Friday, November 27, 2015

Save me from my Brother, Esav

A Torah Thought for Parashat Vayishlach
By Moshe Feiglin

I am not worthy of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which You have shown unto Your servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two camps. Deliver me, I pray to You, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, the mother with the children. (From this week’s Torah portion, Vayishlach, Genesis 32:11-12)

Save me from my brother…

Esav is much more dangerous than Yishmael. Esav is cultured. He speaks in soft tones. Esav knows how to talk the talk.

Save me from Europe and America, who look like my brothers but who always – always – turn around at the last moment to smite me, mothers and children.

Save me from the culture of Germany.

Save me from the passive cooperation of those who did not bomb the railroad tracks to Auschwitz.

Save me from those who sent the St. Louis, crammed with 900 Jewish refugees from the coast of Florida straight into the tentacles of the Nazis.

Save me from Esav, who wanted to conceal information on my planned destruction from me – and then buried my brother, Jonathan in prison for 30 years for revealing the information.

Save me from the Esav who is now fostering nuclear weapons for Yishmael.

Save me from Esav, masquerading as a man of ethics, who is preventing me from defending myself from Yishmael.

Save me from my brother, from Esav.

I will manage on my own with Yishmael.

Shabbat Shalom.

Bank of Israel Should Not Buy More Dollars

By Moshe Feiglin

Two years ago, I wrote that a 17 trillion dollar debt is not an obligation that the US intends to pay off. In the meantime, the federal debt has climbed to 18.7 trillion dollars and the US has to resort to borrowing new money to pay off the existing debt. In addition, the government has to take on new debt in order to continue to finance its federal deficit.
It is reasonable to assume that the Fed will significantly increase the (digital) printing of dollars. This will devaluate the  dollar and will effectively allow the US to allocate its debt to all the pushovers holding its valueless green bills.
So why does the Bank of Israel insist on accumulating more of these dollars?
They tell us that Israel must weaken the shekel against the dollar to preserve the profitability of its exports and that we must be ready for a crisis. Apparently, the Bank of Israel has forgotten why the State of Israel engages in export. Israel exports in order to gain foreign currency with which it can import what it chooses. That is all. The purpose of export is to finance import. Export is the tool, not the goal. If the Bank of Israel weakens the shekel to help exports, it simultaneously makes imports more expensive and exacerbates the problem of the high cost of living.
By the way, if the State of Israel is so eager to help exporters, there are ways to accomplish this without doing a disservice to the rest of Israel’s citizens. For example, it can lower the Company Tax and annul some of the predatory regulations that devour every positive sign of growth for the companies. (In almost all the capitalist nations of the world, the regulatory burden on companies is much smaller than in Israel).
As to the reasoning that Israel has to buy dollars in order to be prepared for crisis: If in time of crisis your balance turns out to be valueless, how exactly did that help you to be prepared? On the contrary – the dollars in your possession have only aggravated the crisis. The Bank of Israel must diversify its foreign currency holdings much more vigorously than it has done until now. For example, many of the world’s central banks buy gold. Why shouldn’t the Bank of Israel do the same – just to be prepared?
Today the Bank of Israel has a new excuse. In its announcement on its purchase of dollars, it mentioned the need to offset the influence of the profits from Israel’s sale of natural gas. In other words, the shekel is stronger because of the gas discovery, so let’s weaken it and subsidize the exporters at the expense of the citizens.
The Bank of Israel continues to harness Israel’s economy to the American Titanic. Of course, the fact that the Governor of the Bank of Israel who initiated this strange policy is now the Vice President of the Fed can’t have anything to do with it…

Preparing Ourselves to Give Gifts, to Pray, and to Make War

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

Before Jacob’s encounter with Esau, He prepared himself for three things: to give gifts, to pray, and to make war. 

To give gifts, as it says, “He sent the gifts ahead of him” (32:22). 

To pray, as it says, “O G-d of my father Abraham and G-d of my father Isaac... Rescue me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau. I am afraid of him, for he can come and kill us all -- mothers and children alike” (32:10,12). 

To make war, as it says, “If Esau comes and attacks one camp, at least the other camp will survive” (32:9). 

Today, the deeds of our ancestors presage our own. The Jewish People, rising to rebirth in their land, likewise must prepare themselves for these three things. 

Gifts: We must be strong economically and technologically so that we can show our neighbors and the whole world that the State of Israel can contribute -- and in fact is contributing -- to mankind, from an economic, scientific and technological standpoint. Hence it is worth their while to make peace with us, for they can only benefit from doing so. 

Prayer: At the same time, we must pray and seek mercy from G-d so that He nullifies our enemies’ counsel and halts their designs. 

War: Above all we must prepare ourselves for the possibility of war, by strengthening the Israeli army so that it can deter our enemies. We must likewise strengthen the spirit of the nation as well as the spirit of the army as it sets out to defend our country. 

They must come to know what we are fighting for. Ours is a war of the children of light against the children of darkness. Ultimately, we will achieve an enormous victory, and through that G-d’s name will be magnified and sanctified on earth. 

Looking forward to complete salvation, 
Shabbat Shalom.

The Greatest Hypocrite from among our Friends

By Rabbi Yisrael Rosen
Dean of the Zomet Institute

"Eisav ran towards him and embraced him, and he fell on his neck and kissed him" [Bereishit 33:4]. "It is accepted halacha that Eisav hates Yaacov, but this teaches us that he felt pity at that moment and kissed him with all his heart" [Rashi].

"This teaches us that he did not come to kiss him ('lenashko') but rather to bite him ('lenashcho'). But Yaacov's neck became as hard as marble, and the evil one hurt his teeth. 'And they wept' – One wept for his neck, and the other wept for the damage to his teeth." [Bereishit Rabba 78].

"I heard from my mentor, my late grandfather, that the kiss is itself an act of biting, as is written, 'An enemy's kisses are excessive' [Mishlei 27:6]." [Sefat Emet, Vayishlach 5644].


Which friend of ours is a great hypocrite? You guessed it! The United States of America! This cannot be denied. It is true that this nation is our political friend, a support in terms of physical security, helps us with our budget, and is also the leader of the democratic world. I firmly believe that this friendship is based to a large extent on an honest approach, but that it has an even stronger element of self-interest and benefits, based on the Jewish vote in the presidential elections, and to curry favor with the Jewish lobby groups which have an influence on the government.

Certainly, open political disagreements are legitimate. The normal formulas for such disputes include such statements as the following: "A simple discussion between friends... Just like in the family..." Well, there are definitely a number of serious differences between Israeli policies and those of the State Department and the White House. We can list the two major issues: The nuclear energy agreement with Iran, and the demand to establish two sovereign states between the Jordan River and the Sea – one Palestinian (ethnically pure, at least in practice) and the other a Jewish nation which will have within it many Moslem and Palestinian inhabitants. This is an absurd political demand, aside from its being unrealistic and impossible to implement. However, this is not hypocrisy, it is after all an open demand that can be tied to various explanations.

Hypocrisy means to demand from the other side ethical or legal behavior which is regularly breached by the one who proposes it. For example, we can assume that if the Israeli police would treat criminal activity of dark-skinned immigrants with drawn guns like the American police do – we would be roundly scolded by the White House spokesman, presidential advisors, and preachers of ethics. There are many other examples of American hypocrisy, demanding from other countries what it refuses to do. A simple Google search will reveal many instances of this...

Our Brother Yehonatan

What has led me to discuss this matter today? You guessed it! Yehonatan Pollard, who was released a week ago. We can assume that during the past week, until this article is published, much material will appear with commentary and analysis about this semi-secret affair. The story of his capture and the details of the charges against him are hidden in a partial cloud. But even if the published reasons for his harsh treatment, which are accredited to American intelligence bodies, are all true, I can see no way to understand the refusal of a pardon by the political Presidents of the United States, and their "inability to interfere in legal matters" – while each and every one of them forced Israel to set free murderers and arch-terrorists who were prosecuted and convicted in the Israeli justice system.

This behavior is seen to be especially severe in view of the fact that Israel acknowledged that Pollard was an "Israeli agent" and granted him Israeli citizenship (in 1998, thirteen years after he was convicted). This changed the character of the discussion from a personal criminal matter to a negotiation between the two countries. During the years that Pollard was in prison, the United States released spies from Russia, Cuba, and more, and only Pollard languished in prison.

I cannot believe that the hypocritical refusal to release Pollard stemmed from a desire to keep him as a bargaining chip in relations with Israel, in order to extort concessions in the Palestinian realm. We have not seen any hint of using him in this way. Thus, all that remains is hypocrisy of the various Presidents of the United States, who found a way to take vengeance against their "friend" by stoutly refusing the requests, while hiding behind a claim based on non-interference with their justice system.

Those familiar with these matters see a principle motive for the actions of the United States in revenge sought by "intelligence bodies" against one who insulted them a generation ago. Some people point a finger at the anti-Israeli stand of many of the heads of these agencies. Such manipulation is the only way to explain the disgraceful conditions on Pollard's "house arrest" – forcing him to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor his movements (does it include a listening device?) and prohibiting any connection to the internet. The only explanation I can think of for this decree is an attempt to set traps for Pollard so that he will be hard put to maintain his freedom – so that in the end he may be sent back to prison, to the rousing cheers of the "intelligence bodies."

I have one more very serious statement: I am not very familiar with the internal viewpoints among the Jews of the United States, but the media report that "the Jewish lobby forces" did not get sufficiently involved in the efforts to free Pollard. It could be that the question of "double loyalty" led some of the leaders of the Jewish community in the United States to refrain from acting on this issue.

* * * * * *

"An Enemy's Kisses are Excessive"

We started this article with quotes from this week's Torah portion about the hypocritical kisses of Eisav which were an expression of a desire to bite Yaacov's neck. Rabbis in the Talmud disagreed about the meaning of Eisav's kissing Yaacov. Rashi quotes the opinion of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, that the meaning of the kisses can change: "It is accepted halacha that Eisav hates Yaacov, but this teaches us that he felt pity at that moment and kissed him with all his heart." But the Sefat Emet has a novel lesson for us: There are times when a kiss itself is really an attempt to bite!

Any apparent connection between this matter and Israel's best friend is clearly coincidental.

Four Questions: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Vayishlach 5776


Parashat Vayishlach 5776

Four Questions

  1. The number 400 appears in the Torah three times: At the Brit Bain HaBetarim (Covenant of the Divided Parts), HaShem said to Avram, “… Know well that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land and will be enslaved and tormented for 400 years.” 
The price Avraham paid for the Cave of the Patriarchs, as it is written: “…and Avraham paid Efron the Hittite 400 silver shekels”.
And the soldiers who came with Aisav numbered 400 men.
What is unique about the number 400?
  1. Compassion is one of the perceived qualities of HaShem. As an example, Rashi explains that HaShem took Avraham away 5 years prior to the years he was allotted at birth, so that he would not see his grandson Aisav go astray. HaShem is sensitive to Jewish suffering, so why did He subject the Jewish nation to 400 years of suffering in Egypt?
  1. The Midrash relates that when Ya’akov left for Charan, Aisav sent his son Elifaz to murder him. Ya’akov convinced Elifaz that it would serve the interests of Aisav and Elifaz that rather than murdering his uncle, Elifaz should take all of his wealth and “an indigent is as good as dead”. Why didn’t Elifaz murder Ya’akov and also take his wealth?
  1. The Jews left Egypt and arrived at the desert area of Refidim, where Amalek suddenly attacked them. What was the sequence of events that aroused Amalek to attack at that time?

I submit:
It was an accepted more at the time that the number 400 was both a number but also an expression to describe a huge amount, be it money, soldiers or time.
All of Abraham’s family was aware of the decree of 400-years of servitude in a foreign land. And were equally aware that the decree would be in effect with the children of Ya’akov, who was the spiritual heir of Avraham and Yitzchak.
When Elifaz was about to murder his uncle,  Ya’akov warned him that if he would be murdered or die without children then the decree of 400 years of exile and bondage would by necessity fall on the descendants of Eisav, as the natural heir of Yitzchak.
Eliphaz and Aisav agreed on the decision not to murder Ya’akov, but let “nature” run its course with the Jewish nation to undergo the 400 year decree of servitude.
We can now understand that HaShem predetermined the number of years of servitude to be 400, which would seem in Aisav’s mind to be close to eternity, and assure that Aisav would refrain from murdering Ya’akov so that the decree would not be implemented with Aisav’s descendants.
When the Jews left Egypt after concluding the 400-year decree, Amalek (the descendants of Aisev and Elifaz) felt they could now destroy Israel without fear of incurring the decree of 400-years servitude.

1- Despite the apparent gulf between the individual incidents in the book of Beraishiet, and also the great divide between all the events in the flow of history, everything in the world is woven together in accordance to the wisdom of the Creator. We need only discover the unified theory laid down by the Creator, who is One and has made all things as one.
2- What was with Aisav in days of old, is re-occurring now. The Aisav-ist nations of Europe turned their backs on all moral responsibility, preferring that Ya’akov (Medinat Yisrael) suffer the brutality of terror, assassinations, suicide bombers, UN indignation, boycotts, divestments and sanctions, as long as it does not affect them.
However, the time has come for a U-turn in history. The two-millennium decree of suffering we underwent for our sin of leaving the Torah, is becoming part of the daily life of the European Aisav-ists, as stated in Tehilim 79,6-13:
(ו) שפך חמתך אל הגוים אשר לא ידעוך ועל ממלכות אשר בשמך לא קראו:
(ז) כי אכל את יעקב ואת נוהו השמו:
(ח) אל תזכר לנו עונת ראשנים מהר יקדמונו רחמיך כי דלונו מאד:
(ט) עזרנו אלהי ישענו על דבר כבוד שמך והצילנו וכפר על חטאתינו למען שמך:
(י) למה יאמרו הגוים איה אלהיהם יודע בגיים בגוים לעינינו נקמת דם עבדיך השפוך:
(יא) תבוא לפניך אנקת אסיר כגדל זרועך הותר בני תמותה:
(יב) והשב לשכנינו שבעתים אל חיקם חרפתם אשר חרפוך אדני:
(יג) ואנחנו עמך וצאן מרעיתך נודה לך לעולם לדר ודר נספר תהלתך:

6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name;
7 for they have devoured Jacob and devastated his homeland.
8 Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.
10  Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you; with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise.

Tehilim 90,13-16
(יג) שובה ה’ עד מתי והנחם על עבדיך:
(יד) שבענו בבקר חסדך ונרננה ונשמחה בכל ימינו:
(טו) שמחנו כימות עניתנו שנות ראינו רעה:
(טז) יראה אל עבדיך פעלך והדרך על בניהם:

13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.

Excerpt from the book “With All Your Might”

There are situations in life where a Jew distances himself so far from his commitment to the urgent needs and demands of Am Yisrael, as if declaring to HaShem: “Erase me from the book that You have written” (Moshe’s request of HaShem if He destroys the Jewish nation).
I have in front of me a letter that appeared in the chareidi magazine “Mishpacha.” The writer explains why she opted to live in Lakewood and not in Eretz Yisrael. She concludes with the following: “As long as Eretz Yisrael remains mostly a secular country I cannot move there. It just hurts too much. I will just wait for Mashiach – hopefully, not too long”.

I would ordinarily not relate to this kind of letter – despite her anguish pulling at my heart strings – I will answer her for two reasons:
1- There is an unconventional, novel “chidush” to her approach. Our rabbis have taught that women, much more than men, have a natural love for Eretz Yisrael. That is why not one woman took the side of the Biblical meraglim (spies) when they spoke badly of the land. But among the other irrational positions taken by certain contemporary chareidi groups, we find that even their woman do not feel the intrinsic love of the land of their righteous mothers.
2- The ideas expressed by this righteous Jewish woman are unfortunately rampant among certain circles of “bnei Torah” in the galut. I would like to tell her and all of them what “hurt” really means.
The pain of a wounded soldier – dati and not so dati – who has just lost a leg in defense of our right to live in Eretz Yisrael is a bit more than the “hurt” of that righteous Jewish woman.
Or the pain suffered by the parents of a soldier killed in battle or taken prisoner while defending our country.
The holy people of this land – dati and not so dati – who are living the words of our prophets that HaShem will restore us to this land are more “Jewish” than the most observant person in Lakewood, New Jersey, USA.
We are the followers of Yehoshua Bin Nun who liberated the Holy land, but those in the galut are followers of the other 10 spies.
The thousands of rabbanim and teachers found in every corner of Eretz Yisrael sacrifice in order to disseminate Torah among people who unfortunately did not have the privilege of a Torah education. Their physical and financial sacrifices are succeeding, as attested to by the many batai knesset and yeshivot that are established in places one would never dream that Torah would enter.
I would like the good people in Lakewood to experience for one day what our sons and grandchildren go through every day in the military to ensure that the murderers don’t enter our land. They would run back to Lakewood!
The hurt borne by the holy people of Eretz Yisrael – dati and not so dati – in our quest to rebuild Jewish life in Eretz Yisrael is a bit more than the devastating “hurt” our righteous Jewish woman suffers when she sees a car being driven on Shabbat in Tel Aviv, which led her to avoid the pain by remaining in the Gan Eden galut of Lakewood.
The righteous Jewish woman’s letter appeared in the magazine Mishpacha (Family), but unfortunately she and those like her are not part of my “mishpacha”, because by their words and actions they have requested from HaShem to erase them from the “Book that He had written”.
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5776/2015 Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Moshe Feiglin: Israel Doesn’t Need a Shot of Socialism

When the states of the world are divided into four groups according to their level of capitalism, it turns out that the annual per capita income of the lower percentiles of the most capitalist states is approximately $10,000. This is more than twice the annual per capita income ($4400) in the same percentile in the states that are rated as second in capitalism. The $10,000 is almost four times more than the group of states rated third in capitalism ($2600) and six times more than the least capitalist states, in which the per capita income for the lower percentile is $1630. In short, capitalism leaves a lot to be desired, but the way to treat its illness is not by administering a shot of regulation and centralization. What is needed is just the opposite.
To heal the ills in Israel’s economy, Feiglin recommended the implementation of the following steps:
  • Expose the market (particularly food and motor vehicles) to competitive imports. (The European quality standards are fine: Israel does not need its own quality standardization.
  • Privatize state land (93%) for housing by lottery for all citizens eligible for army draft.
  • Drastic cuts to government offices and state budget.
  • Nullify the Company Tax and encourage companies to create more places of work with their profits.
  • Major cuts to income tax.
  • Fight the swamps of corruption, particularly in the Defense Ministry (as I began to do with the Health Ministry and the Sarel Company when I was an MK)
  • Cease funding our enemies. For example, stop the free electricity to Gaza. (So far, the Oslo Accords have cost Israel one trillion shekels. This is 10% of our annual budget, the same value as all Israel’s natural gas discoveries. Or the value of a free home for every young couple.)
  • Restore the Social Security Army Veteran’s Allowance. Currently, 52% of Israel’s Social Security is invested in the Arab sector. Their payments into social security, however, make up just a few percentage points.
  • In short, Israel must cut down on the involvement of the State and expand human liberty as much as possible.
“Ask yourselves to which group you would like Israel to belong,” Feiglin suggested. “To the group in which the poorest of the poor make $10,000 a year? Or to the group in which the poor make less than half of that?”

Be Afraid of Your Brother

By Shmuel Sackett

As you know, the Torah does not add any unnecessary words. Simply put, if something is in the Torah, it is there for a reason! Therefore, in this week’s Parsha, when Yaakov begs to Hashem; “Save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esav…” there is a deep lesson to be learned. After all, Yaakov had only one brother – so why does the Torah bother telling us his name? Every 3rd grader knows the name of Yaakov’s brother! The verse should have said either; “Save me from the hand of my brother”or “Save me from the hand of Esav” but not both!

This question can easily be answered by simply following the news from Israel each day. The terror attacks plaguing the country are not done by highly trained, skilled terrorists. Those guys would be called “Esav” and they are simple to defeat, if we had leadership that truly wanted victory. The Esavs of the world are Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Al Queda and ISIS. We know who they are and we know how to defeat them. As a matter of fact, the “gemmatria” of Esav is 376. In Hebrew, ISIS is called “Da’ash” and is written “Daled, Aleph, Ayin, Aleph, Shin” which equals that same number 376. Therefore it is very clear that ISIS is ESAV and so are all their buddies. These enemies are fierce and deadly but the day Israel decides to defeat them they can – and will – be wiped off the face of the earth. Yes, Hashem needs to protect us from Esav, which is why Yaakov prayed for that, but that was not the enemy he truly feared.

Yaakov’s real threat was from his brother. Yes, that person was called “Esav” but it was like Clark Kent and Superman – same guy, but different identities. Clark Kent was the “mild, mannered reporter” while Superman was this incredible hero who did everything imaginable. Esav was like that, only completely opposite. As “Esav” he was an evil Superman who killed, hunted and was a red-blooded terror machine but as Yaakov’s “brother” he was a mild mannered guy, the sweet son of Yitzchak and Rivka only with a knife hidden behind his back ready to plunge it into Yaakov when the opportunity arose. The Nesivos Shalom writes that the far more dangerous attribute of Esav was when he acted as a “brother” and not as an “Esav”.

All of this comes to light as we read the news from Israel. As stated above, the daily stabbings are not from Esav. Think about it; when is the last time you heard that Hamas or Hezbollah shot a rocket? They don’t need to because they are accomplishing far more by being a “brother” than by being an “Esav”!! Last week’s attack which killed 2 men as they were going to daven Mincha in Tel Aviv was done by a 35 year old Arab, married with 5 kids who had all the necessary permits to work in a Tel Aviv café. That beast was not an Esav… he was a brother. He worked hard, laughed with his co-workers and was a pleasure to be around. Nobody would have hired him had he been an “Esav” so he put on his happy face and became a “brother”. Everyone knew him and he walked the streets of Tel Aviv freely… like a good brother. This is exactly what Yaakov was begging of Hashem – save me from Esav (ISIS and company) but also save me from these brothers.

The time has come to stop being politically correct and say the truth – say what my dear Rabbi said over and over again:They Must Go!!! Rabbi Meir Kahane was shunned, ridiculed and banned but it never fazed him. He spoke about it, wrote about it and debated anyone who had the guts to get on a public stage with him. How many more Jews would be alive today had we listened to this great Tzaddik? All the tears this past week for the holy Ezra Schwartz would never have been shed had we stood strong and paid attention to what he was teaching us. Trust me that Rabbi Kahane was not warning us about Esav. No matter what you do there will always be an Esav. 20 years ago it was Sadaam Hussein, 15 years ago it was Al Queda, 10 years ago it was Hezbollah, 5 years ago it was Hamas and now it is ISIS. Even though we can defeat these enemies, they will come back as a new Esav but that is not our problem. Our challenge is not Esav… it’s our brother. It is the Arab who lives in Israel and is educated inside our country. It is the Arab who speaks Hebrew better than 99% of the people reading this article (sorry, but it’s true) and the Arab who works in Jerusalem hotels and Tel Aviv cafes.

We have a wonderful, humane solution to this problem called “Paid Emigration” where every Arab family gets financial assistance to leave Israel. The home he built will be bought by the government (if it was built legally and with all necessary permits) and he and his family will be helped every step of the way to pursue their dreams outside of “the dreaded occupation”. Since statistics show that 72% of them want to leave Israel anyway, this plan is their free ticket to the fulfillment of their goal. When you think about it, we really should them help them because – after all – aren’t they our brothers???

The President and the Pardon

kirschen, Dry Bones cartoon, Jonathan Pollard, Pollard, America,  pardon, antisemitism, Thanksgiving, Obama, President,
The conditions listed in today's cartoon are, in fact, the cruel conditions under which Jonathan Pollard is now forced to live. 

Editorial in the New York Daily News:
Having spent 30 years in federal prison for spying for Israel, Jonathan Pollard served every last mandated day behind bars, punishment enough. Successive Presidents rejected calls by Israeli leaders to reduce the term meted out to the only American ever to receive a life sentence for passing information to an American ally. 

The point was made — that those who breach national security will be dealt with severely . Now, Pollard has been released on parole, to live under supervision for five years even though the Department of Justice acknowledges he is no longer a threat to anyone. Granted Israeli citizenship while incarcerated, Pollard has asked permission to move to Israel to reunite with his family there. Israel has made the same request. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented it personally to President Obama. 

The unreasonable answer — smacking of personal petulance — has been no. While paroled inmates ordinarily are barred from leaving the country, Pollard is no ordinary offender. In Israel he’s viewed as a friend who enhanced the security of the Jewish state and paid dearly for it. Obama is well aware of how keenly the Israelis have pursued Pollard’s freedom. So much so that the White House once contemplated using freedom for Pollard as a chip to push Netanyahu into following the U.S. lead in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. 

Regardless, Obama has responded to Netanyahu’s plea with insulting bureaucratic diffidence . Heightening the insult, Obama is breaking the standard that Pollard would be treated no better or worse than any spy. 

The example of René González says that Pollard should be winging his way to Israel. Convicted of spying for Cuba, González spent 13 years behind bars before being released on three years probation. He then got permission to fly to Cuba for his father’s funeral and stayed. The Justice Department blessed González’ residency in Cuba as bettering relations with the Castro government. He happily renounced his U.S. citizenship as a condition of closing his case. 

It’s a measure of spitefulness that Obama would sooner warm up to the Castros than to the leader of America’s staunchest Mideast ally.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Host countries, beware of Islamic terrorism

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

All Islamic terrorists – not only ISIS and Al Qaeda - systematically and deliberately target civilians, and stab the back of their Muslim and “infidel” host countries, abusing their hospitality to advance 14-centuries-old megalomaniac aspirations to rule the globe, in general, and to reclaim the Waqf (Allah-ordained) regions of Europe, in particular.

Emboldened by Western indifference, these destabilizing and terror-intensifying aspirations have been bolstered by the Islamic educational systems in Europe, the USA and other Western countries. They proclaim the, supposedly, irrevocable and perpetual Islamic title over the 8th century Islamic conquered Lyons, Sorbonne, Normandy, Carcassonne, Borden, Arles, St. Remy, Avignon, Burgundy and Nice in France, as well as the ostensibly Quran-sanctioned Islamic deed over the 9th and 10th centuries occupation of western Switzerland, including Geneva, the 8th century conquest of Spain and the 9th century subjugation of parts of Italy.

Europe has underestimated the critical significance of this 14-century-old anti-Western Islamic history and aspirations in shaping contemporary Islamic education, culture, politics, peace, war and the overall Islamic attitude toward Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and other “arrogant infidels.” For instance, “infidel” France has been the prime European target for Islamic terrorists (eleven reported attacks in 2015), irrespective of France’s systematic criticism of Israel and support of the Palestinian Authority, dispelling conventional “wisdom” that Islamic terrorism is Israeli or Palestinian-driven.

Europe has ignored the significant impact on contemporary Islamic geo-strategy by crucial milestones in the life of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, such as the 7thcentury Hijrah (Islam-driven emigration). Muhammad emigrated/fled from Mecca to Yathrib (Medina) – along with his loyalists - not to be integrated and blend into Medina’s social, economic or political environment, but to advance and spread Islam through conversion, subversion and terrorism, if necessary. Asserting himself over his hosts and rivals in Medina, Muhammad gathered a critical mass of military might to conquer Mecca and launch Islam’s drive to dominate the world.

In 1966, this Hijrah precedent was applied by Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat and the entire Fatah leadership which emigrated/fled from Syria to Jordan, incited the Palestinian population of Jordan, but failed in their attempt to topple the hosting Hashemite regime. In 1976, they failed in their attempt to topple the regime in Beirut, which had hosted them since they emigrated/fled from Jordan in 1970. In 1990, they collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s invasion and plunder of Kuwait, stabbing the back of the Sabah family, which had hosted them, their relatives and PLO associates since they emigrated/fled from Egypt in the mid-1950s.

On Friday morning, November 13, 2015, a few hours before Islamic terrorists launched their offensive against France, French Muslim children studied – and French Muslim adults heard in French mosques - that according to the Quran, humanity must submit to the prophet Muhammad, and the “infidel” must accept Sharia’ laws; “Holy War” (Jihad) must be conducted on behalf of Islam, and the participation in the Jihad rewards one with the benefits of paradise; the abode of the “believers” (Dar al-Islam) must be expanded into the abode of the “infidels” (Dar al-Harb), who are doomed to the sword; prohibiting “believers” to submit themselves to the rule of the “infidel,” except as a temporary tactic; agreements with “infidels” are provisional, as a prelude to subordinating the “infidel;” emigration of the “believers” must serve the historical, supremacist goal of Islam; and shielding the “believers” from “infidels” may require the Quran-sanctioned Taqiyyah – doubletalk and deception-based statements and agreements to be ignored, contradicted and abrogated once conditions are ripe.

France, and all other Western countries, tolerate and fund anti-Western Islamic hate-education institutions – in Muslim entities and in the West – despite the fact that they are the most effective production line of anti-Western Islamic terrorists!

Europe has failed to read the piercing, bloody writing on the wall, sacrificing long-term

homeland security on the altar of short-term convenience and gullible, self-destructive interpretation of human rights. Thus, the traditional European immoral, moral equivalence has embraced Muslim emigrants, who are largely, ruthlessly controlled and manipulated by rogue, terrorist, supremacist organizations and regimes – which consider the emigrants a Muslim Trojan Horse - as if they were integration-driven, free people, who wish to join Western melting pots.

In 1982, in the aftermath of Islamic/Palestinian terrorist attacks in Paris, which claimed the lives of six patrons of the Chez Jo Goldenberg restaurant (August 9) and Israeli diplomat Yaakov Bar Simantov (April 4), Israel’s Ambassador to France, Meir Rosenne, denounced the PLO, but also blamed countries which legitimize, and host, PLO operatives and supporters, for bringing the wrath of terrorism upon themselves. Ambassador Rosenne was threatened with expulsion from France, but would not retract.

Have France and other Western governments come to grip with reality, ready to heed Ambassador Rosenne’s warning, dramatically overhaul their ideological and operational approach to counter-terrorism, and realize that draining the hate-education swamps is a prerequisite for eliminating the individual mosquitos? Or, are they determined to learn from history by repeating– rather than avoiding – past devastating mistakes, which would condemn them, and the rest of the world, to exponentially more ravaging terrorism?!

On Resolve

By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

I wish I had the confidence that France and the rest of Europe have finally awakened to the dangers posed by radical Islam and will fight the necessary battle to save themselves, their culture, their way of life and their children’s future. But I don’t. As sincere as France’s President Hollande sounds – “we are at war” – there is a difference between capturing and killing the Muslim perpetrators of the horrific massacres last week in Paris and fighting a war with all means at one’s disposal against a global enemy. The former focuses on the event itself, an iteration of pure evil that even its frequency fails to inure us to its horror. That particular event will be dissected, mourned, investigated and even find its closure. But the war involves a relentless struggle against an ideology that threatens – and in many ways has already succeeded – in undermining the foundations of Western civilization.

It is a war to the death, in which, fortunately, the Western world still has the upper hand in terms of armed strength, weapons and capability, but that advantage will soon dissipate as Iran, a terrorist nation, and ISIS or other terrorist groups creep ever closer to attaining a nuclear capability for themselves.

Part of the gloom comes from the realization that the West has grown so intellectually flaccid and saturated in materialism that it cannot fight a long term war. The French people, overwhelmingly decent in their reactions to the recent ghastliness, want to be able to enjoy their lives – work, drink, party, celebrate, etc. Europe has a long and sad history with hatred, and so Europeans have uprooted hatred – even hatred for evil – from their hearts, to a large extent. But you can’t fight bombs and guns with candles and flowers. Lofty rhetoric about love and liberty is always welcome but it cannot compete on the battlefield with a doctrine of suicidal madness and homicidal mania. Evil cannot just be wished away.

One even hopes that the good guys exercise no “restraint” or even “proportionality” in their response to Islamic terror, notwithstanding that those are two of the clichés always hurled at Israel in order to prevent Israel from prevailing in this war.

But much of the despair in the West is traceable to the decline and disappearance of American power and leadership under the catastrophic presidency of Barack Obama. Leave it to Obama to finally name the enemy of America, the free world, the West and all those who aspire to virtue and goodness – an enemy so vile, with an ideology so repulsive, that it must be singled out by name for exposure and derision. That enemy, to Obama’s mind, is not radical Islam, but… horrors… the Republican Party! Islam is uninvolved in any untoward activities across the globe, even if its “perverters” perpetrated a “setback” to Obama’s global vision of appeasement of radical Islam. Republicans are the enemy de jure because they nastily insist on pointing out the failures of Obama’s presidency, and they want only to fight evil overseas and close American borders to an influx of Muslims (and Mexicans). Republicans are so evil that they are not even worthy of negotiations, unlike more moderate adversaries of the US such as Iran, Cuba, ISIS and others.

Without American leadership – and American leadership is AWOL and Europe knows it – this war is going nowhere. We will become accustomed – again – to grandiose claims of success or “containment,” accompanied by videos of bombing raids that target facilities, training camps, and other empty buildings. This tactic is borrowed from the Israeli playbook of responding to Gazan terror by bombing empty buildings taken from the target bank, a bank that is so filled with such targets that withdrawals are always possible and real strategic gains are never made. Without the will to fight, success is impossible, and currently the people with the will are those who delight in murdering innocent civilians.

It is, of course, a coincidence that the week that ended with the dreadfulness in Paris began with the European Union decreeing that all Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria must be labeled as such in order to facilitate a boycott of those Jewish goods. One would think that Europe, of all places, would recognize the abomination of boycotting Jewish goods and the bad road down which that can lead. But, instead, the EU protested Israel’s comparison of this boycott to pre-Holocaust era offenses, claiming that such cheapens the legacy of the Holocaust. How ironic is it when the descendants of the perpetrators of the Holocaust dictate to the descendants of the victims of the Holocaust what precisely the lessons of the Holocaust should be, particularly in light of the singling out of the Jewish State for special treatment? Are there no other geographical areas of the world in dispute? Are those areas’ exports similarly labeled? The answers are yes, and no, respectively. It is another small act of appeasement to the Muslim world that will have no effect on the Muslim assault on Europe.

Count me among the Jews who find the moral preening of Europeans both tedious and tendentious.

There are reactions that are even worse than that. The American failure to respond appropriately to Muslim terror was typified by John Kerry’s ramblings this week, when he distinguished between the unconscionable and unacceptable attacks in Paris last Friday night and the assault on the Charlie Hebdo offices at the beginning of this year in which Muslim terrorists killed a dozen people. Kerry opined that the latter was “legitimate,” a word he quickly retracted, only to substitute that the latter had a “rationale” to it that the former did not.

In a normal world, such repugnant musings from a country’s lead diplomat would lead to his immediate termination. In essence he was suggesting that the assault on the journalists was understandable because they had provoked their deaths through their own insensitive misconduct. His words are nothing less than a justification for that and other future horrors; it excuses the delinquency of terrorists. It shows real contempt for Muslims, as if they are unable to control their passions as civilized people are habituated to do, and even more contempt for their innocent victims, as if they are not so innocent at all.

This might be construed as a slip of the tongue for a person notoriously awkward (if not a little pompous) in his speech patterns, but for this: Kerry pointedly did not mention theother terrorist attack in Paris on that same fateful Friday last January, the attack on the Jewish shoppers in the kosher supermarket that killed four Jews. Where, pray tell, do their deaths fit in the Kerry conception of terror? Was it an unjustified attack on innocents comparable to last Friday night in Paris, or did it also have a “rationale,” or was “legitimate” (wait, take that word back!) because the victims were Jews?

It is no stretch of the imagination to conclude that Kerry believes the latter. Attacks on Jews are never undeserved, in his mind, because of Israel, settlements, occupation, refugees, etc. It is why terror against Jews is never denounced unequivocally but always couched in the limp language of denouncing “violence on both sides” (as if there is an equation between the perpetrators of violence and those who attempt to thwart the perpetrators). That is why, despite PM Netanyahu’s best efforts, the Europeans and Americans fiercely resist the notion that they and Israel share a common enemy – radical Islam. It is why I fear that one result of the current crisis will be a renewed attempt to mollify the Muslim world by further weakening and eviscerating the State of Israel.

If that sounds preposterous, and I wish it did, note the remarks the other day of Sweden’s Foreign Minister, who attributed the attacks in Paris to the “desperate situation” that leads many Muslims to turn to violence, a lack of hope for the future, such as “the Palestinians” feel. What is the connection between the “Palestinians” and terror in Paris, aside from the fact that all are Muslim Arab terrorists? None – except it reveals that the secular mind (and Europe today, like Obama, possess only secular minds) cannot fathom religious violence because they have little understanding of religion. They do not understand its sources, motivations, or world view. They cannot understand why jihad is more attractive to many people than the right to party, and therefore they persist in believing that “poverty and deprivation” are breeding grounds for terror – and in some of the wealthiest countries on earth. They still cannot explain why, for example, Osama bin Laden, a multi-billionaire, was filled with grievances against the world.

As long as they cannot figure that out, the West will meander from one attack to the next, deliver one impassioned speech after another, and still wonder why their societies are collapsing and radical Islam is proliferating. It is why, sad to say, I fear the current resolve will soon dissolve into business as usual, with hand-wringing, pieties about Western values, refuges and Geneva Conventions, and attempts to assuage the “grievances” of the terrorists rather than give them something to grieve over themselves.

If there is one man who can reverse the tide, unencumbered by the faux moral pretensions of the Europe and the languid American president, it is Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Russia’s economic and military strength might be limited, but ISIS may rue the day it made an enemy of Russia. Ironically, that might be the best hope for the Western world.

Rectifying Europe

By Rabbi Eliezer Melamed
We heard about the vicious attacks perpetrated by Muslim terrorists in Paris with great sadness. However, we cannot say we were surprised - for years, we knew that this would be the result of misguided policies of France and most European countries (as I will cite from an article I wrote fifteen years ago). Nevertheless, the fulfillment of the first part of the predictions is horrifying.

The truth must be said – the Europeans are not blameless. For generations they ruled many nations by force, including Arabs and Muslims, exploiting their labor and their country's natural resources to increase their wealth and esteem. Today, immigrants from those very countries are coming and exploiting them and their countries, justifying it by saying they are simply returning to themselves what was stolen from them in the past.

Mention must be made of the terrible suffering we, the Jews, endured in Europe. At times, we were treated decently by different rulers and ordinary people in the various countries. But it is difficult to count all the pogroms, expulsions, rapes and robberies we went through in Europe, culminating in the worst of all - the Holocaust, in which six million of our brothers and sisters were murdered by German Nazis and their collaborators from other European countries.

True, we insisted on keeping our faith, and it's not always pleasant to live with a people of different faith and culture. However, our contribution to the economic, scientific and cultural development of Europe was undeniably far greater than the effort needed to practice tolerance as a result of our living amongst the Europeans. Instead of gratitude, we got pogroms, expulsions and the Holocaust.

Even today, instead of understanding the terrible war in which we find ourselves facing the Arabs surrounding us, who literally wish to destroy us, they accuse us of violating the Arabs rights, killing them, and other false accusations. Perhaps it is important for them to believe the Arab accusations in order to justify their own actions, thinking to themselves that after all, they're not the only ones who kill – when given the chance, the Jews also murder as many foreigners as possible.

Some Europeans may even have no need for self-justification – they simply hate Jews and Israel, and that's reason enough. And then again, maybe all of a sudden they decided to repent and stand up for human rights, and just happened to fall on the wrong people.

Either way, Europe's actions in the past and their present official position denying the State of Israel the right to defend its security and ancestral lands of Judea and Samaria, is leading to a situation in which they lack the courage and moral justification to fight the Muslim position threatening their safety and existence.
To whom are these observations directed?

These observations are directed first and foremost to us, the Jews, for it is our duty to understand what is going on around us, as it is written: "Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ... When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel" (Deuteronomy 32:7-8).

Ideally, the lesson is meant to educate the nations of the world, but when they fail to understand and stumble, their problems arrive at our doorstep. Secular Israeli leftists stumble willingly, in the mistaken belief that it's the proper and ethical approach; politicians stumble out of a sense of helplessness facing global public opinion.

These observations are also are directed at the Europeans, because since the end of World War II the prevalent attitude among moral European's is that the time has come to conduct a deep self-examination about the damage caused to the victims of European colonialism, nationalism, and religion. Therefore, there is room for appealing to the Europeans to direct their thoughts honestly.

Champions of morality and ethics in Europe believed superficially that the more they bolstered human rights, the more ethical and better the world would become, and discrimination between people on the basis of sex, race and religion would vanish. The more they secured the rights of the individual, regardless of who or where they may be, the wars between nations and religions would decrease. However, by forsaking all other values of morality, and the moral obligation of each individual, they were mistaken and caused severe injustices, and this is reflected in the serious crisis they are now facing.

The reason for this is that there are no rights without obligations. And when people are given rights without obligations, the natural evil inclination which has a propensity to exploit, lie, steal, rape and murder is nurtured within them. And when society's weak are supported financially regardless of who they are, this encourages them to demand rights they do not deserve, and when they don't receive them – it encourages them to attack and sabotage in order to achieve by force what was not given to them amiably.

Therefore, there is a need for profound integration of the values ​​of the conservative right-wing movements who are more connected to the values ​​of the Bible, which, in addition to the value of human dignity, emphasizes the morality ​​of justice, and demands an individual take responsibility for his own actions.

Israel's War is the Yardstick of Global Evil
In this context, I found it appropriate to return and quote from an article I wrote on the 10th of Adar 5763 (2003), the main points having been written for an article in the 'Makor Rishon' newspaper at the end of Elul 5761 (2001), a few days before the attack on the Twin Towers in New York.

"The more we erred in the false belief that the Oslo Accords would lead to peace, a reduction in terrorist attacks and the war against Israel, the more evil our Arab enemies became. They wasted and stole from the billions of dollars given them by various countries through awful corruption. The money they did not steal, they invested primarily in arms and ammunition to kill, injure, demolish and destroy. There is no criminal or terror organization that is not connected to them, and learns from their experience. It is no coincidence that the mentor of Bin Laden is a Palestinian (at the time, all the terrorist organizations that were created in recent years had not yet been founded).

"The only thing that the terrorists understood from the Oslo process is that terrorism pays. The more lies and evil actions the terrorists commit – the more consideration they are given, similar to the way Western countries relate to the Palestinian Authority.

"After the head of the largest terrorist gang in the world at the time, Yasser Arafat, gained international status and was even guaranteed a state, international terrorism raised its head. Even entire countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, Syria and Iran, Libya and Sudan, permit themselves to support terrorism (today, support for terrorism has expanded and encompasses most of the Muslim population in every country, as evidenced wherever they are permitted to hold free elections)...

"As long as the Palestinian Authority is not punished, the world will be exposed to increasing dangers. Every country in the world will be forced to invest the best of its manpower and money in the daily struggle against terrorism. If the terrorists are not stopped today, all public facilities in every country of the world will have to be constantly guarded to prevent people from getting blown up, to make sure the terrorists don't poison the water systems, to stop them from scattering epidemic-spreading bacteria, and to ensure they don't lay their hands on advanced technology that could endanger the entire world. States will have to constantly increase their police forces, but nevertheless, terror will continue to strike, both in rich and poor countries. Every third person will have to be a policeman, in order to protect homes and citizens. At every street corner, people's bags and clothing will have to be checked, lest they be carrying bombs on their bodies or various poisonous materials...

"As a result, instead of the prophecy 'out of Zion shall go forth Torah and the word of God from Jerusalem' being fulfilled – out of Palestine will come terror, death and bereavement. All this will happen to them because Western leaders failed to differentiate between the righteous and the wicked in Israel's conflict with the Palestinians."
This is essentially what I wrote, as noted, 15 years ago.

The Problem in Europe
The various experts and analysts mistakenly think that the problem is terrorism, and therefore, increased security will solve the problem. Others are ready to admit that the problem is broader, involving the struggle with radical Islam, and that by waging war against their senior leader's terror will be eliminated.

In truth, however, we are talking about a clash of civilizations. For example, the various experts were astonished to find out that before executing the massacre in Paris, one of the terrorists managed a bar selling alcohol and drugs, goods forbidden by Islam. But had they understood that this is a conflict with a religious background, they would have realized that although young Muslims frequently enjoy the promiscuity, alcohol and drugs of European nightclubs, they accuse the Europeans for entrapping them. Consequently, they see eye to eye with the preacher at the mosque that the European's evil is so vast and dreadful, that it is even able to trap Muslim youth in its net and cannot be overcome, but must be destroyed because it is diabolical.

This is how the overwhelming majority of Muslims view Europe as morally disintegrating, and all the talk about human rights are seen in their eyes as capitulation to the evil inclination, permissiveness, promiscuity, and the uprooting of family values. The Muslims may benefit from the social welfare system and freedom in European countries, but in their hearts they believe that it is a culture of Sodom and Gomorrah, and therefore, it is permissible, and even desirable, to attack it. This is a justification for them to open crime centers in their neighborhoods.

If the people of Europe do not realize the full extent of contending with Islam, terrorism and crime will continue to increase until they reach a situation of guerrilla warfare in the streets. This is liable to end in the downfall of the European countries, or in a dreadful eruption of bloodshed by the side of the Europeans taking out their anger against the Muslims.

The Tikun
The beginning of the solution is the return to the values ​​of the Bible, including support for the State of Israel which is at the forefront in the war against Islam. As a result the European nations will be able to advance a moral, ideological position speaking in the name of justice. An ideology based on the right of the peoples of Europe over their own countries, on their right to express their identity and their religious values ​​in public, and their right to protect their identity from immigrants wanting to change it. Then it will be possible to start thinking about ways of dealing with the growing Muslim threat.

Apparently, only Europe's right-wing movements understand the full scope of the problem. Next week, I will attempt to further analyze our relationship with the extreme right in Europe.

This article appears in the 'Besheva' newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Rejecting Invitations: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Va’yaitzai 5776

Parashat Va’yaitzai 5776
By HaRav Nachman Kahana

The big atonement is soon to occur

Learning Torah has a myriad of benefits, not least of which is that one who has wide access to the writings of Chazal will never be taken by surprise by anything which occurs in human experience.

An angel informs Hagar of the impending birth of a son (Beraishiet 16,12):
והוא יהיה פרא אדם ידו בכל ויד כל בו ועל פני כל אחיו ישכן:
He will be an uncontrollable man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”

I have frequently quoted the Zohar at the end of parashat Va’aira in Shmot. The Zohar informs us that in the future the wild, uncontrollable Yishmael will cause three great wars: one on the sea, another on land and the third in the vicinity (could be 1000 kilometers away) of Yerushalayim.

The prophet Yechezkel in chapter 32 maps out the “war to end all wars”, when in the future the Christian nations of Europe will go to war with the spiritual descendants of Yishmael. In any case, the Jews in Eretz Yisrael will survive and thrive.

The cancer of Islam has spread to Paris. It will soon raise its murderous head in London, New York and Washington. It is in Africa, in Asia, in South America and even in Australia. “His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him”, as HaShem’s angel informed Hagar.

The future is now here.

Humanity has crawled and stumbled for nearly six thousand years; a thousand years for every one of the six days of creation which Adam and Chava impaired, tarnished, blemished and desecrated. And the big atonement is soon to occur.

Hashem’s invitations repeatedly rejected by His people.

The Jewish nation is discredited with four dramatic historical refusals; each one causing dire consequences for the nation.

1) The day of freedom was determined by HaShem to be the 15th of Nisan. Millions of Am Yisrael would leave Egypt, terminating 210 years of debilitating slavery, to become the Creator’s chosen nation. However, 80% of the people refused to venture into the treacherous desert and died during the weeklong plague of darkness.

An invitation by HaShem had been rejected by a majority of the people.

2) When Rechav’am, son of King Solomon, ascended the throne, Yeravam ben Navat led the northern tribes in seceding from the united kingdom of David and Shlomo. In order to solidify the secession, Yeravam created a surrogate Bet Hamikdash in the cities of Bet El and Dan, and prohibited the people of the north from going up to Yerushalayim.

The Mishna in Tractate Ta’anit states that the 15th of Av was one of the two happiest days in the Jewish calendar, with the other being Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Gemara explains that on this day, Hoshea ben Ela, the last king of the ten northern tribes, rescinded the 200-year-old prohibition enacted by Yeravam ben Navat, and permitted the people of the northern tribes to go up to Yerushalayim.

If Hoshea was such a great man, asks Rav Kahana in the Yerushalmi Ta’anit, why during his reign was Shalmanetzer, King of Assyria, permitted to conquer and exile all the Jews of the northern tribes whose whereabouts are not known to this day?

The Talmud answers that Hoshea ben Ela opened the way to Yerushalayim – BUT NO ONE CAME. Hoshea ben Ela was personally held accountable for not imposing his authority by forcing people to renew their covenant with the holy city and for the sin of the people not reuniting with Yerushalayim.

Another invitation by HaShem had been rejected by His people.

3) On the 2nd of November, 1917 a letter was sent from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. It begins:

“His Majesty’s government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object…”

The British permitted unlimited immigration until the mid-1920s. In 1919, the number of Jews who came was 1806; in 1923 it rose to 8175; and from the Balfour Declaration until 1939, the number of olim was less than 300,000. By then, the Holocaust descended upon the Jewish people.

Yet another invitation by HaShem had been rejected by His people.

4) In 1967, HaShem invited Am Yisrael to return home. In the aftermath of our miraculous military victories, HaShem restored Yerushalayim, Yehuda, Shomron and the Golan to Jewish sovereignty. 

There should have been a mass aliyah of one million Jews to settle these lands. However, the number of olim was a heart rending dismal number.

Once again, an invitation by HaShem had been rejected by His people.

The result of the last rejection is a devastating holocaust – not one of bloodshed, because the Jewish nation could not bear another Shoah. This holocaust is one of assimilation where over 70% of non-orthodox Jews in the U.S. and other parts of the world are marrying gentiles.

As profound as the essence of Judaism is, it can be stated succinctly as follows: HaShem chose the Jewish nation and commanded us to perform His mitzvot IN Eretz Yisrael.

Any deviation from this formula is a perversion of the Torah.

In this parasha, our father Ya’akov experienced two dreams. In the first, Ya’akov sees HaShem’s angels ascending to heaven and descending to this world. In the second, he sees how he can increase the number of animals in his herd.

The enormous difference between the dreams is that the first one with ascending and descending angels occurred when Ya’akov was in Eretz Yisrael; but while in chutz la’aretz even the great Ya’akov dreamt of animals and wealth.

You will serve, but in which army?

Many people will claim that it will never happen. But in view of the challenges Islam has placed before the free world, the US will have no choice but to put boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

The US army is already spread too thin. In the very near future the US President will have no choice but to reinstate the draft. When that happens your sons and daughters will be inducted into the army.

Now one might guess that I am suggesting aliyah to Eretz Yisrael as an alternative. But what kind of a solution is that? For here too, one must serve in the army. True! But what a difference it makes when your commander was a yeshiva student who doesn’t shave during the sefirah period; who understands that the regulation time of half an hour for shacharit is not enough; who makes sure that what you eat is kosher; who will not let you violate the Shabbat unless it is halachically required.

Your flab will turn into muscle. The ground you march on while you get calloused feet are the hills of Yehuda and Shomron, as did your forefathers thousands of years ago in the defense of Eretz Ha’kodesh.

Now it might be argued that there is always the 4D escape route which exempts divinity students from military service. But I would think that if the next war will be perceived as a religious war between Islam and the Western world’s religions, it would be reasonable to assume that the ones who would be drafted first would be those who are religiously orientated. In which case, being a Yeshiva student would make one more eligible for service.

A member in my beit knesset told me about his first day in the US army, in 1957. The first night before going to sleep, the sergeant called out to all the men, “Be very careful with your personal belongings. For all you know you might be sleeping next to a Jew.”

I recall a poem we learned in high school. It described two soldiers in the First World War who were shooting at each other. One was a soldier in the German army and the other a soldier in the Russian army — both were Jews. The stanzas alternate from the thoughts of one soldier to the other. The German Jew asks Hashem why do I have to serve the Kaiser, and the Russian Jew asks Hashem why do I have to serve the Czar.

Both take careful aim, shoot and mortally wound the other. With their waning strength, they both crawl out to meet the man who is taking away the other’s life. When they were very close one says, “She’ma Yisrael.” The other says, “Hashem E’lo’kei’nu.” And then gripping each other’s arms both call out, “Hashem e’chad”.

The clock is ticking. Send your children to Israel. If you fail to do so they will never forgive you!

So tonight, go into your sons’ and daughters’ bedrooms and look at them sleeping so peacefully.

Don’t forget to pull up the blankets. You wouldn’t want them to catch cold.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana