24 February 2010

Raising Questions

Full-Body Scanners Coming

WASHINGTON — The first of 150 full-body scanners planned for U.S. airports will be installed in Boston next week, officials said Tuesday.

The plan is to install three machines at Logan International Airport, according to a homeland security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not yet been made. In the next two weeks, officials plan to install another machine at Chicago's O'Hare International.

The rest of the 150 machines that were purchased with $25 million from President Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus plan are expected to be installed in airports by the end of June, another homeland security official, spokeswoman Amy Kudwa, said.

This new assault comes in the wake of the domestic airline attack near Detroit, US in December 2009. Even though the experts conceded that such a scanner would not have made any difference in that case, and despite the many questions regarding intrusion of privacy, still the authorities are foisting these ludicrous machines upon the public.

I have an idea that there is more to this than "security" issues. Consider this. With the economy being what it is these days, what if a situation arose in which people wanted to travel outside the borders carrying large sums of cash (or other valuables). I actually did travel once with a large amount of cash hidden in a garter belt that I wore on my leg (and which I had made especially for the purpose). Couldn't get by with that now.

Can you think of any other possible scenarios? I think there just has to be more to it. And of course, I'm always mindful of Jews being forced to relocate and carry upon their persons the means to get from point A to point B, whether it be cash or jewels or whatever.

22 February 2010

Understand the Gravity of Our Situation

If you are anything like me, you are slightly numb, both mentally and emotionally, to the threats that swirl around us. When has it ever been any other way? But every once in awhile it is good to open the eyes wide and take a really good look at what we mostly try to gloss over most of the time. Use the opportunity while viewing the video linked below, to allow yourself to feel what our ancestors felt during the crisis of Esther and Mordechai's time. Perhaps it will inspire us all to come out of our self-imposed protective shells long enough to try their solution. We can't keep up this zombie-walk forever.

"This coming Wed., Feb. 24 at 12 noon, our great rabbis Elyashiv, Steinman, Wosner, Batzri, & Rebbitzen Kanievsky, and others have deemed it a day of tefilla. We are facing a very real threat, and "the battle plan is tefillah" and our "secret weapon is Ahavas Yisroel."

All over the world, people will pause at 12 noon to recite Tehillim 83, 130, 142, & Acheinu Kol Beis Yisroel. Please make a note of this and spread the word. We need to do this together!"

(You can disregard the dates pasted on the video by its maker.)


21 February 2010

"Jews Don't Bow Down"

If you’d met me growing up in El Paso, Texas you wouldn’t have been able to tell I was Jewish. When I was six and my brother was 10, his gymnastics coach asked my parents if they would consider sending my brother to begin training to be an Olympic gymnast. My parents were in the middle of a divorce, and my brother’s future as an Olympic gymnast got buried under the mess of my parents’ lives. But I, unaware of this greater drama, did what all little brothers did. I followed my brother and joined gymnastics as well.

One day at gymnastics class, the instructor asked me to bow down for a gymnastics routine. I refused. “Aaron is something wrong?”

I wouldn’t budge.

“Please bow down like all the other boys and girls.”

Again I remained adamant in silence. The gym coach had hit upon the only thing I knew from reform temple that as a Jew I was not allowed to do.

Struggling inside I finally spoke up, “Jews don’t bow down!”


Jewish Missionaries?

Have you ever been accosted by a missionary? Annoying aren't they? Ever console yourself with the thought that at least Jews don't missionize? Well, think again!

There are Jews who have bought into the idea that our mission to be a "light to the nations" requires us to go out and beat the bushes looking for "Jewish souls trapped in gentile bodies." Or does it mean we must bring the "gospel" of Noahidism to the nations? I'm not sure these guys have even made up their minds, but Rabbi Sholom Gold makes a brave and heroic attempt to set them straight, without much luck I'm afraid. (Starts at the midpoint of the program.)

View this clip taken from a Tuesday Night Live video.

14 February 2010

It's Rosh Chodesh Adar

The Book of Formation is the first Kabbalistic text attributed to Abraham and compiled in its final form by the Tannaic sage, Rabbi Akiva. It enumerates the 12 months of the year and explains that each corresponds to a Hebrew letter and a particular sense, or talent, which is controlled by a particular organ of the body. The month of Adar corresponds to the Hebrew letter ק (pronounced: kof), its talent is laughter, and the organ that controls this talent is the spleen. Because the Jewish reckoning of months begins with the month of Nisan, in the Jewish year, Adar is considered the twelfth and final month. This means that laughter is the last of all human traits implying a well-known verse from the chapter on the woman of valor: “She laughs, awaiting the final days.”1 After all the ups and downs of the entire year, we enter a month of healthy and cathartic laughter.

Indeed, laughter is the best medicine and it has the power to turn all of the pain, misery, and difficulty of the past year into goodness and joy. At the end of the year, we find ourselves still standing, thank God, and all of the fears that we harbored in our souls (lest so and so happen…) are transformed and sweetened by our laughter. This transformation is alluded to in one of God’s connotations: “the Fear of Isaac,”2 which literally means “fear [itself] will laugh!” This is the theme of Purim, the holiday that we celebrate in Adar. On Purim we celebrate how all the fears of Haman and his planned genocide of the Jewish people were overturned. The fear turned into laughter. This is why the motto of the month of Adar is “abound with joy.” When there is but a little amount of joy, it tends to remain concealed in the heart. But when there is an abundance of joy, it overflows and is expressed as booming laughter.

(You can read more here.) Chodesh Tov! And may we finally know true joy as we stand before the month of Nisan--the time of our redemption!!

11 February 2010

Weather Still Making Headlines

AFGHANISTAN - At least 28 people died and hundreds were trapped through the night in freezing cold and darkness after avalanches closed a mountain highway tunnel in Afghanistan. ...Heavy snowfall and rain also caused floods in the south of the country. Six people have been killed and 10 were missing as a result of floods.

BULGARIA, ROMANIA - Blizzards and snowstorms lashed Romania and Bulgaria, trapping people in their vehicles and cutting power supplies, as a weekend avalanche death toll across Europe rose to 11.

U.S. - Thousands of flights were canceled, schools in New York closed and the U.S. Congress suspended work as a winter storm threatened to drop as much as 20 inches (50.8 centimeters) on parts of the East Coast Tuesday. The storm, the second for the Washington-Baltimore area in less than a week, was accompanied by cold and winds gusting from 35 to 55 mph (56 to 88 kph) in the Northeast. The winds were likely to be intense enough to rival those of a tropical storm. “The words UNPRECEDENTED and paralyzing would describe what is about to happen to the Philadelphia-Baltimore-DC corridor. It’s looking more likely that blizzard or near-blizzard conditions will hit New York City.” Winter storm warnings stretched from Illinois to Massachusetts.

AUSTRALIA - the drought affecting south-west WA since the 1970s is extreme. Now, scientists believe it could be THE WORST DROUGHT IN 750 YEARS,....

10 February 2010

Strange Days Ahead

Unexpected things are going to happen when Mashiach and the Geulah come. We need to be prepared for all eventualities. For example, there is a pasuk in Zekharyah (9.6-7) that says: "...I will eliminate the pride of the Philistines (פלשתים) . I will remove his blood from his mouth and his abominations from between his teeth, and then he too will remain for our God. He will be like a master in Judah, and Ekron will be like the Jebusite."

Commentary says: "The Philistines (Palestinians?) will stop their bloodthirsty and idolatrous practices, and join the people of Israel in worshipping God. Then, even the Philistines will be like the leaders of Judah, and Ekron will be as Jewish as the former Jebusite city of Jerusalem."

The following two-part video may offer an explanation for why this will be so...

08 February 2010


This is the central message of a recent PublicEye e-zine article and you'd better believe it. Despite the fact that we come from opposite political and religious extremes, I wholeheartedly endorse Rachel Tabachnik's article "The New Christian Zionism and the Jews : A Love/Hate Relationship."

She covers everything and everybody and gets it all right in one looooong page. Seriously, it is well worth printing out and taking the time to read and digest this little treasure house of useful information on this subject.

Great job, Rachel!

Weather Chaos Worldwide

Storms and floods bring death and chaos to central Mexico

Unseasonal winter weather in Mexico has caused widespread flooding resulting in death and destruction in the states of Michoacan and Mexico State as well as in the massive capital of Mexico City. According to an AP article, there have been 29 deaths in central Mexico so far as a result of the storms.

...Cyclone Oli moves through French Polynesia

A powerful Category 4 cyclone, the equivalent of an Atlantic hurricane experienced in the Pacific Ocean, has moved through the South Pacific over the French Polynesian Islands
...storm chaos in NSW and Queensland
FIVE people are dead following massive storms that swept through parts of NSW and southern Queensland at the weekend, causing flash flooding and widespread chaos across both states.

20 million farm animals freeze to death

UP to 20 million farm animals may die in Mongolia before spring as the fiercest winter in living memory grips the country, International Aid Agencies warned today.

Rainstorm triggers fatal accidents

A FIERCE overnight rainstorm pounded southern California and triggered a mudslide in the city of La Cañada Flintridge, the Los Angeles Times reported today. Knee-deep mud and debris were reported in the area, parked cars were swept away and several homes were damaged by the mudslide.

US snow causes major power cuts

Hundreds of thousands of people remain without power in Washington DC and nearby states after a blizzard blanketed the area with record snows. Electricity was cut to at least 300,000 homes as the snow felled trees, and cut power lines. Emergency workers are struggling to restore power. Washington got up to 2ft (61cm) of snow, one of the heaviest snowfalls in decades. The storm disrupted transport from West Virginia to southern New Jersey. A record 3ft (91cm) of snow fell on Maryland.

Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland have declared emergencies, allowing them to activate the National Guard to help cope with the wintry onslaught. Some 300,000 homes are without electricity in Maryland and neighbouring Virginia - the two states which bore the brunt of the storm. Another 250,000 customers were hit by blackouts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the New York Times reported.

...The massive storm brought the nation's capital to a virtual standstill.

And as if that isn't enough, space weather is starting to act up, too!

In less than 24 hours, a monsterous sunspot group has materialized in the sun's northern hemisphere. The active region is crackling with M-class solar flares, and a powerful X-flare could be in the offing. Each of the spot's dark cores is about twice as wide as Earth.

04 February 2010

R Levi Chazan on Parshat Yitro


Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kreuser SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

22 Shevat 5770/5-6 February 2010

Between Moshe’s father-in-law Yitro coming to the Israeli camp and teaching us how to run a functional judicial system, and receiving the Ten Commandments, we find almost as a footnote at the end of the parsha, the commandment to build an altar. “An altar of earth you shall make for Me. And you shall slaughter near it your olah-offerings and your peace-offerings, your flock and your cattle; in every place where I will mention My Name, I shall come to you and bless you.”

It would seem more correct just to end the parsha after the reading of the most important Ten Commandments, which is the pinnacle of Jewish life. It is almost an anti-climax when the parsha continues and teaches us the laws of the altar, which apparently have no connection whatsoever with the parsha. Why, then, were the laws of the altar written in our parsha, and what does this have to do with 'Super Bowl Sunday’ football game?

Imagine for a moment that the 32 teams in the NFL would play the entire season but would end before the playoffs -yes, before the playoffs! Imagine that they never would play the Super Bowl, with its 130 million viewers and consumption of some 14,500 tons of potato chips. What, then, would be the point of the season if we don’t go all the way and have a winner?

The same can be said about the Jewish people and its service on the altar.

After the Torah goes through the Ten Commandments, which is equated to all the 613 commandments, there is a need to funnel this knowledge into something particular and tangible in order to bring the theoretical teachings of the Torah in to practice. This is really what Judaism is all about: Not some lesson in a classroom, but to apply it in real terms. For this reason, our Rabbis teach us that whoever learns but does not do, it is better that he would not have been born.

For this reason, the laws of how to build the altar were placed at the end of our parsha, after the mighty Ten Commandments, teaching us that if you want to know how to worship G-d and convert all the teachings into reality - Go and build the altar! Oh, you say, well that’s very nice but today we cannot build an altar to sacrifice to G-d. It is just impossible. Truth be told, it is really not so impossible after all, to build a working altar on which we can sacrifice to the L-rd. One must remember that almost two-thirds of all the commandments CANNOT be done today because we are not on the Temple Mount. How many of us really feel that pain - that our service to G-d is missing the main ingredient?

Note the following points about the altar:
1) In the Second Temple the altar was 32 amot - some 16 yards by 16 yards, with a ramp of an additional 16 yards (the equivalent of over 3 first downs in a football game). But as the Rambam brings down, the basic law is that you really only need the minimum requirement which is half a yard by half a yard - and no ramp. Not a big deal at all.

2) The stones of the altar cannot come in contact with metal - also not a big deal today, for we can gather them from the depths of the sea rocks that were never used, place them on a truck cover in wood or plastic and bring them to the Temple Mount. Or we can use laser and cut them from bedrock.

3) One of the most problematic issues surrounding the altar is that it must be constructed on the Temple Mount, it cannot be made in Monsey or even Boro Park. But it has a very specific location on the Mount. Still, for this there is also a solution. Our small altar of half a yard by half a yard can fit anywhere where the altar of the Second Temple stood (some 16 yards), being that we know the proximity of where the altar was in the Temple and will be able to build our altar on this spot.

So we find that there are really no excuses for us not to be fulfilling all of the commandments today, if we just willed it, and to put into practice all of the Torah’s commandments. The bottom line is that if it is a commandment from the Torah, then we can fulfill it. That’s what commandments are all about. It's all in our hands!

Levi Chazen

02 February 2010

"Bringing Mashiach"

Don't miss the eight-part series from Mashiach's Wife on how to bring Mashiach by joining the battle against the Erev Rav. It ran over the past week and concludes today. (Part 1 linked)

01 February 2010

Returning a "Lost" Tribe's Son to Israel

This story is somewhat related to the previous one about the Xian actions in Haiti. As I said there, they've been doing this kind of thing for most of their two-thousand year history. As you read, you will see how Xian missionaries attempted to wipe out all trace of this "Lost" Tribe's history and identity. (Click on the picture.)

The "Love & Kindness" of Xians in Action

This blogpost is in response to the story of ten American Baptist missionaries who went to Haiti to express Xian "love and kindness" to Haitian children.

They are so sincere in their "love" and in their desire to do deeds of "kindness," but that does not excuse the crimes against humanity of which Xianity is guilty. The same excuse was given for the Inquisition, too. They killed our bodies so they could "save" our souls, all in the name of Xian "love." And what about the Jewish children who were "rescued" from Hitler's y"s fires only to lose their Judaism to the "kind" Xian families who offered them shelter.

This story has been repeated over and over again, all across the world, over centuries and centuries of Xian abuse of "love & kindness."

The lesson for Jews: Know Thine Enemy!! And stay far, far away from them. Don't be sucked in by their self-serving "love and kindness." Don't be partakers of and participants in their crimes, G-d forbid!

Here are some telling excerpts:

...The Baptists from Idaho were waiting Monday to hear if they will be tried on child trafficking charges for attempting to take 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic without official authorization.

Child welfare groups expressed outrage over Friday's attempt, saying some of the children had parents who survived the Jan. 12 earthquake. Prime Minister Max Bellerive denounced the group's "illegal trafficking of children" in a country long afflicted by the scourge and by foreign meddling.

...The Baptists' "Haitian Orphan Rescue Mission" was described as an effort to save abandoned, traumatized children. Their plan was to scoop up 100 kids and take them by bus to a 45-room hotel at Cabarete, a beach resort in the Dominican Republic. The 33 kids ranged in age from 2 months to 12 years.

They were stopped at the border for not having proper paperwork and taken back to Port-au-Prince, where the children were taken to a temporary children's home.

...Without proper documents and concerted efforts to track down their parents, children could be forever separated from family members able and willing to care for them. Bellerive's personal authorization is now required for the departure of any child.

"For UNICEF, what is important is that for children separated from their parents, we do everything possible to have their families traced and to reunite them," said Kent Page, a spokesman for the group in Haiti. "They have to be protected from traffickers or people who wish to exploit these children."

He said it was possible the Americans arrested may have had "good intentions but misguided execution."

The Idaho church group's spokeswoman, Laura Silsby, told the AP from detention that the group was "just trying to do the right thing" amid the chaos. She conceded she had not obtained the proper Haitian documents for the children.

The children were taken to an orphanage run by Austrian-based SOS Children's Villages, where spokesman George Willeit said they arrived "very hungry, very thirsty." A 2- to 3-month-old baby was dehydrated and had to be hospitalized, he said. Workers were searching for their families or close relatives.

"One (8-year-old) girl was crying, and saying, 'I am not an orphan. I still have my parents.' And she thought she was going on a summer camp or a boarding school or something like that," Willeit said.

As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is in a difficult spot — it needs aid, but deeply resents foreign meddling. Many have mixed feelings toward Christian groups that funnel hundreds of millions into missions in Haiti.

Christian missionaries alone run or support an estimated 2,000 primary schools attended by some 600,000 students — a third of Haiti's school-aged population, according to government figures. Church groups also run vital hospitals, orphanages and food-distribution sites.
[If their goals were truly altruistic, they would give over these facilities to the Haitians to run where it would not be possible to use them as a means for slipping the gospel in under the cover of charity. But then this would defeat the whole purpose of building them.]

"There are many who come here with religious ideas that belong more in the time of the inquisition," said Max Beauvoir, head of Haiti's Voodoo Priest's Association, which represents thousands of priests and priestesses. "These types of people believe they need to save our souls and our bodies from ourselves. We need compassion, not proselytizing now, and we need aid — not just aid going to people of the Christian faith."
[Yeah, a voodoo priest, I know, but he's still right about the Xians. Note well: The money raised by Xian missionaries for "poor, impoverished Israelis," also goes primarily, if not exclusively, to Xian recipients to enable them to live and thrive among the Jews they hope to proselytize.]

...The Idaho churches had elaborate plans before the earthquake to shelter up to 200 Haitian and Dominican boys and girls in the Magante beach resort, complete with a school and chapel as well as villas and a seaside cafe catering to adoptive U.S. parents.

The Xians have one big mitzvah, to spiritually procreate and make other little Xians. And they don't care who gets hurt while they're doing it, because they are convinced that their way is the right way...and the only way.