November 27, 2018
On December 2 through December 10th, we will be celebrating the festival of Channukah, the “Festival of Lights” the miracle of how a small cruse of oil, enough for but one day, lasted for eight; Channukah ,celebrating not the military victory, but the miracle of a Menorah,whose oil gave light well after it should have been consumed. Channukah is the embodiment of the supremacy of right over might ,of the delivery of the strong into the hands of the few, the corrupt into the hands of the poor, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, the arrogant into the hands of the Torah.The prophet Zechariah culminates the entire story of Channukah very succinctly ” Not by force, nor by might, but by my spirit, says the L–d of Hosts.”
I would like to share with you a famous story of General George Washington and a lone Jewish soldier at the Battle of Valley Forge.
It was the winter of 1776 the soldier waits until his fellow comrades are asleep.He removes a small menorah from his back pack and remembers the words of his father who lived in Poland.
“My son when you light the menorah it will illuminate the way for you.”He recited the blessings for the first night of Channukah.
He watched the gentle flame and tears welled up in his eyes, he could not help but remember how his entire family had suffered under the cruel Polish lords.
Many of the American soldiers wanted George Washington to give up, so that the war would end.
He wanted America to win and become a free country, where Jews and all people of the world could live in peace in a free society.
Suddenly he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Why are you crying soldier?Are you cold? It was General George Washington. The soldier sprang up.”I am praying that you should win the war General.
What are all these candles? Asked the General.
These are the candles that all Jews light for eight days in honor of a great miracle!”
George Washington’s face lit up.
“Jew’s are the children of the prophets, and you say we will win.”He shook the soldiers hand and left.
The war came to an end; George Washington led his army to victory.He became Americas first President and the soldier settled in New York.
The next year the first night of Channukah, there was a knock on the veterans door, upon opening it ,he came face to face with George Washington. President Washington entered the small apartment on Broome Street in New York City and told the veteran ,”Behold the wonderful light.The light of hope of the Jewish people”. Washington continued,”It was your menorah and inspiring words that led me to win the war.Soon you will receive the Medal of Honor from the United States of America, together with all the brave men of Valley Forge.But tonight, please accept this medallion”the veteran looked at the medallion and saw an etching of a Channukah Menorah under it was written:” A token of appreciation for the light of your candle.George Washington”
When I came across this story I thought how appropriate it would be to share it with our members on this beautiful festival of lights.
May the radiance of the Channukah Menorah lights, bring abundant health and peace, to you and your dear families.
Build, Defend, Secure!
December 10, 2018
Just this past month The United Nations once again openly declared that Jewish History is a falsehood and terrorism is a justifiable action.
Seventy years after the Holocaust, the ugliness of the distortion of truths continues.
The Book of Kings, -ספר מלכים א, Book 1, describes in vivid detail the official dedication of the Holy Temple-בית המקדש in Jerusalrm by King Solomon-המלך שלמה. This took place 3,000 years ago. Since its destruction by the ancient Babylonians, Jews have mourned because of its demise and hopefully for its rebuilding. In the Jewish calender four separate dates of fasting are observed annually for our Holy Temple’s destruction. There is no nation historically that has this emotional connection to the Holy Land of Israel and Jerusalem as the Jewish People. Yet, the world body refuses to recognise this historical right and continues to inflame terroristic gangs in the name of total lies to resist Israeli-Zionist aggression. How many more people must suffer the consequences of such inflammatory statements?!
The response is the obligation of each Jew to do what he/she can to continue to build the historical home of the Jews. Our brethren who live in Israel truly are the defenders and builders of our beloved historical homeland. Despite the financial burden of maintaining a strong military defense and developing educational institutions that are the envy of the world, Israel is blessed by the commitment of its people to its land. Instead of spending our money in other parts of the world, spend the precious days G-d blesses us by visiting our spiritual birthplace.
Despite everything thrown at us by our enemies throughout history, our commitment to daily prayers and study of our Judaic curriculum has truly produced a nation and people bestowed with miracles.
The fasting of Asara B’Tevet–עשרה בטבת, commemorates the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia—an event that began on that date and ultimately culminated in the destruction of Solomon’s Temple (the First Temple) and the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah (today central Israel).
This year the fast takes place on Tuesday, December 18th.
עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל כָּל יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵּבֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: …
May G-d grant common sense to the UN, peace in Israel, and throughout the world.
Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz
Rockwood Park Jewish Center
National Conference of Shomrim Societies