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      Hollywood to the Holy Land
      by Tzvi Fishman
      Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Creativity and Culture

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      Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.


      Adar 29, 5768, 3/6/2008

      Adar Photo Quiz

      Please identify the location of this picture and the characters portrayed.

      Founders of Medinat Yehuda

      When the month of Adar enters, simcha enters with it.


      Adar 28, 5768, 3/5/2008

      Spring Cleaning

      When I came out of the mikvah this morning, a jolly fellow said to me, "This is a completely new day that has never yet been in the world." I took it as a call to renewal. The feeling of spring in the air underscored his message. On the way home, I even sadly spotted an early spring poopik or two, sprouting out from the tank tops of women who don't read this blog.
      Remind you of anyone?
      With Pesach just a month away, it's time to do a little spring cleaning. What better place to start than this blog? Every garden needs weeding, and though this is a Sabbatical year, virtual spamming is permitted. So, we are going to change topics, hoping that the crows that have perched on this blog will fly off to do their littering in other pastures.
      The Sages warn us to be careful of the commandments that we tread upon with our heels. They explain this to mean that often we take some of the daily, routine commandments too lightly, with a superficial observance, and even ignoring them altogether. The Zohar and the Gaon of Vilna state that this warning is speaking about sexual trangressions that a person can fall into if he doesn't carefully guard himself against the wiles of temptation.
      We received the following question on our jewishsexuality.com site:
      Take a moment to think about your kids.
      My wife is usually too tired to have marital relations at night. She prefers the morning, after sending the kids off to school, when she feels more refreshed and uninhibited. Is this OK? 
      The answer can be found a short click away.
      Happy spring cleaning to all of you.

      Adar 25, 5768, 3/2/2008

      Answer to Ordinary Joe

      First regarding the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel, the difference between a true devotee of Torah and a Couch Potato is as follows:

      When presented with a mitzvah, a true devotee of Torah gladly performs it. He doesn’t search for a thousand excuses to be AWOL with G-d. A true devotee of Torah doesn’t say, “I won’t put on Tefillin because it looks funny.” He doesn’t say, “I won’t keep kosher because it costs more money than eating regular food.” He doesn’t say, “I won’t have children because childbirth is dangerous.”  A true devotee of Torah does not pick and choose mitzvot, saying, “I will do this commandment because it pleases me, but this one I reject because it does not jive with my personal plans.”

      Before the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land, they fought against the King of Heshbone and killed him. Rabbi Kook explained that the name “Heshbone” was not a coincidence. In Hebrew, Heshbone means an accounting or a reckoning. Rabbi Kook explained that when a Jew contemplates coming to the Land of Israel, he or she must first slaughter all Heshbonot, all accountings and reckonings. If he fails to do this and says, “I will have trouble making a living, and I’ll have to serve in the army, and there are secular Jews there who will threaten my Yiddishkeit, and prices are always all going up, and I’ll have to learn a new language…..,” then he will never come. A Jew is to trust in G-d and perform His commandments, period, without being a Monday morning quarterback, like Korach and the Spies in the Wilderness, who challenged G-d’s plan for the Jewish People. While they were gifted leaders and orators, they served their own mistaken understandings, personal ambitions, and fears, rather than serving G-d.

      Regarding what will be in the Land of Israel, once again a Jew is called upon to trust in G-d and lend a hand in the rebuilding of the Jewish Nation in Israel, as our Sages have taught, “In the future, a Heavenly Voice will shine forth in splendor over the tops of the mountains, saying, ‘May all those who worked with G-d come and receive their reward’” (Jerusalem Talmud, Shabbat, 6:9).

      The Redemption of Israel is a world-encompassing game plan, affected the fruits of the trees, the fish in the sea, the movements of the planets, the size and illumination of the sun and the moon, and the actions of the kings of the world. Hashem is the head coach, calling the plays. We must do all that we can in the framework of the Torah and trust Him to do the rest. At this stage in our Redemption, we do this by coming to Israel, building the Land, infusing the life here with more and more Torah. We do this by working within the limited frameworks of the democracy that Hashem has temporarily established, as a prelude to out destined monarchy. We work in a wide range of spheres to bring about governmental actions that will safeguard the Jewish People, the Jewish Land, and the Jewish character of the Medinat Yisrael.   Without relying on miracles, we trust that in the upcoming wars, Tzahal will deal devastating blows to our enemies. We trust that the people in Israel will very soon realize the emptiness of its present political leadership and vote for a change. At first, this may be only to change the Kedema party for the equally vapid Likud, but, until Mashiach’s arrival, which we long for every day, we will continue to work with the ever awakening nation, in the democratic framework that Hashem has provided, to replace the Likud with a new spirited leadership filled with a mighty holy valor and faith. We trust that the time is soon coming when the great majority of Israelis will demand a leadership that is dedicated to Hashem and His Torah.  In the meantime, as the Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi, said this week, Israel’s renewed triumphs in war will spark a tsunami of pride throughout the Diaspora, encouraging Jews to come home. This, along with economic problems, anti-Semitism, and terrorism throughout the world, will spark more and more Jews to set their faces toward Zion. These holy brothers and sisters will join in the battle of purging the Land of its foreign cultures and peoples This is the way that Hashem is bringing the Redemption about. This is the game plan about which the Prophets of Israel foretold.

      "What did you do to help rebuild the Jewish Nation in Israel?"

      One of the questions a person is asked before the Heavenly Tribunal when he arrives in the World to Come after his visit on earth is, “Did you yearn for the Salvation of the Jewish People from the exile?” (Shabbat 31). He will be shown a film of the ingathering of the exiles to Israel in our time, and be asked, “What did you do to participate with G-d in the rebuilding of the Jewish People in the Jewish homeland?” Then he will be given exactly fifteen seconds to answer, not five minutes, not a half hour. Dissertations and long windy speeches filled with convoluted explanations and excuses will not be allowed. Unfortunate is he who cannot say “I did my share,” whether it be a great deal by having moved to Israel, or a little by extending whatever aid a person could muster, whether by donating funds, by praying, or by identifying with his brothers and sisters in the Land.  And woe is he who did the opposite by discouraging Jews from coming to live in Israel, may Hashem have mercy on his soul.

      The truth is that we are all guilty of not doing enough, both those of us who are in Israel, and those who are still abroad. It is the relentless spiritual and physical onslaught, and the great impurity of the exile, that has poisoned our minds and weakened our hearts. But, all the same, we all must strive to do what we can to propel the great dream of Redemption forward, by working with G-d to rebuild the Jewish People in the Jewish Land.

      Adar 23, 5768, 2/29/2008

      Update - War of the Talkbacks!

      Book of the Year
      There are truly great leaders who set an example for others by practicing what they preach, and there are couch potatoes who only preach. Rabbi Meir Kahane was a great Torah leader who established a brave and clear path for others to follow. While he understood the terrible problems of democracy for the Jewish People, he never called for Jews to kill other Jews, or for an armed rebellion against the government in Israel, no matter how misguided or evil it might be. More than anyone else, he was aware of the shortcomings of Israel politics and culture, but he never wearied from raising the banner of aliyah for all Jews, whether they be oppressed Jews in Russia or affluent Jews in New York.
      Volume one of a wonderful, inspiring biography of Rabbi Kahane, written by his wife, has just been published in Israel. The book, "Rabbi Meir Kahane, His Life and Thought," is a must read for every student of Torah, every Jewish educator, every Jewish parent, and every Jewish youth. It should be an obligatory gift for every Jewish boy and girl for their bar and bat mitzvahs.
      Lest readers of this blog be led astray by false prophets who attempt to use Rabbi Kahane's legacy to bolster their own perverted platforms, here is a quote from the biography which reveals Rabbi Kahane's true understanding of how change must be achieved:

      "There are numerous things about the Eretz Israel of our day that pain the heart and outrage the soul of the religious Jew.... Its Sabbath is not the Sabbath of Torah; its kashrus is not the kashrus of our rabbis; its youth is not the youth that Judaism desires. There are things that Eretz Israel possesses that are not pleasant to us, and I fear that in the future there will be worse things. I fear that Reform and Conservatism will invade the Holy Land and deform it, and already their temples are beginning to grow. I fear that the marriage and divorce laws will become a burden to many and they will demand and institute civil marriage....
      "But the steps of (throwing) stones are not the proper steps, nor is the path of insult and rioting and hatred the proper path. Whoever thinks that these will persuade Israelis to return to G-d is incapable of understanding human beings.... That can be done only through the building of schools and yeshivas to capture the souls of the youth. That can be done only by the formation of religious groups that will participate in sympathetic dialogue with the irreligious.... By explaining what Torah really is; by answering misconceptions and confused images of religion." (Pg. 64. First published in the Jewish Press, 1963)

      These are the words of a true Jewish leader. Dear Readers - of false prophets, beware!

      The new biography of Rabbi Meir Kahane is not yet available in bookstores outside of Israel but can be oredered at: http://www.urimpublications.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=UP&Product_Code=Kahane&Category_Code=aaa 

      Adar 21, 5768, 2/27/2008

      Any Advice?

      Dear Tzvi,
      I am a convert to Judaism. I live in NY with my Israeli-born and raised husband and
      14 year old daughter. We have another daughter and a son living in
      Eretz Israel and baruch Hashem we recently became grandparents.
      I read your blogs every day and I agree with what you say; both
      about aliyah and sex. Thank you for this important jewishsexuality web site.
      My husband has an issue with both issues.
      He is not anti aliyah but he doesnt see the urgency of the situation`.
      We have a business here, and he is afraid to close and so we keep
      putting aliyah off. I want to move NOW and he thinks I'm a fanatic
      His argument is: if living in galut when there is a jewish homeland
      is a sin then why are there sooooo many good, religious jews
      still in galut?
      I answer him that they are either insincere, misinformed or confused religiously and then he
      gives me a look that I'm the crazy one.
      It hurts me because I believe that we are supposed to make aliyah
      when things are going well for us in galut to really show
      G-d that we trust him and want to serve him . After all, it is easy
      to make aliyah when things are financially bad or there is anti semitism;
      then we'll all flock to Israel like sheep. It is also easy to make
      aliyah when Moshiach comes and takes you on his wings ( including your mansion)
      This is what the rabbis here teach us. Any advice? Thank you.