I do not celebrate Channukah. I know that is very odd. Channukah is one of the most cherished holiday seasons in Judaism. It is considered a festival of light and a time of great joy celebrating the purification of the Second Temple and the reinstatement of the Temple Service.
I do not celebrate Channukah for the following reasons. The Maccabees were Priests, but they were not B'nie Tzadok. Only those Cohenim who are B'nei Tzaddok were entitled to be High Priests. The Maccabbim, who were Cohenim but not B'nei Tzaddok, expropriated the office of High Priest. This was only the first of their sins. They would eventually arrive at a level of depravity and degradation that the mind and heart can hardly fathom. It was because of their internecine power struggles within the family, which included murder and castrations of close family members, all of whom were Cohenim; their orgies with Gentiles in the Temple; their crowning themselves kings, which is forbidden for Cohenim to do that led to the destruction of the Temple and our galut. The period of their reign was the darkest period in Jewish history. There were more atrocities committed by them, but the heart is too rent to consider all of it. I am humiliated that an episode such as that is part of our history.
The Isi'im (the Dead Sea Sect) who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls were B'nei Tzaddok who left Yerushalayim in disgust as a result of these events.
The settled in Qumran, formed a communitarian society of common property and devoted themselves to the study and performance of Torah with the utmost assiduousness.
The Isi'im were lost to history at the end of the Second Temple period.
Thinking they were "out of the way" and not knowing that they had hid their writings in caves in Qumran, the redactors of the Talmud engaged is unbridled mendacity in their representations of who the B'nei Tzaddok were. They said that they rejected Oral Law, in addition to other besmirching.
For 2000 years all that was known about HaIsi'im was written about them in the Talmud.
And then, on the self-same day that the partition of Palestine was voted by the UN, the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls that was found by a Bedouin shepherd boy was sold to Yigal Yadin's father, Professor Eliezer Sukenik.
For the first time in 2000 years; HaIsi'im were able to speak for themselves. They wrote that they were a sect founded by B'nei Tzaddok who left Yerushalayim after it became so defiled by the Maccabbim that they could not longer conscience living there. They wrote about their community. But for the sake of this discussion, most importantly, they wrote about the Oral Law.
The redactors of the Talmud wrote that the B'nei Tzaddok did not believe in any Oral Law, that they followed the written Torah only.
But at Qumran T'fillin were found, and the contained the very same passages that are found in Rashi and Rebbenu Tam T'fellin, only in a different order. Carbon dating showed that they were well over 2000 years old.
One of the fragments of a scroll discusses how much water is needed for a proper mikveh.
Another passage discusses how far one may walk on Shabbat.
Another discusses how one may rescue someone who has fallen into a pit on Shabbat.
All of these matters are Oral Torah.
If you wish to read my writings on the Dead Sea Sect, HaYachad, as they called themselves, you can find them on the following web sites:
The redactors of the Talmud misrepresented the B'nei Tzaddok. They did so intentionally in order to become the sole representatives of Torah. They lied in order to establish their absolute authority.
That being the case we are not only free to, but absolutely must, call everything in the Talmud into question. We cannot believe that their intentions were pure about anything they wrote. Certainly, we would be foolish to reject all of the Talmud out-of-hand. But we are equally foolish to accept it uncritically and unquestioningly.
I think it is pertinent here to discuss a group of people who did try to live according to the written Law without an Oral Law – the Karaites.
They were excommunicated, in toto, from Judaism.
Do you know that Aaron ben Moshe ben Asher and his descendants, the House of Asher, those who fixed the version of HaMasorah HaT'veriani were Karaites? (See: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/benAsher.html). Everything we learn in Torah is thanks to the impeccable knowledge and the work of a long line of Karaites.
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel