web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Eretz Yisrael’

Haredi Rabbi Revealed Why Six Million Died

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The ultimate Jewish response to the Holocaust is summarized by the verse: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says God. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9), which Maimonides relies on in his Laws of Repent (5:5): “Man is incapable of perceiving the Creator’s ideas, as the prophet said, “for My thoughts are not your thoughts nor your ways My ways.”

Nevertheless, we accept the notion that God does not base His world on chance. The hand of God is involved in history. No one is claiming to be thinking God’s thoughts and conducting the divine bookkeeping, but we were brought up believing that troubles don’t befall a person by accident, even when they don’t understand it. Everything is a sign from Heaven, including the worst state of “hester panim,” the obscuring of God’s face, in total chaos, in the trampling of Jewish honor and the humiliation of the Torah of Israel.

It would be extremely difficult to suggest that the catastrophe that befell our entire nation – Ashkenazim and Sephardim; Eastern and Western Europeans and North Africans; Torah scholars, sworn heretics and the completely assimilated; Hasidim and Misnagdim; day old babies and the elderly; Capitalists and Communists; the educated and the ignorant – absolutely every strata of the nation – was an accident.

In extremely Haredi circles, those madmen who travel to Tehran to embrace the enemy Ahmajinedad, there are no doubts regarding God’s message: the Holocaust happened because of the creation and the existence of the Zionist movement, whose heavy sin is the breaking of the “three vows.”

According to tractate Ketubot 111a, when the Jews went into the second exile, in the year 70, three vows were taken by them and by God: the Jews would not conquer the land of Israel by force, they would not rebel against the nations of the world, and the non­Jews would not oppress the Jews too much (yoter midai).

That was the view of the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum (who, ironically enough, was saved from death in the Holocaust by Hungarian Zionist official Rudolph Kastner, who made a deal with a deputy of Adolf Eichmann)

In his book, “Va’Yoel Moshe,” Rabbi Teitelbaum argues that even if all the citizens of Israel were adhering to all the commandments, totally righteous, if all the government ministers wore shtreimlach, settling the land of Israel would still constitute the breaking of those vows.


WRITTEN IN AN ATTIC

It’s easy to write such delusional things when you’re sitting in New York City, which protects even the rights of crackpots. It was much harder to comment on the same topic from the darkness of a hiding place in an attic in Budapest, Hungary, while Nazi thugs were hunting down the last remaining hidden Jews of the city.

Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal (1885-1945), an extremist Haredi who was close to the Satmar circles, was watching the Gestapo hunters through a narrow crack in his hidden attic, and, through a spiritual and physical review of his terrifyingly lowly reality, reached a brave conclusion: it was the erroneous concept typical of his Haredi pals regarding the resettlement of Eretz Israel that had brought on us those cruel tortures and grotesque deaths.

Rabbi Teichtal began his rabbinic path with an adherence to the philosophy that was common to most Hungarian rabbis: everything new was forbidden by the Torah, including aliyah to Eretz Israel, and certainly coalescing with the secular Zionists to rebuild the land. But following the horrors his eyes had seen, he changed his views 180 degrees. After reexamining his own beliefs, he investigated the issues regarding resettling the land of Israel and natural redemption (“geula b’derech ha’teva), and reached the conclusion that the reason for the Holocaust was that the nation of Israel was called by God to ascend to Eretz Israel, but because it had fallen in love with life in the diaspora it turned its back on Eretz Israel.

He wrote his conclusions while in hiding in his dark attic in Budapest. His books were not with him, and so he had to cite from memory thousands of Torah sources supporting his new position. Unfortunately, the brutes finally reached him, too, and sent him to his death. He was murdered on a transport train during the final days of World War II. But his writing became the monumental, 500-page sefer Eim HaBanim Semeichah – Eretz Yisrael, Redemption and Unity.

He wrote:

The Purpose of our Affliction Is to Arouse Us to Return to Eretz Yisrael

…The sole purpose of all the afflictions that smite us in our exile is to arouse us to return to our Holy Land. This can be inferred from the story of King David and the plague. During the plague, God sent him Gad the prophet. And God came to david…and said to him, “Go up and establish an altar to the Lord” (II Samuel 24:18). The Misrash explains:

This can be likened to a father who beat his son, but the son did not know why he was being punished. After the beating, the father said, “For several days I have been commanding you to do something and you have ignored me. Now go and do it.” So, too, the thousands who fell at the time of David died only because they did not demand the building of the beit haMikdash. From this we can derive a kal vachomer (an a fortiori inference). If they, in whose days the Beit HaMikdash was neither built nor destroyed, were punished for not having demanded its construction; then we, in whose days the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed … certainly [deserve punishment], for we do not mourn nor supplicate (Midrash Tehillim 17).

Rashi on Hoshea (3:5) cites the following:

R. Shimon ben Menassiya said: “The Jewish people will not be shown a good sign until they once again request the kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom of the House of David, and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash. It is thus written, Afterwards, the Children of Israel will return and seek out the Lord their God and David their king (Hoshea 3:5).

Behold, our desire to return to Eretz Israel encompasses these three elements. Firstly, “He who dwells in Eretz Israel is like one who has a God” (Ketubot 110b). Also, the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash will occur (with God’s help) when we assemble in Eretz Israel, as explained in Megillah 17b-18a. Afterwards, Mashiach, who represents the kingdom of the House of David, will arrive, as I will demonstrate in this volume. First and foremost, though, we must strive to return to Eretz Israel and then, with God’s help, we will attain these three objectives.

Rabbi Teichtal wrote his piercing words literally during the Holocaust. But he was preceded by many gedolim, who warned of the approaching Holocaust, years before it began. The great Meir Simcha Ha’Cohen of Dvinsk (1843–1926), author of the Ohr Somayach, ruled that the “three vows” were nullified by the San Remo Conference of 1920, empowering Great Britain to put into effect the 1917 Balfour Declaration to the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

The latter warned, 25 years before the Holocaust, that the day would come, in which “the Israelite [in diaspora] will forget his origins and be counted as citizen [of the world]… Will think that Berlin is Jerusalem… Then a stormy wind will come, uproot him and subject him before a faraway gentile nation.” (Meshech Chochma, Vayikra 26).

The nation of Israel preferred, sadly, life in diaspora over the promised land, and paid for it an unbearable price. This excessive affection for diaspora was expressed in this popular Jewish joke: One day a Jewish villager comes home and tells his wife that the Rabbi in shul was saying that when Moshiach comes, he will lead all the Jews to Eretz Israel. So his wife becomes very upset, asking what would they do with all their barnyard animals.

We’ll leave them to the Cossacks, says her husband.

Well, if God likes us so much, he should let us stay here and take the Cossacks to Eretz Israel, says his wife.

Much like those two fools, the nation of Israel chose to remain spread among the nations, for which we were sentenced to a reeducation camp the likes of which we will never forget.

What’s the Point of Celebrating Tu B’Shvat in Exile?

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

How could I not write a blog about Tu B’Shvat?

In the Land of Israel, we’re already happily celebrating Tu B’Shvat, the holiday of the trees. School children sing songs praising the Land of Israel and thanking Hashem for its fruits. Bus loads of students and families go on field trips throughout the country, and saplings are planted with great joy and spirit. And a festive meal of thanksgiving, highlighted by a cornucopia of fruits of the Land, will grace our tables on Shabbat.

This is the holiday of Eretz Yisrael! I suppose next to my love for Hashem, I love the Land of Israel more than anything else in the world. Without Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish Nation is shattered, destroyed. Outside of Eretz Yisrael, we are like fish out of water. We can’t survive as a Nation. We have no national soul. We’re just individuals in other people’s lands, like the dry bones the Prophet Ezekiel describes. Dry bones in the graveyard of foreign lands.

Without Eretz Yisrael, the Torah is a shrunken, truncated, mini-version of the complete Torah of Eretz Yisrael. Two-thirds of the Mishna deals with laws that can only be performed in Israel. Without Eretz Yisrael, God Himself is reduced to a second-string diety, seemingly not strong enough to keep His Chosen People in the Land He gave them, for there is no greater desecration of the Name of God than when the Jewish People are scattered in exile amongst the goyim (Ezekiel, 36:20). Without Eretz Yisrael, there is no prophecy, no Beit HaMikdash, and the Divine Presence doesn’t appear in the world.

I’m not the only one who loves Eretz Yisrael. God also loves the Land of Israel with a towering love, watching over it like a favorite child, from the beginning of the year to its end, just like it says in the Torah.

I love Eretz Yisrael so much, I never want to leave it. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. If I was forced to leave the Land of Israel, it would be a terrible punishment. The worst punishment there could be. The Rambam describes the love of God like a man who is passionately in love with a woman and always wants to be with her – so too a Jew should actively yearn, every single minute, to always be in Israel. It’s part of being a Jew. It’s the integral part of keeping the Torah. As Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi explains in “The Kuzari,” it’s the main part of serving G-d completely, being in the place where the Torah can be most completely observed. Like with all the commandments of the Land which can only be performed in Israel. Living a life of Torah in Eretz Yisrael is what Judaism is all about. If a Jew doesn’t feel a powerful, throbbing yearning to be in Eretz Yisrael, then something is wrong with his understanding of Torah.

On Tu B’Shvat we eat the fruits of Eretz Yisrael as described in the Torah, “For the L-rd your G-d brings you into a good Land, a Land of water courses, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a Land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a Land of olive oil, and date honey; a land where you shall eat bread without scarceness, you shall not lack anything in it…” (Devarim, 8:8).

During the festive meal celebrating the holiday, our Sages instruct us to first eat the fruits which appear in the Torah verse closest to the word “Land.” From here, Rabbi Kook writes that the person who is closest to the Land of Israel, and who exerts himself the most in its settlement, is the closest to perfection, and he will be blessed first in the World To Come. (“Ayn Iyah,” Berachot 41; and “Olat Rayah,” Vol. 1, pg. 375). Thus if you have two Jews of equal religious observance, but one lives in the Diaspora and the other in Eretz Yisrael, the Jew who lives in Israel is first in blessing and closer to Jewish perfection.

What an incredible blessing and honor and privilege to live here! In Israel, before you eat fruit that’s grown here, you have to separate the tithes, trumot and ma’aserot, and make the proper blessing (or be sure that the fruit seller has done it for you). You can’t do that with the fruits that grow in the Diaspora. The mitzvah doesn’t apply in the Diaspora. There aren’t any tithes because the fruits there aren’t holy. The land there isn’t holy. The air there isn’t holy. It’s a place of spiritual impurity. In fact, it’s so impure there that Jews forget what real holiness is, and that they are supposed to be living in the Holy Land, and not in the impure lands of the gentiles.

For all of you who are still in exile in foreign lands of the gentiles, at least go out and buy yourself some fruit and wine from the Land of Israel. Make a party! Bless Hashem for the good Land He has given us, and for its fruits and overflowing bounty. As it says in the Gemara, the surest sign of the end of the exile is when the trees in the Land of Israel give forth their fruits in abundance (Sanhedrin 98A, see Rashi there). That time is now! There are fruit trees all over the country. Supermarkets are filled with mountains of fruits. Oranges, apples, peaches, pears, grapefruit, kiwis, bananas, lemons, pomegranates, figs, dates, olives, pomela, avocadoes, and on and on and on. That’s the surest sign of Geula! You don’t have to wait for Mashiach – the Redemption is happening now!

This Tu B’Shvat, may you all be blessed from the Land of Israel and merit to be a part of it as soon as you can.

Voters Beware!

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Someone asked me why don’t I write about Israeli politics like so many other Internet scribes? My answer is: Why should I? Most of my readers live in America, and they have as much influence concerning what goes on in Israel as I have about the type of food the elephants receive in the Central Park Zoo. So why should I write about the political scene in Israel? To show how knowledgeable and astute I am? I’d only be talking to myself.

But there is one issue I would like to address, if only to the handful of Israelis who read my blog. And that concerns the terrible hatefulness and evil infesting the Likud-Israel Beitenu campaign against the religious candidates of the Jewish Home party and their Rabbis.

On Facebook, nationwide television, radio, and in newspaper ads, the Likud-Beitenu party has been viciously attacking the religious beliefs of the Jewish Home candidates and Rabbis in an ugly smear campaign that smacks of the worst kind of anti-Semitism. Rabbi Dov Lior, the Chief Rabbi of Hevron, a giant in Torah, who has dedicated his life to teaching Torat Eretz Yisrael to two generations of students, and who is not even a Jewish Home supporter, is castigated in the Likud-Beitenu ads for an isolated remark he supposedly made in defense of Baruch Goldstein.

Rabbi Zalman Melamed, one of the main builders of the flourishing settlement of Beit-El, co-founder of Arutz 7, and the head of a half-dozen important Torah institutions, is condemned for advocating soldiers not to throw Jews out of their homes. Moti Ogev, a dedicated general in the Israeli Army is ridiculed for separated the boys from the girls during activities of the Bnei Akiva Youth Organization which he formerly headed.

Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, who has worked for years to bring tens of thousands of Jews to visit Hevron, and raise funds for the Jewish settlement in the City of our Fathers, is chastised for expressing his opinion that male soldiers shouldn’t be forced to hear women sing.

Orit Struk, a mother of 10, who has fought to help Jewish settlers unjustly thrown into jail by the thugs of the Likud and the Left, is criticized for demanded that unlawful infractions of the Israel police, army, and court system, be corrected. And Rabbi Eli Dahan, a longtime upholder of Torah in the Chief Rabbinate, is mocked for being prejudiced against women, when in fact he has fought to punish husbands who refuse to grant battered wives a divorce. Not to mention the abuse that is directed at Naftali Bennett for stealing votes away from Bibi.

And, I have to add, in the face of this daily onslaught of hatred and slander, and this undisguised attack on the Torah, where is the voice of Moshe Feiglin, stalwart member of the Likud, soon-to-be member of the Knesset, champion of the national-religious camp in Israel – why don’t we hear him protesting as his party bashes religious Zionists and their Rabbis? Why is he suddenly as quiet as a mouse with a piece of cheese in its mouth? Why doesn’t he stand up like a true leader and decry this attack on the Torah? Why doesn’t he leave the Likud? And why is Bibi, the Prime Minister of all the Israeli People, allowing this slander to continue?

Voters beware! Don’t cast your vote for a party that condemns Torah values and honest and dedicated people who have led the way in the education of our youth and the settlement of Eretz Yisrael.

Nothing good will come from this, or from your vote for Likud-Israel Beitenu.

A Great Miracle is Happening Here Again!

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Every child in the Diaspora knows the difference. But when they get older, I suppose they forget.

In the Diaspora, the Hebrew letters on a dreidel are Nun, Gimmel, Hey, Shin. “A great miracle happened THERE.”

In Israel, the letters on the dreidels are Nun, Gimmel, Hey, Peh. “A great miracle happened HERE.”

That says it all.  This is the Land of Miracles. This is the Land that God gave to the Jewish People. This is the Land of our Biblical history, and the Land where our Redemption is unfolding today.

Yesterday, we drove to Modiin, where the Chanukah rebellion began, to pay our respects to Mattitiyahu and his brave and holy sons, and to pray at their graves. Across the highway, you can see the vibrant, modern city of Modiin with its hi-rise buildings, a new Israeli city filled with synagogues, mikvaot, brit milah ceremonies every day, and happy Jewish life, the very things the Greeks sought to destroy. Just along the road is the Haredi city of Modiin Elite with even more yeshivot and mikvaot. Their rebuilding is the greatest revenge over the Greeks and over all the nations that have tried to destroy us and to uproot our faith.

Happy Chanukah!

Above and Beyond on Chanukah in 5773

Friday, December 7th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Rabbi Shimshon Nadel in a busy Jerusalem restaurant to discuss Chanukah in Eretz Yisrael. Together they discuss reaching out to Jews worldwide from Israel during the holiday and also ways one can find the light of the menorah at year round. Don’t miss this insightful segment!

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

‘Hurricane Season’

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

It’s been a rough few weeks. It began with the news of a heinous crime just blocks from where I live on Manhatan’s Upper West Side: a nanny viciously took the lives of her two young charges. Hurricane Sandy came next, contributing additional loss of life and financial devastation of a magnitude never before experienced by our East Coast brethren. A week later many in our community were disappointed with the decisive outcome of the presidential election and the realization that we are truly a minority both in number and outlook within the United States. Finally, there was the precarious situation in Eretz Yisrael, hundreds of rockets raining down on daily and the threat of another major war. The saying goes, “when it rains, it pours.”

The book of Beraishis focuses on our Avos. Avraham is the trait of chesed or kindness. To me, this is an illusion to the first month of the Jewish calendar. Tishrei is all kindness from Hashem, His accepting our teshuvah, cleansing us and allowing us to sit in the sukkah under His watchful eye.

Then we shift to the stories of Yitzchak and the aspects of judgment or intensity of his persona as exemplified in the Akeidah experience. The letters of “Yitzchak” spell “Ketz Chai” “or end of life as he represents the transition into a higher world and the finality and magnitude of death. Yitzchak reflects the period that we most recently have experienced the endless flow of disappointment, anguish and pain.

We now transition to the parshiyos of Yaakov Avinu, with a prayer in mind – that Hashem be inspired by the Yaakov’s trait of tiferes. That Hashem look toward the integration, balance and synthesis Yaakov created and use it as a model of tempering His strict justice, din, with divine mercy, rachamim. Just as Yaakov integrated the chesed of his grandfather and the din of his father, we pray that by the end of Beraishis, Hashem will also integrate mercy within His judgment.

We live in an “age of anxiety” and that was even before the recent flow of events. Many of us strive for an equanimity or psychological stability in our lives. This goal has been made most difficult to achieve by the ongoing economic ills and the general challenges of living in the technological age. There is a quiet tension that lurks inside many of us. If I have emunah, faith, so why all the anxiety? I think that’s like asking, if I have yiras Shamayim, why do I ever sin? The answer is we all have lapses, but we add to our stress levels when we are self-critical, thinking that we aren’t authentic or genuine in our avodah. We often forget that many great people have had these common setbacks and challenges.

I saw an insight regarding Sarah Imeinu that resonated deeply considering the challenging backdrop in which we are living. The Reszher Rav, Rav Aaron Levine, commented on the life of Sarah being 127 years and the fact they were, as Chazal teach, “all equally for the good.” He suggests that she was an archetype for balanced, emotionally healthy living. She remained even-keeled despite numerous challenges: She is uprooted from her homeland and abducted by a foreign king. Yet, she also experiences great affluence and is the recipient of an enormous and miraculous Divine gift via the birth of Yitzchak. Amazingly, her basic decency and humanity isn’t impacted by either course of events. As Rudyard Kipling famously wrote, she “walks with kings without losing the common touch.” All her 127 years were “equally for the good.”

This maybe explains why death and marriage, a re births of sorts, as reflected in a wedding day being Yom Kippur for both the chassan and kallah. This is echoed by the sevens in Sheva Berachos and Sheva Yemi Aveilus and well as the juxtaposition of the burial of Sarah and the finding of a wife for Yitzchak. A wholesome spiritual life requires equilibrium. At the wedding, the pinnacle of joy, we reflect on the Churban, the destruction of the Temple. In mourning, we have limitations that don’t expand beyond a year. We balance and temper all emotions because when we are out of sorts, we can’t service the Divine in the requisite inspired fashion.

A Nation Of Ballerinas

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Readers are always asking me how I have the strength to open my heart, to tell my personal story, my struggles, my pain. My saintly father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, taught us that whenever we have difficult challenges we should share them with others, so that they will be strengthened in dealing with their own tests. My father learned this from our Torah, which relates to us all the painful struggles of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. “Ma’aseh avos siman la’banim – that which befell our forefathers is a sign for the children” – so that we too might be fortified.

Ours is a generation that has been overwhelmed by “tzarus” – real problems. And yet ours is the “me” generation. We are absorbed with ourselves. We see only our own needs. Very often it happens that when we hear about the tzarus of another, we shrug our shoulders and dismiss our neighbor’s pain.

Here is another lesson we learned from our forefathers: No matter how terrible their pain, no matter how much suffering they endured, they felt the hearts of others, prayed for them and shed tears for them. That too is part of ma’aseh avos siman la’banim. Their responses are our guiding light, teaching us that when we feel despair we are to focus on the needs of others, and this will help us to resolve and deal with our own crises.

Many of you will recall that back in April I wrote an article from my hospital bed in San Diego titled “I Will Keep Dancing.” In it, I described how the nurses had dubbed me a “prima ballerina” as they observed me take my first painful steps.

I asked myself, “Are they mocking me?” But no, they couldn’t be, they were so kind and respectful. They were non-Jews who reverently called me Rebbetzin, and made every effort to pronounce that foreign word properly.

I thought about it and it occurred to me that Hashem was sending me a message. “Esther bas Miriam – don’t you know you are a ballerina? Yes, you may be in a valley but you must skip your way to the mountaintop. Hold on, don’t lose control. Swallow your tears and keep going.”

My daughter reminded me, “Ima, you rose from the ashes of Hitler’s inferno, and so of course you are a ballerina. You will rise again, keep on dancing.”

And so I did. We Jews are all ballerinas. We may fall, but we rise with glorious strength.

I share with you now my new dance. I was on a European speaking tour. My first stop was Paris. Thousands came to listen. We had an awesome Kiddush Hashem. Jews young and old, male and female, secular and observant, all gathered under one roof. The audience was standing room only. Hearts were reawakened to a greater commitment to Torah and mitzvos.

And then there was also the pain, the terrible test that faces Jews of every generation. Our brethren in France are in need of a lot of chizuk – strength. The hatred of Jews is constantly escalating. Tragically, I found the same conditions in communities throughout Europe. Europe has become “Eurabia.”

My last stop before returning to New York was Budapest, where I had the zechus – the merit – to conduct a Shabbaton. Incredibly, three hundred seventy-five people showed up – a spectacular achievement in Hungary. After Shabbos, I was on my way to the gravesites of my holy ancestors, going back many generations, when suddenly my dance was put on hold. I became ill and ended up in a hospital in Budapest. Need I tell you, a hospital in Budapest wouldn’t have been my exact choice as far as hospitals go. But then I remembered yet another teaching from the Patriarchs.

Our father Jacob was finally on his way back to Eretz Yisrael after twenty-two years in exile. He suffered, struggling and going through all manner of trials and tribulations. And yet he never gave up his faith. He was the ultimate “ballerina.” Finally, he came home to Eretz Yisrael. He hoped, he prayed, that now in his old age he would have peace, tranquility and serenity.

But no sooner did he arrive than the most awful calamity occurred – his sons sold their brother Joseph into bondage and told their elderly father that he had been killed by a wild beast.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/a-nation-of-ballerinas/2012/12/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: