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Monday, October 31, 2011

Rabbi Benny Eisner zt"l

To my great dismay Rabbi Benny Eisner passed away this Sabbath.



Here's a little bit about Rav Benny:
Rav Binyamin Eisner, affectionately known as “Rav Benny” is Rav and mentor to thousands of talmidim throughout Eretz Yisrael and the United States. Friends and talmidim have been captivated by the initial greeting of “Shalom, ani Benny”, his infectious smile, his passion for Torat Eretz Yisrael, and the warmth of his wife and children. Today, Rav Benny and his family reside in Abu Tor. Rav Benny’s daily shiurim in Yeshivat Torat Shraga, Yeshivat Morasha, Eli and Ateret Kohanim continue to inspire hundreds of talmidim in Eretz Yisrael to this day!

Rav Benny was born in Har Hatzofim in Yerushalayim, attended elementary school in Tel Aviv, and spent his High School years in Kibbutz Yavneh. Following High School the Rav was inducted into the army and fought in the 1967 war. Rav Benny was part of a small brigade of officers with aging rifles and a short supply of bullets looking uphill at opposition tanks. Miraculously, the tanks fled and soon after the brigade recaptured the sacred area of Kever Rachel. Upon realization of the land they had reclaimed, Rav Benny exclaimed, “Rachel Rachel you can stop crying…your children have returned”.

Rav Benny began developing a close relationship with Rav Tzvi Yehuda hakohen Kook zt”l during his army service. He yearned to find a yeshiva that embraced Limud Hatorah together with Ahavat Eretz Yisrael. He found this combination in Rav Kook, developed a close personal relationship, and became his personal driver to many important meetings. Rav Benny’s entire family enjoyed a close connection with Rav Kook which they all treasure to this day.

Soon after the war, Rav Benny met his wife, Sarah Ulman. With the encouragement of his wife Sarah, Rav Benny embarked on his first teaching position in Kibutz Yavneh followed by several years in Ohr Etzion in Merkaz Shapiro.

Having cultivated a following of Israeli talmidim, Rav Benny embraced American talmidim at Yeshivat Beit Midrash L’Torah and concurrently began teaching in Yeshiva L’Tze’irim Merkaz Harav.

In the early 1980s, the organization Shlach Et Ami – “Let my People Go” was established in the Eisner home. Avital Sharansky pining for the release of her beloved husband, Anatoly became close friends with the Eisner family and the families have remained friends ever since.

As the years went by the Eisner home was filled with talmidim – and their own children (3 boys and 8 girls). The dining room lights and kitchen oven stayed on until the early hours of the morning as talmidim dropped-in for a lesson on Rov Kook, Torat Eretz Yisrael, Kedusha – or simply a late night snack. Their home was a revolving door and an address for Torah, warmth and acceptance.

The talmidim’s love and devotion continue to this day. The Eisner continue to take part in the lives of their tamidim, regularly traveling to weddings, brisim, and r”l other life cycle events.

Rav Benny has been invited to speak and lecture in Batei Knesset and Yeshivot throughout Israel and the United States. Rav Benny has had the privilege and longevity to have students who are second generation talmidim, young men whose parents were students of Rav Benny.

Shortly after Pesach of 5771 (2011), Rav Benny faced a diagnosis and a new challenge – an ailment (and treatment) that challenge his physical strength.

Nonetheless, having seen his share of challenges, he is faithfully and whole-heartedly committed to rising above and continuing his holy work; living life, serving God, living in the Holy Land and inspiring and loving Jews wherever they may be.


Unfortunately, Rabbi Eisner is no longer with us. His soul has been freed of the shackles of earthly existence. He lives on in the minds and hearts of his students, friends, and family. Fortunately, some of the shiurim have been recorded:







Thursday, October 27, 2011

Etrogrim After Sukkot

As we leave the month of Tishrei behind and head into the holiday-less month of Marcheshvan, I thought that a few pictures from Sukkot would help us keep that "Tishrei feeling", with all of its holiness, with all of its purity, for the rest of the year.

Near Jaffa Gate:



Pirchei Yerushalayim:



Armenian Quarter:



Jewish Quarter:



Churva Synagogue:



View of Temple Mount:



Lulavs and Etrogs:



Minchah by the Kotel:



Special Sukkah for taking the four species:





Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is it Better to Kill a Terorist or Turn Him Over to the Police?

The shameful release of 1027 terrorists in return for Gilead Shalit is continuing to make waves. Rabbi Yosef Elitzur, one of the co-authors of "Torat HaMelech", came out with a not so surprising suggestion following the deal. I will quote jpost's mistranslation of part of what he wrote:
“When the state apparatus broadcasts in an unequivocal manner that there is almost no price to be paid for shedding Jewish blood, it is not clear if it’s a good idea to let the police take care of these issues,” the rabbi wrote.

“At the very least, if there is a window of opportunity in which you can claim selfdefense so that the [legal] framework won’t be overtly damaged, it is better to kill the terrorist and so raise the price of Jewish blood, which has been continually cheapened.”
Now the original Hebrew:

כאשר המערכת משדרת באופן חד וחלק שעל פגיעה ביהודים כמעט ואין מחיר (צאו וחישבו לבד תוך כמה שנים ישתחררו רוצחי משפחת פוגל..) – לא ברור אם טוב להשאיר למשטרה את הטיפול בדברים כאלה. אולי, לפחות כאשר נוצר חלון הזדמנות שבו אפשר לטעון להגנה עצמית וכך גם המערכת לא נפגעת כל כך, מוטב להרוג את המחבל וכך לייקר ולו במעט את דם ישראל שהולך ונעשה זול, למרבה החרפה
This is how jpost's translation should have been (omissions in bold) :
“When the state apparatus broadcasts in an unequivocal manner that there is almost no price to be paid for shedding Jewish blood (calculate by yourself within how many years the murderers of the Fogel family will be released) , it is not clear if it’s a good idea to let the police take care of these issues,” the rabbi wrote.

Perhaps, at the very least, if there is a window of opportunity in which you can claim selfdefense so that the [legal] framework won’t be overtly damaged, it is better to kill the terrorist and so raise, even a little bit, the price of Jewish blood, which has been continually cheapened, to our great disgrace.”

All of the omissions are a disgrace considering that jpost put Rabbi Elitzur's comments in quotation marks and did not paraphrase him. However, the omission of the word "perhaps" in the second paragraph simply distorts what the Rabbi wrote. The word "perhaps" adds an important nuance and makes jpost's headline ("Better to kill a terrorist than call the police") patently false.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Democracy Bites the Dust

The rabbis taught us that the redemption comes gradually. If the Jewish people were to be redeemed in a sudden fashion, it would be too much to handle. Imagine a person who was imprisoned for a long period of time in a dark cell. Immediately exposing him to bright light would be harmful to him.

One of the good things about the Shalit deal is that it causes to realize just how lame the current system of government is. However, going immediately from the ashes of the Holocaust to the restoration of David's Kingdom would have been too much for the Jewish people to bear. So, in the meantime we have this Knesset with Bibi and Tibi. I'm grateful that we have it but I am ready to move on to the next stage.



"afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall come trembling unto the LORD and to His goodness in the end of days.(Hosea Chapter 3) "

More Shoddy Journalism at "Ha'aretz"

I have blogged several times about translations from Hebrew to English that were not exactly perfect. The mistranslations that I blog about are usually unintentional. To err is human, and sometimes these errors are humorous. There is another type of translation that is more sinister: these are deliberate mistranslations, apparently done for political and/or economic reasons. A news organization that engages in such deliberate mistranslations is quite unprofessional, and that is an understatement. "Camera" is doing a fantastic job finding such translations at "Ha'aretz". Check out their latest post, Ha'aretz Lost in Translation, IX.

HH #335

The jblogosphere lives!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gilad Shalit Deal is a Criminal Mistake

Very bad news:
The Israeli cabinet voted late Tuesday night on the deal to release kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The vote came following a stormy meeting.

26 ministers supported the deal with only three – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon – voting against the deal.
First of all, kudos to Avigdor Lieberman, Uzi Landau, and Moshe Ya'alon for opposing the deal.

What happened to all the other ministers? Are they unaware of the fact that terrorists from past "exchanges" have murdered again?:
The former IDF chief rabbi claimed that Palestinian terrorists released since the 90's have, over the years murdered over a thousand Israelis in a long line of terror attacks and the defense establishment is aware of the possibility that "within just a few months the Shalit deal might blow up in our face in certain terror attacks, there is no 'maybe' about it.

He added that this wasn't his stance; rather it was the opinion of professionals in the field – including some with a left-wing outlook that is "very far from his own"

As to the question of whether there would not be a huge blow to morale among the troops on the Israeli side when soldiers know that the IDF won't necessarily do everything to rescue them from captivity, Ronsky said: "Just the opposite. They don't want to be exchanged for terrorists; they want to be rescued through a military operation."
This is truly a mistake of criminal proportions.

I would write more about this but Sukkot is on the way. I would not be surprised if the timing of this decision was intentional: Most of the nation is busy preparing for the holidays and we do not have time to protest this folly.

May God save us from the stupidity of our leaders. Chag Sameach!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Larry Derfner Found Someone Willing to Publish His Drivel

Remember Larry Derfner? He's the guy that got fired from The Jerusalem Post because he wrote a blog post justifying the murder of Israelis by Arab terrorists. Well, he finally found someone who is willing to publish his drivel:



Wait a minute! Isn't Lebanon at war with Israel? Didn't the Lebanese fire thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian targets just a few years ago? I guess he finally found an publisher that agrees with his views!

Today's News

1) You can see the latest edition of Haveil Havalim here.

2) The latest wisdom from the Obama administration:
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Sunday that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East, The Associated Press reported.

Panetta added Israel must restart negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and work to restore relations with Egypt and Turkey.

Panetta made the comments as he was traveling to Israel, saying the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East makes it critical for the Israelis to find ways to communicate with other nations in the region in order to have stability.

“There’s not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge,” AP quoted Panetta as having told reporters traveling with him. “But the question you have to ask: Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? Real security can only be achieved by both a strong diplomatic effort as well as a strong effort to project your military strength.”

He added that Israel risks eroding its own security if it does not reach out to its neighbors.
Where do they get these "geniuses" from?

Anyway, this is nothing new. Our sages already said that we are a sheep among seventy wolves.

3) The latest on the Arab Spring in Lybia:
Libyan Jewish exile David Gerbi returned from his long years in Italy this month believing the time had come to restore Jewish life in Tripoli.

He discovered just how wrong that assumption was, however, during an exchange with the country's new rulers, representatives of the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Gerbi, who fled to Italy with his family in 1967, went Monday to clean garbage from the main synagogue in the capital city, but was blocked from doing so.

He he was surprised by the move, he told the Associated Press, because he had been given permission to access the building from the local sheikh.

Nevertheless, men at the scene told him they had been warned that Gerbi would be attacked if he tried to clean the synagogue or restore it in any way.

Breaking down in tears, the bitterly disappointed Libyan exile told AP that the men told him to stop his efforts. He commented that Libya needs to decide whether it will be a “racist” country, or a “democratic” one.

Gerbi's colleague, Richard Peters, added that several men armed with assault rifles later were seen guarding the synagogue.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

What Do the Arabs Really Want?

It took a while, but I finally found out how to embed this important clip:



MK Danny Ayalon responds:
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon reacted Sunday to the statement by a senior Fatah man that exposes the organization's plan to destroy Israel in stages, while pretending to seek a peaceful compromise.

"As I have said on many occasions," said Ayalon, "here is further proof that the conflict is not about territory. The Palestinians have been offered a state repeatedly for several decades and have rejected each and every offer. This is less about the creation of a Palestinian state than it is about the destruction of the one Jewish State."
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