The legacy of Chanukah has been an integral element of the American ethos; a cornerstone in the foundation of the covenant – established by the Pilgrims in the 17th century - between the American people and the vision of the reconstructed Jewish State in the Land of Israel.
"All Americans should remember our common love of liberty, the heritage that has set the West apart…. We need modern Maccabees to preserve that heritage of liberty for our posterity…." Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on the Founding Fathers, such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and Patrick Henry.
of Judaism, including the Sabbath and circumcision. The heroic battles conducted by the Maccabees were consistent with the reputation of Jews as superb warriors, who were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Rome and other global and regional powers.
we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left for us….
Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs?
We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three million people, armed in the holy cause of liberty are invincible…. We shall not fight our battles alone.
There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations…. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery…. As for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
The Maccabees and the Founding Fathers demonstrated the victory of the few over the many, right over wrong, moral over immoral, truth over lies, faith over cynicism and opportunism, long-term conviction over short-term convenience. Paul Revere's nickname was the "modern day Maccabee."
The Jewish people prevailed, won, sustained and enhanced their independence and unique civilization…. The Hasmoneans [Maccabees] overcame one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history due to the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment….”
In 2014, The US-Chanukah connection is also demonstrated by the bust of Judah the Maccabee, which is displayed in West Point Military Academy's Taylor Hall Headquarters Building along with the busts of Joshua, David, Alexander the Great, Hector, Julius Caesar, King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfrey of Bouillon - "the Nine Worthies."
The busts of these nine great, principle-driven warriors are placed over the table of West Point's Academic Board, which sets the curriculum and budget for the US military academy.
The moral high ground, and critical security requirements, behoove Israel and her allies to align themselves with the Chanukah legacy, the 17th century Pilgrims, the US and Israeli Founding Fathers and other patriots of liberty against rogue regimes and agents of appeasement, oversimplification and wishful-thinking.
Wishing you Happy Chanukah and Seasons Greetings,
Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, "Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative"