Monday, May 22, 2017

As Shavuot Approaches...

By HaRav Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Beit El


"There is a time and place for everything under the heavens." (Kohelet 3:1) According to the Midrash, "there was a time for Adam to enter the Garden of Eden, as it says, 'He [God] placed [Adam] in the Garden of Eden.' (Bereishit 2:15) There was also a time for him to leave there, as it says: 'And He chased him out of the Garden..' (Verse 23) There was a time in which Noah had to enter the ark, as it says (Bereishit 7:1) 'Come into the ark' - and there was a time for him to leave, as it says '[Now] you should leave....' (8: 16) There was a time for Avraham our forefather to be circumcised.... Rabbi Berchiya said: 'There was also a time for the Torah, originating in Heaven, to be given to Israel - as it says, 'And God spoke all of these words to Moshe saying..' (Shmot 20:1)"

Each and every event occurs at the time appropriate for it to happen. This is true even more for an event as central as the Giving of the Torah, since it had universal significance. When was it given? "In the third month after the Children of Israel left Egypt..." (Shmot 19:1) On the timing of Matan Torah , Midrash Tanchumah (Parshat Yitro) observes: "The giving of the Torah occurred in the third month. Why did it take place then, and not in the second or fourth months? Rav Hoshiyah said: The great Rabbi Chiyyah taught me that a woman who converts to Judaism - or a female slave that has been released - must not get married until three months after having undergone conversion or release, respectively. The Jewish people are called 'converts' (' Gerim '). In Shmot 22, we are referred to as " Gerim in the Land of Egypt..."(Shmot 22:20) The Book of Isaiah even terms us "captives." After our Egyptian enslavement, we were freed, as it says 'I am the Lord your God who took you out of the Land of Egypt from your predicament of slavery.' (Vayikra 26:13) Said the Holy One, Blessed be He: 'I'll wait three months for them, and only thereafter will I give them the Torah"'.

The convert, maidservant and freed slave must wait three months before marriage, in order to verify whether any subsequent pregnancy began when she was a non-Jew, servant, etc - or whether she became pregnant only once she became a full-fledged Jew. A Jewish woman who gets divorced must also wait three months before she remarries. The reason: if she gives birth after nine months, we will be able to determine whether the baby was fathered by the first or the second husband.

According to the midrash, then, the Children of Israel required, after being subject for so long to Egyptian slavery, a period of three months before they would be ready to nestle themselves under the wings of the Shechina (Divine Presence). It was simply impossible to quickly transform ourselves from a slave lifestyle to a people ready to unconditionally accept the yoke of Heaven. As a nation, we had to undergo an internal revolution, a distancing of ourselves from the yoke of non-Jews. Although it is true that three complete months did not elapse between Pesach and Shavuot, the Maharal of Prague explains that a portion of the first month, a full second month, and a portion of a third month were sufficient to facilitate this transition. The seven weeks of the Omer was preparation enough for Matan Torah .

Each year, time returns once again to the same point it had reached the previous year. Every season of the year has a special quality unto itself. We presently find ourselves in the period of the Counting of the Omer - a time of preparation, during which we Jews are constantly rising from one level to another, waiting for the big day, Shavuot, Chag Matan Torateinu - the Festival of the Giving of the Torah. Our sages teach that Shavuot possesses its own quality of renewal. This is certainly not an overt phenomenon, but it is present. It is a like a birthday of the Torah.

The Siddur (Jewish Prayer book) says that on a person's birthday, it is fitting for him to receive an Aliyah to the Torah. A birthday is a special day. Regarding the mishna, which asks - "Did Moshe's hands actually fight the war [against Amalek]? Rather, when Israel looks heavenwards, they would begin to be victorious" - the Jerusalem Talmud explains that Amalek would send soldiers to war on their birthdays, since, Amalek understood, a person is not that likely to be killed on his birthday. In other words, even Amalek understood that one is blessed with special Siyata Dishemayah - Divine help - on one's birthday; it is a day of success, of good fortune. What did Moshe do by raising his hands? He confused the mazalot (constellations), preventing Amalek from determining just when each Amalekite soldier's birthday fell.

In light of the above, it becomes clear that the dynamic of Matan Torah recurs - is relived each year - on Shavuot. Not everyone is sensitive to this reality or aware of it, but it is a reality. The same holds true for Shabbat, as well, regarding which our sages say that a person earns an extra "Neshama" - or extra soul. Not everyone detects this extra soul, but it still exists. There are many things that, although we don't consciously sense them, are still very much present and influential.

Shavuot brings with it special bounty. During the Torah reading recounting the Giving of Torah on Mt. Sinai, we should attempt to tune in to the renewed power of Matan Torah . To prepare ourselves for our encounter with God, we learn all night long. The Zohar explains that the community of Israel may be compared to a bride; the day before the wedding, great efforts are exerted to clothe her with various adornments. The adornments appropriate for Israel are those of Torah and good deeds.

On the verse in the book of Bereisheet, "It was evening and it was morning, the Sixth day ," our sages explain that at the climax of creation, God issued a condition to the Heavens and Earth. What was that condition? If Israel agrees to receive the Torah on the sixth day of Sivan, then the process of Creation will have meant something and can the world can justifiably remain intact. If Israel were to choose not to receive the Torah, however, God warned, the universe would be thrown back into Tohu Vavohu , or chaos. The message? The world exists by virtue of the Torah.

The Choice of Leaders

By HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l

Introducing the counting of the tribes, the Torah writes: "And with you will be a person each for each tribe, a man who is the head of the households of his fathers he is" (Bamidbar 1:4).The Torah goes on to list the leader of each tribe, who was involved in the counting of that tribe. The simple reading of the p’sukim indicates that the identity of these leaders was spelled out by Hashem at this time and for this purpose. On the other hand, we find these same men serving as the nesi’im (princes/leaders) of their respective tribes at the inauguration of the Mishkan, which was done a month earlier.

The Netziv explains that the people had chosen the leaders previously, and at this point, Hashem’s appointment provided divine confirmation of their choice. This is the meaning of the words, "a man who is the head of the households of his fathers he is." In other words, he already was a leader.

It turns out, then, that the people’s choice had been exactly according to Hashem’s desire. The people were not motivated by narrow personal calculations, but rather those who were fit for the job received it. This was important because there were long and difficult journeys ahead of them in the desert, as the navi expressed Hashem’s appreciation that the people were willing to "go after Me in the desert, in an uncultivated land" (Yirmiya 2:2). There was a lot of uncertainty. Would they be the next day where they had been the previous one? They needed leaders who could be examples of an elevated spirit, of integrity, and of fine personal attributes, from whom the people could learn.

The Torah writes later on: "These are the ones who were called to the assembly, the princes of the tribes of their fathers; the heads of the thousands of Israel were they" (ibid. 16). Beforehand they were heads of their households; now they were princes. Additionally, they are described by the task of the "heads of the thousands of Israel." In other words, they were not motivated by the interest of small groups but by those of the masses. They saw as their job to unify the individual groups into a more cohesive collective of Klal Yisrael.

This is an approach that must be adopted by all who are "called to the assembly." They must fulfill their charges efficiently and trustworthily. Only in that way can there be harmony between the situation of "each man in his encampment and each man by his flag" (Bamidbar 1:52) and that of "the heads of the thousands of Israel."

Desert, Water and Torah

By Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

I have always been fascinated why this book of the Bible and this week’s Torah reading is called Bamidbar – in the desert. The rabbis of Midrash have stated that the lesson involved here is that the Torah only remains in a person who empties all other causes from one’s midst, and is as open and unoccupied as is the desert.

Nevertheless, there may be other insights that may be gleaned from the use of the desert as the backdrop for the events and laws contained in this fourth book of the Torah. One of these different insights has to do with the ability of water to transform a barren desert into a productive place of lush fields and orchards.

Here in Israel, the Negev desert that began fifty years ago just south of Chevron has now expanded many kilometers far south of Beersheba. This is due to the national water carrier system and other means of bringing water to that area of our country. Literally, the desert has bloomed in fulfillment of the ancient prophecies of Isaiah.

Water can overcome the arid dryness and barrenness of the desert of the Negev. In California, desert valleys have been transformed into America’s vegetable basket by systems of water diverted from the Colorado River. Again, in that case water was the key to transforming a desert into a garden and orchard. There are plans afloat all over the world to transform deserts into arable land. However, fresh water is a valuable and oftentimes scarce commodity and the struggle to discover and harness more of it for agricultural and human use is a continuous one.

Throughout the books of the prophets of Israel and as well as within the Talmud, the Torah itself is metaphorically compared to and even called water. Just as water has the ability to convert desolate and nonproductive desert land into a veritable Garden of Eden, so too can Torah fill the void in our hearts and souls and make us productive holy people.

Torah, like the water that represents it, has this enormous regenerative power. The book of Bamidbar will, in its narrative of the many sad and tragic events that befell Israel in its sojourn in the desert, constantly remind us of the powers of water/Torah to restore the Jewish people to a purposeful existence with greatly productive achievements in spite of all of its failures and backsliding.

No matter how bleak and barren the desert landscape in which we currently find ourselves, we should always be cognizant of the ability of Torah to refresh and renew us. The Jewish people are an old nation and yet our powers of rejuvenation have never waned. We were and are constantly nourished by the waters of Torah irrespective of whatever desert we found or find ourselves in.

Thus the choice of Jewish tradition to call this book of the Torah by the name of Bamidbar - in the desert – is meant to convey to us this message of hope, constant redemption and rebirth.

Moshe Feiglin: The Problem is Israel, Not Trump

The following are translated excerpts from an interview, broadcast live on Halalit TV, with Moshe Feiglin.

Welcome to Moshe Feiglin.
Thank you, it’s good to be here, with a great view of the American embassy sitting steadfastly here on the Tel Aviv coast.

You know, when you were interviewed here a few months ago, we ended the broadcast with a question that you asked: “Do you really think the US embassy is going to move to Jerusalem?” I thought you were crazy. But now, Donald Trump is the president - as you had predicted two years ago – and he is not moving the embassy.
Yes, I explained that it would not happen – not because he doesn’t want it to – but because Netanyahu doesn’t want it.

And you also said that in a certain way, Trump is bad for Israel.
Not because Trump himself is bad. But Netanyahu has maneuvered him to the positions of Obama. When you have a rightist promoting the Left’s plan, because it is all he has left, that is much more dangerous. We all remember Ariel Sharon, the rightist who destroyed Gush Katif. Because only the ‘rightist’ Likud can destroy settlements and perhaps only Trump can do the same. Now those two factors have united. The embassy will not move to Jerusalem. Trump already understands that Israel cannot think outside the leftist Oslo box. And Trump has already been maneuvered back to the old Oslo diplomatic process idea. By not allowing Trump to move the embassy, Netanyahu let the Oslo genie back out of the bottle and he will not be able to control it.

You have written a political platform that is the most detailed and all-encompassing of any platform ever written in Israel. Why aren’t you talking now about the economy, society? Why are you returning us to the diplomatic plan? We are interested in other things. Surely your advisors have told you to talk about other things – liberalism and the like. Why return us to Oslo?
The platform, 312 pages, is about how we can be truly free Jews in our Land. The Diplomatic Plan is at the end of the book. Our focus should be internal affairs and Jewish identity. But we anticipate that the agenda here in Israel in the coming months is going to be diplomatic. This is the 50th year of the liberation of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. And Trump is also coming to Israel. But in the marketplace of ideas, the People of Israel are familiar with only one solution. The Oslo solution.

But Bennet also has a plan…
Bennet’s plan is identical to Beilin’s plan from 20 years ago. The only difference between Bennet and Netanyahu is in semantics – how they refer to Israeli retreat. Will we call it Area C or Blocs?

Zehut is the first political party in Israel that, since the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967, proposes a solution for Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria based on one state – not two. It is the only solution, the only applicable solution, the only just, practical, ethical, democratic solution that will bring the most security and peace to Israel - until the Mashiach comes.

Your diplomatic plan also includes the economic, strategic, security, and demography aspects. It has a plan for a naturalization process, compensation for those who leave and more. So why doesn’t the Israeli political consensus want to accept it?
It is important to understand the basis of all of this. Dr.Ron Pundak, the architect of Oslo, clearly admits that peace is not the goal of Oslo. It is not so hard to understand this. When you set out on a mad Oslo experiment, and you get exploding buses and restaurants blowing up in smithereens, countless dead and injured…

Actually, it is very symbolic that Moshe Feiglin, the first to go out and protest against the nightmare Oslo Accords, will be the person to rid us of it. You were the first one to take to the streets.
Those who surrender to the Oslo mentality, to the Two-State-Solution, those who start to talk about Areas A, B, C – those who are totally mired in the Oslo swamp, cannot pull others out of it. As our Sages say, “A prisoner cannot release himself from prison.”

Those who fought against Oslo, who voiced their liberated opinion against the Oslo concept are the same people who can present a coherent concept today. I really do see this plan as a form of closure. From saying, “This is our Land,” which was the name of the anti-Oslo protest movement, to saying, “This is our Land” – not in the streets, but diplomatically, democratically, in a liberal and authentic manner. We are saying to the Israeli public, “You already understand that no real diplomatic process will be originated by the Left, you already understand that all that you get from the Left’s ideas are more and more rounds of fighting, rockets, cement roadblocks and more. So now is the time to listen to someone who understood where Oslo would lead us from the very start, who is proposing a practical idea that is firmly grounded in the demographic, economic and local and international legal facts. Our plan answers the most significant questions – there is an entire chapter of questions and answers. People ask: To where will the Arabs emigrate? Is any state really willing to accept them? And the answer is that there absolutely are states willing to accept them. People do not know the simple facts.

What do you say about Donald Trump? 
When he began his campaign I said that he would win – both during the Republican primaries and in the general elections. And I said that he would be bad for Israel. Not because he hates Israel – on the contrary – I believe that he loves Israel. I said he would be bad for Israel because I realized that Trump would meet an Israeli government that would force him to be bad for Israel – just as we are seeing now with the embassy issue. The person who prevented the embassy’s move to Jerusalem is not Trump, but Netanyahu. Trump wanted to move the embassy. In other words, the reaction created by a strong and energetic person like Trump, who meets an Israeli government that does not propose any way out of the dead end other than the Oslo process brought to us by the Left –will propel an energetic bulldozer like Trump to find a way out. He will adopt the Left’s plan, but he will do so much more effectively than the Left. He will be more Left than the Left. That is what happened with Sharon and Gush Katif. Now we will have a combination of the Likud, which is the only party that can uproot Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, here in Israel – with Trump in the US. Here, there is no Opposition to uprooting towns because it is the Likud implementing it, in the US the Democrats will certainly not oppose a ‘peace process’ led by the Republicans, the two will meet here and that is a very dangerous situation. For that reason, Trump’s presidency is going to turn out badly for us. And that is why it is critical for us to get our Diplomatic Plan out to the public now. So that the Israeli public will be armed with knowledge. There are answers. There is a good alternative to the Two-State-Solution. One State for One Nation.

If things turn out badly for Israel, it will not be Trump’s fault. It will be our fault.

The Six-Day War: An Inevitable Conflict

By Prof. Efraim Karsh

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, Chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin, Gen. Rehavam Zeevi (R) And Gen. Narkis in the old city of Jerusalem, June 7 1967, photo by Ilan Bruner, GPO
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 470
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: It has long been conventional wisdom to view the June 1967 war as an accidental conflagration that neither Arabs nor Israelis desired, yet none were able to prevent. This could not be further from the truth. Its specific timing resulted of course from the convergence of a number of particular causes at a particular juncture. But its general cause—the total Arab rejection of Jewish statehood—made another all-out Arab-Israeli war a foregone conclusion.

Secretary Tillerson's political correctness

By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

While the election of President Trump represented a setback to political-correctness, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's interview on May 14, 2017 NBC's Meet the Press reflected the State Department's political correctness on US-Israel and US-Arab relations, the Palestinian issue and the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

The interview may have sent a message of US procrastination on the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the ancient core of Judaism and Jewish history, which inspired the early US Pilgrims and Founding Fathers. Procrastination would be interpreted by Arabs as US retreat in the face of Arab pressure and threats, eroding the US posture of deterrence, triggering further pressure and emboldening anti-US Islamic terrorism.

Secretary Tillerson embraced the State Department's zero-sum-game philosophy. He assumes that enhanced US-Israel relations undermine US-Arab relations. However, since 1948, and especially in recent years, US-Israel geo-strategic cooperation has surged dramatically, simultaneously with expanded US-Arab security cooperation, and unprecedented counter-terrorism cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt, despite the lack of progress on the Palestinian front.

Contrary to conventional Western wisdom, the pro-US Arab regimes distinguish between challenges which are primary (e.g., the Iranian threat) and secondary/tertiary (e.g., the Palestinian issue). Therefore, when the machetes of Iran's Ayatollahs and other Islamic terrorists are at their throats, the pro-US Arab regimes recognize that Israel is the only reliable "life insurance agent" in the Middle East, regardless of the Palestinian issue.

Secretary Tillerson insinuated that the relocation of the US Embassy to western Jerusalem - which is within the boundaries of pre-1967 Israel – could undermine the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Thus, he provided tailwind to the 69-year-old Department of State's view – which contradicts the position of the American people and their representatives in the House and Senate - that there is no legitimacy to Israel's sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem. It radicalizes the Arabs, forcing them to outflank the US from the maximalist side, deluding themselves that they have nothing to lose and time is, supposedly, on their side.

Tillerson also seems to subscribe to Foggy Bottom's view that the Palestinian issue is a core cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Middle East turbulence, and a top priority for Arab policy-makers. Therefore, he assumes that the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem could fuel anti-US terrorism and undermine US cooperation with pro-US Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, against the mutual threats of the Ayatollahs of Iran and additional sources of Islamic terrorism.

However, anti-US Islamic terrorism has been totally divorced from the Palestinian issue and Israel, as demonstrated by the blowing up of the US Embassy and Marines barracks in Lebanon in 1983 (300 US Marines murdered), at a time when the US brutalized Israel over its hot pursuit of the PLO. In fact, the 1998 suicide car-bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (300 persons murdered), and the October 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen (17 US Marines murdered), occurred while President Clinton refrained from relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem, as prescribed by 1995 legislation, and while Israeli Prime Minister Barak offered the Palestinians a full Israeli withdrawal, including Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

Moreover, since 1948, contrary to the Department of State's conventional wisdom, Middle East reality has documented top-heavy pro-Palestinian Arab talk, but anti-Palestinian, or indifferent, Arab walk.

For example, no Arab-Israeli war was ever ignited by the Palestinian issue. It was highlighted by the conclusion of the 1948-49 war, when Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria occupied Gaza, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Al-Hama, but never contemplated transferring these areas to the Palestinians, strictly constraining Palestinian activities.

In addition, none of the recent Arab tectonic eruptions from Tunisia, in Northeastern Africa, through Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain in the Persian Gulf are related, directly or indirectly, to the Palestinian issue or Israel.

The assumption that the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem would undermine US-Saudi cooperation in the face of the Ayatollahs and additional sources of Islamic terrorism, ignores the Saudi – and all other Arab regimes - view of the Palestinians.

They have always considered the Palestinians a role model of intra-Arab treachery and subversion. Hence, the severe constraints of Palestinian maneuverability in their countries, and the meager financial assistance to the Palestinians (compared with the US foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority), and the absence of military support. For instance, no Arab regime ever got involved in any of the Palestinian-Israeli wars in Lebanon, Judea and Samaria and Gaza.

In contrast to the recent Arab talk and State Department political correctness, the Arab countries have never considered Jerusalem to be their top holy city – status reserved for Mecca and Medina - capital or cultural center. Jerusalem was largely neglected during Islamic rule, serving – at most – as a political platform in their conflicts with "the infidel."

Reality-based political incorrectness motivated Israel and Egypt, in 1977, in defiance of US President Carter, to negotiate and conclude a bilateral peace accord with no Palestinian, regional or international involvement. It also motivated Israel and Jordan, in 1994, to conclude another bilateral peace accord. The US played a critical deal-closing role in both
cases, but only after the two parties reached the framework of bilateral agreement.

Moreover, a litany of peace initiatives, launched by the US, failed when attempting to subordinate reality to the US own benevolent political correctness, which stipulated a multilateral peace process, focusing on the Palestinian issue.

Will President Trump and Secretary Tillerson embrace Middle East reality, and reject political correctness, by avoiding procrastination on the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, thus sparing the US further erosion of its posture of deterrence in the Middle East and beyond?

Feiglin: Tell Trump 'no thanks'

By Hezki Baruch

Former Likud MK says Trump is arming Saudi Arabia with weapons which may be used against Israel.

"Zehut" party head former MK Moshe Feiglin came out against the weapons deal signed by US President Donald Trump with Saudi Arabia.

Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia at the end of last week, and signed a deal worth $110 billion with the Arab kingdom.

In an official statement, Trump said the deal would "tens of thousands of new jobs in the US defense industry."

"Saudi Arabia is an extremist Muslim country, much more extreme than Iran was prior to the Iranian Revolution," Feiglin said. "Now, a country with a long history of wars against Israel and the West (most of the September 11 terrorists hailed from Saudi Arabia) will receive $350 billion dollars."

"Netanyahu is drunk from the current cooperation with the Saudis, and he will pay a hefty price for this pitiful 'cooperation.' We will lose sovereignty over the Temple Mount, we will lose the opportunity to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, we will lose other opportunities.

"We will also grant legitimacy to extreme Islam's storehouse of US weapons, even though these weapons may be used against us in the future. It's exactly what happened before the Iranian Revolution.

"This is the time to tell the US President, 'thanks, but no thanks.' It would be better if the US did not provide aid for anyone in the Middle East, than for them to provide aid to our enemies. We'll be fine either way."

The U.S., Churchill and the Middle East

By Pierre Rehov

  • President Donald Trump has apparently decided that on his visit to Israel this week, he will not announce the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem -- a move that will only make him look less strong to Arab leaders. They may not like all promises that are kept, but they do deeply respect and trust those who keep them. If promises are not kept to a friend, the thinking goes, why would they be kept to us?
  • As Plato, Churchill and even Osama bin Laden understood, people respect only a strong horse, especially when one's adversaries can only survive by creating conflicts to distract their citizens from unaccountable governance.
  • By recognizing the rights of Jerusalem's historical occupants of 3,000 years -- despite the lies of UNESCO and other UN organizations engulfed by the Arabs' automatic majority -- Trump could well demonstrate a new force that would elevate him to the same stature as Churchill.
(Image source: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
In France, everything has been written about the new U.S president, as long as it could relay the most negative image possible. In a country sometimes bathed in an anti-Americanism inherited from Gaullism and communism, major political religions of the post-war era, exacerbated by the Bush years -- it experienced a noticeable lull at the arrival of former President Barack Obama. The election of Donald Trump has the effect of an avalanche.
For many, America had foundered, would never recover and the archetypal image of the uneducated, violent cowboy, fed on hamburgers, would now finally stick to this uncouth country -- too powerful, too capitalist and actually distressed by injustice and inequality.

The Gender Obsessed West Sets Itself Up for the Rise of Islam

BGiulio Meotti
  • French authorities imposed on students ridiculous books such as Daddy Wears a Dress. It would have been comical if the following years would not have been so tragic. What, in fact, wrecked these French illusions was Islamic terrorism.
  • The only enemy these French élites knew were patriarchal privileges, since for them "domination" comes only from the white male Europeans.
  • Obsession with gender is a convenient distraction to avoid facing matters that are more difficult and less pleasant. If the West will not commit itself to preserving Western societies and values, it will fall. And its extraordinary progress will be blanketed over by darkness, along with all those gender rights.
(Image source: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Welcome to the progressive "next frontier of 'liberation'", where the most urgent question in Western democracies is "genderism".
North Carolina was subjected to a year of being boycotted, until it withdrew its transgender bathroom law. Last month, the National Union of Teachers in Great Britain asked the government to teach children as young as two new transgender theories. New York recently presented the first "trans-doll". American universities are wracked with hysteria over the correct use of neutral pronouns. Even National Geographic, instead of writing about lions and elephants, started covering the "Gender Revolution". One of the first announcements of Emmanuel Macron, as the French President-elect, was that he would appoint officials from a "gender equal" list.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Curse or Hidden Blessing?

A Torah Thought for Parashat Bechukotai
By Moshe Feiglin

"And I will bring the land into desolation; and your enemies that dwell there shall be astonished. And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you; and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste." (From this week’s Torah portion, Bechukotai, Leviticus 26:32-33)

After the Torah chapter promising blessing if we keep G-d’s laws, another, longer chapter promises horrific curses if we do not conduct ourselves according to G-d’s directives. But there is one curse that conceals a blessing: “And I will bring the land into desolation:” Even when you are exiled from the Land of Israel, the Land will remain loyal to you and will not allow any foreign nation to flourish in it.

Just as promised, until the Jewish People returned to the Land of Israel a century and a half ago, no other nation successfully became established in the Land of Israel. Travelers to the Land over the centuries describe desolation and abandonment – until the lost children of the Holy Land awakened.

Politically, however, the wondrous fulfillment of “And I will bring the land into desolation” continues to this very day. There is no pebble in the entire world that is not claimed by a nation. Indian and Pakistani soldiers freeze to death to preserve the sovereignty of their respective countries on the frozen peaks of uninhabitable mountains. But here, in the fruitful heart of the Land of Israel, we have the “territories”. The Arabs covet them and some of the Jews despise them, never missing an opportunity to be rid of them, making every effort to ensure that they will be transferred to foreign sovereignty. The entire world has invested a fortune of money and endless energy for years to establish a “Palestinian” state in these “territories” – but it simply doesn’t happen.

Never has a group of people received so much international aid to establish a state for itself. But yet, nothing happens. Why not?

The answer to this riddle is in the “curses” in our Torah portion.

We have already experienced all the curses; we have already witnessed their reality. With G-d’s help, we will continue to see the fulfillment of our destiny through the prism of the blessings and we will actualize our sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel.

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rav Kook on Parashat Bechukotai: Prophetic Letters

By Rabbi Chanan Morrison
Five Double Letters

Of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, five are called ‘double letters,’ as they take on a different form when appearing at the end of a word. The five letters are Mem, Nun, Tzadi, Pay, and Chaf. When placed together as one word, they spell M-N-Tz-P-Ch.

מ נ צ פ כ
ם ן ץ ף ך

According to Talmudic tradition (Shabbat 104a), the dual form of these letters goes back to the prophets. The abbreviation M-N-Tz-P-Ch can be read as Min Tzophim - "from the prophets."

From the Prophets

This claim - that the special form of these letters originated with the prophets - needs clarification. The Torah of Moses is complete and whole in itself. Even a prophet is not allowed to add or invent a new mitzvah. The Torah explicitly states,

“These are the decrees, laws and codes that God set between Himself and Israel at Mount Sinai, through the hand of Moses” (Lev. 26:46).

The phrase "These are the decrees" indicates that only the decrees that Moses set down in the Torah are in fact between God and Israel. How could the prophets change the Torah by adding new shapes of letters?

The Talmud explains that the prophets did not actually introduce anything new. There always existed two ways to write these five letters. With the passage of time, however, it was forgotten which shape belongs at the end of the word, and which at the beginning and middle. The prophets did not devise the two forms; they merely recovered the lost knowledge of which letterform belongs at the end of the word.

Why Two Forms?

Still, we need to understand: why do these letters have dual forms? What is the significance of their relative position in the word? And why were the prophets (and not the sages or the grammarians) the ones who restored this knowledge?

Letters are more than just elements of speech. They are the building blocks of creation. The Sages taught, “The universe was created with ten utterances” (Avot 5:1). Each letter in the alphabet represents a fundamental force in the world.

Rav Kook explained that the ‘final forms’ - the shape that these letters take at the end of words - are the holiest. The final forms most accurately portray the sublime essence of each letter, fully expressing its ultimate purpose. To better understand this statement, we must analyze the morphological differences between the two forms of these letters.

With four of the letters - נ צ פ כ (Nun, Tzadi, Pay, Chaf) - the regular form is smaller and more cramped. The ‘leg’ of the letter is constrained and bent upwards. The form appearing at the end of the word (ן ץ ף ך), on the other hand, allows the ‘leg’ to stretch and extend itself fully. It is the final form that truly expresses the full content and power of these letters.

The two shapes of the letter Mem are distinguished in a different fashion. The regular Mem (מ) has a small opening at the bottom. It is called the Mem Petuchah, the Open Mem. It is open and revealed to all.

The final Mem (ם) is closed off on all sides. It is called the Mem Setumah, the Sealed Mem. Or perhaps - the Esoteric Mem. This form of Mem is more sublime than the regular Open Mem. Thus, the holiest written object, the stone tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments, contained only Sealed Mems, with the center part of the Mem hanging miraculously in place. The final Mem is closed off and concealed. It guards its inner secret, which due to its profound holiness may not be revealed to all.

Why is the more elevated form used at the end of the word? A hidden light appears at the ultimate vision of every noble matter. The hidden light of the M-N-Tz-P-Ch letters belongs to the end. The beginning and middle appearances of these letters are open and revealed. Their light steadily increases, until it brings us to the final, sublime conclusion.

The prophets are called tzofim, visionaries, as they were blessed with prophetic vision. Their greatness was that they could perceive the final outcome while still living in a flawed present. Understandably, it was these tzofim who sensed that the more elevated letterforms belong at the end.

(Gold from the Land of Israel, pp. 221-223. Adapted from Rosh Millin, pp. 35-36; Ein Eyah vol. IV, pp. 247-249.)

Independence and Freedom

By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

We are now in the time period between Pesach and Shavuot, which are connected through the Mitzvah of Sfirat HaOmer. In recent years, two other festive days have been added to this period of the Jewish calendar, Yom Haatzmaut [Israel's Independence Day] and Yom Yerushalayim. One who is "independent" is generally defined as one who has self-rule and is not under the control of others. However, this alone is insufficient for one to be considered truly free. Rav Kook, zt"l, points out that there can be a capable slave, who despite his slavery is self-motivated and carries himself with an air of freedom. Conversely, there can be a person who is unfettered by others, yet he is not truly free, either because his actions are decided based on what others consider good and proper, or because he is subjugated to his own desires and impulses which he is unable to overcome. True freedom is the ability of a person or nation to live his life based on his true self, and not merely upon societal norms.

This is the message behind Chazal's comment: "'Charut al haluchot - engraved on the tablets' (Shemot 32:16). Do not read "charut" [engraved] but rather "cheirut" [freedom], for only one who is involved with Torah is truly free (Avot 6:2). What is the connection between engraving and freedom? Unlike writing, in which ink is applied externally onto paper, engraving is in the very item itself. Therefore, only through studying Torah and engraving its lessons in our hearts do we become free men, since then our physical existence is in synch with our internal soul.

On Pesach we were redeemed from slavery and achieved national independence. This process, however, was not concluded until Shavuot when we received the Torah, which made us free men. In this way, Pesach and Shavuot form a single unit.

In our days, there are those who see Yom Ha'atzmaut as the crowning glory of the renewed existence of Bnei Yisrael. However, we cannot consider ourselves a free nation based on political independence alone. So long as we are eyeing foreign cultures and abandoning our essence, the redemption is incomplete, and we are not yet free men. The liberation of Jerusalem, nineteen years later, added the spiritual dimension which provides the internal strength of our nation.

The blessings in our parasha open with the condition, "Im bechukoti telechu" - "If you follow My laws" (Vayikra 26:3). Rashi (based on the Sifra) explains this to mean that you toil in My Torah. This requirement goes far beyond the mere performance of the mitzvot. The fulfillment of the blessings is dependent upon our living a comprehensive lifestyle based on the Torah which must be engraved in our hearts.

In parshat Acharei Mot we are commanded, "Do not follow the ways of Egypt where you once lived, and do not follow the ways of Canaan to where I will be bringing you; nor shall you follow any of their practices" (Vayikra 18:3). Rashi comments that the end of the verse does not merely prohibit sinning like them, as that is already stated in the first half of the verse. Rather, it refers to adopting their customs, such as theaters and stadiums.

"Practices" is not used in the sense of "laws", but rather in the sense of lifestyle, aspiration and environment. Theaters are the key ingredient of the recreational culture commonplace with the nations. The practices that we follow, however, and that are engraved in us, are expressed by the motto - that you toil in the Torah. "Do not follow their practices" is contrasted by "If you follow my laws."

The blessings conclude with the phrase "Vaolech etchem komemiut" - "I led you upright" (26:13). The Sifra comments on the word "komemiut" - "Like the double height of Adam." Adam's height was two hundred cubits. The Maharal explains that one hundred indicates perfection. Two hundred indicates double perfection, in both the physical and spiritual sense. We are thus promised that if the Torah is engraved in us, and our physical way of life matches our spiritual one, then our perfection will be in both realms. This is, perhaps, the meaning of our daily prayer, "lead us `komemiut' to our land." Rav Kook, zt"l, remarked in his siddur, "like the double height of Adam," since the body and soul together are a full height, physical and spiritual.

A Jubilee for Another Step in the Beginning of Redemption

By HaRav Yisrael Rosen
Dean of the Zomet Institute

“Atchalta D’Geulah” – the Beginning of Redemption

“And he will leave at the Yovel and he will return to his heritage... And if a man sells a house of dwelling in a walled city...” [Vayikra 25:28-29].

“‘ A man’ refers to the Holy One, Blessed be He. If he sells a house of dwelling – this is a house where G-d appears, meaning the Temple. A walled city is Jerusalem , as is written, “Jerusalem surrounded by mountains...” [Tehillim 125:2]... The verse returns to explain the situation: How can it be that G-d will sell His heritage, the holy Temple? [The answer is that] this is the way leading to redemption! This is similar to what is written, that G-d vented His anger on wood and stones, because if this had not happened not a single remnant or refugee would have remained. (Midrash Tehillim 79.) And if Yisrael would not exist there would be neither the Temple nor Jerusalem. But there will be redemption for the nation and for the Temple, for there is hope. “And the children will return to their boundaries” [Yirmiyahu 31:16].

[An extract from Or Hachaim , commenting on the above verse.]

The Tidings of Mashiach in Six Days of Redemption
This week we mark 50 years since the salvation that took place in the Six Day War. A full Yovel (50 years) has passed since the liberation of Jerusalem and the site of the Temple, which are “the house of dwelling and the walled city” mentioned in this week’s Torah portion, according to the above quote from Or Hachaim. “He [the ‘man’ - the Holy One, Blessed be He] will return to His heritage.”

Not everybody has had the privilege of feeling the beating of the wings at the arrival of the Mashiach, the fluttering of the soul, and the heart-felt yearnings, in the wake of the uplifting-caressing awesome-glorious contact which we experienced in 5727 (1967). We remember the feeling, we achieved our freedom at the cost of blood, fire, and pillars of smoke (see the Haggadah of Pesach) – an additional stage in the process of redemption, in the wake of other “beginnings” in 5708 (1948 - the establishment of the State of Israel), the Balfour (modern-day Koresh?) Declaration in 5678 (1917), and many other “awakenings from below” taking the form of Aliyah by many members of “Chovevai Tzion” and by rabbis imbued with the yearning for redemption.

One of the most remarkable of these men was Rabbi Chaim Ben Atar, who came from the “west” (that is, Morocco) to Jerusalem in the year 5502 (1742), where he lived for one year, until he passed away. According to tradition (from Vilna?), in this one year he wrote his monumental work of commentary on the Torah “ Or Hachaim” while sitting underneath a fig tree on Or-Hachaim Street, in the Old City of Jerusalem. In this outstanding book he included, among other things, yearnings for redemption, calculations of the time when Mashiach would come, “Zionist” calls for an awakening “from below,” and criticism of great men of Yisrael who failed to raise the banner of redemption. His grave on the Mount of Olives was redeemed in 5708, and “he returned to his heritage.”

Shaking the Very Fibers of the Nation’s Soul
It is very clear to everybody that the surprising victories of the Six Day War rocked the foundations of the Jewish nation to the core, and turned the gaze of the people towards Jerusalem. As part of the resulting chain of events, we were privileged to witness the arrival of more than a million olim from the lands of the former Soviet Union, with tens of thousands more from western countries, south America, and all the corners of the globe. They all returned like “doves to their cotes” [Yeshayahu 60:8]. After the earlier round of ingathering of the exiles after the establishment of the State of Israel, this was a second wave, more massive than before, in the wake of the liberation of Jerusalem. Most exciting of all was the dramatic return of the children of Zion from the exile of Ethiopia, accompanied by their yearning to reach the goal of “Orsalem,” as the name of the city was pronounced by their trembling lips, after their journeys through parched deserts fraught with danger.

Even if we pull ourselves away from exalted thoughts, we must admit that the place of the State of Israel among the other nations of the world and the status of the Jews in all the exiles would have remained in a completely different state if not for the “awakening” of the salvation of the Six Days, which caught us all in the stormy time of 1967. And the coals continue to warm us, a full 50 years later.

Would we Prefer an Embassy, or – On a Different Tack – the Temple Mount?
On the anniversary of the outbreak of the Six Day War, on Monday, the 26 th of Iyar, the current President of the United States, Donald Trump, might well announce the transfer of the United States embassy to Jerusalem. Soon after he was elected I wrote in this column that I am full of trepidation about the heavy political price we might be asked to pay for such a “gesture.” I warned that we should not put our faith in the kindness of foreign kings even if “we have a little sister” [Shir Hashirim 8:8] in the palace. I hope and pray that I will be proven wrong this week, even though this would go against usual political practices.

As far as I am concerned, I would leave the embassy on the beach where it is (unless it could be moved inside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem – is there any possibility of this happening?). For me, it would be sufficient for the Israeli government and its advisors to take complete control over the Temple Mount – “a house of dwelling in a walled city” – with massive support by Mr. Trump and his advisors.

Here’s the “deal” – Let the American Embassy remain in Tel Aviv in return for full Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.

Israeli Jews Say, It’s Our Jerusalem!

With American President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to Israel, a lot has been made of the US moving it’s embassy to Jerusalem. Will he or won’t he?

Then there's the controversy surrounding diplomats stationed at the US consulate in East Jerusalem. They recently refused to hold talks with Israeli officials about arrangements for Trump's trip to the Western Wall, claiming that it’s in the West Bank, and therefore the Israeli government has no authority over it.

The White House distanced itself later, saying that “these comments, if true, were not authorized by the White House. They do not reflect the US position, and certainly not the President’s position.”

But afterword, again, both White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump’s national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, when questioned about the Western Wall, refused to say whether it’s part of Israel or not.

Well, let me tell you something, the nearly 4,000 year old Jewish people don’t need anybody’s recognition of Jerusalem as our capital city. God recognizes it as such. For over 3,000 years, since King David made Jerusalem his capital, it’s been the capital of the Jewish people, whether we’ve had an independent Jewish political entity – kingdom, commonwealth, state - or not. And the Western Wall, it’s been holy to Jews since the destruction of the second temple, nearly two thousand years ago.

Now that Jerusalem has been re-unified, Jews aren’t ready to give it up. Jerusalem has never been the capital city of any other people or sovereign entity, and Israeli Jews overwhelmingly agree that it should be kept that way.

According to a poll by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in March 2017, 79% of Israeli Jews said it’s important to retain a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, while only 15% said it’s not important.

About the embassy issue, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just said once again that, “It’s fitting that all the embassies – first and foremost that of our friend the United States – will be relocated to Jerusalem, which is their natural place.”

In fact, Jacob Nagel, who served as Netanyahu’s National Security Advisor has said that, “I heard the Prime Minister saying this in dozens of meetings with state leaders - and even jokingly adding that they should choose a place for the embassy, because there will soon be no vacancy in Jerusalem."

Even opposition MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) agreed, and she doesn’t often agree with Netanyahu. In a recent interview, Tzipi Livni was asked, do you support the transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem? She answered, "Like every Israeli, I want to see the American Embassy and the other embassies move to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel."

Then there’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), who recently tweeted, “I call on the Prime Minister to make it clear that we expect the American government to move the embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel.” He continued,“Just like embassies for countries around the world are located in the American capital, Washington, they should be located in Jerusalem, our capital for some 3,000 years.”

And while welcoming the new American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said, "I'm happy to welcome you and your dear wife to Israel, to Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, and I'm welcoming you, not only as the President of Israel, but also as a Jerusalemite - seventh generation." Rivlin then reminded him that, "Next week we will celebrate 50 years since Jerusalem was united and Jews were able to once again pray at the Western Wall. But Jewish Jerusalem isn't 50 years old. Since the days of King David, this city has been our capital." Rivlin continued, "It is time for the whole world to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of the State of Israel."

Not long ago, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), while touring the Old City of Jerusalem, stated that dividing Jerusalem “is definitely not a good idea, even if it was practically possible...When you go and actually look at the communities, Jewish and Arab communities are right next to each. Everything is so tight and close, you can’t divide Jerusalem.” She contended that Israeli control of the city “is the only way to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and safe.”

So, although there is always much disagreement among politicians across the political spectrum on a wide variety of issues, most Israelis agree on two things, all embassies should be in the capital, Jerusalem, and Jerusalem should remain undivided under Israeli sovereignty.

Recently, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement reading, "The transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem not only will not harm the peace process, but the opposite. It will advance it by correcting a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel."

Bennett also tweeted, “Moving the US embassy to the Israeli capital strengthens Israel, and strengthens the chances for a true peace, since any agreement based on the division of Jerusalem is destined to fail.”

But one thing missed by many on the political right; building an American embassy by itself, in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem - on the western side of the city - does not preclude the division of Jerusalem.Giving eastern Jerusalem – liberated from Jordan in 1967 - to the Palestinians for the capital of their state, is still possible. Some of the Israeli left could live with this.

Remember candidate Trump said, ‘’A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal – whether or not Israel's willing to sacrifice certain things.’’ Is recognizing Israeli control only over western Jerusalem, but intending to re-divide the city, Trump’s real plan?

Are some Israeli politicians who call for American and world wide recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, being duplicitous? Only time will tell.

In the mean time, Israelis and Jews around the world, soon will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s liberation and re-unification under sovereign Jewish control.

Happy Jerusalem Day!

To Defend and Rebuild Jerusalem, Heart of the Nation

By HaRav Dov Began
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

“The Israelites shall camp with each person near the banner having his paternal family’s insignia” (Numbers 2:2).

The Israelites were arranged around the Tabernacle, each by his banner. Each banner had its own color, and the color of one was unlike the color of another. The color of each was like the one on the breastplate stones (Rashi).

Each person recognized his own banner and each person recognized his own place and his own task in the general setup of all the tribes of Israel together. At the heart of all the tribes was the king’s legion. This refers to the kohanim and levi’im who served in the Tabernacle and in the Temple, may it be rebuilt speedily in our day.

To what can this be compared? To a person with limbs that are different from one another, but which complement one another. In the center of the body, the heart and mind are the most vital limbs, providing the whole body with life. Through them, the body’s purpose is revealed.

In the same way, each tribe of Israel stands at its banner and place. Each one has a role in the national tapestry. Together with this, we must remember constantly that the Jewish People as well possess a heart and mind, namely, Jerusalem and the Temple. There, the King’s legions serve, referring to the priests who see the King’s countenance and bestow of their spirit upon the whole nation and the whole world, through their holy service.

Today, we have finally come home. We are living at the height of a remarkable period of ingathering of the exiles, and the nation’s renewed progress in Eretz Yisrael. This comes after thousands of years, during which "we were like dry bones" (Ezekiel 37). The headline story of our generation is our return to Jerusalem, the eternal city, heart and light of the world.

Yet the work is not done. We must strengthen ourselves and unite together as one man, to defend Jerusalem and to continue rebuilding it, just as during the times of Ezra and Nechemiah the enemies of Israel were unable to resign themselves to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. We thus had to defend it simultaneously with building it: “So we labored at the work. Half of them held the spears from dawn till nightfall.... so that at night they could be a guard to us, and labor by day” (Nechemiah 4:15,16).

May G-d, who “comforts Zion and builds Jerusalem,” come to our aid.

Rejoicing with Jerusalem and looking forward to salvation,
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Jerusalem Day.

The Answer to so many Questions Lie in HaShem’s Promise

Parshiot Bahar-Bechukotai 5777
By HaRav Nachman Kahana

The parasha begins with hilchot (laws of) Shmita and Yovel (Sabbatical and Jubilee years), while emphasizing the point that these halachot were presented to Am Yisrael at Har Sinai (Mount Sinai).

Rashi and other commentators of the Torah, seek, each in their own way, to clarify the emphasis placed on Mount Sinai as being the site where these agricultural laws were presented when, in fact, the whole Torah was presented at Mount Sinai.

My understanding is as follows.

Imagine parents right after bringing their newborn baby home, sitting down to arrange the seating plans for the boy’s wedding. It would seem a bit premature.

The nascent Jewish nation was standing at the foot of Mount Sinai in the heart of the reptile infested, arid desert when they heard the laws regarding land and agriculture. It would not be irrational to say that many people had in their minds that the whole matter was so very premature as to be delusional. They were still in the desert of Sinai. They had yet to traverse the hundreds of kilometers to get to Eretz Yisrael, and then destroy 31 city states dotting the entire land, then distribute the land to the tribes and to individuals, and only then could they begin working the land for six years before declaring a Shmita year and 49 years before declaring a Yovel year.

It all seemed so untimely and so far from reality, no less than mountain climbers who are planning their celebration that will come after ascending Mount Everest when they are still in Katmandu, or the new parents contemplating the seating arrangements for their child’s wedding in 20 plus years.

However, by pointing out the site of Mount Sinai, the place of HaShem’s revelation to His chosen people for these agricultural laws, the Torah is telling us that whatever HaShem said there, or through his prophets, created an historic imperative; a compulsive religious inevitability and a national determination which would never be deflected or negated.

HaShem had created an historic imperative that the Jewish nation would traverse the desert; they would enter the land and destroy its illegal occupiers; they would divide the land and work it, and would celebrate Shmita and Yovel. And in our time, the Bet Hamikdash will be built, the Davidic monarchy will be restored, as will the Sanhedrin and the return of prophesy.

Historic Imperative at Work Today

This historic imperative is at work today in front of our eyes, as stated in the Devarim (30-,3-5):
(ג) ושב ה’ א-להיך את שבותך ורחמך ושב וקבצך מכל העמים אשר הפיצך ה’ א-להיך שמה:
(ד) אם יהיה נדחך בקצה השמים משם יקבצך ה’ א-להיך ומשם יקחך:
(ה) והביאך ה’ א-להיך אל הארץ אשר ירשו אבתיך וירשתה והיטבך והרבך מאבתיך:

3 Then the Lord your God will restore your return, and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.

4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.

5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors.

According to the Department of National Statistics, Medinat Yisrael is home today to 8.7 million people. At the present rate of growth, in 2048 – one hundred years after the establishment of the State with its 600 thousand people, we will number over ten million.

How is it Possible?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week, “Each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us”.

The honorable President underestimated the implications of the Jewish nation’s return to our Biblical homeland and our sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Our return is not a mere insult to those who cling to a “replacement” theology where their religion, be it Christianity or Islam, claims to have replaced Judaism in the Creator’s privilege of preference. Our return corresponds to a mega-nuclear theological devastation of the “replacement” theology.

From time immemorial, the Jewish nation has been for the gentile a mystery cloaked in a dilemma, wrapped in an enigma, enshrined in perplexity.

How is it that we are still around? How after 3500 years do we still speak the same language, live by our strict halachic code of law, cling to a God whom we cannot see and has not contacted us in over 2500 years, and has often acted toward us as a very strict disciplinarian – to say the least.

How did the Medina come about by a vote in the UN by nations who were and are anti-Semitic? How have we been victorious in all our wars when the chances to survive even one was nil?

The questions abound!

When these questions are asked of any observant Jew, the answer will be the same: it is not our genius, nor our power of persuasion or diplomatic skills, nor our unique agility to stay “under the radar”. Our survival is the result of HaShem’s promise to Avraham that his descendants would live on forever, in this world and in the next.

We are approaching the realization of the prophetic words of Jeremiah (16:19):

Lord, my strength, my fortress, my refuge in time of distress. To You the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, ‘Our ancestors possessed false gods, worthless idols that did them no good’.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5777/2017 Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Shamrak Report: No Chance for Israel-PA Peace Deal and more.....

by David Rosenberg
While President Donald Trump has expressed his “personal commitment” to help reach a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, senior advisors are less than optimistic such a deal can be brokered, and have made their skepticism clear to the president.
President Trump is scheduled to arrive in Israel on 22nd of May, a trip that will likely kick off his much-anticipated effort to bring Israel and the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table.
A week before Trump’s arrival, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will land in Israel and present his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Friedman, a long-time Trump confidant and former Trump attorney, has reportedly warned the president that the chances of brokering a comprehensive deal between Israel and the PA are exceedingly slim.
Friedman and others told the president that efforts to secure a lasting peace would be unlikely to succeed.
“Trump heard this from Friedman, from other people on his team, and also from people outside the White House whom he consulted,” Haaretz quoted one official as saying.
“People whose opinion he respects told him it will be very hard, perhaps even impossible, but so far, he hasn’t changed his mind.” Nevertheless, the president apparently remains optimistic. (or is pretending to be)
Friedman, a vocal critic of the two-state solution and backer of Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria, missed the opportunity to shape President Trump’s views and policy ideas on Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the first months of his administration due to his lengthy confirmation process... (It has been tried so many times by so many ‘idiots’! Whether or not President Trump moves the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognise annexation of Golan Heights, the government of Israel must develop a national plan of reunification of the Jewish land and be ready to take decisive steps to realise the Zionist dream of the Jewish people, and free Eretz-Israel from enemy occupation! After all, Israel is independent state – time to behave like one!)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) implores Netanyahu to revise his 2009 endorsement of a two-state solution ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to Israel, warning that Israel must stop pursuing a 'bunker' policy, lest other's 'determine its fate'.
FOOD for THOUGHT by Steven Shamrak
HOW to RESOLVE Palestinian Occupation of Jewish Land?
Some people have been advocating that if Israel pays for emigration of Palestinian-Arabs they will leave and Arab-Israel conflict can be resolved. First of all the conflict is not based on the so-called Palestinian issue, but on the desire of Muslim neighbours to destroy Israel, the only Jewish state. Non-Jewish population in Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza is used by them and by international anti-Semites as a tool to archive it. Second, most of them will not voluntarily leave Jewish land, even if they were paid, in fear for their lives. Just look what happens to 'Palestinians' who sell their land/houses to Jews - they are killed! Thirdly, why Israel must pay them for ending occupation of Jewish land? Have Arabs paid Jews for when they were forced to leave their homes, where they had lived for many centuries? Most of the so-called Palestinians began moving to Jewish land around 100 years ago, mainly to prevent the creation of Jewish state!

Via PayPal $10,  $18,  $36,  $72,  $100,  $180,  $260
Ahead of US President Trump’s planned trip to Israel on May 22, PM Netanyahu said that all the embassies in Israel should relocate to Jerusalem: “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people. It is the capital of the state of Israel. It’s fitting that all the embassies — first and foremost that of our friend the United States — will be relocated to Jerusalem, which is their natural place.” (Just empty words, as usual! Why hasn’t Bibi, after all his time in the office, made it compulsory, introduced and enforced a law, for all governments to move their Embassies to Jerusalem?)
An Arab hospital in Jerusalem has been forced to stop receiving patients after the Palestinian Authority failed to pay tens of millions of shekels it needs to purchase new medicine. The PA continues to pay an estimated $10 million each month to terrorists in Israeli prisons and a further $15 million a month to the families of terrorists who have carried out attacks against Israelis. The PA has refused to consider stopping the payments to terrorists in order to divert funds to other places, like the Augusta Victoria Hospital.
The FIFA Council has postponed a decision on whether to discuss a Palestinian Authority proposed resolution to impose sanctions against six Israeli soccer teams based in Judea and Samaria. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Sunday with a request to remove the issue from the agenda, pointing out the “Sports and politics shouldn’t be mixed.” (Judea and Samaria are integral parts of the Jewish land, Eretz-Israel! Members of FIFA know it but by even by discussing the matter they have chosen to mix politics and sport!)
Jordanian Minister for Media Affairs Mohammed Momani on Saturday issued a statement accusing Israel of committing a “crime” by killing Mohammad Abdullah Salim Al-Kasji, 57, a Jordanian tourist who was shot dead by a police officer whom he was busy stabbing on Jerusalem’s Old City Shalshelet Street. Netanyahu said: "It’s time for Jordan to stop this double game. Just as Israel condemns terrorist attacks in Jordan, Jordan must condemn attacks in Israel. Terrorism is terrorism."
In April 2017, 349,000 tourist entries were recorded, constituting a 38% increase over April 2016. In the four months January-April 2017, 1.09 million tourist entries were recorded, a 28% increase over the same period last year.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah declared in a live televised speech that the next war with Israel could be fought inside Israeli territory, what he referred to as “the occupied Palestinian territories.” Top officials in the Israel Defense Force have long since stopped dealing with Hezbollah as a simple terrorist group; analyses have shown Nasrallah may indeed attempt to invade the Galilee and capture at least one town in northern Israel, or several. (Iran and Hezbollah - like father, like son! Israel has many enemies, military and political. The problem is that the government is not decisively dealing with them. Delay and procrastination is only make them stronger and bolder!)
Quote of the Week:
“Between the years 250 CE and 1948 CE - a period of 1,700 years - Jews have experienced more than eighty expulsions from various countries in Europe - an average of nearly one expulsion every twenty-one years. Jews were expelled from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and seventy-one other countries...” – Facebook posting – Time has come for Jews to shake off the Galut mentality reunite all our land and remove enemy population, whose aim is only to kill Jews and destroy Israel, from Jewish land. Otherwise there will be another expulsion/genocide of Jews, but from/in the Jewish land now!
Israel and Jews Must Remember!
Written by Menachem Begin
(Prime minister of Israel from 1977 to 1983)
"I believe the lessons of the Holocaust are these,
First, if an enemy of our people says he seeks to destroy us, believe him. Don’t doubt him for a moment. Don’t make light of it. Do all in your power to deny him the means of carrying out his satanic intent. (Note: one month later, Begin dispatched Israel’s Air Force to destroy the Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak.)
Second, when a Jew anywhere in the world is threatened or under attack, do all in your power to come to his aid. Never pause to wonder what the world will think or say. The world will never pity slaughtered Jews. The world may not necessarily like the fighting Jew, but the world will have to take account of him.
Third, a Jew must learn to defend himself. He must forever be prepared for whenever threat looms.
Fourth, Jewish dignity and honour must be protected in all circumstances. The seeds of Jewish destruction lie in passively enabling the enemy to humiliate us. Only when the enemy succeeds in turning the spirit of the Jew into dust and ashes in life, can he turn the Jew into dust and ashes in death. During the Holocaust it was after the enemy had humiliated the Jews, trampled them underfoot, divided them, deceived them, afflicted them, drove brother against brother, only then could he lead them, almost without resistance, to the gates of Auschwitz. Therefore, at all times and whatever the cost, safeguard the dignity and honour of the Jewish people.
Fifth, stand united in the face of the enemy. We, Jews, love life - for life is holy. But there are things in life more precious than life itself. There are times when one must risk life for the sake of rescuing the lives of others. And, when the few risk their own lives for the sake of the many, then they, too, stand the chance of saving themselves.
Sixth, there is a pattern to Jewish history. In our long annals as a nation, we rise, we fall, we return, we are exiled, we are enslaved, we rebel, we liberate ourselves, we are oppressed once more, we rebuild, and again we suffer destruction, climaxing in our own lifetime in the calamity of calamities, the Holocaust, followed by the rebirth of the Jewish State.
So, yes, we have come full circle, and with G-d’s help, with the rebirth of sovereign Israel we have finally broken the historic cycle: no more destruction and no more defeats, and no more oppression – only Jewish liberty, with dignity and honour. These, I believe, are the underlying lessons to be learned from the unspeakable tragedy of the Holocaust.”