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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘wrong’

Foreign Leaders Eulogize Peres – for the Wrong Reason

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehida}

As I write, the funeral for Shimon Peres is in progress at Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.

Numerous “world leaders” like Barack Obama, Prince Charles, Justin Trudeau, Francois Hollande, Bill Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon, Tony Blair, the EU’s Donald Tusk, and many other important and not-so-important personages are there. Even Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah movement demonized Peres as recently as yesterday, is present. Obama will be the last foreign speaker.

The main roads between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will be closed before and after the event. Many streets in Jerusalem are closed, and traffic on alternate routes is expected to be nightmarish. Hamas has declared today a “day of rage” in honor of “criminal” Peres. I can imagine that every policeman and security person in the country is on duty. Arab and Jewish “extremists” have been preventively detained. The funeral itself will be closed to the Israeli public for security reasons.

I am sure that this is what Peres wanted – enjoying adulation was a weakness of his – but personally, I find it distasteful, even offensive.

The funeral should have been held on the day that he died, as is customary in Judaism. Then it would have been impossible for most of these political celebrities to be here, and that would have been as it should be. The people of Israel who actually care for Peres would have come, the Israelis who know about his tireless work in the 1950s and 60s when he managed the relationship with France that got Israel military hardware that no one else would sell us, when he created the Israeli arms industry and spearheaded the development of Israel’s nuclear deterrent. There are even some that remember and appreciate Peres’ support for the settlement project in the 1970s.

The foreign guests don’t know much about Peres’ contributions to our security, and I suspect he wouldn’t be quite so popular with them if they did. What they admire about him was his leading role in the Oslo Accords, which several commentators have called “the greatest strategic mistake in Israel’s history,” and his continued support of the “peace process,” despite its profound and bloody failure. They are sorry to see him go because he could be used to support their objective of piecemeal dismemberment of the land of Israel.

Future historians will decide whether Peres’ early successes cancel his later disastrous failure. But there is no doubt of his sincerity. He did his almost superhuman best, sacrificing his personal life for his work. He dedicated himself to the state of Israel and the Jewish people. And there is no doubt that many of our guests would like to see that state disappear and that people finally leave the stage of history, which is why they laud Peres’ worst hour as his finest.

I wish they weren’t here, not the ones responsible for the millions that European nations give to subversive Israeli NGOs, or the one who freed Iran to develop nuclear weapons and gave them billions for terrorism. We don’t need to listen to another lecturing, self-serving Obama speech, or to Bill Clinton comparing Shimon Peres to John Lennon. We certainly don’t need more traffic and security headaches.

But all things pass. Later today, the politicians that are praising Peres for the wrong reasons will go home. Hotel guests that were kicked out of their rooms to accommodate their entourages will be able to return, and the traffic jams will finally thin out. Soon it will be Shabbat, and then the Jewish people will mourn their loss among themselves.

Vic Rosenthal

HEADING in the Wrong Direction

Monday, September 19th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s eponymous blogsite}

Last night, I saw a post on Facebook that should cause any G-d fearing individual to shudder upon reading it. Recently, a young boy had sustained a head injury (according to some, by being hit in the head with a baseball) and a Rav in their local community made the following suggestion:


Yes, according to this post, the way to ensure this young boys has a refuah shlema is that women should wear a snood or a scarf instead of a sheitel/wig for the next 30 days.

I fully understand the GENERAL idea of people taking an act upon themselves that corresponds to the part of the body wherein someone was injuredת in order to act as a zechut (merit) for the injured. HOWEVER….Why, oh whyת is it always, always, always women who need to make an adjustment to help bring about a refuah for an injured or sick individual??

You might ask yourself: What in the world would a man be able to do that would have a similar efficacious result? As the post says, since the injury was in the head, then zechuyot from various actions by others, in the area of the head, may be able to affect refuah.

So, let’s look at some of the ways a MAN can do something in this situation:

  1. Check your Tefillin shel Rosh (the tefillin that go on the HEAD). Perhaps there is something that is not in order with the parshiot inside?
  2. Make sure the Tefillin shel Rosh is always straight when on your HEAD.
  3. Make sure that your payot are not cut too short on the side of your HEAD.
  4. Your mind, residing in your HEAD, is one of the most powerful tools to combat evil and with which to do good….exercise that mind/brain for GOOD.
  5. Your eyes, that are in your HEAD, should be used for proper things and not for improper areas.
  6. Your mouth that is in your HEAD–lashon hara, speaking ill of anyone; eating without a proper bracha; davening as if you were reading the NY Times; lying, etc etc…all are actions that can be worked on as well.

Yes, indeed the permanent, knee-jerk reaction is to tell WOMEN to make a change that may help bring about a refuah for someone sick or for some other ill that plagues a community.

BUT…it is time that the rabbanim look inward and tell their MALE constituency that there is plenty that can be done by them, too!

We can not ever pretend we know how G-d thinks, for His thoughts are not like humans. Yet, we can do our best to bring about different zechuyot (merits) for those in need and in pain. Yes, we can indeed take upon ourselves certain actions that MAY make a difference to another person or group of people. Again, we do not know how G-d works, but as humans and His servants can only do our best.

But there are men and women out there, and BOTH can and should participate in these actions.

May Hashem send a refuah shlema to Dov Ber ben Shoshana Raiza!

Rav Zev Shandalov

INTO THE FRAY: Ethnic Cleansing—Why Bibi was Quite Right…and Dangerously Wrong

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

…the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: no Jews! There’s a phrase for that. It’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous. What is even more outrageous is that the world doesn’t find this outrageous. Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage. – Benjamin Netanyahu, September 9, 2016

Late last Friday, the Prime Minister’s office—for no immediately obvious reason—released a video, in which Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the frequently raised demand by the Palestinians, that any future state of theirs must be devoid of Jews, as “Ethnic Cleansing”.

Incandescent response

The video produced an incandescent response from the Obama administration. Thus, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau berated Netanyahu in a Washington press conference last Friday. Disapprovingly, she proclaimed: “We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank,” She added tartly: “We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful.” “Strongly disagree”, “inappropriate”, “unhelpful” is about as barbed and caustic as formal niceties of protocol allow diplomatic rebukes to get—especially when the target of the censure is, allegedly, a close ally.

Trudeau then went on to catalogue a long list of so-called Israeli “transgressions”, denouncing “ongoing settlement activity [a]s an obstacle to peace”—as if that had any bearing on Netanyahu’s decrying Palestinian demands to purge Jews from existing settlements. Calling “on both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to the two-state solution” she lamented: “We have repeatedly expressed our strong concerns that trends on the ground continue to move in the opposite direction”…

Then, reading from an obviously pre-prepared document, she launched into a tirade, castigating Israel for building “thousands of [housing]units for Israelis in the West Bank”; seizing “West bank land for exclusive Israeli use; a dramatic escalation of demolitions of…Palestinian structures, displacing more than 1000 Palestinians”—conveniently omitting that the bulk of these demolitions were of structures initiated and

funded by the EU, with the express purpose of flaunting Israeli authority and provoking Israeli response.

Alluding to nefarious Israeli intent, Trudeau added darkly: “…this does raise real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”

Outrageous and outlandish

But the US wrath was not only outrageous; it was equally outlandish. Indeed, it did not even address the point that Netanyahu raised—and for which he was being so severely admonished.

After all, whatever one might believe regarding the legality of the Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria (pejoratively, known as “settlements”), or the prudence of their ongoing expansion, this is a totally separate issue from the admissibility of the presence of Jews within the frontiers of any future Palestinian entity.

This is particularly true because not only is the legality of the Jewish communities a matter hotly debated by an array of prominent jurists and legal experts, but Trudeau herself states: “Settlements are a final status issue that must be resolved in negotiations between the parties.”

And it is here that Netanyahu has put his finger precisely on the point: For it is the Palestinians’ clearly stated position on this “final status issue” that the presence of Jews is so odious and objectionable that any future peace agreement is feasible only if Palestinian-controlled territory is totally purged of them.

Purposely conflating & obfuscating two separate issues

Thus, in its wrathful response to Netanyahu’s video, the Administration is purposely conflating—and obfuscating—two entirely separate issues:

(a) Undisguised and un-denied Palestinian demands for Judeophobic ethnic cleansing; and

(b) The legal status and political significance of existing Jewish communities..

Accordingly, Netanyahu was being bitterly rebuked for what he didn’t refer to (i.e. the status of the “settlements”), while what he did refer to (i.e. Palestinian Judeophobic demands) was not even addressed! This was hardly an inadvertent oversight on the part of the State Department—as Anne Bayefsky deftly points out in her “All Jews out of Palestine is not a peace plan”, (September 14, 2016). She argues that the reason for the “sudden [US] histrionics” is that “the charge of ethnic cleansing directed against Palestinians is the quintessential inconvenient truth.”

And indeed it is!

For to acknowledge the blatant Judeophobic—indeed, Judeocidal—impulses that characterize Palestinian society, and reflect themselves in their pervasive presence throughout all walks of Palestinian life, is to critically undermine the rationale of the two-state doctrine. After all, this is a doctrine that aims at creating a reality of two-states, living harmoniously side-by-side in peace and prosperity. Clearly, it makes little sense to strive for such a reality if the enmity of one side is so profound and abiding that it cannot tolerate the presence of the other side’s citizens within its frontiers.

From the silly to the surreal

Thus, by raising the issue of Palestinian Judeophobic bigotry, Netanyahu’s video has induced public scrutiny of Palestinian society—something two-state advocates are understandably reluctant to do. For, indeed, the spectacle is not an encouraging one—hardly conducive to their vision of a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Hence the anger it has aroused.

The vehement responses the video elicited ranged from the silly, through the surreal, to the sinister. The mainstream media quickly rallied around the Bibi-bashing banner.

Thus, the LA Times headline blazoned: “U.S. slams Netanyahu after he equates opposition to Israeli settlements with ‘ethnic cleansing’”—which of course he didn’t. What he did was to equate the demand to remove all Jews from any prospective Palestinian state with ethnic cleansing – which of course it is.

Then, there was the particularly disturbing and disappointing op-ed by the national-director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jonathan Greenblatt, who took Netanyahu to task for invoking the term “ethnic cleansing”. He conceded that “Israel has many legitimate concerns about Palestinian policies and behavior, not the least of which is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rash accusations that Israel commits acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

“However” he complained, “the charge that the Palestinians seek ‘ethnic cleansing’ of settlers is just not one of them.” But of course it is—unless you can think of another term for the coercive purge of a group of people because of their collective identity…

“Haaretz” unhinged

The Netanyahu video unleased a maelstrom of almost apoplectic radical Left-wing ire. This expressed itself in an unsurprising kneejerk display of “groupthink” in “Haaretz”, which, ironically, once advertised itself as the “paper for people who think”. It ran a frenzied anti-Bibi spate of largely similar and repetitive news reports and opinion pieces in rapid succession. The list of titles is instructive in itself:

“U.S. Slams Netanyahu’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Video, Calling It ‘Inappropriate and Unhelpful’” (Barak Ravid, Sept. 10); “Netanyahu Accused of Twisting History in ‘Ethnic

Cleansing’ Video (Jack Khoury and Barak Ravid, Sept. 10); “ Netanyahu’s Claim of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Sets a Guinness Record for Chutzpah” (Chemi Shalev Sept. 10); “Yes, Netanyahu, Let’s Talk About Ethnic Cleansing (Gideon Levy, Sept. 11); “Netanyahu’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Video Pushes Obama Closer to UN Security Council (Barak Ravid, Sept.11); “The Real Message Behind Netanyahu’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Speech” (Yitzhak Laor ,Sept. 13); Where’s the outrage over Trump campaign’s shocking statement on ‘ethnic cleansing’? (Asher Schechter , Sept. 13); “Trump Would Be Proud of Netanyahu’s anti-Palestinian Ethnic Cleansing Canard” (Peter Beinart, Sep 14); “Netanyahu’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Video Is Leading Us Down the Road to Masada Redux” (Nehemia Shtrasler Sept. 13).

All these portend the gloom and doom that will befall Israel because Netanyahu had the temerity to designate the demand to expel the members of a community from their homes because of their group affiliation, as “bigotry”—which it undeniably is!

Caveat: Them ain’t Us

But not all the criticism against Netanyahu is without merit. Several critics took him to task for drawing a potential parallel between Israel’s Arab minority within pre-1967 lines and the Jewish communities located in Judea-Samaria. He raised the possibility that this could serve as a model for a peaceful future.

While this might be an enticing scenario to entertain in some parallel universe, where the Palestinian-Arabs are very different to those in this one, in the realities of today, and those likely to prevail in any policy-relevant future, it is a recipe for gory disaster.

Little imagination is required to envision the gruesome fate of any Jewish enclave inside Palestinian-Arab territory and subject to Palestinian-Arab authority—especially if there was no territorial contiguity with sovereign Israel. Indeed, according to far-left Peter Beinart, even the ultra-concessionary Tzipi Livni balked at the idea of abandoning Jews inside areas controlled by the Palestinians. Now, although Beinart is not my preferred source of reference, he does raise a valid point in his previously cited Haaretz piece. He recalls talks that took place in 2008, in which the theoretical possibility of leaving Jewish communities within Palestinian territory was raised. Beinart notes that although these “discussions were speculative…the clear implication [was] that Israeli negotiators had a bigger problem with Jews remaining in a Palestinian state than did their Palestinian counterparts.”

And therein lies the perilous pitfall entailed in Israel disapprovingly brandishing the issue of allegedly implacable Palestinian demands for ethnic cleansing of Jews from any territory transferred to their control. For, quite apart from the fact that transferring/abandoning Jews living under Jewish authority to live under alien sovereignty is the very antithesis of the Zionist ethos, there is another more immediate impediment: While non-Jewish minorities may well flourish in

Israel, Jewish minorities in “Palestine” are very likely to be massacred. For the bitter truth is: Them ain’t us.

The limits of gimmicks

Regrettably, for anyone who nominally endorses the Palestinian-Arabs claim to statehood, flaunting their ostensible demand for the “ethnic cleansing” is a gimmick of limited efficacy—for at least two reasons:

(a) If the Palestinians are indeed seen as an authentic national entity, then their demand to national independence cannot be conditioned on the form of government they choose to institute. It certainly cannot be made dependent on it having a tolerant, open society –just as this is not invoked to negate the sovereignty of an array of brutal tyrannies across the globe—whether Iran, Saudi Arabia or North Korea to name but a few. Strangely enough, I find myself in agreement with Beinart, when he states that “potential future misdeeds do not justify holding a people as non-citizens under foreign control”.

(b) It is far from certain that the Palestinians will continue insisting on purging all the Jewish residents in the territories to be transferred to their control. Indeed, they may well agree to it, even as a temporary tactic. Thus, corroborating Beinart’s earlier remark, Elias Zananiri, vice-chairman of the PLO Committee for Interaction with the Israeli Society, writes in his “Netanyahu’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ gimmick” (Sept. 13): “In the Annapolis peace conference in November 2007, the Palestinian side expressed readiness in principle to host those settlers who would choose to stay where they live in the West Bank. Of course, these settlers would live under Palestinian sovereignty and law.”

Clearly, if the Palestinian-Arabs were to drop their demand for having a “Judenrein” state but demanded that any non-Palestinian resident accept these conditions, with expulsion now no longer a demand, Israel would have with little reason to object.

Gimmicks are not policy

Thus, raising the issue of Palestinian Judeophobic bigotry is an effective measure only if it is invoked to permanently deny, not temporarily delay, Palestinian statehood. While gimmicks may well be effective in promoting policy, they are not a substitute for policy. For Israel, such policy must be the total dis-creditation, de-construction and de-legitimization of the Palestinian narrative and the resultant claim for statehood. In so far as the exposure of the scope and scale of the Palestinian Judeophobic bigotry can be used to promote this policy, it should be utilized.

Using it for other short term, tactical purposes, is liable to be a dangerous double-edged sword.

Dr. Martin Sherman

IDF Kills Arab Bystander in 443 Terrorist Ambush

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

A well orchestrated ambush by Arabs on Rt. 443, the alternative highway connecting the Tel Aviv metro area with Jerusalem via Modi’in, which resulted in three Israelis injured from stones and broken glass and damage to a dozen vehicles, also ended with an IDF rescue force shooting an apparently innocent Arab youth who was in a car that drove by the incident.

An IDF spokesperson said that after a group of Arab youths had hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at moving Israeli vehicles on route 443, “Israeli forces acted to protect additional vehicles from immediate danger and fired toward the suspects and bystanders were mistakenly hit.”

According to motorists who spoke to News 0404, late Monday night masked Arab terrorists poured oil on the highway about two miles east of the Maccabim check post, then stood by the side of the road and as each Israeli car arrived and started swerving on the oil, they smashed it with very large stones. At least 12 vehicles were seriously damaged, as windows and windshields were cracked and broken, as well as the sides and roofs.

David Israel

Experts: Putin Sent Israel the Wrong Missing Tank

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted in a heartfelt ceremony from Russian President Vladimir Putin a Magach-3 Israeli tank that had been captured by the Syrians in the 1982 Battle of Sultan Yacoub in the First Lebanon War, and had been on display in a museum in the Moscow area. Netanyahu posted in his Facebook page: “My wife Sara and I have participated today in an emotional ceremony of returning the tank that had fallen in Syrian captivity during the Battle of Sultan Yacoub in the First Lebanon War.” But now, according to Yedioth Aharonoth, one week after Israel received the tank in which the still missing in action Israeli fighters had met their demise, it appears, to the chagrin of the mourning families, that it may not be the same tank.

On June 10, 1982, IDF 90th Armored Division was rushed forward with orders to gain as much ground as possible before a cease-fire would come into effect. Late that night the force fought its way through Syrian infantry in the Lebanese village of Sultan Yacoub, in the eastern Beqaa Valley, only four miles from the Syrian border. Apparently, in its rush to gain ground, coupled with intelligence failures, the force was cut off and surrounded by Syrian army units. At dawn, the force broke out and escaped to the south, supported by Israeli artillery. The battle lasted six hours resulting in the force losing eight tanks and 30 men. The force was unable to destroy the disabled Magach-3 tanks they left behind and those were recovered by the Syrians, and were put on display in Russia and in the Tishreen Panorama Military Museum in Damascus. Three IDF soldiers remain missing in action: Zachary Baumel, an Israeli-US citizen, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman. These soldiers were captured and paraded through Damascus on top of their captured tank.

Returned tank lands in Israel / Courtesy

Returned tank lands in Israel / Courtesy

In his Facebook post, Netanyahu noted that the returned tank is “the only testimony to our missing soldiers from that battle… For 34 years we’ve been searching for our fighters and will not cease the search until we inter them in a Jewish cemetery in the State of Israel. For these 34 years the Baumel, Katz and Feldman families have not had a gravesite to visit. Now they’ll have this tank, a remnant from the Sultan Yacoub battle which they can visit and touch and remember their sons in Israel.”

Not really, says tank expert Lt. Col. (Ret) Michael Mas, who told Yedioth the returned tank is not the one inside which the three missing soldiers were fighting. “It’s very sad that the prime minister and the media follow misinformation,” Mas said. “This is not the tank that belonged to the missing. What was returned is a whole tank, and the tanks where the missing fought look different. While this is for sure one of the eight tanks captured by the Syrians in the battle, this tank bears no mark of any injuries. When Netanyahu said that the families who haven’t had a gravesite to visit will now find peace, he committed two errors: one, it’s not their tank; and two, they’re missing, not dead.”

Returned tank in Israel / Courtesy

Returned tank in Israel / Courtesy

Pirchia Heiman, Yehuda Katz’s sister, responded angrily, telling Yedioth: “All the families of the missing are enraged. What do we need all these spins for?” She asked, adding, “Since I’ve heard of the plan to return the tank I waited eagerly, I couldn’t sleep at night. Ten days ago they conducted the ceremony in Russia and there Ndetanyahu said the families would have this tank ‘to be able to touch it and the memory of their sons,” and he already knew it was the wrong tank, but we didn’t. Only the next day did we get the right shield number for the tank, not through the IDF, and I realized this wasn’t Yehuda’s tank.”

At this point it should be noted that PM Netanyahu could have avoided this embarrassment had he read up IDF reports filed 18 years ago, which determined after a thorough examination of the tank on display in Russia that it’s not the tank that belonged to the missing soldiers, and that the soldiers who fought in this tank were able to flee the scene unharmed and are alive and well.

Here’s another embarrassing point Netanyahu could have saved himself had he read the IDF reports: the three missing soldiers fought in two different tanks, one of which was burnt beyond recognition, and neither of which is the returned tank. Like cars, tanks receive identifying numbers, and this tank, 817581, is not the one.

Or, as Lt. Col. (res) Danny Krief put it, “Clearly, the Russians didn’t care which tank they handed over, and that’s what Netanyahu used for his gimmick.”


I Never Do Anything Wrong

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

“Speak to Bnei Yisrael and say to them: any man whose wife shall go astray and commit treachery against him…” – Bamidbar 5:12


The Torah describes the details of a sotah. If a woman acts in a manner that causes her husband to suspect her of infidelity, he should warn her not to go into seclusion with that other man. If she violates this warning, the husband is to take her to the kohen. The kohen will give her the “bitter waters” to drink. If she was unfaithful, she will instantly die. If she was not unfaithful, she will be redeemed and blessed.

When the Torah lays out the details, it uses an unusual expression: “If a man will tishteh his wife.” The word tishteh comes from the root shoteh, which means insanity. It’s as if to say, “If a man will accuse his wife of insanity.”

Rashi is troubled by the use of this expression. He explains, based on the Gemara, that adulterers do not sin until a wave of insanity enters them. The Siftei Chachmim explains this to mean “until their yetzer hara teaches them it is permitted.”

It seems clear from the Siftei Chachaim that the modus operandi of the yetzer hara is to convince potential sinners that the act tempting them is permitted. Only when it succeeds, and they are convinced, will they then transgress.

This statement – people only sin when they are convinced it is permitted – seems difficult to understand. If we are dealing with a pious, proper Jewish woman who got into a bad situation, she knows the act she wants to commit is forbidden. How can the yetzer hara teach her it is permitted? On the other hand, the Torah may be speaking about the opposite extreme – a woman who has gone off the path and just doesn’t care. Why does she need the yetzer hara to tell her it is permitted? She doesn’t care.

So on both sides of the spectrum, the yetzer hara either should be unable to convince the person it is permitted – or it shouldn’t need to do any convincing.

The answer to this question is based on understanding one of the most consistent quirks of human nature: “I never do anything wrong. Whether sophisticated adults or schoolchildren, Supreme Court justices or convicted felons, humans seem never to do anything wrong. Wardens will tell you their jails are filled with self-proclaimed innocent men. Thieves aren’t wrong. Murderers aren’t wrong. You won’t find a gangster proclaiming, “Yes, it is evil to murder and pillage, but what can I do? I am weak and give into my desires.” Instead, you will hear an entire belief system explaining his approach to life is actually better for society and the world.

Why can’t a man just admit it is wrong to steal but he wants to do it anyway?

The Inner Workings of the Human

The reason for this has to do with the inner working of the human. Hashem created man out of two distinct parts. One is comprised all of the drives and passions found in the animal kingdom; it is simply base instincts and desires. The other part of man is pure intellect: holy, good and giving.

Because this part of me is made up of pure intellect and wisdom, it would never allow me to sin. It sees the results too clearly. It understands that all of Hashem’s commandments are for my good and that every sin damages me. Because of this crystal clear insight, the human would not have the free will to sin. In theory, he could be tempted to sin, but he would never actually come to the act. It would be akin to sticking his hand in a fire. In theory he could do it, but it would never happen. So if Hashem created man with just these two parts, man would not have free will in a practical sense.

To allow man to be tempted so that he can choose his course and be rewarded for his proper choices, Hashem put another component in man: imagination. Imagination is the creative ability to form a mental picture and feel it as vividly as if it were real. Armed with an imagination, man can create fanciful worlds at his will and actually believe them. If man wishes to turn to evil, he can create rationales to make these ways sound noble and proper – and fool himself at least. If he wishes he can do what is right, or if he wishes he can turn to wickedness. Even his brilliant intellect won’t prevent him. He is capable of creating entire worldviews that explain how the behavior he desires is righteous, correct, and appropriate. Man has free will.

The answer to this Rashi has two levels. First, we see the power of rationalizing. Even a fully mature, pious woman who grew up in the best of homes can be convinced, on some level, that illicit relations are permitted. The yetzer hara will use her imagination and create clever and creative ways to explain that black is white, in is out, and arayos is permitted. As ridiculous as it sounds, that is the power given to the yetzer hara.

The second idea is that even the woman who seems to be off the derech and wouldn’t need an excuse really does. No human can ever do something that is wrong. Because of the greatness of her soul and the truth she knows deep down inside, she understands that for a married woman to go to another man is forbidden. The only way she can perpetrate this act is if she has a rational way of explaining how in fact it is permitted. The human is incapable of doing something wrong. The only way he can do something wrong is by making it right in his or her mind.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

What’s Wrong With Israel’s Right?

Friday, June 10th, 2016

“Pushovers don’t die, they are simply replaced by new pushovers,” says the Israeli adage. But in Israel’s Right, the pushovers don’t die and they aren’t even replaced by new pushovers. The Right always celebrates its political victory and in the blink of an eye, its leaders become tools in the hands of the Left.

Begin surrendered the entire Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and destroyed Yamit and an entire settlement bloc. Shamir sent Israel to sit in rooms with plastic covered windows and doors, waiting for the Iraqi missiles to explode (and leaving the state’s security, for the first time in Israel’s history, in the hands of the U.S.). Netanyahu hugged Arafat and gave him almost all of Hebron. Sharon destroyed Gush Katif. And now Lieberman is already making more leftist declarations than his predecessor in the Defense Ministry.

What’s wrong with the Right? Why is it that when the Left is in power, it rules and leads the nation according to its principles, while when the Right is in power, the Left continues to rule and lead according to its principles? And it rules by means of the elected officials of the Right, with virtually no opposition. Why does that happen time and again?

Usually, the Right attempts to answer this question on the basis of faulty character traits: “Begin was weak, Netanyahu is spineless, Sharon was always a leftist, and Lieberman is simply corrupt…” But that is ridiculous. Every leader has his strong and weak points. The Right’s leaders are no less worthy than the leaders of the Left. On the contrary, they are generally more talented. The answer does not lie with their character. It goes much deeper:

The Israeli Right does not really have an alternative agenda to the Left. The distinction between Right and Left does not revolve around questions of peace and security; it revolves around the question of identity: Is Israel a Jewish State or a state of all its citizens?

Zionism built Israel as a state of all its citizens. The Knesset (with the exception of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee) is the Knesset of the state of all its citizens. The IDF is the army of all its citizens (at least all those citizens who are not considered “Nazis”…). The media are the media of the state of all its citizens. The justice system, academia, culture – all are part of an Israel that is a state of all its citizens. And so, when the Left rises to power – it is “all systems go” for the political actualization of the state of all its citizens principle.

And the Right? The Right has never attempted to formulate a policy that revolves around the Jewish identity of the State of Israel.

After Defense Minister Lieberman destroys Amona, releases terrorists, opens roadblocks and freezes construction in Judea and Samaria, Israel will go to elections. At that point, he (and the rest of the Right) will issue some belligerent declarations about the Arabs and will once again rake in the votes of the pushovers who never die and never need to be replaced.

To change the entire paradigm and bring true peace and security to Israel, our state must connect first and foremost to its Jewish identity and identify itself as a unique, liberty-based Jewish state.

Moshe Feiglin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/whats-wrong-with-israels-right/2016/06/10/

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