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Torah Tidbits Audio
Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
It is known that “Jews For Jeeeezeus” headhunters take advantage of wintertime loneliness and the alluring hype of Xmas to snare unsuspecting Jews in their web. Here’s the full Chapter Three of Rabbi Kahane’s book, “Listen World, Listen Jew,” to remind people just how much they love us.
Listen world; I am a Jew, I am a Zionist.
The year was 135 and Zion lay prostrate before the Roman Empire, its people exhausted with their glorious struggle for Zionism, Jewish sovereignty in their own land. Hundreds of thousands lay dead on the battlefield; cities stood ruined and desolate; fields and vineyards were desolate and long lines of surviving Jews marched into Exile in chains to be sold as slaves in the marketplaces of Roman commerce; the rest were scattered into the long night of strange lands of the Diaspora. In the imperial city of Rome stood the arrogant Arch of Titus with figures depicting the beaten Jews carved into it, and Romans happily carried coins reading ֺ”Judea Capta”ֺ-ֺJudah is captured, destroyed, its people scattered, never to rise again.
And the Roman Emperor Hadrian, furious at the Jewish rebels and hating the stubborn children of Zion, moved to erase from memory the name Judea, as belonging to the Jews. Jerusalem was ploughed up with a yoke of oxen, its name changed to Aelia Capitolina. And Hadrian, in his determination to blot out the memory of Zion, changed the name Judea to Palestina.
Palestina. This is the origin of the country and people who don’t exist. This is the source of the fraud that would continue the imperialism and aggression of the Roman Hadrian. Palestine exists only when Judea is blotted out. But when Judea lives, Zion exists, and there is no Palestine.
The year was 135 and even as the cries of the tortured and martyred Jewish leaders-Rabbi Akiva combed to death with iron combs; Chanina Ben Tradyon wrapped in a Torah scroll and burned alive; Rabbi Gamliel beheaded-rang out, the long night of Exile began for the Jewish people. Little did they know that before they would come home, before Zionism would again be realized, nearly two millenia would pass.
Little did they realize that the next 1900 years would prove beyond a shadow of any doubt that Zionism - the need for a Jewish homeland where Jews would be free, safe from oppression, and masters of their own fate - was the sole solution for the Jewish people.
How can one begin to set down on paper the saga of the wandering Jews from the year 135. Scattered to the winds, they made their way to Spain, to France, to Germany, to the lands of the East, to the lands of Byzantium and Islam. Except for relatively brief periods of respite -illusions of safety and security - the scenario that unfolds is almost too incredible to comprehend. It is so filled with drama, tragedy, death, heroism and stubborn courage, that if a playwright were to dare present such a sketch today, its implausibility would be hooted down.
"I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. Surely against me He turneth His hand again and again all the day" (Eichah, 3:1- 3).
As the Jew trod wearily into Christian Europe, the newly dominant faith took full vengeance on the people who had spurned her. Dominated by the need to break this stiff-necked people and to prove to itself that the sufferings of the Jews were punishment for their refusal to accept the true Christianity, the Church made life for the Jew a living hell.
Driven by the "holy urge" to free the holy places from Moslem rule, a motley crew of rabble and riffraff, spurred on by ignorant and fanatical Christian priests, called for a Crusade to the Holy Land. As the eleventh century drew to a close, mobs marched through France spreading terror throughout the Jewish communities. Onwards through to the Rhine Valley they marched as the Jews of Treves trembled, several killing themselves and their children, women and girls, weighing themselves down with stones and leaping into the Moselle River lest they be faced with the choice of conversion to Christianity on the one hand and death and rape on the other. On May 3, 1096, the Christian mobs reached the city of Speyer, murdering ten Jews in the church when they refused to convert. Fourteen days later the distinguished Jewish community of Worms was attacked by a howling, bloodthirsty band of Christians. Only a few submitted to baptism, the majority preferring to die with "Shema," the declaration of knowledge and recognition of the L-rd, as the true G-d, on their lips. Many committed suicide; women killed their own children. The wealthier Jews who had found refuge in the palace of Bishop Allebrandus, were suddenly told that they must choose baptism or be given over to the mob. Asking for time to consider the offer, the heroic Jews of Worms chose to take their own lives, and when the barbaric Crusaders burst into the palace to receive the Jewish answer, it was found in the blood of those who lay dead. No less than 1800 Jews fell victim to the Church in Worms.
Back to Speyer went the mob where the treacherous Archbishop Ruthar urged 1300 Jews to come with their wealth and hide in his palace. The Bishop's soldiers merely stood by as the Christian Crusaders, led by Count Emerich, kinsman of the archbishop, charged in, searching for victims. The scenes of Worms were repeated as 1300 martyrs fell with an oath of allegiance to the L-rd on their lips, murdered in the name of Yeshu (may his name and memory be erased) by the Christian Crusaders, or killed by their own loved ones.
A bitter kind of comfort ended the drama in Speyer. Two Jews named Isaac and Uriah broke down before the mob and had themselves and Isaac's two daughters baptized. Stricken with remorse, Isaac now slaughtered his children, set his house on fire, and went with Uriah to the synagogue, which they set aflame and threw themselves into the fire. The flames spread through the Christian town, reducing much of it to ashes.
On to Cologne marched the "soldiers of Christ" and on St. John's Day, June 24, 1096, they massacred the Jews there and in Neus. The incredible dedication and courage of the Jew to his G-d, and his faith, reached new heights here as Samuel ben Yechiel, a scholar and leader, slaughtered his only son, rather than have him fall to Christianity. With tears and a broken voice, he first recited over him the blessing: "Blessed art thou O L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to sanctify His Name." The youth responded "Amen!" and the father took his life. Altogether 12,000 Jews perished in the Rhine Valley in a matter of two months.
The bearers of the cross spread to other lands. To Bohemia where the Jews of Prague drank deeply from the bitter cup. To France where on the Sabbath day of June 19, 1180, as the Jews assembled in their synagogues, King Philip Augustus ordered all the Jews of his domain imprisoned without specific charges. His purpose? To exhort a considerable ransom from the victims. Before the year had ended, all Christian debts to Jews were declared void. The King was not satisfied, and he now issued an edict that between April and June 24, 1181, all Jews must pick up the wanderer's staff and leave all their property behind.
Hatred of the Jews crossed the English Channel. In 1189 a mob massacred Jews in London, and the murders spread to Norwich and Lynn. Most tragic of all was the fate of the Jews of York where the community fled to a royal castle and was besieged there for six days. When the food ran out and capitulation seemed certain, the brave sons of the Holy Covenant chose death rather than baptism or humiliation. Josce, head of the community, slaughtered his beloved wife, Anna, and he in turn died at the hands of the famed French rabbinical scholar, Yom Tov of Joigny.
In Byzantine Greece, the hatred of Jews placed them outside the law. A Jew was not allowed to ride on a horse, oppressive taxes were levied on them, and they were fair game for any Greek Christian who wished to mistreat them.
And it grew worse. Under Pope Innocent III, a Lateran Council decreed that every Jew and Jewess from the age of 12 and upward must wear a Jewish badge of shame. This was to continue from the year 1215 for hundreds of years.
There were other highlights of the Middle Ages:
Jewish apostate named Donin accused the Talmud of being anti-Christian. On June 25, 1240, the Talmud was literally put on trial and despite the "defense" by Rabbi Yechiel of Paris, 24 cartloads of Talmuds and other holy Jewish texts were publicly burned in Paris.
The Crusade of the Shepherds led by Philip V may be a glorious event in Church history, but to the Jews who suffered from a mob of 40,000 ignorant, primitive shepherds led by a madman who claimed to have been spoken to by a white dove, who turned into a woman telling him to lead a Crusade to the Holy Land, it was an unspeakable nightmare. The rabble massacred all Jews they could find on the road from Azen to Toulouse, excluding only the 500 Jews who escaped to the fortress of Verdun and there took their own lives. All that remained were the children who were baptized by force for "the glory of Christ." More than 120 Jewish communities perished as the shepherds tramped through France, including the Jewish communities of Bordeaux, Gascony and Toulouse.
Or consider the hideous events that led to the Martyrs of Chinon. A band of lepers, angry because they had not been given sufficient food by the authorities, poisoned the wells. Under torture, one of them blamed the Jews, claiming that they had suggested the act. In town after town, Jews were attacked. In Chinon, a deep pit was dug and a huge fire kindled. Into the flames were thrown 166 Jews, singing sacred Jewish hymns of faith. Mothers threw their children into the fires lest they be forcibly baptized. Throughout Christian France, some 3,000 Jews were burned alive.
And the band of boorish, backward peasants of Bavaria who called themselves the "Jew-Killers" and who followed two noblemen named Armleder. For two years (1336-7) the thousands of human beasts armed with axes and pitchforks marched through Alsace and the Rhineland killing thousands of Jews.
But all this paled into insignificance before the nightmare that burst upon the Jews in the wake of the Black Plague. In the middle of the fourteenth century, the Black Plague raged for four years, decimating fully one-fourth of the human race. The terrified and ignorant masses of Europe immediately discovered the cause of the disease: the Jews!
The Holocaust of the Middle Ages began. In southern France, Jews were burned alive as the mob roared approval. From there the hysteria spread to Catalonia and Aragon; in the area surrounding Lake Geneva all the Jews were condemned to death by fire as were the Jews of Berne in Switzerland. The Jews of Basle were driven to an island on the Rhine River, placed into a house and burned alive; the Jews of the Upper Rhine were ordered expelled, by grace of a conference having overruled Bishop Berthold of Strasburg who wanted them exterminated; the Jews of Strasburg proper were dragged to the cemetery where they were forced to mount a special scaffold while it was set afire; the Jews of Worms, Oppenheim and Frankfort on the Main burned their houses down over their heads rather than face torture and have their children baptized by force. No one will ever know how many Jews perished in the Holocaust of the Black Death.
And the humiliations, the great and the small. The humiliations of the ghettos where the Christian kept the contaminated Jew penned in lest he infect the followers of Christ. It was decreed at the Third Lateran Council (1179) that Jews were forbidden to live next to Christians. But it was only in 1516 that the first formal and permanent ghetto was established in the city of Venice. Pope Paul IV ordered ghettos to be established in Rome and the Papal States, and from there it spread to Germany and other areas. Crowded and unsanitary, the ghettos were sickly places where the first "high-rise" apartments were built because the cramped space forced the Jew to build in the only direction possible - upwards. Little sun ever burst through, and Jewish children never saw a tree or grass. Buildings were always in danger of collapse, and fire was a deadly enemy. Jews who had no business to transact outside the gates couldn’t leave, and those that were allowed to wore their Jewish badges and had to return by dusk.”
[Should I let this great saga of Christianity’s love for the Jews continue? Why spoil the merry fun of Christmas for assimilated Jews? Why spoil the innocent chords of “Jingle Bells?” Why spit on the notion of “silent holy nights?” Why remind people that the bright red decorations of Xmas are reminders of Christian Esav, the ruddy one, “Rudolph,” and the oceans of Jewish blood that was spilled on their “holy” day, in the name of their messiah? Yes, I will let Rabbi Kahane tell the rest of the story, that the truth be known, lest you think, as loving Christians would tell you, that times have changed, and they truly love us now.]
In the twelfth century, the incredible madness of "blood libel" burst upon the beleaguered Jews and was to continue through to our times. In Norwich, England in the year 1144 the legend of the Christian boy William was born. It was alleged that the Jews had "bought a Christian child before Easter and tortured him with all the tortures wherewith our Christ was tortured, and on Long Friday hanged on a road in hatred of our messiah." In the case of little Hugh of Lincoln the bizarre story was spread that "the Child was first fattened for ten days with white bread and milk, and then the Jews of England were invited to the crucifixion."
On the eve of the expulsion from Spain there occurred the blood libel case of the "Holy Child of LaGuardia," where Jews were horribly tortured and forced to falsely confess that they had gathered in a cave, crucified the child, cursed him and abused him. The blood libel spread like wildfire to every country in Europe, carrying in its wake the broken and murdered bodies of Jews. In Fulda (1235) Jews were said to need young Christian blood for medicinal purposes. In Tyrnau (1494) it was said that it was remedy to the wound of the circumcision, and as an aphrodisiac. But by far, the most terrible and widespread belief was that the Jews needed blood for wine and matzot on the Passover, which so terrorized the Jews that some rabbis insisted that they use only white wine on Passover.
If the blood libel was insanity, what can one say of the accusation that the Jews "desecrated the Host? The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 had laid down the doctrine of Transubstantiation whereby the wafer and wine of the Eucharist became the actual body and blood of Christ. It needed little for the mobs to soon emerge with the accusation that the Jews desecrated the Host by beating it, stabbing it or burning it, so that they might make Jesus suffer. In the fourteenth century the Jews of the town of Roettingan in Franconia were burned alive as a nobleman by the name of Rindfleisch accused them of precisely this deed. From there, a nightmarish flood of accusations moved through Franconia to Bavaria and on to Austria, destroying 140 communities and taking the lives of 100,000 Jews, including the famed scholar Mordechai Ben Hillel of Nuerzburg, his wife and five children. Similar accusations in Kronblauch, near Berlin (1510) led to 38 horrible executions and the expulsion of the Jews from Brandenberg, while in Segovia (1415) the synagogue was closed, the leading Jews were executed, and the event is still the occasion of the great local feast of Corpus Christi.
Jews were not allowed to live in peace at any time during the Christian Church’s domination of Europe, but there were numerous instances when they were not allowed to live in the countries and cities of the Christians at all. The number of expulsions of Jews from local communities is enormous, but what is even worse is the fact that Jews were expelled en masse from entire states. In 1290 the Jews were expelled from England, not to return until 1650. Two general expulsions of Jews from France occurred, the first in 1306, and the second in 1394. Except for a few thousand, Jews were effectively barred from residence in France until the Revolution in 1789. The infamous expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Spain and Portugal (1492-97), ousted hundreds of thousands of Jews from communities they had lived in for centuries. Indeed, at this point there were no Jews living legally on the Atlantic coast of Europe.
Consider the expulsion of the Jews of France, who had lived in the land from the days of the Romans, long even before the Franks had made their appearance. On the tragic Ninth of Av, Tisha B'Av, the fast commemorating the destruction of the Holy Temple, the Jews of France were informed that in 30 days they were to leave the land of their birth and take nothing with them. Entire wagon loads of Jewish property were carted off to the king. Synagogues, the famous schools of Rashi and the Tosafists in Paris, Troyes and Orleans, were sold to the highest bidder, and Phillip the Fair made a present of one synagogue to his coachman.
And, of course, the expulsion from Spain and Portugal. Spain, where the Jews had lived for centuries. Spain, where the Golden Era had produced Jews faithful to the land and who had given of their genius and talent to make it great and rich and powerful. Spain, that had produced Ibn Shaprut, Samuel Ibn Nagdela, Samuel Hanagid, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Bahya Ibn Pakuda, Yehuda Halevi, Abraham Ibn Ezra and Maimonides now saw the end approach. Led by the fanatical archdeacon and vicar of Seville, Ferran Martinez, mobs destroyed the once great community of 25,000, killing, raping and selling Jews as slaves to the Moslems. From Seville the hate moved to the mother community of Jewish Spain, Cordova, to Toledo, to Aragon and Valencia, to Barcelona, and all throughout Spain.
Tens of thousands perished, and thousands in fear pretended to embrace Christianity. A stunned Jewish community that had allowed itself the illusion of rest, security and comfort in the Exile of Spain, sat shocked and embittered. But it was the marriage of the Infanta Isabella of Spain to Don Ferdinand, Infant of Aragon, which proved to be the final end of the Golden Illusion. Under the hypnotic influence of the evil Thomas de Torquemada, an Inquisition of unbelievable cruelty and horror was established. Jews and Marranos, those Jews who out of fear had pretended to adopt Christianity, were searched out relentlessly with the terrifying ֺauto-dafe, and death by burning at the stake, after the most horrible of tortures. On March 31, 1492 the evil that was the Church-Monarchy of Spain announced that in four months every Jew in Spain would have to leave on pain of death. For fifteen centuries the Jews had lived in Spain and helped make it great. The blow was shattering to a people who had convinced themselves that "Spain was different." The greatest of the Jews of Spain, Don Isaac Abrabanel, was a scholar, a deeply religious and humane person, and a financier of such immense skill that the Jew-hating Ferdinand and Isabella called upon him to save Spain from bankruptcy and placed the finances of the state in his hands. Abrabanel hastened to the court with a huge sum of money, hoping that it, along with his influence, might stay the decree. Ferdinand, greedy and in need of money, wavered. But as he did so, the evil Torquemada held a crucifix aloft and cried: "Judas Iscariot sold Christ for thirty pieces of silver; your majesties are prepared to sell him for three-hundred-thousand ducats. Here he is: sell him."
The Jews could win a reprieve of only two days, and as Divine decree would have it, the day of expulsion, August 2, 1492, fell on the national day of mourning of Tisha B'Av. Some 30,000 Jews bid farewell to the home they had known all their lives. Nearly 100,000 considered themselves fortunate that they were able to buy their way into neighboring Portugal, but illusion only breeds disillusion, and in 1496 the King of Portugal, Manoel, ordered their departure within a year, unless they agreed to become Christians. Few Jews accepted the offer and the angry Manoel ordered that all Jewish children be forcibly baptized on Easter Sunday, 1497. The scenes that followed were indescribably pathetic. Children clung to their parents weeping and calling out their names. Mothers screamed hysterically so that even Bishop Coutinno related the events with sadness: "I saw with my own eyes children dragged by their hair to the baptismal fonts; their fathers with covered heads and with cries of anguish accompanied their children and protested at the very altars at this cruel, forced conversion."
In 1497, 20,000 Jews gathered in Lisbon to leave Portugal. But Manoel herded them into a pen and gave them a choice of voluntary or forced baptism. For three days and nights no food or water were given the Jews and still the majority clung to their faith. Manoel ordered them dragged by their beards and their hair to the churches. Jews killed themselves in the church; one man wrapped himself and his children in a prayer shawl and killed his loved ones and then took his own life. Soon there were no acknowledged Jews on the Iberian Peninsula.
One of the ironies of history is that Poland was, at first, a haven for Jews fleeing from the nightmare of ֺwestern Europe! When the Jews were banished from Bohemia the King of Poland, Sigismund I, welcomed them. Broad religious autonomy was given the Jews and ֺ”kahals” were established which were nothing short of Jewish self-governing institutions. Great schools of learning sprang up, and Torah flourished in Poland and Lithuania as it has seldom done elsewhere since the days of Babylonia and the Jewish homeland. But Poland was no different from anywhere else and the foolish believers in the Exile proved to be wrong again. Under the evil influence of the Jesuits, the Polish population grew more and more hostile to the Jews, but the most terrible destruction came at the hands of the Ukrainian Cossack Bogdan Chmielnicki who, together with murderous bands known as Haidamaks, poured into Poland, killing all in their way - especially Jews. In the city of Tulczyn, 6,000 Poles and 2,000 Jews took refuge from the Cossacks and pledged to defend the fortress to the last man. The Cossacks thereupon offered the Poles their lives if they turned over the Jews. The treacherous Poles agreed and the Jews who refused baptism were massacred. Thereupon the Cossacks attacked the Poles and killed them.
Poland was falling apart and now Russians and Swedes joined the Cossacks in an assault on the dying kingdom. To the Jews there was no difference. All the allies killed Jews and a quarter-million Jews perished in the ten years of war (1648-58). The glory that was Polish Jewry was gone.
And a thought.
What an unfunny joke it is to watch the Jewish adherents of Jesus prancing about in their skullcaps and fringes, loyally claiming adherence to the commandments even as they sing the praises of the Nazarene whom they portray as a loyal son of those same commandments!
Loyal son of the commandments! Is this the Jesus we read of in the Gospels who allowed his disciples to desecrate the Sabbath by picking ears of wheat that were growing, answering the rabbis who censured them, "the son of man is master of the Sabbath?" And how much obedience to the Jewish Law was manifested by this Jesus when, failing to fast on a recognized Jewish fast day, he arrogantly replied: "New wine has to be put into fresh skins" (Mark 2). Clearly, to this renegade, the old Commandments had to be replaced by someone who knew better.
The brazen and open defiance of Torah law by Jesus is recorded over and over again, and is there for all his "Jews" to see, if only they would. Kosher food? An unequivocal rejection of it by Jesus was made as he declared: "It is not what goes into a man's mouth that pollutes him; it is what comes out of his mouth that pollutes a man" (Matthew 15).
Similarly, Jesus scorned the religious obligation to wash one's hands before eating bread (Luke 11), and the hallowed Jewish requirement to pray together with other Jews in a ֺminyan, if at all possible (Matthew 6), and changed the Torah ruling allowing a man and wife to divorce under the proper or intolerable circumstances (Matthew 5).
Indeed, rather than ignorantly worship the man who took it upon himself to violate numerous basic Jewish laws, let every Jew for Jesus consider the words of the Torah that have such application in this instance:
"If there arise in thy midst a prophet or a dreamer of dreams and he give thee a sign or a wonder: and the sign or the wonder come to pass whereof he spoke unto thee-saying: `Let us go after other gods,’ thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet or unto that dreamer of dreams. After the L-rd your G-d shall ye walk and Him shall ye fear and His commandments shall ye keep" (Devarim, 13)
Jesus was a premeditated violator of Torah Law who did precisely what is done in the very same reform temples and by the very rabbis from whom so many of the sad young Jews for Jesus fled. Indeed, how sadly clear it is that the Allmighty repays us, measure for measure. The same Jewish parents who took it upon themselves to violate Torah law and "modify" it by cutting its cloth to suit their own fashion, are repaid by children who rush to follow a man who did the same. Aside from any claims of Divinity, how much different was the arrogant Jesus from the local temple rabbi?
Let the call go out to every Jew: Jesus was a breaker of tradition. Jesus was a trampler of Torah halachah. The kosher food and Sabbath that Hebrew-Christians supposedly cherish are not for Jesus. And neither are you, Jewish youth. And lest one be seduced by the Hebrew Christians' argument that the persecution and hatred of Jews were the exclusive handiwork of the Roman Catholic Church, consider the words of the founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, whose treatise, ֺ”On The Jews and Their Lies,” contains the following comments on the Jewish people:
"In fact, they hold us captive in our own country. They let us work in the sweat of our brow to earn money and property while they sit behind the stove, idle away the time, fart, and roast pears. They stuff themselves, guzzle, and live in luxury and ease from our hard-earned goods. With their accursed usury they hold us and our property captive. And by the way of reward and thanks, they curse our Lord and us! Should the devil not laugh and dance if he can enjoy such a fine paradise at the expense of us Christians?
“So we are even at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the blood of the children they have shed since then. We are at fault in not slaying them."
And what does the founder of Protestantism and of all the groups who found and fund the pathetic Hebrew-Christians (sic!) and the "Jews for Jesus" have to suggest as his Final Solution? Martin Luther tells his flock:
“First of all, let their synagogues and shuls be set aflame and let whatever may not burn down be completely buried under earth, so that no one for all eternity may ever see a stone or cinder of it. Next, let their homes be similarly burned down and destroyed."
How many Jews met their death as the result of this incitement by the founder of the Protestant Church! And how instructive that the leaders of the ridiculously misnamed Hebrew-Christians and Jews for Jesus groups will never ever criticize Luther. And how important it is to know that the reason is that they are funded, hugely funded, by Protestant groups who would shut off the money faucet in a moment if they ever did.
The lost and confused Jewish youth who wander into the halls of these charlatans, raise their voices in praise of a Jesus in whose name their great grand-parents were burned alive and torn to pieces by the Crusading sword. They join in worship with a Luther who wished their people the most horrible of deaths. How sad for these lost young Jews and how those who twist them mock them even more.
In any event, this was the horror of the Middle Ages and the Exile. But in its horror, one clear lesson shone through. Zion. Only in Zion could the Jew live. The Exile for the Jew was a graveyard and though some days were sunny and pleasantly warm, the sun shone on eventual death.
The words of the Biblical admonition were realized for the Jew in Exile, every day of his life:
"But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the L-rd, thy G-d, that all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee. And the L-rd shall scatter thee among all the peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth, and among these nations thou shalt find no repose and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot. And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have no assurance of thy life" (Devarim, 28:15, 64-66)
And despite all, or perhaps because of all, the Jew rose from each blow and each destruction to say: “Listen world, I am a Jew, I am a Zionist.”
A friend in New York says it’s beginning to look a lot like Xmas. Just so the jolly little elves and white-bearded Santas don’t fool you, it pays to recall the truth about Christianity.
During the midst of World War 1, Rabbi Kook understood that Christianity was to blame for all the slaughter. He writes:
“The moral repression found in the profane culture which exerted vast dominion over the nations, brought oppression to their hearts, and caused evil traits, diseases, and anger to multiply and be pent up in the depths of their souls. And now these are erupting their fetters through the horrendously bloody and awesomely cruel wars, which are more in keeping with their still unrefined natures” (Orot, 2:4).
Rabbi Kook comes to explain how an enlightened, industrialized, and cultured Europe could unleash such destructive barbaric forces that brought the world to war. What went wrong?
The “profane culture” he writes about which has come to dominate Western civilization is the outgrowth of Christianity, whose doctrines of repression have now burst through Christianity’s outer guise of gentility and brotherhood in a monstrous storm of violence and hate. This is because, in denying the Torah and its commandments, Christianity separated mankind from G-d. Unlike the constant self-correction and moral improvement demanded by the Torah, through the hard work of perfecting character traits, Christianity’s false show of morals proved impotent in uplifting man’s baser traits. Only the Torah has the unique power to refine man’s nature. All other disciplines, whether religious, secular, or philosophical, can add to man’s quantitative knowledge, but they cannot effect any inner change.
Christian civilization, and the profane secular culture which grew out from it, knows what is evil, but does not know how to correct it. It learned about morals from the Hebrew Bible, but in cutting itself off from Israel and the commandments of the Torah, requiring only a statement of belief in their false messiah, it separated mankind from the one and only path to G-d and true morality. It left man simmering with a cauldron of unrefined passions and lusts which finally exploded in the devastating world wars of the previous century.
Judaism, in contrast, presents a practical path and guidance to character perfection. Our Sages teach us how to actualize the proper midot (character traits) in our lives, defining the measure of each and every trait, and their proper time and place. For example, in his “Introduction to the Mishna,” the Rambam presents his famous doctrine of “the Middle Path,” until man reaches a balance between the extremes, not repressing his baser emotions like lust and cruelty, but learning to give each emotion its proper expression in the proper time and place, so that sexuality becomes a holy blessing between man and wife, and cruelty is called upon when uprooting the wicked from the world.
“L’havdil” a thousand thousands of differences, Christianity, under a guise of holiness, condemns man’s natural passions from birth. But mankind cannot adhere to the repression of character traits that Christianity imposes, because it does not provide man with a true means to holiness and moral refinement. Cut off from the Torah, Christianity breeds a culture which dooms man to guilt, aggression, and a festering rage which explodes in violence and war.
Inevitably, the target of the world’s murderous rage turns against the Jews. Behind the hatred for Israel lies the recognition that it was the Jewish People who introduced a moral framework to the world. Cut off from the true word of G-d, mankind remains in its barbaric state. The Divine moral message of Israel is received as an obligation and burden. Mankind wants to wallow in its sensual material life. The Jewish People get in the way by reminding the world of G-d. Unable to kill the beasts within themselves, the gentiles resort to killing the Jews.
Although Rabbi Kook was unequivocal in his condemnation of Christianity, it is important to note that he never encouraged open conflict with its doctrines. He advocated that other religions be enlisted in the universal task of leading the world to G-d:
“As to alien faiths, I will tell you my opinion, that it is not the goal of Israel to uproot and destroy them, just as we do not aim for the general destructions of the nations, but rather for their correction and elevation, the removal of their dross, that they will link themselves with the source of Israel, where dew drops of light and blessing will fall over them, as it says, ‘I will take away the blood form out of his mouth, and his detestable things from between his teeth, and he too shall remain for our G-d’” (Zechariah, 9:7. See “Letters of Rabbi Kook” 112).
Only in the near future, when Israel’s light shines in its full glory from the Land of Israel, will the nations realize that the only true enlightenment is not in Santas and snow-flaked fairy tales from Bethlehem, but in the truth of Israel, and then they will rush gladly to the L-rd’s House in Jerusalem to learn the ways of Yaacov, and “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah, 2:2-4).
“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”
We interrupt this anthem with a breaking news flash!
The eldest son of the biggest swindler in U.S. history, unable to stand another day of his soured life, hung himself with a dog leash Saturday in his multimillion-dollar SoHo condo. Two years of living with his disgraced father's $65 billion legacy of deception was all Mark Madoff could stomach.The 46-year-old investment scion's body was brought out on a stretcher at 12:22 p.m., finally free from the cloud of suspicion that hung above his head.
“O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!”
We once again interrupt this inspiring song with another breaking news flash!
Disney darling, Miley Cyrus, was caught smoking bong on video.The 2-minute and 36-second long clip shows the singer inhaling from a bong as a friend captures it all on tape.
"You're gonna s--t a brick when you see this," the filmmaker tells her.
"Oh, no," Cyrus replies. "I want more of that s--t, I swear."
And the camerawoman agrees, saying, "Yeah. You need to do more. You're not as f---ed up as you should be."
“O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!”
Once again, we interrupt with a tragic news flash!
Sylvie Cachay: Beautiful and talented fashion designer found dead at the Soho House.
Beautiful, talented and driven, Sylvie Cachay, 33, was a fashion designer on the rise. Her shocking death left the fashion community reeling, when police found her body in the bathtub at the swanky Soho House hotel. Nick Brooks, 24 -- whose Academy Award winning dad was indicted last year on 82 counts of sexually abusing young actresses -- was booked after nearly two days in police custody, where he was grilled by cops and body-searched for DNA and other evidence. Brooks' father, Joseph -- who won an Oscar for composing the song "You Light Up My Life" -- is fighting charges he sexually assaulted 11 starlets.
“O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”
Sorry folks, well get back to this wonderful song, but first another news flash!
Former Miss Arizona contestant Kumari Fulbright was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison for her role in the twisted kidnap and torture of her ex-boyfriend.
Fulbright's fall from grace occurred in 2007 when she was arrested with three other men for the brutal attack on then-boyfriend Joshua Conway, who was slashed with a knife, beaten and held at gunpoint for hours before escaping.
“O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!”
Oh, Jezuuus, all hell’s breaking loose! Just in from New England!Handyman admits to killing at least 8 Massachusetts Women!
2 hrs 30 mins ago
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The one-time handyman did not even pick up a macabre nickname as he attacked and strangled at least eight women in his hometown of Springfield in the 1990s, becoming one of his state's most prolific serial killers. The scale of his killing spree only recently became clear when Gaynor, imprisoned on four murder convictions, confessed this fall to four other unsolved slayings in which he'd been a longtime suspect. Charges are possible in two more deaths for which he's confessed: a 20-year-old mother and her toddler daughter in 1996. The deaths terrorized this western Massachusetts city, where Mace permit requests soared as the women's bodies were discovered in alleys, vehicles and their own homes between 1995 and 1998.
“O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!”
From our national news desk, this breaking story! Shocking Nixon-Kissinger Tapes: "So What if Soviets Gas Jews?"
White House adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once told President Richard Nixon, "And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.”
“O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man's avail
Men lavished precious life!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!”
And now for some good news!
Rockefeller's grand ole tree lights up New York City with celeb performances, and tons of tourists.All of New York City oohed and ahhed when the entirety of the tree lit up with 30,000 LED lights on the 74-foot-tall spruce, and was topped with a 550-lb. Swarovski crystal star.
“O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!”
What a marvelous place to bring up Jewish children!
This blog, and the light of Torah which it contains, are dedicated the speedy recovery and refuah shelama of ABRAHAM BEN ALTOON, the father of DACON9.
At the time of the Hanukah story, under the pernicious influence of Hellenism, the Jewish People became so assimilated and materialistic, they failed to see the hand of G-d in the incredible military victory of the heroic band of Hasmonean rebels. It took the miracle of the Menorah to make them realize that just as G-d had kept the tiny cruse of oil burning for eight miraculous days, it was also G-d who had miraculously led the Hasmonean fighters to victory.
Certainly the Maccabees were brave, fearless fighters and daring military strategists. But this alone cannot account for their battlefield successes over the largest, most powerful, most mightily-equipped army in the world, a devastating war machine backed by endless warships, a division of elephant-tanks, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers. What then was the secret of the Maccabees, triumph? What was the source of the miracle?
At the center of the Greek plan to uproot the Torah from Israel was their strategy to lure the Jews into sexual transgression. The Jewish People's belief that G-d ruled over the physical world, as well as the spiritual, was something that the hedonistic Hellenist culture could not allow. For this reason the Greeks outlawed Brit Milah, the symbol of Israel's holiness and difference from the nations. Simply put, the Greeks did not want the G-d of the Jews interfering in their sexual orgies. Their culture of sexual permissiveness could not tolerate a co-existing culture that condemned sexual sin. So after conquering the Land of Israel, the Greeks set up their brothels in Jerusalem and hung up bright neon signs reading: JEWS ALLOWED.
For the majority of Jews, this encounter with a culture that glorified the flesh while lauding the arts and lofty intellectual expression, proved to be too much of a challenge. Young Jewish males stripped off their clothes and rushed to compete in the nude sporting Olympics. Craving to be like the Greeks, the Jewish Hellenists stretched their orlah [foreskins] back over the sign of their Brit, in order to look like their gentile masters. Enraptured by the tantalizing synthesis of Greek intellectuality and unbridled bohemianism, Jews abandoned the synagogue and study halls, adopted Greek names, dressed up in Greek tunics, flocked to Greek theaters, bathed in Greek spas, and drank alongside the "enlightened" foreigners in their pornographic pubs.
The Greeks were not content to merely defile the men. Among the harsh decrees that the Greeks imposed on the Jews, the Rambam mentions the ravaging of Jewish daughters. Before Jewish brides were allowed to marry, they were first forcefully taken to the Greek governor to satisfy his lust.
It is told that Mattityahu's daughter, in bold defiance against this edict, appeared naked before her father and brothers. Enraged, they cried out that she must be killed. "Me, you are ready to kill," she challengingly answered. "But not the wicked Greek occupiers who are polluting all of the daughters of Israel and who have brought this terrible immodesty upon us!" (Ketubot 3b, Midrash Ma'ase Hanukah, Rashi on Yehezkel 21:18, Megilat Ta'anit on Elul 17)
Shaken by the words of his daughter and by the horrible disgrace, Mattityahu and his five sons rose up like lions against the enemies of Israel and G-d. When the Greek governor sent an officer to erect an altar in Modiin and force the Jews to sacrifice upon it, Mattityahu rushed forward to slay him. The "Book of the Maccabees" relates:
"Thus he showed his zeal for the Torah, as Pinchas had done toward Zimri, son of Salu. Then Mattityahu cried out in a loud voice in the town, saying, "Let everyone who is zealous for the Torah and who guards the Brit, follow me!"
In Mattityahu's very first cry to battle lies the secret of Hanukah. First, we must note the comparison to Pinchas, who saved Israel from falling into sexual transgression. Like Pinchas, Mattityahu, was an upholder of the Brit. As Kohen Gadol [High Priest], he was entrusted with guarding the sexual purity of the nation, as it says regarding the Kohanim, "For they have observed Your word and guarded your Brit" (Devarim, 33:10). Zealousness for the Torah and guarding the Brit go hand in hand. Thus Mattityahu's cry to war was, "Let everyone who is zealous for the Torah and who guards the Brit, follow me!" All of the Israelis ere holy warriors, guardians of the Brit.
The Zohar teaches that as long as Israel is free from sexual transgression no rival nation can rule over them. "Rabbi Elazar said, As long as men remain attached to the Brit and do not lose their control over it, there is no nation nor language in the world that can do them harm" (Zohar, Bereshit 66b).
Guarding the Brit of sexual purity was the secret weapon of the Maccabees. As guardians of the Brit, they were raised up over the normal ways of the world. Rabbi Nachman teaches that their valor and prowess derived from the transcendental holiness of Kedushat HaBrit [holiness of sexual purity]. Their shield in battle was their high level of holiness. Because they ruled over the sexual passion, they were able to shatter the wicked Greek kingdom that deified the gratification of sensual pleasure. Only such exalted heroes of holiness can battle the forces of darkness and win (Likutei Halachot, Hanukah, 3:4).
This is the reason that the Torah portion of Miketz always falls on Hanukah, because it tells how Yosef, in the merit of guarding the Brit by overcoming the temptations of Potifar's wife, rose to rule over the evil empire of Egypt. "Because Yosef mastered his passion, the forces of evil bowed down before him, and he was made master over the licentious land" (Ibid, 3:7).
Because of their allegiance to the Brit, the Hasmonean fighters were above the natural world. The Shechinah was with them to lead them in battle. It didn't matter if the Greek army had one hundred thousand soldiers or a million - the Maccabees were fighting on a totally different spiritual and physical level that transcended normal military laws. Thus, Yehuda the Maccabee could proclaim, "There is no difference in the sight of Heaven to save by the many or by the few. Victory in battle does not depend on the size of the army, but rather on the valor that comes from Heaven" (Book of the Maccabees, Part One, 3:18-19).
The basis of this understanding comes from the Torah which states that Israel’s success in battle stems from the holiness of its military camps:
“When you go out to encamp against your enemies, keep yourself away from every evil thing (dvar ra). If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chances by night, then he shall go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: but it shall be, when evening comes on, he shall bathe himself in water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again... for the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you, and to give up your enemies before you; therefore your camp shall be holy: that He sees no unclean thing in you, and turn away from you” (Devarim, 23:10-15).
The Torah demands that a military camp in Israel must be free of “every evil thing.” The meaning of “dvar ra” is sexual transgression. Soldiers must even be careful not to think impure thoughts, as the Talmud states: “The Rabbi’s have taught regarding the injunction, ‘V’nishmarta m’kol dvar ra,’ that one should not think about impure things during the day, lest he come to pollute himself (with a nocturnal emission) at night” (Avodah Zara 20B). This is the meaning of “mikre lilah,” in the above cited verse, “uncleanness that chances by night,” which is derived from the word “keri,” meaning an emission of seminal seed. This is also emphasized at the end of the portion regarding a military camp, “therefore your camp shall be holy: that He sees no unclean thing in you, and turn away from you.” The main intention of this verse is to caution one from engaging in sexual fantasies, not to mention forbidden acts. Today it would mean no laptops and cell phones with access to Internet porn.
Why is this concern over modesty so insistent?
The Torah itself gives us the answer: “For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp.” Rabbi Eliezer Melamed explains in his book, “The Nation and the Land,” that the soldiers of Israel are cherished by the Holy One Blessed Be He. His Divine Presence, the Shechinah, watches over them in order “to deliver you, and to give up your enemies before you.” The military camp of Israel, what we call Tzahal today, has a holiness similar to that of the Sanctuary, and therefore, soldiers must keep themselves in a sanctify state, just like the Priests who serve in the Temple. If there be sexual wrongdoing in the military camp, God removes His Divine Presence from amongst us, Heaven forbid. The Shechinah abandons the camp, leaving our soldiers without Divine protection and aid. Chazal explain that soldiers are in greater need of Divine assistance, for Satan brings accusations against sinners in times of danger, and therefore, soldiers must be especially cautious in these matters.
The Maccabees upheld this exalted level of kedusha. Please note that brit milah is performed on the eighth day after birth. Thus the Brit is associated with the number eight. The number eight belongs to the world above nature. The musical instrument associated with the days of Mashiach has eight strings, unlike the seven-string harp ordinarily used in the Temple (Arachin 13B).
The Maharal of Prague teaches:
"The workings of the natural world are under the influence of the number seven, because the natural world was created in seven days. Therefore, whatever is beyond the natural world is under the realm of the number eight. A brit milah is beyond nature, since men are naturally born with an orlah, and consequently, it is performed on the eighth day" (Ner Mitzvah, Pg. 23, "Yahadut" Edition).
As everyone knows, after the Maccabees purified the Temple, the miraculous light in the Menorah burnt for eight days, symbolizing that the miracle in the Temple occurred in the merit of the Brit and its guardians who risked their lives to defend it.
Each year when we light the Hanukah lights, we are reminded that in every generation, we are called upon to stand firm against the forces of evil which constantly seek to uproot the Jewish People from the Covenant of sexual holiness which binds us to our G-d, our Torah, and our Land. Today, when spiritual enemies have exported their hedonistic cultures to our shores, and to our homes via the Hellanistic smut on the Internet, in order to insure that the Shechinah remains in our camp, we should all remember that it isn't merely the strength of the army that brings victory, but rather the holiness with which we live our lives.