Kenneth Cohen

Light in the Face of Darkness

The message of Chanukah has great relevance in our times, just as it did during the period of the Maccabees.

The story of Purim was one of a threat of physical annihilation. The threat of Chanukah was one of spiritual annihilation. The evil Antiochus, tried to take away the observance of religious law. The effort was to remove Jewish identity, and have the Jews fully assimilate into Greek society.

All of the trouble began when Alexander the Great conquered Israel. Although he was good to the Jews, (and forms of the name Alexander are still given to Jewish boys and girls until today) Greek culture did a great deal of damage.

This created a group of Jews, known as Hellenists, who saw themselves more as Greeks than Jews. This narrative sounds painfully familiar. The intermarriage and assimilation of Jews, is a major tragedy taking place before our eyes.

But on an even larger scale, we see the whole world embracing foreign philosophies that are incredibly distant from the lessons of the Bible. The belief in G-d, is substituted for this insane “woke” culture.

Rather than follow a Divine system that teaches basic morality, the new morality is based on “being happy,” and doing whatever make you “feel good.”

It looks as though most of the world has been Hellenized. The message of Chanukah is one of hope. The victory of the few over the many, the weak over the mighty, and faith in the One true G-d of Israel, was able to defeat the powerful Greek Empire.

We must not lose hope and we must gain strength from the pure light of our Chanukah candles. This light must spread and shine brightly and defeat the falsehoods and impurities of the world. Happy Chanukah!

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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