Friday, December 15, 2006

The Real Hanukah: A Celebration of the Religious Right

By Michael Medved

Who are the bad guys in the Hanukah story? And who are the good guys? These are serious questions with serious consequences.

Most Jews (and certainly most Christians) dismiss the winter holiday as a trivial, feel-good festival about candles, potato pancakes, spinning tops (dreidls),and eight nights of gifts, without coming to terms with its serious, relevant and distinctly uncomfortable messages. While frequently (and fatuously) described as a "celebration of tolerance," Hanukah is more properly designated as an annual re-dedication to the values of the Religious Right.

No wonder that so many American Jews (with their reflexive, often ignorant liberal instincts) refuse to acknowledge the real Hanukah and its politically incorrect messages. In last week's Washington Post, a householder from Potomac, Maryland named Kenneth Nechin proudly explained that his home attempts to honor the "deeper meaning" of the holiday: "Religious tolerance, the freedom to practice religion, minorities overcoming majorities who are trying to take your rights away."

Actually, far from celebrating "diversity" or "tolerance" or "respect for every faith," Hanukah (the name means "dedication" in Hebrew) marks a singular display of intolerance-- when religious zealots, exalting the values of "that old time religion," came into the Temple in Jerusalem and drove out all alternate, "creative" forms of worship. In the "For the Miracles" (Al HaNissim) prayer recited at least three times a day by religious Jews during the eight days of the festival, we salute this uncompromising assertion of absolute truth: "Your children came to the Holy of Holies of Your House, cleansed Your Temple, purified the site of your Holiness and kindled lights in the Courtyards of Your Sanctuary." No, the fervently faithful rebels did not assign a special area for other religious impulses as part of some ancient commitment to multiculturalism....

The bad guys of the Hanukah story weren't so much foreign occupiers as they were indigenous traitors who junked the demanding faith of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for the trendy, hedonistic, easy-going relativism of Aristotle, Alexander and Antiochus. By placing Greek gods in the Temple in Jerusalem, the Hellenist Jewish leadership didn't try to exclude or prevent the old worship - they meant to open up the Holy of Holies to worshipers of every nation and of every deity in a grand celebration of diversity.

Anyone who takes even ten minutes to read the actual history of the Maccabean revolt will see similarities between its priestly leaders (most conspicuously, the great commander Judah Maccabee, son of Mattathias) and today's prominent figures in the Religious Right. The Maccabees insisted on re-affirming ultimate right and wrong, and saw their battle as part of a timeless struggle of good and evil. They demanded a return to the old ways, to the authentic, uncompromising laws of God and the Torah, and they felt only contempt for the Hellenizing modernists who fought against them. The rebels represented the common people - the poor and the humble artisans and the struggling farmers who remained loyal to the ancient faith - while their enemies represented the pampered urban elites, over-educated in the cosmopolitan ways of Judea's Greek overlords.

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Dumb Democrats: "He is expected to have a deep understanding of terrorist groups and their threats to the US. But the incoming chairman of a US congressional intelligence committee was struggling yesterday to explain his ignorance of al-Qa'ida and Hezbollah. Silvestre Reyes, the Democrat chosen to head the House of Representatives committee, was asked whether members of al-Qa'ida came from the Sunni or Shia branch of Islam. "Al-Qa'ida, they have both," he answered, adding: "Predominantly probably Shi'ite." In fact, al-Qa'ida was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organisation, and views the Shia Muslims as heretics. And Sunnis dominate the militias and death squads in Iraq. A reporter for Congressional Quarterly, Jeff Stein, then put a similar question about Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group. "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah," replied Mr Reyes. "Why do you ask me these questions at five o'clock?" he said. "Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?" Go ahead, said Mr Stein. "Well, I, uh ...," said the congressman. His apparent ignorance of the basic facts raised fresh questions over his suitability for the key intelligence post - as well as the judgment of Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House, who picked him for the job".

High achievers leaving France: "After failing to become a Belgian, Johnny Hallyday, France's biggest rock star, is planning to move his residence and his money to Switzerland, it emerged yesterday. The imminent exit of the country's most popular singer was used by ministers to bolster a promise by Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right candidate, to cap France's crippling taxes on the wealthy. Hallyday, 63, is an active supporter of the presidential campaign of Mr Sarkozy, who is Interior Minister and leader of the Union for a Popular Movement. Le rockeur national, who has sold 80 million records since 1961 and is still touring and topping the charts, was reported by L'Express magazine to be aiming to settle in Gstaad, the mountain resort. It is assumed that he wants to join the 100,000 other rich French citizens who have fled their country's annual wealth tax. Like Belgium, Switzerland imposes no wealth tax and it taxes only part of the annual income of rich foreigners."

Plenty of money for Britain's ballooning bureaucracy: "Gordon Brown's claims to be getting to grips with the ballooning government workforce took a battering yesterday from official figures. Far from taming the public sector jobs juggernaut, the figures suggested there has been a resurgence in hiring of state workers this year. The Office for National Statistics reported that the number of public sector workers rose by 7,000 to 5.86 million in the six months since March this year. The rise is mainly down to hiring by local authorities. The figures clash with claims by the Chancellor earlier this month that he is successfully taking an axe to public payrolls. Mr Brown has promised to shed tens of thousands of posts by 2008 as he tries to cut back black hole in the public finances, and in his Pre-Budget Report he claimed to be well on the way. Official figures show that state hiring has accounted for a third of overall job creation since 1998, the year after Labour came to power"

Amazing. Competition between London's airports coming: "Gatwick Airport could be for sale within weeks with a price tag of up to 3 billion pounds after the break-up of BAA's London airport monopoly was signalled by the UK's competition authorities. With BAA's control of 90 per cent of the London market through its ownership of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted set for a probe by the Competition, industry insiders believe BAA's new Spanish owner Ferrovial could be set to hatch a Gatwick sale plan... In a stinging attack on the BAA monopoly - also seen as a rebuke to a Labour Government that has allowed the company to keep ownership of the UK's three busiest airports - the Office of Fair Trading said BAA should be subjected to a full-blown investigation by the Competition Commission. Citing poor passenger ratings for its London airports, OFT chief executive John Fingleton said: 'Greater competition [between airports] could bring significant benefits for passengers.



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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