Friday, February 24, 2017

Modern Day Slavery: A Torah Thought for Parshat Mishpatim

By Moshe Feiglin

"And these are the ordinances that you shall set before them. If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall work for six years and on the seventh, he shall go free for nothing.” (From this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-2). 

This week’s Torah portion talks about the essence of the Torah: Liberty, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation; the rectification of the world. Finally, after the exodus from Egypt and the receiving of the Torah, we are beginning to hear an orderly outline of our actual lives according to the Torah.

But what a disappointment! The first law in the portion takes us back to servitude, to slavery. This is the grand message? Couldn’t we have begun with the laws of damages? About what happens if an ox gores someone’s property? An eye for an eye? Why start specifically here? It’s rather awkward when the first thing the uninitiated hear is the laws of slavery. The first thing that comes into people’s minds is, ‘How lucky that today’s society is not run according to the Torah!’

But if we are to be honest with ourselves, we will admit that slavery still exists today – and it even thrives. True, we have progressed, thank G-d, and we do not encounter genuine slaves. But slavery and servitude are alive and well; servitude to the state and law, slavery to the banks, to the major corporations, to one’s employer or employment and even human trafficking. Modern man lives the illusion of liberty, but it is merely a fool’s paradise. He has freedom and plenty of free time. But he does not enjoy true liberty and even merits less of it than in the past. Freedom is the abrogation of responsibility; liberty is its shouldering.

Until the past generations, in which the face of official slavery changed and put on a more sophisticated mask, slavery was officially recognized in the most progressive countries. Nobody got out of Uncle Tom’s Cabin after only seven years. Uncle Tom was not the first to get the only pillow in the house (as dictated by Torah law); none of Jefferson’s other slaves had any pillow, at all.

Before the Torah engages in the ordinary laws of damages, it sets a new standard. It takes into account that servitude exists – be it direct, as in the past, or indirect, as it is today. The enslavement of people by other people is a fact of life. It has to be fought, but it will probably not be absolutely eliminated. If you give tenure, you will get temporary workers. If you close down the placement agencies, you will get a different form of slavery.

The Torah tells us that servitude is part of human nature. But we must know how to conduct ourselves within that reality. “A person who bought a Hebrew slave bought himself a master,” our Sages teach. Slavery according to the Torah was actually akin to providing the slave with a foster family. He was given a private rehabilitation center; something unequaled even among those nations that flaunt their liberal approach.

The Torah laws of slavery are actually the laws of exiting slavery. Until 150 years ago, every American was required by law to turn over an escaped slave to his master. More than 3,000 years before that, the Torah commands us, “You shall not turn over a slave to his master.” (Deuternomy 23:16). This is in complete contrast to the Hammurabi Laws and other ancient codices.

The foundation of liberty is the factor that sets the Torah apart from the laws of the other nations. True liberty stems only from accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is directed at all aspects of life: national liberty, economic liberty, everything.

Shabbat Shalom.

Introduction to the Zehut Platform

By Moshe Feiglin

The State of Israel is the fulfillment of the dream of generations of the Jewish people, and the tool for realizing its full message. It was established to be a Jewish State, so that the Jews could build it and be built by it and realize themselves and their destiny as individuals and as a nation. It has no other purpose.

After two thousand years, and contrary to all historical logic, our people survived, returned to its land, and made it bloom again. Eretz Israel was transformed from a dry and almost empty land to a land flowing with milk and honey and a world center of science and progress. Israel received a third chance to fulfill its destiny. Like it or not, we are not a nation like every other nation, nor a country like every other country. In addition to our very existence, we also have a destiny that humanity expects us to fulfill. This destiny is our vision, and it is that which will grant us and the world prosperity, security, a good life, and peace.

Our country, the third State of Israel, preceded by the kingdom of David and Solomon and their successors and the state of the Hasmoneans, has been the national dream of dozens of generations since our loss of national independence and the destruction of the Temple. Israel’s mission is not only to maintain physical existence in a democratic country, but to return and renew our lives and our unique culture here in our Land. The State was established so that we can maintain a thriving model society – one that will benefit not only us, but will be an example for all humankind - to learn from it and be blessed in it.

The Bible, says “And I will place you as a light among the nations”, and “To perfect the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty”[1], and “And you will eat your bread to satiety, and dwell safely in your land, and I will provide peace in the land” and “All the families of the earth will be blessed through you”. In modern Hebrew, this means a sovereign state, Jewish[2], moral, civilized, prosperous, progressive and secure. Israel is meant to be a country that exports to the world not only science and technology, but also an example of a good and prosperous human and national life, a life of liberty and morality, a life with meaning, a life in which no man is subservient to another – a life in which we are all free men under God alone. There is no Jewish identity without liberty, and liberty cannot coexist with coercion. The full Jewish message is not to be found on the Right or the Left, among the religious or the secular – it is found in every part of the People who returned to their homeland and thereby returned to history[3]. Therefore, we seek to empower liberty in order to allow ourselves to develop naturally. Any attempt at coercion in the area of identity will only delay the process of returning to ourselves. We cling to our land, and we strive for the minimum involvement of the state in private life. We want a State of liberty, run in accordance with Jewish culture and morality, and striving for the vision embodied in them. We believe that we have a clear path to that goal, which we are presenting before you in a concise manner in this platform. We believe that there is a wide range of people from all parts of the nation and the country’s citizens who share these principles with us and on their basis may be natural partners in this journey. If you are among them, join us! Together, we will make it a reality.


[1] From the prayer “Aleinu”, attributed to Joshua, which expresses the purpose of establishing a state for the People of Israel in its land.

[2] Truly Jewish, but without either religious or secular coercion, as detailed below. By “Jewish state”, we do not refer to the distorted concept of “Halakhic state” (which is empty of any real content, when the meaning assigned to it today is “a country that imposes halakha (Jewish law) on its citizens”, while Judaism itself does not necessarily require such coercion by the state).

[3] By “return to history”, we are not dismissing the importance of the Jews in exile, but a nation can only express itself fully when it is sovereign in its land.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The end of Palestine

By Daniel Greenfield

Palestine is many things. A Roman name and a Cold War lie. Mostly it’s a justification for killing Jews.

Palestine was an old Saudi-Soviet scam which invented a fake nationality for the Arab clans who had invaded and colonized Israel. This big lie transformed the leftist and Islamist terrorists run by them into the liberators of an imaginary nation. Suddenly the efforts of the Muslim bloc and the Soviet bloc to destroy the Jewish State became an undertaking of sympathetically murderous underdogs.

But the Palestine lie is past its sell by date.

What we think of as “Palestinian” terrorism was a low-level conflict pursued by the Arab Socialist states in between their invasions of Israel. After several lost wars, the terrorism was all that remained. Egypt, Syria and the USSR threw in the towel on actually destroying Israel with tanks and jets, but funding terrorism was cheap and low-risk. And the rewards were disproportionate to the cost.

For less than the price of a single jet fighter, Islamic terrorists could strike deep inside Israel while isolating the Jewish State internationally with demands for “negotiations” and “statehood.”

After the Cold War ended, Russia was low on cash and the PLO’s Muslim sugar daddies were tired of paying for Arafat’s wife’s shoe collection and his keffiyah dry cleaning bills.

The terror group was on its last legs. “Palestine” was a dying delusion that didn’t have much of a future.

That’s when Bill Clinton and the flailing left-wing Israeli Labor Party which, unlike its British counterpart, had failed to adapt to the new economic boom, decided to rescue Arafat and create ”Palestine”.

The resulting terrorist disaster killed thousands, scarred two generations of Israelis, isolated the country and allowed Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other major cities to come under fire for the first time since the major wars. No matter how often Israeli concessions were met with Islamic terrorism, nothing seemed able to shake loose the two-state solution monkey on Israel’s back. Destroying Israel, instantaneously or incrementally, had always been a small price to pay for maintaining the international order.

The same economic forces that were transforming the world after the Cold War had salvaged “Palestine”. Arafat had lost his sponsors in Moscow, but his new sugar daddy’s name was “Globalism”.

The Cold War had been the focus of international affairs. What replaced it was the conviction that a new world tied together by international commerce, the internet and international law would be born.

The demands of a clan in Hebron used to be able to hijack the attention of the world because the scope of the clash between Capitalism and Communism could globalize any local conflict. Globalization was just as insistent on taking local conflicts and making them the world’s business through its insistence that every place was connected. The terrorist blowing up an Israeli pizzeria affected stock prices in New York, the expansion prospects of a company in China and the risk of another terrorist attack in Paris. And interconnectedness, from airplane hijacking to plugging into the international’s left alliance of global protest movements, had become the best weapon of Islamic terrorists.

But now globalization is dying. And its death may just take “Palestine” with it.

A new generation of leaders is rising who are actively hostile to globalization. Trump and Brexit were the most vocal rebukes to transnationalism. But polls suggest that they will not be the only ones. The US and the UK, once the vanguards of the international order, now have governments that are competitively seeking national advantages rather than relying on the ordered rules of the transnational safety net.

These governments will not just toss aside their commitment to a Palestinian state. Not when the Saudis, Qataris and countless other rich and powerful Muslim countries bring it up at every session.

But they will be less committed to it.

45% of Americans support the creation of a PLO state. 42% are opposed. That’s a near split. These historical numbers have to be viewed within the context of the larger changes sweeping the country.

The transnationalists actively believed that it was their job to solve the problems of other countries. Nationalists are concerned with how the problems of other countries directly impinge on them without resorting to the mystical interconnectedness of everything, from climate change to global justice, that is at the core of the transnational worldview.

More intense competition by Western nations may make it easier for Islamic agendas to gain influence through the old game of divide and conquer. Nations facing terrorism will still find that the economic influence of Islamic oil power will rally the Western trading partners of Islam against them.

But without the transnational order, such efforts will often amount to little more than lip service.

Nationalist governments will find Israel’s struggle against the Islamic invaders inconvenient because it threatens their business interests, but they will also be less willing to rubber stamp the terror agenda the way that transnationalist governments were willing to do. The elimination of the transnational safety net will also cause nationalist governments to look harder at consequences and results.

Endlessly pouring fortunes into a Palestinian state that will never exist just to keep Muslim oil tyrants happy is not unimaginable behavior even for a nationalist government. Japan has been doing just that.

But it will be a less popular approach for countries that don’t suffer from Japan’s energy insecurity.

Transnationalists are ideologically incapable of viewing a problem as unsolvable. Their faith in human progress through international law made it impossible for them to give up on the two-state solution.

Nationalist governments have a colder and harder view of human nature. They will not endlessly pour efforts and resources into a diplomatic black hole. They will eventually take “No” for an answer.

This won’t mean instantaneous smooth sailing for Israel. It will however mean that the exit is there.

For two decades, pledging allegiance to the two-state solution and its intent to create a deadly Islamic terror state inside Israel has been the price demanded of the Jewish State for its participation in the international community. That price will not immediately vanish. But it will become easier to negotiate.

The real change will be on the “Palestinian” side where a terrorist kleptoracy feeds off human misery in its mansions downwind of Ramallah. That terror state, conceived insincerely by the enemies of the West during the Cold War and sincerely brought into being by Western transnationalists after the Cold War ended, is a creature of that transnational order.

The “Palestinian Authority”, a shell company of the PLO which is a shell company of the Fatah terrorists, has no economy worth speaking of. It has foreign aid. Its diplomatic achievements are achieved for it by the transnational network of foreign diplomats, the UN, the media and assorted international NGOs. During the last round of “negotiations”, Secretary of State John Kerry even attempted to do the negotiating on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the talks with Israel.

Take away the transnational order and the Palestinian Authority will need a new sugar daddy. The Saudis are better at promising money than actually delivering it. Russia may decide to take on the job. But it isn’t about to put in the money and resources that the PA has grown used to receiving from us.

Without significant American support, the Palestinian Authority will perish. And the farce will end.

It won’t happen overnight. But Israel now has the ability to make it happen if it is willing to take the risk of transforming a corrosive status quo into a conflict that will be more explosive in the short term, but more manageable in the long term.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, in stark contrast to rivals on the left like Peres and on the right like Sharon, is not a gambler. The peace process was a big gamble. As was the withdrawal from Lebanon and the expulsion from Gaza. These gambles failed and left behind scars and enduring crises.

Unlike the prime ministers before and after him, Netanyahu has made no big moves. Instead he serves as a sensible steward of a rising economy and a growing nation. He has stayed in office for so long because Israelis know that he won’t do anything crazy. That sensible stewardship, which infuriated Obama who accused him of refusing to take risks, has made him one of the longest serving leaders in Israeli history.

Netanyahu is also a former commando who participated in the rescue of a hijacked airplane. He doesn’t believe in taking foolish risks until he has his shot all lined up. But the time is coming when not taking a risk will be a bigger risk than taking a risk. Eventually he will have to roll the dice.

The new nationalist wave may not hold. The transnational order may return. Or the new wave may prove darker and more unpredictable. It’s even possible that something else may take its place.

The status quo, a weak Islamist-Socialist terror state in Ramallah supported by the United States, a rising Muslim Brotherhood terror state in Gaza backed by Qatar and Turkey, and an Israel using technological brilliance to manage the threat from both, is already unstable. It may collapse in a matter of years.

The PLO has inflicted a great deal of diplomatic damage on Israel and Hamas has terrorized its major cities. Together they form an existential threat that Israel has allowed to grow under the guise of managing it. The next few years may leave Israel with a deadlier and less predictable struggle.

“Palestine” is dying. Israel didn’t kill it. The fall of the transnational order did. The question is what will take its place. As the nationalist wave sweeps the West, Israel has the opportunity to reclaim its nation.

Jews Under Assault in Europe

By Robbie Travers 

  • A German court actually ruled that firebombing a place where Jews worship is somehow different from attacking Jews.
  • Why was the Israeli embassy not attacked, rather than a synagogue whose worshippers were presumably not Israeli? Presumably the worshippers were German. What happened in the German court was pure Nazi-think and the most undisguised antisemitism: that Jews are supposedly not Germans.
  • Meanwhile, another German Court again rejected an action against your friendly neighborhood "sharia police."
  • In Germany, it seems, firebombing synagogues is merely "anti-Israeli" even if there are no Israelis there, and "police" who use Islamic sharia law -- without legal authority and within a system of law that persecutes women, Christians, Jews and others -- are acceptable and legal.
  • The anti-Semitism facing Jews at UK universities led the Baroness Deech to declare British University campuses "no-go zones" for Jews.
  • Simply defining and identifying anti-Semitism is only the start. It is also necessary to start tackling the anti-Semitic attitudes of Islamic communities across Europe and the attitudes of immigrants coming to our nations.
  • What needs to be made clear is that you are welcome here as long as you respect Jews, Christians and all others, as well.
Anti-Semitic graffiti [Illustrative]. (Image source: Beny Shlevich/Flickr)
Antonio Tajani, the new President of the European Parliament, has made a bold opening statement of intent: "No Jew should be forced to leave Europe." While this is an admirable position to hold, it sadly could not be farther from the truth. The poison of anti-Semitism festers in Europe once again.
Europe is seeing yet again another rise in the number of Jews leaving the continent. Jonathan Boyd, Executive Director of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (IJPR), notes that the number of Jews leaving France is "unprecedented"
The results of the study show that 4% of the French and Belgian Jewish populations had emigrated those countries to reside in Israel.

Zehut Conference in Israel: Tuesday February 28. Attend or Watch

  • Tel Aviv Port (called the "Namal") inside "Hangar 11" this coming Tuesday evening – February 28th (the 2nd of Adar).
  • Zehut members are asked to come between 3:00pm-5:45pm in order to vote on key Zehut issues regarding our primaries.
  • Doors open to the General Public at 5:45pm and the program will begin promptly at 6:15pm.
  • The evening will conclude at 8:45pm.

Click here to attend (in Israel).
Click here to view (outside of Israel).

Our Youthful Backyard

By Zvulun Orlev

“Wild Weeds” in the Backyard

We have in our midst young men and women who gain strength from generation to generation in the path of “Torah and Labor,” and we are rightfully proud of them. The disseminating of the values of religious Zionism within our land is to the credit of these people, and it can be viewed as a success of the religious education they received in their families, from the Chemed religious school system, in the yeshivot and IDF prep schools, in our youth movements, in our communities and settlements. Credit is also due to such religious Zionist organizations as Emunah, the Kibbutz Hadati, and others.

As opposed to our wonderful youths, which number about 250,000 students in all the educational institutions combined, there are a few hundred youths, including a tough kernel of no more than a few dozen, who have abandoned the yoke of authority and the discipline of their parents, their rabbis, and their educators, ignoring the public leadership and the laws of the land. They have written their own set of national values, one that is foreign to our Torah and our nation. We cannot ignore the violent struggle of these youths in the synagogue of Amona against police and soldiers, in defiance of the calls by rabbis and community leaders to refrain from violence. The image of the destroyed synagogue is a view of our own young backyard. We can see in sharp detail the image of those who refuse to accept any authority.

What did we do, how did we react to the destruction? Except for a handful of leaders and rabbis we continued with our regular routines as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Some of us reacted calmly: They were twenty fools, they are alone, let the police take care of them. Some of us said, there is nothing we can do, we have no other course of action. Some people stayed away from controversy, saying: “They are not from among us, they are not religious Zionists” – it is not our responsibility to comment on their behavior.

However, this “backyard” causes tremendous harm, first and foremost to the young men and women themselves. Their actions lead to terrible damage to their families, their communities, to religious Zionism as a whole, and to the country. These backyard people do not suffer from damage in terms of intelligence, cognizance, emotions, or the spirit. Their head is distorted, and their soul is totally corrupt in terms of actions and values. I am sorry to say that there are some mature adults and organizations which see them as legitimate, lend them their support, encourage them, and even make use of them for their own distorted goals. Government authorities do not prosecute them fully, and the educational and therapeutic institutions have not organized properly in order to stop their downward trend and to bring them back to normative living.

Take on the Responsibility

What should we do? First of all, we must not abandon our responsibility for them and for us to search for ways to bring them back to the fold, or at the very least to prevent others from joining them. They indeed grew up in our families (including some of the most prominent and important ones), they have been living in our towns, they were educated in our youth movements and our yeshivot. They are our biological children, they are our students and members of our youth clubs. No normative family or strong community has immunity that will guarantee that such wild plants will not grow up among us. If we remain indifferent, not only will they not disappear but they will gain strength and increase their numbers without limit.

The good news is that behavioral distortion and corruption of the spirit and values of the youths can be reduced to a minimum and even corrected by proper treatment. There are educational and therapeutic models which have been shown to be capable of coping with this phenomenon. We have in our midst excellent professionals who have demonstrated successes in treating these youths. Even though we have not yet developed enough suitable places for them, there are some therapeutic institutions within religious Zionism which have shown impressive results in this matter.

What is still lacking? It is broad recognition and an awareness by us all about this problem. Rabbis, educators, and public leaders must all band together to relate to the situation. Just the acts of awareness and taking on responsibility will help to reduce the dimensions of this backyard. Awareness, responsibility, and recognizing the seriousness of the problem will guarantee that we commit the necessary resources.

Rav Kook wrote: “The objective of education is to guide a person into a proper path, whose central focus is to make him into one who is good and upright... It is clear that at times to go beyond the strict limits of the law becomes the law itself.”

It is clear that we are bound by a mitzva to dedicate our educational, spiritual, social, and financial resources to the cause of bringing our youths back to their proper form.

Success in this matter depends first and foremost on our efforts, not on the youths themselves. Let us make the effort, and we can succeed!

Zionist Chassidism: The Task of the Tzadik

By Rafi Ostroff 
Head of the Religious Council of Gush Etzion

In the year 5698 (1938) the Rebbi of Husiatyn gave the following Torah insight in a sermon:

“Come now and let us have a discussion, God says” (Yeshayahu 1:18). The current topic of discussion is Eretz Yisrael.

The nation of Yisrael claims: We are going to Eretz Yisrael. Or, it would be more correct to say, we are being evicted from the lands to which we have been dispersed, and we turn towards Eretz Yisrael. (The people also emigrate to other lands, but only as private people. In response to a general national goal, we go only to Eretz Yisrael. The proof is the offer of Uganda. Even irreligious people wept when they heard this proposal, although they did not yet know if the land that was offered was good or not.) We go to the land based on the promise: “I will give it to you as a heritage, I am G-d” [Shemot 6:8]. And based on this promise in the Torah portion, “I will oppress your oppressors and I will make enemies of your enemies” [Shemot 23:22].

And now, the Jews are coming here, but the British stand at the gate and do not let them in. And those who already came in and built up the land with their blood (or their money – a pun) have encountered a wild breed of men, natives of the desert, who uproot the trees they planted and murder innocent souls. The economic foundations have been destroyed, and all roads are dangerous. (This sermon was delivered at the height of the Arab riots, during the years 5696-99 - 1936-39.)

What is it that G-d claims? He says, the promise I gave you depends on a condition: “Observe everything that I commanded you to do” [Shemot 23:13]. The reply to this condition is that Bnei Yisrael have a special privilege, as noted by Rashi: “‘Observe everything that I commanded you to do, and do not mention the names of other gods’ – This teaches us that idol worship carries the same weight as all the other mitzvot, and one who observes this mitzva is treated as if he had observed them all.” And as for Yisrael, no matter what else has happened, they do not violate the laws of idol worship, heaven forbid.

And I saw the following in Daat Zekeinim at the end of the Torah portion of Behar: “‘For Bnei Yisrael are slaves to Me, they are My slaves whom I took out of the Land of Egypt’ [Vayikra 25:55]. And then, ‘Do not make gods for you’ [26:1]. Why is this relevant here, when the passage is concerned with the laws of Yovel? I say to you, this comes to explain why we will be redeemed even though we do not observe all the mitzvot, because in any case we did observe the mitzva, ‘Do not have for you other gods’ [Shemot 20:3].

* * * * * *

The Rebbe of Husiatyn wrote this in 1938, before the great Holocaust took place, but he already saw how the Jews were being expelled from their lands. (If only more had been expelled perhaps they could have been rescued, but who could predict what was about to happen to them?)

What is the Difference between My Son and My Father-in-law’s Son?

The required condition for possession of the land is to observe the mitzvot, because this area of land is the entranceway to the King’s palace. However, the Rebbe saw the task of the great men of his generation as a need to emphasize the merits of Yisrael, in spite of what he could plainly see – that most of the people in Eretz Yisrael did not observe the mitzvot. He therefore wrote:

“It is the will of G-d that the righteous men and the leaders of the nation in every generation should awaken mercy for the people in this way and find ways to sweeten the harsh punishments that overcome them, heaven forbid. The best way to do this is to mention the other nations and to compare them to Yisrael. Then we can see the difference between “my son” and “my father-in-law’s son” – and this is the path followed by the Rebbe of Berdichev.

(According to the Talmud, Leah noted that her father-in-law’s son Eisav hated Yaacov to whom he sold the birthright, while her own son Reuven did not hate his brother Yosef who was given the birthright against Reuven’s will. See Berachot 7b.)

And here the Rebbe tells a wonderful story about Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev. He went out into the market late at night and offered some food to the people there. The Gentiles took the food and gobbled it down, while the Jews said that they must first wash their hands.

The Rebbe of Husiatyn emphasizes: The task of the rabbis is to reveal the merits of Yisrael. And in his generation he was able to say that the Jews did not worship idols and were not ready to do so (even though they did not observe the laws of Shabbat and kashrut). Today we sorely miss having such rabbis, who see their main role as a search for the merits of the people, even if the only merit that they can find is that they are not involved in idol worship...

Justice belongs to G-d

By HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

In the beginning of his book “Mussar Kodesh,” Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook discussed the difference between Divine and human morality:

“Secular morality has no depth and does not enter into the internal nature of the soul... This teaching takes no stand against the attack of various lusts which might awake in strength, and it goes without saying that such weak morality cannot serve as a guide for the general human public in all its depth and broad experience, to penetrate into the depths of the soul – and to transform the hearts of individuals and the community into a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone. There is no alternative other than being guided by Divine morality. ”

The same can be said about the difference between human justice and Torah (Divine) justice. Rav Kook discusses this in “Arfilei Tohar:”

“Social punishment, especially in terms of monetary damage, has two sources in the soul: one is good and the other is bad. The first one stems from the recognition that one should never do an injustice, and that one who does so must suffer so that the good attitude (that injustice must be avoided) will gain strength. The second source is a result of a selfish feeling. Another person should not benefit from what is mine or touch what is mine, because the feeling of something being mine and of myself is stronger and more powerful than anything else... The laws of the Gentiles almost exclusively stem from this crude second source...”

A student of Rav Kook’s words explained the above ideas as follows: There is legal justice, and there is moral justice. The theme of legal justice is: give every person what belongs to him! And the role (of the courts) is to enforce this idea, to protect everybody’s possessions from being attacked by anybody else.

However, moral justice (that of the Torah, which is Divine justice) is at a much higher level. It comes to mankind with demands based on the principle that man was created in the image of our G-d, and that therefore we must get rid of animal selfishness. We must rise above it and conquer our corrupting lusts, which destroy the glory of His status.

The main objective of legal justice is to protect other people from me, from my actions. This is not true for moral justice. In this case the main goal is related to me - to make me into a better person. (See: R.Z. Pinnes, Morality of the Torah and the Talmud.)

A similar idea was expressed by the Kli Chemda on the verse, “For justice belongs to G-d” [Devarim 1:17]:

“G-d wants to establish justice – that the judgement of the Torah will be applied to Yisrael. However, when Bnei Noach were commanded to establish courts of law, the reason was to make the world peaceful but not to apply the laws of the Torah.”

The first to write this was the Maharal of Prague in his book “Tiferet Yisrael” (Chapter 25). He wrote that all the mitzvot of the Torah are Divine and that the Torah is not a natural or behavioral religion, or “ Derech eretz (proper behavior) to maintain order... Rather it is Divine. All of its words are Divine, and therefore one who observes it has the privilege of having a place in the world to come.”

The purpose of the laws of the Torah is not simply to institute proper social relationships but rather to “guide us along the paths of mercy... so that we will remain pure in our souls... and to teach us good traits” [Ramban, Devarim].

Rav Kook on Parashat Mishpatim: Trust in God vs. Self-Reliance

The Talmud (Berachot 10b) tells a puzzling story about the righteous king Hezekiah. It is related that the king secreted away the medical books of his day. Why? King Hezekiah felt that the people relied too heavily on the prescriptions described in those texts, and did not pray to God to heal them.

Surprisingly, the Sages approved of King Hezekiah’s action. Such an approach would appear to contradict another Talmudic ruling. The Torah says one who injures his neighbor must “provide for his complete healing” (Ex. 21:19). The Talmud (Baba Kama 85a) deducts from here that the Torah granted doctors permission to heal. Even with natural diseases, we do not say, “Since God made him ill, it is up to God to heal him,” but do our best to heal him.

Which is the correct attitude? Should we rely on doctors and medical books, or place our trust only in God and prayer?

There is in fact a larger question at stake. When are we expected to do our utmost to remedy the situation ourselves, and when should we rely on God’s help?

Two Forms of Bitachon

Rav Kook explained that there are two forms of bitachon, reliance on God. There is the normative level of trust, that God will assist us in our efforts to help ourselves. And there is the simple trust in God that He will perform a miracle, when appropriate.

Regarding the community as a whole, we find apparent contradictions in the Torah’s expectations. Sometimes we are expected to make every possible effort to succeed, as in the battle of HaAi (Joshua 8). On other occasions, human effort was considered a demonstration of lack of faith, as when God instructed Gideon not to send too many soldiers to fight, “Lest Israel should proudly say ‘My own hand saved me'” (Judges 7:2). Why did God limit Gideon’s military efforts, but not Joshua’s in the capture of HaAi?

The answer is that the spiritual level of the people determines what level of bitachon is appropriate. When we are able to recognize God’s hand in the natural course of events, when we are aware that God is the source of our strength and skill - “Remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you strength to succeed” (Deut. 8:18) - then God is more clearly revealed when He supplies our needs within the framework of the natural world. In this situation, we are expected to utilize all of our energy and knowledge and talents, and recognize divine assistance in our efforts. This reflects the spiritual level of the people in the time of Joshua.

On the other hand, there are times when the people are incapable of seeing God’s help in natural events, and they attribute any success solely to their own efforts and skills. They are likely to claim, “My own hand saved me.” In this case, only miraculous intervention will enable the people to recognize God’s hand - especially when the Jewish nation was young, miracles were needed to bring them to this awareness.

Educating the People

Consider the methods by which parents provide for their children. When a child is young, the parent feeds the child directly. If the child is very small, the parent will even put the food right in his mouth. As the child grows older, he learns to become more independent and take care of his own needs. Parental care at this stage is more indirect, by supplying him with the wherewithal - the knowledge, skills, and training - to provide for himself. The grown child does not wish to be forever dependent on his parent. He wants to succeed by merit of his own talents and efforts, based on the training and tools that his parents provided him.

So too, when the Jewish people was in its infancy, miracles served to instill a fundamental recognition and trust in God. In the time of Gideon, the people’s faith had lapsed, and needed strengthening. Similarly, in the time of King Hezekiah, the king realized that the corrupt reign of Ahaz had caused the people to forget God and His Torah. He calculated that the spiritual gain through prayer outweighed the scientific loss due to hiding the medical texts.

But when faith and trust in God are strong, it is preferable that we utilize our own energies and talents, and recognize God’s hand within the natural universe. The enlightened viewpoint calls out, “Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these?” (Isaiah 40:26). So it was when Joshua conquered the city of HaAi. After forty years of constant miracles in the desert, the people were already thoroughly imbued with trust in God. It was appropriate that they use their own resources of cunning and courage to ambush the fighters and destroy the city.

What about the future redemption of the Jewish people? It may occur with great miracles, like the redemption from Egypt; or it may begin with natural events, as implied by several statements of the Sages that the redemption will progress gradually. It all depends on the level of our faith in God. It is certainly integral to our national pride that we take an active role in rebuilding the House of Israel.

(Gold from the Land of Israel pp. 136-138. Adapted from Ein Eyah vol. I, p. 57)

Why Millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust

Parashat Mishpatim 5777
By HaRav Nachman Kahana

Why millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust

The Holocaust was the greatest calamity to befall the Jewish nation.

Its devastation outranks even the destruction of the two Batei Hamikdash, as explained in Midrash Eicha 4 in its analysis of chap. 79 in Tehillim: “Mizmor Le’Asaf” – a song of praise (to Hashem) composed by Asaf (the Levi).

The Midrash points out that this introductory sentence is totally incompatible with the text, which deals with the projected destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. It should read “Kina Le’Asaf” – a lamentation composed by Asaf not “Mizmor le’Asaf” – a song of praise composed by Asaf.

The Midrash explains that the destruction of the two Batei Mikdash was certainly a calamity of the first order. However, even within the context of this punishment, Hashem showed His mercy by venting His anger on the wood and stones of the structure rather than permit mass murder of His people.

So, the unescapable question: How did it come about in Hashem’s world that six million Jews (the belief today is that the number is closer to seven and a half million Jews), including one-and-a-half million children and millions of God-fearing Torah Jews, were sent to Olam Haba (the next world) through the chimneys of Aisav’s (Esau) death camps?

It would be flippant and irreverent to answer that the Shoah was punishment for our sins, because all Jews are mutual guarantors (kol Yisrael arayvim ze la’ze), when in fact only the Jews of Europe and parts of North Africa suffered that fate, whereas the Jews of the U.S. and Eretz Yisrael were not only spared, but also prospered.

My personal understanding of these events consoles me in some small way when facing the unspeakable horrors of the Shoah.

The Gemara (Bava Kama 60a) explains the underlying meaning of the verse in our parasha (Shemot 22:5):

כי תצא אש ומצאה קצים ונאכל גדיש או הקמה או השדה שלם ישלם המבער את-הבערה
If a fire spreads to weeds (in another’s field) and devours bales of wheat or uncut wheat of the field, the negligent perpetrator must make payment.

In addition to the explicit judicial responsibility of a man for his actions, the Gemara explains that “weeds” are the evil doers of the world and “the bales of wheat and uncut wheat” are the righteous of Am Yisrael. When HaShem decrees that the “weeds” be destroyed, the free hand of the Angel of Death begins with the coveted “bales of wheat” – the first and most to suffer are the righteous who happen to be present among the evil doers.

I reject any allegation that my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters sinned to a degree which justified the horrors of the Shoah. Some “experts” at counting other peoples’ sins place the blame on assimilation. But Jewish history has never encountered the numbers and rate of assimilation and intermarriage found today among the Jews of the United States. Yet they continue to thrive. Other sin counters put the blame on Zionism, while others, on the lack of Zionism.

The Shoah was Hashem’s decree which began with the First World War, that the evil descendants of Aisav should put an end to one another; that Aisav should devoir Aisav. Russians should kill Germans, and Germans should slaughter Englishmen, the Ukrainians should kill the Americans, and Americans should kill the Turks, etc. And it is common knowledge that the Second World War was a continuation of the First World War, albeit after an extended cease fire.

The Jews were turned into smoke and soap, because the leash on insanity was released, and the Jews were caught up in it BECAUSE WE WERE THERE! And we were there because we did not understand that when Aisav kills Aisav, it is no place for Ya’akov (Jacob/Israel) to be.

When the inhibitions of hatred are released, then the ever-present hatred of Jews rises to the fore and Aisav seeks to put an end to Ya’akov.

If you reject the proposition that the two world wars were death sentences decreed on the goyim, and we were swept up into it just because we were there, you are left with two very bad options: That the Jews of Europe sinned to the extent that 1,500,000 little children had to die; or the whole matter is beyond our comprehension, so let’s just continue building bigger and more expensive holocaust museums and go back to living.

Conclusion: If one lives in a depraved or a potentially depraved gentile society, then no matter how frum or how erudite in Torah, one could suddenly find himself swept up in the tsunamis and 9/11’s of that nation.

To be more specific: President Trump is not an anti-Semite. However, there are many millions of white Americans who perceive his messages as suggestions to mean things he never intended.

“Let’s make America great again”, is perceived to mean “Let us white, Protestants retake our homeland from the third world peoples who have defiled the purity of our culture.” This infers the blacks, the Hispanics, the Moslems and certainly the Jews who control the “false news” media and the sensitive centers of economic power.

Remember: The Jews of Europe were cast to the unbridled hatred of the Aisavic Christians because we were there.

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

Sell Out: The Yesha Council's adherence to the Peace Now Strategy of Isolating the “​settler minority”​

By David Bedien

(Ed. Note: Anyone who doubts this, feel free to take a look at Moshe Feiglin's book, "Where There Are No Men". The sell out continues)

In 1993, those who promoted the Oslo process portrayed the opposition to “land for peace” as a “​settler minority​” locked in to their ideology and their real estate.

This “settler isolation” approach was best elucidated by PR expert Yekutiel Federman, once the owner of the Dan Hotel Chain, sponsor of Abie Nathan’s Voice of Peace and funder of PEACE NOW.. on the pages of the now defunct-Al HaMishmar. the former Mapam-Meretz daily newspaper, in October 1993. Federman advised the Rabin-Peres government to “isolate the 3%” of the population who live in Yesha, and to attack them personally.

Prime Minister Rabin therefore referred to ‘settlers’ as propellers whom he would let spin their propellers and whom he promised to ignore.

For 23 years, the Yesha Council, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria & Gaza, has adhered to Federman’s Peace Now strategy.

Even now. In well funded demonstrations against the destruction of Amona, the Yesha Council mobilized only those Jews living in Judea and Samaria, without inviting anyone else to the speak at their rallies, as if the wanton demolition of a thriving community was only the problem of Amona and the Jews who live Judea and Samaria.

At no time did the full page Yesha ads for Amonah include Jews who were not Rabbis or residents of Judea and Samaria.

Nor did the Yesha Council reach out to Jewish landowners within the green line who may suffer the consequences of the Amona precedent .

In other words, playing into the hands of Oslo advocates, the Yesha Council would not to stress that the Amona precedent represents a threat to all of the people of Israel, and not only to Judea and Samaria.

Haggai Segel, writing in Makor Rishon on September 23, 2016, reported on court judgments which can still be enforced against thousands hundreds of Jewish homes within the green line where absentee Arab landowners still lay claim to their land that Jews took possession of, between 1950 and 1952. Even more important, the Adalah Arab rights organization has hired a team of lawyers to help absentee land owners lay claim to these lands.

In other words, Yesha could transform homeowners within the green line into allies, yet they will not do so.

The unkindest cut of all: the refusal of the Yesha council to play the human rights card.

At no time does the Yesha Council appeal to protect the fundamental human rights of a family who has lived in a home for years to not be thrown into the street in the cold of winter, because that parcel of land was allocated by King Hussein a generation ago to his subjects.

That Israeli Basic Human Rights Law should be invoked, based on the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which all democratic governments are adherents.

Given the legal precedents from Israeli court cases and from court cases around the world, any Israeli government decision to expel people from their homes, even in the context of a diplomatic move, would represent a wanton violation of basic human rights and civil liberties that are protected under Israeli and international human rights law.

Clause 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, declare that it is illegal for sovereign governments to expel their own citizens from their homes, their private properties or from their farms.

Instead, the leaders of the Yesha council opted to adopt the Peace Now strategy, to isolate and destroy themselves.

MK Yair Lapid, when he was Israel Minister of Finance, asked why that the government of Israel paid the PR expenses of the Yesha Council. Now we know why.

The Shamrak Report: No More Excuses Bibi - Do What is Right for Israel!

By Sima Kadmon
Trump pulled the rug of excuses from under Netanyahu’s feet. After his meeting with the US president, the prime minister will have to deal with his greatest fear - the need to decide. Will he stick to the two-state vision he presented eight years ago, or will he adopt Bennett’s plan for the annexation of Judea and Samaria?
There is no argument over the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got from US President Donald Trump exactly what he wanted. One state, two states, what difference does it make - that is the exact attitude Netanyahu would like to hear in an American president. Someone who hasn’t got a clue what it’s all about.
...Netanyahu is now in a situation of “damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” He may suffer from any choice he makes. The American reception was a dream that even he didn’t dream of. The way Trump waited for him at the entrance to the White House. The way he spoke to him and about him at the press conference. The way he treated Sara, telling her to stand up so that everyone would applaud her. 
...Netanyahu will discover that it’s all in his hands. Trump won’t lift a finger. He won’t push for a solution and won’t force Israel to reach an agreement. He has enough urgent matters on the agenda. What Netanyahu will have to do is the exact thing he doesn’t know how to do!
MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) will submit a bill this week to remove the Israeli Supreme Court's unlimited control of Israel's laws and justice system.
The bill was suggested by the "Derech Chaim Movement," which aims to infuse Jewish values into Israel's government and legal system.
The new proposal would end the Supreme Court's ability to cancel laws of which they do not approve.
The booklet suggests adopting a model similar to England's, in which the Supreme Court can point out contradictions between basic laws and new laws, but the only ones with the authority to cancel or create laws are members of the government itself.
Israel does not have a basic law authorizing the Supreme Court to cancel new laws nor does it have a "checks and balances" system as does the United States. However, the Supreme Court has decided it has this authority because of how its justices interpret the basic law on "human dignity and liberty," although when this same basic law was passed, the lawmakers stated explicitly that it was "not intended to authorize the Supreme Court to cancel laws."
Food for Thought by Steven Shamrak
Just a year before the Fourth Geneva Convention was adopted close to 14 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were transferred during the partition b/w India and Pakistan in 1947. The Fourth Geneva Convention was adopted to stop Israel from removing enemy population. It has never been taken seriously by any other country, as well as the UN! Only Israel has been forced to follow it all the time. 
Time for the PA to Pay Its Bills
Director of the Israel Electric Corporation, Yiftah Ron Tal, said that if the PA don’t pay what it owes to the Corporation, electricity will be cut off in homes in PA-controlled areas. Recently, the PA paid 600 million shekels in electricity debts. However, their debt stands at over a billion shekels.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that he "deeply" regretted the opposition to the appointment of former Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Salam Fayyad (non-state representative) as the UN’s peace envoy to Libya. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hailed the U.S. veto of Fayyad as counter to the "free gifts constantly given to the Palestinian side".
Yahya Sinwar, 55, head of the most extremist faction of Hamas, who received four life sentences from an Israeli court for attacking and kidnapping Israeli citizens, only to be released in the Gilad Shalit deal, was elected leader of the terrorist group, replacing Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. This is the first appointment to the top job of a man from the military arm of Hamas. This is a signal that the two and a half years of calm along the Gaza border will soon be over. Sinwar believes in an ongoing conflict with Israel.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely referred to the press briefing in Washington between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu said "I welcome the fact that for the first time in 25 years there is an American desire to think afresh and to respect Israel's interests as determined by the people of Israel… the two-state era has ended. The prime minister is talking now about new ways of achieving peace."
The UN envoy for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, told the Security Council that the “two-state solution” remains "the only way" to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. "The two-state solution remains the only way to achieve the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples.” The envoy urged Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders to "carefully contemplate the future," which he warned could be one "built on perpetual conflict, rising extremism and occupation." (Hasn’t that been what Israel been subjected to so far? The occupation of Jewish land and Islamic terror, it can’t be worse!)
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a spokesperson for the Hamas terrorist group, rejected Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s offer of massive assistance to the Gaza Strip in return for them giving up their rockets and attack. He also rejected call for Hamas to return the bodies of the fallen IDF soldiers and the three Israeli civilians it is holding in exchange for economic prosperity.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Donald Trump that the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The United States and the international community have never recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day (defensive) war and then annexed in 1981.
Quote of the Week:
“The settlement regulation bill is not a radical bill. It is a liberal reform of a legal regime that harms the civil rights of both Palestinians and Israelis... the Palestinian Authority made selling land to Jews and Christians a capital offense. Dozens of Palestinians have been murdered over the past two decades in extrajudicial executions by both Palestinian security forces and by terrorist militias working hand in glove with Palestinian security forces for the ‘crime’ of selling their land to Jews.”– Caroline Glick

Lubavitcher Rebbe - How to Settle Jewish Land

1) Not provocative: In various public addresses the Rebbe recommended not proclaiming fearlessness by announcing intentions to settle the entire territory. Display of arrogance arouses a reciprocal desire among the nations to show us their arrogance in return: “If we show them kochi v’otzem yodi (“my power, and the might of my own hand”), it will prompt them to show us their kochi v’otzem yodi in return...”
2) Quietly: The Rebbe distinguished between bombastic and subdued modes of settlement: The former involves noise, publicity, and press announcements flouting the construction. The latter entails doing things quietly... "The main thing is that they not announce this loudly, so that settlement in the territories should be without commotion and tumult. The only thing which is truly important is the actual settlement itself!"
3) Simultaneously: The Rebbe spoke of “the absolute necessity of settling all the territories simultaneously - at least those places which are disputed by the nations.”
4) “The deeds of the fathers are a lesson for the children”: The Rebbe explained that settlement should follow the example of Abraham in the Land of Israel: Just as when Abraham travelled the “length and breadth of the land,” he would “build there an altar to G‑d,” so must it be today. When we settle the Land of Israel, we should establish in each new place:
a) A venue for Torah learning: For this is the dwelling place of G‑d, since “from the time of the destruction of the Temple... G‑d does not have any place in His world except in the four cubits of halachah.”
b) A place for prayer: This follows the previous point, since prayers take the place of the sacrifices (altar), and synagogues are “small Temples” (Megillah, 29a).
c) Mikvah: ...there must be purity... Even though nowadays immersion in a ritual bath is not an absolute prerequisite for prayer, immersion is still widely practiced.
d) There is a special need to establish Yeshivas where Torah is learned.
No calls for killing enemies? So much for radical Zionism! 
But what had Arafat promised to his fake people and the world:
“I want to tell Carter and Begin that when the Arabs set off their volcano there will be only Arabs in this part of the world… Our people will continue to fuel the torch of the revolution with rivers of blood until the whole of the occupied homeland is liberated, the whole of the homeland is liberated, not just a part of it.” - Yasser Arafat (Associated Press, March 12, 1979)
“Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations… We shall not rest until the day when we return to our home, and until we destroy Israel.” - Yasser Arafat (El Mundo, Venezuela, February 11, 1980; The Times, UK, August 5, 1980)

The Offer that Turns the Gaza Strip into Singapore

By Bassam Tawil

  • Last week, Hamas received an offer that no sane entity would turn down. The offer did not come from Hamas's allies in Iran and the Islamic world. The offer, to turn the impoverished Gaza Strip into "the Singapore of the Middle East," came from Israel.
  • "The Gazans must understand that Israel, which withdrew from the Gaza Strip to the last millimeter, is not the source of their suffering -- it is the Hamas leadership, which doesn't take their needs into consideration... The moment Hamas gives up its tunnels and rockets, we'll be the first to invest." — Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
  • Hamas does not want a new "Singapore" in the Middle East. Hamas wants Israel to disappear from the face of the earth. The welfare of the Palestinians living under its rule is the last thing on the mind of Hamas. The dispute is not about improving the living conditions of Palestinians, as far as Hamas is concerned. Instead, it is about the very existence of Israel.
  • Hamas deserves credit for one thing: its honesty concerning its intentions to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible. Hamas does not want 40,000 new jobs for the unemployed poor Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It would rather see these unemployed Palestinians join its ranks and become soldiers in the jihad to replace Israel with an Islamic empire.
Whither the future of Gaza: to be "the Singapore of the Middle East," or to more terrorism and war? Sadly, Hamas does not want a new "Singapore" in the Middle East. Hamas wants Israel to disappear from the face of the earth. The welfare of Palestinians living under its rule is the last thing on the mind of Hamas.
The Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas has once again demonstrated its priorities: killing Jews. That clearly takes precedence over easing the plight of the two million Palestinians living under its rule in the Gaza Strip.
Since Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007, the conditions of the Palestinians living there have gone from bad to worse. Crisis after crisis has hit those under the Hamas rule; electricity and water as well as lack of medicine and proper medical care are in dangerously short supply.
Disputes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have left the Gaza Strip dangerously short of fuel, resulting in massive power outages. Palestinians there consequently have had to resort to using wood for cooking and heating. Hamas, which has brought about three wars that wreaked havoc on its people, is unable to provide them with basic needs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Israel's Public Relations: The Problem and the Solution

By Bernhard Lazarus

  • It is worth noting that the Jewish State was effectively created through the efforts of the countries of the world in San Remo and Geneva years prior to the Holocaust.
  • Jerusalem, except for fewer than 200 years in the 11th and 12th Centuries, when it was the capital of a short-lived Crusader State, has only been a capital city under Jewish rule. At other times since the Roman conquest it was not even considered by Muslims, or anyone else, a provincial city of consequence.
  • In the War of 1948-49, Jordan illegally seized Jerusalem, ethnically cleansed its Jewish inhabitants, destroyed all the synagogues and on top of the ancient sacred Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, after taking ancient Jewish headstones to use as the floor of latrines, Jordan built a hotel.
  • The aggression by Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967 was overturned by Israel. Israel liberated Jerusalem, took control of the Golan Heights, from which Syrians had been shooting down at Israeli farmers, and entered the West Bank, which was under illegal Jordanian occupation.
  • Anti-Apartheid movements in South Africa wanted equal political and other democratic rights for all -- irrespective of race -- but neveradvocated the destruction of South Africa.
  • Israel currently has no Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the post of Minister of Information does not exist. This creates the message, as former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir put it, of being the "prime minister of six million prime ministers".
  • An even more urgent condition is that Israeli authorities refuse to deal with the considerable number of renegade Israeli academics (and others) harming Israel on the international scene, presumably for their personal reasons.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means," said by General Carl von Clausewitz nearly 200 years ago, has now morphed into: "Politics is war by other means".
Enemies who are inferior militarily have understood this; hence, from the height of admiration after the Six Day War, Israel has hit bottom, sharing the position with the likes of North Korea.
How and why is this?
A knowledge of history is essential; therefore it is the first thing one's enemies try to destroy. If one can falsely claim that biblical places such as Rachel's Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Temple Mount or even Jerusalem are Islamic, even though Islam did not, historically, exist until hundreds of years later, one can consequently claim that there never was a Jewish connection to the land – so then why should the Jews have it?

Moshe Feiglin Video Interview: All Jews are Partners in the Land of Israel (English subtitles)

(Ed. note: In this brief video, Feiglin absolutely upends the tired, re-hashed perceptions of the leftist interviewer to the point of where she can't help wearing the stunned look on her face towards the end. A joy to watch.)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Banning Outsiders and Vetting Visitors: A Letter to a Community Rabbi

(Ed. note: The following letter was written by a friend to his local community rabbi. Let honesty reign)

Dear Rebbe,

Since I hear a lot of comments on the new President's Border Control policies, I thought that I would add my own, especially within the context of our own community. 

For several years now, we have employed our own CSS volunteers to stand at the entrance of our shul and walk the perimeter of our property. Their primary purpose is to screen out would-be intruders with evil intentions from gaining access to a synagogue where they could carry out mayhem against us, Chas V' Shalom. More recently, we have chosen to electronicaly lock our doors to further limit access to those seeking to do us harm.

How absurd would it be to tell our volunteers to disregard the ethnicity or appearance of possible intruders. Do we employ a system where people of "Muslim-Looking" appearance are expected to be stopped, questioned, and extensively vetted? I certainly would expect that such is their training and mission.

Would it be ridiculous to hand a key fob to random Middle-Eastern people? How about housing Syrian refugees in the shul without checking their background just because they claim to be indigent, hungry or ill?

Do you see where I am going?

Any standards that we wish to apply to our own shul, or to our own homes, should be the same standards that we apply to our nation's borders, or we are hypocrites to the core.

Any Jew who can take a moment to contemplate the true threats that lurk in today's world, especially to the targeted Jewish Community Centers, Yeshivas, Shuls, Day Schools, Kosher Restaurants and Shops, should applaud and support the new President's actions. Ganging up on him, by invoking similarities of Syrian Refugees, (most if whom were reared with visceral hatred toward us, arriving from countries that expelled us en masse in 1948) with the desperate, gentle souls who were the European Jews of the 1940's, is truly offensive.

What is the matter with us? 

Do we have a death wish?

Can we please hear some rational truth from our leaders, educators, and journalists?

We need to come to our senses soon before the very beneficial attitude toward us at the White House is destroyed by the overwhelming outcry of Jewish antipathy.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

From Inspiration to the Detailed Laws

By Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

The Torah follows its exhilarating and inspirational description of the revelation at Mount Sinai with a rather dry and detailed set of various laws that are to be followed by the people of Israel. It is one thing to be inspired and thus acquire great ideals. It is another thing completely to be able to transfer those ideals and inspiration into everyday life on a regular basis. We are all aware that the devil is always in the details. It is natural to agree that one should not steal or murder. But what is really the definition of stealing? Is taking something that originally did not belong to you always considered stealing? How about grabbing my neighbor’s rope and using it to save a drowning person? Is that also stealing? Is self-defense murder? Are court imposed death penalties murder? How are we to deal in facing such complex moral issues? This is really the crux of all halacha and this week’s parsha serves as our introduction to the concepts of Jewish law and halacha. Without such an understanding of the practice of halacha the great ideals and inspiration of the Torah are almost rendered meaningless and unachievable. The Torah concentrates not only on great ideas but on small details as well. From these small details spring forth the realization of the great ideals and the ability to make them of practical value and use in everyday life. Hence the intimate connection between this week’s parsha and the revelation at Mount Sinai discussed in last week’s parsha. There is a natural and necessary continuity in the narrative flow of these two parshiyot of the Torah.

I think that this idea is borne out by the famous statement of the Jewish people when asked if they wished to accept the Torah. In this week’s parsha their answer is recorded as "we will do and we will listen." All commentators and the Talmud comment upon the apparently reverse order of this statement. People usually listen for instructions before they "do." But the simple answer is that the people of Israel realized that listening alone will be insufficient. The great and holy generalities of the Torah are valid only if they are clearly defined, detailed and placed into everyday life activities. We have to "do" in order to be able to "listen" and understand the Torah’s guidance and wishes fully. The Talmud records that a non-Jew once told a rabbi that the Jews were a "hasty and impulsive people" in accepting the Torah without first checking out its contents. But in reality that holy hastiness of Israel was a considered and mature understanding that a Torah of ideas and inspiration alone without a practical guide to life would not last over the centuries of Jewish history. Only those who are willing to "do" and who know what to "do" will eventually appreciate intellectually and emotionally the greatness of Torah. Only then will they be able to truly "listen" and appreciate the great gift that the Lord has bestowed upon Israel - the eternal and holy Torah.