web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 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.



A Modern Chanukah Story Of Self-Sacrifice

Akiva Finkelstein

Akiva Finkelstein

Share Button

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.”

Share Button

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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
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
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

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.

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

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

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.

More Articles from Hillel Fendel
Ashkelon power plant workers at the control room.

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

Palestinian visitors at Yad Vashem.

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.

JERUSALEM – Clandestine photocopying of tucked-away documents in Israel’s National Library, hurried text messages of selected passages verifying their pristine, unpublished condition, and question marks surrounding the editing and possible censorship practices of trusted editors from eighty years ago.

JERUSALEM – “It is not just Israel’s right to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria,” said Eran Bar-Tal, economics reporter for Makor Rishon, “but its obligation.”

JERUSALEM – A leading Orthodox rabbi in Israel has a revolutionary proposal for the harvesting of organs from a clinically dead patient. At present, his proposal not only has no support from other rabbis, it is also against Israeli law – but he is not fazed.

    Latest Poll

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







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: