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      Blessings from Hebron
      by David Wilder
      Personal Reflections on Hebron, Eretz Yisrael, Friends, Family and anything else that comes to mind.
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      David Wilder was born in New Jersey in the USA in 1954, and graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a BA in History and teacher certification in 1976. He spent 1974-75 in Jerusalem at the Hebrew University and returned to Israel upon graduation.

      For over eighteen years David Wilder has worked with the Jewish Community of Hebron. He is the English spokesman for the community, granting newspaper, television and radio interviews internationally. He initiated the Hebron internet project, including email lists of over 15,000 subscribers who receive regular news and commentaries from Hebron in English and Hebrew. David is responsible and continues to update the Hebron web sites, portraying various facets of Hebron, utilizing text, audio, video and pictures. He conducts tours of Hebron's Jewish Community and occasionally travels abroad, speaking at Hebron functions.

      David Wilder is married to Ora, a 'Sabra,' for 35 years. They lived in Kiryat Arba for 17 years and have resided at Beit Hadassah in Hebron for the past 15 years. They have seven children and many grandchildren.

      Links to sites David recommends:
      www.davidwilder.net
      www.hebron.com (English)
      www.hebron.org.il (Hebrew)
      www.machpela.com
      www.ohrshlomo.org (Hebrew)
      www.ohrshalom.net (Hebrew)
      www.womeningreen.org
      www.zoa.org
      (others to be added)

      Shevat 7, 5772, 1/31/2012

      Where were $3.4 Billion American Tax Dollars spent?


      Where are American Tax Dollars being spent?

      According to ForeignPolicy , in an article titled: Hard times in Hebron  the United States:
      has spent $3.4 billion in development funds in the Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza

      So, it appears that this poor, oppressed, underdeveloped Arab city
      has doubled the number of building permits issued since 2006, and is preparing to solicit bids for a road to a new $13 million water treatment facility -- financed, of course, by USAID.

      Not everyone is happy about spending so much money in the PA.

      Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: By providing the Palestinians with $2.5 billion over the last five years, the U.S. has only rewarded and reinforced their bad behavior.

      The US State Department disagrees: We think it is money that is not only in the interest of the Palestinians; it's in U.S. interest and it's also in Israeli interest.

      What is this money used for?
      Daoud Kuttab:
      New schools were built
       

      ... and judges were trained,

      to sentence Arabs selling property to Jews, to death:

      What about accountability? Where is the money really going? Where are hundreds of millions of dollars that went missing under Yasser Arafat
       
      ?

      Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority: This money is going mainly to development and humanitarian projects. There is no justified reason for holding it. It's important for stabilization.”

      Development and humanitarian projects:
      From the objectives of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee
       
      : counter and limit Israeli settlements inside the Old city [of Hebron] by surrounding settlements with inhabited buildings to prevent their horizontal expansion; and to avert the urban interconnection of these settlements by increasing Arab demographic density between them.
       
      There are others who believe and act otherwise. South Carolina State Representative Allan Clemmons initiated a resolution
       
      , passed unanimously, declaring:
      Whereas, Israel has been granted her lands under and through the oldest recorded deed as reported in the Old Testament, a tome of scripture held sacred and reverenced by Jew and Christian, alike, as the acts and words of God; and
      Whereas, as the Grantor of said lands, God stated to the Jewish people in the Old Testament; in Leviticus, Chapter 20, Verse 24: "Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey"; and
      Whereas, God has never rescinded his grant of said lands;

      Presently, USAID to Arab Hebron is in jeopardy as a result of Abu Mazen’s attempt to unilaterally declare a ‘palestinian state’ in the United Nations as reported in the foreignpolicy.com
       
       article quoted above. This ‘threat’ to stop USAID to Arab Hebron must be finalized and and the flow of millions and billions of American taxpayers money ended.
      I have no doubt that when such people as Rep. Allan Clemmons, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and others, like Rep. Louis Gohmert from Texas, (who introduced a similar resolution in the US House of Representative
       
      s, saying: Whereas archaeological evidence exists confirming Israel's existence as a nation over 3,000 years ago in the area in which it currently exists, despite assertions of its opponents;
      Whereas with the dawn of modern Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, some 150 years ago, the Jewish people determined to return to their homeland in the Land of Israel from the lands of their dispersion;
      Whereas in 1922, the League of Nations mandated that the Jewish people were the legal sovereigns over the Land of Israel and that legal mandate has never been superseded;)

      and other like-minded US politicians continue in major leadership positions in the United States, they will insure that US tax dollars are utilized properly, rather than in the best interests of their enemies, and our enemies, in the worst interests of the State of Israel, and ultimately, in the worst interests of the United States.

       

       

       






      Shevat 2, 5772, 1/26/2012

      It will not be easy, but we will persevere


      A few days ago, January 20, was the fifteenth anniversary of the implementation of the Hebron Accords, which divided our holy city into two unequal zones. Jews today have access to 3% of Hebron, while Arabs access some 97% of the city.

       

      Yesterday we posted an interesting, important and timely article by Noam Arnon (in Hebrew) marking this ill-fated act, which led to so much violence and tragedy. I decided to also write about this, not with a ‘new article,’ rather using words of the past, clips from articles I authored fifteen plus years ago. They speak for themselves.

      Clearly, should Israel continue on the same path in the future, the results won’t be any different. It is essential to learn from the errors of the past, in the hope that they will not be repeated in the future. History’s virtue lies not in names, dates and places. Rather it should be a tool, with which we can examine what occurred, why it occurred, and its implications for the future.

      Years ago, all of us, realizing the developing catastrophes, many of us made the same predictions. And we were right on the mark. Oslo, and the Hebron Accords, led to massive terror, and then the Oslo War, aka the ‘second intifada.’ The massive expulsion from and abandonment of Gush Katif led to some ten thousand missiles shot into Israel and to a war in Gaza. Since Oslo, over 1,500 Israelis have been killed in cold-blooded Arab terror attacks. Tens of thousands wounded, physically and emotionally.


      As for peace, this morning’s headline in HaAretz newspaper says it all
      Palestinians: Peace negotiations with Israel have ended. 
      Except that again they lie. Those negotiations never ever really began.

      Perhaps prior to future, prior to such fateful decisions, decision-makers should pay a little more attention to us?
      **********************

      (These articles, in their entirely, can be viewed at www.hebronblog.com).


      We dwell in Hebron not out of benevolence but as a right. Hebron belongs to the Jewish people eternally as a result of our right and as a result of our strength, our strength of faith, our strength to stand up for what is legitimately ours...We must protect the foundation of Eternal Israel. Hebron is ours, Jerusalem is ours, the entire Eretz Yisrael is ours. Benyamin Netanyahu, December 7, 1994

      …Jerusalem isn’t yet on the chopping block – but unofficially...- and anything that the present junta can get away with in Hebron will seem like child play if and when they move on - to the Golan, Jerusalem... June 08, 1995

      Netanyahu:"The Jewish settlement will remain in Hebron permanently, if someone tries to take it away, my friends and I will be here, and they will have to take us away as well". 
      “It will be a fatal mistake to bring hundreds of armed Palestinian policemen here, and there will be a small area where the Jews can pass and where the police and IDF can operate. If there will be a conflict, the IDF will not be able to function and will quickly collide with the Palestinian forces. This is a prescription for tragedy"

      Netanyahu said he is worried about a time when there will be an attack in one of the alleys, and the attackers will run to the area under Palestinian control. Netanyahu said it is impossible to divide responsibility for security in Hebron: 'There is one body responsible, and that has to be the IDF". September 7, 1995

       
      Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan - murdered in his Hebron home, Aug. 1998, as described above.

      However, the real danger is not in Hebron. It is in Jerusalem, Tel- Aviv and other Israeli cities. Hebron will become a breeding ground, a nest of Hamas terrorists. The attacks will be planned in Hebron, and the city will serve as a refuge following perpetration…He said, "I fear the results of an IDF withdrawal from Hebron. We have lists of hundreds of Hamas supporters living in Hebron who have signed written statements, agreeing to commit suicide attacks throughout Israel. As long as we are in Hebron, we have some control over them. Once we leave, it will be that much more difficult to prevent them from carrying out their missions." May 1996

      … plans by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to renew suicide terrorist attacks within Israel…these groups have reached a decision to once again wreak havoc inside Israel, AFTER THE REDEPLOYMENT IN HEBRON. Of course, it goes without saying, that the terrorist attacks will be much easier to plan and carry out after Israel abandons 90% of the city to Arafat.

      Husni Mubarach's declaration: that "if Israel insists on continuing a policy of resettlement in Judea and Samaria, the intifada will be renewed. And this time, IT WILL NOT BE LIMITED TO THROWING STONES."


      THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF HEBRON WILL BE A CAPTIVE IN THE HANDS OF ARAFAT. SURROUNDED ON ALL SIDES BY HOSTILE ARABS, RESTRICTED FROM WITHIN BY ENEMIES, THE JEWS OF HEBRON WILL BE DEPENDENT ON ARAFAT'S `GOOD WILL' FOR SURVIVAL. 
      September 22, 1996


      Why then, can't Jews and Arabs live together in Hebron? The answer is, of course, because the Arabs aren't interested in peace. They are interested in `piece' - taking Israel apart, piece by piece…Why must Hebron's Jews pay the price of a cowardly accord, which is already a failure? Rather than introducing peace and coexistence, it is paving the road to extermination. 
      November 12, 1996


      (Journalist) “What will you do the morning after?”

      "I suppose we will get up in the morning, the way we get up every morning. We will go to morning prayers, eat breakfast, - the kids will go to school and we will go to work."

      "That's it!?" he queried, "life as normal?" His voice sounded incredulous.

      "Yeah, I suppose so." What else is there to do? We aren't planning on leaving, if that's what you are alluding to."

      "But life as normal?" 

      "Look, our goal was, and still is, to live as normally as possible, within the given
      circumstances. True, things will change - they will change drastically. Unbelievable amounts of soldiers and police will wonder the streets and rooftops in the areas still controlled by Israel. We don't really want to live feeling like we are embedded inside a military camp - but we don't have too much choice."

      "Our security, in spite of the military presence, will have been compromised. No amount of soldiers can prevent sniper fire from the hills surrounding us. We know that, and will have to find a way to live with it." 
      November 13, 1996

       


      The most anti-Zionist answer possible to any terrorist action is to rely on our arch-enemies to provide security for Israel. Anyone with eyes in his head can see, and knows, as clear as day, that the Arabs know that they have one, and only one responsibility. That is, of course, to annihilate the Jews living Israel and transform the State of Israel to the State of Palestine. 
      December 13, 1996


      Netanyahu is planning on implementing an agreement, geared around expulsion of the Jewish community, while promising to leave the Jews in Hebron, with `the same security  that we presently have,' in spite of the allowance of what will eventually be, thousands of armed Arab terrorists patrolling in and around the city. In other words, he is contradicting himself. He is trying to implement a suicide pact and remain alive, even after firing the bullet into his brain. And it just doesn't work. If you shoot yourself in the head, you die, like it or not. December 27, 1996


      Tonight not only is Hebron on the chopping block. Tonight almost all of the land area of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is up for grabs. In addition to abandoning Hebron, Netanyahu has agreed to part with close to 70% of Yesha by September 1, 1998. Netanyahu is not only beheading The Jewish Community of Hebron. He is castrating the Land of Israel…Today it was reported that the army has been stockpiling emergency medical supplies at each of the neighborhoods in Hebron, including IVs, resuscitation apparatus, and battlefield operating-room equipment. 
      January 14, 1997


      There are those who have written Hebron off - they expect Hebron's Jewish community to leave. They have declared: Hebron - Rest In Peace. For some reason they really believe that we are in the midst of a peace process. They also believe that a Jewish presence in Hebron is provocative and unnecessary. But, they are wrong. Only true peace brings true rest. Hebron will not rest, surely not as part of this false peace. The lie called Oslo will not allow us peace and quiet. Much to the contrary. The more we concede, the more trouble we will have. Hebron has been transformed into a `piece' the exact opposite of its true essence, which is total unity. 

      The immediate future will be very difficult – of that I have no doubts or illusions. If the Jewish People were able to overcome the results of a Holocaust that left one third of our people murdered, and in spite of that were able to create a viable state only three years after the furnaces were extinguished, we can overcome anything. It will not be easy, but we will persevere. 
      January 17, 1997

       
      September, 2011


      Last: Towards the end of 1996 we released a film called “Hebron in Danger.” It predicted, quite accurately, the results of the division of Hebron. Click to view.

       

       

      Photographs: David Wilder







      Tevet 13, 5772, 1/8/2012

      An Old Young Israel


       

       

      Yesterday my wife and I spent Shabbat in Jerusalem with some friends. They made Aliyah a year and a half ago and invited us to spend the day with them in the “Holy City.”
       
      After arriving at their apartment in the Kiryat Shmuel neighborhood of Jerusalem, I asked what time they leave the house to pray on Saturday morning.  I was a little taken aback when the response was ‘6:30.’ But not for long.  We don’t often go out for Shabbat, but when we do, I try not to let anything faze me.  “Ok, 6:30, fine. But where are we going?” “To the Old City, to the Moslem Quarter. It’s about a 35 minute walk from here.”

      So, 6:30 it was. We left on time, Ken and I, with two of his children.  The Jerusalem winter air was crisp, cold and clear. Just as I remember it, from when I first lived in Israel, in Jerusalem, some 37 years ago.  You might expect that at that hour of the morning, on a Saturday, the streets would be empty. But they weren’t. Not that they were full either. But there were others, like ourselves, making their way by foot to a synagogue somewhere in the city. 

      We walked outside just as the sun rose, lighting up the sky with a seeming sanctity that might only be sensed in the holiest city in the world.  Our half-hour walk was a stroll though a time tunnel. Leaving the home I searched carefully for another apartment building in the neighborhood. Our host’s apartment is on Rav Haim Berlin Street. I lived on that same street thirty seven years ago, while attending Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 

      Only two buildings from theirs – and there it was. I haven’t been there in quite some time, but easily recognized the three porches jutting out towards the street. Ours was on the top floor. We were five guys, in Israel for a year, mostly juniors in university. Walking past brought back a flood of memories, from way back when, then a kid, 20 years old.

      But I didn’t have too much time to reminisce. We walked briskly down the street, onto Aza Road, and then down Agron. Crossing the main street we entered an area I’d never visited, that being the Mamilla promenade.  It is really a combination of the old and the new. Externally it has a kind of quaint atmosphere, but the storefronts are far from old-fashioned, selling anything and everything you can imagine, at  prices I’m sure aren’t from the middle ages.  But it is picturesque, an interesting addition of Jerusalem’s diverse cultures.

      The walkway led to narrow stone stairs, directly in front of Jaffa Gate, leading into the Old City. As was crossed from the twenty-first century into a time warp going back about 2,000 years, I recalled the first time I’d crossed that threshold, back then. The day after we arrived, it was probably late Friday morning, I stood outside that huge stone wall, waiting for all the group to arrive, so that we could all go in together. I remembered the excitement, the anticipation, knowing that in a few moments we’d be marching to the Kotel, the Western Wall, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

      It’s a little different today. The ‘gate’ is no longer there, just a big opening, like a hole in the wall. But walking through an almost empty Arab market, down the smooth stone stairs, under arches people are used to seeing only in pictures, it was quite a feeling. Like, here I am, back home again.

      We didn’t make a right turn, as did other Jews like ourselves,  towards the Kotel, to pray at the Wall. Rather we turned left, into the so-called Moslem Quarter. We walked past a memorial to  Elchanan Atali, a young yeshiva student murdered there some 21 years ago. And then, on the left side of the road, a door with a sign hanging on the wall, “Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem.”

      Many may not be familiar with the name ‘Young Israel.’ ‘Young Israel’ is an association of Orthodox synagogues, located primarily in the United States. There are too, some here in Israel. This ‘Young Israel’ is located about 5 minutes from the Kotel, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

      Walking in, up the stairs in what must be a fairly old building, I came to the sanctuary, a small ‘haimish’ (homey)  room, with a few people already in attendance. It was then about 7:10. Standing in the middle of the room, by the pulpit, was an older, scholarly, but kindly looking man, studying the weekly Torah portion. I introduced myself, telling him that we have a mutual friend living in Chicago. He asked if I was from there too; I told him that I’m from Hebron. He told me that he has a son there. I responded that his son was my youngest son’s teacher in the Yeshiva High School in Kiryat Arba.

      Then I sat down and listened to his weekly Torah class.

      Rabbi Nachman Kahana really is a great Torah sage. He has authored well-know books, is an accomplished speaker and a leader of the Jewish 
      presence in the Old City, and here, in the ‘Moslem Quarter,’ where the Jewish presence has grown in  leaps and bounds over the past years, thanks to people like Rabbi Kahana. And if the name rings a bell, yes, he is the brother of the murdered Rabbi Meir Kahana, who too was a Torah scholar.

      One theme repeated itself in Rabbi Kahana’s talks on Shabbat, that being the need for Jews to live in Israel. Most of the people attending the Rabbi’s synagogue are ‘former Americans’ who came to live in Israel from the United States, some many years ago, and others, more recently. There were some young men also in attendance, who perhaps hadn’t yet made that fateful decision to stay in Israel, rather than return to live in the US. I’m sure his words, which he spoke in English and Hebrew, to make sure everyone understood, didn’t fall on deaf ears.

      Of course, the prayer service was spiritually awakening, and the ‘kiddush’ afterwards, included some of the best of Jerusalm’s ‘kugel,’ (noodle pudding) prepared by the Rabbi’s wife. Leaving the shul, some five hours after arriving, I felt like again, I was walking through time, and what a time it was.

      My friend Jack, from Chicago, whenever he’s in Israel, usually turns down my invitations for Shabbat, saying that he prefers to be with Rabbi Nachman Kahana in the Old City. Now I know why. It’s an unbelievable experience, and highly recommended in anyone in the area. And if you’re not planning in the area, I suggest you change your plans and try it out. You won’t be sorry. 

      Actually, the Young Israel of the Old City isn’t really so young; rather it’s a segment of the chain of Jewish history, culture and Torah, adjacent to the holiest place in the world, Temple Mount. Rabbi Kahana and his congregation are helping to ensure that this site will remain Jewish forever.







      Tevet 3, 5772, 12/29/2011

      Turning up the lights: Hanukkah in Hebron


      It’s happened to me three times in the past few weeks. Once, while giving a tour, in the middle of a suspense story, the next time at a Brit, a baby’s circumcision, and two days ago, during a candle-lighting ceremony; all at Ma’arat HaMachpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

      ***********************************************************
      More Hanukkah in Hebron here - Videos and photos
      ***********************************************************
      On the second night of Hanukkah we had a double candle-lighting ceremony. The first, at six o’clock, was with the police. Hebron police commander, Itzik Rachamim, together with some officers and police, were listening to Rabbi Hillel Horowitz speak about the eternal elements of Hanukkah.  Then, as he mentioned the great miracle, the great blessing and the lights of Hanukkah, which still shine upon us today: Allah HuAchbar. The muezzin began his call to prayer, with the loudspeakers facing into the Machpela courtyard, drowning out whatever anyone might try to say. Rather than begin lighting the Hanukkah menorah, the gathered crowd began singing and dancing to Eli Gilboa’s accordion music, in an attempt to prevent having to listen to the noise being projected by the Arab muezzin.

       
       

      Time and time again we face this disgrace. I have no problem with them praying amongst themselves, but why do we have to suffer their public worship, at least five times a day, beginning at about five in the morning, through late at night. In a city such as Hebron, the noise levels are multiplied, as the various mosques, all equipped with modern audio equipment, blast out the Arabic words, not necessarily synched. So we get it in quadraphonic plus. Not what I call music to my ears.

      Having the Hanukkah ceremony delayed, a ceremony representing the lights of Judaism, rejecting foreign cultures attempting to destroy our own, at Machpela, in Hebron, by Islamic prayer, is more than a simple disgrace. It is humiliating. After we were prevented from entering into and praying at this so holy a site for 700 years, now we must hear that noise, at decibel levels  way above the norm, as we celebrate Hanukkah, or a Brit, or a regular prayer service? It makes no sense.

      On the other hand, that aside, Hanukkah in Hebron is really quite special.  There are numerous candle-lightings. At Machpela, in the Avraham Avinu synagogue, and of course, the famous event on the very top of the Abu-Sneneh Hill, overlooking Hebron, sponsored by my good friend Rabbi Danny Cohen and Chabad.

         

      The night of the above-mentioned shame also had some bright spots. After the noise ended and the candles were lit, Commander Rachamim spoke, saying things some people might not necessarily expect to hear from a senior ranking police officer, especially in Hebron.

      "The police and officers of the Hebron serve in this holy place with a sense of challenge and purpose.
      And as the dear  Rabbi said, we light the candles "to see them only,"  first of all when we see them, I have a wish that the Israeli police here in Hebron together with the army and the Shin Bet and the organizations and the communities and all elements of security and settlement, and the rabbis and community leaders, that G-d will enlighten our path every day this year allowing personal safety for residents, quality of life and dwell only on projects will enhance the unity of Israel and the whole country (Shelmut HaAretz).  And the vision of serving in a Holy place like this, our ultimate goal is not only Jews in the Diaspora will come to visit the Cave of the Patriarchs, but even the citizens of Israel will all come in droves to visit this holy place. We fully identify with the importance of this place which is Israel's foundation.

      So thank you and I thank everyone for the opportunity you gave us light Hanukkah candles on the second night of Hanukkah and everyone should have a happy holiday."




      We do not always agree with the police, with everything they say and do. But Commander Yitzik Rachamim’s words, as opposed to the noise of the muezzin, are music to my ears.

      A little later, Hebron’s military Commander, Col. Guy Hazzut lit candles also at the Ma’ara. Much is made of the negative attitudes and behaviors towards the army, be it in Hebron or elsewhere. For that reason, I think it imperative that all watch the greeting Col Hazzut received at Machpela, by Hebron residents and students from the Shavei Hevron Yeshiva. The video and photos speak for themselves.



      Finally, last night, I attended a ceremony at ‘Havat Yehuda,’ a few minutes out of the center of Hebron, on the road to Kiryat Arba. It was at this site that Asher Palmer, and his baby son Yonaton were murdered by Arab terrorists a few months ago.  It has since been discovered that that area is the site of an ancient Jewish village, and attempts are being made to renovate the place and bring visitors there, to see the ancient wonders of Judea. A bus-load of people attended in the cold but clear Hebron air, together with Hebron-Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, who lit three lights, on the side of the road, publicizing the miracle of Hanukkah to all who drove by. Also attending were Michael and Mollie Palmer, who lost their son and grandson in the murderous attack. Additionally, Noam Arnon spoke about the historical importance of the area, only a short distance from where the Maccabees fought for Jewish independence from the Greeks, some 2,300 years ago.

       

       



      At present, we still must fight, for our identity and for our right to live freely in our land. There are those who would still take both from us. Judah the Maccabee was a warrior, but he also realized the significance of the spiritual side of our people. He fought and killed, and also lit the lights of the Menorah in the Holy Temple.  Those lights, even though they seem to have dimmed, are still shining. We need only open our eyes and our souls in order to absorb them.  There are those who have opened themselves up to this light, as we heard in the words of Yitzik Rachamim. It's called, turning up the lights. That’s what Hanukkah is all about.






      Kislev 24, 5772, 12/20/2011

      Happy Hanukkah: The Hebron Chronicles


      See first night Hanukkah candle-lighting at Ma'arat HaMachpela in Hebron

      image.png
       

      http://goo.gl/ePXwt

       


      Tonight the Festival of Lights will be upon us. Hanukkah is an unusually joyous holiday, allowing us eight full days of extra added illumination.

      Hanukkah’s celebration centers around one word, that being miracle. It could well be coined the festival of miracles. What miracles? Two particular unnatural events occurred. The Greek invasion and conquest of Israel led to Hellenization of the Jewish population, and the desecration of the Temple, which was transformed into a place to worship Zeus.

      When liberated during the Maccabean Wars against the Greek pagans, the Jews discovered that the canisters of pure olive oil, used to light the holy Menorah, had been tainted, were impure and not fit for use. Only a single can of pure oil was found, enough for one day’s use. As is known, that oil lasted for eight days.

      The question is then asked, if Hanukkah is a remembrance for that event, it should be only seven days, as the miracle of the oil was only seven days. One of the most frequently given answers to this question is that the eighth day commemorated the second miracle, that being the victory over the Greeks. They were the superpower of their day, and their army was second to none. Their decision to fight, to take on the strongest empire in the world, cannot be ignored.

      That fact that a small group of people could awaken the souls of their Jewish brethren and then defeat the Greek empire was surely nothing less than a Divine miracle.

      And for these two miracles, we celebrate Hannukah.

      However, I might add, there are others hidden within those phenomenon. For example, that fact that even one small oil tin was discovered, that too was a miracle. And also, the fact that the Maccabees themselves did not lose their identity within the Hellenistic culture, which admired more the body than the soul, was too wondrous. And the fact that they brought their people back to Judaism, away from Hellenism, that too must be celebrated.

      The headline of Hanukkah’s nightly candle-lighting ceremony is, in Hebrew, ‘persumie nisa’ that is, publicizing the miracle, making sure as many people know about it as possible. For that reason, when feasible, the Hanukkah menorah is light adjacent to the doorpost of a house, or courtyard, thereby advertising, to all who pass by, the miracles of Hannukah.

      But there’s more to it. We have to promote the miracle to others, but first we must internalize it ourselves. First we must recognize the marvels which have taken place, and then send them on to others. For even a person, alone in his house, must light the Menorah, even if no one else will see it. He, or she will see it. And that alone, should fill them with faith.

      These days we need a lot of faith. And we have much faith, for without Divine protection and assistance, we certainly would not be here today. Our being in Israel, and in Hebron, is most definitely a miracle.

      Hanukkah is a holiday of light, a holiday of faith. A little light goes a long long way. A little light dispels much darkness. One tin of oil has provided us light for over two thousand years. One small candle is not only a reminiscence of that light; it is that very light. It appears every year, at this very time, as we recite nightly, ‘in those days, at this time.’

      In honor of Hanukkah, I’ve decided to make available over 500 articles I’ve authored since 1995. Named “The Hebron Chronicles, ”they tell numerous stories, and shed much light on our presence in Hebron and in Israel.

      The book can be downloaded for free at: http://goo.gl/YrDaS
       
      Enjoy!
      Happy Festival of Lights.