Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shemitah, Continued


I have to say that when I first read about the laws of Shemitah, I did not realize that there is a uniform year of Shemitah for every one. I simply assumed that each landowner’s shemitah falls on a different year. Farmer A could have his shemitah in 2007, where farmer B would have his Shemitah year in 2008.

I was stunned to learn that Shemitah year all falls in the same year! There is no place in the Torah that requires that Shemitah years be synchronized. Why then do we do this?

Would it not make more sense if Shemitah years were staggered so that at a given time only a maximum of 1/7th of the land would be at rest? This way, the land of Israel would not have to starve (or rely on imports of food) for a year every seven years. Actually, Israel, if it were completely under the rule of the Shemitah would suffer for 2 out of 7 seven years in that it takes a year to sow and reap.

Can anyone come up with a reason (other than simple tradition) for why staggered shemitah years would be against Halacha?
Similarly, it occurs to me that we as Jews have abandoned the so-called "jubilee" year. This year apparently occurs every seven Shemitah cycles (ie. every 49 years). Here, all leased land reverts to the original owner. I think, in a classic cop-out, where the rabbis, deciding that Jubilee years are decidedly bad and impractical, declared that the year of Jubilee is unknown, AND THEREFORE SHOULD BE IGNORED! If this is not an example of outrageous cynicism, I do not know what is! It would be as if the rabbis declared that it is not possible to measure exactly what time Shabbat begins, SO LET'S IGNORE SHABBAT!
Dear reader, does this make any sense?

30 comments:

Robin said...

Just because we think we know the reason for a Mitzva does not mean that we actually do so. You are assuming that the reason to keep shemittah is to give the land a rest. That may be one good aspect from keeping shemittah but nowhere does it say in the Torah that that is why we keep shemittah. In fact the Torah does not give reasons for keeping commandments except in one or two places like honor you Mother and Father so that you will live a long life. A commandment is something one keeps w/o knowing the reason why.

As far as Yovel, we do not know who is a member of which tribe and which is the inheritance of each person. They say that the Messiah will reveal that. In today's era of modern genetics it is conceivable that this technology of determining who belongs to which tribe is closer than we think. No one is ignoring Yoveil it's just recognizing that we are missing a few important pieces of information that is keeping us from observing it. Once we obtain that information, i.e. who belongs to which tribe and whose rightful inheritance is whose, we will have one big large scale disengagements not not accompanied by tears and destruction but rather by joy and happiness at fulfilling G-d's commandments.

badrabbi said...

Robin: Just because we think we know the reason for a Mitzva does not mean that we actually do so.
Bad: I agree with you.
Robin: You are assuming that the reason to keep shemittah is to give the land a rest.
Bad: I am not making such an assumption. I am wondering why you might think so. Tell me why you feel that I am making this, albeit reasonable, assumption.
Robin: That may be one good aspect from keeping shemittah but nowhere does it say in the Torah that that is why we keep shemittah.
Bad: I agree.
Robin: In fact the Torah does not give reasons for keeping commandments except in one or two places like honor you Mother and Father so that you will live a long life.
Bad: Again I agree. I am wondering where we are going with this.
Robin: A commandment is something one keeps w/o knowing the reason why.
Bad: A commandment is an order. Sometimes the reasons for a given order are known and sometimes they are not. So?

Robin, you have spent one paragraph telling me that the reason for the shemitah is not known. I agree. However, I do not see what your point is. How does this relate to my assertion?

Robin: As far as Yovel, we do not know who is a member of which tribe and which is the inheritance of each person.
Bad: You are saying that since we do not know the ‘original’ owner of a given property, then this gives us justification to ignore the Jubilee year. Please note the following; On the Jubilee year, these are the requirements:
1. The land must not be sown and must be laid fallow. This would be in the 50th year. Remember that in the 49th year, there is a shemitah. Thus, God is asking the Jews not to plant anything in their land for 2 years in the Jubilee cycle.
2. All slaves must be freed.
3. All land, which is leased and not sold, would revert to its original owner family.
4. All land reverts to its original clan.

The above clearly is derived from the Torah (Lev 25:8). Your objection applies possibly to the fourth requirement. Since we do know which Jew is from which tribe, it is difficult to ascribe the assigned lands according to the clan. However, it does not stop the other requirements.
In fact, throughout history, you would note that the Jews abandoned all the requirements. Thus, when the Jews returned from Babylon and reinstated that Beth Hamighdash, they essentially ignored the Jubilee requirements. They did not release the slaves and did not treat land as leased. Rather, land was purchased, in direct contravention to the Torah.
Robin: They say that the Messiah will reveal that.
Bad: Robin, I have a previous post on the Messiah, and I encourage you to read it. Additionally, god willing, my next post will be on the Messiah. You will see that such statements are absurdities that will not come true.
Robin: In today's era of modern genetics it is conceivable that this technology of determining who belongs to which tribe is closer than we think.
Bad: Maybe. In the mean time, we can observe the other requirements of Jubilee. We should rest the land 2 years in the 50th years. Additionally, we must revert all land to the original owner every 50 years. At the very least, we must ban the ‘purchasing’ of land, requiring instead that they be leased for the balance of the jubilee period.
Robin: No one is ignoring Yoveil
Bad: I do wonder what really ignoring something would be like!
Robin: It's just recognizing that we are missing a few important pieces of information that is keeping us from observing it.
Bad: See above
Robin: Once we obtain that information, i.e. who belongs to which tribe and whose rightful inheritance is whose, we will have one big large scale disengagements not not accompanied by tears and destruction but rather by joy and happiness at fulfilling G-d's commandments.
Bad: Robin you know well the consequences of such reversion of land. You know well, or at least you should know, why this law is ignored. It is as if the rabbis realized how burdensome such a requirement is and thus conveniently did away with it.

Holy Hyrax said...

There is no place in the torah that says the shmittah should be staggered either. Reading the plain text, it should be obvious that it mean't everyone as a nation does this commandment together.

badrabbi said...

Holy;

Here is what the Torah says: (Lev 25:1)

1 And HaShem spoke unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying:

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto HaShem.

3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the produce thereof.

4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath unto HaShem; thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.

5 That which groweth of itself of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, and the grapes of thy undressed vine thou shalt not gather; it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.

6 And the sabbath-produce of the land shall be for food for you: for thee, and for thy servant and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant and for the settler by thy side that sojourn with thee;

7 and for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be for food.

It is true as you say that the Torah does not talk about staggering the shemitah year. But it is also true that it does not talk about having the shemitah in the same year. So, since it does not require synchrony of shemitah, I do not see why it should happen all at once.

If a corporation allows 4 weeks of vacation for its employees, would it make any sense to have all the employees take their vacations all at once? Would it not make more sense to take the vacations at staggered intervals so that the company not shut down?

Holy Hyrax said...

Because this is something for the entire nation to do together. Its also much easier to control that way. Imagine thousands of people picking their own time. It would be hard to tell who is actually doing it and who is not. Also, its easier when it comes to the jubilee. Cause if everyone picked their own time, each year (and month) it would have to be checked that debts and land are given back.

badrabbi said...

Holy: Because this is something for the entire nation to do together.

Bad: true

Holy: Its also much easier to control that way. Imagine thousands of people picking their own time. It would be hard to tell who is actually doing it and who is not.

Bad: Ok, so from an enforcement standpoint, it is easier if shemitah year was synchronous. But, remember that Shemitah is not really a law of nations, but rather a Torah law. The consequence of its violation is punishment dished out by God, and you would agree that God should have no problems checking who has and who has not observed shemitah.

Holy: Also, its easier when it comes to the jubilee.

Bad: Considering that the Jubilee is currently totally ignored, then, by definition, any other system, at worst, would be equal to the current system!

Holy Hyrax said...

>But, remember that Shemitah is not really a law of nations, but rather a Torah law

Ok, but you would still have a standing beit din enforcing it. Any torah law for that matter. Also, since the punishment for this sort of law is exile, it is something that the entire nation has to committ to together.

Robin said...

There are some givens:

Given: There is a Written Law as well as an Oral Law (Torah Shebichtav and Torah Shebaal Peh)
Torah Shebaal Peh, and all the commentaries agree that Shemittah is once every seven years. Not staggared. Apparently you have rejected Oral Law and you are forced to come up with your own individual halacha.

Oral Tradition is not only necessary but an integral part of the Torah. The song Od Yeshama Beaarei Yehudah, It will be heard in the cities of Judea the voice of joy and happiness, the voice of the Chatan and the Kallah. These are the voices of Torah ShebaalPeh joined in union with Torah Shebichtav. The Halacha will be in sync with the Torah Shebichtav. For this we need a Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. We need a return of the Holy Temple. We need to return to bringing sacrifices. Step by step. In our day we don't even know which is the Yovel year exactly. When there is a Sanhedrin in place the people are obligated to listen to their halacha that is based on the Written Law and not deviate right or left. We are also not allowed to add to the Torah. If as you suggest individuals would staggar working the land, one would then be adding his/her own commandment to the Torah. It would create havoc.

badrabbi said...

Holy,

The entire nation can commit to the Shemitah together, but at different schedules. It would be like all males become adults at 13 years of age, but staggered according to their birthdate.

You are too worried about enforcement. I can think of many ways that a beth deen can come up with ways to monitor farmers. Speaking of enforcement, when was the last time a farmer was sent to exile because of shemitah regulations? Exactly, so stop worrying about it!

badrabbi said...

"Torah Shebaal Peh, and all the commentaries agree that Shemittah is once every seven years. Not staggared. Apparently you have rejected Oral Law and you are forced to come up with your own individual halacha."

I agree that the there aught to be a shemitah according to the Torah. I do not see, however, where the prohibition against staggering comes about. Why not staggered?

Why do you consider it "adding" to the Torah if I want to stagger the Shemitah years? There is certainly no prohibition against doing so in the Torah. It never says that all shemitah should occur simultaneously.

Let me give you an analogy. The Torah states that on the afternoon before Passover is to being, we are to slaughter the peschel lamb. Nevermind for the moment that as usual we have ignored this commandment. Realize that in the days that this was being done, they slaughter of the lambs were being staggered. They were not slaughtering the lambs at the exact moment. This would have been impractical. The Torah did not insist on this, as long as the lambs were being slaughtered that day. Similarly, as long as a given land is given rest every 7 years, why does that have to occur at the same exact year? If the Torah wanted to stress this, it would have said so, no?

Holy Hyrax said...

>Speaking of enforcement, when was the last time a farmer was sent to exile because of shemitah regulations?

Well thats my point entirely. Its not about the individual. Its about the nation. Something as severe as exile only exists if a nation as a whole rejects certain laws.

And even if you CAN think of ways to enforce it, thats still not relevant. Its a law for the nation to do together. Its not something personal like a bar mitzvah is. Its a law for everyone to work together, and let the land rest together. This is not that complicated. Having everyone doing it when they see fit is more problematic than everyone together.

Holy Hyrax said...

>They were not slaughtering the lambs at the exact moment. This would have been impractical. The Torah did not insist on this, as long as the lambs were being slaughtered that day. Similarly, as long as a given land is given rest every 7 years, why does that have to occur at the same exact year? If the Torah wanted to stress this, it would have said so, no?

Your analogy fails you. The lambs are STILL slaughtered on THAT day. It's NOT staggered just because your neighbors do it an hour later. The land needs to be given rest TOGETHER as a nation. These are one of those few laws everyone experiences together, like a pilgrimage. Does the Torah say for you to come at a SPECIFIC hour? No. But does that mean its staggered? ofcourse not.

Same with shimmitah. Its a 7 year cycle that the ENTIRE ERETZ rests, and not some little plot of land here and there.

BrooklynWolf said...

Badrabbi,

It's plainly obvious from a simple reading that it's talking about the entire nation observing Shmitta at the same time, much like the entire nation observes Shabbos at the same time.

You can argue that it's a bad system, but you're just being obtuse by insisting that the plain meaning is that you can observe it any year you want.

The Wolf

badrabbi said...

BrooklynWolf;

First, thanks for your comments. I always value your read on things.

Second, that a nationwide synchronous Shemitah is a bad system is self evident. The entire nation has nothing to eat on the seventh and eighth year. The system is so bad that Hashem has to interfere and perform a miracle to sustain the institution: (Leviticus 25:21) “then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years.”

In other words, God has to rig the system such that the land would produce three years’ supply of food so that people could sustain themselves in the Shemitah system. This is clearly a bad system! Incidentally, and as an aside, one can set up an experiment so that out put of farms can be measured and compared in the year preceding the Shemitah with other years. If it is in fact true that the land produces 3 times as much as other years, well then God’s promise is true. If not, then not! But I digress….

Wolf, I think you are quite correct that the Jewish nation synchronized the Shemitah year. I am not ‘obtuse’ enough to claim that it did not. However, what I am saying is that the ‘plain word’ of the Torah does not in fact prescribe that Shemitah be celebrated all at once. As I read the Torah, all that it requires is that a given plot of land be sown and tilled for six years, and a sabbatical given the seventh year. I am not seeing where the Torah is ‘plainly’ saying that staggering this practice is proscribed. If you see it, please point it out to me.

Remember that there are other systems that stagger the sabbaticals. For example, university professors have sabbatical rights that they exercise, provided that not all the faculty exercises it at the same time.

In the end, if one had the choice of national starvation versus a staggered Shemitah, which would be better?

Robin said...

When I was in seminary years ago, Rabbi Rakefet taught us about Oral Law. He described the process of when oral law is accepted. As I remember correctly he used the hebrew word Gibush which means solidify. Let's assume there is a difference of Rabbinic opinion. Over time the population will decide the way to go based on the different halachot. The halacha will then be solidified or accepted by the community in a particular manner over a period of time. I agree with brooklyn wolf regarding the simple reading of the text. It's quite clear that it's referring to keeping Shemittah everyone at the same time. There is no precedent in halachic discussion of any staggering and as holy says it is something the entire nation must do together. It is a communal experience and the closest we have to a socialist experience. It is the spirit of Shabbat which is communal by its essence.

One is not free to interpret the Torah according to his/her rational. Yet Shemittah is one Mitzvah which is like going on the frontier. We don't know where it will lead us. Staggering theory however seems out in left field.

badrabbi said...

Robin,

Admittedly, as I am learning more and more about Shemitah, it is becoming clear to me that the idea of staggering it is new. I even agree that it is from 'left field' in the sense that it has not, to my knowledge, been encountered before. Granted!

However, take this idea as a new one. analyze it. Deal with it not as a strange concept, but as a new one. What is wrong with it? Staggering Shemitah will

1. Ensure that 6/7th of the nation will continue to produce food necessary for the 7/7th of Israeli Jews.

2. The poor and needy will not have only a 1 in 7 year opportunity to eat. Instad, at any one time, they can go to various plots of land in order not to starve.

3. Whole Israeli industries engaged in export of food and stock will not go bankrupt whe faced with the upcoming Shemitah.


For these and other reasons, it is necessary to rethink Shemitah.

Now, Robin, you say that the concept of a synchronous Shemitah is in the Oral law. I have to say that I am studying the Talmud but by no means am I an expert on it. Can you please direct me to the passages of the Talmud dealing with the Shemitah? Specifically, can you please quote the passages of the Talmud that require the synchrony of the Shemitah? Thanks in advance.

Holy Hyrax said...

>“then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years.”

Its not that its a bad system, but its obvious the people need to eat right? So God is basically saying "Don't worry, I will take care of you, just you as a nation commit to this law"

I for one do not think its realisitic, it's obvious that chazal had to alter this abit to deal with new realizations

badrabbi said...

"Its not that its a bad system, but its obvious the people need to eat right? So God is basically saying "Don't worry, I will take care of you, just you as a nation commit to this law"

Yes, this is God's promise. Alas, he does not seem to have kept his promise!

Holy Hyrax said...

how do you figure? Are people starving?

badrabbi said...

No, people are not starving in Israel at this point, because:

1. Many farmers do not observe Shemitah.

2. Food is being imported to Israel.

3. Under some Fruzbal like non-sense, Arabs are hired to sow and till the land.

Are any of the above pallatable to you?

Holy Hyrax said...

Fine, then where does this comment of yours play in?:

>
"Alas, he does not seem to have kept his promise"


>Under some Fruzbal like non-sense, Arabs are hired to sow and till the land.

Why nonsense? I don't understand, when something does not change to meet the new demands of current life, skeptics point to how wrong OJ is. When something IS perhaps reinterpreted to meet current situations, they say its nonsense. You have to decide, do you want a recharge working system or not? If its to work, it has to be reinterepreted (like any body of law) to meet the new demands.

badrabbi said...

Holy,

Regarding God's noy keeping his promise, I am referring to his promise to provide a three fold increase in production of the land on the year before shemita.

Regarding fruzball, there is a big difference between interpretation of something versus interpretation to the point of negation.

Robin said...

My comments are surrounded with ( ) The GoodRabbi's are surrounded with ><
>that a nationwide synchronous Shemitah is a bad system is self evident. The entire nation has nothing to eat on the seventh and eighth year. The system is so bad that Hashem has to interfere and perform a miracle to sustain the institution: (Leviticus 25:21) “then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years.”

In other words, God has to rig the system such that the land would produce three years’ supply of food so that people could sustain themselves in the Shemitah system. This is clearly a bad system! <

-----------------------------
(GoodRabbi, I would paraphrase this last sentence to read "In my limited understanding as a human being it seems to me that this is a bad system".

We are humans. The Torah is divine. Our limited capabilites do not allow us to understand it all. If we believe that the Torah is divine than we would not judge it as "bad". The Torah is Emes Truth.

My son this past Chanukah told us a Dvar Torah This was part of it. The miracle was perceived because the oil burned for more then one day. That was clearly a miracle. A miracle makes one think of nature. It forces us to think about how things operate in its natural form. G-d is able to change Nature because G-d created Nature and is therefore able to circumvent nature. Nature is a miraculous but taken for granted. Shabbat brings us to recognize that all that we have is from G-d and not from our own power and strength. Your suggestions for staggering are indeed logical if the purpose is to feed the hungry or to give the land a rest. Those are both worthwhile endeavors. Very humanistic. But it will not serve to teach you that it is G-d that runs the world and that you will eat even if you do not work the Land. It will not equalize poor and rich. In the staggared system the poor still feels poor and the rich still feels rich. G-d promises that you will not starve. The Knowledge that all comes from G-d, even what we take for granted is the message of Shemittah. Also we will learn that we are interdependant on communal sharing and goodness which results from keeping G-d commandments. Miracles may occur but not exactly by measuring produce as you suggest. As for G-d not keeping His promises, we believe that G-d is capable of keeping his promise and will keep His promises. That is the message of the rainbow after the deluge. So if G-d doesn't appear to keep a promise apparently He has a good reason not to. Perhaps G-d is waiting for the entire Jewish population to keep the Mitzvah of Shemittah before it is obvious to all. If it would be too obvious than that would take away from the freedom of choice for all those people that are waiting to see the reward before they keep the Mitzva. Why would they even deserve a reward for keeping the Mitzva. One is rewarded for their faith. Abraham waited till he was 100 to have a baby and never lost his faith. Then he even was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac all the time keeping his faith that somehow G-d would keep His promise. G-d came through with flying colors. It is my belief and I have read of reports in this weeks Mishpach Magazine that support this belief, that those that kept Shemittah in the past cycles do see personal blessings in the sixth year and seventh year. These blessings are not obvious to all but are obvious to them. )

>Now, Robin, you say that the concept of a synchronous Shemitah is in the Oral law. I have to say that I am studying the Talmud but by no means am I an expert on it. Can you please direct me to the passages of the Talmud dealing with the Shemitah? Specifically, can you please quote the passages of the Talmud that require the synchrony of the Shemitah? Thanks in advance.<

Good Rabbi,
(I have almost no personal knowledge of the Talmud so I can not help you on this one. Someone more knowledgeable will be able to do so. But for the reasons cited above I don't see how a staggared Shemittah will accomplish what a synchronous Shemittah would. Talmud Yerushalmi and Talmud Bavli were written after the Destruction of the Temples. Talmud Bavli, the Talmud traditionally studied in the Diaspora was geared to the Jews in the Diaspora and would have limited sections on the Commandments that are dependant on the Land of Israel. I would suggest you study Mishneh Seder Zeraim visit http://www.come-and-hear.com/talmud/zeraim.html and the Talmud Yerushalmi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_Talmud

The following paragraphs were taken from the above link.

Although the Jerusalem Talmud doesn't comment upon some Mishnah tractates, the Bavli doesn't treat it in full either. Whereas a Babylonian Gemara exists only for 37 out of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah, the Yerushalmi covers all the tractates of Zeraim. The reason might be that most laws from the Orders Zeraim (agricultural laws limited to the land of Israel) and Toharot (ritual purity laws related to the Temple and sacrificial system) had little practical relevance in Babylonia and were therefore not included.

The Jerusalem Talmud has a greater focus on the Land of Israel and the Torah's agricultural laws pertaining to the land because it was written in the Land of Israel where the laws applied.

You might wish to obtain
Schottenstein Talmud Yerushalmi - English Edition - Tractate Shevi'is Volume 1 and Volume 2))

badrabbi said...

Robin: GoodRabbi, I would paraphrase this last sentence to read "In my limited understanding as a human being it seems to me that this is a bad system".

Bad: Thanks for calling me "goodRabbi"! Fine, it should read as you say. You must understand though, that anything I say, anything WE say, including the rabbis of old and of new, are said with a human understanding. We can only talk and opine as humans.

badrabbi said...

Robin;

Regarding the muravke of lights of Chanukah, where you state: " The miracle was perceived because the oil burned for more then one day. That was clearly a miracle."

I am wondering how have you come to understand that this was 'clearly' a miracle. Have you read the previous blog on Chanukah?

badrabbi said...

Robin;

You say in your last comment that "I have almost no personal knowledge of the Talmud so I can not help you on this one.". Yet you previously accused me of not knowing or ignoring the Talmud.

To my knowledge, the staggering of shemitah is neither against the Torah or the Talmud. If you or any one knows otherwise, I encourage him/her to share.

Holy Hyrax said...

You bring up a good point regarding the commandment being negated.

But I still believe you are way off the issue with the staggering. From the plain meaning of the text we get that it is a function of the nation to do together as well as a yovell to be be celebrated together.

Robin said...

Re:Chanukah. Military might is not so important for the Jew. It's great when there is a military miracle but the IDF had that in 1967. There were constant miracles in that war. The IDF portrays their might and their strength to this wonderful miraculous victory. Kochi VeOtzem Yadi, my strength and my power brought us the victory. The soldiers of the 6th Day War know the real story. Don't believe the propoganda of the IDF. It was miracles and not military might. Yes, there was a military victory but it was not because of human strength. It was because of Divine Miracles. If we would just celebrate the military victory of Chanukah, the Bad Leaders will attribute it to simply might and their power. Yet the ones that know the truth and saw the reality know that it was because of Divine Miracles. So in order for the Good Rabbi's to win over the Bad Leaders who take all the credit, they decided to celebrate the miracle that could not have been mistaken for might and power. Shemittah as well has the purpose to show that it is G-d that rules the world, it is G-d that gives us our food and it is G-d that fights our battles. Assimilation was our downfall and the purity of our Torah was the victory. Unfortunately it was short lived, but for that brief moment in history we recall that special miracle of Chanukah where the light prevailed over the darkness and G-d's light was revealed to all.

Re: The Talmud. The Talmud is one phase of the evolution of the Oral Law in History. The written Law is static. The Oral Law is G-d's way to help the generation interpret the written law. The process of what is accepted over a period of time determines the accepted practice of the law. There are different opinions of how to observe the various commandments. Each opinion based on the Torah bring with it its own special perspective. Each opinion is of value and there is no right and wrong. There will be followers of this opinion and followers of that opinion and their children will love each other and marry and evolve their own direction based on the teachings of their ancestors and their teachers. That is the beauty of the Oral Law. The Oral Law is the tradition passed from Father to Son. If the Miracle of the lights prevail, then it is meant to be rather than the military might of the Maccabbees. Those Maccabbees knew it wasn't their military might that helped them win the war. They knew it was G-d. This was truth, the reality. Perhaps those that wrote the Book of Maccabees were the IDF of that Generation. Too much Propaganda. Perhaps precisely for this reason it wasn't considered a holy book. But then again, if you choose to believe the propaganda no one will convince you otherwise.

badrabbi said...

Robin: Re:Chanukah. Military might is not so important for the Jew.

Badrabbi: Don’t know about you, but it is very important to many Jews, not least of whom are the innocent souls who reside in Israel, who are daily protected by the Arab onslaught.

Robin: It's great when there is a military miracle but the IDF had that in 1967.

BadRabbi: Great Indeed!

Robin: There were constant miracles in that war.

Badrabbi: I would like for you to give me objective evidence about any miracle (forget ‘constant miracle’, I want ONE objective demonstration). I would appreciate your taking emotion out of your assertion, and simply give me objective evidence of a miracle. Please do not tell me of the valiant efforts of our IDF soldiers, because of the latter there is no doubt. I want evidence of miracles.

Robin: The IDF portrays their might and their strength to this wonderful miraculous victory.

Badrabbi: As well they should as their might, strength and courage is a source of much Jewish pride.

Robin: Kochi VeOtzem Yadi, my strength and my power brought us the victory. The soldiers of the 6th Day War know the real story. Don't believe the propaganda of the IDF.

Bad: What, rabbinic propaganda is more appetizing? I should abandon IDF’s record for the supernatural nonsense that the religious right offers?

Robin: It was miracles and not military might.

Bad: This is a very definitive statement. Again, I beg of you to show me your evidence for such a strong statement. Why do you choose to cheapen the effort and sacrifices of our young men and women who sacrificed their lives and their well being to give us this victory? Why do you rather give credit to an entity whom we have no evidence for? If god performed these ‘miracles’, would it not stand to reason that IDF should not have had any (I mean any) casualties at all?

Robin: Yes, there was a military victory but it was not because of human strength.

Bad: Again and again you are making this baseless assertion. It is easy to make a supernatural claim, but realize that to do so, you need to give superior evidence to justify your claim.

Robin: It was because of Divine Miracles.

Bad: Talk is cheap. Again, show me – prove it to me – what makes you say this.

Robin: If we would just celebrate the military victory of Chanukah, the Bad Leaders will attribute it to simply might and their power.

Bad: But it is the very ‘bad leaders’ that achieved this victory. It was Truman and Churchill that put a victorious end to WWII, whether you like it or not. It was Moshe Dayan, a secular general who presided over the 6 day war. This is true regardless of yours or any other rabbi’s feelings about him.

Robin: Yet the ones that know the truth and saw the reality know that it was because of Divine Miracles.

Bad: I love your vague statements. This means nothing to me.

Robin: So in order for the Good Rabbi's to win over the Bad Leaders who take all the credit, they decided to celebrate the miracle that could not have been mistaken for might and power.

Bad: Never mind that the ‘bad leaders’ fought, paid with their own blood, for the military victory. Never mind that the rabbis witnessed this from a safe distance. Never mind that the miracle that the rabbis advertise never occurred (By the way, you mentioned the word propaganda; when the rabbis taught a miracle that never occurred in order to change the history to their benefits, is it not propaganda?). Is not the truth that a military conflagration resulted in a Jewish victory? Are you comfortable celebrating a false festival?

Robin: Shemittah as well has the purpose to show that it is G-d that rules the world, it is G-d that gives us our food and it is G-d that fights our battles.

Bad; But Shemitah is not related to Chanukah.

Robin: Assimilation was our downfall and the purity of our Torah was the victory.

Bad: Assimilation was not our downfall. Again, I have been busy but I do plan to write about assimilation. Let me postpone a retort on this for the moment.
When you say that the Torah is pure, can you please explain what that means?

Robin: Unfortunately it was short lived, but for that brief moment in history we recall that special miracle of Chanukah where the light prevailed over the darkness and G-d's light was revealed to all.

Bad: Once again, and for clarity sake, THE MIRACLE NEVER HAPPENED!

Robin said...

We don't need to look at 1967 to see miracles. We see it every day in Sederot and in the Negev.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3493757,00.html

I have a Passover Haggadah from Gush Katif with stories and stories of miracles written in Hebrew of how the Kassam rockets consistently just missed their targets or didn't explode or exploded minutes after all the kids had left an area etc. The miracles are blatant but if you choose to be blind, no one will convince you. Pharoeh also had a hard time seeing the miracles.