Friday, November 29, 2013

The Fear of G-d Barometer

A Torah Thought for  Parashat Miketz
  By MK Moshe Feiglin
And Joseph said to them on the third day, 'Do this and live, I fear G-d.' (From this week's Torah portion, Mikeitz, Genesis 42:18)
"For I said, there is no fear of G-d in this place, and they will kill me." (Abraham in Genesis 20:11)
Joseph understood the same thing understood by his great-grandfather, Abraham. Joseph's brothers have nothing to worry about. They can leave Simon with the stern Egyptian ruler and be sure that no harm will befall him, for he has a G-d: "I fear G-d." 
True fear of G-d is the foundation upon which everything rests. There are people who fear G-d, but are unaware of it. There are people who declare that they have fear of G-d, but in truth, it is non-existent. Only G-d knows what is in our hearts. But ultimately, without fear of G-d, everything collapses. There are no borders to separate between good and bad. There is no permissible and forbidden, no moral coordinates with which to navigate the challenges of life. Reality sinks into confusion, into chaos and disarray - into death. 
The greater the potential, the greater the sensitivity. A state of the art fighter jet is much more sensitive and can be ruined much more easily than a simple rifle. Regular countries can survive for long periods of time even if their leadership lacks fear of G-d. But the State of Israel is different. Without fear of G-d, the amount of time it takes for it to lose the legitimacy for its very existence - is very short.
The Nation senses this and is seeking G-d.
With His help, we will soon have leaders who reflect the will of the Nation.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah

Moshe Feiglin in the Knesset: The Red Line on Iran is Here

“This week we witnessed the collapse of the preconception that has guided Israel’s strategy for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. That is entirely clear and we all agree on that point. If we ask ourselves when it was technically and tactically easier for Israel to attack Iran and when we enjoyed more international support for an attack – 10 years ago or now – the honest answer must be that today it is much more difficult. In other words, Israel’s strategy has collapsed. I spoke about this at length, wrote about this at length and I do not want to repeat it as I would like to touch upon a point that I would like to discuss now, sir, within the framework of this deliberation. 

We are used to thinking that the ‘red line’ on Iran is some sort of uranium enrichment: In other words, a technical red line that reflects Iranian capabilities. I think that that is a major mistake. The process of the destruction of the Jews that we know as the Holocaust did not begin in 1939 with the start of World War II. The Holocaust began in 1933 when the leader of a large and important country was elected and from his Reichstag, announced his intention to destroy the Jews. The red line is when a head of state declares his intention to destroy the Jews. From that moment, the clock begins to tick and the very right of the Jews to exist is questioned. That is the red line and we do not have to wait for a technical, enrichment red line to understand that we have crossed it long ago. Thank you.”

Jewish Physics and Unified Field Theory: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Miketz and Chanukah 5774

Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Part A:
Albert Einstein labored unsuccessfully to determine what he called the “Unified Field Theory”, which combines the fundamental forces of physics into a single theoretical framework.

We find a similar attempt at unifying the principles underlying the holy Torah.
The Gemara (Makot 24a) quotes the prophet Chabakuk (chap. 2) who condensed the entire Torah into one sentence:
וצדיק באמונתו יחיה
And the righteous person shall live by his faith (belief)
What did the prophet mean by “Faith”? Faith in what?

Obviously it was that faith which provided the Macabbim with the courage to do battle against the Greek superpower. And the faith that fortified us with the tenacity to survive the unspeakable galut of 2000 years. And the faith that brought us back to Eretz Yisrael, expel the brutish British and declare national independence. And the faith which drives us to create a Torah empire not seen since the time of the Tannaim.

And that faith which drives us to create a Gan Eden in the midst of the Middle East Arab Gehenom.

One might answer that the object of our faith is the single omniscient God who created the worlds. However, many gentiles share our belief in God, yet the prophet would not deem them “tzadikim”!

So, indeed, what is the object of our faith that so empowers us to be what we are and that evoked the prophetic proclamation of Chabakuk, “And the righteous person shall live by his faith?”

It is the Jewish unified field which brings together all Jews and all things Jewish. It is the unremitting, enduring, unvarying knowledge resonating in every pure Jewish heart that we are God’s chosen people.

Three times a day we recite in Aleinu Le’sha’bay’ach.
It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to exalt the Creator of the universe, who has not made us like the nations of the world and has not placed us like the families of the earth.Who has not designed our destiny to be like theirs nor our lot like that of all their multitude.

Through Aleinu we declare our conscious knowledge that we are God’s chosen people. The selection of the Jewish people as a distinct entity apart from the “family of nations” is apparent in the two essential miracles of Chanuka – the military victory and the miracle of the menorah.

The military victory was visible for all to see. The miracle of the menorah transpired in the privacy of the Temple’s sanctuary (kodesh). The visible miracle was for the world to realize our special connection with the Creator. The miracle of the private and enclosed menorah expressed the intimate relationship between HaShem and His people.

Picture a wedding scene with 1000 guests in a palatial hall. The food, the music, the speeches, the tears of happiness and blessings for a long happy life – its all there.

By midnight, the band has already gone, the waiters have cleaned off the tables, the last of the guests have left and the lights dimmed. At this special moment, the chatan and kallah – alone for the first time this night – walk to the middle of the floor and dance with the intimacy of their thoughts.

This is what it means to be the chosen one of HaShem. Rabbi Akiva said that all the holy writings of the TaNaCh are kodesh (holy), but Shir HaShirim (the Song of Songs) is kodesh kadoshim (holy of holies.) It is a metaphor expressing the relationship between HaShem and the Jewish nation as a chatan and kallah.

The intimacy of HaShem and His chosen kallah was designated to be in Eretz Yisrael. It is only here that ne’vua (prophecy) was possible.

The vast majority of the people in Eretz Yisrael today, including the non-observant, admit that there is a special relationship between us and the Almighty. That this relationship, in their mind, does not necessarily require one to refrain from driving on Shabbat is what differentiates the dati and non-dati – but not the way we define ourselves as the chosen ones of God.

The litmus test of this belief is the declaration of Aleinu:
Who has not designed our destiny to be like theirs nor our lot like that of all their multitude.

When a Jew chooses to live among the gentiles, by necessity their destiny will be his. If you believe that we are HaShem’s chosen people, and hence our destiny is a privileged one, why are you living among the goyim?

Ask your rabbi or rosh yeshiva how can he recite “Aleinu” while refusing to cast his lot and destiny with his brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael.

Part B:
A student at the Hebrew University was noticeably affected while reading the Bible . When his professor inquired about what had so aroused his enthusiasm, the young man replied that it was the story of the parting of the Red Sea. The professor, who was not Torah-observant, told the young student to relax, because, according to the scientists, the Red Sea at that time was, at most, ten centimeters deep. A few minutes later, the young student became even more enthusiastic about what he was reading, and again the professor asked for the reason. The student replied, “What a great God we have. He was able to drown the entire Egyptian army in just ten centimeters of water.”

I can understand that, as a man of logic and reason, the professor would see some of the episodes related in the Torah as outlandishly fantastic. Including the episode in parashat Lech Lecha, which relates how Avraham and his 318 student-soldiers vanquished the allied forces of four major kings with their trained and battle-veteran troops. But the dilemma regarding this battle begins much before the final victory.

There was a military alliance of four powerful kings: King Amrafel of Shin’ar, identified as Bavel (Iraq); King Aryoch of Alasar; King Kadarla’omer of Elam, identified as Persia; and King Tidal of Goyim, identified as the head of an alliance of many smaller states.

It would be logical to conclude that these four kings were on their way to further conquests after defeating the five kings of the Jordan Valley. The entire region was under threat of conquest; because after their stunning victory in Eretz Yisrael, the four kings were not going home to relax – for nothing succeeds more than success. On this background, it would be safe to assume that the region’s nations, such as Egypt and the countries of North Africa and Asia Minor, were sharpening their spears in preparation to defend their countries.

But nothing of the sort is recorded in the Torah. Quite the opposite! The only force that gathered to make battle with the four kings was Avraham and his 318 student-soldiers.

Our highly respected professor in the above story would be justified in casting doubt on the reliability of the biblical account of Avraham’s battle against these four powerful kings, except for one undeniable fact! A similar scenario is taking place today under our very noses.

The civilized world is being threatened by the enemies of basic human rights, led by the Islamic-fascist state of Iran. The mad leadership of Iran belongs to the Islam sect of Shiites that believes that their last Imam, who is their Mashiach, will appear only on the background of a universal catastrophe. And it is the mission of Iran to bring about that horrific catastrophe that is driving the Iranians to forge ahead with their nuclear program.

On this background, one would expect the Christian nations to band together with the Sunni Arab nations to preempt this threat. The USA, with its vast military capability, and the United Nations, with its capacity to organize an international military force, would be expected to lead the free world in guarding that freedom.

However, the reality of Avraham vs. the four kings has come back to haunt the free world . The eyes of free people are not focused on the world’s military powers, but rather the object of the world’s expectations to eradicate the Iranian threat is none other than the isolated, besmirched and hated State of Israel. Will we attack? When will it happen? How will we surprise the Iranians? Planes? Submarines? Cruise missiles? Land forces? How will the Israelis do it?

As in the time of Avraham, when the free world was petrified by fear, so too in our days minuscule David will have to stride to center stage in order to destroy the mad Goliath. So the episode in parashat Lech Lecha becomes frighteningly realistic even to the cynical agnostic professor of Hebrew University.

But there is a difference! It is called Tzahal. Avraham, by necessity, was aided by HaShem in a supernatural way – with 318 soldiers defeating four armies. But in our times, HaShem expects the Jewish nation to act according to the Torah and the rules governing human behavior where miracles are subtly hidden. The fist of Am Yisrael is our young holy soldiers of Tzahal.

In closing. The episodes of the Torah depict what occurred in those times; but they are also projections of what will transpire to Am Yisrael in our time, prior to the advent of the Mashiach. So when Israel acts, the world will be taken by surprise; but not us, who know the future by learning the “simple” stories of our past.

Shabbat Shalom & Chanukah Sameach!

Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5774/2013 Nachman Kahana

So What Did I Do this Week?

By Moshe Feiglin

My 'One Chief Rabbi' proposal passed its first major Knesset hurdle.

I spoke in the Knesset plenum on Iran, citing that Israel must be responsible for her own security. It is dangerous to let the "world" solve the problem for us, as we now see in Geneva.
In a Knesset query, I once again pressured the Health Minister on cannabis.
In a Knesset speech, I pointed out how US aid actually harms Israel.
I attacked the appointment of Shai Nitzan as AG - and will continue to do so.
I proposed a balanced way to control pornography on the internet.
In a Knesset speech, I explained why Jonathan Pollard is still in prison.
I continued to advance the cause for taxing a married couple as one unit - not two.
In a speech before the Knesset Interior Committee, I tried to protect the Negev from being given to the Bedouins.
I distributed a special report to all the MKs that shows that all the land allocated for building will be used up in 15 years, which will send housing prices sky high.
I participated in an event honoring injured army veterans.
I started writing a Megillat Esther, which I hope to finish by Purim.
And last but not least, I rode my bicycle again. Carefully.  
Shabbat Shalom

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Shai Nitzan's Appointment as Attorney General Destroys Public Trust

By Moshe Feiglin
The leftist who is the most radical of radicals, the man who took advantage of his public service position to promote a distinctly political agenda and illegally co-opt ever-increasing power, was appointed yesterday to be Israel's next Attorney General. 

The selection of Shai Nitzan, the successor of Taliah Sasson in the blatantly political division of the Justice Department cryptically known as the "Department for Special Functions" has made a mockery of the very foundation upon which the justice system rests: public trust. This appointment proves once again that the justice system cannot heal itself. Instead, it has buried the most basic function of a state: its ability to judge its inhabitants. 

The Knesset must wake up and ensure that the selection of judges and justice system heads is transferred to the elected representatives of the public. This will be an important step in restoring public trust in Israel's legal structure. It will also save Israel's justice system, for the good of us all.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Likud MK Feiglin: Iran nuclear deal is just like Munich Agreement


11/24/2013 10:01
The deputy speaker of parliament, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, said on Saturday the interim agreement signed between Iran and the Western powers was tantamount to the Munich Agreement of the late 1930s.
"Like Czechoslovakia at that time, which was not party to the discussions that effectively sentenced it to death, Israel today watches from the sidelines how its existential interest is being sacrificed by the Western powers," Feiglin said.
"Any rational person understands that we are in the midst of a process that leads to a nuclear-armed Iran," he said. "For years I have warned about the dangers of the strategy adopted by Israel towards the Iranian nuclear threat."
Feiglin said that entrusting foreign powers to secure Israel's defense interests is "disastrous" and "much worse than that which led to the Yom Kippur War."
The lawmaker called on the Israeli government to declare an immediate end to all contacts with the West over the Iranian question and to make clear that it would not be bound by the agreement signed. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Samaria or the Sea

By MK Moshe Feiglin

Translated from the Makor Rishon newspaper
Last week, the Knesset held a special session, with the participation of the PM, on the housing crisis. In my speech, I presented a special report that proves that if the current construction and natural growth trends continue, the land reserved for construction in Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be completely depleted in less than two decades.

Here are two little-known facts:

1. Every year, demand for new construction equals the size of the city of Ramat Gan.
2. Over the past seven years, the National Master Plan’s (called TMA 35) population growth forecast underestimated Israel’s population growth by no less than 700,000 people. In other words, we have a population the size of one and a half Tel Avivs that nobody dreamed of less than a decade ago. This trend, thank G-d, continues.

We can summarize the housing problem with one simple question:

Whose land is this? Does it belong to the People, or to the State?

In a state that enjoys true liberty, the answer is clear – and most of its land is private. In Israel, just the opposite is true. This is what brings about the Israel Land Authority’s mediation, the mad taxation and the impossible heavy-handedness in the authorization and licensing process, which drive the price of housing sky high.

The solution is to enter a process of land privatization and return to its natural owners: the general public. The Land of Israel for the Nation of Israel, just as the Torah of Israel, which demands our liberty, directs.

When we ask whose land this is, we of course touch upon national ownership. Actually, as reflected in the Special Report, even if we solve all the problems mentioned above, if current trends continue, we will have overflow population in 15 years.
The real solution, and apparently the only intrinsic solution, is to understand that the Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel – both on a private and national basis. The Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel before it belongs to the State of Israel. It belongs to the Nation of Israel and no other nation.

The only viable solution is to build modern, metropolitan housing on the western slopes of the Judea, Benjamin and Samaria regions. These areas are a short commute from Israel’s commerce and industry hub.

So actually we have two choices: Either we understand that the entire Land is ours and we build many more Modi’ins on the slopes of Western Samaria, just one half hour from Israel’s large cities. Or we build in the sea. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Behind the Scenes, the Light of Moshiach

By Moshe Feiglin
A Torah Thought for Parashat Vayeshev

"And it was at that time, and Judah went down from his brothers." (From this week's Torah portion, Vayeishev, Genesis 38:1)

This verse opens the entire story of Judah and Tamar, which took place after Joseph was sold to Egypt by his brothers. Our Sages in Breishit Rabbah have an interesting perspective on the events described in these verses: 

"The tribes were preoccupied with the selling of Joseph, Joseph was preoccupied with his sackcloth and fasting, Reuven was preoccupied with his sackcloth and fasting, and Jacob was preoccupied with his sackcloth and fasting and Judah was preoccupied with taking a wife and the Holy One, Blessed Be He was busy creating the light of Mashiach."

Everyone was preoccupied: Drowning in the swamp of their errors, mourning, trying to extricate themselves and not knowing how. The general mood was low; sadness and ambitions prevailed. The brothers did not overcome their jealousy and competitiveness and sold Joseph. Reuven was busy with his ambitions, Judah - busy with his. It looked like the forces of the mundane were poised to overcome the young family of Israel and drag them into the abyss of submission, despair and mourning. 

Behind the scenes, though, the King of the World was there, fulfilling His promise to Israel. From amidst all the complications He created the light of Mashiach. Peretz is born to Judah and Tamar. He will become the progenitor of King David and Mashiach, the son of David, in the future. 

Sometimes, the truly significant events take place behind the scenes. The challenge is to identify those portentous times and not to miss the truly consequential developments amidst the constant barrage of distractions. 

Since the days of the Rabin government – and actually, even prior to that – the strategy of Israel's successive governments has been to choke off the settlements as a prelude to their abandonment. A state that is not Jewish in its essence is incapable of holding onto the Land of Israel. Eventually, it loses the legitimacy for its very existence.

Let us progress to a truly Jewish State.

Let us create the light of Mashiach. 

Shabbat Shalom

Time to Stop American Aid

By Moshe Feiglin

Transcript of Video
Honorable Chairman,
This week, we can add the Brill shoe factory and its workers to the list of damages from what is called American ‘aid’. Who, of all those who served in the army, doesn’t remember the mythological Brill shoes? As a member of the Economic Committee, I can say that prior to the Brill closure, there was the Ogen Plast factory, which created dry storage sheets for military vehicles. That factory also closed because of the so-called American aid.
The time has come, honorable Chairman, and we must initiate a serious discussion both in the Economic Committee and here in the plenum on the damages of the procedure called American aid: on the security damage and on Israel’s security and political independence as a result of the less than 4% of American aid. There is no reason to add more words; this issue is simple and clear. How many of us wouldn’t give up 4% aid in order to stop getting orders from his/her mother-in-law, for example?
I am talking about much more than that. I am talking about the ethical aspect of a country that is financially sound – one of the strongest in the Western world - continuing to receive aid from a country that, while it is much larger and stronger than us, is mired in economic distress much greater than what the State of Israel is experiencing. Taking this money is in and of itself a moral question. Ultimately, the US aid also wreaks financial damage and causes rapidly rising unemployment. 10 years have already gone by since the PM promised both houses of the Congress that Israel would stop taking US aid. Thank you. 

For What It’s Worth

By Faige Lobel

(Ed. Note: These observations were written by long-term Manhigut Yehudit supporter Faige Lobel following pilot trips to Israel in 2004 and 2006. After reading, ask yourselves, have things changed?)

When in Israel, I like to sound people out, to find out what they are thinking and how they think.
In 2004, we spent a Shabbos at the home of a very nice family in Rehovot…English speaking, frum. The woman was Israeli born, a nurse. Her spouse was learned, a Talmud chocham. Before we left them on Sunday morning, I asked the wife about the right wing Gush Katif stickers I’d seen on the bedroom closet door in the room where we had stayed. “Are they your son’s?” I asked. I was hoping to hear of his political involvement.
To my surprise, my hostess was embarrassed. “I have to take those down,” she said, “It isn’t nice.” End of discussion. “Not nice” to oppose the evil actions of the government. “Not nice” to express your opinion, even in the privacy of your own room. Maybe she was just nervous about it. People in Israel seemed intimidated and afraid.

In 2006, I visited a friend of many, many years…a woman who made aliyah a long time ago. She has accomplished much. All her children and grandchildren live in Israel, and also her mother and a brother. She was the catalyst.
I hoped to bring her to the Manhigut Yehudit Chanukah event in Yerushalayim.  “No,” she responded. “I don’t believe in political involvement. My role now is to pray, study and do good deeds.” Then she added, “I’m registered in the Likud and I vote for Moshe Feiglin.” Okay… that’s okay. Not everyone has to become an activist. We can only wish that there be many more like her.

We spent a Shabbos in Ma’alei Adumim with another nice family. Our host had participated in Zo Arteinu, in the Doubling Action, although he now regarded it as a youthful adventure.
He then told us the following story: On the first Shabbos following the expulsion from Gush Katif, our host was in shul. He was waiting to see what his rabbi would do at the point in the service where the congregation normally says prayers for the welfare of the government and the army. (His rabbi had been at Kfar Maimon – actively opposed to the Disengagement.) Our host related – with pride and awe – that the rabbi never hesitated, but led the congregation in those prayers as always.
I felt that there was something wrong about this, but he was my kind and gracious host, so I said nothing. I felt that the rabbi was taking it on the chin, turning the other cheek, asking G-d to bless the very people who had expelled his fellow Jews. And even if that was not the rabbi’s intention, it seemed to be the reaction of our host.
Even if one can forgive what was done to himself, who has the right to forgive what was done to his fellow? My host’s lovely home was intact and his job secure, not the case for Jews expelled from Gush Katif.
We can be certain that if non-Jews would demand that our host enter a church and kneel, he would refuse, even to the point of death. (Chas v’shalom.)  He would refuse even the outward symbols of Christianity, such as their holiday trees, etc. But turning the other cheek? Have we internalized the Christian message in our hearts, thus weakening our resolve and our spirits? The Christian message was always intended for the “flock,” not for the masters. Are we so quick to join the flock?

Many years ago, I worked for a government agency in the U.S. An older man came in one afternoon, barely able to walk, even with a cane. He was an immigrant from Haiti, Jean-Pierre Jean – if I remember correctly. Monsieur Jean had gone to Kings County Hospital, not the best of medical facilities, to have cataract surgery. The anesthesia was not properly administered. As a result, Monsieur Jean now had Parkinson’s disease and was no longer able to work. He was disabled and impoverished.
I asked him if he had sued the hospital. He told me, No,” that he had not and wasn’t going to do so. “They didn’t mean to do that to me,” he said.  My fellow employees, all Christian, were in awe of this man. For them, he was a symbol of the Christian ideal: a man who had put his Christian beliefs into action.
Jean-Pierre Jean chose to forgive that which had been done to him – an inadvertent, unintentional injury – no malice intended. He chose to live out the rest of his life in pain and in poverty. His choice. The injury and subsequent illness were unexpected. There was no advance warning. No one else got hurt. No prototype was established.
The Disengagement/Expulsion could not have been more dissimilar: Deliberate, politically motivated, anti-Jewish, anti-religious, affecting every Jew…weakening, destabilizing the country for the benefit of the Arab enemy (and the Christian enemy as well). We do not forgive and we do not forget! And we do not whitewash the people and the institutions that brought it about.

I asked my Ulpan teacher whether she thought that Israel won the war in Lebanon. She said that as long as there will be quiet, Israel won. Then she added that she had been in favor of the Disengagement and she now realizes that she had been mistaken. A thinking woman, somewhat secular, somewhat left wing (she “won’t live in Jerusalem because it’s full of extremists”), nevertheless, she admits that reality has changed her opinion.

Gd's Signature: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Vayaishev 5774

Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Parashat Vayaishev 5774

This message is directed to the young men and women still residing in the various Jewish communities in the lands of our exile.

The close to 6000 years of human existence are replete with great dramas of individuals and nations.

The expulsion of Adam and Chava and hence all humanity from Gan Eden. The devastating deluge in the time of Noach. The vast movements of peoples to unsettled areas of the globe, in the time of the Tower of Babel. Men of profound thought whose words were mightier than the swords of despots, and men with wings of angels and others with pitchforks of devils.

Only HaShem Himself can gauge the input of an event or a society on the long-range development of humanity.

But, as dramatic as so many of these global events were, none can compare with the greatest story of them all: the 2000 years of Jewish survival, overcoming unspeakable persecution at the ruthless hands of Christianity and Islam, climaxing with our unparalleled return to our God-given ancient homeland of Eretz Yisrael.

I shall, please God, return to this.

The brothers arrived in Egypt and are accused by the Viceroy himself of spying.  It was Yosef’s intention to severely punish them, but something happened to change his mind from punishing them to caring for their welfare.

When reviewing Yosef’s life, one cannot but wonder how he was able to overcome all his trials – orphaned from his beloved mother Rachel, rejected by his brothers, and with only his father Ya’akov and younger brother Binyamin to bring him solace.

When Yosef appeared in Emek Dotan near Shechem, his brothers stripped him of his many-colored cloak and threw him into a serpent-infested pit. Yosef was sold into slavery, put to the test with Potifar’s wife and thrown into prison for 12 years.

At any point in his early life, Yosef could easily have concluded that HaShem had abandoned him if not for one subtle, seemingly insignificant incident.

Yosef was sold to a caravan of Yishmaelim on its scheduled route from Gilad to Egypt. The Torah informs us that on this particular run, the caravan did not carry its usual cargo of kerosene but rather three pleasant-smelling spices (tzari, nachot and lot).  Rashi explains that HaShem created a mixup in Gilad replacing the kerosene with the spices, so that Yosef would not be troubled by the foul smell of kerosene.  How bizarre that HaShem chose to placate the 17-year-old Yosef, who is betrayed by his brothers and tied to a camel under a brutally hot sun to be sold as a slave, with pleasant smelling spices!

The answer can be found in the Louvre Museum in Paris. There is a painting of a smiling young woman, which at first glance might only appear to be worth a few thousand shekels. As the viewer gets closer, the scribbled signature of Leonardo Da Vinci comes into focus. His magnificent handiwork is the Mona Lisa worth millions of dollars. The value of the portrait skyrocketed simply because of a scribbled signature with no esthetic value but with the knowledge that it had been created by one of the world’s greatest artists.

Yosef’s situation was bleak, but he sensed HaShem’s signature through the sweet-smelling spices in place of the foul kerosene. Yosef then knew that he would be blessed with Divine protection.

In parshat Miketz, Yosef orders the brothers to bring Binyamin to him.  Ya’akov is extremely distraught by the turn of events, when he must now send away the last living memory of his beloved wife Rachel. As the brothers prepare to leave, Ya’akov sends them with a gift of tzari, nachot and lot for the Viceroy. The very same spices which had been transported by the caravan taking Yosef into slavery.

The brothers return to Egypt, and Yosef prepares to inflict psychological torment on those who inflicted him with so much pain. At that moment, the brothers present him with their father’s gift. Yosef opens the package and smells the unique spices. Suddenly, he sees himself again chained to the camel, with the sun intensely beating down on him, while sensing the unique mix of the 3 spices. Yosef recalls the signature declaring that all his suffering was part of HaShem’s master plan in which the descendants of Avraham would be enslaved in a foreign land and eventually return to Eretz Yisrael. At that point, Yosef forgives his brothers.

The history of our people over the last 2000 years saw the majority of us exiled from Eretz Yisrael. We were sold into slavery, beaten, starved, and were victims of crusades, pogroms, expulsions, inquisitions and concentration camps.  At the end of the Second World War, the Jewish nation was physically and spiritually destitute. How could we survive?

Then HaShem showed us His signature, signifying that He was with us throughout our entire history – the signature was Medinat Yisrael.

In 1948, the Medina was a small signature, a mere scribble on the map of the world – like the sweet delicate smells of tzari, nachot and lot. But this small splinter of a state defeated seven standing armies. In the Six Day War, Tzahal was a big stick expanding our borders three fold; and for the first time in over 2000 years we were again sovereign over Yerushalayim. In the Yom Kippur War, Tzahal became a powerful club defeating the enemy comprised of Arab armies with their Soviet advisors and sophisticated weapons.
An authentic rabbinic leader is not only erudite in the written word, but is endowed with the intuitive ability to identify and interpret the signature of Hashem. The essential task of rabbis still in the galut is to interpret the Divine signature of the Medina and lead his community back to Eretz Yisrael.

To return to the young people to whom this message is directed.

You are a vital element in the ongoing saga of our nation. Regardless of where you were born or whose citizenship you hold, you will forever be a Jew in the eyes of the Halacha and in the eyes of your gentile neighbors.

How can you stand aside when history is beckoning to you? Where is the passion and adventure of youth?

The young today study, plan and work for the time they will be old and retire, while the elderly dress and act as teenagers in order to feel the freedom and vitality of youth.
Medinat Yisrael is the greatest challenge and opportunity presented by God to His people since the days of our return from Persia to rebuild the Second Temple, and the days of the Chanuka Maccabees who drove out their Greek oppressors and achieved independence for over 250 years.

This blessed land of Israel can provide you with study and employment opportunities which you can perform for your own people, and not to spend your efforts on those who share little love for the Jewish nation.

Disregard the empty and even negative words of your rabbis and teachers. Share your ambitions and dreams with your parents and ask for their blessings for your success in “going up” (aliya) to Eretz Yisrael. They will follow and thank you for your leadership in bringing your family from the galut to the dream-fulfilling land of our fathers.

Shabbat Shalom!
Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5774/2013 Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Israel Must Defend Itself with no Interference

By Moshe Feiglin

It's not much of a surprise that the US administration has turned its back on Israel - both in its negotiations with Iran and in pressuring Israel on the 'Palestinian' issue. The following is just a partial list of prominent 'friends of Israel' in the Obama administration, who are very close to the policy makers. 

Arif Alikhan – Assistant Secretary for Policy Development for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Mohammed Elibiary – Homeland Security Adviser.

Rashad Hussain – Special Envoy to the (OIC) Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Salam al-Marayati – Obama Adviser, founder of Muslim Public Affairs Council and its current executive director.

Imam Mohamed Magid – Obama's Sharia Czar, Islamic Society of North America.

Eboo Patel – Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.

We can also mention US Ambassador to the UN, Samatha Power, former Special Adviser to Pres. Obama, who openly called for the establishment of a large international force to protect the Palestinians from Israel.

In truth, who exactly is part of the Obama administration is less important than where we in Israel are holding. I have warned time and again that the erroneous policy of passing the responsibility for the Iranian nuclear program from Israel to the rest of the world will eventually lead to a nuclear Iran. What do we expect of America? For years we have been telling them that Iran is their problem. "OK," the US is now saying to us. "You convinced us. It is our problem. So please sit still and let us take care of our problem our way."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Temple Mount Update

At the holiest place on the Temple Mount, very near the Foundation Stone, the Arabs have once again begun digging. These excavations are likely to destroy remnants of our Holy Temples, which stood at this exact spot. No supervisor from the Antiquities Authority has been present, even though the law prohibits digging on the Temple mount without archaeological supervision.  
Temple Mount activists reported that the police attempted to stop the work, but after the Moslems rioted, the excavations resumed.  
The Temple Mount organizations fear that the Moslems are taking advantage of the forced absence of the director of the Temple Mount umbrella organization, Yehuda Glick, from the Temple Mount, in order to destroy as many Jewish artifacts as possible. 
Yehuda Glick is staging a hunger strike near the Temple Mount, demanding to be allowed entry to the site. 

MK Moshe Feiglin, who is also prohibited from entering the Mount due to pressure from Jordan, visited Glick at his hunger strike. He encouraged him to continue his tireless efforts to renew Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Women of the Wall, Democracy and Ducks

By Tuvia Brodie

Women of the Wall (WoW) have a mission. They fight for freedom. They seek equality.  
They want more democracy in Israel. Specifically, they want the same rights as men. They want to pray as equals at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. They want to wear men’s taleitim (prayer shawls).
For more than 3,000 years, Judaism has made a distinction between men and women. But WoW rejects this distinction.
They want the legal right to pray like men. They can do that now—privately. What they want is the right to do that in public, wherever they want. They say that limiting women’s right to pray in public is not a prayer issue. Those limitations are “a violation of civil rights, human rights and religious freedoms” (see their Homepage). Therefore, they call their fight ‘social advocacy’. 
The WoW Homepage says “we have NO ‘hidden agenda’, we have no secondary issue to women’s free prayer at the Kotel and we are very careful to focus only on this one issue.” But ‘social advocacy’ is not a term normally applied to prayer. ‘Social advocacy’ is the language of social activism. It is the language of Israel’s Left as it battles in the name of ‘democracy’ for Arabs and against the State of Israel.
It is also the language of Reform Judaism, which battles in the name of ‘democracy’ to change the nature of the Jewish religion in Israel.  
Is WoW connected to Reform Judaism’s goals for Israel? Is that possible? They say their only goal is to pray; could they actually be doing something else--working to assist a Reform religious agenda?
In America, Reform Judaism is the most powerful Jewish group. Its watered-down version of religion has brought to America a host of benefits: diversity, equality for women, non-Jewish Jews, a 70+ per cent out-marriage rate, and a growing number of households where children are raised under the demographic category called, ‘not-Jewish.’
Recently, sociologist Steve Cohen—from the Reform’s own Hebrew Union College—had this to say about orthodox and non-orthodox demographics: “for every 100 Orthodox Jewish 50-year-olds, there are 230 Orthodox 10-year-olds, and for every 100 non-Orthodox 50-year-olds, there are 70 non-Orthodox 10-year-olds” (see Julie Wiener, JTA, “Parsing Pew: New insights on Orthodox growth and intermarriage offspring”, November 12, 2013).
That doesn’t bode well for the future of non-orthodox Jewry in America. Reform leads the ‘non-orthodox’. To some, it has facilitated the growth of an American Jewish demographic sector that now raises its children ‘not Jewish’.  
Now they want to export their product to Israel. What does this have to do with WoW? Anat Hoffman, Chairwoman of WoW, tells us in her WoW Homepage bio statement that she is the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center. This Center is the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel.
The leader of WoW is, in other words, part of Reform Judaism’s hierarchy. Is her fight for prayer just another part of the Reform agenda?
In Israel, when it comes to those who fight for ‘change’, there are no coincidences.  WoW may indeed package its product as a fight for the freedom to worship at the Western Wall. But its call for advocacy and diversity is simply too close to the Reform worldview to be coincidence.
For many, Reform Judaism has a Leftist religious agenda. But the Left in Israel isn’t just interested in dismantling the influence of Orthodox Rabbis in Israel. The Left also wants to dismantle Israel.
Hoffman is part of the religiously Left Reform movement in Israel. Her vice-chair, Batya Kallus, seems to be part of the politically Left ‘democracy’ movement in Israel. Kallus works for The Moriah Fund. This organization aims to promote “Civil Rights, Social Justice and Democracy in Israel”. It works with the New Israel Fund, Israel’s premier Leftist NGO.
In Israel, you are identified by the associations you have with others. You reveal what you believe by the people you choose to spend time with.
I cannot say that Anat Hoffman works with a Leftist agenda to dismantle the ‘fascism’ of the Orthodox Rabbinate in Israel (a familiar wording of the Leftist Haaretz). If I did that, WoW might sue me. They have already threatened others for pointing out her Leftist associations.
So, officially, I’m only telling you that WoW believes in freedom of religion for women. They believe in more democracy for women. I just don’t know if they believe in democracy for me or if this is another example of the mantra of the Left as in, "democracy for me but not for thee".
I can’t give Hoffman a label. She might threaten me. I can only tell you that, even though her WoW Homepage says it has only one agenda—prayer-- Hoffman herself has been quoted as saying, "I am also questioning why are the Orthodox the only ones in charge of marriage and divorce in Israel?” (Arutz Sheva, “Women of Wall Accused of Hiding True Intentions,” Arutz Sheva Staff, April 11, 2013).
This questioning of who controls marriage and divorce in Israel has nothing to do with WoW’s supposedly singular issue--prayer. But it is familiar: it is the very same question Reform Judaism asks as it attempts to undercut traditional Jewish law in Israel. It is also one element of Leftist attacks against Israel, something you discover upon reading the Leftist Haaretz.
Is Hoffman, as her Homepage unequivocally declares, interested only in prayer at the Wall—or is she after something more?
I cannot tell you. I cannot speak freely. I can only ask, if Anat Hoffman looks like a duck, walks like a duck, associates with ducks and quacks like a duck, she isn’t a duck?
I don’t want to be sued. Therefore, here’s a disclaimer:  what you read about here are lies.
Women of the Wall are freedom-fighters.

Viva democracy!