Wrong Emphasis


In “A Time Of Zealots” (Editorial, Dec. 16) you state “Chanukah is the festival brought to us by Jewish Zealots. It was the military victory of guerrilla fighters and rogues against Greek repression.” You even cite The Book of Maccabees as your proof text. What you fail to mention, and is perhaps the most salient point, is that Chanukah was predominantly a war between Jews and Jews, i.e. Traditional Observant Jews versus “traitorous Jews who had no regard for the Law (Torah) and who had a bad influence on many of our people” (Book Of Maccabees).

These “traitorous Jews” were Hellenized, assimilated Jews. Furthermore, the first overt act of rebellion was the killing of a Jew by a Jew.

What these citations clearly demonstrate is that The Jewish Week got much of, and the gist of, the Chanukah story wrong. It was not only about the Maccabees’ revolt against foreigners; on the contrary, it was about Jew against Jew, and for religious Torah-observant reasons. There was no “peace among Jews” then. In the time of the Maccabees, emotions did burst into the flames of rebellion, and for the sake of preservation of Torah principles.