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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘father’

Obama: Father and Son

Friday, December 30th, 2016

I know that John Kerry has just inserted himself into the news cycle with an extraordinary degree of pained passion and bluster; in a speech filled with lies, distortions, and false moral equivalencies. However, I wrote this piece about Obama from a psychological point of view. He plans to continue on, just as the Clintons did. He will lead the Democrats in a fight unto death against the Trump administration. Here’s the piece.

Psychologically speaking, what Obama has just done at the UN is a clear cut example of how scapegoating works.

Our lame duck President is furious and feels impotent because he has so totally failed his party in the recent elections. The Democrats may have lost a thousand seats—in addition to the White House.

Obama’s considerable self-regard, coupled with his very thin skin, has propelled him to punish a blameless target for his frustration and rage.

That target is Jewish Israel.

In classic anti-Semitic and Islamic fashion, Obama secretly organized and did not veto resolution 2234; he and the other anti-Semites acted on their spite as anti-Semites usually do, namely, just before a Jewish Sabbath or major holiday or on the holiday when, they believe, that religious Jews will be otherwise occupied and unable to respond.

The vote on this resolution was timed for an hour before the Sabbath eve (on the east coast, where the UN votes), and just before Hanukah, which began after sundown on the next day. Muslim terrorists have launched many wars AND gone on murder sprees just before or on Jewish holidays. Remember the Yom Kippur war? The bombing of a hotel in Israel as Jews were sitting down to a Passover Seder? There are hundreds of such examples.

This is a desire to “spoil” what Jews consider sacred and is also considered a strategic time to attack, when many Jews will be otherwise preoccupied.

What else does this vote tell us about Obama’s psychology?

I first wrote about fathers and sons in my 1978 book About Men. I wanted to understand male-male relationships. What I learned has guided me ever since.

Thus, in my view, Obama is a very hard man–a cold man. Here’s why. He is a man whose African, biological father abandoned him. Like so many father-wounded sons, Obama is still trying to please that absent and long deceased father–and to be as “hard” as he was–against Western colonial forces.

In order to “have” his missing father, Obama has had to become him, and to do so, he had to adopt his Muslim father’s anti-white, anti-British, anti-European, and anti-Zionist passions and prejudices; from a psychological point of view, Obama had to savagely limit America’s standing in the world and to humiliate and endanger it.

Obama is a Third World man and has little in common with African-American leaders who preceded him. (Dinesh D’Souza makes this point in his excellent 2010 book The Roots of Obama’s Rage which I am only now beginning to read).

In his autobiography, (Dreams From My Father), Obama almost completely disappears his white, Christian mother and maternal grandparents without whom he would have grown up in an orphanage or on the streets. Although he may have learned his culturally relativist and pro-Muslim affinities from his anthropologist mother (who subsequently married another Muslim man, this time from Indonesia), he gives her little credit.

He cannot afford to identify himself as “white” or even as “American.” He is someone else and he is after something else. (I always thought he wanted to be the Prime Minister of France…)

Obama is perpetually after the father who never looked back. D’Souza quotes what Kenyan, Sarah Obama told Newsweek; she is not Barack’s actual grandmother but is one of his grandfather’s other wives: “I look at him and I see all the same things–he has taken everything from his father. The son is realizing everything the father wanted. The dreams of the father are still alive in the son.”

Anthropology is the queen science of cultural relativism, the originally Western source which taught us to romanticize tribal and barbaric culture and demonize Western civilization. Yes, Obama could have learned all this from his anthropologist mother. If so, he is relatively silent about it. But he boasts of other sources of inspiration, all of whom are Third World men.

Anti-colonialism and anti-neo-colonialism are the ruling ideologies on the Western campus; that–and a poisonously misguided but core belief that Israel is a colonialist country that has done to the “Palestinians” what European countries once did to India, Asia, South America, and above all, to Africa.

Politically correct ideologues do not acknowledge that Muslims have also been colonialists, imperialists, slave-traders and slave-owners, who have also practiced gender and religious apartheid and permanent, global Jihad against infidels.

Nor does Obama. He preferred the Muslim world—and has, almost insanely, further strengthened a nuclear and theocratic Iran.

Based on this brief psychological profile it is clear that Obama will do all that he can–not to alleviate the profound and enormous suffering of Syrians and Iraqis–but to further “spoil” Israel—the one and only Jewish state. In the last days, even hours, of his Presidency, he will try to have whatever he and Kerry cook up at the upcoming conference in Paris, rushed to the UN Security Council for yet another anti-Israel vote.

Do not expect Obama to yield up stage center gracefully. His anti-America and anti-Israel act will soon open in other theaters of war.

{Originally cross=posted to the author’s eponymous website and at Israel National News.

Phyllis Chesler

A Soldier’s Father and His Smartphone

Monday, December 12th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s eponymous website}

It was the middle of the day when the WhatsApp arrived, accompanied by that familiar ring which indicates that someone, somewhere, has sent you a message.

In our eventful everyday existence, that charming little “ding” often serves as a form of soothing background music, one whose chime seems to fade in and out of our consciousness from morning till evening, reminding us that we are never truly alone or isolated.

But as the father of an IDF soldier, even the little sounds that emanate from a smartphone seem to take on a slightly more amplified meaning. After all, when your son is serving in an elite combat unit, undergoing rigorous physical training, and handling weapons that most of us see only when playing a video game on the Xbox, there is always that gnawing concern buried somewhere deep in your head that everything hopefully is, and will be, okay.

Hence, I find myself more attentive to the iPhone’s little hums and reverberations than I normally would, ever vigilant in checking to see who the sender of the message might be.

As much as I detest the manner in which people now commonly use their devices during meetings, posting to Facebook rather than engaging in conversation, or staring down at the screen as though entranced by a hypnotist’s glare, I cannot help but sneak a quick peak. What if it is my son the soldier who has contacted me? The other day, the message was indeed from him. I quickly opened it, as I always do, immediately relieved to see that he was fine and in good spirits. But unlike previous communications, this one included a special little bonus: a photograph of my son, taken by his friend, that is one of the most vivid and moving images I think I have ever seen.

There he was, in silhouette, sitting alone in his uniform on top of a mountain, wrapped in his tefillin and reading from a prayerbook, while the sun rose in the distance, bursting forth into the sky.

I was stunned into silence, drawn by the intensity of the image, which overwhelmed me with that incomparable mixture of pride, joy and delight that is best summed up by the familiar Yiddish word, “nachas.”

Here was my own flesh and blood, my first child to have been born in the Land of Israel, taking time out from his duties to beseech the Creator. You can almost feel the concentration with which he is speaking to God, huddled over in humility yet equipped with the mettle to do his religious duty, even though he is one of just a handful of observant soldiers in his unit.

We all know the power of visual storytelling, even if we don’t always give it much thought. Scenes can be etched in our minds in a manner that provides us with a far richer perception of the world, one that is incomparably superior to those produced by other senses. It is no coincidence that many words in the English language that are used to describe a new comprehension of our surroundings, such as insight and enlightenment, are words that relate to visual imagery.

But there was something about this photograph that simply seized my attention, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

Then it hit me.

As I continued to gaze at the image, awestruck at my child’s faith and fortitude, I suddenly realized that what I was looking at was far more profound than a family photo. It was a glimpse of the Jewish future, a stirring and hopeful sign that the next generation is a lot less self-centered than they often get credit for being.

In many Western societies, selfies have replaced selflessness, to the point that fundamental values such as sacrifice for the greater good or serving a cause that is larger than one’s self seem to have become as popular nowadays as typewriters, rotary dial phones and VHS video recorders.

But before we allow cynicism to drown us in despondency, we would do well to consider what that little photo on WhatsApp so starkly showed us. Each day across Israel, there are thousands of young Jewish men and women who rise early, don drab olive green attire, and devote some of the best years of their lives to guarding our Land and thwarting our foes.

Whether they undertake dangerous missions or serve as desk jockeys in a run-down military facility is beside the point.

For two or three years, they are giving of themselves, serving the country, protecting the Jewish people and doing their part to shoulder the collective burden.

Sure, they complain when they come home for the weekend, falling exhausted into bed after (and sometimes even before) taking a hot shower to clean off layers of muck. And most of them would of course prefer to be sitting on an idyllic green lawn at university, debating great ideas while also checking out members of the opposite sex.

But the bottom line is that a large majority of Israeli youth, ranging from religious to secular, still do their duty, serving in a Jewish army that our ancestors could only dream of.

Days later, I continue to be thankful for that WhatsApp photo, and the message that it contained, because it leaves me brimming with optimism that even in an age when people are seemingly growing more self-absorbed, the valor and patriotic spirit needed to keep this country secure is alive and well. And I pray that the Guardian of Israel will keep each and every one of our soldiers safe, just as they do for us.

Michael Freund

Listening To The Mussar Of Your Father

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Title: When God is Near: On the High Holidays
Author:  Rabbi Yehuda Amital
Publisher: Maggid Books

 

One of the unique contributions of the storied Lithuanian mussar yeshivot of the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Slobodka and Navardok and in later decades Telz and others, was the phenomenon of periodic sichot mussar (mussar discourses) that became an integral part of the educational experience of the routine and life of the yeshiva. These sichot and the atmosphere around them became especially central to the life and learning of these yeshivot during the Elul period, the intense month of prayer, introspection and intense Talmud Torah leading up to the crescendo of the High Holidays and their unique flavor in the context of the walls of a high level yeshiva. Indeed, the unique combination of intense learning, soulful prayer, and piercing and moving discourses from the rosh yeshiva or mashgiah of those institutions led to the phenomenon of many graduates who were already out in the field of the rabbinate or other pursuits returning for a few weeks during Eul to their place of learning to recharge their batteries or re-experience moments of religious intensity, as described in the memoirs of prominent Lithuanian rabbinic figures such as Rabbi Avraham Eliyahu Kaplan and Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner.

This model was eventually adopted in almost all sectors of the yeshiva world, including those not formally part of the “mussar movement” and continues to be a central part of the yeshiva experience whether in hareidi, Modern Orthodox or Religious Zionist circles of all stripes and colors. One of the great contemporary virtuosos of the mussar sicha during the Elul months was my revered teacher and mentor, Rabbi Yehuda Amital, zt”l (1924-2010), rosh hayeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion, one of the leading Hesder Yeshivot in Israel. R. Amital, founder of the yeshiva and co-rosh yeshiva with my revered teacher, Rabbi Aharon Lichtentein, zt”l, led the yeshiva for 40 years before he retired and passed on the reins of leadership to a younger cohort of scholars.

For those 40 years, R. Amital delivered powerful and impactful discourses during the key moments of the month of Elul and the beginning of the Tishrei such as prior to the recitation of selichot, before shofar blowing on Rosh Hashanah and prior to Neilah on Yom Kippur. R. Amital also served as shaliach tzibbur for key portions of the services during Elul and the Yamim Noaraim, leading the packed beit hamedrash of 600-700 people in stirring tefillot that remain a major highlight in the memory and consciousness, 20 and 30 years after the experience, of those fortunate to attend those heady days in the beit medrash of Yeshivat Har Eztion.

Two years ago, R. Yoel Amital, the oldest son of R. Amital, and himself an accomplished maggid shiur at Yeshivat Shalvim, published a Hebrew volume of collected sichot (mostly from reconstructed notes of students and his father’s own written comments and marginalia) from the period of Elul and Tishrei under the aegis of Maggid Publishers and Yeshiva Har Etzion entitled Eit Ratzon (Time of Favor). This past year, this wonderful work has been translated by the publishers and issued as When God is Near: On the High Holidays. While it is impossible to fully capture R. Amital’s unique voice and cadence and the force of his personality on the written page, this volume gives the English reader a window and opening into the thought, personality and educational vision of this giant of Torah and leadership. Reading some of these sichot brought me back personally to the walls of that beit medrash in Alon Shvut as I recalled hearing a number of those discourses directly during my years at the yeshiva or visits in subsequent years.

The volume is divided by chronological points in the months of Elul and Tishrei beginning with a sampling of sichot delivered during the first night of selichot and culminating with a sampling of sichot delivered over the decades prior to the Neilah service at the close of Yom Kippur. A special section of the book is devoted to sichot on the themes of Akedat Yitzchak and its multiple messages which is of particular interest and touches on profound issues of faith, relationship to God and the nexus between our service of God and our ethical sensitivities. One subtext, that one cannot but keep in the background, is R. Amital’s own experience of losing his entire family in the Shoah and the suffering endured during his nine-month stint in a Nazi labor camp in 1944.

The sichot have been ably translated by Kaeren Fish and are accessible to people with a wide range of backgrounds. In these sichot, one is exposed to recurring themes that R. Amital returned to over and over again such as humility in the service of God coupled with the importance of belief in oneself and one’s abilities to achieve spiritual growth, the central value of serving God with truth and honesty and in the fullness of one’s humanity, the responsibility to the larger Jewish community and the State of Israel, and many other central themes of contemporary Jewish life. One of the unique qualities of these sichot – and one that R. Amital preached and practiced in his life – is the constant return to the sense that one should not only be working on improving their own spiritual connection to God, but the special responsibility that we have in our generation of rebirth coupled with high assimilation and alienation from Judaism to klal yisrael, appreciating their strengths and challenges and both praying for the entirety of klal yisrael and working to improve its spiritual state.

The sichot often begin in a deceptively simple way with reference to a well-known rabbinic source or portion of the High Holiday liturgy. Soon, however, one is taken on a wonderful journey of questions and profound suggestions that open up new vistas of thinking and understanding ancient texts. Along the way, one is treated to exposure to the wide range of sources that reflect Rav Amital’s multi-faceted educational and life experiences from his teenage years of learning in pre-war Romania, to his learning at Yeshivat Hevron after his liberation from a Nazi labor camp and his studies with Rav Yaacov Moshe Charlop, a prominent student of Rav Kook. In that journey, one meets up with the teachings from the wide range of Jewish sources including: midrash, Talmud, medieval thinkers and commentators such as Rambam, Rav Yehuda Halevi, and Rabeinu Bachya, kabbalistic sources such as Rav Moshe Cordevero and Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato, Hasidic sources such as the works of Sefat Emet and Rav Zadok, and the writings of Rav Kook. R. Amital weaves together disparate sources and helps one rethink and revivify their own religious commitments.

Before closing, a very small quibble. From time to time, references are made to contemporary events such as the first intifida or the Gulf War or the massive Russian aliyah of the early 1990’s. Through this we are able to identify in which years that sicha was given. It would be useful in a subsequent edition of the book if the editors would also identify the years that the other sichot were given based on Rav Amital’s notes, student transcriptions or other research.

The editors and publishers of this volume have given a gift to all those in the Jewish world who were impacted by this giant of Torah, sensitivity, mach’shava and humanity. We eagerly await for publication of more of Rav Amital’s writings as we continue to sorely miss the force of his personality and leadership on the spiritual and religious scene today.

Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot

Netanyahu Attacks Arab Father Who Urged Toddler Son to Get Killed [video]

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released the following statement following an incident in which an Arab father was urging his toddler son to attack Israeli soldiers so that they would shoot him dead. They didn’t. The PM commented:

“I’ve just watched a video that shook me to the core of my being. In just a few seconds, it shows why our conflict persists. So here is a short snippet:

“‘Shoot! Shoot! Shoot him! Go! Go! Shoot him.’ A Palestinian father holds up his 4-year-old son. He pleads with Israeli border police to kill his own child. He shouts, ‘Shoot this little boy!’ His boy. He pushes his young son forward toward the soldiers and screams, ‘Kill him! Shoot him!’ The boy pauses. He is scared. Any child would be. He turns back, looking at his father for guidance. With his shirt tightly tucked into his bright red shorts, the boy ambles forward towards the soldiers. One of them extends his hand in friendship. The boy gives him a high-five.

“It’s hard to make a four-year-old hate. Imagine your own child at that age. Think of his smile. Imagine her laugh. Picture the unrestrained joy and innocence that only a child possesses. Encouraging someone to murder a child – let alone your own child – is probably the most inhumane thing a person can do.

“What did this child do to deserve this? The answer is: nothing. He is innocent. He should be in a play-ground. He should be in the sun, laughing with other children.

“Sadly, this father’s crime is not an isolated example. In Gaza, Hamas runs summer camps that teach children to value death over life – suicide kindergarten camps. The Palestinian Ministry of Education in Ramallah recently organized an event for students to honor terrorists who murdered three civilians. Two weeks ago, the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper praised teenage terrorists and wrote that ‘death as a martyr is the path to excellence and greatness.’ That’s a direct quote.

“Palestinian and Israeli children deserve better. They deserve to live. They deserve to live in peace. Children are not cannon fodder. They are the most precious things in the world. They’re the most precious things we have. I’m sure Palestinian parents, many of them, are as outraged as I am at this video.

“And today I appeal to every father and mother around the world. I ask you to join me in calling for an end to this abuse of children. The Palestinian leadership must stop encouraging children to kill. They must stop encouraging Palestinian parents to call for the death of their own children. It’s horrendous.

“Peace begins with respect. If parents don’t respect their own children’s lives, how will they respect the lives of their neighbors? We must love all children. They should never be pushed to violence or hate. Join me in educating all children for peace.”

David Israel

Summer Break Fun

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Asher Schwartz

Fateful Court Decision: Will a Child Stay in Israel or Return to her Father Abroad?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Many Israelis living abroad keep the flame of yearning to return burning, while others are perfectly happy with their lives abroad. Visiting the old country can stir up those yearnings for some, and leave others as cool and detached as before. When two such persons are married to one another, a home visit can end up in tragedy.

An Israeli couple got married in 2009 and a year later moved abroad, where the husband works in teaching and the wife is a military attaché. In 2012 they had a baby girl, and at the end of last year the happy family came on a two-week vacation to Israel. On their last day in the home country, at Ben-Gurion airport, the wife informed her husband that she decided to stay, with their 3-year-old child. They had one of those horrible airport fights, at the end of which the husband boarded the plane and the mother and child stayed back, Psak Din reported this week.

The mother then turned to family court in Tel-Aviv requesting full custody, and the court granted her temporary custody. Later on she filed suit against her husband for dissolution of marriage and alimony. At the same time, the father submitted to family court in Hadera a claim for the return of his daughter to the place of her permanent residence, based on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the return of abducted children.

After several court hearings and attempts to find a common ground between the two feuding parents, Hadera Family Court Judge Tal Peperani rejected the father’s claim in a cumbersome manner: he agreed that an abduction had taken place, but cited Article 13 of the Convention, according to which if the parent was not actually exercising the custody rights at the time of removal or retention, or had consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention, then the court is not bound to order the return of the child.

Judge Peperani decided that the father had acquiesced to his daughter’s kidnapping based on emails and SMSs the parents exchanged during their compromise negotiations. In one such SMS, the father wrote: “I’m also learning to let go. I also want to sleep quietly knowing she is in good hands with you.”

Needless to say, the father was irate at the ruling and appealed to District Court in Haifa, arguing that he had not acquiesced to the kidnapping, but rather continued to act immediately and consistently to change the situation. He argued, among other things, that his communication with his wife was part of the negotiations process and should not have been made available to the court. He also claimed that the family court judge did not permit him to question his wife regarding the context of those SMS messages, or to present other, conflicting SMSs.

Presiding Judge Sari Jayyoussi rejected the father’s claim against the family court’s gaining access to his SMS messages, but agreed that in order to decide that father had, essentially, accepted the kidnapping of his daughter, the judge should have afforded the father the opportunity to be heard. Judge Jayyoussi then returned the case to family court, to give the father ample opportunity to reject the claim that he had acquiesced to losing custody of his daughter. He also instructed the family court judge to review the full body of interchanged messages between the parents before making his ruling.

JNi.Media

Crown Heights Father, 5 Yr Old Son Attacked in ‘Knock-Out’ Game

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

A Jewish father and his five year old son were attacked Tuesday in another round of the ‘knockout game’ as they walked to the little boy’s first day at school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that an alert bystander saw the attack and chased the assailant. He raced after him down President Street, according to the Crown Heights.info website, flagging down a police patrol cruiser along the way. Police officers joined the chase.

The perpetrator was cornered in an apartment building – but that didn’t mean he was ready to give up when police tried to place him under arrest. Instead he resisted violently and police were forced to add a spritz of mace to their efforts to subdue the suspect.

First responders treated the perpetrator on the scene, and the father and son also arrived to identify their attacker and formally press charges.

The neighborhood, home to “770″ – World Headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement, is a racially mixed area which also hosts the city’s West Indian Day Parade each year.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/crown-heights-father-5-yr-old-son-attacked-in-knock-out-game/2014/09/04/

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