Friday, January 19, 2018

The Yishai Fleisher Show: False God Slayers

The Jewish people have always been tasked with being False God Slayers. From Abraham who struck down his father's idols to the Children of Israel who ate the gods of Egypt! Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Rabbi Yishai to delve into the rejection of the Egyptian gods yesterday, and the continued slaying of false gods today. Then, Elie Pieprz, Director of International Relations at the Council of Judea and Samaria on Mahmoud Abbas' recent mental meltdown and true ugly face revelation. Plus: Yishai's Super Bowl Challenge!

Rabbi Ari Kahn: The Steps of Freedom (video)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Change? Go Ask Pharaoh

by Moshe Feiglin

“And G-d said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh because I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants so that I may show these, My signs, in his midst.’” (From this week’s Torah portion, Bo, Exodus 10:1)

Pharaoh’s stubbornness doesn’t make sense. “Do you not see that Egypt is doomed?” his servants desperately cry toward the end of this week’s Torah portion. Why does the Egyptian tyrant continue with his intransigence when reality explodes in his face time after time? Why doesn’t he change his ways when it is so obvious that his obstinacy is destroying Egypt?

Pharaoh’s intransigence is not for personal reasons. All the foundations of Egyptian civilization, a civilization that endured longer than any other civilization in the ancient world – were now being put to the test.

The king of Egypt was worshipped as a god. But Moses was forcing him to obey the real G-d, the G-d of Israel.

A regime that is founded on a particular assumption will not easily give it up.

Buses and restaurants may explode, missiles may crash into homes, guards may be needed at the entrance to every store, train stations may look like military checkpoints, there may be fences and walls surrounding towns and roads, concrete reinforcements on every roof, international arrest warrants for senior IDF officers, furious BDS campaigns throughout the world and intense anti-Semitism. But all of these plagues cannot change the ways of a regime that has predicated its very existence on the assumptions that have given rise to the plagues, in the first place.

10 plagues, 50 plagues, 250 plagues – it depends how you count. But no plague can convince the regime to act in a way that contradicts the foundations of its existence. The surrender of the Oslo assumptions would cause the collapse of the entire house of cards upon which the Israeli regime is founded.

There is only one plague that finally convinces Pharaoh to give up slavery. Not the plagues that cripple the people, but rather, the plague that cripples the regime. Before the exodus from Egypt, not one slave had ever escaped from Egypt. It was the oldest and largest concentration camp in history. And who were the masters? Those who were born to be masters; the first born. The plague of the first born threatened the entire assumption. That is why Pharaoh gave in and agreed to free the Israelites. The fact that the Egyptian children were dying did not faze him. But the plague posed an insurmountable problem for the Egyptian regime.

Nothing has made the Israeli regime open its eyes. “Do you not see that Israel is doomed? That missiles will explode in Ashkelon? That the rifles that you give to the terrorists will be aimed at us? That the entire world scorns us? That we will lose the legitimacy for our existence as an independent state?” None of that has made an impression on the Israeli regime and none of that will. Israel desperately needs leadership that sees reality for what it is. Israel needs faith-based leadership.

Shabbat Shalom.

Self-inflicted Escalating Punishments

by Ben-Tzion Spitz

Every guilty person is his own hangman. -Seneca the Elder
God pours his wrath over the people of Egypt. Plagues of blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, boils, hail, locust and more devastate the mightiest empire on the planet for refusing to let the People of Israel go. Pharaoh stands firm against this onslaught, consistently denying the Hebrew nation its freedom. He insists on keeping them enslaved, not allowing them their requested three-day journey to worship God.

In the end, it is Pharaoh’s stubbornness (which at some point may have been augmented by God) that dooms Egypt. Had he let the Jews go at the first request, he and his country would have been spared from all the pain, death and destruction.

Rabbeinu Bechaye on Exodus 12:33 (Bo) explains that Pharaoh’s thick-headedness, his denial of God and his refusal to send the Jews as requested were reciprocated in the harshest terms in a way that he would irrefutably acknowledge God, by being on the receiving end of the plagues, and he would ultimately be forced to send the Jews out of Egypt.

Rabbeinu Bechaye gives an example of a minister who asked his servant to buy him some fish; the servant went and bought him a putrid piece of fish. The minister, as punishment, gives the servant three options: “eat the fish yourself, get one hundred lashes, or pay one hundred pieces.” The servant says: “I’ll eat the fish,” but halfway through it he says, “I can’t eat anymore, I’d rather get the lashes.” They lash him, but halfway through he says, “I can’t handle it, I’d rather pay the one hundred pieces.” The servant ended up inflicting on himself all three punishments.

So to it was with Pharaoh and the Egyptians. They were lashed with all the plagues, they sent the Jews out, and they also sent them with gold and riches.

May today’s stubborn enemies of Israel receive their comeuppance speedily and in our days.

Palestinian Dictator Abbas: 'May God Demolish Trump's House,' Israel Isn't Jewish, I'll Keep Paying Terrorists

by Ben Shapiro

On Sunday, Palestinian Authority terrorist leader President Mahmoud Abbas, who has funneled millions of dollars toward terrorism, tore into President Trump, threatened the United States, and fictionalized the history of the Holy Land, rewriting it to exclude Jews. This is, according to the Left, Israel’s peace partner. This is, according to the Left, the legal authority which should be given authority over the holiest sites in Jerusalem.

Abbas explained, “We told Trump we will not accept his project, the ‘deal of the century,’ which has become the ‘slap of the century.’ But we will slap back.” Abbas was speaking at the opening of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council in Ramallah. He continued by targeting Trump, who had tweeted out that Abbas and the Palestinians were walking away from the table. “Shame on you,” Abbas said. ‘When did we reject the talks? Where is the negotiation that we rejected? May God demolish your house.” Abbas accused Israel of ending Oslo, and stated, “resistance…is our path to force out the occupation from our land.” That amounts to an open call for terrorism. Abbas doubled down on that call, stating that he would not stop paying families of terrorists. He didn’t stop there. He said that anyone who criticized him could “go to hell.” He threatened Nikki Haley, stating, “She threatens to hit people who hurt Israel with the heel of her shoe, and the response to her speech will be harsher.” And he said that Israel was a colonialist project of the West: “They wanted to bring Jews here from Europe to maintain European interests in the region. They asked Holland, which had the largest navy in the world, to transfer the Jews. Israel is a colonialist project that has nothing to do with the Jews.”

Naturally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Abbas, rightly stating, “The root of the conflict between us and the Palestinians is their continuous refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any borders.” That is obviously true.

But the hard Left, in their casual anti-Semitism, will refuse to recognize that obvious reality. Abbas has always been a Holocaust denier; he denies any Jewish identity to Israel; he leads a terrorist organization. Yet Israel is consistently portrayed as intransigent. The insanity of that perspective was on full display in Abbas’ words. But don’t expect the Leftists who see Israel as a Western occupier to pay any attention. They’re too busy pandering to people who pay terrorists to stab innocent Jews on the streets of Jerusalem.

Ben Shapiro is Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire.

UN report from 1949 shows Arabs didn't want Jerusalem - they just wanted to take it away from Jews

The ruined Tiferet Yisrael synagogue, 1949
(From the elderofziyon blog)

From the United Nations Conciliation Commission for from April, 1949:

15. Since the presentation to the General Assembly of the Commission's first report to the Secretary-General, the Special Committee on Jerusalem has continued to work actively. In particular, it has held interviews with representatives of Arab and Jewish central and local authorities. On the basis of new instructions given to it by the Commission, the Committee is endeavouring to formulate, in conformity with the terms of paragraph 8 of the resolution of 11 December 1948, proposals which will at the same time be acceptable to both parties. The Commission is aware that acceptance by the two parties is not mentioned in the terms of reference which it received from the General Assembly on the subject of the international regime for Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the Commission feels that such acceptance would facilitate considerably the establishment and functioning of such a regime. In this connexion, the Commission is happy to report that, during its conversations in Beirut with the Arab delegations, the latter showed themselves, in general, prepared to accept the principle of an international regime for the Jerusalem area, on condition that the United Nations should be in a position to offer the necessary guarantees regarding the stability and permanence of such a regime. On the other hand, the Governments of the Arab States have reserved their right to give their final opinion after they have been acquainted with the text of the proposals which the Commission is to submit to the General Assembly.

16. The religious representatives mentioned above also emphasized to the Commission, during the Beirut meetings, the importance which they attach to the application of those paragraphs of the resolution which concern Jerusalem and the Holy Places. Some of them expressed a further desire to see the international regime extended to cover Nazareth.

Today's Arabs say insist that Jerusalem is wholly Arab, and it is inconceivable that any non-Arab control the city. But in 1949, when Transjordan did control half of Jerusalem and Israel the other half, the other Arab countries liked the idea of an international regime controlling Jerusalem.

And they even wanted to extend that regime to Nazareth, inside Israel.

What has changed between then and now? It is obvious: Nothing. Both then and now, Arabs didn't care about who would administer Jerusalem as long as the people who controlled it weren't Jews. They wanted to reduce, however they could, the amount of land that Jews controlled - hence the absurd idea of not only including Nazareth in the corpus separatum, but also the corridor that would need to be created to travel there from Jerusalem - cutting Israel nearly in half.

There is no rich Arab history in Jerusalem. It was never an Arab capital. The city was a terrible place to live when under Muslim rule.

The only time Muslims showed interest was when either Christians, during the Crusades, or Jews nowadays, controlled the city. Otherwise, the city was all but ignored, with only occasional pilgrims passing through.

The Palestinian Arab obsession with Jerusalem, plastering photos of the Dome of the Rock on every surface, is a new phenomenon. Jerusalem is not even mentioned in the original PLO charter written in 1964!

Trump's speech did not affect the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem one iota. What it did was strengthen Israel's claim to part of Jerusalem. That idea, that Jews have any rights to any part of Jerusalem, is what is behind Mahmoud Abbas' temper tantrum today - and it can be traced back to how the Arab nations looked at Israeli control of the "New City" of Jerusalem in 1949.

The Palestinian Arabs'' true interest is in taking Jerusalem away from the Jews, just as the Arabs wanted to in 1949.

And both times by cynically using international instruments to accomplish that goal.

The Shamrak Report: Beginning of the End in anti-Israel Game? and more.....

The White House has decided to quietly withdraw from all its ties with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas. The Trump administration has therefore set out an eight-point program of sanctions, which is first revealed here:

1. The Israeli-Palestinian peace plan under preparation in Washington will not be submitted to Ramallah – only to Israel and the relevant Arab governments.
2. US-Palestinian interaction is to be suspended – not just at the senior levels but in day-to-day interchanges. The administration has notified Palestinian and other Arab parties to stop addressing queries on political and economic matters to the US consulate in Jerusalem, because they will not receive answers.
3. The status of the PLO office in Washington will be reevaluated with a view to shutting it down.
4. Palestinian officials will no longer be invited to Washington by the US government, including the State Department and Department of Treasury.
5. Above all, they will not be welcome at the White House or the National Security Council where US Middle East policy is designed. Senior US officials congratulated the senior Palestinian negotiator Saab Erekat, who also holds the PA’s American portfolio, on his recovery from illness, at the same time warning him that he would no longer be received at the White House.
6. The Trump administration will not make any public announcement of the cutoff of financial aid to the Palestinians. Since the funds are mostly earmarked for specific economic projects, each allocation will simply be held back on the pretext of the need for a “reappraisal.”
7. The US will halt its contributions to the UN Work and Relief Agency (UNWRA), an estimated one billion dollars per annum.
8. The US administration moreover intervened with the governments of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar with a request that they freeze or slow their economic aid to the Palestinian Authority. (This is a move in the right direction, but not making any public announcements to clearly define the US position and halting its contributions to UNWRA, instead of cancelling them, is still 'hedging bets" and a sign of weakness!)
Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak 
Annexation of Judea & Samaria must be done together with the deportation of enemy population! Poland and Czechoslovakia deported ethnic Germans after WW2 and have had no problems since. During the separation of Indian peninsula 12 million were transferred between India and Pakistan! Only Jews are not allowed to use "population transfer" as a tool for establishing peace - Why? Please, read my article "The Sinai Option" again!
(NOTE: Before you take ‘high moral ground’, please read it! Stop and think – has anything else worked so far? Israel gave up Sinai, after winning defensive wars; tried to educate and bring economic prosperity to the enemy population; forcefully removed 8,500 Jews, in violation of international laws, from Gaza! Did it work? Do you have any other CONSTRUCTIVE suggestions that would work and stop loss of Jewish lives, as well as reunite Eretz-Israel?)
Shamrak Report is independent weekly editorial letter.
(published since November 2001)
The aim is to promote Jewish-Zionist point of view on Arab-Israel conflict. Zionism - Jewish National independence movement!
Via PayPal  $10,  $18,  $36,  $72,  $100,  $180,  $260
party or organization. Presented by
Nobody Cares – It was not done by Israel!
A fisherman from the Gaza Strip was shot dead by the Egyptian army overnight for unclear reasons. Medical sources in Gaza said that Abdullah Zeidan, 33, was shot in the chest by Egyptian forces near the naval border with Egypt in the south of the coastal enclave.
The Israel air strike Saturday night, Jan. 13, in the southern Gaza Strip was aimed at a terror tunnel running 180m into Israel that Hamas was building under the Kerem Shalom crossing through which convoys of goods pass from Israel to the Gaza Strip. It also ran into Egyptian territory under the Rafah border between Gaza and Sinai. (Financed by anti-Semitic international bigots!)
Chinese regulators have rebuked the fashion brand Zara, Delta Air Lines and medical device maker Medtronic for calling Taiwan a country on their websites. Earlier, the hotel chain Marriott was ordered to shut down its mainland China website... Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory! (Israel has more validity to rebuke and punish companies and states for calling the fake entity of bogus people, who are occupying the Jewish land, a state! For this Israeli leadership needs to find ‘balls’!)
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat is sounding the alarm once more that Israel runs the risk of no longer being “recognized” by the PLO, in accordance with the oft-violated but internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, if US President Donald Trump does not rescind his decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. (Hasn't he received a memo that Oslo Accords died a long time ago? If the PLO has recognised Israel, why are there all the terror attacks?)
Israeli intelligence has helped stop terrorists from using civilian airplanes in Europe to carry out major attacks “of the worst kind”, said Benjamin Netanyahu. “We have, through our intelligence services, provided information that has stopped several dozen major terrorist attacks, many of them in European countries. Some of these could have been mass attacks, of the worst kind that you have experienced on the soil of Europe and even worse, because they involve civil aviation.”
Israel Police release a Jerusalem Arab, who threw rocks at Jews, after just five days of house arrest. The police decided that the incident had been criminally, not nationalistically, motivated, since the suspect said the Jews cursed him before he threw rocks at them. (Arabs are throwing rocks in response to words. What is next – bullets and rockets? Oh, they have already been doing it!)
Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt reportedly voices objection over having never been invited to official events, despite security cooperation between nations. David Govrin said “Israel’s embassy in Cairo wishes to express its chagrin over the fact that it has never been invited” to briefings held by the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry. That included a briefing on Islamic State in Sinai! (For a fake peace, Egypt receives billions from the US and help from Israel with the Islamic State in Sinai - not a bad deal!)
Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a 35-year-old father of six, has died of his wounds following a drive-by shooting attack near Havat Gilad in Samaria. Rabbi Shevach was a mohel and volunteered with Magen David Adom. Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan responded to the tragic incident, saying, "It's inconceivable that terrorists feel free to shoot at innocent civilians. Nevertheless, I want to send a clear message to our enemies: We will not give in to terror. We have chosen the path of life." (Remove all enemies from the Jewish land!)
The PA sharply attacked the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, following his tweet in response to the deadly shooting attack in Samaria in which Rabbi Raziel Shevach was murdered. Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the murder as a “heroic action..." (PA terrorists did not complain when most of the previous US ambassadors were silent about Jewish victims of Arab terror!)
Transfer of US relief funds for Palestinian refugees in the sum of $125 million is reportedly frozen, though State Department official asserts no final decision had been made on the payment.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz ordered the Israel Electric Corporation to restore electricity to the Gaza Strip. Despite the current decision to restore power, pro-Palestinian Authority groups said the move fell short of Israel’s responsibilities towards the enclave and would not relieve Israel of its “moral and legal responsibility”, (Israel has no moral or legal responsibility to sustain the existence of the enemies who fire rockets at it! Contrary, Israel has responsibility to remove the threat to its citizens and clear Jewish land from enemy occupation!)
Intel unveiled its new “made in Israel” 802.11ax WiFi chip. The new chip is expected to provide a speed 40 percent faster than the current peak in transmitting data to a single customer’s device. 
It Must be the Fault of Israel
One of the Hamas 'founding fathers', Al-Alami, responsible for alliance with Iran is wounded in critical condition after his personal firearm accidentally discharged.
After investing millions to create infrastructure and lay the groundwork for new, modern, legal housing for the Jahalin Bedouin clan, the State has notified the High Court of Justice that it will not evacuate them from illegal settlement clusters within the Maaleh Adumim municipal boundaries. (Israel is only tough fighting Jews who want to live on the Jewish land! Arabs and others, who illegally occupy our land are often given ‘a free pass’.)
The Shin Bet, in conjunction with the IDF, in December 2017 arrested two Israeli citizens, Rahma Al-Assad and Tasnin Al-Assad, both 19, residents of Lakiya, a Bedouin town in the Negev. The two women had sought to carry out a terrorist attack against Jews inside the State of Israel and were in contact with Islamic State terrorists abroad. (It is time to realise that all enemies of Israel and anti-Semites ‘like’ Jews only when they need something from us; usually it is money or other favours!)
QUOTE of the WEEK:
"In December 2016, the US elected to abstain. Now it is a new administration. Given the chance to vote again we would exercise a veto power. The US will not make that mistake again... The United States has a sovereign right to determine where and whether we establish an embassy." - US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley criticized the Obama Administration for allowing the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which declared that Israel has no rights to any part of eastern Jerusalem, including the Western Wall.
(It is part of Islam and Quranic tradition – they can’t reject it!)
1) Kill anyone who insults Islam or Moham-mad. (Koran.33;57-61).
2) Kill all Muslims who leave Islam. (Koran.2;217/4;89/Bukhari.9;84-57).
3) Koran can not be doubted. (Koran.2;1).
4) Islam is the only acceptable religion. (Koran.3;85).
5) Muslims must fight (jihad) against non-Muslims, even if they don't want to. (Koran.2;216). 
6) We the non-Muslims are pigs and apes. (Koran. 2;62-65/Koran.5;59-60/Koran.7;166).
7) We the non-Muslims cannot be friends with Muslims. (Koran.5;51).
8) We the non-Muslims sworn enemies of Muslims and Islam. (Koran.4;101).
9) We the non-Muslims can be raped as sex slaves. (Koran.4;3 & 24/5;89/23;5/33;50/58;3/70;30).
10) We the non-Muslims are the vilest of creatures deserving no mercy. (Koran.98;6).
11) Muslim must terroriz us (non-Muslims). (Koran.8;12 &59-60/ Bukhari.4;52;220).
12) Muslims must strike terror into non-Muslims’ hearts. (Koran.8;60).
13) Muslims must lie to us (non-Muslims) to strengthen and spread Islam. (Koran.3;28?16;106).
14) Muslims are allowed to behead us (non-Muslims) (Koran.47;4).
15) Muslims are guaranteed to go to heaven if they kill us (non-Muslims). (Koran.9;111).
16) Marrying and divorcing pre-pubescent children is OK. (Koran.65;4).
17) Wife beating is OK. (Koran.4;34).
18) Raping wives is OK. (Koran.2;223).
19) Proving rape requires 4 (four) male Muslim witnesses. (Koran.24;13).
20) Muslims are allowed to crucify and amputate us (non-Muslims). Koran.8;12/47;4).

Abbas tears off the Mask

by Melanie Phillips

For years, America, Britain and the EU have insisted that Mahmoud Abbas is a moderate and a statesman-in-waiting who deserves to be rewarded with a state of Palestine. For years, they have insisted that he is prepared to live alongside the state of Israel. For years, they have blamed Israel for intransigence in not believing this and thus not agreeing to give him land that they thought he would use to threaten the lives of its citizens.

For years some of us have argued that Abbas should be considered instead a political and diplomatic pariah. We have said he is a deep-dyed antisemite, having written his “doctoral” thesis on denying the Holocaust. We have drawn attention to his regime teaching its children about seizing the whole of Israel, and that their greatest goal should be to murder Jews.

We have circulated the hideous antisemitic caricatures published in his regime’s media outlets. We have pointed out that he and his henchmen have repeatedly said not one Jew would remain in such a state of Palestine. We have referred to his repeated attempts to write the Jews out of their own history by denying their historic connection to the land of Israel, a central feature of the Jewish religion.

To all this, successive American, British and European governments remained indifferent and continued to treat this antisemitic fanatic as a rational interlocutor.

Than along came President Donald J Trump, who recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Although he left open the possibility of a separate Palestinian state with a presence in Jerusalem, he explicitly acknowledged the unique historic connection between the Jewish people, he city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel. He also said the US would cut the funds it provides for UNWRA’s perpetuation of the fictional Palestinian refugees, whose unique and false designation is crucial to perpetuating the Arab war against Israel. In other words, he exploded the Palestinian Arab lie which underpins the whole conflict: that the Palestinians are the true inheritors of the land and the Jews have no rights there at all.

Now Abbas has come out in his true colours in an utterly vile and deranged speech yesterday to the PLO central council.

He ranted and raved that Israel was a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”. In fact, the land of Israel is absolutely central to Judaism, and the Jews are the only people for whom Israel was ever their national homeland. Far from the two-state solution which the west chooses to believe Abbas supports, he was saying the Jews are not entitled to be in Israel at all.

That’s why one of his Fatah party’s central committee members said at the start of this month: “All matters are on the [PLO] Central Council’s agenda… Indeed, we in Fatah have not recognised Israel, never. This should be clear. We have never recognised [Israel]. The PLO recognised it. We are part of the PLO, true. And we, as Fatah, have not recognised Israel.”

Even more tellingly, Holocaust denial was back on Abbas’s agenda as he claimed obscenely that the Jews of Europe, of whom six million were murdered by the Nazis, chose to remain in their home countries during the Holocaust rather than emigrate.

“The Jews did not want to emigrate even with murder and slaughter. Even during the Holocaust, they did not emigrate. By 1948, Jews in Palestine were no more than 640,000, most of them from Europe,” he said.

Of course, the fact is that most Jews were trapped in Europe where they were slaughtered. Thousands could have been saved had they been allowed to come to Palestine, but the British prevented them from doing so in flagrant contradiction of their legal obligation under the Mandate to settle the Jews in the land.

Having thus tried to nullify the genocide of the Jews , blaming them in effect for their own annihilation, Abbas then lied further about the ethnic cleansing of some 850,000 Jews from Arab lands who were driven out after the State of Israel came into being in 1948. Abbas twisted this to pin responsibility entirely falsely on Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion:

“Ben-Gurion did not want Middle Eastern Jews to come [to Israel]…but when he saw the vast land, he was forced to bring Middle Eastern Jews… that didn’t want to come. From Yemen they flew 50,000 Jews…They didn’t suffice with 50,000 Jews. Then they went to Iraq, which had large reserves of Jews”.

He further mendaciously claimed the Israelis cut deals with Iraqi politicians “to take away the citizenship of Jews and force them to emigrate.” “They did not suffice with this and gathered all the Jews in Arab countries, from Morocco to Algeria and Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon,” Abbas said.

This outrageous speech was almost certainly prompted by the fact that Abbas and co realise that with Trump the game is now up. The US will no longer promote the interests of these Palestinian Arabs who have been given a free pass for their murderous lies all these years.

But Britain and the EU did not go along with Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They continue to misrepresent international law and blame Israel falsely for preventing a peaceful solution to the Middle East impasse while persistently excusing, justifying and thus conniving at Palestinian Arab rejectionism.

In short, Britain and the EU continue to support, validate and this connive at an agenda aimed at the extermination of Israel promoted by hallucinatory lies and libels about the Jewish people along with gross Holocaust denial.

Abbas’s speech should be sent to every member of the British parliament, and the Prime Minister, Theresa May, should be asked how Britain can continue to give any money at all to such open antisemites and Holocaust deniers. She should be asked how the British government can continue to support giving such people a state of their own. She should be asked why the British government has ignored this horrifying reality, and the constant mortal danger it poses for the Israelis, for so long.

But then, many British people will be unaware of the appalling nature of Abbas’s speech since the BBC chose to bowdlerise it, as BBC Watch observes here.

Abbas clearly felt he had nothing to lose by making this speech. America has made clear it will no longer give the time of day to such an unconscionable agenda. Only Britain and the EU continue to keep it alive, to their undying shame.

Rav Kook on Parashat Bo: Training for Greatness

Before the Jewish people left Egypt, God had a request:

“Please speak to the people, and let each man request from his neighbor gold and silver articles. Let every woman make the same request of her neighbors.” (Exod. 11:2)

The language in the verse is surprisingly gentle. God usually commands the Israelites. Why the solicitous request, “Please speak"?

The Sages noted the unusual wording. According to Rabbi Yanai, God was asking the Jewish people for a favor: Please request gold and silver from your Egyptian neighbors, so that Abraham will not be able to claim that I failed to keep My promise to him that his children will leave Egypt with great wealth (Berachot 9a-b).

But if God wanted the Israelites to leave Egypt with riches, surely He could have arranged it without any effort on their part. Why did God want them to borrow from the Egyptians in order to fulfill His promise to Abraham?

In addition, requesting handouts from their Egyptians neighbors was uncomfortable and even embarrassing. Why put the Jewish people through this ordeal?

Bontsha the Silent

I. L. Peretz tells the story of Bontsha the Silent, a simple Jew who accepted all of life’s humiliations - and he suffered far more than his fair share - with quiet resignation. His life and death went unnoticed in this world. But in Paradise, the arrival of Bontsha the Silent was a major event. Trumpets blew, important angels rushed to greet him, and he was crowned with a golden crown.

Bontsha reacted to all this commotion exactly as he would in this world: with silence. His silence was due to his great trepidation. He was certain that a terrible mistake had been made. However, when Bontsha’s trial began, and the defending angel related the long tale of misfortune and mistreatment that had been Bontsha’s daily lot, he slowly began to take heart. It is me they are taking about!

“Despite everything,” the defending angel concluded, “Bontsha never complained. He never protested, not against his fellow man, and not against God.”

In an unusual move, the prosecuting angel conceded the case. “Just as Bontsha has always been silent, so, too, I will be silent.”

The heavenly Judge turned to Bontsha. “Your reward is not just one little portion of Paradise, but everything! Whatever you want!”

All turned to Bontsha, eager to hear what great reward he would request.

Hesitantly, Bontsha finally spoke. “What I would like, Your Honor,” he stammered, “is to be served every morning a warm roll with fresh butter.”

A shocked silence descended on the courtroom. The angels bent their heads in shame, and the prosecutor laughed a bitter laugh.

Emancipation of the Spirit

Slavery is not just a legal status; it is also a state of mind. It is not enough to emancipate the slaves. They must be trained for independence, for courage and greatness. A lifetime of oppression can create a poverty of spirit, where the greatest good imaginable is a warm roll with fresh butter. The Torah relates that the enslaved Israelites were incapable of accepting Moses’ message of hope due to “smallness of spirit” (Exod. 6:9). Even in the desert, the former slaves would remember Egypt nostalgically, fondly recalling “sitting by the pot of meat” as they ate fish, onions, and melons (Exod. 16:3; Num. 11:5).

Asking the Hebrew slaves to borrow gold, silver, and fine clothes from their neighbors was an educational exercise. God wanted to raise their ambitions above fish and onions, to help them acquire a love for beauty and aesthetic living. Of course, gold is not the true goal. Therefore, the Israelites were only entreated, not commanded to borrow these items. Only for spiritual goals and mitzvot does God command us.

It was not easy for the Hebrew slaves to borrow from their former masters. The Midrash tells us they would have happily foregone the Egyptian gold and leave Egypt right away. But they would require courage and greatness of spirit for the difficult journey ahead. Maimonides noted in the Guide for the Perplexed that those forty years of hardship in the wilderness instilled in the former slaves the traits of independence and courage that a free people must possess.

God desires humility - but the true humility of Abraham and Moses, great men willing to argue against Him - not the passive meekness of a Bontsha.

The 80%

Parashat Bo 5778
by HaRav Nachman Kahana

One Nation

Shemot 10,9:
ויאמר משה בנערינו ובזקנינו נלך בבנינו ובבנותנו בצאננו ובבקרנו נלך כי חג ה’ לנו
Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to HaShem.”

Jews have traditionally identified or defined themselves in accordance with the historical, political and religious realities of the time.

The twelve sons of one father, Yaakov, should have coalesced into one unified nation of Am Yisrael; however, because they were born to four different mothers, Rachel, Leah, Bilha and Zilpa, the twelve maintained tribal identities that continued for generations.

Tribal identity and loyalty was our cultural norm in Egypt, and was emphasized during the 40 years of our desert wandering when HaShem commanded that the Mishkan be placed in the center of the Israelite encampment with three tribes residing on each of its four sides: Yehuda, Yisachar and Zevulun to the east; Menashe, Ephraim and Binyamin to the west; Reuven Shimon, and Gad to the south; and Dan, Naftali and Asher to the north.

Tribal allegiance continued well into the Shoftim period, when Yehoshua and Elazer, the Kohen Gadol, apportioned the geographical regions of the land according to tribal heritage.

The feeling of nationhood above and beyond tribal allegiance began with the first king of Israel, Shaul ben Kish, and was enforced by his successors King David and King Shlomo.

During Shlomo’s son Rechavam’s reign, the kingdom divided into two, with the north called Yisrael and the south Yehuda. At that time a Jew’s loyalty was defined by one’s residence in either Yisrael or Yehuda, while tribal allegiance faded into the background. The northern tribes were sent into exile by the Assyrians, not to be seen until this day.

When we went into exile at the destruction of the first Temple, we became identified as Jews of Bavel as distinguished from Jews of Eretz Yisrael, with both communities zealously maintaining their distinctive ways of life.

Model of Jerusalem Late Second Temple Period by M.t. Lifshits

During the second Temple period tribal allegiance was already a thing of the past and we were Judeans or perhaps Hebrews.

When we were driven into galut, our nation’s cleavage was based on where we lived. Jews in Moslem-controlled countries were called Sefardim or eastern communities, as apart from the Jews in Christian Europe who were loosely called Ashkenazim. But in fact, the real breakdown was not geographic, but rather the halachic authority in the respective communities. Jews who followed the decisions of Maran Harav Yosef Karo, author of the Shulchan Aruch, are Sephardim; and those who accepted the rulings of Harav Moshe Isserless are Ashkenazim.

This breakdown exists to this day, but not in a major role. Today the major cleavage between Jews, is the Jews of Eretz Yisrael as apart from those who reside in the galut. And as time goes on, our differences will become more pronounced.

We in Eretz Yisrael, even the most secular, speak the language of the Torah – Ivrit. The day to day language of choice of the Jews in chutz la’aretz – even by the most renowned rabbis and roshei yeshiva is the native language of the country in which they reside, the language of the goyim, with all its gentile associations that language brings with it. The holidays of the Torah are our national holidays for all. Those in the galut enjoy the serenity of Sunday, eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and are enthused by the “holiday spirit” of Christmas with its ubiquitous symbols of tree and holly.

We walk on the land of princes and prophets; they tread on the tuma of “eretz ha’amim” – gentile lands.

As time goes on, the adherents to the non-orthodox movements in the galut will vanish into oblivion. The Chareidi elements will not identify with any Jew who is not like them and at some point, will decide that they are the only authentic Jews in the world. They will metamorphosize into some strange minority that doesn’t fit anywhere. The modern orthodox will either come on aliya, merge with the Chareidi groups or inter-marry.

At that point when there will no longer be galut Jews, and as the process of intermarriage between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi here will be dominant, we will once again become the one nation of Am Yisrael as we were when receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.

The Gemara (Brachot 6a) states:
אמר להם הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל: אתם עשיתוני חטיבה אחת בעולם, ואני אעשה אתכם חטיבה אחת בעולם; אתם עשיתוני חטיבה אחת בעולם, שנאמר: שמע ישראל ה’ אלהינו ה’ אחד. ואני אעשה אתכם חטיבה אחת בעולם, שנאמר: ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד בארץ. אמר ל
The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: “You have made me a singular entity in the world, and I shall make you a singular entity in the world. –You have made me a singular entity in the world– as it is said: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. –And I shall make you a singular entity in the world-, as it is said (divrei Ha’yamim- Chronicles 17,21): And who is like Thy people Israel, a nation one in the earth”.

One nation under one God, with one land, one language, one Torah, one king, one Bet Hamikdash, one Sanhedrin, and one single purpose – to sanctify HaShem’s name in this world.

The 80%

The Torah states that the number of Jewish men between the ages of 20 and 60 who left Egypt totaled 600,000, in addition to countless women and children. The Yalkut Shimoni (Midrash interpretations and explanations on Torah) quotes one opinion that this number represents only 1 out of every 5 Jewish men, that is 3,000,000, meaning that 20% left and 80% remained.

What happened to those who did not want to leave?

The Yalkut says that they died and were buried during the plague of darkness. Imagine, in addition to having to prepare for the exodus and the korban Pesach and the mitzva of brit mila in the last week of our being in Egypt, our ancestors were busy burying their dead relatives!

Now who were those who didn’t want to leave, and why not?

I picture the following scenario:

Moshe tells the leaders that shortly the nation will be free. This arouses a thundering cry of joy and praise for Hashem and His dedicated messengers, Moshe and Aharon, who are then hoisted upon the shoulders of dancing people, as we do at weddings.

“We will now be able to practice the traditions of our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, as free men. The Egyptians are now our subjects. We rule the land. We will turn the great temple of Luxor into the kollel of Lakewood, the temples of Pitom and Ramses into the Young Israels of Teaneck and Boca. We will produce great talmidei chachamim (scholars). Great houses of learning.”

Moshe descends from the shoulders of the people, and after calling for quiet, he tells them that Hashem’s plan is a bit different. “Hashem is sending us into the desert,” Moshe says. The people then ask, “Why the desert? There’s no food there, as well as no water to wash before bread or to fill a mikveh! Moshe you’re not reading Hashem properly; He will certainly derive greater nachat from us if we stay here and build Torah in Goshen and Alexandria!”

Moshe denies that he is mistaken, and is adamant that Hashem wants the Jews to leave Egypt and go into the wilderness.

“Okay, we will go into the desert, and after that what?”

“We will enter Eretz Yisrael,” replies Moshe. “Eretz Yisrael!”, the people scream, “the place is filled with Canaanites, Perizzites, Amorites, etc. That means war”, reply the leaders.

“Hashem will make us victorious”, says Moshe.

“Go out into the desert. Make war on seven mighty nations. And all this by people broken in body and spirit by the servitude. Moshe if you want to do this insane thing, be our guest. We are staying here with the rational and responsible Jewish leadership”. And the people began questioning Moshe’s qualifications of leadership. Moshe is a leader for blood, frogs, and lice etc., but he doesn’t have an inkling as to nation building, for this we have to look elsewhere. Perhaps we should turn to the great and learned Korach or maybe to Datan or Aviram!”

Moshe pleads with the people, trying to convince them that Hashem does not have a sense of humor. He is very earnest, and as patient as He is, He punishes those who would interfere with the master plan of the world.

But the vast majority are adamant on creating a Jewish nation in Egypt which already has the infrastructure for a calm and serene life so necessary for Torah growth.

We and our children, and our children’s children are, dear reader, the descendants of the irrational and fanatical extremists who put faith in HaShem before logic. Comparable to the Jews who came to Eretz Yisrael in modern times, some of whom established yeshivot while others drained out malarial swamps, but all of whom left the comforts of “home” in order to be irrational and begin returning to the land of our fathers.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5778/2018 Nachman Kahana

Honoring Royalty

by Rabbi Mordechai Willig

"All of your (Pharaoh's) slaves will come down to me and bow to me" (Shemos 11:8). Moshe gave honor to royalty (as Hashem instructed, see Rashi 6:13); even though in the end Pharaoh himself came down to him (12:31), Moshe did not say to him 'You will come down to me and you will bow to me' (Rashi. See Rashi 5:3). The Gemara (Menachos 98a) derives from here that one should always have awe for royalty. Rashi adds that one should not rebel against royalty, and should thank the government for its services.

Another source for "aimas hamalchus - fear/awe of the government" cited in the Gemara is, "the hand of Hashem was with Eliyahu and he...ran before Achav until near Yizre'el" (Melachim I, 18:46.) In order to give honor to royalty, Hashem gave Eliyahu a supernatural strength to run before Achav's chariot so that Achav should not be alone (Rashi).

Chazal chose two of the worst kings to emphasize that we must honor even the vilest rulers. Pharaoh killed our sons and oppressed our people (Shemos 1:13, 22), and is called Pharaoh harasha (the wicked) (Shemos Raba 8:3) for his hubris and depravity. Achav is called the worst of all the bad kings (Melachim I 16:30, 21:25), was a murderer (21:19, see Metzudos) and has no portion in the world to come (Sanhedrin 102b).

Given Hashem's omnipotence and promised intervention, His command and enabling of honor to royalty obviously cannot be attributed to utilitarian motives (shtadlanus), rather it is clearly a more fundamental requirement. Monarchs and leaders serve as Hashem's agents in history, as we are taught, "The heart of a king is in the hand of Hashem" (Mishlei 21:1.) Perhaps this role played by governmental leaders demands a modicum of respect, even in the case of a totally evil monarch.

Alternatively, even the most wicked kingdom may have some redeeming quality. "Do not despise an Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land" (Devarim 23:8.) Even though they killed your sons, don't despise them forever, since you were saved there from hunger. They honored your patriarch and appointed a ruler from his progeny (Ramban). Similarly, although Achav was the prototype of an evil Jewish king, Achav supported Torah scholars from his royal treasury and was granted partial atonement (Sanhedrin 102b). Furthermore, in Achav's time, the Jews were victorious at war even though they were idolaters because they were not informers (Yerushalmi Peah 1:1). And, in fact, Achav ultimately repented (Melachim I 21:29).

Pharaoh and Achav are paradigms for wicked non-Jewish and Jewish kings respectively, and yet Hashem unambiguously required that we respect them. All the more so in America, the kingdom of kindness, we must recognize all the good received from the government, and bless the State and all of its leaders (Igros Moshe Choshen Mishpat vol. 2, 29). Recent attacks on President Trump are inconsistent with Hashem's command to give honor to non-Jewish royalty. His policies and personal failings do not even begin to approach those of Pharaoh harasha, who Hashem commanded Moshe to honor.

Today's Israeli government supports Torah scholars from its treasury, and the Israeli Defense Forces protect all of Israel's inhabitants from enemies that want to destroy us. Whatever faults exist among Israel's leaders are far less serious than those of the idolatrous murderer Achav. Recent attacks on the government's leaders and soldiers are inconsistent with Hashem's command to honor a Jewish government.

As we read of the honor accorded to wicked kings by Moshe and Eliyahu, we must apply the Torah's timeless lessons to our own generation. If we do so, and especially if we eliminate the terrible sinas chinam resulting from attacks inconsistent with Hashem's command to honor the government, we will hopefully be able to honor the righteous king, Mashiach ben David, speedily in our days.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Liberation Built on Self-Sacrifice

by HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l

The pasuk in Yechezkel (16:6), which we read in the Haggada, repeats the phrase, "In your blood you shall live." The midrash (P’sikta 17) says it refers to the blood of mila and the blood of Korban Pesach. We are forbidden to give the Korban Pesach to a non-Jew or to one who does not have a brit mila (Shemot 12:43,48). Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer says: "In the merit of the blood of brit mila and Korban Pesach, they were liberated from Egypt, and in the merit of the blood of brit mila and Korban Pesach, they will be liberated at the end of ‘the fourth kingdom.’"

The Korban Pesach represents the liberation. We are to eat roasted lamb with the whole family celebrating as a unit at an elaborate meal, on the one hand, and eat matza and maror to remember the past, as well. Only if, at the time of success, we remember the times of affliction, can we be sure that the light of success will not blind us. This is best accomplished when there is first a brit mila.

There are many who are ready to sacrifice for independence as long as that independence seems fit for posh festivities. At that point, one does not want to have to remember the past with its difficulties. One wants to see in the independent nation a new nation, in our case, not the same "Yiddelach" from the exile. A certain self-pride is born, as we see, with a hollow boastfulness, which can eventually turn into empty disregard for others. To combat that, we need the blood of mila. The independence of Israel is a chain of self-sacrifice, whose purpose is not to let us rest on our laurels. Indeed, one who is not circumcised cannot take part in the full Pesach celebration. Without a life of purity, independence can be dangerous.

This is what Chazal (Shemot Rabba 3:4) meant in saying that Bnei Yisrael went down to Egypt with the word "anochi," were taken out with the word "anochi," and will be redeemed at the end of time with "anochi" ("Alas, I (anochi) am sending you Eliya the Prophet"). Some think that one can be liberated without calling out in the name of Hashem (anochi), as the other nations can. Without anochi the hearts of the fathers are not lined up with the hearts of the sons (see Malachi 3:24). This is not only in regard to Torah observance but when things are done wrong, the younger generation will be disillusioned with that which their fathers cherished and fought for. We already see the emergence of youth who feel over-entitlement. That is because one who does not keep on a straight line, will grow increasingly crooked.

For the liberation at the end of the fourth liberation there is a need for preparation done by Eliyahu before the "day of Hashem" and "the offering of Yehuda and Yerushalyim like the days of the past." The navi (ibid. 4) referred to it in a double language that hints about the time of Moshe and the time of Shlomo (Vayikra Rabba 7:4). Both before the time of the particular national emergence (time of Moshe) and before the time that will usher in an era where all of mankind will learn from the Torah emanating from Zion (time of Shlomo) there is a need for Eliyahu to set the stage.

The Torah's Vision of Our National Role

by HaRav Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Beit El

Dedicated to the memory of R. Avraham ben-tziyon ben shabtai

At the opening of this week's Torah portion, God says to Moshe: "Come to Pharaoh, because I have hardened his heart so that I can multiply My miracles in his midst." Question: Why does God not simply say, "Go to Pharaoh?" or "Speak to Pharaoh"? To gain an insight into the answer to this question, we must first understand the predicament of the nation and its leader Moshe at this juncture.

Until now, the start of Parshat Bo, Pharaoh and his nation had already experienced seven major plagues, but had refused to give in and free the Jews. In this situation, many Jews had likely resigned themselves to the status quo, feeling that there was no point in really trying to convince Pharaoh to permit them to leave; it's possible that these doubts even trickled down to Moshe Rabeinu. In response, Hashem had to deliver words of encouragement, a statement that would clarify for them that all of the hardships blocking their immediate redemption were part of a Divine plan, that there was nothing to fear from Pharaoh. "Come before him - showing self-confidence, not as if you've been sent, forced to speak with him, but like someone who has come to fulfill his mission..."

At first glance, it seems that the plagues that befell the Egyptians constituted a punishment for their refusal to release the Children of Israel from bondage. Our sages tell us, however, that there was another reason for the Egyptian suffering: "The Egyptians were evil," say the rabbis, "as it says, 'I (Pharaoh) and my nation are wicked people.' What caused them to suffer each successive plague? They were firmly convinced of the power of their idolatrous gods to save them. So what did God do? He smote their gods along with them."

On the surface of things - from a purely human perspective - it is possible to offer various "political" explanations for the numerous wars that have erupted between Israel and the other nations throughout history. Just as one may understand the conflict with Egypt as a purely economic conflict (i.e. that Egypt did not want to lose all of its free, efficient manpower, its Israelite slaves.) there are those who would argue that our conflicts with other nations stem from economics, security, territory, and the like.

And yet our sages teach that such is not the case. The deeper roots of the war between Israel and the nations is not political or economic, but spiritual. The Jewish servitude in Egypt was merely a manifestation of the spiritual opposition that Egypt posed to everything that the nation of Israel represents. Therefore, it was not Egypt's desire to hold onto Israel that invited the plagues, but the Egyptians' certainty, their faith in their idolatry, that sparked their suffering.

In our day, too, the nations that rise up against Israel are, in practice, not trying to harm Israel per se, but, rather, so to speak- to harm the God of Israel. The Jewish national renaissance of the last 100 years contradicts the conviction that the Jews should have faded into insignificance, the dustbins of history. According to this view, God has "traded the Jews in" for another nation; He has rejected Israel and chosen others. Thus, our true struggle with other nations is a spiritual one. In response to their efforts to stand in the way of our fulfillment of our duty, we must be sure to raise our voices even more and call in the name of Hashem; we must, through our deeds, continue to prove our complete dedication to Him, and our devotion to the task of sanctifying God's name in the world. By following this plan, we will surely succeed in squelching our enemies: "They rely on their chariots and horses, and we shall call in the name of our God..."

The mishna in Tractate Berachot states:
"We recite [in the blessings for the Shma prayer] the passage dealing with the redemption from Egypt [even] at night. Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria said: I am nearly 70 years old, and I never understood why the passage of the redemption of Egypt is recited at night; that is, until Ben Zomah arrived and explained the verse, " that you should remember the exodus from Egypt all of the days of your life." If it were only to have said, "the days of your life," I would have learned that the exodus need be recited in the daytime hours only. But the Torah says "All the days of your life." From this, I understand that the relevant passage should be recited during the entire 24 hour period of each day. The sages [disagreed] and said: "[If it had said,] 'the days of your life,' [I would have recited the exodus during] the present period in history. [Now that it says] 'all the days', [I understand that] the exodus will even be recited in Messianic times".

Rabbi Yechezkel Segal Landau points out that the above-quoted verse does not explicitly command us to recite verses dealing with the exodus; rather, it refers to the mitzvah as if it is was well-known, and then defines when it should be performed!

If so, Rabbi Landau asks, is the source in the Torah for the specific obligation to mention the exodus? In his answer, Rabbi Landau explains that there is no need for a special mitzvah (commandment) to teach us that God wants us to mention the exodus, since the main theme of numerous mitzvot is to remind us of the redemption from Egypt. Once we were commanded to adhere to these mitzvot, it is obvious that God wishes us to recount the exodus! This is also the possible reason for the fact that Maimonedes - Rambam - does not enumerate the mitzvah of mentioning the exodus as a separate commandment in his "Sefer Hamitzvot." ("Book of the Commandments")

Recalling the exodus from Egypt is more than just a private commandment; it is in fact related to the entire Torah, and all of the Torah's mitzvot. The exodus from Egypt was the first and most overwhelming manifestation of the chosenness of the Jewish people, of the fact that we are a nation treasured by the Creator of the World. This act of "choosing" us was unilateral, a Divinely-ordained reality that transcends the parameters of a particular mitzvah act. We are bidden to live this truth every waking moment. Thus, the fact that there is no separate mitzvah to recount the exodus, not only does not testify to the fact that there is no value to recounting the exodus, but is rather a testimony to the fact that the obligation to do so transcends the parameters of regular mitzvot.

An additional reason can be offered to why this mitzvah is missing from the Torah is that we are ecstatic to be the nation which God chose from among the other nations, and He imposed upon us to be the carriers of Hashem's ideas in this world. We announce: "Happy our we, how good is our portion, and how pleasant is our lot." We are not in need of a specific commandment that imposes upon us to remember the exodus. It is a pleasant obligation for us that obviates the need for a commandment.

According to Rabbi Yosef Babad, the author of the renowned "Minchat Chinuch," there is an important difference between the obligation to recall the exodus from Egypt during the daytime, and the obligation to recall it at night. In his view, since the mitzvah to recite it at night stems from a rabbinic "drasha" (derivation) and is not learned from the plain meaning of the Torah text., the obligation to recite it at night is not as serious as reciting it during the daytime. This point has great implications for a person who takes an oath not to recite the verse of the exodus from Egypt. Regarding all of the mitzvot of the Torah - there is a rule that a person cannot take an oath to refrain from performing a mitzvah, since he has already "been sworn in" at Mt. Sinai to fulfill all of the mitzvot, "and one oath cannot overwrite another." However, this is only true with respect to mitzvot explicitly mentioned in the Torah, but this is not true regarding mitzvot derived indirectly from the Torah - regarding which we were not specifically sworn in on Mt. Sinai. Therefore, when a person takes an oath that he will not recite the exodus verses during the daytime, his oath is invalid. In contrast, someone who takes an oath not to recite the exodus from Egypt at night, his oath is valid, and he must fulfil it.

At first blush, it seems as if that is the night-time recitation of the verses relating to the exodus should be considered the main mitzvah, since the night is when the miracles of the redemption took place. The author of the Passover Haggadah says: "And you should tell your son, is because of this [that God redeemed me from Egypt - at a time when matzah and bitter herbs are placed before you.] i.e. night." The Mitzvah of telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt -with all of the graphic symbols of the servitude and redemption - must be at a time when the exodus actually took place - at midnight. If so, why is it that, as far as recalling the exodus daily, the prime mitzvah is in the daytime.

To understand this paradox, we should remember that two obligations exist: the duty to tell the story of the exodus and the mitzvah of recalling the exodus. Telling the story involves the publicizing of the great miracles that God performed for Israel back then. The purpose of publicizing the miracles is two-fold: 1) To praise and bring splendor to God for his miracles and wonders; 2) To warn the other nations of the world who may be planning to rise up against Israel: Observe what happened to the first nation that tried to do so!

The exact time of the main redemptive miracles was midnight. Our sages ask: Why did Moshe say, in the name of God, that "around midnight, I will 'come out' in the midst of Egypt" - instead of being more specific and saying - "at midnight"? To this query, the rabbis answer: "Perhaps Pharoah's magicians would say: "Moshe is just making this all up." If the magicians' calculation of midnight came out differently than the calculation made by Moshe, God's name would be desecrated. If Moshe were to have said that God would smite the firstborn boys - and at "midnight" according to the magicians, the plague had not yet occurred, the world would have experienced a "Chilul Hashem" - a desecration of God's name.

Some of you may ask: Why should we care if the Egyptian sorcerers err? At most, a minute later, the plague of the first born would begin, and all of the first born Egyptian boys would have nevertheless been killed. If so, why the insistence on saying "about midnight"? We can, however, deduce one central theme from this discussion : God wants to ensure that there is no room for misunderstanding, even for a second regarding His power and the complete truth of his promise to redeem Israel.

Until midnight, the night is at its peak, and, mystically, the attribute of God's strict justice is operative. From midnight and onwards, the strength of the night begins to dissipate, and the Divine attribute of mercy begins to shine on earth. Exact midnight represents the moment of synthesis of judgement and compassion: God's judgement of the nations of the world, and His compassion for the nation of Israel. Herein lies both a hint and a warning to Israel’s enemies in future generations who seek to delay the redemption of our people: The moment of Israel’s redemption is a time of compassion for the Jewish people and of strict judgement for those that try to bring the redemption to a halt! In light of the above, the main obligation of telling the story of the exodus from Egypt is at night.

The recitation of the verses relating to the exodus, however, relates to the recognition of God’s having chosen the Jewish nation to be the carrier of the Divine idea in the world - and the Jewish separateness enables our nation to fulfill its role. This recognition must totally fill the being of every Jewish person. With all of his power, each Jew is called upon to recognize the unique part he must play as a member of the treasured nation. This mitzvah is therefore fittingly placed - when people can best internalize it - at the height of the day, when everyone is up, around, and fully conscious.