Rambo, Chanukah & The Religion’s Two Fisted Nature: A Ten Commandments’ Tale

“We will not hearken to the king’s words, to go
from our religion, either on the right hand, or the
left.”

first book of the macabees

the iconic movie character rambo lends himself to chanukah. the holiday’s songs play much like the epic background music from the movies. the macabeans, like rambo, fight battles outnumbered and against all odds. in the beginning of the conflict, the priest mattathias makes an angry call out which would make sylvester stallone get pumped up. further, the priest mattathias does crazy things with sharp blade ala rambo. finally, the macabeans were not afraid of performing diy (do it yourself) medical procedures.

thus, with “rock of ages” blaring in the background, we could easily imagine a rambo-like quality as the macabees engaged in guerilla warfare against the greeks. incensed by a compelled greek sacrifice, in rambo-like fashion, mattathias slayed a complying jew along with a commissioner. after doing so “mattathias cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, whosoever is zealous of the law, and maintaineth the covenant, let him follow me.”

the priest and his sons flee and the conflict begins. perhaps in retaliation for killing mothers and children due to the fact that [the children] were circumcised, the macabeans were not to be outdone. they went, in what could be described as the battle of the bris, entered a town and they, hopefully with a sharp knife, circumcised children. this was quite like rambo was all about having performing some medical procedures.

when rambo was pushed to the brink, he famously that “you don’t just turn it off! it wasn’t my war!” perhaps, had he been with the macabees, he would have said “the covenant, it is everlasting, we don’t just turn it off!”

you may ask, “where is this post going?”

the answer is that this moment is jewish history captured the two fisted notion of judaism; the torah in one hand and the covenant in the other. dr. yonaton adler, in an interview, likened the torah to a state’s constitution. the covenant, while it is documented in the torah, represents the permanent physical manifestation of the covenant. while the torah is the law, it is nothing without people committed to it. thus, the law and the covenant, arguably, go hand in hand.

in sum, this concept of covenant is not lost in modern times. while all people have easy access to the law, i.e. the ten commandments, and can practice them in their daily life, there are those who seek something more spiritual. they have a need to be apart of the covenant. for those who wish to convert the judaism, their pathway includes circumcision. others, who are not interested in becoming jewish, seek and interpret scriptures to find such a covenant for themselves. thus, identity can play a role in one’s zealousness toward their faith. as was in the story of chanukah, the priest mattathias famously used it in his rallying call.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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