Rabbi Meir Kahane
It has occurred to me that our great teacher Rabbi Meir Kahane (May his memory be a blessing, May his blood be avenged) can be compared to Matisyahu Maccabee without concern for denigrating either. Many things brought me to this conclusion but most recently an article I read on Aish.com which I will re-post below this article.
The Maccabees were a small minority, a fringe element, within the Land of Israel societies. Coming from the priestly class (the Kohanim) the Maccabees were not numerically superior. Many of the Jewish people had slid into the morass of Greek Hellenism and were happy playing the Greek sports and worshiping the Greek ideals of philosophy and science (which elevated man to the position of G-ds and erased Hashem from the picture). But the fire of Torah burned brightly in the family of the Hasmoneans and eventually the breaking point was reached, they revolted against the Greek and Hellenist destroyers.
Drawing a parallel to our great, wise, and prescient Rabbi Kahane we find that this fire of Torah also burned within his soul. Rabbi Kahane, much like our most revered prophet Moshe Rabbeinu, could not live in a world were being Jewish was something to be ashamed of. Rabbi Kahane felt the burden of the Jewish people throughout the diaspora. He saw the Egyptian task-masters striking against the Jew and his deep-down emotion was to smite the Egyptian. So too did the Maccabees feel this fire burning inside their soul, the flame of Jewish pride and purpose, and they would not allow these Hellenists to replace Hashem, the Holy One Blessed is he.
The task at hand was not easy. No test from heaven is ever easy, and the Maccabees rose to the occasion. They mustered all their strength (and the fact that they had no military training, nor any history of brave warriors) and faced the obstacles head on. They did not show fear, they did not back down, they stated the facts and they stood strong like the cedars of Lebanon against the Greek onslaught. Four of the brothers died in the ensuing battles and it was not always easy to move forward, yet in the end their endeavors were correct. They saved the Jewish nation from almost certain death.
Rabbi Kahane too had such ‘Mesirat Nefesh’ (Self Sacrifice) and ‘Ahavat Yisrael’ (Love of the people of Israel) that he had no fear of the nations, no fear of the hellenist Jews, and knew that his mission was righteous and noble. His love of the Jewish nation trumped everything, even his own comfort. Like the Maccabees had to live in a cave after rising against the Hellenists, Rabbi Kahane spent many months in prisons because of his protests against Jew haters, yet his love of AM YISRAEL never ever diminished.
Rabbi Kahane stood against Nazis (actual neo-nazis and muslim nazis) and against the USSR’s attempt to smash the Jewish spirit in Russia. He did this with a rag-tag team of supporters, often he was taunted by his own people and called unbelievable names. But he knew that he was speaking the truth, he was teaching the lessons which our prophets were trying to teach us all along. He stood against assimilation in America even as the problem got worse and worse, till today when more than 70% of Jews are assimilating. Rabbi Kahane Was Right! This is a slogan we use today because we hear what he said over 30 (even 40) years ago and see that he was absolutely, 100% correct and if we only listened to him then we would not be in the predicament we are in today.
I am of the opinion that the Oral Tradition of Judaism will adopt Rabbi Kahane as a modern day hero. We see this slowly happening as articles from time to time appear in the media which support the legacy of Rabbi Kahane. With our help, his ‘disciples’, we will spread his message.
May Hashem assist us, as he assisted the Maccabees and Rabbi Kahane, to resist the force of hellenisation and assimilation, and to educate and strengthen the Jewish people, where ever a Jew is, especially in Eretz HaKadosh, the land of Israel.
(This article originally appeared at JTF.ORG)