Category Archives: Hanukka

Haredim Burn “Immodest” Clothing In Public Rally; Clothing Shops Vandalized

haredi-clothes-burning-2.jpgHaredim held a public rally tonight to burn womens clothing deemed by them to be "immodest." We’re not talking miniskirts and halter tops, here; haredim burned skirts they thought were too flashy and clothing made of materials they dislike. Ynet reports:

The "clothes of impurity" were burned in a barrel in the center of the stage. Rabbis who spoke at the rally stood nearby admonished the crowd that congregated around the site.

"We will get rid of the tight clothes and the Holy One, Blessed be He, will place his mercy on us," it was written on one of the signs held by the protestors. "Modesty is the only thing that needs to be corrected in our generation," the rabbis clarified, saying this would solve the troubles of today. "We must overcome this hurdle," they pleaded.

The clothes that were set on fire during the demonstration were collected by a haredi organization in the past few months in a door-to-door campaign held in haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem. During the campaign, clothes deemed "immodest" were collected. Women rose to the challenge. The organization handed out coupons for "authorized shops" to those who handed over "forbidden clothing" so that they can buy new clothes.

In an announcement published by the rabbis, they clearly define what is forbidden to wear:

    * Tricot shirts
    * Lycra shirts and skirts
    * Open-collared shirts
    * Short and tight skirts
    * Skirts with a slit
    * Skirts with a straight cut
    * Long or bulky earrings
    * Clothes and bags in loud, flashy colors
    * Wigs that are too exclusive
    * Transparent or colorful stockings
    * Clunky shoes

haredi-clothes-burning-1.jpg

The result: Violence

The war against immodesty has recently descended into violence. Extremists attacked women with various sprays who were wearing clothes that didn’t fit their criteria. Clothing stores in Jerusalem have also been hurt. One of the stores near the center of the city sustained an attack of bleach bottles. Tens of thousands of shekels of damage was caused to the merchandise.

Fear of the modesty guards is great in haredi neighborhoods. Yehudit, a haredi woman who works as a saleswoman in a clothing store in Geula said: "It is very scary, stressful, and unpleasant. A woman is wearing a skirt that cost NIS 200 (USD 50), and someone comes along and destroys it."

Yehudit defines herself as a "modern haredi," and claims that she and other women must not let "all of these protests affect us. It doesn’t bother me at all." She also claims, "I haven’t changed the clothes I wear. I haven’t met one modern haredi woman who has purchased a new wardrobe or shorter wig because of the demonstrations."

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Circumcision Controversy, Crime, Hanukka

Hanukka 2006: What’s The Truth About Sources For The “Miracle Of Oil”?

Moshe Shoshan writes in a comment on Hirhurim to a post on the validity of the so-called Scroll of Aniochus and other ‘sources’ for the so-called Miracle of Oil:

I have not had time to look into the matter thoroughly. However a quick
check of Stembergers “Introduction to Talmud and Midrash” the standard
handbook of modern scholarship of rabbinic literature suggests that R.
Zevieli has been rather selective
in his citation of the scholarly
literature on the topic of megilat Antiochus. Stemberger writes:

“Kaddari
proposes to date the work for linguistic reasons between the second and
fifth centuries, but most would assume the eighth or ninth century and
regard the language as a literary imitation of targum Onqelos.
(Similarly A. Kasher, along with other authors… considers… the text to
be… redacted in polemical reaction against the karaites, who rejected
this feast, this text could not have been composed before the second
half of the eighth century…)”

In short, Kaddari is at best, a
daas yachid on the issue, whose opinion has not been accepted. That
does not make him wrong, of course.

As for other sources for the
nes chanuka, there is only one, the famous “mai chanuka” baraita in
masseches Shabbos.
A similar text appears in many version of megilat
taanit, but numerous scholars, most recently vered noam, in her edition
of megillat taanit, argue that this is a latter interpolation from the
[Talmud] Bavli and not an independent source. These scholars rely in part on the
fact that the Or Zarua cites megillat taanit with out any reference to
the nes pach hashemen.

Even if we accept that this baraita did
in fact originate in Eretz Yisrael around the third century, (not a
simple assumption given that neither the Yerushalmi nor any EY
midrashim, even those as late a pesikta rabbati, seem to have been
aware of this baraita) this still places it centuries after the time of
the hasmonean revolt and much latter than many other accounts of
origins of chanuka. Lets not evade the issue of the nes pach shemen,
it’s a problem.

5 Comments

Filed under Hanukka, History

Hanukka: The Faith of a Suicide Bomber Maccabee?

From Aish.com:

…When the Maccabees reached Jerusalem, they found the Holy Temple desecrated and defiled. In the face of this utter debasement of their values and beliefs, the Maccabees once again rose beyond the laws of logic, and refused to light the golden Menorah with ritually impure oil — despite the fact that Torah law would have permitted them to do so. The Maccabees were absolutely determined to kindle the Menorah as perfectly as possible. So once again, God intervened in the natural order and made single jar of oil to last for eight days.

When I look at the miracle of Chanukah, I think not just of the military victory or the jug of oil which lasted eight nights. Rather, I think of the Maccabees’ courage, self-sacrifice and profound faith in God, by which they were able to accomplish the impossible.

History is not always made through acts of pragmatism or logic. History is made through heroic people who stand up and are willing to forfeit everything for what they believe.

The story of Chanukah is a call to abandon the shackles and restraints of our logic, to forget what "makes sense," and to finally fight our wars. A nuclear Iran? Poverty and domestic strife? Assimilation? The potential to attain the achievement equal to the Maccabees is within every individual. We must fight against the impossibilities, because only then can we make a difference; only then can we actually change history. Our personal history, and that of the entire world.

Let’s see. A little fairy tale about oil, invented by rabbis to shift the emphasis of Hanukka away from the Maccabee’s military victories* (and the Sages lack of leadership and participation in same) now becomes the justification for acting rashly – and perhaps fatally.

This Aish piece sounds like a call for suicide bombers. Rabbi Noach Weinberg should be ashamed.

Previously, this Hanukka: 1 & 2. (The first post has links to last year’s series of Hanukka posts, The Little Menorah That Couldn’t.)

*Contrary to the haredi spin, the Maccabees’ military campaign was well planned. They relied heavily on intelligence gathering and were brilliant tacticians familiar with current military theory. They were not pious fools from the Judean shtetl.

5 Comments

Filed under Hanukka

Hanukka: The Faith of a Suicide Bomber Maccabee?

From Aish.com:

…When the Maccabees reached Jerusalem, they found the Holy Temple desecrated and defiled. In the face of this utter debasement of their values and beliefs, the Maccabees once again rose beyond the laws of logic, and refused to light the golden Menorah with ritually impure oil — despite the fact that Torah law would have permitted them to do so. The Maccabees were absolutely determined to kindle the Menorah as perfectly as possible. So once again, God intervened in the natural order and made single jar of oil to last for eight days.

When I look at the miracle of Chanukah, I think not just of the military victory or the jug of oil which lasted eight nights. Rather, I think of the Maccabees’ courage, self-sacrifice and profound faith in God, by which they were able to accomplish the impossible.

History is not always made through acts of pragmatism or logic. History is made through heroic people who stand up and are willing to forfeit everything for what they believe.

The story of Chanukah is a call to abandon the shackles and restraints of our logic, to forget what "makes sense," and to finally fight our wars. A nuclear Iran? Poverty and domestic strife? Assimilation? The potential to attain the achievement equal to the Maccabees is within every individual. We must fight against the impossibilities, because only then can we make a difference; only then can we actually change history. Our personal history, and that of the entire world.

Let’s see. A little fairy tale about oil, invented by rabbis to shift the emphasis of Hanukka away from the Maccabee’s military victories* (and the Sages lack of leadership and participation in same) now becomes the justification for acting rashly – and perhaps fatally.

This Aish piece sounds like a call for suicide bombers. Rabbi Noach Weinberg should be ashamed.

Previously, this Hanukka: 1 & 2. (The first post has links to last year’s series of Hanukka posts, The Little Menorah That Couldn’t.)

*Contrary to the haredi spin, the Maccabees’ military campaign was well planned. They relied heavily on intelligence gathering and were brilliant tacticians familiar with current military theory. They were not pious fools from the Judean shtetl.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hanukka

Hanukka: Did The Maccabees Make It All Up?

Is the entire story used by the Maccabees as the basis for their rebillion nothing more than PR? Ha’aretz* reports:

…"The reason for Antiochus’ oppression of the Jewish faith, attack on the Temple and prohibition of the Torah precepts is not explained by the existing historic sources," says Dr. Steven Weitzman, a lecturer of Judaism in the University of Indiana and the author of Surviving Sacrilege: Cultural Persistence in Jewish Antiquity.

Weitzman analyzes the description of the edicts in the Hanukkah tale, and concludes that the story was concocted by the Hasmonean kings as propaganda intended to legitimize their precarious rule. The Hasmoneans used literary tales dating back to ancient Eastern kingdoms as the basis for their story of Antiochus, he says.

Historians of ancient times agree that religious persecution was not customary among Hellenistic monarchs. Therefore the acts attributed to Antiochus, which every Jewish child learns about in the Hanukkah story, are historical anomalies. "His behavior is completely inexplicable," argues Weitzman.…

"The Maccabees have been considered heroes for so long, that it is hard to imagine that in their time, their rule was extremely controversial. They and their descendants, the Hasmonean dynasty, presented themselves as high priests, but did not belong to a family that held that position for a long time. Neither did they belong to the House of David dynasty, which was supposed to produce kings. Therefore many Jews did not recognize the Hasmoneans as legitimate rulers."

"The story of Antiochus’ edicts is part of the effort to justify the Maccabee’s rule. This is why they described themselves as protectors of the Jewish tradition, a tactic which many rulers and conquerors in the ancient East used to justify usurping power," he says.…

Weitzman is aware that his statements may anger Jews who see the Maccabees as righteous rulers and models of heroic resistance to oppression. "My thesis indicates that the Maccabees may have been very different from their present image," he says.

However, there is also a positive aspect to Weitzman’s study, he says. "I say that the description of Antiochus’ persecution, more than the story of Jewish survival, reflects Jewish imagination and its role in bringing about political change. Hanukkah is a reminder that the stories we tell can create a real change in our life," he says.

And that, I’m afraid, explains much of Jewish history.

[Hat Tip: Danya on Jewschool.]

* Ha’aretz has a stub up instead of the story, even though it was published Saturday. The link above is to the cached version on Google.

7 Comments

Filed under Hanukka, History

Hanukka 2006: How Ignorant Are Haredim? This Ignorant

Rabbi Nota Schiller is a co-founder of and rosh yeshiva at Ohr Somayach, the "Harvard" of BT yeshivot. Rabbi Schiller was educated at Ner Israel in Baltimore, and has been a leading exponent of kiruv (missionizing) and haredism for 40 years. Yet, in a fanciful attempt to prove both the need for Jewish Otherness – separation from non-Jews – and the validity of the Oral Torah, Rabbi Schiller displays a level of ignorance that, even now, is truly shocking. In his attempt to explain what the midrash means when it says, "Write
upon the horn of an ox that you have no portion in the God of
Israel," Rabbi Schiller writes:

Historically, at Chanukah,
the Jews warred with the Greeks, yet there is no megillah,
no written work chronicling that battle
. Why? Because it is
a story that must be transmitted orally, for at the center of
this battle was the Greeks’ attempt to destroy the Oral Torah.

Instead of being conquered, we persevered and created a new holiday
that could only have been orchestrated through the mechanism of
the Oral Torah.

The blessing we say when
lighting the Chanukah lights is "…Who has sanctified
us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the flame
of Chanukah." Where are we commanded? Which verse in the
Torah mandates such? The oblique origin of this mitzvah is its
very strength: Because the Torah endows our Sages with the initiative
in each generation to legislate for the Jewish People, a mitzvah
such as Chanukah symbolizes the power of the Oral Torah. That
which the Greeks sought to extinguish is symbolized in the light
that illuminates the darkness of exile.

Well, no Rabbi Schiller, there are written works from those days describing the war and the victory of Hanukka. They’re known as 1 & 2 Maccabees. We did not canonize them, although we use them. Why weren’t they canonized? Because, one can easily argue, the books show two things clearly; 1. The sages did not participate in the war (if they even existed) and played no role in national life and, 2. the miracle of Hanuka was the victory. There is no mention in these contemporaneous documents written by believing Jews of any miracle of lights. In fact, mention of the "miracle" does not appear anywhere until more than 100 years later.

The holiday of Hanukka was this: The Maccabees were about to take back the Temple and expected they would in time for the Succor celebrations. They were delayed and took the Temple too late for Succor. To make up for the missed Succor celebrations and to remember the victory, they instituted Hanuka. (That’s why Hanukka is 8 days long – 7 days of Sukkot, 1 day of Shemini Atzeret.) That is what out Hanuka megillot say.

And there is no proof at all for Rabbi Schiller’s assertion that the "Greeks" sought to destroy the Oral Torah. It is unclear whether the Oral Torah even existed at the time of the Maccabees.

Rabbi Schiller continues with his foolishness:

Each holiday that Jews approach
is like a way station along the turnpike of history. The largest
distance on the highway had been between Succos and Pesach, between
which there was no holiday to stop off and refuel.
In the darkness
of exile, G-d in His wisdom provided us with two more fueling
stations, Chanukah and Purim. When we celebrate Chanukah, we
celebrate a holiday that reminds us that it is the wisdom and
genius of the Jew, expressed and refined through the Oral Torah,
that makes us Jewish.

Again, simply untrue. We had holidays then that are not celebrated now, or are "celebrated" by not saying certain prayers connected to sadness. One such holiday is Tu B’Shvat, which falls smack dab in the middle of the Succot – Pesach "gap."

Rabbi Schiller is a fool.

For an extensive post on the origin of Hanuka please see my posts, The Little Menorah That Didn’t: 1, 2, 3, & 4.

For DK’s coverage of Schiller’s idiocy, see his post.

[Hat Tip: DK.]

41 Comments

Filed under BTs, Hanukka, Haredim, Outreach

Hanukka 2006: How Ignorant Are Haredim? This Ignorant

Rabbi Nota Schiller is a co-founder of and rosh yeshiva at Ohr Somayach, the "Harvard" of BT yeshivot. Rabbi Schiller was educated at Ner Israel in Baltimore, and has been a leading exponent of kiruv (missionizing) and haredism for 40 years. Yet, in a fanciful attempt to prove both the need for Jewish Otherness – separation from non-Jews – and the validity of the Oral Torah, Rabbi Schiller displays a level of ignorance that, even now, is truly shocking. In his attempt to explain what the midrash means when it says, "Write
upon the horn of an ox that you have no portion in the God of
Israel," Rabbi Schiller writes:

Historically, at Chanukah,
the Jews warred with the Greeks, yet there is no megillah,
no written work chronicling that battle
. Why? Because it is
a story that must be transmitted orally, for at the center of
this battle was the Greeks’ attempt to destroy the Oral Torah.

Instead of being conquered, we persevered and created a new holiday
that could only have been orchestrated through the mechanism of
the Oral Torah.

The blessing we say when
lighting the Chanukah lights is "…Who has sanctified
us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the flame
of Chanukah." Where are we commanded? Which verse in the
Torah mandates such? The oblique origin of this mitzvah is its
very strength: Because the Torah endows our Sages with the initiative
in each generation to legislate for the Jewish People, a mitzvah
such as Chanukah symbolizes the power of the Oral Torah. That
which the Greeks sought to extinguish is symbolized in the light
that illuminates the darkness of exile.

Well, no Rabbi Schiller, there are written works from those days describing the war and the victory of Hanukka. They’re known as 1 & 2 Maccabees. We did not canonize them, although we use them. Why weren’t they canonized? Because, one can easily argue, the books show two things clearly; 1. The sages did not participate in the war (if they even existed) and played no role in national life and, 2. the miracle of Hanuka was the victory. There is no mention in these contemporaneous documents written by believing Jews of any miracle of lights. In fact, mention of the "miracle" does not appear anywhere until more than 100 years later.

The holiday of Hanukka was this: The Maccabees were about to take back the Temple and expected they would in time for the Succor celebrations. They were delayed and took the Temple too late for Succor. To make up for the missed Succor celebrations and to remember the victory, they instituted Hanuka. (That’s why Hanukka is 8 days long – 7 days of Sukkot, 1 day of Shemini Atzeret.) That is what out Hanuka megillot say.

And there is no proof at all for Rabbi Schiller’s assertion that the "Greeks" sought to destroy the Oral Torah. It is unclear whether the Oral Torah even existed at the time of the Maccabees.

Rabbi Schiller continues with his foolishness:

Each holiday that Jews approach
is like a way station along the turnpike of history. The largest
distance on the highway had been between Succos and Pesach, between
which there was no holiday to stop off and refuel.
In the darkness
of exile, G-d in His wisdom provided us with two more fueling
stations, Chanukah and Purim. When we celebrate Chanukah, we
celebrate a holiday that reminds us that it is the wisdom and
genius of the Jew, expressed and refined through the Oral Torah,
that makes us Jewish.

Again, simply untrue. We had holidays then that are not celebrated now, or are "celebrated" by not saying certain prayers connected to sadness. One such holiday is Tu B’Shvat, which falls smack dab in the middle of the Succot – Pesach "gap."

Rabbi Schiller is a fool.

For an extensive post on the origin of Hanuka please see my posts, The Little Menorah That Didn’t: 1, 2, 3, & 4.

For DK’s coverage of Schiller’s idiocy, see his post.

[Hat Tip: DK.]

38 Comments

Filed under BTs, Hanukka, Haredim, Outreach