Tonight my fellow Jews around the world light the first candle of Chanukah (literally: “dedication”, as in the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabees liberated it from the idolatrous tyrant Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’). The holiday’s message of popular discontent and determination winning out over a tyrant so narcissistic he had himself worshiped as an idol (hence the Greek sobriquet “Epiphanes”, i.e., [false g*d] becoming man) could scarcely be more timely in this era of “cults of personality” in so many walks of life.
Below is the “Shira” (song, poetry) choir performing the holiday song Ma’oz Tzur (“Rock of Ages”).
Allow me to post the English translation in verse by Jastrow and Gottheil:
Rock of ages, let our song praise your saving power.
You amidst the raging foes were our sheltering tower.
Furious they assailed us, but your arm availed us.
And your word, broke their sword, when our own strength failed us (2x)
Children of the Maccabees,whether free or fettered,
Wake the echoes of the songs, where you may be scattered.
Yours the message cheering, that the time is nearing,
Which will see, All men free, Tyrants disappearing. (2x)
Chanuka sameach/חנוכה שמח/Happy Chanuka!