Friday, December 29, 2017

Long Term Influence

by Moshe Feiglin

"And the brothers of Joseph saw that their father had died and they said, 'Perhaps Joseph will hate us and will return to us all the evil that we had done to him.'" (From this week's Torah portion, Vayechi, Genesis 50)

It is strange. After all the outpouring of emotion, the public forgiveness, living together, suddenly the brothers fear that it was all a show? That Joseph was just paying lip service, simply waiting for their father to die?

We are usually not aware of the power of parents' influence over their children. It seems to us that when the children grow up and fly from the nest that they are completely independent. But the child has a natural need to look back to his parents and receive endorsement for his chosen path. Every action taken by the parents is watched and learned. Always. Even by the most outrageously rebellious children, even when they are older, even when the parents are already very old. Even when the parent does not immediately feel his influence, it is immense. One can never know the extent of his influence over his children and its reach – even years after he has completed his sojourn on this earth.

The brothers did not believe that Joseph had a long-term scheme to harm them. They feared something much deeper. They feared an authentic change in Joseph's personality after the death of their father and the seeming decrease in his influence.

What does Joseph say to them?

Do not worry. My relationship with you is not dependent upon changing moods and not upon education that may go awry. It is based on stability that stems only from a faith-based worldview and steeped in fear of Heaven.

"And Joseph said to them, 'Do not fear, for am I instead of G-d? And you thought evil for me and G-d thought it for the good, in order to do as this day, to keep a huge populace alive."

Shabbat Shalom.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Not Because of Corruption

by Moshe Feiglin

When a famous rabbi joins the agenda dictated by Netanyahu nemesis Eldad Yaniv, he doesn’t turn himself into a soldier in the service of morality. Just the opposite. He and those who follow him turn themselves into soldiers in the service of the disgusting manipulations of the most filthy, despicable creatures in our midst.

The same rabbi supported executing the orders to drive the residents of Gush Katif from their homes. In other words, he indirectly enabled the moral abomination that no corruption can equal. In my eyes, this rabbi’s moral compass it completely off course.

Rightist Yoaz Hendel, who is heading an anti-corruption demonstration scheduled for Saturday night, is right when he talks about the danger of corruption, but he is mixing the important with the unimportant. Corruption and dishonesty have always been here. They are always serious problems, they must always be fought – and I did so without fear when I was an MK.

It is good that the corruption in Netanyahu’s back yard is being investigated and it is good that the public doesn’t like it. However, the level of corruption is currently much lower than it was in the days of Sharon, Barak and Peres. I do not remember demonstrations against corruption then, featuring rabbis, journalist and MKs.

In Israel, corruption is a geographical matter. When it is in the Right’s territory, it is a national agenda. When it is in the Left’s…the offenders are pampered.

Netanyahu’s personal conduct is objectionable. He has to go home, but not because of corruption. He has to go home because the strategy of “Let’s just make it to twelve o’ clock tonight and we’ll see what happens tomorrow” – or in other words, the total lack of any strategy other than personal survival, has turned the man into a strategic catastrophe for the State of Israel.

The man who explained years ago that his main objective was to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat, passed the responsibility for that to Obama – and destroyed the Iranian nuclear reactor with his speeches. Netanyahu is responsible for the fact that not only will Iran have nuclear capabilities, but they will be sitting on our border, a short distance from Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu is the man who removed the metal detectors so that the Arabs would return to the Temple Mount. He is the man who prevented the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem (no – it did not move) and VP Pence’s speech at the Western Wall (did you really think that Pence didn’t come because of Rabbi Rabinovitz?). He is the man who neutralized any effective bills limiting the power of the High Court. He is a man with no vision – and he must go home.

Because when a nation has no vision, it becomes corrupt. The time has come for leadership with vision. If the demonstrations against Netanyahu will ultimately depose him, I will not be sorry. But I cannot lie to myself and participate in them.

Grocery Law Yields Sour Milk

by Moshe Feiglin

As expected, the Grocery Law, prohibiting groceries from opening on Shabbat unless the local municipality legislates otherwise, has brought about a backlash of municipal legislation allowing the opening of businesses on Shabbat. In other words, Interior Minister Deri’s bill has harmed the Jewish identity of the State of Israel. The State apparatus must be distanced from religious issues. Not only to enhance personal liberty, but also to allow Israel’s Jewish identity to develop without coercion.

In an interview on Israel’s Channel 2 KAN radio late Monday, I said that attempts by the State and its law enforcement capabilities to fashion Israel’s Jewish identity produce just the opposite. For example, there is state enforcement of the Jewish laws of marriage, so to circumvent that, couples fly to Cyprus to marry. Another example is the law that prohibits the sale of chametz on Pesach. In practice, many establishments openly sell chametz on Pesach and nobody bothers them.

On the other hand, 99.9% of Israel’s Jewish citizens circumcise their sons, although there is no law enforcing this. Because where there is no enforcement, our Torah slowly but surely becomes our culture. When it is culture, and not enforced law, it develops and is accepted on a deep level. We must strive for this situation. We must remove the State and its law enforcement apparatus from the development of Israel’s identity and culture.

If open businesses on Shabbat will become the norm, it will first and foremost hurt people with lower incomes, who will find themselves not being hired unless they agree to work on Shabbat. When we replace open dialogue between different sectors of society with coercion, we get the complete opposite.

In order to have a solid Jewish identity, we must rely on this Nation, on our society, on our community structure, on people who know what is and what is not good for their surroundings. I am convinced that this will lead to the positive development of Israel’s Jewish identity. If we continue to legislate Jewish identity, all that we will be left with is sour milk.

Interview with Moshe Feiglin on Arutz 7 Culture Corner

This article appeared last Thursday on the Arutz 7 Hebrew website:

What movie do you recommend?
The Pianist, by Roman Polanski. It is a Holocaust movie, but not really. First of all, it is a joy for all lovers of good music in general, and of piano in particular. It is an extraordinary human story, with convincing portraits of the moments of terror – Polanski, like Polanski – is an exacting artist who, in every scene and from every angle, created an experience that you take with you for the rest of your life.

Three Hebrew songs that you like:
For me, songs are like children. You always love the one you are with the most. I love Ariel Zilber – he is the most real and the most convincing. For me, Meir Ariel is the Israeli Shakespeare. He is a virtuoso with words and his voice is very authentic and convincing (perhaps because of all the cigarettes). And of course there are the old songs: Chava Alberstein and Arik Einstein. And the Jewish-faith singers: Yonatan Razel and the big discovery, Daniel Zamir, with his original rendition of Hatikvah, which, in my eyes, is the anthem of the Zehut party.

An interesting Whattsap group that you are part of:
“The Feiglinites”. That is our family whatsapp group. “Feiglinites” was a derogatory name attached to the Zo Artzeinu members, and afterwards, to the Manhigut Yehudit faction in the Likud. The idea was to make our activities look like a cult, but my family actually liked the name and that is what the sign on our front door reads.

What do you find funny?
My weaknesses. Once I got out of my car to visit my mother in Jerusalem, with the phone in my ear, my keys in one hand and a bag of garbage in the other. I threw the garbage into the large bin and when I entered my mother’s building and finished my phone call, I didn’t understand why the garbage bag was still in my hand. Now with the keys somewhere in the garbage bin and the garbage bag in my hand, I said to myself that it is somewhat of a disadvantage to be a public figure. I took advantage of a moment when nobody was around and took an athletic leap into the garbage bin. I quickly found my keys and jumped out. A nice man who came to throw out his garbage asked me innocently, “Feiglin, what are you doing in the garbage?” “I wanted to take a break from the Knesset,” I answered the astonished man and hurried up to my mother’s apartment. Funny, no?

Your favorite pastime:
A good book (that was not bankrolled for a certain agenda). Riding my bicycle, of course, and writing a Torah scroll.

Your most interesting Facebook post:
The question: “Who is the enemy? The tunnel? Or the Hamas?” that I asked Brigadier General Giora Inbar on Avri Gilad’s morning show, and his answer, “The tunnel”. This touched upon the root of Israel’s problem and created much interest.

Palestinians: Another "Reconciliation" Bites the Dust

by Khaled Abu Toameh

  • The idea that Hamas would disarm and stop digging tunnels and hand the Gaza Strip on a silver platter to Abbas and Fatah is pure fantasy.
  • Westerners are either ignorant and naïve or they are willfully deluding themselves.
  • Hamas simply cannot accept a situation where it is being asked to accept the so-called two-state solution....As made clear by the Hamas leaders, their goal remains to seek the "liberation of all of Palestine, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river." This is Hamas's mantra.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas. For the Palestinians, the word '"reconciliation" has become synonymous with discord. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
For more than two months, the Hamas-Fatah "reconciliation" agreement that was reached in Cairo in October has been hailed by many Arabs and Westerners as a sign that the Palestinians were finally marching forward together.
It turns out, however, that the dramatic announcement of the agreement, which was reached with the sponsorship of the Egypt, was all a bluff.
Those in the know about the Palestinian world predicted that the latest "reconciliation" deal would fail. At least five previous agreements between Hamas and Fatah, reached under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen over the past ten years, likewise failed. Every one of these agreements was stillborn, not worth the time it took to uncap the pen.

Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem: The View from Beijing

By Roie Yellinek, December 27, 2017

Photo by Idont via Wikimedia CC
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 699, December 27, 2017
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Like media elsewhere around the world, Chinese newspapers – which express the positions of the central government in Beijing – had much to say on the matter of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. The Chinese responses cast light on two areas: Israeli-Chinese relations and Chinese foreign policy towards the greater Middle East.

Assessing the Islamic World's Ho-Hum Response to Trump's Jerusalem Declaration

By Prof. Hillel Frisch

Jerusalem, photo via Pixabay
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 700, December 28, 2017
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Arab and western leaders alike responded to President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with dire warnings of imminent uproar. That uproar didn’t materialize, probably because the Islamic world is too mired in its own domestic problems to mobilize over Jerusalem.

Rabbi Ari Kahn: Parashat Vayechi, One Nation (video)

The Yishai Fleisher Show: The Real Bible Belt

Israel – Island of Success

by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

1. According to “Israel – Island of Success,” by Dr. Adam Reuter and Noga Kainan (shortly on Amazon), the Israeli economy has surged beyond expectations:

*From a $35BN GDP in 1987 to $358BN in 2017 (923% growth);
*From an $8,000 GDP per-capita to $41,000 (413% growth), despite the dramatic expansion of the population from 4.4MN to 8.75MN;
*From a $4BN foreign exchange reserve to $112BN (2,700% growth);
*From a 10% export of GDP to 96% of GDP (860% growth);
*From a 155% government debt-GDP ratio to 62%;
*From a 17% defense-GDP ratio to 4.5%;
*From a 16% annual inflation to 0.3%;
*From a 3% use of desalinated water to 50% of demand;
*From a 75-year-old life expectancy to 82.

Unemployment has been reduced to (a practically full-employment) 4.1%.

2. According to the leading multinational auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the scope of Israeli exits during 2017 was $7.44BN, excluding Mobileye’s $15.3BN and Neuroderm’s $1.1BN, acquired by Intel and Mitsubishi respectively. While it is 110% above 2016, the annual 2012-2015 exits were higher than 2017.
Eleven Israeli hightech companies benefitted from IPOs (Initial Public Offering) in Israel, the USA, Sweden, Britain and Australia, raising $414MN (e.g., ForeScout - $116MN on NASDAQ), compared to two IPOs and $44MN in 2016 and eight IPOs and $3.5BN in 2015 (Globes, Business Daily, December 28, 2017).

3. According to CitiBank, the state of the Israeli economy (and especially the balance-of-payment surplus, has strengthened Israel’s Shekel compared to the dollars of the US, Singapore and Taiwan (Globes, December 25).

4. The robust state of Israel’s economy - relatively to the rest of the advanced economies – has impacted the state of emigration from Israel. The net-number of Israeli emigrants – staying abroad for over a year – was 14,400 in 1990, declining to 11,800 in 2007 (the global economic meltdown), and then to 8,200 in 2015 (up from 6,800 in 2014). Thus, the scope of net-emigration from Israel has been cut by almost 50% since 1990, although Israel’s population has almost doubled during the same period.

5. China’s $480BN Alibaba, the electronic trade giant, established its first research & development center in Israel, acquiring the Israeli startup, Visualead, for $40MN. Six more research & development centers will be established in the US (2), China (2), Russia and Singapore (Globes, Nov. 30).

6. Charles and David Koch (Industries) participate in a $75MN-$150MN round of private investment in Israel’s (ultrasound technology) Insightec (Globes, December 15).

7. Japan’s SoftBank led a $120MN round of private placement by Israel’s Lemonade Insurance (artificial intelligence). Additional investors included Menlo Park’s Sequoia Capital, Cambridge’s General Catalyst and Mountain View’s Google Ventures (Globes, December 20).

8. $100MN invested in Israel’s Sirin Labs, which plans to launch the Blockchain (bitcoin)-based smartphone, Finney.

9. The innovation and technology department of the Czech car manufacturer, Skoda(a division within the Volkswagen Group), concluded an agreement with Israel’s Champion, aimed at identifying Israeli groundbreaking autonomous car technologies (Globes, December 18).

You want FUBAR, you got FUBAR: Israeli agreement grants tacit recognition to 'Palestine'

Ministers fail to peruse agreement with EU that upgrades PA and gives it foothold in Jerusalem. This week, agreement was approved.

by Nitsan Keidar, Mordechai Sones

PA President Abbas (R) meets EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
Flash 90

A number of government ministers were surprised to discover this week that, without notice, under their noses, an agreement was signed with the European Union that could have very significant implications for the State of Israel vis-a-vis the PA, B’Sheva revealed this morning, Thursday.

This is an agreement called the "Transboundary Cooperation Program in the Mediterranean Basin" and is aimed at financing projects costing tens of millions of euros for 14 non-EU countries in the Middle East, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is also defined as a political entity.

The agreement includes, inter alia, a clause stating that for Israel, the agreement does not apply beyond the Green Line, in eastern Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights. In the areas under the Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, it applies without any qualifications. In other words, Israeli entities in Judea and Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights will not be able to participate in the projects and receive funding. The PA is enjoying a privilege here that no previous agreement has given it: it will not only be responsible for projects in the Palestinian Authority, but will be able to seek support for projects in the areas that, according to the Oslo Accords and other agreements, are under Israeli sovereignty. These include Area C, which is certainly under Israeli control and eastern Jerusalem - where the Palestinian Authority has no legal status and, therefore, should not have a foothold as a decision-maker.

What kind of projects does the PA want to implement within the framework of this agreement with the EU? For example, the PA wants the EU to invest in a project that promotes the "Palestinian heritage" of Sebastia, one of the places where Israel has actually consolidated its control in recent years. Another project on the agenda of the Palestinian Authority is activity at one of the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem, a place that is, by all accounts, under Israeli sovereignty. A long list of projects aimed at undermining Jewish heritage and the State of Israel is on the PA’s agenda.

How did this happen? How was such an agreement approved without any significant protest? The story of the approval of this agreement begins on December 13. All government ministers received a request to approve the agreement, stating that "in accordance with sections 10 and 19 (b) of the government's work regulations, if no reservation is filed within a week, it will acquire the force of a government decision."

In background information received by ministers, it was noted that "the agreement includes a clause delineating the extent of Israel's territory, similar to the one adopted in the Horizon 2020 plan, and approved by a government decision ... This, while making an explicit statement of Israel's position in principle regarding the status of areas that came under the administration of the State of Israel after June 5, 1967, and the determination that this does not harm the status of these areas." It was further noted that the Ministries of Finance, Interior and Justice supported the approval of the agreement. There was no trick on the part of the prime minister or cabinet secretary. Most ministers, as in many decisions of this kind, simply did not read or understand it. Minister Miri Regev, who understood that the proposal was at the very least problematic and required amendments, exercised her right and submitted a reservation. It was in headlines for a day, and some of the cabinet ministers who understood what was happening did not bother to present reservations of their own - because they relied on Regev's.

On Monday, some ministers were surprised to hear from the cabinet secretary that the decision had been approved. These were ministers who wanted to hold a discussion on the plan at the upcoming cabinet meeting because of the inherent problems with it. The Cabinet Secretary made it clear to the ministers that asked him about the matter that Regev's reservations were recorded as opposition to the decision - and in fact as a vote against. Because Regev did not explicitly request an additional hearing, however, the automatic approval of the agreement came into force. Other ministers who had counted on Regev's opposition were left with a decision that not a few had wanted to oppose or work to amend, but who missed the train, each for his own reasons.

Agreement amounts to boycott of many areas in Israel

But the red lights should have lit up sooner. This week, the Knesset Yesha lobby and the Yesha Council sent letters to the Prime Minister about the new agreement. Yesha Council chairman Hananel Dorani wrote to Netanyahu, "This signature expresses agreement with a boycott of many areas in the State of Israel and severe discrimination against Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley." He also pointed to the fact that "what's more serious is the agreement that 'Palestine' will carry out projects in these areas, which means foreign recognition in the homeland of the Jewish people."

Several senior political sources responded to this claim. One told Arutz Sheva that a similar agreement was already signed between the EU and the PA, and therefore projects can be implemented even if Israel is not party to the agreement. "If Israel signs the document, there is then need for unanimous approval of each project, and it will thus be able to block problematic or anti-Israeli Palestinian projects." The sources add that "at the end of the day, the European Union provides budgets for projects that are vital to us - and the State of Israel shouldn't give up these budgets."

"The advantages of signing this agreement exceed the disadvantages," he said, adding that "Palestine is not defined by the European Union according to borders, and they do not recognize 'Palestine' according to the 1967 borders, and this is an entity that is represented by the Palestinian Authority." The sources add that there are several types of loopholes through which the problem of investing in Israeli projects beyond the Green Line can be circumvented - including maintaining a second mailing address within the Green Line of the institution seeking project support.

This explanation does not satisfy leaders of the Land of Israel lobby, MKs Betzalel Smotrich and Yoav Kish. According to them, "Israel is required to agree, formally and practically, to Palestinian sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem beyond the Green Line."

They add that "According to the agreement's details, not only will Israel not be able to promote its own projects in these areas, but the State will be responsible for overseeing projects in areas defined as 'occupied Palestinian territories' by the State of Israel." The two also warn that "Israel will not be able to intervene in the choice of projects in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria or in their management, when it is already known that some such projects openly undermine these areas."

About four years ago, Israel signed an agreement called Horizon 2020 for scientific cooperation with the European Union, which also excluded the area beyond the Green Line.At the time a more significant political storm arose than the one that ended before it began in today's political system - and a compromise was reached whereby an Israeli reservation would appear in the agreement on the territorial clause. About a year ago, Minister Regev succeeded in stopping an agreement in the field of culture and media that sought to relate to settlement in a manner similar to that of the current agreement. Then, it dropped from the agenda; this time, except for Regev, most of the ministers fell asleep on duty.

Smotrich and Kish are bewildered by the conduct. "These days, when President Trump has been admirably fighting in the UN arena for the status of Jerusalem, the Israeli government should have made it clear to the world that united Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria are not for sale in exchange for a handful of euros." Another senior official on the right spoke more pointedly, "If the Horizon agreement was a far-fetched solution to an extreme situation and not perceived as status quo, then this plan goes beyond extreme situations. The EU is undermining us in our own land and in our capital, and we're not supposed to accept it but to act against it."

This struggle appears over. During the past week, Arutz Sheva spoke with a number of senior coalition partners and their position was that this agreement is not good and requires further study and changes. Now that it's a fait accompli, none of them intends to produce a crisis or express indignation over it. The ministers also know that there is little meaning or reason for action on their part. This is an approved government decision; in order to change it, it is necessary that the Prime Minister himself request another hearing - and this scenario is not even counted among the most rosy dreams of the greatest optimists in the government.

The political establishment is quite pleased this agreement was approved, after the arduous staff work performed on the document in question.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Rav Kook on Rabbi Akiva's Prayer

The Talmud in Berachot 31a relates how Rabbi Akiva, the great first-century sage, would conduct himself in prayer:

“When he was with the congregation, he would pray quickly so as not to be a burden on those praying with him [who would respectfully wait for him to finish]. But when he prayed alone, one could leave him in one corner and afterwards find him in another corner, due to his many bows and prostrations.”

Two Levels of Kavanah

From this account we see that there are two levels of kavanah - intent and mental focus in prayer. The minimal level of kavanah is to concentrate on the meaning of the words. This is a basic requirement of prayer (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 98:1).

There is, however, a higher level of kavanah, when one’s thoughts are raised upwards, scaling the heights of profound insight and expanded consciousness. The Shulchan Aruch describes the lofty kavanah of great tzaddikim:

“Devout and pious individuals would seclude themselves. They would direct their thoughts in prayer until they succeeded in divesting themselves from their physicality and expanding their state of consciousness. Then they would attain a level close to that of prophecy.” (ibid.)

Every prayer makes an impact on the person praying, but the extent of this impact depends on the kavanah. A prayer recited with the basic level of kavanah - just concentrating on the words - promotes spiritual advance. This is, however, a gradual progress, like the imperceptible growth of the body.

A prayer focused on higher kavanah, on the other hand, will be the trigger of more radical transformation. When Rabbi Akiva prayed by himself, his prayer was not the reserved, dignified prayer of the community. It was an intense and ecstatic service of God. His fervent spiritual ascent was expressed physically; when he finished praying, he would find himself in the opposite corner of the room.

Such great movement during prayer is unusual. The Amidah prayer is supposed to be recited standing in one place, feet placed together. Yet Rabbi Akiva would move across the room “due to his many bows and prostrations.” The more one is aware of God’s infinite greatness, the stronger will be one’s feelings of submission. The sense of one’s separate selfhood dissipates, and one yearns to unite with the greater existence of the Infinite.

As Rabbi Akiva deepened his awareness of God’s greatness, his profound feelings of subservience and selflessness was expressed with profuse bowing and prostrations.

Communal Prayer

Despite the obvious benefits of such an intense prayer, this is only suitable when one is secluded in private prayer. But when praying with the congregation, one should align oneself with their level of prayer. The entire congregation could never attain the intensity of prayer of a holy scholar like Rabbi Akiva, so he would pray quickly, content with the ordinary kavanah of concentrating on the meaning of the words.

This is the implication of Rabbi Akiva’s conduct when praying with the congregation. The importance of joining in communal prayer outweighs the benefits of private prayer, even a profoundly intense prayer suitable to one’s own spiritual level.

(Adapted from Olat Re’iyah vol. I, p. 28; Ein Eyah vol. I, p. 132)

The Shamrak Report: Pathetic and Gutless anti-Semitic World and more.....

by Steven Shamrak
Turkey and Yemen co-sponsored the UN draft resolution, which called on the anti-Semitic world to stop it from recognising Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and stop the US and other member states from moving their embassies to Jerusalem.
After the vote, Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN, sent an invitation to the 64 countries that did not support the resolution to attend a reception to thank them for their support and friendship to the United States. 
But, there was nothing to celebrate, as once again the United Nations has exposed itself as the ‘Ugly Nazi’ – a highly anti-Semitic international organisation!
Seven countries that joined Israel and the US, voting "No" did it out of fear of losing US funding! 
They are: Guatemala, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo.
Thirty-five states did not have the balls to have an opinion, and in order not to offend Muslim 'friends' they abstained!
128 countries voted "Yes" to the resolution. At least, they do not hide their hate for Israel, the Jewish state! Predictably, most of the EU states were among them!
Surprisingly, Armenia, Bulgaria and Denmark have also joined the "Yes" vote.
Another 21 states run away from their responsibility, having no dignity, and did not participate in the vote at all!
The fact that this resolution could be in violation of the UN charter and interfering in the internal politics and relationship between two member states, is something nobody cares about! 
RE: CHAPTER I: PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES,Article 1:2 “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples...” Article 1:4 “To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.” Article 2:1 “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”

It looks like only hate for Jews is ‘harmonizing’ most of them! Shameless international anti-Semites do not care about international laws and principles when an opportunity to bash and denigrate Jews is presented!

(Hate for Jews is the only unifying factor of the ‘Ugly Nazi’, the UN!
No wonder, that most of its resolutions are dedicated to Israel-bashing!)
Despite failing, the UN Jerusalem bid paints Israel, US as alone against the world...
It came as a surprise to absolutely nobody that the US on Monday vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution condemning its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital...
After the US was forced to stand alone against 14 other countries, many of them allies...
Nonetheless on Monday, 14 out of 15 voting countries - Britain, China, France, Russia, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay - supported a text that urged all states not to open diplomatic missions in Jerusalem...
The Palestinians, having anticipated an American veto, have announced their intention to take the resolution to the UN General Assembly, where there is no veto, but also no actual legal ramifications...
At the General Assembly, the depth of the American-Israeli isolation on this matter will be on full display, with almost all of the 193 member states expected to back a similar text.
Between 2012 and 2015“the UN adopted 97 resolutions criticizing one specific country - and Israel was the target of 83 of them. You have to ask, is Israel truly deserving of 86 percent of the world’s condemnation, or possibly is something else afoot at the United Nations, something that allows the representative of the Assad government to lecture the US for moving its embassy? But listening to these countries, including North Korea and Myanmar and Turkey and China lecturing the United States in any way about human rights and peace might seem a bit much.” said CNN reporter, Jake Tapper(Even CNN, facing such a blatant anti-Israel abuse, is losing it ‘cool!)
Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak 
It has been proven so many time that international anti-Semites only respect Jews when they are strong! Israel was respected after the War of Independence, defeating seven Arab/Muslim states-aggressors; after the Sinai war in 1956; the Six Day war of 1967 and the Yom Kippur war! Israel must decisively defeat its enemies and remove them from Jewish land! This is the only way to end the hypocrisy of the so-called peace process and end the conflict!
Shamrak Report is independent weekly editorial letter.
(published since November 2001)
The aim is to promote Jewish point of view on Arab-Israel conflict; motivate Jewish people and our true friends to uphold ideals and inspirations of true Zionism - Jewish National independence movement! 
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The editorial is not sponsored by or affiliated with any government, political party or organization. Presented by

The PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas officially rejected any involvement of the United States in the peace process with Israel. “The US decided to support Israel’s claims and rhetoric of an exclusive ‘Jewish capital,’ over the inclusion and respect that a city important to the three monotheistic religions should have,” Abbas claimed, ignoring the fact that when the holy city had been under Arab rule, from 1949 to 1967, Jews were completely banned from their holy sites. He did not mention that since the inception of the Palestinian Authority, the Christian population of Bethlehem has dwindled down from being the majority in the city to about 8% – with Christians having been pushed out aggressively by their Muslim neighbors.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Israel’s envoy to UNESCO to submit a formal letter announcing Israel’s intent to leave the cultural organization. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the decision was based on the organization’s “attempts to disconnect Jewish history from the land of Israel.” Israel has been infuriated by resolutions that ignore and diminish its historical connection to the Holy Land and have named ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites. (Israel must regain self-respect - leave the nest of Jew-haters now!)
After 20 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip in the three weeks since Dec. 7, limited punitive IDF air strikes, which never stopped them before, are still not working. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians, including many thousands of children, live in fear of their lives. (What is Israel waiting for? More Jewish casualties, as few years ago when 10,000 rockets were fired from Gaza and a weak and gutless response from Israel followed? Only by the removal of the enemy population from Gaza will the threat be contained!)
Speaking in Arabic, Abbas told the gathering of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that the Palestinians would no longer work with the US and threatened that he does not feel bound by commitments agreed to in Oslo and subsequent rounds of peace talks. While demanding that the US must roll back its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Abbas threatened, “If there is no Palestinian state along the June 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, there will not be peace in the region, in the territories or in the world.” (Just what part of this statement is difficult to understand? The Oslo Accords were never a peace agreement, but a step toward destruction of Israel. Arafat said it clearly the same day it was signed, but idiocy has prevailed for too long in its denial!)
QUOTE of the WEEK:
“I’ve often wondered why, in the face of such hostility, Israel has chosen to remain a member of this body. And then I remember that Israel has chosen to remain in this institution because it’s important to stand up for yourself. Israel must stand up for its own survival as a nation; but it also stands up for the ideals of freedom and human dignity that the United Nations is supposed to be about.” Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN – Time has come to say “NO” to the derelict organisation which is the nest of international corruption, abuse of power and useless resolutions! The question could be asked “Why is the US still a member of the UN?”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked addressed the criticism voiced in the past two days against the Basic Law on Legislation which she had distributed together with Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett.
The proposed new basic law sets up a protocol for the dialogue between the Knesset and the High Court of Justice over new legislation, which allows the Knesset to reverse by a special majority the court’s annulment of a law, at which point the court’s ability to revoke the new law is curbed. The bill also requires a bigger than usual court panel to deliberate the annulling of a new law.
“The Israeli democracy is running away from the people, and this flight has been going on for too many years,” Shaked stated. “This escape stems from a deep and primeval fear of the people. But not only fear of the people is behind the flight of Israeli democracy from its sovereign; this escape also stems from the distance of some of the old elites from the realities of life," she said.
And so, she continued, “Basic Law: Legislation returns our system to its traditional democratic roots..."
“The need, even the obligation, to enact the Basic Law on Legislation is clear and tangible to anyone who has a hand in the world of laws, precisely for the reasons of which Barak spoke,” Shaked said, “The need to regulate the legislative process and to establish a mechanism for judicial review.”
Israeli Justice System Needs Revamping
1. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is expected to oppose Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's legislative initiative sentencing terrorists to death. Historically, all of the country's attorneys general have objected to the death penalty, despite the fact it has existed and continues to exist in both civilian and martial codices. 
2. The Supreme Court suspended, after it had been approved by both the Haifa District Court and the attorney general, the revocation of the citizenship of Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud, a resident of Umm al-Fahm convicted of a 2015 car-ramming and stabbing attack of four victims outside Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, near Hadera. (The system is infested by self-deluded leftist cronies - it is in need of serious revamping of personnel and laws!)

Czech President Miloš Zeman: Warrior for Truth

by Josef Zbořil

  • "If you want the unspoken truth, Islamic migration is not possible to integrate, and it is not capable of being assimilated into European culture. " — Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic.
  • "This country is ours. And this country is not and can not be for all." — Miloš Zeman.
  • "In my opinion, much of the guilt lies on the current leadership of the European Union, which is totally incompetent, bureaucratic, causing the alienation of European citizens from European institutions... We do not need censorship, we do not need an ideological police, we do not need a new press and information office if we are to continue living in a free and democratic society..." — Miloš Zaman, 2016.
Pictured: Czech Republic President Milos Zeman (left) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel on October 7, 2013. (Photo by Kobi Gideon/Israel GPO via Getty Images)
Czech President Miloš Zeman, it was recently said, is "a world leader guided by principles, a man not only knows right from wrong, but has never been afraid to voice it. " Known for his longstanding support for the US, Israel and the Jews, he was the only European president publicly to support then-candidate Donald Trump before the US presidential election.
The historical relationship of Czechoslovakia, later the Czech Republic, towards Israel is most likely based on when the Czechs were overrun by Hitler in 1938, and learned the hard way that "appeasement never works". Zeman defends the Czech presidents' motto: "Truth prevails".
A Euro-federalist and leftist, Zeman became known to the public in August 1989, three months before the Velvet Revolution, thanks to an article, "Prognostics and Perestroika." In it, he criticized the totalitarian Czechoslovak régime at that time:

Yerushalayim – Eternal Capital of Israel and Gateway to Heaven (וזה שער השמים)

Parashat Vayechi 5778
HaRav Nachman Kahana

After UNESCO’s ludicrous and absurd resolution that the Jewish people have no historic connection to the Temple Mount, and after last week’s UN Security Council and General Assembly’s antagonistic rejection of the US recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, our best reply is from last Shabbat’s haftara of parashat Vayigash (Yechezkel 37,25-28):
(כה) וישבו על הארץ אשר נתתי לעבדי ליעקב אשר ישבו בה אבותיכם וישבו עליה המה ובניהם ובני בניהם עד עולם ודוד עבדי נשיא להם לעולם:

(כו) וכרתי להם ברית שלום ברית עולם יהיה אותם ונתתים והרביתי אותם ונתתי את מקדשי בתוכם לעולם:

(כז) והיה משכני עליהם והייתי להם לאלהים והמה יהיו לי לעם:

(כח) וידעו הגוים כי אני יקוק מקדש את ישראל בהיות מקדשי בתוכם לעולם: ס

25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their king forever.

26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever.

27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.

28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”

Why the Right Hand?

Tehilim 137,1-6

א) על נהרות בבל שם ישבנו גם בכינו בזכרנו את ציון:

(ב) על ערבים בתוכה תלינו כנרותינו:

(ג) כי שם שאלונו שובינו דברי שיר ותוללינו שמחה שירו לנו משיר ציון:

(ד) איך נשיר את שיר ה’ על אדמת נכר:

(ה) אם אשכחך ירושלם תשכח ימיני:

(ו) תדבק לשוני לחכי אם לא אזכרכי אם לא אעלה את ירושלם על ראש שמחתי:

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion (The first Bet Hamikdash).

2 There on the poplars we hung our harps,

3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy. They said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.

6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.

Brooklyn Museum – Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod by James Tissot

Question; Why does the right hand and speech of a Jew who forgets Yerushalayim fail him? I submit:

In Kabbalistic terms, the “right” represents the quality of compassion, charity and goodness which are preferred qualities in this revealed world of human beings. In contrast, the “left” represents the quality of precise and exact justice which is the preferred quality in the unperceived (to us) next world of absolute truth.

Every human being has both a perceived aspect – the body which represents the material world – and the non-perceived intellect and conscience resting in the unrevealed, encapsulated brain and representing the spiritual next world.

The brain, as the seat of spirituality, is composed of a right and a left hemisphere. As stated above, the right represents the quality of compassion, charity and goodness which are preferred in this world, and the left represents the quality of absolute truth of the next world.

There is an aperture at the base of the skull through which the brain nerves pass and cross over on their way to the body. The right hemispheric nerves go to the left side of the body and the nerves of the left hemisphere go to the right, resulting in the brain’s right hemisphere controlling the left part of the body and the brain’s left hemisphere controlling the right part of the body.

HaShem’s intention upon creation was to link the primary to the primary and the secondary to the secondary, meaning the preferred left hemisphere of the non-revealed spiritual world (quality of severe justice) linked with the preferred right side of the revealed visible body (quality of compassion), and the secondary right hemisphere of the non-revealed spiritual world (compassion) linked with the secondary left side of the visible body (severe justice).

King David, the Psalmist, is informing us that if one is spiritually apathetic, indifferent and aloof with regard to Yerushalayim, his spiritual left brain hemisphere is weak. This is manifested in paralysis of the right arm and inability to speak – all which are controlled by the brain’s left hemisphere.

Crossover Decrees

This Thursday, the tenth of Tevet, our prayers and fasting bring to the forefront of our consciousness Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Yerushalayim, which eventually led to the destruction of the first Bet HaMikdash and the Babylonian exile.

The tenth of Tevet has also been declared by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel as Yom HaKaddish HaKlali l’Shoah (General Day of Mourning for the Holocaust), the day when Kaddish is to be said for the martyred Jews in the Holocaust whose day of death is uncertain.

In defiance of all religious and historic logic, there are still millions of Jews who prefer to remain in the galut despite what we experienced at the hands of our gentile hosts for two millennia.

I can explain this phenomenon in terms of what appears above.

Heavenly decrees emanate from the spiritual world of the compassionate right and stern justice of the left. This can be compared to the nerves that leave the brain and cross over, with the compassionate right often creating difficulties and the stern hand of justice often creating pleasantries.

HaShem is angry at His children who ignore His call to come home. As an admonishment, the stern left of Heaven sends its decrees to the Jews in the galut in the crossover form of wealth and security and false spiritual leaders, guaranteeing that they will never have the merit to live in the Holy Land.

Conversely, the compassionate right in Heaven sends its crossover decrees to the Jews in Eretz Yisrael, which manifest themselves in struggle and difficulties in order to increase the merit of His loyal children.

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How do we select a good leader for Israel?

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

The Talmud teaches (Berachot 25a), “Three require mercy: a good king, a good year and a good dream. A good king, as it says, ‘Like water courses is the king’s heart in the Lrd’s hand; He directs it wherever He wishes’ (Proverbs 21:1).” Just as a farmer controls water flow, irrigating whichever field he wishes, so too, a king’s heart is at G-d’s disposal to direct however He wishes. It follows that we must beseech G-d to show mercy and turn the hearts of our leaders in the right direction, and all the more so, to send His people good leaders who will lead them in the right direction.

Our sages declared that “we do not appoint a leader over the community without the community’s prior approval.” In other words, the community must select its leaders. The question is therefore asked: What makes a good leader, and what must his characteristics be? Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook explains:
“There are three virtues associated with a good leader. The first is holiness -- possession of a pristine soul and a pure heart. This trait is associated with the idealistic person who acts exclusively on behalf of the public good, without any vested interest. The second is that he must be very wise so that he can lead his community sagaciously. The third is that he must be a man of formidable appearance, with an eloquent tongue that captures the heart of the masses. In other words, he must be popular. Our priorities must be as follows: First comes purity of heart, then wisdom, and only then popularity. Yet when the order is reversed and popularity takes precedence over the essence, purity of heart, then that leadership goes awry and the nation suffers.” (Ein Aya, Berachot, page 262)

Let us all beseech G-d that we should merit to select the best leadership to lead the Jewish People in the good land, along the twisted, winding road leading up to Complete Redemption.

Longing for complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

“He Crossed His Hands”

by HaRav Mordechai Greenberg
Nasi HaYeshiva, Kerem B'Yavneh

When Yaakov blessed his grandchildren, Ephraim and Menashe, it says, "Yisrael extended his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and his left hand on Menashe’s head. He crossed his hands, because Menashe was the firstborn.” (Bereisheet 48:14) An obvious question arises here. Since by crossing his hands Yaakov negated the natural order, it should have said, “He crossed his hands, even though Menashe was the firstborn.”

Furthermore, the Netziv comments that it would have been more appropriate for Yaakov to switch the way the two lads stood, to place Ephraim opposite his right hand, and Menashe on his left side. Why did he leave them in position, and cross his hands instead?

The Netziv explains that Yaakov did not intend to negate Menashe’s status entirely, since he was the firstborn. Rather, Menashe’s primacy is expressed mainly in the material realm, whereas Ephraim excelled in the spiritual and Torah realm. Therefore, in the arrangement of the camps in the desert, which was patterned after the arrangement of the heavenly chariot, Ephraim came before Menashe, since he leads in the spiritual realm.

The hand serves the head, and belongs to the spiritual, lofty, aspect of man. In contrast, the foot serves the body, and acts unconsciously, instinctively. Therefore, Chazal say, “A son is the leg of his father.” The father’s qualities are expressed in the son as the father’s leg, i.e., in a natural manner without conscious thought.

Yaakov did not want to change the way in which the two lads stood, since then it would seem that Menashe's status of firstborn was entirely revoked. Instead, he stood them so that Menashe was opposite Yaakov’s right leg, and Ephraim was opposite the left leg, since this is their standing in the natural realm. Menashe has the primacy in the physical world, corresponding to the foot, whereas Ephraim was opposite Yaakov’s right hand, since he has the primacy in the spiritual world. Therefore Yaakov crossed his hands, placing his right hand on Ephraim's head and his left hand on Menashe’s, instead of switching the way they stood – “because Menashe is the firstborn.”

With this he also explains the change in the order of the census in the desert. In the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar, Ephraim appears first, whereas at the end of Bamidbar, in the second count, Menashe is first. This is because in the desert Israel lived in a miraculous fashion, and there Ephraim leads. However, as they are about to enter the Land of Israel, the manner of Divine guidance changed; the miracles ceased, and everything occurred in a natural manner. There, Menashe leads.

The Netziv correctly points out a slight variation in Parshat Bamidbar (2:18-20): “The banner of the camp of Ephraim according to their legions shall be to the west ... Upon him is the tribe of Menashe.” On the other hand, regarding the other tribes it says, “Those encamping near him are...” The latter phrase has the connotation of a little one who is dependent on the great one, so that the entire surrounding camp leans on him, on the center. On the other hand, the expression, “Upon him,” has the opposite connotation, that the second one is above, and looks after the little ones. Thus, "Upon him is the tribe of Menashe," means that Menashe is the greater one and worries about the needs of the little one, Ephraim. Even though Ephraim is the head of the camp, still, in regards to all that pertains to the natural course, Menashe is the leader, and he takes care of Ephraim.

The End of an Epoch

by Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

Dedicated to the memory of Asher ben Chaim

The parsha of Vayechi marks the end of the story of the house of Yaakov and the conclusion of the book of Bereisheet – the book of the patriarchs and matriarchs of our people. The parsha tells us of the end of an era that spammed many long centuries. People alive at the end of an era oftentimes are unable to realize that they are at the end of what has been so normal and expected for centuries. All of us expect things to continue apace and regularly as they have been until now. Thus great and sudden changes in circumstances always blindside us for we are never prepared for the unknown and completely unexpected. The Jews were aware that neither Yaakov nor Yosef would live forever. But they did not ever imagine how drastically their situation in Egypt would change after the death of the generation of Yaakov and Yosef. It becomes apparent that the presence of Yaakov and Yosef was the deciding factor in the "good exile" of Egypt. Therefore the Torah emphasizes that Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt. Yaakov's presence in the land of Egypt is the protection for his family and descendants from the natural resentment of the Egyptians to what they undoubtedly view as the undue power, wealth and influence of an alien group within its midst. It is the old and worn down Yaakov that saves Egypt from five more years of terrible hunger not the young and confident and wise Yosef. So the emphasis on Yaakov's living in Egypt is the Torah's way of warning us not to be as certain as to why things happen and who are really the main catalysts for the situations of national and personal life.

Yaakov's farewell to his children recorded for us in this parsha indicates his awareness of the problems that will yet face his children. The Torah teaches us that he wished to reveal the entire story of Jewish history to his children even till the messianic era but that the Lord , so to speak, prevented him from so doing. But Yaakov certainly indicated the immediate future that they would have to face – that there was going to be a change in eras and that the past remains the past and not the present and certainly not necessarily the future. The blessings that Yaakov bestowed upon his children were all long range meant to be fulfilled over many years and centuries. Yaakov cannot tell them of the end plot of the story of the Jewish people but he assures them that there is a bright ending somehow to the story. It is again an indication that the central figure in the era of the patriarchs and matriarchs is Yaakov. And therefore the first words of the parsha which indicated that Yaakov lived may also be understood to mean that Yaakov still lives. It is his personality and example that guides all Jewish history and life. We are all still under the influence of our great forefather on whose name –Yisrael – we are called. We should all be aware of this blessing.

Conflict and Purpose

by HaRav Zalman Baruch Melamed
Rosh HaYeshiva, Beit El

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

Cause for Conflict
When the sons of Jacob returned from Egypt after burying their father in Hebron's Makhpelah Cave, the Torah tells us that, "Joseph's brothers began to realize [the implications] of their father's death. 'What if Joseph is still holding a grudge against us?' they said. 'He is likely to pay us back for all the evil we did him'" (Genesis 50:15).

The Midrash teaches us in the name of Rabbi Levi that, "He (Joseph) did not invite them to dine with him." That is, when Jacob was still alive, the whole family would dine together at Joseph's table, yet when they returned from the burial of Jacob, he no longer invited the brothers to dine with him. Therefore, the brothers suspected that Joseph was now planning to get even with them. Rabbi Tanchuma adds that, "His intentions were purely for the sake of Heaven, for Joseph said to himself, 'In the past my father used to seat me ahead of Judah, the King, and ahead of Rueben, the first born. Now it is no longer fitting for me to sit before them,' They, though, misinterpreted his actions saying, 'What if Joseph is still holding a grudge against us...'" Rabbi Yitzhak gave a reason different than that given by Rabbi Levi, claiming that Joseph had gone and looked into the pit he had been thrown into by his brothers. Again, Rabbi Tanchuma adds that his intentions in doing so were purely for the sake of Heaven, but they misinterpreted his actions saying, "What if Joseph is still holding a grudge against us..."

We see from this Midrash that, while Joseph actually harbored the best possible intentions, the brothers misread his actions and therefore became worried. His reason for not inviting them was sincere consideration for their honor. His looking into the pit, too, was only done in order to thank God for saving his life, and not, heaven forbid, with any intent of getting even with his brothers. Though his intentions were purely for the sake of Heaven, the brothers misunderstood and panicked.

Most quarrels and disagreements are the result of misunderstanding. A few years ago two individuals who had gotten into a conflict came to me to receive my decision in the matter. In the past, the two had been very good friends. They went into business together, and for a few years everything was fine. Then, suddenly, they became entangled in a vehement argument, until finally one of them threatened the other at gunpoint. They came before me in order to hear the Torah law with regard to their disagreement, one demanding payment for losses that the other caused him.

The one began by accusing his partner of having changed the key to the factory, thus preventing him from entering. That, he claimed, is how it all started. I asked the other why he did such a thing. He said that the lock had broken and he had no choice but to change it along with the keys. His partner, it seems, had assumed that it was done intentionally in order to conspire against him, and retaliated accordingly. And so the whole ordeal grew, each one taking action against the other, until they were finally outright enemies.

It did not take too long for it to become apparent to both of them that their bitter disagreement was no more than the result of a chain of misunderstandings. The entire quarrel, that had dragged on for a number of years, stemmed from the fact that they had misunderstood each other. And while it was no simple task to go from being fierce enemies to good friends, soon enough it become noticeable that their relationship was changing for the better. Indeed, after some time they returned to their former friendship. It is quite common that people misinterpret the actions of others, take offense, store it up inside, and thus prepare the way for a quarrel to develop. And even if it never actually reaches the stage of an open dispute, it is bad enough that anger is stored up in the heart.

Perhaps was the source of the conflict between Joseph and his brothers. He had good intentions but his outer actions were misinterpreted. As a result, the rift in the family deepened.

There is an important lesson to be learned here. Before taking offense, before interpreting the actions of others incorrectly, one must attempt to see things from the point of view of his fellow and to assume that his intentions were completely pure. It might very well be that the offense taken is completely unjustified and that all of the revengeful scheming was is completely unwarranted. Not only is this good practical advice, but the Torah itself forbids us from taking revenge, as it is written: "Do not take revenge nor bear a grudge..." (Leviticus 19:18). By so doing, one saves himself unnecisary discomfort and grief. No doubt, if people would follow this path many conflicts would be prevented.

Every Difficulty in Life has its Purpose
With the closing of the chapter of the forefathers, Jacob wishes to reveal to his sons what will be in the End of Days. "Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will happen to you in the End of Days" (Genesis 49:1). Jacob had desired to reveal what would come to be, when suddenly Divine Inspiration left him. He became concerned thinking, "Perhaps there is among my offspring an unworthy son , lacking proper faith and not deserving of the revelation of the End of Days. Perhaps for this reason the Divine Inspiration has left me." His sons answered him: "Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one! Just as He is unique in your heart, so is He in ours." At that moment Jacob cried out: "Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom for all eternity!"

What is the significance of the "End of Days?"

In life we face difficulties, troubles, and suffering. It is very frustrating to deal with this plight of ours because we do not understand what the ultimate purpose of all these troubles is. Were we capable of understanding that each difficulty, discomfort, and pain serves a profound inner purpose, our lives would be completely different. We, for our part, though, see only the outer shell of existence, and are not aware of the true inner workings of things. While we may be spiritually aware of the existence of inner purpose and direction, we are incapable of actually seeing it.

The implication of the revelation of the End of Days means actually seeing the inner workings of existence in the course of their development. This is what Jacob wished to reveal, and was prevented. The reason that it remained hidden from even Jacob himself is that ours is a world of personal effort and endeavor, and were man aware of the final implications of every act he performed in life, he would no longer need to struggle and exert himself in life - and this would run contrary to the purpose of existence. The understanding that in the future we will be made aware of the purpose of each and every difficulty we faced in life, that we will recognize and know that for the sake of the complete "Geula," redemption, we had no other choice than the precise path taken despite all of the suffering and hardships which it entailed for the Jewish People - this understanding is very important. True, even today we know that each difficulty has a purpose, but if we knew the exact purpose of each particular difficulty, our way of veiwing the world would experience a complete revolution. We would suddenly know what need be done in order to deal with each and every difficulty, and this undermine our entire purpose here in the world.