Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Hope For Pollard?

Lawrence Korb has wrote an article in the LA Times that confirms what I've been blogging about for quite some time:
About 25 years ago, Jonathan Jay Pollard, a U.S. naval intelligence analyst, betrayed his country by providing highly classified information to Israel. Even though Israel was and still is a U.S. ally and is routinely supplied with U.S. intelligence, Pollard deserved to be severely punished for his actions. However, the punishment should fit the crime. In his case, it does not.
Read the rest!

A Couple of Minutes With RivkA

I met her a couple of years ago at the first jblogger convention. This is what happened to the best of my recollection:

I was milling around the place. Suddenly, two ladies were in front of me. One I recognized right away form the pics on her blog: that was Batya, and I was quite honored to meet the person behind Shiloh Musings.

Batya introduced me to the lady standing next to her. My first impression was: this lady is happy! Some people smile after hearing good news, a good joke or their favorite song. However, this lady had a smile on her face and a look in her eyes that expressed a very deep happiness, something that reached deep down to the inner recesses of her soul. This happiness radiated outward with an intensity that could not be ignored. Indeed, the Blogger Conference was a festive event. People there were enjoying meeting the faces behind the blogs. But was this a reason to be SO happy?

I told her that I was the author of the Cosmic X in Jerusalem blog, which she told me that she had never heard of (not too many have!). I asked her for the name of her blog, and she said, "Coffee and Chemo".

I didn't get it. What in the world is "Keemo"? Is it some kind of caffeinated beverage? Is it a Hebrew word that I wasn't familiar with?

"Keemo?" I asked her.

I think she understood my problem: "Chemotherapy", she added as a clarification.

Now I was in total shock. This lady was in the middle of being treated for the dreaded disease, and she is so incredibly happy. I told here that I would check out her blog, which I did.

I, along with many others had "positive thoughts and prayers" for RivkA. We followed her blog, hoping that she would have a full and speedy recovery. It was not to be.

So what was the secret of her happiness? I think that she realized the value of life, the preciousness of every minute. She was not about to waste time feeling sorry for herself. She was going to enjoy every moment that God gave her in this world to the best of her ability.

In this way she was a walking book of ethics. I learned so much from that short meeting. How many times are we upset or angry about things which are really not important? Do we "serve God in happiness" or with a frown upon our face?

May RivkA's family be comforted with the rest of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Logo

This is the cherry on the cream of this blog's metamorphosis. Many thanks to the young artist atchalta!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dvar Torah for Chayei Sarah: Honesty is the Best Policy

In this week's Torah portion we read about Abraham's purchase of Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Patriarch's Cave, from Efron the Hittite. Here's a story that I read in volume two of the book "Avihem Shel Yisrael", a compendium of stories about Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l:

Even before the 1929 massacre of Hebron's Jewish Community by the Arabs, the Cave of the Patriarchs was closed off to the Jews. It did not matter that this was the resting place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah. The Arabs would only let the Jews up to the seventh step of the stairs leading up to the entrance.

After Hebron was liberated by the IDF during the Six Day War, Jews were finally able to enter the Cave of the Patriarchs. Chief Rabbi Nissim sent Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu to take care of the place. Many soldiers were there. Also present were high ranking officers like Rabin, Bar Lev, and Uzi Narkis. Some important Rabbis also came to Hebron to pray at the burial place of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish People.

The soldiers, some of them wounded, some of tired from days of battle, took a nap on the rugs that were there. Those that were hungry grabbed a bite to eat. Suddenly the Sheikh of the Cave, whose name was Jabri, started yelling at the soldiers and the commanders.

"Get out of here! You are not giving this site proper respect! We Muslims wash our hands five times before entering and remove our shoes. You Jews, have no respect: sleeping here, eating here and entering with your dirty shoes. Get out!

Seemingly, the sheikh was correct. Everyone was silent, except for one.

"Listen ya sheikh," answered him Rabbi Eliyahu in Arabic, a language familiar to him and to most of the high ranking officers. "If the king's servant comes wearing dirty clothes and serves the king food from a dirty platter in front of the the king's ministers and servants, he is certainly liable the death penalty. However, if the king's son, who hasn't seen the king for twenty years, and his father and mother miss him and cry about him at night - if this son, will show up in ragged and dusty clothes, without making an appointment, and will enter in the middle of a meeting of the king and his ministers and say, 'Father, I've come back' - he'll come to his mother and say 'Mother, I'm home' - the father and mother will surely hug him heartily, dirty clothes and all. He's their son."

"Listen ya sheikh," continued Rabbi Eliyahu. "Abraham is our father. Sarah is our mother. We feel at home here. You are the children of al-fatma, the maidservant Hagar. You are behaving here as is proper for a servant to behave, we behave here as is proper for a son to behave."

The sheikh turned red with shame and anger. He lost the argument, and in addition was called "ibn al-fatma". He returned in anger to his office.

The officers there were upset. "We want to live in coexistence and peace with the Arabs. Why did you anger him?"

The rabbi answered, "You have to tell them the truth. That's the only way they understand.

The argument continued for several minutes, until the sheikh came out of his office again. He turned submissively to Rabbi Eliyahu and said, "ya chacham, ya sidi, (wise man and master) please forgive me."

The Rabbi did not answer him. Instead he turned to the commanders and said,
"You see which language they understand. I grew up among them as a child in the Old City of Jerusalem. Tell them the truth and they understand.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rabinfest IV

Some satire from Latma (Hat tip to Batya):

Update: The clip is no longer embedded. It was brought to my attention that the lady in the film is not properly dressed. If you want to see the film anyway, it is here.

Jon Stewart: No Nachas Here

You cannot help but feel the sense of Jewish pride in this article from Arutz 7:
Jewish-American comedian Jon Stewart is the most influential man of 2010, far ahead of President Barack Obama, according to a survey conducted by the AskMen online magazine, which attracted roughly 500,000 people to vote in the poll.
What yiddishe nachas!!! He's number one, far ahead of the president!!! The article continues, telling us who Jon Stewart is and what he has done. I do not watch television and I have not seen him perform. Being curious, I googled the guy and I found out the following:
Although the topic doesn’t come up often, it’s also evident where Stewart stands on intermarriage. In 2000, he married Tracey McShane, a veterinary technician and a Catholic. Stewart, who does The New York Times crossword puzzle daily, popped the question with a puzzle of his own. The paper’s “Puzzle Master,” Will Shortz, found Stewart a puzzle creator for the occasion.

The Stewarts (they changed their names legally in 2001) live in a loft in lower Manhattan and have two children. Nathan Thomas Stewart, four, is named after his grandfather. Maggie Rose Stewart is two. As Stewart told Tony Blair on The Daily Show in a September 2008 interview, “My wife is Catholic. I’m Jewish. It’s very interesting; we’re raising the children to be sad.”
And then there is this:
Stewart is the assimilated Jew writ large, joking about raising his child to observe Christmas and Hanukkah before wryly noting that "Christmas blows the doors off Hanukkah." In his Jewish mode, Stewart resuscitates the kind of awkward, neurotic Jewish-themed humor associated with USY events and bar-mitzvah instructors. The Festival of Lights, Stewart observes, "celebrates the birth of our savior, Hanukkah Harry."
I know where Stewart is coming from. He is my contemporary. He also grew up in a part of suburban New Jersey where authentic Judaism was almost non-existent. What I do not understand is why Arutz 7 would bother reporting about such a guy.

This blog has absolutely no tolerance for intermarriage, as you can see from some previous posts. You can also see the comment (number 7) that I left on the Arutz 7 article.

The Arutz 7 article, which started bubbling over with Jewish pride, ends on a somewhat sour note:
He has been criticized by nationalist Jews for his coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which tends to accept the leftist media narrative that blames Israel for failed negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
How come I'm not surprised?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1,000 at Kahane Memorial

Nearly a thousand people crowded into the event hall of the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem on Tuesday night for the memorial service marking twenty years since Rabbi Meir Kahane was assassinated, on November 5, 1990.

“You can see a true awakening to Rav Kahane, because every year it’s growing, every year more and more people are joining us,” right-wing activist Baruch Marzel told The Jerusalem Post as he hurriedly tried to organize more chairs for hundreds of people standing outside. “There are those who thought that with each passing year it would be weaker, but that’s a lie.”
Too bad I couldn't make it. I'll have to purchase the comic book somewhere else.

Rabinfest 2010 III

Here's the latest:

Globes reports that none of the major television networks will provide live coverage of Rabinfest's major event, the yearly memorial in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. The event will be broadcast by channel 8, and on radio by reshet gimmel. My guess is that just as Israelis will not show up at Rabin Square, they will not let this bizarre form of paganism enter their homes through the radio or the television set. This is true no matter what pop stars will participate.

Kalman Libskind has written the ultimate article about the "Rabin Legacy". At the time of this post their are already over 500 talkbacks.

Update: Ha'aretz reports that TV Channel 1 will broadcast Rabinfest. Why didn't they want to at the beginning?
Industry sources earlier told Haaretz that the ceremony organizers' had demanded a large sums for the rights to the event, as well as refusing to allow advertisements during the program, a condition that deterred commercial networks.
If so, Rabinfest is not just lowly leftist propaganda, it's big bucks!

Fiddler on the Roof and Assimilation

From Vos Iz Neias:
Playwright Joseph Stein, who turned a Yiddish short story into the classic Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof” and later wrote the screenplay for its successful movie adaptation, has died at age 98.
For anyone that grew up Jewish in the 1960s , that musical was part of the musical experience. I think that I knew most of the songs almost by heart: Tradition", "If I Were a Rich Man", "Sunrise Sunset", etc.

Looking back, I am not sure that the message of the musical was so positive. The religious people in the film are portrayed as being backward and greedy. Tevye agrees to marry his daughter off to an older man because he is rich. Whereas the younger generation, exposed to authors like Heine, are portrayed as being more intelligent and sensitive.

I think that American Jews perceived Tevye's loyalty to God and tradition as being primitive. How many of those that watched the play sided with the daughter that decided to intermarry? How many other saw the religious Tevye's opposition to intermarriage as justified, while seeing their irreligious parents opposition to intermarriage as being a vile form of ethnocentrism? How much did "Fiddler on the Roof" contribute to assimilation?

I don't have an answer.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Is Height Important?

Is Height Important? People seem to think so. So much money is spent by so many trying to look taller. Does the Torah have anything to say about the subject?

In 1 Samuel Chapter 9 we are told of how Saul became king:
1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor. 2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, young and goodly, and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.

No doubt that Saul performed good deeds and had an exceptional personality. The verse lists his good traits, among them that "from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people". He stood head and shoulders above everybody else! It is clear from the above passage that his above average height was one of the things that made him worthy to be king. He was made to be a warrior and a leader.

I think that it is a universal human trait that we associate height with authority. As children we grow up seeing all of our authority figures (parents, teachers etc.) as being taller than us. We apparently carry this trait well into adulthood. There are even those that say that it is a major factor in how Americans choose their president, that is to say that the taller candidate has a much better chance of winning.

One the other hand, some of Israel's Prime Ministers were exceptionally short: David Ben Gurion and Yitzchak Shamir being examples.

This is perhaps one of the difficulties of adolescence, going through the proverbial "growth spurt". All of a sudden the youngster may find himself taller than his mother, father, and teachers. It is weird "looking down" at these authority figures. Could this sudden feeling of being "big" be one of the causes of adolescent rebellion?

Obviously height is not everything. For King Saul, his exceptional height was not enough. Certain flaws in his character proved him unworthy to lead the nation of Israel.
13 And Samuel said to Saul: 'Thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which He commanded thee; for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue; the LORD hath sought him a man after His own heart, and the LORD hath appointed him to be prince over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.'
Saul's stint as king was not successfully. When the time comes to anoint a replacement it is interesting to note what God tells Samuel:
7 But the LORD said unto Samuel: 'Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him; for it is not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.'
Don't pay attention to his outward appearance! While it doesn't hurt to be tall, height is not what is going to make a leader or break him. What do you really need to be a leader? King David tells the following to his son Solomon:
1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 'I go the way of all the earth; be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; 3 and keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to that which is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself; 4 that the LORD may establish His word which He spoke concerning me, saying: If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee, said He, a man on the throne of Israel.
David is telling his son Solomon what Solomon would later write: "...a God fearing woman shall be praised". That's the main thing. With regards to being tall, it is like chicken soup: it may not help but it couldn't hurt.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interesting Quote

"Any intelligent, well-educated person could be taught how to write a newspaper article. The Journalism Departments don't teach the necessary history, geography etc for their graduates to understand what's happening in the world."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rabinfest 2010 II

This is well worth reading. I'll post a snippet:
Public opinion polls commissioned before the assassination predicted a Netanyahu victory over Rabin in the 1996 elections, an indication that the public started to understand that the “victims of peace” are not leading to peace, and that there is no connection between Oslo and peace; the predictable Oslo war only proved the righteousness of those who sounded the alarm starting in 1993.

Against this backdrop, it is easy to understand the ongoing decline in the number of participants in events held to mark a non-existent legacy. Rabin was not a man of letters and did not leave a moral mark. The “Rabin Legacy” slogan was invented in retrospect by “men of letters” and PR experts, in order to appropriate the man’s name and tragic death for the purpose of promoting his erroneous way.

The media continue to be enlisted to the cause of the Oslo march of folly, and continue to disparage and reprimand anyone who questions the false “legacy.”

The Metamorphosis Has Begun

The old look is gone:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pray for RivkA

I met RivkA at the jblogging convention a couple of years ago. She really needs our prayers.

A New/Old Jewish Superhero

Kikar Shabbat reports
that "The Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea" has found and original way of passing on Rabbi Meir Kahane's legacy on to the young generation. They are putting out a comic book describing Kahane's life called "Rabbi Meir Ba'al HaNess". You can see some pages from the book at Kikar Shabbat.

In the meantime I saw an advertisement in BeSheva for this year's Kahane memorial. It will be taking place on the 18th of Marcheshvan (26th of October) at 6:00 PM in the Ramada Renaissance Hotel (6 Wolfson St.) in Jerusalem. The comic book will be on sale there (price: 50 NIS). I want to pick up a copy for my youngest son.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Changes Coming at Cosmic X

The impending demise of Bloglines is forcing me to do something that I should have done a long time ago: to revamp and upgrade the appearance of this blog. The blog looks more or less the same way it did five years ago. In the meantime the web has changed, and it is about time that the blog changed with it. Please bear with me as I go through the metamorphosis!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

הפטרה לחג פסטיבל רבין

מהערה 12:

והייתם מסיתים חודש ימים לפני רבין אלוהיכם. שלוש פעמים יראה כל השמאלן בישראל, בכיכר אשר אבחר, בחג הרבין,בחג הרבין ובחג הרבין. לא יראו את פני ריקם כי אם בדברי שטנה נגד הימין אשר נתתי בפיהם יראו את פני.

והקהלתם את בתי ספריכם ואת גדודי צבאכם ביום השנים עשר והלבשתם בגדי לבן, ושרתם שירים נוגים לאלוהיכם. ובחצות היום עגילים חפשו לכם, זכר למציאת אשת האלוהים לאה, על גדודיה ועל צבאותיה.

וברביעי לחודש עצרת תעשו לכם, כל מלאכה לא תעשו. ועשיתם עצרת גם בצאת השבת הקרובה, והקהלתם את שמאלניכם בעת ההיא בכיכר אשר אבחר. והסתתם הסתה גדולה ביום ההוא, ושתיתם ויסקי לשובע - כי גדול היום לרבין, הוא אלוהי הניקוטין אשר ברא את בלק לייבל ביום הווסד פרשת הדולרים.

בשלוותא תשבו שישה ימים, ותמוטטו את עצביכם, כי בשלוותא ישב רבין אלוהיכם בעת מלחמת ששת הימים כאשר התמוטטו עצביו. ולקחתם לכם ביום הראשון מאה ועשרים מינים, ואגדתם במליאה במינם, ונשאתם נאומי תודה לרבין אלוהיכם. ושמחתם ביום רבין אלוהיכם, כי הרבין הוא הנותן לכם כוח לעשות חיל.

Rabinfest 2010: Israelis are Sick of Tired of it

As the years go by it has become clear to more and more Israelis that the Oslo Accords have worsened our security both on the long and short term. Rabin's legacy is cemeteries full of the victims of the Arab terrorists that he armed. Rabin's legacy is security guards at the entrance to shopping malls. Rabin's legacy are public schools that look more like fortresses than educational facilities.

This year Rabinfest has started out with signs that the public has had enough. Like this:
After a decade and a half in which the Israeli Left used hyped-up annual memorials to turn slain Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin into a hallowed martyr figure, a Knesset member for Rabin's Labor party says this was a mistake. On the 15th anniversary of Rabin's assassination, MK Einat Wilf has asked her party to move Rabin's oversized portrait from its central position on the Labor Knesset faction room wall, and to put back the picture of David Ben-Gurion that hung there previously.

Ben-Gurion was Israel's first prime minister and the head of Mapai, Labor's predecessor. He announced the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, led the country during the War of Independence and was the dominant figure in Israeli politics for decades.

Rabin's portrait hangs between two Israeli flags behind the head of the table, behind the seat that is reserved for the party chairman.

"It is time for the Labor party to stop clinging to what could have been and to cease building up Rabin as a symbol of all the hopes that have been lost,” Wilf said in a Ma'ariv newspaper interview. “I want to place David Ben-Gurion's portrait at the head of the room as is proper for a person who represents the nation's resurgence, and not the picture of the man who symbolizes, for many, missed opportunities.”

Looking at Rabin's and Ben-Gurion's portraits, she said, made her understand what was causing Labor's public standing to slide downward since the 1995 assassination. Labor, she clarified, “identifies him with all that he could have been and did not become. Instead of identifying with a Ben-Gurion-style spirit of action, we identify with an unfulfilled future."
Israelis have also had enough of "bein hametzarim":
In order to unite the people around the Rabin memorial day nonetheless, 44% recommend marking it only according to the Hebrew date – the 12th day of Heshvan, while 10% say it should be united with the anniversary of biblical matriarch Rachel's death, which is marked the day before. Twenty-one percent, on the other hand, have no interest in a memorial day which would unite the people, and the rest (25%) did not respond.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rachel Imenu Z"L

It's been a long time since I've been to Rachel's Tomb. Here's a nice film:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Haveil Havalim #287 - the "There's a First Time for Everybody" Edition

Welcome to Haveil Havalim. This week's edition is the 287th which I nicknamed "There's a First Time for Everybody Edition". This blog has been around for almost six years, and I'm a little bit embarrassed to say that this is the first time that I'm hosting "Haveil Havalim". I guess I was concerned that it would be a lot of work, consuming time that I really have a shortage of. It turns out that it was not such a big deal. Really.

I almost forgot customary preamble:

Founded by Soccer Dad, one of the founding fathers of the jblogosphere, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs - a weekly collection of Jewish and Israeli blog highlights collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week. It is now managed by Jack, who will be ecstatic if you'll agree to host the carnival on your blog.

Enough of the official mumbo jumbo. Let's get going!

Batya from the Biblical town of Shilo gives us a chance to win a free cookbook. But what happens to all of the delicious food that you prepared when there is a power outage just before Shabbat? Getting drunk will not help!

Miryummy also combines a power outage, Noah, and a tasty recipe.

Cosmic X (that's me) has a series of posts about the book, "Torat HaMelech". He also blogged about Rechavam Ze'evi and Jonathan Pollard.

Joel Katz deals with issues of religion and state here and here.

The Velveteen Rabbi takes us to second international mikveh conference.

The Jew in the City gives us a reason to be optimistic . She also asks, "Why do Orthodox Jews have so many children?" It has nothing to do with the proverbial "hole in the sheet" (or does it?).

Ingathered, prompted by the remarks of a certain ex-President of the U.S.A., asks, Are 'Russian' Israelis an Obstacle to 'Peace'?

A Simple Jew, back after a long hiatus, learns self-sacrifice from a motorcycle enthusiast.

Israelity presents Hebrew U. lip-dub and teaches us the benefit of clapping your hands.

The Independent Patriot opines about Political Correctness, Cultural Relativism and the Need to Repair the World.

Our Shiputzim teaches us about the Heblish language .

Isramom blogs about Orthodox Jewish feminism in Reaching for the Stars or Slippery Slope? She also tells a nosy Hasid to "Stay OUT of my hair!" .

Leah Aharoni asks Do Israelis speak Hebrew? Check out her scholarly post to see the answer!

Mordechai Torczyner is looking for a Jewish singer that sings with authentic passion. There was one thing I did not understand about his post: Who in the world is Eminem?

Ricki's Mom learns an interesting lesson from the rescue of the miners in Chile.

Daniel Ben Shmuel presents Mamlachti Delusions: What The Grasshopper Saw (audio) .

Frume Sarah weeps By the Waters .

Minnesota Mamaleh blogs about teaching our children to ask for help? .

Ima on (and off) the Bima has a Shalom Sesame {Review & Giveaway} .

Tzvi Fishman can't figure out why Jews are not coming to Israel. Try to guess which of the talkbackers to his post are actually creations of the former Hollywood screenwriter.

Rafi, along with the rest of us, celebrates the assassination of terrorists.

Joe Settler at the Muqata talks about Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

Yaak teaches us how to spell Ahmedinejad in Yiddish.

Speaking of Ahmadinejad, Eliyahu tells us that some Lebanese do not like him.

SnoopyTheGoon has a pic of Mahmoud the Mad and says "Thanks, Adrian..." to another "lover" of the State of Israel and the Jewish People.

Soccer Dad takes a look at real Islamophobia.

Aussie Dave reminds us that Rupert Murdoch is our friend.

Thank you to those of you that submitted posts. I hope that you all enjoyed this edition. To sum things up:

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Haveil Havalim using the carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on the
blog carnival index page.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

HH #287 - Submit Your Posts!

Time is running out!

Please send your posts for the next edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form.

Yosef Karduner Singing Shir LaMa'alot

I saw this on Rafi's blog and liked it so much that I'm posting it here. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Haveil Havalim #287 is on the Way!!!!

The tension is killing me!

Please send your posts for the next edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form.

It's Been Nine Years Since the Assassination of Rechavam Ze'evi

From the Knesset web site:
Minister of Tourism and Member of Knesset, Major General (Reserves) Rechavam Ze'evi, one of the leaders of the Israeli Right and advocate of Greater Israel, was murdered by three Palestinan assassins from the Popular Front, on the 30th of Tishrei 5762 - October 17, 2001.

Rechavam Ze'evi - who was popularly known by his nickname "Gandhi" - was born in Jerusalem, went to the regional school at Giav'at Hashlosha, and was a member of the "Mahanot Ha'olim" youth movement. He joined the Palmah in 1944. During the War of Independence he was an Intelligence Officer of the Yiftah Brigade, and later on served as an Operations Officer in the Northern front, as Intelligence Officer in the Southern Command and as a Brigade Commander in Golani. In 1964 he was promoted to the rank of Major General. In 1968 he was appointed Commander of Central Command. He retired from the IDF in 1973, a week before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. After the war he served for a short time as Commander of the Operations Branch of the IDF.
Read the rest.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Hope For Pollard?

Just saw this:
A former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration wrote U.S. President Barack Obama that Jonathan Pollard’s punishment was too harsh.

The letter, written two weeks ago and revealed on IDF Radio Tuesday morning, gives new hope for a committee that has been working for years to convince the Israeli government to pressure the United States to free Pollard.

A U.S. court sentenced him to life imprisonment for passing on classified information to Israel from the Pentagon, where he worked. The offense usually carries a punishment of two to four years in jail, a point made by former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense Lawrence J. Korb in his letter.

"Despite Pollard's admission of guilt, cooperation with authorities, [and the fact that he] asked for a plea bargain, he received a disproportional punishment," Korb wrote.
Let's hope that we will see Jonathan Pollard free soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Haveil Havalim #287 Coming Soon!

I'm hosting it!

Please send your posts for the next edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Torat HaMelech - Part 4

Methinks the Israeli Police has got its priorities all wrong. Jews are barely escaping being lynched in Jerusalem, and the police are dedicating valuable manpower to confiscate copies of Torat HaMelech from the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva:

Hat tip: Jameel

Torat HaMelech - Part 3

Rabbi Shapira, one of the authors of the book, has his say:

Torat HaMelech - Part 2

In order to understand the book Torat HaMelech, one must understand that the Torah requires different things from Jews and the rest of mankind.

Mankind is required to keep the 7 Noahide Laws. These laws include:

1) Do not murder.
2) Do not steal.
3) Do not worship false gods.
4) Do not be sexually immoral.
5) Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
6) Do not curse God.
7) Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.

These are all capital offenses!

Jews are required to keep 613 commandments (I'm not going to list them here). The ten commandments are included in the 613.

One must understand that we have two different sets of laws for two different groups: If a Jews eats pork chops, the penalty is 39 lashes. A gentile is allowed to eat pork chops, and lots of other things that are forbidden to Jews. A Jew that lights a fire on the Sabbath has committed a capital offense. There is no such prohibition for gentiles.

So if the authors of Torat HaMelech write that "Thou shalt not murder" does not apply to non-Jews, they are correct. Indeed from an objective reading of Exodus chapters 19 and 20 it is clear that the ten commandments were given to the Jewish People.

Does this mean that the Torah permits Jews to murder gentiles? The authors of Torat Melech make it clear, over and over again, that the Torah forbids murdering gentiles. This is learned from the rule that "There is nothing that is forbidden for gentiles that is permitted for Jews"(Sanhedrin 59A).

However, when a war is being waged the rules are different. FDR, Harry Truman, and LBJ would all clearly understand this.

Of course, all this does not prevent the distorters from distorting.

I can only endorse what Rabbi Yoel Schwartz and Rabbi Yeshayahu haCohen Hollander said regarding them:
If not for the newspaper Haaretz, which published a story on the book, the religious community probably would not have heard of it. The newspaper published its contents in a partial and perverted manner, as part of its tendency of the newspaper and its owners and members of its system to slander the rabbis of the settlements, residents of the settlements, all of mitzvah observant Judaism, and all the principles of Judaism. They are prepared, as part of their war on the religion of Israel, to slander, by means of partial quotes, their Jewish brethren, in spite of them knowing, as journalists, that they were quoted amidst further falsification, and in a manner which causes anti-Semitism, and hatred of Israel, and even though they are endangering the peace of all the Jews in the Diaspora.

HH #286

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Please send your posts for the next edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form. If you're interested in hosting or receiving more information about the carnival, please contact Jack at talktojacknow-at-sbcglobal-dot-net . He'll be very happy.


So what?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Torat HaMelech

Take it from Cosmic X and his half century of life experience: If you see people reacting to a particular book in a totally irrational way, chances are that the book contains truth that is painful to them. Lacking the option of debating the contents of the book and proving the author wrong, the only weapons left for such creatures are slander, intentional distortions, ad hominem arguments and the like. In certain countries police harassment and judicial terrorism are also part of their arsenal.

I first saw the book "Torat HaMelech" when I went to the rally to support the soldiers that waved the banner proclaiming that they refuse to evacuate settlements.

I did not buy the book back then. I came to the rally to support the soldiers and not to buy books. What's more, the subject of the book was not on the top of Torah topics that I felt that I had to know.

However, the media circus surrounding the book including the utterances of certain media savvy rabbis, plus the police summoning the rabbis that gave approbations for the book for questioning, all these piqued my interest. The utter irrationality of it all told me that there must be some painful truth in "Torat HaMelech" that certain people want to suppress. I decided to buy a copy.

I still have a long way to go before finishing the book. So far it has proved informative and interesting. The multitude of sources cited by the authors is a sign of the long hours of research that went into preparing the book. Perhaps I will write a complete review when I am finished.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hakafot Shniyot - Machon Meir

Some pics from the Hakafot Shniyot at Machon Meir. R' Chaim David Serchik and his band got everybody dancing:

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