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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.


      Kislev 15, 5768, 11/25/2007


      This isn’t just some former Hollywood screenwriter saying that Jewish life in the Diaspora is one big desecration of G-d. It is the Prophet Ezekiel saying it.
      It is true, as a reader noted, that I can’t come close to the Torah knowledge, fear of G-d, love of the Jewish People, and way with words of Rabbi Meir Kahane, may Hashem revenge his murder. So I turn this blog over to him. Let’s hear what he had to say about Jewish life in the Diaspora.

      Rabbi Kahane bases his essay on the words of the Prophet, Ezekiel, who declares that Jewish life in the Diaspora is a terrible desecration of G-d:

      “And when they came amidst the nations into which they came, they desecrated My holy Name, in that men said of them, ‘These are the people of the L-rd and they have gone out of His Land.’ But I had pity for My holy Name which the House of Israel had profaned among the nations into which they came. Therefore say to the House of Israel, Thus says the L-rd G-d; I do not do this for your sakes, O House of Israel, but for the sake of My holy Name which you have desecrated among the nations to which you came. And I will sanctify My great Name which was desecrated among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am the L-rd G-d, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and I will bring you into your own Land” (Ezekiel, 36, 20-24).

      Rabbi Kahane writes:

      In response to this Chilul Hashem (the profanation of G-d), Hashem comes in anger and wrath to take revenge against the nations and sanctify His name which was profaned through Israel’s abject state, as the “Mahari Kra” explained (Ezek. 36:20):

      “What is the Chilul Hashem? That the nations say of them, ‘They are G-d’s people and dear to Him, and if He could have helped them not to leave their land, He would have done it, but He became weak...’ This Chilul Hashem comes through the Jewish People.”

      It, therefore, says, “I had pity for My holy name which the House of Israel profaned among the nations into which they came” (Ezek. 36:21). When the time for redemption arrives, G-d has pity on His holy people, profaned among the nations by Israel’s very presence in exile among them, living under them, subject to and dependent upon them. Even when the nations allow Israel to live in peace among them, Israel still depend on their goodness and tolerance, and that, too, is a Chilul Hashem. The fact that Israel live as a minority constantly dependent on the kindness of the nations, itself diminishes the glory of Israel, and of G-d, so to speak.

      This is the intent of Targum’s rendering of the verse, “There [in the exile] you will serve other gods” (Deut. 28:36,64): “There you will serve nations that worship idols.” Israel, by being subject to these nations, even if this just means living under their sovereignty as a minority in the territory of the gentile majority, magnify and exalt the gods and culture of the nations, and belittle G-d’s omnipotence, not to mention where the nations humiliate, murder and exterminate the  Jews.

      G-d, thus, intends to blot out the Chilul Hashem among the nations, occurring through the Jewish People, in the only way that the nations will understand, namely, Israel’s redemption and their victory over the nations who blasphemed G-d. Since, in the nations’ eyes, Israel’s weakness and lowliness, and their suffering at the nations’ hands, are interpreted as G-d’s weakness and inability to save His people, and that is a Chilul Hashem, it follows that Israel’s power, exaltation and victory over their own enemies and the blasphemous enemies of G-d is a Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d).

      Therefore, although Israel are unworthy of redemption in terms of their deeds, which are insufficient, still, a certain time arrives in G-d’s calculations when He has compassion for His holy Name, profaned among the nations. “Therefore, say unto the House of Israel: Thus says the L-rd G-d, I do not do this for your sake, O House of Israel, but for My holy Name, which you have profaned among the nations into which you came” (Ezek. 36:22). Not for their sake, not because they deserve it, for they have not repented properly, but for the sake of G-d’s holy Name.

      “And I will sanctify My great name, which has been desecrated among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them.”

      Rashi comments, “What does this sanctification involve?  The answer is in the following verse, “I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and bring you into your own Land.”

      The non-Jew understands Israel’s exile and abject state as G-d’s inability to help His people, or, Heaven forbid, as G-d’s nonexistence. This is the greatest Chilul Hashem there is. It follows that only through Israel’s return to Eretz Yisrael and their being exalted and gaining power over the nations will those nations understand that, indeed, the L-rd is G-d, Supreme, Omnipotent King of Kings, and accept His sovereignty.

      The exile, itself, in the eyes of the nations is the pinnacle of Chilul Hashem, whereas Israel’s return to Eretz Yisrael, the land from which they were exiled, and the establishment of a sovereign state triumphantly, against the will of the nations, is the pinnacle of Kiddush Hashem; the proof to the nations that, indeed, a G-d exists in Israel, and He is the Supreme Master and King of Kings. Thus, His might, valor and victory are revealed through the might, valor and victory of Israel.
      Therefore, depart the corrupt exile, the source of Chilul Hashem. Return to Eretz Yisrael so that you can live and sanctify G-d’s Name. Indeed, it is only through might, revenge and valor, through the defeat of the nations, and through Israel’s return to Eretz Yisrael and the exile’s liquidation, will the nations understand that the L-rd is G-d.

      [Excerpted from “The Jewish Idea, Vol. 2, Pgs 800-803.]

      Sorry, and all of you lovers of the Diaspora. This isn’t just some former Hollywood screenwriter saying that Jewish life in the Diaspora is one big desecration of G-d. It is the Prophet Ezekiel saying it.

      If you don’t agree, you can send your angry talkbacks to G-d.

      Kislev 15, 5768, 11/25/2007

      Put Up or Shut Up!

      Annapolis doesn't worry me. Why? Because we have a secret weapon there. Mike, from Vienna, Virgina, is only a short bus ride away.

      Try to guess which one is Mike.

      This is you chance, tough guy. G-d is bringing all of the big players right into your backyard. Now is your chance to show us your stuff! You can convince them. Show us the way. The moment of truth has arrived. Put up or shut up!

      Kislev 12, 5768, 11/22/2007

      Great News!

      Yaacov Avinu, was so modest in guarding his eyes, he didn’t even realize that his wicked father-in-law switched his bride on his wedding night.
      It rained in Israel. Really poured. Streams of water cascaded down the Hermon, rushed across the Golan, filled the banks of the Jorden River, and splashed happily into the Kinneret. Jerusalem got drenched. We even got to say the blessings over lightning and thunder. The fish were happy, the worms were thrilled, trees breathed a sigh of relief. But no one was happier than me.

      For the first time since last Spring, I was able to go outside without wearing my reading glasses, which turn everything in my path into a fuzzy blur. The few women who braved the winds and stormy weather were all bundled up in winter coats. I didn’t see a single immodest sight. What incredible freedom! Finally, after months and months of summer hibernation, I could look around at the wonderful world that G-d created without getting my eyeballs zapped. Halleluyah!

      I know that some readers think I exaggerate about the consequences of gazing at women. And others accuse me of being hung up on the issue. But I consider myself a man no different from any other.

      I am just like every other man.

      Knowing that the sexual inclination is so strong, G-d gave us the commandment, “Thou shall not turn astray after your hearts and after your eyes which lead you astray.” Our Sages have emphasized that guarding our eyes from looking at forbidden things, like immodest women in the street or erotic photos on the Internet, is the key to our holiness. The eyes are the windows of the soul. If we look at an unwholesome image, that impurity gets imprinted directly on our most inner holy essence. It turns out that gazing at forbidden images brings about far more spiritual damage than eating shrimp or pork.

      Sexual holiness is the foundation of Am Yisrael. Our forefather, Yaacov Avinu, was so modest in guarding his eyes, he didn’t even realize that his wicked father-in-law switched his bride on his wedding night. How different his brother Esav! In this week’s Torah portion, we read how the brothers meet after a long separation. Certainly, as Esav comes to meet the one who stole his birthright, you would think that all of his focus is on Yaacov. But no, that’s not the case at all, as the Torah relates: “And he lifted up his eyes and saw the women (Bereshit, 33:5). The lusty Esav was a low-life skirt-chaser. The Kabbalist, Rabbi Leon Levi, explains that Esav couldn’t rise up to the spiritual heights of Yaacov precisely because he short-circuited his spiritual channels by looking at women. Recognizing that it was Yaacov’s great sexual purity that earned him his closeness to G-d, the angel of Esav sought to weaken Yaacov, and all of his future offspring, by striking him there, in the place of the Brit, as it says: “And when he saw that he could not prevail against him, he struck the hollow of his thigh” (Bereshit, 32:26). Ever since then, the struggle to control our sexual inclination has been the Achilles heel of the Jewish People, whether it be through the temptations of the Daughters of Midian, the age-old passion for the shicksa, or the equally nefarious dangers of the Internet. All come to blemish our holiness and sever our connection to G-d.

      There are many unfortunate consequences for a Jew who follows after his eyes. Since many people look upon this lightly, let me share a Kabbalistic secret to help impress the gravity of this transgression in your minds. In the “Sefer Haredim,” in the Gate of Reincarnation, it is written that a person who habitually gazes at women to enjoy their beauty will be reincarnated as an impure bird called the “Roah,” which means “he saw.”

      "Help! Get me out of here!"

      Regarding this, the holy Torah giant and Kabbalist, Rabbi Aharon Rota, writes: “If you think to say, my brother, what is so bad about this? That if you will be reincarnated in a bird, you can fly around freely to this place and that, what’s so terrible in that? But you should know, my brother, that to be reincarnated in an impure thing, G-d forbid, is worse than the terrible fires of Gehinom. Furthermore, unlike a reincarnation in human form, when the person is unaware of his previous life, when a person is reincarnated in an impure bird, he is conscious all of the time that he was once a Jew with a pure and exalted soul, and that now he is doomed to the life of an impure and foul-smelling bird – how shameful and ignominious is his hell. All because he did not safeguard his eyes from looking at improper things” (“Taharat HaKodesh,” Chapter on Guarding One’s Eyes, Section 18).

      But this isn’t all, my friends. The next time that you are tempted to take a second glance at an immodestly dressed woman, or to click on an erotic site on the Internet, remember that after the reincarnation in an impure bird, another reincarnation is needed in a less impure beast, then another reincarnation in a pure animal, each time experiencing the pain of death and mental suffering involved, until the cycle is completed, and only then does the person begin the time in Gehinom that has been apportioned to him for his sins.

      Is it worth it?

      All I can say is, too bad it doesn’t rain all the time.               

      Kislev 11, 5768, 11/21/2007

      The Secret of Thanksgiving

      I will let you in on a secret. I celebrate thanksgiving. That’s right. I do it every day. That’s how a Jew spends his entire life, thanking G-d for all of His constant goodness and blessings.
      Just as Xmas celebrates the birth of a Jew, and Easter celebrates his death, Thanksgiving has Jewish origins too.

      When it comes to celebrating the American holiday of Thanksgiving, there are halachic opinions that it is OK for a Jew to participate in the festivities and football games since the holiday is not associated today with any religious observances of the gentiles.

      "Please bless President Bush and Condolisa Rice, and make the Annapolis Peace Parley a big success!"

      Ostensibly, Thanksgiving is a time, dating back to the Pilgrims, to thank G-d for providing disgruntled Englishman with a new place to observe their religion. This being the case, it is difficult for me to understand why a Jew would want to participate in this holiday. As my Grandmother used to say, “A curse on Columbus!” for having discovered America in the first place.

      In a previous blog this week, we mentioned the many carving knives that bear-hugging America has wedged into the backs of the Jewish People while pretending to love us. In addition to the upcoming trap of Annapolis, we shouldn’t forget that this sinister, pseudo-love is insidiously decimating our ranks through the holocaust of assimilation.

      Nonetheless, for all of our schizophrenic brothers and sisters who celebrate Thanksgiving, they can at least claim that it has Jewish sources. After all, we are the people who taught mankind about the obligation to thank G-d for all of His infinite kindness. In Hebrew, the word “Hodo” means “expressing thanks” or “thanksgiving.” This is how we begin our daily prayers, “Hodo l’Hashem…” – “Give thanks to Hashem, call out in His Name, make known His doings amongst the nations.” In effect, a Jew celebrates thanksgiving every day. Interestingly, “Hodo” is also the Hebrew word for “turkey.” So it is no coincidence that people celebrate Thanksgiving by stuffing their mouths with turkey. Just as Xmas celebrates the birth of a Jew, and Easter celebrates his death, Thanksgiving has Jewish origins too.

      In fact, Columbus himself was a closet Jew. He received the money for his expedition from the great Rabbi, the Abarbanel, who was the acting Finance Minister of Spain. Doesn’t 1492 ring a bell? It was also the year of the Spanish Inquisition, when all the Jews were expelled from Spain. It turns out that Columbus, who wrote on his epistles, the Hebrew letters, ב"ה, meaning “Bezrat Hashem,” or “With the help of G-d,” was looking for a safe haven for the Jews.

      Columbus leads a minyan

      Too bad he didn’t sail south a few days across the Mediterranean to Israel. That way he would have saved us from 500 years of wandering amongst the goyim, along with the wholesale slaughter and psychological trauma that has accompanied us throughout all of our exiles.

      And it would have spared us the question of whether Jews should celebrate Thanksgiving once a year like the Americans, or be content with our daily thanksgivings to G-d in our prayers.

      One way or the other, “Hodo l’Hashem ki tov, ki l’olam chasdo!”   

      Millions of turkeys take to the streets to demonstrate against Fishman


      Kislev 10, 5768, 11/20/2007

      Dear Shimshon and Shmuelik

      This is an open letter to my procrastinating Haredi brothers who refuse to come to live in the Holy Land, preferring to live out their lives of delusion in the spiritual swamp of the exile, immersed in gentile cultures, in gentile lands, under gentile rulers.


      We who are blessed and privileged to live in the Land of Israel realize that you are prisoners of fear and empty excuses. We who have been blessed to realize that Judaism is more than eating gefilta fish and getting smashed at Saturday morning Kiddush to get through another hollow American or French or English or Belgium Shabbat, reach out to you to take a deep breath, be brave, and step up to the real Judaism.

      Can anything be sicker than this?

      We who have been blessed to understand that Judaism is not merely the practice of individual mitzvot, but rather the national constitution and holy life of the Nation of Israel in the Land of Israel, a mitzvah that encompasses all of the other mitzvot combined (Sifre, Reah, 13), we appeal to you to step up to a higher vision. The goal of Judaism is not merely to acquire a beautiful etrog and light Hanukah candles in Monsey, but rather to teach the world that G-d rules over all the nations, and this can only be done through the life of the Nation of Israel in the Land of Israel – “For from Zion the Torah shall go forth, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem.”

      Last week was the yahrtzeit of the Torah giant, Rabbi Eliezer Valdenberg, who died last year at the age of 91. Rabbi Valdenberg was one of the foremost authorities of Jewish Law in our time. In his voluminous compendium of Jewish Law, “Tzitz Eliezer,” he wrote thousands of articles on every aspect of halacha, including the most modern advances in medicine, which were accepted as the definitive opinion by all factions of Orthodox Jewry, including the Haredim.

      Rabbi Valdenberg emphasized beyond any question of a doubt that every individual Jew, and the Jewish People in its entirety, are beholden to live in the Land of Israel. Regarding the Jewish People as a whole, he wrote: “There is an encompassing mitzvah which is an obligation on the entire Nation of Israel to come and settle in the Land of Israel and to live there as a holy nation.” Regarding the individual Jew, he wrote: “There is an individual mitzvah on every Jew, which is an obligation to make aliyah to Israel and to dwell there.”

      In his halachic discussion on the subject, he writes that the general mitzvah of the nation to live in Israel was interrupted with the destruction of the Temple, but that “Ever since Hashem has remembered us for good, and has given us a renewed possession in the Holy Land, to be sovereign there, in a portion of our Land, and the gates of the Land have been spaciously opened, the obligation on the entire House of Israel to live there has been renewed, and it is the obligation of every community of Jews in the Diaspora, wherever they may be, to rise up en masse, and to come and settle in our cherished Land.”

      Rabbi Valdenberg emphasizes “There is absolutely no room to refuse to come on aliyah to the Land of Israel because the country’s leadership is mainly in the hands of Jews who have cast off the yoke of the Torah, because of our many sins. Also invalid is the claim that the Divine salvation cannot come forth through the agency of Jews who don’t have the reverence of G-d in their hearts.”

      Rabbi Valdenberg explains that if there were more G-d fearing Jews in the Land, the Level of Torah observance would be much greater than at present. Regarding the Redemption sprouting from the efforts of secular Jews, he writes that the mysteries of G-d are beyond our grasp, and that such salvations occurred in our Biblical past, when non-religious, Jewish leaders and kings saved the people of Israel from their enemies and expanded the borders of the Land.

      So Shimshon and Shmuelik, and my Haredi brothers wherever you may be, if you’ve been waiting for halachic permission, here it is. Just as you surely perform the commandments of Succot and Shabbat with all of their details and stringencies, why not perform the commandment that is equal in weight to all of the commandments of the Torah put together – the supremely exalted commandment of living in Eretz Yisrael?

      Diligent with all the mitzvot except the biggest mitzvah of all.

      Everything is waiting for you – heders for your children, yeshivot for your youth, shuls of every persuasion, mikvahs in every neighborhood, frum communities, glatt kosher markets, Haredi newspapers, new apartments, Haredi bus trips to Hevron and Safed, Jerusalem the whole year round, tons of gefilta fish and even scotch whiskey.