Raqqa, draws similarities.  What’s important to take from this story however is not how similar the persecution was to the goals of ISIS, Hamas and the like, but the fact that evil was ultimately defeated.

If there is one holiday to take inspiration from in a time when terror is increasing and an evil group tightens its grips over large areas of land, it is the holiday of Hanukkah. I spend a lot of time trying to make people aware of the dangerous realities of the day, but today on the first day of Hanukkah I am happy to take this opportunity to make people aware of why they should be hopeful.  This is not a hope based in falsehoods.  It is a hope based on the great strength and courage of Judah the Maccabee  and his heroic followers.  A hope based on a Jewish army that understood what was at stake, knew what needed to be done, and had the willingness and capability to do it. As a result evil the oppressors were defeated and freedom restored.

On this Hanukkah I urge all of the decent people out there, the people who want a peaceful and free world, to take the following message into their minds, hearts and souls. That message is that as bad as things sometimes look, as hopeless as the future sometimes looks, good can and will prevail, as long as we believe in what is right and are willing to do what needs to be done.  In a time when things sometimes look as bleak as we can ever remember them being, learn from the miracle of Hanukkah and remember that anything is possible when fighting for a just cause and maybe most importantly, when we as a collective group want that victory badly enough.                                                               Happy Hanukkah (Chanukah)!








UN calls on the Maccabees to avoid hostilities

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In response to the recent increase of hostilities between King Antiochus’ Seleucids and the Jewish population led by Judah Maccabee, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released the following statement:

“We call on the Jewish population to immediately stop its attacks against the Seleucid government in Jerusalem.  We intend to form a committee to investigate the alleged banning of circumcision imposed by the Seleucids as well as the Maccabean claim of inappropriate actions within the Temple, but maintain in theory that the government is within its rights to impose a ban of this nature in order to protect religious sovereignty.  Despite the claims by Maccabean leadership claiming the installation of idolatrous figures being placed in the Holy Temple, it is the belief of this organization that this is a tremendous opportunity for the coexistence of all religions within Jerusalem’s holiest places.  What will be critical in making this work will be Jewish cooperation and subjugation to King Antiochus and his leadership of Jerusalem and outlying areas.  Any resistance by Judah and his fellow Maccabees will be seen as hostility bordering on criminal activity.  We have already begun the groundwork for further investigations of Judah Maccabee for war crimes that may have already taken place and in anticipation and expectation of further actions.”

U.S. President Barack Obama commented on the increasing tension in the area as well.

“We call on both parties to show restraint”, said President Obama.  “I have spoken directly to Judah Maccabee and I am confident that he is aware of my continuing support and commitment to the safety and well-being of his people.  That being said, I have emphasized in our discussions my belief in a peaceful solution.  King Antiochus has assured me  that his intentions are peaceful and I believe him to be sincere.”

A State Department spokesman denied claims that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is “annoyed” by Judah Maccabees aggressive approach.

Judah Maccabee issued the following statement in response to the comments:

“My number one responsibility is to my people.  We do not answer to the United Nations or to any world leader.  One day we will look back at this moment and realize that we were at a crossroads.  Our choices in leadership will determine whether or not we survive as a people and will celebrate our existence,  or succumb to the pressure and lament our losses. It is my intention to see to it that rather than allowing an enemy to drive us into extinction, we will lead the people to a thriving and secure future. When we regain control of our holiest of sites, the Temple in Jerusalem, we will celebrate as we light the candelabra in continuing dedication to God.  We wish to live in peace, but as long as we have an enemy that wants to see us dead we will defend ourselves by any mean necessary.”

One programming note.  CNN will be continuing its ongoing documentary “Hellenism as opposed to Judaism.  Why it works in Jerusalem.”


Chanukah Sameach!!

Happy Hanukkah!!






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Benjamin the Maccabee?

netanWhen I read about things like the E1 corridor, and hear the debate about UN resolutions and acceptance of Palestinian statehood, I step back and try to understand what is really going on.  I try to be objective and fair, fully knowing that my family history makes that close to impossible.  Naturally I am impacted by my own family’s plight during the Nazi occupation of Holland and, knowing Jewish history, I see the numerous examples of persecution against the Jewish people.

It is very easy to jump on the bandwagon of compromise and talk about how Israel needs to make concessions and show tolerance to the Palestinians.  Criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu is becoming more and more popular, not just amongst Israel’s enemies but amongst Israel’s friends and even Jews.  But is his approach so inappropriate?  If there is one major reason to elect an Israeli Prime Minister it is to protect the interests of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide.  We are on the verge of celebrating the holiday of Hanukkah, the holiday that celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, possibly the most military aggressive group in Jewish history prior to 1948, and I ask myself this; would today’s world criticize Judah the Maccabee?  Most likely yes.

The saying “hindsight is 20/20”, is poignant and applicable.  As a Jew who never knew his grandparents, I know that the world is still a place filled with people who want to see to it that future generations suffer the same fate.  Anti Jewish sentiment has never been based in logic or reason.  It is not something that can be eliminated by negotiation or compromise.  Nothing Israel has done in its history has ever shown evidence of a desire to pick war over peace.  Are all the moves Israel makes politically expedient? Probably not.  But does political expediency take precedent over survival? Definitely not.  If you choose to make the argument that the Palestinians just want the right to an independent state, I would answer; all the Jewish state wants is to be recognized as having a right to exist.  The Palestinians want land, Israel wants to live safely.  To pretend Israel is asking more is nothing short of clever anti-Semitism.    Benjamin Netanyahu has a reputation of being a difficult man.  This may be true.  But I ask you this.  Knowing that your enemies still won’t even admit you have the right to survival, do you really want someone easy representing your best interests?

The basis for peace does not start with concessions from a nation surrounded by people wishing to destroy it.  The basis for peace is the basic understanding by all parties that the other has a right to exist in peace.  Menachem Begin came further from the right than Benjamin Netanyahu, and seeing a true opportunity for peace gave the Sinai to Egypt.  The years of peace have proven it to be a solid move, even with the change going on in Egypt today.  If the Palestinians want peace, not just land and Israel’s destruction, I believe the world would see a much less “difficult” Benjamin Netanyahu.  But if Israel’s enemies continue to show its ultimate goal to be its destruction, expect a Maccabean type response.  One that Jewish people should be grateful for, not critical of.