Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rav Binyamin and Talia Kahane HY"D: Six-Year Memorial

5 of the Tenth Month 5767

Rav Binyamin and Talia Kahane HY-DSix years ago, Rav Binyamin and Talia Kahane HY"D were gunned down next to the town of Ofra in the territory of Binyamin, in front of their five daughters... their son having just been dropped off at school.

The details of what really happened that morning six years ago are shady. A year after their murders some, but not all, of those close to them still wanted to believe that they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But, those theories quickly faded away, though, making way for the more realistic understanding that they were intentionally targeted. Only one question remains: Who did it? Arabs? Un-Jews (ie. people who think they are Jews,...but couldn't possibly be)? Or a collaboration of the two?

Whoever killed Rav Binyamin and Talia, could not kill the idea, the Jewish Idea. In commemoration of the sixth anniversary of their deaths, a project Operation Multiply has been launched to distribute Six Million copies of Rav Binyamin Kahane's HY"D Last Letter (fall, 5761). Here is an exerpt:

"...Without the slightest doubt, the Arab denizens will be terrified merely at hearing this news: authority here will no longer rest with the shackled Army which has for so long been the punching-bag of Arab hooligans. Rather, those "monstrous settlers" (and, thank God, the Arab media portray us as the devil incarnate, if not worse) will now take charge.

Without the slightest shadow of doubt, such a step would clear the air here. There will be a complete about-face: this news will, for the first time in too many years, attract youths in their hundreds - at least! - who would come here to help. At long last there will be genuine yishuv ha-aretz (settling of the Land of Israel) and the beginning of Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel. This will put an end to the confused stammering and steadfast search for ways of handing over the land to the enemies of God, which have been the greatest obstacles to the Mitzvah which we are fulfilling here with our very being. Can we even begin to imagine the inspiration that this earth-shaking news would give to so many Jews, both 'secular' and 'religious', in Israel and abroad? It has been far too long since we experienced that deep and stirring feeling of Jewish national pride...."

I will add that today, it is clear that the mainstream, Israeli (un-Jewish) media portrays us in much the same way as the Arab media. The rose-colored picture the Mamlakhtim (state religious) Jews and the YeSh"A Council, want to paint of us "settlers" through public relations is absolutely worthless. No one believes them anyway, prefering to believe their PR approach is just a white-wash campaign to cover up what it believed by most Jews and non-Jews, that we're nut-job extremists.

The very fact that the YeSh"A Council (AKA Pesha - criminal; Resha - evil) receives its budget from the Office of the Prime Minister, delegitimizes everything they do, for the supposed "good" of the residents of Yehudah and Shomron.

Reaching out to Jews outside of Israel, informing them of what is really taking place here in their homeland, and providing them with hope and encouragement of Jewish life, with a positive Jewish identity in the [only] Jewish Homeland is positive and well-worth the effort.

Reaching out to the goyim, whether Christian Zionists or others in the so-called "international community" is nothing less than a demonstration of a severe lack of faith in HaShem.

With Women In Green's very dear friend, Jim Vineyard stating publicly that given the opportunity, he will testify of his "faith" to the Jews in Israel, it confirms that dealing with Christians has the potential to bring pollution into the Land, just as damaging as a so-called "gay pride" parade (ie. retzah, avodah zarah, gilu'i arawoth), which the same Women In Green and Ye'Sh"A Council recently protested. Even one Jewish soul lost to the likes of a Jim Vineyard, a "friend" of Israel in exchange for Christian support and validation of our existence, is a price I am not willing to pay.

The ONLY approach to dealing with Christians must be based on that of Rav Binyamin's father Rav Me'ir Kahane ZTz"L HY"D, a frequent guest on Christian talk radio shows:

...If you want to support us, support from afar....

This year, let us honor the memories of Rav Binyamin and Talia Kahane HY"D, advocates of taking pride in being Jewish, by increasing our own Jewish pride, self-esteem, and self-respect, and let us spread this message, which is crucial for the survival of the Jewish People.

Participate in Operation Multiply. Print out Rav Binyamin Kahane's HY"D Last Letter, and help in reaching the goal of distributing Six Million copies, corresponding to the Six Million HY"D of our People who perished at the hands of the Nazis YSh"W, and with the collaboration of both "christians" and Arabs.


Last Year's Memorial Post:
The Fifth of the Tenth Month 5761

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Day After Hanukkah....

Mossa'ei Hanukkah 5767

HanukkiyahDried FruitWell, now that Hanukkah is over, stores in Israel will begin stocking up on dried fruits, various wines and grape juice, in the annual attempt to commercialize Tu biShvat (New Year of the the Trees) and profit from it.

Purim GiftMishloah Manoth ListI, on the other hand, will be preparing my Purim mishlo'ah manoth list (gifts sent to friends on Purim). Then, between now and Purim, I will be paying attention to who is being "naughty or nice." Those who are "naughty" will receive a nastly red line through his* name.

"Nya-ha-ha! YOU will not receive any manoth from me!"

...as if he really cares....

But, that's not the point. I will still get satisfaction in punishing him,...by crossing him off of my list with a big and nasty, red marking pen!

Oh,...yeah,...that's right. There's negative misswah "Lo Linqom" - You will not take revenge on another Jew (Lev. 19:18, Mishnah Torah Hil. De'oth 7:9).

Hmmm...I guess that throws a stick into the spokes of my evil plan.

Then, of course, there's that minhag (custom), every one wants to keep telling me about, of making a point of giving manoth Purim to those individuals with whom I am b'rogez (enraged; not on speaking terms).

Gee...I guess that means I should take the names I will have crossed out by, say, Erev Shabbath Parshath Zakhor (12 of the Eleventh Month this year), and put them at the top of my mishlo'ah manoth list.

I never was very good at implementing [terribly] evil plans....


*It is most certainly NOT tzanu'a for a man to give or send manoth to a woman. Many have the opinion that there is a hashash (concern) over the making of a qinyan (in this case, an initiation of a betrothal). So, please do not waste your time and mine by sending me any silly accusations of being sexist.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Great-Grandmother Lilly's z"l Latkes

חנוכה/ראש חודש העשירי תשס"ז

Many years ago, while visiting my aunt (my mother's sister) in Los Angeles, I asked her for my Great-grandmother Lilly's z"l recipe for latkes (potato pancakes), the famous one brought over from Lithuania I had been hearing about ALL of my life. The last time I had asked my mother (the older sister) for the recipe, I was told that I was "...not old enough to receive this family heirloom of wisdom."

Like most poor, Jewish immigrants to the US, my great-grandparents did not have any lavish family heirlooms to pass down to their descendants, save for my great-grandfather's potato peeler and chopper, and countless pieces of intellectual and sentimental items. (He was a chef.) Thus, this venerable latke recipe was considered priceless.

My Great-grandmother Lilly was a slight woman, who when mother or aunt was sick, she would "just know." Getting on the bus to make the two-hour journey across the Los Angeles Basin to the Fairfax neighborhood, she carried with her a new pair of pajamas and a jar of homemade pickles.

My aunt's response to my request for the recipe was one of shock. She knew that the wrath of my mother would come down upon her, if she were to reveal the sacred latke recipe. Trying to maintain her smile, she offered an alternate plan of action. She would prepare latkes as a side dish for the evening's dinner, believing that would be enough to appease me. Only after several minutes of manipulation and coercion was I allowed to bear witness to the latke preparation.

As my aunt relaxed, and started to enjoy showing me the secret ingredients and sacred techniques of latke preparation, I quickly realized that there was one thing missing, the exact amount of the ingredients.

I stopped my aunt. "Wait a minute! How much grated potato? How much onion? How many eggs? How much...?"

The response I received was, "You know, how ever much it takes."


"What?" (raised eyebrows) "How am I supposed to know how much it takes?"

My aunt responded, a matter of factly, "You know.... How ever much it takes...how ever much matzah meal it takes to hold the potatoes together, how ever many eggs it takes for the right consistency...."

"Well, wait a minute. What's the right consistency?"

"This," and my aunt showed me. "Stick your hand in, feel it, and memorize it."

I followed her instructions, tentatively at first, and began to relax. I began to "feel" what she was talking about. It didn't happen overnight, but I eventually internalized this traditional shitah (approach) to cooking, making it my own. Now, as I try to relay recipes to others, I find myself in the same position my aunt was with me that fateful night when I finally received my Great-grandmother Lilian's z"l latke recipe.

Recently, I had to go back and measure the ingredients for my chicken soup recipe, otherwise known as "Ya'aqov's Soup." Now that I have become accutom to my great-grandmother's shitah, it was actually pretty difficult. So with the exception of the size of the pot, I just didn't bother. Rather, I tried to convey what my aunt conveyed to me.

Well, by now you may have noticed that I have not actually provided you with any recipe, with the exception of some hints to the most obvious of the ingredients. I can't, of course. It really IS a family secret.

I will let you in on some of the tips my mother finally gave me, some time after she found out about her sister's "betrayal of the family code of secrecy:"

1) Even in this day and age, electronic appliances are not allowed in any way, shape or form, in the latke preparation, otherwise the latkes are pasul (invalid).

2) The tastiness of the latkes are inversely correlated with the extent of the disaster in the kitchen. In other words - the messier the kitchen, the better tasting the latkes are.

3) Thou shalt not fret over bits of your skin getting into the mixture, while employing the ribeisen (Yid.: grater). It's bound to happen.

With these, I conclude, and encourage you to ask your mother, or grandmother, or other relative, female or male, about your families secret recipes and precious heirlooms.

My sister has vowed to fight with me over my parents' record collection (yes,...vinyl), and has no interest in my great-grandfather's potato peeler nor chopper.

I will charish these family heirlooms, along with my Great-grandmother Lilian's z"l latke recipe.

May her name be for a blessing.

Take That Sukkah Down Already!

B' d'Rosh Hodesh Ha'Asiri/Ner Shvi'i shel Hanukkah 5767

In the US, I recall many non-Jews complain to their spouses... "When ARE you going to take the X-mas tree down?! It's already mid-January!" Usually, it was the wives complaining to the husbands, and usually that X-mas tree wouldn't get taken out for trash pick up* until Valentine's Day. By then the Fire Marshall had already started snooping around for the evil fire hazards that are those dried-out pine trees....

So, my question is... By when should the sukkah be taken down? Immediately after Shmini Assereth? Rosh Hodesh Marheshwan? Surely by Hanukkah, right?

Well, it was touch and go there for a while. My housemate, the one who bought and constructed the sukkah [so I wasn't going to complain], took it down just before Hanukkah. His custom is to keep his Hanukkiyah inside the house, and the sukkah was blocking the window. Personally, I wasn't so concerned with keeping the sukkah, as I'm not one to be concerned with the opinions of my neighbors. I was concerned about the wind and storm reports, and the potential damage the sukkah would incur.

Nowadays, people have permanent metal frames, usually on their balconies, so that only the walls and skhakh (sukkah roof) need to be taken down. Others have built a sukkah frame of vanished wood, which double for a patio area during the rest of the year.

So, other than those special, and easily disguised sukkoth, I wonder how many can be found still up on Tu biShvat or Purim.


*As a[n environmentally-correct] Californian, many of my Irish, Italian, and Mexican (I'm allowed to say "Mexican," as they really were Mexican, and not Guatemalan, Panamanian, Colombian, etc.) neighbors would often have their trees reused (eg. firewood, sawdust, etc.), or they had potted trees which were later planted in their yards or at a park.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Remembering Nahshon Walls z"l

Mossa'ei Shabbth Qodesh Hanukkah/Parshath Wayeshev 5767

Nahshon Walls Z-LThis Shabbath, the first day of Hanukkah, marked one year after Nahshon Walls z"l, succumbed to cancer.

In his memory, Qiddush Rabbah was held on the Tapu'ah West Hill, a community with which he had a special relationship, and a Mellaweh Malkah was held in the Kibbutz Galuyoth Beth Beth K'nesseth.

Last year on Erev Shabbath Wayeshev, the Shabbath just before Hanukkah, a close friend of Nahshon's asked of him, "Please just make it until Hanukkah."

Defying doctors' prognoses, Nahshon only left when he was damn good and ready to leave. On the first night of Hanukkah, after "amen" was said to the last of the three brachoth, and the first Hanukkah light was lit, Nahshon expelled his last breath, and passed on into the next world.

My favorite anicdote about Nahshon, I heard from him directly.

Nahshon designed and sewed various flags and traditional, Jewish four-cornered garments. His flags included those with Kahanist themes as well as the Medinath Yehudah flag.

While Nahshon was in prison, he took advantage of the "vocational" equipment available to him, such as sewing machines. Believe it or not, he actually made and sold via mail-order, Kahanist-related flags,...mind you,...using the equipment of the Israeli prison system. In order words, Nahshon used government-owned facilities and equipment to produce and to sell, the very materials which the Israeli government had been running around, trying to brand and confiscate.

And he did it right under the government's nose.

Nahshon Walls is remembered for his mesiruth nefesh (self-sacrifice), among other reasons.

I also remember Nahshon for his creativity and his innovation, which included the design of the state of Judea flag, and bigei tzitzith (four-cornered garments requiring tzitzith).

Nahshon was also a guide and roll model for some of the "hilltop youth."

But, one of his most significant contributions was the building of the beth-k'nesseth (synagogue) on the Tapu'ah West Hill, replacing the one destroyed by the Israeli Army, three years ago.

Nahshon Walls, May his memory be for a blessing.