|Excerpt from this day’s program:
…I was so ignorant of Jewish history and thought for most of life because I was a so-called Reform Jew — which is bad grammar; it should be Reformed Jew — I was so ignorant because I thought, as I was led to believe, that Hanukkah was a holiday celebrating the abstract principle of freedom of religion for all people, a holiday the American Civil Liberties Union could love.
That’s two mistakes right there. The implication is that Hanukkah has all individuals in the world in mind who have a right to their religious beliefs. For sure they do, but that is not what this holiday is about. It is much closer to home and less universal. It is not about every man and woman’s right to believe what they want to believe. No, Hanukah remembers the Jews resisting those among them who insisted upon reforming the Jewish religion, by, for example, adding pigs to the animals that get sacrificed in the Temple.
These were the Hellenizers who thought it was good to adopt the ways of the Greek culture still dominant in the region after the death of Alexander, when his two principle generals Ptolemy and Seleucus took over, the former in Egypt, the latter Seleucus in Damascus. Greek culture for sure had much to recommend it, but it remained a pagan culture at odds with the ideas and commandments Hashem gives in the Chumash, the first five books of the Bible.
In other words, today’s friction between so called Reform Jews and the classical Jewishness of every community in the world in the 20th century except the United States, is nothing new…