Thursday, January 29, 2015


A Torah Thought for Parashat Beshalach 

By MK Moshe Feiglin

And the Children of Israel walked on the dry land in the sea and the water was a wall for them on their right and on their left. (From this week’s Torah portion, B’shalach, Exodus 14:29)
The splitting of the Red Sea, with walls of water standing upright and not drowning the Children of Israel is certainly a great miracle. But a major part of the miracle was the fact that the Children of Israel recognized the event as a miracle in real time.
The existence of the Nation of Israel is not natural. Frederick the Great of Prussia asked a Lutheran minister for proof of G-d. “The Jews,” replied the minister, “the Jews.” This non-Jew wisely saw the walls of water to the right and to the left of the Nation of Israel throughout the millennia and came to the conclusion that most people arrive at only when seeing a miracle with their own eyes.
Today, the walls of water still stand to our right and to our left. As in the time of the Exodus, the only path open to us remains the same: “And G-d said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Children of Israel and let them go forward’.”
Shabbat Shalom

MK Moshe Feiglin: Israel Must Revise its Erroneous Strategy

In an interview on Channel 20 television Wednesday evening, MK Moshe Feiglin discussed the Hizballah attack on IDF soldiers that had taken place earlier that day. Feiglin  said that Israel must take a new look at its strategic situation over the past 20 years. Wednesday’s Hizballah attack is one piece of a much larger puzzle. “We busy ourselves with analyzing the structure of the ever-changing terror organizations, the specifics of the current attack, etc.,” said Feiglin, “and do not consider the big picture. The big picture is that since Oslo, Israel’s strategy has been to flee – from Gaza and Lebanon – and to depend on the IDF to deter its enemies. The erroneous pre-assumption is that Israel can deter its enemies from within its borders. But we have backed ourselves into a corner.”

“In the wake of strong and constant leftist pressure,” Feiglin reminded the viewers, “the IDF has retreated over the years to the international border. Despite international promises, tens of thousands of missiles – some of them guided – are now aimed at every corner of Israel. This is the strategic picture, and it has major implications for how we deal with Iran, for example. It also influences the freedom of movement of the IDF today.
When the IDF had boots on the ground in Lebanon and Gaza, the entire picture was different. The greatest threat to Israel then was an attack on our forces there. Now we have missiles flying on Ashkelon and Tel Aviv, without any real ability to stop them. If your armed forces are not on the ground in the hostile territory, you cannot defend your own borders,” Feiglin said.
MK Feiglin emphasized that Israel’s strategy of the last 20 years has collapsed. “Currently, we are captive to any terrorist with a fancy missile, said Feiglin. “When the power plant in Hadera is in the crosshairs, either their missiles will destroy it or we have to pre-empt them and destroy them first. We must turn the picture back twenty years and restore the situation on the ground to the way it was so as not to bequeath the strategic threat on our doorstep to our children,” Feiglin warned.
After the interviewer said that she has doubts about Feiglin’s analysis, MK Feiglin added: “Years ago, many people like me said that we would have missiles on Ashkelon and Tel Aviv. The majority of Israelis chose to discredit us. Now we are saying that the Hadera power plant and every location in Israel are in danger. After twenty catastrophic years, maybe it is time to listen?”

The Five-Point Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan

Ted Belman. Martin Sherman, Moshe Feiglin and Nisan all agree on keeping all the land and on not giving citizenship a la Glick. This is key.
There are three possibilities with what to do with the Arabs,
1) offer them autonomy;
2) pay then to leave (estimated at $100 Billion for the Arabs in J&S and another $100 Billion for the Arabs in Gaza.) Sherman and Feiglin both support this or;
3) offer Jordan the money to take them in.
Or perhaps a combination of all three.
Perhaps a deal could be cut with the Jordan monarchy and the Palestinians to become a constitutional monarchy like Britain. Thus Abdullah remains as king and the Palestinians have full rights.
Israel must be able to proceed unilaterally so that Jordan cannot frustrate her plans. Thus, until we have reached a deal with them or the Palestinians in J&S for autonomy, we should pursue the compensated emigration plan of Sherman and Feiglin.
The Oslo theory and policy was tested and failed.
  • Inasmuch as the Israeli-Palestinian War has not been resolved, and the Oslo Accords could not overcome the multiple obstacles on the path to peace; Considering the adamant Palestinian refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state of Israel, while demanding massive refugee return, terrorizing Israelis and murdering them, and spewing out hate education;
  • Conscious of the repressive discourse of peace with its agenda for Israeli capitulation and destruction that camouflages a wicked scheme paraded as a vision of peace;
  • Noting that the United Nations, the European Union, and other international forums serve as diplomatic arenas for pro-Palestinian political insurgency;
  • While observing the Middle East aflame with Islamic barbarism, turmoil and warfare;
It is therefore a worthy enterprise to propose a paradigm shift that will challenge people to reject the old toxic political mantras and examine peace-making in a realistic fashion:
[1] Peace among peoples and states in the Middle East is constrained by the historical, cultural and religious features of the region.
A utopian Western version of peace habitually ignores the persistence and longevity of tribal/clan/ethnic/religious identities and loyalties in this part of the world, where group conflicts are never resolved. The profound chasm in historical memories and political claims between Jews and Arabs, or Israelis and Palestinians, creates intractable conflict which can, at the most, be managed or contained. Talk of a final and permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians is one of the more foolish and dangerous political ideas in human history.
[2] The State of Israel is a national entity resonating with the return of the Jewish people to its homeland and the renaissance of its cultural and political life.
Palestinian rejection of Israel is essentially a declaration of war that leaves the two sides locked in confrontation. All international attempts to de-legitimize the State of Israel, consistent with Hamas and the PLO drawing maps of Palestine without Israel, is hardly less than a genocidal campaign to eliminate the Jewish state and its inhabitants. Strengthening and highlighting the Jewish character of Israel will enrage Arabs, yet clarify that it is with this special State alone that peace can be reached – or war launched.
[3] The political and territorial scope of Israeli sovereignty requires exclusive Israeli rule from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River to assure the viability of the state and its durability over time.
Israel’s geo-strategic interests in the land of Israel preclude any Israeli withdrawal from any part of the land, which would de-stabilize the already precarious relations with the Palestinians and foment warfare in the future. Thus the present territorial-political status quo in the eighty kilometers from Tel Aviv to Jericho must be preserved in the interests of peace. A visibly vulnerable Israel, like an internationally abandoned one, will always be tempting prey for Arab aggression and resultant colossal suffering and destruction.
[4] Israeli rule in the area west of the Jordan River will not transform the state into a bi-national Jewish-Arab entity.
In essence, Israel’s Jewish national demographic profile, though robust and growing, can allow Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to enjoy autonomy, but neither sovereignty nor Israeli citizenship; at the same time, the doors to emigration and migration eastward are open. Negating Palestinian sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is not validated by the contention that there already are nineteen Arab states, but rather because a rogue/irredentist/Islamist Palestinian state would be at war with the Jewish state, exposed to a narrow porous coastline on the Mediterranean Sea.
[5] The Kingdom of Jordan, in fulfilling a partisan family and tribal ambition for close to a century, must be a central component of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
It is in Jordan that the Palestinians, already a majority of the population, can acquire national self-determination, along with other Palestinians from Judea/Samaria/Gaza and Lebanon who can be resettled there. Jordan as the Palestinian state provides a reasonable political element in the peace plan which accords with a Jewish state west of the River and a Palestinian state east of the River. In 1948 Jordan defined itself as the Arab successor state to Palestine, and now Palestine east of the Jordan River will be the replacement state to Hashemite Jordan.
Last Word: 
Deeply entrenched conventional pieties – territories for peace, the two-state solution, legitimate Palestinian rights, ending the occupation and dismantling the settlements – fill the hollow and hallowed political discourse. The campaign to bludgeon Israel into surrender and emasculation underpins all this diabolical cant.
Dr. Mordechai Nisan has written “Only Israel West of the River,” which is available at and, among his many books.

Lest the Nation Change its Mind

 By Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg, Rosh Yeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

"... For G-d said, lest the nation changes its mind when the people see war and they will return to Egypt" [Shemot 13:17]. And in fact they did complain later on, on more than one occasion: "Isn't that what we said to you in Egypt – leave us alone and we will work for Egypt" [14:11] ... "Why can't we die in the hands of G-d... while sitting at the pot of meat" [16:3] ... And they even asked to return to Egypt after they had left: "Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt" [Bamidbar 14:4].

This also appears explicitly in the words of the prophet: "I said to them: Let every man throw away the despicable idols of his eyes... However, they rebelled against me and nobody threw away the despicable idols from his eyes" [Yechezkel 20:7].

But we can only feel perplexed. How could they even consider returning to exile, how could they not be excited by the prospect of freedom?

When we look at the attitudes in recent generations, we will see that the problem is not only with respect to simple idols but is also a difficulty of freeing ourselves from cultural behavior which is foreign to Judaism. Here are some examples of this phenomenon: The Zionist movement rose up after two thousand years of exile. There was opposition for this idea from all sides – Chareidim, nonreligious, and "enlightened" Jews of the Haskalah movement. The rabbi of a prominent community in Hungary wrote: "Political Zionism, which wants to establish a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael, appears to me to be a dangerous spiritual illness... The Zionist movement, which wants to transform Judaism from a religious force to a nation, has no chance of ever succeeding in Hungary. We are Hungarians whose religion is Judaism. There is no such thing as Jewish nationalism. Everybody agrees that this is so, both those who have new ideas and the Orthodox Jews."

And the head of the Orthodox rabbis indeed followed his lead: "With respect to their opinion of the Zionist movement, the Orthodox rabbis agree with the innovators. We object to this foolish movement. The Hungarians of the Jewish religion want to find their happiness in Hungary, they have no thoughts at all of establishing a country in Eretz Yisrael."

Some people enlisted the holy writing in their cause. The association of rabbis in Germany declared that "the desires of those who are called Zionists, to establish a national Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael, is directly opposed to the messianic goals of Judaism as they appear in the holy texts and in religious sources from later periods."

Philosopher Hermann Cohen wrote that the ideas of Theodor Herzl are a distortion of true Jewish messianism and an insult to the patriotism of the Jews, who are comfortable in their homeland. "We draw a feeling of religious partnership from the existing compatibility between Jewish messianism and German humanism... This almost goes so far as to have the seal of approval of a religious statement."

History continually repeats itself, again and again. "We remember the fish which we ate for free in Egypt... the melons..." [Bamidbar 11:5]. The same is still true today, except that the subject matter has changed, and instead of free fish and watermelons in Egypt, the people talk about a "Milky" dairy desert that is sold in Germany for half price.

How do the Jews reach such a low point in their thoughts? It is written, "And they did not listen to Moshe, because of impatience and because of the harsh labor" [Shemot 6:9]. In the Torah portion of Shemot it is written that "the people believed" [4:31] about the announcement of the redemption, but now they were told, "I will take you as a nation for Me, and I will be your G-d" [6:7]. And this is a very frightening prospect, especially "from the point of view that they were not Torah scholars. And this is what is called impatience, since the Torah broadens the outlook of people" [Orach Chaim].

Blood and Currency: HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Beshalach 5775

Parashat Beshalach 5775 
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Damim: Blood and Currency Flow

On this day January 27, 2015 when this is being written, we mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by Russian troops (corresponding to the then 13th of Shvat 5705).
Auschwitz is much more than one more death camp in southwest Poland. Its very name brings to mind the thousands of camps spread out over Europe, where our people were systematically shot to death, asphyxiated in gas chambers, turned to ashes in crematoria or died by the hands of their sadistic Amalek guards.
This week’s devar Torah is dedicated to the survivors and the painful questions: Why does HaShem not punish the Germans and their very willing European accomplices? What is He waiting for? With every passing day, many of the now elderly victims pass on and the murderers are escaping with no earthly punishment. Why did HaShem not give the victims the opportunity to see their oppressors suffer?
No one can even begin to unravel the metaphysical secrets of God’s world. A philosopher once visited the home of a well-known rabbi, and asked: Why did God create the universe? To which the rabbi replied: “Would you like another cup of tea?”
Nevertheless, speculation in all areas has become a Jewish art; cultivated, honed and polished by generations of Talmudic conjectures, probings, and probabilities vs possibilities. So I would like to hazard a guess as to what HaShem has planned for the Amalek Europeans and Islamics in the very near future.
The Gemara in Brachot 12b delves into the question: At the time of the Mashiach, when we shall witness the most fantastic miracles, will we still discuss the Exodus from Egypt?
Ben Zoma attempted to prove from the verse in Yirmiyahu (23,7-8) that after the advent of the Mashiach, we will no longer even mention the miracles of the Exodus:
“Days will come”, declares the Lord, “when we will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Jews up from Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where He had banished them’.”
The majority of the rabbis disagreed, contending that Yirmiyahu meant that in the future the episode of the Exodus will be discussed but it will be relegated to a secondary position in relation to the great miracles we shall experience at that future time.
Based on the generally accepted premise that nothing in the Tanach is superfluous, why did Yirmiyahu have to mention the Egyptian exodus at all when he could have stated succinctly, “Days will come”, declares the Lord, “when people will praise HaShem who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them”?
I submit:
By introducing the Exodus into his prophecy, Yirmiyahu is informing us that the final redemption will be generally similar to the Exodus from Egypt, with changes appropriate for the time and for the nature of our future enemies.
  1. Because of their commonality, the word “damim” in Ivrit refers to blood and also to currency (money). For both flow continuously towards a central point from which they flow out again, repeating the cycle without end.
Blood flows from the heart via arteries, makes a turn at the extremities through the capillaries and returns to the heart via veins, and continues in this cycle until death ceases the process.
Currency (money) flows to the governmental treasuries in the form of taxes, fines, etc., and is returned to the public as loans, grants, investments, etc. Indeed “damim” is blood and currency.
The first of the “Ten Plagues” was the metamorphosis of water into blood (damim). But now it is happening in Europe where their “damim”, currencies, are about to crash and turn their currencies into paper and their societies into chaos. The free-fall of the Swiss franc and the possible exit of Greece from the Euro countries, which would certainly be followed by Italy and Ireland, would leave the lender countries with deficits of trillions of Euros. It will signal an avalanche of inflation causing financial and societal havoc.
This should be seen on the background of our strong Israeli shekel and healthy economy.
  1. The second plague was the invasion of countless numbers of frogs into every place in the land, as the verse says (Shemot 7,28):
ושרץ היאר צפרדעים ועלו ובאו בביתך ובחדר משכבך ועל מטתך ובבית עבדיך ובעמך ובתנוריך ובמשארותיך:

The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs.
The financial turmoil of “damim” will be followed by an unpreventable invasion of Moslems who will fill every corner of their society. Moroccans, Libyans, Syrians, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Turks and black Africans of every sort, hundreds if not thousands who now reach the shores of Italy and Spain every night. They will “come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs”.

The Missing Letters Spell Desire

Despite the above, no one can predict with any semblance of exactitude the details of what HaShem will be doing. However, we have an indication that HaShem has changed from low to high gear in the final lunge towards our redemption. It is our return to Eretz Yisrael, and especially our sovereignty over Yerushalayim.
Our parasha concludes with the first Jewish-Amalek War. Yehoshua led our army in weakening Amalek, but he could not destroy them because HaShem wanted Amalek to remain as an existential threat to the Jewish people until the days preceding the Mashiach.
The parasha ends with the verse (Shmot 17,16):
ויאמר כי יד על כס יה מלחמה לה’ בעמלק מדר דר: פ

And Moshe stated: “HaShem placed His hands on His throne (and swore, as one who swears while holding a sacred article) that He will wage war against Amalek from generation to generation.
In the above verse, in the word “kess” meaning HaShem’s throne, the last letter ALEF is omitted, since the word should read  כסא
And the word Y’A, referring to HaShem is missing the last two letters VAV and HaY.
Our rabbis have taught that the incomplete word “kess” (throne of HaShem) and incomplete name of Hashem come to inform us that as long as Amalek is present in this world, the throne and name of HaShem will not be universally recognized by humanity.
Now, the three missing letters in this verse comprise the word אוה   (EVA) which means “desire”.
In Tehilim (Psalms 132:13) King David wrote:
כי בחר ה’ בציון אוה למושב לו:
For the LORD has chosen Zion, He has desired it for his dwelling:
Meaning, when HaShem is present in Zion-Yerushalayim – the city He desires – His throne and name will become whole, signaling the end of Amalek and its evil from this world.
The core issue in our lives today is the near future destruction of Amalek and Amalekism which has infiltrated the minds of gentiles through Christianity and Islam.
When it happens, it will spell bitter times for all Jews who will be present in the lands of those foreign nations, as befell the Jews of Europe who found themselves between the cannons of Germany and Russia.
The sands in HaShem’s time clock are running out. The doors of Eretz Yisrael are still open, but for how long?
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5775/2015 Nachman Kahana

What Abraham Lincoln should have learned from Parashat Beshalach

By Michael Hirsch
In this week's Torah reading, we have yet again another example of the eternal quality of the Bible. For had President Abraham Lincoln and those that followed him in that office been conversant with the lessons conveyed in Parashat Beshalach, the process of integrating the now-emancipated black slaves into the American mainstream might have gone much more smoothly, requiring less than a century-and-a-half to complete, as well.

To the point: You can take a man out of slavery; it is much more difficult to take slave mentality out of the man!
It is extremely difficult for those of us who have not experienced slavery (except, perhaps, to our pocketbooks) to comprehend how a group of people who:
(a) witnessed the ten plagues first-hand (as they afflicted their oppressors, not themselves), 
(b) saw the splitting of the sea, 
(c) witnessed the destruction/drowning of the most powerful army on earth, 
(d) experienced a pool of bitter water being made sweet, by simply tossing a log into it, and 
(e) were literally supplied "manna from Heaven," had no other concern, nothing to focus on, other than "What will we drink?"/ "What will we eat?"

To take slave mentality out of the man is an extremely long process. For 210 years, the Jewish people had been beaten into submission. Follow orders—period!! Perform their slave labor, in return for which they would receive sustenance and clothing. That is the sum total of the slave's life.

Freed from slavery, but their focus remained solely on drink and sustenance. They were not yet ready to think for themselves. Gripe? Yes, at that, they were quite adept. For 200+ years, they simply followed orders. Question something?Only, if you wish a beating in return.

As we know, it only went from bad to worse—the golden calf at Mount Sinai post-Ten Commandments, culminating with the "revolt" of the spies. This generation of former slaves could not be self-sustaining. This generation could simply not conquer the native tribes in the Land of Israel. This generation was in no way prepared for self-rule. This generation could not think on a grand scale.
Sounds very much like the American experience post-Civil War, does it not?

Michoel David ben Dov Ber Hirsch
9 Shvat 5775

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Triumph of the Feiglins

Despite the defeat of Moshe Feiglin in the recent Likud primaries, in the Feiglin home, they count victories every day.

Translated from the B’Sheva newspaper.
By Rivki Goldfinger
2 Shvat 5775/Jan. 22, ‘15
At the end of the street, in the last house in the row, the Feiglin family resides. The father, MK Moshe Feiglin, head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction and until recently a Likud member, is a well-known public figure. A lesser known figure, who, throughout the years was careful to protect her privacy and distanced herself from the spotlight, is Moshe Feiglin’s wife, Tzippy.
Mrs. Feiglin greets me warmly. She shakes my hand, and it is impossible not to notice the Parkinson’s disease that has attacked her. Her speech is weak and limp. She walks toward me with heavy steps. But despite her illness and the physical impairments with which she is forced to deal, she projects inspiring strength. On the small table in the living room, home-made baked goods are served. Cookies neatly placed in round, colorful plates fill the room with a delicious aroma.
Tzippy’s son, David, 21, joins our conversation. David suffers from a disability since he sustained a severe head injury in a car accident four years ago. David is also full of vitality and zest for life and his words are spiced with humor. A very obvious scar on his throat testifies to the long months of coma that he endured. David offers me a cup of coffee and serves me the warm cup with trembling hands as he walks from the kitchen to the living. He steps carefully. The cup of coffee and home-made pastries in front of me reflect, perhaps, the entire story of Tzippy and David Feiglin. It is a story of determination and clinging to life against all odds.
Not  a Word About Politics
Tzippy Feiglin (52) spent the first years of her life in Chicago. Feiglin nee Spring lived in a Jewish neighborhood. She went to the local Jewish Day School. Her parents owned a Judaica store. When she was ten years old, her parents decided that the time was ripe to make aliyah to Israel. Together with her brother and sister, they set out on a long journey. The final destination: Israel.
“That was in ’73, before the Yom Kippur War. The travelling took us more than a month and a half. First we flew to New York to part from our grandparents and aunts and uncles. From there we flew to Europe. In Marseille we boarded a Zim boat that brought us to the Haifa port.” Tzippy remembers the moment that she saw the shores of Israel for the first time. “I was very excited. A friend of my father’s who lived in Neveh Sha’anan welcomed us and we slept at his home on the first night.” Eventually, the Spring family made their home in Rehovot.
How was your integration into the new country?
“ I didn’t have a problem with language, because I already knew how to speak Hebrew. The difficulty was that my sister and I were sent to a Bais Yaakov school and due to cultural differences, we did not fare well. We felt very different in many ways. We managed to make it through the year and then transferred to the Amit school in Rehovot. After completing high school, Tzippy did national service for two years. “The first years I served in the newborn ward of the Bikur Holim Hospital, and in my second year I served in a special education school in Baka, Jerusalem. Those were two very significant years in my life.”
At the end of her second year of National Service, Tzippy married Moshe Feiglin, whom she had met at Bnei Akiva. “We got married in the summer. As a young couple we lived first in Jerusalem, afterwards in Rechovot and nearly three decades ago, we moved with our two eldest daughters, Naama and Ayelet, to Ginot Shomron.” In Ginot Shomron, three more children were born to the Feiglins: Aryeh, David and Avraham. More than two decades ago, Tzippy’s husband, Moshe, became a public activist, founding the Zo Artzeinu movement that fought against the Oslo Accords. Afterwards, he established Manhigut Yehudit, which joined the Likud. In the current Knesset, Moshe Feiglin has served as an MK in the Likud party. The recent Likud primaries have left him off the roster, but Feiglin does not plan to give up. Tzippy is not willing to say even one word about her husband’s political and public career. Attempts to extract political insights or experiences from her are met with solid refusal.
Throughout the years, in addition to her great investment in raising her children, Tzippy was active in many areas. “I have always been full of action. I opened the senior citizens center in Ginot Shomron. Even back then, we already had about twenty seniors. We started out in a trailer and eventually moved to permanent quarters in the Payis building.” Afterwards, Tzippy established a hat business in her home. But then, at the age of 35, when she was a young woman and mother of five children, her body began to broadcast worrisome signals. “I felt that something was not right. Suddenly, I couldn’t get my toes in my shoe. Suddenly, I wanted to stand up and my leg did not respond. Those were small and irritating things. I felt that I was tiring very easily. Before then, I would work very quickly. But then I slowed down. I understood that something not good was going on.”
Together with her husband, Moshe, she went from doctor to doctor, hearing all sorts of opinions. “ Every doctor said something else. A problem with my tendons, torn ligament in my shoulder, slipped disc in my neck. They said everything but ‘Parkinson’s’”. As time went on, the difficulties became more pronounced. “ I remember going to a Bar Mitzvah party at friends who live at the end of the block. It took me half an hour to walk there. Moshe said, ‘Enough is enough.” We heard of a specialist in the US and flew there to see him. At that time, I could not lift my arm or move my neck. They did an MRI and discovered a torn ligament in my shoulder and two slipped discs in my neck. We came back home thinking that we had identified the problem. But the physical difficulties kept getting worse.”
Did that make you tense?
I felt awful. I was hardly able to peel a potato. In truth, because of my work with the elderly in the Senior Citizens Center, I was familiar with Parkinson’s. Deep down, I feared that that was the problem all along.”
It was actually her son’s dentist who pushed her into getting the definitive diagnosis. “When David was eight years old, I went with him to the dentist in Jerusalem. The dentist looked at me and asked, “Do you feel ok?” I told him that I’m fine, but have a torn ligament in my shoulder. He insisted that I go to a certain neurologist. I explained that I had already been to a specialist and he said that all was fine. The dentist immediately identified that I had Parkinson’s and insisted that I go to the neurologist. Neither he nor the neurologist said a word about their suspicion. When the results of the tests came, I was hospitalized in Ichilov and the emergency room doctor said straight out, “You have Parkinson’s.” I was only 41 and it was a serious blow.”
“I Have Much to be Thankful For”
Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease of the nervous system, which attacks the coordination of movement in the body. It is common at later ages and is expressed by shaking, slowness and decrease in movement, muscle rigidity, strong pain, difficulty at the beginning of movement and lack of balance. As the disease progresses, the impaired muscle movement affects the patient’s ability to swallow and speak. “The cause of the disease is unknown,” Tzippy explains. “There is also the genetic factor, but we do not have a family history of Parkinson’s. The environmental factor of heavy-metal or insecticide poisoning is not relevant to me. For me, there is no definitive cause for the disease.”
What does a young woman, mother of five children, feel when she is told that she has an incurable disease?
I will not lie. I took it very hard at the beginning. It was a great shock in our lives. I was careful not to let the word out. I wanted to remain anonymous. I didn’t want the focus to be on the disease, but on who I am. I didn’t want people to say about Moshe, ‘He’s so unfortunate, his wife is ill.’ Slowly but surely, I learned to make peace with my situation and live with the disease in the best way possible.”
Dealing with her disease is a persistent, daily struggle. There are days that she cannot walk and days that she suffers from terrible pain throughout her body. “Pain killers do not help, and I have to wait patiently for the pain to go away. There are hours that I move too much and other times that I cannot move at all. No middle of the road. I never know when it will overtake me and what will happen to me the next minute.” Two weeks ago, Tzippy participated in the wedding of close friends. “I so much wanted to be part of the joy, but suddenly my body froze and I couldn’t get off my mobility scooter. The bride had to come to me. That disappointed me.”
The tricks her body plays on her, Tzippy relates, are the most difficult. Not long ago, she was enjoying a shopping trip to the Malha Mall in Jerusalem when suddenly, in the middle of walking down the hall in the mall, she felt that her body was not cooperating. “With no advanced warning, I froze. I couldn’t take even one step or move aside to get out of the way. I stood there feeling embarrassed and waited for it to go over. It was very unpleasant. I am a young woman and it is not easy to accept this situation. But I use my sense of humor to deal with it. True, there are ups and downs and it is a daily struggle, but I am grateful with all my heart for what I have.”
I have so much to be thankful for.  I praise G-d for all the good,” she answers with amazing simplicity. “I have a loving and supportive family, a wonderful community, I have David. My cup is completely full and it is even running over – not just because of my trembling,” she laughs.
About a year ago, Tzippy watched the Uvdah television investigative show on Israel’s Channel 2. The show documented Mati Milo, the Parkinson’s patient who chose to deal with the disease by ending his life on camera. “I was really upset with the show. It made me furious. They turned him into a hero and spoke admiringly of his heroic decision to die. That is heroism? It’s shocking,” she says, still refusing to accept the idea. “Heroism is somebody who decides to persevere despite the difficulties – not somebody who runs away from them. Heroism is David, who, despite all the difficulties, gets up in the morning and does everything with a smile. It is true that Parkinson’s means dealing with pain and difficulty 24 hours a day, but the true wisdom is to choose life, to choose to truly deal with it.”
The documentary shocked Tzippy so much that she allowed her husband to speak about her illness from the Knesset podium. “It was not easy for me to publicly disclose my illness, but I understood that it was imperative to present the other side of the story. Moshe talked about the illness because it was a statement that had to be heard. Heroism is choosing life – not death,” she falls into silence for a moment. “I have to struggle for almost everything, including things that seem trivial to others – like walking, bending down, talking. But I choose not to despair. The easiest thing for me to do would be to give up. I remember that a week after David’s car accident, they went to Rabbi David Abuhatzeirah in Nahariya for his blessing and he said: ‘David will yet dance with joy, but the mother must also be happy.’ When they told me that, I didn’t understand how he would expect me to be happy when my son was laying there, unconscious. But since then I have learned that happiness is an internal decision. I know every morning anew: Either I live and choose happiness or I’m finished. Exactly like that. In the mornings I have excruciating pain. The body is very rigid in the morning. It takes me time to get over it. .I lay in bed, trying to relax and then I say to myself, “Get going, get up, take a shower, get dressed.’ There’s nothing else I can do. I can’t stay in my pajamas forever. I don’t make allowances for myself. I have a thousand excuses to stay in bed and feel sorry for myself, but I will not let myself do that. No way. It’s a lot of inner work.”
Three years ago, Tzippy had special brain surgery for Parkinson’s patients, in an effort to relieve her symptoms. The new treatment is based on the possibility of activating various areas in the brain with an electronic pulse, which helps to overcome the  degeneration in those areas. Special electrodes were implanted in her brain, which were supposed to cyclically stimulate the brain cells and ease various symptoms of the illness. “They implanted two electrodes and a pacemaker in my head. For me, unfortunately, it did not work.”
Tzippy tries with all her might to continue to run her household. Until a year ago, she managed completely by herself, but now she is helped by a foreign worker. “When she came to us, it was a hard stage for me. I had to digest the fact that I am no longer capable of doing things by myself. There’s nothing I can do about it, I understood that there is no choice.” Tzippy still insists on baking and cooking by herself. “When I am in the kitchen, I make a huge mess. Things fall out of my hands and break or spill. But it is important for me to keep doing whatever I can.”
I Didn’t Hear the Doctors
As if the challenge of an incurable illness was not enough, David was seriously injured in a car accident, changing the family’s life beyond recognition. The accident happened four years ago, on a summer day, about four o’ clock in the afternoon. David and his friend Daniel left Alfei Menashe on their way to Karnei Shomron to volunteer for their shift at the local fire station. Suddenly, a car in the opposite lane did a u-turn over a white line, almost crashing head on into their car. The driver’s attempt to avoid the crash did not work and the second car threw them off to the side, where they forcefully crashed into an electric pole. David, who was sitting next to the driver, was hit in the head and immediately lost consciousness. “My friend Daniel saved my life,” says David. “I was unconscious, with fractures in my skull and serious bleeding. He immediately went into action. He opened up an airway, made sure I didn’t swallow my tongue. He cut open my seatbelt and put a hole in the air cushion. In the meantime, he shouted into the wireless radio and called for the emergency services. Fortunately, I don’t remember anything about the accident.”
At the time of the accident, Tzippy and Moshe were busy with “Challenges” – bicycle riding for special needs people in Park Hayarkon. While they were riding, Moshe got a phone call about the serious accident. “We got into the car worried, but we had no idea how serious his injury was. The whole time I was hoping that David would call me and say, ‘Imma, don’t worry, everything is fine’. It turned out that if we really wanted to know about his condition, all we had to do was turn on the radio and listen to the news, where they were already reporting that David was in critical condition.”
When they arrived at the intensive care unit of the Schneider Hospital in Petach Tikvah, the medical staff awaited them with serious faces. “They approached us and told us that it was a severe head injury and that David would probably not survive. They agreed to say that if he would survive, he would be in a vegetative state. I was not at all willing to hear that. I went over to David and whispered in his ear: ‘David, you are a fighter. Now is the time to give your most serious fight. Fight with all your strength, show everyone who you are.’ It was clear to me that he would do everything he could.”
Despite the four years that have passed since then, it is still hard for Tzippy to relive those difficult moments. “Most of the doctors were pessimistic, but I did not agree to listen to them. Maybe I just didn’t get it, and that is a good thing . Otherwise, I don’t know how I would have taken it.”
David remained in a coma for three and a half months. His parents were told that he was in the most severe level of coma, one level before death. His parents did not leave his bedside, insisting on staying with him 24 hours a day, hanging on to every wisp of hope. “There was a professor that tried to make it clear to me that David was in a vegetative state and would never wake up again, but I was not willing to listen to him. He said to me, ‘Do you know who I am?’ I told  him, ‘Yes, and nevertheless I am not interested in hearing your opinion’. People thought I was crazy, but I did not let anyone talk to me about any option other than that David would be fine.” After five weeks, still in the coma, David was transferred to the rehabilitation ward in Safra Children’s Hospital in Tel Hashomer.
On Erev Yom Kippur, close to the beginning of the fast, the great miracle occurred. “I was in the hospital and Moshe was with the other children at home. Suddenly, David said in a quiet voice, ‘Shalom.’ I was in shock. What a happy Yom Kippur that was. From then until Chanukah, he did not speak again, but that was a positive sign for us. On Shabbat Chanukah he began to talk and walk. It was a miracle of gigantic proportions,” she says emotionally. After 11 months in Tel Hashomer, David was sent home. “It is only in the merit of the prayers of thousands of people that I am here,” David adds. G-d decided that I would not die, that I still have to live.”
“It is a huge, great miracle,” says Tzippy. “We all prayed that he would live and it actually happened, despite all the predictions. On the other hand, his injury is still serious. He did not return to his former level of functioning. He has a head injury, paralysis and blindness in one eye. Our greatest pain is the feeling of lost potential,” she says, choking up. “David’s medical condition is complex. It is hard to grasp, because from the outside, you don’t see anything amiss. He is a fighter,” she proudly says.
“Imma, Smile”
There is a deep bond between the Feiglin mother and son. Their daily struggles with their physical and emotional challenges have woven a personal discourse between them. “David is very sensitive. With his one eye, he sees more than what most people do not see with two eyes. He sees inside, to the heart. He feels when it is hard for me and when I am sad, and tries with his humor to encourage me. He doesn’t let me sink, hugs me and says, ‘Imma, you cannot be sad. Smile.’”
Last  year, David volunteered for National Service in ‘Or Yarok’, an organization that works to increase awareness about accident prevention. He visited schools, army bases and preventative driving workshops, telling his personal story. “I would travel throughout the country. Where wasn’t I? I spoke to the people about careful driving and the destruction wreaked by accidents. About 15,000 people heard me.” Today, David studies in a drama course and a special rehabilitation course for people with head injuries. “They teach me how to manage in the real world,” he explains.
In the upcoming months, a great, joyous event is anticipated in the Feiglin home. A few weeks ago, David became engaged to Natali. He met his future wife at an event organized by the Inbar Organization, which works to bring people with handicaps together. The event took place about half a year ago in Petach Tikva. “At the beginning, I didn’t want to go to a single’s event,” says David. “It seemed like a waste of time. I didn’t believe that anything would come out of it, but I met Natali there. We’ve been together ever since.” Tzippy is very happy with her son’s engagement. “The engagement party for David and Natali was so emotional. After all that he’s been through, it is hard to believe that we are meriting these happy moments.”
David’s father, MK Moshe Feiglin, is also moved by his son’s engagement and the long journey that he took together with his wife from the day of the accident four years ago, through the months of rehabilitation and until the engagement party. “It is a great joy,” he says.
Have you experienced moments of breakdown during Tzippy’s illness and David’s accident?
“I do not remember moments of breakdown. Certainly, it is unbelievably painful. It is not easy, it is not simple, really not. But it is a challenge that must be dealt with. I believe that G-d does not give a person a trial with which he cannot deal. I believe that if this  particular package fell onto your shoulders, it means that you can deal with it. There are many complex trials. It is a very difficult reality, but there is no despairing in this world.”
How do you manage to combine intensive public service with the challenges at home?
Clearly, for example, in the first period after David’s accident, I put everything aside and was with Tzippy at the hospital. There are moments and situations in which you are totally with your family. That is completely clear. But as time goes on, you have to ask yourself if you will allow the complex reality to stop everything and get you off track. Or perhaps, despite everything, from within that personal trial, you choose to continue, maybe even with more strength. I remember that while David was still in a coma, one of our daughters came over to the house and saw me fixing my bicycle chain. She was so happy to see me, in those difficult days, doing those small things in life, not detached from everything. And if I didn’t give up on something so banal, then I certainly would not give up on my life. Ultimately, that is the right decision to make. I draw strength from Tzippy and David all the time. The physical challenges with which they deal around the clock are very draining at the immediate level, but also very empowering and compelling.
Now that you have left the Likud, will you be home more?
“I could have chosen to give up, but I have chosen a path that demands much more of me. That is my answer in this situation as well. I have chosen to establish a new political framework. I am actually starting out anew, but from a much more ripe and mature place. It requires a huge investment, vast amounts of energy and a lot of time.”
After you saw the uncomplimentary results of the Likud primaries, didn’t you think, ’They don’t want me – just forget it’?
“That evil inclination certainly exists, but I do not have the privilege of giving in. If you believe that you have the solutions for the challenges facing Israel, you do not have permission to get up and leave. Life is full of challenges, and that is the way to approach them. Together with that, it is no less important to see the good side in those challenges, to squeeze everything out of them. I enjoy my grandchildren and my family, riding my bicycle and listening to good music.”