The "Israeli-Arab" Uprising Comes Ever Closer


It's been a long time in coming, and it may even take just a little longer to break out in all its fury, but as this article from Arutz Sheva reminds us, the prospect of a new, "Israeli-Arab" intifada gets closer ever day...

A while ago - towards the end of the war with Hizballah - I wrote an article on this blog, entitled "The "Israeli-Arab" Uprising Could Come Sooner Than You Think...," with a few predictions of mine with regard to this topic. I am somewhat surprised at how things are slowly working out almost exactly as I had predicted!

Amazing!!!

...Ok fine, I'll admit: anyone with their eyes open and half a brain could have seen it coming. But I still think it's quite interesting how closely developments today mirror what could clearly be seen more than a year ago...

What is even more amazing though, is that the Israeli govt and mainstream media are still trying their hardest to ignore the prospect of what could potentially be the most harmful and bloody "intifada" of them all (G-D forbid)...!

Please Stay Tuned - Back in a Few Weeks...!

My apologies for not having posted in a while, but for a few weeks I will not have much access at all to this blog (if at all).

Please do stay tuned, however, and keep your eye on this blog, which will be updated again in a few weeks time G-D-Willing.

Meanwhile, keep watching the still-developing "Kahane Resource" page (a project by hameir.org), which will also be updated and developed in the coming weeks.

Shalom U'vracha,

Ivri

Israeli Authorities Plan to Expel Jews From Shalhevet Neighbourhood (in Hebron) This Coming Sunday/Monday

From the Jewish Community of Hebron:

Today, the 78th anniversary of the 1929 riots and massacre in Hebron, which left 67 dead and the surviving population expelled from the city, Defense Minister Ehud Barak personally decided to expel two more families from the city, from their homes in the Shalhevet neighborhood (the shuk).

The Hebron Community council expresses deep pain and protest at the desecration of the memories of the 1929 victims and the continuation of forced expulsion, this time not by Arabs, rather by Jews, expelling their brothers.

According to information received by the community, about 1,000 police, riot squad forces and soldiers will execute the expulsion late Sunday night - early Monday morning. The community calls on anyone to whom Hebron and Eretz Yisrael are important to, to flock to Hebron as early as this coming Saturday night, following Shabbat, in order to take an active role in the protest and struggle. Most likely Israeli security forces will close all roads leading to Hebron sometime Monday, so it is important to arrive as early as possible.

Eikev: Blessings Over Bread and Torah


Two Blessings from the Torah

While most blessings are of rabbinical origin, there are two blessings that are derived directly from the Torah itself. They are Birkat Hamazon, recited after meals, and the blessing said before learning Torah.

The obligation to bless God after eating bread comes from the verse, "When you eat and are satisfied, you must bless the Lord your God..." [Deut. 8:10].

The Talmud [Berachot 21a] derives the blessing before studying Torah from the verse, "When I call out God's name (or: read God's teaching), ascribe greatness to our God" [Deut. 32:3].

These two blessings differ not only in the source for our feelings of gratitude - one is for physical nourishment, the other for spiritual sustenance - but also in when they are said. Why is Birkat Hamazon recited after the meal, while the blessing for Torah study is recited before studying?

Two Benefits of Food

Food provides two benefits. The first is our enjoyment from the act of eating, especially if the food is tasty. This is a fleeting pleasure, but it nonetheless deserves to be acknowledged. The primary benefit from eating, however, is the sustenance it gives our bodies, enabling us to live. This primary benefit reflects the nutritional value of the food, regardless of its taste.

Our recognition of the principal benefit of eating should take place after the meal, as the body digests the food. Since Birkat Hamazon expresses our gratitude for physical sustenance, it logically belongs is at the end of the meal.

Parenthetically, we also recite blessings before eating. These blessings acknowledge our pleasure in the act of eating itself. We recognize this secondary benefit of eating with rabbinically- ordained blessings.

Two Benefits of Torah Study

Torah study also provides us with two benefits. The first is the knowledge acquired in practical areas of Halacha, enabling us to live our lives according to the Torah's wisdom.

The second benefit from Torah lies in the very act of learning Torah. Torah study in itself is a tremendous gift, even if it does not have any practical applications. When we learn Torah, the soul is elevated as the mind absorbs the sublime word of God.

Which benefit is greater? The Sages taught that the unique sanctity of the Torah itself is greater than all deeds that come from its study: "One who studies Torah for its own sake is raised and uplifted above all actions" [Avot 6:1]. The benefit of practical knowledge is important, but is only a secondary gain.

Therefore, we recite the blessing over Torah before studying. If the blessing was meant to acknowledge the practical benefit of how to perform mitzvot, then it would be said afterwards, since this knowledge is gained as a result of Torah study. But the blessing over Torah refers to the principle gift of Torah study. When we bless God before studying, we acknowledge the spiritual elevation that we enjoy in the very act of contemplating God's Torah.

Now we can understand why the source for this blessing reads, "When I call out God's name." Why does the verse refer to the Torah as "God's name"? This blessing requires that we recognize the sublime inner essence of the Torah - Torah as "God's name." When we are aware of the true nature of Torah, its study can enlighten and uplift us "above all actions."

[adapted from Ein Eyah vol. I, p. 103]

Va'Etchanan: With All Your Soul


By Rabbi Chanan Morrison

Rabbi Akiva's Martyrdom

When the Romans decreed that teaching Torah is a crime punishable by death, Rabbi Akiva's reaction was not surprising. The pre-eminent scholar, who had supported Bar Kochba in his revolt against Rome, gathered people together and gave public Torah lectures.

Before long, Rabbi Akiva was charged and convicted. When the rabbi was taken out for public execution, it was the hour for reciting the Shema prayer. As the executioners flayed his skin with iron combs, Rabbi Akiva recited the Shema, concentrating on fulfilling its words: to love God "with all your heart, soul, and might."

The Talmud [Berachot 61b] records Rabbi Akiva's final conversation before his death. His students questioned him, "Our master! Even to this extent?"

The scholar responded:

"All my life I have been troubled by this verse, "You shall love God.. with all your soul." As I have explained its meaning: "all your soul," even if they take your life. I have always wondered: will I ever have the privilege of fulfilling this mitzvah? And now that the opportunity has finally arrived - shall I not seize it?"

This exchange between Rabbi Akiva and his students requires clarification. What exactly did his disciples mean when they asked, "Even to this extent?"

The Purpose of Shema

One might think that the daily recitation of Shema is a preparatory act. Each day we accept upon ourselves the reign of Heaven, and prepare ourselves to love God, even at the cost of our lives. This daily declaration ensures that we will have the necessary reserves of courage and commitment should there arise a need for the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom.

Therefore, the students were surprised. Their teacher had already withstood the test. He had accepted martyrdom with a noble and resolute love of God. Even the cruelest instruments of torture had not deterred him. What need, then, was there for Rabbi Akiva to recite this final Shema? Why prepare for that which he was now already fulfilling?

Rabbi Akiva, however, understood the intrinsic value of Shema. This declaration of love for God and acceptance of His rule is not just a tool to train the spirit. Each recitation of Shema is in itself a wonderful act. Every time we whole-heartedly declare God's unity, our souls are uplifted in holiness and closeness to God. The Shema is not just a means by which we prepare ourselves; its very recitation brings a spiritual elevation.

Until his final declaration of Shema, Rabbi Akiva had recited the Shema with the thought that he was willing to sacrifice his life - "with all your soul" - for love of God. His entire life, he had wondered whether he would be able to fulfill the mitzvah of Shema in its most extreme, most demanding, form. "Will I ever have the privilege of fulfilling this mitzvah to its utmost?" At the hands of the Romans, he was able to accept the reign of Heaven while sacrificing his life - not just as a mental vision, but in real life.

His Soul Departed With Echad

The Talmud relates that as Rabbi Akiva concentrated on the last word of Shema, his soul departed.

Rabbi Akiva breathed his last with the word Echad - "God is one." A master of Jewish law, the scholar was able to infer legal rulings from the smallest markings in the text of the Torah [Menachot 29b]. In the final analysis, however, all the detailed laws and myraid explanations that he had propounded during his lifetime were all part of a single harmonious system. Everything Rabbi Akiva had taught shared the same underlying theme: how to live life according to the supreme principle of God oneness. It was thus fitting that his final word should be Echad.

[adapted from Ein Eyah vol. II, pp. 344-345]

The Holocaust That Is Overshadowed by the Destruction of the Temple


Written by Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd (1996)

Translated by Lenny Goldberg

The revolution against the Romans and siege on Jerusalem which resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple, produced one of the worst holocausts in Jewish history. According to the testimony of Yosef Ben Matitiyahu (Yosefus Plabius), about one million Jews were killed in Jerusalem, and 100,000 prisoners were taken captive to Rome.

Despite this chilling fact, it is only a footnote in the history of this era. While every child knows that on Tish A B'Av the Temple was destroyed and we were exiled from our land, many Jews are less aware of the physical holocaust which accompanied it.

And how puzzling are the words of our sages, who tell us that that G-d had mercy upon the Jewish People, pouring out his fury on wood and stones (the Temple) instead of on the Jews themselves who had sinned. If this is so, the question is two-fold:

1. One million Jews killed shows us that "G-d poured his fury on wood and stones"? 2. Why has the death of so many Jews become marginal in our Tisha B'Av mourning? Is human life less important than the wood and stones of the Temple?

To answer these questions, we must free ourselves from our western mindset. For according to the Jewish idea, physical existence is NOT the ultimate value, but rather there is a purpose to the life of a Jew, and without this purpose, the reason for his existence becomes less significant.

This is the reason that the massive slaughter of Jews that took place during the siege is dwarfed in importance when compared to the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jewish People from their land. Because when the People of Israel are not in the land of the living, Eretz Yisrael, and when their Temple is destroyed, the Jew can no longer properly fulfill his destiny in the world. His life, so to speak, loses its meaning.

This explains the startling stories of many Jews who lost their faculties upon seeing the Temple burning in flames, and simply cast themselves into the fire, burning themselves alive! They could not grasp a reality of "Am Yisrael" without the Holy Temple.

After 2,000 years of exile, this idea seems a bit extreme. Is it really the end of the world when the Temple is burned down? Don't we at least fulfill mitzvot in the exile? Can't we fulfill our destiny as Jews without a Temple? The answer to this is clear: No. The entire reality of observing mitzvot in the exile is "B'diavad" - that is, it is undesired, but must be done because of lack of choice. For the Torah was given to the Holy People to be performed in the Holy Land, and in the exile we became a mere religion comprised of individuals. For this the sages tell us that the purpose of fulfilling mitzvot in the exile is only so that we won't forget them when we return to the Land of Israel, where the fulfillment of mitzvot take on their full significance.

Now we can answer the two questions we posed: When Israel sinned,desecrating the Holy Temple and turning it into a "discotheque", G-d wasreally supposed to destroy us all, G-d forbid. But since G-d loves us and ties His Name (His existence, so to speak) to the name of the Jewish People, He determined that we will never be totally wiped out. Therefore, he destroyed the wood and stones of the Temple instead of destroying those who desecrated it. But this does not negate the possibility that the Jewish People will be severely punished with the likes of holocausts and exiles (which is the harshest punishment of them all). Indeed, total annihilation will never be, and in the end there will be redemption, with the Jewish People returning to fulfill it's destiny in a complete way in its land and Temple.

Now it can be understood how the massive killing of Jews in Jerusalem can be viewed as a marginal event in relation to the destruction itself. Because the moment the Jewish People are exiled from their land and there is no Temple - life itself becomes less significant. More than that, all the tragedies of the exile - the Inquisitions and Holocausts, are secondary to the exile and the destruction itself. In fact, the spiritual vacuum of the Temple is the reason for the physical tragedies that befall us, for one is dependent upon the other!

Therefore, all efforts for "Eretz Yisrael", for the building of the HolyTemple and for the purifying of the Temple Mount which is the life-center for "Am Yisrael", are not reserved just for "those interested in politics". All those who fear G-d, love Israel and are pained by the exile of the Divine Presence must make these issues the center of their lives. For the fulfillment of the mitzvot are dependent on them. The return of the Jewish People to life is dependent on them!!

The "Crybaby Culture" of Modern-Day Israel


Reading Ynet doesn't usually feel like a breath of fresh air. In fact, I usually finish off wondering why I bothered reading such an anti-Jewish piece of trash. But finally I can breath a sigh of relief, knowing that I have not been completely wasting my time looking for there a worthwhile read.

How right this man is when he states:

Crybabies don't win wars

I don't know who this "Ron Ben-Yishai" guy is, and it would probably be safe to assume that he is himself no "Kahanist." But the simple fact is that practically everything in this article is spot on.

How many times have I pointed out and lamented the fact that almost every single form of PR/propaganda that is emitted by Jews from left to right (both politically and religiously) consists mainly of sad music, crying, and an undeniably effeminate focus on how sad just about everything is!? ...Oh yeah, and it always seems to end off with an almost laughably-weak attempt at optimism. Something along the lines of: "Baruch HaShem we're still existing"!

Of course, that's all we ever aspire to as a nation nowadays: "existing." Victory? Yeah right! That's far too brutal and would mean way too much killing for our delicate collective Jewish stomach to handle!

So when this guy makes the observation that the Lebanon War of last summer was "the war of evacuating the wounded," he is 100% correct - but the worst thing is that so many Jews are proud of that fact! It's almost as if we have grown so accustomed to being oppressed, that - in an almost never-ending orgy of masochism - we have come to revel in it somewhat. The ailment of which Rav Meir Kahane spoke so long ago - of the knee-jerk Jewish reaction to feel guilty every time we win - still exists and is our not-so-secret shame. In fact, it is so "not-so-secret" that just about everyone knows about it, and thus we can now understand why Hizbollah would ever think of launching their war in the first place. Quite simply: not only did they know that we didn't have the stomach for it, but they knew that - whilst they would settle at the very least for a symbolic victory over the IDF - the Jews would be more than happy to weep over some brave, dead soldiers, and get all teary-eyed over all those stories of their "heroism under fire." To be honest, losing doesn't bother us all that much. It wouldn't be so bad if this attitude was limited to the realm of sports and such. But, needless to say, when this attitudes pervades the entire national spirit and is inherent within our national policy, we must realise that it is destined to bring us one tragedy after another...

This is a national ailment, and it's time we got rid of it once and for all. I'm, sick and tired of hearing Israelis talk like Golda Meir, who once said "It is true we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them. We don't want victories any more." Olmert has said similar things many times - as have many other "leading" Israeli establishment members; but it seems that this attitude has long ago filtered through down to the average Israeli, and even the average Jew. In fact, judging from the way that we consistently act as a nation, it has probably been there since the beginning of our long exile...

My answer to such people is simple: If you don't like winning then by all means commit suicide - just don't take the rest of us with you!

But let's forget the leaders for one moment. For better or for worse, we have reached the stage where everyone hates those who hold the reigns of power. Whether it is because of their corruption, their immorality, their ineptness at leading the nation, or their policies in general. They are already discredited.

I am talking about the Jewish PEOPLE!

Another thing I've often expressed such confusion over, is how in Israel a minority community (the Arabs) can be so aggressive towards the majority (the Jews), and yet suffer little (if anything) in the way of revenge attacks or some kind of grassroots backlash. There is something seriously wrong when we just take the punches like such good xtians (and let me just remind you - we aren't xtians...!)

If the establishment and leadeship - religious, political and even military - will not work to change this mentality, then perhaps it is time we did so ourselves.

59 Years Since the Sinking of the Altalena


The story of the massacre of the crew of the Altalena is a very important one which must never be forgotten. It reveals the hypocricy of the left when they talk of how terrible "the murderer" Yigal Amir was for killing one man (who, as it so happens, was one of the murderers who opened fire on the Altalena), whilst at the same time they whitewash and even glorify the actions of the Marxists within the Palmach, who killed so many good Jews on the Altalena; it reminds us of the lengths that these people will go to prevent the rising of a real, proud Jewish State; and it shows us how naive and stupid some people are for their overwhelming belief that pacifist actions will suffice when fighting against the injustices perpetrated by these people.

Never forget.

Time To Arise From The Ground


BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT DEVARIM/SHABBAT CHAZON
6 Av 5767/20-21 July 2007


TIME TO ARISE FROM THE GROUND

If our sages of old were alive in our generation, certainly the laws of mourning, that vast quantity of laws limiting our joy up to the Ninth of Av - the destruction of our holy Temple - would not be needed. All one would have to do would be to listen to the latest news broadcast to get into the spirit of Tisha B'Av. From Shimon "the man behind Oslo" Peres becoming President of the State of Israel, to Olmert releasing 250 murdering terrorists, to the brilliant new plan of "Pucker lips" Ramon to throw out some 100,000 Jews from their homes in Yesha and give it over to the Arabs. Based on the same model of the"disengagement" that worked out so well in Gaza, just ask anyone in Sderot today. To President Bush’s address on the Middle East, telling Israel to remove illegal building from Yesha and that
the Jews should instead build up the Negev (that’s nice of him). To the giving of some 190 million dollars to the PA's "moderate" terrorists, and the planning of a regional conference this fall to tighten the noose around the neck of Israel.

Yes, during these days one can become very disheartened, as they see the great dangers threatening the Jewish State and how our leaders walk blindly into the darkness. Still, in bygone days, when there was not much people could do to help their situation, such as leaving the exiles and returning home to the Land, or the building the holy Temple in Jerusalem, our sages imposed upon us many decrees to help us feel the mourning period. Starting from the seventeenth of Tammuz throughout the three-week period until the Ninth of Av, our sages added decree after decree, from no shaving and haircuts to no wedding bells, to no swimming, all the way to no wine and meat. For, in any case, a Jew who was thousands of miles from his Land, and with no means to return, could only sit and weep.

But if our sages were here today, when a flight to the Land of Israel is only hours away and takes place daily, or where millions of Jews already live in the Land, even if each one would bring just one small stone to the Temple Mount, they could build the Temple today. What would our sages tell us today: To continue to sit on the floor - or to get up and act?

The holy Vilna Gaon teaches us in "Kol Hator" that one needs to know in advance that this period before Redemption will have a lot of hardships, but from these very hardships will come forth salvation. So one must not become disheartened when the difficulties arise or if his path is blocked, but he must overcome them and continue to work towards Redemption.

What, then, are we waiting for? Could there be a clearer path of the Redemption process that is unfolding before us today? Does one sit in the exiles of NY or LA and mourn the destruction, when he could get up and come home in a few hours? What does he think, that Moshiach will be a travel agent giving out tickets to El-Al flights? ("Hi, this is Moshiach, I booked you on the Monday night flight to Tel Aviv")??!!

It's in our hands to act and make the change. Certainly, we have to feel the loss of our holy Temple, but more important - much more important - is to start the rebuilding process. This is what the Torah wants and demands of us. Don’t be left out, for time waits for no one. It is time to get up off the floor and act!

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

Returning To Chomesh!!!



This will take place this coming Motzei Shabat 21 July and Sunday 22 July. You can get a head start by spending Shabbat in the area.

You MUST MUST MUST register beforehand for buses:



Jerusalem 0525802274
PetahTikva 0524239940
Raanana 0526771719
Rehovot 0509866046
BetShemesh 0544995023
BatYam 0507855134
RamatGan 0528434263
NofAyalon 0524088650
BetEl 0546713704
Hasmonaim 0525789704



0524627118Haifa&North 0524295132KiryatArba

Nitzan 0542240931




*For Shabat hospitality in the yishuvim close to Homesh: 1599544444 (teens, separately for boys & girls, and also adults)

*For rides from cities and locations other than those listed above: 1599544444



*For contributions to Homesh (very very important since money does not grow on trees): 052-6302222

*Can't come? Then please take the time -- starting right now -- to call the police and army and express your support for the march to Homesh (public pressure really works in getting the police and army to be more fair -- every phonecall or fax of yours can save some kid from getting beaten up or arrested so please...take the time):

02-9970200 Tel. 02-9970436 Fax of Commander of Judea & Samaria (Ugda in Hebrew)

02-5305333 Tel. 02-5305741 Fax of General of Central Command (Aluf Pikud Merkaz)

Judea & Samaria District Police Station Tel. 02-6279279 Fax 02-6279297

Talking points:

a. "As a mother of a soldier, I think that..."

b. "The settlers were right about the hitnatkut and the country was dead wrong -- so why does it make sense to go against the settlers??"

c. "Yes I know the Hitnatkut law says these people, as Jews, aren't allowed to be in Homesh -- there used to be a law against homosexuality too, did anyone ever enforce that one??"

d. ""From where I'm sitting in (name of city), I don't understand why you people are going after the settlers..."

Devarim: Moses Speaks!



By Rabbi Chanan Morrison



The Salesman and the King

The Book of Deuteronomy consists mainly of Moses' farewell speeches, spoken to the Jewish people as they prepared to enter the Land of Israel. The eloquence, passion, and rhythm of Moses' discourses are breathtaking. And we cannot but wonder: is this the same person who claimed to be "heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue" [Ex. 4:10]?

The Sages were not unaware of this anomaly. The Midrash [Devarim Rabbah I:7] explains that eloquence is a relative matter, using the following parable to explain:

"This is like a man selling purple cloth, who announced, 'Here is purple for sale.' Hearing his voice, the king peeked out and called the salesman over. 'What are you selling?' asked the king. 'Nothing.' 'But before I heard you say, 'Here is purple for sale,' and now you say, 'Nothing'?


"Oh no!" exclaimed the salesman. "I am selling purple, but by your standards, it is nothing."

This same concept, the Midrash concludes, may be applied to Moses and his speaking abilities. When standing before God, Creator of faculties of speech, Moses announced, "I am not a man of words" [Ex. 4:10]. When it came to speaking to the Jewish people, however, the Torah records: "These are the words that Moses spoke..."

Who May Be a Prophet?

In order to properly understand Moses' claim of inferior oratory skills, we need to first examine a basic question regarding the nature of prophets and prophecy.

In chapter 7 of Yesodei HaTorah, Maimonides describes those character traits and intellectual qualifications necessary to be a prophet. He then writes:

"One who has perfected himself in all of these traits and is in perfect health, when he enters the Pardes [i.e., he studies esoteric wisdom] and is drawn to those lofty and distant matters .. Immediately the prophetic spirit will come to him."

This description seems to indicate that prophecy is purely a function of one's moral and spiritual preparation. Once one has attained the necessary spiritual level, he automatically merits prophecy.

However, Maimonides later writes that those who strive to attain prophecy are called "the sons of prophets" [see 2 Kings 2:15]. "Even though they direct their minds, it is possible that the Divine Presence will inspire them, and it is possible that it will not" [ibid. 7:5]. This second statement indicates that attaining prophecy is not dependent only upon one's initiative and efforts. Even those who have attained the appropriate spiritual level are not assured of receiving prophecy.

How can we reconcile these two statements?

Natural or Supernatural?

Many aspects of the spiritual realm corresponds to the ways of the physical world. We find that the physical world is governed on the whole by set laws of nature and physics; only on occasion does Divine providence require that the laws of nature be overridden. The same holds true for the hidden resources of the soul. There are set, general rules that govern their functions. But there are also situations that are beyond the natural faculties of the soul.

We may thus rephrase our question as follows: is prophecy a natural spiritual talent (for those who prepare themselves appropriately)? Or does it fall under the category of the supernatural, and is only a matter of Ratzon Hashem, God's will at that time to perfect the world by way of prophetic message?

Ruach HaKodesh and Nevu'ah

To resolve this dilemma, Rav Kook distinguished between two levels of prophecy. The first is an inner revelation in thought and mind, called Ruach HaKodesh. This is Divine knowledge attained naturally, a result of the soul's greatness and its concentration on lofty matters. This form of prophecy is a natural talent that God established in the soul in its initial formation.

There is, however, a second, more external level of prophecy. This is Nevu'ah, from the word niv, meaning expression or utterance. Nevu'ah is the completion of the prophetic experience; prophecy goes beyond thought and is concretized in letters and words. This form of verbal prophecy is not a natural faculty of the soul. It reflects a miraculous connection between the spirit and the physical, the supernatural phenomenon of Divine Will commanding the prophet to relay a specific message to the world.

Now we may resolve the apparent contradiction in Maimonides' writings. When he wrote that the prophetic spirit will immediately come to him, Maimonides was referring to the prophetic knowledge of Ruach HaKodesh. From his description, it is clear that he is speaking about prophecy of the mind: "His thoughts are constantly attuned to above; they are bound under God's Throne, to understand those holy and pure images, perceiving God's wisdom (in all aspects of creation)."

When, on the other hand, Maimonides referred to Nevu'ah, he wrote that even though the prophet directs his mind, the Divine Presence will not necessarily dwell upon him. This form of prophecy is dependent upon God's Will and not on the soul's natural talents.

Moses' Mistake

Now we can better understand Moses' claim that he was not "a man of words." Moses was certainly aware of his stature as a prophet. Maimonides teaches that a prophet "recognizes that he is no longer as he once was; but rather that he has been elevated above the level of other wise individuals." Moses was aware of his spiritual state - but only as one worthy of Ruach HaKodesh in prophetic thought. He assumed that the greater level of Nevu'ah would be similarly recognizable by one who merited such a level. Since Moses did not feel within himself this level of prophecy, he stated that he was not a "man of words" - i.e., one meriting verbal prophecy.

Moses' assumption, however, was flawed. Since the inner prophecy of thought is a natural talent of the soul and the result of the prophet's spiritual efforts, the prophet is aware that he merits Ruach HaKodesh. The external prophecy of Nevu'ah, on the other hand, is dependent upon Ratzon Hashem, according to the dictates of Divine providence at that time. While the first level is comparable to the laws of nature in the world, the second is like the supernatural miracles performed on special occasions. Thus it does not reflect any inner quality of the prophet's soul.

God's response to Moses is now clearer. "Who gave man a mouth? .. Who made him blind? Was it not I, the Lord?" [Ex. 4:11] The world has two sides, the natural and the supernatural. The mouth belongs to the natural, whereas blindness is a special condition. Both, God explained, come from Me. Just as you attained the natural level of Ruach HaKodesh, so too it is My will that you will attain the supernatural level of Nevu'ah.

The Prophetic Nature of Devarim

We are left with one last issue to resolve. Why is it that the Midrash only clarifies Moses' oratorical skills in the book of Deuteronomy? The answer to this question is to be found in the difference between the prophetic nature of Deuteronomy as opposed to the other books of Moses.

Regular Nevu'ah occurs like this: the prophets would first hear the Divine message; then the Divine Spirit would come to them and they would relate what they had heard. The prophecy of Moses, however, was totally different. The Shechinah would 'speak through his throat,' even as he spoke to the people. Moses was just a mouthpiece for the Divine Presence.

As a result, the other books of the Pentateuch do not reflect Moses' oratory talents. Unlike other prophets, his speeches were not even a repetition of what he had heard. The book of Deuteronomy, on the other hand, is a reflection of Moses' talents in the same way that the prophetic books of other prophets reflect their personal talents.

Were it not for Deuteronomy, we could have taken Moses' claim at face value and understood that he was literally "heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue." But after reading the eloquent discourses of Devarim, we realize that Moses was in fact referring to his prophetic capabilities. Moses meant that he was unworthy of verbal Nevu'ah. As in the Midrashic parable, only with regard to the King was Moses "heavy of mouth."

[adapted from Otzarot HaRe'iyah vol. II pp. 131-133 (originally published in Itur Sofrim)]

Fact: And I Will Do To You What I Wanted To Do To Them!

I've not been able to post for a while, but I'm back for now, and, although it's from last week's parsha, I think that the following Devar Torah by Rabbi Levi Chazen is extremely important for all of us. Once again it is another shining example of the insightful and valuable writings of this Jew of such pure and simple faith and Ahavat Yisrael.




BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT MATOT-MASE'I
28 Tammuz 5767/13-14 July 2007


FACT: AND I WILL DO TO YOU WHAT I WANTED TO DO TO THEM


We like to think, as Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D would sometimes say, that G-d is like a "Santa Claus": A big, loving man with a long white beard,going around and giving away presents. The truth is far from this, although G-d is full of mercy. Still, whoever says that G-d overlooks certain things and acts - his life is overlooked.

In our parsha, the Torah lays down the law, the only law that there is, and one from which there is no escape. "Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: 'When you cross the Jordan to the land of Cana'an, you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the Land before you. And you shall destroy all their prostration stones, all their molten images shall you destroy, and all their high places shall you demolish. You shall posses the Land and you shall settle in it, for to you have I given the Land to possess it. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land before you, those of themwhom you leave shall be pins in your eyes and a surrounding barrier of thorns in your sides, and they will harass you upon the Land in which you dwell'".

This, then, is the bottom line. Try as you might to hide from this fact of nature, but you can never run from it, for so has Hashem spoken. Rashi teaches us: "You shall take possession of the Land from its inhabitants and then you will be able to remain in it, and if not, you will not be able to remain in it." Plain and simple: If you take the Land and remove the inhabitants that live here, then you will be able to live here, and if not, you will not be able to survive in the Land.

In this fashion, the Talmud teaches us that, while still in the Jordon River, Joshua call upon the Jewish people with this message: If you destroy the inhabitants of the Land, fine, and if not, the waters of the Jordan will come and wash you and me away. Clear enough, there is no other option. At the end of the day, the Torah is telling us the law - it's either them or us; the inhabitants of the land and the Jewish people cannot live together!

The holy Or Hachayim takes it a step further and tells us that, even in your cities where the foreigners do not live, you will not be secure as long as the foreigners are living in any part of the Land of Israel. The Abarbanel adds that without a doubt, the inhabitants of the Land will always seek to harm you. When they have no power to do so, they will desist, but when they believe they can harm you, they will rise up and do it. All one has to do is to open up the Tanach to see that time after time, when the Children of Israel let the nations of the Land live among us, they quickly turned into acancer and rose up to destroy us.

How true are the words of our rabbis in our own day, but then, the Torah already lay down the law, a law that cannot be broken. Just this week on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in this world, Islamic digging goes on unabated. Without permits, the Wakf of the Temple Mount does whatever they want, without anyone stopping them. In fact, when two archaeologists tried to question them about the digging, they were detained by the Israeli police. Here, on our holiest site where we, the Jewish people, should be doing the digging to find out where the Altar stood, so we can bring sacrifices to the Most High, it is the arch-enemy of the Jews, the Wakf, who is in control of the Mount. "What I wanted to do to them I will do to you".

This past week, on bus route #1, which runs to the Kotel, three Arab youths started up with a Jewish girl. Only one fine man stood up for this girl and tried to stop them from "hitting upon her". The Arab youths on a Jewish bus going to the Kotel beat up this Jew, unabated. Imagine for a moment if it was the other way around and it would have been a Arab bus: Do you know what would have been left of the Jew? Not much!

I could go on and on and talk of the thousands of illegal buildings that the Arabs build in the Negev or the Galilee, which today has a majority of Arabs, and nothing is done to stop them, or how city after city is gaining an Arab majority, like Jaffa, Acco, Lod, Ramle, and Haifa. Still, the message of the Torah is clear: "What I wanted to do to them, I will do to you". As with all Torah laws, this one can also not be broken. It is the way it is, we must awaken to this reality and rise like a lion up to the only path that is open to us: To remove the enemies of the Jewish people from the Land.

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

The Legitimate Rights of the Ammonites



Written by Rabbi Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd (1992)

Translated by Lenny Goldberg



The modern concept of "Jewish occupied territories" rears its ugly head in Parshat Chukat and in our haftarah, Shoftim(Chapter 11). We read in our parasha how Og ,the king of Bashan, and , the king of Ammon, try to prevent the Jewish people from passing through their borders to get to the Land of Israel. Both kings decide to wage war against The Chosen Nation and both kings lost. The children of Israel conquer their enemies and inhabit their land. Interestingly enough, no one at the time suggested that the Jewish people return the land that they just conquered to the nations that tried to annihilate them. No, such a proposal was never even considered. But, what if such a proposal was raised? How would a Jewish leader have reacted?

Land For Peace

To answer these questions we move the clock ahead 300 years until we arrive at the haftarah of our parasha. In the time of the Judges, the king of Ammon brazenly demands that Israel return to him the territories that were conquered, and if Israel refuses, there will be war. The king recounts some well-known history: "Because Israel took away my land when they came out of Egypt, from Arnon as far as the Yabok, and the Jordan." (Judges 11:13) Compared to the demands of today's Arabs, this demand is quite "moderate". The king of Ammon, unlike the P.L.O., does not call for the total destruction of the Jewish State. He only wants that which was taken from his people. In words that echo in the U.N. and in Washington, the king concludes his demand in the following manner: "Now, therefore, restore those lands peacefully." Peace - that magic word. What normal Jewish leader can refuse such an offer? After all, Ammon's claim is not an unreasonable one; the lands were taken from them. Ammon, unlike the P.L.O., once had a sovereign empire with a capital and an army on that land. And most importantly, here was a genuine opportunity for peace - no more war, no more bloodshed.

Not One Inch

The answer Yiftach returned to to the king of Ammon is far different than what Rabin and Peres told Arafat. Yiftach recounts all the past history, and then concludes: "So now the Lord of Israel has driven out the Amorites from before his people, Israel, and you should possess the land?! Will you not possess what your god, Kemosh, gives you to possess? And all whom the Lord, our G-d, shall drive from before us that we shall possess." (Judges 11:23-24) This is the reaction of a true Jewish leader. A reaction based on emunah - faith in the word of G-d. The land is ours not because of any historical claim or because we defeated the former inhabitants in battle. Rather, the land is ours because G-d gave it to us and we have no right to give it up...

How To Subdue the Enemy

Ma'ase abot siman labanim - the deeds of our fathers are signs to the children. One needs only to study our Torah to learn how to deal with our enemies who initiate wars and then cry "Jewish land for peace". The Arabs have attempted to destroy the Jewish State through four wars and much terrorism and when that failed the P.L.O. and the other Arabs went to the negotiating table and demanded Jewish land or else there will be no peace. Unfortunately, there are Jews who have little or no faith in the G-d of Israel who are (mis)leading the country today. These politicians are unfamiliar with the story of Yiftach and do not understand that our true right to the land of Israel is only because G-d gave it to his people as an eternal inheritance. May we, and our leaders, be worthy of having faith in the Al-mighty so that our enemies may be subdued as they were in the days of Yiftach.

Yokes of Heaven, Yokes of Man



BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT CHUKAT
7 Tammuz 5767/22-23 June 2007


YOKES OF HEAVEN, YOKES OF MAN

“Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aaron, saying: This is the decree of the Torah which Hashem has commanded saying: Speak to the children of Israel and they shall take to you a completely red cow which is without blemish and upon which a yoke has not come.”

The commentaries teach us that this is a decree without meaning or understanding. For from here, the nations of the world come and taunt Israel, saying: What is the nature of this commandment, what is its reason? We say it is a decree before Hashem and you have no right to question it. We see that the nations do not answer back after hearing this rebuke. Why? Why does this answer stop them in their tracks?

To answer this question, we first have to go back to last week’s parsha with Korach and Co. and see why the two parshas are place next to each other. Korach's main dispute with Moshe was: “Why is Aharon the head priest? Why am I not the head of the tribe of Levi? For the entire nation is holy, we are all equal.” But the answer that came back was that everyone has his or her place, position, and job to do in this world. There can only be one High Priest, only one Levi tribe. This is G-d's decree, this is what Hashem in His ultimate wisdom saw fit to perfect His world. Either one accepts this, or ends up like Korach and Co. This is accepting G-d's yoke of Heaven.

When the nations joke and question us about the law of the red heifer, we answer that it’s a decree from G-d: “Ol Malchut Shamayim” - the yoke of Heaven. It is a decree, we don’t understand why but we do it anyway, because Hashem so commanded us. This shuts them up. Why? Because before G-d gave the Jewish people the Torah at Mount Sinai, He first went to every nation and asked them if they wanted to accept the Torah. Each and every nation asked: What’s in it? When they heard, they all rejected it because they were unable and unwilling to accept the yoke of Heaven upon themselves.

Now, when we answer them that we, the Jewish people are not like them, we have accepted upon ourselves the yoke! It is for that reason that they are stopped in their tracks, when they see their weakness and our strength. For that reason, both parshiot are placed next to each other - to teach us this important lesson. Neither Korach nor the nations have the yoke. And when you are without the yoke of Heaven, you can only be left with the yoke of man – the yoke of materialism and desires.

This is the source of the nations' jealousy for the Jewish people. They cannot bear to see that there was one nation that did take upon itself the great task in this world, and accepted G-d's commandments lovingly, as our Rabbis teach us: “The world was created only for the sake of the Jewish people”. Hence, the world’s existence was dependent on the fact that Israel accepted the Torah, as we learn: “If Israel accepts the Torah, fine, and if not, the world will go back to chaos”. It was for this reason that we find the giant Goliath coming out to taunt the Jewish people twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, at the same time that the Jewish people are saying “Kriat Shma” - Hear of Israel, the L-rd is our G-d the L-rd is One – which, of course, is the ultimate source of "Ol Malchut Shamayim' - the yoke of Heaven - all this in order to remove from us our G-dly yoke in this world.

Throughout the ages, this has been the battle, this is the heart of our struggle that we have with the nations of the world. The two major players - Ishmael and Esav - have always claimed that G-d had abandoned the Jews and picked them instead, that it is they who now have the "Ol Malchut Shamayim", and even as our leaders desperately run to try to form a covenant with the heads of Esav, it will all be in vain! For when the dust settles, all the world - and Israel - will see and finally understand that it was Israel - and Israel alone - that Hashem has chosen, and the words of Isaiah will ring true (Isaiah 53): "Who would believe what we have heard? For whom has the arm of Hashem been revealed?”

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

Chukat: Total Dedication to Torah



"This is the Torah: when a person dies in a tent .." [Num. 19:14]

While the topic of this passage is the ritual impurity (tum'a) that comes from contact with the dead, the Talmud [Berachot 63b] gives a homiletic interpretation about those who toil in Torah study:

"From where do we learn that Torah study is only truly absorbed by one who 'kills himself' over it? As it says, "This is the Torah - when a person dies in the tent" (of Torah learning)."

Why does Torah study require such a high degree of self-sacrifice and commitment?

The purpose of society is to provide normal living conditions, without excessive hardships, for its citizens. In order to achieve this goal, however, there must be certain individuals who are willing to serve the community beyond the ordinary call of duty. For example, firemen, soldiers, policemen and other security personnel must be prepared to work long and irregular hours, and accept the dangers inherent in their jobs. Without their willingness to accept these hardships, the entire populace would suffer from untended fires, violence, crime, war, and other threats to the community's stability and safety.

Guarding the Spirit of the Nation

In a similar fashion, those individuals who are willing to dedicate their lives to Torah study are guardians for the entire Jewish people. Just as a soldier cannot properly perform his service to the nation without a willingness for self-sacrifice, so too, Torah scholars must totally dedicate themselves to their mission. Only with this spirit of commitment will they succeed in nurturing the spiritual light of Israel and enriching the authentic inner life of the nation.

The breadth and depth of knowledge required for true Torah scholarship necessitates long and intensive hours of study. This must come at the expense of pleasures and leisure activities that are acceptable for the general population. Only by overcoming the desire for creature comforts and 'the easy life' - by demonstrating their willingness to 'kill themselves' in the tents of Torah - do these scholars prove their worthiness to lead the nation in fulfilling its spiritual aspirations.

[adapted from Ein Eyah vol. II, p. 390. Gold from the Land of Israel, pp. 261-262]

Rav Binyamin Kahane on Parshat Korach - They Simply Don't Want to Hear the Truth...



By Rabbi Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane z"tl h"yd (1998)

Translated by Lenny Goldberg

Fear of Hearing the Truth is Nothing New, but the Phenomenon Has Certainly Reached New Heights in This Generation...


In the introduction to the book "Em Habanim Smaicha", which was written during the time of the Holocaust by one of the great rabbis of Hungary dealing with the obligation to live in the land of Israel, the following is written (page 37): "And so my words in this book are intended only for those who want to know the truth the way it really is, and for those who are willing to stop and listen to the words written here. I am not demanding: 'accept my views'... and whoever would like to refute what I say, let them refute only with direct proofs from the words of our sages as I have brought, and only then will I debate them, with the help of G-d."

Rabbi Issacher Teichtel, the author of this book, was caught in a strange situation. His efforts to persuade (religious Jews!!) of the correctness of his argument fell upon deaf ears. His lack of success was not for lack of proofs or convincing logic, but rather due to the fact that people simply did not want to seriously confront the proofs, sources and sheer logic that he brought down to support his words.

This is why he prefaced his book by saying that his words were intended for the "person who wants to know the truth". After all, one would assume that everyone wants to know the truth, and the argument only exists as to what that truth really is. However, this is not so. There are some people, and many times it is the majority, who do not want to be convinced

Korach Was Not Interested in Hearing

This was precisely the situation with Korach. Our sages reveal in an astonishing midrash the following idea: "Now Korach who was prudent - what was the reason for his folly?!" The famous answer is that, "His eyes deceived him" (see Rashi), and we have dealt with this at a previous time. However the midrash brings down another answer, which may be even a more basic one: "all these arguments Moshe presented to Korach (i.e. tried to convince him) - and you do not find Korach having a rebuttal at all. This is because he was clever in his wickedness. He said: If I answer Moshe, I already know that he is a wise man and will defeat me in a debate, and I will be forced to appease him. It is better that I do not talk to him. When Moshe saw that there was no point, he separated himself from him."

The above midrash is both amazing and shocking. Korach knew that if he entered into a dialogue with Moshe, he would be convinced of the folly of his ways. Therefore, he avoided speaking to him. His need for "kavod" (honor) so burned inside him that his greatest fear was to be convinced that he was wrong, thus forcing him to a bandon his dream of taking power. This is the deeper answer to the question Rashi poses: "Now Korach who was prudent - what was the reason for his folly?" He did not see! He covered his eyes from seeing!

One may think that such behavior is an aberration reserved for the extremely wicked. However, a closer look will reveal that this is a very familiar trait. Very often a man sins and is well aware that this is a bad thing. Yet, he represses this idea in his mind so that it won't interfere with his everyday life. He knows that if he listens to someone, even to his own inner voice, he is liable to be convinced. Therefore, he closes all his senses and continues on his merry way.

Why Is "The Truth Absent"

This is the sickness our sages referred to when they said that "the truth will be absent". It is important to realize that this doesn't mean that the truth itself will be absent. G-d forbid! The truth exists and can befound. But the sages mean that we will cause a situation in which the truth will be absent, by our ignoring it, concealing it, mocking it, and banning it from being heard by the masses... Never before was there a period of time where the truth was so logical and necessary, yet at the same time, so absent. This is because the leaders of today are so terrified by it. It is obvious to them that if the truth were heard, it would conquer the hearts of the masses. Therefore, those in power exercise all measures necessary to silence the truth: Disqualification, mockery, defamation, harassment, and prison.

By so doing, they avoid the painful truths, so as not to get "confused by the facts".

Our People Want to Listen!

"When Moshe saw that there was no point, he separated himself from him." The moment Moshe saw that the problem was not that Korach is wrong, but rather he wants to be wrong - he let him alone and let the ground swallow him up. But this is not always the case. Sometimes, as a result of education and surroundings, a person is immersed in falsehood, yet is willing to speak and willing to listen. He has no special interest to remain immersed in falsehood. For such a person, there is hope.

Parshat Korach



BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT KORACH/ROSH CHODESH TAMMUZ
30 Sivan 5767/15-16 June 2007



STOP THE AVALANCHE NOW!

As if it weren't enough already, all of the bickering and complaining that has been going on since the Jewish people left Egypt. First, not wanting to enter into the sea, and when Nachshon ben Aminadav, from the tribe of Yehuda, did, a riot broke out, with each tribe claiming that they had wanted to cross first. Then, complaining about not having water, the sin of the golden calf, complaining about the heavenly food “manna”, and then demanding to eat meat when they had enough cattle to last a lifetime. This continued with the spies and the people despising the Holy Land, and now, to top it all off - Parshat Korach.

To add insult to injury, after rejecting the Land, the people had the gall to complain to Moshe: “See, you did not do as you promised, to bring us in to a land of milk and honey”. One may say that maybe Korach was not a very bright fellow and did not learn from past mistakes, and he didn’t see that all who rebelled against Hashem were punished right away. Our Rabbis, though, teach us otherwise: Korach was a very intelligent and learned man, but because he was consumed with desire for glory and envy, he ultimately lost everything. In fact, Korach was one of the wealthiest people who ever lived. We are taught that as a rule, the tribe of Levi were poor. They did not partake of the spoils in Egypt, as being that they were not enslaved there, they had no share in the wealth. But Korach, on the other hand, who was possessed by fame and only dreamt of becoming wealthy (and as we know, in the way that a man wants to go Hashem will lead him) came upon the treasures of Joseph and became literally rich overnight. Still, in the end, all that he had went down with him to Shoal - Hell - and he left nothing behind.

It is mind-boggling to note that all of this complaining and rebelling against Hashem came from the “good Jews”, those 20 percent who wanted to be redeemed from Egypt, for the rest of the Jewish people - 80 percent - were killed off in the plague of darkness for not wanting to leave the “golden medina” that Egypt was, not wanting to be redeemed.

Still, giving credit where credit is due, that generation is praised by the prophets for following Hashem into the wilderness, an uninhabitable place. Not an easy task, being that we followed with our women and children, without food or water, never knowing what tomorrow would bring.

Looking back on our long history, it has always been that same, small minority that carries the torch of truth and is leading the way; they are the ones that are remembered, whether it’s the ones who did not rebel against the Kehuna in our parsha, or Calev and Joshua from the spies. These are the ones that history remembers; the others - the rebellious ones - go by the wayside, together with the Korachs of this world. The 80 percent who wanted to stay in Egypt, or the assimilated Greek-Jews in the time of the Maccabees - all gone from the stage of history.

Incredible as it sounds, today, too, the call of the fools who cry out to give away the Golan, or more land in Yesha to the bloodthirsty Arabs, all with the backround of what is going on in Gaza City, act as if they have learned absolutely nothing from the past few years. And it makes no difference whether the calls come from the “black-hatters” with their misguided understanding of halacha, left-wingers, or other “enlightened” leaders - in the end, their views will not be counted, will not matter. They will go the way of Korach and his wicked assembly - lost forever. Who will count, is the courageous minority of the Nachshons, the Calevs, the Joshuas. They are the ones that history will record for posterity. They are the ones who will lead us to the Final Redemption.

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

Korach: Separation and Connection


By Rabbi Chanan Morrison

"The entire congregation is holy, and God is with them! Why do you raise yourselves over God's community?" [Num. 16:3]

This was the battle cry of Korach's rebellion - a complaint that, at first glance, seems perfectly justified. Did not the entire people hear God speak at Sinai? It would seem that Korach was only paraphrasing what God Himself told Moses [Lev. 19:2], "Speak to the entire community of Israel and tell them: you shall be holy, for I, your God, am holy." Why indeed should only the Levites and the kohanim serve in the Temple? Why not open up the divine service to the entire nation?

What was Korach's mistake?

Havdalah and Chibur

Both in our individual lives, and in society and the nation as a whole, we find two general principles at work. This first is Havdalah - withdrawal or separation - and the second is Chibur - connection or belonging.

These are contradictory behaviors, yet both are needed. This truth is most obvious on the individual level. In order to reflect on our thoughts and feelings, we need privacy. In order to develop and clarify our ideas and insights, we need solitude. In order to attain our spiritual aspirations, we need to withdraw within our inner self.

Only by separating from society can we achieve these goals. The distracting company of others robs us of seclusion's lofty joy. It restricts and diminishes the creative flow from our inner spring of pure and joyful life.

This same principle applies equally to the nation as a whole. In order for the Jewish people to actualize their spiritual potential, they require Havdalah from the other nations. "It is a nation that dwells alone" [Num. 23:9].

Similarly, within the Jewish people it is necessary to separate the tribe of Levi, and from Levi, the kohanim, from the rest of the nation. These sectors have special obligations and laws, a reflection of their inner character and purpose.

Separation In Order To Connect

Yet separation is not a goal in and of itself. Within the depths of Havdalah lies a hidden aim of Chibur, being part of the whole and influencing it. The isolated forces thus have a positive impact on the overall character; their influence results in a tremendous inner advance in holiness. These forces specialize in developing talents and ideas that, as they spread, become a source of blessing for all. As they establish their unique traits and paths, life itself progresses and acquires purpose.

We find this theme of Havdalah-Chibur on many levels. The human race is separate from all other forms of life. Through this Havdalah, humanity can elevate itself and attain an encompassing character that contains the elevation of the entire world. The Jewish people is separate from the other nations, a separateness that enables them to act as a catalyst for the elevation of all peoples - a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation" [Ex. 19:6].

The tribe of Levi, as it secludes itself with its special responsibilities, is ennobled and maintains its unique nature. It sanctifies itself until it becomes a blessing for the entire nation. And the kohanim with their special holiness are elevated until they draw forth ruach hakodesh (divine inspiration) for the benefit of the entire nation, thus realizing its highest spiritual faculties.

The Correct Order

Now we can understand Korach's mistake. The Zohar [Mishpatim 95a] teaches:

"The Sitra Achra (the 'Other Side,' the forces of evil) begins with Chibur (connection) and ends with Pirud (division). But the Side of Holiness begins with Pirud and ends with Chibur."

The correct path, the path of holiness, follows this order: separation and then connection. Separation for the sake of connection. But Korach's philosophy (and similar ideologies, such as Communism) took the opposite approach. They sought the simplistic inclusiveness of all, binding everything into one uniform package, from the outset. They boastfully claimed to unite all together - "The entire congregation is holy" - but this approach causes all beauty and nobility to be lost in dull uniformity. In the end, darkness dims the clarity of thought. The repressive, totalitarian approach leads to disunity, as all parts yearn to break apart in order to express their unique nature. "The Sitra Achra begins with Chibur and ends with Pirud."

[adapted from Orot HaKodesh vol. II, p. 439]

Who is a Gadol, and How To Choose a Rabbi

(Pictured: Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd)

Who is a Gadol, and How To Choose a Rabbi

by Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane, z"tl


One of the questions we are often asked is, "If you are so right, why don't the great rabbis agree with you?" Rabbi Kahane himself was approached with questions of this sort for years, as he stood alone proclaiming what he knew to be the Torah truth.

Many of our ideological opponents who use the argument that "the rabbis don't agree with you", (and therefore, we must be wrong.) often base themselves on the verse in our parsha, "and you shall observe to do according to all that they inform thee; ..thou shalt not deviate from the sentence which they shall tell thee, to the right hand, or to the left". From this, they claim, one must listen to the "gedole HaDor" -- the great rabbis of the generation.

No More Sanhedrin

First of all, certain concepts must be made clear so that the confusion surrounding this subject doesn't confuse us, too. The above verse is, unfortunately, no longer relevant for today, because it is talking about the Sanhedrin. This is explicitly pointed out a few verses beforehand, where it says, "you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord thy God shall choose.." -- that is, to the place where the Sanhedrin sat. This means that the moment a Sanhedrin is established (may it happen speedily in our days), there is an obligation upon each and every one of us to obey their halachic decisions. All those who differ, whether it be a famous Rosh Yeshiva or Admoor, will be forced to accept the decision of the Sanhedrin.

But until that time comes, the verse, "you shall observe to do according to all that they inform thee" has no practical halachic application for us.

There are No "Gedolim" If this is so, the crucial question is: Who do we listen to? Is there no da'at Torah (Torah view) today? Of course there is! But it is the task of every God-fearing Jew to seek out what the Torah view is, and find a rabbi who goes on the path of Torah truth, clinging to him as long as his rabbi remains on that path. What about the "gedolim"? We ask you: Who are the "gedolim"? Is it Rav X or Rabbi Y? Is it the known Torah genius, or perhaps his rival, no less the Torah genius, who so vastly differs with him?

Let's be honest. No one just accepts the opinion of the "gedolim". In reality, one fellow sees this particular rabbi as a Torah "gadol", and follows him; another fellow holds by another rabbi, and even if a hundred great rabbis line up against his rav, he will follow his rav through thick and thin.

Don't Forget The Fear Factor

Rabbi Kahane was endowed with the trait of emet - - truth. He was a Torah scholar who clung to truth without allowing emotions or other subjective factors affect his thinking. This is why we continue in his path - - whether it is accepted by the "gedolim" or not. The truth is, that privately, behind closed doors, many rabbis agreed with him, encouraging him to continue, but were afraid to admit so in public.

Rebbe? Gadol? The key ingredient must be: truth, with no fear. And this was the dominant characteristic of Rabbi Meir Kahane, z"tl.

(written by Rav Binyamin Kahane in 1991, shortly after the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane)

Returning to the Source


BS"D YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI

Jerusalem, Israel HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT SHLACH LECHA

23 Sivan 5767/8-9 June 2007

RETURNING TO THE SOURCE

After the sin of the ten spies and the decree that the Jewish people would now have to wander for the next 40 years in the desert until that generation could be wiped out, the Torah goes on to teach us about the laws of the wine libation on the altar in the Temple, and the commandment of separating challah. In fact, we find that when the spies returned to the Israeli camp and found Moses, Aharon, the Sanhedrin, and the Jewish people by the Tabernacle learning the laws of challah, they mockingly said to them that we would not be needing these laws, as we could not conquer the Land of Israel.

Why, then, did the Torah place these laws of the libation on the altar and of challah right after the unfortunate episode of the spies?

As is well known, the first man, Adam, was created from the dust of the site of the altar in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The place in which he was created will be the place of his atonement. Adam, our Rabbis teach us, is the pure challah of this world. And just like a person is obligated to take off a piece of his bread and give it over to the Kohanim/ Priests, so, too, Hashem, after creating the world, separated a piece from this world - that piece was Adam, the first man.

The libations which accompanied the sacrifices were poured on top of the altar into two little holes, which led to the very foundation of the Temple floor. These two items, the challa and the libation, more then anything else represent a return to their original source.

After the sin of despising the Land, the Jewish people became depressed and a spirit of mourning prevailed. The people wondered: Maybe we will never enter Eretz Yisrael. Hashem ordered Moshe to go cheer the despondent Jews. Master of the Universe, asked Moshe, how do I comfort them? By teaching them, replied the Almighty, the laws of libations and taking challa from the dough. Here Hashem was teaching the Jewish people that even though a decree has come that the Jews must now wonder for the next 40 years, still, they will eventually come up to the Land, for like a magnet that pulls metal closer, so, too, the Land of Israel will always be pulling the Jewish people to come back to their source.

For this reason, these two laws are taught to the Jewish people after the sin of the spies, to tell us that no matter how far the Jew is away on his journey in life, the Land of Israel, his source will always be pulling him back home.

How ironic, then, that we find this week, the week that we read about the sin of the spies, who despised the Land of Israel and preferred to stay in the golden exile of the desert, that the head of the German Jewish community came out objecting to the Israeli government over the advertisements in Germany calling for aliya of the small Jewish community there. Of all places in the world, davka Germany, they are telling their people: No, no need to come home to Israel. Let's build up the wonderful "new" Jewish community right here, for surely lightning never strikes twice in the same spot…

The spies, even though they were the leaders (Gedolim) of the Jewish people at the time, were very small-minded and only wanted to hold on to their high positions. In the end, they lost not only their Volvos and their seats in parliament, but also their place in the World to Come. It must then be our job to fix the sin of that generation and come home to the Land that, in the words of Calev and Joshua, is very very good. We must stop resisting the force that’s pulling us back to our source: The Land of Israel.

With love of Israel,

Levi Chazen

The Abomination Parade Set to Attack Jerusalem Once More This Year


Well, it appears that I (along with most other religious Jews) was rightly sceptical about the level of "success" that the Eida Chareidit had negotiated with the police after days of rioting throughout Israel. Indeed, all it accomplished was to give in a little to the perverts last year, and whet their twisted appetite for an even greater attack on Jerusalem this year.

Since it seems that the numerous legal challenges to the march by various religious Members of Knesset have failed, the "Gay Pride Parade," organised by the homosexual group "Open House" has recieved the official go-ahead to march through the Holy City of Yerushalayim on the 21st of June this year (having now recieved the "ok" to defile the Holy City from both the police and the Israeli Supreme Court).

In the face of this despicable attack on our Holiest City, the religious community is assembling itself for this battle against the forces of impurity

It is sad that it takes times such as these to unite the many factions within the Nation of Israel, but this is a was no more vital for the survival of Am Yisrael than the one that took place 40 years ago this month. Once more Jerusalem is the prize - but these homosexual perverts wish to do to Jerusalem that which even the Arab enemy could not accomplish. They wish to desecrate it on a spiritual level, and bring it to the state of Soddom and Ammorah (G-D forbid).

It is the moral duty of every Jew to fight against this abomination in every way possible. Please G-D I will be posting updates on this blog as soon as they come up.

May G-D lead us to victory over the forces of impurity and all those who represent it and fight on its behalf!

The Bankruptcy of Secular Zionism


By Rabbi Binyamin Kahane (1997)

If there was not a Tzachi HaNegbi, we would have had to invent him. What better example is there to illustrate the bankruptcy of secular nationalism? Who can better teach us how even the most fervent of them has no real true stance, because only faith in G-d is the ingredient which enables the Jewish leader to withstand the immense pressures with which one will be faced. One who does not possess the objective and absolute values of Judaism cannot withstand the pressure. Some may require mild pressure to fold, while others may require more, but in the end, there is nothing of substance to hold him. And so he proceeds to convince himself that it isn't so terrible, and it's better to concede a little than to lose a lot, and all the other "cheshbonot" to which there are no end.

It is important to note how Tzachi HaNegbi himself explains how he underwent his change: "As a result of my learning law, I began to understand that without democracy, there is no life on the 'monument' (in his younger days, HaNegbi barricaded himself on the top of a monument in Yamit in an effort to prevent the "legal" government decision to evacuate Yamit). It is democracy which enables the people to fight for what it believes in, without having a hair on its head harmed." Afterwards, he proceeds to pour praise on the judge Aharon Barak.

On the other hand, one who embraces absolute values according to the Halacha, knows that the Halacha is stubborn and can't be toyed around with. What we have here are two entirely different and contradictory points of view which will eventually collide, as exemplified by the Halachic ruling forbidding soldiers to fulfill orders negating the Jewish Halacha. What is frightening, however, is how far some Jews, who start out with good intentions, can actually go.

Last month Hanegbi as Justice Minister demanded that the rabbis nullify their Halachic ruling which forbids soldiers to carry out orders which negate the Jewish law. Our faithful readers know how much we have stressed over the past few years the cultural war taking place in Israel between the Jews and the Hellenists. And now, the Justice Minister's call to the rabbis sounds like a returning nightmare which we thought had gone away and wouldn't come back. After all, such behavior we had grown accustomed to in recent years from past Justice Ministers such as David Libai, or from the likes of former ministers Yosi and Shuli from the Meretz party who openly fought against Torah and Judaism. And now, we are getting the same treatment from one of "our" Justice Ministers, who, incidentally, recently replaced one who was spit out by the system because he was religious! Yes, one of "our own" is now demanding that the rabbis - the same rabbis whom he stood by boldly in the struggle for Eretz Yisrael - take back their halachic ruling!

Well, let Tzachi HaNegbi know: Just like your predecessors in generations past did not succeed in forcing Jews to nullify Halachic rulings, G-d's word, so too will you fail to nullify even one Halacha! You, who once barricaded yourself on the Yamit monument to prevent the withdrawal from the Sinai, and who has now become a supporter of the Hebron withdrawal and an eager slave of Netanyahu's ambitions and your own quest for power; You, who with such utter ease went from being a bitter enemy of the left to a defender of the leftist-occupied legal system which today you warmly embrace - Know: Relief and deliverance will arise to the Jews from elsewhere, and you, despite your past "record", will be tossed into the trash can of history in but a short while...

A Menorah By Any Name


BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT BEHA'ALOTECHA
16 Sivan 5767/1-2 June 2007


A MENORAH BY ANY NAME

Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aharon and say to him: When you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light." Moses, though, could not comprehend why Hashem asked him to relay this commandment. For every time he would enter the Tabernacle, he found that it was brilliantly lit with the splendor of the Divine Presence. How, wondered Moses, could the lights of the poor earthly Menorah compare to the splendor which Hashem radiates? Hashem, therefore, told Moses to kindle the lights, for through this action, the Jewish people would become spiritually elevated by the lighting of the Menorah. Yes, even though the Divine light was there, there was still a need for the Jewish people to bring the light. In fact, if we would wake up one day and have fire come down from Heaven and light the Menorah for us, we would not be able to use it, but are commanded to bring our own light.

With this in mind, I remember once a friend of mine commenting on the sentence in our parsha. The workmanship of the Menorah was such that it was hammered out of gold, from the base to its flowers it is hammered out; according to the vision that Hashem showed Moses, so he made the Menorah.

Upon seeing how complex the making of the Menorah was, my friend became dismayed, saying that even Moses was perplexed about how the Menorah should be constructed, until Hashem Himself took Moses and showed him. If so, then this is an almost impossible task - how can we hope to build one today, for without it there seemingly can be no work in the Temple.

Pressed for an answer, I turned to the Rambam to see if he could shed some light on the subject (pardon the pun). Yes, it seemed very complex, with all the flowers, knobs and buttons decorating the Menorah making a total of 42. If just one is missing, the Menorah cannot be used in the Temple service. Moreover, the Menorah must stand on three legs, with a height of about a meter and a half. All of this was to come from one piece of gold. I cried out, who can build such a Menorah? Were we doomed forever not to have a working Menorah?

But reading on in the Rambam, the answer came. All of the above laws apply when the Menorah is made out of gold, but if we make it out of any other metal we do not have to have the flowers, buttons or knobs, and it does not have to be made out of one piece. This means that even today, we can go to the Temple Mount and have the Kohanim light a Menorah and thus to fulfill the commandment of the lighting. All we need is the spot on the Temple Mount and seven metal poles, the tips of which could hold the olive oil.

Historically, this is exactly what we find when the Maccabees re-entered the Temple after successfully throwing out the Greeks. The golden Menorah had long been taken out of the Temple by the Greeks; the Macabees took seven long poles and placed the oil on top of them, fulfilling the commandment of the lighting. It was not until some years later that they had the financial means to make one out of silver, and then, finally, out of gold. Yes, years later, they, the Hashmona'im, were able to finally make one out of gold. As complex as it may be, still, the bottom line is that if Hashem commanded the Jewish people with a commandment (in this case, to build a Menorah to light everyday), then it must be in our power to do so, for Hashem would not command anything that could not be done.

This, then, is the great lesson to be learnt here: If Hashem gave us the mitzvah/commandment, then it is in our hands to do, including the Menorah, the Temple and all the other items needs for the service. Come - Let us all go and build the House of the L-rd!


With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

Psalm 31: Like a Lost Vessel


By Rabbi Chanan Morrison


Hunted by his enemies, David felt betrayed and alone:

"I am forgotten from the heart like a dead person. I have become like a lost vessel." [Ps. 31:13]

Why did David express his feelings of isolation and loneliness as being like a "lost vessel"? In what way are the dead like lost objects?

Twelve Months to Forget

The Sages inferred from this verse that our ties to our loved ones are similar to our ties to our possessions. When an object is lost, it takes a year before one loses all hope of regaining it. So too, "the dead are not forgotten from the heart until twelve months have passed" [Brachot 58b]. As a result, the Sages taught that when meeting a friend after an absence of a year, we should recite the blessing, "Blessed is the One Who revives the dead." For us, it is as if our friend has come back to life.

Obviously, we remember those whom we love even after a year has passed; but the pain of loss is primarily felt during that first year. What function do these heartrending emotions of grief and mourning serve? Would it not be better if we could immediately reconcile ourselves to the loss, without having to undergo a lengthy process of bereavement?

Hope to Regain

If a certain trait is ingrained in the human soul, Rav Kook wrote, it must have some basis in reality. There must be some aspect of the world - if not in its current condition, then in its future, repaired state - that is reflected by this characteristic of the soul.

Rav Kook's bold conclusion: if death were truly a case of irrevocable loss, a situation that can never be corrected, then we would not mourn the passing of those we love. It would serve no purpose. The very fact that these feelings of profound misery and loss are a universal aspect of human nature indicates that death is not an immutable state.

The psalm's comparison of the dead with lost articles reinforces this conclusion. When we lose an object, why don't we immediately give up hope of recovering it? Because we know the lost object still exists, we just don't know its precise location. In fact, it is this very sense of loss that spurs our efforts to search for and recover it. These very feelings are often the cause for the object's return.

Resurrection of the Dead

The lengthy period of bitter loss following the death of a loved one indicates that, for humanity as a whole, the future promises a remedy for death. Unlike lost vessels, however, this process will be through Divine means. As it says, "Then you will know that I am God - when I open up your graves and lead you up out of your graves" [Ezekiel 37:13]. Nonetheless, since this cure will ultimately come to pass, even now we view and experience death, not as a common occurrence to be accepted as a natural and expected event, but rather like the loss of a highly prized object that we still hope to recover.

A lost vessel is not truly gone from the world. It is only missing with regard to its owner, and it may yet return to him. Even with the passage of time, as the ties between owner and object are weakened, the article still exists. Future generations may continue the search to recover the lost objects of earlier times.

So too, the lengthy time that the soul aches for that which appears unrecoverable is indicative that there is indeed hope. Thus the prophets foretold a future era when the dead will be resurrected: "Your dead will come to life, my corpses will rise up; awaken and sing, you who dwell in the dust" [Isaiah 26:19].

[adapted from Ein Ayah vol. II, p. 304]

Clarifying a Temple Mount Issue



BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT NASO
9 Sivan 5767/25-26 May 2007


CLARIFYING A TEMPLE MOUNT ISSUE

“The children of Israel did so; they sent them (the impure) to the outside of the camp, as Hashem had spoken to Moses”. In this week’s parsha, we are taught of the obligation to remove the spiritually unclean (tam’eh) to the outside of the camp of Israel. In the desert, the children of Israel were made up of three camps, each with a higher lever of holiness. In the center of the Jewish people’s encampment was the Tabernacle - this was the camp of the Divine Presence. Next came the Levite camp - this was the area surrounding the Tabernacle, and finally the Israelite camp, which was made up of the entire encampment of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Torah obligates an impure person to leave one, two or all three of these camps according to the severity of his tum’ah.

This division of the Jewish people, as the Jews wandered for 40 years in the desert with the Tabernacle, was not just a one- time affair; rather, it was a commandment for all generations. We find that this division of camps also took place in Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Corresponding to the Divine Presence camp in the desert was the Temple, the Kohanim and Israelite courtyards. The camp of the Levite constituted the remaining sections of the Temple Mount, and the camp of the children of Israel corresponded to the city of Jerusalem. These levels of holiness still envelop the Temple Mount and Jerusalem today, even though the Temple is not standing.


What’s the problem?


As is well known, today we are all in the category of impurity through contact with a dead body. This type of impurity was banned from entering the Divine Presence camp under the punishment of Karet - being cut off, but a person with such impurity would be able to remain in the Levite and Israelite camps. That means that today, we are forbidden to go to the area on the Temple Mount where the Temple and its courtyards stood, but we can go the rest of the Temple Mount, which makes up some 85 percent of the Mount! Now you might say that we don't know where this 15-percent (Temple and courtyards) “off-limits” area is, and therefore, by going up to the Mount we might accidentally be walking in the forbidden area. The truth is, that even if we did not know where the Temple and its courtyards stood (which in truth we do), the 15 forbidden percent cannot be just anywhere on the Mount, but must be somewhere in the middle of it. In any case, when one goes up to the Mount, he does not come close to any area where that 15% might have been.

Well, you might ask: What about the rest of the Temple Mount - that 85%? Is a "tum’at met"- a person with impurity from a dead body - allowed to be there? To answer this question, let's go back to the encampment of the Jewish people in the desert. As we said, the Levite camp enclosed the surrounding area of the Tabernacle that corresponds today to 85% of the Temple Mount, and as we learned in the Torah (Exodus 13:19), Moses, who lived in the Levite camp, took the bones of Joseph with him, meaning that the bones of Joseph were with Moses in his camp! We see from here that not only is someone who is impure because of a dead body - as we are today - allowed to be in the Levite camp (85% of the Temple Mount), but you can actually bring a dead body itself up to the Temple Mount!

If as "tam'eh met" –impure from a dead body, we are allowed to go up to the permitted areas in the Mount, why, then, do many Rabbis come out forbidding people from going to the Temple Mount today? I don’t know - As of now, not one Rabbi has given over a serious halachic reason not to go up! Maybe they are afraid that people who do not know where they are allowed to go might wander to the forbidden 15%. But that certainly is not a justified reason to stop people who do know, and certainly they could place markers showing people which road to stay on.

More than all of this is the overriding factor of the horrible Chilul Hashem that take place every day on the Temple Mount: Giving control of the Mount to our Arab enemies. The least we can do is to have a Jewish presence on the Mount and to show Hashem that we, the Jewish people, want to build His house again!



With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen




***************************************




I'd just like to add my own personal note...

The Rambam (Laws of the Temple, 1:1) says:

...it is permitted to bring a dead body onto the Temple Mount
[that is, the areas around the Temple but not the Temple itself], and one who
had contracted ritual impurity from a corpse may definitely enter
there.

The Rambam himself ascended the Temple Mount and prayed there, as he relates in his "Iggeret Teiman." To celebrate he established a "private festival" for himself, and to this very day there are many Yemenite Jews who celebrate that ascent. He says:

I entered into the great and holy house [the Temple Mount] and prayed there on
the sixth of Cheshvan... and I vowed an oath, that I will always celebrate this
day as a personal festival, to be marked by prayer and rejoicing in HaShem, and
by a festive meal.


In addition, the Talmud (Eruvin 105a) tells us that in order to build the Temple or in order to repair and maintain it, one may enter even the restricted areas of the Temple Mount. This is brought down as the Halacha in Rambam, Laws of the Temple, Chapter 7. As a result, the general Halachik concensus is that "for means of conquest" even the ritually impure can ascend into the areas otherwise forbidden to them. The Maccabim, for example, were all tum'at met, (since they had killed many enemy soldiers, among them Hellenistic Jews) and yet they ascended in order to fix the damage and desecration that the Greeks had caused to the Temple.

- Ivri

Not Everyone is Included in the Four Species

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