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Pure Faith: an Essay on Chanukah

Pure Faith: an Essay on Chanukah

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Published by YehoishophotOliver
Explains the titanic struggle between Greek philosophy and Judaism at the time of Chanukah, and its relevance today, Based on Chabad Chassidic teachings.
Explains the titanic struggle between Greek philosophy and Judaism at the time of Chanukah, and its relevance today, Based on Chabad Chassidic teachings.

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Published by: YehoishophotOliver on Jan 02, 2012
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08/09/2013

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Boruch Hashem
PurePure FaithFaith
An essay on Chanukah
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Adapted by Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver
Kislev 5772
 
Chanukah 5772
Preface
On Chanukah we mark, among other miracles, the military victory of the Jews over the Greeks. And yet at its core, the struggle between the Jewish people and the Greeks was not about physical might and power.Rather, it was entirely a spiritual struggle, a titanic conflict betweentwo utterly antithetical forces: wisdom of 
Kedushah
—holiness versuswisdom of 
Kelipah
—unholiness. Put differently, it was not a struggleover the Jewish body, but the Jewish soul. This is the topic of this essay, which is based on
Sefer HaMa’amarim
5729, p.86 ff . This essay was made possible by the sponsorship of ShimshonHoffman and family
l’ilui nishmas
Sarah bas Baruch; Yerachmiel“Mitch” Belzer and family, as a merit for Malkah bas Neyereh; andEphraim Tunick and family,
l’ilui nishmas
Sheina bas Asher. I wish tothank them for their generosity, and I am sure that the tremendousmerit of supporting the dissemination of Chassidus will bring themabundant material and spiritual blessings. The essays I write take a lot of time and effort. Please contact me tosponsor an article for (at least) $36 in honor of the birthday, weddinganniversary, or
 yarhtzeit 
of a loved one, or for a
refuah shleimah
or thelike. Also, seehereconcerning the tremendous merit of supporting thedissemination of 
Chassidus
, and the blessings that one receives fordoing so.May this be the final good deed in exile, that will bring Moshiach now!Rabbi Yehoishophot OliverBaltimore, MarylandKislev, 5772rabbioliver@gmail.com443 602 1068
Page | 2
 
Pure Faith
3
The Greeks’ agenda to Secularize Judaism, G–d forbid
 The Greeks sought “to bring them [Jewish people] to forget Your Torah.”
1
 The wording here is precise: The Greeks did not oppose Torah studyper se; on the contrary, since Greek culture valued intellect as thegreatest good, and they recognized the beauty, depth, and complexityof Torah—as it is written, “for it is your wisdom in the eyes of thenations”
2
—they held Torah study in high esteem as a most sublime,profound intellectual pursuit. In this sense, they were willing to allowand even encourage the Jewish people to study Torah.Rather, they opposed Torah study with the belief that it is “
Your 
 Torah”—that it is
divine
. Torah is not just another wisdom amongmany; it is more than even a very advanced wisdom, more advancedthan all others. Likewise, Torah is not a tool for intellectual gratificationand development, G–d forbid—although it does carry those fringebenefits as well.Rather, although it involves the intellect, Torah is fundamentallydifferent—it is
holy 
intellect. In these ostensibly intellectual teachings,Hashem reveals to us His will and wisdom, which are infused with asublime level of G–dliness that transcends intellect altogether. And soby studying Torah, the Jew is able to unite with Hashem, as it iswritten, “Three knots are tied to one another: The Jewish people to Torah, and the Torah to Hashem.”
3
This means that by grasping thetechnical details of Torah,
4
the Jew fuses his mind and soul with a levelof pure G–dliness that completely transcends intellect.It was this submission to the suprarational that the Greeks sovehemently opposed, and which they sought to prevail the Jewishpeople to forget—even, if necessary, through brute force.
1
 
Ve’al
 
HaNissim
liturgy.
2
 
Devarim
4:6.
3
Cf.
 Zohar 
3:73a.
4
 
Chassidus
refers to this as “
levushei
 
hasagah
”—“garments of understanding.”
Page | 3

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