The Obama administration has followed up on exploiting Passover for its political agenda by coming out with a new interpretation of Hanukkah, whose lights supposedly are to enlighten Jews to back the President’s program to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said at the annual lighting of the National Hanukkah Menorah:
So this is a joyous occasion, and yet as we heard earlier we are mindful that even as we gather here tonight, that while the light of freedom burns brightly for us and for our generation, it flickers for others.
Refugees fleeing religious intolerance and oppression. People targeted for their faith, people whose faith is perverted by others.
He suddenly dropped the Jewish angle and switched to speaking for all Americans, saying:
We are Americans, and as Americans we do not turn our backs on those who seek sanctuary. Nor do we stay quiet in the face of bigotry or intolerance. We stand up for those persecuted around the world.
McDonough then switched back to express his ignorance of Judaism and continued:
We remember this season that we too were once strangers, that our inheritance gives an obligation to remain true to our values, that as Jewish tradition teaches, by saving one life, we save the world.
He seems to be getting Passover, when Jews recall being “strangers in a strange land,” with Hanukkah, the celebration of twin miracles of the victory of a small number of Jews over Greek invaders of Jerusalem and of a one-day’s supply of pure olive oil burning for eight days after the holy Menorah was relit.
It is no wonder he got confused because Passover also has been used by President Barack Obama to promote his political agenda. This past year, as in previous years, the President acted as a would-be Torah sage to declare that Jews must drive into their minds that Arabs deserve their freedom just like Jews won their freedom with the help of God.
He meant freedom for Arabs in Judea and Samaria, where their main lack of freedom is to kill Jews at will, and not in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and other Muslim countries where freedom is a strange word in a strange land.
Chabad Rabbi Levi Shemtov expressed a different political interpretation on whose lack of freedom should be remembered.
After declaring his sorrow for the victims of the terror attack in San Bernardino, he said:
They, their families, their loved ones that are mourning are with us in our prayers and in our celebration today. So are the families of all those innocent souls in Paris. … We must remember them as we celebrate our freedom.
Because even though we and France are two free countries, freedom is not free, and when it is disrupted, we must pause and remember those who give their lives in that cause.