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      by Batya Medad
      A Unique Perspective by Batya Medad of Shiloh
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      Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.)  Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching.  She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:

      Shiloh Musings



      Iyar 20, 5769, 5/14/2009

      What Was The Total Price Of The Pope's Visit?

      Israel certainly rolled out the red carpet for this pope, clearing many of Jerusalem's streets for hours every day. So when you're trying to calculate the price of the visit for us, you have to go well beyond the primary, secondary and even tertiary costs. I'll leave out the political price we'll pay, since he definitely towed the Pseudistinian line. I'll try to list the various expenses:
      • First of all, all of the security guards putting in extra hours.
      • Don't forget the price of all the receptions, food and gifts.
      • The planning and then advertising of road closures and changes in public transportation. I wouldn't be surprised if people got paid overtime to work on it.
      • Extra travel time for those inconvenienced. And extra payments to babysitters, since everything took longer.
      • Businesses and museums which lost customers for days on end, including Lag B'Omer, a school vacation day.
      • Doctors and other professionals whose patients and clients couldn't make their appointments, and those who were billed even though they tried to come and didn't.

      That's just a start. What would you add? Do you have a shekel/aggorot, dollar/cents estimate?

      And about security, remember that Pope John Paul II was shot at the Vatican, proving that most tragedies, accidents and deaths happen close to home.

      Iyar 19, 5769, 5/13/2009

      Hachnasat Orchim, Welcoming Guests

      As I write this the circus surrounding the catholic pope’s visit to Israel is at the peak of hysteria. I believe that all Jews, especially Israelis, whether “officially” religious or not, know the importance of the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim, Welcoming Guests.

      So, if that’s so, why are so many of us appalled, embarrassed and worse at the enthusiastic welcome the State of Israel and its media have granted the goyishe religious leader?

      We’re taught that the great Avraham Avinu, Our Forefather Abraham, even got up on the third day after his Brit Milah, circumcision, to welcome some strangers trudging by his tent.

      So isn’t the generous reception of the pope comparable? My answer is “no,” plain and simple. Let’s stay in Bereishit, Genesis, and compare Avraham’s Hachnasat Orchim with Lot’s.

      Avraham saw three unexpected strangers, hot, dehydrated exhausted. Instinctively, mindless of his own pain, he ran to help them.

      וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו יְהוָה, בְּאֵלֹנֵי מַמְרֵא; וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב פֶּתַח-הָאֹהֶל, כְּחֹם הַיּוֹם. 1 And the LORD appeared unto him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; ב וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו, וַיַּרְא, וְהִנֵּה שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים, נִצָּבִים עָלָיו; וַיַּרְא, וַיָּרָץ לִקְרָאתָם מִפֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל, וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ, אָרְצָה. 2 and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth, ג וַיֹּאמַר: אֲדֹנָי, אִם-נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ--אַל-נָא תַעֲבֹר, מֵעַל עַבְדֶּךָ. 3 and said: 'My lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. ד יֻקַּח-נָא מְעַט-מַיִם, וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם; וְהִשָּׁעֲנוּ, תַּחַת הָעֵץ. 4 Let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and recline yourselves under the tree.

      The pope did not arrive as an exhausted unexpected traveler. The State of Israel has been begging him to visit for years, and Israel has given all sorts of gifts to the pope. “Peres gave him two gifts: a nano-Bible – the entire 24 books of the Bible, from Genesis to Chronicles, written on a chip no bigger than a grain of sand - and a painting of a Menorah (candelabrum). Arutz 7,” but although I googled, searching everywhere, I found no reference to any gifts from the pope.

      Avraham’s guests were angels, disguised as wanderers, and they had a special gift for Avraham and Sarah, a promise from G-d that they would have a biological son, who would carry on their religion and inherit the leadership.

      Israel’s behavior towards the pope reminds me more of Lot’s version of Hachnasat Orchim.

      Genesis Chapter 19 א וַיָּבֹאוּ שְׁנֵי הַמַּלְאָכִים סְדֹמָה, בָּעֶרֶב, וְלוֹט, יֹשֵׁב בְּשַׁעַר-סְדֹם; וַיַּרְא-לוֹט וַיָּקָם לִקְרָאתָם, וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַפַּיִם אָרְצָה. 1 And the two angels came to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom; and Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them; and he fell down on his face to the earth; ב וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֶּה נָּא-אֲדֹנַי, סוּרוּ נָא אֶל-בֵּית עַבְדְּכֶם וְלִינוּ וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם, וְהִשְׁכַּמְתֶּם, וַהֲלַכְתֶּם לְדַרְכְּכֶם; וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹּא, כִּי בָרְחוֹב נָלִין. 2 and he said: 'Behold now, my lords, turn aside, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your way.' And they said: 'Nay; but we will abide in the broad place all night.' ג וַיִּפְצַר-בָּם מְאֹד--וַיָּסֻרוּ אֵלָיו, וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל-בֵּיתוֹ; וַיַּעַשׂ לָהֶם מִשְׁתֶּה, וּמַצּוֹת אָפָה וַיֹּאכֵלוּ. 3 And he urged them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. ד טֶרֶם, יִשְׁכָּבוּ, וְאַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר אַנְשֵׁי סְדֹם נָסַבּוּ עַל-הַבַּיִת, מִנַּעַר וְעַד-זָקֵן: כָּל-הָעָם, מִקָּצֶה. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. ה וַיִּקְרְאוּ אֶל-לוֹט וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ, אַיֵּה הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר-בָּאוּ אֵלֶיךָ הַלָּיְלָה; הוֹצִיאֵם אֵלֵינוּ, וְנֵדְעָה אֹתָם. 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him: 'Where are the men that came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.' ו וַיֵּצֵא אֲלֵהֶם לוֹט, הַפֶּתְחָה; וְהַדֶּלֶת, סָגַר אַחֲרָיו. 6 And Lot went out unto them to the door, and shut the door after him. ז וַיֹּאמַר: אַל-נָא אַחַי, תָּרֵעוּ. 7 And he said: 'I pray you, my brethren, do not so wickedly. ח הִנֵּה-נָא לִי שְׁתֵּי בָנוֹת, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדְעוּ אִישׁ--אוֹצִיאָה-נָּא אֶתְהֶן אֲלֵיכֶם, וַעֲשׂוּ לָהֶן כַּטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵיכֶם; רַק לָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵל, אַל-תַּעֲשׂוּ דָבָר, כִּי-עַל-כֵּן בָּאוּ, בְּצֵל קֹרָתִי. 8 Behold now, I have two daughters that have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes; only unto these men do nothing; forasmuch as they are come under the shadow of my roof.'

      It’s more like “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Lot tried to be like Abraham, but when things became difficult, he offered his virgin daughters to pacify the attackers. Those were the same daughters who later got him drunk and then seduced him when he was in a drunken stupor, so that they would have children and the world wouldn’t die out. They too paved their road to hell with good intentions.

      That’s the best way of describing the political leadership of the State of Israel, followers of Lot and not Abraham. And anyone who must travel in Jerusalem can also describe all the roadwork as Hell, paved with good intentions.

      And talking of roads, we must not give up.

      Kall ha’olam kulo, gesher tzar me’od,
      The entire world is nothing but a narrow bridge,
      and we must never fear,

      Iyar 19, 5769, 5/13/2009

      Answering Some Questions, Getting Things Straight

      I try not to "interfere" too much in the "converstions" which go on in the comments.  They have a dynamic all their own. 
      The only thing that Arutz 7 bloggers have in common is blogging on Arutz 7

      There's a problem I sometimes sense, a negative one.  Frequently, I'm surprised and even offended by the use of the word "you," as if I'm the employee or slave of the readers or Arutz 7 management.  Typical is this statement/question by DACON9:


      This is an angry question, and according to the norms of internet correspondence, the use of capital letters indicates "shouting."  There's also a very strong indication that the writer believes that Arutz 7 bloggers are some sort of group, that we coordinate and communicate.  I hate to rain on your parade, as the saying goes, but you are 100% wrong.

      The only thing that Arutz 7 bloggers have in common is blogging on Arutz 7.  We have never had a meeting.  We don't correspond or plan, unless we knew each other before.  For intance, my husband and I both blog on Arutz 7, but we don't coordinate our posts, our opinions and nor policies.  It's the same with our other blogs.

      When I got that call from Arutz 7 over a year and a half ago, asking me if I'd like to blog on the site, I was told that I'd be able to post whatever I wanted, and that was the last time we discussed content.

      I don't get paid by Arutz 7, and I don't even get the "holiday gifts" given to those who do, even though I do believe that there are people who go to the site to read my posts.  Some A7 bloggers may possibly get some salary for work on other aspects/departments of Arutz 7.

      Please relate to us, the A7 bloggers, as individuals.  I doubt if any of us even read all the other blogs posted.  That's how little we know of what else there is in the blogs.  I do read the comments to my posts, even when I don't reply.

      Thanks for listening,


      Iyar 17, 5769, 5/11/2009

      Praying To A non-god

      I'm already pooped out on the pope's visit here. Israel's Chanel One TV has been showing the Catholic pope and Eurovision ad nauseum. So this afternoon, I put my copy of The Sting in the DVD. After that I popped out to the local movie club* and watched Sunset Boulevard. Maybe tomorrow I should watch our Star Wars Trilogy.

      I'm a Jew and I worship only One G-d, HaKodesh Baruch Hu. It's the first mitzvah of the Ten Commandments.

      "I am the Lord your G-d, Who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery"

      "You shall have no other gods but me"

      "You shall not take the name of your Lord in vain"

      No confusion. What amazes me is the excitement the visit this goyishe religious leader has caused. Davka Roman Catholics? Since when have they done anything for the Jews?

      I think I'm going to take a sabbatical from the news for the week. All one hears about here is pope, pope, pope and more pope.

      I found Rabbi Lau's complaint rather ironic:

      "A few points were missing in the pope's address," said Lau. "There was no mention of the Germans, or Nazis, who carried out the massacre. There was not a word of sharing the grief or of compassion or pain for the six million victims."

      "Instead of the word 'murdered,' as the previous pope John Paul II used," Lau continued, Benedict XVI used the word 'killed.' There is a very clear difference between the two verbs," the former chief rabbi stressed.

      How can he complain about the pope's words and ignore the terminology used in Yad Veshem? "Perished" is even worse than "killed."

      I'm going to have to work hard to keep myself entertained this week, since Jerusalem is all jammed up, so that the roads will be empty for the pope. Now, I'm curious. Does any other country do this to its innocent civilians?

      *a small group of friends

      Iyar 14, 5769, 5/8/2009

      Shiloh, The Real Estate

      Sorry that this isn't illustrated.  There have been problems with the a7 picture upload.
      Over the years, various Israeli governments and foreign leaders have threatened our existence, but, Baruch Hashem, thank G-d, we've continued to thrive and grow.

      Remember I post much more frequently on Shiloh Musings and me-ander, so you can visit there and read.  Thanks

      Recently, my Shiloh community has hosted American Jews who are planning on making aliyah and moving here. Last week's couple have begun the process of purchasing one of the houses under construction. And another family is here this week, trying out the community and school.

      Prior to this, my innate cynicism caused me to say that when things are good in America the Jews don't want to leave, and when it's bad, they can't afford to. I'm glad, actually overjoyed, to admit that I'm wrong.

      There are American Jews who see Obama's election as a dangerous trend for the United States and bad for the Jews. For those who want a comfortable, socially, physically, spiritually, life, the yishuvim in Judea a Samaria are an excellent option. They don't take extreme Left wing pro-Arab Peace Now very seriously.

      Our housing prices look like a steal to Americans, not only compared to the states, but also to Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, Beit Shemesh and other popular locations. Shiloh is just a half hour by car to both Jerusalem and Petach Tikvah. Our local school is to the 8th grade and has a good reputation. No air pollution, and the views are gorgeous. We have a supermarket, vegetable stores, a clothing/toy store, plumber, electrician, a variety of synagogues and two medical clinics. And there's bus service. And there's lots more.

      My neighbors come from all over the world. There are a surprising number of English speakers for those who are afraid of a totally Hebrew environment. Actually, there's so much going on in English, that a oleh chadash, newcomer has to make an effort to learn Hebrew in some neighborhoods. But the kids all socialize in Hebrew.

      When we came to Shiloh almost twenty-eight years ago, we were the only Jewish community in the area. Now, there are many, many more, such as Eli, Ma'ale Levona, Shvut Rachel and all the smaller ones, which are so numerous, I wouldn't attempt to list them.

      Over the years, various Israeli governments and foreign leaders have threatened our existence, but, Baruch Hashem, thank G-d, we've continued to thrive and grow.