Friday, June 29, 2012

From Death to Eternity

By Moshe Feiglin

Illustration courtesy of The Temple Institute

The commandment of the Red Heifer is one of those Divine directives that is beyond the scope of our understanding. Nevertheless, there are facets of this mitzvah that we can understand:
The ashes of the red heifer were a tool used to purify the highest degree of ritual impurity: death. Why would anyone have to purify himself after coming into contact with death? One simple reason: So that he may enter the Holy Temple.

The Creator is the source of life. He chose the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount as His dwelling place in this world. The source of ritual impurity is death. The closer we get to G-d's Divine Presence, the more that we must distance ourselves from death and get closer to life; distance ourselves from ritual impurity and be pure. That is why first degree ritual impurity is death, followed by lesser degrees of ritual impurity that stem from the cutting off of life on one level or another.

Immersion in a mikveh, a ritual pool, purifies from ritual impurities but not from the impurity of death. To be purified from that first degree impurity, special ritual waters are needed. These waters contain the ashes of the red heifer. This is why it is permissible to enter the Temple Mount after ritual immersion, but it is forbidden to enter the area where the Temple once stood; we do not have the ashes of the red heifer with which to purify ourselves. (This does not include entering where the Temple once stood within the framework of conquest).

When we make all the required preparations, immerse according to Jewish law and soberly ascend to the Temple Mount with non-leather shoes, as directed by halacha – we are at the closest possible point to the source of life. We carefully encircle the place where the Holy Temple once stood, leaving a wide berth of extra space to ensure that we do not step into any forbidden areas – and reach the eastern point opposite the heichal (sanctuary) of the Temple: the heichal that was and theheichal that will be.

From this point, we can view both the place where the Temple stood and the place where the priest who burned the red heifer stood, on the Mount of Olives. The priest who burned the red heifer had to retain eye contact with the Holy of Holies, because that is the place of the Foundation Stone, upon which the world is founded. If you open a map and draw a straight line from the Foundation Stone in the Holy of Holies straight eastward, you can identify the place where the red heifer was burned. Today, that place is in the courtyard of the Greek Orthodox Church on the Mount of Olives. In the courtyard lie the foundations of a mound upon which the priest stood and burned the red heifer.

The priest looked at the Shushan Gate (near today's Gate of Rachamim) at the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. From there his gaze continued past the eastern gate of the Women's Section that was wide open, and on to the Nikanor Gate. From there the priest continued to look on through the Israelite Section, where he saw the smoke from the sacrifices rising straight up from the altar, the priests in their service and the Levites singing their praises. From there his gaze entered the gates of the Sanctuary, itself. (All the gates were open and were in a straight line).

Inside the Sanctuary, the gaze of the priest went past the Altar of the Incense, past the Shewbread Table and the Menorah and reached the Parochet that covered the entrance to the Holy of Holies.
With G-d's help, we will speedily build our Temple - and return to life.

Shabbat Shalom

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Chukat 5772

Parashat Chukat 5772
The midrash states (Midrash Raba, Bamidbar 19:1):

זאת חקת זה שאמר (איוב יד) מי יתן טהור מטמא לא אחד, כגון אברהם מתרח, חזקיה מאחז, יאשיה מאמון, מרדכי משמעי, ישראל מעובדי כוכבים, העולם הבא מעולם הזה מי עשה כן מי צוה כן מי גזר כן לא יחידו של עולם, תמן תנינן בהרת כגריס באדם טמא פרחה בכולו טהור מי עשה כן מי צוה כן מי גזר כן לא יחידו של עולם
Job 14,4: ‘Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No human being can’ (only HaShem).
Avraham (the righteous who was born from) Terech, King Chizkiyahu born from Achaz, King Yoshiyahu born from Amon, Morchechai born from Shimi, the Jewish nation from out of the pagan nations, the World-to-Come from out of this world. Who has performed this? Who has commanded this to be? Who has decreed this to be? Only the Holy One Blessed Be He

The Midrash continues to tell of the contrary-to-logic, contradictory wonders of HaShem regarding the Para Aduma (Red Hefer). The kohanim who prepared the ashes and water of the Para Aduma became tamei, while the ashes and water when sprinkled on one who is tamei-met (through contact with a corpse) becomes tahor (the halachic terms tamei and tahor are not translatable).
The antithesis of Jewish redemption was our ancestors’ involvement with Yishmael and Aisav as individuals in their time, and our involvement with Aisav’s and Yishmael’s biological, religious and ideological offspring and followers during our protracted, tragic history.
Aisav represents those nations where Christianity is the dominant religion and Yishmael the nations where Islam is dominant.
These two illegitimate break-aways from the true wishes of HaShem (the seven Noachide commandments meant for the gentile peoples) will be the unwitting conduits to bring about the redemption of the Jewish nation and our return to the Biblical borders of Eretz Yisrael contrary to all reason and logic.
How will it evolve?
The world’s situation as it stands today is that Islamic-Shi’ite Iran will soon achieve nuclear capability. The West and some Islamic states are on a collision course with Iran, whenever they meet to discuss ways of defusing the ticking Iranian time-bomb. The parties are utterly frustrated in their attempts to find mutual grounds for understanding, except in one area - their mutual enmity and hostility towards the Jews in general, and specifically the Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael.
At some point, the two sides will join together in order to achieve their mutual goal of ridding the world of the maverick, renegade State of Israel and its archaic, heretical beliefs.
As the European states continue to sink into the endless abyss of financial bankruptcy, oil-rich Arab countries will extend an offer they will not be able to resist - financial bailout in return for political and military cooperation against the Jewish State.
This will be a "heaven-sent" offer for the Christian faith which has never recovered from the religious knockout they are suffering minute by minute by the Jews’ return to the Holy Land. And Islam will continue to stomp, buck, plunge, pounce and wrench as a caged wild animal, as long as the children of Yitzchak control Al Aksa and the building with the gold dome.
At some point in the near future, the peoples of Aisav and Yishmael will field an army to embark on an updated version of the Crusades. But this time, they will be certain that the communion between Rome and Mecca will arouse their gods to bless their "pure" intentions.
Here, in Eretz Yisrael, bewilderment will share the stage with dread. Many will try to leave, but there will be nowhere to go. The emergency "hotline" request to Washington will go unheeded because of the decision of the UN General Assembly where the US has no veto power. The US President will inform the Prime Minister that he has no choice but to remain neutral in this situation.
The sky will become clouded by the ascending dust caused by the multitudes of gentiles making their way to Eretz Yisrael, with each person filled with ardor, ecstasy and zealousness to do the will of his god.
The above scenario and what will pursue is detailed in the Book of Yechezkel (32:17) and elaborated on in the Malbim’s commentary, which I frequently quote in these weekly messages.
The prophet describes the treaty between the uncircumcised Aisav’ian peoples to the north and west of Eretz Yisrael - today’s Europe - and the circumcised House of Turgema – today’s Moslems.
The initial attack against the Jewish State will be launched by Moslem Egypt. They will be destroyed (byTzahal), and their allies will attack us to avenge the obliteration of the largest Moslem army in the Middle East. At the crucial moment of their attack, the pent-up religious and cultural animosity between Christianity and Islam and between Sunni and Shiite Moslems will erupt, and each side will destroy the other. The Jewish nation will emerge unscathed as the pre-eminent power in the world.
That is the scenario as described by the prophet Yechezkel.
This week, the Egyptian people democratically elected the head of the Moslem Brotherhood as its nation’s president. The Moslem Brotherhood is one of the sources of radical Sunni Islam, not far behind Saudi Arabia. Syria will soon fall into the hands of radical Sunni Islam, when the secular leadership of Dr. Assad (an ophthalmologist) will either escape or be hanged in the main square in Damascus.
The players are all present. Moslem Sunnis who hate Moslem Shiites who both hate Christians who hate them in return.
This will be the crescendo at this stage of Hashem’s plan for the world, where the contrary-to-logic, contradictory wonders of HaShem will appear in all its glory.
The Para Aduma that brings tuma to those who prepare it but brings tahara to one who is tamei, will be the model for the tuma of our enemies which will bring tahara and redemption to the Jewish nation.
This is what the Gemara, at the end of the first chapter of Tractate Berachot, is referring to when it predicts that the miracles of the future will outshine the unbelievable miracles of the Egyptian exodus.
Where will the Jews in galut be at this time? It remains better unsaid.
Shabbat Shalom
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5772/2012 Nachman Kahana


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ask Moshe Feiglin

By Tuvia Brodie

Somewhere in Israel today, there will be a small group sitting together, chatting. It could be at the pool, in a restaurant or on someone’s patio. They will be friends who sometimes talk about the news. If there’s alcohol, which tends to loosen the tongue, news stories about ‘settlers’ might be mentioned.  Then, somewhere in that conversation, the word, ‘trouble’, may occur; and then, after perhaps another sip of alcohol, you might hear the words, ‘damn settlers’.

Nobody will flinch. No one will ask, ‘what do you mean’? Everyone will understand—no explanations needed. According to Israel’s dominant media, these friends at the pool are authentic Israelis. They understand what it means to be ‘Israeli’. Those living in Judea-Samaria, however, are alien. They don’t understand what Israel is all about. They hurt Israel. They make hard-working seculars ashamed to be called, ‘Israeli.’ They’re selfish. They think only about their damn land.

Is this the looking glass through which secular Israelis see the world?  Our media might think so. The elite seem to believe we are a wonder-machine-- a capitalist and science power-house. Media leaders apparently believe we should be the apple of the world’s eye—successful, daring, brilliant. But that’s not what’s happening.  The elite say Israel has become garbage. Every country they care about hates us. The nations they admire most express nothing but contempt for us.

That contempt hurts. Media people want to be loved. So they’ve made a plan:  get rid of  ‘settlers’ -- and religion. Then, nobody will hate us.

Perhaps you have read such ideas. Perhaps you have heard such conversations. Perhaps you should wonder:  is this the Israel we have created—a materialistic, anti-religious culture where people reject both their Heritage and the very land they inhabit?

Ask Moshe Feiglin that question.

Here’s a hint: don’t be so quick to answer ‘yes’. If you rely on our elite media for your answer, you’ll make a mistake because most of their anti-settler and anti-religious pronouncements might be more Leftist dreaming than reality. For example, the Haredi aren’t as anti-work as you have been told —nor as anti-IDF; and the secular, no matter what the elite suggests, may not be so aggressively anti-Heritage or anti-Judea-Samaria.

Ask Moshe Feiglin about that. Seculars are not as homogeneous as the Left wants you to believe. In fact, secular Jews may be more conflicted over land and Jewish families being evicted from Judea or Samaria homes than the Left media dares to admit. Remember, the anti-Israel Left not only has an agenda, it also dominates our media. The Left dreams of a religion-free culture and a Jewish-free state—and it uses the extraordinary power its media dominance provides to try to make that dream a reality. Its behaviour is no different than Abbas’: tell ‘stories’ often enough, and the world will believe them.  Think about it: does the Left benefit from reporting about an increasingly religious population where—our surveys constantly remind us—even those calling themselves ‘secular’ are more likely to fast on Yom Kippur than not? The Left rejects all things religious. It wants to erase Judaism; and if it cannot do that, it can certainly erase most positive references to religion in its media.

Ask Moshe Feiglin. He could write a book about how the Left media treats religion and Jewish values.  

If you have heard about conversations similar to the one quoted above, be careful. Don’t draw the easy conclusion. You might be wrong. Just as Haredi do not promote abuse of women, seculars do not universally hate Judea-Samaria. Some might even support a religious-nationalist like Moshe Feiglin. Why? Because he believes in Jewish values--and that strikes a chord with some seculars: even seculars who profess ‘no religion’ can be sensitive to religion and values, especially when those are presented honestly, openly and intelligently.

Ask Moshe Feiglin about that. Seculars, contrary to media representations, do not always hate G-d—or Israel.

Jewish values and belief in G-d turn out to be important in Israel because secular Jews who live where the media promotes an anti-G-d fantasy often become weary. They can become disenchanted. At some point, they may long for truth; but because Israel is a politically peculiar place, when seculars discover a kind of honesty they can believe—and a truth they know is real-- they may not vote for it the first few times. That’s Israel. But in the end, they come to respect it; and in Israel, that is where power and influence lie—being respected.

So when you talk to a ‘secular’, be careful. He may not be what you think. Listen to him. You might discover he is a potential supporter for honesty, truth, Jewish Leadership and Jewish values.
Ask Moshe Feiglin. He knows because this is how his influence is increasingly taking root in the seculars, in the Hareidi, and soon, coming to a sector near you.

Leave the Likud? Of Course Not!

By Shmuel Sackett

One of our supporters asked that I reply to the comments made in an email below which is flying around the internet.

Please read the email as well as my response.



Some Priorities for a New Nationalist Camp
Prof. Paul Eidelberg

First and foremost, Mr. Feiglin—may he live and be well—must be persuaded to leave the Likud and join with other to establish a United Front on behalf of Eretz Yisroel. So long as Feiglin hitches his star to the Likud, he divides the nationalist camp and undermines his own Jewish principles.

Second, a concerted effort must be made to unite the nationalist camp behind a new and comprehensive program, one that includes a youth movement that vehemently calls for:
(1) Jewish sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, hence abrogation of Oslo;
(2) a Jewish Democratic Constitution with authentic institutional checks and balances, which requires (a) separation of the Legislative and Executive branches of government; (b) a unitary Executive elected by the people; (c) limitations on the powers of the Supreme Court;
(3) Reactivation and vitalization of the Foundations of Law act that makes Jewish law primus inter pares with other systems of law now affecting judicial rulings—hence, explicit rejection of the monstrous dictum “everything is justiciable,” a dictum that violates not only democratic and Jewish principles, but the very concept of the rule of law.

Here is my (Shmuel's)  response:

Short answer: Been there, done that.

Long answer: What does a “NATIONALIST CAMP” mean?
Do you include the Haredim – who abstained from the Ulpana vote because as their MK Eichler said, “When is the last time the Dati Leumi helped the Haredim so why should we help them?

Shas – who supported Oslo?

Lieberman – who is pro Palestinian state and wants to bring more pig (“bassar lavan”) into Israel?

Basically, what this nonsense calls for is for all the “orange camp” people to unite and form a party. The problem is – as soon as you do that you may certainly be a “CAMP” but you no longer interest the “NATION”. You are an outsider. A “one issue” party. You affect nothing, change nothing, influence nothing and ACCOMPLISH nothing.

The only way, repeat: THE ONLY WAY to make the changes we are looking for is from I-N-S-I-D-E Likud.

This does not “divide the national camp” as Professor Eidelberg says; it UNITES the Nationalist camp into the ONE PLACE where things can actually get done.

What does divide the nationalist camp is when Professor Eidelberg runs as a separate party called “Yamin Yisrael”. That party – which he claimed would receive over 60 mandates – divided the nationalist camp by pulling AWAY thousands of votes that went straight down the toilet. His party did so poorly in the elections that they did not even pass the minimum number of votes to get into the Knesset and all those votes were washed away. Now THAT is called “dividing the national camp”.

Moshe Feiglin, on the other hand, has called for people to join Likud. Less than 6 months ago there were elections for the head of Likud. It was between 2 candidates: Netanyahu vs Feiglin. As we all know, Netanyahu won - but do we know how many votes separated these 2 men? About 20,000. Imagine that for a second.

Had 21,000 Nationalists joined Likud instead of all the parties that are now history: Yamin YisraelTechiyaAchiMoledetTzomet and about 10 others, the head of Likud T-O-D-A-Y would be Moshe Feiglin.

Do you think we would be having this discussion if that happened?

Do you think the residents of Givat Ulpana and Migron would be sleeping better if – already today – Moshe Feiglin would be the head of Likud?
THAT’S the way; the ONLY way to go.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Deconstructing Israeli Society

By Moshe Feiglin

The photo of homosexual soldiers on the IDF official website should have set off a lot of alarm bells for a lot of public figures. But they were all afraid. The heavy-handed 'politically correct' code paralyzes our representatives. They prefer to remain silent and let somebody else fend off the arrows that are sure to come. MK Uri Ariel (National Union) deserves our appreciation and admiration. He was the only MK to courageously state the simple truth, calling upon the IDF to conduct itself on this issue as it has in the past.

There is no question that a person's individual rights in the privacy of his own home must be carefully guarded. Nobody should harass homosexuals or people with any other types of deviations. But today the situation is reversed: Homosexuality harasses normalcy.  

Homosexuality represents a set of values. For a long time now, the issue has not been the right of those people with different inclinations to do what they please in their own homes. Instead, the issue is their demand that society recognize the values represented by their inclinations.
Israeli (and Western) society are in a perpetual state of conflict between the founding values that built them and the opposite values, which strive for deconstruction. The fundamental leftist ideal of "We will destroy the old world down to its foundations" is not a means to an end, but the end, itself. The Left always pronounces some utopia for which it is worthwhile to destroy everything (socialism, peace, democracy). But the simple truth is that at its foundation, the Left seeks to return the world to a state of chaos, anarchy and blurring of the differentiation with which G-d created the world. If you don't quite get it, sing a few lines of John Lennon's "Imagine."

How does the Left go about deconstructing the world? Any value that binds society is fair game for attack:
The Left attacks and undermines settlement in the Land of Israel, because it is the foundation of the renaissance of the Jewish Nation. They inject as many foreigners as possible into the veins of Israeli society: foreigners who do not share values with the Nation of Israel and who have no real intention of sharing its fate.

The Left also attacks the family because it is the foundation of society. The attack is not frontal; it is accomplished by empowering anti-family values; the invention of concepts like the single-parent family, meaning that any combination makes a family. And when anything makes a family, the family is really nothing.

Another tactic the Left uses to deconstruct the family is to invalidate the status of the man in the family, turning him into some sort of downtrodden creature that is to blame for everything, by definition. The woman is the home, but the man in the home turns the group into a family. Without a father, the family is completely unbalanced.

The Left promotes homosexuality as a value – as a barometer of "equality" and "liberty". It promotes feminism as a barometer of "women's
 rights." Any value that threatens or undermines the values of society and family becomes hallowed.

A prime example of this process is the appointment of MK Einat Vilef to head the Knesset's Education Committee. Vilef is a very intelligent person with an impressive security record. On the surface, she seems like a worthy choice. But the Knesset's representative now responsible for the education of Israel's children is married to a German journalist.

In the politically correct terror that exists today, you have to be crazy to claim that a Jewish woman who marries a non-Jewish man is not exactly a role model for Jewish children. After all, the Left dictates that religion doesn't matter. Nobody dared oppose the appointment – not even the religious MKs.

Another example is Labor chairman Shelly Yehimovitz, who until recently was head of the Knesset Committee on Children's Rights. Ms. Yehimovitz is also a highly intelligent woman, who worked honestly and energetically to improve life for children. But similar to Vilef, Yehimovitz's personal life contradicts the values represented by the position to which she was appointed. Every child has an elementary right to a family: a father and a mother. If a person has not managed to provide her children with this basic right, how can she be the standard bearer of children's rights?  

Is all this coincidence? Or is there a guiding hand ensuring that those who represent deconstructionist values acquire positions in which they are supposed to guard society's values?

Does this mean that we are anti-women? Anti-homosexuals? We are in favor of women and in favor of every good person (nobody says that homosexuals are not good people). We are in favor of society, family and our country and against all the attempts to deconstruct them.

Some people are captive to slogans about equality. But they don't understand how those slogans undermine basic values without which they, themselves, cannot live – even if they are homosexuals.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Children at Play

By Tuvia Brodie

   Picture courtesy of Arutz Sheva

Look at this picture. What do you see? Eight children; or is it seven? Can you tell?
What are they doing? Well, the four on the right look like they’ve started to race. You can even tell by their body positions that this isn’t going to be a jog; it’s an all-out sprint. The others, meanwhile, look like late-starters. They’re already behind. The boy closest to you, wearing a green shirt, appears to have decided to drop his bike to join the race.
Will he be last to finish?
Who’s last in this picture, that boy in green—or the boy on the far left? It’s hard to tell. The angle of the photo doesn’t allow an accurate assessment.
Will it matter whose last? No, because no one is keeping score— not for this  race.
Look again at the boy in green. Notice how exaggerated his right arm motion seems. His body position suggests urgency. Is he trying not to fall, is he simply accelerating as quickly as possible—or both? He certainly seems to be in a hurry. Shouldn’t someone have given him a fairer start?
You might say that because this picture comes to you from Israel, this is how Israeli boys play—unorganized, random and perhaps unfairly; that sounds so Israeli, doesn’t it?
Look at the boy on the far right. Do you recognize that body language? It’s the body position of someone who is serious about starting a sprint.
I do not know a lot about this picture. But I know more than you—a lot more.
For example, I know that this race will last only fifteen seconds from beginning to end. I know that none of these boys, at the moment this picture was taken, was thinking about winning: I can assure you that none of these boys was concerned about being last or first.
Look at the picture again—at that boy in green. I don’t know him. But I think I’m pretty correct to tell you that he hasn’t jumped off his bike like that because he’s convinced he can beat his friends despite his late start. I believe that at this moment, he isn’t even thinking at all. Look at that arm motion. Do you think he’s running as if his life depends upon it?
You can tell from this picture that the boys have just, perhaps two seconds earlier, begun to run. They are well-trained. They are accelerating to full speed as quickly as they can; you can see that in their body positions. You see, they know that, at this moment, the race is no longer a fifteen-second race; it is now only a thirteen-second race.
They’ve got less than thirteen seconds to reach that building you see in the backround.
They are probably not thinking about what will happen next. They’re running too fast to think. They’re just focused on one thing: that building.
These are boys playing in one of Israel’s southern cities. They are young. They are probably Jewish. They are not adults. They are not government workers.  They are not soldiers. They are civilians—just children.
It’s how Jewish children play in southern Israel. Yes, they live in what you call the holy land. But in southern Israel, they are not considered holy. They are not even considered children. They are dehumanized military targets.
Therefore, they run. They run fast because they know what you don’t: they could all be dead in less than thirteen seconds. They are indeed children. But they run because they know they might not be children much longer.  
Look again at the picture. These boys run for their lives because, in the middle of their play, a siren has begun to wail—a loud, unnerving ear-splitting (even frightening) wail. They understand the meaning of that wail: once that siren sounds, they have fifteen seconds before an incoming rocket, fired by Jew-hating Muslims in Gaza, hits the ground. No one knows where the rocket is. No one knows where it will land. No one stops to look up, to see if they can spot the rocket’s trajectory. There’s no time.
Look at the boys:  they know not to tarry. They know exactly why they run.  They also know what Muslims say about them:  all Jews, including children at play, are military targets.
It must be true. The UN has never objected when Hamas calls Jewish children ‘targets’.
Some of you say that if Israel gave up land-for-peace, these boys wouldn’t have to run like this. But you would be wrong. These boys run precisely because Israel surrendered nearby Gaza to Muslims. Before the Jewish pull-out, there were no rockets.  Children could play safely.
Take a final look at the picture. This is how Jewish children play when Jews surrender land for peace.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Jewish Power Drive

By Moshe Feiglin

And they gathered upon Moses and Aaron and they said to them, 'It is too much for you, for all the congregation is holy and G-d is among them, and why should you lord over the congregation of G-d?' (From this week's Torah portion, Korach, Numbers 16:3)
Korach's struggle against Moses and Aaron was the classic power struggle. A leader rises who is determined and delineates a goal. He is an exemplary role model and leads the people successfully. Nevertheless, some people are dissatisfied and question his authority. "Why should you lord over us?" Korach and his assembly ask Moses and Aaron. "True, you strive for a lofty goal, but your motivation is nothing more than power driven arrogance."

What is wrong with them? Didn't they see what happened to the king of the only superpower in the world (Pharaoh) when he dared to defy Moses? What did they see that we can't see?
The answer is simple. They didn't see anything because they were blinded by the strongest of all human drives: the drive for power.

The uninitiated cannot understand this. A person who has not tasted the taste of power – someone for whom the safety catch on the power grenade has never been pulled – cannot comprehend just how strong this drive is. But people are willing to die for power; they are willing to kill their children and their wives to achieve it. The human race has experienced no stronger drive.

In order to ensure the continuity of life, the Creator embedded the drive for procreation in both humans and animals. And to ensure the continuity of human society, the Creator created an even stronger drive; the power drive. There is no society without leadership and few would be willing to assume the weight of the community on their shoulders without the motivation fostered by this drive. Without the drive for power, human society would return to a state of chaos.

Just as we cannot give birth without the drive to procreate, so we cannot lead without the drive for power. The challenge is not how to eliminate it, but rather, to serve G-d with all our hearts. In other words, to enlist both our good inclination – the aspiration for liberty and responsibility – and our evil inclination –  the aspiration for power, to achieve our goals. The good inclination must lead and chart out the course, the framework and the rules, while the drive for power must provide the energies necessary to succeed.

Shabbat Shalom

Thursday, June 21, 2012

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Korach 5772

Parashat Korach 5772
Korach led a rebellion against HaShem’s appointed hierarchy: Moshe as Chief Rabbi and King, Aharon as Moshe’s brother and Kohen Gadol (High Priest), and Eli’tzafan ben Uziel as head of the Kahat family of Levites.
Korach succeeded in drawing to his side 250 of the leading personalities, including Ohn ben Pelet of the tribe of Re’uven.
At the end of the day, Korach and his inner circle were devoured when the earth opened under their feet and the other 250 rebels died by fire.
Of all the rebels, the only one to survive was Ohn ben Pelet, due to the wisdom of his wife.
She pointed out to him that he had nothing to gain by joining with Korach, "If Korach emerges victorious, what will you profit? And if he fails, you will pay the price".
Although Ohn recognized the truth in his wife’s incisive logic, he claimed that he could not go back on his commitment because of the word that he had given to Korach.
In order to save the day – and Ohn’s life – his wife decided on an unbelievable plan. When the Korachites came to fetch Ohn, he remained in the tent while she sat at the opening with her head covering removed. By doing so, these very religious people were repelled by her brazenness and nakedness and left. The plan worked and Ohn was saved.
What she did was un-halachic. She presented herself in public in an extremely inappropriate manner, which under normal circumstances would be grounds for divorce in disgrace for her and the entire family. But she saved her husband’s body and soul.
The Jewish nation is now witnessing a similar process, whereby inappropriate means produce desirable results.
Giulio Meotti, a well-known journalist with the Italian daily Il Foglio, recently posted an article titled "The Last Days of Jews in the Islamicized Europe."
Mr. Meotti quotes Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz who said, "The Jewish community in Europe is dying". The journalist points out the following:
1) "In the past few years, the number of French Jews immigrating to Israel has doubled. Hundreds of French Jews have bought apartments in Israel."
2) "A few years ago, the UK paper, The Daily Telegraph, ran a story under the title: "Is this the last generation of British Jews?". The Jewish population in the United Kingdom will decline to 240,000 by 2020."
3) "The President of Austria’s Israelite Community, Ariel Muzicant, warns, "If a miracle doesn’t happen soon, the Jewish community in Austria will no longer exist in the foreseeable future."
4) "In Sweden, Jews are leaving big cities such as Malmo due to security reasons, in order to escape anti-Semitic attacks."
5) "Sixty percent of Dutch Jews are ready to pack up and leave the country. Rabbi Benjamin Jacobs, the country’s chief rabbi, declared to Arutz Sheva that the future for Dutch Jewry is moving to Israel".
6) "Jews are fleeing Antwerp, the city in Belgium once proudly called "the Northern Jerusalem." Last autumn, the ancient synagogue of Weesp became the first synagogue in Europe since the Second World War to cancel Shabbat services due to threats for the safety of the faithful."
7) "There are more than 1,000 Jews in Oslo, but you never see them. Not one. Today anti-Semitic inscriptions are being drawn on building walls in Marseille, Nottingham, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Berlin, Kiev, Barcelona and Rome. Jewish cemeteries are daily ransacked and Jews are attacked on the streets if they wear their kippahs."
Every community has its time when HaShem "shakes" out its Jews, as one does when removing lint from a rug. It began 64 years ago with the Jews in North Africa, Iraq and Yemen, when they were forced to leave the countries where their families had lived for centuries and come home to Eretz Yisrael.
HaShem proclaimed a hiatus of several years to allow the infant Jewish State to absorb the more than one million olim who had arrived in such a short span of time, while concurrently fighting back the Arabs and building a stable economy.
During this time, there was a modest trickle of Olim; but the flow of history was restored again in the 1990s when the gates of the Soviet Union were torn down and Jews who suffered Communist oppression for over 70 years were free to leave. Over one million came to Eretz Yisrael in a relatively short period of time. Once again, the Medina became enveloped in the complex operation of absorbing such a large number of Jews - housing, work opportunities, health problems, and much more had to be accomplished. After another short hiatus, HaShem chose to arouse the Jews in Ethiopia to come come, and they had to be absorbed. And now the time has arrived for European Jewry to pack their bags and come home.
This will be followed by the Jewish community of the United States, whose return will bring down the curtain on the tragic drama of the 2000-year Jewish exile from the Holy Land.
The story of Korach and his followers serves as a blueprint for Hashem’s plan to bring about the demise of the galut when faced with Jews who refuse to heed Hashem’s call to abide by the teachings of Moshe and Aharon, who longed for nothing else than to enter the Holy Land.
Korach and his inner circle were devoured without a trace, while the others perished by fire. But one man and his family escaped, albeit in a less than admirable fashion.
Those who intermarry rather than maintaining Jewish identity are devoured, never to be seen again. Not in this world nor in the world to come.
Others who remain affiliated with Judaism but refuse to come home, will attain their destiny in one of the many ways that HaShem deals with people who resist the dynamic flow of Jewish history.
The third group, who like Ohn ben Pelet wish to escape the galut but find themselves entrapped and enmeshed in the cobwebs of their lives, will be freed by less-than-appropriate means but with desirable results. These means have a generic name called anti-Semitism. Just like Ohn ben Pelet’s wife who uncovered her nakedness, the Moslems and Christians of Europe - and eventually the countries in North and South America - will reveal their naked, true feeling regarding their Jewish neighbors by forcing them to return to Eretz Yisrael.
The parasha states (26,11)
ובני קרח לא מתו
The literal meaning is that the sons (children) of Korach did not die (because they did not participate in their father’s rebellion).
But in its wider sense, the Torah is informing us of two things:
1) In every generation there will be Jews, even influential ones, who will be the ideological "sons" of Korach and create their own brand of Judaism while denying the holy Torah.
2) Some will be devoured by assimilation. Some will die. Some will be driven home by the naked hatred of anti-Semitism.
It is within the realm of each person’s free will to choose. He can distance himself from the various contemporary Korachs and escape the galut with honor and pride, or he can join with them and hope that in the best case he will come home because of anti-Semitism.
Our parasha relates that Moshe sought, once and for all, to quell the residual rumblings of dissatisfaction emerging from the Korach fiasco. He directed the tribal leaders, including Aharon the Kohen Gadol, to bring their personal staffs (staves) which would be placed in the Holy Sanctuary overnight. In the morning Moshe removed the staffs and everyone saw that Aharon’s staff has brought forth flowers and fruit buds, while the other staffs remained unchanged.
Ask a chareidi, righteous religious leader in the galut, or some chassideshe or yeshiveshe person, who makes leaves fall from the trees/ He will certainly answer "HaShem". And ask him who turns liquid gasoline into gas to run a car motor? He will again answer "HaShem". Ask him who makes water go downstream? and he will once again answer "HaShem". And, lastly, ask him who established Medinat Yisrael. Chances are that he will answer, "Hertzl and Ben Gurion". Then you will immediately know that he is neither righteous nor religious, but no doubt intellectually dishonest.
No matter what the differences of opinion were 100 years ago, the proof that the Medina was established and thrives through the direct personal interaction of Hashem are the flowers and fruit that are brought forth by the 6 million Jews in the Holy Land.
Parashat Korach lives on with us, and the rebels of those times appear to be far more righteous than many of the leaders in today’s galut.
Several weeks ago, my wife was part of a group that visited the death camps in Poland: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Maidanek and others. While standing on the train station in the Auschwitz camp, the group leader gave my wife a letter from one of our sons and another from one of our daughters, who had requested that he do just so.
The letters are very personal, from loving children to a mother, and not for publication. But I translated part of the last paragraph that tells it all.
After describing the horrors that our brothers and sisters underwent, our son writes:
"I am writing this on the eve of Memorial Day to the fallen soldiers of Tzahal and victims of Arab terror, and think of the light years of Jewish experience spanning where you will be when you read this and where I am now in Medinat Yisrael.
HaShem has granted us to establish the Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael with a Jewish army, industry and Jewish religious life that permeates every centimeter of the land. Here we live without fear, for there is God-given courage in all of us."
I would not be exaggerating to say that the essence of my ten years of writing these weekly divrei Torah are contained in this short paragraph.
Shabbat Shalom
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5772/2012 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Netanyahu vs. Feiglin: Likud Primaries 2012 (16:12)

The Real Struggle

By Shai Malkah
Manhigut Yehudit Director General

Over the last week, I have been hearing from many frustrated volunteers and activists who want to know what else can be done to save the Ulpana neighborhood. I would like to broaden our perspective and talk about our struggle for all the settlements. What can we do to prevent the erosion and rolling expulsion from all of Judea and Samaria? What is our answer to unfounded and evil legal proceedings to drive Jews from their homes? And most important, how do we see the future of settlement in Judea and Samaria?

On the short term plane, we are working with the Likud ministers to advance a number of ideas that can help prevent a repeat of the Ulpana imbroglio.

1. A thorough investigation of the State Attorney's office to discover who is behind the scandalous state answer to the High Court. Clerks in the State Attorney's office who failed or intentionally sabotaged the case they were supposed to be defending, causing untold damage to the State, must be dismissed. This proceeding has already begun in the Knesset.

2. Regulation: A government decision that declares a change of its policy of destroying Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria. This entails relegating the Talya Sasson Report to the garbage bin of history.

3. Establishment of a ministerial committee for settlement: Implementation of all government decisions made after the Regulation Law did not pass. New government policy on construction in Judea and Samaria. Expropriation of the Defense Minister's authority on the settlements and supervision of all the mechanisms (State Attorney, Civilian Authority, army and police) so that they will internalize and implement the new government policy.

4. Protection for those Arabs who sell their property to Jews. Currently, any Arab who sells property to Jews receives the death penalty. The State must guarantee the well-being of Arab sellers and protect them from this intolerable and immoral reality. Problems with the Ulpana neighborhood and Machpelah House in Hebron and other houses, as well, could have been solved in a more just, ethical and expeditious manner if the State would take responsibility for the welfare of those who cooperate with Israel.

All of this does not mean that we should remove our eyes for even one moment from the source of the problem and its true solution. Most of the Likud ministers and certainly all those Likud MKs who voted in favor of the Regulation Law did not want to see the settlements destroyed. On the contrary, they would be more than happy to be members of a government that would understand that this is our Land and we must build and develop it.

It seems that reality (G-d) is forcing us to establish a faith-based alternative for leadership for Israel. Without it, we simply will not be able to hold on to our Land. We must make the fateful decision: Either this is our Land and we annex it, or we will be "conquerors" in a "foreign" land.

This is the time to strengthen our presence in the Likud and to empower the faith-based alternative for Israel. The fact that the Likud has currently underwritten leftist policy is not a heavenly decree. We, the Likud members, are the majority of the country and we want to see our Land built – not destroyed.

Currently, there is a drive to convince people to leave the Likud and join the NRP Jewish Home party. This move would be totally self-defeating: Should we really surrender our influence and stronghold in the ruling party in exchange for the chance that perhaps somebody will be elected to a high place in one of the remnants of the sectorial parties of the Religious Zionist community? Remember, it is possible to be a member of only one party at a time. If a person leaves the Likud, he will have to wait 16 months to renew his membership and may miss the upcoming elections and the chance to truly affect Israel's future.

Decision Time

By Moshe Feiglin

30 Sivan, 5772
June 20, '12

Translated from the NRG website

How did Netanyahu's comment on the Ulpana neighborhood that destruction is "a decree that the public cannot tolerate" turn into an Expulsion-like process? It is impossible not to notice the similarity between the Ulpana situation and the Sharon-led Expulsion from Gush Katif. In both cases, a prime minister elected by the Right, whose ideology certainly does not endorse destruction in Israel's heartland – veers sharply left and compels his ministers and coalition to support a Peace Now move – completely against their will.

Since the Six Day War in 1967 when we were miraculously forced to liberate Israel's heartland and Jerusalem, we have insisted on rejecting the gift of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Instead, we have created a time bomb, which has been rolling from generation to generation. We cannot expect the current Likud leaders to demonstrate more fortitude and determination than the leaders at the peak of Israel's legitimacy, immediately after the amazing instant 1967 victory. When whoever is leading Israel since 1967 is faced with a strategic decision that entails choosing between maintaining the status quo or annexing Judea and Samaria, the outcome is a given.

In truth, we cannot maintain civilian life on a legal foundation of military occupation forever. Peace Now is doing us a great favor by forcing us to decide once and for all if this Land belongs to us – or not.

When Israel was established in 1948, the Temporary State Council passed the Legal Jurisdiction and Authority Act. According to this act, Israeli law applies to all the territory in our hands. In the War of Independence Israel conquered quite a bit of territory beyond what the UN had designated for the fledgling state in the Partition Plan. At the end of the war, Israel applied its law until the very last centimeter, extending its sovereignty over all the territory in its hands. All of those places became part and parcel of the State of Israel: Nahariya, Eilat, Nazareth, Be'er Sheva and much more.

After the liberation of Judea and Samaria in 1967, Israel did not need to pass a new law. All that was necessary was to repeat what it had done in 1948. Nobody forced Moshe Dayan to block the Arab refugees trying to escape Israel at the Jordan River and to send them back to Shechem and Kalkilyah with bouquets of flowers. Nobody forced him to give the Arab wakf the keys to the Temple Mount, either.

But why should we denigrate Dayan? The consciousness of the entire Israeli leadership – including the religious leadership – was not prepared to deal with the identity challenge that suddenly burst into its reality and the Land of the Forefathers that fell into its arms.

The chance for peace with the Arabs vanished as soon as they realized that they really hadn't lost the war at all and that Israel saw the territory that it had conquered as nothing more than a bargaining chip. If what you wanted was not territory, but rather, peace – why should we give you that victory? In August 1967, three months after the war, the Hartoum Council gathered and the Arab countries announced three decisions:

No peace with Israel

No recognition of Israel

No negotiations with Israel

Israel could not swallow the territories that it had liberated, but it couldn't purge itself of them, either. On one hand, there was no one to give them to because nobody was willing to take them. On the other hand, the Zionist spirit that still coursed through the veins of the Labor party preferred to apply the 1948 rules to 1967. The orphans of Gush Etzion and the Jewish community of Hebron wanted to return to the homes that they had been forced to leave before their parents were murdered by the Arab mobs. Their demands were very much a part of the Israeli discourse.

This is the basic outline that explains how the settlements in Judea and Samaria were created. For all practical purposes, Israel declared to the world that this is not our Land but rather, occupied territory. It explained settlements as security needs. That type of legal foundation can hold up three to four years – not forty. The best PR professionals in the world cannot explain the justice of our settlement in Judea and Samaria when our conduct shows that we see ourselves as foreign conquerors settling our citizens in a land that is not ours.

Whoever fantasizes about an Israeli retreat from Judea and Samaria, with or without a partner already has the precedent of the Expulsion from Gush Katif and the subsequent missiles raining on Be'er Sheva and Ashkelon. It seems that we will not be able to change the decision of the Creator since the miraculous Six Day War and this Land will remain ours despite ourselves.
Sooner or later, we will be forced to do what we did in 1948 in Nahariya and Be'er Sheva. We will simply have to apply the Legal Jurisdiction and Authority Act to Judea and Samaria as well. To accomplish this, we will need leadership with a consciousness that does not fear the identity challenges posed by places like the Temple Mount, the Cave of Machpelah and the Tomb of Rachel.

And leadership like that will arise.

It is only a matter of time.

It will arise. 

You are more than friends and supporters, you are family!

By Tzippy Feiglin

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Feiglinism Lives!

By Tuvia Brodie

During the first week of June, 2012, Israel’s Knesset ruled that five apartment buildings in Judea-Samaria, at a place called Ulpana  (also called, Givat Ha Ulpana), were not to be protected by legislation, but would instead be torn down according to a standing Supreme Court order.  After the vote, angry Nationalist Jews were heard to say that this legislative failure proved that ‘Feiglinism’ was dead.
What is ‘Feiglinism’--and is it dead?
‘Feiglinism’ comes from the name, Moshe Feiglin, head of the Likud Party faction called, Manhigut Yehudit. He is commonly identified as a Religious Nationalist. He believes that Israel politics can be influenced from inside Likud, Israel’s most powerful political party.
The Jews in Israel who claim ‘Feiglinism’ is dead are also, generally,  Nationalists; some are even Likud members.  Like Feiglin, they believe in the language of the Likud Platform. That document states clearly that Judea-Samaria is part of Jewish ancestral homeland, and is to be protected. It is not to be carved up; and, perhaps most important for our discussion, Jewish residents within Judea-Samaria are not to be uprooted.
Nationalist Jews are angry for several reasons. First, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Likud Prime Minister, has repeatedly chosen to ignore his Party’s Platform. He uproots Jewish residences in Judea-Samaria and offers ancestral Jewish homeland as concessions to Muslims.
Second, each time Nationalists are attacked for something occurring in Judea-Samaria, Mr Netanyahu has consistently supported the Left, which is often responsible for starting that trouble.
Third, each time Nationalist attempt to curb anti-Israel Leftist behaviour-- either through legislation or the Courts-- Mr Netanyahu rules (or supports decisions) against them.
Finally—and worst of all--there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that Mr Netanyahu  makes promises to Nationalists in order to secure their consent over a contentious issue—and then reneges on his promise. This is what happened at Ulpana (a neighbourhood in Beit El). There, Mr Netanyahu promised that, if Nationalists did not oppose him over the decision to destroy Jewish apartment buildings, he would build 300 residences in Beit El to replace the 30 destroyed;  less than ten days later, a Defense Ministry official told both an Ulpana resident and Israel National News that the promise would not be fulfilled.
Nationalists, it seems, had been suckered again. Even with an insider—Moshe Feiglin—Nationalists have lost yet another battle with a Likud leader who rejects his own party’s commitment to the ‘settlement enterprise’. Therefore, the argument goes, the influence-from-within approach of Moshe Feiglin is a failure: ‘Feiglinism’, they will tell you, is dead.
Don’t believe it.
Yes, many are angry—and (correctly) they look to identify the cause of their  failures. They want to protect Judea-Samaria.  They understand that they cannot long sustain repeated losses against both the Left and an apparently pro-Left Prime Minister. They know they cannot afford to lose every confrontation. So they do what every human does under pressure: they seek a simple cause so they can create a simple solution.
What’s simpler—and more publicly visible--than Moshe Feiglin, the leading faction head in Likud?  He is the perfect ‘problem’: he has said he aimed to influence from within. He has worked ‘within’ for years. He has not given Nationalists dramatic results—and he certainly did not stop Netanyahu at Ulpana.
Doesn’t that mean he has failed?
Unfortunately, the Nationalists’ problem is not that simple. For one thing, Feiglin has never promised he would create successes. He has always said this is a long-term, uphill battle that is measured in inches, not miles. He is not a magician. Instead, he is a homesteader making fertile a soil that had often been a Religious-Nationalist desert. His support within Likud did not grow from 3% to 30%+  because he gave out candy. That support grew because he has proven his competence, and people respect that. His influence grows—to the extent that, with only one exception, all Likud MKs who are not ministers or deputy-ministers (vassals of Netanyahu) had voted for Ulpana.
Mr Netanyahu is a difficult opponent. He is intellectually brilliant, unemotional and brutally tough. He plays politics the way some chess-masters play chess. Do Nationalists truly appreciate this?
To confront Netanyahu, Nationalists need insiders and outsiders to work together; they need an articulate, organized and visible unity that is as strong and impenetrable as Netanyahu.
Feiglinism is not dead. The unvarnished truth is, Nationalists in Israel do not have a chance to win unless they have a strong insider: inside influence is the leavening for their political dream. Feiglin’s strength grows and should be supported. If Nationalists scorn or reject him, then they fight a brilliant, unemotional and calculating adversary who knows how to leverage that scorn and rejection.
Internecine conflict or distrust reflect group weakness. If you fight Netanyahu with that weakness, he will beat you every time.