Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Fiction that bars Jews from the Temple Mount

By Moshe Feiglin 
In his reply to the questions that I had addressed to Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino on the legal status of the Islamic Trust and freedom of access and worship for Jews on the Temple Mount, the legal advisor to the police, Brigadier General Shaul Gordon, wrote that in 1967, Israel’s government made a historic decision to allow the Islamic Trust (wakf) to control the Mount.

The truth is that no such decision exists. 

When the Knesset’s Interior Committee convened on Monday, 12 Tishrei (Sept. 16, '13) the Police could not produce any document testifying to the above government decision. As the decision clearly does not exist, I demanded, at the first stage, to close the Temple Mount to Moslems during the Sukkot holiday just as the Mount was closed to Jews for the month of Ramadan.

It is unacceptable that Moslem rioters control the Mount while Israel’s Police Force, which claims to be the sole authority on the Mount, allows them to continue to riot while preventing Israel’s Jewish citizens from freely accessing Judaism's holiest site.

The following is a short summary of the points made by the police in their answer to my query about the legal status of the Islamic Trust on the Temple Mount and my full response to the Commissioner:

To MK Moshe Feiglin
The Knesset 

Re: The Legal Status of the Islamic Trust on the Temple Mount

1. As I am the legal advisor to the Police, I have been authorized to answer your letter.

2. As you know, the decision to entrust the internal arrangements on the Temple Mount to the Islamic Trust is an historic decision of the government of Israel that was made in 1967. Israel’s Police Force is solely responsible for the preservation of law and order on the Temple Mount. This authority has not been delegated to any other agency.

3. Regarding your question about the relationship between the police and the Islamic Trust: Within the framework of its authority to preserve law and order on the Temple Mount, the Police are also in contact with the representatives of the Islamic Trust. 

Brigadier General Shaul Gordon
Legal Advisor



7 Tishrei, 5774

To: Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino

Re: The Status of the Islamic Trust on the Temple Mount

1. I received your reply, through Police Legal Advisor Attorney Shaul Gordon from 4 Tishrei 5774.

2. In paragraph 2, Brigadier General Gordon writes: “As you know, the decision to entrust the internal arrangements on the Temple Mount to the Islamic Trust is an historic decision of the government of Israel that was made in 1967.” As I am not aware of any government decision from 1967 that affords the Islamic Trust any authority on the Mount, I request that you display a copy of this government decision.

3. To the best of my knowledge, no such decision exists. From the protocol of the meeting of the Ministerial Committee in 5728 (1968) it is clear that they did not think that such a decision had been made. For example, I will quote from the words of Justice Minister Y. S. Shapira at the Ministerial Committee meeting on June 30, 1968: “We never announced that the Temple Mount belongs in its entirety to the Arabs. We never announced that Jews are prohibited from praying there; we never announced that Jews are prohibited from erecting a synagogue there.”

4. The entry arrangements to the Temple Mount enforced by Israel’s Police severely discriminate against non-Moslems and even more so against Jews, as is detailed in Manhigut Yehudit’s Special Report on Violation of Jewish Rights on the Temple Mount (26 Iyar 5773). This discrimination is based on the erroneous Police assumption that it is implementing a government decision. 

5. As such I request of you:
A. To immediately nullify all the orders that discriminate between Moslems and non-Moslems at the entrance to the Temple Mount and to allow free entry at all the gates to the Mount, in accordance with the law. 
B. To coordinate the arrangements on the Temple Mount only with public representatives who are subordinate to Israeli law.

6. As previous experience has shown that when legal claims do not carry their weight, security claims take their place, I would like to clarify that it is unthinkable that Israel’s Police Force allows Moslems to enter the Temple Mount from all its gates with no security check, while it demands a security check on all non-Moslems. A lesser form of discrimination at the entrance to the Ben Gurion airport, which demanded a security check only of those people who appeared to be Arabs, was nullified by the High Court. 

7. Parenthetically, I would like to call your attention to the fact that my questions regarding the legal status of the Islamic Trust on the Temple Mount were not addressed. This evasion of the issue endorses the fact that the Trust is not registered by law and acts against the law: by its very existence, by the fact that it pays salaries to its workers but does not pay taxes or social security, by the prohibition against money laundering and by its practice of forcing discriminatory arrangements against Jews or non-Moslems on the Mount on the basis of race. This is a badge of shame for Israel’s Police Force, which cooperates with this criminal organization and whose police officers accede to the whims of its employees.


Deputy Speaker of the Knesset
MK Moshe Feiglin

The Fallen Sukkah

A Torah Thought for Sukkot
By Rav Mordechai Rabinovitch
"On that day I shall erect the fallen sukkah of David and build it like the days of old" (Amos 9:11). This verse is the basis for the Sukkot addition to the Grace After Meals: May the Merciful One erect for us the fallensukkah of David. The Bible commentators explain that erecting the "sukkah of David" refers to the restoration of the Davidic kingdom.

But this seems odd. Why, of all things, depict the Kingdom of David as a fallen sukkah? And even if one were tempted to describe the fallen kingdom as a fallen sukkah, surely the renewal of the kingdom should be more than the erection of a sukkah?! The very term evokes an image of a hastily constructed flimsy booth. Is that the appropriate metaphor for the kingdom we envisage at the time of the redemption? A temporary structure that with difficulty stands for seven days?

A fascinating possibility emerges from a comment of one of the early authorities. Rokeach (Hil. Sukkot [ed. Shneerson, p. 117]) writes that when the Torah (Vayikra 23:43) commands us to live in booths during the festival of Sukkot "in order that your generations may know that I settled the people of Israel in sukkot when I took them out of Egypt", the period referred to is the period of the conquest of the Land of Israel led by Joshua. He bases this on a verse in Shmuel-II 11:11, which indicates that during the conquest of the Land of Israel, the Jewish soldiers dwelled in sukkot. We are thus commanded to remember that the people of Israel having been liberated from Egypt, conquered the Holy Land by means of an army whose camps consisted ofsukkot.

We can now understand the significance of the promise given by the prophet Amos and the prayer that we add to the Grace After Meals. The 'fallen sukkah of David' refers to the military might of the Jewish people, the army being the obvious expression of renewed sovereignty. The army whose camps consisted of sukkahbooths, will be erected again one day, and all its former glory restored. And it is for this that we pray: that that army of King David be restored speedily in our days! 

Feiglin to question legal authority, legitimacy of Temple Mount Waqf

(from the Jerusalem Post)

Feiglin to question legal authority, legitimacy of Temple Mount Waqf

Groups lobby for Jewish prayer rights at Temple Mount during Succot after lack of access during Rosh Hashana.

The Knesset Interior Committee scheduled a hearing for Monday regarding preparations for Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount over Succot.

Groups lobbying for Jewish prayer rights at the site criticized the lack of access afforded to them over Rosh Hashana and are demanding that Jewish visits over Succot be enabled by police.

Access was restricted on the first day of Rosh Hashana and the site was closed on the second day to Jewish and other non-Muslim visitors when non-Muslims are generally not given access.

In general, access for Jews and other non-Muslims is strictly controlled, and police prohibit any non-Muslim prayer at the site as well as any outward demonstrations of religious worship, in accordance with the demands of the Jordanian Islamic trust, or Wakf, which administers the area.

MK and Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin, a longtime Temple Mount prayer rights advocate, is insisting that, in light of the problems encountered over Rosh Hashana, police must prepare adequately for Jewish access over Succot.

The MK highlighted specifically the closure of the Temple Mount to Jews and non-Muslims over the last two weeks of Ramadan. In light of this policy, exclusive Jewish access should be provided by police during Succot, he argued.

Feiglin also intends to publicly question the legality of the Wakf and its authority to administer the Temple Mount.

He recently sent a letter to the police, asking for clarification regarding the legal authority of the body, and subsequently challenged the reply that a government decision taken after the Six Day War authorized the Wakf to continue running the site.

“To the best of my knowledge, there is no such decision, and from a reading of the words of the ministerial committee in 1968, it is clear that they thought there was no such agreement,” Feiglin wrote to Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino.

Feiglin quoted then-justice minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira, who said at a committee meeting in June 1968: “We never announced that the entirety of the Temple Mount belongs to the Arabs.

We never announced that it is forbidden for Jews to pray there. We never announced that it is forbidden for Jews to establish a synagogue there.”

Feiglin wrote that in the absence of such a decision, “all directives which discriminate between Muslims and non- Muslims regarding entrance to the [Temple] Mount should be immediately rescinded, and free entrance from all gates to the Mount be enabled, in accordance with the law.”

The MK also demanded that all Wakf stewards be removed from the site and raised questions about the Wakf’s legal status – questions, which he plans to raise at Monday’s committee hearing.

Feiglin claims the Wakf is not a registered institute in any state framework and therefore does not pay the appropriate taxes and national insurance contributions as required by law.

“It seems to me that this is a badge of shame for the Israel Police force to cooperate with this criminal organization and for its police officers to respond to the whims of its officials,” wrote Feiglin.

Restore Israeli Sovereignty on the Temple Mount

(English Subtitles)

Moshe Feiglin at the Knesset Interior Affairs Committee:
Restore Israeli Sovereignty on the Temple Mount

Israel’s Left, Democracy and the Temple Mount

By Tuvia Brodie

Jews pray every day for a return to the Temple Mount. That Temple is embedded in our blood. The longing for its return is built into our DNA.

But in the 1930’s and early 1940’s, Jews in Israel could not ascend to the Temple Mount.  They were restricted. They were forbidden. They were even restricted in their use of the Kotel, the Western Wall which is just outside and below the Mount area.

A t that time, before the State of Israel was born, there was little freedom of religion in Israel for Jews. There was no democracy in Israel. There was only the coercive rule of the British Mandate.

In the early 1920’s, the British had been given a Mandate—a responsibility—by the League of Nations. That responsibility was to create a Jewish National Homeland in Palestine. By the 1940’s—more than twenty years later—Britain still hadn’t fulfilled its Mandated responsibility.

Jews suffered. They were policed and beaten by British Gentiles who were often openly anti-Jewish.

Those days were dangerous for Jews. They were especially dangerous for those who wished to blow the shofar (ram’s horn) at the Kotel at the end of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Judaism’s holiest day.  

Today, Israel no longer bends under the weight of British coercion. Israel is a democracy. It believes in the rule of law, not the law of the strong.

Today, Jews at the Kotel do not fear being beaten by British police on Yom Kippur. Today, the Kotel is Jewish.

In June, 1967, in a war of miracles called, the six-day war, the Temple Mount once again came under Jewish control. There was jubilation. The sound of the shofar filled the air.

For the first time in almost 2,000 years, the Temple Mount was Jewish. In that fateful June 46 years ago, Jews danced with joy on the Temple Mount.

That was June, 1967. Today, Jews are restricted from and often forbidden from ascending the Temple Mount—not because of religious considerations (to honour the sanctity of the site), but because of Arab demands and Jewish police enforcement.

Jewish police protect the Temple Mount. But they do not protect it for the Jewish people. They protect it for the Muslim Waqf, who, the Jewish police say, is the true and only administrator of the Mount.

The Jewish police follow the orders of the Waqf. That’s why they restrict and often forbid Jews from ascending the Mount.

Two weeks ago, Member of Knesset (MK) Moshe Feiglin sent a letter to Israeli police. He protested police behaviour on the Mount. He questioned the legal authority of the Waqf.

Police official Paul Gordon replied to MK Feiglin saying that, in 1967, the Israeli government handed over management of the Mount to the Waqf (Arutz Sheva, ‘Feiglin—not for police to give Temple Mount to Waqf’, NewsBrief, September 15, 2013).

But according to both Arutz Sheva and blogger Israel Matzav (‘Israel’s right starts to fight back’, September 15, 2013), Feiglin wasn’t satisfied with that response. He believes the police are wrong.  

In a letter sent to Police Inspector-General, Yohanan Danino, MK Feiglin stated that, to the best of his recollection, there was no such decision made by the Israeli government in 1967.  In fact, he goes on to say, from a reading of notes from a 1968 Ministerial committee meeting, it appears clear that, by 1968, it was not the government’s understanding that the Waqf controlled anything on the Temple Mount. 

MK Feiglin quoted then-Justice Minister Yaacov Shimshon Shapira saying (in June, 1968) that, “We never announced that the entirety of the Temple Mount belongs to the Arabs. We never announced that it is forbidden for Jews to pray there, we never announced that it is forbidden for Jews to establish a synagogue there.”

MK Feiglin’s position is clear. He argues that, in the absence of any explicit government decision to hand over the Temple Mount to the Waqf, “all directives which discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims regarding entrance to the Mount should be immediately rescinded.”

He also questions the Waqf’s status as a legal institution in the State of Israel. He says that the Waqf’s office is not registered by the State. It does not pay its required taxes. It does not pay its required share of National Insurance contributions.

These are serious allegations. Israel is a democracy. Israel’s Left constantly reminds us that, in our democracy, religious institutions are not exempt from the law.

Yet it appears that the Waqf does not obey the law. It appears that the Waqf may have no legal authority over the Temple Mount. It appears that the Waqf’s discrimination against Jews is undemocratic.

Once, there was no democracy in Israel. Jews were discriminated against.

Today, Israel is a democracy. As the Left knows, in a democracy, discrimination is illegal.  

Will the Left support MK Feiglin? Or will it be more of "democracy for me but not for thee"?

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Sukkot 5774

Sukkot 5774
Part A:
At the onset of this new year 5774, my personal prayer is that Hashem should bless us to see the realization of what He revealed to His prophets regarding the future.
Read the following carefully, and you will realize that the newspapers are, in fact, merely elaborating on the prophecies.
Yeshayahu 17,1:
משא דמשק הנה דמשק מוסר מעיר והיתה מעי מפלה:
A prophecy against Damascus:
“See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.”
Yirmiyahu 49,23-27
לדמשק בושה חמת וארפד כי שמעה רעה שמעו נמגו בים דאגה השקט לא יוכל:
רפתה דמשק הפנתה לנוס ורטט החזיקה צרה וחבלים אחזתה כיולדה:
איך לא עזבה עיר תהלה תהלת קרית משושי:
לכן יפלו בחוריה ברחבתיה וכל אנשי המלחמה ידמו ביום ההוא נאם ה’ צבאות:
והצתי אש בחומת דמשק ואכלה ארמנות בן הדד
Concerning Damascus:
“Hamath and Arpad (cities in Syria) are dismayed, for they have heard bad news.
They are disheartened, troubled like the restless sea.
Damascus has become feeble, she has turned to flee and panic has gripped her; anguish and pain have seized her, pain like that of a woman in labor.
Why has the city of renown not been abandoned, the town in which I delight?
Surely, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,” declares the Lord Almighty.
I will set fire to the walls of Damascus; it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.
Yechezkel 30,4-8
ובאה חרב במצרים והיתה חלחלה בכוש בנפל חלל במצרים ולקחו המונה ונהרסו יסודתיה:
כוש ופוט ולוד וכל הערב וכוב ובני ארץ הברית אתם בחרב יפלו: פ
כה אמר ה’ ונפלו סמכי מצרים וירד גאון עזה ממגדל סונה בחרב יפלו בה נאם אדני ה’:
ונשמו בתוך ארצות נשמות ועריו בתוך ערים נחרבות תהיינה:
וידעו כי אני ה’ בתתי אש במצרים ונשברו כל עזריה:
A sword will come against Egypt, and anguish will come upon Cush.[a]
When the slain fall in Egypt, her wealth will be carried away and her foundations torn down.
Cush and Libya, Lydia and all Arabia, Kub and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt.
This is what the Lord says: The allies of Egypt will fall and her proud strength will fail.
From Migdol to Aswan they will fall by the sword within her, declares the Sovereign Lord.
They will be desolate among desolate lands, and their cities will lie among ruined cities.
Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I set fire to Egypt and all her helpers are crushed.
Chronicles 2 20,29
ויהי פחד א-להים על כל ממלכות הארצות בשמעם כי נלחם ה’ עם אויבי ישראל:
The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel
Zecharya 14,11
וישבו בה וחרם לא יהיה עוד וישבה ירושלם לבטח:
It (Yerushalayim) will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.
Part B:
The following is from my recent book, “With All Your Might” The three volume work is an effort (I hope which is not in vain) to encourage the return of our people to the land promised by the Creator solely to us. To return home not only because the Jewish communities of the galut (exile) are being condemned to extinction, but because it is the desire and command of HaShem that His chosen people be here.
An Allegory
Reb Yisrael and his sons erected their sukkah adjacent to the kitchen door of their palatial home in one of the Five Towns, as they had done for many years, in the past. But this year was different. Reb Yisrael had just learned from his rabbi that one of the reasons for residing temporarily in a sukkah is in case one’s destiny was decided on Rosh HaShana to be expulsion into galut, the departure from the comforts of home into the sukkah could be considered to be that galut.
Reb Yisrael, his wife and children left the warm comfort of their beautiful house and entered the sukkah with the knowledge that by taking up temporary residence therein, they would be absolved of any galut-related sins.
As the family continued to reside in the sukkah, they got quite used to the pleasant smell of the schach (branches used to roof the Sukkah) and the pretty pictures on the walls and the overhanging decorations, and were content to remain there even after the chag!
They were able to peer into their permanent home with its luxurious amenities, electrical gadgets, and state-of-the-art under-floor heating units, thick hanging drapes, lush carpets and much more, but entertained no interest in returning there.
As odd as it may seem, the family became accustomed to the crowded cold interior of the sukkah. Their relatives and neighbors tried to point out the irrationality of what they were doing, but the very idea that this was galut did little to encourage the family to return home.
When their rabbi came to visit, it was surprising that he encouraged them to remain in the sukkah rather than to return home, because it was in the sukkah that the family felt comfortable and closely knit.
In the meantime, several strangers noticed that the previously brightly-lit home was vacant, and they decided to move in as if it was indeed their own!
Reb Yisrael and his wife and children saw the strangers living in the house; but in veneration for the sukkah, they stubbornly bonded with the thin walls and dried-out schach and refused to leave.
The whole thing was so absurd. To leave such a beautiful home for the feeble, fallible construction of the sukkah, despite the fact that their beautiful home was beckoning them to return was beyond the understanding of any rational person.
Then came the stones thrown by the local anti-Semites who wanted to rid the neighborhood of this sukkah eye-sore. But Reb Yisrael and his family dodged them one by one and steadfastly remained in their fragile dwelling, rationalizing these acts as irrelevant nuisances.
Then came the terrible night when one-third of the sukkah was torched by the local bullies. Reb Yisrael and his family were aware of what was happening, but their minds had become so warped that no amount of reasoning could move them.
To them the sukkah was home and their home was galut. Eventually the sukkah came crashing down, killing Reb Yisrael and his entire family in their beloved galut!
I trust that it would be superfluous to explain that in this allegory the “home” is Eretz Yisrael, the “sukkah ” is the galut, and the “rabbi” is one of many who do not encourage their flock to return to Eretz Yisrael.
Chag Samayach
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5774/2013 Nachman Kahana

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Prayer You Must Say

By Shmuel Sackett

As Yom Kippur approaches, we all concentrate on our personal lives. We have personal Teshuva to do and many personal requests that we would like fulfilled. We will be begging Hashem to help people we love with shidduchim, parnossa, refuah (both physical and emotional), shalom bayis, fertility and success in all areas of life. We will be dovenning with all our hearts for Hashem to help us overcome our temptations, desires and yes: addictions – from all those modern gadgets that steal our time, energy and very life!

While these are all very important things to doven for on Yom Kippur (and every day during the year as well!) allow me to ask you to add something equally as important. This subject is vital but, for some mysterious reason, is not spoken about nearly enough and has almost fallen off our collective radar screen. I want each and every one of you to doven for the State of Israel. 

Sounds weird, right? When is the last time you heard a request like that? As stated above, we are all used to dovenning for sick people (who doesn't have their own list of cholim?). We doven for poor people and fellow Yidden stuck in various forms of mud. But when is the last time someone asked us to doven for Medinat Yisrael? Is there some kind of war headed that way? Are the Jews in Eretz Yisrael in dire need of assistance? What's going on?

My answer will shock you, but I like to "talk straight" so here goes. Baruch Hashem things in Israel are fine. Yes, we have our share of enemies around us (always had and always will) but they seem more interested in fighting themselves right now, so I am not worried. The reason I want you to doven for the State of Israel is because of what it will do for YOU – the Jew in the Diaspora, not for ME – the Jew in Israel. Allow me to explain.

Jewish life in America is moving more and more to the "right". Your Yeshivas are becoming stricter by the day and new "chumras" are being added all the time. I actually love all these things and am happy that our people are becoming more serious in observance and dedicated to Torah – except for one MAJOR point. Diaspora Jewry is falling into the trap of "The Shtetle" and Heaven forbid what will happen. Yes, I realize that the beautiful homes in Kew Gardens Hills, Teaneck, Hillcrest, Lawrence, Forest Hills and Woodmere don't look like ones in Polish shtetls and the shopping on Main St, Central Ave and Cedar Lane is far better than what our grandparents experienced in Warsaw but the idea is the same: Jews living – not as a NATION – but as COMMUNITIES. 

For 2,000 years we were scattered around the four corners of the world. We were individual Jews running from place to place like scared little mice. Finally, after many years of living as individuals, we succeeded in forming Jewish communities. We built yeshivas, shuls, mikvas, eruvs and chesed committees. What could have been better than that? I will be the first to admit that these communities held our people together and helped us grow! From these communities came great Rabbonim, wonderful seforim and minhagim that we keep to this very day. Throughout our history, the anti-Semite tried to destroy our communities – and in many cases he succeeded – but as a whole, we stayed strong and kept building and growing.

All this changed in 1948. Yes, 1948 – just 65 years ago – when Hashem gave us the greatest gift of the last 2,000 years… the State of Israel! What Hashem did for us on that day was something our people hadn't seen or experienced since the days of the second Temple: He gave us back the concept of the Jewish NATION. "Am Yisrael" returned from the dead – a real "Techiyat Ha'Meytim" on the NATIONAL LEVEL!!! 

Do you realize what has happened in these last 65 years? Our holy tongue has been revived, our inheritance has been claimed, our Land has been settled and today – 5774 – for the first time in 2,000 years; the majority of the world's Halachic Jews are living in Israel!! These facts cannot be ignored and we must give thanks and praise to the Creator of the world for allowing this to happen! Yes, the modern State of Israel has its share of problems and we will work hard to repair every one of them and to overcome our challenges, but we need to focus on the positive not the negative. We are back! The Jews have returned and that means "The Shtetle" is over. No more millions of individual Jews running around or thousands of Jewish communities dotting the globe. We are one people, living in one Land as the one Jewish Nation!

This is why you must pray for the State of Israel on Yom Kippur, even if your shul does not. You need to connect to the Jewish nation. You need to understand that there's a lot more to Jewish life than just shaking a lulav or eating Kosher. By dovenning for the State of Israel you will make it a part of you – an inseparable part of your body and soul… and the best day to do that is Yom Kippur. Why? Because on Yom Kippur we all start a fresh and clean page and I am suggesting that you start a new chapter as well! This new chapter will change your life because it will turn you from a communal Jew into a national Jew. 

A national Jew is one who does everything a communal Jew does, and a lot more! He/she helps decide on the leadership of the nation, assists in defending the nation, pays taxes to help build the nation, improves the economy of the nation, debates against those who speak against the nation and settles the nation with lots and lots of Jewish babies! Think about it for a second; who really cares if our community/shtetl in America grows and prospers? Sure it is nice to see a Jewish neighborhood grow and the number of kosher pizza shops (and sushi bars) multiply tremendously, but at the end of the day – does it really matter? I grew up in Middle Village, Queens where we once had a thriving Jewish community complete with shuls, butcher shops and bakeries. That Jewish community died out so my parents moved to KGH. I didn't shed one tear for Middle Village, nor will I for KGH when the inevitable happens in the future. Jews in the diaspora simply move around from place to place. What was yesterday's big Jewish community is today's museum and tourist attraction. 

You need to understand that all this is different in Israel. New kosher pizza shops in Ashdod are much different than new kosher pizza shops in Queens because Ashdod is where Jews live as a nation, not simply "The Queens Jewish Community". In essence, this is the meaning of how we end the Yom Kippur dovenning with those four powerful words: Next Year In Jerusalem. To me, those words are a prayer to Hashem which really mean the following: Our Father and King; please welcome us back to the palace. We have corrected our mistakes and can no longer live outside as princes disguised as commoners. We have found other princes and together we built a society that is modeled after the palace but we long and yearn for the real one. We can no longer fool ourselves and have come to the conclusion that our homes are a mere façade of what they should be. Please show us mercy and bring us home so that we can live a life of truth – a life as authentic princes in the palace of the king – as the one and only Jewish NATION! Next Year In Jerusalem!

So what happens when you solve the ‘Israel’ Problem?

By Tuvia Brodie

Palestine is not a state. It doesn’t exist. But don’t tell that to Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

For Abbas, Palestine doesn’t just exist; it exists in place of Israel. You see that in the occasional picture of Mr Abbas in his office or at a PA-sponsored gathering. In such pictures, Mr Abbas sits or stands proudly in front of a map that displays his new state. The map shows Palestine where Israel should be.

The United States may speak about peace ‘in the Middle East’. The European Union may speak of two nations living side-by-side in peace and security. But for Mr Abbas, peace means only one thing: Israel erased from the map.

Read the PLO Charter. Read the Hamas Charter. Listen to Arab TV: Israel will be erased!

Abbas is a like a proud pappa. He loves to talk about his ‘baby’, ‘Palestine’. He tells everyone there will be peace when Palestine replaces Israel.

The European Union, meanwhile, accuses Israel of rejecting peace. The UN accuses Israel of causing unrest throughout the Middle East. Everyone agrees: solve the ‘Israel’ problem and there will be peace.

Okay, let’s solve that problem. Take Israel off the map. Destroy the Jewish state. Put ‘Palestine’ in its place.

Now, with Israel gone, answer these questions: does oppression against Arab citizens in Gaza suddenly stop? Do human rights abuses in Arab countries end?  Is there now peace, security and economic stability in the Middle East?

For answers, look at Egypt, Syria and Libya. With Israel gone, will those violent streets become quiet? With Israel gone, will the enmity Arab citizens feel towards their respective governments evaporate? With Israel gone, will Arab countries become instantly peaceful?

If Israel disappears, the streets of the Middle East will not magically fill with Audis and Mercedes automobiles. They will choke with donkeys and sewage.

Israel is the Middle East’s lifeline to survival. It offers modern health-care, high-tech innovation and advanced education—everything Arabs need to survive in the 21st century. Israel demonstrates how a tiny nation with virtually no natural resources can become one of the strongest Developed nations in the world. Israel is the model for survival in the Middle East.

By contrast, the Arab world wallows in sewage-soaked poverty. If Israel disappears, that poverty will only get worse.

Israel in the Middle East is an economic iceberg: you see only the tip of its influence. Israel’s vitality affects everyone on its borders:  Jordan learns how to farm the desert. Egypt learns how to manage the Sinai. The Palestinian Authority learns how to build a city. All of that evaporates if Israel disappears.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), on the other hand, offers nothing. It’s a taker, not a giver. It receives billions in hand-outs from around the world—and billions land in the pockets of its leaders.

Where are the PA sewage treatment plants? Where are their power plants? Where is their water infrastructure? They don’t exist. All of it comes from Israel.

In the PA, men who kill Jews and get sent to Israeli prison for their crimes receive up to $3,400 US dollars a month from the PA—while PA security officers earn an average equivalent of   $850 - $1,150 US a month ( Gil Ronen, “MK: Jailed PA Murderers Make $3,400 a Month”, Arutz Sheva, August 11, 2013). As Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) puts it, “There is a very problematic message here” when killers make more than three times the average Security officer. The message is not one that promotes peace between Arab and Jew.

Because so many PA Arabs work for Jews, PA unemployment will skyrocket the day Israel disappears. PA businesses that rely upon Jewish contracts will collapse.

In a Middle East characterized by incompetence, Israeli competence creates survivability. For example, in Arab countries bordering Israel, water problems turn farmland into desert. In Israel, water ingenuity turns desert into farmland.

The Oslo Accords stated explicitly that Arafat’s new Arab state must seek economic cooperation with Israel. The International Monetary Fund recently repeated that cooperation with Israel is crucial to the new state’s survival.  But any Arab who partners with an Israeli business is attacked. He is not allowed to seek ‘normalization’ with the hated Jew.

Arab leaders reject cooperation. They reject economic survivability. They want ethnic cleansing.  

When you solve the ‘Israel’ problem by destroying Israel, you destroy the 16th most Developed nation in the world. You destroy a technology-innovation powerhouse (1st in its region, 14th in the world). You destroy your future.

Destroy Israel and you replace it with a bankrupt beggar with billionaire leaders and citizens living with open sewage. That’s not a dream-come-true for the average Arab. It’s his worst nightmare.

It’s the nightmare the world wants. It’s the nightmare the world says will solve the ‘Israel’ problem. It’s a nightmare that would destroy the Middle East and then the world.

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Yom Kippur 5774

Yom Kippur 5774
Part A:
On Yom Kippur, we recite the “vidui hagadol” (the great confession) beginning with the words
על חטא שחטאנו
It includes the whole spectrum of the individuals implemented and potential wrong-doings, and is the first stage in the teshuva process. However, there is one grave and austere sin which, for some reason, is not included in the list, which I will point out later (murder is not included in the list because murder is an Aisav and Yishmael trait but not of Yitzchak).
Part B:
This Yom Kippur we will solemnize the fortieth anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, with its 2500 martyred Jewish soldiers and many more wounded and anguished lives.
It is popularly accepted that at 1:45 in the afternoon, Egypt and Syria perpetrated their “Pearl Harbor” surprise attack on the State of Israel, taking advantage of the low preparedness of the nation on its holiest day.
This is false! As I know from my personal experience.
In 1968, I was drafted into Tzahal. At the end of the three month basic training, I was informed by the captain that I will assigned to be a rav tzva’ie (military chaplain). I told him that in civilian life I am a rabbi, but in the military I want to be a combat soldier (we had 4 children at the time). He responded by testing my sincerity, that if I insisted on being combat material, he will assign me to the Suez Canal where the bitter “War of Attrition” was taking place. I told the captain that whereever I am needed, I will go.
I was assigned to an anti-aircraft unit which was part of the artillery forces. A few months later, the entire anti-aircraft section was transferred to the Air Force, and I found myself to be a small clog in the great machine called the Israeli Air Force.
At 6:30 on the morning of that Yom Kippur in 1973, my brother Meir z”l and I were walking to the bet knesset, when suddenly there appeared overhead two air force Skyhawk planes loaded down with ordnance – bombs and missiles.
I said to Meir that something is going on because these planes never fly over Yerushalayim, and most certainly not on Yom Kippur.
That was at 6:30 A.M. seven hours later, at 1:45 we received the explanation. War! Surprise attack on our holiest day!
Soon after, soldiers started arriving in the bet knesset with immediate draft notices for many of the men. I was waiting for my call up, but to my increasing frustration it did not come. It was very distressing, because the first reservists to be called up in times of emergency are the anti-aircraft.
At 4:00 A.M. a soldier arrived at my home with the orders to report to my base in Hertzalia. After saying shalom to my wife and children I departed to the unknown. At 7:00 A.M. I arrived at the base, but it was not the base I had known for years. The base was always a beehive of activity with hundreds of soldiers in various stages of training. On the morning of my arrival we were 25 soldiers.
Then the awful truth became revealed.
The soldiers who lived in the area of the base – Tel Aviv, Hertzalia etc., were called up on Friday afternoon, and by night fall they were all at their positions in the Sinai.
We who were now at the base were soldiers who lived in Yerushalayim, Haifa etc., who would have taken too long to arrive at the base on Friday and would have held up the others who had to be in the Sinai as soon as possible.
We remained on the base until Monday evening when we were released, and told to be prepared to replace the soldiers who were now in Sinai; which did not happen.
I traveled back to Yerushalayim in an army truck. It stopped at Bet Dagan to pick up soldiers, including two women soldiers who were radio operators returning from the front. They informed us that after 2 days of fighting, we had already sustained the impossible number of 2000 dead.
The Yom Kippur War was not a surprise attack. It was part of an agreement between Israel, the US, Egypt and Syria. The deal was that Egypt and Syria would make a limited attack in order to gain some ground from Israel. This victory would be sufficient to restore the lost honor to the Arabs, and pave the way for peace talks.
But here was the betrayal. The Egyptians and Syrians did not keep their side of the agreement. They attacked and instead of limiting their advance they continued almost unimpeded, until Israel was able to call up the reserves.
Part C:
I wrote above, “There is one grave and austere sin which, for some reason, is not included in the list (of Al Chet). The sin is our relying on the promises of foreign nations and gentile “friends,” rather than on HaShem. Many lessons can be taken from the Yom Kippur War, but perhaps the most essential one is: do not trust what a goy promises you. We Jews have only two entities in whom we can rely one: Our Father in Heaven and our fellow Jews.
As the prophet Hoshea states (chapter 14) we cannot rely upon allies, such as Assyria or Egypt, the two super powers of the time, but only on HaShem:
שובה ישראל עד ה’ א-להיך כי כשלת בעונך: קחו עמכם דברים ושובו אל ה’ אמרו אליו כל תשא עון וקח טוב ונשלמה פרים שפתינו: אשור לא יושיענו…
1 Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall!
2 Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.
3 Assyria cannot save us…
King Tzidkiyahu’s reliance of Egypt against Bavel paved the way for the destruction of the first Temple, and our early reliance upon Rome brought about the destruction of the second Temple.
I have reason to believe that our political leaders of today know the harsh truth, that our friends are not real friends but our enemies are real enemies.
אבינו מלכנו בטל משחבות שונאינו
אבינו מלכנו בטל עצת אויבינו
Our Father and King nullify the intent of those who hate us
Our Father and King nullify the advice of our enemies
Part D:
The Mishna (Ta’anit 26b) states that Yom Kippur was one of the two happiest days in the Jewish calendar year, the other being the 15th of Av.
אמר רבן שמעון בן גמליאל לא היו ימים טובים לישראל כחמשה עשר באב וכיום הכפורים… ובנות ירושלים יוצאות וחולות בכרמים ומה היו אומרות: בחור! שא נא עיניך וראה מה אתה בורר לך…
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said, there were no happier days in Yisrael than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur… when the daughters of Yerushalayim would dance in the vineyards in order to present themselves to the young men (potential suitors).
Yom Kippur was not the solemn day we feel now but rather a time of rejoicing, when the young women of Yerushalayim would dance in public in full view of eligible young men. And the Gemara explains that the source of joy was the knowledge that HaShem would forgive the Jewish people on the holy day of Yom Kippur.
In these days preceding Yom Kippur, many thousands of Israelis stream to the Kotel via the Jewish Quarter. In the Churva Square of the Quarter, most groups stop to sing and dance religious and Israeli songs, in the spirit of the above Mishna.
Basically, Israelis are happy. The source of our happiness is the knowledge that we were chosen by HaShem to live the life our fathers dreamed of for 2000 years – not the nightmare of galut.
This deep seeded optimism explains why the Israel fertility rate is higher than that of any other country in the developed world, and the only fertility rate substantially above replacement.
I cannot elaborate on why Israelis have a high level of satisfaction in life, because for us in Eretz Yisrael it is natural, but for those who are far away no explanation could suffice.
Shabbat Shalom and Gemar Chatima Tova
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5774/2013 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Rosh HaShana 5774 and Parashat Ha’a’zienu 5773

Rosh HaShana 5774 and Parashat Ha’a’zienu 5773
HaRav Moshe Isserlis (RaMa) in his annotations to the laws of Rosh Hashana in the Shulchan Aruch quotes the Tur (Rabbeini Yaakov ben Asher):
ויש נוהגין לאכול תפוח מתוק בדבש ואומרים: תתחדש עלינו שנה מתוקה
There is a custom (on Rosh HaShana) to eat an apple dipped in honey and say, “May we be blessed with a sweet year”.
A pleasant custom, one might think; however, it goes beyond wishful thinking for the future.
There is another beautiful custom regarding honey. In many schools here, when the children receive their first siddur or chumash a drop of honey is placed on the first letter. The children are told to kiss the first letter, and the initial feeling of sweetness remains with them their whole lives – the sweetness of Torah and tefila.
Eretz Yisrael is referred to in the Torah 15 times as, “The land of milk and honey”.  Although the intent there is to the sweet nectar which seeps from the date fruit, but sweet is sweet, whether from honey or from dates.
Why is all this attention being paid to sweetness?
There are inordinate ways that a person can relate to life and its untold multiplex situations. Some life situations bring sadness, others bring joy, as described by King Shlomo (Kohelet 3):
(א) לכל זמן ועת לכל חפץ תחת השמים: ס
(ב) עת ללדת ועת למות עת לטעת ועת לעקור נטוע:
(ג) עת להרוג ועת לרפוא עת לפרוץ ועת לבנות:
(ד) עת לבכות ועת לשחוק עת ספוד ועת רקוד:
(ה) עת להשליך אבנים ועת כנוס אבנים עת לחבוק ועת לרחק מחבק:
(ו) עת לבקש ועת לאבד עת לשמור ועת להשליך:
(ז) עת לקרוע ועת לתפור עת לחשות ועת לדבר:
(ח) עת לאהב ועת לשנא עת מלחמה ועת שלום:ס
There is a time for everything, and a season for every emotion under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
However, within the content of each of our lives one idea should reign supreme – Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, has selected only us from among all the 7 billion people now occupying the planet to be His chosen people. He brought us out of the impenetrable walls of Egyptian slavery. He split the churning sea to let us cross, and drowned our enemies in its waters. He appeared before us at Mount Sinai when He gave us the Torah, and held our hands while we traversed the barren desert for 40 years. He watched over us for 1300 hundred years in Eretz Yisrael, before punishing us for our betrayal of His Torah. He was with us in the darkest of night in this 2000 year galut and brought us home to Eretz Yisrael, where the majority of halachic Jews now live.
The intimate relationship which exists between the Creator and His people Yisrael, as attested to by our surviving the hated galut and our return to the Promised land, should create within every authentic Jew a sense of sweetness, despite the stress we may feel within the tiny universe of our personal lives.
In the waning hours of 5773, I humbly wish all of the readers of these weekly divrei Torah, those who agree with the spirit of the words and those who reject it, may each merit a sweet year of good health and yir’at shamayim.
And forever know, that despite our differences, we are forever brothers and sisters with a shared past and a shared future in Eretz Yisrael. And here we shall welcome the Mashiach, and be part of the grand prophecies of old as they usher in a new world at whose center will be the Bet Hamikdash in Yerushalayim.
Ketiva va’chatima tova
Nachman Kahana

Our Rosh HaShana Challenge

By Tuvia Brodie

Israel has problems. The European Union wants to boycott us. The United States wants to pressure us. The Arabs want to kill us.

But despite these problems, Israel stands on the threshold of greatness. Look at us. Our economy is one of the strongest in the world. Our research and development is among the best in the world. Our number of patents per capita is among the best in the world.
We are a world leader in business start-ups per capita. Our military is strong. Our recent oil/gas discoveries make us, potentially, the world’s number one energy country.

Greatness lies before us. It’s close enough to touch.

For more than 100 years, Zionism was driven by the desire to ‘be like everyone else’. But we must now re-invent that dream.  We have begun to separate ourselves from ‘everyone else’.

Look at everyone else: in Europe, the PIGS—Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain—have economies that are on the verge of collapse.  The European experiment with multiculturalism fails. Their social experiment threatens to destroy Europe.

In America, the value of the dollar teeters. China—which controls an enormous portion of US debt—threatens to destabilize America’s debt structure. The International Monetary Fund begins to think about dropping the dollar as the international currency of choice.

In the Middle East, the Arab Spring has become a season of destruction. In the Far East, Japan faces a nuclear melt-down.

Israel has none of this. Why should we desire to be like everyone else? They falter. We don’t.

Yes, America was once great. She began almost two hundred and forty years ago with a singular idea. This idea was called ‘American Freedom’. Not everyone believed it. Not everyone wanted it. Not everyone accepted it. But enough people bought into it that a critical mass was formed—and the American idea of Freedom energized a nation to greatness.

But what worked for America in 1776 does not work now. America falters. She begins to unravel. She no longer inspires.

Now consider Israel. Our nation is like the human soul, driven by inner struggle and conflicting aspirations. But this is not bad news; it is good news. This struggle, these aspirations are the key to our greatness. We are willing to struggle. We yearn. We dream.

The Days of Awe begin tomorrow. Tomorrow, we must remember that greatness: it is no dream.

To borrow from Yoram Hazony (The Jewish State, Basic Books, 2001), if Israel is to become great we must commit to a singular, unifying ideal that can energize our national soul. We need an ideal not just for today or next year; we need an ideal that can be preserved from one generation to the next. This ideal must be robust enough to be applied across centuries. It must be vibrant enough to become a living tradition that can take root in the mind---and grow stronger with each generation.

Without a unifying ideal, we will never cross the threshold of greatness. We will become like everybody else. We will falter.

The multiculturalism of Europe and the Americanism of the US and the Communism of Russia all falter. The fascism of Hitler and the Totalitarianism of Stalin have failed. Where do we find our ideal? Do you know?

 Can you name an ideal that can grow and strengthen from generation to generation?  Does such an ideal even exist?

For the last two hundred and forty years—since the birth of America--Man has tried communism, socialism, fascism, totalitarianism, anarchy, chaos, monarchy and democracy.  Everything man’s mind can create, we have tried.

All of these ideas have worked—for a time. Then, they falter.

There is, however, one idea we have not tried. It is so powerful, it frightens grown men. It frightens men because man cannot control it; and when you believe that all power lies only in the hand of man, then the one thing that frightens you most is giving up control.

Man is that self-centered. He is extraordinarily selfish. He will not accept something he cannot control.

Man’s belief is simple. If I cannot control it, he says, I reject it.

Dare we speak of such an ideal? Certainly, Israel’s media won’t. Israel’s academics won’t. Israel’s political leadership won‘t.

Do you know about this ideal? The signs of it are everywhere.  But not everyone believes it. Not everyone wants it. Not everyone accepts it.

Nevertheless, Israel is close to a critical mass. More and more Jews embrace this unifying ideal. They live it.

It is Torat Hashem—the Jewish Heritage. It lasts longer than anything Man has ever created. It is the only ideal that is stronger today than two hundred and forty years ago.

This is our Rosh HaShana awakening: if we want greatness, we must choose Torat HaShem. The challenge is, do we have the courage to make that choice?