I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that David Suissa, President of the Jewish Journal, was paying a compliment to Karaite Jews when he recently referred to us as “rebellious” due to our rejection of the Talmud.
I’ve met Mr. Suissa on a few occasions (though he probably would not remember me) and several years back I actually heard him speak at a Shabbat dinner in a private home in Los Angeles. In every instance, he has shown himself to be a sincere individual and a dedicated Jew. I was, thus, particularly flattered when Mr. Suissa likened Karaites to rebels – especially around this time of year when most Jews throughout the world will soon begin the celebration of Hanukkah.
Hanukkah commemorates one of the most successful rebellions in the history of our people. The Maccabees, as they are commonly referred to, were the heroes and leaders of a rebellion against the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. Because of the Maccabean Revolt, the Jewish people reclaimed The Temple and rededicated it to the God of Israel. The word Hanukkah is Hebrew for “dedication.”
But the connection between Karaites and the Maccabees is much deeper than my not-so-artful twist on the word “rebellious.”