Friday, November 21, 2014

What’s in a Name?

A Torah Thought for Parshat Toldot 

by Rabbi Mordechai Rabinovitch

As is well-known today, there are two types of twins – identical (monozygotic) twins and fraternal (dizygotic) twins. As a rule, non-identical twins develop in separate placentas. Clearly, Esav and Yaacov were fraternal twins, and in that case, how is one to understand the Torah’s assertion that Yaacov grasped Esav’s foot? Did his tiny hand actually break through both placentas and grab the foot? If so, this must have been a truly fascinating occurrence – and it is no wonder that it caught the attention of the midwife (or whoever was present at the birth) and was apparently memorialized in Yaacov’s name! Thus on the verse (Bereishith 25:26): “and his hand was holding the foot (עקב) of Esav, and he called his name Yaacov”, Rashi comments: His father called him Yaacov on account of the holding of the foot.
However, Rashi first explains that when the verse says “he” called his name Yaacov, it is referring to Hashem. That is, Hashem named him Yaacov. But, here, Rashi does not give the basis for the name! R. Yosef Colon (מהרי”ק) therefore suggests (based on the usage of the root עקב in Job 37:4) that on this approach, the name means “he who will outlast” (see also Tosafos Nazir 22b s.v. אמרה) – alluding to the fact that in the end of days, the descendants of Jacob will supplant the descendants of Esav as leaders of the world. Indeed, Rashi (s.v. בעקב עשו) explains the symbolism of the holding of the foot to mean that at some point (the descendants of) Jacob will take the leadership away from (the descendants of) Esav.
A different – and offensive – interpretation of Jacob’s name is given by Esav. On discovering that Yitzchak has given Jacob the blessing intended for Esav, the latter remarks (Bereishith 27:36): “Indeed, this is why he was called Ya’acov, for he has cheated me twice, he took my birthright and now he took my blessing”. Here the root עקב means “crooked” as in Kings-II 10:19 and Jeremiah 17:9 (Ibn Ezra). [According to Rashi (following Onkelos), it means “to outwit” or “to trap”.]
So, Ya’acov’s name is a double-edged sword that can be construed as a blessing or as an insult. Similarly, Rambam (Epistle to Yemen) explains that the Divine promise “your seed shall be like the dust of the earth” (Bereishith 28:14) has a double meaning: even though the Jewish nation is lowly, and trampled upon by all the nations (i.e., they are like dust that is trampled on) – they will in the end survive, endure, and be victorious over all their enemies (i.e. like dust that remains long after those who trampled on it have expired). Moreover, just as the dust eventually covers those who trample upon it, so too will Israel outlive its oppressors.
Curiously, the Gemara (Berachoth 13a) states that even though Ya’acov is eventually renamed Yisrael (Bereishith 32:29, 35:10), this name does not replace the original name, but is added to it. If, as above, Hashem himself named Jacob as Ya’acov, this makes perfect sense. But what is the point of adding another name?
The answer would seem to be that the name Yisrael reflects the blessing inherent in the name Ya’acov. For you have striven… and prevailed (Bereishith 32:29). That is, Ya’acov can be trodden by the heel of Esav, but can also outwit, outsmart, and outlast Esav.
Essentially, this is Ya’acov’s historic challenge: to make it clear to all that Ya’acov is Yisrael. The one who endures, the one who outlasts all others, the one who in the end prevails.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MK Moshe Feiglin: World Condemnation Superfluous – Israel’s Leaders Must Take Responsibility

“I do not expect the world to be horrified,” said MK Moshe Feiglin after Tuesday’s terror attack in Jerusalem. “It really makes no difference to me.”
“I do not expect Abu Mazen to condemn the terror attack,” Feiglin continued. “That is ridiculous.
"I certainly do not expect Jordan’s King Abdullah to solve the security problems in Jerusalem. That is really outrageous."
“I expect only one thing:” Feiglin concluded. “Leadership that understands that responsibility for Israel’s security lies solely on its shoulders; Leadership that expects nothing from anyone but itself.”

Blame the Jews

(Editor's Note: This prescient article was written one day before the terror attack in the Jerusalem synagogue)

By Moshe Feiglin

This morning, a senior political figure claimed that I am responsible for the fact that Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel. “Feiglin visited the Temple Mount with all his media and this is what ensued,” a journalist who called me for my reaction quoted him.
The senior political figure who makes anonymous accusations perfectly reflects Israel’s irresponsible and spineless policy on the Temple Mount. This approach will lead to a further escalation of violence and many more victims of terror.
The Ma’ariv newspaper reported today that during his brief visit last week to Jordan, Prime Minister Netanyahu asked King Abdullah to instruct the Moslem wakf to restore order to the Temple Mount. This reveals who the real sovereign is on the Temple Mount – at least according to the Prime Minister: none other than the king of Jordan, represented by the wakf.
I did not visit the Temple Mount with the media in tow. I visited in the same manner that I have visited every month for the past 15 years. This is the ‘status quo’ that the most senior political figure has sanctified. Jews may visit the Temple Mount, but disgracefully, cannot pray there. And as if in the theatre of the absurd, the ‘senior political figure’ expects that after the attempted assassination of Rabbi Yehudah Glick, I will dissolve the status quo and stop visiting the Temple Mount. By rewarding terror, the political figures managing us attempt to buy just a bit more quiet in exchange for a terrible wave of violence that will descend upon us later.
Israel’s policy on the Temple Mount is the same irresponsible approach that brought about the wholesale release of terrorists; it is the same confused and fainthearted policy that prevented a clear victory in the war in Gaza; it is the same policy that preferred to ignore the terror in Jerusalem that sprung up as a result of the lack of victory in Gaza; it is the same policy that now prefers to blames the Jews –not the attackers- for the crisis, and to empower foreign sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
One would expect that after the attempted assassination of Rabbi Yehudah Glick, all the ‘senior political figures’ would send the enemy a clear-cut message: Arab murderousness achieves the opposite result and strengthens Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount – the heart of Jerusalem and the most holy place in the world for the Jewish Nation.
“I expected,” I said to the Prime Minister at the Likud faction meeting, “that after the assassination attempt, all the nationalist MKs would visit the Temple Mount under your leadership. This would make it clear to all that no assassination attempt will drive us out of our holy places. That is the only way to restore calm to Israel.”
Instead, the ‘senior political figures’ unleashed a crusade against responsible Knesset Members who attempted to prevent the deterioration and preserve Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
“We do not have rights in this land,” explained MK Ahmad Tibi when he ceremoniously visited the Temple Mount. “We have rights on the entire land.”
We cannot blame Tibi. He has simply accepted the clear invitation of those senior political figures – to come and take the Temple Mount from us.

MK Moshe Feiglin Analyzes the Israel-Arab Conflict on i24 News (English)

One Nation will be Stronger than the Other

By Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh
Our sages have taught us: "If somebody tells you that both Caesarea and Jerusalem exist, do not believe it. If they say that Caesarea was destroyed and Jerusalem is settled or that Jerusalem was destroyed and Caesarea is settled you can believe it, as is written, 'One nation will be stronger than the other' [Bereishit 25:23]." [Megillah 6a].
When did the fortune begin to change for the first time? We are taught, "On the day that Shlomo married Pharaoh's daughter, Gavriel descended and stuck a reed ("kanneh") into the sea, and the reef of Rome was built there" [Sanhedrin 22]. The fact that Yisrael began to show an interest in Gentile culture eventually led to the rise of Rome. And Rome was the source of the spread of Christianity, which claims that it replaces Yisrael. According to the Rambam in various places, Eisav is Edom, and the people from Edom were the first ones "who followed 'that man' who claimed that he was Mashiach, and this error spread to Rome, which was holy for them." From there Christianity was disseminated to the entire world, a fulfillment of the above prophecy, "When one rises up the other falls."
Rav Avraham Yistzchak Kook wrote some remarkable things about the kanneh associated with Rome. "The ga'ar chayat kanneh, which in its literary form represents an obstacle, will have its lowly part removed – this is the part that descends to the depths of darkness – and what remains will become holy, using its strength to show what is suitable to be shown in the world... And the kanneh which became a reef on which the great city of Rome was built... will call out to the kanneh and declare: Behold, they are the first of Zion, and they will spread the news of Jerusalem. [Yeshayahu 41:27]." [Orot Hakodesh]. (In terms of Kabbalah, the "chayat kanneh" is a female animal representing the evil of Eisav, and "ge'ar chayat kanneh" is the male of the species.)
At the end of Pesachim, the Talmud teaches us that all the nations of the world will want to present gifts to the Mashiach, who will accept them. But when the Kingdom of Edom will appear, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will say to him, "Rebuke the chayat kanneh" [Tehillim 68:31]. The Talmud comments that this refers to the animal which lives among the reeds, the swine of Rome. In another commentary, the Talmud explains the verse to mean, rebuke the animal of Rome, and take possession (from the word "liknot," related to "kanneh") of the community of Yisrael. From that point on Yisrael will be on the rise and Rome will descend.
Another interpretation is as follows: Rebuke the animal whose actions are written down using a pen made from a reed. This refers to Christianity, which is involved in writing holy books and filing complaints about Yisrael.
Rav Kook expands this theme to the subject of literature in general. Many people oppose the concept of literary writing because the pen made from reeds (from a kanneh) is used to describe dark and negative objects. But Rav Kook feels that there is no need to destroy the kanneh completely and to refrain from using it. Rather, it must merely be fixed, removing the "lowly part" from it. The result will be that literary writing will be transformed into a blessing.
If we look at the graphical forms of the Hebrew letters, we see that "kuf" (the first letter of kanneh) has a long leg that extends below the line. If we shorten this leg somewhat, the "kuf" becomes a "heh," changing the word from kanneh to "hineh" – behold. This is one of the names of the Machiach – "Behold, they are the first of Zion (Rishon Letzion)."
This concept, that we should not try to completely destroy a negative object but rather to remove its negative aspects, is discussed by Rav Kook with respect to many different subjects, such as the rejection of the secular Zionist movement. The same is true for literature in general. Since this has control over the world today, "We must show that we can incorporate this skill so that it becomes our own, and we will no longer maintain an absolute rule that anybody who has literary talent or is a famous poet must be an apostate and a sinner by definition. We must destroy this false tower." [Igrot Rav Kook, Volume 1, page 195].

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Compassion and Truth/Hatred and Murder: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Toldot 5775

Parashat Toldot 5775 
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Compassion and Truth

The prophet Micha (7,20) requests from HaShem:
תתן אמת ליעקב חסד לאברהם אשר נשבעת לאבתינו מימי קדם:

Show Your truth to Ya’akov (fulfill Your truthful promise to Ya’akov that his descendants will be as multifold as the soil, in the merit of Ya’akov’s quality of truth) and show compassion to Abraham (in the merit of Avraham’s quality of compassion) as you pledged on oath to our ancestors (to Yitzchak at Mount Moriah) in days long ago.
Micha is informing us that Avraham was the master of compassion and Ya’akov the master of truth. However, the reality of Avraham’s and Ya’akov’s lives, as recorded in the few incidences in the Torah, seemingly does not substantiate this assessment.
In fact, in several of the incidents in Avraham’s biography we find a gross lack of compassion. Avraham banished Hagar and Yishmael to the wilderness and was prepared to sacrifice his beloved son Yitzchak. Avraham even embarked on a deadly war against four kings.
Ya’akov’s life is not a testimony to pure truth. Ya’akov took advantage of his brother’s hunger to receive the rights of the firstborn. He acted perfidiously when posing as Aisav in order to receive his brother’s blessings, and seemingly deceived Lavan more than once.
So how could the prophet Micha hold up Avraham as the virtuous symbol of compassion and Ya’akov as the virtuous symbol of truth?
I submit:
The Creator tests His righteous children just at the very point of their greatest resistance. Avraham’s greatest virtue was his compassion and love of man, as attested to by his hospitality towards all strangers who happened to pass his way. So HaShem commanded Avraham to subjugate his most passionate quality of compassion in the service of HaShem by making war, by sending Hagar and Yishmael into the wilderness and to sacrifice his beloved son Yitzchak by his own hands. That was the will of HaShem even when it ran counter to Avraham’s most basic moral orientation of chesed and compassion.
Ya’akov was the personification of emet – truth. He was the ultimate “ben Torah” who did not stray from the dictates of Halacha in the tent of Hashem. HaShem brings Ya’akov to the point of ultimate resistance where Ya’akov is commanded to subjugate his most basic instinct of truth to deceive his brother and his father in the service of the higher truth of HaShem.
These were challenges of the highest order when Avraham and Ya’akov were challenged to compromise their most moral and holy consciences to serve HaShem, even when they did not understand why they were being told to do so.
Authentic Halachic Jews share three common qualities, as stated in many of our holy sources, we are:
רחמנים ביישנים וגומלי חסדים
Naturally compassionate, humble and seek to perform deeds of loving kindness.
Cruelty, brutality, malice, callousness, ferocity, and sadism define the gentile, not the Jew. Behind almost every societal initiative in the world stands a Jew, whether it is acknowledged or not.

Hatred and Murder

There is an ever growing wave of brutality stemming from the Arabs in Eretz Yisrael towards the Jewish people. Just this morning, on the 25th of Cheshvan, two Arabs with Israeli citizenship entered a bet knesset in the Har Nof neighborhood of Yerushalayim with guns and knives and murdered at random 4 Jews, wounding another 8, and causing 24 children to suddenly be without their fathers.
This murderous incident follows on the wake of others which claimed of late the lives of many Jews. The Arabs, in addition to their religious beliefs that Jews have no place in the Holy Land, are emboldened and inspired by the inhumane actions of ISIS and other Islamic groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah to be more aggressive and murderous in their path to global Jihad.
Although the majority of Arabs here have not partaken in acts of violence, none of them are far away from crossing the line to sadistic murder, be it their sisters, wives and anyone who gets in their way.
The State of Israel was founded on the basic pillars of democracy and equal human rights. All citizens, be they Jew, Moslem, Druze etc., are equal before the law. No Arab in any of their 22 countries has the rights and privileges which are extended to the Arabs in Israel.
However, things have changed. The hatred spewed out daily from the mouths of their teachers, imams, mass media etc., has created a generation of Arabs whose daily diet consists of hating the Jew. Not every Arab will take a kitchen knife and put it into the back of a Jew walking in the street, but every Arab in the Medina exults in these acts and honors the perpetrators with the soubriquet Shahid – martyr.
As these acts increase in number and ferocity a change will come about in the thinking of our people and leaders. That when it is a question of life or death, we or them, the children of Yitzchak vs. the children of Yishmael, democratic principles must be suspended in the name of the ultimate goal of remaining alive.
Indeed, we are by nature compassionate, humble and seekers of deeds of loving kindness.
However, HaShem has not brought us here after 2000 years of galut, to die in the name of democracy and equal rights when dealing with a religion of psychotic murderers who believe in a god that lusts for the blood of the “kofer”.


With every passing day it becomes clear to more and more people that we and Islam cannot live together. Our mother Sarah had it right when she requested that Avraham send Yishmael away; it was an indication for her children 3500 years later of the path we have to take when dealing with the pereh adam – the wild beast of Yishmael.
We have to adopt a mindset that will permit us in clear conscience to do everything necessary to guarantee the survival and thriving of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael. For if we falter, no compassion will be extended to us by the Arabs and there will not be another chance.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5775/2014 Nachman Kahana

A Long-Term Conflict

Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Dedicated to the memory of Hana Bat Haim

1.. Religion at the Root
2.. A Jewish State
3.. Jerusalem’s Temple Mount

Religion at the Root
The ongoing confrontation between Israel and the Arabs living in the Land of Israel is not an isolated dispute; it is in fact a confrontation between the Nation of Israel as a whole and the entire Arab people. The aspiration of the Jewish people, to return to our homeland in its entirety and to thrive as citizens of own Jewish state, free from the yoke of the nations and in accordance with the distinctive spirit of Israel, thus fulfilling our unique role in the world - this aspiration is our very life. It did not ceased throughout the two-thousand-year exile, and it began to take concrete practical shape more than one hundred years ago. We are today in the midst of an ingathering of exiles, the return of the people to its homeland - the holy land of its forefathers..

In contrast, the ambition of the Arab nation as a whole is that the entire Land of Israel be under Islamic-Arab rule. The Arab world-view claims that the Nation of Islam has replaced the People of Israel, that Islam is the true heir to the Israel and its faith..
Suddenly, the Jewish People have risen up again after two-thousand years of Exile. Its spiritual and material assets - the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel - have not been bequeathed to another people. They are the exclusive property of the living Nation of Israel. Islam is not willing to come to grips with this fact. It desires that the entire Holy Land be subject to its own rule. Hence, the struggle between us and the Arabs living in the Land of Israel is a confrontation between the Jewish people and its faith on the one hand, and the Arab nation and its faith on the other.

For this reason, it is fruitless to consider a solution to the troubled relations between Israel and the Arabs which is detached from the source of the confrontation. If we refuse to recognize the source of the problem we will not be capable of dealing with it properly. The source of the conflict is religious in nature, and religious conflicts can find no true solution in political agreements. Its solution must be searched for in the religious-theological arena. We, for our part, request of God that a solution eventually be reached "neither through militia nor through force, but through My spirit."

The recognition that the source of the conflict between the Israel and the Arabs is national-religious in nature, obligates one to accept the fact that it is bound to go on for a very long period of time. Our approach to dealing with the conflict need not demand finding some solution to the conflict, but learning to live with it. We must rather accept the fact that we do not presently possess any way of solving the conflict: neither side is ready to abandon its national-religious aspirations. Therefore, we must learn how to live with the conflict. In the same manner that each of us must learn to live with hardships, difficulties, illnesses and catastrophes which contain no solution, so we must learn how to live with Arab hostility and terror..

We must learn to limit the amount of attention we give to this problem, to restrict the matter to its appropriate boundaries without putting all of our efforts and energies into it. Most of our energies must be poured into efforts to advance goals such as gathering in all of the exiles, strengthening the population of Israel, developing the Jewish State, and endowing it with the kind of spirit which makes us a unique nation. We must stop chasing after peace. Peace is neither relevant nor practical. Of course we do not desire war, and we are forever willing to discuss peace, but there is no reason to go chasing after peace, for the more that we chase after it, the more it distances itself from us.. If we stop chasing after peace, it will at least stop distancing itself from us.

A Jewish State 
The State of Israel must see itself as a State for the entire Jewish nation. This was the reason for its establishment, and this is how it should be. The State of Israel is not a multi-national, non-denominational entity; it is the state of the Jewish people - the entire Jewish people. Though Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, the Arabs, are citizens with the same rights as Jews, and each citizen of Israel is free to live his private life according to his own world-view and faith, the state as such must be Jewish with an unequivocal Jewish character.

Accordingly, the State of Israel must see every Jew in the world as a potential citizen. Every Jew should be allowed to take advantage of this privilege and receive citizenship, even if one has not yet immigrated to the Land of Israel and settled permanently herein. This step will have the effect of strengthening the connection between the land and the people. The assertion that the State of Israel is the state of the Jewish people is nothing new. It is anchored in Israel’s Scroll of Independence, and in the spirit of the Law of Return. This new measure, though, will serve to strengthen the true fabric of the state and reinforce the bond between Diaspora Jewry and the state. Giving voting privileges to Jews living abroad, on the condition that they come to Israel regularly for short visits, will shrink the looming demographic question.

The assertion that the State of Israel is the state of the entire Jewish people justifies our claim to the entire Land of Israel. The world community understands and recognizes the fact that the Jewish people have a right to their own state; the world community also understands that the Land of Israel is the place for such a state - it is the ancestral homeland of the Jews. Consequently, our claim that the entire land, according to its historical-biblical boundaries should be the homeland of the Jews, and that it is improper to prevent us from settling the entire land will be understood.

The assertion that the State of Israel is the state of the entire Jewish people and that its objective is to ingather all of the Jews and to create a distinctly Jewish national life will make the depth of the conflict between us and the Arabs better understood. This is important because to hide from this fact only blurs the situation; instead of aiding to bring about a solution, it aggravates it. Presenting superficial solutions will, in the end, only cause heightened eruptions - and experience testifies to this.

We must accept the fact that at the present time there is no viewable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Neither side wishes to join the other to create one united nation. It is therefore best to reduce the mingling of the two nations. The Arabs should be left to live their own private lives as they please, and they should also be allowed to manage their communal-cultural-religious life as they see fit in every area that it is possible for them to do this on their own. The state has the responsibility to encourage this separation between us maximally in order to safeguard our Jewish identity while at the same time allowing them to preserve their own identity. Joint activities will find expression only in those unavoidable areas where it is impossible to manage separate systems. In this manner we will succeed in reducing daily tension.

The state will guarantee complete equal rights, but it will also possess a very clear identity: it will be a state for the Jewish people; it will prevent citizens from assaulting its own sovereignty and Jewish aims.

Jerusalem’s Temple Mount
We cannot finish without touching upon Jerusalem.. Unified Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel, and the Temple Mount is the most holy site the Jewish people have. The Holy City must be subject entirely to Jewish authority, and we must demand that the Temple Mount, because of its tremendous sanctity, be closed off to all people until both the Jewish people and the world are prepared to aspire to such a level of sanctity..

In sum, the conflict between Israel and the Arabs runs very deep. It is a religious conflict to which there exists no solution at present. We must therefore stop investing all of our efforts in trying to create a path to peace. We must, rather, pour our energies into transforming Israel into a state for all of the Jewish people in the world and imbuing it with a clear Jewish character. We must keep the entire Land of Israel in our possession, declare an all out war on terrorism, and manage life in Israel such that there be as much separation between us and the Arabs in daily affairs as possible - not to blur identities.

It is impossible to halt the process of Israel’s national revival, the reclamation of its entire land, and revival of its unique path. We are constantly progressing; every seeming barrier acts as an impetus to ascension toward the complete redemption. Fortunate is he who has the privilege of lending a hand in God’s ongoing redemption of Israel.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Arab Violence is War Against Israel

By MK Moshe Feiglin

In response to the outbreak of Arab rioting in northern Israel and the continued Arab violence in Jerusalem, MK Moshe Feiglin called upon the government to recognize that the Arabs have declared war on the State of Israel.
“When Knesset Members continue to visit the Temple Mount after the attempted assassination of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the security chiefs blame them for the escalating violence,” said Feiglin.
“When citizens at a train stop are intentionally run over, the authorities put cement barriers on the sidewalks,” he continued.
“When police officers shoot a terrorist threatening them with a knife, the police are blamed – not the terrorist.
The time has come for the government to understand. We are in a war. The Arabs protesting now in northern Israel are waving the enemy Hamas and Fatah flags.
Wars are not won by placing cement blocks on the sidewalks.
Wars are not won by rewarding those who wish to remove Jews from the Temple Mount.
Wars are not won by placing the blame on the police, who are doing their job.
Either those responsible should decide to win – or they should step down,” Feiglin concluded.

Islamic terrorists are no "lone wolves"

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Intra-Arab and Intra-Muslim terrorism – plaguing the Arab Street - has been a Middle East fixture since the 7thcentury emergence of Islam, driven by religious, political, tribal and ethnic megalomaniac aspirations and violent intolerance.
It dominated the Middle East long before, and irrespective of, the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts, the reestablishment of Jewish communities in Judea & Samaria, the controversy over Jerusalem, and the reconstruction of the Jewish State. 
Against the backdrop of ruthless and persistent terrorism, which has targeted fellow-Arabs and fellow-Muslims, one should expect, at least, as ferocious Arab/Muslim terrorism against the "infidel" Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Jew in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, Canada, Australia and the USA.  The latter is considered the chief threat to terrorist regimes, morally and militarily. Hence, the US is "the Chief Satan" and the lead target for Islamic terrorism.
The perpetrators of Arab/Muslim terrorism, in general, and Palestinian terrorism, in particular, are not "Lone Wolves." They are the by-products of a centuries' old intolerant ideology, supported by educational and religious infrastructures of indoctrination and incitement, operating systematically in kindergartens, schools, universities, mosques and regime-controlled media.  
Arab/Muslim terrorists are not driven by social, economic and human rights grievances, but by an intense, fanatical worldview, which loathes civil liberties and considers freedom of religion, press, association and movement, including equal rights for women, an abomination.  In fact, deprived groups in the non-Muslim world rarely resort to terrorism.
Arab/Muslim terrorists are adrenalized by the conviction that their actions bestow upon them the honorific title of Shaheed – a martyr on the altar of Islam - fulfilling a Muslim mission, and advancing the commandment of Jihad(Islamic struggle, resistance, war, expansion) against the "infidel" or the "apostate."  They expect to be rewarded by eternal glory, including the company of 72 pretty virgins in a sensual paradise, while women are, supposedly, rewarded by only one man.
The most effective production-line of Shaheed's was established by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993, compliments of the Oslo Accord, through the Palestinian education system.  For example, the 7th grade's part 2 of "Our Beautiful Language," pages 11-13 and pages 28-29 in part 1: "We shall sow Palestine with [martyrs'] skeletons and skulls; we shall paint the face of Palestine with blood…. We are returning home to the plains and mountains [of pre-1967 Israel], led by Jihad flags, by bloody struggles and by the willingness to sacrifice ourselves as martyrs…." Or, the 8th grade's part 2 of "Islamic Studies," pages 62-75: "Jihad reserves a key role for youngsters, just like those who sought martyrdom during the days of the Prophet Muhammad…."  Many graduates of such an education system are potential terrorists – who unlike freedom fighters – target civilians deliberately and systematically, aiming to erode the confidence of Israelis in the homeland security capabilities of their government, frightening them into reckless concessions.
While Mahmoud Abbas does not emit the same message when speaking with Western, Israeli and Arab interlocutors, that which he teaches his children reflects his authentic worldview, reflected by the monthly allowances paid to relatives of suicide-bombers and the naming of streets, squares, summer camps and sport tournaments after terrorists.  It has enticed Palestinian youth to idolize Shaheed's, Jihad, bloodshed and families of suicide-bombers, while delegitimizing the Jewish State as an immoral entity deserving annihilation.
Palestinian terrorism has been driven not by the size – but by the existence - of the Jewish State, as evidenced by the waves of anti-Jewish Palestinian terrorism before Israel's establishment (1920s, 1930s and 1940s), before the 1967 resumption of Jewish control of Judea & Samaria, and following a series of Israeli concessions, such as the 2005 uprooting of all Jewish communities from Gaza, the 2000 proposal by Prime Minister Barak to withdraw to the pre-1967 Lines, and the 1993 Israeli importation of the PLO from Tunisia to Ramallah and Israel's withdrawal from 40% of Judea & Samaria, as well as all of Gaza.
The battle against Palestinian terrorism is undermined by the focus on the symptoms (individual terrorists) rather than the cause (hate-education).  In other words, one should not concentrate on chasing individual mosquitos; one should drain the swamp.
Counter-terrorism is further undermined by the immoral moral-equivalence applied to Palestinian perpetrators and their Israeli victims; by the knee-jerk pressure of Israel urging sweeping concessions, containment and counter-terrorism restraint, which emboldens terrorists; ignoring the terrorist/subversive track record of Mahmoud Abbas in order to promote wishful-thinking; and extending counter-productive financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, which bankrolls hate-education.
For instance, the $400mn annual US foreign aid to Mahmoud Abbas – which is larger than the combined aid from the Arab oil-producers - has not reduced terrorism and non-compliance, has failed to shift Palestinians towards peaceful coexistence, and has not eliminated hate education.
The US Congress would not support hate education within the US, but supports hate-education in the Palestinian Authority, which undermines the civil liberties of most Palestinians, who abhor the corrupt, oppressive, terroristic "Tunisian Gang" of Mahmoud Abbas that was imposed on them by the Oslo Accord.
The suspension of foreign aid to – and all communications with – Mahmoud Abbasa hate educator, would express the realization that hate education is the antithesis of core US values; that hate educators should not benefit from the largesse of the US taxpayer; and that hate educators on the one hand, and compliance with agreements and peaceful coexistence on the other hand, constitutes a scandalous oxymoron.

Why Jerusalem Really Matters to the Palestinians (from the Algemeiner)

Temple Mount. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Rami G. Khouri is about as moderate a Palestinian commentator as you can find. He is Christian, recognizes that the Temple Mount is holy to Jews, and is willing to blame Arabs for their mistakes.
Even so, he justifies the recent spike in Arab terror:
The absence of PA forces under the control of President Mahmoud Abbas also means that those forces cannot quell Palestinian demonstrations against Israel, as happens in all other parts of the West Bank, where PA forces more often than not act to defend Israel as much as to keep peace among Palestinians, unfortunately. Arab Jerusalemites are essentially ungoverned and unrepresented politically, because they do not fall under Palestinian authority and they are underserved by an Israeli state that also keeps building new settlements on lands surrounding the holy city. Because of this condition of living in a political vacuum, Palestinians in Jerusalem have only themselves to rely on to defend their lands and rights, and in cases of extreme threats and violence used against them, they resort to violence such as we are witnessing these days.
Then he says something interesting:
The intense symbolism of Jerusalem for Palestinians includes two dimensions: the holy sites of the Noble Sanctuary, especially the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, but also the city as the capital of Palestine, even though a Palestinian state does not exist yet. If Jerusalem is allowed to fall to Zionist colonialism and become fully Judaized, the entire Palestinian national cause would have been dealt a fatal blow. Jerusalem has always been a central battle in the Arab war with Zionism — but for many Palestinians it is now also the last battle.
The PLO covenants of 1964 and 1968 did not mention Jerusalem once. The Palestinian National Charter of 1968 likewise does not mention Jerusalem a single time. (Fatah’s charter does mention Jerusalem once.)
If Jerusalem has always been so central to Palestinian Arab nationalism, then why was it ignored for so long?
The interest that Arabs altogether, and Palestinians in particular, have shown in Jerusalem has been proportional to the interest that Jews have to assert their national and religious rights in their ancient capital. Between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was an unimportant Jordanian city, and there were no mass pilgrimages there. Only when Jews started to say that Jerusalem was theirs, and always has been, have the Arabs decided that it is supremely important for them too.
And this spills over even into the writings of a “moderate.”
The fact is that if Palestinian nationalism cannot survive without Jerusalem, then it is an artificial construct to begin with. The nearly exclusive  use of the Dome of the Rock as the constant backdrop for Palestinian press conferences is a relatively recent phenomenon.
They don’t want Jerusalem – they want to ensure that Jews do not have Jerusalem. Because they know that Israel without Jerusalem is just a secular state, and they can deal with a secular state, because such states come and go. They cannot deal with a proud Jewish state that asserts rights that go back to before Islam existed.
Khouri has subconsciously revealed the shallowness of the Palestinian national cause. If it was about rights, or refugees, or land, or even “justice,” then they could have a state. But it isn’t about any of those. It is about the symbolism of controlling Jerusalem. And the only reason that this is so important is because of the Arab honor/shame society that cannot stomach the weak, dhimmi Jews asserting rights on land that everyone knows they have been tied to for thousands of years. The minute they give up on Jerusalem, they give up on the goal of expelling Jews from political power in the Middle East.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I cried then. I’m crying again


I will always remember the moment.  I was at my home in Brooklyn speaking on the phone with the woman who sold us paper and plastic goods for our catering service.  On the other side of the room, the television was on.  On the table where I was sitting, lay an open page of The Jewish Press where I had circled the next time that I could go to see the rabbi whom we referred to as the ”Rav.”

The Rav was a busy man and wasn’t scheduled to be in the United States for very long.  Unfortunately, I was delayed with work details and couldn’t take my wife that evening to Manhattan to meet him.  Several days earlier we arrived at the tail end of a demonstration outside the United Nations where we heard the Rav plead to his fellow Jews to “believe in the burning bush and not in George Bush.”  Suddenly there was an announcement on the television and a scream from the woman on my phone.  Rabbi Meir Kahane had been shot.  A short time later he was pronounced dead.

I cried.

I was 25 years old and I cried every day for two weeks.  I saw and worked with observant Jews at the time who couldn’t care less and  went about their regular routines the morning after the murder in their city as if nothing happened.  I remember the administrator of a local Yeshiva that I prepared meals for welcoming me in the morning with the following statement, “Well, they really got your guy last night.” On the other hand, thousands upon thousands of Jews like myself mourned and understood what was lost to us.  “You see,” I replied to the administrator, “they didn’t get my guy.  They got our guy.”  The more time has passed the more clear it has become.

The most maligned name within the Jewish community for the last 40 plus years has been that of Kahane.  Character assassination has run rampant and more from the Israeli leadership and the non-elected dictators who run the Jewish establishment in the diaspora than from non-Jewish circles.  They are obsessed with outlawing, banning, harassing, etc.  They will do everything to keep the books off the shelves of the Jewish libraries, articles out of Jewish and Israeli newspapers, Torah commentaries out of synagogues, etc.  Why?

When Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu ztl was asked about the 13 principles that guided the Rav’s political party he said that they were consistent with authentic Judaism.  I recall when a Leftist member of Knesset tried to strike down a statement that the Rav had just made and the deputy speaker at the time who was from one of the religious parties replied, “I can’t because he’s quoting the Talmud!”

Rabbi Kahane zt”l hy”d often said, “I say what they think.”  Many were in agreement but lacking in pure faith and conviction to come out and say so unequivocally.  Others who chastised and put down the Rav refused to debate him.  After seeing him in debate after debate against congressmen, professors, lawyers, rabbis, etc., I understood the real reason why many refused to debate him.  They were scared of being humiliated.

The Left and the fake Right of Israel called him a fascist and had no problem banning his party and later outlawing his son’s organization completely.  These people today continue to fight for the rights of human garbage such as Zoabi and Tibi to have the democratic right to demonize Israel while we the Israeli taxpayers foot their salaries.

Most importantly to me was his mesirut nefesh, self-sacrifice.  He didn’t sit in a study or an office and tell his students or followers what to do.  He went out and took chances and many times got hurt and in the end got killed. He correctly predicted all the tragedies that are upon us at this time.  He warned us.  He told the Jews of the diaspora to come home and he told the Jews of Israel to be good Jews and work to make Israel a free Nation in our Land: Free of terror, free of the fear of antisemitism, free of outrageous taxes and bureaucracy.

The Supreme Court of Israel upheld the banning of his party in 1988 when he was poised to become the 3rd largest party in Israel.  They wouldn’t have been in the position to make such a ruling without the Knesset election committee ruling first to ban his party, Kach. They made a mockery out of the word democracy.  The banning left him unprotected when he traveled as he was no longer a member of Knesset.  He was still out there day after day fighting to make Israel a real proud Jewish State when he was gunned down.  Many of his opponents couldn’t hide their delight at his passing.  Now we all pay, for the hope that we had was eliminated.

Now, 24 years later I have watched the world go crazy.  There are posters and stickers everywhere saying Kahane was right.  Those who understood the man and his ideas back then and knew he was right aren’t celebrating.  We had hoped and prayed that his ideas would take hold for a better tomorrow and we feared that had they not, it would be to our demise.

Yes, Kahane was right.  Twenty-four years later I cried today once again for what he was, what he represented, and what could have been.  Now, it’s up to us to work together to make that dream a reality.

Od Kahane Chai!

Joel Yosef Busner is founder of B’Ahavat Yisrael.

Rabbi Meir Kahane ZTL HYD on Arab Riots and the Temple Mount

This week marked the Yartzheit of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was assassinated by an Arab terrorist in NYC on Nov. 5, 1990. In 1993, the same terror cell which killed Meir Kahane tried to blow up the World Trade Center. In fact, in a documentary on terrorism, PBS labelled the Kahane assassination the first act of terrorism on US soil.

As we are currently in the midst of the latest round of Arab violence and riots, this clip of Kahane talking about Arab violence and riots seems rather appropriate.

Israel is the Only Option

By MK Moshe Feiglin

And if the woman will not desire to follow you, and you will be absolved of my oath – just do not return my son to there.” (From this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, Genesis 24:8)
Abraham is already old and has lived out most of his days. Yitzchak is the only link in the chain that will forge ahead with his world-wide faith revolution. Under the circumstances, it would seem that for a good wife from a distinguished family – it would be worthwhile to leave Israel for a few years.
But Abraham says an emphatic “no”. “Just do not return my son to there.”
Abraham understands something that we have forgotten. A sizeable portion of Israel’s citizens hold foreign citizenship in addition to their Israeli ID cards. For them, the Land of Israel is an option – not a final destination. If things are not working out here as planned, thank you very much and goodbye. Look for us in Europe or the US.
But the Land of Israel is not merely a privilege. It is not optional. There is simply no other place for a Jew. The Exile is finished and we are rapidly progressing to a time when the majority of Jews will live in Israel.
Lamentably, many Jews still retain their exile mentality. The wandering Jew is alive and well in the worldview of Israel’s leaders and the part of Israeli society that believes that it can arrange itself a more comfortable option, if need be.
If Israel’s leaders would assert that for the Jews, Israel is the only option, nobody in the UN would dare question the necessity of a Jewish State in the world and Iran would not dare threaten our existence. They would understand that when a country with nuclear capabilities faces an existential threat and has its back to the wall, it will make use of its weapons. But “existential threat” is not in the lexicon of Israel’s leadership and part of its citizenry. Worse comes to worse, they can always hop the first plane to Europe, Canada or the USA.
The world clearly senses that we have not internalized the fact that the Land of Israel is our final destination; the last, blessed stop on our 2000 year journey. But the moment when every Jew will have to make the fateful choice is rapidly approaching.
Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Family: That's All There is to Life

By Rabbi Yisrael Rosen 
Dean of the Zomet Institute
"It stems from G-d" [Bereishit 24:50].
"There are proofs from the Torah, from the Prophets, and from the Writings that G-d designates a woman for a man. From the Torah: 'And Lavan and Betuel declared, It stems from G-d.' From the Prophets: 'And his father and mother did not know that the matter came from G-d' [Shoftim 14:4]. And from the Writings: 'A home and wealth are a heritage from fathers, but an intelligent woman comes from G-d' [Mishlei 19:14]." [Moed Katan 18b].

Remaining Single
This week's Torah portion involves the issue of matchmaking, finding a bride and convincing or compensating her family with respect to the match. We will therefore take a look today at this matter and its relevance to the current situation.
Here are some facts from the Central Bureau of Statistics of Israel. The average age of first marriage of Jews in Israel in 2013 was 28 for the groom and 26 for the bride (in 2013 about 36,000 Jewish couples were married, that is, about 3,000 per month). However – and this is quite significant – in 2013, the fraction of unmarried people within the age group of 25-29 was 65% for the men and 46% for the women, compared to 1970, when the fractions were only 28% for men and 13% for women. And here is another fact: In Tel Aviv, the exciting city "that never stops" – the fraction of single people in this age category is sky-high, approaching the "advanced" status of Europe – 83% of the men and 71% of the women. And I won't burden you with the low marriage rates in the Western World, where marriages take place at very "advanced" ages.
It is sad to say that the entire framework of the family unit, including family values, has completely changed in terms of status and character all over the world. This has a lot to do with permissiveness, it has a lot to do with the culture of society, it has a lot to do with career choices (by both sexes), it has a lot to do with the virtual world (internet, facebook), and it has a lot to do with many other factors that have been studied and discussed by social scientists and educators, as well as by psychologists and intelligent people.
Within the religious nationalistic sector in Yisrael, to which this bulletin is linked, innumerable conferences and panels have been held, articles have been written and proposals have been made, public associations have been established to improve the situation, and many matchmaking sites have been opened. But many men and women are still "wading in the swamps," by choice or by coercion, in dire need of a heavenly angel which will reveal to them the princess of their dreams or the imaginary prince which is the subject of the passage quoted above: "G-d designates a woman for a man."
My first call is quite commonplace, and it is meant for single and married men and women of all ages and from every family status: Continue your attempts at matchmaking! While this word has ramifications of the "exile" and is the subject of an infinite number of tales, jokes, and comedies, remember that today matchmaking is no longer tied to the "profession" of old. It is first and foremost a challenge for the friends of unmarried men and women and for their acquaintances from the same sector who have had the privilege of standing under the Chuppah (or not). The challenge is relevant for neighbors and friends, as it is for colleagues at work or within the community. In this generation of "dates" and easy iPhone contact, there is no need for prior investigations of suitability. The prospects will check matters for themselves and it is not expected that they will depend on recommendations by the "matchmakers."
I also have one "enlightened" issue to discuss. In many cases, an important factor in putting off marriage is the desire for academic studies, which have almost become a necessary norm in modern times. In the religious sector a question of "delaying pregnancy" from the halachic point of view remains in the background, since not every student is willing or able mentally or logistically to be involved in caring for a baby while they study. Let me state my position about this: I join with the halachic experts and Torah educators who prefer a "young marriage" and a delay of pregnancy to holding back on getting married, especially within a mixed society. I refer my readers to the article by Rabbi David Stav in the latest issue of Techumin (volume 34), "Delaying marriage in order to obtain an academic degree." He comes to a similar conclusion, based on halachic sources and recent halachic rulings.
"Family values" are a treasure of immeasurable worth. My heart goes out to those whose bitter fortune leads them to stay away from this vital treasure to one degree or another – namely, a family made up of a small unit or of a broad base. Solitude causes terrible distress and it becomes infinitely worse in a generation characterized by virtual replacements and "a thousand friends on facebook." In addition, the decreased importance of the community in our generation, being replaced by "personal rights" and individualism, adds to the distress of the unmarried people. While it is true that an active community life with volunteer activities can alleviate the feeling of isolation somewhat, this is better suited to single elderly people than to young ones who are not married.
Do not learn from our Patriarch Yitzchak who married his wife when he was "forty years old" [25:20]. Do not learn either from Rivka, who was three years old when she drew the water from the well, according to Rashi's commentary. This idea from the Midrash is hard to accept, and Abarbanel wrote, "How can it be that a three-year-old went to the well and drew water for all the camels, and then did everything else that is described in the passage?" In fact, there is a version of Seder Olam Rabba which states, "Yitzchak married Rivka at the age of fourteen" (1). The Ramban discusses this matter in his commentary on the Talmud (Yevamot 61b). But this is also not a recommended age! My advice: less than an age of 25!

Jewish Sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael and the Temple Mount: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Chayai Sarah 5775

Parashat Chayai Sarah 5775 
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Jewish Sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael

Our rabbis have taught that Hashem put Avraham Avinu through ten challenging, painful and formidable tests. The ninth was the “binding of Yitzchak” (akeidat Yitzchak) and the tenth, the negotiations between Avraham and the Hittite Council of Elders for the purchase of Ma’arat Ha’machpela as a burial site for Sarah.
Logic dictates that every succeeding test increased in difficulty, so what was the focus of this last test set before Avraham which caused it to be more demanding than any of the previous nine?
Was it the necessity to deal with worldly matters of “real estate” while in the midst of a profound emotional crisis at the loss of his beloved Sarah? Was it Avraham’s being taken advantage of by the unscrupulous Efron the Hittite, who charged 400 shekels for a burial site which was not worth nearly that much?
These were indeed aggravating realities, but the real hard core of the test was to impact profoundly upon Jewish history.
A fundamental principle appears in many of our classical commentaries and responsa:
מעשה אבות סימן לבנים
The actions of the fathers (Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov) will guide their children (the Jewish people) along the path to redemption
The moment of truth came when Avraham, despite the ramifications of what he was presently going to do, stood before the Hittite council of elders and proclaimed:
גר ותושב אנכי עמכם
I am a stranger and a resident among you
Rashi quotes the midrash which explains Avraham’s intention:
אם תרצו הריני גר ואם לאו אהיה תושב ואטלנה מן הדין שאמר לי
הקב”ה ‘לזרעך אתן את הארץ הזאת
If you wish [to sell the burial site], I will act as a stranger who recognizes your right of ownership over the area; but if you do not [sell me the burial site], I will implement my right of sovereignty and seize the land by virtue of G-d’s promise to me, “And to your children will I give this land”
Recall that Avraham was told by Hashem to leave his land, his birthplace and father’s home to take up residence in a land which Hashem would identify later. At that time, Europe was desolate, as were most parts of Africa and Asia, not to speak of the Americas. But instead of sending Avraham to establish a Jewish State in an unpopulated area where there would be no protest, Avraham was directed to the most populous area in the world; a thin sliver of land at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea populated by 7 idolatrous nations numbering in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions.
Each of these peoples, all descendants of Cham the son of Noach, arrived in the land much before Avraham. They cultivated its fields, constructed buildings and established places of worship, which taken together served as a common civilization.
At this junction in their history, a stranger arrives from the east and declares that he is the true sovereign over all the land. Not just the area of Canaan, but of all the lands from the Euphrates in the north to the Nile in the south, and from the Mediterranean in the west to Mesopotamia in the east.
By his statement Avraham challenged the rights of countless peoples who considered themselves the owners of these lands by virtue of conquest and possession over 1000 years. This was an act of immense courage, because from that moment on, Avraham was perceived by all those people to be a threat to their way of life – to their very existence.
We were here before you! You are a foreign implant in the Middle East. You have no rights! Sounds strangely familiar? We hear it daily from Arab spokesmen, echoing the feelings of the ancient children of Cham when reacting to Avraham’s declaration of sovereignty. These anti-G-d, latter-day advocates of denial spew their venom in the media, on campus, in the Security Council, on Capitol Hill and on the Temple Mount.
And we ask ourselves: where is the Avraham of our generation who will stand up before the world and declare that Eretz Yisrael is our G-d-given heritage?
This is obviously too huge a test for today’s Jewish leaders; whether they be great talmidei chachamim, who almost to the man, advocate a low profile when dealing with Yishmael in the east and Esav in the west, and certainly the secular Jews who believe that our ties to the land are historic and do not stem from G-d’s promise to our forefathers.
Were I to merit the opportunity to stand before an international forum, I would shout the words of Avraham Avinu: that although we recognize individual rights of possession of non-Jews, G-d and His people Israel are the sovereigns over the entire land as demarcated by the boundaries set down in the Torah.
The rejection by the gentile world of our sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael as being G-d given together with the reluctance of our religious and political leaders to proclaim our sovereignty is the root cause of all our problems today in Eretz Yisrael.
In the wake of the 1967 Six Day War, when Hashem presented to Am Yisrael the entire area of Eretz Yisrael west of the Jordan river on a silver platter, the Jewish thing to do would have been to immediately:
  1. Erase the two abominations standing on the Temple Mount;
  2. Annex all the areas of Shomron, Yehuda, Aza, and the Golan Heights into the State of Israel;
  3. Facilitate, assist, and inspire the hostile non-Jewish population to leave the country;
  4. Resettle the newly acquired lands between the Ocean and the River;
  5. Prepare for the millions of Jews who would have returned had the government acted according to the first four.
However, since our leaders lacked the Jewish pride which filled Avraham Avinu, we are witnessing the abandonment of everything which is right.
The Temple Mount has become the focal point for Moslems in Eretz Yisrael, when on a Friday in Ramadan 300,000 Moslems ascend the Mount and turn their backs on Yerushalayim and face Mecca.
Our government under pressure of the United States and others announced its willingness in principle to establish the 23rd Arab state in the area of Shomron, Yehuda and Aza, and are quite capable of giving the Golan Heights to the Syrians in return for a piece of paper.
Instead of diminishing the Arab population, our government does all to increase it as they turn a blind eye to the multiple-wife Arab marriages, so that a Bedouin family can number from 50 to 75 and more children, and slowly take over the entire Negev.
The government creates multiple hardships for people wishing to settle in the liberated areas.
The long-awaited ingathering of all Jews to Eretz Yisrael did not crystallize because of the weakness of the “children” compared to the pride and strength of Avraham Avinu, when he declared our G-d-given sovereignty over every millimeter of this Holy Land.
Fortunately, as in past desperate periods in our history, HaShem will send a leader who will exhibit Jewish pride as exemplified by Avraham Avinu. At that time, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and all the other would-be Hitlers who slither around the planet, will be no more. And the banners of the twelve Jewish tribes will be raised by the people who have returned to take possession of all of Eretz Yisrael.

Jewish Sovereignty on the Temple Mount

There is a vigorous debate among Halachic authorities regarding ascending Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount).
There is a saying: “If the answer is war, then you are asking the wrong question”.
The issue of Har Habayit is erroneously posed by the question: Is it Halachically permitted to ascend the Temple Mount? When the true core issue is: To what degree are we required to enforce Jewish sovereignty over of all of the lands in our possession, first and foremost Har HaBayit?
Regarding the permissibility of ascending the Mount, the following general Halachic guidelines are agreed upon by all.
1- Halacha makes a clear distinction between the Temple Mount and the Temple compound (Azara, the area where the two Temples and their surrounding walls once stood) which covers only about one fifth of the Mount.
2- It is prohibited to enter the Temple compound, even after immersing in a mikveh, under severe penalty, which according to Rambam is Karet, but according to RaVaD the punishment today is not Karet.
3- One who is tamai by contact with a dead body (cemetery, hospital, etc.) may enter the Temple Mount, even without immersing in a milkveh.
4- One who is tamei through internal bodily reasons (nida, giving birth, etc.) must first immerse in a mikveh.
5- One may wear only foot apparel which is permissible on Yom Kippur.
6- We do not know where the Temple compound was, however we do know where it was not.
7- The Halachic masters who prohibit ascending the Mount agree to the above, but their major fear is that if one who is aware of the Halacha enters in the accepted manner, others who are ignorant of the Halacha will enter in a non-Halachic manner.
When one weighs the immediate necessity to exercise Jewish sovereignty on the holy Temple Mount vs. the concern that people who are ignorant of the Halacha will tread upon the prohibited areas, simple logic would dictate that the more important determination of Jewish sovereignty is preferable.
In any event, it is essential that all acts of sovereignty be carried out within the legal framework of the government. Individual acts which have within them the potential for incitement of the enemy are self-defeating and eventually lead to anarchy, which is the destruction of society.
Although we cannot see the future, let no one doubt that the holy Temple will one day be built on the Temple Mount. The Kohanim will perform the Temple service and the Sanhedrin will be in session in the Lishkat Hagazit (a particular chamber) of the Temple and the Davidic monarchy will once again rule the land. And it is incumbent upon us to work toward these goals.
But it must be done with wisdom and patience under the guidance of rabbis who appreciate the need for Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael, and lead their adherents towards that crucial goal.
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5775/2014 Nachman Kahana