Saturday, December 16, 2006

What Are We Celebrating?

Ask most people what Hanukkah is meant to celebrate and they will tell you it is about the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Greeks. There is one small problem with this, it was the Seleucids who won the war. Two years after the re-dedication of the Temple the Seleucid forces came down and smashed the Judeans. Judah was killed and the Hellenist party was put back into power. The Maccabees took power again about 20 years later by allying themselves with one of the factions in the fight over the Selucid throne. Claiming that the Maccabees won is like a Southerner claiming that the South won the Civil War. The South won all these amazing victories at Manasses Junction, Fredricksburg and Chancellorsville against superior Northern forces. And less then 20 years after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox court house, Federal forces were out of the South and they were free to oppress blacks to their heart's content. Truth be told my former roommate, who is from Dallas, operates with such narrative of the Civil War and I think he might even be serious some of the time.

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