Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Chanukah: the Ongoing Battle

There are so many nice themes of Chanukah: light, miracles, emunah, fight for what you believe - even if you're standing alone or are few in number.
Then there are the themes that many people don't like to hear about: yavan, assimilation, materialism, war/death, Jewish infighting.

For me, Chanukah, while being such a beautiful and holy holiday, has a slight ring of sadness to it every year. Why? Because the battle with the yavanim is still going on today.
The Maccabim fought against the Jewish Hellenists. That is, the assimilated Jews. Not just the Greeks.
They defeated the Greeks. But not the Jewish Hellenists, who were Jews that, while they maintained some of their Jewishness, just wanted to be modern Jews accepted by the goyim. We'll keep chagim to a certain extent. But we'll dress Greek, have Greek names, and do Greek activities (like the Olympics).
Sounds familiar?

The Greeks valued Chitzonyut. Gashmiut. Outer appearance. Materialism.
The Jews valued morality, Torah learning, modesty, and being separated from anything that did not fit into those three categories.

We are SO fortunate in our generation that we are not persecuted for being Jewish. We have more freedom than ever in history to be as observant as we want without non-Jewish restrictions.
And yet. We have the highest rate of assimilation in this generation.

Chanukah begs every Jew to question: whose side would I be on if the Maccabees went to war today. Would I be on the Maccabees side? Or the Jewish Hellenists side?

May HaShem bless all of us to be on the right path, and may all of our actions be l'Shem Shamayim.
May the light of Chanukah touch every Jew's neshama & inspire all of us to grow closer to HaShem Yitbarach.
Chanukah Sameach :)



  2. Very true. That's a very important message.

    Thank you!

  3. “In an article in The Jewish Observer entitled Pesach in Autumn, Rabbi Yisroel Greenwald describes his experience while learning in kollel in Australia. While originally he had gravitated towards those who were particularly successful in their fields of endeavor, his world view became changed and he was drawn to the heroes who were baalei teshuvah.

    One particular individual was particularly successful in his career in acting, with many female followers. When he decided to become a baal teshuvah, he struggled to master Gemara, and was having a particularly difficult time with parnassah and shidduchim, but was unwavering his commitment. Rabbi Greenwald took him to Rav Don Segal shlita for a brachah, and explained that his friend had given up a successful career, and left a life of prestige and fame to adopt a life of Torah.

    Rav Don lowered his head, and told him:
    I envy your share in the World to Come!

    The Rav was not one to offer unfounded compliments, yet he shared with this young [Jew] how precious his decision was in the Eyes of HaKadosh Baruch Hu.”

    SOURCE: Al HaTzaddikim 5 Types of Yidden by Rebbetzin Esti Reisman, Flatbush Jewish Journal, 2013 November 7, page 34

  4. The paragraph shown below is an exact quote from:
    Obama’s Iran Gamble, an article written
    by George Crowley in Geneva, which appeared in
    Time Magazine, 2013 December 9, page 32:

    The agreement, which trades temporary relief for
    Iran from international economic sanctions in return
    for limits on its nuclear program, lets Teheran off easy,
    Republicans and even some Democrats complain.

    “We have just rewarded very bad and dangerous behavior,”
    House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers told CNN.

    Republican Senator Mark Kirk said the deal “appears to
    provide the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism
    with billions of dollars in exchange for cosmetic
    concessions that neither fully freeze nor significantly
    roll back its nuclear infrastructure.”

    Spaces were added to the paragraph
    shown above to make it easier to read.

  5. Rabbi Avigdor Miller (a popular Chareidi Rabbi, born 1908 CE, died 2001 CE) delivered a free public lecture in the last year of his life, in which he taught that Jews should pray for the Israeli Army.
    I personally witnessed this; I was there.

    When a Jew recites Tefilat Shemoneh Esrei, he is permitted to add his own personal prayer requests in the middle of the final paragraph, which begins with Elokai Netzor Leshoni MeiRa.

    I recently began adding the prayer for the Israeli Army in that part. I know this is not the way it is normally recited, but it is permitted, and I can say it that way in any synagogue.

    Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck NJ told me that I can recite it even on Shabbat and Yom Tov, because it is a communal tefillah, not a private bakashah.


  6. Overlooked Psychology of the Arab-Israeli Peace Process
    by Mr. Cohen, moderator of the Derech Emet yahoo group, 2014 April 27

    In one of the most famous Bible stories, King Solomon threatened to cut a baby in half to satisfy the claims of two women who claimed possession of the same baby.

    The fake mother did not object to cutting the baby in half, but the real mother begged King Solomon to not do it, because the real mother did not want to see her baby die.

    The Arabs are very familiar with this Bible story, and they apply it to the conflict over possessing “Palestine.” The Arabs believe that just as the fake mother in the court of King Solomon was willing to divide the baby, the Israelis are fake owners of “Palestine” because they are willing to divide it.

    According to this logic, the Arabs can never truly agree to less than 100% of “Palestine,” because doing so would make them like the fake mother in the court of King Solomon, who was willing to divide the baby.

    Amazingly, Israel-bashing professors and journalists who consider themselves paragons of erudition are not aware of this widespread Arab belief.

  7. Refuting the Jew Haters by Mr. Cohen, 2014/4/27,
    moderator of the Derech Emet yahoo group,

    I do NOT suggest that any Jew waste his or her time arguing with Jew haters, for many reasons.

    First, our obligation as Jews is to serve G_d, not argue with Jew hating lunatics.

    Second, they can be dangerous, and even if you think you are anonymous on the internet,
    you are not as anonymous as you think you are, and they may find you, G_d forbid.

    Third, many Jew haters are fanatics and/or lunatics, who will never listen to anything you say, or even use your words against Jews in ways you did not anticipate.

    Still, there are rare situations when it helps to know how to refute their accusations against Jews; for example, when a sincere Gentile co-worker or neighbor is influenced by the accusations of the Jew haters.

    One favorite accusation of the Jew haters is that Jews have been expelled from many countries and cities. Jew haters use this to imply that Jews are bad people.

    This accusation can be countered.

    When a Medieval king expelled Jews from his country, Jews were usually not able to take their possessions with them, so all the possessions of the Jews became the property of the king, including: land, houses, furniture, gold, silver, jewels, farm animals, etc.

    Even if the Jews had some way to take their money with them (which was far from guaranteed) they could not take their larger possessions with them. This permitted the kings to increase their wealth quickly with little risk.

    So kings had big financial incentives to expel their Jews, as did lords and dukes.

    Another reason why Jews were expelled many times from Christian countries was that Medieval Christians did not tolerate people whose beliefs disagreed with their own.

    Medieval European Christians also persecuted other Christians whose beliefs differed from their own. For example:

    In October 1536 CE, William Tyndale was publicly executed because he translated the Bible into English, even though he was Christian.

    Most Christians alive today tolerate people with different beliefs, but this tolerance is around one or two centuries old.

    We Jews should THANK G_D that we live in an era when most Christians no longer believe their religion wants them to persecute Jews.

  8. In year 1766 CE, King Frederick the Great of Prussia said:
    “To oppress the Jews never brought any prosperity to any government!”

    MICROBIOGRAPHY 1: King Frederick the Great of Prussia was born in year 1712 CE, became king 1740 CE, until his death in year 1786 CE. He is best known for his military victories.

    MICROBIOGRAPHY 2: Author Sir David Fraser lived from 1920 CE to 2012 CE.
    He was one of Britain’s most senior generals, and also wrote a bestselling biography of Erwin Rommel.

    SOURCE: Frederick the Great (chapter 18, page 487) by David Fraser, year 2001 CE, Fromm international Publishing, New York, Hardcover, 703 pages, ISBN 0-88064-261-0.