Wednesday, August 31, 2005

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Rabbi and Congregation remain trapped in flooded New Orleans

Chabad Lubavitch of Louisiana reports:

Rabbi Nemes (director of Chabad of Metairie) was reached in a brief phone conversation. He is OK, but he is stuck in his home in Metairie (Jefferson Parish, New Orleans) with water on the first floor. They have been on the second floor for two days, and they are still OK.

Rabbi Nemes stayed because he was contacted by a few people that were stuck in the city and were afraid to shelter in the Superdome. So, he and his family invited them into his home to ride out the storm. They are now 13 people on the second floor, waiting to be rescued. They are running our of drinking water and cannot boil more, because the stove is on the first floor.

Update: Rabbi Nemes, his congregation and family are reported to have been successfully evacuated. He and his family are headed to Memphis.

Jewish Hurricane Relief - Click Here


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Jewish Hurricane Relief

Jewish Hurricane Relief, Chabad Lubavitch of New Orleans - Click Here

Diary of a disaster - click here. Updated link.

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News Links: Direct News from New Orleans, City Collapsing, Rabbi's Missing

Here's a couple links I came across with video, photos, and regular (15 minute) updates of conditions and the situation in New Orleans.

Local Video and Photos - Click Here

15 Minute Situation Updates - Click Here

Live Video - Click Here

The Chabad Rabbi's of New Orleans, Rabbi Zelig Rivkin, his son Rabbi Menachem Mendel Rivkin, and Rabbi Yakov Nemes stayed behind through the storm to be ready to assist people who would be in need afterwards and assist those unable to easily evacuate. No news has been posted from them since the storm. May Hashem have protected them.

Currently, the situation appears to be dire, not just because of the incredible amount of damage but with the failure of their flood control walls the city is flooding, trapping those remaining. Hospital patients, prison inmates, and people that didn't leave (some tens of thousands including the Chabad rabbi's) are in trouble with limited evacuation options.

May Hashem protect those who so desparately need it.

Update: Regarding the Chabad rabbis, this note was sent out, "Our rabbis stayed behind to help families in need and are being evacuated now".

Chabad Lubavitch of Louisiana
Hurricane Relief - Click Here


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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

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Prophecy: Gaza evacuation followed by Tsunami?

R. Natan of Yiddishkeit.Org added this comment which I think bears it's own post:

(From here in hebrew and here in English.)

(A story of meeting the Rabbi making this prophecy...)

Ten years ago we entered with a few of the people of Chevron to an old house in Maale Edomim. In the house lived an old man 90+, and we were told that he's a Mekubal Rabbi. After some time Rabbi Baruch Shapira, ztzvk"l told us that he is from the 36 tzadikim nistarim, and he's their head). We of course doubted it and not really believed it until he told us that he was a true prophet and started to tell us prophecies that all came true in that year. After he was niftar Rabbi Mordechay Eliyahu attended his funreal and told us: "know that he was one of the 36 tzadikim nistarim" (the 36 hidden righteous leaders of the generation).

And this was what was said by the same tzadik 10 years ago, and the things were written and videoed by Yoram Sharabi of Chevron (contact info deleted, available on request):

1) The Lubavitcher Rebbe is Melech HaMoshiach, only few will believe in him, and I also sinned in this matter.

2) Today you should rely only on Rabbi Mordechay Eliyahu. He's the biggest of Mekubalm, and only he should be trusted.

3) There will come a day when settlements in Gaza area will be evacuated and handed over to the enemy. After the Jews will leave, Hakadosh-Baruch-Hu (G-d) will shake the sea and will make an earthquake in the sea near Gaza, and will come a very great wave that will wash the whole are that will become islands. Immediately afterwards the Jews will return to the area, and this is a great miracle that will happen.

If you want, publish it. You can ask Rabbi Yoram Sharabi Shlita of Chevron in the telephone above. There's also a rare video, and anyone who wants should ask the honorable Rabbi Eliyahu if this is true or is this another invention, G-d forbid.

------------

Answer by Rabbi Scheinberg:

1) According to Rabbi Eliyahu, the Lubavitcher Rebbe could have been Melech HaMoshiach when he was alive. After he was niftar because of our sins, there will be another Melech Moshiach in a body that lives among us.

2) We do rely on the Rabbi's opinion.

3) Amen.

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Special Video: The Last Days of Netzer Hazani

This is a very special short video, The Last Days of Netzer Hazani, one of the Jewish towns of Gush Katif, Gaza, Israel, now judenrein (free of the plague of Jews) and ground to rubble...

Short Video - Click Here - Don't Miss It!

Today, the area can proudly say:
judenfrei_this_town_is_free_of_jews_1
"This town is free of Jews."
Bydgoszcz, Poland - World War 2
Gush Katif, Gaza, Israel - 2005

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Audio Post: Speaking Out for the Good!

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Audio Post: A Story, Advocate for the Good

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Monday, August 29, 2005

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Homicide Bomber

"...for even their sons and their daughters have they burnt in fire for their gods." (Devarim 12:31) (credit to Rabbi Weisz of Aish.Com)

This news item seems to not have made the front page anywhere, just a minor item slipped in the background...

(Guysen Israel News in French) Sunday, 40 people were wounded in a suicide bombing in Beersheba; two of them are fighting for their lives. The Islamic Jihad declared that it was soon planning to commit further attacks in Israel since "no one died in Sunday's attack."

Apparently this homicide bomber attack doesn't rate serious attention because no Jewish lives were terminated. 40 were, however, injured, and injuring by bombing usually means severe burns, body parts blown off, life altering and debilitating injuries that take months or years to regain a semblance of normal function.



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Wake up and hear the message of Katrina!

Rabbi Lazer Brody advises people with a strong message, listen to the words of (massive hurricane) Katrina...

Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches that we must constantly search for the Divine message in all the events of our lives, since Hashem speaks to us by way of our environment.

At the time of this writing, hurricane Katrina has been declared a national emergency in the USA; her winds now exceed 175 mph (nearly 300 km/hour)...


Read the whole thing, really.

Regardless, I hope the impact will be minimal and no one, G-d forbid, will be injured or killed by this incredibly massive storm. I fear, from all the reports, that this may not be the case.

Update: Sultan Knish adds on with a list of historical events correlating to Jewish oppression, see it here.

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Earthquakes and Gaza?

Prophecy, or even Ruach HaKodesh (speaking or predicting, perhaps on a smaller or personal scale or a communal scale, literally a spirit of holiness), has been a big topic here. I've published, somewhat freely, prophecies or prophetic hints that I've received, almost all around Moshiach, the Geulah (period of the redemption), or around the events of Gush Katif.

As is clear, most of them were wrong and those that weren't, were sufficiently hazy to be unclear of when they are speaking. Since they were wrong, those voices are no longer considered valid sources for prophetic statements (as mistakes discount the validity of a prophet.) Personally, I am aware of only one prophetic voice that has spoken in our generation, that spoke with the required 100% accuracy to be considered actually prophetic. But, that's a topic and story for another time.

Here's a new one I received (courtesy of R. Nathan of Yiddishkeit.Org and from Moriya.Org.Il)...

HaRav Baruch Shapira, ztvk"l, said ten years ago: "I am a big prophet and head of the 36 hidden tzaddikim, and my prophecy is that in the future they will drive out complete settlements from the Gaza Strip, and immediately afterwards there will be a very strong earthquake in the area of Gaza and a huge wave will come and wash away the whole area into the sea, along with all the Palestinians."

This Rav Shapira is buried on the Mount of Olives, and Harav Mordechai Eliyahu knew him and was at his funeral and said at the funeral that he was the head of the 36 hidden tzaddikim in the world, and the greatest of them. This was confirmed by Rabbi Sheinberg.


Hmm.

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Teaching of Chassidus

Since the beginning of the teaching of Chassidus in the time of the Baal Shem Tov and thereafter, it is specifically in this time that the Apikorsim (learned heretics) have increased .. and thus at the end of the exile is the strengthening of the klipa of Apikorsus, which is the matter of the war of Gog and Magog as is known [...] This is a sign that the new light of the future is already revealed Above.

from the book Kesser Shem Tov (p.486), via R. Nathan of Yiddishkeit.org.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

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Photos: North of Jerusalem, The West Bank

"How long will you be lax in coming to take possession of the Land that the Lord, G-d of your fathers has given you?"(Joshua 18:3)

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The 'occupied' West Bank, occupied by what? Thorns?

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Looking at a desolate land, from the Jewish Town of Eli

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The Renewed Jewish Town of Shiloh

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A Jewish Vineyard - Emek Shiloh


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Big Surprise #2 - EU wants it all...

In the next big world political shocker regarding Israel (not), the EU has announced that they expect the West Bank and Jerusalem to be evacuated next....

The EU envoy to the Middle East, Mark Otte, said in an interview appearing this weekend that Israel's recent uprooting of Jewish communities is a model for the rest of Samaria, Judea and Jerusalem.

"Our position regarding the West Bank and east Jerusalem is identical - they are occupied territories, and the future of Jerusalem will also be discussed in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians," Mr. Otte told Al-Quds, a Jerusalem-based Arabic-language newspaper.

Otte dismissed statements by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Israel will retain large blocs of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in any permanent arrangement with the Palestinian Authority. Such commitments, the European Union envoy asserted, are nothing more than "spin" intended for internal Israeli consumption.

The EU also does not take seriously Israel's demand that the PA fulfill its commitments to disarm Arab terrorist groups. According to the Al-Quds interview, Mr. Otte said the EU does not demand that the PA confront terrorist groups militarily, or that the PA initiate a civil war in order to carry out its obligations.

News article here, Israel National News.

Wake up, appeasing the world doesn't work!

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Friday, August 26, 2005

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Story Link: Burial with Socks

This is one of those stories that is probably an urban legend (or in this case, a Jewish shtetl legend), but it's a good one nonetheless...

One of the Reichman brothers (extremely rich Jewish family) passed away this summer, leaving 1 billion dollars. He left two wills, directing that one be opened immediately and the second be opened at the Shloshim (after 30 days).

Among the instructions left in the first will was a request the he be buried with a certain pair of socks that he owned. The Reichman children immediately brought the socks to the Chevra Kadisha (the burial society), requesting that their father be buried in them. Of course, the Chevra Kadisha refused, reminding the family that it's against the Halacha (Jewish Law)...


From Hasidic Rebele, read the whole thing here
.
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Personal and Communal Punishment

From Aish.com, whole article here.

When you find yourself being pursued by the Egyptians through no fault of your own don't disassociate yourself and say, "This obviously has nothing to do with me. I have done absolutely nothing to deserve being pursued and slaughtered. Obviously this tragedy cannot be justly addressed to me; I have to discover who is really to blame." No, you are being tested.

You are correct in thinking that you cannot be punished as long as you have done no wrong. But that doesn't shelter you from the shocks of life. In the face of the threatening danger God expects you to say, "Look this cannot be accidental. Here I am, being threatened when I haven't done anything. Something is clearly being demanded of me. What can it be? Perhaps God is trying to teach me not to take life for granted. I should turn to Him and say, 'Look, I realize that You owe me nothing, and that there is no such thing as a right to life. But let me live so that I can accomplish something with my life. Let me raise my children to serve you, let me work on myself, let me attempt to raise the consciousness of mankind to the purpose of life.'" There can be no other reason why a loving, benevolent God should confront the innocent with potential tragedies they have done nothing to deserve.

Before he died, Moses was anxious to teach the Jewish people to coexist with God in an atmosphere of affectionate co-operation. The secret: neither holiness or purity but living with ambition and purpose; never satisfied with just continuing to be the people we are today but always setting goals to be a different, more noble people tomorrow.

A Jewish people who lives with spiritual goals is always safe. It matters not that they sin, it matters not that they are not so holy or observant right now; the future is all. A Jewish people marching down the highway of self-improvement is a Jewish people safely sheltered from national tragedy. As long as we are marching forward maintaining a purposeful existence, we need the universe for the purpose that God set for it. God is ready and willing to renew it for us with total grace. He is patient and ready to wait a thousand years for the process of self-perfection to reach completion. As long as there is movement forward and the Jewish people are free of apathy and moral stagnation we are safe in the palm of God's Hand.

But when we grow apathetic and fall into the rut of spiritual stagnation, God grows impatient with the world. When it has no purpose, He cannot renew it. He sends people to chastise us, and if there are no people available, He sends us little tragedies. If we pay attention, wake up and take some steps to change, the good times resume; God's patience is reawakened no matter how much improvement is required and no matter how long it will take. But if we ignore the 'tochacha' there is no hope of progress. The stagnation is forecast into the future as continuing indefinitely. In this situation, even a Jewish people who is widely observant, finds little favor in His eyes. We were created to accomplish not to stagnate, at whatever level.

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Off Topic: Space Development

Not a normal topic of this blog, but the following article caught my attention describing how space development is seriously moving forward in a very practical business fashion.

Raba said, "If the righteous (the tzaddikim, the saintly) would take care to be clean from any sin whatsoever, they would be able to create a world..." - Sanhedrin 65b

Jim Benson has a plan for colonizing space.

To be sure, building self-sustaining settlements on other planets isn't the first item on the to-do list he sketched out five years ago, as the founder of one of the space industry's scrappiest publicly traded companies.
...
But he does have a plan — and so far, the plan is right on schedule, thanks to projects ranging from low-cost, high-performance microsatellites to the historic SpaceShipOne suborbital flights and even more ambitious orbital dreams.


If space interests you, read the whole thing here.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

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Photos: A Courtyard in The Old City

Early morning at a courtyard in Jerusalem, the old city, Jewish Quarter...
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08-09Israel 029

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Kabbalah Concepts: Bitul

Bitul is a complex concept. In essence, it means negation, as in negation of the self, the true depth of selflessness. Rabbi Ginsburg (from Inner.Org) writes on this topic:

Selflessness is the experiential form of the sefirah of wisdom, meaning that the more a person’s wisdom is expressed, the less he experiences his ego. As the intensity of the feeling of one’s own ego diminishes it is replaced by an acute awareness of the omnipresence of the Almighty.
...
A person who truly attains selflessness emanates an awareness of the Almighty to all that surround him and come in contact with him. It is almost as if he or she has become a placeholder, a symbolic pointer, to the omnipresent holiness of the Almighty.

Selflessness is prone to misdirection by imagination. It is easy for a person to imagine that he is selfless, to imagine that he is aware of the omnipresence of the Almighty. In fact, false images of G-d, in this sense, actually lead to the aggrandizement of one’s ego with all the negative effects that it entails. The power of imagination is what man shares with the beasts, and indeed is initially identified as a faculty of the animal soul. Only after much refinement can the imagination correctly envision the presence of the Almighty.


Less ego, more wisdom. Less ego, more room for G-d.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

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Speak of them...

A hassidic thought from HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, entered for Menachem Av 13...

"Speak of them when you sit..." (at home and when you go on your way, when you lie down and when you rise up) [part of the Sh'ma Yisroel central Jewish prayer and from the Torah, Devarim 6:7]

Our sages explain that "speak of them" refers to words of Torah. However, in Torah-study itself there are many gradations...

"When you sit at home," refers to the soul's occupation with Torah when it is in the trove of souls, before its descent to this lowly world.

"When you go on the way," refers to the time during which the soul descends from world to world, from plane to plane, until it comes below to this lowest world to be invested in a physical body. There the soul "goes in the way" of this world until the time of old age, until -

"When you lie down," when man's appointed time arrives (to leave the physical world at the end of his life). Then, too, the Torah will protect him, as explained in Chapter Six of Avot, (Mishna 9) until -

"When you rise up," as it is said, "When you awaken (it shall be your discourse)." [The reference is to the time when the dead will come to life.]

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Diminishing Generations of Holiness

From Aish.com - whole article here.

(Referring to Pirke Avos, the Mishna titled Ethics of Our Fathers, describing why each subsequent generation began adding more protection...)

Each generation was aware of the fact that it perceived the world with a clarity of vision that would never again be equaled before the arrival of the Mashiach; each attempted to squeeze its disappearing vision into a practice that must be followed by succeeding generations in light of the fact that this level of clarity would no longer be matched.

...The Men of the Great Assembly could always reach the true verdict without being deliberate in judgment because of the great insight into the depths of the human heart provided by their Ruach Hakodesh, the spirit of holiness that rested upon them.

Subsequent generations, who would not be imbued with Ruach Hakodesh, would have to deliberate long and carefully to reach reliable results.

The Men of the Great Assembly focused on the quality of their disciples and not on their numbers because their aim was to raise students to the level where they could also become imbued with the Holy Spirit.

But following the inevitable departure of this spirit from the world in the next generation, all students should be considered equal. You never know which person has the stamina and concentration to reach greatness through the diligence of his own unaided effort; therefore the numbers become important.

The generation of the Great Assembly did not require fences around the mitzvot; they were holy people and their sensitivity to holiness insured them against inadvertent descent into profanity. Whenever they came close to profane action their awakened sense of anxiety preserved them from falling into the pit. A holy person is as spiritually sensitive to profanity as he is physically aware of fire; you can feel its heat from afar and be warned of the approaching danger.

But when the sensitivity to holiness departs, so does sensitivity to the heat cast by the flame of profanity. The spiritual danger area that becomes exposed must be fenced in.

The generations before the Men of the Great Assembly were not doomed to experience any of these spiritual drops. As long as the First Temple stood, and prophecy was part of the everyday world, fresh contact with God was always at hand. Each generation was in a position to contact God directly, and receive the Torah from God anew as though they themselves had stood on Mt. Sinai. (In those times) There was no need to encapsulate the clarity of vision into actions that would preserve the flavor of spiritual life even after that clarity was lost...


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Best Disengagement Photo I've Seen...

Via Israpundit...

2005_08_23 - deportation.jpg


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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

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The Value of Teffilin

Some years ago, an acquaintance of mine lost his job. He arranged an appointment with Rav Kaduri (the saintly and righteous rabbi & teacher and senior master kabbalist) to get advice on which field would be successful for him.

Rav Kaduri told him, "In the time of the Geulah (the period of the redemption), people will see the value of tefillin and greatly desire them, yet there will not be enough. People will sell their houses just to buy a pair of tefillin!"

My acquaintance went and opened a small factory for the manufacture of tefillin boxes (an exacting religious process).

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Big Surprise, They're Just Getting Started

Here's a big surprise (not)...

The Jerusalem Post reports (original article - click here):

Israel is likely to begin dismantling unauthorized settlements in the West Bank within 90 days of the evacuation of the northern Samaria settlements, a senior government official told The Jerusalem Post.

According to the official, the evacuation of the Gaza settlements has "changed the rules of the game," both in regard to Israel's expected reaction to any Palestinian terrorist attacks – which Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said would be harsher than in the past – and also in regard to the unauthorized settlements.

The official referred to a "momentum" that had been established over the last few days that the IDF was keen to capitalize upon. A few months ago, before the Gaza evacuation, dismantling the outposts appeared to some as an almost inconceivable task.

The official said the idea behind removing the outposts that are spread throughout the West Bank now was to "strike while the iron was still hot."


The problem with this, as has been seen in the past, besides the abandoning of the holy land, is that the definition of "illegal" is whatever the government feels like this week. Between an impossible bureaucratic process and today's outright corruption within the Israeli government, 'legal' has no fixed definition, therefore 'illegal' is whatever the government decides it is this week.

Hashem Yazo! (G-d help us!)

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A Spiritual Explanation

From Israel National News, by Moshe Lerman (original article, click here -

Why does the Left still rule over us? How is it that the failure of Oslo was not the political end of those who initiated it? How is it that the Left determines government polices more than ever, even though they lost the elections in a dramatic way?

The World Bank recently issued a report that lists the governmental system of Israel as the most corrupt after Italy. A horrendous Chillul HaShem. We are supposed to build an exemplary society!

Therefore, it is as clear as a blue sky that the end of the regime has been decreed. We all hoped that it would happen through failure of the Disengagement Plan. However, from a spiritual point of view, the opposite makes a lot of sense.

Our sages say that Achav was king of Israel because his father Omri built the city of Shomron. Whoever builds towns in the Land of Israel merits governing the Land.

It is clear that in Israel there are two groups of builders with such merits: the secular Left and the religious settler movement. Governmental control will go from the first to the second. This is the background of the turmoil of today.

So, why does the Left still rule, against the odds? And why does Ariel Sharon rule? Wasn't he the most despised politician of Israel? Surely, also he is ruling against all odds. The answer is that the Left and Sharon have huge merits, akin to the merit of Omri and Achav. They built many towns in the Land of Israel.

In order to replace the current regime, its merits had to be canceled. Spiritual merits are canceled only by opposite acts. The merits of acts of building are canceled by acts of destruction.

What is behind the events of today is the transferal of merits from the expellers to the expelled. The expellers: Sharon, Shimon Peres and his Labor party. An Ashkenazi Hareidi party is also part of the government, and also they can be considered carriers of ancient merits of building the Land.

In this view, though it may seem unlikely, we should soon see that the power of the expellers, first and foremost the leftist elite, has been broken. The new elite will be the settler movement. In parallel, the current Hareidi leadership must and will be replaced by the Sanhedrin.


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Wickedly Nasty Sad Parody, or Prediction?

From Sultan Knish...

The Prime Minister...

Fellow Citizens of the State of Israel,

My brothers and sisters. We have fought together in battles, lived and worked together in one country as one nation. I come today with a great sadness in my heart to deliver a speech to you as significant as Ben Gurion's declaration of independence.

As you know we have struggled for many years with scourge of terrorism only to watch our children die. We have fought to exist in a hostile area surrounded by countries determined to consider us their enemies. We have tried many solutions to appease or defeat them but they have all failed. Today we embrace a final solution to the problem, disengagement.

Disengagement remains controversial to some. You have lived in this state all your lives. Many of you have fought and shed blood for it, as have many of your children. But disengagement is absolutely necesarry and though I do it with a great pain in my heart, I am resolved to execute the disengagement of the State of Israel from the Middle East.

Experts have told you how unsustainable the demographics of a Jewish State in the Middle East are. I need not repeat what they have said. Every schoolchild is well aware that we surrounded on all sides by hostile Arab nations and that a large and growing percentage of our population is Arab. We have attempted to address the situation by smaller disengagements. We have disengaged from Gaza and the West Bank. We have disengaged from East Jerusalem. We have disengaged from the Galillee. We have disengaged from the Negev. We have disengaged from Haifa. We have disengaged and uprooted every Jewish community living in a portion of Israel with an Arab majority or a large Arab minority. Yet this has not helped...


Read the whole thing.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

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Remember the point

Another brief entry from HaYom Yom, from Menachem Av 8...

What good is Chassidus and piety if the main quality is lacking - Ahavat Yisrael, love of another - even to the extent of causing (G-d forbid) anguish to another!


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When we will long for the exile...

From the book HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe is writing this in the name of the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe...

(For Menachem Av 3)

From my father's Sichot (talks):

When Mashiach will come (speedily in our time, Amein), then we shall really long for the days of the exile.

Then we will truly feel distress at our having neglected working at Avoda (divine service); then will we indeed feel the deep pain caused by our lack of Avoda.

These days of exile are the days of Avoda, to prepare ourselves for the coming of Mashiach, speedily in our time, Amein.


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Sunday, August 21, 2005

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Katif Prayer Update from Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu

This word came from the righteous and saintly Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, shlita, who has been a staunch opponent to the disengagement and providing constant prayer instructions to avert it:

Question: We heard from Rav Eliyahu that the Disengagement would not happen, and here we see it unfolding before our eyes. It doesn't look like it will be stopped, even though anything can happen. How can we explain these words when we see the reality?

Answer: I asked this of the Rav and here is his response:

Firstly, we need to know that there is no heavenly decree for the expulsion and destruction of Gush Katif. This is not G-d's will. We learn this from the oath Hakadosh Baruch Hu (G-d) gave to our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--that this land is reserved for their children and not any other nation. This promise is mentioned by most of the prophets, and this is Hashem's will.

Further, we cannot say this is a punishment for sins of others...because the expulsion from Gush Katif affects only people of Torah and kindness, faith and good deeds. The good children of the Jewish People.

The explanation is that a man has free choice to steal and act contrary to the will of G-d, even to a person who doesn't deserve it. Thus it is explained by the holy Ohr Hachayim on the words "I will save them from their [enemies'] hands" (Genesis 37) which is said on the rescue of Joseph from his brothers. "Since man has free choice and free will, he is able to kill someone who is not obligated to die". Here the Prime Minister harms those who are not obligated to suffer destruction and theft, expulsion and uprooting.

It is also important to know that just as in the selling of Joseph and his being placed in a pit, the eye of flesh and blood does not see things the way the "eyes of G-d" see, that in the end everything is for the best [that Joseph's being sent down to Egypt was for the benefit of the Jewish people who would later be sent to Egypt]. Here, too, everything will turn out for the good. As with the illusion of the Oslo Accords, which were an attempt to nullify the word of G-d and his prophets (if such a thing were possible), to make it that foreigners should inherit the Land of Israel, but in the end it shattered against reality. All the noise that was made in the world, the Nobel Prize winners, photos with the President of the United States, etc. -- nothing helped. Everything was shown to be a false illusion and it crumbled. So to here, it will be revealed that all of these plans related to the Disengagement are an illusion that has no existence, and Israel will return to its dwelling places.

Truly, we prayed that all this would be accomplished before the expulsion, but we didn't merit that this prayer was accepted, as the prophet Jeremiah states "Though I cry out and plead, He shuts out my prayer." (Lamentations 3:8). But with all this we trust in the salvation of G-d, and we continue to pray to Him with all of our heart because we know that in even though we didn't merit to see the salvation before our eyes -- the eyes of flesh and blood -- we didn't despair and we didn't give up. We know that "G-d will not abandon His people, and He will not leave his inheritance".

On such things the sages said "Rabbi Chama said in the name of Rabbi Chanina: if you see a man who prays and is not answered, he should return and pray more." As it says: 'Hope to G-d, strengthen your heart, and hope to G-d" -- hope and then return and hope more.

It should be G-d's will that He will see all the sufferings that those who trust in Him have undergone, and He will have mercy on us quickly to return his children to their borders like he promised to our matriach Rachel, Amen!

(Translation courtesy of Yiddishkeit.org.)

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If only it mattered.

Consistency, standing up for your rights, nah...

"In the light of this travesty, I have no choice but to reiterate briefly Israel's position on the subject. The Jewish people and the State of Israel have the right in principle, as well as in law and in terms of national security, to a permanent presence in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District."

Statement in the Security Council by H.E. Ambassador Yehuda Z. Blum, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, 18 July 1979, page 12.

Quote provided by Israel White Paper.

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Update on the Watches of the Geulah

This is from an interview found in the August 17th edition of Mishpacha magazine, English edition, interviewing Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Tzfas in Israel as well as the son of the righteous and saintly Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, shlita:

(Interviewer) We have heard many different versions of the "watch story" concerning your father, HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, and HaRav Yisrael Abuchatzeira, ztz"l, the Baba Sali. Please, can you tell us the true story, and what is the latest update on it?

(Rabbi Eliyahu) My father was very close to the Baba Sali, ztz"l. They would often study together. A few years before he was niftar (passed away), the Baba Sali gave my father a new Shabbos coat, and told him that he was to save it carefully, because he would merit to see the coming of Mashiach (the righteous redeemer) and should wear the coat to welcome him. The Baba Sali told my father that he himself would not live to see Mashiach; he cut off a piece of his hair and placed it in the pocket of the coat, saying that at least part of him would be present to welcome the Mashiach. Sure enough, a few years later the Baba Sali was niftar (passed away), and HaRav Mordechai, together with all of us, are still waiting for Mashiach.

One day, the Baba Sali's son came to my father and presented him with a watch. He explained that his holy father had come to him in a dream and told him that he should look in a certain drawer in a certain desk, where he would find this watch. He was to give it to my father and tell him that when the watch reached twelve o'clock, then Mashiach would come. At that time, the watch hands showed twenty minutes to eleven. Since then, my father keeps a very close eye on the watch, and found that sometimes it goes and other times it just stops.

(Interviewer) So what time does it show now?

(Rabbi Eliyahu) Two minutes to twelve — it's close, very close! May we all merit to reach such a level of Ahavas Yisrael (brotherly love) and simchah (joy) as to bring Am Yisrael (the nation/people of Israel) together in achdus (unity) and merit to welcome Mashiach, very soon.

eliya


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Saturday, August 20, 2005

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The Black of Mourning and other side thoughts

I've moved the blog background from orange to black, in mourning for the destruction of Gush Katif. May the nation learn a lesson from the results.

On a side note, you may have noticed this statement at the end of my posts...

This article was posted on the Mystical Paths blog, mpaths.com. If you're reading it somewhere else without an attribution, then it's without permission. Please check it out at the source, click here!

I've noticed a few 'spam' blogs that pick up whole articles from other blogs and represent them as their own, in some cases, or have an "original source" link in other cases. Either way, they're not doing it with permission, so I'm trying to compenstate with that statement.

Good Shabbos, especially to our brothers and sisters from Gush Katif who are stuffed in desert caravans or trying to live out of a hotel room.
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Friday, August 19, 2005

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What did you think? In their own words.

Listen to their words, there is no secret here, they stand up and speak loud, proud, and clear. No hidden meanings or difficult interpretations...

Mahmoud Zahar is Hamas's overall leader in the Gaza Strip. Asked about Hamas's future plans, Zahar said: "Neither the liberation of the Gaza Strip, nor the liberation of the West Bank or even Jerusalem will suffice us. Hamas will pursue the armed struggle until the liberation of all our lands. We don't recognize the state of Israel or its right to hold onto one inch of Palestine. Palestine is an Islamic land belonging to all the Muslims."

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

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Videos from the Temple Mount! G-d's house, Our homes

The following video is one of several I am now uploading from the tour of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount.

Video Link - Jews on Har Habayit and Gush Katif?
Video Link - Police Warnings to Jews going to Har Habayit.
Video Link - Jews on Har Habayit, the fear of prayer.

Obviously, ascending Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount, is controversial. But, I quote from a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, posted as a comment on the tour pictures, from the RamBam: (link here)

"He should only enter a place [on Mount Moriah] which he could have entered [while the Beis HaMikdash was standing]...." (Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 7:7) -- This was certainly the case with this particular tour, with a special emphasis made to stay far distant from any area that could possibly be considered otherwise (a specific video of the tour guide discussing that point itself will be uploaded later).

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Desecration! This pile of rubble from the Arab building of an underground mosque [over the last few years] on the Temple Mount includes a stone block from the 2nd Beis HaMikdash! Note the square Herodian stone on the top right. Click for larger view. Most of this type of rubble was intentionally crushed and thrown in the garbage!!!


However, regarding just guarding the santity of Har HaBayit, guarding in the sense of physically protecting the site from desacration and mis-use, the Rebbe wrote:

Practical considerations have prevented this mitzvah from being fulfilled. In many eras, the gentile authorities which governed Eretz Yisrael would not permit such activities. Surely, this applied directly after the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and in many of the subsequent eras when the ruling authorities in Eretz Yisrael were not favorably disposed towards the Jews.

Even when it was possible that the ruling authorities themselves would have allowed such practices - or when the Jews were themselves the ruling authorities - the possibility existed (and exists today) that individuals or groups of gentiles would seek to harm the guards. Hence, rather than expose the guards to danger - for guarding against the danger to a Jew's life supersedes any Torah obligation - the mitzvah was (is) not fulfilled.

(The above cannot serve as a complete resolution of the difficulty in regard to the Chabad Rebbeim. The Rebbeim demanded mesirus nefesh (self-sacrifice) to maintain the settlement of Eretz Yisrael. Nevertheless, they did not raise the issue in regard to guarding the site of the Beis HaMikdash in the present era.)


This process begins by making a presense felt and beginning to assert Klal Yisroel's rightful ownership of the holiest site on Earth!

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Disheartened, Disillusioned, Depressed

"Here once were the Jewish Towns of Gush Katif..."

The "settlers". These people dedicated their lives for a mitzva. In Jewish lore, we give great acclaim to those who dedicated themselves to a mitzva, the great and righteous people who gave their whole lives to tzedakah (charity), chesed (kindness and mercy), feeding the poor, filling their own homes with the needy, giving all they had away daily to those in need.

Here were people equally dedicated to a mitzva, the mitzva of yishuv haaretz, settling the land. They took a desolate and useless land, uninhabited (yes, uninhabited, I can back that up), some parts dry as a desert, others a swamp, and built it, fixed it, nourished it. They built towns, infrastructure, industry, homes, schools, and lives. They lived, and without personal concern, died if necessary, for their mitzva.

Their towns were not full of strip malls, they were full of Torah malls, Yeshivot (yeshiva's, Jewish religious schools), Torah and agriculture study houses, synogogues. Not where's the best price but where's the best path to G-d.

This week we spit on their efforts, we spit on the mitzva.

Within the orthodox Jewish world, we tell stories to our children about those who dedicated their whole lives to a mitzva, to those who made great self sacrifice to go far beyond the measure of the law in their dedication to G-d and His holy Torah.

Will we teach our children about the great mitzva of those who lived in Gush Katif? Will we add a lamentation on Tisha B'Av, the Jewish day of mouring, for the destruction of 22 Jewish towns in the holy land?

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The people themselves? They're stuffed in hotels or small trailers dropped literally in the middle of the desert. "Do it again, don't worry, trust us" the government says, stuffing them in the equivalent of shanty towns. Make the desert bloom! Don't worry about possible missle attacks from your now 'friendly' neighbors, and don't worry about the Bedouin who might claim the land 10 years from now.

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I've got a lot more to write, as time allows. I have some first hand news to report from Shiloh, what's going on in Israel in general, both the religious and secular view, and where I think things are headed (Hashem Yazo! G-d should help!).

Thanks for the comment and concern Mirty, I'm back in the U.S. now. I just couldn't stay through the end, my heart aches for my brothers and sisters being affected, for the loss of the holy land and the opportunity for the mitzva, and for what has become and is becoming of Israel. The story is much more sad that I expected.

Oh Ribono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe, cannot we reach that great day without going through such difficult times? Please, consider what your people have already gone through, how can you ask more pain from them? Will there even be a remanent left?

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Monday, August 15, 2005

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The Settler


08-15Israel 005
Originally uploaded by Akiva.
I met a man today, a "settler". What's a "settler"? He's a man who has faith in G-d and the Torah, and believes that the mitzvah of yishuv haaretz, settling the land, is as valid today as any other mitzvah of the Torah.

This man, this "settler", his son was shot in the neck a few years ago. Thank G-d, he survived. (It was indeed a miracle.) He himself was shot in the legs. Thank G-d, he recovered.

He's still there. Because, how can a person believe in G-d and the Torah, do Torah and mitzvot, and skip the mitzvot of the land.

He lives in the Shomron, the West Bank, north of Jerusalem. He just took a mortgage to add an additional story on his house. Today, the day the disengagement begins (G-d forbid), the mortgage came through.

The building is in progress, religious workers only. They pray, learn Torah, and load their tools. They work, bless their lunch, discuss Torah, thank G-d for the food, and finish their day.

The "settler" packed a bag today, said le'hitraot (later) to his family, and headed south, to Gush Katif. It's closed, anyone coming will probably be arrested. It's also not safe. He's going for the mitzvah of yishuv haaretz, settling the land. What if he get's arrested? "What comes from G-d comes from G-d." What if, G-d forbid, his life is at risk? "Life and death is in the hands of G-d."

He's not a rabbi, but he knows what's the meaning of faith. He believes in G-d and His Torah.

One of the workers doesn't want to be doing construction. He's a farmer, an organic farming specialist. He has hot-houses in the Shomron, the West Bank, with 15 foot tomato plants. But his product comes from "the Territories", he can't export easily anymore. His wife developed a method for drying organic spices and fruits, top of the line organic fruit rollups from holy soil in the holy land. 100% kosher, 100% natural, 100% holy. But exporting a finished product requires special licenses and a certified 'factory'. He can't open one, not allowed in the 'West Bank'.

So he builds homes and perfects his technique and prays for the day when he can.

A settler is a man, or woman, or even a child, who believes in G-d and the mitzvot in the Torah, and that the mitzvah of yishuv haaretz, settling the land, is as important as mezuzot, teffilin, or any other mitzvah of the Torah. He or she also strongly believes that life and death are in the hand of G-d. While they take appropriate precautions, they are no more concerned with a terror attack than most people are concerned with the possibility of a fatal car crash on the way to work.

They are at such a level of mesiras nefesh, self sacrifice, that they no longer even recognize their actions as such.

These are the people fighting for Gaza, and these are the people that scare the Israeli government, because they can't break them and they can't control them. The only thing they can do is massively overpower them. For the moment.
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Sunday, August 14, 2005

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Photo Set: The Temple Mount Today

For Tisha B'Av today, I'm presenting the full photo set of the American group visit to the Temple Mount. See the Temple Mount today, and dream of what it will be tomorrow.

Photo Set - click here.
Slideshow - click here.

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The Israeli Bannana Republic

NY Times: U.S. Presses Israel to Smooth the Path to a Palestinian Gaza
By STEVEN ERLANGER - Published: August 7, 2005, N.Y.Times

JERUSALEM, Aug. 6 - The Bush administration has increased pressure on the Israeli government in recent days to do more to make a Palestinian Gaza successful after Israeli settlers are pulled out later this month, according to American, Israeli and international officials.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has put her influence behind the two American coordinators of the withdrawal - James D. Wolfensohn, who is dealing with economic and civilian matters, and Lt. Gen. William E. Ward, who is helping to reform Palestinian security services.

Just how much the Israelis will move on the complicated balance between security and economics, as Mr. Wolfensohn describes it, will become clearer on Sunday, as the Israeli cabinet begins a series of crucial meetings on Gaza.

Just what does that mean?

Ms. Rice is also trying to bolster Mahmoud Abbas, the president. She sent a senior adviser, James Wilkinson, on a quiet visit last week to Ramallah, Palestinian officials said. He and a small team worked with Mr. Abbas to reorganize his office to improve efficiency and accountability, so orders will be followed.

Mr. Wilkinson also urged Mr. Abbas to set up a press office and a protocol office, to try to improve his image and authority.

In interviews, both Mr. Wolfensohn and General Ward praised the support they were getting from President Bush and Ms. Rice, who have emphasized that a successful transition in Gaza is vital to progress toward a viable, democratic, independent Palestinian state.

"The big thing is their personal commitment, especially from the president and Secretary Rice, to an orderly and peaceful withdrawal, and then to work toward a permanent peace based on a two-state solution," Mr. Wolfensohn said.

What does it have to do with Bush and Rice? Doesn’t it depend on the Israelis and Palestinians?

Both men stress the importance of economic development and freedom of movement to give Palestinians the sense of a better future - one Mr. Abbas can hope to take credit for, in his political struggle with the militant Islamic movement Hamas.

The same old stuff, but more dangerous.

Israeli officials, who agreed to speak only on background, acknowledge the new pressure from Washington to resolve questions of Palestinian life in Gaza: access, assets, security, travel and the import and export of goods and people.

Ms. Rice in particular has been forceful and even abrupt in her dealings with senior Israeli officials, including the foreign and defense ministers, Silvan Shalom and Shaul Mofaz. On her recent trip here, she ran the meetings with them in their offices, taking control of the agenda and even announcing when they would end, the Israeli officials said.

She has also expressed impatience with continuing Israeli requests for millions of dollars to help build modern passenger and goods terminals between Gaza and Israel, which the Bush administration contends is in Israel's interest in any case. Washington also rejected a request from Israel to help pay for the destruction of the settlers' houses. While the issue of where the rubble from the houses will go remains unsettled, the Palestinians have agreed to use much of it to build a seaport, while

Israel has agreed to accept hazardous material for disposal.

Nice of them, isn’t it?

Ms. Rice was initially considering a return trip to Israel next week to monitor the Gaza pullout, but has since decided against it. "She'll get credit if it works, and she doesn't want to be here if it doesn't," one American official in the region said.

In Washington, a senior American official said that American involvement had increased sharply after Ms. Rice, in June, told reporters she wanted to avoid mediating the details of Gaza coordination. But since then her aides have been doing precisely that. "Our engagement has increased and it's likely to be sustained," the official said.

There is more, but nothing sane. The point for calling your attention to this stuff is to emphasize that Rice and Bush have taken over the government of Israel – the destiny of all banana republics.

American Jewry should be crying out over this heavy-handed bullying of Israel.

....

And there is more.

Today it was reported on Israeli radio that Israel will vacate the Philadelphia road abandoning any attempt to halt infiltration and smuggling of weapons and Al-Queida and Hizbollah fighters into the vacated Gaza strip. Instead, an unspecified number of Egyptian soldiers (who have allowed such smuggling and infiltration to go on for two years) will take up positions along that line. This is an alteration of the Israeli-Egyptian treaty, and after a long debate it has been concluded that it must be brought before the Knesset for approval, and Sharon will do that in November, after the fact! Actual implementation cannot wait because “Sharon committed himself to Rice when she was here!”

It should be remembered that the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif was known to the Americans (Bush and Rice) before it was known to the Israeli army. In other words, Israeli security professionals had no opportunity to reject it.

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Friday, August 12, 2005

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Ahavat Hinam


08-10Israel 052
Originally uploaded by Akiva.
Ahavat Hinam - Senseless love, is the opposite of Sinat Hinam, senseless hatred. Sinat Hinam is one of the prime causes of the previous destructions of the first and second Jewish Temples in Jerusalem.

Helping your fellow, going out of your way for another, caring about and for your fellow, it's more than just a nice thing, it's an obligation in this time, this week, this month, this year, this generation.

Sunday is the fast day of Tisha B'Av. Have an easy fast, and may G-d save all of K'lal Yisroel from the events coming this week.
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The UN


08-11Israel 005
Originally uploaded by Akiva.
...I'm from the U.N. and I'm here to help you. Right.

This photo is one of many U.N. vehicles constantly going to Ramallah, and behind it is a diplomatic vehicle. One thing I've noticed (and will hopefully post pictures of later) is massive massive building in the Ramallah area. Hundreds of vacant and unfinished buildings. Why? For what? And, money from where?

(These are somewhat sarcastic questions.)
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Blind Eyes

In this time of confusion, we look to the naviim (prophets) for lessons from G-d. The messages from the naviim (prophets) were not recorded just to let us understand lessons of the past. They are called the prophets specifically because they contain messages for the future. Well my friends, the future is now.

So, we must look in the truth, not looking outside. In, in the Torah, in, in the words of the prophets, in, in the words of our great and holy sages of the past.

(Shmuel [Samuel] 11:1-11:3) (shortened a bit for ease of posting, with current commentary added)

Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged (the Jews), and all the people said to Nahash, "Seal a covenant with us, and we will serve you".

[This is the story of today, make peace with us, and we'll live with you and give you what you want.]

But Nahash the Ammonite replied to them, "On this condition I will seal with you".

[Just as today, first give us all we want, all the land, and then we'll talk about peace.]

"When each one of you will put out your right eye, and it will be a sign of shame for all of Israel".

[If you'll blind yourself to the truth, for putting out the right eye is not seeing the truth, you're left with only seeing from the left eye, no belief in G-d, the land, the Torah.]

The elders of Jabesh (the Jews) replied to him, "Hold off from us for 7 days while we send messangers throughout the Land of Israel. If there is no one to save us, then we will go out (and submit)."

[They're already blind, just as today, they'll calling out to man, come help us, not to Hashem, just as our leaders today. It's ok, we can rely on America to come when we call, we can trust in the agreements because the UN will agree. They're asking us to blind ourselves to the truth, to G-d, to the Torah, to the Land, the same thing, if you put out your right eye, we'll give you peace.]

When the messangers arrived at Givat-Shaul (that's Jerusalem) and reported these words to the people, all the people raised their voices and wept.

[Why? They weren't affected. They weren't putting out their eyes, the enemy wasn't at their gates. The enemy himself said why, this is a sign of shame to all Israel. Is this any different than today? Reading this in Tel Aviv, New York, London, Moscow, Paris, does any Jew think they won't be affected by today's events, the (G-d forbid) retreat and explusion from Aza (Gaza)? The messengers have been sent out! Raise your voices! It is indeed, a time to weep.]

When Yaakov (Jacob) came to Mitzrayim (Egypt) and your forefathers cried out to Hashem, Hashem sent Moshe (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron), and they brought your forefathers out of Mitzrayim (Egypt) and settled them in this place.

[May G-d bring us righteous leaders at this time!]

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

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Quick Note on Perek Shira

For those involved in the Perek Shira campaign, here's a quick note from Rabby Brody:

Is it permissible to say Perek Shira on Tisha B'av, and if not, how do we maintain the continuity of our 40 days straight? I took this question to The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a, who says that we are not allowed to say Perek Shira on Tisha B'av, but by saying it the same evening after the fast ends, the continuity is maintained.

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Important - Solomon's Stables - Destruction of Har Habayit

The southeast corner of the Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount, former home to G-d's sanctuary on earth, over the last 8 years or so was systematically escavated for an additional huge mosque. Besides the disturbing point that this is one of the most sensitive relgious sites in the world being changed, 1000, 2000, and 3000 year old artifacts were dumped in piles of garbage and thrown away, intentionally.

These pictures do not show the inside of the mosque, rather they show the mount platform, which is the mosque roof (the triangle glass structures are skylights), as well as the massive stairs down. They also show 2 remaining piles of discarded rubble, one of which includes a Herodian building stone from the 2nd Jewish Temple, 2100 years old.

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Picture set - click here.
Slideshow - click here.

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A Vision of the Shomron

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A photo set of the Shomron (West Bank), Israel, with the Jewish towns of Maleh Levona, Shiloh, and Eli, as well as two hilltop extensions, Givat Har-El and Givat Ha-Roeh.

Photo Set - click here.
Slideshow - click here.

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Photo: An Illegal Flower

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Things are a little crazy here in Israel. The following flower has been declared illegal, as it's orange (the color of the anti-disengagement movement) and it's located in a 'settlement' (settlement being a euphemism for a Jewish town).

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

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Visiting Har Habayit - The Temple Mount

The holy Jewish temple is a permanent place of G-d's living presence on earth. Though the Jewish temple itself was destroyed by the Romans, the place retains it's holiness. Today the site is occupied by the moslem Al Aqsa mosque. On occasion, Jews are allowed to visit, with heavy supervision.

From the Jewish perspective, the site is considered to retain it's holiness, requires purification before entering, and many areas cannot be entered. I visited (with the group from America), staying around the outer wall through the visit.
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Before entering, after being scanned and searched, we're warned by the lead policeman about the things we can't do, as it might insult the moslems: pray, dance, sing, cry, wander off, move our lips silently (might be prayer, G-d forbid!).

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We're surrounded by 5 Israeli police as well as a moslem authority to make sure we don't break the rules.

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Behind us is the silver dommed mosque on the south side, as well as the security contingent to protect the holy site from our possible words of prayer.

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The rabbi from the Temple Institute (leader of the tour) is lecturing the group from America.

G-d willing, I'll post more pictures and a video or two from the tour later.

Welcome Big Pharoah and Israelly Cool readers. A much more comprehensive picture and video set of this visit and others of the Temple Mount can be found here.

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In Israel

Israel National News reports: A group of American Jews arrived in Israel early Monday, leaving their jobs and families to join the front lines of the struggle against the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria.

This is the group I arrived with, though I'm not saying with them through the whole journey.
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The Traveling Experience

Traveling to Israel is always an experience, rather than just a trip.

Prior to traveling to the holy land, it seems only appropriate to begin with a holy experience. Nearby the New York airport is the kever of a tzaddik, the holy gravesite of the 6th and 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe's. A few extra moments for a prayer and a blessing elevates the departure far beyond the altitude of the flight. (Information on visiting this holy site can be found at ohel.org) Fortunately I was able to build a visit into my departure schedule. The site also has a mikvah nearby, for purifying the body first. It was quite a shot, being set to extra hot. If perhaps it didn't clean my soul right up, it certainly woke me up, yow.

At the airport, El Al (the Israeli airline) security was it's usual annoying effective self. Luckily I arrived right before the rush. It's always a pleasure to discuss your personal details with a 25 year old clean cut secular Israeli with a very narrow mindset. But, the system works (and I make a point of flying El Al because of it.)

After security, I encountered another fellow traveler going for the same purpose. (There's a group, more on that later.) This woman, of quite a different background and circumstances, was trying to explain to her co-workers why it's worth dropping everything, flying off with a group of people she doesn't know to try to preserve a place to which she's never been. The merit she's gaining is immeasurable! And of course, may her efforts be blessed! She was equally concerned about demonstrating to her children (from her age, assumably grown or maybe college age) about the importance of Eretz Yisroel (the land of Israel). She certainly did so in the most visible way possible.

G-d willing, more to come.

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Photo: Water at the Western Wall

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The photo above is from the Kotel, the Western Wall, from yesterday. (It's from the top right corner of the previous picture.) Water? Click it for a bigger version.

I also noticed the plant growth from the wall is much much larger than years past.

(For the significance of water from the Western Wall, see past posts or Lazer Beams.)

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Photo: Shacharis at the Kotel

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Photo from yesterday, Shacharis (Jewish morning prayers) at the Kotel, the holy Western Wall of the holy Jewish temple, the place of G-d's living presence on earth.

Click photo for larger image options.

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Photo: Outbound to Israel

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Outbound to Israel, clouds over Iceland (flight path curves north). Click for bigger image.

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