11 December 2011

In the Spirit of the Maccabees

15 Kislev 5772

The war that the Greeks started almost 2200 years ago is still raging in the hearts and minds of people the world over. When the Greek Empire broke up, the Romans took up their banner and hoisted it throughout Europe and from there it was exported to the New World where it thrived and flourished. Today, it is the United States which holds high the banner of Western (Greek and Roman) culture and assumes the mission of continuing to spread its influence to the rest of the world.

But, why a "war", you may be wondering? Because now as then, Western culture stands opposed to Torah values. And despite what the so-called Modern Orthodox want you to think, you cannot put a foot in each world, the Western world and the Torah world, and hope to maintain your balance. A fence runs between them and anyone who tries to straddle it is destined to fall one way or the other. If you doubt it, just look at what appeared in today's Haaretz:

Israel is in the midst of a culture war

... What we are witnessing is w-a-r.

This fall a culture war, no less, broke out in Israel, and it is being waged on many more, and deeper, fronts than are apparent. It is not only the government, as important as that is, that hangs in the balance, but also the very character of the state. Our way of life is about to change, from cradle to grave. For this reason, it could be the most pivotal battle in the country's history since the War of Independence.

...The assault on the existing order is an all-out war, on every front; a political tsunami, a cultural flood and a social and religious earthquake, all still in their infancy. Those who call this an exaggeration are trying to lull you to sleep. The defeats and the victories up to now will determine the course of events: In the end, we will have a different country. The pretension of being an enlightened Western democracy is giving way, with terrifying speed, to a different reality - that of a benighted, racist, religious, ultranationalist, fundamentalist Middle Eastern country. That is not the kind of integration into the region we had hoped for.

The ferocious combined assault is highly effective. It targets women, Arabs, leftists, foreigners, the press, the judicial system, human rights organizations and anyone standing in the way of the cultural revolution. From the music we listen to, to the television we watch, from the buses we ride to the funerals we attend , everything is about to change. The army is changing, the courts are in turmoil, the status of women is being pelted with rocks, the Arabs are being shoved behind a fence and the labor migrants are being forced into concentration camps. Israel is barricading itself behind more and more walls and barbed-wire fences as if to say, to hell with the world.

There is no single guiding hand mixing this boiling, poisonous potion; many hands stir the revolution, but they all have something in common: the aspiration to a different Israel, one that is not Western, not open, not free and not secular. The extreme nationalist hand passes the antidemocratic, neofascist laws; the Haredi hand undermines gender equality and personal freedoms; the racist hand acts against the non-Jews; the settler hand intensifies the hold not only on the occupied territories but also deep into Israel; and another hand interferes in education, culture and the arts.

All I can say is - Halevai! And we must be getting very close to Mashiach if even the gentiles are getting into the spirit of the Maccabees:

Obama Fights Nigerian Anti-Gay Bill, Threatens To Cut Off Aid

...A couple of weeks ago the Nigerian senate passed a bill that strictly prohibits same-sex romantic liaisons. The consequences are dire and well stated: Erring individuals stand to bag a jail sentence of 10 to 14 years.

U.S President Barack Obama is threatening to cut off foreign aid to Nigeria if [it] is passed, ....

...But the overwhelming majority of Nigerians who support the anti-gay bill are adamant. Addressing the Nigerian press on Obama’s threat, Zakari Mohammed, a Nigerian lawmaker said, “We have a culture. We have religious beliefs and we have a tradition. We are black people. We are not white, and so the U.S cannot impose its culture on us. Same sex marriage is alien to our culture and we can never give it a chance. So if [Western nations] withhold their aid to us, to hell with them.”

Many Nigerians have frowned on the United States’ invasion into the country’s lawmaking process, with many arguing that Nigeria as a sovereign nation reserves the right to make its own laws without interferences from external forces.

...The country’s Minister for Information, Labaran Maku, said that Nigerians reserve the right to make their own laws without apologies to other countries. “Between Europe, America and Africa there is a huge culture gap. Some of the things that are considered fundamental rights abroad also can be very offensive to African culture and tradition and to the way we live our lives here,” he said during a press conference.

Many Nigerians share the sentiments of the information minister. “If the U.S or any other foreign country wants to strip us of aid because we still hold on tightly to our values, then so be it. We are Africans, not Americans. We do not influence other countries when they are making their laws, so it is ridiculous that they’ll attempt to influence the way we make our own laws. Africans view homosexuality as immoral. It has never been condoned in Africa, and it will certainly not be tolerated here in Nigeria,” ....

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the most perverted and shameful display of Hellenism (mixture of Western culture with Jewish values) performed in the name of Hanukah that I have ever been unfortunate enough to witness. Will anyone with a clue please help Aish HaTorah to get one, too?

Hanukkah: Rock of Ages
The Hanukkah Story in 8 hit songs.A short medley of pop music parodies through the ages.

One brave commenter said it in a nutshell: "I guess the Greeks won after all."

The power of our message and our example lies in our separateness. We are not the light in the torch of the statue of liberty, we are the light of the holy Temple menorah. Ours is not the destructive flame of lust, but the purifying flame of holiness.

It's time for you to take your stand. Which side are you on?