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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Exploiting the Menorah --- and the Miracle

By Rabbi Moshe Sherer



Antiochus and the Maccabees are long gone, but the spiritual struggle between Hasmoneans and Hellenists has not ended


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the portion of the Prophets read on the Sabbath of Chanukah, the Prophet describes his vision:

"And behold, there was a golden menorah with a bowl (gulah) on its top. (Zechariah 4:2)

Our sages declare in the Midrash that this menorah is symbolic of Klal Yisroel, the Jewish people; and then, in a beautiful word play, point out the word geulah, the golden bowl topping the menorah, implies golah, dispersion, and geulah, redemption.

The menorah symbol, therefore, contains a paradox. How one interprets this symbol in his approach to life determines whether he takes the road to golah, and disaster, or to geulah, to victory and eternity. The events of Chanukah help us to understand how this one symbol can branch off into two such diverse ends.

The Jewish camp in the days of Antiochus was split. The Hellenists (Misyavnim) stressed the outer forms of Judaism, the ceremonial. All they saw in the menorah was the pure glittering gold, which pleased their aesthetic sense. The Chashmonaim (Hasmoneans), in contrast, looked deeper and saw pure oil, the inner warmth emanating from a light kindled in holiness. Concern solely with the externals of religion leads ultimately to golah, a loss of Jewish cohesiveness. The road to geulah demands penetration to the substance, commitment to the core -- to content.

THE MIRACLE of the one-day supply of oil that burned for eight days is central to the Chanukah theme. Many commentators have given differing explanations as to why Chanukah celebrates an eight-day miracle, which the author of Judaism's constitution, Rabbi Yosef Karo, points out was actually only a seven-day miracle, since there was sufficient oil to burn for the first day. Our sages wisely observed that the miracle of the first day was manifest in how the Chashmonaim found the courage to light of the menorah, when logic dictated that the neir tamid (Eternal Light) would quickly dissipate.


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To achieve geulah one must have this capacity to reach out for the unattainable. Were the Jew to have been deterred by his inadequacies and inhibited by his limitations, he would have long ago been swallowed up in golah.

The events of Chanukah yield another significant insight. The Greeks contaminated the oils of the Bais Hamikdash (Holy Temple). The question arises: if the Greeks aimed to black out the menorah forever, would it not have been suited their purpose to destroy the oils completely instead of only contaminating them?

However, their method exposes their sinister intentions. The Greeks reasoned: let the menorah lights burn brightly -- but let the flames arise from contaminated oil; let them shed a false light. The Greeks understood that the subversion of Torah would better be achieved if they could cause the Jewish people to illuminate the world with impure oils.

THE LIGHT THAT PENETRATES

In recent years, Madison Avenue has developed a booming Chanukah industry in an effort to exploit the Menorah, as they did, lehavidil, with the Christmas tree. During this season, newspaper advertisements offer Chanukah greeting cards, Chanukah candies, Chanukah wrapping paper. With all the hoopla, the meaning of Chanukah has had little impact on the under-educated Jew. Contrast this with the experience of our grandparents; many of them lit their lights in crude utensils, but the candles they kindled penetrated every nook of their homes.

Like the Hellenists, our generation has enthroned the externals of the menorah, and extended this philosophy into all aspects of Jewish living. We have taken a leaf from the lessons of the legendary marketing genius, Elmer Wheeler, who instructed restauranteurs: "Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle!" By selling the sizzle of mitzvos, instead of the life-giving substance of Yiddishkeit, the spiritual hucksters have sent our generation down the golah road, instead of the road to geulah.

Furthermore, our generation has, to a large degree, lost its belief in miracles and has placed its faith in studies, surveys and resolutions. They have exchanged the spiritual daring of our fathers for a cold, pragmatic approach to Judaism. Proper goals for genuine Judaism are often diluted because they do not seem practical. The lessons of the one-day supply of oil of the Chashmonaim seems to have passed by our generation, as we plod along with our chilling "realism."

What is most remarkable in this analogy is that the strategy of today's Hellenist forces is so strikingly similar to the tactics of the Greeks of old. Only the scenery has changed. Movements in Jewish life have kindled lights that they themselves have contaminated, trampling on basic Jewish concepts. All of these menorahs, lit by the forces that work from within to overthrow Torah authority and classical Judaism, have contributed to the chaos and confusion that characterize Jewish life today.

In America, for example, Jewish life can best be characterized as glittering and dazzling on the outside, but eroded and cold on the inside. Here, too, the modern-day Hellenists are building a Judaism based on slogans instead of sincerity, on theatrics instead of theology. The endless varieties of Judaism competing for the attention of the American Jew make a pretense of saving our youth with cliches and ceremonials. Today, they bear sad witness to the appalling results of the policy of serving our youth adulterated spiritual lollipops instead of inspiring them with the broad majestic sweep of our Torah.

THE CONTINUING STRUGGLE

In contrast to all other of the Jewish festivals, where there is a specific mitzvah of simcha, a commandment of rejoicing, we find no such obligation regarding Chanukah. Why? Should not the victories and miracles of Chanukah also be marked with the same degree of joy as all other holidays?

A great rabbi once offered this explanation: The battle of the Chashmonaim never really ended. It continues to this very day. It was essentially a struggle against forces that set out to make the Torah a museum piece and to assimilate the Jewish masses by subterfuge and subversion. This battle to confuse and betray true Judaism still rages in our times, and thus, still engulfed in the smoke of the battle, we do not pause to rejoice. In such a continuing crisis, one must concentrate with greater vigor toward the goal of geulah. Total Torah commitment must replace tokenism. Complete concentration must replace crippling compromise.

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Among his many accomplishments, the late Rabbi Moshe Sherer headed the World Agudath Israel Organization.


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