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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

Attack on Chanukah's scholar-warriors an affront to all people of faith

By Rabbi Moshe Grylak




Why Jews, Christians and Muslims should take pride in the Miracle of Lights

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Until his passing a decade ago, there was one Jew living in Tel Aviv for whom Chanukah was a time of mourning. He was a prominent journalist and author, and for a short time, a minister in the Israeli government. His name was Tommy Lapid.

He once wrote the following, in approximately these words: "The victory of the Maccabees, because of which we celebrate Chanukah, was actually the Jewish People's greatest failure. Its result was that we remained with our outdated religion and all its stringencies, disconnected from the great Greek civilization whose influence spread over the whole rest of the world. If the Greeks had won the war, we would have been spared everything that happened to us in our long exile, and we would be a happy, normal nation today, living as part of the family of nations."

According to Lapid, the victory of the Chashmonaim (Hasmoneans) was in fact our downfall, and he couldn't understand why Israel's secular community continues to celebrate Chanukah with candles, sufganiyot (donuts), dreidels, presents, and games.

Tommy Lapid was an intriguing personality. I once had a conversation with him in which he confessed to me that he was a total ignoramus when it came to Judaism; he was 25 years old when he first laid eyes on a pair of tefillin. And it seems that he was also lacking a basic understanding of Jewish history, despite his sharp intellect and broad education.

Let us examine an ensuing scenario according to Lapid's wishes. Had the Greeks been victorious over the Chashmonaim and succeeded in forcing Hellenism on the Jewish People, then Hellenism would be the dominant culture in the world to this day, with its polytheism and its idealization of the body, valuing aesthetics far above ethics. Despite all the great philosophers of ancient Greece and their symposia, the basic moral principles that govern human society would be unknown today (except for the concept of democracy which was practiced to a limited extent in Athens).

Furthermore, the liberal values so beloved in today's Western culture and so prized by Mr. Lapid would never have found expression in the classical Greek state he wished we had assimilated into. There would have been no reason for the pagan lifestyle of that civilization to change.



Didn't Mr. Lapid realize that in the end, it was the Maccabean victory — via Christianity and Islam, which stemmed from Judaism — that brought basic values of justice, charity, and the desire for tikkun olam (healing the world) to the Western world.

This was the dynamic that wiped out pagan idolatry and instituted faith in one Supreme G0D and Creator. As Maimonides taught, these two religions serve as a vehicle for conveying the idea of Messiah and ultimate Redemption to the nations of the world. In addition, the worldwide dissemination of the Tanach through these religions brought the whole world to a more "Jewish" outlook. Many non-Jewish historians have noted this point.

This influence is seen most prominently in the United States, which was founded by Protestant believers in the Bible. In fact, a researcher with the Rand Corporation produced a study showing how the American legal system has its roots in the Seven Noachide Laws, the universal religion derived from our holy Torah for the nations of the world.

If Mr. Lapid were still among us, I would have to disappoint him further by informing him that in the opinion of leading historians, even the secular liberal ideas that dominate Western thought originated from the Torah, although they have wandered far from their source.

Much as Mr. Lapid might recoil from the truth, the war of the Chashmonaim — which began as a fight by a group of faithful Jews for their right to live in their land in accordance with the Divine's Torah — became a victory for all of humanity.

But Tommy Lapid was afflicted with a lifelong hostility toward Torah and Torah-faithful Jews, unable to absorb the fact that the Chashmonaim were an indirect influence even on his secular, liberal worldview, which is composed largely of fallout from the Torah itself.


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Seemingly, the worldwide victory over paganism is no more than a tangential effect of the localized victory of the Chashmonaim. Surely when they fought their miraculous war, they did not have it in mind to redeem the entire world from paganism and establish His kingdom on earth; they meant only to restore the Torah to its former glory, to purify the Temple, and to return to serving Hashem as in the past. The change that came to world civilization was only a side effect.

Deeper investigation, however, reveals that this really isn't so. The worldwide revolution actually was the outcome of that struggle between the Greeks and Israel. Paradoxically, this surprising change didn't stem from the toppling of Greek and Jewish-Hellenist rule in the Holy Land or the cleansing of the Temple, but — surprisingly — from the very fact that the Greeks gained control over the Holy Temple for a time, and even defiled it.

I learned this idea from the sage Rabbi Mordechai Shmuel Kroll ztz"l, spiritual leader of the town of Kfar Chassidim in Israel. In addition to being a great scholar, Rabbi Kroll was a thinker and writer par excellence, and in his magnum opus Masa Damesek he wrote the following about Chanukah:


"The Greeks entered the Sanctuary… [and] defiled all the oil, but they were expelled from there. They entered willingly and left under duress. True, they defiled the oil, but the defilement didn't last long — it was purified. How? Just one flask of pure oil purified the Holy Temple — but how wondrous it was! They left the Temple, but they were not freed from it. . . . They merely entered, and the power of holiness pursued them until it vanquished them . . . . They wanted to bring Hellenism to the Sanctuary, but what happened was that the spirit of the Sanctuary penetrated to the core of Hellenism . . . . The Torah was translated into Greek, and that was the beginning of the downfall of paganism.

"Thus 'He who touches them will be sanctified' was fulfilled through us. A nation touched the Jews and vanquished them, and it appeared that redemption had passed us by, but a short time passed and we stood astonished . . . the vanquished became the vanquishers. The Torah of Israel vanquished Hellenism.

"Afterward came Rome. Rome, too, entered the Sanctuary and was not expelled from it. Not a remnant is left of the Temple, but the very smoke of the burned Temple, its very vessels that Titus carried away to Rome in his pride, made their mark on Rome and its gods. On the coins of the Roman Empire an image was stamped of a sad and desolate woman, her hands bound. 'This is the vanquished Judah,' the inscription proclaimed. True! Judah was vanquished. But while [His] anger at the vanquished was poured out only on wood and stones, the conquerors disappeared from the world. On the contrary, many Romans in that period became righteous converts. The writer Tacitus expresses surprise: What possessed the nobility of Rome to take up the foreign custom of circumcision? Those writers did not know that because they entered the Temple — even for the purpose of destroying it — they could not come out unaffected." (Masa Damesek).


Think of the stream of holiness that bubbles forth from the depths of existence. If just one flask of pure oil remains, its purity and holiness spreads out over the world. By the very fact the Greeks spent time in the Holy Temple, they were affected by its holiness, and it pursued them until Hellenism and idolatry were eradicated. The same happened in Rome. Rabbi Kroll brings other historical examples of how that one flask of pure oil continues to spread its influence in the world, in hidden ways protecting the Jewish People and changing the world through Torah and holiness.

Mr. Lapid didn't understand this secret. But while much of the Jewish nation doesn't observe the mitzvos (religious duties), somehow it senses the eternity of the Chanukah light and knows that somehow, it is shaped by it.

And these Jews join us in lighting Chanukah candles for the eight days of the festival, reminding us all — each on his own level — that this is the light of eternity, streaming holiness to the entire world.

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Rabbi Moshe Grylak is Editor-In-Chief of Mishpacha magazine, where this first appeared.

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