Detail from a mosaic from a public building in the mixed Jewish/Roman village of Tzipori (Sephorris). Roman and Greek culture was everywhere.
There have been two basic strategies to destroy the Jewish People throughout history.
1. KILL US
The most obvious one is to go to war with us and physically kill us.. like Haman tried to do to us in Ancient Persia during the Purim story – and the modern day Persians (Iranians) are working diligently toward their goal of annihilation of Israel by nukes.
Last week, we visited Yad Vashem and saw how the Nazi’s tried to exterminate us.
Then we visited Ammunition Hill to remind ourselves how the Arabs tried to, and continue to try to destroy us by “pushing us into the sea.”
2. OR LOVE US TO DEATH
The second more subtle way is to eliminate us as a distinctive people by assimilating us into a “loving” host culture. The first biblical example of this occurs in this week’s Torah portion (VaYishlach) when Shechem’s father offers Jacob to merge with his family and become one nation through intermarriage. (Genesis 34:9-10)
The most famous example of this is the Chanukah story, where the occupying Greeks tried to assimilate the Jews into Greek culture and abandon their Judaism.
The Greeks under Alexander and later Ptolemy succeeded in Hellenizing a large portion of the Jewish Population who adopted Greek culture for economic and political reasons, going so far as building Gymnasia and reversing circumcisions so they could compete naked in the Greek games!
When Antiochus and the Seleucid Greeks took control, they went too far and began punishing Jews who refused to become Hellenized. This led to the revolt of the Maccabees who were the “ultra-orthodox, right-wing extremists” of their time.
Most think the Chanukah War was between the Jews and the Greeks, but in fact it was a civil war between the reformed, elite, assimilated Hellenist Jews and the Torah True Orthodox Jews of the countryside. It was a war to keep the Jewish People Jewish.
CURRENT SPIRITUAL CIVIL WAR
We are forming a new government in Israel. At the core is Netanyahu’s center-right Likud party. The remaining 5 coalition parties are all orthodox or ultra-orthodox… committed to traditional Torah values.
This has assimilated Jews, particularly the elite Jewish community in America in a panic, fearing they will have no shared values with the new Israeli government.
“U.S. Jews fear collision with expected Israeli government
Given American Jews’ predominantly liberal political views, these misgivings could have a ripple effect in Washington and further widen what has become a partisan divide over support for Israel”
WHO WILL WIN?
We celebrate Chanukah every year to remind us that no matter how powerful external forces are, if we stand strong to our Torah values and we are willing to fight with our lives for our unique relationship with God, then no power in the world can defeat us.
If we choose to be something we are not… then we are lost to history.
Thank you so much for your support!