Thursday, December 22, 2016

Aly Raisman Disappoints

Oy Vey!:
Five months after agreeing to go on a date with tight end Colton Underwood, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman has let the cat out of the bag and revealed they are officially a couple!

The two walked the red carpet on Monday night at the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony 2016 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn, New York.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Donald Trump, Vulgarity and Intermarriage

This year's U.S. presidential elections and its aftermath have been interesting, and that is an understatement. It was an incredible upset, probably even more startling than the 1969 Miracle Mets. I just saw something over at Rabbi Pruzansky's Blog, which I had thought of myself:
Whatever offensive things he has said are actually tame compared to the lyrics of rap, the ranting of bad comedians, and what the tawdry culture celebrates. We should remember that New Yorkers first got to know Donald Trump as a real estate developer, but much of the rest of the country became familiar with him as an entertainer. This is the culture. What so many of his critics loathe in Trump is, perhaps, what they should loathe about American society but they don’t. They are just looking in the mirror and don’t like what they see.
And here is another worthy quote from the rabbi's post:
Perhaps it is worth mentioning a cartoon that has made the rounds in the last week, with the caption: “The difference between Donald Trump and most leftist American Jews is that Trump has Jewish grandchildren.” If only these groups would realize that intermarriage is the most serious crisis facing them today, and compared to that, politics is beanbag.
Mr. Trump seems to be just the right man to lead America in this generation. I wish him much success.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shimon Peres Passes Away

Baruch Dayan HaEmet:
Israel’s ninth President and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres dies at 93 after suffering a major stroke.

Israel’s ninth President and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres has passed away at the age of 93, two weeks after suffering a serious stroke and being admitted to the Tel Hashomer Hospital.

Mr. Peres was often the object of my blogging wrath. Now he will stand before the Divine Judge, who will weigh his merits and other deeds much better than a blogger.

I wonder what Peres was thinking as death approached. I cannot help but think of what is written in Berachot 28b:

When Rav Yochanan ben Zakkai was on his death bed, his students came in to visit him. When he saw them, he began to cry. The disciples asked him, "Candle of Israel, the right hand pillar, the mighty hammer, why are you crying?" Rav Yochanan ben Zakkai responded, "If I were being taken before an earthly king who is here today and tomorrow in the grave, whose anger is not a permanent anger and who if he imprisons me it will not be a permanent imprisonment, and I might be able to appease him with words or bribe him with money – would I not anyhow cry in fear? Now I am being taken before the King of Kings, the Holy One Blessed is He who is eternal. If He is angry with me, it will be an eternal anger and if He imprisons me, it will be an eternal imprisonment. If He kills me, it will be an eternal death. I cannot appease Him or bribe Him. Not only that, but I have two paths before me – one leading to Gan Eden and one leading to Gehinnom and I do not know on which path they are taking me. Should I not cry?"
May his friends and loved ones find comfort, and may we all be written and sealed for a good year.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Elie Wiesel on Intermarriage

From an interesting interview with his son, Elisha Wiesel:
My dad had an enormous amount of confidence in me, even though at times it might have seemed somewhat misplaced for where I was in life. He really only had two rules for me growing up. One he gave me early, and one he gave me later. The rule he gave me earlier was that I could do anything I wanted in life. It didn’t matter what profession I picked, the only thing that mattered to him was that my wife was to be Jewish (whether through birth or conversion he didn’t care). That was really the only ground rule I had with him for the first few decades of my life. I could do what I wanted and explore different things. I remember I came home from college with a purple mohawk my freshman year, and my dad was not fazed. He said, “I love you, and I would walk down the street with you any time, anywhere. I am not embarrassed. I would take you to shul like this and out to dinner. I love you. You are my son. You can do anything you want as long as you marry Jewish.”
And then there is this:
Intermarriage was at the top of the list (of challenges facing Jews today -CX). He saw intermarriage and assimilation as very significant threats to the Jewish people. He always felt he was at a crux because he was at the end of a line. It was his job to continue it and to make sure that he was not the last. He felt a connection to the fact that for thousands of years, Jews had been transmitting information down the generations in a certain way with certain values. I think he was very concerned that the line would end with him.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Rabbi Shaar Yashuv Cohen zt"l

It is with great sadness that I heard about the passing of Rabbi Shaar Yashuv Cohen:
Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef Shaar Yashuv Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, passed away Friday night at the age of 89.

A noted scholar and veteran from the War of Independence, Rabbi Cohen was a leading rabbinic figure in the National Religious community, with more than 40 years of public service, including more than 30 years as Chief Rabbi of Haifa and 36 years as chief of the local rabbinical court.

Here's a picture that I took of the Rabbi exactly six years ago, on the third of Elul, the yahrzeit of Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook. :

Eulogies at the Merkav HaRav Yeshiva:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner Separate After Weiner's Latest Texting Scandal

It looks like the beginning of the end of the Weiner/Abedin partnership:
Huma Abedin, one of Democraatic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's top aides, said on Monday that she was separating from her husband, Anthony Weiner, after a sex scandal similar to an earlier incident that led him to resign from the US Congress.

"After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband," Huma Abedin said in a statement.

Can you hear me clapping? Huma added the following:
Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.
Good luck with that one, Huma.

I've been following this scandal for quite some time. There was much to be learned from this debacle:

Weinergate, Shavuot and the Zohar

How Rep. Anthony Weiner Can Leverage Weinergate

Anthony Weiner Resigns From Congress

Should Rep. Anthony Weiner Change His Name?

Anthony Weiner Resigns From Congress: For Real!

Will Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin Get Divorced?

The Weiner Incident in the Kosher Bakery

Anthony Weiner's Day of Judgment

Anthony Weiner vs. Saul Kessler: Hakoras HaTov

Huma Abedin's Next Step

With the month of Elul just around the corner, we all must remember that the gates of Teshuvah are open to all of us, even someone like Anthony Weiner. Will we take advantage of the opportunity?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Is Fluency in Hebrew an Impediment to Learning the Torah?

Check out what Rabbi Dovid Abenson has to say (also published here):
Shloime, an Israeli bochur who is fluent in Ivrit, struggles to keep up with shiur and does not enjoy learning. His mother is perplexed. Since Ivrit or Modern Hebrew, as it is also known as, is his mother tongue, his mother wonders why he has a difficulty understanding the Gemara or Chumash text.

To understand this conundrum, let’s take a look at the following:

A) Grammatical differences between Modern and Classical Hebrew.

There are numerous grammatical differences between Modern and Classical Hebrew. One of the most radical and striking examples is that Modern Hebrew has eliminated the grammatical rules of “Vav HaHepuch”(Vav conversive) used extensively throughout Tanach. The founder of modern Hebrew Eliezer Ben­Yehuda supplanted the true sacred language of the Jewish people by cannibalizing and distorting it to create a “new” language so to speak ­ preventing them from being able to truly understand our holy Torah for the past 100 years. It has gone so far that most recently Avraham Ahuvia, a 90­ year-old retired kibbutznik Bible teacher completed a new modern Hebrew “translation” of the Bible. What he did, according to publisher Rafi Mozes of Reches Educational Projects, was “mediate between the Biblical language and the Hebrew spoken today.” Drora Halevy, national supervisor of Bible studies at the Ministry of Education, claims: “This translation cuts out the heart of the Bible. It reduces the Bible to just another book. In the Bible, form and content are bound together. The translation kills it.”

There is only one language in Hebrew which is called “Lashon HaKodesh”. It is the first language which Hashem created and was spoken by the first man Odom HaRishon. On the other hand, modern Hebrew, as Gil’ad Zuckermann, a professor of linguistics, maintains, is a hybrid of ancient Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, Polish, Romanian to name a few. Basically, now we have two Hebrew languages, Lashon HaKodesh which is termed “Biblical” or “Classical Hebrew”, and a second language called חדשה עברית” ­ Modern Hebrew”.

B) Change in meaning and distortion of words.

Modern Hebrew has misconstrued Biblical words. The word “Chashmal”, which translates into Ivrit as electricity, has no original bearing to electricity at all. It has been taken from Yecheskel 6:4, “K’ain chashmal mitoch aish,” translated as “and from the midst comes a semblance of Chashmal from the midst of the fire”. The Gemara in Chagiga, 13A, relates a story wherein a talmid once speculated upon the identity of Chashmal ­ “so a fire came forth and consumed him.” We see from this story that Chashmal is a mystical concept relating to the “Ma’aseh Merkovah” and the Gemara gives certain indications of the meaning of the word, but nevertheless, it is a difficult word to understand. Since the word attributes to fire, it has been misconstrued and downplayed into a physical component, demoting the spiritual essence of the word.

To quote again from Gil’ad Zuckermann, “egla meshulleshet”[Genesis 15:9] is not a triangular cow, as most Israelis translate it, but rather ‘a heifer’ ­ nor ”yeled sha’ashuim [Jeremiah 31:19] a ‘playboy’, but a ‘delightful child!! I would like to add yet another popular word ‘glida’ which means ‘ice cream’ to every Israeli. This word is actually not Hebrew but rather an Aramaic word for frost. (Genesis 31:40)

C) Care when teaching Torah in Ivrit.

Therefore, when a magid shiur’s ‘mameh loshon’ is “Modern Hebrew”, it is vital, that when teaching, he make a very clear distinction between it and ‘Lashon HaKodesh’. His student will thereby avoid the frustration of confusing similarities and fully obtain the clarity of understanding which ensures true enjoyment and success in Torah study.

D) Sometimes it’s easier when the differences are obvious.

In conclusion, as was suggested at the beginning of this article, contrary to popular assumption, fluency in “Ivrit” does not necessarily guarantee an advantage in the vast unending arena of Torah learning. On the contrary, it may sometimes be a pitfall rather than a plus. Far better when someone knows he does not know ­ than when he doesn’t and thinks he does!

After requesting the good Rabbi's forgiveness, I would like to point out the following:

1) It is much more likely that Shloime is not learning well because of bad chemistry with the teacher than it is because he cannot make the switch between Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew. I state this as a father of five native Hebrew speakers who all learned Torah in the original.

2) Much of the Gemara is in Aramaic, which has many words that are similar to Hebrew but which is in any case a different language. A native Hebrew speaker who follows Jewish Law and learns "shanayim mikrah ve'echad targum" can navigate the Gemara pretty well with the help of Rashi and a good Rebbe.

3) “Vav HaHepuch” disappeared from most Hebrew literature long before Ben Yehuda. (If you don't believe me, take a look at Maimonides Mishnah Torah, Laws of Idol Worship 1:1)

4) One has to wonder if Rabbi Abenson would consider the Mishnah to be written in "Loshon HaKodesh". After all it was written without “Vav HaHepuch”. Not only that, but "Lashon Torah Lechud, Lashon Chachamim Lechud". Are Chazal guilty of "cannibalizing and distorting" Hebrew by using roots that do not appear in the Torah (see Rambam's commentary on the Mishnah, Terumah 1:1)?

5) The Rabbi is certainly correct that some words in Modern Hebrew have a different meaning than they have in the Torah. "Lashon Torah Lechud, Lashon Chachamim Lechud, Lashon Medinat Yisrael 5776 Lechud". However, there is not doubt in my mind that native Hebrew speakers have a tremendous advantage when it comes to learning the Torah than native English speakers.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The 9th of Av: It's About the Temple!

It turns out that I am not the only one who disagrees with Rabbi Cardozo, who wrote an article on why he does not read the Book of Lamentations on the 9th of Av. British United Synagogue's rabbi in Israel, Rabbi Gideon Sylvester, also wrote a rebuttal to Rabbi Cardozo, making some of the same points that I made, but making others that go in a totally different (and IMHO incorrect) direction.

Maybe it is me, but I had the feeling after reading Rabbi Sylvester's article, that he was trying to market the 9th of Av more as a "Tikkun Olam" kind of thing and less as a day of mourning the loss of the Holy Temple. He writes:

This day prises open the heart of darkness forcing us to confront historical tragedies and current failings. Thankfully, our suffering does not compare with the horrors facing Jewry 2,000 years ago or even 100 years ago, but all is not perfect, and in reading the Book of Lamentations, we probe our situation asking Eicha? Why?

Why do some of our neighbors refuse to accept Israel’s existence and daily plot its destruction? Why must we live with the constant fear that they will develop nuclear capabilities and hold the world to ransom? Why are we forbidden from murmuring a short prayer on the Temple Mount — our holiest site? Why across Europe is terror and anti-Semitism on the rise forcing many Jews to leave their homes and abandon their countries?

Beyond the confines of our Jewish state and Diaspora communities, we live in the shadow of refugees, flood victims, child slaves and those surrounded by scarcity, war and disease.

I met some of them on my American Jewish World Service’s delegation to Ghana; wonderful people who live in abject poverty, with no toilets or running water and little access to medicine except for the local witch-doctor. It shocked me to the core; but these were not the most deprived. Every single day, approximately 20,000 people die for lack of food and medicine. It would not take much to stave off their hunger and save their lives.

In these circumstances, we have no right to complacency and no room to relinquish the biblical book reminding us that life has had and continues to have threads of tragedy.

Towards the end he adds:
In our generation, many people struggle to relate to the loss of the Temple and its service. But responsible rabbis should not call for us to forget our tragic history, and the ritual of one of our holiest days. If we want to understand Tisha B’Av, let us reflect on what a world of decency, justice and compassion would look like.
"In our generation, many people struggle to relate to the loss of the Temple and its service", the rabbi writes. I say, yes this is true, and it is the job of rabbis, educators and anybody who has the ability, to teach the Jewish People how to relate to the Temple and its service! Our enthusiasm for the Temple and the laws pertaining to it should not fall from our enthusiasm to other mitzvot! If we are of this state of mind, which is really what the Torah requires of us, mourning on the 9th of Av and reading The Book of Lamentations will be meaningful as our prophets and sages meant it to be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Should We Still Be Reading the Book of Lamentations on the 9th of Av?

Let me say this as simply and concisely as possible: As long as the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple is not rebuilt, Jerusalem cannot be considered rebuilt, and the reciting of Eichah (The Book of Lamentations) and kinot is still quite relevant. You do not have to be a man of great erudition to know this.

Therefore I was quite surprised to see this piece from Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo. After begging his forgiveness I must disagree with what he wrote:

But in the here and now, where I live, Yerushalayim is a city of splendor, full of life, and contradicting everything I read in Eichah.

How can I, in good conscience, utter or even listen to words claiming that I live in a desolate city, when in fact I look out of my window and am amazed to see Yerushalayim rebuilt so splendidly, as if mocking the Scroll of Eichah?

There is something totally wrong about this. Isn’t it a slap in the face to the Holy One blessed be He, Who granted our generation such a magnificent, colorful, and lively city, with its spectacular views, parks full of beautiful flowers, impressive museums, and luxury hotels, to name just a few attractions?

And then we publicly read aloud that all this is not true, as if denying this divine blessing bestowed upon us after thousands of years of disaster and exile?

Rabbi Cardozo is correct in that we have been blessed that we have a "lively city", with "spectacular views, parks full of beautiful flowers", etc. We should certainly be grateful for this constantly. Being an ingrate is a terrible thing. Where I learned, we recited Hallel on Israeli Independence Day and Jerusalem Day in order to thank God for the wonders he has wrought for us.

However, all this does not diminish the deep pain and mourning that dwells in the heart of the Jew who longs for the Temple. In some ways it even deepens the sense of loss. “The Temple Mount is in our hands”, however, in spite of this, two legged "foxes walk upon it" (Lamentations 5:18). We are so close, yet so far away.

Reciting Eichah on the 9th of Av is in no way a "slap in the face to the Holy One blessed be He", as Rabbi Cardozo suggests. Rather it is the genuine expression of mourning, still relevant today perhaps more than ever, of the loss of our Temple, and the ability to fulfill God's Will that was lost along with it. The return to Zion and the establishment of Jewish sovereignty over part of our holy land is wonderful indeed, but we are still far from where we really want to be.

May we merit to see the return of the Davidic dynasty and the building of the Holy Temple speedily in our days!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

More Evidence of America's Moral Decline

About a month ago, while I was pondering whether Donald Trump can make America great again, I wrote the following:
America's economic, military and political decline is a product of its moral decline. The United States of America is a country that still prints "In God we trust" on its money but has slowly but surely turned its back on God.

One of the expressions of the abandonment of God is America's embrace of illicit sexual relations and those that engage in them. This sordid embrace reached its culmination in the infamous OBERGEFELL v. HODGES decision.

Therefore, in answer to my original question,"Can Donald Trump make America great again?", the answer is a loud, resounding no. He does not seem to be a man of high enough moral fiber to pull Americans out of the sleazy cultural mud that there are drowning in. The change in America is going to come from the bottom up, if it is to come at all. It would take a miracle for the USA to reverse its moral decline, and only a miracle will make America great again.

I just read something that reinforces what I wrote a month ago. America really does need a miracle. The decline is steeper than I thought:
Monica Mares reunited with her son Caleb Peterson 18 years after giving him up for adoption, and just weeks later, the duo claimed to be "madly in love." Since incest is a fourth degree felony in New Mexico -- and illegal in all 50 states -- the couple faces trial in September after being charged with the indiscretion on February 25. If convicted, Mares and Peterson could each face 18 months in the slammer.

Mares, 36, and Peterson, 19, are not only fighting for their "love" in court, but asking the public to help fund their fight for mothers to sleep with their sons all around the country.

Yes, it is called incest. I do not know how all those who support homosexual relationships between consenting adults can logically oppose this. If this case makes it to the SCOTUS, will they be able to uphold laws against incest after sanctioning homosexual marriage?

Those of us who have taken upon themselves the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven and the yoke of the commandments will continue to strive to be close to God. We shall continue to ascend, while others slide down the slope of their evil inclinations. "Blessed are You LORD, our God, King of the universe, who has given us a Torah of truth, and has implanted within us eternal life."

Friday, July 22, 2016

The "Gay Pride" Parade Leaves Its Impurity in Jerusalem

I already posted that taking part in these "gay pride" parades is in and of itself a sin. Recently a Torah scholar showed me a passage from the Chacham Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, which further illuminates this matter.

The Gemara in the tractate Taanit 11A states the following:

בשעת פטירתו של אדם לבית עולמו כל מעשיו (נפטרין) לפניו ואומרים לו כך וכך עשית במקום פלוני ביום פלוני

...when a man comes into the world beyond, all his deeds are laid before him in detail, and he is told where and on what day he committed them.

The Ben Ish Chai, in his book Ben Yehoyada, explains:

שם כו״כ עשית במקום פלוני. י״ל מה צירך לסיים המקומות. ונ״ל בס״ר דידוע אם אדם עשה עבירה הוא מניח כח טומאה באותו מקום שיהי׳ שורה שם תמיד ואז גורם נזק לאחרים אח״כ לאותם הבאים לדור שם באותו מקים, שיהי׳ להם אותו כח טומאה למכשיל להכשילם בחטא, וכן במקום שעשו בו תורה ומצות ג״כ שורה שם קדושה, ויהי׳ עזר להדרים שם כידוע, ולכן מםיימץ לו מקים שעשה בו עבירה, כי מלבד עונש שיגיע לו מגיף העבירה שלו, עוד יגיע לו עונש מסיבח המקום שטמאו ועשה בו כח טומאה, ועי״כ הי׳ מכשול לאחרים שבאו בו אח״כ.

The Ben Ish Chai has a question: Why is a person told where he committed his deeds? He answers that when a person transgresses he leaves the power of impurity in the place he sinned. This impurity lingers there constantly and harms others that come to live in that place, by being a stumbling block for them and causing them to sin. He adds that the original transgressor is punished not only for his sins but for the sins that he caused others to commit.

We can learn from this that these "gay pride" parades, wherever they are held, while they are in and of themselves impure, they leave impurity in their aftermath. The Ben Ish Chai mentions that the converse is also true: When people are involved in Torah learning and Mitzvot, they cause holiness to dwell in that place.

Thank God here in Jerusalem, much Torah is being learnt and many Mitzvahs are being done. Let's hope that the holiness will push out the impurity.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Can Donald Trump Make America Great Again?

One could point to the captain of the ship, President Barack Hussein Obama, and blame him for the fact the ship is way off course. In my mind, and in the mind of many others, not only is he a bad president, he may be the worst president ever. The debate about Obama is not about his foreign and domestic policy failures but about his intentions: Is he stupid, or are his divisive statements and destructive actions the product of an intentional plan to weaken the nation he was elected to lead?

Before pointing the finger at Barack Obama, we have to remember that he was elected in democratic elections, not once but twice! That says something about the electorate. The leader is just a reflection of the majority of the people.

If the above is true another question needs to be asked: How is it that the same nation that chose qualified and successful presidents like Wilson, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan ending up choosing someone as unqualifed as Obama? How in the world did this happen?

I believe that the answer is that the electorate of 2008 was very different that the electorate of 1980. America's economic, military and political decline is a product of its moral decline. The United States of America is a country that still prints "In God we trust" on its money but has slowly but surely turned its back on God.

One of the expressions of the abandonment of God is America's embrace of illicit sexual relations and those that engage in them. This sordid embrace reached its culmination in the infamous OBERGEFELL v. HODGES decision.

Therefore, in answer to my original question,"Can Donald Trump make America great again?", the answer is a loud, resounding no. He does not seem to be a man of high enough moral fiber to pull Americans out of the sleazy cultural mud that there are drowning in. The change in America is going to come from the bottom up, if it is to come at all. It would take a miracle for the USA to reverse its moral decline, and only a miracle will make America great again.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Enlarging the Tents

The most amazing thing is happening, but not everyone is worthy of seeing it:
"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations, spare not; lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes."

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Some Chol HaMoed Pics/Video in Jerusalem

Free Matzot for those visiting the Old City coutesy of Ateret Cohanim:

Some pics from King David's tomb.

Nice threads:

Outside the Old City near Jaffa Gate:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Old Passover Posts

Browsing through the archives I found the following which may be of interest:

What to say, and what not to say at the seder table: Pesach=Peh-Sach

Gratitiude: Hakarat Hatov

Getting ready: Preparing For Passover

Some things never change: Blogger's Pre-Passover Guilt Trip

I would like to hear Yaakov Shwekey and Yonatan Razel sing this one: A New Song For the Passover Seder

Have a happy and Kosher Passover!

Monday, April 18, 2016

American Jews and Israel

I have been known to bemoan the state of American Jewry on this blog. This impending decline of non-Orthodox Jewry was well evident many years ago. There were those who spoke up about it, but they were ignored by the masses and villified by the establishment, much like Jeremiah the prophet before the destruction of the First Temple.

The decay of American Jewry has of course had an effect on its relation with the State of Israel, I recommend reading a series of essays at Mosaic Magazine that deal with the topic:

If American Jews and Israel Are Drifting Apart, What's the Reason?

How American Jews Have Detached Themselves from Jewish Memory

Unspoken Reasons for the American Jewish Distancing from Israel

Israel: The Canvas on Which American Jews Project Their Hopes and Fears

Dear American Jews:

"The Holy One Blessed Be He gave three good gifts to Israel, and all of them He did not give except through affliction, and they are: Torah, and the Land Of Israel, and the World To Come.(Berachot 5A)"
The time has come! You have been given three special gifts! Come and claim them!

Update: Rabbi Alderstein also took notice.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Only Good Tidings

R' Yisrael Rosenberg talks about his book, Rak Besorot Tovot (Only Good Tidings):

Here's an English transcript of the interview:

Arutz 2 Interview – English Transcript - The Menachem Toker Show, March 7, 2016

Menachem Toker, Host: Yisrael Rosenberg has published a book called, “Rak Besorot Tovot” (“Only Good News”), that collects within it all the positive prophecies of the Prophets of Israel. I understand that anyone who reads it – feels good.


Yisrael Rosenberg: That’s the idea. I came to Israel, and I didn’t know that within the Hebrew Bible, there are many good stories. I learned Hebrew, and began to read within the Hebrew Bible; and I saw that all the future of the People of Israel is only good! And I thought it was worthwhile that people would see this, and understand that we have a fantastic future.

Menachem: It is a book that essentially where you selected only the good sayings, the positive elements from the Hebrew Bible, right? Read me something. I need to feel good before breakfast.

Yisrael: With pleasure. I took from a number of prophets, and this is Ezekiel.

“So says the Lord God: In My ingathering of the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they have been scattered, and I have been sanctified through them in the eyes of the nations; then they will dwell on their land that I gave to My servant, to Jacob.

And they will dwell upon it securely, and they will build houses, and plant vineyards, and dwell securely; in my execution of judgments against all those who plunder them from all around them, then they shall know that I am the God their Lord." (Ezekiel, Chapter 28, Verses 25, 26)

Menachem: Wow! How beautiful! You were a senior consultant for an international information management company, right? You lived in Boston with your family?

Yisrael: Yes.

Menachem: While will this book give us … OK, we know that it will give us good things, but how will this influence ME, in my soul?

Yisrael: I think it’s very important to understand that we are in the middle of a very difficult period. The Rabbis of the Talmud told us that it would be hard. But – the Hebrew Prophets promise, in many different places, it will be good for the Nation of Israel and the whole world. We must continue with all the efforts that we are making – religious, not religious; Oriental Jews, Ashkenazim; [the differences are] not important – the Nation of Israel together is working on these things, and we will continue forward, and we will see good.


“The glory of this last House will be greater than the first one, said the Lord of Hosts. And in this place I will grant peace.” (Haggai, Chapter 2, Verse 9).

It came out good, it came out good for me. I just opened it … Why don’t you open it too? What you open is what you read. Four or five words. Something positive. We want to be able to leave here with … to bring to our viewers here some positive energy and a positive atmosphere from this show …

What are you looking at? Read what you see!

Liron Sharon: Nope. Didn’t come out good for me.

Menachem: It couldn’t be. Not with the book “Only Good News”!

Liron: Oh!

“And the tree of the field will give forth its fruit, and the land will give forth its produce, and they will be on their land in security.” (Ezekiel Chapter 26, Verse 27)

Menachem: See! Peace, fruit –

Yisrael: There are actually five things - I didn’t know this. I came from outside the Land of Israel. We didn’t learn the Hebrew Bible; that was for the gentiles to learn. We Jews were ‘above’ that kind of thing. :-)

But when I came to Israel and learned Hebrew, suddenly I understood that there are five things that the prophets actually say. They say that:

1. There will be an ingathering of the Exiles to the Land of Israel,

2. There will be ‘Return’, meaning the coming close of the People of Israel to the Holy One, May He Be Blessed [God], in every possible way. I’m not talking about any one direction. Every individual will come closer, as an individual and with the collective, to the Holy One, May He Be Blessed,

3. There will be a leader that will bring the Nation of Israel together, unite them, and he will succeed.

4. There will be a complete prosperity in the Land of Israel, first of all, like you [Liron] said, agriculturally, but also economically, technologically, everything will prosper.

5. And in the end, like you [Menachem] said, the magic word:

Menachem: Peace!

Yisrael: There will be Peace!

Menachem: Peace and Love! Thank you very much, Yisrael Rosenberg. ​

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Purim Warning to American Jews

It is better to come to Israel in order to fill the mitzvah of living in the land of Israel. However...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Yishai RIbo Sings the Lehi Anthem

I have a special place in my heart for those Israel's soldiers, especially those who fought for Israel's independence. So I could not help but post this video of Yishai Ribo singing the anthem of the Lehi underground, "Anonymous Soldiers":

Monday, February 22, 2016

Disconnected: Chapter 2

Trial By Media?

Rabbi Meir Kahane's hy"d widow writes about the mistreatment of her grandson Meir Ettinger:
On July 31, 2015 a house in Duma, an Arab village in Samaria, was firebombed by unknown persons, and a child and his parents were tragically killed. The entire gamut of Israel’s “Who’s Who” condemned the unknown persons, whom they labeled “Jewish Terrorists” because of questionable grafiti in Hebrew.

The condemnation was not enough to satisfy the New York Times, which quickly published an article titled, “Israeli Justice in West Bank Is Seen as Often Uneven.” This was picked up by all the foreign media and our government was pressured into taking hasty, precipitate action.

Among those arrested was my grandson, Meir Ettinger, named for his late grandfather, Rabbi Meir Kahane, who had a reputation for promoting unpopular opinions. He was the perfect scapegoat. He was arrested on August 3 and interrogated using illegal physical force, including punching and shaking him. On Sunday, August 9, he was taken before a judge to extend his arrest, but the court hearing he should have had was cut short by the arrival of an administrative detention order straight from Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Menachem Begin Talks About the Sabbath

There was never a nation like this. Craftsmen, sandlers, tailors, wagon drivers. Sabbath! The man was a king, a king! The children around the table. The queen, Sabbath. Come bride, come bride. Every Jew a king. In the city there is not traffic, nothing moves. No wagon, absolute quiet. The gentiles also honor the Sabbath. In Saloniki the port was closed because all of its workers were Jews.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why Was William Booth Detained?

The Times of Israel reported:
Washington Post reporter briefly detained in Jerusalem for ‘incitement’

William Booth taken into police custody outside Damascus Gate, released; colleague says he was ‘harassed’ by cops

Arutz 7 reported the same story in the following way:
Wash Post bureau chief arrested for paying Arabs to riot

William Booth, the Jerusalem bureau chief for the Washington Post, was arrested at the Damascus Gate today (Tuesday), on suspicion of incitement.

Police claim that Booth paid local Arabs money in order to cause provocations.

I've never heard of this journalist before but I found this by googling him:
The Washington Post suspended Mexico bureau chief William Booth on Thursday after he admitted to plagiarizing four sentences from an academic journal, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

In a story about the expansion of the Panama Canal, Booth took lines from the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, an ethical breach he called a "very serious lapse" but said in a public apology, released by the Post, that it was accidental.

"I am so sorry for what I did. It was a very serious lapse," Booth said in the statement. "This was not intentional. It was an inadvertent and sloppy mistake.

"I also want to apologize to my editors and colleagues, and especially to the readers of the Washington Post, for my failure to measure up," he said. "I hope to regain your trust. I will work hard to do that."

Hmmm. If what the Israeli police suspect him of is true, one may ask: Is paying people to riot some kind of way to gain my trust?

Here are two more versions of the story:


Israeli police forces briefly detained Washington Post Jerusalem Bureau Chief William Booth and an employee of the Association for Civil Rights near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate on Tuesday.

According to another reporter at the scene, the two were detained on grounds of incitement and taken to a police station for questioning after about an hour delay.

Booth has since been released. Jerusalem Police have not yet issued a statement on the incident..


:Police on Tuesday briefly detained The Washington Post's Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth near Damascus Gate, according to a police spokesperson.

Williams was brought in for questioning after a civilian bystander complained to police about the reporter, accusing him of incitement.

According to the police spokesperson, a civilian reported to police that journalists at site were offering money to Palestinian youth to make disturbances.

It will be interesting to see how this story develops.


The Washington Post's bureau chief in Jerusalem says he was briefly detained by Israeli border police while reporting in east Jerusalem.

William Booth says he was interviewing Palestinians at Damascus Gate, an entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, when he and his translator were arrested Tuesday. The area has been the scene of violence in recent days.

Booth says after presenting government-issued press cards to an officer, he and his colleague were taken to a police station and held for half an hour before they were released. He says an officer told them they had been suspected of "incitement."

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the journalists were questioned in connection to an unspecified "incident" and quickly released after it was clear they were not involved.

Putting two and two together, William Booth's translator is an employee of the Association for Civil Rights! Do I smell agenda driven journalism?

Update: William Booth and the Washington Post were taken to task by CAMERA just last month.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Disconnected: a Look Back on the "Disengagement"

Israel's channel 20 has a series about the "disengagement", that is to say the destruction of the Jewish towns in the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria and the expulsion of their residents. It is in Hebrew and you can see the first chapter by clicking here. For me, watching this was very, very painful. It brought back all of the bad memories of what happened ten years ago.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ehud Olmert: Go to Jail, Go Directly to Jail. Do Not Obstruct Justice, Do Not Collect Any More Bribes

It's finally going to happen:
Israel's Ehud Olmert on Monday becomes the country's first ex-prime minister to sit behind bars as he begins a 19-month prison term for separate counts of bribery and obstruction of justice.

The 70-year-old will report to Maasiyahu prison in the central Israeli town of Ramle, where former Israeli president Moshe Katsav is also serving a seven-year prison term for rape and sexual harassment.

The Israeli Prisons Service says that Olmert will be admitted to the prison's special block 10, "which is intended to house prisoners who for various reasons cannot be placed with the general prison population."

He will join four other unidentified inmates in block 10, which has a maximum capacity of 18.

"Due to his position, he is subject to various threats and is in danger," the prisons service says.

I am not happy about this. "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth;" (Proverbs 24:17). Not only that, but the damage done by this man to the nation of Israel cannot be repaired by sitting in the Ma'asiyahu "prison hotel".

Here are a few of my posts from the age of Olmert:

Amona, Ehud Olmert, And Pharaoh

Who's To Blame? Olmert, Peretz, Halutz, and the Israeli MSM

Truth Springs Forth From The Land

Controversy At Funeral Of Fallen Soldier

The "Peace Process" Corrupts

At this time, I would also like to remember the good that Ehud Olmert has done:

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Friday, February 05, 2016

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed's "Pninei Halacha": More Than Half a Million Volumes Sold!

Mazal Tov to Rav Melamed on this great milestone. It is a great privilege of mine to be a student of his way back when before he was so renowned.

BTW, the series is available online! This is an incredible, searchable resource, and IMHO a great Kiddush Hashem!

Officer Indicted For Passing Information to anti-Assimilation Group

Does the officer deserve an indictment, an award, or both?:
An indictment was submitted Wednesday to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court by the state attorney's department for the investigation of officers, charging Border Police officer Matan Amichai with harming privacy and misusing his post.

The accusations against Amichai refer to an incident half-a-year ago, when during a routine mission to identify crimes adjacent to the Shiloach (Silwan) neighborhood just south of Jerusalem's Old City a Border Police force checked a car in which two Arab residents of Silwan were riding with two Jewish girls.

Amichai, who was part of the Border Police force, is accused of taking the teudat zehut (ID card) of one of the Jewish girls and photographing it with his cell phone.

Later he sent the image through the WhatsApp phone application to former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, with the words: "the ID card of a girl who went with two Arabs and her friend to Eilat, the two are from Silwan, Michael if you can pass this to the proper sources please do. We are Magavnikim (Border Police officers - ed.) from Silwan, please save this anonymously. I wanted to cry now."

He also sent the image to Bentzi Gopshtain, director of the Lehava anti-assimilation organization.

"We members of the Border Police of Silwan stopped a car next to Silwan and saw two Arabs going with two Jewish girls to Eilat, here is the ID card of one of the girls, please do something...we can't do anything in a case like this," he wrote to Gopshtain, again asking that the matter be handled anonymously without referencing him as the source of information.

According to the indictment, Amichai knowingly misused the private details of a person and arbitrarily harmed her rights.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Anarchists Against the Wall" Exposed!

Here is another great exposé from "Ad Kan". Among other things, clip shows how "Anarchists Against the Wall" incite and facilitate violence against Israeli soldiers. Press the settings icon (looks like a gear) on the lower right hand side of the YouTube screen to turn the English captions on:

Friday, January 22, 2016

NGO Monitor's NGO Funding Data Base

This is fantastic:
In light of the central role played by politicized NGOs in public discourse regarding human rights, NGO Monitor published this week a database (available online) that provides opinion shapers and the public with an easily-accessible tool. The resource can inform the debate around legislation or funding mechanisms, such as the guidelines proposed by NGO Monitor to Israeli and European decision makers.

"The information in this database is crucial for the advancement of democratic transparency and accountability," Professor Gerald Steinberg said. "Clearly Israelis are attentive to grants given by foreign governments to political NGOs. Accurate data on this issue is important, but in recent weeks rumors and misinformation have dominated the public discourse. This resource provides the facts and figures currently missing from the discussion. The data provided can inform the debate over funding guidelines, and make it more accurate."

I played around a little bit with this online resource. This is what is has to say about "Peace Now"'s contributors for the year 2014(click to enlarge):

The NGO received 1,613,975 NIS from European governments in 2014! The "peace" business is booming!

But seriously, the interference of these governments in Israel's internal affairs is quite disturbing. They are clearly hiding behind an Israeli NGO.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Talia Sasson Goes Shrill

Talia Sasson, the Board President of the notorious and nefarious the New Israel Fund, puts on a totally shrill performance in a debate with MK Anat Berko. Among the other crazy things that she articulated, Sasson thinks that a private citizen is more dangerous than a State, because a State is committed to values! Yes, she really did say that!:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Suspected Attempted Terror Attack at Rav Mordechai Eliyahu's Synagogue

Wow, this was close to home:
Three Palestinians were stopped outside of a Jerusalem synagogue on Sunday morning carrying large knives.

The terrorists were approaching the Heichal Yaakov synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe that was full of worshipers who were praying their morning prayers.

The three are suspected of attempting to carry out a large attack on worshipers, they have been brought in for questioning and the investigation is ongoing.

I'm wondering who stopped them and how. Anyway, thank God they were caught. Here's a pic of the synagogue that I took a while back:

Update: Kikar Shabbat has pics of the suspects and their knives.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Shmuel Rada, Father of Tair, Passes Away One Day After the Dedication of a Synagogue in Her Name

Baruch Dayan HaEmet:
Shmuel Rada, the bereaved father of Tair Rada who was murdered in 2006 at the age of 13 at her school in Katzrin on the Golan Heights, passed away on Friday after an extended battle with cancer.

Rada passed away just one day after attending the dedication of a synagogue in his daughter's honor in Katzrin. The synagogue was named "Tair Shevet Achim" (Tair dwells amongst her people), a name that her father came up with two years ago.

The bereaved father was allowed to leave Poriya Hospital in Tiberias to take part in the dedication, which he was brought to by Magen David Adom's "wishing ambulance."

"I'm happy that I succeeded in realizing my dream ever since the murder - to establish a 'miniature Holy Temple' in memory of Tair," he said during the visit.

"I made efforts for this moment, it isn't easy. It's a Yemenite synagogue but it is for all of the nation of Israel," emphasized the father, calling on Jews "to come from all ends of the rainbow to pray here in this synagogue for all."

Rada's funeral will take place at 2:30 p.m. in Katzrin's cemetery.

Here is a report of the dedication of the synagogue:

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Books About Lehi in English: Online!

In my last post I lamented about the lack of information about the Lehi, a.k.a. the Freedom Fighters of Israel a.k.a. The Stern Gang. Today, I discovered that their web site has a digital library. Fantastic! What's more, there are even books in English! These are the titles available at this time:


Lechi Fighters For The Freedom Of Israel

Stern: The Man and His Gang

With All Their Might

Read up and learn about these brave men!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Freedom Fighters of Israel

I just finished the book Chayalim Almonim (Anonymous Soldiers) by Yaakov Banai. The book tells the story of the Lehi , the Freedom Fighters of Israel underground movement.

Unfortunately, their story is seldom told. Often when it is told, it is by their enemies, who distort events and do not provide much needed context. It is important to hear the history of Lehi from the perspective of its members in order to understand it.

These people played a major role in bringing about the creation of the State of Israel. Thank you, Freedom Fighters of Israel. I appreciate it.

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