Shmuz #123

Chanukah: Whose Side Are You On?

Chanukah centers on the ideological battle of two cultures: the hedonistic Yevanim (Greek/Syrian culture) waged war against Torah ideals. The battle was not fought for the physical survival of the Jewish nation, but rather for its ideology and way of life.

Today, we live in very different times. We are no longer downtrodden and subjugated to oppressive regimes; we are free to choose our lifestyle. Not only does Torah learning flourish at an unprecedented level, we have also created our own insular culture. Even in exile, the Jewish nation has fashioned its own way of life. We have our own neighborhoods and schools, our own shopping districts and clothing styles. We even have our own novels, music, and daily newspapers. It seems we have won the culture war. There are no Yevani influences in our world. As such, the message of Chanukah has little to offer us. Unfortunately, this rosy picture is far from reality.

This Shmuz explores some of the inroads that “foreign ways” have found even into the finest Torah homes and identifies the ideological battleground of our time.

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