8 Av 5778Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Rabbi Yehudah HaCohen Richter said at the beginning of one of his shiurim on pride parades that LGBT is the "issue of our day." Current events would seem to bear out the truth of that statement.
It appears that Heaven, through Divine timing, is bringing this issue front and center in a manner that forces everyone to take some kind of a stand. I had not intended to post anything else today, but felt impressed to get this out as quick as possible. I'm sorry it's getting out so late, especially since the rabbi also said, this could be "the one big test of our time."
This could be the Tisha b'Av when HKB"H decides we have suffered enough and it's time to send the Redeemer to lead us out of Spiritual Egypt for all time.
I already explained in a previous post about the background for the wicked event that is taking place "nationwide" on Sunday - the day we are observing Tisha b'Av. It is significant that the entire nation has been called upon to make a decision where they stand in this matter. Perhaps the timing is meant to impress upon us that this decision may have consequences as far-reaching as the one we made upon hearing the evil report of the spies in the Midbar.
I should remind you that the original date given on the LGBT website for the Jerusalem Parade was - yes - Tisha b'Av. And then the final date posted was August 2, 2018. I had the feeling that this year, more than any other year, it was going to be very important to take some kind of stand on this matter. The way it has turned out, it is not just about Yerushalayim, but it concerns the entire nation - the entire Land of Israel!
We can learn from the story of Pharaoh's three advisors that there are three possible responses to evil.
- Agree and participate.
- Disagree, but keep silent.
- Protest and distance oneself from it.
The Talmud in (Sotah 11a) tells us that Pharaoh had three advisers: Yisro, Iyov and Bilaam. When Pharoh was deciding the most prudent method to exterminate the Jewish people, he sought the opinion of each of his three advisers.
Bilaam, the grandson of Lavan, was an evil man and relished the prospect of eradicating the Jewish people. It was he who advised Pharaoh to kill the male Israelites.
Iyov was opposed to any plan to destroy the Jewish nation. Rather than display his true feelings on the issue, he refrained from offering any opinion. Perhaps he knew that his objections would be met with resistance. He most likely rationalized that he could do more to help the plight of the Jewish people at a later date by remaining in his position as advisor. As a result, he decided not to oppose or accept Bilaam’s proposal, but remained silent.
Yisro, on the other hand, vocally rejected Pharaoh’s idea of exterminating the Jewish people. Yisro believed it was wrong that these people should be made to suffer for no crime other then being Jewish. Yisro’s loud protests angered Pharaoh and Yisro had to flee Egypt in order to save his life. (Source)We see many examples throughout our history when we were called upon to come apart from the evildoers and maintain a physical separation between us. Moshe Rabeinu called "Mi l'Hashem elai" and "all the sons of Levi gathered around him." In the incident of Korach:
The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying,"Dissociate [הִבָּ֣דְל֔וּ] yourselves from this congregation.... Speak to the congregation saying, 'Withdraw from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.'" He spoke to the congregation saying, "Please get away from the tents of these wicked men, and do not touch anything of theirs, lest you perish because of all their sins. (Bamidbar, Chapter 16)You will recognize the word hivadlu, translated "dissociate," as having the same root as havdalah. It's not only about creating physical distance, but a separation in essence as well.
Back to the subject at hand. All of the news sites are reporting on this today and included in these reports is the fact that at least 60 companies, many or most from the hi-tech sector, have formally signed on as supporters of this LGBT strike for "rights" which are forbidden by our Holy Torah.
A day after the Knesset voted to exclude same-sex couples from a law expanding Israel’s surrogacy rights, large swathes of Israeli business took the unusual step of entering the political fray and coming out forcefully for LGBT rights.
Over the course of the afternoon on Thursday support for a protest strike on Sunday on the issue spread rapidly, with dozens of major companies and Israel’s main labor federation announcing that they would join the strike called by the Aguda LGBT task force, to protest the amended law. Israel’s Histadrut labor federation also came out in support of the strike.
The list of workers backing the strike included unions at Ben-Gurion International Airport, who warned that there would be flight delays on Sunday “after many Israel Airports Authority workers requested to absent themselves from work on Sunday due to the protest activities of the LGBT community.”
Meanwhile, two major tech companies, Mellanox and Microsoft Israel, vowed to help their employees fund surrogacy.
Mellanox, which employs 2,055 people in Israel, on Thursday promised to give 60,000 shekels ($16,400) and a month’s maternity leave to any employee, male or female, irrespective of their sexual orientation, to fund surrogacy. The company said it opposed the amended surrogacy law because it discriminates against the LGBT community and hoped that the Knesset would change the law to make it fully equitable.
A day earlier Microsoft Israel, which has about 1,000 employees, vowed to give 60,000 shekels to any employee seeking to create a family through surrogacy.
“My heart is with each and every employee in their desire to create a family,” said Assaf Rappaport, CEO of the Microsoft research and development center in Israel, who spearheaded the move.
A year ago, another tech company, Tel Aviv-based Natural Intelligence, offered 50,000 shekels to any LGBT employee who undergoes a surrogacy procedure outside of Israel. The company, which is known for its activity on behalf of the gay community, employs 300 people in Israel.
Microsoft Israel, Mellanox, eBay Israel and Natural Intelligence have also agreed to join Sunday’s strike.
Other local tech companies and Israeli units of multinationals that agreed to give their employees the day off on Sunday to protest include Matrix, SAP, IBM, TowerJazz, 888, Fiverr, Minute Media, Webpals, Soluto, Cybereason, MyHeritage, Winward and Daka90. Together they employ thousands of people.
Outside the tech sector, food maker Strauss Group, apparel retailer Castro, Israel Post, the Haifa Port workers committee, supermarket chain Super-Sol and pharmacy chain Super-Pharm said they backed the strike.
Among other employers that announced that workers could take the day without deduction of a vacation day were Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, SodaStream International, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Partner Communications, Procter and Gamble, the Tel Aviv and Givatayim municipalities, and Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute. The airline Israir also threw its support behind the protest, although it said it did not expect any disruptions in its flight schedule. It added that employees who did not want to strike could wear a black shirt to express support, instead of a company uniform.
The Israel Hotels Association, meanwhile, asked its members to allow employees who want to join the strike on Sunday. Two major hotel chains – Fattal and Dan – both announced they would support the strike.
For its part, however, Check Point Software Technologies said the company "has never expressed a position on public issues of this nature, on any subject, either for or against."
On Thursday the head of the Histadrut labor federation, Avi Nissenkorn, called on all employers to allow their workers to strike on Sunday in protest of the law. “The struggle for equal rights of the LGBT community is an important struggle for Israeli society,” he said, adding that the Histadrut opposed all forms of discrimination.
The Aguda task force noted that the strike on Sunday coincided with Tisha B’Av, a fast day marking the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, traditionally held to have been caused by “baseless hatred.”
“The strike is a protest against the baseless hatred of the ultra-Orthodox and conservative politicians against the LGBT community in Israel,” the group said. “We call on members of the community to be absent from work, to close their businesses and take part in public protests.”[See how they cast themselves in the role of the righteous, r"l!]
Until now Israel’s surrogacy Law enabled only married couples to benefit from surrogacy services in Israel. The amendment passed on Wednesday allows single women who cannot conceive to opt for surrogacy as well -- but excludes same-sex couples and single men from having access to a surrogate.
Despite voicing public support for surrogacy for same-sex couples, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday voted against the amendment that would have given LGBT people access to surrogacy as well.
Government employees, other than staff at the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry, who wish to strike on Sunday will need to take it as a vacation day, the state service commission has said. "We are not interfering in the content that an employee gives to his day off," the commission told Haaretz.
But government ministries said staff will be able to take the day as an optional floating holiday for which they will be paid despite their absence. Next Sunday is on the list of optional days off in any event because it is Tisha B'Av. Municipal government authorities said staff could also make use of the day as a floating holiday, but when Haaretz contacted national government ministries to ask if they would allow staff not to come to work, only the Labor Ministry said it would "welcome" it.
The Justice Ministry issued a letter from the Israel State Attorney Association stating that in accordance with Histadrut labor federation directives, "lawyers who belong to the LGBT community" who wish to participate in the protest events will be able to do so as a vacation day or floating holiday.THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED!! It's completely over the top! And it is the surest indicator that something BIG in the geulah process is taking place here!
After all the discussion over the past few blog posts about what we should or should not do in order to protest this evil, Hashem has made it really easy for us. He has brought about a huge test on a day when everything has already been laid out for us. All we have to do is what the halachah requires of us on Tisha b'Av. And that will make havdalah between us and them.
- They will be out in the streets, demonstrating - we will be either in the home or the beit knesset or at the Kotel HaMa'aravi, fasting.
- They will be yelling about their "rights" to rebel against their King, HKB"H - we will withhold greetings from our friends and engage in mourning practices and prayers of repentance.
- They will be angry and proud - we will be saddened and humbled and penitent.
I would not be a bit surprised if the Jerusalem "Pride Parade" never takes place. This could be the final sifting before the war that destroys the Erev Rav and their reign of terror forever.
Our observance of Tisha b'Av this year may save Yerushalayim this time around and contribute towards the building of the Beit Hamikdash Hashlishi. May HKB"H accept our offerings, meager though they may be, and may it be His will to turn our mourning into joy - THIS YEAR!