Land Day

“But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass that those whom you allow to remain shall be as thorns in your eyes, and stings in your sides, and shall distress you in the land where you dwell”. A verse in Parshat Masay. A verse in parshat “Land Day”. A verse in parshat Har Homa. A verse we refuse to listen to.

Twenty-one years ago (editor note: actually, in 1976), a day was determined as “Land Day” in the State of Israel. This important day was set down by the Arabs of the territories and the Arabs within the state of Israel – the “loyal” ones. They are so loyal, that they determined on “Land Day” that the land of Israel belongs to them. To them and not to us. But we learned nothing, and continued emphasizing how the Israeli Arabs are loyal to us. We forcibly covered our eyes. “Who is blind as my servant”, the prophet Isaiah already told us. We want to be blind. The Arabs say that the land they dwell in belongs to them, and it doesn’t interest us. What does land mean to us? After a 2,000 year exile andbeing cut off from our land, we don’t begin to grasp what land means to the Arab. We have lost our national instincts, even when we are talking about the only land we have.

This past week, Moshe Katzav, who is certainly one of the more worthless ministers in the Israeli government, got up and declared that the Arabs of Israel have lived with us for 49 years, and they will continue to live with us for hundreds of years. What does Katzav, who is considered a religious man, really think? Does he believe in the coming of the Messiah, for example? If so, does he think that the Messiah is some Mafdalnick who will leave the Jew-hating Arabs amongst us? Does he think that in the final war with Gog and Magog, when vengeance will be exacted against all those gentiles who distressed the Jewish People – does he think that the Arabs, who are the major enemy in this generation, will be let off scot-free for the “chesed” they have shown us? But such concepts are too deep for a shallow politician like Katzav, who is mainly concerned with his political standing.

This insanity is not a joke, but rather expresses the overall approach of the Israeli leadership. The time has come where we stopped kidding ourselves, and realize that the Arabs of Israel represent the most concrete danger facing the State of Israel. Each one sees himself as a Palestinian. Can we not understand that the use of the expressions “Land Day” and “We are Palestinians” signify that they believe all the land is theirs? And even if today they realize they don’t have the ability to actualize their dream and therefore adopt pragmatic political means, in the end they believe that the day will come where the State of Israel will be a passing episode. More importantly, the Arab understands that since Israel is a democracy, he can simply rely on his natural growth rate to eventually bring him to his destination. He need not be a majority. It is sufficient for them to be a third of the Knesset, so that they may team up with the treasonous left and cancel the Jewish State. And all this through “peace”, with the support of huge chunks of the Likud and other right-wing parties.

Obviously, we can go on and on. But we’ve said enough. For all this was said by my father, HY”D, twenty-five years ago, and they are obvious to any sane person. And he who doesn’t understand it, simply does not want to understand it, and any further discussion of the issue is a waste of time.

The real war is an internal one. It is between those who are willing to accept upon themselves the concept of “Havdala” between Israel and the nations, and those who are not willing to adopt this concept. It is interesting that in the past, when one spoke on transfer or expulsion, it was opposed by use of practical arguments. (“It isn’t realistic”, “We won’t get money from America”) But today the struggle centers around “racism”. That is, they are saying that even if you are right, it is forbidden since it is “racism”. This is where the war between the Jews and hellenists lies. Between those who believe in the gods of democracy and western culture, and those who believe in the G-d of Israel who gave us Torah and separated between us and the nations. As we come down to the wire, each one of us will have to decide where he is holding. We will no longer be able to straddle both sides of the fence.

And Now on Iraq, Jewishly

Following the announcement that Iraq kicked out the American overseers, the rest of the UN overseers announced that they, too, are leaving. While at first glance this move by the UN overseers is something that should have been taken for granted, apparently it is not so simple.

It had become evident that only after long negotiations did the UN come to their decision, getting in exchange a forced promise by the US to Russia and France that they will ease up in their policies against Iran. That is, a package deal was made – you go with us against Iraq, and we will go with you for Iran.

All this must be paid attention to. Before the Gulf War, Rabbi Kahane said that Israel will yet have to pay a price for the world coalition that stood against Iraq. In the end the Arabs and other nations who allied themselves with the U.S. will now say to the U.S.: “We helped you fight against our brothers, now you be with us against the oppressor Israel!” We can now see flashes of this taking place. The readiness of the U.S., AGAINST HER WILL, to ease her opposition against Iran, is damaging to Israel (and in this case, damaging to America as well); but what is more important, is that this is the first step towards the next “package deal”, when the same Russia and France, whose hostilities towards Israel have grown of late, will demand an uncompromising world coalition to pressure Israel into making concessions,and if not…

Jews Don’t Feel Pain

Three of the Jewish political prisoners have recently made the headlines. Jonathan Pollard – who is serving a life sentence in the U.S.A. for spying for Israel and has already sat in jail for almost ten years. Ron Arad -captured by the Iranians and their Palestinian organization allies nine years ago. David Ben Shimol, who was released after twelve years in Israeli prison for avenging the spilled blood of Jews, and he represents the twenty Jewish political prisoners languishing today in Israeli jails for their acts of vengeance.

And lo and behold, despite the Israeli government’s attempts to give off the impression that the prisoners held by the goyim such as Ron Arad and Jonathan Pollard are at the top of their agenda (while the political prisoners in Israel are “racist” and “criminal”), once again their treachery is exposed. Within a week, the Minister of Interior refused to grant Pollard Israeli citizenship, and the Israeli government was able to “squeeze out” of the Iranian stolen plane crisis without really taking advantage of the opportunity to do something for Ron Arad.

Why do we keep getting that feeling that this government will not do anything for a Jew if they think it will damage their ties with America or their world image as a “normal” country. BUT ISRAEL HAS NO RIGHT TO EXIST IF IT DOES NOT FULFILL IT’S ROLE OF BEING A GUARDIAN FOR ALL OF WORLD JEWRY – AND CERTAINLY FOR THOSE WHO ACTED IN HER BEHALF. But the leaders of this country have proved long ago that neither Jews nor Judaism interest them -only the Knesset seat.

Outrageous! Notice how the Arabs feel the urgency for their prisoners! But our political prisoners are treated like some burden that we must carry onour backs. Let it be known that the struggle against this evil regime will not succeed if we ignore the principles of mutual guaranteeism of one Jew for another – that is, we cannot separate the struggle against this government from the struggle to release the Jewish political prisoners.

The Root of All The Evils – What Will America Say

Since the election of Netanyahu, all the analysts and “experts” warn us that if “God forbid” the peace process does not continue, then “OY VEY” from the American reaction…

If this was only the “experts” talking, we would be able to understand. The real problem is that we hear the same “tunes” from so many religious Jews: “Yes, it is our land, and we must treat the enemy according to how Torah commands us, but…but what will America say? And how will we manage with out their aid?”

FELLOW JEWS! “WHAT WILL AMERICA SAY” IS THE CARDINAL SIN OF THIS GENERATION!

This is by no means an exaggeration. The underlying root and cause for all our national sins is lack of faith in God. It is lack of belief that God indeed gave us all that he gave us in this generation, including victory after victory over cruel and massive enemies, and that He really can defend us if we hearken to His voice and actualize the national mitzvot He commanded of us – from settling the land to disinheriting the gentiles from it! But alas, apparently even those who resound the praises of God with their lips, grip the sword of fear in their hands. The slightest threat from America – and their knees start shaking!

It really is the sin of the Golden Calf renewed! “America is your god, Oh Israel!” It is the sin of the spies all over again! “We are not able to go up…for they are stronger than we”. Not for nothing do the sages tell us that “than we” is The Master of the Universe himself!

Is it not true that religious Jews says this? Do they not say that Amerca is stronger than us – than the Lord? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US! Who brought us to the Land with wonderous miracles in the first place? Who gave us the strength to win so many wars against such impossible odds? Will we be blind and not see it? WHY DON’T WE BELIEVE IN GOD?

Jews! Let us know who we are! Let us know the source of our strength – and say to America: If you stand at our side during our redemption – it will be good for you. And if you try to bother us and steal from our portion – than your fate will be a bitter one!

“WE SHOULD GO UP AT ONCE AND POSSESS IT; FOR WE ARE WELL ABLE TO OVERCOME IT”!!

In memory of the great Bible commentator the holy “OHR HACHAAIM” (Yohrtzeitis 15 of Tamuz), here is what he had to say about the connection between isolation from the gentile and security:

“And Israel dwelleth in safety” – When? When she is isolated. And the word”and dwelleth” is a continuation of what is written above it, that ‘And said: Destroy’, that God commanded Israel to wipe out all the inhabitants of the land, and by so doing, ‘Israel dwelled securely – in isolation’ (Deuteronomy 33:28)

Pragmatic Fish Eaters

Many are familiar with the ancient parable about the slave who cooked for his master a stinking fish. The master gave his slave three options: Either eat the stinking fish, receive 100 lashes, or pay with his money for the fish. The slave opted for the punishment to eat the stinking fish, but after eating more than half the fish with great effort, he could not take it anymore, and announced to his master that he can’t continue, and would like to receive the lashes. The master began thrashing the slave, and after several lashes, again the slave could not stand the pain, and chose the third punishment – to pay. And so, in the end, he ate the fish, received lashes and paid a high price to atone for his sin….

One can easily remember this parable when watching Prime Minister Netanyahu in action. While one may pity the poor Prime Minister, one can not forgive his wretched and dangerous deeds. Behold, at the beginning of last week, the Prime Minister apparently had made a positive decision concerning the settlements. What was the decision? It wasn’t what he had originally intended, which was to add a new neighborhood to Bet-El, because America and the Shin Bet vetoed the move. And so instead, he decided to give the settlements preferential housing incentives. To all the settlements? No. According to reports, only 20% of the settlements were to fall in such preferential categories. Did this decision have any practical ramifications? Probably not, since the government itself publicly informed the United States that the decision was only a “declarative” one.

But none of this helped in the slightest. For a full week the entire world, from the U.S. to the U.N., to the Arab world, to the Israeli left, to part of the Likud party rose up and sharply attacked and condemned the Netanyahu government in a fashion we have not yet seen, as if the Israeli government at the very least had began an all-out war against the Arab world at large, expelled the Arabs from Israel, and as a late-night snack, annexed all the territories. Ah, the eaters of stinking fish – suffering the lashes and having to pay for it in the end, anyway.

In the middle of last week, an announcement was made from the office of the Prime Minister that could have made one think that we have a government which could bring the Messiah. Here is the exact “Maariv” headline story quote a week and a half ago: “Israel: American Criticism Will Not Dictate To Us Our Way Of Life”. Awesome. Tremendous. Just what we had been waiting for! But only a few hours passed, and Israel was already back on it’s knees, pleading to the U.S. they “didn’t mean it”, and there was a “misunderstanding”, and “things were taken out of their context”. Did this groveling impress the U.S.? Hardly. This was the reaction of the American foreign department to the Israeli children who had the audacity to almost raise their heads up: “This is not a polite way to relate to the words of the President. President Clinton is friendly to Israel, and when it expresses it’s opinion, we hope that friendly governments will treat it respectably.”

As of this moment, the Israeli government has backed down completely. If a week ago it had appeared that someone in the government had some idea about building houses in the Land of Israel, nothing of the sort will be raised today. It’s like we said: Eat stinking fish, receive the lashes and in the end, pay full price.

If the Israeli government had a modicum of pride, it would casually remind Mr. Clinton about his blatant interference in the Israeli elections in support of the losing candidate, and that he should “chill out” a bit. In the meantime, a normal Jewish government would establish new settlements as something taken for granted. For in the Land of Israel, Jews settle the land. The world gets excited? Condemns? The U.N. security council will stay up all night to draft up an Israel-bashing decision? Great. That’s precisely what happened last week, and unfortunately, it was all about nothing. If they are going to condemn us anyway, shouldn’t we at least get something out of it, like start some new settlements? If the security council is going to stay up all night to discuss Israel, wouldn’t it be preferable to give them a good reason to do so – for instance, to expel a few hostile Arab villages near Ramallah from the borders of Israel?

What is there to be afraid of? Did not King David say in Tehilim (2): “Why are the nations in an uproar, and people utter a vain thing? The kings of the earth raise themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His annointed, saying, Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision”.

Goyim? America? The U.N? It is dandruff you brush off, for the Master of the World stands with us, and it is He who changes the hearts of kings and determines the destinies of the nations.

This is what Netanyahu does not understand. Anyone whose world outlook is not based on faith in G-d can never understand this. And so, Netanyahu looks as he does only six months after taking office. He is deteriorating every step of the way, and taking the State of Israel down with him. And he has no other option – because if he is afraid of what America will say, then he will constantly be rubbing them the wrong way no matter how much he tries to placate them, and by doing so, he will bring our country to greater tragedythan the Labor party would have brought us to.

Our sages taught us that the redemption is dependent on faith. And when we finally seize onto this weapon of faith, we will realize that no one and nothing is relevant, other than our firm decision to go in the way of G-d, even if the way of G-d means provoking the gentiles.

Yom Haatzmaut: Potential for Independence

The 48th Independence day has passed. Forty-eight years ago we were granted the POSSIBILITY FOR INDEPENDENCE. But one year after another passes by, and we still refused, or are too frightened to be independent!

What is independence of the Jewish Nation? It is that we OURSELVES, ALONE, do not rely on any other nation. This is the deeper meaning of the concept, “a nation that dwells alone”. And how do we arrive at a situation where we become a nation that dwells alone? Only when we put our trust in God, and not in the gentile.

Certainly it is scary when one is surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs who want to wipe us out, and on each and every action we make, the entire world condemns! But it is only scary for one who is lacking faith; it is only frightening for those who deep in their souls are still slaves and not capable of being independent!

And so, how embarassing it is to hear from our “leaders” year after year on Holocaust Day, the same tired, empty phrases. Like a dog returning to his own vomit, they repeat, “that if the State of Israel and the I.D.F. had been around ten years earlier, it could have prevented a Holocaust”. Really? Then why doesn’t the same State and army of Israel dare return fire in a war against an enemy who sits within her, and who slaughters its citizens daily? They would have dared act against the Nazis? Why, that might harm “diplomatic relations”…

Without a doubt, Israel was supposed to be a State who defends Jews wherever they are! That is the rason detre of a Jewish State. And if she was really independent, she would be able to successfully do so. But the fact is that even her own agent, Jonathan Pollard, was thrown to the dogs out of fear! After all, the slaves need confirmation from Clinton on every bomb dropped in Lebanon, and on every action taken against the Hamas.

There is no Jewish independence without total trust in God. The Master of the Universe gave us the POTENTIAL for independence – but we still refuse to actualize it.

Let us finally do what must be done so that we can cry out real independence, “Lo it is a people that dwells alone, and among the nations shall not reckon itself”.

Yom Kippur: Next Year in Jerusalem, Maybe

The synagogue if filled from end to end.  Every seat is reserved, every inch of space taken up.  The Yom Kippur Neila service is drawing to an end.  A day of repentance, prayer and charity fades to a close.  A congregation, elevated for a day at least, watches as the Shofar is raised and a long clear, vibrant blast fills the hall.  Five hundred voices cry out spontaneously – 

L’Shana Ha’Ba’ah B’ Yerusalayim!  “Next year in Jerusalem!” 

The crowd files out to begin yet another year of bitter exile amidst television and Miami Beach. 

The synagogue is dark and hushed.  A few candles flutter in the corners, their flickering flames lighting the pained and saddened faces of the congregation sitting on low benches waiting for the Tisha B’Av services to begin and the mournful tune of the Eycha – Lamentations – rises softly, punctuated by the sobs of the mourners for Zion.  Every mind is shattered as the picture of the beloved homeland, bereft of its children, comes to mind.  Every pious Jew sitting in the room sighs and dreams of the day – may it soon come – when G-d will allow him to, once again, kiss the soil of the homeland – courtesy of a three-weeks American Jewish Congress guided tour, and then back home again to the painful fleshpots. 

The dream of settling in Israel is a basic part of the Jewish faith.  It is an obligation but it is more than that:  “It is a dream.  How many seas would the tears of our ancestors have filled as they wept for the privilege of returning to Zion?  How piercing would have been the totality of their cries as they prayed to the yoke of nations and bring us upright to our land!” 

Who can begin to fully quote the letter of the obligatory law to settle in the Land of Israel as expounded by our rabbis and who can adequately describe the acceptance of the spirit of that obligation by our ancestors, the dreamers of Zion?  What would they not have given for the opportunity of returning and walking four cubits on its soil?  How they would have flocked to the airports and harbors as the great vision approached fulfillment! 

I write this as a traditional, observant Jew.  For myself I have written and spoken and pleaded a thousand times over to all Jews of America to leave and return to Israel – not for religious reasons – but for the elementary need to save their lives.  I believe in the marrow of my bones that the days of the Jew in the Untied States are numbered and that there is coming a storm of physical brutality that portends a holocaust.  What 48 prophets could not convince Jews to do, says the Talmud, Haman’s ring accomplished.  There is a Haman’s ring in the American Jewish future and for the sake of our children and grandchildren the time to evacuate is now.  I have said this and will continue to say this to all Jews.  But, for the observant ones there is another, an added; perhaps, an even more important reason. 

Every traditional Jew must take a long and deep look at himself.  He must ask difficult and painful questions.  How is it possible to honestly pray three times a day to the Almighty to restore us to Zion when that restoration is ours at a cost of a few hundred dollars, courtesy of El Al?  What rationalizations can we invent to answer those who question our lamentations for Zion when the Jewish Agency is prepared to grant long-term loans for housing and transportation for those who wish to settle in Israel?  What can hide our shame as we fervently proclaim “Next Year in the Land of Israel” when next year has already come, when the gates of the Holy Land stand open, when the obligation to return can and demands to be fulfilled? 

All this has nothing to do with the particular religious Jew’s attitude toward the government or State of Israel.  We speak here, not of political Zionism, but of the original and permanent obligation to go up and settle the Holy Land – an obligation that is clear and binding upon all – from the Mizrachi through the Agudat Israel to Amram Blau and the Neturei Karta. 

What kind of Jews are we who profess a Judaism that builds up a dream in ritual and prayer – until it is at the very center of our aspirations – and then make a mockery of it in practice?  Those who are able to return and do not must cease to weep salted tears and put an end to insincere lamentations.  Let us rather admit that we have eaten too long at the fleshpots of galut – exile – and that the bribery of the good life has compromised and blinded us.  When a famous Rosh Yeshiva chided Ben Gurion on the secularism of Israel, the then Prime Minister cunningly replied: “Let the American religious Jews come here and put me out of office.” 

He could well afford to be clever for he knew that most would not come.  The Catskills have overshadowed the hills of Jerusalem and the Rockaways conquered the Jordan and the Mediterranean.  Electric appliances have replaced the flame of sacrifice and the television set the Book of Lamentations.  In a sense it is symbolic of a general loss of ability to sacrifice on the part of the American Jew – and the religious one is little different.  It is a sad and dangerous thing. 

From the religious point of view there is a double tragedy here.  What power lies in the hands of a dynamic religious immigration!  What a noble impression and Kiddush Hashem – Sanctification of the Name – it would create in the young Israeli mind if religious Jews showed the courage of their convictions!  What a Jewish State could be shaped out of a State of Israel! 

Certainly it is difficult; to be sure there would have to be sacrifices in the economic standard of one’s life.  Yes, there is a language barrier and no doubt employment would be a problem for a time and life would not be quite as materially sweet as back home with the good life and the American Nazi Party.  But, since when has a religious Jew assumed that life was made to be sweet and that the Almighty placed him here so as to be comfortable?  Is the excuse of economic difficulty enough to justify, in the religious Jew’s mind, the rationale given him by the non-observant for violating even the rabbinical laws of Sabbath?  Is the Jew who tells us that economic need makes it imperative that his store remain open on the Sabbath since that is by far his busiest day, given dispensation?  Do we calmly accept the decision of people not to send their children to yeshivot because of the economic difficulty involved or do we call upon them to make that sacrifice that is needed for the great commandment of Torah study? 

Yet, here, on a question that every authority in the past has conceded is a religious obligation we find the religious Jew ready to join behind the Hadassahs , the ZOA’s and the Bnai Births in their shabby attempts to transform the galut – the exile – of America into such tortured sophistry as “chutz l’aretz” (outside the land).  The very one who girds his loins for battle against all who seek to lighten some other halachic burden now suddenly descends into the intricacies of pilpul to explain that in reality Maimonides believes that the settlement of the land is only a rabbinical injunction (thus “merely” putting it on the same level as eating chicken with milk or doing business on the Sabbath); that one is free of the obligation if there is danger; that there are economic difficulties, ad infinitum. 

No argument will blot out the shame of our craven surrender to materialism.  The words we mouth in our daily prayers; the slogans we shout at the conclusion of Yom Kippur and at our Passover Seder all become empty and meaningless words when we have no intention of following them.  It is up to the yeshivot to teach and to emphasize the religious obligation of a Jew to live in the Land of Israel.  It is up to the traditional congregation to take steps to implement it.  Mitzvat Yishuv Eretz Yisroel (the commandment to settle the Land of Israel) becomes more than merely another of the laws.  It becomes a mirror reflecting our weakness and hypocrisies.  Next Tisha B’Av it would do well for us to weep – not for the land but for ourselves. 


Kahane resources would like to thank Mrs. Barbara Ginsburg for providing the text of this article.

Pinchas: Let’s Learn About “Peace” From Pinchas

The concept of “peace” has been so badly distorted in this generation, that the very mention of the word has come to represent a specific political point of view. What is even worse is that when an opposing point of view adopts this concept, they are compelled to adopt the same axioms of the “new” and twisted interpretation of the concept of peace.

The Torah Policy of Peace
Though it is not an easy task, we suggest examining the original concept of “peace” as it was meant to be understood in our sources. In such a way we will be able to map out our “basic policy guidelines” for Torah peace that, with G-d’s help, will eventually guide the Jewish government in the land of Israel.

The original source for learning the proper interpretation for the concept of “peace” is from Pinchas, who embodies the ultimate man of peace. Why him? Because he is the man who G-d Himself chose to give the covenant of peace. Such a covenant was not even given to his grandfather Aaron the Cohen, who was coined “lover and pursuer of peace”! Pinchas’ attribute of “peace” was on a higher level than Aaron’s. In this article we will try to understand why.

Peace with the Wicked is not Peace
The question that begs asking in Parshat Pinchas is: “Why was Pinchas given of all things, the covenant of peace? Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to give him the covenant of zealousness, or the covenant of saving Israel, or the convenant of saving the honor of Israel, etc. Does not Pinchas’ act of killing represent the absolute opposite of today’s concept of “peace”??

It is this very question which portrays the confusion and perversion of concepts relating to the idea of “peace”. After all, what has peace come to mean today? It means shaking hands with evil (and the more evil he is, the grander the peace is, for “peace you make with enemies”), saying “Peace, Shalom, Saalam,” and being photographed on the White House lawn – hoping that now they will stop killing you. In other words, the new and distorted concept of “peace” means that one comes to terms, or makes peace with the evil.

Obviously, for any logically thinking person, this definition does not go down “smooth”. After all, normal instincts say that no good can come about by giving in to evil and making peace with it. Nonetheless, many people get dragged along behind the distorted interpretion, due to lack of an alternate interpretion. And so, against their will, they take the lofty and holy concept of “peace” – and start defining it in ways that they themselves have doubts about.

First Step – Uprooting of Evil
What we must do then, is to rescue the concept of peace, and define it properly so that we can restore the holiness of the concept. By doing so, not only will we know the Jewish definition of the concept, but we will have the added benefit of not having to associate the holy concept of peace with the abominable ideas of murdereous Western leaders!

Pinchas’ act of killing Zimri and afterwards meriting the peace covenantteaches us that the Torah’s way of bringing peace is by making the world a better place. The first step towards this goal is the uprooting of evil and evil-doers from the world. “Sur Me Rah” – turn from evil, or remove evil – this is the first step in making the world a better place. On the other hand, making peace with evil, or even worse, giving in to it, is the very opposite step that one can take if he wants to arrive at peace.

Peace is not the mixing of good and evil and the attempt to create acoexistence between them, as we have been trained to think! The very opposite. There is no coexistence between good and evil, nor is there partnership between good people and evil people! The Master of the Universe expects from the righteous that they will burn out the evil from the world – “and you shall burn out the evil from thy midst”, the Torah commands us in so many places – and only in such a way will peace reign in the world.

Pincahs Didn’t Cry
This concept is so powerful, that the sages compare the offering of sacrifices on the altar which is a symbol of peace — to the killing of the wicked. “To teach you, that when the blood of the wicked is spilled, it is as if a sacrifice was offered”. (Tanchuma, Pinchas, 1) For these are the two sides to the peace – remove yourself from evil – do good. There is not one without the other.

That is why Pinchas was worthy of receiving the peace coveneant. For when all the leaders, including Moshe and Aaron cried (“and they cried”) from the wicked’s threat, hiding themselves in their tents or in their yeshivas, the younger Pinchas arose, and eradicated the evil. True, his grandfather Aaron was a symbol of the love and pursual of peace, but evidently he was weaker in the area of uprooting evil. And since there is no peace without the purging of evil, Aaron had to leave the peace covenant for his grandson Pinchas, who was able to intergrate both sides of the peace.

“As long as the wicked rule in the world, so to speak, the Holy One Blessed Be He does not sit on his throne.” (Yilkot Shmoney, Tehilim 47)

Beshallach: Don’t Cry to Me – Go Forward

It was exactly five years ago when the Gulf War broke out, and scud missiles started landing in Israel. Then, too, it was Parshat BeShallach, and it became quite popular to quote the verse in our parsha: “The Lord will fight for you, and you will remain keep silent” (14:14). Indeed, so many religious Jews found this verse both appropriate and symbolic of the Gulf War. After all, here were Israeli cities getting bombarded by Iraqi missiles, and the official government policy was one of “self-restraint”, or as the Hebrew term goes, “havlaga”. Jews equipped with gas masks and cages for their small children sat crouched in their sealed rooms, as missiles rocked the country. “Everything will be O.K.”, they proclaimed. “Hashem will fight for us”. That is, America and its president George Bush will take out those scud lanuchers and all will be fine.

A closer look at what the Torah and sages tell us regarding this verse reveal that those who interpreted this verse in the aforementioned manner took the words entirely out of their true context, and by doing so completely distort the awesome lesson that is to be learned regarding the splitting of the Red Sea.

“A Time To Do – Not to Pray”

Firstly, let us see what the Torah says. Immediately following the verse, “The Lord will fight for you and you will remain silent”, is the verse, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Why do you cry unto me? Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward”! Already, without even delving into any of the commentaries, we see that the picture has changed entirely. The verse is not telling us that God will fight for you and so in the meantime you can “kick back” and let Him “worry about it”. What is said here is that the Lord will fight for you if you prove to Him that you truly believe in His Omnipotence, and so instead of crying to Hashem, simply obey his commandment and “go forward” into the stormy sea.

The commentator the “Eben Ezra” writes the following: “You shalt keep silent” – to counteract the (verse) “And the children of Israel cried (to Hashem)!” For those whom this is not clear, the commentary on the Eben Ezra explains: “Do not cry anymore (to Hashem) because He will fight for you. And the meaning is not that you should refrain (keep silent) from fighting”. Yes. The exact opposite of the distorted interpretation that is constantly given, where the verse “and you shall keep silent” means self-restraint and inaction. The Eben Ezra comes to tell us that “and you shall keep silent” means to stop crying to Hashem. What should you do instead? Act! — with “Bitachon” in Hashem. This is in essence the idea that Rashi brings down: “This teaches us that Moses was standing and praying. The Holy One Blessed Be He said: Now is not the time to prolong in prayer, when Israel is placed in distress.” This is also the meaning of the Gemorah in Sota, page 37: “Moses was engaged for a while in prayer, so the Holy One Blessed Be He said, “My beloved ones are drowning in the sea, and thou prolongst in prayer before me? He (Moses) spoke before Him, “Lord of the Universe, what is there in my power to do?” He replied to him, “Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward. And lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thy hand, etc.”

Nachshon – Faith In Action

The sages tell us that the children of Israel stood trembling by the shores of the Red Sea until God commanded them that they “go forward”. They remained paralyzed with fear and did not move. Only Nachshon did not hesitate to carry out Hashem’s commandment. He sprang forward into the raging waters, but nothing happened. Nachshon was not taken aback. He descended deeper into the water – up to his ankles, knees, stomach – and still nothing happened. Nachshon continued until the water reached his neck, and then he cried to Hashem, “Oh God, save me because the water has come into my soul. I sink deep in mire where there is no standing…” Only then did the miracle of the splitting of the sea occur. (Ibid.)

The lesson is crystal clear. Together with prayer, Hashem demands maximal effort, for it is only through actual deeds where one’s faith is tested. Was Nachshon’s faith put to the test when he recited psalms on the seashore? No. Even jumping into the stormy waters was not sufficient, for he still had an opportunity to back out. Only by going all the way in fulfilling G-d’s will did he prove he is a true believer. Nachshon understood that saying, “I believe” and then waiting for the salvation is not authentic faith. G-d demands of us that we prove our faith by way of our actions, and not just with our mouths. Only by being willing to fulfill difficult, and what may appear to be “dangerous” mitzvot, do we prove our faith is genuine.

This is the mistake of those religious Jews who sanctified the self-restraint policy during the Gulf Crisis. He who saw the Chosen People scurrying like roaches into their sealed-off closets while the modern day Goliath blasphemed Hashem and His people for 40 days (and 40-1 missiles), and viewed it as a positive thing, self-righteously proclaiming that “G-d will help” , does not begin to grasp the Jewish concept of what faith is all about.

Not only did we lose our deterrent factor and our dignity during the Gulf War, but we also proved our lack of faith. It is this same lack of faith that has prevented us from expelling the Arabs, and annexing the territories. And it is only a lack of faith that has brought us to the pathetic and desperate situation we now find ourselves in today. These national mitzvot were never “politics”, but rather the true yardsticks for faith and redemption in this generation.

News And Commentary

As the trial of Yigal Amir grinds on, one can observe the obsessive hate and hysteria of the Israeli media. Unable to even feign the slightest bit of responsible objective journalism, the Israeli newspaper reporters cannot hold themselves back from viciously cursing and abusing Amir. Words like “scum” and “vermin” are some of the more commonly used terms used to describe him.

Such lanugage is usually not used when dealing with political assassins. In a normal society, words like “scum” are generally reserved for rapists or child beaters, and not for political criminals. If this uncontrolled hate was caused by an overwhelming love and sense of loss for Yitzchak Rabin, then perhaps their attacks on Amir would be understandable. But we must understand that there is something much deeper going on here.

Yigal Amir in their eyes is a symbol of all religious Jews. He is educated, and idealistic, and represents to them the Judaism that they so despise. Since it would be difficult still to defame all the religious Jews and rabbis without compunction, they find Yigal Amir an easy target for them to unleash their venom in their filthy tabloids.

Unfortunately, many religous Jews don’t grasp this. Instead, they try to find favor in the eyes of the left by coming up with even “jucier” adjectives to describe Amir. In their pathetic hope not to be viewed as “extremists” and to create “unity”, they attempt to outdo the left in their condemnations. Alas, it is a pity that none of this will help. Because the hellenist left in Israel looks upon these Jews as “scum” as well. For them, anyone who feels that the “halacha” is the ultimate authority, and places it over their hallowed democracy is a criminal.

Therefore, let us not try and gloss over the fact that we are in the heat of a cultural war with the Hellenists, and the gap between them and us is unbridgable.

Lech Lecha: A Fearless Leader – Six Years Since the Murder Rabbi Kahane, HY”D

When people think of Rabbi Kahane, ZT”L, HY”D, they remember a daring and courageous leader who did not know the meaning of fear. His many years of standing in the front lines for Jewish causes in Israel and abroad, confronting empires and well-oiled establishment bodies and enduring along the way constant hatred and antagonism which endangered his very life, inspired admiration in the eyes of most Jews (even if more often than not their admiration was kept in the closet!)

For good reason the Rabbi was perceived in such a way. More than anything else, the Rabbi warned us about the illness of our generation – FEAR OF THE GENTILE. It wasn’t so difficult for the Rabbi to come up with such a diagnosis. After all, whenever he spoke to Jews (“religious” ones as well), he was always confronted with the same line: “You’re right, but what will America say?…” And thus, there was the need to stress in a big way the subject of trust (“Bitachon”) in G-d and the prohibition of fearing mortal man.

It is fear that has caused us to constantly give in and surrender, to the point where fear of going to war has become a legitimate component in our political thinking. But one who studies the Torah outlook on war (parshat Shoftim) will reveal that the central theme concerning war is the prohibition of being afraid! The midrash (Tanchuma, Shoftim) even says: “Your forefathers did not fear them – and they were victorious!” In other words, the key to victory is lack of fear, and faith that “Your G-d is with you!” As an example, the midrash brings down the war in our parsha between Avraham against the four kings: “Do not fear Avraham, I will protect you” (and this is the source for the blessing in the silent prayer, “The shield of Avraham”). And so, when Avraham went out to war to sanctify the Name of G-d and save Lot who represented at the time the side of Avraham and G-d, he fearlessly went out with only 318 men against four powerful kings, and was ready to die in the process – “I will go out and fall on Kiddush Hashem”. (Midrash Raba, Lech Lecha)

This concept is also the “halacha”, as the Rambam brings down in Hilchot Milachim (7:15) “And when entering into war, one must lean on the Saver of Israel in time of stress… and one must not fear or be intimidated, nor should one think of his wife and children…and he who starts to ponder these things at war time and frightens himself – has transgressed a negative commandment!..” The Rambam continues: “And if he did not win and did not perform in the war with all his heart and soul, than he is like one who spills everyone’s blood!”

These shocking words apply to the collective no less than they apply to the individual Jew. If an individual who cannot overcome his natural fears is considered a sinner who has spilled the blood of all Jews, what can one say about leaders whose very mindset and national policy is based on fear of war, fear of the gentile, and tie the hands of the soldiers while they are being shot at!? And so, before Succot last year we saw our soldiers lay bleeding to death before the very eyes of their comrades in battle who sat helplessly by screaming for help, and the help never arrived, because it would have meant having to kill mobs of Arab rioters and murderers – this is all because of the fear of the gentile reaction! If an individual is considered a spiller of blood, what can one say about LEADERS, other than they are downright murderers!!

On the other hand: “And he who fights with all his heart and all his soul without being afraid, and all his intention is to sanctify G-d’s Name, it is guaranteed that he will not suffer damage nor will bad come unto him…” Thus is the case for the collective as well. If we fight under the headline of “Kiddush Hashem”, “Emunah”, and a willingness to wipe out the enemy who is desecreating the Jewish G-d and nation, we are guaranteed to win, and the gentile won’t dare open his mouth!

Rabbi Kahane, HY”D, predicted all the events that are happening now. One who reads the things he wrote 15-20 years ago could think he was reading words of prophecy. But no. Rabbi Kahane simply dared to open his eyes and see, refusing to be blind like so many others who were afraid to open their eyes, lest they come to conclusions which would make life uncomfortable for them.

While others were afraid, Rabbi Kahane was not. He fought – and in the end fell upon the altar of the Jewish Nation, with the confidence that his words were not wasted, and in the end the truth will win out.

And if the majority of Jews still don’t dare to open their eyes and understand, we the few, the students of Rabbi Kahane will continue to cling to his way, and to carry the torch of truth until we bring the revolution and the Messiah.

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