Tzedakah, Not Charity

Tzedakah

In these dark days of winter we all see people around us who have suffered great reversal of fortunes. As many of us struggle to support our own families, it is easy to harden our hearts or avert our gaze.

Jews, contrary to (favorable) popular myth, do not give “charity”. Rather, Jews give “Tzedakah”. The word tzedakah shares its root with tzaddik. It means righteousness. In recognition that everything comes from G-d… EVERYTHING… by aiding our fellow man, we please G-d and elevate our souls.

The RaMBaM (Maimonides) distilled the Talmudic Sages’ principles of how to give tzedakah to a list from least to best:
1. Giving begrudgingly
2. Giving less than you should, but giving it cheerfully.
3. Giving after being asked
4. Giving before being asked
5. Giving when you do not know the recipient’s identity, but the recipient knows your identity
6. Giving when you know the recipient’s identity, but the recipient does not know your identity
7. Giving when neither party knows the other’s identity
8. Enabling the recipient to become self-reliant

But, simply giving is not enough. As with all mitzvot; G-d wants us to be happy, so, as in this video showing the Lulav and Etrog during the Festival of Succot, this mitzvah must be done with joy.

“To what extent must a person endeavor to cling always to the trait of kindness, as Scripture states: ‘He told you, Oh man, how good, and what the L-rd requires of you, only doing justice and loving kindness… (Michah 6:8).’ …The prophet’s message is that, albeit, we all perform acts of kindness, usually these acts come out of a sense of duty… Therefore, do not make the mistake of thinking that by the fact that you do perform acts of kindness you are fulfilling your obligation fully. Rather a person must have a love for this trait of kindness.”

The Chofetz Chaim writing in Ahavas Chesed Part II, Chapter One
In closing, I offer this moving video, with wishes that each and every one of us have a happy, healthy and more prosperous (secular) New Year, that we may be able to perform more and greater mitzvot, and we thus merit the coming of Moshiach, soon and in our time.

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#ImBlockedByShannonWatts

I love social media. I really do. As misanthropic as I can be sometimes, it really can be an endless source of entertainment!

I have engaged numerous gun grabbers on Twitter and Facebook – both from the Zelman Partisans (@ZelmanPartisans) account and my own @nicki_f. Some have been relatively polite; others, not so much. Many will block you the moment you address them.

The blocking is particularly hilarious, given that the leader of Moms Demand Action Shannon Watts has recently been blocked by the NRA on Twitter.  I can’t pretend to know why they blocked her – likely because she’s an irritating shrew who does nothing but lie in an effort to advance her anti-freedom agenda.  Heck, if she was tweeting lies at me every five seconds, I’d probably get sick of her BS and block her too.

Shannon – whom Twitchy calls probably the “least self-aware person on this earth,” – claimed the NRA blocking her as a victory, and asserted this means the millions-strong organization was afraid of her!

watts

The irony is thick here, given that Shannon has a habit of blocking so many people who dare to challenge her, that a new hashtag was born: #ImBlockedByShannonWatts.

The list of people blocked by Shannon Watts and Moms Demand is long and distinguished.  Zelman Partisans is blocked, as is my personal account. Anyone who proclaims their support for the Second Amendment is blocked, as is Heather Marchese of 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control, showing Shannon Watts to be much more afraid of gun owners and Second Amendment supporters than they are of her!

But Shannon Watts – the alleged PR wizard who was installed by Michael Bloomberg as the head of an alleged “grassroots” movement of mothers – apparently doesn’t know PR as well as she should.

Her blocking action resulted in a wave of support for gun rights groups, and the #ImBlockedByShannonWatts list and Shannon Watts’ hypocrisy is getting more publicity and ridicule than she could ever hope for!

Heather Marchese posted a photo of the increase in donations to 1MMAGC this morning, and I’m betting she has Shannon to thank for the support.

PRfail

This is what’s commonly referred to as a PR FAIL.

But the irony doesn’t end there, because now that Shannon’s little stunt has backfired on her, she has reported the #ImBlockedByShannonWatts hashtag to Twitter as harassing, “vicious” attacks on her.

Ya gotta love the opportunistic swinery here. Apparently pointing out her hypocrisy makes Shannon a “victim.” Shannon doesn’t comprehend real threats or harassment. She apparently ignores the threats and harassment in which her froth-flecked followers engage…

…”I hope you kill yourself with your gun…” “…I hope your kids get shot…” “SWATting open carriers is a wonderful idea. They are scum, so it wouldn’t matter if they get killed anyway…”

life 1

grabber crazy

life 5

The litany of abuse goes on. But Shannon Watts simply ignores it, while claiming victim status, because gun owners call her on her lies and combat her anti-freedom spin with facts.

I don’t know about you guys, but I really hope Shannon continues her hypocrisy, because it’s not just entertaining and clueless, but also shores up support for gun rights groups such as the Zelman Partisans.

Please continue to support our organization, and Shannon – if you read this – please continue your hypocritical lunacy! There’s nothing like the PR you’ve given us so far!

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The Thin Blue Line

We are beginning to see what I fear is the start of something that will evolve into something really, really ugly. The erosion of the “Thin Blue Line”.  There are some people that support the law enforcement community no matter what.  I am not one of those.  I think people like the officer (Kevin Dupre) from Cleburne Texas that called these dogs over to him by making kissing noises and then killed them need to rot in hell. I truly hope there is a special place in hell for people like him. Just so I’m clear on how I feel about this piece of scum. I’ll be honest, I can’t watch the whole video.

Just in case you are livid as well, there is a petition to have him terminated since the police chief decided he did nothing wrong. They want 150,000 signatures by 14 February 2015, they already have 148,985.

By the same token, I think the officers that used an illegal choke hold on Eric Garner needed to face legal consequences.   There are some nasty Law Enforcement types out there that crave power and abuse it.

That being said, the majority of the Law Enforcement Officers I’ve dealt with have been good people. Trying their best to carry out their calling. They have a genuine desire to protect the helpless, to stop crime, make their towns safer for good people. They are truly “Sheepdogs”.

The Thin Blue line refers to the line that police form between good people and predator thugs. It’s the same kind of mindset as the military, and to a lesser degree concealed carry holders. Speaking for myself, I did not get my concealed carry endorsement to protect society in general, but myself, and my family when I’m with them. The members of the Thin Blue Line willingly, on a daily basis, put themselves at risk in harms way to protect law abiding citizens, people they’ve never even met.

I know it well.  A few hundred years ago I was a member of the “Thin White Line” meaning Emergency Medical Services, airborne variety. We did search and rescue, emergency transport and “scene flights”. Those are usually “high drama” as you are landing at the scene of whatever, car crash, shooting, stabbing, heart attack, sudden infant death, ________ tragedy. If it’s a scene flight, it wasn’t good. Often at these scenes you would have very upset people, they could be family members, friends or just bystanders. Before we would land, the LZ (landing zone) would be secured usually by the Fire Department and law enforcement.  But for law enforcement the fun didn’t end there. Once we were on the ground, they also kept the crew and the helicopter safe. I’ve had upset family decide I was going to talk to them, RIGHT THEN, and unfortunately I was trying to stick a tube in an airway to ventilate the patient.  Law enforcement peeled the guy off me and I finished my job, upset family member was very determined though and previous law enforcement hero repeated heroic act and got him off me as we were loading the patient in the helicopter. This was also during a time when one of the local gang initiations was to “pop” someone in a jacket. Which meant us,  or the ambulance crews, fire or police. Securing a scene is not always easy I don’t suppose.

So through the years, most of my contact with law enforcement has been on the same team, apart from an odd ticket every 20 years or so. And I’m very supportive of our local law enforcement where I live, well, the Sheriff’s department anyway.

And this is where I differ from the “peaceful protesters” we’re seeing such a plethora of lately. For them, it doesn’t matter if the innocent child (read 300+ lb charging water buffalo) was committing a crime as Michael Brown was, on top of a “white hispanic” like Trayvon Martin pummeling the snot out of George Zimmerman or walking away as Eric Garner was, if the person that died was black, and the narrative can be exploited, get ready cause it’s going to be. Not far from Ferguson another young black man named Antionio Martin had made the choice more than once to commit armed robbery, assault and armed criminal action. Quite the list of accomplishments since he was 17. It ended badly as it often will when police who had been called about the theft have a gun pointed at them. They shot him. So far the Chief of that officer is standing behind him pointing out the choices Mr. Martin made had everything to do with the outcome of the situation.

I haven’t heard when the race pimps will arrive in town to foment it being burned to the ground yet.

The execution of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos I think is the beginning of a response to the attacks by politicians such as Warren Wilhelm (aka Bill diBlasio) Barry Sotero (aka Barak Obama), non-Govorner Jay Nixon, Eric Holder and flotsam and jetsam Sharpton and Jackson. Also getting into the act are the schools of higher “education” (chuckle, guffaw) colleges. Like the charming editorial in the CUNY by the editor in chief calling for armed war against the police. I think there is already plenty of hostility toward the LEO community. While I didn’t hear it in the American press, in an Israeli newspaper ran an article that the gun man that killed Liu and Ramos had invited bystanders to come, follow him and watch what he was going to do. Yet in that community it apparently didn’t even prompt a phone call from any of the people in the hood to the police to say something might be afoot.

Also in an Israeli paper is the opinion that US cops are probably feeling pretty Jewish about now.  The campus rabble are having to make decisions now.

For campus firebrands it must be quite a chore deciding who to hate more on any particular day.

If it’s Monday it must be the Jews and if it’s Tuesday it must be the cops. Is that how it works?

This we know about the darlings who have turned our universities into gulags against free thought and free speech. They want to boycott Israel and they want to divest from law and order and they want to sanction anyone who makes them feel “uncomfortable.”

Quite a good column that, worth the read. You can find out the direction the future of our country is being steered by the hallowed halls of higher education.

So what’s the endgame? I don’t know, I can’t find my crystal ball at the moment, but a conversation with a couple of co-workers one day was pretty interesting. One of them opined that the police would soon become afraid to intervene in anything involving one of the protected by politician class of people. I could well see how that could be possible. And since this protected class largely appears to be the criminal element this won’t go well for law abiding citizens. And since our law-breaker in chief doesn’t seem to think local police forces are up to the job of “fairly” applying the law, perhaps it is time for him to begin to implement the plan he first put forth in July 2008, of a “Civilian National Security Force” that would be “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the US Military.” You can read about how helpful this type of security force has been in history, and how he has gone about starting to create it. Don’t remember him saying it?

And the idiots applaud on, never questioning “What the heck does THAT mean?” nor did the media jump on it.

But as Ronn Torossian points out, Hitler hired PR firms, the terrorists of today hire PR firms (which by the way ofter refuse Israeli business) but Obama and his left wing ideologues? They don’t need to hire PR firms, the media does it for free for him.

The current regime has done everything it can to divide this country, by race, economic class, religion and now law-abiding and LEO community vs. gangs that are becoming ever more violent in response to the encouragement.

Where does it all end, I don’t know. But I’d fasten my seatbelt, cause it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Additional thoughts, what will happen to a town when firefighters can’t fight the fires because they are taking incoming fire, from the “peaceful protesters for social justice?” As they did in Ferguson and had to pull back. When EMS, Emergency Medical Services can’t get in to help the injured for the same reason?

 

Another aspect that is coming into play. I found out today a large area mall was shut down the day after Christmas during the large shopping day due to fights breaking out in the mall. It was one of several malls across the country so attacked. Not spontaneous, planned. In the story one Mother says she TOOK her teenage daughters to the mall at a certain time due to a message the girls received on social media telling them what time to be there. WHO does that? I mean, really, did the Mother not know what was going to happen? Did she not ask her kids? Yesh! The economic impact of things like this is going to be awful. Whole shopping centers shut down because the police can’t protect them, even when calling in mutual aid.

Bumpy ride? Societal norms under attack? In the past, what has followed attacks on a culture? Yeah, buckle up.

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Refusal as a weapon

The most blunt, inspirational message you will read all year. From the great Mike Vanderboegh.

A brief sample:

Mike Bloomberg thought he was on a roll. In the wake of Sandy Hook, his money managed to buy unconstitutional legislation in Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland and New York. In the election just past, his money staved off defeat for two governors who did his bidding, although as Wellington said about Waterloo, it was “the nearest run thing you ever saw.” Most importantly — and the latest jewel in his anti-firearm crown — his money and that of Bill Gates, Paul Allen and other like-minded elitists “bought the mob” (in the parlance of the Founders) with the success of I-594 in Washington state.

Yes, Bloomberg was on a roll. The so-called “mainstream” gun rights organizations, from the NRA to Alan Gottlieb’s Second Amendment Foundation and all the smaller spin-offs in the affected states, had no answer to Bloomberg’s millions and refused to put their own rivalries and jealousies aside to find one. This is hardly a surprise, since almost all of these groups have always been more about raising money to “fight gun control” than actually FIGHTING gun control. Each has been more obsessed with their own reputation in the collectivist-dominated press and their obsession to “win friends and influence people” in the middle. So, following their long-established patterns and refusals to think and act outside the boxes they placed themselves in, they lost. They lost in Connecticut, they lost in Maryland, they lost in New York, they lost in Colorado and now they have lost in Washington state.

In each case, Bloomberg understood his enemies, their foibles and their failures far better than they understood him. So he won and they lost.

But then something happened that Bloomberg in his arrogance never expected, something that the “mainstream gun rights organizations” for their part never expected either — in every single state where Bloomberg had “won,” it turned out that the victims of his unconstitutional laws had other ideas. And they didn’t need “leaders” like Wayne LaPierre and Alan Gottlieb to lead them.

Read the rest, resist, and stand tall.

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The Backstory of Chanukah: Clarity of Purpose Secured and then Lost

beit hamikdosh

Just who was this hotheaded man who just killed a fellow Jew and started a war, this Matityahu ben Yonatan?

First and foremost, he was a Kohen, a member of the priestly line, tracing his lineage all the way back to Pinchas, the third High Priest of Israel. Pinchas was grandson to Moses’ brother, Aaron, and whose painful devotion to principle, in order to stave off the anger of G-d, gave birth to the duties of a Kohen.

Since the Exodus from Egypt, and subsequent Revelation at Sinai, the job of a Kohen is to carefully and scrupulously conduct the prayer and sacrifices in adulation, praise, thanksgiving, and as pleas for the forgiveness of sin, before Hashem Elokeinu, the G-d of Israel.
Along with their tribal kinsmen, the Leviim (who are in charge of the facilities and ritual objects) these duties have been passed from father to son since the time of the Mishkan (the portable Tabernacle).

The Mishkan was, after Sinai, the special place where G-d dwelled on Earth with his Jewish People. It traveled with them in the desert and for nearly four hundred years sat at Tel Shiloh. King David then established his capitol at Yerushalayim, but the permission from G-d to build the Beit HaMikdash, a fixed and permanent Temple, was withheld from King David and given to his son, Shlomo (Solomon).
Although the obligations were great, and generally the Kohanim and Leviim earned the great respect accorded them, just as with Kings, they were subject to human frailties, and on occasion a Kohen was simply corrupt.

As an example, the Prophet Eli, High Priest at Shiloh, sadly concluded that both of his sons were such evil men, that they could not succeed him. They were so bad that when they led the Ark of the Covenant in a military campaign against the Philistines, G-d provided a harsh lesson and withdrew this favor in battle. Many died and the Ark was carried off by the enemy. Fortunately, G-d had provided a righteous young man, a Levi placed in Eli’s care and instruction, by his parents. He was Shmuel ben Elkanah (Samuel), the last of the Biblical Judges.

Up until this time, the Jews had lived as a confederacy, with spiritual leadership by the Kohanin / Leviim, and secular affairs run by the Tribal Elders. In time Samuel learned to his dismay that he too had two bad sons. Seeing this, the Elders, lacking in emuna (faith), and envious of the foreign nations, then begged Shmuel to anoint a King to judge (rule) over them. G-d plainly declared this as a rejection not of the Prophet but of G-d Himself. G-d told Shmuel to leave them to their folly (a very hard lesson from a stern, but loving father), but to warn them of what would come of it. He did so, saying:

“This will be the manner of the king who will reign over you; he will take your sons, and appoint them to him for his chariots and for his horsemen, and they will run before his chariots. And he will appoint them to him commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and to plow his plowing and to reap his harvest, and to make his weapons and the equipment for his chariots. And he will take your daughters for his perfumers, for cooks, and for bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive trees, and will give them to his slaves. And he will tithe your grain crops and your vineyards, and he will give them to his officers and his slaves. And he will take your male and female slaves, and your handsomest youths and your asses, and put them to his work. And he will tithe your flocks, and you will be slaves to him. And you will cry out on that day because of your king, whom you will have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not answer you on that day.”

The Tribal Elders, nevertheless insisted. Shmuel went to anoint Saul ben Kish as the first earthly King of Israel, and subsequently King David. All subsequent, legitimate, anointed Kings of Israel are from the House of David, as will be, it is believed, the final (earthly)King; Moshiach ben David (see 2 Shmuel, Chapter 7: Verses 3-29)

And therein lies the rub…

Initially, Matityahu ben Yonatan, High Priest at Modi’in, and his sons; Yehuda, Elazar, Shimon, Yochanan and Yonatan enjoyed the favor of G-d. They demonstrated pure faith in Him, and were rewarded with many truly amazing victories. Recapturing the Beit HaMikdosh, cleaning it of the filth and degradation, restoring it to its purpose was a tremendous victory. Matityahu died in battle in the first year. Driving out the Syrian-Greeks and their assimilationist Jewish allies from the immediate neighborhood took four years. Their true mission had been accomplished.

Then, Yehuda Maccabee’s brother Shimon assumed the throne as King. He was not of the Davidic Line. Neither was he of the tribe of Yehuda. The Hasmoneans could certainly continue their duties as Kohens, but Kingship was improper. Nonetheless, a reign of Hasmonean monarchs followed from 140 BCE to 27 BCE, concluding with Antigonus II Mattathias.

Jewish land was retaken. Other revolts against the Seleucid Empire as far away as Persia were inspired. Palace intrigues were executed. Alliances were made. The trappings of Kingship and Empire ate away at the nobles, the people, and even the land. A civil war was afoot. Once again, a very harsh lesson from G-d was brewing… at the hands of the Roman Empire.

And, this time the lesson would last two thousand years.

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It’s The Most MACCABEE Time of the Year!

I am pretty much, without a doubt, the least qualified on the team to write a column about the Maccabees. That is not stopping me.

I first learned about the Maccabees a couple years ago doing a study on the book of Daniel. I was so humbled and impressed by this group of people that loved their G-d so much that rather than submit to what was being demanded of them, that they offer sacrifices to anyone other than the G-d of Israel, or to eat unclean food, they would spark a revolt.

I ask a girlfriend of mine who knows me pretty well, if she knew about the Maccabees. Well, of course she did. “HOW could you know about the Maccabees and NOT tell me?”. She said she figured I learn about them in time. And so I did, and I fell in love.

 

The first thing that captivated me was Mattathias and his response. When he was told by the king’s officers that he was honored, a leader and to come be the first to sacrifice as all the Gentiles, people in Judah and those LEFT in Jerusalem had done(seeing as how Antiochus’s troops had slaughtered 40,000 and sold another 40,000 into slavery when he defiled the temple), he refused. He didn’t form a committee, he didn’t have an emergency conference with is sons, they didn’t do a feasibility study of defeating Antiochus, debate if he would be called racist, islamophobic, homophobic, hoplophobic, xenophobic. He just said

Though all the nations that are under the king’s dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments : yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. G-d forbid that we should forsake the law and. the ordinances. We will not hearken to the king’s words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left.”

And, he really meant it.

As some Jews had been happy enough about blending in with the king’s people (they picked the WRONG king) they had also become his enforcers. They were already breaking the Torah themselves, so what’s a little selling out of your fellow Jews who are trying to hold to the correct King’s law? So while Antiochus was determined to wipe out Judaism, he was perfectly willing to use the religious leaders to  convince the people that the horrible idea of turning away from their G-d was a GREAT idea. Not much has changed today has it?

When an appeasing Jew stepped forward, the kind of person that tries to appease a tiger, hoping it will eat them last, Mattathias killed him. He would NOT tolerate a sacrifice to a pagan idol, a false G-d in HIS name. None of it. He then killed the king’s officer that was forcing the people to do this wicked thing. He recognized evil for what it was. He didn’t try to rationalize it away, make it better or listen to national leaders that didn’t have the people’s best interests at heart. How can I say that? I wasn’t there? Because the people weren’t being allowed to worship THEIR G-d as they had been commanded to. They were being prevented from it, forbidden. In the most horrific of ways. Where in the beginning, perhaps they chose to assimilate, not wanting to be “intolerant” before long, it became mandatory. Horribly mandatory. Convert or Die.

One of the things those that who chose to rebel with Mattathias soon faced was the king’s army attacking them on Shabbat. When word reached the army at Jerusalem they rode out into the desert to stomp out these upstart Maccabee Partisans. The army commanded them to come out. But rather than profane their Sabbath, they chose to die, around a thousand of them, with their wives, children and livestock. They were faithful even unto death. Unfortunately, as my team mate Y.B. has pointed out,

Dying Kiddush Hashem (in sanctification of G-d’s name) is far too big a habit for Jews. We do it all the time. We’re really good at it. We have a backlog of those who have so died good for the next few thousand years, don’t you think?

The Maccabee Partisans then held a discussion and decided

“If we all do as our kinsmen have done,” they said to one another, “and do not fight against the Gentiles for our lives and our traditions, they will soon destroy us from the earth.” On that day they came to this decision: “Let us fight against anyone who attacks us on the sabbath, so that we may not all die as our kinsmen died in the hiding places.”

I don’t think Satan and the king’s army needed any help trying to wipe Judaism off the face of the earth. They were doing well enough on their own.

Other soon joined the Maccabees, and the rebellion grew. They went after all that were breaking the law. And it was about G-d, Torah and his law. There was none of this, “well, you have friends in high places”, or “they know people” or__________. It was very simple, and very fair. It was a Jewish land, and these were Jewish laws.

Lest you think that the people were converting and violating G-d’s laws because of something taught in Antiochus’s Common Core school, I will relate just a bit of Hannah and her Seven Sons. They deserve Capital letters. The first son made it plain that he would not violate the Torah by eating pork. What followed was having his tongue cut out, he was scalped, his hands and feet cut off, and while he was still breathing he was fried alive. In view of his Mother and Six Brothers, who all encouraged each other to die bravely but not give in. And NONE did, the Mother, after watching all of her sons suffer the same fate, was killed. Many of the Sons informed the king that though he had earthly power over them now, there was a Power greater, and he had NO power over that king. That the king should make no mistake, he absolutely would be called to account for his mistreatment of them and their nation. But that king was as arrogant or perhaps even more than rulers we see today. The battle was arrogance against the courage of their convictions and faith in their G-d. They perceived the horrors that had befallen their nation as punishment for having turned away from him.

When Mattathias died, he appointed his son Judah military leader, and his son Simon as the one to go to for wisdom. Father must have known his children’s strengths. Judah won amazing victories. His speech I love is:

But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judah, “How can we, few as we are, fight against so great and strong a multitude? And we are faint, for we have eaten nothing today.” Judah replied, “It is easy for many to be hemmed in by few, for in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between saving by many or by few. It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven. They come against us in great pride and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us; but we fight for our lives and our laws. He himself will crush them before us; as for you, do not be afraid of them.”

When he finished speaking, he rushed suddenly against Seron and his army, and they were crushed before him. They pursued them down the descent of Beth-Horon to the plain; eight hundred of them fell, and the rest fled into the land of the Philistines. Then Judah and his brothers began to be feared, and terror fell upon the Gentiles round about them.

Judah didn’t fight for fame, glory to meet some celebrity or get a video game name after him. He fought for G-d, for his way of life, and because it was the right thing to do. Some fights are worth having. He suited up, showed up ready to fight and leave the outcome to G-d.

Eventually Judah and the Partisans often using guerrilla tactics retook Jerusalem. They disposed of the desecrated alter, cleansed the temple and built a new alter, new vessels to be made and everything was to be done properly, according to the law. For the Menorah, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the Kohen Gadol, high priest was needed. The Menorah was to burn through the night, every night. And while only one such bottle, enough to last for one night, was all that could be found, it lasted eight nights, which was the amount of time it took for a fresh supply of oil to be available. Some doubt that miracle to be true. I do not.

But whether or not THAT miracle is true, I think making one bottle of olive oil burn for eight nights is no big thing, ein ba-ya, for the G-d that created the olives, the trees, the land. I think the amazing miracle is that three years to the day that the madmen of Antiochus pillaged Jerusalem and defiled the temple, it was back in Jewish hands, holy and rededicated from what began as a one man revolt. And that one man had raised really good and righteous sons.

Please know, this is the “Cliff Note” version of  the Maccabean Revolt, from a person who has been in love with them for two whole years because she has only known about them for two whole years. I believe you will get a far better column from someone far better qualified to write it.

I know that most people think of Hanukkah as a “Jewish holiday”, some think it’s the Jewish version of Christmas. But I’m telling you now, Christians NEED to learn about Hanukkah! They NEED to know WHAT and WHY it was! They NEED to understand it, and they need to learn it very, very fast. And some Jews need to re-learn some lessons too. Hanukkah is equally as important for all of us now. Why would I say such a thing?

Because in the beginning some of the Jews were fine with the new lifestyle that was being brought in by the Greeks, the new gymnasiums, the “freedom” from all those bothersome holy laws. Tolerance, acceptance, go along to get along. Love, joy, peace and kumbaya and all that. And then the gloves came off. They were forbidden to practice their faith, forbidden to serve G-d, to worship him. Defiance was costly. I consider dead to be very costly.

Mattathias didn’t start the trouble, he didn’t go to Jerusalem looking to right the wrongs when Antiochus and his crowd showed up in Jerusalem and said “Burn this Bitch Down”. But when evil showed up on his doorstep he knew it for what it was and he didn’t muck about sorting it.

This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Yet, in the country there are cities that are being told they can not have a float that had a religious statement on it because ONE person complained to an atheist legal group. The Ten Commandments are removed from schools and government buildings (and if ever there was a place they NEED to be, it would be government buildings). Sometimes by legal action, threats of legal action, or just choice. Army Chaplains are forbidden to use the Bible in suicide prevention classes. Children are told they can’t meet to pray before or after school on school grounds and humiliated for choosing to read a Bible during “free reading” period. So, what can the kids learn about in school? Islam. Several states have had people beginning to talk on FaceBook and to the media about the children coming home with assignments that are proselytizing for Islam. Part of the new Common Core standards lessons. Pamela Geller has been all over this. Reports from Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina all detailing similar events. Apparently there will be no lessons in the classroom on Judaism or Christianity. Unable to practice our religion freely? Check.

Physical violence? Did you know there is a place in America where it’s not safe for a Christian or Jews to go? The Maccabees were Jews who were able to resist and fight back because they were ARMED. They didn’t win battles with Judah’s winning smile. They fought. Yet we have far too many in America that can’t wait to put us all in a position of being in the position of the Warsaw Ghetto again where only the “State” has the means to enforce either freedom or tyranny. In many countries in Europe there is an increasing rise in Anti-Semitism, and Jews are becoming unsafe and afraid to disclose their religion. These kinds of attacks are something Jews in Israel have been dealing with for a very long time. Author Professor Phyllis Chesler said after 9/11 and the attack on the twin towers she went over and typed in her computer “Now we are all Israelis.” And we are right back where we started out, in Israel. The land of Miracles.

The shape our country is in now, we need Maccabees, we need them badly. People that will not bow down to the false king of “Political Correctness” nor allow the sacrifice good people on the alter of “tolerance” by them being put out of business, or having their TV show canceled because they talk about the Tanakh or the Bible. Nor because they choose to talk about G-d. We need people who recognize evil and teach others how to recognize it. We must become the Maccabees of today.

You know, life has been beyond hectic for me these last couple weeks. Mind numbingly, over-overwhelmingly so. The interesting thing was, as I wrote this column, I began to have a sense of peace, and calmness. The first I’ve had in some time. It was as though G-d wrapped a warm quilt around me and said “My child, I’m still in the miracle making business. They may not be on your time table, or in your way, but I still make them. Every single day, I make them. Breath.” And I did.

Happy Hanukkah

Merry Christmas

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Beware of legislators seeking anonymity

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reports that a band of cowardly legislators quietly got together to form an association dedicated to relieving you of your gun rights.

These pusillanimous twits announced the creation of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention (ASLGVP), claiming it’s a “non-partisan” effort to reduce gun violence further infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens across America, given Congress’ fail to do anything about the issue.

The NSSF reports that the “ASLGVP boasts having 200 members from all 50 states but the group will not release a list of their membership, due to a fear of “political backlash.”  So, outside of the eight members that participated in the inaugural press conference, no one knows who is or is not a member of this group.

We do know that non-partisan seems to be the biggest load of BS since “the check is in the mail” and “I’ll still respect you in the morning” went out of style.

Founding members include Adam Ebbin (D-ullard, VA) and Brian Kavanagh (D-olt, NY).

Ebbin is known for his “undercover video” in which he purchases a 30-round “extended clip” (is that like an assault clip?) without a background check. *GASP!*

Kavanagh’s latest claim to gun-grabbing fame is the introduction of a bill that would allow anyone who is concerned paranoid and hoplophobic to report anyone else to a court in order to persuade the court to issue a temporary order preventing the person from acquiring or possessing guns. Without a trial. Without so much as a legal standard. Just, “Oh! I feel threatened by my ex husband, so take guns away from him!

If these two gun-grabbing monkeys are any indication, this group is hardly non-partisan and has nothing to do with safety or reducing violence.

But more disturbing than that is the insistence on secrecy. Won’t release its membership for fear of “political backlash”??? What does this tell you?

The legislators know what they’re doing faces stringent opposition, and they want to keep it secret from the very people who put them in power.

They’re cowards, plain and simple. They don’t want to be accountable to their constituents. They don’t want to be held responsible by the people whose rights they betray.

Here’s the deal, people. Any legisleech who feels him or herself entitled enough to participate in an effort or initiative that quite plainly and obviously aims to infringe on basic, natural, Constitutional rights needs to be exposed for the liar, petty statist that they are.

Cockroaches aren’t fond of sunlight, so shine that light on any politician who seeks to keep secrets from you – the people from whom their power stems – especially if that secret aims to impact, hinder, or otherwise infringe on your natural rights.

Start with this horde of leeches.

leeches

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Prelude to Rededication

Matisyahu

Once again the Children of Abraham were in peril… but not for the reasons you might think.

The king of Babylon had allowed their return to Israel, and even allowed the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. One empire defeated another and soon Alexander the Macedonian came. His visit foreshadowed things to come.

An apostate sect known as the Samaritans had long challenged a core element of Jewish belief; the three-part revelation of Torah (Mystical, Oral, and Written). They had come to the point of militating for the destruction of the Holy Temple and the wholesale murder of the Priests and Levites. Alexander, on his way to leveling Gaza and engaging the Egyptians, was about to do their bidding.

Learning of this, a High Priest donned garments reserved for the holiest event of the year; conducting ritual sacrifices, on behalf of the entire people on Yom Kippur. He and a group of dignitaries went out to meet Alexander in a small town.

Upon their approach, even Alexander’s commanders expected the great slaughter to commence, but instead Alexander dismounted and bowed down to the Priest. Alexander explained that before commencing his long series of campaigns a man came to him in his dreams, looking exactly as this man, and had advised him in ways critical to his subsequent success.

The High Priest told Alexander that they had no intent to undermine him and only asked that the Jewish people be allowed to worship G-d in the ways they were intended and to live in peace. Alexander agreed and was taken on a tour of the Holy Temple, and all of the functions explained. The Samaritans had failed.

But, then Alexander, believing the panoply of gods to be essentially meaningless and interchangeable, and more than a bit impressed with himself, declared that he wanted a giant statue of himself erected in the Temple.

Horrified, but wise, the High Priest gently explained that they could not do that within the Temple, as it would deny the fundamental precept that Hashem Elokeinu is G-d and that there is nothing and no one else. Instead, the High Priest suggested that every male child born in to the Priests’ families during the next year be named Alexander. That way Alexander’s name would live on and be known even better than by a mere statue.

As was the practice, Alexander left administrative control of his conquered lands to his generals. These Syrian-Greeks came to be known as the Seleucids. They, in turn sought out local leaders to act on their behalf in day-to-day affairs. In Israel, the Seleucid Generals worked through the High Priest. There were a series of appointed Seleucid Generals, and a series of High Priests.

Sadly, this dual-loyalty relationship corroded the integrity of the Priesthood. Likewise, the material wealth, power, and sophistication of the Syrian-Greeks seduced the Jewish People, away from their Covenant with G-d. They increasingly emulated the Syrian-Greek, culture, appearance, and even worship. When a High Priest who might oppose this evolution arose, he was replaced, and/or murdered.

Ultimately, in greed and power-lust, a true madman arose to rule. He was named Antiochus. He styled himself Antiochus Epiphanes, seeing himself as a god in the form of a man.

A series of edicts followed. Observing the Sabbath was prohibited.  Possession, much less study from, of a Torah Scroll was a capital offense. Brit Milah (ritual entry into the Covenant of the Jewish People with G-d) , aka circumcision was banned. If a circumcised male child was found, both the child and its parents were put to death.

Temple sacrifices; the focal point of communal interface with G-d at his “place” on Earth, was banned. The Temple itself was defiled and filled with idols. The monies used to support the Holy Temple services and the families whose job it was to conduct them, not to mention the destitute, and infirm, had been seized.

These things were entirely approved of by the vast majority of now thoroughly assimilated Jews. A Greek gymnasium had been erected in Jerusalem. Nude athletics were commonplace. The veneration of physical beauty was now elevated and the purification of the soul, in service to G-d, was despised.

At towns throughout the land Jews lived as Greeks and worshiped as Greeks. The G-d of Israel was for bumbling rustics and dying old people.

Once, a Syrian-Greek patrol was out looking for renegades who continued to worship at tiny rural altars to Hashem Elokeinu, the True G-d. They found such a place and demanded that they both stop and that instead they worship as the Greeks. A young man rushed to abide and started to sacrifice to the Greek gods.

Witnessing this was one of those “old rustics”, a Hasmonean named Matityahu ben Yonatan. The weight of his world upon him, in an uncontrollable rage, he drew his sword, slew the young man and many of the Syrian-Greek patrol. He loudly declared, “All those who stand for G-d, follow me.”

A revolt against one of the mightiest empires on earth, and more importantly, against the spiritual suicide of his people, had begun.

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Is Gottlieb’s “new” JPFO about to get in trouble with the IRS?

That’s interesting.

Yesterday Dave Workman, the Seattle Gun Rights Examiner and frequently a proxy for Alan Gottlieb, announced that Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) has been added as a sponsor of a planned January 15 rally in Olympia, Washington, to oppose Bloomberg’s tragically successful Initiative 594. This rally is already supported (and apparently largely spearheaded) by Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, JPFO’s new owner.

This is interesting on two counts.

Why try to undermine the December rally?

First, the Gottlieb-promoted rally is clearly intended to steal thunder (and attendance) from another rally planned for this Saturday, December 13. Saturday’s rally has had tons of support from the day it was announced and will feature Mike Vanderboegh, Sheriff Richard Mack, and Ammon Bundy as speakers.

Gottlieb’s complaint against the December rally seems to be only that the legislature won’t be in session then. (Although the idea that Saturday’s rally is expressly for disobeying the law also seems to set a certain “conservative” element to tsking — as if we should obey tyrants as long as tyranny is imposed by vote.) So, just in advance of the December rally, he sets out to undermine it.

You’d think he would learn. In this year’s state elections, instead of opposing Bloomberg’s ghastly plan with all his efforts, Gottlieb set up his own competing initiative, I-591, and put all his energies — and money — into that.

So a million dollars that could have gone to fighting I-594 went down the drain of I-591 instead. (I-591 lost.)

Yes, you’d think Gottlieb would learn that “divide to win” isn’t good electoral or legislative strategy. Yet Workman’s article drips with contempt for Saturday’s effort and goes out of its way to point out reasons why attendance might be low.

That’s the first count on which the Gottlieb-supported January rally is “interesting.”

Doesn’t Gottlieb understand what JPFO is?

The second count is JPFO’s involvement.

The stated purpose of the January rally is to be “the first 2015 Legislative Rally against I-594 and other bad gun laws.” Note well: it’s a legislative rally. Workman elaborates: “[T]he Jan. 15 rally – when the Legislature will be in town – will allow citizens a chance to personally lobby lawmakers.” Note well: it’s for lobbying. Following the public portion of the rally, citizens will even be escorted to legislators’ offices. Note well: That’s an integral part of the event.

And JPFO is supporting this?

But JPFO is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. It is absolutely forbidden to engage in lobbying or any other form of “political” activity. It cannot oppose or advocate for any specific laws. It can’t take any electoral stance. It’s forbidden by its very nature from even saying something like, “Write to your legislator to demand the repeal of …”

JPFO’s only legal role is educational. It can shout to the rooftops about why the state’s new law is stupid and dangerous and a violation of fundamental rights. But lobby legislators or even encourage others to do so??? Let alone sponsor a rally whose sole, stated purpose is to connect gun owners with legislators. This is totally outside of what the IRS allows JPFO to do. (That link also claims that JPFO has only recently “expanded their mission to include research and education.” Which is as silly as it is bogus. Research and education has been JPFO’s sole mission from the beginning.)

Don’t get me wrong. I think I-594 should be fought with everything Washington state gun owners have to give. I don’t oppose the January rally. Let there be rallies, letters, lobbying, protests, and defiance aplenty until I-594 is stomped into the Pacific Northwest mud. But organizers of the January rally shouldn’t be trying to undermine the December event with the timing of their announcements or their subtle sneers.

And after lying fallow for months following Gottlieb’s take-over (other than continuing daily email alerts, there’s been no sign of activity from JPFO), JPFO’s first public mission should not be to destroy itself by participating in lobbying.

This will only put JPFO in the IRS’s eye and risk destroying everything Aaron Zelman worked to build.

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Blood at 770 (Updated)

Well, that didn’t take long.

Last night at the huge synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a young student was stabbed badly in the side of the face. Levi Rosenblatt is in Serious to Critical condition. His “off his meds” attacker is dead, at the hands of the NYPD.

The attacker had driven in his mother’s car all the way from Long Island earlier in the day, and after acting very odd, asked to leave. He came back at 1:30 in the morning with a kitchen knife.

A blood-stained nine-inch (23 cm) knife is seen after being recovered at the scene of a stabbing at a Brooklyn synagogue

The shul at 770 typically has a couple of cops in a squad car sitting out by the median and a Shomrim (guardians) van around the corner. This facility sees literally thousands of people come and go at all hours of the day and night for study, inspiration, and prayer.

Demographics are such that a dramatically more dangerous neighborhood starts literally two blocks away. So, as the saying goes; “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away”.

I will not criticize the NYPD response. They got there pretty quick, and after prolonged attempts to get the perpetrator to drop the knife, shot him.

A little more problematic is the strangely quick, official Lubavitch spokesperson’s response that “it is not a case of terrorism”. Just a few weeks after the slaughter at Har Nof? An “off his meds” guy drives all the way from Long Island with a kitchen knife to the world headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch chasiddic movement, and stabs a student at 1:30 in the morning? Yeah. Just one of those random things. Like a hangnail. Or, a flat tire. Move along, now. Nothing to see here.

The real lesson here is quite simple. Ultimately, you cannot delegate self-defense. Dying Kiddush Hashem (in sanctification of G-d’s name) is far too big a habit for Jews. We do it all the time. We’re really good at it. We have a backlog of those who have so died good for the next few thousand years, don’t you think?

What better place than Crown Heights, Brooklyn … smack in the middle of New York City … to start reversing this deadly situation? Starting today, quietly arm yourselves. Seek out competent instruction and guidance. Get a shotgun in every home. Learn Krav Maga. Get a knife of your own.  Run the NYC gauntlet and get a handgun.

Yes, I know there are legal and practical impediments, but the real problem is between our ears. Start there.

Update:  Some good news… http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=33163&alias=wounded-770-bochur-wakes-up

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