Middle East 5:43 AM 3/7/2014
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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.
Everyone get a bumper sticker – “I learn in Har Bracha.”
Everyone hang up a poster – “Rabbi Melamed for Minister of Defense!”
A year after making aliyah, I moved to the settlement of Beit-El, where I began to learn in a new Torah-learning program headed by Rav Eliezer Melamed. During the two years I learned under Rav Eliezer’s guidance, in addition to a very strong teacher/student bond, we developed a close friendship. While seeped through and through with Torah, he had a keen appreciation of writers and the creative process, and encouraged me to keep writing along with my Torah studies. Never having departed from the Land of Israel, he always enjoyed hearing my stories about life in the Diaspora. I am always invited to the weddings of his children, and the like, and he wrote the introduction to my recent book on creative writing. When he moved to the then tiny settlement of Har Bracha, at the urging of my dear friend, Yonaton Behar, and started the Hesder Yeshiva, I became a modest annual donor. I have spent many inspiring times at the yeshiva, in his sukkah, and at his house for Shabbat meals.
In addition to his vast Torah scholarship and creativity, and being an outstanding educator par-excellence, he is a paragon of honesty.
Thus, it is not surprising that Hashem has raised him out of the ranks to hold the banner of the Maccabees aloft when the scourge of Hellenism is once again seeking to divorce the Nation of Israel from the Torah.
We have come home to the Land of Israel to rebuild our homes, in fulfillment of the Torah’s commandment to settle the Land. It is the job of the Israeli army to guard those homes, not kick the Jews out of them. Rav Melamed has made this point clear, and for that, the Jewish Hellenists want to silence him.
Rav Melamed also pointed out another simple truth that everyone knows - that the Hellenists who run the army all too often put career considerations over the best interests of their soldiers, and for this, the Jewish Hellenists want him silenced.
Hanukah celebrates the victory of the Torah over secular Hellenism. Hanukah celebrates the victory of holiness over corruption. Hanukah celebrates the victory of the few, like Rav Melamed and the Maccabees, over the many.
By stating the truth, Rav Eliezer Melamed has lit the world’s most gigantic menorah on the mountain of blessing – Har Bracha.
Like Mattitiahu, he has called out, “All who would uphold the Torah and the Covenant – follow me!”
We pray that all the other rabbis will join him.