Thursday, February 28, 2013

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Ki Tisa 5773

Parashat Ki Tisa 5773
This Shabbat we will read parshat Ki Tisa which is at total variance with the two preceding parshiot - Teruma and Tetzaveh, and parshiot Vayak’hel and Pekudai which follow Ki Tisa.
Teruma and Tetzaveh deal with the Mishkan and its implements, Ki Tisa interrupts the sequence and tells of the sinful, disastrous episode of the Aigel Hazahav (the Golden Calf), and the two final parshiot of the Book of Shemot, Vayak’hel and Pekudai, return to the subject of the Mishkan and its implements.
Mishkan, Mishkan, tragic episode of idolatry, and again Mishkan, Mishkan - what does it mean?
I submit:
The Torah, through the sequence of these five parshiot, is intimating in a very subtle and obscure manner what awaits the Jewish people in the future.
Parshat Teruma alludes to the 479 years of the Mishkan before the Bet Hamikdash was established in Yerushalayin: 39 years in the desert, 14 years in Gilgal, 369 years in Shilo, and 57 years in Nov and Givon.
Tetzaveh alludes to the 410 years of the Bet Hamikdash of King Shlomo on the Temple Mount.
The disastrous, sinful act of idolatry in parashat Ki Tisa alludes to the destruction of King Shlomo’s Bet Hamikdash for reasons of idolatry and the subsequent 70-year exile.
Parshat Vayak’hel, which returns to the matter of the Mishkan, alludes to the Bet Hamikdash which was to be built by Ezra and the Jews who returned with him from Babylon and Persia.
Parshat Pekudai alludes to the magnificent Second Bet HaMikdash, built by Hordus (Herod).
The Temple of Ezra together with the Temple of Hordus stood for a total of 420 years until the Romans destroyed its grandeur, precipitating the subsequent 2000 year exile of the Jewish people from our holy Land. This tragic period of death and destruction of our physical, religious and moral status in the galut is alluded to by the breakoff of the Book of Shemot.
The next Book is Vayikra, also called Torat Kohanim (Laws of the Kohanim) because it deals essentially with the Temple service performed by the Kohanim; and alludes to the next and final Bet HaMikdash soon, with the help of Hashem, to be constructed on Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) in Yerushalayim.
In the spirit of anticipating the future, as presented by these five parshiot, I would like to try my hand at foretelling what awaits us as citizens of this planet and more so as sons and daughters of Hashem’s chosen people.
Gentile analysts, diviners, forecasters and oracles delve into the data at hand and predict the evolution of present events into the future, based on their religious, political or social interests.
In contrast to the Gentiles, Am Yisrael’s forecasters are at an advantage, in that we know, at least in a broad scope, what the future holds, and for our analysts, it is just a matter of drawing the correct lines between the historical dots by working backwards from the future to the present.
The sources of our knowledge are the traditions handed down by Chazal (our rabbis) in the Talmud, Midrashim and oral teachings from rabbis to students.
The prophet Yirmiyahu 16:19-20 says:
ה' עזי ומעזי ומנוסי ביום צרה אליך גוים יבאו מאפסי ארץ ויאמרו אך שקר נחלו אבותינו הבל ואין בם מועיל: היעשה לו אדם אלהים והמה לא אלהים!
Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say,
"Our ancestors bequeathed to us false gods, worthless idols that did them no good. Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!"
And the Mechilta (Halachic Midrash on the Book of Shemot) 15,1 states:
אין הקדוש ברוך הוא נפרע מן האומה עד שנפרע מאלהיה תחילה
When the Holy One, Blessed Be He, exacts payment (brings about the downfall of a nation or society), He begins with their deities (discredits, disgraces and dishonors their religious beliefs).
In Christianity and Islam we find the three cardinal sins: idolatry, sexual perversion and murder. Idolatry and sexual perversion of the Catholic Church at its highest echelons; and religiously authorized and sanctioned murder and sexual perversion in Islam.
What is happening at the present time in the inner chambers of the Catholic Church in the Vatican, is for them a catastrophic earthquake which will not stop resonating until the entire structure is disgraced. The structure will tumble, beginning with the impossible concept of immaculate conception and Christianity in general which has always served as the platform for worldwide anti-Semitism, including preparing the hearts and minds of their believers to Nazism.
I see the Christian world entering a period of revulsion to organized religion. This will dramatically increase the moral decrepitude of people, when God, even a false one, is removed from their lives.
The breakdown of religion in the Christian world will spread to large portions of enlightened Moslems, when they open their eyes to the savagery and brutality of their unholy Koran. And as God is pushed ever more into the background, the innate evil tendencies of people will dominate society, as the pasuk says (Beraishiet 8,21):
כי יצר לב האדם רע מנעריו:
The inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.
This will by necessity bring us to what Chazal say (Yalkut Shimoni, Yishayahu 499)
א"ר יצחק שנה שמלך המשיח נגלה בו כל מלכי אומות העולם מתגרים זה בזה
Rabbi Yitzchak said, In the year when the Mashiach appears all the nations of the world will be at war with each other.
As the world becomes ever poorer, less moral and desperate, chaos will overtake humanity and the military of each nation will by necessity have to rule. Democracy, where the seat of power lies with the people, will be a part of the past, and the world will become an armed camp.
Nuclear proliferation, advanced technology geared to development of ever more lethal weapons, no religion, poverty, greed, national paranoia; the world will become a tinderbox ready to explode.
The fate of our brother and sisters in the galut will be identical with the fate of their gentile neighbors. They too will sink spiritually and physically into the spinning maelstrom to no-where.
In Eretz Yisrael, the situation will be dramatically different. As the internal and international situation worsens, the Jews in the Holy Land will be drawn back to HaShem and mitzvot. What will impress the people here to make the great return?
The Gemara (Sanhedrin 97b) states:
רבי אליעזר אומר: אם ישראל עושין תשובה - נגאלין, ואם לאו - אין נגאלין. אמר ליה רבי יהושע... אלא הקדוש ברוך הוא מעמיד להן מלך שגזרותיו קשות כהמן וישראל עושין תשובה ומחזירן למוטב
Rabbi Eliezer says, if Am Israel does teshuva (repents) they will be redeemed, but if not they will not be redeemed. Rabbi Yehoshua says, the Holy One Blessed Be He, will appoint a monarch whose decrees will be as difficult as those of Haman, and Am Yisrael will do teshuva and they (the  decrees) will bring them back to the righteous path.
The decrees could originate in New York, or Washington, or Brussels. The result will be as stated in last week’s parasha, that when the Jews lifted their eyes to the heavens we overcame Amalek.
As the world will draw further away from HaShem, Am Yisrael will look into ourselves and return to the ways of the Torah.
This is what awaits the world - the breakdown of organized religions as we know them today, but with Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael deeply entrenched in the Torah.
This is the worldwide configuration which sets the stage for the Mashiach, when all humanity will have given up hope for a better life, out of desperation will turn to the Jews in Eretz Yisrael for salvation.
For a clearer understanding of how the world will look in the period just prior to the Mashiach, I suggest learning the last half of the last Mishna of Tractate Sota, and the Yalkut Shimoni Yeshayahu chapter 499 which describes the turmoil Iran will create in the world at that time. There is so much more fascinating and intriguing Jewish source material on the subject of the Mashiach and future redemption to fill many days of Shabbat sturdy, and they all point to contemporary times.
The dots of the future are before us in the form of our religious sources. If I failed to connect the dots, it is not important, because the future can be seen from current events.
Gentile humanity will regress as Am Yisrael will assume the role of spiritual leader of the world.
The essence of the matter is stated in our parasha Ki Tisa. Despite the horrific sin of the Golden Calf just 40 days after we received the Torah at Mount Sinai, HaShem promised Moshe that He will forever keep His covenant with the Jewish nation (Shemot 34,8-10)
)ח) וימהר משה ויקד ארצה וישתחו:
(ט) ויאמר אם נא מצאתי חן בעיניך אדני ילך נא אדני בקרבנו כי עם קשה ערף הוא וסלחת לעוננו ולחטאתנו ונחלתנו:
(י) ויאמר הנה אנכי כרת ברית נגד כל עמך אעשה נפלאת אשר לא נבראו בכל הארץ ובכל הגוים וראה כל העם אשר אתה בקרבו את מעשה יקוק כי נורא הוא אשר אני עשה עמך:
8:Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped.
9: "Lord", he said, "if I have found favor in Your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance."
10: Then the Lord said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you".
What can we say except to thank HaShem for making us His chosen people and returning us to His Holy land. May we be worthy of all He has done for us.
We bless Him for watching over and preserving His loyal people of Israel who cling to His Torah and await Hashem’s salvation.
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5773-2013 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Post-Purim Question

By Tuvia Brodie

Here’s a question you might have missed on Purim: does the West understand the Middle East?
This is a Purim question because it's a trick: You can answer this question only if you can answer another question: do chickens have (easily identifiable) lips?
My bet is, most Westerners, particularly non-science academicians, know nothing about chicken anatomy. That’s a shame, because if they cannot answer the chicken question, they may not be able answer the Middle East question.
While you were drinking on Purim, you should have been thinking about these things.
Fail this test and we may be forced to conclude that academicians know as much about the Middle East as they know about chickens, which is to say, not much. This is troubling. Non-science academicians write a lot about the Middle East.  Scholars, they are supposed to know how to complete objective, sober research. They are also supposed to know about intellectual integrity, which requires one to remain sober enough to understand that you must accept conclusions which do not conform to pre-existing beliefs.
Does the demonization of Israel by academicians suggest they fail some intellectual sobriety test—or are they simply guilty of scholarship incompetence?
Neither. They do not fail any intellectual test, sober or otherwise. They are not incompetent.
On Purim, our underlying reality is revealed; and the reality is, Humanities and Social Science academicians have a purpose. They focus on their specialities for a reason. They aim to understand the complexity of human and communal life to help humanity. Therefore, their true focus is not the Middle East. Instead, they aim  to answer a question: what is the simplest way to help humanity cope with the two greatest threats to happy life--fear and uncertainty?
On Purim, our celebration brings clarity: in vino veritas. By late afternoon, we can see that Western academicians answer their own question. Their answer is simplicity itself: Haman.
That is their genius. They study the human condition.  They understand that what humanity wants—has always wanted-- is a good scapegoat. This is where the Jew comes in. He’s the scapegoat.
Ask Haman. Better yet, Ask Iran President Ahmadinejad.
Think about it. Why would otherwise intelligent people (academicians) spend so much time promoting hatred? 
The answer is simple. It brings clarity to a frightening world. It helps us fight fear.
When life becomes frightening, Jew-haters can press the ‘Jew’ button. Automatically, we know how to respond. It’s like watching your favourite magician perform. You watch his tricks. You know what he’s going to do. You’ve seen it all before; and yet you cheer every time he performs because his repetition gives you pleasure. That’s why medical clowns repeat their tricks—that repetition gives children in pain remembered pleasure to distract them from that pain. That’s what academicians understand. They cannot make our pain go away. They have no answers. But they can distract us with familiar pleasure.
On one level, the Purim story is about Jew-hate. It’s the Jew-hate that resonates because Jew-hate provides social and human comfort. Jew-hate soothes.
By late-day Purim, it all becomes clear: our world can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong. We are afraid. Western academicians simply show us a way to cope: blame the Jew.
Of course, Jews don’t like that. But that’s okay. Jews didn’t like what Haman had in mind, either.
Western academicians are our cultural psychiatrists. They understand our pain. They offer a sobering palliative. The problem is, a psychiatrist takes an oath—first, do no harm. It’s certainly noble to offer a moment of pleasure to someone in pain; but it’s quite a different story to do that at the expense of another human. If our academicians do not fail the intellectual integrity test (their conclusions about Jews are true to their goals), and if they are not incompetent (for the same reason), they nonetheless fail their most basic test: do no harm to the humanity you seek to help.
How does Jew-hate hurt humanity? Look at the history of World War Two. Jew-hate before that War may have been a cultural palliative for a painful world-wide economic Depression, but it brought a bitter consequence. It allowed the West to tolerate a rabidly anti-Jewish Hitler—and we know what that brought.
If you are compassionate to (or tolerant of) the cruel, you will end up being cruel to the compassionate. That’s what we allowed to unfold before World War Two; and it’s what we allow today.
Jew-hate, despite its culturally palliative effect, brings horrific disaster. It is not benign. That’s what Haman teaches us. Today, international Jew-hate once again distracts us from social and human pain; and once again, it brings us to the brink of war, this time with nuclear overtones. 
As Western economies weaken, Arab Jew-hate spills into the West because it soothes. Haman’s voice is familiar. But Haman and his modern academic friends do not bring peace. Their efforts promote war. Their good intentions bring chaos.
Perhaps Western academicians would be smarter to study chickens.  If they did that, the rest of us might live longer, happier lives.

MK Feiglin to Other MKs: Boycott Obama's Knesset Speech if He Does Not Free Pollard

Moshe Feiglin
Co-Founder & President
Contact:Rob Muchnick, US Director
(516) 779-7420 (cell phone) 
Shmuel Sackett
Co-Founder & International Director 

MK Feiglin to Other MKs:  Boycott Obama's Knesset Speech If He Does Not Free Jonathan Pollard

February 27, 2013...

The President of the United State, Barack Hussein Obama, is scheduled to visit Israel and to speak in the Knesset on Erev Pesach (March 25).
You are welcome in Israel, Mr. President - with our brother, Jonathan Pollard.

With G-d's help, when Obama releases our brother, Jonathan, I will be pleased to honor him and to listen to his speech in the Knesset.

If G-d forbid, he will not release our brother, I call upon all my colleagues, the Knesset Members, to join me and to leave the Knesset plenum empty during the speech of the president of the state that has been holding our brother Jonathan captive for 28 years.

Background Information:
Question to Feiglin:   Why is securing Pollard’s release more important than anything else?

Feiglin:   Because I see neglecting Pollard as treason against our fellow brother who gave his life for us, and I believe that morality changes history. The bottom line is that when something immoral happens for such a long time in such a terrible way, it has an impact on the moral foundation of the Jewish state. It also has an impact on the moral foundation of the United States, but that’s a different story. I care about the Jewish state first of all.

• Jonathan Pollard is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally. 
• On November 21, 2012, Pollard entered the 28th year of his life sentence, with no end in sight. 
• The maximum sentence today for such an offence is 10 years. 
• The median sentence for this offence is 2 to 4 years. 

Moshe Feiglin's Debut Speech in the Knesset Now with English Subtitles

Click here to watch the Hebrew video of Moshe Feiglin's speech with English subtitles.
(If you do not see the subtitles, click on the cc on the bar below the picture)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Consequence of Ignoring History

By Tuvia Brodie

Before World War One, the philosopher George Santayana was quoted as saying, ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’  After World War One, Winston Churchill is said to have echoed this thought when he said, ‘those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.’ Perhaps today we can update this notion by saying, simply, ‘those who fail to learn from history are doomed.’
We have come a long way since the world of Santayana and Churchill. Once, men of goodwill worried about losing peace and tranquillity because of tyrants like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Today, Hitler and Stalin are gone. We no longer worry about powerful dictators controlling large armies; we worry instead about powerless terrorists. We no longer worry about an iron fist enslaving Europe.  We worry about religious fanatics glorifying their god by killing hundreds, even thousands, with the contents of a knapsack.
In case you haven’t noticed, our world—and our worry—has changed.
To deal with such change, we can learn much from the last century. History has lessons for those who would defend our tranquillity. Indeed, we learn everything we need to know from World War Two: the causes of war are few--appeasement, accepting lies as truth, giving evil men power and maintaining silence in the face of that evil.
The lessons of history are before us and many will agree: peace requires a combination of moral absolutes, military preparedness and the courage to stand up to evil; war comes when moral and military responsibilities are abandoned, allowing evil to fill in the vacuum. Evil feeds on appeasement.  Sometimes, you have no choice but to fight; and when that time comes, you not only know it, but you also know that the longer you wait, the bloodier it will be. Peace does not come from avoiding war at all costs; it comes from giving the bully a damn good bloody nose—and the sooner that happens, the better it will be for all.
Read history: if you do not stand up to the bully, you lose.
Throughout history, the man who turns the other cheek usually gets slapped twice, then three times. He has no peace until he fights, leaves or dies.
Religious hate never brings peace. Peace comes only when good men silence hate —not the other way around.
Do you understand these lessons? Many have died because we ignore them.
Today, we stand on the threshold of a religious war that involves bus bombs and nuclear weapons. With such threats, we lose the luxury of appeasement and delay. Today, appeasement and delay will not lead to a bloody war on someone else’s land. That war will come to us. The blood will flow on our land because those who aim to kill have learned their own lessons:  how to energize the rage of followers, how to kill innocent people and then use propaganda to create enough sympathy that the victims invite the killers into their own back yard. Our refusal to learn history’s lessons will mean painful schooling by killers. War today will not mean your neighbour’s son could die in some faraway battle; it means your brother and my sister die right here in town. The tranquillity we lose will not be a political abstraction; it will be the tranquillity of our own neighbourhood. Today, the risk of ignoring history’s lessons is not just another war. The risk is war on our own street. If we ignore history, we will not simply be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. We will be doomed.
We face this existential threat because the war we confront is not simply a war over land. Listen to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad. Listen to the Muslim Waqf of Jerusalem. Listen to Arab TV. The war we face is a religious war with a religious goal—the destruction of Little Satan (Israel) and Big Satan (America). This is not just a war over territory or borders. This is about religion. It is about G-d.
Perhaps G-d makes you uncomfortable. That’s too bad because this war gives you only two choices:  you either stand for G-d or wait for madmen to create nuclear weapons.
It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
Although history teaches that land is often the cause of war, it also teaches that land is not the only cause of war. In fact, history presents a cruel reality: when land is not the only cause for war, land is not the goal of war; and when land is not the goal of war, death and killing do not end when land is captured.
History is simple but brutal: ignore the lessons of your past and you will have no future.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Messianic Vision: An Interview with MK Moshe Feiglin in the Jewish Press

By: Elliot Resnick
The Jewish Press
Published: February 20th, 2013

For over a decade, Moshe Feiglin, a Jewish Press weekly columnist, has been working toward becoming prime minister of Israel with the aim of “turning the state of the Jews into the Jewish state.” He still has ways to go, but on February 5, he advanced one step closer when he was sworn in as a Knesset member for the first time. Ahead of a dinner celebrating his victory in the Chateau Steakhouse in Queens, NY on February 25, MK Feiglin spoke to The Jewish Press.

The Jewish Press: You’ve been trying to get into the Knesset for a long time. Now that you’re in, what do you hope to accomplish?

Feiglin: I hope to advance the concept of Jewish leadership to the state of Israel – a state that is based on its Jewish identity and not just the concept of survival.

What does that mean?

One example is the two-state solution. If you understand that we came back to Israel after 2,000 years of exile to achieve a goal and not just to survive, then you understand we need the whole country. We long for Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, Schechem, Chevron – all these places that connect us to our identity.

When the goal is survival, Tel Aviv is enough. When the goal is to create a special society that carries a message to the entire universe, then questions like [surrendering land to the Arabs] are not even considered.

You often write that you want to create a Jewish state. For some people, this means a halachic state.

No, I’m talking about something much, much wider. I’m talking about making the Torah part of our culture.

Some people argue that a Jewish state means a state where Torah law reigns supreme – with police enforcing the laws of tzniyut, for example, as they do in Iran.

No, nothing can be forced. The whole concept of force is against Judaism because Hashem tells us, “U’bacharta ba’chaim” – you should choose, and if you’re being forced, you cannot choose. The difference between Judaism and Islam is exactly that. God wants us to choose between life and death. Therefore, the whole concept of force is totally irrelevant.

Are you saying there was no force in the times of the Bayit Rishon or Bayit Sheini?

I’m saying that this is what we need today – a state that carries a message of freedom.

A number of years ago, you wrote that Israel should make Sunday a day off like it is in America. You argued that Israelis who love soccer, for example, would gladly move all professional soccer games from Saturday to Sunday and possibly observe Shabbat if Sunday wasn’t a workday.

That is a good example of how to build a modern Jewish state that gives its citizens the capability to have a real Shabbat even though they’re not religious right now. What we need to do is to be more open and give Israelis the ability to be who they [truly] are. If you give them the opportunity to choose, most of them will choose the right thing.

Some people would claim this argument is silly since Israelis are, by and large, secular.

I think they’re totally wrong. When you ask Israelis what they are first – Jewish or Israeli – more than 80 percent say first of all, and above all, they’re Jewish. When you ask Israelis to describe themselves, only 19 percent say they’re secular, 50 percent say they’re traditional and the rest say they’re dati or haredi.So those who say that [Israelis are secular] don’t really understand where Israeli society is holding.

In your articles, you often write about the importance of building the Beit HaMikdash, calling it “the direct link between the Almighty and His world” – a place that allows us “to synthesize between the physical and spiritual - to create a life of harmony between the two.” Your average Orthodox Jew, though, believes we must wait for Mashiach to build the Beit HaMikdash. You evidently don’t agree.

We just read in last week’s parshah, “V’asu li mikdash” [“You should make a Sanctuary for Me”]. It doesn’t say “V’asu li haMashiach mikdash”[“Mashiach should make a Sanctuary for Me”]. “V’asu” means the people of Israel. So what can I tell you? It’s written clear and simple right there.

Why do so many Jews believe otherwise?
You should ask them.

You descend from a Chabad family and went to religious Zionist schools growing up. How would you describe yourself today?

I’m Moshe Zalman Feiglin. There’s no [label] that describes me specifically. Sometimes you can call me Chabad, sometimes you can call me dati le’umi [religious Zionist], and sometimes you can even call me not religious at all since I don’t identify with the concept of “religion.” Religion, to my understanding, is not a Jewish concept. The first person who uses the word “dati” [religious] in the Bible is Haman Harasha.

Judaism is not a religion; we should remember that. Religion is just part of Judaism that served us in the Diaspora, but when we come back to our land we should open that to a full culture because otherwise Judaism cannot fulfill its message.

There’s a reason why the punishment of not willing to go from the Sinai desert to Eretz Yisrael was much bigger than the punishment the Jews got for cheit ha’eigel [the sin of the Golden Calf]. For cheit ha’eigel – which is, so to speak, a religious sin – we can do teshuvah and start from the beginning. But when you’re not willing to go to Eretz Yisrael, you’re basically saying, “I give up on the Jewish mission” – which can only be fulfilled from the land of Israel.

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch also disliked the word “religion” to describe Judaism since it implies that Judaism concerns only one aspect of life – the religious as opposed to the secular – when, in fact, Judaism encompasses and is supposed to permeate and inform every aspect of life. Is this what you’re saying?

We took the concept of religion from Christianity, and we should understand that this is not what Judaism is all about. It’s not just about religion. It’s much wider than that. Of course I’m not talking about giving upTorah u’mitzvot. Nahafoch hu. I’m talking about Torah u’mitzvot with a national purpose. Not just a private purpose or a family purpose, not even a community purpose – but a national purpose.

On that level it can be done only in the land of Israel with Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and, b’ezrat Hashem, as soon as can be, the Beit HaMikdash.

Who are your heroes?

David Hamelech.

Anyone else?

Herzl is also definitely a hero. Not that I agree with everything he said, but definitely a person with a vision who changed history. If you want to talk about non-Jews, we can talk about Churchill who saved his people from Germany.

Both your friends and enemies sometimes compare you to Meir Kahane. Do you embrace this comparison? Reject it?

You can find places where we say the same things. You can also find places where we are different. I was in the army when Meir, Hashem yikom damo, was [most] active, so I didn’t get to know him so well. But I can definitely say that the slogan “Kahane tzadak – Kahane was right” has proven itself many times.

When you first started your campaign to become Israel’s prime minister, terrorism was rampant and Israel’s leaders were constantly negotiating to surrender land to the Arabs. Matters seem to have improved somewhat since then. For people who only care about land and security – rather than the ideological vision you outlined earlier – why is it important that you become prime minister?

Well, I don’t agree with the way you describe the situation. Just a few months ago, we had missiles being shot from Gaza at Tel Aviv. It reminds me of the joke of a person falling from the roof of a skyscraper and somebody in the middle of the building is looking from the window and asks him, “How is it going?” and he says, “So far so good.”

Israel is being targeted by terrorists and losing its credibility all over the world. We have the strongest economy; we have accomplished miracles. But we have also lost our roots and our ability to justify our existence. We definitely need Jewish leadership.

Do you genuinely believe you will become prime minister one day?

I have no doubt that sooner or later Israel will have Jewish leadership.

But not necessarily you?

Of course not necessarily me. I am not the message; the message is the message. I’m looking right and left and don’t see anybody else, but it’s not about me.

President Obama is visiting Israel in March. What would you advise Prime Minister Netanyahu to say to him during his visit?

Netanyahu should demand that Obama come with Jonathan Pollard before anything else. That should become the number one issue when it comes to the relationship with America. If, God forbid, Jonathan Pollard dies in jail, this black moral cloud above Israeli and American society will not be able to be erased.

Why is securing Pollard’s release more important than anything else?

Because I see [neglecting Pollard] as betrayal of our fellow brother who gave his life for us, and I believe that morality changes history. The bottom line is that when something immoral happens for such a long time in such a terrible way, it has an impact on the moral foundation of the Jewish state. It also has an impact on the moral foundation of the United States, but that’s a different story. I care about the Jewish state first of all.

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Tetzaveh Shabbat Zachor 5773

Parashat Tetzaveh Shabbat Zachor 5773

More words have been articulated in attempts to disclose the hidden meanings behind the Purim story than all the poured wine at the feasts in Shushan. But despite the diverse opinions, no one can take issue with the one critical word in the Megila that encapsulates the visibly apparent flow of events.
That word is "Venahafoch" meaning the apparent reality rebounded and was reversed (Megilat Esther 9,1)
ובשנים עשר חדש הוא חדש אדר בשלושה עשר יום בו אשר הגיע דבר המלך ודתו להעשות ביום אשר שברו איבי היהודים לשלוט בהם ונהפוך הוא אשר ישלטו היהודים המה בשנאיהם:
In the twelfth month, the month of Adar, on the 13th day the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to subdue them, but it (the reality) was reversed and the Jews subdued their enemies.
Every diabolical plan that was construed to destroy the Jews was reversed. Haman’s contrivances to kill Mordechai engulfed Haman himself, when he found himself with a noose around his neck about to he hanged on the 50 cubits high gallows he had prepared for Mordechai. The planned annihilation of the entire Jewish nation in one day, which even the Germans could not do, ended with a great military victory for HaShem’s side. Every attempt to prohibit the rebuilding of the Holy Temple was thwarted, and the outcome of the entire Megila episode climaxed in the Temple’s reconstruction, lead by Ezra the Scribe and Nechemia.
Parshat Tetzaveh which deals with the construction of the Mishkan - the forerunner to the Bet HaMikdash, and Parshat Zachor which deals with Amalek, the ultimate enemy of Am Yisrael, and the holiday of Purim where behind the scenes HaShem was very much present to save His chosen people - all converge in our time in the guise of Medinat Yisrael.
Medinat Yisrael, like the Mishkan, is the harbinger of the future Torah State in all of our Biblical lands with the Bet Hamikdash, Sanhedrin and restoration of the Davidic monarchy. Islamic Amalek will go down to its grave in its efforts to prevent the Medina from rebuilding the Bet Hamikdash on the Temple Mount and the diabolic plans of Iran, today’s Persia, to destroy the Medina in one day will be its undoing. It does not take a great Torah scholar or a professor of history to realize that the awesome, inexplicable and staggering survival and thriving of the Jewish State, like the episode of Purim, cannot be explained other than HaShem’s loving guidance orchestrating behind the scenes the events of our lives.
The principle of "venahafoch" (reversed reality) is very much a part of our daily lives. Our most meticulous plans are always up for review in the shamayim (heaven), starting with one’s personal life, up to the highest echelons of world leaders.
I would like to try my hand at predicting some "venahafoch" scenarios in our present circumstances, which I believe could happen.
President Obama and his designs for the United States.
The American President believes that the United States has to limit its military involvement in international affairs. He presents some convincing points, although a sceptic might have reason to think that the real reason for the President’s desire to cut back on the military is his intention that the less the US military is capable of intervening in global matters, the easier it would be for Islamic Jihad to establish their dream of world caliphate. But, of course, that is the thought of sceptics.
The President stubbornly wants Senator Chuck Hagel to be his Secretary of Defense to oversee the diminishing and weakening of the world’s strongest army by lowering the defense budget, against the wishes of the US military.
The President promised that in 2013 he will withdraw 35,000 troops from Afghanistan, with the remainder to leave in 2014. This will, in fact, pave the way for the Taliban return to Afghanistan, to once again crush the people under the tyrannical boot of Sharia Islam.
Now for the "venahafoch".
The realities of "real politic" will force the loyal Americans in Congress to oppose the President, and in fact dramatically increase the military budget. The North Korean threat. China’s military expansionist dreams in the Pacific and South East Asia. The planned monopolization of raw materials in Africa by the Chinese. The Iranian Nuclear threat an their plans to engulf the oil rich states of the Gulf, and Islamic expansion in Africa. All these and much more will force the President to sign bills to expand the US military as never before. To this add the necessity to have a very large internal police force as part of the Department of Homeland Security, to deal with the expected mass riots in the US when unemployment will reach 20%.
Very soon Chuck Hagel who is intended to be Obama’s butcher will revert to "Hagel Ha’zahav," who will oversee the huge spending for military purposes.
And as the military grows the inevitable result will be the military’s growing influence on the government and the nation’s legal process. And that’s just the beginning!
Indeed venahafoch!
But what does this have to do with the Jewish communities of America?
Answer: It will create a situation whereby aliya to Eretz Yisrael will be close to impossible.
The increase in military might and the very large internal police force of the Department for Homeland Security will, by necessity, require the reinstatement of the Selective Service Act. Your sons and daughters will be drafted into the US army.
There will be no exemptions for divinity students, and no more one or two years learning in a yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael. When the law is re-enacted, boys and girls from the ages of 14 to 28 will be prohibited from leaving the country.
To make matters worse, the necessity of supporting such a large internal and external military will necessitate limiting the dollar flow out of the country.
Between the draft and the limit of foreign spending, aliya will become a dead issue for American Jews.
Following is a short story I wrote, which appears in the first volume of the book "With All Your Might".
The phone rang in the nearly empty, topsy-turvy home of the Levines as their prepare for their aliya to Eretz Yisrael..
Mrs. Beth Levine nervously let the wrapping cord fall from her hand as she ran to answer the phone. Too late. The light on the phone’s base signaled that there was a recorded message.
She pushed the "listen" button and a familiar voice spoke: "Hello, this is Miri from Nefesh be’Nefesh. I have two messages for you; a happy one and another, a bit disappointing. The movers will be coming to your home tomorrow morning, Monday, at exactly 7:00 AM, so please be ready. And the not so happy news.
I know how much you wanted the three ABC seats by the window, because of your names Al, Beth and Carol, plus the adjoining D seat of the middle section for David, on this Thursday’s flight. But because you are a family of four you were assigned the four DEFG seats in the middle section. In any event, the thrill of going on aliya will certainly overshadow such minor irritations. Aliya tova!"
Miri was so right, Mrs. Levine thought to herself. The thrill of a dream-come-true leaves no room for such mundane issues as seating on a plane; although it would have been nice to see the coastline of Israel drawing closer as the "wings of eagles" brought them home.
Al and Beth Levine had decided to come on aliya five years ago, when Carol was ten and David had his bar-mitzva. However, it took five years for Al to find a suitable replacement in his law firm; in addition, selling the house for the right price was a protracted process. But thank God, the local shul bought it to serve as the community home for whichever rabbi would be serving at the time.
In the interim, the Levines kept up with current events in Israel, as well as developments in the Middle East, and kept their dream alive.
Tensions were high. Iran, patron of the murderous Hezbollah and Hamas gangs, continued to develop a nuclear capacity. The United Nations Security Council passed a limited economic boycott resolution against Iran, and in an angry knee-jerk response, the Iranians decreased their sale of oil, causing the world price to jump to $100 a barrel! As if this was not bad enough, Venezuela’s leftist president signed a ten year agreement to sell its oil exclusively to China, which brought the price of gas at the pump to $7 a gallon, with no sign that this would be the final price.
But none of this could detract from their decision to come on aliya.
David is to begin Bar Ilan University right after the holidays and Carol is registered in the Ulpan in Kiryat Arba. David was the crisis person in the decision. Youngsters of his age in Israel are drafted into the IDF, but David was promised that he would be permitted to finish his BA uninterrupted by army service.
With this issue behind them, there was really nothing to prevent the Levines from taking the step of a lifetime.
The one annoying factor in their aliya was the attitude of some relatives and friends, who, perhaps for reasons of jealousy or personal weakness, were very critical of their aliya plans. "What’s the rush? Wait until the children finish school. You’re now at your peak earning power. Is this the time to leave?"
On the other hand, the Rabbi was wonderful. On Shabbat he spoke from the pulpit on the mitzva of living in Eretz Yisrael. He praised the Levines, saying how they would be missed in the many areas of their community involvement. Al for giving up his Sundays in order to coach the shul’s little league team; Beth for being the Shabbat kiddish co-ordinator; Carol for helping her mother with the kiddishes and David for managing the shul’s teen activities.
But, of course, the Rabbi was careful to point out that the mitzva of living in Eretz Yisrael was in the category of a four-cornered garment, which although not mandatory to wear, if one should do so he would be required to attach to it tzitzit and merit a mitzva. So too, one is not required to "go up to the land" until the Mashiach comes, but if one should do so he merits a great mitzva.
To their skeptical friends and relatives, Al would respond that there have been so many warnings of late that the time has come to go home. So if not now, --- when?
The tensions in various areas of the world forced Congress to upgrade the military.
The following day, on Monday, true to Miri’s message, the movers arrived at 7:00 AM sharp to take all the worldly possessions of the Levine family to the packing company, and from there to Israel.
Packing was an unforgettable experience.
Beth Levine stood wondering how they "succeeded" in 20 years of marriage to accumulate so much "stuff". They began in the attic, which served as a nostalgic trip into the past. Many memories were evoked as they rummaged through their possessions. The less-than-modest wedding gown which Mrs. Levine did not want her Carol to see. A 78 RPM record player, Al’s catcher’s mitt, which he could not part with. Old photographs from the Pineview and Pioneer Hotels and summer camps. How these experiences have sweetened with time.
But life goes on. And with a mental scissors they will be severed in the light of the new life in the Promised Land.
Eventually, much was give away, more was thrown out, and the necessary articles were now packed in cartons to be shipped off.
In the packing process, the Levines concluded that Moshe Rabbeinu was so right in ordering the Jews to leave with only a few matzot, because if they would have been permitted to bring their possessions we would still be in Mitzrayim.
Ten in the morning and the movers had finished about half the work. A Western Union messenger suddenly arrived with a telegram for Mr. David Levine.
Al signed for it, opened the envelope and read aloud.
"Greetings. You are hereby informed that The President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and Congress in emergency session, have passed the Selective Service Act of 2013, to be enforced immediately. You are hereby ordered to report on May 14, 2013 to the Induction Center at 1948 Independence Ave. for induction into the armed services for a period of not less than three years. You will be sent to Paris Island, Georgia, to commence basic training as a proud United States Marine. Your passport will be on hold until the completion of your military service. Good luck and God’s speed to you in the service of your country."
Al handed the telegram to Beth as the phone suddenly rang. He got there too late to answer, but the light on the phone’s base signaled that there was a recorded message.
Al pushed the "listen" button and a familiar voice sounded.
"Hello, this is Miri again from Nefesh be’Nefesh. Good news. Due to several unexpected last minute cancellations we have been able to get for you the three ABC seats near the window and the D in the middle. Derech Tze’lei’cha."
HaShem works with a stop watch!
But, unfortunately for the Jews of America, the reply of their rabbinic halachic experts will simply be, that as citizens of the United States, which has given so much to the Jewish people, if there will be a draft then it would be a Torah obligation to close the Gamarot and answer the call.
Good Luck!
Here in Eretz Yisrael the principle of venahafoch works overtime.
There is an anecdote which was relevant for many years but is now irrelevant. Why did the Jews wander for 40 years in the desert before coming into Eretz Yisrael? The answer: Moshe was searching for a place in the Middle East where there was not one drop of oil or gas, and that took 40 years.
Today, baruch HaShem, in view of the huge gas and oil finds in the waters off our coast, Israel will soon be a major gas exporter. In fact our gas finds are the largest ones discovered in the world in the last decade.
The oil in the ground of the Medina which can be released by fracking is estimated to be larger than the oil reserves in Saudi Arabia!
Not bad for a country the size of New Jersey, whose claim to be the Torah capital of the world goes unchallenged . Whose scientific achievements are at the cutting edge of all scientific disciplines. Whose military, although small, is the smartest in the world which the three hundred million Arabs in the immediate vicinity do not dare to challenge.
Nothing here makes sense, except when viewed according to the principle of venahafoch. In Eretz Yisrael reality is not what you see, but what the hand of HaShem performs behind the curtains of history.
HaShem still has much to do here before we can sit back and celebrate the coveted "yom sh’kulo shabbat" - a time which will be as a never-ending Shabbat. But it WILL happen, and happy is the Jew, in this world and in the next, who merits to take part in the return of HaShem’s shechina (holy spirit) to Eretz Yisrael.
My most important prediction regarding the world and specifically Israeli society will wait for next week, after we all sober up from Purim.
Shabbat Shalom and Purim Samayach
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5773-2013 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feiglin: I Hope Likud Will be in Bibi’s Coalition (from INN)

Adar 10, 5773, 20/02/13 01:10
Feiglin: I Hope Likud Will be in Bibi’s Coalition

MK Feiglin: Likud should make sure to save room for itself in the coalition.
Maayana Miskin
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) responded Wednesday to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Tuesday-night announcement that Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party would be the first to join his new coalition.

Feiglin said that when he was asked about Livni joining the coalition, “I said what matters is not Tzipi Livni, but the Likud’s path.”

He clarified on his Facebook page, “Of course, Netanyahu has the mandate to bring in various partners and to create a broad-based, stable coalition. That said, Likud members expect that the Likud’s path will be the one leading the government, and that the Ehud Barak precedent will not return.”

“In short,” he added, “I hope that the Likud will be in the coalition, too… “
Livni spoke to her party Wednesday morning and said the decision to join Netanyahu’s coalition means that Hatnua will have a hand in shaping the government’s policy vis-à-vis the diplomatic process.

The American Jew: are You one of the Eighty per cent?

By Tuvia Brodie

If you know the Biblical story of the Jewish Exodus from ancient Egypt, you know about slavery and plagues. We have been reading about this story for most of the last several weeks, covering the first twenty chapters of the Book called, Sh’mot (Exodus) during our weekly Torah readings.
If you recall, this story begins with insolence, when the Egyptian Pharaoh appears to deny both G-d and Moshe (see text and commentary in The Chumash, The Stone Edition of the ArtScroll Series, Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn, NY, 1996, pp.292-414). Pharaoh, we learn, is arrogant. He is dismissive. He has little time--and no patience--for these Jews.
We see such insolence today. We see the arrogance. In fact, we may even see hints of what that ancient Pharaoh saw, signs and wonders. The challenge we face is his challenge: do we say that what unfolds before us is part of our Destiny, or do we react with some form of dismissal or, worse, Pharonic ridicule?
Most American Jews fail that test.
The truth is, Jews in America are like the Jews of the Exodus story. For example, we see the Hamas Charter and the PLO/Fatah Charter, where Arabs call to kill Jews and replace Israel with a religious Islamic state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. We see videos of Muslim clergy calling to their followers to kill Jews as an Islamic duty. We see it all. What do we do? We watch. Then we harden our hearts--against Israel.
Reform Jewish leaders, J Street and all who choose Liberalism over Judaism turn against Israel, appearing to support an Arab narrative of victimhood by Jewish oppression. TV, newspapers and political commentators around the world promote the Arab story: Jews control the world. Israel is a Nazi state. Jews wantonly kill innocent Arab babies.
We feel the hate. We see the arrogance. We ignore it—and buy into the notion that justice has nothing to do with the Jew.  
It’s what many Jews of the Exodus story did.
Curiously, as we accept lies as truth, the world we live in changes: the air we breathe becomes foul. Water becomes unsafe to drink. Economies teeter.
Essayists wonder what plagues us just as accusations against Israel grow more intense. The European Union scorns Israel. Thomas Friedman demonizes Israel. Islamic clergy, the Church of England, the Presbyterian Church and Catholic leaders speak out: the Jew is not the Chosen. He is a brutal oppressor who must be opposed by all good men.
Prompted by religious leaders and media, the hate spreads. At the same time, oceans and rivers become polluted. Beaches close. Fish die.
TV reports it all.
A madman in America kills children. Sharks attack at the Egyptian coast. Israel is blamed. Can you believe that? There appears to be no end to the hate.
Look around: snowstorms kill. Food prices increase. Jews are repulsive.
What plagues us?
In ancient Egypt, the central focal-point for the Egyptian economy was the Nile River. Many worshipped the power of that River.
It turned to blood.
In America, the central focal-point of modern capitalism is the New York financial district. Many worship the power of that place. On September 11, 2001, that district turned into a poisonous grey ash. Thousands died. More than eleven years later, America’s economy still hasn’t recovered.
The River that is America’s economy has become foul with unemployment, underemployment and lost hope. For many, ‘quality of life’ has turned to dust.
Meanwhile, the Left defines our morality. Hate redefines justice. The Left speaks for all when it cries, ‘for world peace, destroy Israel’.
We hear it. We see it. We feel it. We say nothing.
What’s next? Does America become an ancient Egypt? Does there arise a new Pharaoh who turns against Israel?  
We should learn from our past because sometimes, the past foretells our future.
Think about it. You see the world around you. You hear what the world says. Consciously or unconsciously, you draw conclusions. You make decisions.
Like most people, you believe you are smart. The world can fool you once, but not twice. You understand what you see. You are nobody’s  fool.
So here’s a piece of advice: the Jews of the Exodus story went through the same thought process you face. They saw. They heard. They thought it through. They, too, were surrounded by hate, arrogance and disaster.
Nevertheless, eighty per cent of them chose not to leave. They chose Egypt over Israel. Only twenty per cent chose Israel.
Being religious is not the issue. The Jews of pre-war Europe learned that the hard way. The issue is exile. 
That’s the choice the Jews of the Exodus story had to make. It’s also your choice: exile or Israel.
Are you one of the eighty per cent?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's a Good Thing She's in the Knesset

By Moshe Feiglin

9 Adar, 5773
Feb. 19, '13

Translated from Makor Rishon

"I pledge my allegiance," Zuabi scornfully spit at the Knesset inauguration ceremony, gathered her belongings and demonstratively exited the plenum. At that moment, I was reminded of a different Arab woman. That woman sat next to me, not in the Knesset, but in the Schneider Children's Hospital in Petach Tikva. I sat in the hospital room, next to my unconscious son. She entered at night, in traditional dress; perhaps she was from Gaza. She was accompanied by a fifty-ish Israeli woman, from the "white tribe". She looked like she had just come to the hospital from an ivory tower.

I watched from my corner of the room. The Israeli woman ran to and fro for the Arab, serving her as best she could. She filled out forms, made sure she was comfortable, brought her a chair, a cup of water. The other patients did not even merit a glance from her. All of her kindness was focused on the Arab woman.
This went on and on, into the night. Not once did I hear the Arab say 'thank you' or anything similar. On the contrary; she projected hostility. I do not know if she recognized me or not. But one thing is clear: the more the Israeli served her, the more the Arab hated her.

In the morning, I concluded that she was right.
"What do you think?" the Arab woman accuses the Israeli in her heart. "That you can steal my land and afterwards bring me a cup of water and everything will be fine? You are on my land, Mrs. Wealthy. This is my land, this is my place, this is my hospital. You occupied me and now you expect me to thank you for helping me to fill out forms in your language?"

The educated white woman is intelligent and very moral. She is bursting with guilt feelings. The Arab doesn't have to say a thing. The white woman already knows. She is meek. She understands. She knows that she is nothing more than a guest here; that the salt of the earth, the bedrock foundation of this land is the Arab. She tries to appease her; to merit just a drop of legitimacy from the owner of the stolen house.

Somebody made a mistake one or two generations ago. Instead of assimilating into Europe, they were enchanted by a foolish idea and came here for a complicated adventure of identity exchange. They came to find a place for the Jews under the sun in the Land of their forefathers – under a new identity. The exile Jew fled to here – justifiably – from the religion of the exile. He tried to establish a new nation instead of the Jewish nation. He attempted to establish the Zionist nation; Israeli instead of Jewish. Now this woman is stuck here with a family and children and a career and she can't run away. So she tries to rectify the mistake; maybe the Arab woman will forgive her. But the Arab hates her even more and the white woman is sure that it is because of the "occupation" and the settlers. She is convinced that if only we would give the Arab her cup of water and what we stole from her in 1967, she would forgive us for what we stole in 1948.

It took time for the Zoabis to understand that they held a diamond in their pockets; complete immunity from the law and the last remnants of Israeli pride. When the Prime Minister of Israel shook the hand of the head of the Organization for the Liberation of the Land of Israel from the Jews (the PLO); when we adopted the justice of their cause, we brought the Zoabis to the world. For if this is not our Land, it is their Land. There is no such thing as betrothing a woman to oneself and to the neighbor.

The new Jew needs the Arab to adopt the Israeli identity that he invented. For if only a Jew can be an Israeli – then we have accomplished nothing at all and still remain alone with our Jewish identity. We have not found a place among the nations, but a place separated from the nations; precisely the exile condition from which we attempted to flee. Zoabi understood that the Israeli needs the Arab to help him forget that he is a Jew. "True, I broke the law," Zoabi insinuated at the High Court. "Let's see you stop me from running for the Knesset. My entire party will drop out of the race and we won't be there to hide your Jewish identity for you."

I thought of Pollard, whose life is slipping away from him in the American prison. I thought of him and his Jewish judges. I thought of the American Jews who bent over backwards to prove their loyalty to America. There, the Jews are hostages of their hosts. Here, the Israelis are hostages of their guests. It all depends, of course, upon who this Land belongs to. Those who feel like guests live on borrowed time; they always have to please the hosts.

The Zoabis are not the only ones who understood this. The Bedouins in the Negev understood it, as well. Begin (the son) wants to give them 62% of their demands, to annul existing court decisions and to turn the rule of law into a laughingstock. And the Bedouins, just like the Arab woman in the hospital, refuse to say thank you. They demand 100% and like Zoabi – they will get it.

What did we think? That in exchange for a Knesset seat Zoabi would surrender her identity and solve our identity crisis?

It's a good thing that Hanin Zoabi is in the Knesset. Her colleagues still suffer from a type of correctness toward the occupiers. They wait for the National Anthem to be sung before leaving the plenum. As if all we have to do is let them skip the anthem and bring them a cup of water and the problem will be solved. But Hanin isn't playing around. She doesn't allow us to flee ourselves. She holds an intelligent, scathing and vital mirror to our faces. A mirror that constantly reminds us that we cannot exist here for long without our Jewish identity. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Moshe Feiglin's Debut in the Knesset

Click here to watch the Hebrew video of Moshe Feiglin's speech

Moshe Feiglin made his debut Wednesday in the Knesset with a moving and patriotic speech. His opening remarks were not part of his planned speech, but brought at least one MK to tears:

"I have listened to all the debut speeches," Feiglin began. "Excellent speeches, some of them virtuoso speeches. But when I listened to your speech, MK Mickey Levy, (see minute 1:10 on the video, where Yesh Atid MK Levi breaks out in a big smile) a former police Major General, a person who I was used to seeing on the other side of a great divide – you as a police officer and myself as a protester – when you spoke about how you lost your brother in the Jordan Valley, my heart skipped a beat.

I was a young platoon commander on duty in a reserve unit. A new regiment commander had been assigned to our regiment and the commander came to visit our position in the Jordan Valley. He asked me, in front of my soldiers, if all was well.

'No,' I answered.
'Why not?' he asked.
'Look over there,' I said to him. 'Anybody can cross over that bridge and continue up that path there, hidden from view, come around the back of our position under cover of that ridge, enter without anybody even noticing and shoot.'

Much to my surprise, the regiment commander became furious. He admonished me in front of my astounded soldiers and angrily left our position. I was confused. 'He probably knows something that I don't know,' I said to myself and put the incident out of my head.

Our tour of duty finished. I came home. Approximately one year later, I heard that an IDF soldier was killed at that position in the Jordan Valley, precisely as I had warned. And here, Mickey, in our opening speeches in the 19th Knesset, this story has come full circle. (Watch Mickey Levi at 5:18 wiping the tears from his face).

My heart ached. I was terribly angry at myself. I should have protested, left my position against the rules and demanded the attention of the brigade commander. I should never have believed that my commanding officer knew something that I didn't know.

Remember, Members of the 19th Knesset. What you perceive is the reality that you must work with. When we adopt somebody else's worldview, we betray our duty. The agenda in which we believe is our responsibility and our authority and we must do all we can to bring it to fruition.

A few years later, the Oslo Accords came into our world. Once again, I clearly saw the catastrophe about to happen. I saw the thousands of victims and even worse – the loss of legitimacy for our very right to exist as a state. For if you recognize the Organization for the Liberation of the Land of Israel from its Jews, (Ed: the PLO) what can you possibly claim?

This time, I did not remain silent. The entire country stood and cheered the emperor's new clothes and I insisted on telling the truth."

Moshe went on to describe the civil disobedience that he adopted in the Zo Artzeinu protests, citing that it was the "greatest display of liberty and democracy that the State of Israel has ever known." He decried the next step in the Oslo Accords, the destruction of Gush Katif. "Even though Tel Aviv is now targeted from the ruins of Gush Katif," he continued, the Oslo worm continues to destroy us from inside. Today, as we speak, Israeli forces are destroying Ma'aleh Rehavam."

From there, Moshe turned to his family roots: He is a descendant of the Chabad rabbis whose ancestors made aliyah to Israel in the 1880's, pioneering the settlements of Metulah and Mishmar Hayarden.

"When, against all odds, we managed to restore the Likud and the National Camp to power in 1996, it turned out that the Right really didn't have an alternative to Oslo," Moshe continued. "Then I understood that the debate is not really between Right and Left: It is not a debate over territory. It is a debate of identity. It is a debate between the Jew and the Israeli. The fact that the Right ascends to power is not enough to stop the deterioration. It is imperative to infuse our national conversation with Jewish meaning and content.

2000 years ago, we went into exile and it was not at all clear how we would survive without the Holy Temple, bereft of the authentic Jewish culture of a nation in its homeland. Then the Jewish nation invented the most successful start-up in history. It is called the Jewish religion. Judaism, which is much more than just a religion, discarded its territorial dimension and became something adaptable to the individual, the family and the community; something that can be packed into the knapsack and moved to a new place every time the Jews had to flee violence and pogroms. Religion became the lifeline of the Jews in exile.

2000 years later, the pioneers who came to revive the Land of Israel felt that this lifeline had become a noose. They had to cut it to feel the earth under their feet. Those tremendous energies sprang forth, giving birth to the State of Israel.

Dear friends: Israeli society has hit an ethical dead-end. We can no longer justify our sovereign existence in this Land without our Father, our King, Whom we had left behind in the exile.

We must reconnect to our identity. When we return to ourselves, we will be able to afford full liberty and human rights to our neighbors, as well.

I pray that G-d will give me the strength to connect vision with reality, to restore the State of Israel to itself and its destiny, in the service of the Nation of Israel and the vision of the prophets: to perfect the world in the Kingdom of Heaven."

Watch the video at 27:50, where MK Mickey Levi hugs Moshe, telling him that he is happy to hug him and not arrest him. You can watch some of the other MKs also congratulating Moshe on his debut speech.

Likud MK Tzippy Hotobelli spoke after Moshe, welcoming him to the Knesset and calling him a "great visionary."

Click here to see Moshe Feiglin's official Knesset webpage.

America’s Reform Jews: a new Biblical exile story

By Tuvia Brodie

When we read the Biblical story of the Jewish people in Egypt, we think of the Exodus, our Redemption from slavery and the Ten Commandments. But that’s not entirely correct. That’s the end of the story. There’s also a beginning, when Jacob, called ‘Israel’, brought his entire family to Egypt. Jacob saw that Egypt as a refuge. He wanted freedom from famine.  Egypt offered him that freedom.
Egypt was the greatest superpower in the world. In a world threatened by the evils of physical starvation, Egypt stood tall, wealthy with food. Egypt opened its doors.  It welcomed an Israel seeking a better life.
In the beginning, Egypt was kind to the Jew. Joseph the Jew became powerful. Egypt listened to the Jew’s advice.
Then, a change occurred. We don’t know what prompted that change. Few details are given. Perhaps a sitting Pharaoh brought in new advisors. Or, perhaps a new Pharaoh ascended the throne with a message of ‘change’.
We have seen such new leadership before. We saw it in 1933, when Adolf Hitler was elected to lead Germany. Some see it again in the European Union, where political Parties often attract strong voter turnout with a message of change that is based on anti-Semitism.
Look at the history of the Jewish people through the eyes of Rabbi Yosef Eisen, Miraculous Journey, Targum/Feldheim, Southfield, MI, 2004): the cycle of Egyptian welcome-and-change is the cycle of our history (see pp. 12-20).
Do American Jews see such a message?  Has a new leader arisen with a message of change?
For the first time is history, a new American leader has called for Israel to shrink itself to 1949 borders (euphemistically called ‘1967’ borders) as a road to ‘peace’ with an enemy who vows to destroy Israel. For the first time in history, a new American leader bows to Israel’s enemies and apologizes humbly for offending those enemies. For the first time in US history, the words, ‘Islamic terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ are ordered stricken from official use by police and intelligence services.
Some of the details of change in America are known, some are not yet known. In the Biblical Egyptian story (in the opening of the Book called, Sh’mot, or ‘Exodus’), there are also few details. But for those who can see, the message of change is clear.
Our Jewish Heritage hints to us how the historic Egyptian change unfolded. Egyptian leadership stopped looking favourably upon the Jew. Suddenly, Jews provoked suspicion. They were accused of becoming too powerful. Their very presence on the Egyptian political map became a threat. Whispers were heard in the halls of power: perhaps the Jews could no longer be trusted. Perhaps they would join an enemy and turn against us; perhaps they would start their own war. Perhaps, it was whispered, Egypt would be stronger if it was no longer so accommodating.
Bit by bit, Jews saw change.
But they didn’t care. We know they didn’t care because, when we see the end of the story, only twenty per cent elected to leave Egypt. Eighty per cent elected to remain.
Eighty per cent chose Egypt over Israel.
We also know that when Moshe came to the Jewish people to declare that he was sent by G-d to Redeem them, they were not entirely happy about that. They complained. By standing up to Pharaoh, he was creating a disaster. They claimed that every time Moshe stood up, Jewish troubles got worse, not better.
Eighty per cent of the Jews chose Egypt over Israel.
Today, perhaps seventy per cent of America’s largest Jewish sector—Reform Jews--choose America over their Jewishness. There’s even a name for what they do: ‘out-marry’. That means they marry a non-Jew without bothering to have that spouse convert to Judaism.
In some places, the rate of out-marriage reaches ninety per cent.
America’s Reform Jews, like their ancestors in Egypt, appear to choose ‘Egypt’ over ‘Israel’.
We also see a movement away from support of Israel. In 2011, 400 Reform Rabbis signed a public letter demanding Israel commit to a ‘two-state solution’. They said Israel must sign a peace with those who would destroy her.  In 2012, some 400 ‘Rabbis and Cantors’ signed a similar letter.
Also in 2012, the leadership of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA)--Israel’s two partners for that ‘two-state peace solution’-- both declared that their goal for their newly recognized ‘Palestine’ was to position their state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River—thereby eliminating Israel altogether. This is the plan that much of Jewish leadership in America promotes:  the complete destruction of Israel.
Reform Jews are not the only Jews in America. But it is their behavior that is attempting to help re-recreate Biblical Egypt.