The meaning of Chanukah: A Maccabee response to the knockout game

Weakness invites thuggery and peace goes to the lion, not the lamb Photo: Hanukkah/ AP

NEW YORK, November 27, 2013 — Still today there is controversy as to the “real meaning of Chanukah.” So let’s keep it simple by declaring that Chanukah is about a group of Hebrew fighters who were mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore. These were the Maccabees, hammers for justice and freedom in Judea/Israel some 2,000 years ago.

The Maccabees took to heart the Torah dictate that the Hebrews were to be “a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.”

So, outnumbered and out-gunned, they used guerilla tactics to rise up against their Hellenistic oppressors who had defiled the land, the people and the Temple.

They won, they lost, but what counted was this – they fought.

A while later something similar came about, only this time it was the Bar Kochba Revolt against the Romans.

Here too there were victories and defeats, but again – they fought.

So let us put to rest the notion that Jews are pushovers. Led by the Almighty Himself, Moses and Joshua were summoned to fight and to conquer. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “Jews do not glorify war.” This is true. But it is also true that at the Song of the Sea – from the book of Exodus  — the Hebrews paid tribute to God as their “Man of War.”

King David was surely a man of war, and so was Deborah.

We can agree that Jews do not like war and do not seek war, but when provoked, they can turn ferocious.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In exile for 2,000 years, until 1948, they were at home among a hundred different countries to which they were completely loyal, serving honorably in the military from one tsar to the next, but they were doomed when they were singled out to satisfy the lure of anti-Semitism. Only in America was it different.

But otherwise, one moment they were citizens and next moment they were captives. During this period, until the rededication of Israel, Jews were thought to be passive.

When Jews are perceived as soft, they pay.

A thug who beat up a Yeshiva student in Brooklyn admitted that he did so because “Jews don’t fight back.”

This was before the Knockout Game that has been making the news.

The Knockout Game – that is where a mob of cowards seeks to flatten and disable the white and the helpless. One punch to the jaw does the trick. This has New York walking scared.  Same for the rest of the country, and you do not have to be Jewish. Anyone walking alone defenseless can be next.

Weakness invites thuggery.

Seek and you will find that whenever Israel starts appeasing its enemies, anti-Semitism zooms up. So as Jerusalem releases hundreds of terrorist prisoners as a (useless) “gesture for peace,” it is no wonder that Jewish men and woman, boys and girls, fear the streets of New York.

After the 1967 War, Israel was celebrated for its chutzpah and around the world it was safe to be Jewish. But after the Yom Kippur War, where Israel dithered, before the IDF roused itself, the world took it as a sign of weakness, and the bullies prevailed. Give them a momentary lapse of your courage, and it is enough for them to go hunting.

Some day there will be peace on earth and there will be goodwill all around, but meanwhile there is no such bliss to be found, not yet, and few of us see it coming here, now, in our day. If there is such a blissful place it is up in heaven and even our Books of Scripture tell us that the divine words, from the lips of God to the hand of Moses, were written not for the angels, but for us down here on earth, where we are to deal with the facts.

People are people and that is no compliment.

Let there be light in the Festival of Lights. Let there be peace upon two nations that seek peace, America and Israel.

But peace comes to the lion, not the lamb.


The latest from Jack Engelhard, the award-winning memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, here.



















This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

More from A Novelist’s View of the World
blog comments powered by Disqus
Jack Engelhard

Jack Engelhard enjoys international fame as a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, which was turned into film starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His memoir Escape From Mount Moriah has been acclaimed for excellence and a movie version was an official selection at CANNES. Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer. Engelhard’s journalism covers all topics, with special focus on  the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe. He can be contacted at


Contact Jack Engelhard


Please enable pop-ups to use this feature, don't worry you can always turn them off later.

Question of the Day
Photo Galleries
Popular Threads
Powered by Disqus