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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘majority’

‘Hear O You Deaf and Look O You Blind!’

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

We live a short walk from the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem. Over the holidays, the hotel was packed with Diaspora Jews from all over the world, but now that the holidays are over, the lobby is pretty deserted. I can’t understand how a self-respecting Jew can leave the Land of Israel and go back to the Lilliputian Jewish life of Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne, or Brooklyn after being in the Land of our Forefathers.

It’s like a Jewish husband abandoning his Jewish wife for a gentile whore. However kosher his ghetto in Chicago,Toronto, or Brooklyn may seem, it’s a ghetto all the same, in a foreign gentile land, surrounded by a foreign gentile culture, with foreign gentile values, and foreign gentile holidays, and a foreign gentile language, and a foreign gentile identity.

Some readers accuse me of harping on the mitzvah of living in Israel, but it isn’t me – it’s the Torah, as it says, “I am the Lord, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God” (Vayikra, 25:38).

Rashi explains the meaning of “to be your God,” stating: “For whoever resides in the Land of Israel, I am a God to him; and whoever leaves it is like one who worships idols.”

This emphatic teaching is also stated in the Talmud. It applies not only to  Jews who leave the Land of Israel, but also to Jews who make the Diaspora their home, as it says:

In all generations, a Jew should live in the Land of Israel, even in a city where the majority of inhabitants are idol worshipers, and not live in the Diaspora, even in a city where the majority of residents are Jews, for everyone who lives in the Land of Israel is like someone who has a God, and everyone who lives in the Diaspora is like someone who has no God, as it says, ‘I am the Lord, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God,’ for someone who resides in the Diaspora is like someone who worships idols (Ketubot 110B).

I’m sorry if this hurts your feelings, but this is what it says in the Torah. This is what Rashi says. This is what the Talmud states.

This is the halacha as recorded by the Rambam:  A Jew is allowed to temporarily leave the Land of Israel for business, or to learn Torah, or to get married, and then he must return, but to dwell there is forbidden (Rambam, Laws of Kings and Their Wars, 5:12).

That’s right – a Jew is supposed to live in Israel even in a city where the majority of residents are idol worshipers, and not live in Chicago, Lakewood, Monsey, Brooklyn, or Timbuktu, even if the majority of residents are Jews. This means that a Jew is supposed to live in Israel even if the Land is filled with self-hating leftists, Haredim who spit at women, corrupt politicians, and impolite taxi drivers. The commandment to live in Israel is not dependent on whether a Jew from Chicago likes the weather in the Holy Land or finds it too hot in the summer for his tastes.

The Haftorah we read on Shabbat teaches that Hashem gives a soul to the Jewish People who live in the Land of Israel “and a spirit to those who walk therein” (Isaiah, 42:5). The Nation of Israel only has national vitality in the Land of Israel. Everywhere else, we are a minority in someone else’s land. We can excel as individual comedians, and film directors, and Facebook wizards, and businessmen, but we can’t be our own JEWISH NATION – not in Chicago, or Lakewood, or Brooklyn. How can a Jew prefer gentile countries over his own Jewish Land?

The Prophet Isaiah cries out: “Hear O you deaf, and look O you blind that you may see! For who has been so blind as My servant, so deaf as My messenger?”

Jews visit Israel for the holidays as if it is some Jewish Disney World, and then go back to their gentile lovers and the embrace of foreign gentile lands, gentile World Series, and gentile presidential elections.

Happy 5773 From The Yishai Fleisher Show

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by alternative peace activist Baruch Widen, to talk about the nature of Rosh Hashana and how the true meaning of the holiday is not being observed.  They move on to talk about the need for both love and respect in all types of relationships and how it does not exist in the relationship between the west and a majority of the nations in the Middle East and end the segment by discussing the return of the Jewish Warrior to the world and get a quick check in from Malkah about Rosh Hashana preparations in the Fleisher home.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Swing States Polls Suggest Obama Lead – for Now

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Here’s the most meaningless poll result in the U.S. presidential race today. It’s the Real Clear Politics average of national polls taken between August 22 and September 7. According to that aggregate result of six different national polls—Rasmussen, Gallup, CNN/Opinion Research, Democracy Corps, CBS News and ABC News/Wash Post—President Barack Obama is leading his Republican opponent, Mitt Romeny, with 47.3 to 46.0, or +1.3 for Obama.

Poli Sci experts will tell you it’s a meaningless result for a number of reasons: it’s just a snapshot of the current national mood, with little to do with the actual election results; these polls come ahead of the first presidential debate; and the different polls target different cuts of the voter rolls. Gallup, for instance, targets registered voters—more likely to bend liberal, while Rasmussen typically questions likely voters—more likely to bend conservative (although in its current poll Rasmussen is giving Obama +2 against Romney).

But the most important reason why the above figure, +1.3 for Obama, is meaningless, is that these are national polls, and the U.S. does not conduct national elections. Rather, we have 50 plus local elections, which choose delegates to represent each state in the Electoral College.

The fight is over the number of delegates in each state, which, in the vast majority of states, is still based on the winner take all principle, and which also means a candidate must receive an absolute majority of electoral votes (270 out of 538) to win the Presidency.

Both parties have their certain states (California and New York go Democrat, Texas goes Republican), and their “leaning states” (Pennsylvania gives Democrats heart attacks but in the end votes Democrat, Indiana does the same to Republicans, more often than not).

So that the real election campaign is taking place outside of the sure states and leaning states of each party, which they usually concede to one another, and is being waged in these eight swing states. Together they comprise 95 delegates. This means that regardless how well each candidate is doing in their certain and near-certain states, they cannot win without winning the majority of the delegates in these swing states.

Right now, as you can see in the enclosed chart prepared by yours truly on my Excel, President Obama is enjoying from marginal to significant leads in all eight swing states.

It’s true that some of those poll results are quite old, especially in New Hampshire and Nevada. But in the two states with the heaviest delegate yield, Florida and Ohio, as of September 2, Obama is slightly ahead.

The Republicans know this, and have begun to pour the contents of their war chest into these states, with a big emphasis on Florida and Ohio. And a small lead that’s well within the margin of error can certainly be erased. But consider two important factors:

One – these figures do not reflect the bump for Obama in these states after the Democratic convention.

Two – after a while, incessant advertising begins to lose its effectiveness and, occasionally, starts yielding negative results.

We’ll be watching the swing states for you and updating you on the election as it rolls along. The first presidential debate is scheduled for October 3, dedicated to domestic policy; followed by the VP debate October 11; then a town hall meeting style debate October 16; and, finally, on October 22, a foreign policy debate.

Stay tunes.

DNC Leadership Rams Through God and Jerusalem Despite Losing the Vote (Video)

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

After Governor Ted Strickland made the motion to change the Democratic National Committee platform to include both God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, the head of the DNC, called for a voice vote, which required a two-thirds majority to pass.

As you can see from the video, a surprised, confused and irritated Villaraigosa did not get the clear majority he expected and wanted the first time around, and so called for another voice vote. Again not getting his clear majority, he is advised by someone to his side that tells him, “You’ve got to rule, and then you’ve got let them do what they’re gonna do.”

Villaraigosa then called for a third vote, in which it again does not sound like he had a majority. Despite that, he concludes by saying that in “opinion of the chair two-thirds have voted in the affirmative,” to which he was loudly booed.

Merging the Orthodox Streams

Monday, August 27th, 2012

As ridiculous as it may seem, one of the things that I wish would happen is a merger between Beth Medrash Gavoha (Lakewood) and Yeshiva University (YU). Although I can hear the howls of laughter and screams of protestation on both sides of the Hashkafic aisle, I really think this would solve a lot of the problems we have today in Orthodoxy.

The truth is that this is not as far fetched as one might imagine. At least from a purely Hashkafic perspective. If one looks back to the early days of American Chinuch post Holocaust, one would see exactly this kind of institution existing at the grass roots level.

Outside of New York – elementary schools catered to all kinds of students from all kinds of homes. My classmates came from Yeshivishe homes, Chasidic homes, Modern Orthodox homes, Lubavitch homes, and even non observant homes. Our teachers respected those differences and taught us accordingly. Learning Torah came first, but secular studies were considered very important and treated seriously. Even among those on the right. The idea of attending college was a given then in almost all circles. Parnassa, was the number one concern in those days.

How important was college to the right wing in those days? If one looks at Yeshivos like Chaim Berlin and Torah VoDaath, the vast majority of their students attended college while in the Yeshiva – usually at night. They got degrees in fields like accounting or went on to professional schools to become doctors, lawyers, dentists, engineers… what have you! All while maintaining Yiras Shomayim and a strong commitment to Torah and Mitzvos.

The idea of learning full time for long periods of time well into marriage was an ideal reserved for very few people. Only the most elite and most motivated people would even consider doing that.

But somewhere along the line the paradigm started changing. As the religious communities grew new schools were created to cater to specific Hashkafos.

On the surface that might seem like a good idea. But that was the beginning of the divide that ‘keeps on giving’. We are moving further and further apart. As the community grows, there are new schools with even more fine tuned Hashkafos being formed – adding to the division. I believe that all this fine tuning is one of the most divisive forces in Orthodoxy.

There are now schools on the right that consider secular studies a waste of time at best. Secular studies are belittled! There are schools on the left that are pushing the envelope of ordaining women and allowing them to act as Chazanot in certain parts of Tefilah. Some may see these divisions as a plus. But I don’t.

I prefer an Orthodoxy that has a broad Hashkafic spectrum under one roof. While we may (and I emphasize the word “may”) lose some on the fringes of the right and left, the vast majority of Orthodox Jewry would experience a far greater sense of Achdus. We had a hint of that at the last DafYomi Siyum. Although it was sponsored by Agudah it was attended by almost the entire spectrum of Orthodox Jewry. And it was a positive experience for the vast majority of them – over 90% were inspired by it according to one poll (mine).

So in theory I think it is possible to create this hybrid. The practical benefits of such a merger would transcend even the sense of Achdus that it would generate.

Each Hashkafa has a weakness that is hurting it. On the right, the disdain for a decent secular education pushes their masses into a life of poverty. On the left the weakness is in the inability to produce enough great rabbinic leaders. While there are exceptions in both communities, I think that this is basically the rule.

On the right – the aggrandizement of full time Torah study for everyone and the default second class status of the working man has resulted in 1000s of families who are unable to make a decent living. Unless they have some family connection or have the courage and determination to do the unthinkable and go to college late in their lives, most of these people are qualified to do little else than go into Chinuch. And most of those are not properly trained to do so.

The Aveilus Of Tisha B’Av Week

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

One may not perform several actions during the week in which Tisha B’Av falls. This is referred to as shavua she’chal bo. For example, one may not take a haircut or wash his clothing (Ashkenazi Jews are forbidden in these actions prior to the week of Tisha B’Av in accordance with the ruling of the Ramah). The Mechaber (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 551: 4) writes that in a year when Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbos and is pushed off to Sunday (as it does this year) there is a machlokes as to whether there are any prohibitions during the week before Tisha B’Av. The Mechaber seemingly sides with the view that there are no halachos of shavua she’chal bo in such circumstances.

Many Achronim explain that the dispute is based on the understanding behind the establishment of the fast of Tisha B’Av. The Gemara in Ta’anis 29a says that the Beis HaMikdash was lit close to the end of the ninth day of Av and continued burning throughout the tenth day of Av. Reb Yochanan said, “Had I been in the generation when Tisha B’Av was established, I would have established it on the tenth day of the month since the majority of the Beis HaMikdash burnt on that day.” The Gemara says that the Rabbanan who established the fast on the ninth day of the month did so because they felt that it was better to establish the fast day on the day of the troubles’ onset.

Based on this, they explain that the first opinion holds that there is no shavua she’chal bo in a year when Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbos and is pushed off to Sunday because the Rabbanan only argued that, when possible, the fast should be established at the onset of the troubles. However, when it is not possible to fast on the ninth day of Av (i.e., when it falls out on Shabbos), they would agree with Reb Yochanan’s view that the fast should take place when the majority of the Beis HaMikdash burnt – namely on the tenth day of Av. Based on this, the week that precedes Tisha B’Av is not the week when the fast falls out, since in a year like this year we fast on the tenth day of the month (Sunday) – which is the beginning of the following week.

The other opinion holds that the halachos of shavua she’chal bo do apply to the week prior to Tisha B’Av, even when it falls on Shabbos, because they opine that the Rabbanan hold that the fast should always be on the ninth day – even when one cannot fast on that day. The reason why we fast on Sunday is merely to make up for not being able to fast on Shabbos. However, the fast day is primarily on the ninth day. Hence all the halachos of shavua she’chal bo apply, since Tisha B’Av falls out during that week – namely on Shabbos.

This permits us to explain another machlokes, the one between the Mechaber and the Ramah (554:19) regarding whether one must keep aveilus betzina (hidden aveilus, i.e. marital relations) on Tisha B’Av that falls on Shabbos. The Mechaber says that one may have marital relations on the ninth day of Av when it falls out on Shabbos. The reason: The fast was primarily established to be on the tenth day, and the ninth day is not a fast day at all. Therefore, the Mechaber holds that one need not keep any aveilus betzina on the ninth day. But the Ramah argues that this is forbidden and that one must keep aveilus betzina since the Rabbanan established Tisha B’Av to always be on the ninth day of Av – even when one cannot fast.

There is one problem, however, with this suggestion. Why does the Mechaber say that, when Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbos and is pushed off to Sunday, there is a leniency regarding one making a bris milah? In siman 559:9, the Mechaber writes that one who makes a bris milah on a Sunday Tisha B’Av (that really fell on Shabbos) does not have to fast and may wash his body. In contrast, one must fast and may not wash his body if making a bris milah on the regularly scheduled day of Tisha B’Av. If we explain that the Mechaber is of the opinion that when Tisha B’Av falls out on Shabbos and is pushed off to Sunday (making Sunday the actual day of the fast, and thus Tisha B’Av didn’t fall in the prior week), permitting one to have marital relations on Shabbos, why is there any leniency or discrepancy regarding the fast on Sunday?

Ahead of Vote, Liberman Video Touts Importance of Equal Service Law

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

On Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s party Yisrael Beytenu released a video stressing the importance of passing a law mandating equal service for all Israelis. The video shows, through dramatic graphics, how in 1948 the vast majority of Israelis served their country whereas by 2020 the majority of Israelis will not be serving.

Titled “One Citizenship. One Obligation. One Opportunity. One Vote,” the clip was released ahead of the planned vote on Yisrael Beytenu’s IDF, National, or Civilian Service Law Proposal this Wednesday in the Knesset.

The bill seeks to establish several principles, which other, similar proposed bills do not necessarily share:

The promise of equal sharing of the burden of service among the State’s citizens.

The establishment of a system in which every citizen, men and women alike, will serve in the army, or perform national or civilian service (in effect, the civilian service in this bill will include today’s national service).

The recognition of Torah study in yeshivas as an important value in the State of Israel and the establishment of a program that combines learning and service – but certainly not with the huge number of yeshiva students who today avoid the draft.

The recognition of equal burden-sharing as an important value in the State of Israel.

The establishment of a state service option, taking into account the nature of the various sectors in Israel and assuring the ability to maintain the provisions of various religions and their customs while serving.

“We promised we would bring our bill no matter what,” declared Liberman on Monday, adding, “We have no choice. We waited until the last minute to see if they come to any reasonable compromise or a satisfying solution to both the Haredi and Minorities draft. Because there is no such solution, we put up our bill to a vote.”

Regarding sanctions against those who would not serve, the Israel Beiteinu chairman said he prefers economic moves. “By putting someone in prison, we’d be playing into their hands,” he explained. “If we take someone and put him in jail, we will make them a martyr, which is what they’re looking for. But once yeshiva boy knows that he’s not getting his support and his scholarship, and the yeshiva, too, will know that it does not get their benefits, that’ll be the most effective thing. Minorities, too, if they realize they won’t be eligible for unemployment and other benefits – they’ll come around.”

As things stand on Tuesday, the chances that the bill will pass on its first reading in the Knesset are low.

Click on the CC button at the base of the screen for English subtitles.

UPDATE: New Motion: Presbyterian BDS Vote to be Reconsidered – Failed Again

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Update #2: Motion to reconsider – Failed

——————-

Update #1: A motion to reconsider the BDS divestment from Israel vote has been made and seconded at the Presbyterian General Assembly.

Now it only needs a simple majority.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/update-new-motion-presbyterian-bds-vote-to-be-reconsidered/2012/07/06/

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