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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish People’

An Etrog Tree Doesn’t Grow in Brooklyn

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

If it did it would die. Just the way the Diaspora is destined to die. The etrog tree doesn’t belong in Brooklyn. The climate isn’t right for it. It’s the same with the lulav, hadasim, and aravot.* The four species which we are commanded to take for ourselves on the Festival of Sukkot are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael, just as the Torah is indigenous to Eretz Yisrael, and the Jewish People are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael.  We belong in Eretz Yisrael. All of the holidays are intrinsically connected to Eretz Yisrael. The Torah was designed and fashioned by the Almighty to be observed in Eretz Yisrael.

How wonderful to be in the Land of Israel where you hear hammers pounding away the week before the Sukkot holiday and see sukkah booths wherever you look!

I remember living in New York City and walking the length and width of the city on the holiday of Sukkot and not seeing even one sukkah on the street. Finally I found a mini sukkah, the size of a telephone booth, in the back alley of a kosher dairy restaurant, adjacent to the foul-smelling bathroom.

This past week in Israel, in whatever direction you looked, chances are you saw a succah booth. On front lawns, in driveways, in parking lots, on restaurant sidewalks, on the terraces of buildings, and on rooftops. In the Diaspora, the opposite is true. Unless you happen to be in one of the 5 or 6 Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods scattered around the globe, chances are you won’t see a succah booth at all. Take a walk from one end of Los Angeles to the other and there won’t be a succah in sight. In Paris and London, you would never know that there is a Jewish Festival about to begin. Diaspora succahs, if they exist, are hidden away on back lawns, or in back alleyways, so that the goyim won’t shoot flaming arrows at them and ignite them in a blaze of smoke. In the villas of wealthy Jews, you might discover a succah inside the house under a pull-back roof, so that the neighbors don’t have to know that Orthodox Jews live inside. That’s the sad state of affairs when you are a secret Jew living amongst the goyim.

Yes, we have many problems in Israel, but we don’t have to hide our succot in the back of our homes. We can proudly construct them in our driveways and front lawns without worrying about vandals or burglars or gentile police. In the Diaspora, a front lawn succah sticks out like the gaudy statues that rich, Beverly-Hills Arabs like to put on their lawns. In Israel, no one takes a second look. Succahs are natural in Israel. They are a part of the landscape. People can dine in them in peace, and sleep comfortably in them all night without the slightest disturbance.

The renown Torah scholar, the Gaon of Vilna, emphasized that only two mitzvot are performed with all of one’s body – the mitzvah of dwelling in the succah and the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael.

How wonderful to be in the Land of Israel where you don’t have to be embarrassed or afraid to sit in your sukkah out on the street! Where apartment buildings are built with terraces especially designed for the Sukkot holiday! Where the Kotel and the place of the Temple are a short walk or car ride away! Where there are sukkah booths outside of every restaurant! Where Sukkot is a national holiday with school vacation, and not some weird, mumbo-jumbo practice of the Jews.

How wonderful to be in the Land of Israel where you can be proud to be a Jew!

*Editor’s Note: The author’s point is metaphorical and is not intended to mean that factually none of the four minim (species) grow in Brooklyn or outside of Israel.

Statement from PM Netanyahu on the Eve of his UN Speech

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

“Citizens of Israel,

Tonight, I am leaving for New York to represent the State of Israel at the United Nations.

On the issue of Iran, we are all in agreement on the goal of preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons.

On the day when we pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life, a platform was given to a dictatorial regime that strives, at every opportunity, to sentence us to death.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, which is sacred to the Jewish People, the Iranian tyrant – before the whole world – chose to publicly call for our disappearance.

This is a black day for those who chose to stay in the hall and listen to such slander.

In my remarks to the UN General Assembly, they will hear my response.

As the Prime Minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish People, I am working in every way so that Iran will not have nuclear weapons.

History has proven that those who have wanted to wipe us off the map have failed, as the Jewish People have overcome all obstacles.

We have set up a magnificent state, among the most advanced in the world.

Israel is a modern and strong state thanks to the strength and talents of its citizens and to our faith in the justice of our cause.

I wish you all gmar hatima tova!”

Homeward Bound

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Before continuing with Rabbi Kook’s writings on T’shuva, I want to share an email which I received before Yom Kippur. It’s always nice to receive a kind word, even for an old alligator-skinned blogger like me:

Shalom, Reb Tzvi,

I am a semicha student at Yeshiva University, and I just read your sefer on teshuvah in Rav Kook’s thought and I wanted to thank you for it.  I was very much inspired by your book.  I do not study that much of Rav Kook’s writings (unfortunately), but I was preparing to give a shiur on Orot Hateshuvah when I came across your commentary, ‘The Art of T’shuva.’

What began as an intellectual exercise in preparing a shiur soon changed into a deeply spiritual experience as I began to understand some of what Rav Kook is trying to teach us.  I really feel that your book has made a big difference in my emotional experience of the yamim noraim and aseret yemei teshuvah this year.  Thanks again for the wonderful sefer.

And now, leading up to the holiday of Sukkot, we’ll wrap up our condensed look at Rabbi Kook’s teachings on t’shuva with a few blogs on two of the holidays most important themes – Eretz Yisrael and Torah.

We have learned that t’shuva encompasses far more than personal repentance. Its ever-streaming waves affect the world in its entirety, lifting it toward perfection. Furthermore, we have learned that it is the Nation of Israel who will lead the world to Redemption, marching in front of the parade of nations with its shofars blaring away.

This is all well and good. But what will bring the Jewish People to t’shuva? What will awaken the Divine voice in its soul? What causes the scattered, exiled Jewish Nation to return, as we beseech God in our prayers, to the glorious days of our past?

Rabbi Kook writes that the rebirth of the Jewish Nation in Eretz Yisrael is the foundation for the ultimate t’shuva, both for the nation of Israel, and for the whole world.

To understand this concept fully, one must understand the incomparable holiness of Eretz Yisrael and its importance to the Nation of Israel. While it is beyond the scope of this blog to explore this subject in depth, we will mention a few of the things which point to the unique connection between the Jewish People and their Land.

The Jewish People possess true national vitality only in the Land of Israel. Outside of the Land, Jews can excel as individuals in all fields of endeavor; there can be great Torah scholars, but the light of God cannot appear in a national format. Only in the Land of Israel can the Jews be a KINGDOM of priests and a holy NATION. The Zohar emphasizes that the Jews can be a Nation only inIsrael, and not outside of it, where we are compared to dry and scattered bones21-22). Prophecies of Redemption all involve the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israeland the restoration of Jewish sovereignty over the Land. The Jewish People’s unique prophetic talent is dependent on being in theLandofIsrael. The Temple can only be rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and the full revelation of God’s Presence is exclusive to Eretz Yisrael, as the prophet teaches, “For Torah will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Yisheyahu, 2:3).

In a letter, Rabbi Kook writes:

The source of the moral baseness, which continues to darken the world, stems from the lack of recognition regarding the value and wisdom of theLandofIsrael. Thus the sin of the Spies, who spoke derogatorily about the pleasant Land, remains uncorrected. To rectify this, the Land’s praise, splendor, holiness, and honor must be declared to the world (Letters, Vol.1, pgs 112-113).

While Rabbi Kook emphasizes that the t’shuva of the Jewish People and a return to the Torah go hand-in-hand, he indicates that a preliminary stage of national revival will bring this spiritual awakening to pass. First, the Jewish people must return toZionto rebuild their homeland. Once the physical body that houses the Nation is built, then the revitalized Jewish soul will yearn for spiritual completion as well, and our people will flock back to the Torah. This may take several generations, but this national t’shuva is destined to come to pass.

Shabbat Visitors, Positive Thinking, and The Weakening Grip of America on Jews

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

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Yishai is joined by Rabbi Yohanan Danziger.  Together, they discuss some recent visitors to Danziger’s Shabbat table and move on to talk about the need to constantly think positive.  They end the segment by discussing the weakening grip of America on the Jewish People and the increasing desire to return to the Land of Israel.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

It’s Not About Survival; It’s About Becoming the Spiritual Superpower

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

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The Director of the international department of the Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman, joins Yishai. Together, they discuss the Iranian nuclear threat and how the Jewish People need to remain strong in the face of danger. Rabbi Richman speaks about the video that his organization recently produced and they end the segment by talking about reaching the tipping point within Israeli society and how it will shape the future.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

“Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me a Match!”

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

All kidding aside. I would like to invite you, your family, your children, your friends, and all the Jewish People to join the hundreds of people who are reading my novel, Tevye in the Promised Land, which The Jewish Press.com is serialization every week, chapter by chapter, in its book section.

All of my blogs together don’t add up to the impact of Tevye’s continuing adventures in the Promised Land. Every week, I receive comments from readers who praise the book with superlatives like “wonderful,” “inspiring,” “amazing!” I don’t say this to boost my ego. I say it for you and your children, so that they experience how wonderful real Jewish fiction can be. The novel won the distinguished Israel Ministry of Education Award for Creativity and Jewish Culture, even though it’s filled with a proud religious, right-wing message – something which is amazing in itself!

I’d post the link to the famous “Matchmaker” song to remind you of the movie “Fiddler on the Roof,” but since it’s the Three Weeks when we don’t listen to happy music, I’ll have to remind you with words.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is one of the most beloved Jewish movies ever, not to mention the fantastically popular Broadway show. When I saw it as an assimilated youth, I was floored. Finally, a twinkle of Jewish light in the darkness of the gentile culture which surrounded and suffocated my adolescence. Years later, when I made aliyah to Israel, I remembered Tevye the Milkman trudging, head lowered in disgrace, out of his beloved village of Anatevka, and felt that I had to bring him to the Promised Land to experience the great blessing which Hashem had granted me. So, doing my best to copy Sholom Aleichem’s gifted portrayal, and adding a bit on my own, I transformed the downtrodden Jew of galut into a proud pioneer in the Holy Land and a brave fighter for Jewish freedom. It’s a saga that I am sure you and your children will love. And now, thanks to The Jewish Press, it’s free!

And for those of you who don’t want to wait to see how it ends, you can obtain the 600 page, large-size format, or the Kindle edition, at Amazon Books.

All proceeds go to tzedaka. Happy summer reading!

A People Apart

Friday, June 29th, 2012

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Jack Berger, an activist that has been involved in a wide-range of pro-Israel causes, joins Yishai at Jerusalem’s Plaza hotel. They discuss Berger’s recent trip to Hebron and how important the city is to the Jewish People, including the comparison between the Chicago the American city and the street in Hebron. Yishai and Berger talk about the need for more Jewish heroes among American Jews. The second half of this segment (starts at minute 18:00) has Yishai presenting an interview with Guy Segeiv, a resident of Beit El who has recently been forced to move due to a judgment by the Israeli Supreme Court. They discuss the situation in Beit El first hand.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Alan Dershowitz: Iran Declares War Against the Jewish People

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The Iranian government, long known for its Holocaust denial and anti-Zionism, has now declared war against the Jewish people. In a speech delivered in Tehran, Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi accused the Jewish people of spreading illegal drugs around the world, killing Black babies, starting the Bolshevik Revolution and causing many of the world’s other ills. His “proof”: “The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anyone who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict. They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade.”

There are, of course, numerous addicts among Jews and Zionists, as there are among all groups. Israel has several treatment centers for drug addicts as do Jewish communities throughout the world. He also cited “proof” that the Jews caused the Bolshevik Revolution: not a single Jew was killed during that Revolution. Of course, thousands of Jews were murdered during the Bolshevik Revolution as well as during Stalin’s purges in the decades following the establishment of the Soviet Union.

But don’t expect truth from a country whose leaders deny the existence of even a single gay person in all of Iran.

Vice President Rahimi cited the Talmud as the source of his claptrap and in support of his claim that Jews believe that they are racially superior and that “God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them.”

These bigoted claims would be laughable if they did not have such a long and disturbing history. Virtually everything stated by Vice President Rahimi came directly out of Hitler’s playbook of the 1930s and Stalin’s playbook of the 1940s and 50s. They must be taken seriously in light of the fact that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and has already called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map. Moreover, Iran’s surrogate, Hezbollah, has invited all the Jews of the world to move to Israel so that it will be easier to destroy them in one fell swoop.

Taken together, these statements and actions constitute a clear incitement to genocide, which is explicitly prohibited by international law and by the rules governing the International Criminal Court. Professor Irwin Cotler, the former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, has drafted a brilliant brief making the case for indicting the Iranian leaders for inciting genocide against the Jewish people. Vice President Rahimi’s speech constitutes additional evidence of that crime, if any were needed.

If the leaders of Iran are guilty of incitement against the Jewish people, as they plainly are, they have many coconspirators and facilitators. In recent years these have included several prominent church leaders, such as Cardinal Glemp of Poland, Father Daniel Berrigan of the United States, Cardinal Rodriguez of Honduras, Bishop Tutu of South Africa and numerous others who have crossed the line from anti-Zionism to overt anti-Semitism.

Cardinal Glemp, while serving as the primate of Poland, accused the Jews of bringing Communism, alcoholism and poverty to Poland. He also accused them of provoking anti-Semitism. Father Daniel Berrigan characterized the Jewish state as “a criminal Jewish community” that “manufactures human waste.” A current cardinal of the Catholic Church Oscar Andres Rodriguez Meridiaga, who is the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has been telling anyone who is willing to listen that “the Jews” are to blame for the scandal surrounding the sexual misconduct of priests toward young parishioners! How did Cardinal Rodriguez ever come up with this ridiculous idea? Here is his “logic:” the Vatican is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. It follows, therefore, that “the Jews” had to get even with the Catholic Church, while at the same time deflecting attention away from Israeli injustices against the Palestinians. The Jews managed to do this by arranging for the media which they, of course, control to give disproportionate attention to the Vatican sex scandal.

Not to be outdone, Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, claims that Americans are frightened of excessive Jewish influence in America because “the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful.” He compared the Jewish influence in America to that of “Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin”—all of whom who were “powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”

And now joining in the incitement is Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, who says that the situation of Arab citizens in Israel is much worse that what Blacks experienced in the South during Jim Crow, thus trivializing the suffering of her own people about which she has written so poignantly! She has now decided to withhold her writings from all readers of Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/alan-dershowitz-iran-declares-war-against-the-jewish-people/2012/06/28/

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