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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Kol Yisrael’

The End of the (Leftist) ‘Voice of Israel’ Radio Is Near

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said Monday that Israel’s public broadcasting system is “sick” and that he holds out the option to shut it down and start all over again if a committee for reforming it does not get on with the job.

The committee has until the end of the year to come up with concrete suggestions that will bring what Erdan said is a needed “dramatic change,” but he cautioned that the reforms that have been suggested so far do not fill the bill.

Erdan, a veteran Likud Knesset Member and a strong nationalist, is the second Communicators Minister in a row to carry out reforms that literally are revolutionary.

His predecessor Moshe Kahlon announced from the outset of his term in the previous government that he saw no reason for mobile phone companies to take huge profits of billions of dollars and dish out exorbitant dividends to shareholders at the expense of customers who were subject to closed competition that was controlled by only three companies.

He slashed cell phone prices by up to 90 percent and opened up competition, and the Israel consumer now enjoys some of the lowest rates in the world.

Erdan is taking on what is formally known as the Israel Broadcasting Authority, whose flagship Channel One television and “Kol Yisrael (Voice of Israel)” radio station for years were the first and last word for Israelis.

Under the Peres-Rabin administrations more than 20 years ago, the IBA was entrenched with a “clubhouse” atmosphere that still does not allow for balanced broadcasts.

“The Authority shall ensure that the broadcasts give suitable expression to various and opinions and transmit reliable information,” is the official mandate.

In practice, the “Voice of Israel” is the voice of the center-left, which was openly biased in favor of Labor governments, openly antagonistic to the Likud and especially Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah, slanted reporting to favor a pullout in 2000  of the IDF from the security zone in Lebanon, campaigned repeatedly for freeing  Arab terrorists at any price,  campaigned for the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif, and promotes pluralistic agendas at the expense of Orthodox Judaism.

Like every other society or company that promotes an agenda that does not reflect its customers, the IBA ends up hurting itself.

“Public broadcasting is sick and needs a dramatic change,” Erdan said Monday. I am not appointed to head the IBA but am appointed to carry out the law of the IBA, and therefore I examined if it is fulfilling its legal mandate.

“My conclusion as clear that its objectives are not being achieved, and the IBA has lost relevancy and influence.”

As far back as 2002, Ombudsman Amos Goren noted that the IBA suffers from “suffocating hegemony” and that its broadcasters recruit their own friends with the same views.

He underscored its leftist agenda by the use of the term “West Bank” when referring to Judea and Samaria, a change that has been made. He also said that the Voice of Israel used the term “extreme rightwing” but never “extreme leftwing.”

The Voice of Israel’s legal analyst Moshe Negbi consistently takes a solidly left wing and anti-nationalist view. Rightwing analysts are rarely heard except as an officious and ostensible “balance” to other views, but interviewers usually use silk gloves when questioning left-center politicians and are highly argumentative when interviewing nationalists.

Before and during the last election, it promoted Labor Knesset Member (Fuad) Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, interviewing him ad nauseum.

The IBA’s latest anti-nationalist episode was gagging the Latma satirical program that exposes leftist agenda in the media.

The directors of Israel Media Watch, Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak, wrote in a column in the Jerusalem Post two weeks ago, “Latma’s flagship television-on-Internet program is the antithesis of Channel 2’s flagship satire program Eretz Nehederet, which is openly and unabashedly post-Zionist.”

However,  IBA Chairman Dr. Amir Gilat, rejected airing the program without another satirical show that would represent the leftwing. After a pilot program was produced, “the IBA decided that actually, it had no intention of airing Latma’s show,” Medad and Pollak wrote.

They added, “Latma received a laconic, one-sentence letter informing them the IBA had decided not to air their show.

A Generation In Need Of Rededication

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The strength and numbers of Orthodox Jews in America have never been greater, and yet those of us concerned with Judaism’s future must admit we confront a future no less frightening than the future that was evident to Hannah’s noble sons in Modi’in all those centuries ago.

Then, Jewish ritual and belief was crushed by a dominant Greek culture that had been imposed upon but – let’s be honest – gladly borne by the Jewish populace. As much as we might want to argue otherwise, we must wrestle with the understanding that the majority of the Jews of the Hasmonean Era embraced Greek culture.

While in America there is no military or cultural imposition that demands a compromise of Jewish values or practice, there is no less of an embrace of the larger, secular, non-Jewish culture. The sad fact is we are losing many of our children. To believe otherwise is to willfully place blinders upon our eyes and shackles on our hearts. Anyone who is honest and who works with Orthodox teens – even teens who have received a yeshiva education – knows that too many do not find meaning, fulfillment or purpose in Judaism. They do not feel the beauty of Judaism, or the power of the halachot.

Instead, they chafe against a “lifestyle” they feel is restrictive and complain that being religious simply is not “fun.”

Orthodox Union President Dr. Simcha Katz outlines some examples of the malaise affecting our young people in his Jewish Action (Winter 5773/2012) article, noting how they text on Shabbat and argue that the use of the ubiquitous technology is morally indistinguishable from adults speaking in shul. He identifies an “underground” teen Shabbat culture that even allows for Friday night parties in empty houses or basements; parties organized by text or Tweet and always unsupervised; parties that often involve music and, too often, drugs and alcohol.

Was the threat to Judaism any greater during the Hasmonean Era? Was the pain Judah Maccabee felt when he looked upon his Jewish brethren any more acute than the ache a caring rosh yeshiva feels today? Yet what army do we fight to save Judaism? Where is our enemy?

Our Jewish children seem lost – determinedly so. Rather than the warmth of a small minyan, they feel embraced by their hundreds of Facebook “friends,” seemingly unable to appreciate the power of what having a true friend actually means. Imagine – hundreds of friends. More than a thousand even!

I am nearing retirement age, having lived a good life, and yet I require just the fingers of one hand to count the number of my friends; friends I know, cherish, love and respect. Hundreds of friends? Ridiculous! These are not friends. They are faceless faces; ciphers on an iPad or a smartphone. The relationship is no deeper than the pixels found on the computer monitor. These “friends” offer but a shallow glimmer of what life and relationships should be.

Those pixels shine only outward, never inward. Yet this is what draws our children.

And therein lies the challenge we face if we want to redeem this generation and to bring about a genuine rededication. How do we help our children learn to shine their light inward as well as outward?

Tractate Shabbat teaches that, “It is a mitzvah to place the Chanukah candles outside the door to one’s home, but in times of danger, it is sufficient to place the candles on one’s table [inside].” On its face, this text is a simple directive for a practical matter – the proper place for the menorah to be placed.

Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh – every Jew is responsible for the other. Judaism is, first and foremost, a communal expression. No Jew should live isolated from the rest of his community, nor should he be concerned only with his own existence and survival. Each Jew is obligated to reach out to his fellow Jews. In this regard, placing our menorot on the outside of our houses symbolizes this essential lesson. We bring our light to those who are still in the dark; we seek to enlighten those who have not as yet had the opportunity and privilege to be on the inside. Our light shines outward.

Being Held Accountable

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By any standards it was a shocking episode. Jacob had settled on the outskirts of the town of Shechem, ruled by Hamor. Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, goes out to see the town. Shechem, Hamor’s son, sees her, abducts and rapes her, and then falls in love with her and wants to marry her. He begs his father, “Get me this girl as my wife.”

 

Jacob hears about this and keeps quiet, but his sons are furious. She must be rescued and the people punished. Hamor and his son come to visit the family and ask them to give consent to the marriage. Jacob’s sons pretend to take the offer seriously. We will settle among you, they say, and intermarry, on condition that all your males are circumcised. Hamor and Shechem bring back the proposal to the people of the town, who agree.

 

On the third day after the circumcision, when the pain was at its height and the men incapacitated, Shimon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, enter the town and kill all the males. It was a terrible retribution. Jacob rebukes his sons: “You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed” (Genesis 34:30).

 

But Shimon and Levi reply, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?” (Genesis 34:31).

 

There is a hint in the text that Shimon and Levi were justified in what they did. Unusually the Torah adds, three times, an authorial comment on the moral gravity of the situation: “And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought a vile deed in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done” (Genesis 34:7). “The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister” (Genesis 34:27).

 

Yet Jacob condemns their action, and although he says no more at the time, it remains burningly in his mind. Many years and fifteen chapters later, on his death bed, he curses the two brothers for their behavior: “Shimon and Levi are brothers – their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel” (Genesis 49:5-7).

 

Who was right in this argument? Maimonides vindicates the brothers. In his law code, the Mishneh Torah, he explains that the establishment of justice and the rule of law is one of the seven Laws of Noah, binding on all humanity:

 

And how are the Gentiles commanded to establish law courts? They are required to establish judges and officers in every area of habitation to rule in accordance with the enforcement of the other six commands, to warn the citizenry concerning these laws and to punish any transgressor with death by the sword. And it is on this basis that all the people of Shechem were guilty of death (at the hands of Shimon and Levi, sons of Jacob): because Shechem (their Prince) stole (and raped) Dinah, which they saw and knew about, but did not bring him to justice… (Maimonides, Laws of Kings 9, 14).

 

According to Maimonides, there is a principle of collective responsibility. The inhabitants of Shechem, knowing that their prince had committed a crime and having failed to bring him to court, were collectively guilty of injustice.

 

Nachmanides disagrees. The Noahide command to institute justice is a positive obligation to establish laws, courts and judges, but there is no principle of collective responsibility, nor is there liability to death for failure to implement the command. Nor could there be, for if Shimon and Levi were justified, as Maimonides argues, why did Jacob criticize them at the time and later curse them on his deathbed?

 

The argument between them is unresolved, just as it was between Jacob and his sons. We know that there is a principle of collective responsibility in Jewish law: “Kol Yisrael areivin zeh ba’zeh – All Jews are sureties for one another.” But is this specific to Judaism? Is it because of the peculiar nature of Jewish law, namely that it flows from a covenant between G-d and the Israelites at Mount Sinai, at which the people pledged themselves individually and collectively to keep the law and to ensure that it was kept?

 

Maimonides, unlike Nachmanides, seems to be saying that collective responsibility is a feature of all societies. We are responsible not only for our own conduct but for those around us, among whom we live. Or perhaps this flows not from the concept of society but simply from the nature of moral obligation. If “X” is wrong, then not only must I not do it. I must, if I can, stop others from doing it, and if I fail to do so, then I share in the guilt. We would call this nowadays the guilt of the bystander. Here is how the Talmud puts it:

Q & A: Sinat Chinam Destroyed Our House

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2003

QUESTION: Our Sages strongly condemned sinat chinam – yet at times, good resulted from it. For example, when the sons of Yaakov went down to Egypt many years after selling their brother, they were treated royally.

Shlomo Feivelson
Coconut Creek, FL

ANSWER: Your point is indeed well taken, for would it not have been for sinat chinam - the unwarranted hatred – that the tribes felt and translated into deed, the events that followed would not have unfolded. Indeed as we mourn the destruction of our Beit Hamikdash it is relevant that we cull from an earlier discussion.Sinat chinam has as its source the verse in Parashat Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:18) that contains the commandment starting with the injunction, “Lo tikom velo titor et bnei amecha – You shall not take revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people.” We are not only told not to take revenge, i.e., not to retaliate in deed for the bad that was done to us, but we are admonished not to bear a grudge, whether expressed in words or as thoughts, even as we are engaged in doing good. The verse then continues with the phrase, “You shall love your fellow as yourself,” and concludes with the words, “Ani Hashem,” “I am the L-rd.”

Thus we see that the Torah itself places the concept of love of one’s fellowman on par with the fear of G-d. Rashi (ibid.) cites Rabbi Akiva’s comment: Amar Rabbi Akiva, Zeh kelal gadol baTorah. Rabbi Akiva says that this – loving your fellow as yourself ? is a fundamental principle in the Torah. This saying of R. Akiva is also quoted in the Babylonian Talmud (Nedarim 9:4) as well as in the Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 24,7). The Midrash refers to R. Akiva’s saying in connection with the creation of Adam, who was made in the image of G-d.

The Talmud (Shabbat 31a) relates the incident of a heathen who wished to convert. He first approached the sage Shammai and said to him: Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot. Shammai rejected him. The heathen then approached the sage Hillel with the same request, and Hillel told him, “De’alach snei, lechav’rach la ta’aveid; zohi kol haTorah kulah, ve’idach peirushah hu; zil gemor – What is hateful to you do not do to your fellowman: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary thereof; go and learn it.” We have to learn from this principle and apply it to the entire Torah. We infer from this episode that Hillel met with great success in regard to this proselyte as well as other proselytes, especially in light of the complete text of the Gemara (ibid.), which praises Hillel’s infinite patience.

A related concept in the Talmud is the statement (Shevu’ot 39a), “Kol Yisrael areivin zeh bazeh,” all Jews are guarantors one for another. This statement is preceded by a debate concerning the seriousness of the sin of taking G-d’s name in vain, i.e., swearing falsely, which is weighed as equivalent to all the other transgressions in the Torah, and the question whether the person committing the sin is punished alone or the whole world [of Israel] is punished along with him. The Gemara concludes that for any transgression – not only taking G-d’s name in vain – the sinner and all the other members of the nation of Israel are punished because Jews are responsible for one another, “Kol Yisrael areivin zeh bazeh.” They should therefore have done everything possible to prevent the wrongdoing.

My uncle Harav Sholom Klass, zt”l, explains that Yaakov’s sons not only should have been punished, but they should have been rebuked as well.

Yet when the brothers encounter Yosef (Genesis 45:3-15), their meeting ends in heartwarming tears and embraces and the brothers are given the very treatment that normally would have been reserved for royalty in Egypt.

Indeed, what the brothers did was wrong and they should have been punished, but it was the reaction of Yosef - ahavat chinam – that replaced punishment with reward. My uncle explains that ahavat chinam far outweighs sinat chinam.

Thus we see that no man is an island unto himself, but we are part of one entity. We must love one another just as we love our own limbs and organs, for we are indeed connected like the various limbs of one body. In retrospect, we realize that it was sinat chinam, unfounded hatred, that brought about the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash in Jerusalem. The antidote, ahavat chinam (gratuitous love) or better yet, ahavat Yisrael, love of all of Israel, will deliver us from our long exile and prepare the arrival of Melech HaMashiach, who will rebuild our Holy Temple speedily, in our days.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-sinat-chinam-destroyed-our-house/2003/09/03/

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