Sandy's rain, wind and floods will devastate 6 states and DC that have legalized same-sex marriage with 2 other states voting. Six Northeast states have legalized same-sex marriage and two vote on the issue November 6: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, the District of Columbia, with Maryland and Maine voting November 6 on referendums on same sex marriage. New Jersey offers civil unions granting rights similar to marriage. Pennsylvania's state statute bans same-sex marriage.
Laws that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington and Maryland were passed in 2012, but each will be subject to a referendum during the November 2012 elections, while Maine will also vote on a citizens' initiative to establish same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage has been legalized through court rulings and legislative action, but not via popular vote. The words in English Sodomy and Sodomize come from this second Parsha I bring down.
12:1 Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curses thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.'
This blessing and curse has not been annulled and will continue unto this day. Our punishment is that the curse is delayed but it will come.
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
Year after year I have wondered about all the souls that he had converted in Haran. Some speculate that these are the righteous Gentiles who aid Am Yisrael others the true Bnei Noach in their behavior others some of the Gerim while other Gerim come from those who were forced to convert over the centuries.
6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the terebinth of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said: 'Unto thy seed will I give this land'; and he built there an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 8 And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ai on the east; and he built there an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.
10 And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was sore in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: 'Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon. 12 And it will come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they will say: This is his wife; and they will kill me, but thee they will keep alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister; that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee.'
Killing the husband and taking the wife was not only prevalent then. One of Saddam’s General’s divorced his wife when the dictator started smiling at her. He made it public knowledge to keep his head about him. All the more so by kings and powerful leaders in ancient times! Even in Eastern Europe the right of the Noble to have the first night with any maiden before she married led to the shaving of the head and Jewish maidens wading in filth and stinking that gave us the names of dirty stinky Jews. This theme will repeat itself in our second Parsha and with Yitzchak in Parsha Toldos both with Avimelech (which seems to be a title like Pharaoh literally father-king).
If you ever wonder form where Moshe had the gumption to argue with HASHEM for Am Yisrael, he got it from Avraham: Far be it from You: And if You say that the righteous will not save the wicked, why should You kill the righteous?- [from Gen. Rabbah 49:8] Far be it from You: Heb. חָלִילָה. It is profane (חוּלִין) , [i.e., unfitting] for You. They will say, “So is His craft. He inundates everyone, righteous and wicked.” So You did to the Generation of the Flood and to the Generation of the Dispersion. — [from Tan. Vayera 8] a thing such as this: Neither this nor anything similar to it. — Far be it from You: for the World to Come. — [from Tan. Buber] Will the Judge of the entire earth: The “hey” of הֲשֹׁפֵט is vowelized with a “chataf pattach,” as an expression of wonder: Will He Who judges not perform true justice?!
The limits of US power http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=289347
Not surprisingly, at the height of the campaign season, neither US President Barack Obama nor his Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney was interested in revealing his plans for the next four years.
But from what was said, we can be fairly certain that a second Obama term will involve no departure from his foreign policy in his current term in office.
As far as Iran and its nuclear weapons program is concerned, that policy has involved a combination of occasional tough talk and a relentless attempt to appease the mullahs. While Obama denied The New York Times report from last weekend that he has agreed to carry out new bilateral negotiations with Iran after the US presidential elections, his administration has acknowledged that it would be happy to have such talks if they can be arranged.
As for Romney, his statements of support for tougher sanctions, including moving to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the crime of incitement of genocide were certainly welcome.
But they were also rather out of date, given the lateness of the hour.
If there was ever much to recommend it, the “sanction Iran into abandoning its nuclear weapons” policy is no longer a relevant option. The timetables are too short.
On the other hand, Romney’s identification of Iran as the gravest national security threat facing the US made clear that he understands the severity of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
And consequently, if Romney defeats Obama on November 6, it is likely that on January 21, 2013, the US will adopt a different policy towards Iran.
The question for Israel now is whether any of this matters. If Romney is elected and adopts a new policy towards Iran, what if any operational significance will this policy shift have for Israel? The short answer is very little.
To understand why this is the case we need to consider two issues: The time it would take for a new US policy to be implemented; and the time Iran requires to become a nuclear power.
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, jihadist attacks on the US, then-president George W. Bush faced no internal opposition to overthrowing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The US military and intelligence arms all supported the operation. Congress supported the operation. The American public supported the operation. The UN supported the mission.
And still, it took the US four weeks to plan and launch Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. That is, under optimal conditions, the US needed nearly a month to respond to the largest foreign attack on the US mainland since the War of 1812.
Then of course there was Operation Iraqi Freedom which officially began on March 20, 2003, with the US-British ground invasion of Iraq from Kuwait.
Bush and his advisers began seriously considering overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime in the spring of 2002. They met with resistance from the US military. They met with a modicum of political opposition in Congress, and more serious opposition in the media. Moreover, they met with harsh opposition from France and Russia and other key players at the UN and in the international community. So, too, they met with harsh opposition from senior UN officials.
It took the administration until November 2002 to get the UN Security Council to pass Resolution 1441 which found Iraq in material breach of the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Gulf War. The US and Britain began repositioning ground forces and war materiel in Kuwait ahead of a ground invasion that month. It took more than four months for the Americans and the British to complete the forward deployment of their forces in Kuwait.
During those long months, other parties, unsympathetic to the US, Britain and their aims had ample opportunity to make their own preparations to deny the US and Britain the ability to win the war quickly and easily and so avoid the insurgency that ensued in the absence of a clear victory. So, too, the four months the US required to ready for war enabled Iran to plan and begin executing its plan to suck the US into a prolonged proxy war with its surrogates from al-Qaida and Hezbollah protégés.
A CLEAR Anglo-American victory would have involved the location, presentation and destruction of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. And this Saddam denied them. By the time US ground forces finally arrived, despite massive telltale signs that such weapons had been in Iraq until very recently, no smoking gun was found.
In the long lead up to the US invasion, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon warned that satellite data indicated that Iraq was transporting its chemical weapons arsenal to Syria. Sharon’s warnings fell on deaf ears. So, too, a report by a Syrian journalist that WMD had been transferred to Syria was ignored.
According to a detailed report by Ryan Mauro at PJMedia.com from June 2010, after the fall of Saddam’s regime, the Iraq Survey Group, charged with assessing the status of Iraq’s WMD arsenal, received numerous credible reports that the chemical weapons had been sent to Syria before the invasion.
The stream of reports about the pre-invasion transfer of Iraq’s WMD to Syria have continued to intermittently surface since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war last year.
In short, at a minimum, the time the US required to mount its operation in Iraq enabled Saddam to prepare the conditions to deny America the ability to achieve a clear victory.
THIS BRINGS us to Iran. In the event that Romney is elected to the presidency, upon entering office he would face a military leadership led by Gen. Martin Dempsey that has for four years sought to minimize the danger that Iran’s nuclear weapons program poses to the US. Dempsey has personally employed language to indicate that he believes an Israeli preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons sites would be an illegal act of aggression.
Romney would face intelligence, diplomatic and military establishments that at a minimum have been complicit in massive leaks of Israeli strike options against Iran and that have so far failed to present credible military options for a US strike against Iran’s uranium enrichment sites and other nuclear installations.
He would face a hostile media establishment that firmly and enthusiastically supports Obama’s policy of relentless appeasement and has sought to discredit as a warmonger and a racist every politician who has tried to make the case that Iran’s nuclear weapons program constitutes an unacceptable threat to US national security.
Then, too, Romney would face a wounded Democratic base, controlled by politicians who have refused to cooperate with Republicans since 2004.
And he would face an electorate that has never heard a cogent case for military action against Iran. (Although, with the goodwill with which the American public usually greets its new presidents, this last difficulty would likely be the least of his worries.)
At the UN, Romney would face the same gridlock faced by his two predecessors on Iran. Russia and China would block UN Security Council action against the mullocarcy.
AS FOR the Arab world, whereas when Obama came into office in 2009, the Sunni Arab world was united in its opposition to a nuclear-armed Iran, today Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt favors Iran more than it favors the US. Arguably only Saudi Arabia would actively support an assault on Iran’s nuclear weapons sites. All the other US allies have either switched sides, or like Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain are too weak to offer any open assistance or political support. For its part, Iraq is already acting as Iran’s satrapy, allowing Iran to transfer weapons to Bashar Assad’s henchmen through its territory.
All of this means that as was the case in Iraq, it would likely take until at least the summer of 2013, if not the fall, before a Romney administration would be in a position to take any military action against Iran’s nuclear installations.
And it isn’t only US military campaigns that take a long time to organize. It also takes a long time for US administrations to change arm sales policies.
For instance, if a hypothetical Romney administration wished to supply Israel with certain weapons systems that would make an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear installations more successful, it could take months for such deals to be concluded, approved by Congress, and then executed.
This then brings us to the question of where will Iran’s nuclear weapons program likely stand by next summer?
In his speech before the UN General Assembly last month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that by next spring or at the latest next summer Iran will have reached the final stage of uranium enrichment and will be able to acquire sufficient quantities of bomb-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon within a few months or even a few weeks.
Netanyahu said that the last opportunity to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons will be before it reaches the final stage of uranium enrichment – that is, by the spring. At that point, a hypothetical Romney administration will have been in office for mere months. A new national security leadership will just be coming into its own.
It is extremely difficult to imagine that a new US administration would be capable of launching a preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear installations at such an early point in its tenure in office.
Indeed, it is hard to see how such a new administration would be able to offer Israel any material support for an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear installations by next spring.
So this leaves us with Israel. Over the past several weeks, there has been a spate of reports indicating that Israel’s military and intelligence establishments forced Netanyahu to take a step back from rhetorical brinksmanship on Iran. Our commanders are reportedly dead set against attacking Iran without US support and still insist that Israel can and must trust the Americans to take action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
There is great plausibility to these reports for a number of reasons. The intelligence and military brass have for years suffered from psychological dependence of the US and believe that Israel’s most important strategic interest is to ensure US support for the country. Then, too, in the event that an Israeli strike takes place against the backdrop of a larger military confrontation with Iran’s proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, Israel would likely require rapid resupply of arms to ensure its ability to fend off its enemies.
But when we consider the political realities of the US – in the event that Obama is reelected or in the event that Romney takes the White House – it is clear that Israel will remain the only party with the means – such as they are – and the will to strike Iran’s nuclear installations.
Israel is the only country that can prevent this genocidal regime with regional and global ambitions from acquiring the means to carry out its goals.
Good Shabbos Everyone. In our Torah portion this week Vayeira , we read about the greatness of the mitzvah of Hachnasas Orchim, welcoming guests into our homes. The Torah tells us that Avrohom Avinu "was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day." (Bereishis 18:1) Rashi explains that Avrohom was waiting to see if travelers would pass by, so that he could invite them into his home.
When Avrohom saw that three men were approaching, Avrohom ran towards the men in order to offer them hospitality. When the guests arrived, Avrohom was in the middle of receiving the Shechina - the Divine Presence of Hashem. Hashem had come to visit Avrohom who was still recovering from his bris milah which had taken place three days earlier. The Torah quotes Avrohom as saying "My L-rd, If I find favor in Your eyes, please pass not away from Your servant."(Bereishis 18:3) The Talmud explains this verse to mean that Avrohom Avinu asked the Divine Presence to wait for him, so that Avrohom could take care of the guests. Avrohom and Sorah then quickly prepared a large meal for the travelers. (Stone Chumash, p.79 citing Shabbos 127a and Shevuos 35b)
The fact that Avrohom put the needs of his guests over receiving the Divine Presence, shows the greatness of the mitzvah of Hachnasas Orchim.(ibid.) As the Sages tell us, "let your house be open wide" (Avos 1:5) Bartinurah explains that a Jew's house should be like Avrohom Avinu's home, which had entrances on all four sides in order to make it easy for guests to enter.
Several years ago observant Jews began to attempt to close Meah Shearim Street in Jerusalem to traffic on Shabbos. The observant Jews were offended by the blatant violation of Shabbos which disturbed the holy atmosphere of the neighborhood. In those early years, the locals set up trash bins before Shabbos which blocked the street from traffic. Needless to say, there was anger and indignation all around.
Secular elements from across Israel, formed a committee with the goal of opposing the closure of the street, a move which the secular Jews saw as "religious coercion." This committee against religious coercion used to bus into Jerusalem ruffians from kibbutzim and other places, to attack and beat up the "Ultra Orthodox."
Once such ruffian who went up to Jerusalem to beat up the Ultra Orthodox was named Kobi Levy (not his real name.) One Shabbos, Kobi was in Jerusalem with his own automobile and decided to show those Ultra Orthodox a thing or two. He drove his car down Meah Shearim Street "like a Roman charioteer," as he described it, with pedestrians scattering in panic; pregnant women sprinting from the street, women with baby carriages bouncing across the uneven pavement. All this to show them that they cannot impose their "Shabbos" on him.
One man a local teacher had the presence of mind to memorize the number of his license plate and look him up the next day at the motor vehicle licensing bureau. That way, he eventually tracked down Kobi's telephone number. Then he called up Kobi and invited him home for Shabbos, explaining that he wanted him to see what Shabbos is and "why it means so much to us."
The driver declined, explaining that he would not want to spend the whole of Shabbos. The Meah Shearim resident pleaded with Kobi and said to him "I am inviting you to be my guest, not my prisoner. You are free to leave whenever you want. Just do me the courtesy of parking your car outside the neighborhood."
Kobi could find no honorable way of refusing an invitation which was so reasonably presented, so he agreed to go for Kiddush and the meal Shabbos evening. Kobi enjoyed himself and was intrigued at the beautiful singing, tasty food and inspiring words of Torah. When Kobi left, his host invited him to return for another Shabbos. To reinforce the invitation, the host called Kobi during the week.
Eventually, Kobi came again for Shabbos. And again. And again. Over the next year or so, he became first an occasional Shabbos guest, then a frequent Shabbos guest and finally a regular Shabbos guest. Over period of two to three years, he became a ba'al teshuvah! (From (http://www.nishmas.org)
We see from here the power of welcoming guests into our homes. The mitzvah of making others feel comfortable in our homes is a tremendous mitzvah. Let us all seek out guests, especially for Shabbos and Yom Tov meals. By doing so, we will all merit the great spiritual influences which Hashem imparts on those who perform this mitzvah. Good Shabbos Everyone. M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: In memory of R' Yaakov ben Naftoly, of blessed memory Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah