Friday, August 31, 2018
Thursday, August 30, 2018
by Rabbi Shmuel Knopfler
The Parsha begins when you come to The Land which Hashem gives you ...
The Ohr HaChayim starts off saying that there is a special innate Simcha in settling the Land of Eretz Yisrael.
The Mishna in Bikkurim magnificently describes the drama of the bringing of these first fruits, the massive march to Jerusalem of farmers from all over Israel with the choicest fruit and grain of their labors in their hands, the decorated marketplaces of our Holy City crowned by the magnificent fruits, and the speech-song of each individual farmer as he stood in front of the Temple altar with the offering he handed to the priest. What an impressive demonstration of fealty to the Master of the Universe, who is hereby recognized as the Provider of all produce and the Sustainer of all sustenance.
But Hashem's bounty was not the purpose of bringing the first fruits. The clear emphasis here is the arrival of the Israelites to the Land of Israel – after having been enslaved and afflicted by the Egyptians, and after the Almighty heard their prayers and took them from Egypt to Israel with great miracles and wonders. Eating the fruits of our own land emphasizes the evils of slavery when we could not produce our own food and the inalienable rights of Jews (as well as all humans) to freedom and the independence to provide for their own needs.
A man from Washington state beheaded his girlfriend in front of their 3-year-old daughter — later telling cops he “had spoken with God” and been ordered to “strike down” the woman “because she did not repent,” reports say.
Moments after the gruesome killing, Timothy Hernandez, 32, allegedly instructed his little one to “go say goodbye to mommy.”
He quoted two different Bible verses while speaking to cops about what happened on Sunday, and insisted he was carrying out God’s will.
“Each of the verses that were quoted had passages in them that spoke about women who did not follow God’s word, so God stuck them down,” investigators wrote in charging documents, which were obtained by local outlets.
Hernandez allegedly gave his girlfriend, Vanessa Cons, a chance “to repent,” but he claimed she refused.
Happy New Year!
Students hurled tables and book holders on Wednesday at Bnei Brak's flagship Lithuanian-haredi Ponevezh Yeshiva as part of a long-running feud between two rival factions.
The brawl raged on throughout the morning and only ended when police detained the main instigators after being called to the scene. Three students were injured after being sprayed by tear gas
The quarrel was part of a longstanding dispute between the two factions over control of the yeshiva and the division of its territory. The supporters of Rabbi Shmuel Markovitz on the one hand, nicknamed the "haters," and Rabbi Eliezer Kahaneman's rival camp, called the "terrorists" have long been at loggerheads and tensions frequently lead to violence.
The flagship Yeshiva of Lithuanian haredi Judaism has been roiled by the power struggle between the two for over twenty years, and both sides observe an uneasy status quo, in which campus space in Bnei Brak is evenly divided between the two factions.
Ponovezh head Rabbi Berel Povarsky pleaded for calm after the violence and said that the students should concentrate on studying Torah. "The evil inclination wants to interrupt our learning of Torah during the month of Elul in the most important yeshiva in the world, our yeshiva," he said.
A similar brawl took place a year ago after one faction
appropriated a new classroom for themselves, upsetting the delicate status quo. Students from the other faction subsequently defaced the classroom with derogatory graffiti.
The brawl broke out in the Yeshiva dining hall soon after, when a student from the "haters" faction shoved a supporter of the "terrorist" faction. The fight quickly spread to other parts of the campus, as students hurled furniture, deployed tear gas, and set off fire extinguishers.
Ponovezh is one of the top institutions in the haredi world, and the ongoing internal strife has been a black eye for the community.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
New Report Sees McCain as not so Pro-Israel and How Trump Was Furious When He Heard That The UN Schools in Palestinian Schools Teaches Anti-Israel Propaganda
David Bedein, the head of the Center for Near East Policy Research, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the late Arizona Senator John McCain, who passed away on Saturday after a year-long battle with brain cancer, and of the US administration's rejection of the so-called 'Palestinian right of return.'
"Ten years ago, exactly, I had the opportunity to meet Senator McCain when Noam Bedein (Bedein's son and the head of the Sderot Media Center) organized a briefing for Senator McCain in Sderot when he was running for president. And he brought him to a house which had been destroyed by missiles," Bedein said.
"I came down there as the correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin and covered the event. A few months before Senator McCain had given over an interview to Amir Oren from Haaretzwhere he talked about his commitment to push Israel for unilateral withdrawals from Judea and Samaria," he added.
"We're sitting in the living room which had been destroyed by missiles. I asked Senator McCain, 'well, how do you react?
Will you change your position now that you've seen what happens when Israel hands over territory to the other side?'
"He got very angry at me and said: 'No. You have to understand: Israel has a peace partner. Israel had better withdraw as soon as possible from the West Bank and give it to Abbas. Abbas is a man of peace.' He was very angry and he said 'I don't like your question,'" Bedein recalled.
"My conclusion is that while McCain was, as he saw it, very favorable to Israel, it would have been very difficult to deal with a McCain Administration where we had someone who loved Israel so much, but was at the same time demanding withdrawals.
"It was easier to deal with Obama, who simply didn't like Israel so much and demanded withdrawals," Bedein said.
Monday, August 27, 2018
The man who opened fire at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday has been identified as 24-year-old David Katz, of Baltimore, Maryland, CNN reported.
Two people were killed in the shooting at the Jacksonville Landing shopping and dining complex. Eleven others were injured.
Katz died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Sheriff Mike Williams said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon. There are no other suspects.
The motive for the shooting, which took place during a qualifying event for the Madden 19 Tournament at the GLHF Game Bar, remains unclear.
Some reports said the shooter participated in the tournament and opened fire at participants after he lost.
The Baltimore Police Department on Sunday evening raided Katz's home, which is located in the city's Inner Harbor area. Investigators are interviewing the suspect's family.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
"Ehr iz gekimmin tzim seichil"Yosef Yehoshua Folger, a student of Bobov in Boro Park, received an aliyah last Shabbas on the eve of his daughter's birth, and when the Gabbai asked the father the name he wished to give his newborn daughter, the Gabbai was surprised to hear the name
Some of them claim that he is a "letz" and that this was a joke, and that at some point the father realized that the person who would suffer would be his daughter, so he wisely decided to change her name.
Federal authorities issued a public health alert Friday over raw chicken products possibly contaminated by Salmonella.
The Empire Kosher Poultry, Inc. products affected -- which may include raw whole chicken, raw chicken parts, -- were produced and sold to consumers from last September until this past June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said.
The agency issued the alert "out of an abundance of caution due to concerns about Salmonella illnesses reported in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States that may be associated with raw chicken products."
From Day One, President Trump has been fighting a war for survival on two fronts. One front involves law enforcement, led first by James Comey’s FBI and now by special counsel Robert Mueller. The other front is political, where Trump faces the resistance movement led by congressional Democrats.
But sift through the fog of last week’s dizzying headlines about guilty pleas, immunity deals and possible impeachment, and a clear picture emerges: The two fronts have united, with the anti-Trumpers in the Justice Department and those in politics now openly working hand-in-hand against him.
Media Called John McCain "a white supremacist" and "sick in the head" Now That He is Dead They Pretend That He is a "hero"
When John McCain ran for President in 2008, the media called him "sick in the head" and a "racist" "unfit to for office." Now they all pretend to care about him, its fake and a sick game by sociopaths, they destroy a man when he opposes DemocRATS, Now they love him!
'An American patriot and true friend of Israel'
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this morning, Sunday, issued a statement on the passing of US Sen. John McCain.
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of John McCain, a great American patriot and a true friend of Israel. I will always treasure the constant friendship he showed to the people of Israel and to me personally," Netanyahu said.
"His support for Israel never wavered. It sprang from his belief in democracy and freedom. The State of Israel salutes John McCain."
The prime minister's statement came as Israeli politicians across the political spectrum eulogized the former US Senator McCain's office said in a statement that the Arizona GOP senator died at 4:28 p.m., and was accompanied by his wife, Cindy McCain, and their family.
"At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years,” McCain's office wrote.
McCain’s death from brain cancer came more than a year after he announced he had the condition in July of 2017.
His death comes a day after his family announced that he had chosen to discontinue medical treatment because the “progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age” had rendered “their verdict.”
McCain has been absent from the Senate this year due to his illness, and cast his last vote on December 7. Before he left, treatment had forced him to use a wheelchair in his final days in Washington.
Friday, August 24, 2018
At 7:55 a.m. Thursday morning, I posted a story I had written for The New York Post on both Facebook and Twitter. It was a reported piece on how people who voted for President Trump were feeling after both former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his lawyer Michael Cohen found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Within two hours I started receiving a handful of notes from people who are friends on my personal Facebook page that their posting of my piece, entitled “Why Trump’s supporters won’t care about Cohen and Manafort,” had been removed.
Sometimes the removal was accompanied by a message from Facebook. “Spam” was the most common reason given, but a couple of people were told Facebook removed the post because “it did not follow our Community Standards.”
Immediately I went to my original post, which led to the link with this graph: “Right now the value of Trump to the Trump voter is he is all that stands between them and handing the keys to Washington back over to the people inside Washington. That’s it. He’s their only option. You’ve got to pick the insiders or him.”
The post was gone.
Why? Facebook had given me no reason why it would censor a story, and asking them for an explanation wasn’t easy.
First I politely published a public Tweet requesting some direction. No answer. I noticed that their Direct Message was open on Twitter so I asked in that format. No answer. Then I turned to their own page and asked through a series of confusing messaging options that appear to require a Ph.D. to access let alone find, still no answer.
Ninety minutes after removing it, the article reappeared as if nothing ever happened.
No one told me why it was taken down. No one told me why the piece suddenly reappeared with no explanation of what had happened.
Facebook offers no transparency for its methods or decisions.
The article was based on my conversations with Trump voters. It had no expletives, conspiracy theories, hate speech or sexual language. What sort of algorithm would find it, much less censor it?
Perhaps someone doesn’t like my stories and complained about it. But then, who is that person and why does Facebook give them that sort of power?
The third option is that someone working for Facebook actually saw it and made the decision to take it down. If that’s the case, what standards are they working from?
Sung by Chazanit Beth Griffith
Here is the complete Kabbalat Shabbat
Israeli Court Rules That Chareidie Yeshivois Do Not Have to Admit the children of the "Auerbach Crazies"
by Rabbi Shmuel Knopfler
Parshat Ki Teitze, encounters a commandment that speaks of a reality with which we are completely unfamiliar, the “eshet yefat to’ar” (taking a beautiful woman as a war bride). Here, the Torah describes a scenario in which a Jewish soldier wishes to marry a woman captured from the enemy. The Torah allows the soldiers to do so, even if it is against the woman’s will. The Torah states, “When you go out to
war against your enemies, and the Lord, Hashem, will deliver him into your hands, and you take his captives, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire her, you may take [her] for yourself as a wife.”
This is undoubtedly a thorny issue, and I am not sure if I would feature it as a preface to a discussion of the basic principles of Judaism, especially considering how much the Torah warns us against marrying non-Jewish women, who could exert a pagan cultural influence on us.
Furthermore, later in the parsha, the Torah cautions us against sexual promiscuity on army bases: “… your camp shall be holy, so that He should not see anything unseemly among you and would turn away from you.” God is in our midst, in our army bases, and this is why we need to take special care.
If so, we would expect the Torah to forbid us from taking non-Jewish wives altogether, and it goes without saying that we should not marry non-Jews against their will. Yet some of our Sages interpreted the fact that the expression used, “eshet yefat to’ar”, instead of the proper Hebrew expression, “isha yefat to’ar”, indicates that the Torah allows us to marry the non-Jewish woman, against her will, even if she was already married to someone else!
You need not possess a particularly gentle soul to find such behavior revolting. It violates our most basic religious and human values, and it begs an obvious and justified question: why did the Torah allow and accept this type of behavior, instead of waging all-out war against it?
Our midrashic Sages never concealed their reservations and criticism of people who behave like this. They state that anyone who marries such a woman will end up hating her later, and that this is why the next subject discussed in the parsha concerns people with hated wives, followed by the laws of sorer u’moreh, the rebellious son that such a marriage would inevitably result in. According to this interpretation, our Sages made a poignant statement against anyone who feels this is the proper thing to do.
Still, this does not answer the question of why the Torah does not explicitly forbid it, just as the Geneva Convention banned harming civilians many centuries later. Rashi, one of our greatest commentators, wrote, “The Torah [in permitting this marriage] is speaking only against the evil inclination. For if the Holy One, blessed is He, would not permit her to him, he would take her illicitly.”
Otherwise put, the Torah is not about to require people to do something at which they could not possibly succeed, simply for it to appear on paper. To do so would be to set people up for failure. Rather, the Torah is trying to foster an understanding of how indecent this behavior is, and how much a person could lose by acting in this way. It will also try to stop this from happening by creating a set of rules that make it hard to follow through with such an idea. Sure enough, the verses describe a list of things the man must do, designed to cause him to restore the woman’s freedom. For example, “… she shall let her nails grow”. Our Sages remark that “she should grow them out so that she should appear unattractive to him”.
The verse continues, “And she shall remove the garment of her captivity from upon herself…” Our Sages comment that “[this is] because they are pretty; they decorate themselves during battle in order to cause others to have illicit relations with them.”
The verse then says, “and [she shall] stay in your house”, which our Sages explained that a person would “see her when he comes in, and when he goes out, when she cries, and when she is repulsive, so that she would become undesirable to him.” In other words, short of prohibiting this practice altogether, the Torah will go to every length to nip it in the bud, because there is always the chance that a person will not heed the words of the Torah.
Why, though, would a person not heed the Torah’s instructions, if the Torah had forbade this behavior? Rav Kook explained that a person cannot base every action on whether it is legal. Humanity needs morality and benevolence to elevate it beyond just doing what is allowed, or not doing what is forbidden. For instance, if a particular law obligates every citizen to give charity to poor people they pass
by on the street, the poor would obviously benefit from the law, but as human beings, we would become less benevolent, since we are only giving charity because the law requires it.
As parents, we know that our children understand what we want from them, not just because they hear us explicitly allowing or forbidding certain behaviors, but also because of the gestures we make, and especially when they notice our faces shining with pride, or green with disgust.
No one studying the Torah would have any doubts about what the Torah wants from him or her. This type of educational guidance is right for us, as families and as a society. It would be wrong to assume that if a certain behavior is legal, it is automatically the right thing to do. Our sense of morality and humanity demand a lot more from us than just doing what is allowed and refraining from what is forbidden.
בברכת התורה והארץ
B'Birchat Hatorah V'Haaretz