Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pashat Vayetze - And Lavan Said "Such is not done in our place!"


BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT VAYETZE
11 Kislev 5767/1-2 December 2006


"AND LAVAN SAID: 'SUCH IS NOT DONE IN OUR PLACE'"

And now for the joke of the week: Prime Minister Olmert tell us that he is a little disappointed with the Arabs down in Gaza City, since they continue to shoot off rockets into Sderot. I’ve got to tell you that I’m a little shocked myself, I mean, after all, we do have a treaty with them and Arabs are so reliable and trustworthy... almost as trustworthy as our good friend Lavan in this week's parsha.

And now for something really different (not): Olmert has promised the U.S. Secretary of State Rice that at all costs (read: of Jewish blood) Israel will practice restraint and not fire back when more Kassam missiles are fired into the country. The peace treaty must be upheld at all costs, even if it's only one-sided. The news goes on to tell us that this will warm up the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Well, I’ll be, there is nothing like dead Jews to make the nations love us! And everyone knows that one-sided treaties always work, especially with Arabs who have been known throughout history for their trustworthiness.

And so it should come as no surprise, then, that just as a mitzvah follows a mitzvah, weakness also follows weakness. When the nations of the world smell Jewish weakness, the pressure on the Jewish state for more concessions will only increase tenfold.

As America gets itself deeper and deeper into the “tohu vavohu" (chaos) in Iraq, and as the Americans become more and more desperate to find any solution which will save face and help them get out of the mess, they have come up with the only solution which they can concoct, and of course, once again the Jewish state will be sacrificed on the altar. As we find this week, a committee, headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic representative Lee Hamilton, has come up with the only solution for Iraq, and that is - more pressure on Israel. As quoted in the New York Sun:
"(WASHINGTON) An expert who's being consulted by the Baker-Hamilton committee, the special bipartisan committee for Iraq, says the committee will recommend that President George W. Bush exert pressure on Israel to make political concessions to soften Arab countries and assist in improving the situation in Iraq."

But of course, this was the only solution that they could come up with, as we have seen throughout our long and harsh history. For whatever is wrong with the world - just blame it on the Jews! And with every passing day, week and month, as the U.S. becomes more desperate to find any solution, as Bush’s rating continues to drop, the U. S. Israel’s only “true friend” will pressure us more and more to suicidal concessions, as we become the obstacle to world peace.

This week's parsha lays all this out for us to see, thousands of years before the Bushs of the world were born. Lavan, Mr. White, living in his white house, informs a righteous Ya'akov, after deceiving him by giving him Leah as a wife instead of fulfilling the previous agreement they had, for Rachel. After being confronted with this deception, Lavan is bewildered by Ya'akov’s argument, stating, “What! By us, we do not give the younger before the older”. Even his name is pure deception, as the inner Lavan is nothing like his outward appearance of white and righteousness - the real Lavan is all black and cunning on the inside.

The Jewish people, then, must wake up before it's too late, and put leaders into power who will stand up to the Lavans of this world and their deceptions, for at the end of the day, all they want is to see the downfall of the Jewish people. Ya'akov must now turn into an Israel who struggled with the Angel of Eisav and was able to overcome.

But enough jokes - it must be done at once, for there is no more time left!

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Toledot: Living for the Moment Vs. Eternal Values


Living for the Moment Vs. Eternal Values

By Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd(1993)

Translated by Yitzhak Newman,z"tl

In parshat Toledot we find two opposing world views expressed respectively by Jacob and Esau. One world view sees physical pleasure as the ultimate goal. It stresses the present. It downplays the consequences of one's actions. It's motto: "Live for Today!" The other world view stresses spirituality and places the service of G-d at the center of man's existence. Man must take account of his actions, for the future depends on it.

Esau's brusque demand (Genesis 25-30): "Let me swallow, I pray thee, some of this red, red (pottage)", expresses the first world view. Esau uses his intellect to search and figure out ways to satisfy his desires. His intellect is subject to his body. This point is emphasized again (Ibid:35): "And he ate and drank and rose and went on his way." It is precisely this "Living for Today" which makes Esau weak and susceptible to Yaakov's offer to buy his birthright. After all, what is a birthright - a vague honor, an ambiguous title which only has real implications for the distant future - compared to a steamy pot of lentils after a hard day of hunting? And so, this bestial quality is exploited by Yaakov - "And Esau said: Behold, I am going to die; and what profit shall the birthright be to me?" (25-32)

Yaakov is exactly the opposite. He plants seeds today and he will reap the harvest tomorrow. He does not give in to passing desires. He has the ability to see the future and plan for it. His intellect is master over his body, and his G-dly image is plain for all to see. He patiently waits until he receives the blessing fifteen years later. This behavior stands in sharp contrast to Esau, who at this point is finally exposed before his father Yitzchak and hysterically bursts in to tears: "he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry" (27-34) and said: "for he has tricked me these two times: he took away my birthright; and behold, now, he has now taken away my blessing." (27-36) Here we see the infantile irrationality the moment his illusions explode. For Esau realizes, albeit, too late, the consequences of "living for today". For a fleeting pleasure he sacrificed something truly valuable. The illusion of materialism is shattered. His brother receives eternal blessing and he - a lousy pot of lentils.

All this is quite pertinent in helping to understand the present state of Israel and the peace (read: suicide) process. It is the same Esavian plague which causes the "peacenicks" to be so eager to throw away it's birthright, and it's homeland for a figurative pot of lentils; empty andvague promises of "peace" when all of history and common sense point inthe opposite direction. Just as Esau was already fully formed from birth (the Hebrew word for Esau means "made" or "formed", as Rashi says: for at birth he was formed and completed with his hair as one of many years), so do the peacenicks come with ready-made plans for a peace "now". But similar to Esau, this approach is void of any real content, for they forsake the future and eternal aspect of the Jewish Nation.

We, the children of Yaakov, approach life according to the covenant that was promised to us. Peace? Only "if in my statutes you walk". Any otherway will lead to tragedy, and all other answers will blow up in the faces of the "now" people, who will burst into an exceeding and bitter cry as did their original predecessor, Esau.

Chayei Sarah: The Torah of the Patriarchs


A little late, I know, but this is such a great Devar Torah I decided that it was better late than never!

Chayei Sarah: The Torah of the Patriarchs

Even the Sages were puzzled why the Torah describes in such detail the doings and dialogues of Abraham's servant, in his search for a wife for Isaac. Why are so many verses devoted to the story of meeting Rebecca at the well, as well as the servant's subsequent report of this encounter to Rebecca's family? The Torah is so parsimonious in its words - important laws are often derived from a single letter - why such verbosity here?

Due to this textual anomaly, the Sages made a bold claim: "The conversation of the Patriarch's servants is superior to the Torah of the descendants" [Breishit Rabbah 60]. What does this mean? Was their casual discourse really more important than Torah?

The Lofty Torah of the Patriarchs

In fact, these 'conversations' of the Avot (Patriarchs) were also a form of Torah. This Torah was more elevated than the later Torah of their descendants, as it reflected the extraordinary holiness and nobility of these spiritual giants. If so, why is it referred to as mere 'conversations'?

A conversation is natural, unaffected speech. The Torah of the Avot was like a conversation, flowing naturally from the sanctity of their lives and aspirations. Holy ideals permeated the day-to-day living of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to such a profound degree that they were manifest even in the everyday discourse of their servants.

The Torah of their descendants, on the other hand, lacks this spontaneity and naturalness. It is a thought-out religion based on willed-holiness, a compendium of detailed rules and regulations calculated to govern all aspects of life. This is especially true for the development of Torah during the long years of exile, a Torah limited to the religious life of the individual.

Torah of Redemption

With our national return to the Land, to Eretz Yisrael, we also return to the Torah of Eretz Yisrael. The generation of national rebirth has no patience for the feeble lights of exilic Judaism. The people seek sublime ideals and great deeds. They aspire to build a model society, to correct injustice, to restore the Jewish people to its former independent state. An inner Divine spirit drives their brazenness as they reject the paltry lights of Torah from the Exile - like the dim glow of candles in the brilliant midday sun.

What will meet the spiritual needs of the generation of rebirth? They will acquire new life from the comprehensive Torah of the Patriarchs. "He remembers the kindnesses of the Patriarchs, and lovingly brings the redeemer to their descendants" [from the Sh'moneh Esrei prayer]. It is the "kindnesses of the Patriarchs" and their vibrant Torah that will redeem their descendants in the final generation. The Messianic light shines forth, and out of the darkness of heresy and denial will emanate a supernal light from the lofty Torah of the Avot, a Torah of naturalness and greatness that redeems the generation.

The great holy scholars need to recognize this secret. Their mission is to combine together the Torah of the children with the Torah of the fathers, and thus form a Torah crowned with honor and strength, beauty and splendor.

[adapted from Orot pp. 66-67]

Friday, November 10, 2006

Vayera: Don't Look Back


VaYera: Don't Look Back


The depravity of Sodom was so monstrous that it was beyond all hope of reformation, and God decreed that the city needed to be destroyed. Angels were sent to save Lot's family - not for their own merits, but for Abraham's sake. The rescuers warned Lot and his family not to watch as the city was leveled. Sadly, Lot's wife did look back, and was turned into a pillar of salt.

Why did Lot's wife need to pay such a heavy price for her curiosity? Why wasn't Lot's family allowed to observe the destruction?

The Misguided and the Incorrigible

Just as there are levels in righteousness, so too there are levels in wickedness. Some unscrupulous people are in fact good souls who came under the corrupting influence of evil people and an immoral milieu. These misguided individuals are receptive to change. If they witness the just punishment of the wicked, their innate goodness is awakened and they are encouraged to return to the proper path.

On the other hand, some evil people are so incorrigibly wicked - hardened criminals, for example - that they cannot be influenced or helped. The only thing restraining their evil excesses is fear of punishment. This was the lowly state of the residents of Sodom, who completely identified with their degenerate ways.

When the incorrigibly wicked witness the downfall of evil, it has the reverse effect on them. It actually reduces the fear that holds their vices in check, since imagined destruction is always more frightening than the actual physical ruin. When they observe havoc and devastation, the truly depraved become less inhibited and pose an even greater menace to society.

Lot's Wife

Lot's family did not deserve to be saved. They lacked moral resolve, and were greatly drawn to the malevolent and degenerate ways of the Sodomites. Only fear of Divine retribution kept their immoral tendencies in check.

Lot's family was commanded not to watch the destruction, in order to maintain their fear of retribution. This fear was the only means by which they could escape the villainy of Sodom. When Lot's wife willfully looked back, she lost some of her fear of punishment. She became like the other residents of Sodom, who were destroyed because they were irredeemably corrupt. Lot's wife shared the severe judgment of her fellow Sodomites - 'brimstone and salt' - as she was turned into an inert pillar of salt, an apt symbol of her immutable and irreparable state of evil.

[adapted from Ein Ayah vol. II p. 250]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Success!... Or Is It...?

So thank G-D the original large-scale gay parade through the streets of Jerusalem has been cancelled, and certainly this is a victory of sorts for those dedicated Jews who fought tooth and nail to prevent it from ever taking place. A huge yasherkoach to them all!

The problem is (as you will have read in the above article) that in fact, it still will be taking place, only (for the most part) behind "closed doors," at the Hebrew University stadium in - yep, that's right - Jerusalem, and accompanied by a scaled-down march of sorts! In addition, the majority of the anti-gay rallies and demonstrations have been cancelled as well.

So how much of a success is this?

The parade will still be going on in Jerusalem - although thank G-D not so publicly, which of course would have been far worse - and they will probably try to hold one again next year. And let's not overlook the fact that they will still have a parade of sorts in public, only in a "safer" area of Jerusalem. How much of a success do I rate this...? Well, we'll see come Friday, but frankly, I'm not terribly optimistic, and I'd urge people to still get out there if they can and protest this desecration of our Holiest City.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Map of the Schedualed Route of the Abomination Parade

Following is a map of the planned finalised route of the gay-parade set to march through the Holy City of Jerusalem, taken from the Jerusalem Post:




It is up to every Jew who can make it to be there and actively resist this attack on our Holiest of Cities! May G-D grant those who act for His Sake success and victory against those who wish to profane it!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Gay Parade Through The Holy City of Jerusalem to Take Place This Friday


As has been reported on many Israeli media outlets such as the Jerusalem Post, the abomination parade will indeed take place this Friday, despite the huge opposition to this blatant and open provocation and terrible disgracing of G-D's Holy Name.

It is now up to the Am - the People of Israel - to stop this attack on our Holy City by any means neccessary. Rabbanim all over Israel - from the Chief Rabbanut of Israel (both Sephardi and Ashkenazi) to HaRav Elyashiv, and from HaRav Ovadia Yoseph and HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, to HaRav Shapira and Rav Simcha Kook (Chief Rabbi of Rehovot and decendant of the Holy Rav Yitzchak Kook z"tl) - are joining this call to arms, and it is the duty of any Jew - man or woman - who is physically able to do so to make it to the city and defend it from this terrible evil and sickness. Those who cannot for any reason must emerse themselves in Torah, Tefilla and Tehillim in the hope that our merits shall suffice to utterly wipe out these spreaders of evil, sin and perversion in our Holy Land (and throughout the world).

May G-D grant us success in our time of need, when we go out to do battle for His Sake alone!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lech Lecha - Fearless Leader!

Fearless Leader - Six Years Since the Murder Rabbi Kahane, HY"D (1996)

Written by Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd

Translated by Lenny Goldberg

The following article was written for the 6th year's Yohrzeit for Rabbi Kahane.

When people think of Rabbi Kahane, ZT"L, HY"D, they remember a daring and courageous leader who did not know the meaning of fear. His many years of standing in the front lines for Jewish causes in Israel and abroad, confronting empires and well-oiled establishment bodies and enduring along the way constant hatred and antagonism which endangered his very life, inspired admiration in the eyes of most Jews (even if more often than not their admiration was kept in the closet!)

For good reason the Rabbi was perceived in such a way. More than anything else, the Rabbi warned us about the illness of our generation - FEAR OF THE GENTILE. It wasn't so difficult for the Rabbi to come up with such a diagnosis. After all, whenever he spoke to Jews ("religious" ones as well), he was always confronted with the same line: "You're right, but what will America say?..." And thus, there was the need to stress in a big way the subject of trust ("Bitachon") in G-d and the prohibition of fearing mortal man.

It is fear that has caused us to constantly give in and surrender, to the point where fear of going to war has become a legitimate component in our political thinking. But one who studies the Torah outlook on war (parshat Shoftim) will reveal that the central theme concerning war is the prohibition of being afraid! The midrash (Tanchuma, Shoftim) even says: "Your forefathers did not fear them - and they were victorious!" In other words, the key to victory is lack of fear, and faith that "Your G-d is with you!" As an example, the midrash brings down the war in our parsha between Avraham against the four kings: "Do not fear Avraham, I will protect you" (and this is the source for the blessing in the silent prayer, "The shield of Avraham"). And so, when Avraham went out to war to sanctify the Name of G-d and save Lot who represented at the time the side of Avraham and G-d, he fearlessly went out with only 318 men against four powerful kings, and was ready to die in the process - "I will go out and fall on Kiddush Hashem". (Midrash Raba, Lech Lecha)

This concept is also the "halacha", as the Rambam brings down in Hilchot Milachim (7:15) "And when entering into war, one must lean on the Saver of Israel in time of stress... and one must not fear or be intimidated, nor should one think of his wife and children...and he who starts to ponder these things at war time and frightens himself - has transgressed a negative commandment!.." The Rambam continues: "And if he did not win and did not perform in the war with all his heart and soul, than he is like one who spills everyone's blood!"

These shocking words apply to the collective no less than they apply to the individual Jew. If an individual who cannot overcome his natural fears is considered a sinner who has spilled the blood of all Jews, what can one say about leaders whose very mindset and national policy is based on fear of war, fear of the gentile, and tie the hands of the soldiers while they are being shot at!? And so, before Succot last year we saw our soldiers lay bleeding to death before the very eyes of their comrades in battle who sat helplessly by screaming for help, and the help never arrived, because it would have meant having to kill mobs of Arab rioters and murderers - this is all because of the fear of the gentile reaction! If an individual is considered a spiller of blood, what can one say about LEADERS, other than they are downright murderers!!

On the other hand: "And he who fights with all his heart and all his soul without being afraid, and all his intention is to sanctify G-d's Name, it is guaranteed that he will not suffer damage nor will bad come unto him..." Thus is the case for the collective as well. If we fight under the headline of "Kiddush Hashem", "Emunah", and a willingness to wipe out the enemy who is desecrating the Jewish G-d and nation, we are guaranteed to win, and the gentile won't dare open his mouth!

Rabbi Kahane, HY"D, predicted all the events that are happening now. One who reads the things he wrote 15-20 years ago could think he was reading words of prophecy. But no. Rabbi Kahane simply dared to open his eyes and see, refusing to be blind like so many others who were afraid to open their eyes, lest they come to conclusions which would make life uncomfortable for them.

While others were afraid, Rabbi Kahane was not. He fought - and in the end fell upon the altar of the Jewish Nation, with the confidence that his words were not wasted, and in the end the truth will win out.

And if the majority of Jews still don't dare to open their eyes and understand, we the few, the students of Rabbi Kahane will continue to cling to his way, and to carry the torch of truth until we bring the revolution and the Messiah.

Reminder: Memorial for Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd


BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
11 Shmarya Street
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva


***REMINDER - THIS COMING MOTZEI SHABBAT!***

Commemorating the 16th Yahrzeit of Rabbi Meir Kahane ZT"L HY"D
Leader, Visionary, Prophet


At YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI in Jerusalem
*In English*

We will all gather at the Yeshiva on Motzei Shabbat, the 13th of Marcheshvan (4 November) at 7:30 P.M.

Program for the evening:

A unique film of Rabbi Kahane giving a Torah Shiur on “The Authentic Jewish Idea.” (Not to be Missed!!!)

Dvrei Torah will be given by interesting personalities based on Rabbi Kahane’s ideology

Refreshments will be served.

*****************************************************************

At 4:00 P.M. on Thursday 18 Marcheshvan/9 November, we will meet at the Rabbi's gravesite at Har HaMenuchot

At 6:00 P.M., the Kahane family invites all to the annual memorial ceremony for Rabbi Kahane at Heichal David, 14 Ohaliav St., Jerusalem

For more information: 02-5823540 or 052-8693845