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June 1, 2016 / 24 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘message’

Ki Savo: Emulating The Creator

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Many passages in the Torah appear at first glance to be repetitious. Often, each iteration has a unique and deep message. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, finds such a case (in the passage of the Blessings and Curses) in the Torah’s instruction to keep Hashem’s commandments and walk in His ways.

Also in the passage of the Blessings and Curses, Rabbi Miller highlights the great blessing of a long life.

“And all these blessings shall come upon you, and they shall overtake you” (28:2). One of the greatest puzzles of the Torah is the lack of more open mention of the reward of the Afterlife. Rambam (Teshuvah 9:1) declares that the rewards foretold in the Torah for obeying the commandments are solely in this life, but the true reward is reserved for the Afterlife. But the reward of a long, peaceful life is bestowed for the purpose of being enabled to achieve more perfection by performing the commandments (“A mitzvah brings on a mitzvah” – Avos 4:2) and thereby becoming eligible for even greater happiness in the Afterlife.

The opportunity to achieve perfection is available solely in this physical existence; and though the happiness of the Afterlife is the end-purpose of Creation, that happiness is in proportion to the perfection achieved in this physical existence. Thus, a long life of peaceful and prosperous conditions is the supreme blessing, because in illness or poverty or with the tribulations of wartime, men cannot accomplish so readily the great achievements for which they would merit the higher status of the most virtuous in the life of eternal existence.

“If you will keep the commandments of Hashem your G-d, and you will walk in His ways” (28:9). This is not a rhetorical repetition, but two separate statements: keep His commandments and, in addition to keeping the commandments, study the ways of Hashem as demonstrated in the Torah or in the events of history or of the phenomena of Creation and emulate these ways by our own behavior.

One example of these ways is taught in the Torah when Moshe said, “Let me know Your ways” (Shemos 33:13) – at which time Hashem revealed His thirteen ways (ibid. 34:6-7). Also: “Behold, to Hashem your G-d belong the heavens and the heavens above the heavens.… Only in your Fathers did Hashem delight, to love them” (Devarim 10:14-15), which demonstrates that the ways of the fathers were pleasing in the eyes of Hashem. Thus we are obliged to love the ways of Abraham and Yitzchak and Yaakov, as described in the Torah, and we must walk in those ways.

We read, “He does justice for the orphan and the widow, and He loves a ger” (ibid. 10:18) and many similar instances of His ways. “Who is a G-d like You, that pardons iniquity and passes over the transgressions of the remnants of His heritage. He does not retain his anger forever, for He desires kindliness. He will again have compassion upon us, He will conceal our iniquities, and He will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. You will give faithfulness to Jacob, mercy to Abraham, as You swore to our fathers from the days of old” (Michah 7:18-20).

From these verses the Tomer Devorah has drawn up a list of character traits and attitudes, which we are obliged to learn and to emulate in accordance with this mitzvah of “You should walk in His ways.” These are not optional forms of piety or exceptional excellence; everyone is required to fulfill them because of the mitzvah “to walk in His ways.”

In addition to these examples of Hashem’s ways, we are required also to learn His ways that are demonstrated by the wonders of Hashem’s creation. The rain comes to supply water to drink and to cause the earth to produce food. The fruit trees produce attractive and luscious delicacies. The winds convey the rain clouds over the continents. Clothing is supplied by sheep’s’ wool and flax and cotton plants. Hundreds of remedies are derived from plants. The body heals itself in countless wondrous ways, most of us are born without any one of the thousands of birth defects that could have occurred.

Wherever we look, we see the kindliness of the Creator, which He showers upon man. Thus the attitude and the practice of kindness are “ways” of Hashem, which we must study and emulate. “Their G-d hates immorality” (Sanhedrin 93a); therefore we must hate immorality. “Hashem loves the righteous” (Tehillim 146:8) and Hashem loves Israel (10:15); we must emulate Him.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller

Why didn’t they leave the platform alone?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Earlier today I discussed the surprising degree to which the 2012 Democratic platform differed from the 2008 and 2004 platforms in respect to Israel. The changes represent a significant tilt toward Palestinian positions on Arab refugees,Jerusalem and Hamas. It also leaves out prior language about helpingIsrael maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its adversaries.

The interesting question is “why did they change it?” A platform is not a binding document; it is intended as a general statement of a party or candidate’s positions. Its planks are generally written to appeal the broadest possible constituencies. Most voters never read platforms or care about them.

If they had not changed the 2008 text nobody would have noticed. And at a time when Republican opponents are doing their best to argue that Obama is an anti-Israel president, one would expect Democrats to avoid giving them ammunition.

Unless they think that being anti-Israel is a plus. This would also fit in with recent public statements and actions regarding Iran, which they present as a problem forIsrael but not particularly the US.

But polls consistently show that the majority of Americans supportIsrael. So how can this make sense? To answer this, we need to look at who these pro-Israel Americans are; and by in large, they are not likely Obama voters. Most are white Evangelical Protestants, who are solidly Republican already. Some — a comparatively tiny number — are Jews for whomIsraelis a major issue that influences their vote. Many of these have already abandoned Obama. The majority of Jews, however, lean Democratic on the basis of domestic issues and will not be affected.

If this tilt againstIsraeldoesn’t hurt Obama too much, where does it help him? There are two groups that will take notice and approve of the change. One is his left-wing base. These are mostly students and others who have a “postcolonial” anti-Zionist (and anti-Western) point of view. It is critical for the Democrats to enlist these activists in the final get-out-the-vote effort.

It seems that just as Romney barely budged toward the center after receiving the nomination, so too Obama prefers to activate his troops rather than to reach out for undecided votes.

The second group of voters is the Ron Paul crowd. They have not as yet displayed much affection for either Obama or Romney, but they will find the suggestion of less military aid toIsraelappealing. They are also happy to see Obama avoiding ‘complicity’ in a possible Israeli attack on Iran.These two groups, along with American Muslims, constitute an anti-Zionist bloc. This move locks it in for Obama.

There is another possibility that cannot be discounted. That is that the change is intended to send a message to the leadership of the Muslim nations that Obama has been courting since his 2009 speech in Cairo — Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. — a message that he is taking concrete steps to weaken the “unbreakable bond” between the US and Israel. Perhaps he is finally working to fulfill his promise to pro-Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah that he would be “more up front” in helping the Palestinians in the future.

Visit Vic Rosenthal’s blog, Fresno Zionism.

Vic Rosenthal

The Method to Iran’s Madness

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Why does Iran issue ugly threats against Israel on an almost daily basis, saying that Israel will be annihilated, that it is a cancerous tumor that must be cut out, and so forth? After all, if they want to avoid an Israeli attack, shouldn’t they be a little less open about their intentions?

Maybe this news item will help us understand:

[Der Spiegel’s] investigative report said that a few months after the Munich Massacre, then Foreign Minister Walter Scheel held a secret meeting with representatives of the terrorist organization in order to create what was termed a “new basis of trust.”

The German government, according to classified documents obtained by Der Spiegel, did not demand that the terrorists completely stop terrorist activities, but only asked that they avoid attacking in Germany. In return, said the report, the terrorists sought to upgrade the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) political status.

German authorities also avoided prosecuting those involved in the terror attack on the Israeli athletes, the report said. Three of the terrorists who were captured alive were released after two months, after terrorists from “Black September” hijacked a Lufthansa plane.

It is typical for terrorists to try to split the nations opposed to them by promising immunity against further atrocities to one or another country. The Iranian regime employs terrorism as a major part of its foreign policy, so why shouldn’t it take the same approach to diplomacy as Black September?

By effectively making their nuclear program appear to be primarily a threat against Israel, Iran sends a message to the Europeans and the US that they are safe. We are just going to kill some Jews, they suggest, and you don’t want to go to war over Jews, do you?

I’m sure the message is being transmitted explicitly in private as well, along with threats that if the US and Europe do not go along, then bad things could happen to them as well. And there are a lot of bad things that Iran can do cheaply.

The Iranians know that they can’t persuade Israel that a nuclear weapon in their hands is not an existential threat. But they may be able to persuade the US and Europe that the real problem is not an Iranian bomb, but the Israeli reaction to it. And that is what they are trying to do.

Their objectives are (a) to prevent a US attack and (b) to get the US to prevent a Israeli one, until their program is complete.

This is exactly why the Israeli doctrine that its defense must not be placed in the hands of any other nation or organization is so important, and must not be abandoned under any circumstances.

Originally published at FresnoZionism.org.

Vic Rosenthal

The Scarecrow of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/the-scarecrow-of-1600-pennsylvania.html

It is not completely impossible that in a moment of electoral desperation, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr will be called into a private meeting with Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod and told that it’s time for him to announce that he wants to spend more time with his family. But it’s not very likely.

The chief function of a Vice President is making the President look good and by that measure Joe Biden is one of the best vice presidents who ever lived. The rule of thumb is that the more incompetent the man at the top is, the more of a buffoon the man just below him needs to be to make him look good. And again Biden does this job brilliantly.

James Monroe put as many political rivals in his cabinet as possible, but Barack Hussein Obama and the people around him are too insecure and paranoid to do such a thing. Monroe might have presided over the Era of Good Feeling, but the age of O is the Era of Bad Feelings. Hillary Clinton was never going to be on the ticket. Even giving her the Secretary of State position would never have been an option if it had not been a matter of pure survival, with the Obamas terrified of losing moderate Democrats to McCain.

Joe Biden, never a serious candidate, was the perfect match for Obama. A dumb old white man, to confirm all the dirty impulses of the left, while mockingly giving mainstream Democrats someone they could relate to. Biden’s gaffes aren’t an embarrassment, they are the whole point, signaling the end of the old American era of leadership. Their implicit message is that you can choose a McCain or Biden, another old white man, or the savvy multicultural representative of a new generation that looks like the America of 2050.

Obama and Biden are both symbols of the Post-American America. Biden represents the outgoing American administration and Obama represents the incoming Post-American administration. It is vital to make the American administration look weak, foolish and useless so as to affirm the right of the Post-American administration to seize power from it.

Biden’s ego has made it impossible for him to understand the uses he has been put to. And that is part of the joke. Joe Biden wasn’t selected despite his penchant for saying stupid things in public. He was selected because of it. He is there to project incompetence in order to make Obama look better. He is there to make the idea of white male leadership look like a joke. That is his one and only job and he has succeeded at it.

Biden is the successor of every dumb white male father figure on TV gawping at the screen, tumbling over chairs and down the stairs, scratching his head cluelessly at the wiser new generation around him. He is every man in a commercial who can’t figure out how to start a car, make coffee or clean the house until his wife or a helpful minority figure shows up and explains it to him.

Doofus Dad is no longer just unable to perform simple tasks in a commercial, rubbing his eyes to the sound of canned laughter. He is the Vice President of the United States who was chosen to live up to that calculatingly manufactured stereotype. And he is rubbing his eyes and saying stupid things to the sound of canned laughter at press conferences.

No halfway responsible man would have deliberately chosen an idiot as his potential replacement. But an administration that has done the things to America that this one has done is not in any way responsible. If you step into Obama’s head for a moment, you realize that he does not care at all what happens if he should die. A man who can’t be bothered to take care of his own extended family is not likely to care one way or another what happens to a country of several hundred million, most of whom are not even related to him.

Obama truly is a post-racial candidate. His tribalism is a feint. While African-Americans saw him as one of theirs, he has never seen himself that way. His racial identity is as much a scam as anything else about him. Obama has done as much for African-Americans as he has for his half-brother who is calling strangers to help pay his medical bills. Obama dispenses group privileges only when it suits his needs. He exploits accusations of racism, but race means very little to him. Racial identity, like national identity, is a pose that he adopts on the appropriate occasions.

Daniel Greenfield

A Tale Of A Recovering Internet Addict

Friday, August 17th, 2012

What exactly is the definition of an Internet addiction? Just how out of control does one have to be to qualify as having a true addiction?

I don’t know the answer to that question but if I don’t have an Internet addiction, I have something close to it. That’s why I can never go online for any reason even for a short time. I can’t go online for the same reason a recovering alcoholic can’t have even one drink. I have no control and once I start…

My Internet habit began years ago when we got Internet access in our home for valid reasons. One of the first things I got involved with was a small frum e-mail discussion group. We were a small group of women living in various locations across the globe, who were forming a bond with each other in cyberspace. The more I met with them online, the more I felt a kinship with these new friends whose faces I didn’t know. It quickly reached a point where they were my first waking thought, and I could barely wait to get together with them.

Sadly that discussion group closed, but I soon discovered other e-mail lists. Eventually I was on more than one. Unlike the first which had few members, now I was involved with e-mail lists that had many members, and many e-mails to read or delete. This took a lot of time, leaving me with less time to attend to things in my real life.

After a while I discovered message boards and chat-rooms. I couldn’t tear myself away. On a typical day, I’d start by going online and checking my e-mail. Oh those pesky junk mails! Delete, delete, delete. I would respond to e-mails and send out new ones.

Then I’d go to one of my message boards. After spending way too much time there, I’d think to myself, “Maybe by now somebody responded to my e-mail.” I’d go to check my e-mail again. After spending time on my e-mail, I’d think, “Maybe by now someone responded to what I wrote on the message board.” Thus I went back and forth between my e-mail and the message boards.

My relentless checking for responses didn’t necessarily end when I got off the computer. I would find myself repeatedly going back for another quick check to see if anybody e-mailed or responded. It was as if I were tied to the computer by an invisible leash.

Chat-rooms were even harder to tear myself from. How can anyone tear themselves away from an interesting conversation going on in real-time? How could I leave in the middle of the party?

I had no sense of time in cyberspace. Hours would go by without my accomplishing anything. By the time I finally got off the computer, my shoulder and neck were aching. I also found if I’d stay on the computer too long, I’d feel nauseous and dizzy and I had to lie down. I believe this was due to prolonged close-range exposure to computer glare, but I can’t say for sure.

These negative consequences, the time wasted, the muscle aches, and feeling ill were certainly reason enough to try and kick this habit. But the problems didn’t end there.

I was getting too emotionally involved with strangers I met online. For example, sometimes someone on one of my e-mail lists or message boards would share a personal problem, asking for advice.

When I got off the computer, I couldn’t just put the suffering soul out of my mind and go on with my life. I would spend time and emotional energy on the person’s problem, while my own problems were left on the back burner.

Then there were the kinds of people I met on the Internet. Truth to tell, I did meet some wonderful people, some of whom I’ve formed relationships with and have invited to my simchas. But there were many other people I deeply regret having come across.

I didn’t form relationships with these people but I did read their comments online. “Intellectual” atheists who look down at us silly wishful-thinking believers from their science-educated pedestals. In my naïve pre-Internet days, I thought atheists just weren’t thinking at all. I actually thought if someone would point out to these atheists that nobody in their right mind could believe something as complicated, orderly, and purposeful as nature could create itself, they would wake up from their dream.

Henia

IDF to Test Missile Attack Alert System on Mobile Phones

Monday, August 13th, 2012

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday began a week-long test of a text-message warning system that sends alerts to cellphones about imminent missile attacks in particular areas.

The drill will consist of messages sent to different geographic areas across Israel throughout the week, and will be sent in Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Russian. The alert system delivers location-specific warnings, according to the projected trajectory of rockets or missiles. It is seen as a more effective and efficient alert than existing air raid sirens.

The test is the culmination of years of development, and officials have stated that the alert system would become operational in September. The IDF has been fine-tuning the system over the past few months, with special focus on ensuring its resistance to cyber-attacks, from which IDF officials said the system “must be immune.”

Officials at the IDF Home Front Command said that the goal is simple – save more lives in case of war or other emergencies. One official told Xinhua, China’s official news agency, that the system could also “help civilians who are not in a dangerous area carry on with their routine and also help save lives of those traveling on the road while an attack takes place.”

Recent statements from the upper echelons of the Israeli government suggesting that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program may be in the offing have brought Israel’s home front preparedness -or lack thereof – to the fore.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed claims that Israel’s home front was unprepared to deal with impending military threats. “I think that there has been a very great change during our Government’s term in office…We are investing billions in home front defense, in Iron Dome, in the Arrow, and in other systems that are under development. We are investing a lot of money in defending facilities, institutions and homes. We are holding preparedness exercises for various scenarios regarding home front defense.”

In reference to the new text-message alert system, Netanyahu said, “we are thoroughly upgrading our warning systems, in which Israel is among the most developed in the world.” At the same time, he acknowledged that “one cannot say that there are no problems in this field because there always are.”

Netanyahu concluded by again reiterating that Iran is Israel’s greatest threat: “All of the threats that are currently being directed against the Israeli home front pale against a particular threat, different in scope, different in substance, and therefore I reiterate that Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons.”

Solomon Burke

Saudi Will Shoot Down Israeli Planes to Iran

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

The US has passed a message on to Israel that Saudi Arabia informed them they will shoot down any Israeli planes that flies over their territory on the way to attacking Iran’s nuclear weapon development facilities.

Some Israeli officials believe the idea for the message was instigated by the US in order to place additional pressure on Israel to not attack.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/saudi-will-shoot-down-israeli-planes-to-iran/2012/08/09/

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