Friday, December 14, 2012

RABBI M. KAHANE: Parashat Mikeitz - Joseph recognized his brothers

Joseph recognized by his brothers 

Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the river... (Genesis 41:1)

Pharaoh [the epitome of a non-Jewish leader] wanted to control the river himself and be a god. My father and teacher of blessed memory [Rabbi Meir Kahane's father, Rav Yechezkel Shraga Kahane ztz”l] explained this beautifully: in Joseph’s day, Pharaoh dreamed [literally “is dreaming”] that he was standing by [literally “on”] the river (Genesis 41:1). But when he related his dream to Joseph, he said, And behold I was standing on the bank of the river (ibid. v. 17). Why did he change the wording? Furthermore, how could Pharaoh know that Joseph’s interpretation was true? After all, he had rejected the interpretations of all his soothsayers: the Midrash explains the verse, and none could interpret [the dreams] for Pharaoh (ibid. v.8) to mean, They would interpret, but their voice did not enter Pharaoh’s ear [i.e. he did not accept what they said] (Genesis Rabbah 89:6). But if this were the case, then why would Pharaoh accept the interpretation of a slave – and a Hebrew slave at that!? By way of answer, my father quoted a Talmudic passage which deals with dreams: A person is only shown what his heart already imagines (Berakhot 55b). What could Pharaoh possibly imagine, what did he not already have?One thing only he lacked, one thing only he desired that was beyond his control – the River Nile, the god of Egypt. This is why he is dreaming in the present tense – eternally dreaming of being the god of Egypt, in control of the river, on the river – above the river. But he did not want to reveal this, so he told Joseph, I was standing on the bank of the river. But Joseph understood, and interpreted the dreams to mean that the day would yet come when the river would betray those who worshiped it, and would cause a famine. Only if Pharaoh would heed Joseph’s words would he be able to supply his people with bread, and thus become their god. This was certainly what Pharaoh wanted to hear, and this was the interpretation that he accepted.

[See on the other hand Joseph, as an allusion to the qualities of a Jewish leader:] Joseph was sold as a slave. They afflicted his leg with shackles, his soul came in irons (Psalms 105: 18); and now, Joseph was the ruler of the land (Genesis 42:6). – Genesis Rabbah 30:8. In other words: come and see the providence of the all-powerful G-d. Yesterday, Joseph was brought to Egypt as a slave, iron chains shackling his soul – who could have foreseen that overnight, G-d would overturn his world, and renew his life, and transform this slave into a ruler?! Every “soul” of Israel must learn from this that just as Joseph, whose soul came in irons, became the viceroy of Egypt – so too, will they ascend from Egypt as a great and powerful nation. A Jewish leader’s greatness lies in his being on the one hand strong and uncompromising, able to control his own nature and overcome all obstacles, and, as G-d said to Joshua four times, be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18); while on the other hand, being humble in his private life and personal relationships, because G-d will never infuse His spirit into a conceited and arrogant person. And this is how Chazal describe Joseph: Even though Joseph achieved royal dominion, he never became arrogant towards his brothers or his father’s house. Just as he was insignificant in their eyes at the beginning, when he was a slave in Egypt, so he remained insignificant in his own eyes after he became king (Exodus Rabbah 1:7). True, the Talmud says: Why did Joseph die before his brothers? – Because he acted condescendingly (Berakhot 55a, Sotah 13b). But this was only in one specific instance, when his brothers referred to Jacob ten times as your servant, our father, and he did not stop them; and, as Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer (39) says, his life was shortened by ten years for this reason. But apart from this, he always acted with humility. See how strict G-d is with the tzaddikim! In fact, the trait of humility was immensely strong in Joseph. In the words of the Ohr ha-Chayim: When [Joseph] was in Egypt, it would have been natural for him to change…in light of what they did to him – they sold him, and were cruel to him; how could he not have changed, however slightly, towards them all?… And yet, the Torah teaches that he remained equal to them. [Even more so:] “Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him”. According to the simple understanding, the commentators explain that the brothers did not recognize Joseph because at the time when they sold him, he was young and without a beard, and now he had a beard. On the other hand, Joseph recognized his brothers because at the time he was sold, they already had beards. Rashi digs deeper, explaining that the difference between the two sides was not merely recognition of external appearances. When Joseph encountered his brothers on the fateful day in Shechem, they did not “recognize” him; that is, they did not act brotherly towards him and sold him to the Ishmaelites. But when the brothers were at Joseph's mercy, he “recognized” them; he acted brotherly towards them and did not take revenge for all the pain that they caused him.

[From this, there is a link to redemption: at the very end of his life, Joseph's last words ever to his brothers were] “G-d is sure to visit you [pakod yifkod] (Midrash HaGadol, Bereshit 50:24) He informed them of two visits. The first [pakod] referred to the time of Moses, the second [yifkod] to that of the Messianic king. This also serves as a paradigm of the final redemption, since the complete redemption will parallel the Exodus from Egypt. The Midrash there links every name mentioned with the redemption, and concludes:Joseph [Yosef] is thus called because in the future, G-d will yosif (“continue”) to redeem Israel from the wicked kingdom, just as He redeemed them from Egypt, as it says, And it will be on that day, the Lord will yosif (“continue”) to show His hand, to acquire the remnant of His nation (Isaiah 11:11). Kol HaTor says [regarding the allusion to the “Mashiach ben Joseph” and the complete redemption] (Ch. 2, Part 1:39): “Joseph recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him” (Gen. 42:8): This is one of Joseph's attributes. Not just in his generation, but in every generation, Mashiach ben Joseph recognizes his brothers and they do not recognize him. It is an act of Satan which conceals Mashiach ben Joseph's attributes, such that the Jews unfortunately do not recognize his footsteps, and in fact scoff at them... If not for this, our troubles would already be over. If Israel “recognized Joseph”, Mashiach ben Joseph's footsteps comprising the ingathering of the exiles, etc., we would already be completely redeemed.” Even before we examine our sages' words regarding Mashiach ben Joseph, we already have in hand several basic principles from the holy lips of the Gra: 1.) There are two Messiahs, Mashiach ben Joseph and Meshiach ben David. The first is called “the Inaugural Messiah”. He is involved in the whole physical side of redemption, the actual return to Zion, and he fights G-d's wars. The second completes the spiritual redemption. 2.) These two Messiahs exist among us in every generation, and if Israel only understood what they must do to bring redemption “in haste”, it would come speedily via these two Messiahs. 3.) Mashiach ben Joseph not only goes unrecognized, but Israel ridicules those who herald the truth of redemption and are fit to be Mashiach ben Joseph. If Israel only recognized him and his era, he would immediately begin complete redemption “in haste.”

Rabbi Meir Kahane's son, Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane, HY”D, refers to this in his commentary on Haggadat Pesach [The Haggadah of the Jewish Idea]: Who is Mashiach ben Joseph? In every generation, there is a “candidate for the post” of Mashiach ben Joseph, as well as one who could be Mashiach ben David. It is the actions of the generation, and the subsequent judgement of G-d, that determine whether or not they be revealed. In any event, he who bears the soul of Mashiach ben Joseph strives, in every generation, to bring the physical redemption nearer; but it is only in our era that the generation has merited to see its implementation [the beginning of the ingathering of the exiles]. The [above mentioned, see Kol haTor] refusal to recognize Mashiach ben Joseph is actually refusal to take measures involving faith and trust in G-d, without fear of the nations, as the most important part of the general return to G-d and His Torah. And since Mashiach ben Joseph is ready to come every single moment, as we said above, it follows that due to Israel's refusal to repent, the Mashiach becomes like a prisoner, so to speak. The impoverished [meaning, not Torah observant] regime, whose conception and birth occurred in the alien culture of the nations, and who denies the Torah of Moses, has refused to apply the authority and sovereignty of the people and G-d of Israel upon all parts of Eretz Israel for fear of the nations. This constitutes a Chilul Hashem. A rebellion against and degradation of the holiness of Eretz Israel, large parts of which have remained under the authority of the nations. A condition for complete redemption through Kiddush Hashem is control and sovereignty of the G-d and people of Israel. Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane ends his Haggadat Pessach commentary thus: We can but pray that all we have learnt about the Redemption will be actualized soon, swiftly and painlessly, that we may merit a hastened Redemption, that our merits may bring Mashiach ben David, who will complete the process of Redemption, Amen.

[A remark: The last shiur that Rabbi Meir Kahane, HY”D, held at the Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea before he was murdered by an Al Qaeda member in New York, dealt with Mashiach ben Joseph. More than 10 years later, when his son Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane and his wife Taliyah, HY”D, were murdered in a roadside ambush by Arab terrorists north of Jerusalem, besides their car were found bloodstained sheets with the last Parashat Hashavua commentary that Rav Binyamin had worked on: A commentary on Parashat Vayigash, focussed on Israel's refusal to recognize Mashiach ben Joseph and his willingness to endure this out of love for his people.]
Compiled by Tzipora Liron-Pinner from 'Peirush HaMaccabee on Shemot' and 'The Jewish Idea' of Rabbi Meir Kahane, HY”D and from 'The Writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane HY”D', commentary on Parashat Vayigash, and from his 'Haggadah of the Jewish Idea'.

Friday, December 7, 2012

RABBI M. KAHANE Parashat Vayeshev - Forgetting vs. Remembering

A Yemeni Jew
When a Jew is away from Israel, he must constantly acknowledge that he is a stranger in a foreign land, living among a foreign nation, like one who is with a woman whom he does not know. As Solomon expressed it: And why should you stray, my son, with an alien woman, and hug the bosom of a foreign woman (Proverbs 5:20). [...] Human nature is to forget suffering after some time has passed and one finds refuge and starts to live in peace; then the nekhar (“unknown”) and the nokhri (“foreigner, stranger”) become nikkar (“recognized”) and mukkar (“known”), and the alien land becomes homeland. And indeed, this happened even to Joseph himself:

Joseph thought: When I was in my father’s house…my brothers envied me; now that I am here [in Egypt], I thank You that I live in wealth. G-d said to him: It is so good for you here that you are rebelling. By your life! I will incite the bears against you (Genesis Rabbah 87:4). The Tanhuma says something similar: When Joseph saw himself such [so great, in Potiphar’s service], he began to eat and drink, he curled his hair, and said: Blessed be the Omnipresent Who has caused me to forget my father’s house. G-d said to him: Your father is mourning for you in sackcloth and ashes, and you eat and drink and curl your hair?! For this, your mistress [Potiphar’s wife] will seduce you and cause you grief(Tanhuma, Vayeshev 8).

This teaches that it is not enough for the tzaddik to recognize G-d’s kindness; he must also understand that the purpose of His kindness is solely in order to help him to fulfil his obligation and his destiny. Joseph was indeed obligated to thank G-d for having been saved, and for having found a good life – but he should not have celebrated and rejoiced as long as his father was mourning and suffering. We further see that even though his personal situation in Israel with his family was far worse than his current situation in exile, this feeling was considered a sin, for a Jew is forbidden to forget his true home – and far more so, is forbidden to erase the memory of his true home. And Joseph was punished for this twice over: the first time, when he was thrown into prison; and the second time, when he forgot all [the Torah knowledge] that he had learned, as the Midrash says:

And Jacob arrived unblemished (Genesis 33:18) – Rabbi Yohanan said: unblemished in his learning. But Joseph had forgotten, as he said, G-d has caused me to forget my hardship; and subsequently it is said, The toiling spirit toils for itself (Proverbs 16:26) [in the verse which speaks of toiling in the Torah].

While he was in prison, Joseph failed in his trust in G-d when he asked the chief steward to save him. As our sages said (Shemot Rabbah 7:1),

“Joseph really only deserved ten years in prison...yet because he asked the chief steward, 'Remember that I was with you...Say something about me to Pharaoh' (Gen. 40:14), two years were added.”

A Jew who seeks help from a non-Jew out of despair and fear, lest G-d not help him, commits a grave sin. Had Joseph approached the steward with a demand because the steward owed him a favor , that would not have been considered a sin. Yet by petitioning him with a request, indicating that we need a favor from a non-Jew, he profaned G-d's name, showing that he did not trust in G-d but only in flesh and blood. From here we derive a major principle regarding aid from a non-Jew: If the non-Jew gives it as part of mutual aid, or payment for what he owes the Jew, that is allowed. If, however, we approach a non-Jew or a country with a request, like a pauper standing at the door, there is no more severe Chilul HaShem and lack of trust in G-d than this. It is an unatonable sin for a Jew to despair. It constitutes national denial of G-d for Israel to turn to human strength, to non-Jewish allies, and to lean on them while scorning G-d's ability to help.

On the national level, this means : [...] whoever relies on the non-Jew and his aid, and fears that without such aid the Jews and their land will be unable to survive, has been caught by lack of complete trust in G-d, bordering on denial of His existence. The individual Jew and the Jewish people as a whole will not be forgiven if they abandon their faith in G-d, the Supreme, Omnipotent King Who rules over the world and over the nations. He alone is our salvation. Even totally righteous, G-d fearing people fall prey to the terrible sin of lack of trust in G-d. As our sages said (Sotah 48b), “What is meant by 'Who has despised [baz] the day of small things?'(Zechariah 4:10)? What causes the future heavenly reward of the righteous to be squandered [yitbazbez]? Their smallness in not believing in G-d.” Had our sages not said this, we would not dare to put this thought to words.

Yet our sages established a great and frightening principle: that it is possible to be a righteous person, i.e. one who observes Torah and mitzvot, who keeps all of Torah ritual, and still be small of faith.It is appropriate to cry over this, for the signs of this terrible sin can be seen openly in this orphan generation.King David said, “He will bless them that fear the L-rd, both children and adults [lit., 'great and small']” (Ps. 115:14). This hints that some among the G-d fearing have little fear of G-d and little faith. King Solomon warned against the terrible sin of fearing mortal man when he said, “The fear of man brings a snare; but whoever puts his trust in the L-rd shall be set up on high. Many seek the ruler's favor, but a man's judgment comes from the L-rd” (Prov. 29:25-26).

This week's Parasha ends accordingly with “Yet the [non-Jewish] chief steward [whom Joseph had asked to remember him] did not remember Joseph, but he forgot him.”(Gen. 40:32)

Interestingly, at the beginning of the redemption from Egypt G-d told Moses to address the Jewish people with a reference to remembrance (although a different word for remembering is used):

“I have assuredly remembered you - pakod pakad’ti:” G-d commanded Moses to use specifically these words because the elders had a tradition that the redeemer would use these words when he would come, and they would thereby know that this was no false messiah: He [G-d] said to him [Moses]: They have a tradition from Joseph that I will redeem them with this word , pakod (“remember”). Go, address them with this sign. (Exodus Rabbah 3:18.)

This also applies to the future redemption of Israel:

Pakod pakad’ti: I have remembered you, and not forgotten you. I have remembered My promise and not forgotten it; I have not redeemed you until now – not because I have forgotten, but because the appointed time has not yet come, the number of years needed to redeem you has not yet passed.

These excerpts were gleaned from Rabbi Meir Kahane's Peirush HaMaccabee – Shemot – Chapter 2 and 3 and from The Jewish Idea, Chapter 'Faith and Trust'.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

RABBI M. KAHANE: Parashat Vayishlach: Fearing no one but G-d

“As a muddied fountain and a polluted spring, so is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked” (Prov. 25:26) [...] G-d said to Jacob, “Esau was walking on his way, and you sent him a message, saying, “Your servant Jacob says...” (Excerpt from Bereshit Rabbah 75,2)

G-d had promised Jacob that He would be with him, and had Jacob believed this and not feared Esau, Esau would have gone on his way. Through his fear, Jacob brought Esau upon himself by sending him messengers and by his servile use of, “Your servant Jacob.” Tanchuma Yashan (Vayishlach,4) teaches, “Jacob sent [vayishlach] his brother Esau” (Gen. 32:4): G-d lamented: “Alas [Vai!] Jacob was sending messengers to Esau!” Likewise, regarding the verse, “So shall you say to my Lord Esau” (32:5), our sages comment (Bereshit Rabbah 75:11), “G-d said to him, 'You degraded yourself and called Esau 'my lord' eight times. I swear that I shall make eight of his offspring precede yours as kings.”
To understand the pitfall of lack of bitachon (trust in G-d), we must ponder the following verse: “He selected a 'mincha' for his brother Esau from what he had with him... These he gave to his servants... He said to his servants, “When my brother Esau encounters you, he will ask, 'To whom do you belong?'... You must reply, 'It belongs to your servant Jacob. It is a 'mincha' to my master Esau'”...Jacob said to himself, “I will win him over with the 'mincha' that is being sent ahead”... He sent the mincha ahead. (Gen. 32:4,17-19,21-22)A 'mincha' is a gift or present, but it is also the name of an offering or prayer. The offering whose specific name is mincha is brought from plants, either wheat or barley, andis called mincha because it is brought not only as a gift or present but also out of self-sacrifice and trust in G-d.
Our sages said (Menachot 104b): Why in the case of the mincha does it say "nefesh", (soul)? [“If an individual [nefesh] presents a meal-offering to the L-rd” (Lev. 2:1)], whereas regarding the olah, or burnt-offering, it says, “When one person [adam] brings an offering to the L-rd” (Lev. 1:2).] G-d said, “Who normally brings the mincha? The poor man. I shall treat him as having sacrificed his life before Me.” A poor man is unable to bring an animal, and even the flour he brings for his meal-offering involves self-sacrifice for him. Surely this is the true purpose of the korban, or sacrifice – that one sacrifice oneself and thereby bring oneself closer to G-d. The poor man, although even the meal-offering is as hard for him as sacrificing his life, still brings it, trusting in G-d to worry for him about his livelihood. This offering is called 'mincha', from the word "nach", “passed away”, as if the poor man bringing the mincha has died. For that same reason, the prayer preceding evening is called mincha.[...] It is called this because when the sun is already turning westward to rest [lanuach], to set, this is the time of mincha and of trusting in G-d. The light is dimming, darkness is approaching, and a person trusts that after the darkness of night, the sun will rise again and there will be light. The time for mincha is when sunset and darkness are approaching. This is why it is called mincha. Every mincha is tied to trust in G-d, and to poverty and humility before the One Who is Master of all. G-d will bring light and day once again. He will bring a livelihood to the poor man who brought Him his fine flour. He will save Israel from all its mighty enemies ...
[...] Jacob took the mincha, our gift to G-d, representing man's lowliness before his Maker, and his faith and trust in Him, and he transferred these sentiments to Esau. This reflected great lack of bitachon (trust in G-d), as in Rashbam's explanation of why Jacob was smitten in hist struggle with the angelic prince of Esau (on Gen. 39:29): Jacob was smitten and ended up with a limp, because G-d made a promise to him while he was fleeing. Just so, all who refuse to take G-d's path, or who take an opposing path, are punished.
In Rav Kahane's “Peirush HaMaccabee” we find: There were two people to whom G-d made promises but were afraid…: One was the choicest of the Patriarchs – this is Jacob, as it says, For Hashem chose Jacob to Himself (Psalms 135:4) [i.e. this verse testifies that Jacob was the chosen of the three Fathers]. And G-d said to him, And behold I am with you (Genesis 28:15) – and yet, eventually he was afraid, as it says, And Jacob was greatly afraid (ibid. 32:7). And the other was the choicest of the prophets – this is Moses, as it says, He said He would destroy them [the Israelites], had Moses, His chosen one, not stood in the breach before Him (Psalms 106:23). And G-d said to him, Because I will be with you – and yet, eventually he was afraid [of Og, king of Bashan], as it says, And Hashem said to Moses: Do not be afraid of him (Numbers 21:34); and one would only admonish “do not be afraid” to one who is afraid. – (Genesis Rabbah 76:1). This commandment, do not be afraid, is a difficult one to obey, and a major commandment. But the person whom G-d has sent on His mission must stand firm in his trust in Him. And if he has committed sins, he must understand that even though sins can indeed annul G-d’s promises, this will not happen as long as he is fulfilling a defined mission, according to G-d’s specific decree. [...] There is a moral here. Jacob feared Esau only because he was concerned that his own sins might have caused G-d to annul His promise to him: All these years, [Esau] was dwelling in the Land of Israel – meaning that he is coming against me with the power of having settled the Land of Israel… and meaning that he is coming against me with the power of having honored his father and mother (Genesis Rabbah 76:2). Nevertheless, he was wrong to be afraid, and was punished for having feared Esau. G-d had, after all, given him an explicit command – which entailed precisely the attributes of faith and trust in G-d – to return to the Land of Israel; and He surely would not have commanded him to endanger himself by returning to Israel had his sins been liable to annul the promise. To the contrary: this command was designed to test his trust in G-d against Esau – but he was afraid, and was therefore punished.
Faith and trust in G-d are no small matter. The Jewish People must prove their trust in G-d by difficult, frightening, and sometimes ostensibly dangerous acts, acts that demand of Israel courage, acts which by their very nature show disdain for the non-Jew, anger him and threaten to bring a confrontation between him and Israel, and all must be performed with complete faith and trust that if Israel do what is decreed upon them, then G-d, too, will fulfill what he promised His treasured nation.
Precisely this proves one's true faith and trust, for it is impossible that one who fears mortal man really believes in G-d. Real trust in G-d requires the Jew both to trust in Him and cast off all fear of mortal man and reliance on human aid. [...] Whoever accepts this principle of bitachon (trust in G-d) unreservedly, truly believes that G-d is the One Supreme Power, G-d of heaven and earth. Whoever hesitates, whoever fears the non-Jew, shows that he questions G-d's ability to help His people. It is doubtful, whether he completely believes in G-d as an Omnipotent Supreme Power.

Compiled by Tzipora Liron-Pinner from "The Jewish Idea" and "Peirush HaMaccabee on Shemot" of Rabbi Meir Kahane, HY"D

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Yasser Arafat has been exhumed. They are looking for signs of poisoning and of course they want a culprit, and guess who they have in mind? Yes, you guessed it, Israel.
Trouble is they are willingly forgetting how much Arafat was corrupt and how much he stole the financial help that was supposed to go his people. 
Yes, Arafat gave that financial help to his people: His wife Suha and their daughter. 
So they should better look at a criminal among the palestinians who should rightfully hate Arafat for robbing them their future and the future of their children.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Parashat Vayetze - No Tranquility for the Righteous: Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane

“Yaakov went out” and “Yaakov sat”.  “And Yaakov went out” - This seemingly innocent opening of our Parasha is really not as simple as it may appear. Think about it: From where is Yaakov going out and where is he going to? He is departing from Yitzchak and Rivka's warm home, from the cozy tent (as the verse says, “he dwelt in tents”), from a pure and wholesome environment (and Yaakov was “tam”, meaning wholesome or pure). And where is he headed? To a cold, cruel world of murderers and swindlers. Yaakov, a wholesome, pure man, whose only desire is to serve G-d, finds himself fleeing from his brother who wants to kill him. He is on the way to a place he is not at all familiar with. Sure, it's his uncle. But what kind of uncle is this? Lavan the Aramite, the cheat and scoundrel. Does Yaakov really need all this grief?
Remember, Yaakov tried to avoid all this in the first place. It wasn't his idea to steal the blessings, which was what got him into this mess in the first place. It was his righteous mother who incited him to do it. Yaakov wanted to sit in his tent, to bask in the radiance of his father, to absorb Torah from him, to elevate himself spiritually. And now? He is alone and unsure of his destination, with but a stick in his hand. This is a situation he never dreamed he would find himself in. And again, where is he headed? To his uncle. If only he knew what waits for him there. With brothers and uncles like that, who needs enemies? How are we supposed to understand this? Why does G-d wish to see Yaakov go through all these difficult circumstances? Esau, Lavan, and let us remember his greatest sorrow of all – the loss of Yosef. Why doesn't G-d allow this righteous man, whose entire life's goal is to sit in the tent of Torah and serve G-d – why doesn't G-d allow him to fulfill his aspirations? Instead, this man of enormous potential must waste his thoughts and his efforts in scheming how to avoid his murderous brother. Is this not a waste of talent? Isn't there a more optimal way this spiritual giant can use his time? What is the reason for all these trials and tribulations which befall Yaakov,turning his life into one of brutal hardships, a life he himself sums up as: - “few and evil have the days of the years of my life been.”
In order to understand, “And Yaakov went out”, we must understand “And Yaakov sat”, which is two Parashot ahead of us. On this seemingly mundane phrase “And Yaakov sat”, the sages tell us: “Yaakov desired to sit in peace, but there sprang upon him the troubles of Yosef. When the righteous desire to sit in tranquility, the Almighty says: Is it not sufficient for the righteous that which is prepared for them in the world to come, but they seek to sit in tranquility in this world too!”
What is so wrong about wanting to sit in tranquility? Don't the righteous deserve it? This is basically the same question we have been asking all along. And the answer is a resounding, No! The righteous are not supposed to sit in tranquility. Yaakov was put on this earth to be a “And Yaakov went out” man, and not a “And Yaakov sat” type of person. This is a novel idea in this generation. For up to now, we have been taught that the complete Jew is one who spends all his time learning in the Beit Midrash. Not true. There is a time for sitting in the Beit Midrash and a time to go out to the people. People are suffering. There are ideals that must be fought for. There are problems that must be solved.
Therefore, it is wrong to think that Yaakov “went to waste” wandering and investing energies to foil con-men and murderers. All these experiences, which may seem as needless aggravation and wastes of time, bring the Jew to loftier heights. A Jew who must face all this while remaining steadfast in spreading G-d's word and doing the right things; the one who takes on the wicked - and does it all out of a connection to G-d and guidance from the Torah he is engrossed in during every moment available to him – such a Jew reaches far greater heights than the one who dismisses himself from such “politics”, and sits only in the Beit Midrash. Yaakov is a symbol for the sons who succeeded him, the nation of Israel. Yaakov does not sit in tranquility. The days of Messiah have not yet arrived.
Jew! In this world there are problems which are sometimes difficult, and one must deal with them, and if necessary, fight them. This is part of your destiny. Why do you think there is Esau and Lavan in this world? For you! They did not sprout up by themselves. G-d created them! They exist in order to harass the wholesome Jew. They exist to test him. And the tests are difficult ones. True, you do not have to go and look for tests. But don't worry, they will find you. Each one according to what has been designated for him. But take comfort, Jew: In the end, these tests and trials mold you and give you the chance to reach greater heights, and to prove your faith and trust in G-d. And that's what being a Jew is all about.
The “gedolim” of all generations, who are our guiding light from the days of Avraham until today – they are people who never fled from struggles. When Yaakov starts to fatigue, and it happens, G-d throws all kinds of challenges his way – events which awaken him from the cocoon of tranquility he tries to curl himself into. They awaken him and say: Yaakov, Yaakov, there is no rest in this world! Don't worry, don't take it too hard – if only you knew what awaits you in the next world! And then he is awakened, inspirited, anxious to do battle. We are amazed to see Yaakov, this pure and simple man being forced to deal with the devious Lavan, and overcoming him. Sure, Yaakov is “tam”, but when he leaves his tent, he knows how to deal with evil...

From "The writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane, HY"D ", commentary on Parashat Vayetze

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BENADOR: In the Aftermath of Sandy in New York City

A new day, and the City must deal now with fixing the Sandy disaster...  
Liberal authorities are now discussing how to reinforce structures to withstand such 'natural attacks'.
Poor devils.  They don't believe in G-d, so for them it's a question of "nature".  They don't see any relation between their decadence, the degeneration and the corruption of the soul and their attacks on G-d's Commandments as the source for all these catastrophes. 
They can reinforce structures as much as they want, but they will continue breaking G-d's Laws.  
They are truly arrogant if they think all is in their hands and are petulant thinking 
May G-d bless each and all of you... 


Monday, October 29, 2012

BENADOR: The Wrath of God

Sandy is now inexorably approaching the East Coast of the United States of America. The whole region has been brought to a standstill.  It is the strongest storm ever in the Northeastern United States.  

We, who believe in God, believe that He is the Mightiest, Unimaginable Force who created everything that we know and that what we do not know.  He is the Creator of the beyond imaginable immense Universe, as the tiny atoms that form everything living on Earth, just as the cells that form the blood of every living being on this world. 

In last Shabbat's Parashat Noach, we read:

"Now the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth became full of robberyAnd God saw the earth, and behold it had become corrupted, for all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth.  And God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth has become full of robbery because of them, and behold I am destroying them from the earth.  Make yourself an ark..."  Bereishit/Genesis 6-14 

What do we have in common with the times of Noah?

The generation of the flood was obsessed with hedonism and the pursuit of pleasure -which implied that such environment made impossible to follow the Law of God which demands will and discipline.  

As I have repeated always, God created the universe and our world with very specific parameters:  There is ORDER everywhere you turn, whether in the galaxies or in the atoms or in our bodies and, yes, in the animals as well. 

The first time a man commits a wrong, he feels guilty, but if he repeats that act often enough, his conscience will no longer bother him and eventually, he will see himself as a paragon of virtue.  And that's the way that immorality, decadence, degeneracy and corruption can become an accepted way of life and are no longer considered sinful and wrong.  

So has our generation turn to be, by embracing instant self-gratification as the ultimate goal in life, and so has our culture embraced hedonism, immorality and corruption -to such a degree that what is wrong is now considered right. 

But, why would God send Sandy now, almost a week, day by day, before the American elections?  And why to the Northeast coast?

Well, I am going to venture the explanation taking in consideration past experience:

It's obvious that God wanted us to succeed in this life and make this a beautiful harmonious and kind world.  But mankind has squandered that opportunity.

And, what does God do to let us know He is not happy with us?  He sends floods, He sends earthquakes. And more.

But why?

Elections are coming.  Americans have allowed the destruction of a country that was the lighthouse to the Western world.  And, as elections approach, Americans are not defined in what's best for their country.   They are "doubting".  

Americans have allowed the moral corruption of their country, the total attack on their collective soul.  Thus, Americans are just like the people who surrounded Noah...

How can Americans even doubt for whom to vote, when their own children and grandchildren will not even have jobs to earn money and feed their families?  Why is that even a question?  

Four Americans have been brutally killed and there is NO ONE complaining.  And, there are still those who are doubting for whom to vote.  Why is that even a question?

Something is definitely wrong. 

A Divine Attack on the corrupt Northeast American coast is sad but understandable.  This is, after all, the region that has destroyed the holy institution of marriage, created by God Himself.  

So, whoever attacks God's Commandments, pays.  And all around them, guilty or not, all may end up paying.    

But, despite seeing the moral corruption of people at the time of the righteous Noah, God gave him and his family, the opportunity to leave, together with animals, as per God's Instructions, so he could have a good new beginning by learning acts of kindness as they had to take care of their animals. 

Such acts of chesed, of loving kindness, are what this world should be made of.  But never endangering one's life or that of our loved ones.  Safety and security are before everything.  Once those two are achieved, comes chesed -loving kindness. 

As King David wrote: "Olam Chessed Yibonah..."  The world is built upon the foundation of loving kindness.

But, kindness has to be between us and from us to God.  

And, God has not been obeyed.  

Now it's time to deal with God's Wrath...  

May God Compassionate be Merciful...  


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BENADOR: After all is done and said, only Prayer is left


The debate is about to begin in roughly 15 minutes... 

I am a devout Jew and believe in G-d, the One and Only One, the Holy One... and as such I pray to Him with my heart and my soul in critical moments like this, where the history of 
the world is in the making...

I pray because regardless of what we may want or hope for, the Only One who knows the outcome of everything and the reason for it, is G-d, who knows the EMET ♥

Here is our ultimate prayer in moments where the only thing that is left for us, is to pray to Him, The Master of the Universe...

Let's join in pray, the more of us who will pray to G-d, it is said that He will listen to us...


Monday, October 22, 2012

BENADOR: May America win the final 2012 Debate


"Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice; be gracious to me, and answer me." Psalm 27

There are never enough prayers when one is facing evil.

So, as we are a few hours away from the final 2012 Presidential Debate, I have chosen a psalm 
written by King David, who wrote the psalms with inspiring words which, it is said, reached to G-d Himself...

And, below, Psalm 27 in its entirety: 

1. A Psalm of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?
2. When the wicked, my enemies and my adversaries, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident.
4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
5. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; under the cover of his tent shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6. And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies around me; therefore I will offer in his tent sacrifices of joy; I will sing, I will make music to the Lord.
7. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice; be gracious to me, and answer me.
8. Of you my heart said, Seek my face; Your face, O Lord, will I seek!
9. Hide not your face from me; put not your servant away in anger; you have been my help; do not abandon me, nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10. For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.
11. Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.
12. Do not give me up to the will of my enemies; for false witnesses have risen up against me, and they breathe out violence.
13. Were it not that I believe I should see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart; and wait on the Lord.

While we wish the downfall from the man who, during four years, together with his team, committed evil against America, at the same time, we hope the American people, in a miracle, will react and vote Obama out.

May Governor Romney be helped from Heaven in his endeavor to save America.

May G-d listen to each and all of us praying Psalm 27, for the fate of America, of Israel and the whole world...

BENADOR: A Prayer for America

This is it.   The last debate 2012 is here.

Dear God...  Our Father, Our King...  please make that Americans united, whether democrats or republican, feel inside themselves the strongest call to save America -above any other consideration.  

G-d Almighty and Compassionate, please make that Obama continues his downfall. 

And, last but definitely not least: 

G-d Almighty and Compassionate, we pray to You for Governor Romney.   May Your Angels surround him as he walks us to the salvation of America and the world.

We humbly pray to You... 

May You listen to our prayers.

May G-d's Will be done... 


Friday, October 5, 2012

BENADOR: Parashat V'zot HaBrachah - And this is the Blessing


This is a very special erev Shabbat, when we will finish the reading cycle of our Torah, corresponding to the past year, 5772.
While this is the end, there is no time to get sad, because in just a  few days, on Simchat Torah, we will begin a new cycle, with Parashat Bereishit.
On this 54th and last week of the Jewish year, it's time to read Parashat V'zot HaBrachah.  It means, "And this is the Blessing."
Indeed, in this Parashah, G-d gives His Blessing to both, His Chosen Children, the Jewish People, and the land He gave to us: The Land of Israel.
In this same Reading, Moshe blesses our twelve tribes and he passes away, unable to see the Promised Land...  result of some doubts Moshe had during the trip...
May G-d bless Moshe's memory...
In Parashat V'zot HaBrachah, we find that its very last word and also the last word of the Torah, is Israel...
That's how precious the Divine Land is to the One who gave it to us.  And this, should serve as a sign for the Jews to be G-d-abiding-people, or else.
We, Jews, are expected to live in the Land of Israel under G-d's Rule, following and observing His Commandments and His Laws.  Now, a question:  Is that happening in the Land of Israel nowadays?  Answer:  NO.  Not at all.
Also, the last letter of Israel, which is as well the last letter in the Torah, is the letter lamed.  Now, if we place the last letter, lamed, together with the very first letter in the Torah, beit, from Bereshit, we get the word Lev, which means heart...  reminding us of mercy, compassion because G-d in His Infinite Love, shows patience, mercy and compassion -to a limit, when transgression becomes persistent.
So, from the first word in the Torah: Bereshit, in the beginning -to the last word in the Torah, Israel, G-d is sending us a message:  One day, when Jews will actually obey G-d's Commandments as they appear in the Torah, G-d will begin making visible miracles for His Children, for the whole world to see.  And, it is then, that mankind in its entirety will completely abandon all kind of idolatry to follow the Holy One.
Unified under His Rule, we will unite one day.
As His Children, following His Commandments, will make us in His Image, gentle and strong, worthy of being the Children of G-d.
As we see how important is Israel in the eyes of G-d, this should also serve as a warning to the enemies of Israel that whoever has ill-will on His Land, will face the Wrath of G-d, nothing less.
May G-d bless His Chosen Children, the Jewish people, and the land He gave to us: the Land of Israel, now and forever...
Shabbat shalom, my Jewish mishpocha...

On this special occasion when we celebrate Parashat V'zot HaBrachah, I have chosen a picture of the ancient Aleppo Codex, which transliterated in Hebrew is: Keter Aram Tzova.  It is a medieval bound manuscript of our Torah.  The codex was written in the 10th century of the common era.  The codex has long been considered to be the most authoritative document in the masorah (transmission), the tradition by which our Torah has been preserved from generation to generation...

Shabbat shalom v'chag Sameach


Thursday, October 4, 2012

BENADOR: Facebook: The rogue cyber-country with 1 billion population

Wow...  Facebook has hit ONE BILLION USERS!!!

And, as such, comparatively, Mark Zuckerberg could be the elected tyrant of a cyber-country, called Facebook, where one billion immigrants choose free-willingly to belong and become 'his' slaves.

The fact is that Zuckerberg would not need to run for office, as mentioned above, because 'his people elect him' to be their tyrannical ruler.

Facebook is the cyber-rogue country par excellence, where terrorism and terrorists find a safe haven.  And, where law-abiding and God-fearing people are persecuted with no room to appeal the tyrannical laws imposed by Zuckerberg and swallowed by his slaves.

That's how cyber-life has taken over real life in this beginning of the XXIst century (XXI means 21.)


BENADOR: Romney's Win is above all, America's Win

Well, I am beaming just as I think the majority of Americans are, and just as I can imagine the whole world is...

And, that, has been God's Will, to bring a candidate who is a man of God, a man of Country and a man of Family.

America's comeback is here.  We don't have to wait anymore.  What we witnessed in last night's debate was a display for the world to see, of what American Exceptionalism has been and will be again.

At the podium, there were two Harvard educated men.

One of them got in Harvard because of his color.

The other got in Harvard because he was among the best students, from a wealthy family and still with his blood boiling to be the best.

And, we could see the difference.   The one who received what he has, was a failure because he was inept to answer, he was incompetent in his delivery and he had been nefarious to our country from day one.

Already when Obama, the spoiled brat with no manners, sent the Churchill bust to England, we could see how deplorably we were going to be represented in the world arena, and how humiliated we were going to be by this nobody who became president thanks to the evil-will from some fake Americans who delight in hating America.

But last night, the brilliance of Romney was matched by his willingness to save our country, to give dignity to our poor and a chance to succeed in business to our youth and small business owners, to educate our youth just as he has in his home state where he was Governor, Massachusetts.

Last night, we touched Real Hope, the hope that will bring the best for our country even in these difficult times of misery in which Obama and his people have tried to drown us in.

And, when America will be again the superpower of the world, it's the whole world that will benefit, because America's well-being has always resulted in the world's well-being.

It's not about taking from the rich to give to the poor.  It's about everyone having the same opportunity to work and have a decent life, with dignity and respect.   And Romney promised jobs, and we can believe him, because he did it in Massachusetts and in his own business.

Romney's delivery was just beyond anything imaginable.  His incredible memory to give all numbers at the right time, his conviction of doing what's right for our country...  All of that, has turned Obama-voters into America-voters: Romney voters.

Romney's success is not his personal success only.

Romney's win is above all, America's win. E


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BENADOR: Tonight in Denver, A Must-Win for Romney, A Must-Win for America

Tonight, two men are going to face each other and roll out the time of truth for America.  They are as opposite as black and white -and no racism intended there, only the reality of our situation.

Candidate Obama is running to get more time to continue with the destruction of America, inside and outside -because no one can deny the destruction this man has inflicted on our country.

His has been a time of psychological terror against the American people.  His laws and executive orders have passed uncontested by Congress and by the American population.

Obama's evil has made endless victims, among them have been millions of unemployed, our patriotic soldiers that are being killed while no one is complaining or to defend our men and women killed cowardly instead of being KIA or killed in action.  Obama has also imposed the largest government ever, and has produced the worst bankruptcy ever in the history of the United States.  He, who was supposed to stop the war, has rather continued it -as that has been another way to continue bankrupting us.  Under normal circumstances, his list of malfeasance and plain treason against our country should have even disqualified him from standing at that podium tonight.

Romney, on the other hand, is a man of God.  He has been a pastor and a bishop.  His altruism is evident and obvious, and has been witnessed by thousands throughout his entire life.

Married to Ann, the Romneys have had four children and have  eighteen grandchildren.  Precisely the example Americans need to follow: make endless American babies for the glory of our country.

Actually, Romney's position is so strong, that American patriots, whether democrats or republicans, need only look around and see their now meager means disappear within blitz seconds from their pockets, to realize that the man that will appear in front of the most unknown candidate ever, is the man holding a silver platter offering us his life to save our country.

Obama's nefarious record is huge like the Kilimanjaro and it's enough to make him such an unfit contender, that he should be rather in prison for treason now and not at the University of Denver podium tonight.

Romney's belief in God, Country and Family, has the most powerful ally by his side: God Himself, to stop evildoing to our beloved America.

Now, let me pray to God:

May Obama make drastic and unforgivable mistakes on that podium.

May Romney speak loud and clear the Truth of God to defend America.

May God bless this beautiful, exceptional country with the right leader to bring a renewal and betterment of traditional American values.

May God bless America.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BENADOR: About Experts and Fauxperts

With the ascent of mostly less literate masses promoted by the current progressive rulers in our country, the anti-elite virus has been broadly widespread among Americans.

Throughout History, true experts have been valued and appreciated, those who have studied, who have learned, experimented and have a vast experience.

Beware the intellectual infiltration of leftist theories in our minds, they come silently and creep inside our values and opinions.

When we begin to doubt those who have the most knowledge in one topic, is the minute we can acknowledge that the leftist infiltration is getting the best of us.  That said, it goes without saying that experts are not perfect, they just know more and are more qualified than average Joe.

For instance, many so-called 'conservatives' are against what is called the "elites", while precisely those elites are the most learned, savvy, experienced, and so on.  They don't know that by criticizing and giving up on those "elites", the masses are having the doors of mediocrity wide open.

That's how nowadays we are witnessing what is being called a fauxperts epidemic.

Those fauxperts that especially pollute the arena of writing and speaking, the seemingly easiest areas where ignorant-in-the-field people are misleading to "feel" they can easily talk their way through the minefield of communications.

If it was only about reading, everyone would already have been an expert during the thousands of years of our existence.

But it's about studying different areas, analyzing, comparing, researching, having the first-hand contact with the field that gives vast experience... what makes an expert an expert...

In came the leftists, tearing down all barriers, with the falacy that everything could became possible to anyone at any time.

Along came the birth of the instant fauxperts virus, polluting the quality of information, communication and most of all, misleading gullible readers unaware that instead of the elites, now they are the slaves of mediocrity whose goal is to bring down the excellence that America used to strive for.

But, that's unacceptable especially if a country wants to continue developing not only in science and culture but also in literature, politics, business, and more.

The elites are there to inspire others to be ambitious and want to study and work and gain experience and become even better than their role models.

Being envious of the elites does not take anyone anywhere.

Elites are indispensable in all countries, and their existence does not exclude anyone who wants to enter in their realm -the price is hard work, hard study and a vehement perseverance in getting to be better than them, in getting to invent better products or find more black holes thousands of years light from this tiny Earth planet.

So, it's time to review in our minds and personalities and realize that what we are believing in, comes directly from the destructive, suicidal left, and that it's time to stop it so that we can own our thoughts and our feelings in order to become more useful protagonists in the theater of life.


Friday, August 31, 2012

RABBI MEIR KAHANE: Parashat Ki Tetzei – Holiness in Times of War

The Torah commands that before each Jew who is going to study, read or take part in discussions and studies related to the Torah, one must recite (once in the day,) the following blessing:

Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who has made us holy through His commandments, and commanded us to actively study Torah.

Please Hashem, our G-d, sweeten the words of Your Torah in our mouths and in the mouths of all Your people Israel. May we and our offspring, and our offspring's offspring, and all the offspring of Your people, the House of Israel, may we all, together, know Your Name and study Your Torah for the sake of fulfilling Your desire. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who teaches Torah to His people Israel.

Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who chose us from all the nations, and gave us the Torah. Blessed are You, Hashem, Giver of the Torah.

Below,  is the commentary of the Torah portion by our beloved Rabbi Meir Kahane OBM:  Parashat Ki Tetzei:  Holiness in Times of War     

When a camp goes out to war against your enemies, you shall guard against anything evil. If there will be among you a man who will not be clean because of a nocturnal occurrence, he shall go outside the camp ... For Hashem, your G-d, walks in the midst of your camp so as to save you and grant you victory over your enemy. Your camp must, therefore, be holy, so that He will not see a shameful thing among you and turn away from behind you. (Deut. 23: 10, 11, 15)

The milchemet mitzvah of the Jewish People is not like the wars of the gentiles. Rather, its conception and birth are in holiness. Following is Rambam (Hilchot Melachim 7:1): In both compulsory and noncompulsory war, a Kohen is appointed to address the nation during the war and he is anointed with the anointing oil. He is the one called the mashuach milchamah, the “anointed for war”. Israel goes into battle behind the anointed of war. He defines and determines the nature of the war, sanctifies it through his words to the people and makes certain that Israel go to war in holiness and with trust in G-d. Such is Jewish warfare! It is based on holiness, on faith and trust in G-d that if someone fights the wars of G-d, evil will not befall him since he is fighting for the sanctification of G-d's name.

The phrase “to save you and grant you victory over your enemies” means as follows: First G-d will save you from yourselves, by warning you about everything evil so that you will be holy. Only then will He grant you victory, saving you from them. Sifri (258) comments, “If you do everything stated regarding this matter, G-d will ultimately save you and grant you victory over your enemies.” The Jewish war camp must be holy, as is fitting for a war over the sanctification of G-d's name. Nothing inflames the passions more than war, when acts generally forbidden become permissible. Given such license, the evil impulse attempts to take control of a person, and no temptation is more powerful than the sexual impulse. If women were allowed to be part of a military camp during wartime, the sins incurred would outweigh the merit earned for a milchemet mitzvah.There would be no avoiding licentiousness and promiscuity (as in the modern Israeli army camp, Heaven help us, when the Jewish state has not adopted Jewish laws of warfare). The army camp would, thus, be transformed from a holy camp, free of impurity and abomination (see Sforno, Ibid.) to a licentious camp. If it became so, a war meant to sanctify G-d's name would become a stage for sexual sin, the height of profanation of G-d's name.  Therefore, a woman should not go to war with men. Ramban explains: Scripture warns against sin where sin is most prevalent. It is known that soldiers going to war customarily consume every abomination, rob and steal, and are unashamed to commit adultery and every other outrage. The most upright person, by nature, becomes cruel and vicious when the camp goes forth against the enemy. Scripture therefore warned, “You must avoid everything evil” (Deut. 23:10). Sifri (Ibid.) comments, “This teaches that sexual sin causes the Divine Presence to withdraw.” Thus, sexual sin endangers the troops, for without the Divine Presence there will be no victory. The Torah, therefore, forbade women going to war with men, even in a milchemet mitzvah, so as not to turn the mitzvah into a sin.

A Talmid Chacham does not go off to war either, even for a milchemet mitzvah. R. Elazar said (Nedarim 32a): Why was Abraham punished such that his descendants were enslaved to the Egyptians for 210 years? It is because he conscripted Talmidei Chachamim; “Abraham called his students [to battle].” (Gen. 14:14). We must be aware that “Talmid Chacham” refers only to someone whose Torah study is his sole occupation, someone totally absorbed in Torah study day and night, who never leaves it for anything in the world, a person who together with his study is crucial to his generation.

There are two types of Talmidei Chachamim. The first is the one whose Torah study is his sole occupation.This individual is totally immersed in constant Torah study. Such a Talmid Chacham does not cease Torah study even to fulfill time-bound positive precepts incumbent on him personally,, if they are of Rabbinic origin, for example, the Shemoneh Esreh according to most opinions. He ceases only for precepts of Torah origin, such as the Shema. The other Talmid Chacham, the one whose Torah study is not his sole occupation, must cease study for every time-bound positive precept incumbent on him personally, even those Rabbinic in origin. Likewise, he must cease study even to do a mitzvah not specifically incumbent on him personally, i.e., a mitzvah of the community. Milchemet mitzvah is a communal mitzvah upon which the future of the Jewish People depends. It follows that any Talmid Chacham whose Torah study is not his sole occupation, who does not sit day and night studying Torah without earning any living or taking any vacation, will be obligated to stop studying so as to involve himself in milchemet mitzvah. Obviously, he should do this specifically in the “holy camp” framework, lest he fall prey to sin and abomination. Only the true Talmid Chacham, whose Torah study is his sole occupation, will be exempt from taking part in this mitzvah, because it can be performed by others. Yet listen to this, dear friends, and remember it: Not everyone who wishes to claim such a title may do so. If someone cloaks himself in the mantle of a Talmid Chacham whose Torah study is his sole occupation when he is unworthy of this, only to shirk the mitzvah of going to war, sanctifying G-d's name, taking G-d's revenge and assisting Israel against the attacking foe, he is a shedder of blood and his sin is unbearable. As Rambam said regarding the person commanded to fight (Hilchot Melachim 7:15); “If he does not strive to be victorious and does not fight with all his heart and soul, it is as though he has shed everyone's blood.” What shall we say about him who was obligated to fight and did not fight at all?

When it comes to the enemies of Israel who attack and beleaguer us and desire to destroy us, we are certainly required to smite them until they are consumed. It is a mitzvah – a milchemet mitzvah. The law states clearly that “assisting Israel against the attacking foe”, which constitutes a milchemet mitzvah, refers not just to an enemy who attacks with intent to annihilate Jews, but to every attempt to hurt or plunder as well, even just theft. Obviously, it includes a situation where non-Jews demand a portion of the Land of Israel, for there is an outright prohibition against giving part of the Land to a non-Jew, as we shall see. Eruvin 45 teaches: “In a border town, even where the non-Jews are not attacking to kill Jews but just demanding hay and straw, we go forth armed to attack them, even violating the Sabbath to do so”. Rashi comments: “Lest they capture it, making the rest of the Land easier for them to capture.” Rashi's point is that for this reason we go forth even on the Sabbath. Yet, regarding the actual law of assisting against an attacking foe, surely,the very fact that non-Jews are demanding even just hay and straw or money and taxes is enough reason to attack them, and that is a milchemet mitzvah. Likewise, it is clearly forbidden by a grave Torah prohibition to let a non-Jew steal even the smallest part of the Land of Israel. After all, there is a prohibition forbidding us even to diminish the spiritually pure area of the Land of Israel (Moed Kattan 5b): “We do not put a marker marking a spiritually impure area far from that area, so as not to lose part of the Land of Israel.” Due to our sins, the reason we were exiled from our land, the laws of war have been so corrupted and confused by so many fine students that ignorance on this matter has surpassed all limits. Some have no understanding whatsoever of what a milchemet mitzvah is, and in their blindness ask whether the war between us and the Arabs today is such a war. Woe to the ears that hear this! It is a great mitzvah to hate evil and evildoers, and even to wage war against them, it is an even greater mitzvah to love goodness and the righteous, i.e., those whom G-d has defined as good and righteous. The mitzvah to love one's fellow Jew, one of the Torah's foundations, dictates that a Jew must save the life of every other Jew who is in danger. This is a mitzvah incumbent on an individual, and how much more so regarding the community. It is part of “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18), yet it also stands independently (Ibid., v. 16): “Do not stand still when your neighbor's life is in danger.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

RABBI MEIR KAHANE: Parashat Shoftim: The Jewish State

The Torah commands that before each Jew who is going to study, read or take part in discussions and studies related to the Torah, one must recite (once in the day,) the following blessing:

Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who has made us holy through His commandments, and commanded us to actively study Torah.

Please Hashem, our G-d, sweeten the words of Your Torah in our mouths and in the mouths of all Your people Israel. May we and our offspring, and our offspring's offspring, and all the offspring of Your people, the House of Israel, may we all, together, know Your Name and study Your Torah for the sake of fulfilling Your desire. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who teaches Torah to His people Israel.

Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who chose us from all the nations, and gave us the Torah. Blessed are You, Hashem, Giver of the Torah.

Below, the Torah commentary for Parashat Shoftim, by our beloved Rabbi Meir Kahane, OBM  

Judges and officers shall you appoint in all your cities – which Hashem your G-d gives you – for your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. (Deut. 16:18)

When you come to the Land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you, and possess it, and settle in it, and you will say, “I will set a king over myself, like all the nations that are around me.” You shall surely set over yourself a king whom Hashem, your G-d, shall choose... (Deut. 17:14-15)

It shall be when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah in a book, from before the Kohanim, the Levites. (Deut. 17:18)

The Jewish government, the king and the police apparatus were mainly intended to run the Jewish State as a theocracy in accordance with G-d's mitzvot. Regarding the verse, “Appoint yourselves judges and police [officers] (Deut. 16:18), R. Eliezer ben Shamua says (Sifri, Shoftim, 144), “If there are police, there are judges. If there are no police, there are no judges.” The intent is clear: If there are police to enforce the judge's Torah rulings, then the judges' word will endure. Otherwise, it is as though there are no judges. Their rulings are then nothing but a farce. In essence, G-d commanded that there be governmental coercion so as to ensure that the people follow G-d's path. G-d scornfully cast off of Himself and of us the alien non-Jewish opposition to “religious coercion”, opposition that is nothing but rebellion against G-d and His decrees. Sefer haChinuch wrote (Mitzvah 491): To appoint judges and policemen who will coerce mitzvah observance and restore to it by force those who have strayed from the truth. They will command regarding what is appropriate to do and will prevent unsavory acts from occurring, and they will uphold punishments against violators until people cease to relate to the mitzvot and prohibitions according to how they personally interpret them. This concept stands in absolute opposition to the alien culture and to the licentiousness and abominations at its core.

The non-Jews worship many idols and follow many alien cultures, all of them false; and even looking from their point of view, we cannot tell who and which of them they consider “truth”. Therefore, with them there is certainly a need to follow the majority, since they lack any clear truth. This is why the system of majority rule was created. For Jacob, however, there is only one truth, and it does not matter whether the whole world differs with it, because it is impossible to decide against the truth. Even if, to our great chagrin, most of Israel choose falsehood over Torah, that does not matter, since Jacob already has the truth. Thus, it is explicit thatamong Israel there is just one viewpoint, that of Torah; and even if a majority of the Jewish People differ with it, their view is considered deviant and is discounted. A great rabbi once gave a reason for this: The law is that we do not follow the majority when there is testimony for the opposing view; and since Israel saw the Sinai Revelation with their own eyes, confirming G-d's existence, no majority in the world could decide anything against this testimony (SeeTorah Shlemah, Shemot, 23, se'if katan 38). R. Chama's comment[...] - “If one of them sins, it is attributed to them all” (Midrash HaGadol, Shemot, 1:5) - ...] serves to establish the other side of the rule that there is one truth, and not two. Not only must the righteous minority not surrender to or tolerate the erring majority, but they have a duty to protest against them. Not only must they not accept their viewpoint, but they must also demand that they correct their error and accept G-d's viewpoint. The mutual responsibility which exists among the Jewish People requires every Jew to share in the fate of his fellow; and if he does not protest the sins of the individual, let alone those of the community, he, too, will be punished.

[Regarding “You shall surely set over yourself a king whom Hashem, your G-d, shall choose...” (Deut. 17:15)] Rambam wrote (Hilchot Malachim 1:3), “Initially, a king is appointed by the Sanhedrin of seventy-one following a prophetic decree.” Initially, such is the law, but if in certain circumstances it proves impossible, then we satisfy our requirement of a regime to ward off licentiousness and enemy attack via a president rather than a king – without a Sanhedrin or prophet. Rambam taught (Ibid. 1:8): If a prophet appointed a king from another tribe [rather than Yehudah], and that king followed the path of Torah and mitzvot and fought G-d's battles, he is a king, and all the mitzvot of the monarchy apply to him, even though the main monarchy is through David. Thus, even when there is no Davidic dynasty for whatever reason, we still continue with a monarchic regime, rule by one man. [And further,] even when there is no prophet or Sanhedrin, there clearly remains a need for a one-man regime, a single leader, a president, and not the utter chaos of dozens or hundreds of representatives and parties, every one of which tries to extort money and power, leaving the county paralyzed while they try to reach agreement on matters of paramount importance. Presumably, the appointment must approximate the ideal format, in that it should be implemented by a court of the great rabbis of the generation. This is clearly the type of regime that G-d desired; and when there is a prophet and Sanhedrin, then together with the king who stands at their head, they comprise a Torah regime of “one leader to the generation, not two.”

The king or ruler is obligated to view himself as G-d's representative to herd His holy flock, Israel, and to conduct himself with them in ways that will be beneficial to them, and all in accordance with the ways of the Torah, as I have written. He must listen seriously to their complaints. The ruler must conduct himself with humility, as a servant of the people, yet he must know that he is king or president, G-d's representative not only to defend the Jewish people, but also lead and direct them on the path they must follow. He must fear no man and be deterred by no one, and he must not try to curry favor with the people or flatter them. Of this it says, “Do not flatter the land in which you live” (Num. 35:33). Rather, where necessary, he must take a staff and smite their skulls. Then G-d will be at his side.

Clearly, the government's whole worth is solely as a means towards the proper running of G-d's state. It is inconceivable that there could be any valid authority to a government that does not conduct itself this way. The monarchy, or whatever government there may be, was intended only to fulfill the Divine mission assigned it by Divine decree. Thus, all the rights and authority of Jewish governments stem solely from the Torah. A Jewish government must not resemble any regime of the nations, because the government, state and people, themselves, were created only to obey G-d. Rashi explains (Sanhedrin 49a, s.v. Achin veRakin): “If the king sets out to nullify Torah pronouncements, we do not heed him.”

[As Rabbi Kahane explains in Peirush HaMaccabee – Devarim, Parashat Shoftim:] Judges and officers shall you appoint in all your cities... and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. (Deut. 16:18) The Sforno writes: “After the mitzvot which apply to the masses [the three pilgrimage festivals, at the end of the previous Parasha] the Torah gives the commandments which apply to their leaders, who are the kings and the judges and the Kohanim and the prophets. As long as they act properly, the masses, too, will behave properly; but if they are corrupt-then they will corrupt the masses.” We learn from this that the way to a just and proper society does not depend upon the method of government – that is, a specific political or economic idea – but rather the essence and nature and quality of the people who are the society's leaders. If the judges are just, then a fair and just society will be created; and if they are corrupt, then society as a whole will be corrupted; whatever its form of government or its ideology.

[Rabbi Kahane also refers to this in “Why be Jewish”: ] It is illusion to believe that one can make a people better by [just] changing the form of government. No change in the system of society will make that society better, for there is no such thing as “government” or “society”. There are only the individuals who comprise the government or the society and the whole is nothing more than the sum of its parts. If the parts are rotten and corrupt, the whole must emerge the same. If the people are selfish and egotistical, society will emerge the same, regardless of the form of government that it uses. An ugly world will never be made beautiful by attacking the symptoms. It is man himself who must be changed and made better. Then and only then can the world which he makes up become better, too. The holiness of the human being guarantees the holiness and beauty of his world. Even if this is a long and difficult process, it is the only way. Of such things did the rabbis say: “There is a long way that is short and a seemingly short way that is in reality long.” And how does one change man's natural inclination to be selfish? “The commandments were given to Israel to purify people”. Here is the way the Almighty, creator of man who knows all of his workings and ways, knew that man could be brought to holiness and purity. The mitzvot, the commandments – they are the way, the only way. “And you shall fulfill all my commandments, and then shall you be holy unto your G-d."