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June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘light’

A Holiday of Resistance

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

The first night of Chanukah marks the beginning of a holiday that for many of its celebrants has no identity, that celebrates ‘celebration’, with no thought to what it is celebrating. For many Americans, Chanukah appears to overlap with Christmas, but there is no similarity between the two other than the season. The more appropriate analogy is to the 4th of July overlaid with Thanksgiving, a celebration of divine aid in a military campaign against tyrannical oppression.

The overt militarism of the Chanukah story has made it an uncomfortable fit for many Jews who have found it easier to strip away its dangerous underlying message that a time comes when you must choose between the destruction of your culture and a war you can’t win. In those dark days a war must be fought if the soul of the nation is to survive.

There are worse things than death and slavery, the fates waiting for the Maccabees and their allies had they failed, the fates that came anyway when the last of the Maccabees were betrayed and murdered by Caesar’s Edomite minister, whose sons went on to rule over Israel as the dynasty of Herod.

Nations can survive the mass murder of their bodies, but not the death of their spirit. A nation does not die, until its soul dies, and the soul of a nation is in its culture and its faith, not in the bodies of its citizens.

Tonight that first candle, that first glimmer of flame over oil, marks the night that the Maccabee forces entered Jerusalem, driving out the enemy armies and their Jewish collaborators, and reclaiming their people’s culture and religion.

The light of the flame was a powerful message sent across time, that even in the darkest hour, hope was not lost. And Divine Providence would not abandon the people. Time passed the Maccabees fell, Jerusalem was occupied and ethnically cleansed over and over again, and still the menorah burned on. A covert message that still all hope was not lost. That Israel would rise again.

Israel had used signal fires and torches held up on mountain tops to pass along important news. The lighting of the menorah was a miniature signal fire, a perpetuation of the temple light, its eight-day light a reminder that even the smallest light can burn beyond expectation and light beyond belief and that those who trust in G-d and fight for the freedom to believe in Him, should never abandon hope.

That divine signal fire first lit in the deserts by freed slaves has been passed on for thousands of years. Today the menorah is on the seal of the State of Israel, the product of a modern day Chanukah. The mark of a Jerusalem liberated in a miracle of six days, not eight. Six as in the number of the original temple Menorah. And the one on the seal as well.

For those liberals who believe that Jewish identity should be limited to donating to help Haiti, agitating for illegal aliens and promoting the environment; Chanukah is a threatening holiday. They have secularized it, dressed it up with teddy bears and toys, trimmed it with the ecology and civil rights of their new faith. Occasionally a Jewish liberal learns the history of it and writes an outraged essay about nationalism and militarism, but mostly they are content to bury it in the same dark cellar that they store the rest of the history of their people and the culture that they left behind.

Holidays aren’t mere parties, they are messages. Knots of time that we tie around the fingers of our lives so that we remember what our ancestors meant us to never forget. That they lived and died for a reason. The party is a celebration, but if we forget what it celebrates, then it becomes a celebration of celebration. A hollow and soulless festival of the self. The Maccabees fought because they believed they had something worth fighting for. Not for their possessions, but for their traditions, their families and their G-d. The celebration of Chanukah is not just how we remember them, but how we remember that we are called upon to keep their watch. To take up their banner and carry their sword.

Daniel Greenfield

Crossword Puzzle – Got Juice

Friday, December 7th, 2012

 

Across

1. Apple leftover

5. Concert equipment

9. Grad. school tests

14. The ___, counting time

15. Torah mariner

16. Gets promoted

17. Stallion’s mate

18. “Beetle Bailey” dog

19. “Live ___ ___ Legs”, Pearl Jam album

20. Cry by He-Man, or when removing the third word a statement made by the lucky ones last month

23. Preserve, in a way

24. Letters before DVD

25. Dimness

27. Dylan of the Mets

28. Arid

30. Squared cracker?

32. Kind of action figure, or possible title for one providing juice?

36. Sch. with a bear mascot in Little Rock

37. Decorative pitcher

38. Tail action

39. Kind of agreement

40. “Wheel of Fortune” buy

41. Like G-d

45. Seek a seat

46. Make like Eli

47. Poet’s “before”

48. Davidic song

50. Napoleon in literature, e.g.

51. Wetland

54. 1992 Morgan Freeman movie

58. Color of one of the Avengers

60. Wren or hen

61. Country of conflict on the political stage

62. Kind of church

63. Hodgepodge

64. Foul mood

65. Unpopular name at the moment

66. Seals’ meals

67. Belonging to Chaya, e.g.

 

Down

1. Rickles or Regan

2. Poker game

3. Played again

4. Day before

5. One more

6. Cocoon exiters

7. Head

8. Factory

9. An unfriendly dog, e.g.

10. Actor Sal

11. Kind of artificial ground

12. Driver’s helper?

13. Common ID

21. Penultimate fairy tale word

22. Shrek, e.g.

26. Region across from Hong Kong

27. Jewish stranger?

28. Ginger cookies

29. Waffle brand

31. Washington locale, with “the”

32. Orchard item

33. Admit

34. A Miramax founder

35. Cobblers’ tools

39. Bonanza find

41. Very much

42. Light antique?

43. Odd folk

44. As a result

49. Coming up

50. Jeopardy

51. Carried by

52. Broadcasting

53. Fellows

55. Cousin of a bassoon

56. Sly trick

57. Abode for Jonah, once

58. Astronaut Grissom

59. Biochemistry abbr.

 

(Answers, next week)

Yoni Glatt

Lightening Up Your Chanukah Table

Friday, December 7th, 2012

I found these sleek looking shot glasses in a number of stores. Lined up neatly, they can create simple, yet striking (and certainly sweet) centerpieces for your Chanukah parties. Here is one colorful suggestion. (Tip: When purchasing the shot glasses, stick with something simple. The simpler the glass, the more dramatic the projects will look)

Striped Jello Menorah

With a couple of simple steps you can create eye-catching striped jello “candles.” You’ll find that not only are the results a great conversation piece, but each step fun and intriguing as you add each layer one by one. For best results use Kolitan Jello, as it congeals to a perfect texture for the tilts. Additionally its colors will not “bleed” one into the other.

Supplies

1 box lime Kolatin Jello
1 box raspberry or strawberry Kolatin Jello (I added in a couple of drops of blue food coloring to make a purple color.)
1 box orange Kolatin Jello
Cupcake pan
9 Shot glasses
Glass tea light holder
Narrow tray (optional)

Directions

1. Prepare the first color, following the directions on the jello box.
2. Pour it into your glasses, filling them approximately a third of the way up.
3. Once each glass is filled evenly, it’s time to tilt. Place glasses in a cupcake pan, being careful that each glass is tilted in the same direction and angle.
4. Place inside refrigerator and allow to jell.
5. Repeat step one using a new color and adjusting the tilt of each glass in your cupcake pan accordingly.
6. Prepare the last layer of jello and then refrigerate the glasses in an upright position.
7. When totally jelled, line up all the shot glasses in a neat row (place on tray if desired).
8. For the “Shamash,” raise the center glass by placing it on a glass tea light holder (turned upside down).

 

Esther Ottensoser

What I Learned from Hurricane Sandy

Friday, December 7th, 2012

I am writing this column as Hurricane Sandy is barreling through the greater New York area, after having sorted a load of clean laundry by the light of a group of yahrtzeit candles and having washed my supper dishes with the aid of a clip on barbeque lamp. My electricity went out almost four hours ago and thoughts of what I did right and what I did wrong in preparation for a one of a kind storm that ironically, bears my name are still fresh in my mind.

Hurricane Sandy marks the second time I have had my electricity knocked out by a late October storm, having lost power exactly one year ago for five and a half days during a freak snowstorm that turned my little corner of the world into something that looked more like a war zone than a picturesque hamlet in New York’s Hudson Valley. In light of last year’s storm, I thought I had all my pre-storm preparations under control, but I can tell you right now that I was wrong and I am hoping that as we celebrate the anniversary of last year’s power outage with yet another blackout, I will finally learn my lesson and be better prepared for future meteorological mishaps.

I should add that this is by no means a comprehensive guide to weathering a storm (no pun intended.) Those are available by the dozen on the Internet, although you obviously want to read those before the storm blows through and totally decimates your wireless connection. These are just random tips that I have had the unfortunate opportunity to collect during too many days without electricity.

Lesson Number 1: It doesn’t matter what the season, storms can be very serious business and should be respected, given their ability to wreak havoc with our lives, particularly in this day and age when our lives revolve around numerous items that require electricity. So be it a hurricane, a nor’easter, a blizzard or a tropical storm, don’t underestimate the weather’s ability to do major damage.

Lesson Number 2: Just because you think you are prepared for a storm doesn’t mean you are. I know I have enough flashlights for every member of my family and that I have a basket full of batteries sitting in my closet. Yet, somehow, almost all the flashlights have disappeared and I am almost completely out of AA and D batteries, the two sizes I need for the few flashlights that didn’t mysteriously vanish into thin air. Keep a flashlight next to your bed at night and if you are going out and will be coming back after dark, take a flashlight with you. Unless you have lived through a blackout, you can’t possibly imagine just how dark it can get when there is no power anywhere in your neighborhood.

Lesson Number 3: Flashlights are probably not the only light sources you own. Put your kids to work and have them dig out all the munchkin sized flashlights they have gotten as prizes and those mini booklights they use to read under their blankets at night when they are supposedly fast asleep. A clip-on barbeque lamp has turned out to be the best birthday gift my sister-in-law has ever gotten my husband as it travels from room to room, particularly useful when you don’t want to shower in the dark, and a set of battery operated tea lights we bought as a decorative accent for my daughter’s vort five years ago were the perfect light source to illuminate both the stairs and the upstairs hallway.

Lesson Number 4: You can never have too many yahrtzeit candles in your house. While it is important to only light them on a non-flammable surface, far away from any flammable objects, and it goes without saying that candles are a serious hazard when there are small children around, yahrtzeit candles are easily moved, and with their flames generally confined inside their containers, are far safer than regular candles. Be warned that glass ones have been known to crack, with devastating results, so be sure to buy the metal ones.

Sandy Eller

Above and Beyond on Chanukah in 5773

Friday, December 7th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Rabbi Shimshon Nadel in a busy Jerusalem restaurant to discuss Chanukah in Eretz Yisrael. Together they discuss reaching out to Jews worldwide from Israel during the holiday and also ways one can find the light of the menorah at year round. Don’t miss this insightful segment!

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

Lessons For Drivers

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Dear Dr. Yael:

I am a female driver dealing with challenges of derech eretz while driving in my community. Every time the light is about to turn green, the person behind me seems to immediately honk the horn, yet no one has a problem double-parking, making me feel as if I am driving on an obstacle course.

People honk with great impatience if another driver is following the normal speed limit. Worse yet is that everyone seems to cross against a red light. I often see young mothers pushing their baby carriages across the street, straight into traffic, also against the light. They are certainly putting their children in a dangerous situation.

It is so frightening to drive in my community that I honk lightly, even if I am going through a green light. Drivers often tailgate me and persistently honk at me. When this happens I either turn toward a different direction or pull over and let them pass me. I then end up right in back of that driver at the next light. The person, so embarrassed, quickly turns right or left so that I will not be right behind and see who he or she is. (It’s perplexing that these same people with road rage can be amazing ba’alei chesed.)

There are times when I can’t pull my car out of the driveway, because of a double-parked car. When the driver is a frum man, even if I ask him to move, he does not do so. He will get out and try to direct me out of the driveway, or offer to pull the car out for me. On occasion, when someone has offered to pull out the car for me, I have agreed, and after being told that I have plenty of room and being ridiculed as a female driver, he has someone move his car anyway, because there really isn’t room to pull out. On those occasions I am always pleasant and thank him for helping me.

I try to never express anger or raise my voice, as I work very hard on practicing good middos and showing derech eretz, even when spoken to in a disrespectful tone.

The most daunting situation I experienced was when I offered a ride to a tired-looking, pregnant, frum woman and the driver behind me honked as she got into the car, even though it was clear she was having a hard time. I have even been honked at while dropping off my elderly parents.

Why is it that so many seemingly nice people undergo total personality changes when they get behind the wheel? Why does the mood of a wonderful ba’al middos become completely different? I know people who show so much patience in other situations, but develop road rage behind the wheel. Are there any studies to explain this behavior?

A Fan

Dear Fan:

Unfortunately, people become more hostile when behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that aggressive driving causes about a third of all crashes and about two-thirds of automobile fatalities. Studies also reveal that many individuals who become enraged on the road do not have prior arrests; rather, they are your average fellow citizens.

Psychologically, people feel a sense of power when driving and often feel slighted when someone cuts them off, even if done inadvertently. Individuals also feel territorial when driving, and if someone steps into his or her territory, it may be perceived as a breach of personal space. Logically speaking, this does not make sense. But unfortunately, people in these situations are usually reacting irrationally. Furthermore, drivers who display road rage believe that their actions are validated by the way they feel. Only afterward, when reality hits them, do they feel embarrassed because they realize they behaved irrationally.

I would hope that all of our readers, especially after reading your letter, will keep in mind the importance of focusing on their reactions to be sure they are rational. Most people, if asked, would say they would never honk their horns if they saw an elderly person or a pregnant woman getting into a car in front of them. But in the heat of the moment they may react illogically.

Dr. Yael Respler

“You Killed Jesus” Scrawled on Miami Menorah

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

A large menorah covered in seashells and used to spread the light of Hanukkah at Miami Beach was vandalized on Sunday, scrawled with black graffiti stating “You Killed Jesus”.

Sunday marked the 11th anniversary of the first time the religious symbol was vandalized, according to Fox News, with the beach-themed Hanukkah vessel being torn down three times in its first year on display.

The menorah is lit annually by Chabad Rabbi Zev Katz.

The damaged shells have already been replaced, and police are investigating the incident.

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/you-killed-jesus-scrawled-on-miami-menorah/2012/12/06/

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