By David Taffet
This time of year, I usually write a “Why I Hate Chanukah” story.
I have a whole list of reasons Hanuka isn’t my favorite holiday starting with: I won’t celebrate a holiday they can’t decide how to spell. Also, Channukah celebrates a battle victory. I prefer holidays like Rosh Hashanah, secular Rosh Hashanah (that’s New Year’s) or Passover, which celebrates freedom from slavery. I love Martin Luther King Day, which honors civil rights.
In 164 B.C., the Maccabbees, a Jewish tribe, fought against Antiochus IV, the Assyrian tyrant who came to power in 175 B.C. and ruled over Judea.
Until Antiochus, the Jews in Judea were allowed to practice their own religion. Antiochus was threatened by people who practiced different religions, so he desecrated the temple in Jerusalem and forbade celebrating the Jewish Sabbath.
Political positions, under Antiochus, were sold to the highest bidder. Unqualified cronies were given high positions. Civil liberties were restricted and the government pillaged and plundered its own people.
Hannukah celebrates 4,000 Maccabbees beating the crap out of an army of 40,000 Assyrians. They won by inventing guerrilla warfare. Really, I prefer some of the other contributions Jews have made to the world, like Windows XP or thumb drives that were both developed in Israel.
But this year, I really like Hanuka. It’s a holiday that warns us what will happen if we allow unqualified people to take leadership jobs and political positions go to the highest bidder and if we allow religious bigotry to be enshrined in government.
But I wasn’t thinking of Donald Trump. Really. I wasn’t.