So states Rabbi Lawrence Keleman in relation to what one will take out of his Chanukah experience.
While he doesn’t give us a color scheme with which to picture the essence of what Chanukah is all about, you can be sure it’s not gray because it’s his view that no one who walks into Chanukah walks out the same.
You either go up or down.
So who were the Greeks anyway?
Rabbi Keleman tells us that the Greeks more than any other nation worshiped nature. In fact, they invented it in terms of its being an entity onto itself that makes sure the trains run on time in the natural world.
They were pantheists who whose creed was the survival of the fittest and the athletes were their priests.
And what of Klal Yisroel?
Klal Yisroel is a supernatural nation and the battle of the Jews versus the Greeks, which at its core is a battle of world views, was that of a supernatural nation going to war against nature itself.
When the Greeks outlawed Shabbos, Bris Milah, and Kiddush HaKodesh, and punctuated their gezeira with the death penalty, this hashkafic rumble was morphed into the military conflict, which ended in the victory that Chanukah celebrates.
So what was their problem with Shabbos?
As Rabbi Keleman lets us hear, the short and sweet of it was that on the Seventh Day our G-d finished creating their god. As philosophical slap downs go, this fight was over at one nanosecond into round one so it’s understandable why the Greeks wanted to take Shabbos off the table.
Bris Milah, for its part, desecrated the most important part of the body as the Greeks viewed it. It was not for nothing that Greeks were notorious homosexuals.
And Kiddush HaKodesh?
It seems that the Greeks believed that there was a direct link between the phases of the moon and certain natural phenomena. If the Beis Din HaGadol would be delayed because the witnesses had not yet arrived, these phenomena would also be delayed because the phases of the moon were subservient to the decision of the Beis Din HaGadol.
So at the end of the day it comes out that Shabbos marks the creation of their god by Numero Uno, Bris Milah defaces their god, and Kiddush HaKodesh trumpets our absolute control over their god.
That’s a heck of a in your face trifecta.
As Rabbi Keleman puts it, there was never before (Chanukah) or since then a conflict that more clearly/truly represented the Jewish struggle in this world of the supernatural against the natural.
One who takes out of Chanukah the import of what this struggle is all about sees a piece of the big picture concerning Klal Yisroel’s place in this world, whereas anyone who goes through Chanukah untouched by the clarity that it brings to the table of life sees nothing but darkness, his Chanukah licht notwithstanding.
You either go up or down.