Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bad News about Grandpa and Shavuot starts tonight and for two days out of Israel

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Reasses your values

Low self-image usually forms at an early age. A person might have had excessively critical parents or teachers, failed to get along well with other children, or received low marks in school.

Though this attitude was formed long ago, the only reason it lasts in the present is because a person now keeps repeating it to himself. Yet he has the ability to tell himself, "In the past I may have judged myself to be inferior, but I will now think for myself and appreciate my true value."

Being aware of the source of poor self-image makes it easier to challenge the assumptions upon which it is based. It is possible that while you had certain faults in the past, you presently are learning to overcome them.

Or, perhaps the people who judge you unfavorably were using a yardstick that you do not presently accept. For example, in school a student is usually judged by the marks he receives on tests. Some students with low grades worked hard to understand, and more importantly may have internalized the concepts and practiced them to a greater degree than others who received higher grades. As a child, the diligent student with poor grades might have felt inferior, but as an adult he has the ability to appreciate how he may have really accomplished more.

Love Yehuda Lave

Shavuot tonight and for two days out of Israel

What is Shavuot?

Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) commemorates the revelation of the Torah on Mt. Sinai to the Jewish people, and occurs on the 50th day after the 49 days of counting the Omer. Shavuot is one of the three biblically based pilgrimage holidays known as the shalosh regalim. It is associated with the grain harvest in the Torah.

How is Shavuot celebrated?

Shavuot is observed by abstaining from work and attending synagogue services. A few special readings are recited: a liturgical poem called Akdamut, which emphasizes the greatness of God; the Book of Ruth, because the story highlights one woman's choice to join the Jewish people and accept the Torah; and the Ten Commandments, in honor of the revelation of the Torah. It is also customary to study Torah all night; this practice is called Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

What kinds of foods are eaten on Shavuot?

Traditional holiday meals on Shavuot center around dairy foods. Milk is considered to be a symbol of the Torah, which nourishes the people directly, as milk does for a baby. Popular Shavuot foods include cheesecake, blintzes, and kugels. Some Sephardic Jews make a seven-layered bread called siete cielos (seven heavens), which is supposed to represent Mt. Sinai.

What is the proper greeting for Shavuot?

The greeting for Shavuot is simply "Chag Sameach!" (Happy Holiday).

When is Shavuot?

Shavuot is observed on the 6th in Israel and the 6th and  7th of the month of Sivan out of Israel


Trump makes history as first US president to visit Western Wall US president prays at Church of Holy Sepulchre before visiting Jewish holy site, slipping a prayer note into its stones

The Deep Meaning of Creation

Rabbi Yedidya Noiman Rosh Kollel, Montreal

The Deep Meaning of Creation

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (97b) teaches us the special importance of the reception of the Torah (Matan Torah). 'Tana DeVei Eliyahu: The world will exist 6000 years- two thousand of chaos, two thousand of Torah and two thousand of Mashiach'. It seems that in this statement Chazal revealed an important idea about the Torah.

One could see the Torah as an external addition to our world. We all have our natural and good lives and then comes the Torah and limits us with rules and restrictions. This kind of Torah will cause a very bad feeling. Nobody wants to feel pressured or forced into a penalty box concept. There is no reason for one to willingly shrink himself into a system that only burdens him.

That is why the Gemara above can revolutionize the way we understand our life and our connection to the Torah. The Gemara teaches us that the Torah isn't an additional application to an already perfect world that we are supposed to embrace. The opposite is correct - without the Torah the world is in chaos. Only after we receive the Torah can the world become balanced and secure. The Torah is the true and inner purpose of the world and only after receiving it can we start to walk on that natural path. Now we can relate to the Torah on a different note. The Torah is the deep tempo and power of the world. By connecting to it we connect to our simple and natural existence which is usually hidden within the chaos of our minds.

The Maharal said that the Torah is 'Seder Haolam', the order of the world. The Torah is what connects and organizes all the different components of the creation into one defined harmony. The Torah is what gathers everything to one holistic unity and without it the whole world will split apart to a big chaotic mess.

If we take one step further we can say that Matan Torah is the moment our relationship with Hashem and his Torah changed forever. From that moment on the world can finally learn about and understand the purpose of the creation. By learning and practicing the Torah and the mitzvot we can get a better understanding and even become partners in the tremendous mission of the world.

Fulfilling Hashem's will in the world is now possible, since we have something that expresses his will perfectly - the Torah. That might be the deep explanation to a very interesting Midrash in our Parasha. Chazal said that interprets the word 'אנכי'  from the first commandment as an acronym in Aramaic meaning 'אנא נפשי כתבית יהבית' meaning:  I, G-d  have written my soul and gave it to you.

When dealing with the Torah we are dealing with pure Godliness and this attitude should reflect on the way we approach it. The term 'Torah Lishma' comes from that understanding; that one should deal with the Torah only from a free-interest approach. No intrigues can be involved and when learning one should focus only on the sake of revealing Hashem's name in this world and fulfilling His will.

This is the essence of Shavuot - understanding the critical turning point of Matan Torah. Now that we received the Torah we can finally relate and connect to Hashem, and therefore we shall treat the Torah in that manner by seeking to connect to Hashem's will whenever we learn or practice it.


US Senator Ted Cruz Calls for Recognition of Jerusalem as Eternal, Undivided Capital of Israel [video]


"In 2006, at the age of 92, Stanley Goldfoot passed away. Stanley Goldfoot was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 1932, at the age of 18, he headed for Palestine where he joined a HaShomer HaTzair kibbutz. After the rebirth of the Jewish State of Israel his main goal, which he eventually realized, was to establish a Zionist English newspaper, "The Times of Israel." In the first issue of "The Times of Israel", in 1969, Goldfoot wrote his famous "Letter to the World from Jerusalem." The article is still remarkably relevant, so I thought I'd share it with you.  It's the thoughts of only one man but, as I read it, it occurred to me that, in many ways, it represents  the pleas of an entire nation – a people with one small desire: "to be a free people in our land".




Here is the Full Text: Stanley Goldfoot

"I am not a creature from another planet, as you seem to believe. I am >> a Jerusalemite-like yourselves, a man of flesh and blood. I am a citizen of my city, an integral part of my people. I have a few things to get off my chest. Because I am not a diplomat, I do not have to mince words. I do not have to please you or even persuade you.

I owe you nothing. You did not build this city, you did not live in it, you did not defend it when they came to destroy it. And we will be damned if we will let you take it away. There was a Jerusalem before there was a New York . When Berlin , Moscow , London , and Paris were miasmal forest and swamp, there was a thriving Jewish community here. It gave something to the world which you nations have rejected ever since you established yourselves- a humane moral code.

Here the prophets walked, their words flashing like forked lightning. Here a people who wanted nothing more than to be left alone, fought off waves of heathen would-be conquerors, bled and died on the battlements, hurled themselves into the flames of their burning Temple rather than surrender, and when finally overwhelmed by sheer numbers and led away into captivity, swore that before they forgot Jerusalem, they would see their tongues cleave to their palates, their right arms whither.

For two pain-filled millennia, while we were your unwelcome guests, we prayed daily to return to this city. Three times a day we petitioned the Almighty: "Gather us from the four corners of the world, bring us upright to our land, return in mercy to Jerusalem, Thy city, and swell in it as Thou promised." On every Yom Kippur and Passover, we fervently voiced the hope that next year would find us in Jerusalem.

Your inquisitions, pogroms, expulsions, the ghettos into which you jammed us, your forced baptisms, your quota systems, your genteel anti-Semitism, and the final unspeakable horror, the holocaust (and worse, your terrifying disinterest in it)- all these have not broken us. They may have sapped what little moral strength you still possessed, but they forged us into steel. Do you think that you can break us now after all we have been through? Do you really believe that after Dachau and Auschwitz we are frightened by your threats of blockades and sanctions? We have been to Hell and back- a Hell of your making. What more could you possibly have in your arsenal that could scare us?

I have watched this city bombarded twice by nations calling themselves civilized. In 1948, while you looked on apathetically, I saw women and children blown to smithereens, after we agreed to your request to internationalize the city. It was a deadly combination that did the job- British officers, Arab gunners, and American-made cannon. And then the savage sacking of the Old City-the willful slaughter, the wanton destruction of every synagogue and religious school, the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the sale by a ghoulish government of tombstones for building materials, for poultry runs, army camps, even latrines.

And you never said a word.

You never breathed the slightest protest when the Jordanians shut off the holiest of our places, the Western Wall, in violation of the pledges they had made after the war- a war they waged, incidentally, against the decision of the UN. Not a murmur came from you whenever the legionnaires in their spiked helmets casually opened fire upon our citizens from behind the walls.

Your hearts bled when Berlin came under siege. You rushed your airlift 'to save the gallant Berliners'. But you did not send one ounce of food when Jews starved in besieged Jerusalem . You thundered against the wall which the East Germans ran through the middle of the German capital- but not one peep out of you about that other wall, the one that tore through the heart of Jerusalem . And when that same thing happened 20 years later, and the Arabs unleashed a savage, unprovoked bombardment of the Holy City again, did any of you do anything?

The only time you came to life was when the city was at last reunited. Then you wrung your hands and spoke loftily of 'justice' and need for the 'Christian' quality of turning the other cheek.

The truth- and you know it deep inside your gut – you would prefer the city to be destroyed rather than have it governed by Jews. No matter how diplomatically you phrase it, the age old prejudices seep out of every word.

If our return to the city has tied your theology in knots, perhaps you had better reexamine your catechisms. After what we have been through, we are not passively going to accommodate ourselves to the twisted idea that we are to suffer eternal homelessness until we accept your savior.

For the first time since the year 70, there is now complete religious freedom for all in Jerusalem. For the first time since the Romans put a torch to the Temple, everyone has equal rights (You prefer to have some more equal than others.) We loathe the sword- but it was you who forced us to take it up. We crave peace, but we are not going back to the peace of 1948 as you would like us to.

We are home. It has a lovely sound for a nation you have willed to wander over the face of the globe. We are not leaving. We are redeeming the pledge made by our forefathers: Jerusalem is being rebuilt. 'Next year' and the year after, and after, and after, until the end of time- 'in Jerusalem '!"

Stanley Goldfoot

See you tomorrow

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Jewish Reincarnation and information for the all night learning classes for  Shavuot that starts Tuesday night

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Visiting The Ill

When you visit someone who is ill, you could be doing that person a great service: maybe even save that person's life. You can give hope and encouragement or help with practical matters, that they could not do on their own. You might be able to find out that this person needs the type of medical attention that he would not be able to receive on his own, or he might not have realized that he needed to do more than he is doing.

Go out of your way to find people who are ill, who would greatly appreciate your visit. If you cannot visit someone in person, call him up and wish him well, or write and let him know that you are thinking about him and care about his welfare.

The main two ways that G-d interacts with us are hidden these days, becasue we think that G-d is not behind the scenes. They are Pernusa (making a living) and Relationships with your spouse, children and everyone else in your life. G-d ultimatly chooses what is best for us, but one has to do one's best to help G-d out

Love Yehuda Lave


Jewish Reincarnation

   What happens when a Jew dies? Is that the end for him, or do things still go on? Why am I me with my skills and weaknesses and not someone else with theirs? Did I do something that made me as I am? Is there something we were sent here to do? 

All-night Torah study

The practice of staying up all Shavuot night to study Torah – known as Tikkun Leil Shavuot (Hebrew: תקון ליל שבועות‎‎) – has its source in the Midrash, which relates that the night before the Torah was given, the Israelites retired early to be well-rested for the momentous day ahead. They overslept and Moses had to wake them up because God was already waiting on the mountaintop.[21] To rectify this perceived flaw in the national character, many religious Jews stay up all night to learn Torah.[22]

The custom of all-night Torah study goes back to 1533 when Rabbi Joseph Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch, then living in Ottoman Salonika, invited Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz and other Kabbalistic colleagues to hold Shavuot-night study vigils for which they prepared for three days in advance, just as the Israelites had prepared for three days before the giving of the Torah. During one of those study sessions, an angel appeared and taught them Jewish law.[23][24][25]

The mass-consumption of coffee in the Ottoman empire is thought to be one factor in the emergence of the practice of all-night Torah study on Shavuot.[26][27]

Any subject may be studied on Shavuot night, although Talmud, Mishnah, and Torah typically top the list. People may learn alone or with a chavruta (study partner), or attend late-night shiurim (lectures) and study groups.[28]

In Jerusalem, tens of thousands of people finish off the nighttime study session by walking to the Western Wall before dawn and joining the sunrise minyan there.[28][29][30][31] This practice began in 1967. One week before Shavuot of that year, the Israeli army recaptured the Old City in the Six-Day War, and on Shavuot day, the army opened the Western Wall to visitors. Over 200,000 Jews came to see and pray at the site that had been off-limits to them since 1948. The custom of walking to the Western Wall on Shavuot has continued every year since.[28][29][30][32]

Tikkun Leil Shavuot


  Published May 21, 2017

Shavuot @ the OU Israel Center
TUE, May 30 • Erev Yom Tov • Candle lighting – 7:04pm (J'lem)
7:15pm – MINCHA followed by Shiur by Rabbi Sprecher
Ruth's Field of Dreams
8:15pm – Yom Tov Maariv
Festive (meat) meal – advanced reservations only
130/140₪ per person – Call Ita Rochel 560-9125 to reserve
11:00pm Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Poupko
Matan Torah in Major and Minor
12:00am Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
Torah Min Hashayim, the 8th Ani Maamin. What exactly
do we believe when we believe in Torah min hashamayim?
1:00am Rabbi Neil Winkler
Shavuot – It's all in the Timing
2:00am Rabbi Chanoch Yeres
Angels arguing with HaShem and man
3:00am Rabbi Sam Shor
how Sweet It Is, Cheesecake, Eretz Yisrael and Birkat HaTorah
Refreshments throughout the night
Walk to Kotel (4:00am) or mini-shiur followed by Vatikin Davening at the OU
Israel Center – Megilat Ruth (4:45am)
Remember: All are welcome to Davening & Shiurim
Advanced registration REQUIRED for Leil Shavuot dinner at 02:5609100
Shiur on Yom Tov day (Wednesday, 5:00pm)
by Rabbi Sprecher Mitzvot – Supremecy of Divine Reason

Hanassi Shavout Program

Tikun Leil Shavuot – 5 Lectures הרצאות 5 :שבועות ליל תיקון

Speaker Time Topic R' Eitiel Goldwicht 12:00 AM Understanding Shavuot

R' Ephraim Sprecher 1:00 AM Gilgul (Reincarnation) – Do We Choose Our Parents?

R' Moshe Jablon 2:00 AM The Chagim; What's in a Name?

R' Hillel Davis 3:00 AM Politics and Prayer

R' Ari Wasserman 4:00 AM Lifnei Iver (placing a stumbling block before the blind)

– 3 Case Studies יום רביעי – ו' סיון SHAVUOT –

31 May – WEDNESDAY Vatikin Shacharit 5:05 AM ותיקין שחרית נץ החמה- מגילת רות - יזכור Yizkor & Ruth Megilat – Sunrise Shacharit –

Regular Minyan – Megilat Ruth 8:30 AM רות מגילת- קבוע מנין – שחרית - Yizkor 10:00 AM יזכור- Shacharit Beit Midrash 8:45 AM המדרש בבית מנין - שחרית Mincha 7:25 PM מנחה Maariv 8:12 PM ערבית Yom Tov ends 8:20 PM טוב יום מוצי מנין בימות החול MINYAN

Tikun Leil Shavuot in Yemin Moshe.

This is a pdf for the program at

For the first time in Jerusalem Beit Knesset Beit Yisrael in partnership with Tzohar is delighted to invite you to


Hazvi Yisrael Synagogue (Hovevei)


SHIUR IN ENGLISH (Mishkan Daniel)

11:00 - 11:50 The Secret World of Akdamot

Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf



11:00-11:50 Sugiyot Hilchatiyot Bitcheelat HaChayim

Harav Professor Avraham Steinberg - Israel Prize Laureate


12:00-12:50 Ki Mitzion Tetze Torah u'dvar Hashem Miyrushslayim
Harav Aryeh Stern - Harav Harashi L'yerushalyim


1:00 - 1:50 Ma Be' emet Shamu B'Har SInai

Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Woolf


2:00 - 2:50 Harigah O Hatzalat Mechabel Mnutral Bre'i Hahalacha
Harav Avigdor Burstein


3:00 - 3:50  Morasha Kehillat Yaakov
Harav Golan Aluf - Rav Bet Haknesset Yisa Bracha (HaMetivta)


4:00-4:45 Beyn Maamad Har Sinai L'avodat Kohen Gadol Byom Hakippur

Shaked Bar-Shai, grandson of Yaakov Ne'eman Z"L


Chavruta learning can be done in Mishkan Daniel.


Shacharit will be at 5:00 AM preceded by the reading of Megillat Ruth at 4:50 AM (Mishkan Daniel)

RED-EYE CLASSES ALL-NIGHT LEARNING You are cordially invited to join us for our All-Night learning program, on the eve of Shavuot, TUESDAY, MAY 30, at the Chabad Center of Rechavia, 8 Ramban Street.


12:00am-1:00am: Rabbi Dr. Alon Silberg "How to teach Torah even if you don't know anything!"

1:00am-2:00am: Rabbi Mishael Vardi "Chametz on Shavuot?"

2:00am-3:00am: Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg "Out-dated Dating"

3:00am-4:00am: Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg "Kosher Pig When Moshiach Comes?"


Breaking News: The Secret Transcripts of the Six-Day War, Part I

Newly unsealed classified documents reveal: Jerusalem conquered almost by accident; Israel's National Religious Party, forerunner to the settler movement, lobbied for military de-escalation at every turn; and nobody in Israel's security cabinet seems to have seen the country's most momentous war coming.

By Yaacov Lozowick

The Six-Day War was run by a committee. A highly classified committee, whose transcripts have never been seen for 50 years. Until now: here they are.

Israel has no commander-in-chief. The military is subordinate to the cabinet, where each minister, prime minister included, has one vote. Often the cabinet sets up a smaller committee called the security cabinet (SC), to which it delegates supervising and commanding the military. Facing exceptional decisions, the prime minister may declare that the entire cabinet is the SC. This ensures secrecy, because leaking information from the SC has serious penalties. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol often reminded his colleagues that the very fact that they had met was itself a state secret.

The security cabinet of 1967 appears in these never-published transcripts as a group of serious, professional, and responsible decision-makers. While the ministers brought their worldviews to the table, they often didn't vote on party lines, often did listen to one another, and generally managed to make decisions, albeit slowly and through compromises. These characteristics were not helpful in the maelstrom of the Six-Day War, when the cabinet receded in the face of its two most enigmatic members: Levi Eshkol, who can be read either as a weak figure or a master manipulator; and Moshe Dayan, who comes across as an arrogant but talented prima donna.


The SC met irregularly 36 times between January and July 1967. Three meetings took place in the final 24 hours of the war, then three meetings in two days about what to do with the new territories. There were five meetings in January, but only one in March. The ministers, being politicians, tended toward wordiness; the 935 pages of the transcripts reflect some 100 hours of talk.

The very point of their committee was to manage Israel's military challenges. Yet none of the ministers saw the approaching war until it was almost upon them; not a single one of them foresaw its outcome. Between January and mid-May 1967, the meetings focused on Syria. Between May 15 and June 4, the SC strove to comprehend the significance of unfolding events in Egypt. During the six days of June 5-10 it tried to remain in control of events, with only middling success. On June 11, 1967, having had exactly no time at all to prepare, they had to decide what Israel should do with its astonishing new borders. After the war, there were intense discussions about what it all meant, which will be covered in Part II of this essay. In spite of fundamental differences of perspective, ideology, and character, the ministers listened to each other and followed developments with minds open enough that outcomes of deliberations were not foretold.

There were two hawks: Yisrael Galili and Yigal Allon. The then-56-year-old Galili is probably the most powerful Israeli politician you've never heard of; indeed, few Israelis in 2017 remember him. A former leader of the Haganah, he had scant patience for restraint when faced with Syrian fire at Israeli farmers along the border:

I think that not to respond to tank shells is beyond what we can endure, especially as we've already tried it. We once didn't respond, and that may have encouraged them to try again. If the logic of not responding is that it will create mutual calm along the border, we can save a lot of effort. Sadly, that message hasn't proved compelling over the years… I don't wish for any flare-ups on the northern border. Yet over the years when we've been slack, we've later been required to pay with blood. When we respond to fire with fire, we've gained control over fields, and we haven't when we held back. (Jan. 3) It's elementary. One can't not shoot back. … If they intend to broaden their fire along the whole line, how will our not responding thwart that intention? If they don't intend to expand the front, we certainly need to respond where they shoot at us. (Jan. 7)

Allon, 49, had been the commander of the Palmach and a general. Like Galili, he was a member of Achdut Ha'avoda, the right-wing faction of the governing Alignment (Labor) party:

We must stop assuming the Syrians think the way we think. They interpret our actions differently than the way we'd like them to, and thus we put our people in dangerous situations. … We're in topographical inferiority on the border with Syria, and the forced terms of the armistice agreement are bad for us. There are demilitarized sections, but even where we're limited in deploying weapons, they're still our sovereign territory. We can't allow the Syrians to penetrate our territories, demilitarized or not. We can't refrain from using our own territory. We stopped cultivating our own fields for a month or two or even more because Chief of Staff [of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization] Bull asked for time to try and reach an agreement with the Syrians. We gave him that; no one can say we didn't. He failed. Today we allow Syrian shepherds to enter the demilitarized areas, tomorrow they'll enter the non-demilitarized areas, and pretty soon we won't be able to build on our own territory. The longer we don't respond, the more insolent the Syrian wildcat will become. That's how he understands our lack of response. Today he shot at one of our tractors driving on an important local road far from any demilitarized area. People are raising their children there, and the Syrians won't let them lead their lives. The more misguided moderation we show, the harsher we'll need to be later. (Jan. 9, 1967)

Allon complained the SC was micromanaging the generals: It's not every day that we're called upon to take the Old City of Jerusalem or the West Bank, which really aren't decisions for the generals. To which Moshe Haim Shapira, 65, responded sharply:

Micromanaging the military is precisely what this group is for. The people here are supposed to be cool-headed, not trigger-happy. We're precisely supposed to hold back.

Shapira is one of the surprises of the transcripts. The minister of the interior, he was the leader of the National Religious Party—which, within a few years (and after his death), was to become the political home and launching pad of the settlers' movement. In 1967, he was one of the two whitest of doves in the SC.

Take the meeting of Jan. 12, at which the IDF, exasperated at the unrelenting attacks of the Syrians, requested permission to escalate its responses. Shapira would have none of it:

I understand we have a new proposal before us. We're escalating. There are greater experts here than I, but so far we've been responding to fire with fire. They used tanks, we responded with tanks. We've said if they hit our villages we'd respond with tanks, but since our tanks aren't effective against their artillery, we've got no choice but to use planes to protect the civilians. The chief of staff says they're likely to drive us crazy. I think our neighbors drive us crazy even without shooting. That's the fate of our country, surrounded by enemies. So far, we've always said we could justify using our air force to protect our civilians. To change our policy and use planes [against Syrian military targets which aren't shooting at villages], that might lead to war. I can't accept that… I understand when the chief of staff tells how hard it is to live in a state of constant vigilance and high alert. Well, I say it's better to be on high alert than at war.

Shapira also announced that the SC didn't have the authority to escalate. For that, it had to be the full cabinet, and he would report to his party, and the decision ought to be presented to the Knesset. The second white dove, Health Minister Yisrael Barzilai, 52, of the left-wing Mapam party, jumped at the suggestion. We too need to talk to our party leaders, he said, effectively blocking the proposal.

Barzilai could be even more dovish than Shapira in that he was occasionally skeptical about the sincerity of the hawks. On April 7, Syrian artillery shelled Israeli farmers, the Israelis responded with planes, and in the ensuing melee, six Syrian aircraft were shot down. Barzilai was furious:

Last week I objected to our cultivating fields which the United Nations has designated as problematic, especially when doing so will attract Syrian fire and escalation will be inevitable. I cannot escape the impression we provoked this. We were discussing the matter here in the committee, and it seems to me someone pre-empted our decision. Perhaps I'm wrong, and if so, prove it. If I'm right, this was a serious lapse in our decision-making process. (April 9)

The diversity of opinion within the SC over Syria was on clear display on April 11, 1967, four days after the downing of the six enemy aircraft. Lt. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, 45, the chief of staff and a frequent participant in the meetings saw an opportunity to assert Israel's sovereignty over 150 acres of land near Kibbutz Almagor, an area not cultivated since independence. It was soon clear that it wasn't only the doves who were wary, it was also centrists such as Education Minister Zalman Aran, 68, Tourism Minister Moshe Kol, 56, and Minister of Religious Affairs Zerach Wahrhaftig, 61.

Perhaps surprised by the emerging resistance to what he had thought would be an easy sale, Levi Eshkol, 71, prime minister and minister of defense, uncharacteristically took a decisive position. Rejecting the position that because Israel had so far voluntarily refrained from cultivating the section for many years and could continue refraining, he fumed:

We were in exile 2,000 years, and then there was struggle and a war. I can't forget the outcry when we had to relinquish 2.5 dunam (less than an acre) near Jerusalem. How will we justify relinquishing 600 dunam here? And why not refrain from insisting on cultivating all the other fields where the Syrians shoot at us? What if we'd brought that question to this table? Would you have said we should wait, the Syrians have been humiliated, we need to give them time? If not now, when? If we don't act now, we'll regret it for generations.

Eshkol's passion failed to convince. Fearing they were on the cusp of a major decision, some of the ministers demanded the discussion be moved to the full cabinet. In an evening session, the full cabinet was just as skeptical. Zalman Aran of Eshkol's Mapai faction summed up his hesitation:

I fear we're at a crossroads. Since this morning we've seen that the Syrians are not in such a state of shock that they've stopped shooting at our farmers. Perhaps they're planning something with the Egyptians; we need to take that into account. If we decide to use the air force to defend the cultivation of those 600 dunams, we need to be prepared for a broader campaign. Perhaps it will be discussed at the UN Security Council. Are we prepared to be in a broader campaign? My heart inclines against. Yet there's still the matter of our ability to cultivate fields on our own territory. Are we prepared to continue with the status quo? I need more time to think about this, and request that there be no decision this evening.


Larger events were soon to overtake two decades of violence on the Syrian border. On May 14, Israel's 19th Independence Day, Egypt began loudly and publicly to move troops through Cairo and into Sinai. On the 16th, the full cabinet convened for its weekly meeting, and Eshkol reported on the developments. Asked if the IDF was taking precautionary measures he answered laconically that it was, and moved on to the next items on the agenda: a report about an official visit to Poland by a junior minister, and proposals about how to streamline the civil service. The SC first discussed the matter the next day, and while the descriptions of the military preparations were better than in the full cabinet, on this third day of the crisis, no one seems to have seen a war coming. The Egyptians were assumed to be putting on a show.

The tone changed on May 21. Egyptian President Gamal Nasser had asked UN Secretary General U-Thant to move the UN troops in Sinai (UNEF), and U-Thant, astonishingly, removed them completely. The main achievement of the 1956 campaign had vanished overnight. Most of the meeting was dedicated to updates from Rabin, Foreign Minister Abba Eban, 52, and Eshkol. Given the gravity of the situation, it was decided to discuss the implications in the full cabinet sitting as the SC.

Yet even as the discussion was being postponed, both Galili the hawk and Shapira the dove said they understood Israel to be facing war. Shapira was resigned, saying the Egyptian actions wouldn't be reversible without war. Galili's position was sharper: War had already started. What he wanted to know was how the air force could assure that it would knock out Egypt's air force before it was itself attacked. Three weeks before the historic attack on Egypt's air force, the key Israeli move of the Six-Day War was already on the table.

The second SC meeting on May 21 included all the ministers, and almost all of them gave short speeches. Eshkol summed up with weary resignation: We're preparing. We can't acquire additional weapons, not now. We're being careful on the borders. We're in touch with the Americans. We've called up some of the reserves but not all. We'll hope for the best. The discussion ended with a resolution that the IAF would respond with full force to any attack on its bases—as if two cabinet meetings had been necessary for that.

By the meeting on May 23, Egypt had blocked the Tiran Straights, stopping Israeli trade with Asia. The ministers all agreed this was likely to lead to war, but most of them, including Rabin, who, as a general, had no vote, accepted the importance of convincing the Americans that Israel wasn't rushing to war. Maj. Gen. Ezer Weitzman, 43, head of operations and previously commander of the IAF, explained that while the opportunity for strategic surprise had passed, the air force was still confident it could achieve tactical surprise when needed. As there was an American request to allow 48 hours for diplomacy, the ministers decided to refrain from military action.

But by May 26, the members of the SC felt trapped. The Egyptians were digging in and reinforcing. Rabin reported evidence of their intent to attack. Jordan was about to join Egypt. Most of the IDF reserves had been mobilized, and the economy could not afford them to stay mobilized for long. There was no realistic prospect of Israel acquiring additional weapons. Yet everyone understood they had no choice but to wait for Abba Eban to return with his reports from Europe and the U.S. So they discussed the possibility of broadening the coalition by creating a national unity government. Expecting a long and bloody war, they sought political consensus.

On Saturday night, May 27, the entire cabinet sitting as the SC deliberated almost until dawn. Abba Eban arrived after 10 p.m. from the airport, gave his report, left to report to the Knesset Committee of Foreign and Security Affairs, then returned to find the ministers still agonizing. Key world leaders were all demanding Israel not attack; the ministers all knew war was inevitable but couldn't agree on a course of action. If we attack first, what will the international cost be? If we're hit first, how many lives will we pay with? (Many thousands, they expected). If we wait, what do we gain? At what cost? If we don't wait—at what cost?

June 1 saw two meetings: one of the SC, the second of the full cabinet. Menachem Begin and Moshe Dayan joined this meeting as MKs because they had not yet been sworn in as ministers. At half past midnight on June 2, Eshkol sent everyone to bed: "We're all exhausted. We've been deliberating all day. Tomorrow morning I'll introduce you all to the general staff. You need to hear what the generals have to say."


The morning of June 2, 1967, saw one of the most unusual meetings in the annals of the security cabinet: The entire cabinet convened in the IDF headquarters to meet the entire general staff.

Aharon Yariv, 46, head of intelligence, began: We see no military advantages in further waiting, and considerable danger. The Arab armies are continuing to dig in, prepare, and acquire further arms. We have no potential for re-arming. Rabin: The coordination among the Arab armies is growing. They are emboldened by our inaction. Mordechai Hod, 41, head of the air force: We will do our job under any conditions, but each 24-hour-delay raises the potential price we may have to pay. Yishayahu Gavish, 42, commander of the southern front: Here's a map of Egyptian forces on May 22. Here's what they had last week. And here's what they have today. Additional [Egyptian] forces are on their way from Yemen. They get stronger every day. (Gavish is the only person in these transcripts who is still alive, at 92.) Reserve Division Cmdr. Avraham Yoffe, 54: I've been in the Negev with my troops for 14 days. We must wrest the initiative from the Egyptians! Division Cmdr. Ariel Sharon, 39: We're ready, and we'll destroy the Egyptian army. There will be casualties, but we must do the job. Begging other nations to save us won't work. Waiting for hypothetical additional arms isn't necessary. We will do the job. Quartermaster Matti Peled, 43: What are we waiting for? Tell us: What are we waiting for?

And still, the cabinet hesitated. There was another inconclusive meeting on June 4. Then, in the afternoon of June 4, the full cabinet convened as the security cabinet for what was to be the fateful meeting. Gen. Yariv described the further deterioration of the situation. Jordan's army had been put under Egyptian command. Iraqi forces moving into Jordan. Ever more Egyptian forces in Sinai, with some commando units seemingly preparing to attack, and so on. Abba Eban described American efforts to break the naval blockade, but noted they would require a week or more to be effective and were irrelevant to the full scope of Arab military preparations.

One after another, each of the ministers had his say. All agreed war was inevitable. Most tried to justify the waiting period, hoping Israel had gained credibility in the eyes of the world. Haim Gvati (66, Mapai) gently mocked his hesitant colleagues: "I'm surprised by those who think the great powers will ever, ever say to us that the time has come and we can attack our enemies. They never will."

The argument went on for a few hours. At the end, Shapira and Barzilai's common front was broken. Barzilai and fellow Mapam minister Mordechai Bentov, 67, still felt Israel should inform the great powers that Israel's patience was at its very end; Shapira had joined all the others in accepting that time had run out.

The cabinet directed the IDF to break the Arab choke ring and authorized Eshkol and Dayan to determine the precise details. War had seemed inevitable for many days; now it was immediate.


Over the next six days of war, the SC met seven times. Yet it was no longer really in control of events. Back in February it had debated the precise caliber of the weapons used to respond to Syrian fire; now it was mostly delegated to the back seat, allowed the appearance of deliberation while others created facts.

The first meeting of the war was in the evening of June 6, more than 30 hours into the campaign. The first 90 minutes of the meeting were simply updates. The Egyptian army was collapsing in Sinai, Gaza had been mostly conquered, chunks of the West Bank had been taken, and the areas to the north and south of the Old City were secured by the IDF. Latrun, site of a series of humiliating defeats in 1948 and the cause of the rerouting of the main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, was in Israeli hands. None of this had been discussed, much less authorized, by the entity that legally commands the military.

The meeting marked the pinnacle of euphoria. Less than two days after fearfully authorizing a military campaign expected to cause thousands of deaths, the ministers could be forgiven a large sigh of relief. Eshkol, normally circumspect and careful, wondered if it might be possible to solve Israel's water problems by taking southern Lebanon till the Litani River. Dayan, flamboyant and erratic, boasted that Israel could reach Cairo if anyone was interested, and would soon take Sharm el-Sheikh and hold it for 300 years. He also told the ministers they needed to talk less as he didn't have time for a long meeting. When Allon and Begin insisted that the Old City be taken immediately before the United Nations might intervene, Dayan explained he didn't want such a decision.

Perhaps the single most important decision in millennia—that the Jews should rule in Jerusalem—was probably made early on June 7 by Moshe Dayan, not by Israel's government. Because the IDF was already advancing deep into the West Bank, the government simply OK'd an advance that had already happened in the heat of battle. The most portentous decision in Israel's history, to control the entire Land of Israel and its Arab population, was made almost in a fit of absent-mindedness.


The final three days of the war saw an intense flurry of meetings. Jordan had accepted the cease-fire, and the war on that front was over. Egypt and Syria hadn't yet, and the major effort was to consolidate IDF control over the Sinai and down to Sharm el-Sheikh. The decision to reach the Suez Canal seems to have been made by Dayan, who spent the first few days explaining why this would be a poor idea, then told the ministers it had already happened.

Most of the deliberations were focused on Syria, which had been shelling Israeli villages all week but was still on the sidelines of the territorial war. At first the IDF didn't have the resources for what seemed likely to be a costly effort parallel to the main theater in Sinai and the unplanned one on the West Bank. As the fighting progressed, the cabinet feared a confrontation with the Soviet Union, which it perceived to be protecting Syria more than Egypt. Yet public pressure was mounting.

On June 8, Eshkol brought in three farmers from villages under Syrian artillery fire who beseeched the ministers to end their local hell: It's not acceptable, they said, that the Syrians drew us all into this mess, yet they'll survive it unharmed.

The ministers, back in their usual cautious mode, were mostly unconvinced. They were willing to see IDF plans for attacking the Syrians, but no more.

The next morning (June 9), Dayan told the ministers he and Eshkol had given the green light for an attack; in the transcript, Eshkol sounds evasive. Shapira was furious: This is not at all what we agreed upon. Everyone else was uncomfortable but unwilling to halt the troops in battle. Barzilai, interestingly, was mostly silent: Some of the kibbutzim under fire were from his political movement.

At the very end of the meeting, it transpired that the units hadn't actually entered Syrian territory—yet—but were poised to do so. But this passed without comment. It was Friday morning.

That evening only five ministers made it to the meeting in Tel Aviv. Because the Syrian artillery was still firing, they hoped the IDF units would reach them before the cease-fire. They did say the IDF shouldn't launch a second attack from the southern Golan, and they recognized there were only hours left to achieve all goals.

Saturday night (June 10) there was another meeting. The IDF had attacked from the south. The Syrian army collapsed, said Dayan, and we had to take advantage of this. Eshkol explained, rather lamely, that "Dayan told me," but he hadn't stopped the advance because he was in favor of it. During the meeting, word arrived that the two IDF columns had met in the center of the Golan. The ministers stood for a moment of silence in honor of the fallen, then drank "l'chaim."



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Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Meir Kahane- Parshat Bechukotai

"If you follow My statutes...I will bring peace in the land...But if you do not listen to Me and carry out all these commands...I will bring on you sudden terror" (Leviticus 26:3-16).
This is the incontrovertible law of the Jewish people, and there is no escaping it. Whether the Jew's future will be bright or bleak, peaceful or horror-filled, depends only on his devotion to his task in this world - bowing his head and subjecting his will to the yoke of heaven.
We find the following in the Talmud regarding the Messiah:

"R. Yehoshua ben Levi raised a contradiction. It says, 'in its time' and it says, 'I will hasten it.'" (He is referring to Isaiah 60:22 - "I, the L-rd, will hasten it in its time" - which is a puzzling verse for how can G-d hasten a redemption that apparently has a set date as implied by the words "its time"?) R. Yehoshua explained: "If the Jews are meritorious, G-d will hasten it. Otherwise, it will be in its time" (Sanhedrin 98a).
In other words, if Israel merits redemption through mitzvot and good deeds worthy of redemption, it will come "in haste" - as in, "Today, if you hearken to His voice" (Psalms 95:7). Otherwise, it will come only "in its time," at the latest time possible, near the end of the sixth millennium.

The Talmud continues:
"R. Yehoshua ben Levi raised a contradiction. It says, 'And behold there came with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man' (Daniel 7:13), and it says, 'Lowly, riding upon an ass' (Zechariah 9:9). [He explained:] If the Jews are meritorious, the Messiah will come 'with the clouds of heaven.' Otherwise, he will be 'lowly, riding upon an ass.'"

Before us, then, is a fundamental principle regarding the future of the Jewish people. Redemption can come in one of two ways. If we are worthy, G-d will hasten it with glory and majesty and without the suffering or Messianic birth-pangs about which both Ula and Rabba said, "Let it come without my seeing it" (Sanhedrin 98b).

If we do not merit this scenario, however, the Messiah will certainly still come, but only later on, "in its time" - and this redemption will be accompanied, G-d forbid, by the terrible sufferings of chevlei Mashiach.

Only the blind fail to see that we are living today in "the footsteps of the Messiah." The Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) states explicitly, "R. Abba said: There is no more revealed sign of the end of days than the prophecy of Ezekiel 36:8: 'But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel for it is near to come.'" (Rashi: "When Eretz Yisrael yields its produce in abundance, the end is near, and no sign of the end of days could be more clear.")

G-d is imploring us, His beloved chosen nation, to accept what He desires to give us. The Messiah is knocking at our door, his footsteps can be heard in the streets, the voice of G-d calls, "Return to Me...and I will return to you" (Zechariah 1:3). Hurry! In glory! At this very moment! "Today, if you hearken to His voice!" (Psalms 95:7).

Yet, if G-d forbid we miss our chance and the moment arrives from which there is no turning back, G-d will bring the last stage of redemption "in its time," with Messianic birth-pangs and tragedies the likes of which we have never known.
G-d warns us, "I will bring them into their enemies' land where their stubborn spirit will be humbled and their sin forgiven" (Leviticus 26:41). The Sifra (Bechukotai 8:5) states:
"This is fitting treatment for Israel. I will not let them say, 'Since we have been exiled among the nations, we will emulate their deeds.' Rather, I will establish My prophets over them, and they will restore them to the proper path under My wing. What source have we for this? 'That which comes into your mind shall never come about...With anger poured out will I be king over you' (Ezekiel 20:32-33). Against your will. Not by pleasant means shall I establish My kingdom over you."

G-d will not allow Israel to remain in the Exile and assimilate. Either they will repent and merit majestic redemption "in haste," or, G-d forbid, He will rule over them angrily, against their will. Israel can leave the Exile either through repentance or against their will, by unpleasant means, through exilic horrors from which they will have to flee - if they can.
"If you follow My statutes...I will bring peace in the land...But if you do not listen to Me and carry out these commands...I will bring on you sudden terror" (Leviticus 26:3-16). This is the choice, the ONLY choice. All the rest is worthless and of no avail. TIME IS RUNNING OUT. THE DECISION IS IN OUR HANDS!
The Jewish Idea
Shabbat Shalom!

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