Years ago I had something of an argument with another Jew over the meaning of Chanukah. I'm gratified to see that, with a little editing, my half of it can stand alone without reference to the lefty nonsense it was meant to refute.
The story of Chanukah calls for our return to the cardinal principles of Jewish faith and practice.
The Greek/Syrian oppressors of the original Chanukah story did not threaten the Jews physically so much as spiritually. They sought to annul the covenant between us and our G-d, by outlawing the obligation of circumcision, the study of Torah, the keeping of the Sabbath and the sanctification of the new moon (Rosh Chodesh), upon which the dates of all the festivals depend.
Those whose military victory we celebrate during Chanukah were not “progressives” in favor of appeasing their enemy through empty peace-making. They were the “right-wing extremists,” the “settlers” of their time, the “war-mongers” – who fought and gave their lives rather than abdicate their Jewish identity. It was these unlikely few into whose hands were delivered the many.
Chanukah is an enduring opportunity to engage in the timeless, ongoing war between sanctity and defilement.
When we light the Chanukah candles, we reiterate the Jewish worldview that reality is essentially spiritual, not physical. We reject false promises made by false prophets, and dedicate our faith solely, uncompromisingly, to the Holy One Above.
Spiritual warriors, light your candles! Chanukah Sameach!