Saturday, December 24, 2016
A Chanukah Poem by the Editor
By Shmuel ben Moshe Ha-Levi
And Simon the Maccabee stormed into the Holy Temple
disregarding the warning that there might be hidden danger
so eager was he to reclaim the sacred site and symbol for his people.
What he saw made him prostrate himself with grief,
tears flowing from his hawk-like eyes
as a mighty wail of anguish exploded from his lips,
“It is better that Judah and my three other brothers
died in the rebellion so they would not have to behold this sacrilege.”
For all of the Temple furniture was broken,
the walls and floors were covered with filth,
and the holy altar dripped with the blood of pigs.
Then the Chief Levite Priest comforted Simon saying,
“Simon, what once belonged to the Lord
may be rededicated and belong again.
I and my fellow priests will make it so.”
“I do not see how it can be done,” said Simon,
“but I will leave the task to you my dear friend and counselor,
for there is nothing here that a Hammer might restore.”
And so the Levite Priests cleansed the Holy Temple
and brought forth the hallowed menorah
and put it back in its rightful place.
In a hidden corner of the inner sanctuary
the priests discovered a flask of consecrated oil
by some miracle undefiled by the enemy--
enough to last for a single night.
But lo, Almighty God waved His Hand
and the oil burned for eight whole days!
Thus did God signify that the Holy Temple
had been redeemed, that the Jewish people were saved,
and that all whom would descend from
these brave Hebrews would one day be born.
Poet's Notes: Simon the Maccabee aka "the Hammer" was the only one of five brothers (including the mighty and better known Judah) who led and survived the Jewish rebellion that liberated Israel from the Hellenist oppressors. Had the Maccabees lost, the Jews surely would have been annihilated at that time, 164 years before the birth of the most famous Jew since Moses. Happy Chanukah my friends!
PS: I used my Hebrew name as my byline for this one. It seemed appropriate. Learn more about the story of Chanukah here: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Maccabees.html.