23 June 2019

20 Sivan: A Good Day For A Fast

20 Sivan 5779

It's here - the 20th of Sivan.  If you don't know what the significance is just listen to Rav Richter's recent shiur on the subject: Be Prepared for June 23, 2019 (20th of Sivan).  In short, this is "a date on which the Jewish communities of Europe repeatedly suffered calamities and annihilation."But there's no need to look back generations to find a reason for fasting on this date.

Together with yesterday's Torah reading which featured the "national hysteria"2  surrounding the report of the meraglim and given the quickly approaching month of Tamuz bringing with it the Three Weeks culminating in Tisha b'Av, one can be forgiven for feeling a bit on the down side this morning.

I found the following article to fit this mood nicely...

...the creation of the State of Israel has led to a new type of Israeli Judaism that is like no other form of Judaism that existed before.

...Jewsraelis, explains Rosner, are the people who observe both Jewish and Israeli rituals and customs, and espouse beliefs that combine Judaism and Zionism. “Most Jews in Israel believe that being Jewish means observing festivals, rituals and customs, and a majority believe that being a good Jew means raising one’s children to serve in the IDF,” Rosner writes. “Jewishness means both observing festivals (tradition) and serving in the IDF (nationality).”

...“These are people who are not inclined to follow Halacha or a rabbi’s advice or a school of thought that is rigid,” he says, but is a much more flexible and relaxed sense of Judaism. Rosner explains that for the new generation of Jewsraelis, there is a sense of ease and identification as a Jew that comes simply from living in Israel and doing Jewish things. In Israel, he says, “you are just being Jewish. You don’t have to make a special effort.”

...Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx, professor of liturgy and midrash at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem, says, “People used to say, ‘I am not a good Jew and I don’t observe Judaism as I should, but the people in Mea She’arim do it for me.’ People don’t talk like this anymore. Now, many people are saying, ‘We want to take charge of our Jewishness. We want to experience and express Judaism as we think we should.’ I think that this is a very positive thing.”

...“Many secular Jews are proud of their Jewish identity, and they want to know what it means to be a Jew, though not necessarily to be obligated,”....

... “There is a strong Jewish sentiment, even if it is not religious. It is a mixture of Judaism and Israeliness. More and more Israelis are becoming connected to it from their own points of view.”
Of course, the author sees this as a positive development while I view it as befitting the atmosphere required for a fast day like the 20th of Sivan.  In some quarters, "Israeli" is synonymous with "Jewish," but when I read in the news that an "Israeli" woman was injured in an accident or an "Israeli" man was arrested for a crime, I have to ask myself if she/he was Jewish or Arab or Christian or Muslim.  Anyone who becomes a citizen of the State of Israel is properly called an "Israeli" and not necessarily Jewish at all.  And what of the Filipinos, Eritreans, Sudanese Ghanans, Koreans, etc. who settle here as foreign or migrant workers, have children, put them in Israeli schools and then claim they need to stay because their children are Hebrew-speaking and have become accustomed to "Jewish" holidays?

This is a kind of reverse assimilation.  In the Diaspora, Jews become like goyim while in Israel the goyim become "like" Jews. Either way, the end result is the same.  And Judaism, remade into whatever each person chooses for himself, without "obligation," becomes just another alternative world religion and not the unique Divinely-mandated path to G-d that the Torah claims.

Which brings me to this...


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday his decision to elevate the Office of International Religious Freedom along with the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism within the State Department.

...The Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom is submitted in compliance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

According to the State Department, “It describes the status of religious freedom in each foreign country, government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations, and individuals, and US policies to promote religious freedom around the world.”

...“The mission [of advancing international religious freedom] is not just a Trump administration priority – it’s a deeply personal one. For many years, I was a Sunday school teacher and a deacon at my church,” said Pompeo.

“But in much of the world, governments and groups deny individuals that same unalienable right. People are persecuted – handcuffed, thrown in jail, even killed – for their decision to believe, or not to believe. Go into any mosque, any church, any temple in America, and you’ll hear the same thing: Americans believe that kind of intolerance is deeply wrong.

“That’s why the Trump Administration has promoted religious freedom like never before in our foreign policy agenda,” he continued. “Given our own great freedoms, it’s a distinctly American responsibility to stand up for faith in every nation’s public square.”

Speaking about the findings of the report, Pompeo said, “It’s like a report card. It tracks countries to see how well they’ve respected this fundamental human right.”
And on this point, we are fundamentally at odds.  Just like with their promotion of LGBT "rights" around the world, "religious" freedom is at odds with the Torah, the only standard of Truth that exists in the world.  So-called religious freedom works for Jews in the Diaspora where they would be forced into the idolatrous religions of the gentiles without it, in Israel, where the ONE TRUE "JEWISH" religion is the majority, it is actually forbidden for us to allow the practice of other religions which are false.  

The extent to which the world loves Israel is the extent to which we are self-destructing by way of this secular, democratic State. 

It's a good day for a fast. I've lost my appetite anyway.
1 Book of Our Heritage by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov
2 Stone Edition Chumash Commentary on Parashat Sh'lach L'cha


  1. A related subject...

    Mount Zion: Jerusalem’s Wild & Sacred Backyard

    ...Several years ago, The Jerusalem Foundation, the city’s largest philanthropic organization—which is dedicated to promoting pluralism and was founded by legendary Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek—invited the Jerusalem Intercultural Center (JICC) to move onto Mount Zion into a large, abandoned building near David’s Tomb. The JICC’s mission is to increase civic involvement of all of Jerusalem’s diverse [i.e., non-Jewish] communities in determining the management and future of the city.

    As the JICC took up residence, its leaders were struck by the chaos. They connected with another NGO, the Washington, DC-based Search for Common Ground that also maintains offices in Jerusalem, to establish Window to Mount Zion, which has tried to focus on creating a more peaceful reality on the mountain.

    ...Mount Zion offers the State of Israel an opportunity to change history. “For millennia, religions have fought over this holy site,” he says. “Now, in the 21st century, we have an opportunity to create a different model of coexistence, based on inclusivity and trust.”

  2. I believe this spiritual war which is raging worldwide today is worse even than the threats of war as we understand it. This reminds us when the'vulture' said there are the 'Jews' and there are the 'Israelis'. Now, these ignoramuses (the ones mentioned above in the article included with the infamous 'vulture') need to know that 'Israeli' naturally means 'Jew' and the Jew is a natural Israeli as that is where we come from, no matter where a Jew might be living. The ignorance is mind shattering and this nwo of taking over 'religion' is the main goal of the sitra achra, as this is a war being waged against the G-D of Israel, the Creator of All. With their phony tolerance they are acting really like dictators such as is happening in England right now with them pushing forward their trying to force yeshivot to combine the boys with the girls and teaching the immorality which has become so prevelant in today's sick society. We pray that H' has mercy on the bnai Yisrael and even with so many Jews already lost to Torah, that H' will hasten Moshiach's coming to save the Jewish souls and the rest of the world from complete destruction. When war is being waged against Torah, Torah will always prevail, otherwise, the world will be null and void. The world cannot exist even for a moment without Torah - G-D, bnai Yisrael, Torah & Eretz Yisrael are one!

  3. This idea that Zionism [IMO the concept that Eretz Tzion belongs to the Jewish People through Divine Promise (and actions)]should be seen as separate from its true sources, that is the Torah, has always been very disturbing.

    As a friend of mine (and former member of Neturei Karta) in Meah Shearim says, "If Zionist means belonging to the club including Shimon Peres, then no, I am am not a Zionist. If it means that Eretz Yisrael is the home of the Jewish People, then yes, I am."

    And as a previous Belzer Rebbe once said, "I'm more Zionist than the Zionists... (starts reciting from memory each verse with the Tzion in it)"