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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘statue’

The Weeping Statue

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

With the Pesach/Shavuos season in the past and the Yomim Noraim far-off in the future, we now find ourselves in the month of Tammuz. This time of year is the sadder part of the calendar, as we enter the season of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. But even as we mourn for what we have lost and yearn to regain it, we cannot stop growing in our avodas Hashem. Tammuz is not an exception to the rule with we have always worked – that every month has its own unique way in which we must come closer to our Creator. So what is the avodah of Tammuz? Come; we have a way to go.

Let’s explore this topic in the following manner. Where in the Tanach does it say the word Tammuz? You are probably aware of the fact that the five books of the Torah do not name the months but rather number them. The names we are familiar with (e.g. Nissan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, etc.) originated in Bavel. Hence, we will find only a reference to our month’s name in the Prophets or in the Writings. A Tanach Google search, however, may yield confusing results. The word Tammuz is indeed found in the book of Yechezkel (Chapter 8). The Navi writes that Hashem showed him how the Jewish people had degenerated to such a degree that they brought idol worship into the Temple itself! “And [G-d] said to me ‘Enter and see the evil abominations that they commit here! So I entered and saw every sort of [idolatrous] image… all the idols of the House of Israel… [There were] seventy men… each one holding a censer [of incense which they were offering to the idols].” The Navi also describes the sun worshippers: “At the entrance… there were some 25 men… with their backs to the Sanctuary… bowing eastward to the sun.” Thus far we see all sorts of idol worship with which we are at least somewhat familiar. But now let’s look at verse 14. “[G-d] brought me to the gate… in the north, and behold, there were women… causing Tammuz to cry.” What is this supposed to mean? Isn’t Tammuz a month? How can it cry? And what does this have to do with idol worship?

Rashi steps in and explains that Tammuz was the name of an idol. The women would heat up the Tammuz until it was so hot that its lead eyes would melt, thus creating the impression that the idol was crying and begging to given sacrificial offerings. While this is definitely interesting, there are two major questions that still need to be addressed. The first question we alluded to earlier. Namely, the fact that our month and this deity share a name indicates that they share a commonality. What is that commonality?

The second question is as follows. The verse describing what Yechezkel saw regarding the Tammuz seems to be incongruous to what he was describing in the rest of the perek. As quoted above, Hashem showed Yechezkel all the idols that were being worshipped in the Temple. Hashem showed the incense being offered to the statues and how people were actually bowing down to the sun. However, we don’t see any description of the Tammuz being worshipped. All we see is how the women would work to create the illusion of the idol crying to be given service. But the pasuk does not describe the ensuing service occurring. Granted, what the women did was wrong. But why is this pre-idolatrous act included in Hashem’s list of abominations that caused His Presence to depart from the Temple?

Shaya Winiarz

European Jews Shocked at Anti-Semitic Statue in Hungary

Monday, December 14th, 2015

European Jews expressed shock Monday at a statue of Balint Homan, a notorious anti-Semite.

The Balint Homan Foundation in Szekesfehervar, west of Budapest, plans to honor Homan, who served as Hungary’s Minister of Religion and Education before and during World War II.

Homan was a proponent of anti-Jewish laws, a supporter of the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews and a Nazi enthusiast to the end of the war. Subsequently he was jailed and died in prison in 1951.

European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor said in a statement, “It is a shocking display of insensitivity towards the Jewish People that a man who played a direct role in the killing of so many people is being honored in such an open and public manner. It is sending a strong message that Jewish lives do not matter.

“These people were Hungarian citizens so to call this man a Hungarian patriot is simply disturbing and unconscionable.

“Hungary must do a far better job of dealing with its past and this statue is turning back the clock and engaging in direct Holocaust revisionism by rehabilitating a man with so much blood on his hands,” Dr. Kantor continued.

“It is not a private matter when mass murderers are being lauded and celebrated in an open space and the Government must remove it immediately.”

A U.S. envoy also told Reuters the Washington was “shocked” at the plans. Ira Forman, U.S. special envoy against anti-Semitism, called on the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party to block the construction of the statue.

“From the U.S. government perspective we feel very strongly that history and the damage that this man did to Hungarian citizens who happened to be Jewish cannot be ignored, and to put up that statute seems incomprehensible,” Forman said.

Hana Levi Julian

Peres Joins His Predecessors

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

A bust depicting former Israeli president Shimon Peres was placed next to sculptures of the former eight presidents in the garden of the President’s residence in Jerusalem, on February 01, 2015.

Photo of the Day

Exacting Vengeance on the Gentiles?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Once again we are treated to the sight of very religious looking Jews acting like a street gang. A statue of a cross with a figure of Jesus on it was defaced by a group of Breslover Chasidim in Uman. The cross was recently erected opposite the grave of the founder of this Chasidus, Rav Nachman of Breslov – located in the Ukrainian city of Uman. From JTA:

“To exact vengeance on the gentiles,” reads the message, which was scrawled across the torso of a figure of Jesus. A further inscription on Jesus’ leg reads, “Stop desecrating the name of God.”

This kind of thing would not surprise me if it were being done by extremists from a community that embraces an isolationist lifestyle. But although they are hardcore Chasidim who dress and look much the same as Satmar Chasidim – Breslovers do a lot of outreach. I would expect them to know how to behave in a more civilized manner. They must have had a socialization process that taught them that or they could not do outreach. And yet here they have acted in a completely uncivilized way.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that a Christian symbol near their venerated Rebbe’s grave site was desecrated with graffiti. I guess their socialization process goes just so far. A statue of Jesus so close to their Rebbe’s grave site was too much to handle.

I don’t know why the Ukrainian Government chose that site for its statue. I don’t think it was a wise decision. But at the same time, I don’t think it was necessarily meant to ‘stick it’ to the Breslovers either. It was probably just not a well thought out plan.

I can understand why these Chasidim felt outrage. They consider the Breslover Rebbe’s gravesite to be so holy that make annual pilgrimages to it. Tens of thousands of Jews (mostly Breslover Chasidim) from all over the world visit it during Rosh Hashanah – one of the holiest times of the year. It is almost as though they were making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s Holy Temple. Seeing the sight of Jesus on a cross must have made them feel like they were seeing Avodah Zara in the Beis HaMikdash.

The outrage is understandable. But their expression of it is inexcusable. It is the kind of behavior that can bring tragedy upon the Jewish people. Uman is not Jerusalem. R. Nachman’s gravesite is not the Beis HaMikdash. The citizens of Uman are their hosts. Breslovers are guests. And the guests have just defaced the image of the god their hosts worship.

The more responsible Breslover leadership has apologized. Sort of. From JTA:

“We respect other religions, and don’t wish to damage symbols of other religions. But, unfortunately, not all of our coreligionists understand this. They could break or destroy the cross. That would lead to a genuine war between hasidim and Christians. We cannot allow that, so we request that the cross be moved to a different location,” said Shimon Busquila, a representative of the Rabbi Nachman International Fund…

It may have been a legitimate request. But it was made too late. If made at all it should have been made politely before the statue was vandalized. Nonetheless the deputy mayor of Uman agreed with it.

On the other hand the citizens of Uman were so outraged by the vandalism – that they will have no part of moving the statue. They promised retaliation against Rav Nachman’s grave if it is moved. I can’t say that I blame them.

I think the point to be made here is contained in the response made by Shimon Busquila: ‘…not all of our coreligionists understand this’.

That is exactly the problem. Why don’t they understand this? It is not enough for a leader to simply say that some of their co-religionists do not understand the consequences of being uncivilized – thereby damaging the property of their hosts.  Especially their religious symbols. No matter how upsetting it is to them.

The Chasidim who did this are taught to hate non Jewish religious symbols much more than they are taught to behave in civilized ways when encountering them. So when they get upset at the sight of one of those hated symbols, they react in ways that bring ill repute upon – and ill will against – our people. They do so without thinking or perhaps even caring about the consequences.

Harry Maryles

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/exacting-vengeance-on-the-gentiles/2013/08/21/

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