‘Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof’: Jewish Justice Precludes Pacifism

“Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” we are instructed in Deuteronomy 16, 18-20. Translated this means, “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” The repetition is for emphasis. (The biblical narrators were super hot writers.) This tells me that Jews are enjoined against pacifism.

Do you agree?

“Violence breeds only violence” is a pacifistic plum line one hears a lot. This particular New Age guff equates reasonable punishment with violence. While it can include violent methods, reasonable punishment is not the same as violence. When we follow an unprovoked act of aggression with a proportional act of retribution, and when we punish only the guilty—no collateral damage—then we are doing justice, not violence. We do justice not only for the purpose of vindicating those harmed or killed, but because justice, like liberty, is the foundation of a peaceful and orderly society. To ignore the imperative of justice is to be in revolt against the natural law; the law of reason, which precedes and transcends man-made law.

Besides, if man is said to have been created in the image of God, then refusing to defend this awesome representation of the Almighty on earth would seem somewhat sacrilegious, surely.

David B. Kopel’s deductive leap of logic sanctioning a certain war, which shall not be mentioned or discussed here, is wrong, in my opinion. However, “The Torah and Self-Defense,” in which Kopel “surveys the Torah’s teachings on the right and the duty to defend oneself and others,” is well-worth reading.


The Ballot Box

 “There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Please use in that order.”

I listened to a radio show the other morning and the host was talking about how it seems like the mainstream media is downplaying the importance of this coming election. That is really won’t be all that important. This is not the case. It is very important. If it weren’t I don’t think we would be seeing the reports of touchscreen voting machines that seem to be changing Republican Votes to Democrat votes.  Interestingly, there don’t seem to be reports of it going the other way which is sort of shooting a hole in the stock reply from officials it’s a “calibration error”.

Here, here, and here.

So, my first bit of helpful advice for the upcoming ballot box trip, is carefully check your summary and make sure that the votes it shows are the ones you actually wanted to make.

Second tip. Who can you rely on to give you accurate suggestions when it comes to voting for pro-gun candidates?  While what I’m going to say may sound like heresy, it’s not. Nor am I “attacking” the NRA. But when those little orange cards come to your house, or that handy voter guide is in the magazine, please, please, please do not let that be your only source of information.

While the TZP (The Zelman Partisans) are NOT making political endorsements, I do have a suggestion along those lines. I would suggest you go to Gunowners of America and check out their voter guide.

Why you ask? Well, let’s take this one race. In West Va. The NRA has endorsed Nick Rahall. They have given him an “A”. He is the incumbent. The endorsed him over Evan Jenkins, who has his own voting record.  GOA gave Rahall a D- and gave his opponent Evan Jenkins an “A” rating.

That’s a pretty big difference. But also remember the NRA gave anti-gun Harry Reid a “A” rating and it cost Nevada and America a solid Second Amendment Senator, we could have had Sharon Angle.

Arkansas too had problems with the NRA ratings.

I know there were some problems in Missouri when the NRA endorsed the late Ike Skelton who at the time had been voting WITH Nancy Pelosi 98% of the time. I’m not sure how that managed an A rating, but it did.

I can only guess at why they rate candidates the way they do. I’ve heard they prefer to endorse a candidate they think will win, so that their endorsement win level appears high. That probably explains their preference for endorsing incumbents.  Another thing to consider is what kind of “gun legislation” does the NRA consider important. If you want state sovereignty gun legislation, know that the NRA does not.  Missouri and Florida have both tried to pass a state version of a “Second Amendment Protection Act” only to see it sabotaged by the NRA. Wyoming has also had fights with the NRA on expanded background checks, but Wyoming has a very strong grassroots Second Amendment group, Wyoming Gun Owners,  and it seems they win some of their fights. Wyoming does have a Firearms Freedom Act.

So am I trashing the NRA? No, but if I’m going to urge you to check other sources for voting guidelines, I should give you a few reasons for that statement.  Yes, the NRA does some good things. I love the Eddie Eagle program. But if you are an activist that wants a version of a Firearms Freedom Act or a Second Amendment Protection Act, then understand the high grade that you see on the orange card may not actually mean what you think it means!

Our country is in a very pecarious postion, we can not afford to make mistakes. I think the GOA voting guide will be your best source for accurate guidence on the candidates.

Please, this coming Tuesday, utilize the ballot box, we do not ever want to be in a position to have to utilize the cartridge box.



UPDATED: ‘Respek,’ Sheila Stokes-Begley

The column “A new Jewish pro-gun group: The Zelman Partisans,” by The Gun Writer, Lee Williams of the Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, FL), is a real coup for TZP. As Ali G., aka Sacha Baron Cohen, would have said: “Respek,” Sheila Stokes-Begley.

As someone who is hardly new to liberty (I began writing a weekly newspaper column in 1998, in Canada), but who takes her cues about Aaron’s legacy from individuals who were closely associated with him, forgive me for asking: If The Zelman Partisans is open to any and all—and I like the idea of inclusiveness in this cause—what makes us Jewish? I’m agnostic on the matter, if curious on just how we stay true to the advertized motto of “Jews. Guns. No compromise. No surrender.”

Again, kol hakavod, Sheila.

(Here is our Alexa ranking.)

UPDATE: Very well, Vladka Peltel (see comments below). My own writing and identity are inescapably informed by my Jewishness. I liked that JPFO had a rabbi on call who also reasoned powerfully—even brilliantly, and certainly biblically “against pacifism, and in defense of a ‘righteous killing.’ Rabbi Bendory also demonstrated a command of Hebrew grammar as well as impressive deductive, analytical thinking.” It would be hard to find another American rabbi in his league, and we should avoid recruiting a second-rate mind such as the two clowns mentioned in “American Rabbis For Israel First.”

In any case, you are all more Jewish than most Jews I know. This chat was most illuminating. Thanks.


TZP gets its first media coverage — and it’s great!

Read it and smile.

Reporter Lee Williams, aka The Gun Writer, has a regular column in the Sarasota, FL, Herald Tribune. He knew Aaron and was aware that JPFO had been handed off to the Second Amendment Foundation. So when he saw via Twitter that there was a new gun group in town following in Aaron’s footsteps, he jumped right in.

He opens:

Aaron Zelman was a titan within the gun-rights community.

The group he founded in 1989 — Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership — mimicked his bold, uncompromising personality and his truth-telling style.

Zelman and the JPFO called out anti-gun politicians, many of whom represented districts in the Northeast. He had a loud, powerful voice lawmakers learned to respect if not fear.

Some of Zelman’s tactics, though effective, could appear controversial to the uninitiated.

He once paired a picture of a saluting Adolf Hitler with the caption: “All those in favor of gun control raise your right hand.”

A classic, that.

Zelman never compromised in his support of the Second Amendment, or any other amendment, and his members loved him for it.

And it just gets better from there.


As TZP’s own Sheila Stokes-Begley noted in her interview with Williams, people have given us a tremendous response. People have been asking how they can join and have told us they want TZP logo tee-shirts, fridge magnets, and other swag. We’re workin’ on it, guys. With your help and support, a lot will soon be happening.

Williams got just one small detail wrong in his report (which is really pretty good these days). He’s right that we don’t yet have a button to allow people to join. But we do have a button for donations. Check it out: top right of the page. AND we already have our first two generous donors.

That’s pretty good for a site that been online only a few weeks. We’ll be putting those donations and our behind-the-scenes energies into building an organization that you can join and can be proud of — an organization that will carry out Aaron’s mission. And even if nobody left on earth can conduct Aaron’s mission in Aaron’s unique style, we’ll give you our best.


A personal note: Kudos to my fellow TZP founders — Jo Ann for hosting and site building, Sheila for dynamic public relations, Nicki for more things than I can name but especially social media skills (JPFO lost a dynamo when it lost Nicki), and Brad for good humored moral support. Kudos to all the TZP bloggers, especially our two newest, the famous Ilana Mercer and the more-humble-than-he-needs to be newcomer, Y.B. ben Avraham. What a privilege and a delight it is to be in your company.

And BIG kudos and thanks to Lee Williams for giving us such a superb and honest media launch.


A Video to Make You Tear Up

It’s Tuesday morning, and I ran across this video that I felt I needed to share with you. There’s not much left to say that Aaron Weiss didn’t say in this flawless 3-minute speech.

It’s eloquent and true. Those of us who volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces know why we did so – and it’s not for that generous $1800 per month you receive as a PFC.

I graduated Johns Hopkins with a degree in International Relations, and there was little doubt in my mind about what I wanted to do. I gave it some thought for a few months, but in the end I joined the Army.

I joined, because I understood what it’s like to live in a tyrannical state where rights matter about as little as human beings do.

I joined, because I wanted to defend the freedoms and opportunities this nation afforded me – freedoms the former USSR, Nazi Germany, and every other statist hellhole has destroyed.

I joined, because when I came to this country as a kid, I realized that I had opportunities here to live, achieve, and succeed that I would have never had as a Jew in the USSR.

And I was grateful. I was grateful enough to put on that uniform and swear an oath to defend our Constitution and those freedoms with my blood and my life.

Regardless of who resides in that White House at 20220, that oath and that promise remains the same. Politicians come and go. We may agree with them, nor not. But our oath and our promise remains: should any enemy threaten our country, our Constitution, or our people we will be there.

The young man in this video understands this. He served to protect those rights we hold dear. He continues to do so on a local level as a law enforcement officer. And he let those statist swine in New York know that he – as a veteran and law enforcement officer – will actively oppose their efforts to destroy everything he swore to protect…

…and do so by hypocritically using the deaths of children at Newtown to do it.


That Certain Jewish Je Ne Sais Quoi

On his bio, Y.B. ben Avraham claims he cannot write:

“Among Mr. ben Avraham’s panoply of noteworthy skills, writing is, sadly, not included.”

Self-deprecation is refreshing in the Age of the Ego and the Idiot. However, Avraham’s style reminds me of two Yiddish writers whom I studied in Hebrew, of course (I hope Israeli kids still study these remarkable, quintessentially Jewish writers): Sholem Aleichem and Yitskhok Peretz. This is a very good thing indeed. But don’t let what I’ve said go to your head. <grin> And don’t become too aware, or else you’ll lose the gift some older Jews still have.

Myron Pauli, a contributor to Barely A Blog, also has that certain Jewish je ne sais quoi. The younger generation of writers, Jewish and gentile, is like dessicated dust by comparison. Or dry good, which is how Irishman Oscar Wilde referred to American books.


A Few Questions About Jaylen Fryberg

A shooting at the Marysville-Pilchuk High School in Washington state has resulted in a familiar deluge of cries for MOAR GUNZ CONTROLZ from the gun grabber camp.

The Zelman Twitter feed is rife with #gunsense #notonemore #enough #stoptheNRA hashtags, and the Mad Moms Demanding Attention have once again robotically began to retweet their leader Shannon Watts’ snarky calls for more gun control.

Note the dismissive, arrogant, sarcastic tone about the tragedy. Very much typical of Shannon’s normal MO.

And mind you, the calls started before anyone knew exactly what happened, who the shooter was, where he got the gun, or why he went on a rampage.

Soon, details began to emerge, and a picture is beginning to take form.

The shooter has been identified as 14-year-old Jaylen Fryberg, who took his own life after shooting several classmates, two of whom were his cousins.

Tweets he posted prior to his rampage show a kid who was obviously angry at a break-up, upset, and threatening others.

He was suspended from the football team prior to his rampage after getting into a fight about “racist comments,” directed toward him, according to the Daily Mail.

Jaylen was too young to legally buy the handgun he used to murder his classmates, so he took his father’s gun and proceeded to shoot his cousins and classmates.

Let’s put aside the obvious – that the “universal background checks” the Mad Moms are demanding would have done nothing to stop Jaylen’s actions. He stole the legally-owned gun from his dad.

The bigger question was: where were the parents?

Why were they not following their son’s social media posts?

And if they were, why were they not concerned about the violent nature of a number of his Twitter posts, and the pain this kid was obviously feeling?

And if they were concerned, why didn’t they get him some help, or at the very least lock up their firearms until the kid either explained his angst-ridden, violent statements or got some help.

As a mom,  have full access to my son’s social media. We talk. We discuss his life. We find the time to chat each night, even if he’s working or swamped with homework. I guarantee you that if I suspected my son’s mental condition was deteriorating, the first thing I would do is get him help, and the second thing I would do is ensure his access to firearms was revoked until things were cleared up.

My house. My rules. He has full access to guns, and he is very proficient with them. But the moment I suspect something is wrong, that access goes away.

So where were the parents?

Why did this obviously depressed kid grab a pistol that belonged to his father and head on over to the school to commit murder and ultimately suicide?

Why are the Mad Mommies not discussing the roots of this problem, rather than trying to use the tragedy to push their political agenda?

Wouldn’t you think that if they were truly interested in helping kids, they would focus on the true causes of these shootings, rather than merely using them as agitprops in their senseless disarmament campaign?

Shannon Watts’ snarky tweet and the renewed drumbeat for more control and punishment for people who didn’t commit this senseless act of violence, once again confirms that the Bloombergian Stepford Moms’ mission has nothing to do with protecting children and everything to do with imposing Bloomberg’s nanny statism on their fellow Americans.


Helping RCA/OU back “on the Derech” on Self Defense.

Many years ago I decided to attend a “Preparedness Show” put on at a metropolitan convention center. It was an eclectic mix of presentations by, and vendors of, survival, armed self-defense, politics, home medicine, alternate currency, and literature. I had been there several hours, watched a few presentations and, circumnavigated the hall maybe three times.

Working my way towards the exit, a reporter buttonholed me; attracted, it turns out, by my beard and kippah. Why, he needed to know, would “I” want to attend such an event? Didn’t I know that the local head of the ADL – B’nai B’rith had roundly condemned it as den of NeoNazi’s and other social deviants? Especially since the “Turner Diaries”, he said, was on sale there?

Now, this was not long after the tragic travails of the Weaver family, and the mass murders at Waco, Texas. An Ozark Mafia bag man was POTUS and Janet “Recreational Vehicle” Reno was the A.G. (yeah… given the Patriot Act, Barack Hussein Ebola, etc., I’m a bit wistful now, too.) The future was looking a bit dim for liberty-minded folks. But, after my afternoon in the convention hall, the only person who had given my “antennae” the slightest quiver was this reporter and, by implication, the baleboss at the ADL. Everyone else had been very nice to me. Everyone.

I started to laugh. At him. At his question. At the ADL. At the whole crazy thing. Yes, I had noticed “The Turner Diaries” in one of my circuits through the vendor tables. Woweeee. One solitary copy, on one table, in the whole huge room. Nothing of the same nature anywhere else.

I responded,” Well, since the ADL is one of the most anti-semitic organizations I know of, I really cannot put much stock in their concerns.” He was taken aback. I pressed the point, saying:

“ADL – B’nai B’rith, like many major Jewish organizations, unabashedly advocates public policies that facilitate genocide. The ADL advocates gun control. Given that Jews always seem to be on the ‘short list’ in such times I consider that far more serious than being denied a country club membership or being treated badly by a Jew -hating merchant. What could be more anti-Semitic than being subjected to enslavement or murder?”

Over the years one holdout in this masochistic pathology has been the “Orthodox” Jewish world in America. Especially in the urban areas of the Eastern Seaboard and Upper Midwest, Jews are subject to absorbing secular liberal cant and labeling it “Jewish”.  The legal constraints of possession and carry by mere peasants in their cities and states have masked the issue. But, the past few years have brought significant reversals in the law. Opportunities for firearms possession in one’s home and concealed carry on one’s person expand with every case and every legislative session. Not everyone is pleased with this. But, by and large, the orthodox community has kept out of the lime-light.

So, with great frustration and sadness I noted that this past summer the Rabbinical Council of America / Orthodox Union passed and publicized a resolution on victim disarmament. It is titled “2014 Resolution: Gun Violence in America”. Described as having been obtained by a “direct vote of the RCA membership,” (over one thousand RCA members), conducted by an e-mail inquiry, it appears only ninety voted for it, sixty-two voted against. Nearly ninety percent of their members did not vote at all.

The Resolution, rife with platitudes, distortions and half-truths (directed to the ignorant), was blind to the import of the policy positions taken.  The obsequious undertone (directed to their political masters) can be likened to the pleadings of an African American servant ‘with porch privileges’ declaring his loyalty to the plantation owner.


Great. Where is this heading? A plea to “Give (them) our children”?  Is this “King Chaim” whispering in their ear?

Thankfully, last month, there arose a loud, clear response by ten prominent congregational Rabbis and a large, multi-state gun club. In an open letter to the RCA / OU these community leaders proceeded to make a concise, compassionate, and no-nonsense case in direct opposition to the RCA / OU “Resolution”. Their letter concluded:

“Like the RCA, we look forward to a day of universal peace, when “the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem,” when G-d “will judge between the nations,” and weapons will no longer be required to defend ourselves against our enemies. But we pray for such a future with open eyes, conscious of centuries of Jewish helplessness and of the growing number of attacks on Jews today. The assumption that an era of peace and brotherhood will dawn if we disarm ourselves, limit our access to firearms, or vitiate our right of self-defense, has no support in Jewish history, the teachings of the Torah, or present reality. www.gunssavelives.net Plowshares and pruning hooks will not defend Jews against enemies equipped with swords, spears, and deadlier weapons. Pretending otherwise will only undermine the preservation of the Jewish people – and the security of all Americans.”

This letter was signed by Rabbi Sol Appleman (Syosset, NY), Rabbi David Bendory (Livingston, NJ) Rabbi Mordechai Cohen (Milwaukee, WI), Rabbi Dov Fischer (Irvine, CA), Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz (Chicago, IL) Rabbi Reuven Mann (Phoenix, AZ), Rabbi Gary Moskowitz (Queens, NY), Rabbi Steven Pruzansky (Teaneck, NJ), Rabbi Mordechai Scher (Santa Fe, NM), Rabbi Jay Shoulson (Long Island City, NY), Rabbi Ephraim Simon (Teaneck, NJ), Rabbi Ephraim Slepoy (Passaic, NJ), and by The Golani Rifle & Pistol Club (NJ & PA).

In subsequent interviews the authors noted that, in contrast to the RCA/OU “Resolution”, outside of their small group, no effort was made to garner signatures from the RCA/OU general membership. Furthermore, although they only claim to speak for themselves, their numbers include RCA/OU members, a Young Israel rabbi, and even a Chabad Lubovitch (chasidic) shaliach.

Baruch Hashem that ‘some’ Jewish community leaders see the dangers to human life and liberty in victim disarmament,  for their fellow Jews and for all of G-d’s children, and are willing to speak up. Standing on the firm foundation of authentic Torah principles, leading by example, bringing light where there is darkness.  May these leaders go ‘from Strength to Strength’ !


UPDATED: Billionaire Bastards (I-594)

“Make sure it doesn’t happen in your state next,” warns Michelle Malkin, in “Rocky Mountain Heist,” a documentary in which the columnist puts her trademark shoe-leather journalistic sleuthing to work in exposing the Democrat-rigged “democracy” of Colorado, where a “group of wealthy liberals overtook Colorado. They used every scheme possible to impose a backward agenda and they transformed the place [she] love[s] into a testing ground for their liberal ideology.”

Malkin, who once resided in our state, might already know that the dice are loaded against decent people in Washington State too. I-594 is, by Rachel Alexander’s telling, “the only gun-control measure on the ballot this fall anywhere across the country.” It “is being bankrolled by billionaires on the left in favor of gun control, including anti-gun activist and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as former wealthy Microsoft execs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.”

Let us not forget Paul Allen, also a billionaire and also of Microsoft. He and the other bastards—who no doubt have security details guarding their abodes—“have raised more than $6 million” to make it more difficult for ordinary folks to defend life and property.

In 2011, another unfathomably wealthy individual got behind an effort to bilk businessmen and women of modest means. The Service Employees International Union (state and national locals), the National Education Association, and Washington teachers union locals all united to champion a new income tax, the poster boy for which was William H. Gates Sr., father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

UPDATE (11/2): Vladka Peltel writes:

Since you’re reading gunblogs I suppose you already know that I-594 is the anti-gunners’ dream this year. Under the pretense of being ‘only’ a universal background check bill (common sense, you know!), it would criminalize nearly all transfers of firearms, including the most helpful, innocent, and momentary. Loan a gun to a friend in need? Felony. Instructor hands a gun to student and student hands it back? TWO felonies. So on so on so on.



Tikkun Olam

“The Ghetto Mentality” by Y.B. ben Avraham of Zelman Partisans is provocative and worthy of further debate (pilpul). For now, I offer a comment about tikkun olam:

Those with messianic complexes, especially neoconservatives, should reconsider what is meant by tikkun olam. Starting with the barefaced Thomas Friedman, Jews and non-Jews alike have bastardized this beautiful, but modest, Jewish obligation. In an attempt to lend spiritual credibility to hubristic insolence, Friedman once praised Tony Blair for “always [leaving] you with the impression that for him the Iraq war is just one hammer and one nail in an effort to do tikkun olam, to repair the world.”

Developed by the scholars and sages of a dispersed people, tikkun olam was intended as a humble and modest thing – it is the duty of the Jewish individual to help, bit-by-bit, to bring about a better world in unassuming, day-to-day righteous acts.