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.

This does not mean that we want Palestinian control over Eretz Yisroel. But having it over the Temple Mount is probably a good thing. 

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. 

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 Chabad.org. 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. 

Also in the news, as chilonim in their ignorant 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.

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 and may Hashem avenge his blood. 

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 offends Jewish law. The problem is that he's happy to commit such an offense.

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 like animals 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

Sunday, August 4, 2019

ennoblement of man

"The more the Jew is a Jew, the more universalist will his views and aspirations be, the less aloof will he be from anything that is noble and good, true and upright, in art or science, in culture or education; the more joyfully will he applaud whenever he sees truth and justice and peace and the ennoblement of man prevail and become dominant in human society." 

"Religion Allied to Progress", Collected Writings, Rav Samson R. Hirsch

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Reform Judaism and feminism achieved a union of perfect moral bankruptcy

Since Rav Hirsch opposed reform Judaism, feminism, and Zionism, I post the following. Note, even as he advocated for traditional roles for men and women, his writings inspired Sarah Schneirer to start the Beis Yaakov movement. She employed Rav Hirsch's writings - with rabbinical help - as her guide. The entire Beis Yaakov movement has been credit by such gadolim as R' Aaron Kotler zt'l  and  Rav Yaakov Kamenestky zt'l as saving all of klal Yisroel. What inspired Sarah Schneirer were Rav Hirsch's depictions of the nobility and accomplishments of the Imahos. He very much believed in the potential for greatness in every woman and believed as well that this greatness is achieved only through the traditional role as described by the Torah and Chazal. And in his genius, he laid the groundwork for an educational program for women all the while keeping in line with traditional Torah sensibilities. So he opposed what we know today as feminism but was very much a supporter of women. 

On this day in 2019, Reform Judaism and feminism achieved a union of perfect moral bankruptcy. And Zionism and consumerism came along for the ride. The Israeli web news site, The Times of Israel published an article that sang the praises of one Dr. Sara Imershein of Falls Church, Virginia. Dr. Imershein is a physician who has made it her life's work to perform abortions. She said

"abortion empowers women to have the families women want" 

Yes, you heard that right. Not to save the life of the mother but to go shopping. Buy this dress, throw that one in the garbage. Cut the other one up to make it shorter. It's all about making the woman so, so happy. Empowerment of women is the idol of the day. Empower them in every way possible. As abortions are also performed on female babies, this empowerment only applies to females over a certain age. The others are served up as child sacrifices on the idol of feminism.

Here is another gem from her, “I always said as a physician, when I grow up and retire, I’m going to do abortions because it was a way to use my techniques to alleviate suffering.” 

She rips living, heart-beating, blood-circulating, grasping, kicking, nervous system owning fetuses to pieces and claims that this alleviates suffering. 

These could be the most twisted, narcissistic, and selfish comments that I have ever heard a human being utter. She is intelligent enough to get through medical school and as stupid as only a person with higher intelligence can be. Simpler minds cannot invent such demonic logic and present it as idealistic. 

Imershein, a Jewish woman, bases her rationalizations on a misreading of the Talmud. She says, “Somewhere along the line, I learned the Talmud and Genesis back up the Jewish philosophy, that it is not when someone is conceived, but it’s a matter of when someone becomes human, and that’s clearly defined by the Talmud when the head is born, or the greater part, the nefesh becomes ensouled.”  
In other words, she is perfectly comfortable killing a fetus in the last day of his or her 9th month during birth as long as the majority of the head has not emerged. In other words, she is comfortable killing a baby. 

She bases this on a total misreading of the Talmud which defines the parameters for abortion when necessary to save the life of the mother.  Otherwise, it is prohibited according to nearly all poskim. A handful of contemporary poskim permit abortion in the early weeks of the pregnancy in the case of extreme birth defects such as Tay-Sachs due to the inevitable suffering of the baby. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach only permitted with the first 6 weeks for a fetus diagnosed with Tay-Sachs (Nishmat Avraham CM 425) and prohibited even testing for it after the first trimester. 

According to the great majority of authorities such as Tosafos (Sanhedrin 59a; Chullin 33a), Maharam Schick (YD 155), and more recently the world renowned gadol Rav Chaim Ozer Grodensky zt'l (1863-1940) abortion is a Biblical injunction as described explicitly by Tosafos (12th-14th centuries) as being encompassed under the Noachide laws (ie. laws for gentiles). 

Rebbe Ishmael (Sanhedrin 57b) derives the Noachidic prohibition from the wording of Genesis 9: 6. 

שֹׁפֵךְ֙ דַּ֣ם הָֽאָדָ֔ם בָּֽאָדָ֖ם דָּמ֣וֹ יִשָּׁפֵ֑ךְ כִּ֚י בְּצֶ֣לֶם אֱלֹהִ֔ים עָשָׂ֖ה אֶת־הָֽאָדָֽם:"Whoever sheds the blood of man through man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God He made man."

He translates this verse as "Whoso sheddeth the blood of man within man shall his blood be shed." R. Ishmael says, "Who
is a man within a man? . . . A fetus within the womb of the
mother." As Tosafos explain (Sanhedrin 59a), Jews are not permitted what is prohibited for gentiles. R' Ishmael's view is the normative halacha.

Any references in Torah literature to a fetus not being human until born mean not on the same level of human. The difference is very subtle. The Talmud often identifies nuances that it uses sometimes for halacha and sometimes for haskafa. People who are unfamiliar with Talmudic methodology can misunderstand and misuse. For example, there are different levels in the kiddushah of Eretz Yisroel depending on the time and place. Jerusalem has more holiness than the Galil. Does that mean the Galil isn't holy? Of course not. Kohanim are said to have more kiddushah that Yisraelim. Does that mean that Yisroelim are not holy? Of course not. According to Tosafos, the fetus is human enough that destroying it is prohibited if not done to save the life of the mother.  One has to know how to read the Talmud and understand its nuances. While allowing for abortion of a fetus to save the life of the mother, we are enjoined to violate Shabbos to save a fetus that is not presenting such a danger (the usual case). (Erchin 7a-b)

We recall the Talmudic statement "Anyone who teaches his daughter Torah teaches her tiflus" (Sotah 21b) According to Rashi, the word tiflus means lewdness or promiscuity, meaning such study leads a woman to sin. Bingo. 

A rabbi once explained to me that there are two problems with women studying the Talmud particularly if done with the intent of deciding halacha. The first is that they don't study in thoroughly. This applies to any person but it's a bigger issue with women who generally aren't so inclined to study it thoroughly and whose role doesn't afford them the time. The second is that their logic gets twisted by their emotions. Bingo. This can happen to any person but is a bigger issue by women generally, even though many men today are excessively emotional. 

The great Talmudist and posek HaDor HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt'l, ruled that abortion except to save the life of the mother is prohibited even to prevent birth of a baby with birth defects. (Iggros Moshe- Choshen Mishpat- 2:69) Furthermore, he ruled that even amniocentesis is forbidden if it is performed only to evaluate for birth defects for which the parents might request an abortion. Reb Moshe viewed abortion as murder. Myriad poskim share his view. Other contemporary giants include Rav Meir Simchah of Dvinsk and Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinksy (Teshuvot Achi'ezer, Wilno, 5699, III, 65, sec. 14.) According to R. Meir Simchah of Dvinsk (1843–1926), abortion is punishable by death at the hands of heaven. (Meshekh Chokhmah, Exodus 35:2)

Rav Chaim Ozer Grodensky

Rav Moshe Feinstein

Rav Eliyahu Mizrachi (1455 - 1525) as explained by R'  J. David Bleich says:
Most interesting is the sharply contested view advanced by R. Elijah Mizrachi in his commentary on Exodus 21: 12 that in principle feticide and murder are indistinguishable. The Biblical ban on murder extends equally to all human life, including, he claims, any fetal life which, unmolested, would develop into a viable human being. In theory, continues Mizrachi, feticide should be punishable by death since the majority of all fetuses will indeed develop into viable human beings. In practice it is technically impossible to impose the death penalty because punishment may be inflicted by the Bet Din only if the crime is preceded by a formal admonition. Since some fetuses will never develop fully, a definite admonition cannot be administered because it cannot be established with certainty that any particular fetus would develop in this manner. Noahides, on the other hand, require no such admonition. Therefore, since the major number of fetuses are viable feticide is to be punished by death under the Noachidic dispensation. (R'  J. David Bleich, "Abortion in Halachkic Literature, Tradition)
According to the world renown posek Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (1910-1995) the violation is committed not only by the physician but by the woman who hires the physician and makes herself available for the abortion. (Nishmat Avraham O.H. 656:1 at p. 92.) The woman also violates the Torah prohibition of "putting a stumbling block before the blind."

As Rabbi Bleich tells us, some authorities (a small minority according to Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz), consider abortion a rabbinic prohibition, but still very much prohibited. This doesn't mean that the Torah doesn't mind it but that for technical reasons it left it for the Sages to prohibit. Says R' Bleich, "Each of the diverse authorities heretofore cited considers the essence of the prohibition to be closely akin to that of homicide." A few consider it subsumed under other prohibitions such as wasting seed. a severe prohibition that is deemed by the Zohar to be one of the most severe sins.  

Shlomo Brody, the online editor for the Tradition journal blog wrote in the Jerusalem Post: "Judaism abhors the termination of any life, including that of a fetus. Procreation represents a definitive commandment and the notion that an abortion is simply a woman’s prerogative, advocated in some 'pro-choice' circles, is entirely absent from traditional Jewish sources."

Meanwhile, calling herself "religious" and "a woman of faith," Dr. Imershein studied - if you can call it that - with equally ignorant and lost people in the Reform Jewish movement.

Question: What drives a mind to such foolishness? Answer: Chutzpah. 

The Talmud says (Beitzah 25b) the Jews are "the most brazen of nations."

How can this be? Doesn't the Gemara say in Yevamos 79a that David HaMelech prohibited the Nesinim from marrying into the Jewish people because they failed to display the three signs characteristic of the Jewish people:  mercy, bashfulness (bushah), and kindliness?

The Maharal (Nesiv ha'Bushah 1) explains that the attribute of kindliness comes from Avraham, mercy from Yaakov, and bashfulness from Yitzchok who specialized in the attribute of yirah (fear and awe) from which bashfulness comes.

However, there are two types of Bushah. One type comes from a lack of motivation and assertiveness. This type results in the person who is easily discouraged from taking initiative.

The other type stems from a recognition that something is greater than you. This type results in submission to it.

The brazenness of the Jewish people corresponds to the first type of Bushah which they lack. The Jewish people have a great degree of initiative and assertiveness.

The Jewish people (meaning the truly religious ones) excel in the second type of bushah. They recognize the greatness of Hashem (G-d) and their own insignificance before Hashem. And so they submit to him. Dovid rejected the Nisinim because they lacked this bushah.  (Source: Insights into the Daily Daf, Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim)

In other words, chutzpah needs to be challenged properly. It cannot operate unbridled, unyoked. It needs to be paired with humility before Hashem and His Torah as taught by His great scholars. This crazy woman is the poster child of this Gemara. She possesses little of the proper bushah and is busting with the kind that needs to be kept in check by the proper kind. Her natural idealism, compassion, intelligence, and boldness have all been twisted into any ugly mess. Her kindness is cruelty. The yetzer hara has completed tricked her and now rules her life. All her strengths have become weaknesses.

Go ahead and read the entire article and ruin your day as I have just ruined mine. This is all the end destination of the haskalah, that is the so-called "enlightenment" and the departure from Torah life. It started off making a few changes to tradition and continues to the point where we don't even know what we are looking at. As upset as I am by the thought of this woman shredding babies to pieces, I am upset by how a Jewish woman can reach such a level of perversity. The haskalah, the reform movement, feminism, and Zionism are all just a rebellion against the Almighty, the Creator of life and justice. Every year, the rebels get more selfish and more twisted. In this crazy woman, it goes further than I ever though it could go. But the Times of Israel, a Zionistic Israeli news source, writes about her like she is some kind of heroic saint, so she is not an isolated nutcase. She is representative of an entire swath of the Jewish people today. The State of Israel in particular has the most liberal abortion laws in the world. Their heads are drunk with a potion of wild self-indulgence catalyzed with a sprinkling of misplaced idealism. Up is down, down is up, left is right, right is left, and wrong is right.

We mourn for the babies and we mourn for the souls of the lost and wicked people who kill them. May Hashem lead this woman to repentance. 

Side note, on the other extreme are the abortion laws in El Salvador which ban abortion under any conditions even to save the life of the mother. In a recent case, a woman who became pregnant via rape was sentenced to 30 years in prison when her pregnancy ended. She claims it ended by itself. Prosecutors claimed she performed an abortion on herself. The high court exonerated her after she served 33 months in prison. This case is as shocking as the one we just talked about, but in a different way. Like in the USA and especially the State of Israel, the abortion laws in El Salvador contradict those of the Torah. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Shavuous Challah

Ashkenaz custom, a challah with the design of a ladder in it. For Shavuous.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Except for Acher

You likely have heard of Acher, the tanna who went off the derech and the Gemara that tells the story of how he heard a bas kol that said, "Return all my children, except Acher." His real name was  Elisha ben Avuya but he came to be called Acher, "meaning something" else or "outside".

So I heard a clever thought from the Shela that Acher should have invoked the rule of guests who must obey all orders of the baal habayis except for an order to leave the house. He should have said, "Hashem you cannot kick me out of your house."

And I was thinking how the word acher makes the Gemara relevant to all of us. We cannot do teshuvah if we are mentally outside the fold or even worse outside by way of halacha. I know people who are no longer frum who want to return but try to do it with a weak sentiment all the while staying outside. You can't really do teshuvah, meaningful teshuvah, if your only connection to Judaism is guilt or fear of punishment. It's like giving answers to a torturer. You'll tell them anything. But your heart isn't it. Your mind certainly isn't in it.

No, you have to find a place within Judaism and repent from there. That can take work. That can take thought and research.

I don't know if it matters which place, which path, but it has to be a real one, even if one you concoct. You have to be at home, feel at home, ie have a home to want to return to it. Perhaps, for some Torah Im Derech Eretz is the way, a way of being within Judaism, no longer an acher.

So Hashem, the baal habayis, cannot kick us out of His house. However, the house has to be a home for us so we are not acher. TIDE is the way for many.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

He summons you in love

"As His creating word calls forth the sun, and summons the light of the world, so has God's love appointed Israel as the bearer of the light of spirit and life, and as the bearer of Torah. O that you would be mindful of such a high task! O that you would allow heart and spirit to be infused by the spirit of the Torah and allow your life, in word and deed, to be but a copy of the contents of this Torah! You would thus surrender yourself to God in love just as He summons you in love." Horeb 628 R' Samson Raphael Hirsch

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rabbi Reuven Bauman ז"ל

The kevuro of Rabbi Reuven Bauman ז"ל will take place at approximately 4:00 this afternoon in King Solomon Cemetery in Passaic.

If you would like to honor the memory of Rabbi Bauman with a donation to KAJ, please click on Memorial Donation

People may listen to the levayo on the phone at 712-770-4160, access code 271789#.  

Rabbi Bauman, a rebbi in a day school and camp in Norfolk, Virginia, drowned last week Tuesday off the coast of nearby Sandbridge Beach, Virginia, (just south of Virginia Beach) while rescuing a camper who had been pulled into the surf by a massive current.

From Hamodia:

A colossal search effort was undertaken by the Coast Guard, local police and other authorities, and many volunteers and organizations from Jewish communities across the Northeast.
Chaveirim of Rockland, Misaskim of Maryland, Baltimore Shomrim, Achiezer, COMMSAR, Misaskim of Greater Washington and Chaveirim of Lakewood participated in the recovery operation, along with numerous individuals from the Norfolk Jewish community and beyond.
Finally, on Sunday afternoon, Rabbi Bauman’s body was found at sea eight miles from where he had been swept under by a riptide, enabling him to be brought to kevuras Yisrael, and his family to mourn him by sitting shivah.
Rabbi Bauman, 35, who had dedicated his life to teaching Torah, was a source of monumental Kiddush Hashem in death, as locals marveled at how the Jewish community mobilized in the aftermath of the tragedy.
One woman, watching the volunteers on the beach, remarked, “I see you have a really strong community.”

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Peyos pulling by the anti-Semites

Another incident of what appears to be an Israeli policeman pulling a Charedi man by the peyos.

And another:

And here's the one from a few weeks ago for which the policeman was suspended from duty. 

Video of  Mordechai Kreuzer, the man getting abused, talking about the incident

And what does this remind us of:


warning, first 30 seconds shows immodest lady TV anchor

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Charedi Power?

An old Jewish man in Nazi-era Europe used to read antisemitic newspapers. When asked why he said that it cheered him up. It says here that Jews run the banks, courts, universities, newspapers, and unions. I had no idea, he said. What good news. Likewise, in the State of Israel, an entire election will be repeated for the first time all because of fear of Charedi power. Last time I checked, there has never been a Charedi Prime Minister, President, Supreme Court Judge, Defense Minister, Chief of Military Staff, army general, Shin Bet or Mossad chief, newspaper or television station chief, major university president, Bank of Israel head, or head of any bank. Charedim have among the lowest standards of living in the country, but somehow we hold all this power. Must be magical. Who knew? What good news. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Still Want to Make Aliyah?

MKs, Officials Slam Police Over Brutality on Autistic Boy in Lag BaOmer Incident (Hamodia)

Cop suspended after video shows him pulling ultra-Orthodox man by sidelocks (Times of Israel)

Israeli police knock prosthetic leg off of an elderly Charedi man (Gezeiras Giyus)

All of this happened this summer.

"The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand, a ruthless nation with no respect for the old and no pity for the young." Devarim 28:49-50

The writing is on the walls. The State of Israel is not a safe place for Charedi Jews. Anti-Charedism, which is true anti-Semitism, is exploding. Do not move there. Do not send your children there for yeshiva. Do not even visit. The State of Israel is a fraud. It is not a geula, it is not even a Jewish country. 

“People think that the aim of the Zionists is to make a State and their means to achieve this is to uproot the foundation of Judaism. But this is a mistake.  The truth is that their aim is to uproot the foundation of Judaism and their means to achieve this is to create a State.” Rav Chaim Soloveichik

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Israel Among the Least Religious Countries

Of the many lies I was told about the society in Israel (and nearly everything I was told was a lie), one of the more memorable lies is that the society in Eretz Yisroel is undergoing a religious revival. Kiruv is everywhere they said. Tel-Aviv has more than 100 kosher restaurants I was told by one heretical Religious Zionist American-born fake rabbi who is quite sure he is a tzadick because of his Zionism. 

So it turns out that the 100 "kosher restaurants" is mostly hole in the wall falafel stands, or candy stores that also serve decrepit pizza squares made in the micro-wave, many of them with marginal or unacceptable hasgacha.  Moreover, it's all they have amongst millions of Jews in the Tel Aviv metro area. You can walk the streets of Tel Aviv for hours as I have done before finding any eatery with any kind of pretense of keeping kosher. It's not so easy to find mezzuzos either and certainly not shuls of any kind that are being used as shuls.  Likewise, I have seen almost no evidence of a kiruv movement, have met very few Israeli baalei teshuvah, see next to no kiruv activity, events or schools. There's just a tiny little bit. Same as in America.

I mentioned the dearth of shuls used as shuls in Tel Aviv. Turns out there's a problem in Tel Aviv of what to do with unused shuls. See Haaretz article here. I know from frum neighborhoods that the moment a shul becomes vacant (prior tenants or owners move to a new facility) the old one is swept up by a minyan looking for a room. This does not happen in Tel Aviv where old shuls are being turned into hummos joints and the like. 

Also a sham are reports of widespread religious traditionalism. Note a recent survey by WIN/Gallup as reported by Haaretz.

Only 30% of Israelis say they are religious, survey finds; Thailand is most religious country in the world and China is the least. 
Israel is located in one of the most religious regions in the world, but Israelis have little faith, according to a recent WIN/Gallup poll that took the religious pulse of 65 countries.
Less than one-third of Israelis say they are religious, which is well below the norm in western Europe. It is however about equal with the level of religiosity in England and Scandinavia, the poll found, which are among the least religious areas in the world.
Around the globe, 63 percent of people polled say they are religious. Overall, the young tend to be the most religious (albeit by a narrow margin) – as are the least educated and the poorest, the poll found. Sixty-six percent of the world's people under 34 are religious, compared with 60 percent of others. (Haaretz)

Does this include Arab Israelis who overwhelmingly are religious? I would imagine it does not include the 4 million non-citizen Palestinians who, while under Israeli military rule, blockades, and constant Israeli harassment, are written off the census as if they don't exist. Likely it includes the Dati Leumi who are heretics in my view but likely are deemed as religious by Gallup. Surely it includes Charedim who comprise 1/6th of the Jewish population. What does this tell you about Chilonim? They are utterly and totally non-religious. These Chilonim who run the so-called Jewish state, who run the government, the courts, the education ministry and chief posts, the medical establishment, the universities, the police, the newspapers, and the real power in the country, the military, are non-religious all while living in Eretz HaKodesh, polluting the land with sin.

So tell me, Zionism, does it have any connection to Judaism? Does it serve Hashem in any way? The allegedly religious Jews who have embraced Zionism and aided the formation of history's most extreme desecration of Hashem's name in Hashem's palace, what is going to be their fate?

Rav Chaim Soloveichik wrote of the early Zionist leaders, “They have already publicized the fact that their purpose is to uproot the foundations of Judaism.” He said, “People think that the aim of the Zionists is to make a State and their means to achieve this is to uproot the foundation of Judaism. But this is a mistake.  The truth is that their aim is to uproot the foundation of Judaism and their means to achieve this is to create a State.” How right he was. 

Dati Leumi people are also fond of attributing Sephardi style religious feeling to the State of Israel. Recently, I encountered a Sephardi plumber who showed up at my house bareheaded and dressed in blue jeans and a t-shirt with no apparent tzitzis. He was a pleasant enough fellow even as his attire certainly clashed with the dress standards in the neighborhood. But when I gave him a cup of water to drink, a big smile lit up his face and he put his arm over his head and said a loud bracha. It was quite a sight. 

To the Dati Leumi propagandist this is the State of Israel giving Jewish feeling. Actually, this man in Morocco or Iraq would have been totally religious. Nearly one-million Jews from Arab countries lost religion when they came to the Zionist state that worked actively to pull them from religion. This man's marginal religious practice is a credit to the Sephardi neshama but is an indictment of Zionism which, as Rav Chaim said, created a state in order to destroy religion.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Hamodia: Israeli Police Officer Suspended for Brutality Against Chareidi Man

Beit Shemesh Police claimed that local resident Mordechai Kreuzer attacked officers and resisted arrest. “During the arrest an officer was injured in the leg, causing a fracture,” police said. 
However, video shows the police officer approach Kreuzer, shove him into a minivan, and strike him in the face, yanking his hair and dragging him by his peyos toward police vehicles. The man who was identified by the news outlet Kikar Shabbat as Beit Shemesh resident Mordechai Kreuzer, does not appear to resist. 

Kreuzer claimed that he was standing outside his home together with his wife and children observing the protest when a police officer collided with him and began to beat him. 
“He told me ‘you’re going to die today,’” Kreuzer told Kikar Shabbat. “He pulled my peyos — it was humiliating and painful. If he had pulled a little harder, they would have been torn. I couldn’t do anything, not even resist, and they say that I attacked police,” Kreuzer said. (Hamodia)

Times of Israel: Cop suspended after video shows him pulling ultra-Orthodox man by sidelocks

Monday, July 8, 2019

Rabbi Yehuda (Leo) Levi z'l


Yehuda (Leo) Levi (January 15, 1926 – June 17, 2019) was a German-born American-Israeli Haredi rabbi, physicist, writer and educator. He was Rector and Professorof Electro-optics at the Jerusalem College of Technology. Levi was best known as the author of several books on Science and Judaism, and Judaism in contemporary society, as well as on physics.

Levi was born in Germany and was educated in the United States. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in electrical engineering from City CollegeN.Y. and his Ph.D in Physics from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1964. He studied Talmud at Gur Aryeh Institute's kollel, and received semicha (Rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner and additionally from Rabbi Joseph Breuer.
In 1970 he settled in Jerusalem with his wife and three sons, where he founded the electro-optics department of the Jerusalem College of Technology. He served as Rector of the college from 1982 to 1990.
Levi was a Fellow of the Gur Aryeh Institute for Advanced Jewish Scholarship, has been president of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists [1], both in the U.S.A. and in Israel, and was the recipient of the Feder (Torah & Science) and Abramowitz-Zeitlin (Jewish literature) awards.
He was latterly part of the faculty at the Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim (The Jerusalem Academy of Jewish Studies).[1] Levi died in June 2019 at the age of 93.[2]

(Wikipedia, which is public domain material)