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October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

Bennett: We Must Sacrifice to Preserve Judea and Samaria [video]

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Habayit Hayehudi Chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday night announced that Israelis must make sacrifices in order to preserve the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. Speaking in the wake of the Obama Administration’s assault on Netanyahu’s cabinet’s plan to move the residents of Amona to new homes in Shiloh, 11 miles away, Bennett said that “regarding the Land of Israel we must switch from blocking to winning.” He also promised that he and his two Religious Zionist colleagues in the cabinet are “taking responsibility for a strategic arrangement for the settlement enterprise.”

Bennett spoke at a conference in Jerusalem in memory of MK Hanan Porat, one of the founders of the Gush Emunim movement which led the National Religious wave of settlements in the newly liberated territories after the 1967 Six Day War. Habayit Hayehudi is facing an existential dilemma these days, as many of its voters have said they’d rather see their elected representatives leave the coalition government than participate in the decision to uproot the Amona residents. Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have been advocating a permanent legal resolution of the problem of thousands of Arab claims, initiated and financed by anti-Zionist NGOs like Peace Now, with European and American funding, against existing Jewish communities across Judea and Samaria. The Habayit Hayehudi ministers prefer to work from within the Netanyahu government on legislation to compel such claimants to accept market value compensation, rather than stage a dramatic exit from the coalition.

“We should highlight the dream, and the dream is that Judea and Samaria become part of the sovereign Land of Israel,” Bennett told his audience. “We must act today and we must make sacrifices. We cannot continue to consider the Land of Israel as our tactical goal and a Palestinian State as our strategic goal.”

Bennett cited the late Hanan Porat “who said we have no right to divide the land. Not through words, nor through action, silent acquiescence, or quiet excuses. Neither by politicians nor by jurists. The path of concessions, of partition, has lost out.” He then promised that because of the people of Amona, and because of their faith and trust, “we will lead with a strategic solution to the entire settlement enterprise.”

Zionist Camp (a.k.a. Labor) MKs Tzipi Livni and Ksenia Svetlova condemned Bennnett’s vision, calling it “the nightmare of the entire people of Israel,” and accusing him of warmongering. Interestingly, current polls are showing Habayit Hayehudi leading the Zionist Camp by between two and four Knesset seats, had the elections been held today.


PM Netanyahu Extends Eid al-Adha Greetings to Muslim, Druze Faithful

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended holiday greetings on Sunday to Israel’s Muslim and Druze citizens, in advance of the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha.

“On the occasion of the Feast of the Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha, I am happy to extend holiday greetings to our Muslim and Druze citizens — Kol a’am wa antom bekhair,” he said. “On the holiday we cherish values that the Jewish faith also sanctifies: Fear of Heaven, family and helping one’s fellow.

“This is an additional example of the many things that unite us in our lives together in the State of Israel.”

The festival marks the willingness of Ishmael, the firstborn son of the Biblical patriarch Abraham – known to Muslims as Ibrahim – to be sacrificed to Allah, who appeared to his father in a dream and commanded him to sacrifice his son.

To this very day, Muslims set aside the finest lamb in the flock from birth, raising it to adulthood for the purpose of sacrifice for the feast of Eid al-Adha. Those who have no flock are enjoined to purchase a sheep or if money is scarce, then at least, a fine kid or goat for the ceremonial slaughter.

Up to one million sheep and goats have been held in three quarantine stations outside the ancient Red Sea port town of Berbera, in Somaliland, having been shipped from markets around the Horn of Africa over the past several weeks across the Gulf of Aden to Saudi Arabia.

They are all destined for ceremonial slaughter during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, and the Eid al-Adha celebrations to be held there on September 12.

The holiday marks an event referred to by the Jewish faith as the “Akeida” but which is precisely the mirror opposite in its details: Jews are taught that the younger son, Isaac, went with his father that day, and it was his life that was later spared when God’s Messenger Angel stayed Abraham’s hand as he raised it with the knife.

Hana Levi Julian

If You See Muslims Celebrating this 9/11, It’s to Commemorate Abraham’s Sacrifice of… Ishmael

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

The quirky lunar calendar, which Jewish tradition mixes with solar calendar adjustments, but Islam just lets run wild, is a cause of special concern for Muslims this year, especially Muslims living in America. The most maligned religious group in recent US history, American Muslims are terrified that their heavily armed neighbors might take the wrong way the fact that celebrations of Eid al-Adha — Festival of the Sacrifice, could fall on September 11 this year, on the “date which will live in infamy,” replacing in most Americans’ consciousness December 7, 1941, the original date that will live in infamy, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Alas, it is quite possible that the 15th anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks on New York’s Trade Towers and on the Pentagon will feature festive Muslims, please keep your guns holstered.

As Jews we have our own issues with Eid al-Adha, which is a deceptive attempt to replace the story of Abraham’s binding of Isaac, which follows the story of the expulsion of the maidservant Hagar and her son Ishmael to the desert, with a revision which places Ishmael, father of the Arabs, on that altar on the Temple Mount. A culture with little regard for historic truth, or truth altogether, Islam simply fixed all those inconvenient stories in the Torah with its own “improved” version.

So that this year, Muslims will be celebrating on September 11 — and 12, depending on local lunar sightings, two lies: the first one ancient, about how Abraham actually designated his son Ishmael to be the chosen one; the other new, that the attacks on 9/11 were an aberration of Islamic tradition, and certainly had nothing to do with the xenophobic Saudi school of Wahhabism, even though most of those men on the four hijacked planes 15 years ago were Saudis.

According to the original version of the story (delivered circa 1248 BCE) God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham binds Isaac on an altar, raises his machete, and the angel of God stops him at the last minute, saying “Now I know you fear God,” at which point Abraham sees a ram caught in some bushes and sacrifices it. The Torah relates that the binding took place at “The Place,” which Abraham then names “God will Watch,” which later books of the Jewish Bible identify as the hill upon which Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem.

Islam, which, unlike Christianity, does not recognize the sanctity of the Jewish Bible and the five books of Moses, attempts to revise two historical problems, in a medieval world that was well versed in Jewish and Christian scripture: the story of Sara commanding Abraham to expel her maidservant Hagar and her boy Ishmael to the desert, and God compelling Abraham to obey her; and the story of Isaac’s binding, Abraham’s and Isaac’s ultimate sacrifice which seals the Jewish nations’ second covenant with God.

Here’s how Islamic tradition worked its magic:

God instructed Abraham to bring Hagar, his Arab wife, and Ishmael to Arabia from the land of Canaan. As Abraham was preparing for his journey back to Canaan, Hagar asked him, “Did God order you to leave us here, or are you leaving us here to die?” Abraham nodded, afraid that he would be too sad and that he would disobey God. Hagar said, “Then God will not waste us; you can go.” Although Abraham had left a large quantity of food and water with Hagar and Ishmael (in the Torah version they only get one bottle of water), the supplies quickly ran out, and within a few days the two began to feel the pangs of hunger and dehydration.

Hagar ran up and down between two hills, al-Safa and Al-Marwah, seven times, in her desperate quest for water. Exhausted, she finally collapsed beside her baby Ishmael (the Torah says he was a grown man, and already plotting to murder—or sodomize—Isaac) and prayed to God for deliverance. Miraculously, a spring of water gushed forth from the earth at the feet of “baby Ishmael.” Other accounts have the angel Gabriel striking the earth and causing the spring to flow in abundance. With this water supply, known as the Zamzam Well (lifted directly from Biblical Miriam), they traded water with passing nomads for food and supplies.

That took care of the embarrassing story about Abraham’s Arab son being kicked out to the desert.

Next comes Abraham’s command from God to sacrifice his dearest possession, his son. The son is not named in the Quran, but most modern Muslims believe it to be “Ismail.” Upon hearing God’s command, Abraham prepared to submit to the will of God. During this preparation, Satan tempted Abraham and his family by trying to dissuade them from carrying out God’s commandment, and Abraham drove Satan away by throwing pebbles at him (a typical Quranic plagiarism of a Jewish medrash). In commemoration of their rejection of Satan, stones are thrown at symbolic pillars during the Stoning of the Devil at the Hajj rites.

When Abraham attempted to cut his son’s throat, he was astonished to see that his son was unharmed and instead he found a dead ram which was already slaughtered. The Torah story of the binding is retold almost intact by the Quran, except for the later name switch, from Isaac to Ishmael.

And so, while the Muslims celebrate this 9/11 (the prudent ones will probably push it off to the 12th, why look for trouble), and while most Americans recall with pain the first foreign attack on mainland USA since 1812, Jews will mourn both the losses of 9/11 and the bastardizing of our sacred tradition by semi-literate nomads with no respect for the truth.


The Sacrifice Was Worth It – Happy 68th Israel!!

Friday, May 13th, 2016


Do the Israeli holidays, created by the secular state, have as much meaning and importance as the Torah holiday’s? Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Yishai on Spiritual Cafe to give meaning to remember on Memorial Day and usher in Israeli Independence Day. Then, the Lone Soldiers Center hosts a very special English-speaking memorial for fallen IDF soldiers and Yishai was there.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

The Pesach Sacrifice

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The Temple Institute reenacted the entire Pesach sacrifice ceremony (which was essentially a nationwide BBQ in Jerusalem).

In olden Days, and hopefully soon again, families would come to Jerusalem, sacrifice a lamb, cook it on the alter in the Temple, and then each family would gather together and eat the lamb for dinner on Pesach night.

As this was a reenactment and not an actual Pesach sacrifice, the meat was distributed to needy families.

Shmot 12:8: “And they shall eat the meat on this night, roasted over the fire, and matzot; with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”

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Video of another practice run:

Photo of the Day

Jews Petition Police to Offer Passover Sacrifice on Temple Mount

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Two Jews have petitioned Jerusalem police in the name of dozens of others for permission to carry out the mitzvah of the Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount this year, for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.

The petitioners claim that police authorization is the only obstacle to ascending the Temple Mount, praying and offering their sacrifice of a lamb, as commanded in the Torah.

They said 100 Jews will be present and will bring with them a portable sacrificial altar and other equipment as described in the Torah.

Rabbi Menachem Boorstein, who is involved with studies of the Holy Temples, said that the mitzvah of the Passover sacrificial offering can be carried out without violating Jewish law. The Chief Rabbinate forbids Jews from ascending the Temple Mount, while a growing number of national religious rabbis permit it under certain conditions and in certain places.

Even the idea of public asking for permission to offer the sacrifice, let along the act itself. could be enough to set off Arabs to wage an all-out war.

Every time a Jews dares to mumble a prayer on the Temple Mount, Muslim officials and police immediately drag them away.

Hundreds of yeshiva students ascended the Temple Mount on Tuesday, the first day of the Hebrew month of Nissan and two weeks before Passover, to hear a lecture on the holy site and on Passover.

Muslims reportedly clashed with the crowd and beat up one of the Jews, but there has been no official confirmation of the claim that there was no provocation besides the actual presence of Jews, which by itself is enough to send the Arabs into a frenzy.

Below is a video of the peaceful moments the crowed of Jews enjoyed on the Temple Mount.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Restoring Order and Maintaining Peace

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Leaders can fail for two kinds of reasons. The first is external; the time may not be right and the conditions may be unfavorable. There may be no one on the other side to talk to.

When British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was asked what was the most difficult thing he had to deal with in government, he replied, “Events, dear boy, events.” Machiavelli called this Fortuna: the power of bad luck that can defeat even the greatest. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you fail. Such is life.

The second kind of failure is internal. A leader can simply lack the courage to lead. Sometimes leaders must oppose the crowd. They have to say “No” when everyone else is crying “Yes.” That can be terrifying. Crowds have a will and momentum of their own. To say “No” may be to put your career, even your life, at risk. That is when courage is needed, and not showing it can constitute a moral failure of the worst kind.

The classic example is King Saul, who failed to carry out Samuel’s instructions in his battle against the Amalekites. Saul was told to spare no one and nothing. This is what happened, as told in 1 Samuel 15:

When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “May the Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God. But we totally destroyed the rest.”

“Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” “Tell me,” Saul replied.

Samuel said, “Although you may be small in your own eyes, are you not head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”

“But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

Saul makes excuses. The failure was not his; it was his soldiers’. Besides, he and they had the best intentions. The sheep and cattle were spared to offer as sacrifices. Saul did not kill King Agag but brought him back as a prisoner. Samuel is unmoved. He says, “Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.” Only then does Saul admit, “I have sinned.” But by then it was too late. His career as a leader was at an end.

There is an apocryphal quote attributed to several politicians: “Of course I follow the party. After all, I am their leader.” There are leaders who follow instead of leading. Rabbi Yisroel Salanter compared them to a dog taken by its master for a walk. The dog runs on ahead, but keeps turning around to see whether it is going in the direction the master wants it to go. The dog may think it is leading – but actually it is following.

That, on a plain reading of the text, was the fate of Aaron in this week’s parshah. Moses had been up the mountain for forty days. The people were afraid. Had he died? Where was he? Without Moses they felt bereft. He was their point of contact with God. He performed the miracles, divided the sea, and gave them water to drink and food to eat. This is how the Torah describes what happened next:

“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered round Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us a god who will go before us. As for this man Moses, who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ Aaron answered them: ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and he fashioned it with a tool and made it into a molten calf. Then they said, ‘This is your god, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’ ” (Exodus 32:1-4).

God became angry. Moses pleaded with Him to spare the people. He then descended the mountain, saw what had happened, smashed the tablets of the law he had brought down with him, burned the idol, ground it to powder, mixed it with water and made the Israelites drink it. Then he turned to Aaron, his brother, and said, “What have you done?”

“Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us a god who will go before us. As for this man Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” (Exodus 32:22-24).

Aaron blamed the people. It was they who made the illegitimate request. He denied responsibility for making the calf. It just happened. “I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” This is the same kind of denial of responsibility we recall from the story of Adam and Eve. The man says, “It was the woman.” The woman says, “It was the serpent.” It happened. It wasn’t me. I was the victim, not the perpetrator. In anyone, such evasion is a moral failure; in a leader, all the more so.

The odd fact is that Aaron was not immediately punished. According to the Torah he was condemned for another sin altogether, when years later he and Moses spoke angrily against the people who complained about lack of water: “Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Merivah” (Numbers 20:24).

It was only later still, in the last month of Moses’s life, that Moses told the people a fact that he had kept from them until then:

“I feared the anger and wrath of the Lord, for He was angry enough with you to destroy you. But again the Lord listened to me. And the Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, but at that time I prayed for Aaron too (Deuteronomy 9:19-20).

God, according to Moses, was so angry with Aaron for the sin of the golden calf that He was about to kill him, and would have done so had it not been for Moses’s prayer.

It is easy to be critical of people who fail the leadership test when it involves opposing the crowd, defying the consensus, blocking the path the majority is intent on taking. The truth is that it is hard to oppose the mob. They can ignore you, remove you, even assassinate you. When a crowd gets out of control there is no elegant solution. Even Moses was helpless in the face of the people at the later episode of the spies (Numbers 14:5).

Nor was it easy for Moses to restore order now. He did so only by the most dramatic action: smashing the tablets and grinding the calf to dust. He then asked for support and was given it by his fellow Levites. They took reprisals against the crowd, killing three thousand people that day. History judges Moses a hero – but he might well have been seen by his contemporaries as a brutal autocrat. We, thanks to the Torah, know what passed between God and Moses at the time. The Israelites at the foot of the mountain knew nothing of how close they had come to being utterly destroyed.

Tradition dealt kindly with Aaron. He is portrayed as a man of peace. Perhaps that is why he was made high priest. There is more than one kind of leadership, and priesthood involves following rules – not taking stands and swaying crowds. The fact that Aaron was not a leader in the same mold as Moses does not mean that he was a failure. It means that he was made for a different kind of role. There are times when you need someone with the courage to stand against the crowd, others when you need a peacemaker. Moses and Aaron were different types. Aaron failed when he was called on to be a Moses, but he became a great leader in his own right in a different capacity. Aaron and Moses complemented one another. No one person can do everything.

When a crowd runs out of control, there is no easy answer. That is why the whole of Judaism is an extended seminar in individual and collective responsibility. Jews don’t, or shouldn’t, form crowds. When they do, it may take a Moses to restore order. But it may take an Aaron, at other times, to maintain the peace.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/rabbi-lord-jonathan-sacks/restoring-order-and-maintaining-peace/2014/02/14/

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