10 March 2011

Taking Sides

4 Adar II 5771

Dear Readers,

I don't know about you, but I was raised in a culture that encouraged me not to take sides. After all, the argument goes, who's really to say who is right and who is wrong? Instead, you are supposed to acknowledge that everyone has his own truth and you are to accommodate each person as best as you can within the bounds of whatever you decide is your truth.

That is not the Torah way. Despite what some people want you to believe, there is such a thing as absolute truth. The Torah is about right and wrong, good and evil. It admonishes us to choose life over death, blessing over curse. In the beginning, Hashem separated the light from the darkness and the earth from the water. Everything was clear and ordered. The mixing and muddying and confusion that we experience daily is the result of Adam and Chava's sin. When they ate from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they internalized evil, mixing good and evil within themselves, making it difficult to distinguish the voice of the yetzer hara from that of the yetzer hatov.

We correct their sin a little bit every time we make a separation and restore the order that forms the basis of the Creator's work. Furthermore, taking sides is the essence of Moshe Rabeinu's call, "Mi l'Hashem alai," which was repeated by Eliyahu HaNavi and by Matityahu HaCohen HaGadol HaChashmonai.

Today, while the world at large is fighting tooth and nail to break down every barrier of division and to mix all peoples and philosophies and religions into one miasmic amalgam, the task of our generation is to make havdalah---separate and distinguish between Truth and Lie---and the battlefield is the hearts and minds of humanity.

Today, we---each one of us---must take a side. Of course, every right-minded person wants to choose truth, but hear this! It must be Truth without any mixture of lie. To the extent that we are still connected to the lies of this present reality, this will determine our chances for surviving into Days of Mashiach.

I don't believe that this was ever such a problem in past generations before there was television, movies, fiction novels, video games, and virtual realities. Today, a technician can computer-generate any reality that you can imagine. He can produce a video or a newspaper headline with pictures demonstrating someone doing and saying something which never even happened! Our world has been virtually given over to the LIES until we have become immersed in its impurity!

Understand this! We can not enter into the world of Truth without first purifying ourselves from the world of Lies and we can not do that without first letting go of the LIES and embracing the TRUTH, without any mixture of the two!

Now. It has come to my attention that once again, my position on a particular topic has been misrepresented and I have been falsely accused by someone who must surely know better, but no doubt stands to gain something by the repetition of these lies. Again, it is an accusation brought because of my association with the messages of Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi.

From the time that I first learned of his alleged lack of smicha, (because to date, I do not know if he has or he hasn't!), I have referred to him only as "Rabbi," not Rav and not HaRav. This was due to the respect I have for Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, whose smicha and stature in the Torah world is unquestioned, and who has publicly given his haskamah to Rabbi Ben Artzi's messages.

Someone posted the following, and I quote:

"MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL IN THE LAND AND ACROSS THE WORLD, from the mouth of HaRav Nir Ben Artzi, shlita on Parshat Pekudei - Sheqalim 5771
This is from Tomer Devorah's own hand."

The accusation is that I personally refer to Rabbi Ben Artzi as "HaRav...shlita." In truth and in fact, this is part of the translation of his parsha sheet message which should be self-evident and in any case is available by direct link to the original which is in Hebrew and which anyone knowledgeable in Hebrew, like the blogger, could easily confirm.

You do have to wonder though what is behind this obsession with Rabbi Ben Artzi having been a "tractor driver?" When was Rabbi Ben Artzi driving a tractor? More than fifteen years ago? What was Rabbi Akiva doing at the age of forty when he had yet to learn the aleph bet? How many people do you suppose wondered to themselves, and out loud, "...that Moshe ben Amram,...that David ben Yishai,...that Akiva ben Yosef, he's been a shepherd, smells like the animals, what could he ever turn into?"

As I have stated here previously, I have yet to find any fault with either the autistic messages or Rabbi Ben Artzi's messages. Until and unless I do, I will continue to post them as I see fit, because I believe they have some value for us. Despite what some others claim , but for which they bring no proof, I believe that these messages come from a pure source. If I did not, I certainly would not be sharing them. I'll go so far as to add that seeing who is conducting this smear campagin and how, I am more convinced than ever.

Two bloggers have now been demonstrated to have publicly and baselessly lied. I would like to remind them that they are already sitting in a very precarious position in chu"l and I call upon them to publicly correct the lies that they have printed and to cease and desist from lying via their blogs from this moment on.

All lovers of Truth have an obligation to take a side. As a start, it need not be a public one, but in your heart and in your own mind, you must know that there is something terribly wrong when a person must go to such lengths to discredit another. Especially, when they have nothing solid to bring, but purposely distort the facts and cast innuendo.

This ongoing campaign against Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi is lashon hara at its worst and pure sinat chinam. It must be given no quarter among Torah-believing and Torah-observing people.

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