A New Chanukah Miracle

chanukah

As you are probably aware, Hanukkah (or Chanukah or lots of different transliterated spellings) is coming up. This year it will be commemorated from sundown on Tuesday, December 12 to sundown on Wednesday, December 20.

I was reading Rabbi Kalman Packouz’s commentary on Chanukah earlier and of course, re-evaluated my relation (if any) with the observance. I mean it’s difficult to objectively insert myself as a non-Jew into a purely Jewish historical event complete with miracle from Hashem.

Of course since today President Donald Trump formally recognized that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state of Israel barely a week before Chanukah, I suppose this too is a sort of miracle and one relevant to the entire world.

(The real miracle would be if the realm of news and social media wouldn’t have a total anti-Semitic hissy fit and meltdown over it, but I suppose that’s asking too much.)

I read somewhere (I can’t find the source now) that historically, the world has tried to destroy the Jews in two different ways, physically as a people (genocide, ethnic cleansing) and by assimilation into general culture (eliminating Jewish identity and uniqueness). Purim is the Jewish celebration of victory over the former and Chanukah the commemoration of victory over the latter.

But what does any of that have to do with non-Jew? In both cases, it’s non-Jews who are the problem, not the solution. Even those of us to are linked to the Jewish community one way or the other (okay, I’m married to a Jewish wife, but that only links me to her, not the community) and who are pro-Israel weren’t involved in either original event, so what do we have to celebrate, except perhaps in solidarity? It’s not our commemoration.

I visited the closest thing I can find that might hold any sort of answer at AskNoah.org to see what they had to say. Granted, they won’t recognize my devotion to Rav Yeshua as having any sort of legitimacy, but people like me inhabit a sort of spiritual and theological “no man’s land” anyway.

According to the article “Noahides may light Hanukkah candles without a blessing,” not only can we light the menorah to announce the miracles of God (minus the blessings since we are not commanded to do so), we can…

…still mark the days of Hanukkah this year in some of the additional customary ways. This includes the option to say the chapters of Psalms (Psalms 91, 67, 30, 133, 33), reading and thinking about the history and messages of Hanukkah, and enjoying some traditional recipes. You can also attend public lightings of outdoor Hanukkah menorahs that might be taking place near you during the festival.

The article even provides us with this:

The following recitation paragraph, adopted from the Jewish traditional liturgy (version of the Ari Zal), can also be said during the days of Hanukkah:

“In the days of Matisyahu, the son of Yochanan the High Priest, the Hasmonean and his sons, the wicked Hellenic government rose up against the people of Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will. But You, in your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress. You waged their battles, defended their rights and avenged the wrong done to them. You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for the people of Israel to this very day. Then the Israelites entered the shrine of Your Holy House, purified and rededicated Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courtyards, and instituted these eight days of Hanukkah to give thanks and praise to Your great Name.”

Granted, none of this takes into consideration our “Judaically aware” perception of Rav Yeshua and our being allowed to partake in some of the New Covenant blessings based on the merit of our Master and our discipleship, however meager in my case, to him. Still, for lack of any better template, this will have to do.

trump jerusalem
President Donald Trump holds up a proclamation to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It is true that Chanukah is a relatively minor holiday, so there’s not a lot to get worked up over, but for me, this is what happens every time my Gentile faith in the Jewish Rav intersects at all with some aspect of Judaism.

All that said, I suspect the real role of people like me/us in the days to come will significantly eclipse Chanukah. As the world challenges the Jewish right to call the City of David Israel’s capital and hates the American President for recognizing the fact (of course, if Trump said he liked to eat steamed carrots, suddenly eating steamed carrots would become totally evil because, well, you know, just because), we will be called to stand up and stand with the defenders of Israel against her enemies.

The majority of the world, that is, all Gentiles everywhere, are going to oppose Jerusalem vehemently. We must shoulder the burden of standing against our parents, our children, our spouses, our friends, our neighbors, because we will be the few among the nations who stands with Israel.

May Chanukah be a time of miracles and may Hashem continue to protect His people and nation Israel. May He also grant us among the nations the privilege of joining the righteous.

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3 thoughts on “A New Chanukah Miracle”

  1. From the linked article above (embedded from opening meditation):

    ……

    After his remarks, Trump signed another six-month waiver to officially delay such a move — a document presidents have signed since 1995 as part of the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The law technically initiated the process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, but allowed the commander-in-chief to sign a six-month waiver leaving the embassy in Tel Aviv.

    ……

    Trump maintained he would “do everything in my power to help forge […] an agreement” and that the U.S. still supported a “two-state solution.”

    “We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders,” Trump said. “Those questions are up to the parties involved.”

    ……

    A $25 million (at least) supporter of Trump’s campaign for election in 2016 [while his campaign for 2020 is already officially underway, paying his legal fees and much more] was angry when Trump signed the same waver six months ago.

    Former diplomats have said that the United States could relocate the embassy [… via …] the American consulate in Jerusalem. [Delay is questionable, but might allow negotiation.]

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-signs-waiver-to-keep-us-embassy-in-tel-aviv/
    June of 2017 The US says its policy on Jerusalem hasn’t changed and that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians.

  2. Happy Days to you, James! May your candle light the way in the darkness and bring a ray of hope to the hopeless. Omayne! Shalom!

  3. I really, really like this post, James. In the past few years, my pendulum has swung back from hyper love of Christmas to hyper hatred for Christmas (much to the perplexity of my family who endured living with a grinch every year) to a place of peace. I still don’t put up a tree, but I put out ornaments that were special to the family on a little wire display stand, as well as displaying the snowman collection my mom started for me, and since she died, the lovingly hand-crafted Mr. and Mrs. Santa dolls, something I never wanted – until the hands that made them were stilled. This year the snowmen are the only decor as we are going to be out of town for Christmas. It did not seem worthwhile to decorate for just the two of us. But I did suggest to Jim that I would go with him to a carols-sing at church because I know he loves them. And it all started when Amber Michael advised me, many years ago, to go ahead and put up a Christmas tree for my mother who would be visiting, and who loved Christmas.

    I believe other “messianics” are beginning to think the same way. And let’s face it, when/if the time comes when we need to stand up, stand up for Jesus, “they” won’t care if we sing in Hebrew or English or tongues, if we celebrate Christmas or Sukkoth, if we know the difference between mikvah, mitzvah, and Manischewitz, if we know who Wenceslaus was and why he was good. The only thing they’ll want to know is do we follow the Rav from Nazareth, and we’d better get that part right.

    Blessings to you and your family.

    Michele On iPhone voice-recognition software; please forgive typos.

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