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A Titanic Victory and a Small Cruse of Oil

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by Jacobson, Rabbi YY

Hanukah commemorates an extraordinary victory — of the Maccabees, a relatively small and dedicated force of fighters, against one of the great imperial powers of…the Alexandrian empire.

[T]wo centuries before the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans,… a Syrian ruler Antiochus the 5th…was determined to impose his values on the Jewish people. He forbade the practice of Judaism… Jews who were caught practicing Judaism were tortured to death.

A small group of Jews, led by… Matityahu and his sons, rose in revolt… and within three years they had recaptured Jerusalem, removed sacrilegious objects from the Temple, and restored Jewish autonomy. Religious liberty was established and the Temple was rededicated. Hanukah means ‘rededication.’

We, the Jewish people, are here today only because of the courage and vision of this small group of determined Jews who would not allow their G-d and their Torah to be reduced to the dustbins of history by the Syrian-Greek tyrant.”