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.

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