Sunday, December 10, 2017

Trump speaks on Israel at Chankah reception and Bibi on the Recognition of Jerusalem and Chanakah is Tuesday night and What Does "Maccabee" Mean? By Yehuda Shurpin

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarks in response to US President Trump's Statement.

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Palestinian official says Pence is no longer welcome in Palestinian territory ahead of visitFollowing US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a senior Fatah official of the Palestinian Authority stated that US Vice President Mike Pence is not welcome in Palestinian territory and that his requested meeting with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas "will not take place."Dec 7, 2017, 9:45PM Amit Boukai


PA disinvites US Vice President following Trump's recognition of Jerusalem Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The tension surrounding US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel continues to grow as senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub said Thursday evening that US Vice President Mike Pence, who is due to visit the Palestinian Authority this month, is not invited. "He is not wanted in Palestine," Rajoub said. Meanwhile, the White House made it clear that recognizing Jerusalem does not signify giving up on the peace process.

"In the name of Fatah, I say that we will not accept Trump's deputy inside Palestinian Authority territory," Rajoub added. "He asked to meet with Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] on December 19 in Bethlehem. No such meeting will take place."

Fatah officials says Pence is not welcome Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

White House Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing that the US does not know of any other countries planning to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the near future. "I'm not aware of any countries that we anticipate that happening at any point soon," Sanders told reporters. "I'm not saying that they aren't, but I'm not aware of them."

Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

As previously reported by JOL, amid mass riots in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in response to American recognition of Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended Trump on his decision. "We were all moved to hear President Trump's historic statement, the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and this statement is – of course – based on ancient right," Netanyahu stated. "The Jewish People determined Jerusalem to be its capital 3,000 years ago. Here our forefathers walked. Here our kings ruled. Here our prophets preached. Here are our roots."

"This is an uplifting and unifying moment for the right, the left, the religious, the secular," added Netanyahu, without mention of the Israeli Arab minority. Meanwhile, during the days preceding the Wednesday's speech, Netanyahu reportedly had two additional phone calls with Trump, during which he emphasized the historical significance of such a declaration and clarified that Israel would maintain the status quo in Jerusalem, no matter what.

In addition to many Western European countries, which have condemned Trump's speech, the European Union clarified on Thursday that the decision was contrary to Europe's position and could "return us to darker times." Despite such backlash, Netanyahu is due to visit the European Union, in what will be the first official visit by an Israeli prime minister in 22 years

Following Jerusalem recognition, Israeli minister promotes 14,000 new housing unit planToday

 (Thursday), Israeli MInister Yoav Galant announced his plan to initiate and promote the construction of 14,000 new housing units in Jerusalem. Galant: "Following President Trump's historic declaration, I intend to promote and strengthen construction in Jerusalem."Dec 7, 2017, 9:00PMAmit Boukai


Following US President Donald Trump's speech declaring US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the Israeli government has already announced today (Thursday) that it will begin construction of 14,000 new housing units in Jerusalem, a plan initiated and promoted by Israeli Minister Yoav Galant.

In addition to the promotion of a new neighborhood by the Jerusalem municipality, 5,000 additional housing units are expected to be built in Atarot. Furthermore, awaiting approval are another 1,000 housing units expected to be built in the neighborhood of Pisgat Ze'ev; 3,000 units are set to be built in Katamon and 5,000 units will be built in Reches Lavan.  


"Following President Trump's historic declaration, I intend to promote and strengthen the construction in Jerusalem." Other Cabinet ministers reinforced Galant's position and said: "Excuses are over. There are no more reasons not to build in the city when the president of the United States views it as the undisputed capital of the State of Israel."


As reported earlier by JOL, despite condemnation by a number of countries around the world, Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum welcomed Trump's historic speech. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "historic day" and reassured Palestinians that Israel intends to maintain the status quo in the capital.

"Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years," Netanyahu stated. "It's been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years. It was here that our temples stood, our kings ruled, our prophets preached. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia."

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What Does "Maccabee" Mean? By Yehuda Shurpin

he word Maccabee has become synonymous with the small band of Jewish freedom fighters who freed Judea from the Syrian-Greek occupiers during the Chanukah saga in the Second Temple period (read about the Maccabees here).

This term originally applied only to Judah, who led the group following the death of his father, Matityahu, and is referred to in early writings as "Judah Maccabee" (Judas Maccabeus in Greek).1

The name is commonly spelled מכבי, but sometimes מקבי as well. What does it mean?

"Who Is Like G‑d?"

Perhaps the best known explanation is that the word "Maccabee" is composed of the initial letters of a verse the Jewish people sang after G‑d split the sea: "Mi kamocha ba'eilim Hashem (מי כמוך באילים י׳), "Who is like You among the mighty, O G‑d."2

It is said that this phrase was the battle cry of Maccabees, written upon their banners and shields.3

Mighty or Hammer

Some explain that the word "Maccabee" is related to the Greek word meaning "strong" or "fighter."4

Others explain that it comes from the Hebrew word for "hammer," makav, either because Judah was the "hammer of G‑d," his features somewhat resembled that of a hammer, or because his earlier occupation was that of a blacksmith.


Some suggest that it comes from the word Hebrew word mekabeh, which means "to extinguish." The Maccabees endeavored to snuff outthe fire of the Greeks, which spread death and desolation throughout the land of Israel.

Matityahu the Priest

The father and patriarch of the family was Matityahu the Kohen ("Priest"). Thus, some explain that the word Maccabee was actually an acronym for the the initial letters of his name, Matityahu Kohen Ben (son of) Yochanan.5

"G‑d's Glory"

Rabbi Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz, known as the Shelah, writes that the word מכבי can be unscrambled to form an acronym for the words in Ezekiel: Baruch Kevod Hashem Mimkomo (ברוך כבוד י׳ ממקומו), "Blessed is the glory of the L‑rd from His place."6

He explains this in the context of the sages' statement that "whomever disputes the reign of the House of David, it is as if he has a dispute against the Divine Presence." The Maccabees had sinned because they took the kingdom for themselves, even though they were not of Davidic stock. Nevertheless, they were called Maccabees, an allusion to the verse "Blessed is the glory of the L‑rd from His place," implying that they didn't cause any blemish in the Divine Presence, since the original intention of Judah and his siblings was for the sake of heaven.7

Bringing G‑dliness into the World

The mystics explain that the word Maccabee has the numerical value of 72 (מ=40, כ=20, ב=2, י=10), alluding to the 72-letter Divine Name.8

The Chassidic masters9 further explain that both verses connected with "Maccabee" denote drawing G‑d's presence into the world. "Who is like You among the mighty, O G‑d" refers to G‑d as both "mighty" and "G‑d." The first term implies the restraint needed to create a reality devoid of His overt presence. The latter represents the revelation of His presence. Placing the two words together represents a merging of the two dynamics.

"Blessed is the glory of the L‑rd from His place" has a similar theme. The Hebrew word for "blessed" also means to "draw down." Thus, we are drawing His presence from "His place," a state of hiddenness, into our reality.

And that's ultimately what Chanukah is all about—bringing light and holiness into the darkness, a process that will be completed with the coming of Moshiach. May it be speedily in our days!

Footnotes 1. See I Maccabees 2:1-5 and Josephus XXX; although the book is called Maccabees, in reality, it only started to be referred to as such many years after it was written. 2. Exodus 15:11. 3. See Tzoror haMaor, Parshat Va'etchanan; Rabbi Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz in his work Shnei Luchot haBrit, Mesechet Tamid, Torah Ohr 2, as well as many other sources. 4. Seder Hadorot 3622; see also Me'or Eynaim, Imrei Binah 2:21. 5. Rabbi Moshe Sofer (Chatam Sofer) in Torat Moshe, Miketz, and his commentary on Shulchan Aruch Even Haezer 129. 6. Ezekiel 3:12. 7. Rabbi Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz, Shnei Luchot HaBrit, Mesechet Tamid , Torah Ohr 2. 8.Rabbi Yeshaya Halevi Horowitz, Shnei Luchot Habrit, Mesechet Tamid , Torah Ohr 2. 9. See Besha'ah Shehikdimu, Sefer Hamaamarim 5672, vol. 2, p. 765.
by Yehuda Shurpin

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