Oleg Volk has shared a column written by a friend. I think it is important enough to share now, rather than waiting to include it in next week’s newsletter.
AMENDMENT TWO: A LEGAL IMMIGRANT’S CAUTIONARY TALE by Anonymous
I am a proud American, an unhyphenated American. I am the most fortunate type of American, one who has won life’s lottery by escaping communism. My family endured persecution, physical risk, and constant intimidation by the secret police to legally enter the United States.
I am proudly writing this in English, because mastering English opened opportunities that would have been denied to me had I chosen to limit myself to my native language and culture.
What does this have to do with the Second Amendment? I am telling you about my past because I want you to understand who I am. I want you to understand the source of my passion.
The fruits of tyranny are not an abstract topic for me.
I am going to use words like political correctness, slavery, communism, and dystopia and I want you to understand the full measure of my meaning.
I want you to understand why I take my rights and responsibilities as a gun owner so seriously. [Read the entire column]
I don’t know who the author is, but over the years I’ve worked with people, who escaped the Soviet Bloc, who could have written just this.
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 a disasterous two state solution. She was in office from 2001-2009, so somewhere in there. He also cites the death of Chezi Goldberg, 2004Nava 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 labédude 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.
“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.”
“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 is 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.
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 they 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.
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.
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 what’s been lost, 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 one 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.
I’ve made no secret that I love Hanukkah. I always find miracles humbling, amazing and awe inspiring. And what is Hanukkah but the time of miracles? This year, there are some big ones.
This is the second prayer for the candle lighting of the Hanukkiah
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
she’asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein)
Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time
And I guess that’s one of the things I’ve been thinking about. “In those days, at this time.”
This year is the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. It’s been 70 years since the U.N. voted Israel a nation, just a note, G-d had voted it long before that. It’s been 22 years since the Jerusalem Embassy act was passed in the US with bi-partisan support saying that the US would move their embassy to Jerusalem, where Israel has the seat of their government. There is no other nation on earth that has not designated their capitol and other countries have told them “No, it’s not”. And for 22 years for reasons of “security” Presidents have signed the loophole waiver, from Bill Clintoon until….President Trump.
The claim was always “security”. It would be discussed and the arabs would threaten “Days of Rage” “Day of Hissy fits” “Days of Pique” “Days of Temper Tantrum”. Here’s a helpful desk calendar from IsraellyCool.
And the world and the US President would cave. I listened to a radio show in this last week when Rabbi Chaim pointed out “Do you really want to live under the threat of terrorism? Where your lives are controlled by a threat?”. His co-host Yitzach told about a email he received from a friend in the US who asked him his opinion on President Trump’s actions. It was very clear the friend didn’t like President Trump and was very critical of the action. Yitzach told him it was about time, and it was the right thing to do. The friend answered back that he guessed it was, he just didn’t like President Trump and couldn’t believe he could ever do the right thing, and didn’t want to think he had. AND he guzzles Diet Coca Cola!! Classic Trump derangement syndrome. Probably listens to cnn or mslsd (both #FakeNews). May I just point out that Oslo was suppose to bring peace, and how’s that worked out?? Um, not so well. And the media has yammered on and on about how President Trump broke the status quo. By finally implementing a LAW passed 22 YEARS ago?
And that brings me to Hanukkah. Hanukkah is different from Purim. With Purim we celebrate the very survival of the Jewish nation. Haman had decreed all were to be killed. Dead, met, מת
With Hanukkah, I think the case could be made it was something even worse, the Greek Antiochus had decreed that Jews would not allowed to be, well, Jews. He wanted to kill their souls, not just their bodies. They couldn’t observe feasts, Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, or anything really that G-d had instructed. The Greeks worshiped the physical form, logic and Antiochus, never the most stable of rulers couldn’t abide that the Jews, well at least the backwards ones in flyover country would defy him. The more “enlightened” of the Jews worshiped at the alter of the demoncrats and Hellenism and were fine with casting off the chains of duty to G-d.
But then there was the Maccabees. Mattathias and his sons, his warrior son Judah who most assuredly were not going to “coexist”. They had no illusions as to what that would result in. There’s actually a bit of a pattern in this area. This is actually a T-shirt:
You see, with the arabs living in Israel, it really isn’t about Jerusalem or the Alka Seltzer Mollusk. It never was. When they pray they face Mecca, they turn their Hamasses towards the Mollusk, not usually sign of reverence. More a sign of a 15 year old boy mooning a teacher he doesn’t like.
Remember I said The Maccabees didn’t live with illusions? There should be no illusions that giving in to arab terrorism will result in peace, it will not. There should be no illusions that “compromising” with anti-gun people or politicians will result in good gun laws. It will not. Like the Maccabees, we need to live with no illusions about people or situations.
In those days, at this time. The Maccabees were raised up, and were there to fight for Jewish life, Torah and Israel.
I don’t know about you, but there are times I’ve felt compelled to do something when it really didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I couldn’t think of a good reason, but I felt like I was suppose to do it, and so I did. Only later it might become apparent why I need to do, buy or learn whatever. But I was very glad I had heeded the urging.
In those days, at this time. Remember last week when I talked about Jacob going back for the tupperware of oil? He had just struggled with the angel, his hip had been wounded, he has a new name, he’s headed to face off with his brother who has sworn to kill him and he goes back for a tupperware of oil?
Rabbi Shlomo Luria, the Maharshal, suggests that these jugs contained the oil that Jacob had designated for anointing the monument he had set up many years earlier during his flight to Haran.3 This was holy oil, then, so Jacob did not want to leave it behind.4
Interestingly, these jugs may be linked to the miracle of Chanukah. According to Tzeidah la-Derech, “G‑d said to Jacob: You risked your life for a small jug of oil for My sake. In return, I will repay your descendants, the Hasmoneans, when a miracle will happen for them with a small jug of oil.”
In those days, at this time. We too are here in these days at this time for a purpose. We all are blessed with one, and we all fit together like a jig saw puzzle. The staff at Zelman’s Partisans, the people in the Second Amendment community, the people who take the kids out and give them their first experience safely learning to shoot, pro-freedom politicians, Second Amendment activists of all kinds, all of us fit and work together. May we all be blessed with knowing our purpose, and enjoying the blessings of Hanukkah and Christmas.
I’ll leave you with this humorous little video clip a good friend of mine from Israel shared with me a few days ago.
And how could I not give you a Hanukkah video?? It has English subtitles and it’s beautiful. I love it because they say Nes Gadol Haya POH!! Not Sham. That’s because they are in Israel, not anywhere else.
I am just angry beyond belief about the stupid pampered “Athletes”. Yes, I’m referring to the NFL, the Nation’s Fools and Losers. They make millions of dollars playing a game, and scream oppression. They revile the police in general and while there are do doubt bad ones, should something horrible happen and they or their family were attacked by a gang of thugs that they openly support, who would they call? Not Ghostbusters. If it’s their house being looted by the same people, will they still cry injustice when the thugs are arrested? Some of these players who have no problems abusing animals and women would doubtlessly cower before the very thugs that they claim are being persecuted. Brave enough facing helpless animals and women, thugs, not so much.
And what’s just as bad, young children and teenagers look up to these losers and want to emulate them! What kind of example do this set for future generations I ask you!
How can these brats behave like this? Soldiers who fought and died for this flag, they and their families paid the ultimate price for our way of life and they can’t stand their sorry butts up for our flag?? Why don’t they leave if they are so oppressed, seek freedom in Iran or Syria, go over there and protest?
So, how do we sort this? How do we let them know we are fed up with celebrities and sports figures hating our country and despising the “common” people??
Child, child, child. Sigh. It’s almost Yom Kippur, it’s the eve and this is what you choose to dwell on? You have been so perfect this year you have no need to reflect? These days are a time of reflection, of asking forgiveness but of moving forward in life without the things that pull us down. It’s not about beating ourselves up. If you need, re-read Rabbi Tzvi’s article. Yom Kippur Without Guilt.
It’s about going forward in the coming year with a closer relationship with our Father, with G-d, the creator of the universe. It’s about being who and what you were created to be.
I sort of hung my head and sighed at that line. I kept reading.
Child, be honest, you don’t care much about football. You only liked it when they have a horse for a mascot. Yes, yes it’s bad that they act in such a manner. We had to deal with people wanting to go back to Egypt for cucumbers and melons remember? I know how it is, they didn’t appreciate the great gift G-d had given them either. The fans will sort this, have you seen the ratings for the games on TV, or the partially empty stadiums?
But let’s get back to you, child. You too were created for a purpose, all have been given gifts and abilities to accomplish the tasks that our Father has in mind. Shall I point out to you that just in this last week or so several things have happened.
A “refugee” (I added the quotes, they weren’t in the letter to me) attacked a church in Tennessee. He was a “refugee” from Sudan and a body builder. Have you seen the pictures? He was very big! He murdered a woman in the parking lot, and then proceeded into the Church to open fire. A young usher, Mr. Engle engaged in hand to hand combat with him, despite being repeatedly pistol whipped by the poor refugee. In the fight Mr. Engle caused the Bucket of Chum, to used the favored phrase as TZP, to shoot himself in the leg. The hero then had to run to this car to get his gun to hold the refugee at bay till the police arrived.
What are the things in common child? Those were both Gun Free Zones, several people were wounded at that church. How many more could have been spared that if the hero hadn’t had to run to this car to get his gun? Could the PE teacher have stopped the attacker quicker if she hadn’t had only her physical skills to end the incident?
They didn’t. The media is focused on football and advancing the agenda, distracting people. You child, must keep your eye on the ball. You were created to play your role in healing the world, making it better. You concentrate on that. You can not change people, you can change yourself. What say you that you spend Yom Kippur in the way it was intended. Do not take your eye off G-d, or the ball he put you here to advance. Moshe had his role to play, Miriam had hers and I had mine. You must do yours to the best of your ability.
If you are really that distressed by the antics of a bunch of spoiled brats, cheer yourself up with remembering National Finals Rodeo is a mere couple of months away. They pray openly, respect the flag, the country and G-d and set a good example of sportsmanship for children.
And then I woke up!! No letter in my lap, but a cup of coffee nearby. I felt a new resolve to try my best to observe Yom Kippur as I should, to go forward into the new year as a better woman. If I have offended or harmed any of you this year, please forgive me.
In case you don’t know it, we are in “The Three Weeks”. This period started on th 17th of Tammuz, this year that would be 11 July. It is a fast day, and marks the date that the Romans breeched the walls of Jerusalem. It will conclude on the 9th of Av, 1st of August this year, the date that both of the Holy Temples were burned. The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 423 BCE, the Second Temple by the Romans in 69 CE, but both on the 9th of Av. There are a lot of other tragedies on the 9th of Av, but for now I’m just going to stick with the three weeks, and, the Temple Mount.
The three weeks are a time of introspections, and reflection as well as mourning.
I won’t say much about recovering sovereignty of the Temple Mount only to give it away again in 1967, we all know. But I actually had someone say to me that maybe Moshe Dayan and Levi Eshkol gave control back to the Islamic Wafko Wakf? Waqf? WakaWaka? Whaqever, because if they didn’t there would be an Arab uprising. Seriously? An Arab uprising? What do you call being attacked by, oh never mind. Israel had just defeated a massive “Arab uprising” in SIX days. I kept my mouth shut and my eyes mostly in my head. But that wrong decision, in MY opinion, wrong, and has continued to haunt Israel ever since. This last week has more than proved it. The Temple mount is so holy (3rd holiest site in islam actually) that when Israel finally gained control in 67, the area was covered in weeds and almost no one ever went there. It’s only since Jews have had access that they flock there to pray. They pray with their butts toward Al-aqsa and facing Mecca. You know, the usual sign of respect by turning your butt to something. This web site has a collection of photos and a movie if you are curious what the site looked like before Israel when it was totally under Islamic control and neither Jew nor Christian could even go there.
One week ago, on Friday the 14th there was a terrorist attack on the Temple Mount. Two pieceful falestinians ran FROM the Al-aqsa mollusk and shot two DRUZE Police officers in the back, one of them a new father. An additional officer was wounded, but I think not fatally. Druze are a sect of Arabs, NOT Jews. These two are far from the only Druze killed by the falestinians. There was a Druze police officer attacked when he responded to the Har Nof massacre. But this video can explain it far better than I can as to what happened.
So, let’s just dwell on this a moment, shall we? The killers/cowards/terrorists came from the Alka-seltzer mollusk, yes, yes, I am getting more peeved, with guns. After they killed the Druze police officers guarding the mollusk, they ran back TO the mollusk. Apparently the Jordanian Wafq either helped them, or turned a blind eye. These are the people that follow Jews and Christians who are on the Temple Mount to make absolutely sure no one says a prayer, if someone sneezes don’t even say “bless you”. I understand 58 members of the Wakf were brought in for questioning by the Police on suspicion of having supplied the weapons or help hide them. And, we know from the past that they absolutely store weapons and rocks for throwing in the Alka-seltzer mollusk. That way they are handy to throw at non-muslims and the police should the occasion arise.
The Temple mount was closed, briefly and then of course the outpouring of world condemnation, and then it was re-opened. But it was re-opened with a new improved feature. They added magnetometers, metal detectors. For muslims. You see EVERYONE else has had to go through a metal detector since I don’t know when. I had to go through them when I went to the Kotel. Jews, Christians, tourists have always had to go through them. I had to go through them to get onto the campus at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, you have to go through them to get to shopping malls, to ride the bus and your purse may be searched. This is a part of everyday life.
But then an amazing thing happened. After the metal detectors were installed, the Wakf boycotted them. They refused to go through them. Inquiring minds would like to know why? Then they urged other muslims not to go through them to go pray at Alka-seltzer. Now SOME Muslims have gone ahead and gone through them and continued to pray. But the truly wonderful thing is Jews are able to go to the Temple Mount without the Waqf. If you prefer a slightly humorous take on it, I’d read this. Humorous yes, but still plenty of truth in it. But an outrage, and absolute outrage, muslims having to go through a metal detector? UN-heard of. Except, well, like maybe Mecca, and a couple other places, in muslim countries.
So, now, finally after all these thousands of years can Jews, Christians, tourists, anything other than muslim pray on the Temple Mount that is in Israel’s hands? OF COURSE not!
I listened to one of my favorite radio shows today, and they were talking about Avi Dichter, Knesset member and formerly head of general security who said that Israel is sovereign and the era of the Waqf calling the shots is over. And this security expert did not seem to think that allowing Jews to pray would create a security risk.
So, it will have been one week ago today that the attacks occurred, and I have some thoughts. It was a blessing it happened on a Friday. ONLY muslims are allowed on the Temple Mount, holiest site in Judaism on Friday. Had there been Jews, or anyone else up there I can only imagine the carnage. Once again, it has been shown, someone determined to get a gun to harm others will do so, and as the saying goes, the only thing to stop a bad man with a gun, is a good man with a gun. The police did, but sadly have lost two fine men. Side note, have any of the arab leaders expressed sympathy to the families of the Druze police officers? No. I would urge Israel not to give in to the threats. It’s like the kid pitching a hissy in Walmart, you give in and it will get worse each time because they’ve learned it will work. And, personally, I think that’s why it is so bad now. The Temple Mount can not, just can not become part of another “land for peace” deal. In my life I’ve had all kinds of people give me advice about all kinds of things. Some of it I felt was not right. Not right for the time, or not the right direction. They got miffed about it. But here’s the thing, if I was right and went ahead and did it anyway, who will pay the price? Me. It costs them nothing to give the advice, only their time, and I’m grateful I have people that wish to do so, but if I do it feeling it’s wrong, they pay no price, I do. Israel may have a lot of people tell her to get rid of the metal detectors, but they will not pay the price. Israelis will. We have people tell us we don’t need to carry everywhere we go, we are paranoid. But who pays the price? We do, or our family.
But for now, I will leave you with this, this miraculous video. I got if from Aryeh of the Israeli political party Zehut, which means “Identity”.
This man is openly crying on the Temple Mount over the destruction of the two Temples. And he is NOT thrown off the Temple Mount because the Waqf are busy pitching a hissy that they can’t help more people smuggle in guns.
And this beautiful picture, no Waqf present to harass people. G-d bless Aryeh for sharing these. If prayer could be open, everyday with no worry or fear? Personally, I believe when that day comes? MANY things will begin to come right. I don’t believe G-d was pleased when Esav traded his birthright for a bowl of soup, I don’t believe he was pleased when the spies came back and gave a false bad report about the land G-d had given his children, and I don’t think he’s any happier about his children not being allowed to come and talk to him in the place that he chose. Embrace it, embrace the gift, in this three weeks of mourning, there is this tiny window of good. May it fly open and all good rush in.
Yes, this is going to be another “Dang Sheila gets to meet cool people and hear interesting speakers!” kind of column. Because I do.
I recently attended a Friends of the IDF event, with the IDF being Israeli Defense Forces if you hadn’t guessed that.
The evening started out with a lovely welcome from the organizer and the master of ceremonies. I believe I heard this was the first event like this that the organizer had set up, and she did an amazing job, so I’m hoping it won’t be the last. We then sang The Star Spangled Banner and HaTikvah, the national anthems for both America and Israel, of course!
Then it was movie time. As we just commemorated the 50 years of the reunification of Jerusalem they had a wonderful video to show us, and the three soldiers in the iconic photo have been touring the U.S. and talking to audiences.
Sadly, we did not get to hear their talk, but we did get to hear two other real life heroes that night.
We next saw a video on Friends of the IDF and it talked about all the different programs they offer. They are certainly a lot more involved than I would have realized. The little movie did a segment on each program. Wikipedia has info on the programs as well as the FIDF website. I admit to only knowing about a couple of the programs, the Lone Soldier of course, and the wounded veterans. They do a lot more than that, and impact lives of the soldiers and their families in a multitude of ways. For each segment they showed there would be an IDF soldier to tell how that program had affected their life. It certainly did a good job of putting a face and a human to the programs.
We then heard our first hero of the night, First Sergeant Keren Shlomi. Keren said she did not have a typical childhood, and I would imagine she’s right. She was born in Israel as I recall, but her family fractured and she ended up living in Canada with her her Mom. She said that she missed Israel, and felt like there was a hole in her heart. She got to go back to Israel on a trip and then she knew what was making the hole in her heart and what would fill it. Keren went back as often as she could, and when she was of age she decided to move back and serve in the IDF. Up on the projection screen flashed a picture of Keren wearing sunglasses and holding an Israeli flag. Her smile said it all, in Hebrew and in English, she was home and whole. She served in the first co-ed combat unit which was on the Egyptian -Israeli border at the time. She became a sharpshooter and eventually moved into Intelligence. Over time she became completely disconnected from her family, but she says she never felt alone. She had her IDF family, and the Friends of the IDF also were supportive. After her army career she worked three jobs, baby sitter, and courthouse security were among them. To be honest, if it were me? I could actually only do one of those, and it wouldn’t be babysitting. I’ve done it, I know. Keren wanted to go to college, she had a dream and if she had to work three jobs, she was willing to do it. She figured within a few years she’d have saved up enough money to go to college. But then someone told her about the FIDF impact scholarship and she applied. She won one of the scholarships. She gives 130 hours of community service during every year of schooling so not only does the scholarship impact her life, she impacts the lives of others, 130 hours a year worth! It seems like a great program and Keren certainly is a good ambassador for it.
Our next speaker was First Sergeant Izzy Ezagui, and his dog. Nope, not kidding. Though Izzy did all the talking. Why you ask did First Sergeant Izzy need a dog on the platform with him? Well, I’m so glad you asked, let me tell you!
American born Izzy began his talk in moderately thickly accented English. As I sat there listening I kind of marveled to myself that I had never noticed how much an Israeli accent sounds like a French accent, and how had I never noticed it before when I talked to people? Sorry Izzy. After a few lines he asked us how he did with his fake Israeli accent, that he had practiced it for a long time for us. He got applause for that. Then he told us about his friend on the stage with him, his service dog. He says people ask him why he has a service dog. He says he tells them that women are heavy, the dog helps him pick them up. I can believe it, the dog was adorable, and better behaved than many children. So why does First Sergeant Izzy need a service dog?
Izzy said he had originally planned to make Aliyah to Israel as a Lone Soldier, but his family messed that up for him by making Aliyah as well. So once in Israel, his family lived in Jerusalem and Izzy began his IDF service.
One Shabbat Izzy’s Orthodox Commander called, so Izzy knew it wasn’t going to be good. They were being called up, and Operation Cast Lead began in response to about 80 rockets a day being fired into cities in Israel, with kindergartens and civilian areas being targeted. This time as far south as Beer Sheva, this was before the Iron Dome was in place. As far as I’m concerned, that could have prompted a massive bomb in the middle of Gaza, but then I adore Beer Sheva, and do not claim to be impartial. In two weeks Hamass had fired 500 rockets into Israel. Just part of our tax dollars at work. So the IDF ground forces entered Gaza during stage II of the operation. During that excursion a Captain in his brigade was killed. He had sustained a neck wound, but held it shut and continued to give orders to his men in an effort to save their lives, and he succeed in that, losing is own life in the process. Izzy’s company was going to be sent in to retrieve the Captain’s body. Izzy said he now face one of the most terrifying times to date of his IDF service. He didn’t know what to do. It seems Izzy had told his Mother that he was being sent to the Lebanon border (which was quiet at the time). When he talked to her he told her they had him in the kitchen doing dishes since they were rookies. So, now does he tell her where he really is before they go in? What if something happens and she had no warning? Should he tell her? Should he not? As he was sitting there pondering his dilemma, a mortar shell landed and ripped his arm off. The medics responded quickly and gave him some morphine for his pain. Then they loaded him up in the ambulance. The ambulance crew looked down sympathetically and asked if he had been given morphine for his pain. He earnestly replied no, he hadn’t. They have him some. They took him to the helicopter that was going to fly him to Saroka in Beer Sheva. He was loaded up into the helicopter for his flight to Beer Sheva, the air ambulance crew being a sympathetic lot gently inquired if he’d been given any morphine. No, no he hadn’t. They gave him some. He said he landed in Beer Sheva half loopy. Honestly, I’m surprised he even had a fourth to loop. But he had enough presence of mind to realize he stood a very real chance of dying. Because when they landed he realized there was a news crew there. A news crew with a camera, and his mother thought he was on the Lebanon border doing the dishes. A slow painful death awaited him, no doubt. Izzy then did what any combat wise veteran of the IDF would do who hoped to survive. Despite having massive quantities of morphine in his system, he more or less thought on his feet and threw a blanket over his head so when they took him into Saroka it would buy him enough time to talk to his mom before she saw him being wheeled into a hospital in Beer Sheva, no where near Lebanon.
Izzy says recovery was slow, and not at all simple. Recovery involved learning to ties shoes and open bottles, and dealing with phantom pain.
But as Comrade X commented on another column I did recently, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Izzy is a Tibetan Mastiff.
Izzy was determined to remain in the IDF. So his recovery also involved learning to jump 7 foot walls, load an unjam a rifle, all with one arm, Izzy remains a sharpshooter still. His last training exercise involved hiking from one live fire exercise to the next. For 30 hours. The training is a week and a half long. One year when they trained on Hanukkah, on the fourth night Izzy borrowed rifles. He removed their slings and stuck them in the ground, upright. He then placed a candle in the barrel and lit them creating a makeshift Hanukkah menorah. Then he had a friend take his picture with it,which went viral. He said he couldn’t really lie his way out of it, there aren’t any other one armed soldiers in the IDF. He said the higher ups were not happy, not happy at all, but he was not worried about being arrested. He said in fact, he doesn’t ever worry about being arrested. Because it’s impossible for anyone to handcuff him, so he is pretty much golden.
His final assignment was leading a squad of 13 men. Amazing, just amazing. It’s like Comrade X says, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight…
Izzy is now a motivational speaker and has a book coming out next March. If he is as riveting to read as he is to listen to, this is going to be a wonderful book!
We all face battles in our lives, some health related, some personal, some financial, some spiritual, but face them we will. It’s harder when we face more than one kind at once, but perhaps when you think about people like Gal Hirsch and Izzy you can look and up ask for what you need be it courage, strength, stamina, or whatever, and with G-d’s help, continue to fight another day.
I’m sure this is what Izzy would tell us, Live Like A Warrior
50 years. It’s been 50 years since Yerushalayim, Jerusalem was reunited. This city so rich with history of the Jewish people is mentioned over 627 times in Torah (none in the koran) has been the center of Spiritual life for thousands of years. How can it not be? The place that G-d will choose?
Throughout it’s history various and sundry groups have tried to deny the Jews access to the Holy City and Har HaBayit, The Temple Mount. Romans, Greeks, Muslims, various and sundry Arab groups, the UN, some former U.S. Presidents. And, all have been successful for a time. For a time. But many of those that tried to prevent them from being in the place that G-d chose for them to worship have faded away. To take their place new enemies arise. It’s as though there is evil that absolutely fears that Jews will pray on the Temple Mount. What are they so afraid of? Most of them say Jews are sub-human, and/or they don’t believe in the G-d of Israel anyway. And yet the fear remains doesn’t it? Those that hold control over the Temple Mount now, claiming it as their “holy site” show their reverence for it by turning their asses towards it when they pray. To Mecca. They play soccer and have picnics on it. They store rocks and firework with which to attack the Israeli police and Jews and Christians that try to visit in the “holy” Al Aqsa. Not how one typically treats a holy site I would say. Countless artifacts have been discarded by them into a trash heap over the walls into E. Jerusalem where Arabs have used ancient timber for firewood. The list of abuses goes on and on.
Looking back at the Six Day War that reunited Yerushalayim, here are some quotes to give you an idea of the mindset Israel was facing. It also might be helpful to remember, the Falestinian Liberation Organization didn’t exist until 1963. It was created by the Arab league.
As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.~~Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt
Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united….I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.~~Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad
Yeah, pretty much like the “peace partners” Israel has today. Israel never intended to retake Jerusalem during the war. They asked King Hussein of Jordan (who was illegally occupying Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem) to stay out of it after the war started. But Hussein feared the PLO. He was afraid they would try to depose him.
King Hussein of Jordan signed a defense pact with Egypt on May 30. Nasser then announced:
The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel…to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.
President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq added his two cents to the rhetoric:
“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear — to wipe Israel off the map.”
On June 4, Iraq joined the military alliance with Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
This is what the tiny, new nation of Israel faced.
I like this video, it shows a lot of pictures of what Jerusalem was like before Israel was re-born.
Then, the battle for Jerusalem. I like this video. Alot. It has scenes and commentary from THAT day, as well as a lot of modern video towards the end showing many places in Jerusalem. I recognize many of them, and have walked the streets, shopped in the shops and gawked at all of it. And am quite sad I am not there at the moment.
And I will admit, my tears fill my eyes when I hear Mota Gur saying “Har Ha’Beit B’Yadeinu!” The Temple Mount is in our hands. Then to hear Shlomo Goren blow the shofar? Look at what Israel faced. Not only did she win her survival, she regained land, and Jerusalem. You will notice that people of all faiths are allowed to practice their faith in the areas Israel controls. But only in those areas. The areas muslims control? No. Not even safe. Sadly not everyone realizes the Holiness of The Temple Mount and control was given back to Jordan. I really think we would not being seeing a lot of the problems we see now if that hadn’t happened.
What does the future hold? I don’t have a crystal ball. There is much unrest in the world, and evil is everywhere. Do I have all the answers? No. In fact, I don’t even have all the answers I need. But I do think a good start would be returning Jewish prayer to the Temple Mount.
If you want someone who may well have a crystal ball, or at least a plan, you can watch a fascinating webinar I just saw with Moshe Feiglin of Zehut. Not only will he tell you some behind the scenes info going on now, he will tell you some interesting history.
For today, just for today, I will savor the miracle of G-d, the return of a reunited Jerusalem to Israel.
Yom Ha’Atzmaut, I think this year I’ll do a little media round-up for ya’ll for Yom Ha’Atzmautיום העצמאות. I spent the day making balls and frying falafel for an impending big party that night. As I fried I had a plenty of time to reflect on the miracle of the nation state that was born from the ashes in a day.
A day when an ancient people, the Israelites declared to the world “We’re Home”. Thanks to the work of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda the Hebrew language had been revived. Some words were borrowed, especially technical terms, but many are pretty much the same. Modern Hebrew really caught on during the Second Aliyah, from 1904-1914.
So what had gone on before the Nation State reappeared?
The Allied Powers were aware of the scale of the Jewish Holocaust two-and-a-half years earlier than is generally assumed, and had even prepared war crimes indictments against Adolf Hitler and his top Nazi commanders.
Newly accessed material from the United Nations – not seen for around 70 years – shows that as early as December 1942, the US, UK and Soviet governments were aware that at least two million Jews had been murdered and a further five million were at risk of being killed, and were preparing charges. Despite this, the Allied Powers did very little to try and rescue or provide sanctuary to those in mortal danger.
This is part of a cable he sent to George C. Marshall, the part in bold, I bolded.
… the most interesting—although horrible—sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’
He then made the townspeople come view the camp, and help assist in burying the bodies. The townspeople all claimed they had no idea what had been going on, despite the smell that had been noted in the town. He also ordered many photos be taken of the camp to prevent people from being able to try to deny what had taken place. Doesn’t seem to have stopped them though, does it?
I would say the hope of Israel was beating in prisoner’s hearts. This is a recording made IN Bergan-Belsen after it was liberated. The BBC was there, and the prisoners knew they were being recorded. They asked to be allowed to sing on the recording. They are singing Hatikva, the national anthem of Israel, it means “The Hope”.
And so Jews then began making their way to Israel, they were going home. They began to work the land which had been let go into desolation and turn it in to a vibrant living land again.
This is a song I learned in school, my teacher says they sang it in the Kibbutzim, it’s called Boker Boker http://www.zemereshet.co.il/song.asp?id=337 it’s an actual recording and they are singing about different times of the day, but it all involves going to work. And she explained that they were just so happy to have a home and land to work, that they woke up happy to work the land and have their own, new lives. Something I should remind myself a few times. But it’s a very happy song.
And then in 1948, Independence was declared after the United Nations voted to partition the land. A scheme known today as the “Two State Solution”. It was rejected by the arabs, and they were much more honest about their motives then. They said they would drench the land in blood, and no compromise.
The Declaration, and I’ve been in this very room when they played a recording of the speech. I could not help it as I felt my eyes fill with tears. I have a copy of the Declaration in Hebrew. I’m such a baby I can’t quite read it without the vowel points though.
Turning once again to Jack Engelhard, I see that the German ambassador was in Israel recently. To meet with Bibi? No, he chose to meet with Israel’s enemies. Jack has informed Mrs. Merkel that today Germany’s actions will not be buried on the back pages of the paper, they are front page.
These days Israel celebrates the 69th Anniversary of its Independence. The Jewish State is not to be trifled, as were the Jews in the good old days.
Back then when you kicked us around you managed to get the cooperation of The New York Times and others to hide your dirty work.
The papers – led by the Times – let you off the hook as you rounded up, shot and gassed millions of our people.
They buried the news on the back pages.
Speaking of everyone’s favorite puppy pee pad, the New York Slimes, all the news that’s fit to lie about, they have changed so much! They recently ran a op-ed from Marwan Barghouti, a convicted terrorist guilty of murder, serving five life sentences. The Slimes didn’t find this information relevant as they ran his op-ed about why he was on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison. They listed him as a “Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” You can make this stuff up, but in the case, I’m not. Remember, we’re talking about the Slimes. After the outcry, it was added why he was in the slammer. Honestly, I’m kind of shocked there was an outcry. I didn’t realize anyone actually read the Slimes, I thought they just bought it when they were teaching puppies to piddle in a certain spot. So no, the Slimes is still/always evil.
To put things in perspective, Israellycool did a similar column from Charles Manson, yes, that one. He is listed as a “Singer-Songwriter”. And it is well worth the read. Actually, if you’re only going to read one of the columns, make it this one. You’ll know what Barghouti wrote and Israellycool does a good job of showing both.
And today, do all American Jews stand up for their kin in Israel? Um, not so much. Alan Dershowitz supported hillary, who would have continued obama’s anti-Israel policies. He recently talked with Moshe Feiglin about the future of Israel, as a Jewish state. The two had very different ideas. To Alan, Jews living in the Biblical heartland is a problem, and it being a Jewish state is kind of a problem.
I look at Israel, her people, the land, and the miracles that have happened there and it really makes me think about something I heard on one of my favorite radio shows recently. On Temple Talk they were discussing Pharaoh’s army chasing the fleeing Hebrews across a large strip of land that only a few hours earlier had been a sea. There are a couple walls of water on either side, your country has had frogs, locust, hail, darkness, boils, wild animals and all ya’lls first born is dead. The G-d of Israel said “Let them go”, you didn’t so you got all that and more. Now you think it’s a good idea to chase them across the strip of land in between two walls of water? Good idea had nothing to do with it. It was a deep hatred of the Jews. And it drives the enemies of Israel to do very stupid things, that oft times leads to their own demise. Germany has replaced six million Jews with how many muslims? And how’s that working out for them?
But, we’ve had Yom Ha’Atzmaut, and Am Ysrael Chai עם ישראל חי
The People of Israel LIVE!!!
Thank you G-d, for all your miracles and your love.
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
פסח Pesach 2017 has concluded. I hope everyone’s was blessed. I learn things every year, and this year I did some deep reflecting and thinking, just sort of processing some of the things I read.
While I realize my life, and our lives in America today, have little if anything in common with the Israelites held captive in Egypt all those years ago, in the Haggadah, it says “In every generation each individual is bound to regard himself as if he personally had gone forth from Egypt”. Hmm, I’ve never been to Egypt, and I have no desire to go there now. But I have watched The Mummy movies several times. Even the old black and white one. But that’s not what it means. Turns out, we all have our own Egypt, Pharaoh and Moshe.
In each one of us there is an Egypt and a Pharaoh and a Moses and Freedom in a Promised Land. And every point in time is an opportunity for another Exodus.
Egypt is a place that chains you to who you are, constraining you from growth and change. And Pharaoh is that voice inside that mocks your gambit to escape, saying, “How could you attempt being today something you were not yesterday? Aren’t you good enough just as you are? Don’t you know who you are?”
Moses is the liberator, the infinite force deep within, an impetuous and all-powerful drive to break out from any bondage, to always transcend, to connect with that which has no bounds.
I wonder, how many of us are in chains of one sort or another? Work situations, relationship situations, health situations, financial situations? There are no limits to the things that can bind us. I might take a minute to mention that former Congressman Bob McEwen points out that when you look at the effect of taxes, working and not being allowed to keep the fruit of your labor is slavery. For those fans of Hillary and Bernie.
How could I make such a statement in the middle of talking about Pesach? Well, because Rabbi Tsvi says
Tell it in first person, in the now. Don’t say, “Long ago, the ancient Hebrews…” Say, “When we were slaves in Egypt, the perverse socio-bureaucratic system thoroughly crushed every individual’s sense of self-worth!” Everything that happened there parallels something in each of our lives. We are truly living it now. We are simply examining our own lives in the dress of ancient Egypt.
See? It’s relevant!
There is a point during the Seder where the youngest child present asks four questions. Hmm, would this present a problem? Cowgirl kitty refused to ask the right questions. No problem, Rabbi had the answer.
No children? Let an adult ask. There’s just you? You be the child, and G‑d will be the father. While you’re at it, ask Him a few other difficult questions for us all.
Oh, I’m good with this! I’m so good with this! What’s more? We’re not limited to four!
Part of the Seder is eating Matzah. My Kosher for Pesach Matzah came from Israel. I’ve been eating Matzah since last Monday night, the 10th. This is a mitzvah, a commandment. Yep, until there is another Holy Temple, this is the only mitzvah we can eat. And according to Rabbi, this is an incredibly powerful thing. An amazing thing. Matzah has been called the bread of faith or Emunah.
Emunah is when you touch that place where your soul and the essence of the Infinite Light are one. It’s a point that nothing can describe. Where there are no words, no doubts, no uncertainty, no confusion—nothing else but a magnificent oneness before which all the challenges of life vanish like a puff of vapor.
I should have ordered like a gazillion cartons (5 boxes to a carton) of this!
We too began buried in Egypt, all but losing our identity. But that furnace of oppression became for us a firing kiln, a baker’s oven, the womb from whence we were born in the month of spring. In our liberation from there, we brought our fruits of freedom to the world.
Miracles happen when Divine energy from beyond the cosmos enters within. Why did miracles happen in Egypt? Because we believed they would. Those who didn’t believe in miracles saw only plagues. To see a miracle, you need an open heart and mind, open enough to receive the Infinite. That is the opening we make when we thank G‑d for the miracle of our food.
But the greatest of barriers turned into the greatest of miracles. Not only did the sea become an ambush for the enemy, but also a path that led the children of Israel to their ultimate freedom.
So it is with every obstacle. When you’re out to do the right thing, the entire world is there to assist you—including the most formidable threats, the most impossible challenges. The bigger they are, the more impossible to traverse, the greater the miracle they will provide.
That is the true reality of everything in this world: to serve you on your mission. What is your mission? To make this world miraculous.
And obstacles are miracles waiting to happen.
So, I think we all struggle with slavery of some sort, perhaps this will give you some hope, and maybe a different perspective. The children of Israel went into Egypt as 12 different tribes, and came out a nation. These are just some of the things that really struck me this year, and I’m still chewing on some of them. Unlike the matzah which I am now loading with my leftover yummy charoset which I munch right down.
I’ll leave you with one final Pesach thought, because A) it’s a really good one, and B) it has a picture of a camel.
Got the popcorn?
Here’s a song I learned in school, I love this version. I know it’s by a group called Tractor’s Revenge, but the words are wonderful. I have it on my phone, so I sang it at the end of my Seder.
Echad Mi Yodea אחד מי יודע
It has the meanings in English, it’s wonderful!
Then there is this one, wonderful thoughts, Passover: I’m in Love with the Taste of You, this year’s Aish Pesach video.
And lastly, just for fun. Pesach Funk. “Freedom! Oh man! Gonna live my life the best way I can!” Boy can they dance!
You know, in some ways, I’m a pretty blessed girl. Parts of my life are pretty cool. I get to meet some amazing people, I really do. And some of them I get to interview, and some of them I just am fortunate enough to be able to sit in on a lecture. This column is about one of those times. I got to sit in on a lecture with a fascinating gentleman. You’re looking for more information than “fascinating”? Ok, how about details, he’s Israeli, he’s been in a few battles. More? He can speak Hebrew, read and write it. More? Ok, I admit that last bit was humor. He was part of the Shaldagשלדגor Kingfisher unit. In fact, at one time he commanded it. Shaldag is like Sayeret Matkal, think Yonatan Netanyahu. It’s a special forces unit of the IAF. A Kingfisher is a bird that flies up high, swoops down suddenly and snatches it’s prey and ascends back into the skies before you know what happened. Now you understand Shaldag. More? He’s a retired Brigadier General. Yeah, I get to meet very way cool people. He’s also a happily married father of three girls, two of whom are officers in the IDF now. More? His name is Gal Hirsch. He also has a B.A in Mid-Eastern Studies from Bar-Ilan University. I’m working on my B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies as well, sadly not in Israel. Gal also is the founder and chairman of Defensive Shield Holdings, which consults on security and defense, and is chairman of the Israeli Leadership Institute. Quite the pedigree isn’t it? And he had quite the lecture, and message for us.
Gal’s family were some of the first to settle in Arad when it was a new town in the Negev. It’s near my beloved Beer Sheva. On his 13th birthday with the other boys he climbed Masada before dawn for his Bar Mitzvah, they put on Tefillin for the first time, prayed and vowed שנית מצדה לא תיפול
Shaneet Masada lo tipol, Masada shall not fall again. This is the same vowed the armored division used to make when they were sworn in on Masada, after climbing up it. My thought? Yes, I’d like to have the chance to do that, climb it, but the view from the cable car was amazing. I’m just saying. After that portion, the boys all hike down and go their homes and there is a lovely large meal, family and presents. It’s a big family event. Normally. Gal’s wasn’t, when he got back everything was chaos. His uncle, Amnon Hager had been killed. Fifty-four paratroopers and the pilot had been killed when their helicopter went down. The next day Gal changed from planning to enter a science program to picking up the baton that had fallen from his Uncle’s hand. He went to the recruiting station in Beer Sheva.
Gal has been fighting since he was 18, a lot of it around the borders of Israel, and all of it under fire. He said you can plan whatever you want, but someone else is planning for you. Serving in the IDF is not a career, it’s a mission. Eventually Gal chose to go to officer training. This requires an additional commitment to serve in the IDF. There on the walls of the school in different places was the phrase “אחריי” Achriee, or “Follow me and do likewise” which is what Gideon told his troops. This is also why you see a fairly high casualty rate among Israeli officers, they LEAD into battle. In addition to seeing the sign “Achriee” he also saw a beautiful woman named Donna, who later became his wife, and the mother of his 3 beautiful daughters. Donna was in the IDF as well. So, folks, if you need, I’ll see if I can get you some IDF recruitment forms. Sounds like it worked better than match.com.
In the mid 80s Hizbollah was a political party, now Hizbollah is the Iranian army after going through a few morphs. Gal fought in the first intifada which was the pieceful falestinians* having their armed riots for “peace”. They knew that Israel would not use machine guns on civilians.
While he couldn’t talk about many of the missions he went on, he did tell us about one. There was an enemy installation someplace. The enemy would come out attack Israel and retreat back to their compound. After this had gone on for a bit, Gal decided they needed to get into the compound. He said the game changes when you wake up in the morning and the floor of your living room is covered with IEDs and you have no clue how they got there in the night. I bet that’s right, actually, I know that’s right, more on that later. But there were some pretty good mottoes contained in the story. This mission had many things go wrong, from a late start because they were waiting for approval to technical problems. At one point an ambush was waiting, a team member was injured and they had to figure out an alternative way to cross a road swarming with the enemy and invent a way to cover their tracks. Then they got to climb the cliff. Through all this Gal has to continually reassess the situation. Abort or continue? Finally he is getting messages from headquarters, it was a brilliant plan, but don’t you think you should abort now? It’s not the same situation. It’s morning now. Gal persisted and was emphatic, he would continue. Then headquarters made it an order, abort. And just then, as luck would have it, there was another technical problem and none of their headsets worked! None of them heard the order to abort the mission. WOW, who would have imagined such a thing? Gal did have to come up with some alternative ways to get the team extracted, but he had already figured that out. So once the mission was completed he was able to get the communication equipment to work and called in orders for what he needed to get the team extracted safely. The mission was a success. When they got back to base the General Chief of Staff wished to have a word with Gal. Apparently the General had several, at a great volume. Gal thought his time in the IDF was about to end, so he had some words in response, also at a increased volume. And about then the people who had been monitoring the compound began to see some of the teams handiwork playing out. They came and got the General who left to watch the fireworks, grab a cup of Cofix and some popcorn. Ok, I made up the last two. But Cofix coffee is always a good idea in my book. The debriefing was two weeks later and he was told many times, you were wrong, but this turned out well.
Many times in this story Gal talked about “values determine results”, meaning if it is your values to persevere and work hard, your results will be good, it’s about your work ethic. And “the mission must be accomplished”. But what happens when values collide? “The mission must be accomplished” collides with “discipline”. The military discipline that an army must have to function as a unit runs headlong into the mission must be accomplished and values determine results? That’s a tough one isn’t it? The unit ended up getting a citation for their work, and they didn’t can Gal.
Instead, they sent him to Judea and Samaria to prepare for war in the aftermath of the Oslo accords. Gal talked about how many times and how many different ways Israel has tried to make peace. And how many times the Arabs have promised to give up terrorism and attacking civilians in return for _______. And some how, no matter how much or how often they give, peace never comes. Attacks on civilians and the military continues.
In 1998 it turns out Gal was quite good at trying to get things in order in Judea and Samaria. So good the Arabs absolutely hated him and he was a high priority target for them. The finally got him in an ambush as he drove under a bridge. They rolled a boulder on his car. He sustained multi-system trauma. Broken teeth, arm almost ripped off, face partly crushed, lungs filling with blood, teeth knocked out, pelvic damage and part of his nerves were torn away from his spine, he was pretty close to if not, paralyzed. The arabs were exceedingly proud of themselves for having gotten Gal. It was on the arabic news stations and in the papers. But Gal lived. The doctors asked him what his goals were for his therapy and rehab. He told them he wanted to be able to “shoot, hug, and write” meaning write orders. He wanted to go back into command. He wanted to be in charge of the Binyamin brigade which is in the area of Judea and Samaria. He wanted the arabs to know, they failed. He was sent to Paris for a while for some procedures. After he had been back from Paris for a while, he begin to have movement in a finger. The index finger of his right hand. He called his commander and said “I’m healthy now. I want to be the brigade commander” This, I’m sure, was met with a rather stunned reaction. He was still in the hospital in rehab. But, you see, it was his trigger finger that had moved. To Gal? He was ready for duty. So at 74% disabled he became the brigade commander of the Binyamin brigade. He is still 59% disabled today. He said “When you have a mission, you can work through the pain”. Another good creed to remember.
So now you have some background on Gal. Now I’ll tell you some of the things I learned that I think are worth sharing.
Gal is the man behind Operation Defensive Shield, March 29 – April 21, 2002. It was in response to the many, many terrorist attacks coming from the arabs in Judea and Samaria. In particular the Pesach massacre on March 27th in which 30 people were killed. A pieceful falestinian detonated himself in a hotel in Netanya during a 250 person Seder. Twenty-two were killed outright, eight died later and one hundred and fifty were injured. The arabic world was a tizzy in joy. But for Ariel Sharon it was the last straw. This was a very large scale operation. Despite the fact the Air force could have settled hash in a few minutes, the IDF chose to send in infantry to spare civilians who were told to flee.
Now, there are some things Israel does very poorly. One is “apartheid”. They are pathetic at apartheid. They have muslims in the Knesset, they have muslims in the military, in positions of command no less, they have muslims in the police force, they have muslims working in the emergency medical services. Israeli muslims can vote, shop, work, whatever. They do not have a firm grasp on how to do apartheid. Another word they can not seem to grasp the meaning of is “siege”. They really do quite poorly with siege. They need to refer back to Masada and the Roman 10th legion to understand how to do “siege”. Because when the tanks surrounded Mukata’a, Arafat’s palace and command post in Ramallah to keep him from leading an insurgency they supplied everything he needed, including electricity. I’m sure if you’ve seen the pictures of Arafat and his people huddled around a candle, that will be a shock, but Israel actually supplied them with necessities. They don’t get “siege”.
So let’s talk a bit about the arabs. In Bethlehem, somewhere between 100-180 pieceful* falestinians holed up in the Church of the Nativity. Much like how they now use the Al-Aqsa mollusk (yeah, I know) to hide weapons and attack the police out of their holy site. You know, I’ve yet to see any of the other worlds religions use their holy sites as a military compound and then howl to cnn when the military attacks it, and the people in it. But the arabs do it on a regular basis. Not only their own holy sites, but those of other religions. They also took more than 40 priests, nuns, and church personnel as well as around 200 other Palestinians hostage.
There were also raids in other falestinian villages as the IDF gained control of Judea and Samaria. This resulted in a large drop in terrorist activities.
Israeli Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center, were an initial drop of 46 percent in the number of suicide bombings – from 22 in February and March to 12 in April and May – and a 70 percent drop in executed attacks between the first half of 2002 and the second half (43 January–June, 13 July–December).
While 2003 had a total of 25 executed suicide bombings in comparison to 56 in 2002, the main difference was the number of attacks which did not come to realization (184) either due to Israeli interception or problems in the execution. 2003 also saw a 35 percent drop in the number of fatalities from 220 deaths in 2002 to 142 deaths resulting from suicide bombings.
Predictably, the UN howled. And the FA (Falestinian Authority) had cnn on speed dial. They would send kids out in front of tanks and cnn, being sloppy journalists, and I’m using that term very loosely here, would snap photos of the “compelling” conflict. Did they do any investigation? Not so much.
Remember me saying we would come back to IEDs in the living room? Well, that’s how terrorism works. You’re going about your normal little life when a bomb goes off, or someone runs you down with a car and jumps out with a knife. How long before people are afraid to go out? So, wake up and find IEDs in the living room? Changes your notions about your plans. The next point, is while the UN howled about the poor falestinian civilians, the poor civilians don’t concern the pieceful falestinian terrorists. They use them as shields, or tell them they can’t leave a building knowing Israel will not attack it if there are civilians there. This point seems to escape the UN, well, and john kerry. The IDF targets terrorists. The terrorists target civilians. Big difference wouldn’t you say?
Which brings me to another point Gal made. Not only does Israel not do “apartheid” or “siege” well, they really don’t do well at public relations. The first two were my opinions, but Gal admitted, Israel is not good at PR. The FA on the other hand, has a willing lapdog media. And somehow, somewhere roles have switched. In the beginning everyone realized that tiny Israel was fighting to regain her home. She was attacked by the arab nations from the beginning. Now, it’s still tiny Israel fighting many arab nations to survive, but because they don’t lay down and die as many expect, they are now portrayed as a thuggish Goliath. Gal said that was something that they could use our help with. When we see misstatements in the media, address them. Send a letter to the editor, address it on Facebook, Twitter, whatever, but do not let it go unchallenged. Judea and Samaria are not occupied “territories” they are the land of Judea and Samaria in the land of Israel, and there are Jews living in Jewish villages there, just like there are Jews living in villages all over Israel. And when it comes to Gaza, it is not “occupied” by Israel, there are no Jews in Gaza. In fact, Gal calls it “Hamas-a-stan”. It’s not controlled by anything other than Hamas, or as I call it, Hamass. This little tidbit seems to escape many mainstream journalists.
At the same time as Operation Defensive Shield, Gal began to push for the wall, or defensive barrier. This of course has been met with howls by the “human rights” groups and the UN. Isn’t it interesting that many Israelis died from terrorist attacks coming from people within Judea and Samaria and the UN and human rights people emitted their collective yawn. They didn’t get upset about suicide bombings and knife, rock, boulder, Molotov cocktail against Israelis, nearly one thousand of them. A fence has been built around Gaza, and not a single suicide bomber has made it from Gaza into Israel. The rockets are another story. But the stats on the wall of Judea and Samaria are impressive.
Here’s why there is an actual wall in places where falestinian snipers used to attack.
During the 34 months from the beginning of the violence in September 2000 until the construction of the first continuous segment of the security fence at the end of July 2003, Samaria-based terrorists carried out 73 attacks in which 293 Israelis were killed and 1950 wounded. In the 11 months between the erection of the first segment at the beginning of August 2003 and the end of June 2004, only three attacks were successful, and all three occurred in the first half of 2003.
Since construction of the fence began, the number of attacks has declined by more than 90%. The number of Israelis murdered and wounded has decreased by more than 70% and 85%, respectively, after erection of the fence.
The value of the fence in saving lives is evident from the data: In 2002, the year before construction started, 457 Israelis were murdered; in 2009, 8 Israelis were killed.
The wall and fence have worked very well in Israel.
He also talked a little about the “Arab Spring”, six and a half years ago. He said it was such a nice sounding name, spring. But what it has been is horrible. The jihadists have always been in the middle east, but the dictators that had been in control had been able to contain them. After the arab spring, the bottle was shattered and all the evil little genies were set loose to visit havoc upon the middle east. The fundamentalist jihadis are running amuck and the middle east is not functioning the same. Sounds to me like some former politician was dangerously (to all of us) naïve and didn’t have a firm grasp on the situation, or how things work.
Some of this last bit was in response to questions asked by the audience at the end of the lecture. But there was one more interesting question that was put to Gal as he talked about the impact of the evil fundamentalist jihadis that have been set loose to run amuck in polite society. A lady (not me) ask Gal, “So what does the mean for us?” Now, remember Gal’s occupation now. Security and defense consultant. He said “You have to prepare”. I don’t think she understood what he meant. I think Gal thought she didn’t understand either. He elaborated. “You have to be ready. You have a Second Amendment in this country. That is something we don’t have. You need to arm yourselves and know how to use your gun to be able to defend yourselves and your family”. My jaw almost hit the floor. I can only sincerely hope that those in the audience believed him and took him seriously. When you consider what this man has seen, where he lives and what he has done with his life, and he tells you that you need to be prepared and to exercise your Second Amendment rights, I think it is well worth heeding.
After the lecture he was signing books, and of course I wanted one. I got my book and got in line. We chatted for a few moments before he signed my book. I gave him my card, and asked him if he knew there was a Jewish Second Amendment rights organization in America. He did not. I told him we are supportive of Israel, and that we have covered issues in Israel and the parallels to things happening in America. Mostly favorably. I think Elor Azariya might have slipped out. But he seemed impressed and how glad am I that I was wearing my Caribbean blue TZP sweater? He asked if he could keep the card, it has our web site on it, and I got my copy of the book signed, בעברית, in Hebrew. Yeah, I’m happy. I’ve only got to read a couple pages in the book, but it’s very readable and interesting. The original copy was done in Hebrew of course, and was called War Story, Love Story. We of course, will understand that. Because we don’t fight because we love to fight, we fight because of love. Love for our country and our families. It fits.
*Pieceful. No, I do not mean peaceful. The falestinians love stabbing and cutting up people. Pieceful is the correct, if made-up word.
*Falestinian, Falestinian Authority. There is no “P” in arabic. Isn’t it interesting that their “ancestral homeland” is a word they can’t pronounce. Probably because it wasn’t called Palestine until Hadrian named it that after the disappeared Philistines as a poke at the Jews and to remove their connection from the land.
As Pesach is coming up, and in honor of Gal, here’s your little movie.
Jews. Guns. No compromise. No surrender.
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