Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Follow me!

"Everyone who has zeal for Torah and maintains the covenant, let him follow me!"

(Maccabees I 2:27)
1st Day, Rosh Chodesh Tevet, 5770/December 16, 2009
6th Day Chanuka

Judea,167 BCE: The Greek-Assyrian tyrant Antiochus has enacted myriad decrees intended to sever the bond between the Jews of Israel and Torah, liquidate the Jews as a spiritual entity and eradicate Torah - the covenant binding man to G-d. Matitiyahu ben Yochanan HaCohen, from the town of Modi'in, who has spent his entire adulthood serving as a priest at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, has sparked a rebellion against Antiochus. Matitiyahu could have chosen any one of the vast number of evil decrees imposed upon the Jews, to ignite the people against the Greek-Assyrian oppression, but it was the attempt to compel Jews to sacrifice a pig to the pagan god Zeus, that moved him to slay both the Greek-Assyrian soldier and his willing Jewish accomplice, and to declare, "Everyone who has zeal for Torah and maintains the covenant, let him follow me!" (Maccabees I 2:27)
Thus began the uprising of the Chashmonaim, (Macabees), a long drawn out and bloody fight which eventually culminated in the liberation, purification and rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, (although the military conflict would linger on for five more years). Why did Matitiyahu choose the incident of the pig to rally the spirits of his fellow Jews toward open rebellion, when so many other decrees were surely every bit as repugnant? Why did he single out the one particular abomination that was a direct and uncompromising blow aimed at the heart of the Divine service of the Holy Temple - the offerings of pure animals, and pure animals only, upon the stone altar, and only upon the stone altar, that stood before the Kodesh sanctuary of the Holy Temple?
Matitiyahu knew that that there is no other matter so dear to the hearts of the Jewish nation as the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and that defiling the Holy Temple and the Divine service that took place within its confines would ultimately prove a death-blow to the nation of Israel. He knew that with the fate of the Holy Temple hanging in the balance the entire nation of G-d fearing Jews would unite in rebellion, and not rest until the Temple was redeemed and the Divine service restored.
Today, Israel is again a beleaguered nation, being laid upon by despoilers from without, and by their willing accomplices from within. Today's Antiochuses come in the form of the United Nations, the European Union, and the American Administration. Their decrees are made in the name of the Hellenistic and pagan creeds that rule the West: Globalization, humanism, multiculturalism, multilateralism, relativism, peace-process-ism, I-ism, me-ism and mine-ism. The great social shapers and political mobilizers of today have no place in their planned utopias for "a nation that dwells alone," (Numbers 23:9) nor for the One G-d to whom "all tongues will swear allegiance and all knees will bow." (Alenu prayer)
Today, the nation of Israel is once again beset by decrees declaring where Jews can live and where they can build their homes and when and where and under what constellation of circumstances, (well-pondered by the International Court of "Justice" at the Hague), can they defend their lives against the murderous onslaught of their enemies. So where and when do we finally draw the line and put our foot down as a sovereign nation, a nation bound to its G-d by the covenant of Torah? What deadly indignity of the many which have been aimed like arrows at the heart and soul of our nation should we choose to rally the spirits of our fellow Jews toward open rebellion against our oppressors?
Perhaps we should take a cue from Matitiyahu, and choose, knowing full well that the spiritual life of the nation of Israel is what is at stake, the Temple Mount, home of the future Holy Temple, which has been raped and ravaged and desecrated by our enemies, as our rallying cry, "Everyone who has zeal for Torah and maintains the covenant, let him follow me!"
Ironically, Chanuka is not a holiday whose observance is centered around the Holy Temple. Chanuka is intended to be celebrated in the home. The chanukiot lamps that we kindle on each of the eight days of Chanuka are meant to shine forth from our homes, to announce loudly and clearly that our homes and the House of G-d - the Holy Temple - are inextricably bound together, that if one is being laid waste then the other cannot rest. When our own homes here in the land of Israel are being threatened, as they are, we must rally around the cause of the Holy Temple. And when the Holy Temple is being pillaged and denied, we must seek to rescue it from her enemies, through the strength of our own homes. This is Chanuka!

Temple TalkTune in to this week's Temple Talk as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven, (just back from the USA), discuss Yosef the dreamer and interpreter of Pharaoh’s dream. Who is Yosef and what is his secret? Yitzchak relates his experiences speaking to a congregation in Ohio about the Temple, and the Rabbi attempts to catch Yitzchak up on news of Israel on the backdrop of the significance of Chanukah for our time… the true story of Chanukah as it relates to our lives today as Jews.

The Miracle of ChanukaThis week features the new Light to the Nations teaching by Rabbi Chaim Richman, entitled, "The Miracle of Chanuka: Everybody knows about the single cruse of oil that lasted for eight days. But is that the true miracle of Chanukah? And is that the only miracle of Chanuka? Rabbi Richman sheds “light” on what really happened on Chanuka, and provides an insight into the Torah’s concept of miracles." If you missed it last week be certain to see it before the Chanuka festivities conclude. Click here to view.

Discover the Temple MountThis Thursday, December 17, (1st Day Rosh Chodesh Tevet, 6th Day Chanuka). join us and many others as we rediscover the spiritual beauty and bond between the Temple Mount and the people of Israel. Explore the odyssey of the Chashmonean priests who led Israel to victory against the Greek occupiers and oppressors, and rekindle the passion that brought them back against all odds to this, the holiest place on earth.
Discover for yourselves the pure joy of performing the commandment of mora Mikdash - showing reverence to G-d at the site of His Holy Temple - simply by being present, in body and in soul, on the Temple Mount.
The Mount is open between the hours of 7:30 - 10:00 AM, and 12:30 - 1:30 PM on Thursday. (We encourage morning ascenders to arrive promptly between 7:30 - 8:00.)
Experienced guides will be present. Ascenders will be meeting at the foot of the Moghrabi (Rambam) Gate ramp directly to the south of the Western Wall Plaza.
The ascents are conducted in strict accordance with halacha. For information on how to properly prepare to ascend the Mount, please click here.
We are happy to answer additional questions.
Thursday's ascent is being conducted by the Temple Institute in association with other Temple Mount organizations.

Chanuka PastTwo years ago this week, the golden menora created by the Temple Institute was moved from the Kardo closer to its intended destination - the Sanctuary of the Holy Temple itself - may it be rebuilt soon in our days. To view a stunning video documentary of the entire event, click here.

A Short Chanuka Greeting 5770Be sure to watch Rabbi Chaim Richman's "Short Chanuka Greeting 5770: What is the true nature of the Chanuka miracle? Is it the miracle of eating jelly donuts or playing with the dreidel? Or is it the miracle of the nation of Israel fighting to preserve its integrity and to bring the light of G-d into the world? Click here to view.

Parashat HashavuaThe righteous Yosef was the dream interpreter and dream facilitator to Pharaoh, and throughout the ages the Jews have fulfilled this role for the nations, ensuring their physical survival. But when Israel brings the idea of G-d to the table, she, like Yosef, is suddenly “forgotten.” Jews also dream dreams… Click here to view Rabbi Richman's short teaching on parashat Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17).

Chanuka Sameach from the holy city of Jerusalem,
Yitzchak Reuven
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

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