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December 09, 1988 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

!TORAH PORTION

I

CONGREGATION WriAl DAVID
IS NOW IN WEST BLOOMFIELD!

Lesson of Chanukah:
Peace Presceiption

RABBI MORTON F. YOLKUT .

Special to The Jewish News

T

he miracle of Chanu-
kah consisted not only
of the extraordinary
burning time of the little
cruse of oil, but in the
miraculous military triumph
of the Maccabees. It was in-
deed a miraculous event
when a miniscule and weak
Jewish army succeeded in
driving out from Judea the
most powerful military
establishment of that era.
The Maccabean revolt is im-
portant in the history of the
world because it represents

Shabbat
Genesis 41:1-44:17
, Zechariah 2:14-4:7

0

.

H.•

•••



the first time in recorded
history that a nation went to
war in defense of religious
freedom. In terms of Jewish
history, it was an important
victory because for the first
time in several hundred
years, the Jews achieved an
independent state of their
own. That victory parallels
the establishment of the
State of Israel in our own day.
Yet, all this information
about the Maccabean revolu-
tion and ultimate victory
would have remained
unknown to us had it not
been for the preservation by
others of apocryphal books,
among them the Book of the
Maccabees.
Jewish sources, particular-
ly the Talmud, gloss over
these crucial aspects of the
Chanukah story. In the rab-
binic accounts, there is little
mention of the military vic-
tories and not even a sugges-
tion of a new independent
state. Instead, the rabbis of
the Talmud chose to em-
phasize only the miracle of
the oil.
Why? Because peace, not
war, was considered the
Jewish ideal. This thought is
attested to by the prophet
Zechariah in the haftorah
chosen for Shabbat
Chanukah: "Not by strength
nor by might but by my spirit,
saith the Lord of Hosts"
(Zech. 4:6).
Judaism does not subscribe
to pacifism. One of the great
myths of history is that Jews
never fought, that they were
absolute pacifists. On the con-
trary, Jewish law teaches that
one may kill in self defense.

Morton Yolkut is rabbi at
Congregation B'nai David. -

And Judaism knows of the
"just war," which may be
fought either for self defense
or because of divine com-
mand. We have always
recognized that in an im-
perfect society we must
sometimes resort to arms
against the enemy to prevent
him from killing the
innocent.
But the lesson of Chanukah
is that we celebrate our
military triumphs in a
spiritual manner. We do not
extol our military heroes or
their victories.
When nations today
celebrate the anniversary of
their independence, they pre-
sent military parades,
patriotic speeches and exhibi-
tions of their latest weaponry.
The rabbis of the Talmud, by
contrast, asked us to
celebrate the Maccabean vic-
tory by kindling lights. It was
to be remembered as a
spiritual — not a military —
victory.
This idea tells us much
about the soul of Judaism and
about the focus of Jewish
ideology and practice in the
face of a world that so sharp-
ly differs from us. We could
not as Jews turn an In-
dependence Day or a Bastille
Day — with all their
ideological implications — in-
to feasts of firecrackers in-
stead of festivals of lights.
The lesson of Chanukah is
a guide to our involvement in
war and peace. In times of
crises, when our religious
freedom is in danger, when
forces of evil and tyranny
overrun the world, we have
the obligation to fight. We
have fought and we will fight
when necessary.
But Chanukah also
reminds us that war entails
death and suffering, and often
the killing of the innocent
and the maiming of the
defenseless. And thus, we are
never to glorify war nor extol
our military victories.
At this season of the year; as
the world continues to live
under the ubiquitous specter
of war and annihilation, the
Jew lights his Chanukah
candles hoping and praying
that others will follow the ex-
ample and learn the message
of Chanukah, which is, in its
own way, a prescription for
peace.

Rabbi To Speak

Rabbi Dannel I. Schwartz
will speak on "Dealing with
Christmas" 10 a.m. Sunday
at Bloomfield Charley's
Restaurant.

Congregation B'nai David is very proud to announce the
OPENING of our new SUNDAY SCHOOL in West Bloom-
field, located at the MAPLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (15
Mile Between Halsted/Haggarty). The School is OPEN to
MEMBERS and NON-MEMBERS of the community. Initial
Session for our K-1 program is JANUARY 8, 1989, and
on Sundays for the remainder of the school year.

.

For ENROLLMENT information, CONTACT THE
C.B.D.S. SCHOOL OFFICE AT: 557-8210.

OPEN HOUSE

December 11, 1988
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

COME MEET OUR HIGHLY QUALIFIED
INSTRUCTOR, AS WELL AS OUR CLERGY
AND ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF.

-- Refreshments will be served ---

CONGREGATION B'NAI DAVID IS MICHIGAN'S LARGEST TRADI-
TIONAL SYNAGOGUE . .. SERVING THE NEED AND EDUCATION
FOR OUR LEADERS OF TOMORROW-TODAY.

Advertising in The Jewish News Gets Results
Place Your Ad Today. Call 354-6060

.

THE TAY-SACHS DILEMMA

AN ORTHODOX APPROACH AND RESPONSE

PUBLIC LECTURE

Monday, December 12th

8:00 p.m.

featuring

RALPH CASH ) M.D.

Associate Professor, W.S.U. Medical School
Former Chairman of Pediatrics at Sinai
Host of Talk-Show on WXYT
Writer of Weekly Column in Free Press

RABBI SHAIALL ZACHARIASH

Rabbi of Congregation Shomrey Emunah
at the
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
15110 W. 10 Mile Road, Oak Park

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

33

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