Monday, December 22, 2008

Not Afraid to be Unique

Peled said that Israelis want to celebrate Christmas because they do not want to feel culturally isolated from the rest of the world.

"Celebrating only Hanukka set us apart, makes us different. People don't want to feel that way. They want to be part of world," she said.

With these words, Tamir Peled, has signed the death warrant of the Jewish people. Explaining the increasing visibility of Christmas decorations in certain places in Israel, Peled says that many Israelis don't want to be different. They feel that Chanukkah sets them apart, something that they are uncomfortable with. This desire to fit in, to be alike the nations, is the slow end of the Jews.

The Greeks were one of the most tolerant and universal-minded peoples in the ancient world. It is doubtful that they oppressed or persecuted any other people besides the Jews. How did a people known for its openness and love of philosophy come to commit so many atrocities against the Jews? It is hard to understand how the people that gave the world democracy, Plato and Aristotle, were the same ones as those who murdered Chana's 7 sons before her eyes for not bowing to an idol, or martyred the saintly Rabbi Eliezer for refusing to eat pork.

Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors wanted to unite the world under Greek culture and philosophy. The ancient pagans were the ultimate in relativism as they syncretized gods and beliefs with great ease. The Greeks adopted the gods of the nations that they conquered and in return gave them their Pantheon. The only people who refused to do this were the Jews. The Jews insisted on circumcising themselves, alone of all the ancients, did not eat the same food as non-Jews and did not share in any of their customs. The Greeks were outraged when they discovered that the Jewish Temple contained no idol or statue. They forbade the circumcision, the mark of the covenant between the Jews and G-d. They decreed that anyone caught studying Torah, the divine laws, observing the Shabbat, the holy day, or keeping kosher was to be put to death. They outlawed the Sanhedrin's proclamation of the New Month, the obligation which gave the Jewish people mastery over time.

The Greeks did not wish to eradicate the Jews physically, nor did they wish to destroy them. Rather, the Greeks wanted to put an end to the Torah, G-d's laws which set the Jewish people apart. They desecrated the Temple, and erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies. They built giant sports arenas and theaters in Jerusalem and the countryside to try and entice the Jews into the Greek culture. In fact, many of the rich and elite became known as Hellenizers because of their affinity for the Greek culture. The Greeks polluted all of the oil in the Temple, reserved for kindling the Golden Menorah, symbolic of their desire to stamp out the Torah and its light.

Oil characterized the Jewish people because just as oil does not mix with other liquids, so too do the Jews not mix with other nations. Just as oil always rises to the top, Jews always rise above the mundaneness and triviality of the world, and above the attempts of those who wish to wipe them out. The prophet Bilaam called the Jews "a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." (Numbers 23:9) The essence of the Jewish people is to be separate, to be distinct and to be holy. The Uniqueness of the Divine is paralleled by the uniqueness of the Jewish people, G-d's chosen vessel through which to reveal His Oneness and Majesty. G-d chose the nation of Israel to bring consciousness of G-d to the entire world, and to spread the light of Torah.

Many Jews unfortunately do not want to be alone. They hate their Jewishness, their choseness and distinct-ness with a passion. Deep down, they are afraid of being unique. These Jews want desperately to be accepted. Little do they realize that it is their Jewish destiny to be different. Our Father Avraham was called the 'Ivri' because he stood on one ever, side, while the entire world stood on the other. In a society that worshipped the forces of nature and paid homage to tyrants, Avraham had the courage to stand apart.

Our Sages tell us that Israel was redeemed from Egypt by virtue of the fact that they retained their identity. The Jews did not change their Hebrew names, adapt their dress to meet Egyptian fashion and spoke only their Hebrew tongue. Throughout the ages, the Jews resisted assimilation and were therefore able to outlast any other nation.

When Jews wish to become like the other nations, it is the beginning of the end. As G-d says: "If you sever yourselves from the other peoples, then you belong to me; but if not, then you belong to Nebuchadnezzar and his fellows." (Midrash, Sifra 93d) In the United States, Judaism is disappearing rapidly in a Silent Holocaust of assimilation, with a 50% assimilation rate. According to research, non-Orthodox Jewry will be largely extinct within the span of 3 generations if the current trend prevails. In Israel, the absurd political situation is a symptom of people of little faith desiring to be accepted by the world. The Israeli government and a large segment of the population are willing to sacrifice land, retreat, withdraw and compromise, all to be accepted by a world that stood silently as European Jewry chocked and burnt in the gas chambers and ovens. Such a government of lemmings is leading the nation of Israel back into the ghettos of exile.

The Jewish nation did not survive 2000 years of exile in order to simply be a cultural club. We are told that G-d created the world for the sake of Israel. In order for G-d's Truth to be revealed to the world, He needs a chosen people dwelling in a holy land living by divine laws. Our ancestors rose up against the Greeks so that they should be able to keep the Torah freely, and not be overwhelmed by Greek cultural influence. "Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He; before Me there was no God formed, neither shall any be after Me." (Isaiah 43:10) That is our mission, our calling. Tamir Peled's words, which echo those of the Hellenizers before him, are a death sentence to the Jewish nation.

This Chanukkah, let us discover what makes us unique and may we spread the light of Torah around the world. May G-d illuminate the darkness that clouds of lives, speedily in our days.

Cross-posted to the Truth about Moshiach

No to a Two-State (Final) Solution

Check out the 18.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't Let the Light Go Out

Don't let the light go out. This light has seen mighty empires comes and go. It saw the Greece rise up and conquer world, only to fade away. This light saw the Roman empire grown and collapse. It saw mighty rulers, fearless generals and mighty warriors disappear, without a trace. Yet the light remains.

Don't let the light go out. This light overcame the forces of Hellenism and hedonism. It shone through the darkness of immorality and vanity. It gave guidance and meaning to thousands of generations of Jews who resisted assimilation, who refused to forsake their Torah and their G-d. This light illuminated the secularism that blinded many and sought to lead the Jewish people astray. Philosophies, ideologies and 'isms' are relegated to the dustbin of history, yet the light remains.

Don't let the light go out. It was tended and nurtured lovingly by Jews throughout the ages, often at the risk of their lives. It was protected and treasured despite pain, despite poverty, despite hardship and persecution. Downtrodden, humiliated and weak, the light gave us strength. When there was no hope, the light promised us a better future.

Don't let the light go out. It shone brightly in Morocco and Poland, in Baghdad and Paris. It illuminated the streets of Minsk and Pinsk, Istanbul and Fez, Shanghai and Rome. Our enemies could not extinguish it. Withstanding the cross and the crescent, crusaders and mujahadeen, the light still burns. Under the windows of popes and kings, emperors and sultans, shas and dukes, the light proclaimed that we were still here.

Don't let the light go out. It was lit hidden in cellars, for fear of the Inquisitors racks. It was lit in ghettos and camps, in the shadow of the gas chambers and crematorium. It was lit in the freezing gulag's, the punishment for wishing to return home. It burnt long after Crusaders and Almohads, revolutionaries and fascists, Nazis and Communists, disappeared from the earth and will burn long after the suicide bomber, "holy warrior" and jihadist terrorist. For the miracles performed for us in those days, in this time.

Don't let the light go out. The light that was kindled at the rededication of the Second Temple, and will be kindled at the dedication of the Third Temple, may it be soon. The light that has returned home after two thousands years of exile, the light that blossoms in its holy land. The light that was shot out in Mumbai, massacred on the streets on Jerusalem, in pizzerias and cafes, synagogues and study halls. The light that is threatened by assimilation and ignorance. The light that has seen history, yet still shines. Don't let the light go out.

Chag Chanukkah Sameach!

Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard and the Truth about Moshiach

Monday, December 8, 2008

"But some of my best friends are Jewish..."

I get it. You are not anti-semitic. Certainly not. That is ridiculous. I'm only charging you with that to shut you up, to slander you, to ignore what you have to say. Far be it from you to hate Jews. You eat bagels and lox and once were invited to your co-worker's Passover seder. You've seen "Fiddler on the Roof" at least 4 times. You even dated a Jewish girl in college. What more proof do I need? You have nothing against Jews; we've already established that. You just hate Israel. Jews aren't a people; they're just a religious group. There's a big difference between being an anti-Zionist and an anti-semite. Of course.

Keep talking. Maybe if you say if enough, you'll succeed in convincing someone. Certainly, only a Zionist fascist would deduce that being committed to the destruction of the Jewish state would imply hatred of Jews. Seeing as the most probable way that the State of Israel would come to an end is either through a nuclear Holocaust or at the hands of genocidal invading armies, that suggestion doesn't seem so ridiculous. And the fact that the only country you want wiped off the face of the earth is Israel sets off some alarms. Anti-Zionist, if you're simply naive rather than genocidal, know that the end of the State of Israel would mean the mass murder of its over 6 million Jewish inhabitants. But you have a Jewish doctor...

Your ranting and raving over "poor Palestinians children" every time Israel defends itself is reasonable. Just like your opposition to Jews protecting their right to exist. Hey, you read Anne Frank's diary. Now that's a Jew that you can like! Why can't we all be more like her? Anti-Zionist, let's call a spade a spade. You understand the motives behind a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a cafe full of Jews, or why someone would gun down a library full of students. You explain that its because of "poverty", "racism" or "the occupation" that they lynch Jewish soldiers and dance on their corpses, displaying their bloody hands proudly to the world. And yet no sort of reaction on the part of the attacked is permissible, at least if the victim is Jewish. For a Jew to fight back would be a disproportionate response. It would be a war crime, and you would evoke every despicable sort of Nazi comparison possible.

Anti-Zionist, are you getting the picture? Do you see the error of your ways, or is your hatred much deeper engrained? You proclaim the right of self-determination for all peoples, especially the made-up entity known as the "Palestinians", except for Jews. While every little tribe and clan should be able to make its own decisions, only Jews must be condemned to constantly live as minorities, at the mercies of others. You have no problem with Jews, as long as they know their place and keep quiet. A weak Jew is your favourite. Israel is victim to your double-standards, delegitimization and demonization. You condemn as a racist apartheid state the only country in the Middle East with free elections, based on democratic principles. The most diverse country in the region is racist in your eyes. A Jew living in Judea and Samaria is a crime against humanity. A Jew praying at his most holy site, the Temple Mount, is forbidden lest the Arabs be offended. Jews have no right to a state unless they accept a Rwanda-style bi-national state, while no other people would except such a thing. Jews should just be happy with whatever they're given- they're lucky we let them live.

Still, you're not an anti-semite. Only a fool or a neocon warmongerer would accuse you of that. After all, the Jews aren't even a people. They're just a religious group. Too bad that Jews have always defined themselves as a nation, held together by common bonds of religion, faith, culture, heritage and ancestry. You are chief rabbi now, and you have decided that we are not a people. And the only Jews whose opinions count are Neturai Karta and the loony self-loathing Left. It doesn't matter that living in Israel is equivalent to keeping the entire Torah, according to Jewish law. It is immaterial that the vast majority of the world's Jews choose to express their identity through nationalism and peoplehood. You make the rules, great rebbe and pasken. And you've decided that we don't deserve a country. In fact, such a thing is racist. Never mind that the French, Chinese, Iraqi and Zulu are entitled to one. Jews can only exist as guests in somebody else's country. Their own is racist and colonialist.

Anti-Zionist, let's not pretend here. You use the same classic anti-semitic canards in a new anti-Israel wrapping. The collective guilt of the Jews over their crimes of deicide has been replaced with Israel's original sin of land-grabbing and theft, the "Nakba", or disaster. The Zionists are responsible for the world's current ills and led the US into its disastrous war in Iraq. The Mossad was behind 9/11 and just about every other man-made and natural disaster since and before then. AIPAC and the Israel lobby are pulling the strings behind the US government. Jews no longer kidnap Christian babies to use their blood for matzot; they murder Arab babies with impunity. Jews don't poison the wells but rather Israel intentionally spreads disease among the Arabs.

Save it. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably hates Jews. You hate the Jewish state vehemently. You are obsessed with Israel/Jewish/Zionist conspiracies and see the Mossad's/Jew's hands behind everything. Check on double standards. Check on disproportionate condemnations. Check on historical revisionism and denial of Jewish basic rights. You, my friend, have all the basic characteristic of the classic anti-semite. Anti-semitism has proved itself extremely resilient throughout the ages, making itself suitable for every particular time and ideology. Anti-Zionism is simply its latest reincarnation. You're not fooling anyone. Give up the act.

Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard and Stop Raping Israel