So, it’s Hanukkah again. This, like almost all Jewish holidays of any size, celebrates a time when the oppressors of the Children of Israel tried to eradicate Jews from the earth. In this instance, it was Greeks and Syrians, or Greeks in Syria in about 164 BCE. The Lord God, Jehovah intervened-- as He sometimes does-- and kept the lights of The Sacred Temple burning for eight days when they were expected to burn for only one. Hence the menorah with eight candles.
We Jews celebrate it freely and joyously in America, the best place there has ever been on earth. The Nazis, the ultimate persecutors of the Jews, had a different idea of how to celebrate Hanukkah. You can learn about it at the most powerful museum in the world, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.. At one death camp in 1944, with the Russians closing in, the S.S. guards caused a giant menorah to be built, each candle stick holder big enough to hold a Jew. They then put a bound Jew in each of the eight holders, doused the Jew with gasoline and set him on fire. They required the inmates to watch.
The exhibit haunts my days and nights. Lately, it’s been especially vivid because a favorite gambit of the Islamic terrorists in Syria and Iraq is to set their captives on fire and in fact I read about something like this happening in the U.S. recently.
I have no doubt at all– and no Jew with one ounce of brains has any doubt– that if the haters of Islamic militancy and rage could imitate the SS on a mass scale with the Israelites or with Jews in France or San Bernardino, they would do it. They would literally burn the Jews.
We need prayer and repentance more than ever.
The great miracles of God’s deliverance, Eretz Israel and the United States of America, are what have kept this horror from happening. The Jews are no longer weak and scattered. Israel, once a pitiful remnant, precariously perched on donkey dung desert, is now one of the most powerful military and scientific powers on earth. The U.S.A. -- until the age of Obama-- starting with my hero, Richard M. Nixon, has guaranteed the existence of the state of Israel. So from the Yom Kippur War until now, the flames have been at a distance.
But now, under Mr. Barack Obama, the U.S.A is no longer the guarantor of Israel’s existence. Very far from it. The mullahs of Iran have pledged to use nuclear weapons to set all of the Jews of Israel afire again, and then to go after all of the Jews on earth. There is no sign that the U.S.A will stop them, as it could, and I am not sure if even mighty Israel has the means to demolish Iran as an existential threat.
We need prayer and repentance more than ever. For the children of Israel, the threat of the fires from hell is no longer far away–again. We gather together in gratitude here in the U.S.A and in Israel this Hanukkah, when knife wielding assassins in Jerusalem and now thermonuclear fission is threatening the peace. But without a vision of saving from the United States, the future of the Israelites looks bleak again.
Ben Stein is an author and speaker on economics, politics, education and history. He has a bachelor's with honors in economics from Columbia, studied econ at the graduate level at Yale, and is a graduate of Yale Law School. He has written or co-written roughly 30 books, mostly about investing. His latest is "How To Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio," (Wiley).