Chanukah is dedicated to events that happened in 167 BC, the war of the Maccabees. But the war was conducted not only against the Greeks.
Between the people of Israel themselves there was a great schism that divided the society into two groups: those who opposed the invasion of the Greeks and those who supported it. The secular elite accepted new values that were brought to the people of Israel by the Greeks.
And the second group, that called itself the Maccabees, opposed the penetration of Greek culture into the Jewish people. In this manner, a schism appeared among the people, an internal ideological war. And all of this was under the conditions of a serious external threat.
Is it possible to see here some kind of parallel with what is happening in our day in Israeli society, which also lives under conditions of an internal schism and an external threat today?
Answer: Clearly, the situation today is much different from the wars of the Maccabees. This is because the Greeks didn’t come to conquer the land of Israel; they only wanted to instill their culture, attitude towards nature, science, and way of life into it.
This was the inner essence of these wars. They were intended to disseminate Greek materialism to everyone. The Greeks agreed that higher forces of nature exist, but they were very simple. The main thing was that a person should bow down to them, and he could then live however he wanted regarding everything else.
They didn’t demand that a person live according to the laws of connection and unity, as was customary among the people of Israel. So, many people willingly accepted the dominance of the Greeks. If a person accepted Greek culture, their statues, their stadiums, then he would become like them. Much later, the English and the French established colonies in African nations with identical goals by bringing their culture to them.
In other words, this was a war of cultures. Among the people of Israel, a war broke out because the people didn’t want to accept the Greek materialistic approach to life. This led to an internal schism among the people of Israel between those who accepted the Greek approach and those who opposed it.
A materialistic approach to life was accepted specifically by the elites, the military officers, the rich, the executives, and the highest strata of society.
Question: And what was the culture of the people of Israel in that period that they so much wanted to protect from the Greeks?
Answer: This was the same culture that manifested itself in the group of Abraham on the basis of, “And you shall love your friend as yourself.” It connected everyone through love and mutual bestowal. Each one understood that he was connected with everyone else and existed thanks only to this connection and unity.
Through the realization of a connection like this between them, they felt their connection with the higher power of nature. This is because there is only one higher power at work in all of nature, which can be called the Creator.
This power illuminates a person according to the law of equivalence of form. When we connect among us, then we also become singular, like this power. And so it begins to illuminate us and we feel it. We feel this illumination, the presence of this bright power among us, which brings us blessing and success in all of our activities.
This is like a good energy that is discovered in every person among the people of Israel and in all of these people together.
Question: If this force is the bearer of such goodness, why were the Greeks against it?
Answer: The idea is that in order to discover this force in our connection, it is necessary to conduct a struggle with our ego. This is because the ego pushes us away from each other and it is necessary to fight it all the time in order to have an inclination to be drawn towards everyone.
So we must awaken the forces of society that will obligate each one to be attracted towards it, to publicize this knowledge and call for everyone to be concerned about everyone else. This is called mutual responsibility. The main thing is connection and unity between us. We exist and win thanks only to this.
From the program “A New Life” 12/11/14