Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Carpi Diem- Affirm your Havdala Heritage


This is it folks. "Zos Chanuka"- the last day of the Khag when we bask in the cumulative oros of all 8 days. In fact on the East Coast sundown is in less than 2 hours. Practically speaking what does this mean? Precisely which rays are we supposed to be catching?

As per Khazal these are among the many events that occurred during Galus Yavan = the internal exile under the occupation of the Greeks: (In no particular order)

1. They criminalized circumcision, Sabbath observance and establishing the new moon
2. They commissioned a translation of the Torah
3. They breached the Soreg in 13 places
4. While not destroying our Temple they transformed it into a Pagan temple for their Pantheon
5. For the first time MisYavnim=Hellenized Jews appeared (in previous exiles there were no MisBavlim or MisAshrim).
6. They claimed Droit de seigneur for the Hegemon
7. They issued an edict commanding Jews to declare in writing on Ox horns "We have no truck with the G-d of Israel"
8. They defiled the oil but did not burn it or spill it to waste.

What's the common denominator? All manifest an antisemitism targeting, not the existence of Jews, but the notion as Jews as something as separate an distinct from the rest of humanity. Each of these blurred and or diminished the havdala bein Yisrael L'Amim. Jews could be gentiles and even share their DNA and Gentiles could be Jews. As far as the Yevanim were concerned the people can go on... it was the Chosen People that had to cease to exist.

So when you celebrate Chanuka, by praising and thanking G-d for His wondrous, miraculous liberating us from the Greeks and their Misyavain cohorts, (edited for Ari) don't just pay Him lip service. Understand that we thank Him for saving the notion of our choseness and separateness. If you do not exult in that gift you are offering insincere thanks and are an ingrate to boot.

I know that most readers of this post will be unimpressed by Emunas Khakhomim= faith in the Sages, but while I embellished somewhat, the basic message of this post was not my idea but that of some of the foremost Jewish Thinkers of the 20th century. It is my fervent hope and prayer that I haven't subtracted from their Torah through my additions.

Wishing everyone a beautiful tan. Ah Likhtigen Chanuka un Ah Likhtigen Tumid.

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