27 December 2016

The Light of Hanukah and the Battle Against Darkness

27 Kislev 5777
3rd Candle of Hanukah

The first expression of the Creator's will was "Let there be light!"  Light represents all that is good and beneficial. Light over darkness is viewed historically as the ultimate triumph. 

Hanukah is also called "The Festival of Lights", as an eight-branched menorah or hanukiah is lit progressively over eight nights, adding a new candle each night, thereby increasing the light each day of the festival. The Maccabees fought for the supremacy of the true light of Torah over the false enlightenment of Greek culture.

Light/Goodness/Truth vs. Darkness/Evil/Falsehood - Perception is Everything

Rabbi E.E. Dessler wrote the following:
"...Rambam explains that before the sin, man, with his majestic intellect, could distinguish between truth and falsehood, but morality's concepts of good and bad or proper and improper behavior were meaningless to him. Such ideas entered his consciousness only after his sin.
...Since everything exists only by virtue of God's will, it follows that what He rejects has no true existence. Good is what He desires, and therefore only good can be called true and real. Adam, before the sin, saw this so clearly that he saw the whole world only in terms of truth and falsehood. What God wanted was true, and what God did not want was false and unreal.
Before the sin, it would have been impossible to see the world in these terms. it was clear that there was only one reality: a life with God. All else was false, unreal, illusory. Only after the sin could we begin to see the world in terms of two competing realities - good and evil."
It was then that good and evil became inextricably mingled in the human psyche.
On our current level, we generally recognize that there is a cosmic battle between good and evil, but the fact that it is in reality a contest between Truth and Falsehood is often obscured. Recognizing this makes the newest meme called "Fake News" even more ominous.
What we are now calling fake news—misinformation that people fall for—is nothing new. ...What is new is the premise of the conversation about fake news that has blossomed since Election Day: that it’s realistic to expect our country to be a genuine mass democracy, in which people vote on the basis of facts and truth, as provided to them by the press.
The Fake News Scare Is, Itself, Fake News
..perhaps we should define fake news as the process of intentionally producing false stories for rhetorical reasons, in order to persuade people to shift perspectives. ...But fake news is not worthy of the attention it has gotten following the outcome of 2016 Presidential election.

...While well-meaning people run around trying to protect children (and gullible adults) from so-called “fake news,” anyone in the United States who actually leans totalitarian must be ecstatic. ...Once the citizenry accepts the conceit that some news is real” (and therefore, good) while other news is fake” (and therefore, bad) they’ll voluntarily submit to censorship.
Freedom of the press can easily be replaced by sanctioned propaganda.
You can just tell that this is the next step in the overall scheme to enslave mankind because of the attention it is getting. And if we weren't taking the warning seriously, the global elite arranged a little demonstration of how dangerous "fake news" really can be. Google "fake news" and this is the top story right now...
Fake news story ignites Pakistan-Israel feud on Twitter
A fake news story touched off a tense Twitter confrontation between nuclear power Pakistan and Israel, widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal of its own, in an episode that underlines the potentially harmful impact of such stories on sensitive global affairs.
In an apparent response to a fake story claiming Israel's former defence minister threatened a nuclear attack against Pakistan if it sends troops to Syria, Pakistani Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif reminded Israel that "Pakistan is a nuclear state too."
Israel's Defence Ministry tweeted back Saturday, saying the original story on the site AWD News was "totally fictitious."
In response to this newly perceived "danger", western governments are wasting no time in enacting legislation to combat the scourge of "fake news"...
Berlin plans ‘center of defense against fake news’ ahead of elections – report
The German government is seeking to create a center of defense against disinformation ahead of next year’s elections, in the wake of ongoing “fake news” and "Russian hackers" hysteria generated during the election cycle in the United States.
The Federal Press Office in the Chancellery, which has a staff of over 500 professionals, will take the leading role in establishing the fake news defense center, Der Spiegel reported quoting a note from an anonymous Interior Ministry staff member.

Buried Inside the 2017 NDAA Is a Little-Known 'Disinformation' Provision — and Obama Just Signed It
President Barack Obama on Friday signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act into law. But days later, one of the lesser-known provisions included in the bill is gaining attention.
...By the stroke of Obama’s pen, the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act also became law as it was included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.
...With all the reports of Russia attempting to interfere with the 2016 election, the topic of “fake news” has been a hotly contested subject.
Some critics on social media have made it clear they don't want the government involved at all in the filtering of information. The government, of course, vows it only seeks to “proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.”
And it's not just governments...
Facebook's plan to tackle fake news raises questions over limitations
Facebook’s new effort to flag news deemed to be “fake” began on Friday, as new questions emerged about the limitations of the system the social media giant has put in place to outsource the fact-checking process.
This Hanukah we seem to have come full circle, with the Yavanim once again setting themselves as the arbiters of what constitutes the truth. We see from UN Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli settlements that the clash with Torah Truth is no different today than it was 2180 years ago. 

The answer for us is to hold fast to the Torah - it is the ultimate Truth and Good and Light in this world. Ponder this as the candles grow and glow tonight.