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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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The Fighting Light of Chanukah

Light at Chicago Union Station 1943

Israel’s mission, however, can only be accomplished through the Jewish people sovereign over Eretz Yisrael with the Torah serving as our national constitution. Only through this criterion can Israel lift the veils of reality and expose the Divine light constantly present, revealing HaShem as the intangible Oneness that includes, sustains and permeates all.

While this reality of G-D’s grandeur is always true, it is often hidden from man’s consciousness by curtains of perception. It therefore becomes possible for a person to acknowledge his own life while simultaneously denying the existence of the Divine Source who provides his every moment of being and is, in fact, his higher inner Self. It is Israel’s task to eliminate the curtains and reveal the Divine light of existence – to bring the world to a state of perfection where all humankind achieves awareness of HaShem.

Although G-D’s presence is hidden in day-to-day events, He continues to work through the system that He created in order to return that very system back to the full expression of His Oneness. Through a Divinely guided historical process, all of existence is sanctified and revealed as actually occurring within its ultimate Source. Not only supernatural miracles but also the entire world, with all of its natural laws, is being pulled toward Creation’s momentous goal through the story of Israel’s national rebirth on our native soil. This idea is clearly illustrated by the past hundred years of world history. The full restoration of the Israeli Kingdom in our homeland will remove the remaining curtains that prevent man’s self-awareness and bring humanity to understand that we are all aspects and expressions of a greater Reality.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto teaches in Derech HaShem that G-D placed forces of evil into our story as an essential ingredient that enables free will, struggle and human growth. This evil has the task of working to prevent HaShem’s light from shining and Creation from reaching its ultimate goal. Throughout history, this evil has manifested itself as four main human empires, each attempting in its own unique way to impede Israel from reaching our full potential as the holy kingdom that will bring the light of G-D’s Truth to mankind. This is the cosmic battle between light and darkness waging down through the ages of civilization.

The four kingdoms – Babylon, Persia, Greece and Edom – that have usurped Israel’s role and have dominated the globe throughout most of world history emerged from the inherently deficient nature of existence. These empires aim to hold back HaShem’s light through preventing Israel from reaching our full national potential. Each of these empires, however, has had it’s own unique method for obstructing the Jewish mission.

Knowing that the Hebrew Nation must be in Eretz Yisrael in order to fulfill our role, the Babylonians worked to physically separate the Nation of Israel from the Land of Israel. They exiled us from our borders and provided us with comfortable lives in a foreign land. This simple separation, although Jews remained Torah observant in the Diaspora, was enough to prevent our light from being revealed. The soil of Babylon was simply not conducive to Israel’s Divine national mission.

The Persians had a different approach. Haman convinced his king to completely annihilate the Jews. As a descendent of Amalek, he could not stand to live in the same world as the Hebrew Nation. By removing the bearers of G-D’s light from the story, he believed he could succeed in snuffing out the Divine flame.

Greece did not try to remove the Jews from their borders nor did it initially attempt a physical destruction. Instead, the Seleucid Syrian-Greeks sought to attack Israel spiritually by lowering G-D’s Torah to the level of a human wisdom on par with other wisdoms of the time. Unsatisfied with their success, the Hellenists then sought to sever the Hebrew Nation from our Torah through harsh decrees and cultural pollution. The Torah’s Divinity was viewed as a threat to Greek philosophy, which valued human intellect above all else and could not tolerate wisdom beyond mortal comprehension.

Because the light of Torah was so far beyond their intellectual grasp and because it contradicted so many of their beliefs, the Hellenists felt a drive to uproot it from the world. They implemented tyrannical edicts, inciting Matityahu and his sons to revolt.

These three empires each attacked an essential ingredient to Israel fulfilling our purpose in Creation. The fourth kingdom, however, which first emerged as the Roman Empire and has since taken on numerous manifestations, is a combination of all three attempts in a much more destructive and concentrated form.

Throughout the last two thousand years, the Western world (Edom) has tried its hand at all three methods on countless occasions. Three recent examples are the terrible Holocaust in Europe less than a century ago, the British Empire restricting Jewish entry to our homeland and the Soviet Union forcibly separating its Jews from their Torah. The international community’s insistence on not permitting Israel to exert sovereignty over the whole of our country and the money spent by Western governments on diluting the State of Israel’s Jewish character are two modern expression of this evil force. A candle flickers brightest immediately before it is extinguished and today the forces of Edom stand ready to amass against Jerusalem, subconsciously aware that its own end is at hand. As Israel experiences a national rebirth on our native soil, the forces of evil are gathering all of their strength to wage a final war to stamp out our light. In the wake of Israel’s triumph, Edom’s iniquity will be exposed and mankind’s thinking will be liberated from the cultural tyranny of two thousand years. Concepts of good and truth will be elevated to meanings of newer and higher significance as Israel reclaims the mantle of guiding the world and revealing HaShem’s Oneness to all of mankind.

About the Author: Yehuda HaKohen teaches history at several Jerusalem institutions and is a seasoned activist for indigenous rights in the Middle East and a vocal opponent of attempts to shrink Israel's borders. Yehuda organizes grassroots Jewish-Arab dialogue meetings for the purpose of fostering mutual acceptance and understanding.


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One Response to “The Fighting Light of Chanukah”

  1. Ariana says:

    Equating the Western World with “Edom” has no basis in fact. Edom was Semitic tribe that originated in the Middle East. Any descendants of Edom would probably be Arab Muslims now. During Roman times, Edomite descendants were used by Rome as puppet rulers over Judea; however, the Romans themselves were of Greek descent and were not Edomites or Semitic. The Western World is not Edom or Edomite or even close.

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