Tuesday, August 20, 2019


The men's choir at Kehillas Adas Jeshurun in the German Jewish community in Washington Heights, New York City is legendary, a unique feature of the kehilla. 

Choirs even to this day are very popular in Germany. There are more than 60,000 of them. Recently, the mother of a 9- year old girl whose application to join the 500 year old all boys State and Cathedral Choir in Germany was declined tried to sue the choir for discrimination. Thankfully, a judge decided against the suit, saying the choir was not exercising discrimination in choosing a sound that required boys' voices. There are still a few judges left in the world who exercise common sense from time to time.

In my view, the KAJ choir adds a terrific dimension to the davening. It's worth experiencing for those who can get to Washington Heights for Shabbos. I believe that one of the yekke shuls in Zurich has a choir too. In Eretz Yisroel one can hear yekke choral singing at one of the kenesios organized by Rav Hamburger's shul in Bene Brak on each Chol Moed. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Compare and contrast

(Warning: a somewhat immodest picture appears at the end of this article)

How many times have you heard that Eretz Yisroel is back in Jewish hands?  I have sat in shiurim with so-called yeshivish men who proposed that we no longer need to rip kriah at seeing the kosel because Jerusalem is ours again. I have read in several Artscroll books of the joy and elation that erupted in 1967 when the IDF recaptured the Kosel (which was unnecessary as Jews were able to daven there before the Zionists brazenly declared a state in 1948). 

I ask, is it in Jewish hands? What's a Jew? Rav Hirsch wrote:

It was not the land that Moses had been commanded to proclaim to his people at the outset of his mission as מורשה, as the inheritance they were to preserve (Ex. 6,8). The Law, to be translated into full reality upon that soil, was to be the true מורשה, the one true, everlasting inheritance, the one true center around which the nation and its leaders were to gather as one united community. Herein lay the goal and the destiny, the character and the significance of the people. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch "The Kehillah," Collected Writings, Vol. VI, p. 62)

What does the law say? It says this:

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. Vayikra 20:13 

So tell me, who is closer to the law, people who used to dominate the society in Eretz Yisroel or the ones that currently run it? Compare and contrast:

Pride here refers to pride in engaging in homosexual practice

The Palestinian Authority bans lesbian and gay gatherings. The State of Israel promotes it. I know to the Western ear it seems wrong to ban activity connected to a lifestyle choice, but that doesn't stop the State of Israel which bans separate seating by gender at Charedi music events. 

So it's not as if the State of Israel has a free society for all. It's free only for non-Torah activity, for decadence. 

Likewise, much of the country wants to drag Charedim into the army (Heaven help us). The army doesn't need the Charedim. IDF radio reports that the army already has 17,000 soldiers too many. Israel hasn't fought a war against another nation in half a century. The whole conflict is political and ideological. What can be more tyrannical, less free than forcing a young person into a totally dictatorial situation, where a new mode of dress is forced on him and is told what to do, where to sleep, what to eat, where to sit for years, where he is brainwashed in secular political ideology. Not very free. But Israelis, I am sure, will feel superior to the PA for prohibiting public homosexuality events. Those tyrants! 

I ask, is Eretz Yisroel in Jewish hands now? 

"When Israel was still united in a common land they did not call themselves Am, one people, for the reason that one common soil bore them all. For, alone among all the peoples of the earth, the possession of the land and the ensuing organization of the State was for Israel not an end but a means to the better fulfilment of their Jewish duties. The Torah did not exist for the State, but the State for the Torah. And only the Torah, the idea of being joint bearers of a spiritual calling, fused the individuals into an association of human beings whose inner cohesiveness is reflected in the term (literally, society) and whose character in the wider sense as a nation is designated by the term גוי that is to say, a corporate body or a people." (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Horeb 608)

Jews are a nation only by virtue of the Torah, Jewish law, and their adherence to it. So I ask again, is Eretz Yisroel in Jewish hands now? Just in case you are still wavering, I'll tell you that the answer is no. 

With the kosel decades ago snatched by Zionist hands and the area around the kosel which was once poor but dignified now a circus the new battle is for the Temple Mount. (Three days after the conquest of the old city, the Zionists destroyed an 800 year old Moroccan neighborhood where the kosel plaza now sits.) Every week rabid "Religious" Zionists create conflict there (and no doubt trigger violence which costs Jewish lives somewhere in the country.) Tell me, do we really want the Temple Mount to be in Zionist hands? Seems to me that the area will be much more kosher in the hands of Muslims than atheists.

Compare and contrast. The Kosel in the 19th century under Ottoman rule. Modest people at prayer

Photographs of Historic Jerusalem

The circus at the Kosel today. Everything goes.

Israel gears up for Passover and Easter tourists ...

Compare to the Temple Mount today as managed by Muslims:

Palestinian women carry prayer mats in front of the Dome ...

Just imagine what the Zionists would do to the Temple Mount and the rock? Gay marriages? Heaven have mercy.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

It's not just about us

"My soul is my Master's. Taking into account all my iniquities, He has still chosen me for the eternal service of His work to train all of mankind, and He has taken me as His own for this purpose." Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, Tehillim, 130:5-6

Gentiles matter and part of our purpose in this world is to help them find a higher path. If all one does is hold contempt for them, then he is falling short in his mission. If we Jews become a group that cares only about ourselves, then we have fallen short in our mission. A Jew is never to be selfish and rabid ethnocentricity is a form of collective selfishness.