Monday, March 26, 2018

Remember, The God of Israel is Also a God of War!

By Ariel Natan Pasko

What do 1948, 1967, 1973; in fact every situation of total war where the modern State of Israel was fully committed to victory; have in common? The God of Israel gave victory to the Jewish people.

“HaShem Ish Milchama...’’ God is the Lord of War (Exodus 15:3). This was sung by the Jewish people on the seventh day of Passover, after they crossed the sea, and after the God of Israel drowned the Egyptian Army in that sea.

Why do I remind you of this? Because of something that infuriates me.

In a statement published last Pesach, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, Palestinian Authority Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, said that if Jews ‘’...hold Pesach (Passover), religious ceremonies on the Temple Mount...and continue attacks against the Muslim and Palestinian holy will turn the entire region into a ticking time bomb and cause a religious war, who’s results cannot be fathomed.”

Basically, he threatened war if Jews tried to fulfill their religious commitments. And, Temple Mount activists intend to re-enact the Passover Offering, again this year, as the do every year.

In fact, every red-blooded, living, committed Jew desires the return of the Bet HaMikdash – the Holy Temple, the House of God – on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But even before that, Korban Pesach, the Passover Offering, can be brought. There are no halachic – Jewish Law – problems, to prevent it from being carried out properly. Every year at the Passover Seder – as a reminder of Korban Pesach – we substitute the Afikoman at the end.

But we could be doing the real thing, what God commanded Jews to do in the Torah!

I find it a joke, when Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians, ISIS, Iranians, etc. regularly threaten a religious war, as if that isn’t what’s been going on already, since the beginning of Zionism, Kibbutz Galiyot – the prophesied return of the Jewish people to the Land of their forefathers, the Land of Israel – and with all of Israel’s wars.

Whether Jews of little belief understand it or not, every stabbing, every shooting, every act of terror and war by Arabs and Muslims against Jews, is a part of a long religious war taking place. That’s how they understand it.

Well, let me tell you, there are Jews who understand this too!


“...A religious war, who’s results cannot be fathomed,” Hussein quipped. Well, we know what the results will be, just like every other war against the State of Israel, victory for the Jewish people again. “The beginning of redemption comes through wars” (Megillah 17b).

“HaShem Ish Milchama...’’ The God of Israel is a Warrior, the Lord is his name (Exodus 15:3).

This is the same Sheikh Hussein, who declared back in August 2016, that the entire city of Jerusalem belongs to Islam and the Arabs, and must be defended against the Jews. Hussein asserted then that “each floor of the holy city, every remnant of the city, and every centimeter, attest to the fact that it is an Arab and Islamic city, whose roots lie deep in history and culture.”

So, we’re familiar with his constant rewriting of history, lies and incitement to violence. Other PA leaders from Abbas on down, have mouthed these lies also, even claiming ridiculously, to be Canaanites or Philistines. But, everyone in the world knows Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people, whether they like to admit it or not. America, to their credit, recently admitted it.

What prompted this outburst of the mufti last year? And probably this year too. The mere attempt to re-enact Korban Pesach – not even the real thing – by the Temple Institute and other Temple Mount organizations, near, but not on, the Temple mount in Jerusalem.

Maybe we should be bringing the real Passover Offering, instead of just re-enacting it?

As thieves and occupiers of someone else’s inheritance, the so-called Palestinians, rightfully fear the process of history unfolding in our days. Their Islamic lies, their claim of God’s rejection of the Jewish people, are regularly being proven false, by the ongoing redemptive process of Israel, taking place today.

The Korban Pesach, I might add, represents complete faith in the God of Israel and his redemptive process and total rejection of any fear of the gentile. In Egypt, sheep were worshiped, yet the Children of Israel were commanded by God, to tie up sheep in a publicly visible way, so that the Egyptians could see what was happening to their “god.” Then later to sacrifice and roast the sheep, for the first Pesach Seder, to show the complete impotence of the Egyptian god. The next day, the Jews left Egypt in broad daylight, heads held high, so that the whole world could see Israel’s redemption.

The Egyptians could do nothing to stop them.

The same is true today, of the current redemptive process taking place; the Arabs, the Muslims, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the EU, the UN, no one can stop it. Rewriting history, lies, terror, war or threats of war, will not stop the forward march of the Jewish people toward their destiny.

The God of Israel, wants all his creatures to live in peace, and create a world of good, but not at any cost, evil must be vanquished first.

“HaShem Ish Milchama...’’ God is the Master of War (Exodus 15:3).

Happy Passover!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Simple White Apparel

by HaRav Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Beit El

Dedicated to the memory of r' Meir b"r Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Thou Shall Not Possess Hametz

Concerning Passover, the Festival of Matzoth, the Torah commands us to eat Matzah on the night of the fifteenth of Nissan, Seder Night, and forbids us from eating Hametz during the entire seven days of the holiday. In addition, the Torah forbids all Jews from even possessing Hametz during these days. This is a unique prohibition, one that has no parallel in the entire Torah. The Torah contains prohibitions against eating specific foods or deriving benefit from certain things, yet nowhere do we find a prohibition against possessing particular objects. True, there is a Mitzvah to destroy objects of idol-worship, yet this commandment does not include any prohibition against possessing such objects: It is a positive injunction to eradicate objects of idolatry, not a prohibition against possessing them.

Matzah - Simple White Apparel
As a general rule there is no need to provide explanations for Divine laws - they are above and beyond all explanation. Yet in the case of Matzah the Torah itself found it necessary to enlighten us concerning its significance. The Torah refers to Matzah as the bread of affliction - "Do not eat any Hametz with it. Seven days eat Matzah, the bread of affliction, for you left Egypt in a great hurry" (Deut. 16:3). Matzah, then, is bread of affliction, bread that is devoid of all enhancement, that contains no additives whatsoever; bread that is deficient of all vigor and swelling, that consists of only the most essential ingredients - flour and water. This bread, Matzah, represents the spirit of journey to freedom, total independence, a return to the sources. And this is the essence of the Exodus from Egypt, liberation and freedom, complete and absolute independence. What's more, the greatness of the Exodus from Egypt lies in the fact that it stems from a Divine source. This is the essence of Matzah. It is unadulterated by admixtures, like the clothing of the High Priest on Yom Kippur, simple white apparel with no trace of gold. Wearing these plain clothes he enters the Holy of Holies.

During the Exodus, the Children of Israel ate plain unleavened Matzah. They remained free of injurious foreign influence, clean and untainted. Their plight at this historic hour might be compared to that of a heart transplant patient. In order that the body not reject the foreign organ all inner resistance must be routed. Yet, when the body's resistance is low it becomes susceptible to disease. It must therefore remain completely sterilized until the new organ has been accepted. Similarly, when the Children of Israel went out from Egypt they were given a new heart, a new spirit, and the light of faith radiated in their midst. At that time they had to remain pure and clean of all foreign influence. Therefore, the Exodus was a speedy affair, immediate and not gradual. The food at that time, too, was plain and simple - Matzah, an unadorned mixture of water and flour, nothing more. 

Every year when Passover arrives, bringing with it a sense of freedom, we are called upon to behave once again in a manner that reflects the spirit of the Exodus, doing away with all of the Hametz that is in our possession. We dispose of foreign influences, purify ourselves, and absorb anew the glory of faith. We do away with all leaven, and with the evil inclination to which leaven is often allegorized.

Amalek and Hametz: Partners in Obstinacy
The Talmud teaches that through the merit of the observation of "three firsts," an additional "three firsts" were granted to the Jewish People. Granted were the extermination of Esau's offspring, the construction of the Holy Temple, and the name of the Messiah. And which three firsts were observed? Regarding three Mitzvoth it is written, "On the first day." The first time this expression appears is in connection with the waving of the four species of the Succoth festival. Later it appears again in the context of the Mitzvah of observing the festival of Succoth itself. Finally, it appears in connection with the festival of Pesach. By virtue of our honoring these three Mitzvoth we were rewarded with the three privileges mentioned above. Rabbi Yehuda Liva ben Betzalel, "the Maharal of Prague," explains that the reward received for observing Pesach was the extermination of Esau's offspring, i.e. the Amalekites. Rabbi Shemuel ben Avraham Burnstein of Sokochov, "the Shem MiShemuel," in his introduction to the Haggadah of Pesach brings the following Baraitha from Pirkey DeRabbi Eliezer: "Eliphaz the Yemenite said to his son Amalek, 'The Children of Israel are inheritors of both this World and the World to Come, so dig wells and construct roads for them. If you follow my advice your portion will be with the worst of them and you too will enter the World to Come.' But he did not do so, rather he set out to destroy the entire world, as it is written, 'And Amalek came and made war.'" Eliphaz said to his son that the World to Come is designated for the People of Israel alone; his own merit is insufficient to secure him a similar destiny. The only way to enter, says Eliphaz, is by clinging to the Jews.

But Amalek refuses to take his father's advice. He is completely unwilling to be neutralized by something greater than himself. Therefore, instead of benefiting from the People of Israel he behaves in the opposite manner, displaying jealousy towards them and becoming an enemy and pursuer of them. This, then, is the essence of Amalek: haughtiness and pride, obstinacy and refusal to bow to anything greater than himself. The same is true regarding Hametz. Hametz, representing as it does Amalek, does not become nullified. There exists a special rule regarding mixtures of permissible food and Hametz. Even when the permissible part of a mixture is of a much greater quantity than the Hametz the mixture as a whole is forbidden. The Hametz is not rendered null and void.

Completely Destroying Amalek... and Hametz
And just as the Amalekites must be completely wiped out until no trace of them remains, Hametz too must be destroyed until none whatsoever remains. There are three types of Hametz: pure Hametz, mixtures containing Hametz, and what Halakhah refers to as "Hametz Nuksheh," spoiled or deficient Hametz. Similarly, there are three types of evil inclination. Like pure Hametz, there is pure evil inclination; like mixtures containing some Hametz, there is evil inclination that possesses both pure and not so pure intentions; like Hametz Nuksheh, there exists a sort of evil inclination characterized by stubbornness, lack of responsibility, and a drive for self gratification. All three of these must be done away with. The Torah was more stringent with Amalek than with all other nations. Though many nations have done harm to the Jewish People, even to the point of destroying our Holy Temple, in the final analysis, what they truly desired was self gratification, the expansion of their rule, etc. The Nation of Amalek, though, represents a unique type of depravity: their only intention is to strike at and debase Israel. In this regard Amalek resembles leaven. Regarding the Mitzvah to dispose of Hametz the Torah emphasizes, "On the first day dispose of leaven from your houses." What is leaven? Leaven is very concentrated and vigorous Hametz that is used to cause dough to swell. Leaven itself is not fit for consumption. It makes its influence felt by causing others to behave in a manner similar to its own. This was the goal of Amalek. Concerning most prohibitions against deriving benefit there is a rule that if the permissible matter in a mixture is greater than the forbidden, the mixture as a whole is acceptable. Yet, when it comes to leaven during Passover or ritual impurity this rule does not hold. This is because both leaven and impurity, even when they exist in very small amounts, will mar the rest of the mixture. Therefore complete destruction is necessary. Complete destruction of Hametz and complete destruction of Amalek. Nothing less than this is acceptable.

In Conclusion: Falsification and Illegal Possession
There is another special law regarding Hametz. According to the Torah, Hametz is forbidden already on the fourteenth of Nissan at noontime. This, despite the fact that one does not become liable for Divine punishment until the entrance of the holiday, i.e. at nightfall. What we have here is a sort of Divine decree to distance us from transgressing the prohibition of Hametz. The Shem MiShemuel explains that there exists only one other prohibition concerning which the Torah commands us to distance ourselves - "Distance yourself from lying." Hametz and dishonesty are similar in nature. Lying is an attempt to cause things to appear differently than they actually are. It implies self-elevation and the creation of a false outer appearance. This can be compared to Hametz which appears large and swollen, though in actuality it is full of air. (Incidentally, the same is true of Amalek. He too epitomizes haughty self-elevation and deceptive outer appearance.) Therefore, regarding both of these matters - Hametz and lying - the Torah calls upon us to take special care to distance ourselves.

There is another prohibition that exists only in the case of Hametz - the prohibition against possession. While there does exist an obligation to destroy objects of idol worship, a prohibition against mere possession can be found only in the case of Hametz. According to some early authorities even the obligation to search out Hametz - to examine all cracks and crevices in the house and to remove the Hametz from these places - is a Torah obligation. There are those who bring proof from the Jerusalem Talmud that searching out Hametz by the light of a candle on the evening of the fourteenth of Nissan is a Torah obligation.

In light of the above it becomes clear that the significance of Pesach is so lofty and so profound that the Torah found it necessary to demand immaculateness. Nothing is to blemish the holiday's sanctity, to the point that even possession of Hametz is forbidden. The Torah even went out of its way to teach us how to eliminate Hametz from our houses. From all this the greatness of Pesach, the Festival of Matzoth, becomes clear.

Three Introductions for Pesach

by HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l

based on Shirat Hageula, p. 3-4

There are three introductory Shabbatot for the holiday of Pesach: Parashat Parah, Parashat Hachodesh, and Shabbat Hagadol.
Parashat Parah is the reading of purification. It is true that in general, one is supposed to purify himself before a holiday (Rosh Hashana 16b). However, on Pesach there is a special reason to be pure, so that one can take part in the Korban Pesach. Liberation must come from amidst purity. If we would view the value of liberty as just the lack of being controlled by another nation, then the whole stress on purification would be unimportant. However, our goal is to have a life built on something specific and special, and for this there is a need for inspecting our ways and for purification.

Parashat Hachodesh is about renewal, starting with the moon to which we set our calendar. Part of the moon’s nature is that it is renewed just when it gets to the point of darkness.

Shabbat Hagadol possesses two elements – the Shabbat of creation and the Shabbat of Israel. As any Shabbat, it has the commands of "Zachor" (remember) and "Shamor" (observe) – remember the creation and observe the matter of the Exodus from Egypt. The Shamor comes to make Zachor a social obligation that serves as the basis for all of social life.

The goal of these three introductions is to show the essential content of Jewish nationalism, which finds expression in the Holiday of Freedom. That is to turn the divine idea into a factor that impacts on national, political, and social life. This requires an exact plan, which requires inspecting the nation’s actions from time to time – this is the idea of purification before holidays.

This requires making sure that life is lived in a way that is in synch with the changing conditions from time to time. In this regard, things must be checked according to their internal content, despite the fact that there are external changes that need attention. This is included in the idea of Parashat Hachodesh. All of these ideas find special attention on Shabbat, which, in turn, finds its fullest meaning on Shabbat Hagadol.

A Different Pesach

by Shmuel Sackett

I remember when a good friend of mine lost his mother. He was just 6 weeks into the first year of aveylus (mourning period for when a parent passes away) when he encountered a familiar problem; he was invited to the wedding of a co-worker’s daughter. Although the co-worker was not observant, the guy was going out of his way to make a nice, kosher wedding. He kept telling my friend about the upcoming wedding and how proud he will be to show his family, his “religious friend”. How could he not attend this wedding and dance with his co-worker? The fellow had made such an effort to hire an Orthodox Rabbi and make the entire event strictly kosher (and not just order for him an “airline” meal). Being a Torah dedicated Jew, my friend called a Rav and asked a shayla (question); could he attend the wedding – and dance with the father of the bride – even though he had just lost his mother 6 weeks before?

Before allowing the Rav to answer, my friend added a few words; “Rav, you should know that I am very machmir (strict) in life and I want to be very machmir in my aveylus as well so please take that into consideration when answering my shayla.” The Rav smiled and said, “Baruch Hashem that you are machmir because so am I.” And then, my friend added a few words that I am certain the Rav never heard before; “Dear Rav, what I meant is that I am machmir in Simcha (joy). My service to Hashem is always b’simcha and I want my aveylus to be in that way as well. I strive to keep Halacha perfectly but I never avoid the chumra of Simcha… it is in everything I do!! So please, answer my shayla knowing that I want to keep the laws of aveylus but making sure it is done mehadrin minha’mehadrin (extra perfect) with all the chumras possible of Simcha!!!” He later told me that the Rav had no idea what to say, and finally – after a few minutes of total silence – told him to call a Chassidic Rav with his question!! (Good idea, by the way…)

This story comes to mind as the holiday of chumras rolls around. The holiday that is so beautiful and so holy yet one that we have taken and almost totally destroyed. Instead of spending all that time cleaning our neshamas (souls), we clean our sock drawer. Instead of wiping our computers clean of all the horrible chametz that is there, we vacuum our car for 2 hours when 20 minutes is Halachically adequate. And instead of cleaning our hearts from the hatred we have for fellow Jews who don’t exactly look or act the way we do, we wash all the windows in our house.

Yes, we should be machmir… machmir in the happiness of the holiday and in the freedom Hashem has given us! We need to be extra careful about understanding the deeper, inner meaning of these 7 days (whoops, I mean 8 days for most of the people reading this…) and we must take every precaution imaginable to make sure our youth love the entire month of Nissan and not just for the few minutes when they swipe the Afikoman.

So this Pesach, take it easy on making everyone crazy. Enjoy the cleaning… Enjoy the shopping… and don’t kvetch about the prices. Enjoy the Erev Pesach preparations and thank Hashem for allowing you to spend Pesach at home and not in a hotel in Las Vegas. Enjoy some good old fashioned matzo-ball soup and matza-brei like you used to eat (for 50 years) before “gebrokts” became mandatory.

Enjoy, laugh and cherish the moment of this amazing holiday. Use all of your chumras, stringencies and extra precautions to guard against depression, anger and frustration. Get the kids involved… and not just the little ones by buying jumping frogs for the seder. Involve your teenage sons and daughters in the entire holiday and spend time with them. This year is a long Chol Ha’Moed and don’t you dare go to work!! You can arrange your vacation – if you want to!! Spend the time away from work and invest that time in your children; young and old. Remember; this is the holiday of freedom… so be free! Don’t shackle yourself to a desk. Get up and get out with your family and do meaningful things both physically and spiritually. Then, when Pesach is over you will realize just what a blessing Hashem gave us with these amazing days. May you enjoy each and every one of them!

Rav Kook on Parashat Tzav: Guard Your Inner Flame!

A fire was always burning on the Temple altar:

“אֵשׁ תָּמִיד תּוּקַד עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ - לֹא תִכְבֶּה.”
“There shall be a constant fire kept burning on the altar; it shall not be extinguished” (Lev. 6:6).

The fire on the Temple altar is a symbol, representing our inner drive for holiness and spirituality.

The kohanim were warned to make sure the altar fire was always burning. We also must guard and cultivate our inner flame:

“The divine thirst, raging and storming with its powerful flame in the heart, must not be extinguished.

A person who extinguishes a burning coal on the physical altar transgresses the prohibition of “There shall be a constant fire... it shall not be extinguished.” All the more so we must never extinguish a lofty spiritual coal on the spiritual altar of the heart, filled with holy life.”

(Orot HaKodesh vol. III, p. 210)

How Facebook and Social Media Promote Terrorism

by Uzi Shaya
  • The failure by the social media networks to enforce the prevention of terror-related content on their sites is, in fact, a direct violation of the Antiterrorism Act and the Material Supply Statutes; the general public is also in its right to have the protections of the Community Decency Act of 1996 cover content on social media.
  • The conclusion is that the social media companies are adopting an adversarial case-by-case approach to enforcing a ban on terror incitement on their platforms.

The nature of Islamic terrorism throughout the world has changed in recent years. Alongside the established and organized groups -- such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even ISIS -- a new and different type terror has been created, one that is nourished ideologically, spiritually, and intellectually by these groups, yet shows no connection -- organizationally or operationally -- to them.

This terror is defined by what we refer to as "lone wolves." These are individuals whose nationalistic motives, religious incitement or psychological needs propel them to commit acts of terror without being a member of an organized group or cell. The one unifying aspect for all these lone wolves is social media.

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Family is Joy

by HaRav Eliezer Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Har Bracha

Selling chametz via the Internet is a solution in a time of need * There is no need for thick pamphlets of medicines kosher for Pesach – only flavored medicines require kashrut certification * The Ashkenazi custom to eat hard matzos is a virtue, not an obligation * Modern and post-modern approaches attack family values ​​because they espouse individual choice to the extreme, reaching the point of egoism * The family does not harm one’s capabilities, rather, empowers them * Nowadays, precisely when one is able to live alone, the family is transformed from being an existential need, to an even higher value

From the Laws of Pesach: Chametz Absorbed into Utensils

One should not sell the chametz that is absorbed into utensils. Quite a few laws relating to mekhirat chametz were introduced in order to make it clear to all that it is an actual sale, but if one writes that he is selling the chametz absorbed in his utensils, the sale will appear to be lacking seriousness, since chametz absorbed in utensils has no value and nobody is interested in buying chametz absorbed in utensils. It is therefore correct not to indicate this in the sale contract. Indeed, if there was a halakhic need for this, the sale of the chametz absorbed in utensils would have been considered a serious issue, but according to halakha it is unnecessary, for it was ruled: “Ceramic dishes that have been used for chametz the whole year, even if they were used for oats or other grains, should be wiped well such that there is no noticeable chametz left, and then it is permitted to keep them until after Passover… they should be hidden on Pesach in a hidden place where one does not normally go, lest one come to use them on Pesach” (S.A.,O.C.451:1). After Pesach, one can go back to using them for chametz. Consequently, according to halakha there is no need to sell chametz utensils, or the chametz absorbed or stuck to them, and therefore, someone who sells them makes the halakha and the sale look silly and unserious.

The Sale of Chametz Online

If necessary, one may sell chametz over the phone, or via the Internet. Usually, the person selling chametz signs and performs a kinyan (act of acquisition) in order to empower the Rabbinate as a shaliach. Nonetheless, the kinyan is not crucial, as the most important thing is the transaction between the Rabbinate and the gentile when it makes the sale between the owners of the chametz to the gentile.

Medications on Pesach

Regarding a flavored medicine, like syrup, lozenges, or chewables, one must ascertain that it is kosher for Pesach, and as long as one is not sure it is kosher for Pesach, it is forbidden to eat. Only one who is seriously ill and his medicine does not have a good substitute, is permitted to eat it, because ‘pikuach nefesh’ (preservation of human life) overrides the prohibition against eating chametz.

However, a tasteless medicine does not require kashrut certification, because even if edible chametz was previously mixed in it, since it is not fit to eat even under pressing circumstances, because even for ‘achilat kelev’ (feeding it to a dog) is not fit, it no longer is forbidden to be eaten, and it permitted to swallow for any medical need.

However, there are some who are careful not to swallow even bitter medicines that contain a mixture of chametz, because they take into consideration the opinion of a few poskim (Jewish law arbiters) who believe that since the medicine is important to us, it is not considered unfit for ‘achilat kelev’, and it is forbidden to be eaten owing to ‘Divrei Chachamim’ (rabbinical decree). However, the halakha goes according to majority of poskim, and it is permissible to swallow a medicine that is not fit for eating without examining its kashrut first.

It should be added that the chances of a medicine containing chametz are very low, and even more so today when many people are sensitive to gluten, and grain is not mixed-in freely, rather, gluten-free substitutes are used.

Therefore, the thick guides that the HMOs publish are superfluous, and they should have focused their efforts on flavored medicines. They fulfilled the general rule: “Tafasta merubeh, lo tafasta” (“If you have seized a lot, you have not seized”). Due to the preoccupation with tasteless medicines, no effort is made to clarify the composition of the flavored medicines, which are the only ones whose clarification is important, and which are often neglected.

Medicines on Shabbat

Our Sages decreed that on Shabbat a mildly sick person should not take medicine, lest he come to pulverize herbal ingredients to prepare a medication and thereby violate the Torah prohibition of Tochen (grinding). However, with respect to medicines manufactured in factories, the poskim disagree, and therefore, for those truly in pain, it is permissible to take them. But if one is not in such great pain – it is forbidden. All this is on the condition that one is not used to taking medications such as Acamol (Paracetamol) or nasal drops from time to time. But if one usually takes such medications as the majority of people do in our times, if one feels that he needs it, he is permitted to continue taking the medicine on Shabbat, since he makes sure they are prepared in advance, there is no concern he will come to pulverize herbal ingredients to prepare a medication (Peninei Halakha: Shabbat 28: 5-6).

Soft Matzot for Ashkenazim

Q: Can Ashkenazim eat soft matzot?

A: By strict law, there is no halakha that says matzot must be hard, but rather, it is a ‘minhag‘ (custom) of Ashkenazim to eat hard matzot. There are two reasons for this: one is that the hard matzot are kept fresh for a long time, and therefore before Pesach, matzot can be prepared for the entire holiday of Pesach. The second reason is that from a halakhic point of view, hard matzot have two virtues: 1) when the matzot are baked before Pesach, even if chametz is mixed in, as long as it is less than one-sixtieth it is null and void, and permissible for eating on Pesach. However, if this mixture is created on Pesach, the matzot are forbidden, because on Pesach chametz is forbidden be’kol she’hu (in any amount). 2) The ability to know whether the matza has become chametz depends on the ‘threads‘ that string from the baked matza. In hard matzot, this can be detected easily, while in soft matzot, it requires more expertise.

Since this ‘minhag‘ also has halachic virtues, it should not be nullified without reason. However, when necessary, since it is not prescribed as a binding ‘minhag’, it is possible to be lenient.

Pesach, Family, and the New Book

In the past few months, I have been busy preparing books for print. In my previous column, I wrote about the new and upgraded version of “Peninei Halakha: Ha’am ve’ Ha’Aretz” (“The Nation and the Land”); now I will talk about the new and upgraded book “Likutim” which deals with family matters.

Most of my work in the recent past has been writing and preparing ‘hilchot kashrut’ (dietary laws). At present with the help of God, I am finishing preparing the first volume (out of two), in which all the laws relating to vegetation and living creatures are explained, and therefore some of the laws that appear in the ‘Likutim’ books will not appear in the coming volumes. Consequently, ‘Likutim’ Volume 3 will end up devoted entirely to family matters. Since this is the case, I have added to it other laws I have written over the years in matters of marriage, modesty, laws of mourning and their meanings, and various other laws. Thus, more than seventy pages have been added to the book.

Since most of the halachot in this book have been printed in the previous edition, and those who purchased the older edition may feel deprived, I asked the publishers to sell the new book at cost price for three months to anyone who has an old edition of ‘Likutim: Mishpacha’ Volume 3.

The Attacks on Family Values

Family values ​​are at the center of a person’s world, and in keeping with their importance and centrality, they are under attack today from various directions. In modern society, and even more so in post-modernism, man is perceived as a loner and individual; family weighs down on him, impinging on his freedom of revealing his desires without restraint. This is the case with regard to parent-child relations, with the mitzvah to honor one’s parents under attack by the accepted psychological positions, to the point where parents are accused of all the emotional complications of their children. Even more so, the marriage framework is under attack, because it ostensibly violates the freedom and rights of women and children. Thus in actuality in Western secular society, most married couples get divorced, and the majority of people live for most of their adult lives without a stable relationship.

Changing from Existential Need, to an Exalted Value

In the past, family values ​​were an existential need, for without a family, a person could not provide for his own material needs, and protect himself. Therefore, all of human society extolled the nuclear and extended family values, ​​and established rules and regulations according to which the family was governed. On a higher, more sacred level, according to Torah instruction family life is guided in such a way that all members of a family are elevated to a spiritual life of holiness, Torah, and mitzvot. Contrasted with the situation in the past, in modern society an individual adult can take care of himself, achieving his material needs and the various social activities he enjoys. Not only is he not in need of family but family is liable to burden him down, delay his professional progress, interfere with his daily and nightly enjoyment as he sees fit, consume all his money, deprive him of his freedom, oblige him to take care of his parents in their old age, to be faithful to his wife, and to devote himself to his children’s education. The value of freedom is indeed sacred, but if misused, it reinforces the egoistic position that views man as a loner, and a serves a mortal blow to family values ​​- and ultimately, even in man, because loneliness is a complicated living situation, full of sadness and pain – especially when a person is enfeebled.

We must return to and deepen family values and the mitzvoth they entail in order to fulfill these commandments for their loftiest value, both in a person’s relationship with his parents, in relation to the sacred covenant of marriage with which he becomes a whole person, and in relation to his children. According to this view which we have learned from the Torah, man is not a loner, but part of a family, and this does not harm the revealing of his vitality and freedom, rather, it empowers them. In order for this to happen, we must study these commandments in a deep manner, and fulfill them.

In this book, as in ‘Peninei Halakha’, the volume of ‘Simchat HaBayit U’Verchato’, which was published in 2011, while studying the mitzvot and halachot, one is exposed to the elements of a good and exalted family life.

Seder Night and Family Values

​​The Seder and its mitzvot are intended to establish the tradition of Jewish faith, and this mitzvah must be done with joy as we are commanded to be happy on every holiday, and especially on Seder night, for which we were commanded to drink four glasses of wine, so that the whole order of the Haggadah be said over a glass of wine, by means of freedom and joy. Nevertheless, occasionally it is difficult for some people to be happy, and instead, they pout at each other, to the point where family gatherings causes tension and arguments.

The Torah teaches us that whenever a person is happy, he should share his joy with family and make them happy. In other words, true joy depends on the fact that one must first delight his family members (see ‘Peninei Halakha: Moadim 1: 11). From this, one can come to a very deep understanding: family is the opportunity to give love and joy in an orderly and stable manner. When a person arrives at Seder night with a feeling of a mission, and his intent is make others happy, to show them a happy face and compliment them, he is guaranteed to fulfill the mitzvoth of the holiday with extra joy, and he himself will leave the family reunion full of vitality and blessing for the entire year.

The Yishai Fleisher Show: Unambivalent About Israel

To believe that the Temple offerings will come back again you need to be unambivalent about the Torah - like Rabbi Mike Feuer. To recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel you need to be unambivalent like the American Administration as described by Eli Pieprz. To bomb a Syrian nuclear installation you need to have an unambivalent IDF as portrayed by Malkah Fleisher. They all join Rabbi Yishai for a show filled with an unambivalent love of Israel and love of God.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Israel’s Strategic Debacle (Article + Vid)

by Moshe Feiglin

The Israeli attack against Iran - that never happened - must be analyzed from a broad, strategic perspective. When Iran built the plutonium reactor, Israel had a golden opportunity to attack a relatively easy target – as opposed to the underground nuclear enrichment facilities in Iran.

Even if the outcome had been partial, the strategic meaning would have been that Iran is inside the legitimate borders of Israel’s reach.

Passing the responsibility for Iran’s nuclear program to Obama (that is what Netanyahu did with his speeches) gave the Iranians immunity. It transformed them from the status of a crumbling, rogue state to a regional power, which is currently digging in on our borders.

We founded a state so that the next time a dictator attempts to destroy us, we will not have to beg for the help of the American pilots, who flew over the death camps and didn’t bomb them. This is exactly what we have been saying for 70 years to every visiting VIP who we dragged straight from the airport to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.

But at the moment of truth, Netanyahu did the opposite. He once again ran to beg the US for help, as if he was a mere community leader of a helpless European pre-Holocaust Jewish village. As a result, we lost the legitimacy for our very sovereign existence. We couldn’t even put a metal detector on the Temple Mount after terrorists murdered our police officers.

In the Middle East, either you sit down to the meal – or you are part of the menu.

Netanyahu has turned us into part of the menu.

Useful, Thoughtful, Meaningful Prayers

by Rabbi Ben Tzion Spitz

There is a not-uncommon phenomenon in Hebrew prayer, of people not understanding what they are saying. This goes so far as to the trend of some people, trying to be particularly devout, of reciting Psalms throughout the day, though they may not understand the words. Some go so far as to recite the entire Book of Psalms in one sitting or even multiple times a day, leaving time for little else in their days.

The source for the power of prayer in general and Psalms in particular is an ancient tradition. The Talmud affirms that “whoever says the Praise of David (referring to Psalm 145) every day is guaranteed the World to Come.”

However, Rabbeinu Bechaye on Exodus 7:37 (Tzav) adds a caveat to the above. The prayers are mainly effective when we understand what we’re saying. While there is some value to saying it even if we don’t fully understand, the power of the prayers is when we are able to internalize the concepts we’re saying, when we are able to delve into the meaning within our communications with God.

There is a related principle from this week’s Torah reading regarding the sacrifices. The Sages explain that even just reading about the sacrifices, especially in our day and age, while the Temple is yet to be rebuilt, is akin to actually bringing the real flesh-and-blood sacrifices. Rabbeinu Bechaye explains that here too, it’s not just reading the words, but really contemplating the significance of the words, the profound messages and the divine imperative which underlines the holy texts.

A related challenge is that for those who pray on a daily basis, and recite the same text all the time, the act of praying can become monotonous. It can become a burden. People may speed through the text just to get it over with. Their mouths may be saying the words, but their hearts and minds are most likely elsewhere. The truth however, and a response to the challenge, is that the words of the prayer are rich and complex. They are filled with nuance and significance which can take a lifetime to discover. They can lead to greater insights as to our history and our tradition. That is part of Rabbeinu Bechaye’s suggestion. He guides us to delve into the interpretations of prayer. There are mystical hints. One can find the keyhole to wonders. It should lead to a growing faith in God and indeed the World to Come.

May we rediscover the meaning, usefulness, sublimity and power of prayer.

Shabbat Shalom & Chag Kasher Ve’Sameach.

Rabbi Ari Kahn on Parashat Tzav: Holy Vessels

Chometz and Tohu

by Rabbi Pinchas Winston

For whoever eats chometz, that soul shall be cut off from the Jewish people. (Shemos 12:15)

IF A PIECE of treif meat becomes accidentally mixed together with two identical pieces of kosher meat, making it impossible to know which is which, the entire mixture is kosher. The rabbis tell us to not eat at least one of three, but the Torah permits it.

Likewise, if you were stirring your hot fleishig cholent on Erev Shabbos with one hand while drinking milchig coffee at the same time with the other hand, and someone bumped into you causing some of your coffee to jump into the cholent, you may not have to panic. If the milk disappears into the cholent and you know that it was only one-sixtieth or less in proportion, everything is still kosher. You can eat that cholent on Shabbos with a clear conscience.

“Bittul,” the halachic nullification of a forbidden substance is a remarkable concept and rather counter-intuitive. Who cares if there is more kosher meat than treif meat? When the person eats the third piece of meat, he will DEFINITELY have eaten the treif one! So out of doubt, it makes more sense not to eat ANY of the three pieces of meat, and indeed, some have that opinion.

Not because they disagree with the Torah, God forbid, but because they know how people think. Why is the Torah is telling us that in such a situation of bittul the treif becomes kosher? How? Only God knows, and maybe a few Kabbalists a well. But since the average person cannot get their head around that, they will THINK that the Torah has allowed them to eat a piece of treif meat, which is wrong, COMPLETELY wrong.

Therefore, one opinion tells us to throw away at least one piece, so the person can’t know he is CERTAINLY eating what was once a treif piece of meat. Some say throw away two, and some say three. They don’t want people thinking that they can go against the Torah with the Torah’s permission. If any of this happens to a person, they should consult their local Orthodox rabbi for a decision.

An exception to this rule is chometz. From the time Pesach comes in to when it goes out seven days (eight in the Diaspora) later, any chometz mixture is forbidden. It could be 10 million portions of kosher l’Pesach food to one portion of chometz, and the mixture is still forbidden. There is no bittul of actual chometz during Pesach. It is in the halachic vernacular, “assur b’mashahu,” forbidden even in the tiniest of quantities.

Why is that? Why are we super-stringent about chometz as opposed to other issurim? Because chometz on Pesach is an “Issur Kares” (a person is cut off from the Jewish people)? There are other “Issurei Kares” that can be nullified in the right amount. Is there even a halachic basis for such a stringency, other than the fact that the rabbis insist on it?

If they insist on it, there is a reason. And though it may not have to do with the halachic parameters of bittul, it does have to do with the reality of chometz itself, which is something quite Kabbalistic. After all, Kabbalists describe the rectification of Creation being, the result of God breaking the letter Ches of “chometz” (spelled, Ches-Mem-Tzaddi) into the letter Heh of “matzah” (spelled, Mem-Tzaddi-Heh). That has to mean something important.

This alone tells you that chometz, as delicious and seminal a thing it is to life, represents “tohu,” the null that preceded Creation. If the word was transformed into “matzah” to make Creation, then chometz, or the spiritual basis of chometz, has to be associated with the null and void that came before “Tikun Ma’aseh Bereishis,” the “Rectification of the Act of Creation.”

On and even simpler level, we know that chometz represents the yetzer hara, man’s evil inclination. It’s not only about food. It’s about anything that satiates the body, be it something we take in through our mouths or through our experiences in life. If it’s materialistic in any way, it is “chometzdik,” at least in the conceptual sense. The only question would be, then why is it permissible the rest of the year, and even in generous quantities?

The answer of course is back in time, when the Jewish people were still in Egypt. Something happened back then that WE take for granted, but “others” do not. DANGEROUS others and, it turns out, chometz makes us vulnerable to them.

There is a rule in Creation. It says that when a person acts morally, they are protected from evil spiritual forces. The “mitzvos” they perform not only guard them against the Klipos, the Kabbalistic name for the source of evil in Creation, but the mitzvos even weaken the Klipos. Theoretically, enough mitzvos performed can even ELIMINATE them altogether, but so far that has only been wishful thinking,.

Sins do the opposite. They draw the Klipos to a person, and strengthen the Klipos in the process. If a person does not do teshuvah and take care against the Klipos, then the Klipos have permission from God to spiritually attack the person, as they have done on so many occasions.

Unfortunately, such attacks aren’t easy to recognize or defend against. On the contrary, the person under attack may merely feel “free” of religion. They FEEL as if they’re MORE in charge of their lives, when in fact they are really more enslaved, bound to do the bidding of the Klipos. It is something that tragically only becomes clear to a person once it is too late to fix the situation, like moments before their departure from this world.

This only explains why chometz should be a problem ALL year round. Why is it only an issue during Pesach?

Because a great injustice was done against the Klipos during this time of year. The Jewish people had been holding on the 49th level of spiritual impurity until the Ten Plagues started. By all rights, they should have fallen completely into the hands of the Klipos—for good. The Jewish people should not have been saved.

Instead, because of the promise made to Avraham Avinu that the eighth generation would go free, God bent the rules. He sent Moshe Rabbeinu down to Egypt to not only free the Jewish people, but to increase their merit. He artificially sensitized them to the reality of God, by performing increasingly more spectacular miracles. With each passing plague, the Divine light only became more intense until the Jewish people had to quickly leave Egypt to save the Klipos, not themselves.

If you think the Klipos forgot about this “injustice,” think again. Quite the contrary, every year at this time they are reminded of what should have been, and what was instead. It makes them vengeful, and they look to take back now some of what they lost back then.

As a long a Jew remains COMPLETELY chometz free during Pesach, the Klipos cannot get to them. The light of Pesach once again keeps them away, allowing the person to live instead, enveloped by the liberating light of God. The Klipos can do nothing but helplessly watch from afar.

But if a person has even a speck of chometz on Pesach, it’s like whistling and yelling, “Hey Klipos! I’m over here!” It’s like putting a tracking device on yourself that attracts the Klipos right to you. The person becomes a “Korban Pesach” for the Klipos instead. Not a very appealing option, and certainly good incentive to make sure the house is well cleaned and properly checked in advance of the “Holiday of Freedom.”

Worlds Apart

Parashat Tzav – Shabbat Hagadol 5778
HaRav Nachman Kahana


1) This week’s pre-Pesach message is a repeat of what I have sent out for the past 15 years.

Nevertheless, it is always appropriate and timely. Because every year, as we draw closer to the final geula, the message becomes more challenging for contemporary religious leaders in galut who are as blind to HaShem’s personal guidance of the Jewish nation as were the 80% of the Jews who refused to leave Egypt.

2) I am annoyed when people who live in the galut say to me, “Rav Kahana, we so much enjoyed this week’s article”. My messages are intended to challenge, confront, dispute, oppose and defy the messengers and their false messages they preach to the innocent, captive, naive Jews in the galut; they are not intended to entertain. Although there are too many Jews in the galut who are not innocent, nor are they captive or naive. They are Jews who are unconcerned with the survival of our holy nation and our return to the Promised Land, they seek out rabbinic leaders who echo their disciples’ galut aspirations.

Now for the message…

A Luxurious Passover in America

Instructions: The following is to be read aloud by the leader of the seder, any time during the main course.

The scene is of a frum (Torah observant) family living in any one of the great Torah centers in the world. The family could even be your next-door neighbors in Boro Park or Flatbush.

Reb Sender and Rayza’s home is impeccable, as a result of the enormous time and energy – and not to mention, money – which the expeditious, skillful and mercurial ba’alat ha’bayit (woman of the house) has devoted to it.

The inviting sofas and armchairs in the sitting room are covered with uncomfortable thick plastic to ensure that the upholstery retains its “new” look.

The five-meter-long dining table is covered with the finest Irish linen tablecloth. In the middle of the table stand the imposing sterling silver candlesticks handed down from mother to daughter for generations. The china is the finest Rosenthal, with each plate delicately rounded off with a band of gold. The silverware has been put away in favor of goldware, in honor of the great night.

On the table, under a hand-embroidered silk cloth, lie the matzot. On the insistence of the two sons learning in the recently-opened Yeshiva Taharas Ha’Torah (purity of Torah) in Las Vegas (in order to bring the voice of Torah even to the entrance of Gehennom), the matzot are from the first 18-minute batch, guaranteeing that no naughty piece of dough was hiding in any of the rollers. The hand matzot were personally chosen by the rebbe of the shtiebel where the family has just joined because of the exorbitant cost of davening at the central shul. The rebbe assures the boys that the matzot are bubble-free and with no overturned edges.

The wall-to-wall carpet is as deep as the grass in the beautiful garden. Over the table hangs the family’s pride and joy – a multi-sided crystal chandelier, personally chosen by Rayza on the family’s last visit to Prague.

Reb Sender is wearing his new bekeshe (silk robe), the one with the swirls of blue and a gold-buckled gartel (belt). Rayza has just said the Shehechiyanu blessing over her $3000 dress imported from Paris. The boys are handsome in their wide-brimmed black hats; and the two girls will make beautiful kallahs (brides) when the time comes, dressed in their very expensive dresses.

The seder goes better than expected. Words of Torah begin with an invitation to the hungry to join them in the meal (despite the fact that there is not a needy person for 50 miles). Then a lively discussion develops on the characters of the “Four Sons”, and the afikomen (ritual dessert matza) is “stolen” by the youngest daughter who, for its return, has succeeded in extorting from Tattie (father) a vacation in Aruba.

Songs of thanks are recited to HaShem for freeing the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, for it is a mitzva on this night for each person to consider him/herself as having been a slave in Mitzrayim (Egypt).

Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals) is said, as is the second part of Hallel. Chad Gadya puts the final touch on the mitzvot of the night. Now, just as HaShem destroys the “Angel of Death” in the song, father jumps up and gathers the family in a circle as they all break out in a frenzy of song – “Leshana ha’ba’a Be’Yerushalayim” – next year in Jerusalem. Again and again around the table “Leshana ha’ba’a Be’Yerushalayim” is sounded. Louder and louder do their voices resonate, until their song merges with the same melody bursting from the neighbors’ homes, cutting a path into the highest realms of heaven.

Without warning, Rayza begins crying real tears as she collapses into a chair. The singing stops. Reb Sender runs over and asks her why she is crying, just now, at the apex of the beautiful sacred night?

“What do you mean next year in Yerushalayim? What about the table, the chandelier, the deep carpet, the Rosenthal China? How can we leave all this behind?”

Reb Sender takes her hand, while gently dabbing the tears away, and in a voice full of compassion says to his beloved wife, “Darling, don’t cry. IT’S ONLY A SONG!”

Pesach In the Holy Land
Ten thousand kilometers to the east, in Eretz Yisrael, lives Reb Sender’s brother Kalman who moved to Eretz Yisrael many years ago and was blessed with a beautiful family, and an adequate apartment and income. His son Yossi will not be home for the Seder night, because he is doing his army service within the Hesder yeshiva system. The parents are not overly worried, because Yossi himself told them that he is in a safe place in the north and that next year they will all be together for the Seder.

At 12 noon, on the 14th of Nisan, Erev Pesach, Yossi and three other soldiers from the same yeshiva are called to the company commander’s room, where he informs them that they have been chosen for a mission that very night of the Seder. They are to cross the border into Hezbollah-held territory in Southern Lebanon and man the outpost bunker Hill 432.

Yossi knows the hill well. He has been there several times in the past year. It is euphemistically called a “bunker,” but in reality it is only a foxhole, barely large enough for four soldiers. Their assignment is to track terrorist movements and destroy them on contact. It is tolerable except when it rains, causing the bottom of the hole to be soggy and muddy. Today, however, the four soldiers are hoping that it will rain, even though chances are slim because of Pesach falling late in the season. The moon is full on the 14th of every Hebrew month, which presents a greater danger when crossing into enemy territory, so rain would be a mixed blessing.

At 5 PM, they are given the necessary equipment. In addition to the weapons and ammo, the army rabbinate has provided them with 4 plastic holders containing all the ingredients necessary for a Seder, as well as 4 plastic bottles of wine sufficient for 4 cups, and, of course, Haggadot (the ritual text).

At 6 PM, they wait at the fence for the electricity to be turned off so that they can cross into hostile territory. Yossi holds a map of the minefield they will have to cross. It is so strange, Yossi thinks to himself, that this is the area assigned to the tribe of Naftali, and we have to enter it crawling on our stomachs.

At 6:15 PM, the gate opens and they pass through. As they had hoped, it is raining and the thick fog turns to their advantage.

At that moment, ten thousand kilometers to the west, it is 11:15 AM, and Yossi’s two cousins in New York are just entering the immaculately clean mikva (ritual bath) to prepare for the Pesach holiday. They exit on a spiritual high, having purified themselves in body and soul to sanctify the holy name of HaShem.

The four soldiers reach Hill 432 after walking double time for 5 kilometers. They remove the camouflage and, settling in, pull the grassy cover over them.

Each soldier is assigned a direction. Talking is forbidden. If the murderers are sighted, a light tap on the shoulder will bring them all to the direction. They can now daven Ma’ariv (the evening prayers) and begin the Seder. They finish within a half hour, and miraculously the four cups of wine have had no detrimental effect on their senses.

At 6 PM in New York, Reb Sender and his two sons return from shul to begin the Seder. They are met with an uplifting scene. The table, the cushions to lean upon, the crystal wine decanter for the four cups of freedom, and even the maror looks sumptuous, after not having eaten since lunch.

At midnight in Eretz Yisrael, the four soldiers are waging a heroic battle against boredom and sleep. The minutes crawl by; and at the first approach of light, they leave their outpost and return through the minefield and electric fence to the base. After reporting to the officer in charge, the four enter their tent and collapse on their cots without removing clothing or shoes, because in an hour they will have to begin the Shacharit service.

Where do you and your family fit into the story?

Chag kasher vesamai’ach
Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5778/2018 Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What About Polls Pessimistic on Zehut?

by Moshe Feiglin

There are polls in which Zehut gets double digits, as Yaakov Bardugo said to me on the radio studying two different polls conducted by two large parties in Israel. . On the other hand, Channel 2 political commentator Amit Segal said that Zehut will not pass the voting threshold.

The difference between the two polls is the depth of the questions that they asked. Zehut is a new concept in Israeli society. When MK Orly Levi immediately after announcing her new party gets eight mandates, it is no surprise. She represents the socialism that the poor are looking for and she has an automatic voter bank. Zehut is something new. Something that touches almost every sector of society. When we say that Zehut has potential for more than 20 mandates, it is for this reason. But Amit Segal’s poll didn’t ask any deep questions.

Zehut is talking about returning the economy to the people, liberty to the people. This requires a different level of listening and does not appear in the quick 500 person poll conducted by Channel 2. The large parties, whose polls Bardugo saw, invest money to check undercurrents. And that is where Zehut is doing well.

One thing that we have learned internationally from polls, however, is that they are unreliable. Zehut has a message, we have vision, we know how to break out of the vicious cycle in which Israel is enmeshed, We will work hard to ensure that this message will become reality in the Knesset.

Replace Israel’s Socialist Roots with Open Market

by Moshe Feiglin

Was former Israeli MK, Loba Eliav, who in the fifties, dumped loads of new immigrants out of the truck and onto the barren ground in Dimona (where they were brought against their will so that they would “settle the Negev”) a bad person? Everyone who knew him knows that the opposite is true. So what makes a good person do such a shocking thing?

It is easy enough to understand the roots of the evil of racism and impenetrability, and it is fairly easy to deal with them. But that evil cannot exist without some good, and that is our question. Why were good people involved with that evil?

The answer is…ideology. Ideology that sees the State - not the citizen - as sovereign. Ideology that preaches that the citizen belongs to the State, instead of the opposite. A collective ideology that scoffs at the hidden hand expressed in man’s free spirit. Ideology, which from an honest place of good will (at least that is how it begins) seeks to control our lives by means of an army of bucolic bureaucrats.

After all, if we do not place limits on egg production, we will all turn into one large sunny-side-up. And if we do not limit shoe production, the citizens will not have pants, because nobody will produce them or import them without being told to do so. And if we do not educate their children, they will remain illiterate. And if we do not pour them out of the truck in Dimonah, the Negev will remain empty. Socialism really wants to help.

Somehow, however, in other countries where the citizen is sovereign, the price of eggs and milk is much lower than here in Israel – and the quality is better than ever. Everything is in the market and abundant. A new car is completely affordable. Housing is magically cheap (because the State did not appropriate all the land for itself) and towns rise in the most far-flung places. There is no Absorption Basket for immigrants, no metal beds courtesy of the Jewish Agency, no housing benefits for first generation and second generation and no Workers’ Union that minimizes social gaps.

Nevertheless, approximately one million Israeli citizens have left our socialist paradise since 1948 and moved to the US. For some reason, the waves of Aliyah that have come to Israel in all the years of Zionism have always come from countries less free and capitalistic than Israel. Something in the centralized paradise that we have created left the Jewish young people in the US there – happy to donate from afar.

The lands of the Negev, which were appropriated by the State, were not allocated for free to whoever would be willing to build and farm them (as was the practice in the US and Australia). They were settled quite successfully, however. By the Bedouins… who do not understand how socialism works…and simply took the land! There were no Israeli citizens there to guard the land. Most of those people dumped out of the truck found their way out of the Negev socialist paradise and returned to the slightly more free atmosphere of Tel Aviv…

Now the children of those immigrants have brought us a centralized economy from the Right side of the map. Yes, G-d’s Invisible Hand is working behind the scenes and the small measure of open market that we do have in high-tech and more is hugely successful. But just think how wonderful it would be if the young generation now entering the market wouldn’t have to work the most hours of all western economies, to earn the least and to pay the most. All that the State has to do is to stop interfering. Everything could be the best. Masses of young Jews coming here to get rich. Our Land is already flowing with milk and honey. G-d is already blessing us with abundance, but it is getting stuck in corruption and centralization. Let us open the economy and let Israel shine!

Moshe Feiglin: We Endanger Soldiers' Lives for Legal Approval (eng. subs)

Audio: Aaron Klein Interviews Moshe Feiglin on Israeli Policy (Eng)

France: Toward Total Submission to Islam, Destruction of Free Speech

(Ed. note: Waving bye bye to France and any open-border European country. They have submitted to dhimmitude. The new Caliphate is rising.)

by Guy Millière
  • The French government and the French justice system claim to treat all religions equally, but they treat Islam as if it were "more equal than others" -- able to enjoy special privileges. Those who criticize Islam -- or who just show the results of Islamic terrorism -- are victims of fierce prosecution, while hate-filled, racist organizations are never touched.
  • "Who has the right to say that in thirty to forty years, France will not be a Muslim country? No one in this country has the right to extinguish our right to hope for a society that is globally faithful to Islam ". — Marwan Muhammad, spokesman of the "Collective against Islamophobia in France".
  • President Macron recently said he wants a law against "fake news". If the law is adopted, all online magazines in France that do not broadcast what the government defines as "true news" could be subject to immediate government suspension. If they are located outside France, access to them would be blocked. Islamic online magazines and websites are not on the list of "fake news" providers. What online magazines and websites top the list? Those that question Islam.

In 2005, Muslim riots took place throughout France. President Jacques Chirac began to abandon the government's sovereignty over many districts. Pictured: Riot police watch as a warehouse burns in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers on November 4, 2005, on the eighth consecutive night of rioting. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
After the murders of much of the staff at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015, the hostage-taking and slaughter at a kosher supermarket two days later confirmed what was already obvious: France was a target of Islamic terrorism. A huge demonstration, organized in Paris on January 11, brought together a million and a half people, with politicians from around the world in attendance.

For a brief moment, France seemed to be the country where the multitudes were ready to stand up for freedom of speech, and the government was ready to fight for Western values.

Unfortunately, that impression did not last long.

Continue Reading Article

Reborn Israel Has Settled the "Jewish Question"

by Daniel Krygier

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 769

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Modern-day anti-Semites channel their Jew-hatred into the more politically correct avenue of so-called anti-Zionism. By conflating Zionism with racism and alleged human rights abuses, they attempt to delegitimize the very existence of the state of Israel. But their indignation, no matter how persistently or how shrilly it is expressed, cannot alter the legitimacy of the Jews’ return to their ancestral homeland. The reborn state of Israel has effectively settled the matter of the “Jewish Question.”

Continue to full article ->

Why Jerusalem is Not Islam’s 3rd Holiest Site

by Joseph Farah

You’ve undoubtedly heard that Jerusalem represents the third holiest city in Islam.

That is provably untrue.

Or, perhaps you’ve read in Wikipedia or heard on CNN that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest place of worship in Islam.

That, too, is a provable lie.

Or, maybe you heard about the vote by UNESCO in 2016 that denied any Israeli connection to the Temple Mount, referring it only by the Islamic name, “Haram al-Sharif.”

Before I get to the history of these myths, these aberrant legends, these anti-Semitic fictions from hell, let me tell you why anyone with a clear head and objective, rational mind can see the truth in spite of the powerful delusion that has cast a spell upon the world – deliberately, with political purpose and very recently, too.

Everyone should recognize the No. 1 holy site in all Islam is Mecca, the Qaba, which draws millions of pilgrims annually – perhaps more than any other religious shrine in the world. For instance, while some 5 million visit the Vatican City every year, 18 million Muslims visit Saudi Arabia and, almost all of them, go to Mecca, which doesn’t allow non-Muslims to enter the city. The annual five-day Hajj, alone, attracted more than 2 million in 2017.

Spiritual pilgrimages are a big deal in Islam, and the No. 2 holy site in all Islam is probably Medina, where Muhammad is buried.

But after Mecca and Medina, there is actually much dispute, even among Muslims, as to which would be Islam’s third holiest city. Why? Because while Mecca and Medina are considered holy to all Muslim followers of Muhammad and Allah, not all of them are Sunni. Sunni Islam adherents represent about 80 percent or roughly 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. But another 20 percent are Shia, representing as many as 300 million. And Shia Muslims revere shrines in two other cities in Iraq – Najaf, and Karbala.

How many make the pilgrimage from Najaf to Karbala annually during the Shia Arba’een Pilgrimage? Hold on to your burqa or keffiyeh. Some accounts put it at 30 million from as many as 40 countries, often braving attacks from Sunni terrorists and usually traveling barefoot. That’s right. This Arba’een Pilgrimage is a much longer one than the five-day Mecca Hajj and, according to many sources, much larger in the sheer number of participants.

How many Muslims make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem? Israel hosts a total of about 2 million tourists from all over the world every year, but only a tiny fraction are Muslims. Israeli tourists are diverse ethnically but almost all Jewish and Christian. And please don’t tell me Muslims are not welcome because they are. In 2014, the latest statics I could find showed 26,700 tourists from Indonesia; 23,000 from Turkey; 17,700 from Jordan; 9,000 from Malaysia and 3,300 from Morocco. And those were the biggest numbers.

And maybe you think Muslims stopped coming to Jerusalem, their “third holiest city,” after Israel reunified it in 1967. Quite the opposite. There was scarcely any interest in Jerusalem when Jordan controlled Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. Even King Hussein never visited Jerusalem during the time he controlled part of the city for two decades.

If you want to go back further, before the first Zionist Aliyah, you can see what the Dome of the Rock circa 1875 looked like – abandoned, in total disrepair, unvisited. In fact, it didn’t get its famous gold-plated roof until the 1950s under Jordanian control, and it had to be redone in 1993 under Israeli authority.

While we’re starting to travel back in history, let’s look for Jerusalem in the Quran. Let me save you some time. You can stop looking. You won’t find it. It’s not there, though a passage we read in the Quran did indeed inspire the building of Al-Aqsa.

The Muslim “claim” to Jerusalem is based on what is written in the Quran in Sura 17:1, which says, “Glory be unto Allah who did take his servant for a journey at night from the Sacred Mosque to the Furthest Mosque.” How did this “Furthest Mosque” become the one visited by Muhammad in a dream in which he rode a flying camel or horse?

In Muhammad’s lifetime, Jerusalem was occupied by the Byzantine Empire. While Muhammad died in 632, Jerusalem was captured by Muslims in 638. When they came, of course, there was no mosque and no Dome of the Rock anywhere in Jerusalem, only churches. One of those churches is believed to have been built atop the Temple Mount. It may have even been converted into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In fact, both the dome and the mosque display undeniably noticeable Byzantine architectural influences.

When rivals of Muhammad’s successors captured Jerusalem from the Christians, they first built the Dome of the Rock, a shrine the conquerors believed to have been the site of the Second Temple, destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 A.D. The dome was completed in 691 and the Al-Aqsa Mosque some 20 years later, or some 80 years after the death of Muhammad. The “ascension” of Muhammad from the rock under the dome is believed to have been conjured during this period by Khalif Omar, who sought to construct a new holy site to rival the one in Mecca.

Nevertheless, the idea of establishing this shrine and the Al-Aqsa mosque atop the old Temple Mount as permanent Islamic holy places did not catch on, as we can see by comparing them to others in Mecca, Medina, Najaf, and Karbala.

In fact, not through the entire time of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, which controlled Jerusalem until World War I, and not until 1929, did the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque stir any passionate interest in Islam. And that was thanks to Adolf Hitler’s Muslim friend, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who reminded his radical followers of Muhammad’s “Night Journey.” He stoked the myth to initiate riots that year.

Then, another dreamer, after the 1967 Six-Day War in which Israel reunified Jerusalem under its control, Yasser Arafat, used the shrines to stir Islam’s claim to the city, which he called “Al-Quds.” Arafat also launched the lie that no Jewish Temple ever rested atop the Temple Mount, though that is precisely why both the dome and the mosque were built there on what Omar believed to be the Temple’s very foundation.

On one level, the propaganda coup has fooled most of the world – to such an extent that most Muslims believe the Al-Quds myth. They riot for it all over the world. They commit terrorism in the name of “liberating” it. They boycott, divest, impose sanctions, throw stones, launch missiles, start intifadas and more.

But, one thing they don’t do? They don’t visit. They don’t do pilgrimages. Go figure.

The Prime Minister’s Speech

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

The Arab press has evinced an inordinate interest in the future of Binyamin Netanyahu over the past few weeks, due to the various ongoing investigations against him and against several people who held key positions in his entourage. Arab interest is motivated by hopes for the prime minister’s downfall and a resulting disintegration of Israel’s Rightist camp, leading to the Left’s assuming the leadership of the Jewish State. The Left, after all, has proven time and time again that it is willing to pay a higher price than Netanyahu for a piece of paper on which the word “peace” appears.

Netanyahu’s speech at the AIPAC Conference last Tuesday awakened much interest in the Arab media, some of whose outlets actually sent photo teams to the event. It was clear to all of them even before the speech, that it would be mostly about the Iranian problem and Israel’s efforts to get the USA to assume more inflexible positions on the issue – including general sanctions, military action against the Iranian forces in Syria and most crucial of all, rewriting the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The Arab spokespersons and commentators listened carefully to Netanyahu’s speech in an effort to discover three things:

1. Is Netanyahu speaking with from a position of stable power or have the investigations affected his self-confidence?

2. How powerful is the relationship between Trump and Netanyahu, and how much support does the present US government have for the steps Israel is taking?

3. When and how will Netanyahu relate to the Palestinian Arab issue?

The answer to the first question is clear. All through the speech, Netanyahu radiated stability, speaking as if there were no investigations, not of him nor of his close associates. In the first of the three parts of his speech, he spoke of Israel’s accomplishments in hi-tech, agriculture, water conservation, diplomacy and military power. He spoke of Israel’s contributions to world security, on tens of intended terror incidents around the world that Israel helped thwart due to its superior Intelligence system and its willingness to share the fruits of that superiority with other countries. It was clear to everyone that Netanyahu was referring to Islamic terror, and placing Israel in the forefront of the fight against the Islamic terror causing concern to so many people all over the world.

The Arab media pundits, however, see Netanyahu’s effusive self-confidence as chutzpah, insolence, arrogance, and boastfulness. They are incapable of accepting Jews in a way that differs from that of Islamic tradition in which Jews must be at the mercy of Islam as “dhimmis”, humiliated and in possession of only partial rights – while Netanyahu comes across as a person whose freedom they will be unable to subjugate to their will.

Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian Initiative Movement, told the media that Netanyahu’s speech was filled with hubris and chutzpah, sounding as though the Israeli Prime Minister thinks he runs the world. In their view, Netanyahu spreads lies about the Palestinian Authority leadership and Palestinian Arab “militants” (read that “terrorists”), governs over an occupying racist Apartheid state, while the only thing behind his actions is the personal fear of the criminal mess and acts of corruption of which he is accused.

Another Palestinian Arab spokesperson and member of the PLO Directorate, Dimitri Diliani, fumed at Netanyahu’s attempt to divert the world’s attention from “the biggest problem of the Arab world” which is, of course, Israel, to the Iranian issue, which Diliani sees as being of marginal, minimal and negligible interest. His response stems from the fact that Netanyahu expended little time on the Palestinian Arab question, while he spoke about Iran for close to half the length of his speech.

Egypt’s Al Ghad Al Arabi Channel representative at the Conference reported that “AIPAC is the most powerful organization in the United States, and that Netanyahu wished to present himself as Israel’s savior so as to cleanse his name in the eyes of the Israeli public by means of his demonstrative thank you to Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy to that city. ” The reporter interviewed Dr. Ahmad Abed Alhadi on the streets of Washington, calling him an “expert on American issues” and Amad said that “the speech was in the main propaganda and rhetoric. He praised a good many people, including the former Canadian Prime Minister who was in the audience at the time and is one of Israel’s greatest supporters.”

Dr. Ahmad revealed that “the speech was aimed at the ears of listeners as well as to the Israeli public, and that Netanyahu recorded a speech in Hebrew afterward in which he said: ” I have discussed the Iran, Iran, Iran issue with Trump, just as I did in the AIPAC speech.”

It is worthwhile noting that Netanyahu did not talk about the “deal of the century” that the Trump administration is preparing for the Palestinian issue, the reason being that Netanyahu apparently is not familiar with all its details since Trump is keeping them close to his chest.

The most important question interesting the Arab world is one Netanyahu did not address in his speech either – that is, how much leeway Trump is willing to give Netanyahu on both the Iranian and Palestinian issues.

Concerning the Palestinian Arab issue, everyone is aware of the fact that the Mahmoud Abbas era is rapidly drawing to an end and that the chairman still has no agreed-upon successor to lead the shaky and divided PLO and Palestinian Authority after he is gone.

What will Israel, if it remains under Netanyahu’s leadership, do the day after Abbas? Will it continue to deal with the PA or bury that Oslo-created entity into a freshly dug grave and re-assume the administration of Judea and Samaria, as was the case before the 1993 Oslo Accords? Who will follow Netanyahu and how will he relate to the Palestinians? Is Israel going to have elections which put everything else on hold for at least a year?

Will Trump, busy with more significant and weighty problems than the Palestinian one — North Korea, Iran and internal American issues – allow Netanyahu to turn the wheel of history back, cancel the Oslo Agreements and the others that brought the Palestinian Arabs to the threshold of their hoped-for state, or will he force Israel to continue to resuscitate the ailing Palestinian political entity even if its chances of independent survival are doubtful at best?

In his speech, Netanyahu repeated twice that “we must stop Iran and we WILL stop Iran!” This sentence appeared in the Arab media reports as well, raising the question of just who the “we” refers to – Is it Israel on its own, Israel and the US, Israel, and the US and the Europeans? An equally important question is whether this phrase was coordinated with Trump before the speech. If “we” refers to Israel, would Trump agree, after the fact or even a priori, to an Israeli attack on Iran – or is the “we” America and Israel, with Trump having already given his tacit agreement to American involvement in an active operation against Iran.

Another question connected to the Iranian issue is the intention of Netanyahu’s statement that “Iran is building an Iranian Empire incorporating Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.” Does Netanyahu’s phrase “we will stop Iran” mean actively operating against Iranian forces in Syria? An Israel-only operation? Or perhaps a joint US-Israel operation?

How will America react if Israel attacks Hezbollah, the Lebanese arm of the Iranian octopus? In this context, the Arab world well remembers the Second Lebanon War of 2006, when President Bush allowed Israel to wage war against Hezbollah for 33 days while standing up for Israel and its right to defend itself at the UN Security Council.

All these questions are derivatives of the unclear “we will stop Iran” statement made by Netanyahu, and the interest the Arab world much more than the Palestinian Arab problem. This fact infuriates the Palestinian Arabs, especially since they are accustomed to believing and repeating ad infinitum that a solution to the Palestinian problem is the key to solving the problems of the entire Middle East. To their astonished surprise and sorrow, they are beginning to discover that the Iranian problem is much more significant and worrying about Israel and the entire world than theirs. And Trump expressed his disappointment with them when he said, offhandedly: “So there won’t be peace. That, too, is a possibility.”

Suddenly peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs has become just one “possibility” which will or will not come about, while the entire Arab world is witness to how Israel achieves US recognition of its capital, the US Embassy is on its way to Jerusalem, the Palestinian “refugee problem’ is on the rocks, and all the Palestinian Arab expectations of a state have turned to nothing more than a “possibility.”

This is the picture the Arab world sees at the end of the past few months leading to Netanyahu’s AIPAC Conference speech. Their only remaining resort is to hang their hopes on the police, state’s witnesses, Attorney General Mandeblit, the state prosecutors and Minister Litzman (let us not forget the Draft Law) – this, in order to save the Palestinian Arab problem from remaining no more than a “possibility” in the hands of that racist, haughty and chutzpah-filled Netanyahu.

Combining Matzah and Marror -- Freedom and Slavery

by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

“Thus did Hillel when the Temple stood: He would combine matzah and marror [bitter herbs] and eat them together to fulfill what it says, ‘They shall eat it with matzah and marror’ (Numbers 9:11).” (Haggadah)

As is known, matzah recalls freedom while marror recalls slavery. Seemingly, the two are opposites. Even so, Hillel, whose identifying trait was that he “loved peace and would pursue peace, he loved his fellow men and would bring them close to the Torah” (Avot), would combine matzah and marror and eat them. Why? Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook (Olat Re’iyah 289) explains that we have to view slavery and freedom not as two distinct forces that do not influence each other, but as two forces which are linked together and which complete each other. Matzah, symbolizing freedom, alludes to Israel’s instinctive love of G-d, His Torah, His mitzvot and His creations. By contrast, marror, symbolizing slavery, teaches us that we have to bring that love from a potential to a reality through our being slaves to the will of Gd. This is exalted enslavement, enslavement to the King of Glory, which is total freedom. Thus, the perfect form of freedom emerges when it is linked to slavery.

Today, we must learn from Hillel the Elder as we approach reclining on the seder night as free men. As we celebrate the holiday of freedom, we must tell our children, and ourselves, the remarkable story of our people when they were first born in the darkness of Egypt. We must tell of the miracles and wonders which G-d performed by dint of His love for His firstborn son Israel. We must tell of Israel’s good soul, which serves to bring light to the entire world despite the forces of darkness which rise up against us in every generation with the intent of snuffing out the light of the world -- it will never be! We must remember that freedom truly demands enslavement, and we must combine the two together, as in the words of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi (Kuzari 5:205): “I seek only freedom from enslavement to man. I seek enslavement to One -- to G-d, because enslavement to Him is freedom, and surrender to Him is the true glory.”

With blessings for a joyous festival of freedom,
Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.