Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Joined "The Jewish Home Party"

For the first time in a long, long time, I'm a member of a political party. Along with 20,000 others, I coughed up the membership fee (something like 39 NIS) and signed up. The reason for doing so is to try strengthen the religious character of the party. As much as I admire the work of the Jewish Home's secular MK, Ayelet Shaked, and in my opinion she has done a spectacular job, I don't want the successor of the National Religious Party to turn into an immitation of the Likud.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Zot Channuka

Some pics from the last day of Channuka in Jerusalem. Click on them to zoom in:

Monday, December 22, 2014

Should We Get Excited About the Upcoming Elections in Israel?

If you ask me, the answer is yes. We should be thrilled that we have an independent Jewish government here in the land of Israel. I know, not everything here is conducted according to Jewish Law. But even in such a situation, we have a reason to be happy. To prove this point, let's take a look at the start of Maimonides' Laws of Chanukah
:In [the era of] the Second Temple, the Greek kingdom issued decrees against the Jewish people, [attempting to] nullify their faith and refusing to allow them to observe the Torah and its commandments. They extended their hands against their property and their daughters; they entered the Sanctuary, wrought havoc within, and made the sacraments impure.

The Jews suffered great difficulties from them, for they oppressed them greatly until the God of our ancestors had mercy upon them, delivered them from their hand, and saved them. The sons of the Hasmoneans, the High Priests, overcame [them], slew them, and saved the Jews from their hand.

They appointed a king from the priests, and sovereignty returned to Israel for more than 200 years, until the destruction of the Second Temple.

Now, this 200 year sovereignty included some not so wonderful regimes, such as that of King Herod. Still, the Maimonides sees this period as important, and mentions it among the reasons that we are praising and thanking God during these days of Chanukah.

So, let's get back to the upcoming elections. It is a privilige to be here, to live in this generation, to be able to take part in deciding who will govern us. However, and that is a big however, "Happy is the man that hath made the LORD his trust, and hath not turned unto the arrogant, nor unto such as fall away treacherously." Politicians are not always trustworthy, and that's an understatement. Anyone familiar with what politicians say before elections and what they do after they are elected knows this. So get excited, but don't get too excited. In the end you may be sorely disappointed!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Convicted Murderer Ziad Abu Ein Dies After Clashing With IDF Troops

"When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth; and when the wicked perish, there is joy" (Proverbs 11:10)

I am certainly happy that Ziad Abu Ein dropped dead, apparently from a heart attack. He was convicted of murdering two Israeli boys, Boaz Lahav and David Lankri.

These are the boys that Ziad Abu Ein murdered:

May Ziad Abu Ein rot in hell together with Arafat and all the other rogues.

Monday, December 08, 2014

How a Bunch of Lawyers Hijacked Israel's Democracy

A must read! This article explains how the ability to govern was taken out of the hands of the people of Israel and their elected representatives by a handful of lawyers.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Dvar Torah For Parashat VaYishlach

This week's Torah portion tells us of a tragic event: the rape of Jacob's daughter Dinah:
And Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. And Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her; and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her. And his soul did cleave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spoke comfortingly unto the damsel. And Shechem spoke unto his father Hamor, saying: 'Get me this damsel to wife.' Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; and his sons were with his cattle in the field; and Jacob held his peace until they came. And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to speak with him. And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought a vile deed in Israel in lying with Jacob's daughter; which thing ought not to be done. And Hamor spoke with them, saying 'The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter. I pray you give her unto him to wife. And make ye marriages with us; give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you. And ye shall dwell with us; and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.' And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren: 'Let me find favour in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me; but give me the damsel to wife.' And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father with guile, and spoke, because he had defiled Dinah their sister, and said unto them: 'We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us. Only on this condition will we consent unto you: if ye will be as we are, that every male of you be circumcised; then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.' And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor's son. And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter. And he was honoured above all the house of his father. And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and spoke with the men of their city, saying: 'These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for, behold, the land is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only on this condition will the men consent unto us to dwell with us, to become one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. Shall not their cattle and their substance and all their beasts be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.' And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city. And it came to pass on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city unawares, and slew all the males. And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went forth. The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks and their herds and their asses, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; and all their wealth, and all their little ones and their wives, took they captive and spoiled, even all that was in the house.
Jacob, to put it bluntly, was not happy with the way that Shimon and Levi dealt with what happened:
And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi: 'Ye have troubled me, to make me odious unto the inhabitants of the land, even unto the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and, I being few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and smite me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.' And they said: 'Should one deal with our sister as with a harlot?'
Jacob scolds his sons, telling them that now the entire family is in danger because of what they did. His sons' answer, 'Should one deal with our sister as with a harlot?', is strange, because it does not seem to deal with the very real concern that Jacob raised!

The Or Hachaim HaKadosh, gives two excellent explanations to what Jacob's sons meant. The first answer is that what Jacob's sons answered their father in the following manner: The Canaanites will not make a big deal about this, for we had a good reason to kill the men of Shechem. After all, they treated our sister like a harlot, and the punishment that we meted out to them was justified.

The second answer is that they answered their father, "On the contrary! We will be in danger if our neighbors see that this guy can do whatever he wants with our sister with impunity!" Since we fought back, they will fear us.

Pretty good answers, aren't they?

For extra credit, read this.

Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

It's About the Jewish Nation Bill

Why are we going to have new elections? The New York Times says:
Israel’s march toward early elections set out last week with a political row over a nationality bill. This week it morphed into a clash over proposed housing changes and the state budget.

But Israeli political analysts said the call for elections, 20 months after the current coalition was sworn in, was not about nationality or reduced-cost housing or any other issue of ideology or principle.

Instead, they said, Mr. Netanyahu had simply had enough of his fractious coalition partners and wanted a more manageable government made up of rightist allies and the ultra-Orthodox parties he has long considered his natural partners.

“It is not about this law or that,” said Yehuda Ben Meir, a former politician and a public opinion and national security expert at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. Noting that there was room for compromise on the nationality bill and that Mr. Netanyahu originally voted in favor of the housing bill, he said the prime minister appeared to have used these issues to force a coalition crisis.

There is no question that the current coalition is not exactly what a Prime Minister dreams of. But it is my opinion that yes, the Jewish Nation Bill was the straw that broke the camels back.

On one hand we should be sad that so much money will be wasted on new elections. On the other hand, the true face of Livni and Lapid, and not to mention politicians further to the left, has been revealed. The law, which more or less gives legal status to a few sentences from Israel's Declaration of Independence, was just too Jewish for these people! They don't want a Jewish State. They want a "State of all of its citizens."

They had agreed to this law in the coalition agreement. They proved to be people who do not keep their word. Let's hope that the Israeli electorate pays these politicians back in kind, and that the next coalition will be proud of being Jewish.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bennett Puts the Leftists in Their Place

Finally with English subtitles! Naftali Bennett's monumental address at the Ha'aretz's "Israel Conference for Peace"! Watch how Bennett puts the Israeli Left in their place:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Reaction to the Har Nof Massacre

Those words of wisdom were uttered by the late Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzchak Shamir. Just like the Mediterranean has not changed, neither has the desire of those barbaric Ishmaelites to through the Jews into it.

They are the same Arabs that massacred in Hebron in 1929. They are the same Arabs that rammed passenger jets into the twin towers in 2001. They are the same Arabs that are presently decapitating innocent civilians in Syria and Iraq. They are the same Arabs that entered a synagogue yesterday morning in order to murder peaceful worshippers.

Even if Yishmael did teshuvah, apparently a large number of his descendants did not. Look at them celebrating the massacre:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Worth Seeing in Eilat

I've written in the past that slowly but surely a Teshuvah Revolution is taking place here in Israel. And it seems like the revolution has not passed over Eilat, Israel's southernmost city.

I was there recently for a short vacation. The hotel that I was staying in did not have a minyan, so early in the morning I set out equipped with my talit, tefilin and siddur to search for one. I saw another Jew similarly equipped walking down the street and I asked him if he knew where I could find a minyan. He told me that he was on the way to the Queen of Sheba Hotel, and that I should come with him.

Now, usually the synagogues in hotels are a located underground in a dimly lit and poorly furnished room. So I was pleasantly surprised to see this spectacular synagogue on the second floor of the hotel:

Rumor has it that wealthy French Jews who frequent the hotel donated the money to make such a beautiful place for worship. Blessed be they that know how to use the wealth that God gave them.

So if you are in Eilat, along with the other wonderful things to do and see, don't miss the Queen of Sheba Hotel synagogue.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

UNRWA Goes to War

I've blogged about UNRWA several times in the past. Look at what they are up to now:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mahmoud Mansour Arrested for Drug Trafficking and Assaulting a Police Officer

Do you remember the "intermarriage of the year", when Moral Malka "wed" Mahmud Mansour a couple of months ago? Well, it looks like Moral picked a real "winner":
Media outlets two months ago touted "coexistence" as Muslim Arab Mahmoud Mansour (26) married Moral Malka (23), a Jewish woman he met in their native Yafo - now Mansour has been arrested for drug trafficking and assaulting a police officer.

Mansour was arrested last weekend after more than 10 grams of cocaine were found on him, Channel 2 reported on Sunday.

Police say that he was riding on a motorcycle in Yafo when he saw officers in the area, at which he threw aside a bag containing 20 additional grams of cocaine. As he was being arrested, police say Mansour struck one of the officers.

Not only that, according to the Walla web site:
למנסור עבר פלילי עשיר בעבירות של סחר בסמים. הוא ריצה בעבר עונש מאסר ואף נושא עונש של מאסר על תנאי של 40 חודשים בגין עבירות סמים, אשר הפרקליטות תבקש לממש. זאת, בנוסף על העונש שהיא רוצה שייגזר עליו בגין העבירה שהוא נחשד בה כעת
For those of you who (still) do not understand Hebrew, here's a translaton:
Mansour has a rich criminal background in dealing narcotics. He has spent time in jail in the past and currently has a 40 month suspended sentence for drug related crimes, which the prosecution will request to implement, in addition to the punishment which it (the prosecution) wants him (Mansour) to be sentenced for his current crime.
Now the question is what will Moral do? It seems that in Islam it is not easy for a woman to initiate divorce:
Khula is the right of a woman in Islam to seek a divorce or separation from her husband. A Muslim woman may petition a qadi, or in non-Islamic areas an Islamic community panel, to grant her divorce if the husband refuses. The waiting period (iddah) of a woman who seeks a divorce is one menstrual cycle or one month if she is post-menopauseal, i.e. ceased menstruating. This is to ensure she is not pregnant.[27] If the woman is pregnant, then the waiting period is until she gives birth.

Women's right to initiate divorce is very limited compared with that of men. According to shari'a law, there are two reasons for a wife to be divorced: when she can prove that the husband did not have intercourse with her for more than two months or if the husband does not provide her with what she needs for living such as food and shelter. While men can divorce their spouses easily, women face legal and financial obstacles.[28][29] For example, in many cases the woman must repay her dowry and marriage expenses. In general she also has to forfeit child custody, if the child is older than seven years. Even if she gets child custody, she has to give it to the father, when the child reaches the age of seven.[28][29]

I, in any case, hope that Moral does the moral thing and returns to her people.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Congratulations to Jerusalem's New Chief Rabbis

After more than a decade without, Jerusalem finally has two new Chief Rabbis.

The capital city's 48-member council began voting at the Jerusalem Municipal Hall at 4 p.m., with an initial list of 19 candidates for the Chief Ashkenazic and Sephardic positions whittled down to just nine, after several candidates withdrew over the past few days.

Polling closed at 7 p.m., and results were announced just before the 8 p.m. deadline.

Former Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was elected as the new Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, with 28 votes, while Rabbi Aryeh Stern of the Halacha Brura Institute was voted in as Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi with 27.

Following the results' announcement, Rabbi Stern - who was a close student of the late Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook - vowed to represent all the people of Jerusalem.

"It is in my intention to serve as the rabbi of all Jerusalemites: secular, modern-orthodox and charedi alike," he said in a statement. "The Jerusalem rabbinate is a great merit, but it also comprises a hefty responsibility. I will make sure that the religious services will become accessible and friendly and will serve as an outstanding model for all of the other rabbinates in Israel"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Count the Sukkahs

Today is the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabba. Soon we will be parting from the precious Mitzvah of dwelling in the Sukkah.
"Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are home-born in Israel shall dwell in booths; that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."
I was in Ramat Beit Shemesh B the other day and took this picture after Minchah. Click on the pic and count the Sukkahs that you see:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Lost Ark?

On my way to the Western Wall today I saw this just outside of Jaffa Gate:

No, it is not the Holy Ark, just a reproduction. In any case it caused a lot of excitement. Many people gathered around it, snapping pictures. I was one of them.

May it be Your will, O my God and God of my fathers, that the Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Bad News From Scotch Plains, New Jersey

For those of you that don't know, I grew up in New Jersey. However, it's been a long time since I've been there. For the majority of my sojourn in This World I have been privileged to live in the land of Israel. I am everlastingly grateful to God for giving me the wisdom and fortitude to leave the comfortable and familiar, and to pack my bags and return to the land of my fathers. I am grateful to live in a generation in which one can do so for the price of an airplane ticket.

That being said I still have a place in my heart for New Jersey, especially its Jewish community. One of the advantages of the age of internet is the ability to read news from the old country, to see "What's going on?" and "Whatever happened to?". One of the sites I visit regularly is the New Jersey Jewish News.

Recently I came across a disturbing report there from Scotch Plains, N.J.:

Bernard “BJ” Solomon and his husband Zev, better known as “Duncan” (ne William Hines, now Solomon also) called their huppa ceremony at Congregation Beth Israel on Saturday evening, Sept. 13, an “upgrade.” While it wasn’t exactly a first for them, it was the first same-sex wedding held at the Conservative synagogue in Scotch Plains.

The couple, who have been together for 12 years, had a Jewish marriage ceremony marking their civil union five years ago. But the celebration at CBI added the religious and secular recognition they wanted. “We feel more complete,” BJ said.

Held after the Havdala ceremony concluding Shabbat, it followed a bar mitzva celebration for Duncan, 35, during the Ma’ariv service that afternoon, and his conversion to Judaism last May. Their new license reflected New Jersey’s 2013 law granting gays full marriage rights.

How do you say, "Conservative Judaism is imploding!"?

I took a peek at Congregation Beth Israel's web site. If the Conservative Temple that I attended as a youth had a web site, it would probably have been similar. (Of course the Rabbi of my Temple, ob"m, would never have taken part in a "gay wedding" any more than he would have sold pork chops to his congregants.) Browsing the site, I saw that they have youth groups, "kadimah" and "USY".

The mention of USY took me down memory lane: the USY meetings, dances and conventions. I thought of those youth there in Scotch Plains, seeing their "rabbi" perfoming a gay marriage, and then going to Temple on Yom Kippur and hearing the Torah reading during Minchah:

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: I am the LORD your God. 3 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their statutes. 4 Mine ordinances shall ye do, and My statutes shall ye keep, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination. 23 And thou shalt not lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith; neither shall any woman stand before a beast, to lie down thereto; it is perversion. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out from before you. 25 And the land was defiled, therefore I did visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land vomited out her inhabitants. 26 Ye therefore shall keep My statutes and Mine ordinances, and shall not do any of these abominations; neither the home-born, nor the stranger that sojourneth among you-- 27 for all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you, and the land is defiled-- 28 that the land vomit not you out also, when ye defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, even the souls that do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep My charge, that ye do not any of these abominable customs, which were done before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God. {P}
I imagine that they were quite perplexed. The Torah says one thing, yet the rabbi seems to be doing something else entirely!

The good news is that we are in the internet age. Authentic Torah is readily available on line. These confused youth, if they are interested, have the truth available at the click of a mouse.

After recovering from the shock I received from reading the article, I left the following comment at the NJJN web site:

The job of a rabbi is to uplift them to the Divine ideals of Torah and not lower tham down into the depravity of ancient Egypt:

“Lesbian relations are forbidden and it is among the “doings of Egypt” that we have been warned about as it is said, “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do”. The sages said, “What did they do? A MAN MARRIES A MAN, and a woman marries a woman, and a woman marries two men.”

From Maimonides, Laws of Forbidden Relations 21:8

Monday, September 29, 2014

Moral Clarity: a Prerequisite to Teshuvah

The great mishnaic sage Hillel said, " ignoramous cannot be pious" (Avot 2:5). Unfortunately, in our age of widespread higher education and advanced degrees, ignorance abounds, that is to say ignorance of what the Torah requires of us. WIth this gaping lack of knowledge, the direct and unavoidable product of not learning, comes a lack of moral clarity. True and everlasting morality comes from the Torah. Anything that contradicts God's Will is intrinsically immoral.

It is astonishing how dull one's moral clarity can become. Take the Metropolitan Opera and its production "The Death of Klinghoffer" . The people who decided to produce this show are deeply lacking in moral clarity. All the attempts to disuade them from doing so failed. All those involved in this production, Jews, gentiles and apostate Jews, will bear everlasting shame, if not in This World then certainly in the World to Come.

Without moral clarity, Teshuvah is impossible. One of the purposes of this blog is to present moral clarity, especially in areas where it has been lost by the uninformed majority and is not thought of being as "politically correct".

One of the issues that I have spoken up about is intermarriage. It is wrong, just plain wrong. I will say it again and again. On this matter I am happy to be the compass that keeps pointing North while others have unfortunately lost all sense of direction.

Almost four years ago I wrote a post about MK Einat Wilf. The gist of the post was that a Jew who "married" a gentile is a "bad example" and as such cannot lead or educate the Jewish People. I stand by that post and am pleased to note that Ms. Wilf is no longer a member of the Knesset.

Not too long ago someone stumbled upon the post and wrote me the following email:

I came upon your blog because I was intrigued by Einat Wilf – after what I read what you said about her I have decided to become an atheist as well. No more wondering why we have an Eruv to make you feel better in walking your kids on Shabbat and more important why my building loses a lift because you cannot push a button on Shabbat. Opening a water tap is OK even though it triggers a pump. Cannot tear toilet paper but can say that we can get rid of all non-Jews in Israel. When I learnt bible it said that everyone had to fight in the army – that we forget because I would suspect you make up the rules as you go along. There is now a growing number of amazing youngsters leaving the Haradi fold to follow their dreams. I was in the army with a few and was told how incense and rape go unreported because that is what the rabbi says. You vote what the rabbi tells you and it is very sad. You sponge of the government of Israel and donations from everywhere. You do not create anything except live a life of cheating and lies. I am ashamed at what my home city Manchester looks like. You are fortunate you live in a country where most people get an education enabling them to create things and help humanity thereby being able to fund your life style. Einat Wilf is a very smart cookie and the truth is you are not. Have a good New Year and may you be inscribed in the book of life – you are lucky I don’t give advice on who gets in the book.
Much can be written about this email. The author ignores the issue of intermarriage entirely and instead blames the post for his own lack of faith. This reminds of what a rabbi once told a wayward student usng a play on words, "teirutzim (answers) for questions I am willing to give . I am not willing to give terutzim (answers) for teirutzim(excuses). He continues to rant about different issues in Jewish Law that he does not understand, and apparently does not want to understand. His questions, real and imagined, are simple and can answered by any Orthodox rabbi.

The reader continues, making assumptions about me that are simply not true ("You vote what the rabbi tells you and it is very sad. You sponge of the government of Israel and donations from everywhere. You do not create anything except live a life of cheating and lies. "). This is indeed unfortunate. Perhaps such prejudice is a result of repeated exposure to stereotypes often pushed by the mass media.

All in all I have hope for this guy. The fact that the post brought about a reaction, even a negative one, is a sign that the "pintele yid" is still there. May he merit to make Teshuvah and be written and sealed for a good life.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dvar Torah for Netzavim-Vayelech: Choose Life

This in my humble opinion is the climax and summary of the Five Books of Moses:
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances; then thou shalt live and multiply, and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I declare unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed; to love the LORD thy God, to hearken to His voice, and to cleave unto Him; for that is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
The Torah is making things very clear for anyone who is willing to listen, as Rashi explains:
[God says: “Even though you have free choice, nevertheless,] I instruct you to choose the portion of life.” It is like a man who says to his son, “Choose for yourself a fine portion of my estate,” and then directs him to the best portion, saying to him, “This [is the portion which] you should choose for yourself!” And regarding this, the verse says,“The Lord is my allotted portion and my cup; You guide my destiny” (Ps. 16:5). [The last clause, אַתָּה תּוֹמִי‏ךְ גּוֹרָלִי, literally means “You laid upon my lot.” That is to say:] “You laid my hand upon the good lot, saying, ‘Take this for yourself!’”
These passages are worth meditating upon, especially with the New Year and the Ten Days of Teshuvah before us.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Dvar Torah for Ki Teitzei

"A woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the LORD thy God" (Deuteronomy 22:5)
The prohibition seems somewhat unusual, not related to what is written before it or what follows. The Lubavitcher Rebbe gives us a novel insight into this verse, as he explains the folly of the Women's Liberation Movement, and how a Torah true house should function:

Jonathan Miller: Journalist?

Well, it sure seems that Jonathan Miller cannot be trusted to report the news objectively:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Good Old Jews Use Blood in Their Matzahs Libel

This time from a former minister in the Jordanian government, Sheik Bassam Ammoush:

I would like to point out that the Arabic word for blood is the same as the Hebrew one, dam. Also, the word in Arabic for Matzah is FaTir, which is linguistically related to the Aramaic word, PaTira. You can see this in Targum Onkelos on the Torah portion Bo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Mitzvah of Settling in the Land of Israel

The Holy One. blessed be He, tested our father Abraham:
Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee.
It is not easy to venture out of one's comfort zone. Certainly leaving one's country is not a simple matter. However, God promissed him that this move was for his benefit, as Rashi explains:
Get thee out, lit. go to you, for your benefit and for your good, and there I will make you into a great nation, but here, you will not merit to have children. Moreover, I will make your character known in the world.
Our father Abraham, who believed in God and feared God, did as he was told.

If one wishes to make Aliyah, to fulfill the mitzvah of settling in the land of Israel, he should not do so for the hope of gaining any material benefit. He should do it simply for the love of the mitzvah, the love of fulfilling God's Will. By doing thusly he is really actualizing his own purpose for being in This World. If one's fulfillment the mitzvah of living in the land of were to be dependent on something external, for instance if one comes to live here because he was offered an exciting job, he is standing on shaky ground. For if the job were not to materialize, or if he were to be fired from it, he would probably catch the next plane back to the Diaspora. This is similar to what is written in the Mishnah:

Any love that is dependent on something--when the thing ceases, the love also ceases. But a love that is not dependent on anything never ceases. What is [an example of] a love that is dependent on something? The love of Amnon for Tamar. And one that is not dependent on anything? The love of David and Jonathan.
Our love for the land of Israel and all of the other commandments in the Torah must be like the love of David and Jonathan. The fact that the economy is healthy, and that the land is giving forth its fruit in abundance is heartening but it is in no way our reason for being here.

King David wrote:

Thou wilt arise, and have compassion upon Zion; for it is time to be gracious unto her, for the appointed time is come. For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and love her dust.
That means that "Jerusalem will not be built unless the Children of Israel desire her in the utmost way until they take pleasure in her stones, and love her dust." (The Kuzari).

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Plague of Intermarriage Strikes Again, God Forbid!

This invitation was posted on Facebook by the Lehava organization, whose purpose is to prevent assimilation in the land of Israel:

For those of you who do not understand Hebrew, the invitation is to the "wedding" of a Jewish Israeli girl named Moral to an Arab named Mahmud. If I am not mistaken the girl converted to Islam.

The girl's father strongly opposes the wedding, as can be seen here. Lehava has promissed to protest the wedding, which God forbid will take place at Shemesh Adumah (Red Sun) Hall in Rishon LeTzion on Sunday at 7:30 PM. Youth from the radical left Meretz party also promissed to be there to "protect" the couple from the protesters. Leftist activists also succeeded in having Lehava's Facebook page removed.

Here's a report from Tzinor Laila:

Monday, August 04, 2014

Pre 9th of Av Thoughts

I just got over reviewing the laws of the 9th of Av with my family, and in the little bit of time until we start the se'udah hamafseket I thought that I would jot down a few thoughts here.

Unless a miracle happens, we will once again be mourning the destruction of the Temple. I saw on a calendar this morning that it is 1946 years since the Temple was destroyed. The more one learns Torah, the more one realizes the depth of this tragedy. This is a wound that the passage of time does not heal.

The truth is, we mourn its destruction on a daily basis, explicitly mentioning it many times every day. We end all of our prayers with the request that God will rebuild the Temple speedily in our days. We also remember the Temple in other ways, for instance leaving a square cubit of our homes unpainted. It is always in our head and heart.

Even so, we do not live our lives in a state of depression. A healthy Jew is an optimist, always looking at the half of the glass that is full of water. I once read how Rabbi Chana Porat, who was seriously wounded in the Yom Kippur War, thought that he had lost one of his arms. At that time, he was busy thinking how grateful he was to God for the one arm that remained.

But the 9th of Av is different. The entire day is devoted to remembering the destruction of the Temple and other tragedies that have befallen our nation. We take a serious look at the half cup of water that is empty.

There is hope. With the current war and all of its horrors, we were witness to a tremendous display of Jewish unity here in Israel. To paraphrase Rabbi Kook, if the Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred, it will be built through unbounded love. Please God, have mercy on Zion for the time has come.

That's all in the meantime. It's time to go and dine on bread and a hard boiled egg dipped in ashes. Our sages said that those who mourn for Jerusalem will merit to rejoice in its rebuilding. May it be in our days.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hamas' Objectives

Don't say that you were not told:

The truth is that the Arabs are "alien usurpers of the land" here in the land of Israel. Jews are the indigenous people here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

CNN and Hamas's Human Shields

You just got to love the headline of this article on the CNN web site: Is Hamas using human shields in Gaza? The answer is complicated. The truth is, the answer is a simple, well documented, yes! So why is CNN having a hard time saying it? The answer, I suspect, is also quite simple.

It is the same reason that CNN hushed up the atrocities committed by Sadam Hussein, as admitted by none other than former CNN executive Eason Jordan way back in 2003:

Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard -- awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

For example, in the mid-1990's one of our Iraqi cameramen was abducted. For weeks he was beaten and subjected to electroshock torture in the basement of a secret police headquarters because he refused to confirm the government's ludicrous suspicion that I was the Central Intelligence Agency's Iraq station chief. CNN had been in Baghdad long enough to know that telling the world about the torture of one of its employees would almost certainly have gotten him killed and put his family and co-workers at grave risk.

Working for a foreign news organization provided Iraqi citizens no protection. The secret police terrorized Iraqis working for international press services who were courageous enough to try to provide accurate reporting. Some vanished, never to be heard from again. Others disappeared and then surfaced later with whispered tales of being hauled off and tortured in unimaginable ways. Obviously, other news organizations were in the same bind we were when it came to reporting on their own workers.

Hamas is a terrorist organization, a group of violent thugs who do not value human life. Using "human shields" is only one item on the long list of atrocities that this evil organization is responsible for.

Eason Jordan closes his "mea culpa" with the following:

I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely.
The same will be said when we finally get rid of the Arab terrorists in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. All of those journalists who feared for their lives and therefore covered up the crimes of Fatah, Hamas and all the other terror organizations, whitewashing their activities and calling them "militants", will be free to tell the truth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Paris, France: Europe's "Gaza City"

They used to say that Beirut was the "Paris of the Middle East". It looks like today, Paris is the Gaza of Europe:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Contributing to the War Effort

How can you contribute to Israel's war against the Hamas, if you are not a soldier?

1) Pray - every prayer counts.

2) Take upon yourself to learn more Torah and perform more mitzvot.

3) Donate blood. The soldiers and the nation need it. I gave blood today.

4) Be an internet warrior. Counter the anti-Israel propganda spread by Arabs and other Jew-haters on the internet. Here are some sites that can help you:

Israel Defense Forces

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Naftali Bennett

Honest Reporting

And of course there are many good blogs. Two which I find especially useful are The Elder of Zion and Israellycool.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

"Come Rescue Me Now!...My Arab Husband is Coming - HELP!!!"

Click on the pic:

Naftali Bennett's Amazing Speech at Ha'aretz's "Peace Conference"

Talk about walking into the lion's den! This is a truly amazing presentation, historic in my opinion. The leftists in the crowd that tried to shout him down shot themselves in the foot by showing their anti-democratic nature. Enjoy.

Autz 7 reports the following in regard to the aftermath of the speech:

At the end of the speech, as Bennett got down off the stage, a group of roughly 20 to 30 youths tried to physically attack him. One of them succeeded in reaching him and punching him in the back.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Detection and Elimination of Arab Terrorists Today Near Zikim

Click here.

So perish all Thine enemies, O LORD;

Update: Here it is:

Here is the navy doing its part:

Ari Shavit Exposed

There was a lot of noise when Ari Shavit's book, My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, came out. It spent a total of six weeks on the New York Times' non-fiction bestseller list.

Is the book really "non-fiction"? To receive an answer, you must read Martin Kramer's article, What Happened at Lydda.

To make a long story short, it looks like Shavit was quick on the trigger to accuse Israel of a massacre that in all likelihood did not occur. Read the article!

It is hard not to see the similarities between Shavit's academic sloppiness/negligence/ineptitude and that of Teddy Katz. Katz claimed that a massacre occured in Tantura, and was sued for libel by the veterans of that battle. Katz lost the case. Unfortunately, the veteran's of the Lydda battle, heroes who fought so bravely for Israel's independence, are probably no longer living or just too old and fragile to sue Shavit. Too bad.

BTW, did I mention that Shavit is a Ha’aretz columnist and member of its editorial-board? Are you surprised?

For extra credit, read what Caroline Glick has to say about this.

It seems that I've written about Ari Shavit in the past. See Do Murderers Sit Shiva? Almost eight years have passed since I published that post and it is interesting to see it in a historical perspective.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Ishmaelite Savagery

I was so sorry to hear that the three kidnapped boys, Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, were found dead 3 kilometers from Halhul:
Eyal Yifrah 19, from Elad; Gilad Sha'ar, 16, from Talmon; and Naftali Frenkel, also 16, from Nof Ayalon, went missing on June 12th, and officials soon identified Hamas as the culprits. Their bodies were found near between the Arab village of Halhul and the Jewish village of Carmei Tzur, near the city of Hevron, where the search operation for them - dubbed Operation Brother's Keeper - had been focused.

The bodies were apparently found together, bound and buried in a shallow grave in a field at approximately 5 p.m. The families of the boys have been informed of their tragic loss.

My heart goes out to their families. May they be comforted from Heaven.

Since the kidnapping the nation has been united in prayer for the safe return of the boys. In almost every prayer in the various synagogues that I have attended, special psalms were said after the regular prayer service for the boys. Unfortunately the prayers were not answered. I should have known that something happened when tonight, after ma'ariv, no psalms were said. It was only afterwards I received a phone call informing me of the bad news.

We do not know why this had to happen. I will not attempt to be God's bookkeeper.

What I do know that this is another manifistation of Ishmaelite savagery. Animals!

The nation of Israel will continue to build and be built, despite the acts of Arab terrorists and their Jew-hating supporters.

"He will swallow up death for ever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the reproach of His people will He take away from off all the earth; for the LORD hath spoken it." - Isaiah 25

Friday, June 13, 2014

This is Howard Cosell from the Kosel

Not really, just some pics from shacharit this morning:

I love the caper bush in bloom:

Free advert for Tova Embroidery:

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, have a good Sabbath!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Significance of Israel's Presidential Election

It is easy to downplay the election of Reuven "Rubi" Rivlin. After all, the function of the President of Israel is largely symbolic. I must admit that I myself did not think too much of it.

My wife changed my mind. She said that this is also part of the redemption, that he is a big improvement over the outgoing president in many respects. I must say that I agree with her. The redemption comes little by little (qim'a qim'a), and we should not belittle any event which can be seen as a step forward.

Farewell Shimon Peres. Welcome President Rivlin!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef on the Heter Mechirah

The Shmittah year is coming up and with it the usual controversy about the use of the heter mechirah. Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef's opinion is well known. However it is interesting to hear it from his mouth.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Independence 66

Today is Israeli Indepence Day. Happy 66th Israel!

In ten years people will look back and say that this is the year when things turned around, when the redemption wagon got back on track. What I mean to say that Israeli society and the region at large is in the middle of some major changes.

The Arab states in the region are in a state of turmoil, some on the brink of disintegration. The so called "Arab Spring" has not brought about the democratic revolution that many had hoped for. I think that it would be fair to say that these societies are just not ready for democracy. It seems that they are doomed to be ruled over by violent autocratic regimes for the near future.

It is becoming increasingly clear to an increasing amount of Israelis that giving up territory to Arabs will not bring peace. This was obvious to me, long before the failure of the Oslo Agreements, the "disengagement" and the latest Fatah-Hamas unity agreement. New ideas, such as Naftali Bennett's Stability Initiative, are seriously being considered:

Israel is becoming more religious:

More than half of Israelis define themselves as secular (53%), 26% as traditional and 21% as haredi or religious. Among young people aged up to 34, 30% define themselves as haredi or religious, while among adults over 50 only 15% define themselves as such. The high percentage of haredim and religious among those aged 34 and under is due to the greater number of children in religious and haredi families than in secular families.
Another important milestone will be the passing of a law defining Israel as a Jewish state:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced his intention to submit a new Basic Law to the Knesset, enshrining the State of Israel's status as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and attacking attempts to undermine the country's Jewish identity.

"The Declaration of Independence sets, as the cornerstone in the life of the state, the national Jewish identity of the State of Israel," the Prime Minister said.

However, he continued, "To my great regret, as we have seen recently, there are those who do not recognize this natural right. They seek to undermine the historic, moral and legal justification for the existence of the State of Israel as the national state of our people."

"One of my main missions as Prime Minister of Israel is to bolster the status of the State of Israel as the national state of our people. To this end, it is my intention to submit a basic law to the Knesset that would provide a constitutional anchor for Israel's status as the national state of the Jewish people."

Mark my words: this year is a pivotal one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Wants Banks Without Interest

Now this is interesting. Rabbi Eliyahu says that we can learn from the Muslims how to run banks that don't take interest. Personally, I like the idea.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The New Conscription Law

MK Ayelet Shaked presents the new conscription law, along with a history of why this law had to be legislated:


Sabbath Observance Saves Jew From Ill Fated Plane Flight

The saying "More than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews" took on a new meaning.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Haredim and the Mitzvah to Serve in the IDF

Here is a discussion, based on halachic sources, on the mitzvah to serve in the Israeli Defense Force. A taste:
The mitzvah to enlist in the army is based on two great mitzvoth – haztalat Yisrael (saving Israel), and yishuv ha’aretz (settling the Land of Israel). It should be noted that seventeen mitzvoth from the Torah relate to the army, as listed by Rabbi Zevin in his book ‘L’Ohr Ha’Halakha’, where he thoroughly clarifies the mitzvah to enlist in the army. This issue was also expounded upon at length by Tzitz Eliezer, Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah HaKohen Kook in his book ‘L’Nityvote Yisrael’, and other gedolei Torah.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

I Protest!

The Hareidi newspaper HaModia has printed a scandalous article in which it disgraces Rabbi Eliezer Melamed Shlita, the Rosh Yeshiva and Rabbi of Har Bracha. In doing so they have disgraced themselves, for one who disgraces a Torah scholar earns the not so honorary title of "Apikorus". Yated Ne'eman, which I had hoped would be rehabilitated under Rabbi Steinman, is also up to its old disgraceful practices.

No, I will not be taking part in today's protest against the new conscription law that is being formulated. I would have liked to, but the Hareidi press ruined it for me.

For those of you who do go here is an interesting psak.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Another Sign of the Teshuvah Revolution?

One may argue that the following is the result of changing demographics here in Israel. Could be, but I suspect that this is just more evidence of the Teshuvah Revolution here in Israel:
So many religious recruits have joined the Mossad in recent years that the organization has hired an official rabbi to advise agents and employees on a wide range of issues, a report said Monday.

Among the questions the rabbi deals with are those relating to religious practices, keeping kosher, Sabbath observance, and other matters that may require compromise or adjustment regarding Jewish Law on the part of an agent during a mission.

Speaking to Ma'ariv, a Mossad source said that “there are many religious people in the Mossad, and that number has grown quite a bit in recent years. In the past, the IDF Chief Rabbi would advise agents, but with the larger number of employees here the Mossad realized that it needs its own rabbi.”

It's happening.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hadassah and Purim Katan

Today is Purim Katan, the 14th of Adar I. I just read an article about the crisis taking place at the Hadassah hospitals here in Jerusalem:
The strike at the Hadassah hospitals in Jerusalem is expected to continue on Friday and workers are threatening further action as of Sunday.

A meeting on Thursday evening between representatives of the Histadrut labor union, the employees and the Hadassah board of trustees ended with no results.

The Histadrut subsequently announced that Hadassah employees will continue to operate on a Shabbat schedule on Friday as well.

The workers are demanding that their January salaries be paid in full by Sunday, or they will take further strike actions.

The Hadassah strike began at both Hadassah Ein-Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus medical centers, as a backlash against the Finance Ministry for stalling in negotiations to expand the hospital's budget. The budget cuts have been hurting patients, according to the staff, and the staff is reeling after a month on half-pay.

The ongoing strike at has already driven several senior members of both Hadassah Ein Kerem and Hadassah Mount Scopus to quit, fed up over the hospital's inability to compensate for missing wages and frustrated over the tedious negotiations.

This week, protests erupted outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, with demonstrators demanding that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yael German intervene to end the strike.

It is quite unfortunate to see these great institutions on their knees. I was wondering what the mother organization, Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, had to say about the situation. While browsing their web site, I found the following:
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. is excited to announce the creation of an annual Hadassah Shabbat to be held on the Shabbat preceding Purim. Shabbat Zachor holds particular importance as Hadassah was founded during Purim and was Esther's Hebrew name. Hadassah is encouraging rabbis and congregations to become part of the first Hadassah Shabbat Zachor on March 14 and 15, 2014.

Hadassah Shabbat will celebrate Parshat Zachor, reminding us how evil can be transformed into good, focusing on the victory of Israel over Amalek and of Esther and Vashti over oppression and discrimination. As an organization of over 330,000 women across the country, Hadassah will read Parshat Zachor as a reclaiming of Vashti as a force against discrimination.

Sorry ladies, but our Rabbis, who lived close to the time of the Megillah, have a much different description of Vashti. Even though it is Purim Katan today, and on Purim there is a side of "venahafoch hu", I must condemn such a distortion. For those interested in Judaism's traditional view of Vashti, Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller wrote a very nice article about The Villainy of Vashti. It is no wonder that an organization that turns a villian into a hero, which is a symptom of spiritual bankuptcy, has financial problems.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Jews Rule the World!

It's official: we rule the world. How do I know? Former Egyptian Housing Minister Hasaballah El Kafrawy says so!

Yes, these are the people that Israel has to deal with.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ariel Sharon in the Name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe: Jewish Nationalism is Not Enough

Now that Ariel Sharon has passed away many are struggling with the question: Was he a hero or a traitor? The man made many important contributions to the State of Israel and its security. On the other hand, his parting shot, the destruction of the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria, will be an everlasting blemish on his name.

I will not delve into this question. Instead, to mark his passing, I am putting up this clip which I originally saw here. In it, Ariel Sharon tells us what he heard from the Lubavitcher Rebbe on the importance of keeping the commandments.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

The American Bluff

It's true, America cannot be trusted:

Another Arab "Intellectual"

Check out Said Dudin. Yeah, we have already heard that the Zionists are behind the "Arab Spring", That's par for the course when your are dealing with Arabian fantasies. But this guy has it in for...Elie Wiesel and Bernard-Henri Levy!

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