What Did The Maccabees Fight Against?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: We know that the Maccabees didn’t fight only against the Greeks but also against the Hellenists. What is this conflict about? Is it about two opposite ideologies?

Answer: The concept of Hellenism is a perception of reality, a paradigm, a worldview, a philosophy, and a perspective of the world. The world perceptions of the Greeks and the Romans were totally egoistic.

They claimed that man is in the center of the creation and that it isn’t bad and it isn’t a mistake. Man was considered a perfect creature, which means that his evolution has been completed and that he cannot change his nature. According to this perception evolution could only be:

  • Physical—sports and Olympic Games;
  • Rational—the fabrication of myths and fantasies, which were common in those days.

The wisdom of Kabbalah is the approach that allowed the Israeli nation to come out of the universal Babylon, which is the basis for all the other perceptions, including the Greek perception, and the natural evolution of the desire and the mind in order to attain a good life in this world. All the other perceptions regarding our nature refer to this world.

That method is based on absorption, on perceiving, and on receiving with the help of the raging ego that constantly develops in a person. This force is like a tight spring that is released inside us constantly pushing us to different pleasures.

Thus we cook inside our ego, each in his own pot, and all of us together in one giant pot. This process helps us advance scientifically, culturally, in sports, and in other aspects that make our life more comfortable. Thanks to the ego that constantly burns inside us as a part of our nature, we build fantastic things to satisfy ourselves.

But there is an opposite approach according to which our nature is basically evil. Why?—Because it isn’t for connection between people but leads to separation between them. After all, each one establishes relations with others only for one’s own benefit. Therefore, this approach is flawed and destructive.

My nature forces me to take advantage of everything that goes on around me, everyone that is around me. It is all for my benefit. This is a natural desire, my innate attribute. At any given moment I weigh my moves in order to use the world egoistically.

This leads to detachment because we are in a continuous struggle between us, in competition, which is the basis of the ancient Greek culture. The Olympic Games are a clear example of that. Eventually the Greek approach requires the use of others for our own benefit.

On the other hand, our nation believes in totally different values. Abraham gathered his students and explained to them that they were to establish a society that should live on the principles of mutuality, unity, and love. The essence of the Jewish approach means that the other is more important than me.

This perception that Abraham initiated was carried on through Egypt, Mount Sinai, and the land of Israel and was accepted until two thousand years ago. The principle remained unchanged—to constantly develop for the benefit of others so that they will be more important to me than myself.

But what do I gain from that? After all, this approach is also based on the ego because we have nothing else but that.

Such an attitude towards others allows me to exit my nature, to ascend above my limitations, above my body, and to feel the world through the others who are dearer to me than myself.

This is exactly how a mother sees the wellbeing of the world through the wellbeing of her own child. It is as if she dresses in him and then she doesn’t operate according to her own desires but in his benefit.

If I dress that way in all of humanity, I will see a totally different perfect world regardless of my attributes, my desires, and my limitations.

The Greek approach is based on absorption, while the Jewish approach is based in bestowal, on exiting myself, which allows me to discover the force of nature that operates on the outside. In addition to that, I acquire the force of love and bestowal by which I explore all of reality.

The main thing is that I discover the upper force, which created all of the spiritual reality that operates in bestowal and also the corporeal, egoistic reality that operates in receiving. I know the general force and ascend to its level. When I detach myself from the egoistic desire of my body, I ascend above it to an eternal dimension of love and bestowal. Why is it eternal? Because it is whole and lacks nothing.

On the other hand, Greek perception can eventually contribute to a person during his short corporeal life and that’s all. Since all its goals don’t exceed the framework of the physical existence and the body isn’t eternal.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 12/14/14

Related Material:
The Maccabees And The Greek Ideology, Part 2
The Maccabees And The Greek Ideology, Part 1
The Maccabean Wars

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