According to Jewish thought, time is not a line. It doesn’t start from the beginning and moves in a straight arrow forward. The arrow time would mean that history has very little to do with us, just a memory and recognition something happened a long time ago coincidentally on the same arbitrary date.
Judaism believes that time is a spiral, repeating itself every year on a slighter different plane. Thus the holidays are not an anniversary, but another chance to grab the essence and power (or the dubiousness) of those holy days.
With Hanuka approaching, not only is it a time to have family together, but it is also the time to strengthen our differences from outside forces. Hellenists were those who were interested in blending in with the goyim, willing to give up Jewish ideals. Assimilationists. The ideals that the Greeks outlawed: Rosh Hadosh (recognizing the Jewish month), Shabbes and holidays, and Brit Mila, as well as learning Torah. The Maccabees were the ones who held on (Orthodox?) and were willing to give up their lives (which they ultimately all did.)
Why those specific mitzvots?
Rosh Hadosh represents again that time spiral, the repeating of each month with its mazel – a conduit to bring down spiritual strengths. Shabbes is the recognition that HaShem is the creator of the world. Brit Mila is the belief that the body is not perfect but given to us to perfect. (Remember it was the Greeks who founded the Olympics, and in their days and the athletes performed naked.) All of which are the antithesis of Greek and Hellenistic culture. The Greeks firmly believed if you can’t see it – it doesn’t exist, not a Jewish concept.
Thus every Hanuka week has Rosh Hadosh, a Shabbes and is 8 days long; the same as Brit Mila.
There is another meaning of the time spiral. The spiral is getting smaller as it moves through history. As we approach the end of days, the Moshiach time gets faster. A fascinating concept since time is supposed to be a set interval of that dimension.
And I don’t know about you, but time is slipping. Okay I know that as one gets older, time seems faster. But did you ever ask the youth? My kids make statements that time is fast. I never felt that way when I was young. Time itself is changing.
What is the End of Days supposed to look like or as we call it: the birth pangs of Moshiach’s arrival?
The end like birth is not an easy time. It will be a time of pain that comes and eases like birth until the beautiful gift of life is given. It is predicted there will be a world recession, governments will be controlled by tyrants or fools, and a great war is predicted called Gog and Magog. (Which could mean “a nation and the nation from that nation”.)
The Jewish people will be dominated by different world powers (whether physically or philosophically). In the book of Daniel the future dominant empires: Bavel (Babylon), Madai (Media), Yavan (Greece), and Edom (Rome) are described as animals cast in different metals (details alluding to the type, philosophy and strengths of our enemies.)
I heard the end of days the world will be threaten by the snake. The snake is a people who don’t have a nation, but slither into every nation and overtake the governments with terror before anyone ever notices.
What are we to do?
We do have control. We can bring the Moshiach on a white horse or a donkey. Meaning we can bring in the Moshiach with ease, by keeping mitzvot, do hesed and tzadaka and anticipate the Moshiach’s arrival with happiness.
A typical Jewish and optimistic response, but time is running out.