How does the bible sanction killing women and babies in the war on Midian? and The command to live in the land of Israel in this week Torah Portion and 21 KEY IDEAS FOR BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR CHILDREN
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
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21 KEY IDEAS FOR BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR CHILDREN
1. Love your children unconditionally. 2. Each day tell your children you love them. All you have to say is three words, "I love you." If this is difficult for you, there is a greater need to say it. 3. Speak and act in ways that you give your children a positive self-image. Believe in your child. Believe in his abilities and potential. Say explicitly, "I believe in you." How do you know when you are successful at this? When your child says, "I see that you believe in me." 4. Be a role model for the traits and qualities that you want your children to have. 5. Clarify the main positive qualities you want your child to develop. Keep praising those qualities. Reinforce those qualities when your child speaks or acts in ways consistent with that quality. 6. Realize that each child is unique and different. Understand each child's uniqueness and take it into consideration when challenges arise. 7. Word your comments positively. Focus on the outcome you want. For example, "By developing this quality (for example, taking action right away), you will be more successful in life." (Rather than saying the opposite.) 8. Keep asking yourself, "What is the wisest thing to say to my child right now?" Especially say this when your child has messed up. 9. Read great books to your children. 10. When you come across a story that could have an important positive lesson for your child, relate it. Look for stories that teach lessons. Ask people for stories that had a positive influence on their lives. Share your day with your kids so they know what you do and can learn from you and your experiences. 11. Create a calm, loving atmosphere in your home. Consistently speak in a calm and loving tone of voice. Even when challenges arise for you, speak in a tone of voice that is balanced. 12. Master patience. Life is a seminar in character development. Your children are your partners in helping you become a more patient person. 13. Conquer anger. See, hear, and feel yourself being a calm person who has mastered the ability to maintain an emotional and mental state of being centered, focused, and flowing. 14. If you make a mistake when interacting with your children, apologize. They will ultimately respect you more than if you try to deny a mistake. 15. Keep asking people you know and meet, "What did you like about what your parents said and did?" 16. Watch other parents interact with their children. Notice what you like. Apply the positive patterns. 17. Watch other parents interact with their children. Notice what you don't like. Think about ways that you might be doing the same. Resolve not to speak and act that way. 18. Express gratitude daily in front of your children. Ask them regularly, "What are you grateful for?" 19. Become a master at evaluating events, situations, and occurrences in a realistic positive way. Frequently ask your children, "What would be a positive way of looking at this?" Or, "How can we grow from this?" 20. When your children make mistakes, help them learn from those mistakes. Have them mentally picture themselves at their best. 21. Each and every day ask yourself, "What can I say and do to be an even better parent?"
How can we justify the killing of babies and children?
In the portion of the bible, called Matot, the narrative goes on to record Moses insistence that the young Midianite women fit to engage in sexual relations be killed and along with the young male Midianite children.
How difficult is all of this carnage to the modern ear? How can we possibly justify such action, even if it was against a nation which had already lifted its banner for Israel's disappearance from the face of the earth?!
What we must remember as we read the Bible is that we are studying a text from the earliest times of recorded history, a text which we believe to have been written more than 4,000 years ago.
Yes, we also believe that the Biblical text is G-d given, but it was never intended that every verse of it be applied to every generation. Our tradition insists that alongside the written Torah, there is an Oral Torah, a vibrant and still developing legal system which determines which Biblical laws only applied to the ancient world, which were open to limitation, re-interpretation and even expansion in different generations, and which were deemed unchanging and immutable for all times.
The traditional orthodoxy which survives today is the heir to those who fought valiantly against the Sadducees in the second commonwealth and the Karaites of the middle ages. Our ideological ancestors regarded these sects as heresies because they believed in a literal interpretation of the written law for all generations. The arena of warfare is probably the one in which sweeping change from Biblical law is most evident.
The Bible commands "But in waging war against the people from the cities which the Lord G-d has given you for an inheritance you shall not allow any person to live. Rather you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizite, the Hivvite and the Jebusite as the Lord your G -d commanded you. This is so that they may not teach you to act according to all their abominations that they performed for their gods and sin before the Lord your G-d." (Deut 20:16-18)
Apparently, at that juncture in history, there was no other way to wage and win a war- and unless we had a national homeland, the nation of Israel never would have emerged. Our historic mission would have been still-born. It would seem that these particular nations were especially evil and heinous, addicted to inhuman and sexual acts of violence in their idolatrous orgies.
They had to be extirpated if a moral society was to emerge and influence the world. The Talmud, therefore, insists that the command to "utterly destroy" every one of our enemies only applied to the specific nations singled out by the Bible during the early Biblical period. During the first commonwealth, King Sennacherib of Assyria conquered the lands of the Middle East and confounded the indigenous people by forcing them to re-settle in different areas and to intermarry with their new neighbors. Hence the ethnic nations identified by the Bible no longer exist and so the law demanding their total destruction no longer applies. (B.T. Berakhot 28a)
Moreover, Maimonides and Nachmanides agree that it is forbidden for a Jew to wage war against any nation or individual - whether of the seven indigenous nations, Midian, or even Amalek- unless he be given the option of making peace and accepting the seven Noahide laws of morality (Maimonides, Laws of Kings 6,1). Once they agree to become moral individuals, we dare not harm them. And according to this view, this was the case even in the Biblical period!
There is also a fascinating interpretation of Rav Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (the famed Dean of the Volozhin Yeshiva, in HaAmek Davar, ad loc). He argues that the Biblical command to kill women and children only applies to those who were acting in the service of the enemy. We could never have been commanded to harm perfectly innocent human beings, created in G-d's image!
And when we think of the women and children who are being encouraged and trained by al Qaeda, Hamas and Fatah to become suicide bombers, when we realize how Hamas terrorists used innocent Palestinians as their protective human shields so that they can continue their evil murders, then we understand how Israelis are sometimes compelled to fire at women and children for our own self-protection and the protection of the free world.
The comand to live in the land of Israel
The portion of Masai includes the sentence that speaks to the commandment of living in Israel. The key phrase is "and you shall take possession of the land and dwell therein." (Numbers 33:53)
Rashi is of the opinion that this sentence does not constitute a command to live in Israel. It is rather good advice. Take possession of the land from its inhabitants, otherwise you will not be able to safely live there.
Ramban (Nahmanides) disagrees. In his addendum to Rambam's (Maimonides) Book of Commandments, Ramban notes that Rambam failed to mention living in Israel as a distinct mitzvah. Ramban writes: "We have been commanded in the Torah to take possession of the land which G-d gave to the patriarchs and not leave it in the hands of others or allow it to remain desolate, as it says 'and you shall take possession of the land and dwell therein.'" (Addendum, Mitzvat Aseh 4)
Some commentators argue that implicit in Rambam is the commandment to live in Israel. So basic is the mitzvah, writes the late former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, that it need not be mentioned, as it is the basis for all of Torah. But whether or not one maintains that Rambam believes it is a mitzvah to live in Israel, doesn't this commandment, as certainly understood by Ramban, fly in the face of our mission to be an or la'goyim?
How can we be a light to the nations of the world if we don't live amongst Gentiles and are ensconced in our own homeland? One could argue however, that the mandate to live in the chosen land of Israel is crucial to the chosen people idea.
Being the chosen people doesn't mean that our souls are superior. Rather it suggests that our mission to spread a system of ethical monotheism, of G-d ethics to the world, is of a higher purpose. And that can only be accomplished in the land of Israel. From this perspective, the significance of the modern state of Israel is not only as the place of guaranteed political refuge for Jews; or as the place where more mitzvot can be performed or where our continuity as a Jewish nation is assured. Rather it is the only place where we have the potential to carry out the chosen people mandate.
In exile, we can develop communities that can be a "light" to others. But the destiny of the Jewish people lies in the State of Israel. Israel is the only place where we as a nation can become an or la'goyim.
In the Diaspora, we are not in control of our destiny; we cannot create the society envisioned by the Torah. Only in a Jewish state do we have the political sovereignty and judicial autonomy to potentially establish the society from which other nations can learn the basic ethical ideals of Torah.
As we near Tisha B'av, the fast commemorating our exile from the land, this position reminds us of our obligation to think about Israel, to visit Israel, and, most important, to constantly yearn to join the millions who have already returned home. Only there do we have the potential to be the true am hanivhar (chosen people).
Likud MK: PA 100% to blame for failure of Oslo Accords
Likud MK and former Shabak Director Avi Dichter was the featured speaker at a Tel Aviv conference on Sunday evening.
By World Israel News Staff
"The Palestinian Authority is 100% to blame for the failure of the Oslo Accords," said Avi Dichter, Likud MK and former director of Shabak, Israel's internal security agency, to an audience in Tel Aviv on Sunday evening.
He made his remarks at a conference organized by the pro-Zionist nonprofit Im Tirtzu ("If You Will It") in collaboration with Canadians for Israel's Legal Rights on the topic of Israel's legal rights.
Dichter said it was obvious what PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's intentions were right from the start. Dichter noted that early on Arafat visited Egypt and returned with four mass murderers hidden in his car.
Dichter, who was responsible for the area that included the border crossing through which Arafat returned, said he wasn't permitted to search the vehicles but it was obvious something was up as "Arafat was six inches taller than when he left."
It turned out later that the terror chieftain was literally sitting on one of the murderers who was lying on his car seat.
Dichter said the Palestinian Authority never fought terror and that some of the organizations it established to fight terror became terror groups themselves. He also noted that it is PA law that terrorists are entitled to salaries. They receive 12,000 shekels a month. If the terrorist is an Israeli citizen, he receives an additional 500 shekels a month.
The former Shabak chief also touched on Israel's legal rights, the religious nature of Arab hostility toward Israel. He gave in-depth discussion of the efforts to pass the Nation-State Law, which he introduced in 2011. The law finally passed in July 2018.
The Nation-State Law, which came under widespread attack by its critics as "racist," defines Israel as a Jewish state. Dichter noted that during a final committee discussion, in which Arab Knesset members attempted to torpedo the legislation, one of them shouted at the end, "We want a state of all its citizens."
Dichter said the comment was revealing and showed the importance of the Nation-State Law. It presents an obstacle to those who would like to dismantle Israel from within and turn it into a multicultural hodgepodge made up of many nations.
Regarding the Left's opposition to the law, Dichter said, "There are no greater hypocrites than the Israeli Left."
"The Nation-State Law cements in law the Jewish People's national rights, but does not infringe on anyone else's civil rights," he said.
The conference was dedicated in memory of Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger who was murdered this past March in a terror attack. He had courageously turned back to face a terrorist and according to reports managed to get off four shots with his personal weapon before he was outgunned.
His widow spoke to the conference, clearly still suffering from the blow of her loss. She spoke about his efforts to establish a yeshiva in South Tel Aviv, which has been overrun by African illegals who have turned the area into a drug and crime-infested neighborhood.
Sheffi Paz, a social activist in South Tel Aviv, also spoke at the conference Paz said that the government has abandoned South Tel Aviv and is unwilling to tackle the problems caused by the influx of thousands of illegal migrants. "I've lost faith in all politicians," she said.
Goldi Steiner, founder and co-chair of Canadians for Israel's Legal Rights, said that learning about Israel's rights is the key to combating false claims against Israel.
"There is only one way to counter the ever-growing accusations of apartheid, occupation, and all the lies propagated by anti-Israel organizations like IfNotNow and B'Tselem, and that is through education."
Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, noted that one cannot accurately evaluate the Arab-Israeli conflict without first understanding Israel's legal rights.
"When discussing the conflict, it is critical to first understand that the Jewish People have legal rights to the Land of Israel," said Peleg.
"This is precisely why we have teamed with Canadians for Israel's Legal Rights to educate students and the broader public about Israel's legal rights," added Peleg.
The opening talk was given by popular Israeli journalist Amit Segal. He argued that Israel is divided into two camps: Israelis and Jews. With those who identify as Israelis tending to vote left and those as Jews voting right.
In this election, Segal said there's a fight over the Russian vote between Avigdor Liberman, leader of the Israel Beiteinu party and Likud leader and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Liberman is appealing to the Russians as a "family," asking them to question whether they really have anything in common with the haredim, or ultra-Orthodox.
Netanyahu is appealing to them on the basis of "tribe," telling the Russians that they belong to the tribe of the right-wing, which includes haredim, he says.
We won't know the verdict until after the elections, Segal says.
This has been a big week in Washington
A key moment was the passage of House Resolution 246, the bipartisan resolution opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and calling out the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which solely targets the Jewish state of Israel.
It's heartening that an overwhelming majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle voted for the resolution. It affirmed that legislators across the political spectrum stand united in opposition to efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. It demonstrated that there is broad agreement that the BDS movement is unacceptable by any standard, even as the Members affirmed their strong belief in the right to protest and in the First Amendment. And the House recommitted to supporting direct negotiations as the best pathway to peace and a two-state solution that can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This was a resounding defeat for those people who demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state and a setback for individuals who've tried to politicize Israel and use it as a wedge issue. In fact, across the board, the House proved that there is broad bipartisan support for Israel and unambiguous opposition to the global BDS movement.
This was critical because, as we know, Jewish students on campus frequently face campaigns of harassment and intimidation by BDS supporters.
We are gratified that so many members of the House spoke out for this resolution. Their support transcended politics and proved that principles matter most