web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



My Reasons To Be Jolly


Share Button

I’m wrapping up my trip to the U.S., a visit that for the first time in many years happened to coincide with Christmas.

In Israel, December 25 is a regular workday – the banks are open and the post office and businesses all operate as usual.

But here it is a national holiday, and wherever you go at this time of year you hear the words “ ‘Tis the season to be jolly…”

As a songwriter I always find a reason to sing along with what I’m hearing, and I actually have my own reasons to be jolly.

Americans are blessed to live in a God-believing country. And what makes me jolly in this country is that whereas believing Christians declare that “the only way to God is through Him, who was born of God and is His intermediary,” I, as a Jew, know I have the ability to go directly to God and that I am His son, as is declared a number of times in our holy Torah.

My grandfather, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, once told me that Christianity is perfectly permissible for non-Jews. “God is busy in His many worlds, and so here on earth he appointed an intermediating minister, so to speak,” he explained. “But we Jews are not permitted to believe [in an intermediary] because we know we go directly to God.”

And so I sing, “ ‘Tis the season to be jolly, knowing I am a son of God, and with my prayer I can change this world.”

We’ve been reading in the Torah how Joseph the viceroy, second in command only to Pharaoh, brought his father, Yaakov Avinu, to a private meeting with the king. Twice, the verses state, Yaakov gave a blessing to Pharaoh.

Rashi points out that the first was basically “Shalom Aleichem,” the basic blessing made by one person to another.

Yaakov’s second blessing, however, put an end to the great hunger in that land. Yes, that hunger, which after only two years had forced people to sell their animals, their lands – even themselves – to the state in exchange for sustenance, was supposed to last five more years.

Our sages tell us Yaakov blessed Pharaoh so that whenever the king would approach the Nile, its water would rise, overflow, and come toward his feet.

This was amazing because in Egypt the water’s overflow was equivalent to rain. And so with the land watered, the hunger would now come to an end.

Pharaoh had his dream come true. This is the same Pharaoh who would relieve himself daily in the Nile so that no one would see him in need of a men’s room. This was the same Pharaoh who in his famous dream saw himself standing on the waters of the Nile (without getting wet).

Now all of Egypt would believe him to be a deity and that the only way to God was through him.

But why would Yaakov assist Pharaoh in creating this deception, causing the people to believe the king was a deity? Don’t we have a halachic rule of not placing a stumbling block in the path of the blind?

The answer, I believe, is that Yaakov was living in a society where the lamb was a deity. He turned Pharaoh into a deity – a human lamb, so to speak – with the power of speech who could, if he so chose, be honest and declare publicly that the blessing of Yaakov was what caused the waters of the Nile to overflow and, in effect, end the hunger. Yaakov was hoping to thus weaken belief in the lamb and strengthen belief in the power of man’s direct prayers to the Lord.

Yaakov tried but failed. The famine ended but Pharaoh did not nullify belief in the lamb; indeed, the Jews sacrificed the Pesach lamb two hundred years later, in effect slaughtering the Egyptian deity on the eve of their exodus.

About 1,200 years later a Jewish man was born who was declared to be God’s Lamb who died for our sins. Christians believe the only way to God is through him. My reason to be jolly, as stated above, is that I am a descendant of Yaakov who went directly to God, needing no intermediary.

I arrived in America on the fifth day, or candle, of Chanukah. On Friday, the sixth candle of Chanukah, twenty brilliantly shining six-year-old candles were ruthlessly snuffed out and six adults valiantly gave their lives trying to save the children. May all their memories be a blessing to us all.

What has happened to mankind? What a horrible end to such a troubling year – a year that saw deadly earthquakes, monstrous hurricanes, the “Arab Spring” that brought upheavals and the loss of many lives in the Arab world.

But Americans were slapped even harder – by an absolutely senseless atrocity. A son murders his mother and goes on a murderous rampage, with no motive to be found as we approach the agrarian New Year.

Let us all say what we Jews pray on the night of Rosh Hashanah: “May the old year and its curses end and a new year of blessing begin.”

I want to thank all my sponsors and everyone at The Jewish Press, Heshy Frank of Quality Carpet, and of course Zev Brenner, my boss at Talkline, for my successful trip and for giving me another reason to be jolly. Happy New Year, America!

Share Button

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 dovshurin@yahoo.com. His Jewish Press column appears monthly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “My Reasons To Be Jolly”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The interior of the El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in 2009.
Tunisian Jew Stabbed in Djerba
Latest Indepth Stories
Chief IDF Rabbi Rafi Peretz

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

Lebovic-041814

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Benveniste-041814

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

Dann-041814

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

Not one world leader holds Abbas accountable for his part in the breakdown of negotiations.

The 1948 re-establishment of Jewish sovereignty was a modern day Exodus and Parting of the Sea.

Spies who caused American deaths and worked for enemy states received lighter sentences than Pollard.

Christie’s “good friend” is an Imam who supports murderers of Jews and defames Israel and Christians.

More Articles from Dov Shurin
Dov Shurin

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.

Dov Shurin

I hollered over and over again, waving a clinched fist toward the heavens.

This past Shabbos, as we read the weekly Torah portion of Bishalach, my son suddenly said to me, “Dad, I have a feeling Sharon is going to pass away today, because we just read his name in Az Yashir [the Song of the Sea] where it says ‘arik charbi.’ ”

God decided to cast Truth down to earth and went on to create the world.

As I put on my tefillin, I knew we needed a miracle.

To me, the biggest joke of it all was the gleeful announcement by Rabin that “We are no longer an am livadad yishkone, a nation that dwells alone!”

Hashem simply goes beyond the letter of the law in His love for us.

I just celebrated the 29th anniversary of my aliyah to Israel. I have experienced two intifadas, the disastrous results of the Oslo agreements, the assassination of a prime minister, and the tragic expulsion of thousands of our citizens from their beautiful homes in Gush Katif.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/dov-shurin-columns/my-reasons-to-be-jolly/2012/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: