Thursday, May 29, 2014

MK Moshe Feiglin’s Unconventional Speech for Jerusalem Day

MK Moshe Feiglin delivered this speech in the name of the Knesset at the memorial ceremony for the fallen soldiers of the Six Day War and the War of Attrition
28 Iyar, 5774 / May 28, ‘14
Dear Families,
Honorable High Court Justice Uri Shoham,
Commander of the IDF Ground Forces General Guy Tzur,
Honored Guests,
With awe and trepidation, with a hidden tear and shaking knees
We stand here today
Facing the glory of your bravery and the splendor of your triumph.
And we salute you
Our brothers, heroes of fame.
We will never know why, after 2000 years
It was specifically you who were chosen by our Father in Heaven
to be the silver platter upon which Jerusalem was served to us
in the wondrous War of Miracles of Six Days
and the War of Attrition that followed on its heels.
But this we will always know
When you were called to serve
You parted from your loved ones and ran with alacrity ahead of the camp
You left everything behind and together, you charged into the fire.
In Armon Hanatziv, Ammunition Hill
In the Alley of Death and the Police School
In the Canal, in the strongholds, in the Land of Pursuit.
You forged a covenant of brothers, you sacrificed your lives for each other
One hand held the other, and for a rare moment – too rare – you taught us
the true meaning of oneness
Oneness at the front and oneness at home.
In the merit of one hand holding the other (numerical value 14+14)
We merited the 28th
That wondrous 28th of Iyar
As if our Father in Heaven was pleased and said
If my children are sacrificing their lives in extraordinary brotherly unity
They are worthy that I should be their Father and I will transform the natural to supernatural.
And five pursued one hundred – and one hundred pursued ten thousand
And the enemy was smitten, and in six days, you liberated our holy Land
And when the walls of dispute of the heart fell
The wall of stone was broken and Jerusalem was united
“The Temple Mount is in our hands,” called Mota
“I repeat – the Temple Mount is in our hands”
And our flag was raised over the holy Mount
And the sound of the shofar rang out…
And you are the teruah of the shofar
And you are the shevarim of the shofar
And you are always
The great outcry
Since then, we have become confused
We did not know how to clarify and continue
the authentic, natural, united momentum of liberation
We did not know what to do with your gift.
In the gap that has since widened between us
A wall has once again been built in Jerusalem
And again, we will look down and admit the truth
The city is very divided
We have dropped our flag
We have not really safeguarded
The unity of our city
Acquired with your blood.
And it is fitting and good that with awe and trepidation
With a hidden tear and shaking knees
We return every 28th and stand before you
Every Iyar, every year.
And we report back to you
And we will stand silent in the face of your judgment
What have we done this year to safeguard your gift
The unification of Jerusalem, the city of our Holy Temple
Jerusalem of Gold

For which you were the silver platter
Upon which it was served to us.

Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) was WHEN?

By Shmuel Sackett

If I asked you what holiday was this past week, you would unquestionably answer, “Memorial Day”. Unfortunately, that is incorrect because Memorial Day is not a “holiday”. Memorial Day is a day where family members, friends and the entire USA grieve over those who paid the ultimate price in defending the United States. My father, of blessed memory, was born in the USA and was a WWII veteran, having proudly served in the armed forces for 4 years. He was involved in the Battle of The Bulge and narrowly escaped death many times while fighting the Germans. His brother, my uncle Irving, was an elite combat soldier and was wounded twice in battle – earning himself 2 purple hearts. My mother’s 2 brothers; uncles Ruby and Murray, also fought in WWII and all of these men took Memorial Day very seriously. In my house, we were not allowed to go to the beach or shop for sales on Memorial Day. My father and uncles would spend most of the day visiting military cemeteries and consoling families who lost loved ones. No, Memorial Day is not and will never be a “holiday”. It is sad that very few people think this way but that is how I was raised and I believe it was correct.  In Israel, for example, Memorial Day (called “Yom Ha’Zikaron”) is a sad and somber day complete with 2 “moments of silence” (at night and during the day) and trips to military cemeteries. Restaurants and coffee shops are closed as well as most stores. Simply put, it is not a holiday – it is a day for reflection, prayer and hope for the future. I hope that one day, people in the USA will feel this way as well.
So, what is the correct answer to my question? What holiday was celebrated this past week? It was a very special day, just this past Wednesday, when world Jewry celebrated – or should have celebrated – “Yom Yerushalayim” (Jerusalem Day) marking the 47th year since Hashem returned the entire city of Yerushalayim to the Jewish nation. Thanks to Hashem’s mighty warriors – the brave and holy soldiers of the IDF – the Old City, the Kotel and most importantly of all; Har HaBayit – were returned to Jewish control. But wait, there was a lot more than that! This special day marks the modern miracle called “The Six Day War” in which many areas of our holy land were liberated and returned to their  rightful owners. Places like Hebron, Shechem, Bet El, Kever Rachel, Shilo, the Jordan Valley and all of the Golan Heights were taken away from the enemies of Hashem and returned to the Tribes of Israel. As a matter of fact, if you write down the name of every place in Israel mentioned in the Bible, an astonishing 93% of them were redeemed during that miraculous war! I hope you absorbed what I just wrote: 93% of the places mentioned in TaNaCH, the places we read about in the weekly parsha and haftora, the places where our greatest prophets and leaders are resting, the places where historic battles took place and where promises were made by Hashem to our people – 93% of these very places were imprisoned and held captive. Yet on this great day, they were liberated and set free!! What a miracle!! What an awesome privilege to live and experience this before our eyes!!
So, how did you celebrate Yom Yerushalayim? WHAT??? You didn’t even realize that this past Wednesday was Yom Yerushalayim? What happened? Didn’t your local Rav mention it last Shabbat in Shul? Isn’t it on your weekly Shul or Yeshiva calendar? Why not? Why is this amazing, incredible miracle not part of our daily lives? What does that say about us… and our leaders? How can we ignore the modern day splitting of the sea? If you think I am exaggerating, please consider the following: This was not a war like Vietnam or even the Gulf War, which America entered for global reasons. This was a war for survival. The Arabs were planning on massacring every man, woman and child in the State of Israel. They were planning on doing to them what Hitler did to the Jews of Europe and nothing less. Had we lost that war, we would have lost over 3,000,000 more Jewish lives. The response would have been to build a new Yad Vashem to the former Jews of Israel and maybe our Rabbonim would have added a new fast day to cry to Hashem for the spilling of more Jewish blood.
There is a major problem with this logic. Why do we only come to Hashem in sickness, tragedy and death? How come we have a major problem thanking and praising Hashem for the good things He gives us? Why must our prayers only be filled with tears and lamentations as opposed to joy and happiness? Think about this: If, G-d forbid, a bomb explodes in a crowded pizza shop on Main St, Cedar Lane, Central Ave, Ben Yehuda or Mamilla, we will all rush to shul to immediately daven and say Tehillim. Yes, that is the correct response and I will rush to shul as well to beg Hashem for mercy and to heal the wounded. But what if – just minutes before the explosion – a miracle occurs and the bomb is detected, safely defused and the terrorist apprehended. Instead of massive carnage and blood there is quiet and serenity. Hashem has saved the day and nobody was injured! Shouldn’t we still run to shul – only this time to thank Hashem for His mercy and kindness?
Let me make this point very clear. Hashem wants to hear from His children! He wants the sweetness of the Tehillim – but in praise and happiness, not in begging and crying. How can I write these words? Do I claim to know the ways of Hashem? No, not at all. I don’t understand Hashem’s secret ways nor do I dare try to understand His infinite wisdom and logic. But I do know this – because I have been taught it since the first day of my life: Hashem is our Father and our King and He is full of compassion, mercy and kindness. He wants to be close to us – as every father wants to be close to his children. He wants to rule us as a King but wishes His subjects will serve Him with love, not only fear. Every Chassidic sefer I have ever read talks about the need to serve Hashem out of love which is a much higher level than serving Him out of fear.
So where is our love? Why do we all get together for the Tisha B’avs but are nowhere to be found on the Yom Ha’Atzmauts and Yom Yerushalayims? Where is our gratitude for the modern day miracles? Dearest friends; open your eyes! What has happened these past few years – since 1948 – are miracles that can be compared to defeating Paro, Achashverosh and the mighty Greeks during the days of the Maccabees. We must acknowledge these miracles and thank Hashem for sending them to us. Don’t let these days pass you by because by doing so, you are neglecting a major foundation of Judaism called “Hakaras Ha’Tov” – acknowledging the good. Imagine not thanking a neighbor who saved your child from an accident – who would do such a thing? Yet, do we thank Hashem for saving our land, our people and our nation and for returning to us Ma’arat Ha’Machpela, the site of the Mishkan in Shilo and the Kadosh Ha’Kedoshim on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem?
We have a lot of work to do but it begins with ourselves and our leaders. Let’s make a promise that from this day forth we will not only ask Hashem to heal the sick and comfort the mourners but we will also thank Him for building our land, fortifying our army and increasing the talmidim in our Yeshivot. We will sing His praises for allowing Jewish farmers to properly keep Sh’mittah (coming this year) and for the tens of thousands of new Jewish homes that will populate the land of Israel in the coming years. And a few more things to ask Hashem for: Ask Him to help you sell your house and find you a good job in Eretz Yisrael. Ask Him to help you make Aliyah – not while running away from gas chambers and pogroms – but while things are quiet and serene. And ask Him to connect you to His Land so that even if you are stuck outside of it for a while, you don’t ever again miss a day like Yom Yerushalayim!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

HaRav Nachman Kahana on Parashat Naso and Yom Yerushalayim 5774


Naso – Yom Yerushalayim 5774

By Rabbi Nachman Kahana

National and Religious Honor

The Prophet Yirmiyahu said (13,17):
ואם לא תשמעוה, במסתרים תבכה נפשי מפני גוה, ודמע תדמע ותרד עיני דמעה כי נשבה עדר ה’

If you do not listen (to the warnings of the prophecy, and continue to sin, HaShem says) I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.
The Gemara (Chagiga 5b) explains that there is a secret room off limits even to angels, called Mistarim, where HaShem is alone every day (as it would be) to weep for the suffering of the Jewish people, which we brought upon ourselves by our sins.
HaShem weeps for the exile of His people from the Holy Land. He weeps for the decline in understanding Torah caused by the exile. He weeps for the Holy Temples which were destroyed.
But above all, HaShem weeps for the national and religious honor of Am Yisrael, which was transferred from us to the goyim. The pomp and ceremony which was once Yerushalayim is now in Washington, in the Vatican and in other capitals of Aisav’s lands.
This week, the Pope was in Yerushalayim. The honors granted him were exponentially greater than those shown (lehavdil) to our own Chief Rabbis – hundreds of police sealed off streets and intersections hours before he was scheduled to even arrive and closed the Old City even to pedestrian traffic.
The Pope met with the heads of the Eastern Churches who despise him, as well as with the Mufti of Yerushalayim, who sees him as a “Kofer” The only thing common among them is their hatred for the Jewish people, whose return to the Holy Land as sovereigns they cannot understand, nor bear.
The Pope saw the Star of David whereever he went. He was guarded by descendants of Spanish Jewry and the children and grandchildren of the survivors of Hitler’s madness, which grew and flourished in their gentile hearts well fertilized by the teachings of Christianity.
He was brought to Yad VaShem to witness our great tragedy in the hope that he would vindicate our cause, while in reality he was surely thinking that this was just punishment to the Jews for denying the “saviour”.
Were it up to me, I would have taken him to an air force base to witness a squadron of F-16s with the Star of David painted on each fuselage and to listen to our pilots talking in the language of the Torah. I would have taken him to my son’s army base, where over his desk hangs the breathtaking photo of 3 Israeli jets flying over the Auschwitz death camp.
For 2000 years, HaShem has cried over the disgrace and dishonor of the Jewish people. Sixty-six years ago, in 1948, our Father in Heaven decided that He had cried enough and that we had paid enough for our sins; and the time had arrived to restore His chosen nation to the pinnacle of national and religious honor.
The process appears to be slow, but it is irreversible.

Tuma is attracted to Kedusha

As we approach the end of the 49-day sefira period from Pesach to Shevuot, one might ask if we should not be counting 99 days not just 49. How so? Chazal (our rabbis of blessed memory) bore witness to the fact that in Egypt the Jewish nation had descended to the 49th level of tuma (a negative spiritual state) and had to make their way up the ladder to the 50th rung of spirituality to be worthy of receiving God’s Torah – 49 levels of tuma followed by 50 levels of kedusha require 99 days of preparation.
I submit:
HaShem created the world where certain things have an innate affinity for each other. The negatively charged electron seeks to attach itself to the positively charged proton. The positively charged element sodium bonds with the negatively charged element chloride to produce salt. And two positively charged atoms of hydrogen bond with the two outer negative electrons of an oxygen atom to form water.
And so, too, tuma has an innate attraction for kedusha.
Prior to the time we returned to Yerushalayim, the city was of little importance to anyone. It was a small town on the edge of the Judean desert with little to offer in the way of commerce or resources. I recall the Old City right after the liberation in 1967. The so called “Jewish Quarter” was destroyed, and the “Moslem Quarter” was an open sewer.
However, as soon as the holy Jewish people returned to Yerushalayim, the Moslems in whose unholy Koran Yerushalayim is not mentioned even once, and the Christians who staked out their fiefdom in Rome, Constantinople and other parts west, suddenly discovered that Yerushalayim is “their” holy city. Again an innate attachment of tuma to kedusha.
This serves to explain why the Pope arrived here in the week that we celebrate the unification of Yerushalayim during the Six Day War, which was the greatest miracle we have experienced since finalizing the Tanach in the time of Mordechai and Esther. Tuma is attracted to kedusha.
The Jewish people survived 2000 years of suffering and the bestial Shoah to return home and once again be sovereign over the holy city. In six days, Tzahal with minimum forces extended the land area under our control threefold. We returned to the Temple Mount and the Kotel, to Kever Rachel, to Mearat HaMachpela.
Every year at this time, the spirit of Jewish independence returns; just as the spirit of freedom returns to us with every holiday of Pesach. It is during this period of great kedusha that the tuma of Christianity is attracted to be present in Yerushalayim.
However, he came and he left. Am Yisrael Chai!

We shall not be reckoned among the nations

The majority of the world’s 7 billion people negate Christianity, and there is integrity and some moral soundness to a majority. In the same token, the majority of the world’s 7 billion people negate Islam, and again there is integrity and some moral soundness to a majority. Now since the world’s majority also negates Judaism, logic would dictate that Judaism is in the same category as the world’s other religions!
No! Because the Jewish nation is not part of the world’s consensus, and what applies to the nations does not apply to the Jewish nation.
Did HaShem not say through Bilaam (Bamidbar 23,9):
כי מראש צרים אראנו ומגבעות אשורנו הן עם לבדד ישכן ובגוים לא יתחשב:
For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: see, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
According to every historic, social, religious, political and military yardstick, we Jews should not be alive today. Statistical data has no relevance in terms of the survival of the God’s chosen people. We “shall not be reckoned among the nations” is the definitive statement of our uniqueness.
The arrival of Medinat Yisrael on the stage of history has propelled the Jewish people to a higher quantum level in God’s world, while leaving the other religions behind. Did the prophet Yeshayahu not say (40,15):
הן גוים כמר מדלי וכשחק מאזנים נחשבו הן איים כדק יטול:
Surely the nations are like a drop in a pail; 
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
He weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
An example of the religious “drop in a pail” the prophet was referring to. The Vatican is demanding ownership of the room above David’s tomb, where they believe the “last supper” took place.
This is a very interesting claim. Firstly, because the building is not more than several hundred years old; its stones were not even hewn 2000 years ago. Moreover, if their saviour ate, it implies that he had to attend to his personal toilet needs. This is a rare idea for one who is god or part god.
The dogma of Islam or of the other religions are not any more rational or convincing, indeed like “dust on the scales”.
The enlightened peoples of the world would do well to recognize the truth and uniqueness of the Jewish nation, and band together to help us rebuild the holy Temple, as it will eventually be, as stated by the prophet Yeshayahu (2,1-3):
הדבר אשר חזה ישעיהו בן אמוץ על יהודה וירושלם:
והיה באחרית הימים נכון יהיה הר בית ה’ בראש ההרים ונשא מגבעות ונהרו אליו כל הגוים:
(ג) והלכו עמים רבים ואמרו לכו ונעלה אל הר ה’ אל בית א-להי יעקב וירנו מדרכיו ונלכה בארחתיו כי מציון תצא תורה ודבר ה’ מירושלם:

The vision of Yeshayahu son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the future the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana
Copyright © 5774/2014 Nachman Kahana

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memories and Regrets

By Rabbi Dov Berl Wein

The Six Day War, an event that changed Israeli and Jewish in myriad ways. Those of us who lived through those fateful and fearsome days recall the foreboding and mental and emotional depression that gripped the Jewish world for the three weeks leading up to the war itself. The Arabs proclaimed that they would end the State of Israel and throw its Jews into the Mediterranean Sea. The Soviet Union backed the Arabs with its vicious propaganda machine as did the Leftist fellow travelers, many of them Jewish by birth, the world over. Those guys are still around in today’s world though their great patron and perfect society, the Soviet Union, is in the ash heap of history. The Soviet Union armed Egypt and Syria to the teeth and trained their armies while Britain did the same for Jordan. These three Arab countries united their military commands and confidently proclaimed their victory as being certain before the first shot was even fired. Abba Eban, the then Israeli Foreign Minister, circled the globe’s capitols seeking help for his beleaguered country but finding none. The ineptitude of the United Nations, the cynicism of the American State Department and the hollowness of the promises of the American President, the anti-Semitism of de Gaulle, all were now blatantly revealed. I was then a rabbi in Miami Beach and I visited a neighboring church near my synagogue to ask the pastor to sign an interfaith letter supporting Israel that was to be published the next day in the local newspaper. I was shocked and saddened by the vehemence in his voice as he refused to do so. I then realized how truly alone the Jewish people is when push comes to shove.

Well, surprisingly Israel won the war in six days, reunited Jerusalem, acquired the Golan Heights and controlled the biblical land of Israel from the Jordan to the sea. The Jewish world was ecstatic, relieved but utterly confused. What was Israel to do with its victory and gains? The Arab world remained intransigently opposed to any type of recognition of or compromise with Israel. So Israel began a decades long process of negotiating with itself, slowly but surely frittering away any of the benefits that accrued to it during the war and its aftermath. Over the decades Israel gave back the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, much of the West Bank, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, recognized the establishment of a neighboring Palestinian state, fought many wars and endured continuing terrorist attacks, signed a number of meaningless agreements, all in a fruitless attempt to achieve a lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties have never achieved a significant change of the mindset of the population of those countries towards Israel and its right to exist. Those peace treaties by themselves today hang by a thread and certainly cannot be reckoned as being secure and binding by any stretch of imagination.
The Six Day War brought to the Jewish world a sense of unity and solidarity that since then has never been matched. The stark divisions in the Jewish world have since then been magnified and intensified. The political parties in Israel have splintered and subdivided. The personal animosities and the pursuit of ideology – secular and religious – has overcome the realistic practicalities of life and nationhood. The leaders of Israel have been found wanting – corrupt, politically and morally, in a way that the original founders of the state would find hard to believe. The dream of Greater Israel has been smashed and the reality of lesser Israel offers little comfort and inspiration to many Jews both in Israel and in the Diaspora. Yet, the Russian exile has returned home and the country is strong and relatively prosperous. I see Israel today as being paradoxically more Jewish, if not even more observant, than it was forty-five years ago. But the fire of idealism, of a great dream to be fulfilled is no longer present. We are weary of war and conflict and wary of false peace. We distrust all of our political leaders with equal disdain and doubt as to their motives and schemes. They betray us on a regular basis – just ask the dispossessed of Gush Katif and now of Beit El. Somehow the lessons of the Six Day War never were internalized by us so that the memories of that great moment in our history has turned from nostalgia to regret. History teaches us that when opportunity arises it must be seized. Rarely if ever does it reappear in the same form again.

The City of One Gate: HaRav A.Y. Kook on Jerusalem Day

By Rabbi Chanan Morrison

Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neriah, a student of Rav Kook and noted author and educator, posed the following question shortly after the Old City of Jerusalem was liberated in 1967:
Why is it that only now we merited conquering the Old City? Why did our efforts during the 1948 War of Independence fail?

A City "Joined Together"
The psalmist describes Jerusalem as a "city that was joined together" (122:3). What is this "joining" quality of Jerusalem? The Jerusalem Talmud (Baba Kama 7:7) explains that Jerusalem "joins each Jew to the other." Jerusalem is meant to be a focal point of unity and cohesion for the Jewish people.
The Sages in Zevachim 114b used a peculiar phrase when teaching that the Passover offering may only be brought in the city of Jerusalem. For this offering, the Talmud explains, it is necessary that "all of Israel enter through one gate."  This unusual expression of unity - "entering through one gate" - rings with an amazing prophetic resonance.
During the 1948 War of Independence, the Palmach forces broke through Zion Gate, while the Etzel forces were ready to break through Damascus Gate. At that point in time, we were divided and disunited. Had we succeeded then in conquering the city, there would have been arguments about who had captured the city and to whom does she belong. Jerusalem would have become a cause for conflict and dissension.
But Jerusalem was given to the entire Jewish people. As the Talmud (Yoma 12a) says, the city was not portioned out to any particular tribe. For this reason, it was only in 1967, when we approached the Old City united, with one army - and entering through one gate - that we merited regaining the city. The IDF, an army representing the national unity government of Israel, and the Jewish people all over the world, entered via Jerusalem's Lions Gate and liberated the city.
Interestingly, we find a similar idea when the Jewish people first conquered Jerusalem. Jerusalem - our holiest city, the eternal home for the Holy Temple - was not conquered during Joshua's conquest of the Eretz Yisrael. Nor was it secured during the time of the Judges, a period lasting 400 years. Nor did King Saul capture it. Only when the Jewish people were united under the permanent dynasty of King David was Jerusalem delivered.
The medieval biblical commentator Rabbi David Kimchi noted that the text supports this idea. Immediately following David's coronation in Hebron by the elders of Israel, it emphasizes:
"Then David and all of Israel went to Jerusalem" (I Chronicles 11:4).

Pragmatic Reason
In a footnote, Rabbi Neriah added a second, political explanation for delaying the liberation of the Old City until 1967. According to the UN partition plan, Jerusalem was meant to be an international city under UN auspices. Had Jerusalem been captured in 1948, the newly formed state would have been forced to bow to pressure from the UN. (During the nineteen years that the Old City was under Jordanian occupation, for some reason no such pressure was placed on Jordan.)
In 1967, the situation had changed greatly. The State of Israel was much stronger and less susceptible to international pressure. The UN was a weaker institution, and it was difficult to suddenly initiate a diplomatic effort for the internationalization of Jerusalem after the issue had lain dormant for nineteen years.
(Adapted from Mo'adei HaRe'iyah, pp. 480-482)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Gun Control? Or Citizen Control?

By Moshe Feiglin

Far from the public eye this week, the Knesset Interior Committee held the most fundamental deliberation that I can remember on the subject of liberty.
On the surface, the topic was purely technical/practical. The State Comptroller’s report was presented to the committee. The report stated that thirteen people were murdered in 2012 by people carrying licensed firearms. The conclusion? Arms-bearing citizens are dangerous.
I showed how that completely contradicts the truth and how this demagoguery – enthusiastically taken advantage of by the State – will lead to more murders and much more servitude.
The request of the Internal Security Ministry was to require every arms-carrying citizen to undergo a psychological examination(!) every number of years, in addition to all sorts of astronomical fees and levies. In other words, the default position of the State is that its citizens are psychos who must prove their sanity once every few years.
This is the continuation of the terrible process that has already cut the number of licensed arms-bearers in Israel in half. This process expresses the approach that sees the State as sovereign and the nation as some sort of dangerous property against which the State must defend itself. In other words, I endanger you, you endanger me and the role of the State is to save us from each other – and itself from us both.
This is Stalin at his best, now implemented by the Ministry for Internal Security.
The truth, of course, is just the opposite. The sovereign is the nation. The State is the nation’s important and necessary tool. But just like fire, it can easily get out of control and burn its founders. Thus, the State is the danger and the nation must limit it and guard itself against it.
A number of years ago, the State of Israel decided to distribute thousands of automatic weapons to the PLO terror organization, which it ‘whitewashed’ by renaming it the ‘Palestinian Authority’. Over a thousand Israelis were murdered by those weapons. So who is endangering whom? Who demonstrates insanity and who exactly needs to be supervised?
The right to defend oneself is a basic human right. The State must deny the right to carry a firearm for self defense from those people who have already proven that they are unworthy to do so (a violent background and the like). But in Israel, the situation is reversed. A person has no natural right to carry a firearm for self defense. According to the State, it is not G-d Who gives him this basic human right to defend himself, but the State, itself. And the State really does not want its citizens to bear arms. And no – the State’s approach is not in order to safeguard its citizens’ security.
We are witnessing a process of weapons gathering from private citizens. The public is being abandoned to the wiles of the underworld or criminal and nationalistic elements from the Arab sector – which is overflowing with illegal weapons.
In more than 70% of terror attacks in which armed citizens were involved, those citizens were crucial in neutralizing the terrorist and ending the killing spree. (Dr. Shlomo Shapira, NRG)
“True,” you may say, “but the increase of murders carried out by licensed gun owners changes the picture.” So – we are told that thirteen murders with licensed weapons took place in 2012. What we are not told is that in twelve of those cases, the shooters were security guards. In other words, the weapons belonged to a private company. It is perfectly logical for security companies to make any rules that they wish. (Those who do not wish to undergo a psychological review before being accepted for the job are welcome to find work elsewhere.)
In other words, the Internal Security Ministry is mixing the security companies with private human rights. It is presenting us with completely distorted data and due to one, single incident, seeks to force all the private arms-bearers in Israel to undergo a humiliating psychological evaluation.
The result of this process is that the amount of weapons carried by the public will continue to decrease and in those 70% of terror or criminal attacks, the responsible citizens with guns will not be able to protect the public.
In years past, Police Chiefs Hefetz and Aharonishki called upon licensed gun-owners to carry their weapons with them. They even announced that they consider those arms-bearing citizens an integral part of the security lineup.
But the process of loss of liberty continues to unravel our society. In the interim, we are losing both our security and our liberty.

The Jewish Press: Feiglin’s Sovereignty on the Temple Mount Seminar


A few hundred people and I packed the Knesset’s downstairs auditorium on Sunday to learn more about Jewish history and Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, as well as a vision for Jerusalem’s future.  

The Temple Mount is going mainstream, and I had to pull a few strings to get into the seminar, while Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin had to scramble to reserve a much larger room, after an unexpected 600 people registered for the conference.

The program’s MC was former MK, Professor Aryeh Eldad, one of the founder of Professors for a Strong Israel, and the subject of the Temple Mount was treated with the intellectual rigor one would expect when scholarly heavyweights all sit in a room together discussing their most passionate subject.
Moshe Feiglin kicked off the session, calling on the government to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and stop the discrimination, harassment and humiliation of Jews who want to go up and visit.
Feiglin linked our lack of application of sovereignty on the Mount directly to the world’s lack of respect for Israel. The message was, “When we safeguard our rights, the world respects that.”
Ambassador Dr. Allen Baker spoke about the status of the Temple Mount in International law and on the legal aspects of Israeli sovereignty.
Most disconcerting was Dr. Gabi Barkai’s overview of the archaeological damage purposely done by the Waqf on the Temple Mount, in their attempts to completely erase Jewish history from the location.
Barkai discussed the quarter million volunteers who worked for years sifting through the Temple Mount dirt the Waqf excavated and unceremoniously dumped in the Kidron Valley.
The photos of the artifacts found, going back thousands of years, attesting to the Jewish (as well as other’s) presence on the Temple Mount was incredible, and if this was information found from an emergency rescue operation on piles of dumped dirt, imagine what must be there, and worst, what must have been permanently lost and destroyed.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar finished off the morning discussing the historical, religious and political connections that Islam has with Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
Kedar showed how Islam has no intrinsic religious connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, from their own writings.
Kedar focused on Islam’s inherent inferiority complex, and how it repeatedly showed up in their own theological discussions. From the beginning, Islam was not sure if it is an authentic religion or merely a cheap doppelganger of Judaism, from which it co-opted so much.
In a way, this is very similar to Christianity’s fundamental theological dilemma caused by the rebirth of the state of Israel, which they also believe should never have happened and creates for them significant theological dissonance.
Islam needs, not only a failed Judaism and failed Jewish people, but it needs to actually supplement the Jewish People’s history in its entirety, which for example is why they claim Yishmael was on the altar, and not Yitzchak, why they claim Jesus was a Palestinian, and of course, why they destroy Jewish relics and history on the Temple Mount.
For Islam, the Temple Mount has no religious or political significance in of itself, and in fact, Kedar brought earlier writings from Islamic religious and political leaders showing the lack of significance Jerusalem has to them.
But once the Jews were revived as a people, once Judaism showed it wasn’t supplemented by Islam, Jerusalem, and especially the Temple Mount take on tremendous significance.
Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount, more than anything else, strikes at Islam’s oldest and greatest fear.
Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount means Judaism is true, which then means Islam is false.
It is a religious war for them.
Their entire religion’s validity relies on Judaism’s defeat. That is why we are the enemy, and that is why they can’t even allow Jews onto the Temple Mount to pray.
But even after this conference, I think the question still remains: Why is the state of Israel so afraid to apply sovereignty over Judaism’s  holiest site, and practically speaking, what can we do about it?

University Students Cost Government Much More than Torah Kollel Students

By Moshe Feiglin

The High Court ruled yesterday that students in Ultra-Orthodox Torah institutes (kollel) will no longer receive government stipends. In principle, I am in favor of this ruling. It would be good for the Torah world to free itself from its dependence on the State.
The problem is that nobody has examined the costs to the State of the students in the anti-religious kollels (institutes). For example, there are the students in university learning ‘gender studies’. This is a new type of study and nobody dares challenge it. Or the Humanities and Social Studies, in which the ideological winds blow in one certain direction.
Let us compare the cost of the kollels from both sides of the ideological divide. Or in other words, how much does an Ultra-Orthodox kollel student cost us as opposed to a Humanities ‘kollel’ student?
Here are some facts and figures taken from government publications:
Number of Torah kollel students: 77,000
Annual cost to government per student: 8,400 NIS
Annual  cost to government for Torah kollel students: 646.8 million NIS

Number of Humanities students in universities: 48,404
Annual cost to government per student: 20,200NIS
Annual  cost to government for Humanities kollel students: 977.9 million NIS

Number of Social Studies students in universities: 41,805
Annual cost to government per student: 31,800NIS
Annual  cost to government for Social Studies kollel students: 1,329,200 billion NIS

Annual  cost to government for ideological university students:2,307,100 billionNIS
Annual  cost to government for Torah kollel students: 646.8 million NIS
Those are the facts – without the hyperbole.

Selections from a Diary of Jerusalem's Liberation

By Rabbi Shlomo Goren, ZT"L

1. First to the Wailing Wall
2. "This Year in the Restored Jerusalem"
3. Rabbi David HaKohen and Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook 

First to the Wailing Wall
In a private conversation, I told division commander Motta Gur that I had managed to secured a guarantee through operational documents that when we conquer the Old City of Jerusalem, I would be the first to reach the Wailing Wall. To this Motta Gur replied, "If you want to be the first to reach the Wailing Wall, you will have to be on good terms with me."

"Why with you?" I asked.

"Because," he replied, "I am going to be the one who conquers the Old City."

I said to him, "If you promise me that you will conquer the Old City and allow me to be the first person by the Western Wall, I promise to keep on good terms with you."

We shook hands as a sign of accord and commitment. There were two other officers present who heard our discussion. This took place in 1961. Thereafter, Motta Gur changed positions until he finally became commander of 55 Parachute Brigade.

Noontime . . . the armored vehicle came and took me to the museum. There, I found division commander Motta Gur and late deputy brigade commander Moshe Peles. I congratulated them on the task they had been given and on the historic privilege that had fallen into their hands - the conquest of the Old City and the liberation of the Temple Mount and Western Wall. I reminded Motta Gur of our agreement six years earlier regarding my entrance to the Western Wall.

Motta was very depressed. He informed me that he had received orders not to enter the Old City but rather to surround it from all sides. Under no circumstances was he to enter the city. He added that apparently the policy was to leave the Old City in the hands of the city's Arab population without conquering it.

To this I replied that were I in his shoes I would not be able to resist such an historic opportunity to liberate the Temple Mount after two thousand years. After all, what is the worst that could happen? They could put me on trial and perhaps sentence me to imprisonment. Better that I spend my whole life in prison so that Jerusalem and the Temple mount be free than to be free while Jerusalem remained enslaved.

I explained, however, that my comments were in no way an attempt to convince him to go against his orders. I was merely expressing my personal thoughts on the matter at this very fateful hour for the Jewish people. Perhaps, I explained, this is a onetime opportunity given to us by God to return the stolen property of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to the Jewish people. Missing this opportunity might be an irremissible sin that causes "weeping for generations to come."

Yet, I told him, we have full confidence in the authorities. We are certain that they know what they are doing and that the matter of Jerusalem is as dear to them as it is to us. I added that at any rate he should not despair. I am certain that this historic opportunity will not be neglected. This time we shall merit liberating Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and we must therefore prepare for this from a spiritual standpoint . . . 

I saw how one of the paratroopers volunteered to hang the flag on the roof of the Museum. This involved considerable self-sacrifice, for he exposed himself to great danger as he climbed up the topmost spire to hang the flag there. He was exposed to sniper fire from all sides. The Arabs immediately began shooting at the flag from the wall of the Old City. Thousands of bullets were fired for a number of hours but none succeeded in hitting the flag.

"This Year in the Restored Jerusalem"
Meanwhile, other paratroopers began reaching the Western Wall from two directions - from the Mugrabim Gate and from the main alleyway that we generally took to reach the Western Wall. Within 20-25 minutes the entourage of the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Regional Headquarters Commanding General reached the Western Wall Plaza (Motta was not among them, for he apparently remained on the Temple Mount).

I suggested conducting the first prayer service by the Western Wall. Then I recited the "Sehechiyanu" blessing and the "Who Consoles Zion and Builds Jerusalem" blessing. I recited Psalm 84, "How beloved are your dwelling places, God of Legions," and "Ashrei." After this I recited Kaddish for the souls of the fallen and concluded with "El Male Rachamim" to benefit the souls of the holy individuals who fell in "this" war, because as of then the war had no name. As I recited "El Male Rachamim" those present broke out crying. I too became choked up by tears and had to stop in the middle.

Finally, I finished the memorial service and then we all stood at attention and sang "Ha-Tikvah." I kissed the Regional Headquarters Commanding General and other soldiers and officers. Then I began singing, "This year in the restored Jerusalem!" (I changed the wording of the phrase as it appears in the Yom Kippur Neilah service and the Passover Haggadah, "Next year in the restored Jerusalem").

I handed out copies of the Pre-Battle Prayer with a special dedication to the paratroopers who were present. The Regional Headquarters Commanding General ordered the soldiers to move on and continue purging the city. General Narkiss said, "The war is not yet over, and the enemy is still battling in the city. We must continue until it is finished." All the while, there was much sniper fire from all sides. The soldiers laid down on the floor of the Western Wall Plaza a number of times because of the sniper fire, and I stood in the corner and continued reciting Psalms.

Rabbi David HaKohen and Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook
After this, a religious paratrooper battalion commander descended the stairway to the plaza. It was deputy Zamush who was just now arriving at the Western Wall Plaza for the first time. He arrived after I finished the prayer service and the General's entourage had dispersed. After lingering for a while he asked me if I would agree to bring the head of the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva.

I told him that I would send for my father-in-law, the Kabbalist Rabbi David HaKohen, "the Nazirite of Jerusalem," who had prayed for this moment his entire life, and Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook (son of the first Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel), both of whom were heads of the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva. I told my assistant, Menachem HaKohen to go and take my vehicle and bring both of them - my father-in-law, "the Nazir," and Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook. He went together with my driver and they were delayed for some time.

After about three quarters of an hour, the rabbis appeared - the Nazirite of Jerusalem, my father-in-law, Rabbi David HaKohen and Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, head of the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva - and these were the first civilians to stand by the liberated Western Wall. We embraced each other, kissed and wept.

I asked Menachem HaKohen what had kept them so long, and he replied that the road was blocked because of the shelling and sniper fire. It was impossible to leave the Old City. He had to take a jeep with a recoilless cannon in order to get through. In addition, the Nazirite tarried because he had to assemble a special court to annul his vow not to leave his house. I gave over my space in the southern corner of the wall to my father-in-law, and he did not move from that spot for a long time. He prayed continuously.

In the mean time, the Western Wall Plaza became filled with soldiers and a few civilians. When the hour became 12:11, which according to the calculation was the earliest possible time for the afternoon prayer service, I began to lead the Mincha prayer. I changed the words of the prayer, adding to my repetition the "Nachem" prayer that we recite in the Tisha B'Av afternoon prayer, and that closes with the words "Who comforts Zion and builds Jerusalem."

I made changes in "Nachem" itself, and instead of "the grieved, ruined and despised city" I said "the city that rejoices and exalts over the victory of Israel" . . . After Chazarat HaShatz (the prayer leader's repetition) I recited the Hallel blessing and the Hallel prayer in its entirety. After the prayer service we began dancing and singing "This year in the restored Jerusalem!" and "Yibaneh HaMikdash!" (the Temple will be rebuilt).

In the middle of the prayer service the military rabbi of the Jerusalem District Brigade, Rabbi Zemel, arrived at the Western Wall and brought with him a portable Holy Ark. It was the property of the Army Rabbinate and bore a large sign reading "Military Synagogue." This was the first Holy Ark to arrive at the Western Wall after its liberation. I had placed the Torah scroll that I brought with me between the stones of the Western Wall upon arriving, and it remained there until the military Holy Ark arrived.

This week with MK Moshe Feiglin

Sunday, 25 Iyar, 5774/ May 25, '14
Moshe organized an incredibly successful conference - in the auditorium of the Knesset - on the issue of "Sovereignty of Har HaBayit". Advanced registration was required and space was limited to 400 people but 700 people pre-registered so we had a waiting list! It simply shows how our work on this issue is breaking through. The conference featured historians, professors, Rabbis and many experts on the Har HaBayit issue. At 7:00pm Moshe chaired the plenum in the Knesset. 
Monday, 26 Iyar, 5774/ May 26, '14
The Knesset Interior Committee will be submitting its report on the rights of Jews on Har HaBayit. The committee commissioned this report based on Moshe's request. 

Tuesday, 27 Iyar 5774/ May 27, '14
In honor of "International Parkinson's Day" Moshe will convene a special Knesset caucus of people with Parkinson's. Later that day, Moshe will be attending a special meeting - that he requested - of Israel's Health Committee to discuss Israel's health system and Bituach Leumi (national insurance) for people suffering from Parkinson's.

Wednesday, 28 Iyar 5774 / May 28, '14
Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day!!! - Moshe will represent the Knesset at the Government Memorial for fallen IDF soldiers of the Six-Day War. This will take place on Mount Herzl and Moshe will lay the wreath and give the official speech to the families of the fallen soldiers. 

Thursday, 29 Iyar 5774/ May 29, '14
Moshe will deliver the keynote address at a rally in Tel Aviv for people suffering from various diseases who require medical cannabis as part of their treatment. 

Living a Life of Israel

By Shmuel Sackett

I want you to read the title again: Living a life of Israel. Think about it for a second. A life of Israel. A life where everything you do brings you closer to Israel. A life where you breathe the air of Israel, even while in New York or China. A life where your educational goals, occupational career and marriage decisions are based on a strip of land not much bigger than the state of Delaware. What does all this mean?
What I am about to write is life changing and is not something you have heard before. That is actually quite sad because our entire faith and essence is deeply intertwined with the soil of the Promised Land. Up until now you have been taught that keeping Torah and Mitzvot is the most important thing a Jew can do. You have been taught about the power of Tefila and the need to immerse yourself in Hashem’s infinite wisdom. You have studied Halachot, guarded against Lashon Hara and practiced chessed wherever possible. All of that is 100% true and I will never contradict any of those things – G-d forbid! I simply want to add one very important thing that has been kept from you – something that lies at the center of being Jewish;As a Jew, your priority is to do all of those things in the Land of Israel. Serving Hashem in Queens, Teaneck or Cedarhurst is a temporary situation only. If you happen to be there, for a day or 20 years, you must follow certain rules. The problem is that this situation is a “b’di’eved” – not the ideal way – and Jews were placed on earth to live life as “l’chat’chila” – proper, correct and according to original design.
I once heard a nice shiur by a Rabbi who discussed whether or not moving to Israel is one of the 613 mitzvot. He went into great detail explaining the difference between a “Mitzva Chiyuvit” (a mandatory mitzvah which we MUST do, such as putting on Tefillin, eating Matza on seder night etc.) and a “Mitzva Kiyumit” (a mitzvah which is not mandatory but which we are credited for when, and if, a certain situation arises such as giving a get in the case of divorce). His conclusion was that while most Rabbis hold that living in Israel is a great and special Mitzvah, in our day it is not an obligation. If one makes this bold and brave move he/she receives great reward each and every day but it is not like putting up a Mezuza which MUST be done, no questions asked.
I shared this with Rabbi Nachman Kahana who made Aliyah from NY over 50 years ago. He laughed and told me that the whole discussion was rather silly. He explained his position via a parable: Reuven marries Sarah. It is just after the Chupa and the young, fresh couple is alone in the yichud room. Sarah looks into Reuven’s eyes and asks, “Reuven, tell me why you married me – I need to know.” Reuven, being the bright Talmid Chacham that he is looks at her and answers, “Sarah, I married you because now I can keep many mitzvot that I have been unable to perform. With Hashem’s help we will have children – that’s Pru U’rvoo. B’ezrat Hashem one of those will be a boy – that’s Brit Milah and maybe even a bachor – that’s Pidyon Ha’ben. Thanks to you my dear Sarah, I can now keep dozens of mitzvot! Thank you for marrying me!!!”
Rabbi Kahana then asked me, “What do you think Sarah’s reaction will be if Reuven answers her question in that way?” He should have answered as follows: “My dear Sarah. Until you came into my life, my soul was incomplete. I searched for my soul mate and Hashem guided me to you. Together, we are complete. We are one. Without you, I am nothing. I am broken and insignificant. Now that you have come into my life, I am alive. I am a full being and together with you, we will serve our Father and King in complete purity and holiness. I simply could not do it without you.”
Rabbi Kahana then repeated his question, word for word: “What do you thing Sarah’s reaction will be if Reuven answers her question in that way?” He then told me, “Shmuel, THAT is how you make Aliyah. Not because of the mitzvot you can only keep in Israel. It is because without Israel, life for a Jew is incomplete. A Jew must understand that for him, Israel is his soul-mate. His neshama needs to be there for without it, he is broken and insignificant, just like a young man before he finds his bashert. There’s no difference.”
This is what I meant when I titled the article “Living a Life of Israel”. It means that even though you are presently 6,000 miles away you must understand and constantly be aware that your present position is temporary. You must set a date to move to Israel, even if it is 10 years away. You must then plan your move. I would start by learning Hebrew and thanks to the internet you can arrive in Israel speaking like a Sabra. (Note: This will also help you learn Torah better since Rashi, the Vilna Gaon, the Chofetz Chaim and Rav Moshe Feinstein all wrote in Hebrew) Plan your education and profession accordingly and don’t renovate your house – unless it will make you sell it easier, faster and for more money. Every move you make must be done with this goal in mind since that is where you need to be.
Does this mean that Jews outside of Israel are bad? Absolutely not! They are good, wonderful, holy people whom I love and that is why I am writing these words. It is because I love you all that I am taking the time to stress this point: Come home. Hashem did not just free our fathers from slavery – he also took us out of Egypt. He could have left us there and we would have set up amazing shuls, yeshivas and chessed organizations in Goshen. We could have flourished and produced many great Torah sages but Hashem clearly did not want that. He realized that in the future a few Jews may in fact wander back to places like Egypt, Lithuania, Canada and the USA but the focus, the goal, the mission and the completeness could only be in one place. In that place we are not communities – we are “Am Yisrael” – the Nation of Israel!!
I urge you all and literally beg you to stop thinking of Israel as a place to spend Sukkot or to go to for a year after high school. This tiny land is where our friend Reuven looks into Sarah’s eyes – or better yet; where each of you look into Hashem’s “eyes” and says, “Without Your Land, I am incomplete. My soul yearns for Your soil and only within its borders can I serve You as You instructed. Please – my Father and King – bring me to Your Land in happiness and plant me in its borders. In the meantime, I will serve You here outside the Land but this is like a prince serving the king outside the palace. Grant me the wisdom to understand that this is what must be done and the courage to act upon it.”
See you in Jerusalem!