On the Shabbat of Hanukkah (December 27), the starkest choice of values and visions of the future was laid before the Jewish people throughout the world.
On the one hand, Jews throughout the world were reading in synagogue the Prophetic vision of Zechariah, no stranger to exile and humiliation, writing from the midst of the Babylonian Captivity 2,500 years ago and looking forward to the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the relighting of its Menorah — both of which had been destroyed by Babylonian militarism. This rebuilding and relighting, Zechariah proclaimed, must be achieved not by mobilizing might and power against Babylonia but by drawing on the Infinite Spirit, God’s power. A vision reinforced by the Rabbis who chose the passage to be read on the holy day that might otherwise easily fall into a celebration of the military might and power of the Maccabees.
By Arthur Waskow
The Washington Post
On the other hand — on the very same day!! — at least 225 Palestinians were killed by Israeli bombs in one more attempt to quell by might and power the use of violence (on a much smaller scale) by Hamas, in what Hamas claims to be a retaliation against the Israeli blockade and semi-starvation of the people of Gaza.
The two choices were to be found in two texts:
The First: “Not by Might, and not by Power — but by My Breathing Spirit, says YHWH Infinite.” — Zechariah 4: 6.
The Second: The New York Times, December 27, 2008:
“GAZA — Waves of Israeli air strikes destroyed Hamas security facilities in Gaza on Saturday in a crushing response to the group’s rocket fire, killing more than 225 — the highest one-day toll in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades.