28 October 2018

Will Jews be attacked in America?

19 Heshvan 5779

...can it?

UPDATE: Sam ben Nazira u'Moshe (סאם בן נזירה ומשה) passed on yesterday morning, 20 Heshvan, according to my cousin, who is his daughter, who was with him at the time. His 94th Hebrew birthday was the 24th of October (Heshvan 15); his secular birthday would have been the 2nd of November. Thank you for your prayers.


Will Jews soon be attacked in the United States of America en masse, all over the country, Kristallnacht style and worse? I do not know the answer to this question, and I hope it will never happen, or have to happen. However, I read a very sobering and disturbing op-ed written by a former field mental health officer in the IDF during the haggim about how progressive-leaning American Jews have cut themselves off from the rest of the Jewish People by keeping company with their own worst enemies, whom they think are their best friends. I highly recommend it because I believe a person like this has a well-informed opinion - and at least one doesn't have to take this as news, whether true or false.

I suspect the problem is much wider. I so hate to be the bearer of bad news...and thus I'm sorry that I waited so long to post!

It might be wise to take advantage of the ability to take notice of events in advance. In fact, it may be starting now, with the shooting inside a Pittsburgh, PA "traditional, progressive and egalitarian" synagogue in Squirrel Hill (as I understand it, the Jewish neighborhood there), where eleven were killed on Shabbat Vayera.

While researching for this article, I found out that Kristallnacht itself occured davka on Shabbat Vayera! Not from a rabbi, mind you. From an Arutz 7 comment on this article (also linked at the end).

Don't laugh. It might just be time to take this question seriously. You have the right to refuse to read this article and links, and even to refuse to look at this issue as though it may never happen to you and yours. But, if you choose that route, don't ask why you weren't warned. Plenty of us have tried over the years. You've needed to be listening and watching.

We've all heard of the saying, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer", but in this context it has another meaning...if only because some Jews don't know enemy from friend. Even when so-called friends reveal themselves as enemies.

The op-ed: The end of the Jewish World as we know it, by Ron Jager

His words (translated to English on INN) include the following:

This historical connection between Jews has come to an abrupt end. It can no longer be ignored or denied. American Jews from the Democratic, progressive side of the political map have not only transformed themselves into a vanguard dedicated to publicly criticize Israel, but act as if Israel is a flawed democracy unworthy of their support.

This monumental shake-up and self-inflicted division of the Jewish world has been building up in recent years changing the very foundation of the Jewish World that we have been accustomed to for the past 150 years. Not since the period of European enlightenment leading to the establishment of the Reform movement and secular Judaism, and not even during the darkest days of the Holocaust, has the Jewish world undergone such a widespread and fundamental rethinking of what it means to be Jewish...We see it everywhere today; led by self-hating Jews, appearing on mainstream and social media adopting an anti-Israel narrative that not only rejects Israel’s basic national right of self-defense but simultaneously demands that Israel forfeit her right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

It bothers me when I see statements that assert as fact that the whole Jewish world has undergone a change when only one part of it has, and an increasingly shrinking one at that. In this context, the part that has rethought what it means to be Jewish, now known as "progressive," generally comprises Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Jews and the non-Jews who accompany them. I am perturbed by the aggrandizement of their importance these words imply because, in fact, these "progressives" do not define what Judaism is, how it is lived, and especially where it is lived. Even the left wing agrees with this - did you see where Ron Jager wrote about how suspicious our government already is of people who hold "progressive" views?

But it seems that one branch -- the High Court of (in)Justice -- disagrees and hamstrings the rest of the government in the process. Here is an article from CBS News (!) on our detention of a young former president of a chapter of Student for Justice in Palestine (I'm not going there; you can find it if you want) who wants to study at Hebrew University. More updates on her, here (Google search).

Those among the more observant of what the Torah teaches, the support the Prophets and Writings give to the Torah, and how one lives the Torah as directed by the writings of the Sages, known as Talmud, also need to pay attention. They largely (with at least two exceptions that I'm aware of - not that I'm any authority on this; may they increase anyway!) reject the practical application in the Land of Israel as mentioned in the Sh'ma and exempt themselves from responsibility to contribute to the development of a properly functioning Israeli society because at present Israel is not as they wish it to be. I believe they also need to take the warning I offer here.

For your information, as the Jewish population in Israel has been growing, that of the Jews in the rest of the world has been doing the opposite largely through assimilation, via intermarriage and the resulting deprivation of future generations of their heritage - or even the lack of future generations, considering that the larger progressive community promotes the zero-population-growth agenda — especially for Jews.

If you are one of them, you need to pay special attention. Do not be fooled by our apparent propensity to give in to the political correctness fad of the moment; it has lessened with time, and it will continue to do so with G-d's help. Do you really think that anyone has the right to tell the Jews to stop propagating and not to have our own place in the world, after what has happened to us over the last couple of millennia?

In my mind, Mr. Jager (I don't know his last rank or religious position, so I apologize for the relevant omissions here) writes like a secular counterpart to R' Lazer Brody, also formerly in the IDF. I'm going by a theory I've long held, that — whether known or unknown by the parties involved — when religious and secular Jewish colleagues agree on something, or they discuss the same matter, major events are about to happen.

Rav Brody has been concerned about the Jews in the USA for a very long time. He received words from the late R' Yehuda Zev Leibowitz, zz"l before he passed in 2010 concerning the matter under discussion here. R' Brody gave Howard Morton permission in 2015 to reveal what that was, and he himself revealed more in June 2018.

The thing I'm most concerned about at this point — no, scared out of my wits about, since it seems imminent — is the possibility, suggested by the op-ed by Mr. Jager, that the terrible event R' Leibowitz predicted might occur after Israel has cut ties with the so-called progressive Jews. Which won't be long now, if things keep going the way they have until now. Maybe by the time the November mid-term election results are in, no matter who wins?

As for the non-progressive Jews (who are mostly religious, but include some non-religious as well), you are reminded that even the righteous among the population weren't passed over for the fate of the rest during the Holocaust; so why would it be different now? One false move by President Trump could change everything. You could well be treated as one with your non-religious brethren. Unity, one way or the other.

If you are witnessing the separation of Jews from other Americans for whatever reason (besides self-motivation) in other parts of the country, you may be too late to plan your escape. In this case you may be one of the ones who may be arriving in Israel in their pajamas and carrying only a toothbrush. That also depends on whether Israel will let you in.

I do not speak for the Israeli government. I do not know their innermost thoughts or what drives them (but I have a pretty good idea that a lot depends on the orientation of the POTUS and his relationship with the ruling party). I suspect that at some point our government, whether that of Mashiah or under our present system, will have a stronger backbone than in the past because it will be necessary in order to survive. Therefore, I advise: Don't count on being admitted here in your hour of trouble if you have been foolish enough to have favored Israel's dissolution as a nation without considering the consequences.

Now would be a good time to rethink your position and "walk it back" as much as need be. As publicly as you have opposed Israel's policies and actions regarding those who have actively waged war against us for the past 100 years or so, be for them. Be on our side, as your parents were, and even more so. Have empathy for your brothers and sisters over here, won't you?

And, concentrate your efforts on thinking about where you'd like to be when you die, while it's still not too late, and try to be there. This can be done even while the "inevitable" seems far away in time.

While you're thinking, you might want to read, "It happened in America" by R' Tzvi Fishman.

Over to you...

11 October 2018

Doing a Mitzvah at the Zoo + VIDEO on Parashath Noach

Light of 3 Heshvan 5779

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher

When I study Parshat Noach, I try to imagine all of the exotic creatures that G-d created. Therefore, some of my students and I visited the wonderful and exotic Ramat Gan Safari Zoo. Can one do a Mitzvah at the zoo? A visit to the zoo is a chance to experience the wonders of G-d's creation and acknowledge that opportunity with the appropriate blessing.
The Mishnah in Avot 2 states, "Let all of your deeds be for the sake of G-d." Every act, however mundane and secular, can and should be elevated to the service of G-d. When we encounter special, exciting and fascinating sights, our Sages determined to recite a blessing upon seeing them, thereby connecting them to their Divine creation.
Thus, the Talmud in Brachot 58b states that one who sees particularly beautiful or strong animals, or especially beautiful trees, or an exceptionally good looking person recites the blessing, "Boruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Shekacha Lo BÓlamo" (Blessed are You, Our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has such beautiful creations in His universe).
By reciting this blessing, a great Tikkun (rectification) is made, for people are amazed and marvel at exceptionally beautiful and large creatures. It is extremely important to connect these feelings of awe and amazement to their source and give praise to the Creator Who has such beautiful creations in His universe.
A visitor to the zoo should recite the blessing "Shekacha Lo BÓlamo" over the first beautiful creature he sees and have intention to exempt and include all the other beautiful animals with this blessing. The Talmud in Brachot 58b rules that a person who sees a monkey or an elephant recites the blessing, "Boruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Meshaneh Habriyot" (Blessed are you, Our G-d, King of the Universe, who makes strange and unusual creatures).
The Meiri explains that our Sages determined to recite this blessing specifically on monkeys and elephants, because they more than any other creature arouse particular astonishment, for although they are animals, they possess a certain resemblance and intelligence, similar to humans.
When we were at the Safari Zoo, we saw a chimpanzee hugging and kissing her baby just like a human mother would. We also saw the huge and marvelous gorillas roaming in their natural habitat. One of the gorillas looked at me and I was astonished when this huge gorilla began clapping its hands and beating its chest!
These blessings praising G-d for His wonderful creations are recited once in thirty days.
The last Mishnah in Avot states, "Whatever G-d created in the universe, He created only for His Glory." 
Everything in creation, even a gorilla who claps his hands, is a tool to enhance G-d's Glory. We just have to open our eyes and appreciate G-d's incredible, wondrous, and beautiful creations.
 Parashath Noah