Thursday, 9 December 2010

Was Hanukkah a Reaction to Secular Liberalism? 2 - 2 Approaches

Originally published 12/9/10, 4:48 pm.

Olas Shabbos - Chanukah, 5760 -
What does the closing of the Wolozhiner Yeshivah have in common with The Maccabean Revolt?
 Hareidi Version:
Both the Maccabean Revolt and the closing of the Wolozhiner Yeshiva were protests by Torah Jews against the intrusion of any secular culture into our Torah culture.
A "Torah im Madda" Alternative:
Both the Maccabean Revolt and the closing of the Wolozhiner Yeshiva were protests against [a Government] IMPOSING any secular culture upon Jewish Society. However, it is OK for Jews themselves to incorporate certain secular studies - so long as it is subjected to Torah-based criteria such as R Hirsch did with Torah Im Derech Eretz in Frankfort.



micha said...

I miss how Chanukah, which celebrates getting a statue of Zeus out of the beis hamiqdash, and thereby removing the Misyavnim's identification of Hashem with Zeus, has a connection to secular anything.

Maybe it is more accurate to build the comparison on acculturation without the word "secular".

The chareidi resists all acculturation.

The MO must control his own acculturation, in order to be able to filter out the unusable. (Like Zeus or MP3s with "explicit lyrics".)


Anonymous said...

"It is often said that the Yeshiva was closed because of the Netziv’s refusal to permit secular subjects to be studied. The fact is that the government’s demand were such that if adopted the Yeshiva would have totally lost its character. For example, one of the demands was that secular subjects be studied until 3:00 PM and that night study cease."
(From the thumbnail bio of the Netziv at

The issue doesn't seem to have been the intrusion or imposition "of any secular culture" but their degree or intrusiveness -- would the Netziv have closed down the Yeshiva had the government mandated only an hour or two of Russian-language secular studies on weekdays?