“K A H A N E”
The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea
Summer 5743 - 1985
Midst the thunder of controversy and the cannon of debate, the real roots of the clash over Lebanon, the “occupied” lands, the “rights of the Palestinians,” the status of Israeli Arabs, and all the other issues that shallow Jews see as “political” are totally befogged and lost from understanding. These are not political issues. They are a struggle of ideas that pit one ideology against another with ramifications that are awesome. They are surface issues that express two totally different world viewpoints. They are a war over the definition and direction of the Jewish people itself. If we do not understand this, we will assure disaster for Jews, people and state alike.
And this struggle is hardly a new one. We already celebrate a precisely similar one that occurred “in those days, in our time.” For the struggle of our time that pits Peace Now and the overwhelming majority of liberals and Reform and Conservative leaders and intellectuals from the universities against the policies of the government of Israel is exactly the struggle of some 2500 years ago. It is, once again, the struggle of the Hellenists against the Maccabees, the war of Jews who sought to corrupt authentic Judaism with foreign, gentilized concepts against those Jewish Jews who sought to purify not only the temple but, the people from the swine of impure ideology.
Let not the ignorant and the gentilized deceive us and twist the holiday of Hanukkah into something that it is not. The initial battle of the Hashmonaim was not against the Greek but against the Greco-Jew. The first person to be slain by Matityahu was not a gentile but a Jewish Hellenist who prepared to eat the flesh of the pig and to bow to a Greek idol. The Maccabees rose up against the Greeks, to be sure. But that uprising was because they understood the threat to the Jewish spirit and they understood, too, that that spirit was as much threatened – IF NOT MORE SO – by the Hellenist Jews who corrupted, polluted and twisted Judaism into a foreign, gentilized creature.
Nothing has changed and one can only stand in awe at the holy spirit that permeated the sages who composed the Hannukah blessing with such preciseness and insight. “…Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days, IN OUR TIME.” What prophetic insight! “In those days, in our time.” The rabbinic knowledge that, sadly, the same struggle that took place “in those days” would take place again, in the future, “in our time”, in many other times! And so it has, again, today.
It is merely coincidence that the same groups and individuals can be found on the same side of every major issue of controversy? Hardly. The question of the liberated lands and no retreat from them; the issue of the removal of Arabs from Israel; the subject of the bombing and destroying of our enemies; the debate over the observance of the Sabbath, intermarriage and sex between Jews and Arabs, the rights of Reform and Conservative rabbis to recognition, the missionaries, the definition of a Jew according to Halacha – are all part of the same thing. And one who does not understand that understands nothing.
For the leftists and liberals and their intellectuals and artists and political functionaries are all on the one side of the fence on each and every one of these issues. Because all of the questions are rooted in one: Will the Jewish people and their state be guided by the Divine, sacred rules and view of Torah or the foreign, gentilized ones of the west?
Peres and Schindler, Avneri and Brickner, the kibbutzim of Hashomer Hatzair and Anthony Lewis, Peace Now and New Agenda are the Hellenists, the gentilized Jews, of our time. It is against them that the struggle of the Jewish Jews, the Maccabees of 5743, must be directed. The issue is not Lebanon or the “West Bank.” It is the soul of the Jew. It is whether the state known as Israel will be. And it is the question: WHAT
Will it be? A Jewish state or a state of Jews? A state of Torah or a state of confusion? A Chosen Land of a Chosen People or a Hebrew-speaking land of (and let each Hellenist fill in the foreign nation and culture he admires).
The Reform rabbi, the Conservative one, the kibbutz of the Left, the Brickners and Hertzbergs and Feins and Peres’ who light their candles are all people who plunge into the mikva, the ritualarium that purifies, holding high in hand the crawling creature of impurity. As the they celebrate the victory of the Maccabees over the Hellenists “in those days”, let them look, for a moment, into the mirror and see those of “in our times.” The Hannukah they celebrate is one that commemorates them as the villains. Let each of the modern-day Hellenists ask himself: If Matityahu and Judah had lived today, what would they attempt to do to me.
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