שמע ישראל יי אלהינו יי אחד

צִיּוֹן, בְּמִשְׁפָּט תִּפָּדֶה; וְשָׁבֶיהָ, בִּצְדָקָה

עוּרִי עוּרִי לִבְשִׁי-עֹז, זְרוֹעַ יְהוָה--עוּרִי כִּימֵי קֶדֶם, דֹּרוֹת עוֹלָמִים

17 October 2009

The Days Between

Chodesh Tov, and welcome to Cheshvan 5770. After a month of chagim it's a bit desolate in a way. But then again, if we did the work we were supposed to over the last two months, we are invigorated and in the place we need to be in order to engage the new year and continue the process of growth and renewal that we began in the wake of Tisha b'Av. And, as we heard from the Navi this week, Hashem calls on us again, renewing us in the task at hand...

.אֲנִי יְהוָה קְרָאתִיךָ בְצֶדֶק, וְאַחְזֵק בְּיָדֶךָ; וְאֶצָּרְךָ, וְאֶתֶּנְךָ לִבְרִית עָם--לְאוֹר גּוֹיִם
.לִפְקֹחַ, עֵינַיִם עִוְרוֹת; לְהוֹצִיא מִמַּסְגֵּר אַסִּיר, מִבֵּית כֶּלֶא יֹשְׁבֵי חֹשֶׁךְ

We have been taken into a bond Hashem, and are to be a light, an inspiration to the nations. We are to open the eyes of those who fail to see, and retrieve those of us imprisoned in the dark. Two names come to mind most of all: Pollard, and Shalit. But there are other prisoners as well. The ones who condemn Israel for the audacity of self-defense, and the members of Am Yisrael that support them. They must have their eyes opened. But without the demand for Jewish leadership in Israel, what message is being sent to the world?

The Israeli government lets Jonathan Pollard rot in Butner, North Carolina, and releases terrorist murderers to see a video of our captured soldier, whom the world clearly cares nothing about. And so we must not only be a light unto the nations, we must be a light to our own people. And we must go forward in strength and determination...

.יְהוָה כַּגִּבּוֹר יֵצֵא, כְּאִישׁ מִלְחָמוֹת יָעִיר קִנְאָה; יָרִיעַ, אַף-יַצְרִיחַ--עַל-אֹיְבָיו, יִתְגַּבָּר
.הֶחֱשֵׁיתִי, מֵעוֹלָם--אַחֲרִישׁ, אֶתְאַפָּק; כַּיּוֹלֵדָה אֶפְעֶה, אֶשֹּׁם וְאֶשְׁאַף יָחַד

If HaShem is going to be making a show of force, proving His might to His enemies, then who are we to do less? If HaShem has held His peace, but is no longer silent, then so too must we speak out, shout, and demand justice so that every deaf ear will hear.

The world is once again lining up against us. Our communities in Eretz Yisrael are still in jeopardy by the Knesset's hand, and the land entire is under threat from those who continuously seek our destruction.

The words of the Navi are clear. Silence is not an option.

Chanukah seems like a long way off. The lights that we will put in our windows should be kindled in our hearts and minds now so that we will be inspired to fill the days between with our voices to make the nations, and our so-called leaders know that we are not deaf, dumb, and blind.

13 October 2009

Why I Choose To Come Home: Part II

I have always known that at some point I was going to go home to Eretz Yisrael. I figured I would at least retire there, but I seem to have a certain degree of urgency about it now.

What made it apparent was an opinion piece written by a local Rabbi. He is a Reform Rabbi who possesses a working knowledge of Jewish law, but a skewed view of Israel, so much so that it has been reported to me that he actually discourages Jews from making aliyah. If it were possible to withdraw a Rabbi’s smicha I would do so based on the grounds that it is, in my opinion, chilul Hashem to discourage a Jew from making aliyah. In this miraculous time of redemption, when the visions of the naviim are clearly coming to pass, it is also a crime against Am Yisrael. Unless it would cause undo hardship, or there was an issue of picuach nefesh (preserving a life), I can see no reason for this. But that's just me.

This letter to the editor was written over the summer concerning the Jewish communities of Yehuda and Shomron. It was replete with all the Leftist memes: the settlements are an obstacle to peace; if only they were evacuated the Arabs would lay down their weapons and peace would spontaneously break out. And of course there was the nearly Pavlovian endorsement of Obama’s demand that all Jewish construction cease in Yesha, and eastern Jerusalem. I already knew this man was an active believer in “Peace Now,” so I was not surprised at all. But his seemingly willful ignoring of history was shocking.

There were no settlements in Yesha in the 1920s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, when Arabs rioted, massacred, bombed, and invaded prior to, and following the founding of the modern state of Israel. What was the excuse? How could this man simply ignore this? How could he not be aware of the military and security ramifications of withdrawing to the 1967 Auschwitz lines? I literally felt like vomiting.

Then it occurred to me; this is a man who doesn’t live in Israel, and clearly has no intention of living there. He is perfectly willing to live and die in exile, and feels right at home in America. A colleague of mine pointed out that because he is a Reform Rabbi his smicha means nothing to the Rabbinate in Israel. No marriage or conversion he performs is considered halachically acceptable in Israel. He probably has a deep seeded anger about this. I can certainly understand this, but in the end, he is still a Jew, and Eretz Yisrael is the home of our people. Who is he to discourage a Jew from moving there? Who is he to sit safely in America and attempt to dictate the notion that Israel’s safety and security is best insured by abdicating to a political and terrorist body whose sole purpose is Israel’s destruction? To me that is the hallmark of an insane person.

Then I asked myself, how can I continue to live among such people? How can I consider myself to be an advocate for my nation when I don’t even live in my nation's homeland? Leaving exile just makes sense, spiritually and politically. I live in a country whose government actively works to subvert my homeland. I live in a country that takes my hard earned money and uses it to train and arm the very terrorists who kill my people on buses, markets, restaurants, hotels, and schools, and then tells Israel, make peace with your torturer. Without my consent, my continued residence here funds the killing of my people. It is as if the United States government suffers from Stockhausen by Proxy. It makes me sick.

We just completed 3 weeks of deep spiritual exercises culminating in the ecstasy and joy of Simchat Torah. It was a brilliant act of defiance to march with a Torah in my arms into the streets of our town and dance with my fellow Jews, blocking traffic and making a scene until the police arrived. It was a statement to all that we are here. In spite of 2000 years of attempted genocide we are still here, dancing with our Torah, the thing that many try to lay claim to, but belongs to us. We accepted it when no one else would and shared it with the world. And there we were proudly declaring our claim to this precious gift.

But what I want more than anything else is for every single Jew that was out there in the street that night to be on a plane with a one-way ticket home. I am determined not to make the journey alone. And so I am gathering everyone I can.