Tisha B’Av is the saddest day of the Jewish year. The Jewish calender, unlike the Gregorian one doesn’t change. The date an event falls on the Jewish calender will be the same every year, the date it falls on the Gregorian will change. Tisha B’Av this year is Saturday the 21st. But since only Yom Kippur will alter the joy of Shabbat, it will be observed on Sunday the 22nd. How Tisha B’Av is observed and how it is observed when it falls on Shabbat.
Why is it the saddest day of the year? Plenty, and I mean plenty of reasons. Chabad has a list of Tisha B’Av history. In addition to what is listed, Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven mentioned this week in Temple Talk radio it is also the date the gas chambers started up at Treblinka.
Jews have paid a fearsome price, horrific, down through the ages for their faith and for their race. I realize that last one is citing a AP source, so not necessarily reliable. There has been a price indeed for the people that brought knowledge of G-d into the world. The world resisted from the beginning. From Parshat Balak when the King of Moab hires Balaam to curse the Jews, and he can’t, he only blesses them. He then advises the King of Moab, find something to separate them from their G-d, how you ask?
As the Torah tells it (see Numbers 25; Rashi ibid.; Talmud, Sanhedrin 81b–82b and 106a), the wicked prophet Balaam, having failed to undermine the people of Israel’s special relationship with G‑d by harping on their past sins, had an idea. “Their G‑d abhors promiscuity,” he said to Balak, the Moabite king who had hired him to place a curse on Israel. Corrupt them with the daughters of your realm, and you will provoke His wrath upon them.
And as the Jews assimilated the Midianite women, sure enough, they began to worship Baal Peor. This and more is in the Parshat after Balak, Parshat Pinchas. Pinchas skewered a couple of them, very publicly. And,,,,,,it brought peace and a cessation of the plague.
Pinchas’s deed evokes many associations—courage, decisiveness and religious passion are several that come to mind—but peace hardly seems one of them. Pinchas, after all, killed two people. True, what he did was condoned by Torah law, and his doing so saved many lives; still, one does not usually think of homicide as a peaceful act.
During the teaching that week Rabbi said that while many think that open borders, anyone can live anywhere, we’re all just one big family of human beings is a very liberal compassionate attitude, it is not. Because innocent people will pay the price for this, it is the innocent that are harmed. The opposite is true, that borders and sound policy are the more compassionate.
We’ll come back for Matot-Massei more. But I’ll just touch on this point. The Moabites feared the Jews, they saw the big victories and the Jews were going to settle near them. The Midianites just flat hated them. They weren’t going to settle near the Midianites, they just had a baseless hatred of the Jews. i
There are histories, cases, incidents and evidence that nations and people have wanted to destroy the Jews and separate them from G-d since G-d had a word with Avraham. There is a clear difference in what the message is coming from Torah and the liberal segment of Judaism. Rabbi Tovia Singer talks in one of his lectures about how they train secret service agents to know real from phony currency. He thought they examined tons of the fake stuff so they could spot it. No, his friend who trained the agents told him. They have them examine the real thing, to know how it feels, what it looks like, all it’s special characteristics. Then when you know the real thing, you can much more easily spot a fake. He talks about how the Jews that are easily pulled away from Judaism don’t have a firm foundation, they don’t know their roots. He urges parents and grandparents to make sure that their children and grandchildren have a good Jewish education so they are harder to pull away from the faith. And this is not a new lecture series I’m listening to. From references made in the lecture on the Slander of Israel and it’s trigger for antisemitism he mentions Senator HilLIARy Clintoon, when she called for the two state solution. She was in office from 2001-2009, so somewhere in there. He also cites the death of Chezi Goldberg, 2004 Nava Applebaum, September 9th 2003 and the butchering alive of two IDF reservists by Arafat’s Police the Wiki article doesn’t tell you what happened to those two young men, Rabbi Tovia in the linked audio, does. Why would I tell you to listen to something so appallingly gruesome? Because when you read this next part I want you to keep it in mind. Here is a list of terror attacks from 1993-1999, just a few years worth and before the intifadas.
Tisha B’Av, from within. The attempt to destroy Jews and Judaism coming from within. Just like the 300 Spartans and King Leonidas, molṑn labé dude were betrayed by a bucket of chum. Aforementioned bucket of chum wanted favors and acclaim. He sought personal recognition above the good of his people, and those he should have given his loyalty towards.
So why am I off on this tear? Well, as Bear wrote in Tikkun Olam, we received a letter citing this column, Liberal Jews are destroying their own religion.
“The Ethics of The Iron Wall,” a timeless document which simply and rightfully argues that morality comes before everything else – and along with that the simple concept that Zionism is “moral and just.”
“It is incredible what political simpletons Jews are. They shut their eyes to one of the most elementary rules of life, that you must not “meet halfway” those who do not want to meet you.”
Israel is right to have demands for safety and survival above all else. Jabotinsky’s timeless essay continues, “…there is no morality, no ethics that concedes the right of a glutton to gorge, while more tempered people die of starvation.”
He continues, “And the Talmud quotes a very instructive legal action – which has a direct bearing on this matter. Two people walking along the road find a piece of cloth. One of them says: ‘I found it. It is mine:’ But the other says: ‘No: that is not true: I found the cloth, and it is mine:’ The judge to whom they appeal cuts the cloth in two, and each of these obstinate folk gets half. But there is another version of this action. It is only one of the two claimants who is obstinate: the other, on the contrary, has determined to make the world wonder at this magnanimity. So he says: ‘We both found the cloth, and therefore I ask only a half of it, because the second belongs to B But B. insists that he found it, and that he alone is entitled to it. “
“In this case, the Talmud recommends a wise Judgment, that is, how very disappointing to our magnanimous gentleman. The judge says: ‘There is agreement about one half of the cloth. A. admits that it belongs to B. So it is only the second half that is in dispute. We shall, therefore divide this into two halves: And the obstinate claimant gets three-quarters of the cloth, while the ‘gentleman’ has only one quarter, and serve him right. It is a very fine thing to be a gentleman, but it is no reason for being an idiot. Our ancestors knew that. But we have forgotten it. We should bear it in mind. Particularly, since we are very badly situated in this matter of concessions.”
Clearly, there are people not keeping this in mind. First up the Israel (Jewish state) hating Bernie Sanders. I have to admit, I feel humor when I see a brand new expensive car with “Feel the Bern” bumper stickers on it as I drive past in my 1997 model car. Redistribute the cars. Bernie much beloved by the liberal left, doesn’t seem to have moral roots, meaning something anchoring to convictions or positions. For example
“Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal,” Bernie Sanders snapped. “You’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that.”
“What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy,” he continued. “You know what youth unemployment is in the United States of America today? If you’re a white high school graduate, it’s 33 percent, Hispanic 36 percent, African American 51 percent. You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those kids?”
That was three years ago.
Bernie’s final surrender came after dodging a question on CNN about abolishing ICE. After the backlash, he went even further, issuing a statement urging that we “abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today”. Open borders had gone from a right-wing position to a Bernie position.
Or how about his position on Guns?
Bernie 2.0, the formerly poor politician who has earned over $1 million for two years running, is a very different political animal than the crusty old socialist that Obama’s old lefty allies dug up in Vermont.
The left’s favorite Senator owes his seat to the NRA. He voted against the Brady Bill and was listed as the only non-Republican among the 25 top recipients of money from gun-rights groups. Hillary Clinton quickly zeroed in on gun control as Bernie’s weakness. And his response to her was praised by the NRA. And then, as usual, the flip-following followed the leftist backlash in the media and on social media.
After telling the New York Daily News that firearms manufacturers shouldn’t face lawsuits from victims of crimes committed with firearms, he flipped his answer completely around at the debate. It only took a few weeks for Bernie to go from, “No, I don’t” to “They have a right to sue, and I support them.”
These days Bernie is hanging out with David Hogg and blaming a “three letter word” for gun violence.
“It’s the NRA,” Sanders recently sneered. “And it’s Trump and the Republicans who don’t have the guts to stand up to these people and that’s pretty pathetic.”
Bernie the the type of Jew that Rabbi Tovia talks about, they don’t adhere, or follow Judaism and they hate Israel, so the media loves to quote them, or use them as sources for their anti-Israel diatribes. That way they can’t be accused of antisemitism. The open borders thing? Go back up and see what Rabbi said in the teaching of Pinchas. A bit different from Bernie.
And a group of 50 young gullible political pawns, naw, let’s just say what it is, liberal Jews craving attention with no love of Judaism, Torah or Israel, and yes that’s my opinion but not mine alone,
This gathering was less about a genuine empathy for dead Palestinians. It was more an exhibition of Jew hatred for the Jewish state.
decided to daven Kaddish ….for the hamass terrorists trying to kill Jews from Gaza. In Parliament square in Londonistan. That apparently doesn’t run afoul of Londonistan’s mulim mayor Kahn (#FreeTommyRobinsonNow). Hamass has admitted that 50 or so of the 65 killed in the day of question were their people. People who had stated:
Hamas Gaza chief, Yahiya Sinwar, incited his people by telling them, “We will tear down their borders and then tear out their hearts from their bodies.”
Nice, in addition to that, the baby they named was not killed by tear gas (WHO takes a baby to a riot) but by a congenital heart defect. A cousin of the family told the IDF the family was paid two grand by hamass to claim Israel killed the baby. The gullible sops fell for it, naw, they didn’t care for the facts or truth, they cared for the camera and “social justice”. What crap. What is “just” about a people flat out telling you they want to kill you and you side with them?
What sanctimonious hogwash! What they were doing was feeling sad for Palestinian who set out to murder Jews.
As for their “morality,’ Seth Frantzman asked in his Jerusalem Post article, “had these fifty Jews ever held a Kaddish for the dead of the Rwandan genocide or the thousands of Yazidis machine-gunned to death by ISIS, or for the hundreds of Israelis killed during the Second Intifada” or since by Palestinians? Or the Jewish victims of antisemitism? Highly unlikely.
Did they spare any of those prayers for the Israelis murdered by hamass? For the IDF attacked by pieceful Falestinians and hamass? Nope. There was backlash. The chief organizing twit-ette, she being a she, as opposed to the male, twit, was removed from her position as a leader on the Reform youth movement’s Israel Tour this summer. Apparently this was too much for Reform Judaism. So her sister posted an appeal on facebook asking all her Jewish friends to contact leadership and express their disappointment. Reading the comments is priceless, enjoyable and entertaining. All the comments I saw run to the line of thinking you daft bint, do you not understand these people want to kill Jews? Kaddish is a Jewish prayer said for Jews, not hamass. Actions have consequences, this sort:
Perhaps u can point out to us an instance when she has said Kaddish for any of the Jewish men women or children butchered by Hamas terrorists?
Please don’t ignore the truth there was only one reason for her being removed from her post and that was because she was unfit to lead as she proved by her naive and repulsive actions.
These stunts are more than just childish. They provide succour to our enemies. It has been retweeted many times by the likes of Electronic Intifada , Ben White, BDS / PSC etc .These individuals and orgs would not dream to post anything remotely disadvantageous to their cause and so they quote you. I have studied their motivation and strategy. A key component is to seed fund dissent within the Diaspora in order to undermine the global Diaspora support for Israel . It’s one more long term element within the bds armoury to dismantle the Jewish state .
And honestly, Israel doesn’t need another Israel hating twit-ette involved with a tour.
Oh, but it’s not what you’re thinking, they walked off the tour. And it’s not the first time that the left wing activists from the Israel hating IfNotNow have accepted free trips to Israel only to use them to push their “liberal” ill-liberal narrative. Even Haaratz #FakeNews was miffed. They wanted to go visit an Arab family facing eviction. And so Birthright kicked them off the tour after they walked off. They did what any good liberal who pitched a hissy fit would do when confronted with consequences, they opened a Go Fund Me and begged money. And, they got it.
An, as in one, arab family facing eviction. Wow. They didn’t ask to visit Amona, or Netiv HaAvot. Nor did the ask to help repair some of the thousands of acres of land burned by their Gazan heroes. Nor did the offer to try to stop them from killing innocent animals in an attempt to destroy even more Israeli land and kill more Israelis and animals. Nope, none of that interested them. Being political pawns for hamass, that’s their jam. I think Birthright should have stuck them in a helmet and sent them to the border so they can get a real idea, a Falcon’s eye view of what it’s like to be an Israeli. Let them go spend some time in one of the villages close to the border, talk to the residents there. Let them go spend a few days in Sderot, and find out how long 15 seconds is. I’m actually kind of shocked Birthright hasn’t offered to hire me.
And then there was the IDF hating leftist Hannah Berg who attempted to deceive the good people of Yitzhar into thinking she was sane and giving her a tour. They have her Tzvi Sukkot, Otzmah Yehudit, Jewish Power Director as a “tour” guide. It’s a short story, but I like it a lot and you might as well.
But the always brilliant Tsvi Sadan points out, it’s like the Head of the IDF hates them as well. Well, he didn’t put it like that, exactly.
Eizenkot: I don’t think that shooting at children and youth who sometimes fly balloons and kites [that set fires in Israel’s south] is the right thing to do.
Yeahhhh, I think I know how Elor Azariya wound up in jail. Really, go read it.
I think Howard Sachs sums it up very nicely in Leftism and liberalism: Private property
What a tragedy for America. Millions of intelligent but highly unwise Jews are replacing liberal Judaism with illiberal Leftism.
Hundreds of thousands of our young across America, now, almost fully indoctrinated into this terrible ideology, demand all this free stuff like free college, healthcare, maternity leave, daycare, retirement care, eldercare – wretched socialism.
This Leftist value system , this new religion, has taken over our media, universities, the Democratic party, Hollywood, and much of our non-orthodox Jewish and Christian institutions. And with the dogma of this religion, these men and women essentially yearn to return to our oppressive past, to Egypt, to the false comforts, idols, and destructiveness of slavery and tyranny.
The whole article is worth reading, really.
I said we would come back to Parshat Matot-Massei,
But of course, they were wrong. If one is to throw caution to the wind and risk everything, it should be in the opposite direction, to combat evil, as Pinchas graphically demonstrated. Although we should not shun the challenge of engaging the materiality of this world directly, we must be duly aware of its potential to divert us and corrupt our intentions. Hence the pertinence of the laws of vows and oaths: through these laws a person can set up boundaries for himself where he feels they are needed, as we will explain further on.
But like training the secret service agents by teaching them the nuances and subtleties of real currency to be able to tell fraud, these new brave daring Jews, foolishly fooled political pawns and spoiled brats going against the hopelessly outdated old ways of thinking have no idea of real justice, of real kindness or compassion. They want their idea of social justice forced upon you, and they want the government to do it.
But Tisha B’Av, we grieve the loss of the Beit Hamikdash, both of them. The attempt to destroy the heart and soul of Judaism, the place where G-d chose to rest his presence and would meet with the people. The world has been trying to destroy it for millennia, and now there are those who choose to try to destroy it from within. Yet another reason to mourn.
But Tisha B’Av isn’t just about mourning the lose, it is suppose to put us in a frame of mind, in a place to want to rectify, to rebuild. And so I will leave you with a little video playlist, each of the 8 videos is only a couple minutes long.
But this is my favorite. It’s not the most recent on though.
I watch it and the tears run, but they are tears of hope. May your Tisha B’Av be meaningful.
iNotes from the Stone Chumash on Parshat Pinchas and Mattot citing Rashi, Rambam and the Or HaChaim.