23 February 2018

Parashas Tetzaveh-Zachor

Parashas Tetzaveh-Zachor
by Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlit”a

Make holy garments for Aharon, your brother, for glory and for splendor. (Shemos 28:2)

THERE ARE MANY ways to describe the purpose of Creation. However, they all come down to a single idea:

If you analyze the days of old which preceded you, from the time God first created man upon the earth, and investigate from one end of heaven unto the other end of heaven, can you find anything that has occurred as great as this; has the likes of this ever been heard? Did a people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of fire, as you did, and yet survive? Did ever God take a nation from the midst of another nation, through tests and signs, by wonders, by war, by a strong hand and stretched out arm, with awe, as God, your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? This was shown to you so that you could know that God is God, and that there is no one else aside from Him. (Devarim 4:32-35)

To appreciate what this truly means, it is important to be more specific, especially considering what the Hebrew text says:

… To know that Hashem is Elokim, and there is no one else but Him.

It is not simply a matter of knowing that “God is God,” but specifically of knowing that Hashem, spelled Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, is “Elokim,” as we repeat seven times at the end of Yom Kippur. Elokim may run the world in a quiet behind-the-scenes manner which others call “Nature,” but it is really Hashem running the entire show.

To better understand what this means, the Torah later warns about an opposite reality:

“I will become very angry at them on that day, and I will abandon them and hide My face from them. They will be devoured, and plagued by many evils that will distress them, and will say, ‘Do we not suffer because God has left us?’ ” (Devarim 31:17)

It will be as if I do not see their troubles. (Rashi)

“As if,” but not actually. During hester panim, when God hides His face, so-to-speak, the result is a perception of abandonment by God, as a result of what happens in history and how. God ALWAYS runs the show, and is as involved in the lives and destiny of the Jewish people as ever. It just won’t appear like that in the minds of the Jewish people, the result of previously having ignored God.

Hence, the Ba’al HaTurim reveals that:

The end letters [of the Hebrew words for “hide My face from them. They will be devoured”] have the gematria of ‘Haman,’ and this is what the rabbis learn in Chullin (139b), that “Anochi haster astir” hints to Esther.

Haman, the infamous descendant of Amalek, whose main offense is tampering with the perception of the Jewish people:

The hand is on God’s Throne . . . (Shemos 17:16)

The hand of God is raised to swear by His Throne to have eternal war and hatred against Amalek. Why is it written Chof-Samech and not Chof-Samech-Aleph and why is the Name divided in two? God swore that His . . . Throne will not be whole until the name of Amalek is completely obliterated. (Rashi, Shemos 17:16)

This means that Amalek exists to create doubt regarding Hashgochah Pratis—Divine Providence—making it seem as if God does not see all that happens in the world of man, or at least, that He doesn’t care. Hence, the gematria of his name equals 240, the same as the Hebrew word “suffek,” which means “doubt.”

“Amalek” can also be read, Ayin-malak—Mem-Lamed-Kuf—which means “severed eye,” because that is what he does: he severs the MIND’S eye of the Jewish people. But apparently, it is only an eye that the Jewish people have begun to sever themselves:

Then came Amalek and attacked the Jewish people in Refidim. (Devarim 17:8)

The Torah places this section immediately after this verse (when they asked, “Is God amongst us or not?”) to imply, “I am always amongst you and ready at hand for everything you need, and yet you say, ‘Is God amongst us or not?’ By your lives, that dog shall come and bite you, and you will cry for Me and then you will know where I am!” It is like a man who carried his son on his shoulders and went on a journey. The son saw an article and said, “Father, pick up that thing and give it to me.” He gave it to him, and so a second time and also a third time. Yet, when they met a certain man along the journey, the son asked him, “Have you seen my father anywhere?” Therefore, the father said to him, “You do not know where I am?” At which point he put him down and a dog came and bit him. (Rashi, Shemos 17:8)

Based upon this, it would seem that Amalek is the name of the spiritual void that results when the Jewish people cease to be real with the idea that “Hashem is Elokim.” This is why the potential for Amalek, in the form of Haman, resulted when Adam HaRishon ate from the Aitz HaDa’as Tov v’Ra—the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as the Talmud states:

Where is there an allusion to Haman in the Torah? In the verse, “Did you eat from—hamin—the tree?” (Chullin 139b)

It is a play on the word “hamin,” which can also be read, “Haman,” establishing a connection between Haman and the Aitz HaDa’as Tov v’Ra. Hence, the main result of the eating itself, the Torah says was:

God called out to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard Your voice in the Garden. I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” (Bereishis 3:9-10)

Hide from God? Is that even possible? No. But, a person can think that they are hiding from God if they are not real with the idea that “Hashem is Elokim.” If a person takes God’s silence as evidence of His absence, they can easily delude himself into believing that God goes elsewhere at times.

That’s why it is not coincidental, but Hashgochah Pratis, that Parashas Zachor is usually Parashas Tetzaveh. It is the role of the kohanim through their office, and the “Nation of Priests” through their lifestyle, to make the reality of “Hashem is Elokim” apparent to everyone. If we don’t, then we become evidence of just that opposite, suffering as a result and profaning God’s Name in the process.



“For Me” and “For My Name”

The Tabernacle connects between two levels: 
“For Me” and “For My Name.” 
These allude to two paths to serving God

For My Name
In the previous parashah, Rashi comments on the verse, “Take a contribution for Me,” that “For Me” means “For My Name.” In Parashat Tetzaveh, there are seven more appearances of the word “for Me” (לִי). All of these appearances refer to the service of the kohanim (the priests) in the Tabernacle.

As mentioned in our article on Parashat Terumah, the interpretation in the Zohar is: “Take Me.” God gives Himself to us, as it were, through the Torah. Rashi’s phraseology, “‘Me’—for My Name” includes the meaning offered by the Zohar. “Take Me” is the “higher” interpretation and “For My Name” is the “lower” interpretation.

“For Me” (לִי) is spelled with the letters lamed and yud. They have numerical values of 30 and 10, respectively. The sum of these two numbers is 40, which is the numerical value of the letter mem (מ). The product of 30 and 10 is 300, which is the numerical value of the letter shin (ש). Together, these two new letters spell “name” (שֵׁם). We will place this new word, formed by adding and multiplying the two original letters, in-between them. The new word that we have formed is “For My Name” (לִשְׁמִי). Thus, we see how Rashi’s interpretation includes his own interpretation and that of the Zohar, both in name and in number.


“For Me”—The Eternal Tabernacle
In the Torah, God refers to thirteen things as “Mine.” Among them are the Temple (which includes the Tabernacle) and the kohanim. The midrash states, “Wherever God says, ‘For Me’ is referring to an everlasting acquisition in this world and the World to Come.” When God says, “for Me” about something, it becomes an essential part of God’s essence. He says “I have made you Mine!” Like a groom, who says to his bride, “You are sanctified for me.”

The verse states, “And they shall make a sanctuary for Me.” This refers to the Tabernacle in the wilderness. It also refers to the Temple that was eventually constructed in Jerusalem. But, in practice, this commandment related only to the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a temporary abode that was superseded by the first Temple. How can we say that it was, “an everlasting acquisition”?

The answer is that the Tabernacle that Moses constructed was indeed eternal. The sages teach that when the Temple was built, the Tabernacle in its entirety was hidden away. Although it was no longer visible, the Tabernacle was indeed an eternal, “everlasting acquisition.”

For My Name—The Destroyed Temple
In the Bible, the expression “For My Name” (in this context) appears thirteen times. This is exactly the number of times that the midrash states that “For Me” appears in the Torah! Each of these instances relates to the Temple. The majority relate to King Solomon, of whom God said, “He shall build it for My name.” In Hebrew letters, three out of the four letters of the name Solomon (שְׁלֹמֹה) are the same as “for My Name” (לִשְׁמִי). All four letters of his name can be rearranged to mean, “for the sake of Heaven” (לִשְׁמָהּ). We clearly see that “For Me” (לִי) relates to the Tabernacle. “For My Name” (לִשְׁמִי) refers uniquely to the Temple.

God warned Solomon, “If you and your offspring stray from Me… this house which I sanctified for My Name will be destroyed.” The transitory, portable Tabernacle was hidden away intact. Yet, because of our sins, the Temple, which was a permanent building, was destroyed twice. “For Me,” according to the midrash, implies permanence, “For My Name” does not.

The Shechinah In Exile
“For Me” and “For My Name” is the distinction between two aspects of God, referred to in Kabbalah as Kudsha Brich-Hu (“the Holy one, blessed be He”) and the Shechinah. The Shechinah is God’s presence that descends into reality and vitalizes it. Kudsha Brich-Hu refers to a level of Godliness that is above and beyond reality and cannot be contained in this world.

Everyone has a name by which others can refer to him. But, one’s name is not one’s fundamental essence, which cannot be expressed. Each of us lives our inherent sense of being and refer to it as “me.” Similarly, we can refer to God by speaking about His Shechinah. This is the Name we call Him, but it does not touch upon His essence. When we refer to God as Kudsha Brich-Hu, we are referring to His own inherent sense of being, as it were. We have no way of accessing that level. When God states that the Temple should be “For My Name” He refers us to the Shechinah, which is His immanent presence in the lower worlds. “For Me” refers to the higher level of Kudsha Brich-Hu.

The Temple built by King Solomon was for God’s Name. In it, there was a complete revelation of the Shechinah, which the Zohar compares to a full moon. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, the Shechinah can be revealed, or hidden. The Shechinah leads us to redemption. It also followed us into exile when the Temple was destroyed. As long as the Temple remains unbuilt, God’s presence is in exile and His Name is desecrated.

In the Tabernacle, constructed by Moses, the Shechinah and Kudshah Brich-Hu were united. This is the more profound interpretation of Rashi’s expression, “For Me, for My Name.” Both levels were manifest in the Tabernacle. As a result, the Tabernacle is hidden from us, but was never dismantled. Moses achieved the level of “For Me,” therefore his handiwork is everlasting, and the Tabernacle that he constructed remains whole for eternity.

In the third Temple, we will once again experience the complete union of the Shechinah with Kudsha Brich-Hu. The commandment, “Make a Holy Temple for Me,” will then be fulfilled, and the Temple will endure forever. The complete union between these two levels will again manifest eternally, as it did in the Tabernacle.

Means or Ends?
The levels of “For Me” and “For My Name” correspond to two paths to serving God.

The mishnah states, “All your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven (i.e., ‘For My Name’).” For example, eat in order to be healthy so that you may serve God; work with the intention of earning money to fulfill God’s commandments: giving charity to the needy, buying tefillin, buying food for honoring Shabbat, etc.

This level of spiritual awareness is commendable. Through serving God in this way, our mundane activities become a means to reaching holiness. But, there is an even higher level, the service of, “In all your ways, know Him.” Realize that everything you do, no matter how mundane, is sacred. No act is merely a means to achieving sanctity. Every act can be a revelation of God. This path to serving God is emphasized in the teachings of Chassidut, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson explains:

“All your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven,” this means that everything one does should not be done incidentally. Rather, it should be for the sake of Heaven, even though the acts themselves are mundane.

But, serving God in the manner of “know Him” (i.e., knowing God), relates to all of one’s own ways and issues. This means that they are not a means to knowing Him, but with them and through them, one knows God…. (For example) Eating in itself is holy and a mitzvah and not just in order to give one the strength to learn Torah and pray. Every meal should be like eating on Shabbat, a mitzvah feast, and eating from the offerings of the Temple, which are in themselves a mitzvah.

By living with the awareness of “In all your ways, know Him,” seemingly routine activities are transformed into mitzvot. Everything such an individual does is a revelation of Divinity and connects him to God. This is the level of “For Me”—a complete connection between Godliness and our physical reality.

Serving God on the level of “For My name” is liable to be temporary, like the Temple, which was destroyed because of our sins. Serving God on the level of “For Me”—knowing how God reveals Himself to us through even the most mundane activities—is serving God completely. Such service is “an everlasting acquisition.”

To summarize:

For Me (לִי)
The Tabernacle – an everlasting acquisition
Kudsha Brich Hu – God’s essence
=
“In all your ways, know Him”

___________

For My Name (לִשְׁמִי)
The Temple—was destroyed
Shechinah – the Divine presence
=
“All your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven”


Source: Gal Einai English Dept.

PURIM – Seven Words

SEVEN WORDS
By Roy S. Neuberger

Just seven words. It was not a Gemora, not a Rashi. It was a few words from a commentary explaining a Tosfos. I was sitting in Yerushalayim early Shabbos morning and trying to understand those seven words. 

You know my background. I never attended yeshiva as a child and did not enter the world of Torah until I was thirty-one. Chumash, Mishna, Gemora, Rashi and Tosfos came very late for me. I struggle with it. 

So I sat there Shabbos morning, looking at those seven words. Suddenly, they were clear to me. 

I was so excited! I felt as I was standing at Har Sinai! I felt Eternity open up. “Moshe received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Yehoshua, Yehoshua to the Zakainim, the Zakainim to the Neviim, the Neviim to Anshei Knesses Hagdola.” (Pirkei Avos) And the Anshei Knesses Hagdolatransmitted it to …. me! Those seven words connected me to Shomayim! It was Shabbos mevorchim, Parshas Shekalim. I felt the simcha of Chodesh Adar, the simcha of being connected to the Soul of the Universe. 

What is the simcha of Chodesh Adar

I never understood what was meant by “kimu v’kiblu ha’yehudim …the Jews established [in the days of Achashverosh] that which they had already accepted [in the days of Moshe Rabbeinu].” (Shabbos 88a) What happened in the days of Purim which enabled our ancestors to accept what they had been reluctant to accept previously? 

possuk in Parshas Yisro says, “Moshe brought the people forth from the camp toward G-d, and they stood under the mountain.” (Shemos 19:17) “Rav Avdimi bar Chama bar Chasa said: [This] teaches that Hakadosh Baruch Hu covered them with the mountain … and said to them: ‘If you accept the Torah, fine. But if not, your burial will be there.’” Rav Acha bar Yaakov then states that covering Am Yisroel with the mountain appears to be “coercion regarding [accep-tance of] the Torah!” (Shabbos 88a)

What is happening here? Hadn’t the people already willingly accepted the Torah? Had they not said, “Everything that Hashem has spoken, we will do and we will hear!” (Although these words are written later, Rashi explains that they were actually spoken prior to the giving of the Torah.) 

Why did our ancestors apparently have to be “coerced” into accepting the Torah? 

Or Hachaim explains: “We need to determine the reason for the double use of the word ‘listen … you will listen,’ [which the Torah uses at Har Sinai]. Perhaps Hashem intended to instruct our ancestors that [they would need] to accept two [distinct] components of [the] Torah, one [the Written Torah] that He would convey to them in that setting, and one [the Oral Torah] that [the Sages] would teach [in all future generations].” (Shemos 19:5)

Ah! Now it becomes clearer. At Har Sinai, our ancestors accepted upon themselves the Written Torah, which they were hearing from Hashem at that time. But the Oral Torah was a different matter. As Or Hachaim explains, the words of the Sages “are things that have no [maximum] measure, and [thus] there is no limit to such a commitment, for in every generation [the Sages] may pass new laws, safeguards and enactments. Who then [the people said], can uphold a Torah such as this that has no maximum measure?” (ibid)

So our ancestors resisted accepting the Oral Torah at that time, and Har Sinai was held over their heads in order to “coerce” them to accept. Obviously, this difficult situation needed rectification. What was to be done? 

The solution came about in the Days of Mordechai and Esther. 

Let us once again consult Or Hachaim: “[Indeed, the people’s acceptance of the Oral Torah] was [considered to have been made] under duress, [and thus was somewhat deficient], until the days of Mordechai [and Esther]. When [the people] saw the wise, life-saving actions that Mordechai and Esther had taken [on their behalf to annul Haman’s decree,] they once more took [the Oral Torah upon themselves, but this time] willingly, to fulfill every new thing that the Sages would enact for them, after they saw how great were the deeds of [Mordechai and Esther], without which there would not have remained a trace [G-d forbid!] of the [Nation of] Israel!” (ibid)

My dear friends, the entire world knows about the Torah which Hashem gave to us at Har Sinai. But who lives it? Only we, the Nation which has descended from the Generation of the Midbar. Our connection to that generation is sustained by a holy thread, the words of the chachamim, the loyal interpreters of the Oral Law which has been handed down from father to son. 

Now we can begin to understand the magnitude of the Yom Tov of Purim and basis for the earth-shaking simcha of this month of Adar! “Rava said: [the people] accepted [the Torah] again in the days of Achashverosh, as it is written, ‘kimu v’kiblu … the Jews established and accepted,’ [which is interpreted to mean that] they established [in the days of Achashverosh] that which they had already accepted [in the days of Moshe Rabbeinu).” (Shabbos 88a)

“Mastery of the Oral Law requires long, diligent intense study and a high degree of self-sacri-fice. Only those who truly love G-d can muster the devotion this calls for. That is why G-d’s covenant with Israel is based on the Oral law.” (Midrash Tanchuma Parshas Noach 3, as quoted in Artscroll Maseches Gittin 60b, Footnote 9)

When we are attached to Torah sh’b’al’pe, The Oral Torah, we are attached to life! As the Megilasays, “The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor!” May the light return to its primordial brilliance in our own days with the coming of our redeemer, Moshiach ben Dovid!

*          *          *          *
Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2018 by Roy S. Neuberger

22 February 2018

Rabbi Nachman Kahana – Parashat Tetzaveh

BS”D 
Parashat Tetzaveh 5778

Five Parshiot and a Half Shekel

There is much to be learned not only from the text of the parshiot (Torah portions) but even from their order of appearance.

The last five parshiot of Shemot are Terumah, Tetzaveh, Ki Tisa, Vayak’hel and Pekudai.

Terumah and Tetzaveh deal with the Mishkan and its implements, while parashat Ki Tisa interrupts the sequence and tells of the sinful and disastrous episode of the Aigel Hazahav (the Golden Calf).

The final two parshiot, Vayak’hel and Pekudai, return to the subject of the Mishkan and its implements.

Mishkan, Mishkan, tragic episode of idolatry, and again Mishkan, Mishkan – what does it mean?
I submit:

The Torah, through the sequence of these five parshiot, is informing the Jewish people of the future that awaits them.

The instructions in parashat Terumah allude to the 478 years of the Mishkan before the Bet Hamikdash is established in Yerushalayim – 39 years in the desert, 14 years at Gilgal, 369 years at Shiloh, and 56 years in Nov and Givon.

Tetzaveh alludes to the 410 years of the Bet Hamikdash of King Shlomo on the Temple Mount.

The disastrous and sinful act of idolatry in parashat Ki Tisa alludes to the destruction of King Shlomo’s (Solomon) Bet Hamikdash and the 70 years of exile for reasons of idolatry.

Parashat Vayak’hel alludes to the Bet Hamikdash built by Ezra and the Jews who returned with him from Babylon and Persia.

Parashat Pekudai alludes to the magnificent Bet HaMikdash built by Hordus (Herod).

The Temples of Ezra and Hordus stood for 420 years before being destroyed by the Romans and the subsequent 2000-year exile of the Jewish people from our holy land. This tragic period of death and destruction of our physical, religious and moral being in the galut is alluded to by the break between the books of Shemot and Vayikra.

The Jewish people are now standing in the new age of Vayikra, the book that instructs the nation as to the various kinds of sacrifices. It is as if to say, “Prepare – it is not far off.”

For those who understand, the time we are living in is one of profound celebration for the beginning of our redemption and salvation. After 2000 years of unspeakable calamities to our nation, HaShem has recognized and honors the unflinching loyalty of His people and has returned us to our ancient Holy Land.

To remain true to the Torah, even after the Shoah, is worthy of the highest rewards from our Father in Heaven.

He has restored our sovereignty over a large part of Eretz Yisrael and over Yerushalayim.

He has protected us in times of war and has made us prosperous in times of peace. We are creating a Torah empire here the likes of which has not existed anywhere for over 2000 years.

What is transpiring today in the lands of our enemies is a remarkable, miraculous sign of HaShem’s protective wing over His children in Eretz Yisrael.

In the Song at the Sea (Shirat Hayam, Shemot 15:7), the survivors sang:
וברב גאונך תהרס קמיך תשלח חרנך יאכלמו כקש

“With Your infinite genius, You destroyed those who rose up against You. You unleashed your burning anger. It consumed them like straw”

At first glance, one would think that instead of “With Your infinite genius,” the wording should be “With Your infinite strength.”

But indeed, “With Your infinite genius” is the fitting statement. It describes how HaShem, in His infinite genius, time and again frustrates the diabolical plans of our enemies in ways which are totally unpredictable, and yet He keeps His hidden presence intact.

In keeping with this, just consider what is happening so suddenly and unexpectedly in our region.
The Arabs will be busy fighting each other for years to come. Sunnis vs. Shiites and both against the Alevis. Arabs against Iranians. Libyans against each other. Christian Copts vs. Moslems in Egypt.

Everyone against everyone in Lebanon and Syria. The Sunnis of Iraq against the Shiites of Iraq and all of them against the Kurds. The Turks against the Kurds, and the former Southern Moslem states of the USSR against Russia and against themselves. The flood of Arab refugees from North Africa into Europe, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Somalia and more.

And within the midst of all this – in the eye of the hurricane – stands the tiny State of Israel, prosperous and happy in the knowledge that HaShem has spread over us His holy cloud of protection, as in the time of our forefathers’ sojourn in the desert.

Indeed, the greatest of life’s experiences is to be a Jew living today in Eretz Yisrael.

Salvation in the Mitzva of Shekalim
The Mishna (Shekalim 1,1) informs us that beginning with the month of Adar (the one closest to Nisan), nationwide announcements were made regarding the annual payment of one half shekel. This payment was a Torah mitzva, with the money being earmarked for purchasing animals for public sacrifices during the time that the Bet Hamikdash and the various Mishkanot were standing.

The Gemara (Megila 13b) points out the direct connection between the mitzva of shekalim and the holiday of Purim:


אמר ריש לקיש הלוי וידוע לפני מי שאמר והיה העולם שעתיד המן לשקול שקלים על ישראל, לפיכך הקדים שקליהן לשקליו. והיינו דתנן: באחד באדר משמיעין על השקלים וגו’
Raish Lakish (the Eretz Yisrael Amora Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish) said: It was apparent to the Creator of the world that, in the future, Haman would count out (give) shekalim to destroy the Jewish people. Therefore, HaShem pre-empted this attempt by having the Jewish people precede Haman’s shekalim with their mitzva of shekalim.

Questions:

  • Initially, the connection between the holy mitzva of shekalim and the Amalek Haman would appear to be imposed and illogical. What does the mitzva of shekalim have to do with Haman and the Purim episode?
  • Why did Achashverosh and Haman limit the time for the “final solution” to their “Jewish problem” to one day – the 13th of Adar?
  • Why did Haman offer the king 10,000 talents of silver, when all property and belongings of millions of Jews in the King’s 127 states would belong to him anyway after annihilating his loyal Jewish subjects?
  • How many divisions did Haman have to enforce the decree of killing all the Jews in one day?

Even Achashverosh’s army could not accomplish such a widespread genocide, when taking into account that many Jews would hide on that day or change their appearance.

I suggest:
Haman had no soldiers, and Achashverosh’s army did not know all the Jews in their various districts in order to kill every man, woman and child.

Indeed, the monarchy was unable to carry out its own dictates. However, the local people in each of the 127 states, who knew their Jewish neighbors and their whereabouts, could perform the grisly task of murdering millions of Jews in one day. The plan was to give the goyim an incentive to rise up against their peaceful Jewish neighbors and murder them a la Hevron 1929.

The incentive was that any citizen in Bavel and Medes who murdered a Jewish family could keep their possessions. But it had to be done on the 13th of Adar in order to foment the hatred into a murderous frenzy and also to prevent the Jews from regrouping and retaliating.

Now, in order to compensate the King for relinquishing all that Jewish wealth, Haman offered him 10,000 talents of silver.

Haman’s plan was to exploit the inherent anti-Jewishness of the tranquil peace-loving citizens of Persia and Medes by offering financial promises in return for their cooperation in annihilating the entire Jewish nation in one day. A brilliant, diabolical plan worthy of Amalek. This was not to be an establishment-initiated and orchestrated genocide, but rather the general will of the loyal citizens who thought that the root of all evil in the world was the satanic Jewish people and their ancient “Protocols of Zion” whose goal was to control the world.

To fully grasp the extent of the danger that awaited the Jews of Persia and Medes, just imagine what would have happened in 20th-century Poland, Ukraine, Russia, France and all the other countries of Europe had the Germans allowed any gentile who killed a Jewish family to keep the spoils. All of Christian Europe would have fallen into the same evil trap that Achashverosh and Haman set for the Jews of Persia and Medes. But this was prevented by the very evil and greed in the German heart that so coveted the Jewish property to not want to share it with their gentile comrades of Europe.
Now comes into play the connection between the mitzva of shekalim and its capacity to abrogate the evil intent of Haman and Achashverosh.

Shekalim is the most universal mitzva in the Torah. It eliminates all distinctions between Jews. A rich man was not allowed to donate more than a half shekel, just as an indigent person had to do everything possible to acquire a half shekel. Wise or foolish, talmid chacham or unlearned, rich or poor, nobility or common man – all had an equal share in the same mitzva.

This universal act on the part of every Jew was the exact opposite of the planned universal act of every goy of Persia and Medes to destroy the Jewish nation. It was the universal national will of Am Yisrael to uphold HaShem’s mitzva of shekalim for the Bet Hamikdash that exposed and highlighted the distinction between HaShem’s chosen people, who lived a life of Torah, and the murderous common people of those 127 states.

The background of the Purim episode has returned to haunt us. Judenhass (hatred of the Jews) in today’s world is not government initiated. Quite the contrary, in the free world it is prohibited to be anti-Semitic in public. However, it is present in all ranks of society from cocktail parties along the Potomac, to university campuses, to high schools and even to supermarkets where the common folk come out to convince people not to buy Israeli products. Walking today in most European cities while wearing a kipa is a courageous act.

Purim is here again with the same cast of players. We Jews still naively believe that there is inherent good in mankind. In reality, the goyim haven’t changed, except that today they camouflage their murderous intentions with politically and morally accepted nuances.

And as in the time of the Purim episode, we must be prepared to defend ourselves against outwardly-unabashed Jew-hating enemies, and we must also be wary of allies whose “friendly” advice to Medinat Yisrael would lead us to extinction.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5778/2018 Nachman Kahana

21 February 2018

Wasted Talent

On my wall hangs a list of photos of the men who played a significant role in the 2005 expulsion and exile of thousands of holy Jews from their homes.

Over the years I have checked off many of the names and faces. Some of our spiritual leaders at the time predicted that each one of those who raised their hand against our people and land will get their due.

It began straight away with the number one perpetrator of the crime, Ariel Sharon. His last conversation before he fell into a coma was a boast of how he would continue the expulsions in additional parts of our land.

For eight long silent years, heaven nor earth wanted him. It was as if we were being presented with a living lesson on display for eight years. It was hard not to get the message, though of course many refused to even then.

I often wonder when the rest of the shameful opportunists will get theirs.

I suppose some may have already and I am just not aware of it. One does not know what goes on behind closed doors. Some have received theirs in the most public fashion, like prime minister Olmert and President Katzav who were sent to prison for mundane shameful crimes.

It looks like the game is up for another high profile politician who raised his finger in favor of the criminal expulsions. Bibi has some good things going for him. There is no better spokesman for Israel to the world at large. His speaking skills and his grasp of the issues are superb. He helped wind down the socialist-leaning system that was holding the economy back and Israel has been flourishing since. His efforts to raise awareness about Iran were on target.

The Left has serious heartburn when his name is even mentioned. I guess that means something in of itself...

The tragedy of Bibi is that he is so talented yet just does not have the backbone ( call it lack of the fear of heaven?) to do what he probably knows he should if he had the guts and faith to do them.

He was naturally vehemently against the fatal Oslo deal with Arafat and his fellow terrorists in 1993. After three years of predictable terror, he defeated Shimon Peres in 1996. He did not send Arafat and his rouges packing and restore sanity.

He was afraid. No backbone. This was a wake-up call for me.

Shortly after that, there was an incident that finally told me, he is not the Jewish leader we were hoping for. Far from it. In his first year in office, the western wall tunnel exit was opened making access available for larger numbers of visitors. That was a very good thing.

The "Palestinians" were not happy with the idea of masses of people learning about Jewish roots in Jerusalem and so they rioted for a few days. Arab members of the joint "peace patrols" turned their guns  (that we provided) on their Jewish partners. In the end, seventeen Jews were murdered by our "peace partners”.

President Clinton called Bibi and Arafat to Washington for a pow wow in order to preserve the "peace process”. I can still see in my mind's eye what I thought I never would behold. Even as the Jewish victims were still being buried, Bibi shook Arafat's hand. It was not just a formal quick gesture. He grabbed Arafat's very bloody hand with his two, pumping with a big smile.

It was at that moment that I understood all I need to about Bibi.

The fact that his long tenure was underscored by settlement freezes and broken promises to his ideological core supporters then came as no surprise. He always made sure to include a Left party (Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Kachlon, Lapid) in his coalition to be used as a fig leaf and lightning rod. He refused to include the most ideologically Right party as he preferred his fig leaf instead. He is a politician's politician if there ever was one. On the many occasions that he abandoned the very principals and policies for which he was elected, he always had an excuse; "it's not me it's my problematic coalition partner."

He gave away almost all of Hevron and other large swaths of land to Arafat in the Wye plantation deal. Besides smiles from the US president and some favorable Liberal press, we got nothing in return (besides more murders including the infant Shalhevet Pass who was shot in her father's arms in Hevron by a "Palestinian" sniper positioned on a hill which they received at Wye).

He enforced a ten-month freeze on any building or maintenance activity for 400,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria. Again, we got nothing in return besides increasing bitterness at home and encouraging our enemy's expectations of more of the same.

When Moshe Feiglin challenged his leadership in the Likud, offering the plain truth and faith in ourselves and God, Bibi took off the gloves. He can deal with many things but not with a person who demands honesty and uncompromising fidelity to our people and land. He spent twenty years trying to destroy Feiglin as a challenger. He finally succeeded. No doubt this was one of his most important wins, He could now proceed with the show he performs so well, unhindered by a nasty voice demanding truth and courage.

It finally looks like the noose is tightening around Bibi's political neck.
His back is against the wall.
Who knows how the last hours will look like.

Bibi, in my opinion, is a tragic figure. He could have been the greatest prime minister of our modern Jewish country. Instead, he will be remembered for his love of expensive cigars and champagne provided by rich benefactors. He will be remembered as the prime minister who announced his support for the "two-state solution" which was so antithetical to everything he promised his voters. He thus let the fatal "Palestinian state" genie out of the bottle lending his stamp of approval for what he knows is a lethal danger. But he could not resist the pressure from Obama. He wanted to buy time and a pat on the back - again.

It could have been different.

I expect I will soon be crossing one more name from the list on my wall.



by Shalom Pollack

Parashat Tetzaveh-Zachor – Message from Nir Ben Artzi 18/2/18 ENGLISH

[A quick cursory edit with emphasis by me]
BD"S
Message from Nir Ben Artzi 
Parashat Tetzaveh-Zachor, 5778 ג' באדר
Sunday, 18.2.18 

The King of Kings, Blessed be He, continues to raise the bar in the world, every week higher than last week. Increases the activity of the natural elements, floods and volcanic eruptions, fires, earthquakes, harsh winds and storms, because of countries that support the Palestinians and Hamas and Holy Land and the Jews in Holy Land. 

Then: Every country, person or president in the world, who goes against the holy land of Israel and prefers the Gentiles, the Muslims, the Palestinians and Hamas - 'their sword will come in their hearts and their bow will break,' will quarrel with themselves and disappear from the world. Every nation and country, president and ruler who will love the Holy Land and support the Holy Land of Israel - the blessing of the Lord will always apply to them.

The whole world must know, even the Jews themselves in Israel and the world, who created the world, the Father in heaven and in Israel chose the Jews as the chosen people and seeks to support his choice of the Jewish people of Israel and the State of Israel. Not to oppose the Holy One, Blessed be He, is no stronger than Him.

Every person who mocks the Messiah for our righteousness, redemption, holiness and purity in the Land of Israel, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will take care of him and he will be severely hurt by the mouth of the Supreme.

The Holy One, Blessed be He, chose the Jews for a virtuous people who can fix everything. The Creator of the Universe chose the Jews to fulfill the Ten Commandments, purify themselves, purify themselves and sanctify themselves, and make the entire world pure and holy. This is the role of Mashiach and the Jews who live in the Land of Israel. After the revelation of Mashiach ben David with mercy, there will be the construction of the Temple.

Jews are forbidden to hold demonstrations in the Holy Land. There must be no hatred of Jews, civil war, sibling jealousy, or talk in the media that make conflicts and hatred free, nothing will come of it. 

Jews should love Jews - they are brothers, one Father to all of us: Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Lithuanians or Hasidim. Why hate a Jew ?! Why mock a Jew ?! Why? You have to check things well, from A to Z and only then decide what's good and what's not good. 

Let the police, the prosecution and the courts find the truth. It is forbidden to slander a Jew, from the smallest to the greatest, before discovering the true truth whether he is guilty or not guilty. 

Jewish demonstrations in Eretz Israel, free-hatred and free-will, are a custom that they learned from the gentiles. The Jews are a holy and pure people and have to be united. They have no one to trust - only our Father in Heaven. 

The Gentiles are mixed up, they have no souls, so they quarrel among themselves. For Jews, to demonstrate is forbidden. If there is a problem and Jews want to demonstrate, we need to get approval and demonstrate in orderly fashion and orderly places, not on the roads, and not interfere with the rest of the Jewish citizens. In Heaven they say: You must not demonstrate! We have to continue talking about the problem and convince the senior officials.

Everything that happens to the Jews abroad is happening because they have to distance themselves from the Gentiles and make an urgent pilgrimage to the holy Land of Israel, the Diaspora is over, the Land of Israel is glorious, the land is built endlessly, houses are endless, roads are growing. Everything is good in Israel. Israel is the richest in the world, the most advanced technology in the world, the most powerful army in the world and at the same time - "and you are very reserved for your souls.”

Shabbat must be kept properly. The soccer games should be transferred from Saturday to Friday and Sunday. When the Jews go to play on Fridays and Sundays, they will have a blessing to succeed in football. They desecrate the Sabbath only to save souls.

Egypt, anyone who competes - disappeared. Sisi does not know that he will know now: Da'esh are hiding in the Sinai desert, and it is impossible to distinguish between them because Hamas, the citizens, the Bedouins and Da'esh are in one whole mess. Sisi will continue to take care of the Sinai desert, so he will not stop. If he stopped, everyone would turn on him. He's in danger anyway, hiding all kinds of secrets. Ammunition and weapons reach the Gaza Strip from Egypt and Iran via the Sinai desert.

Abu Mazen plays with the emotions of the countries of the world. He is afraid that Hamas will kill him, because he is stealing all their budgets and money and accusing Israel. In his heart he hates, hates the entire Gaza Strip.

Turkey feels like a superpower, it is not a power and nothing. If it continues to fight and intervene in Syria, it will fall into the mud that will never emerge from it.

Syria will be erased from day to day. She has no hope, no future. All the weapons and ammunition in Syria are nonsense, the IDF can strike anywhere in Syria, the IDF knows exactly what ammunition is in Syria, Hezbollah and elsewhere.

Thank God, that the Israeli plane that fell on the Sabbath fell in Israel and rescued the pilots. Now the Air Force and the Weapons Development Authority are studying all the reasons for the fall and how to become more efficient in light of the continued fighting in Syria.

France, the Muslims continue to rule all of France and all of Europe. Where Europe will oppose Muslims, infiltrators, Da'esh and anti-Semitism, some of them oppose the Land of Israel.

Europe will become ashes, the Muslims will destroy it and it will become Africa. The Africans, who are like ancient people, will turn back modern Europe, the glory of the earth, two thousand years, back, and will make it like Africa. 

It is better for Jews to escape from Europe as from fire, not better, worse than bad, there will be no respite from silence. Tens of thousands of Jews are being beaten abroad, hundreds of thousands of Jews are hurting a livelihood, and hundreds of thousands of Jews are threatened and think that this is another day that passes: The best protection and protection for Jews is to live in the Land of Israel!

Russia in full cooperation with the Jewish people in everything, secretly. Continue to sell arms and ammunition to all Arab countries

The United States, Trump loves the Jews who live in the holy land of Israel, and he does not know how to take control of the Muslims with American citizenship.

The Holy One, Blessed be He, warns: In the Holy Land, assimilation is forbidden. There are many nations with an Israeli identity card, who pretend to identify differently. Many Israeli girls fall in love and then get into trouble. All Jews, and Jews in Israel and around the world, take only Jews, marry only Jews! In this generation, Mashiach is going to be revealed!

Nasrallah and Hezbollah have ammunition and weapons, not the way he publishes in the papers - a liar, he has much less. He publishes in order to frighten Israel so that it will not fight him or blow up the ammunition convoys arriving from Iran, the convoys that need to arrive and do not arrive. The Israeli army continues to blow up convoys of ammunition from Iran, so that they will not reach Hezbollah's hands. 

Chaos, Gog and Magog outside the borders of Israel.

"All the accidents in Israel occur from complacency, do not follow the law and deal with mobile phones, watsapp, messages and emails. Israel, is also determined in heaven: A person who walks erratically and does not obey the laws of traffic and the warnings of the police does not have the help of heaven, because the Holy One, Blessed be He, helps a person who is honest and obeys the laws. , 

Purity is fighting impurity. In the Old City the Arabs are very dangerous. 

Rain in Israel is good. 

Israel will have millions of Jews in the Western Galilee, a million in the Golan Heights, Samaria, Binyamin and Judea in the millions, as well as in the Arava and the Jordan Valley. [me: maybe from the Pashtuns, when they come galloping across the ME to Eretz Yisrael.]

The jealousy, hatred, and the mockery among Knesset members must be stopped. Instead of fighting and quarreling with you, take care of the citizens of the Eretz Israel, and the land of the Eretz Israel. 

All the thieves, crooks, cheaters, lunatics and the mockers, zealots and the bribers will all be caught. 

Dear Jews, believers or unbelievers, “And their bow will break,” it will be like we give up and pity them. We must not feel sorry for the cruel ones! They only pity Jews. Sometimes things are similar and repetitive relaying the message, it has a big expense, it is not that there is nothing to write. What comes up in the message every Sunday - this speech that exists. 

Iran, the rights of Queen Esther and Mordechai the Jew, will stand for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel! The entire atomic plant will blow up inside them and the government will fall, thanks to Queen Esther and Mordechai the Jew. Everything will turn on their faces in favor of the State of Israel. Israel will not be harmed. Moshiach works and works normally, like an ordinary person. 

Hashem commands twenty-four hours. Up in Heaven, praying very frequently, in order to crown King Moshiach in the near future. In our Holy Land, the Jews, flesh and blood, entered complacency. They say 'this is not the time', 'that is the time', nothing will help them. "Who is he?", "It can not be him," all sorts of doubts that arise to people who have forgotten where Moses came from and where King David came from. 


After all these dilemmas, Mashiach comes out! They will or will not, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will bring him to light, pure and righteous, a man of God chosen by the Holy One, Blessed be He, to be the Messiah of the people of Israel!

Parshat Tetzaveh–Zachor – Message of Nir ben Artzi 18/2/18 HEBREW

בס”ד

מסר מפי הרב ניר בן ארצי שליט"א
לפרשת תצווה-זכור תשע"ח
נמסר ביום ראשון, ג' באדר תשע"ח 18.2.18 | 8:30

מלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש-ברוך-הוא, ממשיך להרים את הרף בעולם, בכל שבוע יותר גבוה מהשבוע שעבר. מגביר את פעילות איתני הטבע, שיטפונות והתפרצויות הרי געש, שריפות, רעידות אדמה, רוחות קשות וסערות, בגלל מדינות שהן בעד הפלסטינים והחמאס ונגד ארץ ישראל הקדושה והיהודים שבארץ ישראל הקדושה. אז: כל מדינה, אדם או נשיא בעולם, שהולך נגד ארץ ישראל הקדושה ומעדיף את הגויים, המוסלמים, הפלסטינים והחמאס – 'חרבם תבוא בליבם וקשתותם תישברנה', יסתכסכו עם עצמם וייעלמו מן העולם. כל ארץ ומדינה, נשיא ומושל שיאהבו את ארץ ישראל הקדושה ויתמכו בארץ ישראל הקדושה – ברכת ה' תחול עליהם תמיד.

העולם כולו צריך לדעת, גם היהודים בעצמם בארץ ובעולם, שבורא עולם, אבא שבשמיים ובארץ בחר ביהודים לעם הנבחר ומבקש לתמוך בבחירה שלו בעם ישראל היהודים ומדינת ישראל. לא להתנגד לקדוש-ברוך-הוא, אין חזק ממנו. כל אדם שלועג ומלגלג על משיח צדקנו, על הגאולה ועל הקדושה והטהרה בארץ ישראל, הקדוש-ברוך-הוא יטפל בו והוא ייפגע קשות מפי עליון.

הקדוש-ברוך-הוא בחר ביהודים לעם סגולה שמסוגלים לתקן הכל. בורא עולם בחר ביהודים שיקיימו את עשרת הדיברות, יזדככו, יטהרו ויתקדשו בתוך עצמם, ויהפכו את כל העולם לטהור וקדוש. זה תפקיד המשיח והיהודים שגרים בארץ ישראל. אחרי גילוי משיח בן דוד ברחמים, תהיה בניית בית המקדש.

אסור ליהודים לעשות הפגנות בארץ ישראל הקדושה. אסור שתהיה שנאת-חינם בין יהודים, מלחמת אחים, קנאת אחים או דיבורים בתקשורת שעושים סכסוכים ושנאת-חינם, לא ייצא מזה כלום. יהודים צריכים לאהוב יהודים - אחים הם, אבא אחד לכולנו: אשכנזים, ספרדים, ליטאים או חסידים. למה לשנוא יהודי?! למה ללעוג ליהודי?! למה? צריכים לבדוק דברים היטב, מ-א' ועד ת' ורק אחר כך להחליט מה טוב ומה לא טוב. לתת למשטרה, לפרקליטות ולבתי המשפט לחפש את האמת. אסור להכפיש יהודי, מהקטן ביותר ועד הגדול ביותר, לפני שמגלים את האמת לאמיתה אם הוא אשם או לא אשם. הפגנות יהודים בארץ ישראל, שנאת-חינם וקנאת-חינם, זה מנהג שלמדו מהגויים. היהודים הם עם קדוש וטהור וצריכים להיות מאוחדים ומלוכדים. אין להם על מי לסמוך – רק על אבינו שבשמיים. הגויים מעורבבים, אין להם נשמות לכן הם רבים ביניהם. ליהודים, אסור שבאסור להפגין. אם יש בעיה ויהודים רוצים בכל זאת להפגין, צריך לקבל אישור ולהפגין במקומות המסודרים והמוסדרים, לא בכבישים ולא להפריע למנוחת האזרחים היהודים. בשמיים אומרים: אסור להפגין! צריך להמשיך לדבר על הבעיה ולשכנע את הבכירים.

כל מה שקורה ליהודים בחו"ל, קורה כי הם צריכים להתרחק מהגויים ולעלות דחוף לארץ ישראל הקדושה. נגמרה הגולה, יש ארץ ישראל לתפארת. בונים נדל"ן בלי סוף, בתים בלי סוף, כבישים, ארץ הצבי מתרחבת וגדלה. הכל טוב בישראל. ישראל הכי עשירה בעולם, הטכנולוגיה הכי מתקדמת בעולם, הצבא הכי חזק בעולם ויחד עם זה - "ונשמרתם מאוד לנפשותיכם”.

צריך לשמור שבת כהלכתה. את משחקי הכדורגל צריך להעביר משבת לימי שישי וראשון. כשהיהודים יעברו לשחק בימי שישי וראשון, תהיה להם ברכה להצליח בכדורגל. מחללים שבת רק להצלת נפשות.

מצרים, כל מי שמתחרה בסיסי - נעלם. סיסי לא יודע, שיידע עכשיו: דאע"ש מתחבאים ומתאספים במדבר סיני. אי אפשר להבחין ביניהם, כי החמאס, האזרחים, הבדואים ודאע"ש בערבוביה אחת שלמה. סיסי ימשיך לטפל חזק במדבר סיני, שלא יעצור. אם יעצור, יתהפכו עליו כולם. גם ככה הוא בסכנה, מסתתר בכל מיני סתרים. תחמושת ונשק מגיעים לרצועת עזה ממצרים ומאיראן, דרך מדבר סיני.

אבו מאזן משחק ברגשות מדינות העולם. פוחד שחמאס ירצחו אותו, כי הוא גונב להם את כל התקציבים והכספים ומאשים את ישראל. בליבו הוא שונא, שונא את כל רצועת עזה.

תורכיה מרגישה כאילו מעצמה, היא לא מעצמה ולא כלום. אם תמשיך להילחם ולהתערב בסוריה היא תיפול לבוץ שלא תצא ממנו לעולם.

סוריה תמשיך להימחק מיום ליום. אין לה תקווה, אין לה עתיד. כל הנשק והתחמושת שבסוריה זה הבל הבלים, צה"ל יכול לפגוע בכל מקום בסוריה. צה"ל יודע בדיוק איזו תחמושת יש בסוריה, בחיזבאללה ובמקומות אחרים.

תודה לריבונו של עולם, שהמטוס הישראלי שנפל בשבת, נפל בשטח ישראל ושהציל את הטייסים. עכשיו חיל האוויר והרשות לפיתוח אמצעי לחימה, לומדים את כל הסיבות לנפילה ואיך להתייעל מול המשך הלחימה בסוריה.

צרפת, המוסלמים ממשיכים לשלוט בכל צרפת וגם על כל אירופה. בִּמְקוֹם שאירופה תתנגד למוסלמים, למסתננים, לדאע"ש ולאנטישמיות, חלק מהם מתנגדים לארץ ישראל. טועים בזיהוי.

אירופה תהפוך לאפר, המוסלמים יהרסו אותה והיא תהפוך לאפריקה. האפריקנים שהם כמו אנשי קדם, יחזירו את אירופה המודרנית, הפאר של כדור הארץ, אלפיים שנה אחורה ויעשו אותה כמו אפריקה. כדאי ליהודים לברוח מאירופה כמו מאש, לא יהיה יותר טוב, יהיה גרוע יותר מגרוע, לא תהיה הפוגה של שקט. עשרות אלפי יהודים מקבלים מכות בחו"ל, למאות אלפי יהודים פוגעים בפרנסה ומאות אלפי יהודים מאוימים וחושבים שזה עוד יום שעובר. ההגנה והשמירה הטובה ביותר ליהודים – זה לגור בארץ ישראל! זה אבא ואמא שלהם והקדוש-ברוך-הוא.

רוסיה בשיתוף פעולה מלא עִם עַם ישראל בכל דבר, בסתר. ממשיכים למכור נשק ותחמושת לכל מדינות ערב.

ארה"ב, טראמפ אוהב את היהודים שגרים בארץ ישראל הקדושה. הוא לא יודע איך להשתלט על המוסלמים בעלי האזרחות האמריקאית. שיגרש אותם מהר.

מזהיר הקדוש-ברוך-הוא: בארץ ישראל הקדושה אסורה ההתבוללות. יש הרבה גוים בעלי תעודת זהות ישראלית, שמתחפשים לזהות אחרת, מפילים בפח הרבה בנות ישראל ואחר כך מסתבכים. כל יהודי ויהודייה בישראל ובעולם ייקחו רק יהודים, להינשא אך ורק ליהודים! בדור הזה, משיח הולך להתגלות!

לנסראללה ולחיזבאללה יש תחמושת ונשק, לא כמו שהוא מפרסם בעיתונים – שקרן, יש לו הרבה פחות. הוא מפרסם כדי להפחיד את ישראל כדי שלא תילחם בו ולא תפוצץ לו את שיירות התחמושת שמגיעות מאיראן, השיירות שצריכות להגיע ולא מגיעות. צה"ל ממשיך לפוצץ שיירות תחמושת מאיראן, כדי שלא יגיעו לידי החיזבאללה.

תוהו ובוהו וגוג ומגוג מחוץ לגבולות ישראל.

כל התאונות בארץ ישראל קורות משאננות, לא הולכים על-פי החוק ומתעסקים בטלפונים הניידים, בוואטסאפ, הודעות ומיילים. החוק שנקבע בכדור הארץ בארץ ישראל, נקבע גם בשמיים. אדם שהולך עקום, ולא מציית לחוקי התעבורה ואזהרות המשטרה – אין לו עזרת שמיים, כי הקדוש-ברוך-הוא עוזר לאדם שהולך ביושר ומקיים את החוקים. נהרגים ונפצעים בתאונות דרכים בגלל רשלנות וזלזול בחוק. בתקופה הזו של גאולה ומשיח, הטהרה נלחמת בטומאה.

בעיר העתיקה הערבים מסוכנים מאוד.

גשם בישראל טוב. ישראל פורחת ומתרחבת, גדלה עד אין-סוף. יהיו מיליון יהודים שיישבו את הנגב, מיליון יהודים בגליל המערבי, מיליון ברמת הגולן, בשומרון, בנימין ויהודה עוד מיליונים, וכן בערבה ובקעת הירדן.

צריך להפסיק את הקנאה, שנאת-החינם והלעג בין חברי הכנסת והשרים. במקום לריב ולהתווכח ביניכם, תטפלו באזרחי ארץ ישראל ובאדמת ארץ ישראל.

כל הגנבים, הנוכלים והרמאים, הלעגנים והלועגים, אנשי הזימה והשוחד - ייתפסו כולם.

יהודים יקרים, מאמינים או לא מאמינים, אם לא נזכיר בעלון השבועי ש"חרבם תבוא בליבם, וקשתותם תישברנה", זה יהיה כאילו שאנו מוותרים ומרחמים עליהם. אסור לרחם על האכזרים! מרחמים רק על יהודים. הדברים לפעמים דומים וחוזרים על עצמם ממסר למסר, יש לזה חשבון גדול, זה לא שאין מה לכתוב. מה שעולה במסר כל יום ראשון - זה דיבור שמתקיים.

איראן, הזכויות של אסתר המלכה ומרדכי היהודי יעמדו בעד עם ישראל היהודים בארץ ישראל! כל מפעל האטום יתפוצץ להם בפנים וייפול השלטון, בזכות אסתר המלכה ומרדכי היהודי. הכל יתהפך להם על פניהם לטובת מדינת ישראל. ישראל לא תינזק בכלום. משיח פועל ועובד רגיל, כמו אדם רגיל. עושה ציווי ה' עשרים וארבע שעות.

למעלה בשמיים, מתפללים בתדירות גבוהה מאוד, כדי להמליך את מלך המשיח בזמן הקרוב.

בעולמנו, בארץ ישראל הקדושה היהודים, בני אדם בשר ודם, נכנסו לשאננות. אומרים 'זה לא הזמן', 'זה כן הזמן', לא יעזור להם כלום. התלבטויות ועוד התלבטויות: 'מיהו?', 'מאיזו עדה הוא?', 'לא יכול להיות שזה הוא', כל מיני ספקות שעולים לבני אדם ששכחו מאיפה בא משה רבנו ומאיפה בא דוד המלך. אחרי כל ההתלבטויות האלה, יוצא משיח! ירצו או לא ירצו, יוציא אותו הקדוש-ברוך-הוא לאור, טהור וצדיק, איש אלוקים שבחר בו הקדוש-ברוך-הוא להיות משיח לעם ישראל!

The Forgotten History of New York’s Bagel Famines


The Forgotten History of New York’s Bagel Famines
An Interesting Article About the History of the Bagel

IF A YIDDISH SPEAKER TELLS you “Lign in drerd un bakn beygl,” consider yourself cursed. “May you lay in the earth and bake bagels” has a literal “go to hell” connotation: You’ll be trapped in the ground, unable to consume the delicious fruits of your labor. But the expression also harks back to a time when baking bagels was rather like being in hell, in underground bakeries with vats of boiling water and flaming, coal-fired ovens.
Yum Yum!

In New York, for decades, this was how the city’s bagels were made, by Jewish bakers stripped almost bare and sweating profusely. In the earliest and most unsanitary of these bakeries, cats swiped at inch-long cockroaches and napped by mounds of flour. Late into the 1950s, conditions were so unhygienic that bakers would not wear their filthy work clothes on the street. It was sweltering labor that required precision and skill—and would, in time, launch one of the fiercest unions the city ever saw.

The men of Bagel Bakers Local 338 were not to be trifled with. Founded in the 1930s, all 300-odd initial members were Yiddish speakers who descended from these hardy early bakers. Joining required a family connection—though this wasn’t sufficient on its own. Only after three to six months of apprenticeship, once a “bench man” had attained a minimum rolling speed of 832 bagels an hour, could members’ sons and nephews be grudgingly brought into the fold and given labor cards.




New York’s Lower East Side, where bagels became ubiquitous. 
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
They were hardy, macho types, fuelled by homemade whiskey; sweet, strong coffee; and steaks seared black and brown by the heat of the bread oven. “You never spoke to the old timers unless they spoke to you. You didn’t approach them,” one member told Maria Balinska, author of The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread. “And they didn’t look at you. Among themselves, they spoke Yiddish. Their first question to you—in English—usually was: ‘Who’re you related to?’”

It was not the first bagel bakers union in New York. As hundreds of thousands of Jews swept into New York ahead of the First World War, dozens of Jewish bakeries opened on the Lower East Side, mostly staffed by young Jewish men providing their friends and families with challah, rye bread, and bagels. An 1894 New York Press article describes the wet, rotting floorboards and an infestation “of a great variety of insect life,” with roaches “springing at a lively rate in the direction of the half moulded dough.” Laws to protect them were passed, but inspectors failed to do their job. Conditions were hard and dangerous, and bakers attempted to advocate for themselves by creating bakers’ unions. These quickly failed.

But Local 338 was different. Bagels were acquiring a special cachet among Jewish Americans, and bakers grew wise to the value of their special skills. Within eight years of formation, the union had contracts with 36 of the largest bakeries in the city and New Jersey. They had a ferocious reputation—non-union bagel makers were few and far between, and the holdouts experienced threats and day-and-night picketing until they toed the line.

From the outside, bagels seem an uncomplicated foodstuff. They are, after all, just hard-ish rolls with a hole in the middle. But that glossy exterior belies a complex process of kneading and shaping, “retarding” and proving [proofing], boiling and baking. Making a traditional bagel by hand might take 24 hours from start to finish.

After an initial shaping, the dough is “retarded” for hours at a time in a cool room. This slows down yeast fermentation. Rather than ballooning like a loaf, the dough rings fizz with lactic acid bacteria, giving them a slightly sour flavor and a distinctively crusty crust. Balinska offers a simple explanation: “It is thought to have been introduced simply because bakers were either unwilling or unable to work through the night.” The bagels are dipped in boiling water for barely a minute, cooled and dried, and then placed in a very hot oven. The margin for error is small. And so, as more and more Americans came to see bagels as an intrinsic part of Sunday breakfast, bagel bakers found themselves becoming irreplaceable, with appropriately rigid negotiating positions.
Yum!

A March 1950 article from the Bakers and Confectioners’ Journal describes how teams of two bench men worked together to cut and twist the dough. “Walking into a bagel bakery gives you the feeling that you are entering another century,” the author wrote of the machine-free workspaces. “The air is thick with the flavor of the Old World, because modernism has no place in an establishment which produces this ancient Jewish bread product.” America’s bagels, the writer added, were a credit to their makers’ European ancestors.

Without machinery undercutting them, bagel bakers found themselves able to command impressively high salaries. Speaking to the New York Times in 1960, Local 338’s Benny Greengrass estimated base pay at $144 for a 37-hour week for bench men and $150 for oven men. In today’s money, this would be an annual salary of around $65,000, and far more than even policemen, engineers, or teachers were paid at this time. But they often worked overtime, and so could take home up to $250, or over $2,000, in a busy week. Benefits were many: dental, pensions, eyeglass, health, three weeks’ annual leave, 11 days of public and Jewish holidays. They were well-paid, and they would never go hungry: Each baker could take home 24 free bagels every day that he worked.

Bagel bakers renegotiated their contracts every year. And if they didn’t get what they wanted, they went on strike, plunging the city into what the Times called “bagel famine.” In December 1951, 32 out of 34 bagel bakeries closed, leaving shelves bare and sending lox sales shooting down by as much as 50%. Normally, the city’s bagel fiends ate 1,200,000 in a weekend—now, there were nearly none. Shopkeepers substituted bagels with whatever they could, variously throwing seeded rolls and Bialys into the void, but nothing else would do. (The strike was eventually resolved with mediation from the State Board of Mediation’s Murray Nathan, who had reportedly “helped settle the lox strike of 1947.”)

As technology improved, machines were developed that could make bagels faster, and more cheaply, than traditional artisanal labor.


Six years later, in 1957, 350 members of Local 338 went on strike again. At first, bagel truck drivers did not strike with them—but the ire of the bagel bakers was considerable. “The drivers complained that they have been subjected to threats by strikers. Some drivers reported having their ignition keys stolen, their tires slashed, and their trucks hijacked.” Without drivers to deliver their stock, the owners of Pechter Baking Company, a bakery on Pacific Street, Brooklyn, were forced to give away nearly $20,000 worth of stock ($165,000 today). At first, they handed them out to passersby, but word spread, and a mob formed on the street, forcing them to close their doors and give the buns away to charity.

But the greatest bagel strike of all took place in February 1962. The bagel was growing in popularity, and bagel makers’ status had never seemed so secure. In the 1950s, the Times often assumed that readers were unfamiliar with bagels; the paper offered pronunciation guides (“baygle”) and described it as “a form of Jewish baked goods sometimes described as a doughnut with rigor mortis.” With the dawn of the 1960s, however, came the bagel’s widespread popularity. Now, New York City, the paper decreed, was “the bagel center of the free world, and will doubtless be kept that way by the hundreds of thousands of residents who find that a bagel makes breakfast almost worth getting up for.”

Each day, bagel bakers were manufacturing 250,000 bagels. According to the Times in 1960, the union had stamped out any attempt to automate the process—a “mad attempt by some radical” to can them, and a “pretzel machine manufacturer who offered to make bagels without the human touch.” The traditional dough was simply too tough for a machine to wrangle, leaving the bakers’ bargaining position undisturbed. With near-unlimited control over the bagel market, they struck for 29 days in 1962, resisting state attempts at mediation and reducing the city’s bagel supply by 85 percent. Eventually, employers acquiesced to all their workers’ demands.

But the victory was short-lived. The bakers had resisted technology for a long time, but little by little, “modernism” crept in. First, revolving ovens increased production rates and moved bakeries out from their traditional cellars and into the light. Customers were lured in by blinking neon signs that read, for the first time, “HOT BAGELS.” “It was not just that the union was losing control,” writes Balinksa. “It was also the fact that, for the first time, bagels were being sold directly to the customers.”

The real death knell, however, came from California. In the late 1950s, Daniel Thompson, a California math teacher turned inventor, created the “bagel machine” and quickly homogenized what had been an artisanal product. Thompson’s bagels lacked the lactic crustiness of the original, but they could be produced almost four times as cheaply, and by workers with far less bargaining power. Lender’s, a bakery in New Haven, Connecticut, led the charge in mass-producing bagels, and then selling them bagged and frozen to supermarkets. The foundations of Local 338 were swept out from beneath it.

At first, the union held out. They appealed to customers not to buy these pretenders, by distributing leaflets explaining their provenance that read “PLEASE DON’T BUY.” They had some success—customers were surprisingly loyal—but conditions got harder and harder as more commercially made bagels found their way into stores. The bagel makers vowed to picket the machines “round the clock” if they made it into New York, but their machismo was no match for automation.


Lender’s was one of the first companies to lean heavily
on new machinery. 
CARL LENDER/CC BY 2.0
Another strike attempt in 1967 made barely a dent on the market. For the first time, preservatives in the dough meant that New York’s bagels could come from out of town. The bagel makers had been replaced by machines, and the glory days were over. Some opened their own stores outside New York and introduced bagels across the country. Others moved on to other industries. By 1971, the union was definitively over.

In Jewish cookbooks, the bagel’s ring shape is often described as a symbol for the circle of life. In the space of less than a century, New York’s bagel bakers had gone from making a niche product and being exploited for it, to being one of the city’s strongest unions. Now, they were back where they started—while the city chowed down on machine-made bagels that bore little resemblance to the baked good at the center of these men’s lives.


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