Law of Return: For Politically Correct Jews Only

With all the atrocities and crimes against Judaism that the Israeli Government has committed since its inception, perhaps there was always one saving grace and merit that protected Israel from the Almighty’s wrath. The Law of Return, that “racist” law enabling any Jew to become a citizen and live in the Holy Land has always been the “last line of defense”, giving the country some semblance of Jewish character.

But now the government of Israel has put an end to that too. Last week, eight Jews were prevented entry into the Holy Land of Israel! “For they have driven me out this day from being joined to the inheritance of the Lord” (Shmuel 1, 26:9) As if the Land of Israel is their private property where they can pick and choose who can and cannot join G-d’s inheritance!

This attitude that Israel is their own private property might be a little more understandable if it stemmed from the attitude that the land of Israel belongs to them. But what can one say when they prevent Jews from entering the land, and in the same breath, they hand over piece by piece of it to the cruelest of enemies?

Who were the Jews that were forbidden entry into their beloved homeland? Are we speaking of traitors, G-d forbid? No. We are speaking of members of the Jewish Defense League. We are talking about Jews who twenty-five years ago struggled for the release of hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews, so they could emigrate to the same country which today denies these people entry.

But what is most obscene is the deafening silence of the “national right-wing” camp. All this can only remind us of Har Manoach near Hebron,which is now where the Local Palestinian Police Station is based. What irony? Har Manoach was the hilltop where Rabbi Kahane and his followers setup a settlement called “El-Nakam”, in memory of Eli HaZeev, HY”D. The settlement was dismantled by Moshe Arens of the Likud, with the cooperation of the Kiryat Arba Local Council, which “did not want extremists near her”. And now, since there is no longer a Jewish presence in that area, it is considered “yellow” on the new map, and Kiryat Arba now has Palestinian “moderates” as neighbors instead of Jewish “extremists”.

And on this, it is was said: “YOU DIDN’T WANT KAHANE – SO YOU GOT ARAFAT!”

Hanukah: Down With Hanukah

If I were a Reform rabbi; if I were a leader of the Establishment whose money and prestige have succeeded in capturing for him the leadership and voice of American Jewry; if I were one of the members of the Israeli Government’s ruling group; if I were an enlightened sophisticated, modern Jewish intellectual, I would climb the barricades and join in battle against the most dangerous of all Jewish holidays – Chanukah.

It is a measure of the total ignorance of the world Jewish community that there is no holiday that is more universally celebrated than the “Feast of Lights”, and it is an equal measure of the intellectual dishonesty and of Jewish leadership that it plays along with the lie.  For if ever there was a holiday that stands for everything that the mass of world Jewry and their leadership has rejected – it is this one.  If one would find an event that is truly rooted in everything that Jews of our times and their leaders have rejected and, indeed, attacked – it is this one.  If there is any holiday that is more “unJewish” in the sense of our modern beliefs and practices – I do not know of it.

The Chanukah that has erupted unto the world Jewish scene in all its childishness, asininity, shallowness, ignorance and fraud – is not the Chanukah of reality.  The Chanukah that came into vogue because of Jewish parents – in their vapidness – needed something to counteract Christmas; that exploded in a show of “we-can-have-lights-just-as-our-goyish-neighbors” and in an effort to reward our spoiled children with eight gifts instead of the poor Christian one; the Chanukah that the Temple, under its captive rabbi, turned into a school pageant so that the beaming parents might think that the Religious School is really successful instead of the tragic joke and waste that it really is; the Chanukah that speaks of Jewish Patrick Henrys giving-me-liberty-or death and the pictures of Maccabees as great liberal saviors who fought so that the kibbutzim might continue to be free to preach their Marx and eat their ham, that the split-level dwellers of suburbia might be allowed to violate their Sabbath in perfect freedom and the Reform and Conservative Temples continue the fight for civil rights for Blacks, Puerto Ricans and Jane Fonda, is not remotely connected with reality.

This is NOT the Chanukah of our ancestors, of the generations of Jews of Eastern Europe and Yemen and Morocco and the crusades and Spain and Babylon.  It is surely not the Chanukah for which the Maccabees themselves died.  Truly, could those whom we honor so munificently, return and see what Chanukah has become, they might very well begin a second Maccabean revolt. For the life that we Jews lead today was the very cause, the REAL reason for the revolt of the Jews “in those days in our times.”

What happened in that era more than 2000 years ago?  What led a handful of Jews to rise up in violence against the enemy?  And precisely who WAS the enemy?  What were they fighting FOR and who were they fighting AGAINST?

For years, the people of Judea had been the vassals of Greece.  True independence as a state had been unknown for all those decades and, yet, the Jews did not rise up in revolt.  It was only when the Greek policy shifted from mere political control to one that attempted to suppress the Jewish religion that the revolt erupted in all its bloodiness.  It was not mere liberty that led to the Maccabean uprising that we so passionately applaud.  What we are really cheering is a brave group of Jews who fought and plunged Judea into a bloodbath for the right to observe the Sabbath, to follow the laws of kashruth, to obey the laws of the Torah.  IN A WORD EVERYTHING ABOUT CHANUKAH THAT WE COMMEMORATE AND TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO COMMEMORATE ARE THINGS WE CONSIDER TO BE OUTMODED, MEDIEVAL AND CHILDISH!

At best, then, those who fought and died for Chanukah were naïve and obscurantist.  Had we lived in those days we would certainly not have done what they did for everyone knows that the laws of the Torah are not really Divine but only the products of evolution and men (do not the Reform, Reconstructionist and large parts of the Conservative movements write this daily?)  Surely we would not have fought for that which we violate every day of our lives!  No, at best Chanukah emerges as a needless holiday if not a foolish one.  Poor Hannah and her seven children; poor Mattathias and Judah; poor well meaning chaps all but hopelessly backward and utterly unnecessary sacrifices.

But there is more.  Not only is Chanukah really a foolish and unnecessary holiday, it is also one that is dangerously fanatical and illiberal. The first act of rebellion, the first enemy who fell at the hands of the brave Jewish heroes whom our delightful children portray so cleverly in their Sunday and religious school pageants, was NOT a Greek.  He was a Jew.

When the enemy sent its troops into the town of Modin to set up an idol and demand its worship, it was a Jew who decided to exercise his freedom of pagan worship and who approached the altar to worship Zeus (after all, what business was it of anyone what this fellow worshipped?)  And it was this Jew, this apostate, this religious traitor who was struck down by the brave, glorious, courageous (are these not the words all our Sunday schools use to describe him?) Mattathias, as he shouted: “Whoever is for G-d, follow me!”

What have we here?  What kind of religious intolerance and bigotry?  What kind of a man is this for the anti-religious of Hashomer Hatzair, the graceful temples of suburbia, the sophisticated intellectuals, the liberal open-minded Jews and all the drones who have wearied us unto death with the concept of Judaism as a humanistic, open-minded, undogmatic, liberal, universalistic (if not Marxist) religion, to honor?  What kind of nationalism is this for David-Ben-Gurion (he who rejects the Galut and speaks of the proud, free Jew of ancient Judea and Israel)?

And to crush us even more (we who know that Judaism is a faith of peace which deplores violence), what kind of Jews were these who reacted to oppression with FORCE?  Surely we who so properly have deplored Jewish violence as fascistic, immoral and (above all!) UN-JEWISH, stand in horror as we contemplate Jews who declined to picket the Syrian Greeks to death and who rejected quiet diplomacy for the sword, spear and arrow (had there been bombs in those days, who can tell what they might have done?) and “descended to the level of evil,” thus rejecting the ethical and moral concepts of Judaism.

Is this the kind of a holiday we wish to propagate?  Are these the kinds of men we want our moral and humanistic children to honor?  Is this the kind of Judaism that we wish to observe and pass on to our children?

Where shall we find the man of courage the one voice, in the wilderness to cry out against Chanukah and the Judaism that it represents-the Judaism of our grandparents and ancestors?  Where shall we find the man of honesty and integrity to attack the Judaism of Medievalism and outdated foolishness; the Judaism of bigotry that strikes down Jews who refuse to observe the law; the Judaism of violence that calls for Jewish force and might against the enemy?  When shall we find the courage to proudly eat our Chinese food and violate our Sabbaths and reject all the separateness, nationalism and religious maximalism that Chanukah so ignobly represents?  …Down with Chanukah!  It is a regressive holiday that merely symbolizes the Judaism that always was; the Judaism that was handed down to us from Sinai; the Judaism that made our ancestors ready to give their lives for the L-rd; the Judaism that young people instinctively know is true and great and real.  Such Judaism is dangerous for us and our leaders.  We must do all in our power to bury it.

 

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

Video: Rabbi Kahane debating Ehud Olmert

Korach: The Origin Of Authority In Judaism

A common denominator exists in Parshat Shlach and Parshat Korach. In both instances, Moshe Rabbeinu finds himself in the minority versus a majority of wicked men who have incited the Jewish People against him.

Such is the case in the episode of the ten spies who returned from touring the land to report of giants and a land that ate up its inhabitants and cried: “We are not able to go up against the people for they are stronger than we”. They despised the good land, the Land of desire, the Land which G-d chose for them, the land which He had commanded them to inherit and live in. They continued to incite the people, until the people broke down saying, “Let us make a leader, and let us return to Egypt”.

The story of Korach is similar. The power-hungry Korach also incited against Moshe (interestingly enough, there are sources which say that the motives of the spies, as well, was fear of losing their high position when entering the land!) Korach succeeded in inciting 250 leaders of the nation against Moshe, claiming that the latter took for himself all the top positions. Together, they convince almost the entire nation that Moshe cheats them by playing favorites with those closest to him. Here, too, we find Datan and Aviram, leaders of the revolt, making statements against the exodus of Egypt and the Land of Israel which are even more extreme than those of the spies: “Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, (they are referring here to Egypt!) to kill us in the wilderness… In other words, they took the expression reserved for Eretz Yisrael, and applied it to Egypt, the land of impurity and bondage!

On one hand, one cannot doubt that under discussion here are two very great sins which are eternally inscribed in our Torah. On the other hand, we must ask a difficult question: notwithstanding, there was a clear majority against Moshe. Would it not be proper that the majority rule, despite the fact that it would lead to tragedy? After all, if the majority does not decide, than what does? In short, what is the origin of authority in Judaism.

Shevna Defeats Hezekiah in the “Elections”
The question of majority rule is discussed in Masechet Sanhedrin 26. When Sennacherib and the Assyrians invaded the Land of Israel and surrounded Jerusalem during the time of the First Temple, a fierce debate erupted over whether to surrender or not. King Hezekiah, under the prodding of the Prophet Isaiah, refused to surrender despite the overwhelming strength of the mightiest empire of its day, one that swept over every nation it had faced. Shevna, a scribe, and one of the powers of the government, on the other hand, urged surrender. Each group took its cause to the people and this is the background for the following words of the Talmud:

“What does the concept kesher r’shayim, a band of wicked people, mean? “Shevna gathered together and spoke to 130,000 people (who supported him) while Hezekiah gathered (only) 110,000 people. When Sennacherib laid siege to the city, Shevna wrote the following message and sent it by arrow to the enemy camp: ‘Shevna and his party have capitulated; Hezekiah and his party have not.’ “Hezekiah was fearful and thought: ‘Is it possible, heaven forbid, that G-d’s will tends toward the majority and since the majority wishes to surrender, we must too?’ Then there came to him a prophet and quoted the verse: ‘Do not recognize as a band, all that which the people call a band; neither fear ye their fear nor be afraid.’ (Isaiah 8:12) Meaning, this is a band of wicked people, and a band of wicked people is not counted.”

When is a Majority Not a Majority?
We see here a basic principle: The rule, “one must follow the majority” is correct when that majority does not deviate from the Torah and the “halacha”. If it does, then the Talmudic rule “a band of wicked people is not counted” is applied. Rashi explains: “Do not think in your mind, Hezekiah, that Shevna’s group is counted, and that it is considered a majority.” It is not considered a majority! When people band together against the Torah and claim that they hold a majority of supporters, not only is it insignificant, but it is not even considered a majority.

Who Has the Right to Vote
This is the reason why the ten spies were insignificant when pit against a tiny minority of two. This is why there was no reason to be overly impressed when an overwhelming majority stood against Moshe. This is why no one counted the number of supporters in the “Korach camp” in order to “gauge” if Moshe had the backing of the nation. The ultimate authority of the Jewish People is Torah Law. Only one who takes upon himself this law
and acts by it is worthy of being chosen as a leader of the nation. And only such person can have his voice counted when there is a need for a majority vote.

Korach: They Simply Don’t Want to Hear the Truth

Fear of Hearing the Truth is Nothing New, but the Phenomenon Has Certainly Reached New Heights in This Generation
In the introduction to the book “Em Habanim Smaicha”, which was written during the time of the Holocaust by one of the great rabbis of Hungary dealing with the obligation to live in the land of Israel, the following is written (page 37): “And so my words in this book are intended only for those who want to know the truth the way it really is, and for those who are willing to stop and listen to the words written here. I am not demanding: ‘accept my views’… and whoever would like to refute what I say, let them refute only with direct proofs from the words of our sages as I have brought, and only then will I debate them, with the help of G-d.”

Rabbi Issacher Teichtel, the author of this book, was caught in a strange situation. His efforts to persuade (religious Jews!!) of the correctness of his argument fell upon deaf ears. His lack of success was not for lack of proofs or convincing logic, but rather due to the fact that people simply did not want to seriously confront the proofs, sources and sheer logic that he brought down to support his words.

This is why he prefaced his book by saying that his words were intended for the “person who wants to know the truth”. After all, one would assume that everyone wants to know the truth, and the argument only exists as to what that truth really is. However, this is not so. There are some people, and many times it is the majority, who do not want to be convinced

Korach Was Not Interested in Hearing
This was precisely the situation with Korach. Our sages reveal in an astonishing midrash the following idea: “Now Korach who was prudent – what was the reason for his folly?!” The famous answer is that, “His eyes deceived him” (see Rashi), and we have dealt with this at a previous time. However the midrash brings down another answer, which may be even a more basic one: “all these arguments Moshe presented to Korach (i.e. tried to convince him) – and you do not find Korach having a rebuttal at all. This is because he was clever in his wickedness. He said: If I answer Moshe, I already know that he is a wise man and will defeat me in a debate, and I will be forced to appease him. It is better that I do not talk to him. When Moshe saw that there was no point, he separated himself from him.”

The above midrash is both amazing and shocking. Korach knew that if he entered into a dialogue with Moshe, he would be convinced of the folly of his ways. Therefore, he avoided speaking to him. His need for “kavod” (honor) so burned inside him that his greatest fear was to be convinced that he was wrong, thus forcing him to a band on his dream of taking power. This is the deeper answer to the question Rashi poses: “Now Korach who was prudent – what was the reason for his folly?” He did not see! He covered his eyes from seeing!

One may think that such behavior is an aberration reserved for the extremely wicked. However, a closer look will reveal that this is a very familiar trait. Very often a man sins and is well aware that this is a bad thing. Yet, he represses this idea in his mind so that it won’t interfere with his everyday life. He knows that if he listens to someone, even to his own inner voice, he is liable to be convinced. Therefore, he closes all his senses and continues on his merry way.

Why Is “The Truth Absent”
This is the sickness our sages referred to when they said that “the truth will be absent”. It is important to realize that this doesn’t mean that the truth itself will be absent. G-d forbid! The truth exists and can befound. But the sages mean that we will cause a situation in which the truth will be absent, by our ignoring it, concealing it, mocking it, and banning it from being heard by the masses… Never before was there a period of time where the truth was so logical and necessary, yet at the same time, so absent. This is because the leaders of today are so terrified by it. It is obvious to them that if the truth were heard, it would conquer the hearts of the masses. Therefore, those in power exercise all measures necessary to silence the truth: Disqualification, mockery, defamation, harassment, and prison.

By so doing, they avoid the painful truths, so as not to get “confused by the facts”.

Our People Want to Listen!
“When Moshe saw that there was no point, he separated himself from him.”The moment Moshe saw that the problem was not that Korach is wrong, but rather he wants to be wrong – he let him alone and let the ground swallow him up. But this is not always the case. Sometimes, as a result of education and surroundings, a person is immersed in falsehood, yet is willing to speak and willing to listen. He has no special interest to remain immersed in falsehood. For such a person, there is hope.

Shlach: Beware of Corrupt and Treacherous Leaders

We never cease to be amazed with each reading of Parshat Shlach as we expose the true colors of the leaders of the nation. This same leadership that was to lead the Jewish People to the Promised Land suddenly rejects the entire Jewish destiny and dream. They brazenly turn their backs on the Holy Land promised to us by G-d, and to our amazement, are even prepared to find a substitute for it.

How could these Jewish leaders do such a 360 degree turn around? How could they reject the most basic of goals, so central to the Jewish destiny, for which every Jew up to that point had been striving for – the entering into the Land of Israel. To compound the question, the sages tell us from the verse, “and they went and came” (13-26), that “just as their returning was with evil counsel, so was their going with evil counsel”. This is, the spies sudden “change of mind” had nothing to do with the negative report they brought back with them after spying out the land, for their minds were already made up to give an evil report even before setting foot in the land. So what happened to these Jewish leaders who so abruptly betrayed the Jewish destiny?

From here we learn that we must always examine the deeds of even the most righteous of men. We must not be robots, blindly trusting in the “gedolim” or “leaders” under the assumption that “they will take care of it”, and thus we can rest easy. Even the most reliable leaders can, at one point or another, betray himself and his ideology as a result of normal human weakness, as did Yochanan Cohen HaGadol, who became a heretic at the age of eighty. The Torah itself bears witness to the fact that the spies were “tzadeekim”, and their tragic mistake was brought on by all kinds of personal and flawed motives that festered inside them.

In similar fashion, we can now understand how once nationalistic parties on the Israeli political spectrum eventually became so ideologically bankrupt. The Knesset seat overwhelms any sense of sanity, and the “kavod” overcomes ideology. Sure they may have justifications and excuses for their treachery, but the bottom line is that greed and lust erases the glorious past they may have had.

Parshat Shlach teaches a vital lesson to the people and to their leaders. The people must beware of leaders who lead them around by the nose, from one corner to another. We must break off the shackles of such leadership, and not hesitate to defy them. In this orphaned generation where a “gadol” isn’t so gadol, and a leader isn’t so much of a leader, it is that much more our obligation to go to all those “gedolim” and ask them the difficult questions that need to be asked – and if they have no answers, then let us recognize this fact and start searching for the hard truth, the hard way. The leaders also must realize that as leaders, they bear a greater responsibility and must set the example and be a positive influence. The spies were punished so severely because they were in a position of power, and with it comes greater responsibility.

Lack of Faith

In addition to all sorts of alterior motives the spies had, the sagesattribute their sin to several other factors, all stemming from one basic deficiency – lack of faith. Afterall, how can grasshoppers stand up to giants? Yes, the same G-d of history who created heavens and earth promised something, and they didn’t believe He was capable of delivering the goods. Without question, the leaders of that generation piously read the “thirteen principles of faith”, and gave “shiurim” in Yeshiva on “emunah”. But when it came down to “tachlis” – when they had to actualize what they had been preaching every day; when their faith was put to the test: Who is stronger, G-d or Sichon and Og, they opted for Sichon and Og. For sure, a “psak halacha” of the “Badatz” was even given on this issue by the ten rabbis.

As the Israeli government hands over to the Arabs the Land of Israel piece by piece, it becomes all the more important to learn Parshat Shlach, for the sin of the spies, “and they despised the holy land”, is repeating itself in a big way. Once more, the basic sin is lack of faith. But it is likely that the sin today of despising the land is a lot more severe than it was then. After all, we are already sitting here in the land. We have already conquered it through great wonders and miracles. We should not need such enormous faith to understand what our eyes have already seen in past wars. In essence, the faith for us should not be such an abstract commodity. Yet, in spite of this we insist on groveling to the Asads and Arafats, continuing to perceive ourselves as grasshoppers instead of giants. May G-d give us the faith and “msirut nefesh” (self sacrifice) to save ourselves from awesome punishment.

Kedoshim: Hellenism vs. Havdalah – Universalism vs. Particularism

This article is dedicated to Rabbi Ido Elba, a true Tzadik and Torah scholar whose personal sacrifice for truth without compromise has landed him a two year jail sentence for “incitement to racism”.

An Indictment of Holy Proportions
Rav Elba delved into the depths of the Talmud and the Halachic Codifiers, and composed a scholarly Torah essay about the Halachic perspective on the killing of Gentiles and enemies during a time of war. Just a look at the title had the Shin Bet and the District Attorney drooling. They had been “looking” to get their hands on Elba ever since the round up of the alleged “underground” from Kiryat Arba, which proved to be a baseless hoax. When they saw the article, they knew they caught a “big fish”. This was not because they understood the contents of the essay. Even if they bothered to read it, they are a bit weak in the subject of Judaism, though they may boast great proficiency in the field of British and Turkish law.

And thus was hatched a rather amazing indictment against Rav Elba. An indictment which quoted directly and in great detail, sources which Rav Elba quoted. Rabbis from all sides of the political spectrum agreed that Elba quoted authentic views that exist within the framework of Talmudic discussion.

The Real Struggle
This is all very far from being a joke. We are talking here about another serious step taken by the Israeli regime to make Judaism illegal, and to turn the state of Israel into a universalist unJewish state. One of the great scholars of our generation who is a former Chief Rabbi of the state of Israel said, the way the Judicial system refer to Rav Elba reminds him of the way Heretics used to speak about the Talmud. And now for a little history. The law which Rav Elba allegedly violated termed “The Law Against Racism”, was drawn up and created to help silence my father, Rabbi Meir Kahane (may G-d avenge his blood). However, as my father warned us then, the law was not only against Rabbi Kahane as an individual, but against the entire Torah as well. And indeed, for the first time, a righteous Jew and Torah scholar has been convicted on this very charge for the words of Torah he has written. The worst possible nightmare is being actualized before our very eyes.

When Rav Elba was charged with “racism”, he was being accused of adhering to the concept of “Havdalah” – seperation between Jew and Gentile. This concept of particularism and belief that Jews are members of a “chosen people”, is one of the most basic and fundamental principals of Judaism. There is nothing that bothers modern day Hellinists more than this Jewish concept of “Havdalah”. The real goal of the Helinist is to assimilate into the Gentile world. They are universalists who want to erase the Jewish character of the state of Israel. They refuse to understand why the Jewish nation must be separate and special, and thus act to eliminate any Jewish uniqueness – and attack anyone who clings to the tenet of “Havdalah”. This was the crux of the war they waged against Rabbi Kahane, and it stands at the root of their obscession with Rav Elba.

We Must Decide Where We Stand
Our Parsha of the week states, “You shall be holy”, commanding us: Be seperated from their abominations, from the evil and from the falsehood of the Gentile. Every Saturday night, Jews around the world conclude the Sabath with the ritual Havdalah prayer and recite: He who separate light and darkness and between the seventh day and the rest of the week also seperates between the Jewish people and the rest of the world and between good and evil. What wil be next? Perhaps they should arrest Jews for observing the Sabath, performing a brith, reciting Havdalah or any of the countless Mitzvot which manifest the concept of Havdalah.

The sages comment in Leviticus, on the end of our Parsha (see Rashi): “If you set yourself apart from them, then you are mine; but if not, then you will belong to Nebuchadnezzar and his friends.” We must decide where we are holding! Here or there. There is no coexistence between good and evil.We are either with Hashem or with Nebuchadnezzar. We are either with Rabbi Kahane and Rabbi Elba or with Yossi Sarid and Achmad Tibi. Many “moderdox” Jews and Rabbis continue to live a big lie. They lack the courage and the honesty to chose. They speak of being Universalist and particularist at the same time. We are living through a momentous era of confusion. Now is the time for every Jew to take a stand and to be honest with himself and his constituents. Where is the outcry of the Rabbis on behalf of Rabbi Elbah? Do they not understand that the next decree may be against them and their confused universalist Judaism? Where are all of the universalists who fight for “free speech”? We must decide where we stand and act upon our convictions with integrity.

Vayakhel-Pikudei: The Pitfall of Power: Arrogance

Two years after the Jews left the suffering, slavery and humiliations of Egypt, they constructed the Tabernacle – the place where G-d’s Presence prevails in the world and the pipeline for all the prayers of the Jewish People to their Father in Heaven. Precisely at such a momentous occasion, one would expect the leaders of the Jewish People to step up and set an example in the building of the Tabernacle, and to play a key role in the contributions and sacrifices that are involved in the erecting of G-d’s house. But quite to the contrary, we find the following verse: “And the princes brought the onyx stones” (35-27) and Rashi comments: “Rabbi Nathan said: Why did the princes contribute at the dedication of the altar at the beginning, while at the construction of the Tabernacle they did not contribute at the beginning? Instead, thus did the princes say: ‘Let the community contribute what it will contribute, and we will complete whatever will be lacking. And since they were slothful at first, “yud” is missing from their name (the Hebrew letter “yud” is missing from the word prince, in Hebrew – Niseim). Rabeinu Bchai adds: “For it is the way of the princes to look down on the rest of the nation … and thus princes brought the stones that rested on Aharon’s heart, in order to atone for the arrogance of their heart. These same princes who not long ago were lowly slaves and now were princes of Israel – immediately upon receiving their high appointment, they started to look down at their brothers, and on this the Talmud in Trachtate Pesachim says: “Four things are intolerable … the public appointee who looks down at the rest of the community for no reason.”

Ego Rises With Power
The Torah’s concern for one’s high position affecting his ego is seen clearly in the laws dealing with the King. The following is written in Parshat Shoftim: “He shall not multiply horses to himself…Neither shall he multiply to himself wives that his heart turns not away; and silver and gold will he not greatly multiply to himself…and he will write a copy of this Torah. And it shall be with him and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God…that his heart is not lifted up above his brethren.” And the Rambam in Hilchot Tefilah adds: “One who prays must bow five times each and every tefilah…and the King since he prostrates himself from the very beginning of his prayer, does not raise his head until he finishes the entire prayer.”

Our Mission: To Bring Down the Haughty In Our Days
We can see the arrogance, corruption and egoism of the Israeli politican most overtly during an election year. Each party stomps on the fresh blood of Jewish victims to further its political advantage, though none of them possess an iota of a solution to the problem.

We have observed our “leaders” basking in the glory of Nobel Peace Prizes and in the shadow of gentile leaders and Arab murderers, so engrossed with themselves, their speeches of “peace” and their place in the history books that no amount of Jewish blood can budge them from their “vision”.

May it be G-d’s Will that these leaders be replaced by true Jewish leaders guided by Torah, and who know that, “It is not high appointment I give you, but rather bondage I give you.” May we merit leaders who go in the way of Moshe Rabeinu, who not only was not interested about his reputation in the history books, but was even willing to have his name erased from God’s Holy Book itself (“Blot me, I pray thee, out of Thy book which You have written”, Exodus, 32-32) in order to save theJewish people from annihilation. We must have leaders who possessself-sacrifice to serve the community, and not exploit it.

Va’eyra: Once We Were Slaves, and We Still Are

In this week’s parsha, Moses comes to the Israelite Nation with a message of redemption from the Almighty. Moses informed the people that after years of enslavement and oppression, G-d had promised to free them and return them to the land of their fathers.

One would expect the people to be overjoyed. This is what they had been waiting for! Yet the response of the people was disappointing: “And they didn’t listen to Moses because of lack of spirit and hard work” (Shmot 6:9). Why were they so non-plussed at Moses’ prophecy?

The answer lies in Pharo’s command, “Burden the people with work…that they shouldn’t pay heed to false words” (Shmot 5:). Here is the strategy of all dictators and oppressive regimes. When a person is subjected to oppression, in the beginning he generally attempts to fight it. When this fails he usually sinks into depression and afterwards comes acceptance and apathy.

In order for him to be able to dream of freedom and plan a rebellion, he must be able to think, he must have time. The solution of Pharo and his imitators is to burden him with work. Keep him busy. One who toils from sunrise to sunset simply does not have the strength for deep thought when he gets home. Constant work that wearies the body and soul prevents one from contemplating the past or planning for the future. He is condemned to writhe in the mire of the present, living from one day to the next. It is therefore not surprising that when Moses reveals God’s promise of the coming redemption, the people hardly bat an eyelid. They cannot even begin to comprehend the vision. Redemption? Freedom? These concepts could not have been further from their minds. Keep your nutty prophecies to yourself! We have to complete the daily quota of bricks! The only thing you’re accomplishing is to stir up Pharo against us!

This tried and tested method of preventing people from thinking is alive and well today whether it be in democracies or pseudo-democracies such as Israel. But today, with the help of modern technology, the techniques are simply more sophisticated. The task-master has been replaced by the Satan-box known as television. The television thinks for him. Modern man plops himself in front of it and is drowned in a flood of lies, half-truths, and distortions without him realizing anything. He sits staring at the set in a trance as he is engulfed by its artificial, blue light. He is force-fed a recipe of fast moving pictures, arousing photographs, and advertisements amidst blaring music. He is left a confused, debiliated nebish. He is a sponge which absorbs all this.

And when not watching television, he has computer games, electronic and video games, movies and disco. He time is filled with worthless activities intended to prevent him from pondering, “Who Am I”, “What is my purpose in life?”, “Am I satisfied with the present situation or is there something I can do to change it?”

The first step towards redemption is realizing that we have not been redeemed yet. The present regime in Israel is oppressive, corrupt, and anti-God. The sinister cabal that rules Israel drugs the nation by way of the media, crushing its spirit with an iron heel as they forge ahead with their demonic schemes. We can overthrow them, but first we must take the time to think.

Shmot: We Were Born to Establish the World as it was, in its Perfect State in the Beginning

At the end of “Parshat Shemot” we find a confrontation between Moses and Aaron on the one hand and the officers of the children of Israel on the other. On the one side stood Moses and Aaron who had been assigned by Hashem to carry out a seemingly suicidal mission: to enter uninvited into the house of the king, of the imperial, menacing kingdom of Egypt, and to request that he let the Jewish slaves go free. In spite of the odds, Moses and Aaron, with faith in Hashem, went and fulfilled their mission completely. (According to our sages, all the elders that accompanied them dropped out along the way because of tremendous fear, until Moses and Aaron alone remained to face Pharaoh). And certainly Pharaoh rejected their request out of hand. The problem was, not only did he reject their request, but also in order to quell the “undesirable” excitement and expectation amidst the Jews, he informed them that their work conditions would become more severe. Not only would they have to keep up the stringent quota of bricks they were now required to produce, but also they themselves would have to gather the straw needed to make the bricks!

The Character of the (Jewish) Officers

Now there enters into the picture the “Officers of the Children of Israel.” From the verses (in Shemot) and from the commentary of our sages, we know that these were not essentially bad men; in the last analysis they only wanted to lighten the burden of the Jews. Even more than this, they were prepared to carry the load for the sake of their brethren, the point being not to hand over those who were unable to fulfill their quotas, into the hands of the taskmasters. And for this reason, “The officers were beaten”!! (Shemot 5:14) In fact, the officers were themselves sort of communal leaders who apparently represented the Jews before the Egyptian ruler. As practical men who recognized the nature of the playing field, they played the game, they did not believe either in “making noise” or in revolutions. They were a kind of “workers committee” that wanted to lighten, a bit, the harsh conditions, hoping for some improvement. In their eyes, any noise, any demonstration, any meeting with Pharaoh that was not carried out according to the rules of protocol, would be destructive and damaging to the delicate work of many years.

Like a Bull in a China Shop

For this reason, the moment they heard about Moses and Aaron and their results, they became very angry. They opposed them with fervor: You are novices!! You are adventurers!! ” May Hashem look upon you and judge, for you have brought us into foul odor in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants, to place a sword into their hands to kill us!!” (Shemot, 5:21)

Among other things, there is here a confrontation here between the old guard leadership of the ‘status quo’ who wish to protect their achievements – which although modest, were achieved through hard labor – and New Men, who through their ‘exaggerated’ requests not only accomplish nothing, but also even cause the destruction of earlier achievements. In the eyes of the officers, Moses behaves like a bull in a china shop.

And truthfully, reality proves that the officers were correct. Seemingly, just after Moses and Aaron leave Pharaoh’s presence a harsh decree is put upon the nation. And who suffers for this? Moses and Aaron? No, of course not! The officers are the ones who suffer. They are the ones who receive the beatings for the sake of the people who cannot fulfill the impossible quotas. And all because of the irresponsibility of Moses and Aaron.

The position of the officers seemed so correct, that even Moses himself thought that perhaps they were correct. He had so little confidence in his own opinion that he sinned by showing a lack of faith in Hashem, by crying to Him, “Why is evil happening to this people, why did You send me?!”

There is no smooth rebellion

And with all this…the officers were not right! The reason (and also the lesson from this) is that there is almost never a revolution or change where the first stages do not involve a loss of accomplishment! Sometimes this is essential, for the ‘accomplishments’ of the past are parenthetical; the arrangements of small-minded people, while they are perhaps intended to put out fires, yet they establish a dismal situation, in themselves preventing any change. And sometimes, even in the case of true accomplishments, we must know that in order to bring change, there is no choice but lose real accomplishments, at least temporarily. Because there will always be one Pharaoh or another who will threaten that if we don’t sit quietly he will nullify our achievements, “and you will lose out because of this.” But if we give in to his threats, we will remain captives in the hand of Pharaoh, we, our children and our children’s children…until the end of the generations.

Redemption – or slavery under improved conditions

In conclusion, whoever wants to progress – and this is true in every area – must take into account, that he will almost certainly find himself, at least temporarily, losing some ground. Whoever is not prepared for this will find himself, all his life, remaining in the straits of Egypt. Whoever wants change needs to warmly thank the ‘existing officers’ for their accomplishments, but say to them: now we are going further, we are going to progress. It is possible that a part of your accomplishments, or some of your accomplishments will be lost, either temporarily or permanently. But this is the price to pay for reaching the greater and ultimate goal. We were not born in order to be slaves with improved conditions in Egypt; we were born to be redeemed. We were not born to live in villas in settlements surrounded by fences, like ghettos, with conditions of “Development Area A”: we were born to conquer and rule all of the land of Israel, free of the goyim and of our enemies. And if the price, more or less temporarily, is the loss of status of “Development Area A,” due to lack of participation on the part of the existing regime, or the necessity of gathering our own straw to make bricks for a while, the price is worth it. For we were not born to live with the status quo, after the fact. We were born to establish an ideal world, as it was at the beginning.

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