Hamas War

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Quarter of A Century of Punishment and Still Counting, Disproportionate Punishment for Jonathan Pollard

As one of those who remembers too well the Jonathan Pollard saga from day one, I'm saddened and amazed that it has taken over a quarter of a century for others to realize that his punishment is unjust, disproportionate and reeks of anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment on behalf of the American Government and Justice Department.

I am grateful that finally voices are being heard demanding his release, like from U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm.

Pollard's punishment was worse than excessive. Communist spies got less. I don't understand why his lawyers haven't sued the American Government for prejudicial, racist bias against him. He should be well-compensated for the injustice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Israel To The Rescue!

After Israel's legend-making contributions to saving lives after Haiti's earthquake, it was no surprise that Israel has also gone to Japan. That is even though being in Japan and nearby is very dangerous because of the radiation leaking from the nuclear power plants.

I understand that it's pikuach nefesh  saving lives, but the staff is risking theirs at the same time.  They've already made headlines helping a baby etc.

Israel is always among the very first countries to volunteer to help others, but for some reason the world still distrusts hates us.  Only Israel is constantly criticized for "moral crimes," crimes "against humanity."

I think there's a distortion in the way people see us.  Could it be antisemitism?

Looking Behind the Labels, Some Truth and Questions

Here's a fantastic film about Israel, peace and history.

The Palestinian Wall of Lies, A short film by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

And the ZOA brings up some good questions about  Richard Jacobs, the new head of Reform Judaism because of his connections to the extreme Left Soros-Funded J Street and New Israel Fund.

There's No Army Like The IDF

Here's a proud to be an Israeli post:

Hat tip: IMRA
In Israel there's a draft system for the army.  All Israeli 18 year olds are supposed to be drafted.  There are exceptions of course.  Many youth of the extreme Left find ways to get out of serving.  Some kids are accepted into a program in which they first get university degrees and then they serve as soldiers/officers in their professional capacity.  Religious girls can opt out.  Many do National Service instead.  Yes, there's the famous deferment for yeshiva students.  Some boys study for a few months or a couple of years and then serve the full three years in the army.  Others do a shortened service.  There's also the Hesder Yeshiva system, a longer five year program combining yeshiva studies, army service and first call "reserve," while in the yeshiva.

And there's a special "volunteer in uniform" for those who have physical or other disabilities which give them an automatic deferment which they refuse.  Being soldiers like everyone else is their aim.  Here's a lovely article about how the elite Intelligence Corps accepts those with "low intelligence." 

Yes, there's a job for everyone in the Israel Defense Forces, Baruch Hashem!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hakarat HaTov, Something Good from Appease aka Peace Now

Even Appease aka Peace Now has its good points.  It invests lots of money and time photographing the holy Land of Israel and documenting our observance of the all encompassing mitzvah, G-d given commandment to settle the Land,  ישוב הארץ yishuv ha'Aretz.

It's said that:
  • "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
  •  “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it”
  • "The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart”
It's very sad that so many Jews don't appreciate the centrality and holiness of our precious Land to Judaism and the legitimacy of the State of Israel.  By denying this Appease aka Peace Now is systematically chipping away at the security of our state.  They are dangerously misguided.

Unfortunately, no matter what I write, the chance that members and supporters of Appease aka Peace Now will read is almost nil.  And the chance that they will be influenced isn't much higher.

The Jewish People have a long and well-documented history as a People and Nation in this part of the world.  No other people ever existed here as an independent country.  The Land was waiting desolate and almost totally empty until the Zionist movement brought Jews to settle the Land.  Yes, settle the Land.  There was no state, green line or any border restricting Jews, just the British Mandate.

Please don't forget that Jews stayed in the Land of Israel from the destruction of the Holy Temple and to this very day.  There were always Jewish People here in many of the cities, but it took the Zionists to remind them that we are a nation, and a nation needs its own state.

G-d willing, I and the many others who think and write like I do will succeed in turning the tide and convincing Appease aka Peace Now that they are mistaken and we are right, yes, Right is correct.
"The only rules comedy can tolerate are those of taste, and the only limitations those of libel." James Thurber 

Miracles! Rosh Chodesh Nisan Next Week!

Our year keeps going on, month by month, Baruch Hashem, and in Yafiz, the Sha'ar Binyamin clothing store where I work, we have already packed away the winter clothes and set up and started selling spring and summer clothes, especially gorgeous Passover outfits for little girls and spring clothes for all the family.

Yes, Passover is very soon.  Next week is Rosh Chodesh Nisan, (the first of the Jewish month which is based on the lunar calendar) the month of miracles and spring.  Observing Rosh Chodesh Nisan is the first mitzvah, commandment G-d gave to the Jewish People as a People.  Even though Rosh Chodesh Nisan means that Passover is just two weeks away, it still should be celebrated by women.  Rosh Chodesh is our holiday.  It's a day we deserve for ourselves, for a special treat, and my favorite way of celebrating Rosh Chodesh is to go to Tel Shiloh to pray.  A group of us do it every month, and women are invited to join us.

Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Nisan
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים
ראש חודש ניסן בתל שילה
יום ג' 5-4 9:30
יהיה דבר תורה קצר
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

Shiloh, the site of the Biblical Mishkan, Tabernacle, 369 years as center of Jewish Life before King Saul ruled, is a beautiful place to tour, visit and pray.  For more information, contact telshilo@gmail.com or call 02-994-4019.  During Passover there will be two days of festivities and activities for the entire family.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Excellent Graphic From Elder of Ziyon

An "Apartheid?" thumbnail ad by Elder of Ziyon

Contrast that great poster with the cartoon he had posted in his previous post.

Economist thinks Jews building is as deadly as Arabs killing

What a world...

The Hypocrisy of a Judenrein (Empty of Jews) State

I've written about the international adoption of the Nazi policy of cleansing an area or state of Jews, making it judenrien, many times.  This totally immoral racist policy is the linchpin of the ideology, ironically supported by many Jews, proposing the establishment of a Pseudostian aka Palestinian sic State.  Israpundit has posted an excellent article on the same theme as I've written:
The West supports a Judenrein Palestine
by Matthew M. Hausman, AMERICAN THINKER
I recommend reading it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's Time For Israel To Get On The Ball And Roll Back The Movement For Pseudostinian aka Palestinian sic Statehood

hat tip: IMRA re:many of the links here in this post

For the sake of the security of Jews throughout the world and the survival of the State of Israel we must do everything in our power to not only stop the process of the establishment of a Pseudostinian aka Palestinian sic State, but we must roll it back about fifty years and get it off the table and out of the news.

Yes, that does sound impossible, but we have no choice.

There are Jews and Israelis who don't understand the basic history and our rights as Jews for a state in our historic homeland.  They refuse to accept the dangers of an Arab pro-terror state, and there is little I can say to change their minds and make them accept reality.  On occasion, the Arabs, themselves demonstrate their violence and the Israeli police their anti-Jewish bias.

Of the Israelis and Jews all over the world who do understand the dangers to Israel and world Jewry of a Pseudostinian aka Palestinian sic State, most keep lying to themselves that the Arabs will never get their act together to declare a state;  they are very wrong.  The Arabs, aided by diplomatic and media experts, have a time table all set.

It's important to read and listen to what is said among the Arabs, not what their trained and polished spokespeople say to western diplomats and media.  One of Mahmoud Abbas's demands is the release by Israel of all terrorist prisoners, even murderers.  He, who is so respected and trusted as a "moderate" by the United States and Europe etc., is also making every effort to unite with HamasIsrael's threats to "cut ties with PA if Hamas added to unity gov't" are no more than words.  Nobody takes them seriously.

And the Iron Dome isn't a "cure" for the Arab missile and rocket attacks on Israel.  It will only make life more dangerous for us by encouraging the Arab terrorists to keep firing further into the State of Israel.

Just a few short years ago, in a ridiculously dangerous unilateral move, the State of Israel under Likud's Ariel Sharon gave the Hamas terrorists of Gaza all of Gush Katif, aka Disengagement.  All it did, besides turning thousands of law abiding Israeli citizens into homeless refugees, was to encourage Arab terrorism and expand the attacks on Israel.  With that as a precedent, how could anyone with a right mind expect Israel to be safe and survive a  Pseudostinian aka Palestinian sic State?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Is This For Real, If So, That's Why We're Still Waiting for the Messaiah

Jew against Jew in the Hamptons. There's a big fight in Westhampton about whether or not an eruv, an almost invisible wire to enclose an area according to Jewish Law, can be erected in the posh town. I have no doubt that many (probably most) of the opponents consider themselves Liberal, even liberal. They may be Liberal-adhering to a strict ideology, but they certainly aren't liberal. If they were liberal, they'd be flexible and tolerant of other life-styles, like that of the Torah observant (Orthodox) Jew.

The hypocrisy is a shanda, a disgrace.

Parshat Shmini – The Se’ir Hachatat by Tzvi Briks

Parshat Shmini – The Se’ir Hachatat by Tzvi Briks

The Torah states in our Parsha: “And for the goat of the sin offering, Moshe diligently inquired (Darosh Darash Moshe), and behold it was burnt (Veheenei Soraf), and he was angry (Vayeektzof) with Elazar and Itamar, the sons of Aharon that were left, saying: Wherefore have you not eaten the sin-offering in the place of the Sanctuary (Beemkom Hakodesh) seeing it is most holy (Kee Kodesh Kadashim Hee), and He has given it to you to bear the iniquity of the Congregation, to make atonement for them before Hashem. Behold, the blood of it was not brought into the sanctuary within; you should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded. And Aharon spoke onto Moshe: Behold, this day they have offered their sin-offering and their burnt offering before Hashem, and there have befallen me such things as these, and if I had eaten the sin-offering today, would it have been well pleasing in the sight of Hashem? And when Moshe heard that, it was well pleasing in his sight.”

Why did Moshe diligently inquire about the Seir Hachatat? Why did he get angry with Elazar and Itamar, the sons of Aharon? What did Moshe mean by the korban being totally burnt or the Korban being eaten? What is the meaning of Aharon’s response to Moshe? Why did Moshe agree with Aharon’s response? What does this represent in terms of the future spiritual and historical process of Yisrael?

This event occurred on the eighth day of completion. On the first seven days Moshe himself served as the Kohen Gadol, and now it was necessary through the commandment of the Kadosh Baruch Hu (KBH) to give the priesthood over to Aharon and his sons. From this day onward begins the counting of the month which is the Yom Rishon to the days of the Mishkan and the Kehunah with Aharon. It was Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
1. It was the first of the Maaseh Bereishit (according to the one who states that the creation of the world occurred in Nissan).
2. It was the first of the months.
3. It was the first of the Princes.
4. It was the first of the Kehuna.
5. It was the first day of work in the Mishkan.
6. It was the first day that fire descended to consume the Kodashim.
7. It was the first day of forbidding the bamot (a high place of sacrifice other than the Mishkan or Beit Hamikdash).
8. It was the first day of the inhabitation of the Shechina within Yisrael.
9. It was the first day of the Yichud of the KBH and the Shechina
10. It was the first day to bless Israel.

The amount of work was prodigious for one individual to handle, even with the help of one’s sons. The amount of food to be eaten of the Korban was impossible for Aaron and his son’s to handle, digest, and assimilate. Certainly, it was miraculous to say the least. 41 Behemot were sacrificed on that day. I get full just thinking about it.

Of the 41 Behemot, there were 3 goat sin offerings:
1. The goat sin offering as a sacrifice of the people
2. The goat sin offering on the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh
3. The goat sin offering of Nachshon Ben Aminadav, the first of the Nissi’im.
Yonatan Ben Uziel claims that all of the above 3 were burnt while Rashi claims that the sin-offering of the Musaf of Rosh Chodesh was burnt and the other 2 were eaten.

In order to understand the motives of Aharon and Moshe we have to return to Adam Harishon. In the Cheit of Eitz Hada’at Tov Vera, Adam Harishon should have waited until Shabbat to unite with his wife Chava in order to reunite the Shechina with the KBH. By waiting until Shabbat to unify, the dimensions and worlds that were not completed would have been amended and repaired. The Yemot Hamashiach would have been actualized. The acronym of Adam would have been realized: Aleph for Adam, Daled for David, and Mem for Mashiach. Hence Adam would have completed history by fulfilling his mission as the Mashiach. However, there are sources that state that Adam Harishon desired to skip spiritual levels in order to cleave to the KBH even though he was not ready to do so. He wanted to accelerate history and bring an end to it. The preparation was not done to cleave to the KBH and correct the worlds. Hence because of the great desire to cleave o the KBH, Adam Harishon jumped levels and united with Chava prior to Shabbat and not only did this not correct the worlds but caused greater defects within them.

Adam Harishon performed his misdeed of an alien fire (Eish Zara), and in drinking the dross of wine from the original grapes of the Eitz hada’at Tov Vera (the true fruit of the garden). These were the nations that cleaved to Adam Harishon. The purpose was to accelerate the process of Tikun and speed the Messianic age.

Nadav Ve’Avihu were the sons of Aharon. They came to correct the defect of Adam Harishon and were the gilgulim of Adam Harishon and his 3 sons. They were therefore greater than Moshe Rabbeinu from their spiritual precedents. Moshe was the gilgul of Hevel and Sheit. Nadav V’Avihu were the gilgul of Adam Harishon and his 3 sons. They wanted to skip spiritual levels and accelerate the messianic age. They utilized the mechanism of an Eish Zara and drank of the Shmarim or dross of the grapes. They desired to dominate the Sitra Achra but the opposite occurred.

The Seir Hachatat for Rosh Chodesh Nissan was another attempt of Moshe Rabbeinu to bring an accelerated end to history the way we know it, and bring the era of the Mashiach speedily to our dimension. Moshe Rabbeinu and therefore B’nei Yisrael had attempted many times to bring a speedy end to history. After noting what had occurred to the great personages of Nadav V’Avihu, their souls being consumed by fire, Moshe’s idea was to utilize the Se’ir Hachatat for Rosh Hodesh and partake of the eating of the meat of the se’ir in the area of Kodesh and change history again very quickly. The Se’ir Hachatat is the Kodshei Dorot and according to the Arizal partaking of eating it by Aharon and his sons would have fulfilled and corrected the defect of the diminution of the Levana (the shrinkage of the Shechina) and the light of the Levana would be as great as the light of the Chama. This means that the light of the Schechina would be as great as the light of the Ze’ir Anpin or Hashem Elokei Yisrael and the great Yichud would have occurred and would have brought the Messianic age speedily.

Now we understand why Moshe was so annoyed. Here was another attempt through the se’ir hachatat to correct the defect in creation speedily and through skipping spiritual levels and ending the historical process the way we know it This process in Jewish history is called the Moshe’itic process.

In contradistinction to the Moshe’itic process is the Aharonic process. That process evolves a slow process of corrections based upon the opportunity of and the ability to correct the defects of creation over a long period of time without any acceleration of the process. Burning the Se’ir Hachatat gave greater and slower opportunities to correct the defected dimensions of creation over a prolonged period of time due to its progressive process. It is a step by step process where the end of one level gives rise to the next level of spiritual correction. Hence the Aharonic process gives one multiple opportunities to eventually achieve the Yemot Hamashiach but over a long time.

Moshe Rabbeinu was appeased by the words of Aharon. He agreed with him.

If one views the processes of Jewish history and its unfoldment one can see these two forces at play. Sometimes they negate one another. Other times they follow one another but they are always at play. Which process do you prefer, the Aharonic or the Moshe’itic process?

Tzvi Briks – based upon a conversation with Yehoshua Rochman
21 Adar Sheni 5771

Three Days Left to Ask Bibi A Question

Take a look right here.  "World View" will be interviewing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the public is invited to submit questions.

hat tip: keli ata, a frequent commentor on this blog

Thursday, March 24, 2011

There's a War Going On. We're Being Attacked. WHY KEEP IT A SECRET?

Arabs from Gaza have been launching dozens and dozens of missiles, Kassam rockets etc at Israel the past few days.  You'd barely know it from the news media.  I was watching Israel's Channel 1 ערב חדש Erev Chadash, New Evening news show, and they ignored the situation almost totally. Japan was a big topic.  There were mentions of "Arab frustration being understandable."  Duh...!

If you have the patience to look for mentions of the attack you'll find something.  Here's the 6th, yes SIXTH on list of  news summaries:
Rockets explode in Ashdod, Sderot

A Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area in Sderot Thursday. There were no reports of injuries or damage. Earlier on Thursday, a rocket ...
I love that title.  "Rockets explode in Ashdod, Sderot."  It says nothing.  Rockets don't have minds of their own.

Quite a number of southern cities have been hit by Arab missile attacks.  Children are being kept home; schools are closed in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba and Kiryat Gat.

And the tv news said that only about twenty missiles, were launched by the Arabs at us today.  The Gazans shot over a hundred at us the past few days.
And if you really want to feel sick, read: IDF continues to assist Gaza Strip civilian population.  Yes, I kid you not.  They try to kill us, and we give them food.

We need to be complaining about the attacks all the time. We must fight the terrorists whithout being "careful" about "innocent civilians." This is a war, or it should be.

What are the Palestinian traditions and morals?

To me it's very clear. The Arabs are great at self-promotion. They can seem so sincere and honest.

The video above shows their true culture.

With the recent terror attack and all the rockets, missiles etc the Arabs are attacking us with, I just don't have the patience for all the lies.

Jesus Behind Civil Marriage Push in Israel

Posted by Jewish Israel

While using the concepts of "freedom" and "democracy" to undermine the Jewishness of Israel, evangelical attorney Calev Myers and the messianic missionary organization MaozIsrael were apparently behind a recent mock marriage of a Jew and a non-Jew in Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Square.

This gross opportunism is something that all true Jews, regardless of their level of observance, politics, and opinions on hot-button issues, should be aware and wary of.

Any struggle for democracy, freedom and justice in Israel should not come in the name of jesus, and at the expense of Jewish character and tradition...more

Donald Trump Demands to See Obama's Birth Certificate

Hat tip: Shirat Devorah

Whether they agree with him or not, those ladies, mostly Leftists if I'm not mistaken, have no problems sitting and pleasantly arguing (is that an oxymoron?) with the confident and charismatic Donald Trump.

There's one aspect or habit which may get Don into big trouble if he's really going to run for President of the United States. He quiets down Barbara Walters with a very proprietary hand on her knee.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Dead, Murdered by Terrorists in Jerusalem

The Arab terrorist explosion in Jerusalem today killed one woman and injured dozens.

I was horrified to hear Kadima MK Nachman Shy on IBA TV News saying that the Arabs must be frustrated because we, Israel, hasn't done enough.  To me his words are dangerous.

We aren't to blame for Arab terrorism.  We are not the cause of Arab terrorism.  They are a violent society and that's it.  I'm glad to have heard Ruthie Blum Leibowitz counter Meir Shitrit and state that we're not responsible for any rise in terrorism.

It's Getting More and More Embarrassing to Be Israeli

I wish our Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would take note of:
Never complain and never explain.
Benjamin Disraeli
There's no need to apologize or "investigate" the injuring or even killing our enemies, even if they're "under age," civilians, human shields etc.  That is weakness and totally removes, deletes any remaining fear they may have of us.  The theory of military "deterrence" is a farce, when the enemy knows that you don't have the guts, confidence and determination to kill. 

Our wars, attacks, responses to missiles and weapons being fired on us (Israeli citizens) shouldn't be against empty buildings and deserted pieces of land.  Why waste our expensive weapons on shooting up some shrubs?  The IDF isn't defending Israeli citizens by attacking concrete.

What was the IDF attacking?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Left and Liberal (with a capital L) Blindness

There's one topic in Jewish History that even Israel's most fanatical extremist Leftist Liberals take seriously.  That's the Holocaust.  They even credit it with the establishment of the State of Israel.  By doing that they are denying not only the centrality of the Land of Israel for thousands of years, but they are ignoring all of the hard work of the Zionist Movement.  Even secular Leftist Israelis send their kids to do the "concentration camp-Poland tour" in high school.

So, nu, you'd think they'd take seriously the fact that those Arabs to whom they wish to give our precious Land for an Arab terror state are rabid Holocaust deniers.

The Palestine Media Watch has an expose` on the topic:
The Holocaust "for more than 60 years has aroused... controversy and fabrication," writes PA daily PA media reports opposition to Holocaust education for Palestinian children...
Why don't the Leftists protest?

While Israelis Are Risking Their Lives to Save People in Radioactive Japan...

I'm just curious. Whom would you like as an ally?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Maybe I'm Stupid

I just can't understand the rationale, the morality, the logic-let's stick with the morality angle- in countries that profess democracy, evolution etc. for bombing, invading, exporting election consultants to help, push dictate to another country a change in regime.

I was never a fan of Ghadafi, no matter how you spell his name.  And I certainly was hoping for a quick end to Saddam Hussein.  But I don't consider invading, bombing, trying to sway their citizens with sophisticated marketing techniques to vote or anoint in whatever way the "leader" the foreign country prefers.  (Oops!  That's an awfully constructed sentence.)

Maybe I sound like a broken record.  Maybe I just sound stupid.  Maybe I am stupid.  I, who was raised in post-World War Two America, who was educated to believe in each people's right of self-determination,  who observed how the well-meant American assistance to non-communist Vietnam became the most hated and reviled war of the twentieth century, can't understand how the United States, even under a Democratic president, is taking part in the attack on Libya. 

Israel was condemned when a known terrorist was killed in Dubai.  I have no idea if the terrorist really was killed by the Mossad, but I do consider that who/whatever did it was a much more moral than all of those countries involved in invading, bombing, trying to influence internal foreign politics etc.

I'm not embarrassed to say that I just don't understand what's going on here.  I don't agree with what the United States and the European allies are doing.

And while I'm at it, I'd like to remind all of you that even though I have a legal right to vote in American Elections I don't, because I live in Israel, not in the United States.  I'll follow that further.  No country or foreign official has the right to instruct Israel in internal matters, and that includes where we build and what's needed for our security.

Will Don "Trump" Palin?

Sarah Palin is now visiting Israel.  Here she's getting some celebrity publicity, though she's losing luster in the American polls.  Being an Israeli, I guess I'm not too up on American politics.  We've been busy with more important things here

I was surprised (though I shouldn't be) to hear that Donald Trump is weighing a run for the United States Presidency.  Running for office is very expensive.  You need a lot of money, so it seems that more and more super-wealthy are going into politics.  New York City has Michael Bloomberg and Jerusalem has Nir Barkat.

Now that multiple marriages is no longer a problem for presidential candidates, I guess Americans will go for Trump over Palin.

This  should make the upcoming campaign very interesting...

What about a Trump-Palin ticket?

AFSI's Helen Freedman in American Thinker

Read Helen's excellent article about the background and ramifications of the barbaric attack by Arab terrorists on the Fogel Family in American Thinker.

Here's how it starts:

Appeasement and the Itamar Slaughter

By Helen Freedman
Arab terrorist organizations, including the military arms of Israel's supposed "peace" partner, the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, all read an open door policy in the actions of the Israeli government. In addition to releasing terrorists sentenced in Israeli courts for severe crimes and removing check points from critical areas throughout Israel, PM Netanyahu has put the security of Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria under the control of the Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It's Purim, but Havel Havelim is No Joke

To Kiss a Mezzuzah has posted the 309th Havel Havelim this Purim Day.  She has become one of the regular hosts.  I haven't hosted one for a very long time.  So I really appreciate that she manages to find the time.  Please visit it and check out the links.

This edition of Havel Havelim is a bit "heavier" than the usual Purim ones.  That's because so many of the posts deal with the massacre of the Fogel Family of Itamar.  Few of us were in the mood for comdey last week.  The reality of Shabbat Zachor hit us very hard.  G-d commanded us to remember Amalek, what he did to us, how he attacked us.  And the drash of it is the Haftara,  Shmuel I 15:2,  which relates King Saul's most serious sin.  He didn't execute every member of Amalek's descendants.

ב כֹּה אָמַר, יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, פָּקַדְתִּי, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה עֲמָלֵק לְיִשְׂרָאֵל--אֲשֶׁר-שָׂם לוֹ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בַּעֲלֹתוֹ מִמִּצְרָיִם. 2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts: I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him in the way, when he came up out of Egypt.
ג עַתָּה לֵךְ וְהִכִּיתָה אֶת-עֲמָלֵק, וְהַחֲרַמְתֶּם אֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ, וְלֹא תַחְמֹל, עָלָיו; וְהֵמַתָּה מֵאִישׁ עַד-אִשָּׁה, מֵעֹלֵל וְעַד-יוֹנֵק, מִשּׁוֹר וְעַד-שֶׂה, מִגָּמָל וְעַד-חֲמוֹר. {ס} 3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.' {S}

King Saul and the Jewish People were victorious. The Amalek, Agag and his tribe were in King Saul's hand.  And then...
ח וַיִּתְפֹּשׂ אֶת-אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ-עֲמָלֵק, חָי; וְאֶת-כָּל-הָעָם, הֶחֱרִים לְפִי-חָרֶב. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
ט וַיַּחְמֹל שָׁאוּל וְהָעָם עַל-אֲגָג, וְעַל-מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר וְהַמִּשְׁנִים וְעַל-הַכָּרִים וְעַל-כָּל-הַטּוֹב, וְלֹא אָבוּ, הַחֲרִימָם; וְכָל-הַמְּלָאכָה נְמִבְזָה וְנָמֵס, אֹתָהּ הֶחֱרִימוּ. {פ} 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, even the young of the second birth, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; but every thing that was of no account and feeble, that they destroyed utterly. {P}
G-d sees everything.  What had King Saul been thinking?  How was he punished?
יג וַיָּבֹא שְׁמוּאֵל, אֶל-שָׁאוּל; וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ שָׁאוּל, בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה לַיהוָה--הֲקִימֹתִי, אֶת-דְּבַר יְהוָה. 13 And Samuel came to Saul; and Saul said unto him: 'Blessed be thou of the LORD; I have performed the commandment of the LORD.'
יד וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל, וּמֶה קוֹל-הַצֹּאן הַזֶּה בְּאָזְנָי, וְקוֹל הַבָּקָר, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי שֹׁמֵעַ. 14 And Samuel said: 'What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?'
טו וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל מֵעֲמָלֵקִי הֱבִיאוּם, אֲשֶׁר חָמַל הָעָם עַל-מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר, לְמַעַן זְבֹחַ, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ; וְאֶת-הַיּוֹתֵר, הֶחֱרַמְנוּ. {פ} 15 And Saul said: 'They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.' {P}
טז וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל, אֶל-שָׁאוּל, הֶרֶף וְאַגִּידָה לְּךָ, אֵת אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֵלַי הַלָּיְלָה; ויאמרו (וַיֹּאמֶר) לוֹ, דַּבֵּר. {ס} 16 Then Samuel said unto Saul: 'Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night.' And he said unto him: 'Say on.' {S}
יז וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל--הֲלוֹא אִם-קָטֹן אַתָּה בְּעֵינֶיךָ, רֹאשׁ שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָתָּה; וַיִּמְשָׁחֲךָ יְהוָה לְמֶלֶךְ, עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל. 17 And Samuel said: 'Though thou be little in thine own sight, art thou not head of the tribes of Israel? And the LORD anointed thee king over Israel;
יח וַיִּשְׁלָחֲךָ יְהוָה, בְּדָרֶךְ; וַיֹּאמֶר, לֵךְ וְהַחֲרַמְתָּה אֶת-הַחַטָּאִים אֶת-עֲמָלֵק, וְנִלְחַמְתָּ בוֹ, עַד כַּלּוֹתָם אֹתָם. 18 and the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said: Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
יט וְלָמָּה לֹא-שָׁמַעְתָּ, בְּקוֹל יְהוָה; וַתַּעַט, אֶל-הַשָּׁלָל, וַתַּעַשׂ הָרַע, בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה. {ס} 19 Wherefore then didst thou not hearken to the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst that which was evil in the sight of the LORD?' {S}
How did King Saul react?
כא וַיִּקַּח הָעָם מֵהַשָּׁלָל צֹאן וּבָקָר, רֵאשִׁית הַחֵרֶם, לִזְבֹּחַ לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בַּגִּלְגָּל. {ס} 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the devoted things, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.'{S}
King Saul blamed his people. We expect a king, a prime minister, rabbi, president to lead us, not to make excuses.  This past Shabbat there was a very interesting shiur, Torah Class by our Shiloh rabbi, Rav Elchanan Bin-Nun.  He said that the leaders get their strength and determination and idealism from the people. The stronger we are, the better our leaders will be.

King Saul was the first King of the Jewish People.  The People were still mired in the mindset of Shoftim, Judges.  Judges was a time...
כה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, אֵין מֶלֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל: אִישׁ הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו, יַעֲשֶׂה. {ש} 25 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.{P}
The Jewish People didn't know how to push their king in the right direction. G-d willing, we'll be strong and determined enough to have a true king (or Prime Minister) who follows G-d and helps lead us to Redemption.

Obama's Very Own Iraq Vietnam

How did U. S. President Obama and crew decide to interfere in internal Libyan affairs?  My gut feeling is that by taking military action the Americans will just get mired, snared and they won't help the ordinary Libyan citizen.

When the American government decided on a military action in Iraq to capture Saddam Hussein, they thought it would be relatively easy and make them look like defenders of democracy, heros.  When I think of the thousands of Iraqis they killed so that Saddam Hussein could be given a proper trial, something seems a bit fokokt in their reasoning.  Did the Americans give proper trials to all those Iraqis?  No, many of those Iraqis just had the unfortunate luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

So, what's going to happen in Libya?  Will it be any better?

The American military is still in Iraq.  Isn't it?  Terrorism continues. Didn't Obama campaign against The United States military in Iraq?  So why is he willing to fight Gadhafi in Libya?  It makes no sense to me at all.

Decades ago the United States entered Vietnam in an even less military way, and it escalated, eventually destroying lives, reputations and political careers.

But here in Israel, Shiloh, Israel to be exact, I'm happy that Obama is distracted.  Maybe he'll leave us alone.

Is Jerusalem's Light Rail Really On Track?

There was a very frank interview with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in In Jerusalem this Friday, but I can't link to it nor quote from it, because it's one of their "premium" articles.  That means that you have to pay for the privilege. 

I searched the internet for something similar.  Barkat explained in it that he discovered a total lack of coordination and accountability when he began checking out the status of the light rail.  Everyone involved was blaming and suing each other.  This older article says it more discreetly.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Sunday that the severe operational and planning delays in the project were inherited from the previous city administration, adding that work has been speeded up since he took office six months ago. "The municipality is doing everything it can within the limitations to speed up the project," Barkat spokesman Evyatar Elad said, in a written response. He added that the city was studying how best to proceed with future lines in the transportation project.
I don't understand why former Mayor Ehud Olmert, who initiated the project, hasn't been charged with corruption and the wasting of public funds on this fiasco.  My guess is that he left such a tangled mess, it's hard to directly connect him with anything.  That must have been his plan.  Lupiansky, who served as mayor in between Olmert and Barkat hadn't a clue and just kept the status quo, further tangling the mess and sinking government money into quicksand.  Barkat is a successful businessman and has been using those skills and experience to try to get the lightrail on track.

As someone who gets to Jerusalem at least once a week and always passing the tracks, I'm always looking out for the train.  Will it make life easier and more efficient or not?  All of us who either live, work, study or shop in Jerusalem on a regular basis are wondering.  Actually our biggest fear is safety. That train you see here (above and below) is routed through Arab neighborhoods on its way from Pisgat Zeev/Neve Ya'akov to French Hill, the "Seam" separating Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, the Old City Walls Arab neighborhood and then Jaffa Street, including the Municipality Complex, downtown, Machaneh Yehuda Market and onward to Mount Herzl.

There's nothing stopping the Arab terrorists from utilizing the train's multiple doors the way they once blew up our buses murdering and injuring Israeli civilians. The Arab terrorists have already resumed their murderous ways by murdering five of the Fogel Family of Itamar.

This past Shabbat we read Parshat Zachor.  It's a Torah G-d given commandment to remember what Amalek did to us.  Haman was descended from Amalek. And today's Amalek are the Arab terrorists. We won't have peace until they're destroyed.

Chag Purim Sameach

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Loud and Bitter Cry: From Gush Katif to Itamar – the Fogel family

A Loud and Bitter Cry: From Gush Katif to Itamar – the Fogel family
By Shifra Shomron

Purim holiday spirit is really running high in Israel. Stores are spilling out with costumes and happy customers with eager children are eagerly rummaging among the displays trying to decide whether to dress-up to a witch or a bride, a soldier or Spiderman. Not to be outdone, the eateries are also up to snuff and you can already buy your pre-packaged mishloach manot or choose from varied filling homantashens (chocolate, poppy-seed, strawberry, caramel, etc.).

Yet among all the joy we mustn't forget that there's one family that won't be celebrating Purim with us. Or rather, only three children out of the entire family still live to celebrate with us. And considering what they've just been through, I'm not sure if they really feel like partying – even for Purim.

I'm referring to the Fogel family, of course. They had been a normal, happy family. Maybe even luckier than most. The husband, Ehud Fogel, was a graduate of the Eli religious pre-army program. He became a Rabbi. His wife, Ruth, was a teacher. They lived in Netzarim, in Gush Katif. Following Ariel Sharon's summer 2005 Disengagement Plan they continued on with their community in caravilla housing in Ariel, but eventually left most of their Netzarim friends in Ariel and moved to the community of Itamar. This was a new place for them but necessary for Rav Ehud's work in the Itamar High Yeshiva. They decided to settle there, to buy a house, and look for positive aspects in the place. They found many.

In an audio-visual Hebrew interview published a year ago by Arutz 7, the couple speaks gently and happily. Rav Ehud describes his work with the Yeshiva students and explains how his own background helps him understand them. Ruth, while lifting one of her blonde-haired children on her lap, smiles and tells us that Itamar is such a very warm and welcoming place; very heterogeneous; there is room for everyone and there is plenty of tolerance.

No tolerance was to be found last Friday night (3-13-11). Two Arabs armed with knives broke through the security fence around Itamar. They entered the Fogel home and stabbed Ehud, his wife Ruth, their eleven year old son Yoav, four year old son Elad and three month old daughter Hadas – stabbed them all to a bloody death. But not all the Fogels were home; twelve year old daughter Tamar was out with her friends and returned home to discover these gory, macabre scenes. She rescued two of her siblings who were unharmed in a side room and escaped with them to the neighbors.

Currently all three surviving siblings are with their paternal grandparents, and the Israeli social workers have temporarily broken their strike to make sure that these children are being taken care of.

Tamar Fogel, and her two brothers – eight year old Ro'ey and two and a half year old Yishai – what sort of Purim will they have? How easy it is to merely read about fighting for existence and to cheerfully make noise with gragers compared to how different it is to keep on fighting, day by day, for the right to exist on ones land, and to manage to live life cheerfully whatever one's burden.

May their memories be blessed, may G-d avenge them, and a happy Purim to us all.

Shifra Shomron, is a teenage novelist and former Gush Katif resident, Grains Of Sand The Fall Of Neve Dekalim

Southern Israel, No, Those Weren't Pre-Purim Firecrackers on Shabbat

Shabbat wasn't very peaceful in sections of southern Israel, because the Gazan Arabs attacked with dozens and dozens of missiles.  I don't know what the New York Times reported earlier, but in one of their very low-key/small type headlines, just now they wrote:

Israeli Tanks Respond to Mortar Fire From Hamas

JERUSALEM — Hamas militants fired dozens of mortar shells from Gaza into southern Israel during a 15-minute period on Saturday morning, slightly injuring two Israeli civilians and sharply escalating tensions along the Israel-Gaza border.

The Israeli military responded to the unusually intense barrage with tank and helicopter fire. Gaza officials reported that five Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire directed at a Hamas security facility east of Gaza City, including three security officers and two civilians, one of them a child. (complete article here)
BBC had a better headline:

Gaza rocket barrage hits Israel
Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired dozens of missiles into southern Israel in what appears to be their heaviest such barrage in two years.

About 50 mortars were fired - two Israelis were hurt, Israel says. (complete article here)
No surprise, but both sites only showed pictures of suffering Arabs.

It's Purim here in Shiloh.  We celebrate two days of Purim each year.  I have lots to do in the kitchen.  No doubt I'll be back on the computer, but not now.

Latma on The UN's anti-anti-Semitism and Japanese earthquake woes

Caroline Glick has a good sensible article up, but I doubt if Bibi, our wobbly and wimpy Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will read it.

There's good news from Latma, it was asked to produce a pilot for TV!

And here's the latest from Latma:

The UN's anti-anti-Semitism and Japanese earthquake woes

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another Purim Message: Begin to Sadat, like Achashverosh to Haman

My husband's opening remarks at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center's Elitzur Memorial Evening, a book launch for Peace in the Making: The Menachem Begin - Anwar Sadat Personal Correspondence included a quotation from one of the book's letters, in which Begin complains to Sadat that words and actions of the Egyptian Government contradicts their signed agreements:
Prime Minister Begin to President Sadat, August 4, 1980
2. I will, of course, come back to the issues of Jerusalem, but I would like now to respond to another point in your letter, on which you dwell rather extensively: Good faith, goodwill, mutual understanding, promoting peace and cooperation.

These are the facts:

a) Your Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Boutrus Ghali, pays visits to African countries and repeatedly influences their governments not to renew diplomatic relations with Israel. Is not this unilateral action a clear breach of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, annex III, Article 5, Section 3, which stipulates:

"The parties shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and will, accordingly, abstain from hostile propaganda against each other."

This, certainly, is hostile propaganda in third countries which used to say that they cannot renew diplomatic relations with Israel as long as there is a state of war between it and an African state (Egypt). But now there is peace between Egypt and Israel. A peace treaty was signed between us and duly ratified. Why, then, this unilateral act of hostility towards Israel?

b) If the Egyptian delegate to the United Nations Emergency General Assembly votes for the most hostile anti-Israel resolution since that other abominable resolution was adopted in the Assembly equating Zionism - one of the most humane, national liberation movements in history - with racism (for which we, the Jews, have been and are the first victims), is not this a unilateral act of hostility contrary to our peace treaty?

c) The Egyptian delegate voted for a resolution demanding that by November 15, Israel withdraws from Judea, Samaria (my language), the Gaza District, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. Is not this a flagrant contradiction of the Camp David agreement? There it is written: "A withdrawal of Israeli armed forces will take place and there will be a redeployment of the remaining Israeli forces into specified security locations" - this, following the election of the self-governing authority (administrative council). It is also written in the Camp David agreement: "All necessary measures will be taken and provisions made to assure the security of Israel and its neighbours during the transitional period and beyond."

"The transitional period," agreed between Egypt, the United States and Israel, is five years; "beyond" is indefinite. "The remaining forces" mean army units which remain (in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District). Yet your delegate voted in the United Nations in favour of an "ultimatum" to Israel to commence evacuation of these territories in less than five months.

d) The Egyptian delegate made a speech at the United Nations in which he said, inter alia:

i) Israel should withdraw to the pre-June 5, 1967 lines, whether on the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Where, Mr. President, is this written in the Camp David agreement? The quotations mentioned above tell us of stipulations that are completely different.

ii) Israeli withdrawal should be complete including that of the military forces, settlements should be dismantled and settlers removed. Where is this passage mentioned at all in the Camp David accord?

iii) "The Palestinian people should exercise, without any external interference, the inalienable and fundamental right to self-determination, including the right to establish an independent state on the West Bank and Gaza.

Thus, the Egyptian delegate to the United Nations.

However, not one word about self-determination (which, of course, means a state), or about an independent (Palestinian) state appears in any one of the pages, paragraphs, sections, sub-sections etc. of the Camp David agreement. Dr. Ghali, speaking of behalf of Egypt, committed almost incomprehensible deviations from, and total contradictions, to, the Camp David accord which you and I signed and which our friend President Carter signed as witness, and which all of us are obligated to carry out in good faith in accordance with the old golden rule: Pacta sunt servanda. It is not Israel, Mr. President, which commits a breach of our peace treaty of the other, not yet fulfilled, part of the Camp David agreement; spokesmen of Egypt, of various levels, do.

3. In this conjunction it is also my duty to turn your attention again to the fact that one of your official newspapers likened me to the "embodiment of all evil in mankind," (to use a Churchillian description), Adolph Hitler. I would not refer back to this shame, were it not for the fact that this "hostile propaganda", which Egypt undertook to abstain from conducting still goes on and on in a press which is not free of Government influence. Again I was called, by one of the Egyptian newspapers, "Shylock", an epithet hurled at the Jew by all his haters and detractors who originally, in Germany, were termed "Anti-Semites". (Of course, we Arabs and Jews are all Semites). I will refrain from listing other names, or articles, or curses. But, Mr. President, is this the way "to foster mutual understanding"?

4. On Jerusalem: With this letter I attach three documents: a) my letter to President Carter of September17, 1978; b) the Law of the Holy Places adopted by the Knesset in June 1967; and c) the Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, adopted by the Knesset last week.

I am aware that you wrote a letter about Jerusalem to President Carter, who also wrote to me a letter after having withdrawn his first draft. About that draft we said to our American friends that should it become official we shall not sign the Camp David agreement which was already completed on that Sunday, September 17, 1978.

I put to you a simple, logical question: By what letter should we, Israel, stand? By yours? By President Carter's? Or by the letter of Israel's Prime Minister who, on this matter, speaks for ninety-five per cent of the Israeli people, without distinction of party affiliation?

I have never misled you, nor anybody else. Time and again I repeated that Jerusalem, in its entirety, is the capital of Israel, a city re-united and indivisible for all generations.

Yes, indeed, there are in Jerusalem places holy to Christians and Moslems. We respect them. It was not so under Jordanian occupation as far as the Jewish Holy Places were concerned. Israel assures men and women of all religions absolutely free access to the places sacred to them, guaranteed by the Basic Law forever. We know that from the point of view of religious faith Jerusalem is holy to Christians and Moslems. To the Jewish people Jerusalem is not only holy; it is their history for thee millennia, their heart, their dream, the visible symbol of their national redemption.

You assure me, Mr. President, that you are for the unity of Jerusalem but in your speech at the National Press Club in Washington, a few months ago, you demanded that "Eastern Jerusalem" be put under Arab sovereignty. This is a contradiction in terms. Two sovereignties over one city mean its re-partition. Impossible. Jerusalem is and will be one, under Israel's sovereignty, its indivisible capital in which Jews and Arabs will dwell together in peace and in human dignity. Whosoever declares that the sovereign acts of our democratic Parliament are null and void makes a declaration which is null and void.

The same applies to our settlements in Judea, Samaria, the Gaza District and the Golan Heights. They are legal and legitimate and they are an integral part of our national security. None of them will ever be removed. I made a statement to this effect in Aswan, in your presence, in public, before the press and media of the world. I said the same. Of course, to President Carter time and again since July, 1977.

5. You mentioned Resolution 242. As you will recall, that Resolution refers to withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories - not the territories - and the Resolution's authors have consistently affirmed that it does not command Israel to withdraw to the pre-June 5, 1967 lines.

Mr. President, we traveled a long road towards peace. There were discussion, nocturnal sessions, crises, renewed efforts - and let us never forget those of President Carter - until our labours bore fruit. Let us continue. We would like to have representatives of the Arab inhabitants of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District (not the PLO) around the table. But, incited and intimidated by the inflammatory and terrorist actions of the PLO they don't come ab initio. We cannot force them. Can Egypt bring them to the table? You know the facts as well as I do. All of us invited King Hussein; he recently declared that he will never join negotiations under the Camp David agreement. Can anyone of us change his attitude? I read your speeches on this subject.

Israel showed its good faith. We could have said: let us rather wait with the autonomy negotiations until Jordan and representatives of the Palestinian Arabs join the talks. We did not say so. You were willing to go ahead with these negotiations; we accepted and we negotiate with you.

However, four times Egypt unilaterally suspended the autonomy talks. Do these repeated suspensions contribute to the urgent need of solving the problems under the Camp David accord?

Let us, therefore, dispense with further unilateral suspensions. Let us renew our negotiations. We have differences of opinion. They do not, they should not, exclude another agreement on full autonomy for the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza (Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District) as written in the Camp David agreement.

Let us negotiate. Let us determine together the date for the renewal of the talks. Let us, as the past proves, reason together until we reach the agreement and pave the way for peace in this region, the cradle of human civilization.

With my best wishes to you and Mrs. Sadat,

Menachem Begin
This reminds me of something we had learned at Atara Snowbell's Megilat Ester class at Matan just before the Begin Center event.  A careful reading of Megillat (the Scroll of) Ester makes us wonder why King Achashverosh acted so surprised when informed by Esther that his government had plans to destroy the Jewish People.  Hadn't he heard that from Haman and approved of it completely?
ג וַתַּעַן אֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה, וַתֹּאמַר--אִם-מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ הַמֶּלֶךְ, וְאִם-עַל-הַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב: תִּנָּתֶן-לִי נַפְשִׁי בִּשְׁאֵלָתִי, וְעַמִּי בְּבַקָּשָׁתִי. 3 Then Esther the queen answered and said: 'If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request;
ד כִּי נִמְכַּרְנוּ אֲנִי וְעַמִּי, לְהַשְׁמִיד לַהֲרוֹג וּלְאַבֵּד; וְאִלּוּ לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת נִמְכַּרְנוּ, הֶחֱרַשְׁתִּי--כִּי אֵין הַצָּר שֹׁוֶה, בְּנֵזֶק הַמֶּלֶךְ. {ס} 4 for we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my peace, for the adversary is not worthy that the king be endamaged.' {S}
ה וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ, וַיֹּאמֶר לְאֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה: מִי הוּא זֶה וְאֵי-זֶה הוּא, אֲשֶׁר-מְלָאוֹ לִבּוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן. 5 Then spoke the king Ahasuerus and said unto Esther the queen: 'Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?'
ו וַתֹּאמֶר אֶסְתֵּר--אִישׁ צַר וְאוֹיֵב, הָמָן הָרָע הַזֶּה; וְהָמָן נִבְעַת, מִלִּפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהַמַּלְכָּה. 6 And Esther said: 'An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman.' Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen.
ז וְהַמֶּלֶךְ קָם בַּחֲמָתוֹ, מִמִּשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן, אֶל-גִּנַּת, הַבִּיתָן; וְהָמָן עָמַד, לְבַקֵּשׁ עַל-נַפְשׁוֹ מֵאֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה--כִּי רָאָה, כִּי-כָלְתָה אֵלָיו הָרָעָה מֵאֵת הַמֶּלֶךְ. 7 And the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman remained to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.
And even more careful and thorough reading shows that Haman didn't give any real details.  When Haman proposed his plan to Achashverosh, he made it seem much more benign.  They would just move the problematic ethnic group into protective ghettos.
ח וַיֹּאמֶר הָמָן, לַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ--יֶשְׁנוֹ עַם-אֶחָד מְפֻזָּר וּמְפֹרָד בֵּין הָעַמִּים, בְּכֹל מְדִינוֹת מַלְכוּתֶךָ; וְדָתֵיהֶם שֹׁנוֹת מִכָּל-עָם, וְאֶת-דָּתֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵינָם עֹשִׂים, וְלַמֶּלֶךְ אֵין-שֹׁוֶה, לְהַנִּיחָם. 8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus: 'There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from those of every people; neither keep they the king's laws; therefore it profiteth not the king to suffer them.
ט אִם-עַל-הַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב, יִכָּתֵב לְאַבְּדָם; וַעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים כִּכַּר-כֶּסֶף, אֶשְׁקוֹל עַל-יְדֵי עֹשֵׂי הַמְּלָאכָה, לְהָבִיא, אֶל-גִּנְזֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ. 9 If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those that have the charge of the king's business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.'
I highlighted the word לְאַבְּדָם which is inaccurately translated here as "destroyed." לאבד L'abed  means to lose something, not to destroy it.  So it's clear that Haman carefully worded his proposal to Achasverosh to make it seem as humanitarian as possible, even though his actual intention was destruction:
ו וַיִּבֶז בְּעֵינָיו, לִשְׁלֹחַ יָד בְּמָרְדֳּכַי לְבַדּוֹ--כִּי-הִגִּידוּ לוֹ, אֶת-עַם מָרְדֳּכָי; וַיְבַקֵּשׁ הָמָן, לְהַשְׁמִיד אֶת-כָּל-הַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר בְּכָל-מַלְכוּת אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ--עַם מָרְדֳּכָי. 6 But it seemed contemptible in his eyes to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had made known to him the people of Mordecai; wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
The lesson here is to pay careful attention to what the enemy is saying among for internal consumption and not what their public relations experts prepare for outsiders.

May we recognize the truth behind the mask.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Purim Same'ach!

Get Real! The Arabs Do Support Terrorism

This is dedicated to those who refuse to see through the masks.  It's human nature for us to project our own feelings and values on others.  We must learn to see what's really before us, what others are really saying.  Sometimes we must take off the masks hiding the monsters.  Just because Arab leaders use nice words to foreign press, academics and diplomats does not mean that they have good intentions.  It does not mean that they don't promote and encourage terrorism against Jews and anyone they perceive as infidels.

Arab leadership praises and rewards terrorism (PMW):
One day before terror attack in town of Itamar:
PA TV honors woman who drove suicide terrorist to Sbarro bombing
Fatah: She is "heroic"

One week before terror attack in town of Itamar:
PA TV honors man who drove suicide terrorist to Gilo bombing
Host: He is "heroic"
I recommend signing up for the updates from PMW Palestinian Media Watch.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Purim Megilla, Why is it Named After Esther?

Yesterday at the Megillat Ester course I'm taking at Matan, taught by Atara Snowbell, we asked just that question.  Who is the main character in the story which we celebrate on Purim?  Dry Bones has his own Megilla summary, which may be a bit too simplistic for our needs.

Now, who is the main character?  As we read/listen to the Megillah we stop and repeat the line introducing Mordechai in Chapter 2:
ה אִישׁ יְהוּדִי, הָיָה בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה; וּשְׁמוֹ מָרְדֳּכַי, בֶּן יָאִיר בֶּן-שִׁמְעִי בֶּן-קִישׁ--אִישׁ יְמִינִי. 5 There was a certain Jew in Shushan the castle, whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair the son of Shimei the son of Kish, a Benjamite,

And then at the end we also say the line about him Chapter 10:
ג כִּי מָרְדֳּכַי הַיְּהוּדִי, מִשְׁנֶה לַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ, וְגָדוֹל לַיְּהוּדִים, וְרָצוּי לְרֹב אֶחָיו--דֹּרֵשׁ טוֹב לְעַמּוֹ, וְדֹבֵר שָׁלוֹם לְכָל-זַרְעוֹ. {ש} 3 For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren; seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his seed. {P}

Nu, so why isn't the Purim Scroll called Megillat Mordechai? 

After the Persian King Achashverosh woke up to the fact that Mordechai had saved him, he gave him great honors, to be second to the king himself.  It was Mordechai, and Mordechai alone of all the Jews in Persia, who was brave enough to defy Haman.  And without Modechai, how could Esther have gotten to her position as Queen of Persia and also known about Haman's government-sanctioned plans to destroy the entire Jewish People, from the elderly to infants?

Esther was just obeying Mordechai's instructions.  Wasn't she?  And for that, why does she deserve getting the Purim Scroll named after her?  Chapter 2:
כ אֵין אֶסְתֵּר, מַגֶּדֶת מוֹלַדְתָּהּ וְאֶת-עַמָּהּ, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה עָלֶיהָ, מָרְדֳּכָי; וְאֶת-מַאֲמַר מָרְדֳּכַי אֶסְתֵּר עֹשָׂה, כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה בְאָמְנָה אִתּוֹ. {ס} 20 Esther had not yet made known her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her; for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him-- {S}
As we discussed it, from historical and literary perspectives, suddenly I remembered that decades ago I had learned that character development, change, determines who the main character is.  And when you look at the story carefully, you see that the other major characters in the narrative, Mordechai, King Achashverosh and Haman stay the same.  Only Esther grows greatly, finally giving orders to Mordechai and even King Achashverosh, Chapter 4:
טו וַתֹּאמֶר אֶסְתֵּר, לְהָשִׁיב אֶל-מָרְדֳּכָי. 15 Then Esther bade them return answer unto Mordecai:
טז לֵךְ כְּנוֹס אֶת-כָּל-הַיְּהוּדִים הַנִּמְצְאִים בְּשׁוּשָׁן, וְצוּמוּ עָלַי וְאַל-תֹּאכְלוּ וְאַל-תִּשְׁתּוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים לַיְלָה וָיוֹם--גַּם-אֲנִי וְנַעֲרֹתַי, אָצוּם כֵּן; וּבְכֵן אָבוֹא אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-כַדָּת, וְכַאֲשֶׁר אָבַדְתִּי, אָבָדְתִּי. 16 'Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I also and my maidens will fast in like manner; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.'
יז וַיַּעֲבֹר, מָרְדֳּכָי; וַיַּעַשׂ, כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-צִוְּתָה עָלָיו אֶסְתֵּר. 17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.

Chapter 9: יב וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּר הַמַּלְכָּה, בְּשׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה הָרְגוּ הַיְּהוּדִים וְאַבֵּד חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת אִישׁ וְאֵת עֲשֶׂרֶת בְּנֵי-הָמָן--בִּשְׁאָר מְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ, מֶה עָשׂוּ; וּמַה-שְּׁאֵלָתֵךְ וְיִנָּתֵן לָךְ, וּמַה-בַּקָּשָׁתֵךְ עוֹד וְתֵעָשׂ. 12 And the king said unto Esther the queen: 'The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the castle, and the ten sons of Haman; what then have they done in the rest of the king's provinces! Now whatever thy petition, it shall be granted thee; and whatever thy request further, it shall be done.'
יג וַתֹּאמֶר אֶסְתֵּר, אִם-עַל-הַמֶּלֶךְ טוֹב--יִנָּתֵן גַּם-מָחָר לַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר בְּשׁוּשָׁן, לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּדָת הַיּוֹם; וְאֵת עֲשֶׂרֶת בְּנֵי-הָמָן, יִתְלוּ עַל-הָעֵץ. 13 Then said Esther: 'If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews that are in Shushan to do to-morrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.'
יד וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהֵעָשׂוֹת כֵּן, וַתִּנָּתֵן דָּת בְּשׁוּשָׁן; וְאֵת עֲשֶׂרֶת בְּנֵי-הָמָן, תָּלוּ. 14 And the king commanded it so to be done; and a decree was given out in Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons.
Esther developed from being the passive step-daughter cousin Mordechai sent into the palace to a true leader and queen.  There's a principle in Judaism that the "medicine/cure comes before the illness," and we see it in the Purim Story.

It seems so superficial, trivial and even unsuitable that this Jewish Hadassa, from the Jew Modechai's home entered the competition to be Queen of Persia.  Hadassa's Persian, Esther, name also has a Hebrew root, להסתר l'hastir, to hide, and that's the name that suits her.  Her talents are hidden behind her beauty, and although she was expected to be no more than one-time distraction of the king, she ended up the leader of his kingdom, pulling strings behind the scenes.

Tzom Kal, easy fast to those fasting.
Chag Purim Sameach
Have a Joyous Purim

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Disasters, Natural and Man-Made

Nobody asks the Japanese if they're leaving their country permanently because of the dangers there, the natural dangers.  I was facinated by an article in the New York Times by a Japanese novelist writing his first-person report of the earthquake. It's definitely a perspective we don't usually hear.  It doesn't read like the TV news reports on BBC or CNN.

Communities like my Village of Shiloh and Itamar, where the latest Arab terror attack, the barbaric murder of five members of the same family, took place are always asked how we can stay here.  Our dangers are man-made.  Arab terrorists and Israeli politicians conspire to keep us on our toes. 

In a few months we'll be celebrating thirty years in Shiloh, and from the earliest days here, we've entertained journalists and answered the same questions.  They keep expecting us to be forcibly removed to make room for a new Arab terror state, Pseudostine aka Palestine sic.

As we go on living peacefully, mourning our dead, healing our wounds, the world calls us "obstacles of peace."  They want us to cooperate, go like sheeps to slaughter, like the Jews did in Germany and later other countries in Europe when German Nazis ruled.

We've learned our lesson.  We're not moving.  We're not cooperating with our destruction.

Let the baby Yair, of Itamar, and his family bring light to the world.

Soon we celebrate Purim, the holiday that celebrates our power to reverse evil decrees.

Chag Purim Sameach!
Have a Joyous Purim!

"We Expected You To Kill Us..."

Someone I know has a business in YOSH, Judea-Samaria.  He employs a few Arabs, with whom he considers the relationship excellent. They are good workers.  He trusts them, and they have always shown him great respect.

On the day after the massacre of five members of the Fogel Family in Itamar, he expected his Arab workers to be at work on time, as usual.  They weren't, and they hadn't called in sick or reporting problems in passing security on the roads.

Finally, he reached them by phone:
"Why aren't you at work?"
"We expected you to kill us.  That's what we would have done.  An eye for an eye..."
Even after many years of working with Arabs, my friend had misread their mindset.  He was so sure that he had established a relationship that transcended politics, ideology and hatred.

It's not even enough to speak Arabic with Arabs to know them.  The Arab culture is very attuned to saying what will be accepted.  They don't consider it lying.  And it's certainly impossible to know them well if you speak to them in another language, Hebrew or English for example.  The Israeli and foreign academics who base their theories about Arabs and peace on the Arabs they know in non-Arabic relationships have no way to truly understand Arabs, because they don't know what's being said in the Arab speaking world.  Each language has its personality.

On the international TV newscasts about the post-earthquake life in Japan, the journalists asked one foreign resident if people are worried, because of all the radiation and other dangers.  But the replies describe rather normal life and stoicism, the Japanese characteristics.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Explosive Cargo Intercepted By IDF

IDF Naval Commandos intercepted explosives which were being shipped to Gaza on the Victoria.

Here are some movies showing the security action.

The threats against us are real, and we must take all precautions.  Thank G-d the IDF, all it's branches, are well-trained and dedicated to the difficult job.

Trojan Horses for Jesus Come Bearing Gifts

Posted by JewishIsrael

This report is a continuation of Jewish Israel's post-Carmel fire coverage, regarding major Jewish philanthropic and state institutions which are actively engaged in ventures with the evangelizing messianic community.

We fill you in on recent developments, take a look at JNF's partnership with GOD-TV, and expose some disturbing relationships State of Israel Bonds has with missionary entities...more

Hagee Goes Hollywood

Christian Newswire is reporting that the film, Jerusalem Countdown, adapted from Pastor John Hagee's book of the same name, is scheduled for release this fall. The film was produced by the Christian film company Pure Flix Cinema in conjunction with John Hagee Ministries.

From what we can gather from the trailer, this is a high-budget, action-packed production about rapture, terror and romance. The all-star cast includes Stacy Keech playing the role of "a converted Israeli Mossad Agent"...more

America Shares the Blame for the Fogel Family Murders

It reads like a sequel to the much ignored movie, The Siege.  Anyone who cares about, or considers him/herself a political or security pundit should take a good look at this movie.  It has a number of simultaneous interwoven plots.  IMHO, the most important is that the terrorists who are terrorizing New York City had been trained by the American CIA, and the CIA agent is too involved and emotionally connected to the Arabs.

Ever since I saw that movie, I am never surprised to read that America had trained the Arab terrorists who murdered Jews here.

The United States isn't the initiator of the ideology of terror attacks against innocent Israeli civilians, but it totally ignores the fact that its pet protégé`, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, encourages and rewards terrorism.  The anti-Israel incitement goes on regardless of the carefully worded public relations press releases in languages other than Arabic.

I also blame the Israeli Government, politicians, media etc for blinding themselves to the truth.  This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Zachor, when we're commanded by G-d to remember what Amalek did to us.  Well, Amalek went after the weak, like modern day terrorists.  We're supposed to destroy them.  There's no vaccine or PC way of changing them.  G-d's instructions are very clear.

It's also now fifteen years since I was injured in a terror attack.  An Arab terrorist rammed into a few dozen of us waiting for a bus or ride near French Hill, Jerusalem.  One woman was murdered, dozens injured.  I'm one of the lucky ones who only sustained minor physical injuries.

Enough words.  Here are a couple of Dry Bones cartoons, good messages and common sense.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Radioactive Ripples

Every little thing we do has some sort of "ripple effect."  That's a reason Jewish Law makes us guard our tongues, שמרית לשון shmirat lashon.  Pandora's Box can't be closed back up.

The ongoing reports and updates of last Friday's earthquake in Japan, the tsunami and now the damage to the nuclear power stations, the resulting radioactive leaks and then the human and economic costs make it clear that this tragedy will be felt for a very long time.  There is no longer a rich benevolent super-power to fund the rebuilding of Japan.

The Fogel-Ben Yishai clan are sitting shiva, observing the seven day mourning period.  You can say that the murder of five family members by Arab terrorists is like the earthquake.  The funeral is like the tsunami.  The shiva is a series of unpredictable aftershocks.  And then, like the radiation which will affect Japan and all who are touched by it for generations, so will this barbaric massacre.  You can't totally cleanse yourself of radiation, and Rav Udi, Ruthie, Elad, Yoav and Hadas Fogel can never be brought back to life.