Friday, December 15, 2017

The Fear of G-d Barometer: A Torah Thought for Parashat Miketz

by Moshe Feiglin

“And Joseph said to them on the third day, ‘Do this and live, I fear G-d.”’ (From this week’s Torah portion, Mikeitz, Genesis 42:18) “For I said, there is no fear of G-d in this place, and they will kill me.” (Abraham in Genesis 20:11)

Joseph understood the same thing understood by his great-grandfather, Abraham. Joseph’s brothers have nothing to worry about. They can leave Simon with the stern Egyptian ruler and be sure that no harm will befall him, for he has a G-d: “I fear G-d.”

True fear of G-d is the foundation upon which everything rests. There are people who fear G-d, but are unaware of it. There are people who declare that they have fear of G-d, but in truth, it is non-existent. Only G-d knows what is in our hearts. But ultimately, without fear of G-d, everything collapses. There are no borders to separate between good and bad. There is no permissible and forbidden, no moral coordinates with which to navigate the challenges of life. Reality sinks into confusion, into chaos and disarray – into death.

The greater the potential, the greater the sensitivity. A state of the art fighter jet is much more sensitive and can be ruined much more easily than a simple rifle. Regular countries can survive for long periods of time even if their leadership lacks fear of G-d. But the State of Israel is different. Without fear of G-d, the amount of time it takes for it to lose the legitimacy for its very existence – is very short.

The Nation senses this and is seeking G-d.

With His help, we will soon have leaders who reflect the will of the Nation.

Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach.

Meretz's Plan to Divide Jerusalem

by Shmuel Sackett

This article appeared in The Jewish Press

I received an interesting email from a very good friend of mine.

This past Sunday (Dec 10th), he and his wife went to eat at the restaurant “Agas Ve’Tapuach” in Kikar Safra, Jerusalem.

They sat down and noticed that sitting at the next table was Meretz MK Michal Rozin.

My friend said Rozin was meeting with a foreign journalist and was convincing him to write a fake news story about Jerusalem.

She was very clear that her goal was to further her personal political agenda and divide the city.

My friend couldn’t believe what he was hearing, so he grabbed a pad of paper and started writing down everything he heard.

Here is what he said he heard MK Michal Rozin of Meretz saying:

Her real objective is to divide Jerusalem, although she told him not to write that.

She revealed that the instructions she was giving were official and authorized by Meretz.

She told him that his article should focus on several angles:

a) The concept of a “Greater Jerusalem” hurts the Palestinians,

b) Israelis will have to pay welfare for 300,000 poor Palestinians,

c) Because of Jerusalem settlers in Silwan, Israelis will have to start paying higher taxes,

d) The only way to reverse the situation of Jewish settlers in Silwan will be through violence.

As unbelievable as it is, the above words were spoken by a member of the Israeli Knesset and are the official policy of the Meretz party.

And you thought you had heard everything???

Keep Government Out of Private Religious Practice

by Moshe Feiglin

The “Grocery Store Bill” that passed today in the Knesset is an excellent example of why the State should not be involved in religious affairs. What is the story behind this bill? In the beginning, there was a law prohibiting the opening of businesses, including grocery stores, on Shabbat. In Tel Aviv, the law was ignored. The High Court supported Tel Aviv. The Knesset opposed Tel Aviv.

The bill turned into a major political battle. After a full course of baseless hatred all around, we have come full circle: The new bill says what had already been the case in practice: In communities that wish to have open groceries on Shabbat, the groceries will be open. In communities that wish to have closed groceries on Shabbat, the groceries will be closed.

What does Zehut say?

We must remove the entire issue from the Knesset and its conflict-instigators, and give the authority to decide on Shabbat observance for private businesses to the communities. In the words of President Trump, “All we are doing is recognizing reality”. (Reality, by the way, is the secular name for the Master of the Universe). For more on Religion and State, see our Platform Synopsis.

The Yishai Fleisher Show: Gelt, Not Guilt

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rabbi Ari Kahn: Looking For His Brothers (video)

Moshe Feiglin on Acco Radio: Religion Turns the Wheels of History and Politics

The following are translated excerpts from Moshe Feiglin’s interview on Radio Akko, 26 Kislev, 5778/Dec. 13, ‘17

Were you surprised by President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem?
Yes, in fact, I was surprised. I knew that PM Netanyahu was preventing Trump from moving the embassy, but it happened anyway. It turns out that the Evangelicals, who wield great political power, worked hard to get the President to make this declaration.

Yes, but it doesn’t look like the embassy will be moving any time soon.
True. The truth is that all that is needed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a screwdriver. Symbolically, all that has to be done is to remove the embassy sign from Tel Aviv and to put it up on the entrance to the US consulate on Agron Street in Jerusalem. So Trump could have symbolically made the move, but he didn’t. I think that this is an expression of Netanyahu’s counter-pressure. Nevertheless, I do not make light at all of President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem. I see it as a completion of the Balfour Declaration. We can say that the Balfour Declaration was the international recognition of the Jewish People’s physical connection to the Land of Israel and that the Trump Declaration takes up it to the spiritual level. It recognizes the connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem, as the beating heart of our country.

Do you think that the declaration should precipitate a change in Israeli policy?
Yes. Essentially, the Trump Declaration is a blank piece of paper that the US handed to Israel’s government. We recognize your connection to Jerusalem, they say – now do whatever you want.

PM Netanyahu has two options: Thunderous applause, public expressions of thanks, while actually letting that blank paper fly away into the wind and continuing as if nothing really happened. Unfortunately, that looks like the option he has chosen.

What should be done is to pour meaning into the Declaration. Israel should immediately move its entire government apparatus to the eastern part of Jerusalem. That includes the Knesset, the Prime Minister’s Office, all ministerial offices and the High Court.

We like to deceive ourselves, but Zionism never really wanted the Old City of Jerusalem, which includes its beating heart, the Temple Mount.

Moshe Dayan called it “that Vatican”.
Yes, in 1948 the Palmach had already liberated the Old City and the besieged Jewish Quarter, and immediately exited – abandoning it to Jordan.

In 1967, the conquering of the Old City was essentially forced on Israel’s government against its will. And even after it was liberated, Moshe Dayan hurried to give the keys to the Temple Mount to the Moslem wakf.

That is true of the Temple Mount. But the Israeli government did clear out the Western Wall Plaza.
The Western Wall was their way of channeling all our aspirations for holiness from the Temple Mount to a different place. The Western Wall Plaza was created for this purpose.

And then last winter, the strange story of the metal detectors. The Arabs threatened that they would no longer go to the Temple Mount and Netanyahu caved in. He was afraid that the Temple Mount would be left to the Jews. There is a lack of ability here to go in the direction that Jerusalem leads us.

What do you say about all the Arab demonstrations that erupted after the Declaration, and certainly the attempted terror attack in New York?
If anybody has a problem understanding what is so good about the Trump Declaration, all they have to do is look at the Arab response. If the Arabs think it is so bad, it must be good for the Jews.

Something big really did happen. When the world’s superpower recognizes the fact that the city that is considered holy by the three monotheistic religions belongs to the Nation of Israel, that means that G-d’s message will be heralded by the Nation of Israel. This is the theological, metaphysical meaning of the declaration. The Balfour Declaration was also motivated by the purely theological beliefs of the British PM and Foreign Minister of that time. That declaration brought about the establishment of the State of Israel. There is a direct connection between the Bible, religious faith and politics. It is impossible to ignore it. Whether you are a believer or not, this factor is what turns the wheels of history.

Do you think that after this declaration there is a chance for an arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians?
First of all , I am in favor of reality. President Trump also declared that he is just recognizing the reality on the ground. As long as the parties’ actions are dictated by an illusion, by a false reality, there is no chance to achieve peace, security or anything else. In your question, you referred to the “Palestinians”. But there is no Palestinian Nation. So your entire question is based on this false illusion.

Moshe Feiglin, Chairman of the Zehut party, thank you very much.

On Rav Shteinman, zt"l

by Moshe Feiglin

Rav Aharon Shteinmann zt"l's funeral left me stuck in traffic jams for two hours. But I am not complaining. I salute the Ultra-Orthodox community for their appreciation for leadership, their respect for their leaders and the way they honor the elderly.

Waze took me around and around with no end in sight and then, under an unfamiliar bridge, the broadcaster on the radio began quoting parts of Rav Shteinmann’s will. He requested not to be called a tzaddik, not to be eulogized, not to name children after him and said that not more than ten people need to attend his funeral…On the radio they also described the Rav's simple living conditions in Bnei Barak.

In a generation whose leaders have exchanged vision for hedonism, one of the sectors of Israeli society enjoys leadership that lives with the opposite codes. I am sorry that many of us, including me, noticed this only at his funeral. ת.נ.צ.ב.ה.

The Trump Jerusalem Declaration

by Moshe Feiglin

President Trump’s declaration is actually the completion of the Balfour Declaration one hundred years ago. One hundred years ago the British Foreign Minister Balfour together with British Prime Minister Lloyd George, declared that the time had come for the Jewish Nation to return home. Their land is the Land of Israel on both sides of the Jordan River, they said, and we, the British, who conquered the land from the Turks, call upon them to return to their land. This was the recognition of the nations of the world, recognition that was later endorsed at the San Remo Conference and by the League of Nations and received legal authorization. This was the announcement of the nations of the world that the Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel.

What has Trump’s declaration done, one hundred years later? If the Balfour Declaration said that we have a physical connection with this Land, Trump’s declaration spoke of Jerusalem explicitly as Israel’s capital. This is a step forward from the physical to the metaphysical. Jerusalem’s message is understood around the world as a religious message. Jerusalem is G-d’s Holy City. The nation to whom this city belongs is the nation that heralds the word of G-d to the world.

There is certainly a metaphysical, religious statement here. It is immediately translated into a political meaning. The Moslem war over Jerusalem is over the question of who will herald the word of G-d – Yishmael or Yisrael. This is why Trump’s declaration has evoked such a violent response from the Moslem world.

We can be complete atheists, but the significance of the fact that we are Jews, the significance of our return to Zion, which is the Temple Mount, our basic identity is part and parcel of this message. The message of the Nation of Israel that emerges from Zion is the message of liberty under the wings of the One G-d, the perfection of the world in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Recognition by the world that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish Nation connects us from the purely existential plane of Zionism to the dimension of destiny. There is no existence without destiny. Whoever thinks that they can exist here for the simple sake of existence, will not manage to exist.

President Trump’s declaration was very brave. We are not accustomed to politicians who insist on keeping their word, True, he did not move the embassy. He could have, for example, taken the ambassador from Tel Aviv and put him in Jerusalem. But it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the statement that America, the world’s superpower, recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

It is sad that the Israeli commentators are doing all they can to distort President Trump’s words and to imply that this declaration is nothing more than lip service that will be used to extract future concessions from Israel. The opposite is true. True, the speech did mention the two-state-solution. All that President Trump said about that was that if the two sides would agree upon a two-state-solutin, the US would go along with it. There were also other small items that were not music to my ears, but in the Balfour Declaration there were many more statements geared toward making it more palatable for the Moslems. Nevertheless, what remains of all those statements is the Jewish State. President Trump’s main declaration is the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and that is what will remain of it in the years to come.

Those who have a hard time understanding the positive importance of the Trump Declaration can simply look to our enemies; look at how the Islamic wakf darkened the Temple Mount, look how the Hamas in Gaza is going crazy, how Erdogan is reacting. From all of these and more you can understand how positive it is.

The word that President Trump repeated again and again in his speech is ‘reality’. He said that the reality is that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish Nation and that all he is doing is recognizing that reality. That is a very deep statement. We all want peace. But peace cannot exist outside of reality. There is no peace in illusions. Peace comes only by recognizing realty. President Trump said that for twenty years, the US has not recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and it has not brought peace. Why not? Because it was not acting within reality, but rather within all sorts of illusions. That is why Oslo did not bring peace. We were just fooling ourselves. Only actions based on the truth can bring peace.

What does all this mean for us? President Trump handed us a blank piece of paper. Jerusalem is yours, I recognize the reality, write on this paper whatever you want. Israel’s leadership can say: OK, so he made a declaration. Let us give it time to evaporate. We know how to deal with the existing reality with the tools that we have. We know how to keep talking about the two-state-solution while stalling. It will take years to build the embassy, it will not be during Trump’s term, so nothing really happened at all.

From my acquaintance with the Israeli leadership, that will be the direction. The Israeli leadership has never missed a historic opportunity to miss a historic opportunity. President Trump has created an opportunity for Israel’s leadership to start out on a new path. In all the interviews that I gave over the two days since the declaration, I gave an example of a practical step that Israel can take to infuse the declaration with practical meaning. I said that Israel must take the High Court, the Knesset, all the government offices – the entire Government District – and move it to the Old City or nearby. For years, the government has been selling western Jerusalem as Jerusalem, the rest of the world boycotts the Old City as Jerusalem, and we have essentially created a new Jerusalem. The Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, Mount Scopus, all the holy sites of Jerusalem have for all practical purposed been given to the Arabs.

Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin attempted to rectify this situation. He began to move government offices to the eastern part of Jerusalem. But if the Knesset, the High Court and the entire Government District moves to eastern Jerusalem, that will be the beginning of giving real significance to Trump’s declaration. It will say that the world can forget about dividing Jerusalem. It is the government’s responsibility to carry out this plan. It is the Prime Minister’s responsibility to implement it now. Will he do it? I will let you guess.

People have been asking me if I will be eating my hat. After all, I have said tens of times that Trump will not move the embassy to Jerusalem because Netanyahu is not interested in him doing so. Nobody will be happier than me if I have to eat my hat. I will be elated to say that I was mistaken.

However, I was right about Netanyahu. Trump’s declaration did not happen because of Netanyahu, but despite him. It happened because Trump wanted to keep his word. He was being pressured by his Evangelical voter base. Trump is already thinking about the next elections, and he wants to be perceived as a strong leader who keeps his word. That is what brought about his declaration.

Although I wasn’t mistaken about Netanyahu, I was mistaken about the strength of Trump’s power base. I really hope that I was wrong about the embassy move. President Trump can continue to sign the waiver. And if I am proven wrong and it all turns out to be Netanyahu’s pressure that brought on the declaration, I will gladly eat my hat.

Interestingly, the Balfour Declaration was motivated by religion. Foreign Minister Balfour and Prime Minister Lloyd George were both Bible believers, as opposed to much of the British government at that time. We see how religion and politics combined and influenced the establishment of the State of Israel. Now, as well, Trump’s declaration was motivated by religious influence. Although he is not particularly religious, his power base is very religious and this would not have happened without those religious motivations. That is why it is very important that Israel’s foreign relations and leadership will be led by people who are capable of understanding these processes, who can contain the message of Jerusalem and who can translate it to practical policy. You cannot lead this country as if it were a meteorite that fell out of the sky into the wrong place. it simply doesn’t work.

Confidence in Hashem

by HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Nasi HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

"Praiseworthy is the man who has made Hashem his confidence, and turned not to the arrogant." (Tehillim 40:5) The Midrash at the beginning of our parsha applies this pasuk to Yosef (Bereisheet Rabbah 89:2):

"Praiseworthy is the man who has made Hashem his confidence" - This is Yosef."and turned not to the arrogant" -- Because Yosef asked the sar hamashkim (chamberlain of the cupbearers), "think of me" (zechartani) and "mention me" (hizkartani), another two years were added [to his imprisonment]. The obvious question is: Is a person prohibited from making efforts to attain his freedom? After all, there is a principle that man should not depend on miracles!

With regards to Hashgacha Pratit ("Divine Providence"), the Rambam writes in Moreh Nevuchim (3:51), "A most extraordinary speculation has occurred to me now, through which doubts may be resolved and Divine secrets revealed." The Rambam's innovative idea is that G-d watches over and involves Himself in each man's life in proportion to that man's loyalty and closeness to Hashem. Likewise, G-d hides Himself from man to the same degree that the person distances himself from G-d. "Hence, it seems to me, that a prophet or pious man who was beset by any one of the evils of the world -- it befell him only during a time of [Divine] concealment. The longer the period of concealment, the stronger the calamity will be." With this principle, the Rambam resolves the quandary of why calamities occur to the righteous.

Similarly, we can explain the concepts of confidence in G-d ("bitachon") and effort ("hishtadlut"). The Ramban (Vayikra 26:11) writes that long ago, pious people would not seek a doctor for medical help but rather would turn to the prophet. G-d treats the righteous in miraculous fashion, so why should they need to turn to anyone but G-d when they fall ill? "What part do physicians have in the house of those who do the will of G-d?" However, with the passage of time, each generation has fallen farther and farther away from G-d, so people began to seek out physicians. For this reason the Torah granted the physician permission to cure. We do not find, though, that permission was granted to the patient to seek out a doctor, and someone with a very high degree of bitachon in G-d would not seek out a doctor. This is why Assa, King of Yehuda, who had a tremendous amount of confidence in G-d, was criticized when, "also in his illness he did not seek out Hashem, but only doctors." (Divrei Hayamim II 16:12)

Then again, someone who sins, or even expends effort in other matters, should not demonstrate inordinate confidence in G-d in medical issues. In this vein, on the pasuk, "Her leaders judge for bribes and her priests teach for a fee and her prophets divine for money -- yet they rely on Hashem, saying, 'Behold, Hashem is in our midst; no evil can befall us!'" (Micha 3:11), Chazal comment, "They were wicked, but they placed their confidence in the One who said, and the world came into existence." (Shabbat 139a) This kind of confidence is hypocrisy!

The common perception is that "bitachon" means to believe that if one has confidence in G-d, He will grant all the person's requests. Contrary to this, the Chazon Ish writes in his book, "Emunah U'Bitachon" (Faith and Confidence, ch. 2), that this kind of belief is fundamentally wrong:

Who knows G-d's considerations and His payments? Rather, the concept of bitachon is the belief that events do not occur randomly, and that everything that happens in the world is ordained by G-d, whether good or otherwise ... This belief is the trait of bitachon. Since Yosef said, "think of me" and "mention me," two more years were added to his imprisonment. Rav Shimon Shkop asked what would have happened had Yosef only asked the sar hamashkim once; would one year have been added to his imprisonment? He answered that Yosef was justified in making an attempt and asking once, but his excessive attempt revealed, retroactively, that even his first request reflected a lack of confidence in G-d.

For Yosef, who stood at a high spiritual level, the efforts through the sar hamashkim represented a flaw in his bitachon. So too, every man needs to take account of his personal situation, yet must be careful not to let proper hishtadlut yield to simple laziness under the pretense of complete confidence and faith in G-d.

The Spiritual Fuel of the State of Israel

by HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

“Man’s soul is the L-rd’s lamp” (Proverbs 20:27). Man’s soul is likened to a lamp. Just as a lamp needs fuel -- oil -- in order to spread light, so does a person need spiritual fuel in order for his soul to illuminate the world. And just as this is true regarding the individual, so it is true regarding the whole community.

The spiritual fuel of the Jewish People down through the generations is the holy Torah and Jewish tradition, which are likened to pure oil. It is true that the Greeks contaminated the oil in the Second Temple. Even so, a miracle was performed for us and one urn of pure oil was found bearing the stamp of the Kohen Gadol [High Priest]. From that oil, the Temple Menorah was rekindled.

Today, as well, the State of Israel very much needs an urn of pure oil bearing the Kohen Gadol’s stamp, in order to light the Menorah, which by no coincidence is the symbol of the State.

Indeed, G-d performed a great kindness for us, and in our generation an urn of pure oil was uncovered bearing that priestly stamp. That pure oil is found in the teachings of that great Kohen, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, whose benign light illuminates the whole House of Israel, the State of Israel and the entire world. Particularly in these times, when a struggle is beginning over the Jewish fabric of the State of Israel, we have to learn, to teach and to spread the light of Rav Kook. His teachings are like “the precious oil upon the head, running down upon Aaron’s beard, running down over the hem of his garments, like the dew of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion, for there the L-rd has commanded the blessing of everlasting life” (Psalm 133:2-3). Through this we will merit fulfillment of “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Ibid., v. 1).

Looking forward to complete salvation.
Chanukah Sameach,
Shabbat Shalom.

The real story behind President Trump’s recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s Capital

Parashat Miketz 5778
By HaRav Nachman Kahana

Yerushalayim – the very word resonates as a symphony in the authentic Jewish soul.

Yir’ah (fear of God) and Shalem (perfection) combine to form the name Yerushalayim; for these are the qualities which the city bestows upon those who love her and are faithful to her.

Yerushalayim, in its various forms, appears over 650 times in the TaNaCH. Yerushalayim is not mentioned or even alluded to in the Koran by any name. The Christian world abandoned Jerusalem over fifteen hundred years ago to take up residence in Rome.

A Moslem in prayer turns his back on Yerushalayim in order to face Mecca. Jerusalem is not part of the Christian liturgy. It is only we, HaShem’s chosen people who relate to Yerushalayim. A Jew outside of Yerushalayim turns to her in prayer, and we in Jerusalem face the site of the Holy Temple.

King David, himself the embodiment of fear of God and perfection, foresaw the future Babylonian exile and wrote in Tehillim 137:
על נהרות בבל שם ישבנו גם בכינו בזכרינו את ציון
על ערבים בתוכה תלינו כנרותינו
כי שם שאלונו שובינו דברי שיר ותוללינו שמחה
שירו לנו משיר ציון
אין נשיר את שיר ה’ על אדמת נכר
אם אשכח ירושלם תשכח ימיני
תדבק לשוני לחכי אם לא אזכרכי
אם לא אעלה את ירושלם על ראש שמחתי

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
There, upon the willows, we placed away our harps.
For there, they that led us captive, asked of us words of song,
and our tormentors asked of us to be of joy
‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion’.
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its strength.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I remember thee not,
if I set not Yerushalayim above my greatest joy.

When I recite this chapter, memories of my youth in Brooklyn, New York uninvitedly creep into my mind.

I don’t recall myself or my friends as teenagers ever sitting by the Hudson, Neversink or Potomac Rivers weeping over Zion. I don’t recall looking at the gentiles as our “captors” or “tormentors,” and they in turn never requested of us to sing for them the “Song of Zion.”

I had no problem singing the Lord’s song there, because I did not feel I was in “a foreign land”.

Days and weeks would pass when the memory of Yerushalayim did not cross my mind. Yet the “fast ball” exploding from my “right hand” pitch never lost “its strength,” when the third strike cannon-balled into the catcher’s mitt.

I must admit that the joy of Yerushalayim could not compare to the delight the chevra felt when the Yankees beat the Boston Braves in a doubleheader.

Yes, we were the products of the frum yeshiva system of Rabbi Jacob Joseph, Torah Ve’daas, Chaim Berlin, Tiferes Yerushalayim, etc. We learned Torah while we slowly, but steadily, became assimilated into the gentile world around us.

The quicksand of American culture gripped and pulled us down, with no one to extricate us, because we were all entrapped — students and rabbis alike!

Even the holiday of Chanukah, with its memory of the miraculous military victory over the Greeks and the amazing miracle of the lights, the re-unification of the Holy City and purification of the Bet Hamikdash, could not draw us closer to the contemporary city of Yerushalayim or Medinat Yisrael. We were typical yeshiva bachurim, students of typical yeshiva rabbis to whom the ox that gored a cow was real and the history of our people a myth.

Today, as I sit by the rivers of Eretz Yisrael, I weep when I remember the Jews in the foreign land of the United States of America, ninety percent of whom have forgotten Zion.

Hashem endowed Yerushalayim with a sensitive soul. He who remembers her is indelibly engraved in the eternity of the city. He who forgets her, she too forgets him.

But HaShem, the master of history, once again showed his hand. From out of nowhere he plucked — an individual whose party rejected him just as he rejected it. Whose final tally of the popular vote was in favor of his opponent, but won the election because of the electoral college. And this man has thrilled every feeling Jew in a way that few events have done in our time.

Against the better judgment of his top advisors and threats of the primitive Moslem world, and the hypocritical European descendants of Esau, President Donald Trump directed the world to take a good look at reality. Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel: the Knesset presides in Yerushalayim, as does the President of the State, the Prime Minister, and the major ministries of the government.

And here is the real story behind the President’s move.

HaShem has no direct or even indirect communication with the gentile world. Once they rejected HaShem’s offer to receive the Torah (as stated in the Madras), their connection with the spiritual world was severed, as stated by the prophet Yeshayahu (40,15), and is quoted in the daily shacharit liturgy:

הן גוים כמר מדלי וכשחק מאזנים נחשבו הן איים כדק יטול:
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;

What we read in the news and whatever the goyim do is background static to blur out HaShem’s clear calls to his nation Yisrael.

Mr. Trump has touched the sensitivities of the Jewish world. Jewish hearts were emboldened by the recognition of the obvious, while the gangrenous hearts and minds of our enemies were inflamed by the thought that the Jewish people have intensified and reinforced our religious and historical ownership over the holy land.

We can’t know why Mr. Trump took this very courageous step. Chances are that his grandson said, “Saba you have to recognize Yerushalayim – don’t you know it’s Chanukah time”.

But we do know it was the right step by the reaction of our enemies; the more they rant and rave in frustration, the clearer it becomes that this is a step closer to the Mashiach.

Mr. Trump’s announcement was primarily a wakeup call; perhaps one of the last great emotionally moving calls to the Jews of the galut, to rise up to the greatness of the moment and come home to Eretz Yisrael. One can still come easily, but no one knows what tomorrow might bring in this unpredictable world. The cancer of anti-Semitism is not going away. It metastasizes to all parts of western society; to the universities, the work place, the city parks, the outer wall of your synagogues, to your supermarkets – wherever there is a neo-fascist or Moslem presence.

The gates of the Medina and our alt-neu capital are wide open. The President courageously oiled the hinges to widen the entrance a bit more. Unknown to him, HaShem is using the President to send a clear and present message meant for the Jews of the world. Whatever it does for the goyim, it is no more than irrelevant background static.

Trump’s Place in the Hall of Fame

The Jewish people are the curators of the world’s Hall of Fame and Hall of Infamy; if only because we are civilization’s elder nation, and we will survive as long as HaShem keeps electrons spinning around their nuclei.

Our two “Halls” are not meant for Jews, but for the righteous or infamous gentiles of history. Hence the Halls of Fame is sparse in occupants, whereas the Hall of Infamy is very crowded.

As of this moment, Mr. Trump’s place in our Hall of Fame is guaranteed; unless he does something to neutralize or negate the greatness of the moment.

In conclusion: It’s up to you, my brothers and sisters in the galut to demonstrate your courage for the sake of the holy land and holy city. We are awaiting you to join in the holy task of preparing the world for its long overdue tikun.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5778/2017 Nachman Kahana

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Truth About Jerusalem (video)

(Ed. Note: You may hate InfoWars and Alex Jones, but Paul Joseph Watson always tells it like it is)

Islam is a religion of peace. If any violence occurs, it's all Donald Trump's fault.

Chanuka Thoughts

by Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

In many respects Chanuka is an enigmatic holiday. It celebrates an ephemeral and seemingly hollow triumph. The military victory of the Hasmoneans, as is the case with most military victories, proved to be temporary. The rule of the Hasmonean kings over Judea was a period laden with internal and external strife, civil war and eventual capitulation to Roman domination. The rise of The Saducees, eventually encouraged by Alexander Yanai, the most powerful of the Hasmonean kings, undermined the peoples’ faith in Torah and rabbinic tradition. So why is there such a big deal over the matter of Chanuka? It seems akin to the Japanese celebrating Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, as a national holiday today. And as far as the miraculous lights of Chanuka, the little oil that burned for eight days in the Temple, the Temple was destroyed two centuries later and with it the golden candelabra disappeared from the Jewish world. Yet, if the rabbis of the Mishna declared Chanuka to be a holiday and it has been and remains such a holiday of family affection and meaning over all of the long years of Jewish history there is undoubtedly a deeper cause that lies behind its existence and its longevity and staying power. The Jewish people and its rabbinic leadership are very hesitant to proclaim holidays or even days of commemoration. The recitation of the Hallel prayer on special commemorative days has remained a very touchy subject even in our present day world. Yet Chanuka merits eight full days of the recitation of the complete Hallel prayer. Why?

I think that the answer lies in the view of the rabbis and of tradition as to the true nature of the struggle that Chanuka commemorates for us. The Jews were engaged in not only a military struggle against the Syrian Greeks but more importantly in a cultural struggle for the hearts and minds of Jews. The Syrian Greeks attempted to impose their culture, mores, way of life and beliefs on the Jews. In this they failed. The Jewish population had its own fifth column within it - the Hellenist Jews who were willing to succumb to the outward blandishments of Greek society and behavior. But the core of the Jewish people refused to be deterred from its traditions and uniquely holy value system. In The Purim story we read that "Mordecai would not bend nor bow." Chanuka is the companion holiday to Purim and the Hasmoneans in their original mold and the Jewish people at all times would also not bend nor bow to Greek culture. Rabbi Yehuda Halevi of twelfth century Spain summed up the matter succinctly in his comment on Greek culture: "It is all beautiful flowers but produces no fruit." The triumph of Judaism over paganism and Greek culture was lasting, at least as far as the Jewish world is concerned. Thus the lights of Chanuka are certainly justified even today. They represent the light of Torah and goodness in a world of fright and darkness.

Judaism has warred with many cultures over its long history. It struggled against Marxist atheism in this age, both in the Soviet Union and even here in the Land of Israel. Yet it has once again proven its invincibility. Jewish life in present day Russia exists and grows, ninety years after Lenin and later Stalin arose to destroy it. In fact, it is today’s symbol of the living candle of Jews and Judaism that Chanuka represents and strengthens. Today’s inner enemy is apathy and hedonism. Yet here too we can see signs of a slow return to Jewish life style and values. We praise God on Chanuka with our Hallel service in order to remind us that this struggle to remain Jewish - witness the difficulty we have to have anyone admit that we are a Jewish state - is one that we have always won. It is a lasting triumph and the fulfillment of our destiny and mission. The rabbis stated that "a little light can push away a great amount of darkness." As we light our Chanuka lights we should remember this truism. It is no empty ritual that is being performed. Rather it is an affirmation of faith in our better future and a measure of thankfulness for the opportunities granted to us in our time. In the darkness of a seemingly never-ending exile the small lights of Chanuka lit our way and gave us hope and warmth. They will certainly continue to do so in our time as they did in the days of the past.

The Lesson of Chanukah

By HaRav Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Beit El

Dedicated to the memory of Hana Bat Haim

Chanukah is a time of praise and thanksgiving to God for the miracles and wonders that He performed on behalf of our ancestors "in those days at this time." It is also a time to reflect upon and learn from the great events which happened in those days. We are called upon to consider how it was that the Jews managed to persevere in the face of the great crises which befell them.

The Greek adversary was set on eradicating the faith of the Jewish people. The Hellenist juggernaut strove to expung our Divine heritage. Greek pressure grew until it was unbearable. The majority of Jews were unable to withstand it. Resistance was slowly warn down. Many became tired of the prolonged struggle on behalf of the religion of Israel. They could not bear being repudiated by the nations because of their unique faith. The people could not withstand the isolation, animosity, and bloodshed which resulted from their refusing to be like other nations. They said, "Must we forever face the sword? No more war! No more bloodshed! Enough separatism! Let us be like the rest of the nations! Let us stop being different and despised!" They reasoned that the sanctity of life should take priority over ancient beliefs and customs.

Poets sprung up who preached peace and brotherly love. Thinkers and ideologists arose who set about uprooting whatever set us apart and made us distinct from the Gentiles. They disparaged the Sabbath and Jewish circumcision, and they began to devote themselves to Greek gods and Greek culture. They waged war on any matter that even resembled Judaism.

Part of the nation had for some time felt closer to the the Gentiles than to their Jewish kinsmen who continued to cling to the Torah and its precepts. They forged a common language with the non-Jews, and came to despise their fanatical brethren who were destroying all hope of peace and appeasement and any chance of a creating a "new Middle East."

There were those who warned against assimilation, but their cries fell upon deaf ears. In addition to being a minority, they were plagued by inner quarrels. Every religious circle rejected the others. The nation was split and splintered. The Greeks took advantage of the situation and pressed us to abandon our faith.

This was the situation until a single brave elder arose, filled with the spirit of faith and self-sacrifice. He raised the banner of the faith of Israel and cried, "Whoever is for God, join me!" He united the nation's divided spiritual forces and awakened the inner spark which, though it existed all along, had been long covered over.

A feeling of spiritual rejuvenation and purpose gripped the people. The nation rose up, liberated its land, and restored sovereignty in Israel - a sovereignty that was to endure for the next two hundred years. The Jewish people purified the Holy Temple, regained their spiritual health, and returned to the service of God and the fulfillment of His precepts. A single great individual armed with an unbending faith was able, with God's help, to achieve all this.

This, then is the lesson to be learned from Chanukah: a sudden spiritual revolution is entirely possible, and it can even be sparked by a single individual.

Hanukah Candles

by HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l

Dedicated to the memory of R. Avraham ben-tziyon ben shabtai

"These lights we kindle for the miracles, the wonders, the salvations, and the battles, which You performed for our forefathers in those days at this time, through Your holy priests. During all eight day of Hanukah these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, only to view them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great name, for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations."
- Psalm recited after the kindling of the Hanukah lights.

Sacred Candles in an Advancing World
In a bustling world of progress and development, in a day and age when the electric light bulb is taken for granted, we Jews continue to light the Hanukah candles - just as we did some two thousand years ago. Conversely, in this dark world of ours, a frightening existence which reveals, before our very eyes, the human beast in his most appalling nakedness - we light our candles. It is as if to say, "Come, let us, with these little candles, attempt to succeed where bright and mighty lights have failed." Yet what is it that causes us to pin our hopes upon these little candles, to long for their success in lighting up the darkness which engulfs us? What is it that distinguishes our candles, what sort of hidden might do they posses that we should prefer them to other, more powerful lights?

The reason, apparently, has to do with the fact that, "these candles are sacred." Yet what do we mean by "sacred," and what is it that characterizes sanctity? Here, too, our psalm provides us with an explanation - "We are not permitted to make use of them."

There are many kinds of "candles" lighting up the darkness of our world. Despite their mundane, practical nature, man's technological advancements are important indeed; while they do not receive the status of "sacred candles," they serve the important purpose of lighting up the world. When we proclaim with regard to our sacred Hanukah candles that we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, we are implying that the purpose of everyday, mundane candles, is their usefulness, their benefit, the pleasure that they bring us. Advancements in science and technology now provide us with the ability to obtain pleasure and enjoy leisure with much greater ease than ever before. In the past, much effort had to be invested in order to light the fire which was needed for heating the pot; we, for our part, need only strike a match.

"Technology's Candle" in a New Light
Furthermore, this task is of great value because of the positive effect it has on man's character. As a matter of fact, it is a "Mitzvah," a religious and moral obligation. For there exists in man a throbbing life force, energy which demands proper harnessing. These life forces find their "Tikkun," - their positive and productive channel - in the advancement and improvement of our physical existence. 

Still, all this is true only in a limited sense. Because the purpose of technology is to find the easiest way to satsfy man's desires, it does not posses the capacity to change the natural course of man's essential direction. The necessity of clothing, for example, was present even in the most primal stages of man's development. The passing of time has not erased this essential need - it has merely improved and updated our clothes.

The need for celebration and joy existed even among the primitives. In our times, this need is even expanding. Because modern technology's objective has been to provide for man's pleasure seeking tendencies, it has broaden this realm - the realm of enjoyment and mundane gratification - without effecting its essential direction; man's true direction, therefore, remains unaffected.
Man's nature contains an evil element from its outset, and, here too, the effect of progress has been minimal. What's more, these evil and destructive inclinations have been provided with a most powerful weapon. The drive for annihilation and domination now posses the capacity of implementation. Men of savage nature and barbarous aims, by virtue of these weapons, have turned the world into a "valley overshadowed by death" (Psalms 23) - not only for us, but for they themselves: The weapon has become the enemy of it's holder as well.

No Ordinary Candles
"We light sacred candles." Our candles are unique in that they strike at the actual core of man's being, in that they are directed at splitting that atom, and changing the essential direction of things. These are not just ordinary, mundane candles - they are Mitzvah candles. God did not give us Mitzvoth for our enjoyment. The purpose of the Mitzvoth is not to provide us with a "comfortable life" in any ordinary or accepted sense of the term. Rather, they present us with a different sort of measuring rod altogether, they elevate and raise us up above our mundane daily actions, to a height at which these things appear altogether insignificant - like children's toys in the eyes of adults. Physical pleasure then receives the status of a means towards a higher goal. Yet, even as a means, pleasure does not enjoy high standing, for under difficult circumstances it is possible to do without it altogether. The concept of eternal life puts our transient existence in its proper perspective, for none of us would choose to forego eternal life for the sake of a fleeting one - even if it meant foregoing all worldly pleasures.

"These lights we kindle." The Jewish people are called upon to light these candles, to demonstrate true self sacrifice without any exterior motives. 

"We are not permitted to make ordinary use of them." These candles must be lit without any intention of benefit, but with a sensitivity for the value of the light in and by itself, to view it without benefiting from it. This is the task given over to the Chosen People. And, while we do not belittle the importance of ordinary candles, we cannot deny our unique and essential responsibility with regard to these sacred candles.

Holy and Mundane: Interdependent Forces
Not only do the holy and mundane realms not contradict each other - they are meant to compliment each other. The mundane is not self-sufficient: The physical world could not exist were it not for a metaphysical, spiritual world underlying and supporting it. In the same respect, holiness, "Kedusha,"serves as a mere foundation, a starting and stepping off point for mundane existence. This idea can be discerned in the words of our Sages when they taught that, "One who dedicates his entire storehouse of grain [to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem], has, in effect, done nothing." It is possible to sanctify a portion of the grain, but not the entire lot, for the sanctified produce must remain attached a mundane, ordinary portion.

The problems begin when the distinction between the two becomes blurred, the mundane professing to be holy, the holy renouncing its unique status, when the Jewish people begin to forget their true nature, and the big lights blind their eyes to the point where they shun their assigned task and disregard the unique content of the Jewish nature.

The True Nature of Hanukah
The miracle of Hanukah, according to the Talmud, does not lend itself to writing. It is difficult to put it down in writing. The essentials of the story of Hanukah, of all that befell our people, must be passed down orally, master to disciple, generation to generation. The nature and necessity of the miracle of Hanukah give rise to depressing thoughts concerning ourselves. The sages teach us that the Greek empire "darkened the vision of the People of Israel." The true anguish of Hanukah stems from the fact that the tragedy did not come from the outside, but from within. The events of Purim, because then the enemy found us united from within, lend themselves to writing: the Scroll of Ester shares a place amongst the other books of the Bible. In the case of Hanukah, though, we had to deal with a most dangerous "fifth-column." There was a "crumbling of the front" due to a lack of faith in our inner strength, do to the blinding glare of bright and misleading lights, a superficial and incorrect understanding of the true nature of Greek culture. We were faced with a darkening of our vision which took its toll on the highest and most honored stratums of our people - complete self destruction from which only a miracle could have saved us.

The appearance, at that time, of the Hasmonean family in the Judean village of Modiin, was indeed a miracle. Were it not for the appearance of this family on the scene it is doubtful whether their name would stand out today amongst those of the other priestly families. And who knows what would have become of the evolution the nation as a whole. This thought of it is disheartening. Through intimate discussion of a both supportive and convincing nature, the mentor brings his pupil into the covenant of those mighty individuals who are prepared to guard the undefiled oil at all costs. This is a covenant of suffering and hope, a covenant which demands a willingness to struggle and to build, to suffer and to wait.

Our period, too, is characterized by blinding lights. The most active echelons of the nation have become infected by an admiration for all that is foreign. With little self-respect, easily drawn to superficial splendor, they forego the values of generations. Holidays and Sabbath alike are drained of their true essence, indifferently falsified. In our time the "holiday of courage," Hanukah, suffers falsification as well: The name "Maccabee" has been stripped of its true significance - the complete dedication of all inner human faculties to a lofty ideal, self nullification and spiritual elevation for the sake of heaven.

The true message of Hanukah must be seen as the banding together of the faithful for the sake of purification, for the sake of guarding the still-undefiled flask of oil, for restoration of the true essence and significance of the holidays and special occasions of the Jewish calendar, right down to the simple weekday. Let us pray for the return of the great cry of the Maccabees - "Who is like You among the heavenly powers, O God!"

Newsflash: Jerusalem Not on Fire!

by Bassam Tawil
  • "More journalists than protesters..." — Björn Stritzel, German journalist. 
  • Protests against Israel and the US are not uncommon on the streets of Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem. But for the "war correspondents," there is nothing more exciting than standing behind burning tires and stone throwers and reporting from the heart of the "clashes." Such scenes make the journalists look as if they are in the middle of a battlefield and are risking their lives to bring the story home to their viewers. They might even receive an award for their "courageous" reporting from danger zones! 
  • Jerusalem is tense, and has long been so, because the Palestinians have not yet managed to come to terms with Israel's right to exist. That is the real story. The Palestinians rage and rage for only one reason: because Israel exists. Put that in a story and publish it.

A Palestinian man uses a slingshot to hurl stones at Israeli border police near Ramallah, on December 9, 2017. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
The Palestinians declared a three-day-long "rage" spree over US President Donald Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Thus far, however, it seems that the real anger is showing up in the international media, not on the Palestinian street.

Question: How many foreign journalists does it take to cover the Palestinian reaction to Trump's announcement? Answer: As many as the Israel-Palestinian-conflict-obsessed-West can manage to send.

The massive presence of the international media in Jerusalem and the West Bank has taken even the Palestinians by surprise. Since Trump's announcement on December 6, dozens of additional journalists and camera crews have converged on Israel to cover "the big story."

The American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, once a favorite haunt of international reporters, is once again packed with journalists from around the world

The Shamrak Report: Happy Hanukah * Anti-Semites of the World are United * Time for Israel to Strike First Again

Despite appeals and warnings from world leaders, President Donald Trump is poised to reverse decades of US policy on Wednesday by declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital and beginning the process of moving the U.S. Embassy to the holy city.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem, which contains most of the important holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians, after the 1967 war with Arab powers.
Numerous world leaders tried on Tuesday to convince US President Donald Trump not to take any steps that would change the status of Jerusalem.
Saudi Arabia - King Salman bin Abdul Aziz warned Trump “that such a dangerous step of relocation or recognition of Al-Quds as the capital of Israel would constitute a flagrant provocation of Muslims, all over the world.”
Palestinian factions jointly announced three “days of rage,” beginning Wednesday, to protest the potential U.S. Embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem. In a statement, they called on supporters around the world to gather in city centers and at Israeli embassies and consulates to voice their anger.
President Donald J. Trump spoke with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the King of Jordan Abdullah II on Tuesday and informed them that he intends to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Ugly Nazi’ - the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who rarely engages the press at the world body, came out and read a statement: “In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear — there is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B.” (It is time to change “this moment” and President Trump is helping to do so!)
One by one, 14 members of the U.N. Security Council spoke out against President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at an emergency meeting on Friday, some with regret and some with anger at the 15th member, the United States. (Jew-hate is still a unifying factor among international bigots!)
Vatican - The Pope told thousands of people at his general audience: "I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days." "I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations," he said. (So more Jews would be killed by ‘Palestinian’ terrorists and the Jewish state will be continuously discriminated by international anti-Semitic bigots!)
The EU - European leaders from Brussels, Paris, and Berlin, as well as partners critical to the president’s burgeoning peace effort in Riyadh and across the Gulf, warned Trump and his cabinet officials that such a move would be “counterproductive” to the pursuit of peace and “negatively impact” any future diplomatic initiative they might have in store. (Really? What “diplomatic initiative” – do they have any new ideas, beside Israel-bashing?)
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, said: “A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states so that the aspiration of both parties can be fulfilled.” (As if ‘negotiations’ have worked before! For 70 years Israel has been looking for the way to live in peace with its Arab neighbours – has it worked?)
Turkey - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning that Ankara would cut ties with Israel if the US recognized Jerusalem as its capital. (This Islamic stooge is still a member of NATO!)
Germany - Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel echoed Macron, calling for the matter to be determined in direct negotiations. 
Jordan - King Abdullah II said the move would undermine US efforts to resume the peace process, according to news reports. 
Egypt - President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, in his conversation with Trump, “reiterated Egypt’s unwavering position with regard to maintaining the legal status of Jerusalem within the framework of international references and relevant UN. resolutions.”
It remains an absurd anomaly that Jerusalem is the only world capital not recognized by the international community, and in which Israel, unlike every sovereign nation under international law, has been denied its inalienable right to designate its own capital. There is never a wrong time to do what is right, just, and moral. (By the US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, this makes the international community anti-Semitic, as it singles out Israel for different treatment.)
Enough is enough! The United States and the international community must no longer remain hostage to Palestinian threats, extortion and intimidation. President Trump should lead by example in this regard, by not only sending a powerful message to the Palestinians, but doing what is right and just, in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.
Happy Hanukah!
Hanukah is the commemoration of Jewish national struggle for liberation of the Eretz-Israel, the Land of Israel, not just a “Festival of Light”! May it be free from enemy occupation soon again! Thank you, president Trump, for this Hanukah present!
An MK from the predominantly Arab Joint List party is expected to be evicted from his illegally-built home in southern Israel. MK Juma Azbarga Juma Azbarga found to be living in an illegally-built home - despite being offered plots of land nearby.
Rockets Hit Israel – Time to Clear Gaza!
Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel on Thursday evening. The rocket fire comes after the Hamas terror organization which rules the Gaza Strip warned that the “gates of hell” would be opened in the region following President Trump’s announcement that the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

IDF Tanks and Air Force Hit Gaza

In retaliation to 2 previous rocket launches IDF tanks and the Air Force hit two targets in northern Gaza. The Iron Dome system was successful in intercepting a rocket launched at Sderot earlier.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Wednesday evening that US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital "will lead to wars without end." In a pre-recorded speech played on Palestine TV, Abbas said Trump has destroyed his credibility as a Mideast peace broker. "These deplorable and unacceptable measures deliberately undermine all peace efforts." (Abbas has no credibility as a peace partner, as his predecessor Arafat!)
The US House of Representatives passed on Tuesday the Taylor Force Act, legislation that would cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it discontinues its practice of paying monthly stipends to the families of terrorists who kill Israelis.
Two Bedouin arrested over murder of IDF soldier in Arad. Shin Bet confirms two Negev Bedouin residents were arrested Friday night on suspicion of involvement in nationalistically-motivated stabbing attack in Arad that claimed the life of 19-year-old Sgt. Ron Kokia.

A week ago, Israel launched Jericho I surface-to-surface missiles for the first time in its alleged attack on an Iranian base in Syria. An Israeli air raid early Saturday, Dec. 2 struck a group of pro-Iranian Shiite militia chiefs holding a secret conference at the Syrian Army’s 91st Brigade base near Kiswah, 15 kilometers southwest of the Syrian capital Damascus (50km from Israel border), Iranian and Hizballah officers are reported among the casualties. "We will not allow a regime (Iran) hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria as it seeks to do for the expressed purpose of eradicating our state," Netanyahu said.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri told the French newspaper, Paris Match, that Lebanon won’t respond to Israeli attacks against Iranian or Hezbollah forces located in Syria. (Facing life ‘extinction’ from Hezbollah, Hariri has changed his tune about Israel’s right to defend itself against threats of the enemies!)
Israel has pulled out of a planned exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Germany. Germany has not provided a guarantee that the exhibit would be returned to Israel in the event the Palestinian Authority or the government of Jordan claimed ownership.
QUOTE of the WEEK:
“Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.”- Thomas Mann
(Voice of Judea News and Commentary)
The facts about the massive build-up of Arab troops and infrastructure around Israel’s borders all point in a one-way direction of war. One need not be a brilliant military pundit to read the writing on the wall
The Russians are proud to present the victory that they delivered to Assad together with Iran and Hizbullah and they are gleefully dividing the spoils of the 6-year Syrian civil war, allowing for Hizbullah and Iranian bases to place themselves spitting-distance from Israel. Despite Israel’s empty threats and pitiful begging...
Hizbullah gains fighting experience, weapons, respect and morale. The emboldened Hizbullah monster that we have created has received international acclaim and has gained respect, now considered to be a real army and formidable fighting-force to reckon with. Tens of thousands of war-torn soldiers and officers have gained complex battle experience...
Naturally Hizbullah is reaping tremendous success in recruiting young Shiites in Lebanon as well as thousands from around the globe to join their ranks. What can you do? Everyone likes a winner.  Savage, barbaric winners are particularly adored and idolized by young Muslim fanatic types. They are planning the next stage in their quest at the conquest of Jerusalem....
Jordan, on Israel’s Eastern Front is petrified of its own shadow and is not capable to put up any real fight should the Iranians come crashing through from the North or from the East, nor would their overwhelmingly majority belligerent “Palestinian” population have it any other way....
Egypt is building a humongous military arsenal and developing infrastructure such as massive highways in Israel’s direction through areas that are not populated and that have no traffic warranting the types of highways that are being built. Egypt is stockpiling weapons and signing new contracts. More tanks, fighter planes...
Israel is finding tunnels with new technologies, but Hamas and Jihad diggers, are digging away, and most Israelis believe that they have additional tunnels that have found their way underground deep into Israel....

Rav Kook on Chanukah: The Sacred Protects Itself

Rav Kook made the following comments when speaking at the inaugural ceremony for the Mizrachi Teachers Institute in Jerusalem during Chanukah, 1932:

Why is it that the Menorah we use in our homes for Chanukah must be different than the Menorah in the Temple, bearing eight or nine branches instead of seven?

People think that kodesh and chol - the realms of sacred and secular - are adversaries battling one another. But in truth, there is no conflict between kodesh and chol. Our national life requires that both of these domains be fully developed and channeled toward building the nation. We should aspire to combine them and imbue the secular with holiness.

We strive for kiddush, to sanctify the mundane and extend the influence of kodesh on chol. But we also need havdalah to differentiate between the two realms. Havdalah is necessary to prevent the blurring of the boundaries between the sacred and the secular, to preclude the debasement of kodesh and its misuse for secular purposes.

There exists a perfect kodesh, lofty and sublime. We draw from its essence, from its content, from its living treasure. And we are commanded to protect it from any secular influences that could dullen the rich tapestry of the kodesh.

Thus, Jewish law forbids us to fashion a Menorah similar to the one used in the holy Temple. In this way, the kodesh defends itself from any flow of secular influences that may diminish its value. It is because of this self-protection that the kodesh is able to retain its power to strengthen and vitalize secular frameworks.

Greek thought asserted that there is no holiness in the practical world. The Greek mind could only see in the universe - from the lowest depths to the farthest stars - mundane forces. Knesset Yisrael, however, knows how to join heaven and earth. We know how to unite kodesh and chol, how to sanctify ourselves with that which is permissible, to eat a meal in holiness and purity.

We are able to attain this ideal unification because we maintain the necessary barriers, we know how to distinguish between the sacred and the secular. Eternal Israel is built on these complementary principles of chibur and havdalah, unification and distinction.
Turning to the institute’s faculty and students, Rav Kook concluded his address:

In an institution where both sacred subjects and secular disciplines are taught, we must not forget that our ancient battle against Greek culture is not over. If we are careless, the sacred will become profane.

We must remember that we are descendants of those heroes who sacrificed their lives to guard the holy. Like the Temple Menorah, Torah study is the highest level of kodesh. We must be careful that our study of Torah does not degenerate into a study of literature, not even a study of national literature or an ancient science. Torah is the word of the Living God. Our practical activities must be illuminated by the holy light of Torah and its mitzvot. As the psalmist said,

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalms 119:5)

(Adapted from Mo'adei HaRe’iyah, pp. 181-182, and Celebration of the Soul by Rabbi Pesach Jaffe, pp. 99-100)