31 March 2013

Naftali Bennett said ...

“Now that I am a minister, I will act in every way possible to prevent another tragedy, even if it’s not popular,” he wrote. “I will use my brains and will not drift after conventional wisdom. I want peace with the Arabs no less than anyone else, but giving territory to our enemies is not the answer.”

Naftali Bennett said he told Obama that the time has come ...

to consider new directions on the Palestinian issue that would be different and creative. He said the president responded that he wanted to meet with him and listen.

“The lesson is never be silent, even if everyone thinks differently,” ....

America: 50,000,000 Silent Deaths

"It has been estimated that since Roe v. Wade made the killing of unborn babies legal in the USA, approximately 50,000,000 abortions have been performed in the USA through 2008 (see second link). This is over eight times the number of Jews killed by Hitler. It is over four times the number of Christians killed by the Soviet rulers of the USSR. In God’s eyes, the Supreme Court “justices” who imposed abortion on the USA (even though no US Congress ever voted for such a law and no president ever signed any such legislation into law and the US Constitution clearly does not convey any right to any abortion for anyone in it) may find in the future Judgment before God that they have far more blood on their hands than Hitler, Stalin, Lenin and Mao Tse-Dong combined…

So Americans can’t say a Holocaust “can’t happen here.” It already has."

28 March 2013

Cohanim and Kessim at the Kotel

I went today for the blessings of the Cohanim. Just putting ones feet onto these Holy stones sends a rush of an overwhelming "welcome". I felt such a caressing warmth, and a feeling of reaching a very Holy place after being away for a while.

I found it not as full as last year, but better organized. Also the ladies section went all the way back with a long long Mechitza. Amazing how many ladies were there. The Kessim were impressive, with their bright fabric umbrellas. The women were gentle and very tsnius in their white long dresses.

Am Yisrael is getting more complicated, with the ongoing ingathering. When Moshiach arrives, we will be welcoming many many more Jew from all over the world.

Getting there was not as complicated as last year, having to walk a very long way. This year I went part of the way by monit (taxi), then caught the 38 which took us nearly to Zion Gate, and a short walk via The Davidson Center onto the stones and into the marvelous sunshine roasting all the guests to the Kotel.

The sound of the bentching via loudspeaker was so soothing and nourishing, an experience one can feel with one's entire Nefesh and Neshoma! Twice a year we have this tremendous privilege.

Hope you like my photos.

27 March 2013

America's Still in Deep Freeze

I remember several years ago, when we were still living in Brooklyn, that it snowed erev Pesach and off to the second Seder we went, in boots and storm coats, with our Shmura Matza in hand. It is still the fickle month of March.

22 March 2013

“More than 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people lived here [Biblical Eretz Yisrael], tended the land here [Biblical Eretz Yisrael], prayed to God here [Biblical Eretz Yisrael]. 

And after centuries of exile and persecution, unparalleled in the history of man, the founding of the Jewish State of Israel was a rebirth, a redemption unlike any in history.”

US Pres. Barack Hussein Obama

“G-d perceives no iniquity in Jacob, and sees no perversity in Israel; the Lord, his God, is with him, and the friendship of the King is with him.” “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!”

The coming of Moshiach: “I see it, but not now, I look at him, but it isn’t near. A star has issued from Jacob and a staff will come forth from Israel…”

Balaam: An anti-Semitic gentile necromancer and prophet. 
Commissioned by Balak, King of Moab, 
to curse the Israelites. 
G-d only allowed blessings to emit from his mouth.

[my additions]

17 March 2013


ISRAEL must ...??

*The World MUST Recognize That All of Biblical Eretz Yisrael Belongs to the Jews!

*The Arab World MUST Recognize the State of Israel as a Nation as Arabs are a Nation!

*The United States of America MUST Recognize That All of Biblical Eretz Yisrael Belongs to the Jews!

Israel Must Recognize Changed Mideast Dynamics

The White House says Israel needs to recognize the role “public opinion” in the Middle East will play in efforts to negotiate peace with the Palestinians. Obama adviser Ben Rhodes said Thursday the pro-democracy Arab Spring movements have changed the political dynamic in the region. He said the peace process no longer will just require Israel to have the support of individual leaders in the region, but the public as well. The most dramatic shift in the region has been in Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel. Newly elected leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood party are viewed with suspicion by some Israelis, though the government has vowed to uphold the treaty.

A comment to this from America:

Israel is the only DEMOCRACY in the middle east and the only stable union/country/state whatever you choose to call it. Now is the most crucial time to stay strong and show leadership and courage. Now is the worst time to give in to pressure of "public opinion". Now is the best time to show strength and determination. A leader who gives in to public opinion is NO leader at all. A country who gives in to public opinion has no strength or viability.

 A leader must do what is best for his own country and not what his surrounding enemies want! What an absolutely stupid thing to say!

  • Should South Korea give in to what North Korea dictates? Is that how these two bordering countries work?
  • Does Germany allow Russia to dictate to them how they should run their country?
  • Does Russia care about Public Opinion?
  • For that matter does Saudia Arabia, Jordon or Lebanon?
  • How about the Gaza? Do they care that Public Opinion requires them to get rid of Hamas?
A comment to this from Israel:

What a farce to be forced upon Israel. The hypocrisy of the so-called Jews of America; which of those countries/peoples are living in peace?

Israel Must be Jewish First, Democratic Second

MK David Rotem says Israel must first be a Jewish state and then a democracy. Warns justice system discriminates against Jews in Judea and Samaria

“The State of Israel is a Jewish State whose form of government is democratic,” Rotem said in the June issue of the Israeli legal magazine Praklitim. “I want to keep Israel a Jewish State, and if that contradicts democracy, then democracy comes second, period.”

“Would someone dare celebrate the Fourth of July as a day of mourning in the U.S.?” Rotem asks. “Maybe the Native Americans? I’m willing to bet if they did Guantanamo would be working overtime.”

    15 March 2013

    To Live Means to Live for Something

    The Dignity of Sacrifice 
    To Live Means to Live for Something
    On Parshas Vayikra 
    by Rabbi YY Jacobson of

    "From Among You"

    In the Jewish tradition, we read each week one section from the 53 sections of the Five Books of Moses, the Hebrew Bible. This week’s Torah portion titled Vayikra legislates the laws of sacrifices which constituted an essential part of the service in the Tabernacle and subsequently in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It’s been almost 2000 years since the Temple was destroyed and the sacrificial system came to an end; yettheir message remains timeless and relevant.

    And as is often the case in biblical study, an apparent grammatical flaw captures the psychological and existential dimensions of the issue being discussed.

    “Speak to the children of Israel,” G-d tells Moses in the beginning of Vayikra, “And tell them: ‘A man who will sacrifice from among you a sacrifice to G-d; from a cow, from a bull, and from sheep shall you offer your offering (Leviticus 1:2).’”

    The construction of the sentence seems incorrect. It should have said, “A man from among you who will sacrifice a sacrifice to G-d.” Not: “A man who will sacrifice from among you a sacrifice to G-d.”

    Rabbi Schnuer Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), the first Rebbe of Chabad and one of the great giants of Jewish scholarship and spirituality, offered the following moving interpretation. What the Torah is attempting to teach us via this grammatically “flawed” sentence is that the primary sacrifice G-d cherished was not the one that came of animals or grain, but rather the one stemming from the person himself: “From among you.” We must sacrifice something of ourselves to truth. The verse, then, must be understood thus: “A man who will sacrifice,” when an individual seeks to make a sacrifice, “from among you a sacrifice to G-d,” he or she must remember that the primary sacrifice must be brought from their very selves. They must offer a piece of their heart, of their soul, to G-d.

    A Forgotten Art

    Sacrifice — the courage for one to give up something truly valuable for an ideal or a person outside of oneself — has become in our day an “endangered species.” In the minds of many it is a dirty word, conjuring up images of repression, dogma and abuse. Sacrifice is often seen as the arch enemy of the virtues that have become emblematic of our times—self expression, self assertion and emotional independence. Sacrifice, we are often told, is a crutch for insecure and co-dependent victims who eclipse their emotional dysfunction by employing the heroic myth of sacrifice.

    It is obviously crucial to challenge forms of sacrifice that erode rather than affirm the quality of one’s life. Sacrifice that is feeding into abuse and tyranny is not a virtue. A beaten spouse or a crushed employee should not tolerate the immoral behavior of their spouse or employer in the name of sacrifice. Yet is it not possible that in our hypersensitivity toward the pursuit of individual liberty and the importance of self affirmation, we have deprived ourselves and our children of the vital awareness that to live means to sacrifice something of ourselves for truth, for G-d, for another human being, for your marriage, for your nation, for your values, for making the world a good place?

    Nothing in the contemporary secular conversation calls on us to sacrifice anything truly valuable for someone or anything else. We have been taught to be nice and cordial, tolerant and respectful, to give five dollars to a homeless man in the street and to be sensitive to other people's feelings; but not to make real sacrifices that challenge our pleasures, force us out of our comfort zones and require profound and unwavering commitments. Yet when you do not need to fight for something, for anything, how do you learn who you really are? When you do not need to give up anything of yourself, how you do acquire the depth, dignity and maturity that comes along with sacrifice?

    When you look around college campuses, educational institutions and even many yeshivos today, you wonder who is reaching out to the idealistic cords inherent in the souls of the youth? Who is giving them something they can fight for? Who is eliciting their inner depths, rather than their most superficial qualities?

    When we live a life that lacks any sacrifice, our humaneness is diminished. We become more superficial, more timid, and more external. The entire book of Leviticus, dealing with sacrifices, is Judaism's way of stating that to live means to live for something.

    An Altar In Tears

    No area of society has been so profoundly affected by this void as the family unit. While in the not-so-distant past the family bond was considered something worthy to sacrifice for, today it is easily discarded when in conflict with one's personal comforts. Couples do not feel that the marital union is so great an ideal and so sacred an institution that they ought to make real sacrifices for it to work and blossom. If the love does not come easy, it is not worth the effort.

    1700 years ago, the ninety-page tractate of Talmud legislating the Jewish laws for divorce, was transcribed. The sages of antiquity chose to culminate the book with these words:

    “Whenever anyone divorces his first wife, even the Temple Altar sheds tears. As the Bible states, ‘You cause the altar of G-d to be covered with tears, with weeping and with sighing; so that G-d no longer turns to the offerings to retrieve it with good will from your hands. And you might ask: Why?—Because G-d has borne witness between you and the wife of your youth, that you have betrayed her, though she is your companion and the wife of your covenant.”

    Why does a divorce arouse tears in the Temple Altar? The Holy Temple in Jerusalem had many pieces of furniture and vessels, like the candelabra, the table of bread, and of course the Holy Ark on top of which were carved the faces of a boy and girl gazing at each other, symbolizing the relationship between G-d and man. Why would they not shed a tear upon witnessing a divorce? Why was this unique to the Altar?

    The explanation might be this:

    The Altar was the place in the Temple where all the daily sacrifices of grain, wine and animals were offered. The Altar represented the profound but often forgotten axiom that a relationship with G-d demanded sacrifice and the giving of oneself and ones wealth. For centuries, the Altar has stood as a silent witness observing the depth and dignity characterizing a life of commitment and sacrifice. Day after day, the Altar internalized the truth that the path to self-realization leads through self-sacrifice.

    When the Altar observes the consequences of a marriage in which the man and the woman did not muster the courage to make sacrifices for each other, it weeps for the greatest of opportunities forever lost. Who more than the Altar appreciates the truth that to find your own soul you must embrace another soul?
    There are, of course, exceptions. Sometimes divorce is a tragic necessity. When abuse and dysfunction pervade a marriage, and no remedy can be found, the right answer might be divorce. But in today’s age, many divorces occur not because of an impossible situation, but rather because of our unwillingness to transcend our egos, challenge our fears and transcend our selfish natures. For this, the Altar weeps.

    This simple truth so well known to the Altar has been forgotten by many. We are scared of making sacrifices, lest they deprive us of our personal happiness. Our self-esteem is so fragile that we desperately feel the need to protect it against any outside or foreign intrusion, lest it fade away into oblivion. But happiness is an altar. The more you give, the more you receive. The soul is most at peace with itself when it shares itself with another soul. When we give up on all forms of sacrifice, we deprive ourselves from reaching our deepest potentials.

    This week’s portion invites us to ask this question: When was the last time I made a real sacrifice?

    12 March 2013

    Rosh Chodesh Nissan

    On Rosh Chodesh Nissan we begin the month our freedom from bondage and slavery, and this month we make a special blessing on fruit bearing trees.

    "Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord,
    King of the Universe,
    that His world is not lacking anything,
    and He created in it
    good creations and good trees
    for the pleasure of mankind."

    Almond Blossom (GreenProphet)

    Almond Tree in Bloom (Galil)

    Almonds on Tree

    With Love From Hadassah

    Dedication and Inspiration

    The Official "Get Well Soon!" Song

    11 March 2013

    Tchaikovsky Flashwaltz at Hadassah Hospital

    In Eretz Yisrael are the Brightest, Most Talented, Creative, Ingenious, Inventive and Beautiful Jewish People

    07 March 2013

    What is Going On in America???

    The Telegraph: "Eric Holder argued that using lethal military force against an American in his home country would be legal and justified in an "extraordinary circumstance" comparable to the September 11 terrorist attacks."

    "The president could conceivably have no choice but to authorise the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland," Mr Holder said. His statement was described as "more than frightening" by Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, who had demanded to know the Obama administration's position on the subject."It is an affront the constitutional due process rights of all Americans," said Mr Paul ...."

    DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks to Go With Their 1.6 Billion Bullet Stockpile

    According to one estimate, since last year the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm. DHS also purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAP) Source


    The MRAP featured in this video is was in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Law Enforcement Day which was held at a local area Target Store. This MRAP is stationed in El Paso, Texas at The Homeland Security Investigations Office. MRAP is a Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicle. Source

    So, Therefore, Why Don't We All Come Home Now 
    While We Have the Opportunity! Sign Up ...

    The Real Deal: Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah Mega EventsReady to hear the truth about life in Israel? Thousands of Aliyah-minded Jews in Canada and the U.S. are gearing up to hear the inside story first hand.


    One day those hands will be lowered 
    in submission to our Moshiach 
    as HaShem brings the Geulah 
    to Eretz Yisrael and the World.


    A Gathering of Interesting March SnowFall Photos Across America

    Minneapolis MN







    Capitol DC

    Biggest Widespread Winter Storm

    06 March 2013

    Beinart is a Liar ... So what else is new?

    Yisrael Medad writes in the Jewish Press and My Right Word and rightfully debunks Peter Beinart's latest calumny.

    "More mendacious propaganda at Open Zion, Peter Beinart’s weapon of words bunker:

    One of the only mixed modes of transportation in Israel is the Jerusalem Light Rail—which, as it was originally built to connect surrounding Israeli settlements to central Jerusalem, is hardly equally inclusive to Palestinians. Historically, when the light rail system was first constructed, it uprooted several Palestinian neighborhoods, further displacing many Palestinians who once lived in Jerusalem. Now, though the train passes through several traditionally Arab neighborhoods, the stations are named in Hebrew rather than Arabic. 

    A. The light rail does not connect “Israeli settlements.” It connects the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Neveh Yaakov and Pisgat Ze’ev and French Hill. (By the way, Neveh Yaakov was attacked, destroyed and ethnically cleansed of its Jews by Arabs in late 1947).

    B. No “Palestinian neighborhoods” were uprooted. That is simply untrue.

    C. The stations are name in Hebrew, yes. That is the language of the country. However, Arab place names are also voiced out over the loudspeaker. For example, Damascus Gate (in English), Sha’ar Shchem (in Hebrew) and Bab El-Amud in Arabic. The stops in Arab-populated neighborhoods are sounded off as Bet Hanina and Shuafat and Es-Sahil in all languages with no special Hebrew alteration. Shimon HaTzaddik, though, is not called Sheikh Jarrah. (Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood was also ethnically cleansed of its Jews in early 1948).

    D. The Light Rail was originally built to ease mass transportation problems and then, to avoid charges that the city’s Arab population would be discriminated against, tracks were purposefully laid through those neighborhoods.

    The writer is a liar."

    There is no end to the flow of lies swirling toward Israel, no matter what Israel does, up goes a twisted lie to make it all bad. Such jealousy and envy should be obvious to all, but we Jews are taught jealousy/envy contorts the eye and mind of the evil observer. Read The Cause of Anti-Semitism by Rabbi YY Jacobson.

    04 March 2013

    I Have Alot of Questions

    I have alot of questions.

    INN News reports: “Meir Porush (UTJ) called on PM Netanyahu to throw MK Moshe Feiglin out of the Likud because of his 'dangerous' Temple Mount ascent”. The Arabs  surrounded Feiglin and the police stepped in ... and closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslims.

    Oh, really? Throw Feiglin out … maybe he’s doing what every Jew should be doing davka right now?

    "Jewish law states that areas of the Temple Mount which were part of the Holy Temple may not be entered by Jews today, because of issues of ritual purity." 

    Maybe this is not entirely applicable these days? Why are they afraid of bringing the Geulah? Some say the Erev Zeir are among them … doing all they can to prevent the Geulah.  Read what is quoted about what the Gra wrote, in The Time of Our Simcha, about the Erev Rav and Erev Zeir.

    “Feiglin sent a letter to the Attorney General asking him to make clear whether Israel has given up its sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and if so – when and in what circumstances did it do so.”

    "OBAMA TO VISIT TEMPLE MOUNT? Hamas warns of ‘diplomatic catastrophe’"

    "Hamas steps up threats on Obama’s Israel trip. Unconfirmed rumors claim president to visit Temple Mount."

    True or Not True, Nevertheless,

    Will they riot when and if OB ascends the Temple Mount? What will their reaction be? Will they ‘recognize’ that he is a Muslim, or treat him as a non-Muslim? This is an important sign.

    "Many National Religious rabbis have published opinions regarding entry to certain parts of the Mount, saying that they were historically not part of the Temple compound, and that there is no reason to prevent Jews from ascending to those areas, especially in light of the fact that allowing Jews to ascend the Mount demonstrates Israeli sovereignty over the site."

    "Hareidi rabbis have generally forbidden all ascents to the Mount, claiming that it is impossible to know which areas are halachically off-limits to Jews, and that the risk of entering these areas overwhelms any other issue, including showing Jewish sovereignty over the site."

    How does a nation rebuild the Temple that is central to its life and purpose on this earth without stepping foot on those stones to begin rebuilding? Even if an earthquake shakes the foundation and reveals former walls, steps, and hidden passages, someone has to begin rebuilding. Perhaps the business of ‘impurity’ does not apply right now, because we are ALL in that situation and until the Temple is prepared for another inauguration, we can enter to prepare it for that special day? But not after that. Then it will be the Cohanim and Leviim who will take their rightful places.

    And maybe Feiglin was pre-empting OB? Timing is crucial.

    Like Now,

    I just posted an article by Giulio Meotti, entitled "Like then," and now I am compelled to post the following, under the title "Like NOW"

    This is disgraceful, PM Netanyahu does not deserve 
    to be Prime Minister of Eretz Yisrael! 
    Maybe he should join the Jews in Europe.

    "MK Rabbi Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) confirmed on Sunday the recent reports that the Likud’s negotiation team had offered his party to enter the coalition without the Bayit Yehudi, so that the new government can lead moves that will bring about evictions of communities in Judea and Samaria.

    Sources in Yesh Atid told the Maariv daily newspaper on Friday that Likud promised the party's representatives to tear down Jewish communities in Israel's Biblical heartland if Yesh Atid joins its coalition independently of Bayit Yehudi.

    The Likud rejected this report, but Rabbi Piron confirmed to Arutz Sheva that such an offer had indeed been made.

    “The Prime Minister suggested that Yesh Atid enter a coalition without the Bayit Yehudi, on the grounds that the Bayit Yehudi would prevent evictions of communities,” he said, and when confronted with the words of MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who told Arutz Sheva earlier that no such offer had taken place he replied, “Unlike my friend MK Hotovely, I am familiar with the details of the conversation but I will not elaborate.”

    Like then,

    In the event your local newspaper or evening news has not told you ...

    Dozens of students disrupted a speech by Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to Britain, Alon Roth-Snir at Essex University, while a lecture scheduled to be given by Daniel Taub, the Ambassador to Britain, was cancelled at the University of North Ireland, due to "security reasons".

    Freedom of speech is granted for everybody in Europe's universities, including Islamists and Iranian envoys, but not for Israelis.

    Recently, the University of Paris VIII closed its doors to avoid a harder stance about a planned conference against the Jewish State, while septuagenarian Israeli novelist and Holocaust survivor Esther Orner has been banned from the University of Provence.

    At Queen’s University in Belfast, Palestinian militants violently attacked Israeli attaché Solon Solomon.

    The guest lecturer at a recent UK conference, organised by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, should have been Motti Crystal, an expert in negotiation theory. But under pressure from one of the participating unions, his invitation was withdrawn. The reason? Crystal is an Israeli. A Jew

    An Israeli student at the University of Turin, Amit Peer, confessed that “the Jews here are hiding their own identity because they risk becoming a target”. He went on to say that "Jewish classmates told me that they hide their family name or surname. Only close friends know their true origin, they do not trust even to reveal it to their teachers".

    Israeli attaché Shai Cohen was prevented from speaking at Pisa University after a violent attack by students, who called him “butcher.” Former Israeli ambassador, Ehud Gol, fled Florence University after a similar “protest".

    Italian blogger Dagoberto Husayn Bellucci, a neo-fascist who converted to Islam, published a blacklist of 162 Jewish professors in Rome. He called on readers to boycott and “remove” them. Bellucci’s list was based on a previous anti-Semitic blacklist, titled “Get out of University, Jewish Scum,” published in 2008 and expanded.

    A shoe was hurled at Israeli ambassador Benny Dagan while he was giving a lecture at Stockholm University and a Jewish student, Anja Savosnic, was forced to give up Hebrew studies at the University of Oslo due to anti-Semitic attacks from fellow students.

    Members of the Scottish Jewish Student Chaplaincy denounced the fact that Jewish students were concealing signs of their religion amid rising hostility on the world-famous institution’s campuses.

    In the oldest and most famous university of France, the Sorbonne, which dates back to the XIII century, the cradle of the Enlightenment and the sanctuary of French laicité, Hizbullah has been given a stage for its anti-Semitic propaganda. Jewish students, who protested the event, were punched in the face and thrown against walls. Students proudly showed black t-shirts with the Dome of the Rock and the words "Al Quds" (Jerusalem in Arabic). Others cried "Palestine will live".

    This happened in the aula magna guarded by the statues of Pascal, Descartes, Racine.

    Europe today is witnessing a wave of intimidation and hatred like that of the Nazi “brownshirt” youth of 1930s, when Jews and dissidents were beaten and expelled from the universities.

    Like it was then, today the goal is to suffocate Jewish intellectualism by persuading academic institutions to sever relations with Israeli universities, by not inviting Israelis to international conferences, by preventing the publication of articles from Israeli scholars, by denying recommendations to students who wish to study in Israel, by expelling Jewish organizations from campus and by not publishing in Israeli papers

    Like then, today's barbarism looms like the approach of a monster in a child's nightmare: slow, terrifying, and inescapable.

    Like then, today we are witnessing the spectacle of Europe's democracy committing suicide.

    Like then, today the Jews are the canary in the coalmine: when the Jews feel compelled to leave, the light of freedom has been extinguished.

    Like then, today it begins with disrupting Israeli speakers in Europe's universities but it could end with a physical outcome for the Jewish people.

    Asher Ben Nathan, Israel's first ambassador to Germany, once had to give a lecture at Munich University, but he was severely disrupted by leftist activists. One poster in the auditorium carried the words: "Only when bombs explode in 50 supermarkets in Israel will there be peace".

    The university in Europe, at which I studied philosophy, has been infested with hate. I left my alma mater with a choking sensation and a feeling of betrayal.

    03 March 2013

    On the Brink of Oblivion

    The Brink of Oblivion: Inside Nazi-Occupied Poland, 1939-1940

    Photos of Jews in the Ghettos taken by a Nazi (Yemach Shemam) photographer. Maybe some people will discover family in these photos.

    Photo from Life

    Never Forget!
    After reading Akiva's post on the Holocaust and reading about and also the Encyclopedia of the Ghettos Project, below is a lengthy but extensive article by Rabbi Jacobson of theYeshiva .net

    The Cause of Anti-Semitism
    An Open Ditch in the Heart of Humanity
    By Rabbi YY Jacobson

    The Uniqueness of Jew-Hatred

    Hatred of the Jew has been universal, permanent and deep (1). Death for the Jews has been desired and plotted by the tyrants of every age. Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Caesar, the Turks, the Christians, the Muslims, Stalin, Hitler and almost every great power that ever lived and flourished, defined the Jew as a target for abuse or complete annihilation. Jews have been expelled from nearly every country in which they resided—England, France, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia, Russia, Poland and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and of course, from their ancient homeland, Eretz Israel.

    Throughout the centuries, many millions of Jews were murdered, including millions of infants and children. The Babylonians and Romans killed three million Jews. The Christians and the Muslims in their Crusades, inquisitions, conversion decrees, blood libels and general religious fervor over a span of 15 centuries slaughtered millions of Jews, often wiping out entire communities. Chmelnitzky and his bandits beheaded 300,000 Polish Jews during 1648-49, while Hitler put to death a third of our people, including one-and-a-half million children. In nearly every country, Jews have, at some time, been subjected to beatings, torture and murder, solely because they were Jewish.

    And though many of us thought that the evil of anti-Semitism perished in a post-Auschwitz world, we have been rudely awakened during the last few years as it once again rears its ugly face, particularly among Arab nations and sympathizers in Europe and the US.

    Why such hatred and fear of a people who never constituted more than a small minority? Why did almost every great culture and civilization see us as their ultimate enemy? Are we really such an evil people as to threaten the well being of virtually every civilization for the past 4,000 years? Why is it that otherwise sophisticated and educated men and women of academia are filled with irrational hatred toward Israel for this or that wrong behavior, while ignoring the horrors perpetrated en mass by its Arab neighbors?

    Most scholars and historians, including many Jews themselves, choose to view this ongoing obsession not as something uniquely connected to Jews or Judaism, but rather as a multitude of isolated events erupting as a result of distinct circumstances.

    For example, why do millions of Arabs hate Jews today? Why are thousands of them inspired to burn Jewish babies alive? Because — the common explanation goes — we are occupiers occupying their country and they yearn for liberation. If Israel would only grant the Arabs independence and hope, the venom would dissipate.

    But why did they kill us before the "occupation" of 1967? Why did six Arab countries try to destroy Israel at a time when there were no settlements or settlers? Because, during the War of Independence in 1948 between the newly created State of Israel and its Arab neighbors, hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled their homes and ended up in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. The Arabs were seeking to return to their homes inside pre-1967 Israel.

    But why did the Arabs initiate this war against Israel in 1948 and thus create, through their own error, the refugee problem? Why did they not accept the United Nations' partition of Palestine and accept the reality of Jewish existence in the Jews' ancient homeland? And why were scores of Jews murdered during the 1920’s and 30’s? For this we must search for another explanation.

    The attempt removes the notion of anti-Semitism from anything distinctly Jewish. The Germans, we are told, hated the Jews because they were scapegoats for a depressed economy, and so many Christians wanted the Jews dead because they claimed we killed their god. Stalin murdered Jews because he believed they were capitalists, while Europeans of the Middle Ages were repulsed by the Jew because of his economic success, and on and on.

    Yet this approach is unconvincing. To deny that there is a single ultimate cause for all anti-Semitism, to reject that an underlying reason has sparked the hatred of billions of non-Jews for four millennia, contradicts both common sense and history.

    Anti-Semitism has existed too long and in too many disparate cultures to tolerate a claim that each culture hated the Jews because of some distinct factor disconnected from being Jewish. To believe that Jew hatred is just another form of racial or religious bigotry, lunacy, ethnic hatred, lack of tolerance, xenophobia, resentment of affluence and professional success, is to turn a blind eye to the core cause of this unique loathing. Of course, various factors may exacerbate anti-Semitism and cause it to erupt at a given time, but these factors do not explain the origin and genesis of this hatred. In “Why the Jews?” Authors Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin put it well: Economic depressions do not account for gas chambers (2).

    Haman's Attempt

    The famous Purim story, recorded in the biblical Book of Esther and read during the upcoming Purim festival, relates one more attempt made some 2,400 years ago to reduce the Jewish people to a pile of ashes, this time by a Persian minister named Haman.

    Haman approached the then-king of Persia, Achashverosh, and offered him a tremendous sum of money in exchange for permission to arrange a "Final Solution." He desired that every member of the Jewish nation, men, women and children, be put to death. The king responded (3): "The money is given to you (Haman), and the nation (of Israel) is yours to do with, as you see fit."

    This interaction seems quite understandable to me. Achashverosh, a no less miserable anti-Semite than Haman, happily embraces the idea of a world devoid of Jews. Yet the Talmud apparently feels it necessary to illustrate the situation by means of a parable.

    A Mound and a Ditch

    Here is the Talmud's parable (4):

    "Achashverosh and Haman are compared to two people, one of whom had a mound of dirt in his field, and another one who had a ditch in his field. The owner of the ditch said to himself, 'How I wish the owner of the mound would give me his mound in exchange for money, so that I can fill my ditch.' And the owner of the mound said to himself, 'How I wish the owner of the ditch would sell me the use of his ditch, so that I can remove the mound of dirt from my field and dump it into his ditch.'

    "After some time," relates the Talmud, "these two men encountered one another. The owner of the ditch said to the owner of the mound, 'Sell to me your mound!' The owner of the mound responded: 'Please, take it for free.'"

    The Talmudic illustration is clear. Achashverosh is compared to the owner of the mound—the mound being a metaphor for the Jewish people who lived under his rule. He desperately seeks to get rid of it. Haman is seen as the owner of the ditch, eagerly attempting to obtain the mound. When Haman offers to purchase the "mound" for money, Achashverosh gladly gives it to him for no payment at all, enthusiastically consenting to the annihilation of the Jews.

    But here is the question: Parables quoted in Talmudic literature are never meant as entertainment, but rather as tools to clarify and crystallize an abstract or complex concept. But what is so difficult to understand about a story of two people who despise the Jews with similar intensity and eagerly cooperate to destroy them? Why do we need a parable about a mound and a ditch to clarify the situation between Haman and Achashverosh (5)?

    And even if there is some difficulty in understanding what transpired between Haman and Achashverosh, how is it explained by means of this seemingly simple and superficial parable of a mound and a ditch?

    What is more, the parable doesn't even fit the story it is attempting to illustrate. In the parable, the owner of the mound is seeking to dispose of his mound while the owner of the ditch craves to obtain the mound and fill his ditch with it. In the actual story, however, both the owner of the "mound," Achashverosh, as well as the owner of the "ditch," Haman, wish to dispose of the "mound" — the Jewish people — and get rid of it completely. You can't fill a ditch with a mound that you crave to annihilate (6)!

    Two Layers of Anti-Semitism

    What the Talmud is really attempting to convey via this parable is an answer to the question we raised at the onset of this essay: Why, nearly always and nearly everywhere, have Jews been hated? Why did Haman crave to kill every single Jew, down to an infant? Why would King Achashverosh be so eager to purge his country from all Jews? What have the Jews really done to attract such profound universal animosity?

    It is this question — perhaps one of the great questions of history — that the Talmud is attempting to confront in this little passage.

    Anti-Semitism, the Talmud is telling us, is multilayered; it contains a "body" and a "soul." The "body," or the outer, external layer of anti-Semitism personified by Achashverosh, sees Jews as a "mound." The inner, deeper and more complex layer of anti-Semitism personified by Haman views the Jew as the cause of a universal "ditch."

    The external layer of anti-Semitism, harbored by many non-Jews throughout history, sees the Jew as a stranger in world history, a foreign creep, a "mound" that obstructs one’s free movement and enjoyment in his orchard. The Jew somehow “irks” him—and he is not even sure why. This Jew hater feels uncomfortable with the presence of the Jew. The Jew is a mount which does not belong here. The Jew may attempt to do everything possible to assuage the annoyance the anti-Semite feels toward him; he may sell himself, his soul, his people and his values, but it is usually to no avail: As long as the Jew is alive, he will remain, in many a non-Jewish eye, an irritable, cumbersome "mound." (6*)

    But why? Why can’t they just see us as another ethnic group doing its own thing? This crude outer shell, or "body," of anti-Semitism, is born of a deeper and subtler space within the non-Jewish consciousness. Jewish existence opened a "ditch," a vacuum, in the heart of the human race, and every non-Jew, in one way or another, is aware of this inner void, causing him to look at the Jew either with admiration and affection, or with hate and repulsion, or with a mixture of the two.

    Confronting a Ballad of Eternity

    "What is the meaning," asks the Talmud, "of the term Mount Sinai? Sinai, in Hebrew, means hatred. Sinai is the mountain that gave birth to Jew-hatred." (Talmud Tractate Shabbat (7)).

    Some 3,400 years ago, at the foot of a lone mountain, the Jewish people received a gift that transformed their life and destiny for eternity. No matter whether religious, secular or assimilated, that moment imbued Jewish life with a unique richness and nobility. The gift of Torah inculcated Jewish life with tremendous moral and spiritual responsibility, but it simultaneously granted the Jewish mind, the Jewish family and the Jewish community — rich and poor alike — a taste of heaven. The day to day life of the Jew became imbued with a depth of meaning and sense of purpose born of an appreciation of the Divine present in the heart of life, love, family, pain, values and money.

    When the non-Jew encounters the Jew, he is, consciously or subconsciously, struck by a grandeur of spirit, a depth of living, a resonance of eternity and an echo of the Divine that is not easily described but very palpable. There is something about the Jew and Judaism that is larger than life and the non-Jew feels it, sometimes more acutely than the Jew.

    The Jewish presence, challenging the world with a call from the infinite living moral G-d, opened a hole, a "ditch," a mental and emotional void, in the heart of humanity, craving the fullness and richness of life that the Torah has given the Jew. The Jewish people opened a profound wound in the civilization, causing it to wonder if the focus on the physical aspect of life was ultimately meaningless.

    The non-Jewish response to this "ditch" exposed by the Jewish presence came—and still comes—in two different forms.

    Many non-Jews, from various religions and cultures, responded by elevating their lifestyles to a higher plateau. They saw the Jew and his Jewishness as a model which they can, in their own way, emulate. They assuaged the feelings of emptiness by creating a life and value system grounded on the Torah's weltanschauung. The American nation is a great example of that. Founded on the Judaic ethic of respecting the liberty and individuality of every human being formed in the image of G-d, most of the Founding Fathers and so many of its citizens were and are authentic philo-Semites, cherishing and celebrating the Jew and his Jewishness.

    John Adams wrote, "I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation." He wrote as a Christian, but added that even if he were an atheist and believed in chance, "I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization (8)."

    Leo Tolstoy wrote: "The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire, and has illuminated with it the entire world. The Jew is the religious source, spring and fountain out of which all the rest of the peoples have drawn their beliefs and their religions."(8*)

    This path, though, requires extraordinary discipline and sacrifice. Living with the G-d of the Torah is a tremendous burden. It demands that one challenge his or her ego, laziness and selfishness on a daily basis; it requires one to surrender many instincts, cravings, lusts and natural dispositions. It is rewarding and fulfilling, but not easy.

    Sadly, most non-Jewish cultures and civilizations in the past opted for an easier and more instinctive method through which to "fill" their mental and psychological "ditch": Rid the world of the Jew, they said, and the void will be gone.

    This is the "soul," or the deeper, spiritual layer, of anti-Semitism, engendered by the very existence of the Jew—it is a resentment and hostility directed toward the cause of a profound emptiness in life. Adalf Hitler once remarked that his mission in life was to "destroy the tyrannical G-d of the Jews" and His "life-denying Ten Commandments (9)."

    This, parenthetically, means that anti-Semitism is not only a "Jewish problem," it is a disaster for every moral and decent non-Jew as well. "Watch how a nation, religion, a political movement treats Jews, and you have an early and deadly accurate picture of that group's intention toward others. Anti-Semites wish to destroy the perceived embodiment of that higher call to the good, the Jews. But they do not hate the Jews alone. They hate whatever and whoever represents a higher value, a moral challenge (2)." Anti-Semites begin with the Jews, but they never end with the Jews alone.

    Haman's Rage

    Not all anti-Semites were aware of the "soul" of their hatred. Some, like Achashverosh, were only cognizant of the "body" component of their Jew hatred, seeing the Jew as a "mound" that disturbs and obstructs. They were unaware of the underlying drives behind their hatred.

    Haman, on the other hand, was aware of this truth. He understood that he despised the Jews because they generated a "ditch" in the depth of his heart. That is why when the entire Persian elite bowed to Haman daily, with the exclusion of one Jewish rabbi, Mordechai, the Bible tells us (10) that Haman "was filled with rage."

    Why? Imagine thousands of people prostrating themselves before you on a daily basis, except one old ultra-religious man with a white beard. Big deal! Why was Haman so perturbed by the sight of one obstinate Jew not falling on his knees to worship him?

    Because Haman, in a very deep place, knew that Mordechai had it right. Mordechai's behavior resonated in Haman's inner heart. It exposed the truth that Haman was not a demi-god.

    He thus approached Achashverosh and said: I have a ditch in my heart, which I cannot bear anymore. I must rid the world from its Jewish presence. Achashverosh, a far less intelligent and complex person, responded: Great! The Jews, for some reason or another, always irked me regardless. I'd be more than happy if you can remove this cursed mound from my presence.

    The Conclusions

    One of the many conclusions of the aforementioned idea is that the proper method of dealing with Jew-hatred in all of its manifestations is not to attempt to eclipse or deny one's Jewishness and the unique role of the Jewish people in history. The gentile, instinctively and accurately, feels the "otherness" of the Jew; the non-Jew innately senses the holiness embedded within the Jewish soul. When the Jew denies this holiness, when the Jew, embarrassed by his Judaism, tells the world, "I am just like you," the non-Jew senses a lie, a secret conspiracy, and he despises the Jew even more. The world will forever dislike Jews who dislikes themselves.

    On the other hand, when the non-Jew encounters a Jew who is proud of his otherness, who cherishes and embraces his Jewishness and its unique role in history, more often than not the non-Jew is overtaken by sense of admiration and respect; he can begin to appreciate the Jew, learn from him and adore him.

    The Jew also knows that bribing, appeasing, and trying to bend over backwards to those who hate us will not supplant their hate with love. The animosity stems from too deep a place for it to be transformed through money or appeasement. Our primary and eternal hope remains in our relationship with G-d, the sole Master of the universe.

    That is why, when Mordechei and queen Esther learnt of Haman's decree, the first thing they did was engage in fasting, prayer, repentance and good deeds. Only after three days of fasting and introspection, did Esther use her position as the beautiful wife of the king and attempt to influence him, in the midst of a drinking party, to obliterate the decree against the Jews. Now, if Esther wished to impress her husband, she should have gone to a beauty-parlor not fast for three days!

    The answer is, that Esther knew, as every Jew knows deep down in his heart, that salvation will not come from a man who sees the Jews as an eternal "mound." Salvation will come from G-d. Therefore, the first and foremost objective is to strengthen her relationship with G-d. Only afterward, are we called to follow the course of nature and attempt to influence world leaders to help secure the survival of the Jewish people.

    Once we have secured our relationship with G-d, through the Torah and its Mitzvos, can we hope that G-d will manipulate the hearts of the Jew-haters to assist rather than destroy the Jews.

    (This essay is based on an address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Purim 1965 (11))

    1) For a comprehensive discussion of this subject, the history and dynamics of antisemitism, as well as a convincing refutation of many of the popular reasons given for antisemitism, see Why The Jews? (Prager and Telushkin, Simon and Schuster, 1983.)
    2) Ibid. p. 21.
    3) Esther 3:11
    4) Megilah 14a.
    5) See Benayahoo to Talmud Megilah ibid. and Chasam Sofer - Toras Moshe L'Purim for their symbolic explanations of this parable.
    6) Of course, one may answer that the parable is an imperfect one and it is just here to illustrate the point that the owner of the mound is willing to dispose of his mound without receiving payment. Yet anyone familiar with the Talmudic literature is aware of its extraordinary profundity and meticulousness. It is thus clear, that the comparison between Haman and an owner of a ditch seeking to fill it is precise and meaningful. Yet in the actual story, Haman's role is reversed, seeking to dispose of the mound and not have it remain in his territory?
    6*) Perhaps we can add: The Mound represents significance & the dignity that Judaism confers upon all peoples; and that is why as a dictator who wanted to subjugate his populace he couldn't stand the Judaic disciple which affords such tremendous rights to all peoples.
    7) Shabbas 89a. See Eyon Yaakov to Ein Yaakov ibid. -- The explanation for anti-Semitism that fallows has been articulated by Maimonidies in Igeres Taiman chapter 1.
    8) For an elaborate discussion on this theme, See On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding, (Michael Novak, 2001).
    8*) Quoted in Radican Then, Radical Now (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, London 2000) p. 3 with reference noted there.
    9) Quoted in Why The Jews? p. 30, see reference there. Cf Faith After the Holocaust (Eliezer Berkowitz, Ktav, 1973) pp. 114-127, where this point is brilliantly demonstrated.
    10) Esther 3:5.
    11) Sichos Kodesh 5725 pp. 444-454.

    Mayim Achronim — Balak

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