Hanukah: Cement the Victory of the Maccabees by Buying Land in Israel

JOEL YOSEF BUSNER

JOEL YOSEF BUSNER

Director, Buy a Piece of Israel

We’re Always the Few Against the Many

I’m sorry to break the news to some of my fellow Jews in the Diaspora, but Adam Sandler’s various renditions of his Hanukah song are irrelevant to authentic Judaism, even if some of his lines are considered to be humorous by his many fans.  Hanukah and what brought about Hanukah is not funny.  It’s not about seeing who could put up the brightest lights to compete with Christian neighbors.  It’s not about Hanukah bushes and other nonsensical comparisons between Judaism and Christianity. 

At the time of Matityahu and his son Judah, the influence of the Greek idol worshipping culture was causing serious assimilation in the Land of Israel.  Many Jewish leaders had fallen under its influence.  The rebellion by the Maccabees was against both the Greeks and the Hellenists, those who were born Jewish but nevertheless embraced the dominating Greek culture of that time.

Are we Celebrating the Extended Burning of the Oil for 8 days or the War Victory?

When the Rabbis wrote ”Al Hanisim” (About the miracles) which we recite every day during Hanuka, it does not mention the oil lasting for 8 days instead of only 1 day which was all the oil they had.  The main theme is the “rabim b’yad m’atime” meaning, the many (Greeks) who fell in battle to the few (Jews).  The miracle of the oil represents the idea that G-d controls everything including nature, so that a little oil if G-d wills it, can last a lot longer. 

The greatest significance is that the Maccabees were a small minority within the Jewish community.  In other words, a minority within a minority.  These heroes realized that things could not continue with forced assimilation including sacrificing of un-kosher animals.  It wasn’t enough for them to learn and pray knowing that the Nation was suffering irreparable damage.  They showed real emunah (belief) and stood up and took on the superpower of those days.  History repeats itself.

History Has a Way of Repeating Itself

Most people agree that the Holocaust was the darkest time in Jewish history.  In the middle of the atrocities and total humiliation of Europe’s Jewish population, a rag tag group of fighters took on the Nazis in the middle of Warsaw.  This was to be known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  Most of the Jewish fighters died, but they took the lives of many of Hitler’s best soldiers.  At the beginning after one victorious street battle, they raised the flag of Israel in the middle of the ghetto.  They lost, but they had already lit the flame.

Beginning with the chalutzim (pioneers) and with the help of some large benefactors, Jews started buying up lands in the Holy land more than 100 years ago.  They drained swamps and irrigated deserts and the land began to bloom again as in the days of old.  Yet the British wouldn’t allow the Jews to establish their state on our ancient homeland and the Arabs were given carte blanche by the British to harass the Jews.

The Jewish leadership in British controlled Palestine were content to make deals with the British, even if it meant no Jews being saved from the gas chambers by being admitted to the Land of Israel.  Yet there were 2 smaller groups, the Stern group known as the Lehi, and the National Liberation Movement led by Menachem Begin a disciple of Vladimir Zev Jabotinsky.  These ‘new’ Jews were really a throwback to the days of the Maccabees.  These modern day heroes were ready to sacrifice their personal freedoms and their lives with the objective of freeing the land of Israel from the dictatorial administration of the British and establish the State of Israel.  Again we witnessed the few against the many, the weak against the strong, and again we prevailed.

And Today?

The Arab countries surrounding the tiny State of Israel attempted several times to destroy the fledging Jewish State.  They failed each time.  Again the few against the many.  However, our enemies became smarter, more cunning.  Now the Ishmaelite neighbors in conjunction with the UN (United against Israel) and the European Union, go out of their way to force Israel into land concessions.  As the State of Israel has developed and average incomes have risen, manual labor jobs have seen less Jews in these vocations and more non-Jews.  The result?  The Arabs living in Judea and Samaria have taught their cousins in the Galilee in Israel’s north and the Bedouin in the Negev in Israel’s south.  The lesson is the value of working the land.  They plant more and more olive trees then claim the land is theirs.  Then they build without permits in between their olive groves furthering their claim to the Holy Land.  Now they are progressing to the point where Jewish heirs to agricultural lands who don’t work in agriculture, gladly take inflated prices from Arab purchasers who are only too willing to pay them for it.  If this strategy will continue unchecked, we will wake up with a burgeoning State within our State.

Now it’s up to us

While only 7% of the land in the State of Israel is private, that can change with pressure, with lobbying.  In the meantime, much of that land is in the Galilee and we have been pushing our project of Avoda Ivrit (Jewish labor) in the agricultural fields for the last 10 years.  Every time a Jew purchases private land in Israel and employs Jewish workers to manage the fruit trees according to Halacha (Jewish law), Jewish sovereignty is strengthened.  The equation is simple: Jews buying land in Israel equals increased Jewish sovereignty in Israel. 

Our predecessors have done the harder job.  They have fought for this land.  Many have been permanently maimed and many have died.  We have been given the opportunity to continue the legacy.  Who are we?  Certainly not the Jews who are only looking for huge financial gains.  Certainly not the assimilated Jews who don’t care about Israel or the future of the Jewish People.  Certainly not the Leftist wackos who join with the haters of Israel by supporting BDS, Antifa, etc.  No, not them.  We are the ones who feel a sharp pain in our stomachs when another Jew gets stabbed for the sin of simply being a Jew.  We are the Jews who see a pool of blood from a mass shooting of Jews in Pittsburgh and feel hurt and anger and pledge, “Never again!”  It is Jews like us who felt the pangs of rebirth in our hearts and began purchasing land decades before the State of Israel became a reality.  It is Jews like you who understand the mitzvoth earned by buying land in Israel and working that land as in the days of old with all Jewish labor.  The generation that preceded us sacrificed everything to establish a State of Israel.  Now it’s up to this generation to ensure that it remains ours hands.  Support our soldiers, houses of learning, and continue buying land in Israel.   Happy Hanukah!

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