31 August 2018

The Blessing and the Curse - Anniversary of WW2

20 Elul 5778
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Ki Tavo

Tomorrow, on September 1, 2018, Jews in synagogues around the world will be recounting a long list of horrible curses that stand in stark opposition to a list of beautiful blessings which are all ours, if we will just do what we are supposed to do.

Tomorrow, September 1, 2018, will be the 79th anniversary of the beginning of WW2, a time in which no one can deny that all the curses came true.

Tomorrow, September 1, 2018, may actually see the beginning of WW3. Let's hope, that it will bring us to the period of the blessings this time.
Russia and Syria vow to 'wipe out terrorists' in Idlib
Humanitarian fears grow as Russian and Syrian FMs signal all-out attack on last rebel-held stronghold is imminent.

..."It's not a question of if it will happen, it is a question of when and the severity of it," he added, noting that the Russian and Syrian governments believe that the seven-year war will largely be over if they capture Idlib.

Russia notches up military tensions by pouring out charges of coming US aggression in Syria

The latest claim by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday, Aug. 30, was that “it will take the US and its allies just 24 hours to ready its missile-strike group for an attack on Syria.” This charge followed Moscow’s announcement of a major Russian naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea starting as soon as Saturday Sept. 1 with 25 warships and submarines and 30 planes, including fighter jets and strategic bombers, taking part.

In Washington, the Russian ambassador warned the US against engaging in “unjustified and illegal act of aggression in Syria.”

...On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the US of planning a false flag chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Idlib province to frame Damascus and use as a pretext for a new strike. In a classical pot calling the kettle black tactic, Lavrov accused the US of planning a “provocation” in Syria to thwart the coming Russian-Iranian-Syrian offensive against the rebels in Idlib, in order to save the Syrian “terrorists” – just as America did in Libya and Iraq.

The Land of Our Heritage

20 Elul 5778
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Ki Tavo

"When you enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you as a heritage, and you possess it and settle in it,..." (Devarim 26:1)

~ Shabbat Shalom ~

29 August 2018

The Next Level for the "One New Man"

18 Elul 5778

If you've read this blog for any length of time, the term "One New Man" should be familiar. But, if you happen to be new to this site, then let me encapsulate the concept for you.

"One New Man" - A foundational Christian principle that in JC there is "neither Jew nor Gentile" but all are "one" in him. According to the Greek Testament, JC came to break down the barriers and dividing walls that the Torah erected between Jews and Gentiles, and to create from the two "one new man."

Not having such great success at bringing Jews into the church, the emphasis today is on bringing the Christians into the synagogue. This has been hugely successful as the "Hebrew-Roots" movement has connected Christians worldwide with Jews, Jewish ritual, language and prayer, Israel and the Temple Mount.

Nowhere has the "fence destroying/bridge-building" been more successful than in Eretz Yisrael, as copious examples on this blog can attest. Today, the "One New Man" is created from the two who join together in common cause, whether it be common faith, common values, or common culture.

Interestingly, while the original emphasis was on converting Jews, today, it has evolved into infiltrating Christians into Jewish life in Israel. And instead of the point of contact being the Christian gospel, it has instead become Zionism. That's how the national religious public has been swept up in it, while the Hareidim by and large have so far escaped.

The first level of this strategy to assimilate the Jews was to send missionaries around the world teaching Christians about the so-called Hebrew roots of their faith and introduce them to everything 'culturally' Jewish.

The second level was to create organizations which physically brought Christians to Israel to connect them with both Jews and the Land and to create powerful and influential connections within the government itself. This level has proved to be so successful that they not only have their own lobby in the Knesset, they have interested many powerful and influential government figures from the US to make regular visits to Israel and to lobby the US Congress for their interests.

The next level has been initiated as the Christians begin to assert their "rights" to the land itself. We've actually already seen hints of this in recent times with the public expressions of some Christian organizations, especially their Knesset lobby, to approve Christian 'aliyah.' A Christian 'birthright' experience is already on offer that connects young Christians to the Land and People of Israel.

Here is one good example of this next level being put into practice...
Create The First Aramaean Christian Town In Israel

A patriotic Christian Israeli is seeking to found a city exclusively for Christian Aramaeans in northern Israel in his quest to preserve the Aramean culture and language.

Captain Reserve Shadi Khalloul is a 42-year-old Aramean Christian who is a fellow of the Philos Project, and the chairman of the Israeli Christian Aramaic Association. He also was a candidate for Knesset with the Jewish Zionist party in the 2015 elections. In an interview with The Daily Wire, he explained his dream to create his city and the progress so far.

Khalloul describes himself as an Aramean Christian and believes that modern Arameans are indigenous to the land of Israel as well as descendants of the very first Christians. He made it his life mission to preserve his people’s culture while he was in a “Bible as English Literature” class at the University of Nevada where he studied.

...“We need to build bridges through a Christian positive attitude to ask for our rights in a way to lead towards coexistence with Jews and this can come by being positive citizens of the state, defending the state, integrating into the state, and asking for our rights at the same time,” he said.

...Khalloul served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a paratrooper in 1993 and claims he was one of only five Christians to join the IDF that year. He also founded the Christian-Jewish Pre-Army Preparatory Program to prepare Christians and Jews for the IDF by giving them training and education on navigation, leadership, Christianity, Judaism, Aramaic, and the history of Israel. Of the Christian participants, he says, “I teach them about their common roots as Christians that developed from Judaism.”

Khalloul likes to speak about the historic relationship between Jews and Christians, especially over the Aramaic language — the language the Talmud is written in — and the language that Jesus spoke.

...He says the town will have a “culture center” to encourage the learning of the Aramaic language and a research center that will focus on building Jewish And Christian relations. He plans to also have a school that will “revive the spoken language of Jesus," that the town will have Aramaic signs, and that people will speak Aramaic.

...“We will have a hotel to host people and we will have a conference twice a year for Jewish-Christian relations,” he said.

...“We deserve one town as Christians,” he says. “This town would be defined as a community town for preserving the Aramaic language and people.”

Residents who decide to live in the town will have to abide by two rules, Khalloul claims. “1. We are all Israelis and equal citizens, but we will have a specification of Aramean and will be registered as Aramean. 2. Everyone must sign an agreement with the Ministry of Defense that kids must serve compulsory service in the IDF.”

...“This is the right timing to show the world that this national bill is guaranteeing a Jewish democratic state, but we are building a town for Christians. All of these people who are talking badly about this bill and calling it apartheid, it would give them a big knockout.”

“We need to help them make this their priority because it is for the good of Israel,” he added. “This is a win-win for both and a win-win for Christians in the West and the Christians who love Israel.”

...“It must be emphasized that the Jewish state is based upon the Jews as a People and not on religious law....

Khalloul says the Israeli national anthem “Hatikvah” resonates with him as a Christian. “When you say Jewish spirit —what am I as a Christian here? I was developed from Who?” he said. “Jews developed from me as an Aramaic, and then we [as Christians] developed from Judaism,” he said explaining that he believes the Jews are descendants of the ancients Arameans. “The Patriarchs and the Mothers of the Jews were Arameans starting with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” he claims.

...Khalloul says they are planning to build the town on 150-200 acres but needs $5 million for developing and planning that will last around seven years. He says he hopes that Christians and Jews around the world will contribute to his cause and make his dream a reality.
If you didn't already know, IDF service is a choice way to be accepted in Israel. The majority of Israelis feel that if you volunteer for army service, you are deserving to be included among the Jewish people (and vice versa) with full "democratic" rights, of course. Torah and halachah have no practical meaning to the vast majority of Jews living here. And, most certainly, the Christians who want equal rights will never stand for it. 


28 August 2018

"One New Man" Reaches Even to Japan!

18 Elul 5778

I'd rather be focusing more on preparing for Rosh Hashanah, but we are at war and the battle for existence comes before anything else. Truly, there is so much going on that I could not possibly attempt to address every threat out there, but the things that land in my inbox I try to deal with as they come.

Today, a kind reader sent me information which led to a quick research of the "Makuya" of Japan. (And I find that another dear reader contacted me about them, also, months ago, but I never followed up. My apologies!)

Don't let the exotic name fool you. These are the same Hebrew-Roots Christians that we find all across America and Europe and even into Africa, since missionaries have carried these ideas to every corner of the globe. Like the Christian religion itself, it usually starts with one man who gains a following. In Japan, it was a man called Abraham Ikurō Teshima.

He saw the establishment of the new State of Israel as a fulfillment of prophecy, as do all so-called Christian Zionists, and named his "Nonchurch" movement after the Mishkan (Makuya in Japanese). This may sound revolutionary to Jewish ears, but it's not at all an uncommon development among Protestant Christians. Many who have joined the Hebrew-Roots phenomenon left the established church and met with like-minded people in private homes or other "Nonchurch" facilities.

Jews hear these things and immediately surmise that these are people "coming out of Christianity" and looking for Truth; that they are on the path to becoming Bnei Noach. So, they want to rush to help and encourage and teach. But, because they don't really understand what they are dealing with, they make mistakes and those mistakes can impact adversely on the entire Jewish people.

Jews vastly underestimate the Christian commitment to JC. To them, he is not only alive and their dearest friend, he is also their god and they are body and soul sold out to him. (I have a family member who told me he would follow JC straight into the gates of hell, if necessary. Interesting since that's where he is to be found.) They are suddenly enamored of the Hebrew language and all things perceived Jewish because HE was Jewish and they want to emulate him, the same way we try to emulate HKB"H, l'havdil.

When this "One New Man" theology is clearly defined by its adherents as a means by which to break down all the walls and erase all the barriers between Jews and non-Jews, which the Torah and halachah demanded for our own good and protection, then we know that any Jew who embraces these non-Jews, either literally or figuratively, is falling into a terrible trap.

It's hard for Jews to connect with the idea that Christians would spend decades nurturing relationships with Jews in the hope that someday their hearts would soften to the Christian message as a result of all the good feelings generated. Not to mention the sense of hakarat hatov that every Jew possesses and which engenders feelings of obligation towards those loving, giving Christian "brothers." But, it's true nonetheless.

Here are a few excerpts from articles describing this group. When you read, keep in mind that these people still believe in and follow their False Testament. They are still Christians who believe JC is the god of Israel, God forbid! And they worship him as such, even in the midst of all the Jewish trappings they have adopted.

From a March 18, 2009 JPost article...

At least once a year - beginning shortly after the state's founding in 1948 - a delegation of Makuya makes a pilgrimage to Israel. They have only one objective: to show their support for Israel and - even more unusually - to emphasize their unconditional love for Jews and Judaism. The Makuya aren't converts. They aren't political. They aren't asking Jews to change anything, let alone convert to their own religious beliefs. In fact, the Makuya have no agenda of any kind. All they ask is to be able to visit several of Israel's holy sites, socialize with the Israeli friends they've acquired over the years, and immerse themselves in Jewish and Israeli culture. This year's pilgrimage of 43 Makuya from Japan arrived in Israel in late February and made their way to Beersheba in early March. Accompanied by a contingent of Makuya students who are spending six months in Israel, staying either in Jerusalem or studying Hebrew at Kibbutz Heftziba, near Mount Gilboa, this year the whole group decided to march for the first time in Beersheba. With the women dressed in delicate and colorful kimonos, the men decked out in happi (traditional festival coats) in blue and white, with the Star of David on the back, they paraded through portions of Beersheba's Old City, singing Jewish songs in perfect Israeli-accented Hebrew. At mid-point, they paused, accompanied by an accordion, to perform several Israeli dances. Some distributed exquisite little origami birds among the gathered crowds. As the Makuya filled the Old City streets and plazas, Beersheba's cafe crowd, sitting outdoors and enjoying the warm sun after a week of cold wind and rain, couldn't quite believe what they were seeing. Who were all these traditionally-clad young Japanese, waving Israeli flags, singing "Shalom Aleichem" and "Am Yisrael Chai?" Once the dancing started, things changed. Most of the cafe patrons joined in, singing and cheering. There was a Pied Piper effect, as bystanders joined the parade, curious - if nothing else - about what this highly unusual group might be doing. "The Makuya came because we love Israel," said Yeremiyahu Norio Kado, who lives in Jerusalem as the group's permanent representative in Israel. "We feel a very strong connection here, so every year - war or no war - we come to visit holy sites and to learn about Israel.

... the Makuya follow several Jewish traditions. "Many of them light Shabbat candles, and they know all the holidays, they know Kiddush. They don't follow our dietary laws, but they dress very modestly. If you notice, the women all wear a particular hairstyle. That's because Teshima had a dream one night and saw how that was the way women should look, so that's how they wear their hair. "One night in Japan we were sitting talking, and Aviv asked a question. 'Suppose you're in a town where there are no Makuya,' he said. 'There's only a church and a synagogue. Where would you go?' The man didn't even hesitate. 'To the shul.' 'Why?' Aviv asked. 'Because the Jews have a more direct road to God.'" The Meltzers also helped give some of the Makuya Hebrew names. "Most of them have Hebrew names in addition to their Japanese names, especially those who have made the pilgrimage to Israel. But while we were there, we helped give names to some who didn't. There are now second-, third- and fourth-generation Makuya in Japan, because [the movement has] been around that long.

...Alan Baum, on the other hand, has known many Makuya well, having first met them several years ago. "Every year when they come, I enjoy being with them and socializing," he said. "I'll never forget the first time I met them. It was a Friday night dinner, and I was astonished - they knew all the zemirot, Shabbat songs, better than I did. They sang in perfect Hebrew, without even looking at the siddur. Once they come on a pilgrimage, they never lose contact with Israel.
What really makes them any different than American Messianics? Nothing that I can see. Except, Jews open right up to them because they don't understand that a Christian anywhere in the world is still a Christian and by practice and belief, an idolater. And that bit about how they "have no agenda".... Where have I heard that one before?
"Unlike other Christians, which use the cross as their symbol, the Makuyas take the seven-armed Jewish menorah as their religious emblem, and display it on their badge or pendant."
This is just to reinforce to themselves that they are the most authentic Christian they can be - a "Hebrew" Christian, just like JC's original 12 disciples.

Here is another excerpt from a May 30, 2015 TOI article...
Meet the Makuya, Israel’s most unwavering supporters

...Often called New Zionism, the Makuya movement was founded by a successful Japanese businessman, the late Professor Abraham Ikuro Teshima. Professor Teshima was a deeply religious Christian who had early on become disenchanted with the established Church....

Makuya members had begun studying Hebrew at the ulpan in Kibbutz Hefziba. Many ulpan graduates have gone on to schools of higher learning in Israel: to date 1,060 students have attended classes or graduated from Bar Ilan University and the Hebrew University, the Technion, and the universities in Haifa and Beersheba. They learn archeology, Bible and Jewish thought as well as music and other subjects, and their mastery of Hebrew is amazing.

...They prefer not to give an exact number, citing David’s sinful census of his fighting men (2 Shmuel: 24:2). But over 300,000 Japanese subscribe to the Makuya newsletter. Thousands of Makuya have already been on pilgrimages to Israel, with thousands more planning to come.

Four students (out of the 35 currently in Israel) live at the Jerusalem Makuya Center, along with its new director Asher Seito Kimura, his wife Tzofiya and their children. Each Makuya member has a Hebrew name, taken, or given to him or her upon arrival in Israel. They chat easily about their faith, which is based heavily on the Old Testament and doesn’t contain even a hint of proselytism. But none of the Makuya will discuss politics. They will talk with feeling, however, about their position on Israel. Every Makuya, they say proudly, identifies with — and wholeheartedly supports — the State of Israel.
[NOTE: ALL Christian Zionists identify with and support the State of Israel, not knowing or understanding a thing about its relationship to Judaism and to Torah Jews. "Zionism" is what binds them in a bond of "brotherhood," not belief in the One God of Israel.]
No leader has taken Teshima’s place, but the Makuya follow in his path. They planted several forests in Teshima’s honor, and every few years, Makuya members come to Israel in large numbers to celebrate Independence Day. ...Teshima taught that you can find God anywhere, and that it is not necessary to pray in a church. Therefore Makuya worship in houses where they also read the Bible, and study its lessons.

...Each of the Makuya with whom I spoke emphasized that the Israelis they meet take them into their hearts. Said one: “We feel like Israelis, like we are at home.
What you won't read here is any mention of them giving up belief in JC as god or adopting the observance of the Noahide code. And that is very simply because they are CHRISTIANS; Eisav trying to attach to Ya'aqov here at the End of Days, to become "ONE" with the Jews.

Some pertinent quotes from their website in screenshots since it did not allow copy and paste...

 Knowing all this now, can anyone make a wild guess as to why this prominent Jerusalem rabbi from an esteemed Israeli Zionist family would be singing along with thousands of Makuya in their "Nonchurch" in Japan?

Watch As Hundreds Of Japanese Sing Along To Popular Jewish Song “Hishbati”

27 August 2018

Israel - A 'Jewish-Style' State

17 Elul 5778

The nations, especially the Arabs, continue to cry against the recently passed Nation-State Law which allegedly establishes that Israel is a Jewish State. But, the interesting thing about that law is that it really doesn't change a thing on the ground. It's actually nothing more than a fig leaf to cover up what's really going on here. If anything, Israel is a 'Jewish-style' state. Like "kosher-style" food, it has some outward indication of being kosher, but in reality, where it counts, it's just not.

Like the ironically-named Jewish Home party, both the "Jewish" Home and the "Jewish" State are working hand-in-glove with American Evangelical Christian organizations to create in Israel the "One New Man" - which is neither Jewish nor Gentile - but some hybrid of the two.

According to one major promoter of this viewpoint...
...The idea is that God wishes for Jews and Gentiles to come and worship together as One New Man in faith. We believe that the separation of Jew and Gentile was never what God desired for us. Instead, we are called to be one people under the Church of the one true living God.

The underlying message of the One New Man is held deep within the roots of Christianity—in its Hebrew beginnings. By investigating the One New Man lifestyle and God’s desire to unify His people, we gain a better understanding of our faith and, in turn, God.
...the concept of the One New Man refers to both Jewish and Gentile Believers [in JC], reconciled together under God, through one body. The Holy Spirit revealed to Paul and the Apostles the idea of One New Man as an invitation for all, Jew and Gentile to worship, pray, eat and serve together, tearing down walls of separation. Yeshu- taught and demonstrated the Kingdom of God, as One New Man, throughout the land of Israel.
...our mission is to align with God’s plan to build a bridge of unity between Jews and Gentiles, worshiping God together as One New Man, honoring the Jewish roots of our Christian faith.
Every so-called Christian-Zionist Lover of Israel who maintains a presence in Eretz Yisrael is driven by this philosophy. Whatever the motivating factor behind each individual involved, it is part and parcel of a much higher agenda to annihilate real Jews and Judaism through its utilization and ultimate realization.

We just recently saw one good example of this effort being put into practice in Ariel where the youth of Israel are being targeted.

"The need for strong values and moral character in leadership has never been more evident. Through the National Leadership Center, JH Israel collaborates directly with Israeli leaders to develop a biblical, values-based educational initiative to meet this need."

Personally endorsed by Education Minister and "Jewish" Home party leader Naftali Bennett, who awarded the organization a reported 1 million sheqels, without public tender, for its operations, they don't need to explain whose Bible and whose values will be promoted in this program.

Another example of the Israeli government's "collaboration" can be seen in the Jewish Agency's funding of the Israel Return Center's program for lone soldiers and new olim.

Return Ministries established a work in the Galilee in 2013 and is now bringing restoration to a former boarding school in the Jordan River Valley. The Bikat Kinarot Center at Beit Zera is a 15-acre property on which God is birthing a unique partnership between Return Ministries and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), who are responsible for Aliyah, Rescue and Absorption, all to bless Israel.

I don't know how much money the Jewish Agency is giving them, but don't forget that Nefesh b'Nefesh has also taken on many of the responsibilities that used to be in the hands of the Jewish Agency. Like one messianic who bragged that the local social workers give him lists of people in need that the missionaries can then target, it seems that the Jews in power would rather outsource these services to Christian volunteer organizations.

It's interesting that we've gone from leadership accepting donations from Christian organizations to handing out tax-payer funds to them. But, it's not just the Evangelical missionaries we have to worry about. They are targeting religious Jews on the right of the political spectrum, but we've got foreign elements targeting each subgroup in Am Yisrael using its own ideological base against it - like a "Trojan horse."

Baruch Hashem, there are rabbis who are prepared to fight back in this war for the hearts and minds of Am YisraelRight now, they are going head-to-head with the New Israel Fund. I wish them every success!
'Reveal data': Huge support for 'Hotam' campaign
Following Hotam's campaign against the New Israel Fund, senior religious Zionist rabbis are calling on organizations in the sector to expose and even sever ties with the New Israel Fund

The pure tzaddikim also know how to fight when necessary
In the wake of the video of the organization Hotam, they quote Rabbi Kook's famous passage about the pure tzaddikim, which ostensibly forbids the struggle against the forces that stand against it, but rather to add light and goodness. In a perfect world - perhaps this is possible. But as we see, in our world it's not. And not only that, Rav Kook himself did not hold by this.

Attack on New Israel Fund Charges It Brainwashes Orthodox Jews in Plot to Undermine Israel’s Jewish Character (Haaretz: No access to full article) 
A new campaign by a right-wing religious NGO attacks liberal Orthodox activists in Israel for being agents of the NIF, and urges the greater religious community to 'cut ties' with the U.S.-based nonprofit
From the  גילוי דעת issued by the rabbis...
“A comprehensive study recently conducted by the Hotam organization has come to our attention. It shows how there are forces and organizations that are working to weaken the Jewishness of the state and its spiritual and moral strength in a consistent and pre-planned manner, even within Religious Zionism, and in effect to bring about a process that will ultimately erode the Jewish identity of the State of Israel.”

“Therefore, there is a great obligation to reveal to the public all these grave facts and intentions, and not to leave them hidden from their eyes, so that the goals of these organizations’ actions are clear and the public knows how to treat them and beware of them.
It was signed by HaRav Chaim Shteiner, HaRav Dov Lior, HaRav Tzvi Tau, and 24 more prominent Religious Zionist rabbis.

Between HaRav Yaakov Ariel's Hotam and HaRav Tau's Liba, I'm seeing a major messianic awakening that can only mean the revelation of the Redeemer's identity won't be long in coming now.

From Liba's website...

...in recent years, various factors, with the help of foreign funding, have completely changed the nature of the State of Israel as a Jewish state and transformed it into a state of all its citizens.

A coalition of organizations, supported mainly by foreign financial sources, tries in various and sophisticated ways to "steal" the state against the will of an absolute majority of the people who see Israel as the state of the Jewish people.

The LIBA Center, which aims to preserve the Jewish identity of the state, is facing these trends.

We are confident that the greater the public voice that works and calls for strengthening the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, the stronger the public leaders will act to link and connect Judaism and the State, and thus strengthen the strength of the State of Israel in general.

We believe that the Jewish people is alive and well, and loves its Jewishness. From this perspective, the LIBA Center works to awaken the healthy and trustworthy forces of the State of Israel in the various spheres of public, rabbinical and political activity - to speak and act for the preservation of the Jewishness of the [country].
More on this subject in the new year, iy"H

"The Story of a Button"

16 Elul 5778

With thanks to Rav Reuven...

26 August 2018

Follow-up to Friday's Post

15 Elul 5778

In follow-up to Friday's post, I was going to suggest some people for us to contact in regards to the Education Ministry's funding of a Christian organization and sending Jewish children to it for basically religious instruction or indoctrination, take your pick.

Although I did not hold out much hope for a favorable response from Minister Bennett, I knew we had to try something. As I read in an unrelated story, where parents stood up to a local school where they were going to replace the US Pledge of Allegiance with a "global" one...
Janice Crouse, conservative analyst and author of “Children at Risk,” told One News Now the situation serves an important lesson for parents.
“I think parents should take heart … in that the administration was forced to change their minds and go back to having the Pledge of Allegiance,” she said. “And I think parents can learn from this that they do need to speak out, and they do need to know what’s going on so that they can speak out.”
This is also a message for us. We don't live in a bubble. We are guarantors for each other. Consequently, we have to know what's going on and then we have to figure out how to respond. This is no less than a war on Judaism and we have to fight it, however we can.

We mustn't allow the Yetzer HaRa to convince us that there is no use trying because we can't possibly succeed. With Hashem's help, anything is possible and the success is in His hands, not ours. All we have to do is learn our Torah and be ready and willing to put it into practice. That's what mitzvot are - Torah put into practice. But, we have to know what is going on around us so we know where to apply the Torah that we learn each day.

Like in this instance of returning a wayward animal or lost item to its owner. It may not seem like much, not so earth-shattering important, but it's a mitzvah nonetheless.

So, back to my follow-up. I remembered reading that the Ethiopian community had a representative in the Knesset who looked after their interests and after Shabbat I used google to try to find the name and contact information. It brought up this article...
Advocates Protest Targeting Ethiopian Youth for West Bank Evangelical Bible Program
In wake of Haaretz report, Association of Ethiopian Jews urges Education Minister Bennett to end his ministry's support for the program
This program has apparently already been going on since 2010...
...A key goal of the facility in Ariel, according to the JH Israel website, is to provide participants with “a deeper connection to God by embracing their biblical and cultural heritage.” Its target audience, it says, are the many young Israelis who have become “disconnected from the roots of their faith” – a phenomenon it terms a “crisis.” Its facility in Ariel, the website proclaims, “is at the forefront of biblical prophecy unfolding in modern Israel.”
Spread out over 130 acres of land, including six obstacle courses, the National Leadership Center was opened in 2010 and is run by a company affiliated with the Ariel municipality. According to its director Eran Glazer, about 5,000 students participate in its programs each year. Until now, participants have been required to pay their own way. This is the first year that the Education Ministry is funding participation.
The facility also provides special programming for the Israeli military and security forces.

If this is right, then potentially, 40,000 young Israelis "disconnected from the roots of their faith" have already been exposed to Christian indoctrination through the auspices of the "Jewish" State!

To be continued...

Shavua tov! 

23 August 2018

Ignoring Opportunities to Help Hurts Us

13 Elul 5778
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Ki Teitzei

The parashah (Devarim 22:1-4) admonishes us...
You shall not see your brother's ox or sheep straying, and ignore them. [Rather,] you shall return them to your brother. But if your brother is not near you, or if you do not know him, you shall bring it into your house, and it shall be with you until your brother seeks it out, whereupon you shall return it to him. So shall you do with his donkey, and so shall you do with his garment, and so shall you do with any lost article of your brother which he has lost and you have found. You shall not ignore [it]You shall not see your brother's donkey or his ox fallen [under its load] on the road, and ignore them. [Rather,] you shall pick up [the load] with him.
At first glance, one might think the Torah is foremost concerned here with the plight of the one who has lost a possession or who needs help on the road. But, the triple emphasis on "you shall not ignore...." says to me that its main concern is our tendency to be indifferent towards a problem that is not "ours."

As we discussed in the lead-up to the Pride Parade, when we are confronted by certain situations, it's just not allowed to remain silent or to look away and pretend we didn't see it. Granted the needs can seem so overwhelming that it paralyzes us into inaction. We begin to rationalize why it's ok for us to ignore the problem, but the Torah teaches us that this is simply not an option. 

You'll also note that the examples given requires a bit of self-sacrifice on the part of the one who finds his brother's lost item or sees his brother struggling with a load. And that's why the person is sorely tempted to pretend he didn't see what was happening.
Rashiand ignore them: [i.e.,] by covering one’s eyes, pretending not to see it.
What if it wasn't a stray animal or lost garment we were talking about, but children? What if our brother's child was in danger? Could anyone justify ignoring that? Would any of us even want to? But if we read about it and then do nothing to stop it, aren't we doing exactly what the Torah bids us here in this parashah not to do? 
(H/T Yitzchok)
Education Ministry Funding Evangelical Program Targeting Israeli Teens
Israel’s education ministry is providing state funding for a Christian evangelical leadership training program in the northern West Bank city of Ariel.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 Israeli high school students are expected to participate in the Bible-themed outdoor program over the next year.

The driving force behind the initiative is Heather Johnston, executive director of the United States Israel Education Association (USIEA), an American lobby group that has managed to create partnerships with a number of Jewish communities in Israel’s disputed heartland.

...Johnston and her husband Bruce own and run a Christian retreat center in northern California called JH Ranch. JH Israel, a sister organization set up for fundraising purposes, built the National Leadership Center in Ariel based on the same model.

Over the years, the Johnstons have hosted dozens of schoolchildren from Ariel at their California retreat center. It was during one such visit about a decade ago that they decided to create a similar facility in Ariel.

JH Israel’s website boasts that with its new Israeli government contract, the Ariel facility becomes “the only recognized provider of leadership and biblical content for Israel’s Ministry of Education.”

An education ministry spokeswoman confirmed that a contract for almost a million shekels of state funding had indeed been signed but would not respond to a request for confirmation that no other provider of such content exists.

The spokeswoman also claimed that the program in Ariel had “no connection” to the Christian retreat center in California, emphasizing that the approved state funding would not go directly to the evangelicals but rather to the municipal company in Ariel that runs the facility.

According to the JH Israel website, however, a key objective of the Ariel facility is to provide participants with “a deeper connection to God by embracing their biblical and cultural heritage.”

The target audience for what plainly appears to be religious education, according to the site, are young Israelis who have become “disconnected from the roots of their faith.” 
(Read it in full here.)
Every time we ignore a beggar or pretend we didn't notice someone in need of help getting on the bus, hoping someone else will deal with it, our heart grows a callus. It becomes a bit more hardened every time we do this until we find that we can ignore just about anything and it doesn't pain us or guilt us at all. And in the end we only hurt ourselves by giving up on opportunities to emulate Hashem, which is kind of the whole purpose of life.

So! What are we going to do about this? We can't ignore it!!


22 August 2018

"Have the Jews been Out-trumped by Trump"

12 Elul 5778

Have the Jews been Out-trumped by Trump, Rav Richter/Tapuach

Even the 'Good' of Eisav Is Bad for Israel

11 Elul 5778

How many times did we say it? It was entirely predictable.

Trump: Israel Will 'Pay a Higher Price' for Jerusalem Embassy Move

...Trump, speaking at a political rally in West Virginia, said that the Palestinians will "get something very good" in return for the embassy move, "because it's their turn next."

...The statements by Trump were made during the last minutes of the political rally, which mostly focused on other issues. ...Toward the end of the rally, Trump began listing what he considers to be his foreign policy achievements. When mentioning the embassy move, Trump said that since Jerusalem is now "off the table," Israel will have to give something in return to the Palestinians.

"If there's ever going to be peace with the Palestinians, then this was a good thing to have done," Trump said about the embassy move. "We took it off the table. In past negotiations, they never got past Jerusalem. Now Israel will have to pay a higher price, because it's off the table. The Palestinians will get something very good, cause it's their turn next."
And hours later President Trump's shaky political situation just got a lot worse...
...Legal blows fuel impeachment fears
...“The verdict in the Manafort trial isn’t nearly as worrisome to me as the Cohen agreement and the Cohen statement,” said former Trump adviser Michael Caputo. “It’s probably the worst thing so far in this whole investigation stage of the presidency.”

One Republican lawyer close to the White House worried that Cohen – with his unique access to Trump’s history of business dealings and scandalous personal entanglements – could ultimately prove more damaging to Trump, and give Democrats fodder for impeachment if they take the House in November. “It’s the only excuse they’ll need,” the lawyer said. “And believe me, they won’t need much of an excuse.”

The sheer force of the two stories breaking within minutes of each other left an unavoidable impression that the walls are closing in on a president facing serious accusations of wrongdoing, leaving some to worry what Trump will do next.

One former administration official said there’s a “very high” likelihood that the president – who increasingly feels under attack from all sides – will do something erratic that could make an already bad situation worse.
In related news: US not discussing recognition of Israeli sovereignty on Golan - Bolton

US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton - "The West Bank is 'occupied territory'"

I predict that Trump will not serve his full first term. I believe that the plan has always been to move Pence into place when the time was deemed ripe and I think they have to do it by removing Trump from office because I don't think they can get him elected.

Super-Christian, Evangelical-Catholic-Dominionist Vice-President Mike Pence is the most visible, most active, most influential vice-president I have ever seen and I don't think it is my imagination. 

But, of course, it is HKB"H Who ultimately decides these things and in the end, it will all be good for Israel. Just be sure to put all your trust in Him and not depend on mortal men.

21 August 2018

Basic Concepts: "Revenge"

10 Elul 5778

Turning the other cheek is a Christian 'value,' not in accordance with our Holy Torah. And there is some innate human awareness that revenge is necessary to bring the world into balance. Who has not heard a child's voice raised in righteous anger: "That's not fair!" And who has never joined in the cheers at the precise moment in the movie where the bad guy gets what's coming to him? Something very satisfying settles on the heart when justice is served. 

Or Hara'ayon, Chapter Twelve: "Revenge," pp. 273 - 275...
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 worshippers 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 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 revenge of the righteous and humble from the evildoer. Whoever forgoes or rejects such an opportunity is cruel, and he denies belief in G-d. As King David said (Ps. 58:11-12):

     The righteous man shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance. He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. Men shall say, "Verily, there is a reward for the righteous. Verily there is a G-d Who judges on earth."

This is the secret of the greatness and holiness of revenge. It explains why it is a mitzvah and why the righteous are joyous when they see it carried out. When injustice is done on earth, when the kingdom of evil takes control and stifles the righteous and the innocent, it is only natural for a person to ask G-d, "Where are You?" In a period of Divine concealment, doubt and heresy burgeon forth, as it says (Deut. 31:17), "I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured. Many evils and troubles shall come upon them, so that they will say on that day, 'Are not these evils come upon us because our G-d is not among us?'"

...The evildoer's victory is the very worst profanation of G-d's name, because it implies the defeat or impotence of G-d. Of this King David said (Ps. 44:23-25):

     Nay, but for Your sake are we killed all the day. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Awake! Why do You sleep, O L-rd? Arouse Yourself, cast us not off forever. Wherefore do You hide Your face...?

Thus, when G-d stops hiding His face and actually "awakens...like a mighty man recovering from wine, and smites His enemies" (Ps. 78:65-66), when He takes revenge of His people and of Himself, which are one, He thereby sanctifies His name, proving to the world that Israel indeed has a G-d and that He lives and endures. The victory of injustice and wickedness is ostensible proof of G-d's absence from the world, and there is no greater profanation of G-d's name. By contrast, G-d's victory and revenge over His enemies, the evildoers, prove to the world that "verily there is a G-d Who judges on earth!" (Ps. 58:12)....
NOTE: These are just short excerpts from the greater body of work. It is preferable to get the books and read it in its entirety.

20 August 2018

Gog uMagog This Sukkot?

10 Elul 5778

There is a new report circulating that Trump intends to reveal his "Deal of the Century" Peace Plan during his speech to the UN General Assembly which opens September 18, 2018 and which happens to be Erev Yom Kippur. I don't know which date is set for the President's speech, but that puts it in the neighborhood of Sukkot which is the traditional time period for the Gog uMagog War.
The White House Middle East policy team is still working on the Trump administration’s peace plan. Trump said when he first took office he would support either a one- or two-state solution, whichever both parties agree to.
A month after meeting with Trump, Abdullah briefed French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Amman, according to French diplomats. The king said he warned Trump that “many young Palestinians don’t want the two-state solution anymore, but would rather live together with the Israelis in one state with equal rights for all.” He also suggested that Israel “will lose its Jewish character,” Axios reported.
That led Trump to say, sarcastically, “What you say makes sense. … [In a one-state scenario,] the prime minister of Israel in a few years will be called Mohammed.”
Abdullah said he asked Trump not to rush to present his peace plan “because there are too many difficulties at the moment,” the French diplomats confirmed.
Trump said that he is still committed to the issue, and if his administration can’t reach a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, then no U.S. administration ever will. (Source)
A "two-state solution" doesn't prevent the same scenario from coming to pass, it just kicks the can farther down the road. While 'Palestine' will be Judenrein, Israel will still have a sizeable Arab population with voting rights. 

Also of interest... (H/T Esser Agaroth): EU plans massive transportation project without consulting Israel

"The Avodah of These Days"

9 Elul 5778

More from the book The Spirit of the Seasons, Insights into the Yomim Tovim by Jonathan Shooter...
Rosh Hashana: Getting our Priorities Right
based on a shiur by Rav Shlomo Brevda

Let us understand certain facts about the way Hashem created us. Man was made with a physical guf, with all that it desires, and also a ruchnius neshama. These elements contradict each other and have separate agendas. However, they are supposed to make peace, with the guf surrendering to the neshama, and certainly not the opposite. However, these are unique times, most of the world live with their neshama being subservient to the guf. The servant has rebelled and become king, the guf now tells the neshama what to do. 

...Using Torah and mitzvos, we are meant to attempt to tame the guf and train it. Until the neshama succeeds, the guf is in armed conflict with the neshama. The neshama wants to learn Torah, whilst the guf wants to eat and enjoy itself.

...'Man sees what his eyes behold, but Hashem sees into the heart' (Shmuel I 16:7). Hashem's requirements of man lie not in his deeds, but in the avodah of the heart. The test is, how close a person is to Hashem, and what are his desires and longings. Is his essence about getting closer to Hashem, or about the vanities of this world. With this as the key, a person can realise where he stands, whether his desires are towards spirituality, or physicality. 

...We have an obligation to do teshuva for mistaken beliefs and values. The Ramban says that no one can have a part in the Torah of Moshe unless he believes that all our experiences are miracles from Hashem, that there is no natural or customary order to the world. If a person does mitzvos then he is rewarded, if he sins then he is punished. It follows that when a person thinks 'My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth' (Devarim 8:17) then he is going against this principle and is in effect practising idolatry. 

When we go after materialism, we become more self assured and think we are in control, yet really everything depends on mitzvos and aveiros. We have to believe that everything is from Hashem and not just random and by chance. ...This is the avodah of these days, to totally accept the idea that everything is from Hashem and that there is nothing besides this....

19 August 2018

The Chagim: A Light in the Darkness

8 Elul 5778

From the Introduction to the book The Spirit of the Seasons, Insights into the Yomim Tovim by Jonathan Shooter...
The man stumbled through the forest in the pouring rain. Thick darkness enveloped him. He had a torch, but the rain had extinguished it long ago. The noise of the howling wolves petrified him. The crackling of the branches snapping underfoot frightened him. Soaking wet, he continued. Was he getting deeper in the forest, or was he on the way out of it? Would he even make it to daybreak, who knows what was lurking in the trees. Suddenly, through the puddles he noticed that he was on a pathway, which led to a crossroads. But which of the four directions was the right way to go? Then he stumbled upon a signpost pointing to all four directions, it would surely point him in the right way. The pitch black of the night however rendered the sign useless. He couldn't remain still for long, the driving rain was chilling him to the bone. He didn't want to carry on as he might get deeper and deeper into the thick forest. What was he to do? And then it happened. A bolt of lightning struck and lit up the night sky. He read the signpost and with renewed knowledge that he was on the right path, he continued on his way.

Throughout the year we are at a crossroads in the darkness looking for guidance as to the way to conduct our lives. A thick spiritual darkness covers the world preventing us from seeing clearly. Then we experience the festivals which show us the way. Their messages give us guidance and even when they have passed, we are spiritually uplifted and sure of the way to continue....
Shavua tov!

16 August 2018

"Time to Eradicate the Arrogance"

6 Elul 5778
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Shoftim

Rabbi Mordechai Sitorsky

Parashat Shoftim: Elul - Time to Eradicate the Arrogance

~ Shabbat Shalom ~

A Fight to the Death

5 Elul 5778

The Americans don't plan on giving up. What will Hashem have to do to them to stop their meddling?

The Three Wannabe Peacemakers receiving award from Master Missionary Mike Evans

WASHINGTON -- Senior Trump administration officials working on a proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace issued a joint statement on their work on Wednesday, cautioning a world eagerly awaiting their plan that "no one will be fully pleased" with its contents.
The statement was issued amid intensive discussions within the administration over when to release the plan to the public.
"No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that's the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved. Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities," said the team, comprised of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser; Jason Greenblatt, his special representative for international negotiations; David Friedman, his ambassador to Israel; and Nikki Haley, his envoy to the United Nations.

This initiative is doomed from the start. There will never be peace between the Jews and Arabs here because neither one can compromise on the issue of who has the rights to this Land. It is a fight to the death. It's either Us or Them. 

15 August 2018

Basic Concepts: "Life and Death"

4 Elul 5778

[How appropriate that we should arrive at this subject in the month of Elul.]

Or Hara'ayon, Chapter Eleven: "Life and Death," pp. 231 - 232...

Life was not meant for tranquility, rest or relaxation. Our sages said of Jacob (Bereishit Rabbah 84:3):

     When the righteous dwell in tranquility and seek to continue doing so here on earth, Satan comes and accuses them: "Is it not enough for them that their future reward is assured, but they seek tranquility here on earth as well?" Be aware that this really occurs. Because Jacob sought tranquility, he was punished with Joseph's disappearance. It says, "Jacob dwelled" (Gen. 37:1), and "I was not at ease, neither was I quiet, neither had I rest, but trouble came" (Job 3:26). "I was not at ease" because of Esau. "Neither was I quiet" because of Laban. "Neither had I rest" because of Dinah. "But trouble came": Joseph befell me.

Life was meant not for tranquility or for our own pleasure, but for difficult and even dangerous missions through which man can ascend spiritually and suppress his evil impulse and ego. He can accept upon himself the heavy yoke of G-d and mitzvot and emulate his Creator until he ascends just short of the angels, and in fact, surpasses them because he conquers his evil impulse. Life on this earth is short and limited. It is a narrow vestibule leading to a heavenly banquet hall. "The days of our years are seventy, or even by reason of strength, eighty, yet their pride is but trouble and wretchedness. It is soon cut off and we fly away" (Ps. 90:10).

A Jew's duty, during this short period, is to live, and there is no life but that of Torah. As we recite each evening in Ma'ariv, "[Torah] is our life and the length of our days."

The day of death is the end of life, the end of man's time to do mitzvot, serve G-d and praise Him. On that day, he ceases his role, and the opportunity to be spiritually elevated, to serve G-d and praise Him comes to an end....