Jerusalem’s Straus Street.
(photo credit: BRIAN HENDLER)
It is a well-known joke that all the Jewish festivals can be summarized in three sentences: “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.”Hanukka does seem to fall into this category. The Maccabees, led initially by Mattathias and later by his son Judah, triumph over the Greek Syrians, led by Antiochus Epiphanes. But the Jews of that time were divided into two camps – the Hellenists, who admired Greek culture, and a second group, led by the Maccabee brothers, who upheld traditional Jewish values. As we know, despite the defilement of the Temple by the Greeks and the attempt to make the Jews bow down to idols, Judaism won and survived. And “let’s eat” is especially relevant to Hanukka, with all manner of delicious fried foods like latkes symbolizing the one cruse of oil that miraculously lasted eight days.
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