04 Dec, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

The White House is again hosting their annual Hanukkah party this year. The event will be an in-person gathering – something that has received sharp criticism from advocates of social distancing.

The event will take place in the afternoon on Dec. 9, one day before the holiday’s first candle lighting, according to an invitation obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The media goes on the offensive

In the past, President Trump also has held two Hanukkah parties each year of his presidency.
But this year’s gathering is especially controversial as many media outlets have seemingly criticized the president for making the celebration an in-person event by alluding to the lack of social distancing.
Trump’s defiance of the prevalent ‘corona-culture’ is seemingly fitting for the holiday of Hanukah which among other things, commemorates the defiance of the Jewish people to Greek Hellenist culture. More notably, the story of the daughter of Matityahu, father of the Maccabees.

The story of Chana The Heroine

According to legend, Chana The Heroine sparked the Maccabean revolt with an act of defiance. One of the cruel edicts of the Syrian-Greeks was that every Jewish woman was raped by the local Syrian-Greek official on her wedding night, before she could be with her husband. This doctrine is known as jus primae noctis, which means “the right of the first night”.

Jews combatted this evil decree by abstaining from marriage and also by holding weddings in secret. However, Matityahu was the Kohen Gadol – the High Priest. His daughter’s marriage was too high profile to hide.

An immoral wedding tradition

As the story is told, at the feast following her wedding ceremony, the daughter of Matityahu, known in some traditions as Chana, stood before her wedding guests and tore open her dress. Her brothers were horrified by her immodest act and intended to punish her for it.

In response, she challenged them for their willingness to turn her over to the Syrian-Greek official, as was required. Calling on a Biblical model, she urged them to be like Shimon and Levi when they defended their sister Dina.

Yaakov‘s sons answeredShechem and his father Hamor—speaking with guile because he had defiled their sister Dina and said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to a man who is uncircumcised, for that is a disgrace among us. Genesis 34:13-14

She reminded them that Shimon and Levi were just two brothers but they were five altogether.

Righteous indignation inspired her brothers

Her speech and her righteous indignation inspired her brothers to begin their war against the evil Syrian-Greek rulers over the Land of Israel. Her brave act and fiery speech was the catalyst for the Maccabean revolt.

Trump’s defying social distancing measures could be considered a fitting act of defiance for the holiday of Hanukkah.