Thursday, January 22, 2015
By Rabbi Oury Cherki
Machon Meir, Rabbi of Beit Yehuda Congregation, Jerusalem
In the Haftarah of the Torah portion of Bo, the Prophet Yirmiyahu compares Egypt to two different living creatures: a calf and a snake. "Egypt is a beautiful calf... Its mercenaries are also like fatted lambs... Its voice will ring out like a snake." [46:20-22].
The comparison of Egypt to a snake corresponds to the link between this nation and the primordial serpent which caused Adam to sin. The serpent in Bereishit represents natural intellect, which is convoluted, earthy and deadly. In itself it is not evil (note that the sages said that the evil inclination rode on the back of the serpent but not that the serpent is the evil inclination itself), but it does not have the ability to rise up to the moral heights that come as a result of the awareness of free choice.
Egypt, like the serpent, is nothing other than a wonderful improvement over the traits of raw nature. The Nile River, the great force of nature, which brings water to the arid desert, relieves the Egyptians not only from any worries about famine but also of the need for prayer. This is the opposite of Eretz Yisrael, which "will drink water from the rain of the sky" [Devarim 11:11], with a need for the prayers and the high moral status of mankind.
Egypt did not understand the concept of freedom – not freedom of man, not freedom in the political system, and not the freedom of the laws of nature. In the era of Yosef, the magicians of Egypt could not imagine any change in the natural situation of Egypt that would lead to a famine. And that is why the dynasty of the Pharaohs in Egypt placed a snake on the same spot of the head where we wear tefillin, symbolizing the subjugation of mankind to the laws of nature. The cycle is also a trait of nature, and it is symbolized by the calf, whose foot is round, and which is "in the form of an ox that eats grass" [Tehillim 106:20]. (In Hebrew the word for calf is "eigel," from a root similar to the word for a cycle, "ma'agal.") The ox bows its head down towards the earth which provides it with its food, as opposed to man, who lifts his food up to his mouth. The serpent is also characterized by its cyclic shape, another symbol of the constant cycling of nature.
As opposed to the serpent, the Torah commands us to put at the tops of our faces square boxes with straight lines, which are an indication of a moral system which has upward and downward directions and various levels of moral values. The boxes of the tefillin carry in them a summary of our knowledge of transcendental revelation, which is expressed in the powerful hand of the redemption from Egypt and from its mental and natural limits.
The straps of the tefillin, which can be made from the leather of a calf, show that we can rise above the level of the calf and that it can be a useful tool to represent the contents of the tefillin.
The symbolism of Egypt also hints at two different sequences of the four passages from the Torah that are placed in the tefillin, one according to the opinion of Rashi and the other according to the opinion of Rabeinu Tam. Archeological excavations in Egypt have revealed the death mask of the mummy of the Pharaoh Tut-Anach-Amon, and on his forehead there is a double symbol. There are a vulture and a snake, which according to the Kabbalah correspond to the "spheres" of understanding and royalty, representing this world and the next, and this is related to the roots of the dispute between the two rabbis about the sequence in the tefillin. This is an example of the deep-seated principle that the external shell (Egypt) comes before the fruit (Yisrael).
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/22/2015 10:59:00 AM
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/22/2015 10:52:00 AM
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
In a television interview Monday evening, MK Moshe Feiglin was asked to relate to the media claim that Netanyahu ordered the targeted attack in Syria in order to win over public opinion before the upcoming elections. When Begin bombed the nuclear reactor in Iraq, he was also blamed for electioneering. “If it takes elections for Israel to eliminate its enemies,” Feiglin answered, “then it’s a good thing that we have elections. Maybe we should hold them more often…”
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/20/2015 11:57:00 AM
Monday, January 19, 2015
“The doors to the International Court in The Hague were opened for Israel when Rabin and Netanyahu shook hands with arch murderer Arafat,” said MK Moshe Feiglin on Sunday. “If you shake the hand of a murderer who claims that he owns your home, it is only natural that the onlookers will understand that the home really isn’t yours and that the murderer is really only a freedom fighter.”
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/19/2015 02:05:00 PM
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/19/2015 02:03:00 PM
By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
In 539 BCE, Babylonian King Belshazzar ignored the writing on the wall – as interpreted by the Prophet Daniel – and was, therefore, annihilated by the Persians (Book of Daniel, Chapter 5).
In 2015, Western civilizations must read the writing on the wall, desist from ambiguity, denial and political correctness and embrace clarity, realism and political incorrectness, in order to survive and overcome the clear and present lethal threat of Islamic takeover, which gathers momentum via demographic, political and terroristic means.
While medical ambiguity, and the failure to diagnose lethal disease, cause personal misfortune, policy-making ambiguity and denial could trigger national and international calamities.
History proves that Western ambiguity and the refusal to identify enemies – due to ignorance, gullibility, oversimplification, appeasement, delusion and wishful thinking - have taken root, yielding major strategic setbacks and painful economic and human loss. When it comes to reading the writing on the wall, Western eyesight has been far from 20:20, dominated by modern day Belshazzars, ignoring modern day Prophet Daniels.
For example, during the 1930s, the writing was on the wall in glaring letters: Germany abrogated the Treaty of Versailles, which called for German disarmament, reparations and territorial concessions; German military spending skyrocketed, military conscription was reintroduced and the Rhineland was remilitarized; Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and annexed Austria. Still, on September 30, 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact, declaring "Peace for our time.” He refused to recognize Hitler's strategic, global, supremacist goal, assuming that Hitler's appetite could be satisfied with a tactical, limited gain in Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, thus signing a "peace accord” which triggered the "war of all wars.”
Hitler's master plan was highlighted in 1925-26 by the two volumes of the supremacist, anti-Jewish Mein Kampf (My Struggle), which is currently a best seller in the Muslim world, particularly in Iran and the Palestinian Authority.
During 1977-79, President Carter did not read the writing on the wall, supporting Ayatollah Khomeini's battle against the Shah of Iran, who was in fact the US Policeman of the Persian Gulf. Overwhelmed by denial and wishful-thinking, and heavily influenced by the US foreign policy establishment, Carter ignored the litany of sermons delivered by Khomeini, which exposed the Iranian cleric as an enemy of Western civilization and civil liberties. He despised the US and aligned himself with the enemies of the US, while protected by a Palestinian-PLO praetorian guard. Thus, the US betrayal of the Shah eliminated a most effective and loyal strategic partner of the US, gave rise to the most lethal, conventional and non-conventional threat to vital US interests in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and beyond and generated a robust tailwind to Islamic terrorism.
In 1990, on the eve of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, the US stated that an Iraq-Kuwait military clash would be an intra-Arab, rather than a US, concern. The Bush/Baker Administration assumed that "the enemy of my enemy (Iran) is my friend (Iraq),” supplying Saddam with dual-use sensitive systems, providing him with $5bn loan guarantees and concluding a US-Iraq intelligence sharing agreement. The 1990 policy of denial triggered a conventional conflict, a $1.25 trillion cost to the US taxpayer, 4,500 US military fatalities, a surge of anti-US Islamic terrorism and a dramatic destabilization of the Persian Gulf.
Since the conclusion of the 1993 Oslo Accord, Western democracies have refrained from reading the writing on the Palestinian (Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas) wall: hate education in grades K-12; unprecedented terrorism; systematic non-compliance with agreements; naming squares, streets and tournaments after terrorists; monthly allowances for families of terrorists; responding to Israeli retreats with intensified terror.
In 2011, Western democracies denied the eruption of an Arab Tsunami, welcoming the violence on the Arab Street as an Arab Spring, transitioning the Arabs toward democracy. The Obama Administration embraced the Muslim Brotherhood (while turning a cold shoulder toward General Al-Sisi), refusing to recognize its well-documented intra-Arab terrorism, the offshoot of its motto: "Allah is our objective; the Qur'an is the Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish.”
The 2015 failure to carefully read the Iranian writing on the wall could produce a nuclear conflict at a mega-trillion dollar cost to the US taxpayer, an unprecedented level of fatalities, a tidal wave of Islamic terrorism throughout the globe, including in the USA, decimation of the pro-US Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf and Jordan, an unprecedented disruption of the supply of Persian Gulf oil, further radicalization of the anti-US regime in Venezuela with ripple effects in Latin America, including Mexico, and additional tectonic eruptions of insanity throughout the globe.
At stake is not only freedom of expression and the safety of European Jewry, but the survival of Western democracies.
Solidarity demonstrations and eloquent speeches will not spare Western democracies the wrath of Islamic terrorism and domination, unless accompanied by clarity, realism and the willingness to take military, legislative and political action in order to thwart the writing on the walls of the mosques: submission of humanity to the Prophet Muhammad; submission of the Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jewish Kuffar ("infidel”) to Muslims and to Sharia' laws; Jihad - holy war on behalf of Islam - is the duty of Muslims; Waqf – Muslim land – is ordained by Allah; Dar al Salaam (the residence of the believers) must take over Dar al Harb (the residence of the Kuffar); and Islam-sanctioned Taqiyyah (dissimulation, deception and concealment of inconvenient data) aimed at shielding Islam and "believers” from "disbelievers.”
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/19/2015 02:01:00 PM
Friday, January 16, 2015
|I am not usually given to interpreting prophecy or dealing with messianic and/or apocalyptic visions. However, I have recently been reviewing the book of the prophet Yechezkel and could not help but think that many of the prophecies recorded in the middle section of the book are eerily similar to events that are occurring in our present day Middle Eastern part of the world.|
The prophet describes the demise of Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon) through bloodshed, economic weakness and civil turmoil. He predicts an awful war of bloodshed in Syria, Babylonia (Iraq), Yemen and Arabia. Libya and Egypt will also be beset by civil war, much bloodshed and death, and economic deprivation.
At the same time, the Jewish people will continue to return home to the Land of Israel and the country will flourish and remain an island of stability in the midst of the raging sea of chaos that surrounds it. That is a pretty accurate description of what is going on in the Middle East currently. Iraq, after decades of war, internecine turmoil and senseless destruction of its own infrastructure is pretty much a basket case today, in spite of all American efforts to put Humpty-Dumpty back together through democratic elections.
From Pakistan in the east to the Maghreb in the west, the Middle East is busily engaged in murdering its own populations. The Sunni-Shiite split in the Moslem world has never been more violent and bitter than it is today. The Kurds and the Alewives, as well as the Druze and Christians are struggling to survive in what is left of Syria. Turkey faces a Kurdish breakaway, Al Qaida has rejuvenated itself, Afghanistan is ungovernable, Egypt is torn asunder and financially bankrupt, Libya is very unstable, Jordan totters on its weak legs fearing a Palestinian takeover, Sudan and Eritrea are engaged in horrific civil wars – in short, the whole Middle East is one awful bloody volatile mess. Except for our blessed Israel. And that is what Yechezkel said would happen when he prophetically peered far into the future times. Quite remarkable!
There are many frightening visions regarding the Jewish people and the Land of Israel that also appear in the book of Yechezkel. Though the prophet foresees eventual redemption and triumph, blessing and tranquility, there apparently is a dark passageway that must be traversed before emerging into the light.
The Talmud and Jewish tradition always portrayed the period preceding Israel’s complete redemption as being a difficult one. As such, many of the great rabbis of the Talmud expressed the hope that they would be living in a different generation and thus be spared witnessing the events of that time. We would certainly hope that the persecutions suffered by our people over the past two centuries, culminating in the horrors of the Holocaust and the wars that Israel has been forced to fight in order to prevent its annihilation, will have certainly fulfilled that prophecy of tragedy and terrible trial.
Yet, I still find the prophecies of Yechezkel very cryptic, mysterious and potentially disturbing. So my fall back position is the one expressed by Rambam - that one should not overly concentrate on interpreting such events and matters for they will eventually sort themselves out in God’s good time and manner.
The book of Yechezkel devotes a great deal of space to the description of the structure and service of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. Most biblical commentators ascribe all of these descriptions and details to the forthcoming Third Temple. Therefore those prophecies also still await the actuality of their fulfillment. Nonetheless the certainty of Yechezkel’s prophecies and the details of his visionary descriptions give one confidence as to their accuracy and reality.
The aforementioned realization of his prophecies regarding what our current Middle East would look like certainly lends credence to the further prophecies regarding the Third Temple and its establishment. Jews have read these prophecies for centuries on end and cherished them and believed in them when there seemed to be no possible way that they could ever actually materialize.
In our time when so many of the prophecies of our holy prophets have been fulfilled in exactitude in our lives and in front of our eyes, there really should be little if any doubt left as to the veracity of the remaining prophecies currently yet unfulfilled. Though the details of our future are shrouded from our gaze, the general outline of that future is discernible through the words of the prophets of Israel.
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/16/2015 01:59:00 AM
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/16/2015 12:48:00 AM
Thursday, January 15, 2015
In a television interview on Israel’s ‘Meet the Press’ this week, MK Moshe Feiglin explained that his new party, which will not be running in the upcoming elections, will strive to actualize the principles of a truly Jewish State in the Land of Israel. It will be built very carefully and deeply.
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/15/2015 07:15:00 AM
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/15/2015 07:14:00 AM
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/15/2015 07:12:00 AM
Posted by Jason Gold-Editor at 1/15/2015 07:02:00 AM