Why does a slight tax increase cost you $800.00, and a substantial tax cut saves you $30.00?
R’ Tzvi Fishman Shlita:
25:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Speak unto the children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering; of every man whose heart makes him willing ye shall take My offering.
From the simple wording it must be willing from the heart.
You shall take My offering: Our Rabbis said: [The word תְּרוּמָה, mentioned three times, denotes that] three offerings are mentioned here. One is the offering of a beka [half-shekel] per head, from which they made the sockets, as is delineated in [Exod. 38:26, 27, in the Parsha] “ אֵלֶּה פְקוּדֵי, These are the accounts.” Another is the offering of a beka per head for the [community] coffers, from which to purchase the communal sacrifices, and another is the offering for the Mishkan, each one’s [Israelite’s] donation (Talmud Yerushalmi, Shekalim 1:1; Meg. 29b). The thirteen materials mentioned in this section [i.e., this chapter] were all required for the work of the Mishkan or for the garments of the Kohanim, [as you will find] when you study them closely (Tan. 5, Song Rabbah 4:25).
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them: gold, and silver, and brass; 4 and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair; 5 and rams' skins dyed red, and sealskins,
This animal was known in Egypt. It is described in Hebrew as SUSGANI aka of many colors. It is also associated with the KERESH aka Unicorn for the one horn between its antlers. The horn is small and can be misinterpreted as a large bump. The animal was kosher and therefore could not have been a seal. The Daas Chullin identifies is as this animal which was probably used to supply coats to the Royal Egyptian Court. The skeleton of the animal with the horn on the forehead is displayed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Giraffe_skeleton.jpg note the bump or horn of the photo of a live one from the side: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Giraffe08_-_melbourne_zoo.jpg
This wood is found in the Negev enough to work with: http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%91%D7%A5:Acacia_Negev.JPG
6 oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense;
The highest quality oil was used for lighting and the oil for anointing had well ground pure spices in it.
Oil for lighting: Pure olive oil to continually kindle the light. Spices for the anointing oil: which was made to anoint the vessels of the Mishkan and [for] the Mishkan itself to sanctify them, and spices were required for it, as is delineated in [the Parsha] כִּי תִשָׂא (Exod. 30:22-33).
7 onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onyx Metaphysically one could be a master of his own fate and control his Yetzer.
8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it. 10 And they shall make an ark of acacia-wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. 12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four feet thereof; and two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 And thou shalt make staves of acacia-wood, and overlay them with gold. 14 And thou shalt put the staves into the rings on the sides of the ark, wherewith to bear the ark. 15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it. 16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. 17 And thou shalt make an ark-cover of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 18 And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold; of beaten work shalt thou make them, at the two ends of the ark-cover. 19 And make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end; of one piece with the ark-cover shall ye make the cherubim of the two ends thereof. 20 And the cherubim shall spread out their wings on high, screening the ark-cover with their wings, with their faces one to another; toward the ark-cover shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And thou shalt put the ark-cover above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the ark-cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
A lot has been written about the Keruvim if they are faces like that of a child or just an outline of a child’s face. The object was to put high quality materials in the Mishkan.
… 15 And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle of acacia-wood, standing up. 16 Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each board. 17 Two tenons shall there be in each board, joined one to another; thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle.
Chabad translates this as follows: Each plank shall have two square pegs, rung like, one even with the other; so shall you make all the planks of the Mishkan. So a there were two square pegs for each plank or board.
Each plank shall have two square pegs: He [Bezalel] would cut one cubit high into the plank from the bottom in its center, and leave one-fourth of its width on one side and one-fourth of its width on the other side, and these [resulting projections] are [called] the square pegs. Half the width of the plank was cut out in its center, (I.e., the plank, הַקֶּרֶשׁ, refers to what remained after he cut out from both sides; then the width of a cubit remained. The result is that half of the width of the plank in the middle is a half cubit. This is what Rashi explained explicitly on Shab. 98-[i.e.,] that in the center, the width of one-half cubit was cut out, and he [also] cut out a quarter of a cubit on each side. Every square peg was a quarter of a cubit wide, and the edge of each socket was a quarter of a cubit wide. Study this thoroughly. Then [you will see] that Ramban’s complaint against Rashi will disappear, and his astonishment will no longer be valid.) and he would insert these square pegs into the sockets, which were hollow. And the sockets were one cubit high, and forty of them were placed consecutively-one next to the other-and the square pegs of the planks that were inserted into the hollow of the sockets were cut out on three of their sides. The width of the cut [was] as thick as the edge of the socket, so that the plank covered the entire top of the socket. Otherwise, there would be a space between one plank and the next plank equal to the thickness of the edge of the two sockets, which would then separate them. This is the meaning of what is said: “And they shall be matched evenly from below” (verse 24); i.e., he [Bezalel] shall cut out the sides of the square pegs so that the boards shall join, one [plank exactly] next to the other. — [from Baraitha Melecheth HaMishkan] rung-like: Heb. מְשׁוּלָּבֹת, [which means] made like the rungs of a ladder, [i.e.,] separated from one another with their ends planed off to be inserted into the openings of the sockets, like a rung that is inserted into the hole of the upright [beams] of a ladder. — [from Baraitha Melecheth HaMishkan] one even with the other: One [square peg was] aligned opposite the other so that their cut-away parts would be even, one with the measurement of the other, so that of the two square pegs, one shall not be pulled [more] toward the inside and one pulled [more] toward the outside of the thickness of the plank, which was a cubit. The Aramaic translation of יָדוֹת is צִירִין, hinges, because they resemble the hinges of a door, which are inserted into the holes of the threshold.
18 And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards for the south side southward: 19 And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards: two sockets under one board for its two tenons, and two sockets under another board for its two tenons; 20 and for the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, twenty boards. 21 And their forty sockets of silver: two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board. 22 And for the hinder part of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards. …
Based on the 18” English cubit or the half meter long Chazon Ish Cubit we get between 75 ft to 25 meters in width or the length of a standard swimming pool by that of 150 feet or 50 meters the length of an Olympic swimming pool.
18 The length of the court shall be a hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty everywhere, and the height five cubits, of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. 19 All the instruments of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.
Holy inside and out
This week's Parsha is the dream of every Jewish architect and interior designer. It describes the construction of the Mishkan, the portable Temple that traveled with the Jewish People during their 40 years in the desert (and for 500 years after), until finding its permanent home in Jerusalem. At the center of the Mishkan was the Holy Ark which contained the Tablets of the Ten Commandments. This Ark was a square box made of wood. The Torah explains (Exodus 25:11): "You shall cover the wood with pure gold from the inside and from the outside."
The need to cover the outside of the Ark with gold is understandable: The centerpiece of the Mishkan should certainly be majestic and regal. But what need is there to cover the wood on the inside of the box as well? The Talmud (Yoma 72b) explains: A person's outward appearance must be an accurate reflection of their insides as well. In other words, don't be a hypocrite.
We all know someone who is a fake - quick with a smile, yet ready to stab you in the back just the same. Sadly, part of getting by in life is the ability to discern the genuine from the fake. (Children happen to be particularly adept at this.) Maybe that's what King Solomon meant when he said, "Better the anger of a friend than the kiss of an enemy." At least you know what you're getting.
One of the wonders of Judaism is how the Hebrew language reveals truths about everyday life. The Hebrew word for face - "paneem," is nearly identical to the Hebrew word for interior - "pineem." This teaches that the face we present must reflect our insides. (Contrast this with the English word "face," which shares its origins with "facade," meaning a deceptive appearance.)
This aversion to hypocrisy is reflected in the laws of kashrut as well. The one Jewish law that everyone in the world seems to know is that a Jew is not allowed to eat ham, pork or anything else derived from a pig. Interestingly, there is nothing in the Torah that seems to make this prohibition more stringent than eating, for example, catfish or a chocolate-covered ant. Why then have we singled out this prohibition against the pig? The Torah tells us (and zoologists concur) that the pig is the only animal in the world possessing the outward symbol of kosher (split hooves), but not the inward symbol (chewing cud). The pig therefore represents that which is kosher in outward appearance, but is in fact unclean on the inside. This type of hypocrisy is described the Talmud as one of the categories of behavior that God detests. For that moral reason, the pig is universally viewed as reprehensible to the Jew.
Back to our Parsha... We're left with one glaring question: If the Ark is covered with gold both on the inside and the outside, then what need is there at all for the shell to be made out of wood?! Why not simply make the ark one solid piece of gold? The answer is that attaining purity and sincerity does not necessarily happen overnight. Like any important goal, it is achieved through constant, steady growth. Wood - organic and dynamic - represents this idea.
Judaism is not all-or-nothing. Observance of Torah might begin with the lighting of Shabbos candles. Or it might mean studying the weekly Parsha, 15 minutes a day. (Art Scroll’s Stone Chumash is particularly good for this.) Or it might mean reciting Shema Yisrael before going to bed.
Imagine stumbling across a gold mine. Would you turn down the gold because you know you won't find all the gold mines in the world? So too, every Mitzvah is a gold mine. Of course, we strive ultimately to fulfill them all. But even if we do just one, our lives are enriched forever. The important thing is not where we are on the ladder, but rather in what direction we're headed, and how many rungs we've climbed. One tree does not compare its rings against another. Growth through Torah is the same way. Whatever effort you make to come close to the Almighty, whatever Torah you learn - the impact is cumulative. Perhaps that's why the Torah likens a person to a tree (see Deut. 20:19). Steady and constant, every drop counts.
The Talmud (Berachos 28a) says that in the Yeshiva of Rabban Gamliel, the prerequisite for admission was that a student's internal character had to match his outer appearance. Rabban Gamliel did not accept just anybody into the Yeshiva; he accepted only those who were honest, sincere and free of hypocrisy. The Talmud continues: After Rabban Gamliel left his position as head of the Yeshiva, they instituted a new policy whereby any student - fitting or not - could be admitted. Hundreds of new students flocked to sign up. At which point, Rabban Gamliel became depressed and said, "Perhaps, God forbid, I have withheld Torah from the Jewish People!"
The Chiddushei HaRim (19th century Europe) asks: What was Rabban Gamliel saying? Of course he knew all along that his strict admission policy prevented some people from learning! So why is he so surprised now and getting depressed? The answer is that Rabban Gamliel saw that because all those new students spent time in the Yeshiva, they too became honest and sincere by virtue of having learned Torah. Torah has the power to transform a person from mediocre to great.
Some years ago, I was speaking privately with a great Torah scholar and I said to him: "Rabbi, I am so grateful for the opportunity I've had to learn Torah. Without it, I don't know where I'd be." The rabbi looked at me and said, "Me, too."
At the beginning of this week's Parsha, God commands the Jewish People to "make Me a Mishkan, so that I may dwell within them" (Exodus 25:8). The Talmud points out that the verse should have read, "Make Me a Mishkan, so that I may dwell within it." Why then the language of "dwell within them"? Because, answer our Sages, the Torah is telling us that the goal of building the Mishkan is not merely to create a House for God, but to sanctify a place for Him within the people. Each individual Jew must personally strive to become a microcosm of the Mishkan: a living, breathing bastion of holiness. Today, let us hope to find the strength and inspiration to build our very own Mishkan. And may its Ark be crafted of fine wood, laden with gold, both inside and out.
Perceptions Parshas Terumah Put the Torah in Your Terumah http://www.torah.org/learning/perceptions/5772/terumah.html?print=1
God told Moshe, “Tell the Children of Israel that anyone who desires to bring to Me an elevated-offering should do so.” (Shemos 23:12)
The Baal HaTurim points out an interesting Gematria that I certainly would never have through of myself. He explains that the word terumah — elevated offering — is comprised of the word Torah, and the letter Mem, representing the 40 days that Moshe Rabbaynu was on Har Sinai receiving Torah. Hence, the ultimate elevated offering: The Learning and performance of Torah. I’d like to adapt this explanation in a way to explain, in current terms, an ancient idea: yiddishe nachas.
A friend of mine became religious around the age of 22, coming from a very secular family. He could have been a financial success, but the truth beckoned him, and as the rest of his family went off to become financial successes in their own right, he went off to learn Torah instead.
Family get-togethers over the years were always awkward. Nobody appreciated what he had done, or why, or the sacrifice he had made for something the rest of his family had turned their back on. Rather, they saw that he remained poor by secular standards, and as far as they were concerned, financially dependent on others like most Orthodox Jews.
There he was, in a totally secular setting, amongst doctors, lawyers, and reputable business people. And, just as they dressed their part, he dressed his part, and always stood out, no matter how polite everyone remained with each other.
It was not hard to see who made his parents the proudest. Though he knew his parents loved him, he also could see how his siblings represented the kind of success every secular parent dreams of for his or her children. Though he may have been somewhat of a success in his world, it was a world that the rest of the family cared little about, and for which they had little respect. He was not a great source of pride for any of them.
Years passed, and they had many get-togethers. However, a shift began to occur over time that, at first, was imperceptible, but which over time became more pronounced. It was the kind of thing that happens to many Jewish parents as they get older, as the secular world that they had once embraced becomes increasingly less important.
At the same time, the secular side of the family became increasingly more secular, until finally intermarriages began to occur. And, even though his parents were quick to try and accept every new member of the family with open arms, and were quite secular themselves, still, something did not sit right with them knowing that Judaism was dying in their family, and that took on added meaning now as they were confronting the reality of death.
In the meantime, though my friend did not solve his financial situation, he was surviving. He was married, and had a family of his own. He had children, all of whom were either in cheder or seminary. As far his parents could see, he was the only one who would maintain a link between his family and the rest of the Jewish people, and his parents began to appreciate this more and more.
In fact, they became less critical of my friend, and increasingly more critical of his siblings, whose jet-setting lives excluded all things Jewish, even God. Even family get-togethers seemed less sincere, as their family values became increasingly more western, leaving their parents behind somewhat.
In the twilight of the parents’ lives, it was my friend that they gravitated towards. They remained proud of the accomplishments of their other children, but not like in the past. No matter how secular people are in the earlier years, as the body begins to slow down, and even come to a halt with old age, family values are what come to the foreground, and are the most cherished.
They probably don’t know how it happened, but his siblings are resentful, somewhat. Their brother, who has accomplished so little by their standards, became so important to their parents that they speak of him much of the time, and what he is doing and accomplishing in his world. It’s as if one day they related to his world and stopped relating to theirs. They did not realize that nachas is not enough for a parent; it has to be yiddishe nachas.
This is because, fight it as people might, the soul of a Jew is made from the same light that emanates through the letters of the Torah. In our early years, we can add layers of materialism over that light until it is almost invisible, but as we get older, and those layers automatically begin to fade away, the light returns once again, and we connect to our inner being, which is really quite Jewish. As a result, eventually, the only things that can please us have to be Jewish at the core.
It is the same as the word Terumah. God, in this week’s Parsha, wasn’t just asking for nachas, He was asking for yiddishe nachas — an elevated offering that had at its core Torah. There is charity, and then there is tzeddakah, and as similar as the two seem, they are miles apart. For, charity is simply giving because it’s what you feel like doing, but tzeddakah is what you give because it is the Torah’s idea of righteousness, of being Godly. Charity gives God nachas, but tzeddakah gives God yiddishe nachas.
This idea has many applications, and in ways that we might not have previously considered.
Take the incident of the Spies, for example. Even though the Torah makes them out to be bad guys from the beginning, people bent on going against the will of God, in truth, we would be missing the point about them, and us, if we wrote them off this way. It was far more complicated than that. In fact, when they came back with their evil report about Eretz Yisroel, they had thought they were doing a mitzvah. How else could they have rationalized rejecting the gift of Eretz Yisroel right before God, after watching in the previous Parsha, how quickly God is to punish evildoers? They had considered themselves heroes, and not enemies of the people, which is why they were so shocked when God dealt with them that way.
The mitzvah to learn Torah, of course. If they went to war against the Canaanites, which could take seven years, when would they have time to learn? They would go from being warriors of Torah to warriors for land, totally disrupting their learning schedules for years. Certainly God would hear their plea, which would only reveal how much they loved the very Torah that God himself cherished so much.
However, God’s response back to them, figuratively-speaking, was, “I don’t know whose Torah you were learning up until now, but it wasn’t Mine! It may have looked like Mine, and sounded like Mine, but My Torah,” God in effect was saying, “says that I can’t become the kind of God for you that I took you out of Egypt to become, unless you live in Eretz Yisroel; and you reject it?”
We all know that there are two levels to Torah, the actual physical representation of Torah, and the soul of Torah. Anyone who wants to learn Torah and perform Mitzvos can do so, even look religious and play the part perfectly, and yet, still miss the point of Torah. Unfortunately, people do it all the time, many of whom think they’re doing just fine from God’s perspective.
It is the reason for spiritual inconsistency. Religious people have active Yetzer haras just like secular people, but they can’t simply give in to it. They do not like to sin outright, which presents two possible avenues: Either to deny the validity of Torah, and wipe away the source of sin, or to turn the sin into a mitzvah somehow. And, as history has shown, when it comes to the latter approach, there have been some creative geniuses, so-to-speak.
It is the soul of Torah that undoes all of that. As the Talmud states, the ways of Torah are pleasantness, and the Torah scholars bring peace to the world. Certainly, in the name of peace, there are times when one must raise a sword and fight the enemy, either physically or spiritually, but all too often, the sword is brandished at times the soul of Torah calls for a far more peaceful, far more Godly approach.
Someone who is connected not just to the physical Torah, but also to the spirit of Torah, feels in his or her being what the Torah wants, and how to behave, even when it may not be so obvious at first what to do. For, to connect to Torah on this level is to become one with it, and when that happens, he brings yiddishe nachas to his Creator in all that he does. Everything he does becomes a true elevated-offering to God.
For, the ultimate Terumah is not the money that we give, but the “us” that we give through the money, or the time, or the energy. How and why we do something is more important than what we give, because it is our heart that we are giving to God, and He only wants sincere ones. That is the meaning of the “Torah” inside “Terumah,” like the heart inside our giving. It doesn’t refer to the outer Torah; that’s the laws of Terumah themselves. It refers to the inner Torah, the one that aligns us with God and what He truly wants.
Adar has arrived. We are told by the rabbis that it is the time to increase joy, but not how to do it. Does it mean to drink more alcohol, to indulge in more physical pleasures, or to take long walks? What did the rabbis have in mind when they encouraged us to do more of what we like to do best?
The clue is in the word Simcha, which is spelled Shin-Mem-Ches-Heh. Oneg usually refers to physical pleasures, as in, Oneg Shabbos. However, Simcha is usually pleasure that is derived from a spiritual experience, such as Simchas mitzvah — joy from performing a mitzvah, an intellectual experience. Hence, in the center of the word are the letters Mem-Ches, which spell moach, which means brain. Simcha is a function of the brain.
So, when the rabbis say that, in Adar, we should increase our Simcha, they are telling us that this is a good time of year to increase our awareness of that knowledge which results in Simcha. What kind of knowledge is that? It is the knowledge of to what extent God is involved in our lives, has control of everything, and wants what is best for us. It is the awareness of the fact that, in spite of the appearance of chaos in Creation, it all answers to the One Who created it, and Who controls it.
This knowledge is obviously the basis of Bitachon — trust in God. Trust in God only works if God has complete control of everything, which obviously He does. But, it is not just enough to know this is true, it has to be strong in one’s heart as well. A person has to have a knowing heart, one that feels what the brain knows.
Kabbalah explains that there are 32 Paths of Wisdom, which emanate out from the Sefira of Chochmah — Wisdom — which is the level of the brain, so-to-speak. They descend to Bina, which is the level of the heart. Hence, the Gematria of heart, or leiv in Hebrew, is 32. When the knowledge of the brain reaches the heart, the heart becomes a knowing heart.
This also corresponds to the Torah within Terumah, like the heart within the body. Just as the word Torah is within the word Terumah, so too must the knowledge of God be within a person’s heart if it is to be real to him, and show up in what he thinks, says, and does. Only then can a person feel the reality of Torah, and experience the ongoing joy — the yiddishe nachas — that goes along with it.
Today, as I was on my way home from Jerusalem, my bus turned down Rechov Malchei Yisroel, as normal. However, right after the turn, there was an ambulance stopped, partially blocking our side of the road. Lots of people were standing around, which meant that whatever happened had just recently occurred, and was serious enough that people stopped to watch.
With a bus to catch and two more stops to make, I was immediately uptight. “Why couldn’t the ambulance have stopped more on the other side of the road, and at least closed his doors so our traffic could keep flowing?” popped into my head. Someone did close his doors, and our bus began to inch its way past the scene, which only became visible to me as we became parallel with the ambulance.
I could not see what happened, just the paramedics trying to get a board underneath someone. However, as we inched a little further, I noticed a little pool of fresh blood on the road close to where everything happened, and it woke me up to reality. “Someone was seriously hurt, probably hit by a car while crossing the road, and I was worried about making my bus and finishing my errands in time? How selfish!” I finally thought to myself, and immediately began saying some Tehillim.
Nothing like a little burst of life-and-death reality to put the Torah back into your Terumah, so-to-speak. The more we do it through our own efforts to be real with life, the less God has to do it for us through the events of our lives and of history. That’s important to know in general, but specifically at this time as well, as the War of Gog and Magog looms, which will only be meant to wake up a world that lives without the reality of God, without the Torah within Terumah. How big a wake-up call it has to be will depend upon us, and how awake we already are when it happens.
Text Copyright © 2012 by Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Torah.org.
A king should not wage other wars before a milchemet mitzvah. What is considered as milchemet mitzvah? The war against the seven nations who occupied Eretz Yisrael, the war against Amalek, and a war fought to assist Israel from an enemy which attacks them.
Afterwards, he may wage a milchemet hareshut, i.e. a war fought with other nations in order to expand the borders of Israel or magnify its greatness and reputation.
There is no need to seek the permission of the court to wage a milchemet mitzvah. Rather, he may go out on his own volition and force the nation to go out with him. In contrast, he may not lead the nation out to wage a milchemat hareshut unless the court of seventy one judges approves.
The king may burst through the fences surrounding fields or vineyards to make a road and no one can take issue with him.
There is no limit to the road the king may make. Rather, it may be as wide as necessary. He need not make his road crooked because of an individual's vineyard or field. Rather, he may proceed on a straight path and carry out his war.
It is a positive commandment to annihilate the seven nations who dwelled in Eretz Yisrael as Deuteronomy 20:17 states: 'You shall utterly destroy them.'
Anyone who chances upon one of them and does not kill him violates a negative commandment as ibid.:16 states: 'Do not allow a soul to live.' The memory of them has already been obliterated.
Similarly, it is a positive commandment to destroy the memory of Amalek, as Deuteronomy 25:19 states: 'Obliterate the memory of Amalek.
It is also a positive commandment to constantly remember their evil deeds and their ambush of Israel to arouse our hatred of them, as ibid.:17 states: 'Remember what Amalek did to you.' The Oral Tradition teaches: ...Remember' - with your mouths; ...Do not forget' - in your hearts.' For it is forbidden to forget our hatred and enmity for them.
All the lands which Israel conquers in wars led by a king and approved by the court are considered as conquered by the people at large. Thus, they have the same status as Eretz Yisrael which was conquered by Joshua in every regard. This only applies if they were conquered after the conquest of Eretz Yisrael as described in the Torah.
It is permitted to dwell anywhere in the entire world with the exception of the land of Egypt. Its territory includes a square of 400 parsah by 400 parsah from the Mediterranean Sea proceeding westward, bordering on the land of Kush and the desert. It is forbidden to dwell in this entire territory.
In three places, the Torah warned against returning to Egypt:
a) 'God has told you, you must never again return on that path' (Deuteronomy 17:16);
b) 'You shall not see it again' (Deuteronomy 28:68);
c) 'You shall never see them again forever' (Exodus 14:13).
Alexandria is included in this prohibition.
It is permitted to return to Egypt for the purpose of trade and commerce and to pass through while conquering other nations. The prohibition consists of settling there.
Lashes are not given as punishment for the violation of this prohibition because at the time one enters, there is no prohibition. Should he decide to settle there, there is no deed involved.
It appears to me that if a king of Israel would conquer the land of Egypt with the approval of the court, it would be permissible to settle there. The prohibition against returning was only given to individuals or to dwell there while it is under the rule of the gentiles for their behavior is more depraved than that of the peoples of other lands as can be inferred from Leviticus 18:3: 'Do not follow the ways of Egypt....'
It is forbidden to leave Eretz Yisrael for the Diaspora at all times except:
to study Torah;
to marry; or
to save one's property from the gentiles.
After accomplishing these objectives, one must return to Eretz Yisrael.
Similarly, one may leave Eretz Yisrael to conduct commercial enterprises. However, it is forbidden to leave with the intent of settling permanently in the Diaspora unless the famine in Eretz Yisrael is so severe that a dinar's worth of wheat is sold at two dinarim.
When do these conditions apply? When one possesses financial resources and food is expensive. However, if food is inexpensive, but a person cannot find financial resources or employment and has no money available, he may leave and go to any place where he can find relief.
Though it is permitted to leave Eretz Yisrael under these circumstances, it is not pious behavior. Behold, Machlon and Kilyon were two of the great men of the generation and they left Eretz Yisrael only out of great distress. Nevertheless, they were found worthy of death by God.
Great sages would kiss the borders of Eretz Yisrael, kiss its stones, and roll in its dust. Similarly, Psalms 102:15 declares: 'Behold, your servants hold her stones dear and cherish her dust.'
The Sages commented: 'Whoever dwells in Eretz Yisrael will have his sins forgiven as Isaiah 33:24 states: 'The inhabitant shall not say 'I am sick.' The people who dwell there shall be forgiven their sins.'
Even one who walks four cubits there will merit the world to come and one who is buried there receives atonement as if the place in which he is buried is an altar of atonement as Deuteronomy 32:43 states: 'His land will atone for His people.' In contrast, the prophet, Amos [7:17, used the expression] 'You shall die in an impure land' as a prophecy of retribution.
There is no comparison between the merit of a person who lives in Eretz Yisrael and ultimately, is buried there and one whose body is brought there after his death. Nevertheless, great Sages would bring their dead there. Take an example, from our Patriarch, Jacob, and Joseph, the righteous.
At all times, a person should dwell in Eretz Yisrael even in a city whose population is primarily gentile, rather than dwell in the Diaspora, even in a city whose population is primarily Jewish.
This applies because whoever leaves Eretz Yisrael for the Diaspora is considered as if he worships idols as I Samuel 26:19 states 'They have driven me out today from dwelling in the heritage of God, saying 'Go, serve other gods.' Similarly, Ezekiel's (13:9) prophecies of retribution state: 'They shall not come to the land of Israel.'
Just as it is forbidden to leave the chosen land for the Diaspora, it is also forbidden to leave Babylon for other lands as Jeremiah 27:22 states: 'They shall be brought to Babylon and there they shall be until I take heed of them... and restore them to this place.'
Budget cuts endanger Israel’s security: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4191134,00.html
You-who where is the left regarding Arabs killing Arabs? http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4191180,00.html
Not such a peaceful Shabbos: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/152888#.T0DStPkk1mI
Another war with Gaza sooner or later and Hezballah may join in: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=258511
Can Israel refuel 100 planes in the air? http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4192055,00.html
From Devorah: Israeli Public Opinion Poll I think that they are underestimating Shass and Yahadut HaTorah. http://knessetjeremy.com/2012/02/19/geocartography-poll-likud-39-y-b-13-kadimalabor-12-shas-9-lapid-6/
My granddaughters had a much longer drill than the boys: http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=258598
Arabs hate Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and guess who else? http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2012/02/muslims-stone-christians-on-temple-mount-and-in-other-islamic-violence.html
The strike on Iran will be either Oct. 7th like the Kabbalists say or around the time of the Republican Convention to play the game the president's way http://www.debka.com/article/21755/
Obama’s Alma Mata going to host an Anti-Israel Conference: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=2194 Pieter U. in his personal analysis based on a front-page magazine article http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/21/harvard-jew-haters-motherhood-and-israel/ wrote:
Sometimes I wonder if my friends and I are the only sane people left on this planet? From Debbie the author:
What would you do if you are on a plane and…: http://www.debbieschlussel.com/47499/guess-the-religion-middle-eastern-man-disturbs-flight-shouts-allahu-akbar-bs/
Weapons grade material can be produced in six weeks now: http://www.debka.com/article/21760/
Suddenly the west has found the Iranian cover-up a bit late don’t you say? http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4193743,00.html
Politically correct but they don’t get the fact that instead of the Muslim Brotherhood it will be Al Qaeda in control: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=259035
A big Semper Fi and Oorah for this man: http://www.tampabay.com/components/video/?bcpid=2441023001&bckey=AQ~~%2CAAAAAFif1zs~%2CHOg5vNGW0TIBo6eV2AIpHfaqwfy2rSg0&bctid=1461592455001
In Dafur they did not interfere but for a George Soros Arab Spring: http://www.debka.com/article/21762/
First of all, it must be understood that traditional Muslims summarily hate all non-Muslims, period. However, they hate Jews more than anybody else on Earth. In Islam’s oral tradition, it is believed that killing one Jew is equal to the killing of fifty non-Jewish unbelievers. Every Muslims traditionally learn from the mullahs and seniors—that they must hate Jews more than any other infidels. All Muslims (good or bad) do believe that Jews are the worst enemy of Muslims and they are advised to take cautions when dealing with Jews.
Remember that American reporter (Daniel Pearl) who was the first victim of sensational beheading by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan (by Sheik Khalid) in 2002, right after America removed the Taliban? Early 2011 (during uprising in Egypt), Lora Logan CBS reporter in Egypt was brutally raped and tortured because they thought she was a Jew, although she was not actually a Jew? What it’s telling us? There is no question that every Muslim child is taught about the danger from Jews universally around the Muslims world. I never heard any Muslim who can deny that Muslims universally fear and hate Jews most, period.
I do believe, Jews in the Middle East know it very well. But, Jews residing in the western world, especially Jews living in the USA do not quite understand how much Muslims hate them, and it is baffling to me that many Jews make excuses for the terrible behavior of Muslims. Many Jewish rabbis and Jewish leaders deliberately join their hands in support of the so called “Inter-faith” meeting which is nothing but Islamic Taqiyya only to fool the Jews. Condensed from: http://israeljewsjudaism.blogspot.com/2012/02/muslims-hate-jews-up-to-their-bones-but.html?m=1
Operation MEM: Understanding The Middle East Mindset, Part 1 by Audrey Russo
"We are raising in a generation of young Americans who are by and large historically illiterate...it's a very sad situation." --author David McCullough
It's true that education is not a panacea, as we were able to see with WWII Germany having the highest educated populace in the world at that time, but in a world replete with venal influences...ignorance of those entities is a perilous place to be. As America has encountered difficult times in her past and has been struck by outside enemies before 9-11, no attack has revealed the dangerous state of ignorance that now renders us vulnerable beyond being borderless, than Sept. 11th.
Sun Tzu, the great Chinese military strategist once said, "If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself." Our country has reached this point. We have a population that does not know its history, and is woefully ignorant to the mindset of our ardent enemies.
This spells disaster any way you look at it. Knowing the Middle East mindset will en able us to comprehend our foes and to know what to expect from our adversaries in Muslim regimes (and their ilk). They do NOT think as we do. They are weaned on a festering fare...and the result of that nutrition is NOT benign.
Individual Choice: Islam is not simply a religion. It cannot be practiced separate from the culture. It IS the culture, and its iron fist dictates every move a Muslim makes. From what they eat, with what hand they eat...to what hand they use in their lavatory hygiene. There is no individual choice. But Islam micro-manages much more than that...
Free Will: It does NOT allow its followers to think for themselves, but dictates every aspect of life...from the demeaning of women and children, treating them as chattel, to the hatred of infidels (unbelievers) simply because they do not believe. Congenial relationships with infidels is forbidden. Freedom for women is unthinkable.
Compromise: None, if it involves dealing with infidels. If they agree to compromise, they are practicing Taqiyya (deception). And if the infidel compromises...it is viewed as weakness to be conquered. And we're just scratching the surface. Their mindset is based upon the Quran and the Hadith (the traditions of the prophet)...and EVERYONE must submit to these books. By the way, Islam means submission.
To be continued... Shalom through strength... http://www.examiner.com/foreign-affairs-in-new-york/operation-mem-understanding-the-middle-east-mindset-part-1
Audrey was so kind as to provide me with part two just before mailing this out: "Terrorists know more about America, than America knows about them. These [Terrorists] are people who have lived in America, they have studied America, they know how the media works, they know how the psyche works....they know how we function, so they are more efficient in fighting. We don't know them and that's a very big problem. Ignorance is very dangerous now."
--Marianne Pearl, widow of Daniel Pearl (Journalist beheaded by terrorists)
They know us better than we know ourselves. That's a dangerous place to be if the 'they' are our enemies. And in the case of our current and most accessible enemy, Jihadists...they are. Since well before the Muslim terror attacks of 9-11, Islamists have been studying us. Our ways, our thoughts, our ideology...and most of all: Our vulnerabilities. And those vulnerabilities can easily be exploited if we continue to view their words and deeds through Western values.
We value truthfulness in our agreements with other nations and peoples. But entering into a treaty with those of the Islamic ideology would be a dangerous endeavor for anyone in the West. This due to the fact that integrity is not a shared value with Islamists. They are permitted, and do, lie to infidels in the West for the sake of Islam and Allah. If we were to look at the Israel-Palestinian conflict, we would see proof that the Muslim side, the Palestinian Authority (PA), have not honored one agreement they have made with the 'West in the Middle East' or Israel.
There is a growing population of Islamists who believe it is an honor to send their sons to die for Allah...as they kill infidels. A study done at Monash University in Australia found the pattern is in keeping with studies of Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Turkish terrorists, which revealed that about one in five involved individuals were direct kin, while seven in 10 were close friends as youths.
The mother of a suicide bomber said in an interview: "I am a compassionate mother to my children,… Because I love my son, I encouraged him to die a martyr’s death for the sake of Allah... Jihad is a religious obligation incumbent upon us, and we must carry it out. I sacrificed Muhammad as part of my obligation. This is an easy thing."
A bizarre and disturbing statement that displays the antithesis of Western thought.
How many think this way:
Various stats have affirmed that only 7-10% of the Muslim world is radical. But with an estimated 1.3 billion following Allah...that would give us about 100-150 million radicals...and growing. The 90-93% that will not behead us, support their brethren in silence. What exacerbates the situation is the high illiteracy rate, coupled with a draconian government with its tentacles enveloping every aspect of the culture with an iron umbilical cord, from the Quran, wrapped around the throat of every citizen: Muslim or Dhimmi (infidel living under Islamic rule).
It is fair to say, that aside from Israel, a general anti-West mindset is endemic to the Middle East (as well as other Islamic nations). And when the West finally assimilates this, we will be on the road to victory over tyranny...for as Thomas Jefferson once said:
"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."
OBAMA’S RHETORICAL STORM By CAROLINE B. GLICK http://www.JewishWorldReview.com
OBAMA’S ANTI-ISRAEL SELL-OUT CONTINUES by BEN SHAPIRO forwarded by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator http://www.israelunitycoalition.org/news/?p=7753
The Obama administration is absolutely furious at Russia and China. The two UN Security Council permanent members' move on Saturday to veto a resolution on Syria utterly infuriated the US's President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice. And they want us all to know just how piping mad they
Rice called the vetoes "unforgivable," and said that "any further blood that flows will be on their hands." She said the US was "disgusted."
Clinton called the move by Moscow and Beijing a "travesty." She then said that the US will take action outside the UN, "with those allies and partners who support the Syrian people's right to have a better future."
The rhetoric employed by Obama's top officials is striking for what it reveals about how the Obama administration perceives the purpose of rhetoric in foreign policy.
Most US leaders have used rhetoric to explain their policies. But if you take the Obama administration's statements at face value you are left scratching your head in wonder. Specifically on Syria, if you take these statements literally, you are left wondering if Obama and his advisers are simply clueless. Because if they are serious, their indignation bespeaks a remarkable ignorance about how decisions are made at the Security Council.
Is it possible that Obama believed that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would betray Bashar Assad, his most important strategic ally in the Middle East? Is it possible that he believed that the same Chinese regime that systematically tramples the human
rights of its people would agree to intervene in another country's domestic affairs? Outside the intellectual universe of the Obama administration -where stalwart US allies such as Hosni Mubarak are discarded like garbage and foes such as Hugo Chavez are wooed like Hollywood celebrities - national governments tend to base their foreign policies on their national interests.
In light of this basic reality, Security Council actions generally reflect the national interests of its member states. This is how it has always been.
This is how it will always be. And it is hard to believe that the Obama administration was unaware of this basic fact.
In fact, it is impossible to believe that the administration was unaware that its plan to pass a Security Council resolution opposing Assad's massacre of his people - and so jeopardize Russian and Chinese interests - had no chance of success. The fact that they had to know the resolution would never pass leads to the conclusion that Obama and his advisers weren't trying to pass a resolution on Syria at all.
Rather they were trying to pass the buck on Syria.
We have two pieces of evidence to support the view that the Obama administration has no intention of doing anything even vaguely effective to end Assad's reign of terror that has so far taken the lives of between five and ten thousand of his countrymen.
First, for the past 10 months, as Assad's killing machine kicked into gear, Obama and his advisers have been happy to sit on their hands. They supported Turkey's feckless diplomatic engagement with Assad. They sat back as Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayep Erdogan employed the IHH, his regime-allied terror group, to oversee the organization
of a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian opposition.
Second, the administration supported the Arab League's farcical inspectors' mission to Syria. That mission was led by Sudanese Gen. Muhammad al- Dabi. Dabi reportedly was one of the architects of the genocide in Darfur. Clearly, a mission under his leadership had no chance of accomplishing anything useful. And indeed, it didn't.
AND SO, after nearly a year, the issue of Assad's butchery of his citizens finally found its way to the Security Council last month. Many in the US expected Obama to use the opportunity to finally do something to stop the killing, just as he and his NATO allies did
something to prevent the killing in Libya last year.
Ten months ago Obama, Rice, Clinton and National Security Council member Samantha Power decided that the US and its allies had to militarily intervene in Libya to ensure that Muammar Gaddafi didn't have the opportunity to kill his people as Assad is now doing. That is, to prevent the type of human rights calamity that the Syrian people are now experiencing, Obama used the UN as a staging ground to overthrow Gaddafi through force.
Sadly for the people of Syria, who are being shot dead even as they try to bury their families who were shot dead the day before, unlike the situation in Libya, Obama has never had the slightest intention of using his influence to take action against Assad. And faced with the rapidly rising public expectation that he would take action at the Security Council to stop the killing, Obama opted for diplomatic Kabuki.
Knowing full well that Putin - who is still selling Assad weapons - would veto any resolution, rather than accept that the Security Council is a dead end, Obama had Rice negotiate fecklessly with her Russian counterparts. The resolution that ended up being called to a vote on Saturday was so weak that US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement on Friday calling for the administration to veto it.
As Ros-Lehtinen put it, the draft resolution "contains no sanctions, no restrictions on weapons transfers, and no calls for Assad to go, but supports the failed Arab League observer mission," and so isn't "worth the paper it's printed on."
She continued, "The Obama administration should not support this weak, counterproductive resolution, and should also reconsider the legitimacy that it provides to the Arab League - an organization that continues to boycott Israel - when it comes to the regime in Damascus."
But instead of vetoing it, the administration backed it to the tilt and then expressed disgust and moral outrage when Russia and China vetoed it.
The lesson of this spectacle is that it we must recognize that the Obama administration's rhetoric hides more than it reveals about the president's actual policies.
THE FIRST place that we should apply this lesson is to the hemorrhage of administration rhetoric about Iran.
For the past several weeks we have been treated to massive doses of verbiage from Obama and his senior advisers about Iran. The most notable of these recent statements was Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's conversation with The Washington Post's David Ignatius last week.
Panetta used Ignatius to communicate two basic messages. First, he wanted to make clear that the administration adamantly opposes an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear installations. And second, he wanted to make clear that if Iran strikes Israeli population centers, the US will come to Israel's defense. The purpose of the first message is clear enough. Panetta wished to increase pressure on Israel not to take preemptive action against Iran's nuclear weapons program.
The purpose of the second message is also clear. Panetta spoke of the US's obligation to Israel's defense in order to remove the justification for an Israeli attack. After all, if the US is obliged to defend it, then Israel mustn't risk harming US interests by defending itself. When taken together, Panetta's message sounds balanced and responsible. But when examined carefully, it is clear that it is not. First of all, it is far from responsible for the US government to tell its chief ally that it should be willing to absorb an attack on its population centers from Iran. No government can be expected to sit back and wait to be attacked with nuclear weapons because if it is, the Americans will retaliate against its attacker. Panetta's message was not just irresponsible.
It was obnoxious. And this leaves the first message. Since Obama was elected the US has devoted most of its energies not to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, but to pressuring Israel not to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And Panetta's remarks to Ignatius were consistent with this mission. Some have argued that the US's stepped-up naval presence in the Persian Gulf is evidence that the US is itself gearing up to attack Iran. But as retired US naval analyst J.E. Dyer explained in an essay last month at the Optimistic Conservative blog, the US posture in the Persian Gulf is defensive, not offensive. The US has not deployed anywhere near the firepower it would need to conduct a successful military campaign against Iran's nuclear installations. The only thing the US deployment may serve to accomplish is to deter Israel from launching a preemptive air strike against Iran's nuclear installations.
It is true that to a certain extent, Israel has brought this escalating American rhetorical storm on itself with its own flood of rhetoric about Iran. Over the past week nearly every senior Israeli military and political official has had something to say about Iran's nuclear program.
But this stream of words does not reflect a change in Israel's strategic timetable. Rather it is a function of the rather mundane calendar of Israel's annual conference circuit. It just so happened that the annual Herzliya Conference took place last week. It is standard fare for Israel's security and political leadership to bloviate about Iran's nuclear program at Herzliya. They do it every year. They did it this year. And in truth, no one said anything at the conference that we didn't already know. We learned nothing new about Iran's program or Israel's intentions. Had there been no conference last week, there would likely have been no flood of Israeli statements.
We only know three things for certain about Iran. It is getting very late in the game for anyone to take any military actions to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran will not stop its nuclear weapons program voluntarily. And Obama will not order US forces to take action to stop Iran's nuclear project. What remains uncertain still is how Israel plans to respond to these three certainties. The fact that Israel has waited this long to strike presents the disturbing prospect that our leaders may have been confused by the Obama administration's rhetoric. Perhaps they have been persuaded that the US is on our side on this issue and that we don't have to rely only on ourselves to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
But as the foregoing analysis of the administration's very angry words on Syria and very sober words on Iran demonstrates, Obama and his deputies use rhetoric not to clarify their intentions, but to obfuscate them. Just as they will do nothing to prevent Assad from continuing his campaign of murder and terror, so they will do nothing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
OBAMA’S ANTI-ISRAEL SELL-OUT CONTINUES by BEN SHAPIRO FrontPage Magazine, February 8th, 2012
Let's say you're Israel. An enemy dedicated to your destruction is developing the means to wipe you off the face of the earth, with the covert and overt help of world powers like Russia and China. It's only a matter of months before that enemy achieves its goals - and when it does you will not be able to stop the mushroom cloud rising over your cities.
So you come up with a sophisticated military plan to strike your foe in an extraordinarily targeted fashion. And you ask for the help of your longtime ally - virtually your only ally - the United States. All you want is covert logistical support and secrecy. Secrecy is of the utmost importance, since a full-scale aerial assault on your enemy is unfeasible.
Let's say you're Israel. What would you say if the United States promptly proceeded to broadcast your military plans to the rest of the world?
Two little words come to mind. And neither of them is "thanks."
That's precisely what happened this week, when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced via the Washington Post that "there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June - before Iran enters what Israelis described as a 'zone of immunity' to commence building a nuclear bomb." What was the point of spilling the beans? To scuttle the attack, of course. According to the Post, "President Obama and Panetta are said to have cautioned the Israelis that the United States opposes an attack, believing that it would derail an increasingly successful international economic sanctions program and other non-military efforts to stop Iran from crossing the threshold."
This has become pattern for the Obama Administration. Back in June 2010, you'll recall, the London Times reported that the Saudi Arabians had cut a deal with the Israelis to allow them to use Saudi airspace for a strike on Iran. Where did the Times learn this? According to the Jerusalem Post, "The report cited a US defense source as saying the Saudis have already done tests to ensure no jet is shot down in the event of an Israeli attack. The source added that the U.S. State Department is aware of the agreement."
Well, isn't that odd - two blown secrets, two references to the U.S. Defense Department.
The real problem isn't just the blown secret, of course. It's the signal it sends to the Iranian regime. By letting the cat out of the bag, the United States has signaled to the Iranians that the Israelis are on their own - that the Israelis are in fact a rogue state operating outside the bounds of conventional international politics. By signaling open opposition to the Israelis defending themselves, the Obama Administration has demonstrated to the Iranians in crystalline fashion that even if Iran develops weapons, and even if the Iranians hand those weapons off to a terrorist group for use against Israel, America may stand idly by.
There is an obvious question here: why? Why is the Obama Administration so intent on stopping an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities? There are three answers. The first is ideological, the second political, the third electoral.
First, the ideological. President Obama believes that he is a global leader, and that in order to be viewed as a global leader, he must play "honest broker" between America's allies and her enemies. That means that if Israel has covert nuclear weapons, Iran might as well have them too - for the sake of fairness, you understand. Obama has made every effort throughout his tenure to reach out to Islamists across the Middle East, from Tunisia to Libya to Iraq to Egypt to Afghanistan - and he has succeeded in empowering Islamists to attack Western interests across the region. In Obama's "world citizen" view, this is a good thing: if America is willing to subsume her own interests in favor of the interests of others, Obama believes, such international altruism will bear the fruits of peace.
Second, the political. There is something bizarre about using the Defense Department as a leak-source for anti-Israel activity. Typically, the Arabist State Department is all too happy to undermine Israel; the Defense Department, which works closely with the Israelis, is the friend of Israel in the room. But Obama has a political problem: he's seen as weak. That means he must use the Defense Department as a tool for his pusillanimous foreign policy. Ripping the steel out of the Defense Department's spine has become a mission for the Administration; if Obama can get the Defense Department to fall in line behind him, he can look the hawk while playing the dove.
Finally, the electoral. Wonder why Panetta said Israel might attack in April, May, or June? Why not July, August, September? The answer's obvious: Obama is hoping to delay an Israeli strike for several months. If it does happen close to the election, he'll back Israel's play to make a stab at the Jewish vote in Florida. It would create a rally-round-the-flag situation for many Americans close to November 6 - a perfect storm for Obama.
All of these considerations undoubtedly came into play. Only one consideration did not: the safety and security of America's strongest ally in the Middle East. That was a minor matter for Obama and his cronies. After all, when you're president of the world, what does a few hundred thousand Jews matter here or there?
ANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN - NOT AN OPTION by Amb. YORAM ETTINGER
CONTAINING ISRAEL ON IRAN: GENERAL DEMPSEY SENDS A MESSAGE OF U.S. WEAKNESS TO TEHRAN
forwarded by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN - NOT AN OPTION by Amb. YORAM ETTINGER
"Second Thought" "Israel Hayom" newsletter, February 21, 2012
The term "effective sanctions" against Iran on the one hand and global political reality on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron, playing into the hands of Iran.
Effective sanctions require the full cooperation of Russia and China, two strategic rivals of the US, as demonstrated by their UN Security Council double-veto of the October 2011 and February 2012 anti-Assad resolutions. They do not fully cooperate with sanctions invoked against Iran, and assist the Tehran regime, as do some European countries. Furthermore, Japan, India and Turkey have subordinated compliance with sanctions to their trade relations with Iran, as have some countries in Latin America and Europe.
Each new sanction against Iran requires several months for effectiveness assessment. Thus, it extends the time available to Iran to develop its nuclear capabilities, as well as to acquire critical technologies and systems from North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or China.
Forty years of US economic sanctions against North Korea – which does not harbor Iran-like megalomaniac aspirations - have failed to topple the regime or prevent its nuclearization. Fifty years of sanctions against Cuba has, also, reaffirmed the constraints of sanctions against rogue regimes, which subject their people to ruthless dictatorships and ideological brainwashing.
Sanctions have, usually, been employed in order to avoid the tougher – and more effective – options, which are required to produce regime-change or dramatic policy-alteration. Sanctions express loudly and clearly disapproval of certain regimes and policies, but generally fail to achieve their goal.
The preoccupation with "effective sanctions" and diplomacy ignores the gravity and immediacy of the clear, present and devastating threat to the US, posed by a nuclear Iran, independent of Israel's existence and policies.
Just as Bin-Laden, who had ample opportunities to hit Israel, but preferred to hit the US and Western Europe, so does Iran consider the US and NATO (and Saudi Arabia) its top enemies, and most formidable obstacles in the way of assuming domination of the Persian Gulf, and therefore its top targets.
A nuclear Iran would cause a meltdown of pro-US Gulf regimes through a violent regime change, and/or via a dramatic policy change by the currently pro-US Gulf regimes. Iran's nuclear intimidation of Central Asian (former USSR) countries would tilt them toward Teheran or Moscow and against the US.
A nuclear Iran would accelerate nuclear proliferation in the Mid-East, the role model of instability, unpredictability and violent regime change – a nightmare scenario for global sanity. According to former Vice Chairman of the US Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff Marine Corps General James Cartwright, and such a scenario would be "my number one proliferation concern globally…extremely, extremely dangerous." Saudi Arabia is currently registering its Iran-driven panic with US Senators and House Representatives, pleading for military preemption, while expediting its own nuclear initiative. It could acquire nuclear capabilities from Pakistan, which has been a closely-aligned beneficiary of crucial Saudi financial support for its own nuclear facilities. Hence, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Founding Father of Pakistan's nuclear program, has recently visited Saudi Arabia, which has concluded a series of civilian nuclear cooperation agreements with China, France, South Korea and Argentina. Egypt would not lag behind Saudi Arabia, its intra-Arab rival, stepping-up its already advanced nuclear program, as would Turkey, which aspires to hegemony in the Muslim World.
A nuclear Iran would intimidate Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing Gulf States, threatening the normal operations of their oil infrastructure, dramatically influencing oil quota and price, interfering with - and possibly disrupting - the supply of oil, directly impacting the price at the pump and the level of unemployment in the US and the West.
A nuclear Iran would bolster its existing beachheads in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Mexico, which host Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran's elite extraterritorial Quds Force. It could transfer some nuclear systems to its Latin American allies, which recently hosted six visits by Ahmadinejad, who is systematically enhancing Iran's security profile on the American continent.
A nuclear Iran would provide a significant tailwind to scores, or hundreds, of sleeper cells in the US and Canada, as well as to anti-US global Islamic terrorism.
The highly exaggerated cost of military preemption – by the US or by Israel – would be dwarfed by the aforementioned threats of a nuclear Iran, in addition to the nuclear threat which would hover above US soldiers in the Gulf and above the US mainland. A regime which sacrificed 500,000 of its own children in order to clear minefields, during the 1980-1988 war against Iraq, is capable of launching nuclear warheads, irrespective of the cost.
An effective preemption should not be limited to critical nuclear facilities, but should simultaneously devastate Iran's missile and air defense capabilities, thus minimizing the scope of Iran's retaliation. An effective preemption would not include the occupation of Iran, thus distinguishing itself from Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, which coalesced all Iranians against the threat to their sovereignty. An effective preemption is a prerequisite to regime-change through domestic opposition, which was disillusioned by the lack of Western support in 2009.
Refraining from preemption would gravely destabilize the Mid-East and beyond. The only effective way to prevent (Iran's nuclearization and its devastating cost) is to preempt!
Freeman Center Blog http://www. freeman.org/ serendipity /
making war more likely, not less.
CONTAINING ISRAEL ON IRAN: GENERAL DEMPSEY SENDS A MESSAGE OF U.S. WEAKNESS TO TEHRAN Wall St. Journal February 21, 2012
Is the Obama Administration more concerned that Iran may get a nuclear weapon, or that Israel may use military force to prevent Iran from doing so? The answer is the latter, judging from comments on Sunday by Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey.
Appearing on CNN, General Dempsey sent precisely the wrong message if the main U.S. strategic goal is convincing Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. He said the U.S. is urging Israel not to attack Iran—because Iran hasn't decided to build a bomb, because an Israeli attack probably wouldn't set back Iran by more than a couple of years, and because it would invite retaliation and be "destabilizing" throughout the Middle East.
"That's the question with which we all wrestle. And the reason we think that it's not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran," the General said, referring to a possible Iranian response to an attack. "That's been our counsel to our allies, the Israelis. And we also know or believe we know that the Iranian regime has not decided that they will embark on the capability—or the effort to weaponize their nuclear capability."
In a single sound bite, General Dempsey managed to tell the Iranians they can breathe easier because Israel's main ally is opposed to an attack on Iran, such attack isn't likely to work in any case, and the U.S. fears Iran's retaliation. It's as if General Dempsey wanted to ratify Iran's rhetoric that the regime is a fearsome global military threat.
If the U.S. really wanted its diplomacy to work in lieu of force, it would say and do whatever it can to increase Iran's fear of an attack. It would say publicly that Israel must be able to protect itself and that it has the means to do so. America's top military officer in particular should say that if Iran escalates in response to an Israeli attack, the U.S. would have no choice but to intervene on behalf of its ally. The point of coercive diplomacy is to make an adversary understand that the costs of its bad behavior will be very, very high.
The general is not a free-lancer, so his message was almost certainly guided by the White House. His remarks only make strategic sense if President Obama's real priority is to contain Israel first—especially before the November election.
This might also explain General Dempsey's comments that the U.S. doesn't believe Iran's regime has decided to build an atomic bomb and that it is a "rational" actor, like, say, the Dutch. This would be the same rational Iran that refuses to compromise on its nuclear plans despite increasingly damaging global sanctions, and the same prudent actor that has sent agents around the world to bomb Israeli and Saudi targets, allegedly including in a Washington, D.C. restaurant.
Iran doesn't need to explode a bomb, or even declare that it has one, to win its nuclear standoff. All it needs to do is get to the brink and make everyone believe it can build a bomb when it wants to. Then the costs of deterring Iran go up exponentially, and the regime's leverage multiplies in the Middle East and against American interests. General Dempsey's assurances obscure that military and political reality.
Like most of Mr. Obama's Iran policy, General Dempsey's comments will have the effect of making war more likely, not less. They will increase Israel's anxiety about U.S. support, especially if Mr. Obama is re-elected and he has a freer political hand. This may drive Israel's leadership to strike sooner. Weakness invites war, and General Dempsey has helped the Administration send a message of weakness to Israel and Iran.
Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Enveloping Words”
Good Shabbos Everyone. This week we will discuss the power of prayer. Every Jew has the ability and obligation every day to speak to His creator through the vehicle of prayer. We learn of the obligation of prayer in our weekly parsha Mishpatim. As the verse states, "You shall worship Hashem..." (Shemos 23:25) From this verse, the Rambam derives the source of the mitzvah of daily prayer. (Hilchos Tefilah, 1,1)
Hashem hears our prayers, and if we are worthy, we answers our prayers also. As Dovid HaMelech tells us in Tehillim (Psalms) "Hashem is close to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon him sincerely." (145:18) The following amazing true story will help us be inspired to daven - to pray to Hashem with kavona - intent and with an understanding of the words we are saying.
His name was Siberiak. He was a short stocky man with a weathered look, as he spoke in front of a group of survivors who were like himself. They did not have much left of their own lives. The evil Germans and Russians, and years of loneliness had taken an immense toll, but the group gathered together occasionally to share their emotions.
And now it was his Siberiak's turn: I always thought that the most important thing in the world was money. After all, what could be more valuable than gold? That is, until I came to Siberia. Together with other prisoners, I was given the task of mining gold. We would work long hard days, sometimes up to 18 hours with little or no rest.
Our sleeping quarters were horribly cramped and our food rations were minimal. But when I saw where we would be working, I was immediately overcome with a feeling of joy. Our group was going to be working in the gold mine. And although the slave labor was difficult I managed to bring along a small pouch in which I was able to smuggle out a few golden nuggets each day.
One night as I was counting my bag of golden nuggets one of the inmates noticed what I was doing and burst out laughing. He called over some of his friends and enjoyed a hearty laugh. They mocked me and ridiculed my little pouch. "Don't you think we all could smuggle out golden nuggets? You fool, what value does a golden nugget have here in the cold abyss of Siberia?"
It was at that moment that I realized that gold is not the most valuable thing in the world. At least not here in Siberia. What good could it bring me? The hunger pangs gnawed at my insides as I dreamt of a thick juicy slab of meat, something I had not tasted in years. That's it! I thought to myself. The most valuable thing in the world is not gold but good food to alleviate my hunger pangs. There could be nothing that is more valuable than that. And so the daily grind of finding food continued.
It was comical in a sad way that those glistening golden nuggets were no more valuable to me now than the dirt into which they were wedged. They were worth nothing to me. All I could think of was the gnawing hunger.
Every moment of every day my thoughts were focused on food until one of the passing guards walked by while he was smoking a cigarette. The smell of the cigarette wafted through the cold Siberian air and the aroma filled the surrounding area. All of a sudden my hunger pangs dissipated and the craving for a cigarette became my focal point. Nothing else mattered.
Food was something that lasted for a short while but a cigarette provided much more than that. There was something that was more meaningful about it. The calm feeling and relaxation it provided were significantly deeper than the food or gold that I had previously desired. But a cigarette was something that was more difficult to come by.
Although tobacco was readily available and fairly easy to obtain, the paper in which it needed to be wrapped was scarce. Even the guards had a tough time getting hold of the elusive paper. I now realized that the most important thing in the world was not gold or food or even tobacco: it was paper.
For days I would look forward to the next opportunity to smoke and the feeling from those few moments would provide me with enough satisfaction for the next few days. And so it developed into a routine.
But one day I came across a Russian peasant from a neighboring village. The older man approached me and asked if I knew how to read. He explained that I appeared to be slightly more educated than the rest of the prisoners and he had a favor to ask of me.
His son, an officer in the Soviet Union's army, was stationed hundreds of kilometers away and would periodically send a letter to inform his father of how he was managing. "Recently another letter arrived and I need someone to read it for me. If you help me I will give you the envelope to use for wrapping the tobacco."
I could hardly believe my good fortune. I figured that I could probably roll at least two or maybe even three cigarettes with the envelope he had. I assisted him with his letter and thanked him for his "gift." And then I took the letter back to the barracks where I slept. I removed a small pouch of tobacco and placed the envelope on the floor.
But just as I was about to empty the pouch into the envelope something caught my eye. I had to look closer to make sure that I was not dreaming. Lo and behold! In front of my eyes an envelope was made out of paper that had Hebrew lettering on it. I carefully read it and saw that the writing was words from davening - daily prayers.
I had not prayed in many years but I was familiar the prayers and fluent in my reading. I picked up the paper and carefully folded it j into my pocket. In he camp, there was a man whom we called the "Rebbele." It's not that he was so learned but he was someone who kept track of when the Yamim Tovim were and so he was the closest thing we had to a Rebbe. When I showed him my newfound treasure, he could not believe it.
Here we were, thousands of miles from the closest semblance of Yiddishkeit (Judaism) and G-d had sent us, a page of a siddur - prayer book. We figured that if Hashem had not forgotten about us, then we should not forget Him.
So we began a minyan. It was certainly not conventional in any sense. We only had this one page of a siddur. At each tefillah the shaliach tzibbur (leader of prayer) would read from the envelope. Whether it was a Shacharis (morning prayers), Minchah (afternoon prayers), Maariv (evening prayers) or Shabbos and Yom Tov davening, the leader of prayer would stand up and read from the envelope.
The formerly depressed inmates found strength and solace through this prayer gathering that I had helped organize. Watching the transformation of these poor wretched souls taking place was nothing short of a miracle.
The prisoners now walked around and conducted their daily lives with a sense of purpose. Their lives had meaning and for that they were forever grateful. And then one day it hit me. I had discovered the most valuable thing in the world. It was not gold nor was it food. It wasn't a cigarette or the paper it was rolled in. It was "Prayer." The ability for one to connect with his Creator for but a few moments a day was something invaluable.
But perhaps what was most incredible about the envelope was the prayers that it contained. To receive an envelope that was made from some recycled siddur page was in itself a miracle, but the prayers it contained were the timeliest and most potent messages we could have ever hoped for. The page began with the declaration from the paragraph in prayer beginning "Az Yashir:" with the words "Hashem yimloch le'olam va'ed G-d will rule forever" And the small lettering on the page continued until the heartfelt plea found in middle of the prayer "Ahavah Rabbah." with the words "Avinu, Av HaRachaman, HaMeracheim, racheim aleinu Our Father, our Compassionate Father, Who is merciful, have mercy on us!" (from TOUCHED BY A STORY p. 174, R. Yechiel Spero)
Hashem should help that our prayers be answered. Amen. Good Shabbos. Matis Wolfberg’s stories are sponsored by Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah