many cultures celebrate the new years. the time is used for reflection, turning over a new leaf, and making resolutions.
chanukah is similar to new years. the holiday, however, symbolizes re-dedication. this holiday is not about doing something new, but rather a holiday about getting back to one’s foundation.
chanukah’s story is of the clash of societies and cultures. the powerful and influential greek hellenistic culture encroached on traditional jewish culture and conflict ensued. the greek culture took such a strong hold the jewish nation that it led to the temple’s desecration.
as the greek culture pushed further, the traditional culture, via its leaders, eventually rose up and fought. they re-took control of the temple, and re-dedicated it. the holiday celebrates this re-dedication.
“let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!” was mattathias’ rallying call to the people. he was the father of judah macabee who, along with his brothers, led the successful revolt.
we all have out roots. there are times when we need to be reminded of them. there are times when we need to exercise more resolve. we have a variety of roots. community roots, family roots or personal roots. this holiday can be one of reflection towards re-connecting us with the matters we hold so dearly.
perhaps it is time that we all gather up a menorah, some candles, and matches and see if there is some brightness in the future. what do you have to lose? after all, any holiday where eating jelly donuts is sanctioned cannot be all bad.
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