Joseph, Hanukkah, and the Assimilation Narrative

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Thông tin tác giả Rabbi Nadav Caine được phát hiện bởi Player FM và cộng đồng của chúng tôi - bản quyền thuộc sở hữu của nhà sản xuất (publisher), không thuộc về Player FM, và audio được phát trực tiếp từ máy chủ của họ. Bạn chỉ cần nhấn nút Theo dõi (Subscribe) để nhận thông tin cập nhật từ Player FM, hoặc dán URL feed vào các ứng dụng podcast khác.

These are my reflections upon Arnold Eisen's 2015 essay, "Joseph, Hanukkah, and the Dilemmas of Assimilation." Those who investigate the Hanukkah story quickly learn (simply by reading the Books of Maccabees in the apocrypha) that the events around the 186 BCE revolt of the Maccabees against the Hellenizing-Syrians do not involve a miracle of oil. Rather, following the decree by Antiochus IV that the Temple in Jerusalem be dedicated to Hellistic religion, the Maccabees first attack Hellenized Jews themselves, who show little to no resistance to the decree. (Josephus tells us, more or less, that the Greek sports stadium in Jerusalem was a far better draw to local Jews than the Temple.) The second part of the story involves the Maccabees attacking the Syrian-Greek forces themselves, and achieving victory. (Two hundred years later, living under the oppression of the Roman forces, and witnessing Roman massacres of Jews following rebellions, the Rabbis introduced the folktale of the oil to distract Jews from a story encouraging further rebellion against Hellenistic forces.) So, when we today read the original tale, it creates uncomfortable questions about assimilation. Aren't most American Jews going to sports games on Saturday rather than to temple? Aren't most American Jews unrecognizable from their peers, as Joseph was unrecognizable to his brothers? The simple narrative of assimilation states that American Jews were quick to assimilate for personal and social gain. In this presentation, I argue that this little-challenged narrative is oversimplified, wrong and damaging.

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