Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Today, five voices speak to Israel: Edom, Yaacov, Yishmael, Persia and ONE. Each voice is distinct. Each reveals a truth. Do you understand these voices? More important, can you see the truth revealed?
Edom, whom we commonly identify as Europe and America, calls upon Israel to abandon ancestral Jewish homeland. Edom speaks with a singular voice. She is firm: Israel must give land to the Arab. Edom knows what she wants. She wants peace.
Yaacov, whom we commonly identify as the Jew, has two voices. One voice agrees with Edom: we must give away land. We have no choice. We must do as Edom demands. The other voice says we cannot do that. We cannot obey Edom. We cannot give land away, this voice says, because that land does not belong to us. It belongs to the LandLord—G-d.
Edom hears these two voices of Yaacov. She grows angry: give land, she demands, so we can have our peace.
The third voice which Israel hears belongs to Yishmael, whom we commonly identify as the Arab. Yishmael, like Yaacov, also speaks with two voices. But his voices are consistent. They do not conflict. They are like music--two melodies within the same song. The first voice of Yishmael agrees with Edom. Yaacov must give to Yishmael. That is justice. Edom says there must be two states between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. This first voice of Yishmael, speaking in English, tells the world that Edom speaks the truth.
Edom hears the first voice of Yishmael. Edom is pleased.
But Yishmael has a second voice. It is a voice, in Arabic, that says there cannot be two states. There can be only one state-- ‘Palestine’. There is no place for Yaacov. This voice calls for only one people to populate the land between the River and the Sea—the Arab people. Yaacov, this second voice of Yishmael sings, must be cleansed from the land.
Edom hears this second voice. She remains silent. She turns to Yaacov and says, ‘Why do you delay? Who do you think you are to say no to Yishmael? Because of you we have no peace.’
The fourth voice that calls to Israel is the voice of Persia, whom we commonly identify as modern Iran. Today’s Persia is angry. Yaacov, she says, is a cancer. He must be removed. Persia will excise this cancer--with an atom bomb.
Edom tells Persia she cannot have a nuclear weapon. Persia laughs. She threatens. Yishmael hears the threat. He fears Persia’s wrath. Yishmael asks Edom for help. Edom understands. She sends Abraham Lincoln—one of the world’s most powerful warships—to sit at Persia’s shoreline. In response, Persia threatens Edom. She will cut off Europe’s oil; she will drive oil prices so high as to destroy Europe’s already weak economies; and she will send suicide ships after Abraham Lincoln. Her rockets can reach Europe. They will soon reach America.
For Yaacov, Edom threatens. Yishmael threatens. Persia threatens. Nations with hating hordes and atomic weapons-to-be—all threaten. Incredibly, they threaten each other because they threaten Yaacov.
The fifth voice that calls to Israel is the voice of ONE. It is a different voice—abstract and difficult to grasp. Yaacov recalls this Voice every day in his prayer—‘Hear oh Israel, HaShem our G-d, HaShem is ONE.’ In this prayer, we find the Name of G-d (‘HaShem’), who is called, simply, ONE. Our heritage teaches that, within this Holy ONE, we discover G-d’s name, His Voice, His Mercy-- and (as we learn in our written and oral texts) our Destiny in the land called Israel. It’s not simple. But it’s all there—past, present, future; and this future, our Destiny, does not depend upon obeying Edom, Yishmael or Persia. It depends upon the ONE.
For Yaacov, ONE stands alone. There is no other. Edom, Yishmael and Persia do not accept that. They choose others. They want to separate Yaacov from Israel, to demonstrate that G-d-is-ONE lied when He claimed that the bond between Himself-Israel-Yaacov is eternal. They may even believe that if they destroy Yaacov, they remove the non-visible ONE from existence; for without Yaacov, who will speak of ONE? With Yaacov gone, there would be no ONE to distract the nations of the world.
Will Edom then have her peace? Will Persia and Yishmael?
Five voices: which do you believe? Each appears in the Jewish Heritage [Mesorah]. This 3,800 year-old inheritance predicts how this story unfolds—and to this date, if you keep score, the predictions are eleven-for-eleven (see, “The MOST important video about Israel you’ll ever see”). The ONE is complete, eleven-for-eleven-with-no-imperfection. He is perfect—and He is wedded to Yaacov.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Parashat Terumah Rosh Chodesh Adar 5772
We find in our holy sources a much quoted principle:
יש קונה עולמו בשעה אחת
One may acquire his place in the next world through one dramatic act (of kiddush HaShem, sanctification of the Holy Name).
And its reverse:
ויש מאבד את עולמו בשעה אחת
One can lose his place in the next world through one dramatic act (of chillul HaShem (desecration of the Holy Name).
The following is an incident in the life of one man who had in his hands the opportunity to acquire a huge portion in the world to come with one single act, but faltered at the last leap of faith.
I was informed by e-mail of a prominent rav in the galut of America who called his congregation to a "non-scheduled" mid-week meeting to discuss the silence of American orthodox Jews in the face of a potential war with Iran.
I was told that the rabbi is a good man, frum and dedicated to his calling. But after reading his message, I believe, that he and many other religious leaders there have, unfortunately, "missed the boat".
The rabbi’s words are in color, my comments are in black.
The good rabbi said:
"Why are we quiet? Where is the awakening? Why is everyone so apathetic?... Everyone is busy with narishkeiten (foolishness), we don't hear the alarm? We don't know that we have to pierce the heavens for rachamim (pity) from the Ribbono Shel Olam (Master of the universe)?"
"Everyone knows that there is currently a growing danger from Iran - and it is a great error for whoever does not know this. "Why should a Yid (a Jew) not know what is happening to [other] Yidden? Everyone must know what is happening in regard to other Yidden. Everyone must know what is happening in Eretz Yisrael."
Indeed, we must pray to HaShem. But I don’t take seriously the idea that the tefilos (prayers) coming out of 13th Avenue in Boro Park, or President Street in Crown Heights or even Forest Ave. in Lakewood N.J. have an iota of influence in the Shamayim (heavens) on the fate of the holy Jews in Yerushalayim and Eretz Yisrael.
The person who sent me the speech added that the rabbi, "began talking this past Shabbos about the dangers from the Iran crisis, when he stopped and said that it was not a subject to discuss on Shabbos. He said he would continue the topic during the week.
That postponement certainly contributed to emphasizing before the congregation the "clear and present danger" to Am Yisrael.
The letter writer continued, "The last time he (the rabbi) called for a special asifah (gathering) during the week to discuss current events was in 1991, prior to the Gulf War. Rav... started his address, which was carried live by Kol Halashon, with the famous Rambam, who writes that it is a mitzvah to daven during troubled times. "If you don't daven," the Rambam says, "then it is a cruelty, since it will get worse."
I am happy to learn that from 1991 until the present there was peace and serenity in the Holy Land, with no major issues, in the rabbi’s view, to bring before the community consciousness.
"The leader in Iran says clearly - he repeated it this week - that he wants to kill, Rachmana litzlan (God forbid), every Yid in the world, just like Haman... If he will be successful, chas v'shalom (God forbid), in getting the nuclear bomb - and experts says he will have it by the summer - it will be a great danger for Klal Yisrael."
"A good part of the world's Jews live in Israel, and the government there says that they will attack Iran first, before they could get the nuclear bomb. If that happens, everyone knows that that will cause a world war." The rabbi quoted Harav Yosef Rosenblum, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivah Shaarei Yosher who said, "... that during this eis tzarah (dangerous times), Hashem is judging us on every klal and on every prat (every principle and every detail)".
The rabbi continues:
"We don't have to be in a panic... Hashem will perform miracles for us. But efsher takeh (indeed). Maybe the time for the Geulah (redemption) has arrived. We must prepare for the Geulah. Hashem has performed great miracles for the Yidden. Eretz Yisrael, which today hosts most of the world's Yidden and most of the Torah world, merited supernatural siyatta diShmaya (Godly help) during its wars. When the Palestinians shoot missiles from Gaza, they land mostly in empty areas and cause little damage. When then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein shot 39 Scud missiles during the Gulf War, only one Yid was killed - that man had previously received a klalah (curse) from the Chazon Ish.
I can’t verify that the man who was killed was cursed by the Chazon Ish; I believe that he was born after the Chazon Ish passed away. But the rabbi is correct that it was a time of great miracles for the the holy Jews in Eretz Yisrael. I know. I, my wife, children and grandchildren lived through it, as we have done with all the wars here in the past 50 years.
The rabbi continues:
"This a hashgachah niflaah (wonderous care) that is reserved only for Yidden who learn Torah, who keep the mitzvos and who will ultimately do teshuvah,"
Correct. HaShem blessed the Yidden who "learn Torah, who keep the mitzvos," etc., so much so, that the nearest missile to the yeshivos in the USA was 10,000 kilometers away.
The rabbi said, "Hashem wants to do nissim for us. Israel is surrounded by 300 million Arabs and WE are still there; that means Hashem wants to do yeshuos (salvation). We must prepare for yeshuos."
"Israel is surrounded by 300 million Arabs and WE are still there". Interesting that the rabbi is capable of being in two places at one time.
But just like Eliyahu had to daven on Har Hacarmel even though Hashem had already promised to bring rain, Hashem still wants the tefillos of Klal Yisrael today, even though He had promised to bring yeshuos. In order to qualify for these miracles, the Rav... said, "We must strengthen in Torah, tefillah and chessed. He specifically suggested saying Tehillim 46 every day, adding that he is asking his own kehillah to have the kapitel (chapter) printed out and stuck to the back of every siddur. During the Suez campaign in 1956, the Belzer Rebbe asked that people say that particular kapitel, since it is a segulah to prevent warfare.
I wonder. In the year leading up to the military miracle of the Megila, when the Jews had to defend themselves on the 13th and 14th of Adar, did they just say Tehillim 46 or did they also train for warfare?
"Everyone has to be mispallel (pray) that Klal Yisrael should be saved from chevlei Moshiach, that he and his family should be saved".
Here lies the great divide. I also pray for my family. But my family includes not only our son who is a senior officer in Tzahal and our grandchildren who are soldiers. It also includes Shimon, the son of a good friend who is in a tank battalion, and Yankele, the grandson of another friend who pilots an F-15I, and all the other holy soldiers defending our Jewish homeland in the air, on the land, on the sea and below.
The rabbi continued, "Yidden should keep in mind that we live in momentous times, and we should prepare for the upcoming era with emunah and bitachon (belief and trust). In the next couple of weeks there will be news," Rav... said, "and with the help of Hashem, it will be good news for Yidden".
In these tumultuous times of danger to world Jewry, can any erudite and sincere Torah person believe that HaShem will bring about huge miracles in order to permit the Jewish communities in the galos to continue in their ignorant bliss? The miracles will be directed to bringing the confused people of the galos back to Eretz Yisrael.
As the prophet Yecheskel states (36:22-24):
לכן אמר לבית ישראל כה אמר ה' ה' לא למענכם אני עשה בית ישראל כי אם לשם קדשי אשר חללתם בגוים אשר באתם שם:
וקדשתי את שמי הגדול המחלל בגוים אשר חללתם בתוכם וידעו הגוים כי אני ה' נאם ה' ה' בהקדשי בכם לעיניהם:
ולקחתי אתכם מן הגוים וקבצתי אתכם מכל הארצות והבאתי אתכם אל אדמתכם:
"Therefore say to the House of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.
I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I sanctify through you before their eyes.
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
Now, had the rabbi concluded his address by stating, "Our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael are facing enormous dangers on the scale of a modern day Purim. Therefore, dear students and congregants, I and my family are leaving this week to join the Yidden in Eretz Yisrael. As Moshe Rabbeinu when he said to the tribes of Reuven and Gad (Bamidbar 32:6)
... האחיכם יבאו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה:
Will your brothers come out to war while you remain here?
Had the good rabbi taken that leap of faith, he and his family would have been among the heroes of our people whom our rabbis qualified as:
יש קונה עולמו בשעה אחת
One may acquire his place in the next world through one dramatic act (of kiddush HaShem, sanctification of the Holy Name).
משנכנס אדר מרבים בזשמחה
With the advent of the month of Adar we increase the joy in our lives
May we merit to see the destruction of our enemies, who are also the enemies of people of good will the world over.
And just as the miracles at the time of Mordechai and Esther paved the way for the Second Bet Hamikdash, so too may the present events in our lives result in the building of the Bet Hamikdash on the Temple Mount, the restoration of the Davidic Monarchy, the reconvention of the Sanhedrin, the return of all Jews to Eretz Yisrael and the possession of all Eretz Yisrael according to the Biblical boundaries.
Shabbat Shalom ve’Chodesh Tov ve’Samaiach
Copyright © 5772-2012 Nachman Kahana
Sunday, February 19, 2012
This is a story about three soldiers--Benny Gantz, Orna Barbivai and Eran Niv. You may not know them. But you should know who they are because they help run—and could ruin—the IDF.
Our story starts in January 2011 with two unrelated events. The first was a decision by Israel’s Cabinet to increase dramatically IDF recruitment of ultra-religious (Haredi) youth. They had two reasons for that decision. First, IDF recruitment was dropping; and second, the army had reported that, with proper accommodation, ultra-religious—and other religious—youth would indeed enlist. That accommodation included time for daily Torah study and prayer, special attention to dietary requirements and reduced exposure to women. These accommodations had been designed specifically for the Haredi, but everyone understood that when the needs of all religious soldiers were met, morale and recruitment rose. The Cabinet’s decision was simple and clear: accommodate the religious, recruit, build the IDF.
The second event that affects our story was a report in Haaretz, “A wise move”, (Asher Pfeffer, January 7, 2011). This essay introduced us to Colonel Eran Niv, who had been appointed in 2010 to Command the Officer training school, Bahad 1. The report praised Niv as a leader who promoted a ‘return’ to secular values in the army.
The next month—and unrelated to Colonel Niv—Lt. General Benny Gantz became Chief of General Staff (COS), Israel’s top military officer. In May, Gantz promoted Orna Barbivai and appointed her Director of IDF Manpower. At the time of their appointments, nothing was reported about the attitudes of Gantz and Barbivai towards the religious in the IDF.
By the beginning of June, 2011, the players were in place--Gantz, Barbavai and Niv. Our story was ready to begin:
-July 2011: a report commissioned by the Advisor to the Chief of Staff on Women’s Affairs concluded that, “soldiers who refuse to hear women sing out of Halakhic [religious] considerations should not serve as officers in the IDF.”
-September, 2011: on orders from Colonel Niv, nine religious officer-training-cadets were expelled from their training program because they refused to stay at a ceremony where a woman sang. Five of these soldiers were readmitted after they had officially ‘apologized’.
-November, 2011: when Rabbis objected to the expulsions, General Gantz spoke of the ‘victims’ of this incident. He did not mean the expelled soldiers. He meant the singing woman.
-A report appeared that General Gantz had given General Barbivai the task of “integrating females with religious male soldiers in the same unit”, something that had been specifically prohibited by agreement between the IDF and Israeli religious leaders.
-December, 2011: Major General Barbivai announced that religious soldiers can be excused from ceremonies where women sing only if their commanders allowed; the Jerusalem Post announced, “Barbivai says that commanders’ authority comes before Halacha” (Jewish religious law).
-January, 2012: Arutz Sheva reported that Haredi soldiers had been ordered to clean toilets in women’s barracks. This order, Arutz Sheva reported, “clearly contradicts the terms of service [not to enter women’s quarters] to which the IDF committed itself when” recruiting religious soldiers.
-General Gantz announced that “no soldier will be allowed to absent himself from official military ceremonies, even if it conflicts with his religious observance.”
-One day later, the IAF (Israel Air Force) Chief Rabbi resigned from a special Haredi-religious soldier program because these anti-religious actions were, he claimed, a “breach of the IDF commitment” to religious soldiers.
-The day after the resignation, MK (Member of Knesset) Moshe Gafni announced that the women-singing ruling by General Gantz “flies directly in the face of previous agreements.”
-Retired Judge Tzvi Tal, a respected Jurist who had worked on Haredi-IDF enlistment issues, spoke on Voice of Israel radio and said, "I think this matter of women's singing is strange. No one forbids women's singing. There is a group that thinks that for religious reasons, it must not listen to women's singing. So why force it upon them? Why do the 'knights' of freedom of expression and the 'knights' of minority rights want to force this upon a minority?"
- Responding to criticism of IDF treatment of ultra-religious soldiers, the IDF said, “the scope of integrating haredim in the IDF has grown, and the intention is to double their numbers every year…Unique frameworks have been defined for haredi soldiers” [emphasis mine].
- Eliyahu Lax, Chairman of the Organization for the Religious Soldier, declared that public promises by the IDF “to make army service more religious-friendly do not materialize on the ground”.
-February: two religious (non-haredi) officer-cadets-in-training were expelled from their training program for praying morning prayers. MK Zevulun Orlev called Gantz and Barbivai directly responsible for IDF treatment of religious soldiers.
-Religious soldiers file a formal complaint against Training Commander Eran Niv for hostile treatment of religious officer-cadets.
Today, forty-two per cent of officer-cadets are religious. Their numbers are growing. The enlistment rate of religious youth from the so-called ‘settlements’ is almost double the rate of secular youth from Tel Aviv. Religious enlistment is going up as secular enlistment stagnates or drops. This is today’s reality in the IDF: the religious have become increasingly important in both military command and elite combat units. It seems that every year the IDF depends more on observant Jews and less on disbelieving Jews. Leaders who create a hostile environment for religious soldiers not only behave in a manner that is unprofessional (religious belief has nothing to do with fighting competence), their behaviour is against the explicit decisions of their civilian superiors. Their behaviour is unacceptable. It endangers our military preparedness because it is the religious (not the secular) who aggressively volunteer for combat.
This story focuses on three soldiers--Gantz, Barbivai and Niv. It is a story of betrayal: promises to the religious--betrayed; decisions by superiors to accommodate religious soldiers, to build the IDF--betrayed.
Are these the military leaders that Israel can afford to have?
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Our parasha begins with the issue of an indentured servant, who is under contract to work for six years or until the Jubilee year. One can voluntarily enter into such an agreement, but usually it is the bet din (court) that orders the arrangement to permit a thief to repay the capital value of the theft through the money he receives from his master-employer.
The Torah continues to inform us that towards the end of the sixth year, the servant who was sold because of theft can make a declaration before the bet din that he does not wish to be a free man and prefers to remain an indentured servant. If the master-employer agrees, he then perforates the right ear of the servant with a metal awl.
The Yerushalmi (Kidushin chapter 1 Mishna 2) quotes Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai’s answer to his students’ question about why the Torah specifies the ear as the organ to be blemished:
אזן ששמעה על הר סיני לא יהיה לך אלהים אחרים והלך זה ופרק מעליו עול מלכות שמים וקבל עליו עול בשר ודם - ירצע
The ear that heard at Mount Sinai "You shall not have any other God over you," and this man voluntarily removed from himself the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven to be replaced with the yoke of a human being - let it be perforated.
King Shlomo states (Kohelet chapter 3)
לכל זמן ועת לכל חפץ תחת השמים
עת ללדת ועת למות עת לטעת ועת לעקור נטוע
עת להרוג ועת לרפוא עת לפרוץ ועת לבנות
עת לבכות ועת לשחוק עת ספוד ועת רקוד
עת להשליך אבנים ועת כנוס אבנים עת לחבוק ועת לרחק מחבק
עת לבקש ועת לאבד עת לשמור ועת להשליך
עת לקרוע ועת לתפור עת לחשות ועת לדבר
עת לאהב ועת לשנא עת מלחמה ועת שלום
There is a time for everything, and a season for every desire under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
At first glance, King Shlomo is informing us that there are conflicting human desires and actions that, because of their incompatible and irreconcilable essences, require separate times and places.
But that is not necessarily true, for King Shlomo’s list contains desires and actions which are compatible and even necessary to be performed in unison.
A farmer can uproot weeds and thorns while he is planting a seed in their place.
To rid the world of an evil person is, in its essence, an act of healing for the world.
Parents weep for happiness as they laugh and dance at a child’s wedding.
At times, when silence speaks louder than words, silence and speaking share the same moment.
I love my fellow Jew at the same time that I hate our enemies.
I go to milchemet mitzva (an halachically-sanctioned war) and feel peace within myself.
Breathtaking events of epoch proportions contain within them the opportunity for brilliant and gifted individuals to act contrary to the flow of the times and change the direction of history - for good or for evil.
The creation of Man and Woman - the most dramatic of the Creator’s handiwork - gave rise to Adam and Chava’s sin, which in Kabbalic terms subverted every iota of creation by imparting imperfection into what was then a perfect world.
The monumental achievements of King Shlomo himself - including the national unification of the people of Israel under the monarchy of the House of David, their spiritual unification centered around the Holy Temple, and political and economic stability - gave rise to the super egos of two men: Rechav’am ben (son of) King Shlomo and Yeravam ben Navat, both of whom designed the blueprint for the nation’s future disasters.
The imminent destruction of world Jewry at the time of Achashverosh and Haman gave rise to the greatness of Mordechai and Esther and paved the way for the rebuilding of the second Temple.
The callous disregard by the Seleucid Greeks for all that was holy to the Jewish people brought forth the heroic rebellion led by Mattityahu and his sons in defense of our Torah way of life.
Indeed, great events propel individuals and groups to perform good or evil historic deeds, as David’s slingshot propelled the stone that felled the giant Galiot.
The most breathtaking, climactic, electrifying drama of the last 2000 years is, in the view of anyone who possesses a feel for world history, the return of the Jewish people to our Biblical God-given homeland. Its enormity serves as undeniable proof that the God of Israel is the true and only Master of all that exists.
The unprecedented historic episode of Medinat Yisrael has given rise to acts of kiddush HaShem (sanctification of the Holy Name) and to acts of chillul HaShem (desecration of the Holy Name).
The opportunity afforded by the Medina for the regeneration of Torah after the Shoah is producing Torah scholarship in quality and quantity not seen in the last 2000 years. It is a kiddush HaShem of epoch proportions. The immense Torah study here has spilled out to the Jewish communities in the galut; so that even there, talmidei chachamim are molded in the prestigious yeshivot of Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan, Lakewood and others. (For the skeptical, let me point out that thousands of bachurei yeshiva from the galut come here to learn in the Mirrer Yeshiva, Mercaz Harav, Yavne, Ponevitz, etc.; while I do not know of a serious Israeli who goes to a yeshiva in the States in order increase his Torah erudition, except certain chassidim who go to visit their living or deceased rebbes).
In contrast to the flow towards national redemption in this historic period, the advent of Medinat Yisrael has also produced great failings.
On the 6th of Iyar 5708, the day following the establishment of the Medinah, Jewish history called out to the spiritual leaders of world Jewry to stand as one man and declare, as in the words of Moshe Rabbeinu, "Mi La’Shem Aillai" - whoever is for HaShem let him come forth to me.
The ancient prophets were peering down from their heavenly perches waiting to see the spiritual leaders of world Jewry leading the return home, while sounding the call of Tzahal’s commanders when charging into battle "Acharei" - after me. It did not happen. Indeed, great events also produce enormous historic disappointments.
And the results were not late in coming. It is estimated that the Jewish nation loses over 150,000 sons and daughters to assimilation every year in the galut, which over the last 40-50 years is equal to the number of Jews murdered in the Shoah.
No religious leader in the galut can wash his hands and claim innocence.
Here in Eretz Yisrael, latest statistics show that the great majority of Israelis define themselves as dati (religious), chareidi or mesorati, which relegates those who are indifferent to reject the Torah to minority status. On this background, one would expect the chareidi political parties - Aguda, Shas and Degel HaTorah – to join together with the Dati Leumi (religious Zionists and others) in creating a single electoral bloc to gain the leadership of the country. But that is not happening, because in addition to all else, the Aguda and Degel religious leaders shun away from the responsibilities of making major national decisions, as testified by the fact that they refuse to fill any ministerial positions.
There is a common denominator between the refusal of the religious leadership in the galut to put their future in the hands of HaShem by coming on aliya, and the refusal of the chareidi leadership here to accept responsibility for the major decisions of the nation.
Both groups of leaders have failed to "Cross the Rubicon" and recognize that the Medina is the handiwork of Hashem. They all agree that a leaf does not fall without heavenly agreement, but close to six million Jews in Eretz Yisrael can just happen without Hashem noticing. Indeed!
C: Dear Reader,
In order to understand the mind set of many of our leaders, combine Parts A and B above. The indentured servant is so used to having his life directed by others, that he is afraid to become a free man and - together with emunah (trust and belief in HaShem) - take control of his own destiny.
The great escape valve for you is the Mashiach. He will bring us back. He will kill our enemies. He will fix the economy. But in the meantime, stay put and let others direct your lives so you can go on with the pleasure of complaining how bad the situation is.
The clock of destiny is ticking. The world is daily becoming a more uncomfortable place to be in.
If HaShem is in your heart and you are in the galut, come home now. If you are in Eretz Yisrael, work towards the goal of realizing a Torah-orientated government leading the country in the path of HaShem.
Regarding my suggestion in last week’s message that rabbinic semicha be awarded only in Eretz Yisrael, I received mixed responses. Some were in total agreement, while others apparently misunderstood the point I was making and were very critical. To them let me say: I did not mean to disparage the Torah erudition of any legitimate rabbi in chutz la’aretz.
But, rather, to emphasize the primacy and centrality of Eretz Yisrael in all matters pertaining to the Torah, most certainly in the specific area of "licensing" the people who will make halachic decisions.
Now in order to placate rabbis and laymen who were offended by my words, permit me to put forward a suggestion which gives honor to your local rabbi, creates a strong bond between the rabbi and the community, and also gives homage to Eretz Yisrael.
Let every community request that the rabbi give a weekly class in the halachot pertaining to the holy land of Eretz Yisrael.
The syllabus would cover the laws of:
1- Trumot and ma’aserot. When, how and by who are they set apart, and who receives them. Produce grown in fields belonging to non-Jews.
2- The Shmitta (Sabbatical) year. The geographical area where the Shmitta is in effect. The selling of the land (heter me’chira) in contrast to purchasing "non-Jewish" produce. The export of Shmitta produce. Bi’ur Shmitta and otzer bet-din. The prohibition of sefichim as apart from fruit. Private gardens and house plants. Hydroponics.
3- The laws pertaining to ascending the Temple Mount and various degrees of sanctity on the Mount.
4- Why only one day Yom Tov here as apart to a second day in chutz la’aretz?
5- Halachot pertaining to the military.
And much more.
Copyright © 5772-2012 Nachman Kahana