Sunday, July 22nd | 10 Av 5778

December 7, 2012 2:23 pm

Real Chanukah Heroes and the Nechemya Weberman Case

avatar by Jeremy Rosen

Email a copy of "Real Chanukah Heroes and the Nechemya Weberman Case" to a friend


What is Chanukah? Thus the Talmud asks, in its only reference to the story of Chanukah. And it answers:

“On the 15th of Kislev are the eight days of Chanukah. We do not mourn or fast then. Because the Greeks entered the Temple and desecrated all the oil there, and when the Hasmonean dynasty overcame them, they checked and only found one container of oil that still had the seal of the High Priest. It only had enough to last for one day and a miracle happened and it lasted for eight. The following year they fixed these days and kept them for praise and thanks.”

The Talmud goes on to mention the lights and the debate as to whether you start with one flame and add another daily till you reach the eight or whether you start with eight and reduce each day. And we accept Bet Hillel’s opinion that we rise instead of falling.

This Talmudic text is challenging. Why no mention of Judah? Was it because despite his heroics he did not in fact achieve official recognition of Israel as an independent state? Judah’s brother Jonathan was appointed High Priest by Syria. But it wasn’t until the youngest brother, Simon, in 142 BCE that the Jewish state finally achieved independence from the Syrian Greeks. But why then does it not focus on the theme of spiritual revival, the cultural war between the Greek way of life and the Jewish?

The majority of the priesthood at the time was in fact pro-Greek. High Priest Onias (yes, they had Greek names too) introduced the circus and the theater to Jerusalem. They hobnobbed with Greek aristocrats and thought their own people a bunch of primitive peasants. Had Antiochus not tried to force the Jews to abandon their religion, they would probably have assimilated over time on their own. Perhaps the Hasmonean rebellion was simply one over political power. Is that why the rabbis focused on the miracle exclusively, because they had doubts about motives? The miracle was that the light of the people did not go out altogether. This was what Chanukah really was to represent.

There are still conflicting narratives. The two books of the Maccabees were written initially in Hebrew as a record of the Maccabean triumphs and disasters. But they were excluded from the Jewish canon and preserved for a long time only because Catholics included the Greek version of the books in the Apocrypha. In them, Judah Maccabee is presented as the conquering hero. Hence the famous Handel Oratoria “Judas Maccabaeus” with its popular anthem, “See, the conquering hero comes”, which in our family we sang to the words of “Hanerot Halalu” as we lit the lights.

The priestly political party, the Sadducees, wanted to extol the Maccabees as heroes because they were priests, aristocrats, and pro-Roman. The party of the rabbis, the Pharisees, on the other hand was always critical of priestly hypocrisy and political machinations. As traditionalists, they couldn’t deny the role of the priesthood in Jewish life, but they stressed the spiritual role rather than the political. Who was right? Perhaps both were right and wrong.

Judah made the political alliance with Rome that opened the way for them to take over the Jewish State. This is precisely why I believe the Talmud glosses over Judah’s role in the revolt. The later anti-Roman rebellions brought passing victories and passing defeats. What survived was the culture, the religion, the moral message. All this was incorporated into the prayer “Al Hanissim” that entered our liturgy after the Talmud. Most scholars would agree that the survival of Judaism was in no small part because the rabbis incorporated civil aspects of Greek culture instead of refusing to adapt. Much as today we adopt technology while retaining our ancient rituals.

Objective analysis of the historical data shows how during the Chanukah era religion was used to promote self-interest as much as ideology. This has continued. Nowhere is this plainer nowadays than in sectors of our own modern-day zealots.

There is a court case going on in New York against a Satmarer Chasid who is accused of sexually abusing a teen girl sent to him for counseling. For years the Brooklyn District Attorney ignored abuse in the Chasidic community for fear of their power and votes. Finally he has acted. Naturally the sect has rallied round; some have attacked the victims and their families, and others as always claim it is anti-Semitism. A few months ago four Chasidim were convicted of trying to buy off the victims. Last week in court another four were charged with taking photographs with their smartphones of the accuser with intent to intimidate.

Despite the Rebbe’s ban on such phones, the faithful succeeded in posting the photos on Twitter. The four charged were Joseph Fried, Yona Weisman, Abraham Zupnick and, wait for it, Lemon Juice! Yes, that’s right–you can check it out on page A29 of the New York Times, November 30th. Not only do these outstanding examples of Chassidic manhood try bullying victims and ignoring the rules of the court, but one of them tried the old “Mickey Mouse” ruse in the hope of evading prosecution. What does this tell me? That it is fine in his eyes to have no respect for the court, no respect for the law of the land, and no fear of subverting “goyishe” justice. The sad fact is that for such a person usually there is no Jewish justice either. If such people are keeping our flame alive, frankly I’d rather light a different one.

Was it the zealots, the messianists, the religious fanatics who kept us alive? Not a bit of it. They were all too busy arguing amongst themselves and trying to make a monkey out of each other’s systems! “Lemon Juice” is typical of what is sick in our house. Chanukah reminds me that if we want to fight for our independence, if we want our values to survive, we had better set a moral example; otherwise we will go the way of all the other Jewish sects that disappeared off the face of the earth.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • harri

    you forgot the “right of first night”; giving Greek invaders the right to have sex with a married girl on her first wedding night; Judith daughter of Matisyahu arrived at her wedding wearing her father’s armor under her tunic declaring she would protect her honor if her father and brothers would not. apparently this mobilized daddy

    • Jeremy

      Actually there is some historical dispute about this “Ius Primus Noctis.” It is mentioned by Herodotus as applying only in a place called Aechaemenia which it seems is around Lybia, but nowhere in the Greek or Roman world although Romam Emperors dont seem to have bothered much about sleeping with anyon elses wife they fancied.It does not appear in Europe until France in the sixteenth venturyy where it is regarded as myth rather than law. So MAYBE but NOT NECESSARILY.

  • Zehava

    Seriously?? What do you have against lemon juice?? He’s a cute harmless guy. One of those eccentric characters every community has. Playing Mickey Mouse? He changed his name to lemon juice a while ago. So please find someone else to blame for all the faults you see in Satmar. And btw lemon juice talks to girls.

    • Jeremy


      Lets assume you are right and hes a sweet harmless guy. Why was he in court photographing the victim? So you will say he was just naive in which case the others who manipulated him are even more despicable.

      Just as I dont believe one should tar all Satmar with the brush of a few mentally challenged individuals, neither do I believe a genuine Satmarer Chassid would change his name to such an obviously irresponsible one. We take our Hebrew names very seriously and according to the Law of the Land we take our secular names serously too because they identify us within a civil context.By identifying publicly both as a Satmar Chassid AND as Lemon Juice he is making a monkey of Satmar too! Would you as a responsible parent be happy if your son changed his secular name to Donald Duck? If nothing else it would show he had no intention of becoming a serious member of society.


      • Zehava

        Right. He is a sweet guy . Seriously. I know him. As for why he was in court taking pictures? For the same reason little boys gather around whenever there’s “action” going on. No I wouldn’t want my son changing his name to Donald Duck but why is this anyone’s business? It’s not like he did anything to anyone. He can call himself however he chooses. It’s a free country. And if has no intention of becoming a serious member of society and he wants to live the rest of his life as lemon juice?? Explain how that affects anyone???

        • Jeremy

          Why do I object to his having such a name in public?
          Because its a Chillul HaShem when an outwardly and identifiable member of Satmar appears with such a name. Those who care about him and those around him should make him aware that it is no laughing matter.

        • Miriam

          Zehava: He did do something wrong. He exposed the face of the victim. That is illegal. And more to the point, it sounds like she grew up in a punitive sect that uses fear tactics to sublimate females, especially female victims. This behavior makes females cower, and when one doesn’t she is exposed to ridicule and punishment, and threats. She is brave and her mother is as well.

  • Lawrence Kulak

    I agree with Mr. Rosen’s thesis. Not only is Mr. Weberman repulsive and disgusting as an individual, but the entire Satmar Sect is as well. Think about it: they object to a young girl talking to a boy her own age before she even knows anything about sex (presumably the boy knows nothing either) so it is really an innocent situation. But the Satmars apparently cannot handle youthful innocence much like the Puritans of Plymouth
    rock (I daresay their forbears) and so they send this innocent girl to some decadent male pervert who has been licking his chops at the prospect of seeing this young girl in private since she was playing in the sandbox. Apparently the Satmars think so little of women that they won’t even send a young girl to be counseled by a female. Wait, are they Muslims? But, when it comes to one of the married women going for a gynecological exam, they all pile into the same female doctors office in livid fear that a male gynecologist might molest one of them. What does this all add up to? In a word, sex on the mind. They are so busy repressing themselves that all they have is sex on the mind. And who knows? Maybe these male “counselors” like Weberman even pay good money for these ‘fresh’ young troubled Satmar girls. As for Lemon Juice, kids like that support Weberman because they want to be like him one day and get to molest girls with impunity.

  • Rabbi Jochanan mi-Gush Chalav

    Of course, if you only quote DIASPORA sources, with their typical EXILE mentality, that’s what you get…

    Not by chance the Prophet Ezra cursed those who CHOSE to remain in exile in Babylon: THEIR PERSPECTIVE IS DISTORTED AND THEIR TORAH IS DISTORTED, since they concentrate on things that are NOT important, but become important to those who do not live a FULL NATIONAL LIFE, those who have DISTORTED Torah to the point of turning it into a religion, which is NOT.

    During the WHOLE EIGHT DAYS, IN EVERY PRAYER, WE ALL recite the ‘Al HaNissim, which is what ChaZa”L chose to thank H” for… AND OIL IS NOT EVEN MENTIONED, since the oil is not the essence, the ‘iqar, but SECONDARY, TAFEL!

    The essence is the MIRACULOUS MILITARY AND SPIRITUAL VICTORY of the few against the many, the righteous against the evildoers, those who followed Torah agains those who wanted to eliminate it!

    Rome has NOTHING to do with the whole issue. In 175 B.C.E. Rome had barely finished the Punic wars (against Carthage), slowly conquering Sicily and Sardinia and had still eight years of war against Macedonia, VERY far from the Kingdom of Judea…where it got about 100 years later…

    • Jeremy

      Rabbi Jochanan
      Please dont try pulling the wool over peoples eyes by suggesting there is only one position in Halacha about settling in Israel. Just check the Gemara on Brachot 24b or Shabbat 41a to mention only two examples that contradict yours.

      As for Rome I did not suggest it played a part in the Maccabee revolt ( though Judah did send emissaries to Rome asking for help ). I was referring to the subsequent record of Hasmonean leaders consorting with Rome and assimilating and the disastrous results of Roman imperialism and the effects of its control over the Land of Israel.


      • Rabbi Jochanan mi-Gush Chalav

        I guess you missed the whole point.
        I mentioned EXACTLY the POLITICAL position of the Babylonian Sages that you just referred to as INTERESTED and OPPOSED to the ones of Erets Israel.
        Just go TEN dapim before the one you quote in Massechet Shabbath and you’ll find something I quote below…
        Besides the fact that the Ghemarth you so selectively quote ARE NOT codified in Halakhà (in Talmud Torah they should have taught you that you don’t pasqen from a ghemarah..

        Then…I guess you “forgot” a few other things…

        EZRA Hannavi and the Anshe’ Knesseth haGhedola` CURSED the Chakhme’ Bavel (whom so many take as examples) and those who did not go back to Erets Israel and refused to observe that MITSWA` FROM THE TORAH!!!

        The MITSWA` of YISHUV HAARETS and ORASHATH HAARETS are mentioned all over ChaZa”L (see Pitche’ Teshuva, Even HaEzer, 75:3, in which all of the Posqim, both between Rishonim and Acharonim, agree with the RamBa”N ruling that the commandment to live in Erets Israel applies in ALL GENERATIONS.)

        The Sifre’ in Re`e 12:29, (and the Sifre is Midrash Halakha attributed to, among others, Rabbi Shim’on Bar Yocahi, written when the Sanhedrin was still working but the Temple was gone!) say that “The Mitswa of living in Erets Israel is a mitswa encompassing all of the Mitswoth of the Tora`” and there are only seven Mitswoth in the whole Torah she Bikhtav or Be’Al Pe that are defined like that…and even Shabbath is not one of them…

        What about Ketuboth 75 and 110 (more explicit than that!) which was codified repeatedly as LAW…even by RaMba”M (here’s the text: Hilkhoth Ishuth 13:23-25):

        כג וכן לא יוציאה ממקום שרובו ישראל, למקום שרובו גויים; ובכל מקום, מוציאין ממקום שרובו גויים, למקום שרובו ישראל.

        כד [יט] במה דברים אמורים, מחוצה לארץ לחוצה לארץ, או מארץ ישראל לארץ ישראל. אבל מחוצה לארץ לארץ ישראל–כופין לעלות, אפילו מנווה יפה לנווה רע; ואפילו ממקום שרובו ישראל, למקום שרובו גויים–מעלין. ואין מוציאין מארץ ישראל לחוצה לארץ, ואפילו מנווה רע שרובו גויים לנווה היפה שרובו ישראל.

        ×›×” [×›] אמר האיש לעלות לארץ ישראל, והיא אינה רוצה–תצא שלא בכתובה; אמרה היא לעלות, והוא אינו רוצה–יוציא וייתן כתובה; והוא הדין לכל מקום מארץ ישראל, עם ירושלים: שהכול מעלין לארץ ישראל, ואין הכול מוציאין משם; והכול מעלין לירושלים, ואין הכול מוציאין משם.

        In Ketuboth 110 it is written that FOREVER (hence ALSO when the beth Ha-Miqdash is not standing, and in fact that is the law in all matters concerning divorce) one should rather live in a city in Erets Israel where all are idol worshippers than in a city outside of it where the majority are righteous Jews.

        Some people then decided to dismiss such Halakhà on the basis of HAGGADIC material (the three oaths) in the same chapter. See how Rabbi Menachem Kasher destroys such argument and how the shiur on the issue is given by Rav Meir David Kahana at

        Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, in his Kuzari, chapter 2:24, speaks about how Hashem would have reestablished everything in its previous glory, but (and he had harsh words for them) “…only a small portion answered while the majority of the ghedolim among them remained in Babylon, preferring exile and slavery under the gentiles rather than giving up their houses and their affairs…” and he could not find any answer to the King of Kuzari pointing out at the hypocrisy of the Jews who speak so much about the Land but do not go there.

        Rabbi Yehuda Halevi himself MOVED to Israel.

        The Gaon of Vilna, says that a Jew is not complete until he comes to Erets Israel. On the verse “vayavo` ya’aqob shalem ‘ir Shechem” (Bereshith 33:18) the Gaon explains that Ya’aqob was not complete until he came to Erets Israel.

        The tragedy of thinking that we can be good G-od fearing Jews in Berlin (or New York!) as much as in Jerusalem is too clear in its consequences for anyone to ignore… Just check Rabbi Issachar Shelomo Teichtal, THE poseq in Hungary in the late thirties and early forties, and what he writes about the refusal of Erets Israel in his book “Em HaBanim Semeicha” now available also in English (the best purchase for a frum Jew in Galut!) see:

        In the Meshech Chokhma, by the Ohr Somayach, Rabbi Meir simcha Hacohen from Dvinsk, pag 171-2 is written: “If a Jew thinks that Berlin is Jerusalem…then a raging whirlwind will uproot him by his trunk…a tempest will arise and spread its roaring waves, and swallow and destroy, and flood forth without pity…” And Rabbi Ya’akov Emden, in his introduction to the Siddur Beth Yaakov, “…When it seems to us in our present and peaceful existence, outside the Land of Israel, that we have found another Erets Israel and Yerushalaim, that is to me the greatest, deepest, most obvious, and direct CAUSE of all the awesome, frightening, monstrous, unimaginable distructions that we have experienced in the Diaspora”.

        Just think of how much survived in Europe after the Shoah among the great Yeshivas and great Chakhamim (who said “chas we-Shalom going to Erets Israel before Moshiach…”)…

        People say at Mincha on Shabbath words that they do not even understand, like: “…And who is like you, Israel, one nation in the Land…”.
        The Zohar teaches us on that verse that “…in Israel they are one nation, not outside of it…”

        Why Yitzchak Avinu is called “Qorban Tamim”, the perfect qorban?… Because he never left Erets Israel. Check the Kli Yakar on Yitzchak who was not allowed to leave Erets Israel and why… Because here the Shechina resides, not in chu”l; because chu”l is called “erets ha-tum`a!”…and has the halakhic standing of a beth qevaroth…

        The following is but very a partial list of the Halakhic authorities who state that the obligation to live in Israel is a Torah commandment binding in all times: RaMba”M, Laws of Marriage, chapter 3:20; Laws of Slaves, Ch. 8:39, Sefer Haredim Ch. 7; Maharit, Responsa 2:28; Rashbash,1. Knesset Ghedola, Even HaEzer, 75; Notes to the Bet Yosef, 25; Gaon of Vilna, Yoreh De’a, 267:161; Avne Netzer, Yoreh De’a, 454; Me’il Tzedaka, Responsa, 26; Rav Ya’akov Emden, Mor Uktzi’a, Section 1, pag. 16; Rabbi Chaim David Azulay, the Chida`, Responsa, Yosef Omets, 52, and Ya’ir Ozen, 10:5; Chokhmat Adam, Sha’ar Mishpate’ HaArets, 11:3; Pa’at HaShulchan, Ch. 1, Beth Israel, 14; Chatam Sofer, Responsa, Yore De’a, 233-234; Rav Haim Palaggi, Responsa, Nishmat Kol Chai, Yore De’a, 48; Rav Shlomo miLublin, in his introduction to the book Mitzvat Yishuv HaAretz; Maharm Shik, Yoreh De’a, 225; Ohr Somayach, letter for the book Shivat Zion, printed in Kol Israel 5687; Rav Yitzchak Elchanan Spector, Letters, Shivat Zion; Chazon Ish, Letters, 175.

        The Sifre’, Parashat Ekev 11:18; Rashi, Devarim 11:18, and the RaMba”N, there, say that “…outside of Erets Israel the Mitzvoth were imposed as a way of a reminder, so that when we return to Israel we will know how to keep them…”

        The intended place for the mitswoth is Erets Israel, that’s why so many of them can be observed ONLY in Erets Israel…

        The Ghemara in Massechet Shabbath 14b, states that “Yossi Ben Yoezer from Tradar and Yossi Ben Yochanan from Yerushalaim, decreed that the lands of the nations possess the status of ritual impurity “, that is…outside of Israel the air is impure, the land is impure, even Halakhically the Diaspora is categorised as possessing a state of defilement similar to that of a grave… See also Ghemara Nazir 54b, Tosefot beginning with “…Erets…”, and the Gaon of Vilna, Likute’ HaGra, end of Safra D’Tzni’uta.
        Why would the Torah go at length to list the circumstances and conditions in which it is allowed to leave Erets Israel if it was not a Mitswa to live in it?… (see also Ketubot 75a)

        Even the RaMba”M, says in the Laws of Kings, 5:9: “…In all times, a Jew is forbidden to leave Erets Israel for Chuts LaArets; except to study Tora, or to marry or to rescue Jews (or their money) from gentiles, and then he must return to the Land. One is also permitted to leave temporarily for business, but to dwell outside of the Land of Israel is forbidden, unless there is a severe famine there…” – SEE IN Or HaRE’AYON above what is considered famine.

        A Beth Din can compel a Jew to leave Galut and move to Israel even from a luxurious home in the Diaspora to a miserable home in Erets Israel; even from a city in Galut where the majority are Jews, to a city in Erets Israel whee the majority are idol worshippers” (Shulchan Arukh, Yore De’a 75:3)

        The Ghemara says that Talmide’ Chakhamim outside of Erets Israel are OUT OF PLACE, “enan bene’ meqomam”…

        The sin of the spies was a sin much worse than the sin of the golden calf. For the latter only three thousand people were punished, while for the sin of the spies the entire generation was punished and perished in the wilderness. That great sin was not only among the masses, but also and foremost among the ghedolim, among the great ones of the generation.
        The RaMCha”L, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, in Mesillat Yesharim explains that, “they feared a lessening of their honour, lest, upon entering the Land, they would no longer be princes of Israel, and others would be appointed in their places”…

        So many so-called “ghedolim” from Chu”L are TOTALLY UNKNOWN in Erets Israel!

        Living in the Land is not a matter of personal choice, it is the underlying basis of Torah (see RaMba”M, Sefer HaMitswot, positive commandment 153.)

        The Ohr HaChaim Haqadosh (devarim 30:20), and the Sifre (Re`e 12:29), both say that “The Mitswa of living in Erets Israel is a mitswa encompassing all of the Mitswoth of the Tora`” and there are only seven Mitswoth in the whole Torah she Bikhtav or Be’Al Pe that are defined like that.

        Why would the Ghemara Berakhoth, 63a and 63b, state: “…know that if you detach yourself from the centrality of Erest Israel you have no portion in the G-od of Israel…” if living in Erets Israel and observing the Mitswoth of Erets Israel was just a “good deed” among others, and not an obligatory Mitswà of central importance?…

        The Mechilta, Parashat Bo, Masechta DePascha, 1, teaches: “Until Erets Israel was not chosen, all the land were kosher, since Erets Israel was chosen, all the other lands were out… The Shechina` does not reveals Herself in chu”l…” The Midrash Tanchuma says clearly that until Avraham was in chu”l with Lot the Shechina` did not talk to him, and so it happened to Ya’akov until he was in the land of Lavan.

        The Torah teaches that the first Gheula` (Mitsrayim) will be the example for the last…
        Then 80% of the Jews did not want to leave the fleshpots of Mitsrayim and perished in the Plague of Darkness… Now also, as in the beginning of the last century when it was possible, most Jews did not want to leave the fleshpots of today’s Mitsrayim, the “sweet galuth”, Europe, America…

        The Ghemara and the Tosefot (is that ENOUGH as “ghedolim?…) in Baba Kama 70, Rashi in Ghittin 8, RaMba”M’s Hilkhoth Shabbat 6, refer to the mitswa of settling the land as the sole reason to allow the signing and the oath on Shabbath!!!!

        Soldiers must come home from war if they built a home in Erets Israel, but not in chu”l (Yerushalmi Sota 8:4), and so decided the RaMba”M in the Hilkhoth Melakhim 7:14.

        The Torah was NOT given JUST to individuals, but to a NATION.

        Torah is NOT a “religion”, contrary to how some have distorted it. That’s the teaching of ours sages when they say that the Beth HaMiqdash was destroyed because the Children Of Israel were not careful with the Beracha before the reading and learning of the Torah. What is it then? Were they such learners and holy People but did not know that particular Halakha`?…

        OF COURSE NOT!!! Only a superficial reading of the Ghemara would teach such a thing.

        The Berakha` on the Torah is “…asher bachar banu miccol ha’amim, UE-nathan lanu eth toratho`…” They were learning all the pilpul, but NOT out of a national dimension and consciousness, of the “asher bachar banu” first of all, and THEN gave us the Torah!!! They were learning it as a practice for individuals!!!… THAT IS WHY sinnath chinnam was born… and ChaZa”L defined sinnath chinnam as the lack of readiness to unite as a People and actually, on the contrary, calling in the Romans, which was done by Jews!!!!

        Check Bereshit Rabba 33:6 on finding peace in chu”l…

        In chu”l we are ‘ovde’ ‘avoda zara`, since we serve idols of wood and stone, that is BOTH, as the Targum, as Yirmiahu and Rashi teach, we serve those who do avoda` zara, but also we become enslaved to their culture, their ideas, their riches and fall in love with their houses etc.

        Check Ghemara Massechet Yoma 9: “Resh Lakish was swimming in the Jordan River. Raba bar bar Chana came up [to Israel] from Bavel to learn Torah and offered his hand to Resh Lakish [to help him get on the bank]. Resh Lakish said to him: “I swear that I hate you, Jews of Bavel”, and Rashi there explains “all the Jews of Bavel who did not come back from Bavel with Ezra, and prevented the Shechina from coming upon the Second Beth HaMiqdash, as it is written in Shir HaShirim 8:9: “If she is like a wall, I’ll build for her a castle of silver; if like a door a closure of
        cedar”, that is if you had made yourselves ; like a wall, come all together at the time of Ezra, you’d have been like silver, that rust and rot do not touch; but now that you came up like doors, you are similar to a cedar, that rot rules on it”

        Does that sound like something to say about a “good deed” or about a compulsory Mitswa…?

        When in Bereshit 47:27 The Jews are said to have “settled” in Mitsrayim, check the Kli Yaqar, who says that all that is but a great act of accusation for ‘Am Israel, who were supposed to be temporary resident aliens, not settle there… Why would that be wrong if it was not a Mitswa to live in Erest Israel?…

        In the Sifre, Parashat Re`e, three Tannaim were going out of Erets Israel, they stopped did qri’a on their garments, came back and said: “…and you shall inherit it and live in it…”…which is something that happened AFTER the destruction of the Secon Beth HaMiqdash, just to silence all those who say that it is not a Mitswa when the Beth HaMiqdash is not standing….

        The Gaon of Vilna, in Kol HaTor, chapter 5 writes: “…The sin of the spies…hovers over the Nation of Israel in every generation.”… “How strong is the power of the Sitra Achra that it succeeds in hiding from the eyes of our holy fathers the dangers of the Klipoth; from the eyes of Avraham Avinu the Klipah of galut…and in the time of Moshiach, the Sitra Achra attacks the guardians of Torah with blinders”… “Many of the sinners of this great sin of “They dispised the cherished Land’, and also many of the guardians of Torah, will not know or understand that they are caught in the sin of the Spies, that they have been sucked into the sin of the Spies by many false ideas and empty claims, and they cover their ideas with the already proven fallacy that the mitzvah of the settlement of Israel no longer applies in our day, an opinion which has already been disproven by the giants of the world, the Rishonim and the Acharonim”…

        And Also Rabbi Chaim Elazar Wax, at the end of Responsa 1: “…We can see how important this matter is, that the Klipah attacks even the biggest Tzaddikim to negate the great thing [the settlement of Israel]. For the whole power of the Klipah is in the Galut. With the cessation of the Galut, the Klipah comes to an end”….

        I want to conclude by saying: someone who wants to convince himself of something because of comfort, will be able to ignore even G-od’s commandments, as the spies did, and they were the talmide’ chakhamim of then, the leaders, the princes, the ghedolim. Yet they were wrong, VERY wrong, and the Torah calls their action CHET Hammeraglim…
        They sinned against G-od and against ‘Am Israel and Erest Israel, just as the Jews of Bavel did…

        Rabbi Zera ran away from his sinning teacher (Rabbi Yehudah!) who was against him going to Erets Israel, and after reaching Erets Israel went on a ta’anit dibbur of one year TO FORGET TORAT HAGALUT!

        The Al Ha-Nissim that we recite on Channukkah was NOT for the MANY who chose to follow comfort and foreign ideas, but for the few, who followed Torah and whom G-od blessed and help to win against the “majority doing evil” whom they fought.

        • Jeremy

          I think you confuse the centrality of Israel and the ideal(with which obviously I agree) with a halachic obligation. Or to put it another way are you telling me that the Vilna Gaon was a sinner?

  • Fredric M. London


  • Joseph E

    Chanukah reminds mankind “also” that if we want to preserve our Liberties, Freedoms, our western ways of life, Mankind have no choice but to fight back and stop the darkness of Islam expansion accomplished with the help of the mohamedans partners in war crimes the Islamo-Lefties Dhimmicrats.

    If We, especially the Jews, want our Judaic values to survive in Ultra Liberal Israel State, Then mankind better set conscience (Belief in one universal GOD) as the moral high ground to occupy over reason (The quantity of olive oil was supposed to last for one day as any reason and in this case the civilised Greek one would want us to believe, But against all odds , the quantity of olive oil lasted 8 days) ;

    Otherwise, IF We let the Islam darkness progress,
    We will go the way of all the other people, nations, civilisation, cultures, national libraries and monumemts that disappeared off the face of the earth under the sword(s) of Islam for 1400 years up to this day.

    In Jewish words, Ben Gurion words
    Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles isn’t a realist.

    The same above belief, view, perception applies as well when we see that a few prevailed in battle over the many.
    Maccabee of the Hasmonean family prevailed in battle over the Syrian (Seleucid) kingdom

  • Mildred

    Mr Rosen (or is it Rabbi?); You’re talking about Jewish sects. Would you accept that a fair definition of “sect” is a cult?
    What is not understood is why states allow these cults to flaunt the laws of the states they live in-whether in Israel or the US. The US will prosecute wayward Mormons.fringe Amish and other distinct community and religious groups, but the authorities have always steered clear of presecuting Jewish cults that defy laws and regulations of the municipality/state/country.
    And my impression is that these cults/sects rule in Israel.When all is said and done, is Israel fated to be a failed state?

    • Jeremy

      No Mildred I do not think sect and cult are synonymous.
      There is a fine line sometimes but essentially the word ‘sect’ simply means a subdivision of an ideological position or group, usually religious but not necessarily.

      A cult is more controlling,more insidious in that it restricts individual freedom of choice and tends to brainwash its members.Cults are often associated with violence, suicides and a disregard for law.

      As for Israel pray why is it more of a failed society than any other on earth? Give me an example of any country let alone one constantly under threat of war surrounded by enemies who declare publicly they wish to anihilate it, that you think does a better job ? It is I agree a turbulent society, made up of disparate communities and ideologies and theres a lot wrong there but I would rather live somewhere where there is open debate, an independant judiciary and a degree of committment to Jewish values than most other places on earth.

      As for whether cults rule Israel I suggest you try to find out a little more about Israeli politics. Your claim is baseless and unfounded. Influence maybe but control? Thats like saying Jews control America!!!