Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Facts Behind the Ulpana Neighborhood Controversy

Beit El's Baruch Gordon wrote an excellent post, providing us with the information that you just cannot find in the mainstream media. Yishar Koach, Baruch!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dvar Torah for Parshat Shelach

(This was originally posted (over five years ago!) as Rejecting The Land Of Israel ) .

Two recent posts of mine brought back memories of a train ride that I took many years ago.

On the way home from my job in Newark, N.J., I met on the train a familiar figure from the Jewish community that I lived in. He had long side curls, was decked in black, and the fringes from his talit katan were out in the open (as we used to say in Yiddish, tzitzis aroys). The guy, who we shall call Shlomo, was not a Jew. He was however in the process of converting to Judaism. His seriousness about Torah and its commandments won him the admiration of many in the community.

I sat down to next to him and we began to chat. He told me that he had just returned from a visit in the land of Israel (Eretz Yisroel).

"How was it?", I asked.

"Let me tell you", he replied. "Tel Aviv is the dirtiest and most disgusting city that I have ever seen. Sabbath desecration is rampant. The Rabbanut gives a "Kosher For Passover" certification for canned corn! Can you believe it? The lone ray of light in the country is the Me'ah She'arim neighborhood in Jerusalem."

I was in shock. I had been in Israel a few years earlier, and had came back with totally different impressions. What did I remember of Tel Aviv? The beach, of course! Sand and the salty water of the Mediterranean Sea which was such a pleasure to bathe in on a humid day. The street and store signs were in Hebrew in a city that bustled with activity.

What about the Sabbath? I certainly felt the Sabbath in Israel more than I did in New Jersey. Commercial activity, especially in Jerusalem came to a standstill. This was a totally different Sabbath than those I experienced as a Jewish minority in the United states.

As for the "Kosher For Passover" corn, it is "Kosher For Passover" for all of those Jewish communities that did not accept upon themselves the Chumra of kitnyot. Thinking about that, it was really wonderful to meet Jews that came from all over the world to make their home in Israel, to see with my own eyes the (at least partial) fulfillment of the prophecy:
"For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land."
And yes Me'ah She'arim is a special place without a doubt.

How could I understand the difference in our impressions of Israel? Perhaps a person sees what he wants to see. Shlomo was connected with a Torah scholar who was very anti-State-of-Israel, and perhaps that affected his outlook. I, on the other hand, was raised in a very pro-Israel if not religious household.

Years later I would hear a very different, more mystical explanation. Rabbi Dov Begon explained that the land of Israel is like a shidduch. Sometimes a girl is set on a "blind date" with a guy that she knows and doesn't particularly care for. What does she do? She shows up for the date with dirty, smelly clothes, and disheveled hair. To top things off she eats a little bit of garlic before she meets the bachur. When this guy meets the girl he is of course totally repulsed. He informs the shadchanit that he is not interested in meetings this maidele any more. He thinks that he has rejected her when in fact the opposite is true.

So it is with the land of Israel. When someone is not fit to live in the land of Israel, when he visits the land he sees things that turn him off. He thinks that he has rejected the land of Israel, when it is in fact the land of Israel that has rejected him.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Balagan in Egypt

This just in:
Egypt's constitutional court ruled on Thursday disqualified the country's parliament, just three days before presidential elections. The court ruled that one third of the seats in the Islamist-dominated parliament were invalid.

Following this decision, Egypt's ruling military council announced that if any part of the parliament is illegal, then the entire body should be dissolved.

Mohammed al-Beltagui, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, said the court’s ruling, together with another recent decision giving the military powers of arrests, amounted to "a complete coup through which the military council erases the most honorable period in this nation’s history.”

Beltagui is a senior member of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which dominated the parliament that has been dissolved.

The constitutional court also ruled against a law that would have barred deposed president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, from participating in Sunday's presidential poll runoff against the Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi.
Here is what I wrote a year ago:
Now that the dictator Mubarak is out of power there is a lot of speculation about what lies ahead for Egypt. Some pundits say we are witnessing the dawn of democracy. Egypt will become a beacon of political enlightenment in an Arab world ruled largely by despots.

Others are almost sure that the Muslim Brotherhood will take over Egypt. The land of the Pharoahs is the way to becoming just a larger version of the Gaza Strip, Hamastan raised to the fifth power.

Still others foresee the army continuing to rule over Egypt if it is not satisfied with the results of the upcoming elections. The army is probably interested in seeing someone from its own ranks taking control of the nation, in the tradition of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak.

Who is right? Perhaps none of the above. I think that the third option is the most likely. Time will tell.
Could it be that the courts in Egypt are helping the army to retain power?

A Couple of Links

Obituary: Rav Yishayahu "Nitzan Or" Rotter, Founder of Rotter Net - Nice work, Jameel!

MK Protests Pro-Gay TV Content, is Bashed - Arutz 7 puts the whole thing in proportion. I would advise Anastassia Michaeli to get rid of her television set.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed: A Good Reason Not to Serve in the IDF

Arutz 7:
There are two major factors which presently cause the hareidi society not to encourage recruitment of students who are not going to become rabbis and educators – one good reason, and the other, unfair.

The unfair reason, say those serving in the army, is that it is safer and more comfortable to avoid the army. At home when war breaks out, God forbid, you don't get killed, and parents and wives are free from the burden of worrying.

The good reason is that military service is likely to cause a spiritual decline, to the point of abandoning the Torah and mitzvoth. This already represents an existential threat that cannot be compromised. Indeed, over the last few decades, the religious-halakhic situation in the army has improved, but the spiritual-moral state has deteriorated, in accordance with society at large.

Nevertheless, despite certain improvements in the ability to fulfill halakha in the army, there are still serious problems that cause many of the youth from the religious society to decline spiritually in the army.

And when it appears that there is no pressing demand to enlist all the young men, many Torah scholars believe it is better to ensure their spiritual future over the mitzvah to serve in the army.

May the situation be corrected soon, and all of Israel joins the effort for the sake of the Nation and the Land.

Elder of Ziyon: Debunking the "Bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man" myth

The Elder of Ziyon has yet another important blog post, in which another of the anti-Zionist talking points is thoroughly debunked.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

My Condolences to the Krein Family of Cherry Hill, New Jersey

I would like to express my condolences to the Krein family of Cherry Hill, Stanley and Bunny, on the "marriage" of their son Howard to Ashley Biden. Oy Vey, what happened to their son, the doctor?

I imagine that as proud Jews they find no consolation in the fact that Ashley is the daughter of Vice President Joe Biden. I am almost certain that they, as intelligent and educated people, were not fooled by the antics of the clown that masqueraded as a rabbi at the ceremony:
Vice President Biden’s daughter Ashley married Dr. Howard Krein, a Jewish doctor from Philadelphia, on Saturday at the bucolic St. Joseph’s of the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware, which is the same church where she was baptized. In the official statement released by the vice president’s office, Joe and Dr. Jill Biden said, “We’re happy to welcome Howard into our family, and we wish them all the best in their new life together.”

The wedding ceremony, which was limited to 200 close family and friends of the bride and groom, was officiated by a Catholic priest, Father David Murphy, and a Reform Jewish Rabbi, Joseph M. Forman of Or Chadash synagogue in Flemington, N.J. Forman, a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Learning in Cincinnati, Ohio, assures the Forward that the ceremony contained the typical elements of the Jewish and Catholic wedding ceremonies.

“A Ketubah was signed. The couple got married under a beautiful chuppah, made of natural branches with a cloth covering,” he said. The wedding ceremony started with the traditional burach habim and included the priestly blessing and the shevai brachot. The groom stepped on a glass at the end.”
Of course, real rabbis do not perform intermarriages. According to Jewish law a Jew cannot marry a non-Jew, plain and simple. Not only that, the thought of "sheva brachot" being recited at such a ceremony is truly nauseating. I think that "rabbi" Forman has descended even lower than the level of the "temple rabbis" described in Rabbi Kahane's famous essay, What Makes Bernie Run?:
And who else made Bernie run from Judaism? The temple rabbis. The kept theologians who knowingly preside over fraud and grotesque jokes. The well-paid functionaries whose salaries are payments to hold their silence and to declare light, darkness and darkness, light: to give their stamp of kashrut on the impure meat that their temples serve up as "Judaism." The bribe takers whose eyes are blinded and consciences dulled by kavod, the honor of sitting on the pulpit before the eyes of the congregants, and by the comfortable salary augmented by the offerings of thankful beneficiaries of weddings, funerals and unveilings. The false prophets who hold their silence as Judaism is twisted, perverted, turned into a humorless joke and who, knowing their own corruptness and fraud of soul, rush to justify the fraud by 'rabbinical' or lingo that pronounce them "good." The temple rabbis who take a Judaism of Divinity and truth and go about Reconstructing it and Reforming it and making a mockery of Conserving it.

The temple rabbis who took the age-old axiom of Revelation, real Revelation, upon which is built the Divinity of Torah and junked it. The temple rabbis who made Judaism the product of ''wise men" (and if so, are there not wise Christians and Buddhists and atheists) and thus removed any sacredness and necessary reason for observance. The temple rabbis, so many of whom do not believe in G-d, who took the real and awesome Jewish G-d of history who made man and Created all and who rewards and punishes, and exchanged Him for a "god" who is "the spirit within man," indistinguishable from indigestion...They are the models of Jewish "religious" leadership we give unto Bernie, these empty vessels whose greatest fortune is that their congregants know even less, about Judaism than they do.

These are your rabbis, Oh Bernie, and then we wonder why he refuses to enter the temple over which they preside. Only they themselves know what frauds they are; only they, in their hearts, know what a life of lies they lead: only they, in the inner recesses of their being, know the self- hate and contempt they feel for themselves each day that they have to perform acts of faith they no longer believe in and teach a religion that long ago they secretly began to doubt. The temple rabbis; they created Bernie, they made Bernie run.
May the Krein family know no more sorrow.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Hunger Strike

Have you heard about the hunger strike?

Hunger strikers are calling on the government to pass the Regulation Law, which would protect legally built homes in established Israeli communities from destruction. Demolitions ordered by the Supreme Court have been based on rulings that the homes are built on land owned by Palestinian Authority Arabs, although this is disputed and if not, the option of monetary compensation for bona fide errors in land registration has not been utilized.

I decided to visit the hunger strike tent to give them my support.  The tent is near the Israeli High Court of Justice:
Hunger Strike Tent

They will be there on Shabbat too.

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