Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
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Minister Israel Katz: I am coming here now, straight from Itamar. I said there and I will say it herethere will still be very very very many Itamars throughout the Land of Israel. In the Shomrom, the Galilee, Judah, in all corners of the Land of Israel.
Whoever comes to murder Jews, to hurt them in the lowliest way in order to deter, scare, and expel, that person will attain exactly the opposite. Also in Itamar.
My views are very clear, and I am willing to say them here. I support the law to legalize the settlement, which was established with the support of the government. I am against house demolitions. Anyways, who will it satisfy? Will it satisfy the Palestinians? If you just take down a house in Migron, will they sign a peace treaty with us?
Believe me, Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] is much more interested in the house in Tzfat that he claims belongs to him, than in the house in Migron. He is ready for the house in Migron to remain and that you should evacuate the houses in Tzfat.
Although Moshe was a few years younger than me in yeshiva, both of us received the same education from Rabbi Chaim Druckman, and we believe in mutual respect. Every person has his own lifestyle. That is the basis, and it is an important value. I bless you on the amazing work you have been doing, and I extend my hand to you in the most positive way. I want to work together, and as the chairman of the Likud Secretariat, cooperate in all of the different frameworks in which I have influence. I think we need to work together.
Knesset Member Gilad Erdan: I really want to join you in the blessings, first and foremost to my friend, to our friend, Moshe Feiglin, on the very, very, very impressive achievement in these elections. This is democracy. Although the media is not willing to accept democracy when the outcome does not fit its viewpoint, nonetheless, this is still democracy. We are all here, and Manhigut Yehudit is operating according to the rules of the democracy. You represent values that, as [Knesset member] Tzipi [Hotovely] said at the beginning of the conference, are values that will guide the Likud.
Leadership for Am Yisrael is very different from any type of leadership in the world because in the world, a leader can be very talented, and only make decisions on a rational basis. But if we had operated according to rational decisions, I do not think that we would have announced the establishment of the State of Israel at the time that they declared statehood. But a leader in the state of Israel has to have faith.
Rashi [Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki] says that this is the most basic requirement, that this is true Jewish leadership, more than anything else. He says, [in Psalms 111:6] He has declared the power of His deeds to His people, to give them the inheritance of nations [ie. the Land of Israel]. With all of the arguments about security, and who was here first, and who will be here after, and if we were here thousands of years, and if they were here for decades, because they were expelled or not expelled. All of this is important, but it is much less important than the most basic and significant fact; The most basic and significant fact is that whoever created the world, He is the one who will decide whether this Land belongs to the Jewish people. This is what needs to direct us, and I think that this, even if I do not agree with Moshe Feiglin on all subjects, I think that this basic value is the value that will unite us, and everyone who wants to govern within the Likud.
Knesset Member Miri Regev: First of all, Moshe, I want to bless you on Manhigut Yehudits great success. I think, and I said this back then, that there is place for everyone within the Likudthe public decides. The Likud is a grassroots movement, large, and united, and there is a place for every person who goes with their truth. You chose a path, and you are not afraid. That, in my eyes, is true leadership because all of us, or at least most of us, are people who follow the herd, going after people who they see as winners. We do not like to be minority. We do not like to be in the position where the media is speaking against us. We do not like to be in the position where we must apologize and explain ourselves. Whoever has a path that he is not afraid of, and he goes on this path through thick and thin, even when he knows that he will not win, but he says, this is my camp, I am going with this - that person will win in the end, and today we are here because, in essence, you beat the system.
You beat the system, and with this I would like to connect to Minister Erdans words. The time has come to re-staff all of the Likuds institutions. The dust has been there for ten years already. The time has come for us to stand up and say, The party belongs to everyone, and not to one person. The party is transparent. We need to stop being afraid to say the truth, even if it is not popular. Lets take off the masks. Lets get closer to our truth, and lets go with the ideals that we believe in.
Knesset Member Ayub Karah: This situation reminds me slightly of what happened with Menachem Begin, for whoever read his book. People who were pushed to the side a little, they always had the power to push through in the end. I have no doubt that Moshe Feiglin is worthy of being with us. That he is worthy of being one of the leaders of the Likud, and he will be with Hashems help.
Your presence within the Likud, your dominance within the Likud can only add a lot to our privilege of guarding this state, guarding this Land. As long as we persevere, as long as we are strong - that is the language that they understand in this area because there is no difference between Migron and Hebron and Tel-Aviv. There is no difference.
Knesset Member Zeev Elkin (Coalition Chairman): We are finishing here a stage in our internal organization for the Likud, and everyone who looks today at the new Likud Central Committee will see one very, very, very clear fact. There were many rumors, with people saying that they want to do things according to this approach, to change to a different approach. One outcome is very clearthe national, right-wing force within the Likud Central Committee, no matter how you look at it, grew bigger and is growing in a significant way. The people sitting here have a very, very significant role in bringing this about. They were the first who understood the significance of the internal democratic process, and the proper way to guard the Likud as a nationalistic party. The way is through influencing from within, and when this reaches a critical mass, it influences the entire movement. For figuring out this method, Moshe, I think that you deserve to register a patent.
Knesset member Jamal Zahalka said to me, I do not believe what my eyes are seeing. I knew that the Right knows how to win elections, but I never thought that you would actually want to wield power. I do not know what happened to you . But this time, for some reason, you have decided that you want to rule, and that changes the rules of the game. We didnt agree to this. We didnt agree that you would not only win, but that you would also wield power.
Once, I heard from Ehud Olmert, the head of the last government, who almost brought upon us a disaster, by trying to sell all of Judah and Samaria, an interesting statement. He said, I had a lot of roles in politics, and always, in every role, I had someone to call if I had a problem. But suddenly, when I sat in the Prime Ministers chair, when I want to come to someone with a problem, I turn around, and all I can see is a picture of myself on the wall. This is why it is so hard to be an Israeli Prime Minister.
I told him then, and I think that this is very, very true, and this is the path that you have raised, like a flag, and I agree with you on this idea completely. Sometimes we have tactical disagreements, but on principles, I think that you have recognized a very central point. Because when a politician looks at the wall, and all he sees is a picture of himself, in the end there will be a problem. If there is no problem today, there will be a problem tomorrow. But every person who knows also how to look upward, understands that even when he sits in the Prime Ministers seat, and thinks about what will happen, he has Someone to whom he is accountable.
In the end, this is what will straighten out the political arena according to a set of nationalist goals. I bless you for going in this path. Up to this point, we cooperated on a lot of issues, and you asked a question about Migron. Just yesterday, I had a phone conversation with Moshe about what we should do about this issue, and we are cooperating on a lot of issues. That is how it has been up to now, and that is how it will be from now on, and I believe that the Likud will become stronger in going towards this path. Right now we are at the stage when we will be holding elections for the Likuds institutions, and this path, in the end, must win. Good evening.
Knesset Member Danny Danon: Good evening to all of you. At the beginning of Adar, we increase our happiness, and in truth, there is a lot of joy in this room.
We are all happy about Moshe Feiglins impressive achievement, Manhigut Yehudits achievement, and I value Moshe and Manhigut Yehudit on their courage to run in these elections. The courage to say, "I believe in this, and I am running in these elections."
When I announced that I would be running for head of the Central Committee, I did not think that my opponent would be the Prime Minister. Now, wait a second; I am a Jew who believes in God, all of us are believers, and the Torah portion for that week was the portion about Jethro. When I met the Prime Minister, I asked him, Are you really running? I said, Did you read the weekly Torah portion? In the portion, Jethro, who was the first political advisor, the best that there was, better than all of us, comes to Moses and says, what are you doing, you cannot do everything, you cannot judge everyone. With all due respect to the Prime Minister, and I respect him and value him very much, Moses also knew how to delegate responsibility, to hand out tasks, how to let other people be active participants within the camp, for Am Yisrael, and this is what we shall do in the upcoming committeewe will get there together and united. We will make sure that the committee will be fair, transparent, with clear rules. To summarize it all, I believe, and I am not afraid. Thank you.
Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely: Purim is the holiday of costumes. Everyone knows that for too much time in the Likud they gave legitimacy to those who said that Manhigut Yehudit is a group of people who dressed up like Likudniks. My friends, lets say the truth: they are as Likud as you can be, Manhigut Yehudit.
There is no opposition today for the Likuds current leadership, and without Manhigut Yehudit, we would have also seen a deterioration of values, and an erosion of its ideology within the Likud. Its good that Manhigut Yehudit is here, to remind us all, what the line is, what the destination is, and most importantly, not to forget that there is a vision. My friends, Knesset members and ministers, we represent a Likud that is willing to come out of the closet, and not just to say what the media wants to hear, but, instead, to say the truth. From here we have, in essence, wall to wall support. Not only in secret, but in truth, in the most open and truthful manner. Today we are giving you a hand to say, you are an inseparable part of the Likud movement. This evening is the evening in which we say this in the most open manner.
Moshe Feiglin: Sometimes I think to myself at night, you know, just dreaming. Tell me, if you are elected tomorrow, who will be in your government? I have to tell you that in the last Knesset, I wasnt really sure what to say. But in the current Knesset, I want to tell you - I feel completely comfortable with a large section of the Likud Knesset list, and the people currently on the list.
The feeling is that there are just really great people within the Likud. I think that we are really standing on solid ground on this, thank G-d. We can also pat ourselves on the back. We did something. There is a really amazing roster, with a lot of people who are very talented, and believers. We see this. The Likud is not a secular party, as Tommy Lapid once asked me on his program, when he said, What are you doing there, this is a secular party. I said, the Likud is not a secular party; it is a traditional party, and a party of the people. The Likud is the real Israel, and with it we can go forward, leading the way for Am Yisrael.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Editor's note: As Yaakov Tzvi Feiglin's funeral was on Pesach, no eulogies were allowed. Moshe did say a few words of parting, reprinted here:
The most noble of the noble
A rare breed from other worlds
From a world of innocent childhood in the sands of Hadera
From the shores of the Kinneret
From the Herzliyah school of old
A rare breed from a world of modesty, a world of respect for others,
A world that knew what it means to shoulder the yoke of responsibility
A descendant of Chassidic rabbis and pioneers.
You built and ran a large factory, a business that spans the world. You once said to me:
"I cannot lie. If I lie, everyone will see it on my face." You proved that one can succeed like that,
You chose the right time, Father, to emerge from slavery to freedom,
And you held our hands close to your heart and whispered to our tear-filled faces,
Again and again you whispered and said, thank you, thank you, thank you
And I, because of the joy of the holiday, cannot eulogize you, Father,
I remain, as you requested,
Happy and thankful to G-d for giving me such a father, to walk in his light
Till the end of my days.
May your soul be bound up in eternity.
18 Nissan, Pesach 5772
Monday, April 09, 2012
Can you feel the joy—we’re free! Can you see the exhilaration on people’s faces? Everyone smiles!
This is Pesach (Passover). The G-d of Israel has fulfilled His Promise: for generations, Jews had whispered that G-d would take us out of Egypt. He has done it! We are no longer slaves to a mighty Pharaoh. On Pesach night 3,324 years ago, G-d rescued His nation and led us to the Sea of Reeds; there, He engineered yet another miracle, in addition to all He had already done: He split the waters of this Sea so that our ancestors could pass to safety—and freedom.
Each year we celebrate the joy of this moment. Each Pesach Seder we say the prayer of praise that our nation will always say whenever our people experience a great national miracle—the Hallel. We repeat this song of praise as a way to re-experience the total joy of that Exodus moment. When we recite this praise at the Seder table, we are to feel as if we ourselves individually experience—right now-- that awesome moment of G-d’s incredible Power: G-d redeems me!
Our celebration lasts for hours, long into the night. We recall our national story—how we began, how we became slaves, how we suffered, how G-d rescued us and how our Redemption unfolded with astounding miracles. It is indeed a story of joy. But this wondrous story also has a less glorious side, because once the Jews left Egypt, the Exodus story became ugly.
It is an ugliness that teaches us about our future.
From the day G-d brought the Jews out of Egypt, the Jews appeared to have nothing good to say to Him. In Egypt, he had tormented the slave-masters with horrid plagues. He had performed miracles. He freed an entire people in a single day. How did the Jews respond to this? Instead of being grateful to G-d, they complained. At the Sea of Reeds—they complained; at a place called, Marah—they complained; in the wilderness of Tzin—they complained. G-d continued to perform miracles for them. It didn’t seem to matter--they still complained. They didn’t even vary their complaint; it was always the same: G-d was taking them into the desert to die; they’d have been better off staying in Egypt!
As you read this Torah story of escape from the slavery of Egypt, you notice two points of interest: first, few turned back; and second, the Jews couldn’t stop complaining that they should go back.
Once, they did stop complaining. In this incident, they had been waiting for Moshe their leader to return after spending forty days and nights with G-d. But when they saw that Moshe didn’t return at exactly the moment they thought he should return, they took offense. Remember now, we are talking about a people who can never start a wedding or a funeral on time, and who have no problem waiting patiently for hours for a ceremony to begin; but as soon as Moshe was late, they decided immediately that he was never coming back. Therefore, they replaced him—with an idol.
During their journeys after Redemption, some Jews just didn’t ‘get it’. They couldn’t change. They couldn’t believe redemption was better than Egypt. They couldn’t adjust. They couldn’t see their destiny. They were still enslaved. Their behaviour seems an ugly addendum to an otherwise joyous story.
Some argue that we have the same ugliness today. They say we have a lot of good happening in Israel—but it’s all tainted by an idol modern Jews have created. The idol is called, ‘we must be like everyone else’. For this idol, the argument goes, we cannot be different because then we cannot be safe. We must become like everyone else: we must reject Judaism because everyone else rejects Judaism. We cannot be Jewish because no one else is. We must have Auschwitz borders for Israel because that’s what everyone else wants. If everyone else sneers at G-d, so must we.
Of course, this isn’t real idol worship. But the belief seems similar and the result is the same: a complete rejection of everything Jewish. At least, that’s the argument.
Complaining against G-d and rejecting G-d might be ugly, but the Pesach story reminds us that Redemption occurred despite this ugliness. The Idolatry and the anti-G-d behaviour we see in the Exodus story is not an ugly addendum—it’s part of the Redemption. For reasons known primarily to G-d, ugliness is part of the beauty of our Redemption—past and future.
We should remember that. We should also remember that our past exists only to prepare us for our future. Think about Passover. Think about our world. Then take another look at the complete Exodus story. You might have missed something.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
This is being composed on a very auspicious day - the 10th of Nisan. On this date which occurred on Shabbat of the year that we left Egypt, every Jewish family was commanded to take either a young goat or a young lamb in preparation for sacrificing it four days hence as a korban (sacrifices) of Pesach. The problem was that these animals were part of the Egyptians’ religious practice, as are the wandering cows in downtown New Delhi of today for the Hindus. This took an immense degree of courage, because the Jews could not have known know what the Egyptians’ reactions would be. To visualize this: picture an order to every US military unit in Afghanistan to gather books of the unholy Koran and explain to their Afghan friends it was being done in preparation for burning them in another four days. There would be mass hysteria, rioting and murder of countless American troops. But these things did not happen with the Egyptians, so add one more great miracle to the events in Egypt.
The other history changing event on the 10th of Nisan occurred 40 years later, when the Jewish nation entered Eretz Yisrael under the leadership of Yehoshua Bin Nun, to take on the 31 powerful Canaanite kings who controlled the Holy Land.
Today, on this 10th of Nisan, we are witnessing the unfolding of yet another episode in the history of our valiant people in Eretz Yisrael.
At this time of the year, "Jewish eyes are smiling" as we look back to our Egyptian experience of 3300 years ago and the great salvation that HaShem had brought forth for us. But on this 10th of Nisan, corresponding to the general calendar of April 2, the eyes of all enlightened nations are on Egypt, but for different reasons. The Moslem Brotherhood political party in Egypt, that now controls the two houses of the Egyptian Parliament, is going to have their man as the next president of that country. This group is among the most radical Islamists in the world, and they have an unabashed, open, straightforward Islamic agenda. Not only will they turn Egyptian society back 300 years, their end game is to uproot the Jewish State.
One should not forget that Egypt, thanks to the US, has the largest army in the Middle East, built on some of the most modern weapons of the US army.
So, permit me to share with you what I forsee unraveling in our part of the world, as HaShem prepares the greatest of miracle of all times for his people in Eretz Yisrael.
The military threats on the Jews in Eretz Yisrael will be overwhelming, to the degree that only those who feel the renewal of HaShem’s eternal covenant with His people in Eretz Yisrael, and those Jews who will do teshuva in acknowledgment that only with HaShem’s involvement can we be saved, will remain in the Land. The others, which include the 350,000 non-Jews who have come here from the former Soviet Union, the Arabs in this country, Christians, and Jews who have no sense of Torah or possess warped ideas of what HaShem wants from this generation, will leave!
Egypt will become Islamic, as will all the surrounding Arab countries. Egypt will be the first to open hostilities against the Jewish State and they will be totally destroyed, as were their ancient namesakes. I would not be surprised if the great Aswan Dam that holds back the billions of cubic meters of water in Lake Nasser, will be the instrument of HaShem (with the close co-operation of the holy soldiers of Tzahal) as were the waters of the Red Sea that crashed down on the Egyptian army of old.
When this will happen, the other Islamic nations will join with several Western Christian nations to avenge the destruction of their Egyptian brothers. But as they approach Eretz Yisrael war will break out among themselves on the background of their religious differences, and the Jewish State will be saved.
This, of course, is not my imagination. It is taken from the Book of Yechezkel chapter 32 and the Malbim’s commentary on verse 17.
B:As time marches on, we begin to find the answer to the age old question: What was HaShem’s intention by having the Jewish people undergo its slavery experience in Egypt.
As stated above, the great religious-military leader of Am Yisrael, Yehoshua Bin Nun, entered Eretz Yisrael with the Jewish nation on the 10th of Nisan. Tradition has it that Yehoshua composed the chapters of "Aleinu" that we recite three times daily, at the end of the prayer services. With the opening sentence of "Aleinu," Yehoshua let his feelings be known as he stepped foot for the first time on the western Side of the Jordan River, or, according to some, when he completed the victory over the city of Yericho.
עלינו לשבח לאדון הכל לתת גדולה ליוצר בראשית שלא עשנו כגויי הארצות ולא שמנו כמשפחות האדמה שלא שם חלקנו כהם וגורלנו ככל המונם שהם משתחווים להבל וריק ומתפללים אל אל לא יושיע.
It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to acclaim the greatness of the One who forms all creation. For God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us like the other families of the earth. God did not place us in their situations, and our destiny is not like theirs.
For they bow before vanity and emptiness and pray to a god that cannot save
Yehoshua Bin Nun spoke of the unfathomable differences between the Jewish nation and all others.
There is, I believe, little difference between the "nations of other lands, and... the other families of the Earth". Basically, the Germans are not better or worse than the ancient Egyptians. Nor are they different than the Crusaders, who decimated hundreds of Jewish communities as they swept across Europe on their journey to liberate the Holy Land. And all together they are similar to the Cambodians who murdered 2 million of their own people, or the Belgiuns who murdered 1.5 million Africans in the Belgium Congo, or the Tutsis and Hutsis, or the Turks who murdered 1.5 million Armenians, or Stalin who admitted to murdering 30 million Russians in the 1930s, or the Serbs or the Japanese or the Croats, or the Moslems who are credited to murdering hundreds of millions since their inception as the religion of peace, or even the early Americans as they cleared the frontier of Indians on their way to realizing their manifest destiny.
For the ancient Egyptians, Paro did not need any more than to raise the specter of fear that the Jews were not loyal citizens and would join with the enemies of Egypt in any impending war. He used the jealousy of the Egyptians as his platform for evil.
For the peoples of Europe, Christianity served as the platform for their evils. Hitler did not have to dig very deep into the German and Austrian souls to reveal the cesspool of anti-Semitism, since they already believed that we killed their god. And the unholy Koran with its descriptions of the Jewish people and the ranting of their Imams, serve as their platform of hate towards the Jewish nation to this day.
In total contrast to the "nations of other lands, and... the other families of the Earth, our slavery experience in Egypt, in addition to our unique souls as descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov, served as the emotional, intellectual and religious platform in preparing the Jewish nation to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai.
These differences will be expressed in the near future, when we shall witness a total breakdown of civil law and order in the Western World. What happened in Darfur, in Southern Sudan, will be just a preliminary to what will happen in Europe and in North and South America when the frustration and anger reach the critical boiling point.
What will bring about the wrath of the merciful God who created the world? The Gemara (Avoda Zara 2b) states that all people will be measured by the manner in which they treated the Jewish nation, and our return to the Holy Land.
As stated above, Yehoshua Bin Nun composed the "Aleinu" upon entering Eretz’ Yisrael, or after the victory over Yericho. He did not compose it while still in the desert, after receiving the leadership of the nation at the death of Moshe.
I suggest that Yehoshua waited to enter the land before saying, "... For God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us like the other families of the earth", to teach us that we and our destiny are different than that of the gentile nations only when we are in the land given to us by the Creator.
But, when a Jew chooses to live among the other nations and drink from the cup of their civilizations, than his destiny will be like theirs.
FROM THE BOOK "WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT"
Picture a frum family living in any one of the great Torah centers in the galut; they could even be your next door neighbors!
The home of Reb Sender and Mrs. Rayza is impeccable; the result of the great time and energy, not to speak of the money, which the expeditious and skillful ba’alat ha’bayit (woman of the house) has devoted to it.
The sofas and arm chairs in the sitting room, which look so inviting if not for the thick plastic covers which insure that the upholstery retains its "new" look.
The five-meter-long dining room table is covered with the finest Irish linen table cloth. In the middle of the table stands the imposing sterling silver candle sticks handed down from mother to daughter for generations. The china is the finest Rosenthal, with each plate delicately rounded off with a band of gold. The silverware has been put away in favor of golden ware in honor of the great night.
On the table, under a hand embroidered silk cloth, lay the matzot. On the insistence of the two sons learning in the recently opened Yeshiva Taharas Ha’Torah in Las Vegas (in order to bring the voice of Torah even to the entrance of Gehennom) the matzot are from the first 18 minute batch, guaranteeing that no naughty piece of dough would be hiding in any of the rollers. The hand matzot were personally chosen by the Rebbe of the shteible where the family davens after leaving the central shul which was costing too much. The rebbe assured the boys that the matzot were bubble-free, with no overturned edges.
The wall-to-wall carpet is as deep as grows the grass in the beautiful garden. Above the table hangs the family’s pride and joy -- a many faceted crystal chandelier, personally chosen by Rayza on the family’s last visit to Prague.
Reb Sender is wearing his new bekeshe, the one with the swirls of blue, with a gold-buckled gartel. Rayza has just said the shehechiyanu blessing over the $3000 dress imported from Paris. The boys are handsome in their wide brimmed black hats and the two girls will make beautiful kallahs when the time comes, dressed in their very expensive dresses.
The seder goes Beitter than expected. Words of Torah, beginning with an invitation to the hungry to join with them in the meal, despite the fact that there is not a needy person within 50 miles. A lively discussion develops on the characters of the "four sons." The afikomen is "stolen" by the youngest daughter who, for its return, has succeeded in extorting from abba a vacation in Hawaii.
Songs of thanks to Hashem for freeing the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt are recited. For it is a mitzva on this night for each person to consider himself as if he and she where slaves in Mitzrayim.
Birkat hamazon is said, as is the second part of Hallel. Chad Gadya puts the final touch on the mitzvot of the night. Now, just as Hashem destroys the "Angel of Death" in the song, father jumps up -- and gathering the family in a circle they all break out in a frenzy of song -- L'shana ha’ba’a Be’Yerushalayim -- "next year in Jerusalem." Again and again around the table L'shana ha’ba’a Be’Yerushalayim is sounded. Louder and louder until their song merges with the same melody resounding from the neighbors’ homes, cutting a path into the highest realms of heaven.
Suddenly Mama collapses into a chair crying hysterically. The singing stops. Father runs over and asks why is she crying just now at the apex of the beautiful sacred night?
"What do you mean next year in Yerushalayim? What about the table, the chandelier, the deep carpet, the Rosenthal China! How can we leave all this?"
Father approaches Mama. And taking her hand while gently dabbing her tears away, in a voice full of compassion says to his beloved wife, "Darling, don’t cry, IT’S ONLY A SONG!"
Ten thousand kilometers to the east, in Eretz Yisrael, lives Reb Sender’s brother Kalman. Kalman had moved to Eretz Yisrael many years ago, and was blessed with a beautiful family and an adequate apartment. His son, Yossi, will not be home for the Seder night since he is doing his army service within the Hesder yeshiva system.
But the parents are not overly worried, because Yossi himself told them that he is in a safe place in the north, and that next year they will all be together for the seder.
At 12 noon, on the 14th of Nisan, erev Pessach, Yossi and three other soldiers from the same yeshiva were called to the company commander’s room, where he informed them that they have been chosen to fill an assignment that evening, on the Seder night. They were to cross the border into Hizballah territory in Southern Lebanon and man the out-post bunker on hill 432.
Yossi knew the hill well; he had been there several times in the past year. It was sarcastically called a "bunker," but in reality it was nothing more than a fox hole large enough for four soldiers. Their assignment was to track terrorist movements and destroy them on contact. It was tolerable except when it rained, which caused the bottom of the hole to be soggy and muddy. But today the four hoped that it would rain, even though chances were small since it was late in the season. On the 14th of every Hebrew month the moon is full, which presents a greater danger when crossing into enemy territory; so rain would be a mixed blessing.
At 5 PM, they were given the necessary arms and ammunition. In addition, the army rabbinate had provided them with 4 plastic containers each holding 3 matzot and all the ingredients necessary for a seder, as well as 4 plastic bottles of wine, sufficient for 4 cups, and of course a Haggada.
At 6 PM they waited at the fence for the electricity to be turned off, in order to cross into hostile territory. Yossi held in his hand a map of the minefield they would have to cross. "It was so strange," Yossi thought, "this is the area assigned to the tribe of Naftali, and we have to enter it crawling on our stomachs."
At 6:15 PM the small aperture in the gate opened and they passed through. As they had hoped, it was raining and the thick fog was to their advantage.
At that moment, ten thousand kilometers to the west, it was 12 noon and Yossi’s two cousins in New York were just entering the mikva to prepare for the Pessach holiday.
The 4 soldiers reached hill 432 after walking double -time for 5 kilometers. They removed the camouflage and settled in, pulled the grassy cover over them.
Each soldier was assigned a direction. Talking was forbidden. If any murderers were sighted, a light tap on the shoulder would bring them all to the proper direction. After settling in, they prayed ma’ariv and began the seder. In was finished within a half hour, and not unexpectedly, the four cups of "wine" had no detrimental effect on their senses.
At 6 PM in NY, the family returned from shul to begin their seder. It was then 12 midnight in Eretz Yisrael and the four soldiers were waging a heroic battle against boredom and sleep. The minutes crawled by and at the first approach of light they exited their outpost and returned through the minefield and electric fence to the base. After reporting to the officer in charge, the four entered their tent, and collapsed on their cots without removing clothing or shoes, because in an hour they would have to begin the shacharit service.
In conclusion: As the holiday of Pesach approaches, and we recall in a more active way the redemption of the Jewish nation from the galut of Egypt, I sincerely wish all a chag kasher v’samayach. And may we all meet together very soon in Eretz Yisrael, when HaShem will close the door on our religious, physical and mental slavery in the 2000 years in galut.
Copyright © 5772-2012 Nachman Kahana
Monday, April 02, 2012
Sunday, April 01, 2012
An unintended consequence is a result that is not anticipated. For example, a hospital might develop a patient information system to enhance patient-care efficiency and reduce medical error. But these systems sometimes create the opposite effect; they reduce efficiency and increase error. That’s an unintended consequence.
How can our good intentions create negative outcomes? We are educated, experienced and smart. We know how to plan. We understand how to make decisions. The problem is, every decision-making process contains a flaw: decisions are made by humans--and humans, by definition, make mistakes.
Our humanity limits us. Our hubris betrays us. We invent DDT to solve an agricultural problem and create an even bigger environmental problem. We create increasingly powerful drugs to fight disease and end up with bacteria super-resistant to those drugs.
That man could mistakenly create undesirable outcomes appears counter-intuitive because we believe that man can control his environment. Man controls the world. Humanism has taught us that. Man creates. Man is Master.
Because we believe so completely in Man, G-d gave us unintended consequences --to remind us that Humanism is wrong. The ‘law’ of unintended consequences tells us that man does not control. Man is the worker, not the Master. He can plan. He can work. But when he thinks he controls, the result is often an undesirable outcome.
This is a lesson in humility that Mr Netanyahu dismisses. The moment he decided to govern by rejecting the Likud Platform he was elected to promote, he began to create his own version of unintended consequences. He has a big plan—to build power by rejecting Likud and embracing the Left. Big plans require big risks—and that’s the problem. Human nature is perverse: the more powerful you feel, the safer you feel; and the safer you feel, the more risk you take. Mr Netanyahu has become powerful. He has begun to take risks.
So far, his plan works. He has created a political juggernaut that has sailed the Israeli political sea with impunity. Wherever this juggernaut goes, it dominates and controls. Even as it steers Left, it appears to maintain speed and balance. But when Netanyahu’s people corrupted the recent primary vote to beat Moshe Feiglin, they crossed a line: they chose corruption over honesty. The Man-made juggernaut had become so danger-proof it could alter election results without fear. The ship of State had become unsinkable: nothing could stop it; nothing (not even voters) could stand in its way.
Now, that line crossed, poor decisions will accumulate. Thoughts of humility before G-d evaporate. The juggernaut becomes pregnant with unintended consequences waiting to happen.
This is what makes Migron more than just a ‘settler’ community. Migron is a small collection of homes in Samaria which could become for Mr Netanyahu’s ship of state what the iceberg was to the Titanic—an unexpected problem that creates the ultimate unintended result, the sinking of the unsinkable juggernaut.
Think about the Titanic. Compare it to Mr Netanyahu. The Titanic was the greatest ship of its day. It was powerful, perfectly designed. Its captain assumed nothing could go wrong. If nothing could go wrong, where’s the risk? Ignore passenger emergency drills. Forget basic sailing values. We’re safe. We are danger-proof. There are no risks. We can do as we please. Only we control our destiny.
Pregnant with unintended consequences waiting to happen, the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage. Soon, sailors on night-watch spotted icebergs in their shipping lane. It wasn’t a problem. Icebergs at that time of year were considered too small to threaten; and besides, the Titanic was so strong, brilliantly built and powerful, no iceberg could stop her. Mr Netanyahu sees Migron the same way the Titanic’s captain saw that iceberg: it’s an annoyance—a phenomena with little risk. But that iceberg wasn’t just an annoyance; neither is Migron.
Migron is scheduled to be demolished, thanks to a High Court decision Mr Netanyahu supports. Migron would become the largest Jewish expulsion of Jews since the Gush Katif affair in 2005, when the IDF expelled Jews from Gaza. Israelis know what happened at Gush Katif—and what has happened since: placate anti-Israel hate and it grows ever more aggressive. Repeating that 2005 fiasco again at Migron will not sit well with a lot of Israelis who currently sit on the fence about the question of Judea/Samaria. Migron is not just a ‘settler’ issue.
Beware, Mr Netanyahu. Your success with the Left makes you feel unstoppable. You are indeed captain of a political Titanic. You believe you can proceed risk-free. You believe that your corrupt victory over Feiglin proves your power-- but it only reveals your hubris. Power and hubris can undo you when you believe you have immunity from the law of unintended consequences.
Your Titanic is surrounded by icebergs and one of them is called Migron.