Monday, March 7, 2016

Visiting the Temple Mount by a visiting American Rabbi

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Live In The Present 

For many people, sadness and suffering is not a result of present experiences. Rather it is pain caused by regretting and resenting the past, or worrying about the future.

Living in the present saves you from needless emotional pain. Additionally, keeping one's mind on the present is necessary to concentrate on the important tasks of the day.

Be aware of your failure to keep your mind on the present. This will help increase your ability to do so.

Love Yehuda Lave

Below I have a story from a visiting American Rabbi and his experience on the Temple mount. This morning at 7:45 I plan to make my own ascent to the Temple mount. Report tomorrow.

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KAHANE ON THE PARSHA

VAYAKHEL

Rabbi Binyamin Kahane

THE PITFALLS OF POWER

Two years after the Jews left the suffering, slavery, and humiliations of Egypt, they began constructing the Tabernacle – the place where G-d's Presence was to rest in this world and the pipeline by which all the Jewish people's prayers would reach their Father in Heaven. Considering the historic nature of this event, one would have expected the leaders of the Jewish people to set an example and play a key role in contributing toward the Tabernacle's construction.

Instead, we find (Exodus 35:27) that the princes donated the onyx stones – which were the very last items needed in the Tabernacle. Rashi writes, "Rabbi Nathan said: Why did the princes contribute at the beginning of the dedication of the altar but not at the beginning of the construction of the Tabernacle? Because they said: Let the community contribute what it will contribute, and we will complete whatever is lacking. And since they were slothful at first, 'yud' is missing from their name {the world neis'm'}is spelled missing a 'yud'."

Rabbeinu Bechaya adds: "For it is the way of princes to look down on the rest of the nation. . . These princes, who not long ago were lowly slaves, immediately started looking down on their brothers after receiving their high appointment. About this the Talmud says, "Four people are intolerable . . . {One is} the public appointee who looks down at the rest of the community for no reason' (Pesachim 113b)."

The Torah's concern for someone's high position affecting his ego is clearly evident in its laws regarding kings. The Torah state, "He shall not multiply horses for himself . . . Neither shall he multiply for himself wives so that his heart turns away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. . . And he shall write a copy of this Torah. . . . And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life that he may learn to fear the L-rd, his

G-d. . .that his heart not be lifted up above his brethren" (Deuteronomy 17:16-20).

And the Rambam in Hilchot Tefillah (5:10) adds: "One must bow five times during every Shemoneh Esrei. . . . But a king should remain prostrated from the very beginning of Shemoneh Esrei and not raise his head until the conclusion."

We see the arrogance, corruption, and egoism of Israeli politicians most overtly during election seasons. Every party steps on the fresh blood of Jewish victims to further its political advantage, though none of them possesses an iota of a solution to the problem. We have observed our "leaders" basking in the glory of Nobel Peace Prizes and the friendship of gentile leaders and Arab murderers, so engrossed with themselves, their declarations of peace, and their place in history that no amount of Jewish blood can budge them from their "vision."

May it be G-d's will that these politicians be replaced by leaders guided by the Torah, leaders who know that "it is not high appointment I give you, but rather servitude: (Hariyot 10a). May we merit leaders who follow the path of Moses our Teacher, who not only was not concerned about his place in history, but even was willing to have his name stricken from the Torah("Erase me please from Your book" – Exodus 32:32) in order to save the Jewish people from annihilation. We need leaders who possess self-sacrifice to serve the community – not exploit it.

Darka she Torah 1994

Israeli Dog and Arab Dog

The Israelis and Arabs realized that, if they continued fighting, they
would someday end up destroying the whole world. So they decided to settle
their dispute with an ancient practice: a duel of two, like David and Goliath.
This "duel" would be a dog fight.

The negotiators agreed each side would take 5 years to develop the best
fighting dog they could. The dog that won the fight would earn its people the
right to rule the disputed areas. The losing side would have to lay down
its arms for good.

The Arabs found the biggest, meanest Dobermans and Rottweilers in the
world. They bred them together and then crossed their offspring with the
meanest Siberian wolves.

They selected only the biggest, strongest puppy of each litter, fed it the
best food and killed all the other puppies. They used steroids and
trainers in their quest for the perfect killing machine. After the 5 years were
up, they had a dog that needed steel prison bars on its cage. Only expert
trainers could handle this incredibly nasty and ferocious beast.

When the day of the big dog-fight finally arrived, the Israelis showed up
with a very strange-looking animal, a Dachshund that was 10 feet long!

Everyone at the dogfight arena felt sorry for the Israelis. No one there
seriously thought this weird, odd-looking animal stood any chance against
the growling beast over in the Arab camp. All the bookies took one look and
predicted that the Arab dog would win in less than a minute.

As the cages were opened, the Dachshund slowly waddled toward the center
of the ring.

The Arab dog leaped from its cage and charged the giant wiener-dog.

As he got to within an inch of the Israeli dog, the Dachshund opened its
jaws and swallowed the Arab beast whole in one bite. There was nothing left
but a small puff of fur from the Arab killer dog's tail floating to the
ground.

The stunned crowd of international observers, bookies and media personnel
let out a collective gasp of disbelief and surprise.

The Arabs approached the Israelis, muttering and shaking their heads in
disbelief. "We do not understand," said their leader, "Our top scientists and
breeders worked for 5 long years with the meanest, biggest Dobermans,
Rottweilers and Siberian wolves, and they developed an incredible killing
machine of a dog!"

The Israelis replied. "Well, for 5 years, we have had a team of Jewish
plastic surgeons from Boca Raton working to make an alligator look like a
Dachshund.

Bewitched

By: Moshe Feiglin

Published: March 3rd, 2016
Latest update: March 2nd, 2016


MK Moshe-Feiglin

MK Moshe Feiglin

"What is wrong with our country? We have an enemy and he has declared war against us. Every day he tries to kill us. We bury our dead, at least one funeral a week. But we simply refuse to fight back. Why? Why? Why? What is happening here? Have we been bewitched? The ministers eulogize, wail, participate in the sorrow of the families. And what about fighting back?? That's it? This is our fate? To be murdered by the blade, one after another, quietly and politely. Until we have no more strength and we will be booted out of this country?"

(A reader's comment on the Ynet article on the funeral of Eliav Gelman, HY"D)

I went to Ma'aleh Michmash yesterday. I wanted to pay a condolence call to Yael, the young widow and mother of the baby of First Sergeant Yanai Tuviah Weisman, who was murdered in the supermarket at Sha'ar Binyamin. I don't manage to get to all the mourners' houses, but the picture of Yael's beaming face next to her husband Tuviah's – didn't give me rest. I felt compelled to visit.

Tuviah's parents were sitting there, next to Yael, who was ensconced within herself. The chief rabbi was there, attempting to comfort the family with heartwarming words. When he left, everybody rose out of respect for the Torah. The Chief of the Southern Command and senior officers of the Nachal Brigade, where Tuviah served, remained.

The effort and caring of the senior echelons of the IDF were very impressive. The general said what he said. The officers, who knew Tuviah personally, talked about the amazing person who was taken from us. I said nothing.

Orly, Tuviah's mother, nobly turned to the general. With great empathy she asked him to take care of two problems that she witnesses daily as she travels the road to Ma'aleh Michmash. One – the fact that both male and female soldiers serve together on guard duty at the intersection distracts them from their duties and reduces their combat readiness. "I see it all the time," said Orly. "I have nothing against women serving in the army, but not together with men at an intersection where full combat preparedness is necessary. The second problem that Orly mentioned was that the soldiers at the intersection are always busy with their smartphones. Smartphones should not be allowed while the soldiers are on duty.

The truth is that Orly's points didn't really speak to me. What do I care about women in the army or smartphones? What concerns me is how we got to the point at which we have to have soldiers at the intersection in the first place. But women are often more grounded in reality than men. And it was very special that Orly preferred to speak with the general about battle readiness and not ideology.

"As to the telephones," the general answered, I accept your point and we will take care of it. As to the joint service of men and women, I do not agree. On the contrary, we will add more and more mixed-gender units."

In other words, the problem that the commander can take care of without stepping out of the bounds of the thought paradigm expected of him will be solved immediately. But as soon as the bereaved mother (naively) prodded him to recognize the problem that the IDF's political correctness had created, the general refused to relate. He did not tackle the reality on the ground as Orly witnesses it daily. He did not even attempt to argue with her or point out her error (as he perceived it). He simply and abruptly ended the discussion and went on to a new topic.

And that leaves no one surprised.

"What is happening here? Have we been bewitched?" asked the Ynet reader.

In a way, we have…

Armies of broadcasters, multitudes of journalists, authors, teachers, lecturers, officers of glorious fame, enlightened rabbis, High Court justices, research institutes, respected politicians and, of course, Shimon Peres – all of the brave and beautiful and all those who dream to be like them, all the flunkeys and yes-men – have bewitched us.

And now, truth does not matter. All that matters is the truth that someone would like to see.

What did you expect, dear bereaved mother? That the general would say, "You know what, I never thought of that"? After all, it is clear that any normal male soldier serving on combat duty with a female soldier will be distracted. Did you expect that he would say, "Let's check it out. For one month only male soldiers will be on combat duty at the intersection"? Is that what you expected? On the very next morning, Karen Neubach on the morning news would have crucified him. MKs Merav Michaeli and Michal Rozin would have submitted an urgent query to the Knesset.

Count on all the news editors and commissars of public consciousness. The issue would have been in the headlines for two weeks. The defense minister would have courageously stood up for the buttered side of the bread, the chief of staff would have hurriedly scolded the general and amended his remarks – and the general's chances of inheriting the chief of staff's job would have gone straight off the cliff.

What were you thinking, dear bereaved mother?

Yes, Ynet reader, we have been bewitched. You write that we are in a war – but they cannot admit it. It's even worse than that. They also say that we are in a war, but they act as if we are playing a game of soccer against an uncultured team. It's a form of double-speak. They use Zionist terminology from the past – "We are strong, we will triumph" – but in practice they do just the opposite. They flee responsibility instead of shouldering it.

Like the general, the chief of staff, defense minister, and prime minister will never dare think outside the borders that will endanger their next step up the ladder. They will never say, "We made a navigation error, let's make a U-turn, let us return to our lost sense of justice. This is our land and whoever doesn't accept that and rises to kill us will be killed first." Instead, they look at the attorney general from the corners of their eyes – at the TV news and the blacklists in London. What do they need it all for? Let's put another million soldiers at the intersection. Is it any wonder that people are killed by friendly fire?

Yes, the ministers will eulogize the latest victim and continue to recite the exact same empty clich├ęs from the same bleeding peace industry (of which the Right has become an integral part). In exchange, the "industry" will continue to preserve their status and promote them.

In your comment, dear Ynet reader, you asked how there can be such quiet while people are being slaughtered. It is really very simple. The Right won the elections. If the Right had lost, then for issues much less serious than murder in supermarkets and bus stops, everyone would already have been out in the streets. Bibi and Bennett and the Yesha Council would all be leading stormy protests.

But the Right won the victory of its life. So we can have no expectations and we are all being slaughtered – "quietly and politely."

Afterwards, we will all vote again for the same shrewd politicians – as if it really matters how many goals the Right wins. And then we will continue to be slaughtered and they will come to comfort the bereaved family and wail and dish out the same, meaningless hash.

I remained silent. What could I say? You sit in the mourners' home. Everybody loves and respects the IDF. Such an amazing family, so unifying. What could I have done? Start to argue with all the officers in front of the bereaved family? I remained silent a bit longer and left.

Outside, they told me that the officer who had been wounded at the Gush Etzion junction had died of his wounds.

About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset.

He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War.

He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.

A First in Near Eastern Excavations: Winery Found in Canaanite Palace

By: JNi.Media

Published: March 3rd, 2016


3,850 year old wine jugs. Courtesy Division of Communications and Media Relations  |  University of Haifa

3,850 year old wine jugs. Courtesy Division of Communications and Media Relations | University of Haifa

For the first time in excavations of ancient Near Eastern sites, a winery has been discovered within a Canaanite palace. The winery produced high-quality wine that helped the Canaanite ruling family to impress their visitors – heads of important families, out-of-town guests, and envoys from neighboring states. "All the residents of the Canaanite city could produce simple wine from their own vineyards. But just before it was served, the wine we found was enriched with oil from the cedars of Lebanon, tree resin from Western Anatolia, and other flavorings, such as resin from the terebinth tree and honey. That kind of wine could only be found in a palace," says Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau of the Maritime Civilizations Department at the University of Haifa, one of the directors of the excavation.

The full findings of the 2015 excavation season was presented at the conference "Excavations and Studies in Northern Israel," which took place at the University of Haifa, and in May 16 will be presented at the Oriental Institute in Chicago.

The excavations at the Canaanite palace at Tel Kabri, which was established around 3,850 years ago during the Middle Bronze Age (around 1950-1550 BCE), are continuing to yield surprises and to provide evidence of a connection between wine, banquets, and power in the Canaanite cities. Two years ago, around 40 almost-complete large jars were found in one of the rooms, and chemical analysis proved that they were filled with wine with special flavorings, such as terebinth resin, cedar oil, honey, and other plant extracts. "This was already a huge quantity of jars to find in a palace from the Bronze Age, and we were really surprised to find such a treasure," says Prof. Yasur-Landau, who is directing the excavation together with Prof. Eric Cline of George Washington University, and Prof. Andrew Koh of Brandeis University.

Tel Kabri, named for the abundance of its perennial springs, is located at the eastern end of the Western Galilee coastal plain, on the grounds of Kibbutz Kabri.

In this early excavation the researchers have already found openings leading into additional rooms. They devoted 2014 to analyzing the findings from the excavation, particularly the chemical analysis of the wine residues. During the 2015 excavation season, conducted in the summer, the researchers returned to the ancient rooms, not knowing what awaited them.

The northern opening led to a passage to another building. Both sides of the passage were lined with "closets" containing additional jars. The southern opening led to a room that was also full of jars buried under the collapsed walls and roof. This was clearly an additional storeroom. "We would have happily called it a day with this discovery, but then we found that this storeroom also had an opening at its southern end leading to a third room, and it, too, was also full of shattered jars. And then we found a fourth storeroom" relates Prof. Yasur-Landau.

But the surprises kept on coming. As in the previous seasons, each of the new jars was sampled in order to examine its contents. The initial results showed that while all the jars in the first storeroom were filled with wine, in the other storerooms some of the jars contained wine, others appear to have been rinsed clean, while others still contained only resin, without wine. "It seems that some of the new storerooms were used for mixing wines with various flavorings and for storing empty jars for filling with the mixed wine. We are starting to think that the palace did not just have storerooms for finished produce, but also had a winery where wine was prepared for consumption." Prof. Yasur-Landau added that this is the first time that a winery has been found in a palace from the Middle Bronze Age.

First-Person Account of an American Rabbi Visiting the Temple Mount

By: Guest Author

Published: March 4th, 2016


Temple Mount

Temple Mount

My wife and I, currently vacationing In Israel, almost earned a spot in the news today–or at least on a police blotter. And I was mostly innocent.

Since 1969 when my brother and I freely and unafraid explored all of the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, I have wanted to revisit it; and with recent excitement about who controls the area, my wife
and I decided that this visit would have to include it.

Non-Muslim visiting hours are limited to 2 1/2 hours in the morning, and one hour, from 12:30 to 1:30 in the afternoon. At12:30 we arrived at the end of a long queue of people anxious to climb the long ramp from the plaza level of the Kotel to the Temple Mount. We saw people from every nook and cranny of the world and enjoyed listening to all of their languages as we waited for the gate at the front to open. Naturally, security is very tight.

After the roughly 100 others had filed through we brought up the rear. My wife placed her purse on the table and walked through the metal detector to the other side without arousing as much as a blink from the police. I emptied my pockets, set my two cell phones, Bluetooth ear bud, and pens on the table and two of the guards motioned for me to remove my Stetson.

A gasp and hurried instructions to one another were immediate, and our passports were demanded. There, to the shock of every guard, perched on my head, was a kippah. The chief of the micro-police force receded into a small office, emerging about five minutes later, still holding the passports and glaring at me. Obviously I was a troublemaker.

"Calm down," he rasped at me when I asked him if we should leave or if my wife could go up on her own. "Do you want to go to jail?"

(Over the past few months, several Jews have been arrested for making outward signs of praying while up on the Temple Mount, in violation of an agreement by Israel and the Palestinian authority that no Jew would ever be allowed to engage in religious activity or wear any religious paraphernalia, in order to avoid arousing riotous passions among the Muslim population. This notwithstanding the historical fact that the site has been a holy destination for Jews for thousands of years.)

About twenty minutes later, after a few more office retreats and whispered conversations with the other guards, he strode over to me.

"Where is your Kippah?" demanded the burly chief of these police. I showed him that I had removed it and placed it in a carry bag and would be content to wear only the Stetson to avoid looking Jewish; I shared with him my business card identifying me as a rabbi, to further assure him that I was aware of the delicate situation and would act responsibly.

That was a mistake: he was now convinced that I was intending to do "something religious" up on the mount and retreated once again into his office, ostensibly to check with "the office" to determine if I was previously known to the police as an agitator.

With only a few minutes left in the one hour allotment, he finally reemerged, handed back my business card, and told me to put on my kippah. "Come, go up," he groused at me. My wife and I began the trek up the ramp, a bit surprised but glad nevertheless. A young Haredi guard – kippah, tzitzit , long peyyot and unarmed – joined us. Halfway up we were greeted and flanked by two heavily armed policemen.

At the top of the ramp, as we approached the holy ground, several more police surrounded us in a very tight circle. In this formation we begin a slow march onto the grounds.

Our circle was immediately approached and followed by several Palestinians who stared at me, my wife, and the Haredi man. One policeman told us that we could feel free to take pictures, and guided us to good vantage points to take great snapshots.

I asked, "how many of you are out here right now guarding those other tourists who came in ahead of us?" imagining that the number would have had to have been staggering, although I couldn't see any. He answered," None. They aren't Jews; you are."

In a sudden rush of anger I continued silently until the end of our time there.

We Jews, who have given the world the most peaceful and accessible holy sites to all the peoples of the region, are restricted in our own land and treated as criminals for the slightest offense caused by being ourselves.

I was aware of reports of the arrests of other men who had deliberately caused incidents on the Temple Mount by assuming prayerful poses, but discounted the stories as inaccurate, incomplete; surely an incompetent editor had omitted the details of some egregious action by those who were arrested. Now I had had this bitter experience.

I tried to imagine the furor that would rise if Muslims were prevented from freely visiting a mosque anywhere in Israel. Yet here, in this absurdly upside-down world of the Middle East, these behaviors are accepted as normal. Little, genuinely moral and desperate-for-peace Israel is forced to behave badly to its own people in deference to the sensitivities of its sworn enemies.

On this Shabbat, when we read in the Torah about the exuberance of our ancestors who were given the opportunity to build the Mishkan, let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all Israel; and resolve to do our part to dispel the influence of misinformation and the growing darkness that seems to be overtaking the Western world.

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