Ambivalence Toward Hanukkah

The holiday we celebrate today is a rabbinic creation.

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The reason is that the rabbis were not happy with the Maccabean approach to Jewish life. They were writing in the period when similar revolts against Rome, seeking to win the Jews political independence, to turn Judea into a rocky fortress, and to toughen the Jewish people had been systematically and brutally smashed by the iron fist of Rome. Only the rabbinical kind of power--the power not of rock but water, fluid and soft from moment to moment and yet irresistible over the long run--had survived. Only the rabbinical kind of power had protected and preserved Jewish peoplehood.

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Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow

Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow directs the Shalom Center and is the author of numerous books, including Godwrestling, Godwrestling--Round 2, Seasons of Our Joy, The Bush is Burning, and These Holy Sparks.