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      The Eye of the Storm
      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



      Sivan 17, 5768, 6/20/2008

      If Only...

      Chazal, our wise men, say that coincidence is just a message from G-d.
      If only... If only all of that great energy, investment, enthusiasm and vision had been in Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel

      Davka today, just hours before Shabbat Shelach, the Torah Portion when we read of the "Sin of the Spies, in which the most distinguished and honored of the Jewish Nation reported back to Moshe and the People that it would be too difficult and dangerous to live the Land G-d was sending them to, I got the YU Bulletin. Now, Yeshiva University is a very impressive university with massive campuses, world renown undergraduate and graduate schools offering the most impressive academic opportunities. This isn't the first time we've received this publication, but today I was trying to think of a way to bring Parshat Shelach to modern life and blog.

      If only... If only all of that great energy, investment, enthusiasm and vision had been in Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel. Just think of the magnificent opportunities, the attraction for potential olim (immigrants.)

      • The world would have been a different world.
      • Israel would have been a different country.
      • World Jewry, Torah and academic, would be centered here in the Holy Land.

      Phil Chernofsky expresses it well in Torah Tidbits:
      Israel is the way it is because of the results of our decisions and actions

      This issue of TT is the 17th one for Sh'lach and the number of times we've tried to make the point that living in Israel is essential to G-d's Plan for His Nation is far greater than 17. And each time, we try to say it in a different way. Maybe one way will hit home with the person who needs the message.

      Try this: When a generally observant Jew reads/listens the Torah, he reacts positively to ZACHOR ET YOM HASHABBAT L'KAD'SHO, remember the Shabbat, etc. And he reacts negatively to this week's episode of the "wood gatherer". He neither admires nor emulates the M'koshesh Eitzim (Tz'lofchad, according to Tradition).

      How does (should) this same basically observant Jew react to the passages in the Torah that speak of G-d's "desire" that we follow His Torah and be faithful to Him in Eretz Yisrael? How does he react to the episode of the M'raglim (also from this week's sedra, of course)? Is he as appalled at the behavior of the 10 M'raglim as he is about the Shabbat desecrater or the one who "blessed" G-d's name? Does he admire Kalev who risked his life to passionately plead with the people to listen to G-d? And who does he emulate: Nachbi b. Vofsi or Kalev b. Yefuneh?

      Over forty years ago, when I announced to my parents that I planned on making aliyah, moving to Israel, I told them that to me living in the Land of Israel was a mitzvah, G-d given Commandment, no different than kosher food and Shabbat.

      Israel is the way it is because of the results of our decisions and actions. When I was much younger I studied dance. My dance movement expert, (Alan Wayne), taught us that every movement, even the very slightest change in position will have very different results.

      If the hard-working visionaries who built Yeshiva University had decided that it must be in the Land of Israel, today's State of Israel would be totally different. And while I'm at it, I must say: If the Chareidi rabbis had seen serving in the Israeli Army as a crucially important mitzvah, today's IDF would be a strong Torah Defense Force!

      Judaism never accepts that things can't be fixed or changed. That's what tshuva, repentance, is all about. We must constantly strive for a higher level of Jewish Life and to correct our, yes, our, mistakes.

      Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach

      May You Have A Complete and Blessed Sabbath

      Sivan 16, 5768, 6/19/2008

      "Give my regards to..."

      Last night I was at a lovely wedding. I knew few people, besides the person who invited me. She did a great job of organizing the tables and I was enjoying my companions.

      "You're from Shiloh, so give my regards to..."

      "How do you know her?"

      "Our sons were murdered together."


      Then I quickly knew next to whom I was sitting. Unfortunately there have been so many terror attacks and so many victims nobody could be expected to remember them all, but davka this one I did. We spoke a lot more. It ended up that we have lots of mutual friends.

      I'm not in the "club," Baruch Hashem--bli eyin haraa, but so many of my neighbors are, and I was lightly injured in a terror attack. We talked about how everyone reacts differently, and she told me about some of their memorial projects.

      This could be considered one of those "only in Israel" posts, but it's not a cutesy, sweet, feel good one. It's just real life.

      Sivan 15, 5768, 6/18/2008

      Taking On Caroline Glick!

      What's the feminine version of -- David vs Goliath?

      Being that I'm just a blogger, repected, maybe, but no competition for a well-known newspaper writer, editor and
      Israel has a choice. It doesn't have to be a victim. Israeli leaders have chosen victimhood.
      now book-writer, Caroline Glick, I wonder how much influence my opinion will have.  Even before hearing about her book, Hadassa De Young's comment to Shiloh Musings reminding me that Glick is a big Bibi Netanyau supporter took some of the shine off of her reputation.  I didn't have to read much to be totally dishenchanted.


      I don't like the term the esteemed and respected Caroline Glick used to describe Israel in her book, Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad.

      "Shackled" is passive, meaning that someone did it to someone else. That means that Israel is some sort of victim. I don't think it's so simple.

      Israel has a choice. It doesn't have to be a victim. Israeli leaders have chosen victimhood. That's the rationale behind using the Holocaust to excuse our having a state. The Jewish Nation existed long before the German one and long before Nazism. Even Zionism predates all that. We did not need to lose Six Million precious Jewish souls to "deserve" a state.

      Our Zionist "leaders" have shackled ourselves. Just like Dorothy always had to power in herself to return to Kansas, we have the power to brake the shackles and be a free and independent nation-- if we really desire it!

      Sivan 13, 5768, 6/16/2008

      The Unthinkable

      Maybe I'm just old, but decades ago when I used to proudly dance down Fifth Avenue at the Salute to Israel Parade, I had no doubt that your typical Israeli was an unabashed patriot.

      And they were.

      That was before the peace parasite took hold of the kishkes here like a tapeworm, or maybe more like the
      The Arabs don't want peace... that's why they're bombing Ashkelon, the Negev and Sderot, all pre-1967 Israel
      seductive snake in the Garden of Eden.  Most of the population has been seduced by images of easy peace, "just give up a little unnecesary territory," listen to the claps and cheers of world leaders...

      After the Six Days War, the world was in awe. 

      • We could have, we should have annexed every inch, every centimeter of Land. 
      • We could have, we should have built massive new modern Jewish cities in Judea, Samaria, Gaza.  Nobody protested the establishment of Yamit, nor the agricultural communities in that area.
      • We could have, we should have banished all the resident Arabs who wouldn't pledge to recognize our sovereinty and obey our laws.

      If we had just done that, acted like proud victors and celebrated Victory Day, rather than Jerusalem Day...

      But instead we apologized for winning.  And we waited for the "call."  Someone had this fantasy that the defeated Arab countries would be sorry that they had attacked and lost and would offer us "peace" in exchange for the land we had won.  There's a major mistake in this theory.  The Arabs don't want peace, not at any price.  They want us dead and gone.  And that's why they're bombing Ashkelon, the Negev and Sderot, all pre-1967 Israel.  Just a few years ago, that would be unthinkable, and it would have been more unthinkable that we're sitting on our hands, passively waiting.  Waiting for what?  Good question.

      Considering that barely two years ago, major Israeli cities in the north were attacked and we made no attempt to destroy the enemy, just "reduce" the violence.  Unthinkable...

      Sivan 12, 5768, 6/15/2008

      We Gave "Peace a Chance," and It Failed

      We also gave Olmert a Chance to "conduct a war,"

      and that failed, too!

      Peace comes from strength, when our enemies know that if they touch us they will be destroyed.

      Making a mistake once is normal; twice isn't,

      and multiple times a sign of serious mental illness.



      The continuation of the "Peace Process" is proof of the foolishness of the masses, the media the politicians.


      For decades Israel has been lusting for "peace." It has brought is war, terror and lost us of the respect and fear of our enemies.

      Peace comes from strength, when our enemies know that if they touch us they will be destroyed. The "do anything for peace" philosophy just encourages our enemies to attack, terrorize us, because then they know that we will do anything to stop them but fight.

      I am disappointed and frustrated that I don't see a sign of any politicians or political party here in Israel telling people the truth, clearly. And even more upsetting, those who may have policies which are realistic have no chance of getting elected. They don't know how to campaign. They don't understand politics and human nature. Being right isn't enough to get elected.

      Politics is a science; there are known, tried and true techniques. G-d willing...