Just Look at All Those Yeshiva Terrorists § Where? At Meron! Not Again? There’s Only One Way to Control Them!
29 April 2022
Haj-Amin el-Husseini played many parts, but his whole life was dedicated to the fight against Jewish immigration and to te persecution and extermination of Jews in Palestine and all over Europe. He aborted a promising attempt to save a number of Jewish children, who then were killed. At the end of the war, the Mufti succeeded in escaping Germany, and was not arrested and prosecuted by the Allies, although they could have done it. He finally arrived in Egypt in 1946, and continued his activities which included organizing murders of political opponents, like the President of Lebanon and King Abdullah of Jordan. Haj-Amin died in his Beirut home on July 4, 1974. Prominent among his family mourners was Yasser Arafat.
The book contains about 100 pictures and original documents collected in an extensive research, about 700 notes with historical and literary references, an extensive bibliography and an index of names.
The book has already been published in Serbian and Hebrew. This new enlarged English version aims at a wider audience and contains numerous additional documents.
28 April 2022
(Beginning with this Shabbos, Chu”l will be reading Acharei Mos, while Eretz Yisrael will be in Parsha Kedoshim)
BETTER THAN WE CAN BELIEVE
Pesach is so powerful. Every year the Yom Tov becomes more real to me, as we see the events of ancient history playing out on the world stage. We have been discussing this for weeks, so you know what I am referring to.
On the last day of Pesach, I was mentally burdened. I knew it was Zman Chairusainu, when we are liberated physically and spiritually, but as I walked to shul on the last day of Yom Tov, I was weighed down by the myriad threats to our existence. I felt overwhelmed and unable to bring myself to a state of simcha.
When I was a boy, long before I had heard the word “Torah,” I was afraid of the world and perceived threats all around me, even though I was living in comfort. It is quite amazing to me that one’s basic personality does not change, no matter how long one lives, and I was feeling once again this Pesach the childhood fear that I had experienced decades ago.
Then I remembered that, because of that fear, I was impelled to look for Hashem in the world, and that fear is actually what saved me. I therefore had gratitude to Hashem for the fear that He had implanted in me, because it was the source of my rescue. I realized I had to thank Hashem for everything, even when I didn’t understand it.
When I arrived at shul, I heard the magnificent Hallel, through which the mighty and beloved hero, Dovid Hamelech, sustains us all to this very day. As it says, “Mikimi … Hashem raises the needy from the dust, from the trash heaps He lifts the destitute to seat them with nobles….”
This spoke to me so much! And then I read, “Ki gavar aleinu chasdo … His kindness overwhelms me….” and I realized that He is completely powerful, and His blessings will overwhelm all our troubles, no matter how large they seem.
And then I saw, “Min ha maitzar … Hashem is with me, I have no fear. How can man affect me?” and that gave me more strength.
Then we read Shir ha Shirim and I cried because we are all so much in love with Hashem and we miss His Presence so terribly that our hearts are breaking. There will be a happy ending to this love story. As it says in the Yom Tov davening, “hidaresh lanu … let Yourself be sought out by us.”
Hollywood tries to grab this theme, but they can never understand. Bnai Yisroel are the only ones who know what love is. This love will blossom like trees in the spring, like the trees on which we make a bracha each year at this time of great joy. And these blossoms will produce fruit and we will be sustained forever by the chessed emanating from Shomayim, and we will be united once more with Hashem under the chuppah on Har Tzion when He returns to His Place forever.
The awesome Haftara on the last day of Pesach lifted my soul. It begins with the arrogant gesture of Sennacherib, the “world conqueror” who arrogantly waves his hand toward Yerushalayim as if to say, “I am going to walk all over you and nothing can stop me.” There have been countless arrogant kings in world history, and they have all targeted the Holy Land as their trophy. We know all the odious names, even down to the present.
They all fail. “Rabos macha shavos b’lev ish …. There are many designs in a man’s heart, but only the counsel of Hashem will prevail.”
The Novi tells us that, at the end of history, Hashem kaviochal will come with an axe. He will “chop off the main branches” and cut down the “tall ones,” the ones who try to believe they are tall.
There is a beaten-up tree on the street outside our home in Yerushalayim. Every other tree on the block is healthy, but this one is the nebach. A car hit it and knocked it down. It looked dead. Then a snowstorm came and beat it down more, until it looked as if it was finished forever, a dead stump among the healthy trees all around.
But then spring came, and -- amazingly -- this stump came back to life. By the summer it had sprouted new branches covered with green leaves. It had never died! It looked dead, but the sap flowed through it still, just hidden, out of sight.
The Novi tells us: “A staff will emerge from the stump of Yishai, and a shoot from his roots. The Spirit of Hashem will rest upon him … a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of Hashem…. He will judge with righteousness the wicked of the world with the rod of his mouth,” and the world will be renewed under his leadership, “and they will not injure and they will not destroy in all of My sacred mountain, for the earth will be filled with the Knowledge of Hashem as water covers the sea bed.”
My friends, we have to hang on to this. In Mitzraim, the world as we knew it was governed by an apparently “all powerful” ruler who hated us and hated life. But his kingdom was destroyed. So, in our own days, when we see evil spreading all over the world, we must remember the words of Chazal, who tell us that “[Moshiach] will not come until the entire [world] converts to heresy. Rava said: What is the verse [which demonstrates this]? ‘All of it [tzaraas/‘leprosy’] has turned white; it is pure.’” (Sanhedrin 97a)
When the entire world is covered by impurity, that is the sign that the “staff will emerge from the stump of Yishai” and the world will be redeemed. As the two parshios after Pesach tell us, “Acharei Mos … Kedoshim,” after death comes kedusha/purity!
It will be all good, better than we can believe.
“You will say on that day, ‘I thank you, Hashem, for You were angry with me, and now Your wrath has subsided and You have comforted me. Behold, G-d is my salvation. I shall trust and not fear …. Make music for Hashem, for He has acted with grandeur. Make this known throughout the world. Exult and shout for joy, Oh inhabitant of Tzion, for the Holy One of Israel is great in your midst.”
Har Tzion: Mount Zion
Kaviochal: Describing Hashem as if He had the characteristics of a man
Shir ha Shirim: Song of Songs, written by Shlomo ha Melech, King Solomon
Zman chairusainu: Passover, the Season of our Freedom
Parashat Kedoshim 5782
by Rabbi Nachman Kahana | Apr 24, 2022
Flux, Confusion, War – Where are we headed?
A: In a state of flux
In no way, shape or form can mortal man be compared to the Creator; we can only enumerate the infinite contrasts that exist between Creator and His creations.
Every material entity is in a perpetual state of flux. From the gigantic heavenly bodies to the smallest subatomic particles nothing is at total rest, for all are concurrently in total movement in all directions. The planets in our solar system rotate around the sun, while the sun itself is turning and twisting in our Milky Way galaxy as our galaxy itself turns and twists in the never-ending void of the universe, which itself is expanding in all directions. Whereas HaShem is at total rest; immutable, inflexible, unalterable.
B: The Exodus
The Haggadah states that, “HaShem alone brought us forth out of Egypt, not by an angel, not by a seraph, nor by a messenger, but the Holy One, Blessed is He, in His own glory and He alone”.
1- Contrary to our definition that HaShem is immutable, it appears from the Haggadah that HaShem was very active in the exodus of Am Yisrael from Egypt!
2- How could the masters of the Haggadah disregard the major role that Moshe Rabbeinu filled in all aspects of the exodus experience?
Moshe was indeed HaShem’s messenger, but only on the level of human activities and preparations necessary before, during and after the exodus.
Whereas the Haggadah is referring to a dimension far beyond that which exists on the human level. A dimension which predated even the moment of Creation when the notion of physical entity ex nihilo came about within the will of HaShem. It was the moment 974 “generations” prior to the moment of Creation which according to the Gemara (Shabbat 92b) HaShem brought the Torah into existence. In addition, HaShem waited another 26 generations from Adam to present the Torah to the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai.
After scrutinizing all the essential characteristics of races which comprised humanity, Hashem chose the descendants of Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka, Ya’akov and Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah to be the only nation in the world which would be willing and capable of being the torch bearers of HaShem’s will in the material world. HaShem could have given the Torah to our forefathers but waited four hundred years for the formation of the “Nation of Israel,” because the Torah cannot be the possession of individuals but must be observed within the framework of a national entity, residing in its independent territorial area, within the framework of its unique and insular religious-national culture.
When the Haggadah states that HaShem alone was the driving force behind Am Yisrael’s exploding from subjugation into freedom and blossoming into nationhood, the intent was the appointment by HaShem of Am Yisrael as his infinite chosen nation which only HaShem could have done.
A: What’s going to be?
Human society becomes ever more complex as we advance in uncovering the secrets of the physical world. Confusion reigns in most aspects of our lives, and the question “what’s going to be?” is dominant in the discourse of intelligent people.
History is undergoing shifting relationships between nations and races, and the so-called absolute laws of human behavior are being re-written by the day.
As the west declines, the east is evolving into world dominance. America is losing its status of primary nation as the world’s leader in social justice and scientific advances. The hopes and aspirations of the European nations that there will be no more wars on that continent are being shattered on the killing fields of Ukraine.
So, the big question is where is HaShem taking the world?
B: Nebuchadnezzar’s dream
The second chapter of the Book of Daniel relates that Daniel reminded Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, what he had dreamt and its interpretation.
The king saw a gigantic statue made of four metals: a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron with feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.
Then suddenly a stone “not cut by human hands” smashed into the statue. The gold, silver and bronze, the iron and clay, were shattered into pieces like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer.
The wind swept them away without leaving a trace, but the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain, filling the earth.
And Daniel explained: Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands He has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
After you, another kingdom will arise (Persia and Medes), inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, (Greece) of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, led by two superpowers of unequal strength (Rome: today’s US and Europe and Moslem states).
The smashing stone “cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands” denotes that the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that will never be destroyed and will endure forever – the Jewish nation.
C: The Era of Mashiach
Many sources quote the Amora Shmuel’s position regarding the world we live in today vis-à-vis the era of the Mashiach:
“אין בין העוה”ז לימות המשיח אלא שיעבוד מלכיות בלבד”
There will be no radical change in the natural world, but the Jewish nation in Eretz Yisrael will be free of foreign domination and intervention and regain independent control over our lives.
Rambam in his commentary to chapter 10 in tractate Sanhedrin agrees with Shmuel and says:
אבל ימות המשיח הוא זמן שבו תחזור המלכות לישראל, ויחזרו לארץ ישראל, ויהיה אותו המלך העומד מקום מלכותו ציון, ויתגדל שמו ויגיע לקצוי תבל יותר וגדול על ממלכת שלמה, ויכרתו עמו העמים ברית שלום, ויעבדוהו כל הארצות לגודל צדקו, ונפלאות יתגלו על ידו, וכל מי שיעמוד עליו יכריתהו ה’ וימסרהו בידו. וכל פסוקי המקרא מעידים על אשרו ואשרינו בו, ולא ישתנה במציאות שום דבר מכפי שהוא עתה, זולתי שתהא המלכות לישראל, וכך לשון חכמים אין בין העולם הזה לימות המשיח אלא שעבוד מלכיות בל
At the era of the Mashiach, Bnei Yisrael will return to Eretz Yisrael and re-establish the monarchy in Zion. The king will be a world leader, more illustrious than King Solomon. Many nations will sign peace treaties with the Jewish king and accept his leadership.
Hashem will deliver all our enemies into his hands. And there will be no radical change in the natural world except that the Jewish nation will be free of foreign intervention, and we shall regain control over our lives.
This is the process we are witnessing now. Medinat Yisrael is independent in name only. The majority of our important policies are dictated in Washington. The UN holds over us the threat of military, economic and social sanctions, if we take “one false step” in protecting ourselves. The European Union utilizes its historic anti-Semitism to limit our settlement of our historic-Biblical areas of Yehuda, Shomron and even Yerushalayim.
So HaShem ushers in the Russian invasion of Ukraine to bring down the international status of the United States and to exhibit the moral bankruptcy of the Europeans.
This process will continue until all of the nations who today influence Medinat Yisrael negatively will, like in dream of Nebuchadnezzar, be shattered. And then Am Yisrael like the mighty mountain that emerged from the stone will be the last major power in human history.
Copyright © 5782/2022 Nachman Kahana
THERE IS A mitzvah, in this week’s parsha, of not placing a stumbling block before the blind. It is not talking about an actual stumbling block before a person who is actually blind. We have other mitzvos that address such acts of cruelty.
Rather, this mitzvah is as explained by Rashi:
Before a person who is “blind” regarding a matter, you shall not give advice that is improper for them. Do not say to someone, “Sell your field and buy a donkey,” while you plan to cheat him since you yourself will take it from him. (Rashi, Vayikra 19:14)
What Rashi means is that the person only told their friend to sell the field to buy the donkey because they knew the owner would have to borrow money from them at some time. Since the field had a lien on it from a previous creditor, it could not be used as collateral for the loan. The donkey however purchased with the proceeds of the sale of the field could be. Hence, the “friendly” advice.
Basically, this is a mitzvah not to mislead people. The question is, why do we need it if we already have a mitzvah not to lie? Because this is different. In fact, it is the difference between false advertising, which is illegal, and misleading advertising, which is legally rampant. False advertising misrepresents a product. Misleading advertising takes advantage of people’s naiveté and exploits their weaknesses. Hence the saying, “Let the buyer beware,” which is good advice no matter what you are “buying.”
This is really quite a remarkable mitzvah. It’s like the mitzvah to not speak loshon hara, which is the basis of much of the news published daily.
Everyone agrees that it is wrong to lie about someone, especially in a defamatory way. But the world-at-large seems to have no problem with defaming someone if everything reported is true. People get paid good money to dig up such true but incriminating information.
It is the Torah that says that just because something is true does not mean revealing it in public is the true thing. A truth can be a single statement. But speaking the truth incorporates a lot more than just what is being said. It also has to take into account the impact of it, and if that impact is contrary to a Torah goal, then it becomes “falsehood” to share it…even if it sells millions of newspapers and magazines.
Similarly, the Torah does not like it when a person takes advantage of another’s shortcoming. It is pure selfishness to try and get ahead at the expense of another, but even more so at their unwitting expense. Yes, the buyer should be aware as much as possible to protect themself. But the seller should also beware…that G–D is keeping track of how they represent the truth, and He will not buy into causing others to stumble.
AND WHEN WE say unwitting expense, we don’t mean that they do not know what they are getting into. For example, a shaylah was asked about whether or not it is permissible to make a shidduch between two people who will not observe the laws of family purity, or even get married according to halachah with kiddushin and chupah.
The answer is no, because by making the shidduch it would be placing a stumbling block before the blind. This is true even if they said that they know the halachos and choose to ignore them anyhow. Not having learned Torah, they simply don’t appreciate the importance of getting married k’da’as Moshe v’Yisroel, and this makes them halachically blind.
It’s quite the level of sensitivity. It doesn’t say let the buyer beware. It says let the seller beware on behalf of the buyer, to be concerned about the greater good for other people. This is especially so when they cannot be concerned about it for themselves. After all, that is what G–D does for us, and we were created in His image, so-to-speak, so it is how we are supposed to behave as well.
I was trying to explain this to one of my grandchildren on Shabbos. They asked me for some chocolate which I gladly gave them. But they enjoyed it so much that they wanted the whole bar. So I said that it would not be fair to others who would enjoy it as well. They did not buy it and still wanted the rest of it which, to their dismay, they did not get.
I’ve watched adults do the same thing. I have a hard time finishing off something I know others would enjoy, because my parents put that consciousness into me when I was young. But I’ve watched people help themselves to something and then take more than might be considered fair by others who enjoy the same thing. I’ve seen some think about it and hold back from taking too much, some think about it and take the “extra” anyhow, and some not think about it at all and just take what they want regardless of others.
Then someone might disappointingly say, “Okay, who finished off the …?!” at which time the guilty party realizes what they did and apologizes for taking so much. They might even offer to share right off their plate from the “untouched part,” but who ever says yes to that?
This of course is just another way of saying that every Jew must be a guarantor for their fellow Jew, and in many respects, for their fellow man in general. It is specifically for a fellow Jew because it means also sharing in their sins, and that is just too much to ask given the growing population of the world and different national goals.
Such a level of social responsibility is about more than just making the world a friendlier place. This mitzvah and others like it are in this week’s parsha about kedushah—holiness because they help with achieving it. When you think of a holy person, you do not usually think of a selfish one. But do you think of a holy person if you think of a selfless one? Are they really that intricately connected?
The Torah says they are, and Rashi alludes to the reason why:
You shall be holy: Separate yourselves from sexual immorality and from sin, for wherever one finds a barrier against sexual immorality, one finds holiness… (Rashi, Vayikra 19:2)
The previous parsha ended off with a long list of forbidden sexual relationships. Rashi is telling us that it was the introduction to this week’s parsha about being holy. We understand why abstaining from such relationships is crucial for being holy. But why are they the central reason for lessening kedushah?
ONE OF THE differences between a good parent and a bad parent is that when a good parent tells their child they can’t have or do something, it is for the child’s own good. When a bad parent says it, it is for the parent’s own good.
G–D, of course, is the best parent there can be. Everything He tells us to do or not to do is for our own good, either directly or indirectly. He doesn’t need us to do good for His benefit, and if He did, He could just make us do it.
That’s not what the snake told Chava back in Gan Aiden, and that’s not what the yetzer hara tells us each day. It may not always try to convince us that our loss is G–D’s gain, like the original, external yetzer hara. But it does make us feel that the illicit thing we pine for is really something we ought to have. It’s only after we have sinned that we realize, if we’re mature enough to own up to our mistake, that we were wrong.
So even though it takes two to have a forbidden relationship, each one is doing it for their own benefit, the ultimate selfish act. They’re using each other to get their own pleasures, unconcerned about the spiritual implications for each other. If they truly loved the other person, they would not subjugate them to such a self-destructive act, no matter how much the other person seemed to consent.
In this parsha is also the mitzvah to love your neighbor as yourself, or as the great Hillel put it, don’t do unto others what you would not want done to you (Shabbos 30a). This, Rebi Akiva said, is a great principle of Torah, meaning that the entire Torah is based upon it. As Hillel said, “the rest is just commentary.”
Similarly, there were only two words on the tzitz worn by the Kohen Gadol: Kodesh L’Hashem—Holy to G–D. Kabbalah explains that this was to remind him, and us, that the goal of life is to elevate everything, especially ourselves, to be holy. Being kadosh is not just a nice thing to become, but the thing to become.
If A equals B and B equals C, then A must equal C as well. If caring for others as much as yourself is the basis of Torah, and Torah is about becoming a kadosh, then caring for others as much as ourselves must be the same as becoming a kadosh.
This would explain why it was so important for the Jewish people to reach the level of k’ish echad b’levi echad, like a single person with a single heart, before receiving Torah. Selfishness interferes with kedushah.
Selflessness opens the door for it. It makes a person more objective and therefore more capable of hearing truth. As the Gemora says, the seal of G–D is truth (Yoma 69b), so accepting truth is accepting G–D, and G–D starts off this week’s parsha by saying, “You shall be holy, for I G–D your G–D am holy.” Accept truth, accept G–D. Accept G–D, accept holiness.
Today, it seems, many fight for rights and equality, but at a cost to others. They’re not thinking about what is best for society as a whole, and about how their acquisitions might be at a selfish cost. They’re mostly interested in personal empowerment and taking it away from others if need be. It’s making for a very unholy world.
That’s what the world was like before the great flood in Noach’s time. That’s what the world has been like countless times since and before some disasters like World War I and World War II. And surprise! It’s that way once again as the possibility of a third world war, G–D forbid, looms.
The world may be too far gone to correct it on its own. But as the Gemora says, every person is a world of their own. If we fix only that one, it will be a great accomplishment and will have a greater effect on the world around us than we can imagine.
This is an excerpt from the Introduction to a new book called, What The Doctor Ordered: A Torah Perspective On Healthy Eating, due to be published, b”H, within two weeks. It will be available in Kindle, paperback, hardcover, and PDF formats. The paperback will retail for $14.95, but you can advance order it here for $10.95 plus $4.50 US shipping.
I NEVER REALLY argue with my doctor, who happens to also be a close personal friend. I have great respect for him as a person and as a medical practitioner. I trust him implicitly. But this was the second time we argued about this one topic.
Actually, I had gone to him because of back problems. But before we got to the real reason for my visit, he checked my record on his computer and casually asked me if I had kept my weight off. After years of trying without much success, I had finally lost about twenty kilos over about six months of serious dieting and exercise.
“Most of it,” I answered a little sheepishly. I was still exercising, but though I was watching what I ate, it was usually on its way into my mouth.
“What do you think the greatest obstacle is to successful dieting?” my doctor asked me.
I thought about it for a moment, and recalling what worked for me finally, I said, “Not controlling what you eat enough, and not exercising enough.”
“Nope,” he said. “It’s what they have been saying for the longest time now, but I just didn’t really appreciate it until now. Patience.”
I immediately agreed because I remembered telling my wife the same thing once I saw how, if you stick with it long enough, you begin to see progress, and that is encouraging. We all want to lose weight quickly, but it doesn’t usually happen short of a stomach operation and a strict diet after it.
People are desperate enough to want a silver bullet when it comes to losing weight that they have made a lot of diet pill pushing billionaires…even after the law suits. They just don’t have the patience to do it the sure-fire over time process of little-by-little.
“Cutting out food is just too difficult for most people, so it can’t last for very long,” the doc said. “You have to be able to eat what you want. You just have to exercise portion control…”
“But that is so very hard to do,” I jumped in. “Torah gives us so many occasions to eat, starting with Shabbos and Yom Tov. There are the kiddishum and smachos, like a wedding or a bris where all kinds of delicious and fattening food are served!”
Once upon a time, we didn’t have much money, everything was home-baked, and almost always in limited supply. Today there is an abundance, b”H, and even people who can’t afford it still tend to put out quite a spread. Even people who did not suffer lack in Europe serve and eat as if that might happen again.
How many times have I heard guests on Shabbos say, “I am SO stuffed!” and then eat more. The Rambam would not approve. Doctors do not approve. Our bodies do not approve, evident by all the health issues now plaguing the Torah world as well.
I am at the age now when I am seeing children whom I knew since they were in Cheder getting married. And I am seeing young men who barely gained a pound for over ten years all of a sudden become overweight with their first two years of marriage!
What’s going on? Did their mothers not serve them much food when they were growing up. Did they starve at yeshivah and never go out for pizza or a burger?
I know what changed for me. We started having guests for Shabbos. Afraid to not have enough food for guests to eat to their hearts’ content, we cooked more than we needed. Once we cooked “just enough” on my insistence, and while I felt great about it, my wife was anxious the whole meal and told me after, “Never again!”
Enter the leftovers. It would be years until we had kids old enough to eat them, so I did. I grew up in a home that always had enough, thank G–D, emphasized not over-eating, and would not throw out leftovers until they could go on their own.
It did not help that I love my wife’s cooking, or that I was used to eating what I wanted without gaining weight years earlier. Now I ate what I wanted and more, and by age 30, it was becoming embarrassingly evident. By 50, it was overwhelmingly evident, and I began trying to lose it by dieting and exercise. I never lost enough to make me feel successful at it.
In fact, I was scheduled to have an operation to reduce the size of my stomach, as it was becoming the thing to do. A few people had quietly done it, disappeared for a couple of weeks, only to show up significantly thinner and happier.
I had gone through all the preparatory procedures, the last one being dieting to get used to a smaller appetite. I cut back on my intake and increased my exercise and lost some weight. Surprised and encouraged, I canceled the operation and decided to do it the old-fashioned (and safer) way: willpower…
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