Life Lessons with Judy Simon
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.
If you are tired of hearing the same old aliyah message from me, here’s a little something from the renowned Torah scholar, Rabbi Nachman Kahana – Rabbi Meir’s brother – who has come out with a new book on the weekly Torah portions.
May his Torah message be in memory of Izzy Kaplan, during the week that his family is sitting shiva in Israel. I am sure that Izzy would agree with everything that Rabbi Kahana writes:
So the following is my answer to my friend, to myself, and to any other interested parties:
If the box seats in Yankee Stadium were filled with all the rabbis, Chassidic rebbes and roshei yeshiva in all the lands of our present-day galut [exile], and the grandstands and bleachers were filled with 100,000 of their disciples, I would not hesitate to stand at home plate and announce the following:
You are all aware of the tragic sin of the meraglim [scouts] and its aftermath. Yet, you continue in their ways.
You are all aware that our exile from Eretz Yisrael into galut was a punishment for our sinful behavior in the Promised Land. Yet, you voluntarily choose to remain in this state of punishment.
You are all aware of what we have suffered at the hands of our Gentile ‘hosts’ in the lands of our galut. Yet, you repeat the time-worn mantra ‘it can’t happen here.’
You were wrong 100 years ago, when you did not call upon your disciples to leave the mudholes of the shtetlachs [Eastern European villages] and return to the Land of our fathers.
You were wrong 80 years ago, at the rise of Nazism, when you did not listen to the forebodings in Europe and call upon your disciples to return to the Land of our fathers.
You are wrong again now, when you call upon your disciples to wait for a personalized handwritten calligraphic invitation from the Mashiach [Messiah] to return to the land of our fathers.
No, (I want to assure my rabbi friend from America,) I am not intimidated, nor would I retract anything I believe in, regardless of who my critics are!"
[People wishing to receive Rabbi Kahana’s weekly Torah insights by email can send a request to this address: email@example.com
People interested in purchasing Rabbi Kahana’s new book can write to: Michael@gefen publishing.com]
Yisrael, Izzy, Kaplan, a fierce and devoted fighter for Israel, was laid to rest today in the Land he so loved.
Izzy lived in Toronto, but his real home was here. He lived and breathed the Land of Israel 36 hours a day, sharing in its joys and suffering through its trials and setbacks. His soul was so connected to the Land that he experienced the evacuation from Gush Katif as if he himself had been thrown out of his home. He never recovered from the blow. The betrayal of his beloved Israel, of Hashem’s Holy Land, by his fellow, albeit misguided, Jews, ate him up inside. So much so that, in my humble opinion, it brought upon the illness that toppled him while he was still in his prime.
Izzy helped so many causes in Israel, I doubt that anyone will be able to compile a complete list. Izzy himself wasn’t rich when it came to money in the bank. Much of what he had, he gave away to all sorts of charities, organizations, and political struggles in Israel, and also in Toronto, no doubt. When those funds weren’t enough, he rallied the Jews in Toronto to send substantial financial support wherever he felt it was needed in Israel. For years, he acted as the go-between between the community of Toronto and activists in Israel from Gush Katif to the Golan Heights, helping causes in Jerusalem, Yesha, Hevron, Sederot, Amona, terror victims, Lebanon War reserve soldiers, backing demonstrations, rallies, protests of all sorts, posters, videos, and a wide assortment of campaigns to prevent the sell-out of Eretz Yisrael by Jews who had not yet learned the lessons of the Holocaust.
My first contact with Izzy was two decades ago via a phone call from Toronto. He said his name was Izzy Kaplan, that he ran a Jewish bookstore, and that he wanted to purchase a few dozen copies of a book I had published, “Torat Eretz Yisrael,” on the writings of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. I met him on his next visit to Israel, when he picked up the books on his way back to the airport to shlep them with him on the plane. Each time I wrote a new book, he placed a special order, “To get the word out to the Jews in galut,” he said.
When he discovered that I was active in the struggle against Oslo, he funded a series of posters that filled the streets of Israel and the media all over the world. He raised money for films against Oslo, and then against the Disengagement, which were distributed all over Israel. The travesty of Amona so disturbed him, he helped me produce a video detailing what had happened, which he mass circulated on the Internet, and raised more funds for the distribution of 200,000 CDs that helped weaken Ehud Olmert and the Kadima party before elections.
During the battle over the “Peace House” in Hevron, Izzy sent me a personal check to make four gigantic signs that we hung over the building to get our message across to the world.
I don’t remember all of the projects he helped us with, nor all of the middle-of-the-night phone calls from Toronto to fill him in on the latest developments. All I can say is that my wife became accustomed to my abandoning the comforts of sleep in the wee hours of the night to speak with Izzy.
“Tzvi, we have to stop the evacuation!” he would insist. “Tzvi, we have to do more to help Sederot,” he would urge. “Tzvi, we have to do more to help the refugees from Gush Katif.” Dafka at two o’clock in the morning.
And the help he gave to the projects that I was involved in was just a drop in the bucket compared to all of his efforts, and the generous efforts of his friends, whom he rallied on behalf of Israel.
Hopefully, during the shiva, all of the stories about Izzy will be recorded. I will relate just one that his son told at the funeral. To find out exactly what was happening in Gush Katif before the expulsion, Izzy came on a trip and met with dozens of people. When he returned to Toronto, he entered a Haredi shul on Shabbat, and after the Kiddush, gave them a stirring lecture to arouse them out of their apathy. He started off by telling about a Jew in the Holocaust who had managed to escape from one of the extermination camps. When the man told his traumatic story, no one believed him. They thought he was crazy. “The same thing is happening today in the Holy Land!” Izzy yelled at the crowd. “The Jews of Eretz Yisrael are in danger and we aren’t doing anything at all to help! When will you wake up?! You have to help your fellow Yidden!”
That Shabbat, Izzy went from shul to shul, telling the same story, his voice shattering, and with tears in his eyes.
That was Izzy. The pain over Gush Katif killed him. The missiles falling on the Jews of Sederot ate him up inside. With all that he did to turn the tide, helping wherever he could, the inaction of world Jewry, coupled with the short-sighted recklessness of politicians in Israel, was more than he could bear.
May his memory be for a blessing. His passionate love for Israel and the Jewish People, and his untiring energies on their behalf, are an example for all of us.
If I had to predict, I’d guess that California will be the first state to disappear. Unless the King of the World decides to first bring a colossal tidal wave straight up Chesapeake Bay and obiterate WDC right off the bat.
As we mentioned on several occasions, Hashem orchestrates the universe via spiritual agencies called “sefirot.” The operational arm in this world is known as “Malchut,” which means kingship. Earthquakes, tsunamis, economic crises, plagues, wars, and massive brain strokes, all fall under the jurisdiction of “Malchut.” When Hashem decides to punish mankind for its misdoings, the vehicle He employs is the spiritual agency of “Malchut.”
While “Malchut” manifests itself in the management of the world we live in, in all of its various forms, the geographical heart of “Malchut” in the world is the Land of Israel. And the center of this heart, and thus the center of all the world is Jerusalem, the city of “Malchut, where the Kingship of G-d is most clearly seen in the world.
Therefore, when America exerts pressure on Israel to freeze building in Judea and Samaria, and even more so in Jerusalem, the inner heart of “Malchut” experiences this hostile affront as an act of strangulation. Because Hashem is long-suffering in His patience, He doesn’t allow “Malchut” to strike back in immediate revenge. Rather, He draws the springs of “Malchut” backward, little by little with each act of abuse, until the mechanism is coiled with enormous pressure, like an arrow pulled back in a bow, waiting for the archer to release the taut and vibrating string.
What we have to understand is that the Master of the World has set the Redemption of His Nation Israel into high gear with the resettlement of the Land of Israel in our time, the establishment of Medinat Yisrael, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the ingathering of the exiles, and reemergence of Israel as a world power in a mere handful of years. All of this is to establish “Malchut” – the Kingship of G-d over the world.
This enormous history spanning, world-shaking Divine Redemption is like a powerful locomotive speeding forward at an incredible velocity. The locomotive won’t be stopped. Anything which tries to stand in its way will be demolished and smashed. G-d’s plan for the world, as promised to the Prophets of Israel, will surely come to pass. America will be blessed if it helps in this great endeavor, or it will be cursed if it dares to try to prevent its inevitable fruition. By trying to puts the brakes upon Israel, and stop Jewish building in the Holy Land, America is standing in the way of this great Heavenly Blueprint. America is striking a direct blow against G-d’s agency of “Malchut,” and “Malchut” will not remain passive for long.
Believe me my friends, 9/11, the flood in New Orleans, and the latest stock market crash are merely gentle warnings. The real blow is on the way.
So Californians, and residents of WDC, my advice to you is to move somewhere else. As far away from America as you can. Far away from Europe, and from Russia, and from Korea, and Iran and Libya, and just about everywhere else in the world. In fact, ironic as it may sound, pretty soon, the only safe place in the world will be in Israel.
At the time of the Exodus, Egypt was the cesspool of world evil, and it still is today, declared the elder Kabbalist, Rabbi Leon Levi, during a prayer gathering in Meron at the tomb of the sainted Talmudic Sage, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
Accompanied by a busload of students, Rabbi Leon led thanksgiving prayers over the recent rains also at the gravesite of the holy Arizal in Safed, and the tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess in Tiberias.
Rabbi Leon stated that in the approaching war, Egypt will be dealt a devastating blow for its role in instigating the Arab world against Israel, while putting on the false mask of a peacemaker. Egypt is responsible for the massive rearming of the Hamas in Aza, he said, and that the only way to destroy a many-headed monster was to strike at its source. The Rabbi didn’t specify whether the up-and- coming knockout of Cairo would be through an earthquake, a flood at the Aswan Dam, or via the long arm of the IDF.
Regarding the arsenal of enemy missiles surrounding Israel, Rabbi Leon said that the coming war would not be easy, but that Hashem would stand by Israel and lead the Israeli army to deliver crushing blows to all the evil regimes who dare to wage war with G-d’s chosen Nation. While in the past, the merit of our holy Forefathers was like a shield protecting our soldiers, this time Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaacov will lead the battle themselves.
The Rabbi called the people of Israel to flock to the Kotel every Motzei Shabbat to say Tehillim, in order to construct an impenetrable air defense system, now, before enemy rockets are launched.
He also called on each and every Jew to conduct his sexual life in a holy fashion, and thereby strengthen the Covenant (Brit) between G-d and the Jewish People.
“Sexual holiness is the key to our victory in battle. When the Jewish People conduct their lives in holiness, the Shechinah guards over us, like the Clouds of Glory in the wilderness, not letting enemy arrows and missiles land in our midst. When a person guards the Brit, conducts marital relations in modesty, avoids spilling semen in vain, and guards his eyes from seeing forbidding matters, he surrounds his house with an invincible bomb shelter. A missile could land on his doorstep and he and his family will not be harmed,” he promised.
Readers interested in installing such a spiritual bomb shelter are encouraged to read Rabbi Leon’s guidelines to holy marital relations, posted on our jewishsexuality.com site.
What's the difference between the gala party of Achashveros and the Academy Awards celebration?
I certainly don't know
The ceremonies were interrupted when an incredibly good-looking mystery crasher appeared on the Red Carpet, drawing the attention of all the photographers and stealing the spotlight away from the stars. Who is he?
I certainly don't know.