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Happy Chanukah

Thursday, 2 December, 2010 - 11:47 am

A small army defeats a world superpower. How did that happen? Because G-d was on their side. I am talking about the story of Chanukah! (click here for the story)  Chanukah is still relevant today.  The Greeks did not mind if the Jews followed the ways of “cultural” Judaism. The connection with G-d and the faith that there is one G-d who runs the world, was unacceptable to them. They worshipped the mind and the body. The Greek kingdom forbade Jews to keep many of the commandments, in their effort to destroy the Jews’ connection to G-dly Judaisim. They wanted the Jews to forget that the Torah that they learn is G-d’s Torah and the mitzvot that they follow  are G-d’s mitzvot (commandments.)  

For the first time in recent history, the vast majority of Jews live in countries where they can practice their Judaism freely and without oppression. Still, many accept Jews among those in the melting pot but don’t accept Jews who are proud of our Jewish heritage. There are still those that don’t want us to enter G-d’s House, the Temple in Jerusalem (of the Chaukah story). They still don’t want us to live in the way that G-d wants us to live.  For thousands of years we have lived in the ways G-d showed us to live.  The Greeks’ lost the war and we purified “G-d’s Sanctuary.”

This is one of the messages of Chanukah, Our responsibility is to express the right printed in the Constitution that there should be no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion! Say it loud and say it proud! I am a Jew! We may be few in Harford County, nonetheless, we are proud of our religion! We are proud to be in America, where we are free to practice the religion of our choice! We are free to practice “Your Torah” because it is Yours and You, our G-d, shared it with us!

Happy Chanukah and Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. You can say the prayer below throughout Chanukah to remember the miracle.

We thank You also for the miraculous deeds and for the redemption and for the mighty deeds and the saving acts wrought by You, as well as for the wars which You waged for our ancestors in ancient days at this season.

In the days of the Hasmonean Mattathias, son of Johanan the high priest, and his sons, when the iniquitous Greco-Syrian kingdom rose up against Your people Israel, to make them forget Your Torah and to turn them away from the ordinances of Your will, then You in your abundant mercy rose up for them in the time of their trouble, pled their cause, executed judgment, avenged their wrong, and delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and insolent ones into the hands of those occupied with Your Torah. Both unto Yourself did you make a great and holy name in Thy world, and unto Your people did You achieve a great deliverance and redemption. Whereupon your children entered the sanctuary of Your house, cleansed Your temple, purified Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courts, and appointed these eight days of Hanukkah in order to give thanks and praises unto Your holy name.

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