Oh, how I wish that I could leave the galut behind and make aliyah! My heart is in the east and I am at the edge of the west.
"I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Moshiach and even though he may tarry, I will await his coming every day." Learn those words. Live by them.
May it be Your will, HaShem, my G-d and the G-d of my forefathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days, and there we may serve You with awe as of eternity and the days of old, and the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to You as of eternity and the days of old." Amen.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
There is a high-stakes war going on in Israel since its inception, and its not bewteen Israel and the Arabs. No, the far more dangerous struggle is a cultural one, the struggle between Judaism, Torah and tradition vs. Hellenism, moral relativity and liberalism. While the majority of Israelis are moderate and traditional, this war is being pushed by a small minority of secular leftist extremists in a hope of banishing Judaism from Israeli life.
In the form of bans on Jewish prayer in secular schools, gay pride parades down the streets of the Holy City or state-funding of secular burials, a very vocal minority of people would like nothing more than the transformation of Israel into a secular multicultural paradise.
Imagine: Bar cruising (gay bar crusing, just to make matters worse) on erev Shabbat, followed by a nice treif meal by the beach (already a common scene in Tel-Aviv). A state where Judaism is a matter of personal feeling, a quaint antiquated relict from the shtetl, where Jews and Arabs marry and have children, symbolizing the new tolerance of this secularist utopia. A non-denomiinational state where Jews and Arabs have complete cultural equality, where the anthem is changed to be more inclusive, where trains run on shabbat and school hours meant for Jewish education are set aside to teach students about "Nakba" Day. Beautiful? A perfect society of tolerance and inclusiveness? No, it is the death of the Jewish state.
Hedonism and materialism are hardly values that inspire courage and resolve. Being innoculated with post-Zionist ideas, with Jewish self-sacrifice and idealism mocked, is it any wonder that many on the Left dodge the draft? And when times get tough in the secular California on the Mediterranean, why should any Israeli prefer to live there than over the real California, which is probably much safer? There are already close to a million Israelis who have made yeridah to move to the Promised Land, the United States. Without classic Jewish morals and values, the state will lose all meaning, becoming a morally and culturally relative wasteland. A society that stands for anything stands for nothing, and will fall before anything. Faced with a fanatical foe motivated by absolute zeal in his religion and a divine mandate to slaughter the infidels, the secular Jew has nothing to reassure him. With such an enemy there can be no talk of pragmatic solutions, compromise or moderation but the poor shlemiel cannot begin to comprehend the mind of one who believes in the justness of his own cause and who is prepared to fight for it. The secular Jew believes that, just as he is prepared to sacrifice anything on the altar of acceptance and "peace", his enemies share the same desire.
In 1903, Binyamin Herzl was offered a Jewish state in Uganda, Africa. When the proposal was brought forward at the sixth Zionist Congress, fierce oppostion broke our and the Russian delegation stormed out in protest. Over 100 years later, there are some on the far left who wonder if the right choice was made. Why not a Jewish state in Uganda, or in New York? Is a tiny piece of land in the Middle-East worth decades of fighting and thousands of deaths, orphans and widows? To a Jew without the Torah, while few would agree with this, there are few secular arguments to justify a Jewish state in Israel as opposed to on any other piece of land around the globe. One may claim that the Jews were the original inhabitants, but the Native Americans aren't regaining any land with that argument. Simply put, without a strong connection to Jewish history and Judaism, there is no justification for 6 million Jews inserting themselves under the fingernails of 100 million Arabs and over a billion Muslims. Ahmadinejad's query of 'why don't you establish a state in Germany?' is left hanging. Israel currently fears the Jewish answer, rendering it incapable of justifying its existence. As a result, it cannot protect itself. Not from the Kassam and not from a nuclear Iran. Today, we see Israel's post-Zionist self-hating leaders prepared to uproot thousands of Jews, destroy Jewish settlements, and to hand over the Jewish biblical homeland, in the hopes of gaining Western and Arab recognition. Olmert and his cronies are barely convinced in the Jewish claim to the land and feel that the Arabs certainly deserve it more. Instead of fighting like proud Jews in the manner of king David or the Maccabees, the elite self-loathing members of the government force the IDF to fight with its hands tied and endanger Jewish life in a misguided attempt to minimize "innocent" Arab casualties. Without the Torah, Israel is stuck in an existensial rut where it cannot expel the Arabs whom it believes to have legitimate claims to the land.
The State of Israel was not created so that we could eat ham by the beach or go clubing on Friday night. It was not created so that we could break the Torah in freedom or that we should make peace with the Arabs at the price of tearing Jews out of their homes. It was not meant to be a multicultural state with cultural equality for Jews and Arabs, or to be a secular state of all its citizens. G-d, in His infinite mercy, returned us to our land in order that we should fulfill our Jewish destiny, to be a light unto the nations and to perfect the world in the kingdom of the Almighty. Otherwise, the state of Israel becomes meaningless. Little do the secular elites know that whenever they fight for the right of homosexuals to parade their lust in the city that once housed the Holy Temple (and will soon house the rebuilt Third Temple, amen), they strengthen our enemies by giving them liscence to claim that the Jews no longer live by the very text which is the deed to our land. We must realize that our deed comes not from the UN, Lord Balfour, George W. Bush or anyone else, but from Avrahm, Yitzhak and Yaakov, Moshe, Aharon, David and Shlomo. And to merit their land bequeathed to their descendants, we must act like them.
An "Israeli" Arab sheikh was indicted for incitement to violence and racism, this Tuesday, for a hate-filled speech that he gave last year, resulting in deadly riots.
The February 16, 2007 speech accused Israel of murdering Arabs, with assertions that IDF officers’ ranks are made from the skulls of dead Arab “martyrs” and even asserting that medieval European blood libels were true. Salah boasted that Muslims do not mix blood with their post-Ramadan bread and advised his followers to research how the Jews used the blood of gentile children to make matzah for Passover, one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards which has led to the death of many Jews in blood libels.
The crowd at the protest cheered its approval of Salah’s claims, declaring that they would fight and die for the Temple Mount. Almost immediately after the speech, a riot broke out, with Arabs hurling rocks at Israeli police officers, wounding at least three.
Since our enemy has once again asserted his medieval mentality (they do follow a 7th century bandit pedophile, after all), can we deal with them like in the good old days? I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of Shimshon and the Philistines...
Posted by Avi at 12:17 PM
Monday, January 28, 2008
In another astonishing act of treason, "Israeli" Arab MKs went to pay their respects at a funeral for arch-terrorist George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization. Habash, 83, died Saturday at his home in Amman following an angioplasty earlier in the week. Habash’s PFLP carried out a murderous attack at Ben Gurion Airport in 1972 with Japanese Red Army terrorists, leaving 24 people dead.
The PFLP was also responsible for the 1976 hijacking of an Air France plane that was forced to land in Entebbe, Uganda. Israeli commandos rescued 100 passengers being held hostage by terrorists in a daring raid led by Yoni Netanyahu, brother of Likud leader, Binyamin Netanyahu.
United Arab List-Ta’al Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi and Balad party Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka traveled to Amman with other members of Zahalka’s party for the ceremony. These two MKs are representative of the feelings of their constituencies, "Israeli" Arabs and by attending the funeral of a Jew-murdering terrorist who committed himself to destroying the very state in whose government these MKs sit, just shows how far they are removed from the mainstream Israeli Jewish conscience.
Tibi and his party members first traveled to Ramallah Sunday to offer their condolences to Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
“He was one of the most prominent leaders of the PLO and always fought for independence,” Tibi said, adding that although Habash often disagreed with PLO founder Yasser Arafat, the two men deeply respected each other.
Arafat co-founded the Fatah terrorist organization with Abbas in 1969, heading the group, and its parent organization, the PLO until his death in 2004, when Abbas inherited the position.
Zahalka has often declared his support for the position of enemy nations claiming that Israel has no right to be in Jerusalem, referring to the Old City as “occupied” and to its Jewish residents as “right-wing settlers.” Zahalka also told Syrian government radio in Damascus last year, “We don’t see Syria as an enemy state.”
Speaking last year at an event to honor the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the PFLP terror group, Zahalka told participants that Israeli Arabs “refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish country.”
Why is it that no one refuses to accept Iran or Saudi Arabia because of the Islamic creed, the shahada, on the Saudi flag, or the words 'allahu ackbar' or the Iranian flag? And then there is the Palestinian Authority, whose Basic Law provides in Article 4 that "Islam is the official religion in Palestine."
It is past time for Israel's leaders to recognize the fact that the Arabs will never, ever, accept Israel as a Jewish state no matter how many terrorist are freed, money is transfered or how many acres of land to be given for an Arab state. According to them, "Islam dominates and is not dominated". Every single interaction with the non-Islamic world is marked with the attitude of the Infidels "owing" Muslims something. Muslims cannot tolerate the idea of non-Muslims, whose place is servitude and humilation, of having the upper hand over Muslims, especially the hated Jewish "sons of pigs and monkeys" being the masters of land in the heart of the Islamic world. The only question is when the leaders, or the people, will wake up and what cost in Jewish blood.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I want revenge. Not forgiveness, healing, reconciliation or bridge-building, but revenge, harsh, powerful, uncompromising. One Jew has been savagely murdered and two shot, for the simple crime that they were Jewish, by members of the "moderate" Fatah terrorist organization. For this terrible attack, there must be no tolerance, no turning the other cheek and no mercy, but rather revenge, terrible and sweet.
O earth, do not conceal their blood! How long with this continue, Israel's corrupt judenrat giving up Jewish land to appease the murderers, with the only result being death and destruction? How can any Jew hear of this and his blood not boil? The blood of this holy martyr, HaShem yinkom damo, is on the head of Ehud Olmert and his entire cabinet, along with the blood of those who have been killed in various attacks and rockets on Sderot. After the Holocaust, when Europe became one giant Jewish graveyard, we pledged 'Never Again'. Never again to Jewish weakness. Never again to going silently like sheep to the slaughter. And yet Ehud Olmert continues to call Abbas, the head of the murderous organization dedicated to the Final Solution to the Zionist Problem, a moderate! A man of peace who is prepared to end the violence against Israel in return for an Arab state. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Since 2005, Gaza has been judenrein, free from any alleged occupation or Israeli intereference. In the subsequent two and a half years, the Arabs of Gaza have not proven themselves ready for self-government but plunged themselves into a bloody civil war, with Hamas finally winning. When Israel disengaged Gaza, throwing out 10 000 Jewish settlers in the process, it left behind farm equipment and greenhouses. Showing the world yet again how the Arab never miss and opportunity to miss and opportunity, the vile savages desecrated the synagogues of the former settlement and burnt the greenhouses, destroying a chance to start a self-suficient economy. Now, the streets of Gaza are overflowing with sewage because the pipes have been used as rockets to launch at Sderot and gangs of Islamofascist thugs terrorize the population. Thriving Jewish communities were razed to appease these animals and in gratitude, the Arab murderers killed every Jew that they could get their hands on. Even as Israel released hundreds of Arab terrorists, kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, remains in the hands of Hamas. The weapons that Israel gave to the Arabs as a sign of goodwill have found their way into the hands of Jew-murdering pigs; Fatah policemen were guilty in the death of two Jewish hikers in Judea and Samaria.
The time for talk is over. It is now time for revenge. Israel says that it has disengaged from Gaza so let it make good on its claim. Let Israel completely disconnect from Gaza, and seal tightly all the gates. Any transer of electricity, medical aid and information as well as any contact by Israeli officials must be banned. Any village which is used as a base for staging assaults on Jewish targets will be razed, after its population is expelled. No Hamas or Fatah official should be safe and bombardment of Gaza will not stop until the Arabs declare complete and unconditional surrender.
Liberals, in their perverted notions of righteousness, claim that this is immoral. Nonsense! Morality comes directly from HaShem and is derived from the Torah. The highest moral law is that of self-preservation and to that end, Israel must hesitate one iota. Let everyone take to heart the teaching of our Sages contained in Midrash Tanchuma: Just as they show you no mercy, so you should not show them mercy. There have been enough dead Jews, enough bereaved mothers and enough orphaned children in the misguided quest to make "peace" with the Arabs and to relinquish Jewish land. The Arabs have had ample time to show their unwillingness to stop murdering and have killed, looted, bombed and attacked every chance they have got.
By failing to take revenge and to stand up for ourselves, we are guilty of the worst sort of chillul HaShem. "And I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed through the countries; according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. And when they came into the nations whither they came, they profaned My Holy Name when they [the nations] said concerning them: These are the people of the Lord and are gone forth from His land! And I had pity for My Holy Name which the House of Israel had profaned among the nations into which they came. Therefore say unto the House of Israel: Thus said the Lord, G-d. I do not do this for your sake, O House Of Israel, but for My Holy Name's sake which you have profaned among the nations into which you came. And I will sanctify My Great Name, which was profaned among the nations, which you profaned among them, and the nations shall know that I Am The Lord, said the Lord G-d, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all the countries and bring you into your own land." (Ezekiel 36) Whenever a Jew is degraded or attacked by a non-Jew, this is a chillul HaShem. Whenever a Jewish settlement is bombarded or a Jew walking on the streets of Jerusalem is shot, this is a chillul HaShem. "And when they came into the nations whither they came, they profaned My Holy Name." Our defenselessness, weakness, our reliance on the wobbly reed of flesh and blood and our refusal to claim what is rightfully ours, is the essense of desecrating G-d's Name. "Israel's lowliness is a Chillul Hashem in that the nations say of them, "These are the Lord's people [and they are gone forth out of His Land] yet He is unable to save them." (Rashi on Ezekiel 39:7).
Eventually, we will wake up to the necessity of Jewish self-defense and assertion; the only question is how long and at what cost in Jewish blood? Jews, do not allow the death of our brothers to go unavenged! We have learnt from the Holocaust and from the thousands of years of exile that preceded it that if we do not stand up for ourselves, no one will.
"Sing aloud, O ye nations, of His people; for He doth avenge the blood of His servants, and doth render vengeance to His adversaries, and doth make expiation for the land of His people." (Deut. 32:43)
Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
These words come from the introduction to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov's Tikkun Haklali prayer:
"And now, how can I possible rectify this, and how should a lad like me merit to correct that which I have blemished? Despite this, I know, and I believe in perfect faith that there is not despair in the world at all. And still I have hope, my hope has not faded for HaShem's kindnesses have not been tempered, for His mercy has not ceased."
Ki Lo Chalu Rachamav- For His Mercy has not ceased!
Monday, January 21, 2008
Last year, A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically, lived in complete observance of the literal text of the Torah. He grew a huge beard, dabbed oil on it every morning to fulfill the verse "Let oil not be lacking on your head", added safety-pin tassels to the corner of all of his clothing to fulfill the command of fringes (Numbers 15:38), and even through stones at an adulterer. Most people reading this will shake their heads in dismay and call him crazy, and yet, what is wrong with what he did? Why should keeping the literal written law be so insane? Enter the Torah she'beal pe, the Oral Torah.
The Oral Torah is not an interpretation of the Written Torah, nor a later interpolation or explanation by the rabbis. The tractate of Ethics of the Fathers in the Talmud, Pirkei Avot, begins with the words: "Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua, from Joshue to the Elders, from the Elders to the Prophets and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly." Until the time of the Romans, the Oral Torah was passed down in an unbroken line of ordination and transmission from teacher to student. Originally, it was forbidden to write down the Oral Law for fear that the gentiles might steal it and claim it as their own, as was the case with the Written Law. During the first centuries of the common era, under intense Roman persecution, the great Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nassi committed the Oral Law to paper because he worried that it might one day be lost. This became known as the Mishna, and centuries later in Babylon and Israel, the great rabbis known as the Tanaaim wrote an explanation on the often cryptic and concise Mishna, which is the Talmud.
The Torah writes very briefly on many mitzvot and without the Oral Law, it would be impossible to understand its many complex laws and requirements. Take the Shabbat for example. What constitutes "work"? The Torah only tells us to remember the Shabbat to keep it holy. Many sects tried to take the Torah's injunctions literally, such as "ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day." (Exodus 35:3), or "let no man leave his place on the seventh day" (Exodus 16:29). The heretical Karaites would celebrate the holy Shabbat by extinguishing all lights, eating cold food and sitting in the dark house all day. Could this be what the Torah had in mind as the "delight of Shabbat"? Imagine no shabbos candles, no chulent, no synagogue. Only a day of cold food in a dark home. Hardly an appealing prospect.
The Torah gives us many inferences to the Oral Law. Ecclesiastes 12:12 speaks of "making many books without end" and Genesis 26:5 records G-d as saying that Avraham kept His Torahs, in the plural, in reference to the Oral and Written Torah.
Just as a sidenote: It is interesting that there are many who mock the Oral Torah and reject it yet use Jewish symbols like talleisim, kipport, etc. to confuse Jews. And another sidenote for those who have been involved in my anti-missionary discussion: Coincidentally, the Canadian head of 'Jews for Judaism' gave a speech at my synagogue the other day so I know all of the typical missionary tricks.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Watch this video and you'll understand the predicament of Israel and the people of Sderot.
There is an old expression that says that it is easier to take the Jews out of Egypt than to take Egypt out of the Jews. Similarly, the late great Rabbi Kahane HY"D said: "The Jew left Pinsk and Minsk and he returned to Minsk and to Pinsk." Even though the Jewish people left the shtetl a century or so ago, our leaders continue to act like ghetto-Jews and refuse to stand up for Jewish rights. In an age where the Jewish people possess one of the greatest armies in the modern world, it is still deemed "un-Jewish" in many quarters so fight back.
Living as a stranger in Christian Europe or under Muslim rule, the Jews were subjected to harsh and debasing circumstances. Starting in Venice in 1516 and spreading throughout Europe, the Jews were forced into cramped and confined living quarters, known as ghettos. Jews were extremely restricted in their choice of profession and often become money lenders, as immortalized in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. They could not leave the ghetto at night and whenever they did leave, the Jews had to wear special clothes to in order to identify themselves. In Afghanistan, Yemen or Algeria, for example, Jews had to walk barefoot, were segregated, wore distinctive clothing and lived in constant fear of massacres, rape or abduction. The Pact of Umar, the document that spelled out clearly the requirement of dhimmitude the debasement of non-Muslims, forbade Jews to ride on horses, to carry weapons or to repair or build new synagogues, among other things. In this atmospere of humilation, Jews learnt to keep their heads down, to avoid trouble and to accept any discrimination or oppression as "the will of the Almighty". It is from here that the prevalent image of a weak Jew begging or prostrating himself before his gentile overlords arose. It was necessary for the exile-Jews not to argue or protest, to keep his head or prevent a horde of Cossacs from burning down his village. This mode of existence was essential for the time period as the Jews had little choice in the matter of their rights.
Today, the Jews for the most part have left the exile and yet the exile has not left the Jews. We continue to worry about asserting our selves in fear of "what the goyyim will say". We don't realize that G-d has reinstated us as a free nation in our own land and has blessed us with a booming economy, material wealth and a mighty army. There are more people today living in Jerusalem than there ever were, even in the time of king David and Solomon! Our leaders, the PM of Israel, Ehud Olmert and his corrupt cronies, insist on surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and expelling tens of thousands of Jews to appease the United States and the murderous Arabs. There is no cost too great for "peace now". Peace at any price! Peace immediately! When a terrorist blows himself up on a Jerusalem bus or in a Tel-Aviv cafe, instead of destroying the terrorist infrastructue, Israel's government decides to put Israel behind a fence, as if a fence can stop missiles. Where we once fought with all of our might to be able to leave the ghetto, our leaders are now walking back into one of their own making. This bunker mentality pervades all aspects of Israeli life. Every Israeli is frisked tens of times each day by security guards whenever he walks into a mall, a store or any public building. When rockets fall on Sderot and entire families are forced to live in shelters, Olmert remains silent and explains that nothing can be done. He suggests building more shelters. Peres dismisses the hundreds of rockets as "kassam shamssams". Maybe we should rebuild the city underground? Who needs Sderot anyways- we parted with Gaza? If we release terrorist, the Arabs will stop killing us. If we give them weapons, the rockets and attacks will stop. If we surrender Jewish land, there will be peace. The Jew can never stand up for his own rights and everytime he does, the world condemns him for "responding disproportionately". The US or Europe, in fact any sane nation, would not tolerate such repeated attacks on its sovereingty and its citizens and yet they have no qualms about demanding the impossible from the Jews.
Enough is enough! The ghetto is dead and we will never return willingly to it again. It is time to act like a rational, proud and strong people living in our own land. The Judaism of the exile is dead. "There is no Torah like the Torah of Eretz Yisrael and there is no wisdom like the wisdom of Eretz Yisrael" (Bereishit Rabba 16:4). The Torah of the exile was necessary in its own time but today, we need not fear refusing the goyyim. Jewish self-defense and strength is not a contradiction, it not an "un-Jewish" concept but rather mandated by our Sages. We learn in Tanchuma, Shoftim 15: "When you go forth to battle against your enemies" (Deut. 20:1)... What is meant by "against your enemies"? G-d said, "Confront them as enemies. Just as they show you no mercy, so should you not show them mercy." I do not want the Judaism of the galut, of the ghetto, of the bent-backed Jew pleading for his life. I do not want weakness, surrender, compromise, retreat. I want, no, I demand the Judaism of Samson, who prayed: "Lord GOD, remember me... O God, that I may be this once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes." (Judges 16:28). I want the Judaism of king David who asked: "who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should have taunted the armies of the living God?" (Samuel I 17:26). I want the Judaism of Moses our Teacher who said: "Arm ye men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian, to execute the LORD'S vengeance on Midian." (Numbers 31:3)
Israel, fight against your enemies and show them no mercy! "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. And men shall say: 'Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth." (Psalm 58:11-12)
"Pour forth Your wrath upon the nations that do not recognize You and upon the kingdoms that do not invoke Your name. For they have devoured Jacob and destroyed his habitation. Pour forth Your fury upon them and let Your burning wrath overtake them. Pursue them with anger and destroy them from beneath the heavens of the L-rd."
"If any of thine are dispersed be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will HaShem thy G-d gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee." (Deut. 30:4)
In the last post, I wrote about how many Jews have been tragically cut off form their people due to assimilation, intermarriage or conversion. This article from YNet News reminds us that no Jew is ever lost:
Yosef Pero Philip is professor psychiatry at the University of Porto. Arieh Ben Avraham is a renowned film director. Yosef Eduardo Albas is a soccer player in Portugal’s Second Division. All three men have recently converted to Judaism, observe the mitzvoth, and are distinctly proud of their Jewish heritage.
These three men are also representative of a noticeable recent trend among descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Marranos, that is Sephardic Jews forced to adopt the identity of Christians, who are now rediscovering their Jewish faith and reclaiming their ancient heritage en masse.
Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum of the “Shavei Israel” Foundation, which oversees the conversion process among these Marrano descendants, said that over the years individual Marranos have converted to Judaism , but now, thanks to the foundation’s efforts, entire communities of Marrano offspring are converting to Judaism and reclaiming their ancient heritage.
This phenomenon is becoming increasingly common. In 2005, tens of families of Incan Jews from the city of Trujillo, Peru, returned to Israel. The Jewish community of Tarapoto, deep in the Amazonian jungle, founded by Jewish refugees from Morrocco in the 1880s, has gotten its first rabbi. An outreach center for descendants of anusim (the proper term for Marrano) was recently opened in Recife, Brazil. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews and Bnei Menashe Indian Jews, descendants of the Ten Lost tribes, have returned to Israel.
"Lost" Jews around the world are taking the plunge and returning to the ways of their ancestors. Clearly, G-d is still with us. This nation is destined for great things. Do you want to sit on the sidelines and watch or be part of this amazing miracle?
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Christians often ask why Jews get so irate when they "share" their faith with us. (To Christians: there are millions of lapsed Christians, billions of Muslims, millions of Hindus, many, many non-Christians, so why concentrate on a few million Jews who just want to be left alone?) To answer this, let me share some Jewish history with you.
G-d made an eternal covenant with our father Avraham, saying: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' (Gen. 12:1-3). Throughout the ages, G-d has been with us through fire and water, Crusades and pogroms, jihad and terror. Yet, many Jews did not merit to have Jewish descendants survive until today.
When the Jews left Egypt, four-fifths of the Jews did not leave but perished in the plague of darkness. Only 20% of the Jewish people were ready to defy Egyptian idolatry by sacrificing a goat and to leave the exile. If you are a Jew today, you are descended from those fifth of amazing Jews who had the courage to follow HaShem into the desert.
When the Jews came into the land of Israel, the ten northern tribes abandonned the Torah and worshipped idols. While the tribes of Judah and Benjamin stayed mostly loyal to the ways of their ancestors, the kings of Israel built golden calfs and offered their children to Molech. These ten tribes were exiled by Sancheriv and, until the coming of the moshiach, have disappeard. If you are a Jew today, you are descended from those two tribes that kept G-d's laws.
When Israel was conquered by the Greeks, many Jews were seduced by Greek Hellenic culture. These Jews hellenized their names, accepted the Greek idols and emersed themselves in Greek culture. Many even undid their circumcisions with the hopes of fitting in. When the Jewish majority that kept the "old-fashioned" ways drove the Hellenizers out in the miracle of Channukah, the Hellenizers were free to move to Greece were they could live out their days, for all intents and purposes, as good Greeks. If you are a Jew today, you are descended from the brave Chassidim and the brave Jews who fought alongside Judah the Maccabee and the Hasmoneans.
When the Hasmoneans reestablished Jewish sovereignty over Israel, many of the Jewish elite and priestly class joined the Sadducees religious sect. The Sadducees believed only in the literal Torah text even as the majority of the people stayed true to the teachings of the Sages, to Pharaic Judaism which came from Moses at Sinai. After the destruction of the Temple, these heretics disappeared from history. If you are a Jew today, you are descended to those who refused to deviate from the laws and teachings of Moshe Rabeinu A"H.
When the Romans conquered Israel, in an atmoshpere of intense Messianic anticipation, some Jews turned to heresy and followed, alongside the Sadducees, the Essenes and early Notzrim who later became known as Christians. The Essenes rejected mainstream Jewish society, which they viewed as corrupt, and went to live in commnunal settlements near the Dead Sea. Other Jews joined the Christian movement and believed in a divine intermediary, in the form of the Christ, and called the rabbis 'broods of vipers'. These groups either vanished or assimilated into the gentile Church. If you are a Jew today, you are descended from those who were not swayed by the Essenes, Notzrim or any other heretic.
When the Jews came to Babylon and the Amoraism started to set down the Talmud, a large segment of the Jewish population came to follow the teachings of Anan ben David and became Karaites. They believed only in the literal written word of the Torah and saw the rabbis as false, adding to Moses's law. Besides a few thousand families of Karaites in Israel, they are largely gone. If you are a Jew today, you are descended from the Jews who accepted both the Written and Oral Torah as divine and originating at Sinai.
When the Jews came to Europe, they were attacked by Christian Crusaders who demanded that they accept baptism or death. Entire communities recited the Sh'mah, the traditional Jewish prayer which affirms G-d's Oneness, before taking their own lives or being butchered by Crusading swords. Only a handful of Jews converted. If you are an Ashkenazi Jew today, you are descended from those who refused to worship a foreign god.
When the Jews were given the choice between expulsion from Spain or conversion, tens of thousands of Jews choce Spain and Christianity over the Torah. Many thousands of those continued to practice Judaism in secret, called derogatorily marranos which means 'pigs' (though properly called anusim, 'those who were raped') until being burnt by the Inquisition. Of the tens of thousands who compromised the New Christians, none remain as part of the Jewish people. In fact, many descendants of anusim today are returning to the faith of their ancestors. If you are a Sephardic Jew today, you are descended from those Jews who prefered leaving the richness of Spain than compromising their Jewish faith.
In every age, only those who kept the Torah of Moses, in both its written and oral forms, have survived. Even today, it was found in a study of Jewish demographics, that out of 100 Reform Jews, within 3 generations, only 4 remain Jewish, while out of 100 Orthodox Jews, within 3 generations, there are close to 3000 Jews. It has been estimated that within 50 years, the Reform Jewish population of the United States will have decreased by 90% through assimilation and intermarriage. That's why anyone who wishes to separate a Jew from Moses' Torah is our enemy. Christian missionaries, whether through the sword and stake or through proselytizing and "Christ in the Passover" seders, have the same ultimate goal, or at least result: the complete eradication of the Jewish People. Jews, your ancestors gave so much to remain Jewish, and those who did not are no longer. Do not sell your birthright for a pot of lentils.
Shoovah Yisrael as HaShem Elokeicha! "Return O Israel unto HaShem your G-d!" (Hoshea 14:1)
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Oy vey, what a mess. I wanted to raise awareness of the Universal Noahide commandments in order to demonstrate G-d's love for non-Jews. My goal was to show how non-Jews achieve holiness and become close to G-d and yet it degenerated into name-calling and anger. I do not want to ridicule Christianity or any other faith. All I want is a legitimate discussion and simply saying that you are offended does not prove anything. Please, let us all calm down, take a breath and talk. I have no problem with Christians, obviously, diagreeing and I would love to have some Christian imput to have a great debate. But are we forbidden to analyze because some feathers may be ruffled? From the level of anger and hysteria, it seems like I've hit a nerve.
This will most likely be my last post in this series. I would like to sum up and provide my main objection to Christianity. I am done apologizing. Whoever cannot handle discussion without name-calling and ad hominem attacks is free to leave though I would prefer if we could all just talk peacefully.
Yeishu was a Jew, based himself on Jewish scriptures and preached his message primarily to the Jewish people. In spite of the fact that his coming was supposedly clearly fortold in the Torah, the Jewish people as a whole rejected him. The level on antipathy towards "the Jewish messiah" was so strong that the Gospels, which were meant for the Hebrew-speaking Jews, was written in Greek. The Jews didn't feel the necessity to preserve even one Hebrew manuscript of Yeishu's message and incorporate it into the TaNaKh. (If Yeishu's contemporaries rejected him, what additional information can any Jew have today after 2000 years? Why would they accept him (G-d forbid) if his own coreligionists in his time did not?) When Yeishu saw that mainstream Jews wouldn't buy his message, and that the Sanhedrin of the 72 most learned rabbis and scholars of Torah could not find any signs of his coming, he launched into a tirade cursing the Jews and the rabbis. The man who preached turning the other cheek said to his enemies: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23.37,38)
“Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And I say the truth, why do you not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8.43-47)
“Stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so you do. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7.51-53)
This is the secret of Christian anti-semitism: Only the Jews were given knowledge of the Oral and Written Torahs and of the coming of the messiah, which give us the power to see through Christian theology. The pagans who converted to Christianity saw a resemblance to their gods, many of whom were demigods born of virgin in caves, performed miracles, were born on December 25 or turned water into wine. Christians saw the inherent contradiction that Yeishu's own people rejected him and resolved to get rid of G-d's witnesses to the truth about the moshiach.
He called the rabbis 'a brood of vipers' and because of this, eternal guilt for his death lay/lies on the Jewish people. At his trial, the Jewish mob is portrayed as crying “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25). This led many Church fathers to condemn the Jews. "St." Gregory, for example, said: “Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets, enemies of God, haters of God, adversaries of grace, enemies of their fathers’ faith, advocates of the devil, brood of vipers, slanderers, scoffers, men of darkened minds, leaven of the Pharisees, congregation of demons, sinners, wicked men, stoners and haters of goodness.” None of this makes today's Christians responsible for the crimes of their predecessors though.
More Jewish blood has been spilt in the name of our so-called "messiah" than by anyone else. What began with the story of the Jews's blood oath culminated in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, in the silence of the papacy, of the murder of 6 million 'Christ-killers'. Today's Christians, who should not be condemned for the past actions of Christians, like to claim that these people were not "real Christians". This, however, is extremely self-serving as the Crusaders or Inquisitors were just as Jesus-intoxicated as the most ardent Christian-Zionist today, and read from the same texts. If simply to honour his ancestors, no Jew can ever accept the man in whose name his ancestors were butchered by a crusading sword, may HaShem avenge their blood. While the moshiach is supposed to return the Jews to Israel, rebuild the Temple, unite the world in service of HaShem and strengthen the commandments, and bring world peace, the Jews were exiled shortly after Yeishu's death and the Temple destroyed, the Church was a major oppostion to the active return to Zion, Christianity often discourages the keeping of the mitzvot and Jesus "came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword". He fulfilled the exact opposite of the requirements of the moshiach.
Christians, if my ancestors did not accept Yeishu and Jews throughout the ages saw through his message, why should I be different? Am I greater than Rabbi Akiva, Maimonides, the Vilna Gaon, the Baal Shem Tov, and all of the hundreds of thousands of tzaddikim and Torah scholars who did not believe in him? Do you honestly believe that all of the Jews of every age are burning now in hell? Are the 6 million swimming in lakes of fire while the murderers who believed in Yeishu are forgiven? No! "Thy people are entirely righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever; the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, wherein I glory."
May HaShem send us His true moshiach speedily in our days, and may we all meet in the rebuilt Jerusalem. Amen, selah!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
My last few posts on the Noahide Laws have ignited a firestorm of Christian responses. I'm very pleased, I might add. I've been presented quite a few "proof-text" and can say that they simply prove nothing. All of these texts only prove Christianity if someone has already accepted jeezus. The way it works is that the Torah says XXX and the Christian Bible, whose testimony we must assume is correct, says that jeezus did XXX, therefore he is the messiah. Christians do not base themselves on the verses of the Torah; they already believe in the truth of their Bible and read Christianity into every verse. One cannot find a verse that clearly states 'JC is the messiah' which is odd since if accepting that man is the key to salvation and G-d wants us all to be saved, one would think that He would make that a lot clearer.
I made this point inin a previous post and I got this comment:
Just as I believe in Chripes and so I can easily see God preparing Israel for His coming in passages in the Old Testament you believe that there is no Chripes and so you will not give thought to his being real until someone can tie down every one of your doubts with passages that you could not possibly find a way of getting around. God is spirit and those who worship Him worship Him in spirit and in truth. Abraham was not chosen by God because of his ability to reason. Abraham was not chosen by God because he was the best at holding to tradition. Abraham was not chosen by God because he was the best man that could be found. Abraham was chosen by God because of his faith. He was chosen because no matter what God said he cried out "Hineni!!!" Without faith it is impossible to please God because those who come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Those who truly follow Chripes follow him in faith. It's like when Elisha prayed for his servant to see what actually was in 2 Kings:
"Go, find out where he is," the king ordered, "so I can send men and capture him." The report came back: "He is in Dothan." Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
It was not the servant seeing that caused the horses and chariots of fire to be there. They were there all along. Elisha did not need to see them because he had faith in the victory all along. Some people never believe and never see. Others simply know what is there already. And still others have their eyes opened by God so that they can see what was really there the whole time. This is how it is with the Chripes.
Without a belief it will be impossible for you to see Chripes in the Old Testament. My prayer is that God will open your eyes to see what is already there. Not to change you from being a Jew to being a Christian. (May that never happen.) But rather to show you His gift of Messiah that Jews have so longed for.
Essentially, the answer is one of circular logic: that I must believe in Christianity and once I do so, I will find Christianity within the Torah... ugh... This truly poor reasoning. If Christianity is correct and G-d is Omnipotent, He must have known that He would have sent jeezus down to earth and that people would reject him. Just as G-d revealed Himself at Mount Sinai, in front of millions of people, a claim so absurd as to be anything but true, why did G-d keep secret something that is arguably as significant as giving the Torah? What kind of cruel god would keep us ignorant about the only thing that can save us from hell?
Simply put, following your heart in matters of belief is not enough. Just as HaShem allows another woman to entice a married man or for him to find her attractive, so too can another faith seem true or sway a person. The Torah warns clearly about this possibility in the Sh'mah, recited by Jews twice daily. "Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them" (Deut 16:11). I don't doubt the sincerity of believing Christians or that many have had their lives turned around or seen miracles in response to their being "born-again". Nonetheless, that doesn't change the fact the heart is not a strong enough indicator or guide in religious matters. As one critic of Christianity once said: "As G-d created our minds, He expects us to use our reasoning together with our faith. Faith is not a substitute for reason, but a development from it and alongside it."
In the morning prayers, every day after the Sh'mah, the quintessential Jewish prayer, we say: "Truthful and certain, established and enduring, fair and faithful, beloved and cherished, delightful and pleasant, awesome and powerful, correct and accepted is this affrimation to us forever and ever... His words are living and enduring, faithful and delightful forever and to all eternity- for our forefathers and for us, for our children and generation, and for all the genrations of Your servant Israel's offspring." When G-d gave the Ten Commandments, He didn't link Himself to the Creation of the world since no man saw it, but to the Exodus which all of Israel, as well as the entire world, experienced. After the miracles of Egypt, no man could doubt G-d. As the Sages say, a maidservant at the Sea saw more than Yechezkel in his heavenly prophecy. Millions of people lived through the Exodus and there is nothing comparable to the Mount Sinai Event in all of the annals of human history, religion of mythology. Such a story is impossible to invent as it can be easily disproven. One one hand, we have the emet v'yatziv, the truth and certainty, of the Torah given by G-d at Sinai, and on the other, we have the flimsy testimonies of a few men who probably never even saw JC. If JC was G-d's son, why didn't G-d reveal that publically? Imagine for a second if the President of the US would go on national TV to announce a new law and then later on tell his secretary to announce to a few people that the law has been repealed or changed. Absurd! And yet this is what Christians claim! They believe that G-d made Himself manifest to millions of people at Sinai but then brought His son down in secret. Could the better explanation for this low-key story is the fact that it never happened, that the whole Christian belief is a myth? When one is told that he must simply believe, implying that a proof form G-d's Torah cannot be brought, one begins to doubt and to see the whole sham for what it is. I am sorry if I am being harsh but this comment exposes the house of cards that is the jeezus myth!
Don't doubt the importance of faith. I believe in HaShem's Torah with my entire heart but I have the reliable traditions of my ancestors to rely on, on the truth of the historical miracles which G-d performed for Israel. This faith is no blind jump but has a rational basis. To believe Christianity, one needs to assume many, many things, namely that its founder even existed, for which there is scant evidence (that is a topic for another post), that its holy texts are ineffable, although there have been found 30 000 different variations in manuscripts (in contrast, there are only 9 letter variations with no affect to meaning in Yemenite Torahs) and that the men who wrote their holy texts actually even saw the religion's founder. With somehting so flimsy, so full of holes, with so many gaps and leaps of faith, why not put your bet on G-d's proven Torah?
"A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows." -Mark Twain
Monday, January 14, 2008
One the highest aspiration for the a Jew (and a Noahide) is to make a kiddush HaShem, a sactification of the Name. While this is often associated with martyrdom, a kiddush HaShem simply refers to any act which brings the Name of G-d honour or respect. "For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe ye greatness unto our God" (Deut. 32:10). In contrast, the complete opposite is a hillul HaShem (G-d forbid), desecration of G-d's name, for which the capital punishment can be incurred. Leviticus 24:10-17 relates the incident of a Jew who violated the injunction of Exodus 22:27 and blasphemed in anger, and the Divine edict proclaiming this to be a capital offense. Moreover, it states there "ish ish (any man) who curses his G-d shall bear his sin." Why the double expression of ish ish (literally: a man, a man)? To include all mankind, Jews and Gentiles.
One must acknowledge G-d's presence constantly, must fear and love His holy name. "O give thanks unto the LORD, call upon His name; make known His doings among the peoples. Sing unto Him, sing praises unto Him; speak ye of all His marvellous works. Glory ye in His holy name; let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek ye the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually. Remember His marvellous works that He hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth" (Psalm 105:1-5) For every single occurence in life, we must thank G-d, for the sweet edicts as well as the harsh and accept them all with love and a subjugated heart. It is every person's duty to glorify G-d's name and to teach everyone who is willing to listen about His Awesomeness. Israel is called on especially to tell the nations about G-d's miraculous salvations and to spread the Truth of the Torah.
While Jews and Gentiles alike must praise HaShem, we are forbidden to even mention the name of foreign deities. "And the name of another deity you shall not invoke it should not be heard in your mouth." (Ex. 23:13) By mentionning foreign gods, one gives them a misplaced sense of respect and makes them deserving of reverence while nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, Judaism prohibits all forms of mockery, except from mockery of idol worship. Mockery and idolatry negate each other since idolatry elevates the profane and gives in divine status while mockery makes a serious subject seem light in the eyes of others. For that reason, Jews refer the gods of the nations with contempt or disdain, by names like Yoshke'le, Krishka. By invoking the names of false gods, one gives power to the sitra achra, to the Dark Side, and strengthens evil in the world.
Respecting G-d also means studying the Torah. Noahides must study, not in the same way as Jews li'shma, for its own sake, but rather to understand the laws and obligations incumbent upon them and to be able to uproot false ideas or philosophies that they took on while in the worship of idols. In the same way, G-d bestows His wisdom to flesh and blood and therefore it is a mitzvah to honour Torah scholars and rabbis, and to rise before them. "Rabbi Yosi used to say: He who honors the Torah is himself honored by mankind. He who dishonors the Torah shall himself be dishonored by mankind." (Ethics of the Fathers 8:4) By living according to the Torah, one is worthy of having G-d's spirit dwell on him and it is proper to respect him.
"O praise the LORD, all ye nations; laud Him, all ye peoples. For His mercy is great toward us; and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Hallelujah!" (Psalm 117)
Posted by Avi at 5:56 PM
Thursday, January 10, 2008
HaShem created each and every one of us, handmade us, formed us and bestows upon us countless blessings every single day of our lives. He desires for us to serve Him and only Him, to call upon Him and to recognize Him as the Source of everything.
One of the most heinous of crimes is idolatry, one of three sins which Jews (and non-Jews) must give their lives rather than transgress. What is idolatry? Idolatry is the worship of anything other than HaShem, imposing a limit upon Him or giving Him a form. HaShem has neither body, nor form. He is transcendent and non-physical. HaShem is beyond physical limitations, above the world, unbound by time and space. HaShem is One, an absolute unity, since more-than-oneness is a feature of physicality, which He is not limited to. “HaShem, He is G-d ― there is none else beside Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35). Everything is dependent upon Him, the Ruler of All, and nothing can has any power or divinity other than HaShem. We can then say that God is both omnipresent and transcendental, two words that express the idea that God is not in space-time. Omnipresent means He fills the entire universe, as Isaiah the prophet states in Prophets, “Holy, holy, holy is G-d of hosts -- the whole world is filled with His Glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Since the entire earth is filled with His glory, HaShem cannot have a shape as that would constrict Him. Time and time again, He forbids us form making idols of silver or gold, or giving Him any shape. “Take good heed of yourselves, for you saw no manner of form on that day when G-d spoke to you at Horeb...” (Deuteronomy 4:15)
HaShem rules the world according to His will and as the Plagues of Egypt and the Exodus demonstrated, HaShem manipulates the forces of nature as He pleases. No one can oppose or be contrary to His desire. The ancient pagans resolved the question of theodicy by claiming that there was a good god and a bad god, in constant struggle. All harsh or seemingly evil things come from the bad god while all good things come from the good god. This dualism still exists in certain beliefs in a Satan, Opponent of G-d, Prince of Evil, who tries to frustrate G-d's plans. This is idolatry since it attributes independent power to something other than HaShem. "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the LORD, that doeth all these things." (Isaiah 45:6). Everything that befalls you, sweet or harsh, is decreed directly from G-d, the Lord who dictates good and evil. There is none other!
Maimonides explained in his “Laws of the Worship of Stars” how idolatry came about in the first place: “In the days of Enosh, mankind made a great mistake... seeing that G-d had created the stars and constellations... and set them in the sky and gave them a place of honor... they assumed that these were worthy of praise... They began to build monuments and offer sacrifices, to verbally extol them and bow down to them.” The people of Antiquity held that they were ruled by stars and constellations, that they each had a destiny decreed for them according to their Zodiac sign. Many peoples had a belief in a single transcendent G-d who created the world but that He was too far removed from the world so they worshipped His messengers ie. angels, nature, planetary influence. They failed to understand that although HaShem is "the G-d of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the awful, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward" (Deut. 10:17), He takes interest in the deeds of man and is actively involved in the ruling of the world. At Mount Sinai, G-d's first command was "I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." (Exodus 20:2) Why did G-d associate Himself with the Exodus rather than the Creation of the world since the latter was certainly more lofty? Because no man saw the creation but millions witnessed the Exodus, as testimony to G-d's involvement in the world. As refutation to those who believe that G-d directs big things like the rise and fall of nations but doesn't concern Himself with the lowly deeds of individual men, the verse states that G-d not only took the entire nation of Israel out of Egypt but each individual family out of their own personal "house of bondage".
Despite G-d's Abssolute "Unknowable-ness", that He is Ein Sof, limitless, He is not unreachable. G-d is accessible to everyone who sincerely calls upon Him in prayer. The Torah forbids the use of an intercessor, stating "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:2), before Me ie. as an intercessor. Praying to a demigod or something else to reach G-d is blasphemous and idolatrous. There is nothing else worth our prayers and devotion other than HaShem, Everlasting G-d. The only power or divinity is HaShem and no man, angel, star, creature or force of nature has any power besides Him. Since G-d is Omnipotent and calls upon us to pray to Him directly, why waste time directing prayers to anyone other than the Ribono shel Olam, Master of the World?
"Know this day, and lay it to thy heart, that HaShem, He is G-d in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else."
There is none else!
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
This is the first of a series of posts on the 7 Universal Noahide Laws. This post will provide an overview of the Laws with the purpose of raising awareness of the First Covenant made by G-d to man.
Judaism is one of the few religion in the world that holds that one does not have to be Jewish to be "saved" or to be good in G-d's eyes. While Christians believe that non-Christians are destined for eternal damnation and every 12th verse in the Qur'an tells of the Merciful Allah flinging non-Muslims into hell, G-d loves non-Jews. In fact, "Even a gentile who follows his commandments is as righteous as a High Priest." (Midrash Sifra, Acharei Mot 9:13). Indeed, R. Avraham Grodzinsky wrote (Torat Avraham, p. 139):
Not only Israel, but also all of the other nations, have the potential to reach the highest levels because they were created in the image of G-d. How wonderful are the words of the Tana devei Eliyahu, which says: 'I bear witness before heaven and earth, that Jew or Gentile, man or woman, slave or maidservant, all receive holy revelation according to their actions.'
G-d created us all, Jew and Gentile, and wishes for us to serve Him in joy and love. To the Jews G-d gave the 613 mitzvot of the Torah and to the Gentiles He gave the 7 Noahide laws, the basic laws of ethical monotheism, upon which all of society is based. Even US law officialy recognized this (Public Law 102-14, H.J. Res 104). Before G-d made His covenant with the B'nei Yisrael, the Children of Israel, He made a covenant with the B'nei Noach, the Children of Noah. "And I will establish My covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of the flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth." (Genesis 9:11). Through the observance of these laws, Gentiles become holy and serve G-d properly.
These laws are:
1) DO NOT COMMIT BLASPHEMY
2) DO NOT WORSHIP IDOLS
3) DO NOT COMMIT THEFT
4) DO NOT COMMIT MURDER
5) DO NOT COMMIT SEXUAL IMMORALITY
6) ESTABLISH COURTS OF JUSTICE
7) DO NOT EAT THE FLESH OF A LIVING ANIMAL
Today, these laws are more essential than ever. Throughout Jewish history, although Jews are obligated to spread the Noahide laws, they lived under Christian or Muslim oppression and were forbidden to do so under pain of death. Today, living in free societies in the era of the Birthpangs of the Moshiach, it is critical for us to teach the Noahide laws. These basic laws are the keys to world peace, a world united in harmony in service of G-d. Please join me as we explore each of these laws individually in the attempt "to perfect the world in the kingdom of the Almighty". It is time to return to HaShem, Maker of the World.
"For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of the L-rd to serve Him with one consent." (Zephaniah 3:9)
"O LORD, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge, in the day of affliction, unto Thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say: 'Our fathers have inherited nought but lies, vanity and things wherein there is no profit.' Shall a man make unto himself gods, and they are no gods? Therefore, behold, I will cause them to know, this once will I cause them to know My hand and My might; and they shall know that My name is the LORD." (Jeremiah 16:19-20)
Monday, January 7, 2008
From Justice For Pollard:
- Jonathan Pollard was a civilian American Naval intelligence analyst. In the mid 1980's (circa 1983-1984), Pollard discovered that information vital to Israel's security was being deliberately withheld by certain elements within the U.S. national security establishment.
- Israel was legally entitled to this vital security information according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.
- The information being withheld from Israel included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities - being developed for use against Israel. It also included information on ballistic missile development by these countries and information on planned terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian targets.
- When Pollard discovered this suppression of information and asked his superiors about it, he was told to "mind his own business", and that "Jews get nervous talking about poison gas; they don't need to know."
He also learned that the objective of cutting off the flow of information to Israel was to severely curtail Israel's ability to act independently in defense of her own interests.
- Pollard was painfully aware that Israeli lives were being put in jeopardy as a result of this undeclared intelligence embargo. He did everything he possibly could to stop this covert policy and to have the legal flow of information to Israel restored. When his efforts met no success, he began to give the information to Israel directly.
- Jonathan Pollard was an ideologue, not a mercenary. The FBI concluded after nine months of polygraphing that Pollard acted for ideological reasons only, not for profit. This fact was recognized by the sentencing judge who declined to fine Pollard. (See the addendum for further details.)
Furthermore, on May 11, 1998, Israel formally acknowledged Jonathan Pollard had been a bona fide Israeli agent. This fact wiped out any remaining doubt about Jonathan Pollard's motives. Being an official agent is, by definition, the polar opposite of being a mercenary.
- In 1985, his actions were discovered by the U.S. government. His instructions from Israel were to seek refuge in the Israeli embassy in Washington. When Pollard and his former wife sought refuge there, they were at first received and then summarily thrown out into the waiting arms of the FBI.
- Jonathan Pollard never had a trial. At the request of both the U.S. and Israeli governments, he entered into a plea agreement, which spared both governments a long, difficult, expensive and potentially embarrassing trial.
- Jonathan Pollard fulfilled his end of the plea agreement, cooperating fully with the prosecution.
Nevertheless, Pollard received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled - in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.
- Jonathan Pollard was never indicted for harming the United States.
- Jonathan Pollard was never indicted for compromising codes, agents, or war plans.
- Jonathan Pollard was never charged with treason. [Legally, treason is a charge that is only applicable when one spies for an enemy state in time of war.]
- Jonathan Pollard was indicted on only one charge: one count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States.
Pollard is serving his 23rd sentence with nor end in sight, even though the average sentence for passing info to an ally is about 4 years. Pollard received a comparatively harsh sentence.
For example, compare and contrast the treatment of Jonathan Pollard with that of Steven Lalas, a Greek American who compromised the identities of American agents in the Balkans. Although Lalas did not cooperate, the Government still honored his plea agreement and sentenced him to only 14 years. Pollard's less serious offense and full cooperation with the Government netted him a life sentence, in complete violation of his plea agreement.
Worse still is the case of Lcmdr Michael Schwartz, a non-Jew who spied for Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, and who got not a single day in prison. Compare that to the life sentence Pollard, a Jew, received for spying for a different ally, Israel. Schwartz was treated with kid gloves and given only a slap on the wrist and a kiss good-bye for his offense - dismissal from his Navy job and loss of rank and pension. Compare and contrast that with the life sentence Pollard received for a similar offense.
Even those who committed far more serious offenses and who spied for enemies of the US received far less severe sentences than Pollard. For example, compare the case of Clayton Lonetree who sold the floor plans of the American embassies in Moscow and Vienna as well as the identities of American agents to Soviet Union, a hostile country. Lonetree's 25 year sentence was soon reduced to 20. Lontree, convicted in 1987, the same year as Pollard went free in 1996, after serving only 9 years. Pollard remains in prison in the 21st century with no end in sight.
Or take the case of Albert Sombolay who spied for Iraq during the Gulf War and endangered the lives of American soldiers by selling samples of American chemical protective gear to the enemy. Sambolay got 35 years and subsequent reductions in his sentence brought it down to 19 years with further appeals pending until it just dropped off the screen. Or the case of Aldrich Ames, a high ranking CIA official who spied for the Soviet Union. Ames was responsible for the deaths of at least 11 American agents and for compromising a number of American programs. Although his crime was far more serious, Ames received the same sentence that Pollard received for his 1 count of passing classifed information to an ally - life in prison.
The stark contrast between the Pollard case and other recent cases of espionage readily illustrates why Appellate Court Justice Steven Williams described the Pollard case as, "a fundamental miscarriage of justice."
Israel has released hundreds of Arab prisoners at the behest of the United States, encouraged by George Bush. Jonathan Pollard has served more than enough years for giving Israel critical information that it was legally entitled to. When Bush comes to visist Jerusalem this week, let him bring Jonathan Pollard, prisoner of Zion, with him.
Jonathan can be now be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send him letters of encouragement and thank him for his self-sacrifice on behalf of the entire people of Israel.
"And the ransomed of HaShem shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." (Isaiah 35:10). Amen, speedily in our days.
Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard
Sunday, January 6, 2008
(Courtesy of Lazer Beams)
I do have a dilema, though. How can we expect G-d to redeem us if we sit put?
"The sons of Korach said to G-d: 'Until when will You say, Return O wayward sons(Jeremiah 3:14) and they [Israel] say to You, 'You return first,' as it says, Return O Lord, until when? and relent...(Tehillim 90:13). And You say, 'No Israel must take the initiative'. You will nor return by Yourself and we will not return ourselves. Rather, both of us will return simulateneously, as it is written, You have returned the captivity of Yaakov... Return us O G-d of our salvation." (Midrash Tehillim 85:3)
The Israeli gov't is willing to compromise on the Redemption and to give away Jerusalem. Many remain silent. What can we do? How do we bring the Geula? Prayer is not enough. We must couple it with protest, with outrage, with letters, with something. We are not in power so we cannot be expected to do what is impossible. Each of us in our own way must blow the shofar of teshuva, emuna and Torah.
Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Let's go off on a tangent here. I know that this is a bit belated but anyways.
Recently, a tiger at the San Francisco zoo jumped out of its exhibit, killed one young man and injured two others. The whole story can be found here. Here are some very important highlights:
“This whole thing has just been horrible,” said Ilona Montoya of San Bruno, celebrating her 60th birthday at the zoo. “It’s horrible, that poor tiger. I mean, I feel for the poor kid who got killed, but he had to do something to that tiger to get her that angry.”
At the zoo’s front gate, visitors have fashioned a small memorial to Tatiana, with flowers, stuffed animals and a golden scarf that reads “RIP Tati.” Two animal rights groups also planned a vigil for the tiger and Mr. Sousa, to commemorate “the two young victims who died on Christmas Day at the San Francisco Zoo.”
Just to put things into perspective, a tiger mauls three people and kills one of them but we should feel sorry for it since the 17 year old kid deserved it anyways. Now, I love animals and think that they are beautiful but there are limits. Many on the Loony Left seem to feel that animals and people are equal. Makes me think of PETA's 'Holocaust on Your Plate' campaign which equated the murder of 6 million Jews with the slaughter of millions of chickens each year, or their equally insiduous campaign showing black slaves juxtaposed with animals in chains. In the words of PETA's Ingrid Newkirk, "Six million Jews died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses."
Newkirk once sent a letter to Yasser Arafat (yimach shemo) condemning his use of a cow in a suicide bombing attack on Israeli civilians. This letter didn't mention the tens of men, women and children blown up by the evil attack but kindly asked Arafat not to use animals anymore! The murder of people evokes no outcry but some are in an outrage over a dead cow. Kind of makes you wonder who the real animals are.
All of this is a case of inverted values. Darwinists, I have something to say to you: Humans are not simply evolved animals. Having a soul is not simply a quirk of nature like having opposable thumbs. Human beings were created in G-d's image and we are above animals. "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:26). Feast your eyes; the Maker of mankind and animals says that we have a dominion ove them. Of course we must respect animals and animal cruelty must be stopped, prevented or minimized. We have a mitzvah of tzaar baalei chayot, preventing animal cruelty. But there are limits. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, some people sent money to rescue animals left behind in the storm. Humans in New Orleans were dying but some thought that the abandonned animals were a priority! Or some people in Israel criticized the expellees of Gush Katif of "cruelty" for leaving behind some of their pets but the same self-righteous fools felt nothing over the expulsion of 7000 humans.
People, get a grip! Learn what's important and what's not. Otherwise, you're nothing better than an animal.
Posted by Avi at 8:10 PM
Thursday, January 3, 2008
US President George W. Bush on Thursday called Israeli settlement expansion an "impediment" to the success of revived peace efforts and urged the Jewish state to follow through on its pledge to dismantle unauthorized settler outposts. (From YNetNews)
Bush and his Israeli judenrat are living in a bubble. Which "revived peace efforts" does he seem to be talking about? Does Bush mean the "peace" that brought Islamic Jihad rockets down on a hotel in Ashkelon? Maybe he's talking about the Arab attempts at peace by building pipe Qassams in the West Bank city of Casbah, the same West Bank that is slated to be given over to those peaceful Arabs. He's probably talking about the peace that allowed the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade to fire a rocket at a Jewish settlement, Shaked, which is an impediment for the peace that the Arabs so clearly want.
Most likely, Bush is talking about the peace of the grave that the Arabs were quite happy to provide for David Rubin HY"D and Achikam Amichai HY"D, the two Israeli hikers who were brutally murdered by "moderate" Fatah policemen, with weapons provided by Israel, at the behest of Bush. Is anybody beginning to see a pattern? Let's clarify: Israel releases terrorists, hands over weapons and gives funds to the Arabs as part of a "goodwill" gesture, and the greatful Arabs respond with murder and violence. Obviously, Israel is the impediment to peace! And now, Bush is on his way to Israel to revive peace of the grave talks. Instead of forcing the Arabs to take responsibility, they are allowed to kill and attack Israel and Israel condemned for building settlements in Judea and Samaria. Rather, Israel should settle the land to its hearts content, forcing the Arabs to come to a quick settlement before they lose more land. "And they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people lightly, saying: 'Peace, peace', when there is no peace." (Jeremiah 8:11). There is no peace, no willingness for peace, and yet Bush and Olmert continue to prat on about peace! Peace immediately! Peace at any cost! Bombed houses and dead Jews are "sacrifices for peace". We are prepared to offer and give up anything on the altar of peace!
There is no peace! Bush may demand that Israel withdraw from Judea and Samaria but that would put Israel's most populous cities within range of Hamas rockets. "Hamas fires a rocket with a range of 12.5 miles from Judea and Samaria, it will hit Dizengoff Center (one of Tel Aviv's most popular commercial shopping hubs)," warned Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday afternoon after Gaza terror groups fired a long-range rocket towards southern Israel earlier in the day. The rocket, a 12.5 mile range Grad, hit one of Ashkelon's northern neighborhoods. Speaking at a Likud Secretariat meeting Netanyahu warned that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak "say that the country should withdraw to its 1967 borders. And it is clear that if we leave Judea and Samaria, it is Hamas that we will find on the other side of those '67 borders and they are already in possession of those Katyusha rockets." Israel's withdrawal will only provide one type of peace. It will provide the peace of death, the calm that will fall on the region once Hamas and Fatah are done slaughtering Jews, once Israel is thrown into the see. And this is no peace!
Zionism's goal is/was to provide a Jewish state, in peace or in war. "Peace" is not worth throwing tens of thousands of Jews out of their homes, arming our enemies, co-operating in our own demise or allowwing millions of Arab refugess into Israel. We must not be prepared to sacrifice the Jewish dream for "peace"! Should Bush have a problem with this, he is no true friend of the Jewish people. Let him consult his history books to find out what happened whenever Israel compromised with the sons of the desert, and let him consult the Bible which he claims to believe in, to learn the fate of those who stand against G-d's nation.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
The following billboard is being put up all over Jerusalem to greet President Bush when he comes to visit the Holy City some time this month:
All Bible-believers, Jews and Christians, Catholics and Evangelicals, Baptists and Mormons, stand up for G-d's Inheritance. Jews, don't be ashamed to point to our deed to the Land. Our father Avraham bought the Cave of Machpela in Hebron for 400 silver shekalim. Yaakov purchased the field of Shechem, where Yoseph's tomb is located, for 100 ksita, and today Shechem (Nablus) is judenrein and Yoseph's tomb was desecrated. King David bought the Temple Mount from the Jebusites and his son built the Holy Temple there, where today no Jew is allowed to pray. And the entire land was promised to us by G-d Himself. Jews and Gentiles, our rights to the land do not come from any declaration by a hundred non-Jews 60 or 100 years ago. Pick up the Bible and see the deed!
"Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates; 19 the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite." (Genesis 15:18-20)
"And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." (Genesis 17:7-8)
"He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations; [The covenant] which He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac; And He established it unto Jacob for a statute, to Israel for an everlasting covenant; Saying: 'Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance." (Psalms 105:7-10)
"You are crossing the Jordan to come to the land which G-d is giving you, you must settle the land and live there..." (Deuteronomy 11:31)
Whoever rejects Jewish sovereignty over Israel rejects G-d's sovereignty. He blasphemed the G-d of Israel. Woe to he who fights the Master of the Universe!
Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard