web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Eretz Israel’

A Tu B’Shvat Tribute to Israel

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

My good friend Yonina Pritzker is the spiritual leader of Congregation Ohr Yisrael in Newton, Massachusetts. In addition to her congregational and community work, she has worked at The David Project on curricula related to Israel, and at CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) as a Research Analyst. She is also the most pro-Israel leader around! In honor of Tu B’Shvat she has written a reminder of what Israel is all about:

tu bishvat poster

When the ancient Temple stood in Jerusalem, and even after its destruction, the income of Israelite farmers was taxed by one tenth. The date which marked the end of one fruit crop and the beginning of the next fruit crop was the 15th day of the month of Shevat. This day, known as Tu B’Shvat, celebrated this year on Thursday, January 16, was considered to be the New Year for trees, just as Rosh HaShanah is our New Year. It was thought that the trees also stood in judgment that day, and their fruitfulness in the upcoming year was decided.

In celebration of Tu B’Shvat, Ashkenazi Jews in Europe would sing Psalms and eat different kinds of fruit from the trees of Israel. During the sixteenth century, the Kabbalists and mystics of Tzfat in Israel developed a Tu B’Shvat Seder, patterned after our Passover Seder. Amidst the drinking of four cups of wine, a multitude of fruit would be eaten

We are taught in the Torah, For the L-rd your G-d is bringing you to a good land: … A land of wheat, barley, grapes, figs and pomegranates; a land of oil-yielding olives and honey. Deuteronomy 8:8

These are the seven species which are associated with the Land of Israel and which we traditionally eat on Tu B’Shvat.

Fifteen times, the Torah refers to the Land of Israel as a “land flowing with milk and honey.” The commentary Rashi explains that “milk” refers to goat’s milk, while “honey” refers to “any sweet juice of a fruit.”

In Midarkai Hailanos we are taught that the Ramban, or Nachmanides, understands “‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ as the highest of praise:  It is a good land, its air is good and pleasant for people, and every good thing can be found in it…Its fruit are so plump and sweet that the land runs with their honey.” While Rabbenu Bachyei “insists that ‘all the praises of the Land allude to the Torah itself…’ Even the air of Eretz Yisrael, say our Chachamim, has the capacity to make one wiser. In Rabbenu Bachyei’s opinion this is the ‘milk and honey’ of Eretz Yisrael.”

Our love of and connection to the Land of Israel is as old as our people itself. Israel and Jerusalem hold the deepest religious significance for Jews.  Although there are those who keep trying to deny this connection, as well as, politicize Jerusalem, this land and city, which are the objects of our eternal love, will never be a political issue.  On the contrary, Israel, the land which bears our name, and Jerusalem, our eternal capital, are the very soul of the Jewish People.

Israel is the religious and spiritual center of the Jewish world. There has been a continuous Jewish presence in the Land of Israel from ancient times until today. The centrality of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people cannot be overstated. Over the millennia, many conquerors tried to absorb Israel within their empires; but in all of these attempts, the land of Israel remained the country of our people, and Jerusalem has served as the capital of only one nation – that of our Jewish nation.

Continuing the Vision

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Eretz Israel , the Land of Israel , is on the international negotiating table. Nothing else. Only Eretz Israel . The world is interested in the welfare of Arabs only where it is possible to attack the Jews. Syria is drowning in rivers of Arab blood, demonstrations in Egypt end with many dead, all of Europe is swept by an extremist Islamic wave that threatens to drown it, the entire Middle East shakes and seems to be hanging by a thread, and the world is so good as to utter a few pretty, hypocritical condemnations, and then quickly goes on as usual – to the “most problematic conflict” in the world – the “territories,” a code name for Eretz Israel.

What is in Eretz Israel that draws so much attention?

Water? Mineral deposits? Open spaces? Oil? Gold? Diamonds?

How is it that, despite all that it does not possess, it is one of the most flourishing countries in the world, in the development of modern industry, medicine, agriculture, high-tech?

It’s because its children have returned to their G-d given promised land, and transformed the desert and wasteland into a settled land, whose fruits are in abundance on roadsides and in stores, its towers reach to the sky, our science is purchased and advances underdeveloped lands.

In light of all this, Israel should have been proud and certain of its capabilities, guarding its borders well, finely understanding its historical role. But, just look, Eretz Israel is on the negotiating table. It stands there alone, its defenders have grown weary, its politicians, instead of safeguarding it, play a dangerous game with it. In the bad-case scenario, this is just “playing with fire,” at the immoral and unbearable cost of releasing 104 terrorists and nothing more – “because in the end the Arabs will torpedo the negotiations and save us from an agreement” as many people wish; and in the even worse-case scenario, this “playing with fire” is liable to leave much more serious burns. We still can smell the stench of the burns from Yamit ,Sinai, Gush Katif, northern Samaria , Hebron. With eyes wide open, our leaders continue to jump into the fire, to receive burns of even higher degree.

It is possible to change course: to leave the path that leads to concessions, and, at long last, to enter the Eretz Israel path of preserving our historical possessions, the path of the application of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and the actualization of our sovereignty and the guarding of our rights everywhere – in all of Jerusalem , and especially on the Temple Mount, in Galilee, the Negev, south Tel Aviv.

The choice is in our hands: to choose the path that leads, Heaven forbid, to the loss of values and physical destruction , or to choose the vision, the path that leads to the values that Israeli society already held dear in the beginnings of Zionism, in the establishment of the State of Israel, in the settlement enterprise, in the draining of swamps, in the ingathering of exiles, in Operation Entebbe….

We in Women in Green choose to continue and increase our activities for the redemption of lands and the guarding of state lands on the hills of Judea . Along with this, we wish to advance a national campaign for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria . We need partners for this.

The ideology of the left – that is, dispossessing us from Eretz Israel – was advanced with tremendous international financing, with perseverance, by well-planned and sophisticated campaigns, and with massive media support. Thus, despite the opposition of the majority of the people of Israel that believes that the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel , the left has succeeded in infiltrating its positions into the Israeli consciousness, as if this were the only ideology that can, and may, be discussed. Every other vision is dismissed by those who champion the “two-state theory” as being delusional and proven to be wrong.

The time has come for the national camp to awaken. The time has come to present the alternative that states, clearly and decisively, that this is our land, and to do so professionally and correctly.

Haredi Settlers Push Back: Rebbe’s Dad Was Pro-Settlements

Monday, August 12th, 2013

In response to the Sunday report about the unrestrained attack by the visiting Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Halberstam, the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe of Borough Park (Grand Rebbe Attacks Settlers, Compares Israeli Media to Nazis), a local movement of pro-settlements Haredim known as Halamish (acronym for Haredim for Judea and Samaria) published considerably different statements on the same issues by Rabbi Halberstam’s father, the late Grand Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, the First Klausenburger Rebbe and the author of “Shefa Chayim” and “Divrei Yatsiv.”

The Klausenburger dynasty was founded by the late Rabbi Halberstam in 1927, when he became the Rav of Klausenburg, capital city of Transylvania, Rumania. The Klausenburger Rebbe was the great-grandson of Rabbi Chaim of Sanz, founder of the Sanz Chasidic dynasty.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, which quotes from the Halamish messsage citing what the late Rebbe has said in 1976 about settling Eretz Israel:

“When we look at the map today we are ashamed that, because of our numerous sins, Eretz Israel looks so shriveled, compared with the black, threatening balloon. And when you need to write ‘Jerusalem’ on the map, the word ends up somewhere abroad and you’re unable to write ‘Jerusalem’ within the map. And they want to take that, too, away from us, that, too, they won’t have the charity to give the Jews, that, too, they wish to divide, God forbid, may God wipe out the names of the wicked and the terrorists with whom Jews are collaborating…”

In fact, when it came to comparisons with the Third Reich, it appears the first Klausenburger Rebbe had his priorities straight: “There are Jews, may we be spared this, who join up with the Arabs, who are worse than the cursed Nazis,” he said.

In 1984, according to Halamish, the Klausenburger Rebbe made another WW2 comparison: “To our chagrin, there are Jews who join up with the terrorists and try to appease them all the time, and they hate the Jewish faith, especially the press and the media who curse the Jews and glorify the haters of Jews.”

The Rebbe was an enthusiastic supporter of the Haredi town of Imanuel, established in 1983 in Samaria. It was growing and flourishing initially, but the Oslo accords discouraged new investors and the town declined to only a few thousand residents today.

But in 1984, the Rebbe said proudly, during a visit to the Haredi town: “Praise and thanks to Hashem Yisborach that I merited to participate with a group of Jews in the prominent city in Israel, Immanuel, and even though there are some who try to discourage the founders of the city, saying it’s dangerous to live in it because of its vicinity to Arab settlements—but according to us this only means that because there’s the possibility of danger involved, the reward for this mitzvah would be greater in the world to come.”

And then, as if in a direct rebuke to his son, who actually said last week that the National Religious teach that “for the sake of settling Eretz Israel we should uproot all the 613 mitzvahs of the Torah,” the first Klausenburger Rebbe said:

“The mitzvah of settling Eretz Israel is among the biggest mitzvahs… and he who bought a parcel in Eretz Israel it’s as if he bought a share in the world to come.”

On a personal note: my original article, Sunday, received mostly supportive comments, but there were a few who accused me of promoting hatred against Haredim. And, of course, there were the usual calls to get over my apparent penchant for Sinas Chinam-baseless hatred, for which, according to our sages, the second temple was destroyed.

I must say that, in my opinion, those very calls for inhibiting an honest discussion of our values as religious Jews, under the bizarre guise that any reporting of the truth might somehow add to hatred, is in itself the most blatant expression of baseless hatred to the value of Truth.

The language Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Halberstam, the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe of Borough Park, used in his speech in Beit Shemesh, was violent, brutal, uncivilized and rife with self pity. Reflecting the worst in modern haredi punditry, it accused religious Jews of the worst possible motives–that their goal is to eradicate Torah, for heaven’s sake–and compared to Nazis the non-religious Jewish journalists critical of the Haredi society in Israel. That was not civilized language, and the notion that an inspired Chassidic leader who influences many Jews would use this language is saddening and, frankly, scary.

I come from a family of Gur Chassidim, I wrote a book about a great Rebbe and I davened many years with Chassidim. I never imagined this kind of speech coming from a Rebbe. I don’t know the man, I don’t wish him any harm, God forbid, but as a lover of Chassidism and Chassidic Jews, I had to voice my personal objection.

Bonfires of the Faithful

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Jews of every age and religious denomination across Israel celebrated the holiday of Lag Ba’Omer Wednesday night lighting bonfires and celebrating. The holiday commemorates the end of a plague which decimated thousands in Eretz Israel in the Second Century. The day is also accepted as the yahrzeit of Talmudic sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Where Persecuted Jews May Go: In Memoriam, Benzion Netanyahu (1910-2012)

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Throughout history political systems have come to an end when citizens of countries lose faith in them. The state of Israel has not had to face this situation in the extreme, but it has been challenged by so-called “post-Zionism.” Among the themes derogatory towards Israel are that Zionism — the movement of Jewish self-determination which led to the establishment of the state of Israel — is a colonial enterprise; that a Jewish state is by nature undemocratic; that it is basically immoral as it was founded on the domination, or even the ouster — by force and other means — of another people; that the creation of Israel caused a catastrophe for Palestinian Arabs; that Israeli occupation of disputed territory is a violation of human rights; that Israel is an imperialistic power and a threat to world peace.

This criticism is deficient in many respects. It is a quaintly insular view of Israel — a country in a world of globalization and complex interdependence, confronted by continual hatred so that it must always be prepared to defend itself. Its proponents are singularly naïve in their expectations of a perfect social and politically egalitarian, secular society, and are guilty of prejudice against devout religious believers in a way they are not toward followers of other faiths. Moreover, these critics misunderstand Zionism, a word coined by Nathan Birnbaum in 1891, which in fact includes a pluralistic variety of approaches.

What particular aspects of the different views of Zionism are unacceptable to the critics? Do they want to eliminate the state of Israel? Proponents of Zionism saw that Jews in the Diaspora had been excluded from world history, and so believed it was necessary to establish a state for the Jewish people as a national unit. The Israeli Declaration of Independence speaks of “the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate like other nations.” Advocates varied about the solution: “territorialists” wanted any suitable areas including Uganda where persecuted Jews might go; others demanded a state in Palestine or Eretz Israel [the Biblical Land of Israel]; practical Zionists proposed settlements; others urged a solution by political and diplomatic means; socialists disputed with the political right; nationalists disagreed with internationalists, and the religious coexisted with the free-thinkers.

The post-Zionists argue that Zionism is a colonialist concept essentially founded on injustice towards the local Arabs, and that the differences in Israel now in status, income, and rights between Jews and Israeli Arabs means that the state is therefore undemocratic. The logical conclusion for these critics would be that Israel would be more democratic if it were less Jewish. Herzl and many others would have disagreed with this conclusion. He wrote in his diary in1895 that Jewish settlement would bring immediate benefits to the land, and that “we shall respectfully tolerate persons of other faiths and protect their property, their honor, and their freedom with the harshest means of coercion.”

The fundamental external reality — which seems to escape those who challenge the legitimacy of Israel — is that many Arab countries and Palestinians, having warred and engaged in constant hostility, still refuse to recognize Israel’s legitimacy. Necessarily, security is vital; the problem is to what extent should this interfere with Arab claims to the land and rights? The present mainstream view is that a secure Israel is better than a territorially extended one.

Certainly a variety of opinions exist within Israel on the nature of the economy and the free market, on the cultural identities that make up the mosaic of its society, and on the inequalities both within the Jewish community and between Jews and non-Jews. But to conclude that Zionism is a colonialist or racist movement is to go far beyond rational analysis, and to touch on the periphery of antisemitism.

Although attitudes toward the Arabs in the territory differ, there has never been any official policy to expel them from the territory. In spite of this, Israel’s critics persist in the allegation that Zionism has promoted this view. They are mistaken in this belief as they are in their aversion to the exercise of Israeli power to defend itself, while at the same time shirking any realistic alternative proposals.

The main assertions of critics are that Israel is too nationalistic — that it should no longer be a Jewish state but rather a democratic one, implying an incompatibility between the two; and that Israel should end its occupation of captured territory, even as it stands threatened by many countries that have repeatedly announced they would like to displace it. These critics also conveniently ignore the continual Arab rejection of any compromise solution to the conflict and their repeated rejection of all partition proposals and resolutions. Post-Zionism tends to become anti-Zionism — the denial that Israel has a legitimate right to exist but comfortable with the right to exist of other newly-created states, such as Moldova, or Bangladesh.

We’re All Feiglinists, Especially Feiglin

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

On Saturday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak mocked two Likud ministers who criticized his plan to proceed with the evacuation and demolition of Ulpana Hill. His office released a statement saying that Ministers “Katz and Ya’alon must have contracted a severe case of ‘Feiglinism,’” adding, “We hope that, for the sake of the public and its elected representatives in the Knesset, it will turn out that this ‘Feiglinism’ isn’t contagious.”

Call the CDC, put the country on lockdown, it appears that at least in the area immediately surrounding the Ulpana Hill neighborhood, everybody has caught a very serious case of the Feiglinism.

One after another, Likud MKs who got up from the podium to speak to the very large crowd of members of the Likud Central Committee who were assembled to show solidarity with the local residents, paid homage to the new term and congratulated Moshe Feiglin, who was sitting right there by the same dais, on his tenacity in upholding the principles of Feiglinism.

JewishPress.com cornered Moshe Feiglin just before the beginning of the meeting and demanded to know his own definition of Feiglinism.

“Loyalty to the Land of Israel,” he answered without flinching. “If someone loyal to Eretz Israel is being accused of Feiglinism, then, thank God, I’ve been blessed with this honor.”

Then we asked what he thought the pragmatic options were for the locals. He became very serious, even grim, instantaneously.

“Look, I’m from the Likud,” he began. “We’re making every effort to forge a united front within the Likud against this insane plan to demolish a settlement in Eretz Israel. Regarding what to local residents will do – you should ask them. I’ve reiterated in several articles that it is prohibited to leave this place.”

We asked if he thought this time around Prime Minister Netanyahu, whom Feiglin had challenged several times for the party leadership, was on the side of the angels.

“I don’t know, I hope very much that he will be,” said Feiglin.

Deadline for Evacuation of Hebron House Passes Without Implementation

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The 3 p.m. deadline for the evacuation of the newly-settled house in Hebron passed without implementation of the order.

No statement has been released by Defense Minister Ehud Barak or the Defense Ministry in the few hours since the ministry reiterated that the deadline was still in effect.

According to reports in major Israeli news outlets, Netanyahu had asked Defense Minister Ehud Barak to delay the eviction “to allow the settlers to pursue action through legal channels.” The request was later subject to much confusion, as the tenants were led to believe that Netanyahu had asked to revoke the order, while the Defense Ministry asserted that the Prime Minister simply requested that the tenants be permitted to prove their case to the authorities before the order is to be implemented.

“The Prime Minister’s request was misinterpreted. The order was not withdrawn,” a Defense Ministry statement said. “The settlers were given until 3 p.m. to prove what they need to prove. If they fail, the law will be enforced.” Still, sources in the Defense Ministry clarified that “additional considerations” are now being examined on how to perform the evacuation and at what time to implement it.

Shlomo Levinger, a resident of and spokesman for the house said that the house was legally acquired and all the documents to prove it have been given to the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria.

Nationalist MKs have offered their support of the Hebron house and its residents. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz visited the house on Tuesday morning and helped put up a mezuza in the entryway. “If someone was disputing the legality of the purchase, it would be a different situation,” Katz said. “A decision on such a move should be undertaken by the government and not just by one ministry. Barak does not alone decide on evacuations.”

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely also visited the house and said that the “Defense Minister cannot make political provocations concerning our right to Eretz Israel…The residents will Residents in celebrate the Passover Seder here, as well as many holidays to come.”

Meanwhile, Hebron’s mayor Khaled Osaily told Israel Army Radio that the purchase was a sham. “It’s all fake,” he said, “The person who sold the house to the settlers is not the owner.”

Israeli Rabbinate Warns against Tu B’Shvat Figs

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

The Kashrut Dept. of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate published a warning on the eve of Tu B’Shvat, cautioning against eating some of the holiday’s traditional fruits. Figs are at the top of the list, because of concern regarding insects and worms which “hide inside the fruit’s flesh and are difficult to detect.”

Carobs are also listed as “highly infected” because of the way they are grown and stored. The Chief Rabbinate recommends washing the fruit well, checking it for holes, and even banging it against the tabletop, to make sure its insides don’t crumble easily – both being telltale signs of the presence of worms.

The holiday of Tu B’Shvat starts tonight, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, marking the New Year for Trees. It is celebrated by consuming the fruits which are indigenous to Eretz Israel according to the Torah.

A kabalistic custom calls for holding a Tu B’Shvat seder, in which participants eat ten local fruits and drink four cups of wine, the latter custom reminiscent of the Passover seder.

 

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israeli-rabbinate-warns-against-tu-bshvat-figs/2012/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: