Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Please Stay Tuned - Back in a Few Weeks...!

My apologies for not having posted in a while, but for a few weeks I will not have much access at all to this blog (if at all).

Please do stay tuned, however, and keep your eye on this blog, which will be updated again in a few weeks time G-D-Willing.

Meanwhile, keep watching the still-developing "Kahane Resource" page (a project by hameir.org), which will also be updated and developed in the coming weeks.

Shalom U'vracha,

Ivri

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Israeli Authorities Plan to Expel Jews From Shalhevet Neighbourhood (in Hebron) This Coming Sunday/Monday

From the Jewish Community of Hebron:

Today, the 78th anniversary of the 1929 riots and massacre in Hebron, which left 67 dead and the surviving population expelled from the city, Defense Minister Ehud Barak personally decided to expel two more families from the city, from their homes in the Shalhevet neighborhood (the shuk).

The Hebron Community council expresses deep pain and protest at the desecration of the memories of the 1929 victims and the continuation of forced expulsion, this time not by Arabs, rather by Jews, expelling their brothers.

According to information received by the community, about 1,000 police, riot squad forces and soldiers will execute the expulsion late Sunday night - early Monday morning. The community calls on anyone to whom Hebron and Eretz Yisrael are important to, to flock to Hebron as early as this coming Saturday night, following Shabbat, in order to take an active role in the protest and struggle. Most likely Israeli security forces will close all roads leading to Hebron sometime Monday, so it is important to arrive as early as possible.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"They Burned My Trees" - A Classic Example of the Wisdom of Rabbi Kahane


This article was originally written by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1989, and was recently republished in the book "The Wit And Wisdom Of Rabbi Meir Kahane."

It was originally written as a reaction to the widespread arson of large areas of JNF woodland in Israel by Arabs at the time, but the message relayed within is quite obviously relevant on a much broader level - and purposely so. Although such incidents of arson by Arabs in Israel still continues to this day, my reason for posting this article has nothing to do with JNF trees.

Recently, we have been hearing all about the attempt by many brave, faithful Jews to return to the land that is rightfully their's in Gaza and, most frequently, Amona (in Northern Samaria). The Jewish communities there were destroyed during the "Disengagement Plan" of the Sharon government, and - quite rightly - faithful Jews everywhere have remained adamant that the expulsion of Jews from parts of the Land of Israel is wrong and immoral. As a result, many Jews are - again, quite rightly - attempting to resettle those areas, with countless shows of bravery, endurance and commitment. They are attempting to send the message to the world, loud and clear, that the Jewish People have the right to settle in any part of their Land that they wish to.

However, it must be said that Rav Kahane z"tl h"yd stressed many times that the settlement of parts of the Land of Israel - particularly within Judea, Samaria and (most of all) Gaza - simply cannot endure as long as the Arab enemy remains. The Rav even said directly that the Jews of Gaza - brave pioneers and faithful, G-D-fearing Jews - ran the risk of not meriting to pass on the Land in Gaza to their children, since one very important requirement for the aquisition of the Land of Israel is to expel the hostile and occupying nations from it (as we have just read in the land few Torah portions). If those nations are not expelled - as we are commanded to do - then the Land cannot be fully aquired.

And so I post this article as a reminder for all those good Jews who wish to settle the Land of Israel - to plant trees and build houses and raise families and establish places of worship and Torah-learning - that if the Arab menace is not removed, it could all be (G-D forbid) for naught...

*****

They Burned My Trees


Written by Rabbi Meir Kahane z"tl h"yd (1989)


I was depressed yesterday. Very, very sad. For I knew that they had burned my trees. As a child I had saved my money so carefully so that I could buy those trees and know that they were planted. And now they are burned. They must be burned. It is not logical that a million trees would be burned down and none of mine among them. No, they are burned.


Every week Iwould come to school and bring a nickel. And with that nickel I would buy a special stamp. A Jewish National Fund stamp. And every week I would paste that stamp on the figure of a tree which was part of a JNF poster, and which had twenty "leaves" on it. Each weeek I would paste my stamp on a leaf and at the end of twenty weeks, I had a tree! My Tree! And I did this for years because I was a good boy - a good Jewish boy. And I bought many trees. My trees. My Jewish trees.


And now they burned them. The Arabs and their intifada. Last year, within the sovereign State of Israel, that independant State which makes me so proud because it does not let anyone push it around - the Arabs burned 1.15 million trees. Some of my trees had to be among them. And I was sad.


But then I saw an advertisement by the Jewish National Fund which made me happy again and made me proud to be a Jew know that the Jewish National Fund does not let anyone push it around. The JNF placed an ad that let the Arabs know that we are not the Jews of old. No one burns our trees. Well, not exactly. What the JNF said was that if the Arabs burn our trees, we will show them: We will plant even more trees than they burned. Anything they can burn, we can plant better. If they burned 1.15 million, we will plant that much and ten million more - fully 11.5 million!


I was so happy. I ran to the bank to convert my money into nickels to buy leaves each week and plant new trees. I was so happy that the JNF had this wonderful idea until I me my neighbour. I never liked him. He is always so cynical and a killjoy. When I told him of the brilliant JNF idea to plant ten times the amount of trees that the Arabs burned, this dour wet-towel said:


"And what if they burn those? Will we plant 110 million trees the next time? And why should Jews have to pay again and again for trees that Arabs burn? Why not throw them out of the country? Why do we allow them to stay in the country if we know that they will burn our forests? And why should I be a sucker to help pay the fat salaries of JNF executives who see this as a golden opportunity for a Madison Avenue-type campaign that will keep their salaries going? If the JNF wants money from me, let them demand that the Arabs be thrown out so that I will know that I pay for a Jewish tree once."


I never liked my neighbour. He is so cynical. He is so logical.

Eikev: Blessings Over Bread and Torah


Two Blessings from the Torah

While most blessings are of rabbinical origin, there are two blessings that are derived directly from the Torah itself. They are Birkat Hamazon, recited after meals, and the blessing said before learning Torah.

The obligation to bless God after eating bread comes from the verse, "When you eat and are satisfied, you must bless the Lord your God..." [Deut. 8:10].

The Talmud [Berachot 21a] derives the blessing before studying Torah from the verse, "When I call out God's name (or: read God's teaching), ascribe greatness to our God" [Deut. 32:3].

These two blessings differ not only in the source for our feelings of gratitude - one is for physical nourishment, the other for spiritual sustenance - but also in when they are said. Why is Birkat Hamazon recited after the meal, while the blessing for Torah study is recited before studying?

Two Benefits of Food

Food provides two benefits. The first is our enjoyment from the act of eating, especially if the food is tasty. This is a fleeting pleasure, but it nonetheless deserves to be acknowledged. The primary benefit from eating, however, is the sustenance it gives our bodies, enabling us to live. This primary benefit reflects the nutritional value of the food, regardless of its taste.

Our recognition of the principal benefit of eating should take place after the meal, as the body digests the food. Since Birkat Hamazon expresses our gratitude for physical sustenance, it logically belongs is at the end of the meal.

Parenthetically, we also recite blessings before eating. These blessings acknowledge our pleasure in the act of eating itself. We recognize this secondary benefit of eating with rabbinically- ordained blessings.

Two Benefits of Torah Study

Torah study also provides us with two benefits. The first is the knowledge acquired in practical areas of Halacha, enabling us to live our lives according to the Torah's wisdom.

The second benefit from Torah lies in the very act of learning Torah. Torah study in itself is a tremendous gift, even if it does not have any practical applications. When we learn Torah, the soul is elevated as the mind absorbs the sublime word of God.

Which benefit is greater? The Sages taught that the unique sanctity of the Torah itself is greater than all deeds that come from its study: "One who studies Torah for its own sake is raised and uplifted above all actions" [Avot 6:1]. The benefit of practical knowledge is important, but is only a secondary gain.

Therefore, we recite the blessing over Torah before studying. If the blessing was meant to acknowledge the practical benefit of how to perform mitzvot, then it would be said afterwards, since this knowledge is gained as a result of Torah study. But the blessing over Torah refers to the principle gift of Torah study. When we bless God before studying, we acknowledge the spiritual elevation that we enjoy in the very act of contemplating God's Torah.

Now we can understand why the source for this blessing reads, "When I call out God's name." Why does the verse refer to the Torah as "God's name"? This blessing requires that we recognize the sublime inner essence of the Torah - Torah as "God's name." When we are aware of the true nature of Torah, its study can enlighten and uplift us "above all actions."

[adapted from Ein Eyah vol. I, p. 103]