Home PREVIEW: Holiday Challenges of Chanukah

PREVIEW: Holiday Challenges of Chanukah

Threat Analyst Ken Abramowitz is author of “The Multifront War

Editor: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, President, American Center for Democracy (ACD)


“As long as Chanukah is studied and remembered, Jews will not surrender to the night. The proper response, as Chanukah teaches, is not to curse the darkness but to light a candle.”
                                                                                                        — Irving Greenberg

Holiday Challenges of Chanukah Live On and On-Ken’s Thought of The Week

During the week of December 7-14, Jewish people around the world celebrate the nearly 2,200-year holiday of Chanukah. This holiday celebrates the victory of the Maccabee family-led revolt against the occupying army of then-Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes from Greek-controlled Syria. In 169 BCE, he invaded Jerusalem and sought to outlaw the practice of Judaism. Priest Mattityahu and his five sons led the Jewish forces that liberated Jerusalem in the year 165 BCE. When they sought to re-dedicate the Temple in Jerusalem by rekindling the eternal light, there was only enough oil to last for one day. Nevertheless, the oil lasted eight days. We have celebrated these eight days of miracles in December every year since then.

It is interesting to review some of the challenges these warriors faced 2,200 years ago to see if there are some comparable challenges facing Israel and even America today:

1) In early Israel, the Jews were divided. The more prosperous were more secular and had been Hellenized into the customs of the Greek occupying army. The rest of the population was more religious and believed in the wisdom and laws of the Torah, the 3,400-year-old book of Wisdom with 613 commandments from G-d that Jews are supposed to obey. These religious Jews led the revolt to preserve Judaism.

2) In early Israel, there were two wars. One was an internal conflict between the religious and the secular. The second was a physical war between the religious Jews and the invading Greek Syrians.

3) In early Israel, the secular Jews were mentally close in custom to the invading Greeks and did not want to risk their prosperity to fight the outside invaders.

4) In America today, for now, we are fighting a non-violent civil war between our secular population (Democrats) and our far more religious population (Republicans)                                                    5) In America today, the secular segment of the population has accepted the cultures of America’s outside enemies, such as China, Russia, Iran/Qatar, and the globalists, such as the UN and the World Economic Forum.

6) In America today, the prosperous secular population sees little reason to fight US enemies from within and without, with the notable exception of Ukraine.

What are the significant differences between Israel and the US?

On October 7, 2023, Israel was attacked by the Iranian death cult terrorist proxies, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and then, in the north, by Hezbollah and later on the Red Sea by the Houthis.Israel’s delusion of peace and deterrence of its neighborhood enemies was shattered. After one long day of confusion and chaos, the Israeli government and Army regained their bearings. A reunited internal populace has greatly aided the IDF’s massive all-out war against Iran’s proxies in Gaza. As it now seems, Hezbollah, Syria, Yemen, and Iran will be next.

Meanwhile, in America, we remain ‘fat, dumb, and happy’, just as the Israelis were on October 6th.

When will America reunite its secular and religious populations who have grown too far apart? Are Americans waiting for an October 7 look-alike attack before we close our southern and northern borders, reform our racist/antisemitic school systems, and focus on fighting our domestic and foreign enemies?

We need to get going and not wait.

Happy Chanukah to all!