Thursday, July 27, 2006

Letter Campaign to Jerusalem Mayor Lupolianski: Stop Entire "WorldPride" Event

As you are probably aware, the international "WorldPride" event, scheduled to bring thousands of homosexuals to Jerusalem is set to begin August 6 - just over a week from now. The event itself is scheduled to last a week. Though the parade itself has been canceled, the week-long event is planned to go forward at full swing. Their event includes a day at the Knesset, where the homosexuals intend to brainwash kids to follow in their abominable sexual lifestyle, a beach party of perversion in Tel Aviv, thousands of homosexuals walking all over Israel, especially in Jerusalem, a day trying to "rationalize" how homosexuality and Judaism fit (even though the Torah notes that acts of homosexuality are an abomination that are liable to the death penalty, pending proper courts, warnings, and witnesses).

Remember, we are in the "nine days", a time of mourning for the Jewish People. Now we are in a war with Hezbollah that may turn into a major war with Iran and Syria. The Torah says explicitly that sexual immodesty and immorality lead to a reduction of Divine Protection. (Devarim: 23; 15) For the sake of HaShem, His Torah, and the Jewish People in harm's way, we must act quickly to have this disgusting intolerant event of sexual immorality be canceled. A cancellation of the parade is only one battle won. The army can't run from the war until complete victory is achieved. We must do what we can in this spiritual war to achieve complete victory. In our case, we must show HaShem that we fear Him more than we "fear" the proponents of promiscuity. By sending a letter to Mayor Lupolianski and other leaders, both political and spiritual, you are fighting for an increased level of Divine Protection for the Jewish People in our time of need. The gemara (Sanhedrin, 97b) notes that Mashiach will come once the Jewish People do teshuvah (return to HaShem by following and upholding the Torah). If the Jewish People do not do teshuvah on our own, HaShem will send a leader with decrees as evil as those of Haman (may his name be blotted out). Today we are faced with that Haman - Achmanidejad of Iran. Iran is on the verge of fitting their missiles with nuclear warheads, Heaven Forbid. It is up to us to do teshuvah (and encourage others to follow suit) while the "small" missiles pummel the north of Israel, before the threat of nuclear missiles (Heaven Forbid). Start by doing your part, simply spend even just a few short minutes of your time and send the form-letter below (or your own letter) to Jerusalem Mayor Lupolianski. Mayor Uri Luplianski: e-mail:, fax: +972-2-6296014, +972-2-6296004. With the Help of HaShem, we will successfully get the entire "WorldPride" parade to stop. Remember, "Whoever is on the side of HaShem, come to me"!

Dear Mayor Lupolianski,

Right now we are a little over a week in advance of the weeklong "WorldPride" event planned for Jerusalem. As mayor, it is your obligation to do all you can to prevent the event. It is not enough to comfort yourself that the actual parade in Jerusalem has been canceled; the entire event must be canceled!

I realize that it might seem "much easier" for you to let the weeklong event take place in Jerusalem. Or, you might reason, it is up to other people with power and influence, both politically and religiously, to try their best to stop the parade. Of course there are other people who can do more to stop the parade. Regardless, it is your obligation to do your utmost to put a stop to the event. This event, as you are aware, involves homosexuals walking into the Knesset and meeting with elected leaders while introducing kids to a lifestyle of perversion. At the same time, soldiers in the north have been dying, missiles have been flying, and Iran is on the verge of possession of a nuclear bomb is threatening to annihilate every Jew in Israel, Heaven Forbid. Mr. Mayor, your city is within firing range of Hezbollah's most advanced missile, the Iranian Zelzal missile. The missile can fly a range of 200 km, capable of hitting Yerushalayim, Heaven Forbid. It is our obligation to stand up for the Torah, thereby bringing in extra Protection from HaShem against all of our enemies.

Mr. Mayor, if you succeed in stopping the "WorldPride" event, you can be assured that your reward in Heaven will be great and you can be confident that Jews all over Israel have added Protection from HaShem against our enemies. However, if Heaven Forbid, you decide not to try to do all that is within your power to stop the terrible event, you may be held responsible in Heaven for the terrible abomination in Yerushalayim - a truly frightening prospect. Mr. Mayor, please, especially during this period of the "nine days", fight the Wars of G-d. May you merit to successfully stop this event and reap great rewards, both in this world and in the next.

Mr. Mayor, we are in a war in which we could find ourselves confronted with a nuclear missile threat from Iran. No less an existential threat, is the planned desecration of our Holy Land and City. It is your turn to step up to the plate and do everything in your power to prevent the latter, and by so doing, perhaps even prevent the former.

Your Name

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Way to Fight a Successful War: Jewish Life is of Maximum Value

It is clear from the Torah that each Jewish person's life is so important that one who saves a life of a Jew is considered as if he saved a world (Bava Basra 11a). Battles between Israeli ground forces and Hezbollah terrorists have been going on for the past few days. Early this morning (Israel time), eight Israeli troops were killed and two-dozen wounded in heavy fighting with the terrorists in their stronghold of Bint Jbeil in heavy hand-to-hand combat. This fighting brings back to mind the heavy fighting Israel employed against the enemy in Jenin. In April 2002, Israel waged a costly battle against the Palestinian terrorists in the terrorist hotbed of Jenin, where 23 Israeli troops died. A senior member of the "Palestinian Islamic Jihad" noted his excitement when he found out that Israel was planning on sending in ground troops to fight against as many as 200 terrorists in Jenin. Jenin was booby-trapped with 1,000-2,000 bombs and many blood-thirsty terrorists. The senior terrorist remarked that by Israel sending soldiers into Jenin, they were sending them into a deathtrap. Israel said that they sent in the ground-troops rather than bomb Jenin from the air to "limit civilian casualties". Similarly, in Fallujah, many priceless American lives were lost in similar hand-to-hand combat with the Islamic terrorists over there. In these situations, unarmed civilians should be permitted to leave and then the area should be bombed from the sky.

Israel paid a heavy-price, losing 23 Jewish lives, 23 worlds, in Jenin. Just today, Israel lost another eight troops in Bint Jbeil. Now we are in the nine-days, a time of hardship for the Jewish people, where we are supposed to avoid anything dangerous (even unnecessary trips) and take extra precautions. That would mean, sending in the I.A.F. (Israel Air Force) in and bomb the "Hezbollah capital" of Bint Jbeil from the air, using bunker-buster bombs, if necessary, to destroy the underground tunnels the terrorists use. No doubt the death-oriented terrorists relish a fight with the I.D.F., probably happily celebrating each dead Jewish soldier, even at the loss of dozens of their own sick terrorists. Furthermore, the terrorists have been engaging the troops in heavy close warfare and probably have booby trapped Bint Jbeil.

The solution to successful warfare:

As I noted recently, the war against our enemies has several components, the spiritual and physical wars. Of course we need to fight the spiritual wars against immodesty and the planned "WorldPride" event of perversion and sexual immorality scheduled to start in under two weeks. We must contact responsible officials in Israel, as well as religious leaders in our local areas and around the world to express our strong support of HaShem and the Torah and are powerful disapproval of the planned event of abomination. Canceling the parade has been a victory but it is no where near sufficient. This war (planned by HaShem) has been what has probably pushed the police to decide to not allow the actual parade. However, all of the other events of the week-long event are still scheduled, including a visit to the Knesset of the masses of homosexuals. That event itself is meant to encourage people to take on the abomination that homosexuality is. These people on the anti-Torah side are determined to proceed to flaunt their intolerance of G-d and the Jewish People in Jerusalem as soon as possible. We must take to heart the determination of the anti-Torah crowd and be at least as determined in our fight for HaShem's honor and the Torah. It is not for us to sit idly back, not improving in our observance of the Torah and not protesting such desecration of the Name of G-d. We should not think that HaShem will take care of everything. We were given free-will and should use it - we must do all we can to peacefully stop this event. Remember, the desecration of HaShem's Name in Jerusalem is no laughing matter. We could use the protection of HaShem and should not take chances of having diminished protection (Heaven Forbid) by sitting back and allowing such an event.

The military solution - see Parshas Devarim:

Our Sages of Blessed Memory inform us that those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind. I see that when Israel sends in Jewish men to risk their lives in unnecessary hand-combat in order to limit "civilian casualties" that the statement of our Sages takes on a powerful new life. The words of the Torah are eternally true. It is safe to bet that many of the civilians who "peacefully" reside in Bint Jbeil (as well as other similar places) are supporters of the terrorists, regardless if they are men, women, or children. In Jenin, children were walking around with bombs to lure Jewish soldiers to death-traps. Women terrorists and mothers of terrorists "take pride" in the murder of innocents Jews. In light of this, when will the Jewish State learn to stop showing undeserved compassion to our enemies and undeserved cruelty to our soldiers. Recent reports note that "IDF officers said they ordered pilots not to strafe Bint Jbiel in order to spare civilian casualties". Of course, loss of any innocent civilian life in war in unfortunate, as would be the case in Bint Jbiel. Therefore before conducting any bombing raid on such cities, warnings and ample opportunity should be provided for the unarmed civilians (who are not known to be affiliated with terrorists) to exit the area. Afterwards, the remaining terrorists can be more easily taken out by bombing raids. The idea is to minimize the danger to innocent civilians and your troops.

Amalek is described in the Torah (Devarim: 25; 17 - 20) as a nation that attacks the Jewish People in a surprise move, choosing to fight those that are unprepared to sufficiently defend themselves. Amalek has a burning hatred for HaShem and the Jewish People and desires to attack them, though Amalek has no hope of defeating the Jewish People. RaSh"I notes that Amalek is compared to a hooligan who decides to jump into a bath full of boiling water. Though the hooligan is well-aware that he will be badly scalded, possibly even die, he is willing to jump into the water to cool it down for the other people. So too, Amalek, though they know they have no chance to defeat the Jews, are willing to suffer severe losses in order to cause any loss to the Jewish People. In the Torah, we are commanded to wipe out all Amalekites, men, women, and children. The Islamic terrorists, as the nazis before them, clearly fit the bill of Amalek. They are willing to fight against HaShem and the Jewish People, willing to suffer terribly in order to inflict weakness on the Jewish People. Amalek, in the parable brought by RaSh"I, jumps into the boiling water in order to cool it off so that others can jump in. Amalek wants to weaken the Jews enough so that others who also hate the Jews will feel that perhaps they have a chance to be victorious over the Jewish People (Heaven Forbid) and thereby conduct their own assault on our People, chas v'shalom.

It is interesting to note that the Torah discusses robbery immediately before it discusses the attack of Amalek. The Torah teaches us that the robbery was the reason for the attack of Amalek. One who steals from another will eventually be punished. Maybe there is a relationship between the destruction of the Gaza communities last year and the current tough situation Israel finds itself in.

The advice from the parsha:

In Parshas Devarim (3; 18) we read, "And I command to you at this time, saying, HaShem, your G-d, has given you this land to inherit it, armed you shall pass before your brothers, the Children of Israel, all the people of the army."

RaSh"I notes that Moshe instructed the tribes of Reuven and Gad that they were to enter the war-zone before the rest of the Israelite army "because they were powerful and their enemies would fall before them, as it says (Devarim: 33; 20) 'And they shall tear off arm, even head'." The parsha ends with HaShem telling us "Do not fear them, for HaShem, your G-d, He is the One who is fighting for you". (Devarim: 3; 22)



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Negative Middos: Can be Overcome, Must be Overcome!

This post is dedicated to our war against the Yetzer Ha'Ra (evil inclination). During this troubling time when Jews in Israel are fighting against Hezbollah terrorists and many are staying in bomb shelters, as well as a week long "WorldPride" event scheduled for August 6 - 12 in Yerushalayim, we must strive harder to improve ourselves. It is our teshuvah (return to HaShem - repentance) that will bring about the coming of Mashiach. In this troubling time of what appears to be the "birthpangs of Mashiach", we must help ourselves and our brothers and sisters of Bnei Yisrael by trying our best to improve ourselves, not giving into the dictates of the evil inclination. Each of us should pick one (or more) negative traits we have and agree to focus on seriously overcoming that trait. In the Torah there are 613 mitzvos, proper observance of the mitzvos is largely determined by proper middos (character traits). Such traits include laziness, anger, jealousy, and haughtiness, among others. The book Orchos Tzadikkim (The paths of the Righteous) devotes many of its chapters in discussion of negative and positive traits. In relation to the trait of anger, the RaMBa"N (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman) writes in the famous "Letter of the RaMBa"N" that anger leads is such a bad trait as it opens the person to all sorts of sins.

There is a gemara that discusses how the tzaddikim (righteous) will see their evil inclination as a mountain, realizing what they had overcome. However, those that fall prey to the whims of the evil inclination will see it as a hair, something extremely easy to overcome. How come those that overcame their inclination see it as a mountain, while those who give in to the inclination see it as a hair?

"Rav Assi said, the Yetzer HaRa is similar to a strand of a spider web in the beginning and in the end it is similar to the ropes of the carriage, as it says, 'Woe to those who pull the sin with the ropes of nothingness and as the ropes of the carriage is his sin.'..." (Sukkah 52a) The evildoer allows his/her evil inclination to "get the better of them", adding another sinful "strand of hair" until the sins and temptation added up becomes "ropes of a carriage". The gemara goes on to explain that HaShem has seven names for the evil inclination, including "evil" and "the one who hates you". The gemara notes that one of the four creations HaShem regrets is the
Yetzer HaRa (the other three are the Yishmaelites, Chaldeans, and exile of the Jewish People). The gemara notes that if the Yetzer HaRa becomes as a rock or as iron, take him (the Yetzer HaRa) to the Torah study hall, "if he is a rock, he will melt, and if he is like iron, he will shatter."

The Yetzer HaRa is a very serious threat, strengthening over us every day, intent on killing us. If not for the Help of the Holy One Blessed is He, we would be unable to overcome him. However, it is necessary for us to put in some serious effort of our own to overcome the Yetzer HaRa if we want that Heavenly assistance. For more on this gemara, click here.

It is our obligation to try to improve at least one "character flaw" or mitzvah to help in the current situation. We should also try to overcome such anti-Torah events as the "WorldPride" event scheduled to begin in a week-and-a-half. With the current war in Israel and the threat of attack from Iran, we must all improve in the Way of the Torah. The gemara (Sanhedrin 97b) notes that if the Jews do not do teshuvah of their own volition, HaShem will bring a leader against the Jews with decrees as harsh as those of Haman, thus encouraging the Jews to improve themselves. The teshuvah brings the Mashiach. Rabbi Brody notes that the
gemara in Sotah 49a notes that prior to the arrival of Mashiach, the Galil (northern Israel) will become desolate and the inhabitants will travel from city to city. So far over 2,200 rockets have been fired at Israel.

My fellow Jews, it is time for us to improve in the Ways of the Torah. Focus on at least one thing and fix one character trait or mitzvah, it can bring Mashiach and make Tisha B'Av into a happy day (Zechariah prophesies at Tisha B'Av will be a happy day in the future).

Friday, July 21, 2006

Parshas Mattos-Masei on Fighting War: The Current Conflict in Israel

Note: Posted 6:21 pm, Friday, July 21.

This parsha is Mattos-Masei, and as always, has something to say on the current events in Eretz Yisrael. Im Yirtzeh HaShem (G-d Willing) I will post something at least once a week connecting the parsha to the current situation in Israel.

Mattos-Masei: War Under Fire

As noted in a previous post, reading over the weekly-Torah portion twice with a commentary is very beneficial to a person in a number of ways (in addition to being acquainted with the week's portion). Today we, the Jewish People (not just Israelis) are involved in a war that is both spiritual and physical in nature, it being up to all Jews to fight the battle in the best way they can. Tomorrow's Torah reading discusses another war, both spiritual and physical in nature. That war was between the Israelites and the Midianites. In Parshas Pinchas we read about the great loss of 24,000 Jewish males as a result of the sexual immorality and idolatry brought on to the Jewish People by a bunch of Midianite women. Their mission was to get the Jewish men involved in sexual immorality and thus have them destroyed. After repeatedly seeking to curse the Jewish People to no avail (actually blessing them and praising them four times), the wicked Bilaam decides to advise the Moavite and Midiantes to hand over their daughters to try to get the Jewish men to sin.

According to RaSh"I in his commentary on Parshas Balak (Bamidbar: 24; 14), Bilaam advises Balak how to bring about the destruction of the Israelites. RaSh"I states, "'Come, I shall advise you': What you [Balak] can do [to bring about destruction on the Israelites]. What was the council Bilaam offered? 'The G-d of these (the Israelites) hates sexual immorality
(Sanhedrin 106a). You should know that Bilaam gave this advice to cause [the Israelites] to stumble through sexual immorality, for it says, (Bamidbar: 31; 16) "Behold, these were for the Children of Israel [following] in the advice of Bilaam."

Why did Bilaam not advise the surrounding nations to take on Israel together?

RaSh"I states: "He (Bilaam) said to them (the Midianites), even if you were to gather all of the masses of the nations in the world, you will not be able to overcome the Israelites. Are you (Midian) perhaps greater in number than the Egyptians who had 600 choice chariots? Come and I will
advise give you [how you can be victorious over them].

From the above, we can understand how dangerous sexual immorality can be for the Jewish People, Heaven Forbid. For without the sexual immorality brought upon the Jewish People by the Moavite and Midianite women, no nation could have overcome the People of Israel. However, after many Israelites decided to take part in the sexual immorality, 24,000 Israelites died in a plague. It was only the valiant action of Pinchas that brought about a cessation of the devastating plague. We must also keep in mind that the Chofetz Chaim warns against immodesty as immodesty leads to troubles in the Jewish Camp, Heaven Forbid.

In Parshas Mattos we learn that HaShem tells Moshe to instruct the Israelites to take the "vengeance of the Bnei Yisrael (Jewish People) against the Midianites. (Bamidbar: 31; 2) The next verse calls the impending war against the Midianites "the vengeance of G-d".
RaSh"I notes "that those who stands against Israel [in conflict] is as if they stand [in conflict] againt The Holy One, Blessed is He." (Bamidbar: 31; 3)

Here we see, that barring a complete withdrawal of the Divine Presence, when the enemy fights against the Jewish People, HaShem fights back. Before we would know it, our enemies would be out of the picture. The way to win this war (which may be/lead to the war of Gog and Magog) is to encourage modesty of dress in the Jewish camp. Furthermore, the "WorldPride" event - the quintessential opposite of sexual modesty and modesty (pride = haughtiness) must be opposed on security grounds and religious grounds by people all over the world.

RaSh"I notes (Bamidbar: 33; 51 - 52) that the Israelites are crossing into the Land of Israel on condition that they drive out the nations inhabiting the Land of Israel. If they do not cross with that understanding, Moshe tells the Israelites, "[when you cross the Jordan river,] water will come and drown you (the Israelites)." When the Israelites cross the Jordan, Joshua repeats Moshe's command to drive out the other nations. (Yehoshua: 4; 10) RaSh"I says that if the Israelites were to renege on their obligation to drive out the other nations they would "not be able to exist in the Land of Israel. (Bamidbar: 33; 53) For, as RaSh"I notes, the verse (33; 55) states that the inhabitants of the Land that remains will be as thorns and thistles for the Israelites, causing them suffering. We should take an example from the tribes of Reuven and Gad who, though they were living on the eastern side of the Jordan river, decided to help fight for their fellow Israelite. In Parshas Mattos (Bamidbar: 32; 17), RaSh"I notes that these two tribes rushed to assist their fellow tribes to drive out the other nations from the Land of Israel. Furthermore, these tribes were the strongest and most battle-ready of all the tribes, as the verse states (Devarim: 33; 20) "...and they shall devour arm and even skull."

One of the very important things that we should learn from this parsha is that today's war against the Hezbollah is a war against the enemies of HaShem. However, as we want HaShem to Help us a great deal, we must fight the spiritual war against immodesty and immorality such as by encouraging others to dress more modestly. Now we find ourselves in the middle of the three-weeks, a tough time for the Jewish People. We must not allow the "WorldPride" parade to continue. The "parade" itself has been canceled, however the event has not. All Jews in the world must follow Gad and Reuven's lead and help fight this spiritual battle.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

HaShem's War, What We Can Do to Help Israel, and Miracles, Miracles, Miracles...

In a previous post I note that Hizbullah-run Lebanon has missiles that can travel 200 km (125 miles), far enough to land in Be'air Sheva, Heaven Forbid. The missile is the Iranian produced (and delivered) Zelzal missile. More recently, the Israeli authorities have acknowledged that Hezbollah has missiles that can hit Tel-Aviv.

Arab media took a picture of what they claimed was a downed Israeli jet. However, in their blind glee, they mistook the zelzal missile for an IAF plane. Later, the object was confirmed to be the zelzal missile. The Zelzal missile can carry 600 kg (over 1300 lbs) of high-explosives and possibly even a biological or chemical warhead. In contrast, the missile that hit Haifa, a Fajr missile carries a 45 kg warhead and caused significant damage. Well, with the help of our tefillos, the IAF neutralized that threat, blowing up the truck carrying those missiles.

Above: Truck with Zelzal missile in Iran. A truck and missile likely resembling the above were destroyed in the IAF (Israel Air Force) bombing. Keep up with the tefillos and the mitzvos!

More Miracles:

A multi-story building collapsed after being hit by a missile, a few people were injured, however no fatalities.

Recently Israel destroyed over 1,000 targets in Lebanon, including 180 Katyusha launching sites.

Israel dropped 23 tons of bombs on a bunker believed to be used by the bigwigs in Hizbullah, according to Israel's UN ambassador. The mission involved dozens of fighter planes and the bunker was completely destroyed. Watch out Hizbullah!

Approximately 1,300 - 1,400 missiles have fallen on Israel. There have been approximately 18 Israelis murdered and hundreds injured. Though any number is unacceptable, the "relatively low" number is miraculous.

As we say in the daily prayer service: We thank HaShem "for Your miracles that are with us each day". Thank You HaShem!

Causes of Violence? Upcoming (still not canceled) "World Pride" event of promiscuity.

In the midst of these events (which could lead to a major war with Iran - time will tell), it is easy to lose focus from what is almost certainly at least part of the cause for the current troubling times facing the Jewish People in Israel. In a number of recent posts I have noted how dangerous immorality, immodesty, and promiscuity have been for the Jewish People.

A recent excellent article in WorldNetDaily notes the masses of rabbis against the "WorldPride" event, quoting Rabbi Winston and Rabbi Brody who point out the relationship between the current situation in Israel and the scheduled "parade" in Jerusalem (or Tel Aviv). Apparently, no politician has canceled the event. Powerful letters must be e-mailed to Lupolianski - declared by Prime Minister Olmert to have the authority over the decision - and tell him that now more than ever, as Israel fights for her survival, the Jewish People need HaShem's Presence and Protection. The Chofetz Chaim notes that immodesty drives the Divine Presence out of the Jewish camp. (Deuteronomy: 23: 14 - 15) The context of the verses relate to the Jewish war-camp. Clearly, the army can use our help in our war against the immoral "WorldPride" event, thus helping bring in more of the Divine Presence into the Jewish camp.

As we are well aware from the myriad of daily miracles, HaShem does fight our wars (Bamidbar: 31; 3) - HaShem instructs Moshe to take "vengeance" against Midian for attacking Israel with her immorality (prostitutes) and idolatry. RaSh"I notes that it is called "the vengeance of HaShem," for those" who stand against Israel, it is as if they stand against The Holy One, Blessed is He."

Remember this: "For HaShem your G-d walks in the midst of your camp to save you and to place your enemies before you and your camp shall be holy and there shall not be seen a thing of nakedness in your midst [lest] He turn from behind you." (Deuteronomy: 23; 15)

The Targum on the verse explains the end to read, "there shall not be a matter of sin in your midst and He shall return His Presence from doing good to you."

Targum Yonasan ben Uziel notes: That we should keep the Jewish Camp holy in order that HaShem will not stop rescuing us from our enemies. Therefore, he says, we should not see anything shameful and disgraceful in our midst.

The Torah is the way of life - "And you shall choose life" - HaShem bestows people with free will and highly recommends that they "choose life" and do not choose "death" and "evil". (Devarim: 30; 19)

It is our duty to follow the Torah and do what we can to improve ourselves and others. I think the Torah outlook is clear, avoid sin and immodesty, especially those orchestrated specifically to be in your midst! We must continue the fight!

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Beginnings of National Jewish Teshuvah and The Coming Redemption

Rav said, 'All of the "Ends [of the exile of the Jewish People] have passed and the matter [of the Redemption] is only dependant on repentance and ma'asim tovim (good actions).' And Shmuel said, 'It is enough for the mourner that he stands in his mourning!' (i.e. the suffering of the centuries of exile should suffice even without repentance)

This [discussion] is like a disagreement among the Tana'im: "Rabbi Eliezer says, 'If the Jewish People repent, they will be redeemed, and if not they will not be redeemed.' Rabbi Yehoshua said to him, 'If they do not repent they will not be redeemed?! Rather, The Holy One Blessed is He will empower a king whose decrees are harsh like Haman's, and the Jewish People will repent and return to the good.' (Sanhedrin, 97b)

The Jewish People are facing a world leader today who has decrees as harsh as those of Haman. The president of Iran continuously talks of his sick wish to annihilate the 6million Jews in Israel (no doubt he would like to wipe out all the Jews in the world). Remember, Haman didn't impose a harsh life on the Jews, rather a date on which he wished to kill all the Children of Israel. His 'sick wish' wasn't realized - he was the one who was killed, he and thousands of his allies. The Jewish People had the upper hand because HaShem is always on our side. Today is no exception. The president of Iran is tirelessly working on building nuclear warheads that he wishes to deliver to the Jewish People on one of his missiles. He won't succeed. For, as the commentator RaSh"I notes on this week's Torah reading of Matos-Ma'asei, anyone who declares war on the Jewish People declares war on HaShem. That is why HaShem commands the Jewish People to "take the revenge of HaShem on Midian" for harming the Jewish People with their immorality, leading to the deaths of thousands of Jews.

Today HaShem helped the Jewish pilots blow up a long-range Iranian missile that was being prepared to fire on the Jewish People. This "monster missile" could have hit Tel-Aviv and possibly as far south as the Negev city of Be'er Sheva. The thousands of missiles that have rained down on Israeli cities have injured dozens and killed some people, but still a miraculously low number. We must realize that the Hand of HaShem is involved in all of this and improve ourselves. It seems as if Prime Minister Olmert recognizes this and is himself improving in the ways of the Torah. In merit of our improvement in the way of the Torah may the Jewish People see many more amazing miracles in the near future. Amen!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Names of Israel's Captured Soldiers: Please Say Tehillim for Them

"The three captive soldiers being held by Arab Moslem terrorists are Gilad ben Aviva (Shalit) in Gaza, and Ehud ben Malkah (Goldwasser) and Eldad ben Tova (Regev) in Lebanon."

In Hebrew: אלדד בּן טובה ,גלעד בּן אביבה, אהוד בּן מלכּה

Please pray for their safe return, improve in Torah observance, and whatever else you can do.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tehillim (Psalms) to Say for the Current Situation In Israel

Leading rabbis in Israel have called on people to say tehillim in light of the current warfare Israel is currently involved in. The psalms noted especially for this time are 13, 70, 120, and 125. May the Jewish People see an end to all war in the very near future with the destruction of all practitioners of evil. Amen.

The Physical War: Take Out Hizbullah's Missiles!

In the spiritual war, one must tackle the impediments to spiritual growth that the Yetzer HaRa (evil inclination) places in the way. The Yetzer HaRa has certain "weapons" at its' disposal to use on the offensive - those weapons must be taken out. If the Yetzer HaRa tries to entice the person with "weapons" known to be at its' disposal, the person (and their Yetzer HaTov - good inclination) must take out those weapons.

In recent posts I note that there is a powerful connection between the war on the spiritual plane as there is on the physical plane. Success in the spiritual war would greatly aid in success in the physical war. The spiritual war is to improve ourselves and other in the ways of the Torah and learn from the Torah to improve our middos (character traits). One of the spiritual impediments to success - one of the Yetzer HaRa's "weapons" is pritzus - immodesty. One of the ways to help in the war on the spiritual plane is to encourage those around us to dress and act more modestly and oppose such displays of immodesty (and immorality) as the planned "World-Pride" perversity.

Above: An Iranian missile. One of the missiles that Iran possesses is the Fajr-3 Artillery rocket: The Fajr-3, produced by Iran, has a range of 45 km and carries up to a 45 kg warhead. Hizbullah reportedly possesses 10,000 - 15,000 missiles aimed at Israel. According to Israeli intelligence, the Hizbullah terrorist organization also has the Fajr-5 missile with a range of 44 - 56 miles.

How Serious is the Missile Threat?

The threat is very serious and real as recent news reports show. As of a few hours ago, about 100 missiles had been fired from Southern Lebanon on northern Israeli cities. Two of those missiles landed in Haifa, a record for missile penetration. Haifa is Israel's third largest city with approximately 267,000 residents.

What type of missiles are pointed at Israel from Lebanon's southern border?

The majority of the 10,000 - 15,000 missiles aimed at Israel are Kassam rockets with a range of 5 miles. The Fajr-3 missile can fly 27 miles. A more menacing missile in the Hizbullah arsenal is the Fajr-5; according to a recent report, Hezbollah has over 100 of the Fajr-5 missiles, capable of penetrating 44 miles into Israel, with an extended range, it can fly all of 56 miles. In terms of payload, the Fajr-3 can carry up to 100 - 200 lbs., while the Fajr-5 can carry up to 240 lbs.

Hezbollah's "Monster Missile":

In the end of May, 2006, Israeli officials said that Hezbollah has a solid-fuel propelled missile that has a range of 125 miles and can carry a conventional warhead weighing 1,323 pounds (600 kg.) To give the reader perspective: Haifa, struck by missiles earlier today is approximately 25 miles south of the Lebanon border, Jerusalem is approximately 100 miles south of the border. This new missile of Hezbollah has a range that could take it as far as the northern Negev. If the missile that hit Haifa had a maximum payload of 100 - 200 pounds, a missile with over 1,300 pound payload is no laughing matter.

The Obvious Military Solution:

The obvious military solution - find the thousands of missiles sights on the border, send fighter planes in and blow them up! That's one way to impede Hizbullah from firing (at least as many) missiles into Israel. According to recent news, Israel has plans to send in ground-troops to block missile launching sights once civilian areas are hit. Well, they have been. Why weren't the missiles neutralized earlier? Why the need to send in troops to block the sights? Why not just bomb them with fighter pilots and drones patrolling the area 24/7? I don't have a military background, but I just think the solution is obvious - blow-up all of those missiles on the border!

Just to note, there are already missiles that are fired from Gaza and threats of a rocket war from the West Bank, hitting such vital areas as Tel-Aviv, the main airport and Jerusalem, Heaven Forbid!

Similar to the obvious physical actions needed to be taken, the spiritual war, I believe, has obvious objectives. I have noted how we must improve in our observance of the Torah and encourage others to do so, in order to increase our Divine Protection and assistance at this trying hour. Now, in the beginning of the three-weeks, we fast on the 17th of Tammuz, mourning the terrible things that happened on this day, including enemy forces entering Jerusalem on their way to destroy the Second Beis HaMikdash. These three-weeks have, for thousands of years, been a time of mourning and hardship for the Jewish People. Now appears to be no exception. The solution is for the Jewish People to strengthen ourselves in the observance of the mitzvos (commandments).

With over 100 missiles fired, it is a miracle that (as of earlier today) "only" 90 people were injured and 2 killed. The north of Israel looks much like a ghost town, with people in bomb-shelters. We must do our part by fighting the spiritual and physical wars as a lion. With the Help of Heaven, HaShem will turn this time of sadness and mourning to a time of happiness as it says in the Book of Zechariah (8; 19)!

"For Rav Chana the son of Bizna, what is the meaning of that which is written: 'So said HaShem, Master of Legions, the fast of the fourth [month] and the fast of the fifth [month] and the fast of the seventh [month] and the fast of the tenth [month] will be for the House of Yehudah for joy and happiness.'? They call it a fast and they call it 'joy and happiness'? At the time when there is peace, it is for 'joy and happiness'. When there is no peace, it is a fast." (Rosh HaShanah 18b)

May this be the last period of hardship for the Jewish People and may HaShem turn the next 17th of Tammuz into a day of rejoicing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Parshas Pinchas: A Solution to Succeed Against Israel's Enemies

Tonight is the 17th of Tammuz, the anniversary of the entry of enemy forces (Romans) into Jerusalem at the time of the destruction of the Second Beis HaMikdash. Currently, Israel is involved in a military campaign in Gaza, precipitated by the capture of Gilad Shalit, by Palestinian terrorists. As of today (Wednesday), eight Israeli troops were murdered and two were taken hostage. Almost immediately, Israel sent troops and tanks into Southern Lebanon, and the Israel Air Force has bombed hundreds of targets (150 targets were bombed in the nighttime). Most recently, the news reports that the IAF bombed Beirut International Airport. Based on the way things look, it appears that this will become a major conflict.

Though the situation may look bad, it can turn out to be a blessing - a great opportunity to take out our terrorist enemies surrounding (and in) Israel. I believe that there is a way that Israel can easily defeat its enemies and get its hostages back. HaShem always wants His nation, the Jewish People, to follow in His ways and return to him. In a previous post I note how immodesty leads to a withdrawal of the Divine Protection and how we must combat such immodesty, including opposing the planned "WorldPride" event scheduled for Jerusalem in about three-and-a-half weeks. We should send letters to leaders in Israel (and religious leaders in America), especially the Jerusalem police and Mayor Lupolianski, discouraging them from having the parade in Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel, whether from a religious standpoint or from a security standpoint (the current events in Israel). It turns out, if the current security situation persists much longer, the police may feel compelled to cancel the parade altogether.

The Parsha of Pinchas and a Solution to the Crisis:

Zimri, the prince of the tribe of Shimon, has relations with a prostitute. This brazen act must have encouraged many other Israelites to have immoral relations with the Midianites and Moabites, for, when it was all over, 24,000 Israelites died in a plague.

What stops the plague?

Pinchas. He is the grandson of Aharon the Kohen and in maseches Sanhedrin, is called one who "turns back wrath" from HaShem. Pinchas went ahead and killed Zimri and Cozbi, the Midianite woman he was having relations with at the time. Pinchas killed Zimri, for, as we learn in the gemara, there is a halacha that Pinchas was aware of - One who has sexual relations with these type of women, zealots (i.e. those who are zealous for the honor of HaShem shall attack the offenders).

So, sexual immorality led to the deaths of 24,000. According to RaSh"I, all 24,000 who died belonged to the tribe of Shimon. Hence, Zimri, the prince of Shimon acted immorally, in turn many in his tribe acted immorally with the women and died.

Pinchas comes, kills Zimri, stops the outrage of immorality and stops a devastating plague, in all likelihood saving many thousands more Jewish lives. In fact, RaMBa"N notes that Pinchas' act atoned for the Israelites and prevented "them all dying in the plague". As a result, HaShem rewards
Pinchas with His Covenant of Peace and all his descendants can now become kohanim. (Bamidbar: 25; 12)

What does this mean for us?

Pinchas acted in accordance with Jewish law - an exceptional action against an exceptional transgression of the Torah law. Obviously, nowadays the situation is different. However, the actions of Pinchas are very appropriate to learn from, especially nowadays. We must do all we can, within the confines of halacha, to oppose desecration of the Torah. We must understand that even one person can stop great wrongdoings by many people. To help stop events such as the "WorldPride" event and to encourage others to stop desecrating the Torah, we must put pressure on the appropriate leaders in Israel and make them understand that there are real political consequences to not acting in the interest of HaShem and His Torah. We should also learn extra Torah and do extra davening, as well as improve our middos (character traits) to give our cause a great boost from Heaven. We must encourage our leaders to follow the path of Torah and oppose all sorts of acts against the Torah, especially organized actions such as the planned "World Pride" event. A no-confidence vote against the government related to the issue of "World Pride" did not pass on Monday. Less than two days later, a seemingly tough situation in Gaza has become tougher with the attack by Hizbullah. I can't know for sure, maybe the attack would have occurred regardless of the outcome of the vote. However, as the Chofetz Chaim says, immodesty leads to withdrawal of Divine Protection, Heaven Forbid. May the events of today encourage the Jewish nation to improve in the ways of the Torah and lead to the downfall of all our enemies and the speedy rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash and the coming of Moshiach ben Yosef and ben David
. Amen!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Rabbi Brody is Right On The Mark: The Physical War Against Our Enemies and the Spiritual War Against Immodesty and Immorality Are One

I noted on a recent post that the fight to stop the "Impure Parade" seems to be beginning to bear some fruit as the event looks as if it will be moved to Tel Aviv.

The following is Rabbi Lazer Brody's response:

"Kol HaKavod, YRE, but the war to get it out of Yerushalayim is far from over yet. The Yetzer wants us all to relax, and it's not yet time to relax."

Rabbi Brody is right on the mark - we still must do our utmost to move this parade of perversion out of our Holy City of Yerushalayim. Yes, the Yetzer Ha'Ra (Evil Inclination), noting the strong opposition to the planned desecration of Yerushalayim, attempts to draw the forces of holiness (those of us who stand up for what the Torah commands us) away from this war for Yerushalayim.

There are two wars currently going on which are really one - a spiritual war and a physical war. The secret to victory in the physical war is dependent on our performance in the spiritual war. Maybe that's why Yitzchak tells his son Ya'akov, "הקל קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו" - "The voice is the voice of Ya'akov and the hands are the hands of Eisav" (Bereishis: 27; 22); For if the voice is that of Ya'akov's - learning Torah and fighting the "מלחמות ה" "The wars of HaShem" (Bamidbar: 21; 14), they will be successful in the physical war, with weapons.

In fact, the Kli Yakar comments on the verse from Bereishis that we learn in Bereishis Rabbah (65; 20) that as long as Ya'akov (i.e. the Jewish People) learn Torah, Eisav does not have power over us - it is the voice that pushes away our enemies hands.

In the gemara Brachos 62b, we learn that David had the right to kill King Saul, however the trait of modesty of Saul protected him from death at the hands of David:

"And he said to kill you and he had pity on you." (Samuel I: 24; 11) [The verse] in the place of "he said" should [state] "I said" and [in the place of] "he had pity [should have stated] "I had pity". Rabbi Elazar said, David said to Saul, based on the Torah [law] you are liable to death, for you are a pursuer [intent on murdering] and the Torah says "One who come to kill you, arise to kill him". Rather, it was the tznius (modesty) that you had which had pity over you." The gemara explains that Saul was very modest when relieving himself, going into the depths of the cave. Such modesty on Saul's part brought about Divine Protection for Saul.

If King Saul, the righteous king was protected due to his modesty while on a hunt to kill David the righteous, how much more so would the Jewish People and Israel be successful in fighting our evil enemies, who themselves commit acts openly reprehensible.

To conclude, Rabbi Brody's posts on immodesty and lack of protection against missiles resembles the words of the Chofetz Chaim:

"For HaShem, your G-d, walks in the midst of your camp to save you... and there shall not be seen in your midst nakedness, and He turns from behind you." (Devarim: 23; 14-15)

The above is the verse quoted by the Chofetz Chaim in a letter (1924) when the Jewish People were suffering great troubles. The Chofetz Chaim noted that it was the immodest dress of the women that lead to a lack of Divine Protection and the troubles were occurring as a result. Furthermore, the immodest dress of women is the only thing which leads to "the turning away" of HaShem's Presence."

To stop this barrage of attacks and increase our effect on the physical war on terror, we must encourage modesty for all women of Bnei Yisrael. Similarly, we must oppose the event of immodesty planned for Yerushalayim. Just as there should be modesty all over Israel, so too must we not invite the great immodesty into Jerusalem. It is all one war. The spiritual war against immodesty relates to the physical war against our enemies.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Smoker? Jewish? RCA Ruling on Smoking

I recently came across a ruling by the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) on the issue of smoking. The ruling concludes that due to the dangers of smoking, smoking is forbidden according to Jewish law. To see the full ruling, click here.

The Torah values life so much that it is permitted (and often required) to break Shabbos to save a person's life. If Shabbos should be broken to save a life, clearly one should not do that which shortens life, such as smoking!

World Impure Parade now looks to Tel Aviv - Our Campaign Against this Parade of Immorality Must Continue

Due to strong pressure against the planned "immorality pride" parade, the police are considering moving the parade to Tel Aviv.

Rav Yosef said recently, "G-d preserves His people in the merit of [their] modesty, holiness and purity... The Torah commands not to commit the abominations of the Canaanites - such as men marrying men, women marrying women... They were evil people, abominable... They bring these evil people from all over the world to Jerusalem to defile it. All of us as one, we will all protest this with all our might. On the day they have it - we will make a demonstration, and everyone will be there..."

We must continue our opposition - move people to Tel Aviv to protest the parade as was done against the disengagement.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Gilad ben Aviva - "Whoever Saves One Life from Israel is considered as if he has saved an entire world"

Last we have heard, Gilad Shalit (ben Aviva) is alive and still held hostage by terrorists. In the gemara Bava Basra 11a, we learn about Binyamin the righteous who saved the lives of a woman and her seven children by providing them tzedakah. After a short while, Binyamin was lying on his deathbed. The ministering angels came before HaShem and said, "Did you not say that one who saves one life from Israel is considered as if he/she had saved an entire world?" Immediately the negative decree was ripped up. In the merit of saving Gilad Shalit and other Jews, may HaShem Grant long-life and protection to all who are involved in the mission to rescue Gilad, whether in the army, fighting to protect other Jews, or those who are davening, learning, or doing anything else in the merit of saving fellow Jews. Amen!

May we see Gilad's safe return in the very near future and may our captives be returned soon, just as they were in Parshas Chukas - all the Jewish People should come out safe! May HaShem Grant the safe return of Gilad conclude somewhat as it did in Entebbe, even surpassing that situation, with no Jew harmed in the process.

One last thing, Shabbos Chukas-Balak rarely occurs in the U.S. - it happened in 1976, the time of the rescue from Entebbe. The rescue occurred at the beginning of the week of Chukas-Balak. Just as Gilad and Entebbe relate timewise in the beginning, so may it in the end.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Power of Reciting Parshas Tamid

Many people say Parshas HaTamid every day in the morning prior to Shacharis (morning prayer) and prior to Mincha (afternoon prayer). In two previous posts the connection between the hostage situation at Entebbe and the current hostage situation of Gilad Shalit (ben Aviva) are noted. The first post notes the relationships between the events and the time of year, as well as the gemara learned on the ninth of Tammuz the year of the Entebbe hostage situation and this year. The last post notes (among other things) the relationship between the 9th of Tammuz and the two respective gemaras learned on each of those days.

There is no such thing as coincidence. As such, I think that HaShem is Sending us a message about the importance of reciting Parshas HaTamid (Bamidbar: 28; 1 - 8) and redemption from troubles of our day, specifically the safe return of Gilad ben Aviva and the Jewish troops fighting to rescue him.

The Power of Reciting Parshas HaTamid: "Avraham said before the Holy One Blessed is He, 'Perhaps the Jewish People will sin before You, and You Will do to them like the people of the generation of the Deluge (flood during the time of Noach). [Whereupon HaShem] said to him, 'No'. [Avraham asked], 'How will I know that I will inherit?' [HaShem] Said to him, 'Take for Me three calves...' (Bereishis: 15; 9 - 10) [Avraham] said before Him, 'Master of the Universe, this is fine for the time that the Beis HaMikdash (Temple) is in existence, at the time when the Beis HaMikdash is not in existence, what will happen to them?' [HaShem] Said to him, 'I have already established for them the order of the korbanos (sacrifices), for every time that they read them, I consider it as if they have brought a sacrifice before Me, and I Forgive them for all of their sins.'"

Torah learning is similarly powerful and recommended, for, as the Ba'al HaTurim notes, the last letters of the words "משה לאמר צו את" spell out "תורה" - "Torah": This teaches us that one who is involved in Torah (learning) is considered as if he had brought a sacrifice.

The following is the RaMCh"L's discussion of reciting the korbanos (sacrifices) before prayers: "The readings associated with the sacrifices (Korbanos) are intended to purify the world as a whole, and remove all obstacles and barriers that would hold back the hightest sustenance." (Derech HaShem, 4, 6, 10)

"The reading of the Korbanos pertain to the physical world." (Derech HaShem, 4, 6, 14) - (translations taken from Feldheim)

The text of Korban HaTamid:

(פסוק א) וידבר י-ה-ו-ה, אל משה לאמר.
(פסוק ב) צו את בני ישראל, ואמרת אלהם: את קרבני לחמי לאשי, ריח ניחחי, תשמרו, להקריב לי במועדו.
(פסוק ג) ואמרת להם, זה האשה אשר תקריבו לי-ה-ו-ה: כבשים בני שנה תמימם, שנים ליום:עלה תמיד.
(פסוק ד) את הכבש אחד, תעשה בבקר; ואת הכבש השני, תעשה בין הערבים.
(פסוק ה) ועשירית האיפה סלת, למנחה, בלולה בשמן כתית, רביעת ההין.
(פסוק ו) עלת, תמיד, העשיה בהר סיני, לריח ניחח אשה לי-ה-ו-ה.
(פסוק ז) ונסכו רביעת ההין, לכבש האחד; בקדש הסך נסך שכר, לי-ה-ו-ה.
(פסוק ח) ואת הכבש השני, תעשה בין הערבים: כמנחת הבקר וכנסכו תעשה, אשה ריח ניחח לי-ה-ו-ה. [פ

I urge everyone to try and recite the above every day. In this merit, may Gilad Shalit (ben Aviva) be released alive to safety and may HaShem Protect us from all troubles. Amen!

The Relationship between the Ninth of Tammuz, the Tamid Offering, and Entebbe - 5736, Gilad Shalit - 5766

In my previous post I note some of the relationships between the Entebbe hostage incident and the current hostage situation involving Gilad Shalit, Shlit"a. I made mention of two gemaras (Pesachim 58 and Yoma 28) that, during their respective daf yomi cycles were both learned on the 9th of Tammuz. Both of these gemaras discuss the Tamid offering brought on erev Pesach. (Just as Pesach is the holiday of freedom, may we see the redemption of Gilad very soon.) The gemara in Pesachim was learned (according to the daf yomi cycle) on the 9th of Tammuz (5736) of the week in which the Entebbe hostages were released, while the gemara in Yoma is being learned today, the ninth of Tammuz, 5766, while the IDF is conducting a major military offensive in Gaza, largely aimed at rescuing Gilad Shalit.

What's fascinating is that both gemaras learned on the 9th of Tammuz discuss the bringing of the daily Tamid offering!

Why is that so fascinating?

For on the 9th of Tammuz the walls of Yerushalayim were breached which led to the cessation of the Tamid offering. The 9th of Tammuz was essentially the beginning of the actual destruction of the Beis HaMikdash for the Babylonians entered the city on that day. (Yirmiyahu: 52; 7) A prophecy in the Book of Zechariah (8; 19) states that four fasts will become days of joy.

"For Rav Chana the son of Bizna, what is the meaning of that which is written: 'So said HaShem, Master of Legions, the fast of the fourth [month] and the fast of the fifth [month] and the fast of the seventh [month] and the fast of the tenth [month] will be for the House of Yehudah for joy and happiness.'? They call it a fast and they call it 'joy and happiness'? At the time when there is peace, it is be for 'joy and happiness'. When there is no peace, it is a fast."

"We learn in a Baraisa: Rabbi Shimon said: 'Four things did Rabbi Akiva expound and I do not expound like him: 1. The fast of the fourth [month] is the ninth of Tammuz on that day the [walls of] the city [of Jerusalem] were split [open], as it says: "On the fourth [month] on the ninth of the month and the famine became strong in the city and there was not bread for the people and the city was split [open]." (Yirmiyahu: 52; 7) Why is it called "the fourth" - the fourth of the months [beginning from the first month, Nissan]." (Rosh HaShanah 18b)

The gemara on Taanis 28b states that the walls of Yerushalayim were breached open on the 9th of Tammuz for the first Beis HaMikdash and the 17th of Tammuz for the second.

Though we do not hold like Rabbi Shimon and fast on the 17th of Tammuz rather than the 9th - it is the ninth (the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem) which led to the cessation of the
Tamid offering (in the First Beis HaMikdash - ostensibly the first time it was stopped). According to the Metzudas David commentary on the verse quoted from Zechariah, when the Mashiach comes these four fast days will turn into days of happiness.

The Parshios and the hostage affairs: It is also interesting that in Israel, the Torah portion the week of the hostage-takings was Chukas, the parsha which discusses the taking of a captive(s) from the Jewish camp and the safe rescue of those/the hostage/s. The current parsha outside Israel in Chukas-Balak - these parshios deal with with the taking of captives and the blessings of Bilaam given to the Jewish People - They are unstoppable with G-d on their side, they utterly destroy their enemies and they will utterly destroy the nation of Amalek in the End of Days, when the Mashiach comes.

May we merit the return of the Tamid offering, the destruction of our enemies (especially Amalek), and the safe return of Gilad Shalit (ben Aviva). Amen!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Entebbe Rescue and Today's Mission to Rescue Gilad

Today is July 4th. July 4, 2006 is the 230th anniversary of The Declaration of Independence - July 4, 1776. Today is also the 30th anniversary of the rescue of over 100 hostages (almost all Jewish) at Uganda's Entebbe airport. The Jerusalem Post has an excellent article in honor of the 30th anniversary of the successful Entebbe rescue.

I write this article, not only to point out the clear miracles that HaShem Performed in Entebbe, but to point out similarities between the events, both physically and time-wise.

It is clear that both the Entebbe event and the current hostage situation with Gilad Shalit both occur at the same time of the year - end of June, beginning of July. When one looks at the Jewish calendar there is an interesting relationship between the Jewish dates, specifically the Torah portion (parsha) of the week. Every once in a while, the Jews in the Diaspora fall behind the Jews in Eretz Yisrael for the Torah reading by a week. In order to catch up, the Jews in outside of Israel read a double-portion. In our time of year, the holiday of Shavuos fell on Friday in Israel and Friday/Saturday outside of Israel. In Israel, the parsha of Naso was read, while that portion was read the following Shabbos in the Diaspora.


Both hostage situations mirror each other (to a large extent) on their respective places on the timeline of the Jewish calendar.

יום ראשון, כ"ט סיון, התשל"ו: Sunday, June 27, 1976 - 29 Sivan 5736: Four terrorists hijack an Air France plane bound for Paris from Tel-Aviv, en-route from Athens. Just after noon, the terrorists took control of the plane and forced it to fly to Africa, finally landing in Entebbe, Uganda (home of dictator Idi Amin).

יום ראשון, כ"ט סיון, התשס"ו: Sunday, June 25, 2006 - 29 Sivan 5766: In the early morning, 8 terrorists tunnel their way into the Kerem Shalom army post, killing two soldiers, wounding others, and taking Corporal Gilad Shalit (ben Aviva) hostage.

It is interesting to note that in both situations France is involved - The plane that was hijacked was an Air France plane and the hostage situation now involves Gilad Shalit (ben Aviva), a citizen of France.

According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the mission to rescue the hostages in Entebbe was viewed as taken from the television show "Mission Impossible: "Later, soldiers would joke that the plan sounded like a script from Mission Impossible: The Israelis would land without arousing suspicion, pretend to be Ugandan guards traveling in an entourage of Land Rovers behind President Idi Amin in his famous black Mercedes, and overtake the terrorists with the element of surprise, despite hundreds of enemy soldiers in every direction." According to one troop, the raid surpassed even what the fictional character James Bond had to go through.

The Palestinian terrorists threatened to blow up the airport with the hostages if their demand for the freeing of 53 Palestinian terrorists was not met - the deadline was given as July 1 at 14:00 and then pushed to July 4th at 14:00. Israel stated agreement to negotiate with the terrorists bought them more time to prepare their planned raid on Entebbe - Idi Amin ordered the three day extension of the deadline after hearing that Israel wanted to negotiate.

Currently, the Palestinians demand that Israel free all those who are women and under 18 from Israel's prisons in exchange for the release of Gilad. More recently, they also demanded an additional 1,000 terrorists freed in exchange for Gilad, requesting that Israel by the 6 am deadline on July the 4th. Israel says that they will not negotiate with terrorists and have publicly refused to talk with them, rather threatening the terrorists with strong military action if they do not release Gilad. If they dare harm Gilad, "the sky will fall on them" through, among other things, Israeli military action.

The hostages were rescued at about 1 a.m. on July 4th, 59 hours after the terrorists' original deadline expired, 13 hours before their final deadline expired. As of now, the deadline of 6 a.m. (Israel time) expired over 26 hours ago (tomorrow afternoon Israel time would be comparable).


On Wednesday, the 9th of Tammuz of 5766, as part of the Daf Yomi cycle, we learn the gemara on Yoma 28; On the same date in 5736 (also Wednesday, the ninth of Tammuz) the daf of the day was Pesachim 58. Amazingly, there is a strong relationship between the two gemaras. Both of these pages in the gemara discuss the same topic to the extent that each gemara cross-references each other (i.e. each page notes the other gemara). Both gemaras discuss that when Pesach begins on Shabbos, the Tamid offering for Erev Shabbos (also Erev Pesach) is brought a few hours earlier than normal - 6.5 (halachic) hours into the day, whereas on typical days, the Tamid is brought 9.5 (halachic) hours into the days. RaSh"I notes that the Tamid brought in the afternoon must be brought when the shade is beginning to spread out.

The tefillos (prayers) today are structured after the Tamid offering. Shacharis (the morning prayer) follows the morning offering of the Tamid. Mincha can either be said 6.5 hours into the day, based on the earliest time the Tamid was ever allowed to be brought - this is called "Mincha Gedola", or 9.5 (halachic) hours into the days - "Mincha Ketana".

As we know, there is not such thing as "coincidence" in Judaism. In the Book of Amos (ch. 4) we read that just as a bird is only trapped if it was caught in a snare, a lion roars if it caught prey, so too does everything happen as a result of HaShem's Bidding - no coincidences. The same gemara being learnt on the same date and a very similar hostage situation unfolding between Israel and the Palestinians as what happened in Entebbe is not a coincidence.

We should all take the hint - Prayer is central to success. What is especially interesting is that the tefillah of Mincha is known to be the most powerful in terms of being answered - Eliyahu the prophet and our forefather Isaac were answered after reciting the prayer of Mincha. HaShem Answered Eliyahu's prayer by miraculously accepting his offering, providing a public display to the Israelites that it is HaShem Who should be served, not the god ba'al. Yitzchak was answered also right after praying Mincha by being greeted with his soon-to-be bride, Rivka.

It is incumbent upon us to pray to HaShem, in Mincha and throughout the day, to help bring about the safe release of Gilad ben Aviva from the hands of his captors. Remember, every Jewish tefillah counts.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Parshas Balak - The Way to Fight a War - Torah in the Merit of Gilad (Shalit) ben Aviva


We, of course, are unbeatable with HaShem on our side. How do we get HaShem to Fight for us and make us always successful against our enemies? By following the Torah and praying to HaShem.

The source of this message? This week's parsha - Balak, from the mouth of the evil Bilaam.

The parsha relates how Bilaam tried his utmost to curse the Jewish People, but, as G-d Deemed it, blessed them instead - 4 blessings.

There are similarities between all four of the blessings: The Jewish People serve HaShem and perform His mitzvos (commandments) and are successful against their enemies. Today there are great mitzvos being performed by many thousands of Jews worldwide.

In the merit of the strong Jewish opposition to the "gay pride" parade planned for Jerusalem, may HaShem Grant Gilad a safe return to his people, as HaShem Saved the captive in ancient times. Today there was news that Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlit"a, and Rav Elyashiv, shlit"a, came out publicly in opposition to the "gay pride" parade. May the merit of these Torah giants assist Gilad Shalit in his time of need and result in his safe and healthy return to his family very soon. As I noted in three recent posts, it is important for us to oppose such scheduled perversion from taking place in Jerusalem, or any place in Israel.


"For from the top of hills I see them..." (Bamidbar: 23; 9):

RaSh"I: I see their beginnings which are solid and strong in the merit of their forefathers and foremothers.

"Who counted the dust of Ya'akov?..." (Bamidbar: 23; 10)

RaSh"I: "The dust of Ya'akov": These refer to the mitzvos they perform which, like dust, are beyond calculation, for there are mitzvos they perform even with the dust: "Do not plow with an ox and a donkey together...", "Do not plant
kilayim (plant mixtures)", "ashes of the red heifer", "dust of the sotah", etc.

"He does not stare (focus) on the sins of Jacob..." (Bamidbar: 23; 21)

RaSh"I: When the Jewish People sin, HaShem does not focus so much on those sins, He Still Resides in their midst.

"Behold, they are a nation as a young lion arises and like a lion he lifts up, he does not lie down until he eats the kill and the blood of corpses he drinks." (Bamidbar: 23; 24)

RaSh"I: In the morning when the Jews get up, they strengthen themselves like a young lion to snatch the mitzvos, to put on tzitzis, read the Shema, put on tefillin.

"He does not lie..." RaSh"I: At night he says the Shema and HaShem Fights off his enemies.

The third blessing of Bilaam also discusses how HaShem Blesses the Jews that they are unbeatable.

The fourth blessing discusses the arrival of Mashiach and the ultimate destruction of Amalek at the hands of the Jewish People (Bamidbar: 24; 20): "And he saw Amalek and he began his parable-prophecy and he said 'First of nations is Amalek, and his end is eternal destruction.'"

RaSh"I explains that Amalek was the first nation that attacked the Israelites and they will be utterly destroyed by the Jewish People i
n the End of Days. Targum Yonasan ben Uziel and Targum Yerushalmi explain that in the End of Days Amalek will inspire the nations of the East to wage war along with him against the Jewish People - their end is that they will all be destroyed. So may it be soon!