Friday, June 22, 2007

The Legitimate Rights of the Ammonites



Written by Rabbi Binyamin Zev Kahane z"tl h"yd (1992)

Translated by Lenny Goldberg



The modern concept of "Jewish occupied territories" rears its ugly head in Parshat Chukat and in our haftarah, Shoftim(Chapter 11). We read in our parasha how Og ,the king of Bashan, and , the king of Ammon, try to prevent the Jewish people from passing through their borders to get to the Land of Israel. Both kings decide to wage war against The Chosen Nation and both kings lost. The children of Israel conquer their enemies and inhabit their land. Interestingly enough, no one at the time suggested that the Jewish people return the land that they just conquered to the nations that tried to annihilate them. No, such a proposal was never even considered. But, what if such a proposal was raised? How would a Jewish leader have reacted?

Land For Peace

To answer these questions we move the clock ahead 300 years until we arrive at the haftarah of our parasha. In the time of the Judges, the king of Ammon brazenly demands that Israel return to him the territories that were conquered, and if Israel refuses, there will be war. The king recounts some well-known history: "Because Israel took away my land when they came out of Egypt, from Arnon as far as the Yabok, and the Jordan." (Judges 11:13) Compared to the demands of today's Arabs, this demand is quite "moderate". The king of Ammon, unlike the P.L.O., does not call for the total destruction of the Jewish State. He only wants that which was taken from his people. In words that echo in the U.N. and in Washington, the king concludes his demand in the following manner: "Now, therefore, restore those lands peacefully." Peace - that magic word. What normal Jewish leader can refuse such an offer? After all, Ammon's claim is not an unreasonable one; the lands were taken from them. Ammon, unlike the P.L.O., once had a sovereign empire with a capital and an army on that land. And most importantly, here was a genuine opportunity for peace - no more war, no more bloodshed.

Not One Inch

The answer Yiftach returned to to the king of Ammon is far different than what Rabin and Peres told Arafat. Yiftach recounts all the past history, and then concludes: "So now the Lord of Israel has driven out the Amorites from before his people, Israel, and you should possess the land?! Will you not possess what your god, Kemosh, gives you to possess? And all whom the Lord, our G-d, shall drive from before us that we shall possess." (Judges 11:23-24) This is the reaction of a true Jewish leader. A reaction based on emunah - faith in the word of G-d. The land is ours not because of any historical claim or because we defeated the former inhabitants in battle. Rather, the land is ours because G-d gave it to us and we have no right to give it up...

How To Subdue the Enemy

Ma'ase abot siman labanim - the deeds of our fathers are signs to the children. One needs only to study our Torah to learn how to deal with our enemies who initiate wars and then cry "Jewish land for peace". The Arabs have attempted to destroy the Jewish State through four wars and much terrorism and when that failed the P.L.O. and the other Arabs went to the negotiating table and demanded Jewish land or else there will be no peace. Unfortunately, there are Jews who have little or no faith in the G-d of Israel who are (mis)leading the country today. These politicians are unfamiliar with the story of Yiftach and do not understand that our true right to the land of Israel is only because G-d gave it to his people as an eternal inheritance. May we, and our leaders, be worthy of having faith in the Al-mighty so that our enemies may be subdued as they were in the days of Yiftach.

Yokes of Heaven, Yokes of Man



BS"D

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

PARSHAT CHUKAT
7 Tammuz 5767/22-23 June 2007


YOKES OF HEAVEN, YOKES OF MAN

“Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aaron, saying: This is the decree of the Torah which Hashem has commanded saying: Speak to the children of Israel and they shall take to you a completely red cow which is without blemish and upon which a yoke has not come.”

The commentaries teach us that this is a decree without meaning or understanding. For from here, the nations of the world come and taunt Israel, saying: What is the nature of this commandment, what is its reason? We say it is a decree before Hashem and you have no right to question it. We see that the nations do not answer back after hearing this rebuke. Why? Why does this answer stop them in their tracks?

To answer this question, we first have to go back to last week’s parsha with Korach and Co. and see why the two parshas are place next to each other. Korach's main dispute with Moshe was: “Why is Aharon the head priest? Why am I not the head of the tribe of Levi? For the entire nation is holy, we are all equal.” But the answer that came back was that everyone has his or her place, position, and job to do in this world. There can only be one High Priest, only one Levi tribe. This is G-d's decree, this is what Hashem in His ultimate wisdom saw fit to perfect His world. Either one accepts this, or ends up like Korach and Co. This is accepting G-d's yoke of Heaven.

When the nations joke and question us about the law of the red heifer, we answer that it’s a decree from G-d: “Ol Malchut Shamayim” - the yoke of Heaven. It is a decree, we don’t understand why but we do it anyway, because Hashem so commanded us. This shuts them up. Why? Because before G-d gave the Jewish people the Torah at Mount Sinai, He first went to every nation and asked them if they wanted to accept the Torah. Each and every nation asked: What’s in it? When they heard, they all rejected it because they were unable and unwilling to accept the yoke of Heaven upon themselves.

Now, when we answer them that we, the Jewish people are not like them, we have accepted upon ourselves the yoke! It is for that reason that they are stopped in their tracks, when they see their weakness and our strength. For that reason, both parshiot are placed next to each other - to teach us this important lesson. Neither Korach nor the nations have the yoke. And when you are without the yoke of Heaven, you can only be left with the yoke of man – the yoke of materialism and desires.

This is the source of the nations' jealousy for the Jewish people. They cannot bear to see that there was one nation that did take upon itself the great task in this world, and accepted G-d's commandments lovingly, as our Rabbis teach us: “The world was created only for the sake of the Jewish people”. Hence, the world’s existence was dependent on the fact that Israel accepted the Torah, as we learn: “If Israel accepts the Torah, fine, and if not, the world will go back to chaos”. It was for this reason that we find the giant Goliath coming out to taunt the Jewish people twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, at the same time that the Jewish people are saying “Kriat Shma” - Hear of Israel, the L-rd is our G-d the L-rd is One – which, of course, is the ultimate source of "Ol Malchut Shamayim' - the yoke of Heaven - all this in order to remove from us our G-dly yoke in this world.

Throughout the ages, this has been the battle, this is the heart of our struggle that we have with the nations of the world. The two major players - Ishmael and Esav - have always claimed that G-d had abandoned the Jews and picked them instead, that it is they who now have the "Ol Malchut Shamayim", and even as our leaders desperately run to try to form a covenant with the heads of Esav, it will all be in vain! For when the dust settles, all the world - and Israel - will see and finally understand that it was Israel - and Israel alone - that Hashem has chosen, and the words of Isaiah will ring true (Isaiah 53): "Who would believe what we have heard? For whom has the arm of Hashem been revealed?”

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chukat: Total Dedication to Torah



"This is the Torah: when a person dies in a tent .." [Num. 19:14]

While the topic of this passage is the ritual impurity (tum'a) that comes from contact with the dead, the Talmud [Berachot 63b] gives a homiletic interpretation about those who toil in Torah study:

"From where do we learn that Torah study is only truly absorbed by one who 'kills himself' over it? As it says, "This is the Torah - when a person dies in the tent" (of Torah learning)."

Why does Torah study require such a high degree of self-sacrifice and commitment?

The purpose of society is to provide normal living conditions, without excessive hardships, for its citizens. In order to achieve this goal, however, there must be certain individuals who are willing to serve the community beyond the ordinary call of duty. For example, firemen, soldiers, policemen and other security personnel must be prepared to work long and irregular hours, and accept the dangers inherent in their jobs. Without their willingness to accept these hardships, the entire populace would suffer from untended fires, violence, crime, war, and other threats to the community's stability and safety.

Guarding the Spirit of the Nation

In a similar fashion, those individuals who are willing to dedicate their lives to Torah study are guardians for the entire Jewish people. Just as a soldier cannot properly perform his service to the nation without a willingness for self-sacrifice, so too, Torah scholars must totally dedicate themselves to their mission. Only with this spirit of commitment will they succeed in nurturing the spiritual light of Israel and enriching the authentic inner life of the nation.

The breadth and depth of knowledge required for true Torah scholarship necessitates long and intensive hours of study. This must come at the expense of pleasures and leisure activities that are acceptable for the general population. Only by overcoming the desire for creature comforts and 'the easy life' - by demonstrating their willingness to 'kill themselves' in the tents of Torah - do these scholars prove their worthiness to lead the nation in fulfilling its spiritual aspirations.

[adapted from Ein Eyah vol. II, p. 390. Gold from the Land of Israel, pp. 261-262]

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rav Binyamin Kahane on Parshat Korach - They Simply Don't Want to Hear the Truth...



By Rabbi Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane z"tl h"yd (1998)

Translated by Lenny Goldberg

Fear of Hearing the Truth is Nothing New, but the Phenomenon Has Certainly Reached New Heights in This Generation...


In the introduction to the book "Em Habanim Smaicha", which was written during the time of the Holocaust by one of the great rabbis of Hungary dealing with the obligation to live in the land of Israel, the following is written (page 37): "And so my words in this book are intended only for those who want to know the truth the way it really is, and for those who are willing to stop and listen to the words written here. I am not demanding: 'accept my views'... and whoever would like to refute what I say, let them refute only with direct proofs from the words of our sages as I have brought, and only then will I debate them, with the help of G-d."

Rabbi Issacher Teichtel, the author of this book, was caught in a strange situation. His efforts to persuade (religious Jews!!) of the correctness of his argument fell upon deaf ears. His lack of success was not for lack of proofs or convincing logic, but rather due to the fact that people simply did not want to seriously confront the proofs, sources and sheer logic that he brought down to support his words.

This is why he prefaced his book by saying that his words were intended for the "person who wants to know the truth". After all, one would assume that everyone wants to know the truth, and the argument only exists as to what that truth really is. However, this is not so. There are some people, and many times it is the majority, who do not want to be convinced

Korach Was Not Interested in Hearing

This was precisely the situation with Korach. Our sages reveal in an astonishing midrash the following idea: "Now Korach who was prudent - what was the reason for his folly?!" The famous answer is that, "His eyes deceived him" (see Rashi), and we have dealt with this at a previous time. However the midrash brings down another answer, which may be even a more basic one: "all these arguments Moshe presented to Korach (i.e. tried to convince him) - and you do not find Korach having a rebuttal at all. This is because he was clever in his wickedness. He said: If I answer Moshe, I already know that he is a wise man and will defeat me in a debate, and I will be forced to appease him. It is better that I do not talk to him. When Moshe saw that there was no point, he separated himself from him."

The above midrash is both amazing and shocking. Korach knew that if he entered into a dialogue with Moshe, he would be convinced of the folly of his ways. Therefore, he avoided speaking to him. His need for "kavod" (honor) so burned inside him that his greatest fear was to be convinced that he was wrong, thus forcing him to a bandon his dream of taking power. This is the deeper answer to the question Rashi poses: "Now Korach who was prudent - what was the reason for his folly?" He did not see! He covered his eyes from seeing!

One may think that such behavior is an aberration reserved for the extremely wicked. However, a closer look will reveal that this is a very familiar trait. Very often a man sins and is well aware that this is a bad thing. Yet, he represses this idea in his mind so that it won't interfere with his everyday life. He knows that if he listens to someone, even to his own inner voice, he is liable to be convinced. Therefore, he closes all his senses and continues on his merry way.

Why Is "The Truth Absent"

This is the sickness our sages referred to when they said that "the truth will be absent". It is important to realize that this doesn't mean that the truth itself will be absent. G-d forbid! The truth exists and can befound. But the sages mean that we will cause a situation in which the truth will be absent, by our ignoring it, concealing it, mocking it, and banning it from being heard by the masses... Never before was there a period of time where the truth was so logical and necessary, yet at the same time, so absent. This is because the leaders of today are so terrified by it. It is obvious to them that if the truth were heard, it would conquer the hearts of the masses. Therefore, those in power exercise all measures necessary to silence the truth: Disqualification, mockery, defamation, harassment, and prison.

By so doing, they avoid the painful truths, so as not to get "confused by the facts".

Our People Want to Listen!

"When Moshe saw that there was no point, he separated himself from him." The moment Moshe saw that the problem was not that Korach is wrong, but rather he wants to be wrong - he let him alone and let the ground swallow him up. But this is not always the case. Sometimes, as a result of education and surroundings, a person is immersed in falsehood, yet is willing to speak and willing to listen. He has no special interest to remain immersed in falsehood. For such a person, there is hope.

Parshat Korach



BS"D

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

PARSHAT KORACH/ROSH CHODESH TAMMUZ
30 Sivan 5767/15-16 June 2007



STOP THE AVALANCHE NOW!

As if it weren't enough already, all of the bickering and complaining that has been going on since the Jewish people left Egypt. First, not wanting to enter into the sea, and when Nachshon ben Aminadav, from the tribe of Yehuda, did, a riot broke out, with each tribe claiming that they had wanted to cross first. Then, complaining about not having water, the sin of the golden calf, complaining about the heavenly food “manna”, and then demanding to eat meat when they had enough cattle to last a lifetime. This continued with the spies and the people despising the Holy Land, and now, to top it all off - Parshat Korach.

To add insult to injury, after rejecting the Land, the people had the gall to complain to Moshe: “See, you did not do as you promised, to bring us in to a land of milk and honey”. One may say that maybe Korach was not a very bright fellow and did not learn from past mistakes, and he didn’t see that all who rebelled against Hashem were punished right away. Our Rabbis, though, teach us otherwise: Korach was a very intelligent and learned man, but because he was consumed with desire for glory and envy, he ultimately lost everything. In fact, Korach was one of the wealthiest people who ever lived. We are taught that as a rule, the tribe of Levi were poor. They did not partake of the spoils in Egypt, as being that they were not enslaved there, they had no share in the wealth. But Korach, on the other hand, who was possessed by fame and only dreamt of becoming wealthy (and as we know, in the way that a man wants to go Hashem will lead him) came upon the treasures of Joseph and became literally rich overnight. Still, in the end, all that he had went down with him to Shoal - Hell - and he left nothing behind.

It is mind-boggling to note that all of this complaining and rebelling against Hashem came from the “good Jews”, those 20 percent who wanted to be redeemed from Egypt, for the rest of the Jewish people - 80 percent - were killed off in the plague of darkness for not wanting to leave the “golden medina” that Egypt was, not wanting to be redeemed.

Still, giving credit where credit is due, that generation is praised by the prophets for following Hashem into the wilderness, an uninhabitable place. Not an easy task, being that we followed with our women and children, without food or water, never knowing what tomorrow would bring.

Looking back on our long history, it has always been that same, small minority that carries the torch of truth and is leading the way; they are the ones that are remembered, whether it’s the ones who did not rebel against the Kehuna in our parsha, or Calev and Joshua from the spies. These are the ones that history remembers; the others - the rebellious ones - go by the wayside, together with the Korachs of this world. The 80 percent who wanted to stay in Egypt, or the assimilated Greek-Jews in the time of the Maccabees - all gone from the stage of history.

Incredible as it sounds, today, too, the call of the fools who cry out to give away the Golan, or more land in Yesha to the bloodthirsty Arabs, all with the backround of what is going on in Gaza City, act as if they have learned absolutely nothing from the past few years. And it makes no difference whether the calls come from the “black-hatters” with their misguided understanding of halacha, left-wingers, or other “enlightened” leaders - in the end, their views will not be counted, will not matter. They will go the way of Korach and his wicked assembly - lost forever. Who will count, is the courageous minority of the Nachshons, the Calevs, the Joshuas. They are the ones that history will record for posterity. They are the ones who will lead us to the Final Redemption.

With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Korach: Separation and Connection


By Rabbi Chanan Morrison

"The entire congregation is holy, and God is with them! Why do you raise yourselves over God's community?" [Num. 16:3]

This was the battle cry of Korach's rebellion - a complaint that, at first glance, seems perfectly justified. Did not the entire people hear God speak at Sinai? It would seem that Korach was only paraphrasing what God Himself told Moses [Lev. 19:2], "Speak to the entire community of Israel and tell them: you shall be holy, for I, your God, am holy." Why indeed should only the Levites and the kohanim serve in the Temple? Why not open up the divine service to the entire nation?

What was Korach's mistake?

Havdalah and Chibur

Both in our individual lives, and in society and the nation as a whole, we find two general principles at work. This first is Havdalah - withdrawal or separation - and the second is Chibur - connection or belonging.

These are contradictory behaviors, yet both are needed. This truth is most obvious on the individual level. In order to reflect on our thoughts and feelings, we need privacy. In order to develop and clarify our ideas and insights, we need solitude. In order to attain our spiritual aspirations, we need to withdraw within our inner self.

Only by separating from society can we achieve these goals. The distracting company of others robs us of seclusion's lofty joy. It restricts and diminishes the creative flow from our inner spring of pure and joyful life.

This same principle applies equally to the nation as a whole. In order for the Jewish people to actualize their spiritual potential, they require Havdalah from the other nations. "It is a nation that dwells alone" [Num. 23:9].

Similarly, within the Jewish people it is necessary to separate the tribe of Levi, and from Levi, the kohanim, from the rest of the nation. These sectors have special obligations and laws, a reflection of their inner character and purpose.

Separation In Order To Connect

Yet separation is not a goal in and of itself. Within the depths of Havdalah lies a hidden aim of Chibur, being part of the whole and influencing it. The isolated forces thus have a positive impact on the overall character; their influence results in a tremendous inner advance in holiness. These forces specialize in developing talents and ideas that, as they spread, become a source of blessing for all. As they establish their unique traits and paths, life itself progresses and acquires purpose.

We find this theme of Havdalah-Chibur on many levels. The human race is separate from all other forms of life. Through this Havdalah, humanity can elevate itself and attain an encompassing character that contains the elevation of the entire world. The Jewish people is separate from the other nations, a separateness that enables them to act as a catalyst for the elevation of all peoples - a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation" [Ex. 19:6].

The tribe of Levi, as it secludes itself with its special responsibilities, is ennobled and maintains its unique nature. It sanctifies itself until it becomes a blessing for the entire nation. And the kohanim with their special holiness are elevated until they draw forth ruach hakodesh (divine inspiration) for the benefit of the entire nation, thus realizing its highest spiritual faculties.

The Correct Order

Now we can understand Korach's mistake. The Zohar [Mishpatim 95a] teaches:

"The Sitra Achra (the 'Other Side,' the forces of evil) begins with Chibur (connection) and ends with Pirud (division). But the Side of Holiness begins with Pirud and ends with Chibur."

The correct path, the path of holiness, follows this order: separation and then connection. Separation for the sake of connection. But Korach's philosophy (and similar ideologies, such as Communism) took the opposite approach. They sought the simplistic inclusiveness of all, binding everything into one uniform package, from the outset. They boastfully claimed to unite all together - "The entire congregation is holy" - but this approach causes all beauty and nobility to be lost in dull uniformity. In the end, darkness dims the clarity of thought. The repressive, totalitarian approach leads to disunity, as all parts yearn to break apart in order to express their unique nature. "The Sitra Achra begins with Chibur and ends with Pirud."

[adapted from Orot HaKodesh vol. II, p. 439]

Monday, June 11, 2007

Who is a Gadol, and How To Choose a Rabbi

(Pictured: Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd)

Who is a Gadol, and How To Choose a Rabbi

by Rav Binyamin Zev Kahane, z"tl


One of the questions we are often asked is, "If you are so right, why don't the great rabbis agree with you?" Rabbi Kahane himself was approached with questions of this sort for years, as he stood alone proclaiming what he knew to be the Torah truth.

Many of our ideological opponents who use the argument that "the rabbis don't agree with you", (and therefore, we must be wrong.) often base themselves on the verse in our parsha, "and you shall observe to do according to all that they inform thee; ..thou shalt not deviate from the sentence which they shall tell thee, to the right hand, or to the left". From this, they claim, one must listen to the "gedole HaDor" -- the great rabbis of the generation.

No More Sanhedrin

First of all, certain concepts must be made clear so that the confusion surrounding this subject doesn't confuse us, too. The above verse is, unfortunately, no longer relevant for today, because it is talking about the Sanhedrin. This is explicitly pointed out a few verses beforehand, where it says, "you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord thy God shall choose.." -- that is, to the place where the Sanhedrin sat. This means that the moment a Sanhedrin is established (may it happen speedily in our days), there is an obligation upon each and every one of us to obey their halachic decisions. All those who differ, whether it be a famous Rosh Yeshiva or Admoor, will be forced to accept the decision of the Sanhedrin.

But until that time comes, the verse, "you shall observe to do according to all that they inform thee" has no practical halachic application for us.

There are No "Gedolim" If this is so, the crucial question is: Who do we listen to? Is there no da'at Torah (Torah view) today? Of course there is! But it is the task of every God-fearing Jew to seek out what the Torah view is, and find a rabbi who goes on the path of Torah truth, clinging to him as long as his rabbi remains on that path. What about the "gedolim"? We ask you: Who are the "gedolim"? Is it Rav X or Rabbi Y? Is it the known Torah genius, or perhaps his rival, no less the Torah genius, who so vastly differs with him?

Let's be honest. No one just accepts the opinion of the "gedolim". In reality, one fellow sees this particular rabbi as a Torah "gadol", and follows him; another fellow holds by another rabbi, and even if a hundred great rabbis line up against his rav, he will follow his rav through thick and thin.

Don't Forget The Fear Factor

Rabbi Kahane was endowed with the trait of emet - - truth. He was a Torah scholar who clung to truth without allowing emotions or other subjective factors affect his thinking. This is why we continue in his path - - whether it is accepted by the "gedolim" or not. The truth is, that privately, behind closed doors, many rabbis agreed with him, encouraging him to continue, but were afraid to admit so in public.

Rebbe? Gadol? The key ingredient must be: truth, with no fear. And this was the dominant characteristic of Rabbi Meir Kahane, z"tl.

(written by Rav Binyamin Kahane in 1991, shortly after the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Returning to the Source


BS"D YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI

Jerusalem, Israel HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT SHLACH LECHA

23 Sivan 5767/8-9 June 2007

RETURNING TO THE SOURCE

After the sin of the ten spies and the decree that the Jewish people would now have to wander for the next 40 years in the desert until that generation could be wiped out, the Torah goes on to teach us about the laws of the wine libation on the altar in the Temple, and the commandment of separating challah. In fact, we find that when the spies returned to the Israeli camp and found Moses, Aharon, the Sanhedrin, and the Jewish people by the Tabernacle learning the laws of challah, they mockingly said to them that we would not be needing these laws, as we could not conquer the Land of Israel.

Why, then, did the Torah place these laws of the libation on the altar and of challah right after the unfortunate episode of the spies?

As is well known, the first man, Adam, was created from the dust of the site of the altar in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The place in which he was created will be the place of his atonement. Adam, our Rabbis teach us, is the pure challah of this world. And just like a person is obligated to take off a piece of his bread and give it over to the Kohanim/ Priests, so, too, Hashem, after creating the world, separated a piece from this world - that piece was Adam, the first man.

The libations which accompanied the sacrifices were poured on top of the altar into two little holes, which led to the very foundation of the Temple floor. These two items, the challa and the libation, more then anything else represent a return to their original source.

After the sin of despising the Land, the Jewish people became depressed and a spirit of mourning prevailed. The people wondered: Maybe we will never enter Eretz Yisrael. Hashem ordered Moshe to go cheer the despondent Jews. Master of the Universe, asked Moshe, how do I comfort them? By teaching them, replied the Almighty, the laws of libations and taking challa from the dough. Here Hashem was teaching the Jewish people that even though a decree has come that the Jews must now wonder for the next 40 years, still, they will eventually come up to the Land, for like a magnet that pulls metal closer, so, too, the Land of Israel will always be pulling the Jewish people to come back to their source.

For this reason, these two laws are taught to the Jewish people after the sin of the spies, to tell us that no matter how far the Jew is away on his journey in life, the Land of Israel, his source will always be pulling him back home.

How ironic, then, that we find this week, the week that we read about the sin of the spies, who despised the Land of Israel and preferred to stay in the golden exile of the desert, that the head of the German Jewish community came out objecting to the Israeli government over the advertisements in Germany calling for aliya of the small Jewish community there. Of all places in the world, davka Germany, they are telling their people: No, no need to come home to Israel. Let's build up the wonderful "new" Jewish community right here, for surely lightning never strikes twice in the same spot…

The spies, even though they were the leaders (Gedolim) of the Jewish people at the time, were very small-minded and only wanted to hold on to their high positions. In the end, they lost not only their Volvos and their seats in parliament, but also their place in the World to Come. It must then be our job to fix the sin of that generation and come home to the Land that, in the words of Calev and Joshua, is very very good. We must stop resisting the force that’s pulling us back to our source: The Land of Israel.

With love of Israel,

Levi Chazen

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Abomination Parade Set to Attack Jerusalem Once More This Year


Well, it appears that I (along with most other religious Jews) was rightly sceptical about the level of "success" that the Eida Chareidit had negotiated with the police after days of rioting throughout Israel. Indeed, all it accomplished was to give in a little to the perverts last year, and whet their twisted appetite for an even greater attack on Jerusalem this year.

Since it seems that the numerous legal challenges to the march by various religious Members of Knesset have failed, the "Gay Pride Parade," organised by the homosexual group "Open House" has recieved the official go-ahead to march through the Holy City of Yerushalayim on the 21st of June this year (having now recieved the "ok" to defile the Holy City from both the police and the Israeli Supreme Court).

In the face of this despicable attack on our Holiest City, the religious community is assembling itself for this battle against the forces of impurity

It is sad that it takes times such as these to unite the many factions within the Nation of Israel, but this is a was no more vital for the survival of Am Yisrael than the one that took place 40 years ago this month. Once more Jerusalem is the prize - but these homosexual perverts wish to do to Jerusalem that which even the Arab enemy could not accomplish. They wish to desecrate it on a spiritual level, and bring it to the state of Soddom and Ammorah (G-D forbid).

It is the moral duty of every Jew to fight against this abomination in every way possible. Please G-D I will be posting updates on this blog as soon as they come up.

May G-D lead us to victory over the forces of impurity and all those who represent it and fight on its behalf!

The Bankruptcy of Secular Zionism


By Rabbi Binyamin Kahane (1997)

If there was not a Tzachi HaNegbi, we would have had to invent him. What better example is there to illustrate the bankruptcy of secular nationalism? Who can better teach us how even the most fervent of them has no real true stance, because only faith in G-d is the ingredient which enables the Jewish leader to withstand the immense pressures with which one will be faced. One who does not possess the objective and absolute values of Judaism cannot withstand the pressure. Some may require mild pressure to fold, while others may require more, but in the end, there is nothing of substance to hold him. And so he proceeds to convince himself that it isn't so terrible, and it's better to concede a little than to lose a lot, and all the other "cheshbonot" to which there are no end.

It is important to note how Tzachi HaNegbi himself explains how he underwent his change: "As a result of my learning law, I began to understand that without democracy, there is no life on the 'monument' (in his younger days, HaNegbi barricaded himself on the top of a monument in Yamit in an effort to prevent the "legal" government decision to evacuate Yamit). It is democracy which enables the people to fight for what it believes in, without having a hair on its head harmed." Afterwards, he proceeds to pour praise on the judge Aharon Barak.

On the other hand, one who embraces absolute values according to the Halacha, knows that the Halacha is stubborn and can't be toyed around with. What we have here are two entirely different and contradictory points of view which will eventually collide, as exemplified by the Halachic ruling forbidding soldiers to fulfill orders negating the Jewish Halacha. What is frightening, however, is how far some Jews, who start out with good intentions, can actually go.

Last month Hanegbi as Justice Minister demanded that the rabbis nullify their Halachic ruling which forbids soldiers to carry out orders which negate the Jewish law. Our faithful readers know how much we have stressed over the past few years the cultural war taking place in Israel between the Jews and the Hellenists. And now, the Justice Minister's call to the rabbis sounds like a returning nightmare which we thought had gone away and wouldn't come back. After all, such behavior we had grown accustomed to in recent years from past Justice Ministers such as David Libai, or from the likes of former ministers Yosi and Shuli from the Meretz party who openly fought against Torah and Judaism. And now, we are getting the same treatment from one of "our" Justice Ministers, who, incidentally, recently replaced one who was spit out by the system because he was religious! Yes, one of "our own" is now demanding that the rabbis - the same rabbis whom he stood by boldly in the struggle for Eretz Yisrael - take back their halachic ruling!

Well, let Tzachi HaNegbi know: Just like your predecessors in generations past did not succeed in forcing Jews to nullify Halachic rulings, G-d's word, so too will you fail to nullify even one Halacha! You, who once barricaded yourself on the Yamit monument to prevent the withdrawal from the Sinai, and who has now become a supporter of the Hebron withdrawal and an eager slave of Netanyahu's ambitions and your own quest for power; You, who with such utter ease went from being a bitter enemy of the left to a defender of the leftist-occupied legal system which today you warmly embrace - Know: Relief and deliverance will arise to the Jews from elsewhere, and you, despite your past "record", will be tossed into the trash can of history in but a short while...

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Menorah By Any Name


BS"D

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

PARSHAT BEHA'ALOTECHA
16 Sivan 5767/1-2 June 2007


A MENORAH BY ANY NAME

Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aharon and say to him: When you kindle the lamps, toward the face of the Menorah shall the seven lamps cast light." Moses, though, could not comprehend why Hashem asked him to relay this commandment. For every time he would enter the Tabernacle, he found that it was brilliantly lit with the splendor of the Divine Presence. How, wondered Moses, could the lights of the poor earthly Menorah compare to the splendor which Hashem radiates? Hashem, therefore, told Moses to kindle the lights, for through this action, the Jewish people would become spiritually elevated by the lighting of the Menorah. Yes, even though the Divine light was there, there was still a need for the Jewish people to bring the light. In fact, if we would wake up one day and have fire come down from Heaven and light the Menorah for us, we would not be able to use it, but are commanded to bring our own light.

With this in mind, I remember once a friend of mine commenting on the sentence in our parsha. The workmanship of the Menorah was such that it was hammered out of gold, from the base to its flowers it is hammered out; according to the vision that Hashem showed Moses, so he made the Menorah.

Upon seeing how complex the making of the Menorah was, my friend became dismayed, saying that even Moses was perplexed about how the Menorah should be constructed, until Hashem Himself took Moses and showed him. If so, then this is an almost impossible task - how can we hope to build one today, for without it there seemingly can be no work in the Temple.

Pressed for an answer, I turned to the Rambam to see if he could shed some light on the subject (pardon the pun). Yes, it seemed very complex, with all the flowers, knobs and buttons decorating the Menorah making a total of 42. If just one is missing, the Menorah cannot be used in the Temple service. Moreover, the Menorah must stand on three legs, with a height of about a meter and a half. All of this was to come from one piece of gold. I cried out, who can build such a Menorah? Were we doomed forever not to have a working Menorah?

But reading on in the Rambam, the answer came. All of the above laws apply when the Menorah is made out of gold, but if we make it out of any other metal we do not have to have the flowers, buttons or knobs, and it does not have to be made out of one piece. This means that even today, we can go to the Temple Mount and have the Kohanim light a Menorah and thus to fulfill the commandment of the lighting. All we need is the spot on the Temple Mount and seven metal poles, the tips of which could hold the olive oil.

Historically, this is exactly what we find when the Maccabees re-entered the Temple after successfully throwing out the Greeks. The golden Menorah had long been taken out of the Temple by the Greeks; the Macabees took seven long poles and placed the oil on top of them, fulfilling the commandment of the lighting. It was not until some years later that they had the financial means to make one out of silver, and then, finally, out of gold. Yes, years later, they, the Hashmona'im, were able to finally make one out of gold. As complex as it may be, still, the bottom line is that if Hashem commanded the Jewish people with a commandment (in this case, to build a Menorah to light everyday), then it must be in our power to do so, for Hashem would not command anything that could not be done.

This, then, is the great lesson to be learnt here: If Hashem gave us the mitzvah/commandment, then it is in our hands to do, including the Menorah, the Temple and all the other items needs for the service. Come - Let us all go and build the House of the L-rd!


With love of Israel,
Levi Chazen

Psalm 31: Like a Lost Vessel


By Rabbi Chanan Morrison


Hunted by his enemies, David felt betrayed and alone:

"I am forgotten from the heart like a dead person. I have become like a lost vessel." [Ps. 31:13]

Why did David express his feelings of isolation and loneliness as being like a "lost vessel"? In what way are the dead like lost objects?

Twelve Months to Forget

The Sages inferred from this verse that our ties to our loved ones are similar to our ties to our possessions. When an object is lost, it takes a year before one loses all hope of regaining it. So too, "the dead are not forgotten from the heart until twelve months have passed" [Brachot 58b]. As a result, the Sages taught that when meeting a friend after an absence of a year, we should recite the blessing, "Blessed is the One Who revives the dead." For us, it is as if our friend has come back to life.

Obviously, we remember those whom we love even after a year has passed; but the pain of loss is primarily felt during that first year. What function do these heartrending emotions of grief and mourning serve? Would it not be better if we could immediately reconcile ourselves to the loss, without having to undergo a lengthy process of bereavement?

Hope to Regain

If a certain trait is ingrained in the human soul, Rav Kook wrote, it must have some basis in reality. There must be some aspect of the world - if not in its current condition, then in its future, repaired state - that is reflected by this characteristic of the soul.

Rav Kook's bold conclusion: if death were truly a case of irrevocable loss, a situation that can never be corrected, then we would not mourn the passing of those we love. It would serve no purpose. The very fact that these feelings of profound misery and loss are a universal aspect of human nature indicates that death is not an immutable state.

The psalm's comparison of the dead with lost articles reinforces this conclusion. When we lose an object, why don't we immediately give up hope of recovering it? Because we know the lost object still exists, we just don't know its precise location. In fact, it is this very sense of loss that spurs our efforts to search for and recover it. These very feelings are often the cause for the object's return.

Resurrection of the Dead

The lengthy period of bitter loss following the death of a loved one indicates that, for humanity as a whole, the future promises a remedy for death. Unlike lost vessels, however, this process will be through Divine means. As it says, "Then you will know that I am God - when I open up your graves and lead you up out of your graves" [Ezekiel 37:13]. Nonetheless, since this cure will ultimately come to pass, even now we view and experience death, not as a common occurrence to be accepted as a natural and expected event, but rather like the loss of a highly prized object that we still hope to recover.

A lost vessel is not truly gone from the world. It is only missing with regard to its owner, and it may yet return to him. Even with the passage of time, as the ties between owner and object are weakened, the article still exists. Future generations may continue the search to recover the lost objects of earlier times.

So too, the lengthy time that the soul aches for that which appears unrecoverable is indicative that there is indeed hope. Thus the prophets foretold a future era when the dead will be resurrected: "Your dead will come to life, my corpses will rise up; awaken and sing, you who dwell in the dust" [Isaiah 26:19].

[adapted from Ein Ayah vol. II, p. 304]