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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.
One of the lessons of Hanukah is that something seemingly small and of no value can have a tremendous impact on the world. This was the case with the small cruse of oil which burned for eight days during the sanctification of the Beit HaMikdash after the miraculous military victory of the Macabees over the wicked Greeks. Not only did that little amount of oil last for eight days, its power has kindled the Hanukah menorahs of the Jewish People for thousands of years, giving spiritual fuel to millions and millions of candles, lighting up the darkness of the Greek way of life and its celebration of physical lust and debauchery, to remind mankind that G-d is the One and only true light of the world.
That small cruse of oil, sealed with the stamp of the holy Kohen HaGadol, is a symbol of Am Yisrael, a small and seemingly insignificant nation amongst the superpowers of the world, whose influence has been a beacon for mankind, lighting up man's primitive materialistic obsessions, teaching that the spiritual life reigns supreme.
So too, each and every Jew, fueled by his, or her, supreme holy soul, possesses a tremendous potential to influence his family, his community, and the world. And just as one small person can have a tremendous impact on the world for good, a single evil person can leave behind a devastating trail of destruction.
It all depends on how a person steers his powers, whether his spark of holiness will shine throughout the ages like the small cruse of oil found in the Temple, or whether it will be the spark of destruction, like the small spark which set all of the Carmel ablaze.
The Greeks banned brit milah because their depraved and perverted worldview could not tolerate a Divine ideology that demands that the physical world be sanctified, along with its most powerful lusts. The Greeks wanted to celebrate the human body and its unbridled passions, in their brothels, nude Olympics, naked statues, bathhouse orgies, and pantheon of promiscuous gods.
The fire of passion has a place, in the right time and with the proper marital partner, but it must be controlled. The fire of passion, when left unguarded, brings terrible destruction in its wake. Sexual transgression causes the Shechinah to flee, and it returns in revenge as an all-consuming blaze, whether it be a fire that that uproots whole communities, or a fire that engulfs a person caught in the fireball of untempered lust, urging him, or her, on to more and more sexual sin, whether it be adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality, masturbation, or an addiction to Internet porn.
Mattityahu and his sons were holy warriors, guardians of the Brit, and it was through their transcendental holiness that they were able to overcome the brute material force of the Greeks, rise above the laws of nature, and become the “wicks” for the miracles in battle which G-d wrought for them, bringing the light of the spiritual into the world and illuminating the darkness which the Greeks wanted to spread over the globe with their unholy hedonistic culture.
So, if you don’t already have a filter on your computer, get one. Don’t let the culture of the Greeks dominate your life. Brush up once again on the laws of proper marital relations. Be your own fireman and put out the fire before you destroy yourself and your surroundings in a blaze that all the fire-fighting airplanes in the world won’t be able to extinguish.
Have a Happy and Holy Hanukah!
Every child in the Diaspora knows the difference. But when they get older, I suppose they forget.
In the Diaspora, the Hebrew letters on a dreidel are Nun, Gimmel, Hey, Shin. “A great miracle happened THERE.”
In Israel, the letters on the dreidels are Nun, Gimmel, Hey, Peh. “A great miracle happened HERE.”
That says it all.
Twas the night before Hanukah, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The latkes were laid out on the table with care,
In hopes that Moshiach soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my yarmulka cap,
Had just settled into bed for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Moshiach.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Who is it? Who is it?” my wife wanted to know.
“Moshiach,” I told her, trembling with fear.
“Wake the children!” I urged. “Hurry and hide them! Don’t stall!”
“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
“He’s come to take us away to the Land of Israel,” I said.
“Isn’t that what we pray for?” she asked, her faced flushed and red.
“What?! And give up all that we have? Are you nuts?!”
“Hide the kids in the basement. Now! Without any buts!”
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I crawled under the bed, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Moshiach came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Jews he had flung over his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
My heart was beating so fast, I thought I’d have an attack!
As he went about, looking for Jews he could put in his sack.
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
“Wake up! Wake up from your slumber!” he called.
If you don’t come now, you’re gonna be mauled!”
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl of gefilta-fish jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
But I peed in my pants in spite of myself!
“You’ll all be sorry!” he called, shaking his fist.
Then, with a grunt, I saw him cross our names off his list.
“You forgot to place Jerusalem above your highest joy.”
“So your children will grow up to marry some goy.”
“You had your chance, but I can’t waste my time and delay.”
“Stay here with your bagels and money and continue to pray.”
He spoke nothing more, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings with falafel balls, then turned with a jerk.
And holding up his finger by his big Jewish nose,
He gave a nod, and up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy exile to all, and to all a good-night!"
Stunned into silence by the previous blog, the Great Talkback Vendetta War, has thankfully fizzled out. But just to be on the safe side, here’s a little something on the Laws of Marital Relations, from the “Kitzur Shulchan Aruch.”
The “Kitzur Shulchan Aruch” is a concise compilation of Jewish laws and customs, composed by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried. While it is not meant to replace the definitive multi-volume opus of Jewish law, the “Shulchan Aruch” of Rabbi Yosef Caro, it is a handy guide for the layman who wants to know the basic halachah concerning matters of everyday life and the Jewish holidays. For those of you who would like this quick refresher course, you’ll have to click here for a speedy, flying carpet ride over to jewishsexuality.com. Readers who are interested in learning the laws of marital relations in greater depth are encouraged to look over the “Laws of Marital Relations,” compiled by Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, also posted on the jewishsexuality.com website.