The whole war of the Maccabees was against the i-Phone

More words from the Rav.

It’s not a coincidence that the biggest sports stadium in Jerusalem is called ‘Teddy Stadium’ – after that self-same British spy and hater of religious Jews, Teddy Kollek.

There is literally nothing new under the sun.


Excerpt of Rav Berland’s shiur, given on the 4th night of Chanuka 5784

The whole war of the Maccabees was against the i-Phones, the smartphones, the Xiomis.

What did the Greeks want? They wanted new technology. They wanted to tameh (make impure, spiritually unfit) Am Yisrael. The whole point was to turn [the Jews] into hellenists.

Already, most of the people were hellenists.

They burned those who were keeping Shabbat – a thousand people who were keeping Shabbat, they burnt them.

Antiochus wanted that each house would have an i-Phone, that each child would have an i-Phone / smartphone / Xiomi.

This was the whole point.


Now, the new innovation is the Xiomi – this is the new invention.

It has the appearance of a ‘kosher phone’, they understood, they caught on, all the ‘hellenists’ of our days. Since the beginning of the world, since the start of the Jewish people, there hasn’t been a disaster like this, like what happened on Simchat Torah.

After they gave out punches on Yom Kippur [in Tel Aviv] – whoever prayed on Yom Kippur, they recieved blows.

Hashem can’t forgive, anymore.


Because all of the war [of the Maccabees] was against the stadium.

Here in Jerusalem they held the World Championships. Here, they played football, here, they worked out, boxing – who was going to be the champion of the world.

Jerusalem was the centre of the world.

The Greeks transformed Jerusalem into the centre of the world, because they knew that if they ruled over Jerusalem – they would rule over the whole world.


The whole world turns its eyes to Jerusalem.

Every king wants to be called ‘The King of Jerusalem’. Every people and every nation wants to rule over Jerusalem.

If they would conquer Jerusalem, and rule over it, and build a stadium, and people would [wrestle] naked – all this is written in Josephus – before the eyes of all the male and female spectators….


They wanted to strengthen the snake.[1]

And this was the war between light and darkness.

The whole war of Hannukah is the war the snake is waging against the holy Torah.

The snake says: You were born a snake, and the whole of you is a snake!

A person is born with a yetzer hara (evil inclination).

“For the inclination of a person’s heart is evil from his youth.”[2]

He is born a non-Jew. He’s not a Jew at all.

“How does a person merit to be a Jew?”


The Rebbe used to ask this over and over again.

Even in his last year, Rav Natan saw that [Rebbe Nachman] used to ask with such simplicity: How does a person merit to be a Jew?

The whole focus [of the Greeks] was to uproot yiddishkeit, to rip it up by its roots.

Because Judaism is the ‘war’ against the snake.

Only the Jewish people is fighting against the snake.

The whole rest of the world has capitulated to it – that same snake that caused Adam HaRishoh to sin, it’s obvious that he can also cause us to sin, too….


Adam HaRishon knew the whole Torah.

He was directly created from the mouth of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. How was it possible to cause him to sin, at all?!  He was directly created by the mouth of Hashem!

He knew what ‘the snake’ is. He wasn’t tempted.

We think that the snake is the ‘yetzer tov’ (inclination for good), but Adam HaRishon knew that the snake was the yetzer hara. He knew this.

But Adam HaRishon calculated[3], as Rashi writes about Yosef HaTzaddik, on Parshat Vayeshev – and this year we are reading this on Hannukah. The Badatz poskened that this year, we read Vayeshev.

Because of the smartphones, and the i-Phones, and this was also the war of Yosef, waged against the smartphones and the i-Phones, and against the Xiomi.

This is what Yosef was fighting against.



[1] In previous shiurim, the Rav explains that the physical body is the ‘ketunot or’, the garment of skin that Hashem clothed humanity in after Adam’s sin. But that essentially, this ‘ketunot or’ is the skin of the primordial snake, and not something the human being was orginally designed to have.

[2] Bereishit 8:21

[3] The import appears to be that Yosef also deliberately put himself in the way of ‘sin’ with Potiphar’s wife, in order to ‘defeat evil’ at it’s deepest level, in the same way Adam HaRishon deliberately ‘chose’ to eat from the tree.


Just to keep this real, yesterday, I tried to see if I could get Whats App on my PC.

I tried to volunteer last week, and I got told that if I don’t have Whats App, I just can’t.


I kind of felt like an anachronistic waste of space after that, so I thought, let’s see if I can get Whats App on the PC instead, and figure it out that way.

Long story short, while other people apparently can do that, God doesn’t want that for me.

And I am actually really, really happy about that.

Whats App is actually one of the biggest curses of our times.

And it’s good, that even for ‘good reasons’, God is not letting me have it.

But I tried.

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