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I write this column with my bags packed. I’m lighting four candles in Israel and my fifth I will light Wednesday evening at about 9 p.m. in the lobby of the Avenue Plaza Hotel in Boro Park. I’ll have my guitar in hand, and everyone is invited.
As I gaze into the light of the holy Chanukah candles I can’t help but note that we begin this festival at the darkest moment of the year, and as we add candles nightly, the days actually begin to get longer; there is a parallel increase of light.
The two Torah portions (Vayeshev and Miketz) pre-Chanukah and during Chanukah follow this same pattern, spiritually.
Yaakov is 108 years old and wants a serene retirement. Instead, he finds himself in his darkest hour, as his sons present him with a bloodied jacket and lead him to believe that their brother Joseph had been ripped apart by a wild animal. The portion ends with an innocent Joseph in jail for thirteen years.
But with each succeeding Chanukah candle, the next portion, Miketz, shines forth. Joseph is brought from jail to the king. He interprets Pharaoh’s dream and is soon declared second only to the king.
This darkness-to-light period extends for 22 years, but the ending is so beautiful, with Yaakov living his final 17 years in extreme happiness in Egypt.
Let’s shift our focus to our darkest hour here in Israel. It’s nineteen years since the signing of the Oslo Accords. The Palestinians have clearly violated that agreement, which called for negotiations. Hamas controls Gaza. Its terrorist leaders launched an assault of rockets aimed at our civilian population centers. We agreed a to cease-fire with Hamas, which only heightened its legitimacy. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, without condemning Hamas, went to the UN and won a giant upgrade of the Palestinans’ status at the world body. Mashel, Hamas’s leader, visited Gaza for the 25th anniversary of the founding of his organization and declared that peace will only be possible with the destruction of Israel. Abbas had no problem with this.
The peace process is, therefore, nonexistent.
Israel reacted by declaring it would now proceed to build in the area called E1 and add 3,000 homes in contested territories. The possibility of a third intifada looms over the region. All this while Iran continues to work on a nuclear bomb. In Syria the race is on to see who will grab control of that country’s chemical weapons arsenal.
And with all this going on, the European Union has chosen to discuss only the “serious” problem of Israel’s decision to build those new homes.
So this is certainly a time for God’s Charming Nation to do some serious praying that a new Israeli government be formed – one consisting of a center-right–religious bloc capable of making very important decisions for Israel’s future.
This, I think, is the type of government God would prefer, and I base this on the popular pasuk in Psalm 19 – “I have placed Hashem at my center [in front of me] and since He is at my right, I shall not fall.”
Now, if Hashem is at my center facing me, then how is He is also at my right? The answer, I once heard, is that the verse is referring to two levels of consciousness. It is best if we can hold a vision of God’s Will in front of us, to be at the “center” of our decisions, but if not, we at least keep Him at our “right,” always standing close beside us.
My father, zt”l, liked to say that the Rambam explained the biblical verse “And the tree of life is in the center of the garden” (Bereishis 2:9) as meaning: The way to live your life is in the center, not at the extremes.
In that vein I want to congratulate my fellow Jewish Press columnist Moshe Feiglin, who received my vote in the Likud primaries, for succeeding in placing high enough on the party list to become a Knesset member following the upcoming election.
It was interesting to hear him say, on Israel television, that he stands by the policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu.
The moderator warned him, “You are being videotaped – are you sure you want to state this, since you’ve always differed with Bibi?”
About the Author: Dov Shurin is a popular radio personality and the composer and producer of several albums. He lives with his family in Israel and can be contacted at email@example.com. His Jewish Press column appears the third issue of each month.
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Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.
And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.
Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel
Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.
Isn’t it comforting to know that our God loves life, grants life, and promises eternal life?
While the phrase “Let It Be” implies doing nothing, “Lu Yehi” implies working toward a goal.
An Israeli company should make “Arafat’s Dead Sea Tonic” with this warning: “may cause severe vomiting or even death.”
“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.
Boundless love was something Rav Kook had for the nation of Israel. Just as one cannot question the boundless love of Hashem for Israel, one cannot question the boundless love of a Torah giant for his people.
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