Inside Israel 8:33 AM 12/10/2013
Middle East 5:15 AM 12/10/2013
Middle East 6:43 AM 12/10/2013
Ask the Rabbi
News & Call-In with Tamar Yonah
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.
In America, and the rest of the Western world, the high point of New Year’s Day is getting drunk and going to bed with whatever woman (or man) that you can.
That pretty much sums up the difference between a gentile and a Jew, and the difference between living in the Diaspora and the Holy Land.
True, there are knuckleheads in Israel who will try to ape the goyim by partying tonight in some bars and discos, and there are always Israel radio-show hosts who get all excited, but, all in all, it’s nothing like the drunken orgies you find throughout the Christian world.
The gentiles number the years from the birth JC, the scourge of the Jews. Ironically, they are celebrating his brit. Count for yourselves. From December 25 to January 1 there are eight days. 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 1.
In contrast, the Jews number the years from G-d’s creation of the world. While the Western world’s celebration of New Year’s Day is founded on idol worship, the Jews acclaim the kingship and oneness of G-d.
On Rosh Hashanah, in the prayers called “Zichronot,” the Jews remember that G-d is King over the earth. In contrast, on New Year’s Day, the gentiles try to forget G-d completely so that He won’t interfere in their drunken orgies, as they traditionally sing, “May old acquaintances be forgotten,” including the woman passed out naked in a puddle of vomit as you hurry out the door.
UPDATE: BREAKING NEWS
BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- At least 59 people were killed in a fire that broke out in an upscale nightclub in Bangkok early Thursday morning, Thai police said. The fire, at a club called Zantika, started at about 12:35 a.m. during an end of year farewell party, police told CNN. Police said foreigners were among the victims, but there was no immediate word on the identities of those killed in the blaze.
The Council of Gaza Periphery Communities has announced an Emergency Solidarity Campaign to assist the Jews of America, who have suffered severe financial setbacks in the recent Wall Street crash. The emergency relief drive will begin by sending care packages of food and other necessities to the Jews of Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, Florida, who were devastated by the recent Madoff scandal.
Even as kassam rockets have been exploding in Sederot, Ashkelon, Netivot, and Ashdod, Israelis have been showing up in streams to deliver food, games for children, and basics like soap and toilet paper, to the emergency warehouses, where volunteers are packing the goods for shipment to the United States.
Shmuel Perl of Ashkelon is one of the organizers of the emergency relief campaign.
“Sure things are tough here with the rockets falling all day,” he says. “But the situation is worse in America. Many of our Jewish brothers and sisters have been wiped out completely. In Florida, many can no longer afford membership in their country clubs, and others have been forced to move out of their condos and to move into trailer parks. At least here in Israel, we have plenty to eat. Just as the Jews of America have assisted us in the past, it’s our moral obligation to help them out now when they are the ones in need.”
If there are INN readers in Israel who wish to send emergency donations of cash, food, or toys to the hard hit Jews of America, they can be mailed to me for forwarding.
At the center of the miracle of Hanukah, and the war of the Macabees over the Greeks, stood the Beit HaMikdash – the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
The Beit HaMikdash was the House of G-d on earth, the center of Jewish life and worship. Throughout the year, in all of our prayers, we pray for the Temple’s rebuilding. The yearning for the Temple’s rebuilding is synonymous with our yearning for Jerusalem, for the coming of Mashiach, and the ingathering of all of our scattered exiles.
Here is a simple test to see if your Jewish heart is yearning for the Temple the way that it should.
How many of you observe the following practice, as set down in the “Kitzur Shulcan Aruch,” the basic handbook to Jewish Law?
“After the destruction of the Second Temple, our Sages, of blessed memory, ordained that on every joyous occasion, we must remember the destruction of the Holy Temple, as it is written, ‘If I forget thee O Jerusalem, may I forget my right hand…if I set not Jerusalem above my highest joy’” (Tehillim, 137:5).
This, for instance, is the reason a glass is broken during a Jewish wedding ceremony, to recall the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Jewish ideal of setting the rebuilding of the Jewish Nation in Israel over our private joys.
The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch continues:
“The Sages have decreed that no Jew should build for himself a house painted and decorated in royal style; nor should he paint the entire interior of the house, but he may plaster it, paint it, and leave unpainted the area of a square cubit opposite the entrance, commemorative of the destruction of the Temple.”
What’s the situation in your home? Have you left a square unpainted in commemoration of the Jerusalem Temple?
I can hear the cries now: “Is he kidding? Not finish painting my decorator living room? Over my dead body. And be careful not to walk on our imported white rug when you come to visit, and don’t you dare sit on the couch!”
In order to evaluate where INN readers are holding on their yearning for Jerusalem, please send in a one word answer, either “Yes” or “No,” whether your wall has a stark, unpainted square opposite the front door of your house. You can figure out the percentages for yourself in the Talkback section of this post.
While many people consider the leftists in Israel the Hellenists of today, the term more fittingly describes the Jews of the Diaspora who have the ability to move to Israel, but prefer to maintain their allegiance to the foreign country and foreign culture where they live. This is exactly what a Hellenist is – as Webster’s Dictionary states: “a person living in Hellenist times who was Greek in language, outlook and way of life, but was not Greek in ancestry, like a Hellenist Jew,” or an American Jew, or English Jew, or Australian Jew of today. Ask any Israeli leftist what his identity is, and he will answer, an Israeli, or a Jew. Ask a Jew from the Diaspora what his identity is, and he will answer, an American, or a Frenchman.
Even the Hanukah dreidel makes this distinction clear. In the Diaspora, a kid spinning the dreidel understands that “A great miracle happened THERE.” In Israel, and not in Paris, Melbourne or New York. He realizes that the real Jewish place is Israel. That’s where Jewish history happened, and that’s where it is unfolding today. Spinning the dreidel in the Diaspora is class B Judaism, like the minor leagues, or listening to the World Series on the radio instead of being at the ballpark – or better yet, being a player in the game.
Hanukah and Purim are both holidays established by the Sages, but we only recite the joyous Hallel prayer on Hanukah. Why? Because, even though the Jews were saved on Purim, it was only a partial salvation since they were still living under the Persians in a foreign land. In contrast, the salvation of Hanukah, and its joy, were complete, for the victory led to renewed Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Only in israel can there be true Jewish joy.
How joyous it is to see the Hanukah lights exploded over Gaza! “We thank Thee for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds and triumphs, and for the battles which Thou didst perform for our fathers in those days, AT THIS TIME.”
And who is dropping the bombs over Gaza? The Israeli leftists! Miracle of miracles! How wonderful is G-d in all of his works!
In deference to readers who find my writings on jewish sexuality incongruous to their IsraelNN palettes, I am providing a link to this important article on our jewishsexuality.com website. For those brave souls who venture onward, let it simply be said that from a Kabbalistic point of view, the general national weakness that the Jewish People are experiencing today, with its cultural, military, and economic offshoots, stems from the very same source of spiritual pollution.