Misusing Halacha Is Daas Torah?
In a letter last week, Bentzion ben Yisroel wrote the following about an unfolding controversy related to eruvin in Lakewood: “Daas Torah does not want this to happen. So to counteract this proposal, the Vaad is increasing Lakewood’s population so that it will come under the halachic ruling of Reb Moshe that forbids an eruv in mega population centers.”
How are they “increasing” Lakewood’s population? What constitutes a “mega population center”? On what precedent is producing such an increase based?
It is hard to imagine how this artificial, after-the-fact use of Rav Moshe Feinstein’s p’sak can be presented as “Daas Torah.”
According to what was written, the Vaad (which one?) is attempting to shoehorn the population into the quoted criterion of Rav Moshe Feinstein’s ruling. Would Rav Moshe have approved of using one of his teshuvos in this manner?
I don’t think so. Indeed, I think new meaning has been lent to the words “oy, l’elbona shel Torah” in Avos. Perhaps, though, I should follow Rabbi Akiva’s example and laugh with joy because, if this is how Torah is being represented, it must be a sign that Mashiach is coming.
A Jewish Observer
Stop Bypassing the Voters
So, Israel’s Supreme Court has now ruled that Dr. Michael Ben-Ari will not be allowed to run in the Knesset elections next month while Arab party candidates Ofer Cassif and Ra’am-Balad can despite spouting anti-Zionist views and supporting Israel’s enemies.
This ruling is just one in a series of moves in the run-up to the elections resulting from the old Mapai aristocracy apparently having never forgiven the voters for having the chutzpah to elect Menachem Begin and Benjamin Netanyahu. Having failed with the voters, it is now trying to use the courts and media to subvert the democratic process before these bastions, too, fall to the despised masses.
Hopefully, the electorate will use the ballot box to demonstrate that, in a democracy, it is the will of the people – not a self-appointed oligarchy – that really counts.
Martin D. Stern
The Omar Phenomenon Will Only Get Worse
Anyone who thinks Ilhan Omar will modify or cease her attacks on Israel, Israel supporters, and Jews is, I’m afraid, delusional. Now that she has center stage, her rhetoric will only get worse and ultimately she won’t bother uttering even a half-hearted apology.
Only one body has the power to stop her: the Democratic Party. Yet, so far, all it has done is give her a slap on the wrist. Do Democratic leaders agree with Omar? Or did they just not want to ruffle the feathers of her supporters? Either way, until they take punitive action, Omar’s rhetoric will continue.
At the very least, she should be stripped of her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee. At the most, she should be formally censured. Failure to do so will only encourage President Trump and Republican congressmen to call Democrats, not only anti-Israel, but anti-Semitic.
New York, NY
I Do Not Have Dual Loyalties
I have two loyalties. They are separate and distinct. There is no conflict between them. First is my “spiritual” loyalty – my devotion to G-d and the precepts of the Torah.
Second is my “temporal” loyalty – my singular devotion to the land of my birth: the United States of America, which has provided me with safety, sustenance, freedom, and endless opportunity for growth. My gratitude to her is boundless. I yearn for her safety and well-being.
No other nation state has a claim on my temporal loyalty, including the state of Israel (which I love and admire immensely).
This my reaction to the disgusting comments and insinuations of Rep. Ilan Omer.
Jerrold Terdiman, MD
Give It To ‘Em, Jason!
President Trump is to be highly commended for choosing Jason Greenblatt to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At a session of the UN Security Council earlier this month, he said, in reference to the Palestinian Authority paying salaries to terrorists who have killed Israelis:
“It is astonishing that in the year 2019, the Palestinian Authority has not yet taken any steps to end these morally-repugnant payments. It is bewildering that the international community has not been more vocal in condemning this practice. If your citizens were being routinely attacked by terrorists, which of you would tolerate a reward system that compensated the attackers for their crimes? How can we possibly censure Israel for taking the same stance?”
“It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to manufacture the current crisis. Israel is withholding 5-7 percent of monthly clearance revenues…. It is the Palestinian Authority that has chosen to reject all remaining clearance revenues, which amount to up to 95 percent of the revenues to which they are entitled. The Palestinian Authority is refusing to accept over $150 million in revenue to protest the fact that $11 million is being withheld, only to make a political point….
“The Palestinian Authority’s institutionalization of support for terrorism is unacceptable and must be called out, unequivocally, by all of us. The time has come for everyone to stop looking the other way.”
It Is A Crime Against Humanity
Last week, reader Josh Greenberger challenged my use of the phrase “innocent Palestinian civilians,” retorting that Palestinian Arab women coach their children to become terrorists.
He almost backtracks, conceding that one should not target “truly innocent civilians.” Evidently, though, he cannot find these innocents among the Palestinian Arabs. It is precisely this sort of wholesale condemnation of a people that we Jews have battled for millennia. I refuse to accept the notion that we should tar an entire people with a pejorative brush.
Meanwhile, Greenberger’s logic is flawed. If, as he says, it is all right to wantonly target civilians, why does he blame these “mothers of suicide bombers” who praise their children?
As for Joshua Bernstein, he questions my use of the term “crime against humanity.” What, asks Bernstein, is a crime against humanity?
To refresh his memory, I refer him to the Nuremberg Trials, where the term was employed in reference to the Holocaust. Yes, Joshua, it is the wanton extermination of Jews that popularized the very term you now mock!
How, in good conscience, do you minimize the idea that an attack against any people is an attack on all of us? I find it ironic that your letter appears the same week that we witnessed the massacre in New Zealand against innocent Muslims at prayer.
Joshua, you call on me to explain when in history the intentional killing of civilians became immoral. You ask: Didn’t the British carpet-bomb Germany and didn’t the United States drop atomic bombs on Japan? The answer is that those may well have been immoral acts.
Finally, in rebutting my comparison of Jewish terrorism with ISIS attacks, Bernstein states that he does not criticize ISIS for its actions. I would assume the same pertains to Hamas’s actions. If so, Bernstein is at least consistent, but he is also horribly misguided. To hear a supporter of Israel effectively justify the actions of our mortal enemies is chilling.
Far Rockaway, NY