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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘people’

Al Aqsa Worshipers Confused By July 4 Fireworks Not Aimed At People

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

{Originally posted to the PreOccupied Territory website}

Jerusalem, July 4 – Palestinians attending the prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque today voiced bewilderment at traditional US Independence Day festivities featuring fireworks, noting that none of the American fireworks displays they had seen involved pointing the pyrotechnic devices at other humans.

Numerous worshipers at the contested holy site hesitated before commenting on the American July 4 fireworks tradition, confused by the evident lack of intent to harm others in the celebration. “You mean they do it just for the noise and the light?” wondered Batl Rahqet, 19, of nearby Abu Dis. “They must be reading the instructions wrong. Fireworks are supposed to be pointed at occupiers and colonialists. Isn’t that what the Americans used to fight off the British?”

“We must not be getting the whole picture here,” insisted Dahlia Emayti, 18, who dedicates much of her time outside the mosque to screaming and hurling objects at visiting Jews. “I suppose it might be nice to have a celebratory display using the stuff, kind of out of curiosity for the different forms, but isn’t that kind of quaint? I’m sure the footage we’re seeing is just when they go off by accident or something. The standard use of fireworks is as a weapon.”

When informed that the typical use of fireworks in July 4 celebrations involves significant precautions to prevent others from coming to harm, Al Aqsa attendees reacted with disdain. “That’s just not what they’re for,” declared Ali Hummr, 20, with evident disgust. “It’s like saying a house of worship is supposed to be a place of serenity and communion with the Creator – we all know the primary purpose of such a place is to stockpile rocks and weapons to use against Jews too mindful of so-called ‘ethics’ to violate that space. There is just so much those Americans don’t know about the world.”

Hummr and Rahqet went into the mosque itself to inspect the packaging and instructions for the devices, and emerged several minutes later. “I admit I’m stunned,” said Raquet. “It actually says the opposite of what I thought – the safety warnings specifically tell you not to point it where it might hit somebody. It makes no exceptions even if the somebody is an Israeli policeman reacting to rock-throwing.”

“This can only mean one thing,” concluded Hummr. “The instructions and safety warnings were altered by the Zionists to trick us into thinking these aren’t weapons.”

“The next thing they’ll tell us,” added Emayti, “is that Plymouth Rock isn’t for throwing at those filthy-footed Jews.”


PreOccupied Territory

A Despicable Act by a People in Dire Need of Introspection

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

I oppose the current badly formulated and poorly implemented Israeli policy of Jewish settlement building in the West Bank. I oppose it not because Jews should not live there. Jews should be able to live anywhere, so should Muslims, Christians, and atheists. I oppose it because Israel is allowing the settlements to be used as an excuse by corrupt Palestinian leaders to demonize Israel and to reject peace. However, I also strongly reject violence, particularly the type of inexcusable violence that we saw yesterday where a young Israeli girl was stabbed to death in her sleep

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency described the killer (who was killed by security guards after he committed his terrorist act) as a “martyr.”

This is not peace making. This is not nation building. This is not even resistance. This is a crime of unspeakable horror that no human being worth their salt can accept. It is despicable. Yet the Palestinians’ highest authority approved of it and glorified it. By giving their approval, they changed the crime from an individual’s crime to a crime by all Palestinians. How can anyone think that a society that is led by such thugs can go anywhere but down the sewer?

Palestinian leaders are worthless crooks, so it is up to the Palestinian people to confront the hate that they have so far embraced like a most precious treasure. If they do not, any dream of a Palestinian state will die and so will the very notion of Palestinians. If they do not, Palestinians will be remembered in the annals of history as a bunch of haters and terrorists who never achieved anything and then melted away like a meaningless entity.

Fred Maroun

Thousands Attend Funeral for Miki Mark

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Thousands attended the funeral of Miki Mark in Otniel on Sunday morning. Mark was murdered by Islamic terrorists on Friday after they opened fire on his family car. His wife was seriously wounded. One of his daughters was moderately wounded. Both are still in the hospital.

One of his sons was lightly wounded, and was able to attend his father’s funeral.

The couple have 10 children.

President Ruby Rivlin spoke and said, “Our best continue to fall in the mountains of Hebron, the cradle of Jewish settlement. Our roots are deep in this land. Terrorism is not undermining our hold on our land and will not. Jewish blood is not free. We promise to fight without fear, and we will win. The IDF and the security forces will cut off the hands of the murderers. Michi, the light of the way you paved will not be extinguished.”

Rivlin speaks at Mark Funeral

Miki Mark Funeral 1

Miki Mark Funeral 2

Photos by Hillel Meier / TPS

Jewish Press News Briefs

‘People Don’t Look, People Don’t Think’

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Here is an interesting Jewish thought:

The Torah at the end of Parshas Noach records that Terach was seventy years of age when his son Avraham was born. The family then sets off to settle in Canaan (Israel) but doesn’t quite manage to get there (this happens to lots of us.) They settle instead in a place called Charan and there, at the ripe old age of 205, Terach dies.

The next parshah, Lech Lecha, says that Avraham is told by Hashem to set off to complete the journey and at the age of 75 he arrives in Israel.

The interesting thing is that the Torah tells us Terach died before Avraham set off to the land of Israel. This is clearly not the case.

Do the math: If Terach was 70 when Avraham was born and Avraham was 75 when he set out, then Terach was 145 when he and Avraham parted and he lived another sixty years.

Why does the Torah imply that Avraham only left after his father died?

Rashi supplies two answers. The first is that from a Jewish philosophical perspective, a wicked person, although alive, is considered dead – and Terach was a particularly wicked person.

His second answer is little short of baffling: In order to prevent critics and cynics from claiming that Avraham abandoned his poor old father for sixty years, the Torah draws a veil over the truth and related the story as though Avraham had only left after his father’s funeral.

But any child can add 70 and 75 and subtract that from the 205 years the Torah tells us Terach lived. The Torah’s own words clearly reveal what actually happened.

Reb Simcha Zissel Ziv, founder of the Yeshiva of Kelm, says an uncomfortable and explosive thing about this paradox. It’s true that the evidence about what really occurred is staring us in the face. What Rashi is telling us, he says, is that if you want to draw a veil over the truth and cover up the facts, it need only be the very thinnest of veils because “People don’t look, people don’t think.”

Three weeks ago I drove to Queens to speak at a shul in the heart of the Bukharian community. The title of my talk I took from my April column here in The Jewish Press, “Send in the Clowns” and I added a subtitle, “The presidential election and the Torah.”

I chose my words very c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y.

I noted that I was Scottish and can’t vote. Having established neutrality, I went on to address the general criticisms leveled at each of the candidates by o-t-h-e-r-s (not me, you see!) and looked at those criticisms through a Torah lens to ascertain whether or not they were serious concerns.

I began with Hillary and her penchant for being economical with the truth. (It’s not that I’m against politicians lying, you understand; I expect them to. I just expect than to be much better at it than Hillary is).

Then I turned to Donald (who has had more than a few Pinocchio moments himself), focusing on his habit of speaking in offensive and crude terms about other people. This was particularly true with regard to his comments about women and I explained to the audience why this was a concern from a Torah perspective.

Finally I turned to Bernie, that proud self-described son of “Polish” (not Jewish) immigrants.

During my talk, no one seemed upset with my less than positive remarks about Hillary and Bernie. I had chosen my words c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y and I was very pleased with the results.

But then came my remarks about Donald and – boom! – a man was on his feet demanding to know what evidence I had “that Mr. Trump had ever spoken badly about any woman.”

For starters I reminded him about the well-known female journalist Donald attacked in the most offensive terms.

“That,” replied my interlocutor, “was only because she had attacked him!”

I furrowed my brow and asked, “So you do concede he has spoken badly about women?” The man simply ignored what I had told him and repeated, “Mr. Trump has never spoken badly about any woman.”

I considered pointing out that he was ignoring the facts but then I recalled the aforementioned observation that “People don’t look, people don’t think” and thought better of it.

Which brought to mind a recent conversation I had with a well-known New York journalist about the differences between broadcast media here and in the UK.

In England, newspapers declare their political preferences and people buy them for that reason. TV and radio, though, are different. The BBC as well as commercial stations are hardly free from accusations of bias, but none would dream of debating any issue on air without all sides of the debate represented. In the U.S. that is simply not so.

My friend agreed. Then he claimed that Americans generally do not want to hear the other side of the debate. They like to have their preferences and prejudices confirmed by others who share the same preferences and prejudices.

After the slaughter in Orlando, President Obama got very, very angry at those who would link the outrage to Islam. Should the U.S. Muslim community be under surveillance? he asked incredulously. (Millions listened, rolled their eyes, and said “Duh!”)

The focus, he argued, should be on gun control more so than the Islamist threat.

Many in the media then immediately swung into action to condemn the Republicans for allegedly supporting even the most extreme anti-gun control measures. Pundits and Democratic Party officials noted that you can be on a government watch-list as a suspected terrorist and be banned from flying but still legally buy a gun with which to kill innocent people. Insane, right?

But…that is not the position of the Republican Party or even the NRA. Because I like to check the facts, I went to the NRA website. Turns out the organization is opposed to suspected terrorists (as well as people with a history of serious mental illness) being able to buy guns.

So someone here is exploiting a tragedy for political capital. It might be Obama, Hillary, and the Democrats. It might be the GOP and Donald (although he tweeted that he supports banning watch-list people from buying guns). It might be all of them.

To those who like to have their existing preferences and prejudices confirmed by people who share them, the “truth” is always obvious.

But there are those who prefer to check the truth and who object to people like Barack, Hillary, Bernie, and Donald drawing the thinnest of veils over it because they are convinced that “People don’t look, people don’t think.”

That’s a good thing, particularly when a country is about to choose someone who will lead it for at least four years. Not thinking about the facts is a condition that can have serious consequences. Sometimes they’re fatal.

Rabbi YY Rubinstein

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Video of the Day

Guck To Gold: Why Bad Things Happen To Good People

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Years ago I was introduced to a compelling logical argument that helped me a lot later on when I would struggle with difficult Talmudic passages: If someone gives you too many answers to a question, it probably means there is no real answer.

So many answers have been offered to the question of why bad things happen to good people. Here too, the answer remains elusive. Indeed the Mishnah (Pirkei Avot 4:15) teaches: “Rabbi Yannai would say, We have no comprehension of the tranquility of the wicked, nor of the suffering of the righteous.” Despite various approaches to this question that were known at the time, Rabbi Yannai believed the ultimate answer was yet to be known.

Does this mean we can never have even an inkling of understanding of human suffering? No, there are many small but meaningful and compelling answers that help along the way and offer hope and relief. And focusing on making sense of at least the tip of the iceberg of suffering can be pivotal for transforming oneself from victim to victor, from overpowered to empowered.

I will highlight some of those answers, which in many ways correspond with the Kübler-Ross model of emotional stages experienced by individuals upon the death of a loved one (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).

The first is answer is that anger and frustration are legitimate, understandable, expected – and desired. The importance of communicating one’s feelings to God can be found throughout Jewish sources, from the most basic to the most advanced. The expression of one’s frustrations should come not in a disrespectful way, not in a demeaning way, but in a way that expresses a person’s feelings.

What is essential is to make sure one is angry at God – not angry about God. When a person is angry at God, it means he has a healthy and robust relationship with the Creator, but when a person is angry about God, it suggests the Creator is no longer in his life. Anger and frustration can – should – be expressed, but as part of one’s relationship with God.

The second point that is essential to remember is that no suffering is meaningless. Whatever the reason for suffering, it is not in vain; we may not know where it is leading to or the reason for it in the first place, but it is neither meaningless nor arbitrary.

The Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 91:6) states that Yaakov Avinu never said anything wrong except for asking his sons “Why did you harm me?” When God heard Yaakov saying this, He responded: “I am busy bringing his son to kingship in Egypt and he says why did you harm me?”

Sometimes, more painful than the suffering itself is the inability to see any reason for the suffering. While the reasons for struggles, pain, and loss may vary, they are not meaningless.

The third thing we must always remember is that we are never alone in our suffering. When Hashem first reveals Himself to Moshe, He purposefully speaks from a thorned bush. The Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 2:7) teaches that by doing so God was saying: When my people are in trouble, I am right there with them though the hardship.

The verse in Exodus famously says, “And the children of Israel sighed…and they cried, and their cry came up unto God…and God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob; and God saw the children of Israel, and God took cognizance of them.

No pain goes unnoticed. God is there and takes consideration of every bit of our pain.

A fourth key realization is that this world, with its suffering and strife, is not the final destination. Though that may sound to some to like a cheap “out” from the profound questions related to suffering, it is powerful enough to be at the epicenter of religion. We believe in an afterlife. Suffering is not our final fate but a temporary one.

The Talmud (Arachin 16b) says that if a person puts his hand into his pocket with the intention of pulling out three coins and instead finds only two (so that he has to put his hand back into his pocket), even that “suffering” is noted above. God did not create us to suffer, so when the smallest suffering does occur, God takes that into account.

We don’t know why we suffer. We do know that Someone is looking at our suffering, listening to our cries, and factoring it all into His considerations. We are not suffering to no end. It is all accounted for and will be factored into a broader scheme of things.

The fifth idea to have in mind is that although we don’t necessarily see or understand the positive outcomes of our suffering, such outcomes should not be ruled out. Not knowing why we suffer goes both ways – we may not know what good could possibly come of it but we cannot say with any certainty that nothing good will emerge. An example that comes to mind is that of Joseph. Sold into slavery in a foreign land and then imprisoned for making a heroic moral choice, Joseph had every reason to question his suffering. But that very suffering was what brought him to the throne of Egypt.

Does this mean we should wait for a magical outcome or fairytale-like solution to difficult situations? No. But a healthy way of dealing with suffering is to immediately ask questions such as: “What opportunities do I now see of which I previously had been unaware?” “How can this help me to help others?” “How will this experience leave me stronger, smarter, or more sensitive than I was before?”

Finally, look to others for help. Yes, God is with you in your pain. Yes, prayer should be used at every possible point. But we should still look to others who care for us and will look out for us.

The Torah teaches (Vayikra 13:22) that one of the things a person with leprosy should do is vocally let people know of his affliction. The Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni) understands this to be teaching us that a distressed individual is obligated to alert people to his distress.

Letting others know can help. It can help because they will pray. It can help because they will sympathize. It can help because they will offer social support or have relevant advice that might help us. Will everyone be as sympathetic as we would like? Not necessarily, but we will also be touched to discover those special people who come our way and can help.

So while we will never understand, at least not on this side of eternity, why bad things happen to good people, we do know what good people can do when bad things happen. And we know that good people, often utilizing the tools described above, are able to take really tough situations and turn them around.

It is our task to make sure we take the guck that sometimes is handed to us and to turn it into gold.

Rabbi Elchanan Poupko

The God of Global Warming

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin said that the storm was divine punishment for “being in Iraq under false pretenses.”

Not only was a Liberal deity taking a position on WMDs and punishing George W. Bush by evicting a lot of black people from their homes; but the Democratic divinity was paradoxically also committed to progressive housing policies.”This city will be a majority-African American city. It’s the way God wants it to be,” Nagin promised.Bush is out of office. America is no longer in Iraq. And Democrats have been forced to search for new theological explanations for hurricanes, typhoons and volcanoes.

In response to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan; the green prophets of the left are prophesying that their liberal deity is angry over capitalism and industrialization.

“Whenever Mother Nature wants to send an urgent message to humankind, it sends it via the Philippines. This year the messenger was Haiyan,” The Nation wrote.

The message was apparently that Mother Nature, not to be confused with the nice elderly lady who runs a blog about alternative medicines, really hates prefabricated housing.

“That it was climate change creating the super typhoons that were taking weird directions was a message from Nature not just to Filipinos but to the whole world,” The left-wing magazine claimed.

For those infidels questioning whether Nature (capital N) was really speaking through a struggling lefty publication begging readers for money to pay its postal bills, its expert on typhoon theology had an answer.

“Is it a coincidence, ask some people who are not exactly religious, that both Pablo and Yolanda arrived at the time of the global climate negotiations?”

It is of course the very definition of religious faith to assume that a bearded woman in the sky is sending storms to threaten global climate negotiators (while missing them by two hemispheres and 6,000 miles). A more cynical person might suspect that climate negotiations are arranged around storm season for maximum effect.

The Nation, which regularly condemns “Bible Thumping”, had switched over to “Whole-Earth-Catalog Thumping”; building a religion around a Mother Nature who communicated her wishes through hurricanes and bankrupt liberal magazines.

Pacific Islanders used to believe that volcanic eruptions were angry notes from their volcano gods. The Yaohnanen tribe in Vanuatu on contact with civilization modernized their beliefs, and after encountering a younger Prince Philip decided that he had come from the volcano and that they ought to worship him.

And so the Prince Philip Movement was born. The islanders are modest in their requests of their god. “If he can’t come perhaps he could send us something,” the Yaohnanen Chief suggested, “a Land Rover, bags of rice or a little money.”

The Philippians may seem absurd, but their religion actually took a step forward from worshiping a volcano, which did nothing constructive and just destroyed things leaving the tribesmen to wonder whether the volcano was angry at their unjustified presence in Iraq or the waste carbon emitted by their cooking fires, to worshiping the Duke of Edinburgh, who can do constructive things like send them autographed photos. And perhaps one day a Land Rover.

While the savage tribesmen were approaching the margins of civilization; Prince Philip’s son was reverting to savagery and blaming everything wrong with the world, from local weather to the Syrian Civil War, on the great volcano god of Global Warming.

After some winter storms, Prince Charles announced that, “severe weather conditions in our country are, I have no doubt, the consequences of man-kind’s arrogant disregard of the delicate balance of nature.” It was the sort of statement that would have been commonplace a century ago. The only thing missing was that “Nature” had replaced “God”.The Yaohnanen tribe had moved on from worshiping a volcano god only capable of destruction; but the son of the living god they worshiped seemed eager to find a volcano god to worship. The savages were trying to become civilized, while civilized men were trying to become savages.At the Washington Post, the Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a former president of the Chicago Theological Seminary and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, gathered the tattered remains of her religion around herself and argued that Typhoon Haiyan was caused by human sin and needed to be atoned for by “confessing” that human beings cause typhoons.

But then Thistlethwaite, displaying less faith in whatever god she believed in than Ray Nagin had in his Chocolate City divinity and The Nation in its typhoon-hurling Mother Nature, added that “These “superstorms” aren’t an “act of God,” but an act of willful disregard for God’s creation.”

That is to say, God is dead. Instead Republicans must confess to the liberal theologians who speak for the superstorms, that they were the ones who made the winds blow. And if they don’t, then the speakers-to-superstorms will also hold them responsible for the next hurricane.

What miracle is the Rev. Dr. Thistlethwaite’s faith in superstorms founded on? Like the storms themselves, it’s a bit circular. “The fact that we are having to invent new language to describe such massively destructive storms, like “Super Typhoon Haiyan” or “Superstorm Sandy” suggests we need to take a different look at such violent storms today and theologically assess the human responsibility for them.”

Using the Rev. Dr. Thistlethwaite’s reasoning, the fact that we have a word for Superman suggests that we need to seriously investigate whether there are superhuman beings among us who can leap tall buildings in a single bound. But worshipers of the liberal God of Global Warming who hates the War in Iraq, white people living in New Orleans and carbon have a looser relationship with facts than Pacific Islander tribes.

The term Superstorm isn’t new. And neither are superstorms. In a listing of storms from 1932 onward, the first one shows up in 1940.

Back at the UN Climate Change summit, which apparently incites Mother Nature to spout off  typhoons like soda bubbles, the representative for the Philippines, Naderev “Yeb” Sano, threw a tantrum and demanded that Global Warming skeptics visit the islands to see the devastation.

Then he announced that he was going on a hunger strike until something meaningful was done.

In 1991, Tropical Storm Thelma killed over 5,000 people in the Philippines.The President of the Philippines has estimated that the death toll from Super Typhoon Haiyan will be less than half that

Before Christianity and Islam, people in the Philippines believed that storms were brought by Saraganka Bagyo, the God of Storms, or Galurâ, a giant eagle who brings storms. Another story has it that they originated from a dispute between the descendants of the sea god and the sky god. Now Carbon has become the new Storm God, bringing bad weather because people won’t do anything meaningful, like cripple their economies and destroy their standards of living to appease him.

Sano, like Prince Charles and Ray Nagin, is reverting to a paganism buttressed by a science so bad that it is indistinguishable from superstition and magical thinking.

Despite the Rev. Dr. Thistlethwaite’s faith in a superstorm apocalypse derived from spending too
too much time watching the Weather Channel, there is no actual pattern of increased storm activity. Nor is Mother Nature targeting UN climate negotiations with typhoons. The only pattern here is the one that a liberal religion that believes in little except human evil assigns to storm patterns.

If the God of Global Warming worshiped by The Nation and the Rev. Dr. Thistlethwaite seems senselessly malicious, it is because it exists in their minds as a reflection of human evil. The left proclaimed the death of God only to find themselves in need of some entity to inflict ruthless punishment on those who did not believe in their left-handed path; which in the absence of the Gulags they were no longer able to do.

Liberalism in act of idolatry built the God of Global Warming in its own image. Like liberals, their deity can destroy, but not create.

The God of Global Warming is the embodiment of liberalism and holds all the politically correct beliefs while carrying out brutal atrocities in the name of the left’s favorite political causes. With a moral logic as flawed as that of its worshipers, it is a deity that kills people in the Philippines for the carbon crimes of Americans and kills people in New Orleans because Bush bombed Iraq.Science only truly began to take off when scientists stopped trying to base it around their preconceived worldviews of how things should be, but began to actually draw conclusions from the data, instead of fitting the data into their conclusions.The human race did not suddenly become much smarter in the last few centuries. Instead our greatest minds learned a little humility and began getting out of the way of the data. Instead of trying to force reality to conform to their philosophy, they experimented with building a philosophy around reality. The left has killed reality-based science, along with so many other human accomplishments.

Global Warming is the worship of the left. It elevates its petty biases against industry and the middle class to the status of a religion. It insists on their right to act as the mediators between individuals and the economy or else the God of Global Warming will unleash her superstorms on the bourgeois infidels.

Daniel Greenfield

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/sultan-knish/the-god-of-global-warming/2013/11/19/

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