George Washington and the Miracle of Chanukah

Hi, two¬† friends sent me the following story[1]…I have scoured the Google Library to see whether it is apocryphal or historically based; clearly it is the former. Nevertheless, it is an interesting read that may also be found¬† in the Sefer Pardes Chanukah. This is a folk story about George Washington and the Jewish soldier who fought alongside the famous general. The narrative is attributed to a personal journal of a Jewish soldier who fought alongside General George Washington at Valley Forge during the period of Chanukah.

It is Chanukah in the year of 1776. The winter is hard and the cold is fearsome. We are sitting in Valley Forge and waiting. Waiting for what? I do not know. Possibly, for days better than those at hand. I am to my knowledge the only Jew here. Possibly, there are others, however, I do not recognize any as such.

We are starving for bread. We have no clothes to warm our bodies and no shoes for our feet. Most of the soldiers curse General Washington who went to fight the English. There are also those among us who seek and hope for his downfall; however, I believe justice is with him. We need to remove Britain from the colonies. Britain seeks to extend her hand upon all she sees.

I believe with all my heart in General Washington though we suffer here so greatly. I observe the General as he is passing at night in the camp among the sleeping troops. He looks upon them with compassion as they struggle with the cold. There are those among them that he approaches to cover as a father would his son. There are those who suffer with the famine and cold bringing them to the brink of death. However, I do not curse General Washington who fights to bring independence to America.

At these moments, I am reminded of my father in Poland. I recall how much he suffered at the hands of the cruel Baron. I remember I was but a youngster and saw my father dance before the Baron. How terrible was the sight. My father was made to dress up in the skin of a white bear and he danced for the sport of the Baron and his guests. How great is my pain and shame. Father dances as a bear and the Baron jests and revels. I affirm in my heart that I will never be so humiliated myself. At my first opportunity, I set sail to America. Continue reading “George Washington and the Miracle of Chanukah”