30 August 2016

"Don't Look Back"

27 Menachem Av 5776

More beautiful and stirring chizuk from Devorah Esther - may all her efforts be successful and clothe her in radiance in the world to come.

29 August 2016

Is the Separation of Jews and Non-Jews a Torah Concept?

26 Menachem Av 5776

With regard to some statements I made in a previous blog post
"Know that mixing with gentiles either through going to them or bringing them to us, diminishes our light and darkens the world. And know, too, that anyone who facilitates their entry and presence in Eretz HaKodesh has a share in the sin of any idolatry that they commit and any Jew that they deceive. It would be better for such a person that he had never been born."
I received the following comment... 
"I would really appreciate knowing the sources you base these statements on. We are to be a 'light unto the nations' (Isaiah 49:6) yet you say that this would diminish our light. You object to non-Jews living in Israel, yet halacha specifically permits this, and it is called ger toshav. I am very confused, since you claim to be a torah observant Jew, yet you say these things which directly contradict torah concepts."
...which I would like to respond to here:

First of all, let's please establish that this reference does not refer to Am Yisrael, but to the Prophet Yeshayahu himself...
"And He [God] said, 'It is too light for you [the prophet] to be My servant, to establish the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the besieged of Israel, but I will make you a light of nations, so that My salvation shall be until the end of the earth.'"
Rashi: "And He said, “It is too light for you to be, etc.”: In My eyes, it is too small a gift that you should have this alone, that you be My servant to establish Jacob and to bring back to Me the besieged of Israel, and behold I add more to you, “And I will make you a light for the nations,” to prophesy concerning the downfall of Babylon, which will be a joy for the whole world." 
I think the problem here stems from a basic misunderstanding. There is no "mitzvah" to be "a light to the nations". At least it does not exist on any list of the 613 mitzvot that I have seen. And it certainly is not implying that Israel should follow the Xian model and send 'missionaries' throughout the world teaching Torah to non-Jews. It refers to Israel, living by Torah law in its own land. When this is the circumstance, then Israel simply IS a light for the nations - an example of how a people who lives in accordance with the Divine instructions can develop a perfectly functioning society and attain the pinacle of peace, harmony, health and prosperity for all its citizens. When that is our reality, the nations will seek to know and understand their own set of obligations to the Creator of the World, their own Sheva Mitzvot, so that they may prosper as well. 

The Torah makes it clear that we were to drive out the nations before us because they would compete with us for ownership of our land; they would want to intermingle and intermarry with us; they would be a bad influence on us and we would in time come to imitate their bad ways and thereby incur Hashem's anger and judgment, resulting in eventual exile from the land as a consequence. 

So, you tell me, given that, how does it NOT detract from our ability to be a light to the nations? It should be obvious to any honest person how churches, mosques, b'hai temples, masonic temples, etc and their associated false religions and idolatrous ideas not only defile our land, but limit the spiritual heights to which we can attain while they and all their impurity are present among us. 

I refer you to this previous post which links to four other previous blog posts which quote many sources that Rabbi Kahane referenced in the chapter on the Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael in his book Or Hara'ayon. Better if you get the book and read the entire thing, but at least some of the quotes there can give you an idea. 

The chapter ends with the following:

"In summary, Eretz Yisrael was given to the Jewish People as a separate, isolated center, to set us apart from the nations and their alien culture. For that reason, any non-Jew wishing to live in Eretz Yisrael must accept conditions that sanctify the name of Heaven and give him unequal status in the Land, since through their acceptance he proclaims that the Land is not his and that he has no share in it. These conditions are: tribute, servitude, denying idolatry and accepting all the seven Noahide laws. Besides this, he is forbidden to live on the border, in Jerusalem, or within a Jewish city, and we are forbidden to sell him houses or to sell or lease to him fields. All this is intended to ensure that he remain apart from us and live his new life under the yoke of heaven within his own framework, that of the seven Noahide laws...."

In no way was such a concession ever conceived by Chazal to allow idolaters or even a majority of righteous non-Jews to establish residency in Eretz Yisrael, rendering Am Yisrael a minority on its own soil. The doors do not stand wide open to receive anyone who comes, not even in the case of those desiring to make the ultimate commitment by converting. 

Those who are out there beating the bushes for non-Jews and attempting out of some misconceived 'kindness' to the non-Jew to give away Israel's heritage - Torah, Shabbat, mitzvot, land - are making a very grave error for which they will have to give an account to the Almighty. 

Before one passes judgment on what is or is not a Torah concept, it's best to know what the Torah concepts are beforehand. If the commenter can bring sources which refute what is written here, I'd be interested in seeing them.

Back By Special Request

25 Menachem Av 5776

28 August 2016

What Does It Really Mean to Be "A Light to the Nations"?

24 Menachem Av 5776

Know that mixing with gentiles either through going to them or bringing them to us, diminishes our light and darkens the world. And know, too, that anyone who facilitates their entry and presence in Eretz Hakodesh has a share in the sin of any idolatry that they commit and any Jew that they deceive. It would be better for such a person that he had never been born.

For the answer to the question posed in the title, see...
Light to the Nations Series - Part 1

25 August 2016

Parashat Eikev 5776

22 Menachem Av 5776
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Shabbat Mevorchim

We're one week before Rosh Chodesh Elul and the beginning of the Forty Days of Awe. Time to start getting serious. Here are a few quotes from the parashah which really stand out in my mind.

...You shall faithfully observe all the Instruction that I enjoin upon you today, that you may thrive and increase and be able to possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your fathers.

...Bear in mind that the LORD your God disciplines you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore keep the commandments of the LORD your God: walk in His ways and revere Him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land,....

...When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Take care lest you forget the LORD your God and fail to keep His commandments, His rules, and His laws, which I enjoin upon you today.

...Remember, never forget, how you provoked the LORD your God to anger in the wilderness: from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you reached this place, you have continued defiant toward the LORD.

...And when the LORD sent you on from Kadesh-barnea, saying, “Go up and take possession of the land that I am giving you,” you flouted the command of the LORD your God; you did not put your trust in Him and did not obey Him. As long as I have known you, you have been defiant toward the LORD.

...And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God demand of you? Only this: to revere the LORD your God, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and soul, keeping the LORD’s commandments and laws, which I enjoin upon you today, for your good.

...Love, therefore, the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His laws, His rules, and His commandments.

From the Haftarah:

I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, They shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. And all mankind shall know That I the LORD am your Savior, The Mighty One of Jacob, your Redeemer.

Rabbi Kahane on the Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael and the "Specialness" of Am Yisrael

21 Menachem Av 5776

Most of the Torah and halachah that deals with the issue of non-Jews in Eretz Yisrael is for two reasons: 1) it is a foregone conclusion that Eretz Yisrael is where Jews should be living; and, 2) it's the only place where we have the mastery over our own will and laws. 

What is the halachah for living among the non-Jews in the Diaspora? When we are living in their lands, we are their guests. It is up to us to steer clear of them - to be good citizens (as long as their laws do not conflict with God's law) and to try to keep ourselves and Judaism alive - to survive and not to assimilate, either their religion or their culture.

Orthodoxy has traditionally forbidden interfaith dialogue and interaction while the Heterodox movements embrace it. (That should tell you something right there.) 

In the interests of truth, clarity and compliance with the Creator's will as expressed in His Holy Torah, here are some links to previously posted excerpts from Rabbi Kahane's Or HaRa'ayon: The Jewish Idea.

Some Halachot regarding non-Jews in Eretz Yisrael

Excerpts from The Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael by Rabbi Meir Kahane

Torah perspective: They really must go – Rabbi Meir Kahane

Or HaRa'ayon, Vol II, Ch. 20 - The Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael

24 August 2016

Did Rabbi Meir Kahane Really "Get Ger"?

20 Menachem Av 5776

For those unfamiliar with the false messianism* of the "Ger" cult, I'll encapsulate it. Two self-described "Orthodox" rabbis, American olim, started a "movement" which they call "Ger" and claim it is based on recovered ancient knowledge, i.e. the "Torah of Shem". 

In short, it claims that nearly every reference to "ger" in the Torah is referring to gentiles and even claims that the righteous Ruth, the quintessential convert, never became a Jew, but remained a gentile. A blog post is too limited to get into this matter in great detail. For our purposes today, it's enough to address this blatant slander of Rabbi Kahane's name.

I owe who I am today as a Jew to Rabbi Meir Kahane. There is no Torah teacher I admire more. He was the embodiment of Emet and to have his name associated in any way with such a corruption of the Torah and Torah sources is something that I cannot remain silent about.

Unfortunately, Rabbi Kahane did not live long enough to witness the exponential growth of missionary infiltration into Israel or the tragic deterioration of what passes today for "Orthodox" Judaism. In 1990, he was invited by Vendyl Jones to participate in the First Noahide Conference, which he graciously did. But, the rabbi was addressing people he understood to be true Sons of Noah as described by our Torah and Sages and not the perversion of that ideal that exists today.

Those who today lay claim to Vendyl's legacy recently organized the Vendyl Jones Memorial Conference. It was essentially a "Ger" conference. Simply by virtue of his having been in attendance at the original, Rabbi Kahane's name figured large in the pre-conference publicity and one of the lectures was dedicated to his contribution to "Ger".

That's really rather funny because, were he here with us today, Rabbi Kahane would be their most feared and intractable enemy.

A portion of that lecture has been transcribed below. It speaks for itself.
...When it came time for the conference I was just kind of playing around with Meir Kahane, again it's the Vendyl conference and Meir was there and the 1990 thing so I talked to my good friend... so he's like Meir Kahane this and Meir Kahane that and, in fact, I'm only friends with this guy because I was teaching Kol HaTor Mashiach ben Yosef and he kept telling me Meir Kahane taught about Mashiach ben Yosef, too, so I thought...maybe he's alright. So, I bought the book [Rabbi Kahane's Or Hara'ayon] coming up to this conference. I don't know how you would translate it into English . It's not so translatable. The concept of light or the idea of light, I don't know how you call it... so, I started to research it coming up to this conference and I saw very quickly, I was looking through the Table of Contents, you know, where's the Ger, where's the Ger, there's gotta be Ger here, um, and there was.
There was a chapter about the non-Jew. And so, I opened it up and I did it pretty quick. I wasn't planning on hashing it out to that extent and I'm seeing, maybe he got Ger, maybe not, I don't know, this is, ...usually I don't get stumped by Ger stuff, but this one, he's got me. Literally, I'm not sure...maybe he didn't get it, he's wrong because everyone said he was wrong, he says he's right but we say he's wrong, but I don't know, maybe he did get it, I don't know, so I ruled in my own mind, he didn't get it, no, he didn't get it, he didn't get it and I gave a look again and ...I'll give it to him, maybe he got it a little bit, but he's not saying what we're saying because the difference is, this is where the teaching's gonna begin, Ger Toshav, whatever that is, can really go one of two ways, it's gonna be our friend the Ger, our good Ger, he's an awesome guy, you can call him all these different terms in the Torah, Ger Chasid and all your friendly Ger, and then there's your slave Ger, he's our servant, he makes us coffee, so I'm saying I think he's making slave Ger, [Rabbi Kahane's] not our friend. He doesn't know the Chasid Ger, he doesn't know him, so pewey on Rav Meir Kahane, right? But, he got Ger a little bit so I'll give him some respect. And I kept looking at it, and I just kept, you know, because he words it very difficult so either he really didn't get it or he got it so well,....

So, he started to win me over, because remember how many are getting Ger on this level? I say the Lubavitcher Rebbe...he gets Ger 10 out of 10, he is your best friend, Rebbe Nachman got ger 10 out of 10, he is your best friend, ...Rav Aharon Soloveitchik...the Ger authority of all time...[Rabbi Soloveitchik's book Od Yisrael Yosef Bnei Chai] is like the Ger Bible...when you get your Ger friends in Torah, it's a select company, it's a select company, not many people make my personal Mount Rushmore. when you tell me Rav Meir Kahane is gonna be on my Mount Rushmore, man it better be worth it, alright, I'm telling you, you better earn your way up there because otherwise you're saying that the Gerim are slaves, this and that, we don't have that, alright? Our friends Rashi, Rambam, these are our Ger friends, alright, we do not pervert the Ger line. So, I was willing to even come here tonight and say that he got it just on emuna alone. I read enough about it, I live a busy life with all my other things, I'm not devoting that much time to this sefer, it's just not worth my time. He's Meir Kahane and then something changed. It's called a nice flight in the air so I had my eleven hours on Sunday, I was being kind of rough, I knew it was good and I knew I had what to talk about, ok, but I would give it a B+, ...which means he knew the sources and he was coming through, alright, and he was not a threat, and it would be interesting content for tonight...I mean he got a lot of things right, but not Ger.
After describing his 11-hour flight with a few jokes, the speaker returns to the subject of Rabbi Kahane and seems to imply that after spending further time perusing Or HaRa'ayon, he came to a different conclusion...
I had this gap of time and I'm telling you it was bomb after bomb after bomb, and I think he's the world record-holder. He's my guy. He came through. Meir, Rav Meir Kahane, he is the Ger guy. He is the one. I'm telling you he got it on levels I've never, he gave answers to questions.... this guy got it on such a level all you can say is he even got the little dinky Ger or maybe Ger is that big as someone who gets the truth is gonna get Ger, go to Ger, and it wasn't so small and random after all. Anyone on a path of truth is gonna run into Ger and we see it in our lives and our learning. It's not an accident... The Ger is the whole Torah. It's the path to Mashiach.... The challenge is to unite these two visions [i.e., the current Ger movement and what Rabbi Kahane taught regarding ger toshav].
B"H, Rabbi Kahane can speak for himself through the works that he left behind. So, you be the judge.

The Ger Toshav: Excerpts from The Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael by Rabbi Meir Kahane in Or HaRa'ayon, Chapter 20

Although the following is not particularly concerned with Rabbi Kahane, I'm including it here since it is part of this lecture given in Rabbi Kahane's name and it will demonstrate for you just how 'OFF' this so-called movement is...
[Concerning the Yefe Toar - the foreign woman taken in war] ...those women are called Ger, they're kosher to a Jew, even the Cohen Gadol can and did marry those women. How many of you have ever heard of Ruth? She was a Ger. And she was not a convert and she married a Jew. And that child becomes a Jew. I taught this in England. The midrash Rabbah on Parshas Naso, which is one of the biggest collections of Ger Torah that exists says, if a woman sanctifies her womb with modesty and purity of the Jewish code of excellence, let's call it, she marries a Jew, that child is a Jew. That's what became of Ruth and Boaz which gave us King David eventually. I taught that in London and they're like, no, no way... he admitted it was true, but his fear was you're gonna promote intermarriage with that and I said, you need to be a little smart about it. I found a book in Modiin by a rav today who is popular... it is literally written there, in stone, that a ger toshav in a time of jubilee can marry a Jew. And Ruth was the example. So, I guess I learned it ok. ...Ger woman allowed to Jewish man. ...Ger is the fourth house of Israel.
It actually gets worse, but we're short on space here. To conclude, NO WAY would Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztz"l, Hy"d, "Get Ger"!! Or agree to have his name associated with it in any positive way or that his writings would be characterized as supporting it. I have no doubt whatsoever that every legitimate student of Rabbi Kahane would agree with me. And all of them will be provided with a copy of this blog post for reference.

23 August 2016

Kudos to J-TV

20 Menachem Av 5776

I said I'd let you know the result of my email complaint. Nehemiah Coopersmith of J-TV responded kindly and promptly.

It's news to me that he is a jew... how do you know that?
I sent your email to the head of JTV asking for clarification.
if he's a jew we will take it down asap

To which I wrote...

His Hebrew name is the first clue. And then there's this...
Hananya Naftali
I'm the Israeli Jewish Christian who sometimes talk to the camera [link removed] and writes about life in Israel. 
 When you go to his link, it brings you to his introductory video in which he says... "My name is Chananya, I'm an Israeli, I'm Jewish by blood and Christian by faith."

And Nehemiah wrote right back...

crazy! we're are taking it down asap, and I was in touch with the editor at JTV who obviously didn't know this. it was a mistake
thanks for bringing it to our attention

I finished with...

So, I got to it originally through who also did not vet it before posting it. We all have to be a lot more careful in the future. The thanks goes to one of my readers "Shifra R" who brought it to my attention.

Thank you ever so much for being so prompt in your response and for taking responsibility to take the offending video down. I and my readers are happy to know it was a mistake and not intentional.

Kol tuv. Tizke l'mitzvot!

I'm happy it was resolved so quickly and cordially. It really is worth it to take the time to get involved. Many thanks again to Shifra!!