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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.

       

      Tevet 11, 5769, 1/7/2009

      Gaza War Inquiry


      Getting rid of Hamas is only the first phase of the Gaza War. In order for the surgery to be complete, we have to get rid of the corrupt and incompetent politicians who brought this terrible situation about in the first place. To accomplish this, the people of Israel must demand a national public inquiry into the causes of the Gaza War. A public judiciary committee must be chosen that will have the power to convict and punish those responsible for the Hamas cancer in our midst, for the storm of Kassam rockets that has traumatized our nation, and for the cost of the war.


      The investigation must begin with the arrogant political leaders, and their mafia of cronies, who orchestrated the Disengagement from Gaza and Gush Katif. Their egotistical cries of, "We will decide what will be!" motivated from their own personal or political gain, still ring out over the roar of fighter planes and tanks. Every Knesset member who voted for the Disengagement must be barred from holding public office. The heads of the Israeli Army who collaborated with the Disengagement, without warning the Israeli public of the dangers, must also be brought to trial. Next, the judges of the Supreme Court who turned a blind eye to the immorality of the expulsion must be stripped of all judicial authority. And the heads of the Israeli media, and the reporters who waged a campaign of libel against the settlers of Gush Katif, Judea, and Samaria, must be brought before the committee without recourse to journalistic immunity.

      Getting rid of the Hamas is not enough. In order to insure a strong and safe Israel in the future, the Jews of Israel must rise up and demand that the people responsible for this tragic fiasco be barred from further public service.



      Tevet 10, 5769, 1/6/2009

      The True Hasidim


      I was planning on going to the Kotel today for the mass prayer but suddenly, I have two funerals to attend. The father of fallen soldier, Yonatan Netanel, z'tzl, is a friend from the neighborhood, and a teacher of two of my sons during their years in Talmud Torah. The father of fallen soldier, Dr. Dagan Wertman, z'tzl, is a neurologist that treated my parents.

      The word "Hasid" means a righteous and saintly person, who is fervent in the proper and joyful performance of the Torah's commandments. Often, when you hear the word "Hasid," you picture a devoted Jew dressed in black clothes, a follower of Rebbi Nachman or Chabad. But the original meaning of the word is much different, as King David describes in a Psalm which we recite every day:

      "Let the Hasidim be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds at night. The exalted praises of G-d are in their mouth, and a double-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance upon the nations, chastisements upon the peoples, to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the written judgment - this is the honor of His Hasidim. Halleluya." (Psalms 149)

      The True Hasid

      The soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who are risking their lives for the honor of G-d and the Jewish People, they are the true Hasidim. May the Almighty fight alongside them until the enemy is utterly crushed.   



      Tevet 9, 5769, 1/5/2009

      O Jerusalem


      Make no mistake. This is not a war over the Gaza Strip. This is not a war to bring quiet to Israel’s southern communities. This is a war for Jerusalem.

      We gave the Arabs Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip, and still they fire their missiles. They are not satisfied with Gush Katif and the Gaza Strip. They want Jerusalem. They want all of the Land of Israel. They want the Jews out. It is as simple as that. If they had missiles that could reach Jerusalem, they’d fire at us too.

      The name of the holy soldier who fell this morning was Dvir. The name Dvir is another name for Jerusalem. He gave his life fighting for Jerusalem. There is no higher honor than that.

      Israel’s Prime Minister is wrong when he says over and over that our war is not with the Palestinian people. Not only Hamas wants Jerusalem. All of the Arabs have been indoctrinated with the same fanatical hatred for the Jews as Hamas. They all want Jerusalem, or, as they cry out in their cheers, “El Kudz! El Kudz!” They all want us out of here. They are all potential shihidim.

      If there was ever a concept of Jewish ‘Jihad,” this war is it. As we have repeated written – Judaism is more than eating bagels and lox, and going to the movies on Motzei Shabbat. True Judaism is rebuilding the Nation of Israel in Eretz Yisrael. True Judaism is fighting the wars of Hashem. We have a Torah commandment called “Milchemet Mitzvah.” The Jewish People are commanded to go to war to establish Jewish sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel. Another part of this mitzvah of obligatory war is to defend the Jewish People against enemies who attack us. So we are now engaged in a milchemet mitzvah twice over. We are also commanded to wipe out the memory of Amalek. This means annihilating Amalek through war. The same spirit of Amalek that raged in the Nazi monster during the Second World War is the fire that burns in the hearts of Hamas and all of its fundamentalist Islamic offshoots, from Egypt to Iran. This evil spirit must be uprooted and destroyed.

      No two-week military operation in the Gaza Strip will help. Any cease fire without first wiping out Hamas will only lead to missiles falling on Jerusalem, G-d forbid. There is absolutely no justification for allowing the enemies of Israel to continue to live in this Land. They must either be destroyed or transferred from our midst. For the sake of Jerusalem. To insure that Dvir has not given his life in vain – may his memory be for a blessing.



      Tevet 8, 5769, 1/4/2009

      Prayers for a Swift and Total Victory


      Tonight at the Kotel, while we were reciting Psalms with the Kabbalist Elder Rabbi Eliyahu Leon Levi, word came that our troops had entered Aza. Immediately, the Rav asked everyone to stand and to recite Psalm 20 out loud 12 times. Soon a large crowd had gathered and the roar inside the Kotel chamber was deafening:

        "For the conductor, a song of David.
        May the Lord answer you on a day of distress; may the name of the God of Jacob fortify you.
        May He send your aid from His sanctuary, and may He support you from Zion.
        May He remember all your meal offerings and may He accept your fat burnt offerings forever.
        May He give you as your heart [desires], and may He fulfill all your counsel.
        Let us sing praises for your salvation, and let us assemble in the name of our God; may the Lord fulfill all your    requests.
        Now I know that the Lord saved His anointed; He answered him from His holy heavens; with the mighty acts of    salvation from His right hand.
        These trust in chariots and these in horses, but we-we mention the name of the Lord our God.
        They kneel and fall, but we rise and gain strength.
        O Lord, save [us]; may the King answer us on the day we call."
       
      HaRav Leon

      Between each Psalm, Rav Leon cried out petitions to Heaven, filled with Kaballistic codes based on the Hidden Name of G-d, asking Hashem to guard our soldiers and annihilate Israel's enemies. His voice choked with tears. In his youth, he was a paratrooper who fought in the Six Day War. "Our soldiers are just young boys," he reminded everyone. "Suddenly, they are in the midst of a terrible battle. How frightening it is. How much they depend on our prayers." 


      Rav Leon said that just as our soldiers are sacrificing their lives for the nation, we must be ready to make sacrifices too, by keeping sleep from our eyes during this long, difficult night, and praying, reciting prayers and the Tikun Hatzot, studying Torah, and judging all Jews in a scale of merit.

      Our prayers continued for two hours. I felt as if they roaring echo of our shouts could be heard all the way to Aza, accompanying our troops off to battle, giving them spiritual fuel and drawing down a Divine shield to protect them.

      Pray for Israel with all of your hearts, and may Hashem in His mercy answer our prayers for a swift and total victory.      



      Tevet 5, 5769, 1/1/2009

      How Diaspora Jews Can Help


      Jewish brothers and sisters the world over - now is the time to unite behind the brave Jews of Israel. Even though you are far away from the “red alert” sirens and falling rockets, you can help the war effort by canceling your winter vacations to the Caribbean, to Disney World, to Hawaii, to Aspen, to Florence and the South of France.




      Instead of skiing down snow-packed slopes in your Calvin Klein ski suits, and bronzing your Coppertoned bodies on crystal white beaches, donate your vacation funds to the Israel Defense Forces, or to the Almagor Victims of Terror Organization, or to the many other worthy charities working round the clock to provide relief for the Israelis under bombardment in the cities bordering Aza.

      Already, after five days, the war has cost the government of Israel close to 3 billion shekels. Just as the Jewish People in Israel are undergoing a time of self-sacrifice in order to insure the future of the Jewish Nation in Israel, we call upon you to sacrifice too. If Diaspora Jews give up their expensive winter vacations to the Caribbean, to Disney World, to Hawaii, to Aspen, to Florence and the South of France, the money contributed to Israel could provide the Israeli Defense Forces with enough fuel, bombs, and reserve manpower  to annihilate the terrorist haven in Aza, once and for all, and thus make Israel a truly safe haven for all the world’s Jews.

      Now is your chance to join in the battle! Don’t ask what Israel can do for you – ask what you can do for Israel!