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Hanukkah made western civilization possible

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Were it not for its proximity to Christmas, Hanukkah would be unknown to most non-Jews and it might not be celebrated by most non-religious Jews. The proof is that the opposite post-Hebrew Bible vacation, Purim, whereas very talked-about in Israel, the place it’s type of a Jewish Mardi Gras, is actually unknown to non-Jews and largely ignored by most American Jews. 

In different phrases, if Purim fell in December and Hanukkah in March, everybody would find out about Purim, and few would have ever heard of Hanukkah. 

Too dangerous. Hanukkah is definitely of seminal significance each to Judaism and to the world. 


Hanukkah commemorates the unimaginable Jewish victory over much more quite a few and highly effective Greek forces in 164 BC. 

Nationally syndicated conservative radio discuss present host and author Dennis Prager reminds readers that Jewish monotheism gave delivery to western civilization.
(Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket by way of Getty Images)

The Jews’ revolt, identified the Maccabean Revolt, named after its chief, Judah the Maccabee, was directed in opposition to the Greek Seleucid Empire in 167–160 BC. The Seleucid Empire was a Greek state in west Asia and the Middle East which lasted from 312 to 63 BC. At its top, it coated roughly one and half million sq. miles. 

In 168 BC, the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, launched a horrific marketing campaign in opposition to Judaism.  

Two issues about this anti-Jewish persecution stand out. 

First, Antiochus didn’t search to annihilate Jews, as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis did two thousand years later and the Islamic regime in Iran does immediately. He sought to annihilate Judaism. Jews who deserted the Torah and Jewish practices and adopted Hellenism have been left alone. 

Second, amongst all of the religions below his rule, Antiochus persecuted solely Judaism. His Greek regime had no drawback with pagan religions. It was Judaism that disturbed Antiochus and the Seleucids. 

To perceive why Judaism so bothered Antiochus, one wants to grasp that no pagan faith utterly rejected Hellenism. Judaism did. If Antiochus needed a statue to him or to a Greek god erected in a pagan temple, not one of the pagan religions would have objected. The pagan perspective towards faith was non-exclusive. No pagan god was considered the one God of all humanity. But the Jews claimed that their God was certainly the one God on the earth. 

Despite this perception — that the God of Judaism is the God of all humanity — Judaism by no means insisted that non-Jews wanted to transform to Judaism. Thus, Jews by no means forcibly imposed Judaism on non-Jews. But, not like all their pagan neighbors, the Jews rejected the gods of everybody else. And this infuriated Antiochus. He hated the Jews’ monotheism. 

So, he decreed that Judaism be abolished. He erected statues of Greek gods within the Jews’ holy temple, put to dying Jewish dad and mom who ritually circumcised their eight-day previous sons — hanging the murdered Jewish little one across the mom’s neck — compelled Jews to eat pork, provided illicit sacrifices, burned Torah scrolls, executed Jews who noticed the sabbath, and devoted the holy temple to Zeus. 

Hebrew monotheism gave the world one God — which means that every one people are brothers and sisters, since we’re all His kids, created in His picture. 

It was the Greeks who originated the blood libel — the parable of Jewish ritual homicide of non-Jews. They made up a narrative about Antiochus who, upon getting into the sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem, discovered a Greek captive ready to be burned as a sacrifice to the Jewish God. Antiochus reportedly claimed that the potential sufferer had been knowledgeable by temple servants that it was a longtime observe of the Jews to kidnap a Greek, fatten him up for a yr, then place him on wooden, sacrifice him, eat his flesh, and swear an oath of hostility to the Greeks. 

According to rabbinic custom, the victorious Maccabees discovered only one bottle of oil that had not been contaminated. It contained solely sufficient oil to maintain the Temple Menorah (candelabra) lighted for sooner or later, however it miraculously lasted for eight days. Hence the eight days of Hanukkah . 

But Hanukkah represents excess of the miracle of the oil. 


The Jews’ profitable riot assured the continued existence of the Jewish faith and contributed to the decisive affect of monotheism in western tradition and historical past. 

The most far-reaching consequence of the revolt was the perpetuation of the monotheistic idea, which was threatened by the Seleucids’ Hellenism, the Greek faith and tradition that Antiochus tried to impose by pressure, and that many Hellenized Jews accepted voluntarily. 

Hebrew monotheism gave the world one God — which means that every one people are brothers and sisters, since we’re all His kids, created in His picture. It additionally gave the world one ethical code — which means that morality is just not relative to each nation, each faith, or each particular person. It was additionally the one faith on the earth to disassociate God and nature. Nature is just not God; God created nature — for man’s use.  


Ironically, the Western world, in its radical post-Judeo-Christian secularism has reverted to pagan nature-worship. 

Hanukkah saved monotheism, and thereby made the creation of the Western world possible. Maybe individuals of each religion — particularly religion in Western civilization — ought to gentle a menorah for eight days. 


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