An Orthodox Jew and “fierce conservative Republican,” screenwriter Robert J. Avrech has never been afraid to bristle the feathers of his liberal Hollywood co-religionists. I don’t always agree with his opinions, but he writes passionately and, here, he’s a bit more romantic about the story of Chanukah than some.
It’s important to recognize that Chanukah is not a celebration of multiculturalism or tolerance. I know that some members of the more liberal branches of Judaism are trying to push the notion of the Maccabees as a bunch of global warming greenies.
This is discourse that is self-parody and certainly has nothing to do with Torah Judaism. It’s fashion run amok, dopey, disposable junk-ideas; here today, gone tomorrow.
The Maccabees were intolerant of the Syrian-Greek society. They despised the cruelty, oppression and Jew-hatred that characterized Greek culture.
The Maccabees raised the banner of revolution for religious freedom, for the primacy of the Torah.
They also went to war against apostate Jews, traitors to G-d and to Judaism. Jews who endured painful surgeries in order to reverse their circumcisions in order to compete naked in the public sports gymnasiums that were celebrated in liberal Greek society.
The Maccabees were zealots who declared total war against assimilationist Jews. Jews who sought to overthrow the authority of the Torah and replace that authority with modern, secular values.
Abhorring the idol worship of Greek culture, the deeply observant and conservative Maccabees despised the elite, “highly educated” secular Jews who collaborated with the ruling Syrian Greeks and who agreed to bow down to idols and indulged in hedonistic public sexual activities.
The Hasmoneans batttled to win the independence of the state of Israel from foreign oppression. They yearned to purify the holy Jewish Temple from foreign worship, and they fought savage wars to unite Jerusalem.