Chanukah: What if the Greeks Had Won?

Question

Why is Chanukah so important and what do you think would have happened if the Greeks had been successful in their war against the Maccabees?

1 month

Answers

  1. Chanukah is so important because it means the victory of Torah over Greek philosophy.
    Unlike previous pagan ideas so revolting to Jews, Greek paganism was bound up with beauty, art and philosophy. Therefore, it captured the imagination of many Jews. Many Jews became “Greekified,” or “Hellenists.”

    This may surprise you, but the Greeks did win, in a sense. You see, there was a battle and there was a war. The Maccabees won the battle and were able to hold on for a while, but eventually they succumbed to Pompeii’s conquest 80 years later.

    However, the miracle of the oil inspired us to realize that God is with us no matter what. Without that inspiration the Jewish People might not have been able to survive future periods of even greater persecution.

    Why the Maccabees? Because their father Mattityahu’s faith in God gave his family the courage to stand up against power and corruption. The name Maccabee comes from the Hebrew acronym “Mi Camocha B’eilim Hashem” – “who amongst the mighty is like You, God?” Although the Maccabee’s military victory ultimately didn’t last, the miraculous events of the war and the oil inscribed the message of faith and loyalty indelibly into the Jewish soul.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team