Thursday, January 22, 2015

Change? Go Ask Pharaoh

A Torah Thought for Parashat Bo 

By MK Moshe Feiglin

And G-d said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh because I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants so that I may show these, My signs, in his midst.’ (From this week’s Torah portion, Bo, Exodus 10:1)

Pharaoh’s stubbornness doesn’t make sense. “Do you not see that Egypt is doomed?” his servants desperately cry toward the end of this week’s Torah portion. Why does the Egyptian tyrant continue with his intransigence when reality explodes in his face time after time? Why doesn’t he change his ways when it is so obvious that his obstinacy is destroying Egypt?
Pharaoh’s intransigence is not for personal reasons. All the foundations of Egyptian civilization, a civilization that endured longer than any other civilization in the ancient world – were now being put to the test.
The king of Egypt was worshipped as a god. But Moses was forcing him to obey the real G-d, the G-d of Israel.
A regime that is founded on a particular assumption will not easily give it up.
Buses and restaurants may explode, missiles may screech into homes, guards may be needed at the entrance to every store, train stations may look like military checkpoints, there may be fences and walls surrounding towns and roads, concrete reinforcements on every roof, international arrest warrants for senior IDF officers, furious delegitimization campaigns throughout the world and intense anti-Semitism. But all of these plagues cannot change the ways of a regime that has predicated its very existence on the assumptions that have given rise to the plagues, in the first place.
10 plagues, 50 plagues, 250 plagues – it depends how you count. But no plague can convince the regime to act in a way that contradicts the foundations of its existence. The surrender of the Oslo assumptions would cause the collapse of the entire house of cards upon which the Israeli regime is founded.
There is only one plague that finally convinces Pharaoh to give up slavery. Not the plagues that cripple the people, but rather, the plague that cripples the regime. Before the exodus from Egypt, not one slave had ever escaped from Egypt. It was the oldest and largest concentration camp in history. And who were the masters? Those who were born to be masters; the first born. The plague of the first born threatened the entire assumption. That is why Pharaoh gave in and agreed to free the Israelites. The fact that the Egyptian children were dying did not faze him. But the plague posed an insurmountable problem for the Egyptian regime.
Nothing has made the Israeli regime open its eyes. “Do you not see that Israel is doomed? That missiles will explode in Ashkelon? That the rifles that you give to the terrorists will be aimed at us? That the entire world scorns us? That we will lose the legitimacy for our existence as an independent state?” None of that has made an impression on the Israeli regime and none of that will. Israel desperately needs leadership that sees reality for what it is: faith-based leadership.
Shabbat Shalom

Snakes and Calves

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).

The Irrational, Unreasonable Foolhardy Survivors; HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Bo 5775

Parashat  5775 
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

The 613 Mitzvot Encapsulated

The gemara (makot 24a) quotes several outstanding Torah personalities in our history regarding how they encapsulated the essence of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah, as befitting the minimal requirements of their particular generation.
King David condensed the essence of the Torah into 11 cardinal principles of conduct, suited for his generation (Tehilim chapter 15):
הולך תמים ופעל צדק ודבר אמת בלבבו:
לא רגל על לשנו לא עשה לרעהו רעה וחרפה לא נשא על קרבו:
נבזה בעיניו נמאס ואת יראי ה’ יכבד נשבע להרע ולא ימר:
כספו לא נתן בנשך ושחד על נקי לא לקח עשה אלה לא ימוט לעולם:

he who walks in innocence, acts justly,
speaks the truth that is in his heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
does no evil to his fellow,
casts no shame on one who is close to him
despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord;
keeps an oath even when it is to his detriment
lends money without interest;
does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

The prophet Chabakuk (2,4), believed to have lived towards the end of the first Temple period, condensed the Torah into one single thought:
צדיק באמונתו יחיה
The righteous (one) will live by his faith (in HaShem).
Were I asked to encapsulate in one word the most essential task that was placed upon the Jewish people during our 2000 year galut, I would say without hesitation “survival”. Both physical and spiritual survival among the gentile nations where we were exiled, scattered like dust and treated as such. The daily torment of “survival” as opposed to our physical and spiritual “thriving” when we are in Eretz Yisrael.
There is to date no absolute scientific proof of the existence of a God; however, our survival and unfathomable return to Eretz Yisrael is empirical proof that not only does HaShem exist, but that He is also a “religious Zionist”, as we say in Hallel (Tehilim 118,17):
לא אמות כי אחיה ואספר מעשי יה:
I will not die, but will live, and proclaim the actions of HaShem

The Irrational, Unreasonable Foolhardy Survivors

HaShem chose Moshe Rabbeinu as the “mission head” to revert our ancestors’ dispirited mental state of mere “survival” impelled by 210 years of being downtrodden slaves, back to their normative, aristocratic status as the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov.
Moshe was the original “I have a dream” person. But, even more. He was sent to make the “dream” real in a very short period of time. It occurred when Moshe received the Torah for the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai, only 50 days after the Exodus. This was an extra-ordinary feat. Observe people around the world who went through the slave experience, the vast majority of whom have not been able to shed its dire consequences. Whereas, the Jewish nation when receiving the Torah was transformed immediately into God’s chosen nation.
However, as great as the “dream” was, Moshe’s efforts were conditioned upon the cooperation of those Jews who yearned to be free, and would be willing to sacrifice for the cause.
During the last days in Egypt, Moshe set forth the route which the Jewish people were to take. It would begin in the treacherous and forbidding Sinai Desert and end when they would arrive in the Holy Land. The nation was told that they were going to depart from Egypt and its misery at the crack of dawn, leaving no time to prepare food or drink as they entered the desert.
However, when Moshe’s strategy was revealed, dissidents appeared and declared an alternative plan for the freed slaves, in view of the fact that the Egyptian nation lay at the feet of their former slaves. The tide had turned; now the Jews were the masters of Egypt, so the logical alternative plan was to remain in Egypt as the new sovereigns over the land.
Indeed, logic was with the dissidents. “To enter the desert without due preparation was madness”, they claimed. Moreover, the nation was unprepared for the great spiritual transformation that Moshe was referring to. The dissidents believed that it was necessary to first create a holy people in the spirit of King David, who said, as above:
to walk in innocence and act justly, speak the truth, with no slander, do no evil to one’s fellow man, cast no shame on others, despise a vile person but honor those who fear the Lord; keep an oath even when it is to his detriment, lend money without interest; not to accept a bribe
Then, and only then, would the nation be in a position to receive the Torah and become Hashem’s chosen people.
However, HaShem saw it differently. Not the idealization of society as viewed by David, but rather the mysterious, unexplainable, internal spiritual attraction between Am Yisrael and the Creator, as stated by the prophet Chabakuk:
צדיק באמונתו יחיה
The righteous (one) will live by his faith (in HaShem).
The rebels captured the hearts of 80% of the Jewish people; and they all perished during the week-long plague of darkness.
Rashi, in our parasha ( 10,22), describes in the severest of terms those who refused to put their faith in Moshe’s message as “resha’im” – evil doers. The 80% were killed during the plague of darkness, so that the Egyptians would not see that even Jews were dying and would draw the wrong conclusions.
We, today, are the survivors of the “irrational, unreasonable foolhardy” 20% who chose to commit themselves, their wives and children to their faith in HaShem, in the best tradition of our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov.

Choosing the Rational Road

The Jews in galut today are being challenged as were the Jews in our parasha – to leave for Eretz Yisrael in faith and belief that HaShem will protect them, or take the rational road and remain in the “safety” and “prosperity” of Europe, the United States,++ etc.
History has recorded the tragic results of the rationalist camp of whom not a remnant remains, as opposed to the blind faith of the 20% from whom the Jews of today have come.
The conclusion which I draw from the demise of the 80% of our brothers and sisters who died when they refused to leave Egypt for reasons they believed were for the spiritual welfare of the Jewish people, is that HaShem has little patience for people who are more “frum” than He.
This is the basis for the sacrifices brought by a nazir (nazarite) for prohibiting for himself things which HaShem permits.
When HaShem opens the gates of Eretz Yisrael to His children, there is no room for “erudite” pulpilistic claims that one need not enter those gates.
As in the words of the Hagadda regarding the rasha (evil son): “Had he lived then, he would not have left Egypt”.
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5775/2015 Nachman Kahana

MK Moshe Feiglin: Citizens Carrying Firearms Prevent Terror

“If two armed and trained citizens had been on the bus yesterday in Tel Aviv, the terror attack would have ended in a completely different way –  or it wouldn’t have happened at all,” said MK Moshe Feiglin after Wednesday’s terror attack in which 10 were wounded, three seriously. “But Israel’s policy is to reduce the number of citizens licensed to bear arms as much as possible. The main excuse is the murders that have been perpetrated by owners of licensed guns. But the truth is just the opposite. In 2013, 13 murders were perpetrated with licensed firearms. 12 of those murders were carried out by security guards or police. Their weapons belonged to the organization for which they worked or to the State! They weren’t privately owned at all,” Feiglin said.
“How many tractors running people over, knife-wielding terrorists or other murderers and robbers have been neutralized by responsible citizens bearing licensed firearms?” Feiglin asked.  “So if weapons-bearing citizens help to secure the public domain, shouldn’t the State encourage responsible citizens to practice shooting and carry weapons? Why does it do just the opposite?
The answer is that the State of Israel is not increasing our liberties; it is reducing them. Dictatorship confiscate citizens’ weapons. ‘The State alone will take care of all your security needs’.
In the past, there were 300,000 citizens licensed to bear weapons in Israel. That number has now been cut in half. As a member of the Knesset Interior Committee, I was able to stop the trend. But we have to understand: Without liberty, we will not enjoy security,” Feiglin concluded.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

MK Moshe Feiglin: Israel’s Lack of Identity Sparks Hatred

“In the media pictures, the terrorist who stabbed 10 people on the Tel Aviv bus today looks more like somebody trying to get himself on a reality show. He looks so normal – nothing like the monster hiding behind the smiling face,” said MK Moshe Feiglin after Wednesday’s terror attack.
“What makes a modern, smiley young person go on a murderous rampage? What is the source of the hatred?” Feiglin asked.
“Why do they hate us so much?
Because of the settlements? The fedayoun hated us and murdered us before the settlements.
Because of the establishment of the State of Israel? The Arabs murdered us in 1929.
Because of poverty? The murderers are usually financially well-off.
Because of ignorance? The murderers are usually better-educated.
Why? Is it nothing more than ordinary anti-Semitism?
Not exactly.
Basic anti-Semitism is there, of course. We will never escape it. But we could have managed with it and with the Arabs, if we would only be ourselves,” Feiglin said.
“You can call me ‘Jew’ if you would like,” Feiglin quoted the pioneer Yudkeh explains in Chaim Hazaz’s story. “But I am not a Jew any more. I am a Zionist”.
“For me, Oslo means forgetting that I am a Jew.” Feiglin quoted authoress Dorit Rabinian.
Feiglin reported that an Arab MK said to him, “I can do fine with you. In the Koran it also says that the Land of Israel belongs to you. My problem is with the Zionists. They are nothing more than colonialists.”
“But they always offer you half the Land and then you slaughter them?” Feiglin asked the MK. “I want the entire Land and you say you do fine with me?”
“It is not a territorial issue at all,” the MK replied. “With you we can reach an understanding.”
“They will make peace with us when we make peace with ourselves – with our identity,” MK Feiglin concluded.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

MK Moshe Feiglin: Elections Good for Israel’s Defense

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…”

Monday, January 19, 2015

MK Moshe Feiglin: the Handshake with Arafat Paved the Way to the Hague

“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.”

“With that handshake we surrendered the most important thing of all – our justice – and handed it over to the bitterest of our enemies,” Feiglin continued. “Now, do we really think we are going to get it back in The Hague?”

MK Moshe Feiglin: Continued High Price of Gasoline Due to Unfair Market Practice

“When the price of oil was about $100 per barrel, the price that drivers paid for gasoline in Israel was 7 NIS per liter. Now that the price of oil has declined to approximately $44 per barrel, the price that drivers pay for gasoline in Israel is…7 NIS per liter. What did you think? That if it is legitimate to steal for you from the natural gas investors, it is not legitimate to steal from you, as well?” MK Moshe Feiglin commented on the Israeli economy.

Western Failure to Read the Writing on the Wall

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 mosquessubmission 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.”    

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yechezkel And The Middle East

Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

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. 

Who is the Blind Fanatic?

A Torah Thought for Parashat Va’eirah 

by MK Moshe Feiglin

For if you refuse to let them go, and hold them still, behold, the hand of G-d is upon your cattle which are in the field, upon the horses, upon the donkeys, upon the camels, upon the herds, and upon the flocks; there shall be a very grievous disease. And G-d shall make a division between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt; and there nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.. And G-d appointed a set time, saying: ‘Tomorrow G-d shall do this thing in the land.’ And G-d did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel not one died. (From this week’s Torah portion, Va’eirah, Exodus 9:2-6)
We can easily understand Pharaoh’s insistence on keeping the Jewish slave-nation in Egypt as the determination of a dictator intent on maintaining the existing regime’s order. The liberation of the Nation of Israel would certainly destabilize the entire Egyptian hierarchy and would eventually cost him his throne and probably, his head. Archeological research points to the fact that this is indeed what happened to Pharaoh after the Jews were liberated from Egypt.
The verses, however, point to a more underlying struggle; a conflict over the very recognition of the G-d of Israel.
And Pharaoh sent and behold, not one of Israel’s livestock had died.” (Exodus 9:7)
Pharaoh remains obstinate, but nevertheless wants to know if the plague really did skip over the Jews. In other words, not only is Pharaoh determined not to follow G-d’s orders, he is also determined not to believe in Him!
One could possibly think that Pharaoh’s ruling position had made him so obstinate. But as the story unfolds, we see that even among the simple Egyptians, some believed in G-d and others did not – despite the plagues that they endured. Some of the Egyptians were so blindly stubborn that they did not even heed an exact, time-defined warning issued by the man who had foreseen all the previous plagues. These Egyptians were willing to endanger all their possessions when they could have easily brought them indoors.
Those of Pharaoh’s servants who feared G-d made his servants and flocks scurry into the houses. But those who did not heed the word of G-d, left their servants and flocks in the field. (Exodus 9:20-21)
How can this lack of faith be explained? Would anybody we know today be willing to endanger his life and possessions in the face of explicit warnings issued by those who have already proven that they are connected to reality?
The Egyptians continued to believe in their religion. They attached some sort of idolatrous explanation to each of the plagues. They had their own magicians to face off against Moses’ staff. True, Moses’ staff defeated the Egyptian staffs, but the bottom line was that the idolatry belief system emerged unscathed in their eyes.
There are Israelis today who “do not heed G-d’s word” and continue to believe in their own religion. They are determined to continue with the ‘peace’ process. It makes no difference at all that all the plagues foreseen by those who ‘fear G-d’s word’ were completely fulfilled. It does not matter that they see with their very own eyes how their belief system has shattered on the hard rocks of reality, legitimizing a Palestinian state on the one hand and questioning Israel’s existential legitimacy on the other. All this, mind you, without ‘peace’. It simply makes no difference. Their religious fanaticism is strong enough to allow them to continue to suffer and to bring this suffering on their Nation.

To understand the Egyptians, all that you have to do is listen to the news.

MK Moshe Feiglin: Israeli Leadership, not Temple Mount, Existential Threat to Israel

“Look at the French,” said MK Moshe Feiglin.  “In the name of the right to publicize a caricature, the entire police force mobilizes. They are willing to ignite a holy war in their land to preserve an abstract principle. And what about Israel? Led by the PM and Police Chief, we flee like panicked floor-rags from the site of our First and Second Holy Temples – the place that holds the secret of our Nation’s existence, its history and destiny.
The Temple Mount is not an ‘existential threat’ to the existence of Israel, as Police Chief Danino stated. The Temple Mount is the quintessence of Israel’s existence. Flight from the Mount is flight from our destiny. And without destiny, there is no existence. Thus, the existential threat to Israel is its entire leadership; leadership that turns its back on the Mount, leadership that is at the forefront of the flight of the State of Israel from the Mount. Through its actions, Israel’s leadership convinces our enemies that we have no Mount and no Home  – anywhere in this Land,” Feiglin concluded.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MK Moshe Feiglin on Israel’s ‘Meet the Press’ Outlines New Party Goals

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.

According to Feiglin, the party will include the Ultra-Orthodox , the secular and everyone in-between. It will be a party for a modern, liberty-based Nation of Israel. On the socioeconomic level, that may include establishing a bank that does not charge interest, as per Jewish principles. On the diplomatic/security front, it means exercising Jewish sovereignty in all parts of our Land. It belongs to no one else.
“We plan to register Jews of the Diaspora in our new party, as well,” said Feiglin. “Even though these Jews have not yet made aliyah, they will be tied to Israel as their Land and already be members of a political party, with the right to vote in the party primaries. Our holistic message applies to all strata of Jewish society,” Feiglin concluded.

MK Moshe Feiglin: Kachlon Plan to Lower Housing Costs Will Not Succeed

“I always say that imitation is the highest form of flattery – particularly if the imitator doesn’t mention your name. Then you can be sure that you have succeeded,” said MK Moshe Feiglin.  “For years, I have been saying that part of the solution for the high cost of housing in Israel is to close the Israel Land Authority and to transfer the newly freed land reserves to the public. Now candidate Moshe Kachlon is recommending closing the Israel Land Authority, another sign of success for me. The problem is that Kachlon has no chance of implementing the idea and enjoying the anticipated reward of lower housing prices because his plan is not an all-inclusive liberty plan. Closing the Land Authority is not enough to lower the housing prices. The land must also be transferred to the public – including the land in Judea and Samaria,” Feiglin observed.

MK Moshe Feiglin: Jewish People Returning to United Jewish Fate

“On my way today to the funeral of our brothers, the victims of the terror attack on the kosher market in Paris, I was thinking that their burial in Jerusalem bears deep significance,” said MK Moshe Feiglin. “It represents the return of the Jewish People to their united Jewish fate, here in the Land of Israel.”
“Something in Jewish mentality has changed and this quiet undercurrent will turn into a huge wave of aliyah to Israel,” Feiglin continued. In a television interview on Sunday evening, MK Feiglin repeated his forecast that Israel can anticipate 1.5 million new immigrants in the coming decade, which will completely change Israel’s geopolitical situation.
“May G-d comfort our brothers in the Diaspora and bring them quickly and joyfully to their Land: the Land of Israel,” Feiglin concluded.

Feiglin: Inviting Abbas to Paris Rally Ridiculous

By Yaakov Levi
Unless the West is willing to face up to its enemies, all the rallies it musters against “terror,” as large as they may be, won’t do any good, said MK Moshe Feiglin. In a Facebook post Sunday, Feiglin pointed out what he said was the “irrelevance” of mass rallies against terror, of the type taking place in Paris Sunday.
“Who is this enemy a million and a half people are marching against?” queried Feiglin. “The headlines say it’s ‘terror.’ We are all fighting against ‘terror.’”
That, wrote Feiglin, “is like saying we in Israel are fighting ‘terror tunnels.’ which is what some in the mediaclaimed the IDF was doing in Gaza this past summer” during Operation Protective Edge.
It’s not terror or tunnels that France, Israel, and the rest of the civilized world is fighting, wrote Feiglin – but the perpetrators of those atrocities: The Islamists who killed four Jews in a Paris kosher market on Friday, and 13 people in the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine a few days before that.
Most shocking of all – and the greatest guarantee that the rally will do nothing – is due to its guest list. “Not only are they afraid to name the enemy,” but they actually invited it to participate in the event, in the form of Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, who, said Feiglin, “makes a living off terror, and is certainly not one who can fight against it, much less win the battle.”
“In other words, this entire event is one big ‘bluff,’ and is meaningless,” said Feiglin. By failing to name its enemy – radical Islam – France, and the West, have already lost the war. “Soon the crowds in Paris will go home, and they will not be shocked when the next murder comes.”
Police said that some one million people were taking place in the rally in Paris Sunday afternoon protesting last week’s multiple terror attacks in the French capital. David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Binyamin Netanyahu were among world leaders who arrived Sunday at the French Elysee presidential palace to take part in a historic march against terror. The British, German and Israeli leaders were also joined by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, all of are participating in the march together through the French capital – a world first.

Choices during the Best and Worst of Times: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Va’aira 5775

Parashat Va’aira 5775 
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Choices during the Best & Worst of Times

In last week’s parasha Shemot, Moshe demands that the Jews be allowed three days of freedom in order to worship HaShem, and Paro reacts by creating an impossible situation. The raw materials necessary for the slaves’ labor would be withheld, yet they would be expected to maintain the same levels of production. Moshe expressed his deep disappointment at this turn of events by lamenting before HaShem the fact that he had been chosen for this failed mission.
This week’s parasha opens with HaShem rebuking Moshe for being impatient with what he viewed as HaShem’s departure from His stated goal of freeing the Jewish people. HaShem informs Moshe that retribution for the Egyptian cruelty to the Jewish people would now commence.
All periods in our history when Am Yisrael saw the hand of HaShem in our salvation, were similar to the exodus, in that they were preceded by moments of trepidation, anxiety, even despair.
When Yehoshua entered Eretz Yisrael, the Jews lost the initial battle at the small city of Iy, when 36 Jews were killed. This provoked a desperate, even critical response by Yehoshua, to HaShem.
The return of Am Yisrael to the Land after the destruction of the first Bet Hamikdash was filled with disappointment. Koresh, King of Persia permitted the Jews to rebuild the Bet Hamikdash, even aiding them in every way. However, Koresh’s initiative was cancelled by Achashverosh at the time of Purim, and was restored again by King Daryavesh, Esther’s son, upon ascending the throne.
Ezra and Nechemia came to Eretz Yisrael to lead the people in the restoration of the Bet Hamikdash. But the Jews were hampered by the Samaritans to the degree that in every shift half the people would work while the other half would stand guard.
In our own time, we are being hampered, constrained, deterred and discouraged by our “friends”, not to speak of our enemies who plan, conspire and attempt to implement the worst of their intentions.

Terrorism and the Final Test

In the latest blood-thirsty Islamic attacks in Paris where 17 people were murdered, including five of our Jewish brothers, our political leaders saw a spark of hope that now the self-centered, self-indulgent Europeans would awaken to the dangers and evils of Islam and unite in a joint effort to eradicate its presence there and elsewhere. Our Prime Minister called out to the Europeans to stand together with us against the Islamic Hamas and Hesbollah now that they themselves are feeling the cold blade against their throats. The feeling is that Israel is entering a new period of understanding, when the civilized, enlightened nations of Europe and the USA will no longer condemn our acts of self-defense, but will stand with us in defense of the values of freedom and justice.
I feel that the reality will prove just the opposite.
We will witness a depressing period of trepidation, anxiety, disappointment and frustration.
The perfidious and treacherous Christian nations of Europe will do nothing that might threaten their comfortable way of life. The proactive stance of the French government, at this moment, to protect all Jewish institutions is no more than the age-old attempt of Paro in parashat Shemot to prevent the Jewish people from leaving (1,11):
ועלה מן הארץ:
“…and they will leave the country.”
(known today as “brain drain”)
To challenge the growing Moslem populations in their respective countries would require drafting and implementing draconian laws backed by tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of additional police and soldiers. It would lead to a new and assertive political and military stance vis-à-vis Arab and Moslem states. Economies would suffer. Comforts of life would have to be curtailed. Freedom of movement and free-speech would be limited, in the effort to eradicate the growing cancer of Caliphate and Jihad. And all this in order to contain the (perception of) evil created by the State of Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian lands!!!
However they will find an alternative:
The United States and the countries of Europe would enter into agreement with “moderate” Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, and “temperate enlightened” Moslem countries, such as Turkey and Iran. And all together they would remove the Jihad threat from Europe. Despite the fact that the price for creating this treaty, as demanded by the Moslems, would be the sacrificing of the Jewish State on the altar of “peace in our time”.
This is the picture I see in this period of the final redemption of Am Yisrael. It too will be preceded by the age-old feelings of trepidation, anxiety, and frustration which were the harbingers of earlier periods of HaShem’s involvement in demonstrating His unique and intimate relationship with His chosen people.
The coming years will require profound spiritual strength on the part of those who love Eretz Yisrael.
We who await the realization of HaShem’s promise for the renaissance of His nation in all of the Holy Land, will be challenged to prove the degree of our loyalty to HaShem.
It will be the best and the worst of times; the most exhilarating and thought-provoking in our long history. It will be the final test leading up to the return to us of all the land of Eretz Yisrael, according to its Biblical boundaries. It will see the return of all Am Yisrael, the rebuilding of the third Bet HaMikdash, the Sanhedrin, the Davidic monarchy and the restoration of Torah law, as stated by the Rambam in Hilchot Melachim chapters eleven and twelve.

Excerpt from the book “With All Your Might”.

The book of Daniel, chapter 3, relates that King Nevuchadnetzer of Babylon erected a statue in the capital that was to be worshipped by representatives of the many lands and peoples he had conquered.
The King was informed that three of his Jewish administrators, Chananya, Misha’el and Azarya refused to bow to the idol. Nevuchadnetzer gave them the choice of either bowing down or being thrown into a fiery furnace and seeing if their God would save them. The Talmud (Pesachim 53b) records the deliberations which led up to their choice to offer up their lives on kidush hashem:
נשאו קל וחומר בעצמן מצפרדעים, ומה צפרדעים שאין מצווין על קדושת השם כתיב בהו ‘ובאו בביתך [וגו’] ובתנוריך ובמשארותיך’… אנו שמצווין על קדושת השם על אחת כמה וכמה
“Chanaya Misha’el and Azarya decide on what their mode of action would be from the frogs in the second of the ten plagues. The frogs are not commanded to sanctify the name of G-d, however, we as Jews, are so commanded. The frogs went into the burning ovens as it says (Shemot 7) ‘and they will come into the ovens’, then we certainly have to give our lives for the sanctification of God’s name, even in the ovens”.
After reading this, I wondered why they said that the frogs were not commanded to go into the ovens. Did God not command Moses to tell Pharaoh (Shemot 7,28) “And the river will swarm with frogs, which shall go up and come into your house, and into your bed chamber and upon your bed …and into your ovens and into your kneading troughs!”?
I explained the intention of the three men as follows: God indeed said that the frogs would enter the ovens, but He did not state which particular frog would do so. When the frogs entered a house, one would say, “The verse states that we will come into the house. Therefore, I am hereby fulfilling God’s wishes by sitting on this easy chair in the living room watching TV”. The second frog sees the verse which says, “and into your bed chamber”, and he hops unto the thick soft carpet, thereby also fulfilling God’s command. A third frog reads the verse which says “and upon your bed”, and jumps between the sheets and dozes off, thereby also fulfilling God’s wishes.
However another frog sees that the verse also reads “and into your ovens”, and he jumps into the oven to sanctify the Holy Name.
In our times, people who are true to God’s Torah have taken upon themselves a multitude of obligations. Some sanctify the Name by staying in Antwerp Belgium and dealing in diamonds, while keeping the Torah, like the frogs on the couch. Others choose to live in Baltimore or Cleveland or New York, where they study Torah and support the land of Israel by visiting every several years, like the frogs sleeping on the thick bedroom rug.
Others live in Tel Aviv where they tie their existence to the fate of the Jewish state. Others brave to live in Yerushalayim, even in the Old City. And others jump into the fire to defend the Holy Land and its people.
How we use the short time that HaShem grants us on this planet is determined by our freedom to choose. To learn Torah, perform mitzvot and take part in the physical defense of this land, is the ultimate sanctification of HaShem’s name.
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5775/2014 Nachman Kahana