Inside Israel 8:07 AM 3/9/2014
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Inside Israel 3:56 AM 3/9/2014
Torah Tidbits Audio
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.
After hearing a few sentences of Bibi's speech yesterday, I had to rush to the bathroom to vomit. He blabbed about wanting peace and two states, side by side, with such sincerity that I felt sick to my stomach. Of course, he himself doesn’t believe anything he says. If Obama were to change his whip tomorrow and declare that Israel must rule over all of its Biblical territory in the interest of world security, Bibi would be the first to grow a beard and start wearing a tallit and sandals. The guy just says anything he thinks will make him popular. Nothing else matters to him.
And Peres with his Wax Museum smile. Too bad no one reminded the big international star of the 2000 Jews who have been murdered by his Arab pals since he started giving them rifles and autonomy at Oslo. What a distinguished statesman! He and Goldstone will be bunkmates in heaven for their contributions to Am Yisrael.
And what ever became of Lieberman’s tough talk against the Arabs to get him votes in the last election? Zero. All the nasty Russian bear has been doing is jumping through the hoops of the goyim on his round the world tours.
Since we are on the subject - what about the Shas Boys? They are the best breakdancers around. Mister Bo Jangles, dance. With an Al Jolson tap tap tap and a bow, hands outstretched to take the money from the crowd.
They’re all phonies. Of course, it’s all a part of G-d’s plan, to make us cry out for Mashiach.
He’s the only one who can change things. First, he’ll imprison all of the bimboes who dare strut around the streets of the Holy Land in immodest attire. Then he’ll give the Jews of the Diaspora an ultimatum – either come on aliyah now or join the fate of the goyim. Next, he’ll tell the Arabs to get out of the country by high noon. If the UN complains, a Tzunami will hit NY the same day. If Obama threatens to take action, the White House will be swallowed up into the earth. If Peres orders all of the Yassamnikim to arrest the Mashiach, they will all be turned into statues of wax on the spot.
We want Mashiach now! We want Mashiach now! I’m ready. What about you?
Question: I think you place too much emphasis on sexuality. What does it have to do with Israel or the Jewish People?
Sexuality has everything to do with Israel and the Jewish People. Mankind’s first transgression, which brought about man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, resulted from Adam and Eve’s misusing the holy sexual energy that G-d had placed in the world. Subsequent generations continued in their footsteps until the time of Noach, when the whole world became polluted with sexual sin. Only when Abraham appeared on the scene of world history, and entered into the Covenant of the Brit with G-d, was the world offered hope of rectification. It became Abraham’s task, and the mission of the Jewish People after him, to restore the Kingdom of G-d to the world which had been shattered by the sin of Adam and Eve. It was through the holy example of the Jewish People, that mankind was to learn the holiness of the marital union, upon which all of life is based. But in order to fulfill our destiny as the holy Nation of Israel, and lead the world back to the “Garden,” where the word of the Almighty rules over every aspect of life, we ourselves must first sanctify the holiness of our sexual lives. With this understanding, it can be seen that Jewish sexuality is not some unimportant side issue, but rather the very foundation of Israel’s world mission....
In deference to readers who oppose my discussing the secrets of Torah on this website, especially when dealing with sexual matters, the more detailed continuation of this essay can be found on our www.jewishsexuality website.
Without doubt, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in our time is the Internet. The Internet is filled with knowledge. Much of it is good, and much of it is evil. Unfortunately, just as Adam and Eve succumbed to the wiles of evil, statistics show that a majority of Internet users fall to the evils of the Internet, including Jews.
Almost six-thousand-years later, the sin is the same, as the Torah states, “And when the woman saw… that it was a delight to the eyes” (Bereshit, 2:6).
Just as Eve strayed after her eyes, Internet users all over the world – you, your spouse, your children, are straying after their eyes too by looking at things that G-d does not want us to see.
Once again, evil is winning the game. Pornography is big business. It’s the biggest business on the net. But more than that, the evil spiritual forces that are behind porn on the net are the same evil spiritual forces that were at work in the days of Adam and Eve. No matter what disguise the Snake adopts, his goal is the same - to distance mankind from G-d.
Just as the first sin severed Adam and Eve from their Creator, every time a person looks at forbidden material on the Internet, he or she severs himself or herself from G-d. One click leads to another, and another, and another, until the person is cut off from G-d completely. In effect, like Adam and Eve, the Peeping Tom of the Internet exiles himself from the Garden. The Shechinah flees from such a person, for holiness and impurity cannot exist together. His prayers don’t ascend and his Torah learning is cast into the garbage. Furthermore, one sin leads to another, as our Sages have warned: “The eyes see, the heart desires, and the body completes the transgression.”
With each peek at a forbidden image, not only does a person violate the Torah commandment, “You shall not stray after your heart and yours eyes,” he or she pollutes his or her soul. In the time and the effort that it takes to arrange for some forbidden intercourse, G-d forbid, a person can have hundreds and thousands of Internet fantasies – each and every one of them a replay of the first primordial sin – a sin that our Sages have compared to setting up an idol in the Holy of Holies of the Temple.
Our brain is our Holy of Holies, housing our soul. When we look at a forbidden image, the photograph is ingrained on the film of our brain – exactly like setting up in idol in the Holy of Holies. And since we are attached to the highest spiritual worlds, when we pollute our personal Holy of Holies, we pollute the Holy of Holies in the highest spiritual world – the Jerusalem Temple on High.
Each time we pollute ourselves by looking at a forbidden image, we pollute all of the Jewish Nation, since our souls are connected to all of the souls of the “Clal.” Like the little pebble that sends ripples out across all the pond, the filth that we bring upon our souls spreads to the all-encompassing soul of the Nation. Thus our seemingly little Internet no-no’s weaken the spiritual strength of the Nation, and because the spiritual world is integrally connected to the physical, our no-no’s weaken the Nation’s physical strength as well.
Do not be mistaken! It is no small thing that the Torah tells us the story of Adam and Eve. Their straying after their eyes brought destruction to the world. When we sit down at the computer and hook up to the Internet, each and every one of us can either help rectify their monumental sin by not straying after our eyes – or add to the shame of mankind by repeated the very same transgression.
So if you don’t care about the consequences to yourself and your family, then think about the consequences to Am Yisrael. And if you don’t care about the consequences to Am Yisrael, then think about the consequences to the world.
The next time you are tempted, say no to the Snake! Crush him on his head!
And if you don’t have the strength for that, then download a filter. Give the code to somebody else. Stop destroying yourselves, your families, the Jewish People, and the world.
Save yourselves! Save your loved ones! Save the planet now!
Rashi lived one thousand years ago. He begins his famous commentary on the Torah in a startling and prophetic fashion by quoting a teaching of Rabbi Yitzhak.
Rabbi Yitzhak poses an interesting question. Why, he asks, does the Torah begin with the account of Creation? After all, the Torah is the book of Jewish Law. This being the case, it should begin with the first commandment that was given to the Jews. Nevertheless, he explains, the Torah begins with the story of Creation so that, in the future, when the nations of the world accuse the Jews of being robbers for having conquered the Land of Israel from the gentiles who lived there, the Jews will be able to answer them that He who created the world, and parceled out its lands as He saw fit, decided to take the land from the gentiles and give it to us.
This is the answer we should give to Obama, to the Jew haters in Europe, and to the Arabs. The world belongs to G-d, and He gave the Land of Israel to us!
This is all well and good, but the problem is that there are many Jews in Israel whose commitment to the Land of Israel isn’t what it should be. They look upon the Land of Israel as a Monopoly deed that can be bartered away for practical purposes. This sad state of affairs derives from their lack of true understanding of the Torah. Rather than viewing the Land of Israel as an integral oneness bonded with an eternal unity with the life of the Jewish Nation, they view it as some external acquisition that can be chopped into negotiable pieces. As Rabbi Kook taught:
“Eretz Yisrael is not a peripheral matter, an external acquisition of the Nation… Eretz Yisrael is an independent unit, bound with a living attachment to the Nation, bound up with an inner “segulah” with the Nation’s existence” (Orot, 1:1).
This means that just as a person needs his heart and his head to be a whole, living person, so to the Torah, the Jewish People, and the Land of Israel are one, in an eternal, indivisible wholeness.
Therefore, every believing Jew, no matter where he lives, should be willing to fight and die, if need be, defending the right of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel. After all, the Arabs are willing to fight and die over the Land of Israel, and it isn’t even theirs. How embarrassing!
Instead of clinging to the Land of Israel with all of our might, with a readiness to sacrifice everything to keep it in our hands, we offer all kinds of excuses like:
“I wasn’t born there – it’s not my fight.”
“Peace is more important.”
“We survived 2000 without the Land of Israel – as long as we have the Torah, we will be all right.”
"The unity of the army is more important than the unity of the Land."
Others hide their cowardice and lack of commitment to all of the Torah by saying, “If things in Israel were run according to my liking, then I would do my share in defending the Land.”
Blah, blah, blah, ad infinitum.
To preserve the wholeness of the Land of Israel, the wholeness of the Torah, the wholeness of the Nation of Israel, and to preserve the honor of G-d in the world, every Jew, no matter where he or she lives, has to actively demonstrate that we love and want the Land of Israel more than the goyim.
Otherwise, all of our shuckling and shaking in prayer, and all of the talkbacks, are just a lot of “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
We are not in the habit of rating rabbis. However, if one were to compose a list of the ten greatest rabbis of the last 500 years, certainly the Gaon of Vilna would appear on the list.
The Gaon of Vilna, Rabbi Eliahu ben Shlomo Zalman, also known as the “Gra,” was a master in all branches of Torah study. Today marks his yahrtzeit. He was also a genius in secular studies with a keen understanding of history and the developmental process of Redemption of the Jewish People, which he saw reaching a new crossroad in his time, with the imperative to abandon the exile and return to Eretz Yisrael.
According to the Gaon of Vilna, the Redemption of the Jewish People was contingent upon three basic matters:
One – the active endeavors of the Jewish People to return to the Land of Israel.
Two - the study of Torah, principally the study of Kaballah (“Even HaShlema, 11:3).
Three – “Shmirat HaBrit,” the guarding of the laws of sexual holiness (Commentary of the “Gra” on the “Tikunei Zohar,” Tikun 21, Folio 51A; also Tikun 42, end).
To the Gaon of Vilna, aliyah was a commandment of the Torah (Yoreh Deah, 267:161). He stressed the historical imperative and immediate necessity of the Jewish People to take active steps in immigrating to Israel. He taught that only by devoting ourselves to furthering the Geula (Redemption) by actual endeavor, exemplified in the return to and rebuilding of Eretz Yisrael, could the Jewish People escape the harsh decrees of the rulers of foreign lands. It was actually the Gaon of Vilna who started the Zionist movement by urging his students to make aliyah, warning that if we didn’t return to Israel on our own accord, then Hashem would bring about our return through the persecutions and severe decrees of the gentiles.
“Our teacher, the holy Gaon of Vilna, with words carved in flames, advised his students to go on aliyah, and to further the ingathering of the exiles. Furthermore, he encouraged his students to hasten the Revealed End of the exile, and to actualize the Redemption through the settlement of Eretz Yisrael. Almost every day, he spoke to us with trembling and emotion, saying that in Zion and Jerusalem there would be a refuge, and that we shouldn’t delay the opportunity to go. Who can articulate and describe the magnitude of our teacher’s worry when he spoke these words to us, with his Divine Inspiration, and with tears in his eyes?” (“Kol HaTor, end of Ch.5).
The Gaon of Vilna himself set off for Israel, as he records in his famous letter to his mother and wife, but was ultimately prevented by governmental red tape and the lack of transportation:
“I am writing the both of you to urge you not be feel sorrowful in any way, as you promised me, and also not to worry. For, behold, there are people who must travel for several years to secure their livelihood, leaving their wives behind, and wandering to and fro without little means, while I, thank G-d, am journeying to the Holy Land, which everyone longs to see, the delight of all the Jewish People, the delight of Hashem, and all of the angels. You know I have left behind my children, the love of my heart, and all of my cherished books, and made myself like a wandering stranger on earth, abandoning everything….”
In answer to the question why other rabbis did not call for the Jews to make aliyah, the Gaon of Vilna teaches:
“The sin of the Spies hovers over the Jewish Nation in every generation… How strong is the power of the force of darkness (Sitra Achra) that it succeeds in hiding from the eyes of our holy fathers the dangers of the impure shells (kelipot), and in the time of Mashiach, the force of darkness attacks the guardians of the Torah with blinders…. Many of the sinners in this great sin of ‘They despised the cherished Land’ including many great guardians of the Torah, will not know or understand that they are caught in the sin of the Spies, that they have been sucked into the sin of the Spies in many false ideas and empty claims, and they cover their ideas with the already proven fallacy that the mitzvah of the settlement of Israel no longer applies in our day, and opinion which has already been disproven by the giants of the world, the Rishonim and Achronim – the Early and Later Torah Authorities (“Kol HaTor, Ch.5).
The Gaon of Vilna was a man of truth. He didn’t have any illusions about life in galut amongst the gentiles. He writes:
“Since the Temple was destroyed, our spirit and our crown departed, and only we remained, a body without a soul. Exile to outside the Land of Israel is a grave. Worms surround us there, and we do not have the power to save ourselves. They, the idol worshippers, they devour our flesh. In every place, there were great yeshivot, until the body decayed, and the bones scattered, again and again. Yet always, some bones still existed, the Torah scholars of the nation, the pillars of the body – until even these bones rotted, and there only remained a rancid waste which disintegrated into dust – our life turned into dust” (Likutei HaGra, end of “Safra D’Tzniuta”).
Today, the situation is far worse than in the time of the Gaon of Vilna. The great rabbis of the exile are no more. The pillars of the galut no longer exist to sustain the nation in exile, which is devoured more and more by the worms of assimilation.
In contrast, Israel has become the Torah center of the world. Today, all of the great rabbis are in Israel. The pillars of the nation have returned to their place. The physical and spiritual rebuilding of the Nation is advancing every day. It is clear to every honest person that the Gaon of Vilna was right. May his merit light up eyes still blinded by the darkness of galut, and ignite a flame of longing for Israel in the hearts of our scattered remnants before the worms consume the Diaspora diehards completely.