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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘part’

Q & A: Elul – A Time To Repent (Part III)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Question: Where does the name Elul come from? Also, how can Elul be both the last month of the year and the prequel to the holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) that occur in the following month, Tishrei, the first month of the new year? Finally, can you please discuss the religious practices of Elul?

M. Goldman
Miami Beach, FL


Summary of our response up to this point: Elul is really the sixth month of the year, as the Torah counts the new year from Nissan when the Jewish nation was freed from slavery and able to serve G-d exclusively. The Gemara explains that Rosh Hashanah is when we are judged for the coming year; that’s why Tishrei is also considered the beginning of the year (Rosh Hashanah 7a). Rosh Hashanah is mentioned as the time for being judged and blowing the shofar (Numbers 29:1).

* * * * *

The Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 581:1) states the following in the name of Acharonim: “It is the custom in our countries that from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Yom Kippur, we say LeDavid Hashem Ori (Psalm 27) every day at the conclusion of the morning and evening tefillah, and then we recite Kaddish. We, however, are accustomed to say it until Shemini Atzeret, which includes the day of Shemini Atzeret as well.”

The Mishnah Berurah continues: “On days when we say Mussaf [such as Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, or Yom Tov], we say it at the conclusion of Shacharit, before Ein Kamocha. In the evening, we say it at the conclusion of Minchah [or Maariv according to Nussach Ashkenaz]. In places where it is recited after [Mussaf] on Rosh Chodesh, it is proper to first say Barechi Nafshi [Psalm 104]. In places where it is said after Shacharit, it is proper to first say Shir Shel Yom.”

We find almost identical language in Matteh Ephraim (by R. Ephraim Zalman Margolies of Brod), Orach Chayim 581:6, where we find the commentary Elef Hamagen (by Rav Meshulam Finkelstein of Warsaw), who notes, as we stated, that some say LeDavid Hashem Ori after Maariv and not after Minchah.

It would seem that those who say LeDavid Hashem Ori after Maariv would start saying it the eve of Rosh Chodesh Elul while those who say it after Minchah would only start saying it the following day. However, Likutei Maharich, who cites Matteh Ephraim (see also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:2), seems to imply that either way, we only start saying it the morning of Rosh Chodesh Elul. He writes that “we say it in the morning and in the evening.” Indeed, that is our custom. Both those who say LeDavid Hashem Ori after Minchah and those who say it after Maariv only begin saying it the morning of Rosh Chodesh Elul.

Most agree that we continue saying this psalm through Shemini Atzeret.

In Otzar Erchei HaYahadut (by Rabbi Joseph Grossman, p. 246), the source for saying LeDavid Hashem Ori at this time of year is explained. Rabbi Grossman cites Midrash Shocher Tov, which states that the word “ori – my light ” in this psalm refers to Rosh Hashanah. (In Elef Hamagen ad loc. R. Finkelstein cites R. Israel Hapstein, the Koznitzer Maggid, who explains that out of fear of Hashem’s judgment, darkness descends upon man. Then, Hashem in His great mercy, shows light to man from afar.) Midrash Shocher Tov states further that “veyish’i – and my salvation” refers to Yom Kippur; “ki yitzpeneini besukko – He will conceal me in His tent” alludes to Sukkot; and “mimi i’ra – whom shall I fear” alludes to Hoshana Rabba, which is understood to include Shemini Atzeret as well.

As to why we say LeDavid Hashem Ori for the whole month of Elul, Rabbi Grossman cites Minhagei Yeshurun (13a), which notes that the word “lulei” (lit. “that I would”) in the penultimate verse in the psalm contains the letters alef, lamed, vav, and lamed, which are the letters of “Elul.” This explanation also accounts for why we recite this psalm only starting on the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, since the first day of Rosh Chodesh is actually the last day of the previous month, Av.

We find another custom relevant to the month of Elul, as cited by Ba’er Heitev (Orach Chayim 581:10): “When a person writes a letter to his friend [in Elul], he should mention at the beginning that he wishes a year full of goodness for him.”

Today we expand upon this practice during the entire month: When we meet and greet people, we wish them either a “ketiva vechatima tova – May you be written and inscribed for good,” or the variant, “Leshana tova tikatevu vetechatemu,” which means the same.

Likutei Maharich (ad loc.) notes that the Ba’er Heitev is essentially quoting the Maharil, and an allusion to this custom might be found in Parashat Yitro (Exodus 18:7): “Vayetze Moshe likrat chotno vayishtachu vayishak lo vayish’alu ish lere’ehu leshalom vayavo’u ha’ohela – Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed and kissed him, and each inquired about the other’s well-being, and then they came into the tent.” The words “vayish’alu ish lere’ehu leshalom” begin with the letters vav, alef, lamed, and lamed, which form the word Elul, meaning that during the month of Elul, we inquire about each other’s well-being.

Likutei Maharich points out that some start their letters with this greeting (as seen in the introduction to Avodat Hagershuni as well as in Matteh Ephraim) while others sign off with these words as a salutation.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

The Bombings, Part II: De Blasio, Obama, And Cuomo: A Study In Contrasts

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

The reactions of New York mayor Bill de Blasio, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and President Obama are also revealing. The president and the mayor, as true progressives, strove mightily to avoid using the “terror“ word – no doubt fearing that someone might, Heaven forbid, make a Muslim connection.

The identity and background of the arrested suspect show just how off the mark their approach was. To his credit, Gov. Cuomo told it like it was right out of the box.

“A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism,” the governor said soon after the news broke of the Manhattan attack.

And while Mr. Cuomo initially hesitated to speculate on a foreign connection, once the identity of the suspect was made known, he was quick to say that “today’s information suggests it may be foreign related.”

(In retrospect, how could it have been otherwise? After all, it was immediately known that explosives were placed in a pressure cooker with shrapnel and that there had been an earlier bombing in New Jersey.)

But Mayor de Blasio was not having any of that, and instead refused to acknowledge what everyone knew to be the case: that terrorism was in play. He said:


Here is what we know: it was intentional, it was a violent act, it was certainly a criminal act, it was a bombing – that’s what we know…. To understand there were any specific motivations, political motivations, and connection to an organization – that’s what we don’t know.


But nobody asked him to ascribe specific motivations. Surely he had a duty to assure New Yorkers that he had some handle on the scope of the dangers they faced. And to what would he ascribe the explosions – run of the mill vandalism? Yet it wasn’t until Monday, after the identity of a prime suspect went viral, that the mayor first broached the notion that the bombings may indeed have been terrorist acts.

As for the progressive-in-chief, 72 hours after the Saturday bombings President Obama had yet to utter the word “terrorist” in reference to them – despite the Islamist allegiance of the alleged perpetrator.

Indeed, as if to underscore his refusal to accept, even now, any overarching Muslim connection, the president, who arrived in New York on Sunday for the annual UN General Assembly, declined to accord any special significance to the bombings by passing without stopping at the site of the Chelsea bombing.

At least we can say kudos to Gov. Cuomo.

Editorial Board

Congressmen: Judea and Samaria are Not the ‘West Bank’ But Part of Israel

Friday, September 16th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS.org website}


US Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) spoke to an Israeli delegation this week about congressional support of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

“I want to say to all the people of Samaria that they are beloved by the American people, and we believe that Judea and Samaria are not the ‘West Bank’ but part of the state of Israel,” Franks told the Samarian Regional Council delegation on Capitol Hill.

The council’s chief Yossi Dagan visited Washington D.C. to meet with more than a dozen Republican and Democrat legislators to discuss the US support of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.

“There are people in the US Congress who, no matter what, will continue to work on behalf of Judea and Samaria, who will continue to do whatever they can to fight on behalf of Israel and ensure that you will never feel alone in this world,” Franks said in the meeting that included Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, who echoed that sentiment.

Dagan urged Congress to pressure the Obama administration to stop demanding that Israel freeze Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.

“The pressure the American government is putting on the Israeli government to strangle settlement and block construction creates a situation where our children are forced to learn in caravans rather than normal buildings, like other children around the world,” Dagan said.

Halting construction prevents children in Judea and Samaria from living close to their parents due to lack of housing, he explained.

“The international pressure has also prevented Israel from expanding the water infrastructure in Samaria as needed, which at the end of the day means both Israeli and Arab residents were left without water for much of this past summer,” Dagan added.

JNS News Service

Q & A: Elul – A Time To Repent (Part II)

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Question: Where does the name Elul come from? Also, how can Elul be both the last month of the year and the prequel to the holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) that occur in the following month, Tishrei, the first month of the new year? Finally, can you please discuss the religious practices of Elul?

M. Goldman
Miami Beach, FL


Summary of our response up to this point: Elul is really the sixth month of the year, as the Torah counts the new year from Nissan when the Jewish nation was freed from slavery and able to serve G-d exclusively. The Gemara explains that Rosh Hashanah is when we are judged for the coming year; that’s why Tishrei is also considered the beginning of the year (Rosh Hashanah 7a). Rosh Hashanah is mentioned as the time for being judged and blowing the shofar (Numbers 29:1).


* * * * *


The Yamim Nora’im, a time of introspection and reflection as we await our annual judgment, are properly introduced by the month of Elul, which acts as a facilitator to the great task ahead. Thus, each year, with the arrival of Elul, we start the process of teshuvah (repentance).

One way we begin the intensified focus on teshuvah is with the sounds of the shofar. The shofar, which we blow throughout Elul, is mentioned by the prophet Amos: “Im yitaka shofar be’ir ve’am lo yecheradu – Is the shofar ever sounded in a city and the people do not tremble?” (Amos 3:6). Amos emphasizes the unique property of the shofar’s blasts – the piercing sound, which causes one to tremble.

Likkutei Maharich (Dinei U’minhagei Chodesh Elul 55b) states: “It happens to be the custom in all Jewish communities to blow the shofar in the month of Elul.” He cites the Tur (Orach Chayim 581), who gives Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer (chapter 46) as the source for this practice. There we read: “On Rosh Chodesh Elul Moses went up on the mountain [Sinai] to receive the second set of Tablets. They then sounded the shofar in the encampment. Therefore, our sages instituted that we blow the shofar starting on Rosh Chodesh Elul every year.”

Likkutei Maharich continues: “In Yitav Panim by the Sigheter Rav, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Teitelbaum, he quotes his grandfather, Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, author of Yismach Moshe, who provides a beautiful hint for the source of our custom.” He points out that there are 12 words containing the syllables ha-lle-lu in Psalm 150. The first mention corresponds to Nissan, the first month, and the sixth mention – “Halleluhu be’teka shofar – Praise Him with the sound of the shofar” – appropriately corresponds to Elul, the sixth month. (The practice of saying Hallel on Rosh Chodesh in general is alluded to in these 12 mentions of ha-lle-lu, writes the Beit Yosef [Tur Orach Chayim 422, in the name of Shibbolei HaLeket].)

Likkutei Maharich continues: “In Sefer Roke’ach (siman 208) we find that the original enactment was to sound the shofar from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom Kippur, just as they sounded the shofar all 40 days that Moses was on the mountain to receive the Tablets, but Sefer Roke’ach concludes that in ‘this country’ [i.e., the custom in his day] we sound the shofar only until Rosh Hashanah.”

The Maharshal (Shabbos 89a, in the back of our Vilna Shas) cites a dispute between Rashi and Tosafot (89a ad loc.) on whether the day Moses ascended the mountain is considered part of the 40-day count. He cites Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer as proof to Tosafot’s contention that we count Moses’ ascent on Rosh Chodesh as the first day of the count of 40 – which will be arrived at if we include his ascent on the first day of Rosh Chodesh, which is the 30th day of Av (Av is always a “full” month containing 30 days whereas Elul is always “deficient,” containing only 29 days).

However, in Bava Kamma (82a s.v. “Kedei Shelo etc.”) Tosafot states that in the year Moses went up to receive the luchot, Elul was a “full” month, containing 30 days. Thus, he would have gone up on the first day of Elul (see Bach, Orach Chayim 581).

The above dispute is relevant to the discussion concerning when to begin blowing the shofar – on the first or second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul.

Tosafot reasons that in the year Moses went up on the mountain, Elul was a “full” month. Today, therefore, when Av is always a “full” month and Elul is “deficient,” we surely do not start to blow the shofar on the first day of Rosh Chodesh, which is now always the 30th of Av.

Indeed, our minhag is to blow the shofar only starting on the second day of Rosh Chodesh, according to the Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chayim 581 ad loc.), up until and including Rosh Hashana, with the exception of Shabbatot, when we are prohibited to blow the shofar, and Erev Rosh Hashanah, when we refrain from blowing so as to differentiate between tekiot reshut, optional shofar blasts, and tekiot chovah, biblically-required blasts.

As for why we only blow the shofar for 30 days, not 40, Matteh Moshe (ad loc.) and Likkutei Maharich (loc. cit. quoting Minhagim) explain that there is a hint to this custom in Psalms 81:4-5: “Tik’u bachodesh shofar bakesseh leyom chagenu – Blow the shofar at the moon’s renewal when [the moon] is covered on our festive day.” The verse seems to suggest that we blow the shofar for a month, which is generally 30 days. And that is what we do. Elul is 28 days (excluding Erev Rosh Hashanah) and Rosh Hashanah is two days, giving us 30 days.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part XI)

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?


There is much discussion among the authorities regarding women reciting HaGomel. The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 219:4-5) writes, “If another person [other than the one who was saved] said, ‘Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu melech ha’olam ha’gomel l’chayyavim tovot she’gmalani kol tov’ and the one who was saved responded by saying Amen, the latter has discharged his obligation. Also, if the first person said [in Aramaic], ‘Brich rachmana malka d’olmah d’yahavoch lan…’ and the other responded by saying Amen, the latter has discharged his obligation.”

The Rema (ad loc.) notes: “And this is not a blessing recited in vain, even if he personally had no obligation to recite it, since he only recited it in a manner of praise and thanks for the goodness bestowed upon his fellow which brought him joy [as well].”

The Mechaber continues: “If another said HaGomel for his own personal [deliverance] and had in mind to discharge the obligation of his fellow, and the other listened and he [too] had in mind that his obligation be discharged, it is discharged even if he did not respond by saying Amen. The Rema, citing the Tur, explains that Amen is not necessary in this case since the first person also had an obligation to say HaGomel.

The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc sk 17 sv “al tovat chaveiro”), commenting on the Rema’s words “he only recited it in a manner of praise and thanks for the goodness bestowed upon his fellow which brought him joy,” explains that certainly a person may say HaGomel for his wife because she is like him (“ishto k’gufo – one’s wife is like one’s own body”). That is why, he writes, some men have the custom of saying HaGomel after their wives give birth (and return to their healthy state). By doing so, they discharge their wives obligation to thank Hashem.

The Mishnah Berurah notes that when men say HaGomel for their wives, they should say “…ha’gomel l’chayyavim tovot she’gmaleich kol tov – …for He has bestowed every good upon you.” He notes as well that if the wife isn’t present, her husband should say, “…she’gamal l’ishti kol tov – …for He has bestowed every good to my wife.” The Aruch Hashulchan’s words very much mirror those of the Mishnah Berurah.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (in his Piskei HaSiddur, Birkat Ha’Nehenin, at the end of the first volume, 12:9) citing the view of Ma’amar Mordechai, is of a different opinion. He states that if a person is truly happy that his fellow was saved (and a husband naturally is), he does not say a different version of the blessing. Rather, he says the standard “she’gmalani kol tov – for He has bestowed every good to me.”

It is obvious from both the Aruch Hashulchan and Mishnah Berurah that it is preferable for a husband to say HaGomel and for his wife to respond since, as we mentioned at the outset, the blessing should be recited in a synagogue in the presence of 10 men at the reading of the Torah.

Kaf Hachayim (Orach Chayim 219:3) notes: “As such the authorities considered it immodest for a woman to ascend the bimah for the Torah reading and recite the blessing. Rather it is best that they enter the women’s section of the synagogue and say it with the men responding, or at least before one man according to those authorities who maintain that saying HaGomel with less than 10 men present is acceptable.”

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Influence In America (Part I)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Editor’s Note: This column contains excerpts from Dr. Levines “Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch and America – an Historical View,” which appeared in The World of Hirschian Teachings, An Anthology on the Hirsch Chumash and the Hashkafa of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch (Rabbi Dr. Joseph Breuer Foundation, Feldheim, 2008, 199- 210).


Much has been written about Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch’s influence on German Jewry, and he is justifiably credited with having saved Orthodox Judaism in Germany. However, Rav Hirsch’s influence was not confined to Germany and did not end with his passing in 1888. His legacy continues to this day and is felt all over the world.

It is my intent to sketch how Hirschian ideology has fostered the flourishing Torah life we see today in America by indicating how a number of rabbis utilized this ideology. Such a sketch cannot, of course, be comprehensive. Nonetheless, it does provide perspective on how far-reaching the influence of RSRH has been on the American scene.


Rabbi Dr. Bernard Drachman (1861 -1945)

In 1899 Rabbi Dr. Bernard Drachman published the first English translation of Rav Hirsch’s Nineteen Letters.[i] Rabbi Drachman’s life story is an interesting one and is told in his autobiography The Unfailing Light: Memoirs of an American Rabbi.[ii]

Raised in a non-shomer Shabbos home, he went to public school in Jersey City, New Jersey, and then Columbia College. While in high school and college, Rabbi Drachman also attended the (Reform) Temple Emanuel Hebrew Preparatory School of New York City for six years. In 1882 he graduated Columbia with honors and decided to study for the rabbinate. Temple Emanuel granted him a scholarship to pursue rabbinical studies with the idea that he would prepare for the Reform rabbinate. He went to Germany, studied at the University of Breslau and the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau, and earned his rabbinical degree. In addition, he matriculated at the University of Heidelberg and obtained the degree of Ph.D. Magna Cum Laude in 1885.

As a result of his studies in Germany, Dr. Drachman became completely committed to Orthodox Judaism. Temple Emanuel had sponsored his studies with the understanding that when he returned he would become its assistant rabbi. But given his commitment to Orthodoxy, Rabbi Drachman was forced to make it clear to the congregants of Temple Emanuel that he would only serve an Orthodox congregation, despite the fact that Reform rabbis usually earned considerably more than their Orthodox counterparts. The result was that “he speedily became known as an enthusiastic and energetic champion of Orthodox Judaism, one of the then very few English-speaking representatives of the ancient faith in the America of that time.”[iii]

During his summer vacation in 1883 Dr. Drachman visited Frankfurt-on-the-Main. His recollections of this visit show what a deep impression the community that Rav Hirsch had established made upon him.

In the latter place [Frankfurt] we [Rabbi Drachman and his cousin Solomon] not only saw a beautiful city but also a most wonderful Jewish community, the like of which was even then difficult to find anywhere else in the world. In size the city was not so very impressive, numbering not more than approximately twenty-five thousand souls, but in spiritual and cultural quality and importance to Judaism it was most exceptional and noteworthy.

Frankfort-on-the-Main was the city of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, inspired and inspiring leader in Israel, man of God if ever there was one. His soul glowed with profound love and loyalty to the ancient faith. From his lips poured streams of eloquence to convince the doubting, to strengthen the wavering, and to satisfy and delight the already convincedly devout. The impress of his mighty spirit was upon the whole Jewish life of the queenly city. The number of business establishments closed on Sabbaths and Jewish holy days, the large and beautiful synagogues and the throngs which entered them to worship, even on ordinary days of secular occupation, and a dozen other indications, all gave unmistakable testimony to the fact that here was a city of enthusiastically loyal Jews.

The Orthodox Jews, however, were not the majority of the Jewry of Frankfort. Rabbi Hirsch’s congregation did not even belong to the official Jewish community. Legally and technically it was not even a congregation but only a private society, Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft, “Israelitish Society for Religion,” but in numbers it was not greatly inferior to the main community and in zeal and religious fervor it was so superior, that its impress upon the life of the city was far greater and more significant.

The Judaism which Rabbi Hirsch taught, and for which he had gained thousands of adherents, in Frankfort and out, while unswervingly loyal to the Law and the traditions of Israel’s past, was yet something different, something new. It was the religion of the ghetto without the mannerisms or the world-estrangement of the ghetto. It was indeed a wondrously perfect synthesis of the ancient and the modern, of the Oriental-Sinaitic-Talmudic precepts of faith and the life and the speech, the culture, and the demeanor of the modern time and the Occidental world. It was fittingly designated by understanding observers as Neo-Orthodoxy.

Solomon and I met a number of members of the Hirsch community and they all measured up to this standard. Among them were the brothers Jacob and Julius Strauss, who were relatives of Solomon, cousins of his mother, whose maiden name was Strauss. They were wealthy people, bankers doing business in a large way under the firm name of J. and J. Strauss. They were, however, more interested in Jewish religion and culture than in their business affairs.

As their guests on Friday evening, we met in the synagogue, which was filled with devout worshippers. After service we walked together to the Strauss residence, a fine and beautifully furnished apartment in one of the best streets of Frankfort. It was a memorable evening, a remarkable combination of fervent Jewishness and aristocratic demeanor, a perfect illustration of what the rabbis of the Talmud meant when they spoke of “Torah and greatness in one place.” Everything was in accordance with the rabbinical precept that the best which the Jew is and has shall be reserved for the Sabbath. Such was the Friday evening in the Strauss home. Herr Jacob Strauss chanted the Hebrew prayers with dignity and reverence, and Frau Strauss was a most gracious hostess. After the sumptuous repast was concluded, and thanks duly given to the Giver of all good, we passed an hour or so in pleasant, informal conversation. Many questions about America were asked of me, and my answers were received with great apparent interest.[iv]

Dr. Yitzchok Levine

Anatomy of a Missionary: “Language” & Associations- Part I

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Pay attention Jews and righteous gentiles. Listen to what THEY say:

“Yeshua (Jesus) will not come to a wedding without wine!”-Tommy Waller, Evangelical Patriarch of Hayovel Ministries

“For us it’s a spiritual deal- a faith deal. The battle is over the land because God gave it to the descendants of Abraham – that includes us.”-Sherri Waller, wife of Tommy Waller

The following reflection on the growing missionary crisis in Israel differs from the usual analysis, which is based upon a narrow Jewish perception of missionaries. In this article I will focus upon those covert missionary groups on the scene who receive none of the attention of the prominent aggressive groups, whose brazenness earns them attention disproportionate to their actual numbers. Yet unlike the notorious J for J’s who primarily target emotionally vulnerable Jews, these lesser known threats ultimately endanger ALL segments of Jewry in Israel and by extension the world, if they are allowed to persist in their provocation. Such groups are ambitious, clever, and well-organized, and they are aided by religious Jews (for reasons of naiveté, ambition, etc.) who unlocked many doors for them. I will expand upon this, as this series of articles develops.

The spiritual hemorrhaging worsens in Eretz Yisrael as the profane is gradually sanctified and it is essential to expose those responsible for injuring the Jewish Nation. Contrary to what many prominent Jewish enablers of the more innocuous groups maintain, the problem is NOT a lack of information to confirm our suspicions. There is a sea of information out there, and it is constantly disseminated all over social media. Rather, the problem is an ignorant and/or apathetic public. The problem is that too many prominent rabbis agree silently with the diagnosis of anti-missionary experts and beat their chests when no one sees. Lastly, and most critically, the problem is that a minority within Am Yisrael endangered the majority and they are terrified that the truth will leak out. So they slander and defame, and refuse to answer questions. They are mainstream and they are associated with mainstream respectable media outlets. As these outlets align with evangelicals, they obtain a de facto seal of kashrut. Not surprisingly, most of these enablers vociferously condemn missionary activity. Except when it comes to the deceptive evangelical missionaries they deem their friends.

Note: My information is culled from those individuals and organizations who engaged in the initial difficult research and continue to do so. Without these dedicated people, we would not have the database of material confirming the missionary threat, which includes thousands of video files, mp3, pdfs, papers, essays, screenshots, photos, advertisements, booklets, pamphlets, manuals, etc.

Missionary Archetypes

When many Jews think of Christian missionaries, provocative images of bizarre “Jews for Jesus” loons, wearing garish shirts and shouting perverse slogans come to mind. This perception is based upon the average Jew’s limited exposure to these groups. As it was with me, once upon a time. I recall walking in Penn Station in Manhattan during the approach of Y2K when one couldn’t avoid these walking caricatures with their “Jesus Made Me Kosher” t-shirts. They took to the streets by the thousands in anticipation of a delusion. Back in the day, I eagerly welcomed these encounters, since the bustle in the evening rush provided an opportunity to pretend that I was a running back as I “bounced” off one person or another. And if an errant forearm smash was landed, such things surely couldn’t be avoided with so many people about. My motto was this: coarse behavior for the coarse predator.

Without diverting too much, the J-Witnesses who occasionally had the misfortune of knocking on my door were addressed differently. Such people had a location which presented difficulties, and so the trick was to scare them away. No need for aggression, merely the perception of a crazy person sufficed. I will not elaborate. These are humorous memories and I recall them with fondness. My father told me of a reconstructionist Jewish friend of his who answered the door to such eager beavers with a shotgun. Now who says there isn’t a pintela yid inside of everyone?

Thank G-d, most normal Jews are bothered by the coarse, aggressive tactics of street missionaries, even if they are not representative of most missionizing groups in terms of numbers (they are small), tactics, or ideology. That is why the well-known anti-missionary organization Yad L’Achim will never want for donations. People generally recognize the ugly naked threat that accosts you and throws a provocation in your face. Yad L’Achim’s formula for success includes the following:

  • a visible threat (representing a type of aggressive missionary) to garner attention
  • support among a large segment of Torah-minded Jews
  • the resources and experience to take the fight to the enemy.

They are well equipped to fight the types of stereotypical missionaries the public recognizes. These include the zealous fools who shout “Jesus made me kosher,” as well as the sneakier ones who say Yeshua instead of Jesus, and decorate the Brooklyn based to church to mirror a synagogue caricature. Yet such groups represent one slice of the poison apple. They are certainly dangerous, but they represent a threat that is generally understood, and the fight against them has mass appeal.

What about the countless missionary groups who float under the radar? What about the clever groups who recognize patience and the need to proceed with caution? What about those who also wish to share “the good word” with religious Jews, and understand that it takes time and a sophisticated platform comprised of slow, incremental stages. What of evangelical groups such as Hayovel, who under the guise of volunteering in the vineyards of Samaria have set up shop in Israel’s heartland, and are now living in cottages in the community of Har Bracha?

Perhaps a good way to proceed would be to define missionary beyond the narrow interpretation that the public knows. Most Jews have a simplistic naïve image in their heads. The stereotypical street missionary is the anomaly. The vast majority are far cleverer. Of late, there has become a love affair among a certain subsection of naïve religious Jews with evangelical Christians for their purported support of Israel. Such people don’t even understand what the term evangelical is.

Evangelicals are by definition missionaries since their identification is bound with the mandate to evangelize. It isn’t rocket science. Language is critical. What they DO say is important, not just because of the content, but also because it elucidates what they believe in their hearts but don’t say.

Evangelical Games: Language is Key

One critical concept that escapes many Jews who either have no understanding of these beliefs or no desire to understand is the concept of restoration. The excellent website, Esav Exposed, is a comprehensive resource for learning about the beliefs of these groups. And in the following link, she provides insight:

Restoration: There is a whole xian theology about the “restoration” or “restoration of Israel.” According to this theology there are two parts to the restoration, a physical part and a spiritual part.
1. The physical restoration is the uniting of Jew and Gentile into “one new man” or one “House of Israel” in the land of Israel. They believe that yeshu came to break down the wall of separation between Jew and gentile and that they must continue this work in preparation for his return. They have taken on Hebrew names, customs, dress, speech, and claim to be coming to “learn from Jews”.  All of this is to get closer to Jews in order to unite as one people.

Activities that promote this goal are “building bridges,” cultivating relationships with Jews, volunteering or “serving,” donating money to Israeli groups and working towards xian/ephraimite Aliyah.

2. The spiritual restoration is when the Jewish people are “restored” to their messiah yeshu, who is also God and the son of God, according to these xians.  Then a “restored” Israel, Jew and gentile worshipers of yeshu, will be prepared for redemption, which they believe is yeshu’s return and reign from Jerusalem

If they are ever allowed to make Aliyah or even to live in the yishuvim on a permanent basis, then they will devote all efforts toward this goal.

They believe this “restoration” must take place for yeshu to return and that is why they are so determined and self-sacrificing. They believe that the physical restoration will precede the spiritual restoration, which is why they have put proselytizing on the back burner so to speak.

Lars Enarson (missionary founder of the Elijah Prayer Army) teaches:

“To restore something means to bring something back to its original condition or better. And friends this is what is going to happen in order to make ready a people prepared for the lord we gonna see a restoration of what was in the beginning right here in Jerusalem because this is where it all began.

The first believers were totally a Jewish movement.  The church and Israel were not separated at that time. The fathers and children, talking about those who have come to faith and born again into the kingdom of G-d.  They were totally inside the Jewish people but later on the gospel began to reach out also to the gentiles then, as we have said before, the gentiles began to separate themselves from the Jewish people, reject the Jewish people, even begin to say that they have now replaced the Jewish people


Yeshu says there will be one flock and one shepherd. Both Jews and gentiles will come together under his leadership in the last days.  We have been made one body with the Jewish people. Together we share one l-rd and one messiah and he is going to bring that body together the one new man of Jew and gentile in the messiah as everything is culminating here in Jerusalem.  We have to be watchman now on the walls of Jerusalem, praying for this restoration G-d has promised because yeshu will not come back until the time has come for the restoration of all things.”


Restoration in a nutshell. Many defenders of evangelicals fail to comprehend that the supposed “good” evangelicals who beat their chest for Christianity’s sin of “replacement theology” are merely replacing it with the illusion of a more tolerant theology. Restoration by definition means changing the Jewish faith with the inclusion of idolatrous notions and by usurping/latching onto our Divine heritage. Many of the most active missionaries today believe that physical restoration precedes spiritual restoration. But the ideology of restoration is a missionary one. And one who uses the language of restoration exposes himself. Only one ignorant in the theology of these groups would state that such a theory was anything but missionizing by its very nature.

Birds of a Feather

Another indicator of a missionary can be seen in the associations of such groups. Evangelical groups who make an effort to not publicly evangelize nevertheless retain their friendships, alliances, and working relationships with the most overt messianic groups and the most controversial missionary personalities. They must do so, since this is their bread and butter. This alone is telling. If some of these groups are opposed to such actions or have changed their actions betray the claims that they have repented from their previous ways. The first thing a righteous gentile or a gentile involved in a process would do is distance himself from such groups. But they will not. They want to meet these people on their speaking tours across America and meet their flocks. They want their money and they want their bodies with them on the ground. What they have learned to do is to hide their speaking itineraries from the public. Good research will always work around this, but the omissions are telling.

If we apply these two indicators, then the volunteer group “Hayovel” is certainly a missionary group since their language is replete with talk of “restoration”, and references to “the father”, “the bridegroom”, and when their guard is really down, of “yeshua.” In a blog post entitled, “What Do X-tian Zionists Mean When They Talk About The “Restoration”? “Geula Girl” explains:

“Hayovel’s mission is all about the restoration of Israel.

Equip those who share a passion for Israel’s agricultural restoration to work within their communities to promote the work of HaYovel.

Experience the incredible restoration of the Land and People God has never forgotten.

We look forward to seeing you on the mountains of Samaria as together we walk out the prophetic restoration of the Land of Israel.

This documentary is sure to leave you with a desire to see the Restoration that is taking place in Israel with your own eyes!

Let’s not forget the famous “Restoration” documentary the Waller Family participated in.

When asked by missionary Dean Bye about his motivation, Tommy Waller says “what we desire to do is to see Israel fully restored in every aspect of scripture”.

Strange Bedfellows

On their frequent speaking tours in the U.S., Waller and friends are wined and dined by the messianic and missionary elite who appreciate their work. That’s why even an aggressive missionary patriarch like the notorious “Papa” Don Finto is revered and respected by the Waller family.

Whenever I find myself in the company of Jews with connections to the Waller family, when they are done fawning over them, I ask them basic random questions about the Waller family, Hayovel’s theology, and their known messianic ties. I am astounded but not surprised by how little they know, and yet despite their ignorance they still insist that “Tommy’s a good guy.” Their inability to answer questions betrays that they know little of Hayovel or evangelicals in general.

Have you ever heard of Papa “Don” Finto? The Wallers consider him a mentor. Blank faces. Why was Hayovel involved in the messianic “We Stand with Israel” Concert in 2013 featuring such notorious heavyweights like Doron Keidar and Calev Meyers? Same cluelessness. Do you know of Heather Meyers, a known messianic who works as Hayovel’s photographer? Why would anyone retain such poisonous associations if they opposed missionizing? No response.

No can these people explain that Hayovel regularly speaks at messianic congregations in America. The following is merely a tiny sampling of the known places that hosted them either for speaking events, concerts, etc. since 2011: Adat Yeshua, Hallel Fellowship, Tikvat Ami Messianic Synagogue, River of Life Tabernacle (“Hebrew Roots”), Teshuva Ministries, Beit Ariel Messianic Jewish Congregation, Talmidei Yeshua, El Shaddai Ministries, Beit Hamashiach, Zola Levitt Ministries. And lest we forget, the Hayovel Ministry Team, held a “Shabbat Shel Shalom Messianic Fellowship” in 2014. How much more evidence do we need?

Invariably they are clueless and insist that they know better. In truth, such people know nothing of evangelicals save for what naiveté deems acceptable. They see Tommy Waller as a red bearded Santa and nothing will convince them, not even Waller’s own words where he infamously admitted that harvesting in the fields will give him an opportunity to show Jews this “Jesus we know.” This is the problem.

Concerned Jews need to wake up and educate themselves. Find out what these people are really saying. Discover who Hayovel’s friends are, and see Hayovel’s staff behaves when they are not paraded in front of Jewish audiences. If the abundant evidence captured on videos won’t convince Jews that by any normative definition they are missionaries, then nothing will. Waller and crew have appeared untold numbers of times in the company of the most brazen spiritual enemies of the Jewish people. The documentation is out there.

One day soon, we are likely to see possibly hundreds, perhaps eventually thousands, of such people being “gifted” honorary citizenship by a Likud government eager to feed from the evangelical trough. Others will go through sham conversions to expedite their supposed “restoration.” In time, we will read of horrors. Of young Jews in the Shomron meeting secretly with Hayovel volunteers of the opposite sex. One who doesn’t think that such nightmares could very well materialize, understands nothing of adolescence, human nature, and how impressionable people may react to a strange admixture of the profane.

Hayovel’s Jewish defenders don’t get it. Missionizing is more than overt proselytizing. It is in breaking new ground and planting goyish roots in Eretz Yisrael so that they can “graft” idolatry onto the Jewish nation. Once upon a time, no religious community on earth would tolerate evangelicals living within their community, to satisfy the greed of Jewish vintners who desire free gentile labor. Once upon a time, rabbi or layperson would have been excommunicated for allowing such perversion to enter the community. Those days are gone.

When Hayovel first came to the community of Har Bracha several years back, many Jews were horrified. Ynet even wrote an article about it in 2011 entitled, Har Bracha Residents: Christians Out! It seems many of those unhappy residents aren’t around anymore (or they’ve learned to shut their mouths), although former residents allege that segments of yishuv are still bothered, but are afraid to oppose community head Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, who sees the presence of evangelicals in the fields as the fulfillment of Torah prophecies. There are no prophecies relating to aggressive idolaters volunteering. All torah based prophecies refer to righteous gentiles who call out in Hashem’s Name. Basic Halacha precludes the possibility of allowing idolaters into the land, let alone, to tend to Jewish fields. I hear about such Christological based prophecies, certain dark periods of Jewish history immediately come to mind, when unbridled, un-Jewish messianic fervor clouded the minds of many Torah Jews. It was a bad time for the Jewish people.

One final note: I rarely focus on gentiles who oppose evangelicals. The exception would be my frequent referencing of righteous Bnai Noach who by definition reject those who believe in and proselytize in the name of idolatry. The main reason I rarely reference such individuals is simple. Few prominent individuals take such a position. And contrary to the assertions of apologists, John Hagee’s frequent vacillating on the subject of “dual covenant” theology (depending on his audience) is of no interest to me. I see right through him. His associations are all I need to know about, as are his “charitable” efforts to affect Israel with love. Yet there are exceptions of non-Bnai Noach personalities (who though far from the ideal Torah philosophy) should nevertheless be praised for taking a courageous stand against the evangelical war with Judaism. Pastor Kenneth Rawson (may he live and be well) is one such man who exposes the evangelical agenda. In any event, don’t take my word for it. See what Pastor Rawson has to say on the matter. He surely knows what is going on better than I do. “Evangelicals Who Support Israel”.

To be continued….


Donny Fuchs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/fuchs-focus/anatomy-of-a-missionary-language-associations-part-i/2016/08/31/

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