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“So you Think You’re The Man, Alexander?” (Insights for Chanukah)

By Jon Erlbaum

Hi All – this week’s email is dedicated to all our Sisters & Brothers in Israel who have been directly affected by the tragic wild fires. May G-d bless the souls of those who have gone to the next world, may He comfort the mourners, and may He rescue us from further devastation!

Instead of an article this week, I’m including the lyrics I wrote to a song that I believe is very relevant to the glorious Holiday of Chanukah. The song speaks about the philosophy of self-glorification and aggrandizement that was championed by the Greeks and has held firm throughout the centuries ever since. Notwithstanding the many positive innovations that Ancient Greece brought to the world (in the realms of art, architecture, theater, politics, philosophy, etc.), their tendency towards self-worship became a major point of departure for the Jewish sages.

While Judaism of course encourages all people to shine and use their talents for the achievement of greatness, that greatness is to be pursued as purely as possible for the benefit of G-d and humanity. All too often, however, the greater our talents, the more we fall in to the trap of self-aggrandizement for the sake of fame, power, and recognition.

Humility is, therefore, an almost ever-elusive goal: because the minute we win any battle or attain any level of achievement (whether physical or even spiritual), that is when life’s main battle – the internal battle for the achievement of HUMILITY – truly begins. I hope you enjoy the lyrics, and have a Happy Chanukah and Wonderful Shabbos!

Love, Jon & The Chevra


Alexander rides in through the gates of his city
Having conquered a new foreign soil
On a horse that he tamed as a show of his manhood
Holding spoils from the lives that he spoiled
He calls out to his subjects “bow down to me”
And he admits to his friends readily
“I would rather live a short life of glory
Than a long one of obscurity”


Alexander, watch out for the battles you win
They can make your mind spin differently
Will your head get puffed up, will your chest get puffed out
Will you soon think you’re divinity?


Will you think you’re the man Alexander
Just because of the battles you’ve won
‘Cause once you think you’re the man Alexander
The true battle of ego’s begun


The musician struts out as they roar for an encore
They adore him and he knows it well
The politician arrives at his victory party
On top of the world for a while
And the actresses at the Academy
Hold their breath as the envelope’s read
Then the rush of an ego-based ecstasy
Poses challenges to the new winner’s head


And even good-hearted champions of charities
And Nobel laureates of noble intent
Must work hard to safeguard their humility
So the power won’t poison their heads


So you think you’re the man Alexander
Just because of the battles you’ve won
But once you think you’re the man Alexander
The true battle has newly begun

Text Copyright © 2010 by Jon Erlbaum and



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