Tuesday, March 03, 2015

MK Moshe Feiglin: Get Ready for the Comeback

In a television interview Monday, MK Moshe Feiglin said that the upcoming elections in Israel are nothing more than a promo for the next elections. “Nobody knows what the elections  are about,” Feiglin told journalist Avery Gilad. “There is no discussion on the political scene about meaning and identity – two basic issues that Israeli society must face.”

Feiglin said that his new party, which is sitting out these elections, will put the issues of Israel’s identity and the meaning of Jewish life in Israel on the table. “The party’s name is Zehut, identity; Israeli and Jewish identity,” said Feiglin. “It is a movement that will make peace with the deep conflict between Israeli identity and Jewish identity. That peace is essential for Israel so that it can deal with the challenges it faces from within and without. The movement will focus less on foreign affairs and more on domestic issues. If we settle our internal problems, we will be able to solve our external problems. If we are in conflict with ourselves, we will certainly be in conflict with our neighbors. This party is not rightist or leftist, religious or secular. It will encompass Israelis of all walks of life,” Feiglin explained.
Answering whether he thought that he will remain politically relevant even though he is not running in these elections, Feiglin answered that because the Zehut party will provide a true answer for Israel’s fundamental problems, people will remain interested. “Get ready for the comeback,” said Feiglin. “The time has come for our message, which incubated over the years, to stand on its own two feet. We are aiming for the top – to lead this nation.”

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Netanyahu's address to the Joint Session of Congress: Short Term Convenience vs Long Term Security

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

On June 7, 1981, Prime Minister Begin ordered the destruction of Iraq's nuclear reactor, shortly before it became operational and on the eve of the June 30 Israeli election.  In the short run, Begin was condemned and punished globally, accused of politicking and undermining US-Israel relations.  However, in the long run Begin's defiance dramatically enhanced Israel's power projection, upgraded US-Israel strategic cooperation and spared the US a nuclear confrontation in 1991.   
In 2015, Prime Minister Netanyahu is urged to cancel his address at the March 3 Joint Session of Congress - on the eve of the March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran and the March 17 Israeli election - lest it undermine US-Israel relations and fuels the rift between him and President Obama. Netanyahu is told that the President – and not Congress – possesses the authority to conclude/reject an agreement with Iran.
HoweverFebruary 16, 2015 CNN poll  documents a rift between Obama and the American peopleover foreign policy in general and the attitude toward Netanyahu in particular: 51%:41% disapprove of Obama's foreign policy; 43%:25% think that it is appropriate for Netanyahu to address the Joint Session of Congress before the March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran; and 47%:32% oppose Obama's handling of the Netanyahu's address.  At the same time, the annual February, 2015 Gallup poll, reaffirms vast public support of Israel (70%), in sharp contrast to the lack of support for the Palestinian Authority (17% - similar to Iran, Syria and North Korea).
Moreover, the Iran-driven rift between Obama and Netanyahu is unbridgeableas is the rift between Obama and the pro-US Arab regimes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt.  The latter are deemed by Teheran's Ayatollahs as apostates doomed to oblivion; hence, the Iran-supported subversion and terrorism, which has systematically afflicted them.  They are panicky about the prospect of a nuclear, apocalyptic, megalomaniacal Iran, which is already surging into Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, fueling global Islamic terrorism, triggering a potential avalanche, which would replace pro-US Arab regimes with radical, pro-Iran, anti-US elements.
They oppose Obama's policy of containing a nuclear Iran, and his eagerness to achieve an agreement, which would transform Iran into a nuclear threshold state, celebrating annually the "Death to America Day."  They are convinced that Iran's nuclear infrastructure must be the dismantled.  They are aware of Iran's rogue, anti-US, terroristic, subversive, anti-human rights and non-compliant track record, and therefore do not consider the Ayatollahs credible partners to an agreement. They insist that "at this stage, we prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal."
Notwithstanding Obama's assurancesthey are alarmed by President Obama's and Secretary Kerry's worldview and track record:  "the world is less violenthealthier and more tolerant than it has ever been;" subordinating unilateral US military actions to multilateral initiatives; considering the UN a key playmaker of international relations; bringing rogue regimes to the table, not to submission; refusing to acknowledge Islamic/Jihadist terrorism; claiming that economic and social grievances are the root cause of "violent extremism" (are ISIL, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorists and Boko Haram looking for jobs?); abandoning Iran's domestic opposition in 2009; betraying pro-US Mubarak; embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, the most organized Islamic terror organization; considering Hafiz and Bashar Assad (until 2011) as constructive leaders; welcoming the Arab Tsunami as an Arab Spring transitioning to democracy; the failed retreat from Iraq which bolstered Islamic terrorism and Iran's imperialism; the failed military involvement in Libya, which has been transformed into a terrorist haven; declaring victory over Al Qaeda and claiming that the war in Iraq was over; failing to fend off the Iranian surge in Yemen, which threatens Saudi Arabia and Oman as well as the free passage of oil tankers in the most critical straits of Bab al Mandeb and Hormuz; etc.
The November, 2014 midterm election paved the road to a dramatic rift between Obama and Congress, the world's most powerful legislature, which is a co-equal, co-determining branch of the US government in domestic, foreign and national security areas.
The US Constitution provides Congress with the power to shape foreign policy and to constrain presidential actions.  For example, Congress stopped the US military involvement in Vietnam, Angola and Nicaragua; prevented the supply of AWACs to Iran in 1977; brought down the white regime in South Africa; is still refusing to ratify the 1999 comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; overhauled the US intelligence agencies; coerced Moscow to allow free emigration; forced President Obama to veto a February, 2011 UN Security Council condemnation of Israel; forced Obama on August 1, during the 2015 war in Gaza, to sign a $225mn appropriation for the acquisition of Iron Dome batteries; etc.
Netanyahu's address to the Joint Session of Congress – which has the muscle to forge the policy on Iran - is driven by clear, present and lethal threats to the US, its Arab allies, Israel and Western democracies, not by political bickering.  Its timing is determined by the March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran, not by the March 17 Israeli election.  Just like Prime Minister Begin, Netanyahu's defiance of short-term political convenience will spare the US, Israel and the Free World long-term disasters.

The Chamberlainization of Israeli politics

Through ongoing attrition by the Arabs and capitulation by the Jews, what once were unthinkable concessions have become perceived policy imperatives.

Rabin, Clinton, and Arafat
Rabin, Clinton, and Arafat
From left; Former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, former US president Bill Clinton, and the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn.. (photo credit:REUTERS)
We regard the agreement signed last night… as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again… a British prime minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time.
– Neville Chamberlain, 1938, in wake of signature of the Munich Agreement with Hitler

You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.
– Winston Churchill, 1938, in wake of signature of the Munich Agreement with Hitler
In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners… all are losers…. We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and goodwill… even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with the dictators.
– Neville Chamberlain, 1938
You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength… to wage war against a monstrous tyranny…. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
– Winston Churchill, 1940
Since the late 1960s, following the sweeping military victory of the Six Day War, Israeli politics has been undergoing a malignant metamorphosis. Its progression was gradual, barely perceptible, until the early 1990s, when the metamorphosis mutated into a massive metastasis.
From vaunted virtue to vilified vice
The result has been a stunning sea-change, which has transformed the conduct of the political discourse, the substance of accepted/ acceptable political perceptions, and the assessment of existing/desired political outcomes, making them all virtually unrecognizable relative to those that prevailed decades ago.
The 1993 Oslo Accords, in which Israel agreed to accept the terrorist PLO as a legitimate negotiating partner, was a dramatic discontinuity in the evolution of Zionism.
Indeed, it soon saw a profound transformation of political processes in Israel, in which everything that came after it was qualitatively different – often diametrically opposed – to what came before.
As I noted in my column “Religion of retreat” (June 26, 2014): “Not only did the [Oslo process] grossly distort the founding ethos of Zionism, it inverted its essence and [reversed] the thrust of Zionism’s fundamental principles. What was once vaunted as virtue became vilified as vice – and vice versa.
Thus, it ushered in the previously taboo of Palestinian statehood as an acceptable, even preferred, mainstream policy option.
To justify this ideo-intellectual somersault, its architects began spawning an approach – or rather, a syndrome – that elevated surrender of homeland and abandonment of kin as the loftiest of enlightened values, while denigrating any sign of assertive endorsement of Jewish identity or solidarity as “ethnocratic racism.”
From defiant ‘David’ to compliant ‘Goliath’
Now, almost a quarter-century after the fatal concoction of the noxious Oslowian brew that culminated in the so-called Declaration of Principles (aka Oslo I) on the White House lawn in September 1993, Israel is a vastly different place – not only in terms of outer physical appearance, but in terms of inner spiritual vigor. There appears to be an inverse relationship between the height and opulence of the myriad towering high-rises, springing up in cities all around the country, and the level of national pride and self-esteem Israel conducts itself with in the international arena.
Paradoxically, as the external signs of material success multiply, there seems to be a diminishing belief in the nation’s ability to determine its destiny. The greater the economic prosperity and technological advancement, the less its apparent will to exercise its rights as a sovereign state.
Increasingly, Israel seems to see itself (and allows others to see it) less and less as a diminutive but daringly defiant “David,” and more and more as a compliant “Goliath,” susceptible to pressure, acquiescing to ever-more outrageous demands, plainly detrimental to its national interest, in a frantic effort to avoid appearing intransigent.
But of course, complying with such demands is inevitably counterproductive, for it only whets appetites for further and more far-reaching demands – and heightens impatient expectations that they be complied with, forthwith.
Slippery slope…
In the first volume of his epic series on the Second World War, Winston Churchill, traced the tragic chain of events the Chamberlain government’s policy of appeasement had wrought just prior to the German invasion of Poland: “Look back and see what we had successively accepted or thrown away: a Germany disarmed by solemn treaty; a Germany rearmed in violation of a solemn treaty; air superiority or even air parity cast away; the Rhineland forcibly occupied and the Siegfried Line built or building; the Berlin- Rome Axis established; Austria devoured and digested by the Reich; Czechoslovakia deserted and ruined by the Munich Pact, its fortress line in German hands, its mighty arsenal of Skoda henceforward making munitions for the German armies… the services of 35 Czech divisions against the still unripened German Army cast away… all gone with the wind.”
He lamented the folly and the inevitable consequences of this policy: “… if you will not fight when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival…” Sternly, he warned of the “wrong judgments formed by well-meaning and capable people,” who, “however honorable their motives,” would be “blameworthy before history” for facilitating the tragedy he correctly foresaw, resulting from their futile attempts to assuage dictators by accommodating their demands.
Pernicious parallel
Israeli political leaders would do well to heed the lesson to be learned from the catastrophic consequences that continued concession and capitulation culminated in, for a similar process has afflicted Israeli policy in its struggle to contend with its tyrannical Arab adversaries.
This pernicious parallel is thrown into stark relief by Yitzhak Rabin’s final address to the Knesset (October 5, 1995), barely a month before his assassination. In the address, in which he sought parliamentary ratification of the Oslo II Agreement, he laid out his vision for the permanent agreement with the Palestinians.
Repudiating the now well-known Obama prescription, he asserted categorically, “We will not return to the June 4, 1967, lines.”
Rejecting the idea of a sovereign Palestinian state, he declared: “The permanent solution will include a Palestinian entity which will be an entity which is less than a state.”
Rabin then went on to detail some of “the main changes… which we envision and want in the permanent solution.”
On Jerusalem: “First and foremost, a united Jerusalem, including both Ma’aleh Adumim and Givat Ze’ev – as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.”
On the Jordan Valley: “The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest sense of that term.”
On settlements: “Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Betar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the Green Line prior to the Six Day War.”
And perhaps most significantly: “The establishment of [new] blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the ones in Gush Katif” – the latter subsequently destroyed by Ariel Sharon’s 2005 Gaza disengagement.
Once unthinkable concessions; today policy imperatives
As I have pointed out in previous columns (see for example, “A hijacked ‘heritage,’” October 17, 2013) in which I referred to this address, it is remarkable for a number reasons.
First, as mentioned, it was made just prior to his assassination, and as such was his last public prescription for a permanent resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians.
Moreover, not only was it delivered after he had been awarded the Nobel Peace prize and hailed internationally as a “valiant warrior for peace,” it conveyed to the Israeli public the outcome they should expect at the culmination of the Oslo process. Finally, it should be recalled that, at the time, this Oslo-compliant position articulated by Rabin was considered a radical lurch leftward, entailing concessions not only unthinkable prior to his 1992 election, but totally incompatible with the platform he had presented to the voter.
Yet despite all this; despite fact that the Oslo formula as presented by Rabin was considered by much of the electorate as excessively – indeed, unacceptably – concessionary; despite the fact that it was only ratified in the Knesset by the vote of a soon-to-be convicted drug-smuggling fraudster (then- MK Gonen Segev), if, in the present political climate, it was embraced verbatim by Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, they would be dismissed as unreasonable, unrealistic rejectionists.
Thus, by an ongoing process of attrition by the Arabs on the one hand, and capitulation by the Jews on the other, what once were unthinkable concessions became perceived policy imperatives for any conceivable configuration of a resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians.
Uselessness of unctuousness
Predictably, the Oslo-complicit concessions did little to advance the cause of peace or assuage Palestinian grievances. Far-reaching offers, acquiescing to virtually all Palestinians demands, by Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert were rejected or ignored, only precipitating more violent conflagrations.
Further conciliatory gestures by Netanyahu – his acceptance of Palestinian statehood, the construction freeze in Judea-Samaria, the unrequited release of convicted terrorists – were to no avail – either in advancing substantive accords with the Palestinians or in obviating his image as a rejectionist with the international community.
Last week, The Jerusalem Post’s Sarah Honig, with her usual eloquence and perceptiveness, provided a scathing indictment of the self-obstructive – even self-destructive – obsequiousness that has taken hold of many in the Israeli political establishment, willing to imperil themselves, their people and their country, in a desperate endeavor to avoid angering others.
Focusing on the domestic censure of Netanyahu’s acceptance of the offer to address a joint session of Congress to convey his grave misgivings as to the dangers entailed in the emerging agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, she commented bitterly: “You can take the Jew out of the Diaspora, but not all the Diaspora out of all Jews. Israel’s Left and its media mouthpieces are prime examples.
To hear them, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unpardonably angered the nobleman from the Oval Office. It was Netanyahu’s duty to obediently… self-destruct to appease his boss.”
It seems Chamberlain is alive and well in influential political circles in Israel.
Selling surrender as strategy
Astonishingly, undeterred by Arab intransigence, the Israeli adherents of the Chamberlainesque policy of political appeasement and territorial withdrawal have now come up with an even more radical proposal in their obsessive and futile pursuit of an unattainable peace accord.
Although many on the Israeli Left have despaired of reaching such an accord through bilateral contacts with the Palestinians, they have now embraced a new and more perilous paradigm – originally named the Saudi Peace Plan, now known as the Arab Peace Initiative.
The initiative is, in effect, a document of surrender to the Arabs, which in erases all the accomplishments of the 1967 Six Day War and even some of the 1948 War of Independence.
It contravenes every single element of Rabin’s previously cited prescription. It demands: (a) Israel return to the 1967 lines – with or without insignificant land swaps (b) the division of Jerusalem, (c) the evacuation of the Golan, and (d) a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee “problem.”
In short, it is a transparent blueprint for the staged annihilation of the Jewish state, which makes the fact that almost 200 senior security experts have embraced it – together with the ridiculous notion of a “regional solution” – as a “strategic initiative,” all the more distressing. But more on the Arab Peace Initiative and the “regional solution” in coming weeks.
Historians will be baffled
Allow me to conclude with one more excerpt from Churchill. He warned that “if mortal catastrophe should overtake the British Nation and the British Empire, historians a thousand years hence will still be baffled by the mystery of our affairs. They will never understand how it was that a victorious nation, with everything in hand, suffered themselves to be brought low, and to cast away all that they had gained by measureless sacrifice and absolute victory.”
The same goes for Israel.
Martin Sherman (www.martinsherman.org) is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. (www.strategicisrael.org)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Amalek Against Jerusalem

Rabbi David Chai Hacohen

By Rabbi David Chai Hacohen (Written by the rabbi)

Dedicated to the memory of Asher Ben Haim

1. Remember - Do Not Forget
2. The Throne of God
3. War on Two Levels
4. If I Forget Thee Jerusalem5. Fourteen, Fifteen

Remember - Do Not Forget
In reading the "Zakhor" Torah portion (Deuteronomy 25:17-19), we fulfill two Torah commandments: the commandment to "remember (‘zakhor’) what Amalek did to you" (Ibid. 17), which is a positive precept to verbalize the Torah verses which warn us of our obligation to remember Amalek’s act. The nation of Amalek, which stood out as the most powerful nation of its day, both militarily and culturally, attempted to prevent Israel from returning to their homeland after the long Egyptian exile and to forestall them from carrying out their Divine task of building a Holy Temple as a Throne of Honor for the God of the Universe, and, by so doing, to illuminate the darkness of the physical world with an eternal light.

The second commandment, "Do not forget [what Amalek did to you]" (Ibid. 19), is a negative precept. Its purpose is to make us aware of the fact that verbalization is not enough. The idea must be ingrained in one’s heart as well. Only after we have fully absorbed, inwardly and outwardly, the recognition of our responsibility to build the Temple, the construction of which is dependent upon the annihilation of the nation of Amalek and the perfection of the world, will we possess the courage to rise up and wage war upon our archenemy. In doing this, the words of the Torah, "and nobody will stand before them (Joshua 21:42)" will be fulfilled through our nation.

The Throne of God
In "Psikta DeRav Kahana," on the verses of the Zakhor portion, the sages raise a question regarding the commandment to annihilate the Amalekites. Here it is written, "erase all memory of Amalek" (Deuteronomy 25:18), i.e., the obligation is ours - we must erase; elsewhere, though, it is written "for I will surely erase all memory of Amalek" (Exodus 17:14), i.e., the Almighty Himself will carry out this act. How is it possible for both of these two verses to be fulfilled? Is it we that are to erase the memory of Amalek, or God?

The Midrash answers: "Up until the point where Amalek reached out his hand in an attempt to take hold of the Throne of God, the Torah tells us to ‘erase all memory of Amalek’; but, after actually having reached out and taken hold of God’s throne, ‘I will surely erase all memory of Amalek.’" The author of Psikta immediately asks, "But is it not inconceivable that flesh and blood take hold of God’s throne?" and answers, "[Taking hold of God’s throne is possible] by destroying Jerusalem, which is called, ‘the Throne of God,’ as it is written, "At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘the Throne of God.’" Therefore there was a need for the verse, "I will surely erase all memory of Amalek." And the Psikta explains, "Before Amalek laid his hands on Jerusalem, ‘erase all memory of Amalek,’ but once he laid his hands on Jerusalem, ‘God is at war with Amalek.’"

War On Two Levels
From the words of the Psikta, then, it becomes clear that Israel is engaged in a war with Amalek on two levels: the first concerns our national existence and calls for defending it from Amalek’s extreme cruelty, for the Amalekites take pity upon none. This is what is meant by the verse "Remember what Amalek did to you," the cruelty and evil heartedness which he showed you, "when they encountered you on the way," while you were unsettled, for it is common courtesy to commiserate with one who is on the road and has not yet reached his destination. What’s more, Amalek displayed cruelty toward the powerless and isolated, as it is written, "they cut off those lagging to your rear." This is what lies behind the commandment to resist being softhearted toward them, and instead take full revenge for what they did to our brothers and sisters, killing them for no reason: "Erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens."

The Torah, though, comes and teaches us that Amalek does not merely oppose our physical national presence. This evil nation opposes our purpose and spiritual mission in the world. This, then, is the "second" level of the war with Amalek. Amalek desires to topple God’s ability to establish a stronghold in this world, with an inner recognition that the only true resting place for Divinity in this world is amidst His chosen nation. Amidst them exists the largest concentration of "holy lights," and these lights, in this world, are produced in Jerusalem, the Holy City. Therefore he makes a concentrated effort to smash this stronghold, God’s worldly throne in Jerusalem.

We can thus see how the words of the verse, "First among nations is Amalek" (Numbers 24:20), are coming true in our own generation. An international attack is being waged upon Israel - especially upon its spirit, the Divine spirit whose practical expression is the rebuilt city of Jerusalem.

In light of this, we gain strength from the knowledge that the war against God and His throne draws the Almighty Himself into the picture. Therefore, as in the words of the sages in their interpretation of the verse, "I will surely erase the memory of Amalek," we can expect Divine intervention in the form of a double blow: "Macheh, Emcheh" ("I will surely erase," in Hebrew, takes the form of a repetition of a single verb root - "Macheh Emcheh"). The Book of Zechariah contains explicit verses to this effect - that when the nations come to wage war on Jerusalem, God will "descend" from heaven to do battle with them.

Having clarified the above, it is now possible to better understand a number of episodes in the Book of Ester, in Jewish law, and in history.

If I Forget Thee Jerusalem
The Book of Ester relates and describes the nature of the struggle for survival into which the Jewish people were thrown in one of the most difficult periods in its existence. The Land of Israel was in a state of destruction, the Temple was burnt down, the Jews were scattered throughout the exile without any sort of recognizable concentrated leadership. In the lands of their exile the Jews lived in a detached, spiritual manner, to the point where they forgot themselves and their proud lineage and were prepared to sit down and partake in the celebration of gentiles in the capital city of Shushan.

One of the interesting things about the Book of Ester is the fact that no mention of the Land of Israel appears in the text. It does not appear even once. Yet, under the piles of ashes, a burning ember is discernable. The memory of Jerusalem, the Holy City, is not lost even to the Jews of Shushan who eat at the banquet of Achashverosh. What’s more, thanks to Jerusalem, they begin to recall their glorious past in the form of Yehoyakhin, the king of Judah, the Kingdom of Israel which was connected to Jerusalem.

This inner light makes noticeable those distinguishing marks which set the Jews apart from the nations amongst which they are mixed. "All that Mordecai instructed was written to the Jews, as well as to the governors, satraps, and nobles of the lands from India to Ethiopia, 127 lands, to each land in its writing, and to each nationality in its language - and to the Jews in their writing and language" (Ester 8:9). Handwritten script, one of man’s unique capacities, together with speech, language, which contains a special ring, uniquely attuned to the soul of the Jew, are clearly recognizable by their indelible inner signature. These roots bring forth "spices and the myrtles" - Mordechai and Ester, who, via the strong scent which they radiate, succeed in easing the putrid stench which threatened to suffocate God’s nation, Israel.

Fourteen, Fifteen
One of the more difficult questions regarding the Book of Ester is why the miracle occurred for two days and not for one as was the case with all other miracles merited by the Jewish people. What’s more, even though the miracle endured, why should the sages have seen fit to establish Purim as a two-day holiday? In addition, we find that the sages fixed the fifteenth of Adar as the date of celebration for all walled cities from the period of Joshua bin Nun, in commemoration of the miracle of Shushan the capital. Yet, when we consider what has transpired since the time of this ordinance, we find that there is no city in the Land of Israel, or, for that matter, in the entire world, which is fully obligated to read on the fifteenth of Adar - except for Jerusalem. For, all other cities which read on the fifteenth, read without a blessing, after having read on the fourteenth with a blessing. They read on the fifteenth only in order to be on the safe side. If so, Jerusalem is the one and only city in the world wherein the Scroll of Ester is read both day and night with a blessing, and in which the commandments of feasting, sending food items, and giving gifts to the poor must be carried out on the fifteenth, such that if one were to perform these acts on the fourteenth one would not have fulfilled his obligation. So, why did God arrange for the miracle of Shushan to reveal itself in Jerusalem? What is the connection between the holiest city in the world and Achashverosh’s capital?

Based upon our previous conclusions, the above difficulties are rendered explainable. The Jews in Shushan, subject to the influence of the Persian kingdom, were not able to hold their ground and were simply swept away by the current of muddy waters, to the point where these hapless Jews were no longer able to recognize their own national uniqueness and found themselves partaking in a non-kosher feast in the court garden of the king’s palace. And, despite this fact, even these Jews did not forget Jerusalem, for the Book of Ester makes note of the fact that Mordechai was from Jerusalem. Deep inside, they remembered the greatness of Jerusalem, and her royal memory which was alluded to in the name of her final king - "Yehoyachin" which may be translated: "God secured." God secured him and his kingdom in Jerusalem.

The Jews of other lands had not sunk so deeply into the pit of exile. For them, their merit was such that they were spared on the first day, the fourteenth of Adar. But for the Jews of distant and remote Shushan, the merit of the land of Israel and the Torah were not enough to help them, seeing as they were so far removed. They therefore could rely only upon the power of Jerusalem, with her ability to affect even the most distant Jews. For this reason, they received their miracle on a separate day. This teaches us that there are two levels in the redemption of Israel. The redemption of those who are close to the way of the Torah is quicker, and its inception takes place sooner, while redemption of the far-removed, though it too is bound to take place eventually, comes only later. This later redemption will result through the merit of a hard-core element, which will refuse to totter or crumble. This is the "Jerusalem core."

Hence, because the salvation of Shushan Jewry came about through the merit of Jerusalem, there was a need to emphasize and single out its unique status. This had to be done in a clear-cut manner leaving no room for doubt. Therefore a separate day was set aside for Jerusalem, for the sake of celebrating Purim.

We might perhaps, in light of the above, provide a unique explanation for the Biblical verse wherein God says to Moses: "Write this as a reminder in the Book...for the Hand is on God’s Throne. God shall be at war with Amalek for all generations" (Exodus 17:16). The word "hand" ("Yad" in Hebrew) hints at the first miracle, which occurred on the fourteenth of Adar (the word "Yad" has a numerical value of fourteen), while the word "God" ("Yah" in Hebrew) indicates the miracle which occured on the fifteenth of Adar ("Yah" equals fifteen).

We may, then, interpret the verse as follows: If one is puzzled at the fact that there are both "Yad" and "Yah" miracles, know that the first miracle takes place in order to spare Israel of their responsibility to erase the memory of Amalek, while the second one ("Yah") alludes to the Throne of God - Jerusalem. Hence, it is clear that it is the Almighty God Himself who exclaims "I will surely erase the memory of Amalek" should he dare to lay a hand on Jerusalem.

May we be privileged to witness with our own eyes the heartwarming return of God’s presence to Zion, with compassion.

Some of the verses in the above article were taken from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s "The Living Torah," and from the "Me’am Loez Torah Anthology," (both published by Moznaim)

Time for a New Zionist Vision

By The Alliance for New Zionist Vision

One simple truth has redrawn the true political battle lines in Israel.  Zionism – as we have known it- has served its purpose, and it’s time is over.

The Zionism that emerged in the late 19th century was arguably the most successful national liberation movement in modern history. It took a people scattered across the globe and returned it to its ancestral homeland, revived its ancient language, built roads, towns, and infrastructure, and created a Jewish army and a vibrant economy.  It achieved its goal of political independence for a dispersed and oppressed people. But while Zionism’s ideological tools were essential to physically returning the Jewish people to our homeland, those same tools are inadequate for taking us to the next stage of our development. We are now in now in a “post-Zionist” age.
The death of traditional Zionism has cleared the stage for a bigger vision of Zionism’s future, and many different voices are now emerging that are giving shape to this bigger vision. The Alliance for a New Zionist Vision is a coalition of several  grassroots organizations in Israel and the Diaspora that joined together to inject this new vision into the World Zionist Organization.  Theodore Herzl created the WZO 118 years ago to bring the original Zionism to reality and it’s still the official body of the Zionist movement worldwide.  We are running a slate for representation at the upcoming World Zionist Congress (see details of the WZC here).
Like Moshe Feiglin, these new voices accept that the attainment of Jewish independence through Zionism was nothing more than an important phase in a much larger revolution. Rather than merely creating a safe haven or defensively resisting the partition of our homeland, we aim to focus our efforts on creating within our borders an authentically Jewish civilization that will apply our deepest concepts of justice and morality to the complexities of modern nationhood and will be the “Light unto the Nations” envisioned by our great leaders and thinkers throughout the generations.
Our slate’s goals include fighting for recognition of the Jewish people as indigenous to the Land of Israel, exposing the “colonized” elements of our identity to promote a deeper connection to our authentic culture, exploring outside-the-box solutions to the Middle East conflict.  We are fighting for a change in Israel advocacy on college campuses and in the media in order to emphasize Jewish rights, the justice of our cause, and the wondrous story of our people’s return to its native culture and homeland.
The WZC allocates a multimillion dollar budget, and it helps direct 100’s of millions of dollars of Jewish Agency funds.  The Alliance for New Zionist Vision is committed to ensuring that these funds reach those truly in the trenches of the current conflicts of the Jewish people worldwide, to reducing tuition and offering subsidies at Jewish schools, and to promoting creative hands-on educational programs that develop a deep emotional connection to our people and its historic aspirations.
Over the years, the WZO has become old and stodgy, lacking the vision and sense of purpose that are needed to  confront anti-Israeli attacks on campuses, BDS and the constant de-legitimization facing our people. It has become largely irrelevant to the current struggles of the Jewish people. It is time to let those with the passion, idealism, and vision impact the WZO agenda.

Unique in the history of the WZC, our slate is running EXCLUSIVELY young candidates. We, the Alliance for New Zionist Vision, are the collective voice of student leaders and young adults passionately engaged in our people’s national mission and struggles. We are the inspired young leadership that will forge a new vision for Zionism’s role in our people’s incredible story. We are the drive that will revitalize the World Zionist Congress and shape the decisions of the official Zionist movement.
Our generation isn’t satisfied with the outdated ideological paradigms of previous decades. What we represent is #NotYourMothersZionism.  Please join us in our efforts to impact the World Zionist Congress and vote for the ANZV today.
To learn more about us, read our platform, or have a representative come to your area, please visit our website.

ABCD – Applaud Bibi’s Congress Decision

By Shmuel Sackett

I have opposed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on many occasions but when he does something right, brave and very courageous, I am the first to commend him. His controversial decision to speak in front of the US Congress next week is an example of such an act. In my opinion, it is the greatest thing the Prime Minister has done since taking office, close to seven years ago!

Many people, both in Israel and throughout the United States are worried about souring relations with President Obama and the US administration. These critics claim that this speech is arousing unnecessary tensions between our two countries and causing a rift between us. To them, I have a very simple answer; this act by Prime Minister Netanyahu will accomplish the complete opposite! It will bring respect to Israel – and not just from the USA – but from around the world. It will bring honor to the Jewish Nation and will invigorate our people with positive energy.
Allow me to explain why I feel this way. In September 1993 the Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzchak Rabin, signed the infamous “Oslo Accords” on the White House lawn with Yasser Arafat and US President Bill Clinton.  Since that time, we did exactly what was requested of us from the world community; We brought the PLO back to Israel and made Arafat the President of the “Palestinian People”. We threw 8,000 of our fellow Jews out of their homes in the beautiful Southwest coastal region of Israel and destroyed their homes, businesses, shuls, Yeshivot and even dug up their graves. We divided the Biblical heartland of Israel into sections and gave away holy cities such as Shechem and Betlechem and we forbid Jews from building in 80% of that land. We divided many parts of the holiest city of Jerusalem and forbade Jews from praying on the site where Abraham bound Isaac and where the Temples stood for over 800 years. Even though things are very tough financially in Israel, and many Jews go to sleep hungry at night, we spent over one TRILLION shekels since the beginning of that failed process just to try to make it work. In short; we did everything that was asked of us by the world community… and it got us nowhere.
In Israel, 2,000 Jews are dead since the handshake of September 1993 and 100,000 are wounded and nobody – but nobody – believes in this ridiculous peace dream any more.
Around the world; Anti-Semitism is at a post WWII high. In many modern countries, such as France, Rabbis are actually instructing their male followers not to wear “kippot” in the street or look “too Jewish” for fear of being attacked. American universities have become dangerous places for Jews to study and every Chabad House around the world looks like Fort Knox.
This does not make any sense! Israel has done everything the world asked for yet the world responds with hate??? Don’t they know about our heroic humanitarian efforts after the tragedies in Haiti and the Philippines? Don’t they know how civilized our army is, even to the point of risking the lives of IDF soldiers in order to minimize civilian casualties when fighting Hamas and Hezbollah? Doesn’t the world see how hard we work to protect Moslems who wish to pray on the Temple Mount, even to the point of arresting our own Rabbis and Knesset Members?
Please excuse me but I have to stop for a minute. I am typing these words and actually laughing as they appear on my screen. This very serious article is looking like a Purim skit and if it weren’t 100% true – and tragic – it would indeed win awards for its humor. OF COURSE the world sees everything I just listed above. The problem is that they see it and they interpret it – not as strength, faith, caring, compassion and sacrificing for peace – they see it as WEAKNESS, APOLOGIES, LACK OF JUSTICE and even ATHEISM! They view Israel, and Jews worldwide, as feeble, guilt-ridden, unfortunate souls who will do anything for acceptance and love. Finally, when they see Israeli leaders on television, they laugh – yes, they laugh. They laugh at their cowardice and their naivety. They laugh at their foolishness and political correctness and they laugh because nobody believes a word they say!
Let’s get back to the speech before Congress. Prime Minister Netanyahu could have done what so many had done before. In the name of peace, he could have “folded his cards” and politely apologized to President Obama. He could have come out with a strong statement and read it, together with Secretary of State John Kerry. Finally, he could have made his speech – the exact one he will make in front of Congress – at the AIPAC Policy Conference, which will be held the SAME WEEK as the Congressional speech! Had he made the speech to AIPAC, he would have created no controversy, no tension and been under no pressure from the US administration!
This is exactly why I am supporting Prime Minister Netanyahu in this endeavor. Yes, he could have done any or ALL of the suggestions above… but he chose NOT TO!! The reason is clear – because had he gone “the easy way”, the way most Israeli leaders have chosen to act up until now, he would have caused damage to the Jewish nation by – ONCE AGAIN – showing the world weak, apologetic and cowardly leadership. By standing tall… and strong… and brave… and looking President Obama in the eye and NOT giving in, he awakens the sleeping giant of Jewish pride and independence. He teaches the world a very important lesson: that Israel will not fulfill every wish of theirs – because it has done nothing for us but strengthen the anti-Semite. He follows the heroic example of David Ben Gurion who declared the state of Israel AGAINST the wishes of US President Truman. He follows the heroic example of Levi Eshkol who attacked the Old City of Jerusalem AGAINST the wishes of US President Johnson and he follows the heroic example of Menachem Begin who bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor AGAINST the wishes of US President Reagan. These acts – in 1948, 1967and 1981 – brought respect to Israel. It REDUCED anti-Semitism around the world because when Israel stands strong and does what is best for her, the world responds with honor and dignity.
I humbly ask, that each and every one of you do the same. Support the Prime Minister of Israel in this brave and courageous act and send a message to him – and to the entire world – that Israeli leaders have started to return to the days of old, when strength, pride and faith in G-d were the most important factors. This is as simple as ABCD; Applaud Bibi’s CongressDecision! Do it now!!

Moshe Feiglin Reveals Name of New Party

Feiglin said that he plans to turn to the broad public – not just religious or right. According to Feiglin, the party will create an alternative based on liberty, identity and meaning.
“Israel needs faith based leadership,” said Feiglin. “None of the parties running right now have solutions for the challenges facing Israel. I do not expect the new government to last more than two years.”
The journalists on the panel noted that Feiglin is not like Lapid, who won 19 seats the first time that he ran. Unlike Lapid, Feiglin is religious, with rightist views, does not host a popular television show and more. “All of that is right,” Feiglin countered. “But the difference between Lapid and me is that I am connected to reality. That reality necessitates the solution that I am talking about. At some point in the future, it will all come together. There will be no choice.”

If You Remain Silent…:HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Tetzaveh 5775

Parashat Tetzaveh 5775 
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Moshe’s Name is Missing

Today the 7th of Adar, is the date of Moshe Rabbeinu’s birth and the day of his passing away 120 years later. Moshe died on the mountain of Nevo in the tribe of Reuven, and his body was moved by HaShem to an unknown location in the tribe of Gad.
Beginning with parashat Shmot, Moshe’s name is mentioned in every parasha until the end of the Book of Devarim, except for one – our parasha Tetzaveh. HaShem dictated to Moshe every world to appear in the Torah and He commanded Moshe to omit his own name from this parasha in order to serve as an everlasting memorial to Moshe’s self-sacrifice when he declared to HaShem, that if the Jewish nation would be destroyed because of the Golden Calf episode, then his own name should be omitted from the Torah. Interestingly, the 7th of Adar falls out every year in parashat Tetzaveh.
It is only fitting that the Medina has declared this very day to memorialize our holy sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives in defense of the Holy Land, and whose place of burial is unknown.
The norm is to erect imposing monuments on the place of burial of outstanding individuals. However, we cannot do so regarding Moshe, neither can we do so regarding those holy soldiers whose place of burial is unknown.
It would not be surprising, if in the world of absolute truth – Olam Haba, on this very day Moshe is teaching a private shiur to those holy soldiers.
It should be a point of comfort for the bereaved families that the Gemara states that a Jew who is killed on Kiddush HaShem (killed for being a Jew) is awarded a special place in Olam Haba.

If You Remain Silent…

Tractate Yoma 29a:
אמר רב אסי: למה נמשלה אסתר לשחר? לומר לך מה שחר סוף כל הלילה אף אסתר סוף כל הנסים והא איכא חנוכה? ניתנה לכתוב קא אמרינן
Rav Asi said: Why was (Queen) Esther compared to the blackest time of night just before dawn?
To inform you that as the darkest moments signal the end of night, so too was Esther the end of miracles. (And the rabbis asked Rav Asi): But wasn’t Chanuka which came after the story of Esther not a miracle? (And he replied) My intention is that Esther was the last of the miracles to be recorded in the 24 books of the Bible.
The Gemara in Megila 14a states that a recorded miracle had significance for its time and significance for the future; while an unrecorded miracle has no significance for the future.
Indeed, the events of the recorded Megila are unfolding right now before our very eyes, the names are different but the situations are similar.
As in the days of Mordechai and Esther, the nation which plotted and planned to obliterate the Jewish people in one day was Persia, as it is today, under the name Iran which is advancing daily to achieve their explicitly stated goal of attaining nuclear weapons and ICBMs to deliver them to Europe and the USA.
Today, the plan to destroy the Jewish state is unopposed by the vast majority of UN members, as in the time of Achashverosh and Haman whose plan to destroy the Jewish people was unopposed by the 127 nations under Persian control.
At the time of Esther, there were those who betrayed the Jewish dream of returning to Zion, by partaking in the grand banquet hosted by the King, where the food was served out of vessels and dishes taken from the holy Temple. So too today, there are influential segments of the Jewish nation who betray the ideals, hopes and aspirations of the healthy segments of Judaism by siding with the enemy. Like the J. Street traitors of the USA, the despicable Neturai Karta of Williamsburg who periodically visit Teheran, not to mention many leftists in Israel.
Today as then, the diabolical plans of destruction are made by heads of state at presidential dinners or sitting rooms, and sealed with toasts sounded over the background of champagne goblets clinking in glee.
Today as then, there are Jews in the galut, leaders and laymen, who choose to remain on the sidelines of Jewish destiny in the belief that non-involvement will keep them under the radar screen of their gentile masters. However, the marshaling words of Mordechai to Esther (4,14) ring ever more true today:
כי אם החרש תחרישי בעת הזאת רוח והצלה יעמוד ליהודים ממקום אחר ואת ובית אביך תאבדו
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.
At that time there was considerable doubt in Esther’s mind whether she should enter uninvited into the King’s inner chamber to plea for her people. And today, controversy and division surround our Prime Minister’s uninvited visit by the White House, to appear before a joint meeting of Congress to explain the suicidal road the free world is being led on by the US’s Moslem orientated President.
Mordechai and Esther belonged to the tribe of Binyamin, and Binyamin Natanyahu will speak for the Jewish State of the 3rd of March, which will be in Eretz Yisrael the beginning of the 13th of Adar – the Fast of Esther.
What saved us then will save us now! The call to arms sounded by Mordechai and the other 119 members of the Anshei Knesset Hagedola (The Great Assembly) to train in preparation for the war against the 127 lands under Persian control. The fierce military battles were waged on the 13th and 14 of Adar by the Jews who were faithful to HaShem. He blessed them with victory, and brought to us the holiday of Purim.
So too will HaShem bless the holy soldiers of Tzahal, whenever and wherever they will have to fulfill their duty of protecting the Jewish people.
And let us not forget the crescendo of the Purim episode – the return of many Jews with Zerubavel, and then afterward with Ezra and Nechemia to rebuild Yerushalayim and the Second Bet HaMikdash.
We too will merit to see in our generation three astonishing happenings:
  1. The return en masse of millions upon millions of Jews to the holy cities of Eretz Yisrael, including Shechem, Bet Lechem, and Chevron.
  2. HaShem’s wrath poured upon all the enemies of our people.
  3. The rebuilding of the Bet HaMikdash on the Temple Mount, including the restoration of the Sanhedrin and the Davidic Monarchy.
The future is an open book for all to see and study. For example Yirmiyahu chapter 30:
ג) כי הנה ימים באים נאם ה’ ושבתי את שבות עמי ישראל ויהודה אמר ה’ והשבתים אל הארץ אשר נתתי לאבותם וירשוה: פ

3 Days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity, says HaShem, and restore them to the land, I gave their ancestors to possess…
(HaShem is aware that our return to the Promised Land will not be without fierce opposition from religions which will feel threatened. So He dictates to the prophet to add)….

י) ואתה אל תירא עבדי יעקב נאם ה’ ואל תחת ישראל כי הנני מושיעך מרחוק ואת זרעך מארץ שבים ושב יעקב ושקט ושאנן ואין מחריד:
יא) כי אתך אני נאם ה’ להושיעך כי אעשה כלה בכל הגוים אשר הפצותיך שם…

(10) Do not fear, Jacob my servant, says HaShem. And do not be dismayed, Israel, For I will surely save you out of a distant place, and your descendants from the land of their captivity.
Jacob (the Nation of Israel) will again have peace and security and no one will make him afraid.
(11) I am with you, declares HaShem, to save you. When I will completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you…

טז) לכן כל אכליך יאכלו וכל צריך כלם בשבי ילכו והיו שאסיך למשסה וכל בזזיך אתן לבז:

(16) All who devoured you will be devoured; all your enemies will go into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered; all who make spoil of you I will despoil.

יח) כה אמר ה’ הנני שב שבות אהלי יעקוב ומשכנתיו ארחם ונבנתה עיר על תלה וארמון על משפטו ישב:

 (18) “This is what the Lord says: I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings;  the city (Yerushalayim) will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace (Bet HaMikdash) will stand in its proper place (Mount Moriah).
כה) בעת ההיא נאם ה’ אהיה לאלהים לכל משפחות ישראל והמה יהיו לי לעם:

In days to come I shall be the acknowledged God to all the families of Yisrael and they shall be My Nation.
Indeed! The return en masse of millions upon millions of Jew to the Promised Land.
And HaShem’s wrath will be poured out on all the enemies of our people, of the past, present and future.
We will witness the rebuilding of the Bet HaMikdash on the Temple Mount and the restoration of our past Torah society.
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5775/2015 Nachman Kahana

Israel’s King is also the Servant of G-d

A Torah Thought for Parashat Tetzaveh 

by Moshe Feiglin

And I will dwell in the midst of the Children of Israel and I will be their G-d.”

(From this week’s Torah portion, T’ztaveh, Exodus 29:45)
“And I will dwell in the midst of the Children of Israel.” The Holy Temple is the necessary tool for the coronation of the Creator as King of the World. A king is not a king without a nation, a land, a capital and a royal palace. The nations of the world coronate kings of flesh and blood, enslave themselves to humans and build them glorious palaces. But the King of Israel is not a mere human. Israel testifies to the Kingdom of G-d. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem is His royal palace.
This is the way to achieve liberty for the Nation of Israel and for the world. One person is not slave to another, but we are all servants of G-d. The first of those servants is the human king of Israel whose entire purpose is to fulfill the destiny of the Nation of Israel: to perfect the world in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Shabbat Shalom.

The Secret of the Tabernacle

By Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg 
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh
"And let them make a Tabernacle for me, and I will dwell within them" [Shemot 25:8]. The Ramban discusses this verse. "The hidden meaning of the Tabernacle is that the glory which rested on Mount Sinai is the same as the glory which rests on the Tabernacle, as is written, 'And the glory of G-d rested on Mount Sinai' [24:16]. With respect to the Tabernacle, it is written, 'the glory of G-d filled the Tabernacle' [40:35]. And in the Tabernacle the nation of Yisrael always kept the glory that they saw at Mount Sinai. One who looks carefully at these passages will understand the secrets of the Tabernacle and the Temple."
Similarly, at Sinai, "Moshe approached the thick cloud where G-d was" [20:18]. In the Tabernacle, "The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting" [40:34]. Thus, the events at Mount Sinai are not limited to just giving the Torah but rather involve the revelation of the Shechina in the entire world.
"And they heard the sound of G-d walking in the Garden" [Bereishit 3:8]. "The essence of the Shechina was down below. When Adam sinned, the Shechina removed itself and went to the first 'Rakiya,' the lowest level of heaven (out of seven). When Kayin sinned, it moved further away, to the second Rakiya... At the time of Avraham Egypt returned it to the sixth level. At the same time, seven righteous men stood up. Avraham stood up and brought the Shechina back to the sixth level... Moshe stood up and brought it from the highest level all the way back to the bottom." Thus, the descent of the Shechina on Mount Sinai was not merely in order to give the Torah but was mainly to satisfy the desire of the Master of the World – "The Holy One, Blessed be He, developed a desire to have the Shechina dwell down below." "Is there any type of sale where the owner is sold too, together with the merchandise? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: I sold my Torah to you, it is as if at the same time – as it were – I Myself was sold too, as is written, 'Let them take a contribution' [Shemot 25:2]. The verse can be read as 'take Me as a contribution,' as if the word written was 'oti.'
The Torah portion of Tetzaveh ends with the description of the Altar of the incense. This is the final step in the process of the revelation of the Shechina which started with the momentous events at Sinai and ended in the Tabernacle, with the offering of the incense. The sages have taught us that the final stage in the descent of the Shechina was burning the incense. The Marahal explains that "ketoret" – incense – is related to the Aramaic word "kitra" – to make a link. When we link what is below to what is above, when the incense rises upwards, the Shechina descends.
This gives a new depth to the well-known passage in the Talmud, "Where does Haman appear in the Torah? It is written, 'Did you partake from the tree which I forbid?' ('hamin ha'etz') [Bereishit 3:11]. Where does Mordechai appear in the Torah? It is written, 'mor dror' [Shemot 30:23] – a spice – which is translated as 'Merie Dachia' (similar to Mordechai)."
It is written in the Midrash: "When the Holy One, Blessed be He, created the world, he developed a desire to have a dwelling place down below. He created Adam, and commanded him, 'From the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil do not eat' [Bereishit 2:17]. When he violated this prohibition, G-d said to Adam, 'I wanted to have a dwelling-place down below, and I gave you one command which you did not obey. So the Shechina removed itself and went up to the first rakiya... Moshe returned it to the earth, as is written, 'And G-d descended to Mount Sinai' [Shemot 19:20]."
The serpent caused the Shechina to remove itself, and we have seen in the writing of the ARI, on the verse, "from the root of a snake will emerge a tzefa, (a viper)" [Yeshayahu 14:29]. The word "tzefa" is the same numerical value as Amalek. That is the role of Amalek – to cause the Shechina to leave. The sages note that Haman's intention was to block the construction of the Temple, the place where the Shechina dwells down below. But Mordechai interfered with the plan and killed Haman. And that is why Haman, who fought against the presence of the Shechina down below, is hinted at by the phrase, "hamin ha'etz," a hint of the tree with which Adam sinned, leading to the removal of the Shechina. And Mordechai, who destroyed Haman, is hinted at in a name derived from the incense, which was the instrument that helped to bring the Shechina back.