The Sderot Menorah And The Hobnailed Sandal

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4 Responses

  1. Nachum says:

    “They had no real weapons, and could expect no reinforcements. They had never violated Shabbos before. Doing so now, in the final hours of their lives, seemed pointless.”

    On the other hand, there is what R’ Ziemba wrote when asked about fighting in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (when they were also pretty sure they would fail): Sometimes, especially if the enemy is out to kill you no matter what, it’s best to *live* al kiddush Hashem (if only for a few more days) then to die al kiddush Hashem.

    It’s also possible that, indeed, they were ignorant of the halakha because it didn’t exist yet- maybe until that point, the question had never really come up.

    [YA – 1) Despite my having used the R. Menachem Ziemba story for years, I have been taken to task for it. The family denies the story, and some history people believe it is a fabrication. i would love to learn that the story is accurate. 2) Your possibility is the standard way the question is addressed. Could be; the Doros HoRishonim is more attractive to me.]

  2. Gershon Pickles says:

    The Sderot Menorah is a powerful message, and R. Ehrentrau’s homiletic suggestion is a good one. In truthful reality though, the ban remained on the books for the same reason most bans or customs remain on the books, long after they should have disappeared – simple conservatism, dressed up in the halachic construct of not being permissible to change a ban unless we are greater in widsom and number [i.e., it’s impossible.] Even in that Gemara in Shabbos, it is obvious there is total confusion about the ban – which, itself, we are only aware of from secondary sources – with Babylonian amoraim offering totally conflicting opinions about the reason for the ban that occurred in a different country and empire, hundreds of years earlier. (It seems clear, though I’ve not looked into it, that there is some confusion with the story from I Maccabbes that you cite from Halevy. For obvious reasons, everything about that period became confused in the transmission to Babylon centuries later.) If there is uncertainty about even the circumstances behind the ban, kal vichomer we can’t go about giving suggestions as to why it’s still around, other than the one mentioned above.

    [YA – I don’t think this is true. The gemara’s question was why batei din closer to the event did not lift the ban when they could. There clearly were times in history in which later batei din unded prior legislation. We are speaking here of the time of Tanaim, where this certainly could have been done.]

  3. cvmay says:

    #1 The story that you posted regarding Rav M. Zimba zt”l has been debunked by Mr. Hillel Seidman and his two talmidim who were with him at the time of the discussion. The above retell that the Rav gave them a brocha…to fight the enemy.

    ‘Sensing what they thought was their imminent demise at the hands of Antiochus’ soldiers who had spotted them, they rushed the exit because they would not take up arms and stand their ground.”
    In contrast those in Yeshivat Sderot will rush the exit of the yeshiva, take up arms and stand their ground.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    The discussion above about Rav Ziemba points to the need to properly authenticate Gedolim stories, especially those with important halachic ramifications. It’s not enough to say something could have happened.

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