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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.


      Tammuz 15, 5767, 7/1/2007

      Sex Offender #1

      Israel’s number one sex offender is not Moshe Katsav. Israel’s number one sex offender is the Israeli media. The Attorney General ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to try Katsav for rape, and that the testimony of the plaintiff called “Alef” was lacking in credibility. But that hasn’t stopped Israel’s media from interviewing her every the hour for the last three days straight, and there is no end in sight. All around the clock, the men, women, teenagers, and children of Israel are forced to hear on the radio, or read in the newspapers, or see on TV, how the President put his hand here, and did this and did that, over and over again. Instead of thinking about HaKodesh Baruch Hu all day, the way every Jew should, the Israeli public is being forced to think about sex. To me, this is national rape. The Israeli media, motivated by its hatred of Judaism and everything Jewish, is raping our holy national psyche by bombarding us with its non-stop, play-by-play description of what Katsav supposedly did, even though the Attorney General stated that the testimony of “Alef” was legally problematic, meaning that it would not stand up in court.
      Instead of thinking about HaKodesh Baruch Hu all day, the way every Jew should, the Israeli public is being forced to think about sex.

      But the sex offences of the Israeli media don’t begin here. Haven’t you noticed how the blouses of the women newscasters are getting lower and lower? Ratings are determined by the amount of cleavage exposed, and not by the news. Five years ago, there was hardly a woman newscaster on Israeli TV. Today they are featured on every news program, and one is blonder than the next. What is important to the media lords is not how well these female broadcasters speak, but how much sexual energy they project into living rooms around the country. And this is just the news programs. The regular shows and commercials abound with all kinds of debauchery. Once again, sexual titillation is the key. And the major secular newspapers are equally as provocative. They are little more than smutty journals with some news articles and leftist editorials interspersed between the dirty pictures.

      It is known that people copy what they see in the media. Viewers of TV and readers of newspapers aspire to be like the heroes of the media. This is why advertising works. When the sexy girl in the Coke commercial wins the attention of the good-looking guy, then women at home want to look sexy too. When the media sets the style on sexiness, then sexiness is what talks in the workplace and out on the street. To attract attention, women dress up like the sexy models, actresses, and newscasters that they see on TV. The women of Israel are not to blame. The media has programmed them to behave this way. So they dress in the most provocative apparel, exposing their chests, poopiks, and toosiks without any shame. Given this erotic bombardment, in the media, in offices, in schools, in supermarkets, and out in the street, is it any wonder that more and more sexual crimes are being committed in Israel? After buying the sexiest clothing they can find, and dressing up in front of the mirror to highlight their curves in the most eye-grabbing fashion, how can a woman cry out in surprise when the guy standing next to her on the bus gives her a wink and a pinch on the rear? “Gevalt!” she protests. “Rape!” “Sexual assault!” “How could he do this to such an innocent victim like me?”

      Please don’t get me wrong. Any man who commits a sexual offence against a woman should be arrested, charged, and brought to trial. But there is also a little something called incitement. Inciting someone to commit a felony is also a crime. No woman in our day and age can say, “I didn’t know.” Today, everyone knows about the birds and the bees. Put a red cloak in front of a bull and he will charge. A man is a man. Whether he is the guy on the bus, or the President of the country, if you flaunt around in front of him, day after day in low-cut blouses, without sleeves and backs, and with a panoramic view of things he shouldn’t see every time you bend over, don’t react with surprise when you discover his thoughts and hands going astray.

      "He attacked me for no reason at all!"

      I am blaming the media, not the women. After all, the once vituous daughters of Israel have been brainwashed. The media has made the women who have fallen for this hype into sex objects, Barbie dolls, Playboy bunnies, whose secret mission is to stir up men’s passions and bring them to sin. The only visual difference between these media-duped women and the scantily clad whores on the street is that a man can buy time with a whore, while these temptresses, he isn’t allowed to approach. Excuse me, ladies, but you have to be either Superman or Yosef the Tzaddik to resist the temptation.

      Readers, don’t think that this terrible moral decline in our country is an accident of the times. This is the exact same strategy that the wicked Bilaam devised to weaken Am Yisrael. He knew that the G-d of the Jews hates licentiousness, so he sent the daughters of Midian to tempt the Jews into sin. Today is the yahrtzeit of the great Torah scholar, the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh, may his memory be for a blessing. In his commentary on this week’s Torah Portion, Balak, he writes that even though only Zimri committed an actual sexual transgression with the brazen gentile temptress, 24,000 Jews died in the subsequent plague. Why? Because they thought about whoring. The Kabbalist, Rabbi Leon Levi, explains that if Zimri got away with his whoring, these 24,000 Jews were ready to do it too. Thinking about sex is like doing it. Our Sages have long warned that lustful fantasies pollute the Jewish mind with a terrible pollution. And today, the Israeli media has the whole country focused on sex. Gevalt! May the Almighty save us from these media Bilaams and Balaks.

      The Torah warns us that the national Jewish camp is supposed to be holy: “Therefore your camp shall be holy, that He see no unchaste thing in thee and turn away from thee” (Devarim, 23:15). The Torah explains the matter explicitly, that when we conduct our lives in a holy manner, then G-d walks in the midst of us to deliver us from every enemy. However, if He sees in us some unchaste matter, He turns away from us, and this brings upon us all of the tribulations that we are witnessing today.

      Sexual modesty is our unique calling as a holy nation. This is the Covenant that was stamped into Avraham’s flesh, and into the flesh off all of his offspring for all generations to come. And today, the media in Israel, adopting the ways of the nations, has become the partner of Midian and Moab in polluting our national camp and forging a wall between the holy Jewish People and our G-d, may He have mercy.

      Yes, sex offenders should be prosecuted. Both the men who commit the crimes and those who incite them. But the harshest punishment of all should be levied against the media that brings the entire congregation to sin. When the spiritual revolution arrives, we will know what to do with them. In the meantime, everyone who cares about his wellbeing as a Jew should turn off the radio, throw away the television, put a filter on his Internet, and stop bringing trash newspapers into his home. Then we will be able to exclaim with true Jewish pride, “How goodly are thy tents, O Yaacov, and thy tabernacles, O Yisrael.”

      Tammuz 12, 5767, 6/28/2007

      More Beautiful Than Everest

      The last two days, I was away from home on a short vacation with my wife to the lovely seaside city of Netanya. As we were driving there, she mentioned that someone in her family was going for a vacation this summer to Austria.

      “Austria?” I blurted, nearly losing control of the wheel. “Why would any Jew want to go to Austria?”

      “For the mountains and the scenery,” she answered.

      At that very moment, we reached the intersection just before Tel Aviv that leads north toward Haifa. Coming out of the turn, the first thing you see is the mountain of garbage that has long been a landmark on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

      Garbage Mountain

      Every time, I see it, its beauty and majesty overwhelms me. To me it is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, just behind Mount Moriah, Mount Herman, and Mount Tabor. The sight of it is literally breathtaking.

      Overlooking Tel Aviv

      “Why go to Austria when we have magnificent and holy mountains here?” I asked my wife. “Just look! Can anything be more beautiful than a mountain of Jewish garbage in the Holy Land? It has to be one of the natural wonders of the world. Let’s stop and take some pictures!”

      “We are on vacation,” she said.

      “I know,” I answered. “What a wonderful place to start!”

      I am absolutely serious. In my eyes, the mountain of garbage overlooking Tel Aviv is more wondrous than Everest. After two thousand years of exile in foreign lands, not only has the Almighty given us back our cherished Homeland, He has given us such an overabundance of blessing that we have an abundance of refuse too! A whole mountain of excess trash. If Moses were here to see it, he would crawl up to its summit on his hands and his knees, kissing every piece of litter on the way to the top!

      Who needs the Alps?

      That evening, as my wife and I sat on our hotel terrace watching a glowing Mediterranean sunset, I was so moved by the memory of the garbage mountain that I picked up my notebook and scribbled a poem.

      O holy garbage mountain, I love you so greatly.
      In my wonderstruck eyes, you look so noble and stately.
      Even though you aren’t the tallest on earth,
      You fill my heart with rapturous mirth.
      Everest, Rushmore, and the Alps are sublime,
      But for all of their grandeur, they’re simply not mine.
      Even though you are only a mountain of zevel,
      Compared to you, the rest are all hevel.
      Though your slopes are made of refuse that people don’t want to eat,
      Each time I pass by you, your aroma smells sweet.
      For you are a holy mountain of garbage in Israel and that makes you blessed,
      Placing you head and shoulders over all of the rest.

      More Beautiful than Everest

      PS – anyone interested in purchasing a poster size blow-up of the Holy Garbage Mountain, can order through this website. We will also be happy to arrange shipments of its trash overseas via Zim Lines. Two month delivery promised. Price is $80,000 per ton. The perfect addition to your living room, front lawn, or Diaspora garden.

      Tammuz 10, 5767, 6/26/2007

      Who is Mashiach?

      The word “Mashiach,” translated as Messiah in English, literally means “the anointed one.” Who is Mashiach? What is Mashiach?
      Jews in Antwerpen, and Boro Park, Lakewood, and Monsey! Open your eyes! Mashiach is here already.

      The Rambam lists the belief in the coming of Mashiach as one of the 13 Principles of Jewish Faith. What actually does the belief in the coming of the Mashiach involve? Since there is much confusion surrounding this matter, and because the period of the Three Weeks is approaching, when our holy Temple was destroyed and our nation was driven into exile, we will be exploring this important subject in some of our upcoming blogs.

      In his commentary to the book, “Torat Eretz Yisrael,” which includes the teachings of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook on the subject of Mashiach, Rabbi David Samson explains that during the generations of galut, Mashiach became a misunderstood concept. Partly due to the infiltration of Christian concepts into our collective subconscious, Mashiach was envisioned by many people as a religious superhero, who would arrive on the scene in a flash of miracles and wonders, and whisk all of the exiled Jews off to Israel.

      A distorted concept of Mashiach arose throughout the generations of galut

      This romantic image entered the realm of mystical fantasy during the long years of our misery in exile away from our Land. Helpless to improve our galut existence, and to actualize our dreams of returning to Zion, this comic book vision of Mashiach seemed to be the only way we could be redeemed from the harsh realities of the ghetto. When centuries passed in waiting and disappointment, a philosophy of passivity and impotence arose. We were to pray and wait, and Mashiach would do all the work when he came, without our having to do a thing. The Redemption was viewed as something that would occur all at once, like with the wave of a magic wand, and not as a naturally unfolding process that would grow to completion with time.

      When the Zionists began to show initiative and take matters into their own hands to bring the Jews back to Israel, the champions of this passive, we-can’t-do-anything school of thought, rose up in protest. “Gevalt!” they roared. We must wait until Mashiach arrives, they insisted, and he will bring us to Israel.

      In his famous “Letter of Forced Conversion,” the Rambam writes:

      “Those who seduce themselves and say they will stay in their places until the king Mashiach comes to the lands of the West, and then they will depart and go forth to Jerusalem – I don’t know how the decree of destruction will be stayed from them. Rather, they are transgressors, and they cause others to sin…. For there is no set time for the coming of the Mashiach on which to depend, saying that he is close or far. The obligation of the commandments is not dependent on the coming of the Mashiach. Rather, we are to busy ourselves with the Torah and precepts, and to strive to fulfill everything we can…, However if a man will stay in a place where he sees that the Torah is waning, and where the Jewish people will be lost with the passage of time, and where he cannot stand by his faith, and he say, ‘I will stay here until Mashiach comes and survive where I am,’ this is nothing but an evil heart and a great loss, and a sickness of reasoning and spirit. This is my opinion, and Hashem knows the truth.”

      Let’s face it. Which Jewish community in the Diaspora does not face the potential danger that the Rambam describes in his letter, that with the passage of time, both Judaism and Jewish life will be threatened? Just as the once flourishing Jewish communities of Spain, Germany, Eastern Europe, and Russia were all wiped out, can any intelligent person believe that history will not repeat itself?

      Today, throughout America, many of the once prominent Jewish neighborhoods are slums. Buildings that once housed synagogues have been converted to churches. Assimilation is America is around sixty percent. In Europe, it is even higher. While a few isolated conclaves of Torah exist, what is their future? Our history tells us the answer, time and again.

      Lower East Side, NY, in the good old days. Today, you can't even find a sour pickle.

      In contrast to this, the greatest concentration of Torah and Torah scholars in the world is in the Land of Israel. In our time, we have witnessed the miraculous rebirth of the nation and the Land, in fulfillment of the words of our Prophets. With our own eyes, we have witnessed the ingathering of our exiles from all over the world. We have witnessed booming technological, industrial, and agricultural growth. Jewish sovereignty has been reestablished in the Holy Land. We have Jerusalem back in our hands, and it is once again the most beautiful city on earth. Rabbi Kook taught that all of these things are aspects of Mashiach and Israel’s gradually unfolding salvation. These are things that are already happening now.

      So why wait any longer? Jews in Antwerpen, and Boro Park, Lakewood, and Monsey! Open your eyes! Mashiach is here already. Don’t miss out! Join in with the rebuilding! Jump aboard the Mashiach train now!

      Tammuz 8, 5767, 6/24/2007

      The Demise of British Jewry

      What are you waiting for, old chaps? How many boycotts do you need to see the writing on the wall? It’s time to come to Israel, now.
      More young British Jews live alone, more couples live together without children and/or marriage, and more households contain both Jewish and non-Jewish members than ever before.

      Let’s face it – the British hate the Jews. Except for a few righteous souls like Balfour, way back in the good old days, when the English Parliament still had a respect for the Bible and recognized that G-d gave the Land of Israel to the Jews, the British have constantly betrayed us. Remember the White Paper, when they refused to let Jews immigrate to Palestine, even though they were supposed to be here under a mandate to help us set up our own Jewish State? How many boatloads of refugees did they turn away at our shores? Wake up, old chaps. Don’t be fooled by their fight against the Nazis in World War Two. They did that to save their country, not to save the Jews. And their partnership with America in the war against Iraq was just to protect their oil interests, not to protect us.

      Of course, the British hate us. Among other things, they want to be known as the people of the book, and it irks them that we are. True, they have Shakespeare and Dickens and Henry James, but we have the Bible, and nothing tops that. It was a devastating blow to the Englishman’s ego when the Americans proved to be smarter and more successful than the Brits, but when The Jews in the tiny State of Israel ousted the great British Empire, that was an unpardonable sin. Plus, as everyone knows, if it weren’t for the Jews, Scotland Yard wouldn’t have to worry so much about El Quaida. It isn’t just the British professors, and journalists, and doctors, and workers, and trade unions who hate us. They all hate us. So why is it, old chaps, that you still want to stay?

      Jewish Immigrants to Palestine turned away by the British

      But that isn’t the only reason to worry. A recently published survey reveals that British Jewry is dying. Among the findings:

      “A higher proportion of British Jews than in almost any other religious or ethnic group live in single-person households. This, together with the large number of mixed Jewish- gentile households, compels a rethink of the nature of the Jewish community, according to the researchers.”

      “More young British Jews live alone, more couples live together without children and/or marriage, and more households contain both Jewish and non-Jewish members than ever before. The picture is further complicated by the numbers of people who are divorced, separated or remarried.”

      68% of those cohabiting had a partner who was not Jewish. This means that the Jewish family unit in England is disappearing and that inter-ethnic households are on the rise. Which means that the Jewish birthrate is swiftly declining, and if the trend continues, then El Quaida won’t have anything to do in England, and Scotland Yard can go back to catching dogs.

      So, come to Israel, old chaps, while you still are Jews. We have a family dentist from London, and he is a wonderful fellow. And our family doctor from Manchester is brilliant, witty, dedicated to Torah, and a trustworthy physician to boot. If they made it, so can you.

      Tammuz 5, 5767, 6/21/2007

      Are Kosher Cruises Kosher?

      Brothers and sisters in golus, until you come on Aliyah, the subject of today’s blog doesn’t apply to you. But don’t let it discourage you from coming. I can almost hear a reader hollering, “Hey, Harry, look at this. If we move to Israel, we won’t be able to leave!” That isn’t true. You can leave to visit family left behind in golus, and to attend to a wide range of mitzvot, but if you are dying to see the Great Wall of China, or play some golf in Scotland, then you had better do it now, because once you are a proud citizen of Israel, you won’t be able to take vacations of leisure outside of the Land, if you follow the halachah. The Creator of the universe formed heaven and earth, and He gave China to the Chinese, Africa to the Africans, and America to the Indians before the Americans came and slaughtered them all. Israel, He bequeathed to the Jews.

      Sailing off to Galut

      The question was raised regarding kosher vacations and cruises to all sorts of exotic destinations outside of Israel. If the halachah says otherwise, how can this be? Especially since trips like these are advertised prominently in dati newspapers and the Torah pamphlets handed out in synagogues on Shabbat?

      Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg is a noted Torah scholar and a judge in the Great Rabbinic Court in Jerusalem. When asked what his opinion was regarding these advertisements, he answered:

      “If the trips in question are pleasure trips to destinations outside of the Land of Israel, they are forbidden by the halachah. Furthermore, advertisements for these trips are a problem, since the Torah says, “Do not place a stumbling block in front of a blind man.”

      Regarding the instances when leaving the Land of Israel is permitted, Rabbi Golberg writes: “I suggest that in this matter that we be very precise by stating the law direct from the source. In the Shulchan Aruch, section, 531:4, is states in the matter of leaving Israel for outside of the Land, ‘And one should not leave the Land of Israel to go outside of the Land for the purpose of a pleasure trip.’ Regarding this, the Mishna Berurah, in sub-section 14, states, ‘It is not permitted (to leave) except to do business or to see a friend, but just to take a trip, it is forbidden to leave the Land.’ These are clear rulings, and it is important that people should know. In a different place, the Gemara mentions two other instances where leaving the Land is permitted, to learn Torah, and to marry a woman. But just for the purpose of a tiyul (pleasure trip), there is no permission for this. This is completely forbidden. And concerning a kohen, this is an even severer prohibition, since it is written that the lands of the nation are a cause of impurity, in our time as well as the past.”

      When asked whether advertisements promoting pleasure trips to the Diaspora should indicate that trips like these are forbidden by the halachah, Rabbi Goldberg answered: “In my opinion this would be a very worthwhile thing. This is the way it should be, and it would be wonderful if everyone acted in this manner. In my opinion, in these advertisements, the wording of this clarification should include the exact wording of the halachah from the source, as I quoted it. The matter in question, as it appears in the halachic sources, leaves no room for uncertainty.”

      Warning! The Diaspora May Be Hazardous to Your Health