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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 18, 5768, 10/30/2007

      To Go Up or To Go Down


      Today is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Meir Kahane, towering prophet of our time, fearless speaker of truth, champion of the Torah, loving husband and father, may Hashem avenge his murder by an Arab terrorist in New York.

      Over the past year, we have tried to make clear the great imperative of aliyah if Diaspora Jewry hopes to escape destruction. In memory of Rabbi Kahane, we will turn this blog over to him and let his impassioned words ring out loud and clear in our ears.

      [This article, condensed for this blog, appeared in 1976, decades before the founding of Nefesh B’ Nefesh. It is part of a soon-to-be-published collection of Rabbi Kahane’s essays and articles].

      TO GO UP OR TO GO DOWN

      Over the past few years I have had the dubious honor of being barred from speaking at the World Zionist Congress, the Brussels Conference on Soviet Jewry, many major Jewish conventions, and untold numbers of synagogues. The fear of hearing painful, controversial and unsettling views, is endemic among tiny people.
      Even the youth, those who should, by any standard, be the idealists are massive disappointments. The painful fact is that there is only a pitifully small number of Jewish youth going on aliyah.

       
      The insecurity and fear that rule the inner recesses of such Jews make them desperately frightened of hearing Jewish truths that will shake the very foundations of their philosophies and existence, and that will make them question the essence of their reason for being. And that is why so many of them will hear Arabs rather than JDL; enemies of Israel, but not Kahane. That — and the worst of all the fears that beset the leaders of the Jewish Establishment, both the gentilized Jews of America and the Hebrew-speaking gentiles of Israel: the fear that my ideas and words may open the eyes of the Jewish masses and persuade them that their present leaders guide the nation to disaster.

      That is why there are such frantic efforts to bar me from speaking, to see that my books are not advertised or carried by bookstores, to have my column barred. And that is why I will be barred again in Brussels in February and that is why there was such intense pressure by Jewish Agency officials to force the leaders of the Association of Americans and Canadians for Aliyah (AACA) to withdraw their invitation to have me speak at their convention on February 7. It is to the AACA’s credit that they refused to be pressured.

      I have a special desire to speak to this group which could grow from the essentially packing-and-crating organization that the Israeli government has made of it, into a true aliyah movement, which can save the lives and futures of countless American and Canadian Jews. I want so much to speak to this group and to challenge it to greatness, to seek independence for itself so that it can finally do what no one else does for the Jewish people.

      Sanctification of G-d

      So few, even among the so-called religious American Jews and their leaders, understand or are willing to see the meaning of the era in which we live and its categorical imperatives: the end of the era of Hillul Hashem (desecration of the L-rd’s Name) and the beginning of that of Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of the L-rd’s Name). We are tiny people and an orphaned generation, and we do not see and do not wish to see the incredible Divine ordaining of the beginning of the Redemption that has taken place before our very eyes. The rise of the Jewish State from the ashes of Auschwitz and from the terror of the long Exile is a decree of the L-rd. It is His first sign of the dawn at the end of the long night of suffering. The State is the sign of Jewish strength and restoration of glory which is the proof of the greatness and omnipotence of the Jewish G-d. It is the reply to those who mocked the Jews and their G-d, asking: “Jews, where is your G-d?” It is the end to the impotence of the Jew and his Maker. It is the beginning of the era of Divine Presence whereby His power and majesty will be manifested to all so that they “know His Name.”

      The Exile, the very antithesis of the glory, the very symbol of Jewish weakness and shame, is ending and it must end. Those Jews who refuse to leave it and who perpetuate it, participate daily in the humiliation and desecration of the holy Name. They humiliate G-d, and more — they are men of little faith. They, even the religious, even those who build their “Netanyas in New York,” their “young, modern, dynamic Orthodox Jewish communities” in the suburbs, their “exclusive, for Bnei Torah only,” idolatry on Staten Island. They are men who build their Golden Calves and worship them, men of little faith even though they don two pairs of tefillin daily. Their corruption of Judaism, their remaining in the Exile will lead to their drowning in a flood of gentile fire as the Exile is destroyed.

      And fire rained down from Heaven

      There is no faith, and that is the essence of the tragedy. The average Jew is sublimely ignorant, comfortably materialistic, stupendously blind, a man utterly lacking in understanding and faith. The practitioner of ritual, the ostensibly “religious Jew,” defies the injunction to live in the Land of Israel and embraces the pagan and unholy earth of Exile. And even the youth, those who should, by any standard, be the idealists are massive disappointments. The painful fact is that there is only a pitifully small number of Jewish youth going on aliyah. Our youth, too, are contaminated with lack of idealism; they too are denizens of fleshpots, and their pro forma attacks on the Establishment sound more than hypocritical alongside their own abysmal failure to emigrate. Little faith, a generation of little faith.

      Impotence of the Diaspora Jew

      These are axioms that I wish to lay out before the AACA delegates and much more. For I bear not only problems but solutions — Jewish solutions. Because they and the American Jewish community must understand that aliyah means “to go up” and that they have only one of two choices. Either the American Jew will go up to the land or he will go down to destruction.

       


       



      Cheshvan 16, 5768, 10/28/2007

      California Jews


      Thousands of Jews have been left homeless as the once blissful, carefree California has erupted into a blazing inferno.  Even Chabad houses, the last line of defense of Diaspora Jewry, have been evacuated.
       
      Towering Inferno
       
      Here’s a news item depicting the tragedy of one of the Jewish victims.

      NEW YORK (JTA) -- "I worked all my life for this house," Daniel Okonsky said in a call from his cell phone on Tuesday afternoon. "I was able to build it, to maintain it -- and now there is nothing."

      "Why G-d, why?"

      Okonsky was speaking from the Downtown Sheraton in San Diego, where he has been staying with his family since they evacuated their home Sunday at 3:30 a.m. in the face of wildfires that have ravaged southern California.
      When he returned to his home Monday, there was nothing left.

      He has notified his insurance company of the loss, but is not sure what will happen next. "I have never lived through something like this," he said. "I have no procedure to follow. It's not something you expect every day. You have a house where you raise a family and now there is nothing left."

      In other news affecting the Jewish community, more than 20 Chabad centers in Southern California have been evacuated due to the raging fires around the region, said Rabbi Chaim Cunin, spokesman for the West Coast Chabad [end of news article].

      Dear Daniel, Rabbi Cunin, and the Jews of California  – the people of Israel are with you in your sorrow. But as you contemplate the task of rebuilding, why waste your time rebuilding your lives in exile. Your tragedy will only happen again. Whether by fire, or earthquake, or persecution, or assimilation, the future of Diaspora Jewry is doomed. What point is there in rebuilding your houses and shuls in galut when you can build new homes and Chabad houses in Israel?
      Why be satisfied with being a watcher on TV, on the other side of the world, when you can become a player down on the field in the Superbowl of our ongoing Redemption?

      Just like a Chinaman belongs in China, and an Eskimo belongs in Alaska, a Jew belongs in Israel. Nowhere is South California, or Toronto, or Antwerpen mentioned in the Torah. Hashem told Avraham to go to Israel. He promised the Land to Yitzhak andYaacov. Our Forefathers lived there even though there were idol worshipping enemies in the Land. After a harsh exile in Egypt, Hashem told Moshe to bring the Jews home to Israel. All of the Torah comes to teach us that a Jew is to make the Land of Israel his home.

      Brothers and sisters, don’t be like the Jews who wanted to remain in Egypt, slaves to a foreign culture, dreaming to be accepted by idol worshippers and engage in their pagan perversions. Remember what happened to them. They died in the plague of darkness, the darkness of swimming pools, and Volvos, and Jewish Federations.

      Brothers and sisters, Judaism is more than gefilta fish and getting drunk at the weekly sumptuous Sabbath Kiddush, and going to the latest movie on Saturday night. Judaism is building a holy nation in the Land that G-d bestowed to the Jews. The choice is before you. You can rebuild your private houses and reconstruct your private swimming pools and private home Jacuzzis and gyms, or you can dedicate your lives to helping to rebuild the Jewish Nation in the Jewish Land and thus become an active player in the process of Redemption that is taking place across the sea. Why read about it altruistically on Arutz 7 when you can take an active part yourselves?

      "Oh no, not the swimming pool too!"

      Yes, there are dangers in Israel too. There were dangers when Hashem told Avraham to move here. There were dangers when Hashem commanded Moshe and Joshua to bring the Jews to Israel out of their bondage in Egypt, the California of that time.

      Hashem tests us through dangers. He tests our faith in Him and our love for Him through the dangers we have to overcome, and through the sacrifices we have to make on His behalf. This is how he builds us into being His people. He doesn’t want one-day-a-week Jews, lovers of California six days a week, and lovers of Hashem on Shabbat. He wants us to love Him completely, with all of our hearts, with all of our souls, with all of our might, even more than we love our mansions, and swimming pools, and Cadillacs and shiksas. It isn’t enough to say, “In G-d we trust,” by stockpiling dollars in the bank and buying some Israel bonds. G-d wants us to trust in Him more than we trust in the dollar.

      In G-d We Trust

      So to all of the homeless David’s and Chabad rabbis, wherever you may be, when you gaze at the ruins of your exile dreams, be happy. The exile isn’t supposed to last forever. Step out of the darkness and see the light. Your future and the future of all the Jewish People is here, in Israel, just like in the days of our forefathers.

      Bye Bye California

      Why be satisfied with being a watcher on TV, on the other side of the world, when you can become a player down on the field in the Superbowl of our ongoing Redemption?


       



      Cheshvan 13, 5768, 10/25/2007

      Sodom, California


      A reader commented, “OK, let’s say the California fires are a warning to the Jews to move to Israel, buy why should non-Jews have to suffer too?”

      Fire from the L-rd

      Is it coincidental that this week’s Torah portion tells the story of Sodom and Gemorah? Once upon a time, I lived in Southern California, and that’s exactly what it is. It is a land of narcissism, perverted sex, and greed. The iron gates, electric fences, and prowling guard dogs surrounded everybody’s mansion send out the clear message to strangers – “KEEP OUT!” Just like in residents of Sodom.

      "And he looked toward Sodom and Amora and behold the smoke of the country went up like the smoke of a furnace."

      In case you have forgotten, the word sodomy comes from Sodom. That’s what the men of Sodom wanted to do to the angels who came to visit Lot. I don’t know what the streets are like now, but in my days, the gays competed with the hookers to tempt the drivers of passing cars.

      And fire rained down from Heaven

      “Then the L-rd rained down upon Sodom and Gemorah brimstone and fire from the L-rd out of Heaven.”

      Just last week, California’s governor, the son of a Nazi, signed a new law making restrooms in schools co-ed. Here’s a clip from a WorldNetDaily.com news report dated October 13, 2007:

      BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS
      'Mom' and 'Dad' banished by California.
      Schwarzenegger signs law outlawing terms perceived as negative to 'gays'.

      The terms "Mom and Dad" as well as "husband and wife" effectively have been banned from California schools under a bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who with his signature also ordered public schools to allow boys to use girls restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa, if they choose.

      "We are shocked and appalled that the governor has blatantly attacked traditional family values in California," said Karen England.  “Gov. Schwarzenegger has told parents that their values are irrelevant. Many parents will have no choice but to pull their children out of the public schools that have now become sexualized indoctrination centers."
      "Shame on Schwarzenegger and the Democrat politicians for ensuring that every California school becomes a homosexual-bisexual-transsexual indoctrination center," she said.  [End of news clip.]  

      Brimstone

      While the Jewish People have unique laws safeguarding the holiness of their marital lives, non-Jews also are forbidden to engage in sexual brazenness and perversion under the seven commandments of Bnei Noach.

      Lot's Wife

      Like our forefather, Avraham, we pray that Hashem will show mercy and spare California for the sake of the righteous people who live there. And we pray that the Jews will wake up and stop trying to be just as American and California Cool as the goyim, and hurry home to the Holy Land that awaits them.

      Shabbat Shalom



      Cheshvan 12, 5768, 10/24/2007

      Disengagement California Style


      I lost a lot of blog readers this week as out of control fires swept through California,  evacuting thousands of Jews from their exile mansions and fantasy lives.

      Vanity of Vanities

      "It can never happen in America," they always said when we warned them. 

      It's a lot safer in Israel

      Hashem has many messengers. The Almighty can use anti-Semitism and persecution to shatter the dream of galut, or He can use fires, earthquakes, or floods to drive Diaspora Jews back home to Israel. The destruction that the conflagrations have left in their wake, and the staggering number of homeless, make the evacuation of Gush Katif seem like peanuts. And the fires are still raging. Brothers and sisters, we have been saying it all along. Life is much more dangerous in America and France than it is in Israel. Wake up already! Get the message, boys and girls. Read the writing on the wall before it is too late. Your bastions, and country club memberships, and Jewish Federations won't help you. Not in California, nor Monsey, nor Long Island, nor even in Boca Raton. Don't make the mistake by pretending that this ongoing inferno is just a freak outburst of nature.

      Get the Message?

      Everything that happens in the world is from G-d, and it's all for the sake of the Jews. So take some good advice and sell your houses now before there is nothing left of them but smoke. Come home to Israel while you can, before you are shipped here in a coffin.    



      Cheshvan 9, 5768, 10/21/2007

      Secret of the Brit


      The Covenant between G-d and the Jewish People isn’t stamped on our foreheads, nor on our arms, nor our mouths, nor our toes. The sign of the Covenant, the brit milah, is stamped where it is to emphasize that we are to guard the sexual purity of our lives. This holiness is the foundation of the Jewish Nation, distinguishing us from the other nations of the world.

      I know that there are readers who are tired of hearing this message repeated over and over again, but since the Covenant, known as the Brit, between G-d and our forefather, Avraham, is central to this week’s Torah portion, we will go over a few points for any readers who are new to this blog.

      After bringing Avraham to the Holy Land, G-d tells him that He will bequeath the Land of Israel to Avraham’s Jewish descendants on the condition that the Jewish People circumcise themselves and safeguard their sexual lives with the holiness appropriate to G-d’s chosen nation. In other words, it isn’t enough for a Jew to live in the Holy Land – he or she has to live here in a holy fashion. If not, the consequences can lead to exile from the Land, may G-d have mercy on us.

      Not only is our national security and national wellbeing dependent on the barometer of our modesty and holiness in sexual matters, Kabbalists throughout the ages have emphasized that our personal lives as well, whether it be matters of health, livelihood, happiness, marital harmony, children, or spiritual advancement, all these depend on our behavior in the bedroom. This is what King David is speaking about when he says, “Be not as the horse, nor as the mule, which have no understanding” (See the Zohar, Vayikra 49B).
       
      "Be not as the horse, nor as the mule."

      Our website, jewishsexuality.com is devoted to this subject, and we encourage readers to benefit from the wealth of information presented there, including Torah guidelines on how to overcome an addiction to pornography on the Internet, and a reader Forum which offers an opportunity for people to exchange thoughts, experiences, and helpful advice on this intimate and cornerstone subject.

      Also available on the site are large sections of the book I compiled on the subject, called “Secret of the Brit.” It is a reader friendly, how-to book, based on teachings of the Torah, the Zohar, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, and the elder Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi of Bnei Brak.
       
      The Kabbalist, Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi

      I mention the website and the book, not to give myself publicity, but because I believe that many people can benefit from a deeper understanding of these crucial issues, matters that are often left unlearned in normative approaches to Torah study. Every Thursday, a long line of people crowd the lobby of Rabbi Levi’s yeshiva to personally meet with the Rabbi for help with their personal difficulties. Every week, there are people with severe medical problems, people in wheelchairs, hospital patients still dressed in hospital gowns, people with marital problems or problems with their children, and people with prolonged cases of depression, unemployment, and the like. In seven out of ten cases, the underlying source of the problem stems from mistakes in their sexual lives. Time and time again, I have seen the Rabbi zero in with his spiritual radar, and reveal the real cause of the problem in his sensitive yet straightforward manner. At first, stunned by the revelation, people often attempt to refute what the Rabbi has told them, but faced with the Rabbi’s x-ray vision, and with their genuine will to escape from the painful chains of their problems, they finally admit that the Rabbi was right and happily set forth on a path of tikun and renewal.
       
      Beauty and the Beast

      In the merit of our forefather, Avraham, who never gazed upon his wife in a lustful fashion, may we all merit to sanctify our lives, and thus be truly worthy to dwell in the Holy Land in prosperity, health, and peace.