Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Sukkos, two stories, halacha and news

Guarding one’s eyes on the internet:
A short editorial
My editorial is Daas Torah and not my opinion. Yosef Stalin’s son who was a private was captured by the Germans. They offered a prisoner exchange Field Marshall Paulus for Stalin’s son. Stalin said a private for a private. There is a Mitzvah to Redeem Captives but not at any price. The Maharam of Rotenberg was held for ransom. The price was very steep the Jewish Community wanted to pay and he gave the Psak Din – no for the price is too high and if they pay such a price now then in the future the price will be the same or high for the next captive.  
I said to myself, what I would want if I or my Golani son was taken captive. I probably would have fought to the death and if I was captured it was because I was unconscious or my arms so badly injured that I could not fight back and probably the same with my son. Would I want Israel to release 400 to 500 murderers for me – no the price is too high. Fortunately for me it is in theory. My wife does not think according to cold Halacha and the emotions over-ride all logic.
What the Prime Minister of Israel did and the Cabinet is very popular and for his political career he made the correct decision. This was probably the last chance to get Gilad Shalit back home alive and despite my misgivings, I am happy for the Shalit Family although I have no idea of what psychological and physical condition Gilad is in and if he will ever be normal again.
The Torah agrees with Minister Landau who says that it is a reward for terrorism and the prisoner exchange only encourages more kidnappings for the future for prisoner exchanges.
Since the deal is done there is no sense of pouting about it. Let us rejoice that the young man is free and not missing or dead and the families have no closure for Baumel, Katz, Feldman, Arad and one or two more people missing.

Halachos from Danny Schoemann
The days between Yom Kippour and Sukkoth are joyous days, since Shlomo HaMelech (King Solomon) inaugurated the first Bet HaMikdash (Holy Temple) during this period. One does not fast even for a Yahrzeit, nor does one say Tachanun on these days. A Sukkah needs at least 3 walls that do not move in the wind. The roof of the Sukkah is made of branches or bamboo that have not been used for any other purpose. The covering must be thick enough to ensure that even on the last day of Sukkoth at midday there will be more shade than sunshine. The covering must not be so thick that rain cannot get through. In rainy climates, one should make a Sukkah that can be covered, so that it can be used once it stops raining. One must be careful to open the roof before using the Sukkah. On the first night of Sukkoth the roof should be opened from candle-lighting until
nightfall, if possible. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 133:30, 31, 134:1
The Torah commands us to live in the Sukkah for the duration of Sukkoth - Seven days in Eretz Yisrael, eight days in the Diaspora. One should move into the Sukkah and bring along one's creature comforts; one's comfortable chairs and favorite dishes.
The Mitzvah of Sukkah is one of the few where the Torah explicitly gives us a reason:
"לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ דוֹרוֹתֵיכֶם כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת בְּנֵי
יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם"
"Sit in the Sukkah for seven days in order that your descendants should be aware that the Bnei Yisrael dwelled in Sukkoth during their journey out of Egypt." Sukkoth could be referring to the Clouds of Glory that surrounded and protected the entire Jewish encampment (as per R' Eliezer) or actual Sukkah-huts that individual families lived in (as per R' Akiva). One should keep these "reasons" in mind when fulfilling the Mitzvah of Sukkah. One should treat the Sukka with respect and not bring in items one wouldn't tolerate at the Shabbat table. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 135:1, 2
On Sukkoth there's a Mitzvah to shake the four species; a Lulav, 3 Hadasim, 2 Aravos and an Esrog, as the Torah says:
וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפּוֹת תְּמָרִים
וַעֲנַף עֵץ עָבוֹת וְעַרְבֵי נָחַל
When shaking them on Sukkoth, the Lulav, 3 Hadasim and 2 Aravos are tied together and held in one's right hand, and the Esrog in the left hand. (Lefties hold the Lulav in their left, Esrog in the right.) All 6 branches must be facing upwards, with the side where they were cut off the tree facing down. The spine of the Lulav must be facing you. The 3 Hadasim are tied to the right of the Lulav. The 2 Aravos are tied to the left of the Lulav. The Lulav is first bound with 3 ties typically made of palm leaves. The 3 Hadasim and 2 Aravos are then bound to it with another 2 ties. The Hadasim should be slightly higher than the Aravos. The spine of the Lulav must protrude at least 1 Tefach (8 cm - 3")
above the Hadasim and Aravos. The top Tefach (8 cm - 3") of the Lulav should not have any ties on it. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 136:8
Wishing everybody a Chag Samayach! – Danny
Cold Coffee His mother ran directly to the Kozhnitzer Maggid and implored him to help. Connection: Seasonal - Erev SUKKOT by Y. Tilles
In a town near Kozhnitz lived a widow and her only child, Abraham, known affectionately as Avremeleh. As a young man in his late teens, Avremeleh wanted to move to Kozhnitz to become a disciple of R' Yisrael Haupstein, the Maggid of Kozhnitz. His mother could not bear to be parted from her beloved son and decided to move to Kozhnitz too so that she could look after him.
Everything went well for some time. They settled in Kozhnitz and Avremeleh's mother took great pride in caring for him and tending to his needs. Every day he would come home to a freshly cooked meal prepared lovingly by his mother.
Their tranquil existence was brutally shattered one day when the merciless Russian soldiers marched into the town, enforcing the government's compulsory conscription order. Word spread throughout the town that all eligible young men would be abducted, sending the frightened Jews scurrying indoors to hide.
Avremeleh, however, was immersed in his studies and remained unaware of the danger. Deep in thought, he proceeded home, as usual, to enjoy the hot meal his mother had prepared for him, oblivious to the ominous silence around him.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, two strong arms grabbed him, and he looked up in horror at the sneering face of a Russian soldier. He was quickly thrown into a waiting wagon which then left the town, taking him to serve in the Czar's army.
Meanwhile, Avremeleh's mother was waiting anxiously for him to come home. When his usual lunch hour had come and gone with no sign of him, she began to worry. She reheated the meal again and again, but still there was no sign of Avremeleh. It was not like her son to keep her waiting and as time passed she became frantic. She realized that the worst must have happened - he had been snatched off the street by the cruel soldiers.
She ran directly to the Kozhnitzer Maggid and implored him to help. The Maggid reassured her that Avremeleh would return safely and all would be well, but this did not suffice for the unfortunate woman. She insisted that the Maggid do everything in his power to bring her son back immediately!
Just then the Rebbe's attendant entered, bringing the Maggid a cup of coffee. The Maggid looked up at the mother and declared, "I promise you, I won't drink this until Avremeleh returns!"
The Maggid's disciples were displeased, for they viewed his eating and drinking as spiritual acts, and they did not want him to delay drinking his coffee until Avremeleh's return. They tried to dissuade the Maggid, but he was adamant. "I said I would not drink the coffee until Avremeleh comes, and I will keep my word."
The disciples had complete faith in their mentor's powers, so did not doubt that Avremeleh would indeed be saved. Wishing to inform the Maggid immediately upon the young man's return, several of them took up positions at various points along the road leading to town, with each one instructed to signal the next one as soon as Avremeleh was sighted. The one closest to town would swiftly bear the good news to the Maggid, thus enabling him to drink his coffee as soon as possible.
But time passed slowly for the waiting students, as the minutes turned to hours and Avremeleh still had not returned. Their concern mounted as they wondered why he was detained for so long.
Finally, after an agonizing wait, the signal was given that Avremeleh had appeared. Jubilantly, the disciples ran to tell the Maggid that Avremeleh was on his way, and he could now drink his coffee. Much to their surprise and disappointment, however, the Maggid insisted, "I will not drink it until Avremeleh is standing before me!"
When Avremeleh at last arrived, the Maggid told him with a twinkle in his eye, "Because you are so stubborn my coffee turned cold!"
The Maggid's cryptic comment aroused the curiosity of the disciples, and they begged Avremeleh to explain what had occurred.
He related, "I was thrown into a wagon along with another Jew. We quickly drove off, and as the wagon rumbled on, I was distressed by many thoughts: 'How will my poor mother bear her suffering? Who will look after her? What will become of me? Will I be able to withstand the trials I will undergo with my faith intact? I must never succumb to temptation! I am proud to be a Jew, and surely the Torah I study and observe will protect me." These thoughts raced through my mind and I reassured myself that with G-d's help I would surely be rescued.
"Suddenly I saw a tall man with a long white beard running alongside the swiftly traveling wagon at superhuman speed. I realized that he must be none other than Eliyahu HaNavi/Elijah the Prophet. He knocked on the window and motioned that I should jump out. I told Eliyahu, 'There is another Jew here. I will only leave if he can also come.' The prophet replied, 'I was given permission to save only you.'
"Meanwhile the wagon drove on, with Eliyahu HaNavi keeping pace alongside. Again he knocked on the window and beckoned to me. Again, unswayed by his great holiness, I insisted that he take the other Jew along with me, and after several pleas and heartfelt persuasion, he finally relented and rescued us both."
Now the disciples understood the Maggid's remark, "Because you are so stubborn, my coffee turned cold!"
[Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from "Gut Woch" (Mesorah) by Avrohom Barash]
Connection: Seasonal - 197th yahrzeit on Erev Sukkot (For those that feel deprived of an actual Sukkot story, you can retell it that the coffee was brought to him in the Sukkah -just remember afterwards to confess your 'sin' before your listeners depart!)
Biographic note:
R. Yisrael Haupstein, 1737- 14 Tishrei 1814, 'the Maggid' of Koznitz, a major disciple of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech, and author of the chassidic-kabbalistic work, 'Avodas Yisrael' and other books. His miraculous birth is the subject of a popular Baal Shem Tov story.
The USA Education System is failing History especially on the Holocaust:!
A song in English about being a light unto the Nations and one in Hebrew:
Torah returns to the former glorious community:,7340,L-4129457,00.html
Inyanay Diyoma
Saudis being targeted now:
Secret drill to test reserve call-up reaction:
They are better off sticking to making Turkish Taffy:
Facebook Friend Requests Warning this icon only person likes the Floatilla, Wafa and other Arab stuff:
Assad is eating his Kurds by the way:
From Meir my former Manager's asst. New Israeli Plane revealed. Oops it's a corporate Jet to be used by Capitalists who employ people:
The police arrested some poor jerk and blamed him for the attack on Arabs but the attacks continue with reprisals:,7340,L-4132695,00.html
Egypt is in ciaos:
The Israeli Doctors Strike a long neglected public sector:,7340,L-4133699,00.html
SJ Husak At Large TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners. It's an armored booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on your person. Israel sees this as a win-win situation for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It will also eliminate the costs of long and expensive trials.
You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter, an announcement: “Attention to all standby passengers, El Al is proud to announce a seat available on flight 670 to London. Shalom!
The men who dropped the first Atomic Bomb on Japan.  From Dr. Paul Eidelberg sometimes one must kill the enemy for peace.
Gilad Shalit to be released:,7340,L-4134235,00.html
Iran plotted to bomb Embassies in the USA:
Anti-Semitism is in style near Wall Street in the protest movement.

THE USA - BETTER UNIQUE ALLY THAN HONEST BROKER by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
forwarded with 2 major commentaries by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator  [PLEASE NOTE LISTS OF ISRAELI MEMBERS OF KNESSET & EMBASSIES/CONSULATES OF THE WORLD IN FOLLOWING ARTICLE]
Who orchestrated this Faustian bargain? America? Egypt? Germany? Now Israelis (and anyone caught in the Terror attacks, including Americans, Arabs, etc.) will be in harms way and at risk to 1027 known Terrorists. How much blood did capturing them cost? How many did they already murder and maim? How much is too much?
Today we also learned that threatened bombings of the Israeli and Saudi Embassies and attempted assassination of the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, DC were thwarted.
But, Israel is still be pressured to abandon more historic Israeli land in what has always been Eretz Yisrael.
Israel is Americas only stable country in the Middle East and, IF SHE REMAINS STRONG!! will always be America’s best ally against Terror.
Comments By Gail Winston [Erev Sukkot, Oct. 12, 2011]

THE USA - BETTER UNIQUE ALLY THAN HONEST BROKER by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought"
"Israel Hayom" Newsletter, October 10, 2011
All US Administrations have displayed a split personality when it comes to Israel.
On the one hand, US Administrations have been Israel's unique ally, implementing the will of the American People and Congress since the 17th century, thus forging a mutually-beneficial two-way street security and commercial alliance, based on shared values, joint interests and mutual threats.
On the other hand, US Administrations have played the role of an honest broker between Israel and its Arab enemies. They usually follow the lead of the UN and Europe-oriented State Department bureaucracy, which has generally been at odds with the American People and Congress, opposing the establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, still not recognizing even western Jerusalem as Israeli territory, embracing Arafat, Saddam Hussein (until Kuwait's invasion) and Khomeini (until the US Embassy takeover), and serving as Israel's harshest critic in Washington.
The split personality of US Administrations radicalizes Arab positions, undermines US and Israeli national security, and impairs US-Israel relations. It attempts to establish a false moral equivalence between Israel - a role model of counter terrorism, democracy and unconditional alliance - and the Palestinian Authority - the role model of terrorism, hate
education and alliance with America's adversaries.
In 2009, former US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Kurtzer, cautioned Special Envoy George Mitchell against pressuring Israel for an unprecedented long-term freeze of construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. However, pressure was applied, Israel succumbed and Abu Mazen intensified his demands, thus causing the current impasse.
In August 1970, Israel and Egypt concluded a US-negotiated cease-fire agreement, which was summarily violated by Egypt by their construction of the most-advanced Soviet-made anti-aircraft system. The US Administration pressured Israel to tolerate such a dramatic violation, which played a key role in the devastating Israeli losses during the October 1973 War.
In 1977, Israel and Egypt launched a peace process, frustrating President Carter's pursuit of an international conference and courting radical Arabs. In 1979, Israel and Egypt concluded a peace treaty, overruling Carter's insistence to require Israeli concessions on the Palestinian and Jerusalem fronts.
In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty, totally independent of President Clinton's involvement.
The deal-maker of the only two Israel-Arab peace accords was the direct initiative and dialogue between Israel, Egypt and Jordan. The deal-breaker of well-intentioned Presidential initiatives was the undermining of the direct dialogue, thus failing to produce a single peace accord.
Arab parties to US-led negotiation with Israel cannot be more moderate than the US Department of State. They consider Israel increasingly susceptible to pressure, thus upping the ante, which constitutes a tailwind to extremism and a headwind to peace.
The current US-led initiative aims to produce a resolution of the 100 year old Arab-Israeli conflict during the term of an incumbent President, subordinating long-term strategic interests to short-term gains. The time factor renders the President more vulnerable to pressure by Arab dictators who are not constrained by election cycles. The President is at ease pressuring Israel- a democracy which is susceptible to domestic and external lobbying - to assume more risks for peace, while the boiling Arab Street mandates less risks and more security!
The Arab-Israeli conflict has never been a top priority in domestic, regional, or global politics, lagging behind - and unrelated to - the challenges of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, the turmoil in all Arab lands, as well as Russia, China, North Korea, Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, nuclear proliferation, ballistic missiles defense, etc. Presidential preoccupation with Israel-Arab negotiations, while the globe is increasingly unpredictably
threatening, undermines vital US economic and national security interests.
The more significant the US role as an "honest broker," the less significant is its role as a "unique ally," which has produced unique economic and security benefits to the American People by Israel, "the largest American aircraft carrier, which does not require a single American boot on board, deployed in the critical eastern flank of the Mediterranean, saving the American taxpayer $20BN annually."
The smothering sandstorms emerging on the Arab Street behoove the US and Israel to enhance strategic cooperation, which should be top heavy on "unique alliance" and low on "honest brokerage."
You may disseminate as widely as possible.

Speaking engagements may be scheduled per list of topics on my website
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought"
"WE MUST ALL STAND STRONG AT THIS TIME" forwarded by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
Sent From: Michael Sherbourne Oct. 12, 2011 12:53 AM  {also:
Dear Chana
You say "We must all stand strong at this time".
I presume that "We" does not include the members of the Israeli government. For they seem to be controlled by Ehud Barak and the Left wing commanders (plural) of the Army and the Police who are only too ready, and anxious even, to make concession after concession to the Arabs, and go out of their way to make sure that Israel is to be left completely defenseless.
The Israeli government, whose leader, Bibi Netanyahu, makes wonderfully sounding bold and brave speeches, but is as weak in action as the weakest politician --- the Israeli government seems to be always most ready to make concessions to the Arabs in order to bring them to the negotiations table.
What the Hell is the matter with these people? Why do they want to talk with the Arabs when it is as plain as a pikestaff, as clear as sunshine on the brightest day of summer, that the only thing the Arabs want and are constantly and openly declaring, is the complete elimination of the State of Israel and its replacement by an Arab State to be called "Palestine". And as it is to be declared "Judenrein", the only way that that can be achieved is by a repetition of the Holocaust of 1940-45, but they won't be bothered to build Gas Chambers, they will enjoy themselves blowing up the people inside the beautiful buildings of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, etc.,etc., etc. or simply forcing the Jews into the sea to drown.
The only way for the Israeli population "to stand strong" is for them to "stand up" and kick out this corrupt gang of self-seeking politicians, led by their great orator Netanyahu.
"Stand strong" ? That's a laugh. Israel today is as was once said:--
"Blind lions led by neighing donkeys"
Michael Sherbourne
On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 10:54 PM, Chana of < > wrote:
Please read this, act, and forward it to others.
A short time ago, the Israeli news reported the hoped for release of Gilad Shalit, the soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas and held captive for several years without contact with his family or even the International Red Cross - a breach of the rules of war.
The kidnapping was suggested by one of the Arab members of the Israeli Knesset ; we have a fifth column in our midst. The cost to Israel for the return of Gilad will be high- I believe, 1000 enemy prisoners will be released - to return to terrorism against Israel - and maybe others. We can only pray that Shalit's condition after imprisonment and, most likely torture, will enable him to eventually resume a normal life with his family.
We have also just heard about the thwarted bombings of the Israeli and Saudi Embassies in Wash. DC and the assassination attempt on the Saudi Ambassador to the US. We must all stand strong at this time.
It is all the more important that democratic Israel not be weakened by being harassed to give up territory. The country is tiny and there are many reasons why she should not be made smaller; Israel is not an occupier as the enemy would have the world think; we are being occupied on land that is legally ours. The PA wants a state in the heartland of the country. Hamas could easily take it over and we would have another Gaza-like haven for terrorism. Israel is the only stable country in the ME and this is important for the US and the West in general.
Chag sameach! Chana in beloved Jerusalem Sent: 10/11/2011 !
"No Time to Stop!"
Word has come out that Prime Minister Netanyahu has instructed Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman to explore ways to legalize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that are now considered "unauthorized" and at imminent risk for dismantlement. I believe Ne'eman will be putting together a committee for this purpose.
But please, do not confuse an order to explore with an order to implement. Some newspaper reports have already projected this confusion. Nothing has been decided yet, and at the end of the day the prime minister could still reject what Ne'eman recommends.
Thus it continues to be our job to let Netanyahu know, in strong and unambiguous terms, that we expect alternative measures to be implemented so that the communities will not be dismantled.
What is clear is that his readiness to consider alternatives is a bow to the protests he is receiving with regard to possible dismantlement. In other words, protest by numbers of people does make a difference.
On the other side of the equation, there is solid information that the army will be practicing maneuvers for dismantlement in the coming week. Similarly, this does not mean that it's a sure thing, and that the army will be commanded to move on this. What it means is that the army will be ready if the political decision to dismantle is made.
This is not something we want to leave to chance.
What particularly rankles is that this should even be considered in the face of the PA's intransigence and overt hostility to Israel. Now is surely the time to stand strong and stay put.
But of course, the powers on the left perceive this exactly in reverse, arguing that we must show "flexibility" to encourage moderation in the PA.
Today it made the news that Yesh Din -- "there's justice," one of the Israeli organizations far to the left -- has just released a report charging that government delays in dismantling "unauthorized" settlements encourage construction of additional "unauthorized" settlements. What this tells us -- in addition to the fact that there is pressure from the left -- is that the government is a bit schizoid on the issue, and will delay in acting if that's what is mandated by the political situation.
But, as I speak of the political situation, there is another factor that works against our concerns for a Jewish Judea and Samaria: That is our prime minister's practice of playing along with international elements, notably the US, to some degree, to mollify. He doesn't cave completely -- he hasn't frozen construction again, for example. Yet, as that international community views our presence in Judea and Samaria as "illegitimate," a few well-timed demolitions can serve to indicate that Netanyahu is a "team player." Not too many demolitions, as that would rock his coalition.
The bottom line is that we are facing an exceedingly volatile situation that requires our constant vigilance.
I am reproducing here the information on making contact with the Israeli government that I provided yesterday.
If you are an Israeli citizen, contact PM Netanyahu. Fax: 02-670-5369.
If you have not yet communicated your concerns about this issue, please! do so now.
Speaking as a citizen of Israel, convey a sense of great urgency. But I implore you to keep your message short, direct, clear and polite. No speeches, no history lessons.
Tell him that if he allows communities in Judea and Samaria to be dismantled, he is betraying all he has stood for. Insist that he over-rule the civil administration in Judea and Samaria, and the position of Defense Minister Barak, and that he stop all orders for dismantling of any Jewish communities.
Indicate that you expect that a way to retain the communities -- by legalizing them -- will be worked out, hopefully via the exploration of Justice Minister Ne'eman.
If you have already written to Netanyahu, write again. Tell him it's a good first step, to ask Justice Minister Ne'eman to explore ways to legalize "unauthorized" communities. Let him know that you are watching and that you expect that a solution will be found -- for anything less would be unacceptable.
If you are in the US or elsewhere, utilize the lists for the Embassies and Consulates below. Make sure there is an outcry where you are, and Jerusalem will know about it.
If you have not yet communicated your concerns, do so now. Keep your message short, direct, clear and polite. No speeches, no history lessons.
Say that you are protesting as a supporter of Israel (and, if it is the case, as a Jew). Indicate that you are deeply disturbed by reports that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria might be dismantled. This would be a betrayal of what the prime minister stands for. Say that you know the Justice Minister will be investigating ways to legalize the communities, and that you trust that a solution will be found -- for anything less would be unacceptable.
If you have already written, write again. Say it's a good first step, that Prime Minister Netanyahu has asked Justice Minister Ne'eman to explore ways to legalize "unauthorized" communities. Indicate that you are watching and that you expect that a solution will be found -- for anything less would be unacceptable.
In the US: Israel Embassy, Washington DC
Telephone: 202.364.5500 Fax: 202.364.5423
Atlanta Consulate General of Israel 404.487.6500Region: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina
Boston Consulate General of Israel 617.535.0200
Region: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
Chicago Consulate General of Israel 312.297.4800
Region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin
Houston Consulate General of Israel 713.627.3780
Region: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma
Los Angeles Consulate General of Israel 323.852.5500
Region: Arizona, California (Southern), Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming
New York Consulate General of Israel 212.499.5400
Region: Connecticut, New Jersey (Northern), New York
Philadelphia Consulate General of Israel 215.546.5556
Region: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, New Jersey (Southern), West Virginia, Kentucky
San Francisco Consulate General of Israel 415.844.7510
Region: Alaska, California (Northern), Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington
If you live elsewhere, you can locate your appropriate Embassy or Consulate here:
Sukkot is coming. Please act before the holiday begins. And please share this as broadly as you can.
MK Yariv Levin (Likud) is working on a bill that would compensate Palestinian Arab owners of land in Judea and Samaria on which Jewish housing has been built.
I have no knowledge of how this bill would spell out the means for verifying determining land ownership -- but this seems to me an issue of some significance, as simply "claiming" ownership should not be sufficient. The claimant would receive funds or alternate land, but would not be able to demand a demolition of homes on "his" property.
Said Levin in a statement to the JPost :
"The current situation in Judea and Samaria is intolerable. The judiciary is being used as a tool to promote the extreme Left's political goals, such as harming settlers.
"We cannot accept a policy in which we don't build, illegal Arab construction is not dealt with, and Jewish homes are destroyed. The prime minister does not have a mandate from the public or Likud MKs for this behavior.
"There is plenty of illegal Arab construction, but in those cases the courts do not enforce the law, because they say it's not a priority, or that it's a political and diplomatic matter. Yet, when it comes to settlers, the courts are very involved. This is a cynical use of the judicial system.
Levin wants to "break the cycle of housing destruction. This removes the government's excuse by solving the problems of court destruction orders.
"The government must stop hiding behind court rulings as if they were inarguable, given by God at Mount Sinai. There should be preference for Jewish settlement, or at least equality."
Whether it succeeds or not, Levin's bill is a landmark effort as it would represent the first time the Knesset was involved via legislation in what goes on in Judea and Samaria, which is under military law.
Some of the objections to the bill coming from the left may seem fairly far-fetched to many of us. But as the Court tilts left, it might entertain some of them, and invalidate the bill, should it pass. (Rest assured, if it does pass, there will be attorneys challenging it in the Court.)
According to Attorney Michael Sfard, who works with both Yesh Din and Peace Now, the proposed bill would constitute a violation of property rights and the right to freedom of expression -- both enshrined in the legal system's Basic Law. What I ponder here, but have no answer to, is whether Israel's Basic Law (which serves as Israel's constitution) applies to Palestinian Arabs who are not Israeli citizens and live in Judea and Samaria, which is not governed according to Israeli civil law in any event. But one can readily see the potentially problematic nature of this bill.
Additionally, Attorney Limor Yehuda, director of the Association for Civil Rights in the Occupied Territories, claims that this amounts to confiscation of lands in "occupied territory," which is illegal under international law. Israel's position, however, is that the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to Judea and Samaria.
Thirty-eight MKs have now sent a letter -- drafted by the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset -- to the prime minister appealing to him not to demolish any further homes in Judea and Samaria.
Fifteen of 27 members of the Likud faction signed, as well as eight MKs from Shas; six from Yisrael Beiteinu; four from National Union; and the three members of HaBayit HaYehudi. Additionally, one MK from Kadima and one from United Torah Judaism signed. Five of the signatories were ministers: Eli Yishai (Shas --Interior); Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi -- Science and Technology); Uzi Landau (Israel Beiteinu -- National Infrastructure) and Likud ministers Yuli Edelstein (Public Diplomacy) and Yossi Peled.
Said the letter: "We urge you to protect the settlements in Judea and Samaria from those who use the pretense of law and order to persecute them."
Concern is highest for further demolitions in Migron, as well as in Givat Assaf and the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El. The prime minister is asked in this letter to use every possible legal means to assure that no further demolitions will be undertaken.
I wrote the other day that the inmates are running the asylum. True enough. But what it also turns out is that the Palestinian Arab prison inmates are attempting to run Israeli prisons. The whole story is enough to make your jaw drop:
Fairly recently, finally, there was a decision to cut back on some of their incredible perks -- including the right to matriculate for university degrees! -- because Gilad Shalit is kept in horrendous conditions. So what's happening now is that more than 230 inmates have gone on a hunger strike until their demands are met. Are you ready? Whole chickens, the return of satellite channels and the Palestinian TV channel, a right to receive visitors while not handcuffed and permission to walk between the cells. And, would you believe, negotiations on these items on going on with the Prison Service. Negotiations? Let them starve. They are not in prison because they are nice guys. And I do not believe the Geneva Conventions cover satellite channels.
Oh, what Gilad would give to have visitors, even if handcuffed!
So far, the Prison Service has conceded only whole chickens, which have to be cut up by guards.
The Service has instituted sanctions on these prisoners and says it is prepared for anything.
I thought I had posted the last yesterday, but found it necessary to write again today -- for obvious reasons. Now, finally, I hope I am done and can turn my focus to family and holiday.
There are many other subjects that might be explored, but they will have to wait for another time. As I will be focused elsewhere over the next few days, I implore my readers to cut back on the number of e-mails they send me. I will not be checking my computer daily.
Sukkot is called the Season of Our Joy -- Z'man Simchateinu -- with good reason. It is a quintessentially happy time. And a time of faith. As of tomorrow night observant Jews will eat and sleep in their sukkot -- their temporary booths -- for a period of a week. Their protection comes from the Almighty. Or let me put it another way: Our protection always comes from the Almighty, but for this week we are especially reminded of this fact.
To all who are celebrating, I wish a Chag Sukkot Sameach!
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Now for M.Wolfberg’s Good Yom Tov Story
Good Yom Tov Everyone. The taxi was late and Rav Yeruchem Miller, a rav in Bat Yam, Eretz Yisroel, nervously looked at his watch. He had a meeting scheduled for 4:30 with the Torah Sage Rav Shach, of blessed memory, and did not want to be late for the appointment. There were some urgent matters to be discussed and he knew that the Rosh Yeshivah's time was precious.
        A few moments later the taxi arrived.  As it pulled up to the curb, it splashed through a large puddle and drenched Rav Miller's kapota (frock coat). The driver, a balding, burly man, motioned for Rav Miller to fasten his seat belt and he then clicked on the meter.
        Rav Miller overcame his initial annoyance and initiated a conversation over the sound of the blaring radio. After a minute or so, Benny the driver displayed enough courtesy to lower the volume and join in the conversation. Rav Miller always tried speaking with under-affiliated Jews, knowing that every good word counts.
        Benny the driver showed a disdain for religion and a cynicism toward anything even remotely spiritual. After each sarcastic comment, Rav Miller thought about reprimanding him or at least debating and challenging Benny to back up his condescending remarks — but he decided it would be counterproductive.
        The trip to Bnei Brak went a little quicker than Rav Miller had anticipated and the taxi pulled up at Rav Shach's house 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment. Benny turned off the meter and told Rav Miller the amount.
        As an afterthought Benny asked who he was visiting in Bnei Brak. Rav Miller replied that he had come to see Rav Shach. When Benny appeared indifferent, Rav Miller was astounded, "You mean to tell me you don't know who Rav Shach is?"
        "Tell me why I should even care who he is." The sarcastic tone Benny had used at the beginning of the trip began to rear its ugly head once-again. "Why would you need to come to some old rabbi anyway?"
        Rav Miller explained that he had come to ask Rav Shach for advice on a number of communal affairs in Bat Yam. Furthermore, there were some sick individuals for whom he wanted the Rosh Yeshivah to daven.
        This last statement, surprisingly, seemed to strike a chord with Benny. Rav Miller saw this as an opportunity to get through to him. "Why do you look so sad?" he asked. "Do you know someone who is sick?"
        Benny looked down and his expressive face indeed seemed saddened. "Actually, I do have a friend who is very sick —" His voice trailed off, and the tone carried with it a sense of despair. Rav Miller urged Benny to join him in visiting the Rosh Yeshivah, even offering to pay for a running meter, in case Benny would claim he wanted to get back to work. Benny agreed.
        Benny was both nervous and incredulous that he had been convinced to tag along and visit the aged rabbi. But the moment the door opened he was able to feel the sensitivity and warmth of the "old rabbi." Rav Shach spoke to Rav Miller for a moment, then spoke to Benny with warmth and compassion. "I understand you have a friend who is sick and needs a blessing and some prayers for a complete recovery." Benny nodded, surprised that his passenger had alerted the Rosh Yeshivah.
        "Yes, that's true." Said Benny finally. Rav Shach removed a siddur from the bookshelf and began to recite a chapter of Tehillim - Psalms. After he finished, Benny asked Rav Shach to recite a Mi She'beirach – a prayer for the sick.
        The Rosh Yeshivah immediately started to recite the prayer and paused at the part that calls for the name of the sick individual. Benny said the name "Roki" — which sounded very strange — and Rav Shach looked quizzically at him. Benny explained that the sick friend was none other than his dog — Roki!
        Without missing a beat, Rav Shach continued with the Mi She'beirach, wishing Benny a refuah sheleimah for his sick friend. Rav Miller was shocked and embarrassed at the turn of events but Rav Shach did not seem to mind at all.
        After Benny left, Rav Shach explained to Rav Miller that Benny's pain was clearly evident and the davening was as much for him as for the animal. And if he could gladden the heart and ease the pain of a fellow Jew, then it was well worth it. (Reb Yechiel Spero, p.310 Touched By A Story 2)
        This story illustrates the ideal level of love for our fellow Jews which we should have. Jews around the world are busy now preparing for the Yom Tov of Sukkos. Sukkos is a time when we have increased interaction with our neighbors and friends. Whether it involves building a Sukkah which borders on the neighbor’s property or the competition to find the nicest esrog and lulav, this holiday season can test our ability to get along with others.
        Sukkos is called “zman simchaseinu” the “time of our happiness.” Why did the Sages decree that this time be called the time of “our” happiness? Why is phrased in the collective form of “our?” This comes to teach us that during this Yom Tov, we must strive to make everyone happy, not just ourselves and our families.  We should therefore dedicate ourselves to treating others properly and also welcoming others into our Sukkahs, especially those who have no other place to go on Yom Tov.  That way these days will truly be “zman simchaseinu” - a time of happiness for all. Good Yom Tov Everyone.
M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah
Wishing everybody a good Yom Tov or Chag Sukkos Samayach much happiness and hopefully by Simchas Torah Gilad Shalit will be dancing in Israel.
Rachamim Pauli