Sunday, May 8, 2016

Our Pals the Palestinians would like to kill us legally

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Consider your Options

Acting impulsively causes errors and brings about many negative consequences. Before making an important decision, think the matter over carefully and do all you can to clarify which approach is the wisest.

Is there anything that might be considered "acting impulsively" that you are involved in right now? If so, stop and rethink your actions. And the next time you encounter such a situation, think carefully and comprehensively.

Love Yehuda Lave

PA seeks international recognition for 'right' to kill Israelis

PA wants the international community to 'recognize the legitimacy' of their murders by awarding a terrorist the Nobel Peace Prize.

By Shoshana Miskin 
First Publish: 4/21/2016, 6:31 PM

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is seeking to have the international forum recognize their "right under international law" to murder Israeli civilians in all places and at all times, which they claim is established by a UN resolution.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reports that the PA are requesting that Palestinian "heroes and role models" who murdered Israeli civilians should receive an internationally protected right to murder Israeli civilians, that will also be recognized as a positive act that should be awarded.

As a means to attain this recognition, the PA is asking the international community to award an imprisoned Palestinian terrorist with the Nobel Peace Prize. As the leader of the Tanzim, Fatah's terror wing, Marwan Barghouti orchestrated many terror attacks in which Israelis were murdered. He was convicted in an Israeli court and is serving five life sentences for murder.

"The candidacy (of Barghouti) is essentially a call to recognize the legitimacy of the prisoners' struggle... and also a response to the claims and Israeli terms that do not recognize the legitimacy of their struggle, and treat them as 'terrorists and criminals,'" said the head of the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake.

Barghouti was convicted of five murders - Yoela Hen (45), Eli Dahan (53), Yosef Habi (52), Police officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat (33) and Greek monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus.

Additionally, dozens of other Israeli civilians were murdered by Tanzim terrorists under Barghouti's reign, although he was not tried for those murders.

The PA claims it has the right to murder Israeli civilians according to UN resolution 3236 of 1974, which "recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain its rights by all means."

The PA interprets "all means" to include violence and killing of civilians, while ignoring the continuation of the resolution which states that the use of "all means" should be "in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations." The UN Charter prohibits targeting civilians, even in war, and that "international disputes" should be resolved "by peaceful means."

Bentleys, Matzos, and the Chumra Machine by Rabbi Natan Slifkin

Bentleys, Matzos, and the Chumra Machine

There's a funny video making the rounds lately. It starts as an advertisement for Bentley automobiles, and ends up being an advertisement for handmade matzos! The voice-over informs us that "Hand-made is always better" - and it tells us that this principle which is true for cars, is also true for matzos. "You can't ever compare the quality of hand made to mass machine made matzah," it says. "If you're going to do it, do it right."


The video is put out by Chabad, and reflects the Rebbe's insistence that his followers use Shmura handmade Matzah, at least for their sedarim. We are used to Chabad trying to spread Chabad ideology beyond its adherents. But there are others who are trying to spread its message.

We recently discussed the attempt of Rabbi Yair Hoffman to encourage everyone to eat one and a third matzos in two swallows in less than two minutes. In his latest column in the Five Towns Jewish Times and Yeshivah World News, he refers to the Bentley ad, and presents various arguments for and against the legitimacy of machine-made matzos. He concludes that "it would be proper, if possible to fulfill this Mitzvah in the manner that our forefathers have done and in a manner acceptable to most authorities," and thus to eat hand-made matzos. Is this true?

First, let's discuss the Bentley comparison. I've been in a Bentley, and I can agree that it is an extraordinary car. But does this mean that hand-made is always better? And is the superiority of a Bentley relevant to matzah? Let's take a look at another video about the manufacture of Bentley automobiles (actually, feel free to skip it - it's not that important):


Note that we are talking about a very small number of products, which are manufactured very slowly and carefully, by dedicated craftsmen who are presumably being paid very well. The possibility of human error is therefore very small. Second, and more significantly, it's not as though machine-made cars are likely to involve errors in their manufacture - they are less likely to do so. It's simply a matter of certain touches requiring fine motor skills that are better performed by hand. And note that certain parts of the Bentley manufacturing process, which require uniform processes done with great precision in rapid time, are done via machine!

With matzah, the Bentley advantage is simply irrelevant. There is no important aesthetic enhancement of matzah being produced by hand with fine motor skills. If we are talking about a concern to avoid the possibility of chametz, then machine-made matzah, which avoids human error and is more uniform across large scale processes, is superior.

In fact, this brings us to the fascinating case of the Liska Rebbe, described in Ami magazine. Due to "the fear that a small part of the Matzah that wasn't baked properly can come in contact with liquid, thus rendering it chometz," the Liska Rebbe and his followers do not eat any matzah on Pesach except for the minimum quantity required at the seder. (The article notes that the Divrei Chaim was strongly opposed to this practice, yet the article states that this is a sacred custom.) Now, this is of course an extreme and arguably bizarre chumra. But it should be noted that it is based on actual incidents, and that this concern does not arise with machine matzos, only with handmade matzos. Thus, handmade is not always better.

There are, however, other concerns with machine made matzos. In particular, there is a question about whether machine matzos satisfy the requirement of being made with intent. There is no need to get into all the intricacies of that here; suffice it to note that there have been great rabbinic authorities on both sides of this dispute. Rav Yisroel Yaakov Fisher, for example, head of the Badatz Eidah Charedis, wrote that people should be scrupulous and only eat machine matzos, due to the absence of risk of human error. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ate machine matzos his entire life.

Now let us turn to Rabbi Hoffman's claim that "it would be proper, if possible to fulfill this Mitzvah in the manner that our forefathers have done and in a manner acceptable to most authorities." Let us first deal with the first part of his claim. Rabbi Hoffman's recommendation that a person should do what his forefathers have done appears to be recommending that people ignore family custom in favor of earlier historical practice. But is it not very problematic to tell people to ignore family minhag? And if he is recommending that people should do what our forefathers did in antiquity, does this mean that everyone should also eat soft matzah, and lettuce rather than horseradish for maror? (And that's just the tip of the iceberg!)

As for the notion of fulfilling a mitzvah "in a manner acceptable to most authorities" - this is really something that needs to be dealt with in a post on its own, analyzing whether halachah is about dealing with a metaphysical reality or following a correct decision-making process. For now, I will just note the following. If one does not have a particular family custom, or a rav to follow, then following the majority is one option - but another is to research the issue and form one's own conclusion. It's not as though hand made matzah is necessarily advantageous - as discussed above, some authorities feel that machine matzah is superior, while others feels that it is, at the very least, perfectly acceptable. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, who was considered one of the most significant halachic authorities of the generation, used machine matzos! And if one has a particular family minhag in this area, one should surely not abandon this merely in order to follow a majority of authorities (if it even is a majority of authorities), nor should one abandon it in order to adopt the historical practice of those who lived before machines had been invented. As I noted in my post Seder Historical Realities vs. Seder "Traditions," the living tradition is very significant, especially on Pesach. Dissuading people from following their traditions is not something to be done lightly.

(And while we're on the topic of doing mitzvos in the best possible way... the best way of giving tzedakah is to help people towards not needing tzedakah any more. Lemaan Achai is a local charity that excels at this. You can also fulfill the mitzvah of kimche d'Pischa with Lemaan Achai, via scrolling down at this link.)

Sources: Meir Hildesheimer and Yehoshua Liebermann, "The Controversy Surrounding Machine-made Matzot: Halakhic, Social, and Economic Repercussions," HUCA Vol. 75 (2004), pp. 193-262

The Two minute Hagaddah for those with little patience

Next year?

Now you know why I went to the Samartian Sacrifice instead of trying it myself

I like my freedom.

Police detained seven Jewish men suspected of planning to sacrifice goats in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday in honor of the Passover holiday, which begins at sundown.

Two of the young men were picked up on Friday morning on their way to carry out the sacrifice, but were stopped by police before they could do so. Upon their arrest, police spotted a second goat that had been left unattended, which they later connected to a third suspect who was subsequently detained.

Just a few hours later, officers picked up another four people — all minors — who had a third goat they intended to sacrifice, police said.

The charge against the seven suspects was "disturbing the peace," a police spokesperson said.

In ancient times, Jews used to sacrifice a lamb on Passover Eve and eat it as part of the traditional seder meal. Nearly all Jews forego this ritual today. However, members of the Samaritan religion still carry out this practice.
Samaritan priests insert skewered Passover sacrifices into an underground oven during the Samaritan Passover ritual on Mount Grizim, near the West Bank town of Nablus, on April 20, 2016. (Yaniv Nadav/FLASH90)

Samaritan priests insert skewered Passover sacrifices into an underground oven during the Samaritan Passover ritual on Mount Grizim, near the West Bank town of Nablus, on April 20, 2016. (Yaniv Nadav/Flash90)

The three goats confiscated by police on Friday were unharmed and have been handed over to the municipality's animal control department, the police said.

Authorities had banned several right-wing activists from entering Jerusalem during the Passover holiday, which begins Friday evening, citing information they intended to carry out sacrificial rituals on the Temple Mount.

"The police are working and will continue to work with determination against any attempt to disturb the public peace and security, without favoritism," the Jerusalem police said.

"We expect the public discourse during the holiday period to display tolerance and mutual respect," the spokesperson added.

Two members of a group called "Return to the Temple Mount," which advocates the construction of a Third Temple, have been barred from the city for the duration of the holiday. Members of the group had reportedly planned to carry out a ritual slaughter of a sacrificial animal at the site, as was customary on Passover in ancient times.

Jewish visits to the Temple Mount are allowed by agreement between Israel and the Jordanian custodians of the site, but worship at the site is forbidden.
An Israeli policeman patrols the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, October 21, 2015. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90, File)

An Israeli policeman patrols the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, October 21, 2015. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90, File)

The Temple Mount has been at the center of months-long tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, who fear a growing Jewish presence at the site that is also home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel is concerned that Jewish visits during the week-long Passover holiday to the Mount could trigger further Palestinian unrest.

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich on Sunday announced a renewed open-ended ban on Israeli lawmakers visiting the flashpoint location.

The directive was issued in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Alsheich wrote: "In light of attempts by many extremist elements from both sides to create provocations… I surmise that at this time, ascent to the Temple Mount by Knesset members is likely to result in an exacerbation of tensions and an escalation of incidents that would cause a real endangerment of the security of the state."

Netanyahu warned last week that "extremist elements" were attempting to sow unrest in Jerusalem and other areas in efforts to renew violence between Israelis and Palestinians ahead of the Passover holiday.

The prime minister said security forces would increase their readiness to counter those attempts amid a wave of Palestinian attacks that began more than six months ago and has lately been ebbing.

Israel also closed off the West Bank at midnight on Thursday night, amid fears of attacks by the Hamas terror group during the holiday. The Islamist terror organization was behind Monday's suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus that wounded 20 people. The closure is to last until Saturday night.