Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The preservation of Jewish selfhood.”

In commemoration of the Jewish victory over Hellenism, we celebrate Chanukah as the festival of those people who are still moved by zeal for their Judaism.

Chanukah is perceived by the public as a pleasant holiday, for it entails many delights and hardly any duties, but in essence, it is a religious-zealous holiday.

The direct result of the war that we recall and celebrate on Chanukah was Judaism’s survival.

Had the Hasmoneans not undertaken the struggle, or had they lost it, it is reasonable to assume that our fate would have been like that of the other peoples of the region – the Philistines, Ammonites, and Moabites – who assimilated to the point of the loss of their ethnic identity and their disappearance from the stage of history.

The war was over the preservation of Jewish selfhood.

Miraculously, we have thus far prevailed in this aim.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz