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Ban This Controversial Hanukkah Song

It's about time we stopped singing 'Maoz Tzur,' which includes a very problematic phrase

Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher
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An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man lights candles to mark Hanukkah, the 8-day Jewish Festival of Lights, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Ashdod, Israel December 2020.
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man lights candles to mark Hanukkah, the 8-day Jewish Festival of Lights, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Ashdod, Israel December 2020.Credit: AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS
Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher

During the week of Hanukkah, every evening during television’s prime-time hours, Israeli celebrities presided over candle-lighting ceremonies filmed in local hospitals as part of an ad campaign for a dairy company.

The slogan of the campaign was, “Lighting a white candle of thanks to the angels in white,” as an act of gratitude from the Israeli public for the struggle that medical personnel have been waging on the coronavirus pandemic.

How COVID – and Israel’s Trump-brokered lovefest with Arab states – are affecting PalestiniansCredit: Haaretz

The local celebrities thanked God, 'king of the universe', who had commanded them to kindle the Hanukkah lights, and with glowing faces and great devotion sang together “Maoz Tzur” - the festive poem about the Temple and the bringing of sacrifices. The same piyyut which also includes the phrase, “le’eyt takhin matbe’ah” (“when you will prepare the slaughter”), which is usually sung with special joy, and refers to the Lord’s planned massacre of the enemies of Israel.

This “slaughter” which is mentioned in the song is very deeply ingrained in the consciousness of any Jew who has gone to preschool in Israel. The people of Israel clearly do not oppose committing a massacre as a matter of principle or symbolism. On the contrary. They yearn for it, in a daily national and familial ritual.

Maoz Tzur

Many may delude themselves, in denial and apathy, that they do not understand what the word “matbe’ah” means. That they are singing without thinking. They simply don’t want to know. Perhaps “matbe’ah,” which sounds somewhat like the Hebrew word for kitchen, is just some ancient dip that God is preparing?

Perhaps, but if it’s indeed a divine dip, the main ingredient is the blood of non-Jews. And if it’s a filling for doughnuts, then it is made from blood as red as strawberry jelly.

We are living in a time when democratic society is trying to adjust its cultural content to the religious commandment of political correctness. Statues are being smashed and works of art boycotted because they represent values that are not congruent with the principles of political correctness.

But “Maoz Tzur” is not on the blacklist. It’s fine. What can be more politically correct than divine roux and the massacre of non-Jews presented as disseminating light to the world? “When you will prepare the slaughter” is the Jewish jihad, the holy war against the infidels. Yalla, slaughter. That’s really a great light. If a massacre is light, then what’s darkness? The darkness is all those goyim who are meant to be murdered in the massacre. Happy Holiday!

A Israeli woman takes a photo of the "Abu Dhabi" doughnut, a date-flavoured confectionery inspired by Israel's new relations with the UAE, at a patisserie in Jerusalem December 13, 2020.Credit: AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

I have seen, heard and read texts by a lot of doctors as part of my work during the past 10 months. They are not angels. This artificial glorification silences them. They are frustrated and angry professionals, who are looking with astonished helplessness at the march of folly that has spilled into the coronavirus wards they are managing; the governmental and public stupidity, whose result is unnecessary sickness and destructive lockdowns.

To call them “angels” is to close one’s ears and not listen to them. It means denial of all their scathing criticism of the failed behavior of the state and its infantile citizens.

Singing “Maoz Tzur” is the perfect symbol of Israeli society’s existential situation these days. Tell me, do you hear the horrors coming out of your mouth? Your lips move and the words are pronounced and you, the singers and penitents, completely repress their meaning, which has been deeply implanted in your souls from birth.

Happy massacre. You are not human beings with free will and independent thought, but automatons who have undergone Pavlovian conditioning, angels of death, who upon hearing the word “matbe’ah,” start salivating greedily for the warm potato pancake and the comforting doughnut.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish yeshiva student lights candles on the first day of Hanukkah in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, December 10, 2020.Credit: Oded Balilty,AP

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