Site Meter Yehudi Yerushalmi: 2005

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mass assimilation in Israel too

It is time for the ‘secular Zionists’ to admit failure in maintaining a ‘Jewish homeland’ for the Jews.

As the well known saying in Orthodox circles goes: “Intermarriage does not cause assimilation - assimilation causes intermarriage!”

I saw a very sad headline in Yediot Achronot, today. At least 20 Israeli diplomats have gotten married recently in the countries they have been posted to, to non-Jewish women! In one case, the wife of the Israeli ambassador wore a large crucifix necklace in diplomatic functions. Some of the local Jewish leaders have complained: “It doesn’t look good. Which message is this sending out? If Israeli representatives are marrying Christians, how are we to convince our youths to marry Jews?”

In Tel-Aviv around xmas time, there are a great number of shops and restaurants that have xmas trees.

Young secular Israelis have absolutely no knowledge of Judaism. They are assimilated!

Not only that, one of the stated purposes of the recent attempts to disband the Hesder units in the IDF was to 'secularize' or 'expose to secular culture those who have been raised isolated from it'.

As I commented recently on a post on Israel Perspectives, One of the leading proponents in the IDF for disbanding the hesder units, came out and said BIMFORASH that his purpose for this is for the above mentioned reason.I have several relatives who went into the IDF dati, and came out chiloni.

(Ze’ev then also brought this article about the values that the IDF seeks to inculcate in its soldiers to my attention!)

A secular Jewish State is a contradiction in terms! It is quite clear cannot work, and is failing badly.

Most secular/left-wing no longer even want a Jewish State. Beilin recently proudly adopted the division of Jerusalem as an election platform.

What I commented on that post bears repeating:

If it were not for Jews with a strong commitment to Jewish heritage and values, the State of Israel as we know it, a Zionist homeland for the Jews, would no longer exist. If it would have been established at all!

"Chareidi" Jews were the first ones to "make Aliya", and are the original "Zionists"!

The original secular Zionists only got their commitment to the Land of Israel from their exposure to traditional Jewish values.

The modern secular Israeli whose exposure to anything Jewish has been eroded to nothing, have no "Zionist" values, only post-Zionism remains.

The vast majority of them would not have moved to Israel had they been born in Chutz LaAretz, if they would have been aware of their Jewish identity at all.

It is ironic that the secular Israeli leaders call on the secular Jews from Chu'l to make Aliya in order to save them from assimilation.

The majority of those making Aliyah today from western countries are Jews with a strong connection to Jewish heritage!

Compare the way the (so called 'anti-Zionist') Chareidi Torah outreach institutions are always defending the State of Israel against anti-Israel propaganda, to secular "Zionistic" institutions who cannot attack Israel enough!

From Schindler's List to Munich

Spielberg and Kushner Smear Israel
by Andrea Levin,

Executive Director, CAMERA December 19, 2005

Steven Spielberg and an army of well-paid consultants and spinmeisters are pulling out all the stops to promote Munich and fend off damaging criticism of the movie about the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes and the effort to track down the crime's masterminds. The campaign has even included courting family members of the slain men for endorsements to blunt a gathering storm of negative commentary from the likes of David Brooks in the New York Times, Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic and Andrea Peyser in the New York Post.

. . . dispossessing Palestinians, we soon learn, lies at the root.

. . . In Munich there are no Palestinians clamoring for the destruction of Israel

. . . In all of this one sees the biases of Tony Kushner, the radical playwright brought in by Spielberg to reshape the script. Kushner has repeatedly called the creation of Israel a "mistake,"blamed Israel for "the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people,"and advocated policies to undermine the state.

. . . During the movie's production, numerous Israelis with knowledge of the actual events disputed Spielberg's central themes. But the Hollywood director, along with Kushner, ignored them and insisted on their own dark story.

. . . In fact, historical accounts of Israel's decision to target leaders of Black September, the group responsible for Munich, emphasize that the assault at the Olympics was part of a worsening series of terrorist attacks against Israel in 1972. Lod Airport had been struck twice in May with 32 killed. Only days after the September 5 Munich atrocity, an Israeli official was shot in Brussels, and two weeks later a letter bomb killed an Israeli in London.

None of this common sense about self-defense and the context in which the Olympic massacre and Israeli reaction occurred are part of Munich. Instead, Israel's action battling its adversaries is cast as aberrant, bloody and counterproductive. It is no different from the assault of the terrorists and ostensibly spawns far greater violence.

. . .Munich is not fictionalized fact, but a falsehood at its core

. . .Munich offends on other counts. A leitmotif linking Jews and money will make more than a few viewers wince

. . . In other coarse invocations of supposed Jewish banter and attitudes, a team member demands a comrade drop his pants to "see if he's circumcised" when the teammate doesn't understand the need for Jewish violence. An argument among the team has one Israeli shouting: "The only blood that matters to me is Jewish blood!"

. . . Indeed, it is stunning to watch Munich and realize that its director brought Schindler's List to the world. Where that was artistry drawn from truth, Munich is cinematic manipulation rooted in lies. . .

Evidently, exploring essential truths about Jews murdered 60 years ago by a regime that no longer exists and is widely reviled is one thing. Defending the truth about Jews who, over the last half century, have continued to be targeted for murder by Palestinians, Arab states, and in recent decades Iran, and whose stalkers have enjoyed the support of the U.N., scores of NGO's, and perhaps attendees of Hollywood dinner parties, is quite another.

Andrea Levin is Executive Director of CAMERA

More American interference in Israeli internal affairs

Rice endorses Sharon

The Bush Administration does not hide its public support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon even during the sensitive election campaign period.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lauded PM Sharon during an interview on CNN Tuesday, praising Israel’s leader for his courage

. . . Curiously, newly elected Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu has to contend with an American support for his elections rival for the second time. In 1999, the Clinton Administration made every effort to assist the Labor party’s Ehud Barak, who emerged as the eventual winner.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

How many agreements have the Arabs demolished?

Ex-IDF Officer: Bookshelf Full of Agreements'
11:11 Dec 20, '05 / 19 Kislev 5766

) Shimshon Arbel, former IDF officer in charge of Shechem, said on Israel Radio, "The bookshelf is already too full to contain the agreements" with the Palestinian Authority (PA). "There was not a single agreement which we signed...which I can point out and say, 'There! They stood behind it.'"

He also ridiculed the recent accord on re-opening the Rafiah border. "Tons of weapons, of missiles...are being brought in, and we are arguing over whether there will be, or whether there won't be cameras.... What is this nonsense? After all, the entire border can be breached."

Concerning rocket fire on the Negev and southern Ashkelon, he asserted, "We need to close the border from the Gaza Strip to the direction of the State of Israel, a total lockdown, and it does not interest us what could be there."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Pallywood II - Aldurah

Seconddraft has a continuation of the first movie examining al Durah

The Birth of an IconThis documentary, a continuation of the earlier Pallywood, examines the circumstances surrounding the shooting of the explosive footage about Muhamed al Durah and his father Jamal at Netzarim Junction, September 30, 2000.

Streaming video: aldurah.wmv
HiRes Download: aldurah.divx

Interesting Reads

Arab Member of Israels knesset calls for the dismantling of Israel (once again)!

Knesset Member Azmi Bishara in Lebanon: We are original inhabitants of Palestine, not ‘those who came from Poland, Russia; says Israelis should leave, take their democracy with them.


While Tommy Lapid complains (falsely) of the Hechsherim driving up prices, in America, the food manufacturers are falling over themselves to get a Hechsher.


Entire Region of Norway to Boycott Israeli Goods
SOR-TRODELAG (NORWAY), December 17, 2005 (WAFA-PLO news agency)- The Norwegian Provincial Government of Sor-Trondelag voted by a majority on
Saturday to boycott the Israeli goods.

In a press release issued by the Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall
Campaign, said tha the government, includes Trondheim, Norway's third
largest city and comprises almost 20 percent of Norway's population, decided
to completely and totally prohibits the purchase or sale of Israeli products
in all municipalities in the province.


Beilin proudly announces he will divide Jerusalem

Yoram Ettinger writes an excellent article on Magen David Adom’s recent capitulation to the anti-Semites.
From Oslo to Red Cross
Israelis continue to disengage from their roots
"Another 'victory' like this and we've had it," wrote the Wall Street Journal – the most influential newspaper in the United States – about Magen David Adom's admission to the International Red Cross, in exchange for relinquishing the red Star of David in favor of a red crystal. . .

This atmosphere represents weakness as if it were strength, servility as determination, fear as restraint, and adherence and devotion to our roots and principles and national pride as extremist and iron-clad assets as liabilities.
Nations don't concede their national principles – certainly not the 3,000-year-old ones – for temporary advantages, but rather as an expression of caving in to pressure.
History shows that sovereignty and national security rest on ironclad assets, the nurturing of which exacts an immediate-term price, but bears fruit in the long term. . .

The current example of capitulation is just one more stage in the dramatic burnout in Israel's staying power and deterrent power, joining the steep, slippery slope of withdrawals and flimsiness: Negotiations about Jerusalem, coming to terms with a growing balance of terror with the Palestinian Authority and Hizbullah, ignoring hate education in the PA and Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' central role in directing the escalation of incitement and terrorism, recognizing Hamas as a "political organization" running for elections, bowing to Condoleezza Rice's demand to open the Gaza crossings to terrorists, and much, much more. . .


Caroline Glick’s, Column one: Privatizing foreign policy

...As an Israeli, listening to [America's ambassador to the United Nations
John] Bolton I could not help feeling a deep sense of shame. True, it is
exhilarating to know that there is an American ambassador at Turtle Bay who
is going out of his way to defend Israel's rights. But I couldn't help
wondering where Israel's UN ambassador and Foreign Ministry fit into this

It seems that since he was elected vice president of the General Assembly,
Ambassador Gillerman has spent an inordinate amount of his time praising
Kofi Annan for the crumbs he throws in Israel's direction whenever he comes
under pressure from the US Congress to reform the endemically corrupt UN.

And truly, one has to wonder, what purpose other than irony is served by
having an official UN Holocaust Memorial Day? Every day the UN busies itself
facilitating a second Holocaust by advancing its agenda of delegitimizing
Israel's right to exist in every UN body except the Security Council where
Israel is protected by the US veto.

It is a source of embarrassment that the only reason the public became aware
of the UN's literal erasure of Israel from its official map is because of
the subterfuge of Bayevsky - a private citizen and human rights activist who
managed to smuggle a digital camera into the hall where the event took
place. Where was Israel's delegation when the UN officials were organizing
this event and printing up this map? Where was Israel's delegation when the
map was displayed? Where was Israel's delegation when Bayevsky was working
alone to show the world what the UN budget is being used to finance? And why
is the fact that the UN used a map with Israel wiped away not being
staunchly and resolutely condemned on the Foreign Ministry's Web site or
even mentioned there? Why are the ZOA's Web site and Bayevsky's UN Watch Web
site the only sites that posted word of the outrage?

WHAT IS prominently displayed on the Foreign Ministry's Web site is a report
on last week's vote by the Diplomatic Conference of all state parties to the
Geneva Conventions that will pave the way for Magen David Adom to finally
become a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.
According to a statement by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom posted on the Web
site, the vote "reflects Israel's improved international standing in recent
years.. This is yet another achievement for Israel's diplomacy, joining a
long list of other successes in recent months."

Sadly, as in the case of Israel's treatment at the UN, what we see here is
yet another example of Israeli diplomats mistaking spit for raindrops.

The agreement that Israel reached with the International Red Cross is not an
achievement but a travesty. Israel's dispute with the organization was a
dispute over symbols. For 58 years Israel has justifiably demanded that the
Red Cross recognize the red Star of David - long the national symbol of the
Jewish people - as a symbol equal in legitimacy to the cross and the
crescent. But the organization's vote did not recognize its equality.
Rather, the symbol of the Jewish people was replaced with a bizarre diamond
shape. MDA delegations abroad may be permitted to stick a red Star of David
inside of the diamond, but then again, they may not be permitted to do so.
That decision lies in the hands of the government that MDA is deployed to

As The Wall Street Journal editorialized the day after the vote, "Israeli
diplomats celebrate this deal as a great victory. We'd hate to see a
defeat." The editorial continued, "If Israeli relief workers around the
world or army medical corps must hide their identity and wear some 'New Age'
symbol to be accorded the protection of international law, one might
consider this as just another example of the gradual delegitimization of
Israel as a Jewish state."

What the Journal's editorial, Bayevsky's activism and Bolton's actions at
the UN have in common is that in all cases, foreigners, rather than the
Government of Israel, are the ones protesting Israel's mistreatment by
international bodies.

Indeed, since the outbreak of the Palestinian terror war, as Israel's
international standing and the standing of Jews throughout the world have
deteriorated to a level not seen since the Holocaust, the most effective
actions taken in defense of Israel internationally have been conducted by
private organizations and private individuals, mainly in the US. These
actions run the gamut: from countering anti-Semitism on college campuses;
lobbying the US Congress and the EU to cut off funding to the Palestinian
Authority, Egypt and Saudi Arabia; exposing the finding arms of terrorist
organizations; to monitoring the US media for distortions in Middle East
coverage. The Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors and
translates the Arabic press, has done more to expose the anti-Westernism,
misogyny, anti-Americanism and genocidal anti-Semitism that is rife in Arab
culture than any government of Israel ever dreamed of doing.

In some cases, these organizations have been supported by the Foreign
Ministry. In others, they have been undercut by the Foreign Ministry. But
regardless, it is impossible to deny the fact that the incompetence of the
Israeli government in defending Israel in the international arena, and
particularly in the US, has been mitigated substantially by the valiant
efforts of these organizations and individuals, many of whom work as

RATHER THAN demand that the Foreign Ministry operate more effectively, the
time has come for Israelis to simply acknowledge that, for whatever reason,
the ministry is incapable of operating differently. The fact of the matter
is that since the beginning of the Oslo process in 1993, the Foreign
Ministry has preferred fancy, empty ceremonies to actual diplomatic
achievements. Perhaps one day we'll get our own Bolton who will fix the
situation. But regardless of whether one ever appears, the time has come for
Israelis to start advancing private initiatives.

A reader from Florida sent me an idea this week that could potentially make
an enormous contribution to Israel's strategic alliance with the US.

It has been widely reported that the greatest drag on the morale of US
military personnel deployed in Iraq are their long separations from their
families. Divorce rates among US servicemen and women are skyrocketing. My
reader suggested that Israelis organize a program for housing US military
families in Israel while their fathers and mothers are deployed in Iraq. If
their families were comfortably ensconced in Israel, American soldiers,
marines, sailors and airmen could see their families once a month rather
than once a year.

It is true that the US Defense Department will not suggest that the families
of US military personnel in Iraq should move to Israel for the duration of
their family members' deployment. But no one could stop them from doing so.
There can be no doubt that the project would strengthen US-Israel ties and
there can also be no doubt that the initiative can be handled more
efficiently and effectively by private citizens than by the government.

We Israelis spend an enormous amount of time and energy criticizing our
government's incompetence. The time has come to stop complaining and start

Bolton ended his address by discussing the uniqueness of American foreign
policy. In his words, "Our foreign policy is not run by an elite group that
sits in its foreign ministry and dictates policy without regard to what the
voters and what our legislature thinks. The overwhelming characteristic of
our foreign policy is that it is ultimately determined by our citizens."

Yet another example of the lessons we can learn from our American friends

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Jewish Values vs. IDF ‘values’

Thanks to Ze’ev of Israel Perspectives for bringing this article to my attention:

The Spirit of the IDF

Our Moslem neighbors called it the ‘cursed land’ of El G’erara

PA Farmers in Gaza: How Do Those Israelis Do It?

After years of producing bug-free lettuce and other vegetables for Jewish farmers, the sands of Gaza have reverted to their old ways. PA farmers report failure in keeping the bugs away.  

The Gaza Arabs who have taken over the hothouses of what used to be Gush Katif reported to the Israel-PA Coordination Office that they have failed in raising bug-free vegetables.

In addition, the PA workers complain that their wages from their compatriots and brethren are significantly lower now than what they received from the Israelis.

Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman reports that the Jews of Gush Katif operated 3,600 dunams (890 acres) of hothouses as of last year, of which the PA - with international help - has managed to activate three-fourths. The Arabs had hoped to build on the Jews' success, selling to the market the Israelis had built up over the years. The bug-free vegetables were particularly attractive to the religious and hareidi-religious publics, for reasons of kashrut.

The Jews who first arrived in Gaza some 30 years ago were repeatedly told by the Arabs who welcomed them that the land was "cursed" and that they would never succeed agriculturally. Benny Ginzberg, standing last May in the large Katif-Atzmona dairy he managed, pointed at the houses of the Arab city of Khan Yunis, several hundred meters away, and said,
"Those houses have been here since before the Six Day War. If they wanted this land, what stopped them from spreading out to here before? ... When we first came, they told us that we were crazy for even trying to build something here. 'The land is cursed,' they told us. Well, we built something, something very great..."

Ma'yan Yadai, a 27-year-old mother of two who was thrown out of Gush Katif - she was originally a Croatian Catholic who converted to Judaism, fled Yugoslavia, and moved to Netzer Hazani - spoke about Gush Katif before a gathering of the National Council of Young Israel in New York recently. She said,
"It is difficult for me to believe that this obviously blessed area is the very same area that our Moslem neighbors called the ‘cursed land’ of El G’erara. They have told me that nobody lived in this area from the time that the last Jews left because there was not enough rain, and nothing could grow properly. They were happy when the Jews returned because the rain started again, and the land began to produce."

Farmers in Gush Katif were considered among Israel's most successful; their total annual exports totaled $100 million, or 15% of Israel's agricultural exports. Of Israel's exports abroad, Gush Katif exported to Europe 95% of the bug-free lettuce and greens, 70% of the organic vegetables, 60% of the cherry tomatoes, and 60% of the geraniums. Israel's largest plant nursery was in the Gush Katif community of Atzmonah. Other Katif produce included spices, green, red and yellow peppers, celery and more.

Israel's Defense Ministry sources told Huberman that the Palestinian Authority farmers were unable to develop the techniques necessary for bug-free produce.

Some of the original Israeli greenhouses were damaged or destroyed by Arabs immediately after Israel withdrew, but the PA was able to rebuild them. As of now, the only crop the Arabs are raising successfully is strawberry

Monday, December 12, 2005

Kassam near Afula

Warnings Come True: Kassam Fired near Afula
Fatah said it fired a Kassam rocket last night at a town near Afula in the Jezreel Valley. The terrorists have long threatened that after Gaza, they would concentrate on attacking northern Samaria.

A Faulty Video Camera at Rafah Must Keep Al Qaeda at Bay

DEBKAfile Special Report

December 11, 2005, 2:05 PM (GMT+02:00)

Defense minister Shaul Mofaz may have talked from the top of his head when he threatened an economic siege of Gaza unless security measures at the Rafah crossing from Sinai started working. The prime minister’s office slapped him down in a trice. But the PMO did not contradict Mofaz’s assertion that the accords brokered by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to monitor the passage of terrorists were being trampled under the feet of incoming terrorists and their weapons.

An unnamed American diplomat made haste Saturday, Dec. 10, to dismiss Israel’s complaints as exaggerated. He admitted that the video camera installed at the Rafah from which the Palestinians had contracted to transmit data on incoming traffic to Israel, was on the blink. But he promised it would be fixed within days. Until then, of course, the terrorists may stroll through the Egyptian-Palestinian crossing as they have since Israel’s pullout, with no one the wiser – except for the European inspectors who are under instructions not to interfere.

In place of the ultimatum Mofaz and other Israeli officials broadcast last week, Amos Gilead, security adviser to prime minister Ariel Sharon, who led the negotiations over Palestinian passage into and out of the Gaza Strip, spoke reassuringly Sunday morning.

He said Israel would continue to insist on access to the full identities of entrants through Rafah before the next stages go into effect, chiefly the first experimental commuters’ bus due to open the shuttle road link between the Gaza Strip and West Bank Thursday, Dec. 15.

But, he said, more “staff work” remained to be done before the bus service could start running.

Much of this is posturing.

C. David Welch, the US assistance secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, was dispatched to the region last week to guarantee that Israel’s “exaggerated” security reservations do not obstruct progress on the deals the secretary forced through on Nov. 15. Welch knows as well as Jerusalem that, even after the video camera is “repaired,” there is no bar to the free passage of terrorists and weapons into the Gaza Strip, because -

1. No party in Brussels, Cairo or Ramallah exercises control over the international border at Rafah. Since Israeli troops pulled out, it has degenerated into a lawless enclave ruled by gangs of Palestinian and Sinai Egyptian-Bedouin weapons smugglers who buy passage with substantial bribes.

2. The Palestinian Authority official who signed the Rafah accords, civil affairs minister Mohammed Dahlan, has never honored a single pledge or commitment he signed off on, including the 1994 protocol in the 1993 Oslo Accords. His record is an open book to Washington too.

David Welch’s mission is not to satisfy Israel’s concerns but to ascertain that the Palestinian bus service starts on schedule. Just as the Sharon government gave way to Rice’s demand to sign on the dotted line in November, it is unlikely to stand in the way of the American insistence on daily bus convoys.

Israel would like the buses to go only as far as the Turkumiya roadblock near Hebron.

The Americans are adding stops in Ramallah and Tulkarm or Jenin in the north.

The Bush administration is shutting its ears to the prognosis shared by all Israel’s security and intelligence experts that even a single bus convoy per day without Israeli security control is a major hazard; tantamount to opening a highway for terrorists including al Qaeda incoming from Sinai to deploy with their weapons on the West Bank directly opposite Israel’s main cities, industrial heartland and population centers.

They have already gained access to the Gaza Strip; their unsupervised connection to the West Bank is only days away.

If Sharon and Mofaz appear to turn a blind eye to this terrifying prospect, it is only because it is the inevitable corollary of their heedless policy of evacuating the Gaza Strip four months ago without sustainable security safeguards. The danger is therefore systematically played down by domestic media. In consequence, 70% of Israelis canvassed in the last few days awarded high marks to Sharon’s handling of security matters, chiefly out of sheer ignorance.

By the end of this week, therefore, Palestinian convoys will start rolling out of the Gaza strip to the West Bank. Al Qaeda operatives, from the cell they were allowed to establish in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal, will be able to drive straight for Hebron, Ramallah and Jenin. The Al Qaeda express bus service will drop the “holy warriors” at convenient sites for striking choice targets in Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba as well as Hadera and Netanya, which are routinely battered by Palestinian suicide bombers

Thursday, December 08, 2005

$10 million bat mitzva

$10 million bat mitzva

How sad!  Sad not least of all for the little girl.  I wonder how happy she will grow up to be?

And what a Chillul Hashem!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Spiritual problems with receiving American aid

Rabbi Pinchas Winston
At night, G-d came to Lavan the Syrian in a dream. He told him, "Be careful and don't speak to Ya'akov either for good or evil." (Bereishis 31:24)
The Talmud makes an interesting statement, based upon this posuk:
Rebi Yochanan said in the name of Rebi Shimon bar Yochai: Any good from an evil person is evil for the righteous, as it says, "Be careful in case you speak to Ya'akov either good or evil." Bad is understandable, but why not good? Thus we learn that the good of the evil is evil for the righteous. (Yevamos 103a)
In other words, even the favors of evil people are far from that. Now, the Talmud does not mean that somehow and at sometime in the future the evil person will double-cross the righteous one and harm him in the end. It means that even if a righteous person receives and secures benefit from an evil person, it is still no benefit.
It's not that the money, or the gift, or whatever the evil person did for the righteous person has no objective value; it does. The problem lies not with that which was given, but with the giving itself. It is as if that which was received was stolen property to begin with ( even if it wasn't ( which makes using it honestly impossible.
This is because the process of giving and taking is not as finite as people tend to think, or treat it. On the contrary, what attracts us to possessions and even inspires us to surrender time and money for them is the potential for relationship with them, on whatever level is suitable for the "attainment" in question. Symbolism aside, we surrender part of ourselves when we sell something we previously owned, and the new buyer inherits it on some level.
This is why when a man marries a woman he gives a certain amount of value, usually in the form of a ring. On one level, an acquisition is being made, but on a deeper, far more esoteric level, they are both giving of themselves to each other, and opening a spiritual conduit between the two of them. They have the rest of their marriage to work on increasing the potential flow through that channel.
This is why the good of evil people is evil for good people. The moment you give something, anything, you create a relationship between giver and receiver. To what extent that relationship can go depends upon what was given and how, and though this may not be felt on an emotional level, it is certainly true in the spiritual realm, to such an extent that the spiritual impurities of the giver can go over to the recipient of an evil person's gift.
And evil doesn't always mean that a person is doing the worst things imaginable. Evil from a Torah perspective is also a lack of good, so that even misguided people can be doing evil, though somewhat unwittingly. No question that intention plays a major role in the evaluation of good and evil, but still, evil acts even with the best of intentions carry an aspect of that evil.
Thus, we see that even though Dovid HaMelech only killed with the permission of Torah, still the "blood on his hands" prevented him from being the builder of the First Temple. That honor fell to his son, Shlomo HaMelech, who didn't have to fight the wars that his father did. And, even though Ya'akov stole the blessings from Eisav for the sake of Heaven, it was still called a "ma'aseh geneivah" ( an act of stealing ) for which we have had to pay on some level. But that is all a function of Hashgochah Pratis ( Divine Providence. )
So, in the end it is not a simple case of simply buying something, paying for it, and checking out. There is room to be careful, not just about what you buy, but where and how you buy something. For, it might come with a spiritual dividend, and one that you might have preferred to do without.

Analyzing The Imagery of A Familiar Chanukah Poem

Rabbi Frand on Chanukah.

Analyzing The Imagery of A Familiar Chanukah Poem
I would like to share a beautiful insight from Rav Matisyahu Solomon relating to the popular Chanukah liturgical poem, Maoz Tzur. Perhaps the most familiar stanza of this poem (owing to the well known song using these words) is the stanza beginning Yevanim nikbetzu alay azai b'yemay Chashmonim (The Syrian-Greeks gathered against me in the days of the Chashmoneans). The song then relates that they made breaches into the walls of my source of strength (u'fartzu chomos migdalay). It continues that a miracle was performed for the sake of the shoshanim. The word shoshanim literally means roses. The poet metaphorically calls the Jewish nation "shoshanim".
Why, we may ask, was the name "shoshanim" seen as a particularly appropriate way to refer to Klal Yisrael at this time in history?
Rav Solomon's basic theme is an idea mentioned by Rav Yeruchum Levovitz in his work Daas Chochmah U'Mussar. Rav Yeruchum writes that if we are to seek out one theme that Moshe Rabbeinu constantly repeats throughout his life, it is the theme that Klal Yisrael should not assimilate with idolatrous societies and learn from their ways. Moshe's greatest fear was that after his death the nation of Israel would learn the ways of their non-Jewish neighbors and be pulled into the trap and the lifestyle of the nations of the world. Moshe first mentions this theme as soon as the Torah is given and he does not let up until the very day he dies.
Rav Yeruchum cites chapter and verse to prove his point. Here are just a few of many examples: "Don't make a covenant with them or with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land lest they cause you to sin to Me." [Shmos 23:33]; "Take heed lest you make a covenant with those who dwell in the land." [Shmos 31:24]; "When you cross the Jordan to the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the Land before you; and you shall destroy... and you shall demolish... but if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land before you, those of them whom you leave shall be pins in your eyes and thorns in your sides..." [Bamidbar 33:51-55]. These same themes are repeated by Moshe again and again and again.
Unfortunately, in spite of all these warnings and exhortations, Klal Yisrael did not do a very good job of keeping away from assimilation with the nations. The history of both the early and later prophets is replete with examples of spiritual backsliding on the part of the Jewish people due to having learned from and copied the abominations of other nations. This occurs over and over in the Book of Yehoshua, in Shoftim, in Shmuel, and in Melachim. Not only did "the masses" of Jews learn from idolators, even Jewish Kings learned from them, to the extent that some of them tried to eradicate Judaism from the nation. Ultimately, the Jews paid the price of this spiritual backsliding and were exiled from the Land.
After seventy years, the Jews were put back into the land, having seemingly learned their lesson, only to return to their wayward behavior and to again learn from the Hellenists in the time of the Second Temple. Concerning this constant historical challenge to the preservation of unique Jewish identity, Dovid HaMelech [King David] says, "And they intermingled among the nations and they learned from their ways" [Tehillim 106:35].
If there is a way to sum up the essence of the battle between Klal Yisrael and the Yevanim [Syrian-Greeks] at the time of the Chanukah story in twenty-five words or less it is by describing this very issue. The Yevanim's battle with the Jews was not a physical battle to eradicate our people. Their vision was not that of Haman in an earlier era nor that of Rome in a later era. The Yevanim were not interested in killing Jews. The Greeks did not destroy the Beis HaMikdash even though they were certainly militarily capable of doing that. Their goal was not to destroy the Temple, but to de-sanctify it. They wanted to take Jewish culture and adulterate it. Their vision was to Hellenize Judaism and to blur the differences between Greek and Jewish culture. It was not a battle for the lives of Jews. It was a battle for their souls -- a cultural war.
Perhaps this is what the Mishneh is alluding to in Tractate Middos [2:3]. When detailing the layout of the Har Habayis [Temple Mount], the Mishneh mentions a ten hand breadth high fence known as the Soreg, just inside the perimeter of the Har Habayis. The Mishneh comments that the Soreg contained thirteen breaches that were made by the Greek Kings. The Mishneh says that the Jews were successful in mending the fences and instituted a corresponding number of prostrations, where visitors bowed when passing these places. The Rabbis enacted that when a Jew came to the Har Habayis and saw the mended fences, he should bow down in grateful thanks to the Master of the Universe for the successful defeat of the Syrian-Greek empire.
The Tosfos YomTov comments that the purpose of the Soreg fence was to separate the Jews from the non-Jews. When people of other nations came to the Har Habayis (which they had the right to do, as found in King Solomon's prayer at the Temple dedication [Melachim I 8:41-43]), they had to know their limits. If they wanted to join the Jewish nation, they could convert. But they did not have to. They could donate to the Temple and make offerings, but from "the other side of the fence", a small but symbolic separation between the Jews and the nations.
When the Greeks were successful in conquering Eretz Yisrael, what did they do? They did not destroy the fence or jump over the fence. They made breaches in the fence, in effect saying we are not different. We are no different from you and you are no different from us. We want to intermingle with you, and we want you to assimilate with us.
The mending of the fences was the symbol of the victory of the Jews over the Greeks. Therefore, how appropriate it is, for the liturgist to write - in describing the challenge that the Greeks presented to the Jewish nation: U'fartzu chomos migadalie [And they breached the walls of my Temple]. U'mi'nosar kankanim, na-aseh nes la'shoshanim [And from the left over vials of oil a miracle was performed for the 'roses'].
Why 'shoshanim' [roses]? The pasuk in Shir HaShirim [2:2] states, Like the rose (maintaining its beauty) among the thorns, so is My faithful beloved among the nations. Rashi there explains that the Jewish people are compared to roses. They live in a hostile environment. The delicate rose is in constant danger, lest the thorns puncture and pierce its beauty, destroying its pristine appearance. The Jewish people is under constant pressure to assimilate, and to replace Jewish values with those of the larger society around us.
This was the praise of the Jews who defeated the Greeks. They preserved their pristine beauty in the face of the hostility of the Yevanim who were trying to puncture and destroy their spiritually delicate essence.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Another few things about Kislev and the Geulah

Thanks to Yaak for bringing this update from Hashem1 to my attention.

Hashem1 posted an update to his previous post on Kislev and the Geulah, which I translated below. Unfortunately, because of time constraints, I can only summarize the main points:

Another few things about Kislev and the Geulah.

I only have time for a few points about Kislev, without explanations, that can possibly hint to the future.

  • On the 25th of Kislev, the work for the Tabernacle in the desert was completed, but it was not erected until the first of Nissan.
  • One of the signs that the holy Zohar brings about the coming of the Mashiach (it is even written in one place that on should not expect the Mashiach until this sign arrives) is the appearance of a special rainbow in the sky, with brighter than usual colors . . . (source) . . . In the Book of Our Heritage it is written that the original rainbow was revealed in Kislev . . . (source) . . . The idea of a rainbow was also mentioned by Eli vis-à-vis Chanukah. See this post in English on (“Rainbow will tell the bad non-Jews to run away because Moshiach is here”)
    • The Book of Our Heritage writes that the 25th of Kislev is “a day that is prepared for greatness”.
    • The Ramchal brings an explanation according to kabbalah why Kislev (and also Adar) are months of Geulah:
      (In brief – Y.Y.) The months of the year go according to left right and middle. Nissan – Right; Iyyar – Left, therefore it contains the laws of the omer; Sivan – decisive, therefore it has the giving of the Torah; Tamuz & Av – Right & Left; Elul – decisive. Tishrei Cheshvan – Right & Left; Kislev – decisive, therefore it contained Geulah. Tevet Shvat – Right & Left; Adar – decisive, therefore it contained Geulah . . . .”

      This nevuah, as stated by the novi, took place on 24 Kislev. Note what the great commentator Metzudas Dovid says on verse 2:21 "I will shake the heavens and the earth": Meaning to say that this house will not be established forever because I shake the heavens, as if the stars of the heavens will war against them from their orbits and the kings of the earth will join to come against them.

      These words are especially suitable to the things mentioned earlier in the blog under the heading “Star Wars Soon”

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    The timing of the Geulah according to Rav Batzri and others

    Here is my translation of a very interesting post today on

    The timing of the Geulah according to Rav Batzri and others

    We are not speaking about new statements, actually old statements, from several years ago when he spoke about the timing of the Geulah. The Mekubal Rav David Batzri Shlita, Rosh Yeshivat HaMekubalim "HaShalom" in Yerushalayim known by his title as "The greatest (deep study/theoretical) Mekubal in our generation". Not long ago he was quoted in the general media with a number of predictions for the year 5766, following an earthquake and a solar eclipse on Erev Rosh HaShanah.

    This prediction comes from a person as close to him as possible, Rav Batzri's daughter, who said in one of the shiurim for women that she was giving in one of the shulls, how her father answered the question of when the real Geulah will start.

    Her father, the honorable Mekubal HaRav David Batzri Shlita, did not evade the question, but also did not give an exact answer. Rather he simply specified a time that repeats itself every year. His answer to the question was that the real Geulah would start on Parshat Mikeitz.

    As is known, Parshat Mikeitz is usually (always, it seems to me) read in the week that Chanukah occurs. (According to the secular date, this year it is the last week in December.)

    In a conversation I had with Rav Yaakov Nathan from America, he told me that in Chabad they call the month of Kislev "The Month of Geulah" also (but not only) because of the "Chag HaGeulah" of Chabad, which falls on the 19th of Kislev.

    But the special meaning of the month of Kislev is not only by Chabad. It is brought in many Chassidic books in the name of the Holy Baal Shem Tov, that the Chag of Chanukah is the end of the period of doing Tshuvah, before Hashem's decrees are carried out. (This was also mentioned yesterday over
    satellite by Rosh Yeshivat HaMekubalim "Nahar Shalom" HaRav Benayahu Shmueli Shlita.) That is, in spite of the fact that the decrees were - as it were - signed and sealed on Yom Kippur and Hoshana Rabbah, it is still possible to correct oneself and do Tshuvah until Kislev and Chanukah.

    The meaning is that the full decrees, especially if they are negative (for Israel's enemies) can be carried out in their full strength only from Kislev and from Chanukah.

    Not only this, but also the prophet Chaggai, one of the last prophets of Israel, prophesized in the name of Hashem about this date and tells about great and tremendous things that will happen on it. And this is written at the end of the book of Chaggai.

    10 In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month (24th of Kislev), in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying: 11 'Thus saith the LORD of hosts: Ask now the priests for instruction, saying: . . . 18 consider, I pray you, from this day and forward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month (24th of Kislev), even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider it; 19 is the seed yet in the barn? yea, the vine, and the fig-tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive-tree hath not brought forth--from this day will I bless you.' {S} 20 And the word of the LORD came the second time unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying: 21 'Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: I will shake the heavens and the earth; 22 and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. 23 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, My servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet; for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.' {P}

    Another thing that is very easy to discern this year, and Rav Yaakov Nathan wrote this already a year ago, that Chanukah occurs around the same time as the Xtian festival at the end of December. If indeed great things do happen, like things with stars in the sky (like what Eli expects will happen) then these things will cause a great noise in the whole world and it has already been written "He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them".

    But there is another thing that causes a lot of people, even non-religious, to think that something of tremendous proportions will happen in Kislev this year, and on Chanukah specifically. This is the date of the 26th of December. This date has become in recent years a supernatural date, on which terrible natural tragedies have occurred, the one worse than the previous. In 2003 a strong earthquake (6.6) occurred in Iran in the city of Bam that killed tens of thousands of people and injured tens of thousands more. A year later, exactly on the 26th of December another earthquake occurred much stronger and well known, with a strength of 9 on the Richter scale, the earthquake that caused the Tsunami in East Asia in which some 300 thousand people were killed.

    Therefore, when the 26th of December falls this year on the first night of Chanukah, the 25th of Kislev, the date that is immediately after the 24th of Kislev that the prophet spoke of with concepts of "I will shake the heavens and the earth" (shake/noise in Biblical terms are earthquakes.) it gives additional importance to this date.

    There are many other things that connect Chanukah and Kislev to the Geulah and the end of days, but they are generally known and I am a bit busy lately.

    More of the same from the Eirev-Rav Injustice system

    Girls Still in Prison, Despite Supreme Court Order
    11:38 Nov 28, '05 / 26 Cheshvan 5766
    By Hillel Fendel
    Israel National News

    Contrary to the best efforts - and orders - of Supreme Court Justice E. Rubenstein to free six girls from prison after two weeks, they have not yet been released.

    The girls, aged 14-16, are accused of ripping open bags of olives harvested by Arabs from Sinjil, near Shilo, and with fighting with policemen who came to arrest them. Officials of the Honenu legal rights organization, which is representing them, say the evidence against them is flimsy at best - but that in any event, their place is not in prison.

    Honenu founder and chairman Shmuel Medad told Arutz-7, "No one saw these girls during the incident, and everything is based on the testimony of one or two Arabs... In addition, the court already ordered them released, and even then, they were re-arrested a day later once again."

    After they were first arrested on Nov. 13, at least two judges ordered them released, but the police and State Prosecution, using various legal devices, continued to keep them in prison until Nov. 17. The next day, they were brought once again to court, where the judge acceded to a police request to keep them in prison until the end of the proceedings.

    Despite the above, an earlier ruling by Jerusalem District Court Judge Yosef Shapira ordered the consideration of a form of house arrest for the six - but he set the date for the hearing only for Dec. 5. The girls therefore remained in prison.

    At this point, Supreme Court Elyakim Justice Rubenstein [pictured] came to the rescue - or tried to. Atty. Naftali Wurtzberger of Honenu said that Rubenstein, in yesterday's hearing, decided to put aside the legal argumentation and concentrate on the "human problem" of the girls who "are sitting in jail while waiting for a report of alternatives."

    Rubenstein set facts on the ground by ordering the girls freed to their home communities - though not their own homes. He said that they should be released that very evening, even before all the paperwork, including payment of guarantees and the like, was completed. He also asked the relevant authorities to "hurry" their report on an alternative form of restriction of the girls' movement, such as house arrest.

    In the event, however, once again the legal system got the better of the judges, and the girls had still not been released as of this morning (Monday). The mother of one of the girls said, "I called the prison, and they said that they knew nothing of a release, and had heard nothing from any court. I feel that they are simply toying with me."

    The 16-year-old sister of one of the six is also in prison. She has been incarcerated for two months, charged with offenses related to protesting withdrawals from the Land of Israel. She refuses to agree to restrictions placed on her by a court that does not employ Jewish Law. Another of her sisters is to be married tomorrow night, and it is not clear whether she will be allowed to go to the wedding.

    Another immediate problem she faces is that as of Saturday night, she has been in isolation - without even a mattress to sleep on. Her mother said, "Some girls stood outside the prison on Saturday night and called out to her and tried to encourage her, as they have been doing for several weeks. My daughter apparently called out her thanks and said she heard them - and then the jailers put her in isolation. From what the other girls report, it means that she doesn't even get a mattress. In addition, she hasn't called me, which to me is the clearest sign that she's in isolation."

    Knesset Member Gila Finkelstein, who has helped out in similar situations before, has been approached regarding this problem.

    Tree-Cutting "Libel" - Once Again, Jews Stand Accused

    Tree-Cutting "Libel" - Once Again, Jews Stand Accused
    12:49 Nov 28, '05 / 26 Cheshvan 5766
    By Hillel Fendel

    Once again, reports that Jewish settlers cut down Arab-owned olive trees are suspected to be a "left-wing provocation" against the Jews of Judea and Samaria.

    It was widely reported Sunday, in the name of Arab sources in the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, that Jewish settlers from the Shomron had chopped down 200 olive trees owned by Arabs. The Ynet site, for instance, wrote, "Palestinian sources reported that settlers from an outpost near Elon Moreh had cut down" the trees.

    The reports were immediately followed by condemnations of the Jewish population in the Shomron and Israel's rule there. The extremist left-wing organization "Peace Now" released a statement saying that the incident was a direct result of the lack of law enforcement in the areas and the continuing "problem of the [Jewish] outposts."

    However, the Yesha Council looked into the matter and said that though "we condemn all violence, including harming Palestinian property," it had found that the incident was apparently a provocation staged by extreme left-wing activists who "wish to sully their Jewish brothers, while at the same time extending their hand to terrorists."

    The residents of Elon Moreh, in a statement, "wish to emphasize that we have no connection with this incident, which is based on the testimony of a single Arab."

    An AFP photo of an Arab woman weeping and embracing an allegedly chopped-down tree shows that the trunk is intact, and that only the top branches are cut off - as if it had been purposely pruned. In fact, the Land of Israel Task Force says that this is exactly what happened.

    "The left-wingers and Arabs pulled the same trick last year," Task Force head Aviad Visuly said, "and using the same method." Photos of the trees show that the branches were sawed in a manner that is beneficial to the trees. "Why would Jews bother sawing off each individual branch? Wouldn't they just cut down the trunk?"

    The branches begin growing back 2-3 months after they are cut, and grow to full size within two years. "In the meanwhile," Visuly said, "the orchard owners receive stipends from the Saudis, via the PA."

    Visuly said that left-wing activists look for trees that have been pruned, and then blame the Jews for cutting them. "They have even admitted to the police that they do this," he said, "such as in the case of Ein Avus near Hawara [south of Shechem]. In that incident, they blamed the people of [nearby] Yitzhar, because Yitzhar was a convenient media target. Two Jews were arrested for five days and were then released totally clean. Today, it's convenient for them to accuse the people of Elon Moreh. If the police had an investigator who was half-fair, he would throw the case out."

    Two years ago, a similar story on Arutz-7 began as follows: "It led to anti-settler headlines, international embarrassment for the State of Israel, condemnations, and apologetics - and yet it all may have been one big bluff, or worse." At the time, international media reported as fact that Jews had destroyed the Arab trees, and President Katzav and Prime Minister Sharon issued statements implying that the Jews were responsible. Even the Yesha Council said that the tree-cutting had "defamed the entire sector of Jews living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza."

    What went under-reported was that the police began to suspect that left-wing Israelis and Arabs were behind the incident. The police even asked Rabbi Arik Asherman of the Reform Movement and an Arab who filed charges against Jewish Yesha residents to submit to lie-detector tests - but it was reported at the time that the two had refused.

    A Jewish National Fund expert brought in by the police concluded that no lasting damage was done to the trees, and that the tree-cutters did not "cut down" the trees, but rather "pruned" them.

    Monday, November 21, 2005

    An easy and powerful Mitzvah

    Davening for someone is a very powerful and easy Mitzvah. It takes almost no effort and consumes only an extra 5 minutes of your time.

    How simple is it to add a יהי רצון into your שמע קולנו for a sick relative or friend, an unmarried friend or childless couple? A special תפילה for Jonathan Pollard (יהונתן בן מלכה)?

    No תפילה ever goes unanswered, it helps both the person you are davening for, and is extremely powerful for yourself.

    Say an extra יהי רצון today in your שמע קולנו !

    Sunday, November 20, 2005

    Storm clouds ahead by Isi Leibler

    Storm clouds ahead
    by Isi Leibler, THE JERUSALEM POST
    Nov. 7, 2005

    On the surface, the relationship between the United States and Israel has never been better.

    The Bush Administration is today more understanding of Israel's position than any of its predecessors; the extent of evangelical Christian is unprecedented; and backing for Israel in opinion polls remains solid. Yet having met with a cross section of American Jewish leaders during a recent visit to New York, I fear that there are grounds for serious concern.

    The deterioration on the campus continues and the demonization of Israel, frequently accompanied by anti-Semitism, now transcends all other campus political issues. Hostile campaigns are frequently spearheaded by anti-Israeli activists of Jewish origin, and the majority of Jewish students avoid involvement either because they are indifferent, or in many cases simply because they are frightened. Moreover, when these youngsters become older, a substantial proportion of them are unlikely to maintain the same level of support for Israel as their parents.

    It should also be noted that anti-Jewish rhetoric is now rapidly penetrating the political mainstream. The recurring tirades against "Jewish neoconservatives" allegedly controlling the White House; Lewis Libby is already being portrayed in anti-Semitic web sites as "one more Jewish Neocon Traitor"; the outrageous behavior of the liberal Protestant denominations engaging in anti-Israel boycotts via divestment; the growing hostility against Israel being displayed in many of the antiwar demonstrations; and the increasing number of liberals, formerly our best friends, who now distance themselves from Israel - all represent grounds for serious concern.

    The unprecedented indictments against senior professional AIPAC leaders, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, must be viewed as manifestations of ominous winds of change. It is highly disconcerting when leaders of the most powerful Jewish lobbying organization are publicly accused of having "conspired" to obtain improper access to classified information with the obvious intention of exploiting Jewish concerns about association with espionage. This is particularly bizarre in view of the fact that the indicted AIPAC officers merely did was what every journalist does every day.

    And what was the nature of the "secret" information? Not classified American secrets but a sting operation based on a fabricated story about Israelis being endangered by terrorists.

    Under normal circumstances, if there was a genuine concern that the lobby of an allied power was technically breaching security procedures, a firm reprimand to those involved or their superiors would have been more appropriate than an elaborately engineered trap including wiretaps. It is also disconcerting that the federal prosecutor in this case is a very senior officer and has just been nominated for the post of deputy attorney-general.

    The manner in which the AIPAC Board abandoned and distanced themselves from these long standing senior employees is also problematic. Those concerns are further reinforced by the fact that at their last major AIPAC gathering even the customary singing of Hatikva at the close of proceedings was aborted.

    THE OTHER burning issue is the Jonathan Pollard case which understandably remains a highly sensitive matter for most American Jews who regard the episode as a blot on their standing. They usually prefer to avoid discussing the issue despite the fact that the responsibility for the entire mess is exclusively due to Israel's bungling.

    Pollard is unquestionably guilty of espionage. But even if the accusations about Pollard being his own worst enemy are valid, and even if today he still sounds shrill and hysterical - the fact remains that he has been incarcerated for 20 years for handing over secrets to an ally of the United States. It is now being bandied about that he must serve at least another 10 years before he becomes eligible for parole. Soviet spies, including traitors responsible for the death of allied agents have been treated more humanely.

    There are many unanswered questions. Why is Pollard still in prison? Why has his sentence not been commuted on humanitarian grounds? Are the authorities making an example of him? If so, why? To intimidate American Jews? Because of anti-Semitism? What other explanation is there?

    The ongoing confrontations with the US Defense Department over the arms deals with India and China are also problematic. While there may well have been legitimate grounds for American irritation with mistakes or heavy handed Israeli practices in the sale of sensitive defense equipment, the needlessly public stance adopted by the Defense Department in this matter was offensive and not what one would expect from an ally.

    In conjunction with these negative vibes, there has of late also been a marked erosion in the relationship between Israel and the current administration. Yasser Arafat's successor Mahmoud Abbas is being portrayed by President George W. Bush as a noble partner for peace, despite the fact that to date everything he has said and done points to the contrary.

    In fact, President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have even begun employing Clintonian language of moral equivalency which fails to distinguish between killers and victims. There is renewed talk of "cycles of violence," of the "need for restraint," and continuous references to the road map without emphasis on the fact that it obligates the Palestinians to first dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.

    More importantly, Israel is being urged to make further unilateral concessions including the release of more prisoners and providing greater freedom of movement to Palestinians all of which only seem to contribute toward more funerals for Israeli civilians.

    Sharon's desire to satisfy Bush is understandable. But even under Labor governments, Israel did find it occasionally necessary to adopt independent positions which displeased the US administration. Today, we appear to be in the process of becoming transformed into a US satellite. That was exemplified with Ma'aleh Adumim. Prime Minister Sharon had originally promoted disengagement to Israelis largely on the basis that as a quid pro quo Bush would support Israel's retention of the major settlement blocs.

    But now he has apparently capitulated to all American demands and aborted all building activity, including the construction of the road link from Ma'aleh Adumim to the capital. This suggests that Sharon is becoming totally subservient to the administration. . . .

    Saturday, November 19, 2005

    Important Post from Chardal

    Chardal posts a very important quote for these days of inverted "morals" by the "enlightened guardians" of Israeli society. Recall the antics of Yesh Gvul!

    Casualties of legitimate war

    Rabbi J. David Bleich writes (Contemporary Halakhic Problems, Volume 3, Preemptive War in Jewish Law, p. 277):

    "Not only does one search in vain for a ruling prohibiting military activity likely to result in the death of civilians, but, to this writer's knowledge, there exists no discussion in classical rabbinic sources that takes cognizance of the likelihood of causing civilian casualties in the course of hostilities legitimately undertaken as posing a halakhic or moral problem."

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    Aryeh Deri Returning to politics?

    I have just heard on Radio Kol Chai that HaRav Ovadia Yosef is trying to persuade Aryeh Deri to return to politics.

    Wouldn't it be interesting if he announces his return around Chanukah time.


    Tuesday, November 15, 2005

    Quiz Answer

    The answer to the quiz bellow:

    1. The expression means to make do with little and be satisfied. (giving into your yeitzer will always make you hunger for more)

    2. It comes from Masechet Pesachim 114A

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Ohr Somoyach: The Human Side of the Story - Kindness Unlimited

    - For the week ending 12 November 2005 / 10 Heshvan 5766
    - from Ohr Somayach

    Kindness Unlimited by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach

    Gemillut Chassadim - acts of kindness to others - is a beautiful trait of the Jewish People everywhere. But it reaches its greatest heights in the Torah communities of Israel.

    Open up the Orthodox Telephone Directory of Yerushalayim and you will find no less than 80 pages of different GeMaCh (acronym for Gemillat Chassadim) listings.

    Six of these pages deal with equipment needed for brit mila (circumcision) and pidyon haben ceremonies. There are pages for meals for families stuck in a hospital for Shabbat and for housing them. There is even a full page for used clothing centers.

    Consideration for both the physical and spiritual needs of the community finds expression in three pages of Gemachim for medical supplies and three pages of Gemachim for tefillin and people who will pray in your behalf.

    Some of the more unusual Gemachim are the ones for pacifiers and baby bottles and for ladies' wigs and shtreimlech for men who left theirs at home.

    There is no limit to the imagination displayed by people who want to help others.

    Has the Biblical Goliath Been Found?

    I personally don't need any archeological evidence to verify the truth of the Torah, but this, posted on IMRA is interesting none the less!

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    CONTACT: Elana Oberlander, Office of the Spokesman, Bar-Ilan University

    Has the Biblical Goliath Been Found?
    Bar-Ilan University Archaeologists
    Unearth Earliest Philistine Inscription
    in Which Names Similar to Goliath Appear

    Ramat Gan - A very small ceramic sherd unearthed by Bar-Ilan University archaeologists digging at Tell es-Safi, the biblical city "Gath of the Philistines", may hold a very large clue into the history of the well-known biblical figure Goliath. The sherd, which contains the earliest known Philistine inscription ever to be discovered, mentions two names that are remarkably similar to the name "Goliath". Tell es-Safi/Gath is located inthe southern coastal plain of Israel, approximately halfway between Ashkelon and Jerusalem.

    The discovery is of particular importance since the Bible attributes Gath as the home town of Goliath. "Gath of the Philistines," was one of the major cities of the Philistines, the well-known arch-enemies of the Israelites in the biblical text. The archaeological find may also be seen as the first clear extra-biblical evidence that the well-known biblical story of the battle between David and Goliath (and, in particular, the very existence of a figure such as Goliath during the biblical period) may be more than just a legend, according to Prof. Aren Maeir, Chairman of Bar-Ilan University'sMartin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, who has been directing the excavations since they began in 1996. Prof. Maeir will present his findings next week at the conference of the American Schools ofOriental Research in the U.S. city of Philadelphia.

    Other recent findings uncovered at the recent excavations at Tell es-Safi include a large assortment of objects of various types which are linked to Philistine culture. Additional remains relating to the siege system constructed by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus around 800 BCE, were revealed, along with extensive evidence of the subsequent capture and destruction of the city by Hazael, as mentioned in Second Kings 12:18. Remains of the Crusader period fortress, Blanche Garde, built after the first Crusade in the mid-twelfth century CE, were also discovered.

    Written in archaic "Proto-Canaanite" letters, the inscription found on the sherd, dating to the 10th or early 9th century BCE, contains two non-Semitic names: Alwt and Wlt. Most scholars believe the name Goliath, of non-Semitic origin, is etymologically related to various Indo-European names, such as the Lydian name Aylattes. Following intense examination of the inscription, Prof. Maeir (along with his colleagues Prof. Aaron Demsky, an expert in epigraphy at Bar-Ilan University, and Dr. Stefan Wimmer, of Munich University) has concluded that the two names which appear in the inscription are remarkably similar to the etymological parallels of Goliath.

    "It can be suggested that in 10th-9th century Philistine Gath, names quite similar, and possibly identical, to Goliath were in use," says Prof. Maeir."This chronological context from which the inscription was found is only about 100 years after the time of David according to the standard biblical chronology. Thus, this appears to provide evidence that the biblical story of Goliath is, in fact, based on a clear cultural realia from, more or less, the time which is depicted in the biblical text, and recent attempts to claim that Goliath can only be understood in the context of later phases ofthe Iron Age are unwarranted."

    While the letters are Semitic, the names appearing in the inscription are Indo-European (the linguistic family of ancient Greek and related languages). It is assumed by most scholars that the Philistines migrated to the Levant from somewhere in the Aegean region. On their arrival, they brought with them assorted Aegean cultural facets. With time, their culture became more and more effected by the local cultures, slowly incorporating local elements. This inscription, with Semitic script and Indo-European names, is among the earliest hard evidence showing this process.

    The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project is a long-term investigation aimed at studying the archaeology and history of one of the most important sites in Israel. Tell es-Safi is one of the largest tells (ancient ruin mounds) in Israel and was settled almost continuously from the 5th millennium BCE until modern times.

    Continuous excavations of the site are planned for at least the next decade.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    More Moslem Destruction of Temple Mount Feared


    13:09 Nov 09, '05 / 7 Cheshvan 5766
    By Hillel Fendel

    The Committee to Prevent Temple Mount Artifacts Desecration warns that Muslim Waqf construction works are once again underway - this time at the Temple entrance path taken by Jews 2,000 years ago.

    The Committee sent a letter on the matter this week to the Prime Minister and to the Director of the Antiquities Authority. The letter states that new information has been received indicating the Waqf's intention to continue its "refurbishing" works on the Mount.

    Yisrael Caspi, an active member of the Committee, told Arutz-7, "For some years now we have been standing guard to try to have the Waqf stop its destruction works. The Waqf is trying to take over the Mount and make it a totally Moslem site, with no Jewish presence."

    "The problem is that the Prime Minister has neutralized all other elements - the Minister of Public Security, the Education Ministry, and the Antiquities Authority - and has taken full control of the situation. And the cycle is always the same: The government gives the Waqf a permit for refurbishing and the like, then the Waqf starts building and turning the area into a mosque, while destroying or hiding Jewish artifacts, and then we are not even allowed into the sites. This cycle has to be stopped!"

    Caspi said that the latest information indicates that the Waqf plans to begin work at the site known as the Hatunya, adjacent to the Southern Wall excavations and the Dung Gate entrance to the Western Wall.

    "A staircase leads from the Temple Mount plaza downward under the Al Aksa mosque [south of the Dome of the Rock]," he said, "to two tunnels built by King Herod 2,000 years ago. The tunnels served the Jews who entered the Holy Temple from the Hulda Gate on the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. Today, we see the Hulda Gate, but just to the left is a building called the Hatunya, built several hundred years ago. The Waqf wants to excavate the tunnels and the Hatunya, and, based on past experience, turn it into yet another mosque - while hiding or destroying Jewish artifacts."

    Click here for a "restoration drawing" of the Hulda Gate entrance.

    "We firmly object to granting the Waqf a construction permit for its Temple Mount works," the Comittee's letter states, "and we demand that all work be carried out only under the supervision of the Antiquities Authority."

    Caspi said, "Our past experience has shown that the Waqf does not exactly have an interest in preserving the archaeological findings there, and especially not the Jewish ones. On the contrary: They want to hide and even destroy all Jewish findings. This is our concern. We demand that the Antiquities Authority - which is not taking a strong enough position on this issue - be responsible once again for what goes on there."

    "In the past," Caspi said, "the government of Israel gave a permit for Waqf renovations in the Solomon's Stables area of the Temple Mount and under the Al Aqsa mosque [just south of the Dome of the Rock]. The bottom line was that the works were done without supervision, archaeological findings are feared hidden and destroyed, new mosques were built on the Temple Mount, and Jews are prevented from visiting the most important Jewish sites in history."

    Caspi said that while he and his colleagues try - so far with little success - to find MKs or others who can intervene with the Prime Minister on this issue, the public can do its part as well: "They should fax the Prime Minister's Office [at 02-670-5475 from within Israel; +9722-670-5475 from abroad] and protest the fact that his policies are allowing the Moslems to totally take over our holiest site and keep us, and our history, out."

    For more information, send email to

    Saturday, November 05, 2005

    A Quiz

    1. What is the meaning of this expression?
    (Not its literal meaning!)

    2. What is the origin of this expression?

    Answer coming soon.

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    More internet Torah links

    AishDas Torah links

    The struggle over Yerushalayim begins?

    I wonder if this will soon lead to pressure from Washington like with the mormon temple in the '80s (leminyanam)?

    See Rabbi Brody on the topic.

    And here for regular updates.

    The following article from Arutz7:

    Mt. Zion Handover: President Denies, Reports Persist
    16:57 Nov 03, '05 / 1 Cheshvan 5766
    By Hillel Fendel

    President Katzav's office categorically denies any intention to sign an agreement to give over parts of Mt. Zion to the Catholic Church.Arutz-7 has received a copy of the alleged agreement to do so.

    The proposed contract reads as follows:
    "The State of Israel hands over to the Holy See the use of the Cenacle [the room of the event known as the Last Supper, above King David's tomb - ed.], of the access path to it, and of the spaces adjacent to it... It is the Holy See's intention to inform the Bishops - and through them the world's Priests - that the Catholic Church has been given the use of the Cenacle, inviting them to visit the Holy Place together with their faithful... The Holy See hands over this use of the Cenacle to the Custody of the Holy Land [which acts on behalf of the Holy See]... [which] will keep the Cenacle open from 6 AM to 8 AM for the celebration of the Holy Mass... Official liturgical celebrations of non-Catholic Churches can take place only upon prior written permission by the Custody of the Holy Land."

    The proposed agreement stipulates that the Holy See will preserve the historic character of the site and keep it open to pilgrims and tourists, and that Israel will provide for the safety of the site.

    A Foreign Ministry official said, “Israel is not prepared to relinquish its jurisdiction over this area” - but he admitted that a blueprint of a possible agreement with the Vatican has been received.

    At present, since shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, the Diaspora Yeshiva is located on Mt. Zion, and warns of the catastrophic implications for Israel if the deal goes through. "This is an enormous issue that is being pushed through without any public debate whatsoever," Yeshiva Director Rabbi Shabtai Herman told
    Tovia Singer on IsraelNationalRadio. He also spoke on INR's Stutz and Fleisher show.

    He explained that if the Catholic Church receives control of the area, just a few hundred yards from the Temple Mount and adjacent to the Old City walls, it will turn it into "the international center for Catholics all around the world, and if the pope just gives the word, Christians will be flocking over here en masse." In addition, he noted, "there are many different religions here, and we have respect for all of them, but giving control to the Catholics will cause terrible friction."

    Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein, who founded and still runs the Diaspora Yeshiva, officially known as Yeshiva Toras Yisrael. He elaborated in a follow-up discussion with Arutz-7:
    "According to their bible, the land is to return to the Christians, and 144,000 Jews are to return to Mt. Zion. So their plan is for them to take control of the site, and then to announce that they are holding a mass reenactment of the Last Supper, with [all types of religious rituals], and to invite millions of Christians to come to Jerusalem and celebrate." He said that this means much tourism money for Israel, and that someone in the Israeli government is apparently very interested in making this happen.

    The King David's Tomb complex is a complex of buildings of some 100,000 square feet where David, Solomon and others kings of Judea are said to be buried. "It is certainly one of the holiest spots in the Land of Israel," Rabbi Herman said. "We've already given away the Temple Mount and the Machpelah Cave, except for here and there when we're allowed in; now they want to give Mt. Zion away as well? For thousands of years, this area was almost always totally closed off to Jews. G-d gave it back to us in 1948, but parts of it were still in range and sight of Jordanian snipers and were not in full use. After 1967, Rabbi Goldstein founded the Diaspora Yeshiva here - and it became an island of holiness, the first yeshiva for baalei teshuvah [newly religious] in Israel; we were there day and night learning Torah. Rabbi Goldstein was almost prophetic in establishing this yeshiva at that time at that spot; destiny from above intertwined him with Mt. Zion."

    President Katzav's office categorically denies any knowledge of plans to sign away the King David's complex, or intention to do so during his trip to the Vatican later this month. Despite this, Christian newspapers in Italy and around the world are replete with reports that such a deal is in the works. According to the reports, Israel will receive control of an 800-year-old synagogue in Toledo, Spain, known now as Santa Maria, in exchange for David's Tomb.

    In an open letter to President Katzav, Shlomo Alfassa, Executive-Director of the
    International Society for Sephardic Progress, ridiculed this idea: "When the Jews of Toledo prayed each morning, they faced east towards Jerusalem. It was not Toledo that they desired, but the Land of Israel, which was still unobtainable. Now, we have Jerusalem, we can go to the holy sites and we can live in the land. If those who built that synagogue knew that this abandoned building in Christian Spain was being traded for a piece of real estate in the Land of Israel, they would roll over in their graves. Today, the Santa Maria Synagogue is nothing but an empty shell, a tourist stop in a city where no Jews remain."

    Rabbi Herman said that the above plan is merely the first step of a larger plan to turn all of Mt. Zion into a Christian site. He explained that the lower level of the complex, containing many chambers, rooms, passageways and the like, has long been under the control of Israeli bodies such as the Lands Authority, and that half of the area was assigned to the Diaspora Yeshiva.

    Rabbis Goldstein and Herman explained that over the years, the yeshiva has used the area for classrooms, housing, and other needs. However, they said, Jerusalem Chief Engineer Ari Sheetrit has made some "threatening" visits of late, together with other city officials. The rabbis said that Sheetrit has implied very strongly that the yeshiva is "not using the area efficiently," and that the city plans to take it over.

    Rabbi Herman said, "Our information, supported by many sources, is that this entire area is going to be given over to a tourism promotional company fronted by a man named David Bertoldi. Bertoldi has come with a supposed tourism project to take ownership of this area, close it off, and make it into a project that will serve Catholic tourists - and then anyone who wants to recite a chapter of Psalms will have to pay a $10 entrance fee, except for two hours in the morning. Bertoldi professes to be Jewish, but to the best of our information, he is a 'mumar,' someone who has transferred his faith elsewhere. He claims to be an independently wealthy man, but in fact is really just a straw man for -- the Pope! We have lots of information that he is in the pay of the local Francescan brothers, headed by Father Pierre Batista, and as far as we know they've already paid him $70,000, and he goes in to the various offices buying his way through the bureaucracy."

    Arutz-7 phoned the Jerusalem monastery that Batista headed until a year ago, and spoke with his replacement, who said that he knew Bertoldi, though "he is not a member of our congregation." Asked if Bertoldi works for the Francescans, he said, "That is hard to say."

    Rabbi Herman bemoaned the secrecy in which the entire affair and attempted buy-out is being shrouded: "Who knows if this isn't just the tip of the iceberg? Why is this not being brought up for public debate, among the Torah Sages, the Knesset, public opinion? Let it be put on hold until then! How can King David's Tomb itself, in the heart of Jerusalem, be passed along to the Pope, without even a whisper of discussion?!"

    MK Benny Elon (National Union), who served twice as Minister of Tourism, told Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, "This issue was raised several years ago. When I was Tourism Minister, I made it clear to a representative of the Pope that we would allow them to use one room with a side entrance that would not bother the yeshiva. But under no circumstances would we allow the transfer of ownership. But they said they want ownership, and that the Pope sees this place as the second-holiest, after the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We have to be very strong and not give in to the Vatican on this." He said that at present, Christian groups come in and pray there, but the "sovereignty is ours."

    MK Elon said that the denial by President Katzav's office is "a major achievement, and was the result of public pressure. What has to be done now is to try to involve the Prime Minister, despite our troubled personal relations with him. He must intervene to ensure that the Vatican not gain control over such a significant site."

    Rabbis Goldstein and Herman sent a letter on this issue to Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky. Arutz-7 asked the Jerusalem municipality for its reaction yesterday, but has still not received it.