31 December 2018

The Prime Minister Who Cried "Wolf"

23 Tevet 5779

You could see it coming and the Times has called it well...
In an interview with the pro-settler NRG news site just a day before the 2015 parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to the Israeli right.

Asked whether he would renew Jewish construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank if reelected, the premier dodged. “The question is not about additional building. There is a real threat now that a leftist government will join the international community and do what they want,” he said, arguing that the last time a left-wing party led the coalition, roughly two decades earlier, former prime minister Ehud Barak was “willing to give up everything.”

Netanyahu waited until a day before the elections to release such flares directed at settler voters. They were said to have been part of a last-minute fear-mongering campaign that polls subsequently indicated helped pull as many as four seats from the national-religious Jewish Home party to the prime minister’s Likud, boosting his faction to a solid 30-24 seat victory over the center-left Zionist Union.

Last Wednesday, just two days after the 2019 elections were announced, Netanyahu showed that he was not planning to waste any time, and opened his meeting with settler leaders with a nearly identical warning to the one he gave four years before.

“In the upcoming election campaign, we will see an attempt by the left to oust us from power,” the prime minister told West Bank settlement council chairmen at his Jerusalem office.

“It’s a battle over our homes,” he continued. “The fate of the state and the settlement enterprise are not to be taken for granted… Because later on, under a leftist government, everything will be reversed immediately.”
I really can't imagine any knowledgeable person falling for this political trick, but then there are a lot of uninformed people out there. If you know any of them, please remind them of the following as presented in a 2009 BBC article...
Right-wing withdrawals

To begin with, there was Menachem Begin, the first right-wing Israeli prime minister.

Thirty years ago, he concluded a peace treaty with Egypt, which involved Israel withdrawing from the Sinai peninsula - a huge area Israel had conquered in the 1967 war.

In the nineties, in his first tenure as prime minister, Mr Netanyahu agreed to hand over parts of the West Bank, and much of Hebron, to Palestinian control.

...Four years ago, Ariel Sharon took Israeli settlers out of Gaza.

Neither of these withdrawals brought a peace deal closer.

Indeed, both men won power, in part, precisely because they positioned themselves as rejecting the Oslo accords of the early nineties.

And the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the Labour prime minister who signed those accords, robbed history of discovering whether significant territorial concessions would have followed.

What we do know is that the withdrawals ordered by Mr Netanyahu and Mr Sharon were reviled by those on the hard right.

And, according to Silvan Shalom, deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the last Likud government, they exploded the myth of the left as the only partners of peace.

"History shows us that the leftists never withdrew from an inch of any territory," he says,....

..."Historically, only leaders from the so-called right have made territorial concessions. So paradoxically - although for me it's not a paradox, because no leader of the left will dare to do it - those who are pro-concessions to the Arabs should vote Netanyahu."
And why have elections been called just now? Of course, to prepare the way for the worst concessions ever agreed to in Israeli history - "The Deal of the Century." Having just come off of new elections, whoever leads the government will have carte blanche for agreeing to anything.
...And as Tom Segev, one of Israel's foremost historians, points out, should the Americans be keen to push a peace deal..., Mr Netanyahu might be receptive.

"Netanyahu is a man who thinks America, he grew up in America," says Mr Segev.
Some people are catching on to this trick. Some younger settlement leaders are not so easily manipulated, but their influence is being seen as limited, that they...
...represent a fringe group of settlers that will eventually return to [Netanyahu's] limited embrace when they realize that at the end of the day, he is the only thing preventing the rise of a left-wing, settlement-evacuating prime minister.
How many times can Netanyahu cry "wolf" and get away with it?

In truth, it is only HKB"H who is the only thing standing between us and disaster.  That's why, when it comes to elections, our only choice is to support the most righteous, God-fearing, Torah-observant person to lead us and leave all other calculations to HKB"H.

May He have mercy on us and bring us at long last to the rule of our righteous redeemer.

28 December 2018

"Jeopardizing All Our Accomplishments"

20 Tevet 5779
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Shemot

Jeopardizing all our accomplishments - Rabbi Meir Kahane and Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane

By killing the Egyptian, Moses bound himself inexorably to his nation and to his destiny. He jeopardized all his property, his glittering life-style, even his very life, if his deed would be discovered – but nevertheless, he did not hesitate. As the Mekhilta says:

[Moses] gave his soul for Israel, and they were called by his name… And where do we find that Moses gave his soul for them? – It is said…“and he went out to his brothers…and he smote the Egyptian”. So, because he gave his soul for Israel, they were called by his name (Mekhilta de-Rabbi Yishmael, Shirata 1, s.v. “et hashira hazot”).

Now, Moses could have thought this through carefully, and run away from the problem. He could have reasoned: Is it really worth while to endanger myself by killing this Egyptian? Would it not be better for me to ignore this one incident, to remain the king’s son, and thereby be able to help the Israelites in the future? More than this: perhaps it is not worth killing this Egyptian, for in any case, he has already killed the Jew, so what good will killing this Egyptian do? Will that bring the Jew back to life? And in any case, maybe it is forbidden for me to endanger myself, since this is not a case of saving a Jewish life, since this Jew is already dead? And more than this: perhaps I am not allowed to kill this Egyptian, for I am not a duly constituted court, and perhaps the verse Neither is it good for the tzaddik to punish (Proverbs 17:26) applies to me. (See Berakhot 7a: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi wanted to harness G-d’s “moment of fury,” which occurs once every day, to curse a heretic and kill him, but when the time came, he dozed off. His response was that presumably this happened because Neither is it good for the tzaddik to punish.)

Moses, however, understood that this accounting is false. He understood that in a situation of hillul HaShem, all these arguments together carry no weight – even pikuah nefesh (saving of lives), which usually takes precedence over all other commandments, does not justify hillul HaShem (even for an individual in private, unless there is definite danger to life; in public, even if there is an absolute certainty of being killed).

Neither can one make a finely-balanced accounting, to the effect that “perhaps I can do better another way, in another time and another place”.

In the commentary that Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane wrote on Parashat Shemot, we find a similar concept that he also links to our present situation:

At the end of “Parashat Shemot” we find a confrontation between Moses and Aaron on the one hand and the officers of the children of Israel on the other: On the one side stood Moses and Aaron who had been assigned by HaShem to carry out a seemingly suicidal mission: to enter uninvited into the house of the king, of the imperial, menacing kingdom of Egypt, and to request that he let the Jewish slaves go free. In spite of the odds, Moses and Aaron, with faith in HaShem, went and fulfilled their mission completely. (According to our sages, all the elders that accompanied them dropped out along the way because of tremendous fear, until Moses and Aaron alone remained to face Pharaoh). And certainly Pharaoh rejected their request out of hand. [The officers then accused them:] “May HaShem look upon you and judge, for you have brought us into foul odor in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to place a sword into their hands to kill us!”.(Shemot 5:21). And truthfully, reality proves the officers were correct.

Seemingly, just after Moses and Aaron leave Pharaoh's presence, a harsh decree is put upon the nation. And with all this...the officers were not right! The reason (and also the lesson from this) is that there is almost never a revolution or change where the first stages do not involve a loss of accomplishment!

...And sometimes, even in the case of true accomplishments, we must know that in order to bring change, there is no choice but to lose real accomplishments, at least temporarily. Because there will always be one Pharaoh or another who will threaten that if we don't sit quietly he will nullify our achievements, “and you will lose out because of this.” But if we give in to his threats, we will remain captives in the hand of Pharaoh, we, our children and our children's children ... until the end of the generations. ...Whoever wants change needs to warmly thank the “existing officers” for their accomplishments, but say to them: now we are going further, we are going to progress.

It is possible that part of your accomplishments of some of your accomplishments will be lost, either temporarily or permanently. But this is the price to pay for reaching the greater and ultimate goal. We were not born in order to be slaves with improved conditions in Egypt; we were born to be redeemed. We were not born to live in villas in settlements surrounded by fences, like ghettos [...], we were born to conquer and rule all of the land of Israel. [...] And if the price, more or less temporarily, is the loss of status...due to lack of participation on the part of the existing regime, or the necessity to gather our own straw to make bricks for a while, the price is worth it. For we were not born to live with the status quo, after the fact. We were born to establish an ideal world, as it was at the beginning!

Rabbi Meir Kahane continues in Peirush HaMaccabee on Shemot: And he smote the Egyptian, measure for measure. He killed the Hebrew, and Moses killed him. Samson expressed this same sentiment to the Jews who were afraid when they came to hand him over to the Philistines after he smote them: And they said to Samson: Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? What have you done to us?! And he said to them: As they did to me, so I did to them (Judges 15:11).

This is a Jewish response – not to let the Gentile smite with impunity, for every single blow desecrates the Children of Israel and is blasphemy against G-d’s Name. Anyone who smites a Jew must be smitten in return. More than this: Moses’ smiting the Egyptian was the Children of Israel’s first response ever to the blows they had received, and foreshadowed all the blows, all the plagues, that G-d would yet inflict upon Egypt.

And buried him in the sand. This symbolizes the humiliation of the arrogant Gentile who, in his self-pride, thinks that he can reach the very heavens. The prophet said, Take up a lament for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and say to him: You likened yourself to a young lion among the nations, but you are like a crocodile of the seas… With the swords of the mighty I will bring down your multitudes…and they will despoil the glory of Egypt (Ezekiel 32:2, 12). But now, instead of ascending to heaven, the Egyptian whom Moses killed was buried in the sand, in the ground – as low as possible – foreshadowing the humiliation of the whole of Egypt. And such will be in the future, too, when G-d will destroy the nations’ pride and show the glory of His might. Enter the rock, and bury yourself in the dust because of the fear of HaShem and the glory of His greatness. Man’s arrogant eyes will be humiliated, and people’s haughtiness will be humbled, and HaShem alone will be exalted on that day (Isaiah 2:10-11).  


25 December 2018

It's a Blessed Day in the Holy Land

17 Tevet 5779

Today is an especially blessed day in the Holy Land and not just because there are going to be new elections and as a consequence the "Deal of the Century" has been pushed off once more.

It is an especially blessed day because unlike half the planet, for 98%* of the public, it's an average every-day normal working/learning day. Kids are in school. Parents are at work. Government offices are open.

I had a short conversation with my nine-year-old grandson day before yesterday. I asked him if he knew anything about Santa Claus and he said "Santa what?" So, I said he's a big fat guy who dresses all red for Xmas and he said, "What's Xmas?" I told him never mind, better you don't know, totally not important.

Yes! That's my boy!!
*On the eve of Christmas, some 175,000 Christians live in Israel, constituting about 2% of the country's population, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

An Indictment of the Current Generation

17 Tevet 5779

First 25 minutes...

24 December 2018

"Tis the Season"

16 Tevet 5779

Our sources tell us that one of the reasons for allowing gentiles (ger toshav) to reside in Eretz Yisrael was so that a righteous gentile who wanted to escape his idolatrous environment in order to come closer to Hashem could do so.

I, as a convert to Judaism, knew that it would be much easier to live as a Jew in a place without all the reminders of "where I came from" - without the rush of childhood memories that always accompanied the winter seasonal holidays in America. But, in many discussions about the creeping Christmas takeover in Israel today, the rights and feelings of converts and righteous gentiles are often overlooked.

On this matter, Minister Ariel is so right and I am grateful that he had the courage to say so.

The Knesset will be full of its usual discord rather than Christmas cheer during the week ahead, as Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s gesture to shorten the parliament’s agenda on the Christian holiday faced opposition from the Right.

There are currently only two Christian MKs: Aida Touma-Sliman and Neven Abu Rahmoun of the Joint List. Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said it would be wrong for the Knesset to cater to them because it would harm Israel’s Jewish identity.

“The Knesset needs to be a lighthouse for the State of Israel as it displays the Jewish path,” Ariel wrote to Edelstein. “The Jewish state must honor all its residents, but it also must maintain its Jewish character and identity as its supreme value.”

Ariel said it was an especially wrong time to honor Christmas, because international organizations are working to “harm the state’s Jewish character, trample its traditions and make Israel into a state of all its citizens.”
Thank you, Minister Uri Ariel. Yasher koach!

23 December 2018


15 Tevet 5779

Yeshiva World News headline...
SHMAD ALERT: Campaign Against French Olim Arriving in Israel is in Full Swing

...“We now see thousands of immigrants arriving from France, and representatives of the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Absorption & Immigration do not understand they need to be registered in Talmud Torahs and Yeshivos. Once again, the state is removing tens of thousands of Jews from their Yiddishkeit and this must stop!”

...During a visit to France in 2017, the Satmar Rebbe Shlita of Williamsburg warned the tzibur to “save the children” and not make aliyah, fearing the Shmad that would follow. The Rebbe pointed out that many of the religious members of the community who moved to Israel in the two years prior were losing their Yiddishkheit.

In 2015, Deputy Minister of Education Meir Porush warned that children arriving in Eretz Yisrael from France may not receive a torani education, concerned state officials would place them in secular schools.

In 2015, HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch also issued a warning during a shiur, as following a terror attack in France, the Prime Minister called on French Jews to make aliyah. The rav however issued a warning, concerned with the spiritual future of the children, stating “Israel is not safer,” referring to the Jews from Yemen and their spiritual destruction. The rav stated it is forbidden for them to move to Israel if they are not certain that they will be settled in chareidi areas and placed in chareidi schools.
Regardless of what transpired in the past, there is no justification for such accusations today. This is baseless fear-mongering. The problem today is not the State, it is the religious institutions themselves!!

Any Jewish child who wants a religious education in Eretz Yisrael is very welcome to have one as far as the State is concerned. The biggest hurdle is finding a religious school that will let them in!! 

A chareidi education does not guarantee a child will continue in Yiddishkeit - witness all the Off-The-Derech teens in chutz la'aretz as well as EY! A real connection with HKB"H is not so easily broken!!

Maybe I'm overreacting, but it seems to me that these rabbis are asking French Jews to sacrifice their children's lives for a massive chillul Hashem - the degradation of the Jew in the exile by antisemites.

The more religious Jews who come to Eretz Yisrael, the better life will be for ALL religious Jews who live here.

Antisemitism in Europe | DW Documentary

22 December 2018

Economic Update - Closing Out 2018

15 Tevet 5779

Highest ever Dow was recorded 3 October 2018 : 26,828.39

One week later... Ten, 10, 2018.

Today... Dow : 22,445.37

Total loss since the record high - down 4,383 points

Oil hit a four-year high of $81.20/b on 24 September 2018

Today, it's nearly half that... Oil price per barrel - $45.42

Dow's worst week since 2008 financial crisis

There was a 7-year grace period after 9/11 for Jews in America to leave. That was followed by a 10-year grace period after the last economic downturn for Jews in America to leave.

Time is running out.

Peter Schiff --- Economic Collapse Already Started! 2019 Stock Market Crash

21 December 2018

"Accursed Is Their Rage"

13 Tevet 5779
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Vayechi

Parashat Vayechi -Accursed is their rage- Rabbi Meir Kahane

[Simeon and Levi are comrades, their weaponry is a stolen craft. Into their conspiracy, may my soul not enter! With their congregation, do not join, O my honor! For in their rage they murdered people and at their whim they hamstrung an ox. Accursed is their rage for it is intense, and their wrath for it is harsh; I will separate them within Jacob and I will disperse them in Israel. (Gen. 49:5-7)]

Simeon and Levi avenged Dinah, which constituted avenging Israel. Whoever says that their deed against Shechem was a sin, is mistaken, for G-d commanded (Num. 2:2), “The children of Israel shall camp with each person near the banner having his paternal family's insignia,” and our sages comment (Bamidbar Rabbah 2:7):

Every prince had an insignia. Each had a banner bearing the color of a precious gem on Aharon's heart...The prince of every tribe had a banner of the same color as his precious gem... Simeon's gem was emerald and his banner was green, bearing a picture of [the city of] Shechem.

If Simeon's deed in Shechem were a sin, how could G-d command that it be publicized on his banner? Moreover, Maharzo explains the Midrash: “Shechem: For their valor and self-sacrifice at Shechem. Although Levi was with him, Simeon was older and the main character. This is his praise for having zealously dealt with sexual sin.”...What occurred at Shechem surely did not constitute sin but self-sacrifice in pursuit of revenge in the right time and place. Whoever examines Scripture well will see that Jacob did not reprimand Simeon and Levi as if the deed were unethical. He only feared the outcome, the danger that might result (Gen. 34:40) “You have gotten me in trouble, giving me a bad reputation among the Canaanites and Perizites who live in the land. I have only a small number of men. They can band together and attack me and my family and I will be wiped out.” By their response, “Shall he treat our sister like a harlot?” (Gen. 34.31) they meant:”Surely no sin was committed here. We have avenged our sister, the victim of a heinous crime. As for your fear of the nations, to avoid profanation of G-d's name one must surely sacrifice one's life.” R. Yehuda bar Simon said (Bereshit Rabbah 80:12): [They said]:The water was muddy and we made it clear.

...If so, however, the question arises why Jacob cursed them (Gen. 49:5-7, current Parasha, see above). The answer is this: Certainly, after Simeon and Levi gave Jacob their answer - “Shall he treat our sister like a harlot?” - he silently accepted their argument, for all the aforesaid reasons. And there was certainly no sin in their killing the people of Shechem. Quite the contrary, they were fulfilling a great mitzvah of revenge and self-sacrifice. It was for this reason that G-d engraved for all time the image of the city of Shechem on Simeon's banner. Later, however, Simeon and Levi tried to scheme against Joseph and even thought to kill him. As our sages say (Lekach Tov on Gen. 49:23): “People made his life bitter and attacked him”: These are his brothers. “Masters of strife made him their target”: These are Simeon and Levi, as it says, “They are plotting to kill him” (Gen. 37:18).

We also find (Tanchuma Yashan, VaYeshev 13), “They said to each other, 'Here comes the dreamer! Let us kill him!' (Gen. 37:19): Who spoke to each other? Simeon and Levi.” Bereshit Rabbah (84:16) teaches: “'They took him and threw him into the pit' (Gen. 37:24). The written form is vayikachayhu, meaning 'he took him'. Who was this? Simeon. When was he punished? Later on when it says (Gen. 42:24), '[Joseph] took Simeon from them.'” Ultimately, it was Simeon and Levi who made Joseph's sale a fact. As our sages said (Midrash HaGadol on Gen. 49:5), “'Instruments of crime are their wares': This refers to the sale of Joseph.” When Jacob heard all this, he was shocked, and he understood that although their deed at Shechem was an act of revenge, a mitzvah and a duty, they were motivated by wicked anger. Anger is so unseemly that our sages said (Nedarim 22a-22b): “Whoever becomes angry, falls prey to all sorts of Hellish forces...Even the Divine presence becomes unimportant to him...It even makes him forget his Torah learning and makes him foolish.”Jacob now understood that Simeon's and Levi's deeds stemmed from anger. True, at Shechem they performed a good deed, yet motivated by anger, they ultimately went so far as to try to kill a saint like Joseph.

...To conclude, Jacob did not, G-d forbid, curse Simeon and Levi, but their rage, the evil cause of their sin. ...Zealotry and vengefulness are crucial attributes, but only if exercised for the sake of Heaven, as done by Pinchas, Elijah and others like them. ...Certainly, revenge, violence and murder are all grave acts, and when perpetrated solely for the sake of a king's or a nation's glory, or for personal revenge, they constitute an odious sin. Yet, whoever follows G-d's orders and duly clings to His mitzvot and values, applying mercy, kindness and peace in the right time and place, and cruelty, revenge and war in the right time and place, is serving G-d.

Revenge is rooted in Israel and in their great leaders. We find this with Samson. After he “smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter” (Jud. 15:8), the base men of Yehuda came to hand him over to the Philistines, claiming fearfully (Jud. 15:11), “ Are you unaware that the Philistines are rulers over us? What have you done to us?" Samson replied (Ibid.), “As they did to me, so did I to them”. Samson was crowned with the title of tzaddik, “righteous one”. ...So great was he that Jacob thought Samson would be the Messiah (Bereshit Rabbah 98:14):”Jacob saw Samson and thought he was the Messiah. After he died, Jacob said, 'This one is dead too! I waited for your salvation, Oh L-rd!' (Gen. 49:18)

Rabbi Meir Kahane's son Rav Binyamin Ze'ev explains this in The writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane, HY”D: When Jacob blesses Dan, the sages tell us that through “Ruach HaKodesh”, Jacob saw Samson wreaking havoc upon the Philistines, and thought that he was the Messiah. Only after seeing Samson die did a disappointed Jacob realize that Samson was not the Messiah, and thus he uttered the words in our Parasha, “I waited for your salvation, Oh L-rd”.

There is no more disgraceful or wicked trait than cruelty at the wrong time and place. Possessing this trait can even lead to one's Jewishness being suspect, as in the ruling of Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha-Ezer, Piriah Ve-riviah 2:2:”Whoever is insolent, cruel, hates his fellow man or lacks kindness, is suspected of being a Gibeonite.” The word “rachamim” [mercy] comes from “rechem”, [womb]. There is no mercy like that of a mother for the child of her womb. There is an inseparable bond between them because the child is part of her body, “flesh of her flesh” (Gen. 2:23). Just so must be a Jew's mercy for his fellow Jew (if that fellow is worthy). It should resemble a mother's mercy for her child.

[Joseph's brothers perceived that their father was dead, and they said, “Perhaps Joseph will nurse hatred against us and then he will surely repay us all the evil that we did him.” So they instructed that Joseph be told, “Your father gave orders before his death, saying:'Thus shall you say to Joseph:”O please, kindly forgive the spiteful deed of your brothers and their sin, for they have done you evil'”; so now, please forgive the spiteful deed of the servant of your father's G-d.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also went and flung themselves before him and said, “We are ready to be your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, Fear not, for am I instead of G-d? Although you intended me harm, G-d intended it for good: in order to accomplish – it is as clear as this day- that a vast people be kept alive. So now, fear not – I will sustain you and your young ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke to their heart. (Gen.50:15-21)]

[But, as Rabbi Kahane puts it in Peirush HaMaccabee on Shemot, Chapter 1]: To burn evil out of our midst – this is the greatest compassion for the world, for all who are compassionate to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the compassionate (Tanhuma, Metzora 1); because this convoluted compassion allows the wicked to continue to commit evil.

In The Jewish Idea, the chapter on revenge explains this further]: Love has its place, as does hate. Peace has its place, as does war. Mercy has its place, as do cruelty and revenge. The Torah dons sackcloth over the distortion of the concept of revenge, which has become a target for the arrows of all Jewish Hellenists and worshipers of the alien culture, as if revenge were negative and evil by nature. The very opposite is true! No trait is more justified than revenge in the right time and place. G-d, Himself, is called Nokem, Avenger: “The L-rd is a zealous and avenging G-d. The L-rd avenges and is full of wrath. He takes revenge on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies.”(Nachum 1:2). Our sages also said (Berachot 33a), “Shall we say that even revenge is great, because it appears between two names of G-d?” 'A G-d of vengeance is the L-rd' (Ps. 94:1). R. Elazar responded, 'Indeed. Where revenge is necessary, it is a great thing'” [see Rashi].

“It is a great thing!” It is a great mitzvah to take the revenge of the righteous and humble from the evildoer. Whoever forgoes such an opportunity is cruel, and he denies belief in G-d.   (Source)


19 December 2018

Sleeping Through Redemption

11 Tevet 5779
...And these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For so said the Lord: A sound of quaking we have heard, fear, and there is no peace. Ask now and see whether a male gives birth. Why have I seen every man [with] his hands on his loins like a woman in confinement, and every face has turned to pallor? Ho! For that day is great, with none like it, and it is a time of distress for Jacob, through which he shall be saved.

And it shall be on that day, says the Lord of Hosts, [that] I will break his yoke off your neck, and I will break your thongs, and strangers shall no longer enslave them. And they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will set up for them.   (Yirmiyahu 30.4-9)
I can't lay my hands on the source at the moment, but I recall learning that there is a source which explains that in the absence of our complete teshuvah, we will be saved alternately through our suffering. This source explains the bolded pasuk above as a hint that it is through the trouble itself that we will be saved in that "time of distress" known as "Jacob's trouble."

If we were paying attention, we would have seen this played out many times already with regard to the so-called "peace process" which actually has as its ultimate goal the elimination of Israel as a Jewish State.

The most glaring recent example is the "Khashoggi Affair" blowing up just at the moment the Trump Administration was prepared to launch their "Deal of the Century" and caused another months-long delay in their plans. And it doesn't appear to be dying down yet.
It was only a matter of time before someone tied the Khashoggi murder affair to Israel. And so, on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at moments of weakness for President Donald Trump, Saudi Crown Prince MbS and PM Binyamin Netanyahu, The Wall Street Journal brought Saudi ties with Israeli intelligence and tech systems firms into play.

The WSJ first noted that Saudi Dep. Intelligence chief Gen. Ahmadal-Assiri and court adviser Saud al-Qahtani, – both close advisers to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, (MbS) – who played key roles in the covert ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, were also were sacked over their suspected involvement in the journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death at the Istanbul consulate on October 2.
The paper notes suggestively that Qahtani, as media adviser, directed the Saudi press to soften Israel’s image compared with its long portrayal as the Zionist enemy, and managed the purchase of “advanced surveillance technology from Israeli firms,” to serve his second role in “monitoring critics and stifling dissent in Saudi Arabia, which included the hacking of electronic communications.”

Saudi officials told the paper that Qahtani had “sought out software made by Israeli spyware maker NSO Group and its affiliate, Q CyberTechnology, which began providing the kingdom cyber surveillance tools last year in a $55 million deal.” One official is quoted as saying, “Qahtani was the key player in all of this… He wanted the best and the knew that Israeli firms offered the best.”

Although no facts are presented as evidence that the two senior Saudi officials used Israeli technology to track Khashoggi, or that any Israeli was implicated even indirectly in the affair, the WSJ writes suggestively that that the sidelining of the two officials suspected in the Khashoggi murder has had a negative impact on Saudi-Israeli ties. Another casualty has been the Trump Mid East peace plan, which hinged on the crown prince’s growing affinity with Israel.  (Source)
This was yad Hashem! Things like this go on all the time in their world. None of the players had any reason to believe this time would be any different, but it was different, because it has to do with the fulfillment of the destiny of the Jewish people.

Despite all the setbacks, they are determined to ram this thing through come hell or high water.
"...The EU is truly convinced that the achievement of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, that meets Israeli and Palestinian security needs, and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation and resolves all final status issues ... is the only viable and realistic way to end the conflict and achieve just and lasting peace," the statement said.

The statement came shortly before comments from Trump's UN ambassador Nikki Haley gave a hint, but no details, of her boss's peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. The plan is long, she said, takes advantage of new technology, and has a lot both sides will like and things they won't like.

Haley said Israelis and Palestinians, as well as countries around the world, have a choice: focus on the parts they dislike, which she said means returning "to the failed status quo of the last 50 years," or focus on parts they like and encourage peace negotiations to move forward.

The US ambassador, who said she has read the plan, told the UN Security Council that "both sides would benefit greatly from a peace agreement, but the Palestinians would benefit more, and the Israelis would risk more."

Haley, who is stepping down at the end of the month, said moving forward to negotiations and peace "will need leaders with real vision to do it." She declared: "The world will be watching."

Haley made no mention of any of these issues in her last speech at the council's monthly Mideast meeting, stressing instead the "unshakeable bond" between the United States and Israel, which she has reflected in her nearly two years as US ambassador.

"Given my record, some might mistakenly conclude that I am unsympathetic to the Palestinian people," she said. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

Haley said neither Israelis nor Palestinians should make peace at "any price" but she highlighted the differences between the two sides.

"Israel wants a peace agreement but it does not need one," she said.

On the other hand, Haley said, the Palestinian people "are suffering terribly, while their leadership clings to 50-year-old demands that have only become less and less realistic," and a peace agreement holds the prospects "of a massive improvement in the quality of their lives and far greater control over their political future."

She said "it is with this backdrop in mind that the Trump administration has crafted its plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians."

Israel's UN Ambassador Danny Danon said late last month that US officials have told Israel's government they expects to release the long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan in the beginning of 2019.  (Source)
As I said, come hell or high water. Well, hell didn't stop them.
...the Camp Fire in November 2018. The wildfire ranks at the most destructive in state history, with more than 18,000 buildings burned. With 86 deaths, it is also the deadliest ever in California.
One month later, will high water?

Storm train to keep rolling through northwestern US with rain, snow and wind

Rain, wind, mountain snow and rough surf will lash the Northwest and California through Sunday night as the barrage of Pacific storms continues.

The region had little time to gather itself after gusty winds from a storm late Friday caused tree damage and power outages in western Washington.

Over 100,000 people were without power for a time on Friday night, including nearly 50,000 in the Seattle metro area.

More storms are lining up across the northern Pacific Ocean with their sights set on the Pacific Northwest.

"Storms will arrive approximately every 24 to 36 hours through Thursday," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

(See related: Powerful, rare tornado rips through Seattle area; ‘Stay well back ... or risk certain death’: Giant waves slam California coast)

East Coast storm to strike during peak of Christmas travel; Northwest to stay stormy

...A major storm is forecast to bring drenching rain and thunderstorms beginning on Wednesday near the upper Gulf of Mexico coast.

However, the risk of slick roads is likely to expand northward from along the Interstate 10 corridor on Wednesday, Dec. 19, to areas from the Southeast to part of the Midwest and Northeast by week's end.

There is the potential for damaging thunderstorms centered on the Florida Peninsula on Thursday.

Enough rain is likely to fall from the storm as it moves along to aggravate the small stream and river flooding situation in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions and lead to urban and small stream flooding in New England.

Motorists should expect delays related to rain, fog and low-lying area flooding to become more extensive as the week draws to a close. A swath of heavy rain is likely to shift northward along the I-95 corridor from Thursday to Friday night. Philadelphia, New York City and Boston may be hit hard with heavy rain for a time.

As the storm strengthens moving northward, winds generated may become strong enough to knock over poorly-rooted trees in the soggy soil.

Motorists venturing on secondary roads in wooded areas during their travels should be wary of the added risk of trees coming down during the storm.

...While the same storm will bring rain initially, a change to snow is likely on the back side from the middle part of the Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes region.

The potential for rain to change to or end as snow includes the cities of Chicago, Milwaukee and Indianapolis Thursday night into Friday; Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati during Friday and perhaps Pittsburgh during Friday night.

...The train of storms that began to affect the Pacific coast last week will continue to blast the Northwest into early next week.

Each storm has the potential to increase the risk of flash flooding and mudslides, while rounds of snow over the high country raise the risk of avalanches.

While the coastal Northwest will be between storms on Wednesday, snow will shift inland over parts of the northern and central Rockies with wintry travel this day. Gusty winds in these areas will cause further travel difficulties at midweek.
If you don't see yad Hashem in all this, you are sleeping right through our redemption!

17 December 2018

Why Fast? What Good Does It Do?

10 Tevet 5779

Our Heritage by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov...
Rambam writes the following in Hilchot Ta'anit 5: The fast of the tenth of Tevet is like the other fasts which were established as means of mourning the destruction of the Beit ha-Mikdash and Israel's exile. However, the primary purpose of fasting is not grief and mourning, for the distress felt at the time when these events transpired is sufficient. Rather, the primary purpose of the fasts is to inspire people to repent, to bring us to recall the evil deeds of our ancestors as well as our own---deeds which brought them and bring us great travail. By remembering these events we will repent and act properly, as the verse (Vayikra 26:40) states: "And they shall confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for the evil that they have done to me."
Our Sages (Talmud Yerushalmi, Yoma 1) taught: "Any generation in which the Beit ha-Mikdash is not rebuilt, is considered as if they had destroyed it." Every generation has the ability to awaken Divine mercy, to bring Israel salvation from her enemies, to gather her exiles from the places of their dispersion, and to rebuild the Beit ha-Mikdash. How can this be accomplished? By complete repentance and by rectifying the sins of the previous generations. As long as salvation fails to arrive, it is a sign that we have not as yet repented for our sins and that we are therefore suffering because of our own transgressions as well as those of our ancestors. It is therefore as if we were delaying the final redemption, and as if we ourselves had caused the destruction.
Even when the Beit ha-Mikdash is in a state of destruction, and Israel is in exile and our land lies desolate in the hands of foreigners, these cannot be seen as signs that God has divorced Himself from His people, Heaven forbid. He did not decree eternal ruin for His sanctuary. Exile, destruction, and anguish are all temporary, and may, at any hour of Divine mercy, be transformed into rejoicing. Israel's dwelling in her Land and the building of the Sanctuary are alone eternal.
...Israel was not spewed out from her land; she was expelled from it because of her sins, but she will also return to it and possess it as an eternal inheritance. Her return is dependent only upon her repentance, and the Divine mercy which will hasten the time of the final redemption.
The aim of fasting, therefore, is to subjugate our evil inclination by restriction of pleasure; to open our hearts and to stir us to repentance and good deeds, through which the gates of Divine mercy might be opened for us. It is therefore incumbent upon every person to take it to heart to examine his deeds and to repent during these days (of fasting), for this is the primary purpose of the fasts....
These are some of the things we need to repent for...

  • Disbelief of Hashem, of the Torah, of the mesorah received from the rabbis and the prophets.
  • Lack of faith in Hashem, His providence, His love, and His justice.
  • Elevating our own will above that of our Creator.
  • Shaping our image of God to our own liking rather than to the reality of Who He really is.
  • Loving and seeking comfort and ease with an unwillingness to suffer mesirut nefesh for the sake of Hashem, His Land, His People and His Torah.
  • Satisfaction with the status quo with thoughtless disregard for the suffering of the Holy Shechinah
  • Etc.,...

14 December 2018

"Reluctant to Leave"

6 Tevet 5779 
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Vayigash

Parashat Vayigash - Reluctant to leave
by Rabbi Meir Kahane

From Peirush HaMaccabee Shemot, Chapter 1

Jacob left Israel only after being given a direct order by G-d. Even then he was reluctant to leave, since G-d had foretold to Abraham that He would take his descendants down to Egypt. The Ohr ha-Hayyim comments: Presumably, Abraham would have told his offspring [of this prophecy], as Hazal said; so when Jacob saw that food was available in Egypt…he feared that the exile would begin with him (Genesis 46:3). So when Jacob saw all those events unfolding, he understood that the inevitable Egyptian exile was about to begin. Therefore he was reluctant to leave, until G-d told him: Fear not to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there [i.e., My intention is to transform you from a small family into a great nation which will be My emissary to the world]. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will also surely bring you up (Genesis 46:3-4).

That is to say, Jacob was permitted to leave Israel solely because G-d Himself commanded him to do so for a specific and defined purpose. And even then, G-d told him that when the mission would be accomplished, his descendants would return to Israel, since their descent to Egypt was solely for the purpose of their subsequent ascent to the land of Israel.

As we already said, Jacob feared to leave Israel, and the author of the Pesah Haggadah portrayed him as having been compelled by the [Divine] decree. Hazal said: When Jacob heard that Joseph was alive, he thought to himself: How can I leave the land of my fathers, the land of my birth, the land wherein G-d’s Shekhinah is, and go to an impure land? (Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer 39). G-d had to reassure him: Do not fear to go down to Egypt – fear neither the descent from the Land of Israel, nor the descent to impurity – for I will make you into a great nation there – for My intention is to make you a great and exalted nation, which can happen only there. I will go down with you to Egypt – I am going down with you, to guarantee that this descent will be directed as I want it to be – and I will assuredly bring you up from there – I guarantee that there will be two ascents: a physical ascent in returning to the Land of Israel, and a spiritual ascent, as I have already planned. 

It must again be emphasized that Jacob’s descent to Egypt was an exceptional event, specifically according to G-d’s decree, in order that the nation would be born in Kiddush HASHEM. Therefore, the Midrash says: It was appropriate for our father Jacob to go down to Egypt even in manacles (Genesis Rabbah 86:2) – he had to go down there, even against his will. Therefore, the Torah describes Jacob’s family as coming to Egypt, rather than as going down to Egypt, which would have been expected. The prophet, for example, says that they would go down to Egypt for help (Isaiah 31:1). Sa’adya Gaon explains that, as a rule, anyone who leaves the Land of Israel descends spiritually into impurity; but in this specific instance, there was a unique aim of forging a nation in the iron furnace. Therefore, this particular journey to Egypt did not constitute a descent, and G-d therefore permitted the Children of Israel to leave the Land of Israel. 

...The central principle here is that leaving the Land of Israel was justified only as an intrinsic part of the crucial process of creating a nation which would return to Israel afterwards as a chosen nation living in a chosen land, building a holy society in a holy state.

The descent was solely for the purpose of the subsequent ascent, for the purpose of returning to Israel. ...when they came to Egypt they were few in number, and by the grace of G-d they multiplied greatly, until they became a large nation. The Rashbam comments: When they reached Egypt, they were no more than seventy, and after the death of that generation, they were fruitful and swarmed. He [Jacob] went down to Egypt according to the divine plan and command, which G-d had already explained to Abraham in the Covenant between the Parts: Know for a surety that your seed will be strangers in a land not theirs, and they will serve them, and they will oppress them for four hundred years (Genesis 15:13). So the Torah enumerates them all, showing that at that time, all were equal to Jacob, all came to Egypt to dwell temporarily, not in order to settle down there. The Midrash expresses this by saying, They were all comparable to Jacob, for all were tzaddikim (Exodus Rabbah 1:1). This is also what Rashi means by commenting: Even though they were enumerated by name during their lifetimes [in Genesis 46:8], they were enumerated once again after their deaths to show [G-d’s] love for them. They were likened to the stars, which G-d leads and enumerates by name, as it says, 'He brings forth their legions by number, He calls each one by name' (Isaiah 40:26). This follows the Midrashic statement that Israel are equivalent to the heavenly legions (Exodus Rabbah 1:3). G-d told Abraham: Look now to the heavens and count the stars … thus shall your seed be (Genesis 15:5) – that is to say, your seed will be like the stars, like the heavenly legions. I have chosen you to be My emissaries, to bring knowledge of HASHEM to the world and to sanctify My Name, to make known that I am omnipotent, the true LORD. Indeed, G-d is sanctified with the appellation G-d of Legions, in the verse Holy, holy, holy, in HASHEM, LORD of Legions (Isaiah 6:3). Moreover, the two words Legions and holy are interconnected: our Redeemer, HASHEM, LORD of Legions is His Name, the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 47:4). For when it becomes clear that the greatest and mightiest legions in heaven and on earth, including the stars which are infinite in their extent and number, are all the works of G-d, that he controls them and supervises them individually – then He is indeed aggrandized and sanctified. So these heavenly legions indeed “tell of G-d’s glory”– their very existence testifies to His glory. And in just the same way, the nation of Israel was chosen for the same task, and are therefore compared to the stars. Clearly, when they fulfill their role, when they are righteous like Jacob, G-d bestows His love upon them, deriving satisfaction from them and enumerating them all singly, like a father who continuously counts his children and ensures that none are missing. The moral here is that the Torah teaches G-d’s intention in bringing the Children of Israel down to Egypt, and simultaneously makes it clear that they were all tzaddikim, and went down there solely for G-d’s purpose, with no thoughts of abandoning the Land of Israel permanently.

...But in any event, the Israelites’ regression that would begin after the death of Jacob and his sons was already hinted at in the Book of Genesis: And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen, and they seized it, and they were fruitful and multiplied greatly (Genesis 47:27). The Kli Yakar comments: This entire verse levels an accusation at the Children of Israel. For G-d decreed that “your seed will be a stranger” (Genesis 15:13), but they sought to be permanent residents.…So firmly entrenched did they become there that they did not want to leave Egypt, to the extent that G-d had to bring them out with a mighty hand; and those who did not want to leave, died in the three days of the darkness. Know that the first exile and redemption are the paradigm for the final exile and redemption. 

Just as in that first redemption, G-d put an end to the exile against the Jews’ will, and those who stubbornly persisted in remaining there perished, so too will be – G-d forbid! – in this final redemption of our era, whose first stages we are living through now. 

For G-d will not suffer the contempt for His treasured Land and the continuation of the exile, which epitomizes chillul HASHEM and impurity, simultaneously with the rise of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, which epitomizes Kiddush HASHEM and purity. ...G-d does not want us to dwell in exile, and will not allow us to. Even if generations may have passed and Jews have lived comfortably in any given country, the day of reckoning will yet come. And the Jew must therefore understand that exile, with all its implications, begins the moment that he finds himself on foreign soil, in a land not his own, regardless of how good his conditions may be at that particular moment. In his Introduction to the Book of Exodus, the Ramban writes: Their descent [to Egypt] was the start of the exile, for then it began. And the exile was completed only on the day when they returned to their place … and when they left Egypt, even though they had left the House of Slavery, they were still exiles, for they were still not in their own land, wandering through the wilderness. The lesson is clear: even had they been emancipated but remained in Egypt, they would still have been in exile.


09 December 2018

"The Battle Is The Lord's"

2 Tevet 5779
8th Candle of Hanukkah

The enduring question of the holiday of Hanukkah is: How did they do it? How did the few defeat the many? The short answer is..."they" didn't. HE did!
Al Hanisim Prayer
...when the wicked Hellenic government rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will...You, in Your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress. You waged their battles, defended their rights, and avenged the wrong done to them. You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for Your people Israel to this very day.
A testament to the continuing truth of the words of King David...
Shmuel Aleph 17:45-47
And David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with sword, spear and javelin, and I come to you with the Name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel which you have taunted. 
This day, the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I shall slay you, and take off your head, and I shall give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines this day, to the fowl of the air and to the beasts of the earth, and all the earth shall know that Israel has a God.
And all this assembly shall know that not with sword and javelin does the Lord save, for the battle is the Lord's, and He will deliver you into our hand."
"For the battle is the Lord's," from that day to this, and forevermore.

Zot Chanukah
The "simple" explanation for this special name for the last day of Chanuka is the Torah reading from the end of Parshat Naso that emphatically announces ZOT CHANUKAT HA-MIZBEI'ACH (when the Torah is summing up the gifts of all the Tribal Leaders.

There is another, deeper meaning to the name. If you want to really know what Chanuka is all about, the answer is THIS, THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHANUKA - the fact that there are 8 days of Chanuka - ZOT CHANUKA, this is what Chanuka means. It means EIGHT. EIGHT is our answer to the Greek challenge. They said nature is perfect. They said it is a mutilation of the body to be circumcised. And they forbid us to fulfill that great mitzva of ours, under pain of death. EIGHT represents the step beyond TEVA, beyond nature. MILA on the 8th day represents our challenge to go beyond how we were created and take charge of the completion of our physical and spiritual form. The Mikdash began to function on its higher spiritual level on the EIGHTH day. The Greeks tried to take that away from us too. Torah was given to us on the day following seven sevens. It is an EIGHTH too. And the Greeks tried to take that from us also. With G-d's help, we prevailed over the Greeks and the triumph is celebrated with an 8 day holiday. This is Chanuka. ZOT CHANUKA.  
(Courtesy of OU.org)

06 December 2018

"Joseph Recognized His Brothers"

29 Kislev 5779
5th Candle of Hanukkah
Erev Shabbat Kodesh - Rosh Chodesh
Parashat Mikeitz

Parashat Mikeitz - Joseph recognized his brothers- Rabbi Meir Kahane

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'.