Monday, May 30, 2005

On Religious Vs. Military Authority

Rabbi Gisser, the rabbi of Ofra published a bizarre article in Ha'aretz. What is bizarre about the article contains no reference to any Torah source. Instead of Torah, the reader receives the following:
Lying in the background of the religious debate over authority of the army is a much more substantial principle. Does the state even have the authority to determine its borders? Are diplomatic considerations - by their nature secular considerations - worthy of being a basis for decisions that are at odds with the Torah's positions on the issue of the Land of Israel?

...The State of Israel and its government have the authority to determine its borders and the geographical extent of its control. From where does it derive this authority? We granted it. The historic religious-secular Zionist alliance granted authority to the authorized governing mechanisms to administer the people residing in Zion in accordance with policy considerations...
With all due respect to the rabbi, I beg to disagree. Rabbi Gisser admits that the actions of the State "are at odds with the Torah's positions on the issue of the Land of Israel." In such a situation, every G-d fearing Jew knows that he must follow the Torah. No "historic religious-secular Zionist alliance" can uproot even one word of the Torah. What's more, it is well known that this alliance was built on the foundation that religious Jews will not have to do anything that is in opposition to Halacha. This is why the army kitchens are kosher(at least in theory) and that the army does not conduct exercises on Shabbat. A true, believing Jew will not take part in any activity that contradicts the Torah, period.

That's just my humble opinion.

Tie An Orange Ribbon 'Round The ...

I got one on my car antenna, I might as well put one here as well:

I hope Sharon's henchmen won't see this. They might try to kick me out of the blogosphere.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Best Blogger Profile Ever

The best blogger profile ever (from the Galilee This blog):
I live in the Galilee and I'm Jewish, just like Jesus, but other than that I don't think we have any similarities. I'm on the fringe right politically and believe in the inherent right of Jews in the land of Israel. I also believe democracy is the most inefficient form of government and am working towards a theocratic monarchy.

Love it!

Recollections of Lubavitch: Zol Shoyn Zein Die Ge'ule

Here's another song from Chabad that has been enjoying repeated playbacks in my head lately:

Zol shoyn zein die ge'ule,
Zol shoyn zein die ge'ule,
Zol shoyn zein die ge'ule,
Moshiach zol Shoyn kumen!

Zol shoyn zein die ge'ule,
Zol shoyn zein die ge'ule,
Zol shoyn zein die ge'ule,
Moshiach zol shoyn kumen!

Ai, yai,
Ai, yai, yai,
Ai, yai, yai, yai, yai, Hey!
Ai, yai,
Ai, yai, yai,
Ai, yai, yai, yai, yai.

Ai, yai,
Ai, yai, yai,
Ai, yai, yai, yai, yai, Hey!
Ai, yai,
Ai, yai, yai,
Ai, yai, yai, yai, yai.

It's a lot better when you know the melody. The "Ai, yai, yai" part really rocks!

The Princess Of Jaffa Street And The King's Daughter

It's summer in Jerusalem. The weather is hot and dry. Now is the
time for Yaeli to take out her summertime wardrobe. Yaeli's
summertime clothes don't cover too much, after all it's hot during the
summer. When Yaeli walks down the street she gets a lot of attention.
Many men turn their heads to take a good look. There's a lot to see.

Yaeli likes the attention. She feels like a movie star. She senses
several pairs of male eyes that are scrutinizing her every move as she
struts her stuff down Jaffa Street. Even the Avrech who turns the
other way at the sight of the brazenly dressed Yaeli doesn't faze her.
Isn't this also an acknowledgement of her attractiveness? Yaeli
smiles at the thought. She is more than a movie star. She is the
Princess of Jaffa Street.

Shulamit wears the same long-sleeved-button-down shirt in the summer
that she wears during the winter. Her skirt reaches several inches
below the knee. No heads turn to see her, which is fine as far as she
is concerned, since she does not seek attention. She is a true
daughter of Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah. No one is looking at her,
except the One above who sees and know all, and rewards those who do
His will. She is the King's daughter. "The complete glory of the
king's daughter is within...(Psalms 45:14)."

In the meantime, Yaeli is enjoying all of the stares that she is
getting. Does she know that those gazing at her see her as a
collection of body parts and nothing more? Does she realize that she
is foolish for revealing herself in such a way in public? Is she
aware that she has forsaken her humanity and has given in to her most
primitive animal instincts? The answer to all of these questions is
"no." She has been duped by a decadent culture that speaks of women's
liberation but excels in degrading them.

When will Yaeli realize that deep down, in her innermost essence, she
is also the King's daughter and not the Princess of Jaffa Street?

A New (Old) Plan For Israel's Security

"The more we listen to Hashem, the more we will protected against the gentiles around us."

- Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook (as quoted in Torat Eretz Yisrael, p. 188)

Haveil Havalim #22 At Mystical Paths

See the latest edition of Haveil Havalim (this is the official Soccer Dad spelling) at Mystical Paths.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Recollections of Lubavitch: Wake up Yidden

My encounter with the "blessing center" brought back long lost memories of the time when I frequented the Chabad House on my college campus. In particular I remember this song:
Wake up Yidden,
from this dream of Golus,
get ready to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Geuloh is coming,
swiftly towards us,
Hinei Zeh Oymeid Achar Kosleinu.

There will be no more wars,
no more will lions roar,
U'Mol'oh Ho'Oretz Dei'oh.

In a Beis HaMikdosh made of flame,
we'll give thanks to His name,
and we'll march to the Geuloh with the Rebbe Shlita!
I hope that you all enjoyed that as much as I did.

I've Been Tagged! (Part 2)

Read Part 1 first!

Here are my answers:

If I could be a musician…I would set up a stage outside the White House, with amplifiers turned up full blast, and sing into GWB Jr.'s ears,"Free Pollard Now!!!"

If I could be a doctor…I would like to be like Doctor S. who participates in my daf yomi shiur. In spite of being a very busy and important doctor he sets aside time for learning Torah. He also receives patients free at his home as a g'mach. What a mensch!

If I could be a lawyer…I'd join Honenu.

If I could be an inn-keeper…
I'd like to open a frum seaside resort in Israel: Glatt Kosher, seperate beaches for men and women, and two pools open all day(one for men and one for women). Most importantly, I would want to keep the prices low enough so that the average religious family could vacation there for a week without getting deep into debt.

If I could be a justice on any one court in the world…It would be the Israeli Supreme Court. I would be a right-wing-religious version of Aharon Barak. My goal would be to invalidate any laws that contradict the Torah. I'd start with the "Disengagement Law" and the defintion of who is a Jew in the "Law of Return."

And now for the fun part. I hereby tag:


I've been tagged! (Part 1)

What a shock! I visited Meira's blog and saw that...I was tagged! It reminded me of what it was like in grade school when you daydream and suddenly the teacher calls on YOU. What this means that I have to complete five of the following "If I could be a" sentences and then pass them on to at least three other bloggers that haven't answered them(Sounds kind of like a pyramid scheme!). Here are the questions:

If I could be a scientist…
If I could be a farmer…
If I could be a musician…
If I could be a doctor…
If I could be a painter…
If I could be a gardener…
If I could be a missionary…
If I could be a chef…
If I could be an architect…
If I could be a linguist…
If I could be a psychologist…
If I could be a librarian…
If I could be an athlete…
If I could be a lawyer…
If I could be an inn-keeper…
If I could be a professor…
If I could be a writer…
If I could be a llama-rider…
If I could be a bonnie pirate…
If I could be an astronaut…
If I could be a world famous blogger…
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world…
If I could be married to any current famous political

See Part 2 for my answers!

Religious Attitudes Towards Zionism

Rabbi Gil Student put up a fascinating post in which he categorizes the different attitudes that the rabbis have towards Zionism and the State of Israel. Highly reccomended.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

In Honor Of Lag B'Omer: Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai Says...

"The Holy One Blessed Be He gave three good gifts to Israel, and all of them He did not give except through affliction, and they are: Torah, and the Land Of Israel, and the World To Come.(Berachot 5A)"

Islamofascist Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiras Does It Again

Read about Ibrahim Mudeiras' (maybe he should anglicize his name to Murderous) previous gems here, the PA's lame attempt at damage control here, and the Sheikh's lastest gems here.

"As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is a fool that repeateth his folly(Proverbs 26:11).

Ya Sheikh, inta Kalb!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Your Tax Money Hard At Work: Abraham Hirchson Las Vegas Bound

From ynet:
Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson is set to head a Finance and Tourism Ministries' delegation to Las Vegas in a bid to gain knowledge of the American model for the establishment of legal casinos.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with local casino industry heads, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and members of the Gambling Faculty at the University of Nevada Las Vegas...

"We want to educate ourselves on the social ramifications of having a casino," Hirchson told Yedioth Ahronoth.

"We want to know how a casino affects the city's communal life and how the police and other law enforcement authorities deal with the issue."

Yeah, right. Well Mr. Hirchson, you could have talked to these people on the telephone and received all the information that you needed. But why should you do that when you can take an entire delegation to Las Vegas at the taxpayer's expense?

Mushchatim Nimastem!

An afterthought: Mr. Hirchson, if you are interested in "the social ramifications of having a casino", read what I wrote here!

Orange-phobia Continues In Israel

It's amazing what orange can do!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Messianic Meshugas

A bus rolls down the streets of Jerusalem. On the side of the bus is an advertisement saying that I can get a blessing from the Messianic King if I call the following number: 050-8080-770. Pictured on the advertisement is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe who passed away over 10 years ago.

I dialed the number on my cell phone. Who knows, maybe I'll hear some nice Hasidic music, or perhaps a nice wort from a Hasidic rabbi with a thick Ashkenazic accent. No chance! I get a recording. No music, no rabbi. The radio-phonic voice speaking in a flawless Israeli Hebrew tells me something like this:

Shalom and welcome to the "blessing center" of the Lubavitcher Rabbi, the anointed king, may he live a long life... For a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rabbi, the anointed king, Press 1. For a dollar that was given from the holy hands of the Lubavitcher Rabbi, the anointed king, press 2. For miracle 3.

After a chuckle I thought to myself, "When are these people going to come back down to earth?”

This is not the Chabad that I remember from 20 years ago, when the Rebbe was still alive. I'm not a Chabadnik, but I have fond memories of my visits to 770. What in the world happened to these people?

As it turns out, I'm not the only one asking this question.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Things That Are Between Him And Her

After reading some outrageous posts from some religious jbloggers, I'm posting the following:

The bedroom has a door, and the door has a lock. Things that are between him and her should remain between him and her. Hatzin'ah yafah lahem. They should not be discussed in public forums, and certainly not on blogs.

That's just my humble opinion.

Pollard, Evacuation Protests as Laura Bush Visits

From Arutz 7:
Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, is visiting President Moshe Katzav at this hour while two protest groups are demonstrating outside the President's house. They want the American government to free Jonathan Pollard, serving a life sentence in jail or passing on intelligence information to Israel. They also are demonstrating against the American government's support of the plan to evacuate Jews from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria.

Orange-phobia Comes To The Knesset

We have visitors from the world's most populous democracy:
Knesset security guards confiscated party scarves that Indian parliament members tried to bring into the building Sunday because the scarves were orange, the color that disengagement opponents have adopted as their symbol.

The scarves were meant as gifts for Knesset members, Army Radio reported.
"I found it to be ridiculous not to allow a piece of cloth," one of the Indian delegation members told the radio. "Those are messages of intolerance."
Welcome to the Middle East's only democracy!

Update:Arutz 7 adds the following:
Civil rights groups and several Knesset members last week criticized Western Wall (Kotel) guards for banning anyone to enter the area with orange shirts, bracelets or hats during a Remembrance Day ceremony. Teenagers were forced take off their orange shirts before being allowed to enter the area.

Gambling In Atlantic City

The latest effort of the greedy, immoral and myopic men of the Israeli government to legalize gambling brought back memories from long ago. When I was about 18 years old, a few years before I became a Ba'al Teshuvah, I visited the casinos in Atlantic City, N.J. with a friend. This was not too long after gambling was legalized in New Jersey. This was a deal where the casino pays for the bus and gives the "gamblers" a few dollars worth of tokens, with the hope that once they get to the casino these "gamblers" will spend a lot more money than what they were given.

After the long bus ride we finally made it to the boardwalk where all of the casinos were. There are a few memories from the casinos that are forever etched in my mind. In one of the casinos, former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier was standing near the entrance and shaking hands with the visitors. My friend and I did not miss the chance to shake hands with the former champ. I shook his hand and gazed upon him. From the look in his eyes I got the feeling that he was not particulary thrilled with his new occupation. It must have been disheartening for "Smokin' Joe" to have to make a living by shaking hands with everybody who came into the casino, even skinny 18 year olds.

Another memory that I have is of a man that sat at one of the blackjack tables. From his clothes I could tell that he was not well to do. In front of him, on the table, was an alcoholic beverage of some type. Every time he lost, which was almost all of the time, he nervously jerked his hand to take another swig from the drink in front of him. I thought to myself that if this man is a bachelor, then he is only harming himself. If he is a family man, however, the money that he needs to support his wife and children is quickly migrating from his pocket to the pocket of the casino. In any case he was a pitiful spectacle.

That day I made a resolution that I would never enter a casino again.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Israeli Government Wants To Legalize Gambling

This is just another example of trading in our eternal Jewish values for money, something that the current government seems to excel in:
After years of debate, the government is moving forward at a brisk pace towards legalizing casinos in Israel. According to projections from Tourism Minister Avraham Hirschson, a casino will be up and running within 18 months. The minister is optimistic, hoping to present the bill to Knesset by year’s end.

Legislation is being prepared and the cabinet is expected to approve the legalized gambling in the near future....

Not everyone is as optimistic as Hirschson. Yahad MK Ran Cohen announced he plans to oppose the bill, explaining it is a known fact that casinos bring crime along with them. Cohen added that “enlightened countries are working to close casinos down but we are lagging behind and are working towards legitimizing them.”

Experts estimate legalized gambling would draw an additional million tourists a year.
This is a very, very bad development. I wonder who the experts are that think that legalized gambling will bring more tourists to Israel? Frankly, I think tourists come to Israel because it is the Holy Land. There are plenty of casinos all over the world and there is no reason that gamblers will want to come davka to Israel. What's more, our sages looked down upon gamblers and gambling. According to Judaism, gamblers are unfit to judge or give testimony in a court of law. Let's hope that just like the "Gay Pride Parade" got cancelled, the legalization of casinos in Israel will also be cancelled.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

More On Those Demonstrations From Other Bloggers

I found two interesting eyewitness accounts on the anti-disengagement demonstrations. The first one is from Yingele, who describes his experiences in our Medinat Mishtarah, emphasizing the cause of the rare unity among the national religious and ultra orthodox youth. Meanwhile, Behind A Door takes the silent majority to task for not being gutsy enough to take part in the demonstrations.

Meanwhile two Jerusalemite spectators express their displeasure with the road-blocking. One of them, Greetings from the French Hill, explains why he supports the disengagement(very unconvincing IMHO) and why he thinks the road-blocking is unproductive. Judy from Jerusalem Diaries also feels that the anti-expulsion protests were counter-productive.

Update: An eyewitness account from Jumping on the Bandwagon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bedouin Girl Murdered for Befriending Jews

Now that's a good reason to die. How dare you befriend Jews! From Arutz 7 (Hat tip: C & R) :
Police have arrested two Bedouin males suspected of having murdered their teenage sister in an honor killing that may also have an anti-Semitic element. The brothers allegedly stabbed their sister to death on the restaurant level of the Negev Mall in Be'er Sheva.
I'm a little puzzled by this episode. The only news outlet that reported it, as far as I can tell, is Arutz 7. It's been my experience that Arutz 7 is accurate, but maybe this time they goofed. Alternatively, perhaps the Israeli MSM is covering up this story since it doesn't fit in with their PC ideology. Is there anyone from Be'er Sheva out there who knows anything about this?

The Demographic Problem

Supporters of the "disengagement plan" say that it will help solve the demographic problem. This is of course a political ruse. The Arabs in the Gaza Strip already have autonomy and they do not vote in the Israeli elections. Destroying the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip will not improve the demographic situation at all.

The government is indeed occupied in deceiving the public. They talk about the demographic problem, while easing restrictions on the immigration and naturalization of Arabs from Judea and Samaria who have married Israeli-Arabs. Read the link and see what the government is up to.

Demonstrations Rock Israel

Shilo Musings has a nice list of links about this. I heard Pravda Kol Yisrael radio this morning and I could tell from between the lines that the leftists know that they are going to have a serious problem trying to implement the disengagement this summer. They took note of the fact that the demonstrators are not afraid of being arrested.

Interestingly enough the same broadcast included an item stating that the metaem hapeulot bashtachim (coordinator of acitivites in the territories) suggests that 1) the Arabs turn Neve Dekalim into a "Palestinian Holiday Village" (kind of reminds me of Eliyahu said in the name of the L-ORD to Ah'av,"Hast thou killed, and also taken possessions?"(I Kings 21:19)), 2) thousands of Arabs from the Gaza Strip will continue to work in Israel after "disengagement", and 3) Arab merchants from the Gaza Strip will receive permits to travel in Israel and VIP passes(making them free from security checks). Some disengagement!

Update: Ha'aretz has the details from the Kol Yisrael broadcast.

Update:Someone agrees with me.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Hakarat Hatov

Jews like to ask questions. Some say that Jews like to answer a question with another question. This is a strange thing to do.

Every Sabbath we end the morning prayers with a question, which is a verse from Tehillim, Psalms 106:

"Who can express the mighty acts of the L-RD, or make all His praise to be heard?"

This is also a strange thing to do, to finish the prayers with a question! Of course, this is a rhetorical question that is not meant to be answered. Nobody can express the mighty acts of the L-RD! It just cannot be done!

The verse itself seems to be redundant. The second part of the verse seems to repeat the first part of the verse. "Making all His praise to be heard" seems to be the same as "expressing the mighty acts of the L-RD."

The Maharal from Prague wrote a book about the Exodus, "Gevurot Hashem". In chapter 1 of Gevurot Hashem the Maharal explains that the verse is telling us two different ideas. The first part of the verse deals with quality, while the second part is talking about quality. "Who can express the mighty acts of the L-RD" in terms of the quality of his acts,” or make ALL His praise to be heard" in terms of quantity. Whether in terms of quality or in terms of quantity G-d's praises cannot be expressed!

Since this is so, the Maharal questions why we bother making a seder Passover night. While eating chicken soup with kneidlach is certainly a worthy pastime, the real purpose of the seder is to speak of the great miracles that G-d did for us as we left Egypt. But this is an impossible task! Who can express the mighty acts of the LORD, or make all His praise to be heard?

The Maharal answers that while we cannot possibly say all of G-d’s praises, we dare not be silent. This is called "Hakarat Hatov", recognizing and appreciating the good that someone has done for you. Gratitude. This is considered an important character trait that one should foster, and G-d forbid not to be a "Kefui Tovah", an ingrate. We say G-d's praises in order to show our appreciation and gratitude, even thought we know that our words cannot encompass all of the things that G-d is to be praised for.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Why in the World Would You Become Orthodox?

This is an interesting article. It will give all of you FFBs out there a peak into the mindset of a BT.

Haveil Havalim #20 at Shiloh Musings

This issue deals mainly with posts about Israeli Independence Day. I was surprised that my posts regarding "Independence Day In The Shadow Of Disengagement" were included. In contrast to my incertitudes, there are a lot of interesting links that are worth reading. Check it out!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Independence Day In The Shadow Of Disengagement Part 3

I woke up late this morning and missed davenning in the cheery, festive Independence Day minyan. "From the L-rd this has come about, it is wondrous in our eyes."

Mofaz The Idiot

Mofaz repeats the same empty mantras that we heard from the Oslo idiots:
Mofaz also said he thinks that a speedy pull-out from Gaza would improve Israel’s security, but noted that the effect might not be immediate. "I think our security situation the day after the evacuation will improve over time," Mofaz said. "I also hope the number of civilian and military casualties will diminish to a minimum. This has to be looked at as a process, and not as a point in time immediately after the evacuation."
Well Mr. Mofaz, the process has been going on for more than ten years, and placating terrorism has not brought peace, it has only encouraged more terrorism.

This government must be brought down!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Independence Day In The Shadow Of Disengagement Part 2

So far so good. I actually felt pretty good at Maariv tonight. Tomorrow morning is another story as "Hallel" is said. Where I doven they say it with a Bracha but I don't think that I will.

Meanwhile, the police harassment of disengagement opponents continues.

A Quote For Independence Day

"If we abandon this critical hour, of the beginning of the development of the (Jewish) settlement (in the land of Israel), and the physical and spiritual weakness and the lack of means of war will reach their peak among the faithful in the land of Israel, and the high hand armed with lawlessness and gentile ways, truly without any trace of the holiness of Israel, that covers its shards with the dross of counterfeit nationalism with grains of (Jewish) history and fondness of the (Hebrew) language, that enclothes externally with an Israeli form while the interior is completely non-Jewish, that stands to become a destroyer and a monster, and in the end also to the hatred of Israel and the land of Israel, as we have realized according to experience, -- this impure hand will prevail, and there is no way to elucidate the magnitude of the tragedy."

- Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook (Letters 144)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Only In Israel

Let's remember the bright side of living here.

Israeli Democracy: Activist Gets Arrested for Photographing Mom at Ceremony

If you are a right-wing activist, that's enough to warrant arrest!

Red Army WWII Veterans March In Jerusalem (Part 2)

(Read Part 1 first.)

Seeing these people marching through downtown Jerusalem made me think of the lyrics to a Grateful Dead song: "What a long, strange trip it's been!" (What can I do? These kind of things still pop into my mind once in a while!) But could the "Deadheads" even fathom what these people went through? Imagine being a Jew in the Soviet Union, where Zionism and Judaism were against the law. Imagine losing family and friends in the war and in the Nazi acts of genocide. Imagine taking an active part in that bloody war in order to save the Soviet Union and the rest of humanity from the Nazi monster. Imagine after the war residing in the world's largest prison, i.e. the Soviet Union, where even one's children were encouraged by their teachers in school to turn their parents in to the authorities. After all this, these people lived to see the Soviet Union crumble, and to immigrate to the State of Israel. Not only that, they merited to walk proudly down the streets of Jerusalem as Jews, adorned with the war decorations that they acquired in their youth, in a long ago and far away world.

Indeed, what a long, strange trip it has been for these people.

Red Army WWII Veterans March In Jerusalem

When I was growing up in the United States it was not uncommon that I would meet World War 2 veterans: people from my parents' generation that had fought for the US Army, people that had taken part in the invasion of Normandy, the liberation of France, and the conquest of Germany.

Yesterday in Jerusalem there was a parade in honor of the 60th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. Taking part in the parade were men and women well into their seventies, many well into their eighties. Their shirts were covered with a multitude of medals and other war decorations. These were Jews, in contrast to the war veterans that I knew in the States, that had fought on the Eastern Front in the Soviet Union's Red Army. These were the people that drove Hitler's army out of Russia and Poland. These were the soldiers that 60 years ago conquered Berlin, causing Hitler, may his name rot, to commit suicide in his bunker.

(Continue to part 2.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Ask The Rabbi

Rabbi David Samson has published a book of his responsa which is called, oddly enough, Ask the Rabbi. Rabbi Samson was one of my teachers in Machon Meir many years ago. In addition to being a Torah scholar, he is one of the nicest people I've ever met. For more information, click here.

Detention Without Trial In Israel

At Ha'aretz this is called "preventive arrests":
Senior Israel Defense Forces officers from the Central Command have been recommending the preventive arrest of dozens of extremists from the right - high-profile activists who have been campaigning against the disengagement and organizing protests designed to obstruct the army's moves.
Ha'aretz also has an interesting quote from the Women in Green:
The Women in Green (Women for Israel's Tomorrow) activist organization condemned the arrest and demanded Ofen's immediate release. "We are against administrative detention, but if Jews who pose a danger are going to be arrested, then Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres should be arrested for threatening the very existence of the State of Israel," they said.
From Ynet's headline, you might think that Neria Ofen was a fugitive:
Right-winger surrenders to Shin Bet
Interesting what happened to Ofen's family afterwards:
Ofen was stopped with his family at the Hizma checkpoint and went peacefully with arresting security personnel.

As his wife was driving back home to Yizhar, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at her car while she was passing the northern West Bank village of Luban a-Sharqiya. There were no injuries.
Read Arutz 7's take on the matter here.

Israeli Independence Day In The Shadow Of Disengagement

Should I, can I, will I, say Hallel on Independence Day this year?

Havel Haveilim #18 At Devarim

A well written collection of posts from around the jblogosphere, including one from yours truly.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Was Jonathan Pollard Tortured?

So claims his attorney in an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court.

Choose your media:


Autz 7


Zri'ah Uvinyan BaChinuch by Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt"l

Over Shabbat I read Zri'ah Uvinyan BaChinuch by Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt"l, a highly revered rabbi who passed away last Chol-HaMoed Pesach. It is a very small book of very high quality providing guidelines for parenting and education. The book is also available in English(Planting & Building in Education:Raising a Jewish Child).

As I read the book, I could not help but find myself nodding my head in agreement. My own experiences with my children bear out what he wrote. In short, I feel that this is a must read for all parents.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Yom HaShoah Around The Blogosphere

What are they saying on Holocaust Remembrance Day?


Biur Chametz

Clarity & Resolve


Mystical Paths

Little Green Footballs


Snooth Stone

The Rabbi's Kid

Cross Currents

Faith In Nathan

Boker Tov, Boulder

It's Shoah Time!

It's Shoah Time!

Kol Yisrael and Galei Tzahal are playing all of those sad sounding songs. The newscasters and announcers speak in low, somber tones. It's Shoah Time! It's time to act sad and shocked. It's time to mourn the destruction of Jewish communities. The siren goes off. All traffic must stop. Everyone must stand quietly. It's Shoah Time. Let's remember all of those Jews that were thrown out of their homes and sent to the concentration camps. Let's remember the gas chambers and death marches. Let's try to catch on film ultra-Orthodox Jews who won't stand still while the siren is wailing. It's Shoah Time!

After Shoah Time is over the newscasters and announcers will clear their throats. The sound of glee will return to their voices and the sparkle shall return to their eyes as they talk about how the Jews of Gaza and Northern Samaria will be kicked out of their homes. Happily they will ponder if the homes will be razed or will be given to the terrorists. With mirth they will speculate how many policemen will be needed to expel the settlers from their homes and how much force will be used. In a professional and detached way they will discuss the uprooting of the graves of those that were murdered by our peace-partners. That familiar Oslo-agreement-smugness will return. It's disengagement time!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

An Awesome Article By Moshe Feiglin

Here's a snippet:
"Tell me, please", I asked Prof. Kremnitzer, "Suppose that tomorrow I am Prime Minister, and I decide according to the proper procedures and in accordance with all the rules of democracy, to apply the eviction-compensation law to Arab villages. In this case also will the Israeli Institute for Democracy get aboard a bus and travel to all the villages and explain to the Arabs that there is no alternative, and that in the name of democracy they must obey the law?"

"But they are not Israeli citizens", cried Prof. Carmon.

"OK", I reply, "Let's apply the eviction-compensation law to the residents of Tira and Taibeh, in the State of Israel. There the Arabs have a proper blue ID card. Just the same law, and the same Supreme Court ruling, will be on my side. Will you then persuade them to leave?"

Prof. Kremnitze shook his head.

"Thank you for your honesty", I continued. "You are fascinating people, and I can learn a lot from you. I'm ready to listen to you all night, but you have to admit that the last thing that you are representing is democracy. Don't mention this word ever again."

Soldier says 'No' to pullout drill

Israel is still full of people who are unwilling to take part in Sharon's immoral activities:
Idan's father, Yitzhak, said it was conscientiously immoral for a soldier to train troops against other Jews.

“My son has a Jewish soul,” he said. “He is not able to train soldiers (to combat) Jews. I understand him and support him completely. I am against refusing (orders)..but my son is not refusing an order - this is a conscientious problem.”

Idan had said he would be willing to train the soldiers only if they sign documents or notify their commanders that they would not use violence against Jews, and would serve jail time if forced to do so. The army rejected his proposal.

Chugging Down Kosher Lemehadrin Beer

Zelig loves to drink beer. He goes to the grocery store and buys a six-pack of beer. He checks the package out to make sure that the beer has a good hechsher. After coming home from the store he sits down at the dinner table, opens the first bottle up and empties the contents into a tall glass. He holds the glass in his right hand and recites the "shehakol" blessing with great conviction and feeling. Two seconds later the glass is empty and Zelig's stomach is full of the bubbly stuff. Zelig however is not finished. When he recited the brocho, he specifically had in mind that he was going to finish the six-pack. So the contents of bottles number 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 follow the in the footsteps of the contents of bottle number 1. Despite the fact that Zelig is in a very altered state of consciousness, he manages to recite a "borei nefoshos." Zelig dozes off, happy that he recited all of the proper benedictions over his kosher lemehadrin beer.

Isn't Zelig a Tzaddik? Zelig fulfilled all of his halachic obligations. He did not drink something that was forbidden, and he did not partake of enjoyment from the world without blessing G-d.

But there is something very wrong here!

This weeks Parsha is Kedoshim. The Ramban explains that the command "Kedoshim Tihyu"(You shall be holy) means that we must sanctify ourselves in the things that are permitted. That is to say, even the things that the Torah permits must be partaken of in a measured way. One must not be a "baal ta'avo", one who is consumed by his desires and passions. The command "Kedoshim Tihyu" is meant to prevent Zelig-like behavior.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Rally For Pollard In Jerusalem

There was a rally for Jonathan Pollard in Safra Square (Jerusalem) today. What made this rally different from other rallies to free Jonathan Pollard? Haredim! The "Free Pollard" rallies that I am familiar with are usually attended almost exclusively by the knitted-kippah crowd. This rally, sponsored by Radio Kol-Chai, attracted Haredi youth of different streams: Chassidic, Sephardic, and Litvish. Important rabbis also attended the rally, among them Rabbi Grossman from Migdal HaEmek, Rabbi Avraham Yosef of Cholon(one of rabbi Ovadiyah Yosef's sons), and Rabbi Yonah Metzger, the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi. Rabbi Metzger, who visited Jonathan Pollard in prison, described at lenghth the inhumane conditions that Pollard has to endure there. Azam Azam, the Israeli Druze who spent years behind bars in an Egyptian prison after being sentenced by an Egyptian kangaroo court also spoke on Jonathan's behalf.

It's about time that the U.S. Government set Pollard free. What Pollard did was wrong, but the punishment he received is far too harsh for the seriousness of his crime. Every day that Pollard sits in prison is a stain on the American judicial system which unfairly sentenced him, on Presidents Clinton and Bush Jr. who have failed to pardon him, and the Israeli government that has abandoned him.


Woolsey: "Time to consider commutation for Pollard."

Reactions To Sharansky Resignation

Here are some reactions from around the blogosphere:




Shilo Musings

Clarity & Resolve

Little Green Footballs

Elder of Ziyon


Biur Chametz

Power Line

I Don't Wanna Do Your Dirty Work

ZAKA rejects request to take part in exhuming Jewish graves in Gush Katif:
"There is no chance that we will have anything to do with this," ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav said. "I was one of the founders of the Hatzala emergency response team in Gush Katif. I am a part of the place. How can I take part in an act like this?"

Monday, May 02, 2005

A Daughter of Egypt Asks About the Gaza Evacuation

Here's a must read from Nonie Darwish. An excerpt to wet your appetites:
I grew up in Gaza during the 1950s, a child of Egyptian parents at a time when Gaza was occupied by Egypt. My father headed the Egyptian military then in Gaza and the Sinai. Because I know and understand the culture of the area, I have troubling questions about Israel's Gaza evacuation.

Minister Natan Sharansky Resigns in Protest Over Expulsion Plan

It's about time!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

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