Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Vayeshev - 5772
CHANUKAH AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL
Chanukah is a holiday that gets a substantial amount of coverage; and not just within the Jewish world. Just over a week ago the President of the United States hosted -albeit early- in the White House, a party for a group of followers of the Mosaic faith. Several countries, including Canada, have issued stamps with a Menorah, and even Sesame Street has joined the celebration (Google: Elmo Hanukkah). I believe that Chanukah's high-profile can be utilized as a tool of education for something quite important.
Over the past few years the State of Israel is confronted by an ideology that does not recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish claim to statehood. This view is not new; it has been part of the Arab discourse for decades. What has changed is the fact that, "It is no longer shameful in civilized circles to call for stripping Israel of its Jewishness." (Elhanan Yakira, professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.)
From intellectual circles to media outlets we are hearing more and more about a one-state solution allowing all "Palestinians" to return "home" - in which Israel would ostensibly lose its character as a Jewish state - to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The campaign of de-legitimization and vilification of Israel is a scary reality that cannot be ignored. We must all become advocates of our beloved land.
The Chanukah story is a great opportunity to remind the world of our roots in the Land of Israel. When asked about the significance of the holiday please make mention of the fact that the Jewish people regained sovereignty over their home land and that it took place over two thousand years ago.
Sadly, we live in a world of intellectual darkness. Hopefully we can shed some light with the flame of our candles.
Chanukah Sameach and Shabbat Shalom.