Friday, December 26, 2014

Germany's Giant Menorah: Something to be Proud of?

ערב שבת קודש פר׳ ויגש תשע״ה

The Algemeiner: Europe’s Biggest Menorah Stands at Brandenburg Gate in Germany Where Nazi Rallies Took Place

Shiryn Ghermezian, December 23, 2014

Europe’s largest menorah is erected in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, a site once marked by hatred and racism where Nazi rallies took place.

“In the center of Germany, Europe’s largest menorah and one of the largest menorahs in the world stands tall at over 30 feet saying that light will always at the end prevail,” said Rabbi Yeuhuda Teichtal, head of the Chabad Lubavitch orthodox community in Berlin. “The message is today, with all the challenges we face, with all the anti-Semitic acts we unfortunately have to experience, nevertheless we are here and we will continue with acts of goodness and kindness.”

From @hasidic tweeter
" those days, at this time"

Thousands of Berliners gathered outside on Dec. 16 to watch Teichtal and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere light the first Hanukkah candle on the menorah. Other dignitaries present at the ceremony included Mayor Michael Müller, Israeli Ambassador Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, and German parliament members Maria Böhmer and Petra Pau. Chabad has lit a menorah on same site for over a decade, reported.

Teichtal told NPR Berlin there is nothing more symbolic than lighting the candles in front of the Brandenburg Gate, which he described as “a center of darkness and of evil where Hitler stood.”

“Today, 5,000 people, coming with the Minister of the Interior of Germany and the Mayor of Berlin, said that light will win over darkness and democracy over tyranny,” he said after the lighting ceremony on Dec. 16. He told the crowd that gathered, “We’re here and we’re proud, living in a land of democracy and respect.”

Teichtal moved to Germany from the U.S. 18 years ago because the country needed new rabbis, according to NPR Berlin. He set up Germany’s first yeshiva, or Jewish school, since the Nazis shut them down in the 1940s. New rabbis are now graduating in Germany at a new rabbinical college in Potsdam.

Germany’s Jewish community is widely considered to be the fastest growing Jewish community in the world, NPR Berlin reported. A few thousand Jews survived in Germany after World War II but now more than 200,000 live in the country. The biggest local community is in Berlin and includes many Israelis who moved to Germany from Tel Aviv.

(Tip: Life In Israel)

Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Chabbad Rabbi Teichtel says that "...light will always at the end prevail." Yet, the light includes that the homeland of the Jewish People is in Israel, and not in Europe. Ironically, it was another Rabbi Teichtel, Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtel hy"d, who over 70 years ago, saw the writing on the wall, warned Jews to get out of Europe and encouraged them to make their way to Israel, defying his own community's anti-Zionist sentiment.

So, is having Europe's largest Hanukkiyah (Hanukkah menorah) publicly displayed in Germany something to be proud of?

Perhaps Rabbi Teichtel will do some good by waking up these wandering Jews up to their heritage, which is Torah. Nevertheless, our Jewish hearts and minds should always be focused on the Land of Israel. The investment of our Jewish time, energy, and sentiment should not be on the lands of our exile.
"Germany’s Jewish community is widely considered to be the fastest growing Jewish community in the world...The biggest local community is in Berlin and includes many Israelis who moved to Germany from Tel Aviv."
Contrary to the galuth (exilic) mentality, these statistics are not anything to be proud of. Israelis leaving Israel and moving back into galuth is not something to be proud of. It does not matter whether the Germans are trying to kill us, or trying desperately to be our friends, Jews do not have any business being in Germany.

The Globe And Mail, Canada

Furthermore, how it seems that Chabbad neglected to mention the close proximity of the Hanukkiyah to an X-mas tree? The candles were lit in view of avodah zarah (foreign/forbidden worship).

Saving for the neo-Nazis and Muslim immigrants, Germans currently may not want to slaughter us. But, hints of unification of religions are not any better for us either.

England, France, and Sweden may be falling fast, while Germany stands strong as one of Israel's "friends." But, do not think that Jews residing in Germany are immune to the dangers of galuth, both physical and spiritual.

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