For the week ending 10 December 2011 / 13 Kislev 5772

The Mityavnim - Then and Now

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
How Jews turn against Jews
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When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her statement about certain legislation being considered by Israel's Knesset, there was revulsion and shock in Israel that anyone could portray the only democracy in the Middle East as being on the road to becoming another Iran.

Such a scandalous remark by a senior official of Israel's foremost ally is really an echo of the sort of defamation that our people suffered from in the days of Hellenist exile that we recall on Chanukah. The oppression of our religion by Antiochus was aided by the Mityavnim– Jews who abandoned their faith in favor of Greek culture and became collaborators in the effort to "cause Jews to forget the Torah and turn away from mitzvot."

Is it indeed surprising to hear Clinton make a comparison to Iran if the Chief Justice of Israel's High Court can warn that the efforts of the Knesset to limit the exaggerated powers of the judiciary are degenerating Israel into a situation similar to Nazi Germany?

When modern Mityavnim who have replaced Judaism with "democracy" and "the rule of law" are capable of so de-legitimizing their own nation, what can we expect from others?

And if anti-religious elements continuously ridicule Torah observance, is it any wonder that an American stateswoman has the nerve to express asinine opinions about how religious Jews in Israel allegedly discriminate against women?

Mityavnim made trouble for our people in days of old and continue to do so today. Their fate in the past was to disappear from the stage of history, and the same fate awaits those who today follow this self-hating, self-destructive path.

Our consolation is that the Chanukah miracle of the triumph of "the weak against the powerful" will soon be repeated in our own time.

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