Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace–John Lennon, Imagine
Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria, a ruler who sought to end conflict among people, tried to make his empire a peaceful place by eradicating differences among the diverse groups in his empire and by having everyone assimilate.
This well-intentioned or evil ruler, depending on your point of view, wanted all people to have one religion so that there would be no religious disputes. He also wanted all people to have one culture so there would be no cultural disputes, and he wanted all people to be of one race so there would be no racial disputes.
His solution was to create a great melting pot where various minority peoples–including Jews–would be assimilated into his brave new world.
A few “extremist” Jews (i.e., those who didn’t agree) said “No thanks, we like ourselves just as we are.” These grassroots “extremists,” led by Judah Maccabee, a peasant, resisted blending in, and they were hated and reviled as what we would now call “racists,” “bigots,” “extremists,” “separatists,” “supremacists.”
Not all Jews helped Maccabee. In fact, the elites of Jewish society favored the blending away of the Jews and they helped the tyrant in his attempt at assimilation.
The “extremist” Maccabees, weren’t having it and they fought against both the Syrian tyrant and their own Jewish elites. In time, the Maccabees won, and Jews who didn’t assimilate, became the only Jews, and they celebrated their victory over the forces of assimilation with Hanukkah.
So, Hanukkah was about Jews being able to have their own identity, religion and self-determination as a distinct people and in the manner that they themselves decided was right for themselves, and it was a struggle against their genocide and extinction by assimilation.
There are lessons in Hanukkah for both modern Jews and non-Jews alike.
It may be time for more Maccabees , because the forces that want to blend all nations, all religions and all races together are working overtime to accomplish this.
One can almost imagine Antiochus singing John Lennon’s song Imagine.
Funny, when you hear Lennon singing this, the blending away of distinct races, nations and religions doesn’t sound evil, does it?
But, for those who believe that distinct races, nations and religions have a right to exist as they choose to exist and to remain separate and have their own self-identification and self-determination without interference from other races, nations and religions, it is evil.
By H. Millard © 2017
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