Sunday, March 24, 2013

Moshe Feiglin's Freedom for Pollard Bike Trek

The unseasonably hot weather didn't stop Moshe Feiglin and 25 determined cyclists from pedaling uphill for 28 kilometers in their Freedom for Pollard Bike Trek. The 28 kilometers represent the 28 years that Jonathan Pollard has languished in prison. The message of the trek was "Yes you can!" to US President Obama. "Yes you can free Jonathan Pollard!"

On their way to the US consulate in Jerusalem, the cyclists stopped to visit Manhigut Yehudit's Michael Fuah, who is hunger-striking for Pollard (pictured here). Fuah's hunger strike was later featured in the New York Times, proving, Moshe Feiglin wrote on Manhigut Yehudit's Facebook page , that when people work for a cause with self-sacrifice, they set the agenda.

Moshe Feiglin summed up the day by saying that every little bit of effort comes together to achieve the ultimate goal of freedom for Jonathan Pollard. May that happen soon! (Picture: In front of the American Consulate in Jerusalem)

From Bondage to Liberty

By Moshe Feiglin

15 Nissan, 5773
March 25, '13

Translated from the B'Sheva newspaper

The results of the recent elections expressed a new national social agenda. The world of Left-Right to which we have become so accustomed is melting away. In the national consciousness, the old debate between peace and security has become irrelevant. Nobody really has expectations from the "peace process" and most Israelis don't really care about the settlements. The new agenda is on the continuum between existence and destiny: Civil identity as opposed to Jewish identity.

The Knesset seats that could have gone to the Likud, skipped straight over to Lapid and Bennett. The Likud, which avoided speaking about its own ideology and did not even bother publicizing its platform, has leaned on the Left for years. As long as there were leftists, the Likud could identify itself as not-Left. Prior to the elections, the splintered Left masked its ideology (with the exception of Meretz). The Left was no longer left. It looked like a Likud victory was going to be easier than ever.
But just the opposite happened. The Likud no longer enjoyed the energizing leftist contra. It no longer had the synagogue where it would never pray. The Likud remained identity-less, while on both its sides, parties that offered Israeli society identity – civil or national - flourished.

When Yitzchak Rabin's granddaughter, Noa Rotman, blamed me this week for responsibility for her grandfather's assassination, she brought society's conversation back to that bad place. My first reaction was to ignore her accusations, but on second thought, I understood that I had no choice but to demand her apology. I am not a private person: The struggle against the Oslo Accords encompassed a huge swath of society that was very seriously harmed and suffered a painful process of demonization and dehumanization. It is not about a personal insult, but rather an insult to a broad public. I do not have the right to forgive this insult in its name. If I were to do so, the demonization would never end. It is specifically the fear of a libel suit that will prevent more of these statements and will clear the public domain so that we may continue the positive process of a shared search for meaning – a process that is already well under way.

More and more, I understand that the deep meaning of Judaism is embodied in the vision of liberty. The message of the holiday of Pesach – the message of liberty from bondage to humans so that we may shoulder the yoke of Heaven, is the quintessence of Judaism.

The struggle for Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, the site of the holy Temple, the place chosen by the King of the world as the dwelling place for His Divine Presence - is actually humanity's struggle for liberty from enslavement to other men. It is no coincidence that the Exodus from Egypt has become the symbol of liberty and was the model for the founding fathers of the United States.

This is the place to which we must lead the new Israeli consciousness: From bondage to liberty. 

Dangerous Exit from Comfort Zone: Passover Offering on Temple Mount

By Moshe Feiglin

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them: 'Draw out, and take lambs according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb.
And you shall observe this matter for an ordinance for you and your sons for ever. 
(Exodus 12)

Soon, with G-d's help, we will establish Jewish leadership for Israel. Please be forewarned that when that happens, our familiar, comfortable Pesach holiday will be radically changed. We will have to forget about the Pesach sederwith the extended family at the home of the family balabusta. Instead, we will be face to face with the Korban Pesach (Passover offering) at the Temple Mount.

For those who have forgotten, the Korban Pesach is a positive commandment, equal in its importance to the mitzvah of brit milah (circumcision). The mitzvah of circumcision is a personal covenant between a Jew and his Father in heaven. The Pesach offering is the national covenant between the Jewish Nation and its Father in heaven. These two commandments forged the Jewish People as the unique nation of the Creator – both as individuals and as a collective.

Today, a Jewish policeman stands at the entrance to the Temple Mount and explains to the Jews that they are prohibited from praying there. A request to bring a sacrificial lamb is out of the question. When we will finally establish Jewish leadership for Israel, though, the same policeman will stand at the entrance to the Temple Mount and cheerfully explain what you need to know, ensuring that you are well-versed in the Jewish laws that must be observed during your momentous visit.

In truth, it is not the policeman who blocks our entrance to the Temple Mount. It is the observant Jews whose Torah and faith are still in exile. They/we feel more comfortable when our covenant with G-d remains exclusively in the realm of the individual. It's great to be religious in your home and "Israeli" in public. The people subscribed to this mode of living will go to great lengths to avoid being a complete Jew in the complete Land of Israel – both in private and in public. In other words, at some level, all of us have a little policeman in our hearts, blocking the entrance to the Temple Mount. That is why we have a full-sized, flesh and blood policeman at its gates.

When we establish Jewish leadership for Israel, all of this will be distant memory. The prime minister and his cabinet will ascend to the Temple Mount with their sacrificial lambs. The entire national mentality will change, and there will be no more lame excuses for not bringing the Pesach offering.

Instead of sitting in the comfort of our living rooms and chewing on matzah that symbolizes the Pesach offering, we will joyously sit in the streets and alleys surrounding the Temple Mount, eating our roasted sacrificial lamb.

The international uproar will be deafening. How will we be able to conduct "peace" negotiations when the entire Jewish Nation is at the Temple Mount with their Pesach offerings? And who will protect us from Iran? And what will Obama do? And how will Russia react? And what about the European Union? What will we explain?

'And you shall say: It is the sacrifice of G-d's Passover, for He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.'

Happy Festival of Freedom

Friday, March 22, 2013

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Tzav, Shabbat HaGadol and Pesach 5773

Parashat Tzav Shabbat HaGadol 5773
Shemot 12:17
ושמרתם את המצות כי בעצם היום הזה הוצאתי את צבאותיכם מארץ מצרים ושמרתם את היום הזה לדרתיכם חקת עולם:
And you shall guard the matzot, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
And Rashi comments:
ושמרתם את המצות - שלא יבאו לידי חמוץ מכאן אמרו תפח, תלטוש בצונן. רבי יאשיה אומר אל תהי קורא את המצות אלא את המצוות, כדרך שאין מחמיצין את המצה כך אין מחמיצין את המצווה אלא אם באה לידך עשה אותה מיד:
And you shall guard the matzot that they should not become chametz... R. Yoshiah says do not read the word "matzot" to mean only matzot, but read it to refer also to the mitzvot (commandments), and just as one must not procrastinate while baking the matzot and thus cause them to be chametz, one should not procrastinate in keeping a mitzva but must fulfill the mitzva immediately.
The definitive difference between a free person and a slave is, in one word - time.
If one is evil and clever, and wishes to enslave another human being, or another nation, chains and whips are not the best method; one need only to control the victim’s time.
A very prevalent example of this is the lender-borrower relationship. The borrower must spend his time earning the money to return the debt, as Shlomo HaMelech says (Mishlay 22,7)
עשיר ברשים ימשול ועבד לוה לאיש מלוה
The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is slave to the lender
Hitler conquered Europe with tanks and planes; modern Germany is conquering countries like Greece, Spain and soon Italy by granting them loans, which will force them to work and slave to repay the debts.
This is perhaps one of the reasons that the Shemitta year cancels debts, because the Jewish people are freemen.
Many seemingly free people are in fact captives, in the sense that every moment of their lives is filled with things they are coerced to do or would prefer not do. A freeman is one who can choose how to spend his time in a manner desirable to him. People work and save for the "golden years" when they will be "free" to do all the things which were out of reach in their younger years, then find that their time is not theirs but dominated by visits to the doctor or worse.
Time is allusive. It cannot be defined. The past is no longer here, the future has yet to arrive, and the present exists only in a billionth of a second before turning into the past. Yet the Torah shows us the way to petrify time, to make it infinite. By using time to perform a mitzva which is never forgotten in the real world, thus time becomes a part of eternity.
This is the meaning of HaShem "mekadesh et hazmanim, (HaShem sanctifies time), by commanding us to perform mitzva in the time He allots us in this world.
How fleeting time is and how much we have to value the opportunities that HaShem awards us is magnified by the lesson taught by Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korcha (thought by many to have been the son of rabbi aAkiva) in the Gemara (Berachot 7a)
כך אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה: כשרציתי לא רצית, עכשיו שאתה רוצה איני רוצה
So said the Holy One Blessed Be He, "When I wanted you did not want, now that you want I do not want".
Meaning: At the miraculous episode of the Burning Bush, HaShem spoke to Moshe who turned his face away from seeing that which no man before was permitted, as the verse says (Shemot 3,6):
(ויאמר אנכי אלהי אביך אלהי אברהם אלהי יצחק ואלהי יעקב ויסתר משה פניו כי ירא מהביט אל האלהים:
Then He said, "I am the God of your father,the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzchak and the God of Ya’akov. And Moses hid his face, out of fear of seeing the omnipotent God.
However, after the sin of the Golden calf when Moshe returned to stand before HaShem on Mount Sinai to beg forgiveness for the Jewish nation, he requested of HaShem (ibid 33,18-20)
ויאמר הראני נא את כבדך... לא תוכל לראת את פני כי לא יראני האדם וחי
Then Moses said, Now show me your glory.
And the Lord said,... you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.
That is to say: "When I wanted you did not want, now that you want I do not want".
A major characteristic of our great biblical ancestors was their appreciation of the limits of time. Avraham rose early in the morning to begin the journey to Mount Moriah where he was commanded by HaShem to offer up his son, Yitzchak, as a sacrifice. The character trait of acting quickly in face of the unknown dictates of time was passed down to by Avraham to his Jewish descendants.
In the Book of Melachim 2 (Kings2) King David tells Natan, the reigning prophet of the time, of his intention to erect a Holy Temple for HaShem in Yerushalayim.
That very night Hashem appeared to Natan with a command that he go immediately to David with the message that HaShem does not want David to be the builder of His Temple.
The Midrash explains (Yalkut Shimoni Shmuel B 143) that HaShem knew that once David decided to do a mitzva there will be no hesitation, and by the time morning would come David will have already made a vow to build the Temple and will have already hired all the workers.
Time is the essence of Pessach.
In Egypt, each family was commanded to take a young lamb or goat, on the 10th of Nisan, and then sacrifice it on the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan. The meat was to be eaten no later than midnight, or according to another opinion no later than dawn on the night between the 14th and 15th of Nisan. At the crack of dawn the Jews were rushed out of their homes to leave Egypt, and the dough they were preparing for the journey did not reach the 18 minute time necessary for it to rise into bread, so we have natza.
The whole slavery experience was planned to be for 210 years and it ended in 210 years.
HaShem "works" with a stop watch.
The qualities that comprise an authentic, unspoiled Jew are courage, perseverance, alacrity, and promptitude - the recognition that when dealing with spiritual matters time does not work in our favor - the most dominant.. These are the building bricks of the Torah personality, without which the most one can hope for in Torah study and in the fulfillment of mitzvot is mediocrity.
The 80% of the Jewish nation that refused to leave Egypt that morning in order to follow Moshe into the wilderness lacked those character qualities. The 20% who left were instilled with these qualities, but not to the degree necessary to enter Eretz Yisrael and make battle with the Canaanites, but requested to delay their aliya to some future time, succumbed in the 40 years of our desert experience. Their children inherited the qualities necessary to begin our 3500 year unending connection with Eretz Yisrael, and they fulfilled HaShem’s time table of 7 years of conquest and anotherv 7 years of dividing the land.
World history evolves with nothing permanent but change itself, except for one entity which has never lost its essential qualities - that part of the Jewish people who are courageous, persevering, maintain alacrity, and promptitude. Those Jews who feel the pulse of history beating in the Jewish heart, and have no more patience for the galut.
Those who have these qualities are reliving the Exodus experience, here in Eretz Yisrael not after 210 years but after 2000 years of oppression.
Take a wide look at the Jewish world today, with Medinat Yisrael as the center of the Jewish solar system with the various world Jewish communities revolving around it, each with its own characteristics and dilemmas. The conclusion of my observations is that the vast majority of what ails the Jewish nation lies in the ill "timing" of our leaders. The Jewish State is 100 years too late in its creation. Had the Medina been established in 1848 rather than 1948, our nation would look today very very different. The founding fathers of the 1848 Medina would have been great religious leaders, and the constitution would have been the Torah. The Nazi horror would have not fallen on six million Jews, because the majority of our people would have been in Eretz Yisrael.
But for the ideology that lead the religious of that time and is still rampant in certain segments of religious society to do nothing for our own emancipation other than wait for the mashiach, our lives would have been very different today.
But it seems that HaShem reached the limits of His patience with the religious leadership, and in the beginning of the 20th century, He opened the door for the secular Zionists and some religious Zionists to drain the swamps, establish settlements, build a military force to defend the Jewish inhabitants against the Arab murderers, lay down the infrastructure of the new State, and on May 14, 1948 (Iyar 5, 5708) declare the establishment of the State of Israel.
But it was too late to save the Jews from the physical holocaust, and the subsequent spiritual holocaust we are witnessing today of widespread assimilation in the galut.
It’s all in the timing!
The gates to the Medina are still opened for any Jew who wishes to come. And with the state of the world becoming evermore belligerent and hostile there will be Jews who will be caught in the lava of the world’s upheavals.
Courage, perseverance, alacrity, and promptitude - the recognition that when dealing with spiritual matters time does not wait for any man.
As in the words of R. Yoshia"
R. Yoshiah says do not read the word "matzot" to mean only matzot, but read it to refer also to the mitzvot (commandments), and just as one must not procrastinate while baking the matzot and thus cause them to be chametz, one should not procrastinate in keeping a mitzva but must fulfill the mitzva immediately.
This year in Yerushalayim - and in Shechem, Yericho, Chevron, Bet Lechem. Next year in all the lands of Eretz Yisrael, as stated in the Torah.
Shabbat shalom ve’chag Pesach kasher ve’samay’ach
Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Let's Do Some Jewish Math

By Shmuel Sackett

As we approach the holiday of Pesach, I want each and every one of you to do some simple Jewish math. Don't worry; it is easy and won't take much time away from your cleaning and shopping.

Here it is: How many verses – in the ENTIRE Torah – deal with Pesach?
I don't know the exact answer but my educated guess would be about 20.
Now, how many verses in the Torah deal with the Mishkan/Bet HaMikdash?
Once again, I am not certain but I feel it is around 800.
Hmmm. Pesach 20 verses and the Mishkan/Bet HaMikdash 800.
Now, how long do you prepare to get ready for Pesach?
Add the times for cleaning the house, office and car.
Add the times shopping for food, Matza and wine.
Add the times shopping for clothes and other Pesach items.
Add the times for learning Hilchot Pesach, preparing for the seder, doing bedikat/biur/selling chametz, koshering/tovelling pots, doing all the cooking etc.
Using my guessing head, I would say that these times add up to at least 100 hours.
OK, almost done.

Now, based on my calculations above – that there are 40 times more verses in the Torah dealing with the Mishkan/Bet HaMikdash than Pesach - it should take you 40 x 100 hours to properly prepare yourself for the Bet HaMikdash.
According to my calculator, that equals 4,000 hours of prep time (which is over 166 days, working at this 24/hrs each day!!!)
Is that what you are doing???

I know what you're thinking. This guy is nuts. First of all, there is no Bet HaMikdash today so what is there to prepare for? Second of all, even if we do need to prepare, what is the comparison? Pesach is one thing and the Bet HaMikdash is something else. What is the connection?

Let me answer these two questions together. Sadly, it is true that there is no Bet HaMikdash today but that does not stop the obligation from studying, understanding and truly knowing every single thing that went on in that incredible House of Hashem. (Note: Even without having the Bet HaMikdash and with the entire nation being in a halachic state of impurity the overwhelming majority of opinions hold that the Korban Pesach can be brought in our day!) Unfortunately, however, many of us – Rabbis included – simply brush off anything to do with the Bet HaMikdash by saying, "These things don't apply today. We will learn these Halachot when Moshiach comes." With all due respect, this is absolutely wrong.

In many of his books, the holy Chofetz Chaim wrote about the need to, not only study, but actually master these concepts - today - even without the Bet HaMikdash. He said, over and over again, that if we truly want Moshiach to come, we need to be ready – and "being ready" does not mean preparing after his arrives. it means being ready NOW! This is similar to the analogy above about Pesach. Can you imagine cleaning, shopping and studying everything about Pesach only when Pesach is already here? Who would dare do such a thing?

But there's more. Pesach and the Bet HaMikdash are more than just a way to compare things. In reality, the two are deeply connected and – unfortunately – the Pesach we have today has almost nothing to do with the Pesach at the time of the Temple. During those 830 years, plus the 400+ years of the Mishkan, Pesach was celebrated differently than the way we do it today.

First of all, while cleaning is important, 90% of the Jews did not clean at all. Instead, they travelled – mostly by foot – from all over Israel to be in Jerusalem on time for Erev Pesach. Many of these Jews left their homes weeks before Pesach! They took their entire families with them, packed large quantities of food for the way and trekked across the country with their Pesach offering, Chagiga offering and many other Korbanot they chose to bring with them. These animals had to be watched carefully so they would not be blemished along the way. Then, on Erev Pesach, instead of what we are accustomed to doing, they entered the holy Bet HaMikdash in purity to offer the Korban Pesach. At night, they sat around a seder table and, after the usual reading and learning, ate an entire roasted lamb! After that, they went to sleep in the homes of complete strangers! The next morning, they, once again, had to go to the Bet HaMikdash to offer their Korban Chagiga. The next day it was back to the Bet HaMikdash to witness the Omer offering. In short, our Pesach commemoration is significantly different from what was – and from what WILL BE – when the Jewish people rebuild the third and final Bet HaMikdash in Jerusalem.

I am not saying that cleaning for Pesach is not important- it is! I am not saying that proper tovelling of dishes is not important – it is! What I am saying, however, is that we need to refocus and understand that being in the "Galut" means a lot more than we think. It is time for us to seriously plunge into the deep waters of what the future holds. The Jewish nation will soon return to Israel from the four corners of the globe. Very shortly after that we will have a Sanhedrin. After that comes the restoration of prophecy. That prophet will anoint a king. That king will build the Bet HaMikdash and then Jewish life as we know it will be changed back to what was originally planned.

And now for the good news: This process has already begun! 65 years ago Hashem gave the greatest gift to the Jewish nation in 2,000 years. He restored us to our Land! He gave us our inheritance and began the process of returning the exiles. This was not just some simple land swap or homeland for broken Jews from the Holocaust, it was the beginning of the process we have dreamed and prayed for since the first Tisha B'av! The children have returned home and our Father and King has welcomed us back into His palace. As you read these words, more than half of all halachic Jews are already living in Israel today!

This is what "Next Year in Jerusalem" means when we say it at the end of the seder. Therefore, before concluding this article, go back to the beginning and do that math once again. Figure out how much time and energy you – and I – need to invest into understanding what Hashem really wants from us and then - go and do it! 

President Obama versus Passover

By Tuvia Brodie

If you plan to go into Jerusalem this week, be forewarned: there’s trouble afoot.
This is the week before the Jewish holiday of Passover. In Israel, Passover is not a minor holiday. It’s not even a major holiday.
It’s a gigantic holiday.
When you walk the streets of Jerusalem this week, you might deduce that every Jerusalemite has chosen to rush onto the city’s sidewalks at the same time. People are everywhere.  You cannot avoid them. They rush. They don’t stroll. They don’t lounge. They are not in ‘vacation mode’. They are on the streets with a purpose. They march—each to his own beat. They have stores to go to, things to buy, shopping lists to attend to.
If you watch these crowds and listen carefully, you can guess what they’re shopping for: dish racks, glassware, plasticware, tableclothes, towels, linens, clothing, the Passover Haggadah—you name it and everyone’s either looking for it, talking about it or carrying it.
Even shopkeepers join the crowds: they arrange displays out in the sunlight. They hang ‘SALE’ signs on each display rack. Everything you need for the holiday is before you. Indeed, if you don’t buy it today—right now-- it will be gone tomorrow; just don’t linger too long outside a store fingering merchandise because you’ll attract an elbow or two from the stream of people pushing past you on narrow sidewalks.
This is a week of preparation. In this, the most Jewish of the world’s cities, Jews rush to complete their duties much as they have done for more than 2,000 years. There is excitement in the air. There is an energy you can feel. Everyone is animated.  
Passover is the celebration of freedom. It is, as our liturgy says, the ‘Time of our Redemption’. It is the time for joy—and you can feel that sense of joy growing from day-to-day as the week unfolds and the holiday pulls closer and closer.
This is our time. We work at it. We enjoy it. Today, you might see people shopping. But this is no ordinary shopping. It’s shopping with a purpose—a Jewish purpose.
When we compare the prophecies of our Tanach (Jewish Bible)with actual events of Jewish history, we learn that this is exactly the energy and spirit that the enemies of Israel want to destroy. These enemies have always had one goal: to come into Jerusalem to parade as conquerors. In modern parlance, that means driving through the city of Jerusalem in some kind of parade or motorcade that blocks and disrupts the Jew in order to show the world who wields power over the Jew.  The Jew may want to celebrate. But the enemy of the Jew aims to invade Jerusalem to spoil that celebration.
So it is written. So it has happened: The Crusades. The Christians. The Muslims. The pagans.
So it is today yet again. You see, this is not only the week Jews of Jerusalem crowd into their city streets to prepare for their Passover celebration; it is also the week that United States President Barack Hussein Obama has chosen to drive into Jerusalem on his first Presidential visit to Israel. So it is that, along with advertisements and announcements about sales and Passover family activities, Jerusalemites must now deal with warnings: your shopping could be disrupted. Your preparations for joy could be interrupted or curtailed altogether if you don’t pay attention. Streets will be closed. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic will be re-routed or even stopped completely. Neighbourhoods could be blocked. Business deliveries and distribution routes could be changed or stopped—all in order to accommodate the President’s motorcade.
You better get to Jerusalem before Wednesday. After that, good luck getting to where you want to go. If you are in the wrong street at the worst hour, your three most important pre-Passover shopping days could be devastated.
In our Tanach, there is one future scenario where Jerusalem is blocked off. No one is able to leave.  Jews are trapped as those who wish to conquer the Holy Basin shut down the city.
As it is in our Tanach, so it is today: if you plan to leave Jerusalem in order to get to the airport during the President’s visit, you might not make it. The highway out of Jerusalem could be shut down. You could be trapped, unable to leave the Holy city. The leader of the west’s most powerful nation, a descendant of the ancient Edom, will have caused Jerusalem to be shut down.
So it is that we see a miniature ‘attack’ of Jerusalem by the leader of Edom. He will motorcade as if triumphant through the Jewish city. He will ride as if a conqueror while Jews will be trapped.
As your Passover Seder begins, let this be your holiday lesson: Edom lusts for your Jerusalem.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Barack Obama, Jonathan Pollard and Passover in Israel

By Tuvia Brodie

This week, US President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Israel. There appear to be at least five storylines that have begun to swirl around his arrival. Taken together, they could make for an interesting Passover, which follows the President’s visit.
First, the US has declared that this trip will not be political. The President will not come with a peace plan. He won’t speak to the Knesset. If you believe the White House, this trip will be closer to kissing babies than doing business.
The second storyline says that Obama isn’t going to kiss anybody in Israel. He’s coming to kick butt, most particularly that of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  According to this storyline, Obama has an agenda. He will threaten Israel. He wants to see a ‘state of Palestine’ in place of Judea-Samaria, and he wants it now. His message to Benjamin Netanyahu will be simple: it’s my way or else.  
That ‘or else’ could be withholding US help for Israel against Iran; withholding military assistance;  cutting aid to Israel; threating to increase military aid to Israel’s enemies—or all of the above.
The third storyline suggests Netanyahu at his best—or worst. This storyline highlights the trouble Netanyahu has had forming a coalition. That ‘trouble’ has been in Israel’s news for weeks. Yes, he’s finally got his coalition. But it’s shaky. It’s built around two newcomers, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennet. These two have been tough, according to Israel news. They have pushed Netanyahu to the wall. They give Netanyahu a coalition--but it’s not the one he wants.  These men are not dependable.  They could embrace Obama and endorse whatever Netanyahu agrees to-- or, they could reject Obama’s agenda and collapse the coalition.
But such a ‘shaky’ coalition could be Netanyahu’s ace-in-the-hole. His supposed ‘troubles’ could be a pre-mediated game-plan to prepare for any American ultimatum. You see, if Obama pushes too hard, Netanyahu can now push back: reduce your demands and deal with me, he can claim-- or, provoke my delicate coalition to collapse and force new elections. Then, you could end up dealing with two loose cannon balls. His argument will be as simple as Obama’s: better the devil you know than the two devils you don’t know.
The fourth storyline leading to Obama’s arrival is about Jonathan Pollard, who is now closing in on 10,000 days of incarceration in the US for spying for Israel. No spy in US history has served so much prison time. The President has refused to release him; still, some talk openly about Pollard playing a key role in the Presidential visit.
Given the tough stance many say Obama will take towards Israel on this trip, some speculate that the President might use a Pollard release as his own ace-in-the hole. It would be brilliant politics to announce that Pollard will indeed be released just as Obama demands—perhaps-- an immediate surrender of land for a new Palestine. The impact of such a double declaration could be tectonic. It could rival the celebration over Gilad Shalit’s release. It certainly would consume reams of newsprint and hours of gushing TV news stories just at a time when Israel could be facing its greatest existential political challenge.
A Pollard release could be the ticket that gets ‘Palestine’ into Judea-Samaria.  Look at Israeli poll numbers. Depending on whose numbers you look at, some 45 - 52 per cent of Israelis appear ready  today to accept ‘Palestine’. If a Pollard release is played right, how many Israelis would jump over to a pro-Palestine vote?
Will Obama play the politician and attempt to trade Pollard for Palestine—or will he be Pharaoh and harden his heart?
The last storyline is unusual. It falls well below most everyone’s radar screen. This story posits that Barack Obama will play an active role in the Jew’s Final Redemption. Most people reject such talk. The West might indeed be considered related to the descendants of Biblical Edom, and America might be a Western leader. But few connect such ‘religious’ talk to the real world of modern international politics: Obama is a politician, not a Jewish history figure.
But then, it’s certainly a coincidence that Obama arrives at Passover, the time of ‘our Redemption’.  Could there be a connection?
For many, ‘coincidence’ is not an accident; it’s another name for ‘Hand of G-d’. Whatever you believe about politics and religion, headlines about Obama, Pollard, the new Israeli coalition—and Passover—all converging at the same time seems odd. Obama coming into Israel with a Pharaoh-like hardness towards Israel seems just as odd. Then there’s Israel: in December 2012, how many of you expected to see a new Netanyahu government containing Tzipi Livini, Amir Peretz and the son of Tommy Lapid arriving as if on cue with the impending pre-Passover visit of Obama who, because of timing, will be forced, along with his entourage, to eat kosher for Passover food in the King David hotel?

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Free Jonathan Pollard" Bike Trek with Moshe Feiglin

Friday, 4 Nissan, 5773/ March 15, '13
"Free Jonathan Pollard" Bike Trek with Moshe Feiglin
from Latrun to US Consulate in Jerusalem

Join Moshe Feiglin this Friday, 4 Nissan/March 15 for a bike trek, 28 km from Latrun to the US consulate in Jerusalem. In front of the consulate, we will call upon the US president to free our brother, Jonathan Pollard. The twenty eight kilometers reflect the 28 years that Jonathan has been suffering in prison.

We will be leaving at 7 am sharp from Eshtaol junction, exit from route 38 to route 395. (See map below for exact route.) The route is on paved roads.

For those few people who cannot ride their bikes fast uphill for 28 kilometers in the heat, you can meet up with Moshe and the other riders along the way, or at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem at about 12 pm. (See map).

Remember, this is a tough trek and it's supposed to be very hot on Friday. Safety and hydration are the responsibility of the participants. Bring lots of water and high spirits. We look forward to seeing you!

Bring on the Bourekas

4 Nissan, 5773
March 15, '13

Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper

Dear Leftists,

Do you really think that retreat from the very foundations of our lives will bring us quiet?

How is it that you don't understand that the struggle for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the struggle for your home in Tel Aviv?

Yes, you are very afraid of war. Of course you are afraid. Who wants a war? But look where you have led the Nation of Israel with the disgrace of Oslo. Did you lead us to peace?

You have chosen the path of dishonor. It is the approach that dictates that we do not have any holy places; that all is simply real estate and that there is nothing worth dying for. Not even for what is most holy to the nation – the object of all our longing, the foundation of our identity and our destiny. Has your cowering surrender to the belligerence of Moslem riffraff brought us peace?

"You were given the choice between war and dishonor," said Winston Churchill after Chamberlain signed the Munich pact. "You chose dishonor and you will have war."

"Only Moslems can enter here," said the Moslem wakf guard at the entrance to the Dome of the Rock, which, until two years ago, had been a tourist attraction for one and all. "This is Moslem territory," the police officer concurred. "It belongs to the wakf. Your entrance is prohibited – even if you are a representative of the Israeli parliament."

"Feiglin went up to the Temple Mount according to law and in keeping with his personal faith and tradition. Ben Ami (the television interviewer) saw that as a ridiculous act, as if his Feiglinite demon had come out. Ben Ami was relatively gentle. Moshe Nussbaum, also in the studio, was much more aggressive and determined when he condemned Feiglin's actions. It was as if he was personally offended. Nussbaum's reports generally reflect the police establishment view and this time he sounded as if he was talking from their mouths. All they want is for there to be quiet in Jerusalem so that they can continue to eat their bourekas. Feiglin, as usual, responded with clear and interesting answers. But Ben Ami and Nussbaum did not listen. "
(Ha'aretz: Television critique from this past week)

If Chamberlain's dishonor got him World War II, what will we have to go through in exchange for a good bourekas?

The British learned the lesson. They went to war with Argentina over the remote Falkland Islands, across the ocean. This is how the mother of Western enlightenment understands the importance of earth under its feet. But for us Israelis, connection to our Land is the connection to the burdensome identity that we have been trying for so long to discard.

The Canaanite experiment that relates to the return to Zion as a pagan connection that skips back in time over the Bible, landing in ancient Canaanite culture – has failed. We cannot be connected to our Land without a connection to G-d. That is why we keep trying to give our Land to the Moslems. We will make do with only the outer shell – with the Kotel, the supporting wall of the Herodian expansion. We will cling to the religious wall, to the graves of the righteous, to trees and stones, instead of connecting to the only place that G-d actually did choose for His Presence.

"He who controls the (Temple) Mount controls the country," said Uri Tzvi Greenberg, the poet of accusation and faith. And we have given up the innermost heart of Jerusalem so that the police can keep eating their bourekas.

Israel is facing its biggest challenges ever. Until the eighties, the state struggled for its security and financial existence. From the eighties, the threat of direct destruction has melted away. Today, there are no more Arab armies on our borders. Parallel to that development, Israel's economy has been going from strength to strength. The massive Russian aliyah quickly adapted to a competitive market, catapulting Israel to the forefront of world economy.

The security and economic challenges are making room for the next challenge: the spiritual challenge.

The threat to our existence is not from the Iranian bomb. First and foremost, it is the result of the flourishing deligitimization of Israel's right to exist. The Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, is the temple of our mere existence. But it no longer fulfills its role. The VIPs who are led there no longer blame themselves for the sins of their fathers - and they are right. They want real answers to justify the Zionist "occupation" in Sheikh Munis – an occupation that threatens world stability. We must make the move from the Temple of existence to the Temple of destiny.

When we retreat from our identity and destiny, both embodied by the Temple, we have no chance to justify our existence in Ramat Aviv (Sheikh Munis). Not to ourselves and not to the world. 

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Vayikra 5773

Parashat Vayikra 5773
Parshat Vayikra discusses two types of animal sacrifices: the Olah (burnt offering) and the Shelamim (peace offering).
Our generation is divided between those who can be likened to the Shelamim and those who can be likened to the Olah.
The Shelamim is a "happy" sacrifice. The altar gets the innards of the animal; the officiating kohen gets the breast and a foot, and the korban’s donor received the flesh. This is the good life where there is something for everyone, without really trying.
The Olah sacrifice, is quite different. The entire sacrifice is place on the altar, with no human being, neither the officiating kohen nor the donor receiving any part of the sacrifice for their consumption.
Many Jewish communities in the galut can be likened to the shelamim, but in Eretz Yisrael we are like the Olah sacrifice when it all "for the Boss".
Here we have to pay a price for returning home. In chutz la’aretz when a situation in one area becomes intolerable, a Jew picks himself up and moves to another. When we were thrown out of Spain, our fathers went westward and settled in Germany, Poland and Turkey. When "difficult" neighbors move into our streets, we move to the sun-belt, leaving behind the synagogues built with such gusto and joy 50 years before, so the Gentiles will be able to continue their prayers there. We go south to Miami and west to L.A.; and when these places are too far, we set up new communities in Teaneck and the "Hamptons."
However, Eretz Yisrael is the Jews’ last stop - it is home. Here we must stand firm in defense of our emunah (faith) and eternal destiny.
In the ten years of these weekly message, I have been very vigilant not to discuss internal Israeli matters with the Jews in the galut, since they choose not to be part of our national discourse and as such their opinions lack validity and substance.
However, since the schism between the majority of the chareidi community here vis a vis the general public has percolated to the galut, and I have been asked to give my opinion, I will do so reluctantly.
In view of the ongoing controversy regarding military service, I would seriously warn the chareidi public in Boro Park, Flatbush, Williamsburg and other centers in the USA and other lands of the galut, to be very prudent, vigilant, discreet and mindful in the manner and the terms which you refer to the Medina and to our government. You could very well find yourselves standing in front of an Israeli consulate begging for refugee status and immediate entrance to Medinat Yisrael, and our government will take you in and provide you with housing, food and clothing. So derech eretz for the people who are giving their lives in the defense and rebuilding of our Holy Land.
On the issue of what is referred to in our media and in the Knesset as "shi’va’yon ba’ne’tel" (equality in carrying the national burden), regarding citizens who refuse to serve in the army or in any other national service.
I am opposed to recruiting anyone in the military who is not motivated, whether it be a charaidie yeshiva or kollel student, a secular person, a pacifist or just an ordinary batlan (idler).
To serve in the army of Israel is not a "national burden," - on the contrary, to serve the national interest of the Jewish nation is not a "burden" but very much a privilege and a main line mitzva. To protect, to defend and preserve our new-ancient home land after 2000 years of being trampled upon, crushed, repressed and subjugated at the whim of any goy in the galut is a miracle of biblical proportions.
We have a small but technologically advanced army able to defeat any and all enemies, with the help of Hashem, of course. From my own experience, I can frankly say that whoever does not experience being a soldier in Tzahal will have lost the opportunity to acquire those attributes that contribute so much to the making of a ben-Torah: determination, endurance, firmness, resolution, tenacity - all the attributes necessary for a young person to overcome the difficulties that lay in the way of reaching the level of a talmid chacham.
The reasons why certain young men are not motivated to serve in Tzahal are quite obvious. If it is a secular person it could be fear, or ignorance of the needs of the country, or the desire to acquire money. An ideological pacifist lives in an imaginary world of his own making and is the dream of every despotic murderer who laughs at the naivete of this fool. An idler just takes up time and space between his birth and death, and leaves no finger prints of his stay in this world.
The big question is: Why would a young man who strives to live a Torah life to its fullest does not leap at the chance to fulfill the mitzva of protecting his fellow Jews in Eretz Yisrael, even if it means leaving the bet midrash for a limited period?
I suggest.
The difficulty with the chareidie attitude is not limited to the military, it has to do with many things in life.
We are all in agreement that there is only one Torah and nothing in it will ever be changed by HaShem. The Torah contains 613 mitzvot with another 7 rabbinic mitzvot, as stated in the Mishna, Gemara and codified in the Shulchan Aruch and its commentators, and as they are applied to life in the responsa literature throughout the ages.
Nevertheless, Judaism takes many forms. Torah as practiced in Germany when Harav Shamshon Refael Hirsch was the religious leader was far far different from the chassidic Judaism of the Rebbe of Tsanz in Galicia, and the Judaism of Galicia was very different from that of Lithuania and Latvia. The minhagim (customs), liturgy, language, approach to life, dress, approach to halacha and all else of the Jews in Europe are different than those of the Jews in Iraq and Iran, and they are all certainly different from the Jews in Yemen.
In countries where the gentiles studied in universities, the Jews held doctorate degrees. In countries where the gentile majority ate and slept on the floor, the Jews ate with their fingers from a common bowl. As the Yiddish axiom goes "vie es christzichlech es yiddishtzech" - as the christians (gentiles) go, so go the Jews including religious ones.
The cultures which surround the way Jews keep the Torah take their respective forms from the general gentile population where the Jews lived. The accomplishments, art, cultivation, dignity, dress, elegance, enlightenment, grace, refinement and sophistication of Jewish communities were all shaped by the general gentile population, after several generations of the Jews residing in a particular land of the galut. It can be summed up in the joke: What is the combination of a yekke (a Jew from Germany) and a chassid? Answer: He always arrives exactly one hour late.
After so many generations in the United States, the indigenous culture of orthodox Judaism created there is expressed by Yeshiva University, the Young Israel movement the Orthodox Union and others like them.
The chareidi life styles - both Lithuanian and Chassidic, which began in the US after the Second World War are not indigenous to the American way of life, but rather imports from Eastern Europe and implanted in the US by great rabbis, like Harav Hagaon Aharon Kotler zt"l of Lakewood, Harav Hagaon Avraham Kalmanovitz zt"l of the Mirrer yeshiva, Chabad and chassidic rabbis who came from Eastern Europe and revived in the US their particular sects which had been destroyed in the holocaust.
The process of how yiddishkeit will look in Eretz Yisrael in future generations began 100 years ago, and could take many years to establish its final form - in the advent the Mashiach does not appear before.
Now if we ask ourselves, what is the pure indigenous Yiddishkeit being developed here that was not imported from the lands of the galut?
The Yiddiskeit that is being formed here is influenced by the many factors that constitute Eretz Yisrael; such as the warm weather (clothing), food, military challenges, international geopolitical pressures, the manifold peoples who constitute the population and the rate of intermarriage among them, the topography of the mountainous north with the coastal Mediterranean plain. There are also dominant spiritual values which are indigenous to the Holy Land, as the Gemara (bava batra 158b) states:
אמר רבי זירא שמע מינה: אוירא דארץ ישראל מחכים
The very atmosphere (air) of Eretz Yisrael enhances one’s wisdom
Or the Mishna in Tractate Kailim, chapter 1 Mishna 6:
עשר קדושות הן ארץ ישראל מקודשת מכל הארצות
There are 10 levels of sanctity in the world. Eretz Yisrael is holier than any other land in the world
And so many more expressions regarding the unique characteristics of Hashem’s land.
The chareidi life style and world outlook was imported here by the survivors of the holocaust. I checked my maps of Eretz Yisrael, but could not find one place here called Belz, Satmar, Gur, Punavitz Mir or even Tsanz, which is the root of my family that came to Eretz Yisrael from Galicia in 1863.
The authentic Torah life style that is being developed here is anchored in "land". In the galut the Jew held no great passion for the soil of Spain or Poland, but here the soil gives forth the first section of the Mishna Zera’im. How we plow, how we plant, the prohibition of mixing different kinds of vegetables (Ki’la’yim), the various tithes, Bikurim, the Omer and all else. The halacha creates a profound connection with the land, as being lived out by our tenacious resolve never to leave the lands which were liberated in the Six Day War.
Military service plays a major at in the Yiddishkeit being developed here. The number and percentage of religious officers in Tzahal (kipa seruga - religious Zionists) grows daily, and the halachot problems arising from serving in our air force down to submarines have created a Torah literature which would do honor to Rabbi Yosef Karo, the codifier of the Shulchan Aruch.
The Yiddishkeit being developed here as an indigenous creation of Eretz Yisrael is to be found in the religious Zionist camp, it is not in the chareidi camp for the most part.
Eventually, there will be a merger of ideologies between Chareidie isolation and the religious Zionist open and inclusive ideology that sees the Medina as the hand of Hashem and our responsibility to bring Torah into every facet of society. If the chareidi rabbis will not acknowledge the miraculous times in which we are living, then the chareidi community will be marginalized from Israeli society, with very undesirable implication for them.
The desire of an individual to dedicate his life to Torah study is a very worthy ideal. However, when it becomes a way of life of a very large community, coupled with a life style of no army service, no work and no participation in the Medina, down to refusing to recite hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut or to offer a prayer for the soldiers of tzahal - the chareidi community will have to consider the price they will pay. That price is the negative feelings of most Israelis not only to the chareidi life style but to the Torah itself. This is a very very heavy burden to carry.
No one will force them to change. But they will be ostracized from Israeli society. It will eventually express itself in the reluctance to provide welfare, and perhaps even negating their right to vote. Another terrible result of their refusal to participate in our military has resulted in the fact that one third of the soldiers in Tzahal today are women, which is contrary to Torah law.
Over the last several years a ray of hope has presented itself in the form of a yet small but important group of people called "CharDaL" - a contraction of the words charadie dati leumi. They are a merger of the religious Zionist perception of the Medina as a vital stage in our final redemption, which includes military service, together with many of the trappings of charadie society. The emphasis is on Torah learning and strict adherence to the Shulchan Aruch, including the code of dress and modesty of the chareidi camp. I, and many of my friends, belong to that group, which we hope will serve as the model for integrating all forms of religious sectors.
The yeshiva world of the religious Zionists is growing qualitatively and quantitatively, paralleling the chareidi yeshivot in erudition and passing most in the percentage of serious students.
The shinning stars in the religious Zionist skies are yeshivot like: Merkaz Harav, Har Hamor, Bet El, Har Beracha, Alon Shvut, Sha’avim, Sha’vei Chevron, Ateret Yerushalayim and many many more. In addition there are over 100 hesder and pre-army yeshivot. The requests for admission to all these yeshivot is far and beyond their ability to accept all requests.
These yeshivot produce great talmidai chachamim, active rabbis and judges for the national religious court system, in addition to the thousands of teachers for the growing school population.
Permit me a personal story of one of our sons who was serving within the framework of a hesder yeshiva.
He was in tank training school, about an hour and a half drive from Yerushalayim. I went to visit him, but knowing that they train well into the night, I arrived at the base at 11:00 PM. At the area of the hesder soldiers, I asked for Kahana and was directed to the base bet knesset. I looked through the window and saw our son and another soldier learning Gemara together. I realized that I had no right to disturb them even for a moment, because after a back-breaking day of training their learning at this time of night was soaring into the highest levels of the shamayim. I turned away to go home.
At that moment, I recalled a incident in the life of Yehoshua Bin Nun as recorded in the Book of Yehoshua (5,13-15)
)יג) ויהי בהיות יהושע ביריחו וישא עיניו וירא והנה איש עמד לנגדו וחרבו שלופה בידו וילך יהושע אליו ויאמר לו הלנו אתה אם לצרינו: (יד) ויאמר לא כי אני שר צבא יקוק עתה באתי ויפל יהושע אל פניו ארצה וישתחו ויאמר לו מה אדני מדבר אל עבדו: (טו) ויאמר שר צבא יקוק אל יהושע של נעלך מעל רגלך כי המקום אשר אתה עמד עליו קדש הוא ויעש יהושע כן:
13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"
14 "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my master have for his servant?"
15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
The Gemara (Airuvin 63b) explains that at that time, Yehoshua and the Jewish army of liberation was laying siege to the Canaanite city of Yericho. During the day they were occupied with military operations, and when night fell Yehoshua and his men rested in preparation for the next difficult day. Suddenly, an angel appeared before Yehoshua with a threatening sword in hand, and reprimanded him for neglecting to study Torah that night when military matters were on hold.
When our son came home for Shabbat I asked him a few questions quite innocently: Until what hour do your train at night? He replied that if the tanks don’t go out at night they are usually off by 11:00 PM. Than I said that I was glad that was able to get to sleep at that hour. He nodded, but did not say that every night he learns in the bet knesset.
About a year later I revealed to him of my night visit, when I turned around and went home. He was very embarrassed, but admitted that he and his friend had completed the tractate of Makot during the nights of the tank course.
Just a little story of a hesder yeshiva bocher (student). But it makes one wonder where holiness really is.
The following is an extract from my book "With All Your Might," written before Rosh HaShana four years ago, but very appropriate for these days.
To the Exalted One, Creator of All Things, Rebono Shel Olam;
I am sending You my yearly e-mail (Elokim Mail) to report on the state of Your people as perceived from the virtual world, which of course is quite different from what is perceived from the real world.
It’s that time of year, when Your children withdraw a bit from the distractions of this life in order to introspect on what we have or have not done properly this past year.
It is a time when seeing in the mirror a few more white hairs does more than just effect a shrug of the shoulders. It’s that time of year when we realize our frailty before the heavenly judgements, which will be meted out in a few short days. Who shall live in this world and who will be taken away to another dimension; who will rise and who will fall; who will smile and who will weep?
It is a time when life is not taken for granted, and the "I" of each person becomes the most essential thing for us who are insecure in the knowledge that our futures are being determined by forces over whom we have no control.
But, Father in Heaven, there are people, who in addition to their pains and longings, are very much aware that You, the judge of all things, are not exempt from pain. Of course You put up an impressive show of strength and glory before the myriad of angels and other creatures ever present in the seven heavens; however, we know about that very secret room called "mistarin" into which You enter every day alone to cry for the glory of Am Yisrael and Your glory, which was lost to the goyim; and of course for the Bet Hamikdash which You had to destroy. Don’t be surprised that we know about Your secret room, in fact its right there in tractate Chagiga 5:a - for all to see.
At this time, I have to confess to an on-going sin, which I was unable to rid myself of until a little light of understanding flickered on. How can I explain? On following the events of human history, I thought to myself that if anyone would run their business the way You run the world, he would be quickly bankrupt.
You created Adam and Chava, placed them in the most perfect setting imaginable, Gan Eden. Within the first three hours of their lives they sinned, were sentenced to die and were driven out of Paradise. The next generation was even worse. Kayin killed his brother Hevel. Ten generations down the line, You destroyed all living things except for a small remnant enclosed in a floating pea pod.
Then You destroyed the five cultural centers of the world - Sedom, Amora and their sister cities.
Indeed, it took 1948 years for the first person to be born who was capable of acknowledging You - Avraham Aveinu.
However, as time goes by I realize Your infinite "business sense". You made the "best deal" ever possible, where You always win and never lose! The goyin, starting from Adam, were never intended to be profit-making merchandise. The first 2000 years of history are the time it takes to set up a business when one always loses. The real "sechora" (merchandise) began with Avraham and Sara. From that time on, Your capital and interest has soared to heavenly heights.
Your chosen people, Am Yisrael, no matter what You bring upon us, always come back for more. Our loyalty to You is not dependent on Your actions towards us. The destruction of two Temples, 2000 years of Galut, inquisitions, crusades, pogroms concentration camps, world anti-Semitism, and more, were never able to extinguish the flame. Who else is capable of making such a perfect business choice!?
On the one hand, I can understand Your need to retire to the "room" in anguish over our suffering, as expected from a parent whose children are not well. But, on the other hand, You have every reason to be proud of Your loyal children; they are the source of Your joy.
Just observe us at any given moment. We have returned to Your holy soil, from which the world was created. Your children in Eretz Yisrael cling to every available meter of land, building and restoring it to its former glory, before it was devastated by the now extinct Romans. Your children are bringing the voice of Torah to all parts of the land. There have not been so many Yeshivot and Batei Knesset in the land probably since the time of Hillel and Shamai. The agricultural mitzvot, for which Your servant Moshe so much wanted to enter the land, have come alive: Shmita, truma, ma’aser etc.
The holy army of the future Massiach - Tzahal - daily brings the call of Torah to the air and under the waves - places where they never were before. The brave soldiers of David Ha’melech protect Your holy people as has never been done in the last 2000 years. From the young men in boot camp up to the highest officers, they are all imbued with the feeling that they are Your messengers in establishing Your new-old kingdom in Yerushalayim, and all Eretz Yisrael, from the River Prat to the "great river of Egypt".
The knowledge that we are surrounded by hundreds of millions of enemies does not deter Your children from fulfilling Your wish that the Holy land be rebuilt as the spiritual center of the world.
In the fleeting second of my existence in this world, and the limitations You have imposed on my ability to comprehend, I can still discern the wondrous qualities of the people You have chosen.
Father in Heaven - You have ever reason in the universe to be delighted with Your choice of the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. We, in Eretz Yisrael, will be eternally loyal to You, no matter what You in Your infinite wisdom deems proper and necessary to mete out to us. If there are signs of weakness or frailty in parts of our nation, it can be blamed on the difficult nature of our existence, not on their desire to rebel against Your kingship.
We know that this coming year will be critical for the history of Your world. Terrorism, Iran, Islam, etc. But these are, thank G-d, Your problems not ours, because You have revealed to the prophets (Yoel 3:5 and Ovadya 1:17) that in Yerushalayim and Tzion "there shall be refuge".
So this Rosh Hashana, when You open the books of our lives, remember what the gemara in Ketuvot writes, "Whoever resides in Eretz Yisrael is in a state of non sinning (sharuy belo avon)."
While trying to be as impartial as possible, I can say in all frankness:
1) You have every justification before the many prosecutors of Am Yisrael in the shamayim, to forgive our wrong-doings.
2) To ignore our short comings in the light of the love we feel for You and our meseerat nefesh..
3)To inscribe Your children in Eretz Yisrael and those of the Jewish nation not yet here, in the Book of Life.
4) To bless us with feelings of inadequacies, so that we should constantly strive for perfection in the performance of Your Torah.
5) Open our hearts and eyes to see the positive qualities in every person, as stated by the great Hillel, as being the essence of the Torah.
Have a great Eternity;
Shabbat Shalom
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5773-2013 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moshe Feiglin on the Temple Mount

Moshe Feiglin went up to the Temple Mount for his monthly on Monday, March 4th. This is what he wrote about his visit on his Facebook  page:

In the introduction to his book "Har Habayit" Rabbi Shlomo Goren, zatza"l, writes: "There is no doubt that in a case such as this, when there is the danger that non-Jews will take control of Mount Moriah, it is permissible to even enter the azarah so as not to afford the non-Jews any type of affinity on G-d's mountain; for the ascent of Jews on the Mount under these circumstances is considered conquering and possession and the prevention of foreigners from taking control of it."

From the moment that I became a Knesset Member, a representative of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel - I felt that Rabbi Goren's words obligate me to enter every place on the Temple Mount. This morning, I did so and did not even begin to imagine how right I was. It turns out the Dome of the Rock (which is not a mosque) was closed to Jews and tourists two years ago. "Only Moslems can enter," said the wakf guard when I courteously asked to enter. I explained to the police officer there that according to law, it is prohibited to prevent a Knesset Member entry into any place - and certainly not in a place where entry is permitted to other citizens. The officer's reply was astonishing: "This place belongs to the Moslem wakf."

He said it. The innermost heart of the Land of Israel, the site of the Holy of Holies, has effectively been given over to Moslem sovereignty - simply because Jews do not enter there due to its holiness.

As a Knesset Member, I am obligated to actualize Israel's sovereignty on the Temple Mount. Until approximately two years ago, anybody could freely enter the Dome of the Rock (which is not a mosque). Now it is closed to anyone who is not a Moslem. Unsupervised construction is taking place within the building, which covers the Foundation Stone, the holiest of places for the Jewish people. Construction beams have even been placed on the Foundation Stone. It is for this very reason that I have immunity as a Knesset Member - so that I can investigate what is taking place in places that are off limits to the public. The most astonishing part of my experience on the Temple Mount was when the police officer who would not allow me into the Dome of the Rock insisted that the holiest place in the world for the Jews belongs to the Moslems. I do not plan to give up on restoring Israeli sovereignty to the Temple Mount.

Israel National News:
MK Feiglin Explains Attempt to Enter Dome of the Rock
"I am not calling on Jews to begin making pilgrimage to the location of the Temple itself," MK wrote.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/4/2013, 12:26 PM