Mission of the Prophet - in These Times as Well (1993)
By Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd
Translated by Lenny Goldberg
On Yom Kippur it is the custom to read the Book of Jonah during the Mincha service, since the repentance done by the people of Ninve is supposed to awaken us on the current Day of Atonement. Many people forget, however, that before Jonah even arrived at Ninve to prophesize, he underwent an experience that carries for us an important example for today and for Yom Kippur as well.
The sages tell us that there are several types of prophets who are obligated to receive the death penalty. One of these is the prophet who "suppresses his prophecy". That is, he has received a prophetic vision and is commanded to reveal it, but refuses to do so. Jonah came dangerously close to falling into such a category - fleeing the Land of Israel so that the "Divine Presence" will no longer rest upon him, and thus no longer be able to carry G-d's message. The sages tell us that all this stemmed from Jonah's love for the Jewish People. Jonah knew that the gentiles of Ninve would heed his call to repentance. Consequently, this might awaken the wrath of G-d against the Jewish People, since they, in contrast to the gentiles of Ninve, did not heed the words of the prophets and repent. He therefore chose to flee from his obligation to warn the people of Ninve, lest they "show up" the Jews.
Despite this love, and despite all his good intentions, Jonah was wrong. The role of the prophet is to speak the word of G-d, whether the message finds favor in his eyes or not, or if saying it endangers his life. It is irrelevant whether or not he has the most seemingly logical justifications for NOT saying the message. Speaking the truth can be very difficult, as Rabbi Kahane, HY"D, in his last article in the "Jewish Press" wrote, "You think it is pleasant to speak painful truths that cause pain to those who refuse to listen and who then react with pain and hate against the one who speaks? You think it is easy to be the messenger that brings forth the reaction, 'Kill the messenger?'"
What this means is quite simple. A Jew who elevates himself to the level of a prophet has established a very special connection to G-d. But it is not enough. For a prophet to be a prophet, he must go out to the people and speak the word of G-d. Rabbi Kahane would convey this principle by quoting Eliyahu in Kings 1, chapter 10: "I am left all alone as Hashem's prophet". The Rav asked: Was it really so? Was Eliyahu the only prophet not killed by Achav and Izevel? What about the 100 prophets mentioned only a few verses before that were hidden in a cave? The Rav would explain by saying that Eliyahu was teaching a tremendous lesson for all to learn: A prophet hiding in a closet is not a prophet! The whole point of a prophet is to go out to the people and speak the truth without fear. Eliyahu WAS the only prophet around because he was out there fearlessly chastising the Jewish People at the time. Thus, Jonah, regardless of the reason he had, betrayed his special mission.
This is a vital lesson of Yom Kippur, for all the "Bnei Torah" and "BneiYeshiva" and rabbis who are also in a certain sense leaders or prophets of the generation. So many choose to sit quietly, afraid to attack the Hellenistic left and thus save the Jewish State from them. All these years they have refused out of fear to state the simple "Halacha" and real solution to the basic and burning Yishmaelite problem - whose status is so obvious according to Torah law that no honest rabbi could differ with it. The problem is that in public, everyone is suddenly silent. All these leaders are in a sense "prophets who withhold their prophecy" - for they know the Divine truth yet refrain from saying it. How we are now suffering from this silence!
May it be G-d's will that on Yom Kippur the first to repent will be those who are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the nation. May they warn and chastise the Jewish People and no longer become a partner to the sins of the generation by way of their silence, and as a consequence, the Jewish People will repent and bring the Redemption.
YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
PARSHAT HA'AZINU/YOM KIPPUR
8 Tishrei, 5767/29-30 September, 2006
LESSON FROM YOM KIPPUR
The Talmud teaches us that the First Temple stood for 410 years. During that time, only 18 High Priests served in that position, averaging a 25-year term for each High Priest. The Second Temple stood for 420 years, and yet more than 300 High Priests served in that position. Moreover, we find that the first few High Priests of the Second Temple served for many years, such as Shimon HaTzadik (Simon the Righteous) who served for 40 years, and Yochanan served for 80 years. So in the last 279 years that the Second Temple stood - some 300 High Priests served in that position. None of them lived past a year in office.
R'Yochanan said: Why did the High Priests die before they surpassed a year in office? Because they bought the High Priesthood for money. Moreover, some who served as High Priests in the Temple were not even priests, but bribed the right people to get the job.
One can understand that in the first years that the High Priests died in office, people wrote off their deaths as a natural occurrence. This one had high cholesterol, that one has a stroke; one had a bad heart and so on. But sooner or later, you would think that somewhere down the line they would pick up on the idea that this was a dead-end job -literally. Ten years go by, ten high priests die, you would think some one gets the picture... Twenty years go by, then thirty, forty, fifty - and fifty High Priests fall by the wayside. Still, they all kept running for the job. Generations pass, hundreds of High Priests are dead, all within months of taking over the High Priesthood, still there is a waiting list of people who want the job - what is their problem?
The answer lies in what our Rabbis taught us, that man is close to himself. He does not believe that he is wicked, and so it is very difficult for him to change his bad traits and deeds. When one thinks of himself as being the good guy, then teshuva - returning to Hashem - will be very hard to obtain. Sure, all of the High Priests saw that their predecessors all passed on within a year of taking office, but each one said to himself: Not me - by me it's going to be different because I'm a good guy, I'm righteous. No one took to heart that he was not the right guy for the job. To understand, one needs just to take a look at all the Olmerts and Peretzs of this world who continue to run for power, but still hold onto the folly and falsehoods, just as the ones before them, even though their predecessors have been destroyed one way or another. For each one cries out: I will be the one to succeed.
Not everyone is made to be the High Priest - but if you are going for the job, you had better be the right man for it. So, too, in leadership not everyone is made for the job, as Harry S. Truman told us: "If you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen". But if you're going for the top spot, act and behave like a real Jew is supposed to.
Now is the time for us to check our deeds, to see which ones to hold on to and which ones to let go. It is a time to take a good, hard look at who we really are, to better ourselves as people. And as a nation - to let go of the foreign gods among us and their falsehoods. Now, while the books are still open.
With love of Israel,
Yom Kippur: The Value of Life
We conclude the "al cheit" confessional prayers of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, with the following admission:
"My God! Before I was formed, I was of no worth. And now that I have been formed, it is as if I was not formed."
This prayer needs to be examined. Before I was formed, of course I was of no worth - I didn't exist yet! And after I was formed - why should the prayer say that it is "as if I was not formed"? Do I exist or not?
Fulfilling My Purpose
Rav Kook interpreted this passage in a novel fashion. He understood the prayer as an introspective insight into the meaning of our existence.
"Before I was formed, I was of no worth." Clearly, before I was born I was not needed in this world. I was of no worth, for nothing required my existence. There was not yet any purpose to my existence, there was no mission for me to fulfill. Since I was not yet needed, I was not born in a previous generation.
"And now that I have been formed .." Since my soul has entered the world at this point in time, it must be that now there is some mission, some goal for me to accomplish. Some aspect of the world needs me to correct it and complete it.
And yet - "it is as if I have not been formed." Were I to dedicate my life towards fulfilling the purpose for which I was created, this would confirm and justify my existence. But since my actions are not in accordance with my true goal, I am not accomplishing my life's mission. And if I am not fulfilling my purpose in life, my very existence is called into question.
If I do not accomplish the purpose for which I was placed in this world, then I have reverted back to the situation preceding my birth, when, since I was not needed in the world, I was not yet formed. Thus, even "now that I have been formed, it is as if I was not formed."
[adapted from Olat Re'iyah vol. II, p. 356]
All beginnings are hard! How is a person going to be stirred to return to G-D if there isn't a single spark of G-D's light inside him to wake him up? And how can G-D's light begin to draw within him if he hasn't even started to return to Him? For "no stranger shall eat of the Holy thing." (Leviticus 22:10) [i.e. when we slip so far and decend into sin, how can we hope to approach G-D for repentance, since we have so soiled ourselves with our many sins - Ivri]
Where is the starting point? Even if G-D takes pity and radiates light into the depths of this person's darkness, he is already so broken and shattered by his sins that he cannot contain the light [of G-Dliness - Ivri]. This is why is happens that at times a person may be stirred to return to G-D for a while, but then he falls away. The same thing can happen several times in succession. The reason is that he still has not prepared the vessels that can contain the light stirring within him [i.e. he has not worked on himself to allow for sustainable periods of growth, yet Rav Nachman explains in other places (as does Chassidut in general) that even the worst Jew has a spark of holiness inside him/her - that is, the inherent potential to be righteous, and a part of the Nation of Yisrael - Ivri]
The same is true of the people of Israel as a whole. We have endured repeated exiles and redemptions. In the time of Joshua we entered the Land of Israel and conquered it. But later on, we went into exile. Later still we returned for a time. Then came another exile. But all the time, "The right Hand of G-D is held high" (Psalms 118:16) to eternity. Every time that Israel was able to return to the Land, there were miraculous achievements in the work of reconstruction. Afterwards the Evil One [i.e. the "yetzer hara" - not an actual independant "Satan" - Ivri] returned and the Children of Israel relapsed and slid away. But the imprint of all that was accomplished remained - and it is still with us today. It is through the power of this residue that there is life in us, even at the height of our present exile. Because of this we can still achieve flashes of spiritual vision.
So it is with someone who struggles in the service of G-D. He makes a start, then he falls away... he starts again and he falls away. He may even slip completely G-D forbid. Yet even the merest scraps of good which he succeeded in doing leave their imprint. These traces in themselves are something awesome. They too are essential for our present task, as we await the arrival of the Messiah...
...Every deed which any Jew accomplishes now, be it learning Torah, a prayer, an act of charity or any of the other precepts - all are dear beyond words in the Eyes of G-D. If someone has made an effort to serve G-D, then even if he later falls to appalling depths, not a single scrap of the work he has done before will be lost. Even a thought or the faintest stirring is never lost...
...All these "scraps" bring great joy in the higher worlds. Every single one of them is crucial. Without it the Building [i.e. the Temple] could never be complete.
It is the same as when nine men are waiting to pray. They may be the greatest Tzaddikim. But being nine they are still short of the required quorum for prayer. They are forbidden to utter a single word of the communal prayers. All of a sudden some totally insignificant man comes in from the streets. Whoever he may be, he is joined to them. They are ten. Now they can recite Kedusha, the Sanctification. No sooner than they are finished, this same individual makes his escape and goes back to the streets. But the Words of Holiness which were uttered before can now never be erased. What joy they have brought to the Holy One, blessed be He! (From "Laws of the Evening Prayer" 4:34)
May HaShem grant us all a Ketivah VeChatima Tova!
What Kind of "Tsh'uva" Do We Need? (1995)
by Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd
Translated by Lenny Goldberg
Every schoolboy knows that Rosh Hashana is the time for us to do "Tshuva". Yeshiva halls are bursting with such talk, and in the month of "Elul", all religious newspapers have the concept of "Tshuva" plastered all over their pages. Every rabbi knows that "Elul" is the time to tell his congregation to do serious soul searching and find their way to G-d. Generally speaking, the concept of "Tshuva" is one of the few things that everyone agrees upon. And so, "Baal Tshuva" Yeshivas are in abundance, and the concept of "bringing someone to Tshuva" is accepted by all.
The question that arises is the following: If the Jewish nation is so involved in "Tshuva", why is the Jewish State in the worst situation it has ever been in spiritually, socially and from the point of view of security? The answer is the following: Obviously the "Tshuva" we see today is a positive thing that must be encouraged, but it is far from adequate. We must strive for a different KIND of "tshuva" - one that is much more comprehensive and far-reaching.
The time has arrived for us to be outraged at the cheapening of Jewish blood in the Jewish State. The time has come for us to open our eyes to the national disaster that hovers over the Jewish State and World Jewry as well, and to escape from the apathy of our tiny lives and the mud we are mired in. Anyone who has read the words of Rabbi Kahane, HY"D, concerning the period we live in today, cannot possibly remain indifferent. He stressed, especially before his death, the vicious hate and the awesome tragedies which will be unleashed against the Jewish People before the final redemption in the form of what the sages call "Bi-Eta" - the redemption that comes slowly at its fixed time.
This entire nightmare will befall us if we don't wake up and "DO TSHUVA"!! We're not talking here just about a "tshuva" of "Shabbos" and "tefilin", but rather one of deeds that express genuine "Bitachon" in Hashem - acts of Kiddush Hashem that will change the slow, painful redemption to a speedy and glorious one. We must have enough faith in G-d to do those "painful" and "difficult" tasks that Jews of old considered "normal". It is time for us to realize how terrible it is when Jews are murdered, and how much worse it is when the ones lucky enough to still be alive are too apathetic or fearful of the gentile or leftist reaction to do something about it. We must realize what "Tshuva" is in a broader sense. It is expressed in the belief that the Jewish G-d is stronger and more powerful than anything imaginable (even Bill Clinton!). It means not abandoning Jonathan Pollard and the rest of the Jewish political prisoners even though that is what the "boss" in the White House wants. Yes, a sweeping and global "tshuva" that transcends the personal "Mitzvot", and expresses genuine belief in G-d's Omnipotence.
G-d gives us a length of time to avoid catastrophe but this period has also come to an end. The time for "Tshuva" has arrived. May we merit to understand the type of "Tshuva" that is required of us, and to bring the redemption swiftly and gloriously without needless suffering.
The Teshuvah of Rosh Hashanah
The major theme of the month of Elul and the High Holiday season is teshuvah - repentance and return to God. Yet if we examine the Rosh Hashanah prayers, there is no mention of sin or penitence. We do not recite any confessional prayers, nor do we make any promises to improve. Instead, the Rosh Hashanah prayers deal with a completely different theme: the entire world accepting God's sovereignty. How does this aspiration fit in with the overall seasonal theme of teshuvah?
Before blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, we say:
"From my straits I called out to God. He answered me, and set me in a wide expanse." [Psalms 118:5]
The verse begins with narrow straits, and concludes with wide expanses. What are these straits? These are our troubled, perhaps suffocating, feelings of oppression and failure. With God's help, however, we are able to escape to "wide expanses." Our emotional binds are eased, and our physical constraints are released.
This progression from the narrow to the wide is also a good physical description of the principle mitzvah-object of Rosh Hashanah: the shofar, which gradually expands from a narrow mouthpiece to a wide opening.
From the Individual to the Community
Rav Kook, however, did not explain this narrow-to-wide progression psychologically. Rather, he likened it to the distinction between the prat, the individual, and the klal, the community. There are the narrow, private issues of the individual. And there are the broad, general concerns of the community and the nation.
Teshuvah takes place on many levels. Each individual tries to correct his personal faults and failings. The nation also does teshuvah, as it restores itself to its native land, its language, culture, and beliefs. And the entire world advances, as it learns to recognize divine morality and rule.
The shofar, with its gradually widening shape, is a metaphor for these ever-expanding circles of repentance and spiritual progress. The order, however, is significant. Our individual teshuvah must precede the universal teshuvah of the klal. During the month of Elul, we are engaged in rectifying our own personal faults and mistakes. On Rosh Hashanah, our outlook broadens. We pray for the repentance of the entire nation that recognizes God's sovereignty, and we yearn for the ultimate repair of the entire universe.
[adapted from "Celebration of the Soul", p. 36]
A Call to Action, in the Name of G-D!
In the past few hours the Israeli police have granted permission for the "Open House" homosexual and transexual organisation to hold a "Gay Pride" rally of sodomy and sickness in our Holy City Jerusalem! The parade of perversion is schedualled for 10th of November. (click link for article from Arutz Sheva)
(Click here for article from JPost)
It is the duty of every Jew who can to be there and oppose this event! It is indeed a Holy War for Jerusalem and the sanctity of the Land of Israel in general!
Only a month ago the "Open House" organisation held gay events all over our Holy City: pornography festivals, a "drag-queen" competition, and even a "youth day," despite being forced to do so in a much more "low-key" fashion to that which they had previously intended due to the huge legal and political pressure that was piled upon them, which also saw their planned gay pride rally postponed, presumed cancelled... until today.
But apparently (what a surprise!) it wasn't enough to stop them totally then, and it won't be enough to stop them now. Sometimes we have to stand up and really fight for what we believe in, for the Word of G-D! The time for words has finished, and the time for action has begun. For, in the words of the Mishnaic Sage Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel in Pirkei Avot - "the Ethics of the Forefathers": "Action, not study, is the primary thing"
I will, please G-D, be posting any updates I can get about the details of this parade of abomination as soon as I get them.
Please G-D these spreaders of evil, promiscuity and perversion in the Land of Israel and elsewhere will have all their plans thwarted, and they will be utterly defeated and shamed forever!
Terrorists Attacked You??
State of Israel: "Pay them!" Honenu: "Oh, no!!"
Based on an article by Yair Shapira, Besheva newspaper, 7/9/06
Almost a decade ago, Dr. Michael Ezer, a historian and former USSR refusenik who had made aliya to Kedumim, Israel, was stoned on his way home. Several dozen Palestinians blocked the road and lobbed large rocks at the car, smashing the car windows including the front windshield. Dr. Ezer managed to escape, and even to apprehend one of the attackers, Tsafadi, who had slipped, rock in hand, when trying to run away. Dr. Ezer transported Tsafadi to the nearest army patrol and handed him over.
End of story? No. Believe it or not, the State Prosecutor's office insisted on prosecuting -- no, not Tsafadi for an attempted lynch -- only Dr. Ezer was indicted: for "assaulting" and "kidnapping" Tsafadi, of course. In parallel, no action whatever was initiated against Tsafadi; in fact Tsafadi and his cohorts were never even questioned. An Israeli court dutifully convicted Dr. Ezer of assault -- because he had held Tsafadi by the ear, although no ill-effects of this "violence" were discovered by the doctor who examined Tsafadi just after the event -- nor did Tsafadi complain of such.
The story goes on. An Arab organization discovered Tsafadi's "cause" and, enthused by the verdict, filed a civil suit against Tsafadi's near-victim -- Dr. Michael Ezer. The Israeli courts ruled against Dr. Ezer again, and he was recently ordered to pay 48,000 NIS (about $10,000) to his own attacker, Tsafadi.
Not to be outdone, Dr. Ezer countered with a civil suit of his own against Tsafadi. Surely, he reasoned, the emotional distress felt by someone who is stoned by a mob, barely escaping with his life, must be larger than the emotional distress one experiences if someone merely holds you by the ear. Surely? Not in modern Isarel. The judge who heard the case rejected it. Dr. Ezer was told that Tsafadi owed him nothing.
Dr. Michael Ezer, a man of very modest means (his criminal conviction also had the effect of torpedoing his modest academic career) is now stuck with a bad verdict, a bad precedent (that is, bad for the Jewish people -- not for him personally) -- and only one more chance to appeal. Honenu, the legal aid fund, is now raising the funds that are needed to mounting a spirited defense on behalf of Dr. Michael Ezer. If this succeeds, it will fend off an avalanche of future Palestinian "court cases" filed on behalf of Palestinian perpetrators -- against their own Jewish victims. If this fails, contributions will be needed so that Dr. Ezer can pay the verdict rather than being harrassed further by Tsafadi.
Friends of Israel & of the Jewish people: Join the struggle to reverse this ridiculous precedent. Save a generation of hapless Jewish victims from future harrassment by Palestinian perps. Make a tax deductible (both in US and in Israel) donation. Write out a cheque to Honenu (the Israeli legal aid fund) and send it directly to the home of Dr. Michael Ezer, P.O.B. 435 Kedumim 44856. Please add a few words of encouragement to this long-suffering man. Thank you so much.
Residents of the US can donate to the New York office:
8204 Lefferts Blvd, Suite 381
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Contributions are recognized by the US
Tax Authorities (Tax ID: 30-0198003)
PS Praise for Honenu:
"To All My Good Friends, Shimshon was freed, just a little while ago, to house arrest with Rabbi Herbst. This evening we will drink to [his] freedom [and] we will sleep better tonight even though there will be a trial in the future. We owe so much to Shmuel Medad (Zangi), the founder of Honenu, who came to the appeal at the Supreme Court and spent hours there today in order to get Shimshon released from prison. Rarely do we find an individual so caring and good as he and we are very lucky to have been able to receive his help. When considering a wonderful organization to which to contribute funds....let it be Honenu . Arnold & Marilyn Cytryn" -- from email sent by Shimshon's grandparents, the Cytryns, to their distribution list, last week (11/9/06).
Background: Caroline Glick's article on Shimson Cytryn:
Visit the Honenu Website in Hebrew or in English for more on their righteous work and amazing accomplishments.
YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
23 Elul, 5766/15-16 September, 2006
THE UNBREAKABLE BOND
"In order to establish you today as a people to Him and that He be a G-d to you, as He spoke of you and as He swore to your forefathers to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob". Rashi comments: Why was the passage that begins: “You are standing today, all of you”, written next to the portion of the curses? Because when Israel heard all 98 curses, their faces turned pale, and they said: Who can bear these? Moses began to console them on the last day of his life, saying: "You are standing today, all of you”, i.e., even though you have angered G-d greatly, nevertheless, He has not made total destruction of you, and behold, you exist before Him.
"Hashem has gone though much trouble to establish you today as a people to Him, and He has sworn to your forefathers that He would not exchange you for another nation. This is why He binds you with this oath, so that you should not antagonize Him, being that He cannot separate Himself from you."
From here we learn the great bond and love that Hashem has with the Jewish people, and our Heavenly promise that Hashem will never exchange us for another nation.
Still, Rashi continues, "The curses and punishments from last week's parsha, sustain you and keep you standing before Hashem". This, at first glance, is quite puzzling, for why would the curses sustain us and keeps us standing before Hashem? What good can come out of curses and punishment?
The holy Zohar teaches us: Hashem said: Do not fear my servant Jacob, for on the great Day of Judgment I will not wipe out the nation of Israel. When the archangel and protector of Esau “Samael” (Uncle Sam) will come on that day before Hashem with a list of all the sins of the Jewish people demanding justice, I will show him all the suffering of Israel throughout the generations, and thus silence him.
Know that nothing is lost before Him. All the beatings, cursings, gassings, killings that the nations have thrown at us throughout our long exile will not be forgotten before Him on that great and holy day. From the Hitlers to the Kissingers – Henry Kissinger, who during the Yom Kippur war withheld shipments of arms to Israel, and in his own words, “to give Israel a bloody nose” - will not be forgotten. The rivers of unspeakable pain and tears, which still follow us to this day, will stand before G-d’s holy throne, and at the last minute of judgment, tip the scale in our favor.
As the prophet tell us: "For the day of Hashem is near, a day of vengeance on all the nations." The Midrash teaches us that in the end of days, just as the nations torment Israel and oppress them and grind their bones and flesh until their souls depart, and no one cares about them, so shall G-d assemble them for judgment on the mountains of Israel and feed their flesh to the birds of the heavens and beasts of the fields, and He will not care about them. As it says: 'And you, son of man, thus says the L-rd G-d, speak to every feathered bird and to every beast of the field: Assemble yourselves and come. Gather yourselves on every side to My festive meal that I prepared for you, a great feast upon the mountains of Israel, and you may eat meat and drink blood'".
And with that prophetic thought, I wish everyone a great Shabbat.
With love of Israel,
Well, to be honest, to many of us it was never much of a secret.
Only three years after the murderer El Said Nosair killed Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd, after a speach in Manhatten in 1990, during which he had urged emergency Aliyah for the Jews of America, the first WTC attacks occured.
Nosair had not been convicted of murder through a technicality, and so got off on a much more lenient sentence of possession of illegal weaponry. However, after the WTC attacks occured, Nosair was implicated and convicted for his part in the attack, as well as finally for the murder of Rabbi Kahane.
For years there had been speculation about the fact that the murder of Rabbi Kahane was connected with the later Al Qaeda attack. In addition, it had been alleged that were Nosair to have been checked out more thoroughly after the murder of Rabbi Kahane, the authorities would have been able to crack the Al Qaeda cell and stop the WTC attacks before they happened.
Until recently this had never been confirmed, but, as you will read in this article, all of that changed this past anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers:
NYPD Detective Breaks His Silence on Kahane and the WTC
See the Israeli Channel 2 documentary on the connection between the Kahane murder and the first WTC attacks, as well as the wider Al Qaeda conspiracy of Jihad against the entire world.
Psalm 82: The Holiness of the Synagogue
This chapter, which demands a just society, opens by noting the holiness of the congregation:
"God stands in the congregation of the Almighty." [Ps. 82:1]
According to the Talmud , this is true not only for the entire people of Israel, but for each gathering of worship. "From here we learn that the Holy One is to be found in the synagogue" [Brachot 6a].
The essence of prayer is a private matter, as the soul turns inwards. Why did the Sages place such importance on public prayer? Why did they emphasize the synagogue as a holy place where God may be found?
The Constancy of the Collective
The strength of the collective lies in its stability. Once the community has been set on the correct path, it will not veer from it. Individuals are unpredictable; people undergoing changes of heart and direction. But the community will always remain faithful to its ideals, as it says, "My spirit that is on you.. will not leave your mouth or the mouth of your descendants.. from now and to eternity" [Isaiah 59:21].
This quality of steadfastness is a Divine attribute. "I, God, have not changed" [Malachi 3:6]. The aspect of immutability, of remaining faithful to the good, is the Godly quality of the synagogue, a designated location where the congregation assembles for positive goals.
The scholar who emphasized this facet of the community was Hillel. He would admonish:
"Do not separate yourself from the community. Do not trust in yourself until the day of your death." [Avot 2:5]
These two warnings share a common insight into human nature. Individuals do not stay forever in the same state; they can grow, and they can deteriorate. As an extreme example, the Sages noted the case of a high priest who became a heretic after eighty years of devoted service in the holy Temple [Berachot 29a]. Since we can not fully rely on ourselves, we should take care not to separate from the community. We need to be part of the community in order to offset the instability inherent in individuals.
Thus, the Hebrew word for a synagogue is not "Beit Tefillah" (house of prayer), but "Beit Kenesset" (house of gathering). The Greek word synagogue also means "place of assembly". Its holiness stems from its use as a gathering place for the community.
The verse says that "God stands ("nitzav") in the congregation of the Almighty." The word nitzav indicates a fixed state. The holiness of the congregation comes from its constancy in pursuing its ideals and aspirations.
Similarly, when describing the covenant that God made with the entire Jewish people at the plains of Moab, as they prepared to enter the Land of Israel, the Torah uses the word nitzav to indicate their acceptance of this brit for all generations:
"Today you are all standing ('nitzavim') before God.. to bring you into God's covenant... In order to establish you on this day as His nation, and He will be your God..." [Deut. 29:9-12]
[adapted from Ein Ayah vol. I, pp. 22-23]
YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
To our dear friends and supporters:
Shalom from Jerusalem!
Another year has passed us by in the midst of our Redemption process.
The Holy Temple in Jerusalem is also known as Mount Levanon. Our rabbis ask: Why is the Temple called Mount Levanon? Because it whitens ("malbin") the sins of Israel. In other words, it is the place of atonement for the Jewish
It seems that there is a connection between the two Levanons. Menachem Begin, the father of all withdrawals, is remembered for the withdrawal from Yamit and the Sinai. It was right after that that the first Levanon war broke out. So, too, today, Olmert/Sharon and their destruction of 25 Jewish settlements in Gush Katif and Northern Samaria, would also cause the nation to wage war in Levanon.
At the Yeshiva we are continuing to try to "malbin" - straighten out the mess that this nation is presently in by teaching and spreading the authentic Jewish Idea. For this purpose, the Yeshiva printed over three thousand new copies, this years alone, of Rabbi Kahane's main book, "The Jewish Idea".
Today, throughout the country, in many towns and cities classes are given on the Jewish Idea. To this end, we at the Yeshiva have distributed, for free, tens of copies to various shuls and yeshivot. We therefore have not come out with new material at the Yeshiva, but thought it proper to spread Rabbi Kahane's works - as they are like words of prophesy in our times.
We would like to wish you and all of your families a healthy and prosperous New Year, and thank you for your continuing support of Yeshivat HaRa'ayon, for in this way we will merit the Final Redemption, speedily in our days.
With love of Israel,
Today we all know that Rabbi Kahane was right! Help spread the Jewish Idea -
Join the Jewish Idea's E-mail list and spread the word!
If you would like to buy any books by either Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd or Rabbi Binyamin Kahane z"tl h"yd, among others, you can do so in either Hebrew, English or Russian at the kahanebooks website.
May we merit a speedy and quick redemption, and may the coming year be one of True Peace and Redemption.
Yesterday Asher Weisgan was convicted of "murdering" 4 Arab workers in an attack near the Jewish community of Shilo last year in an attempt to thwart Ariel Sharon's expulsion program.
Haaretz, JPost and others all described a "terrorist" and a "murderer" who killed "in cold blood." I beg to differ, and I think that any normal, level-headed Jew should as well.
There is an enemy living among us in our Holy Land - an enemy who's men, women and children all play their own part in an Islamic holy war against our people. They blow up our buses, cafes, restaurants, and shopping malls; they murder our men, women and children; they make orphans out of our children and cripples out of many of our brothers and sisters. They defile our places of worship and rape our women. They blow up and shoot and stab and lynch any Jew they can get their hands on.
And those who do not hold knives, pistols, rifles and grenades or wear suicide belts, do throw stones and molotov cocktails, do lynch our brothers and sisters with their bare hands, do rape our women, do physically assault any Jew they can get their hand on who dares venture into "their" towns and villages, even "inside green-line Israel" - and that's only when they decide not to kill them... Others provide the money, guns, drugs and information; still others produce and distribute the propaganda and inciteful material that is the fuel for their "jihad." Others still need only a can of spraypaint to paint swastikas on our synagogues and schools, and only a couple of bricks or rocks to shatter a few "Jewish" windows.
Others provide intelligence to the terror organisations - even "good" Beduin Arabs, who we hear so often about how they serve in the IDF and so therefore must be "good" Arabs. Yet they sell information on IDF positions to the Hizbullah at the blink of an eye - if often (but not always) in exchange for drugs and money. Other "good" Arab officers have in the past sold guns to the terrorists in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
And there have been many "Israeli-Arabs" who have provided information and intelligence on potential targets to Hamas, the Al Aqsa Brigades and Islamic Jihad - including plots to poison the Israeli water supply, murder the Sephardi Gadol Rav Ovadia Yoseph shlita, and blow up the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv (and that's just off the top of my head).
And then there are those who rejoice at the deaths of our people. The ones who we have all seen handing out sweets and chocolate as soon as there is news of another successful murder of a Jew. A few of the scenes from the "Palestinian areas" after 9/11 may have gotten some limited publicity, but these things happen every time there is an attack on Jews - especially in Israel.
And what about the "Israeli-Arabs" of the northern communities? The "Israeli citizens." Surely they are good Israelis, right?! Wrong. During the last war, when almost 200 Israelis lost their lives and hundreds more were injured, and hundreds - even thousands more lost their homes; guess who partied on the rooftops of the "Eastern" side of Jerusalem, as well as certain other towns and cities such as Um El Fahem? Guess who (even after suffering causalties from the Hizbullah rockets themselves) called for the death of the Jewish state and the victory of Hizbullah from the towns and villages of the Galillee. I'll give you a clue: it wasn't the Jews and it wasn't even the "Palestinian Arabs" (they partied in Ramallah, Jenin and Gaza...). It was the "Israeli-Arabs."
Are any of these people "innocents"?
And when the "Palestinian" Arabs voted in Hamas democratically (with the rest voting for the other terror organisation founded by Yasser Arafat: Fatah), they themselves announced not just to us but to the entire world who they support and what they believe.
If the Israeli judges and politicians and other officials believe so firmly that the general Arab populace are good, innocent people, then let them live among them in Um El Fahem and Shfaraam. Let them try to collect taxes (for the first time in how long...?) from the Arab villages all over the country who have made it quite clear what will happen to anyone stupid enough to dare such a thing (and who as a result do not pay taxes). Why don't they do this? Why do they not walk the streets of the "Arab" areas without a security entourage, and without hiding their Jewishness? I think we all know the answer to that question... They wouldn't last half an hour.
And what happens every time there is a terror attack. Every time another family or families (G-D forbid) have to mourn their son, daughter, mother, father, uncle, aunt, cousin, or friend? Every time another family has to sit shiva for someone. What happens? Not very much. If anyone is arrested they are sent to jail for one, two three or a hundred "life sentences" in Israeli jails where they are free to read, learn for university degrees, watch TV and even continue to learn and practice their religion of hatred. Often it is found that certain terrorists are conducting operations from within these jails, and after every terror attack that they hear about on TV they cheer and shout and celebrate.
That is justice? That is detterant? That is Torah?!
Of course it is none of the above. The Arab still gets to see his/her family, is still able to walk and function normally - unlike his/her victims, and even sometimes to continue to solicite the murders and maiming of more Jewish men, women and children.
And do you think that such insanity, such mercy of fools, deters others from following in their footsteps? The facts speak for themselves. There are thousands of Arabs in Israeli jails for such crimes, and thousands more who have been in and are now out - and is there any less of a willingness to kill Jews as a result? Of course not! They know that the worst that will happen is that they may be arrested, or, if they are really big "players" in the terrorist world, they will be carefully assassinated - but making sure that as few other people as possible get hurt in the process. As a result, and since they know that if they surround themselves with women and children, or hide in schools and hospitals, Israel will probably leave them alone, many assissination attempts fail (due to the over-emphasis on not causing civilian casualties). And even when they do succeed, there are plenty of others willing to take their place.
They think that Jewish blood is cheap, and that if they kill or maim or kidnap a Jew, the response will be minimal.
But ask yourself, what if every time there was a bus bomb, or a shooting, or a stabbing or a rocket attack - every time a Jew is G-D forbid killed or hurt - there was a revenge attack? If for every one Jew killed there would be ten dead Arabs? And that if they kidnap and abduct our boys, we will do the same to their's? And that every time they desecrate our Holy places, we will do the same to ten of their's?
Why can THEY walk the streets in Israel - in both Jewish and "Arab" places - in safety and security, but we cannot do so in our own country?
When was the last time an Arab was scared to walk down the street in Bnei B'rak, for fear of those "fanatical" Jews? Surely if they cause us to live in fear we should at least make it equal...
Of course, technically one cannot say these things (oops, naughty me), because then you could land in jail for "incitement" (yet when Arab Members of Knesset do the same and even meet with terror chiefs in Syria and Lebanon it is ok of course). But here I am saying it, and it is the truth.
Asher Weisgan, Ami Popper, the "Bat Ayin Cell" - and the many other brave Jews who still languish in the jails of the current oppressive, anti-Torah gov't of Israel are no criminals - they are heroes; among the few who dared raise their hands to do something, to strike back, to - in some small way at least - redeem the rivers of Jewish blood spilled by the Yishmaelite animals. These people are only criminals in the eyes of the Arabs, and in the eyes of those who are too cowardly to admit the truth.
People like them, as well as Eden Natan Zada z"tl h"yd, Dr. Baruch Goldstein z"tl h"yd, and other holy martyrs who even gave their lives for the sake of the G-D of Israel, the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel and the Land of Israel, are demonised and despised by the hellenistic regime and its followers, when in reality all they did was fulfil their obligation under Torah Law of Milchemet Mitzvah.
But the sad truth is that it needn't be. If the words of Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd had only been heeded, if only the Arab menace would be transfered from the Land of Israel and the surrounding nations defeated through ferocious power and faith in G-D - then not a single drop of Jewish or Arab drop need spill any more in the Holy Land.
But until then, the politicians will suggest another plan or deal, and another and another, but nothing else will do, because the rockets will still fall (whether from Gaza or Lebanon,) and the guns will still sound, and the suicide bombers will still carry out their murderous assignments.
But whatever happens we should put our faith in G-D that one day soon the world will realise what righteous men these are, and what a holy duty they were a part of, and they will be hailed as heros, not demonised and thrown in jail.
But until then we must remember their names:
Thos who languish in jail for the "crime" of carrying out or attempting to carry out acts of zealotry for the sake of G-D:
Ami Popper, Asher Weisgan, Ofer Gamliel, Shlomo Dvir, Yarden Morag, Yishai Schlissel, and countless more.
And those who were martyred for the sake of G-D, may G-D Avenge their blood:
Dr. Baruch Goldstein, Eden Natan-Zada, Rabbi Nati Ozeri, Rabbi Meir Kahane, Rabbi Binaymin Kahane, Rebbetzin Talya Kahane, all the soldiers and pre-state fighters of Liberation - and all those who I have not mentioned.
May the merit of these people ring loud in the Heavens and shake the Foundations of the Throne of the Almighty G-D, to bring the Final Redemption NOW!
YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
PARSHAT KI TAVO
16 Elul, 5766/8-9 September, 2006
CLARIFYING THE LAWS OF WAR (Continued from last week)
Last week we discussed the laws of a noncompulsory war, or "milchemet reshut", something that the Jewish people have not had to deal with for the last few thousand years. For all the wars that affect the Jewish people today in the Land of Israel are compulsory wars, or "milchemet mitzvah".
Who, then, goes out to fight for a compulsory war? The Talmud teaches us: Everything stated about exemptions applies to a noncompulsory war, but in a compulsory war, all must go forth to battle, even the groom from his wedding chamber and the bride from her canopy. The Rambam then brings down this law, quoted in the Talmud, to the Code of Jewish law.
Yes, in times of danger to the Jewish people and its Land, all Jews would head out to battle or give a helping hand at the home front. And so we find in the book of II Samuel: "These are the names of the mighty men who served David. And Benayahu the son of Jehoiada the son of a valiant man, great in deeds." Rashi teaches us that there was no one like him in his Torah knowledge, either during the First Temple period or the Second Temple period. And still. . . when push came to shove, he became the mighty warrior.
The Radak teaches us that even though Benayahu was a Kohen/Priest, and it is forbidden for a Kohen to become spiritually unclean by killing (for they must do the work in the Temple), to fight the enemies of G-d it is a commandment. And there is no difference between a Kohen or an Israel in this matter, as we find with Pinchas, who became unclean when he killed Zimri, and then led the Jewish people to battle against Midyan.
In the ideal army of King David, it was not enough to be a great military officer, but one also had to be a great Torah scholar. In order to advance in David’s army, one had to be tested in Torah knowledge. A sergeant had to know "parshat hashavua" - the portion of the week. A captain was tested in his knowledge of Mishna [i.e. not literally the Mishna - which hadn't been complied yet - but the equivalently deeper sections of Torah - Ivri], and to be a major one had to know all of the Talmud [again, same idea as above - Ivri]. What a far cry from today, when our military men know so little of Torah concepts, and our Torah learners know nothing about killing our enemies!
And when one goes to battle for the Jewish people, the Rambam writes: "Having gone into battle one should lean on the Hope of Israel, who saves in a time of trouble. A person should realize that he is going to war for the sake of G-d's name. He should not think about his wife or children, but should blot out their memory from his heart and turn away from everything else to the war. If he does not strive to be victorious and fight with all his heart and soul, it is as though he sheds everyone's blood! Cursed be he who does the L-rd's work with a slack hand, and cursed be he who keeps back his sword from blood."
Now, dear friend, consider the words of Olmert this past week when he was quoted saying, "We will not limit ourselves against Syria like we did in Lebanon."
According to Olmert: "In a battle against them, we will remove the limitations we have placed on ourselves." This whole matter of limitations certainly is not the way of a Torah Jew going out to war, or even as a smart militant, but rather the way of cowards. As for him, this is what the Rambam wrote: It is as though he sheds everyone's blood! May G-d help us, and may we merit true Jewish warriors, the scholar warriors!
With love of Israel,
Ki Tavo: Be Happy!
The Torah portion opens and closes with the same theme: simchah (joy). It begins with the mitzvah of offering bikurim (first-fruits) in the Temple, an exercise in appreciating what God has given us, as it says, "You shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has granted you and your family" [Deut. 26:11].
Afterwards, the Torah describes the terrible trials that will befall the Jewish people if they are unfaithful to the Torah's teachings. This section concludes with the root cause for these punishments:
"Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy (simchah) and contentment ("tuv levav")." [Deut. 28:47]
Not only does God expect us to keep the mitzvot, but we are to perform them with joy and contentment. What is the difference between these two emotions?
Joy and Contentment
"Simchah" and "tuv levav" are two distinct levels of happiness. Interestingly, they are the result of contradictory perceptions.
What is the source of "tuv levav"? This is a sense of satisfaction that we feel good about our service of God. We pray, study Torah, and perform mitzvot out of a feeling that we are doing what we were created to do. As one of God's creations, it is natural for us to serve Him. We are grateful to have been blessed with the intellectual and spiritual capabilities needed to worship Him through Torah study and mitzvot.
Simchah, on the other hand, comes from the perception that some unexpected boon has befallen us. We feel joy in serving God when we are aware of the tremendous privilege in being able to connect to God - a gift far beyond our true level. Awareness of this amazing gift, while at the same time feeling that our service is appropriate and suitable, allows us to feel both simchah and "tuv levav".
How does one attain this simchah in serving God? The secret to developing and enhancing our sense of joy is to reflect on two thoughts:
1. Appreciating the significance and wonder of every medium - such as Torah study and mitzvot - that allows us to connect with the Master of the universe.
2. Recognizing the true level of our divine soul and its inherent spiritual nature, even though it may have become soiled through contact with the material world.
We experience genuine joy in serving God when we are able to thoroughly internalize these two insights.
[adapted from Mussar Avicha, p. 32]
[For all those of you who have not read "40 Years" by Rabbi Kahane I would very much reccomend it (it's a very small book and a quick read).]
In his book "Forty Years," Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd suggested that since the founding of the "Third Jewish Commonwealth" (or the current State of Israel) a "40 year grace period" during which we could get our act together to save ourselves from disaster and bring the Mashiach, was being offered to us by HaShem, just like we had experienced on several other occasions in our history. We had the same during the first two "Jewish Commonwealths," (back then we failed to take the opportunity to avert catastrophe,) and on other occasions we see the number "40" repeated as some kind of period of cleansing or "kaparah" - "atonement;" e.g. 40 years in the desert, 40 days and 40 nights of rain during the great flood, etc
The Rav began his count from 1948, but to be honest I dare say that with the benefit of hindsight it seems much more likely that it was 1967 - when we actually gained control of Yerushalayim and a proper, strong hold on E"Y - when the clock began ticking.
And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Between 1948-67 we didn't really have a chance to breathe. We had only just woken up from the long sleep of Galut and we were still "like dreamers." And then there was the Sinai War and the War of Attrition with Egypt. To be honest, we still had a pretty good reason to not have gotten our act together - we hadn't really yet had the chance. G-D is Merciful after all, and to expect perfection straight after the trauma of the Holocaust and the expulsions and trauma suffered by the Jews in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Egypt etc, would have been asking a bit too much...
In addition, we didn't even have full control over our Land, in particular most of the Holy City of Yerushalayim - including the Holiest of Holies, the Temple Mount.
It was in 1967 that we really blew our chance. In 1948 we fought tooth and nail and still only had a partial control of the Land. The key factor was that we didn't have the Temple Mount, and as we know and as it has been said: "he who controls the Temple Mount, controls all of Israel." It was in 1967 that we finally re-conquered the Old City and the Temple Mount in Yerushalayim, it was in 1967 that we re-conquered Hebron, Shechem, Beit Lechem, Yericho, and so many other key Holy places that we had never had before.
1967 was the chance we had for "Shleimut" - completion, wholeness, perfection - that we didn't really get in 1948. We blew it in '67, after the short-sighted fool Dayan gave the Arabs the keys to the Temple Mount and Ma'arat Hamachpela, and after he ordered that the paratroopers encourage many fleeing Arabs to return by cutting them off before they could escape the country.
It was in 1967 that we really had the chance to "kick off," as a potentially viable, complete (potentially Torah) State - but it instead it was in 1967 that we chose to make so many stupid decisions, and literally only the day after, we began the process of turning the Miracle from Heaven on its head, and into a Chillul HaShem and a dangerous situation for our fledgeling state.
So if that is the case, very soon we will experience the end of that period of Heavenly Grace.
This is obviously not for sure and simply a case of trying to see through the haze of galut without really being given too much information about the ge'ulah, so it could all be wrong. But think about this:
Since 1967 we've had other chances to win. Of course, every day was a potential day of ge'ulah - a day to expel the Arab menace and establish a trutly Jewish state. But there were certain key moments, for example the Yom Kippur War. And just as a side-point we should take note of what what day it fell on. Such a Divine Message and Opportunity presented to us that it was time to do Teshuva, and that it was still not too late. A day when HaShem is blatantly watching and judging. A day when you would expect even our stubborn nation to do the right thing...
Then there was also the Peace for Gallilee war, and the "intifadas" both in Yesha and southern Lebanon.
But don't you find it strange that davka this year we were subject to such a pivotal war once more? We know that with the Almighty in charge there is no such thing as "coincidence," and every event is preordained, and its date is set for the perfect moment for that event.
Was there ever an event since 1973 so bursting with huge potential to make or break our future? This last war changed the face of the Middle East completely, and it had the potential to do so either way.
Were we to have taken the opportunity and destroyed Hizbullah, even bombing Nasrallah as he was in the Iranian embassy, imagine what events that could have triggered off. In doing so, we most probably would have provoked the wrath of the surrounding nations, who could only take a certain amount of slaps in the face before going to war without losing face. It certainly would have provoked the "wrath" of the UN and EU, and the nations of the world would have been in uproar. But, had victory been achieved we would have been in a stronger position than ever before. With this defeat, however, the Arab leaders are almost as confident as they were prior to the Yom Kippur war.
And think about the manner of the war that was just fought. A complete reversal of all the others before it. Here, the "mighty" Israeli army, were beaten by the "underdogs," Hizbullah. As a result, such a defeat is even worse than suffering losses to a proper army in terms of deterent... It is a blatant display by the Almighty directed towards us, showing us that without Him we are doomed no matter how "strong" we are physically.
Is it a mere coincidence that such a conflict broke out in the 39th year of the cycle? I wonder... But if it is more than just that, we may be approaching the end of that 40 year window empty-handed, G-D forbid.
That having been said: it's not over 'till it's over, and there is still some time left. If we can just show HaShem that there are many people willing to do His Will, even if the Hellenists are too strong for us to succeed fully, then perhaps we will trigger an action of Divine Mercy and not Divine Anger at the end of all this. We must bring Mashiach "in haste," otherwise we could G-D forbid be heading towards the most frightening era of the arrival of Mashiach "in it's time" in it's final stages, about which the Sages of the Talmud said "let me not see it."
But it's not too late, for Mashiach can come "today, if you Listen to My Voice."
The bullet's in the chamber
by David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron
September 5, 2006
Almost everyone I speak to asks the same question: What or who, is next?
Olmert's gone. Whether indicted by Attorney General Mazuz on any of the corruption charges being investigated, or expelled from office as a result of the findings of any of the committees investigating the failures of the Lebanese war, or, perhaps being on the losing end of the next Israeli elections, which will probably occur in the very near future. Or any other possibility that can be thought of. Olmert's gone. He has to go.
Olmert's removal from office, together with those surrounding him: Amir Peretz, Tzippy Livni, Dan Halutz, and a few others, is a case of life or death. The brains of the country are petrified at the thought of the current regime running Israel when, say, Syria attacks, or Iran starts flinging bombs at us, or should a few of our neighbors get together and decide to replay 1973. It is preferable not to let the possible results escape our lips. But it's no secret. Totally irresponsible, inexperienced, political crooks running the country is a sure recipe for disaster.
According to Debka (sometime straight-on and other times a little off) – in Hebrew (only partially accessible in English), a very recent evaluation by the American government of Israel and the present administration led to the conclusion that the State of Israel is in bad shape. The article's final line, quoting Bush, "Those Israelis, they're not what we thought." (It doesn't make any difference if he really said it or not – it's the truth!)
In truth, one need not be a veteran intelligence analyst to realize that the Israel of 2006 isn't the Israel of the past. Much has changed. Any political leadership willing and able to tear its own citizens from their homes, basically forsaking them, only to witness the catastrophic results in the shape of missiles flying from the very land they abandoned, yet still proclaiming the necessity to continue with a further expulsion and abandonment, this is real bad news. Yet, despite the continued Kassam attacks, the current Prime Minister planned on implementing just that. G-d forbid.
For the time being perhaps the priorities have changed. But not the principles behind them. Eretz Yisrael is still profane. Only secularity is holy.
That's when the so-called 'big question' comes into play. Once Olmert goes, who’s next. Who is the next Mashiach (Messiah)?
Years ago we thought it would be Begin. A big disappointment. Then, after the advent of Olso-Rabin-Peres, we all sang and danced upon Bibi's victory. Total euphoria. Quickly doused. A modern-day Shabbatai Tzvi. The false Messiah at his best. And again, not yet learning, after the Barak (Ehud) calamity, breathing a deep breath of relief at the election of Arik. That deep breath was almost our last. His stranglehold left us down and almost out.
And now, we are on the verge of replaying the tape. Who is this year's hero?
I suppose there are any number of answers to the question. There are also various levels of answers: Theoretical and/or practical.
On the theoretical level, personally, I would definitely prefer an observantly religious Jew taking the reins, a person with fear of G-d, and not fear of Bush, Annan, EU, etc.
However, at the moment, the chances of that happening within the framework of the present form of Israeli government seems to be miniscule, if at all, possible.
So, who do we want to see in the PM's office. Assuming that the choice falls between a candidate from the Likud, Labor, and (ugh) Kadima, again, personally, the only person I could probably trust is Rubi Rivlin. But it doesn’t look like he has too much of a chance to take control of the Likud. He might make it to the President's Home in Jerusalem, which is a nice honor, but politically, not worth much more than that.
Realistically speaking, it looks like we're going to get Bibi back again. This time, without the celebrations. We know what we're getting.
A few years ago I asked someone close to Netanyahu if he was sorry about Wye – the fateful accords he agreed to sign, which ultimately cost him his job. The answer: Yes, Bibi's sorry, but not for the right reason. He's sorry about Wye because it cost him his government, but he still doesn't realize that Eretz Yisrael isn't to be toyed with.
It doesn’t look like Bibi's changed. His positions concerning Gush Katif certainly don't point to deep repentance. His position concerning unilateral concessions seems to be clear, but cutting up Eretz Yisrael in a negotiated 'piece agreement' would be acceptable.
So, what do we do?
First, pray. Pray that G-d should bring us the real Mashiach before the next elections. (If he arrived today we wouldn’t object.)
And if G-d doesn’t see it our way? We certainly don't have to vote for Netanyahu. But, should he be elected, the pressure has to be exerted even before he takes the oath of office.
What pressure? It has to be 100% clear that any Israeli leader who plays around with Eretz Yisrael, who even thinks that he has a mandate to dismantle our homeland, will, quite simply, fall, will be removed from office at the first available moment.
We may have to play out the scenario again and again, with one Prime Minister after another, until one of them finally wakes up. Eventually it will happen. It's not an optimal plan of action, but we may not have any choice.
What is the alternative? We've experienced that for the past couple of months, leaving us with 3 POWs, 156 dead and I don't know how many wounded. And this is the least of it. For as Debka reported, and here, accuracy has nothing to do with the concept, Israel's credibility is quickly running down the drain. And in practical terms, our survival is dependent on just that credibility, on our enemies understanding that they don't have a chance against us. Should our deterrent image tinge, should the vision of Israel as a supreme opponent, incapable of being defeated be quashed, we are in big trouble. And that's what' starting to happen. It doesn't mean that we will lose the BIG war, but the price we may have to pay to win is excruciatingly unthinkable.
In short, we have to get our act together real fast. Because at the moment, with Olmert and Co. running the show, I get the feeling that we're playing a Middle East version of Russian roulette. And I'll tell you a secret: I cheated and peeked. The bullet's in the next chamber.
With blessings from Hebron.
...that whatever your opinions on the politicians, on the "powers that be" in the IDF, and on the political situation as a whole, we should all remember the martyrs of this current tragedy in Lebanon. In doing so, we should also remember the evil, corrupt, treacherous regime who sent these fine young men and women (many of whom just so happened to be religious) to their deaths, often without proper equipment and lack of support.
As the days go by more and more is coming out. I heard from a friend of mine who used to work for army intelligence (and so knows certain reliable sources), that when the IAF dropped packages of food and even equipment/weaponry, they were so badly coordinated that many packages actually ended up with Hizbullah fighters.
Watch this short video and understand what we lost in many if not all of our fallen fighters. Were it not for the decadent regime these Jews would be the cream of the crop - and in many ways they still are. Also, let us not foget either, the Jewish men women and children, old people and disabled, grandparents and grandchildren, killed in the towns and cities by the rockets fired by the murderous Arabs in Lebanon, and not stopped by the inept, cowardly Hellenists in the Knesset and the regime.
May G-D avenge their blood, and may the blood-soaked hands of Ehud Olmert, Amir Peretz and Dan Halutz - who cared more about international political prestige, and minimalising "Lebanese civilian casualties" than they did about their own people - be remembered always. It is of small consolation that these foolish men did not achieve any prestige in the end, as prestige and honour cannot be bought with Jewish blood. Just ask the vegetable Ariel Sharon.
May our fallen martyrs rest in peace, and may their blood be avenged.
...at the same time to look towards the future. The future does not include the G-Dless, corrupt hellenistic figures such as the Olmert-Peretz-Halutz trio. The future commanders-in-chief of the Jewish Army - the REAL commanders in chief of the JEWISH Army, will be - G-D willing - these men of valour:
(see pages 1-4)
YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
PARSHAT KI TETZE
9 Elul, 5766/1-2 September, 2006
CLARIFYING THE LAWS OF WAR
"When you will go out to war against your enemies, and Hashem your G-d will deliver him into your hand and you will capture its people as captives..."
Rashi teaches us that this verse from our parsha is talking about an optional war - for in the wars of the Land of Israel, it cannot be said, "and you will capture its people as captives", because it has already been said, "you shall not allow any person to live". From this we learn that there are two types of wars, a "milchemet mitzvah" and a "milchemet reshut, compulsory and noncompulsory war, respectively.
How unfortunate it is that so many of us do not know the difference between the two! As Rabbi Kahane HY"D writes:
"To our sorrow, these concepts have been corrupted and confused by yeshiva students accustomed to the exile. This applies both to those in the Diaspora and those in the Land of Israel, the exile having had a pervasive influence in both places. They are ignoramuses in this regard, so much so that they have no idea what a 'milchemet mitzvah' is, what its parameters are, and whether such a concept exits today at all. And the Torah dons sackcloth."
Let us start with the noncompulsory war - this is a war where the king wants to add greatness or reknown or to capture land, where there is no outside threat against the Jewish people. This type of war can only be done with the authorization of the great Sanhedrin, the 71 judges - obviously no small matter. Interestingly enough, in last week's parsha, we find the priest calling out to all the people who had gathered to go to war, that all those who have built a new house and not begun to live in it, let them go back home lest he die in war. Or any man who has planted a vineyard and has not redeemed its crops, let him go home. Or any man who has betrothed a woman and not married her, let him go home, etc. In all of these cases, we are talking about a noncompulsory war, for in a compulsory war everyone goes out to battle - even a groom from under his canopy.
And what is a "milchemet mitzvah", a compulsory war? The Rambam lists three things that are considered a compulsory war: The wars against Amalek, the wars against the seven nations who lived in the Land prior to the conquest of the Land by Joshua, and troubles that befall the Jewish people. The Rambam clarifies concerning non-Jews who came to wage war against Israel, to collect tax from them, to steal land from them, or to force a decree upon them, even regarding a light mitzvah. In all of these cases we go out to war, as it is a compulsory war, a commandment. Even more than this: We find that no permission is needed to wage a compulsory war, as we have seen with the case of a noncompulsory war; rather, the king\government must go out to war at once, and any delay is considered as part of the bloodshed.
We even find in the Talmud that it states: In a border town, even where the non-Jews are not attacking to kill Jews but just to demand hay and straw, we go forth armed to attack them, even violating the Sabbath to do so.
Should we be so fanatical, that just for hay and straw we go out to fight and kill? Even disregarding the Sabbath for this? The answer is, of course - Yes, for it is a compulsory war, and in a compulsory war every ones goes out to fight, even on Sabbath.
Are there Jews, who even in a compulsory war, do not go out to battle, as we see today? Is this a good thing? Just hold on till next time, as we will try to answer these and other questions about Jewish laws of war.
With love of Israel,
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