- Mandela Was an Enemy of Israel
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Dr. Eitan Shamir and Dr. Eado Hecht
- On Israel's Economy: Suffer the Helpless
Dr. Harold Goldmeier
News from America 4:42 AM 12/6/2013
Middle East 4:15 AM 12/6/2013
Inside Israel 1:13 AM 12/6/2013
Dr. Eitan Shamir and Dr. Eado Hecht
Dr. Harold Goldmeier
Torah Tidbits Audio
Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Best-selling author, speaker, and spiritual guide, Rabbi Lazer Brody came to Israel from the USA in 1970 after graduating from the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture. He is a veteran of an elite IDF Unit, having served for nearly thirty years in the regular army and in the IDF reserves. Rabbi Brody pens the award-winning Lazer Beams weblog, is the editor of Breslev Israel web magazine, and the author of The Trail to Tranquility. His English translation of Rabbi Shalom Arush's international bestseller The Garden of Emuna has sold over a million copies. Rabbi Brody is also a musical composer; his Calming Waters is a collection of his original relaxing instrumental melodies and Judean Dream is an album of "Land-of-Israel" music recorded together with Guy Tzvi Mintz and Yosef Karduner. Rabbi Brody spends considerable time traveling around the world spreading the light of emuna.
Mattatyahu Cohen HaGadol, the High Priest whom we remember every time we say the "Al HaNissim" prayer during Chanuka, is buried in a cave in a forest, about a kilometer north of Highway 443 near Mevo Modiin.
Mattatyahu and his sons fought a double war - not only against the Syrian Greeks, but against the 95% of the Jewish people who had become assimilated Hellenists. But because of his steadfast, unwavering and uncompromising commitment to Hashem, to his emuna, to the Torah and to his homeland, he was able to overcome all obstacles and instill the fire of emuna and total dedication in the hearts of his brave sons and daughter.
Where did he get his strength and courage from?
Nothing gives a person strength like clarification of the truth. A person who knows the truth and who lives according to the truth is as fierce as a lion. He is not willing to live a lie; so, if you take the truth away from him, he'll no longer regard his life as worth living. That's why our ancestors in every generation all the way back to our forefather Abraham were willing to sacrifice their last breath and heartbeat for our faith in Hashem and our Torah.
Mattatyahu and his sons Yehuda, Elazar, Shimon, Yochanan and Yonatan knew the truth. For a servant of Hashem, life is worthless without Torah, emuna, and holiness. The Hellenists fooled themselves while trying to dilute the truth and appease the Syrian Greeks, but the latter wanted to destroy it altogether and to substitute truth with a life of pursuing bodily amenities.
Did Hashem send our souls down to this lowly earth just for another piece of steak, another fling with the opposite sex, or another NBA game? Those who waste their lives in the pursuit of material appetites are neither happy nor fulfilled. What's worse, they haven't devoted a single minute to clarifying the truth.
21-inch biceps won't give you courage. Truth and emuna will.
If the Government of Israel - and particularly the Prime Minister - would clarify the truth, no foreign pressure in the world would be able to delay, much less cancel, the construction of a single housing unit anywhere in our hallowed and beloved homeland, or stifle our efforts to do what we need to enhance our security. And, they'd have no qualms about moving Bedouin squatters off of government lands in the Negev as well as destroying all the illegally-built structures they erected.
Several months ago, the USA released a dangerous top Iranian nuclear scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi, who had been arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. In the hypocritical eyes of Amalek, that's legitimate, for all Atarodi and his bosses want to do is destroy Jews and level the State of Israel - no big deal. Those who are kind to the cruel are in turn cruel to the kind - they've been holding Jonathan Pollard in intolerable conditions of incarceration for 28 years without a trial. If the Government of Israel would clarify the truth, it would find the way to get Jonathan Pollard's immediate release, may he come home soon, amen. The Hellenists among us would warn against rocking the boat, but they are the antithesis of national courage.
If a teenager would clarify the truth, then he'd say no to the stupid things that his peers are doing. If a Jew outside of Israel would clarify the truth and ask himself what Hashem really wants from him, he'd start planning to book a flight for himself and his family to Israel as soon as possible. If a woman knew the truth, she wouldn't care if her neighbors called her "nebby" or "yachna" for dressing the way Hashem wants her to dress.
Mattatyahu and his sons were masters at truth clarification. They weren't willing to live for two minutes without the truth. That's where they derived the courage to fight a virtually impossible war. And that's why they won.
While we're basking in the holy light of the Chanuka candles, let's ponder the real meaning of this beautiful festival that commemorates the miracle of the few prevailing over many, the pure prevailing over the impure, and the light prevailing over darkness. Let's remember the dedication and commitment of Mattatyahu and his sons. Let's strengthen ourselves and carry their torch of Torah and truth, no matter what the odds. We can do it.
All we need is emuna and truth; these are the two components of Jewish national courage. Whenever and wherever we see our leaders cave in to foreign pressure, there's an acute deficiency of emuna and truth. The Festival of Lights is our annual reminder to strengthen ourselves in these two essential areas. Happy Chanuka!
Rouhani is gloating that Israel is isolated. We owe Iran's president our gratitude for the great news.
Moses blessed the People of Israel before he died, "And Israel shall dwell in security isolated." This is one of the best blessings of Torah, if only we'd heed it...
In the south of Israel in the Negev Desert, lives an amazing creature, the Yael - the Ibex, or Israeli mountain goat. You won't find a more sure-footed animal in creation. It's breathtaking to see the Yael walk along steep and narrow mountain ledges, where the slightest slip means plunging down hundreds of meters to the canyon below. But the fact that the Yael lives in such rugged and trecherous terrain is also his protection. He dwells alone, where no predator or enemy can reach him.
When we the people of Israel dwell on a spiritual high of unshakable emuna, no predator or enemy can reach us either. Perhaps one of the reasons that the Shofar is made from the horn of a Yael is to teach us to be like him. When we put all our trust in Hashem, we too are surefooted and never fall.
The important news is that Chanuka begins tonight, reminding us to rid ourselves of any and all foreign influence and dependence. The insignificant news is the West is caving in to Iran. At this very moment, sanctions are being loosened which will pump at least $11 Billion to Iran, and thereby to reinforcing Iran's proxies of Hizbulla and Hamas. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wouldn't act the same way if hostile Venezuela was enriching uranium. And, Iran is a lot closer to Israel than Caracas is to Miami. Thank goodness, we lead lives of Torah and emuna, and we don't lead two-faced and immoral governments.
Any person with emuna should be delighted that the administration in Washington, DC has blatantly betrayed Israel. Any time throughout history when Israel depended on a foreign power led to submission and tragedy. It's about time we did what Hashem wants us to do and not what foreign governments want us to do. For example, the cowardly building freeze in Israel during the last few years as a capitulation to the White House did not bring peace; it only created a shortage of at least 20,000 housing units and drove apartment prices here through the roof. The 3,000 units that the Israeli Government is currently planning are certainly welcome, but still a drop in the bucket.
Don't be afraid as the nations of the world isolate us - Hashem is doing this for our very best and as preparation for the imminent redemption of our people - the Geula. You'd like to be part of the Geula, wouldn't you? Or do you prefer to continue hiding your kippa in your pocket and wearing a baseball hat or a beret so that your hostile neighbors won't know that you're Jewish?
Live like a Yael, with no fear of anyone but Hashem. Vayishkon Yisrael betach badad - "And Israel shall dwell in security isolated." Happy Chanuka from the Land of Emuna.
You're welcome to visit Rabbi Lazer Brody's award-winning weblog, Lazer Beams
וַהֲלַכְתֶּם עִמִּי, קֶרִי. .. וְהָלַכְתִּי אַף-אֲנִי עִמָּכֶם, בְּקֶרִי
"If you walk in a sinister manner with Me, then I shall walk in a sinister manner with you" (Leviticus 26: 23-24).
Hashem tells us in the above passage, as He says in many other places in the Torah, that He runs the world - and especially Israel and the Jewish People - on a measure-for-measure basis.
The word in Hebrew for sinister is kerry - it also means rebellious or spiritually impure.
The prophecy in the above passage is amazing - let's now translate it with its alternative definitions:
"If you walk in a rebellious manner with Me, then I shall walk with Kerry toward you."
US Secretary of State Kerry has now become this generation's Neville Chamberlain by caving into Iran. The USA's appeasement of the Ayatolla's, as manifest in the agreement signed yesterday is ever so remindful of the UK's appeasement of Hitler in 1938.
Yet, who made the deal with Iran? Kerry? No! Hashem made the deal, for everything comes from Him, as the Rambam reiterates in the first of our Thirteen Principles of Faith.
The current Israeli Government has become the most vehemently anti-Torah government in modern Israel's 65-year history; without a doubt, the coalition has been walking in a rebellious and impure (kerry in Hebrew) manner with Hashem. So measure-for-measure, they received Kerry in return, along with his ridiculous agreement that enables Iran to continue with its nuclear program, as well as his demands for unilateral concessions to the Palestinians. The Israeli Government gave Hashem kerry, and Kerry in return.
It's high time for all of us to wake up.
You're welcome to visit Rabbi Lazer Brody's award-winning daily weblog, Lazer Beams
There's a way around all the budget cuts and austerity measures. You can be a millionaire, and truly happy, in less than two minutes! Here's how:
Lag B’Omer falls this year on Saturday night and Sunday, April 27-28, 2013
The two most significant events of Lag B’omer are the cessation of the plague that killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students and the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai. We find an amazing connection between these two seemingly unrelated events.
Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students
The Gemara (tractate Yevamot 62b) relates that Rabbi Akiva had 12,000 pairs of students, all whom them died in a few short weeks between Pesach and Shavuot because they didn’t properly respect each other.
Why were these gentle Torah scholars punished so harshly? Don’t think for a moment that they verbally abused one another, or that they were guilty of humiliating or slandering one another. Heaven forbid! Rebbe Akiva’s 24,000 students were simply smug toward one another. They didn’t adequately listen to what their fellow student had to say. Each thought that he knew better or was a tiny bit better than his fellow, thinking that his tribe, his clan, his bloodline and his family were a little bit better or more prestigious than that of his study partner.
As soon as one person thinks he’s better than someone else, his heart and mind turn off to that other person. One says to himself, “What can I possibly learn from him? I’m better than he is!” Such an attitude not only stifles Torah growth but personal growth as well. It uproots the entire time-tested system of learning Torah with a chevruta (study partner) and in groups. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev explains (Likutei Moharan I:34), that every individual has a special talent and strength that no one else has. Therefore, when we learn with others, we receive their special illumination from the way the Torah reflects on their souls. This makes us ever so richer. Rebbe Akiva’s students were therefore punished for not taking advantage of each other to climb higher in the true service of Hashem.
No one can be the best in everything. When I look around at my neighbors, I see one young man who’s has a brilliant analytical mind for in-depth Gemara study. The man that lives in the adjacent apartment looks like a simple merchant, for he has a vegetable store, but he knows Shulchan Aruch by heart and is a walking encyclopedia of Jewish law. One floor down is the neighborhood’s Doctor Feelgood who makes everyone laugh and never lets anyone feel sad. His neighbor is a quiet, unassuming paramedic who served in Unit 669, the IAF's special pilot-rescue unit. He is so giving and humble, answering calls in the middle of the night to anyone in the neighborhood who seeks assistance. Every one is a diamond. Those irresponsible politicians and journalists who label fellow Jews as "parasites", G-d forbid, have no idea who and what they are taking about. Apparently, they haven't yet learned what killed Rebbe Akiva's 24,000 students and what destroyed the Second Temple - the same root cause of disrespect and intramural hate.
Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai
Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day in the counting of the Omer, falls on 18th day of Iyar, the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, one of our foremost Mishnaic sages. The Zohar tells us that on the day Rabbi Shimon passed away, a great light of endless joy filled the day, because of the previously hidden Torah wisdom that he revealed to his students. This secret wisdom was written down and recorded in the holy Zohar. The Zohar, the compendium of Jewish esoteric thought that is presented to us via Rebbe Shimon’s inner-dimensional elaborations on Torah, happiness, is a phenomenal reason to rejoice. So much so that the day of Rebbe Shimon’s passing, the sun did not set until Rabbi Shimon had revealed all that he was permitted to. As soon as he was done, the sun set, and his soul returned to its Creator.
The happiness of back then has become a Jewish tradition. Each year, hundreds of thousands of overjoyed Jews make the Lag B’Omer pilgrimage to Rebbe Shimon’s holy gravesite in Miron in the Upper Galilee. There is dancing, singing, and bonfires. Little boys of three get their first haircuts, kippa, and sidecurls (photo, left). Awesome amounts of food and drink are offered to everyone everywhere.
As it turns out, Lag B’Omer in Miron achieves the tikkun, the exact spiritual correction of the blemish caused by the fact that Rebbe Akiva’s 24,000 students didn’t properly respect one another. We still need that tikkun, because of all the irresponsible politicians and media who purvey hate and ugly stereotypes about entire segments of our population in a manner that the worst anti-Semite would be proud of. Don't envy the hate mongers, for their end is always a bitter one. Join those who seek love, mutual respect and unity among the Jewish People. That's what Lag B'Omer is all about.
In Miron, close to half a million people are trying to touch or at least obtain a glimpse of Rebbe Shimon’s holy gravesite. The pressure of the crowds is tremendous. Yet no one pushes and no one has an angry word. Everyone offers you food and drink. Satmer Chassidim from Mea Shearim dance with soldiers wearing knitted kippas on their heads. Ashkenazim and Sefardim, Chassidim and Lithuanian, national religious and even non-religious are forced together in very close quarters. Love, brotherhood, and a wonderful feeling of happiness and friendship prevail.
The tiny Land of Israel has a long list of aches and troubles, from within and from without. Yet, the unity of Lag B’Omer soothes the national pain. That in itself is reason to celebrate.
(We invite you to visit Rabbi Lazer Brody’s award-winning daily web journal, “Lazer Beams”)