All the material and physical pleasures of this world are like salt water. They just cause a person to desire more and more. It is impossible to quench the thirst for desires by giving into desires. Just the opposite occurs. A person becomes thirstier for more desires. Trying to acquire good traits is entirely different. When you first try to acquire those virtues, you might find it bitter. However, when you master the habit of doing good, you feel great sweetness. Therefore the person who seeks pleasure in becoming a better person will find true enjoyment in life.
However, don't take this out of context. I love the pleasures of life as much as the next person. It is important to know however, that giving in to them does not necessarily satisfy you and our goal in life is to become a better person. We can't change the mistakes we made in the past, but we can work on our present.
Rabbi Berel Wein said in his competary on last weeks reading on the Torah (Parshat Mishpatim) that even the most righteous among us fall seven times. The Challenge of the Torah is to rise again and continue.
Resllence is the key trait in a torah Personality. Reslience is the key trait in a Torah personality. In fact, is is this trait avove all others that has fashioned Jewish existence and contributed to Jewish survivial throught the ages.
Recently, retired Israeli Ambassador, Yoram Ettinger, wrote an excellent article in his blog, the Ettinger Report, pointing out the extreme vulnerability to Israel of a pressured retreat to the 1949 armistice lines.
These 1949 armistice lines existed before the 1967 Six Day War, and which were where the combined Arab invading armies were halted during the 1948 Arab-Israel War.
Mr. Ettinger also justifiably criticized the United States Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, who, as Yoram Ettinger pointed out, "believes in 'Land for Peace' and echoes the US Administration pressure on Israel to retreat to the pre-1967 armistice and ceasefire lines."
The armistice lines, which became a perilous de facto border, left Israel a mere nine to 15 miles wide at its most populous region.
"Land for peace" requires Israel to give away parts of its ancestral heartland in return for a delusional belief that the Arabs, who call themselves Palestinians, have any intention of living in peace - this as Palestinian thugs are currently on an orgy of terror by knifing to death Israeli mothers and pregnant women and running Israeli civilians over with trucks and cars.
Yoram's valuable insights led me to remember a published article I wrote as far back as June 30, 2009 in an edition of the Think Israel blog titled, Territory or Insanity, which dealt with the geographical, strategic and military defense advantages to Israel of the natural terrain and territory in what is known as the 50 mile long Samarian-Judean mountain spine.
The article also concluded that an abandonment of this ridge, which runs north- south and dominates the narrow territory stretching between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan, would be tantamount to insanity. It would exist purely in the deluded belief that it would encourage a true and lasting peace from the predominately Muslim Arabs who call themselves Palestinians.
Much of what I have written below is taken from that much earlier published article. Here, then, is what I wrote in 2009:
Looming over Israel's narrow coastal plain, the Samarian-Judean mountain spine would give aggressive invading Arab forces a dominant military advantage and a base for terror attacks, which easily would paralyze the embattled Jewish state.
U.S and world pressure upon Israel to withdraw from this vital strategic territory was the potential parlous state of affairs that would inevitably exist and which led to the conclusions issued by the U.S. military.
Immediately after the June, 1967 Six Day War, a secret memorandum was issued by the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). Their conclusions were that any peace settlement between Israel and the Arab belligerents would only succeed if Israel retained certain territories vital for its continued existence and survival.
The areas the Joint Chiefs declared as the minimum defensible borders for the Jewish state included the Golan Heights, the western half of Samaria (the northwestern part of the West Bank), all of Judea (the southern part of the West Bank), the Gaza Strip and several portions of the eastern Sinai Peninsula.
This, of course, occurred before the world became obsessed with the creation of an Arab terror state to be named Palestine, an entity to be torn from Israel's biblical heartland which lies within the mere 40 mile wide territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan.
This would create a Muslim Arab state that has never existed in all of recorded history.
Since that report in 1967, the Israeli government under Menachem Begin gave away all of the Sinai including the extensive oil facilities that Israel had developed at Abu Rodeis. That was a calculated, albeit dangerous, risk for peace with Egypt.
Under the later Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon and his deputy, Ehud Olmert, Israel gave away the entire Gaza Strip in 2005, with catastrophic consequences for the Jewish state. Again in the gullible and deluded quest for peace with its Muslim Arab neighbors.
Years earlier, the then Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, withdrew the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) from the southern Lebanon security strip, thus allowing the Iranian proxy and fanatical Shiite Hezbollah terrorists to fill the vacuum with dire consequences for northern Israel.
Inevitably and predictably, a conflict broke out disastrously mismanaged by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. It was launched too late and ended too soon as a result of intense world and UN pressure.
Also predictably after Israel had forcibly and tragically removed Israeli farmers and villagers from the Gaza Strip - all in the deluded belief that the Arabs would respond with "peace in our time" - the Jewish state has endured thousands of incoming missiles from the fanatical Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, which now occupies Gaza.
Again, a war was finally launched by Israel after it could no longer endure Palestinian aggression. It too began too late and, under brutal UN pressure, ended too soon.
The Iranian proxy in Gaza, Hamas, continues to pursue its genocidal Charter which calls for destroying Israel and exterminating all Jewish citizens.
Israel is increasingly under pressure from an American administration, that of Barack Hussein Obama, to retreat from the ancestral Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria (known erroneously by the name its Jordanian Arab occupiers gave it from 1948 until 1967 - namely the West Bank) and to exist within the suicidal nine to 15 mile wide border where most of its population lives.
President Barack Hussein Obama is perceived by many to be a clear and present danger to the very survival of the reconstituted Jewish state.
In the aftermath of the Six Day War, the US Joint Chiefs were not concerned with the question of spiritual Jewish patrimony in the Land of Israel or in its Biblical history. They were solely concerned with the strategic necessities for Israel's survival in a very bad neighborhood. That is why they set out what the bare minimum retention of territory for Israel should be.
Col. Irving Kett (USA, ret.) also prepared an Army War College study on Israel's security needs in 1974. His study was called, " A Proposed Solution to the Arab-Israel Conflict."
In it, he strongly suggested that, from a military point of view, Israel's borders should be constituted to make it a compact state with natural boundaries on all sides - the Jordan River to the east, Golan Heights to the northeast, the Litani River in the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the historic boundary with the Sinai Peninsula to the south.
As a direct result and consequence of Arab aggression, most of those borders had been attained by Israel at one time or another.
Irving Kett had not been aware that another memorandum had been produced earlier, on June 29, 1967, for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara by General Earle Wheeler, chairman of the JCS, at the direction of President Lyndon Johnson.
That study was declassified in 1983 and, as I mentioned earlier, it recommended that Israel keep all of Judea, the western half of Samaria, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and two significant parts of east and south Sinai. The similarity between the memoranda are quite remarkable.
Colonel Kett pointed out what the IDF has always known, but what too many Israeli politicians, usually on the Left, preferred to ignore; namely, that there is vital strategic value in the mountain range which forms the spine running through Judea and Samaria.
The highlands run some 54 miles from Jenin in the north to Hebron in the south and dominate Israel's coastline. The spine is 12 miles wide and Israel simply cannot afford to vacate it.
It was assumed for years by both the Israeli military and politicians that if a Palestinian Arab state came into existence it would have to permit an Israeli defense line on the Jordan River (the Allon Plan), and that such a state would have to be demilitarized.
The answer, of course, would be to have made permanent the suggested boundaries proposed in both Kett's memorandum and the earlier JCS report.
Events have moved on since then. The Palestinian Authority in the so-called "West Bank" would never agree to this and Hamas in Gaza would scornfully dismiss it out of hand.
The Arabs have become even more vicious in their anti-Jewish rhetoric and behavior, and the Islamic Republic of Iran has all but encircled the Jewish state through its Islamist proxies - Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The Arab-Israel conflict is not, and never has been, a war over territory. It is, and always has been, a religious war. Islam will never accept a non-Muslim state, whatever size or shape it may be, within lands previously conquered by Muslims in the name of Allah.
The " two-state solution," so beloved of President Obama and President George Bush before him, require that Judea and Samaria (the 4,000 year old ancestral and biblical Jewish heartland) be given away to the fraudulent Arabs who call themselves Palestinians.
But these Arabs have no intention of making peace, which should be enough for an Israeli government and Prime Minister with intestinal fortitude to defy the world's pressure for the Jewish state to slowly and surely disappear.
After all, Prime Ministers David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzchak Shamir all respectfully declined pressure from various American presidents in the past and prevailed.
Interestingly, Colonel Kett had also suggested that the Palestinian Arabs be resettled in a state in the Sinai. The other famous suggestion has been that Jordan is Palestine, which is based upon the historical fact of the first " two-state solution" enacted in infamy by Great Britain in 1922: some 94 years ago.
Even President George W. Bush, when visiting Israel as Governor of Texas, was moved to utter:
"The whole of Israel is only about six times the size of the King Ranch near Corpus Christie." He also is reported to have said, while in a helicopter looking down at the narrow waist of Israel, "Why in Texas we have driveways longer than that."
Yet even he, after becoming president, called for a " Two-State Solution" west of the Jordan River.
Pushing Israel back to the suicidal " Auschwitz borders," as the late Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, called them, where the Jewish state is only nine to 15 miles wide at its most populous region, is what the " Two-State Solution" is all about.
The dread German Nazi euphemism " Final Solution," which was used to plan and name the Holocaust, comes to mind and is eerily similar in its wording to the " Two State Solution," as well as in its dire and evil end result.
Victor Sharpe is author of the acclaimed trilogy " Politicide – The attempt to murder the Jewish state" and " The Blue Hour and Other Strange Tales." His essays and articles have appeared in many conservative websites and magazines including Outpost, FrontPageMag.com, American Thinker, Renew America, Canada Free Press, Israel National News, Family Security Matters, Jerusalem Connection, Page One Daily, and many more .