BS”D Parashat Vayaishev and Chanuka 5780

Rabbi Nachman Kahana


Regime Change of Extreme Proportions


On Chanuka we extol and celebrate two miracles which HaShem had brought about in those times for Am Yisrael: the seemingly impossible military victory over the super-power Greece and the miracle of the oil in the Bet Hamikdash. However, it appears to me that we are missing the real implications of the holiday: the regime change from the Greco-Hellenistic governmental agenda and values to a proactive Torah regime of king, kohen gadol and Bet Hamikdash which returned to center stage in the life of the Jewish nation in the holy land.

The prohibition of Torah study, brit mila and other essential elements in our religious life was repealed and we were now free to worship HaShem openly.

I will return to this be”h.


A Wise Man is Superior to a Prophet

The Gemara (Bava Batra 12a) states:

חכם עדיף מנביא


In the rating of Jewish achievement, a wise man is superior to a prophet.

A prophet becomes aware of a yet unknown idea or future incident not through his mental faculties, but via an intuitive message from the upper world projected through his soul; whereas a person of wisdom can achieve the same information and knowledge through his logic, and continue from there via cause and effect to more far reaching and penetrating realities.

The basic assumption of the wise man is that what is happening at the present time is never the real story. Just as a chess match where the present positions of the pieces are not the real story but rather the unseen thoughts of the competitors and their preparations for the next 20 moves ahead of what is now being exhibited by the fleeting reality on the board.

Case in point: in our parasha Ya’akov after concluding a near century of challenges believes that now he can rest on his laurels and take life easy; but little did he know the future roller coaster life that HaShem has planned for him and his family. Had the wise Ya’akov taken the time he could have realized that the fragmentation within the family and sibling rivalry would eventually lead to the distancing of Yosef and eventual descent to Egypt for 210 years. But Ya’akov at that point in time sought to escape life’s challenges in order to delve into the spiritual side of Eretz Yisrael after being away for over 20 years.

Another example of where HaShem is many steps ahead of what is perceived as reality. Last week the British people voted for the pro-Israel conservative Boris Johnson over the outward anti-Semite of the Labor party, Jeremy Corbyn.

I was hoping that Corbyn would win thus causing many thousands of British Jews to leave, with many coming here on aliya. I was a bit disappointed when Corbyn lost so the Jews there can now sigh with relief and remain loyal citizens to the Crown.

Then it dawned on me that HaShem has a plan much more inclusive than my short-sighted understanding. Johnson is for Brexit which will create major shock waves in the European Union eventually bringing it to its long-awaited demise. HaShem is now punishing Christian Europe for what they perpetrated against our people for 2000 years and their anti-Semitic anti-Israel policies.

HaShem’s wider view is to punish the continent of Aisav until it slips under the waves of the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans.

To return to our own Medina and what is transpiring before our eyes: the two Binyamins (i.e., Netanyahu and Gantz) cannot sit together and this is worrisome in view of the internal and external objective and subjective difficulties that face the Medina.

We might be witnessing a Chanuka replay where there will be a regime change of extreme proportions. In the times of the Macabim the national agenda was an import of gentile values. It was Grecian values where the emphasis was on aesthetics and the human body and its desires. There is a parallel in today’s national agenda and value system in Israel. Democracy equates all citizens as being equal in rights and responsibilities. The classic Torah view is that Jews and non-Jews cannot be equal because we were chosen by HaShem and the gentiles were not. A Torah society is built on apartheid where the laws and privileges are orientated to favor the Jews while gentiles have only limited rights. It does not sound good to the western ear, but we must recall that geographically and culturally we are not east, nor are we west; we are in a unique status.

Torah Judaism cannot share Eretz Yisrael with any non-Jew. The truth is that sooner or later we shall merit to see a return of the Chanuka revolution where modern day hedonism and Hellenism will be replaced by the God of Yisrael.

This could be the God-sent opportunity for us to break out of the paralyzing Hellenistic bubble that stands between us and the age-old Torah values we received at Mount Sinai.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana

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