13 January 2019

"...We want Eretz Yisrael and not suicide."

7 Shevat 5779

Many thanks to Esser Agaroth for this picture (last posted here), and for making it possible not to have to rely on anti-Israel websites for pictures of "the occupied territories."
The picture above is Naftali Bennett's plan to take Yehuda and the Shomron piecemeal - pretty much the same as Arafat's Oslo II map. I don't think it has changed, even with his new party, the New Right. I'm happy to see that Women in Green is now looking at a more comprehensive solution.

Can Israel Annex The West Bank?
An Interview with Women In Green Co-Founder Nadia Matar
By Jewish Press Staff, January 3, 2019

Nadia Matar has been a fighter for Eretz Ysrael, Am Ysrael, and Torat Yisrael for the last 35 years. Along with her late mother-in-law, Ruth Matar, Nadia founded Women in Green in the 1990s, a grassroots movement opposed to any surrender of biblical Israel to Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority.

She was arrested numerous times and sat in jail on several occasions with her mother-in-law, resulting in a wonderful bond between the two. “I tell every girl that the best formula for a wonderful marriage is to go to jail with your mother-in-law, fighting for Eretz Yisrael,” she told The Jewish Press during a recent interview from her home in Efrat.

Today, she heads the Sovereignty Movement alongside Yehudit Katzover, whose heroism in 1979-1980 helped lead to the founding of modern Chevron and whose husband served as mayor of Kiryat Arba for 20 years.

The Jewish Press: What’s your background?

Matar: I was born to a non-religious traditional family in Belgium. On Shabbos we lit candles and made Kiddush and then ate non-kosher and watched TV. As I grew up, I started asking questions – how could we keep Yom Kippur one day and be mechallel Shabbos the next? – so I joined Bnei Akiva and started keeping Shabbos and kosher.

But then I couldn’t understand why people who were keeping these mitzvos were not also fulfilling “Vetechezeina einenu beshuvcha l’Tzion berachamim” and moving to Eretz Yisrael. I went to Eretz Yisrael for one year and came back because of kibud av va’eim. But my parents saw how miserable I was in chutz la’aretz, so they finally gave me their beracha to move to Eretz Yisrael.

JP: How did you become the activist you are today?

NM: I guess it was in my genes, and the upbringing I got at home. I was very involved in the struggle for Russian Jewry. But when I first got married, all I wanted to be was a stay-at-home mommy. My first three kids were born with me as a housewife and mother.

JP: When and how did that change?

NM: In 1992, the Rabin-Peres government came to power with four promises: no talks with the PLO; no Palestinian state; no division of Jerusalem; and no retreat from the Golan Heights.

But almost immediately after the elections, we started hearing talks of giving up the Golan. So when my husband and I heard about a demonstration in Jerusalem against retreating from the Golan, we took our kids and went.

The next day, the media published a horrible-looking picture of a settler with a beard, peiyos, a gun, and two little kids. The caption read something like: “Settlers and religious Bnei Akiva youth demonstrate against giving away the Golan Heights.” My mother in-law, Ruth Matar, immediately grasped the full meaning of the headline: “They’re trying to delegitamize us and portray us as lunatics,” she said.

So we decided to organize, and that’s when Women in Green was born.

JP: Women In Green soon became known for its animated street protests. When did those begin?

NM: We were growing fast in the beginning, but we got no press coverage whatsoever. We were naïve and inexperienced and didn’t realize the press didn’t want the world to know there was opposition to the Oslo Accords.

So we decided if the press wasn’t going come to us, we would go to the press. Whenever there was a newsworthy event, we went. If the prime minister, for example, was talking somewhere, we went, made noise, held up provocative signs, and got the attention of the media.

And that’s when our troubles began. All of a sudden, the police — who previously had ignored us – started beating us, breaking our ribs, and arresting us on false charges.

Some of us forget how charged the atmosphere was in the 1990s with Israel ceding more and more land to the PA – despite vigorous protests — and only getting terror in return.

I speak to my kids and they don’t remember the terrible years we went through. Buses were being blown up. Every day we left our house not knowing whether we were going to come back or what funeral we were going to attend. We buried so many friends.

After the Disengagement in 2005, many people gave up and said, “What’s the point?” But we felt that if we didn’t succeed in preventing the Disengagement it was only because we didn’t work hard enough.

JP: Today, you are one of the leaders of what’s known as the “sovereignty movement,” which essentially calls on Israel to annex the West Bank. How did that start?

NM: We realized that demonstrations and vigils were not going to save Judea and Samaria. I always compare it to an aquarium. You can kill the fish in two ways: either by taking the fish out of the aquarium or by making a small hole in the aquarium. The fish continue to swim, but little by little the water disappears.

That’s exactly what’s happening today. What is the water? The water is the land in Judea and Samaria. You have Jewish communities and Arab villages there, but in the middle there’s a lot of empty land. The Arabs, very smartly, said, “Let’s take over those empty lands and choke the Jewish communities.”

And that’s what they’ve been doing, completely unhindered by the authorities because the Civil Administration here in Israel, unfortunately, is very left-wing and doesn’t care. They say, “Judea and Samaria is not ours, so what do I care if the Arabs take over Area C with illegal construction, illegal agriculture, and illegal takeover of abandoned army bases?”

JP: What’s your solution?

NM: Sovereignty! Apply Israeli law over Judea and Samaria – which is what we should have done the day we won the Six-Day War. At the time, the government was in such shock that we won that they didn’t know what to do with those areas, so they created something called the “Civil Administration” and thought that within a few months they’ll decide what to do with the land.

But those few months turned into 50 years, and we now have this weird situation where a Jew living in Judea and Samaria has a different status than a Jew living in Raanana, Tel Aviv, or Ashdod.

JP: Why is applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria so significant?

NM: Because when Israel didn’t apply sovereignty, the world started asking questions. “Wait, if it’s yours, why don’t you include it?”

It’s like the famous story of King Solomon and the baby. If somebody else is saying it’s his and you’re not saying it’s yours, and you’re even willing to give parts of it away, then maybe it’s not yours. In other words, all the complaints of the world that we are occupiers we can at least partially blame on ourselves.

JP: People argue that you can’t declare sovereignty over the West Bank because then you would have to give the Arabs living there the right to vote.

NM: That’s not true. There’s legal backing to prove that. The best example is the Jerusalem Arabs. There are 300,000 Arabs in Jerusalem, who have no voting rights for the Knesset. They are residents, not citizens, and the sun is still shining every morning.

JP: People argue that if Israel doesn’t give all residents voting rights, it can’t be considered a democracy.

NM: We are saying that democracy has different definitions. First of all, every democracy has to defend itself. It cannot be suicidal in giving tools to a minority within its borders to take over the democracy and turn it into an Arab dictatorship.

There is something that we call “Zionist democracy,” which means that you give everyone basic human rights but no voting rights. In Puerto Rico there are no voting rights and nobody makes an issue out of it.

JP: You have an urgency in your voice.

NM: Yes, because there is no other alternative to sovereignty. The alternative is a two-state solution, which is suicide. And the status quo is impossible because every minute that we are on the phone the Arabs have taken over another hill. They do it all the time. Everyone who lives in Judea and Samaria sees it, and if we don’t act fast we will have no more land left.

JP: What are the chances, practically speaking, that the Knesset will apply Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank?

NM: Let’s start with applying sovereignty over the existing Jewish communities in Area C where there are hardly any Arabs. Or at least let’s apply sovereignty over the Israeli communities. There should be no opposition to that at all. There is not one Arab in any Israeli community, so that is practical.

The Likud actually voted for this unanimously in December. It’s now in the official platform of the Likud party.

JP: So why didn’t the Knesset, which was led by Likud in recent years, do it?

NM: There is only one answer: Bibi Netanyahu.

JP: Why is he against it?

NM: He’s not saying. But we know one thing: We have to increase the pressure. It’s going to happen in the end, whether it’s with Bibi or somebody else. Bibi is not the Messiah.

JP: People sometimes say that if Israel is too hawkish it will lose the support of America. What’s your response?

NM: G-d arranged it that we now have an administration that told us from the very beginning that America will respect what Israel wants. So we are here to tell them that the majority of the Jewish people wants sovereignty and not a Palestinian state – that we want Eretz Yisrael and not suicide.

JP: President Trump is supposed to soon unveil his peace plan, which allegedly calls on Israel to make concessions of various sorts to the Arabs. Are you going to fight him?

NM: From what we understand, the Trump plan is something they’re going to suggest – not impose. The Trump Administration people are smart and know about our Biblical right to this land. They know that the Palestinian Authority are basically terrorists who want all of Israel. They don’t want peace. They want piece after piece after piece.

It’s very hard for me to believe that anyone who is smart will try to impose on us concessions that are against Israel and against simple logic.

I hope and pray the Trump plan calls for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria because that will bring real peace and good life for the Jews and the Arabs.

JP: But what if it calls for a two-state solution. Will you fight it?

NM: We will oppose it and bring down any government or prime minister who will agree to a two-state solution just like we did till now.

For some humor — It's funny even though it's true! — read this article from Honest Reporting!

On a more serious note, it seems as though our "experts" claimed last year that Israel's Jewish population growth rate is unsustainable. I'd like to make Leonie Ben-Simon my newest best friend for writing: Overpopulation in Israel. Really?

Absolutely no one has the right to demand that Jews stop contributing to "overpopulation" of our planet, since we comprise far less than 1% of it. Taking back our land in YEHUDA (where the word JEW comes from) and SHOMRON (that a king of Israel took a long time before there were Palestinians) will help a lot, and filling up the land we already fully possess will help even more!

Also, I stumbled on a video last night (it was presented as a comment to an article it had nothing to do with), called Caesar's Messiah. It proposes that Christianity is an invention of the Romans for the purpose of controlling the populations they governed, and for scattering the Jews and bringing us "to heel." I don't agree with the solutions it suggests, but I think it explains how the Esavians have been ruling the earth for 2,000 years — with HQB"H's permission, of course. I believe they don't have much more time.

Despite all this, committing national suicide is neither in our plans nor in the Jewish destiny according to our prophets, and I'm not at all sorry for saying so. See my Time of Jacob's Trouble series for more on that.

In case I don't post next week, have a blessed T"u b'Shevat!

06 January 2019

Yosef’s Brothers & the Blood Libel

the light of Rosh Hodesh Shevat 5779

About 5:00 on the yolk: The last time I found a blood spot in an egg, Hanukkah 5778 - HDG
I threw the whole egg out, but saved this picture to show my readers just how much Jews abhor eating blood.

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher | first published here

We Jews have been accused of various heinous crimes throughout our long and tragic history. Perhaps, the most devastating accusation we have faced is the Blood Libel - murdering Christian children and then using their blood for baking Matzoh on Pesach. Of course, this vile accusation is absolutely ludicrous and false.

The Torah warns us numerous times never to taste any blood. We are halachically obligated to soak and salt chicken and meat to ensure that all the blood is drawn out before we take a morsel into our mouths. We even check eggs for bloodspots to make sure that we don't ingest even a drop of blood.

Nevertheless, our enemies continue to make this false, slanderous and vile accusation against us.

These charges have not ended since the time of medieval Europe. The Arab world has now adopted this canard from the Christians. There have been many books and dozens of newspaper articles published in the Arab press and media accusing Jews of murdering Arab children to use their blood.

A few years ago, a series of articles appeared in a Saudi Arabian newspaper with a new twist – Jews don't just use blood of Arab children on Pesach for Matzos, but also use Arab blood on Purim for our hamantaschen!

How did we become the subjects of such an absurd and horrible accusation that runs so contrary to our basic beliefs as Jews?

Rav Elchanan Wasserman HY”D explains this bizarre accusation with the concept of "MAASEI AVOT SIMAN L'BANIM" (The deeds of the Forefathers are a sign to the children). The traits and deeds, instilled into Am Yisrael by our forefathers, work both in the positive and negative sense. The Torah in Bereshit 37 tells us about the internal strife and hatred of Yosef and his brothers.

The Zohar explains that the Sinat Chinam that has plagued our nation since its inception, causing the Second Beis Hamikdosh to be destroyed, had its root in the hatred of the brother's behavior toward Yosef.

This is a frightening phenomenon. Once the seeds of hatred and strife were planted into the history of our nation by Yosef's slander of his brothers and their bitter revenge, it continues to affect us throughout the centuries. Thus, internal hatred is a problem that Jews will have to deal with until Moshiach comes.

Rav Elchanan Wasserman HY”D takes this concept one step further. After the brothers sold Yosef, how did the brothers explain Yosef's disappearance to Yaakov? "They took Yosef's coat, slaughtered a goat and dipped the coat in the blood." (Bereshit 37:31) Then they showed Yosef's bloody coat to Yaakov, who then assumed that Yosef had been torn apart by a wild animal.

By using blood to cover up their crime, says Rav Wasserman, the brothers sealed the fate of Am Yisrael. Yosef's brothers use of blood to deceive their father has caused us to suffer from deceitful blood libels until this very day - Midah K'Neged Midah (measure for measure).

NOTES: I've written about Yosef and his brothers here – I had a she'elah during its writing about which I consulted with R' Sprecher. The above video also reveals some interesting information, including a possibility that Yosef had doubted his father's love for him during the separation period.

חודש שבט טוב! Happy Rosh Hodesh Shevat!

19 December 2018


the light of 12 Tevet 5779

From R' Lazer Brody's article of 17 December 2018

Shira Ish-Ran's recent statement is what I would seek to emulate following the utterly untimely death of her baby, Ami-Ad Yisrael, HY"D, due to being forced by a vile enemy bent on murder to be born far too soon — if, like her, I could be of childbearing age and ability (again. Hey, it has happened before. 😉). 

According to the Times of Israel, she was quoted by Hebrew-language media as saying, in her first remarks since the attack: 

“I will prove to them, I will show them. I will bring many more babies into this world. Am Yisrael chai.”

May it be for her and her husband as she has spoken. I'm also borrowing the picture from R' Brody's article - I love it! -CDG


Dr. Harry, who guest-posted on R' Lazer Brody's Lazer Beams, wrote the following (with light editing):

Every Jewish woman of child bearing [age and ability] around the world should have at least one more baby than planned and name the boy Ami Yisrael, and a girl Bat-Ami Yisraella in memory of her baby. Let these savages who kill Jews in the womb be answered with millions of new Jewish babies, all of who [are] standing for "My nation forever, Israel."


Read the rest of Dr. Harry's article here. I would only add: May these Jewish women and their entire families from all over the world merit to make the rest of their lives in Israel. It is our land and our future. Dr. Harry is a new oleh to Israel, and I wish to join R' Brody and his readers in welcoming him!

As we know from Sefer Yirmiyahu (the book of Jeremiah), the Jewish population will grow by leaps and bounds in the end of days. I wrote a series on it: part 1 | part 2 | part 3.

AND last but not least: Please pray for the healing of Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipporah נתנאל אילן בן שיינא ציפורה. He was shot in the head in Givat Assaf a few days ago and is still in the hospital. May he merit a long life ahead of him and everything that goes with it, and that he should lack nothing.

16 December 2018

What is the best reason for aliyah?

8 Tevet 5779 | ח" טבת ה"תשעט

This is the destiny of Israel according to the HOLY BIBLE (Bamidbar/Numbers 34:1-15). The map is in our indigenous language! See here for the English as well, and picture sources.

We are told many times in the book of Bereshith בראשית and other books of the Torah about the land where we are supposed to keep all the laws of haShem; and, deep down, most Jews know that at some point we are all supposed to be living here.

The problem is that, unless we have no other choice, people tend to follow one of Newton's Laws of Motion: a body at rest tends to stay at rest, called inertia. Its corollary, a body in motion tends to stay in motion? Not so much.

Jews especially. We (not all of us, but a great many) tend to dig deep roots wherever we end up living and want to stay there even though we have been "known" as wanderers. I must confess that despite having experienced anti-Semitism a great deal during my childhood,  it took me more than five (5) decades to get here even though I really wanted to come! Two main reasons stand out: 1) no connection to a Jewish community for the most part, and 2) no connection to Eretz Yisrael, except the fact that my maternal grandmother was born here. Yes, my mother's mother, not some relative from the Roman Empire!

Enough about me for now. I think, though, that I have found the best reason to make aliyah. You don't have to want to be here for the sake of the State or its structure to want to include yourself among us in our Holy Land.

It isn't because Israel is the safest place for a Jew to live, or that we've found the holy grail when it comes to antisemitism, as Theodor (Binyamin) Herzl had hoped we would. It certainly isn't because the laws here favor Jews, or that we feel we've got a grip on the land we live on, or that our leadership is the greatest. Oh, no. We are challenged on all these things every moment! As my second ulpan teacher said to us, "Every morning when we wake up and Israel still exists is a miracle" in Hebrew that even back then I could understand. It's also not for the benefits we receive on arrival although they do help somewhat during the most difficult part, the transition.

Here is the thought I had recently as to why it is imperative for every Jew to at least make the effort to think of this place as home and to endeavor to live here:

Israel is the only place in the world where the Jewish People as a whole has the obligation to take responsibility for itself, whether in how we think of ourselves, in how we rule ourselves or in how we conduct our relationships, both good and bad, with the rest of the world. It is the greatest opportunity for us to relearn how to be a nation without us being dictated to — if we have confidence in haShem and are proactive enough.

After 2,000 years, give or take, we have to figure out how to do everything without saying, "Yes, master. Anything you say, master..." to other human leaders. Yes, even after 70 years we still have a lot to learn. We have been taking bad advice from most of the nations around and we are still suffering greatly from following it. Especially when we live or have lived in a nation that has treated us relatively decently compared to the others, as the US has. Manfred Gerstenfeld, who usually writes for Israel National News, has this piece of advice for Jews from the United States, post-Pittsburgh, at The Algemeiner:

American Jews should reach the obvious conclusion: Jews in the world, including in the US and Israel, are a community whose fate is one and the same. They are subject to similar threats, which may differ only in the way and the time frame in which they occur.

Not only American Jews, but every Jew who still lives outside of Israel and who thinks he or she is safer there.

It takes more than physical strength to do the job, especially for the Jewish People: We need to be on G-d's side first and foremost. It's more important than to be worried about how the rest of the world thinks of us.

The non-Jews who look over our shoulder constantly because we took orders from the international community to allow them to stay among us are, to say the least, quite bothersome. Privacy is the one thing we need and don't seem to be able to attain mainly because we dare not say YOU CANNOT LIVE HERE. Even though our country — the portion of the Promised Land we have been able to cobble together until now — is pitifully small. But, the Jewish People is the responsible party for how things are done, or not, here in Eretz Israel.

Wasn't it the gentile prophet Bil'am (usually spelled Baalam in English) who said: "...it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations"? So why do the gentiles today insist that we not do so?

And why should we care? Here's a video that explains the war against the Jews and explains how to "get out of the dock" we've been in for the last 2,000 years. I've listened to it more than once, which is more than I can say for most videos. I intend to listen to it and others like it, more. I don't care that Ruth Wisse is a professor and not a rabbi (not that I don't respect rabbis. I suspect she does too, actually. Else, why is this video on Torah Café, of all places?). Perhaps this is one of the messages we've sorely needed to hear all along.

Could it also be that a site called The Rainbow Swastika, which deals with "New Age" people (a misnomer — they have been around since the days of Shabtai Zvi, at least) and their camouflaged and open antisemitism, explains it better than anyone else today? Read and judge for yourself.

Another objection is that a basic misunderstanding between American and Israeli Jews has been under the spotlight for some time. Evelyn Gordon has a great discussion on that topic; I'd only like to add that, among the "Jews of no religion," there were (and possibly still are) those whose families didn't have the wherewithall to afford membership at a synagogue, summer camp and Hebrew day school for their children. These things all cost major money, and it wasn't so long ago when Jewish communities didn't consider that some of their potential constituents might be poor. I was one of them once upon a time.

Need I remind you that in Israel, Hebrew is the native language, and every school for Jewish children is a Hebrew-speaking school? And who needs a special summer camp when everything else is at least relatively Jew-friendly to begin with? So, we can all see how the societal context of where one lives has great impact on how a Jew in a foreign land perceives his/her need for special Jewish movements to help retain Jewish identity — even despite the cost — even if religious practices hold no relevance for him or her.

I think our biggest problem, however, is that we haven't broken the habit we acquired after the destruction of the First Temple of relying on patron nations to help us stay afloat when we had our own country. Even though most of the greatest devices and conventions in the modern world were invented and developed by Jews, especially Israelis, we still mainly rely on the nations as we have since that long-ago period: Between our two temples our patron, particularly after the end of that period, was Koresh (Cyrus) of Persia. After the times of Hanukkah our patron was Rome...until we were banished from our Holy Land, sent to the four corners of the earth, and left to fend for ourselves.

Today, it is the United States. But America "dances at two weddings" as the saying goes. She also supports the "Palestinian" Arabs. She may have withdrawn money from them recently, but I imagine that people are taking bets on whether the "Deal of the Century" President Trump and Jared Kushner have been working on will actually restore a large part of that financial support to them. I think it more than likely will. It's part of a pattern: As usual, what has been given to us in the past was largely symbolic; and what has been given to our enemies has been material. Unless we stop relying on nations as patrons, no matter how friendly they seem, that will not change. For example, why does US President Trump still sign waivers for the US Embassy here in Yerushalayim?

Our only real, true and faithful patron is the Holy One, blessed be He, who established us on this earth through our forefathers and the Twelve Tribes — Ha Qadosh Barukh Hu.

As for the "when" — now is always the best time to further whatever plans you have...until it isn't. Serendipitously, another article, by R' Y.Y. Jacobson, explains plainly why the children of Jacob (Ya'acov) must keep the spirit imparted by the study hall (beit hamidrash) while wearing the garb of Esau (Esav) - laws guaranteeing the life of the Jewish People in its own land, the military backing it up with firm, consistent enforcement. Tehillim are especially important now, even when things are relatively quiet — if they ever get that way again.

The best reasons to make aliyah to Israel are still: Israel is the best place to grow up, get over our free-floating hatred for our fellow Jews, and let the Holy One, blessed be He, take SOVEREIGNTY over us at long last!

Recommended reading: The imperative response to terror: Sovereignty! | Hebrew עברית

May the Go'el Yisrael be revealed speedily!

14 December 2018

How to Deal with the Terror Tunnels

6 Tevet 5779 | ו" טבת ה"תשע"ט

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher | first published here

A first look at Hamas' terror tunnels in Gaza from 2014. Too soon to reveal pics of tunnels in the North? Source

King David tells us in Tehillim 100, “to serve G-d with joy”. The Mishna in Avot 1 tells us that we should “greet and welcome everyone with a joyful countenance”. Avot D’Rabbi Natan 13 states that a happy and pleasant facial expression is considered equal to giving a person the most treasured gift in the world.

I just returned from a mini Chanukah vacation in Sholomi and Rosh Hanikra which is right next to the Lebanese border. The people there told us that for a long time they have been hearing the sounds of drilling and tunneling underneath their homes. And then next to the Gaza border there are also terror tunnels being dug constantly by Hamas. And this week there was another vicious terror attack next to the Ofra Junction that injured many people and caused the death of a premature infant.

So how is it possible to be in a joyful mood when we are surrounded by brutal Arab terrorists and savage murderers? The answer to this dilemma is found in the Book of Yirmiyahu. While most of the Book of Yirmiyahu contains prophecies of doom and destruction, we see some prophecies in which he speaks words of encouragement and comfort. In these prophecies how is Yirmiyahu’s message of consolation reinforced? How does he prove that G-d will bestow good on the Jewish People? Yirmiyahu states, “Just as I (G-d) brought evil, I also will bring eventual good”.

We see this concept of Yirmiyahu’s consolation at the end of Tractate Makot. Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues were walking on the Temple Mount, and they saw foxes come out of the place of the Holy of Holies. All the Rabbis began to cry, and Rabbi Akiva laughed. They asked him, “How can you laugh when you see foxes (terrorists) prowling on the Temple Mount and the Holy of Holies?” His colleagues said to him that this is the worst tragedy imaginable, “So how can you laugh?”

Rabbi Akiva answered, “Exactly for the reason that you Rabbis are crying, I am laughing. For I see how the words of Micha are being literally fulfilled when he says, “Foxes (terrorists) will prowl the Temple Mount”. Rabbi Akiva continued to console his colleagues, “Just like I see the tragic prophecies come true, so I also know that the wonderful prophecies of Zecharia will also be fulfilled“. “Old men and women and playful children shall yet dwell in the streets of Jerusalem” without the fear of being attacked by murderous Arab terrorists.

In other words, when we see our tragic current situation, it strengthens our faith in the coming of the Moshiach. These prophecies demonstrate that the same G-d who warned us that if we do evil, then evil will befall us, also promised us that He would redeem us and usher in a glorious future for Israel.

What about our current situation? How do we get rid of our fears of being attacked by vicious Arab terrorists? The Rambam in the Guide to the Perplexed addresses this problem. He writes, “Worrying about the past, has no benefit, and someone who frets over some trouble that has already passed, is senseless and foolish. It’s bad enough that such a person once had a tragedy, but he makes things worse by worrying about it after it has passed and gone.”

As for worrying about future troubles, that too, Rambam says is nonsense. It is possible that the trouble will come, and it is possible that the trouble will never come. G-d is all good, and whatever He sends a person is only for his ultimate good, even though we don’t always understand why or how.

05 December 2018

Chanukah – 8 Days a Week! + WATCH: Is Yehudit the Esther of Chanukah?

27 Kislev 5779  | כ"ז כסלו ה"תשע"ט
4th Candle of Hanukkah | נר רביעית חנוכה

Chanukah – 8 Days a Week! | by R' Ephraim Sprecher | first published here

The Beatles had a number 1 hit song called 8 Days a Week. Were they singing about Chanukah?

2,182 years ago the Greeks had outlawed Torah observance among the Jewish People in Israel. They made it a capital punishment to observe the three Mitzvot of Shabbat, Milah and Nidah, which happens to be an acronym of SHEMEN (oil) (שמן). Parshat Vayeishev always falls out around Chanukah time. Thus the Sefer HaPardes points out that there are 112 verses in Parshat Vayeishev, 104 of which begin with the letter VAV, which is a conjunction. These 8 independent verses, represent the 8 days leading up to Brit Milah and the 8 days of Chanukah.

What is the connection between Parshat Vayeishev and Chanukah? All of the incidences in Vayeishev are one large continuum connected by the VAV conjunctions. Everything is cause and effect. But the life of a Jew, symbolized by the 8 days of Brit Milah, is not affected by this continuum. There are no VAV’s or conjunctions in the verses that represent Israel, because there is no ordinary cause and effect when it comes to the Jewish People.

The life of a Jew is above and beyond the control of nature. The Jewish people are identified with the number 8, which symbolizes the supernatural, 7 being the symbol of nature as in the 7 days of the week, and 8 symbolizing the supernatural.

The 8 days of Chanukah which fall around Parshat Vayeishev, also fit neatly into this pattern. The 8 days symbolize and signify the supernatural, which is a perfect description for the Miracle of Chanukah.

Why is Chanukah 8 days? The Talmud tells us that there was enough oil to light the Menorah for 1 day, but miraculously the 1 day supply of oil burned for 8 days. So the miracle of the oil was ONLY 7 days. Why do we have an 8-day festival for a 7-day miracle? It can’t be to give us an extra day to eat donuts and latkas!

The answer is that the 8 days of Chanukah, like the eight days of Brit Milah, symbolize that Israel will exist eternally above and beyond the laws of nature. As John Lennon sang in his number 1 hit song, without the Beatles, “WE ALL SHINE ON!” This is Israel’s eternal destiny!
I was sick during the first few days of Hanukkah, so didn't post until now! Sorry about that. This post deserved the whole week! -CDG

16 November 2018

Let us be grateful for the miracles HaShem has wrought!

8 Heshvan 5779
Erev Shabbat Vayetze'

Four hundred and seventy (470) rockets were fired into Israel in just over 24 hours this last round — a record — and only one person was killed! Amazing! Only HQB"H!!!

I commented on another blog:

 Let's appeal to HQB"H through tehillim for mercy on our nation! And then let us thank Him after it's all over, and give Him the credit He deserves.

 And so, I'm following up now. We all need to take some time to be thankful for the good as well as seeing the bad.

Hanukkah is nigh and we need to prepare! Study what you can about Hanukkah חנוכה now, my brothers and sisters!


DISCLAIMER: Some of the items in the links about Hanukkah are not exactly in its spirit. For instance, I'd never heard "Light One Candle" before today, even though I liked Peter, Paul and Mary when I was young (yes, I am in 'that age' range!). It resembles "Kumbaya" more than it does the story of the Maccabees, who would never recognize themselves in it.

Also, the videos have women singing, just in case you might want to avoid that. If you have better suggestions, please comment!

Lastly for today, we need to be extra vigilant since our government apparently has chosen dishonor and humiliation over victory and deterrence. Next post (be"H - I'm not sure when it will be), I'll present the best reason to make aliyah. I don't think you will have heard it quite this way before.

UPDATE 2018/12/05: still preparing that post...meanwhile, it's Hanukkah.

The video below has no women singing; it's R' Ephraim Sprecher explaining why revival of the dead is essential to Judaism.

Shabbat shalom umevorah!