Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

The tallest menorah, like a modern Tower of Babel, isn’t kosher

Our teachers are very clear. G^d put us in this world to join with Him in completing the works of Creation. We should both complete the human being (circumcision and morally) and remove all suffering from it.

The Jewish idea of serving G^d is not that of the idol-worshipper, to flatter, bribe and please a disgruntled god, Heaven forbid. It’s rather, to humbly team up with Him and He knows we can. The very opposite is to try and outdo Him. To try to tower over Him and dwarf His name as the All-powerful. The sin of the building of the Tower of Babel.

Messianic fans of the Menorah at Fifth Ave and the one in Sedorot claim now that theirs is the tallest in the world, standing at 36 feet. (Competition (the Olympics) is a Greek pastime and goes against the Jewish spirit). But ten meters is already too tall for making the blessing, fulfilling our holy obligation or spreading the news of the Miracle of Chanukah.

And therefore, it’s ironic to see how an overstatement of the Commandment on Jews to light a menorah for Chanukah is nullified by unlearned parties who erected such gigantic menorahs that lighting them with a blessing would be a serious sin and does not fulfill the Commandment because the lights are too high above the ground.

In typical fashion, disrespecting the special role that Jews got to play in this world, Christians for Israel director Roger van Oordt wrote in overblown fashion: Amid “constant threat from rockets, we want to bring the light of the Menorah.” That is such chutzpah. Only Jews can bring the light of Chanukah. Self-identified friends of the Jews who cannot restrict their association with us to being humbly helpful are not helping Redemption. Their implicit lack of respect for Jews is prolonging our darkness.

***

I did not find one YouTube clip where all the words of the blessings are said in proper Hebrew pronunciation. Here is how to do it. The underlined ah is pronounced oh by Ashkenazics and the underlined t as an s; the o is pronounced by German Jews as ou, by US Ashkenazim as oa and by Chassidic Jews as oy:

One lights the extra candle.

One says: Baruch attah Addonai Elloheinu Mellech haolam, asher kiddǝshanu bǝmitz-votav, vǝtzivanu lǝhadlik neir [shel] Channukah.

Baruch attah Addonai Elloheinu Mellech haolam, she’asah nisim la’avoteinu bahyamim haheim bazzǝman hazzeh.

Only on the first night one lights: Baruch attah Addonai Elloheinu Mellech haolam, she’hechehyanu vǝkiyǝmanu vǝhigiannu lazzǝman hazzeh.

Now you light the candle the most to your left first.

If there are more candles to light than one, one always lights with the extra candle and not with one of the candles for each of the days.

These holy blessings are not songs. It’s better to make the blessings drily but correctly than to sing them nicely but wrongly. There is plenty to sing afterward.

These are popular faulty pronunciations: B’ruch Baruch Adnai Addǝnai Ellohyeinu Melleh-cha‘olam kidshanu bǝmitz-votah-vǝtzivanu shannukah hannukah lavoteinu bǝyamim bazman bǝzǝman bǝzman ubizman she’echehyanu shechehyanu vǝkimanu vǝhigiyannu lazman.

***

To really have the best Chanukah ever, we need to welcome Jonathan Pollard to Israel. President Trump, what is taking you so long?

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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