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

Posts Tagged ‘katz’

Talmud Takes to Jewish.tv

Friday, August 9th, 2013

A class on Talmudic ethics in Vancouver, B.C., praised by regulars, is going virtual in a new series on Jewish.tv, the multimedia portal of the Judaism website Chabad.org.

In the hour-long class, Rabbi Binyomin Bitton, director of Chabad of Downtown Vancouver and dean of the Jewish Academy there, dissects a complex Talmudic narrative and shows how it remains applicable in day-to-day life.

“The class starts at the literal level, then goes deeper and deeper,” says Susan Katz, a freelance writer and regular attendee of the “Talmud for Beginners” class. The class then discusses everyday situations and learns how to apply the Talmud and the thought processes behind it, says Katz.

Bitton’s calming demeanor and slightly French-accented voice set the tone to delve into daily life scenarios as they were seen by the Talmudic sages thousands of years ago. “Talmudic logic, principles, debates and discussions,” he explains, “help you analyze situations and issues from many angles, to come up with creative logical solutions to complex issues and conflicts, and help you to think ‘out of the box’ and discover that there is always another perspective to the matter.”

The crux of the Talmud is a commentary on the Mishnah. Written around the year 165 of the Common Era, the Mishnah was the first codification of Jewish “oral law” as handed down from generation to generation, from the times of Moses and the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. It took more than 200 years to write the Talmud, beginning around the year 220.

The Talmud, Bitton says to his class, is based on explaining the minute details of the Mishnah and its wording: “The Talmud is telling us that every word of the Mishnah is so precise and is chosen very carefully to tell us something.”

The first in the series of four classes will focus on “Liability for Damage.” It airs on Thursday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. EST, with subsequent lessons airing on Thursdays at the same hour. They also can be viewed afterwards at any time of the day on Jewish.tv.

Diving Into the Nitty-Gritty

“Rabbi Bitton zeroes in on a specific subject and presents it in an easy-to-understand and well-illustrated fashion,” says Rabbi Shmuel Lifshitz, director of Jewish.tv. “He skillfully helps the student to think ‘Talmudically’ and to gain the tools for studying Talmud.”

The first class examines the ramifications of what transpires when an object for sale is included in a certain category of goods. For example, what happens when an object that was purchased turns out to be different than described? What if someone had used the Hebrew word for “barrel,” and the item was indeed more like a “pitcher”?

The class discusses that while most people would, of course, understand it to be a barrel and nothing else, some may believe it to be a pitcher. Is such a sale valid or not? And does one take into account what the seller thought, based on an innate understanding of an item or a difference in terminology?

“The class gives me a way to take a situation with many possibilities and helps me narrow it down to look at a situation,” says Katz.

She explains that in life, multiple people share responsibility for a particular situation. For example, “if someone leaves a piece of pottery on the sidewalk and I break it,” is the fault of the one who placed it there or the one who stepped on it?

“The Talmud gives me the understanding of how to resolve the situation. It goes beyond civil law because there is also a sense of purpose, and it affirms the place of kindness and looking at a person as a person, and the ramifications it will have in their life. It teaches us how to relate to each other and how to take the other person into the equation, too.”

The debate around the table in Vancouver tries to probe the attendees to come up with their own logical responses. Says Bitton: “There is a depth and intellectual level that is unique within the Talmud. It challenges the mind like no other wisdom, and gives the individual a sentiment of intellectual achievement and appreciation that only the Talmud can give.”

New Bill Envisions Large Scale Settlement Uprooting, Attempts to Protect Victims

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Pinui Pitzui (compensation for evacuation) was an idea proposed by the far-left party Meretz as incentive to the Jews of Gush Katif: anyone who leaves his home before the deadline date, would be compensated amply. The assumption behind this suggestion was that most settlers chose life in the disputed territories because of cheap housing and government subsidies. In the end very few settlers took the bait.

A bill proposed on Tuesday by National Union chairman Yaacov Katz (Ketzaleh) will require the government to build new homes and infrastructure for residents of outposts and settlements before they are demolished. For a party so strongly identified with the ideals of settling everywhere in Eretz Israel but especially in the “disputed territories,” the bill sounded an awful lot like Pinui Pitzui.

Co-sponsored by five Haredi MKs – and so far not by Katz’s own faction members – the bill, titled “Preservation of the Rights of Evacuees 5772-2012,” is intended to “maintain the basic human rights and the fabric of life of a group of citizens slated to be evacuated.”

The bill states that an evacuation of a large group (20 or more housing units) can only be done after a new location has been determined in which the evacuees can continue their lives in the manner to which they had grown accustomed. This means that the new location must have an infrastructure in place, as well as comparable education and religious service to those they leave behind. The new location must also offer employment for everyone that is comparable in terms of character, pay, and commuting time. Otherwise the evacuees are entitled to unemployment compensation for 24 months.

This is the famous “key for key” exchange which Gush Katif settlers were demanding at the time, meaning – instead of giving us money, give us the key to a new home and a new life that our comparable to what we are asked to give up – and then we’ll give you the key to our home.

In addition, the Finance Ministry must have in place the entire amount slated for reparations to the evacuees, above and beyond the arrangements for resettling.

“If, after we’ve objected and fought and demonstrated, and, God forbid, lost, and the state of Israel has decided to kick Jews out of their home,” Katz’s spokesman Harel Cohen, told the Jewish Press, “and, by the way, not only Jews, anyone, it cannot do it before it built them a home elsewhere, to start their lives anew.”

Cohen said the bill intends to prevent a repeat of the terrible injustice that Sharon has done to the Gush Katif evacuees, about which he says there’s a wall-to-wall consensus – as  seven years after their uprooting, most of the evacuees still do not live in permanent homes.

I told him that to an outside observer the bill looked like the foundation for a wholesale transfer of Jews from Judea and Samaria. Cohen denied this in no uncertain terms, saying the idea is to force the government to build a new Gish Katif before it takes down an old one.

It certainly appears that the right and the settlers are maturing and getting used to being associated with the ruling majority, and learning to play politics. It also explains why five members of Shas and one from United Torah Judaism are co-sponsoring the bill, as they could probably teach their national religious brethren a thing or two about exacting a price for their cooperation with government.

Cohen told me that the dean of Beit El Yeshiva and Katz’s mentor Rabbi Zalman Melamed was pushing this legislation as far back as a year ago, and at the time even Katz had difficulty with the concept – much as his three faction colleagues still do, apparently, today.

“It sounded to him like a conditional agreement” for evacuation, Cohen explained. But a year later, having agonized over the arduous process of losing the Ulpana Hill neighborhood at the High Court without even getting their opportunity to argue back, Ketzalaeh and everyone else in Beit El can certainly envision the worst happening again.

Israel May Build Artificial Islands to Alleviate Shortage of Space

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Cabinet today voted to establish a steering committee to explore the technological feasibility of constructing artificial islands off the coast of Israel.

A statement released by the Prime Minister said that the islands would be created for infrastructure purposes, namely “an airport, seawater desalination plants, and power stations.”

Israel, which is approximately the size of the state of New Jersey, is also a very densely populated country – with an average of 982 people per square mile (for comparison, the population density of the US is 83 people per square mile). Thus, it is grappling with a shortage of space and questions of how to mitigate it.

“Our state is small and crowded,” the Prime Minister said. “Therefore, the idea of artificial islands has spatial, economic and security logic for us. It is also of value regarding environmental protection. There is no doubt that this entails many opportunities for the State of Israel.”

According to the statement, the committee will present its conclusions and recommendations to the prime minister within a year.

The idea has been floated in the past, most recently in March 2011 by Transport Minister and Likud MK Yisrael Katz, who sought to build the islands off the coast of Gaza as a long-term alternative to the blockade of the Hamas-run territory.

At the time, Katz said he had discussed the idea with the Prime Minister and got the go-ahead to forge a plan. “We have built models and there are many entrepreneurs who are interested and prepared to invest billions and make money,” Katz told Army Radio. Environmentalists were critical of the idea, saying it would take an unforeseen environmental toll on the coast of Israel and Gaza.

National Religious Factions Split over Primaries

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

In response to National Religious Party Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev’s call for consolidated primaries of the two current factions of what used to be the historic NRP, MK Jacob “Katzale” Katz, who heads the National Union faction, said the primaries are a corrupt system by definition, and would “endanger the idea of Greater Israel.”

Katz argued that the candidates who manage to get more money win primaries. He called for a reunited NRP, and for the list of candidates to be decided by prominent rabbis.

Is Israel Still The Country It Once Was?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

As military analyst Yaakov Katz wrote recently in The Jerusalem Post, “Something has changed in Israel.” Once, Israel was renowned for daring military operations like the 1972 capture of five Syrian intelligence officers, the 1976 raid on Entebbe and, even as recently as 2007, the air strike on a Syrian nuclear reactor.

Today – following the Gilad Shalit swap last month for more than 1,000 convicted Palestinian terrorists – it is perceived by many as a country that caves to the demands of its enemies.

With Iran on the verge of going nuclear, many wonder if Israel is considering a possible preemptive military strike. But is Israel the country it once was? These days it seems it can barely push back against the Obama administration’s pressure to negotiate with Hamas and return to indefensible borders. Does an Israel that seemingly surrendered to the demands of terrorists have what it takes to neutralize the looming threat of a nuclear Iran?

In addition to being the military correspondent and defense analyst for The Jerusalem Post, the aforementioned Yaakov Katz is Israel correspondent for Jane’s Defense Weekly, the international military magazine. His first book, Israel vs. Iran: The Shadow War was a 2011 national bestseller in Israel and will be published in the U.S. next March.

Earlier this month at Temple Ner Maarav in Encino, California, Katz spoke on the recent world-changing upheavals in the Middle East, particularly how the so-called Arab Spring is quickly degenerating into an Islamic Winter. He discussed how dramatic developments like the Shalit exchange are impacting Israel, its national security, and its future.

The big beneficiary of the Middle East turmoil is Iran, a looming threat to Israel, which it openly promises to obliterate. The window of opportunity for an Israeli military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities is closing rapidly. Katz says such a military option is unlikely to be chosen soon.

When Katz ended his presentation to take questions, many in the audience wanted to know why Israel released more than a thousand terrorists to gain Shalit’s release. Katz deplored the message the deal sent – that terrorism and abductions are successful strategies – and said it’s time for Israel to establish a definitive policy about responses to such kidnappings, which are now sure to escalate.

Katz said Benjamin Netanyahu felt he had to make the deal for Shalit before upcoming elections in Egypt bring to power an even more anti-Israel government: “By reaching a deal now, Netanyahu clears his desk and is able to focus on Israel’s true strategic predicaments.”

An audience member asked if Israel could put forward a tougher image by adopting the death penalty for convicted terrorists. Katz noted that studies show, unsurprisingly, that capital punishment is no deterrent to Palestinian suicide bombers. As the terrorists often remind us, they love death more than we love life.

The Palestinians, Katz said, are definitely not partners in the peace process. They have one goal: to delegitimize and isolate Israel until the Palestinians get everything they want.

“The coming year will be critical for Israel,” said Katz. In 1948 David Ben-Gurion pondered the question, “How will Israel survive amid its many enemies?” That same question is relevant today. Katz says there is one national characteristic Israelis can be particularly proud of: resilience. Resilience is what has enabled Israel to defeat its enemies time and again since 1948.

Katz is confident the “same resilience will continue to ensure the greatest miracle of modern times” – Israel’s existence and future.

But will it? Is resilience enough? As Professor Steven Plaut has written, the endless war in the Middle East will end only when Israel pursues “peace through victory” and “returns to its determination to end the terror through military victory and force of arms.”

Mark Tapson is a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter. He is also a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, focusing on the politics of popular culture. This article originally appeared in slightly different form at Horowitz’s FrontPageMag.com.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/is-israel-still-the-country-it-once-was/2011/11/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: