The thing is this: Hanukkah as it comes down to us is *both* a holiday celebrating the military victory of insurgent Jewish religious nationalists (of a sort) *and* a holiday that is super uncomfortable with militaristic nationalism. That's bc it's an old, multi-layered holiday.
Hanukkah was first established by the Hasmoneans, a Jewish guerilla nationalist group that successfully revolted against Seleucid rule. It was they who established th4e Hanukkah holiday to commemorate their victory and the inauguration of their regime at the temple in Jerusalem.
The Hasmonean revolt no doubt served as a model for the two massive revolts against Roman rule 200 years later. These failed disastrously, leading to the utter decimation of the Jewish population and the final destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
After the 2nd revolt, the rabbis assumed leadership of the shattered nation and began a policy of accommodation to the Romans. They sought to cast the Jews to their occupiers not as a warlike group prone to rebellion but as peaceable provincials who sought only to worship God.
Hanukkah, therefore, posed a problem. A holiday commemorating the successful violent overthrow of western imperialists represented a threat. So the rabbis retold the story. They shifted the focus from the revolt to God's saving hand.
The official policy of rabbinic quietism, adopted after devastating military defeats, ran through the literature. The rabbis excluded the books recounting the Hasmonean revolt when they canonized the Bible. The name "Judah Maccabi" was never so much as mentioned.
The story of the miracle of the oil emerged even later, in Babylonia. There's no hint of it in any source from the Land of Israel.
However, the original holiday, celebrating the military victory of the Hasmonean nationalists, was never forgotten. And as nationalist strivings reappeared among the Jews in the 19th century, it was only natural that they would revive the Maccabis as their heroes.
Herzl called for the rebirth of the Maccabean spirit among the Jews. And many Zionist and Israel organizations adopted the Maccabis as their mascots.

Of course, all of these were secular nationalist, and they downplayed or ignored the religiosity of the historical rebellion.
Menashe Ravina wrote a thoroughly secularized paean to the Hasmonean revolt in 1936 which has become part of the standard Hanukkah liturgy.
And at the same time, Aharon Ze'ev wrote "Anu Nosim Lapidim" (We Carry Torches), which explicitly rejects any role for the supernatural in national liberation. It is the Jews who always have saved themselves, he argues, and will do so again.
Today, the hyper-spiritualized holiday of the rabbis and the commemoration of the restoration of national sovereignty sit together, however uneasily. We both celebrate the miracle of the oil and the valor of Jewish freedom-fighters.
And there remain partisans of each approach— though today, both thoroughgoing Jewish quietism and atheist nationalism are both marginal positions within the Jewish community.

Most Jews today embrace a theology in which both God's hand and human initiative play a part.
Hey @JeffreyGoldberg! Take a look-see at this thread.

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More from @IdraKehilla

26 Aug
Many of us know about @SefariaProject and the extraordinary work they do; I want to share here some amazing online resources in Hebrew you may not know about that can greatly enrich your learning and teaching.
First, along the lines of Sefaria is @AlHaTorah ( which has options in English, as well. Among its amazing features are extensive Mikraot Gedolot, including commentaries by Abravanel, the Netziv, and others not elsewhere available. /2
It also has extensive commentaries on Shas (the Talmud), and an excellent feature for engaging with classic questions about the Parasha, Parasha Topics. (…). I'm sure there's much more I haven't discovered — play around with it! /3
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