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“But the court shall be seated, and they will take away
his dominion, to consume and destroy forever. Then the
kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms
under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the
saints of the Most High.”
The verse above, taken from the Hebrew Prophet Daniel, partially records the events surrounding the “first” Hanukkah. Antiochus Epiphanes, the evil Seleucid regional king, attacked Jerusalem in 168 BCE, invaded the restored Temple and committed the Abomination of Desolation. He actually put a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies. Thankfully, he and his dark hordes were overcome by Judas Hasmoneas; nicknamed Maccabee because he, together with his people, fought like a “hammer” and finally restored the sanctity of the Temple.
At the root of this assault against the Jewish people, so many years ago, was the curse of anti-Semitism. Sadly, this curse has manifested down through the centuries and today it is rising again everywhere. In the light of this; how can we celebrate Hanukkah? Is it possible to light our Hanukkah Candles, knowing full well that throughout Europe and even America ant-Semitism is at levels approaching the pre-war era and Israel herself is under threat of annihilation from Iran and her proxies? This is not speculation but the hard reality facing us. The truth is; yes we can and should because:
- 1. The “heavenly court” is seated. In other words G-d is watching and His heavenly Sanhedrin is seated. This designates sovereignty and quiet resolve. The resolve that watches over Israel day and night.
- The “dominion” of the anti-Semites will be taken away; just as that of Antiochus Epiphanes was taken away and that of all the evil doers of history.
- The people of Israel, in Daniel’s oracle called the “holy people”, will in the end be triumphant and at rest and, the light of G-d’s knowledge imparted to them, and through them, given to the whole earth will finally bring real peace to a broken and dark world. The miracle of Hanukkah will be for everyone….and,
- Ant-Semitism will finally be a thing of the past. G-d’s blessings will rain down on Israel forever and forever and the glory of the Lord will cover the whole earth. This is His sure promise.
So, just as the first Hanukkah was characterized by a miracle of light so now, we must, should and will believe that new miracles of light will preserve and sustain the nation of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere. Already, in this month of Kislev, we have witnessed the remarkable return of the remnant of Ethiopian Jewry and that of the Jews of Eastern Europe, who continue to ascend to Zion. Hanukkah is about deliverance and restoration and thus, with Daniel’s words giving us encouragement, it is my joy to wish you all a blessed and very special celebration of Hanukkah. May your days be filled with much joy, love and light.