Some errors from last week thanks to Ira: It was written - but the Camatz is pronounced awe instead of the Israeli ah that I decided to go by the Israeli Pronunciation Yisrael vs. Yisrael the second should have read YISROEL and the spell checker cleaned it up.
With the Ashkenazic Pronunciation and Pessach I got mixed up or HaGefen that is a segol. Is that what you meant? vs. HaGofen Yes
[The rationale for having to eat it on the same day (6) is that] it is forbidden to cook on one day of a festival in order to eat the food on the second day or on a weekday. The zeroa should be eaten during the day only, since it is forbidden to eat roasted meat on the [first] two nights [of Pesach] (7). Nevertheless, even if the Zeroa and the egg were roasted before Yom Tov began, they should not be discarded afterwards. Rather, they should be placed in a dish that is cooked on the second day of Yom Tov, and eaten then.
And if you have only one day of yom tov, what do you do? Right after Kiddush in the morning of the first day only if one wants to eat it then.
(2) Since the primary reason for wearing the Kittle is for the joy and honor of Yom Tov, it is not fitting for a mourner to adorn himself in such a garment
Isn't public mourning forbidden on yom tov? Ira is correct and I see no reason not to wear a Kittle if it is the man’s custom.
When the passage beginning: "Matza zoo
I think you meant zo. It was written that way in the original but perhaps it is my mispronunciation.
More on Pessach – Why be difficult with a little more effort you could be completely impossible
This is a special post because of the Kitniyos aka legumes
If you are like me you may have bought too many books and audio CD’s that you don’t get too. So when I saw two newly published books in English I was about to skip over but two things make me stop. 1) The laws of prayer and 2) The laws of Pesach translated from Peninei Halchah by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed. I had heard about Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and Rabbi Aharon Kotler approving all sorts of things what the Israelis call Kitniyos for American Jewry but I never had a source.
In fact I discussed with my son the Mashgiach, Chaim, last year regarding Canola Oil and he agreed with me but since very highly qualified Rabbanim read my writing I did not want to go out on a limb without a Halachic Authority who held the same ideas as me. I remember buying Kosher Le Pessach corn oil margarine in 1970 in Borough Park with a good Heckshir on it. My late friend Dave Lavi (Loew) used to buy every Pessach peanut butter with a Heckshir. Here in Eretz Yisrael a bunch of Charedim basically took over the Heckshir market for Ashkenazi Community and they are placing their standards upon everybody else with millions of dollars involved it is good business. As my wife’s cousin said, “I wish every year was Shmita Year as I make great money”.
Rabbi Melamed Shlita goes into the origins of the Kitniyos Minchag. I don’t want to plagiarize so I will condense what he wrote in Chapter 9: Chametz prohibited by the Torah can be produced from one of the five varieties of grains: Wheat, barley, spelt, oats and rye. (Only specially processed rolled oats can be used for Seder Matzos for Celiac Patients). Other species are not considered to become Chometz. Even if for example rice swells it may be eaten on Pessach Pessachim 35A.
During the period of the Rishonim in German 700 years ago some communities refrained from eating Kitniyos (perhaps due to crop rotation). Initially is was a few scattered communities but as the Chumra developed more and more took it upon themselves until the Minchag spread to all in a number of generations. They were forbidden for a number of reasons. 1) They are cooked in a pot like grain (2) They can be made into flour like grain (3) Sometimes their stems and kernels have similar appearance to grain. You might want to say this about buckwheat but humus, peanuts, green peas and maize aka US corn are different. (4) From my standpoint this is the only real solid reason is that due to crop rotation, some items like coriander or fenugreek would get mixed up with some wheat.
Rice – Moroccan Jews and some Iraqi Jews don’t eat rice (Ben Ish Chai Shana Aleph Parshas Tzav 41) in Bagdad many ordinary Jews do not eat rice. There are those that do and should have a special Pessach Heckshir and checked three times each kernel for grains. As for me, if I were going to use rice, I would try to import it from China, Viet Nam or Burma where they have been growing ONLY RICE for centuries!
He covers spouses with conflicting customs and holds that the wife should take on the custom of the husband and that I have heard for years by oral Halacha in Eretz Yisrael. There is a difference of opinion if she has to do Heter Nedarim or not and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is of the stricter opinion (Chazon Ovadia page 56 note 10). However, I have heard that she need not as it is the prevailing custom established for at least three generations since the holocaust in Eretz Yisrael and I tend to be lenient (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 1:158 similar to Yoreh Deah 214.2 and Mishnah Berura 468.14).
Mustard and flax are not Kitniyos and the custom is to forbid them because they grow like Kitniyos. I was told that flax oil is good for producing insulin needed to digest Matzos and if one has a very dangerous diabetic condition, he should consult his MD and Rabbi regarding this. For a person to lose a limb heaven forbid over a Minchag is not worth it. However, one should make an effort to check out the purity of the flax oil or even make his own from flax seeds prior to Pessach.
Peanuts were used in Lithuania but if ones family was stringent with peanuts he may not eat them (Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 3.63). Potato flour should also have been banned by the Kitniyos Minchag but they were not prevalent in Europe when it started and do not fall under the category.
Rabbi Melamed goes into what happens if Kitniyos fall into a dish being made by a very strict person. If it is less than one in 60 it is nullified the same way a drop of milk falls into a vat of meat being cooked. (Rama 453.1) also Mishnah Berura 9 on this while others who permit the use of Kitniyos Oil permit it. Condensed from many paragraphs who permit oils and who forbids them (Permitted by Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan in Beer Yitzchak 11 and the Emek Halacha 134 as well as Rav Kook too but the Nishmas Adam 33 and Avnei Nezer Orach Chaim 373 forbid this). Minchag Chabad – the Tzemach Tzeddek permits for poor people. The oil lecithin is produced from liftit and is added to chocolate and many authorities are stringent
Soybean oil did not arrive in Europe until 100 years ago so like in the case of potato flour one can be lenient. (This is a case of why be difficult when you could be completely impossible.) Cotton Seed Oil the Mikraei Kodesh 2,60 is lenient in the name of Rav Chaim Brisker and in Siddur Pesach K’hilchato 16.4 in the of Rav Moshe Feinstein; however, Minchas Chinuch 3,138 is stringent. Peanut oil as we already learned that the Litvaks eat peanuts so all the more so the oil. Igrot Moshe Aruch Chaim 3.63 only items not eaten were forbidden and peanuts were not even discovered until later on. (He brings down more permitting authorities vs. the Avnei Nezer Aruch Chaim 383 and another which prohibits) In conclusion regarding peanuts if one is not aware of any family custom to be stringent one can be lenient. The Charedi in Eretz Yisrael are stringent regarding lecithin and rapeseed aka Canola oil while most can go according to Rav Feinstein Igrot Chaim 3.63.
Since many American Jews lost their Minchagim due to all sorts of problems had by their past immigrant generation can rely on Rav Moshe Feinstein. The same goes for Baalei Teshuva and especially Gerim and potential Gerim one need not go over board and sort of throw out the pleasure of the Mitzva aka the baby with the wash. Even for Ashkenazim with strong Minchagim the Chayay Adam 127:1 permits eating Kitniyos in extreme situations see also Nishmas Adam 20. Rav Diskin once eat whole rice in Poland and ordered his congregation to do so too due to an outbreak of disease Chayay Adam 127:6. Mor U’Ketziya holds that the Minchag of Kitniyos should be abolished! Others hold that one may not eat Kitniyos even in extreme conditions. Again contra-acted by the Padava of Brisk 48 and the Chatam Sofer 122 and Mishna Berura 453:7 do not argue with the lenient opinions and to many the Mishna Berura is the final word! All the more so for a sick person!
If a person became a vegetarian on his own volition I would have him try to stick to his own Minchag unless he got a Heter Nedarim from three as Rav Ovadia Yosef holds for the woman who changes her customs for her husband (Chazon Ovadia page 56 note 10). While I am lenient for the woman as it is a well-known custom, for the vegetarian this is more a recent idea and therefore needs three Frum male Jews to annul the vow or custom. It might be too late for this Pessach but it is nice to know certain things.
A note of caution if you want peanut butter then grind up your own peanuts or by some ground, get Kosher Le Pessach oil, sugar, etc. and make your own as I doubt if the major brands have a Pessach Heckshir. I did not discuss fresh milk and eggs from a non-Jew which feed their animal Chometz on Pessach or the how one handles cosmetics as some hold applied to the skin is absorbed like eating. Medications I mentioned previously so I leave that for the individual to research at the site I gave.
Also left over from Last Week due to the length: SHABBAT HAGADOL ''THE GREAT SHABBAT''
The Shabbat preceding Passover, the festival of our first redemption, is called SHABBAT HAGADOL, The GREAT SHABBAT, during which we read the Prophet Section, the (Haftorah) announcing the arrival of the great day of Divine revelation and of our final redemption.
Our Sages give several explanations about the importance of this Shabbat which preceded the exodus from Egypt. This Shabbat has special significance on account of the great miracles which took place on that day.
The concepts of Shabbat and Redemption are parallel ones. The exodus from Egypt, the freedom from physical exile, must be accompanied by freedom from obstacles to our spiritual development. In Hebrew, the word "Mitzrayim" (Egypt) and "Metzarim" (straits or limitations) are homonyms.
In the true sense of the word, we are redeemed from "Mitzrayim" when we incorporate the concept of Shabbat in our lives, for Shabbat is the realm of the human spirit seeking to free itself from material restraints and aspiring to ascend towards its Creator. To reach this elevation of mind it is necessary to subject one's will and one's act to Divine will. Ceasing work on Shabbat means the self-abnegation of man before the Creator which we attain our true freedom.
"Man is only free when he subjects himself to the Torah" (Ethics of the Fathers, Chap. 6.2).
The Divine doctrine gives him the energy to rid himself from the clutches of the evil forces. Shabbat is the perfection to which we aspire. "Six days you will labor and complete all your work" (Exodus 20,9). When Shabbat comes, we lack nothing. We consider our work completed and our aims achieved. The feeling of satisfaction from the fulfillment of our duty affords us refreshed energy to carry out our task the following week as well.
The concept of Shabbat, this inner harmony, this desire to dedicate our existence to the service of our Creator, source of all unlimited riches to which we aspire, is then instilled into the whole week. Through this disposition we sense the happiness of belonging to the Chosen People, the privileged nation, guardian of the Torah throughout the centuries.
"Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it" (Exodus 20,8). We must endeavor to always have in mind Shabbat as a source of inspiration and of elevation, as the substance and the aim of our life. "G-d says to Moses, I have a precious gift in my treasure house. It is called "Shabbat". I reserve it for Israel. Go and announce it to them" (Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, P.10b).
Shabbat is the true rest, the peace of mind, the satisfaction to reach truth and to fulfill it, the disappearance of any contradictions between spirit and matter. By applying Shabbat into our life, we have in this world a foretaste of the Olam Haba (the world to come), the eternal Shabbat. He who observes Shabbat, who feels its delight, fulfills in himself true redemption from "Mitzrayim", Egypt, and will be able to enjoy the light of the final redemption, May it come speedily in our days", because he will have prepared himself to deserve it.
Sources: Haftorah, Ethics of the Fathers, Chap. 6,2, Exodus 20,9, Exodus 20,8, Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, P.10b
"Beyond all of the differences that stand between us, we are all
the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We are all one
family, with one land, and one destiny."
"Pesach kosher v'smeach"
'PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF ISRAEL'
"Let's Count the Omer"
What is the Omer?
Literally, the Hebrew word 'Omer' refers to an agricultural measure used in the Bible (sometimes translated as a "sheaf). When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, an Omer of wheat was brought as a "wave offering," to be waved in the six directions over the altar, by the Holy Priest, on the second day of Passover. This waving in the six directions was in recognition of Him to Whom the whole world belongs, G-d.
Although we commonly speak of "counting the Omer," the Omer itself was not what was actually counted. The "counting" referred to a seven week period which starts on the day the Omer offering was brought to the Temple. According to the Torah, the people were commanded by G-d to count seven weeks, 49 days, from the second day of Passover to the day before the festival of Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. On Shavuot, the 50th day, the "first fruits" from the fields and vineyards were brought in joyous procession to the Temple in Jerusalem. So Shavuot also became known as the "Feast of First Fruits."
After the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, it was no longer possible to bring the "first fruit" offerings, so the literal Omer offering, the measure of wheat, could not be offered as a sacrifice. However, the Torah commandment to count the 49 days of the Omer remained, along with the Festival of Shavuot itself on the 50th day, which was to be kept "in all your dwelling places, throughout the generations. "The counting of the 49 days from Passover to Shavuot continued even without the Temple. But the focus of Shavuot shifted from celebrating the agricultural "Festival of First Fruits" toward commemorating the Giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, which also took place on Shavuot.
"Who Should Count The Omer?"
According to Jewish Law, all male Jews 13 years old or over are required to count the Omer. Technically, women are not required to count, because they are exempt from commandments that must be performed at a specific time. However, many women do count the Omer if they want to, as well as under aged Children who are also technically exempt.
"When To Count The Omer?"
The first day of the Omer period always falls on the second day of Passover. Jewish days always begin and end at Sundown. Omer - Sunday is the second day of Passover and so we start counting the night before Saturday night - April 7,2012. This same principle holds true for all the 49 days, you count on the night before the "day." Counting should be done at night, any time between sundown and the following dawn, If you forget to count in the evening, but remember the following morning, you can still count, but should skip the blessing before the count. You can then resume with the blessing on the following night. If you miss a day entirely, you do not count on either the evening or the following daytime, then you count all the rest of the days without the blessing. The reason for this is that the counting of the Omer is a single 49 day process, so missing a day entirely interrupts the whole mitzvah. But you may still continue counting without saying the blessing.
( 33RD DAY OF THE COUNTING )
It was during a 33 day period of the Omer counting that many thousands of the disciples of Rabbi Akiva died of a plague, or the plague of persecution by the Romans for teaching Torah. In memory of this tragedy, the first 33 days of the Omer counting are a time of semi mourning. No weddings are performed then, no haircuts are taken, and festivities are generally avoided. These restrictions are lifted on Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer, when it is said the plague stopped. Therefor the day was one of joy and happiness. Another reason given for this special day is, that it is the Yahrzeit of the great Tana Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Especially in the land of Israel, at Meron, the grave site of Rabbi Shimon, has become a place where tens of thousands of people gather to commemorate and pray on this day.
There are many Jewish calendars available for the counting of the Omer. If you cannot find one that you are comfortable with, there are a number of good versions that can be downloaded from the Internet.
Sources: Rabbi Y. Gershom, Leviticus 23:11, Leviticus 23:13-15, Leviticus 16, 21, Shulchan Aruch, Jewish Festivals and Holidays.
"Pesach kosher v'smeach" Torah love to all my brothers and sisters,
"If I forget you O' Jerusalem May My Right Hand Wither"
How Iran gets money: http://www.debka.com/article/21868/
Round one of the Arab march http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4210176,00.html
Hillary and Obama vs. Am Yisrael: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=264052 Betrayal http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4209836,00.html
Kapos for the Arabs being integrated with them: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4210239,00.html
Obama’s former Spiritual leader and the PLO: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/03/reverend-jeremiah-wright-leads-global-march-to-jerusalem-protesters-throw-firebombs-rocks-at-police-video/
Rare Cooperation between Hamas and Israel again Jihad Islamic Forces: http://www.debka.com/article/21879/
Syria behind this: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=264231
Read my lips new taxes in Israel: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4210733,00.html
Who makes the law? By Moshe Dann - Jerusalem Post, March 27, 2012
Where 8,000 Rocket Launches Are Not a Casus Belli by Evelyn Gordon - JINSA, March 28, 2012
forwarded by Gail Winston, Middle East Analyst & Commentator
Tehran forces Iranian Jews to join anti-Israel Global March – at great risk
Jordan to Allow Global March to Jerusalem on March 30th, the Muslim Arab "Land Day" protest
Who makes the law? By Moshe Dann - Jerusalem Post, March 27, 2012
Once again former chief justice Dorit Beinisch and a few of her colleagues have usurped the role and powers of the legislature and sought to create new law.
In a ruling last week, Beinisch and a panel that included Justices Edna Arbel and Miriam Naor, vehement opponents of settlements, held that Michael Lessans, a Jewish plumber who lives in Kedumim, in the Shomron, must evacuate 45 dunams (approx. 11 acres) of land on which he had planted 1,300 trees because Arabs claimed this area belonged to them.
The court ordered Lessans to remove the trees immediately and compensate the Arab claimants and the Civil Administration. The court ruled that Jews, unlike Arabs, could not claim land by chazaka (acquired right of possession) – an Ottoman statute under which working the land for three to 10 years could be a basis for claiming ownership.
Lessans, who immigrated from Baltimore 40 years ago, planted the area with wheat, corn and barley in 1996, and in 2006 planted olive trees. A year later Arabs objected and in 2009 – assisted and represented by Peace Now and Yesh Din – filed a petition against Lessans. The land was never registered in tabu and the Arab claimants offered no proof of ownership.
According to Lessans, a document from the Ottoman period presented by the Arab claimants refers to the right to rent "a place" in the area – but no precise location is specified and the alleged owner is not listed. Therefore, it is impossible to know if Lessans’ orchard is "the place," or not. Although the lower court rejected Arab claims of ownership, Peace Now and Yesh Din went directly to the Supreme Court, where they knew they could win on politics, rather than law.
In his appearance before the Supreme Court, Lessans offered to give the entire orchard to the Arabs if they could prove ownership. The court refused the deal. If the Arabs can’t prove they own the land, however, why did the court order the trees removed and likely destroyed? These crucial facts were not reported in the media, which accepted the court’s decision without question.
The same tactic of appealing directly to the Supreme Court – which does not examine evidence – was used in legal disputes over contested areas such as Migron. But in Lessans’ case the court went beyond deciding on a specific place and issued a discriminatory edict. The justices did not rule on who owns the land – since the Arab claimants clearly do not. They ruled on who did not own the land – namely Michael Lessans, because, according to the court, the right to acquire land by chazaka does not apply to Jews.
If neither Lessans nor Arab claimants own the land, however, who does? The court was silent.
This ruling should send shivers down the spine of everyone who respects the rule of law. It means that Israel’s Supreme Court has been compromised by a political agenda that discriminates against Jews.
Beinisch’s ruling must also be considered along with her decision a few months ago regarding Migron that all land not certified as belonging to the State should be considered private Palestinian land, regardless of whether currently or in the future claimed or used by non- Arabs (i.e. Jews). Her earlier ruling also erased various categories of public land established under Ottoman rule, much of which is unsurveyed and disputed.
Beinisch’s intent may have been to provide a more orderly system of land ownership than existed previously. But ruling that a law allowing someone to acquire unused and unclaimed land applies to Arabs but not Jews entrenches a system of inequality that legitimizes Arab encroachment and claims, and prevents any meaningful reforms.
Her ruling restricts Jews and encourages Arabs to take over land not claimed by the State of Israel, or by Jews. One would assume, moreover, that her ruling would legitimize Arab-Israeli citizens, or Arab citizens of the PA or Jordan who use the Ottoman law to seize land in Judea and Samaria.
Ever since 1967, the Israeli Civil Administration has consistently applied Jordanian law (i.e. Ottoman land law) on land issues in Judea and Samaria. This practice was what lead the late Plia Albeck to count goat droppings on land designated for possible Jewish civilian use, lest the areas in question infringe Arab possession rights which were recognized under Ottoman law. The late prime minister Menachem Begin was also scrupulous about observing these legal formalities.
By abandoning the Ottoman rules, the High Court may well have undermined the rule of law, by changing the age-old principles of land occupancy in Judea and Samaria by sudden judicial fiat.
Courts are empowered to interpret laws, not to make them. In democratic societies that’s what legislatures are for. Whether judges support or oppose settlements, their opinions should reflect impartial deliberations. Anything less renders the judicial system a farce in black robes.
Manipulating Israel’s judicial system – using the Supreme Court, the State Prosecutor and Civil Administration against the rights of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria – undermines democracy, Zionism and the rule of law. Allowing this pseudo-judicial travesty to continue pollutes our entire system of government.
The writer is a PhD historian, writer and journalist.
Where 8,000 Rocket Launches Are Not a Casus Belli by Evelyn Gordon - JINSA, March 28, 2012
The most chilling comment I've seen on the mid-March surge of violence from Gaza, when terrorists fired 300 rockets at Israel in four days, was made almost three weeks earlier. The rocket fire had been steadily increasing, indicating that the deterrent effect of Israel's 2009 war in Gaza was fading, and Israel Defense Forces officers were discussing whether another large-scale operation in Gaza was needed. "The debate within the IDF," The Jerusalem Post reported, "is whether it needs to wait for a successful attack by Gaza terrorists – be it a rocket attack that causes casualties or a successful cross border attack – or if the sporadic rocket fire is enough of a justification to launch an operation today."
Think about that: Palestinian terrorists have fired more than 8,000 rockets at Israel since its mid-2005 pullout from Gaza, along with thousands of mortar shells; even in 2011, a "quiet" year, there were 680 rocket and mortar launches, almost two a day. A million residents of Israel's south live in permanent fear, punctuated every few months by more intensive bouts of violence that, like the one in mid-March, close schools for days and empty workplaces of parents, who must stay home with their kids. In Sderot, the town closest to Gaza, an incredible 45% of children under six have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, as have 41% of mothers and 33% of fathers; these statistics will presumably be replicated elsewhere as the rockets' increasing range brings ever more locales under regular fire.
In any other country, such relentless shelling would unquestionably be a casus belli. But Israel's army was seriously debating whether this alone justified military action, or whether it had to wait until the rockets caused a mass-casualty incident.
This is the rotten fruit of a government policy that for years dismissed the rockets as a minor nuisance for reasons of petty politics: For the Kadima party, in power from 2005-2009, admitting the rockets were a problem meant admitting that its flagship policy, the Gaza pullout, was a disaster. Thus former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's chief advisor, Dov Weissglas, famously dismissed them as mere "flying objects," while then-Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres accused southerners of "stoking hysteria" about the rockets and demanded: "What's the big deal?"
Consequently, the international community also came to view the rockets as unimportant. Initially, as former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer told The Jerusalem Post, Washington expected "a very serious Israeli response to the first act of [post-pullout] violence coming out of Gaza" and "was very surprised there was no reaction to the first rocket, second rocket and 15th rocket." But Sharon insisted the rockets were "not really that bad." Thus "all of a sudden," Kurtzer said, "people got acclimated to the idea that there can be rocket fire."
If the rockets aren't so terrible, however, then a major military operation isn't justified. That's precisely why Israel's 2009 war in Gaza provoked such an unprecedented international outcry, culminating in the infamous Goldstone Report (which even its author later recanted). According to IDF statistics, the war killed 1,166 Palestinians, including 295 civilians; it also caused extensive property damage. That's a very low rate of casualties, both civilian and overall, if the war was justified to begin with – i.e., if one deems the daily shelling of a million civilians for over three years intolerable, as one should. But it's a wildly disproportionate casualty rate if the rocket fire isn't "really that bad."
Yet unless the government is prepared to tolerate this situation forever – thereby flagrantly violating its foremost responsibility, protecting its citizens – another large-scale operation will be necessary, despite the Iron Dome anti-missile system's 85% interception rate: Since it can't provide hermetic protection, Iron Dome doesn't prevent the precautionary school closures, the work absences, the fear or the PTSD. Moreover, the next operation will have to be of much greater scope and duration than the last if the threat is to be eradicated.
The model is the West Bank, where the IDF has effectively eradicated terror: Israeli fatalities originating from the West Bank fell from over 400 in 2002 to 9 in 2011; shooting attacks fell from 2,878 to 9; and not one rocket has ever been launched from there. But this was achieved only by reoccupying all Palestinian-controlled territory in 2002 and not leaving.
In contrast, Israel ceded most of Gaza to the Palestinians in 1994 and never reentered those areas afterward, enabling Gaza to develop a rocket industry even before the 2005 disengagement, and then greatly expand it afterward. It turns out a long-term military presence is necessary to destroy the terrorist infrastructure, prevent its reconstruction and persuade the populace that terror doesn't pay.
But Israel can't launch such an operation in Gaza as long as the world deems the rockets a mere nuisance. Hence it must launch a campaign to change world opinion on this issue, just as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu successfully did with Iran's nuclear program.
This obviously entails explaining the enormous damage rocket fire inflicts, like Sderot's unconscionable PTSD rate. But it also entails exploiting the lesson learned from Netanyahu's Iran campaign: What most of the world cares about isn't preventing harm to Israel, but preventing Israeli military action. It was only the threat of such action that, as French officials acknowledged, finally spurred Europe to impose serious sanctions on Iran.
Thus Israel should begin warning relentlessly that if the rocket fire doesn't stop completely – as opposed to the current "norm" of one or two launches a day – it will be forced to reoccupy Gaza. That might actually galvanize constructive international action, such as pressure on Egypt to crack down on arms smuggling to Gaza and terrorist bases in Sinai.
But if not, it would at least underscore how seriously Israel takes the rocket threat, since most Israelis have no more desire to reoccupy Gaza than they do to start a war with Iran. And it would thereby prepare world opinion for the operation if and when it ultimately takes place.
Evelyn Gordon, JINSA Visiting Fellow, is a journalist and commentator writing in The Jerusalem Post and Commentary.
Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week’s portion Tzav the Torah continues its discussion of the Korbanos, the animal and flour offerings which served as one of the main avenues of Jewish worship in the times of the Temple. These sacrifices served to bring Jews closer to Hashem. This is hinted to in the root of the word Korban which is "Karov," meaning “close.” One of the most important of the Korbanos-sacrifices is the Korban Pesach. The Torah describes the Korban Pesach in Parshas Bo: “They shall eat the meat [of the sheep or goat] on that night – roasted over the fire – and matzos; with bitter herbs shall they eat it.” (Shemos 12:8)
Until the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, we are unable to bring the Korban Pesach. What can we bring to Hashem in place of the Korban Pesach and all the other sacrifices that for so long served to connect us with Hashem? Hashem would not have taken away the Korbanos (sacrifices) without giving us an alternate route to grow closer to Him.
The Prophet Hoshea answers our dilemma: “Let our lips compensate for the bulls [which we used to bring as sacrifices.]”(14:3) Hashem is telling us through the Prophet’s words that in place of the sacrifices, we can use our mouths to serve Hashem through prayer. As we say before prayer “My L-rd, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.”(51:17)
As we approach Pesach, it is important to mention that the themes of Pesach and prayer are very much related to one another. Before we begin the Amidah, the main body of Jewish prayer, we praise Hashem for freeing us from slavery in Egypt. Why do we link our redemption from Egypt with our prayers to Hashem? The following parable illustrates our answer: There once was a man who fell into a fast moving river which flowed towards a 300 foot waterfall. The man began to yell for help. Nearby, the king was out strolling by the riverside when he heard the cries of the drowning man. The king was able to miraculously rescue the man from certain death.
The man was very grateful to the king for saving his life and he became one of the most outspoken supporters of the king and his policies. The man was appointed official spokesman of the royal court. Wherever the man went to speak the praises of the king, he prefaced his remarks with the story of how the king saved his life.
The Children of Israel were drowning in a river of impurity in Egypt. Hashem, the King, heard the cries of the Children of Israel and saved them from certain spiritual death. We are so thankful to Hashem that He released us from slavery that we became “Avdei Hashem”-- Hashem’s spokespeople. Thus, when we sing Hashem’s praises in prayer, we often begin by recounting how Hashem brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an out-stretched arm. (Shemoneh Esrei, Rav. Avrohom Chaim Feuer, p.37)
The Gerrer Rebbe commented that the Jews are Hashem’s chosen people mainly because we have a power to pray to Hashem. The Egyptians, on the other hand, used their mouths to pursue prurient interests. The Egyptian leader was therefore called Pharaoh, which can be read “Peh Rah” the wicked mouth. (Likutei Yehudah, Parshas Vaeira, p.45)
The primary tragedy of the Jews in Egypt was not their physical bondage but the shackling of their souls. The Jews’ spirits were silenced, and they almost lost the ability to pray and communicate with Hashem.(Ibid.) On Pesach we celebrate our spiritual freedom to call out to Hashem all of our hopes and needs, and our appreciation for being alive. The name of the Yom Tov itself hints to this concept; Pesach can be read “Pey Sach” the mouth that speaks and can therefore pray to Hashem. (Ibid)
We read about the importance of prayer in our Torah portion this week Tzav. By looking into the verses, we can improve the quality of our own prayers. The Torah tells us that improper thought while bringing a korban - sacrifice can invalidate the sacrifice. (Vayikra 7:18) As we have discussed, prayer substitutes for the sacrifices. When a Jew prays he should therefore be careful not to let any foreign thoughts into his head, such as the plans for the day, or what he is going to eat after davening. Just as an improper thought renders a sacrifice invalid, so too do foreign thoughts render prayer invalid. (Shulchan Aruch).
On their way through Rizhin, a group of misnagdim (opponents of the Chasidim) from Sanik decided to visit Reb Yisrael of Rizhin in order to enjoy a little argument with him on the ideology of Chassidism.
"We, at least, walk in the path of G-d," they began. "We set aside times for the study of Torah; we pray with a minyan at daybreak; and when prayers are over, while we are still wearing our tallis and tefillin, we settle down to learn Mishnayos. But the chassidim -not only do they pray after the statutory time, but when they have finished with their prayers they sit down and drink a ‘l’chaim’ and have cake. And then they call themselves chassidim, (which means 'pious ones,’) and us they call misnagdim, their antagonists. Why, it should be the other way round!"
The Rizhiner rebbe's shammes who happened to be present, could not contain himself, and came out with his own reply: "You misnagdim serve the Creator frigidly - you are as lacking in warmth as a corpse, G-d forbid. And everyone knows that after a death the traditional custom is to study Mishnayos. But when chassidim serve their Maker, they do it with enthusiasm, and their heart is on fire, just as a living man is full of warmth - and doesn't a living man need a drop of vodka now and again?"
After hearing the words of his shammes (attendant), Reb Yisroel of Rizhin commented: "This answer, of course, was not to be taken seriously. But the fact is that from the day on which the Temple was destroyed, it is prayer that substitutes for the sacrifices which can no longer be offered, as it is written: “Let our lips compensate for the bulls [which we used to bring as sacrifices.]”( Hoshea 14:3)
Moreover, just as a sacrifice is rendered invalid by an improper thought, and becomes an abomination which is not acceptable On High, so too is a man's prayer invalidated by alien thought. The Evil Inclination therefore has all kind of tricks he uses to introduce foreign thoughts into the mind of the worshiper in order to distract him. And that is why the chassidim invented a counter-strategy of their own. After their prayers they sit down to have a shot of vodka together, and wish each other l’chaim; and as each man gives expression to what he most needs, his friend says: 'May G-d grant your request!'
Now according to the law of the Torah, prayer may be uttered in any language, so these informal words are of course reckoned in heaven as prayer. Here, however, the Evil Inclination has no say, for when he sees people eating and drinking and speaking in their everyday language, he thinks that this is a mere bodily activity and does not even realize that this is prayer!" (A Treasury of Chassidic Tales, p.322 R.S.Y. Zevin, U.Kaploun, trans.)
In the place of sacrifices, a Jew today can grow closer to Hashem through prayer, as it states in Psalms “Hashem is close to all who call upon Him – to all who call Him sincerely.” (Tehillim 145:18) May it be Your will Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that the prayers of our lips be worthy, acceptable and favorable before You as if we brought the offerings at their set times and at their proper locations. May the Holy Temple be rebuilt, speedily in our days, so that we may again bring offerings that are pleasing to you Hashem. Good Shabbos Everyone. Matis Wolfberg’s stories are sponsored by Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah