Chanukah and the Jewish Conversation

December 16, 2014

Mesorah NJ is about young professionals and graduates in NJ and Jewish Values. The same Jewish values that were around with Abraham,  with Deborah, during Purim and during Chanukah. These values and ideas have been an ongoing conversation for the Jewish people for 2000 years.  And, despite the length of time, we study and engage in this "Jewish conversation" continuously.   Take Chanukah for example:

 

Chanukah presents a paradigm for upholding a value system in a world sometime hostile to spirituality. The Maccabees model for us the courage to stand up for what is good and right despite overwhelming odds. It is "Jewish Chutzpah" at its best. Whenever a conflict arises for the Jewish nation, it reflects  a much larger existential fight.

 

During the time of Chanukah, the Jewish people were fighting the Greeks. What did Greece represent? In a nutshell: the perfection of the physical world and the assertion that it all ended there. Infanticide was common practice, as imperfect people could not possibly count in a society that enshrined physical prowess.

 

Torah Judaism, on the contrary, values the physical insofar as it can accomplish great things in the world. A healthy body is valued because a person can accomplish so much more as a healthy person. Wealth is viewed as a responsibility and privilege, more than an end in itself. And the list goes on.

 

When we were threatened by people who tried to deny an inner reality, it was time for us to stand up and assert that there is a higher dimension in the world.  This was the fight of Chanukah. And we won. And 2000 years later, we are here to continue and deepen the conversation.

 

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