Friday, June 24, 2016

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Shlach 5776: Are you a Jew or Jewish?

Parashat Shlach 5776
By Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Are you a Jew or Jewish?

A short anecdote to introduce this week’s message.

Several days ago, I chanced upon a group of Americans enjoying the Old City’s atmosphere.

As is my habit, I asked them from where they came, and they replied that they were from Texas. “Then we have something in common,” I said. “We both have a single star on our flags.”

They were impressed that an Israeli knew of the ‘Lone Star State’. Then a woman asked me if I was Jewish?

I replied that I am not Jewish. There was a bewildered look on my newfound friends, so I began to explain. A color which is not really red but tends to be so is described as reddish, and if it tends to be brown it is described as brownish. I am a total, absolute Jew – I am not Jewish.

I am not totally convinced that all of them understood what I said.

What is Absolute Tshuva?

Rambam in his “Laws of Tshuva” chapter 1, explains that there are two levels of Tshuva – basic and absolute.

The basic level comprises three stages: Vidui (confession), Charata (truthful regret) and Kabala al ha’atid (resolution not to repeat the transgression).

Confession is the initial factor in Tshuva, where the sinner bows his head in shame before the reality that he himself created.

Truthful regret is where one does not lie to the Creator by saying how disgusting the sinning experience was. He admits that at the time it was pleasurable, but he regrets evoking HaShem’s anger.

It concludes with a sincere resolution not to repeat the sin.

In chapter 2, Rambam discusses Tshuva of another quantum level – Absolute Tshuva.

This refers to a situation where the sinner finds himself in a similar set of circumstances, but this time he refrains from transgressing for the expressed goal of repenting.

Rambam illustrates this with a graphic example of a man and woman who sinned and now find themselves in a similar set of romantic circumstances. Despite the fact that nothing has changed between them, they consciously draw away from each other with the intent to do Tshuva.

While studying this chapter of the Rambam, I was disturbed by a “minor” technicality with his illustration of Absolute Tshuva. Is the great Rabbi suggesting that such a couple may plan an encounter in intimate circumstances for the purpose of Tshuva? Certainly not!

May a shrimp-eater order a heaping plate of shrimp salad in a treif restaurant, sit down with knife and fork in hand just in order to walk out of the restaurant? Certainly not!

So it appears that, according to the Rambam, Absolute Tshuva can only be initiated by HaShem for the sake of those whom He wishes to attain absolute atonement.

Leadership vs. mob rule

Our parsha relates the demeaning episode in the history of the Jewish nation when they rejected one of the two pillars in their relationship with HaShem. Just as the Earth has a “true” north and a magnetic north – where one does not exist without the other – HaShem gave His infinite Torah to be fulfilled by the Jewish people on a national level in Eretz Yisrael, with a central monarchy in Yerushalayim together with the Sanhedrin, Bet Hamikdash and prophets.

The Meraglim (spies or scouts) were aware of the “soft underbelly” of the newly freed slaves, who were tired of suffering and preferred loving comfort under the protective wing of HaShem and Moshe, rather than the challenges which awaited them in the Holy Land.

The Meraglim were viewed as leaders, when in fact they were being led by the will of the mob.

HaShem recognized that the Meraglim and their generation were not of the quality of Jews who would be capable of serving as His chosen people. The entire generation of men from 20 to 60 died in the following 40 years in the desert, until a better, freer and purer generation came of age who would become the soldiers of Yehoshua Bin Nun.

History has come full circle in our time. HaShem has created a similar set of circumstances so that Am Yisrael would have the opportunity to acquire Absolute Tshuva for the sin of the Meraglim. It is a gift from HaShem – a sign of love between the omnipotent Creator who wishes to absolve his people Yisrael by blotting out the disastrous conduct of the Meraglim.

From the beginning of the State, we are faced with similar circumstances experienced by the generation of the Meraglim. Today our spiritual leaders are in a position to call for the entire nation as one to leave the galut and ascend to Zion.

However, Absolute Tshuva has its risks. Just as the couple who sinned in the past and now find themselves in similar erotic circumstances can withdraw and achieve Absolute Tshuva, they can also fall to temptation and sin again.

Unfortunately, the Meraglim are very much alive today in the guise of most of the spiritual leaders in the galut. They too recognize the “soft underbelly” of their Chassidim and congregations and dance to their tunes.

Many cloak their evil counsel with the psak (their ruling of law) that distancing themselves from Eretz Yisrael is a mitzva.

They shout at every opportunity that to return to Eretz Yisrael is a sin until HaShem sends the Mashiach. They encourage their willing Chassidim and congregants that it is a mitzva to strengthen and create new communities across the far-flung 50 states and Europe. Those Meraglim who still have a semblance of conscience do not condemn Aliya but do not encourage it.

The sin that exists until the end of time

The Gemara (Suka 52a) quotes Rabbi Yehuda son of Ilayee that in the future HaShem will slaughter the Yetzer Hara – the evil inclination of man. However, the Gemara (Bava Batra 16a) states that the Yetzer Hara and the Angel of Death are one in the same. So if he is an angel who was created by HaShem to serve a necessary purpose, why must he be destroyed?

The answer is that if the Yetzer Hara seduces man by telling him how pleasant it is to sin, then the Yetzer has fulfilled his calling. However, in reality, the Yetzer Hara deviates from this mission by convincing the Jew that the sin is really a mitzva, that it is a mitzva to hate that other Jew, to throw rocks at a moving car on Shabbat and to maintain the cursed punishment of the galut.

Our fathers sinned twice during their desert experience: on the 17th of Tammuz with the Egel Hazahav (Golden Calf) and on the 9th of Av with the Meraglim.

Rabbeinu Yitzchak (Tosefot Yevamot 72a) states that HaShem forgave the sin of the Egel Hazahav, which is proven by HaShem’s command to build the Mishkan in which He will dwell among the people. However, the sin of the Meraglim will be felt by every generation until the end of time.

Are you a Jew or Jewish?

HaShem, the Torah and Eretz Yisrael are the crucial elements in the lives of the Jewish nation. An offensive act against any of them will by necessity evoke dire punishments.

The Jews in the galut, who stand by the wayside while Jewish history is forging ahead in the Holy Land, cannot expect to be immune from heavenly punishment.

In the first stage, the punishment will come through great poverty, and then the loss of young Jewish sons and daughters to the U.S. Selective Service Act now being discussed in the backrooms of Congress.

Let it be very clear to all our brothers and sisters in galut: The most one can hope for there is to be “jewish”, because to be a “Jew” one must live in the Land that HaShem sanctified for His chosen people.

It is my fervent prayer that HaShem have pity on them all and arouse within them and in their spiritual leaders the spirit of Absolute Tshuva to leave the hated galut and join Am Yisrael in HaShem’s Holy Palace to live the life of a real Jew.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5776/2016 Nachman Kahana

The Tragedy of the Israeli Nation did not end with the Sin of the Spies

A Torah Thought for Parshat Shlach
By Moshe Feiglin

The Torah portion of Shlach Lecha is the story of the tragedy of the Israeli nation. We are the nation that G-d created to herald a new message to humanity; the message of liberty and faith. “I have created this nation for Me, they will tell my praises.” No more slavery to an idol and its crafter, no more servitude to other people; we are all free under the wings of the One G-d, Who reigns supreme.

Since Abraham, heralding the message and rectifying the world is in our genes. If we are not rectifying the world in the Name of G-d, then we are doing it in the name of Communism, Socialism, Liberalism or Atheism. Jews are always dominant in revolutions, or if you will, in rectifications.

Throughout history, we have been progressing along this journey to liberty. Abraham smashes the idols, leaves the slavery of idolatry for the liberty of faith in the One G-d and goes to the Land of Liberty – the Land of Israel. His descendants, Isaac and Jacob are chosen by G-d to be his successors – those who will continue his work and fashion a nation that bears a message.

Jacob’s family is enslaved in the Egyptian crucible until the time comes to emerge from slavery to freedom and herald the message of liberty. This time, as a nation.

But in the interim stage between the theoretical holy dimension – the desert stage – and the practical dimension, a great crisis takes place. It is the stage where the Nation of Israel had to begin to pour holiness into the mundane, soul into body, to leave the desert and enter the Land of Israel. It is the stage where the Nation of Israel had to begin to create a national life never seen before in the world; a real life with a strong economy, an army, agriculture, industry, politics, transportation, rich and poor. All of this had to be done with G-d palpably in our midst. By developing this type of national life we strive to elevate all the nations of the world to a new experience. But that is precisely where the bubble bursts.

Humanity expects to hear this message from us and is angered when we deny it: “We established a state for you, because we dreamt of a place where the new Book of Books would be written as a preface to the redemption of the world. For you are a treasured nation. We had great expectations, and look what you have done.” (British intellectuals, quoted in Makor Rishon).

This denial of our identity and our message is the most deep and elementary reason for anti-Semitism and the never-ending wars.

The Nation of Israel stands at the threshold of the Land of Israel and takes the advice of ten of the twelve greatest men of the generation and chooses what we would call today the ultra-Orthodox way of life. Israel chooses to remain in the holy dimension of the desert and to forgo national sovereignty in the Land of Israel. The punishment is terrible: Total elimination of that generation. Is that fair? What was their sin? Why were they punished more severely than for the Golden Calf? After all, they listened to their rabbis!

The point is that the death of that generation in the desert was not a punishment at all. When they abstained from entering the stage of actualizing their holiness in the Land, they sealed their own fate – just like a driver who insists on going over a cliff. He is not punished; he has simply created a reality in which he cannot continue. When the time comes to continue on to the next stage of actualization of Israel’s destiny, those who deny it become irrelevant and they have no more place in reality (a synonym for G-d).

It did not end with the Sin of the Spies. Historically, every time that the Nation of Israel had the chance to return to the Land of Israel, they chose not to do so. The most obvious example is the invitation of Her Majesty’s government to the Jews in the 1920s to ascend and to establish in Israel a national home on both banks of the Jordan. “Nation of Israel, Where are You?” is the name of the chapter in the historical documentary ‘Pillar of Fire’ that chronicles that era. We are all too familiar with the horrendous result.

Today, most of the Nation of Israel is in the Land of Israel. Where is the next stage of progression toward our destiny? This stage is easy to identify. The threshold of the next stage is the place where most of Israel’s major rabbis oppose the next step. At this stage, terrible fear always grips the entire public: “If we continue on toward our destiny and realize it, there will be a world war here.”

But reality is always just the opposite: Without destiny, there is no existence! Giving up on realizing our destiny costs us dearly. This denial of our progress toward our destiny makes the justification for our existence on the plane that had been previously achieved – extraneous. The State of Israel rapidly loses the legitimacy for its existence and missiles begin to explode in Tel Aviv.

The next stage- for those who did not understand, is the restoral of the Nation of Israel’s complete sovereignty over the Temple Mount. This is the Promised Land, longing for our return – now.

Shabbat Shalom.

Unity Within Multiplicity

By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

"When you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light." (Bamidbar 8:2) The mitzvah of kindling the menorah was previously mentioned in Parshat Tetzaveh and Parshat Emor. According to the explanation of the Sforno, however, our parsha is not merely a repetition of this mitzvah. Rather, it gives new meaning to the branches of the menorah, and comes to elucidate the essence of the mitzvah.

There are seven branches to the menorah: three to the right, three to the left, and a center lamp. These branches represent the inner division within the Nation of Israel and the relationship between them. The three branches on the right symbolize those who pursue spiritual endeavors, namely "one whose spirit motivates him and whose intellect directs him to distinguish himself to stand before G-d to serve Him, who walks straight as G-d created him, and he removes from his neck the yoke of the many calculations which people seek." (Rambam: Hilchot Shemita Veyovel 13:13)

In contrast to them, the three lamps on the left represent those who are active in this transitory world, who plow at the time of plowing and reap during the season of reaping. Yet, all six are able to coexist because they face the center lamp, as the Sforno writes (Bamidbar 8:2):

The intention [of them all] ... is to fulfill of the will of G-d, the Blessed One, in such a manner that through all of them His intent will be realized, and together they shall exalt His Name, as they accepted upon themselves [at Sinai] ... "The entire people responded TOGETHER and said, `All that Hashem has spoken we shall do!'" (Shemot 19:8), meaning that together we will fulfill His intent.

This is how the nation of Israel is constructed, as a single body containing many different limbs, all dedicated to one purpose. Through this, the men of the land help the men of spirit, and no one group negates or dominates the other, as Chazal state, "The grapes must always pray for the leaves, for if there are no leaves there are no grapes." The Gemara compares the talmidei chachamim [Torah scholars] to clusters of grapes, and the laymen to the leaves. Talmidei chachamim must value the actions of the average Jew, for without him, the scholars would not exist, either.

At the end of the parsha, Hashem commands Moshe, "Gather to Me seventy men from the elders of Israel." (Bamidbar 11:16) On this pasuk, the Midrash comments:

This is what is said, "Who built his strata in the heavens, and founded his group upon the earth." (Amos 9:6) To what is this comparable? To a palace that was built on top of boats. As long as the boats are attached, the palace above will stand. Thus, "Who built his strata in the heavens," as it were, His chair is based on high, at the time when Israel forms a single group.

This Midrash deals with the importance of shalom [peace] within Israel. Yet, there is room to seek deeper meaning in these words of Chazal. Why did they mention this strange metaphor of a palace on top of boats, and what is its connection to the seventy elders?

Rav Kook, zt"l, explains that the number seventy represents the maximum number of all possible opinions. Just as the nations of the world are divided into seventy languages, so too the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court consisting of seventy elders) contains all seventy possible positions. Talmidei chachamim increase peace in the world. (Berachot 64a) They all direct themselves to one purpose, enriching each other and clarifying every possible opinion, thereby creating together the great peace.

"The path of a ship in the heart of the sea." (Mishlei 20:19). Every boat goes on its own path, yet the palace that is above them unites them to work for one purpose. This is what chazal meant when they said that "at the time when they are all connected, the palace above them stands." The intention is not to negate the individual ways of the boats, but to unify the separate directions toward one goal.

Thus, the throne of G-d is founded upon the unity of Israel, when each tribe and each individual fulfills his personal task, and together they are all directed to the single goal of founding Hashem's throne above.

Why Can’t the Left Stand Netanyahu?

By Moshe Feiglin

Everyone is talking about the two-state solution, brought to us directly from the ideological study hall of the Left. So is Netanyahu. And Netanyahu is not only talking about it – he is literally begging Herzog to join his government, so that he can rid himself of Bennett and do exactly what the Left wants.

He even enlisted the Egyptian president to give it another small push to make it happen. And to convince the still skeptical Left, he sent his right hand man, Natan Eshel, to detail his plans in the most explicit and detailed manner in the radical leftist Ha’aretz newspaper.

But they prefer to attack Herzog, who almost made their dream come true, so that they can continue to hate Netanyahu. They organize their own parliament in Herzliya – the type of parliament that doesn’t require non-essentials like a nation or democratic elections – a parliament that gets much more attention from the media than the elected parliament in Jerusalem.

And they feature two ex-Chiefs of Staff and an ex-Defense Minister in their parliament. And of course, all the headlines, all the news shows and all the spotlights are directed at these two wannabe leaders, both of whom have inflicted immeasurable strategic damage on Israel. “Finally”, they gloat, “a true opposition to Netanyahu has risen”.

Why do they hate Netanyahu so much – even though he is doing everything to make their dream come true? Why, instead of supporting him and enabling him to realize their dream, do they prefer to hate him?

The answer is because Netanyahu managed to steal the Right before they could. And without the Right, it is impossible to win the elections. They try to masquerade, just like Netanyahu. They put together groups of generals for security. Security is the catch phrase. It sounds rightist. They also put together all kinds of organizations, with lots of money from the New Israel Fund – in the guise of a moderate Right – a responsible, security-oriented Right. But the masks are too clumsy and the people are not really that stupid.

Only Netanyahu really knows how to steal the Right, not to say anything (the Likud doesn’t even have a platform) and to win the elections. So how can they not hate him?

This is a comment on Moshe Feigin’s above Facebook post by Gali Bat Horin.

You don’t have to agree with Feiglin. But it is impossible not to understand that you are dealing with a man with rare intelligence, as opposed to the majority of our crybaby elected officials.

Feiglin makes claims and wonder of wonders – actually explains them. Not only that – he also brings proofs. And not only proofs, but specifically relevant proofs that have an intrinsic connection to the claim. Amazing, huh?

But that is not all, even though all the above is like a miracle in the public discourse.

In a short article, logical and devoid of any slanderous rhetoric, in dignified, statesmanlike, clean language, Feiglin branded his competitor from the Right as a leftist in disguise and his competitors from the Left as wannabe rightists. By doing so, he left himself as the only natural candidate for rightist voters. That is real election rhetoric!

I admit that all the years that I have heard slander about Feiglin have created baseless antagonism in my heart toward him. In fact, it is still difficult for me to overcome it.

But it is impossible not to tip our hats to a brilliant mind. This is the man who you would want to be negotiating in your name. On the other hand, this is the last person that I would want as an opponent.

Bravo, Feiglin! I hope that he gets into the Knesset to raise the infantile level of the public discourse.

Security is Just the Excuse

By Moshe Feiglin

“Who on earth needs Jabel Mukaber? Or Isawiya?” asks Haim Ramon with the leftist chorus repeating after him in a well-planned and well-financed public relations campaign.

When is the last time you were there?

What is holy about those Arab villages?

Why do we have to be responsible for them?

Until when will our soldiers run through their alleys just because somebody drew the border of Jerusalem there after the Six Day War?

That, actually, is a good question. What makes Jerusalem Jerusalem? The population? The location? The history?

It could be that Haim Ramon was right and that the person making up the new maps after the Six Day War wanted to include as much territory as possible within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. It could be that he/she understood that in the future, it would be difficult for us to part with Jerusalem and for all practical purposes, Israel would lean on Jerusalem in order to maintain Israeli sovereignty over as much territory as possible.

If so, then, the question is not about Jerusalem. The question is about our right for sovereignty over all the territory Israel captured in the Six Day War. For if Isawiya is part of Israel and its residents have the right to request and receive citizenship, then it would turn out that the demographic problem does not really exist. So what exactly would be bothering Haim Ramon? If the Arabs throw a firebomb in Wadi Ara, would he suggest being rid of the entire Galilee?

His problem is that the person who delineated the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem is indeed preventing him from fleeing the territory. In other words, it is not Isawiya that is preventing him from running Jerusalem, but that Jerusalem is preventing him from retreating from Isawiya.

Haim Ramon was also an enthusiastic supporter of the barrier fence – and he succeeded. He understood that the majority of Israelis do not support giving up parts of the Land of Israel. But everybody wants separation as a security measure. So what did Haim Ramon do? Exactly what he is doing now in Jerusalem. He lies to the public, telling them that surrender of territory will enhance their security. But somehow, it turns out that the security separation fence precisely follows the political, Green Line. No security consideration determined the route of the separation fence; it was purely political. It was the will to retreat to the pre-’67 borders masquerading as security considerations.

The contribution of this multi-billion shekel project to Israel’s security is miniscule – if it exists at all. Security, however, was nothing more than an excuse. The real goal was political and to disconnect the people from Israel’s heartland. This goal was indeed achieved.

So please, Mr. Ramon, tell the truth. The problem is not Jerusalem, it is not demographics and it is not security. It is simply your will to be rid of all the territory Israel liberated in the Six Day War. The issue is not the borders of Jerusalem. The issue is the borders of the Land of Israel.

Only one party, Zehut, clearly delineates Israel’s borders: The borders of the State of Israel are the borders of the territory now in our hands. The eastern border of the State of Israel is the Jordan River.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Wisdom of Kotzk

By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

So what was a born and committed mitnaged (me) doing several weeks ago at the grave of Rav Menachem Mendel Morgenstern, the celebrated Kotzker Rebbe? Kotzk is a small village in central Poland, where the Kotzker Rebbe set up his Hasidic court in the second quarter of the 19th century, and our Heritage tour stopped there and visited the tiny Jewish cemetery where his grave is located. Indeed, the Kotzker is the Rebbe that mitnagdim can most appreciate, because he favored the primacy of Torah study above all and disdained the traditional trappings of the Hasidic court, the claims of miracles and wonders, and even the customary veneration of the Rebbe. His end also had its dark and very human side.

At his grave, I shared and explained some of his more famous aphorisms, all of which contain wisdom and insight that can benefit Jews today as well. Here are some of my particular favorites.

“The middle of the road is for horses.” Human beings have to ascertain all the facts as best they can, and then decide. This is especially true of leaders, spiritual and/or political. One can choose the right side or the left side, but one must choose, at least in theory. These days, only the theory remains. So-called “leaders” are prone to nuance, obfuscation, endless debates and committees, seeing all sides and then choosing none, one compelling reason why malaise and apathy are so prevalent. Decisions are often avoided so as not to offend anyone – echoing Disraeli’s famous quip: “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” – with anarchy and ineptitude the general result.

The Kotzker had it right, as did General Patton (“Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way”), but it is a hard sell in a world where “leaders” live in fear of laity, are forced to follow and then pretend they are courageously blazing new trails. (A distinguished rabbi who was with us explained the Kotzker’s statement as referring to the Rambam’s “golden mean,” which is not the midpoint between two extremes – the realm of the horses – but similar to the third vertex of a triangle that draws from the other two. That could be, but I still prefer my interpretation.)

“Where is G-d to be found? Wherever you let Him in.” Jews have suffered for centuries from approaches to Torah that seek to confine G-d to comfortable places that will not impinge on our desires or that sought to conform the Torah to modern, Western values that are often antithetical to Torah but, strangely, are perceived by many people as superior to those of the Torah. Thus the ongoing efforts to legislate certain sins out of existence or re-define Jewish law and lore so that they satisfy modern sensibilities. Such endeavors are often presented as attempts to bring us closer to G-d but they are more accurately understood as feats of self-worship, with references to the Deity as a flimsy and transparent cover. G-d can be found in surrender to His Torah, in the voluntary abnegation of our desires that conflict with His stated will. And that is “letting Him in,” to our minds, hearts and deeds.

“I could probably revive the dead but I prefer to revive the living.” There is no greater wonder than the resurrection of the dead – but reviving the living might be more challenging. Habit, the great strength of the committed spiritual life, is also its bane. If we do something today – pray, wear tefilin, eat kosher, etc. – simply because we did it yesterday, then our spiritual life has ossified and teeters on the brink of irrelevance. Such can lead people who are observant in their private lives or synagogue activities to lie, steal, commit other crimes and think nothing of it.

Religious man struggles first with maintaining the daily commitment but then with infusing that commitment with vitality and enthusiasm. That is a challenge, but where is it written that we are not to be challenged? In fact, the opposite is true. In a similar context, the Kotzker stated: “Just to (by rote) fulfill one’s obligations? Not at all! Either everything or nothing,” which takes us back to the middle of the road and the horses. If you’re going to do something, do it right, and do it right the first time and every time (within the limits of human frailties).

The Jewish people could use a little revivification of the living – to minimize the sense of routine and maximize the excitement of Torah life and the opportunities that have blessed our generation. One reason why that has become more difficult in recent times is this:

“I am requesting that you not sin, not because it is forbidden to sin but rather because you should not have enough leisure time to sin.” Modern man has a lot of time on his hands, and we do not always fill that time in the most salubrious ways. The technological advances of the last century have eased the burdens of sustenance and alleviated the household chores that consumed much of our time and energy in the past, but they have also created different burdens and new obligations. Certainly, some of the social movements that have transformed the world in the last half century are the consequences of these advances that arose detached from any moral constraints or at least in a society where moral restrictions were perceived as archaic.

We have the opportunity and the means today to increase our Torah study, performance of mitzvot and pursuit of the good far more than did past generations, and yet many will argue – and with merit – that we are more disconnected from G-d than prior generations and less governed by His will. So, too, many will argue cogently that we have much greater means today of interacting with other people and yet many feel more, not less, disengaged from real, live human beings. Witness the number of people who walk the streets or sit at public events staring at their Smartphones, as if what is elsewhere is always more important and interesting that what or who is right in front of them.

Well, the Kotzker’s wish that man have no time to sin is the polar opposite of today’s reality, and how then we use that time defines our real values in life.

“I can tell you what not to do. What to do, each person has to ask himself.” Of course, the Kotzker was not talking about the performance of the positive commandments but rather the expression of one’s personality and goals in the world at large. Our Sages state (Berachot 58a) that just as no two people look alike, no two people think alike. Every personality is different, and so every human being adds a different dimension to existence. Often, people will seek out the advice of others to find out who they are. That is a risky venture, often compromised more by the advisor’s biases or predilections than what the questioner really is or wants to be. Deep down, most people know who they are and what they want to be, even if it takes time to act upon it or to actualize it. But there is nothing that is more personally fulfilling than finding one’s role in life and carrying it out to perfection (or as close to perfection as man can come).

Finally, “You don’t love fish. If you loved the fish, you would not have killed it and cooked it on a fire.” Modern man tosses around words like “love” as if they are stray pennies found on a street in China. Often, love of “something” is just self-love projected outward. We don’t love “fish,” we love what the fish does for us, how it satisfies our appetites and pleases our palates (fish lovers, only). True love is love of the other for what the “other” is – spouse, especially – and not what that other does for us, what needs they satisfy or how they can be used. Love, as the term is commonly used, is much more utilitarian than we like to think; that is why so many marriages today are perceived as disposable, a short-term exchange of pleasures and comforts mutually agreed upon until the provision of pleasures ceases or one finds better accommodations elsewhere. Whatever that is, and however common that is today, unfortunately, one thing that it is not is “love.” Love remains a relationship of giving, not taking, and that is applicable to love of G-d and love of man.

Of course, there are many more such aphorisms of the Kotzker Rebbe, and straight Torah insights as well, even if the Kotzker himself never compiled them in a book. But wisdom is always beneficial, and the wisdom of Kotzk in so many ways still speaks directly to our generation.

If only we would heed it…

“We must go forth and occupy the land. We can do it!”

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

At first, the spies were important people, as it says, “All the men were leaders of the Israelites” (Numbers 13:3). Yet when Moses sent them to spy out the Land, they were transformed, as it says, “They departed and they came back” (13:26) – just as their arrival had been with bad intentions, so too, their departure (Rashi). From men who were supposed to exude a lofty spirit and strong faith in our right to Eretz Yisrael and our ability to conquer it, they became another type of people, people who only see the negative, libelers of Eretz Yisrael: 

 “‘We cannot go forward against those people!’ replied the men who had gone with him. ‘They are too strong for us!’ They began to speak badly about the land that they had explored. They told the Israelites, ‘The land that we crossed to explore is a land that consumes its inhabitants. All the men we saw there were huge! While we were there, we saw the titans. They were sons of the giant, who descended from the original titans. We felt like tiny grasshoppers! That's all that we were in their eyes.” (13:31-33). 

Only Joshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefune were steeped in faith and trust in G-d, and although they were in the minority, they ultimately succeeded in leading the Jewish People to the conquest of the Land and its settlement. 

The spies “changed their skins,” altering their views as far as Eretz Yisrael. Rather than strengthening and encouraging the people, they frightened and demoralized them. Just so, in our own day, some of our prime ministers who have taken up the reins of leadership, have changed, altering their political world view despite their having been elected on the basis of their promise to the voters that they would be faithful to Eretz Yisrael and to settling every part of it. 

When they were asked for an explanation of their extreme turnaround, they would answer, “What you see from you don’t see from there.” Yet actually that is just an excuse. They followed the path of the spies, whose faith in our right to Eretz Yisrael and in our ability to rule over it and to settle all of it dwindled to nothing. 

This weakness stems from a lack of faith, a lack of spirit, and from moral deterioration. These in turn derive from their having distanced themselves from Jewish tradition, and their having never imbibed from our Jewish sources. It is from those sources that from time immemorial we have drawn our faith and trust in the Eternal One of Israel, and in our right to all of Eretz Yisrael. We believe in G-d’s having a goal of fulfilling the destiny of the Jewish People in Eretz Yisrael, towards the enlightenment and betterment of all mankind. 

Our leaders suffer a lack of self-confidence, and an inability to provide security to the citizens of our country. They hesitate, agonize and zigzag, and the price is paid by our country’s citizens. We saw this both with the recent Lebanese war, and daily in Sderot and the adjoining settlements. 

The call of the hour is to change the leadership of our beloved country, to elect leaders full of faith and trust in G-d, people with a vision and great, benevolent spirit. We need people of integrity who set an example by their own lives. We need brave people, who are truly faithful to the people, Torah and land of Israel, such as Joshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefune. 

By such means, we will see the speedy fulfillment of Calev’s words: “We must go forth and occupy the land. We can do it!” (Numbers 13:30). Amen. 

Looking forward to complete salvation, 
Shabbat Shalom.

The Sad Joke of the Supreme Court and Reform Mikvaot

By HaRav Yisrael Rosen 
Dean of the Zomet Institute

The Supreme Court "Mikveh Ruling"

A preliminary version of a bill was recently approved in the Knesset, known as the "Mikveh Law." It was proposed by eight MK's from Chareidi parties and four MK's from the Bayit Yehudi Party. The law decrees that "The use of a mikveh (ritual bath) will be allowed only for immersion that is halachically approved... according to the instructions of the Chief Rabbinate." This law was born as a reaction to a recent "victory" by Reform Jews, who won a case in the Supreme Court that permits them to immerse their new converts in a mikveh in Beer Sheva, just like people who are converted through the Chief Rabbinate. "It is not reasonable to expect residents from the south who want to convert through the Reform movement to travel to Kibbutz Hanaton in the north (which is Conservative), or to Modi'in or Omer... And even granting permission for them to immerse in these three places is not a satisfactory solution to the problem, since most of the converts come from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv..."

Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubenstein wrote a long decision, focusing on the need not to discriminate against Reform Jews: "Reform converts must be allowed to immerse in Beer Sheva, and it naturally follows that a similar solution must be made available in other regions where converts will be allowed to immerse in a mikveh. An explanation is necessary as to why public mikvaot which are built by public funds should not be made available to various private entities, when private Orthodox organizations which perform conversions have no trouble in obtaining the use of such mikvaot" (but this is patently untrue! – see below). It goes without saying that Chief Justice Naor and Justice Jubran joined Rubenstein, who wears a kippa and therefore clearly understands the details of the issues involved. And so the "Mikveh Ruling" took shape and was born! As a counter-move a law to overrule the Supreme Court was introduced, and to counter this it was agreed that the country (through the Jewish Agency) will constructfour Reform mikvaot throughout the country. They will remain closed during the year, but this does not change the fact that the Reform "victory" has taken shape. And we have legitimacy and equality in the realm of "religion and state."

Both Laughable and Sad

This whole situation can be best described as a sad joke. The "joke" part is the untrue "facts" that were "spoon-fed" to the honorable justice. For his part, he (perhaps based on his judgmental preferences) chose to raise the level of discussion and to move the ruling into the realm of equality. This joke makes me sad in the way the Chareidi parties (who also managed to pull in the Bayit Yehudi) go into an all-out war at the very mention of Reform Judaism. Reform Jews will always win their case when they ask for protection of the Israeli Supreme Court! What follows is a summary of my claims, ending with a compliment to Supreme Court Justice Noam Solberg for his opinion in the "Kashrut Ruling" and for the way he criticized his colleague Elyakim Rubenstein. What does that have to do with the mikvaot? Have some patience, and you shall be rewarded with an explanation...

Fact Number 1 : The governmental Conversion Authority performs immersions of about 4,000 converts a year (while the Reform courts do less than 300), and for them a total of 3 mikvaot is enough – in Chatzor (in the north), in Hod Hasharon (the center), and in Beer Sheva (the south). People from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Haifa "have no convenient nearby public mikveh for their immersion, to avoid forcing them to travel," but nobody has complained about this in the past.

Fact Number 2 : Converts are immersed in the morning hours, when the mikvaot involved are not open for other purposes. This takes place in accordance with commercial contracts signed between the Conversion Authority and the mikvaot, which are hired for the job (the contract includes heating the water, cleanup, and providing a place for a chuppa for converts who want to be married on the spot). What prevents the Reform organizations from signing similar contracts with any mikvaot that are available? I am sure that they can make similar arrangements!

Fact Number 3 : As opposed to what the honorable judge wrote, private Orthodox conversion organizations (such as those of Rabbi Karlitz in Bnei Berak, the one in Gush Etzion of which I am the head, and the one for minors headed by Rabbi Rabinowitz, among others) cannot have their converts immerse in public mikvaot, and nobody ever thought of adding them to the contracts for immersions in Chatzor, Hod Hasharon, or Beer Sheva. It is perfectly clear to me that what Justice Rubenstein wrote (about public immersion of private conversions) is something that he was never told. Evidently, he seems to prefer Reform conversions as opposed to Chareidi ones (such as those performed in the Karlitz court).

In summary, the "Mikveh Ruling" of the Supreme Court, which gave Reform Judaism full recognition, is based on a statement of "facts" which have no basis in fact, and which can be "credited" to lawyers who did not have correct information (and who perhaps were not in a proper defensive mood) – in addition to having a judge who was in search of a "ruling based on value judgements" even if this was not really necessary in this case. Note that this misinformation would not have happened in a court run by the rules of halacha, where a judge is allowed to perform his own investigation of the facts in the case.

Comparison to the "Kashrut Ruling"

I am reminded of another ruling by the Supreme Court from a few weeks ago, on the subject of kashrut. A private supervision company was providing certificates (not using the word "kosher") to restaurants in Jerusalem. They turned to the Supreme Court for a ruling against the "Law to Prevent Fraud in Kashrut" which insists that "the owner of a food establishment shall not write that the food is kosher unless it was given a certificate of approval" (by the Chief Rabbinate or the local Rabbinate). The (previous) state attorney supported the restaurants, claiming that the certificates clearly stated which authorities were granting the certificate, and thus there was no element of fraud, and that the word "kosher" was not used. The state attorney's office concurred with this opinion, even though its task in this case should have been to defend the position of the Chief Rabbinate.

However, Supreme Court Justice Noam Solberg "listened to the people" and he "heard rumors" (that is, he read in news reports) that the Chief Rabbinate disagreed with this opinion and wanted to be represented by a private law firm and not by the state attorney's office. Judge Solberg ruled in favor of the Rabbinate, explaining in broad terms why a government body should have the right to represent itself in such cases. His colleague Judge Rubenstein wrote a minority opinion on this ruling, noting that he is willing to accept representation other than the official government legal bodies only under very special circumstances.

My heart tells me that if the Conversion Authority had been represented by their own lawyers in the "Mikveh Ruling" the true facts of the case which I outlined above would have come to light.. .

"For we have Heard"

By Rabbi Oury Cherki
Yeshivat Machon Meir
Rabbi of Beit Yehuda Congregation, Jerusalem

Rachav helps the two scouts that Yehoshua sent, even though she knows that they have come to conquer Jericho. At first glance this would seem to be an act of treason against her own people and an act supporting the invaders. However, she can justify her actions based on a number of significant claims. Rachav's first claim is a realization that the end has come for the entire region of Canaan: "I know that G-d has given the land to you" [Yehoshua 1:9]. This is a form of recognition of the high moral status of the wars of Yisrael, for G-d would certainly not give land to a nation which does not uphold a righteous moral standard. "The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He, and He gave the land to those He found worthy" [Rashi, the beginning of Bereishit, based on Yirmiyahu 27:5]. Rachav's words are a direct continuation of what G-d said to Avraham: "For the sin of the Emorites is not yet complete" [Bereishit 15:16]. The nations of Canaan would not be defeated by Yisrael as long as they still have some remaining merits. "According to His will, He gave it to them" [Rashi]. That is, when the people of Canaan did His will and were favored by Him, He gave them the land. But now His desire is that the land should be taken from them and given over to Yisrael.

The second claim is in the political realm. This is that Yisrael is stronger than the Canaanites: "And that your fear has fallen over us, and all of the residents of the land have turned to liquid because of you" [Yehoshua 2:9]. The low morale of the people in the land renders ineffective any opposition they might try.

The third claim involves recognizing the Divine guidance over Yisrael. "For we have heard that G-d dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt, and what you did to the two Emorite Kings who were across the Jordan River" [Yehoshua 2:10]. She takes note of the splitting of the Red Sea forty years before, and the wars against Sichon and Og just a few months previously. (However, it is surprising not to see any mention of the momentous events of Sinai and the journey through the desert. This implies that the giving of the Torah and the appearance of the Shechina in Yisrael are internal matters that involve the special relationship between the Holy One, Blessed be He, and Yisrael.)

From this point, Rachav reaches conclusions that are on a metaphysical level: "For your G-d is the G-d of heaven above and of the earth below" [2:11]. This is no longer a reference to the victory of one local god over others, as was the usual way that wars were interpreted in the ancient world. Rather, this implies the intertwining of the history of the nation of Yisrael as part of the general plan of the Creator, who has a broad view of all the generations of past and future history.

We can learn from this viewpoint that our own spiritual renewal in this generation is a continuation of those ancient events which began with the Exodus of our people from Egypt and which is reaching a conclusion at this time.

The depths of perception by Rachav, a woman who stood at the crossroads of history and was able to understand the underlying processes taking place in the events of her day, are worthy of being studied for all generations to come. They are the kind of prophecies which can be useful for all of the generations of mankind – and that is the reason that they have been written down and preserved in our holy books.

Six-minute-video: 820,000 Jewish refugees

By Ambassador (ret) Yoram Ettinger 
This week’s document is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Irving Moskowitz, a modern day Maccabee, a giant path-breaking builder, a tree with deep roots and solid trunk, a no-nonsense, Mentsch, Zionist, philanthropist, physician and businessman, an American patriot and a second-to-none proud/concerned Jew and family-man, whose legacy is sustained by his right-hand Woman-of-Valor, Cherna, and eight children, who – like the late Irving – never get off a bucking horse.

6-minute-video : The 820,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands 
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
YouTube 6-minute-video on-line seminar on US-Israel and the Mideast

# 15: ; the entire video-seminar:

1. Unlike the 1948 320,000 Arab refugees, the Jewish refugees did not terrorize their host countries; did not join invading military forces; and did not collaborate with Nazi Germany.

2.  The persecution and expulsion of 820,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands exceeded the scope of the Palestinian Arab refugees, and occurred before, during and following the 1948-49 Arab war on Israel.

3. On November 14, 1947, before the war, Egypt’s UN representative, Heykal Pasha warned: “The partitioning of Palestine shall endanger a million Jews in Moslem countries…”

4. On March 1, 1944, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the top Palestinian Arab leader, incited in an Arabic broadcast from Nazi Germany: “Killing the Jews would please God, history and religion.” 

5. The persecution of Jews in Arab lands has persisted since the rise of Muhammad who, in 626 AD, beheaded, enslaved and expelled the three leading Jewish tribes of Arabia.

6. The Nazi “Yellow Patch” originated in Arab lands, where Jews – and other “infidels” - were forced to wear a “Yellow Badge of Shame.”

How Much of our Culture Are We Surrendering to Islam?

By Giulio Meotti  

  • The same hatred as from Nazis is coming from Islamists and their politically correct allies. We do not even have a vague idea of how much Western culture we have surrendered to Islam.
  • Democracies are, or at least should be, custodians of a perishable treasury: freedom of expression. This is the biggest difference between Paris and Havana, London and Riyadh, Berlin and Tehran, Rome and Beirut. Freedom of expression is what gives us the best of the Western culture.
  • It is self-defeating to quibble about the beauty of cartoons, poems or paintings. In the West, we have paid a high price for the freedom to do so. We should all therefore protest when a German judge bans "offensive" verses of a poem, when a French publisher fires an "Islamophobic" editor or when a music festival bans a politically incorrect band.
After the massacre of Charlie Hebdo's staff, very few media reprinted their Mohammed cartoons. Pictured above, St√©phane Charbonnier, the editor and publisher of Charlie Hebdo, who was murdered on January 7, 2015 along with many of his colleagues, is shown in front of the magazine's former offices, just after they were firebombed in November 2011.
It all occurred in the same week. A German judge banned a comedian, Jan Böhmermann, from repeating "obscene" verses of his famous poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A Danish theater apparently cancelled "The Satanic Verses" from its season, due to fear of "reprisals." Two French music festivals dropped Eagles of Death Metal -- the U.S. band that was performing at the Bataclan theater in Paris when the attack by ISIS terrorists (89 people murdered), took place there -- because of "Islamophobic" comments by Jesse Hughes, its lead singer. Hughes suggested that Muslims be subjected to greater scrutiny, saying "It's okay to be discerning when it comes to Muslims in this day and age," later adding:

Zehut, the Politics of Identity

By Sheila Stokes-Begley

This article was originally posted
by Sheila Stokes-Begley on The Zelman Partisans

When many people go to Israel, the want to see the historical sights. I do as well, especially military museums. There will most likely be a column on that. A lot of people want to eat the fabulous food. Yes, me too. They want to shop, I’m SO there, especially when you talk about Yafo. They want to swim, did that. But what I really, really, really, really wanted to do, was interview Moshe Feiglin. At which most tourist are probably saying “Excuse me?”. But that was one of my very highest hopes for this trip. And I was successful.

I first learned about the former MK (Member of Knesset) when in response to something I had written my wonderfully kind team mate Y.B. sent me a portion of a Torah Thought from Mr. Feiglin. I loved it! I asked for more info and Y.B. told me who had written it and who he was. I did online research and signed up for the Manhigut Yehudit newsletter and was soon getting my own copies of Torah Thoughts included with each newsletter which I very much looked forward to receiving. Each newsletter included Torah and politics. Does it get any better? Well, also a Dry Bones Cartoon. That’s pretty good too.

Last year I got to interview Mr. Feiglin by phone, and it was a great interview. This year it was in person. I feel very blessed.

So why my fascination? My respect first blossomed when he was writing articles calling for the Israeli government to make it easier for everyday Israelis to get weapons permits. Gun Control? Or Citizen Control?

With all that has been going on in Israel, I had a lot of questions for Mr. Feiglin. Especially since he along with the support of a lot of everyday people have founded a new political party. Zehut, which means “Identity”. Zehut is unusual in that they also allow people from places other than Israel to join. And with that I tell you I am a proud card carrying member. Well, I will be when my card gets here, but I am.

My first question was why form Zehut? Was it in response to the betrayal of leadership in politics? They campaign on one platform and then when elected turn and go another direction?

Feiglin: The average Israeli feels disenfranchised from their Jewish identity and the concept of a Jewish state. (I believe he said in a recent poll that 80% of Israelis identify as Jewish first, and as an Israeli second). The disenfranchisement started with the Oslo accords and now takes the form of things like a Judge appointed to the High Court who refused to sing HaTikvah, the Israeli national anthem after being sworn in. It shows in an army which is now refusing to allow soldiers to grow beards, “too much Jewish”. And very sadly when a Yad Vashem guide pointed out that the murder of Gil-Ad Shaer,16, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel,16 had occurred in Gush Etzion because they were Jewish. (That would seem evident to me, but I guess political correctness can run amuk anywhere). Israel is a Jewish democratic state, but 10% controls the power and it is eroding Jewish values.

I have a few questions about everyday Israelis being allowed to carry weapons. Why are there areas where people are not allowed to have carry permits? A buddy moved from Jerusalem where he could carry, to Tel Aviv and now he can’t. He’s no less qualified in Tel Aviv. Yafo which suffered a terrorist attack is certainly within walking distance of Tel Aviv, I’ve done so! Why aren’t the military allowed to carry off duty, and why after people are out of the military can they not automatically be allowed to carry a weapon? As it turns out, the answer to all these questions are the same. Mr. Feiglin is very good at seeing the big picture and summing it up.

Feiglin: Because the concept of freedom is wrong. It should be the concept that the right of self- defense is G-d given! In Israel they believe that the right is given by the state. And if the state can give you the right to self defense, they can take that right away. In America they had the right concept, although they are losing the mindset. They believed anyone should be allowed to own guns unless they showed they were not to be trusted with them. (I pointed out that the UN does not believe self defense is a human right at all. Considering how anti-Israel the UN is, that is really not a good  combination). Zehut believes in planting in the Israeli mind the concept of true freedom. That everyone is responsible to defend their life, that of their family and the nation. Of course, there are those that oppose this. When I was in the Knesset I fought for more people to be allowed to carry. There were 150,000 people licensed to carry. But the Knesset wants to decrease that till terrorism decreases. You have the state as “Big Brother”.

What about the shooting in Hevron? (Sheila’s article on this incident) WHY is this soldier being prosecuted? Didn’t the fact that the video came from B’Tselem raise suspicions? This produced a wealth of information. This is so much more to this than a simple case of Katie Couric media malfeasance. I really think you should go read Moshe’s whole article on this topic, but here is what we covered.

Feiglin: This is a war of Israelis and Jews. It’s the soul of the Israeli, for what comes first, a concept of citizen or Jewish state. It’s been going on a long time. For the Israeli (in this comparison, sounds to me like your typical “enlightened” leftist who doesn’t have good sense about how this will play out) it’s the citizen, not Jewish state or identity. It was certainly evident when the Eichmann trial took place in Israel in 1961. A Jewish writer Hannah Arendt wrote a book, “Eichmann In Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,”with basically the premise that Eichmann was just there, wrong place, wrong time. Can’t blame him, can’t blame anyone but Hitler. Anyone would have acted the same. Apparently some Israeli “intellectuals” felt the need to agree. This kind of thinking is evident in the IDF today. The former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon recently said that “If someone rises to kill you, kill him first” is not the IDF’s strategy. The Deputy Chief of Staff equated those who subscribe to that value with Nazis. He would rather lose soldiers who protect citizens than kill terrorists. There is no difference in the value of the life of a person just out doing their shopping and the terrorist that comes to kill them. Certainly had nothing to do with ideology, right? But yet today some Arabs want to kill any Jew, soldier, civilian, man, woman, child or baby, it doesn’t matter. It IS the ideology. When Arafat was sick in Ramallah I had a sign on my car that said Hurry up and kill him before he dies. For someone who had that much blood on his hands to die in his own time is immoral. For terrorists to go to trial is immoral. A healthy Jewish response is you kill the attackers. You kill the terrorists that have declared their own war on Jews. After the soldier killed the terrorist, the stabbings stopped. He did more than all the speeches.

What about the Temple Mount, Har HaBayit? Why are the Israeli police so quick to remove Jews? One young boy was even recently removed not for saying anything but because he had tears in his eyes. And for those that wonder, yes I did express my opinion of Moshe Dayan’s decision.

Feiglin: It has to do with losing identity. We must let Jews have their identity on the Temple Mount. There are those replacing Jewish identity, and they fear what Israel will become with it’s Jewish identity. Arabs do not really have an identity so much as filled with hatred. It’s in their textbooks, their schools, mosques, social media and how they are raised. If Israel disappeared from the map, there would be no more “Palestinian”. Their reason for being would be gone. The first Zionists were colonialists from Europe, and they just wanted to be one big happy family. They didn’t understand the Arab mindset. Most Israelis are Jews first, Israeli second but they are being led by a minority that doesn’t have that mindset.

What about the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) or as I call it (BS) movement? Has it had an effect? Is it just plain anti-Semitism in increments?

Feiglin: BDS is about the delegitimizing of Israel. When did the holocaust start? (He did ask me this, and I thought for a second and answered “the night Hitler was conceived”) That was the correct answer. When Hitler spoke again and again against the Jews it had it’s effect. In 1939 or 1940 when Jews ran to their neighbors to hide, they were killed. It was about eliminating the right of Jews to exist. Israel has to attack Iran, there is a real danger of Jewish history being written in Jerusalem. Not Warsaw. It’s needed to make a moral point. There is a correlation between the speeches made in Iran 12 ½ years ago by Ahmadinejad and the delegitimization of Israel, and it’s growing.

My last question to him “We’ve had a possible Kenyan as a president, at least someone not really raised as an American, I think we should try having an Israeli for a President, would you run?”

Feiglin: I’ve been asked about the current election. My answer is it doesn’t matter which one wins. If Israel will do what is best for Israel, then all will be better. I started this interview by telling him that I felt like I cared more about Israeli lives than some Israeli politicians did.

After talking to him, I am quite certain that is not how it is when it comes to Mr. Feiglin. He has a very sound political platform based on a Jewish identity in THE Jewish state, living by Jewish laws and principles. Laws that will protect the innocent, laws that will allow every citizen living their daily lives be it in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva, Judea and Samaria to know their lives are worth defending and giving them the means to do so. It will allow the IDF to return to being the fine army it was meant to be and not a social experiment.

Zehut is a party based on knowing who we are, and what we are, and where we belong. And embracing it!

Honestly, I think there is a lesson in this for Americans as well. Because I’m very, very tired of having values that the majority of U.S. believe in being derided and told “that’s not who we are”.

Yeah, it is. And as the politicians and their compatriots in the media crank up to hype another round of gun control tripe, we would do well to remember it. It makes me think so much of “You can live by G-d’s law or die by man’s.

I want to thank three wonderful people, Aryeh Sonnenberg who is the international director of Zehut and so warmly welcomed me when I joined. He put me in touch with Shmuel Sackett (who I got to talk with on the phone, really) who set the meeting up with Moshe. Shmuel also writes excellent articles. And I very much want to thank Moshe Feiglin for giving me an hour of his very valuable limited time.

Monday, June 20, 2016

"Selling a House to a Jew is a Betrayal of Allah"

By Khaled Abu Toameh

  • The renewed campaign against Palestinians suspected of selling real estate to Jews is also part of the belief that the entire land is Muslim-owned, and no Muslim is entitled to give up even one inch of it to a non-Muslim. In other words, it is forbidden for a Muslim to sell his home or land to a Jew or Christian. This would be the nail in the coffin of any Palestinian leader who attempts to make any territorial compromise as part of a peace agreement with Israel.
  • This campaign has raised fears that Palestinians may resume extrajudicial executions of suspected land dealers.
  • "The land dealers should know that they would not be able to avoid earthly and life punishment. Not only will they not be buried in Islamic cemeteries, but their entire families will also be punished and it would be forbidden to marry or to deal in any way with their family members." — Palestinian National Work Commission in Jerusalem.
  • This campaign undermines Palestinians' long-standing claim that Jews "illegally seize" Arab-owned houses and land in Jerusalem. It seems that rather than illegal seizure, Jews have been paying willing Arabs cold hard cash for the properties.
In 2014, following reports that Palestinians had sold houses in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood (pictured above) to Jews, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued an executive order that amended sections of the penal code related to real estate transactions, and increased punishments for selling land to "hostile countries" and their citizens. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/Gilabrand)
A Palestinian Muslim who commits the "crime" of selling property to Jews should not expect to be buried in an Islamic cemetery. Marriage to local Palestinians will no longer be an option for this criminal's family members, and any weddings the family makes will have no guests attending.
Both the living and the dead, then, will pay the price for such "treason."
This is only a sampling of the punitive measures that will now be faced by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who are involved in real estate transactions with Jews.
The latest measures were recently announced by a group of Palestinian activists in east Jerusalem, as part of a renewed campaign against Palestinians who are found guilty of selling a home or plot of land to a Jewish individual or organization.

Sharyl Attkisson: Media Distorting Facts to Serve World Elites at Levels Never Seen Before

Sharyl Attkisson talked to Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Matt Boyle Friday about her new show, Full Measure with Sheryl Attkisson, as well as current events and an extremely disturbing trend. Elites have become adept at controlling media narratives, going so far as to ostracize reporters who “veer” from a particular narrative: “It’s certainly happening here in the United States,” said Attkisson.
Asked if American media appear to be aggressively pushing a particular narrative, specifically gun control in light of the recent terrorism in Orlando, Attkisson said:
I think they’ve been pushing narratives a lot for the last couple of years in a way I haven’t seen five years ago … ten years ago, for sure. It’s almost like someone’s given a license at the top. It used to be done kind of subtly, but now it’s sort of encouraged. It’s almost as if everybody’s on the same page now. I think it’s inappropriate. I think that different views should be represented. It doesn’t have to be 50-50 every time that every story has to be given equal time. But over time, different views should be heard, and we just don’t hear that anymore.
“I just got back from a conference in Russia, of all places, where global journalists gathered to talk about this as a trend globally, where government interests, corporate interests, special interests have learned how to use the news media,”Attkisson said, “how to use social media to control the narrative in ways, I think, more aggressively than has ever been done before.”
As for reporters, she asserted:
When they veer from the narrative that’s trying to be established by whatever power that exists, they’re controversialized, they’re bullied, they’re driven out of the mainstream. It’s a global trend. Whoever is trying to control the narrative has figured this out. They’re applying similar techniques around the world, and it’s certainly happening here in the United States.
Concerning public safety, Attkisson recently reported on Full Measure that Cleveland appears to be completely unprepared to host the upcoming GOP convention: “The head of policing said they’re not prepared; they haven’t been trained.”
She continued:
There is a complete disconnect between what the city official said is the preparation level and what the police said is the preparation level, and the head of the police unit said he’s worried his guys are going to get hurt, and they don’t have the equipment they expect. They fully think they’re going to be inundated with violent protesters because that’s what’s happened at other Trump events. So there’s concern there.
The full list of Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson shows can be found here. “There is fascinating stuff there you will not see on any other program,” said Attkisson.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.