Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rav Elyashiv and Rav Shteinman Request Clemency For Pollard

Good news for Jonathan Pollard from

Shvat 5767
February 2007

Mr. George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We appeal to you as President of the greatest power on earth, the epitome of compassion and generosity, to grant clemency to Mr. Jonathan Pollard who has been incarcerated for over twenty years.

With deep respect and appreciation,

יוסף אלישיב אי"ל שטיינמן

To view the letter click here.

Update: Arutz 7 has more important information about this.

God Does Not Desire Those That Speak Ill Of Israel

As a continuation to yesterday's post, let's take a look at the following Midrash(Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1):
רבי אבהו וריש לקיש הוו עללין לחדא מדינתא דקיסרין. אמר ליה רבי אבהו לר' שמעון בן לקיש מהו כן עלינן למדינתא דחירופיא וגידופיא. נחת ליה ריש לקיש מן חמריה וספא חלא ויהב בפומיה . אמר ליה מהו כן? אמר לו אין הקב"ה רוצה במי שאומר דילטורייא על ישראל
My unofficial translation:
Rabbi Abbahu and Reish (R' Shimon Ben) Laqish were on the way to one of the cities of Caesaria. Rabbi Abbahu said to R' Shimon Ben Laqish, "Why should we enter this city of revilers and blasphemers?" Reish Laqish dismounted his donkey, gathered some sand and stuffed it in Rabbi Abbahu's mouth. Rabbi Abbahu said, "Why did you that?" Reish Laqish said to him, "The Holy One Blessed Be He does not desire one who speaks ill of the people of Israel."
Many in the Jewish community in Caesaria at that time were apparently thoroughly Hellenized. This truly pained the great Talmudic sage Rabbi Abbahu, and he said what he said. Reish Laqish taught Rabbi Abbahu a not so pleasant lesson in what constitutes proper speech and what does not. Rabbi Abbahu went on to be a Rosh Yeshiva, strangely enough, in Caesaria.

As we approach the Fast of Esther, let's keep the lesson of this Midrash in mind. For those who fast, may it be a meaningful one.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Tale Of Two Rabbis

See if you can find the differences. (To make this easier I emphasized the lines in question.)

Rabbi Gil Student:
Separate seating does not empower women. It doesn't have to weaken them either, if the community is sufficiently responsible. Israeli society is definitely not sufficiently responsible, including (or especially) the Charedi community. I don't claim that women are routinely beaten or humiliated on buses, but anyone who has been in Israel for more than 25 seconds recognizes that politeness... I can't continue this sentence because it is too painful. But you know what I mean.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein:
After two millennia, we returned to the Land. Like Yaakov, one of the first steps we took was to establish a place for Torah. And how successful that step was! From the ashes of the Holocaust, we created a Torah revolution in the length and breadth of the Land, creating an entire subculture around the central pillar of the primacy of Torah. Tens of thousands of people live lives in which Torah study is put on its proper pedestal. The gem of Torah is restored to its luster. An explosion in Torah publication produces many mediocre works – but also works that will be appreciated for generations. America is a poor also-ran compared with the productivity of Israeli Torah. Thousands of families live with a deep, penetrating, unstinting faith in Hashem and His Torah. We send our children to Israel to breath in the atmosphere they created, beyond the natural kedushah (holiness) of the Land itself. We visit ourselves, to remind ourselves of how many non-Torah values have been foisted upon us by our tarrying in exile too long.

Does this remind you of something?

Monday, February 26, 2007

More On The Upcoming Shmittah

The "Public Treasury" Solution for Shemittah

Good Point

Life in Israel: four-letter words

Bagels, Lox, Cream Cheese And Pics

More hot pics.

Tzvi Fishman On The Modern Orthodox

From his post Oscar Who?:
In honor of the occasion, I am posting an article that I wrote for IsraelNN a few months ago regarding the evils of movies. If you want to save your souls, don’t watch the Oscars tonight. If you want to be a holy Jew, you have to work on it. You can’t have the best of both worlds, as the Modern Orthodox like to believe. Holiness and impurity don’t go together. All of those actresses may look lovely in their sparkling, low-cut gowns, but is it worth it to frizzle your brain? When you pollute your eyes with things you shouldn’t see, the soul which sits in your brain is polluted as well. When that happens, your spiritual radar is smashed, and for example, the Land of Israel, becomes just a nice place to visit, like a Disneyland for Jews, and you think you can be just as serious a Jew in Beverly Hills, or Monsey.

So take it from someone who’s been there. Don’t watch the Oscars. Don’t watch movies at all. Do your brain a favor and study Torah instead.
I think he has a good point!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Haveil Havalim #108: The Get Lost Edition

Go get lost at the Life-of-Rubin blog.

Of Binocular Caps And Such

I really don't want to blog about this. I mean, this is really embarrassing. But perhaps we can learn a little bit of mussar from this: Don't be a fake. Don't pretend that everything is alright when it is clearly not. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help when needed. Don't be like Gideon Levy, who thinks that the mockery that Peretz evokes is connected to racism:
Indeed, let's call a spade a spade: The mockery of Peretz derives from racism. There is no other way to explain the systematic ridicule of his character: his English, his awkward pinning of ranks on the chief of staff, and the covered binoculars. This could happen to anyone, but we laugh at him.
Gideon Levy, take the caps off of your binoculars!

Check out this from Arutz 7.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Teach It To Me

I already wrote about my commuting to Tel Aviv. May the good Lord help me find work in Jerusalem soon!

Until that happens I've been trying to spend my time on the bus wisely. After seeing this post on the Beyond BT blog, I downloaded Rabbi David Botton's lessons on Mesillat Yesharim from I've learned this book before, but as the Ramchal explains, the true benefit from the book is derived by going over it again and again. I think that Rabbi Botton does an excellent job teaching the book. Highly recommended!

Bad News From Egypt

Egypt, under the leadership of Mubarak The Dictator, has sentenced a blogger to four years in jail. His crime was expressing his opinion:
An Alexandria court convicted an Egyptian blogger on Thursday for insulting both Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and sentenced him to four years in jail over his writings on the Internet.

Abdel Karim Suleiman, a 22-year-old former law student who has been in custody since November, was the first blogger to stand trial in Egypt for his Internet writings. He was convicted in connection with eight articles he wrote since 2004.

Rights groups and opposition bloggers have watched Suleiman's case closely, and said they feared a conviction could set a legal precedent limiting Internet freedom in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country.
Here's a web site dedicated to freeing Kareem.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Israeli Baseball League?

I wonder if this is going to catch on:
The Israel Baseball League has signed up former New York Yankee manager Ron Blomberg to manage one of the six teams to take the field June 24, when the league starts its first season. No games will be played on the Sabbath.

It also has taken on 45-year-old pitcher Ari Alexenberg, who grew up in an orthodox Jewish family that later moved to Israel. He remained in the United States but recently tried out for the Israeli teams in Petach Tikva, where his parents live.
Turns out that this CBS already reported this on February 12:
Former Major League Baseball players Ken Holtzman, Ron Blomberg and Art Shamsky were hired Monday as managers for the first season of the Israel Baseball League.

Six teams will play in the league, which opens June 24. Each club will play 45 games over eight weeks, with no games Friday nights or Saturday afternoons because of the Sabbath.

Former Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette is the league's director of baseball operations and Daniel Kurtzer, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, is its commissioner. The league plans to announce cities later this month, spokesman Marty Appel said.

Holtzman went 174-150 and is the winningest Jewish pitcher in MLB history. Blomberg was the first designated hitter in MLB and Shamsky played for the 1969 New York Mets World Series championship team.
The name Ron Blomberg certainly bring back memories of my youth when I was a Yankee fan. Today my free time is much too dear to me to waste on spectator sports. However I admire the fact that the league is respecting the sanctity of the Sabbath. I wonder if they will sing the national anthem before the game.

Update: Ha'aretz has an interesting article about the tryouts for the IBL which were held last November.

: For those interested, the IBL has a web site. (Hat tip: Soccer Dad)

Quote Of The Day

Menachem Lipkin:
“While it is a mitzvah to live in Israel, it’s no mitzvah be an Israeli.”
I love it. But that is no way to say that being an Israeli is bad. I'm one.

Two Bouquets of Roses For Israel's Finest

After yesterday's post, When Keystone Cops Get Sinister, which dealt with the darker side of th Israeli Police, today's post is a salute to the men in blue. The first bouquet:
Residents of Tel Aviv, Holon, Bat Yam and Rishon Lezion held their breath Tuesday night as police alerted the public to a suicide bombing plot that was already in motion in the region. After a dragnet that lasted approximately two hours, several Palestinian Authority terrorists were apprehended by police. They confessed to the planned attack and led officers to a dumpster in Rishon Lezion where they had stashed their explosives earlier in the day.
Bouquet number two:
The mysterious murder of 18-year-old Maayan Ben Horin in northern Israel some 40 days ago has been solved.

An indictment was filed with the Haifa District court Wednesday morning against a 17-year old Bedouin who was arrested for the crime on February 2.

The boy, living in a tent in the area where the body was found, had attempted to rape Maayan, a police investigation revealed, but after she fought him off, he murdered her with repeated brutal blows to the head.

Head of the Police's northern district central unit Menachem Hever said, "A DNA test was conducted and a perfect match between the suspect and material found on the murdered was found."
Believe me, I prefer today's positive post over the negative one I put up yesterday.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

When Keystone Cops Get Sinister

Read Joe Settler's report on the deceit of the Israeli Police Dept. Be sure to visit the links in his post.

Arutz 7 has more:
Nadia Matar, co-chair and founder of the nationalist grassroots organization Women in Green, recalls a demonstration she organized 13 years ago protesting the Oslo Accords - and in which she was brutally arrested by then-Deputy Jerusalem District Commander Mickey Levy. Levy accused her of attacking him, but when a film of the event was later produced showing the opposite, the charges against her were abruptly withdrawn.

Matar now asks that State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss block the expected appointment of Levy as Israel's new Deputy Police Commander. In a letter to Lindenstrauss, Matar asks that he investigate Levy's past, noting that Levy "faced a disciplinary trial in the Bureau for Investigations Against Policemen for perjury - but was strangely acquitted [despite the film]."

Arutz 7 has the film of Levy "arresting" Matar, even though she was not doing anything illegal.

So Mickey Levy falsely charged Nadia Matar of assault and lied under oath. He certainly should not be promoted.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Pamela Greenbaum vs. Orthomom

It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. As a freshman in high school I joined the freshman soccer team. I played the position of fullback. During a practice game the ball came to me and I passed it on to the goalie. Unfortunately the goalie had left his position and the ball rolled into the goal. I had just scored a goal against my own team.

What school board member Pamela Greenbaum has done with her recent litigation is similar. In Hebrew we call it a "gol atzmi", a self made goal. This frivolous law suit, which on the face of it looks like a pathetic attempt to quell criticism, is having a boomerang effect, at least as far as the jblogosphere is concerned.

It is not easy being a public servant. It means having to suffer a lot of criticism, some of which is unjust. Sometimes opponents don't stick to the issue and prefer to launch personal attacks and to resort to immature name-calling. But if the offensive anonymous comment on Orthomom's blog was really the issue, I think that a short email to Orthomom would have solved the problem.

Orthomom 1, Greenbaum 0.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What's New?

I just spent a wonderful Shabbat in Beit El. It is such a privilege to be among those pioneers. My God protect them and bring them much success.

Did you see Haveil Havalim 107 that Yid With Lid just can't do?

Rafi G. updates us with news about Tamir Goodman a.k.a the Jewish Michael Jordan. Tamir is truly an example of a righteous man living by his faith.

Yisrael Medad gives us a good laugh for the month of Adar.

Today is Rosh Chodesh Adar. The "song of the day" for Rosh Chodesh is Psalms 104:
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. {N}
O LORD my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with glory and majesty.
2 Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment, who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain;
3 Who layest the beams of Thine upper chambers in the waters, {N}
who makest the clouds Thy chariot, who walkest upon the wings of the wind;
4 Who makest winds Thy messengers, the flaming fire Thy ministers.
5 Who didst establish the earth upon its foundations, that it should not be moved for ever and ever;
6 Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a vesture; the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At Thy rebuke they fled, at the voice of Thy thunder they hasted away--
8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down--unto the place which Thou hadst founded for them;
9 Thou didst set a bound which they should not pass over, that they might not return to cover the earth.
10 Who sendest forth springs into the valleys; they run between the mountains;
11 They give drink to every beast of the field, the wild asses quench their thirst.
12 Beside them dwell the fowl of the heaven, from among the branches they sing.
13 Who waterest the mountains from Thine upper chambers; the earth is full of the fruit of Thy works.
14 Who causeth the grass to spring up for the cattle, and herb for the service of man; {N}
to bring forth bread out of the earth,
15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, making the face brighter than oil, {N}
and bread that stayeth man's heart.
16 The trees of the LORD have their fill, the cedars of Lebanon, which He hath planted;
17 Wherein the birds make their nests; as for the stork, the fir-trees are her house.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the conies.
19 Who appointedst the moon for seasons; the sun knoweth his going down.
20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.
21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God.
22 The sun ariseth, they slink away, and couch in their dens.
23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.
24 How manifold are Thy works, O LORD! In wisdom hast Thou made them all; {N}
the earth is full of Thy creatures.
25 Yonder sea, great and wide, {N}
therein are creeping things innumerable, living creatures, both small and great.
26 There go the ships; there is leviathan, whom Thou hast formed to sport therein.
27 All of them wait for Thee, that Thou mayest give them their food in due season.
28 Thou givest it unto them, they gather it; Thou openest Thy hand, they are satisfied with good.
29 Thou hidest Thy face, they vanish; {N}
Thou withdrawest their breath, they perish, and return to their dust.
30 Thou sendest forth Thy spirit, they are created; and Thou renewest the face of the earth.
31 May the glory of the LORD endure for ever; let the LORD rejoice in His works!
32 Who looketh on the earth, and it trembleth; He toucheth the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have any being.
34 Let my musing be sweet unto Him; as for me, I will rejoice in the LORD.
35 Let sinners cease out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. {N}
Bless the LORD, O my soul. {N}

That's beautiful, isn't it? It's even better in Hebrew:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Various Notes

Arutz 7 has redesigned its web site. Of particular interest to the jblogosphere are two new blogs, "Hollywood to the Holy Land" and “Back to Sanity”.

Purim is coming up soon and Jameel is planning something special.

This coming Shabbat is Parshat Shekalim:
The first of the Four Special Shabbatot is Shabbat Parshat Shekalim. It occurs either on the last Shabbat of the month of Shevat, or on the Shabbat which in that year coincides with Rosh Chodesh Adar, or on a Shabbat early in Adar. A special reading, taken from Parshat KiTisa (Shemot 30:11-16) is appended to the regular Torah reading.

The reading describes a census of the Jewish People which was taken while the Jews were in the Wilderness, after their Exodus from Egypt. The Torah, here and in other places, teaches that it is forbidden to count Jews in the ordinary manner; rather, the People should be called upon to contribute items, which would then be counted.

This means that its time to start cleaning for Pesach!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Street named after Kahane irks residents Ynetnews

Ynetnews descends to new lows with this article, accusing Rabbi Meir Kahane z"l of racism. Apparently they believe that if you repeat a lie enough times then it becomes truth:
All of this well-documented racist behavior, however, didn't stop Or Akiva from naming a street in his honor, causing residents to respond with outrage.
I've already blogged that Rabbi Kahane was not a racist. Not only that, but here is the "documentation" mentioned in the article:
Kahane founded Kach, a party which advocated transferring Palestinians out of the territories for monetary compensation and annexing those territories as part of an ideology believing in the concept of 'a greater Israel .'

The party won one seat in the 1984 Knesset and was subsequently banned from participating in future elections after the Election Law was amended to bar lists that incite racism.

He also founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL), which is listed by the FBI as a terrorist group.

Kahane was murdered by El Sayyid Nosair in 1990 after a speech in New York.
Wow, what great documentation!

The remarks of the mayor of Or Akiva contradict the entire essence of the article:
Or Akiva Mayor Simcha Yosifuv responded to the outcry on Monday, saying that "the decision to name a street after him was made 15 years ago. I wasn't the mayor then. It's a dead-end alley and in the four years I've been mayor not a single person has come forward to complain about it.

"He was a Jew who was murdered by fanatics because of his opinions. If any resident has a problem with the street we will bring the matter to the city council for discussion."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rabbi Ya'ir Uriel zt"l

I had no idea. I saw the mourning notice on Shabbat after Minchah. Rabbi Ya'ir Uriel had passed away and was buried on Fiday. I was in total shock. The eyes see but the heart doesn't want to believe.

After Shabbat was over I saw Rabbi Dov Begon and he had the following to say to me:

חבל על דאבדין ודלא משתכחין. רב אוריאל היה אחד מל"ו הצדיקים. הוא היה אומן בכך שהוא ידע איך להסתיר את גדלותו

I remember Rav Uriel when I first came to Machon Meir 22 years ago. He gave a short lesson in Jewish Law after the morning prayer. Later I learned that he lived with his wife and children in a caravan in the Tel Romeida (Admot Yishai) area of Hebron. But that was only on the Sabbath and holidays. During the week he slept in the dormitory of Machon Meir with the students. He would divide his time between teaching at the Machon and learning at Mercaz HaRav. Without saying a word he taught two things through this arrangement: The love of learning Torah and the love of the Land of Israel.

Later on I learned that the late Dean of the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva, HaRav Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook, was very fond of Rav Uriel. He said that Rav Uriel was "a walking 'Path of The Just'". I heard that when Rav Uriel walked into the room, Rav Tzvi Yehuda would stand up in his honor. Because of this Rav Uriel would not enter the room where Rav Tzvi Yehuda was teaching. He would stand outside, near the door and listen to the lesson in order not to cause Rav Tzvi Yehuda to stand up.

I, along with many others, had the honor of learning one-on-one with Rav Uriel. He will be sorely missed.

May his family be comforted with the building of Zion.

News From The Sultan: Muslims Announce 5 New Holy Sites

Double Click.

Reuters Admits Mistake

Check this out. Kudos to Reuters for admitting the mistake. However a little bit of professionalism would have prevented the mistake from being made.

Haveil Havalim #106- Terrible Twos Edition At Jacks's Shack

I hope this makes up for missing the "Link to Jack" day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Weak Defense Minister

More pathetic behavior from Amir Peretz:
Defense Minister Peretz, in the face of Muslim violence, appealed to Prime Minister Olmert to halt the construction of the footpath at the Rambam Gate to the Temple Mount.
Is it any wonder that the war last summer did not achieve its objectives?

See the hot pics!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

God With An "o"

That is to say, "God" and not "G-d" or "Gd". The reason is:
The common rabbinic opinion is that "God" written in any language other than Hebrew, has no holiness and can be erased. (see Shach Y.D. 179:11, and Mishneh Brura 85:10)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Safdie Plan Bites The Dust

Baruch Hashem!

Shmitah Series On Arutz 7

As the seventh year of the shmitah cycle approaches the problem of keeping shmitah, whether one is a farmer or whether one is a consumer, will certainly occupy the public. Arutz 7 is starting a series on the subject. Read the first article in the series, Upcoming Shemittah Year Generates Search for New Approaches.

Widespread Demands for Pollard's Release

Arutz 7 reports:
With massive call-ins to President Bush, hunger strikes and street protests all over the world, supporters of Jonathan Pollard refuse to accept the injustice of his continued incarceration.

American Jewish organizations have organized a massive nationwide campaign to call the White House every afternoon for the next two months and request/demand freedom for Pollard. The campaign is to last, if it does not succeed in attaining its goal beforehand, until after Passover, the holiday of freedom.

The campaign, spearheaded by the National Council of Young Israel, is predicated on the fact that the White House tallies all incoming calls, "and so every single phone call makes a difference."

A statement issued by Young Israel Executive Vice President Rabbi Pesach Lerner asks citizens concerned by Pollard's plight to "call daily between the hours of 11-2 pm EST, and encourage their family members and friends to do the same. Callers are reminded to expect the lines to be busy and to keep calling until they get through."

The White House phone number is 1-202-456-1414.

In addition, the Council of Torah Sages of Agudath Israel of America (the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah), Agudath Israel's Rabbinic Presidium, and nearly 100 members of its Conference of Synagogue Rabbis have issued a declaration calling on "all caring Jews... to convey the message to President Bush that Mr. Pollard has served long enough, and that the time has come to free him."

Agudath Israel states that Pollard's plight "demands our urgent attention. [His] life sentence – a penalty far more severe than that imposed upon others who committed similar or even more serious crimes – is difficult to comprehend... At this time, it appears that all legal avenues through the judicial system have been shut off."

"Only the President of the United States, by granting Mr. Pollard executive clemency, can save him from spending the rest of his life behind bars," Agudath Israel pleads.

The Bnei Elim organization has announced a series of simultaneous lie-in-the-street rallies on behalf of Pollard. The rallies are scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 PM EST, and 3 PM on the west coast of the U.S. Pollard supporters are asked to lie down or sit in the street at the designated location, in the hope of drawing the media to pass the "Free Pollard!" message along to President Bush. Locations include: Zion Square in Jerusalem (at 6:00 PM), Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets in NYC, Merrit Island and Cooper City in Florida, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Taylorsville, Utah.

In addition, the Midrashah Tzionit, a Jewish educational center in Kiev, Ukraine, has declared the current month of Shvat a month of struggle for the release of Jonathan Pollard. The activities will include hunger-strikes and petitions to the Israeli government. Jews in the Ukraine and other former Soviet republics are collecting signatures for a petition to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the government of Israel, demanding immediate and urgent steps to secure Pollard's release.

Furthermore, on the 23rd of Shevat (February 11th), concerned Jews will hold a day-long hunger strike in Kiev, Odessa, Minsk, Moscow and other cities. On the same day, a Jonathan Pollard video-conference will be held, including participants from all over the former Soviet Union. The Russian-language website of the Midrashah Tzionit has posted much information on Pollard and on the efforts to free him.

Jonathan Pollard, in failing health, is currently in his 22nd year of imprisonment, many of which were under very difficult conditions, for having given classified information to a friendly nation and ally, Israel.

The Zionist Organization of America "welcomes" the recent statements by former CIA director James Woolsey and former top US. Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross in favor of clemency for Pollard, and reiterated its own call for his release.

Woolsey recently told Arutz-7, "Now that he has served 20 years of a prison sentence, my view is that a 20-year sentence, I think, is enough... I think the close relationship between United States and Israel as fellow democracies is also a consideration so, at this point, I think Pollard has served a long enough sentence."

Dennis Ross was quoted in Canada's Jewish Tribune as stating that Pollard's sentence was excessive and that he should be released. "Pollard has been in jail for so long that whatever facts he might know would have little if any effect on national security today," Ross said. He added that he discussed the issue with President George W. Bush, but that Bush is showing no interest in releasing Pollard.

U.S. judicial experts, too, have decried the injustice of the sentence. Federal Judge Stephen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the "government's breach of the plea agreement was a fundamental miscarriage of justice."

Retired U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini, a former chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, has written, "I am convinced that Mr. Pollard has expressed the appropriate remorse and served adequate time."

Former Federal Prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani, a former Mayor of New York City who may run for U.S. President, said the sentence was unfair and "way beyond the sentences served by other people that have been convicted of the same offense."

Misunderstanding The Bible

Yair Lapid, interviewed by ynetnews:
What would you remove from the Jewish calendar?

I would omit Purim. The story about an anti-Jewish conspiracy that is foiled due to the fact that someone forces his virgin niece into the bed of a womanizing king and because of this the Jews receive permission to commit genocide against 70,000 people and then they get drunk from happiness – does not bring us much honor.

Did you get it? According to Lapid Mordechai forced Esther to marry Ahasuerus, and that the Jew's war against their enemies that wanted to wipe them out was "genocide". The genocide claim is totally ludicrous, however given the propensity of journalists to misuse words I'm not surprised that Lapid uttered it. The claim that Mordechai forced "his virgin niece into the bed of a womanizing king" is entirely off the wall, as we can see from a quick glance at the Book Of Esther, chapter 2:

1 After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was assuaged, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. 2 Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him: 'Let there be sought for the king young virgins fair to look on; 3 and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the castle, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hegai the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their ointments be given them; 4 and let the maiden that pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti.' And the thing pleased the king; and he did so. {S} 5 There was a certain Jew in Shushan the castle, whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish, a Benjamite, 6 who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives that had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. 7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter; for she had neither father nor mother, and the maiden was of beautiful form and fair to look on; and when her father and mother were dead, Mordecai took her for his own daughter. 8 So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was published, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the castle, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was taken into the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.

Esther was forcibly taken by royal decree, and not forced into Ahasuerus' bed by Mordechai, as Lapid maintains.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Links For The Day

The Faithfulness Factor :
The exact details do not interest me. The past foibles of Plaintiff A don't interest me either. The court will decide if it was done with coercion or not. These stories are great for the media, because they present a golden opportunity to sell pornography in the guise of public report and debate. But amidst the din of reporters and the flashes of the cameras, the real question has completely disappeared:

Was President Moshe Katzav unfaithful to his wife, or not?

Question & Answer With Akiva Of Mystical Paths - Shechita:
A Simple Jew asks:

When we are dealing with shechita, we are concerned primarily with the fact that the shochet has knowledge of the myriads of halachos of shechita, and that he is a person of exceptional Yiras Shamayim. While I can understand that a chassid who is sensitive to these considerations would only want to eat meat shechted by another chassid, I don't understand how a chassid can only limited himself to eat meat shechted by a chassid from his own group (i.e. a Lubavitcher only eating Rubaskin meat) when there is always the possibility of meat from another group being on a higher level.

Take this hypothetical, lets say that one determined that a certain slaughter house employed a shochet who was a chassid and whose knowledge of halacha and Yiras Shamayim was on a higher level than that of the Chabad shochet. Would you seek to eat the meat from this shochet, or would you continue to eat only Rubashkin meat since this is the community standard?

Haveil Havalim #105

Photo Feature: Down on Shai Dromi´s Negev Ranch

My response to "Anonymous"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pollard Awareness Among American Jews

I've blogged about the continuing injustice against Jonathan Pollard many times in the past. I have also noticed the lack of interest among American Jewry and American jbloggers regarding Pollard's fate. Once I wrote the following:
I cry not for Jonathan Pollard. True, he is suffering. However, I cry for American Jewry which has apparently lost its backbone, if it ever had one.
Therefore I was very pleased to see the following today from Boker Tov, Boulder:
I have never wanted to blog about Jonathan Pollard. In fact, I never wanted to learn about Jonathan Pollard. I remember feeling slightly guilty when I heard (or read?) David HaIvri say that if American Jews really want to do something to help Israel, they should address the Jonathan Pollard situation. I felt slightly guilty and I imagined he was right, but I didn't so much as Google Pollard. Why? Because I knew that if I found out about it, if I knew about it, I would be obligated to do something.
Read the rest. I hope that this is a sign that American Jewry is waking up with regards to Jonathan Pollard. Way to go, Anne.

Left Wingers Conduct Tu B'Shvat Vandalism And Violence In S'de Boaz

From Arutz 7:
Arabs and leftists uprooted a Jewish orchard and went on to plant olive trees in a Jewish community on the Jewish "New Year of Trees.” One left-wing activist hit a security guard with his car. Read the rest.

As far as I can tell, the Israeli MSM is ignoring this story. I'm not surprised.

Update: Joe Settler, Batya, and Moshe have their say on this one.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I Don't Believe It! I Agree With Sever Plocker!

This is truly amazing. Usually I don't like what this guy has to say. Today however, at least part of this article is right on the money:

It doesn't matter whether you're 45 and she's 20, or whether you're 55 and she's 30. The idea that a 20-year-old woman can be physically attracted to an old man like Haim Ramon (who is 56) is baseless, outrageous, and ridiculous, even though it circulates among men of this advanced age.

Only an aggressive, arrogant man lacking self-criticism can imagine that a woman who is more than a generation younger than him would offer him a flirt, physical closeness, or even an erotic kiss.

This lack of good judgment is enough of a reason to keep Haim Ramon away from any position of power. I'm not surprised that someone that supported the Oslo Accords and the "disengagement" has been proven myopic in other areas as well.

Torah, Kabbalah, And Sex

That is my copy of Tzvi Fishman's lastest book, Secret of the Brit: Torah, Kabbalah, and Sex. The book is available at Tzvi's web site, Tzvi is also a publishes articles regularly at the Arutz 7 web site. (Full disclosure: He is also a friend of mine.)
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