Sunday, August 25, 2019

Wisdom from the gentiles: Queen Elizabeth II

Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom.

Good memories are our second chance at happiness.

Work is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on earth.

There are long periods when life seems a small, dull round, a petty business with no point, and then suddenly we are caught up in some great event which gives us a glimpse of the solid and durable foundations of our existence.

It's all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you're properly trained.

[To the suggestion that Great Britain might someday want a Republic:] We'll go quietly.

I have no idea if these are really her words or those of writers (some goes for any leader or rich person), but being spoken by her  they are most pithy. 

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

More from the so-called theocracy

As all kinds of Israelis continue to scream hysterically that Israel is becoming a theocracy, a judge shut down a men's only concert in Haifa this week. This follows a different judge's ruling a few weeks ago that a gender segregated concert could not take place in Afula

Israel of course is not any kind of theocracy. No country with the world's most liberal abortion laws can call itself a theocracy. No country that hosts a yearly gay pride parade attended by 250,000 people (in Tel Aviv) could possibly call itself a theocracy. 

Why is it considered acceptable to use a public space (ie. enough space for 1/4 of a million people) for a gay pride event but not for separate gender seating at a small Orthodox Jewish event?

A large parade, with police escort, is held in Jerusalem as well. The Jerusalem gay pride parade - one for which the city hangs up rainbow flags - gets 30,000 people. The city deployed 2,500 police officers to escort them on the 18th anniversary of the parade this year.  With an escort by 2,500 police - if that's not support by the state I don't know what is - these people still scream hysterically about theocracy. In the good old days, Jews came to Jerusalem to give offerings to God at the Beis HaMikdash. In the so-called "Jewish" state, they come to commit abomination as defined by the posuk. 
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. Vayikra 20:13

Beit Shemesh also had a gay-pride gathering this summer. 

No country where most people are anti-religious can call itself a theocracy. 

So what is the basis for calling Israel a theocracy? The basis arguably is chutzpah. With chutzpah the truth is irrelevant. Or rather, the truth is whatever one is feeling or shouting. Shouting it makes it true, or seem true.

Likewise hysteria. Hysteria is one of the defining characteristics of secular Jewish culture today. People are hysterical about everything: Trump, Sanders, vaccines, anti-vaccines, global warming, global warming denial. Pick a side, doesn't matter, they are hysterical over there. And hysterics have a way - not surprisingly - of deeming all their hysteria to be true and accurate. It must be true or why would I be hysterical? 

That's circular reasoning if you want to call it reasoning. It is narcissistic too. When one's own ego is deemed reality, well that's narcissism. And the world is full of that today. Facts are inconvenient. My feeling is the only fact you need. That's the mentality, the sickness. 

What these Israeli judges are showing is that they are unwilling to share the country with religious Jews. Any imposition or inconvenience is unacceptable to them. Imposition includes you being different. You being different offends me, it bothers me and I can't be offended. That's unacceptable. I can't live with that. That's the mentality. If charedim want to have their own event - not to impose one on chilonim but to have it for themselves - that is deemed as unacceptable by the courts. You being you is an imposition on me. So the sentiment goes in this very flawed democracy.

Of course, the judges don't explain it that way. They say they seek to promote equality, that separate means discriminatory. But what if the religious women also want separate seating? Sometimes there are reasons for separation. This is a country that built a wall to separate it from the Palestinians. It has separate cities and many separate roads. The rationale is security. Maybe it's a necessary measure, maybe not. Either way, if we are going to surround the 4 million Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza with permanent walls, how can we argue that Afula can't hold a two-hour concert for 300 people with separate seating that both sides prefer?

Tyranny of the majority is not democracy. Democracy involves respecting minority rights. To respect somebody else you have to listen to them. You have to honor reasonable requests. Many Israelis have a flawed view of democracy because the society is so fundamentally deaf. People don't listen. They don't respect each other's minds. They just shout.

So when Israelis claim they have a democracy they mean a place where people vote. Doesn't matter so much what happens after that. There's a vote.

Here are some other countries that hold elections. 

CountryHead of stateHead of governmentLegislature
Lower houseUpper house
IranIranElection by Assembly of Experts[97]Direct election[97]Direct election and appointment[97]
IraqIraqElection by legislature[98]Election by legislature[98]Direct election[98]
JordanJordanMonarchy[107]Appointment by monarch[107]Direct election[107]Appointment by monarch[10
KazakhstanKazakhstanDirect election[108]Appointment by head of state[108]Direct and indirect election[108]Indirect election and appointments[108]
NicaraguaNicaraguaDirect election[138]Direct election and ex officio[138]
NigerNigerDirect election[139]Appointment by head of state[139]Direct election[139]
Republic of the CongoRepublic of the CongoDirect electionDirect electionIndirect election
RomaniaRomaniaDirect election[149]Appointed by head of state[149]Direct election[149]Direct election[149]
RussiaRussiaDirect electionDirect electionIndirect election and appointments
RwandaRwandaDirect election[150]Appointment by head of state[150]Direct election and appointments[150]Indirect election and appointments[150]
It's not enough to have elections to call yourself a democracy. The country needs to be run in a way where rights are respected. If a religious group, a substantial one, can't have a men's only event or a gender separated event that does not impinge on heathens, uh, secular people, then you don't have much of a democracy. You have a tyranny of the majority. 

Israeli society is run by secular people. The Prime Minister regularly asserts that the state of israel is not interested in halacha. 

So too the supreme court, the military, the universities, the newspapers, the banks, the corporations - are run by secular people.  And they are some of the most intolerant people who have ever walked the earth. Oh, they tolerate abortion and homosexuality. And strangely, unlike American and European liberals, they embrace militarism, they absolutely adore it.

However, they don't tolerate religion fully and do what they can to obstruct. (The attorney general, however, is an Orthodox Jew and, no surprise, he ruled recently that gender separated events should be allowed under certain circumstances.)

So the claim goes there are Arab MKs and Charedi MKs. None of that means much when you have a tyranny of the majority. It's window dressing.

I was in Haifa for chol hamoed succos a few years ago. I couldn't find a succah. Even in the downtown area, I couldn't find a succah. I asked the manager of the kosher pizza place, where are the succahs? He told me the city doesn't allow them. So I had to buy a pizza and walk about a mile to the one shul I could find that had a succah. 

That's a democracy? You want to say they do allow kosher pizza. Sorry, I'm not impressed. During succos, I need a succah. So says the Jewish religion. I'm sorry if that inconveniences anybody, if that bothers them. Surely, allowing a succah in a downtown restaurant doesn't impinge on anybody else, doesn't render the country a theocracy. 

Try to explain that to the typical Israeli. Bring your earplugs.

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 itself, then we have fallen short in our mission. A Jew is never to be selfish and rabid ethnocentricity is a form of collective selfishness. 

Do Not Make Aliyah, Prepare to Leave the Country

from Kol Dimama The Voice of Silence, Issue 2, Volume 8 

"The latest draft law proposals differ from the situation that prevailed during the last 70 years in a fundamental way. For the first time, limud haTorah is no longer recognized as an alternative to military service. The government intends to promote military service above everything else, and the Supreme Court has shown in its rulings that it will only approve of a law that states clear goals and benchmarks. The new law has the precise number of chareidim required to enlist stipulated, to ensure that no political game-playing can water down the law’s measures.

"In the current version of the draft law, eventually “only” 60% of the frum tzibbur will be forced to enlist over the next 20 years, but the government already states openly that its true goal is to reach 85% enlistment, parallel to the secular rate.

"Already, we have reached a situation where in the past year alone over 3,000 chareidim were drafted by the IDF, which is a tenfold
increase over the past decade or so. Imagine if ten years ago, the government would have told us that within a decade, 3,000
chareidim a year would be joining the army! Nobody would have believed them – but this is where we find ourselves today."

Giyus Banos Updates

According to the law, any girl, from any family, is entitled to a petur if she observes kashrus and keeps Shabbos in public, and submits a tatzhir dat that attests to this. For many years, the army and the government respected this status quo and obtaining a petur was a simple procedure. 

Recently, however, the government has openly declared its intention to increase the recruitment of not only girls in general, but specifically of religious girls – and this includes even chareidim. The rabbanim of the dati-leumi sector are already struggling with this problem. We must not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that this problem will not reach us – it already has.  

Based on unknown criteria, every so often, the army singles out girls for “special treatment.” Instead of simply accepting the tatzhir dat and issuing a petur, the girl in question is summoned to the draft office for a rayon dat – an interrogation ostensibly designed to ascertain whether she is truly religious or faking. 

The army has two basic reasons for adopting this practice. The first is to accustom the tzibbur to the concept of girls reporting to the draft office (for any reason) which was previously unheard of. All major poskim have ruled that it is ossur for girls to report to the draft office, but there are many girls who either don’t know this, or are too afraid of the possible consequences if they fail to report – and this includes girls from Bais Yaakov schools. 

The second reason for calling a tatzhir dat into question is to take advantage of the occasion of the rayon dat to intimidate the girl, so that she slips up during the questioning and is thereby “proven” not to be religious after all. Accordingly, the questions asked at the rayon dat are specially crafted to create confusion. For example, girls are asked questions to which there are several valid halachic answers, and whichever answer the girl replies with, is rejected as the “wrong” one.  

Alternatively, girls are asked questions on subjects that are rarely encountered or with which girls are unlikely to be familiar. An example of this is a girl being told to recite the nusach of Kiddush Levanah. Girls are also asked to list the various fast days and their dates, and to explain how we know that Shabbos has ended. They might be asked which comes first: ner Chanukah or ner Shabbos, or perhaps what brachah is to be made on rice. If you think these are simple questions that most girls could easily answer, then maybe you would be right (in most, but certainly not all cases); however, girls are not seated in a quiet room with pen in hand and a multiple-choice questionnaire in front of them. Rather, they are brought, singly, into a room where they have to stand facing a panel of interrogators, professional and hardened military officers, and field questions not asked calmly but rather yelled at them from all directions. Interspersed between the questions are threats that if they slip up and answer incorrectly, not only will they not receive a petur and will have to enlist, but they also risk being put on trial for perjuring themselves and falsely declaring that they are religious. 
There are literally hundreds of girls who have been through this process. It starts with the original order to report to the draft office, and continues with their arrival at the building, where they are sent into a large room where they sit with tens of other girls waiting their turn for interrogation. Soldiers guard the room outside and warn the girls that they are not to converse with one another, and most certainly not on the issue that has brought them all there. There they wait, often for hours, tense and stressed, until finally they are called in for their “interview.” Girls from traditional rather than chareidi backgrounds are often forewarned about the nature of this rayon dat and come relatively prepared, although nothing can adequately prepare a 17-year-old girl for an interrogation by a panel of army officers.

However, girls from Bais Yaakov schools come expecting to sail through the test and are brutally shocked into reality. Yes, not all of them pass. Just a few weeks ago, the army summoned tens of girls for a “rayon dat day” (Tuesday of Parshas Vayishlach). A full 30 girls failed the test and now are in need of rachmei Shamayim if they are to escape being drafted or sent to prison for refusing to enlist. Almost every girl comes out of the draft office pale and trembling, with many in tears. The volunteer ladies of Chomosayich (Mishmeres Hakodesh) are there to offer them chizuk, help, and advice, both before they enter and afterward, and to take the contact details of any girl who is likely to need professional legal assistance. 

Following is the recent, true story of a girl selected by the IDF for “special treatment.” Seventeen-year-old Moriah Mozes from Maale Adumim is just a regular frum girl, shomeres Torah u’mitzvos, who for some unknown reason was singled out by the army for harassment and persecution. This is her account: 

“I had no problem getting a tatzhir dat, and I submitted it to the draft office. But, for some reason, they decided it wasn’t good enough and I would have to go to the draft office for a rayon dat. I went, and managed to answer the questions correctly, but they still didn’t give me a petur. Instead, they told me to go home and that I’d get their answer in the mail.” 

Moriah was exceptional in passing her test with flying colors – in most cases, girls are so intimidated by the whole procedure that even those who are truly fluent in even complex halachos lose their nerve and slip up. 

“Finally, I got the answer – which was to report back for another rayon dat. I went, and it was the same all over again, except that instead of asking the questions, they yelled them at me and threatened me with a jail sentence. Baruch Hash-m I didn’t break, and again they told me that I’d get their answer in the mail. 
“So I went home, and waited, and waited... and I still didn’t receive a petur. Instead, one day, there was a knock at the door. It was some guy in civilian clothing who told me that he had been sent by the army to give me a private rayon dat, and that he had also been ordered to check out my family’s home to see that it’s really a frum home. 

“What could we do? So we let him in, and he started nosing around, opening closets and drawers, and then he started firing questions at me. Some of them were crazy questions, like, ‘Why don’t you cover your hair?’ Finally, he gave up, and he even said that he didn’t know why the army was messing me around, as it was obvious that I was religious, and that I was sure to get a petur soon. 

“So again I waited, and finally the letter came in the mail – an order to enlist! I couldn’t believe it... It was then that I turned to Mercaz Hatzolah for help. They immediately hired two private lawyers to handle my case, and they didn’t waste a minute. The lawyers contacted the army, and demanded a formal statement on why I hadn’t been given a petur. They didn’t get a reply to their first request, so they made another one, and finally, after three months, the army responded that they didn’t consider me to be religious, so I wasn’t getting a petur. They claimed that they had photos of me in non-tznius clothing, so my lawyers demanded to see the pictures. 
“Of course the army wasn’t in any hurry to comply [especially as they didn’t have any such pictures] but the lawyers threatened them with a court order so finally, they sent them. When they arrived, the lawyers called me in to their office to take a look. The pictures weren’t even of me! In fact, it was so obvious that they just took pictures of random girls. So the lawyers made another appeal for me to get a petur, and meanwhile, they got the court to make an interim order to freeze my enlistment process, as otherwise they could have accused me of draft dodging.” 

At this point, any reasonable army officer would have given up the fight and simply issued a petur - but not in the Israeli army of the “Jewish” state... 

“So again we were waiting, and then something really weird happened. One Friday morning, very early, when I was still asleep, the phone rang and my mother picked up. A man told her that he needed to speak to me, and that I should come down right away to the entrance to our building to pick up a delivery that someone had sent for me. 

“My mother thought this was a bit strange, so instead of sending me down, she hung up and told me to call back and ask which delivery company had sent him, and what the parcel was. But when I did, the man wouldn’t answer clearly – he just said he had flowers for me, and that I should come down right away. 
“So my mother and I went down to the entrance, but there was no one there. We waited and waited, and eventually we called him back and he said he had been delayed by a previous delivery, but that he’d call back later with the flowers. 

“We went back upstairs, and all that Friday, the same man kept calling, another few times, every few hours, with the same story, and we went down to wait for him, and no one was there. The last time he called was ten minutes before candle-lighting, and of course, he wasn’t there then either.” 

A few days later, Moriah was summoned by the army for yet another rayon dat...

“When I entered the room, I noticed that the table was covered with photographs, and when I looked closer, I saw that they were photos of my mother and I, waiting outside our building on that Friday, waiting for flowers that never arrived. I realized that they had been trying to trap me, hoping that maybe early in the morning, or just before Shabbos, I would run down to the entrance not properly dressed because I was in a rush, and then they would have their ‘evidence’ against me.” 

Moriah Mozes finally got a petur, and now Mercaz Hatzolah’s lawyers succeeded in retrieving restitution from the army for its harassment of an innocent girl. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Preteens suspected of setting 70 fires around Beit Shemesh

Preteens suspected of setting 70 fires around Beit Shemesh

"Group of 12-year-olds, allegedly motivated by boredom and competition, caused damage to nature areas and forced evacuations of buildings."

I heard people proposing that Arabs were doing this which is not unreasonable in that Arabs in Gaza were triggering fires all over the South. But no, we find out that like the 100s of 'anti-semitic' threats that were made across America a few years ago, the culprits were Israelis (a dual citizen in that case). 

Chutzpah, chutzpah, chutzpah. Sadly, the chutzpah in Israeli society is like none other on the planet. And violence. Not very Jewish behavior. And these aren't even teenagers. They are PRE-TEENS! Little kids! They aren't playing with matches in the parking lot. They are setting massive fires that require the dropping of flame extinguishers from airplanes. 

What is the source of this chutzpah? Is it that Zionism from the outset was a rebellion against God? 

The teens, being Jewish,  are under house arrest. And if they were Arab? 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

If one desires to change back

“Behold it is known that all the people of Poland, Hungary, and Russia…are children of Ashkenaz even Chasidim. And until Chasidus spread they all prayed with nusach Ashkenaz. However, the Chasidic leaders lead them to pray in a different nusach with various changes…They changed the customs of their ancestors and our great rabbis of Germany and France. The reason for the change is not clear nor how they permitted a change from the established nusach….If one desires to change back and pray in nusach Ashkenaz, since it is the nusach of our ancestors and rabbis, he is permitted as he is returning to what once was." Rav Moshe Feinstein, Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:24

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The glorious frum community of Germany

"HaKodesh Baruch saw we had passed the test of oppression. Despite all the tzaras, despite all the hatred, all the oppression, we remained loyal. There were a few Jews, meshumadim who sold their souls in order to get glory among the gentiles. There were a few. There were so few that they are insignificant. But Klal Yisroel passed the test. Now Hakodesh Baruch Hu said, I see you passed that test [of persecution in Medieval times]. I'm going to try you with another test now. [The test of emancipation in modern times.] Let's see how you work out this test. Now, when I said it was a calamity, it doesn't mean that the test was a waste, no. It was a minority that passed this test too. And those that remained loyal, they were a glorious example of the Am HaKodesh. Those that remain to this day. Many went lost, yes it's true. But an example, in Germany where there was so much assimilation, a number of German Jews decided they are going to fight for the preservation of the Torah. And they built up an Orthodox kehilla that was excellent in every detail. They were machmir in everything. In some respects, they were more frum than the Jews in Russia and Poland were. And they had organized kashrus. Strict hashgacha. Not rabbanim who gave heksherim and were paid for it. No. The kehillias gave hashgacha and were very strict in every detail. And so the minority that withstood the test were a glorious fulfillment of the prophecy that the Am Yisroel will continue forever despite any circumstances." 

Rav Avigdor Miller, Recording #855 - "The Kiss of Esav," 11:48

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Definitely not a theocracy

As many chilonim in their hysteria continue to rant that Israel is heading toward a theocracy, the Nazareth District Court last Sunday barred the municipality of Afula from holding a gender-segregated musical performance at a public park. The city holds something like 360 events a year. And the Orthodox Jewish community wanted to hold just one event and to set it up so men and women would be separate - you know, according to the halacha. But the court overruled them on the grounds that such was a violation of principles of equality. Some theocracy.

We see that left-wing talk about respect for all cultures only applies to liberal/decadent culture. We see that the charedim in Israel are not a powerful group and need the support of Jews worldwide. 

"Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view." William F. Buckley, Jr.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Trouble from the reformers

I found this fascinating tidbit on A contemporary example of the hostility to Torah of the Jewish reformers and the tolerance of the gentile host society.

"In the city of Outremont in the Canadian Province of Quebec, a number of Orthodox Jews asked their city council for permission to build an eruv. The city council lead by its Jewish mayor refused even though about one quarter of the city's population was Jewish. A non-Jewish judge overruled the city, noting that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that religion can be practiced openly. Cases have also arisen in the United States and other countries."

As we know, Rav Hirsch spent his entire adult life in battle with such people, trading in much of the time he could have spent on Torah study just to deal with them and the obstructions they made for Torah observant people. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

City of Beit Shemesh Razes Another Shul

The city of Beit Shemesh and its Dati Lemi mayor just destroyed another shul, smashing the Aron Kodesh to the ground. Anybody who voted for this woman (against the decree of a broad array of the Litvitsh, Chasidish, and Sephardi gadolim), has a hand in the destruction of this shul as well as the one the city destroyed a few months ago. 

One reads the utter lies in the Israeli press about the alleged power of Charedim in Israel. But here in one of the few cities that actually has a Charedi presence, that is thought of by people who don't know any better as a Charedi city, one sees how little power Charedim have in Israel. If Charedim had power, they'd certainly be able to stop the destruction of a shul in a Charedi neighborhood. 

You have to think that there is some way the city and the shul could have resolved whatever permit problems were going on here. The shul is located on a desolate road. There is nothing else there and the land is not in use. Settlers constantly build in desolate areas and the government hooks them up to water and electricity in the hope that a village and city will develop. 

Similarly, decades ago, the Israeli military seized over 5,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Jordan valley security reasons. However, settlers took that seized land and created the settlements of  Bekaot, Gitit, Yeitav, Mehola, Ma’ale Efraim, Niran, Netiv Hagdud, Ro’i and Rimonim. In 1979, the High Court of Justice issued a decision barring such exploitation of security-related land seizures. However, the settlements have remained. But a tiny little shul on unused land cannot remain. 

Also in the news, as chilonim in their hysteria continue to rant that Israel is heading toward a theocracy, the Nazareth District Court last Sunday barred the municipality of Afula from holding a gender-segregated musical performance at a public park. The city holds something like 360 events a year. And the Orthodox Jewish community wanted to hold just one event and to set it up so men and women would be separate - you know, according to the halacha. But the court overruled them on the grounds that such was a violation of principles of equality. Some theocracy. If the men and women want to be separate who is being treated unequally? The plan was to sit separately in the same amphitheater, so nobody was to get superior seats. I wonder if the court would be bothered that at most kiddushes that I have attended in Israel, the women get much better deserts as well as salads. The men tend to just get Yerushalmi kugel and ruggelach. The women get these gourmet chocolates. Not fair!

One has to explain this to many chilonim but racism and sexism is when one treats groups differently just out of dislike or selfishness. But when the treatment is for practical reasons - example separate bathrooms by gender - then it's not discrimination. Is the court going to disallow women's rooms too? What about different grades in schools. Is that discrimination? Should everyone be in the same class? What about separate wings of Haddasah hospital for oncology and maternity? Is that discrimination? These judges who have lived their entire lives in sin may not understand but when men and women intermingle the psyche is affected in negative ways. These judges are numb to it but we as religious people are reporting that this matters to us. Does a judge get to impose his values on the entire society or does the state of israel act like a democracy and respect what people want to do with their own lives? 

This wasn't even a street event. It was to be held in an amphitheater where secular people were not going to be for the entertainment was designed for religious people.  Yet, somehow, it's OK for the streets of Jerusalem, where religious people do traverse, to be used by homosexuals in their annual parade. That's not considered discrimination. 360 other days a year the amphitheater is used by chilonim with mixed seating. Why isn't that discrimination against charedim or people that want separate seating?

We see that left-wing talk about respect for all cultures only applies to liberal/decadent culture. We see that the Charedim in Israel are not a powerful group and need the support of Jews worldwide. 

"Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view."

William F. Buckley, Jr.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Anti-religious sentiment in the State of Israel

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch battled anti-Torah people all his life. We face similar battles. I have cited many examples of anti-religious sentiment in Israeli society. Here's another example.

A Times of Israel article that I recently cited discusses the war of words between the PM and Bezalel Smotrich, the Transportation minister, regarding whether the State of Israel should follow Torah law as the latter proposed. The PM laughed at him.

The article then went on to discuss whether Likud would join religious parties to form a government after the next elections and the PMs legal woes as resulting from corruption charges. That discussion is off topic but related enough I suppose to serve as an addition.

Then, TOI tells us in detail of possible indictments of the heads of religious parties Shas and UTG for alleged corruption. Now we are really off topic. What has this to do with Netanyahu and Smotrich? The writers (identified as TOI Staff) just had to squeeze that in, their hostility to Orthodox Judaism being typical for chilonim. 

And you can't say it's only the Israeli left (TOI is left wing) because the very right-wing A. Lieberman is just as bad. His recent attacks on Charedim raised his Knesset seat count from 5 in the last election to a projected 10 in the upcoming one. His voters are all right-wingers.

I'm certainly not justifying any corruption in the parties that claim to represent religious people and wouldn't complain if the TOI wrote articles about it as long as TOI wrote articles about all corruption in the State of Israel. And there's a lot of it. But to find a  way, by hook or crook, to mention only the problems with Shas and UTG here shows a palpable prejudice.

Netanyahu is from the Likud party. Well, the article failed to mention that Welfare Minister Haim Katz of the Likud party will likely be indicted in the coming days on charges of fraud and breach of trust. So if they wanted to list corruption problems in the parties that claim to represent religious people as long as they were mentioning those parties, why not mention corruption in the Likud party as long as you are talking about Likud? Remember, in Israel, one votes for a party on the national level, not a person. Nobody votes for Netanyahu. They vote for Likud. And coalitions occur between parties not individuals. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Dvir Sorek z'l

Baruch Dayin Emes. The body of Dvir Sorek, may his blood be avenged, a hesder yeshiva student from the Ofra settlement, was found today along the side of a road near Bethlehem. It appears that he was abducted and stabbed to death. Reportedly, he had gone to Jerusalem to buy books for his rebbe. He was found clutching those books. He was not in a uniform at the time of his death.

I know many people who act as though Area C is a safe place to be. (Area C is the Jewish part of the West Bank where the Gush, Beitar, and Modi'in Illit as well as all Jewish settlements are found.)  I know all kinds of people that wander around there at night, even women who do so. They act as if geulah has arrived, the result of religious Zionist propaganda no doubt. I know British and French people who moved to Israel for the reason that London and Paris have too many Arabs. Talk about illogical. No Arabs in the Middle East? More than half the population of Eretz Yisroel is Arab. And some of them are angry and very dangerous. Be careful out there.

May this young man rest in peace.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Chillul Hashem Again

We have become numb to it. We forget. But when the head of the State of Israel, the so-called "Jewish State" denounces Jewish law, he has committed a huge chillul Hashem.

Recently, Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for the implementation of religious law in Israel. The Times of Israel tells us of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response:

“Well, that is pure and utter nonsense. It’s pure BS and nothing can attest to that more than the recently appointed justice minister from the Likud,” he added, referring to Amir Ohana, Israel’s first ever openly gay minister."
At least he seems to admit that having an openly gay minister in some way violates Jewish law. The problem is that he's happy to commit such a violation.

Not only are the PM's remarks a chillul Hashem, but they are a rebuke of the very notion that the State of Israel is a Jewish state. As Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch told us repeatedly, the Jews are a people only via the Torah.

"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
"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

So if the Jewish people is a nation only via the Torah then a political state that not only doesn't abide by the Torah but openly flaunts it is not Jewish. Note the PM's coarse and dirty language in rejecting the Transportation Minister's suggestion. Therefore, one cannot call the State of Israel the Jewish state. Rather, the State of Israel is a chillul Hashem, a desecration of His name.

Piling on to the Chillul Hashem, the PM will likely be indicted after the elections for fraud (so says the attorney general). Netanyahu runs around the world posing as the self-appointed spokesman for the Jewish people so his indictment would reflect on all of us. Equally problematic, police have recommended that one of the political leaders (not a rabbi) of the religious Sephardic Shas party be indicted for "fraud, breach of trust, obstructing court proceedings, money laundering, and tax offenses." Likewise, they have recommended that one of the political leaders (not a rabbi) of United Torah Judaism, "be charged with fraud and breach of trust for using his office to illicitly provide assistance to an alleged serial sex abuser, as well as on a separate bribery charge for helping to prevent the closure of a food business that his own ministry had deemed unsanitary."

All three people deny the charges against them. And I certainly can't tell you who is guilty or innocent. It could be that the charges are politically motivated. It could be they are legitimate. But there's a Chillul Hashem just the same. The heavens weep from the Chillul Hashem caused by the State of Israel.

But that's not all. Also in the news of late - the worldwide news - is the case of a group of Israeli teens who were arrested in Cyprus for allegedly raping a British 19 year old. Three of them admitted to having relations with her. Not only that, they videoed the sordid event and shared it with friends who uploaded it to the Internet. They also tossed her out of the room when they were done with her. 

In a strange turn of events, the Cyprus police claim that the girl recanted, saying rape was not involved. But the girl says now the police forced her to recant, writing the statement for her after keeping her in the station house for 8 hours and threatening to arrest her friends. There are more than a few people out there who claim that the authorities in Cyprus were bribed or threatened by Israeli handlers.

Who knows the truth? At the very least, we have again a huge Chillul Hashem. The Israeli teens certainly acted perversely and cruelly even if they didn't actually rape. And much of the world is watching.

It's incredible that the nation of Hashem which is supposed to uphold the highest moral standards is now associated with the question of whether or not some of its youth committed one of the most horrible acts or not. But that they acted immorally is not in question.

Rav Joseph Breuer zt'l, the leader of the Hirschian kehilla in New York City wrote:
"The proclamation of a Jewish state would bring great joy to all the members of our people, if conditions were such that we could feel justified to call it a Kiddush Hashem. It pains us to say, and we have no illusions, that for the time being this is not the case. For every Torah-true Jew the word Kiddush Hashem is his utmost concern, while Chillul Hashem leaves him trembling. Thus the establishment of a Jewish state will fill him with misgivings and alarm." (R’ Joseph Breuer, “The State of Israel,” Mitteilungen, Vol. 9, June 1948, A Unique Perspective: Rav Breuer’s Essays 1914-1973, p 357.)

He wrote this 70 years ago and the situation has not improved. Arguably, it's worse now than ever. Moreover, each Chillul Hashem piles on top of the prior ones and endangers us all. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Monday, August 5, 2019

Compare and contrast

(Warning: two somewhat immodest pictures appear 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 ask, is it in Jewish hands? What's a Jew? What is a Jewish community? 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)

A community of Jews is defined as Jews centered around Jewish law. 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. (Note, this doesn't mean that one shouldn't feel compassion for homosexuals or try to help them to move on from current inclinations and practice.)

Likewise, much of the country (4/5 people) 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. There are more gang members in Brooklyn than there are Hamas operatives in Gaza. You don't need an entire nation in uniform to fight gangs. In New York, the police take care of it. The whole conflict is political and ideological. It's not about safety. They say Charedim aren't sharing the burden. Tell me, are Chilonim sharing the burden? Charedim keep 52 Shabbosim a year. They fast 5 times a year. They refrain from pre-marital relations.  Let the Chilonim share that burden.

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? 

With the kosel decades ago snatched by the Israeli military 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 military 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

Jerusalem Wildflowers, Herbs & Trees, Israel : THE WESTERN ...

The circus at the Kosel today.

Jewish Agency emissaries express alarm at government moves

Israel’s Labor party leader sides with Diaspora Jewish ...

An ultra-Orthodox rabbi explains why his community opposes ...

Image result for western wall israel sex

Pope Francis Honors Holocaust, Terror Victims in Last Day ...

Tourists at the Kosel Today Mistaken Washing Cups for ...

Unprecedented Police Closure Keeps Thousands From Kosel ...

Compare to the Temple Mount today as managed by Muslims:

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

Image result for temple mount muslims

Image result for temple mount muslims

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

This does not mean that we want Palestinian control over Eretz Yisroel as that could be dangerous. But having it over the Temple Mount might be a good thing.