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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘land of israel’

Rachel’s Tomb: A Jewish Holy Site Since Ancient Times

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Rachel’s Tomb, located in the northern outskirts of Bethlehem, about 400 yards south of Jerusalem, is the third holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. For the past 1,700 years, the site has been identified as the burial place of the Jewish matriarch, Rachel, and Jews were known to pray at the site for over the past 3,000 years. Rachel, the beloved wife of the patriarch Ya’akov, died during childbirth as the family was traveling to Hebron.

Rachel’s Tomb in the Hebrew Bible

According to Genesis 35:16-21,

They set out from Bayt-El; but when they were still some distance from Efrat; Rachel went into childbirth, and she had hard labor. When her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, “Have no fear, for it’s another boy for you.” But as she breathed her last –as she was dying– she named him Ben-Oni, but his father called him Benyamin. So Rachel died. She was buried on the road to Efrat — now Bethlehem. Over her grave Ya’acov set up a pillar, it is the pillar at Rachel’s grave to this day.

Photo by Rachel Avraham.

Whenever the Jewish people faced sorrows, throughout the generations, they would traditionally pray for Rachel to cry for them at Rachel’s Tomb, believing that her tears to God have special powers. Since she herself was childless for many years, many Jewish women visit her grave in order to pray to have children, although other members of the Jewish community who face troubles also visit her grave. Thus, as the third holiest shrine in Judaism, Jews across the Diaspora maintained a spiritual connection to Rachel’s Tomb over the centuries and paid for the holy sites upkeep.

According to Jewish tradition, the matriarch Rachel has always cried for her people whenever the Jews needed her. Ya’akov reportedly buried Rachel in Bethlehem, instead of in the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron, because he foresaw that his descendants would need her prayers en route to exile in Babylonia. Additionally, Yosef, Rachel’s eldest son, was the first Jew to pray by her grave. According to a Midrash, Yosef broke away from his captors temporarily en route to bondage in Egypt and cried out at her grave,

“Mother, my mother who gave birth to me, wake up, arise and see my suffering.” Rachel replied, “Do not fear. Go with them, and God will be with you.”

As Jeremiah 31:15-17 states,

Rachel, weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children who are gone. Thus said Hashem: “Restrain your voice from weeping, your eyes from shedding tears; for there is reward for your labor” declares Hashem. “They shall return from the enemy’s land and there is hope for the future” declares Hashem: “Your children shall return to their own country.”

Islamic Attitude

Photo by Rachel Avraham.

Historically, the Muslim world considered Rachel’s Tomb a site holy to Jews. According to a report written by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the sixteenth century Arab historian Mujir Al Din wrote that Rachel’s Tomb was a Jewish holy place. He recorded that Rachel’s Tomb was built with “eleven stones and covered with a cupola which rests on four pillars, and every Jew passing writes his name on the monument.” The same JCPA report states that in 1830, the Ottoman Turkish authorities decreed that Rachel’s Tomb was a Jewish holy site, proclaiming,

The tomb of esteemed Rachel, the mother of our Lord Joseph…they (the Jews) are accustomed to visit it from ancient days; and no one is permitted to prevent them or oppose them (from doing) this.

Another Ottoman decree, dated 1831, orders that all obstacles be removed that were in place that interfered with members of the Jewish community that sought to visit Rachel’s Tomb.

In 1615, Mohammad, Pasha of Jerusalem, had rebuilt Rachel’s Tomb on behalf of the Jewish people. In 1841, Jewish caretakers were given exclusive ownership of the place. And in 1845, the entire Rachel’s Tomb compound was redone with the permission of the Turkish authorities by Moses Montefiore.

Rachel Avraham

Who’s Denying Whose Heritage?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

I learned from here that:

Prof. Mustafa Kabaha [Kabha], Department of History and Philosophy at the Quds Open University [his Ph.D., Aranne School of History, Tel-Aviv University and that ‘Quds Open University’ is just the Israeli Open University], said that the Israeli occupation seeks to blur and thieve the Palestinian identity and history…Israeli authorities started renaming the Palestinian towns, cities and streets in order to impose the Israeli ideological, religious, and national control over the Palestinian territories in an attempt to falsify the land’s history…Kabaha revealed that there is an Israeli committee specifically charged with Judaizing and changing the Palestinian Arab names.

P.S.  I have his book –  The Role of the Press and Journalistic Discourse in the Arab Palestinian National Struggle, 1929-1939 – on my shelf, actually.

About that committee – no revelation required.  It is well known.

But as to who is a-thieving, and stealing and expropriating historical identity, first of all, “Palestinianism” is a model of disinventivity nationalism.  Not only do they invent their own narrative but they disinvent Jewish history.

The Tomb of Rachel. Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs. The Temple Mount. Jerusalem Denial.  The whole UNESCO campaign.  All, and the entire Land of Israel, have been the subject of incessant Islamic reinvention.

My home town – Shiloh – became Seilun and the Pal. Minister for Archaeology denies its past.

With “intellectuals” and “academics” as he, they aren’t going anywhere fast.

Visit My Right Word.

Yisrael Medad

Jews are Indigenous to the Land of Israel

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

No people in the world today have an older claim to the Land of Israel than the Jewish people do. The Jebusites, Amorites, Canaanites, and Philistines do not exist in today’s world.

According to the American archaeologist Eric Cline, writing in Jerusalem Besieged,

Historians and archaeologists have generally concluded that most if not all modern Palestinians are probably more closely related to the Arabs of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, and other countries than they are to the ancient Jebusites, Canaanites and Philistines.

He claims that all of the ancient inhabitants of the Land of Israel, except for the Jews, have been vanquished.

Nevertheless, Cline says that, “Few would seriously challenge the belief that most modern Jews are descended from the ancient Hebrews.” Cline is backed up by a study that was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

After doing a detailed study titled “Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry,” scientific research found that “Jews originated as a national and religious group in the Middle East during the second millennium BCE and have maintained continuous genetic, cultural, and religious traditions since that time, despite a series of Diasporas.” Thus, given this, it has been established that most Jews are descended from the ancient Israelites that have lived in the Land of Israel since antiquity.

One of the earliest archaeological proofs for the existence of the Jewish nation in the land of Israel can be found in Egypt, where a victory monument of Pharaoh Merneptah claims that the Egyptians defeated the Israelites in about the year 1207 BCE.

Inside the Israel Museum today, one can find an Aramaic inscription proving that the House of King David really existed. One can also witness within the Israel Museum a cuneiform inscription in which Assyrian King Sennacherib bragged about how he defeated the Kingdom of Judah. He proclaimed, “And Hezekiah, King of Judah, who did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to countless small villages in their vicinity. I besieged them and conquered them.” None of these archaeological relics would have existed if there weren’t an ancient Jewish kingdom within the Land of Israel.

Indeed, in 66 BCE, Israel had a population of 3 to 4 million souls, of whom 75 percent were Jewish. Jews remained the majority of the population up until 135 CE, when Roman persecutions transformed the Jews into a minority within their own country. From that point onward, the majority of the population in Israel would comprise of Hellenistic Christians.

By the seventh century, only 150,000 to 200,000 Jews continued to live in Eretz Yisrael. And by 1517, following the Black Plague and the Crusades, only 300,000 people lived in the Land of Israel, of whom 5,000 were Jews. For the first time in history, Muslims became the majority population within the country under Ottoman rule, although many more Muslims would migrate to the Holy Land throughout the Ottoman period up until the conclusion of the British Mandate. Most modern Palestinians are descended from these recent Muslim migrants. During Ottoman times, Jews continued to live in their ancestral homeland, although significantly reduced in size.

Since the Roman expulsion Jewish prayer liturgy has been filled with references of the yearning the Jewish people to return back to their ancient homeland, and for the past 2000 years the Jewish people have prayed at least three times a day to return from their exile.

In 1948 David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, expressed the Jewish peoples indigenous claim and connection to the Land of Israel when he read the Israeli Declaration of Independence in which it is stated:

ERETZ-ISRAEL (the Land of Israel) was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books. After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom. Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses.

The declaration then announced “the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel to be known as the State of Israel. … Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles.”

Rachel Avraham

Make Aliyah When They’re Young

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

I received the following letter from someone who was interested in making aliyah who wasn’t sure they could:

Dear David,

I’m interested in moving to northern Israel. My wife is in love with the atmosphere there.

We have 2 children, ages 5 and 12, and even though I’m 67, I’ll have to work until they’re grown. I’m a physician in Internal Medicine. I was told that there is a need for physicians in the north. Please write me back.


Wanting to make Aliyah

Here is how I responded:

Dear friend,

If my writings are in any way inspiring you to make the move to Israel, I am glad. Northern Israel is a great place. I grew up there, from age 11 to 21, and I too have very fond feelings for that region. Its green scenery and mountainous terrain are beautiful. I can appreciate your wife’s attraction to that area, and I believe that there is a home waiting for your family there – you just need to find it.

From what I understand, Israel today is actually lacking doctors – and if that is true, you would be welcomed as a professional here. There are hospitals in Tzfat, which is very close to Rosh Pina, but they are also in Haifa, Nahariya and in Puriya near Tiveria. Israel has four major medical providers, Leumit, Kalalit, Meuchedet and Macabee. All four have their own clinics spread out around the country. In Israel’s national health system, every citizen is covered by a basic medical plan and has the choice of becoming a member of one of the major medical providers’ basic plans, then can add on additional services according to his or her needs.

So you will find medical clinics in all of the larger towns in the north as well as elsewhere in Israel. The north – considered to be peripheral because it’s further away from the major Tel Aviv population center – might actually be in greater need of doctors. You could try contacting the medical providers directly and asking each where you might be needed the most.

But I strongly suggest that you consult with Nefesh B’Nefesh. They seem to be doing a very good job of counseling Olim and helping them make good decisions on the path of establishing them in their new lives in Israel. If I am not mistaken, NBN has a program specifically meant to encourage Jewish families to move to the north, and they also provide job counseling. Hopefully, they can help you reach out to the medical providers who really need you and make a perfect match.

I am glad for your children’s sake that you are planning to make this move now. From my own experience, this is a wonderful opportunity for them to make an easy transition into a new language and society. Young kids have a way of quickly adapting to new surroundings and they are quick to pick up the language. I believe that they will look back and thank you for moving them to Israel now.

David Ha'ivri

Pesach and Solidarity

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

In Festival of Freedom, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik observes about our liberation from Egypt:

A group cannot be called am [nation] if there is no solidarity. Am is indicative of a readiness to share, a sense of compassion. The Jews were taken out of Egypt and were freed not because of their spiritual grandeur, but simply because they were charitable to one another; there was a feeling of solidarity among them.

Rabbi Soloveitchik goes on to state about solidarity in relation to the Holocaust:

If in the 1940s we had responded to the call for help that came across the ocean from the ghettos in Poland, Lithuania, and the Baltic lands, we might have saved hundreds of thousands of Jews. We did not respond to that call. I thought at the time that the Jewish community was falling apart, that there was no sense of solidarity, of being together, of suffering together. It was a terrible crime on our part…and we have not purged ourselves from the great crime we committed, tolerating the destruction of six million Jews.

As Pesach nears, these words should set our consciences aflame. Today, some of the world’s most inspirational Jews suffer continual persecution and brutality. Masked troops destroy their communities under cover of darkness and jail their children without due process, traumatizing families and empowering the enemies of Am Yisrael.

These crimes occur not under the flag of nations like Egypt or Russia, but under the flag of Israel.

We should know the name Akiva Hacohen. After this patriot warned Jews in Yehuda and Shomron about planned demolitions of homes, in August 2011 the state expelled him from his home in Yitzhar. Akiva was then jailed for espionage in January 2012.

Subsequently “released” to a house arrest with 24-hour monitoring that in effect also put his family under house arrest, the state further prohibited Akiva from using communication such as a cellular phone and the internet. “All we wanted to do was to guard the Land of Israel,” his wife Ayelet stated. “Unfortunately, this is an anti-Zionist state which abuses Jews who love the Land of Israel.”

Ayelet’s reference to “an anti-Zionist state” is a key point. Zionism means defending Jews and building Eretz Yisrael. People who hurt Jews and surrender Israel to Islamist neo-Nazis are not Zionists, no matter how fluent their Hebrew is.

We should know the names of the bulldozed Torah communities Akiva and Ayelet tried to defend—names like Mitzpe Avichai and Ma’oz Esther and Oz Zion and Ramat Migron.

Where is our solidarity for these oppressed brothers and sisters? Where are the manifestations of collective outrage?

It takes little if any moral courage to say that dead fascists and perpetrators of rocket attacks from Gaza are evil. It is another matter to confront brutality against Jews that is perpetrated by Jews. Denouncing Hitler and Hamas while ignoring Jewish enemies is outrage on the cheap.

In fact, all too often the attitude of Jews in the dati leumi (national religious) camp toward these matters is one of coarseness and evasion. “Now that it’s done, it’s done,” a dati leumi commentator said about the Shalit deal soon after it took place. Another commentator likewise reduced Gush Katif’s destruction to having been “a bad policy.” (I suppose then that England’s expulsion of Jews in 1290 was merely a bad policy.) These statements bring to mind what Rabbi Meir Kahane wrote regarding Mishlei 17:15 and 24:24-25:

[T]hose who fail to rebuke, aid and encourage the wicked to continue, and through their silence or their very timid, tepid and ‘mild’ criticism that fails to stamp the deeds as evil and as wrong, they are in effect labeling them as decent and as acceptable, thus erasing the line between good and evil.

This Pesach, let us take to heart Rabbi Soloveitchik’s words about what solidarity means for Am Yisrael and act accordingly.

Menachem Ben-Mordechai

The Two-Paint Solution

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

The best way to explain hard concepts is by making analogies to everyday things. Of course you have to be careful that the essential part of the analogy fits. When I was in school, I was told “the map is not the territory” — in other words, in any analogy there will be things that are different from the reality one is trying to describe. You just have to know what’s essential.

So I am going to make one more try at explaining why the “two-state solution” is not a solution, and why the people who claim to want one are either terminally uninformed or evil. Here is my analogy:

One day I was down at the lab when a young scientist came running up to me. “Dr. Fresno!” he called. “Eureka! Eureka! I have invented an automobile that does not require fuel, or even batteries!”

“Great,” I said. “You have solved an important problem. How does it work?”

“Simple. You just paint half of the roof of the car with solar paint. When light strikes it it produces electricity, which operates the electric motors that run it.”

“Hmm,” I said. “But how does it work at night, or on an overcast day? You said there were no batteries.”

“That’s the other half of the roof. You paint it with anti-solar paint. When dark strikes it, it produces electricity…” he began.

“That’s amazing,” I told him. “How on earth do you make paint like that?”

“Oh, I have no idea. But wouldn’t it be a wonderful solution?

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Vic Rosenthal

At Any Price

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Over the past few days I’ve seen numerous articles, effectively open letters to Obama, suggesting courses of action while here in Israel. I believe it much more important, not to advise the President, rather to speak to Israeli leaders, those now holding the reins of power in our country.

Most groups that I guide here in Hebron visit, among other places, the museum in Beit Hadassah. This site allows people to receive, over a few minutes, a comprehensive education about the history of Jewish Hebron, over hundreds of years.

One of the most emotional places in the museum is the memorial room, dedicated to the memory of 67 Jews slaughtered in Hebron during the riots in August, 1929. In words and photos, people can understand, in a relatively short period of time, the background to the atrocities committed by their next door neighbors, and the subsequent consequences.

A day prior to the beginning of the massacre, Thursday, August 22, a group of Jews belonging to the Hagana, the Jewish defense organization, visited Hebron and met with the Jewish community leaders. They offered them weapons, saying that Mufti Haj Amin El Husseini was inciting and trouble was about to erupt. Hebron’s Jews refused to take the weapons, explaining that this would only act as a provocation, that they’d already met with the city’s Arab leadership, who promised to protect them. As a result, when, the next day, the rioting commenced, they had no means of protection. The results are history.

Upon conclusion of this explanation, I express two thoughts to my audience: First, in 1967, during the Six Day War, Israel did not conquer and occupy a foreign city when arriving in Hebron. Rather, they had come home. And second: We must be able to protect ourselves. Not only on an individual basis; rather on a national level. When Israel puts its security in the hands of others, the only thing we receive in return are dead Jews. Oslo left Israeli security with Arafat. The result: some 2,000 people killed by Arab terror. Israel abandoned Gaza to the Arabs and have paid a price of some 13,000 rockets and missiles shot into Israel from the land we gave them.

These are the same two thoughts which Israeli leaders must recite to themselves, as well as to their guests, in the coming days. Israel is our homeland. Hebron is the heart of Israel. Beit El is the path via which the Patriarch Abraham toured our land, and was literally a stairway to Heaven. Shilo was home to our most sacred sanctuary for hundreds of years. And of course, Jerusalem is our eternal capital.

Israel is facing a seemingly lethal threat from Iran. Syrian weapons of mass destruction may fall into the hands of Hizballah and Hamas. We cannot and must not allow responsibility for our security to be in the hands of anyone else but ourselves. Not at any time.

While speaking of ‘settlements’ in Judea and Samaria, while discussing Jerusalem and the other holy cities in our Land, our leaders can pose simple questions to Obama and Kerry: ‘Would you, in return for a peace accord with Al-Qaeda, give them Boston or Philadelphia?” “Would you grant them total autonomy or sovereignty in a section of Washington D.C.?”

And while discussing Syria’s chemical weapons, and Iran’s nuclear weapons program, “would you allow Canada to decide if and when the United States should attack and destroy North Korea’s nuclear weapons’ facilities?

Rafael Medoff, in an op-ed piece titled, Obama, FDR and Zionism in today’s Jerusalem Post, basically expresses the bottom line: 

By 1942, FDR was so averse to being seen as pro- Zionist that he rejected even a request to permit the Palestine (Jewish) Symphony Orchestra to name one of its theaters the “Roosevelt Amphitheatre… [We] asked the President about refugees, the White Paper, etc. What he proposed to do about these things. [We] made a number of suggestions to him as to what [we] thought he ought to do and the answer to all of these suggestions was ‘No’… David Niles, a close adviser to FDR, once remarked that if Roosevelt had lived (and thus Harry Truman remained vice president), he probably would not have supported the creation of Israel, and as a result the Jewish state might never have been established.

This was the ‘almighty FDR,’ who, in 1933 said:

The German authorities are treating the Jews shamefully and the Jews in this country are greatly excited. But this is also not a governmental affair. We can do nothing except for American citizens who happen to be made victims.

And what about the ‘almighty BHO’. How will he be quoted fifty or sixty years from now? “I really was very sorry, but there wasn’t anything we could do, it was too late…”

David Wilder

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/at-any-price/2013/03/19/

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