Monday, May 31, 2021

In Praise of Eretz Yisrael

by HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Nasi HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

Parshat Shelach is the parsha of Eretz Yisrael. In these days, when the media reports seem to lead to the conclusion that the vision of a "complete Eretz Yisrael" is totally lost, and the nation has turned its back to its source, there is a special need to emphasize the connection of our parsha to all generations.

Maran Beit Yosef, in his book "Magid Meisharim" (in which he wrote the words of his heavenly "Magid"), deals with the contradiction between Parshat Shelach and Parshat Devarim. In our Parsha, it says that G-d commanded Moshe to send the spies, whereas in Parshat Devarim it says, "All of you [Bnei Yisrael] approached me." (Devarim 1:22) Furthermore, why was there a need to check if the land was fertile or lean, since Hashem had already promised them that it is good and spacious?

The Magid explained to him that Bnei Yisrael in that generation were not worthy of entering the land after all the trials that they tested G-d. Yet, G-d, in His mercy, planted in their minds to ask to send spies so that they would appreciate it and tell its praise, and that would be the merit that would allow them to enter the land. The two parshas are, thus, two sides of the same coin: G-d caused them to ask to send spies, and, in fact, Yisrael did ask. However, the princes of the tribes did not stand up to the test, and didn't tell its praise.

From that time, it is incumbent upon the leaders of Yisrael to tell the praise of Eretz Yisrael, to rectify in this way that which they sinned when they disgraced it.

In Midrash Eichah (1:23) it says on the pasuk, "The entire assembly raised up and issued its voice; the people wept that night" (Bamidbar 14:1), that the Hebrew word "raised up" (va'tisa) has the connotation of a debt; that is, a bad debt that they will have to repay throughout the generations, as it says, "When you make your fellow a loan (tasheh)." (Devarim 24:10) "The entire assembly raised up," the entire assembly became obligated to pay this debt.

The sefer "Eim Habanim Semeichah" writes about this:

In vain we pray in all the synagogues and batei midrash, "Our Father, our King, erase in Your great mercy all of our notes of indebtedness," so long as the debt of despising the coveted land still exists on us ... How can we pray that He erase this debt from us, since we are obligated to pay and we have the ability to rectify this?!

We find in the history of our nation that there was severe punishment for our foreign attitude towards the land. In the Sefer Rokeach (by R. Eliezer of Worms) it says:

Ezra the scribe sent letters to all the cities of the Diaspora that they should go up to Eretz Yisrael. This letter also came to the country of Ashkenaz (Germany) to the city of Worms, and they responded to him, "You live in the big Yerushalayim; we will live in the little Yerushalayim," because they were very important in the eyes of the officers and the non-Jews, and were very rich and dwelled there in peace and tranquility, Therefore great and harsh decrees are more frequent in the land of Ashkenaz than in other communities."

We, more than any other generation, feel to what extent these words were fulfilled!

Only through strengthening the love and yearning for Eretz Yisrael can we rectify the sin of the spies, as R. Yehuda Halevi writes in the conclusion of the Kuzari: Yerushalayim will, indeed, be built [only] when Bnei Yisrael will desire it with the greatest desire until they cherish its stones and dirt!

The attitude towards the Land of Israel

by Rabbi Dov Berel Wein

The attitude of Jews towards the Land of Israel has always been a litmus-paper type of test of Jewish commitment and even faith throughout the ages. As we see in this week’s parsha, from the beginning of our national existence there have always been Jews – leading Jews, well-intentioned Jews, even outwardly pious Jews – who have preferred living somewhere else in the world to living in the Land of Israel. Even when Hitler came to power European Jews in many cases refused to consider immigration to the Land of Israel as an option. It is not my place to judge others for their behavior in a very dreadful time, especially since I am blessed with the perfect hindsight that they tragically lacked. But it is a strange fact that throughout Jewish history the naysayers regarding the Land of Israel in Jewish society have always abounded. Jews in the generation of Moshe claimed their preference for the land of Egypt over the Land of Israel. An entire generation of special and gifted Jews was destroyed in the desert of Sinai because of their unwillingness to consider living in the Land of Israel as a viable option for them and their descendants. The challenge of living in the Land of Israel was apparently too great a problem, physically, psychologically and spiritually for them to overcome. To me this attitude remains one of the supreme mysteries of all of Jewish history. But mystery or not, it certainly is a fact that has governed Jewish life over the ages.

When Moshe's own father-in-law refused the offer to go to the Land of Israel, Rashi explains that the two reasons for his behavior had to do with family and making a living. These are very strong reasons that exist today that prevent many Jews from considering immigrating to the Land of Israel. Again, I neither judge nor begrudge anyone in this or any other life changing matter. However, I feel that the issue of the Land of Israel, independent of any other causes and motives, strikes at a very deep place within our personal and national soul. The fact that the most ultra-assimilated and the most outwardly ultra-pious amongst us both are included in our generation as the most vociferous of the anti-Land of Israel groupings within the Jewish people shows how deep and sensitive the problem of the Land of Israel is. The extremes in Jewish society cannot deal with the Land of Israel as a reality and earnestly hope that the issue will somehow disappear completely. There are millions of Jews who prefer living in exile to living in the Land of Israel. The Jewish people as a whole has not absorbed the lessons of the exile, its alienation, assimilation and ultimate corruption of Torah values. Today, even many Jews who physically live in the Land of Israel still psychologically and spiritually live in the exile, in their fantasy imagination of the long-destroyed shtetel of Eastern Europe. As foretold to us by our prophets the ultimate fate of the Jewish people will be determined for us by our attitude to the Land of Israel. Living in the Land of Israel or at least visiting it regularly is currently the centerpiece of Jewish life, its faith and its future.

Fear of Holiness

by HaRav Shaul Yisraeli, zt"l
Rosh HaYeshiva, Mercaz HaRav
Rosh Kollel, Eretz Hemdah
Chaver, Beit Din HaGadol Yerushalaim

based on Siach Shaul, p. 388-390 (address from 1988)

The spies were sent to find out, among other things, whether "… there is a tree or not" (Bamidbar 13:20). Rashi explains: "Do they have a proper person, who can shield them with his merit?"

Although the spies were seemingly asked to determine physical things, Rashi teaches us something different, which hints at the spies’ mistake. They did not realize that there are two sides to existence. Just as there is a need for a "kingdom of priests," so too there is a need and a possibility of a "holy nation." The nation has the ability to, at once, be involved in ploughing and sowing and not allow this to take them away from holy emotions. If they can preserve the connection between these two sides, they can deal with material matters and not become material themselves.

The Israelites were afraid that the inhabitants of Canaan were too strong for them (ibid. 13:31), [including in their spiritual impact on them], but this is a mistake. While it is true that we, as a nation, can fall very low and learn from corrupt nations instead of the more proper ones (see Sanhedrin 39b), if the scholars of our kingdom of priests do their job, we can survive.

The spies’ mindset finds expression in a social phenomenon that we are witnessing these days. We are witness to a throwing off of values, not only of the special level we reached at Sinai or of some present-day religious law, but, in general, of everything from the past that serves as a foundation of our national identity. The struggle is on the desire of many to create a "new nation," one which has no interest in preserving the traditions of previous generations and the treasures of our cultural past. They want to create new ones by assimilating into the nations of general civilization. They want a nation that is concerned only with the present.

Talk of democracy is just a front for a desire to erase our essence. "Let all do exactly what they desire." If it was only a matter of respecting each person’s divine image, they would react more positively to those who want to lead spiritual lives. In truth, it is what Bnei Yisrael cried about in the desert – "about families." They are appalled and embarrassed that some of their children have returned to Jewish observance. While we are surprised by this reaction, it has roots in the spies’ approach millennia ago. The reigniting of anti-religious activity is a direct result of the teshuva movement, which shakes those who have discarded the ways of their fathers. The movement shows that there is something in the Jewish soul that strives for more than the vanities of the physical world. Such Jews strive for light and internal renewal, and do not find it in the different games they see in society, but in sanctity. This is upsetting and challenging to those who have rejected sanctity.

We can understand the situation with security and serenity. We will be tolerant, not out of resignation, but with confidence that at the end, the light will come. We do not need to fight; Hashem will fight for us. We are just witnessing the last signs of life in a mortally wounded segment that rejects sanctity and is acting as one who sees his house collapsing.

"They saw all of them crying and Rabbi Akiva [who understood the ultimate silver lining] was laughing" (see Makkot 24b).

Not "If" - But "How"! The Spies' Mistaken Mindset

by HaRav Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Beit El

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of R. Avraham ben-tziyon ben shabtai

Not "If" - But "How"!
We, living today in Eretz Yisrael, find ourselves in a period of crisis and struggle. Some have even noted that the present situation - in which our rights to the Land of Israel are being challenged - bears a striking resemblance to the time of the meraglim (spies). It does not take much insight to say that today, God is providing us with a test to enable us to rectify that fateful error. It therefore behooves us to contemplate the deeper meaning and ramifications of the sin of the spies in Parshat Shlach.

Perhaps the spies' greatest error lay in their incorrect interpretation of their mission; the leaders of the tribes believed that they had been sent to check to see if it was indeed possible to conquer the Land - to strategically analyze the facts on the ground. In short, they saw their mission as one of determining whether conquering the Land was or was not possible.

Practically speaking, however, they had no obligation at all to analyze the "if" of the impending war for the land, but rather the "how?" - since it was clear from the outset that the Children of Israel would conquer the land. The Holy One, Blessed Be He was willing to enter into a partnership with the Jews in the conquest of the land; He thus agreed to send spies, whose job it would be to bring back information on the land’s inhabitants and on the most straightforward manner in which to conduct the war.

In our day as well, we must understand that the question should not even arise as to whether or not we have an obligation to retain control of the Land of Israel. Obviously, we must cleave to the Land with all of our might since we were commanded to do so by the Torah. In fact, it is a serious violation of halacha (Jewish Law) to transfer portions of the Land to foreign nations. Therefore, the one and only question that remains to be discussed is: "How can we maintain our hold on Eretz Yisrael"?

When the original individuals and families of Bet El first arrived here, everybody had a litany of questions. How could we in fact settle in this area? What would we do with our children? There were no nurseries or kindergartens or day schools at the time! What about public transportation? The longer the deliberations wore on, the more questions and issues we raised. Not many answers were forthcoming.

At one point during the discussions, we stopped and, once and for all, settled a crucial, fundamental matter: We decided that the question: "Are we going to settle in Bet El?"- was not up for discussion at all. Rather, the central concern became "How are we going to go about settling here?" In the end, the previous "insurmountable" difficulties were solved, and Bet El came to be.

This also held true for the establishment of our radio station, Arutz Sheva. Then, too, there were numerous questions left unanswered - where do we buy transmitters? How many do we need? How do we affix them? How much will this cost? Where do we buy a ship? How do we go about hiring a crew for the ship? There were also questions as to what kind of programming would be broadcast, etc.

You must keep in mind that of the people that initiated the radio station, not one of us had ever taken courses in broadcasting or communications. We had absolutely no idea how to appeal to the population at large. Even then, because of the multitude of questions that arose, a general feeling - that it was not worthwhile to even start the project - set in. At that point, we halted the sundry deliberations, and decided that the founding of the station was an absolute necessity, that it would benefit the Jewish people, its land, and its Torah. The question was no longer " if " we were going to go ahead with the project, but how . This must always be the approach of someone serving God. He must not debate whether to act, but rather how to go about acting on his beliefs.

The Spies' Mistaken Mindset
The holy Zohar explains that the sin of the spies stemmed from the fact that in the desert they were national leaders; they understood, however, that when the Jews entered the land, they themselves would not longer hold leadership positions, since these same people were not appropriate to be take on such positions in the framework of a national life in the new land. Thus, the spies preferred to remain in the desert.

Others explain that the spies wished to stay on the level of those who lived in the desert, the consumers of manna, regarding whom the Sages said: "The learning of Torah was set aside only for those who consume manna." Free from the need to worry about their physical needs, they were able to engage in spiritual pursuits. The Holy One, Blessed be He, saw to it that they had food as well as clean and even fresh clothes... In the desert, the Children of Israel were like eternal "Kollel students", relieved of the concerns associated with making a living, free to pursue Torah and mitzvot. The spies thought that such would not be the case in the Land of Israel; the sensed that life in Israel would not see manna falling from Heaven - and that they would have to work in the fields to make a living. Therefore, they reasoned, they would not be able to devote themselves to spiritual pursuits. What would become of Torah?

According to this explanation, the spies' error lay in a lack of understanding that Torah must be brought down to the physical world as well; they did not grasp that the "this -worldly" activities in Israel are in fact much holier than the kedusha (holiness) attained in the desert. The Chesed L’Avraham explains that in the desert, Divine holiness could not take hold in physical reality. As such, the Jews were in need of manna, a Divine food that permitted kedusha to penetrate the human body. In Eretz Yisrael, however, there was no need for manna, since the Divine holiness connects to, and is ingested by, the Jew who consumes the fruits of the land.

Others explain the issue in the opposite fashion: that, in the desert, the Jews lived in a state of constant existential tension. Their eyes were constantly turned heavenward to receive the Divine gift of manna. The manna was, in the words of the Sages, the means by which individual Jews were singled out as being deserving of Divine reward or punishment. Those whose behavior merited it, received the manna, and those who did not - did not. The life of the desert was one of open miracles and of clear Divine providence.

The meraglim had chosen to abandon all of this; they wished to start a "natural" type of existence in the Land of Israel, divorced from the system of the desert and from the absolute dependency on the Holy One, Blessed be He. They therefore tried to analyze whether it would be possible to conquer the Land in a natural manner, without the aid of miracles at all. They arrived at the conclusion - correct in and of itself - that it would not be possible to conquer the Land without Divine aid, without miracles. This realization dealt a crushing blow to their hopes and dreams.

It seems that the both of the above explanations are valid, that there were two types of Jews in the desert: Tzaddikim who sought to stay on the level of life in the desert, who wished to avoid confronting "natural" reality. However, it also seems there were others deeply interested in immersing themselves in the material world, in attempting to "escape" their overt dependency on God.

Our sages teach another - perhaps more important - perspective of the sin of the spies: "All of the good that I advised them to pursue, they ruined, as it says, 'you rejected all of My advice'.

God said to them: "You angered Me with the Good that I provided you." (Bamidbar Rabba) He arranged the visit of the spies in a way that many of the Land’s inhabitants died while the spies were touring the land. Why? So that the inhabitants of the land - pre-occupied with their mourning and burial - would not notice the spies. God should have been praised and thanked for His help in this regard; and yet, the meraglim saw in it only the negative: "It’s a land that consumes its inhabitants!" they screamed. The spies saw giants, large fruits, fortified cities, etc. They could have chosen to see in these phenomenon the utter praiseworthiness of the Land of Israel, a land whose air produces wisdom, a land that grows large, healthy people and juicy fruits. Instead, they chose to be terrified.

When one views the world from a perspective of "Emunah" - or faith, then he can view most phenomenon and events in a positive, not negative, light. If we know that God is good to all, and wishes to give us the Land, then it is clear that the Land is good, - a Holy Land whose kedusha we as Jews are bidden to discover and reveal...

Four Days in May

This story has everything: the moral bankruptcy and cowardice of Western academia, the obsessive need of Palestinians and their supporters to make everything about them, and the emptiness of their insistence that they are not antisemitic, only “critical of Israel.”

On 26 May 2021, the Chancellor and Provost of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, released a statement* by email condemning recent antisemitic violence, called “Speaking Out Against Acts of Antisemitism.”

Recent incidents of hate directed toward Jewish members of our community again remind us of what history has to teach us. Tragically, in the last century alone, acts of prejudice and hatred left unaddressed have served as the foundation for many atrocities against targeted groups around the world …

If you have been adversely impacted by anti-Semitic or any other discriminatory incidents in our community, please do not hesitate to reach out to our counseling and other support services on campus. Our behavioral health team stands ready to support you through these challenging times …

We have also been witnesses to the increasing violence between Israeli forces and Hamas in the Middle East leading to the deaths of children and adults and mass displacement of citizens in the Gaza region and the loss of lives in Israel.”

On 27 May, the infuriated Rutgers Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) replied in a long post on their Instagram account (here significantly shortened):

… The Chancellor and Provost’s statement exclusively addressing antisemitism comes during a time when Israel’s occupation of Palestine [sic] is finally receiving widespread criticism, and despite mentioning the “deaths of children and adults and mass displacement of citizens in the Gaza region,” conveniently ignores the extent to which Palestinians have been brutalized by Israel’s occupation and bombing of Gaza.

… the fact that [the statement] comes at such a critical time involving global protests and critiques against Israel’s occupation of Palestine [sic] is a decision that cannot be separated from widespread attempts to conflate antizionism [sic] with antisemitism and derail Palestinian voices and activism. …

Chancellor Molloy and Provost Conway proceed to refer to “increasing violence between Israeli forces and Hamas in the Middle East.” By choosing to center the crossfire between Israeli Occupation Forces [sic] and Hamas, rather than Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine [sic], the Chancellor and Provost minimize the impact of settler-colonialism on Palestinians and attempt to portray the violence as an equal conflict, which we know it not to be in the slightest. …

Most importantly, the Chancellor and Provost notably neglected to use the words “Palestine” or “Palestinian” in their statement, instead opting to use phrases such as “the Middle East” and “the Gaza region.” This refusal to acknowledge and affirm the existence of Palestine [sic], and thus the Palestinian faculty and students at Rutgers University, reveals the administration’s inability to stand in genuine solidarity with the Palestinian members of its University, a community that is grieving the death of over 200 Palestinians including many women and children. It isolates them and shows that Rutgers does not stand with or support them in their struggle for freedom and liberation, and contributes to the racist efforts of zionists [sic] to erase Palestinian identity and existence. …

We therefore demand an apology from Chancellor Molloy and Provost Conway for dismissing the voices and visibility of Palestinians and allies, as well as demand an acknowledgement and explanation of why they did so. We demand that the Rutgers administration call out and expose any and all ties to Israeli apartheid and commit to action that reflects a global call to uplift the humanity of Palestinians, to recognize their violent displacement by the state of Israel, and acknowledge the gross mass murders occurrings [sic] at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces, adjacent to the American police violence condemned by the University.

On 28 May, the Chancellor and Provost sent a second email,* titled “Apology.”

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is a community that is enriched by our vibrant diversity.

However, our diversity must be supported by equity, inclusion, antiracism, and the condemnation of all forms of bigotry and hatred, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

As we grow in our personal and institutional understanding, we will take the lesson learned here to heart, and pledge our commitment to doing better. We will work to regain your trust, and make sure that our communications going forward are much more sensitive and balanced.

It is absolutely stunning that university officials found it necessary to apologize for condemning antisemitism! But of course the apology was inadequate to calm the fury of SJP, who had demanded far more, and on the same day they produced an even longer Instagram diatribe, from which I will quote just one piece:

… Chancellor Molloy and Provost Conway had no urgent or context-based prerogative to address antisemitism. Condemnation of the unjust murders conducted by a Zionist institution does not equate to condemnation or attack upon Judaism or Jews; to explicitly cite the Jewish community in need of support in context to global criticisms of the Zionist occupation of Palestine [sic] is to conflate antizionism [sic] with antisemitism and derail Palestinian voices and activism.

In other words, SJP holds that the antisemitism university officials have condemned is actually just anti-Zionism, which SJP sees as totally justified! SJP admits that anti-Zionism is essential to Palestinian identity, and therefore to condemn it is to “erase” Palestinian identity. I agree with them: the only uniquely “Palestinian” part of Palestinian culture is its opposition to Jewish sovereignty. But it is becoming more and more clear that the anti-Zionism of Palestinians and their supporters is viciously antisemitic.

At this point, well-deserved criticism for their craven apology rained down on the poor Chancellor and Provost. And so, on 29 May, Rutgers found it necessary to release a third statement, this one by the President of the University, to un-apologize, and to make it clear that like the US Congress, they oppose every imaginable form of bigotry (and therefore criticize no one).

Rutgers deplores hatred and bigotry in all forms. We have not, nor would we ever, apologize for standing against anti-Semitism.

Neither hatred nor bigotry has a place at Rutgers, nor should they have a place anywhere in the world. At Rutgers we believe that anti-Semitism, anti-Hinduism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism, intolerance and xenophobia are unacceptable wherever and whenever they occur.

An Orwellian note: with each iteration of its position, Rutgers replaced the previous one on their website. All the links in the media that pointed to the original statement, the apology, and the un-apology now redirect to the same place, the un-apology. The others have been dropped into the memory hole.

Some 140 members of the Rutgers faculty joined SJP in opposing Israel’s right to self-defense. You can read their letter here. These are the folks that would teach your children if they go to Rutgers.

I can’t imagine that I would want my children to study in a North American or European university today. Far better for them to learn a trade; they will come out with smaller debts and without antisemitic baggage.

* I would have liked to provide “official” links to the complete, original emails, but as I wrote, they no longer can be found. The quotes provided are taken from several news accounts that included the content of the emails.

Family Purity Leads to Complete Purity

by HaRav Eliezer Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Har Bracha

The ‘Ingathering of the Exiles’ leads to a search for common ground in the customs of the various ethnic communities * Despite the advantages of referring questions of niddah to a rabbanit, when necessary, a woman should not be ashamed to ask a rabbi * A person’s physical side requires purification in order to connect to the source of his life * The spring of purity that will come out of the Holy of Holies and heal the world * Sweetening of the Dead Sea: carnal lusts will be corrected, and bring life and blessing in return * The abolition of the impurity of niddah in the future

The New Book ‘Taharat Ha-Mishpacha’ (‘Family Purity’)
Baruch Hashem, nearly three weeks ago, my latest book ‘Taharat Ha-Mishpacha’ on the laws of niddah(menstruation) was published as part of the ‘Peninei Halakha’ series. In the introduction of the book, I wrote:

“The general rule that guides me is that the mitzvot of the Torah should be understood by all of Israel, so that every Jew can observe them without entering into doubts, and have to constantly ask a rabbi a question about the halakha – questions which should be intended only for rare cases. Then again, precisely in these halakhot, there is more of a need to ask a rabbi, especially in the first year of marriage. On the other hand, however, specifically in these halakhot, understanding is especially important, for it leads to their observance out of a sense of identifying with them. In this way, keeping these halakhot will elevate and sanctify a marriage. The more the world is filled with knowledge in the various sciences, even more so it must be filled with spiritual knowledge – through Torah study, and understanding. For indeed, Torah knowledge uplifts and gives inspiration to every Jew, enabling him to execute his full talents in all areas he pursues, for the glory of the Torah, the nation, and the Land. This is how the nation of Israel can fulfill their destiny – to reveal the word of God in the world, and shower blessing to all families of the earth.”

“In some areas of study, it was necessary to delve deeper into the fundamentals of the issues, and thus reveal how the halakhic disputes diminished greatly. Similarly, having merited the ‘Ingathering of the Exiles’ of millions of Jews from the four corners of the world, the various tribes are marrying one another, and now we have the privilege, and even the duty, to learn the minhagim (customs) of all the communities and poskim collectively, to understand the halakhic foundation common to all, and while preserving the various traditions, to strive to bring the halakhic “branches” closer to each other, in the way of the Talmidei Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael, who are gracious to one another in discussions of halakha” (Sanhedrin 24a).

Our Minhag in the Rabbinate
“From the first day of my rabbinate, my minhag in the community was to have the women ask my wife, the rabbanit, questions concerning niddah. In this way, my wife became a partner in clarifying the questions, to the point where in many cases, I preferred that all complex questions in the laws of tahara (ritual purity) come through my wife. Thus, if necessary, she could teach the questioner how to check, or, thanks to her sharp eye, delve deeper to ascertain and assess if the stain may have come from other reasons, and if necessary, refer the questioner for a medical examination, and sometimes to encourage and comfort her.”

Nonetheless, I wrote in the book (7: 4), “When it is not possible for a woman to ask a rabbanit, or for her husband to ask the rabbi, a woman may ask the rabbi, since in this matter the rabbi serves as a professional who deals matter-of-factly with the question before him. And just as, when necessary, a person must overcome embarrassment and go see a doctor, so too, when necessary, a woman should overcome the embarrassment of asking a rabbi.”

The Conclusion of the Book
The last chapter deals with the laws of the mikveh. Out of prayer to increase purity, holiness, and joy among the Jewish nation, I concluded the book by summarizing the matters of purity explained in it. The words are so dear to my heart that it is difficult for me to read them without tears in my eyes. I will present them here, with additional headlines. May they also be for an uplifting of the soul of Rabbi Hanoch HaCohen Piotrkowski ztz”l.

Tumah and Tahara (Impurity and Purity) are Connected to the Land, and the Body
“As a result of the sin Adam Rishon, tumah, which seals ones heart and impairs his ability to connect his thoughts, actions and feelings to the source of his life, clung to man. Since his connection to Hashem was impaired, death consequently clung to him, as well. The system of mitzvot that deals with all types of impurity and purification from them, mainly associated with the Beit Ha-Mikdash (the Holy Temple), is intended to elevate a person from the impurity that clung to his physical sides, and connect him to the source of his life. By immersion in a mikveh, an impure person returns to the primary foundation of life. As a result, he is able to connect to Hashem the source of life, ascend to the Mikdash and draw life to Eretz Yisrael, his body, imagination, and emotions, and all human talents, to be connected to Hashem, and draw blessing and tikun (rectification) to the world.”

The Torah is Required for Midot Tovot (Good Virtues)
“However, for the purpose of Torah study and other mitzvot connected to the spiritual side of man, tevila (ritual immersion in a mikveh) is not obligatory. The preparation required for them is emunah (faith) in Hashem, and good midot (virtues), without the need to prepare the physical body for this purpose, as our Sages said: “Words of Torah are not susceptible to tumah (ritual impurity), as the verse says, ‘Is not My word like as fire, says the Lord’ (Jeremiah 23:29). Just as fire is not susceptible of tumah, similarly, words of Torah are not susceptible of tumah“(Berachot 22a; see Rabbi Kook’s ‘Orot Ha-Techiya’ 35).”

Abolition of Tahara, Except for Family Purity
“From the time the Mikdash was destroyed, and Israel was exiled from their Land, tahara was abrogated from Am Yisrael. Only one type of tahara remained for us, to some degree similar to the kedusha (sanctity) of the Mikdash – in a woman’s immersion to purify herself, in order to reveal the life and holiness in the body, in love and joy between a married couple, the pinnacle of the fulfillment of “Love your neighbor as yourself”, which is equal in weight to all the mitzvot. For the main purpose of immersion and purification is to purify actual life, with the body and flesh, the imagination and the emotion, so they can connect to the source of life, and intensify limitlessly.”

A Prayer for the Return of Purity
“May it be that as a result of our return to our Land, we merit growing in Torat Eretz Yisrael and its guidance for the world’s tikun, and out of the purity and joy of the connection between husband and wife, blessing will spread to all areas of life, and we will merit the building of the Third Temple. Moreover, from the Kodesh ha-Kodashim (Holy of Holies), the purity of Jewish faith will spread to the entire world, in order to purify all beliefs revealed in physical life, in all its components. As our Sages have said: “The spring that comes forth from inside the Holy of Holies is at first very narrow and resembles grasshoppers’ antennae in width. Once it reaches the opening of the Sanctuary, it becomes as thick as the thread of the warp; once it reaches the Entrance Hall of the Sanctuary, it becomes as thick as the thread of the woof, which is wider than the warp thread. Once it reaches the opening of the Temple courtyard, it becomes like the mouth of a small jug” (Yoma 77b). The continuation of its flow is explained in Ezekiel’s prophecy: “And I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the Temple” (Ezekiel 47: 1-12), and the waters of the river constantly increased: after a thousand cubits, they reached the ankles, after another thousand cubits, they reached the knees, and after another thousand cubits, they reached the waist.

After another thousand cubits, no one was able to cross through them, and so they continued to increase and intensify “Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river… where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows, everything will live… fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food, and their leaves for healing.”

Purity Rectifies Physical Lusts
In other words, since we will be privileged to purify ourselves from impurity, and connect to Hashem with all our might, the place where the people of Sodom sinned in the lust of money, and all their other carnal desires, until it turned into a place of death, will return to life. The fish in it will multiply, around it will grow wonderful trees that bear fruit all year round, because every month new fruits will grow, and their leaves will be medicinal leaves.

In the prophecy of Joel, as well: “Then, when that time comes, the mountains will drip with sweet wine, the hills will flow with milk, all the streambeds of Judea will run with water, and a spring will flow from the house of Hashem to water the Shittim Valley” (Joel 4:18). Water of the Shittim Valley, hints at the sin of lust for prostitution, as written: “Israel was staying in Shittim when the people began to behave immorally with the Moabite girls” (Numbers 25:1). The spring that will flow from the house of Hashem, will purify and rectify this lust as well, which will transform into a desire of love between a husband and his wife and all things holy, and in this way, blessing will increase throughout the Land.
Also the Mediterranean and all the World’s Oceans

However, the spring flowing out of the Mikdash will purify and heal not only the Dead Sea, but as implied in the prophecy of Ezekiel, and explicitly in the prophecy of Zechariah, half of it will turn to the Mediterranean, thereby creating an overlapping between the spring coming out of the Mikdash by way of the Mediterranean Sea, to the Ocean surrounding all continents, and out of contact with the spring emanating from the Mikdash, all the water in the world will be purified and sanctified, as written: “On that day, living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea, and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter. Hashem will be king over the whole earth. On that day, there will be one God, and His name, the only name.”

Elimination of Impurity from the World
The impurity of the niddah will also be abolished, as our Sages said: “There is no greater prohibition than niddah; a woman sees blood, and Hashem forbade her to her husband, but in the future, He will permit her, as written, “I will also remove impurity from the earth” (Shocher Tov, Psalms 146). Even the impurity of death will be removed from the world, as our Sages said (Tanchuma, Metzora 9): “The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, “In this world you became clean, but returned to uncleanness; but in the world to come, I Myself will cleanse you so that you shall not ever become unclean” as written, “I will sprinkle pure water upon you, and you shall be pure; I will purify you from all your uncleanness and from all your idols” (Ezekiel 36:25). And death will be abolished from the earth, as written:

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid… and the lion, like the ox, shall eat straw. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and a young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11: 6-9). It is also written: “When he has swallowed up death once and for all, the Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face and remove his people’s disgrace from the whole earth, for the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 25:8).

Knesset Member removed from Plenum after challenging Arab MKs with Bible burned in Riots

May Golan (Likud) was removed from the Knesset plenum on Monday when she held up a Bible that had been burned in Arab riots in Lod. May began her address by reading the names of eight synagogues that were burned in the Arab riots in cities that had both Jewish and Arab residents.

“Synagogues were burned like they were on Kristallnacht in Europe, or after the riots when my mother fled Iraq for Israel,” May said. “I don’t want to speak about the worthless people who did these horrible things. I simply hope they will rot in jail. I want to speak about the Arab leaders in these days. Especially those who represent them here in this Knesset as part of the Joint List. The left-wing and the media loves to praise the ‘even handed’ voice. They are invited to interviews, to meeting and to speak about coexistence and brotherhood between nations. But under the surface is a warped reality, crude and ugly.”

“A quick Google search will show that any normal and proper parliament would have rejected them long ago.”

She noted the significance of giving the speech as Mansour Abbas, the leader of the Joint Arab List, sat next to her, heading the plenum.

“We are the owners of this land,” she proclaimed as the Arab MKs shouted at her from the floor of the Knesset. “You represent the people of Gaza, not the Arab citizens of Israel.”

“I have a message for those people who serve Hamas,” May said, unwrapping a burned bible.”Do you see this holy Bible? this was burned in Lod. This bears witness to who we are and who you are. This will remain as a witness forever. This burned Bible will bear witness as to how much merit we have from our forefathers for this land. The more you try to harm us, the more we will flourish and grow stronger.”

Golan was removed from the podium because, ironically, the Knesset bylaws forbid the presentation of the Bible. Watch the full video below.

How Social Media Validates Anti-Semitism by Censoring Everything but Anti-Semitism

by Alan M. Dershowitz 
  • People often forget that the very concept of political correctness was invented by Stalin's Soviet Union.
  • Now... that social media companies have decided to become "Glavlit" -- to publish only material that is supposedly truthful and passes its "community standards" -- they have become more like the former Soviet Union than like the United states under the First Amendment.
  • This is not a call to censor anti-Semitic tweets. It is a call for the social media companies to stop censoring other speech based on criteria of supposed truthfulness, "community standards" and other such questionable criteria that are subject to political, Ideological and other biases. I want no censorship other than for material that is already prohibited by law. But if the social media companies persist in censoring, they must apply a single standard to everything. I want nocensorship other than for material that is already prohibited by law.
  • The current social media have the worst of both worlds: they censor material that is neither dangerous nor necessarily false; and then permit material which is both highly dangerous and demonstrably false.

Social media platforms are engaged in massive censorship of matters related to alleged election fraud, doubts about medicine, vaccination, anything from former President Donald J. Trump, criticism of Black Lives Matter, doubts about transgender activities, climate change, hate speech and other supposedly politically incorrect tweets and posts. At the same time, it is open season for anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and the double standard toward things Jewish.

Continue Reading Article

Political Predicaments

by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

The proposed government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid reminds one of a schmorgasbord table that is filled with food – kosher and non-kosher, meat and milk, and not quite separate and distinct. You don’t know where to start eating or whether or not to start eating. It looks tempting but the probability of eating treif is as likely as that of eating kosher. Without a mashgiach it is impossible and even with a mashgiach it is inadvisable. It is thus best to walk away.

The motivation for such a government is certainly understandable. A society cannot forever endure political instability. Four elections in a parliamentary system in a divided country have produced gridlock and the likelihood of further elections ending this morass in a decisive way is quite remote. As long as PM Netanyahu leads Likud, the result will be electoral paralysis. He will always win the largest number of mandates but never quite enough to form a government.

Let’s face it. Netanyahu has many achievements to his credit. He has served longer in office than did Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the United States. Millions of people cannot imagine another individual as prime minister. He kept the country relatively safe and presided over unprecedented peace and prosperity. His relations with world leaders is unparalleled, as is his ability to exploit opportunities in the Arab world, Russia, China and with friendly Western countries such as the United States, as well as knowing how to survive hostile administrations. All this should be acknowledged by those people whose hatred for him blinds and cripples them.

Nevertheless, it must be conceded that he is a flawed individual. At the top of his list of defects is that Netanyahu is a bad breaker-upper. Too many people who have worked for him and closely with him despise him and that has created the current gridlock. If there is a villain in this muddle, it is Gideon Saar whose refusal to join a Netanyahu government precludes the establishment of a right-wing government that reflects the overwhelming majority of the population. But Saar is just one of many politicians and personalities whose relationship with Netanyahu has collapsed. If Likud polls in the 30’s as the largest party, it is never going to matter if 70 other Knesset members refuse to work with him. He, of course, is further hampered by the ongoing criminal trials against him that may not end for years. The wheels of (in)justice do grind slowly.

Truth be told, the PM’s record is not unblemished. He has always been coy towards the right wing, fully embracing their ideology only during elections. He was for the Expulsion in Gaza before he was against it. He endorsed the two-state delusion before he (sort of) walked away from it. His record on settlement building is decidedly mixed, always talking bombastically but without the deeds to match the rhetoric. No one campaigns from the right better than he does but campaigning is not governing. He has allowed Jewish outposts to be brutally destroyed but has turned a blind eye to illegal building in the Arab sector. He did a lot for Israel – but he could have expanded settlements even more, could have reined in the Supreme Court with limiting legislation, could have cracked down on the illegal weapons and crime among Israeli Arabs, could have expanded the Israeli housing market so there is availability other than luxury homes, etc. The latter could have been accomplished in Judea and Samaria, and that is a missed opportunity and remains an unsolved problem.

Netanyahu also has the less than endearing habit of attacking his opponents with his own flaws. He has accused Bennett and Saar of enabling a left-wing government – but didn’t he do that in the past with Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and Benny Gantz? He accused Bennett of wanting to form a government with Yair Lapid – but didn’t he do that in 2013? He accuses the new team of seeking to rely on Arab votes for its viability – but didn’t he just to do the same thing? He accused Bennett of being obsessed with becoming prime minister at all costs – but isn’t he obsessed with being prime minister at all costs?

All politicians should occasionally look in the mirror so they should know whom they are really addressing when they become the most passionate. What Netanyahu must hate most about Bennett is that Bennett reminds him, too much, of himself.

That being said, the dangers and opportunities of this hybrid government are enormous. Their only common denominator is hatred of Netanyahu, which might help form a government but certainly not guide or sustain it. If a Minister of Transport Michaeli decides to destroy Shabbat by having public transportation and commerce or if a Minister of Finance Lieberman squeezes Torah education by freezing money to Yeshivot, then Bennett will rightly suffer lifelong ignominy. If a left wing government legalizes same sex marriage or imports some other madness from the Western world, then he will be to blame. Recall that the very first item on Yamina’s platform is to strengthen Jewish identity and the Jewish religious heritage in the land of Israel. If a Bennett led government weakens Torah and Jewish identity – indeed, heads a government that lacks Sefaradim and religious Jews – that too would be shameful, and the price paid to him in future elections pales before the contempt Jewish history will have for him.

Yet, there are advantages to such a government as well, assuming religious life is not devastated by it, and they bear some reflection. A cult of personality is damaging in any environment, religious or political. No politician should ever think he is indispensable. Democracy is reinvigorated, even safeguarded, by the presence of new blood. A Netanyahu forced out of office is unlikely to return and a new era in Israeli politics begins. Due credit, on balance, will be accorded him for his long and mostly successful tenure. A Bennett-Lapid government will have the benefit of dealing with a Biden administration that does not know them, that has been gearing up to pressure Netanyahu and will not quite know how to handle a right-winger and centrist, both on record as opposing the two-state delusion. Such an inherently unstable government will not be able to make any concessions at all, and will be bolstered by its right-wing opposition. But such a government will be able to deal forcefully with Arab terror and threats to the security of Jews both foreign and domestic.

There is a way forward out of this discordant daze in which we live. Obviously, if Netanyahu stepped down as head of Likud, and a new leader – say, for argument’s sake, Nir Barkat – was appointed, a right-wing government would be formed in 30 minutes. But as that won’t happen in the short term, here is what might (should?) happen.

Assume that the Bennett- Lapid government is sworn in with the support of four Arab mandates. Ten members of Likud can then break away, form their own faction, join the government, and there is already a sizable Jewish majority. Then, one or two of the religious parties can join the government as well, which obviates the need for Labor and/or Meretz to control any portfolios. The end result is a right-wing government, respectful of Torah and tradition, strong and resolute, but including Lapid and Lieberman who, like it or not, do represent a sizable part of the Israel electorate. In two years we can worry about what will happen in two years, which is an eternity in Israeli politics (or, recently, the equivalent of four election cycles).

That being said, it will be shocking if Bennett and Lapid are able to form a new government this week, and if they do, doubly shocking if it lasts even six months. But they will have achieved their primary goal, for better or for worse, of ousting Netanyahu from power.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Rav Kook's Igrot Hare’aya: Encouraging Torah Writers

#27 – part I

Date and Place: Undated, the holy city of Yafo

Recipient: An open letter to our young, beloved brethren, students of Torah, living in the Holy Land

Opening: Peace to you.

Body: I am writing not because I have the strength to write but rather because I already lack the strength to remain silent.

Our (religious) situation is so horrible and painful that it does not leave respite for the heart. Every thought and idea must be brought forward, whether orally or in writing. May the spirit of Hashem lead us (Yeshayahu 63:14), and we shall breathe the spirit of life. We must discuss now matters that are very powerful and great, even though we are so downtrodden and weak and it seems to us as if we, of all people, are superfluous in the world, and everyone is pointing at us and shaking their heads in disbelief.

Within our inner beings, do we have spirit? Does power dwell within us? Why do we walk so bent over, wrinkled, crawling, and trembling? In truth, we should and must be full of courage and cloaked in bravery, for there is no power like the Torah.

The world, even the Hebrew one (primarily, secular Zionists), despite its lowly state, due to our great sins, still possesses movement and life. It is just we (the religious inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael, or “the Old Yishuv”) who are incapable of lifting a finger and displaying a sign of reawakening.

One might say: “We do not have to be jealous of powerful people’s ability to act. Just like they do not try to compete with us in our undertakings, so too we need not try to compete with theirs.” [However, that is incorrect.]

The brave of spirit (secular Zionists) stand up against us with an uncovered arm and with a scepter of fearful fire … The pen has captured the world, ruling over its thoughts, its emotions, and even people’s actions. It proceeds with confidence, with sharp arrows and penetrating swords, which it calmly sends forth.

Is it conceivable that we are permitted to be silent and not acquire for ourselves this modern form of weapon? The pen is like a body of water that swells from within (Shabbat 65b). It receives its strength from the reservoir of thought, and fruitful thought comes from deep investigation. This follows broad knowledge and is a product of exposure to material and its analysis, as they join together with emotion and life.

Why shouldn’t we (students of Torah) also acquire pens (i.e., publish impressive works of Torah scholarship and thought)? Have our minds dried up, Heaven forbid? Our minds should be like dew, full of the logic of truth and the knowledge of the sacred. Are we finished with all of the thoughts from the depths of our hearts?

Thank G-d, we occupy ourselves with Torah study, with essential halachic rulings. We must note that these are also gateways to inner thoughts and the hidden treasure of a storehouse of pure fear of Hashem, which is the beginning of knowledge and the source of wisdom.

We will continue, be"HY next week.

There is always a second chance, every day, and in every moment

by Rav Binny Freedman

There is a special mitzvah (imperative) to love the stranger, the Ger, listed as the fourth mitzvah in Maimonides’ Hilchot Deot (laws of ethical relationships). And as one is not meant to remind a person that he or she is a convert I will change the names and details of this story, but the story is true.

A number of years ago a student joined our program, who always perked up when I was teaching the special mitzvah of loving the stranger, or convert (Ger). It transpired that his mother was a giyoret (convert) and he shared the following story with me:

Due to the fact that he was already a boy old enough to understand when his mother converted, our student himself also had to undergo a conversion of sorts, including immersion in the mikveh or ritual pool. Having grown up in a small farming community in the middle of no-where and now moved to a big city, he was more than a little intimidated at the thought of immersing in a mikveh and being questioned as to his intentions of joining the Jewish people by a Rabbinic court of three Rabbis.

He was ready to start a new life, to join the Jewish people; but wondered if they would accept him.

And that was when a tall bald Rabbi whose name he has since forgotten, but whose voice will be forever seared into his memory, changed his life. The Rabbi, tasked with ascertaining whether this boy was ready to join the Jewish people, asked from across the room if they (his parents were obviously present) were from the South.

“Yes”, they replied hesitantly; “North Carolina”.

The Rabbi’s eyes lit up as he told his story which began in Pittsburgh. He had been a young Rabbi, travelling the country performing ceremonies and presiding over rituals in smaller remote Jewish communities. One of the remote areas he used to frequent, he recalled, was a small town called New Bern, North Carolina. Everyone’s ears perked up; no one they met had ever heard of New Bern before….

With a smile the Rabbi recalled that every time he had stepped off the train in New Bern, he was always met by a kind-hearted Jewish man named Harold Orringer who greeted him with a kosher corned beef sandwich and a homemade pickle. He had never forgotten the kindness of that special man.

For a moment, time simply stopped. Finally, our young student’s father broke the silence: “that kind man was my father” ….

And in that moment, a young boy suddenly realized he was on the right path, and was being given a chance to start life all over again, and to become part of something really special.

The same month of Pesach Sheni, Iyar, born of the Jews’ desire to participate and offer up thanksgiving, would one day give rise to the birth of the State of Israel and the return home to Jerusalem after two thousand years of dreaming; Iyar is the month of how we, with Hashem’s help, can make a difference. Iyar has no other holidays in the Torah but contains all the modern special holy days of the State of Israel: Memorial Day (Yom Ha’Zikaron), Independence Day (Yom Ha’Atzmaut) and Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim).

There is a fascinating question regarding this mitzvah of Pesach Sheni, specifically regarding the convert or Ger. If a person converts and formally joins the Jewish people after the festival of Pesach but before Pesach Sheni, is he or she obligated to offer up the Paschal lamb on Pesach Sheni, the Second Passover?

Obviously, this depends on the reasoning behind this mitzvah: if this is simply an opportunity to fulfill what one missed through no fault of their own, then on Pesach itself the convert was not yet Jewish and obligated in the paschal lamb. Consequently, there would be no need for them to ‘make up’ what they missed on Pesach Sheni.

And yet, we rule in accordance with Rebi Yehuda Hanassi (Tractate Pesachim 93) and so indeed rules Maimonides (Hilchot Korban Pesach 5:7) that a person who converts in between Pesach and Pesach Sheni is indeed obligated to bring the Paschal lamb offering on Pesach Sheni; why?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe in his Likkutei Sichos suggests that even though the person had not yet converted on Pesach, the desire to join the Jewish people was already there, and this intense desire, the spark of Judaism burning in that soul already connected them to the mitzvah of Pesach even before they formally became halachically Jewish thus allowing them the special mitzvah of a ‘second chance’: the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni.

It is interesting to note that this ‘second chance’ mitzvah does not appear regarding any other festival; one cannot bring the offerings of Sukkot once the holiday concludes no matter how noble the reason a person might have for having missed the mitzvah. Only on Pesach are we given this opportunity. Perhaps because this is the first mitzvah, as we departed Egypt, which represented our willingness to make a difference.

On the fourteenth day of Nissan when we were still in Egypt, Jews who had been enslaved in Egypt for over two centuries, took the gods of their masters (the lamb was one of the seven gods of ancient Egypt…) and slaughtered them, even painting their doors with the lambs’ blood as if to say, ‘into this home Egyptian gods are no longer welcome’.

Even though we were technically still in Egypt, on that holy night of Passover the Jewish people stood up and grabbed their freedom.

Before G-d took us out of Egypt we had to first set ourselves free.

Pesach then, is the festival of freedom because it was built on an intense yearning, a desire to be free. And three thousand years later, after witnessing the greatest horror the world had ever known, an ancient people, fueled by an intense wellspring of pure will returned home to their ancient land and built a modern state they could call home.

Interestingly, the Midrashic opinion that those original Jews who yearned to fulfill the central mitzvah of Pesach were carrying the bones of Joseph makes sense as well. It was only Joseph’s powerful will, his desire to remain a Jew even in the dark pit of despair that must have been the lot of a Hebrew slave in Ancient Egypt that allowed him to remain a Jew even in such terrible darkness…. And this deep will, this ratzon, is what Pesach Sheni is all about.

Three thousand years ago, an ancient people willed themselves a second chance and G-d took them, us, out of Egypt. And more than seventy years ago that same ancient people willed themselves a second chance and G–d brought us home at last.

This is the secret of the special mitzvah to love the Ger; the convert or stranger. More than anything we love his or her will; the intense spark of ratzon that would not let Ruth abandon her mother-in-law Naomi which gave birth to the line of King David, and the same will that brings lost sparks back to the beauty of Judaism.

And all of us can learn, from this very special mitzvah, the power and beauty of Judaism’s message that there is always a second chance, every day, and in every moment. We simply have to reach out and grab it….

Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.

A Settler in San Francisco: The Yishai Fleisher Israel Podcast

Stop Jew-Hate: End Islamist Immigration

Filling American cities with anti-Semitic Muslim mobs.

by Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

In 2015, The Atlantic ran a cover story titled, "Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?"

In 2021, the question is whether it’s time for the Jews to leave New York and Los Angeles.

The magazine cover story mentioned Malmo. Most stories about antisemitism in Europe reference the Swedish city whose Jewish population dropped from 3,000 to barely 800. Current estimates are that Malmo will have no Jews left by the end of the decade as its population flees Muslim mob violence, firebombings, and random assaults: including 100 aimed at its sole rabbi.

“I hear students shouting in the hallway about killing Jews,” a public school teacher described. Firebombs are routinely thrown at Jewish institutions. Mobs have torn down gates to try to smash their way inside. A Swedish journalist who conducted a hidden camera investigation of what happens to anyone visibly Jewish was harassed within moments of sitting down to eat.

Americans who wondered how this could happen in Europe are now seeing it at home.

There’s nothing confusing about ‘how’ or ‘why’. Or as a CBC article about Malmo gingerly put it, “Anti-Semitism in Malmö reveals flaws in Swedish immigration system”. There are equally big flaws in our immigration system and too many Jewish groups have wasted time on outreach instead of working toward immigration reform to stop the ‘Malmoization’ of New York and LA.

Estimates of the size of the Muslim population in the United States doubled since 9/11.

Islamists claim that there are over 750,000 Muslim settlers in New York City, making up around 9% of the population, and operating hundreds of mosques across the five boroughs. Those numbers may be overstated, but there’s no denying that there are far more Muslims now. And much of the growth has happened at the lower end leading to a large young male population.

The viral videos of antisemitic attacks by mobs of young Muslim men are the outcome.

Like many European cities, New York City now has a large, angry population of young Muslim men who are looking to lash out. And Jews are an easy target. When Waseem Awawdeh was arrested over a vicious assault on a Jewish accountant, he declared, “If I could do it again, I would do it again,” and then received a hero's welcome on his release.

New York City now hosts the largest Muslim population in the country. Los Angeles, the scene of more antisemitic mob attacks, hosts another of the country’s largest Muslim populations. Before 9/11, there were less than 100,000 Muslims in Los Angeles County. Even accounting for Islamist overestimates, the number has grown significantly.

Like NYC, LA is becoming ‘Malmoized’.

There are still enough Jews in both cities that the Democrat politicians offer token condemnations and ask the local police to make a few arrests. As the demographics continue to shift away from Jews and toward Muslims, they’ll react the way that Ilmar Reepalu, Malmo's former mayor did, when he blamed Israel for the antisemitic attacks on Jews by Muslims.

The AOC crowd already echoes this type of rhetoric on social media. And George Soros, who funds much of the American Left, had made this exact argument two decades ago. “Attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by the pro-Israel lobby’s success in suppressing divergent views,” the former Nazi collaborator had argued.

But that’s only to be expected of an antisemitic movement. American Jews however spent a generation watching European Jews being driven out and did little with that time. After all these years of consuming articles about the fate of the Jews of Paris, Berlin, and Malmo, they went on supporting mass Muslim migration because they were told it was the right thing to do.

When President Trump tried to implement a ban on travel from Muslim terror states, the ZOA became the only Jewish organization to file a Supreme Court brief in defense of the move.

The ADL signed on to every HIAS push against the move to protect Americans from Islamic terror, alongside anti-Israel groups like J Street, Soros' Bend the Arc, and T'ruah. HIAS, T’ruah, and Avodah, a feeder group for the anti-Israel movement funded by Steven Spielberg, showed up to a Linda Sarsour protest. Rallying for Muslim migration mattered more than antisemitism.

While Orthodox Jews stayed out of the protests, not counting Uri L’Tzedek, a component of the heretical leftist Yeshivat Chovevei Torah crowd, the Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament put out a shameful statement comparing Syrian migrants to Jews fleeing the Nazi Holocaust.

Fortunately, the National Council of Young Israel took a stand, calling the obscene analogy “highly offensive to those Jews who survived Nazi persecution.”

As I wrote at the time, “when one of Diament’s migrants attacks Jews, they will not be able to say, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood and our eyes did not see it.’” Now the blood is being shed and the OU is co-signing letters calling for an antisemitism monitor as if the problem lies in a lack of monitoring rather than the inevitable crisis of Islamist immigration and demographics.

American Jews have followed the same failed strategy as European Jews.

"After two Muslim teenagers attempted to set fire to Malmo’s synagogue last March, HaCohen and Barakat telephoned their school principal, then visited the class the next day to discuss the incident. 'We did not point out the kids,' Barakat says, explaining they used the time to give a lesson about anti-Semitism, rather than punish them,” a Time Magazine article cheerfully notes.

The suicidal hobby of handing out lessons about antisemitism to synagogue burners continues.

Integrating the fight against antisemitism into broader leftist movements against bigotry has failed miserably because the central premise of intersectionality and anti-racism is that some people, privileged white people in general and Jews in particular, deserve to be hated.

The collapse of a liberal middle class into dueling Marxist and Fascist youth mobs is mainstreaming antisemitism in America the way that it already has in Europe. But the heavy lifting will still be done by young men whose parents came here from Iraq, Pakistan, or Gaza that we’ve seen assaulting random Jewish people in New York and Los Angeles.

The cries of “Kill Jews, Free Palestine” are not a horrid aberration: they’re the new normal.

The one thing that could have stopped this and perhaps still might would be for American Jews to be willing to say the unspeakable: that some people belong in this country and others don’t.

The idea that immigration should be a mutual social contract instead of a suicide pact is profoundly alien to everything that millions of Americans, Jews and Christians, have absorbed over the years. Beyond the Christian churches and HIAS which lobby to resettle more Islamists in America, much of the country is wedded to the idea that we must take anyone who comes.

But when we take anyone who comes, then we’re the ones who get taken for a ride.

While our streets are filled with the homeless and unemployed Americans are dying of drug overdoses at record rates, churches and temples lecture their parishioners on their moral duty to bring more Iraqis, Syrians, and Pakistanis to America. But 9/11 and the occasional terror attack in a major city are just the appetizers of Islamist demographic colonization.

The next stage, mob violence by what the European press carefully calls “angry youths”, is now underway in New York and Los Angeles. It won’t stop there. The era of the “lone wolf” Jihadi hasn’t ended yet, but the future of Islamic terror in America will be group attacks, like those in Bataclan in Paris, and more routine riots and mass assaults abetted by their leftist allies.

Jews in New York City are the easiest targets, but as the Swedes or the French could tell you, or the Poles and the Czechs, it rarely ends there.

Muslim violence isn’t a response to oppression or persecution. It’s a supremacist theological mission to colonize and subjugate non-Muslims as numerous Jihadis have told us at their trials.

We chose not to take them at their word.

Israel is not the issue. Just as Mohammed cartoons, a teddy bear with the wrong name, or false reports of a desecrated Koran were not the real issues at the heart of other Muslim rampages.

When thugs and terrorists want to beat and kill people, they can always find an excuse.

Listening to their excuses and taking them seriously is almost as dumb as visiting their countries or letting them inside your country long enough for them to kill you. If we want to survive, we’re going to have to stop being dumb. Otherwise we’ll learn to live and die like they do in Malmo.

It happened in Europe. Now it’s happening here.

If American Jews want to stop antisemitism, they need to stop importing it from the antisemitic capitals of the world. Really fighting antisemitism means fighting antisemitic immigration.

Or investing in bulletproof windows while educating synagogue burners about antisemitism.

Wardrobe Malfunction!

Recently, Jews in the West who thought themselves safe have found themselves facing the same form of antisemitism that is common in the Arab and wider Muslim world, much of it imported along with immigrants from the Middle East. In the US, Canada, Continental Europe, and Britain, Muslim Jew-hatred become cross-fertilized with the native brand, bringing along the extreme violence that characterized it at home. Ironically, traditional Islamic antisemitism itself became more radical with the injection of vicious eliminationism from Nazi Germany, starting before the war, continuing through the employment of Amin al-Husseini as propagandist for Hitler, and concluding with the arrival in Arab countries of fleeing Nazi war criminals afterwards. Now it is coming back to the post-Christian West.

Red lines are being crossed at a nauseating pace as the violence that was first directed at Jews in European countries where there was massive Muslim immigration moves westward. What American would have expected, even one year ago, that a gang of pogromists would invade a restaurant, ask who among the patrons were Jewish, and beat them? That is something that happened in Berlin in 1938 or Baghdad in 1941; but it ought to be unthinkable in Los Angeles today. And yet it happened.

For some time it has become dangerous for Orthodox Jews to walk the streets in their own neighborhoods in New York City. The perpetrators of this violence are young black and Hispanic males. The targets are often women and elderly people. All over the West, Jewish institutions, synagogues, schools, even graveyards, are targets for vandalism. Such attacks were rare in the US until recently, but they have become commonplace now. And interestingly, the vandalism often includes graffiti of slogans like “free Palestine.”

When anti-Israel demonstrators in London called for “Jewish blood” and the rape of Jewish women (in earshot of police, who did nothing), it somewhat diminished the strength of the arguments that “anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism.” Anyone who honestly believes that today didn’t get the message.

It’s often said that every time there is a flare-up of Israel’s long war to survive in the region, it is reflected in worldwide antisemitic violence. That supposedly explains the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews (and the theft of their property) by virtually every Arab country after 1948. This action was against the national interests of these countries, since Jews were among the educational, financial, medical, and technical elites (their loss was our gain, since most of the expelled Jews came to Israel). But anti-Jewish beliefs have always been irrational, extreme, and obsessive.

For the Jew-hater, everything bad, personal and political, can be explained with reference to the Jews. Facts and logical reasoning are irrelevant; indeed, the more unbelievable antisemitic beliefs may appear, the more this confirms their truth in the mind of the believer. Unsurprisingly, anti-Israelism, or misoziony, follows the same pattern: irrational, extreme, obsessive.

And this leads me to believe that the chain of causality is reversed in the traditional historical account. It makes more sense to see both the violent (but unsuccessful) attempt to dislodge the Jews from Palestine and the more successful effort of the Arab nations to rid themselves of their own Jews as stemming from the same kind of antisemitic impulse.

One of the interesting things about Jew-hatred is that it is a powerful motivator, especially of violent actions. In the past there was nothing shameful about it, so it could be used openly. Hitler and company found it a useful tool to focus public anger and create support for his party, which promised a solution. But in the case of Hitler himself, like the Arab nations after 1948, antisemitism became the motive rather than the tool, and his obsession may have lost Germany the war. After the war, the sheer horror of the Holocaust caused it to be discredited. So the KGB clothed the Jew-hating Palestinian movement with the up-to-date ideas of national liberation, anti-colonialism, and socialism. But the costume slipped from time to time, as when the Entebbe hijackers separated the Jews (Jews, not Israelis!) from the rest of the hostages. Something is exposed that should have been hidden; I call it a “wardrobe malfunction” like those that bedevil female celebrities.

More recently, Jew-hatred has adopted an even more up-to-date uniform as a movement for racial justice. And what success it has had! Colleges and universities in the West turn out dedicated pro-Palestinian activists by the tens of thousands every year. Organizations in support of racial minorities like Black Lives Matter routinely include the Palestinian Arabs as one of the oppressed groups they want to liberate. And the Palestinian cause is pursued obsessively, irrationally, and often with extremism.

That gives us a clue, especially when we consider that it’s rare to hear even the most fanatical “anti-racists” mention the fact that there is race-based slavery in some parts of the world. Not “microaggressions,” actual slavery. But of course we know what is behind their enthusiasm. These modern proponents of human rights (for some humans), the ones in the universities, the ones on the European Commission and in the New York Times, may say, or even believe, that they are motivated to be righteously angry at Israel because of her alleged denial of Palestinian rights, but we know where the emotional drive comes from. And like Hitler and the Arab nations, their obsession eats them up, and sometimes there is a wardrobe malfunction, like those folks in London promoting the rape of Jewish women. Because of Palestine, of course.

This is upsetting to some. Michelle Goldberg published a piece in the NY Times which was originally titled “Attacks on Jews Over Israel Are a Gift to the Right,” but after numerous observers noted its implication that violent attacks on Jews were bad primarily because of the political fallout, the NYT changed its headline to “The Crisis of Antisemitic Violence.” Max Blumenthal went all-out and argued that the explosion of antisemitism was “manufactured … to turn the media’s gaze away from dead children in Gaza” (no link, google it if you really want to swim in his sewer). Wardrobe malfunctions.

Unfortunately, while the IDF was moderately successful in its Gaza campaign (although it was cut short by a command from Washington), Israel has been decisively beaten in its information campaign.

The war was started by Hamas with heavy barrages of deadly rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities, from civilian areas, a double war crime. Some 4,350 rockets were launched by Hamas, of which 600-700 of them fell on their own people in Gaza. Israel’s response was very carefully targeted, using various techniques to warn civilians in areas where there were military targets. Final casualty figures are not available, but as of now the number of deaths in Gaza is reported as about 250. The IDF estimates that about half of these are civilians. Considering the number of shortfalls, it is likely that most of them were killed by Hamas’ own rockets. The IDF’s performance in destroying Hamas’ military infrastructure while sparing civilians is unmatched in the annals of urban warfare.

And yet, media opinion in the West continues to overwhelmingly blame Israel for the war, as well as to accuse her of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, deliberately targeting civilians, and more. PM Netanyahu, a centrist who many Israelis believe to be too soft on terrorism, is called a “hardline right-wing extremist,” who has presided over “massive settlement expansion” although the area occupied by Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has barely changed since the 1990s.

There is a reason for this, and it’s not just Israeli ineptness at hasbara. It is a consequence of the blossoming of the seeds of Jew-hatred that can lie dormant for years, waiting for the right stimulus to wake them up.

If you think I’m wrong, just pay attention. Sooner or later there will be a wardrobe malfunction.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Bolstered Jewish – and Inflated Palestinian – Demography

by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Official Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has been ongoing since 2004:

*500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian census, contrary to international regulations. 325,000 were included in the 1997 census, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and 400,000 in 2004, according to the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows steadily due to births.

*350,000 East Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted – by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number grows daily due to births.

*Over 100,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly-counted. The number expands daily due to births.

*350,000 Arab emigrants from Judea & Samaria are excluded from the population census of the Palestinian Authority, notwithstanding the annual net-emigration since 1950. For example, 26,357 in 2019, 7,778 in 2018, 15,173 in 2017, 15,502 in 2016, 16,393 in 2015 and 24,244 in 2014, as documented (exists and entries) in land, air and sea international passages.

*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit.

*The Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate has been westernized: from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 3.02 births in 2021, as documented by the CIA World Factbook. It reflects the sweeping urbanization, growing enrollment of women in higher education, rising marriage age and the substantial use of contraceptives.

*The number of Arab deaths in Judea & Samaria has been systematically under-reported for political and financial reasons.

*The aforementioned data documents 1.5 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data from the official Palestinian number (3 million).

In 2021, there is a 68% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, compared to a 39% Jewish minority in 1947 and 9% in 1897. In 2021, the 68% Jewish majority benefits from fertility tailwind and net-immigration, while Arab fertility is Westernized, in addition to net-emigration from Judea and Samaria. No Arab demographic timebomb; but, a Jewish demographic momentum.

Rabbi Ari Kahn on Parashat Bahalotcha: The Lonely Prophet

Rav Kook on Parashat Beha'alotecha: Praying 'Against' God

Defending the People
The newly-freed slaves found it difficult to adjust to the harsh realities of life in the wilderness:

“The people began to complain.... When God heard, He displayed His anger; God’s fire flared out, consuming the edge of the camp” (Num. 11:1).

The people cried out to Moshe for help, and Moshe defended them before God: “Moshe prayed to God, and the fire died down.”

The Torah does not record Moshe's prayers. But the Sages wrote that Moshe spoke out forcefully in defense of the people. In fact, the Talmud suggests that Moshe's prayers were valiant, even bold. Moshe didn’t pray to God — he prayed “against God” (Berachot 32a).

Praying Against God?
Rav Kook noted that the Torah rarely uses the expression “to pray to God.” Often, the Torah simply states that a person “prayed.” It is understood that prayer is directed towards God.

Yet there is an additional reason why the phrase “to pray to God” is surprising. The Hebrew verb lehitpaleil (“to pray”) is in the reflexive tense. This grammatical form emphasizes the emotional impact of prayer back on the soul. The introspective nature of prayer brings out an outpouring of enlightened emotion within the soul.

It is fitting to speak of praying lifnei Hashem — a prayer which is “before God” or “facing God.” This phrase indicates that we have directed our heart and mind to contemplate God in prayer. As the Sages taught: “Know before Whom you are standing in prayer.”

However, it is unrealistic to speak about praying “to God.” The clarity of enlightenment attainable by intellectual inquiry and contemplation goes far beyond the emotional inspiration experienced in prayer. To “pray to God” would indicate that one attained a heightened awareness of the Creator, and through concentrated prayer was somehow able to achieve an emotional uplifting of the soul at this lofty cognitive level.

Moshe's Remarkable Prayer
Therefore the Sages emphasized the tremendous struggle in Moshe's extraordinary prayer. It was as if he had prayed “against God.” Moshe defied the natural limitations of prayer. This explanation is reinforced by a literal reading of the Midrash, which says that Moshe “hurled words towards Heaven.” This projects the imagery of a person who forcefully heaves an object upwards, fighting against the laws of gravity, as he throws an object higher than he can reach.

What enabled Moshe to attain such a remarkable level of prayer? His lofty soul flowed with such passionate yearning to perfection that his prayer was able to surpass his intellectual grasp of God’s providence of the universe. This unusual phenomenon sometimes occurs with spiritual giants — a testimony to the purity of their inner longings for good and perfection.

(Adapted from Ein Eyah vol. I, p. 140, by Rav Chanan Morrison)