Losing the Chanukah Battle

Are you prepared to give your life for Judaism?

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Comments (34)

(33) Mr. Herman, March 13, 2017 1:47 AM

Greeks not only dealt with body but Soul as well

It's easy to generalize and make things tidy to present a point, but to say the Greeks were only body and only interrested in things of the material world is a total misrepresentation. Plato's writings and the subsequent neoplatonists (Proclus, Plotinus) were big influences on Isaac Luria and Moses de Leon amongst others; while Aristotle so influenced Maimonides that his works were banned and censored for his Aristotelian Judaism. There is actually quite a lot written by Plato and the neoplatonists (theory of Emanations) that correspond nicely with Kabbalah. Some of the great Kabbalists from Provence/Languedoc were also influenced by these Greek thinkers/Philosophers, whose writings they received via the Moors of Spain. I understand your point but please try not to make false statements to drive your thesis through...Greek Soul-school influenced Judaism and in particular Jewish Mysticism in many ways.

(32) rivka, January 1, 2012 9:23 PM

you are right. To a great degree we have lost, but one must never give up hope that the little spark of Judaism within each one of us will come out. I try to act appropriately at my job so that my non-Jewish and Jewish non-religious co-workers see how a frum Jew can act (I try my best since it is an awesome task). My husband and I have tried to instill important Jewish values to our children and can only hope that they will perpetuate these values on to the next generation.

(31) willy, December 31, 2011 7:03 AM

with all do respect, I disagree

Jews don't do Christmas. they do Chanukah.and there is an difference. if you change one persons life then you won. and if this country would try to do what you said and repeat what the Greeks tried to do, then in honor of my grandpa who was an Jew, I will fight some things are worth fighting for and this is one of them

(30) Etaoin Shrdlu, December 26, 2011 6:22 AM

No, we've won that war.

Fortunately, in this country (America) the government would not and cannot try to do what Antiochus Epiphanes did. Our Constitution forbids it, and most Americans would resist such an attempt. Your cry that we are losing the “war on Chanukah” reminds me of the (so-called) Christian right’s phony “war on Christmas”. Please don’t ape their example.

(29) J. Arthur Rook, December 23, 2011 5:25 PM

Survive thru determination.

It only takes one Jew that is aware that all power comes from our G_d! David did not hesitate and changed the outcome as should we.

(28) Bonnie, December 23, 2011 10:28 AM

Do not be down hearted. Know this. The L-rd sees you, keeps you and blesses you. He is with you. I am not talking about some up there thing. I am talking about Living, Present and Close to you. All things considered; what more could you ask for.

(27) Yehoshua, December 23, 2011 7:53 AM

We didn't lose, we won

We didn't lose anything, we won the battle for our soul, then and now. While it might seem that we are fighting a losing battle here with the intermarriages that are taking place, the lack of a bris, but look around you, how many people are becoming Ba'al Teshuvas each and every year? How many people go to Yeshiva now, that would never have thought to go before. We are winning the battle on the college campuses and in communities across the world. We still have a lot of work to do, but on your next trip to Israel, look in the Aish HaTorah beis midrash and tell me what you see, you'll see 200 Ba'al Teshuvas learning Torah, that even one month before had no idea they would be there learning in a Yeshiva. We are winning the battle for our soul now more than ever.

(26) Anonymous, December 22, 2011 8:54 PM

Our Rabbis commanded us to celebrate

While it is true that we (like the Jews in the times of the Greeks) are drowning in a world of materialism and superficiality. The victory of chanuka lies in the fact that we managed to hold on to the torah and Judaism. As long as we are in exile, we are constantly being persecuted - either physically or spiritually. Still, every time we win a war against our enemies, we must reflect on our victory and thank Hashem for sparing us. The proof of this point is simply the fact that our rabbis' commanded us to celebrate and light the menorah for eight days.

(25) KTom, December 22, 2011 8:54 PM

I agree for a more comprehensive reason.

Lori, I really appreciate your feeling on this subject. However, I think we have lost the war for a more overwhelming and comprehensive reason: Simply look at our numbers! We are 13-14 million among a world population of 7 billion, a mere 0.18% to 0.2%! The rest of us have either perished or drifted away throughout history. This is what makes me sad.

(24) CM, December 22, 2011 8:27 PM

No Room for Pessimism

Seventy years ago I would have agreed with her. Today not. There is so much more work to be done, but look how far the Jews have come since Auschwitz. In that generation they tried to destroy body and soul, and look at the yeshiva communities today all over the world. They didn't win. Of course there is much more to do, but the baal tshuva movement is stronger than ever. No room for pessimism. Light your chanukiot with joy!

(23) Donna, December 22, 2011 6:14 PM

As long as the battle goes on, there is hope of winning.

Run into any Pelishtim lately? Or most other ethnic groups mentioned throughout Chumash? They didn't survive, but we, the Jews, did. And while our history is replete with examples of how Torah-observant Jews should not behave, there has always been a core of those who still seek to emulate Hashem's ways. I prefer to look at both sides of our history: what we have done wrong to learn from it, and what we continue to do right. If we are depressed at Chanukah, we should be depressed at Pesach and Purim as well. Yes, those chagim represent our triumph over those who would take our lives and not our religion, but the reality of our history past and present is the same. We have never been without sin and there have always been those among us who have been ignorant of or have purposely refused to follow the ways of Hashem. Yet we are still fighting the battle. And as long as the battle goes on, there is always hope of winning. You are one of the excellent examples, Lori, of continuing the fight. Don't feel sad; feel proud that there're lots of us still trying to work on ourselves while encouraging others to come home. Chanukah sameach!

(22) Suzanne, December 22, 2011 4:12 PM

Another thought on this matter

I think the lack of comphesensive Jewish schools in the United States for the first few generations after Jews immigrated here eventually cost the American Jewish community dearly. When you are really clueless as to what your heritage is, it's pretty easy to walk out of it. Today, the real problem is the lack of AFFORDABLE day school tuition.Today, I think Jews in the US have two choices. We can either find a way to educate our children Jewishly or move to Israel. Frankly, I don't see any other way when a group is so outnumbered. Also, we have to get married to Jews and have Jewish children in the first place - another real problem.

(21) Diane, December 22, 2011 3:52 PM

Celebrate Hanukah with pride

Lori's address made me think...I decorate my home with Hanukah dreidals, lights, menorah, signs, etc. I want my family to be proud of this holiday. We must continue to win the wars and save Judiasm. Maybe the decorations are a small start but I will not forget my Judiasm. Lori, I will fight for it and stand with you! Chag Sameach!

(20) Sachs, December 22, 2011 3:19 PM

Your heart is on the right place

Very dear Lori Toda raba for this great Chanukah gift I wish you and all you care for the very best for now and alwys

(19) Suzanne, December 22, 2011 2:58 PM

Jewish erosion is indeed a shame

But, Lori, I wouldn't be specifically sad on Chanuakah because of the erosion of Jewish life in the USA (and elsewhere). This is a problem that should be grappled with everyday - and hopefully reversed. No, I would be happy on Chanukah and keep doing what you do best i.e., use your gifts to enlighten and encourage others to live meaningful Jewish lives. Who knows how many you and the others at Aish.com have already helped? I'll bet lots!

(18) joel batalsky, December 22, 2011 2:52 PM

We won the war

Lori, Do not worry we won the war! The Syrian/ Greeks are gone but the Jews are still here.

(17) Anonymous, December 22, 2011 2:28 PM

PS . . .

Lori! I see that you wrote "Remember My Soul." Thank you, thank you for your wonderful book. It was the very first book I read after my father passed in 2003 and helped me on my journey back to Torah! Your words and teaching guided me through that first year without dad and truly helped me through my grieving process and pointed me towards my understanding of Torah. I have recommended your book many times to friends who have lost their loved ones. Be blessed!

(16) sm, December 22, 2011 2:06 AM

The situation really is sad. The preblem is when people are Not taught the importance of their heritage, they don't see a point to keep it. Or they are just taught a little, and do what they know. Jewish education is very important to pass down our tradition to the next generation. Yes it's expensive tuition, but if people with the means would give to this cause, we can alleviate the situation and help our children grow. Hashem wants us to be close to Him and and gave us the Torah in order to do that. Besides nurishing us, it also brings blessing to the world. We need to learn the manual inorder to do this. Happy Chanuka

(15) mike north, December 21, 2011 9:11 PM

be optimistic

Last evening I lit the 1st chanukka candle in our clinic.There were few people around but I did not check every room to inform them of trhe lighting.Whoever was present enjoyed and after a few minutes we returned to our posts,An hour passed when a nurse came in to my office and was really upsetvwhy I did not inform her of the lighting-she explained that it is her favorite chag and she enjoys lighting and singing all the popular tunes-it makes her so proud of being Jewish(she is not dati) Let them find fun in this chag-if this is what makes them feel especially connected to judaism we should applaud and feel comfortable one more soul has not been lost

(14) Tzippy, December 21, 2011 8:33 AM

Sorry: we won.

Lori, this time I disagree with you. We won. Where are the Greeks now? Where is the Great Roman Empire? Do the Spanish rule the world? Are the Nazis still a world power? While it's true that we have a discontertingly high assimilation rate, we also have, B"H, a strong core of Torah Jews, those that fight the battles of day to day temptations by turning to the Torah and their faith. That people could escape a holocaust and still have faith is a miracle, but we are all miracles. The small jug of Jewish oil that exists today will burn brightly for all to see. That's our victory. We won.

(13) SusanE, December 20, 2011 8:09 PM

Lori Sees and Understands, I'm Sad Too.

I agree with Lori, if you don't care who you are or don't know why you should stand up, then you won't stand up when you need to. I'm not a Jew, and yet, the menorah is in my window tonight out of a deep respect for Judaism and Torah. Maybe the lights will rekindle a passion for a Jewish soul driving by.

(12) Annette, December 20, 2011 4:40 PM

Lose? I wouldn't be here if the jews of old had lost

The only way to lose is to quit altogether. The 'sweet freedom' of the Americans keeps making it easy for assimilation; but look what's happening in Toronto, and you spearheaded much of it! Ottawa (the fastest growing jewish community they say), now Calgary, Buenos Aires, the quiet jews of Lima, etc., Israel keeps growing ... with jews... Look at the 'returns'... the returnees! I think the battle is not over, and it's not over til it's over! It's not over til we win. G-d decides on that last move. The daily stressors we face represent our own personal battle back to G-d, purging of the yetzer hara. Complacency of sweet freedoms breeds complacency. We need the dialy battles to shape us. We didn't need Chanukah in Temple times. The Lights of Chanukah represent the fire within each one of us: Let's get Fired UP about being G-d's chosen. The more we purge, the more Fired up we become. This is when we need Chanukah. Tonight when you light the first lights of your Chanukiah, may you be firing up the lights with in YOU! have a bright Chanukah.

(11) Dvirah, December 20, 2011 12:33 PM

Just Try...

Given our known contrariness, just let some government say "you can't" and everyone will want to!

(10) Anonymous, December 20, 2011 12:24 PM

I understand why Lori Palatnik is sad and I am sorry she feels that way. However, I don't agree with her entirely. Why? In my opinion, we will only have lost the war if we give in to the peer pressure and do what our Christian neighbors are doing. I do NOT plan to take that action and never have. In fact, this year I have not one but two menorahs in two different windows in my house. Granted, my formal Jewish education leaves a lot to be desired but I am working on changing that. I am doing all that I can with what I have at hand.

(9) Anonymous, December 20, 2011 11:37 AM

Don't give in Lori!

Why so upset on Chanukah Lori! where's your great spirit - keep it coming. Unfortunately you contradict yourself - what about the fighting spirit of the Jewish women you speak about on a previous ALmost LOri live? Don't let the knockers get to you - we need you!

(8) Anonymous, December 20, 2011 11:11 AM

Too pessimistic - not historically accurate

I normally laud you with praises this time I'm upset. You miss the point! Regrettably! This time you are not right! Stop the pessimism smile and get on with it celebrate Chanukah with joy! Eat a doughnut; nibble on a Latke ; play draidl and light the candles, sing with a full heart the MAOR TZUR and be optimistic! SMILE :) .Mrs Lori ---- Too much "cheshbonos" this time; too much accounting leave it G-d to judge!!!! Since when did you become an accountant - you are too nice for this job! Please stick to the great job your doing - don't become G-d's bookkeeper. G-d has a way of making things right just consider the other "yomtov' of Purim things can and will turn over for the Jewish People IYH! Sorry Mrs Lori you are Too pessimistic this time - and not historically accurate in this case! Chanukah is the few against the many and the few winning with G-d's help because they went with self sacrifice. And the mesirat nefesh self sacrifice was pleasing to G-d. How many Greeks were there THOUSANDS How many Maccabees a very few Cohanim priests. a pitiful minority but armed with OPTIMISM FAITH and courage they did it and we will do it Please G-d Moshiach will come soon NOW! Consider the good side of the ledger below a justy a few examples: -Over 60 years from The Holocaust and we see a vibrant Israel -More Jews studying Torah in Yeshivot than ever before -Increase in standards for Torah Women's education -G-d won't find a better more dedicated people that was almost decimated in WW2 and still is a vibrant people! -aish.com, chabd.com and other web sites success These are only a few examples! so be B"SIMCHA this Channukah!

(7) Alan S., December 19, 2011 10:59 PM

I'm not quite sure why Ms. Palatnik feels that "we lost the war". Why does she allow some to be responsible for her happiness? Ms. Palatnik is way too smart to allow the foolish among us to "call the shots". While a difficult issue nonetheless, these challenges are part of HaShem's plan. It is always troubling to read about any person that tries to 'lord it over' another person or people, even if they are from among our own. The only 'war' we must wage is the one to be the best we can be.

(6) Stuart, December 19, 2011 5:32 AM

Torah is the Answer

B"H, Perhaps we are losing this battle, perhaps not. Only HaShem knows. I have faith that all will be fine when HaShem is finished writing the history of this long war. In the meantime I would suggest working on spreading the light, if not fire, of the Torah. For a group known as "People of the Book" a lot of Jews just don't know the basic story. Instead of wringing ones hands, perhaps this website could highlight the Torah Portion section instead of the more "fun" topics it tends to highlight. The Torah is very compelling when people know what it says.

(5) Jose Manuel, December 19, 2011 3:17 AM


Lady, you are one in a Billion!

(4) Anonymous, December 18, 2011 11:33 PM

We were recently tested in the SF Bay Area when a group wanted to outlaw the Bris. Many Jews spoke up and now it is illegal in all of California to outlaw having a Bris. We must always continue to light the candle in the window and have a Mezzuzah on our doorpost. I had someone pushing their religion at my door. He asked what it was. I told him that if he did not have enough knowledge or respect of other religions he should not be pushing his.

(3) Shirlee Rosenthal, December 18, 2011 5:33 PM

I agree with Mordechai andYoel, The Jewish soul can not be diminished, and our faith in God is stronger we are a strong people, just ask a Holocaust survivor.

Also remember the Spanish Inquision our people,not all, died so Judiasm would live.

(2) ana, December 18, 2011 4:54 PM

i think about this every chanuka

for the last 10-15 years, i've been convinced that if there wasn't that other winter holiday, many jews would not even be celebrating chanuka. i doubt it would be a widely observed jewish holiday if it took place in the summer. not sure if this is g-d's way of keeping jews religious in some way, letting us remember who we are, or if it's just ironic, that one of the most observed jewish holidays is celebrating our right to be practicing jews, and most people don't choose to practice. it occurred to me that perhaps most jews do not even know what the holiday is about. perhaps they don't care--they get to have a holiday in the winter, too, and potato pancakes,festive lights, parties, and presents--so what if it celebrates something they don't care about or even know about.

(1) Mordechai, December 18, 2011 11:53 AM

"Who is LIke You Among the Powerful, O G-d"

I hope Lori's sadness doesn't affect her family and others at Chanuka time. This is such a happy holiday. She asks how many Jews would stand up today to fight for Judaism. Well, at the time of Chanukah, most Jews were hellenized and it was only a small group of Maccabees that answered the call. She says that we won the battle but lost the war. That's a defeatist attitude. Rather, she should say that we might have lost many battles over the generations, but there's no doubt that we'll win the war. She uses the expression "won the battle, lost the war," but it's clichéd and not appropriate in the context of what she's trying to say.

Yoel, December 18, 2011 3:09 PM

I Second That

Mordechai, I second your comment. The power of the Yiddishe neshama (the Jewish soul), should never be underestimated. Please G-d, may we never be given a test we cannot overcome, and may we only see peace from the nations we live amongst, but I trust that a sizable portion of the community that I live in would stand up in the face of a blatant assault on our G-d and our faith. Hashem should give us all the courage to live his Torah in both the good times and the bad.


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