Study and Theory/
Chanukah

Chaim Nachman Bialik

How can we explain

We cannot explain the hidden and wonderful reason, why the entire “book”, is missing, one beloved and very wonderful book, why this book has been sentenced to be archived, the one which tells the history of the greatest victory, the victory of the spirit and the victory of the power of the people of Israel, the Book of the Hasmoneans? Why has it been archived as we say in Hebrew and we are left with only one of the languages of the four kingships, during that we were present, the Greek language?


It is difficult to clarify the reason. Perhaps it is an incidental tragedy, a casualty and perhaps there is here some kind of accounting.


Some assume that political trends on the part of the objectors of the House of Hasmonean caused this, however the Hebrew people safeguarded both the memory of the Hasmoneans and this festival excellently because on the festivals the people safeguarded the preservation of its soul and its past...


The festivals rise above the plateau of the ordinary days, as mountains rise above the plateau of the earth, and every high mountain testifies to changes and turbulence that occurred under this mountain during ancient times and which accumulated one after the other and since then lifted the known surface from the plateau and elevated it upwards. Thus too every festival testifies to the deep turbulence, sometimes volcanic, that occurred under the land of the nation, and not on one occasion but rather many times one after the other.


And indeed, when we come to dig into and scrabble under the national festival, we find underneath it a layer under a layer and a stratum under a stratum, and there is not one reason for the festival, but rather many reasons.

There is a special tendency in history to collate and gather together all the large events and concentrate them on certain points of time, in various groups, and each event that has “a kind of affiliation” with one festival or another, is drawn like iron to a magnet, and adheres to that festival - - -  there is no doubt that this Chanukah festival, which is known to have become blurred in our history by the loss of the book, the time has now come, to connect it with huge and turbulent events, that took place with our people. With the rejuvenation of this festival, our hope for redemption shall be resurrected, not only to commemorate the Hasmoneans but also to commemorate the zealots and the villains, whose names have already been deleted from our history.


They will also be resurrected together with the festival of resurrection, the renewed Chanukah festival, shall be resurrected when there is no exile. Together with the memory of the villains shall come redemption for all, who shall put the book under their heads, while they are dreaming while ascribing sickly dreams and yearning for the resurrection of their homeland.

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