web analytics
March 1, 2015 / 10 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


A Modern Chanukah Story Of Self-Sacrifice

Akiva Finkelstein

Akiva Finkelstein

A coach of Akiva’s, who had arrived with him from Israel, pressured the young man: “Just get on the scales already! Do you want to lose everything?” The judges were also pressing him. Young athletes from around the world were staring at him, trying to figure out how there could be something more important to one of their number than boxing and winning.

At the same time, a mini-drama of another sort was playing out at the judges’ table. Rabbi Finkelstein had figured out a halachically acceptable way of indirectly enabling the weighing, one that would not require his son to violate the Shabbos prohibitions: having a non-Jew pick him up and place him on the scale.

“If we had known that they required a weighing on Shabbat,” Rabbi Finkelstein later said, “we simply wouldn’t have gone, because my solution is not l’chatchila – not a priori. But once we were there, given the circumstances, including the amount of time and money that had been invested, it was acceptable.”

Some of the judges were amenable to the idea. But the head judge, from Wales, took a different tone. “What type of religious issue is this?” he asked. “How can weighing be forbidden work? And what will I do the next time someone wants to get away with this? We cannot allow it. He has to get on the scale like everyone else, or he won’t compete.”

And thus the judge placed the stark choice before Akiva.

His father would intervene no more. “I told him it was up to him,” said Rabbi Finkelstein.

Akiva did not hesitate. Quietly but firmly he declared, “I’m not going on the scale.”

For the judges, it was a passing oddity. They shook their heads, crossed him off the list of world championship contestants, and told the next boxer to get on the scales. But for Akiva, it was a crucial milestone. The sanctity of Shabbat had been publicly upheld, at no small cost to the steadfast teenager.

“I’m still a bit in shock,” Akiva said upon returning to Israel. “Maybe it’s just a dream, and I’ll soon wake up. It’s hard to believe that it’s all over, all that hard work, just because of one stubborn judge. It still hurts – but I have no regrets. I did what I had to do.”

About the Author:


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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “A Modern Chanukah Story Of Self-Sacrifice”

  1. Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan says:

    -
    The Maccabees were not B’ne Tzaddok. They had no right to usurp the High Priesthood. It was not their due for cleansing the Temple and going up against that Greeks. To make matters worse, they then crowned themselves kings. Their end was horrific. Let’s keep things in perspective at Channukah time.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the Western Wall ahead of his speech next week at the US Congress.
Netanyahu Visits Western Wall before Leaving for US
Latest Indepth Stories
Netanyahu in a previous address to Congress-

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Korenblit-022715

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

Councilman David Greenfield

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

Levmore-022715

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism

Victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, a victor in NY federal court, after years of being ignored by Justice Dept.

March 2013: Arabs hurled stones hitting the Biton’s car; Adele’s mother swerved the car-into a truck

The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.

Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.

A central concept in any discussion about happiness is achieving clarity. “Ain simcha ela k’hataras hasefeikos” – there is no joy as that experienced with the removal of doubt.

“Je Suis..,” like its famous origin 400 years ago, implies the ability & freedom to think & question

Many anti-Israel demonstrations at universities have a not-so-latent anti-Semitic agenda as well

Believing a few “extremists” hijacked Islam is myopic in history and geography, numbers and scope

More Articles from Hillel Fendel
Rabbi Ephraim Laniado of Sao Paulo in the Jordan Valley

The secular town of Ro’i in the Jordan Valley has chosen a unique way to mark its 37th birthday: by building its first synagogue!

Nadia Matar (l) and Yehudit Katzover

While the UN had designated it for an Arab state, the Arabs did not accept the idea, choosing instead to make war on the newborn state of Israel.

Now that he’s free, it’s time to counteract Ostrovsky’s many inaccuracies and innuendos.

plans for a major coal-energy plant to be built in Ashkelon have basically been shelved.

Can Shoah studies actually help neutralize Arab hatred for Israelis?

Talk of a two-state solution, while widely prevalent, is largely irrelevant.

Hannah and her seven sons; Judith and the Greek commander she beheaded; the outnumbered but fearless Maccabees; the Jews who refused to give in to the decrees of the wicked Antiochus – Chanukah is a time for recounting historic deeds of self-sacrifice in the name of the God of Israel. The most recent one occurred in Israel on Dec. 1, a Shabbat.

How long does it take to write and publish a book? One recently released work took some eighty-four years to see the light of day in Jerusalem. But with its publication the Torah world has been blessed with a new, vowelized edition of the Torah Temimah, complete with the supra-commentary Meshivat Nefesh – a work begun in the 1920s by a prolific rabbi among whose works was a weekly column several decades later in The Jewish Press.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/a-modern-chanukah-story-of-self-sacrifice/2012/12/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: