Due to Blogger Format Changes
31 August 2022
Deeper and Deeper We Go – Death Threats at Pollard
Speaking with Kan, Shaked blamed the backlash against Pollard’s endorsement for his decision ultimately to walk back his support, claiming that he faced “death threats”.
“Pollard is a smart man, sharp and moral, who gave his life for the State of Israel, and the moment that his endorsement of me went public, he faced a tsunami of hateful responses, including death threats.”
Shaked went on to say that in retrospect, she agrees with Pollard’s decision to walk back his endorsement.
“Looking back, after the fact, I am happy that he left the toxic Israeli political dialogue. A good person like him should remain in the [public] consensus.”
Blaming the right-wing camp for the backlash against Pollard following his endorsement, Shaked compared the pressure on the former spy to the pressure placed on Yamina MKs to bolt the Bennett-Lapid government.
“Members of my party who dismantled the government went through what Jonathan Pollard faced. There was daily incitement outside of their private homes. Overall, we brought good changes in this government, but half of the population thinks that their country was stolen from them. That’s the problem with narrow governments, and that’s why we need a large, broad government.”
“This raises a real concern that she will once again transfer votes from the right to the left. Therefore, I retract my support for her.
MERON INQUIRY. . .
The committee stated: “We note that the Kever Rashbi site in general and the celebration on Lag B’Omer specifically, has a long history and various aspects. During the committee’s work, we were exposed to multiple failures and unsatisfactory conduct on the part of those who dealt with the issue over the years.”
The members of the committee explained that for reasons of efficiency, they are not holding everyone relevant to the issue responsible but sent warnings to officials in accordance with their positions and the severity of their failings. “We took into account the position of the official regarding the disaster and the question of his seniority. We sought to express our perception, according to which holders of senior public positions, who are granted extensive and significant powers, are required to bear corresponding responsibilities. In addition, regarding those in senior public positions, we saw great importance in clarifying the norms of behavior expected of them, each according to their role and the matter at hand.”
Regarding their decision to send a warning letter to Netanyahu, the committee members stated: “As someone who served as Prime Minister of Israel for over 12 consecutive years during the relevant period (from 2009 to 2021), former Prime Minister Netanyahu knew, or should have known, that the Kever Rashbi site at Meron was poorly managed over the years and was bound to create a risk for the many participants of the celebration that takes place every year on Lag B’Omer.”
“Former Prime Minister Netanyahu did not act as expected of a prime minister to correct this state of affairs. This, despite the fact that the issue was the focus of serious reports by the State Comptroller, that the issue involved several government ministries, and that it was brought to the government’s table on several occasions in various years. Former Prime Minister Netanyahu did not ensure effective monitoring of the government’s handling of the matter, even after it was clarified in the framework of a discussion of a government decision in 2016 that previous government decisions on the matter were not implemented.”
Rabbi Green – Torah Scroll Dedication
in memory of my dear father א“ה
Tomorrow is my last day of eleven months of reciting kaddish for my father, Yehuda Yisroel ben Yitzchak הכ”מ.
My children have launched a campaign to write a new Sefer Torah in his memory. Please help us make this dream a reality by donating towards this holy cause.
You may purchase a letter, verse, aliya, or parsha, thereby becoming a partner with us in this special Torah scroll.
The 613th mitzvah of the Torah is the obligation to write one’s own Torah scroll [Deut. 31:19]. An individual can fulfill this commandment by becoming a partner with others in the writing of a new Torah scroll.
My father believed in the inalienable right of every child to a Torah education, irrespective of finances or anyone’s personal medical choices. This special Sefer Torah will be used in a new Yeshiva that will welcome ALL.
To join our Torah campaign, please click on the link or photo below:
My father was an extraordinary individual who made an indelible impression on everyone he met. He was a giant of a man, in more ways than one, and taught us to stand up for the truth. To his enduring credit, his children and grandchildren serve as leaders and role models in the US and around the world. Please help us dedicate a new Torah scroll in his memory.
The Z-nithThe Z-Stack Newsletter
It has been a fascinating week in the world of federal government medical tyranny and malpractice: the CDC now admits that natural immunity is as good as the vaccine. After the CDC created magical new pandemic guidelines last week, CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti explained to reporters what many have been saying for more than a year - that both vaccines and prior infection offer protection from severe symptomatic COVID.
The CDC finally started believing in science over political science a year later than the result of the study here show: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.24.21262415v1.full.pdf.
Science Magazine summarizes the findings this way: “The newly released data show people who once had a SARS-CoV-2 infection were much less likely than never-infected, vaccinated people to get Delta, develop symptoms from it, or become hospitalized with serious COVID-19.”
Of course, the new CDC mandates track with much of what Dr. Zelenko had been saying all along. So, you may be wondering why the liberals running this country into the ground finally now are seeing the light? As Gallup notes, Congress and the President’s mismanagement of the economy, the COVID response, and even bike riding without falling off are a disaster, and they want votes more than saving lives. This is in stark opposition to their claims when they destroyed the economy under President Trump with an unnecessary economic shutdown.
30 August 2022
DESTRUCTION AGAIN – "The police just came running and swooped onto the hill"
Ramat Migron destroyed for the third time in a month:
‘They swooped onto the hill’
Hodia Kehati, a resident of Migron: "The police beat anyone in sight - including young girls - and simply stole the phones of anyone who tried to record the violence.”
At around four o'clock this morning (Tuesday), a large group of police and Civil Administration staff raided Ramat Migron in the Benjamin region of Samaria and began demolishing the houses of the three families living on the hill.
The residents reported severe police violence, including against women and children, even though the residents did not resist at all. Residents’ cellphones were confiscated as were those of other citizens who came to the scene to document the incident.
Four residents were injured by police, including a 17-year-old girl who was injured in the head and hands. Police arrested six residents who were demonstrating against the destruction.
"The police just came running and swooped onto the hill," said Hodia Kehati, a resident of Migron. "They beat anyone in sight -- including young girls -- and simply stole the phones of anyone who tried to record the violence. We asked the police to send a medic to treat the injured girl who was bleeding or at least allow us to call Magen David Adom, but they refused. It was a difficult and shocking sight."
"Within minutes, we were evicted from our house, all our furniture and personal possessions were thrown out and a tractor ran over the house smashing it to pieces," Kehati said of the severe destruction they experienced.
In response to the destruction this morning, residents of Ramat Migron comment that it is impossible to ignore the fact that we are in an election period. “It seems that Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Yair Lapid have decided to conduct their election campaign on the backs of the residents of the hill communities,” they said, “while cynically exploiting the position they currently hold. During the evictions, the police use severe violence, unnecessarily, and it seems as if they received an order from above to ‘give it to the settlers.’ At any cost."
MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) said in response to the destruction: "Community-Eviction Minister Gantz continues time and time again to evacuate outposts and surrender to Abu Mazen, a Holocaust denier, his friend. Today there is another evacuation in Ramat Migron. They are uprooting and destroying - we will plant and resettle. The answer to the evacuation will be given On November 1st with a real right-wing government.”
Shalom Pollack – Once again, Yad Vashem is Embroiled in Deep Controversy
Shalom Pollack — A Different Israel
Dan Meridor laments the legitimacy Netanyahu grants Otzma Yehudit when Yizhak Shamir would leave the Knesset whenever Rabbi Kahane spoke.
To understand the above headline as it appeared today, some background is helpful:
Dan Meridor was one of the "princes" of the Herut / Likud "fighting family". of his parent's generation
His parents fought the Arabs, the British, and later, politically, the tyrannical Left establishment. Meridor is no longer a member of Herut/Likud.
His parents, like the parents of other Herut princes and princesses such as Tzipi Livni, Ehud Olmert and Benny Begin, won the hearts of the masses with their old-time unapologetic Zionist /Jewish patriotism.
Dan and his generation waltzed into a political career thanks to their parents' trailblazing sacrifices
Alas, the children, born with a political silver spoon in their mouths turned out to be spoiled brats unworthy of their parent's legacy.
The Land of Israel, the People of Israel, and the traditions of Israel are not their guideposts. These are seen as stumbling blocks impeding a more "realistic" world. They feel that these old values should not be taken too seriously and certainly do not deserve the fervor and loyalty that their parents exhibited.
The opening item appeared today as Itamar Ben Gvir's "Otzmat Yehudit '' joined forces with the other National Religious party of Smotrich. This union may be the third largest in the Knesset with Ben Giver clearly the larger vote-getter in the mix.
Meridor and Ben Gvir have very different views of what the Jewish country should look like. Meridor is right when he voices his concern. He reminds us that Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir walked out of the Knesset when Rabbi Kahane ( Ben Gvir's mentor) spoke.
In the case of Shamir, it wasn't because he did not agree with Rabbi Kahane as much as the rabbi was the greatest political threat to the entire Israeli establishment. Polls showed that masses of Likud and other voters were attracted to Rabbi Kahane who did not hesitate to mince words. His refreshing, honest, logical approach had great appeal. The next election would be a catastrophe for politicians like Shamir if Kahane was not rid of.
Jews in the Jewish state don't want to hear why Jews are increasingly murdered and humiliated in their own land. They want to hear that it will end - fast.
This situation has not changed since Rabbi Kahane was banned from political life by the entire Knesset. He did not play by the politician's rules and that is why the people loved him and why the politicians hated him.
Fast forward forty years to Ben Gvir.
Then as now, the Israeli establishment can accept Jew-hating Arabs in the Knesset and even give them a comradely slap on the back - but not a Jew-loving Jew who wants to make Jews safe and proud again in the Jewish country.
Some things are beyond the pale.
Translation: Some people make them look like the opportunistic impotent politicians that they are
Conclusion: We have identified the enemy and it must be destroyed.
Tread carefully Ben Gvir.
My book "Jews, Israelis, and Arabs"
The unique walking tour scheduled for this Wednesday, August 31 will now include a great surprise that I was offered only today. "Ateret Cohanim '', the organization that redeems land in Jerusalem for the Jewish people are just entering a major building just inside Jaffa Gate after a fifteen year court battle.
We will be amongst the first to take a peek into what will be home for dozens of Jewish families soon IY"H.
We meet at Jaffa Gate at 10:00
Beautiful Photo of Yosef’s Tomb
Bas Yisroel Kidnapped by Arab Slime – Pidyon Shvuyim
Readers were moved this week to learn the story of Sara, a young Jewish woman from a religious family. Unable to fit the mold of her school system she was thrown out of school and out of her home.
What was already a tragic situation, however, has become an emergency: Sara has been kidnapped and is being kept in an Arab village. Her captors are demanding an enormous sum for her release. She continues to suffer unknown horrors at the hands of her tormentors.
Organization Ahavat Chinam was founded by Tova Safranai to help young Jewish people who have been disowned by their frum parents. Ahavat Chinam is in touch with both Sara and her captors and volunteers are working tirelessly to raise enough money to save her life.
Readers can see the chilling video message from Safranai on the organization's Chesed Fund page.
Pollard Endorses Shaked – Zionist Spirit???
In a video statement, Pollard declared himself an independent, but said that given the “difficult and dangerous time” Israel is in, he has decided to offer his support to Shaked.
“I’m an independent whose only loyalty and concern is for the Land and People of Israel.”
“Because of my unqualified love of this country, and my dedication to her survival and wellbeing, I must now endorse someone who I know will serve Israel in a way that will safeguard both our core interests and our honor.”
“That person is Ayelet Shaked.”
“Yes, she exhibited misplaced loyalty in our last government. But I truly believe that she realizes the mistake that she made and will not repeat her error.”
“We need her now, free and clear of the bad influences that hurt both her personal reputation and her political credibility.”
“We all make errors in judgment. The difference is between those of us who refuse to acknowledge such errors, and those of us who recognize their errors and commit never to repeat them.”
“I believe that Ayelet Shaked is just such a person, and deserves to be given an opportunity to continue being part of Israel’s leadership.”
“At this difficult and dangerous time in our history, we need and deserve a proven patriot like Ayelet Shaked.”
GATE of the TRIBES
When was this named the Gate of the Tribes? Where is it?
The group entered through the Gate of the Tribes and was escorted by a Temple Mount officer, after some worshipers in the groups were removed through the same gate.
Allowing Jews to enter through this gate is very significant because this is the gate that the Paratroopers entered in order to liberate the Temple Mount in 1967. Jews are normally restricted to entering the Temple from the Mughrabi (Hallel) Gate.
Tom Nisani, CEO of Beyadenu for the Temple Mount said: “Jewish entry this morning through the Gate of the Tribes shows that there is no justification for the threats and claims that if we exercise our sovereignty and basic freedoms on the Mount, terrible things will happen. This morning, Jews entered through the Gate of the Tribes smoothly and without any problems. This precedent should be first implemented on special occasions when many Jews ascend the Mount through the Hallel Gate, which can’t contain all of them. It is a positive development”.
As expected, Hamas called this a “dangerous escalation,” according to blogger Abu Ali Express. (source of article)
At first Arab social media channels didn’t really understand what was going on, claiming that Jews only left the compound through the gate, but after the attached video surfaced they corrected themselves, claiming that Jews both entered and left the compound through this gate (through which Israeli-Arab Knesset members usually enter the Temple Mount), Abu Ali explained.
A Hamas spokesman addressed the “issue” with a statement, referring to the “incident” as a dangerous escalation. The statement also noted the recent incidents in which “extremist women posed on the mountain in immodest clothing”, is yet another example of recent growing Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa.
Where is the Gate of the Tribes:
29 August 2022
Mayim Achronim – Ascending the Temple Mount
In this week’s parasha, Re’eh, we are told that a time would come when God would choose to rest His Divine Presence in one particular city in the Holy Land (Deuteronomy 12:5). This city is, of course, Jerusalem. The Torah says that it is only there that sacrifices could be brought, and this is the place to which Jews should pilgrimage thrice a year on the holidays. The pilgrimage mitzvah is referred to as re’iyah (רְאִיָּיה), “appearing” or “being seen” before God in Jerusalem. This name has a deep connection, and shares a linguistic root, with the name of this week’s parasha
The re’iyah is the subject of the first Mishnah in the tractate Chagigah. It begins by stating that all Jews are obligated to appear in Jerusalem on the festivals, with twelve exceptions. One of these exceptions is a minor. The Mishnah then asks who is considered a “minor”? Beit Shammai held that a minor is any child who is unable to make the trip riding on his father’s shoulders as he ascends up to the Temple Mount. Beit Hillel held a more lenient opinion that a minor is any child who cannot make the trip up to the Temple Mount while holding his father’s hand. Beit Hillel reason that since the pilgrimage holidays are called regalim, literally “legs”, a person must be able to use their own legs to ascend to the Temple Mount
Today, we have yet to rebuild the Temple, but we do have the Temple Mount, and many Jews wish to ascend it. This has generated much controversy in recent decades, with many rabbis in opposition, and others strongly in favour of Jews making their presence felt on the Temple Mount. It is worth carefully exploring the issues at hand and come to a clear conclusion regarding whether or not ascending the Temple Mount is permissible and advisable
Where Was the Temple?
In ancient times, entering the Temple itself required one to be on the highest level of spiritual purity. Among other things, anyone who had come in contact with a corpse had to first be purified using the special mixture that contains the ashes of the red heifer. However, a person did not have to be pure to enter the Temple Mount, only the Temple proper. The Rambam rules clearly in his Mishneh Torah that “a corpse may be brought into the Temple Mount, and one who has contracted ritual impurity from a corpse may definitely enter there.” (Sefer Avodah, Hilkhot Beit haBechirah 7:15
For the past two millennia, we have not had the red heifer mixture, so everyone is considered to carry the impurity of death by default. This means that while we cannot enter the Temple, we are still allowed to enter the Temple Mount. Now, since we do not have a Temple, there shouldn’t be any issue here at all. Nonetheless, many rabbis affirm that even though there is no Temple, a person who is impure cannot walk where the Temple once stood, since the Divine Presence has not left the area. A few big questions emerge here:
Where exactly was the Temple located? And is the Divine Presence still in that area
The majority of opinions hold that the Temple stood directly where the Dome of the Rock stands today, though a minority holds otherwise. We know that the Temple was built over the Even haShetiya, the “Foundation Stone”, and our Sages state that in the Second Temple, the kohen gadol would rest the incense in the Holy of Holies atop this large rock, which protruded out of the ground (Yoma 53b). There is only one such large stone on the Temple Mount, and it currently lies beneath the Dome of the Rock
The Muslims built the Dome of the Rock in the 7th century specifically over the site of what they believed to be Solomon’s Temple. In fact, an ancient Midrash prophesied that this would happen. Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer (dating back to the 1st century Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, teacher of Rabbi Akiva) predicted that the Ishmaelites would one day conquer the Holy Land, and would do 15 major things there. One of these things is building a shrine atop the site of the Temple (see ch. 30). This is further supported by Nistarot d’Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (an ancient text we explored in depth here), which clearly states that Ishmael “will build for himself there a place for prayer upon the site of the Foundation Stone, as Scripture says: ‘And set your nest on the rock…’” (Numbers 24:21) All of this makes it pretty much certain that the Beit HaMikdash really did sit where the Dome of the Rock is today, and not elsewhere on the Temple Mount
Based on this, the argument of some poskim that we should not ascend the entire Temple Mount since we do not know where exactly the Temple stood doesn’t hold much water. Even if it did, we have to answer the other big question: does the Divine Presence remain where the Temple once stood? Such a position would strongly contradict a fundamental Midrash, and much more
It is taught that when the Temple was destroyed, the Shekhinah moved on and took rest in the Kotel, the Western Wall. The Midrash prophesies that, therefore, the Western Wall would never be destroyed (see Eichah Rabbah 1:31, as well as Shemot Rabbah 2:2). This is another incredible prophecy that has come true: Jerusalem has been conquered and reconquered more than any other city in the world over the past two thousand years, and despite all the wars and changing regimes, the Western Wall remains. In fact, this is why Jews are so attached to the Western Wall, since this is where the Shekhinah currently lies, awaiting the return of the Temple
As s such, the Shekhinah probably does not remain where the Temple once stood. This is further supported by the fact that few would dare argue that the Shekhinah lies within the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine. While there is no doubt that the ground retains its sanctity, it is safe to say there is no greater spiritual presence within the Dome of the Rock area—certainly no more than around the Western Wall, for which we have a clear source saying the Shekhinah rests there! Therefore, one can strongly argue that not only should Jews be allowed to enter the Temple Mount, we should even be allowed to enter the Dome of the Rock. It is worth mentioning here the position of the Raavad (Rabbi Avraham ben David, c. 1125-1198) who held that there is no longer any karet prohibition to go anywhere on the Temple Mount. Which brings us to the last big question
Why have many gedolim today ruled against ascending the Temple Mount when the sources are quite clear that it should be permissible
The Solution to Fear and Politics
In 1967, the Israeli army liberated Jerusalem during the Six-Day War. The commander of the Golani Brigade, Motta Gur, is the person who led the way. Gur believed that it was his life’s purpose and mission to liberate Jerusalem. In fact, he predicted he would do so all the way back in 1961, in a conversation with Rabbi Shlomo Goren. Gur thought that the reason God put him on this planet was to return the Temple Mount to the Jewish people. His vision was realized in 1967, and it was Gur who loudly declared “Har HaBayit beYadeinu!” The recording of his voice was broadcast to jubilant Jews around the world. And that’s not all
When the Temple Mount was secured, Gur immediately ordered one of his soldiers to put an Israeli flag atop the Dome of the Rock. He wanted to make clear that Jews have regained complete sovereignty over their holiest site. Unfortunately, as soon as General Moshe Dayan saw the Israeli flag atop the Dome with his binoculars, he ordered it removed immediately. “Do you want to set the Middle East on fire?!” Dayan shouted into his radio. Dayan, like most of the Israeli government at the time, feared taking control of the Temple Mount. The fear was both of the Muslim reaction, as well as of the religious Jewish reaction. Rabbi Shlomo Goren, IDF chief rabbi, was also on-hand during the capture, and immediately began working on establishing a synagogue on the Temple Mount. (In fact, we know from historical sources that there used to be synagogues on the Temple Mount at various times during the Arab and Ottoman periods.) In response to this, Dayan instituted a ban on Jews establishing synagogues, or even just praying, on the Temple Mount
Nonetheless, with the Temple Mount in our hands, countless Jews would undoubtedly want to ascend. Not only that, but religious Jews may want to start fulfilling other major laws. For instance, the korban pesach can be fulfilled on the Temple Mount, and does not require a Temple (and is permitted to be done even with tumat met, under certain conditions). On that note, it is vital to point out that the korban pesach is one of two positive mitzvot that results in karet if not fulfilled (the other is circumcision, see Keritot 1:3). So, while many rabbis are quick to point out that ascending the Temple Mount may result in a karet due to impurity, few mention that we are already in a de-facto state of karet since we cannot bring a korban pesach
In short, the Israeli authorities feared what would happen if Jews were in charge of the Temple Mount: Packed synagogues? Numerous public mikvehs like in ancient times? Sheep sacrifices? Rebuilding the Temple? The ultra-secular government would never allow such a thing. They also didn’t want to stand up to the Muslim threats nor deal with any possible Muslim violence, though there really was no way of knowing how the Muslim world would actually respond. So, the government quickly gave up sovereignty back to the Muslim Waqf
Unfortunately, many of the rabbinic authorities at the time agreed with the secular Israeli authorities, and wished to maintain the status quo. I imagine some of them thought it best to just leave it to Mashiach to deal with, whenever he would arrive. Soon, the Chief Rabbinate put up a sign warning Jews not to ascend the Temple Mount. It seems the ban had more to do with fear and politics than it did with genuine halakhah. The result was that the Muslims then (and now) took it as a sign that the Jews do not truly want this holy place, and it only bolstered the Muslim claim to the site. In reality, the Muslims have no legitimate claim to the site whatsoever, and even Muslim scholars agree that Mohammad’s “al-Quds” was nowhere near Jerusalem, and the Dome of the Rock holds no actual sanctity for Muslims. (Here’s one, for example.
As such, Jews have to come together and make it clear that this is our holy site, and no one else’s. We have to take back complete sovereignty; we have to show that this site matters to us, and that we will make use of it to its full extent. Jews have to ascend the Temple Mount as much as possible, and do as many mitzvot there as we can. If you are concerned about Temple sanctity and issues of purity, then ascend and stay on the periphery—but do ascend! (The Mishnah, Middot 2:1, tells us that the original Temple Mount was 500 by 500 amot, which is less than half the size of the current Temple Mount area, so there is little chance of accidentally stepping on holy ground if you stay on the periphery, for those who are concerned.
If we continue to avoid the Temple Mount, we will never live to see the restoration of the Temple—which we all pray for daily. The words of our prayers are empty without action. Recall that God did not split the Sea until Nachshon dove into it. The people prayed and prayed to no avail. “Then God said to Moses: ‘Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward!’” (Exodus 14:15) It is time to boldly go forward
Our Sages had a principle, based on Psalms 119:26, et la’asot la’Hashem, heferu Toratecha! “It is a time to act for God, for they have violated your Torah!” The simple meaning of this verse is that since the Torah has been violated, it is a time to act. Our Sages interpreted this verse another way: at certain critical times, a revolutionary action is needed—one that might even violate the Torah! Rashi gives examples in his commentary on this verse. For instance, we see how Eliyahu brought a sacrifice on Mt. Carmel—which is forbidden based on the law given in this week’s parasha that sacrifices could only be brought at the Temple in Jerusalem. He did so because it was a critical time to act, and so a small violation was necessary for the greater good of Israel
Now is another such time to act. Everyone agrees, including all gedolim, that we are in the Ikvot haMashiach. Everyone also agrees that the world is spiritually at a tremendous low point, and Israel isn't doing so well either. We are at a moment that is very much like that of Eliyahu’s time, and like that of the Exodus. It is an unmistakable et la’asot la’Hashem, a time to act for God
Rabbi Kessin: The End is Near
. . . relationship with Trump and the Dems and the Satan
If you are following the intrigue in Amerika, the Rabbi cover it in his unique way, beginning half way in. But the beginning is a reminder.
28 August 2022
Geula Thursdays With Rabbi Pinchas Winston
ETA – Estimating the Final Arrival Time of Moshiach Part 1
ETA – Estimating the Final Arrival of Mashiach Part 2
i have your book, Extremely Powerful ELECTROMAGNETIC ELEVATING EXHILARATING Electromagnetically Electrifying Treasurable kabalistically Treasurable Adventurous HalleluYaH HalleluYaH HalleluYaH HalleluYaH HalleluYaH HalleluYaH HalleluYaH HalleluYaH!!!!!!! Shalom Blessings, Shabbos Shalom Blessings Chagg Semach Rosh Chodesh Elul!!!!!Shalom Chayim
The Driving Passion to Come Close to Hashem
How a Catholic-born Peruvian villager led hundreds to Jewish conversion – and Israel
In ‘The Prophet of the Andes,’ author Graciela Mochkofsky documents unlikely tale of Segundo Villanueva, whose revelations and efforts brought the ‘Inca Jews’ to the Promised Land
He was shocked to find an old copy of the Bible. He couldn’t understand what it was doing there, as his family was Catholic and thus forbidden from owning Bibles. Only priests were allowed to read the holy book and convey its contents to the people, he understood.
This odd discovery changed the course of Villanueva’s life, taking it on a highly unlikely arc from Rodacocha, a small hamlet in the Andes where he was born in 1927, to the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, where in 2008 he was buried under the name of Zerubbabel Tzidkiya.
Because Villanueva dared to open up that forbidden Bible and read it, he eventually ended up an observant Jew — after first trying out several lesser-known Christian and syncretic religious identities.
Villanueva took many others along with him on his single-minded journey to understand the word of God as written in the Hebrew Bible. His genuine, unending search for the truth resulted in hundreds of Peruvian families converting to Judaism and living in Israel. They arrived in three small waves of aliya (immigration) between 1990 and 2006.
“This is one of the most fascinating stories I have come across as a journalist,” said Argentinian-born journalist and author Graciela Mochkofsky, who delved into it for many years.
Mochkofsky’s piecing together the events of Villanueva’s life, and those of his family members and followers, resulted in “The Prophet of the Andes: An Unlikely Journey to the Promised Land,” published on August 2.
Jewish on her father’s side, Mochkofsky, 53, is the newly appointed dean of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. In tracing the “prophet’s” tale, she put her journalist’s chops under heavy use: The author learned that although the major outlines of Villanueva’s reported story were true, she constantly faced the challenge of separating fact from fiction.
It started with the first account Mochkofsky came across about Villanueva and his followers, who eventually called themselves the Bnei Moshe. It was an essay written by Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi Myron Zuber titled, “Converting Inca Indians in Peru,” that she read in September 2003.
According to Zuber, “It all began in 1966, in the Peruvian city of Trujillo, with a man called Villanueva, a good Catholic who frequently attended church… After a period of time, Villanueva came to the conclusion that the Catholic Church could not satisfy his spiritual search; he decided to embrace Judaism.
Mochkofsky would later discover that that wasn’t actually what happened — in Peru or Israel.
But Zuber’s article, as problematic as it was, intrigued Mochkofsky enough to dig into the story. After several reporting trips to Peru and Israel to meet with members of the Bnei Moshe, she wrote a Spanish-language book titled “La Revelaciуn” (The Revelation).
Published in 2006, the author now calls it “a much flawed” first edition of “The Prophet of the Andes.” A major reason for this was her inability to interview Villanueva. He happened to be in Peru when she was in Israel, and vice versa. (She was also unable to speak with him for this new book because, by the time she was able to work on it, he had developed dementia.)
“The first book was more of a fable about faith and the search for truth. I didn’t have the resources to do all the necessary research. To get the full story I need to know more history, and more about Judaism and Hebrew, Segundo, and the politics of Israel,” she said.
A curious prophet
In the meantime, Mochkofsky was hearing about an increasing number of communities similar to the Bnei Moshe sprouting up in South America. She wrote about one in Bello, on the outskirts of Medellнn, Colombia that was published in The California Sunday Magazine in April 2016.
“At the time I completed writing ‘The Prophet of the Andes,’ there were around 60 of these congregations in 14 Latin American countries,” Mochkofsky said.
The story of the Bnei Moshe began with Villanueva, at the time a young carpenter, reading the Bible and gathering groups of people around him to read and discuss it with him. Villanueva’s questions and desire to comprehend the true meaning of the word of God were ceaseless. He would engage anyone willing to study.
He reached out to local religious scholars and leaders at the Protestant congregations that were cropping up for the first time in Cajamarca, where he lived.
“Segundo’s story paralleled the influx of Protestant churches into the Andes in the 20th century. There were as many interpretations as learners,” Mochkofsky said.
But when he started to ask challenging questions, doors were closed in his face.
Taking the Bible in a very literal sense, Villanueva could not understand why the Christians he knew observed the Sabbath on Sunday, in contradiction to what was written in the Five Books of Moses. He eventually joined a church that not only made sense to him but was also welcoming: The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement.
Still identifying as Christians, members of Israel of God set up congregations in several locations in central-northern Peru, including a small settlement they build themselves in the Amazon in 1967 that they named Hebron.
It wasn’t until Villanueva was able to access a religious bookstore in Peru that sold a variety of translations of the Bible that he realized that translation by default involves errors and interpretations.
He decided that the version of the Bible he must follow is the original Hebrew, so he began to learn the language. This eventually led him to be further troubled by inconsistencies between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and how he may have misinterpreted scripture.
Ultimately he concluded that Jesus was not the Messiah and that he and his flock must become Jews. They would be known as the Bnei Moshe.
Birthing pains for Bnei Moshe
Then began the complicated politics of the Bnei Moshe’s conversion to Judaism and aliya to Israel.
For the most part, the congregations of assimilated European-descended Jews in Peru wanted nothing to do with the Bnei Moshe, either doubting their intentions or discriminating against them because of their racial background and social-economic status. Unaccepted at established synagogues, Villanueva and his people built their own shanty-style houses of prayer to use until they could officially convert and make aliya to Israel.
When a Conservative rabbi arrived in Peru offering to convert them, the strict Villanueva declined, saying, “Thank you, but we are looking for an Orthodox conversion.”
Segundo sent letters to rabbis and Jewish leaders in North America and Israel, hoping to get support from them. Most never answered. Some did reply and visit, particularly Religious Zionist rabbis who looked at the Bnei Moshe as a possible source of Jews who could be settled in the West Bank to boost the Jewish population there.
Approval from Israel’s Chief Rabbinate would be necessary for this highly unusual mass conversion of people who did not claim Jewish ancestry (though Villanueva’s son is now trying to prove a connection to the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492).
After positive reports were provided by visiting Israeli rabbis, a beit din (three-rabbi panel) returned on August 17, 1989, to administer examinations and convert 160 Bnei Moshe. Many of the newly minted Jews chose Hebrew names. Villanueva became Zerubbabel Tzidkiya.
On February 28, 1990, Tzidkiya and the first group arrived in Israel. They were immediately taken to the Elon Moreh settlement in the northern West Bank. Many of them later relocated to the Kfar Tapuach settlement.
Ultimately two more groups of Peruvian converts to Judaism, the Bnei Abraham, and the Inca Jews, arrived in Israel. Israel eventually put a stop to the immigration in 2006, when it started to look like many applicants were more interested in economic opportunity than being observant Jews.
Mochkofsky said she doesn’t think that the Bnei Moshe were manipulated by those who settled them in the West Bank without giving them a choice of where to live.
“The media was racist at the time that the Bnei Moshe arrived. They were seen as lacking agency, as a phenomenon. But I don’t see them as pawns. Everyone involved had an agenda or goal, and the Bnei Moshe had theirs. They figured out what was what and got what they wanted. They were where they wanted to be. Theirs is a success story,” the author said.
Without giving away spoilers, it is possible to say that readers of “The Prophet of the Andes” will be surprised by how things worked out for Segundo Villanueva/Zerubabbel Tzidkiya in the years after he finally achieved his dream of settling in Israel as a Jew. Mochkofsky certainly was.
“I thought the end of my book would be his successful aliya, but it wasn’t,” she said.
There is a twist toward the end of the book that leaves readers admiring Tzidkiya for his limitless commitment to his spiritual quest, but also pitying him for it.
“There are different ways to read this book. But one is to see it as a tragic, never-ending search for the truth by a man who was consumed by a book,” Mochofsky said.
PHOTOS and ARTICLE: https://www.timesofisrael.com/how-a-catholic-born-peruvian-villager-led-hundreds-to-jewish-conversion-and-israel/?utm_campaign=most_popular&utm_source=website&utm_medium=article_end
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Tomb of Shmuel Hanavi
|screenshots from Tweeter|
Jewish Power leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir commented, "In Gantz and Lapid's Israel, they attack a Jew who is waving an Israeli flag, kicking him while he is lying on the floor, in front of the police, and are meet with silence instead of shooting at terrorists and crushing them.”
With the help of God, we will give back to the policemen and soldiers who will not think twice and will not be afraid to shoot terrorists. In the next Knesset, we will advance the bill that I initiated, an immunity law for soldiers and police officers. It's time to give security to the residents of the country and stop the lawlessness." A (just sanitized) police statement on the incident claimed: "During a protest held this afternoon near the grave of Samuel the Prophet north of Jerusalem, a violent altercation developed and several individuals were attacked. Border Police officers at the scene worked to repel the rioters and restore order." https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/358791
See also: Jerusalem Arab Arrested for Planning Attack in City Center. https://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israeli-arabs/jerusalem-arab-arrested-for-planning-attack-in-city-center/2022/08/25/
And more: A six-year-old Jewish girl was reported in fair condition Saturday night after being hit earlier in the day by a bullet fired by a Palestinian Authority Arab.The child was shot while playing in her front yard in the Jewish community of Kochav Yaakov in Binyamin. See https://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/young-jewish-child-hit-by-arab-bullet-while-playing-in-her-yard/2022/08/28/
Terrorists opened fire from approximately 50-60 meters from the fence outside the town of Shavei Shomron. Of the five shots fired, three penetrated a car inside the community.
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