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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Gilad Shalit Deal: An (Authentically) Jewish Perspective?

4 of the Eighth Month 5772

The Gilad Shalit Deal: An (Authentically) Jewish Perspective?

Rabbi David Bar-Hayim
Rosh Machon Shilo

28 of the Seventh Month 5772
"The release of convicted terrorists before they have served their full sentences seems like an easy and tempting way of defusing blackmail situations in which innocent people may lose their lives, but its utility is momentary at best. Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists by giving them the feeling that even if they are caught, their punishment will be brief. Worse, by leading terrorists to think such demands are likely to be met, they encourage precisely the terrorist blackmail they are supposed to defuse."

Binyamin Netanyahu, Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists, 1995.
* * * * * *


The recent deal concluded by the Israeli government with Hamas – an Islamo-fascist terror organisation that openly declares its purpose of bringing about Israel’s demise – has served to cast in sharp relief the greatest danger facing our nation today: the appalling lack of moral clarity, wisdom and courage which characterise those who would lead us.

The malaise is not limited to the political arena; it permeates the Tora world as well. HaRav ‘Ovadhya Yoseph, spiritual mentor of Shas, supported the deal. Referring to this support, the New York Times asserted: “In an unspoken, little-noticed way, religious tradition informed a real-world decision.” In fact, nothing could be further from the truth."

Hazal (Our Sages z"l) taught that although pidhyon sh’vuyim (redeeming captives) is a misswa of inestimable importance, it is nevertheless context-sensitive.
“CAPTIVES SHOULD NOT BE REDEEMED FOR MORE THAN THEIR VALUE, FOR THE GOOD ORDER OF THE WORLD [so that the captors should not demand excessive ransoms and be motivated to kidnap Jews]. CAPTIVES SHOULD NOT BE HELPED TO ESCAPE, FOR THE GOOD ORDER OF THE WORLD [lest captors put their captives in chains and otherwise maltreat them]” (Mishna, Gittin 4:6, TB 45a).

It is often said that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world. This is only half true, referring, as it does, to women. One of the most time-honoured professions among the males of our species is kidnapping. “We find kidnapping widely practiced in the ancient world” (The Encyclopedia of Kidnappings, Micheal Newton, p. 156). “The practice of kidnapping… has been known since the beginnings of history. It was common as a method for procuring slaves, and it has also been employed by brigands and revolutionaries to obtain money through ransom…”. Julius Caesar was captured by pirates near the island of Pharmacusa, and held until a ransom of 5o talents was paid. According to Plutarch, the pirates originally demanded 20 talents, but Caesar felt he was worth more. (Upon being freed he returned to the island, captured the pirates and their loot, and crucified them – a fate with which he had threatened the incredulous pirates during his captivity. Might there be a lesson for us there?)

The case of Julius Ceasar is instructive; it explains what was meant by not redeeming “for more than their value”. In those times, kidnapping for ransom was a boom industry, and just like its sister profession till this day, there was ‘a going rate’, calculated progressively according to status, wealth etc. This, then, was the historical and sociological context of the Mishna.

Jewish communities all over the world frequently found themselves dealing with pirates or brigands demanding ransom for Jewish captives; redeeming fellow Jews was considered the highest form of ss’dhaqa (charity). The knowledge that Jewish communities – due to their ingrained rahmanuth(mercy, compassion) (see B’midhbar Raba, Naso, 8:4 and Rambam’s MT Isure Biya 19:17) and solidarity with their fellow Jews – could be counted on to pay ransoms at many times the going rate would have provided a tremendous incentive to those ‘in the industry’ to redouble their efforts to take Jewish captives.

Overpaying for Jewish captives was clearly a self-defeating policy. So why did Hazal need to formulate this Halakha? Was this conclusion not self-evident? Hazal were compelled to make such a pronouncement precisely because rahmanuth is one of our essential traits, so much so that we often cannot help ourselves even when we should know better.

Is it possible that this Halakha will sometimes result in a Jew languishing in captivity or being put to death? Of course it is possible. In fact it is likely. But Hazal understood what our present, unworthy leaders do not: our actions in the real world must be governed by rational deliberation based on objective realities, not feel-good soppiness.

Was the price tag for Shalit’s release – the release of 1,027 terrorists, many of whom murdered Israeli and foreign civilians including babies and children – “for more than his value”? I shall answer with a question: Can anyone point to the conclusion of a similar deal with terrorists by any other nation?

This dishonourable and immoral deal can only encourage our enemies to attempt similar abductions in the future. Far from being based on religious tradition, Netanyahu’s shameful deal sets at naught the wisdom, experience and explicit instruction of our Sages.

On these grounds alone, this ignominious capitulation to naked evil must be condemned.

Some will ask: Is Rabbi ‘Ovadhya Yoseph unaware of these sources?

I shall address this question, with HASHEM’s help, in the coming installment.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Top Ten Words and Phrases of תשע"א/5771

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parashath No'ah 5772

The compiling of the long-awaited, and VERY tardy, Top Ten Words And Phrase of תשע"א/5771 has finally been completed.

The annual list of Esser Agaroth's Top Ten Words And Phrases has been around since תשס"ד/5764. The top Ten Words List includes words which have been overused, underused, or significant to the universe in one way or another. The links below indicate previous posts which have addressed, or have attempted to address, the issue. Those words which are not linked? Stay tuned for some good ol' fashioned smacking of those who need to be smacked from Esser Agaroth during תשע"ב/5772! (click the link above for past years' lists)

This year's list is dedicated to Efraim HaKohen in Jerusalem. Please let him know.

10. Coffee - Self-explanatory.

9. Rabbi – Many of you know that I try to stay far away from "rabbis," and stay close to Hakhamim. Yes, there is most certainly a difference! I especially try to stay far away from those calling themselves "rabbis" who have allowed themselves to be influenced by those from whom they have received salaries or donations (eg. The State, Government of Norway, Christians, etc.).

8. Nakba/Intifada – These words do not even deserve their own entry. These contrivances from the Pseudostians (Honorable Mention goes to Batya @ Shiloh Musings for the addition of this word to our vocabulary!), under the manipulative hands of the European "High Left," must be from ejected from our vocabulary.

7. The State – Doesn't that sound like the title of a good ol' fashioned dystopian novel? Well, sometimes living in Israel can feel that way. Check out what fellow blogger Ariel at The Torah Revolution thinks about The State, keeping in mind that he believes that Jews must come back home to the Land of Israel to re-settle it, unlike Neturei Karta types.

6. צדק חברתי/Social Justice – How this concept has been expressed, both recently in Israel, and years ago in the U. S. is neither "social" nor "justice." Discuss amongst yourselves.

5. Shimon HaTzadiq - 'Nuff said.

4. Christian Friends - The most effective way for me to express my feelings on this phrase would be in the traditional fashion of the San Fernando Valley, in the 1980's: "Like, gag with a spoon!"

3. 1,000's of Arab Terrorists - Yeah! Let's hear it for the Arabs Terrorists יש"ו! (eyes rolling) May they all get what they really deserve! (May their names and memories be blotted out!)

2. רכבת קלה/Light Rail – As a Jerusalemite, and as a Jerusalemite who benefits a great deal from our new light rail system, the…had to be on this year's list! Stay tuned for Esser Agaroth on the…

1. Gil'ad Shalit – How could I not put Gil'ad in the No. 1 spot?

Well, that's a wrap for 5771!

Have a great 5772, and make sure to pay attention to those catchy words and phrases!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Swedish Anarchists Deface Sukkah In Shimon Hatzaddik

27 of the Seventh Month 5772

Remember the sukkah I visited for a barbecue in the Shimon HaTzadiq neighborhood of Jerusalem?

That sukkah was vandalized.

From the Kalashnokover Rebbe...
Swedish anarchists defaced the Sukkah in Shimon Hatzaddik and were arrested by Police - אנרכיסטים שווידים חללו את הסוכה בשכונת שמעון הצדיק ונעצרו ע''י המשטרה




Personally, I agree that we should "stop the occupation."

אני מסכים - די לכיבוש

Stop the Arab occupation of Jewish houses!

די לכיבוש הערבי!

Stop the Arab occupation of the Land with gave to Ya'aqov (Jews), and not to Yishma'el (Arabs), and certainly not to Esau (Euro. Left AND Right-wing Christians).

To deny this, is to deny the very validity of the Torah. None of this... "Well, it depends on what you mean by Torah." crap. "Torah" means both Written AND Oral Torah, sans denial and distortions.

As politically-incorrect as that sounds, limiting the Land to a specific people, I refuse to allow the truth to be silenced.

Saudia Arabia does it.

The Palestinian Authority will no doubt do it, when some Jews decide to stick around irregardless of what the Israeli Government decides or does not decide.

Believe you me. Some of them us WILL stick around.

But, in the eyes of the so called "International Community," that's OK. After all, we are only Jews, and who the hell are we to believe in the Torah, and who the hell are we to dare expect to possess a tiny strip of Land, and call it home?!

And our brethren on the Left have this insane idea that even if we wanted to slice and dice the Land of Israel, that we could dish it out to not non-Jews.

We can't. It's not ours to give away!

Didn't anyone take the opportunity to read Rash"i's first comments on the Torah last week?


We do what we our supposed to do, follow the Torah, fight for the Land (among other things), and then HaShem decides which pieces fall into which hands, just like in תשכ"ז/1967, תש"ח/1948, and תשל"א/1973.

Even in תש"נ/1948, we made it all the way to the Litani River in what is now Lebanon, which according to many authorities is the northern border of the territories of Asher and Naftali.

Then in typical Erev Rav fashion, we handed it over to Arabs, just like the Sinai, the Temple Mount, Yericho, Hevron, Ramallah, Azza, etc.

I refuse to allow the truth to be distorted, by the left OR the right.

The response to the vandalism in the Shimon HaTzadiq neighborhood appeared to be the same. They expressed it by "fixing" the graffiti.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sukkoth In The Shimon HaTzadiq Neighborhood

Motza'ei Shabbath Qodesh Parashath Bereishith 5772

During Hol HaMo'ed Sukkoth, I went to a barbecue at a friend's place in the Shimon HaTzadiq neighborhood. The Shimon HaTzadiq neighborhood is located on the eastern side of Highway 1 in Jerusalem.

It was a lot fun, meeting old friends and new, as well as seeing the dog I helped raise, when I lived in K'far Tapu'ah (see photo below). Hot dogs, Kabob, and chicken were on the menu, along with singing and Torah in the sukkah.



During tefillath minhah, as the repetition of prayer began, Arab children came over to peak onto the property, and started making noise. Their mother came over, and joined in. Other Arabs began screaming, including very unpleasant things about God, surprisingly.

A few of us who had already prayed went out to investigate, and discovered several Norwegian Leftists inciting the Arabs against us. Esau and Yishma'el working together; Esau manipulating wild and idiotic Yishma'el, actually.

Women stood in front of the entrance to the property, knowing full well that it is forbidden for Jewish men to pray in the presence of women, especially how these women were dressed. One even trespassed on to the property, sat in back of our sukkah, texting to her heart's content, throughout the entire evening. We just ignored her, as she ended up sitting within the [supposed] property of one of the Arab neighbors.

The Norwegian Leftists' complaint was that we Jews were occupying "Palestinian" lands.

This demonstrated how truly ignorant AND Jew-hating these Europeans (Esau) are. Jewish have simply been reclaiming property which they had lost during the Israeli War of Independence.

Who is "occupying" whose land and homes???

After the fall of Sadam Hussein in Iraq, Iraqi citizens filed for reclamation of lost property, which had been confiscated or lost, due to the need to run for their lives. Doesn't anyone remember how Jews were singled out, and denied these rights? Did any Jews have Iraqi citizenship restored or property returned? For certain, they did not receive the minority status granted to other ethnic groups in Iraq. Yet, Jews have had a presence in Iraq for over 2,000 years.

Esau and Yishma'el treat us the same way here in our own homeland, while we continue to let them, and everyone else, to step all over us.

Irregardless of the light drama which played out, I had a nice time, and hope to go back sometime. The irony is that this neighborhood even has its own light rail station. As "occupations" go (eyes rolling), this one has a tremendous amount of mainstream support.

Now that I think about it, I wonder why we did not "release the hounds." Besides Shiksa, there was one other Belgian Shepherd available for Arab and Leftist chasing duty. I guess that even "right-wing fanatics" (eyes rolling) know when to choose their our shots. Go figure....

*********

Here is a video (Hebrew) of Yehonatan "Yoni" Yosef giving a guided tour through the neighborhood, lecturing on the rich history of this neighborhood. His grandfather, former Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef celebrated becoming bar-mitzvah in this neighborhood, and was the ba'al qore' (Torah reader) there for several years.

The Jewish presence and history of this neighborhood begins thousands of years ago, and only had a short break from 1949 to 1967, when the armistice line was set, separating Jews from from there homes there.

The compositions of his tour groups are usually more mixed, Haredi, Religious Zionist, and and secular, all interested in the history and current activity of the Shimon HaTzadiq neighborhood.

סיור מודרך בשכונת שמעון הצדיק - לשעבר שייח ג'ראח


Below are some articles covering the Shimon HaTzadiq neighborhood, interspersed with my comments in blue italics.




JPost.com: The Guard Dogs Of East Jerusalem

Benjamin Spier, January 27, 2011

Meet Shiksa, one of dozens of canines sent to guard in West Bank settlements, dangerous neighborhoods.

In an east Jerusalem neighborhood where tensions between Arabs and Jews run high, sometimes a dog is needed to keep the peace.

Yaakov Fauci lives with his Belgian Shepard 'Shiksa' in one of the few Jewish houses of an almost entirely Arab neighborhood.

Israel’s Best Friend sends dogs like Shiksa to settlements in the West Bank and to Jewish homes in dangerous neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.

YNET: 13 Jewish Homes Approved In Sheikh Jarrah

Construction plans drawn up 'with sole aim of creating trouble,' says Meretz councilman, but head of Israel Land Fund argues, 'Arabs should thank Jews for letting them stay free of charge on land that belongs to them'

Ronen Medzini, February 7, 2011

Jerusalem Municipality approved 13 new housing units for Jews in Sheikh Jarrah on Monday, a move expected to further exacerbate tension in the Arab neighborhood.

The local planning and construction committee approved two separate plans for buildings to be erected near the tomb of Shimon Hatzadik.

The approval provides a recommendation for the Interior Ministry, which will decide whether to give the final green light.

Sheikh Jarrah has become a focal point of conflict between left-wing activists and Arab residents, and the dozens of Jews who reside there in 10 different houses.

(What Arabs call "Sheikh Jarrah" is actually farther north. What Arabs call "Wadi Joz" is to the east.)

The latter moved in on a court order which evicted the Arab residents from their homes. Aside from the approved 13, sources in the municipality said plans were in the works for hundreds of new homes.

"I imagine that within 5-10 years some 200 homes for Jews will be built in this area," Arieh King, the chairman of the Israel Land Fund, told Ynet.

"These are lands that belonged to Jews before the establishment of the state, and after 63 years they have been returned to the heirs. The Arabs that lived here illegally throughout these years should thank the Jews who let them stay for free, and now it's time for the Jews to actualize their rights to this place."

The municipality's Likud representative, Attorney Elisha Peleg, said anyone who rejected Jews' rights to build in east Jerusalem was engaging in discrimination.

"I hope as many Jewish neighborhoods as possible are built in east Jerusalem," he told Ynet, adding that the plans were drawn up by private companies and have nothing to do with the state.

"The lots are being built on illegally and invaded by Arabs right now and in the future, when we receive building permits, they will be asked to leave."

But Meretz Councilman Yosef (Pepe) Alalo said the new plans were destroying the status-quo. "Aside from the fact that the plans arrived insufficiently prepared, they are certainly improper and are entirely aimed at causing trouble," he said.

(Since when is returning property to its rightful owners "improper" and "aimed at causing trouble?")

"The plans were made in order to harm agreements by which Palestinian neighborhoods will be transferred to the future state of Palestine while Jewish neighborhoods remain in Israel. These plans destroy our final hope and have no regard for the fact that the families living in the homes will be thrown out onto the street."

(Well, I guess they should of thought about that, before squatting on Jewish property without permission, huh?)

Jerusalem Municipality stated in response that the plans were private and therefore the construction committee was charged only with checking the aspects related to technical planning, not the religion or nationality of the planners.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jewish Unity Song (שירת אחדות ישראל)

Motza'ei Shemini Atzereth/Isru Hag 5772

On the night of Hoshana Rabba, I spent some time in the cool, chilled out atmosphere of the Jerusalem Soul Center's candlelit sukkah, hosted by Ezra and Malka Chana Amichai.

Drinks, snacks, conversation, and a nargila were on the menu. A combination of Torah and music was the main course.

Two amazing musicians played a big part in creating the atmosphere, Yitzchok Meir (also known as Isaac Shiraz) from the Jewish Unity Project and Maury Epstein.

Just as I was getting comfortable on a cushion in the sukkah, and closed my eyes to get centered and to take in all of the activity, my ears perked up to Yitzchok Meir singing a song about Ahduth Yisra'el (Jewish Unity).

It reminded me of a song I wrote back in תשס"ד/2004,...well, more of a chant which is sung. Tensions were rising within and between various Jewish communities over the possibility that 10,000 Jews would be thrown out of their homes in Azza and the Northern Shomron (Samaria).

When that possibility became a reality, and when the shock (ie. denial) began to wear thin, anger kicked in from all sides, and the blame game began.
It's the Leftists' fault, because they're such hypocrites!

It's the Haredis' fault, for voting for it!

It's the Settlers' own damn fault, for not fighting hard enough!

Trust me. There was, and is, plenty of blame to go around.

The original reason I wrote this song was to combat the childish name calling amongst my ninth-graders. The tension surrounding the current events of the day only added to my motivation in writing this song.

As childish as the lyrics may sound, on some level those ninth-graders of mine got the point about how hurtful it is to call each other names along ethnic and hashqafic lines.

There are some very unhelpful people in Israel who would like to maintain the status quo of Jewish disunity.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a pluralist, far from it. I can be very opinionated. But, I can also get very disturbed by the quite nefarious motivations of leaders across the spectrum for keeping Am Yisra'el divided.

It is not just the old cliché of "divide and conquer." It is more like divide, sedate, and periodically egg others on to fight against each other, so that those [truly] in power can stay in power.

This song was also influenced by when, as far back as תשס"ד/2004, I would see graffiti in Tel-Aviv which said...

המתנחל הוא לא אח שלי
(The settler is not my brother.)

A belief which has, no doubt, come courtesy from indoctrination by "Powers That Be."

Perhaps even those still under the influence of Western Galuth may believe I have crossed the line by considering farmers and those who clean our streets on the same level with doctors, lawyers, and those who work in high tech.

Nonetheless, this is the message I want to convey through song. A transliteration and glossary follow.

In case you are wondering, yes, I absolutely DID sing this song to my ninth-grade students, and had them join in.


כל יהודי הוא אח שלי
(Every Jew Is My Brother)

ספרדי
תימני
אשכנזי

כל יהודי הוא אח שלי

חסידי
ליטאי
ס-רוגי

כל יהודי הוא אח שלי

חרדי
חילוני
דתי לאומי

כל יהודי הוא אח שלי


פרסי
מרוקאי
רוסי
ואפילו
אמריקאי

כל יהודי הוא אח שלי

אקדמים
נוער הגבעות
מעריצי
בית"ר ירושלים

כל יהודי הוא אח שלי

קיבוצניקים
תל אביבים
חוצניקים
ומתנחלים

כל יהודי הוא אח שלי

איכרים
היי-טקים
רופאים
ומנקים

כל יהודי הוא אח שלי

Kol Yehudi hu ah sheli.

Se-phardi
Teimani
Ashkenazi

Kol Yehudi hu ah sheli.

Hassidi
Lita-i
Se-rugi

Kol Yehudi hu ah sheli.

Haredi
Hiloni
Datti Le'umi

Kol Yehudi hu ah sheli.

Parsi
Moroccai
Russi
V'Afilu
Americai

Kol Yehudi hu ah sheli.

Academim
No'ar HaG'va'ot
Ma'aritzei
Beitar Yerushalaim

Kol Yehudi hu ah sheli.

Kibbutznikim
Tel-Avivim
Hutznikim
u'Mitnah'lim

Kol Yehudi hu ah sheli.

Ikkarim
Hi-Tech-im
Rofim
u'Menakim

Kol Yehudi hu ah sheli.

Glossary:
Se-rugi = One who wears a crocheted kippah

Hiloni = Secular Jew
Datti Le'umi = Religious Zionist

Afilu = even

No'ar HaG'va'ot = Hilltop Youth
Ma'aritzei Beitar Yerushalaim = Jerusalem's soccer team's fans

Hutznikim = Jews from outside of Israel
Mitnah'lim = Settlers

Ikkarim = Farmers
Rofim = Doctors
Menakim = Cleaners

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Welcome Home, Gilad Shalit! (ברוך הבא, גלעד שליט)

Leil Hoshaba Rabba 5772

I have always been against this exchange deal.

But, who cannot shed a tear at this photo (from JewNews), a reunion between father and son, which most thought would never happen. Only those deluded in fantasy truly believed that those Yishma'elite animals would ever release Gil'ad Shalit.

We have yet to hear what Gil'ad incurred by their hands, what kinds of torture he suffered, what kinds of permanent physical, psychological, and spiritual damage he will have to live with for the rest of his life.

Like most Israelis, I am happy that he has been released, and now back home, amongst family and friends.

Yet, additional questions remain. How long will it take for the thousand released terrorists to start killing again? Will they just step into the shoes of intifada soldiers instead?

How long until the next kidnapping occurs? What will the wait and price be then?

There is a well-known similar incident, which occurred over 700 years ago.
The Mahara"m of Rotenberg was taken captive by the German King, and was held for a very high ransom. The Mahara"m ruled on his own captivity, refusing to be released for the ransom money raised by his students and community.

His reasoning was that by accepting the exchange, additional kidnappings of rabbis for ransom would be encouraged. in the hopes of exchanging them for outrageous sums of money.

He remained in captivity for the next seven years, when he died.

We may be glad that Gil'ad Shalit has been freed. However, this chapter of history is far from over.

Only time will tell if the price was worth it.

In the meantime, let's be grateful for what we have. We have him back.

Enjoy this video of my buddy, Isaac Shiraz from the Jewish Unity Project performing for soldiers in celebration of Gil'ad's release.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rashi's Daughters

Hol HaMo'ed Sukkoth 5772

*If you do not identify as frum/religious/orthodox, please read the note at the bottom of this post first.

An extremely loud and gaivadike, "frum" woman approached me, in order to interrupt a private conversation I was having with another Jewish man.

"Rashi's daughters wore tefillin!" was her claim.

It was so important to her to say that, she must have found it necessary to interrupt our private conversation, after eavesdropping on our private conversation to stick her nose into our business, and tell us her unsolicited, two cents (leHavdil), whether we wanted to hear it or not.

This is what I would like to have told her:

Rash"i's daughters may have worn tefillin.

Rash"i's daughters really knew halakhah, what they were obligated to do, and what they were not obligated to do.

They knew the a woman's most important misswah was tzeni'uth (modesty).

They wore tefillin in private, to aid them in prayer, not to make a political statement.

I will also be so bold as to suggest that they also did not rudely interrupt other people's conversations, let alone conversations between men. Modesty, remember?

Furthermore, Rash"i's daughters were the mothers of Ba'alei HaTosefoth.
Yocheved was the mother of the Riva"m, the Rashba"m, and Rabbeinu Tam.

Miriam was the mother of Yom Tov, a Rosh Yeshiva in Paris.

Of Rachel, little is known.
You, on the other hand, who simply wants to do what you want to do, and pick and choose so-called "sources" to justify what you want to do, ain't no Rash"i's daughter.

So, the next time you want to throw out some random piece of history, in order to justify the assertion of your will,...

1. Be intellectually honest, by presenting that historical piece of information in proper context when you convey it,...

2. Before you take on another misswah are not obligated to, just for the sake of "egalitarianism," think about whether you have to do any work on the misswoth you are obligated to perform, and...

3. Remember the following true story from a rabbinic acquaintance of mine:

A female soldier came up to a Chabba"d tefillin table where I was standing. She angrily asked him why he did not ask her if she wanted to put on tefillin. Can't I put on tefillin, too?

She was very much taken by surprise when I responded, "Sure, you can."

He then took her aside to talk more privately, and he related to her this story of Rash"i's daughters.

It is said that Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaqi z"l of Worms, France [Rash"i], one of the greatest Jewish scholars ever to have lived, had daughters who put on tefillin. They put on tefillin because they believed it would help them to have better kevana (intention, feeling, connection,...) while praying.

However, they put tefillin on in private. Women have no requirement to pray in a group. Women do not need this mitzvah. Rash"i's daughters were very modest. They dutifully performed all of the mitzvot which they were obligated to do, and that included modesty.

When exposing their elbows to put on arm tefillin, and when exposing their heads to put on head tefillin they did so in private, in order to maintain their modesty.

Rash"i's daughters wore tefillin because they believed that it would help them to connect to their prayers and to increase their focus on their Creator. Displaying their tefillin in public was unnecessary to achieve this goal.

But, yes, you may, indeed put on tefillin.

The soldier was happy with the response she received to her challenges, and that this rabbi bothered to take the time to explain a Jewish concept to her, and not just brush her off.

If you look, you, too, can find a rabbi who will be kind and patient to you. If you come across one who is not, then he is not for you. Keep searching.

So, why did I not get in this woman's face about tefillin and Rash"i's daughters?

Would she have listened? No, I don't think so. Actually, the confrontation above did not happen.

But, the women I have encountered during similar incidents, have acted in this manner, apparently confusing rude, "over-compensation for the hierarchical, patriarchal aggressive oppression of women" (eyes rolling) for...

...assertiveness.

Galuth (diaspora) has really messed us up as a people, and as servants of The Holy One, Blessed Be He.

We continue to attempt to reduce our cognitive dissonance by deluding ourselves that the Western cultures and sensibilities from which we have emerged are all actually one with authentic Judaism.

There are "rabbis" who even try to pass those Western cultures and sensibilities off as Torah.

They are not.

*********

Note:
If you managed to reach the end of this post, and are reading this note, then you will know that my criticism here is of the Avi Weisses, Kolechs, and Shirah Hadashas, not of the so-called "movements."

Say what you will about those "movements" (and I say plenty), but at least they are consistent, and often admit their lack of belief in the binding nature of halakhah, as well as admit to their "creative" approach to Jewish observance.

Monday, October 17, 2011

מלכודת הנוצרים אוהבי ישראל


בס"ד
כ' באלול תשע"א
19.9.11

כיום פועלים מאות עמותות קרנות וארגונים נוצריים אוונגליסטים בארץ, . 140 קהילות משיחיות , יהודים למען ישו ועוד,פועלים בפריסה ארצית. הם הזרוע המבצעת ב"קרוב" ובהמרת דת. ההערכה היא ש 20.000 התנצרו. האוונגליסט מאמין בבשורה ובישו כמשיחם ומחויב להפיץ ולהשפיע. הפועל לנצר.
TO EVANGELIZE =

תקומת מדינת ישראל גרמה לזעזוע, כי היא נוגדת את עיקרי משנת הנצרות. ההשקפה התיאולוגית הנוצרית ניתנת להצדקה רק אם תקבל ישראל המתחדשת את האמונה במושיע הנוצרי. אי לכך יש לראותה כחלק מתהליך ביאתו השנייה. זה יעודה וזכות קיומה, ולכן יש להשקיע בה ולבנות כוחות השפעה מבפנים ומבחוץ." לתכלית זו מכוון היום מאמץ מיסיונרי נוצרי בקנה מידה אדיר... הנצרות טוענת שהיא עצמה המימוש ההיסטורי של התנ"ך-הברית הישנה ומשום כך היא מוחקת את קיומו הנפרד בצידה... לשם כך נעשה ניסיון לחדור לכל אורחות החיים והחברה בישראל. ערים, כפרים, קיבוצים,הצבא, והאוניברסיטאות. לכל רקע אתני מוצעת שיטת עבודה אחרת," לא פלא שהתמיכה הנוצרית נפוצה בישראל.

ניתוח יסודי וחשוב זה , מביא הרב אברהם צבי הלוי רבינוביץ , ( אביו של רב הישוב בית חגי הרב משה אליעזר רבינוביץ), בספרו "תמיהה ומבוכה – הנצרות אל מול תקומת מדינת ישראל ".
השימוש במילה "תנ"ך" שונה בתפיסה הנוצרית לתפיסה והאמונה היהודית. המילה
BIBLE –
משמעה כתבי הקודש,הברית החדשה והברית הישנה , כמקשה אחת, תוך עיוות והתאמה לאמונתם הנוצרית. לקחת את הפסוקים מהנביאים שהנוצרים משתמשים בראיה הנוצרית ולהעבירה כ"מסר משותף להם ולנו" היא הטעיה. שיבת העם היהודי לארצו ע"פ חזון הנביאים הנו שלב ההכנה עבורם לביאתו השנייה

אביא להלן דוגמא מארגון נוצרי הפועל בשומרון.באתר של הארגון הנוצרי דתי "היובל"
HAYOVEL MINISTRY,
בראשות טומי וולר מופיע תאור החתונה של החתן ישו עם הכלה ירושלים שכה קרובה. קרי המלכת ישו על ירושלים. מכאן גם חשיבות עבודתם בכרמים, להשביח את היין שישמש אותם . במהלך עבודתם בכרמים הם מקיימים פולחן עם כלי נגינה להודיה ולהאדרת משיחם.

בכסלו פורסמה תגובתי ב"מקור ראשון", על הוולרים. "לא תנ"כיסטים- נוצרים המאמינים בברית החדשה".

ב- BIBLE ובישו כמשיח
.
מה הביא אותם לשומרון? " קריאה עמוקה לשיקום והתחדשות (מונח נוצרי) ישראל, תוך שימת דגש על עזרה ישירה למשפחות בבציר ובמסיק.עבודתם בישראל היא של חסד,רחמים, חינוך ואהבת המשיח" בוידאו, מסביר טומי וולר "מבחינתנו להתחלק בבשורה, (הברית החדשה) אינו רק עניין מילולי, יש בזה היבט מעשי. המבוסס על קשירת יחסים. במהלך עבודתנו עם האנשים האלה (היהודים), ותהיה לנו האפשרות להתחלק אתם בישו אותו אנו יודעים"

הנוצרים רואים זכות שווה להם וליהודים על ארץ הקודש. הם "וורוס ישראל", ישראל האמיתי ולא
היהודים. הם בונים תלות,"כי בלעדיהם לא יוכלו היהודים להסתדר". הם המושיעים

טומי וולר הגיע לישראל לפני כ-8 שנים עם משפחתו בת 12 הנפשות,כיום ב"היובל" יש מאות. 252 הגיעו לעבודות בכרמים ויאוכלסו בישובים בשומרון. בהר ברכה תושבים שגלו כי נוצרים אלו נכנסו לגור בשכנותם, מחו והביעו דאגה רבה. זו הפעם הראשונה שמדובר באיכלוס נוצרים בשומרון. התכנית הנוצרית מתקדמת בהצלחה. לאחר השתלבות בעבודה בכרמים ובמטעי הזיתים, התערות וקשירת קשרים אישיים עם המשפחות, השתתפות בשמחות, ובקריאת המגילה בבית הכנסת בפסגות. הגיע שלב האיכלוס. בכל שנה מתארכת שהייתם, חלקם נמצאים מרבית השנה בארץ הם לומדים עברית, כולל הילדים שנולדים במשך השנים .

טומי וולר וארגונו הנוצרי "היובל" מוכרים היטב בהר ברכה בעבודתם בכרם מזה שנים. טומי כתב בהתרגשות ," כי יש להם זכות גדולה עם התחדשות השנה השמינית בארץ, בנטיעת שתילים חדשים שהכפילו שטח הכרם של ניר"

לאור האמור לעיל עמדת טומי וולר ואמונתו ברורים, כולל אלו המשתייכים ל"היובל". המסר הנוצרי מובהק והמטרות ברורות. האם אין זו מלכדת הנוצרים אוהבי ישראל?

מינה פנטון
חברת מועצת עיריית ירושלים לשעבר.




The Fall Avodah Zarah Season Has Begun

Hol HaMo'ed Sukkoth 5772

Christian "friends" of Israel have been pouring into the country, since I don't know when. This particular avodah zarah season culminates in the Avodah Zarah Pride Parade this Tuesday (AKA: The Jerusalem Sukkot Festival Parade).

Their women dress immodestly in religious neighborhoods, and touch men, without any clue or concern of the sensibilities of the locals. Their men pass out their avodah zarah literature. All of them want to "share their love" with us by singing their avodah zarah songs.

Heaven forbid that a tour guide should tell them otherwise.

None of them bother to learn "yes," "no," "please," or "thank you" in Hebrew. Why should they? They step all over us. But, we Jews allow them to!

"Jews" defend these "lovers" of Israel, in the spirit of "freedom of speech." Of course, encouraging Jews to keep Shabbath, protesting the sale of pork in Jerusalem, or recommending the removal of hostile, non-Jewish enemies is not covered under "free speech." Rather, these activities are considered hassatah (incitement).

Today, I saw a Jew exercise his "freedom of speech," by telling some of these Christians to get out, that they were not wanted here. This Jew incurred a yelled, "How dare you!"

The Jew simply yelled back, "How dare I? You just come here, and walk all over us! Why don't you stop worshiping false deities?!"

What else could he do? There is, after all, a positive commandment to chase after avodah zarah in Eretz Yisra'el.

In any other country, such disrespect would not be tolerated. In the U. S., foreign tourists are expected to know something of American culture and sensibilities. Foreign tourists in the U. S. are quick to apologize over any error in protocol. They understand that they our guests in someone else's country.

But, in co-dependent Israel, our main concern is not only how we appear to the goyim, but their opinions of us as well.

Our self-respect, let alone what the Almighty thinks of us, is immaterial.

Like any "good" co-dependent, we seek our validation from external sources. Why we are unable to provide for our own existential validation is debatable.

Is it due to the influence with incurred from 2,000 years in galuth (diaspora)? Goyshe cultures? The hatred toward us by the goyim internalized?

I, myself, am not sure.

Haveil Havalim #334 Is Up!

Hol HaMo'ed Sukkoth 5772

Haveil Havalim #334 is up at To Kiss A Mezuzah.

It's the Sukkot Edition.

Haveil Haveil is the largest Jewish and Israel related blog carnival in the world!

Click the link to check out previous editions, and to submit your own posts.

Be warned, though, spamming is not welcomed, and will be dealt with severely....

Four Species Shopping 5772

Motza'ei Shabbath Hol HaMo'ed Sukkoth 5772

For the last several years, I have been able to buy the Arba'ath HaMinim (four species) for Sukkoth for 100 sheqqels of less. This goal is not to be cheap, nor to cheapen the holiday (חו"ח). Rather it is to keep this particular misswah in perspective.

I do not need to buy 1,000 sheqqel ethrog, even if I had 1,000 extra sheqqels to throw around.
Just think of how many Jews could be fed for 1,000 sheqqels, for a Shabbath or holiday meal or for a regular meal.

Even for the past few years, my goal has been to stay with the 100 sheqqel mark.

Rabbi Ya'aqov (ben R' Ovadiah) Yosef recommends shopping for Arba'ath HaMinim the morning before Sukkoth, when the prices come down to "reasonable." I sometimes follow this advice, but prefer the convenience of shopping the night before, instead of running around more than necessary.

Like most years, I went to the Bukharim Quarter, tucked between the Beis Yisroel and Shmu'el HaNavi neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Most of my friends, in the know, buy there, and I always bump into people I know. I like the atmosphere, the mixed Haredi, non-Haredi, Ashkenazi, Sefardi, Yemenite crowd, and well as the wide selection of Yemenite ethrogim. I prefer , as it is much less likely that they are the products of mixing with lemon genes. (I await your defensive comments.)
This year, I was warned in advance that when I went, it would be very crowded.

When I arrived, I did not find it to be terribly crowded, not anymore that last year. I certainly did not have any problems maneuvering through the crowds.

I made my way through the neighborhood streets, now lined with vendors, who were hocking Sukkoth decorations, electrical gear, as well as Arba'ath HaMinim.

Another one of my customs is to get in and out, as quickly as I can. I am one of those people who "doesn't do crowds." I operate the same way when shopping at the Shuq in Mahaneh Yehudah, in and out as quickly as I can.

I entered the main shuq. The men were more concentrated, but still negotiable.

This year, one of the first stalls attracted me. It had some beautiful etrogim at a reasonable price. It also had everything else I needed, at reasonable prices. More importantly, the young man in charge knew what he was doing, and did so efficiently.

I kept walking through the stalls, and decided to take my chances, by buying a reasonably priced ethrog in a sealed box. I have always done well with sealed boxes, against the warnings of others. I then returned to that first stall, where I had seen everything else I needed.

I found an awesome lulav out of box not terribly good ones, which even received unsolicited compliments, as I made my way out of the Arba'ath HaMinim shuq. I guess that being nice and patient really does go a long way.

My final total was 120 sheqqels. That's about $32.80. How much did you shell out in Flatbush, trying to outdo your neighbors? Was it worth it?

So, the only question left is, how did buying an ethrog in a sealed box work out for me.

You be the judge.

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