Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rav Soloveitchik on Chanukah

1. Hanukkah and Independence Day (link):

Is Hanukkah merely a holiday telling us a heroic story of battles won and political victories gained, like the American Fourth of July or the French Fourteenth of July? A political event, even one of the greatest importance, can be celebrated only as long as the people view it as a turning point in history, the beginning of a new epoch in independence, and so long as one still enjoys that independence, as, for example, Independence Day in America.

However, a political victory loses its meaning when the people later lose their independence and the victory ends in a downfall. If Hanukkah had been simply a holiday of political freedom, its whole meaning would have evaporated with the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jewish people... Continue reading here: link
2. The Two Dreams of Hanukkah (link):
The story of Hanukkah is typical of all our confrontations in the Galut, the Diaspora. In aristocracy, each family has a coat of arms, an emblem. What was the emblem of Joseph? It was the ketonet passim, of course, the multicolored coat, a coat composed of stripes that his father made for him (Gen. 37:3). When Joseph came to Dothan, the brothers immediately stripped him of the ketonet passim, the banner that Joseph carried (Gen. 37:23). Without the ketonet ha-passim, Joseph’s power dissipated and disappeared. I believe the ketonet ha-passim is the symbol of the Jewish people as well, of the Hasmoneans and of every generation of Jews... Continue reading here: link

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