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Ask the Rabbi
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:
Adar Bet 6, 5768, 3/13/2008
The Jerusalem Post is Using That Picture Again
The Jerusalem Post loves this picture, which it claims is of Ofra, just south of Shiloh. It appeared on the Jerusalem Post website this morning.
I can't see this view of it from anyplace near Ofra. Either it isn't Ofra, or the picture was doctored. I've written about it before and never got an answer from the JPost.
Here's the caption that appeared under it, in the internet edition of the paper, last June:
"The settlement of Ofra with the outskirts of Ramallah in the background. Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski"
We've contacted people from Ofra who can't figure out where such a picture could have been taken. And Ofra is not next to Ramallah! You can't see Ofra from Ramallah, nor Ramallah from Ofra.
Adar Bet 5, 5768, 3/12/2008
Acharai! That means: After me!
Let's make a deal. I won't ask you to do anything I haven't done or haven't had my husband or children do. In exchange, you don't tell me to do anything you haven't done, or you haven't had your spouse children do, if you have such family members.
My list is very simple; I'm probably leaving important things out:
Obviously, I can't demand that someone make aliyah if they've been here their entire life. Nor can I say become religious to someone who knows no other life. If someone is not in any condition to be accepted into the army, as long as you support the importance of the army for everyone. No Christian "4D."
It's absurd to give long lists of exceptions; so I won't, because most are just so obvious.
It has always been important to me to follow my ideals and dreams. I find it easier than trying to defend myself with excuses.
Adar Bet 3, 5768, 3/10/2008
We did defeat the Arabs in 1967, and the Moshiach was here, but then the politicians gave the key to Har Habayit to the Moslems and sent the Moshiach away.
For a war to be totally successful, we need the right political leadership and the left is fighting us with everything they have and we have to fight back and not be like Menachem Begin, who kept turning the other cheek, Altalena etc.
Sending our soldiers with Olmert, Barak, Mofaz etc in charge is to kill them for nothing. You can't just let soldiers fight without a leader with vision, who knows what we're all fighting for. Anarchy isn't a solution. Our soldiers are too precious to be used to prop up corrupt regimes.
And to those who aren't full and active citizens of the State of Israel, like the Chareidim and Jews who live in Galut, you just weaken us. Why should our sons be your cannon fodder?
The Moshiach won't reveal himself until we all unite and fight together.
The Reed Sea didn't open up until Nachshon entered, and it took until the water was up to his nose. And if Avraham had refused to take Yitzchak to be sacrificed, he would have been punished for disobeying G-d's command. Remember that Yitzchak lived, he wasn't killed or sacrificed, but he had to see the glint of the knife without flinching, or he wouldn't have been saved.
So all of you standing on the sidelines of Jewish History, hiding out in the Beit Medrish or your favorite kosher pizza place in Toronto or Glatt Kosher restaurant in Golders Green, the Moshiach is waiting for you here in the Holy Land. There's an army uniform sewn and ready and a Teudat Zehut (Identity Card) waiting for your name.
Don't you dare give us orders form afar. How can new leadership be voted in without your votes?
We have a beautiful Land with room for all of you. Hurry, please.
Adar Bet 2, 5768, 3/9/2008
I must thank Boker Tov, Boulder for the most extraordinary post about Shiloh and the human price we have paid to the dangerously misguided politics and philosophy controlling our existence.
I must admit that I couldn't have done it, researching and quoting about all the young Shiloh people resting in graves rather than studying or building families. It's all too close; I know all of the families. I'll just share what a younger sibling of one of those holy children said at an Azkara, memorial ceremony:
"You are/were my older brother, but now, I'm older than you were when you were killed. It's very hard to get used to."
That is the reality. All of us blessed with life grow older, the children become adults and we adults get wrinkled and grey. Our children marry and become parents making us grandparents, and grandparents become great-grandparents, but those murdered miss it all.
The Shiloh Cemetery was opened after Rachella Druk, HaYa"D, was murdered. She left a husband and seven young children. The oldest was about the same age as Yonatan Eldar, HaYa"D, was when murdered a few short days ago, and the youngest was just a toddler. Rachella never had the opportunity to dance at her children's wedding, nor hold her grandchildren. As painful as her murder was for her family and friends, at least her life is continuing through her children and grandchildren.
The young people in that upper row of the cemetery have left a gaping hole in humanity, so much unfulfilled dreams and potential.
Adar 30, 5768, 3/7/2008
In a few short hours, another grave will be filled in our Shiloh Cemetery. Less than a week ago, we buried a man who had lived over one hundred years. Today, at high noon, we will bury a fair-haired teenager, Yonatan Eldar, HaYa"D, May his blood be avenged.
It's Rosh Chodesh Adar Sheini, the second, "leap year" Adar. It's also the last day of Adar Alef, the first Adar. Will his yartzeit on non-leap years be the first or last day of the month of Adar?
HAMELECH-- The King
Chazal, our sages, discuss/ask why G-d's name isn't mentioned in the Megilat Ester. Hester Panim, His face is hidden. I compare that to the sun on a cloudy or storm day. The sun is in its correct place in the sky. It is bright and warm and radiating, just like on a "perfect laundry day." Chazal's answer is that every time we read "hamelech," "the king," it means G-d, since there is no name attached, and the "article the" means something very specific. There is only one king who doesn't need a name, the King.
And in today's world, when the media, and even my blogs, discuss elections, such as for the American presidency, it's important to remember to add the adjective "American" or the specific name. Here in Israel, "the president" must mean the Israeli one. Whoever lives in the White House isn't the Israeli president.
And the only king for us is
Hamelech, HaKodesh Baruch Hu, Our G-d.
HaMakom Y'Nachem to the bereaved
Refuah Shleimah to the injured