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Operation Cast Lead

What is the meaning of the phrase "Cast Lead".

Cast Lead

Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights is a Jewish festival celebrated for eight days in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually occurs in mid to late December. In 2008 [Jewish year 5769] Hanukkah began at sundown on Sunday December 21, and ended Monday December 29. On Saturday 27 December 2008 Israel launched airstrikes on Hamas compounds in the Gaza Strip.

Hanukkah recalls the struggle for religious freedom and commemorates the victory of the Jews over the Hellenistic Syrians in year 165 B.C.E. In the year 167 B.C.E the Greek king, Antiochus Epiphanes, began a campaign to force the Jews under his rule to formally adopt Greek practices. As early as 199 B.C.E., Greek rulers had issued anti-Jewish decrees. Sabbath observance, the study of Torah, and male circumcisions were forbidden. In addition, Greek gods and other symbols of Greek culture were put inside the Holy Temple, desecrating the center of Jewish ritual life in Jerusalem.

By the time of Antiochus' campaign, only one Jewish family was willing to take a stand against the Greeks. This stand later became known as the Maccabean Revolt. The word Maccabees means "Men who are as Strong as Hammers." Under the leadership of Judah Maccabee, the Maccabees reclaimed the Jewish Temple. The Talmud says that when the Jewish army wanted to rededicate the Temple, they were unable to find enough specially prepared oil to light the Menorah, a holy lamp, or candelabra, used in the Temple service. Finally, in one Temple chamber, the Maccabees found a single bottle of oil, which normally would have lasted only one night. However, by a miracle, the one bottle of oil lasted eight nights, until new oil, fit for Temple use, could be produced. This is the miracle Jews commemorate to this day. By lighting the eight Hanukkah lights of the menorah, Jews everywhere recount the triumph of their ancestors against immorality, the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the miracle that a one day supply of oil lasted eight days.

To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.

On Chanukah, religious Jews also recite Hallel and the Al HaNissim prayer to offer praise and thanksgiving to G-d for "delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few... the wicked into the hands of the righteous." Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil, such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham - "a great miracle happened there"); and the giving of Chanukah gelt [chocolate coins wrapped in shiny silver or gold-colored foil], gifts of money, to children.

One of the best known symbols of Hanukkah is the dreidel. A dreidel is a four sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The letters mean "A Great Miracle Happened There." Dreidel is a popular game played during the holiday. Players use pennies, nuts, raisins, or chocolate coins as tokens. The player spins the dreidel. When the dreidel stops, the letter that is facing up decides the fate. "Nun" - nothing happens, "Gimel" - player takes all tokens, "hey" - player takes half the tokens, and "Shin" - player must put one token into the pot.

Rabbi Yaakov Sinclair says the four sides of the dreidel represent four periods of domination in Jewish history. The dreidel story, says Sinclair, begins 1,437 years before the miracle of Hanukkah. It began with Jacob's dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder that reached from the ground to the heavens.

The first angel ascended the ladder 70 steps before descending. The Jewish people were in exile in Babylon for 70 years. The second angel climbed the ladder 52 steps. The Jews were in exile in Persia 52 years. The third angel climbed 180 rungs before descending. The domination of Greece lasted 180 years. The last ascended the entire ladder and never descended, indicating the domination of Rome and its successors.

This angel's message, says this Rabbi, is that the Jewish faith must be defended forever. Traditionally, dreidels are made of cast lead. ""In 1921 Asher and Feiga (Fannie) immigrated to America from Russia. Asher and Fannie opened a Jewish bookstore in the heart of the New York City ghetto... In 1925, Asher had an idea to manufacture a lead draydel. After a long search he found a tool and die maker who designed the world's only existing draydel casting machine. Lead is heated in a steel ladel till it melts. The molten lead is then poured into the closed mold. After 15 seconds, the lead sets, at which point the mold is opened and the hot draydel is removed. A good operator like Fannie produced about 75 draydels an hour. The first year was a great success and the exultant duo sold 25,000 lead draydel at 2 cents each, for a total of $500." SOURCE

Cast Lead

Lead alloy bullets produced by casting are extensively used as projectiles for handgun and rifle shooting. Although not suitable for every shooting need, cast lead alloy bullets are economical, perform well in some applications and can be easily crafted by the hobbyist at home. Standard bullet casting equipment consists of a bullet mould and a lead melting pot (usually gas or electric). The molten lead alloy is dispensed into the bullet mould by the melting pot's pouring spout or by a separate ladle to produce a solid, monometallic casting. Selecting a lead casting alloy with mechanical properties suitable to the intended shooting task sometimes leads to a dilemma. If bullet expansion upon impact with the target is desirable, as it would be for many hunting situations, a softer lead alloy would be preferred. But soft lead alloy bullets generally exhibit poor functional performance: lead fouling in the gun barrel and erratic shooting accuracy. The stresses produced in attaining a velocity high enough to cause a lead alloy projectile of a given hardness to effectively expand upon impact will generally exceed the functional strength level of that lead alloy. Increasing bullet hardness allows higher effective shooting velocity, but further inhibits terminal expansion. A softer bullet would expand easier, but cannot be efficiently driven fast enough to ensure its own expansion. Shooting unjacketed (bare lead) cast bullets has always been a compromising situation when an expanding projectile would be advantageous.

In commercial production, when the solidified cast bullet is released from the mold it is typically cooled at ambient temperature in air. As a result, the cast lead or lead alloy bullets rapidly lose any hardness properties which they may have had upon release from the mold during the cooling. Thus, by the time they are to be fired they are quite soft. Unless these cast bullets are jacketed with a harder metal such as copper, this softness limits the muzzle velocity at which the softened cast bullets may be fired if barrel leading is to be maintained at acceptable levels and accuracy is to be maximized. This softness problem has been alleviated to some extent by commercial producers of cast bullets by the use of so-called "6-2" lead alloys in which the alloy is an alloy of 6 wt % antimony and 2 wt % tin with the remainder being lead. The relatively high amount of antimony in the alloy does impart some increased hardness to the commercially cast bullets. However, these somewhat increased hardness levels are still insufficient for firing at higher muzzle velocities unless the bullet is jacketed.


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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:29:04 ZULU