You may remember the name Christopher Hitchens.
He’s the Jewish atheist who wrote a best selling book “G-d is Not Great”.
In the book, he “trashes” every religion in the world, including Judaism.
Here’s one of the many incredible things he says.
“If I had to nominate an absolutely tragic day in human history?
What would it be?
Because without Chanukah, the Jewish People would be carriers of philosophy.
Instead of monotheism!”
I would not typically quote something like this in a Torah Minute.
It doesn’t deserve to be quoted.
And it doesn’t even deserve the dignity of a response.
But I think every Jew should hear this response.
And so should every human being.
… Here’s another thing that Hitchens writes.
“If you read the works of Stephen Hawking…
You will find him more enlightening when wrong, than any person of faith…”
… Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s most brilliant physicists.
He suffers from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and is almost completely paralyzed.
He communicates (and lectures!) through an electronic voice synthesizer.
What does this have to do with Chanukah?
Because we know that the Ancient Greeks were enamored by certain things.
Like beauty, harmony and perfection.
And anything that was “none of the above”, was discarded.
Like handicapped children.
They were left on a mountain to die!
And do you know who sanctioned this practice?
Aristotle and Plato!
Two of the greatest minds in the history of humanity!
And that’s how things would be today if it was not for Chanukah.
Because the Jews went to war to preserve the Torah.
And the Torah changed the world.
It taught the concept of one G-d Who created every human being in His Image.
Therefore, every human being is entitled to respect and dignity.
Even if they are not “perfect”!
… Stephen Hawking has a brilliant mind. And he should be an inspiration to us.
But if it wasn’t for Chanukah?
He would not be alive!
So let’s proudly celebrate Chanukah.
And thank G-d that instead of teaching the world philosophy?
We taught it Torah!
All the best,