Friday, June 28, 2013

Furious Debate as Arab Town gets Jewish Land

Tammuz 17, 5773, 25/06/13 04:22
Furious debate erupts in Knesset over land transfer from Jewish town to Arab town. MK Feiglin to Arabs: You’re guests here.

By Maayana Miskin
A furious debate erupted Tuesday in the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee over a plan to transfer land from the Jewish town of Moshav Beit Hananya in the Haifa area to the nearby Arab town of Jisr a-Zarka.

MK Yariv Levin (Likud) was among a group of MKs that called for Tuesday’s discussion of the issue. He argued that what Jisr a-Zarka needs is not more land, but better management.

“This plan sets a dangerous precedent of using agricultural land to expand the jurisdiction of Arab municipalities while they aren’t willing to encourage other solutions. This will encourage other municipalities to take the same approach, and will deal a serious blow to agriculture,” he argued.

He noted that officials in Jisr a-Zarka had rejected the idea of addressing the town’s housing crisis by building tall apartment buildings rather than low-level homes.

His comment angered MK Hanin Zoabi of the Arab nationalist Balad party, who replied, “Do they build tall buildings in Beit Hananya? Show me where they build tall buildings, and then you can say that in Jirs a-Zarka they should build tall buildings!”

MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) said, “There is no Arab town on Highway 6 that didn’t have lands expropriated. From what is left of their land, more was taken. It’s good that you feel what we’ve felt this whole time.”

The head of Jisr a-Zarka expressed frustration as well. “You created a conflict with your own hands!” he told the head of the Hof Carmel regional council. “The state needs to solve Jisr a-Zarka’s problem!”

“Jisr a-Zarka has dropped to the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. It’s a powder keg. If no solutions are provided to the housing crisis and the crowding, the powder keg will explode,” he warned.

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) voiced strong opposition. “When a guest is in my home, I give him respect. As long as they understand who is the host, and who is the guest, everything is fine.”

“This debate is about national rights, not individual rights,” he continued. “We have to speak the truth: this is our land, not yours. You are guests. The minute that you are guests, you deserve every individual right. But when it becomes a national struggle – you do not deserve anything.”

Feiglin clarified his stance further, “If this were about transferring Jewish land to a Jewish village, I would agree, but if it were an Arab village, I would not. It’s a nationalist thing.”

His statements caused outrage among Arab MKs. “You’re a racist. You’re simply a racist,” accused MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad).

Zoabi said, “We don’t feel like guests, or refugees… The reason we are angry is that we are treated like guests.”

“You oppose any proposal to expand Jisr,” she continued. “You proposed just one solution – to build taller buildings within the town. Meaning, more crowding.”

MK David Azoulay (Shas) called on those arguing to take their debate elsewhere. “That debate does not belong here. The subject here is a technical matter,” he said.

He called on the Haifa regional planning committee to hear the case, and to listen closely to representatives from both towns.

The Daughters of Tzlafachad: True Lovers of the Land

A Torah Thought for 

Parashat Pinchas  

By Rabbi Chaim Richman 

The daughters of Tzelofchad are orphans from their father; a mysterious man who died of his own sin.  He did not participate in Korach's rebellion. Moshe sought Divine intervention to answer their question: Tzelefchad left no sons; the Land would be divided according to male heirs, but they wanted an inheritance, part of their father's portion in the Land of Israel. 

The women of this generation cherished the Land of Israel – they did not accept the spies' gossip. But these five amazing daughters of Tzelofchad were deemed by the Torah to be the finest representation of the women of their generation. The men said "Let's return to Egypt," but these women were looking forward to settling the Land. The Torah traces their lineage all the way to Yosef Hatzaddik…who is also known for his great love of the Land, requesting that "You shall bring my bones up from here." Even after the spies turned the hearts of the men against entering, and these women heard the complaints of "our wives and children will be taken captive," they still believed, and asked for a portion in the Land. This is the spirit of the brave mothers and daughters who are the backbone of Israel's communities today.

Rabbi Chaim Richman
Director, International Department
The Temple Institute
PO Box 31876 Jerusalem, Israel 

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Barred from Temple Mt., Moshe Feiglin 
Prays Today at Menorah Plaza

As I do on the 19th of every Hebrew month, I ascended to Jerusalem today - to the Menorah Plaza, where I could overlook the Temple Mount. The PM does not allow me to enter the Temple Mount, but it is important to me to continue knocking at its gates and to meet the growing numbers of people who carry on with their visits on this date. He who does not allow me to enter the Temple Mount as a Knesset Member will, with G-d's help, find me entering as Prime Minister. 

A Letter from Michael Fuah

 Shalom Dear Friends,
Almost two weeks have passed since I announced my candidacy for the chairmanship of the Likud Central Committee. The feedback has been very good and many local activists are joining my campaign and expressing their support. I am the only candidate who truly represents the voters. Each of the other fine candidates who have joined the race already holds a public position to which he is totally committed. This highlights yours truly as the person who will be totally committed to the Likud Central Committee; I will have the freedom to act for the good of the Committee without other considerations and I will also have the time and clean slate to do the best job possible.   

Our phone team has been getting tremendous response to my candidacy. Yesterday I received a very moving letter from a Likud veteran and former Irgun fighter that I would like to share with you:

June 19, 2013
To my brothers, members of the Central Committee, blessings and life!
I cannot remember a Likud term in office so liquid, weak and stormy; truly on eggshells! Foreign ideas and anti-nationalist and anti-Jewish forces have suffused the Likud. They attempt to take over key positions and erase our heritage – Jabotinsky’s legacy. I am 83 years old, but I still feel that I am Jabotinsky’s student. In my memory, I see myself as a pupil of my beloved commander, Attorney Dov Shilanski, of blessed memory, former Speaker of the Knesset during Shamir’s tenure. He was one of the bold commanders of the famous Altalena ship. With your permission, I will quote the vow of our teacher, Jabotinsky. This vow was imprinted on all the Betar membership cards that I “redeemed” for over fifty years. And now I hold the “Betar Faithful” membership card. The words of this vow show us just how distant we have become from Jabotinsky’s legacy. 
I have found among the members of the Likud an esteemed individual, Michael Fuah. He draws strength and daring from his faith in the justice of his cause. This faith gives him backbone to stand firm against all those who seek to destroy us from within and from without. 

One does not need a good imagination to understand what would have happened if we had not united with the Yisrael Beiteinu party. Would President Peres have left the scepter of government in the hands of Bibi Netanyahu? Thus, in our current fragile condition, we must choose a strong, faith-based man, who can unite our forces – particularly those who still attempt to walk in Jabotinsky’s footsteps. Thus, we will say to Michael Fuah, “You will be our leader!” (as the elders of Gilead said to Yiftach when in danger). Otherwise, we will find ourselves with no alternatives, on the edge of the abyss. Please, my brothers! Let us rise above our personal , egotistical interests and save “our home” from collapse. And we will stretch out our hands to one another to give young and new energies to a man experienced in politics, who knows how to skip over obstacles. 
The good G-d will help us to overcome the obstacles and the foreign forces trying to take over our home, and we will say “Enough!” to all the intrigues. 

The Vow
1. I will dedicate my life to the rebirth of the Hebrew Nation on both banks of the Jordan, East and West. 
2. I will make my personal benefit, and the benefit of my home and position subservient to the building of the Nation.
3. The Hebrew language will be my language and the language of my children, be it in Israel or the Diaspora. 
4. I will be ready to fight to defend my Nation and conquer my Homeland. 
5. I will be ready to enlist in the Beitar conscription, be it for the legion or for aliyah to Zion or to serve in the Diaspora – near or far!
6. I will obey the laws of Beitar and the orders of its commanders as I would the voice of my conscience, for the laws of Beitar are my ultimate desire, and its commanders are my teachers.
7. Remember what Amalek did to you.

Yours, my Beitar brothers, blessings and life!

Mordechai Ben Yosef

Please note: The elections for the heads of the Likud institutions, including Chairman of the Likud Central Committee will be on Sunday, 22 Tamuz (June 30). The elections will be held in 10 locations. Eligible voters (Likud Central Committee members only) will receive a notification on the location of their voting place by mail. 

We need many volunteers to campaign at the entrance to the voting stations on Sunday, 22 Tamuz/June 30.
To volunteer: 054-711-8181 or
We also need donations:

With prayers that G-d will direct us to do our utmost for the good of our nation,

To perfect the world in the Kingdom of the Almighty,

Michael Eldad Fuah

Just a Few Days Until the Most Crucial Likud Internal Elections in a Decade

Update from Shmuel Sackett 

Just a few days left to the biggest internal Likud elections in the last decade!   
Michael Fuah is running against Danny Danon for the Chairman of the Likud Central Committee and the race is getting tighter.   
One of Fuah's main points is that this job must not be done by an existing MK, nor anyone with an existing position in Likud, since this job requires a lot of time to do it right.   
Furthermore, someone who is already "in the system" will not have the ability - or courage - to stand up and do what is required.   
Someone like this will simply not be willing or able to challenge the Likud establishment and leadership on many key issues.   
With all due respect to our friend, Danny Danon, it must be pointed out that ALREADY TODAY Danon is:   
1) A member of Knesset
2) The Deputy Minister of Defense
3) Chairman of World Likud
4) Chairman of the Likud Congress
It is VITAL that the job of Chairman of the Likud Central Committee be someone, like Michael Fuah, who will work in this position FULL TIME and will not be worried about risking his position when it comes to challenging Netanyahu.   
Michael Fuah has shown his courage and his willingness to bring key issues to Likud's court - against the wishes of the establishment. It must be pointed out that the reason these elections are being held this Sunday is because one person in Likud sued the leadership in Likud's court and forced their hand. After a tremendous amount of pressure, this one individual succeeded in getting the Likud court to issue a ruling in favor of the membership and grant the vote. Who was this fighter and courageous Likud member who battled - and defeated - the existing establishment? MICHAEL FUAH!!!
This is what we need and it will not come from someone already deep in the system. 
Fuah is the man to do it and we need your support. 

This is the time for action!

DONATE NOW to Michael Fuah's campaign and be part of the Jewish leadership revolution!
Just a few days left!

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Pinchas 5773

Parashat Pinchas 5733

Written on the fast day of the 17th of Tamuz


These weekly messages are directed principally to our brothers and sisters in chutz la’aretz with the call that now is the time to return home. This week, I turn to a specific group who could correctly be described as the “chosen of the chosen” – kohanim – to consider their exclusive status in earnest and to draw the obvious and necessary conclusions.

What was the historic role of the kohanic family, and what is it today?

The answer, I believe, is found in the episode of Pinchas.

Pinchas was not a hero of the people. Rashi states that after killing Zimri ben Salu, Pinchas was condemned by “the tribes” for unlawfully killing the head of the tribe of Shimon, and many even called for severely punishing him.

But the rules of conduct and values we human beings set for ourselves, and the way we view and judge what we see, have no relationship with the way HaShem in His absolute truth judges us.

Not only was Pinchas not punished nor even condemned by HaShem, he was granted what no other Jew after him merited. He became a kohen after not being born one.

When Zimri was engaging in his sin and the halacha was that he had to be stopped at all costs, Pinchas took the dramatic step to kill Zimri though it placed his own life in jeopardy. In addition, while Moshe, Yehoshua, and the entire Sanhedrin stood by paralyzed at what was transpiring before their very eyes, Pinchas alone acted in accordance with what he had learned – those people involved publicly, or publicly known to be, in indecent sexual acts must be killed.

Pinchas had personally nothing to gain from what he did. On the contrary, he could have very easily been killed in the attempt. And by acting according to his conscience, even when the leaders were standing passively by, was a rare act of courage.

What led Pinchas to act was the welfare of Am Yisrael and its continuity as God’s chosen people.

Had Pinchas not killed Zimri, the wrath of HaShem would not have been contained, resulting in the most tragic punishment of the Jewish people.

For this, Pinchas was rewarded with a kohanic neshama that would be passed on from him to posterity.

Kohanim were always in the forefront of our nation’s causes, despite the fact that kohanim make up no more than 5% of the nation. The Kohen Gadol served as the spiritual head, the Mashiach Milchama anointed to accompany and encourage the troops as they went out to war. Ezra the Scribe was a Kohen, as were the prophet Yirmiyahu, the preferred members of the Sanhedrin, the Maccabim and so many of the leading rabbis in all generations.

The essence of the kohanic personality is to be responsible for the nation, overriding his personal interests.

Dear fellow Kohen,

If you earnestly believe that the Bet Hamikdash will once again adorn the Temple Mount, then your place is here and now to begin preparing in Eretz Yisrael. But, if the Bet Hamikdash is just a joke in your life – something your refer to in the prayers but in reality only equal to the wonderland of Alice – then you’re correct in staying where you are.

The holy Temple was entrusted to our kohanic ancestors, who in the Second Temple period did not respect their preferred status and corrupted the holiest precinct in the world.

Is it not our responsibility, as the continuation of the kohanic lineage, to correct that which was so perverted?

There is no more appropriate time than now, between the 17th of Tamuz and Tish’a Be’Av, to make the decision to come home where you belong.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Want prayers answered? Try this approach

By Tuvia Brodie

If you’ve ever gone to school, you know what it takes to be successful: pass tests. Sometimes, it’s the same for prayer.
Of course, school is easier. In school, you usually know when  tests occur and you know what you’re being tested on. With prayer, tests are surprises.
Don’t worry. You can prepare for tests. Master the preparation and the tests become easy; then, your prayers become powerful.
Here’s how it works: your preparation has two parts. First, you have to believe that G-d controls your life, not you. Yes, you must plan.  But you must also believe that G-d has the final say.
You must truly believe that. You will be tested on it.
Second, you must accept what G-d does—even if you don’t like it. You will be tested on this, too.
If you pass these tests, the answers to your prayers could surprise you. If you don’t pass the tests, well, don’t expect much.
It’s like school. If you don’t prepare for tests, what can you expect?
Here’s a real-life example of prayer and preparation in action. My wife and I finalized our aliyah plans during the winter of 2010—one of the snowiest winters in decades. By early March, everything on our street was snow-covered. One snowy morning, my wife left the house—and returned immediately. She told me to come outside.
I walked out with her. Outside, she pointed at one of our cars—an old green car we didn’t need and drove only occasionally-- parked in front of our house.
The green car was buried under snow, except for the back end. That part of the car was clean. The snow had been knocked off. The uncovered rear of the car was crushed. Obviously, someone had driven into it and then run off.
 The car’s insurance deductible was $1,000. The instant I saw the damage, all I could see was yet another unexpected pre-aliyah expense.   
Here’s a test: how would you have reacted?
I had a double reaction. First, I uttered an anti-social word. Then, almost immediately, I said, ‘No. That’s wrong.’ I looked up at the sky and said, ‘Look, HaShem. I’m sorry I said that. I know this is from you. I have no idea why you did this. I do not understand it. But I accept it. You are King. I am servant. I accept.’ My wife came over to me and said, ‘Gam zu l’tova’ (this, too, is for the good).
Prayer Secret number one: you must really believe that it is G-d alone who controls what happens to you.
Prayer Secret number two: you must accept whatever G-d does. Do you understand what ‘accept’ means? It means looking at your smashed-in automobile and truly accepting—without anger—that G-d has just given you another $1,000 expense at the worst possible moment.
If G-d is going to answer your prayers, He wants to know if you believe in Him. He will test for that belief.
That car was a test. For us, preparing for aliyah had become more expensive than we had thought. As expenses mounted, we prayed. That’s when we discovered the smashed car. In fact, soon after the car incident, things got worse, not better: our refrigerator died, my son’s new (used) car needed an expensive repair he couldn’t fully pay for, and the contractor preparing our home for sale told us he wanted more money. 
These were all tests. More than once during that snowy winter, I said,’HaShem, HaShem, we are joining you in Israel. I do not understand these troubles. I accept whatever you do. You are King. Help me with these extra expenses!’
I believe that G-d wants to answer our prayers. But he needs to see what we believe. He tests us.
It’s just like school: if you don’t pass tests, you don’t get anywhere.
Remember school? Your tests were important to you. G-d should be less important to you than school?
According to this approach to prayer, if you want prayers answered, don’t fail tests. During that pre-aliyah winter, we were tested—a lot. But we must have passed. G-d answered our prayers. He even did it in a G-dly way--by using the mundane world: he destroyed my green car (which was not essential transportation for us); He then sent a claims adjuster who ‘totalled’ the car; that prompted the insurance company to send us a check far greater than the car’s true market value; and that insurance check paid for all those extra expenses.
It’s as if G-d had said to us, ‘I will answer your prayer. If you pass your tests, I will cover those extra expenses. There’s just one thing. I cannot miraculously give you money. I have to take your green car; then you can have cash.’
Sometimes, that’s how prayers get answered.

"We've Handed over the Negev to Arabs"

(from Israel National News)

Tammuz 17, 5773, 25/06/13 11:42
Feiglin: We've Handed over the Negev to Arabs

Maverick Likud MK says Israel has forgotten it is descended from Sarah, not Hagar, whom Abraham expelled.

By Gil Ronen

MK Moshe Feiglin, a maverick member of the Likud faction, wrote Tuesday on his Facebook page that the vote for regulation of Bedouin lands in the Negev Monday was a defeat for the Jewish people.

"Last night, Likud and Bayit Yehudi handed over the Negev to the Bedouins,” he wrote. “The vote yesterday had nothing to do with the rights of the Bedouins. All of the courts had sent them packing. Nor was there any act of regulation there. I mean, they'll just take what the new law gives them and won't cede anything on their part.”

"The real question on the agenda was – whose land is this! Zoabi and Barakeh said so outright,” Feiglin wrote, in a reference to Israeli Arab MK's Hanin Zoabi (Balad) and Muhammad Barakeh (Hadash). “But the Jews chose, as usual, to hide their heads in the sand and deceive themselves, that this was a personal matter and not a national one.

"In the Bayit Yehudi, they did not even try to make their vote conditional on finding a solution to Amona first,” he added (Amona is a Jewish community north of Jerusalem that faces eviction orders – ed.). “If only one more MK [from Bayit Yehudi] had voted 'nay', and another one was either absent or recused himself, the law would not have passed.

"The nation of Israel has forgotten that this is its land,” Feiglin wrote. Israel has “forgotten that it is the son of the Matriarch and not the son of the servant-girl who was driven away into the desert at G-d's instruction,” he explained, in a reference to the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah and her lady's maid Hagar, who was the mother of Ishmael from whom the Arabs descended.

"Out of this state of mind, the Knesset voted yesterday in a way that was apologetic and fawning, vis-a-vis the son of the servant-girl who, in his insolence says – 'I am the lord of the land.'” (A midrashic reference, ed.)

"I voted 'nay', of course, but I feel no satisfaction,” he summed up. “Never was the fast of Tammuz 17 so tangible for me. The direct link to the destruction of Jerusalem is clear and plain. You gave up on the Temple Mount, you gave up on construction in Jerusalem, you have abandoned the Jews in the eastern section of the city, you have frozen construction in Judea and Samaria, and now you've given away the Negev.

"The Temple Mount, in the land, is like the heart among the body's organs. He who turns his back on the Mount, loses all of the organs.”

Friday, June 21, 2013

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Balak 5773

Parshat Balak 5773


We recite in the Shemoneh Esray prayer:

מלך עוזר ומושיע ומגן, ברוך אתה ה' מגן אברהם

The King who aids and preserves and protects (the Jewish people). Blessed are You the Protector of Avraham (and his descendants).

Implicit in this statement is that Hashem "aids and preserves and protects" along the periphery of Jewish history but does not complete those tasks which He has invested upon us. We are in need of His protection from those who would destroy us so that we can complete our historic mission.

To be continued.

Our Father in Heaven never ceases to amaze, astonish and surprise us by His "behind-the-scenes" genius as He guards and protects His people in Eretz Yisrael.

Rashi in his commentary to Shemot 1,22 relates that on the day when Moshe was born, astrologers informed Paro that according to the heavenly signs, the redeemer of the Jewish slaves had just been born. They also informed Paro that according to their sightings, this Jewish redeemer would eventually find his death by water. Paro immediately ordered that all the children born on that day, Jew and Egyptian alike, be drowned in the Nile River.

However, the astrologers erred on two counts in their interpretation of the signs. It would not be Moshe who would die by drowning, but rather the Egyptian army which would die by the waters of Yam Suf (Red Sea crossing). Moreover, if in the-then far future, the nation of Egypt should threaten the Jewish people again, the Egyptians would be punished by the waters of the Nile.


HaShem never forgets. The die was cast by the ancient Egyptian astrologers the demise of Egypt will come because of water.

The lifeline of Egypt runs through the Nile River - water for drinking and agriculture, but more so for the surging waters of the Nile as they cascade down the Russian-built great Aswan Dam that produces the electricity for the nation. The heartbeat of Egypt is coordinated with the whirling sounds of the Dam’s giant turbine motors.

God, our Father and Protector and by far the world’s greatest playwright, has brought about the situation whereby the Ethiopians are constructing a great dam upstream of the Nile, which will dramatically reduce the quantity of water reaching Egypt.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (sometimes referred to as Hidase Dam) is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, about 40 km (25 mi) east of the border with Sudan. It will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa, as well as the 13th or 14th largest in the world, with a reservoir of 63 billion cubic meters.
On 3 June 2013, while discussing the International Panel of Experts’ report with President Mohammad Morsi of Egypt, his political leaders suggested methods to destroy the dam, including support for Ethiopian anti-government rebels.

On 10 June 2013, President Morsi said that "all options are open" because "Egypt's water security can in no way be violated." He went on to clarify that this was "not a call to war" but that he would not allow Egypt's water supply to be endangered. At another opportunity, Morsi said, "If there is no Nile, there is no Egypt", and that they would fight if one drop of water is taken away from them.

In the north, the Syrians are ripping each other apart, and in the south Egypt will be too busy with their own tzarot to threaten the Jewish State. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and soon Iran will all be so absorbed in their own troubles to have time or energy to annoy Israel.

A coincidence? Or the Hand of God?

I have frequently quoted the Malbim’s commentary on Yechezkel 32,17 regarding the last great world war. The Malbim explains that Yechezkel saw a future coalition of Moslem and Christian nations against the Jews in Eretz Yisrael. And the prophet singles out Egypt as the first enemy nation to be destroyed, followed by the other enemies of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael.


Indeed HaShem "aids and preserves and protects" His people in Eretz Yisrael, as we have witnessed during the 65 years since the establishment of the State. However, it is not an altruistic act of kindness on the part of the Creator, but a necessary condition in His divine plan if we in Eretz Yisrael are to effectuate and implement four objectives which, I believe, He has placed before us.

1- To restore to world Jewry its self respect and hope for the future which were taken from us in the Shoah - as with the wretched dried bones of Yechezkel’s prophecy, which miraculously sprang to life.
This the Medina has succeeded in doing to a remarkable degree.

2- To breathe new life into the study of Torah after the destruction of the Torah centers of Europe. This the Medina has done, as we see in almost every corner of the land.

3- To prepare the land for the arrival of the Mashiach. Could one imagine that the Mashiach would come to a desolate land and enjoy his first meal in the Holy Land of dates and goat milk? Today, the Medina can boast of skyscrapers and the best and finest material benefits the world can offer, and will soon be the world’s new Silicon Valley plus.

4- The fourth objective of the Medina is to empty out the galut from its remaining Jews. Here our success has been great in the Moslem lands and with regard to the Jews of the former Soviet Union. The Jews in the more affluent countries of the West may not awaken in time to prevent individuals from turning into statistics.


Bil’am wished upon himself:
ותהי אחריתי כמהו
may my final end be like theirs!"

Bil’am knows that he will reach an end, but that the Jewish nation will never know an end.
The future of the Jewish people is undividedly entwined with the future of the Holy Land.
That is why Eretz Yisrael is called "Eretz HaChayim" - the land of the living.

Excerpt from the book With All Your Might 5770

Barring incidents of accidental death or premeditated murder, when is the moment in one’s life that can be pinpointed as the beginning of the death process?

Some claim that we begin leaving this world at the very moment we arrive here. While others set the time at around 18 years of age, when the body begins to lose more cells than it produces.

Whatever the answer, the exception is Moshe Rabbeinu, regarding whom the Torah writes (Devarim 34:7):
Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not dim nor was his strength weakened

The Torah testifies to the fact that Moshe was as physically vigorous and mentally astute at the age of 120 as he was as a young man, and showed no sign of aging.

So when did Moshe Rabbeinu’s death process begin?

There are several other issues that require clarification:

1- Why were Moshe and Aharon denied the privilege of entering the greater sanctity of Eretz Yisrael and condemned to die in the lesser sanctity of the eastern side of the Jordan River?

2- The episode of Korach and his followers occurred in the second year of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. The very next parasha, Chukat, propels us forward 38 years when the Jewish nation is about to enter Eretz Yisrael. There is a 38-year blackout between parashat Korach and parashat Chukat, when the Nation was encamped at Kadesh Barnea. Why?

3- In parashat Chukat, after the demise of Miriam and the disappearance of the ubiquitous well of water, the people come to Moshe with a request for water. Moshe is so furious that he calls them "Hamorim" - rebellious people. Moshe's reaction is far different than his reaction 38 years earlier, when these people’s fathers requested water and Moshe brought their demands before HaShem rather than speaking harshly of them. Why?

4- In parashat Chukat, Hashem commands Moshe to speak to a certain rock. Moshe disobeys and hits the rock, as he did 38 years earlier. Why?

5- HaShem informs Moshe and Aharon that their conduct at the rock will precipitate their death outside the primary area of sanctity on the western side of the Jordan River.

Hit the rock or speak to it - from the point of view of miracles it’s all the same. So why were Moshe and Aharon condemned to die without crossing the Jordan?

6- Thirty eight years earlier, Moshe had been commanded to hit the rock to bring forth water. Why did HaShem change the method now?

I submit:

After the death of the generation that left Egypt, and after 38 years of Torah study under the tutelage of Moshe, HaShem tells Moshe that the Jewish people have changed. The message is no longer a heavy handed, dictatorial leadership as expressed by hitting the rock, but a leadership that explains in Halachic terms how the nation should conduct itself.

But when Moshe heard the ungrateful, angry demands for water, he recalled the same blunt, irreverent demands of their fathers 38 years ago. In Moshe’s mind, nothing basic had changed, despite the 38 years of Torah study. The people’s rejection of HaShem’s intimate relationship, as expressed by their demand to return to Egypt, reminds Moshe of the cries and threats of that day long ago. And in Moshe’s mind, this rebellious conduct must be answered in the same way it was answered 38 years ago - by hitting the rock.

HaShem appears to Moshe and informs him that there is little apparent change in the people - but the reason for their stagnation is that in the mind of this second generation there is no motivation to change. They see in front of them the same leadership under which the sinners at the Golden Calf were killed; the leaders who were born in the exile of Egypt and oversaw the demise of 600,000 Jews who had sinned by refusing to enter the land. In the mind of the people nothing really happened to initiate change.

HaShem informs Moshe and Aharon that as long as they continue to lead the nation, the slavery experience of 210 years would always loom large in the national consciousness, and that this inferiority complex would prevent them from achieving spiritual greatness.

Hence, in order to enable the nation to reach their potential as free men and women, a new leadership would have to be appointed. The demise of Moshe and Aharon was predicated on this reality.

The rudiments of the Torah, as well as the nation’s new status as HaShem’s chosen people, were understood intellectually during the 38 years of study under Moshe and Aharon. However, the implementation was impeded as long as the slavery experience was still ripe in the nation’s consciousness. In the minds of the "newborn" Jewish nation, the staff in the hand of Moshe was a substitute for the punishing rods in the hands of the Egyptian overseers.

HaShem knew that the long and arduous road that lay ahead for the Jewish nation in the coming 3500 years must begin with a healthy and proud Jewish nation liberating the Promised Land under the flag of the Torah. Moshe’s staff, in its time, was necessary; but a people now under the dominion of Torah law required a new relationship with its leaders.

One thing is certain: In life, nothing remains the same. The challenges facing Am Yisrael become ever more complex, as our existence in the world of Yishmael and Eisav becomes ever more threatened. New leaders ascend the platform of history to guide Am Yisrael in our difficult uphill journey towards that yet unknown goal that was set by HaShem for His chosen people.

To return to the question of Moshe’s Rabbeinu’s demise.

We can define the exact moment of the onset of Moshe’s departure from this world. When Zimri ben Salu sinned in public, Moshe stood by not knowing what to do. At that moment, Pinchas recalled what he had learned from Moshe himself, that in these circumstances the sinners must be killed.

When Moshe lost his intimate connection with HaShem just at the moment when the nation needed him most, that was the sign from HaShem that the end was drawing near, and the time for Yehoshua to lead the nation in the liberation of Eretz Yisrael had begun.

The multitude of present day religious leaders who preach their personal divergent truths is tantamount to no leadership at all.

I am skeptical if a "world outlook" (hashkafa) of many of today’s religious leaders - formed and anchored in the thinking of our eastern Europe or North African or Middle Eastern galut experiences - holds the answers to the problems facing religious life in today’s Medinat Yisrael, with the return of Jews from over 100 countries and cultures.

What are the qualities of the "leader" so necessary today? The answer can be gleaned from the words of Rambam in Hilchot Melachim chapter 11:

If a king of the Davidic dynasty, who is erudite in the Torah and performs the mitzvot as David his father - both the written and oral Torahs - and influences the nation to return to the Torah and leads in fighting the wars of God, then he has the status of Mashiach. And if he succeeds in defeating our enemies and rebuilds the Bet Hamikdash and gathers in the remnant of Am Yisrael, then he is certainly the Mashiach.

From here we learn that the much sought-after leader for our time is (1) a talmid chacham, (2) a political figure, (3) a truly religious person, (4) a military man, and (5) a charismatic person.

A talmid chacham is one who has a wide and intensive yeshiva education. A political figure implies a secular education that permits him to walk in the great halls of the world’s capitals. A military person has military experience on the highest level. And a charismatic personality describes someone who is comfortable with all segments of our society.

If you were assigned the task to find a person who fulfills all the requirements as outlined by the Rambam, where would you look?

Would you start your search in the Ner Yisrael yeshiva in Baltimore? Or would you waste your time searching in the Satmar yeshiva in Williamsburg or in Square Town? Would Teaneck answer your needs or the yeshiva in Lakewood?

Could you find "the man" in Bnei Brak or in Meah Sha’arim? Searching all of the above, I believe would be frustrating experiences.

The first two I would begin with are Harav Avichai Ronsky, former chief rabbi of Tzahal and his successor Harav Rafael Peretz.

HaRav Ronsky was appointed to the position of Chief Rabbi of the Army from his seat as the head of the hesder yeshiva in the settlement of Itamar in the Shomron. Upon concluding his tenure of four years, he has returned to the yeshiva. He reached the rank of colonel while serving as a soldier and commander in the paratroopers, and was raised to the rank of brigadier general when becoming the Chief Rabbi.
The incumbent Chief Rabbi, Harav Rafael Peretz, attained the rank of colonel while serving as an air force pilot. He headed the hesder yeshiva in Atzmona before becoming the army’s Chief Rabbi, and is now a brigadier general.

There is another colonel (infantry about whom I prefer not to speak). In any event, he is not in the running for Mashiach because he is a kohen.

Dear Reader;
By now you will have understood where this week’s divrei Torah is going.

If it is demonstrations, power plays, monetary shenanigans, political intrigues that interest you, you will find many people with whom to vent.

But I suggest that you associate with the future leaders of our nation - bnei Torah who learn and fulfill the Torah in the most serious manner. Individuals who dedicate their lives, in love, to the rebuilding of our beautiful, beloved Eretz Yisrael and the revival of our people here in accordance with the Torah.

These future leaders implement the principles and details of the Torah in every walk of life – education, industry, agriculture, the military, social interaction and all the other facets of modern life, which bring honor to HaShem - this is what chazal called "Kiddush HaShem."

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana
Copyright 5773/2013 Nachman Kahana