As we celebrate the final night of Chanukah, I’d like to share with you an important article by my friend and teacher, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. It appeared in Haaretz last week, offering an important warning about how we read the story of Chanukah with regards to contemporary Israel:
“Price tag” rioters who attack Palestinians who have done no wrong, desecrate mosques and set fire to copies of the Koran see themselves as similar to the ancient heroes of Judea, who fought against the Greek-Syrian rabble that desecrated the Temple and forced them to bow down to idols.
And so I say to you:
You consider yourselves the new Hasmoneans, the Maccabees who do not bow their heads before the Hellenizing priestly establishment, which today, you believe, wears the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces. Because you are convinced that all your deeds are for the sake of heaven, you will never admit that you have sinned. And without recognition of sin, there is no repair and no repentance and no atonement. [Read more.]
The ultimate message of Chanukah was not about the revolt, but about the peace that followed. We pray that this year, Chanukah will once again be followed by peace.