Friday, May 31, 2019

Kol Demama Parshas Bechukosai 5779 Vol. 2 Issue 25

 Kol Demama Parshas Bechukosai 5779 Vol. 2 Issue 25

It seems that even mosdos who refuse government funding aren’t safe from attempted meddling. A mossad that runs al taharas hakodesh – that receives no government funds – was “zoche” to a visit by Education Ministry inspectors. The menahel attempted to deny them entry: “We don’t take money from you – you have no right to enter,” he said. The inspectors were not impressed. “We don’t care whether you receive funds or not,” they answered. “We are from the ‘certification department.’ Funding is none of our business. You applied for a license, did you not?” Brushing past the menahel, the inspectors started looking around. After giving all types of “advice,” they approached the kindergarten(!) teacher. “Are you certified?” they asked. “No,” answered the teacher. “Then, I am the teacher for the day,” said the inspector. “A teacher without certification may not teach.” 

This mossad has not reapplied for a license for the coming school year. The only way, it seems, to retain educational independence in the State of Israel is by “going underground.

“Then, I am the teacher for the day,” said the inspector.  Can you imagine somebody with a personality like that imposing himself on a kindergarten? This is a dark time in Jewish history for half of Orthodox Jewry to be under the power of people like this.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

What should be our attitude toward Zionism?

What should be our attitude toward Zionism? Answer, by this time, I think that our people know the answer, but to repeat. Zionism is a substitute for Judaism. It would be as saying, if someone began a movement Sulanism or Sukiism. Everybody who emphases one thing is already under suspicion that he does not belong to the Torah Jews. Because the Torah is composed of taryag mitzvos and when one chooses a single mitzvah and makes a big fuss about it then we suspect him of intending to do away with the rest. And that’s exactly what Zionism is. It’s an attempt to substitute nationalism for everything else, for mitzvos, for Torah, and even for God Himself. (Rav Avigdor Miller “Pictures in the Mind, 040, 1:30:39)

Israel should be one nation, an entire nation that should have no other foundation for its existence, survival, activity and significance other than this Torah. It is to see the realization and devoted observance of this God-given "fiery Law" as its one contribution in world history for the edifice of human salvation. What the Phoenicians sought to bring about with the keels of their ships, what the ancient Greeks sought to achieve with their chisels and what the ancient Romans sought to attain with their swords, Israel is to accomplish with its Torah. Nay more, Israel is a nation that became a nation only through and for the Torah, a nation that once owned a land and existed as a state only through and for the Torah, and which possessed that land and that statehood only as instruments for translating the Torah into living reality. This is why Israel was a people even before it possessed land and statehood; this, too, is why Israel survived as a people even after its land was destroyed and its statehood lost, and this is why it will survive as a nation as long as it does not lose this only מורשה, this sole foundation for its survival and significance. That is the kind of nation that Israel, that all of us, should be. 

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch "The Character of the Jewish Community," Collected Writings, Vol. VI, p. 35

Monday, May 27, 2019

6-Day War - Not a Miracle

"I was surprised that Nasser decided to place his troops so close to our border. He must have known the grave danger into which he placed his forces. Having the Egyptian army so close allowed us to strike and destroy at any time we wished to do so, and there was not a single knowledgeable person who did not see that. From a military standpoint, it was not the IDF that was in danger when the Egyptian army amassed troops on the Israeli border, but the Egyptian army." Israeli General Matti Peled, in the high command during the Six-day War in  Peled, Miko. General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine (pp. 67-68). Just World Books. Kindle Edition.

“The armies were extremely ill-matched. Israelis, through their history, have tended to see themselves as the “weaker side,” their army smaller and less well armed than their Arab enemies. The truth in 1967, as at other times, was different.” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 311. Benny Morris is one of Israel’s most prominent historians

“American intelligence accurately predicted that Israel would defeat any possible Arab coalition within a few days, perhaps a week….” p. 310

“The Arab armies were mostly professional forces, relatively poorly trained, and not properly mechanized. The Egyptian army suffered from a basic weakness owing to the politicization of its command echelons, which resulted in the appointment of incompetent and inexperienced senior commanders, and structural weaknesses that were to prove fatal in wartime.” p. 312

“The Six-Day War was in all essentials, a clockwork war carried out by the IDF against three relatively passive, ineffective Arab Armies….Throughout, the initiative lay with the IDF; occasionally the Arabs ‘responded’ to an Israeli move; most often they served as rather bewildered, sluggish, punching bags.” p. 313

And the Satmar Rebbe knew it all along:

Satmar Rebbe(Divrei Yoel Behaloscha page 304): Would you even imagine that there would be empty headed fools that while they call themselves religious but the smell of heresy wafts from their mouths and they fool the whole world with their announcements about miracles [during the Six Day War] – G‑d save us. If in fact these were miracles it would have been much worse. That is because there is bitter retribution to the Jewish people when G-d does miracles from the aspect of evil as the Maharal mentioned before stated. However in truth there were no miracles here at all [concerning the Six Day War]. It was simply a natural occurrence as can readily be seen from the discussions in the newspapers that it was assumed that [Israel] would be victorious. I have already stated that I am fearful – G‑d forbid – for the time when actual miracles are done for them. If at this time when in truth there were no miracles and yet this great evil befell them, then surely if there had been miracles done for them that it would have brought about severe suffering as we mentioned above. From this we see the extreme degree of their cruelty and evil. That even though it was reasonable that [Israel] was going to win the war, nevertheless the Jewish people were in great danger. Nevertheless they placed the Jewish people in this danger for the sake of their glory and for the sake of their governing. Because it was obvious to those with understanding that [Israel] had the ability to completely prevent the war. There were a number of alternatives and circumstances regarding preventing the war, but this is not the place to go into detail. Nevertheless someone who has eyes will see that there is no doubt about this. In fact it was the filth of heresy that blinded their eyes and made them act in an irresponsible and irrational manner.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The former minister of defense strikes again

Hashem keeps life interesting. To form a coalition, Netanyahu needed the 5 seats from Liberman's party. And Liberman reminds one of an informer from Roman times or, perhaps in a more direct imitation, Genrikh Yagoda (director of the NKVD, the Soviet Union's security and intelligence agency, from 1934 to 1936) or Nikolai Yezhov, who succeeded him until 1938. For those who don't know, both of those men were Jewish. (Liberman himself compared Likud's "propaganda" to that of Stalin so why can't we make similar comparisons for him? "Even Pravda in the Stalin era was more gentle and objective," he said.)

Remember, all those stories you read in Lubavitch literature and elsewhere about Jews, particularly religious Jews, being persecuted by the Soviet police. Well, the head of the police for many of the worst years, and really the founder of the secret police methods, were Jewish. They hated God, Judaism, and religious Jews.

And we have Liberman. His hatred of the Jewish religion and Charedim in particular are palpable. Look at some of the quotes from a recent Times of Israel article:

"we won’t allow for the whole country to become Shtreimel wearers” 

That's an amazing comment to come from the head of the most powerful office (Defense Minister) other than Prime Minister in the so-called Jewish state. Before the haskalah, half or more than half of Ashkenazi Jews wore streimels. The streimel is a symbol of religious Judaism. And of course, he's not talking about streimels alone. He means black hats too. He doesn't like Charedi Jews. 

Note that we live in an era where we pretend to have democracies, so this is a rather extreme comment. Multiply this times 50 to imagine what Liberman likely would say and do if he were in good old communist Russia.

And what does it mean, "we won't allow"? People should become what they want to become. Does he aim to control everyone? Is his secret dream to become a dictator?

“Military service was always a top value in the worldview of the nationalist camp.”

Help me to understand. Is the military a necessity or a value? Once again, the man is imposing his values on others. We see that the military doesn't need the Charedim in any military sense. This is ideological. It's about values. Esav values militarism. Most Israelis value militarism. Charedim value religious devotion. This is not about security. It's a religious war. Because Zionists see the military as a value Charedim do not want to be part of the military. How about this? I value Toldos Aaron Chassidus and I declare that Mr. Liberman needs to spend 2.5 years as a Toldos Aaron Chassid because I value it. 

Who else deemed military and national service the pillars of the state? Adolph

"The strength of the old state rested on three pillars: the monarchical form of government, the civil service, and the army. The Revolution of 1918 abolished the form of government,
dissolved the army and abandoned the civil service to the corruption of party politics. Thus the essential supports of what is called the Authority of the State were shattered. This authority
nearly always depends on three elements, which are the essential foundations of all authority.Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

More from Mr. Liberman.
“Since the destruction of the Second Temple there has not been a leader who has given more to the ultra-Orthodox than Netanyahu, so the time has come that something be demanded of them in return for once,” 
The part about Netanyahu is pretty delusional but I'll ignore that and focus instead on the part about "something be demanded of them in return for once". Have we all become communist? Is the only way to give to a society through a government program. If I am a plumber, am I not contributing to society? Or do I have to waste 2.5 years on a military base staring at the walls to contribute? If an American bochur becomes a dentist? Is he only contributing to society if he first spends two years doing make-work for a Federal program? 

Who else believed that military service was the primary way to contribute to a society? Adolph:

"The rights of citizenship shall be conferred on every young man whose health and character have been certified as good, after having completed his period of military service. This act of inauguration in citizenship shall be a solemn ceremony. And the diploma conferring the rights of citizenship will be preserved by the young man as the most precious testimonial of his whole life. It entitles him to exercise all the rights of a citizen and to enjoy all the privileges attached thereto. For the State must draw a sharp line of distinction between those who, as members of the nation, are the foundation and the support of its existence and greatness, and those who are domiciled in the State simply as earners of their livelihood there." (Adolph Hilter, Mein KampfVolume Two - The National Socialist Movement, Chapter III: Subjects and Citizens)

Clearly, Lieberman, like many Zionists, thinks of the government as some kind of spiritual entity that one serves regardless if there is any practical value to it. This man claims to be right wing but he sounds like a socialist to me. I guess that's the Communist fascist model, right wing extremist and left wing extremist all at the same time. Where do the two come together? Totalitarianism!

Just so you know, the Charedim contribute plenty to society. They are arguably  the most honest and trouble-free citizens in the country. Yes, confused and brazen men like Harry Maryles on his Haemtza blog like to dig out and broadcast to the world every little scandal in the Charedi world. But if you go by the numbers, Charedim, comparatively speaking, don't abuse drugs, have unwanted pregnancies or abortions, or produce Israeli's crime and corruption. Relatively speaking. Charedim also don't produce the filth in the media that causes those expensive problems. They live far more simply than most.

They also help to give the country some semblance of actually being Jewish. You could walk for 5 hours in Tel Aviv, as I have done, and not spot a hint of Jewish anything. It's the Charedim that keep the Jewish imagery and feeling alive. 

Meanwhile, Liberman doesn't like Jewish law. Hsaid, "I want to emphasize yet again: We are in favor of a Jewish state, we are against a halachic [Jewish law] state." 

So what's Judaism to him? No law? That's what the Christians did, strip away the law. How do you have a Jewish state without Jewish law? His attitude is totally self-serving. This is Zionism. This is what we warned about. The reformers tried to join gentile society in Europe but faced some obstacles. So they came up with a new ploy, make a fake-Judaism without the Torah. Make it possible to pretend you are Jewish without really doing anything Jewish. Judaism without God or Torah - that's Zionism. And this man held the #2 position in the country and is the sole figure holding back formation of the government. He's very powerful and he is a complete apikoris. 

They like to call us bums but you try waking up for Shacharis, studying for hours, wearing long coats in the heat, raising 7 kids, keeping Shabbos no matter the cost, and on and on. Charedim are THE most hard working people on planet earth. It's a different kind of work. It's not all done in an office or military base. The Charedim contribute plenty. You try keeping Shabbos Mr. Liberman. It's not so easy. Lazy bums are not able to keep Shabbos or study Talmud. It is hard work. 

Moreover, Charedim bring in much more money than they receive. Few people know this but the Israeli government kollel stipend is $100 per month. Who lives on $100 a month? The cost of living in Israel is higher than in Chicago. Could you live in Chicago on $100 a month. Rather, yeshivas raise 5 dollars overseas for every dollar (shekel) given by the government.  Yeshivas are a profit center for the Israelis. The fund-raising and the tourism bring in far more money than the government spends. 

And if the government would allow Charedim to work, they'd bring in even more money. What do I mean by that? The sick rules of the military are that working even one day disqualifies a bochur from the draft exemption. Since the military is traife - look who headed it and may head it again  - Charedim stay out of it. And that means they cannot work until they get a permanent exemption, which can take decades. The main reason that many Charedim don't work is because the government won't let them! 

Consider the words of attorney Menachem Shtauber who was asked "Is there a real problem today of yeshiva bachurim who are in danger of being drafted by the Israeli army?" He answered:

There are hundreds of such cases in which a bachur has been stripped of his ma’amad ben yeshiva, his exempt status as a yeshiva bachur. I’m not exaggerating – as an attorney, I’m careful to speak with precision. We’re not discussing the talmidim of Rav Shmuel Auerbach or others who don’t cooperate with the military authorities at all. We’re speaking of regular yeshiva boys who went through the registration process but have been denied their exemptions.
For example: A boy comes from a family that has great financial difficulties and during bein hazemanim, he works a bit in order to help his family out, even just for an hour. When that boy comes to the draft office and they ask him if he’s ever worked, if he acknowledges working for an hour bein hazemanim, they tell him, “So you work. You’re not a yeshiva bachur. You will go into the army.”
One sees how manipulative and dishonest these people are. The draft exemption is removed also if a bochur goes overseas for more than 7 days. Can't visit your grandparents for more than 7 days. 

Here's more from Mr. Shtauber for all the Americans with their heads in the sand:

Question: What is going on currently with the drafting of girls? 
Mr. Shtauber: I am more involved with cases of bachurim than of girls. But I can tell you that just days ago there was a Supreme Court ruling in a case in which a young woman named Moriah Sheli sought an exemption despite having been late in submitting her tatzhir dat, declaration of religiosity. The court rejected her petition, and in the opinion, they stated that the fact that the number of religious girls entering the army continues to rise is proof that there is no intrinsic contradiction between a girl being religious and serving in the army. This is a very ominous development, because it undermines the entire basis for religious exemptions.

Ever since a Supreme Court case about three years ago in which a non-religious girl sought an exemption claiming she was religious, the army has begun giving even unquestionably religious girls – including very Charedi ones– a very difficult time. I represent girls who are regularly summoned to the draft office for a ra’ayon dat, an interview to determine their religiosity –something that never occurred in the past. At these interviews, they are bombarded with questions that even you and I might have a difficult time answering under pressure, seated before intimidating army officers. They are questioned about obscure points of Jewish law, such as which brachot to make on various foods and the order of precedence of brachot, or are told to recite tefillot by heart, starting from the middle of a paragraph. There are many girls who lead religious lives but don’t attend Torah shiurim and aren’t familiar with halacha, yet these girls are forced into the army as a result of such interviews.

And then this:

Can you describe a bit about the experience of being in the army?
Mr. Shtauber: I served in the army and I still do milu’im. The moment one enters the army, one’s hashkafa changes, he begins to feel himself a part of Israeli society. A charedi bachur who enters the army will not remain as he was – there’s no one who denies that.

The Gemara tells us that some people kill, most steal, and every speaks lashon hara. What armies do is make it so anyone can kill. Most people are not killers. Armies - presumably under national need like Genghis Khan or the Vikings are coming - turn them into killers. They do this by abusing the recruits, shaving their heads, erasing their identities, forcing on them a whole different kind of clothing, screaming at them, punishing them, and basically breaking them. Armies strip you of your values and identity. They are designed that way.

Armies are terrible things. Anybody who doesn't understand that is a fool. Anybody who glamorizes military life for the average man (I recognize that there are army types) is a big, giant fool who should keep away from normal human beings lest he pollute them.

Sometimes you need armies. And there are people who are more suited for it than others. In America, those people enlist. But to drag everyone in for that torture is problematic to say the least. It is destructive. 

Israel has not had a war in 50 years. Border conflicts with Gazan teenagers rolling flaming tires is not war. The Gazans have no planes and no tanks. The militants among them are like a south side Chicago gang. You don't need the whole country in uniform to fight them. There is no need for any kind of draft and certainly not of Charedim.

The Israeli army is run by secular people, people like Liberman who hate Charedim. It is run by people with an Israeli identity, people who don't believe in God, people who don't keep the Torah. And part of the purpose of the army is to turn Charedim into Israelis. Ben-Gurion stated that long ago.

So when Charedim say they want no part of the army, they aren't just being prissy or difficult. They are trying to tell you something. The army violates religious freedom. That Dati Leumi go there is no proof of anything because Dati Leumism is a whole different religion. When I walk through Dati Leumi neighborhoods, they don't look much different from Tel Aviv to me. I sit on buses in such neighborhoods and women grab the front seats even though there are seats in the women's area. Charedi men are standing, bouncing around, squeezing in to let people go by. Oftentimes, one woman will occupy a four seat area by herself and across the aisle another woman will occupy a four seat area by herself. They don't even have the decency to sit together! These women don't think of the issue of separation of the sexes (or common manners). In a Charedi neighborhood this doesn't happen. It's two worlds. (I'm not saying there aren't Dati Leumi with good manners and Charedim with bad ones. But on this matter of separation of the sexes, the Dati Leumi for the most part have a completely different conception. Same with lots of other issues like I-Phones and engagement with the secular world and emunah in general.) 

Secular Israelis don't understand Charedi resistance to the draft because they are secular and the army is secular. Seems normal to them. Not pleasant but not life shattering. But it's not normal to us. It's a radical culture shift and a totally oppressive one. Does a secular Israeli feel uncomfortable shaking hands with a woman or driving on Shabbos? No. Would a Charedi? Of course. It would be traumatic. Different values. 

To me a Satmar beis midrash is a completely normal environment. It wouldn't be such a stretch for me to join them. To a Chiloni, it's like going to Mars.

It's the same with the military. For a Charedi who has worn black suits his whole life and trained himself to obey God and the Torah, to follow the halacha, to look only to God for help -- for that person to wear green gentile clothing, to build his schedule around army manuals and commands, to hear endlessly about the power of the Israeli military and how it will stop any more Holocausts (and other heretical thoughts) is earth shattering. For Chilonim it isn't so bad. They weren't following halacha and they worship the military anyway. That's their religion. The Israeli military is a religion. 

Liberman needs to learn how to listen. He likes to talk. The military is an anti-religious environment. After all, he was head of the military and you see how anti-religious he is. He and the people who buy into his rants, keep repeating themselves, throwing around the word "service." That's the big word. It evokes guilt whether justified or not. How about you serve Hashem? Where is your service?

Sometimes in life you have to listen. The military is not a kosher environment. I'm not talking only about the food or the mixing of the sexes. The whole attitude in the military is a problem. The fixation on muscle, force, firepower, vengeance, and obedience to 22 year old abusive commanders is anti-Torah. I'll say again, the notion that the military will save us from Holocausts and God failed us for 2,000 years (Hashem save us from such heretical thoughts) is anti-Torah. Oh, you are Dati Leumi and you believe that. Well, you are a heretic in that way, in my view. Repent!

What is Liberman's plan? Is it to take a young Chassid from Meah Sharim, to tear off of him his bekeshe and stockings and to plant on him goyish green European military fatigues, to march him in the desert for 20 miles, pointlessly, to break him down until his loyalty switches from God, Torah, and Sages to the Minister of Defense and his heresy? This is what the draft means.

And this is why Jews should stay in chutzeh l'aretz. Until Moshiach comes we are supposed to be dispersed so that the enemies of God cannot destroy us all. I'm not talking about Iran - although they could be a problem thanks to Zionist provocation - I'm talking the heretics who have run and have always run the Israeli government. 

Jews stay where you are. Don't come to Eretz Yisrael. It is not safe. 

Nikolai Yezhov

Genrikh Yagoda

Saturday, May 25, 2019

R' Akiva Eiger's Wimpel

On Dec. 6, 2018, Inyan Magazine (of Hamodia) ran an article telling of the finding of R' Akiva Eiger's Wimpel.

I'll post one page of it. 

Also there's an article about a new CD of songs of the Chasom Sofer that have never been heard before. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Zionist Lag B'Omer - Not Just a Rumor

For those who don't know, here's some material from Wikipedia. Kind of says it all.

Lag BaOmer (Hebrewלַ״ג בָּעוֹמֶר), also Lag B'Omer, is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar.
This day marks the hillula (celebration, interpreted by some as anniversary of death) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnaic sage and leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the 2nd century, and the day on which he revealed the deepest secrets of kabbalah in the form of the Zohar (Book of Splendor), a landmark text of Jewish mysticism. This association has spawned several well-known customs and practices on Lag BaOmer, including the lighting of bonfires, pilgrimages to the tomb of Bar Yochai in the northern Israeli town of Meron, and various customs at the tomb itself.[2]
Another reason for why Jews celebrate Lag BaOmer is that it marks the day that the plague that killed Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 disciples came to an end, and for this reason the mourning period of Sefirat HaOmer concludes on Lag BaOmer for some people.[3]


Entrance to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Eleazar
The origins of Lag BaOmer as a minor festival are unclear. The date is mentioned explicitly for the first time in the 12th century by Avraham ben Nathan in the Sefer Hamanhig (106).
 The Talmudist Meiri in his gloss to Yevamot 62b cites the Talmudic passage which states that during the time of Rabbi Akiva, 24,000 of his students died from a divinely-sent plague during the counting of the Omer. The Talmud goes on to say that this was because they did not show proper respect to one another. Meiri named Lag BaOmer as the day when, "according to a tradition of the geonim", the "plague" ended.[7]
After the death of Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 students, he was left with only five students, among them Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. The latter went on to become the greatest teacher of Torah in his generation, and is purported to have authored the Zohar, a landmark text of Jewish mysticism. 
The Zohar calls the day of Bar Yochai's death a hillula.[7] Rabbi Chaim Vital, the main disciple of Rabbi Isaac Luria and author of Etz Chaim, was the first to name Lag BaOmer as the date of Bar Yochai's hillula.[7] According to the Zohar (III, 287b–296b), on the day of Bar Yochai's death, he revealed the deepest secrets of the Kabbalah.[8] Lag BaOmer therefore became a day of celebration of the great light (i.e., wisdom) that Bar Yochai brought into the world.[9]

Kabbalistic significance

Lag BaOmer has another significance based on the Kabbalistic custom of assigning a Sefirah to each day and week of the Omer count. The first week corresponds to Chesed, the second week to Gevurah, etc., and similarly, the first day of each week corresponds to Chesed, the second day to Gevurah, etc. Thus, the 33rd day, which is the fifth day of the fifth week, corresponds to Hod she-be-Hod (Splendor within [the week of] Splendor). As such, Lag BaOmer represents the level of spiritual manifestation or Hod that would precede the more physical manifestation of the 49th day (Malkhut she-be-Malkhut, Kingship within [the week of] Kingship), which immediately precedes the holiday of Shavuot.[citation needed]


The most well-known custom of Lag BaOmer is the lighting of bonfires throughout Israel and worldwide wherever religious Jews can be found. In Meron, the burial place of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son, Rabbi Eleazar, hundreds of thousands of Jews gather throughout the night and day to celebrate with bonfires, torches, song and feasting. This was a specific request by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of his students. Some say that as bar Yochai gave spiritual light to the world with the revelation of the Zohar, bonfires are lit to symbolize the impact of his teachings. As his passing left such a "light" behind, many candles and/or bonfires are lit.[14]
The Bnei Yissaschar cites another reason for the lighting of bonfires. On the day of his death, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said, "Now it is my desire to reveal secrets... The day will not go to its place like any other, for this entire day stands within my domain..." Daylight was miraculously extended until Rabbi Shimon had completed his final teaching and died. This symbolized that all light is subservient to spiritual light, and particularly to the primeval light contained within the mystical teachings of the Torah. As such, the custom of lighting fires symbolizes this revelation of powerful light.[15]


A first-grade classroom in Tel Aviv in 1973 with holiday displays; the Lag BaOmer display showing Bar Kokhba is on the left.
In modern Israel, early Zionists redefined Lag BaOmer from a rabbinic-oriented celebration to a commemoration of the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire (132–136 CE). According to work published by Yael Zerubavel of Rutgers University, a number of Lag BaOmer traditions were reinterpreted by Zionist ideologues to focus on the victory of the Bar Kokhba rebels rather than their ultimate defeat at Betar three years later. The plague that decimated Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 disciples was explained as a veiled reference to the revolt; the 33rd day when the plague ended was explained as the day of Bar Kokhba's victory. By the late 1940s, Israeli textbooks for schoolchildren painted Bar Kokhba as the hero while Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and Rabbi Akiva stood on the sidelines, cheering him on. This interpretation lent itself to singing and dancing around bonfires by night to celebrate Bar Kokhba's victory, and playing with bows and arrows by day to remember the actions of Bar Kokhba's rebel forces.[10]
This interpretation of the holiday reinforced the Zionist reading of Jewish history and underscored their efforts to establish an independent Jewish state. As Benjamin Lau writes in Haaretz:
This is how Lag Ba'omer became a part of the Israeli-Zionist psyche during the first years of Zionism and Israel. A clear distinction became evident between Jews and Israelis (sic) in the way the day was celebrated: The religious Jews lit torches in Rashbi's [Shimon bar Yochai's] honor and sang songs about him, while young Israelis, sitting around an alternative bonfire, sang about a hero "whom the entire nation loved" and focused on the image of a powerful hero who galloped on a lion in his charges against the Romans.[34]
In modern Israel, Lag BaOmer is "a symbol for the fighting Jewish spirit". The Palmach division of the Haganah was established on Lag BaOmer 1941, and the government order creating the Israel Defense Forces was issued on Lag BaOmer 1948.[35] Beginning in 2004, the Israeli government designated Lag BaOmer as the day for saluting the IDF reserves.[36]

Sunday, May 19, 2019

More Not Torah Im Derech Eretz

One of the most important tzedukah causes today:

Kol Demama is a newsletter that seeks to educate the Charedi public about the Israeli government's interference in Charedi education and its highly manipulative efforts to draft Charedim into their military. If you know anybody looking for a good charity, their budget is $500 a week and obviously any amount is appreciated.

Kol Demama Parshas Emor 5779 Vol. 2 Issue 24

Please note that Kol Demama is entirely non-profit; reporters, writers, editors, and distributors - all volunteers. Our sole expense is the weekly printing of thousands of color-copies which are distributed in shuls and yeshivos in Lakewood, Brooklyn, Monsey, Upstate N.Y., England and Eretz Yisroel (and an occasional graphics fee). This amounts to approximately $500 per week (which until now has been shouldered by the Kol Demama staff and volunteers). Donations of any amount will be very much appreciated. 
To donate:
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Attack on Chinuch Update

Several weeks have already passed since the Israeli elections, but the coalition negotiations are still ongoing. These negotiations offer the smaller political parties the opportunity to capitalize on their electoral power, and the chareidi parties are no exception. 

Therefore, in an open letter to the chareidi parties and the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, Harav Leizerson, head of Chinuch Atzmai for the past half-century, wrote: 

“This is a fitting time, offered to us by Hashgachah Elyonah, with the increase in our representation [with 16 chareidi MKs] and influence after the recent elections, to block the continual attempts of the Ministry of Education to meddle with pedagogical matters and even our values, that were protected until recently...” 

“Until recently” refers to what happened five years ago, when the chareidi parties sat in the opposition. The Minister of Education, Shai Piron (of the Yesh Atid party), established a special “Chareidi Department” within the Ministry, and openly declared his intention to transform the chareidi educational system. 

The “Chareidi Department,” or “mechoz chareidei” as it is known, was staffed with people from the fringes of chareidi society who had the “benefit” of a secular education. They were proud of their “open-mindedness,” and were determined to impose that benefit on the rest of the community. 

Gedolei Torah were quick to see the dangers posed by the Mechoz and ruled that the Mechoz should be boycotted – none of the mosdos should cooperate with it in any way. 

When the chareidei parties entered the Netanyahu government four years ago, they were promised that the “Mechoz” would be dismantled. However, this promise was never kept. Now, Harav Leizerson wrote the chareidei representatives, is the time to use their newfound clout. They should make it clear to the Likud that this time the government will be held accountable to keep its promise. 

In his letter, Harav Leizerson writes: Chinuch Atzmai (Independent Torah Schools) “has more than a hundred thousand students, learning in close to 300 mosdos... I turn to you to make this demand an ultimatum in the coalition negotiations: to restore complete and total independence to Chinuch Atzmai, the way things were from the time of the founding of the State... The rabbanim have instructed us to fight against [the Mechoz] which currently has dozens of inspectors, whereas for decades, they only had two or three, and those focused solely on administrative matters, and never dared to interfere in the way we educate our children...” 

Even worse, it appears that the Mechoz has plans to increase its meddling in Chinuch Atzmai schools and even in the regular chadorim. A few weeks ago, menahelim of all schools received a letter from the Ministry of Education, informing them of its intention to enhance the inspections that are already a regular occurrence. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Although Russian, Tchaikovksy wrote in the German classical style. As a blend of German and Russian it sort of captures the mood of a person with Chassidic leanings who keeps minhag Ashkenaz. It is possible to do both. The original Chasidei Ashkenaz (Yehuda HaChosid and the Rokayach) were something like that.

Tchaikovsky' Nutcracker Soundtrack

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Rabbi Miller's yahrzeit

Rabbi Avigdor Miller's yahrzeit (27 Nissan) Wed. night

Q: What should a person do if he feels like he’s going through a lot of difficulties raising his children?
A: If a person is bringing up children בדרך התורה, only that it turns out that it’s a difficult job to do, he should know that his reward is tremendous. The Gemara says that if a person has צער גידול בנים, if he has difficulties in raising his children, then אינו רואה פתחה של גהינים – “he won’t even have to walk past the door of Gehenim.” So when you pass out of this world, you will go straight to Olam Habah.
The mitzvah of גידול בנים, raising up children, is one of the biggest mitzvos of the Torah! You know what it means to make Jews?! You suffer from them. But the more you suffer, the greater is the reward. Now, if you have a good boy or a good girl, and they caused you no suffering because they themselves chose to do good all the time, you’ll still get reward. But not a reward like that one who suffers. צער גידול בנים makes you a wealthy person. You should know that the reward in Gan Eden is to sit on a golden throne just because you suffered in this great cause of raising up children for the service of Hashem. Because that’s the true success of a Jew in this world, to raise up a family that will serve Hashem and remain after him forever and ever.
Tape # E-218 (January 2000)

Avigdor ben Yisroel HaCohen

Please learn a Mishnah for his neshamah. Here's one:

מֵאֵימָתַי קוֹרִין אֶת שְׁמַע בְּעַרְבִית. מִשָּׁעָה שֶׁהַכֹּהֲנִים נִכְנָסִים לֶאֱכֹל בִּתְרוּמָתָן, עַד סוֹף הָאַשְׁמוּרָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים, עַד חֲצוֹת. רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר, עַד שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה עַמּוּד הַשָּׁחַר. מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁבָּאוּ בָנָיו מִבֵּית הַמִּשְׁתֶּה, אָמְרוּ לוֹ, לֹא קָרִינוּ אֶת שְׁמַע. אָמַר לָהֶם, אִם לֹא עָלָה עַמּוּד הַשַּׁחַר, חַיָּבִין אַתֶּם לִקְרוֹת. וְלֹא זוֹ בִּלְבַד, אֶלָּא כָּל מַה שֶּׁאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים עַד חֲצוֹת, מִצְוָתָן עַד שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה עַמּוּד הַשָּׁחַר. הֶקְטֵר חֲלָבִים וְאֵבָרִים, מִצְוָתָן עַד שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה עַמּוּד הַשָּׁחַר. וְכָל הַנֶּאֱכָלִים לְיוֹם אֶחָד, מִצְוָתָן עַד שֶׁיַּעֲלֶה עַמּוּד הַשָּׁחַר. אִם כֵּן, לָמָּה אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים עַד חֲצוֹת, כְּדֵי לְהַרְחִיק אֶת הָאָדָם מִן הָעֲבֵרָה:

(1) From which time are we to recite the shema in the evening? From the time when the priests return home [i.e., priests who have become impure and have immersed themselves in a mikvah, must wait until the stars have appeared in order to be considered, once again, ritually pure, enabling them to return home] to partake of the terumah [i.e., the priestly dues and one may recite the shema] up until the end of the first watch [the night is divided into three shifts, referred to by the Mishnah as “watches;” (during each watch different groups of Angels sing shirah — praise to God, Rashi 3a) thus the conclusion of the first watch would be the end of the first third of the night]. This is the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer, but the Sages say, [One may recite the shema] until midnight. Rabban Gamliel says, Until dawn [since it states “and speak of them ... when you lie down” (Deuteronomy 6:7) the intent being all night]. It once occurred that his sons returned [late] from a feast and said to him, “We have not yet recited the shema.” He told them, “If dawn has not yet broken it is your duty to recite it [even according to the view of the Sages].” And not only in this case, but in all cases [of obligations] where the Sages say, “Until midnight,” the obligation referred to may be carried out until dawn; [for instance,] the burning of fat and limbs may be performed until dawn, and all [the sacrifices] which must be eaten on the same day have their deadlines until dawn. If this is so, why then did the Sages say, “Until midnight?” In order to prevent a person from transgressing [since he may procrastinate in the fulfillment of his obligation, which may cause him to miss its deadline.