Jim's Journal


One of my Christian friends sent an email asking about Hanukah. He is a fraternity brother and I jokingly replied that it was like all holidays “they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat”
He incorrectly thought it was about an 8 day siege but I gave him the following explanation.
It’s one of the few holidays based on documented fact rather than the bible. It’s the story of Judah Maccabee (d. 160 BCE), his brothers and army of Rebels against the Assyrian forces. It’s an early win against the antisemitic leadership who ruled the remains of the Seleucid empire that forwent the original principles of Alexander who was benevolent to the Jews and let them worship as they wanted as long as they were loyal to the empire. But that empire fell to pieces. Instead they desecrated the temple and installed Greek God statues. In an early win Judah retook the temple and restored it. So the story is not so much about the siege but actually being able to reimplement services with very little oil to burn.
Judah was a badass you can read up on it here. It’ll give you some insight into why Jewish people are so belligerent in wanting to retain Israel, it is an example of retaking land that had been taken by empires, something that has happened again and again even until today’s false borders created after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
This was a real war with treaties and eventual gorilla warfare. Eventually, he martyred (think The 300) and inspired a greater rebellion, they eventually won independence and the ability to worship freely. Until the Romans came – 160 years later and you all know that story. đŸ˜‰