This so-called culture knows only of the right of the
individual to guarantee his own personal freedom, but not of
the right to safeguard the rights of others.
Editor's Note: The title of the article refers to a well-
known anti-religious slogan and song of the Left.
It is night time in the Bnei Torah summer camp. Loud dialogue
splits the air, vociferous pros and cons shatter the
stillness. In this pitch blackness, in sharp contrast to it,
things are gaining stark clarity. Circuits are being clamped
tight; coils are being wound securely around the listeners.
Then, compressed into a corner, one of the young campers
shoots a rebuttal: "True, but I don't want to be like the
rest of you, like you black dossim." A last ditch
effort to retain his individuality, his ideological freedom,
to man his personal barricade of self determination.
The voice of HaRav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, rosh yeshivas
Ateres Yisroel, crescendos in rankling ire, "Blacks?
We're the blacks and you're the whites? What makes us black?
Our black jackets? Maybe we're the whites, after all, by
virtue of our white shirts? Or, perhaps, we're gray, because
of the gray spots on our ties? And you're white? Why? Because
of the multicolored street garb you sport, determined by the
rules of fashion which change like a shimmering rainbow?
Maybe, all you are is transparent, with no spine of your own,
There was a demonstration at the Israel Museum last year at
this time, which was purported to declare war against
chareidi influence in the country. "We have come to banish
darkness," was their distorted slogan, to blacken the image
of an entire sector of the population. A dehumanization of
the Torah public with a dissonant, discordant smack of
antisemitism. These successors of the ancient Greek
philosophy bared their claws again, at the very height of
Chanukah, in an effort to promote assimilation.
The very fact that this involved the same handful of "the
enlightened," the so-called academia, is a veritable x-ray of
the spiritual abscess that festers in Israeli society. The
fact that it is the leftist camp which calls itself the
intelligentsia and which straddles a poisoned spearhead,
proves that Greek philosophy is still rampant in our
Why? Because Greek culture is synonymous with intelligentsia.
Not in vain did Chazal label the essence of Greece as
chochmas Yovvon, the school of Greek art/science, of
secular knowledge and scholarship. Knowledge among the
gentiles? Believe it. Torah? Ethics? Don't you believe
"Hellenistic culture is a protector of rights and freedom.
These concepts, however, are applied only to those who are
educated; they are subject to an arrogance which claims that
the rights of human beings begin only after they have
attained a certain level of culture. Therefore, sensitivity
and concern regarding one's own self, and those close to
oneself, are paired with an enormous callousness, with an
utmost cruelty, which assumes that the inferior "uneducated
masses" lack genuine feelings of honor or a sensitivity for
freedom or human rights. Attica, so vainglorious about its
rights and liberties, saw no contradiction in the fact that
three-quarters of its inhabitants lived in servitude and
slavery. Thus, history teaches us that the "educated" were
able to tolerate public tyranny and accept the rule of force,
provided it was applied only to the lower "uneducated" masses
and left the rights of the "cultured" untouched.
"Hellenistic culture was unable to fashion a proper life-
style for the individual, for families or for communal
existence. When permeated by truth, elevated by purity,
guided by righteousness and perfected by love then daily life
with its variety of sentiments, feelings, thoughts, words,
enjoyments and actions becomes a harmonious whole".
(Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch,
Volume II, p. 203).
Indeed, Greek culture touted noble-sounding slogans. The
enlightened leftists of then spouted these empty, pretty-
sounding idioms and axioms with their self-righteous ring,
but under cover of this artificial culture, they concealed
their true animal-like natures. Ideals remained relegated to
the realm of philosophy. Only the Torah of our people, which
can bring down perfection and incorporate it into daily life,
or, rather, to lift up man to aspire to perfection, became an
object of their hate. All of their means and media were
enlisted to destroy it. All of their resources were summoned
to dispel the `darkness,' "`And darkness was on the surface
of the abyss' -- this is the exile of Greece, which darkened
the eyes of Jewry with its decrees. For they said to them:
Engrave upon the horn of the ox [that] you have no portion in
the G-d of Israel."
To our chagrin, even portions of the nation in Zion today
have opted for darkness, perhaps as a vestige of that ancient
struggle and the unforgettable victory of the Macabbees. To
tell the truth, those empty mottoes which they spout do,
sometimes, sound flowery and intellectually appealing. They
have the backing of a hostile media. But it is a thick smoke
screen for darkness. It's nice in theory, but falls short in
the test of reality. It cannot be true or viable with
This is all too evident in Israeli society and that is why it
looks as it does. Those great `enlightened ones' are exposed
as the real benighted, ignorant ones. The guest of honor,
that selfsame Hellenism, who came to participate in that
demonstration, celebrated his victory. He came to laugh the
last laugh; he felt at home in their midst. Blue-white --
those are the Greek flag colors, aren't they?
Chanukah 5759. The absurd fiction, the big lie rules supreme.
The ivory-league castles-in-the-cloud philosophy with reality
only grasshopper-high. A winter intersession that screams of
equality and welfare for the weak. How pretty-
But the real masses, those hard luck folk who are being
strangled under the yoke of survival, must paralyze the
economy with typical Israeli frenzied abandon. Talk about
concern for the underdog floats about in the air, the height
of fairness, of concern. But the real sufferers, the sick
folk, the terminally ill, writhe helplessly. Life and death
are thrown to the garbage bin, the basket of Health, a small
bin that cannot hold much life, cannot offer much hope; it
has such a meager budget, while Celebrated Science extends
hundreds of budget percents for research. This is of top
And that selfsame Greek science denies the right of the
deceased a bonerest of eternity in a small grave plot. But
not always; values change by them, too, when it concerns the
dead who have become national symbols.
And what about the right to incite? The chareidim are free-
for-all targets. Everyone is permitted to slander them, to
trample on their sensibilities. This is democratic, isn't it?
But when the music turns sour to their ears, they employ
other means of disinfection. The pluralistic education opens
up new cultural horizons so that everyone has the right to
live according to his own `truth.' But in the street, out of
the blue, violence. The right of artistic self expression is
raised on high. This is culture. Enlightenment. And the
result? Part of the youth being educated according to this
exposure and lassitude becomes addicted to the empty
temptation of drugs and alcohol, since no one will stand in
their way or tell them what to do, or how to live their
lives. Each man shall be free to die according to his own
beliefs and pursuits.
For Greek culture -- stadiums, philharmonic orchestras,
Macabbee-olympics -- budgets unlimited, purse strings wide
open. For the real, only authentic thing, the pure truth that
is capable of producing all that is beautiful and noble in
life, there is only a clamped fist which also serves as a
threatening, belligerent fist. Yet, in moments of truth one
can find quotes of the type which follow -- and not just from
the pen products of the Torah-true:
"By us, charity is the stronghold only of chareidi society. A
secular person who needs medical equipment will turn to Yad
Sarah, a chareidi organization. And if he needs financial
help for some medical/surgical treatment, he can turn to
Rabbi Fierer. This is a certificate of shame for the secular
Israeli society which looks down upon this sector."
End of quote, from an afternoon paper. Yes, there are some
expressed compunctions of conscience like these, moments of
reflection and admission before the smoke screen obscures
everything as before.
"We have come to banish darkness." So, then, we are the black
ones, from the Dark Ages. And they're Whites? The white man?
Why, they are not even transparent! They're like spineless
jellyfish. Their spinal cords are composed of foreign matter,
from Hellenism. They may, perhaps, offer some intellectual
appeal, since science and art is the realm of Yefes, of the
gentiles; that is their heritage.
But any attempt to graft a Jew unto a school of any thought
lacking Torah is bound to be fruitless and sterile. It is
like a spiritual short circuit which will extinguish the
light and dispel smoke and thick vapor in whose midst and
mist one can only grope hopelessly and lose one's way.
Wherever you turn, you will come up against a wall. If their
heads, alone, absorbed the blow, it would be of some comfort,
but they cause all of the masses to collide with the wall of
Still in all, we are optimistic. The Jewish people still has
a future, despite the fact that its exterior is contaminated
with Hellenism. But the small flame still burns true, the
cruse of pure oil still boasts the unspoiled seal. The halls
of Torah, the yeshivos, are still intact and pure, guarded by
the high priests, the Torah leaders of our times. This flame
is the very one that burned within Matisyohu and his sons,
which defied the darkness of the original Hellenists, and
which continues to illuminate the darkness shed by the
Hellenists of this generation. The distant echo of ancient
Greece may find an attentive ear among sectors of our nation,
but the flame still burns true. The Greek ethos that
pedestals the human physique and its prowess, and builds
temples of gymnasiums to worship it, even going so far as to
deny and defy the covenant which Hashem stamped upon us,
cannot overpower that steady little flame, not by numbers or
by might. Quality will decide which shall survive, not
numbers or quantity.
"Though they rage against Jewry with fanatical frenzy, though
right and left thousands and hundreds of thousands fall away
in betrayal of Jewry; nevertheless so long as they have not
trampled out of existence the last spark of Judaism in the
heart of the last Jew in the last Jewish village, we short-
sighted mortals may quiver and tremble; but `He Who sits in
Heaven shall laugh; Hashem shall mock him.' (Tehillim
"One single pure spark, loyally treasured in but one Jewish
heart, is sufficient for G-d to set aflame once more the
whole spirit of Judaism. And if all the oil, if all the
forces that were to have preserved the light of G-d in Israel
were to be misused for the light of paganism -- even then,
one little crucible of oil, one heart which in a forgotten
hidden corner, imprinted with the High Priest's seal, has
faithfully remained untouched and undefiled, this one
crucible is sufficient to become the salvation of the entire
sanctuary when the right time and hour has come.
"The light of the temple? It was the very High Priests of
Judaism themselves who betrayed it. The light of Matisyohu in
his village became the salvation; do you therefore kindle
your light in your own home! (Ibid., pp. 196-7).
This true flame burns here, too. It is the very reason why we
are here, ourselves. We are here to banish the darkness. And
one cannot do this with sticks, or with slogans. Just a
little bit of light dispels so much darkness. And if we be
`blacks' ,then `Black is Beautiful'. Blackness such as ours --