Jewish holiday Chanukah is very relevant to what's happening in America today.
Today is the sixth day of the Jewish holiday Chanukah, which lasts 8 days. But most people (including most Jews) don't understand what Chanukah is really all about.
Chanukah is incredibly pertinent to what we're going through right now in America. It's about winning a seemingly unwinnable culture war.
In the second century B.C., the rulers of Israel -- the powerful Syrian empire -- had forced paganism on the country with a ruthless force.
Pagan holidays, customs, and religious practices were imposed on the citizens of Israel, and statues of pagan gods were erected throughout the country. People who refused to bow down to idols, or make sacrifices to them, were tortured and killed. (You think "Earth Day" and imposed "Holiday" parties are annoying? That's nothing.)
People were allowed to have some "private" religious beliefs, but no public acknowledgement of God was allowed anywhere. Sabbath observance, study of the Bible, and other Jewish customs and rituals were banned. People who did not comply were executed.
Sadly, many Jews embraced this and willingly abandoned God. Most others complied and offered no resistance.
Finally, a small band of fighters had had enough. They fled into the hills formed a resistance movement and a guerilla army to fight back. Such a fight was considered impossible against the Syrian empire. But they fought nevertheless. They didn't give up. And with God's help they finally won. They drove out the Syrians and took back the country. They cleaned out the Temple in Jerusalem that had been turned into a pagan shrine, and while doing that a one-day supply of holy oil lasted eight days - until more holy oil could be made - thus the eight-day celebration today.
This ought to be an annual lesson to us. Even though the forces ruling us want to drive out God from our lives and impose horrible things on us, do not give up. It's not lost. Seemingly impossible circumstances can and will be overcome with God's help. But you must be willing to fight back.
Happy Chanukah! -Brian Camenker
Going public. Rabbi Moshe Lieberman lights a large Chanukah menorah on the public green this week in Newton, Mass -- Barney Frank's home town . . . and the ACLU didn't stop him!
(Brian Camenker is a member of Rabbi Lieberman's congregation.) NOTE: Barney Frank was busy in WashingtonDC pushing Obama's health care bill and could not attend.