The moral decay that is anti semitism 

Dennis Prager made his name when I was a youngster with Joseph Telushkin (who more recently wrote a marvellous book about the Lubavitcher Rebbe זי׳ע

Denis has been involved in some Oxford Debates of late.

[hat tip Md]

Here he is in a stinging and compelling snippet.

 

 

Barking up the wrong tree

Instead of disarming Hamas, all we read about is the number of rockets, number of intercepts by the Iron Dome, and stress and number of near misses and trauma.

WAKE UP ISRAEL. THE WORLD DOESNT CARE ABOUT THE NUMBERS. THEY BLAME YOU. FORGET THEM.

Just go in and disarm HAMAS and destroy their infrastructure. That’s the ONLY response, and the ONLY language they understand. If that sparks Hezbollah then flatten Lebanon.

Modeling faith and love

[Hat tip to Bobbie, this is from Israel Hayom]

The Fraenkel, Shaer and Yifrach families modeled for us spiritual strength and brotherly love.

By David M. Weinberg

Published in Israel Hayom, July 1, 2014.

So it turns out that the families of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach knew almost from the beginning of this ordeal that one or two of the three boys were likely to have been killed in the course of the kidnapping on June 12.

There were gunshots on the recording of the SOS call made by Gilad, which was played for the families. There were bullet casings and blood found in the burnt shell of the getaway car, and the families were told this too.

They were told that the lack of demands from the kidnappers was a sign that the boys might no longer be alive.

And yet all three families exuded optimism, faith and positive energy for 18 long days. They went before camera and after camera, reporter after reporter, concert after concert, and prayer assembly after prayer assembly, and asserted their confidence that just a bit more effort could bring a positive result. They met every youth group, every foreign diplomat, every UN assembly, every IDF commander they could, thanking everybody for their efforts, in their upbeat, affirming and unassuming way.

What amazing people! What noble people! How they raised the spirits of an entire nation; united an entire nation; comforted an entire nation!

They taught us how to harness all our temporal powers to drive towards a national goal in unison. They taught us all what it means to believe in powers greater than our own.

Perhaps the most profound thought uttered over the past three weeks was expressed by Racheli Fraenkel at the Western Wall last week. In a clip shown on Israeli television, and seen I think by just about every person in this country, Mrs. Fraenkel is approached at the Wall by a group of very young girls who want to wish her well.

Instead, Mrs. Fraenkel bends down to them and offers theological reassurance and warm wisdom. “I want you to promise me,” she softly says, “that no matter what happens, you won’t be crushed or broken. That you won’t lose faith. After all, we must remember that G-d isn’t our ‘employee.’ He doesn’t always do as we wish.”

With these crushingly humble words, Racheli Fraenkel captured the hearts of an entire nation. Her words resounded through every living room and every workplace. People repeated them, reflected upon them, debated them. Agree or disagree, nobody could deny her strength of spirit. Nobody could avoid being awestruck at her clear-sightedness; at her breathtaking display of faith within realism.

As I stood at midnight last night outside the Fraenkel home (down the street from my home in Nof Ayalon), Naftali’s uncle Yishai Fraenkel shared with me that behind the mask of embarrassed smiles and sunny demeanor we saw on our television screens, Racheli Fraenkel was being torn apart. “Inside the house, she doesn’t smile. Inside the house, inside her soul, she is dealing with a great personal burden of pain. And of course, she must simultaneously be mother to her other children. She may be a superwoman, but she has no super-natural powers. She says that she draws strength from the People of Israel; from the outpouring of care and prayer that has come from all corners of the Jewish world.”

Such modesty aside, I feel that Mrs. Fraenkel and the other five now-bereaved parents modeled for us not just indomitable personal character. They modeled for us spiritual strength; a healthy blend of religious devotion and rationality. Of this world-ness and other-world-ness. Of pragmatism and values. Of self-interest and selflessness. Of coolly calculated tactics and naturally-flowing love.

They gave Israelis a model for religious commitment, national unity and brotherly love not only in times of crisis but also in everyday life; throughout all regular seasons of our rough-and-tumble spiritual-social-political life.

For this, we are in their debt.

Give us back our boys!

I just attended the community Tehillim event at Caulfield Shule, and I felt ill at ease.

Let me explain. I do not understand what Hashem wants from us. On the one hand he wants us to follow Him and we do, to the best of our ability amongst swirling stormy seas of שונאי   ימח שמם, ישראל,  and the vicissitudes thrown up by the modern world of temptation and diversion.

I have a son in Israel, whose birthday is tomorrow עד מאה ועשרים and who is barely older than the three captives, and who was in that area a few days earlier with my daughter and son-in-law. Another son had been there a few weeks earlier with my grandson enjoying the beauty that only the Holy Land can produce.

We said Tehillim. I concentrated with all my might. I was gratified to see a good cross-section of people from the religious community in attendance, including a number of representatives from Adass. I felt we were one, but I found myself questioning why Hashem was abandoning us. קלי למה עזבתנו. Didn’t we all suffer enough from Gilad Shalit’s ordeal and the tendentious decision to release murderers in return. Will that kid ever be a “normal” person?

I am reminded at such times of the genuine tears and wailing of my Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Goldvicht ז’ל, who repeated over and over and over צעקו והשם שמע ומכל צרותם הצילם at times like these: we are behoved to audibly cry out in anguish, and God must listen and save us from all our Tzores. The atmosphere then at Kerem B’Yavneh was one of numbness. I often still feel it. I visualise it. None of us were remotely close to the essence of the Rosh Yeshivah’s cries to Hashem.

I vacillate between feeling like a speck asking Hashem to listen to my wishes, and the power of the whole, the קדושה of oneness displayed when people are conjoined by external trouble. Rav Soloveitchik wrote that this causative oneness is admirable and natural, but he exhorted that the challenge was to have such feelings when we are not drawn together by Tzaros.

The Rav felt that this higher level of קדושה was the עצמות of what קדושת העם is meant to be. It is our collective existential submission to Hashem that is qualitatively superior to individual pain or external causes that draw us together. This oneness existed at the time of the Beis Hamikdash through individuals literally being לפני השם. This then is the challenge: to feel לפני השם even when things are nice and comfortable and all is comparatively well. I’m certainly not near that level which is probably why I felt rather ill at ease. I know,  like everyone, where I need to improve and what I need to do. The challenge is doing it, and doing it as a team.

Keep

Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim
Eyal ben Iris Tesurah

uppermost in your Tefillos

[Hat tip to BA] for the following

Our country, our people, our struggle and extremism

I was not going to post about this topic because I know there are many at Adass Yisrael, the Melbourne Chassidic Charedi organisation, who were upset at what happened and I didn’t want to pour petrol on a raging fire.

Then I received the following video [hat tip MD]. It shocked me to my core. If you understand Ivrit, just a little it will likely do the same to you. Make sure you turn on annotations and captions in youtube for English.

The Palestinian Arab rendition of Hatikva

It is plain to see that they have butchered the words of Hatikva to issue calls for the destruction of our homeland and annihilation of our people. We are sixty short years away from a scourge that made no difference between a Rebbe or Mechalel Shabbos. A scourge that didn’t care if someone was from Satmar or from Mizrachi. The common theme is that

עם לבדד ישכון

But who is the עם?

Two incidents occurred with the approval of Rabbinic decree at Adass on Yom Haatzmaut. Now, nobody is saying that people have to give שבח והודאה to Hashem if they feel that the state is a cataclysm for עם ישראל but is this אחיך בלבביך?

Both incidents are outside the rules of Dinim Mefurashim in Shulchan Aruch according to all Rishonim.

  • We don’t say Tachanun at a Bris Mila (שו”ע, סימן קלא, סעיף ד). The Kaf Hachaim says that even other minyanim in that building don’t say Tachanun כה”ח, סימן קעז. The Mishna Brura says that even if the Ba’alei Simcha aren’t there  (משנ”ב, שם, ס”ק כב). Yet, when a recent Bris was held on the 5th of Iyyar (yes, we can assume that they didn’t accept the 6th of Iyyar this year because that was designed to lessen the chance of עבירות) yet at Adass, the Rabbi declared vocally that Tachanun had to be said. The SADNESS and CALAMITY of the establishment of a State overrode in his unpublished and unsourced opinion (I know about the Chazon Ish 60 years ago) the clear requirement not to say Tachanun because there was a Simcha. Perhaps they should have worn sack cloth at the Bris and said Kinos on the floor? When I look at this action in the context of the youtube link above, I feel sick in my stomach. Isn’t it clear to one and all that Tachanun would not have been said because of a Bris? Isn’t it known that the right-wing Satmar branch of Adass are closer to Neturei Karta and the breakaway than they are to the rest of the community and Adass has lurched to the right over the years, especially as the sane voices of holocaust survivors dwindle.  Would this happen at Chabad? No. Would this happen at Beis HaTalmud? I’d venture to say no. Even though Rav Kotler was no uber supporter, he had a fidelity to Halacha. Someone correct me if they say Tachanun at Lakewood on Yom Ha’atzmaut if there is a Bris.
  • There was a poor Adass fellow who was sitting Shiva for his father. During the Shiva,  the Halacha is clear that we do not say Tachanun. Nobody is talking about Hallel with or without a Brocho or anything like that. Tachanun is not said in the mourners house. Yet, because it was Yom Ha’atzmaut, they decided to say Tachanun in contrast to an open halacha שולחן עורך אורח חיים סעיף ד’ ובמשנה ברורה סק”כ. This is a time when the Midas HaDin is threatening and we dare NOT mention sin (Tachanun) in the house of an Avel. But here, the existence of a State of Israel and the possibility that this might be seen to be supporting Yom Ha’atzmaut, was seen (unpublished and unsourced) as more important than the fearful notion of מידת הדין מתוחה, וצריך ליזהר שלא להגביר מידת הדין עליו

So what does one do? My suggestion is that all who are friendly with people from Adass and who agree with my viewpoint express objection in strong terms and ask them why those who were not happy with the unhalachic ruling, decided to say Tachanun. This is not a הוראת שעה from a נביא.

במקום שיש חילול השם אין חולקים כבוד לרב

I fully accept that the Rabbi(s) who must have issued this ruling are careful with the minutest detail of Halacha and are honest and ehrliche Jews, but I simply cannot reconcile this alleged breach of Halacha in the context of that sickening youtube video.

Nobody says one has to agree with ראשית צמיחת גאולתינו … I know many Rabonim who cleverly say סמיכת when it is politically wise to do so, or who add the word שיהא. These are eschatological matters which really don’t concern me too much. I’m happy with plain גאולה as soon as possible.

I consider these actions as tantamount to matching the antics of the ערב רב who visit and visited those despots who seek to dismantle the only Jewish homeland we have, and have had for thousands of years.

It’s a Shame and a Shande ואין פוצץ פה

Visiting their “Rebbe” Arafat’s Tziyun
Holocaust survivor, Moshe Ber Halevi Beck, with Ahmadinajad, ימח שמו וזכרו

Australia Post “racist”?

What a joke. Who do they think is going to issue the stamp with Australia, Hamas or Fatah? Did they exist in 1917? Maybe Australia should have issued the stamp with the peace loving Erdogan?

[Hat tip to Benseon]

 

 

I’m simply speechless

Every day that we say Modeh Ani, we need to internalise it. As is well known, I have a life-long bond with the tragedy of the Bombay murders of my friends, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his Rebbetzin Rivki, Hashem Yinkom Domom. That the new tragedy below could occur as a segue, shocks me further in a way that I am not able to comprehend. When I go home tonight, I will try to find an appropriate essay from the Rav, which may help me cope with the incomprehensible.

The story is from the algameiner journal, and is reproduced below.

Names Revealed: Kiryat Malachi Victim Was Chabad Emissary From India Visiting Israel for Mumbai Victims’ Memorial Service

A victim of a Gaza rocket attack on Kiryat Malachi lies in a body bag.

Israeli political consultant Jonny Daniels citing an Israeli source and a Chabad leader in Israel told The Algemeiner that among the victims of this morning’s Gaza rocket attack on the Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi was a 25 year old Chabad “shlucha (female emissary)” to New Dehli, India named Mirah (nee Cohen) Scharf, who was visiting Israel for the memorial service of Chabad Mumbai terror victims Gabi and Rivka Holtzberg. The Hebrew anniversary of their brutal murder is today.

According to Chabad website Lubavitch.com, Scharf was pregnant. Sources told The Algemeiner that she had come to Israel to give birth, but arrived early in order to be able to attend the Holtzberg memorial. Chabad members on Facebook say she was the mother of 3 young children.

A second victim named Ahron Smadga said to be in his late forties was the father of the 8 month old baby girl who was injured.

“He was married for 20 years and couldn’t have children then he had twin boys nine years ago, and 8 months ago his daughter was born and he was walking around with a smile on his face that he had a daughter after all this years,” Daniels told The Algemeiner.

“He was one of the first Chabad soldiers to join the Israeli Army,” he said.

The third victim was 22 year old Yitzchak Amselam. The funeral is planned for later today.

Israeli Chabad websites Shturem and COL, reported that the rocket attack hit the neighborhood of Nachlas Har Chabad and that “the entire community is devastated from the tragedy.”

“The shelters in Kiryat Malachi were not readied for the onslaught, and the residents of the building that was hit were running to relative safety under the stairwell of the building, when a missile hit, taking precious lives and injuring the others,” writes Shrurem.org.

Kiryat Malachi is about 11 miles from Ashkelon, and has a population of approximately 21,000.

Mira Scharf, on the right. Hashem Yinkom Dama