When you reflect on life, you will see that many of the things that happen to a person are not inherently good or bad. Rather, it is just a matter of how each person chooses to react to a given situation.
Today, think of a problematic aspect of your life, and then try to imagine how life would be different - not if the situation changed, but if your attitude changed.
Attitude is life as Rabbi Amnon learned in the famous prayer that we recite on Rosh Hahanna and again on Yom Kippur coming up on Shabbat.
Love Yehuda Lave
PARASHAT Yom Ha Kippurim, 5778, 2017.
On both days of Rosh HaShana, at Chazarat HaShatz of Mussaf we recited the stirring Piyyut (poem) of U'netaneh Tokef. On Yom Kippur we will do likewise, so I would like to share an interesting perspective of this Piyyut.
It is said that this Piyyut was published by Kalonymus ben Meshullam of Mayence in the eleventh century. It has been the subject of a popular story, found in the Or Zaru'a, (2:276) by Rabbi Isaac of Vienna in the thirteenth century. The story goes as follows:
Rabbi Amnon, a wealth and prominent Talmud Chacham of noble descent, was repeatedly but fruitlessly pressured by the bishop and rulers of Mayence to convert. By successfully converting him they surmised that the majority of Jews would follow his example, as he was considered a "big fish". On one occasion, in order to gain a reprieve of time from the constant pressure Rabbi Amnon evasively asked to be given three days in which to consider the matter. Upon reaching home he became extremely distraught and begged HaShem's forgiveness for the grave sin which he had committed, for he had given the impression that he might renounce his belief in one G-d.
After three days, Rabbi Amnon refused to appear before the bishop, who then had him brought by force. When he publicly declared his refusal to convert, the bishop ordered all of his limbs to be severed, joint by joint. He was then sent home, along with his body parts, to die. Rabbi Amnon was able to cling to life until Rosh Hashana, and he asked to be brought to the synagogue before Kedusha of Mussaf. Before the chazzan began the Kedusha, Rabbi Amnon asked him to wait. He then recited "U'netaneh Tokef" and passed away. Three days later, Rabbi Amnon appeared in a dream to Rabbi Kalonymus ben Meshulam, asking him to record the Piyyut and to insure that all of Jewry would incorporate his prayer into the Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur davening.
Two questions we must ask, what was Rabbi Amnons' great sin that made him feel so distraught and why was it necessary to give up his life in order to avoid this particular transgression, since idol worshiping is a sin of the mind? Why couldn't he simply go through the motions without the intention of serving another deity? The Rambam answers that even if a Jew does not actually believe in another deity, but goes through the motions, that perception alone, that he is willing to serve a foreign god, is in itself a chillul HaShem (Sefer HaMitzvot Asei #9)
Rabbi Amnon initially reasoned that he could stall for time and during that time he considered that option publicly satisfying the bishop while privately maintaining his loyalty to G-d. But when he saw that the bishop was satisfied with the knowledge that he was contemplating to give in to the bishop's demand, he realized that his perception alone, the perception that a Jew might forsake his Creator, was a Chillul HaShem.
The Sefer HaChinuch adds (Parshat Yitro #25) that it is not sufficient to believe in HaShem in thought alone. A person must verbalize this thought in order to concretize it. Conversely, if a person makes any statement which expresses a denial of HaShem's reality, even if he does not believe that what he is saying, it impacts him negatively, and can infuse within him a doubt as to HaShem's existence. Thus, when Rabbi Amnon uttered the words implying that he would consider becoming an apostate, he sensed the impact it had upon his own belief, and realized his great sin. Parenthetically, RavSoloveitchiksaid it is prohibited to watch a livepresentation of a churchservice on yourhome TV screen.
We therefore, express our strong Emunah in HaShem by ending Ne'ilah with a resounding utterance of "HASHEM HU HA'ELOKIM", not once, but SEVEN TIMES.
A GEMAR CHATIMA TOVA TO ALL,
Rabbi Aharon Ziegler
The incredible story of rapper Nissim Baruch Black
Depth Op-Eds Dan Shapiro, Advocate For The Palestinians By Stephen M. Flatow - 18 Elul 5777 – September 8, 2017
For many years, the State Department was known as the one U.S. government agency where it was almost impossible for a Jew to reach a senior position. In our era, that has changed, but with a twist.
Since the late 1980s, a certain kind of Jew has become most welcome at the State Department – the kind devoted to creating a Palestinian state in Israel's back yard.
The latest example is former president Obama's ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro.
Since being replaced earlier this year, Shapiro has become one of the most frequently sought-after "talking heads" on Israel affairs. He is constantly quoted in major newspapers, interviewed on television, and invited to deliver lectures at prestigious venues.
Daniel Kurtzer, Martin Indyk, and David Makovsky used to be the favorite Jewish ex-State Department officials whom CNN and The New York Times would trot out to call for more Israeli concessions. Now Dan Shapiro is giving them some competition.
With all the tumult over the Trump administration's reluctance to demand the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state, it was inevitable that Shapiro would weigh in. And in true attention-grabbing fashion, Shapiro's contribution (in the online magazine Tablet) is headlined "The Two-State Solution Remains the Best Option, But We Need to Plan in Case It Fails."
What? A former ambassador to Israel conceding that the Palestinian state idea might not work out? Is he forsaking the dream the State Department and the Jewish left have pursued for so many years? Has Dan Shapiro joined the Republican Party, or the Israeli Right?
Not so fast.
Shapiro began his essay with a remarkable confession: "I've been supporting the goal of Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security since 1988. It hit me early in the days of the first Intifada that there was no other solution, which made me something of an early adopter of that position among advocates for Israel."
Wait a minute – 1988? In those days, the Palestinian leadership did not even pretend to accept Israel's right to exist. Yet Dan Shapiro believed a Palestinian state should be established a few miles from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben-Gurion Airport. Brilliant!
Reading Shapiro's admission, one must laugh at his self-description as "an advocate for Israel." He is, according to his own words, an advocate for the Palestinians – and has been for the past 29 years.
Then Shapiro introduced what we call the tease: "Maybe it's time that the United States consider options other than a two-state solution." Following that, he spent the next 30 paragraphs "considering" the other options.
Big surprise: all those options would be terrible, he concluded. Any plan other than one ending in a Palestinian state is "exotic" or "unfeasible" or "zombie-like." Such plans either would lead to violence, or apartheid, or harm Israel's Jewish identity, or some other doomsday outcome – all the usual slogans and generalizations.
Incredibly, Shapiro did not devote even a single paragraph to considering the dangers of a Palestinian state. No mention that Israel would be reduced to nine miles wide at its midsection. No acknowledgment that a terrorist standing inside "Palestine" would be able to fire a shoulder-launched missile at airplanes landing at Ben-Gurion Airport.
No reference to the ability of "Palestine" to import Iranian "volunteers" and North Korean missiles. No allusion to the likelihood that "Palestine" would be a brutal dictatorship – exactly the kind of regime that throughout history has been most likely to invade its neighbors.
Finally, at the end of his essay, Shapiro revealed that the preceding 30-plus paragraphs were essentially a ruse.
"I hope discussion of the unpalatable alternatives will reinforce the importance of steering back to serious attempts to salvage the two-state solution," he wrote.
And, as ex-State Department officials so often do, Shapiro added a veiled threat. If Israel fails to permit the rise of a Palestinian state, he warned, "it will affect [the America-Israel relationship] a significant number of Americans [will] conclude that Israel is not the democracy it once was, [and] our relationship will be…different. It will be different in ways I can't fully envision or describe."
Of course, there is no reason Israel's position must result in Americans turning against the Jewish state. Israel has been resisting the Palestinian state idea for 60 years, yet most Americans are still pro-Israel. If U.S. public support erodes in the future, it will be because people like Dan Shapiro go around falsely accusing Israel of depriving the Palestinians of their democratic rights.
In fact, the Palestinians gained their democratic rights in 1995, when then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin withdrew from the areas where 98 percent of the Palestinians reside. The Palestinians have no need to become Israeli citizens or vote in Israeli elections because for the past 22 years they have voted in the Palestinian Authority's elections.
Shapiro knows that. The question is: Why does he pretend as if it never happened? Is it because acknowledging that fact would conflict with his efforts on behalf of Palestinian statehood?
Why Anti-Zionism Is Anti-Semitism
Rabbi Meir Kahane's last speech
"…So You Shoot The Messenger"
[Twenty six years after the Rabbi spoke the warnings written in this article was the start of a severe economic crises in America. Morality is at its lowest level. Racial tensions are high. Anti-Semitism took a dangerous escalation- the Jews fear for their future. Dangers rioting today, because the President that the Left wanted was not elected. Will the Jews come home to Israel?]
Rabbi Meir Kahane's last speech urging American Jews to make emergency Aliyah (excerpts of speech) November 5, 1990 – Cheshvan, 18, 5751
I was born in this country, and I can't recall ever, in my life, as much open and vicious Jew-hatred as I have seen in our time right now, in this country. I travel around from city to city, and in every city Jews tell me it is unbearable. Attacks upon synagogues, attacks upon Jews, all of which are of course buried. Because the synagogue doesn't want it to be know. The ADL wants to report "there were 55 incidents this year in the United States", when actually, there were 55 incidents in one hour in the United States. On radio programs which I am on – the telephone calls – open, open (anti-Semitism).
Two Reasons for Increased Anti-Semitism
What has happened? What has happened in natural terms? Of course, in divine terms, the Almighty is ending it for us. But what is happening in natural terms? Two basic changes have taken place in this country over the last twenty years. It began slowly, now it is reaching its crescendo. We have seen the death of what I call the "Auschwitz syndrome". What is the "Auschwitz syndrome"? After World War II, it was hard to be an anti-Semite, even for an anti-Semite. It was just difficult. And then the years passed – ten years, twenty years, twenty-five years, thirty years, and a generation arose which was not born at that time. And the "Auschwitz syndrome" began to fade away, and the guilt began to fade away. No matter how many Holocaust programs were shown on television, every year they had less and less impact. Indeed, they reach a point whereby they encourage anti-Semitism, whereupon the anti-Semite says: " Hey, you know, I know Jews, and the Nazis, and they were probably right." That's what happens today. It fades away. And to help things along, there was the rise of a strong Israel. Suddenly, Israel was winning. And that allowed the anti-Semite to cut the albatross. Now it was OK. You see, the Jew are Nazis, and they persecute the Palestinians, and now it was OK. So the "Auschwitz syndrome" faded, and it's gone for all practical purposes. And you hear people speak about the holocaust that the Israelis are perpetrating upon the Palestinians. A Holocaust…So all the Israelis and all the Jews who ever called me a Nazi and didn't realize that when you call a Jew a Nazi, you cheapen the Holocaust. And you cheapen the concept of Nazi, which is a very unique thing. And by you calling a second Jew a Nazi, what you are telling the world is" Jews can also be Nazis. Foolish people and tiny dwarfs and pygmies, grasshoppers.
So the "Auschwitz syndrome" is gone. And another thing has happened. After World War II, and until perhaps ten years ago, the American people lived in an economic luxury such as we have not seen ever in world history. No Roman emperor lived as well as the average American did from World War II on, until fairly recently. Life was good. And when life is good, the anti-Semite hates Jews quietly. It's not a big deal to him. He hates Jews, but he's too interested in the Monday night football game. I myself am amazed that so many people are here tonight that don't want to see the Giants massacre the Colts…
The Economic Crises
So when times are good and he has his job, he has his beer and he has his TV set, he has everything – he hates Jews, but it's not that important to him. But as the economic sands of time begin to run out, and as things get bad and they get worse and suddenly there is a chill, there is a fear. I can sense a fear in this country – people are afraid of what is going to happen, and they have every right to fear it. This is a country which is on the verge of economic horror, horror. In two years they expect the national debt to go from 3.7 trillion to 5 trillion dollars, so they work for months and months – this fiasco between Congress and this administration – and they say, "we are going to cut 500 million dollars in five years". Five years! It is a joke – It's a drop in the bucket. This is a country which is dying because the thing that was saving it was the fact that the Japanese are buying Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Plaza – don't be angry. If they stopped buying it, no one is going to cover the national debt. And they are stopping.
The dollar is a weak dollar today. Can you imagine: The Israeli shekel has held its own against the dollar now for a year. Don't clap! It doesn't mean that the Israeli shekel is strong. The shekel is weak; the dollar is just as weak. The Japanese don't want dollars anymore, they want German marks. And they're investing now in South Korea, Thailand, Singapore. The banks here are shaking, they're tottering. In their greed, in the 1960's and 70's, they gave loans to anybody. The Congo came – you want money, take the money. Mexico came – take 100 million dollars – take, take it, take. Suddenly, the Congo couldn't pay back. If that's what a banker is…did he expect the Congo to ever pay back in total? So hundreds of millions of bad loans are being held by major banks: Chase Manhattan, Citicorp – and they are in deep, deep trouble today. And on top of that, suddenly the real estate market has collapsed and they are now holding several more hundred million dollars of bad mortgages. That's the tragedy. That's why suddenly, there's a hurry talk bout Chase merging with City.
There's a myth that your money is insured for $100,000. If the FDIC had 60 cents for every hundred dollars that you have, I'll swim back to Israel. There is a myth that they are going to bail out the Savings & Loan with 40 billion dollars. If they can make it with less than half a trillion, it will be a miracle.
So for years, the new economists said, "Don't worry about deficits, it doesn't matter. Deficits don't matter? I know that when my bank account is in deficit, it matters to me. The bank calls me up and says, "Rav Kahane, we have a little problem. Would you like to come and cover it?" A city can go a little deeper into debt than I can, and a state deeper yet, and a country can go a little deeper yet; but, in the end you have to pay the piper. So, America has lived beyond its means – extra credit, credit cards – and give anybody credit, give kids credit cards – anybody. Now it's time to pay the piper, there is no money, there is no money. And should the economic collapse come it is the Jew who will be blamed. It is the Jew. You can hear it already. You can small it in the air.
The Racial tension – In all Colors
I was on a radio program in Chicago. Every single caller blamed the Gulf oil crisis on the Jews. Every single call. What you have now is the getting together of all these crises – the economic crisis, the racial crisis – and there is a serious racial crisis in the country. It's a serious one. It is a dangerous one. Whites hate Blacks and Blacks hate Whites and they both hate Jews. It is a terrible, terrible thing. It's not just Whites and Blacks. Now in the West, it's the Hispanics and the Anglos – tremendous crises, which only proves all the more the myth of the melting pot. Uh nechtiga tag –what melting pot? A melting pot is fine until there is a terrible crisis and then two "objects' occupy the same job at the same time. That's a law of physics, which I've changed a bit…
So it's not an accident that Jesse Helms is now putting on TV ads talking about the unfairness of quotas. Quotas are unfair. Of course, that is his trump card. People are angry about quotas and affirmative action, etc. And Blacks are angry. You think that Blacks have no argument? You think they are all bad? – that everything the Blacks do is wrong? You think that Bob Grant is your kind of guy? G-d forbid! This Jew-hating fascist type. That he says something good many, many times –you're right. You think that bad people don't often say correct things? Of course they do – but watch him, watch him and be careful of such people! People who are anti-Black will always be anti-Jewish too. One doesn't have to love Farrakhan or Jesse Jackson to realize that he should be careful of racism of all kinds – White and Black – be careful, because we get stuck in the middle. Because the Whites and Blacks hate us both.
The Pre-War Depression: Not a Criteria
We have a serious problem – the economic crisis cannot be averted. There is no way. This country is in for terrible, terrible times. People tell me in the depression it was also bad. It's true. But first of all, who knows what would have happened in this country if World War II had not ended the depression? If you think that Roosevelt ended it, you don't know history. World War II ended it. It gave jobs finally, but more to the point, it was a different era back then. The American people at that time were a much stronger people in character. Today, after 40-50 years of good life and soft life, and the materialistic life, people are into themselves. Unbelievable ego. Everything is me, me – my life, my body, my-me, my-mine. People are incapable today of making sacrifices and that's the great, great difference between today and what happened in the depression. The person who is fairly poor and gets poorer – not so terrible. The person who has it and lost it becomes a wild animal, a raging animal. He'll not accept it and will look for a scapegoat. He'll look for some target to blame. We Jews are the most visible, the most highly visible in terms of power, in terms of money. Of course, Wasps have more money than Jews have. Certainly, Jews are not into U.S. Steel and banking and so on, and the real, real money is not Jewish money, but that doesn't matter because Jews are in those professions that are most visible.
How to Gauge anti-Semitism: Go to a Bar
So in the bars, it sits the jealousy and the envy of the Jews which leads to hate. The tragedy as I've said a million times is that the average Jewish leader in this country has no idea what people say ago about Jews in bars, because the average Jew doesn't go into a bar – and he should; he should be compelled to go into a bar. Every rabbi before getting "smicha", before being ordained, should be compelled to go into a bar and find out what the real world is like. It isn't a joke. I'm serious. To hide in some little ghetto, you never know what the world is. They hate us with a passion out there, with a virulence which is frightening to see and to hear. On every radio program I go on, I hear, "why should we give you guys three billion dollars a year"? Anytime some fellow from the Israeli consulate is asked that question, he comes up with the answer, "well, we help you too, etc." Baloney! The only way to get rid of that question is to answer as I do, "I don't want the money! I want Israel to be a free enterprise state and allow private enterprise to flourish and then we don't want your money, I don't want your charity." So, that of course gets rid of the question, but it doesn't get rid of the anti-Semite. He'll go home mutter in his beer and pretzels. He's still there. He's still there.
Role of the Prophet – To See It and say It
The rabbis tell us that G-d told Moses and Aaron. "I'll make you Jewish leaders on one condition that if they throw stones at you, you'll accept it." Rather to be pelted with stones and not with dollars. That's what a Jewish leader has to be! Say the bitter truth, even though they won't like you. They won't like you; they'll attack you, but tell the Jews the truth if you love them. If you love Jews, tell them the things which will make them angry, but which can save their lives. That's what you have to do! Think carefully about what I'm saying, and that is why we created this group called ZEERO, Zionist Emergency Evacuation Rescue Organization. It's a name that provokes. And we hope that as we spread this idea it will provoke Jewish leaders to attack so we can debate the controversy that arises. People will say he's right; he's wrong, and so on. Of course, this is probably the worst thing you can ever tell any Jewish leader, any Federation leader – that he should leave here, and go to Israel. What'ill do there? .
The rabbis say: "Who is wise? He who sees the future". It's no big deal to see "today." A Jewish leader has to see tomorrow.
Living in Israel – Difficult; Living Elsewhere – Impossible
It is coming here! It is coming here! Friday night I spoke in Brooklyn in shul, and I had to walk through Bensonhurst, a white neighborhood – nice people, because they're white…Watching the people, the kids, you can smell the violence, you can see the hate, you can see the envy – frustrated, bored, looking for action. You can see it. Those are the potential mobs. And G-d forbid, we will see it. So ZEERO is a very serious project of Kach, and I mean a serious one. And I know how hard it is to go to Israel – it is really hard. Hard to make a living. My son goes into the army every single year. It's dangerous and so on. All of it is true. Everything that's all true. That's all true. It's hard to live in Israel, but it will be impossible to live here, and if we go to Israel, at least there we can change the country. Of course we can change it and make it better and make it tremendous and make it safe. Of curse we can do that if we have the power in the government, but here there is nothing you can do to change it, it's out of our hands. We are a minority and we are strangers here. We're stranger in this land, no matter how many years we've been here.
It's not an accident that so few German Jews survived the camps. The Polish Jew did better. Why? Because the Polish Jew wasn't surprised. It didn't shock him that gentiles could behave like this. It didn't surprise him, so he wasn't shattered inside, he wasn't' broken. But the German Jew was psychologically shattered. How could this be? I'm a German. I'm a German. How could it be? How can you do this to me? The Pole knew he was a Jew. The German was broken because his whole illusion was shattered. And that's how the American Jew lives. "I'm an American". It's the gentile who will teach you so quickly that you're a Jew.
It's no just in the bars, in the working class bars the anti-Semitism that you see. When you see the news media and their attitude towards Israel; it's not anti-Israel – it's anti-Semitism. Do you know why they hate Jews? Because among intellectuals there is a jealousy of Jews. When Truman Capote, the famous author, a sickness, a disease who represents all that is sick about Western culture – when he spoke about the publishing business being a Jewish mafia – you can see the jealousy. [He writes] how Jews are over represented in publishing, in broadcast, in movies, etc. Of course it's so – they have talent. Untalented people don't like to think it is because of talent. They like to think they run it because their friends, their uncles, their aunts and so on and so forth. The hate runs across the board. You can see Peter Jennings' anti-Semitism. You can see it! And when I hold press conferences in Israel and I see them sitting around, you can watch them all – the hatred.