Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Did the Yevonim triumph the Maccabees after all?

By Chabadnik:

Why the obsession of Chabad Houses with inviting AFL footballers to help celebrate our Chanukah celebrations?
First it was Caulfield Chabad House advertising Chanukah in the Park featuring footballers and now Chabad of Malvern have decided to ape them.

Don’t the organisers know anything about the festival? Haven’t they been taught that Chanukah is a celebration of the battle victories of Mattisyohu and his sons over the Greeks who were trying to force their culture upon us? Didn't they learn that unlike Haman, the Yevonim were not out to physically harm the Jews. Their intention was purely להשכיחם תורתך ולהעבירם מחוקי רצונך – to turn Klall Yisroel away from the path of the Torah and lead them towards their lifestyle - a society where (amongst other things) sporting events were glorified and idolised. (Admittedly, here in Australia such events and participants are similarly treated, but Boruch Hashem there is no demand or compulsion for us to be part of it.

So why are we handing the Yevonim and Misyavnim of today a victory on a platter? This is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what the rebbe wanted and expected from his followers.

So my dear friends, the organisers, have a good long think about this. There is still time to cancel those invitations and replace football stars with something more in the true spirit of Chanukah.

[Thank you AJNWatch for giving me the opportunity to air my views.]

* * * * *
PS: It is quite possible that due to my exposure to the many Holocaust survivors in my family I an somewhat oversensitive, but that yellow Mogen Dovid in the advertisement above brought on unpleasant comparisons with the the Nazi imposed yellow "Jude" star that our grandparents were forced to wear in the ghettoes.
I'd like to hear if any others share my concern.


  1. Interesting POV. Does anyone have any info if the Rebbe ever approved of using such tactics to bring in the crowds?

  2. Chabad events are meant to attract those who would otherwise not attend anything Jewish, hence inviting Footy players, and other types that will draw the crowds is one way of getting them there. In order to draw people closer one must understand what are their interests and delights and talk their language. These people would not for instance bother to come if it looked like it was filled with only a bunch of ultra Ortho types whom they may see as boring and irrelevant to their lives. As a Chabadnik, you should understand this is not a promotion of modern day Hellenism but, it is actually a method of combating it.

    And you are correct, your aversion to the Magen David in the photo is a bit over the top due to your background, understandably so, but not all yellow-ish Magen David's are the Yellow Star of the Shoah.

  3. Chabad Telethone in LA invites on as many celebrities and sportsmen as they can afford.

    Chabad Sydney had an Avrohom Fried Concert at the beginning of the year with Leigh Kernagan -Australian Country and Western singer

    This has been going on for many years

  4. I would still prefer a resposne from someone saying that he knows that this was done with the Rebbe's approval or s there anything in any of the Igros that states this

  5. To I am also..I understand your explanation. But there's got to be a limit somewhere. Why not have a few Santa Clauses there to attract our Russian brethren who don't see that as a religious symbol at all (which indeed it isn't).
    And why not have dancing girls to attract non-frum men and boys?

    I could go on - but hopefully you get my drift.

    The end doesn't always justify the means.

  6. re earlier comment, why doesn't Yeshivah offer a kiddush on yom kippur to attract those who don't fast anyway?

  7. It must be a slow news day if this topic can attract so many comments. I don't know if anyone has researched yet if the Rebbe approved of AFL players attending Chanukah lightings but I find having gentile politicians and celebrities lighting candles (which I thought was a mizvah for yidden to perform) quite odious, even though I believe this was done in the past with the Rebbes blessing. I'm surprised AJNwatch hasn't picked up on an egagement annoucement in the current AJN edition. There are three sets of parents for this one. The bride's parents, the groom's father and his second wife, and the groom's mother and her gentile lesbian 'partner'. I'm not criticising the AJN for printing the ad, but it really opens youe eyes to what a sick society this has become. It will be interesting to know the arrangement of who will be standing under the chuppah here.

    Robert Weil

  8. Robert you can always be relied upon for sensible commentary.

    I have often heard the question of having goyim and half goyim lighting those big public menoras and its questionable status in halacha.

  9. Nudnik, what is your point? We're not promoting the athletes, they're promoting us. Instead of the BHMK being used as a gym lo oleinu, the gym is used for kedusha. Isn't that exactly what Chanukah is about?

    And no, there is nothing remotely offputting about the magen david, and you need to work on lowering your peculiar sensitivity.

    Testar, no Chabad House has ever had a goy light the menorah; if the celebrity guest is a goy, he will assist, or light only the shamash, but a kosher yid will light the neiros themselves. And what, pray tell, is a half goy?

  10. I presume a half goy is eg, a politician about whom until recently it was known that his mother was not Jewish but despite that was treated as a Jew by many(including Chabad rabbis who should've known better - after the rebbe's mighty giyur kehalacha campaign).

  11. B'H

    Oh Dear, @ Anonymous
    I know why you posted this anonymously.
    " There are three sets of parents for this one. The bride's parents, the groom's father and his second wife, and the groom's mother and her gentile lesbian 'partner'. I'm not criticising the AJN for printing the ad, but it really opens youe eyes to what a sick society this has become. It will be interesting to know the arrangement of who will be standing under the chuppah here."
    You would have a certain Mikeybear on your case if he knew your name for posting the above and you would join me in the notorious Hall of Anti Gay Fame Activists Responsible of the Deaths of Every Gay Person who Ever Suicided Because of Rejection Real or Perceived (and not untreated or misdiagnosed mental health issues)or just plain bullying. I agree, it has become a really sick society that accepts anything in its strivings to be so PC and tolerant of others and society ignores the intolerance and lack of respect from those it strives to 'protect and nurture' against those who would differ in their opinion to the PC line of thought. I agree with Chabadnik, that Chanukah is about spiritual dangers to the Jewish Neshoma. On one hand we should not ape the customs and ways of the goyim but on the other we should strive to reach the disinfrancised Jews. Rav Gutnik who sponsors the event owns a football club or is a President of one, whatever, I am not a big fan of football, especially Aussie rules, give me a good book any day. I am even proud to say after living in Melbourne on and off since 1972 I have never, ever been to an AFL match or watched one on TV which is quite an achievement give the football madness of the winter season in Melbourne.
    The good Rav with all due respect, has many interests not only football. He has an extensive knowledge of Torah and well entrenched Jewish values so he is probably not in any spiritual danger.
    The Torah is a guide or blue print given to us by Hashem for our guidance and spiritual health. It is similar to having a very fancy GPS system but if you don't know how to use it, you can still get horribly lost and if you don't follow it correctly, you get led astray.
    I have real concerns about this 'acceptance' of the gay lifestyle as 'normal'. It is not. We should not confuse the issue here. Normal family life entails having a Mum and a Dad or a Tatty and Ima, not two tatties, not two imas. It is like the Torah, very concise and clear on the issue. Then we have a Zeidy or Saba who is married to a Bubba or a Savta. Just thing about the implications of lifestyles that are otherwise and what that entails for future generations. Imagine the family trees and yes on this branch we have two doddot who were married to each other and over here we have Dod Moshe who was married to Dod Manny and they used surrogate x who was not Jewish by the way and had three children (triplets) Rivki, Malkie and Michael and so on and so on. Wonderful, we will be so accepting of everything, so let's not have any boundaries at all and live chaotically like....... (I am lost for words, as even the animal kingdom has rules and codes of conduct that in a lot of cases is superior to many humans in present society.)

  12. B'H

    What is my point? We should have boundaries and a code of conduct, which we do in the Torah. It is all there. But like any good GPS system, we need to learn how to use it properly because if we do not,we will be continually lost and floundering in the dark. Chanukah is about light and bringing neshomas closer to the inner light. Is it appropriate to use the trappings and celebs of a society that presents a clear and present danger to a Torah lifestyle? Honestly I cannot say,but will leave that for people much more versed in Torah study than I am, to answer. Personally I would not, but then I would be the first person to admit that I am an extremist and I do not apologise for it. I know who I am and where I stand. I just do not want those without my clarity of vision (sometimes I also get a clouded views on some things) on certain issues to be befuddled and confused. We must learn to set clear boundaries.

    @Testar I am going to go and eat a half banana. The other half looks like a half banana too. I also have two half apples in the fridge. Oh goodness, I hope I don't confuse a half apple with a half a banana. I mean they are so alike.
    There is no such thing as a half goy or half a Jew. How would you decide which part or which half is Jewish and which is goy? There are people of mixed parentage who are either Jewish or not Jewish. That is all.

  13. From Chabad.org:

    Public Menorahs

    In addition to the menorahs placed in the doorways and windows of Jewish homes, the sages instituted the practice of lighting the menorah in synagogues in order to further publicize the Chanukah miracle. ..... The Lubavitcher Rebbe therefore encouraged the erection of menorahs in public areas to maximize the reach of the radiance of the Chanukah lights and to publicly proclaim the timeless message of the Chanukah victory of light over darkness.

    If you are considering constructing a large outdoor menorah yourself, the maximum height of a kosher menorah is approximately 37 feet. People don't normally look up higher than that height, and a menorah taller than that wouldn't serve the intended purpose.


    So how come the Gutnick in the Park menorah needs a cherry-picker to light it? Far higher than 37 feet!
    Is Chabad org saying that it is passul??

  14. A large crowd showed up to attend the City of Melbourne s Chanukah In the City celebration at Federation Square, in the centre of Melbourne s downtown Central Business District. Thousands of people regularly pass through Federation Square which is situated directly across from the landmark Flinders Street Station, so the large turn out of 1,000 or so for the event only added to its significance. The crowd was addressed by Rabbi Chaim Dov Ber Herzog of Chabad of Melbourne CBD, who spoke about the significance of Chanukah and the reason for its celebration. Onstage entertainment included two live bands and food was provided by one of the City s well known and newest Kosher Restaurants.

    The large 20 foot menorah was lit by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Mr John So together with Rabbi Herzog who recited the blessings, with other politicians looking on.

    At least John So didn't say the bracha!

  15. noahidelaws12-23-2003, 10:50 AM
    Originally posted on shmais
    In honor of Chanukah, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Mr John Howard MP was presented with a Chanukah Menorah by a delegation of Rabbis from the Chabad Lubavitch community in Sydney. The delegation was led by Rabbi Pinchus Feldman OAM Head of Chabad in New South Wales, who made the presentation in recognition of Australia’s moral stance and response to tyranny.

    Rabbi Feldman said: "Chanukah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and overthrow of tyrants more than 2,000 years ago and it is an occasion for all men and women to demonstrate their support for peace, unity, and the freedom we are so lucky to enjoy in Australia."

    Chanukah has been celebrated annually ever since during these eight days of Chanukah, especially by lighting the Chanukah Menorah, as a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.

    Often, the way Chanukah (and Judaism in general, for that matter) is presented to the world is as a celebration of "freedom" from "oppression." The Jews wanted to be free to practice their religion, the Greeks/Syrians forbade them, so the Jews revolted, fought a war and won their right to religious freedom--so that's a cause for everyone to celebrate religious freedom.

    The thing is, that this message, if left unqualified, as perceived by the listeners, is misleading. It seems to be endorsing "religious freedom" per se--which could mean the exact opposite of Chanuka! Chanuka is about the victory of Torah and monotheism over paganism. Our ultimate goal is to bring Moshiach, who will vanquish paganism, atheism, and all non-Torah beliefs from the world forever.

    But the way it is perceived r"l (which is what we must be sensitive to), the message of Chanuka is "let's all be tolerant of the religions of others." If a Jew makes a statement like that, endorsing other religions, it's not a cause for celebration, but the opposite.

    I don't have the source on me now, but I clearly recall learning that the Rebbe said that at public Menorah lightings one should urge the non-Jews present to adhere to the Noahide Laws.


    BrookAve12-24-2003, 02:00 AM
    Perhaps you can xerox a few thousand Laws and give them out during the lightings? But please give out at the same time the Rebbes Mivtzoim brochures with two pennies enclosed. Have a giant dreidel shaped pushka on site, so tzedaka can be given on the spot. Make announcements on the loud speaker. Give instruction. And most importantly, give good food and drink. My favorite are the chocolate covered custard doughnuts. Hatzlocha!


    noahidelaws12-16-2005, 01:22 AM
    someone wrote to me that Chanukah "established history’s first celebration of religious freedom."

    I responded:

    Bimechilas kvod Toroscho, Chanukah is not really a celebration of religious freedom, but of Jewish freedom and the absolute Truth of Torah. Paganism is also a "religion," and we're certainly not out to defend its "right" to freedom. Chanukah represents the victory of the emunah in achdus Hashem, and it's related to the coming of Moshiach, when all the other religions will be wiped out, as we pray for in the 2nd paragraph of Oleinu.

  16. Ilana, check carefully. I didn't post as 'anonymous'. My name (Robert Weil) is at the bottom. I am quite capable of taking on the Mikeybears and others. I'm sure Mr. Barnett will be posting here before long to label me a 'homophobe'.

    Robert Weil

  17. Let me explain this to those of you who disapprove: Chabad's primary mission is to spread the wellsprings of Chassidus/Torah throughout the world (Uforatzo). How is this done? Not by rejecting the world around us and the people we share it with, both frum and frie, Jew and gentile but, by embracing them. We do not share their values, we do not follow their way of life but rather, we embrace them as brothers and we lead them, gently, with love, towards G-dliness. Chabad are the trailblazers, the leaders, engaging with the world not on the world's terms but on its own terms, on the Torah's terms, on the Rebbe's terms. Chassidus teaches that our purpose as Jews is to bring Moshiach by uplifting the materiality of this world, by elevating its sparks of holiness that are hidden everywhere, sometimes in plain sight. That is the reason the Rebbe was the most influential Jews of the last hundred years.

  18. Robert, before you go off half cocked about how "homosexuality" shouldn't be "forced down your throat", why don't you take a step back for a moment. Are you truly fulfilling the mitzvah yourself? Have you complied with all of them?

    I would seriously doubt you have. In that case, if you don't, won't or can't comply with them, don't start judging others. Otherwise, you're no better than the christians who use one (mis-translated) section of Leviticus to justify their hatred of homosexuality. While, choosing not to follow any of the other sections.

    Ie, don't be a hypocrite, just live as the Torah suggests, love Hashem, love yourself and love your neighbours.

    Richard Olsen

  19. Please note that a SIGNIFICANT number of people who attend Chanukah in the Park are NON JEWS.

    Guys at work tell me how wonderful it is. They live in the area and enjoy the carnival and fireworks, particularly geared towards kids. So much so that over the years their circle of frineds from Kew and Hawthon make their way down for an hour or so of family entertainment

    I would suggest that of the 1000 or so people at the event for Chabad Melbourne CBD, a sizable number are inquisitive Non Jews or people looking for free food

    These events are fantastic, but people need to be aware of the realities of such large and open festive celebrations

  20. I find it quite interesting how people can decide what is Jewish Law and what isn't, without consulting the Rabbonim, as well as what will cause suicide and what won't. Mikeybear, Robert, and Illana, have clearly not taken the time, or made the effort, to research properly into what being Gay is all about, and how it relates to Jewish Law. I don't think that any of you have had a real conversation with Rabbi Chaim Rapoport, who wrote the book "Judaism and Homosexuality An Authentic Orthodox View", or even read his book. Rabbi Rapoport has clearly researched the topic extensively, and has a very good understanding of the issues involved. Did any of you make the effort to go and hear him talk on the issue? I doubt it.
    After reading various comments from all 3 of you, as well as others, over a period of time, it has become evident that you all, especially Mikeybear, don't care about other people and are only interested in your particular thoughts and agendas.
    May i suggest that all of you start doing some serious research before making further comments and accusations.

    Concerned Jew

  21. ajn watch. You are a miserable sick man. Your comment on the maggen dovid is offensive.

  22. I wonder if the person of this blogspot is a person who follows football or crickert or any sports ? Did the bloger of this site ever bother to ask the organisers if they actaully orgaised the Football players? do you know Yidishkskeit is spread through TV Videos from goyshe tuma ? is that also against the Rebbe who spoke against TV magazines etc Isnt CHassidus about lhapech the Tuma to keduha? How is Football have to do with greeks or is all sports like swimming basketball etc against Rebbe ? Is This Blogsite run by a perticular individaul by the name of [INCORRECT NAME REMOVED BY AJN WATCH] who follows the Goyshe sports of Crickert or football or any other sports ?


  24. Sorry- I didn't check my spelling:

  25. 1. "Grandpa", you clearly have no idea how long a foot is, which makes me doubt that you really are a grandpa. 37 feet is 11.3 metres; that's nearly 4 storeys. Is the menorah in Caulfield Park really higher than that? Have you measured it?

    2. You later quote a news article that the menorah in the City is only 20 feet high; is the one on Caulfield Park really double that?

    3. I'm quite sure that Cr So did not light the menorah, regardless of what the article says. If you weren't there, why don't you ask Chaim Herzog what really happened, instead of relying on some reporter's word?

  26. Anonymous, it's my understanding that the politician in question has converted. If so, he is just as Jewish as you (or perhaps more).

  27. B'H
    @ Robert Weil sorry for my mistake. I stand corrected.
    @ I am also a Chabadnik Thank you. You have expressed my sentiments beautifully on the matter. Thank you, I concur.
    @ concerned Jew I am concerned for you and also the Rabbonim that you must regularly annoy (errhhh, uumm sorry) consult about what might and might be the appropriate thing to do and say and what might or might not cause a gay person to suicide. If you commonsense can't tell you that then nothing will.
    Why do I want to research what being gay is all about? I don't frankly. I have a lot of other subjects I would rather research deeply and intensely. You could start with marriage and the proper level of Kiddusha in such a relationship as set out by Jewish law. I have no desire to go into researching the whys and wherefores of gay or homosexual relations however: The Midrash is one of the few ancient religious texts that makes reference to same-sex marriage. The following teaching can be found twice in the Midrash:
    "Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rabbi Joseph, 'The generation of the Flood was not wiped out until they wrote marriage documents for the union of a man to a male or to an animal.'"[2]hips.
    So obviously there is some thing to think about there. Here is a link to that and if you want others I am sure you will find it. I will not waste further time on it as I have more positive things to do.
    I am sensitive to gay people's needs to be a part of society as indeed all human beings do, but not their sexual needs. I think my views are in line with halacha on the matter.
    I have no problem working with gay people or interacting with them in the course of a normal day. Only I do not have any interest what so ever in initiating intimate relations with them and would have no intention of viewing another woman as partner or potential marriage partner. There are also a lot of men that I would not view that way either. What does that make me? A social psychopath or a misanthrope? Probably the latter, and before we all run off to our medical dictionaries, I am harmless I give you my word.

  28. chabad keep up your great work bez"h

  29. In a Sicha (כ"א כסלו תש"מ), the Rebbe explained how the goal of the Yevanim and the Misyavnim was to remove the separation that exists between Yidden and goyim, and educating children to be similar to the other nations. This is worse than placing decrees regarding Torah and mitzvos, because its effect remains even after the decree is over. It begins with something ' small ' , through ' lighting up ' the way for a child with ' oil ' that is contaminated with goyishkeit, claiming that it produces the same light. When one educates children improperly, drawing ' light ' from a source which is not tahor, this leads a child to become a Misyaven (ר"ל).

    The lesson from Chanukah is: when lighting up Yiddishe homes, one must use only pure Yiddishe light, uncontaminated by any goyishkeit. By doing so, with mesiras nefesh (not gi vin g in to the majority, who also appear to be stronger), we will be victorious, for Hashem is on our side.

  30. Lovely. Now explain exactly how the activity you disapprove of is "contaminated with goyishkeit"?


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