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Chanukah based on two ideals

December 13, 2012
Chanukah is not the “Jewish Christmas,” falling the same time of the year — the winter solstice.

The eight-day holiday commemorates the revolt and victory of the Hasmo-neans, or as some would call them, the Maccabees. They won a victory over the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes, a successor to the eastern part of Alexander the Great’s empire.

The Grecian kingdom of Asia was formed of various nationalities. So the Seleucids (Alexan-der’s eastern successors) strove to hold and weld the elements of their kingdom through universal Hellenistic culture. Thus Hellenism was a part of the political policy of the government and stood for loyalty to the kingdom.

As was always the case in Palestine, there were different political camps. Some favored the Egyptians, some the Syrians, who introduced idol worship into the temple in Jerusalem. There were Jews who were unconcerned with Syrian and Egyptian interests, but only with Jewish interests. This national party was under the leadership of Judah Maccabee and his brothers of the Hasmonean family.

The Maccabees were able to fight a guerilla war against the Syrians and set up a Jewish kingdom lasting less than 100 years. The last Hasmo-nean monarch turned the country over to Rome to rule. However, during this time spiritual life flourished providing uswith the Rabbinic tradition which later produced Christianity.

The first day of the eigh-day holiday of rededication of the temple begins Saturday, Dec. 15, hence, a candle is lit for each day of the holiday, beginning the evening of Dec. 14. Jewish holidays begin on the evening before the first day of the holiday.

Chanukah stands for two ideals: first, for the achievement of religious liberty; and secondly, for a revival of a sentiment for national development among the Jewish people.

We wish our neighbors a happy holiday season.

Amen and Amen.

Skully is the president of the Grosse Pointe Ministerial Association and cantor, Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue.

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