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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Shabbat ba'Aretz

Mossa'ei Yom HaKippurim 5768

Shabbat ba'Aretz

The various communities in Yehudah & Shomron (Judea & Samaria) are a lot more diverse than you might think. And, so there are diverse kinds of Shabbath experiences available to you, and all you need to do is pick up the phone.


"Shabbat ba'Aretz" (Shabbat In the Land) is a program connecting 18 - 35 year olds with families in Yehudah & Shomron for Shabbat. Learn about the Jewish People's Biblical connection to the land first hand, and meet the people who have returned to our ancient homeland.

Please call Jackie (02-9974030 or 054-6302174) by Tuesday to guarantee placement. First-come, first-serve. Please call between 9:00 AM and 10:00 PM. For your protection, Egged Buses have protective shields on their windows.

The Egged Bus schedule (English) provides you with easy and up-to-date, travel information from Jerusalem. Some buses are also available to Yehudah & Shomron from Tel-Aviv, Netanyah, K'far Saba, and Be'er Sheva. The Dan Bus Company provides many buses per day from Gush Dan (Greater Tel-Aviv Area) to the Shomron.

"Shabbat ba'Aretz" is also looking for families to host. At this point, families in which both the husband and wife speak English are being sought for hosting.


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Elnaqam 4My personal experiences hosting have been,... well,... unique. A lot of yeshivah students have been attracted to my town, K'far Tapu'ah, mainly by word of mouth.

I'd get the "call" from my neighbor, usually on a Friday afternoon, after the only store in town closed:

"Ya'aqov, a few extra guys showed up for Shabbos. Can you spare the room?"

I wish I could say that I acted like a tzaddiq about it. Last year, I was working nights, and tried to maintain my crazy nocturnal schedule even on Shabbath. We tried to limit the living room to two guys, and to very quiet ones at that. Last Shabbath Hanukkah (ner rishon), my roommate's friend, and fellow blogger, Doodle Head, came up with a couple of his friends, so I agreed to an exception.

As usual, all turned out well. The guys appreciated the warm place to sleep and snacks between meals, and conversation. Hint: Always have a spare, unopened bag of gar'inim (sunflower or other seeds) laying around. They can go along way with fruit, cake, and hot drinks.

Since then, I have been able to perform this simple, and particularly enjoyable misswah, simply by throwing a couple mattresses on the ground, and telling my guests a little about my town, starting with its Biblical history (Josh. 17), and the history of the surrounding area, the territory of Efraim to the south, and Mennasheh to the north, including Shkhem and Qever Yosef. Qever Yehoshu'a is just to our West near the City of Ariel.

Now a days, my friends Yekutiel and Ezra host meals for the 10 to 20 yeshivah students and families who come up for Shabbath on their half-year old hill, Elnaqam 4 (pictured above). Most of the guys do not want to miss out on the chance to sleep there, so my living room is bare nowadays. I shlep up past the town fence to the hill, passing olive groves and other fruit trees, the goats' barn, and the cemetery to join the fun. It is before the "Tapu'ah West" hill. Guests are so used to being within an eruv on Shabbath, they have to be reminded that there isn't one past the fence, nor on the hill.

Inside the big tent, equipped with electricity and running water, the atmosphere is very Shabbostik, to say the least with great food, divrei Torah, and lots of singing.

The morning includes davening on the "Tapu'ah West" hill, meals in the tent, and tours and talks about life in the Shomron.

A few weeks ago, guests were treated to helping a newly-wed couple celebrate, at one of their Sheva Brakhoth (wedding celebration) meals.

Men are not the only ones to enjoy Shabbath in Tapu'ah. When there is a request by women, the weekend is reserved for them, and the boys are told to come the following week. So far, a couple or groups of seminar and university students have enjoyed Shabbath here in Tapu'ah.

This is only one town's experience with Shabbat ba'Aretz. There are many experiences out there to be had in the diverse group of towns within Yehudah & Shomron.

So, whether you would like to host or be a guest, whether you live in Israel or are just visiting, just give our friend Jackie a call by Tuesday, between 9:00 AM and 10:00 PM, and see what is available (02-9974030 or 054-6302174).

Just think about what a great way such an experience would be to start off your new year!


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Those who like to donate money to promote and expand the program
should contact Menachem mengott@netvision.net.il.

*All money will be used for advertising the program.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

To Refuse Or Not To Refuse

8 of the Seventh Month 5768

I recently received an e-mail from a like-minded journalist in the north of Israel, SHmu'el HaLevy, commenting on the issue of IDF soldiers refusing orders.

Following his letter is my "10 Agaroth" on why soldiers are even placed in a situation where they must decide whether or not to follow orders.

Following this are links to news and additional commentary on the topic of IDF soldiers refusing orders.

Most people consider me to be a "right-wing extremist." I'll have to assume that's due to my respect for Torah and it's central importance to Am Yisrael and humanity in general. I cannot imagine why else I would be categorized in this manner.

However, many of those who have placed me into this box, a box in which I am quite pleased to dwell, are usually surprised, if not shocked, by the rahmanuth (compassion/mercy) with which I regard those IDF soldiers, thrown into a position of having to decide whether or not to refuse orders.

Usually, I am the one frustrated and yelling at those, even some so-called right-wing, religious Jews, who so casually want to give up land, which is not even ours to give up, and to expel Jews from their homes (See Mishneh Torah, Hil. Hovel u'Maziq Ch. 8). Yet the soldiers on the front lines are products of both Israeli public school brainwashing, and the teachings by what one Hakham (truly wise rabbi) calls "Rabbanim Tze'irim" (b'lashon haRaMB"aM). (Just hug them first, then throw them out of their homes.)

How can such soldiers be held responsible for any actions they take in violation of Torah? Eighteen years of programming is just too much for many of them to overcome. One is not exempt from attempting to get through to the Jewish soul locked inside of the soldier, and to encourage him to do the right thing. But for the long-term, we must target the sources of such indoctrination, for change.


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The E-Mail:
Insubordination?

My son declared during his draft interview that he will refuse any order directing him to assault in any way Jewish people. His profile was then lowered to 72 and removed from actual soldiering. Right now he is inching back into relevant military assignments. Was he an exception. NOT BY FAR! He was not an isolated case. Thousands are segregated in that and other fashions.

It is completely in line with the present form of unJewish government to attempt to divert the people from the truth. And that is known TO EVERYONE that opted to reside inside the system.

Refusing to follow orders clearly oriented to harm JEWISH national interests and safety is indeed the obligation of every individual soldier.

But that is not good enough.

That soldier or soldiers opting not to follow ill conceived and or illegal orders must be given access to alternative service frameworks by a different system of government parallel to the one causing harm to the Nation. Simply refusing orders obviously geared to serve limited cadres and foreign interests is a great start but those fine people must know that THE PEOPLE support them.

That is another reason why a "government in waiting" including such options is also a top priority.

It is folly to believe that anyone will "change the quagmire from within". The GoI is completely at the service of certain cadres and they will not cede command, not ever.

SHmuel


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My 10 Agaroth:
There is no question that this is taking place, and that there is differential treatment toward religious soldiers.

The Mamlakhtim are encouraged, and have future careers available to them in the army, because they are know to be "loyal" to the State.

The Toranim, those whose loyalties to HaShem and His Torah are greater than those toward the "almighty State" are scrutinized, have their Hesder yeshivah chipped away, [Hesder students] are not allowed to serve in certain units (paratroopers and one other). The army knew better than to have the Golani and Nahal Haredi units involved in any way with the Azza expulsion. But that's apparently not good enough. The Army is now "cleansing" certain units of soldiers like these with "disloyal" thinking.

Who is the instrument behind it all? A Mamlakhti head of army personnel. His name need not be mentioned.

Jews in Israel do not want to believe that the division between the TWO national religious camps is becoming more clearly defined everyday, for the sake of unity. Many Jews outside of Israel can't believe it.

The only way to combat this is to began at home by emphasizing to our children that:

חוקי התורה קודמין לחוקי האדם

1) "Torah Law takes precedence over human, or State, law," whenever there is a stirah (apparent contradiction).

2) If possible, send your children to non-MaMa"D (mamlakhti datti) schools, where, whether you like it or not, they are being indoctrinated into an Israeli society of numbed-out, State-loyalists

What does all of this have to do with enlisting into the army?

We must take responsibility for the education of our children. They'll be the ones on the front lines soon, both in and out of the army. The only way to prevent future expulsions is to have an army educated to know the difference between right (Torah) and wrong (non-Torah). We obviously cannot expect the State to do that for us. Look what happened when many of us tried that already. Some of you non-religious, nationalists [whom I happen to appreciate very much and with whom I can identify even more than the religious Mamlakhtim] may be asking, "Why do you have to bring up Torah? What does Torah have to do with it? You're only going to push people away from our cause. Now, he's the scary part: We're not only up against those in the Kenesseth who are adamantly anti-Torah, we're up against "rabbanim" who have money and resources to get out their mamlakhti hashqafic messages out there.

Fortunately, there are Rabbis out there who have the courage to differentiate between hallachah and Israeli law, AND actually back up what they say with hallachic [not hashqafic] sources. Rabbanim like Rav Dov Lior (Qiriyath Arba), Rav Moshe Tzuriel (B'nei Braq), Rav Yisrael Ariel (Makhon HaMiqdash) give us hope. But, we must do our part, which starts at home."

Some of you non-religious, nationalists [whom I happen to appreciate very much and with whom I can identify even more than the religious Mamlakhtim] may be asking, "Why do you have to bring up Torah? What does Torah have to do with it? You're only going to push people away from our cause."

Now, he's the scary part: We're not only up against those in the Kenesseth who are adamantly anti-Torah, we're up against "rabbanim" who have money and resources to get out their mamlakhti hashqafic messages out there.

One rabbi in the Shomron, has gone so far as to call the undying loyalty to the almighty State of some of these mamlakhti "rabbanim," avodah zarah, on level with our sin of worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32). Other rabbis has suggested that "fascist" would be a more appropriate description. Either way, the prognosis does not appear to be very promising.

In addition to such rabbis who are not afraid to speak out, there are fortunately Rabbis out there who have the courage to differentiate between hallachah and Israeli law, AND actually back up what they say with hallachic [not hashqafic] sources.

Rabbanim like Rav Dov Lior (Qiriyath Arba), Rav Moshe Tzuriel (B'nei Braq), Rav Yisrael Ariel (Temple Institute) give us hope. But, we must do our part, which starts at home.

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Additional News & Commentary on IDF Soldiers Refusing Orders:

Israel National TV:
Soldiers from the IDF "Dukifat" Unit Receive Awards

Lousi Rene Beres, Ph.D.:
On IDF Refusals To Follow Orders: The Interlocking Perspectives Of National Law, International Law And Jewish Law (Part One of Three)

Ted Belman:
Insubordination is Appropriate when Government is Illegitimate
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