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Posted on: November 18th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
So know that I am with you. So is your mother. The whole Shabbat, she waited for the moment she could turn on the radio to learn what was happening.
Posted on: November 16th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
These “civilians” are not “innocent.”
Posted on: November 16th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
What do you say to your son as he waits on the outskirts of Gaza? This is the message that I sent him.
Posted on: November 15th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
The “Amud HaAnan” Operation which Tzahal has now undertaken is intended to protect our beleaguered citizens in the south. But it is much more than that.
Posted on: November 14th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Strolling around Tel Aviv and seeing how the words of our Prophets have come to pass in our generation, is as much of a spiritual experience as spending a day in the holy city of Tzfat.
Posted on: November 13th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Last week, I drove with my wife toward the coastline to do a little seaside touring. As we were driving there, she mentioned that someone in her family was going for a vacation to Austria. “Austria?” I blurted, nearly losing control of the wheel. “Why would any Jew in Israel want to go to Austria?”
Posted on: November 12th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Before Shabbat, the Heavens opened with a symphony of thunder and lightning, and the great blessing of rain washed over the Land of Israel in answer to our prayers. Like I do every year with the very first rain, I hurried outside and danced in joy, laughing happily as the raindrops splashed on my face.
Posted on: November 11th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
We spent Shabbat in Ashkelon, visiting my wife’s parents. On Motzei Shabbat, my wife stayed in Ashkelon (in the red glare of the rockets fired from Gaza) so that she could take her mother for a medical treatment in the morning. I drove back to Yerushalayim with my children. Along the way, we passed a stretch of fertile farmland. The heavenly rains that had fallen during Shabbat seemed to have awakened the earth, and the pungent aroma of fresh cow manure wafted into the car. My younger boys started gagging and making jokes, the way children do about such things.
Posted on: November 9th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
As part of our effort to attract our beloved, Diaspora readers with honey, rather than to smash them repeatedly over their heads - in the next few blogs, we will travel the length and breadth of Eretz Yisrael, just like our forefather Avraham did in obeying God’s command, “Arise, walk about the Land through its length and breadth! For to you I will give it!”
Posted on: November 8th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
For many Israelis, the Presidential election in America had a special urgency because of the increasing nuclear threat from Iran, and the hope that Romney would take a more militant stance than Obama. I wrote a short story on the tragedy of looking to America for our salvation, which appears in my award-winner collection of short stories, “Days of Mashiach,” which was translated and published in France this year by a non-Jewish publisher, with reviewers comparing me to Voltaire and the famous fable writer, Jean de la Fontaine. Big deal. Anyway, enjoy the story, and for readers who value true Jewish literature, I invite you to check out some of my other books at Amazon.
Posted on: November 7th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
I know that I promised to lay the sledgehammer aside for awhile, but a few of yesterday’s news items made me batty. In one of them, the UJA-Federation of New York announced it was earmarking ten million dollars in emergency hurricane relief to its local network agencies and synagogues. Chevre! Chaval al hakesev!
Posted on: November 6th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
A few readers have written me lately, saying that my blogs are too hard-hitting, and that I would have better results with honey than with smashing people over the head with a sledgehammer. I am not totally convinced
Posted on: November 5th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook said it was like a girl who was set up on a shidduch with a guy whom she knew wasn’t for her. But she didn’t want to embarrass him. So she dressed up in dirty, smelly garments so that he would feel turned off. While he thought that he was rejecting her, in truth, she was rejecting him... Surely, aliyah is the most difficult and challenging mitzvah – the true test of a Jew’s faith in God. But hundreds of thousands of new olim have made it, and so can you.
Posted on: November 4th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Years have passed since Rabbi Kahane penned this essay, but it still rings sadly true today. Rabbi Kahane was known for saying uncomfortable things that comfortable Jews didn’t want to hear. In honor of his yahrtzeit, here’s another one of his brilliant and illuminating writings, which was published almost 25 years ago in The Jewish Press.
Posted on: November 1st, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
This Shabbat marks the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Meir Kahane, may Hashem avenge his murder. To honor his memory, our next two blogs will feature essays he wrote for The Jewish Press, which appear in the incomparably thought-provoking collection of his articles, “Beyond Words.” May his memory be for a blessing.
Posted on: October 31st, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
The law prohibiting our participation in gentile holidays and customs comes to protect our special Jewish holiness and cultural distinction.
Posted on: October 29th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Two Torah scholars were sent from Israel to Babylon. Upon their arrival, they took part in official ceremonies and didn’t reveal the purpose of their visit. They were received with great honor. Gradually, they started to vent their opposition. Finally, they entered a crowded assembly and said to the Jews of Babylon, “Behold, you are a great congregation. You can be independent. You don’t need Eretz Yisrael. You don’t need Mount Moriah.” Their sarcasm was purposely stinging in order to shock the Babylonian Jews. “And you’ve also got Rabbi Ahia here. Let Ahia build an altar, and let Haninah play on a harp. But know that if you detach yourselves from the centrality of Eretz Yisrael, you have no portion in the God of Israel!”
Posted on: October 28th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
After all, in Avraham’s time, there were savage Canaanites living in Eretz Yisrael. And there weren’t any kosher supermarkets back then, nor religious neighborhoods, nor Jewish Day Schools and yeshivot for the kids. In fact, there weren’t any Jews living there at all. Avraham would be the first. Who needed the hassle? It made a lot more sense to stay where he was, in Ur America, where everyone knew him, enjoying the good life with the goyim, wait for Moshiach, and pretend, via the Internet, that he was actually involved in building the Jewish State.
Posted on: October 26th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
The yartzeit of our Matriarch, Rachel, falls this year on Shabbat. Every year, more and more people gather at Rachel’s Tomb to pay respects to the Matriarch who is known as Rachel Emanu - Rachel Our Mother. Thousands of pilgrims will travel there today and tomorrow from all over the country, and perhaps 200,000 more will make the annual pilgrimage the day after Shabbat, every type of Jew there is, religious and non-religious, Haredim, Hasidim, and Dati Leumi, men, women, and children, busload after busload after busload, from far and near, waiting long hours for their turn to enter the small but beautifully renovated tomb near Betlechem on the way to Efrata .
Posted on: October 25th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Did you have trouble reading the Hebrew? That’s exactly my point. Some readers say that I’m a crazy fanatic when I say that Diaspora Jews suffer from schizophrenia when it comes to their Jewish identity. For example, even though they are Jewish, many don’t know more than a few simple words in Hebrew. After all, Hebrew is the language of the Jewish People, not English, or German, or Russian, or Yiddish.
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