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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Four history lessons from lesser known Chanuka stories

Elyakim Haetzni has four history lessons - which he terms warning signs - from some of the lesser known stories of Chanuka.

Hellenist argument: Make Jerusalem a modern city. Take advantage of the permission given by Antiochus to partake in war games and contests as an entrance ticket to progress. No more primitive, inhibited and fanatic Judaism that sparks hatred and contempt in the enlightened world.

Acquire a place of honor amongst the family of nations by means of the Hellenistic culture. The gymnasium against the Temple. Integrate into the Hellenistic space to assure national existence, which is not identical to the adherence of religious laws.

So much for the Hellenists. And who are we the successors of?


Antiochus and his decrees were invited by Hellenistic Jews to defeat their enemies, the "Hasidim." The High Priest Menelaus incited against the "xenophobic" Jewish religion and thus paved the way to the slaughter and looting carried out by Antiochus in Jerusalem.

The Hasmonean war was largely a civil war against the Hellenists. At first Matityahu slew a Jew who sacrificed a swine at the altar. He was forced to kill the Hellenist soldiers who protected him. And then Hellenists killed, destroyed altars and circumcised children in hit and run attacks. Only repression of the Hellenists enabled Judah Maccabee to embark on the next phase of fighting the Greek army.

Crossing of lines, identifying with the enemy - such things happened in the past.
Read the other two warning signs here.


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