Friday, March 29, 2019

The Judicial Dictatorship in Israel, is not Democracy

I’ve been speaking out about the need for judicial reform in Israel, for over thirty years. So, when I saw what Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has been doing in the last couple of years, I was mildly pleased. It didn’t go far enough for my taste, but “Liat Liat,” little by little, is better than nothing at all.

Why does Israel need judicial reform?

With Purim and elections coming up, National Union Chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich has recently unmasked the Judicial Dictators in the Supreme Court for what they are, a largely self-appointed leftist elite, that looks down on the simple Jews of Israel and their well being, more often siding with Arab terrorists and their political supporters, than with their Jewish victims. We can now also clearly see the disdain they hold for the other branch of government, the legislature, the Knesset and Knesset members, who are popularly elected by the public, as should be in a democracy, unlike the self-appointed Judiciary.

On March 6, the Central Elections Committee narrowly rejected the complaints against Otzma Yehudit’s Knesset run by a vote of 16 to 15. Afterword, left-wing and Arab MKs filed an appeal against the candidacies of Dr. Michael Ben-Ari and Adv. Itamar Ben-Gvir of Otzma Yehudit, with the Supreme Court.

During that Supreme Court hearing, a representative from the State Prosecutor’s Office, urged Ben-Ari’s disqualification. Ben-Ari, has faced multiple attempts from the left, to outlaw his candidacy under Article 7A of the “Basic Law: The Knesset,” which lists “incitement to racism” as one of three actions that disqualify a candidate from running for the Knesset. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit urged the court to bar him, because in his opinion, Ben-Ari has a long history of “severe and extreme” racism.

At the time, when the Elections Committee voted to let them run, Justice Uzi Fogelman criticized Ben-Ari, pointing out a rally he led in the northern town of Afula, against a tender that was open for all its residents, including Israeli Arabs. Ben-Ari claimed during the protest that the tender “has been opened to the enemy as a form of equal rights.” “That sentence is crystal clear,” Fogelman said, implying racist intentions of Ben-Ari.

Other Judges, earlier, in May 2018, cited remarks about Arabs made by Ben-Ari on another occasion. Ben-Ari said, “We need to call it as it is, they are our enemy, they want to annihilate us. Of course there are loyal Arabs, but they can be counted as one percent and less than that. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of them are full partners to their brothers in Gaza.”

Ben-Ari’s lawyer, Yitzhak Bam, responded that his client had “no problem” with Israeli Arab citizens who are loyal to the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, as enshrined in “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People.” Justice Yitzhak Amit asked Bam if 99% of Israeli Arabs are considered “enemies,” if they don’t identify with that viewpoint. Ben-Ari’s attorney confirmed, “That’s the logic.” Bam added, that it was hard to know the true number today, since “anyone who expresses those views [support for Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People] is ostracized, condemned,” or even attacked.

During that recent Supreme Court hearing, a bitter exchange developed between Chief Justice Esther Hayut and MK Smotrich. After Hayut rebuked MK Smotrich, “Don’t shout here, this isn’t the Knesset.” Smotrich replied.,”Don’t belittle the legislature and don’t disrespect Knesset Members.” Hayut then replied to Smotrich, “This isn’t the Knesset, there are different legal procedures here.” Smotrich replied, “I’m happy for the clarification.” Hayut then commented, “I don't need to clarify anything for you.” Smotrich then responded to her, “Don’t belittle the Knesset and the public.”

Something that happens regularly by Israel’s Supreme Court overlords.

Subsequently, Hayut also chastised MK Stav Shafir of the Labor Party, who tried to speak: “You won’t speak here, this isn’t the Knesset. At this point, Justice Fogelman joined Chief Justice Hayut saying, “This isn’t anarchy here; what you’re doing here is unprecedented, the politicians will not speak here.”

Thus showing their utter disdain for the legislative branch, regardless of party affiliation. And let’s not forget that Fogelman has already publicly voiced his opinions about Ben-Ari. Shouldn’t he have disqualified himself from the hearing?

Later MK Smotrich told the media, “You needed to be here to see the disgusting contempt, and condescending attitude of the judges, towards the Knesset Members present here in the hearing, from both sides of the political fence. They simply despise us and what we represent.”

Representative Democracy or Judicial Tyranny?

Smotrich continued, “What’s under discussion here is the very composition of the Knesset in the next term, and involvement of Knesset Members in this debate is the most legitimate thing in the world. It’s also legitimate for the judges to decide not to let MKs talk, so as not to turn the debate into a political election platform, but there’s a way to relate to a Knesset member while they're in the middle of a sentence. They wouldn’t treat someone like that, if they had a modicum of respect. And that’s nothing new."

Then, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked spoke out for the first time, about the attempt to the disqualify Ben-Ari from running for the Knesset. “I hope very much that the Supreme Court will not intervene in Israeli democracy and will uphold the decision of the Elections Committee. Michael Ben-Ari was already a member of the Knesset, and the sky did not fall. Arab MKs who do not believe in the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state are already in office.”

Let’s look at “Basic Law: The Knesset.”

It allows the Elections Committee to bar parties from participating in elections that, 1. Negate the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, 2. Made incitements to racism, or 3. Supported the armed struggle of an enemy state or terrorist organization against the state of Israel.

Many Israeli Arab citizens and their political representatives, the Arab political parties, therefore should be banned from running, under sections 1 and 3. Shouldn’t the law be applied equally in a democracy?

Notice, even Netanyahu knows the truth. In 2018, PM Netanyahu met with South Tel Aviv anti-illegal immigration activists, representing the Jewish population of South Tel Aviv, suffering from the meteoric rise of crime, from illegal African infiltrators living there. Netanyahu questioned one of the activists what caused him to join the campaign to expel the illegal Africans, David said that he began his political activism out of shock at the way the Supreme Court handled the petition against the 2005 Gaza Disengagement Plan. Netanyahu smiled as he said: “You expected justice from the courts? That is the last place to seek justice.”

How are judges picked in Israel? Does the citizenry vote for them as in the US. Few would claim that America is not a democracy.

According to “Basic Law: the Judiciary,” the Judicial Selection Committee has nine members. The committee is made up as follows: Justice Minister – Chairman, another Cabinet Minister, chosen by the Cabinet. Two Knesset Members, chosen by the Knesset. Two members of the Bar Association (Usually selected by the two largest factions in the association).The Chief Justice, and two other justices of the Supreme Court (replaced every three years, the selection is usually by seniority). The committee’s decision to appoint a judge in all lower courts, is passed by a simple majority of members present at the meeting.

Notice the inside deal, three Supreme Court Justices, and two lawyers from the bar (people who probably aspire to be appointed as a judge), who have an automatic majority on the committee.

And who appoints Israeli Supreme Court Justices? In America, the President nominates them, and the citizens' elected representatives, the Senate, vote to confirm them or reject them.

But in Israel, the rules for appointing Supreme Court judges, really aren’t much better than for appointing lower court judges. It requires a majority of 7 of the 9 committee members, or two less than the number present at the meeting (6 of 8, 5 of 7, etc.).

Notice, the elite clique of Supreme Court judges and lawyer wannabes, already make up five votes. As I said, self-appointing elites, who veer to the left and hold everyone else in disdain.

One last example of Judicial Dictatorship, it occurred in 2017, when Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor bullyed Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Naor made a veiled threat in a letter to Shaked, that she would petition the court against Shaked if Shaked delayed convening the Judicial Selection Committee, which was supposed to announce the appointment of Esther Hayut as the next Chief Justice. Naor said, “the minister should use her authority to establish the schedule only in a true and professional manner. Apparently the only reason to delay the meeting of the committee is that we have not succeeded in getting to an agreement regarding the identity of the two Supreme Court judges, to be appointed in place of [retiring justices] Danziger and Shoham.”

This problem wouldn’t exist, if the Chief Justice, or other justices on the Supreme Court, weren't involved with choosing their own colleagues. Judicial Cronyism and with it, Judicial Tyranny in Israel must end. Israel desperately needs reform of the judicial selection process, if it wants to end the Judicial Dictatorship, and have a true democracy.

In the end, the Supreme Court decided to disqualify Doctor Michael Ben-Ari of the Otzma Yehudit Party from running in the Knesset. In response, the Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein said, that was “a serious mistake and the entire public will pay dearly for it.” He continued, “[The Arab] Balad party, that denies the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state, has no place in the Israeli Knesset.” Referring to Hadash [communist] leader Ofer Cassif, he said, “One who legitimizes harm to IDF soldiers doesn’t either. We will continue to struggle against provocative anti-Zionist elements [I might add treasonous] in the 21st Knesset as well.”

Chairman Rafi Peretz of the Union of Right-Winged Parties also criticized the Supreme Court for disqualifying Dr. Michael Ben-Ari’s candidacy for the Knesset race. Rabbi Peretz said, “In the State of Israel there is [only] a democracy in appearance. The judiciary has taken the right to choose for Israeli citizens in an unprecedented manner. [Hostile] Ofer Casif and [Ahmed] Tibi are inside, but Dr. Ben-Ari, a Zionist Jew whose sons serve in the IDF, is outside. We are committed to stopping the violation of democracy by the Supreme Court justices.”

Israeli citizens should demand judicial reform and only vote for parties dedicated to carrying it out!

What to do about Gaza

by Victor Rosenthal

Moshav Mishmeret is an agricultural community about 21 km. north and slightly east of Tel Aviv. It is about 125 km. north of Rafah, which is at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, on a line that passes almost directly over Tel Aviv. The moshav was founded in 1946 by demobilized British soldiers and workers from the Ashdod port.

At 5:20 in the morning this Monday, a rocket fired from Rafah by terrorists associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad made a direct hit on a house in Mishmeret, destroying it, and injuring eight people. They were saved by the mamad, the reinforced concrete safe room now required in all Israeli construction. The most seriously injured person did not get to it in time, and the others had left the door open for her. Several dogs that were in or around the house were killed, and if not for the safe room, probably the human residents would have been seriously injured or killed as well.

I made a mental note on reading this: always make sure to close the door of the mamad. Rehovot, where I live, is only about 85 km. from the launch point of this rocket, and half that from the northern tip of the strip. They have only to turn their dial a couple of clicks to the east.

Initially, Hamas claimed that the firing was a “mistake,” but later on a Hamas official said that the attack was ordered by Iran and carried out by its Islamic Jihad proxy. Israel holds Hamas responsible for any attacks from Gaza, and responded with the usual bombing of military targets, after waiting for Hamas to evacuate so as to not hurt anybody. Hamas then fired some 85 rockets at the Gaza Envelope area, which were intercepted by Iron Dome or landed harmlessly in open areas. Sometime early Tuesday morning, the shooting on both sides stopped; but on Tuesday evening Hamas went back to sending balloons carrying explosive and incendiary payloads over the border fence. And firing rockets.

The claim that the rocket that hit Mishmeret was fired on Iran’s instructions is believable. It’s not impossible that it was aimed at Tel Aviv. Rockets fired from Gaza are notoriously inaccurate, often falling short and landing inside the strip itself. Given the amount of damage done by the blast, the fact that the rocket hit a single-family home in a moshav and not an apartment building in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, or Herzliya, can be considered very good luck.

Incidentally, for once and for all we can put aside the ridiculous statements by Hamas supporters that the rockets fired from Gaza aren’t dangerous. The number of Israelis killed by these weapons is relatively small because of the huge investment Israel has made in shelters and the Iron Dome antimissile system. I don’t know if the rocket that struck Mishmeret was built by the industrious Orcs of Gaza, or if it was made in Iran and smuggled into Gaza in pieces; regardless, it is only a matter of luck that this rocket didn’t kill dozens of people.

Which raises the following questions: what are Iran and Hamas thinking, and what do we do now?

My guess is that Iran, which has been greatly hurt by Netanyahu in Syria, wants to see him defeated in the election. Rocket attacks against the center of the country demand a response, and they calculate that whatever he does now will damage him. Although some say that the government values citizens in the center more than the periphery, the truth is that the population density in the center is so much greater that the potential for mass casualty events is higher. For that reason, the recent attacks cross a red line.

PM Netanyahu cut short his visit to the US, where he was present as President Trump signed an order recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights. He returned Tuesday morning, exactly two weeks before the hard-fought election that will determine whether he will continue as PM. This attack and the previous “mistake,” in which two rockets fell in open areas near Tel Aviv, have put him between a rock and a hard place.

On the one hand, if he doesn’t respond aggressively enough he will be pilloried for not protecting the population, his most basic job. Israelis are rightly sick of the daily and nightly riots and incursions at the border with Gaza, the incendiary and explosive balloons and kites, and of course the rockets and mortars that drive the inhabitants of the northern Negev into shelters over and over again.

We are also sick of terrorism carried out by Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria, and of security prisoners rioting and stabbing jailers because Israel has blocked their illegal cell phones. We are tired of Hamas, period. Netanyahu’s political opponents, some of whom are former Defense Ministers and Chiefs of Staff who understand precisely the dilemma he’s facing, happily suggest that he’s a weakling and they would know how to deal with Hamas.

On the other hand, if he launches an operation to take down Hamas and destroy the Islamic Jihad organization, he risks escalation into a war in which IDF soldiers could be killed, wounded, or (perhaps worse) captured, and the civilian population placed at risk from the expected rocket barrage. It could even expand into a multi-front war including Hezbollah and its massive rocket arsenal. Such a war would entail many more casualties and a great deal of destruction on our home front. Israel would not be the same for many years.

Even if the worst could be avoided, Netanyahu would be accused of starting a war to divert attention from his legal issues, to improve his chances for reelection, and so on. And then there would be the atrocity propaganda and the coordinated diplomatic attacks by the “human rights” industry, the UN, hostile governments in Europe and elsewhere, and the international Left. And of course, if we did get rid of Hamas and the others, what then? Who would rule Gaza? The IDF?

The temptation to practice restraint and respond with minimal force is great. On a national scale, the danger from Hamas rockets and terrorism is small, even if on a personal scale – if your house is hit by a rocket – it can be enormous. There is an element in Israeli character which is highly pragmatic and responds to the argument that we can afford to accept a certain amount of terrorism, a teeftoof (drizzle) of rockets, a few stabbings every other week, and a few fires in our agricultural fields and nature preserves. Meanwhile, we put out the fires, develop anti-rocket and anti-balloon systems, and find more ways to defend ourselves without hurting anyone.

The danger of this approach is twofold. First, our frog is slowly being boiled. Our deterrence is evaporating. This is what happened in the north, where we treated Hezbollah with restraint since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and then suddenly woke up and found that its deployment of more than 100,000 rockets in civilian areas had deterred us from taking action against it, almost no matter what it does. We don’t have an answer for its rockets other than to incinerate much of southern Lebanon, along with whatever part of the population that doesn’t succeed (or isn’t allowed) to flee. Not that we won’t do it if we have to, but meanwhile we have no leverage to prevent the introduction even more dangerous weapons, to the point of Hezbollah becoming, if it is not already, an existential threat.

Second is the psychological dimension. It becomes understood throughout the world that anyone is permitted to strike at Jews. We’ll try to ward off the blows, but we won’t respond aggressively. We won’t do anything disproportionate. We won’t punishour enemies as they deserve. We’ll show ourselves as a people without honor. And we’ll come to believe that our enemies are right. Maybe we deserve to be shot at; because if we didn’t, wouldn’t we hit back? Maybe the endless contempt that is heaped on us in international forums is justified?

As I’ve written before, honor is of utmost importance in the Middle East. Deterrence is important everywhere; and self-respect is especially essential here in Israel. In the past several years, all these have been eroding. Netanyahu must find a way to protect his people, and to reverse the trend. Of course there are risks. But what else is new?

I still have faith that he understands this. Now, just before the election, is a great time to find out.

“May G-D’s Favor Rest Upon Us”

by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

“To love your fellow Jews and think well of them as individuals and as a People, does not only involve emotional effort. It also constitutes a sizable section of the Torah, involving broad, profound wisdom.”
(Rav Kook, Orot p. 148)

There were two crises on the eighth day of dedication of the Tabernacle. The first was when the Divine Presence was not revealed, even though Aaron had raised his hands to the people and blessed them. It says a second time, “Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came out, they blessed the people” (Leviticus 9:23), and only then does it say, “The L-rd’s glory was revealed to all the people. Fire came forth….When the people saw this, they raised their voices in praise, and threw themselves on their faces” (23-24).

Rashi explains: “When Aaron perceived that all the sacrifices had been offered and all the rites performed, and yet the Divine Presence had not descended for Israel, since the heavenly fire had not fallen to consume the sacrifice, he was uneasy and he said, ‘I am certain G-d is angry with me and it is on my account that the Divine Presence has not descended for Israel.’ He therefore said to Moses, ‘Brother Moses! What have you done to me? You know that I entered into this matter at your bidding and yet I have been put to shame.’ Moses at once entered the tent with him and they prayed. The Divine Presence then descended for Israel.“‘And they came out and blessed the people’: They uttered the conclusion of Psalm 90: ‘May G-d’s favor rest upon us’ – i.e., May it be G-d’s will that the Divine Presence should rest upon the work of your hands.”

The second crisis was the death of Nadav and Avihu. Aaron’s reaction to this personal crisis was that he “remained silent” (Leviticus 10:3). For his silence, he was rewarded with G-d’s addressing him alone (Rashi). As for the more general crisis, when the Divine Presence did not reveal itself to the Jewish People, there Aaron did not remain silent. Quite the contrary, he came with a complaint to Moses: “What have you done to me…I have been put to shame.” Yet with his personal crisis, the death of his two sons, he remained silent, and he even viewed this as a sanctification of G-d’s name.
Today, we have to distinguish between personal crises and those affecting the Jewish People, and know how to react to each. With personal crises, however painful, we have to accept them the way Aaron accepted the death of his sons, remaining silent. We mustn’t castigate G-d. We must accept divine justice.

With more general crises, however, when the Divine Presence does not reveal itself to the Jewish People, as with the Tabernacle’s erection, we mustn’t resign ourselves and remain silent. We must rise up and act: We must pray and ask mercy, and we must bless the Jewish People the way Moses and Aaron did. We must carry on with renewed strength, and with faith that the crisis is not coincidental. Rather, it comes about in order for us to discover within ourselves enormous strengths stored away in the soul of the nation. By such means we will continue on the upward path towards complete redemption and salvation, and we will merit to “have G-d’s favor rest upon us, and may G-d consolidate for us the works of our hands” (Psalm 90:17).

Looking forward to redemption,
Shabbat Shalom.

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Palestinian Leaders Punish Gaza, Blame Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh
  • Rather than demanding that Hamas cease and desist from endangering the lives of Palestinians by sending them to clash with Israeli soldiers, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leaders are condemning Israel for perpetrating "crimes" against Palestinians. According to the logic of the PA, the conflict started when Israel fired back.
  • Abbas and his officials have apparently not heard of the arson kites and booby-trapped balloons that have been launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli towns on nearly a daily basis over the past few months. They also apparently have not have not heard of the rockets and mortars that are fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel almost every day. The PA further appears unaware that Hamas has been sending thousands of Palestinians to attack Israeli soldiers with explosive devices, firebombs and rocks.
  • Abbas and the PA are simply doing the one thing they are good at: trying to frame Israel for Palestinian crimes against their own people. Clearly, the PA leaders are afraid to condemn the rocket attacks on Israel. They evidently do not want to be accused by their people of betraying the Palestinian "resistance" against Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are doing the one thing they are good at: trying to frame Israel for Palestinian crimes against their own people. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Until a few days ago, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leaders were strongly denouncing Hamas for its brutal crackdown on Palestinians protesting economic hardship in the Gaza Strip.

Now, the PA is condemning Israel for launching military strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli strikes, however, were provoked; they came hours after a long-range rocket fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip hit a house in the Kfar Saba region of Israel, and injured seven people.

The PA and its leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, have yet to condemn the launching of rockets at Israel. Instead of condemning those responsible for firing the first rocket, which miraculously did not result in any deaths when it hit a home in the early hours of the morning, the PA leaders are lashing out at Israel for launching a "new aggression" against the Gaza Strip.

Continue Reading Article

Rabbi Ari Kahn on Parashat Shmini: Honor Thy Father

The Yishai Fleisher Show: Yishai At Columbia Law School

Join the crowd of Columbia Law Students as Yishai discusses why Israel is the Nation State of the Jewish people and argues for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. From DC to NYC - were walking to the land of Israel!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Straight Talk from Moshe Feiglin on the Economy

Why does the young Israeli couple work harder, earn less, and pay more?

Rav Kook's Ein Ayah: The Lowly People who Cannot Hold on to their Land

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 9:11)

Gemara: Rav Acha bar Yaakov said: “Chori” – that represents that they became bereft of their property.

Ein Ayah: [The Chorites had a special connection to the land that enabled to determine which vegetation grows best in each plot of land. While they had a high level of connection to the Land physically, they were on a low level spiritually and were only an early stage for greater people to come and build on the lower basis they had provided.]

Despite all the connection to the land and the deep understanding of the land that these families of the land possessed, they are not the foundation of keeping the land going in its complete form. Rather, they just serve as agents for the transfer of the Land to more developed people, upon whom spirituality has more impact and, in that way, the second group of people is on a higher level.

Even though the latter are not as able to be as connected to the land, it is the latter who are the “winners.” In fact, the earlier, servants of the land, are thrown out and removed from the Land, and become bereft of or “free from” their property [i.e., no longer servants and no longer with rights]. This is because “the counsel of Hashem will stand” (Tehillim 33:11), and He created man in a higher form with advantages over all other creations. It is critical that man not remain in his inability to get beyond his connection to the land alone. True, there was a need to start with such lowly people in the world, so that the proper use of the land would be reached. However, they would not be the ones to inherit the Land and give it over to the next generation. Rather, they would only provide the lower foundation, upon which the foundations of the more adorned edifice rest.

This is because as a person goes ever higher, his senses will be removed from the connection to the ground and will be ever elevated. He will feel gentle emotions until he reaches the “sanctums of Hashem” (see Tehillim 73:17), which is the highest goal. Specifically because he reached a much higher level, he will inherit the Land, as the pasuk says: “I will have you ride on the low places of the Land and I will let you eat from the inheritance of your father Yaakov, for the mouth of Hashem has spoken” (Yeshayahu 58:14). This is a fulfillment of the pasuk, “The evil person shall prepare, and the righteous person shall wear” (Iyov 27:17).

Imaginary freedom, which people connected to the material world so that they are entrenched in the land that they believe they have captured, is only the type of freedom that causes exile. In fact, their place will be given to those who will live in the Land in an ideal manner, with power and sanctity. “For Hashem will save Zion and will build the cities of Judea, and they will inhabit it and inherit it. The offspring of His servants will receive it as their lot, and those who love His Name will dwell there” (Tehillim 69: 36-7). “The wicked will be cut off from the Land, and traitors will be removed from it” (Mishlei 2:22). Flawed, lowly freedom turns into a trap for its possessors, and they will lose even the thing to which they are most connected – the Land.

An Event of Heroic Proportions

Parashat Shemini and Parah 5779
by HaRav Nachman Kahana

After 3500 years of serving as HaShem’s chosen people with a history unlike any other nation – neither in suffering nor in accomplishments – the time has come for us to ask if the Jewish nation is a success story or a failure.

We are the only ancient people that is still alive – success. However, the majority of Jews today are not conscious Torah observers – failure. So, at the end of the day, is HaShem “happy” or “disappointed” with us?

I submit:

It is human to revere and respect people who endanger their own lives for the sake of others.

We are filled with admiration for the Japanese workers who enter the radioactive area of the damaged nuclear reactors in order to prevent a national catastrophe. They are being bombarded with amounts of radiation which may eventually cost them their lives. All this self-sacrifice for the sake of their nation that is composed of millions of people whom these workers do not know and never will.

There are stories of individual soldiers, from many nations, who single-handedly stormed an enemy position or fell on a hand grenade in order to save their fellow soldiers, as did Roi Klein in the Second Lebanese war.

We find in our parasha that Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon the Kohen Gadol, lost their lives while participating in the ceremony to effectuate the sanctification of the Mishkan. When mortal man enters the holy precincts of the Almighty, he can never be certain of the outcome.

Queen Esther took her life in her hands when she presented herself before the eccentric, capricious king.

Yehonatan, son of King Shaul, and his shield bearer were not far from being suicidal when they attacked the entire Philistine army in order to save the Jewish nation, and the two men succeeded.

All the above acts of admirable bravery have a common feature. They were all one-time events, although some were over an extended period.

But we have in our history an event of heroic proportions that extended for over 1200 years, when the Kohen Gadol would enter the Kodesh Kodashim (Holy of Holies) on Yom Kippur in order to attain forgiveness for Am Yisrael. The Kohen Gadol knew how he would enter but never knew how he would leave.

As admirable as the Kohen Gadol’s self-sacrifice was, there is the ultimate act of altruism that began 3500 years ago and is still being played out on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute scale.

Thirty-five hundred years ago, HaShem appeared to Avraham Aveinu with an offer to enter into an accord called Brit ben HaBetarim – The Covenant of the Severed Pieces (Beraishiet chapter 15).

Avraham would enter into the treaty in the name of all his future offspring, and HaShem would guarantee His part of the treaty by His everlasting name for all time.

The treaty obligates the Jewish nation to be a “light unto the nations.”

What does this obligation encompass? In the “big picture,” all that is in this world and all the other worlds ranging from the absolute spiritual – the Holy One Blessed Be He of Whom we have no conception – and emanating from Him beyond time and space to all of creation, down to the furthest and absolute opposite of the Creator, the physical, material world of which we are a part.

In Kabbalistic terms, our physical universe can be compared to the bottom of a foot that supports everything above it.

In this lowly world, the name of HaShem must be ever present. If for one minute His presence would not be recognized, then the whole of creation would cease to exist.

The task that was placed upon Avraham and his future descendants in this covenant was, and is, as difficult as it is essential – to guarantee that the presence of HaShem will forever be recognized by humanity.

Without the Jewish nation, the concept of a monotheistic God would have quickly been replaced with beliefs defined as avoda zara (idol worship). Christianity with its trinity, Islam that uses God as a tool to control and subjugate others, Buddhism and all the other faiths developed by the gentiles would not be capable of maintaining the belief in a Creator that cannot be seen or heard.

Within a generation or two, paganism would replace belief in a monotheistic God – just as it happened in pre-Noach time by Enosh who originated and disseminated the initial ideas of idolatry.

In the covenant between HaShem and Avraham, the father of the Jewish nation, Avraham was warned that the task would be dangerous, even life-threatening, with millions of Avraham’s descendants destined to die in the effort to perpetuate and preserve the presence of HaShem against the pagan instincts of humanity.

Avraham was aware of the future role of Am Yisrael, as seen by his reactions.

The Torah states (ibid):

יב) ויהי השמש לבוא ותרדמה נפלה על אברם והנה אימה חשכה גדלה נפלת עליו:
יג) ויאמר לאברם ידע תדע כי גר יהיה זרעך בארץ לא להם ועבדום וענו אתם ארבע מאות שנה:
יד) וגם את הגוי אשר יעבדו דן אנכי ואחרי כן יצאו ברכש גדול:
טו) ואתה תבוא אל אבתיך בשלום תקבר בשיבה טובה:
טז) ודור רביעי ישובו הנה כי לא שלם עון האמרי עד הנה:

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.
Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years, your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.
But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.

Avraham “fell into a deep sleep and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him” when he is told that his descendants would be slaves in a foreign land, with all that that implies. This experience was necessary in order to prepare the Jewish people to keep the faith with HaShem in the direst situations, no less heinous than slavery itself.

And the Torah continues:

יז) ויהי השמש באה ועלטה היה והנה תנור עשן ולפיד אש אשר עבר בין הגזרים האלה:
יח) ביום ההוא כרת ה’ את אברם ברית לאמר לזרעך נתתי את הארץ הזאת מנהר מצרים עד הנהר הגדל נהר פרת:

17. When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking furnace with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.

18. On that day, the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt (the Nile) to the great river, the Euphrates”.

Avraham saw that in the fulfillment of guarding and protecting HaShem’s presence in the world, his children would have to undergo days of darkness with “smoking furnaces with a blazing torch” in the galut; with its inquisitions, Christian crusades, pogroms, forced conversions, concentration camps, terrorists, international ridicule and denigration.

Now after 3500 years of serving and sacrificing, Hashem has thrown open the gates of His Holy Land for His people, and the authentic Jews whose families have survived the onslaughts of the gentiles in the galut have returned to rebuild the Holy Land. Now we can take a deep breath and declare before HaShem, “We have succeeded. Your Holy Name was not forgotten even for one day since the Covenant of the Severed Pieces.”

And HaShem replies, “My children in Eretz Yisrael, you are the masterpiece of My creations. You are the remnants of those few families who have experienced the worst that man can deal out to his fellow man and survived. You protected and kept My Name alive while all others were violating you for doing so. Now the time is quickly approaching for the rewards I promised. You will soon be masters over all the Holy Land, from the entire River Prat (Euphrates from Turkey to the Gulf) to the great river of Egypt (the Nile).”

Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael IS history’s greatest success story.

We are quickly approaching the closing of the historical circle that began with our father Avraham and mother Sarah. The final links will be the return of all Jews to the Torah’s boundaries of Eretz Yisrael, the restoration of the Kohanic and Davidic dynasties and the rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash on the Temple Mount.

May it occur speedily in our time.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5779/2019 Nachman Kahana

An Unauthorized Fire

by Rabbi Pinchas Winston

Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon, took their incense pans and put fire and incense in them, and offered an unauthorized fire before God, which He did not command them to do. A fire went out from before God and burned them up, and they died before God. (Vayikra 10:1-2)

THE NATION WAS stunned, horrified. “What just happened?” people asked themselves, and one another, in a state of total disbelief. They had gone from the HIGHEST of heights to the LOWEST of lows faster than the speed of gravity. It would take time for the magnitude of the event to settle in, and even longer to recover from it.

For seven days Moshe Rabbeinu had officiated in the initiation of the Mishkan, while Aharon and his sons only looked on. They only watched and learned for the day they would take over the responsibility, on the eighth day. On the same day Nadav and Avihu assumed their roles as kohanim, they died because of it as well.

Nadav and Avihu were Aharon HaKohen’s eldest sons, the one’s destined to eventually replace their father at the head of the nation as Kohen Gadol. Now they were only destined to be buried before their father even had a chance to retire from his holy position. Their opportunity to shine had come and gone in the blink of an eye.

Later there would be a debate as to the cause of their deaths. Rabbi Eliezer would later argue, “Aharon’s sons died only because they decided halachah in the presence of Moshe, their teacher,” when they brought their unauthorized fire. Consequently, the same flame that had miraculously descended from Heaven to consume the korbanos offered consumed Nadav and Avihu as well.

Rabbi Yishmael would say: “[They died because] they had entered the sanctuary after having drunk wine. The proof is that after their death, [Torah] admonished the survivors that they may not enter the sanctuary after having drunk wine…Thus [it said], ‘A fire went out from before God and burned them up, and they died before God.’ We would not know why they died, except for His commanding Aharon, ‘Do not drink wine that will lead to intoxication.’ We know from this that they died precisely on account of the wine.”

Then there was their father’s own sin. Back at Har Sinai, while Moshe Rabbeinu was still up on the mountain receiving Torah, the Erev Rav pressed Aharon HaKohen to build them a golden calf. THEY had intended to make it a replacement for Moshe Rabbeinu, whom they had thought died on the mountain. Aharon however had intended it as a stall tactic, to put the people off until Moshe Rabbeinu returned to the camp to restore order.

Even though Aharon had the best of intentions, it was still considered to be a grievous sin, as the Torah later tells us: “God was very furious with Aharon, to destroy him, so I prayed also for Aharon at that time.” Rashi explains: “‘God was very furious with Aharon’…because he listened to you…‘to destroy him’…this refers to the destruction of [his] children’…so I prayed also for Aharon’…And my prayer succeeded to atone for half, and thus two [of his sons] died, and two remained [alive].”

Whatever the reason for the death, they were gone, and in the most dramatic of ways. And, seemingly forever, just like that.

Physically perhaps, but not spiritually. Their physical journeys may have been short, but their spiritual ones outlasted the people they left behind who lived full lives.

“Nadav and Avihu made a drastic mistake that cost them their lives,” the aging Mekubel said with a twinkle in his eye. “But that only meant that they had to complete their tikunim through the lives of other great people.”

The four of them sat inside of a cave in the hills of Tzfas, the rebi and his three students. They met there three times a week, always at the same time. There was no electricity, and they did not even use flashlights. The melted wax all over the stones of the area revealed that candles had always been their source of light.

They learned there because it cut them off from the world around them. They could have been on the moon, for all they knew, barely hearing even the chirping of the birds just outside the cave entrance. Other than the odd snake or scorpion, they remained free of all distraction, enabling them to focus completely on the material.

They learned slowly and thoroughly, discussing every point in detail. Currently they were in the middle of Sha’ar HaGilgulim, the Arizal’s teachings about the rules of reincarnation and personal growth. The topic of that time was the deaths of the Nadav and Avihu, and the reincarnation of their souls.

“As we have discussed,” the Mekubel began to explain, “there are basically two types of reincarnation. There is the soul that you are born with, without which you cannot live. When it leaves, so does life.”

They listened intently, even though they had gone over this information before.

“Then there is an ibur. An ibur is a soul, or souls, that can come to a person who had already been alive for years, and when it leaves, the person continues to live. An example of an ibur is the Nefesh of Nadav and Avihu that came to Pinchas, after he killed Zimri when he sinned with the Midianite princess, Cozbi.”

“Was this part of Pinchas’s reward?” one of the students asked.

“Yes, because of what it triggered. Since a person is not born with an ibur soul, it does not naturally join with the host’s original soul. For that, an additional ibur is required, and in the case of Pinchas, that new soul was called, ‘Eliyahu HaTishbi.’ It came in order to connect and join together the Nefesh of Nadav and Avihu with the Nefesh of Pinchas himself.”

“So,” another asked, “Eliyahu was not born like other people, but just started his life inside Pinchas?”

“Right,” their teacher answered, and then continued. “However, Pinchas further required another new soul as well in order to connect and join the new soul called ‘Eliyahu HaTishbi’ with the rest of the old souls, the Nefesh of Pinchas and Nadav and Avihu. Therefore, it was necessary for an additional new soul to come into Pinchas which was also called ‘Eliyahu,’ except that it came from the root of Binyomin.”

“So Pinchas had five souls in him,” the student recounted, “the Nefesh of Pinchas himself with which he was born, the Nefesh of Nadav and Avihu, the Nefesh called ‘Eliyahu HaTishbi’ from the root of Gad, and the Nefesh called ‘Eliyahu’ from the root of Binyomin?”

“Actually,” the Mekubel corrected, “only FOUR. Nadav and Avinu are considered as two halves of a single soul, as the Zohar says.”

“Did the souls of Nadav and Avihu stay with Pinchas all of his life, until he went up to Heaven as Eliyahu HaNavi?”

“No,” he answered. “For a while the souls of Nadav and Avihu went elsewhere. When the incident of the daughter of Yiftach HaGiladi occurred, Pinchas was punished. Our rabbis, z”l, say that Yiftach was a judge and did not want to go to the house of Eliyahu to annul his vow, and Eliyahu did not want to go to him because he said, ‘Someone who feels the pain goes to the doctor.’ Between the two of them, the daughter of Yiftach remained a victim of her father’s vow, and therefore both of them were punished. Everywhere Yiftach went limbs fell off. Eliyahu was punished by the removal of the Divine Presence from him, because the ibur of Nadav and Avihu, was removed from him. This is the sod of what our rabbis, z”l, say that the Vav of ‘My covenant of peace’ is severed.”

All of them sat quietly for a while, thinking over what had been said. Their teacher felt it would be worthwhile to summarize the entire matter.

“Let’s go over it from start to finish. In the incident with Zimri, Pinchas merited the ibur of Nadav and Avihu. After he killed Zimri and Cozbi, the rest of the Jewish nation wanted to kill HIM, since Zimri had been a prince. When he saw them coming for him, it shocked him to the point that his soul flew away. That’s when the ibur of Nadav and Avihu entered him. When he lost the ibur from the sin—which is what causes an ibur to leave—regarding the daughter of Yiftach, then the Vav of his name was cut, when the Divine Presence and the ibur of Nadav and Avihu were removed from him. After that, nothing remained with Pinchas except his own soul, other than the spark of the drop from the root of Yosef alone, because the ibur of Nadav and Avihu went to Shmuel as mentioned. Also, the spark of the drop of Yisro was removed from him.”

“Where did Nadav and Avihu go after that?” one of them asked.

“To Shmuel HaNavi. The addition of Nadav and Avihu turns a person into a prophet, because of where their souls come from. As long as Shmuel had their souls in him, which he did until he died, he remained a prophet. As long as Pinchas was without them, he could NOT be a prophet.”

“But we see that Pinchas became Eliyahu again, and dies a prophet?”

“That’s right,” the Mekubel agreed. “That’s because after Shmuel HaNavi died, Nadav and Avihu later returned to Pinchas for the rest of his life, which is why his name was changed from ‘Pinchas’ to ‘Eliyahu HaTishbi’.”

“At that time,” the Mekubel continued, “once prophecy returned to Pinchas, Nadav and Avihu returned to him as an ibur. They became complete in their own rectification during the matter of Har Carmel, when the people fell on their faces and said, ‘Hashem is Elokim.’ Then their sin of the unauthorized incense offering was forgiven.”

“Furthermore,” he continued to explain, “though in the beginning they sinned by looking at the Divine Presence at Mt. Sinai, as it says, ‘They saw the God of Israel, etc.’ they became rectified at that time when they, inside Eliyahu at Har Carmel, fell on their faces and did not look at the fire that came down from Heaven.”

The students absorbed every word. They said nothing. They didn’t have to. Their faces clearly indicated that they were amazed by what they heard. But then again, why should that day be different from anything other…

“Is there more?” one finally asked.

“There always is,” the Mekubel said, smiling. “There was Elisha HaNavi as well. He too was blessed with an ibur of Nadav and Avihu, which greatly enhanced his prophecy. There is a lot more to this as well, but perhaps another day. It is already late, and we should return.”

The students looked at one another, the face of each showing disappointment that their session was already over. But they had learned a tremendous amount, even in the short time, and windows previously closed had been opened for them.

“It is too bad,” one said as they rose to leave, “that so few people know anything about what happened to Nadav and Avihu after they died. From the Torah, it looks as if they lived briefly without contributing too much to history, except in a negative way.”

“Yes,” said another student, “and when Moshe Rabbeinu told Aharon that the deaths of Nadav and Avihu showed how they were greater than the two of them, it sounds only like consolation. From Sod, it is clear that they WERE great people!”

The Mekubel just smiled, pleased to have such students, and the opportunity to teach them. Then he too got up, and gathering his belongings, led the small group back to a world that barely had an inkling of the deep truths they had discussed.

Palestinian Terrorism’s Jewish Roots

(Ed. note: Chazal say that only people with Jewish blood have the ability to harm the Jewish people.)

by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz

“Thus said Hashem to Yerushalayim: By origin and birth you are from the land of the Canaanites—your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.” Ezekiel 16:3 (The Israel Bible™)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks in Gaza City. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90)

A retired computer pioneer has dedicated his life to uncovering the Jewish roots of the Palestinians and the results are shocking: the entire leadership of the most anti-Israel terrorist organizations all have their roots in the Jewish people.

Tzvi MiSinai was born in Jerusalem before Israel was a state. Graduating from the prestigious Technion Institute (now Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa), he became a pioneer in computer software, first for the IDF and later in private industry. MiSinai left his career in 2000 and devoted himself to investigating the Jewish roots of Palestinians. He hopes that the knowledge he reveals will help bring a truth-based solution to the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel. He established The Engagement Project in the hopes of finding such a solution.

“The problem is not just terrorism,” MiSinai told Breaking Israel News. “It is not true to say the problem is just the Palestinians or just the Israelis. The problem is that we are not understanding the situation to its very depths.”

MiSinai claims that up to 90 percent of the Palestinians, in Israel as well as Gaza and Jordan, are descended from Jews. His travels around Israel and discussions with Palestinians revealed that many of them are aware of their Jewish roots but choose to remain silent.

“Because they do not know how many of their neighbors are also descended from Jews, they are afraid to speak up,” Misinai said. “Younger Palestinians don’t know about this. If this became public knowledge, that the vast majority of Palestinians have Jewish roots, the entire situation would flip over and open up discussion.”

The subject of Jewish ancestry was public knowledge within the Palestinian communities but due to the relatively recent conflict, has now become a forbidden subject. This aspect of the Arabs in Israel was also known to the founders of the Jewish state. Early Zionist leaders David Ben-Gurion and Yitzchak Ben-Tzvi wrote about this 100 years ago but there were no studies that brought data to support their claims.

According to his research, many Jews were allowed to remain in the land of Israel after the Roman conquest to work the land and supply Rome with grain and olive oil. Some of the ancestors of the Palestinians partially converted to Christianity during the Byzantine era.

Later, with the coming of Islam, they were Islamized through a combination of mainly forced conversions, most notably at the end of the 11th century. Many held onto their Jewish heritage and continued to secretly practice Judaism.

MiSinai bases his theory on historical reports as well as testimonies from Bedouins and Palestinians. He also backs this up with several genetic studies.

“If you look at the genetics, Jews are similar to the Arabs but Ashkenazi Jews are very very close to the Palestinians,” MiSinai said. “Most of the Jews were exiled to Rome but those who remained became the Palestinians.”

Misinai denies the existence of a separate Palestinian people as a historical identity and dismisses it as an utter fabrication, seeing it as a modern socio-political construct.

As part of his travels, MiSinai interviewed several members of the Sawarka Bedouin tribe. There are about 3-4,000 of them throughout the Sinai and the Negev. One leader of the Bedouin tribe told MiSinai, “We are all Jewish. Our ancestors had no choice but to convert; this was centuries ago… I remember my mother and grandmother wouldn’t light fire on Sabbath, and they had a special mikveh (ritual bath).”

Some of the examples he gave are beyond astounding.

“Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, has a daughter named ‘Sarah,’” Misinai said. “Muslims do not give their daughters that name because, in the Bible, Sarah sent Hagar and Ishmael away. When do they give that name? When it is the name of the grandmother. This indicates that the grandmother came from Jewish blood, or that she was born Jewish.”

It should be noted that Jewish law recognizes Jewish status as following the status of the mother however Muslim law follows the father’s identity.

“Haniyeh does not know he is Jewish but I sent him an Arabic copy of my book via a third party,” MiSinai said. “He read the book but it is not known if he entirely understood its implications as they applied to him.”

MiSinai also brought the case of Dr. Aziz Dweik, the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) ‘who represents Hamas.

“He is part of the Mughrabi clan, which not only makes him a Jew but also a Kohen (a Jewish male descended from Aaron, the Biblical high priest),” MiSinai explained.

MiSinai noted that Khaled Mashal, a Palestinian leader of Hamas who now resides in Qatar, has a family name that is quite common among Jews.

“That does not tell the whole story but it is certainly a sign that there may be something to find,” MiSinai said. “That is true of many of the leaders in Hamas but when it comes to Fatah (the largest faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO]), they ALL have Jewish roots.”

MiSinai brought a shocking example: Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

“Abu Mazen is the scion of a family of distinguished rabbis,” MiSinai said. “He is descended from the family of Rabbi Moshe Abbas who lived in Greece in the 17th Century.”

MiSinai described how the family of Haneen Zoabi, a Member of Knesset representing the Joint Arab List, is known for their Jewish customs. Zoabi is known for her vehemently anti-Israel stance which includes labeling IDF soldiers as “murderers” and participating in a flotilla that challenged the Israeli blockade of Gaza. MiSinai once confronted Zoabi in her Knesset office with this knowledge and she refused to relate to the issue.

“This is a person who has made a career out of hating Israel and the Jews,” MiSinai said. “Her Jewish roots are an entirely different story for her.”

It is interesting to note that her cousin, Sara Zoabi, and son, Muhammad, are outspoken Zionists.

Palestinian girl, Ahed Tamimi, berating an IDF soldier in 2012 (Credit: YouTube screenshot)

Another Palestinian who made a career of inciting against Israel is Ahed Tamimi, a young woman who became the focus of international attention in 2017 when she was arrested for abusing and slapping an IDF soldier.

“The name of the Tamimi family clearly indicates their Jewish origin,” MiSinai explained. “The name originates from the word ‘tamim,’ which means ‘innocent’ in Islam and refers to a person who ceases to publicly impersonate a Muslim whilst privately practicing the Jewish-Israeli religion.”

MiSinai interviewed the niece of Dr. Saeb Erekat who admitted that it was well-known within their family that they were descended from Jews.

“Several years ago, Erekat was in Jordan and one of the Jordanian representatives questioned him about his Jewish roots and he admitted that it was true. He was then asked if he wanted to form one state and join with his Jewish brethren. He rejected the one-state solution, insisting that the two-state solution was preferable.”

MiSinai conjectured that Erekat’s preference was not based on the national best-interests of the Palestinians but, rather, on political interests which may include the massive foreign funding being funneled into the effort to establish a separate Palestinian state within the borders of Israel.

As shocking as these revelations are, they are only a small part of the picture. MiSinai stated that several of the ruling families of Arab nations are from Jewish roots, including the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Muammar Gaddafi, the despotic ruler of Libya until he was deposed and killed in 2011, came from a Bedouin family. In 2012, Nuri al-Samara, Gaddafi’s former chief of protocol, told the daily Al-Hayat that Gaddafi’s mother was born Jewish. At 18, she married a Muslim man and converted. She reportedly paid frequent visits to relatives in Netanya and give money to the synagogue.

“When the facts are finally revealed, the truth admitted to and acknowledged, this will be the greatest revolution in the history of the region,” MiSinai said. “They are not Jewish according to halacha (Torah law) but they share in our genealogy.”

MiSinai envisions several points that come out from this revelation.

“We need to help Palestinians advance through education and culture,” MiSinai said. “Because of this common past and not by some artificial and foreign imposed political agenda. One nation and one people, because we are one people, is the only solution that can work. They can remain Muslim and receive full citizenship and all that entails.”

Rav Kook on Parashat Shemini: The Error of Nadav and Avihu

In the midst of the great public joy during the Tabernacle dedication, tragedy struck the family of the Kohen Gadol:

“Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, each took his fire pan, placed fire on it and then incense. They offered before God a strange fire that God had not instructed them. Fire came forth from before God and consumed them, and they died before God.” (Lev. 10:1-2)

Why did Nadav and Avihu die? What was their sin?

Chochmah and Binah

The Kabbalists explained that Nadav and Avihu erred by separating the spiritual realm of binah (insight) from the higher realm of chochmah (wisdom). To understand this statement, we must first clarify the concepts of chochmah and binah.

Chochmah is the very essence of holiness. It is pure awareness, a flash of intuitive understanding. This lofty perception contains the splendor of sublime ideals at their highest level, before they are applied to the detailed characteristics of reality. Compared to the infinite expanse of chochmah, all else is small and inconsequential.

Below chochmah lies the spiritual realm of binah. Binah is an elaboration and extension of chochmah. This realm is created when the light of chochmah is ready to realize the ideals that govern finite content, enabling the formation of worlds and souls. Binah reflects reality in its most idealized form. It corresponds to the sublime purpose of creation and the culmination of life.

Exquisite beauty and delight are revealed in the realm of binah. Enlightenment through prophecy emanates from this realm. The absolute holiness of chochmah, on the other hand, transcends all forms of spiritual pleasure.

Israel draws its inner spirit from the transcendent realm of chochmah. As the Zohar states, “Oraita me-chochmah nafkat” - the Torah emanates from chochmah. The source of Israel’s faith is beyond all spiritual delight, beyond all ideals. Ideals belong to the realm of binah. Ultimately, they restrict our aspirations and are unable to provide an absolute and constant level of morality.

Separating Binah from Chochmah

Nadav and Avihu drew their inspiration from the wellsprings of binah. They sought the sublime experiences that characterize this realm, a spiritual grandeur that is accessible in our world. Due to their heightened awareness of their own greatness, however, they mistakenly saw in the holy realm of binah the ultimate source of reality. They placed all of their aspirations in this spiritual realm.

By doing so, they abandoned the higher source of light that transcends all spiritual freedom and joy. The true basis of life is rooted in the supernal realm of chochmah and Torah. Unpunished, their mistake would have brought about the collapse of the world’s moral foundations. History is testimony to movements dedicated to great ideals that, because they were not anchored to the elevated source of chochmah, descended into the darkest depths of ignorance and cruelty.1

Nadav and Avihu erred by pursuing the spiritual joys of prophecy and inspiration in a form detached from Torah and its practical teachings. This is what the Kabbalists meant by saying that Nadav and Avihu divided binah from chochmah. They tried to attain closeness to the Holy on their own initiative, offering a fire “that God had not instructed them.” The various explanations for their behavior suggested by the Sages - that they were inebriated, that their heads were uncovered (a sign that they lacked proper awe of Heaven), that they taught Torah in front of their teacher - all reflect the same basic flaw. Nadav and Avihu concentrated their efforts on their own spiritual attainments, without integrating the discipline of Torah. They were highly aware of their own spiritual greatness, but personal holiness must be negated before the higher light of Torah.

Repairing the Mistake of Nadav and Avihu

The Torah stresses that Nadav and Avihu had no children. Their service of God was not one that could be transmitted to future generations. And yet their independent spirit and idealism have an important place in the future Messianic Era:

“Remember the Torah of Moses My servant, which I enjoined him on Horev, laws and statutes for all of Israel. Behold, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before God’s great and terrible day. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” (Malachi 3:22-24)

Malachi envisioned a future reconciliation between fathers and children. His prophecy also mentions Elijah the prophet and the Torah of Moses. What is the connection between these different themes?

The pre-Messianic Era is a time characterized by a tragic rift between the younger generation, idealistic and independent in spirit, and the older generation, faithful to the old traditions and the Torah of Moses. This divide parallels the sin of Nadav and Avihu, who separated binah from chochmah, dividing the ideals from their eternal source.

But the unique personality of Elijah, combining the prophetic ideals of justice with zeal for God’s covenant and Torah, will repair this rift. It is Elijah’s synthesis of Torah and idealism that will reconcile the generations. And together, the passionate spirit of youth (binah), together with the orderly and practical wisdom of the elders (chochmah), will bring about the final redemption.

(Sapphire from the Land of Israel. Adapted from Orot HaKodesh, vol. II, pp. 283-286; vol. III, pp. 360-361)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Shamrak Report: Negotiations are Futile - Conflict is Inevitable and more..

by Alex Fishman
The clock is ticking toward another military confrontation in Gaza as militants demand cash and generous economic concessions but are not willing to offer Israel any concrete guarantees regarding security and the Israelis being held hostage in the Strip.
April 10 will not only be the day following the Israeli elections, it is also the date when the last batch of Qatari money will enter Gaza. Israel will be occupied with the formation of a government coalition while in Gaza, the local mafia will be racking their brains trying to figure out how to continue milking more money from whomever possible.
And when the mafia is concerned, if they don’t get their protection money - they will burn down the house. Therefore, the day after the elections kicks off the final moments before an inevitable round of fighting in Gaza.
...even if concessions are made to Hamas, they would be marginal ones that would not meet the needs and wishes of either side. The only thing left for the incoming government to do is sharpen its swords. (After many decades of negotiations, stone throwing, knife attacks, rocket fire and ‘quiets’ - isn’t it enough to realise that another option is needed?)
Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak
For quite of few years debates or discussions about Islamisation of the Western democracies have been disallowed! Even a new term - Islamophobia - was created to brand people as racists and kill debate on the subject. Crimes committed by members of Muslim communities are being systematically underreported by press and government officials! No wonder that mentally unstable individuals have taken arms to defend the Western civilization, first! I fear, if no change is coming to immigration policy and in handling Islamic instigated crimes and terror, being introduced in the West, what normal defenders will do!
Please, read and forward this article!
The United Nations Humans Rights Council voted Friday to adopt a report accusing Israel of crimes against humanity for its handling of violent protests on the border with Gaza Strip. Twenty-three countries voted to in favour of the measure, with eight opposing it. Another 15 countries abstained, while one was absent. (The ugliest ones are that who abstained, or was absent!)
Officials from the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization claim that the rocket fired on central Israel early Monday morning was accidentally launched. Magen David Adom reported that seven people were injured and four dogs died of their wounds. In addition, several victims were treated for shock, as well as light injuries. (I am sure that empty building will be hit again by Israel in retaliation, and there will be no condemnation of Hamas by animal lovers!)
Israel is the world’s 13th-happiest country, according to the 2019 World Happiness Report, produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The result this year was slightly down from last year’s report, in which Israel was in 11th place. The happiest country on the list is Finland. The United States came in at No. 19. At the same time, Tel Aviv ranked 10th most expensive city on the planet. (In spite of all terror committed against Jews by the 'Palestinians'; disregarding all anti-Israel resolutions adopted by the UN, 'Ugly Nazi’, Jews in Israel are still happy!)
Austria’s Muslim residents are more than twice as likely as non-Muslims to endorse anti-Semitic statements. Arab respondents, who made up half of the Muslim group, were slightly more likely than Turks. Ten percent of non-Muslims agreed with the statement that "a lot is exaggerated in news about concentration camps" from the Holocaust. That figure was 41 percent among Turks and 35 among Arabs.
1. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with US President Donald Trump shortly after the president called on the US to "fully recognize" Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. "He did it again," Netanyahu observed. "First he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the embassy here. Then he pulled out of the disastrous Iran treaty and reimposed sanctions. But now he did something of equal historic importance: he recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights."
Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz responded to the new self-inflicted scandal. Gantz vows not to sit in Bibi’s cabinet, after vowing the door is closed but not locked! (Anything goes just to get in power!)
A group of well-known Christian leaders from America and South Africa, who represent over 55 million worshippers, have slammed Israel for its treatment of Palestinians following a 10-day trip to the country. In the statement the Christian leaders said that they came seeking a better understanding of the realities on the ground, "particularly related to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (East Jerusalem, West Bank, and the Gaza Strip)." (They came to denigrate the Jewish state, give support to enemies of Jews, and endorse occupation of Jewish lands by fake Palestinians!)
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, a candidate on the right-wing parties’ slate, will not be allowed to run in the upcoming Knesset elections. The same court also ruled that Ofer Cassif of the Arab party Hadash, and the Arab Ra’am-Balad slate are allowed to run.
Quote of the Week:
“In the vast majority of Western democracies it is the elected officials who appoint the judges of the highest court in the judicial system. There is no reason for us to stay behind. The public is entitled to know the judicial views of a candidate to the Supreme Court.” - Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked  Criticized the Judicial Selection Committee, which “has become a powerful tool in assimilating the left-wing, anti-Zionist revolution.
Younger, more ruthless Palestinian terrorists first made their mark seven months ago with the murder in the Barkan industrial zone of Ziv Hajbi, 35, from Rishon LeZion and Kim Levengrund-Yehezkel, 28, from Rosh Ha’Ayrin.
There, for the first time, we witnessed a new breed of terrorist – hitherto dismissed as “lone wolves” rather than members of a terrorist organization – who coolly plan ahead, procure weapons and mark out their targets after systematic reconnaissance. Their object is to kill and injure as many Israelis as possible.
The young Palestinian killer prepares an escape route and bolt-hole with the help of willing accomplices. The “ideological” terrorist, who was wont to leave a will before blowing himself up with his victims, has made way for this new breed of mass killer, an advent marked by five features:
1) They have lost their fear of the IDF and go directly for Israeli soldiers and border guard police.
2) Although army chiefs deny the influence of the “Eisenkot Effect” or “Elor Azaria syndrome” on the troops (the former prosecuted the latter for killing a prone Palestinian terrorist in Hebron), the fact remains that in the last three major terrorist attacks, the soldiers on the spot hesitated to shoot back. This is what happened on Dec. 9, 2018 when Palestinian gunmen in an attack at the Ofra junction took the life of an infant; in the Dec. 13, Givat Assaf attack, in which Palestinian gunmen shot dead two soldiers; and again, on Sunday, March 17, when two Palestinian killers stabbed then shot dead 1st Sgt. Gal Kaydan at the Ariel junction before snatching his M-16 and commandeering a passing car. They then continued their shooting spree at Giti Avishar junction and grievously injured two more Israelis.
3) The terrorists take advantage of the highways of Judea and Samaria, which are open to the use of Israelis and Palestinians alike, for multiple attacks, moving easily from one scene to the next.
4) Since last October, these killers have got away and stayed at large by studying IDF standard responses to an attack. While still on the run, these terrorists are free to prepare more attacks.
5) They find encouragement from witnessing how during Hamas’ year-long cross-border campaign from the Gaza Strip, the IDF and Israel’s security chiefs were frozen in place for initiatives to cope with the menace, aside from predictable aerial bombardments.

Israel on the Golan Heights enhances US interests

by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

While US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights bolsters the national security of the Jewish State, it also yields major strategic benefits for the US.

Thus, President Trump’s endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over the strategically commanding Golan Heights – which may be reinforced by a Congressional resolution – highlights the synergy between the national security of the US and Israel. It underlines the mutually-beneficial, two-way-street strategic coordination and cooperation between the US and Israel.

This endorsement enhances the posture of deterrence of Israel – a systematic, unwavering, effective beachhead of the US in the Middle East – and therefore extends the strategic hand of the US, without the need to deploy additional US forces to the region.

In fact, Israel’s upgraded strategic profile has been a most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East.

For example, in 1970, pro-Soviet Syria invaded pro-US Jordan, aiming to topple the Hashemite regime and trigger an anti-US ripple effect into the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf. It could have toppled the pro-US oil-producing regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrein and Oman, granting the USSR a global bonanza, and dealing a major blow to the economy and national security of the US (when the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil), during the Vietnam quagmire, which precluded a dispatch of US troops to Jordan.

President Nixon called Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who reinforced Israel’s military presence on the Golan Heights – the joint frontier between Israel, Syria and Jordan – delivering a clear warning to Damascus, which is located 37 miles from the Golan Heights. Israel’s posture of deterrence triggered a swift rollback of the Syrian invasion (within 48 hours), with no exchange of fire between the two military forces.

Thus, in 1970, Israel’s control of the Golan Heights – with no need for US military involvement - minimized regional violence and instability, secured the survival of key pro-US Arab regimes, prevented a major anti-US domino-effect in the Middle East with its drastic financial and military consequences, and spared the globe a potential super-powers confrontation.

In 2019, the control of the Golan Heights enables Israel to play a key role in constraining Iran’s expansion into Syria and Lebanon, restraining the flow of lava emitted by the potential Syrian volcano, securing Jordan’s Hashemite regime and removing the anti-US machetes from the throats of every pro-US regime.

In 2019, the potential contribution by Israel’s control of the Golan Heights to vital US interests, is bolstered against the backdrop of the following Middle East reality: Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and the megalomaniacal Ayatollahs, who consider the US their major hurdle on the way to regional and global domination; the 14-centuries-old Middle East unpredictability, intolerance and violence; the Arab Tsunami (erroneously branded as “Arab Spring”) which erupted in 2010 and is still raging; the historical role played by Damascus in fomenting intra-Arab and intra-Muslim confrontations, narcoterrorism (facilitating supply of heroine to the US’ inner cities) and anti-US international terrorism (e.g., PanAm-103, the US Embassy and US Marine headquarters in Beirut); the operation of a multitude of Islamic terrorist organizations in Syria; and the systematic alignment of Syria with enemies and adversaries of the US (e.g., the USSR, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela).

In 2019, the Israeli “life insurance agent” is increasingly more critical for the survival of Jordan’s pro-US Hashemite regime, which is more vulnerable than it was in 1970. Israel’s posture of deterrence has been enhanced in value in view of the Iranian Ayatollahs’ entrenchment in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon; the potentially explosive 1.5 million Syrian refugees in northern Syria; the Palestinian majority in Jordan and its subversive track record; the high domestic profile of the subversive, terroristic Muslim Brotherhood; and the intensifying fragmentation among Jordan’s Bedouin tribes, some of which consider the Hashemite family “carpetbaggers” from the Arabian Peninsula.

Israel’s retreat from the Golan Heights would have severely eroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, transforming the Jewish State from a national security producer/asset - for the US - to a national security consumer/liability. This would have generated a tailwind to rogue Arab/Muslim regimes, taxing vital US national security interests, bringing Islamic terrorism closer to the US shores and rewarding enemies and adversaries of the US.

On June 29, 1967, the late General Earl Wheeler, then the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, handed President Johnson a map of Israel’s minimal security requirements, which included the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria. General Wheeler was aware that Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights secures Israel’s survival, while advancing vital US interests in the tectonic Middle East.