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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.


      Cheshvan 26, 5768, 11/7/2007

      Can Somebody Tell Me Why?

      I'm puzzled and confused, so I am turning today's blog over to you. Maybe someone out there has the answer.

      Puzzled and Confused


      After suffering for nearly 2000 years in exile, we have rebuilt, with the grace of G-d, a thriving Jewish statehood in Israel, and yet Jews from the Diaspora are choosing to remain in galut. Can someone tell me why?

      And after nearly 2000 years of dreaming about Zion and making incredible sacrifices to reconquer it, Israel's political leaders are willing and eager to surrender enormous chunks of it to the Arabs. Can somebody tell me why?  

      I am puzzled and confused. First tell me your answers and then I will tell you mine.  

      Cheshvan 24, 5768, 11/5/2007

      Now is the Time for Change!

      Sorry, but we believe in truth in journalism. Last night's demonstration in Jerusalem didn't attract even a 1000 protesters. The majority were young 15 year old girls (my daughter among them) bused in from religious-Zionist ulpanot. While the spirit of our young people is always inspiring to see, the love that our children feel toward Eretz Yisrael is not enough to turn the tide of calculated evil that the political leaders of the world are fermenting against our Holy City and our Holy Land.
      Little Fishes

      The rally, staged by Moetzet Yesha, was organized in too hasty a fashion to draw the large numbers needed to let Olmert know that this time he is in for a genuine fight. As idealistic and adorable as my torch-carrying children are, they didn't cause Olmert, Rice, or Blair to choke on their caviars inside the King David Hotel. The truth is that the Hotel was so far away, and the crowd so small, that the Machevellians dining inside didn't even hear our feeble shouts.
      Olmert and Rice didn't even hear us.

      The lack of preparation and advertising weren't the only reasons why people didn't come. The fact is, a great many people have lost their faith in Moetzet Yesha. People remember that is was the fiasco, two-faced, Moetzet Yesha leadership during the Gush Katif campaign that led us into the outstretched hands of the policemen in black. People are fed up with demonstrations where Moetzet Yesha bureaurocrats and media-pleasing rabbis speak passionate words, then work in compliance with the evacuators to make their despicable work easier. People don't want more of the "Love Will Win Out" Moetzet Yesha campaigns. People want a leadership that holds up not only torches, but the banner of faith, and leaders who are willing to sit in jail for their convictions, and not just send 15 year-old boys and girls out to do the fighting against the forces of Darth Vader darkness that are seeking to usurp our Land.
      Who will rise to the challenge?
      A new leadership is needed if people are going to leave their living rooms and come out to the streets to defend our.cherished Land. A leadership capable of uniting all of the lovers of Israel, the religious and secular, the Haredim and Datim Leumim, the young and the old. A new leadership Committee for the Saving of Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalayim must be formed, representing all segments of the population, and funded by private donators. As long as Moetzet Yesha is a quasi-government organization, receiving money and salaries from the government, it cannot be expected to lead a fight-to-the-finish battle over Eretz Yisrael. And as long as it represents the settlements alone, it cannot be expected to draw large crowds from the other sectors of the country.
      In the absence of true spiritual leadership, it is the way of the world that whoever has the money calls the shots. As long as Moetzet Yesha is the only group in town with funding, then they will continue to lead the way. We have been down that treacherous path before. With the future of our country at stake, now is the time for change.
      BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!
      Thirty youngsters arrested for living in  a new yishuv -- community --- in Eretz Yisrael. The youngsters  were living quietly in a new yishuv called Shevut Ami which was estabilshed during Succot, together with 4 other new communities. Suddenly, yesterday, police pounced upon them and attacked them very violently. WHY DIDN'T THEY HAVE CAMERAS WITH THEM!! The answer is that they did!! However the violent police, as usual, took away these cameras. So, currently, our young heroic kids are under arrest, and the brutal policemen who beat them are free.
      Run to Ariel to join the protest! You will be happy to know that  brave friends of these youngsters, upon hearing of the arrest, zoomed over to Shevut Ami and are maintaining the presence of the Jewish people at Shevut Ami ("Return of my people") as these lines are being written. These fabulous youngsters NEED every ounce of support they can get! Please RUN to Ariel. The police station is near the famous Ariel college (Michlelet Yehuda veShomron). Particulars -- Nadya Matar 0505500834, keep your call super-brief please.

      Contributions are good too (the Shevut Ami equipment has now to be re-purchased, supplies, legal bills, etc.): Write Women in Green on your cheque and send quickly to the following address: Mattot Arim, POB 1588 Rehovot. On the outside of the envelope write SHVUT-AMI URGENT.

      Cheshvan 22, 5768, 11/3/2007

      Olmert - Annapolis Won't Save You!

      Let's get this poster up on the net all over the world. Send it to friends, blogs, and websites. Print it out and tack it up on bulletin boards in shuls. Just as Sharon thought that giving away Gush Katif would get the leftist media and justice system to love him and save him from going to jail for the charges of corruption against him, Olmert is doing the same. With three criminal investigations against him, he is desperately hoping to save himself at Annapolis, willing to give up chunks of Jerusalem, and vast stretches of precious Jewish lands, destroying thriving communities and endangering the entire country in the process - just to save his own skin. Everyone has to do whatever he or she can to foil his plans.

      Cheshvan 20, 5768, 11/1/2007

      Uh Oh - Here He Goes Again!

      On many ocassions, we have emphasized that it is not enough to live in the Holy Land, a Jew must live in the Holy Land in a holy fashion. This means living a life devoted to Torah and guarding the Covenant of sexual purity, the foundation of the Jewish Nation. 

      In this Shabbat's Torah portion of "Chaya Sarah," there is an interesting verse. "And Avraham said to the eldest servant of his house, 'Put I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and I will make thee swear by the L-rd, the G-d of Heaven and the G-d of the earth, that thou shall not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites among whom I dwell, but thou shall go to my birthplace, and to my kindred, and take a wife to my son Yitzhak'" (Bereshit, 24:2-4).

      Why did Avraham have his servant place his hand under his thigh if he wanted him to take a holy oath? The term "thigh" is a polite way of referring to the place of the Brit. Why here of all places? Didn't Avraham have a Bible or some other holy object in his tent to give the oath a sacred meaning? Rashi explains that the place of the Brit is holy, exactly like a Torah scroll, mezuzah, or tefillin. In our book, "Secret of the Brit," we have endeavored to explain the esoteric understandings safeguarding the Brit, and the importance of striving for sanctity in marital relations. The revered Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi, stresses that guarding the holiness of our sexual lives is the key to our personal health and happiness, and the key to our secure and prosperous national life in Eretz Yisrael. 

      The Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi

      People who agree with my blogs on the need for Jews to live in Eretz Yisrael are encouraged to take these words with the same seriousness and make Shmirat HaBrit an integral part of their lives. More than political demonstrations and protests, guarding the Covenant will insure our continued settlement in all of the far and wide borders of Eretz Yisrael.  

      Shabbat Shalom. 

      Cheshvan 19, 5768, 10/31/2007

      Trick or Treat?

      Tonight, Jewish youth all over the world – except in Israel – will celebrate the pagan holiday of Halloween.
      Omens, Spirits, Goblins, and Witches

      Halloween is also called All Hallows' Eve, because, for the gentiles, it is a hallowed evening, the eve of All Saints' Day, a day which honors all Christian saints. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that in ancient Britain and Ireland, the Festival of Halloween was a also celebration of the end of the fertile period of the Celtic goddess Eiseria. It is said that when Eiseria reaches the end of her fertile cycle the worlds of the dead and the living intertwine. This supposedly happens on October 31. Masks are worn to show respect for the Goddess Eiseria who, like most Celtic gods, does not wish to be seen by human eyes.

      This date was also New Year’s Eve in both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times, and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes. These pagan observances also influenced the Christian festival of All Hallows' Eve, celebrated on the same date.

      The Devil Made Me Do It!

      Jewish Law states: “A Jew should not follow the customs of the gentiles, nor imitate them in dress, or in their way of trimming their hair, as it says, ‘You shall not walk in the customs of the nation which I cast out before you’ (Lev. 20:23), and ‘Neither shall you walk in their statutes’ (Lev. 18:3). These verses all refer to one and the same matter of not imitating them. A Jew, on the contrary, should be distinguished from them and recognizable by the way he dresses, and in his other activities, just as he is distinguished from them in his knowledge and his beliefs, as it is said, ‘I have set you apart from the peoples’ (Lev. 20:26).” (See, Rambam, Laws Regarding Idol Worship and the Ordinances of the Gentiles, 11:1).

      When it comes to the question whether Jews can take part in gentile holidays, the halachic discussion differs between clearly religious holidays like Xmas, which are forbidden, and purely secular holidays like Labor Day, which are permissible. Halloween’s religious origins and pagan history place it in the category of gentile holidays that are forbidden to celebrate. Though Halloween in America has been secularized and commercialized to the point where it is now a frivolous time of costumes, candy, and pranks, it is still celebrated in places like Scotland and Ireland as a Celtic festival of the spirits, and in other places as a holiday honoring the Christian saints. Therefore “Trick or Treating” is a no-no for Jewish children.

      The law prohibiting our participation in gentile holidays and customs comes to protect our special Jewish holiness and cultural distinction. If you allow your kids to participate in the pagan rites of a gentile culture, they will grow up with pumpkin heads instead of Jewish heads.

      Pumpkin Head

      On the other hand, if you try to safeguard our distinction as Jews and not let your children go “Trick or Treating” with all the other kids in the neighborhood , they will grow up hating both you and Judaism for turning them into freaks in the eyes of their friends. Either way, as a parent, you lose.

      What’s the solution? Move to Israel. The only place you will see a pumpkin here is in the supermarket (a small yellow one that looks more like a squash). If you truly love your children and don’t want them growing up with pumpkin heads, then the only solution is to bring them to Israel where they will grow up like Jews without hating both you and the Torah.

      To illustrate, today my nine-year old son went on a class trip to Hevron in honor of  this Shabbat’s Torah portion, “Chaya Sarah,” which recounts how our forefather, Avraham, purchased the Cave of the Machplah and the surrounding field for a burial site for his family. Since Hevron is the City of our Forefathers, fathers were invited to come along. So while Jewish kids in the Diaspora were trying on their Goblin and Spiderman Halloween costumes, my son was treated to an educational tour of Hevron, the world’s oldest Jewish city.

      In the Footsteps of the Patriarchs

      Who is more likely to grow up with a Jewish head – the Jewish kids in the Diaspora who go “trick or treating” with the goyim, or the Israeli kids who spend the day learning about their Jewish forefathers and praying in the Cave of the Patriarchs?  

      "What's Halloween?"

      If there is any doubt in your mind, it may be because you went “trick or treating” yourself.

      "Blessed art thou O L-rd, shield of Avraham."
      Like Father Like Son