Tag Archives: Jewish History

Happy 70th Birthday Israel!

Today is Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. And she is 70 years old. Doesn’t she look beautiful for 70?

Pre-state Israel

Acco Prison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little movie

 

I didn’t actually ask Shmuel for these, he just shared them today and they were what I wanted. I just did the column on Yom HaZikaron yesterday and was talking about those that died fighting for Israel even before she was recognized by man as a state. I suppose I don’t need to say G-d recognized her as such long before do I? Shmuel Sackett from the Zehut political party had done this column and recently sent it out again Seventy Years and Forgotten. This column explains who he is talking about in the video.

New State of Israel

A TRUE Feminist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middle age

For Israel that would be 1983 and Israelis were rocked by the murder of 14 year old Danny Katz.

Young Danny Katz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But they cheered the victory of Ofra Haza winning second place in the Eurovision song contest in Munich with the song Alive, Chai.

Israel at 70. This is the face I think of when I think of Israel at 70. Yeah, she was a socialist and what a shame, and she isn’t alive to see Israel’s 70th, but Golda rocked. She was a strong, quick witted woman. Her face is a bit lined and weathered from the trials and storms she has withstood, but in her eye she still has the look of eagles.

Amazing Golda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what I would hope for Israel’s future? A Prime Minister Moshe Feiglin.

A Prime Minister Moshe

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent the evening at a Yom HaAtzmaut party tonight, a big happy birthday party. I was teaching interested parties, and/or ones that Efi corraled and sent me about different kinds of Israeli Technology. It was fun, even if I did have to shout over the lively music and most of the people were wowed by the technology. I came home and made myself dinner of couscous also known as Ben Gurion rice, veggies and chickpeas. And then I baked Israel a birthday cake, since I was so busy yelling at people I didn’t get any.

After I ate, I checked my email and that’s always educational. Tonight I learned that the column I did on Yom HaShoah is incorrect. Sent from a friend who thought I should know I need to study some more.

Who knew?

 

 

 

 

 

Huh, the heck ya say?

I think if it were me, I would ask him why he thinks General Dwight D. Eisenhower is a liar. And the Germans, who kept excellent records. And Gen. George S. Patton, who would no doubt bitch slap him. And the American, Russian, Brits and the smattering of French armed forces, and the Polish Partisans. Unless he’s just going with the word of the German citizens, who said they had no idea anything was going on.

Ike saw it coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is why Israel needs to be as a strong safe place where a Jew can wake up, and live as a Jew, and sleep in peace at night. They should be able to wear a Kippah in public without fear of it making them a target as it does France today, and Britain.

Israel, may G-d bless, guard and guide you as you gather your children underneath your wings. Happy Birthday. The world says 70, I say a few thousand.

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Yom HaZikaron 2018

יום הזכרון Israeli Memorial Day, so far 23,645 soldiers have given their lives for the state of Israel since 1860.

From the Jewish Virtual library,

Established unofficially with the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, and enacted into law in 1963, the day preceding Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) is observed as a Memorial Day for soldiers who lost their lives in battle or while otherwise defending Israel.

Celebrated on the fourth of Iyar every year, Yom HaZikaron is one of four new holidays that were added to the Jewish national calendar since the creation of Israel. The other three are: Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs’ Day),Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), and Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day).

Since the second intifada, also included are those such as security guards who have given their life defending malls, restaurants and public buildings from terrorists. And there are plenty of those.

Yom HaZikaron is observed very differently than American Memorial day. I think Israel has it right. In America it’s sales, shopping, BBQ and getting together with friends and family. Some still visit graves and decorate them, it used to be called Decoration Day. In Israel, at 20:00 local time a one-minute siren sounds. Another siren will sound the following morning at 11:00. Then everyone observes a moment of silence to remember the fallen and terror victims. By law, all places of entertainment are closed on the eve of Yom Hazikaron, and broadcasting and educational bodies note the solemnity of the day. Regular television programs cease for the day, and the names and ranks of every soldier who died for Israel are displayed in a 24-hour television broadcast.

Honor and remembrance. The only ones who don’t observe are the Arabs, with the exception of the Druze and Bedouins, they do observe. Haredi Jews do not observe either.

Years ago I interviewed a man who had been a navigation unit commander for a tank battalion in Israel during the Yom Kippur war. He just didn’t tell me that last bit at the time. But he was talking about how war is different in America for the most part than it is in Israel. In Israel when the enemy gets in he will quite likely be walking down the street of someone you know. It’s your backyard that has the fighting in it. The closest I can imagine is the American un-Civil war. The wars of Israel are up close and personal. It’s also worth remembering the honored include those that fought for pre-state Israel in the Haganah, Lehi and the Irgun.

I think it was on a radio program, Temple Talk, that I heard the hosts discussing why Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut are right next to each other. A host’s daughter had told her Dad that it didn’t seem fair to those grieving that the next day everyone would be out in the streets partying. He explained to her that without the sacrifice of the lives observed during Yom HaZikaron that there wouldn’t even be a state of Israel. That the sacrifice is what enabled the joy, and that joy is why those men and women did not die in vain.

I was so very fortunate as to be able to attend a Yom HaZikaron service tonight, it was very, very meaningful. If you were not so blessed, I will share a link with you to a service that was broadcast from Ammunition Hill. There is a museum there now.

Yom HaZikaron service by the Lone Soldiers Center on Ammunition Hill.

“A State is not handed to a people on a silver platter.”

Chaim Weizmann, first president of Israel

The Silver Platter, written by Nathan Alterman

And the land grows still, the red eye of the sky slowly dimming over smoking frontiers

As the nation arises, Torn at heart but breathing, To receive its miracle, the only miracle

As the ceremony draws near, it will rise, standing erect in the moonlight in terror and joy

When across from it will step out a youth and a lass and slowly march toward the nation

Dressed in battle gear, dirty, Shoes heavy with grime, they ascend the path quietly

To change garb, to wipe their brow

They have not yet found time. Still bone weary from days and from nights in the field

Full of endless fatigue and unrested,

Yet the dew of their youth. Is still seen on their head

Thus they stand at attention, giving no sign of life or death

Then a nation in tears and amazement

will ask: “Who are you?”

And they will answer quietly, “We Are the silver platter on which the Jewish state was given.”

Thus they will say and fall back in shadows

And the rest will be told In the chronicles of Israel

May their memory be for a blessing.

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Happy Purim 2018

Purim in the year 2018. In the short video 4:47 long, you can have a cliff notes version of Purim if you want to watch it.

So the wicked Haman’s plan was to eliminate the Jews, once and for all, the “final solution”. In case you didn’t know this, Haman is a descendant of Amalek, yep, the one I talked about recently. Some people think that Hitler’s holocaust was the first attempt. Hardly. But an Alaskan congress critter recently seemed to have stirred up a kerfluffle recently when he stated

A congressman from Alaska suggested that Jews were “put in the ovens” by Nazis during World War II because they did not have guns.

This is arguable? I guess, by some. But it’s a Demoncrat who wants to run against him

The head of the Anti-Defamation League has called the claim a “distortion of history.”

With all due respect to the ADL…and really, that’s not much respect.

Let’s take just a brief look at a well known time and place in history for illustration. The Warsaw Ghetto. The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto held out longer than the country of Poland. How did that happen?

Cue dreamy sequence, you know, mist, clouds, soft music swirly colors…..

Mordecai Anielewicz: “Ok, the nazis are going to come down this street here. Sarah, when they pass your position you fling your pink hat with pointy ears into their path that should totally disorient them and shame them for at least five minutes. Then  Dovid, you and Yigal grab your rolled up copies of the New York Slimes and Haaretz and attack from the rear while they are still immobilized from shame. Then Shannon and Whoopie can run by bravely showing off the safety pins on their jackets all the while screaming “HASHTAG SAFE SPACE, HASHTAG SAFE SPACE”. As the nazis begin to retreat in fear of hearing “HASHTAG ME TOO” Michael, Rachel, Leah and Josef can march with the “gun free zone” signs and hit them with those. If we are successful, we should have the nazis cleared out in about thirty minutes! Then we will hang our new nazi Free Zone sign at the entrance!”

Pretty good spiel, huh?

Reality:

Two Jewish underground organisations fought in the Warsaw Uprising: the left wing Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa (ŻOB) founded in July 1942 by Zionist Jewish youth groups within the Warsaw Ghetto;and the right wing Żydowski Związek Wojskowy (ŻZW), or Jewish Military Union, a national organization founded in 1939 by former Polish military officers of Jewish background which had strong ties to the Polish Home Army, and cells in almost every major town across Poland. However both organisations were officially incorporated into the Polish Home Army and its command structure in exchange for weapons and training.

Marek Edelman, who was the only surviving uprising commander from the left-wing ŻOB, stated that the ŻOB had 220 fighters and each was armed with a handgun, grenades, and Molotov cocktails. His organization had three rifles in each area, as well as two land mines and one submachine gun. Due to its socialist leanings, the Soviets promoted the actions of ŻOB as the dominant or only party in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a view often adopted by secondary sources in the West.

The right-wing faction ŻZW which was founded by former Polish officers, was larger, more established and had closer ties with the Polish resistance, making it better equipped. Zimmerman describes the arm supplies for the uprising as “limited but real”. Specifically, Jewish fighters of the ŻZW received from the Polish Home Army: 2 heavy machine guns, 4 light machine guns, 21 submachine guns, 30 rifles, 50 pistols, and over 400 grenades for the uprising. During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, ŻZW is reported to have had about 400 well-armed fighters grouped in 11 units, with 4 units including fighters from the Polish Home Army. Due to the ŻZW’s anti-socialist stand and close ties with the Polish Home Army (which was subsequently outlawed by the Soviets), the Soviets suppressed publication of books and articles on ŻZW after the war and downplayed its role in the uprising, in favour of the more socialist ŻOB.

More weapons were supplied throughout the uprising, and some were captured from the Germans. Some weapons were handmade by the resistance; sometimes such weapons worked, other times they jammed repeatedly.

Shortly before the uprising, Polish-Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum (who managed to escape from the Warsaw Ghetto, but was later discovered and executed in 1944) visited a ŻZW armoury hidden in the basement at 7 Muranowska Street. In his notes, which form part of Oneg Shabbat archives, he reported:

They were armed with revolvers stuck in their belts. Different kinds of weapons were hung in the large rooms: light machine guns, rifles, revolvers of different kinds, hand grenades, bags of ammunition, German uniforms, etc., all of which were utilized to the full in the April “action”. (…) While I was there, a purchase of arms was made from a former Polish Army officer, amounting to a quarter of a million złoty; a sum of 50,000 złoty was paid on account. Two machine guns were bought at 40,000 złoty each, and a large amount of hand grenades and bombs.

If the ADL is right, then history is wrong and the Jews in the ghetto should never have died, right? Why were they trying so hard to get their hands on more weapons? What good would they have done? Right ADL?

Poland is currently attempting to rewrite their own history by criminalizing speech. You can’t say certain things anywhere (according to Poland) without fear of incurring their wrath and a lawsuit. Yes, the death camps were a Nazi invention. But the Pole’s had plenty of their own antisemitism. And plenty of it was on display after WWII, after the nazis were beaten.

Anti-Jewish violence in Poland, 1944–1946

Anti-Jewish violence in Central and Eastern Europe, 1944–46

A Zehut member, the brilliant Lisa Liel writes in a column A lesson from the Megillah

Why did Esther want the Jews to be able to defend themselves on the 14th, when that decree was no longer in force?

Which brings us to the second thing she asked for. She wanted the dead bodies of Haman’s 10 sons, the heroes of the anti-Jewish forces, strung up on the gallows that their father had been hanged on. Not to kill them, because they were already dead. But as a symbolic gesture, letting the anti-Jewish forces know that they weren’t just beaten for the day, but that they were done.

Esther wasn’t stupid, though. She knew what the reaction would be when the Jew-haters woke up the next morning and saw Haman’s sons twisting in the wind. And that is why she asked for special dispensation to fight and kill any enemies who rose up against them. Because she intended to provoke them into it.

So why do it? Why provoke them and then ask for permission to protect her people from the results of her provocation? And here’s where we can learn something from Queen Esther.

Peace with those who want to murder you for who you are is not obtained through treaties or compromise. Nations that have economic differences or other policy differences can end wars with a compromise. But when one side is dedicated to the destruction of the other, compromise is suicidal. The aggressor must be dealt with decisively. Beaten soundly and made to feel that they have absolutely lost. Otherwise, they’ll just come back and try again.

This whole column is really good and worth the reading.

It is much the same with those who promote defenselessness as a good strategy for survival. Of course they have their guards, their walls and their security methods, but for the unwashed masses in general, no, no, we’re much safer without guns amongst us. So they tell us, repeatedly. They just keep coming back and at us from different directions to try to mandate us into a state of defenselessness. They try again and again. Some are useful idiots, they’ve been brought up to believe it, they watch cnn #FakeNews and msnbc #FakeNews and believe them. The NY Slimes, they believe. Some are not useful idiots, they know very well people will be left virtually helpless to stop attacks. But they want to keep themselves safe from us! Which always raises the question for me “What do they want to do, that they can not do if people like me are armed and prepared?” Well modern day Haman? What’s the answer?

And Persia, has Persia changed much from the Persia of old? Iran official threatens Israel: ‘We’ll level Tel Aviv to the ground’ Um, not so much, no.

In the Purim story it took a brave Jewish Queen, Ester, her cousin Mordecai and a decree to allow the Jews to defend themselves.

How’s about we learn from history and quit asking or letting our legislators legislate us into defenselessness. Because that just never works out well for the law abiding innocent citizen.

Purim is a holiday of joy and victory. They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!

אוזני המן, Oznei Haman Haman’s Ears

And because it is Purim, and I love Purim, I have a little movie for you. YES, it does have a horse in it! A real one! It is a parody of the video What Does The Fox Say, but this one is pretty cool.

חג פורים שמח Chag Purim Samach, Happy Purim!

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New Years Eve or Sylvester Night

While much of the world celebrated New Years Eve as the start of a fresh new civil year, it is not the same for Jews. Remember, the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, began at sunset on September 20th, 2017. New years eve is also known as Sylvester night. Sylvester night has long been known as a scheduled pogrom night. This column explains it very well. But here are some salient points.

This evening was, once the calendar settled on December 25th as Christmas, calculated to be the night preceding the circumcision of the child born in the “little town of Bethlehem”, therefore a call for the local peasants to engage in drinking, making merry and killing Jews.

Darkness along with the silence before a storm reigned in Jewish shteitls (small villages) that night in an attempt to make it harder to find defenseless victims, barricaded behind the flimsy doors of their huts. Torah study, which was done by the light of candles, was thus impossible.
As opposed to random pogroms and other manifestations of Jew hatred, this was a predictable yearly date.

A “Yerushalmi”, i.e. someone who lived in the Old City of Jerusalem before the State of Israel was declared, once told me that in this part of the world they would barricade their doors on Easter Sunday, knowing that the traditional Christian procession would often end in rioting against the local Jews.

Sylvester was Pope from January 31, 314 C.E. to December 31, 335 C.E. His Saint’s Day is the day he was buried, and it falls on December 31 of every year, that is since the civil solar calendar was straightened out (the Jewish calendar is a lunar one).

“On New Years Day 1577 Pope Gregory XIII decreed that all Roman Jews, under pain of death, must listen attentively to the compulsory Catholic conversion sermon given in Roman synagogues after Friday night services.  On New Years Day 1578 Gregory signed into law a tax forcing Jews to pay for the support of a ‘House of Conversion’ to convert Jews to Christianity.  On New Years 1581 Gregory ordered his troops to confiscate all sacred literature from the Roman Jewish community.  Thousands of Jews were murdered in the campaign.

“The Israeli term for New Year’s night celebrations, Sylvester, was the name of the ‘Saint’ and Roman Pope who reigned during the Council of Nicaea (325 C.E.).  The year before the Council of Nicaea convened, Sylvester is said to have convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem.

I know that’s a lot of quoting, but I think you understand what I mean when I say it’s not the same New Years Eve commonly thought of. I want to compare history with today. Easy one first, Jerusalem. This is actually the most cheerful one of the lot. While perhaps the media would have you believe that the Arab world is united standing behind the Falestinians, that is not at all the case. They are not. Now, the UN, that is another story. No matter who it is, if Israel is involved, the UN stands behind them in condemning Israel. If Israel were invaded by something out of the movie “Independence Day” or “Men In Black” the UN would unite behind the space invaders who want to destroy all of humanity to condemn Israel. Iran slaughtering it’s citizens? Yawn. And the Israeli politicians are finally, perhaps, beginning to act like all of Israel, is well, Israel. There were two good bills passed. The United Jerusalem bill and the bill calling for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. You should check out the link on the United Jerusalem bill just to see the jaw dropping beautiful picture of Jerusalem they used with the article. So this New Years does show some good things happening as compared to the past.

Now let’s look at the part about Pope Gregory and his tax forcing Jews to pay for a house of conversion. France it seems has decided to open a special tax branch, to investigate Jews only. Yep, secular France is going after Jews with their very own tax branch. From Pamela Geller

My various sources in Paris tell me it is life for Jews in France is intolerable. The large spike in Muslim immigration has made the terrible – the horrible. Daily humiliations and the constant threat of violence are their constant companions. And it is widely known that going to the police is pointless. The police have long turned a blind eye to the war on country’s Jews.

So that part is about the same, except they attacks and killing seems to be coming from the imported Muslims and the tax part is coming from the government. Not both from the same source, not that who it comes from affects the outcome much.

So regarding at attacks, let’s look at another country which is becoming Muslim dominant, jolly old England, and specifically London. London proudly did the politically correct thing and elected a Muslim mayor. Not sure that they think it turned out all that well, well at least the law abiding citizens may not. We know islamic terror has been up under Mayor Sadiq who dismissed it as part and parcel of living in a big city. Raheem Kassam has a good column on how that’s played out for Londoners as crime has skyrocketed.

It would seem that while Christians attacking Jews has dropped way off, in fact I don’t know of any recently, there may have been, I haven’t heard of it, muslim attacks have not decreased at all, in fact they are increasing I would say.

Which brings me to a particular attack that occurred recently in Jerusalem. The was an attack against two Jewish kids in Jerusalem. In case you don’t know what a 2013 EASY attack looks like, here ya go.

A pack of Falestinians attack and the crowd grows ever bigger, even the “kids” get in on the fun. A game the whole family can play it seems.

In this particular attack, the victims were beaten. They reported it to the police, who opened an investigation and caught the “arab youths” or as we might call them, “thugs”. This column was from Arutz Sheva.

I found out later from another column that someone shared there is a bit more to it than that. They were forced to convert to Islam, to praise the terrorist organization Hamas, and curse the State of Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And all the while it was being video taped. In addition to going to the police, they went to the legal organization Honenu. Forced conversion version 2018. Side note, this is no big deal as it’s been going on in Germany and America for awhile, just minus the beating part.

Boston Public School Teaching Islamic Conversion Prayer to Elementary Students

Children Forced to Recite ‘Allahu Akhbar’, Learn Muslim Prayer by Heart

Lawsuit: Public school forced my child to convert to Islam

This attack violated their body and their soul. Shades of Pope Gregory. Of course, the Pope is still attacking Jews, so that hasn’t changed.

I would maintain the Haredi are easy targets. Their clothing sets them apart, and it’s well known that they have no military service, and so no self defense skills. Unless of course they are attacking a lone female IDF soldier who attempts to clear them out of the road when they are blocking traffic.

Why they didn’t do that when they were attacked by the arabs I don’t kno….yeah, I do.

They don’t know their enemy. Reminiscent of Moshe Feiglin asking a the Chief of Staff who the enemy was, Hamass or the tunnel and the the Chief of Staff couldn’t answer.

My answer of course is predictable. I think all the Israeli citizens, well, all citizens, need to be allowed to carry concealed. Moshe, of course agrees with me. From August 2016 Give the Good Guys Guns and from May 2014 Gun Control? Or Citizen Control? Some governments view us as the enemy. We are not. They don’t know who their enemy is. We are people that don’t wish to experience a modern day Sylvester night. The government and the liberal leftists with their paid bodyguards think normal little people, us unwashed masses are “dangerous”. I would ask why they think that? What is it they want to do that they think we will resist, and they want to remove the most effective means of resistance we have? The tools that make us dangerous. They haven’t yet figured out it’s what’s in our head, not our hand that makes people dangerous. Dangerous. Reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend not all that long ago. A person can be dangerous, and they can be good or evil. It’s not that fact that they are dangerous you need to fear. It’s whether they are good or evil. I want to be dangerous. I want to have the ability to protect myself and my family. I want to be dangerous, I have no intention of kneeling on the ground reciting islamic conversion sentences. I want to stand on my own two feet and scream Shema at them and have them run. His point was, we have to know who we are, and what we are. To me, being dangerous is an asset. I have no desire to huddle behind a flimsy door afraid to have a light on. I have no desire to see a modern day Sylvester night, no matter who is perpetrating it.

New year, new start. I will give you this by Rabbi Johnathan Sacks, Five Ideas for Life. We are all here for a purpose I believe. We all have something we were meant to accomplish. I believe we are happiest when we know what that is and we are fulfilling that purpose. We have to know ourselves. So my goal for this year is to become better at my purpose, for my soul to become closer to what G-d created it to be. I want to be a child that makes him smile as he thinks, ah, she is catching on. I want to be dangerous, and I want to lose that ten pounds.

And so to help you stay dangerous, I have a little goodie for you. Stephen Wenger who wrote DEFENSIVE USE OF FIREARMS is making the book available as a free download! This fantastic book is out of print, so this e-version is a great way to start your new year. Thank you Stephen for permission to share!

I wish you all the bright promise the new year can bring, with hope, happiness, dreams fulfilled and all the good things that matter to you. And may you all stay dangerous, because whether it is New Years Eve or Sylvester night, depends on us.

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Struggles

This last week was Parshat Vayishlach, and it talks about Yaakov and Esav’s reunion when Yaakov returns from his devious Uncle Levan, who had deceived him in much the same way he had deceived his father Yitzach. He has sent his family and herds across the Jabbok, and he remained alone, waiting for daylight when he would see the brother who had sworn to kill him. The one heading his way with 400 men.

Bereshit 32: 22-32

22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, 1 and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, 1 for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, 1 saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.

One of the Rabbi’s commentary I read this week talked about the difference in the style of Mozart and Beethoven. He felt that for Mozart, the music simply flowed from him, light and easy. For Beethoven, he struggled to get it just the way he wanted it, writing and re-writing it, the creativity for him was a struggle. He felt Yaakov, who later became Israel, had the same kind of struggles. In fact Rabbi Sacks points out in all of Tanakh/ First Testament, none of the people were perfect, they all had their struggles.

If you want to watch a little teaching on the Parsha, here is one from Rabbi Chaim.

Struggles was already on my mind this week, I’ve recently had the chance to see a independently produced movie. I think that’s what they are called. I don’t see many movies, cause there are not many I am willing to give money to see. The last one was a 1977 movie on Operation Thunderbolt.

This one was called “Big Sonia”. And it is about an amazing 91 year old lady from Poland who is a Holocaust survivor. Big Sonia stands a whopping 4’11” tall. The film talks very little about how she came to be in the concentration camps, she was in more than one, and she endured death marches. It does say the nazis used dogs to find her and her Mother hiding in the attic of their home, as they had found others. They were hidden under the floor. When the movie needs to show something from the Holocaust, it is mostly shown in crude, meaning not detailed, animation. The nazis and dogs finding them is one of those types of scene. Another is when they are separated after they’ve been at the death camp for a while. Her Mother had a red scarf, and in the graphic, I can’t really call it a cartoon, it shows her Mother handing it off to her. This is a clip of Sonia.

Sonia runs a tailor shop that she took over from her husband after he passed away. Her mission, I would say, is she with the help of her daughter visit school, prisons, and talk to groups about the Holocaust. About living with love and acceptance so that these things can never happen again. It has had a profound affect on students, and some of the prisoners were in the film crying and talking to Leah, one of the filmmakers about how hearing Sonia’s story affected them. It was disconcerting to me that some of these prisoners seemed unaware of the Holocaust, at all. But I know another Holocaust survivor, she was Austrian who had tried to tell her story to some people at a holiday get together. Some of them did not believe her. She told me she would never speak of it again. I understand, to have gone through that, then tell it, and not be believed? But to see this tiny little woman, who had survived more and harder things than the prisoners, or school children had and how she chose to respond to them? Amazing woman. I would also mention Sonia has a sister that did survive the war. She is currently living in Israel. She spent the war not in a concentration camp, but in the forest, with the Partisans, fighting. I don’t know how that happened, it doesn’t say in the film, but boy do I wish Leah would do that story! Sonia has faced many many struggles, her most recent one was when the shopping mall where the tailor shop was located served her an eviction notice. I will just say that there are Angels that walk among us today, and while we may not know the name of the one that wrestled with Yaakov, the one in the movie is Vernon and leave it at that. This movie is being seen all across the US, actually world wide. I’m free on the 16th, I think I’d like to see it again. That will necessitate me being in Jerusalem on the 16th. Hmm.

I was thinking about this column, and struggles. We all face them in our daily lives, from different directions. Some can be family, professional, monetary, personal, health, and just “stuff we have to do” be it cutting down trees, clearing fence row or making sure one kid gets to the doctor and another to piano lessons and you need to be at work on time, and pay for it all. But as I was thinking about struggles and how Yaakov faced his, and while it seems most of his life he faced a variety of struggles, he tried, he didn’t just give up. He may have been afraid and distressed, but he kept going forward and he struggled with the Angel and won. Sonia has certainly had her struggles, to survive and cope, she continues to try to use her experience to help others.

And then I had a conversation with a friend of the book of faces tonight. We’ll call him Chris. Chris is talking about his son that I’m going to call Stuart. Stuart is a Ordnance Disposal Tech in the military. Chris had said a little about some of the scares he has had due to Stuart’s occupation. We got started talking about this because of a particular song “More than a name on a wall” by the Statler Brothers.

Chris: I try to never miss an opportunity to tell him how proud I am of him. That song tears me up probably as much as it does you. But I know that if my son should go, he’ll be escorted to Valhalla by his fellows after accomplishing far more with his life than I ever have.

Me: WE each have a part to play in this drama called life Chris. HIS part is NOT your part. Your part is not mine. We must each fulfill our parts as best we can with who we are at this time, in this place.

And that’s when it gelled for me. I am so far from perfect, and some struggles will probably be lifelong, and some I may win, some I may lose. But the ones that G-d brings to me, those I must continue to try. We all have things that matter to us, to U.S. our freedom, our country, our way of life, and our families.

And each of us has a role we can play in that. Some who would never want to write on a Blog can pick up the pen and write a letter to the editor, they can talk to a co-worker who spouts Gabby Giffords latest uniformed, illogical or stupid idea. Some can take Grandchildren or nieces and nephews out to learn to shoot. Or, they can set their nephew up with lessons to learn to shoot from a good instructor. So I’ve heard. You can support Second Amendment groups, join local grassroots Second Amendment groups, go to rallies. You can know our country’s history, warts and all, and when people try to take it from us by lying, know they are lying and speak out, write a letter, make sure what your child or grandchild is learning in school isn’t the Common Core Crap, and if it is either talk to the school or at least talk to your child and make sure they know the truth. Old school books might make dandy gifts. To lose who were are and where we came from is something that is hard to reclaim. Someone has to keep the light burning.

There is a teaching in the end of the video Parsha about Yaakov going back for some small vessels. What? He hadn’t had enough struggle already? He goes back for some Tupperware? There is a bit more to it than this, but my point is, in that in the Tupperware, was oil.

Sonia’s struggles bring forth understanding and knowledge, Yaakov’s struggle brought forth the nation of Israel, and a small container of oil.

Last week was November 29th, there was an epic struggle that took place on November 29th, 1947  These are in English.

Behind the scenes stories

And today, today. President Trump announced that the United States recognizes Jerusalem is the Capitol of Israel, and the United States will be moving their Embassy to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act was written in 1995, at last, finally. I admit, watching those old film clips today, and then President Trump is a very emotional experience.

And so, what will our struggles bring forth?

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And Then

Today I was listening to the radio while I was driving. One of the topics was the attack on Sen. Rand Paul. The host discussed when it first happened the mainstream media (#FakeNews) more or less laughed it off. The assailant IS a Doctor at Bowling Green hospital, man they must be hurting for staff there, don’t think I’d go there regardless of the reason. Then the media said it was over “grass clippings” “landscaping”, apparently the statement given by the assailant’s lawyer. But then a spokesman for Sen. Paul released a tweet (love how there are ways to get around the msm) that made a few people begin to question the excuse given. Breitbart and I believe, the Washington Examiner actually did this old-fashioned thing called “journalism”. They didn’t accept the lawyers word, they went and talked to the neighbors. All of whom said the Pauls were wonderful neighbors, kept their place immaculate, and unlike everyone else who has a lawn care service, Sen. Paul does his own. The “doctor” who is the inventor of a QVC product in 2005. The neighbors reached out to Breitbart because what they were reading in the msm was so wrong. The media reported it as “minor injuries”. The man has six broken ribs and a pleural effusion. Check out the x-ray picture! Minor my ….. foot. The media did everything it could to cover for the liberal Bernie supporter and conservative hating “doctor” and QVC maven.

But this is not the first legislator attacked by a supporter of the communist Bernie Sanders. No, Republican Representative Steve Scalise was shot along with four others before a good guy with a gun, the Capitol police, showed up to end it.

In fact, a lot of the shootings have actually been the peaceful, tolerant, liberal left.

But it seems in the left has stepped up their game in terms of shooting people. Now they have decided riots are a form of free speech.

For instance Charlottesville, to protest, um, why exactly? Some naughty words in this.

Attacking someone physically that believes differently than you do is perfectly acceptable. Remember what I said about the media covering for Sen. Paul’s attacker, and what Paul Joseph Watson said about how the media reported the “peaceful protests”.

And let’s say, what if the police, or campus security were told to stand down, not to help those being attacked. And some of the campus security were ticked, they were told by the college STAFF that everything was “ok”. Sounds like University of Missouri. Who now rents the empty dorm rooms to the 5 people that come to the football games.

If you live in a blue area, I’m sure this makes you really anxious for the next patriotic event, parade or speech perhaps, by someone you would like to hear. Except that to the thugs, many of them Soros funded, free speech only applies to them.

College campuses a safe space? Only the liberals are safe on college campuses. If you are conservative, or want to hear a conservative, not so much “safe space”.

A conservative, gay, Jewish speaker Milo was suppose to speak at Berkeley, yes, this is old news, but it’s going somewhere.

Milo is gay, normally not a group attacked by the left. Milo is Jewish, in the past, not a group attacked by the left. But Milo is a conservative, and no matter what else he is, it means he has no right to say things that college students don’t want to hear and expose them to thoughts they’ve never heard in class except to hear them derided.

And this is going somewhere. Here. Hate Spaces on American campuses

This documentary portrays a horrific picture of anti-Semitism at a number of American campuses. Much takes the form of extreme anti-Israelism, yet also manifestations of intense hatred toward Jews are shown. Under the cover of the First Amendment of the US constitution, which does not permit limitation of free speech, far-reaching hate mongering against Jews and Israel is carried out and considered protected speech. In the American contemporary academic reality this movie can only be called contrarian.

…….

Another question is why has the Department of Education failed to intervene against this ongoing bigotry? Why has it not systematically investigated the breach of academic integrity by biased teachers at institutions of higher learning. Is it not a national interest that university administrations have a moral compass? All this is not only a Jewish issue but also one which indicates that there is a great deal wrong with the American university system.

Protected speech policies allow extreme hatred. Politically correct administrators and professors teaching one-sided biased views reflect academic degeneration. The probability that there is much more wrong on campuses beyond biased teaching and anti-Semitic hate speech is high. This is the more important issue because some students infected by their teachers may eventually come to hold senior positions in the country.

A mob of people going after people that they don’t like. They don’t agree with how they think, and they’ve been told by the media that those people aren’t really even human. So you don’t have to treat them as such. They’re vile, they’re deplorable. What happens when you have large groups of people that think that way? They believe it’s ok to attack? Because we have that now….And then

Today is November 9th. The anniversary of the start of Kristallnacht.

Kristallnacht
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אש –Thoughts on Tisha B’Av

The 9th of Av this year was observed on Tuesday, the saddest day of the year, with plenty of reason. The following is from Chabad.

The 9th Day of Av (the 11th Jewish month) is first mentioned in the book of Zechariah 7:3.  One of four Jewish fast days, it commemorates dramatic national catastrophes (related to the destruction of Jerusalem), in an attempt to benefit from history by avoiding – rather than repeating1 – critical, moral and strategic missteps.  It concludes the 21 days of predicament and lamentation, which began when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Nebuchadnezzar (1st Temple) and Titus (2nd Temple), launching a seven-week period of consolation, ingathering and renewal.

There are many major Jewish calamities are commemorated on the 9th Day of Av:

* Unlike Joshua & Caleb, the other “ten spies/tribal presidents” slandered the Land of Israel, preferring immediate convenience and conventional “wisdom” over faith and long term vision, thus prolonging the wandering in the desert for 40 years, before settling the Promised Land;

*The destruction of the First Temple and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (586 BCE) resulted in the massacre of 100,000 Jews and a massive national exile;

*The destruction of the Second Temple and Jerusalem by Titus of Rome (70 CE) triggered the massacre of 1-2 million Jews and another massive national exile, aiming to annihilate Judaism and the Jewish people;

*The Ten Martyrs – ten leading rabbis – executed by the Roman Empire;

*The Bar Kokhbah Revolt was crushed with the killing of Bar Kokhbah, the fall of his Beitar headquarters south of Jerusalem in Judea and Samaria (135 CE) by Hadrian, who still afflicts us to this day by having changed the name of the land to “Falestine” as a poke in the eye to the Jews referencing their ancient enemy the Philistines. The plowing of Jerusalem, and the killing of 600,000 Jews by the Roman Empire;

*The pogroms of the First Crusade (1096-1099) massacred tens of thousands of Jews in Germany, France, Italy and Britain;

*The Jewish expulsion from Britain (1290);

*The Jewish expulsion from Spain (1492);

*The eruption of the First World War (1914);

*The beginning of the 1942 deportation of Warsaw Ghetto Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp.

This year was in some ways a more horrible than usual observance. It was just a few short days ago that the Knesset voted to take down the magnetometers. I touched on that in Neve Tzuf, but Caroline Glick does an excellent job of explaining how that decision was made. Turns out Bibi caved to….wait for it….the IDF and Shin Bet. No, I’m not kidding. This column is well worth reading. Losing and winning the Temple Mount. It actually makes a lot of sense if you remember the column Moshe Feiglin of the Zehut party wrote last year about “The Soldier Who Fired A Defense Minister”. It appears some of the people at the top levels in the IDF attended the John Kerry school of military studies. School motto “The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.”~~George Orwell

So let’s take a quick look at that “sacred” tenet often referred to “Status Quo”. This data comes from this week’s episode of Walter’s World with Walter Bingham. This episode he had two security experts on, one of them is Alan Baker, the former Israeli Ambassador to Canada. The topic of the show is what is the status quo? Meaning what does the term itself mean.

Originally, the status quo began in the 19th century with the Turkish Ottoman Sultan who issued a decree that involved seven holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and affected only Christians. It gave priority to the Orthodox. Then in 1967 when Israel won control of Jerusalem in a war it did not start a new status quo arrangement was made. Israel decided to remove the Israeli flag, army units and Rabbi Shlomo Goren from the Temple Mount and give control back to the wafq-kos. Because administering the site brings in income for them, it’s another reason they want it. Then the Chief Temple Rabbi approved Jews being sent to the Kotel to pray instead.

So about this sovereignty, Abu Mazen claims they have sovereignty, Israel claims they do. No one has had sovereignty since the Ottoman rule ended in 1922. The Jordanians didn’t have sovereignty when they took control of it by hostile take over either. Only Pakistan recognized Jordanian control, the international courts and the U.N. never did. The status quo was an informal, non-binding arrangement to enable the day to day functioning. Israel was in control after it took over control from Jordan and extended it’s laws and administration over all of Jerusalem. While it guarantees freedom of access and worship, issues of sovereignty were never mentioned. The same laws apply in Jerusalem as do Tel Aviv and Be’er Sheva. The peace treaty with Jordan made no mention of the status quo, and Jordan did not ask. Israel has FULL responsibility for security. The status quo NEVER regulated security, it regulates day to day events, like prayers. Even if you take the lowest U.N. (necessary) opinion of Israel, that they are “occupiers”, that Jerusalem is occupied territory, according to the laws of occupation, and the Hague rules of 1907 it would be Israel’s duty to maintain the public order and security. That is the opinion of International law as well.

So, how did Tisha B’Av go this year on the Temple Mount? Well, according to another one of my favorite programs, Temple Talk, it was…amazing. Rabbi Chaim said he arrived at 0610 and there were already hundreds of Jews lined up waiting to visit through the one gate non-Muslims are allowed to use. There had been speculation and trepidation that after the shameful caving of the Knesset and Prime Minister Netanyahu that the pieceful Falestinians would riot or incite violence because when they’ve done that in the past, the police reward them by shutting down the Temple Mount to……the Jews. But this year, this year was different. Very different. There is speculation that it’s the new Police Commissioner. The TT show said the police now greet you, it tends to be the same crew and they are polite and encouraging. They want everyone that comes to get to go up on the Temple Mount. The TT hosts said they were expecting the wafq-kos to really be following everyone closely and up in their faces, but it didn’t happen. The police kept the wafq-kos at a distance, there were very few muslims on the Temple Mount and the ones that were there were not allowed to cause problems. While no open prayer was allowed, the police did an outstanding job of maintaining order. The hosts of the show said that there is a Spiritual upheaval and renewal afoot, and everyone knows it, that it’s been building for decades. As it turns out, 1,263 Jews, an unprecedented number visited the Temple Mount this Tisha B’Av this year. I saw in another report the wafq-kos also said it was unprecedented, as well as unacceptable. The Israeli police have shown the way. It is possible to maintain principles, order on the Temple Mount and not cave in to terrorist demands.

I saw a movie recently, in a theater. A real one. I don’t go to many/any movies usually. I don’t think they make very good movies any more, and I’m not inclined to give my money to actors/actresses that will use it to further their bully pulpit and denigrate my values, culture and self-defense rights.

But there was a good reason I went to this one. It was made in 1977, so not a new movie. It’s called מבצה יונתן or Mivtza Yonatan. It’s about the raid on Entebbe that happened on 4th July 1976. An Air France plane was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Falestine. There are some interesting points I’d like to bring out. One, the movie was made only a year after the event. Two, the movie was pro-Israel and pro-IDF. While it was an Israeli made movie, do you think such a thing would happen today? I don’t. Then there were some of the lines that were said in it that struck me. One was when the doctor that was on board asks one of the German female terrorists “Why? Haven’t we done enough to the Jews?” She answers they are fighting for world freedom, they aren’t fighting the Jews, they are fighting the Imperial Zionist. Another line is when Sayeret Metkal begins to plan the potential rescue options. After Yoni comes back from a meeting with the powers that be, Yitzak Rabin was P.M. at the time, his staff asks him what happened and the remark is made nothing will happen because their government will never go for it because of world opinion. After the Jews have been separated out from the other passengers one of them asks a male German terrorist what he hopes to accomplish with all this. He says the world is dirty and it needs to be destroyed and rebuilt. That the Israelis stole Falestinian land and used German money to do it. And the last line is two newspaper reporters that are waiting in Israel reporting the events. One says to the other that if the Jews give in, no one will be safe, there will be an epidemic of sky-jacking. Now, I know these are all lines in a movie, but the female German Terrorist sounds like a modern day spokesperson for the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement. I think the male German terrorist is a bit confused, if German money was used, what was “stolen”? Not all the terrorists were German, some were pieceful Arabs. And despite this, Rabin signed the Oslo accords. He didn’t learn, and things have been worse since. And despite knowing that was the Falestinians and their supporters have been doing for a very long time, Bibi still caved. He didn’t learn either.

And what was the fallout from the “world”?

From Wikipedia

The United Nations Security Council convened on 9 July 1976, to consider a complaint from the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity charging Israel with an “act of aggression”. The Council allowed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Chaim Herzog, and Uganda’s foreign minister, Juma Oris Abdalla, to participate without voting rights. UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim told the Security Council that the raid was “a serious violation of the sovereignty of a Member State of the United Nations” though he was “fully aware that this is not the only element involved … when the world community is now required to deal with unprecedented problems arising from international terrorism.” Abdalla, the representative of Uganda, alleged that the affair was close to a peaceful resolution when Israel intervened while Herzog, the representative of Israel, accused Uganda of direct complicity in the hijacking. The US and UK sponsored a resolution which condemned hijacking and similar acts, deplored the loss of life arising from the hijacking (without condemning either Israel or Uganda), reaffirmed the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, and called on the international community to enhance the safety of civil aviation. However, the resolution failed to receive the required number of affirmative votes due to 2 abstentions and 7 absences. A second resolution sponsored by Benin, Libya and Tanzania, that condemned Israel, was not put to the vote.

Western nations spoke in support of the raid. West Germany called the raid “an act of self-defence”. Switzerland and France praised the operation. Representatives of the United Kingdom and United States offered significant praise, calling the Entebbe raid “an impossible operation”. Some in the United States noted that the hostages were freed on 4 July 1976, 200 years after the signing of the US declaration of independence. In private conversation with Israeli Ambassador Dinitz, Henry Kissinger sounded criticism for Israeli use of US equipment during the operation, but that criticism was not made public at the time. In mid-July 1976, the supercarrier USS Ranger and her escorts entered the Indian Ocean and operated off the Kenyan coast in response to a threat of military action by forces from Uganda.

I never did like Kissinger. But the point is, not much has changed has it? The Falestinians are terrorist, a majority of Israeli Jews believe at least half of the F.A. residents are terrorists or support terrorism a new study shows. Israeli/Jewish life appears to be cheap to the world. The world gets it’s panties in a twist when Jews defend themselves be it in Entebbe or the Temple Mount.

But while the Temple still has not been, I hope and pray Rabbi Chaim and Yitzchk Reuven are correct and there is a spiritual awakening afoot, that the Temple Mount really will stay “In our hands”.

At the start of the movie Operation Yonatan, Yoni is training “The Unit” to rescue hostages from a skyjacked plane. The movie is in Hebrew, but it has subtitles. The command to enter the plane simultaneously through multiple windows was “אש” “esh”, meaning “fire” because they were going to commence firing upon gaining entry to the plane. Those men were willing and able to put boots to windows and boldly enter and take control for the safety and very lives of those held hostage by terrorists. That I think my friends, is the attitude we should have. We should be willing to put boots to the barriers that separate us from those people, places and things held hostage by old, timid, outdated, erroneous or terrorist beliefs or threats. Not necessarily with guns and RPGs, but with courage, knowledge and conviction in our hearts and our minds.

I will leave you with this beautiful, beautiful Tisha B’Av movie made by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. It’s only a couple minutes long.

אש

1Rather than repeating? How many times have how many people given away the Temple Mount. Perhaps it should be apply, not just read.

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Pesach and the Haggadah

“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.

http://www.chabad.org/library/howto/wizard_cdo/aid/117118/jewish/7-Bread.htm

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.

http://www.chabad.org/library/howto/wizard_cdo/aid/117124/jewish/13-Bless.htm

Aren’t these amazing thoughts to ponder and ruminate on?

And then, there’s the miracle of the parting of the Sea of Reeds, the obstacle.

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.

Leaving Egypt and slavery

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!

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But HOW could this happen?

I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at gun control through Jewish history, so I did so for a research paper a couple of years ago, but I think it is all still relevant.

I often hear people say “Oh, but why did this happen?” I think we should look at the question of how things like this can happen, by examining the role of the victim disarmament laws in place during the time period.

As Dave Kopel points out in his paper To Your Tents Oh Israel i weapon control dates way back for a conquered people. From I Samuel 13:19-22: Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.” But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them. Mr. Kopel points out that governments must control people’s ability to access weapons by also preventing them from making them. Therefore, there were no Israeli smiths.

Whenever Jews lived with Muslims, they lived as dhimmis. This meant they would be facing many restrictions of common rights. First they had to pay jizya, which is a tax any non-Muslim will have to pay to be allowed to live among the Muslims. In addition to that, the Jews living amongst the Muslims were forbidden to testify in court cases if the case involved a Muslim, nor were they allowed to bear arms.ii These restrictions enabled many attacks against the helpless Jews to succeed.

The May Laws in Russia carried many restrictions for the Jews. In some of the areas where pogroms took place some of the Jews attempted for form self-defense groups, but they would be disarmed by the government who appeared to have been involved in instigating some of the pogroms. Firearm registration for all was introduced on April 1, 1918, and in October of 1918 all firearms, ammunition and sabers were ordered to be turned in. The exception was Communists were allowed to keep their weapons. Pogroms in Russia occurred 1881-1884, 1903-1906 and 1917-1921 with each wave of pogrom being increasingly violent towards Jews.iii

Nazi Germany is the easy to use to illustrate how restrictive gun laws can be used to control a population or discriminate against or eradicate a segment of it’s citizens. The Nazi government kept good records. In 1928 the Weimer Republic enacted the “Laws on Firearms and Ammunition”. These laws stated that a person had to have a government permit to do each of the following: one to own or sell a firearms, one to carry firearms (including handguns), one to manufacture firearms, and professionally deal in firearms and a separate one to buy ammunition. Then the government decided who got them based on it’s decision if a person was “trustworthy” enough and if they could demonstrate what the government decided was a good need. This would be the 1928 German version of what is advocated by some in America currently as “Universal Background Checks”. If at some point the government decided they didn’t want someone to have a weapon or ammunition, they simply didn’t renew the permit. In September 1935 the “Nuremberg Laws” were enacted and the Jews lost their civil rights. On March 18th 1938 the “Nazi Weapons Law” was enacted. No Jew was allowed to own or work in a business involving firearms. Kristallnacht occurred on November 10th, 1938. On November 11, 1938 the Nazi Weapons Laws was broadened and no Jew was allowed to own a weapon, any weapon, not just a gun. Since the permitting system had been in place for some time the Nazi government knew who had what weapons, they were marked with serial numbers and where they could be found. This ensured that the Jews, who by now were not considered citizens of Germany could do little to resist the coming attacks.

An interesting note is that America’s “Gun Control Act of 1968” was based on the “Nazi Weapons Laws”. Senator Thomas Dodd was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials and brought back a copy of the Nazi Weapons Laws. He had it translated by the Library of Congress. He then pushed for similar legislation in the “Gun Control Act of 1968”, which was signed into legislation.iv

The results of these type of laws are made very clear as by the end of our class observance of Yom HaShoah and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising will both have occurred.

Some of the Jews trapped in the Warsaw ghetto formed defensive bands and attempted to fight back. They realized they would not succeed for long, but they fought for their honor, and for the chance that some of them might make it out alive. The Yad Vashem web site has interviews with the survivors of the uprising and they talk about the pitifully small amount of weaponry they had available and their lack of training or experience. But they wanted that chance, that chance to live.v

The British attempted to keep the Jews disarmed in the forming state of Israel

On more than one occasion the British soldiers retaliated against the Irgun by rioting and attacking Jews and Jewish owned businesses. The British also turned a blind eye to Arab guerillas sneaking into Israel, or even knowingly armed them by supplying arms to TransJordan. Indeed there is a long history of attacks upon Jews in their homeland by both Arabs and British. These attacks were either ignored by the British or they made attempts to cover them up, as in the Hebron massacre. Even after the Hebron massacre the British refused to allow the Jews to arm themselves for protection. vi

Israel would seem to be a country that would understand the need for a armed populace. They have not been that way to the extent it might be thought. On July 31, 2013 Public Security Minister MK Yitzchak Aharonovitch called for tighter restrictions on firearm ownership.vii A little over a year later after the massacre at a Jerusalem Synagogue he called for relaxing controls.viii

Moshe Feiglin former MK, also called for easing restrictions on firearm ownership for citizens. His sentiments were expressed with the statement “The answer

is that the State of Israel is not increasing our liberties; it is reducing them. Dictatorship confiscate citizens’ weapons. ‘The State alone will take care of all your security needs’.”ixIsrael does have soldiers throughout the country that ride public transport with their weapons. There has still been many attacks on unarmed citizens in Synagogues, streets, and shops when one was not close enough to stop the attack before casualties resulted.

Europe has seen a rise in antisemitism over the last few years. In 2014 the Metropolitan Police have recorded a 120% increase in antisemitic crimes, but hate crimes are generally under reported. A Human Rights Watch article reported “the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency found that three quarters of respondents living in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden, and the UK felt antisemitism had increased in the country where they lived over the previous five years.”x Both Europe and the United Kingdom have very restrictive firearms laws, and yet attacks appear to be increasing on the defenseless as evidenced by the above statistics.

The divide between the church and the synagogue, that certainly played into the role of the attacks on Jews in Russia, the Spanish Inquisition, Germany and the Muslim countries. In those instances there were attempts to force them to convert to either Christianity or Islam as an alternative to torture and death. In the case of Germany, conversion was not an option as the Nuremberg laws defined who was or was not a Jew. Conversion was not offered or relevant, it was based on heritage. In this case, the church played a role

in terms of helping the Nazis and spreading antisemitic thought. The recent attacks do not appear to be related to the divide between the church and synagogue, but are based solely on hatred of Jews, because they are Jews. But throughout time and country one thing has remained the same. The laws in place restricted Jews from being able to carry out the Torah commands of self-defense such as Exodus 22:2-3 and defense of others Leviticus 19:16. Finally there is the law of pikuach nefesh. In the case of saving a human life, it trumps all others. It’s hard to obey G-d’s law when you are prevented by man’s, to paraphrase Rabbi Dovid Bendory.xi

i(Kopel, 2007)

ii(Wikipedia, Muslim and Arab Antisemitism)

iii(Isseroff, 2009) (Kopel, 1995)

iv(Simkin and Zelman, 1993)

v(Ochayon, Undated)

vi(Hollander, 2009) (Jewish Virtual Library) (Lapidot, 1999)

vii(Ya’ar, 2013)

viii(Dvorin, 2014)

ix(Gold, 2015)

x(Leghtas, 2015)

xi(Bendory, 2009)

Kopel,D (April, 2007). To Your Tents Oh Israel! Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from http://davekopel.com/Religion/To-your-tents-o-israel.pdf

Wikipedia. Persecution of Jews, Muslim and Arab Antisemitism. Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jews

Jewish Virtual Library (2013). CHMIELNICKI (Khmelnitski), BOGDAN. Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0004_0_04259.html

Kopel,D (24 March, 1995). Lethal Laws. Retrieved 20, April 2015 from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1272846

Issaroff,A. (2009). Zionism and Israel – Encyclopedic Dictionary: Pogrom Retrieved 21 April, 2015 from http://zionism-israel.com/dic/pogrom.htm

Zelman,A. And Simkin,J. Gun Control-Gateway To Tyranny (1993). Jews For The Preservation of Firearm Ownership Publishers, p. 1-14.

Wikipedia. Kristallnacht Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht

Ochayon,S. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/education/newsletter/30/warsaw_ghetto_uprising.asp

Yad Vashem. Fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto. Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/warsaw_ghetto_testimonies/fighters.asp

Jewish Virtual Library. Jewish Defense Organizations: The Role of Jewish Defense Organizations in Palestine. Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/defense.html

Lapidot,Y. Chapters in the History of the Irgun. Retrieved 22 April, 2015 from http://www.etzel.org.il/english/ac03.htm

Hollander,R. Anti-Jewish Violence in Pre-State Palestine/1929 Massacres (23 August, 2009) Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=1691

Ya’ar,C. Israel To Consider Stricter Gun Control Laws. (31 July 2013) Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170453#.VToMABdVFX8

Dvorin,T. Aharonovich to Ease Restrictions on Weapons Permits (18 November, 2014) Retrieved 15 April, 2015 from http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187597#.VToMxBdVFX8

Feiglin,M. Citizens Carrying Firearms Prevent Terror. (22 January, 2015) Retrieved 25 January, 2015 from http://jewishleadership.blogspot.com/2015/01/mk-moshe-feiglin-citizens-carrying.html

Leghtas, I. In 2015, Anti-Semitism Should No Longer Be a Reality in Europe (18 February, 2015) Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/02/18/2015-anti-semitism-should-no-longer-be-reality-europe

Bendory,D. Man’s Law Kills Again – The Sin of Gun Free Zones. (12 November, 2009) Retrieved 20 April, 2015 from http://www.ammoland.com/2009/11/mans-law-kills-again-the-sin-of-gun-free-zones/#axzz3YDa9BUi8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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