A piece I wrote about facing down the difficult history of Chanukah is in the Jewish Journal this week. It starts by talking about some of the lesser-known features of the Hasmonean war, including some exceedingly ugly stuff that Jews did after winning the Jew-on-Jew civil war and vanquishing the Syrian-Greek reigning power. It’s a pretty easy to get disillusioned with this holiday in particular, to have trouble finding the light in the bleakness of our history laid bare.
The question, of course, is what to do with disturbing information about our tradition, and how that might impact our theologies and understandings of ourselves, God and Judaism. How can we embrace Chanukah without denying the full history of what happened?
My ruminations on all of this can be found on JewishJournal.