Parshat Acharei Mot/Kedoshim


12 Iyar, 5761/4-5 May, 2001

(from "Havdalah [Separation]", Or HaRa'ayon, HaRav Meir Kahane, ZT"L HY"D)


G-d established a major Torah principle when He said, "Keep My decrees and laws which a person must perform, and live by them" (Lev. 18:5). G-d commanded man to live. This is not a right but an obligation, a prerequisite for leading a life of holiness, purity and goodness, suppressing passion and conceit, accepting the yoke of Heaven and crowning G-d King of the universe. It is an unforgiveable sin to view life as one's personal property, one's private domain which one is allowed, as its owner, so to speak, to do with as one pleases. It is many more times as sinful when a person dares to commit suicide, to end by his own act the life he is commanded to live. "Live by them" is a great mitzvah upon which all others depend.

From here emerges the rule that when there is no decree of forced apostasy looming over us, and G-d's name will not be defamed, we may commit any sin to save our lives (except for idolatry, fornication or murder); because it is better to violate one mitzvah today and live to keep all the mitzvot later on. Our sages said (Shabbat 151b):

"It was learned: Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says, 'Even for a one-day-old baby we violate the Sabbath, but if David, King of Israel dies, we do not violate the Sabbath for him. Of the first case, the Torah says, 'Violate one Sabbath for him so that he will keep many Sabbaths', but we do not violate the Sabbath for a deceased monarch - once a person dies, he ceases to be obligated by mitzvot.' As R. Yochanan said, 'Set apart [chofshi, lit., free] among the dead' (Ps. 88:6). Once a person dies, he becomes free of the mitzvot.'"

In other words, as long as someone remains alive, all the mitzvot bind him, including the important precept of violating one mitzvah so that he, himself, or another Jew, can live to fulfill many others. A major principle emerging here is that even saving another Jew's life overrides the mitzvot. The mitzvah of saving a Jew (regardless of whether another mitzvah is nullified for that purpose), stems from the mitzvah of Jewish love and brotherhood, from Israel's being "re'im", "neighbors", united in holiness and in mitzvah performances (see Ch. 10). Rambam wrote (Hilchot De'ot 6:3), "It is a mitzvah upon every Jew to love every other Jew like his own self, as it says, 'Love your neighbor ["re'a"] as yourself' (Lev. 19:18), and Sefer HaChinuch wrote the same (243[219]).

And because all of Israel were created as neighbors in mitzvot and in holiness, the Torah decreed, "Do not stand idly by when your neighbor's life is in danger" (Lev. 19:16). Our sages said (Sanhedrin 73a):

"From whence do we know that if someone is chasing his fellow man to kill him, we can save the victim by killing his pursuer... From whence do we know that if we see a person drowning in a river, being dragged by a wild animal or attacked by bandits, we are obligated to save him? It says, 'Do not stand idly by when your fellow-being's life is in danger.'"

Ostensibly, all this applies only when no sin is being committed. How then do we know that one is obligated even to violate a mitzvah in order to save a Jew? Our sages taught (Yoma 85a):

"R. Yishmael, R. Akiva and R Elazar ben Azariah were once on a journey, and Levi the systematizer and R. Yishmael, son of R. Elazar ben Azaria, were following them, when a question was posed to them: 'From whence do we know that in the case of danger to human life the laws of the Sabbath are suspended?'"

Each of these great rabbis brought his own proof. The Talmud concludes (Yoma 85b), "R. Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: Had I been there, I would have said that my [proof] was better than theirs. It says, 'Live by them', not 'Die by them.'" We see that even when to save a life a mitzvah must be violated, we violate that mitzvah to save our own lives or someone else's life so that he will live on and fulfill many mitzvot - our whole purpose on earth.

Such has the law come down regarding even the possibility of danger to human life, as the Mishnah teaches (Yoma 83a):

"If one is seized by a ravenous hunger, he may be given even unclean things to eat [on Yom Kippur] until he regains his lustre... If one has a pain in his throat, he may pour medicine into his mouth on the Sabbath, because this constitutes a possibility of danger to human life, and every possibility of such danger suspends the laws of the Sabbath."

The Talmud comments (Yoma 84b):

"One may warm water for a critically ill person on the Sabbath, both for the purpose of giving him a drink or of refreshing him; and not only for this one Sabbath did they rule this, but also for the following one. [In other words, even if there is no possibility of danger regarding this Sabbath, for we know that he will not die today, but there is a possibility that if we do not violate the Sabbath on his behalf today, he might die later on.] Nor do we say, 'Let us wait, because he may get well.' Rather, we warm the water for him immediately, for the possibility of danger to human life overrides the laws of the Sabbath... Nor are these things to be done by non-Jews or minors, but by great rabbis."

Observe how pivotal is the concept of the "partner in mitzvah observance", such that we are obligated to profane the Sabbath and the rest of the mitzvot to save a Jew so that he can live on to do mitzvot. The whole mitzvah of saving a Jew stems from the principle of "Live by them", that our whole purpose in life is mitzvah observance. Life is not called living, and there is certainly no reason to violate a mitzvah for its sake, unless it is dedicated to mitzvah observance, which is the purpose of life.

It Is Obvious!

By Moshe Lerman

We keep certain mourning customs until day 33 of Sefirat Ha'Omer because 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva died. Surely, it was a big disaster for Israel, a blow to the world of Torah. How could so many students of rabbi Akiva die in such a short period? If there was a plague, did other people not die of it? How come that we mourn for the students of Rabbi Akiva, but not for the enormous disaster that happened in the years of Rabbi Akiva, which cost many more than 24,000 lives - the defeat of Bar Kochba?

The Talmud hides the true reason of the death of the students of Rabbi Akiva. They died at the hands of the Romans, during Bar Kochba's rebellion. The Babylonian Talmud systematically avoids explicit mentions of Bar Kochba. The reason is that after the defeat the Sages ruled that great care should be taken in actions to bring the redemption. The three oaths of Ketubot 111a are a reflection of this. Their decision led to a status quo of centuries.

But around the year 5,000 there was a turn-around. We see a revival of the wish to return to the Land. We see that Yehudah HaLevi denies the relevance of the three oaths and argues for a massive Aliya to prepare/bring the redemption. We see that the Rambam bases his psakim regarding Moshiach on the example of davka Bar Kochba. And so forth, until the Gra who sent his talmidim to the Land to prepare/bring the redemption, and the talmidim of the Besht and many more doing the same.

Making Aliyah in the face of diseases and Arab murderers, clearly many endangered themselves. There were some spiritual losses also. We had Shabtai Tzvi and similar cases.

There always was the other approach, the one of the oaths. Let us wait, wait for Moshiach. It naturally tends to get stronger when it becomes clear that the Land is acquired through yissurim, suffering.

What is the answer? Who is right? How can HaShem put us in such an awkward position? We have no prophets. How can we know what to do? Should we be Bar Kochba, or Yochanan ben Zakai? The GR"A or the Satmar Rebbe? Meir Kahane or Aharon Lichtenstein?

My answer is that obviously we should be Bar Kochba (not repeating his sins of course). This is what is behind what the Rambam writes. Moshiach does not need to do miracles, teaches the Rambam. He will come in a natural way, step by step, in the way of Bar Kochba. In other words, the redemption depends on our actions.

The psak to stay put was valid only for a limited time. It was Et La'asot L'Hashem. The holy principle is opposite. In the name of this principle, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai should not have given up Yerushalayim, and our sages make this clear (Gittin 56). Only, there was a g'zera: The Temple was to be destroyed. Rabbi Yochanan was forced, by Heaven, to make a mistake. His decision does not change the holy principle.

Judaism is not like Christianity. Christians wait for their Moshiach, passively. Nothing in the daily life of the Christian can bring his Moshiach closer. For the Christian this is natural. Daily life is mundane. But we think different, opposite. For a Jew, everything he does is spiritual. Nothing is mundane. The physical is sanctified, through the Mitzvot. By moving to the Land we bring Moshiach closer. Is it hard, dangerous even? Yes, and this must be so. It is the price of what is acquired.

In discussions about Eretz Yisrael, often the Halacha Shulchan Aruch O"C 329 is thrown in by those who oppose concessions of the Land-for-peace type. This Halacha rules that Shabbat should be violated if an enemey comes to steal from a border city, because even the stealing might lead to future Pikuach Nefesh. Halachot like this do not decide this issue. It is not really related to Eretz Yisrael, and Pikuach Nefesh depends on circumstances.

Also the very often cited Minchat Chinuch on the Mitzvot regarding killing seven nations and Amalek is not conclusive in itself (the Minchat Chinuch rules that these Mitzvot are not pushed aside by Pikuach Nefesh). The case is not the same as the issue of Eretz Yisrael, and besides the Chinuch rules differently.

Rather, it is obvious.

Tazria-Metzora: Unpleasant Torah Issues

by Rabbi Binyamin Zev Kahane

First published in 1996.

Parshat Tazria-Metzora discusses all kinds of unpleasant subjects. One can even say they are "not nice." Leprosy, plagues, scabs, semen and all different forms of uncleanliness are expounded upon in the greatest of detail. Why must the Torah deal with the most undignified of problems that trouble man? Would it not be preferable for our holy Torah to skip such subjects and discuss more spiritually uplifting matters? You know, concepts such as holiness and purity, grandeur and splendor, and similar religious subjects? Do we really need to read in such graphic detail about semen and scabs on a Shabbos morning? Should not this subject matter be dealt with modestly?

But the more we learn Torah, the more we reveal that just as Torah deals with spiritually uplifting concepts, so too it deals with matters we would not categorize as "spiritual." For example, at the very beginning of the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, in "Orach Haim" (the section dealing with day to day matters), are the laws dealing with going to the bathroom, elaborated upon in meticulous detail. Nothing more and nothing less.

And so, we see a basic principle: the Torah is a Torat hayim, applying to one's life in the fullest of senses.

Indeed, it would be more comfortable for many if the Torah would deal with the "lofty" subjects, and that their spiritual world would only include the "nice", "pure" topics that go down smoothly. It would be preferable to many if the trivial, everyday stuff would be placed outside the spiritual realm. But the purpose of the Torah is precisely the opposite. It is to bring holiness and spirituality to even the most remote and lowly of places, in order to sanctify them. It intentionally relates in great measure to the problematic areas of life, so it will not be mistaken for some nice "folklore" that requires a consensus and a distancing from controversy. It deals with the evil. And when the time comes where one must perform some painful surgery - even at the cost of a certain amount of blood-letting - then even this must be done without undue hesitation.

One can not ignore tzaraat ("leprosy"). It is an expression of man's problems, and the sages tell us that the very word tzaraat is from motzi shem ra ("slander"). And so, the world needs to be corrected. Sometimes, it takes serious surgery, and one can not ignore it by getting bogged down in all kinds of "lofty" and "nice" concepts that are cut off from reality. That is a Christian outlook. The Torah, by contrast, separates between good and evil, and deals with the problems. It doesn't run away from reality; it deals with it head on.

One of the problems with observant Jews is that there is all too often a subconscious distinction between "nice mitzvot" and "not nice mitzvot" (this categorization being dependent on the "spirit" of the time). Everyone, for example, loves the mitzvah of Shabbat; it has come to embody a concept pertaining to "social" and family values. (Once this was not so, and it was looked upon in a negative light, as we see that Haman tried to incite Achashverosh against the Jews using the fact that the Jews rest on Shabbat.) Everyone also loves the mitzvah of honoring one's parents. Who can oppose such a nice mitzvah? (And this too isn't an absolute, as we know of societies who cast off their elder citizens to die.)

On the other hand, people tend to distance themselves from the mitzvot of leprosy, as they do from the halachot of war, vengeance and the expulsion of Goyim from the land, despite the fact that these subjects are such a central and basic theme in authentic Jewish thought. For these laws, too, belong to the category of "not nice" mitzvot in the Torah, since they

True, most observant Jews would not dare to admit they make such a categorization. But in their subconscious, they do it all the time, due to the non-stop brainwashing, which, like gamma rays, penetrates their mindsets. This is why many find themselves alienated from the parsha Tazria-Metzora, and this is why they use all kinds of excuses to deny the parshas dealing with war and vengeance.

Like a pillar, the parshas of Tazria-Metzora appear between the parshiot that express the height of holiness and the "beauty" of Judaism - parshat Shemini in which the Tabernacle was consecrated and parshat Achrei Mot, which describes the service of the Cohen HaGadol on Yom Kippur. This teaches us a vital lesson: "Torat HaShem timeema, meshivat nafesh." - "The Torah of HaShem is perfect (whole), restoring the soul." (Psalms 19:8) When does it restore the soul? When it is whole and complete, and not divided into different parts that we are more fond of or less fond of.

In the final analysis, the greatness of Torah may even stem from the fact that it relates to the "less nice" sides of life, offering clear solutions to problems. Our Torah is not pareve, but rather determined and unhesitating, carrying on its banner the need to cling to good and burn out evil. Without compromises.

Tazria: Shiloh and the Birth-Offerings

Written by Rabbi Chanan Morrison

The Torah portion of Tazria begins with the special offerings of women who recently gave birth. Amazingly, it was over these birth-offerings that a family of priests was disqualified from serving in the Temple. Even worse: according to the Talmud in Yoma 9a, this sorry affair led to the destruction of the Shiloh Tabernacle, the forerunner to the Temple, after functioning for 369 years.

The Sin of Eli's Sons

The book of Samuel describes the ignominious state of the holy service in the Shiloh Tabernacle. The sons of Eli were insensitive priests who would take their portions by force and "treated God's offerings with contempt" [I Sam. II:17]. Their worst sin, according to the reports reaching the ears of their father, was that "they slept with the women who streamed to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting" [v. 22].

The Talmud states, however, that this verse should not be taken literally. "Anyone who says the sons of Eli actually sinned is mistaken" [Shabbat 55b]. So what does it mean that "they slept with the women"? According to the Sages, they failed to offer the birth-offerings of the women promptly, and thus indirectly prevented them from returning home. The women did not trust the priests to bring their offerings, so they would remain in Shiloh until they saw with their own eyes that their offering was completed. Since the inattentive service of Eli's sons caused the women to be unnecessarily separated from their husbands, the verse refers to their irresponsible behavior as if they slept with them.

Is this just a case of Talmudic whitewash, a rabbinic cover-up? Why should this be the cause for the destruction of the Tabernacle?

The Purpose of the Temple Service

If we want to analyze what brought about the fall of the Tabernacle in Shiloh, we should not give too much weight to passing incidents, grave though they may be. Rather we should search for indications of an underlying moral decay that undermined the very foundations of the Temple service and its objectives.

The Divine service is integrally connected with the concept of uplifting and sanctifying life. We cannot fully elevate life in all of its aspects, in its heights and depths, unless we are able to connect life to its Source, to the Creator of all life.

Life also includes times of trouble and distress. What will give it light, restoring its natural happiness and joy? What will rejuvenate it and grant it nobility and grace? This can only be accomplished by uncovering the Godliness to be found in all aspects of life.

The Birth-Offering

The birth of a child is a wonderful occasion, bringing new life and joy to the family. But the birthing experience is a challenging one, as it also involves pain and suffering. The complex emotions felt by the woman giving birth can bring stress and conflict to the family, and are only forgotten with the passage of time, as life returns to its usual joy and happiness.

What can cleanse the dark impressions and hard feelings that come from this suffering, rooted in the sin of our mother in the beginnings of humanity? Their remedy requires an act of drawing near to God. As the new mother elevates her birthing experience with her chatat and olah offerings, she rectifies the shortcomings caused by the rebellious tendencies of the human heart. These offerings allow her soul to be lifted up in feelings of love for the greatness of the Creator of all life, the Source of love for all creatures.

In short: the Temple offerings must reflect a harmony between the Divine service and the goal of elevating life. This is especially true for the offerings brought after giving birth. True morality cannot sanction the idea of a mechanical Temple service, disconnected from the people and their lives.

The Service in Shiloh

The unfeeling, even tyrannical atmosphere that existed in the Shiloh Tabernacle - the absence of ethical sensitivity, the lack of integrity and compassion, the disconnect from the needs and feelings of the people, by an order of hardhearted priests who paraded their elevated position over the people by force - this spirit created an artificial divide between the principles of morality and the Temple service, and in the end destroyed the reign of the priestly family of Eli. These callous priests saw no connection between their service and the sanctification of life. Ultimately, their actions brought about the fall of the Tabernacle in Shiloh.

The priests should have seen the birth-offering as a vehicle to rectify and purify life. How could they delay these offerings, thus impairing their primary purpose, that which God desires in His world - "shalom bayit" - harmony and quietude in family life?

But Eli's sons mistakenly viewed their priesthood as an entitlement. Instead of a service based on purity and holiness, theirs was a service capable of arrogance and ugliness. They only sought to fulfill the external, technical side of the Temple service.

This corrupted form of service is what led to the destruction of the Tabernacle - something that an individual sinful act could not cause. If Eli's sons had actually sinned as written, such a state could not have gone on for long without correction. The service in Shiloh did not suffer from any particular sinful act, but rather from a moral decay in its very foundations, for which it needed to be destroyed in order to be corrected and rebuilt.

[adapted from Ein Ayah vol. IV pp. 49-50]

Once Again - Returning To Chomesh

From an e-mail by Susie Dym:


You may have seen in the paper that Yom Haatzmaut (Tuesday 24 April 6 Iyar) is the next visit to Chomesh -- this time for only one day. Bring walking/climbing shoes and warm clothes, food and water. Busses cost 20 NIS and are round-trip: there and back, same day, don't bring your sleeping bag this time. Sign up now (you MUST do so till midnight of the night before (till Monday midnight).

Northern busses: Register at this number: 0524-627118

1. Golan (Katzrin) 9AM via Tiberias (Central Bus Station) - Golani Junction - Afula

2. Safad 9 AM - Carmiel -- Moreshet - Yokneam

3. Nahariya 9 AM - Acco -- Krayot -- Checkpost (in direction of Nesher)

4. Haifa (Merkaz Ziv near Riri flower store) 9 AM - Merkaz Horev (near Bnei Brit) - Kvish haChof - Zichron Yaakov (maybe)

Southern & Central busses, all leaving 10 AM (register at this number: 052-6302222)

5. Jerusalem - Binyanei haUma

6. Rehovot -- Herzl corner of Yaakov

7. Raanana - Yad LeVanim

8. Petah Tikva - Iriya Square

If your city doesn't have a bus above : If you are coming from a city or location not listed above call us immediately (0524-627118 for North, 052-6392222 elsewhere) before Motzei Shabat, and Chomesh Tchila will try to organize a bus to stop for you. Indicate full name, how many places you need and where from.

Public transport: Excellent service from Netanya straight to Shavei Shomron by Egged Line 73 03-6948888. Remember that many places have good train service direct to Netanya.


Pulitzer Prize for a Picture of Defiance and Heroism

Oded Balilty, an Israeli photographer for the Associated Press, recieved a Pulizer Prize for this picture, also shown below, of a single Jewish girl couragiously resisting an entire line of soldiers who had come to demolish the Jewish community of Amona, located in Samaria, in February 2006.

I have reposted the contents of the relevant page (linked to above):

A lone Jewish settler challenges Israeli security officers during clashes that erupted as authorities cleared the West Bank settlement of Amona, east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah. Thousands of troops in riot gear and on horseback clashed with hundreds of stone-throwing Jewish settlers holed up in this illegal West Bank outpost after Israel’s Supreme Court cleared the way of demolition of nine homes at the site.

February 1, 2006


One thing is for certain: that brave Jewish girl, and all other heroic Jews like her, will recieve their own Prize in the World To Come - a Prize for more valuable than anything that anyone can recieve in this world. Ko HaKavod to them!

Shemini: Judaism is Not Hefker

Judaism is Not Hefker (1998)

Parsha Commentary by Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd

Translated by Lenny Goldberg

The intention of Nadav and Avihu was to sanctify themselves, but instead of being rewarded, they were killed. Why? Because holiness without the acceptance of the Yoke of Heaven is strange fire.

Without the "Yoke of Heaven", all of the mitzvot lose their significance. For example, someone might say: I observe Shabbat because I think it is nice, and not because G-d commanded me to do so. Such a person does not fulfill G-d's commandments, but rather is following his own thoughts and ego. He is performing the act out of intellectual or emotional "agreement", and is only reinforcing his own arrogance and conceit, despite the fact that on an exterior level, he is performing the same mitzvah just as you and me.

We have dealt with this concept on many occasions, especially as it pertains to the vast numbers of religious Jews who have difficulty relating to "national" mitzvot, such as goyim in Eretz Yisrael, war, vengeance, etc. This, as we have stated, is due to foreign influences, and the failure to accept the Yoke of Heaven in it's entirety. Through the sin of Nadav and Avihu, we will now deal with this concept from a different angle.

Many explanations are given for the death of Nadav and Avihu. In any case, we need not look beyond the simple understanding of the verses in our parsha to gain the proper insight: "And they offered strange fire before the Lord which He commanded them not." In other words, they deviated from the exact instructions which they had been given by G-d to perform the service. They added something extra, something strange. In order to grasp the severity of their sin, we must understand the background. We are talking about the eighth day of the consecration service ("milieuim") of Aharon and sons. These were days of spiritual elevation and preparation so that they can begin their service in the Tabernacle. During these days, Moshe, Aharon, and his sons were set apart from everyone else, occupied in the very special service G-d had commanded them. The details of this service had been meticulously described in parshas "TiZave" and "Tzav".

The eighth day was the absolute climax of the service. On this day the Tabernacle was erected, and the holy work inside it was to commence. Everyone was in a state of holy-exuberance which had never yet beenexperienced. And behold, Nadav and Avihu's love for G-d reached a new height, bursting forth almost uncontrollably. In their boundless enthusiasm,they felt a need to offer extra incense before G-d, something which they had not been commanded to do. And then tragedy struck.

If this had happened today, surely people would ask: That's a sin? On thecontrary, all this stemmed from their feelings of holiness! They should be given a prize! But here a great lesson is to be learned: There is no sanctity outside of the framework which G-d has set down, which is the "halacha". The Torah has a good reason for twice repeating in great detail the halachot of the "milieuim" service, despite the fact that these halachot are no longer applicable for today. It wants to teach us that even the "gedolim", during grand moments of spiritual elevation, must remember that there is a very specific procedure which G-d set down for how one must sanctify himself. It is not "hefker". Any deviation from the procedure which G-d determined, no matter how small it may be, is liable to bring tragedy. Pay attention to the words of the Torah in defining the sin of Nadav and Avihu: "And they offered a strange fire before the Lord which He commanded them not". Their sin was for doing something which was not included in what G-d commanded them to do. This is in itself a sin: G-d gave a clear plan, and then Nadav and Avihu came up with their own "agenda".

A lesson can be learned here that is applicable to some of the approaches to Judaism which are prevalent today. High spiritual elevation and enthusiasm which exceeds the "dry" and "square" halacha, is something very dangerous indeed. One who is trying to sanctify himself with holiness, may often feel that the halacha is restricting him. At first glance, such a feeling stems from a healthy aspiration for extra holiness. And then,according to his personal discretion and intellect, he begins to place emphasis on certain things. Without realizing it, he creates a new religion. A "strange fire". What is really happening here, is that he has broken off the "Yoke of Heaven", due to his ego and lack of readiness to understand that the foundation to holiness is the acceptance of the yoke of hisCreator, and the subjugation of his own ego.

The way to sanctify oneself and cling to G-d - only G-d Himself can determine. Just as it is clear that one cannot be "religious" in his heart, without fulfilling mitzvot, so, too, is it clear that our human intellect and personal emotions can never figure out the proper way to cling to G-d. Such feelings are brief and transient, blowing breezes which leave no real impression.

It is likely that the commandment given to Aharon forbidding him to mourn his children, is intended to complete this message. In other words, because the death of his sons was due to the fact that they went after their own inner emotions and ignored the "halacha", Aharon must prove that even in the most tragic situation, one must overcome his emotions, if Hashem commands it. And indeed: "And Aharon was silent". What greatness! Aharon accepts the sentence, transcending all personal loss and sorrow.

The Yoke of Heaven! Before we even "understand" the Torah; before we even "agree" with the mitzvot - we must fulfill it to the letter. Afterwards, one can try to understand. In the meantime, do the mitzvah even if it seems togo against your "conscience". We will do - and we will listen.

A Proud Winner of the "Thinker Blogger Award"!

As some of you may or may not know, my fellow blogger MadZionist, has very kindly awarded this blog, among others, with the "Thinker Blogger Award."

Here is what he wrote about the Kahane Blog on his blog, "Mad Zionist":

Kahane Was Right - This site offers the graduate course for advanced Kahanism and Jewish religious nationalism. He's a true Torah scholar and a Kahanist to the core. I love it, and always learn something every time I visit his blog.

I must admit that until today I never even knew that such an award existed! Nevertheless I am extremely flattered that of all the Blogs on the internet, someone showed that they really appreciated this one.

Here is my reply to MadZionist's kind words:

Thank you very much for your kind words Mad Zionist - I must admit that it is very encouraging to know that people appreciate the Kahane Blog.

I must stress, however, that only a relatively small portion of the posts are written by myself. The majority are originally written either by Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd, Rav Binyamin Kahane z"tl h"yd, Rabbi Levi Chazen, or adapted from the works of Rav Kook z"tl by Rabbi Chanan Morrison. Occassionally there are other guest writers as well.

Of course, I do also chip in myself from time to time...

Above all else, the Kahane Blog is meant to be a place to learn Torah and Jewish Thought, and to gain a perspective of world events through the Eye of Truth - that is, through the Torah. I am very glad that it is accomplishing this job, with the Help of G-D, and G-D-Willing it will continue to do so for a long time.

Now all I've got to do is decide who I want to choose...!

Passover: Next Year in Jerusalem

Passover: Next Year in Jerusalem

When Rav Kook visited the United States, scores of people came to see and meet him. The purpose of his trip, however, was to raise funds for Torah institutions in Eretz Yisrael.

The Philanthropist's Question

At one gathering in the Rav's honor, a well-known philanthropist agreed to give a very sizable donation to the cause, but only if the Chief Rabbi could explain to him a puzzling practice.

At the conclusion of both the Seder night and Yom Kippur, Jews the world over say, "Next year in Jerusalem." "I understand why Diaspora Jews say this," said the man, "but why do Jews who live in Holy City say it? Are they not already there?"

The Rav listened attentively to the question and then answered genially: "The matter is quite simple, my dear friend. First of all, in Jerusalem we add one word to our prayer. We say, "Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem" - and we still have a long way to go before that request is fulfilled in its entirety."

"But there is more," continued the Rav with a smile on his face.

"When we beseech God, 'Next year in Jerusalem,' we mean that we hope to be there in the fullest sense - in body, soul, and thought. We pray that our situation will be different than it is today, when people dwell in Jerusalem, but are preoccupied with planning trips to America raise funds."

Judging from the size of the man's donation, it was clear that he was especially pleased with the second answer.

[from An Angel Among Men by R. Simcha Raz, translated by R. Moshe Lichtman, pp. 253-254]

Not Everyone is Included in the Four Species

From The Writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane in honor of Sukkot Organs of power at home joining the side of our enemy requires us t...