The Press has declared Joe Biden the winner. President Trump does not concede. Both parties have armies of lawyers already fighting the results in court. The decision may eventually rest with the Supreme Court, and we might only know what it is around the time Chanukah arrives.
There will be a certain irony for American Jews if that is when the future political direction the United States is settled.
Rabbi Nosson Meir Wachtfogel, zt”l, of Lakewood often asked the question why the Chanukah story was not written down in a scroll or a book the way that the story of Purim was. His answer was both astute and tragic.
The story of Purim, with its attempt to eradicate the Jewish people, would be repeated occasionally throughout history. The story of Chanukah does not have occasional reprises. The story of Chanukah never ended. It continues in every generation and era.
Jews often misunderstand exactly what that story and its main theme are. A number of years ago, a secular Israeli newspaper explained it perfectly. A journalist imagined a conversation between a secular Israeli father and his son after they lit their Chanukah menorah.
The son asks his dad if the Hashmonayim were “daatiyim.”
The father laughs and replies, “Ma Pitom? No! They were normal, just like us!”
The little boy points out that they did rededicate the Temple in Yerushalayim.
The father concedes they may have been a “bit” religious.
The son thinks and asks, “Did they keep kosher?”
The father mocks the idea.
The son points out that they reinstated the daily sacrifices. Then the boy asks, “Abba, were they Shomer Shabbat?”
This produces the loudest laughter yet from the father who finds the suggestion simply ridiculous.
The son says, “But Abba, they insisted on lighting the menorah using oil with the hechsher of the Kohen Gadol!”
The father concedes that perhaps they kept Shabbat too.
The son asks his final question, “Abba, if we had lived then…which side would we have fought on?”
The main battle of the Chanukah story was between Jews whose values had melted away in the face of the welcoming embrace of Greece and Hellenism and those who remained faithful to their peoplehood and a Jewish worldview. At that time the latter group of people were called “Misyavnim” – those who had become Greeks.
In other times Jews were seduced by other cultures, philosophies, and politics and welcomed the embrace of different “isms.” They now identified themselves as socialists, nationalists, or feminists. They took up arms to advance the cause of Revolutionary France or Russia. They even persecuted or killed other Jews who resisted those same revolutions. Others proudly identified with the countries they belonged to. “Berlin is our Jerusalem!”
The phenomenon of becoming “Greek” never ends and whatever name they give themselves, there are only ever two categories, the Jews and the Un-Jews.
There is an easy test to identify who belongs to which group. If a Jew’s beliefs, values, cultural icons, heroes, music, and literature are indistinguishable from those of general society, he or she is an Un-Jew.
If his or her beliefs and values are different and rooted in traditional Jewish ones, he or she remains a Jew.
And nothing upsets Un-Jews as much as Jews. It’s something that Herman Wouk wrote about already in 1959 in his masterpiece, This is my God. There he describes an assimilated Jewish New Yorker. He passes two Orthodox Jews in Manhattan. One has sidelocks; the other, although clean shaven, is clearly observant.
“As, these two unmistakable Jews pass our man, he is filled with resentment. He cries out in his heart (it will not do to shout it in the street) “I am not one of you! If you are Jews, I am not a Jew!”
Jonathan Neumann writes in his book, To Heal the World of today’s American Un-Jews…
“Their watchword is the Hebrew phrase Tikkun Olam. Loosely translated as “repair of the world,” this has become synonymous with “social justice.”
American Jews have been led to believe that, the purpose of the Jews in the world is to campaign for higher taxes, sexual permissiveness, reduced military spending, illegal immigration, opposition to fracking, the banishment of religion from the public square and every other liberal cause under the sun – all in the name of God.”
“Isn’t it just a little bit incredible for the teachings of the ancient faith of Judaism to happen to coincide, without exception, to the agenda of the liberal wing of today’s Democratic Party?”
The figures suggest that around 70 percent of American Jews voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Both stated their commitment to start refunding the Palestinian Authority. Both have declared their willingness to rejoin the Iran deal and send millions of dollars to the country that organizes conferences to “discuss” if the Holocaust happened while busily planning another one. Both are supporters of abortion up until the moment of birth, etc., etc., etc.
Do not be surprised if in bringing these facts to the attention of the 70 percent, like that Israeli father, they simply laugh. They and their parents long ago stopped sharing any common values or understanding with you.
They may be halachically Jews (although many are not), but they see the world through non-Jewish eyes.
It’s the Chanukah story all over again and it always is. It is fought in Israel and the Diaspora, the Jews and the Un-Jews.