Saturday, March 30, 2013

Irony Vs. The Jew

Gilad Shalit as we all know was saved, and I do feel there was halachic basis for that - nor do I suggest to retract that daas.

With that said, I find it ironic that through his revelations that have just come out, his expressions were somewhat textbook [although w/o cavanah] to non-Jewish doctrines of faith [certainly Islam, and a tad X-tian] in terms of "submission"

He was afraid, and perhaps many of us would do what he did, which was freeze. But from Klippah's perspective, perhaps they saw this as divine proof to their sheker [daat sheker in realtime], something we would call Hashgacha Pratis and Mazal that saved his life, and allowed him to live and be able to tel his story.

"Life" does this as its will to [animate to] survive, and my experience [which doesn't hold candle to Gilad] when surrounded by radical Islam, was to do it the Jewish way - bitul/moser nefesh, which is similar to their grandiose shita of "submission"  though I looked to Torah each time I went, to understand the Torah on Yishmael [which the Gra gets into a lot].

[For anyone interested I taught English in a village that was known to have Hamas there, and I went in every week dressed fully Haredi, yes it was scary, yes I thought I was a tad close to the edge a few times, and yes I believe it was Torah and Emunah that got me out alive. So although I wasn't held captive for 5 years, my 12 weeks was enough and taught me immensely about Yishmael - live and up close.]

On June 25, 2006, IDF Corporal Gilad Schalit was abducted by Palestinian militants from Gaza, who had infiltrated into Israel by tunneling under the border fence. An attack on Schalit's tank led to the deaths of two of the tank crew, and Schalit, frozen in the face of an assault, freely admitted that he had acted in such a way as to facilitate his capture. After more than five years as a hostage in Gaza, Schalit gave IDF investigators an honest and often unflattering recount of the events surrounding the attack. The second part of an exclusive two-part feature. Click here for part one.

The use of the hand grenades that were thrown into Gilad Schalit's tank casts doubt on the view that the main goal of the attack was to kidnap a soldier. If the militants had wanted to kidnap a soldier, it is unlikely that they would have thrown a grenade into the tank. They wanted to kill, to cause as much damage as possible and then get away quickly.

Somehow, Schalit survived the grenade blasts and exited the tank. As he left the tank, he saw the terrorist climbing the front of the tank which on the Merkava is referred to as "the knife."

In order to climb, the terrorist needed to use both hands, which meant that his personal weapon - a Kalashnikov - was strapped across his back. At this point, he was in close range, making him an easy target. Schalit, who was sitting on the dome of the tank, where the tank commander has a view of the surrounding area, saw the militant climbing toward him but could not see the second militant on the other side of the tank.

The militant had still not seen Schalit, and Schalit could have easily moved his hand 10 cm to take control of the .50 caliber tank machine gun and shoot him, cutting him to pieces in seconds. The .50 cal is not a weapon that you would want to have fired at you - its firing speed is lethal, and squeezing the trigger is quick and easy. But that is not what Schalit did; in fact, he did nothing. It is plausible to assume that if the machine gun had been fired, it would have killed the militant climbing the tank and caused the second man to flee. Even if it had not occurred that way, taking control of the machine gun would still have given Schalit, who was inside the tank with three guns and the main tank cannon at his disposal, a marked advantage over his adversaries.

“You never thought to shoot the terrorist?” Schalit was asked during the investigation.

“No,” he answered, “I was completely confused. I did not think about anything. I was in shock.”

Seconds later the terrorist noticed Schalit at the top of the tank and Schalit shouted to him in Hebrew, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot.”

The militant realized that Schalit was handing himself over, and leveled his weapon at him. He then shouted at Schalit in Hebrew, “Come with me.” Schalit climbed down from the tank, shaking wildly. The second militant joined them, the two immediately understanding what a prize had fallen in their laps: a live Israeli soldier who was not fighting back. This was the prize that Hamas had dreamed of for years, and now here it was in front of them.

The three of them, Schalit and his two captors, moved quickly to the Gaza fence. At 5:21 a.m., they blew a hole in the fence and entered a small tunnel underneath. Schalit went with them quickly the entire way, without attempting to slow them down to save time until the second tank or other back up could arrive. He simply went along with them and ran toward the fence.

One of the militants crawled underneath and told Schalit to do the same, the latter complying immediately. The militants told him to move more quickly and he rushed to obey. Afterward, his bullet proof vest was found next to the fence; it appears he took it off in order to move more freely.

After passing under the fence, the three headed deep into the Gaza Strip, with all possible haste. An IDF tank arrived at the scene and at an observation post locked a fix on the three, but permission to fire was not issued. It was still not known that a soldier was being kidnapped. They were already more than a kilometer in Palestinian territory. Finally the tank opened fire, but only with its machine guns.

They did not receive permission to fire heavy weapons, and the machine guns missed their target. Schalit and his captors reached the first line of houses where a tractor was waiting for them. They boarded the tractor, which took them to a car, which in turn took them to another car. On the way, the terrorists stripped Schalit of his army uniform and dressed him in civilian clothing. Schalit was firmly in their hands, and five and a half years of captivity had begun.

Humus and Soccer

Schalit remembers his time in captivity clearly. He was not held in basements and he was not tortured other than slight "annoyances" in his first days of captivity. Though they hit him a bit and tied him to bars, they quickly understood that he was fragile and would die in their hands if they beat him too badly. They did not want him to die, that would have been a catastrophe. At that point, Schalit was the Palestinian people’s greatest asset.

During his captivity he was passed among several Palestinian families around the Gaza Strip. He watched television, listened to the radio and was even occasionally allowed to surf the internet. He heard all of the news reports during “Operation Cast Lead” in winter 2008-9, and watched all of the 2010 World Cup games. He specifically remembers the game he saw when he was moved from one family to another - it was a game featuring Spain, the world champions. All in all, he was treated reasonably.

The main problem was food. There were not many culinary options and Schalit was forced to eat what Gazans eat, which is mainly humus. Understandably he was in a depressed state, which affected his appetite, which in turn caused a dramatic drop in his weight. He did not go on a hunger strike, and indeed never considered the option. One day he ate with a family on their rooftop in Khan Yunis and from their roof he could see the Mediterranean. Under other circumstances, he could have believed that he was on vacation.

Schalit communicated with his captors in Hebrew and English, and his guards were changed throughout the duration of his captivity. For the most part, he was guarded by a special squad who worked in shifts. Schalit knew exactly what was happening in Israel; he followed the elections in 2009, and knew what was going on in world events. He was never in danger during “Cast Lead,” though it was suspected that since the operation was an attempt to save him it might anger his captors.

Schalit complied completely with his captors and interrogators at all times, though there was little new information he could provide. The scant details he did know, he told them. When asked, he provided information about Israeli fortifications and the Merkava tank. It was important to him to please them and give them information in order to receive good treatment.

The story of Gilad Schalit is a difficult one, full of failure. It is about the failure of his tank team, of Schalit himself and the lack of intelligence, which was the responsibility of the Shin Bet security service, which had had no success in tracking him for more than five years. Two soldiers died in the initial action, defending Israel. They did not perform their duties as well as possible, but the history of the IDF is full of stories of failure. That is just the way of war.

Schalit may have handed himself over to the militants without putting up a fight, but it is unfair to criticize him. It was a normal, human reaction. I served as a tank commander and I have no idea how I would have acted in the same situation. It is entirely possible that I would have responded just like him. “Do not judge a man,” it is written, “until you are in his place,” and in this case there is no way to judge him. He has already been judged by spending more than five years in captivity. On the other hand, it is important to know the circumstances behind this terrible event and to learn lessons from it. There will be similar situations in the future and we must hope they will end differently than this one.

Schalit is an introverted young man who is both emotional and fragile. It is likely that he should not have been placed in a tank unit in the first place. Perhaps he simply was not fit for it. When his tank was hit, he went into shock and lost the ability to act. The term "hero", which was given him by IDF Chief Benny Gantz when Schalit returned to Israel, is misplaced. Brigadier General Avigdor Kahalani, a tank commander in 1967 and 1973, was a hero. Major Roi Klein, who died in the 2006 Lebanon War by jumping on a grenade to save his comrades, was a hero. Lieutenant Colonel Avi Lanir, tortured to death by Syrian soldiers during the Yom Kippur War, was a hero. The history of Israel and the IDF is checkered with many stories of bravery, and Gilad Schalit is far from being among them. He is in a way a type of anti-hero. He was a soldier who was placed in a difficult situation and chose a path of submission. There is no heroism in this story. This story is one of humanity that is both sad and touching.

It is possible that Schalit was never fit to serve as a combat soldier. Still maybe it is the very fact that he served in the tank unit and fulfilled his duty to his country even so that is his badge of honor. Yet after all of this, we cannot forget that there is a state to protect, one that is surrounded by enemies. Israel cannot afford to allow herself too many stories of "bravery" like this.

So what is the lesson of this story? There is no lesson. It is a good thing that Schalit returned home and received a new lease of life, which I am happy about. He is traveling, which is great, but if I were in his stead I would somehow try to take the public adulation and celebrity, and attempt to make a positive contribution - even a symbolic one - for the benefit of Israeli society. The State of Israel paid a heavy price for his return, one that is hard to swallow. His story will not be included in lessons on combat tradition, and he knows this. There are those that think that this is the beauty of it all, that the lesson to be learnt here is the strength of Israel in its concern for every single soldier, without exceptions, but I am not among them.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that there is no other nation that knows how to invest itself so completely in the safety of each and every soldier. Yet along with the celebrations and joy, there must be some soul-searching on the part of the state, the IDF and Schalit himself.

If I were Schalit, I would devote some of my time and energy to some form of volunteer work that would give back to the state. Something symbolic, that would show thanks to the country that compromised many of its essential interests in order to bring him home, if for no other reason than to feel good. Maybe this will still happen. But first he must enjoy the freedom that he has truly earned. He may not be our hero, but he still is our antihero. 

What Would You Do?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Korean Passover

Is it a Chag Sameach - or Bombs Away?

North Korea [along with all of her End of Days Prophesies] is retching up the heat.

North Korea's leader approved a plan to prepare standby rockets to hit U.S. targets, state media said Friday, after American stealth bombers carried out a practice mission over South Korea.

In a meeting with military leaders early Friday, Kim Jong Un "said he has judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation," the state-run KCNA news agency reported. The rockets are aimed at U.S. targets, including military bases in the Pacific and in South Korea, it said. "If they make a reckless provocation with huge strategic forces, (we) should mercilessly strike the U.S. mainland, their stronghold, their military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea," KCNA reported.

Kim: "Time has come to settle accounts" B-2 exercise over Korean Peninsula Little: We will protect South Korea Analysis: Just what is Kim Jong Un up to?

North Korean state media carried a photo of Kim meeting with military officials Friday. In the photo, the young leader is seated, leafing through documents with four uniformed officers standing around him. On the wall behind them, a map titled "Plan for the strategic forces to target mainland U.S." appears to show straight lines stretching across the Pacific to points on the continental United States. South Korea and the United States are "monitoring any movements of North Korea's short, middle and middle- to long-range missiles," South Korean Defense Ministry Spokesman Kim Min-seok said Friday. Kim's regime has unleashed a torrent of threats in the past few weeks, and U.S. officials have said they're concerned about the recent rhetoric.

"I think their very provocative actions and belligerent tone, it has ratcheted up the danger, and we have to understand that reality," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday at a news briefing. Some observers have suggested that Washington is adding to tensions in the region by drawing attention to its displays of military strength on North Korea's doorstep, such as the flights by the B-2 stealth bombers. Hagel argued against that assertion.

"We, the United States and South Korea, have not been involved in provocating anything," he said. "We, over the years, have been engaged with South Korea on joint exercises. The B-2 flight was part of that." Washington and its allies "are committed to a pathway to peace," Hagel said. "And the North Koreans seem to be headed in a different direction here." But Pentagon spokesman George Little said it was important to remain calm and urged North Korea to "dial the temperature down." "No one wants there to be war on the Korean Peninsula, let me make that very clear," he told CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Thursday. Amid the uneasy situation, China, a key North Korean ally that expressed frustration about Pyongyang's latest nuclear test, also called for calm.

"We hope relevant parties can work together to turn around the tense situation in the region," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said Friday, describing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as "a joint responsibility." B-2 exercise over Korean Peninsula U.S. response to North Korea threats South Korea honors 'Day of Terror' Behind North Korea's heated words about missile strikes, one analyst said, there might not be much mettle. North Korea's threat: Five things to know

"The fact is that despite the bombast, and unless there has been a miraculous turnaround among North Korea's strategic forces, there is little to no chance that it could successfully land a missile on Guam, Hawaii or anywhere else outside the Korean Peninsula that U.S. forces may be stationed," James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of IHS Jane's Defense Weekly, wrote in an opinion column published Thursday on North Korea's latest threat Friday morning came after the United States said Thursday that it flew two stealth bombers over South Korea in annual military exercises. The mission by the B-2 Spirit bombers, which can carry conventional and nuclear weapons, "demonstrates the United States' ability to conduct long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will," a statement from U.S. Forces Korea said.

The North Korean state news agency described the mission as "an ultimatum that they (the United States) will ignite a nuclear war at any cost on the Korean Peninsula." The North has repeatedly claimed that the U.S.-South Korean military exercises are tantamount to threats of nuclear war against it. The disclosure of the B-2 flights came a day after North Korea said it was cutting a key military hotline with South Korea, provoking fresh expressions of concern from U.S. officials about Pyongyang's recent rhetoric. Tensions escalated on the Korean Peninsula after the North carried out a long-range rocket launch in December and an underground nuclear test last month, prompting the U.N. Security Council to step up sanctions on the secretive government.

U.S. officials concerned about North Korea's 'ratcheting up of rhetoric' Pyongyang has expressed fury about the sanctions and the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises, due to continue until the end of April. The deteriorating relations have killed hopes of reviving multilateral talks over North Korea's nuclear program for the foreseeable future. Indeed, Pyongyang has declared that the subject is no longer up for discussion. While Kim appears to have spurned the prospect of dialogue with U.S. and South Korean officials, he met with Dennis Rodman during the U.S. basketball star's bizarre recent visit to North Korea. 

Sharp increases in tensions on the Korean Peninsula have taken place during the drills in previous years. The last time the North cut off military communications with the South was during similar exercises in March 2009. North Korea has gone through cycles of "provocative behavior" for decades, Little, the Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday.

"And we have to deal with them. We have to be sober, calm, cool, collected about these periods. That's what we're doing right now," he said. "And we are assuring our South Korean allies day to day that we stand with them in the face of these provocations." The recent saber-rattling from Pyongyang has included threats of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the United States and South Korea, as well as the declaration that the armistice that stopped the Korean War in 1953 is null and void. On Tuesday, the North said it planned to place military units tasked with targeting U.S. bases under combat-ready status.

Most observers say North Korea is still years away from having the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead on a missile, but it does have plenty of conventional military firepower, including medium-range ballistic missiles that can carry high explosives for hundreds of miles. Little said Thursday that the United States was keeping a close eye on North Korea's missile capabilities. "The important thing is for us to stay out ahead of what we think the North Korean threat is, especially from their missile program," he said. "They've been testing more missiles, and they've been growing their capabilities and we have to stay out ahead."

May it be Soon

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

If The Gra Were Nine

A Deep And Awesome View On Life From A 9-Year-Old - Watch More Funny Videos This kid will fly when he finds out the truth [in text] is what he is saying. Kol Hakavod, and Chag Sameach. Maybe we are in special times after all.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Secret Ascent: Servants of Hashem Soaring On High

Click Here For Audio Link!

Don't Forget Every Wed 11 P.M. - Torah of the Ger Series [and all Noahide Topics]

Yeshivat Shem V' Ever Link - Click Here!

Parsha Shiur 10 P.M. Motzie Shabbat Israel Time

Click Here For Article On Tzav [Audio is based on Article]

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Ger: Rising Higher and Higher!

                               Parashas Tzav
                               Elevating The Ger [Noahide]
                               Rabbi David Katz

In Parashas Tzav we are introduced in more familiar terms with various Offerings of the Temple, and when in relation to the Ger [Noahide], the Olah may resonate more than the others. If we could take this moment to skip laterally into a completely Ger – dominated headspace in the context of the Olah [Bird] Offering, we may humbly find ourselves on the threshold of the official Ger, who seeks to be a part of Yisrael. His universe is brought to highlight in the Talmud Krisos 8-9, where we learn the laws of the Ger, in context to either convert, or simply be a Ger [as the Zohar would call this: Ger Tzedek – convert and Ger Tzedek Vadai – Ger literal (and for sure)] who seeks the closeness of Israel to compliment his relationship with Hashem.

The Talmud Krisos mentions the Ger along with those needing an atonement for various reasons, yet his needs are separate from the others, as he is like a Nazarite [who both he and the Ger have in common a need for the Temple to be in existence in order to fully achieve each of his endeavors] who’s Offering is not from sin, but from completion of procedure. The Ger who wishes to become a “Ger Gamur” [a convert] is required to undergo circumcision, mikvah, and a special two-bird Offering [Olah] upon which he will be considered Jewish from then on and a member of Israel. Let us not however forget the Ger [Toshav] who by his own volition sees no reason for a combined ritual of mikvah, circumcision, and Offering, for he desires to simply dwell amongst Israel appreciating the closeness of Hashem and the Jewish People. The Talmud informs that his lone need in times of the Temple is to offer the Olah [two birds – Turtledoves; hence Kol HaTor? – (Redemption and the Ger Tzedek)…the analogies are many, since Vayikra 1:15 states “one bird” in line with the one bird assumption of Kol Hator (Voice of the Turtledove), yet with halacha being two birds (2=1 theory) representing Ger Toshav and Tzedek] and being consistent with Jewish Thought, his Nefesh will be prepared [a full Ger Toshav, having eliminated the pull of a Non-Jewish World on his soul] to join Israel.

In these terms the effective difference halachically between the Ger and the Ger Gamor [convert] is based on whether they brought an Olah, or along with the Olah an accompanied circumcision and mikvah [ritual dunk with explicit intent of annulling the Ger upon the Offering of the Olah, which is the last mechanism in the order].

When we turn to Halachas of the Rambam on these matters we arrive to two essential places: Machsori Kaparah [based on our Talmud here] and Issurei Biah [the classic Rambam on Ger Toshav]. The M’’K laws show that while the Rambam quotes our Talmud quite clearly, he interestingly adds a few words for commentary, as his wish is to render the law fittingly for the Ger Gamor [convert; Gamor in Hebrew can mean either complete, or even more fitting – finished] illustrated by his inclusion of the mikvah and the circumcision [1:2]; the halacha works through just as the nature of the Talmud in Krisos. The lasting feeling from the Rambam was however, that his need to clarify two out of the three pre-requisites of the Ger is something of note and that we actually encounter this same dynamic elsewhere in his laws of Ger – the Ger Toshav.

In the Laws of Issurei Biah of the Rambam [14: (1),7-8 we learn exactly what is a Ger Toshav based on Talmud Avodah Zara; however after becoming verse in the previously mentioned Rambam laws of the Ger, apparently there is another apparatus involved, that of the Ger Gamor [in the negative!].

To quote the Rambam [14:7 –on the Ger Toshav; based on Avodah Zara 64b]: Which is a Ger Toshav – this “Goy” [idolater – halachically] that brought onto himself not to serve in a foreign way, and has accepted the Seven Laws of Noah [2 out of the four scenarios in Avodah Zara 64b], AND HE IS NOT CIRCUMCIZED OR RITUALLY DUNKED [MIKVAH] [as added in Rambam above], we bring him in /”accept him” – he is a Righteous/Pious of the Nations. And why do we call him Toshav? – Because we are permitted to dwell him amongst us in the Land of Israel, as explained in A.Z. 64b. Notice that the Rambam [aside from rendering that the Ger Toshav DOES exist today as opposed to the Ger Toshav [proper and not of the Chasidei umot haolam, i.e. did not nec. Accept seven laws of Noah in 14:8] has issued the additional terms “dunk” and “circumcise” while leaving out an obvious omission of the Olah / Offering! For this the Rambam was forced to express Toshav! [dwelling amongst Israel] and these laws are in the category of those [if they are] wishing to convert to Israel.
Now back to Krisos – and to tie in these two Rambam’s. This answers the biggest question on the Rambam: why was he forced to link Ger Toshav with the Righteous of the Nations; wouldn’t Ger be enough if forced to expand Biblically? One must conclude the [ger] TOSHAV is the Rambam bringing us back to Krisos, and the education one must have to go through not only with how to convert, but to be a GER [toshav] as well! Otherwise the person who rejects idolatry might as well be called a Righteous of the Nations and leave it at that – to which the Rambam clearly saw the need to take it that extra step and in accordance with a revelation from the Talmud in Krisos.

The Talmud Krisos [once it has established for us the various necessary rituals to be either a Ger Gamor or a Ger Toshav, the question comes up of the nature concerning what to do in case of a time when the Temple is not standing to receive the Ger and his Offering; would we then not accept Gerim?! [asks the Talmud]

The Talmud answers with a verse from Bamidbar 15:14 “When a Ger dwells with you or is among you throughout your generations and he shall perform a Fire Offering to Hashem [Olah] – as You do, he shall do.” [15:15- For the congregation the same decree shall be for you and for the Ger who dwells an eternal decree for your generations like you like the Ger shall it be before Hashem [16] One Torah and one Mishpat will be for ya’ll and to the Ger who dwells with you.” The Talmud understands [this verse as an answer to converts – Gerim Gamorim and to Ger Toshavim as well] this verse as a clear definition of “Toshav”, and thus would there ever be a time that we DON’T accept Gerim? – Israel thus always accepts the Ger, both Gamor and Toshav.

However the Talmud does agree that indeed the Temple does not stand today, and thus there must be a plan B for the Olah / Bird Offering portion of the Ger [both Gamor and Toshav respectively], and that substitution is the observation of Shabbat [thus for the Ger Gamor this is in align with a proper conversion from the methodology proposed on Yevamot 48b that a convert must traverse the path of the Ger Toshav and onwards towards the Ger Tzedek until Ger Tzedek [not Vadai] and Gamor. For the Ger Toshav this would be the equivalent of the third [of four opinions] opinion in A.Z.  of accepting the whole Torah in nature [which is the most accurate definition of the Ger Toshav, even if he doesn’t proactively keep more than his requirement, as by nature within his accepting the law as if on Sinai, he is logically bound to these three positions stated in A.Z. of rejecting idolatry, accepting Noahide Law, and eating non-kosher meat, as if to say he accepts the Torah save for this law.] with a Toshav status.

As made clear in the Rambam, Toshav means we are allowed to dwell with the Ger in Israel, and the commentaries go onto explain [logically even] that abroad, in a time that even Jews are forbidden in the Land, the Ger may dwell alongside Israel [Jews]. The practical depth to this equation is to say the World’s ultimate truthful expression is that it exists under control of “Dat Yisrael” – Torah rule, and that Shabbat is Fri-Sat concurring with Torah Law. This would dictate that the Ger who wishes such a lifestyle [functioning as a precursor to a Land experience should the Jubillee Come along with the Temple] would take up learning Derech Eretz [proper Torah conduct] of how to dwell amongst Israel; namely the foundation that unites all of these principles is the observance of the Jewish Shabbat in close proximity of the Jew as explained in the Ten Commandments.

To put it simply: Toshav to the Rambam is to see Avodah Zara 64b [and the 3-4 opinions] in conjunction with Krisos [with the end result of a keeping of Shabbat]; this would formulate [in the Rambam’s vision] a Ger Toshav, and the Talmud explains this as such:
In Krisos Once the precedent is set of the Shabbat observance [to which the opinions vary of how a Ger is to keep the Shabbat, ranging in variables based on a Jewish Yom Tov (holiday such as Passover, which is NOT Shabbat); he is to cater to the needs/feeding (literal/non-literal) of his body – “Ochel Nefesh”; whether the Ger Toshav, or even an idolater. The Talmud “Shabbos” makes this claim along with the Navi Is.: 6-6-7, and this is most applicable for any stringent view that holds a time without a Temple all Non-Jews are a status of idolater until a formal council of Law is formed with the onset of jubilee], it goes on to list what is a Ger Toshav today?

Today’s Ger Toshav would have gone through these steps:
      Be like Naaman Kings2 ch5
·        Keep a Chazal Shabbat as listed
·        Applies to any Non-Jew
·        3 Opinions of Avodah Zara 64b [no idolatry, 7 Laws, Torah, i.e. Shabbat]
·        Applies to Ger of every kind
Within context of Rambam as per these Talmudic resources; there are other opinions, but the Rambam seems to address the appropriate Talmudic resources with the most accuracy
The Rayvid commentary to the Rambam suggests even though today we have such chemistry between the Jew and the Ger, we must not lose sight that we are still in exile, both the Jew and the Ger, as seen by the very fact that he can’t bring his Offering that his Nefesh craves.  Our relationship will be a bit uncomfortable by nature, as to allow Hashem to hear our plight, and to encourage the Temple to come to us speedily in our days.
The “Fourth Opinion” in Avodah Zara 64b states that the wine of the Ger is kosher and not kosher. It is kosher if he attends to it in the house of a Jew, and non – kosher if it was attended to solely in the location of the Ger. The Talmud explains we trust him as our brother in our house and in his, only he may remain plugged into a society [that may even affect him and his ability of performance of the Law; to this extent he is still our brother] that has the power to overburden him, and could potentially harm the wine, making it forbidden for consumption.

The point is that this entire discussion [even the location of the laws of the Rambam] is the urging and craving on both sides to lose the schism that was divinely placed at Sinai. The Ger and Jew both know that schism exists, and will always exist, and for this [especially in exile] we must operate in schism now in these days. Should we forget [and hold in our hearts unlike the Rayvid] and seek to transcend schism, our un-kosher worlds are there to serve as reminder for us. The Ger knows that he can’t invite the Jew over because of these scenarios that are imposed from his Non-Jewish [non-Dat Yisrael] World, and the Jew should be ashamed by his world’s lack of Light to the Nations mindset, and acts accordingly not in the best interests of the Jew’s guest the Ger. Both are painfully reminded of the cruel nature of reality that is enforced by exile in terms that shall be simply called: schism.
There is however a light at the end of the tunnel [no pun intended] where the schism is torn away and the Ger and the Jew may dwell to some extent without schism, either as the Ger Toshav or the Ger Gamor with the advent of an Israel that stands most erect with the Beis Hamikdash. Before the giving of the Torah, Israel/Gerim received four prominent commandments that shall wipe away schism forever in the eyes of God: Red Heifer, Shabbat, Honoring Parents, and Statutes.

For the schism to go away, the Ger may take heart of his cooperation of the preparation of the Red Heifer, and to stand in purity in the Temple, as illustrated by the Para Adumah verses and commentary. The statutes govern a proper repentance like the story of Naaman, and thus the Ger Toshav by nature is an experience of non-schism. Honoring one’s parents exists between rav and student, thus when the Ger and Jew share in Torah, the schism is forgotten. And finally the Shabbat serves as the ultimate seal of two people, as the prophet Isaiah explains that the Non-Jew [if an idolater then even the more so the Ger!] and Jew who both take witness to the Shabbat as the belief of reality - Hashem Created Creation culminating on Shabbat, a Day for Hashem, the Ger and the Jew stand shoulder to shoulder in the Temple, without schism, praising Unity before Hashem [anything else would be idolatry!] Thus through these four commandments schism is suspended from Hashem’s Creation.

The Ger knows that he is not born of the Jewish People, and should he realize that he seeks the closeness of either Hashem or Israel [to go along with his born closeness of either], the Torah has given good counsel and teaching for the Ger to achieve his dreams. In the Parsha we learn of the Olah, a bird Offering. For the Jew this may be just another law, and the book is closed until a later time, and it is believed that no change [ever] comes to the World. But through knowledge of the Ger and his World, and all that he represents, this Olah / bird Offering – may be his dream come true if there would be just one in the World willing to reveal the dream of the Ger.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: the Olah. Where you wish [or not wish] to go with this Offering, is in your hands, but it should be known, for the Olah – the sky is the limit [no pun intended], and as always – the choice is yours. If we are to choose Life, then we are to choose Light. If you are to see Light, then Mankind got to see Life…”In those Days, the Land will be filled with the Knowledge of Hashem.” May this Olah always be expressed in these sublime terms, being the true satisfaction that Hashem intended – one that knows not of schism, but is a beacon of Light and Life, a unique Offering [korban], one truly close to Hashem, no matter what you call it.

Class Motzie Shabbat 10 P.M. Israel [no clock change yet] - Parsha In-Depth

And as always Wed 11P.M. The Ger Series - All issues of the Ger [from Verses in Torah]

Thursday, March 21, 2013

High Definition: A Noahide In Light

Click Here For Class 3 Of The Ger! - The First Ger In Abraham!

Every Wed Night 11 P.M. A new edition of the Ger series

Click Here To [save and] Enter Yeshivat Shem V' Ever!

Also Motzie Shabbos Israel 10 P.M. - Parasha Shavua!

Enjoy The Light and Make Sure To Share Amongst Friends!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mind Theater To An Imagination Near You!

Monday, March 18, 2013

33 Degrees To Israeli Politics - The Masonry Chronicles

Bibi launches the 33rd Knesset with Shas in Opposition, and a new wave of mavericks set to be ultra Hawkish in future international relations.

Here are some issues up close on the plate:

  • Bazza
  • Iran
  • Bennett - Lapid
  • "33" - Knesset - Masonry Hint? [No, but maybe yes?]
  • The Pope
  • America Crumbling [by now it is a reality]
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • Putin
  • International Women Chava D' Klippah [Clinton, Michelle, etc.]
  • Zohars
  • Prophecies
  • Shas
  • Yeshivas
  • Gerim / Toshavim
  • Kol Hator
  • Novelty
  • Neo-Zionism

Here goes to a novel Knesset - May it inspire a Redemptive Israel


Zeenews Bureau

Jerusalem: Having sealed a coalition deal after strenuous weeks of negotiations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will see the new government being sworn into Knesset on Monday.

With only 22 ministers in the new coalition, this will be the smallest Israeli cabinet in decades.

The 33rd government of Israel would consist of the centrist Yesh Atid and HaTnuah and the pro-settler Jewish Home other than Netanyahu’s Likud-Yisrael Beitenu alliance.

Lapid and Bennett forced the prime minister to keep the ultra-Orthodox parties, his traditional ally, out of the coalition. It is only the second time in the past 35 years that they have been in the opposition.

The coalition deal was reached after six long weeks of discussion after Netanyahu’s win in January 22 elections.

The interior ministry will be in hands of Likud, while Yesh Atid will handle five portfolios - including finance and education - and Jewish Home will have three, said a BBC report.

The report adds that Yair Lapid, who leads Yesh Atid - will be named finance minister and Naftali Bennett of Jewish Home, will be economic and trade minister.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to act as foreign minister as Avigdor Lieberman, is mired in a trial dealing with charges of fraud and breach of trust.

The defence ministry will be headed by former IDF chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, a Likud member. Moshe Yaalon, a former army commando, has said Iran’s suspect nuclear program is Israel’s top security concern, though he has been vague about whether Israel might carry out a military strike on Iran.

Israel believes that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon — a charge that Tehran denies. Mr. Netanyahu repeatedly has hinted that Israel might strike Iran’s nuclear facilities if it concludes that international sanctions and diplomacy have failed to curb the Iranian nuclear program. Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran a mortal threat, citing Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction and its support for anti-Israel militant groups.

Israel’s new government’s swearing in comes just two days ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit.

Obama’s visit may urge Netanyahu to take tough decisions regarding the Palestine issue.

The biggest partner in his coalition, the centrist Yesh Atid party, has demanded the new government make a serious attempt to restart talks.

At the same time, Netanyahu’s own Likud-Yisrael Beytenu bloc is dominated by hard-liners who oppose major concessions to the Palestinians. Another partner, the Jewish Home party, is linked to the settler movement and would reject any attempts to freeze construction, much less hand over West Bank territory to the Palestinians.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Looking Out From The Eyes Of The Ger

Click Here For Parashas Vayikra Audio Link!

Don't Forget Wed 11 P.M. Torah of The Ger Series!

Link For Yeshivat Shem V' Ever

[*article for Parashas Vayikra]

Parashas Vayikra
History – As Told By The Ger
Rabbi David Katz

Parashas Vayikra opens with an embrace that pulls us directly into the inner chambers of Temple Life, and ultimately is the section of the Torah that is often referred to as The Heart of the Torah, Torat Kohanim, i.e. that which was granted to Abraham from Shem – a revelation of the entire Torah. There are many facets of divine service that take place in the Temple that we had mentioned in the previous Parshiot, mostly pointing to a physical interest, i.e. that which is attractive to the eyes. This week presents an opportunity to take notice of that which is attractive to the ears, namely, that in a largely foreign Temple World, we faintly recognize the “Mincha” – even if it amounts to as much as grasping at straws, simply for the fact that it is in modern vernacular, if not for any other purpose.

Often times in Torah we find words that we recognize when out of context. For example “Kabbalat Shabbat” [service] is sung in Shul to welcome the Shabbos Queen, and the obvious association from the uninitiated will conclude that he is about to enter a mystical state! In actuality, he is accepting the Shabbat, and straightforwardly enough, Kabbalah proper means to accept / receive. One must not however abandon ship when it becomes revealed that the “almost mystical trip into Pardes” was nothing more than another apparent let down on the spiritual front. As one grows in Torah and engages in a proactive pursuit of never losing hope [in these matters], Hashem will provide the necessary means to open one’s eyes to the hidden World that is so painfully revealed before him. The only difficulty is finding the process to develop these obvious revelations into a raging Light that you could have sworn was there, but to much dismay, society has denigrated the Holy into the mundane.

The Torah’s biggest secret perhaps, is that these words like “Kabbalat” [Shabbat], “Torat” [of the Offering], and in our Parsha “Mincah” [Offering] for example, really do merit the apparent Wisdom that they inherently express. The secret is not contained in an external brilliance befitting a Prophet of the Lord, rather quite the opposite – in the childlike labor of “connecting the dots.”

The Ger as we will find out spans and parallels six thousand years of Jewish History, only his topography warrants a unique contour in relation to the Jewish Map. The Ger has a story to tell, and a picture to share; and perhaps it can begin with a question that the Ger would seek to ask: “Mincha (Offering) – is that anything like the Mincha [term] that [most] use in my Shul?” Many will quickly point out that, “No, for the Holy connection you crave is actually far more mundane” i.e. “Mincha” is just a coincidence. Yet to he who dares to connect the dots will be led to the trail of obscurity, only to become saturated within all of time, from the eyes of the Ger, and a perspective of the Temple from the vantage point of the Remnant of Noach. I suppose then all that is left is the proverbial question slightly modified: “Why do we pray Mincha [afternoon prayer] (in) a term that is enigmatically coined from a portion of the Temple Service that seems diametrically opposed [to this highly spiritual nuance that my soul picks up from my disbelief of pure coincidence]? Let’s connect the dots, and look at time, as it was never seen before, except through the heart of the Ger.

Adam was the First Man and was placed in the Garden of Eden by God. That Man sinned, and his progeny would ultimately become Gerim, of which some [Gerim] would become go on to stand at Sinai to receive Divine Instruction, i.e. Torah. This Torah would be “The Story” for all of Mankind, all Gerim past, present, and future, telling about the Creation of Israel and their journey to their Land, while constantly being expressed with undertones of a Divine Plan that would miraculously rectify Adam’s sin; a joint effort by the Children of Israel and the Gerim.

The point of the story that shows the source of schism, takes place between two righteous Men – Abraham and Shem [son of Noach]. Shem was the one who lived in a Torah World, a lone agent, while his family engaged in the World as if it were idolatrous, i.e. not a Jew-ish place. Abraham would then become a breath of fresh air to Shem, as he accepted the Torah, and would go on to illuminate in the World as the World’s first Toshav: A Ger has arrived, and divine schism was now operative.

A very special function took place between Abraham and Shem, in that Abraham became familiar with the Temple Mount, and he would go on to pray to Hashem there, namely in the morning; a tradition was established, not only in prayer, but as this was the future location of the Holy Temple, the Temple Service found its foundation as well.

This prayer exercise was not a one off in Jewish / Ger history, for Isaac and Jacob would each go on to pray there afternoon and evening respectively, and the place would become identified as such until the descent into Egypt. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would go down in history as recorded in the Talmud as having developed prayer [on Temple Mount location] that encompasses morning, afternoon, and evening. Yet the Talmud questions, was prayer really developed by these Men, or was it simply because the Service of the Temple incorporated a similar morning, afternoon, and evening service, and thus the prayer times were simply taken from there. The Talmud answers in secretive terms – both! For the Avot prayed and effectively founded the Temple at the same time, thus it becomes a question of the chicken and the egg, and in this case, the Temple and Prayer were instituted by the Avot, the World’s first Gerim.

It is well established that the three prayer times have become entitled “Shacharit” – a reference to morning [literally], “Mincha” – simply named after the Offering of the Temple that took place at the most convenient times for prayer, and “Maariv”  - the evening prayer, another function in the Temple. Thus we find that Mincha is named after the Temple service directly, and Talmud supports this claim that it is called Mincha as a reminder of Elijah who was answered by God with his personal Mincha.

Thus now we have precedent of Prayer, Temple, and Gerim all coming together, and all stemming from Shem. It is at this point of the story that the dots go viral, and six thousand years come into focus, from the viewpoint of the Ger. Behold.

As we know, the story began with Shem and Abraham, but Shem was perhaps the most intimate with Jacob, for it was Jacob who sat for an extended time in the Tents of Shem, i.e. Houses of Study and Prayer. Fast forward to the episode of Billam [Bamidbar 24:22-3; take notice of the Kenites / Jethro associations from hints and context] and his famous Blessing to Israel that is recited in Shul’s every day by the Jewish People, “ How Goodly are your tents o’ Jacob!” Bilaam has acknowledged that the salvation for Israel in the End of Days [as these were blessings for the End of Days] will be their houses of study and prayer that were created by Shem, and as the Midrash will go on to suggest – were defined and conceived by the Gerim, much like how the entire story began by Shem [and Abraham].

The passage by Billam focuses on Jethro [as hinted at by the Kenites, a reference to Jethro by name and to his descendants the Rechabites, a noble family of Gerim in Gerim/Jewish history] and his merit as a Ger Tzedek upon the likes and similarities of Abraham; both being influenced by Shem and his Yeshiva, whereas Bilaam [who was an idolater] takes on the Terach component [of Abraham] thus making a uniform comparison, of which Shem molded the eventual Jewish People and the Jethro – Rechabites “People’s” [All types of Gerim, converts, etc. coming from Shem].

Jethro is promised [in his merit] to behold offspring who will not only outfit the Holy Temple as scribes and scholars, but that they shall eternally cling to the houses of study and prayer, to the extent that these shall be places of refuge and stronghold, to endure future exile, held in common with the Jewish People. It is clear that as expressions of Gerim [prayer and study halls], there was a craftsmanship employed to mold the halls after the likes of the Temple, as the Gerim took part of what was called “Dat Yisrael” – the [engaging] belief of the Torah of Israel. Thus they focused on the study and prayer halls to serve Hashem in this way, and would fortify themselves in a clear service of God while working closely with the prophets and servants of the Temple. Each Ger was his own minister to the concept of, “Hashem is my Rock and my Metzuda” (peak); to this light Aravnah the Ger Tzedek who sold the Temple Mount to David was called “Minister of Metzuda Zion,” showing the positioning of Gerim in the days of entering the Land from the desert.

The Gerim would serve God in this way [of halls and the Temple; offering their expertise and craft, remnants of Shem] until Exile would finally strike the Land, sending the Ten Tribes out to wander, and Hashem Himself would send of his beloved Gerim to the mysterious Mountains of Darkness, where they would ultimately rendezvous with the ten Lost Tribes, just before a prophetic return to the Land in the End of Days; a fulfillment of Balaam’s Blessing. As the wicked Sancheriv scattered Nations to be lost forever [at least as a cohesive unit, i.e. Amalek] the Gerim would know not of such fate, for they were emboldened by their sacred halls and tradition of service [down to the individual and his heart towards Hashem], and rather than being scattered, were moved from place to place [even if they were not aware of the big picture] on account of the Nations’ hated for Israel [which the Gerim apparently clung onto] until having been deemed acceptable by Hashem for redemption [along with the Ten Tribes].

There is an ancient saying, that in the Time of the End, all of the halls of study and prayer will arrive to the Holy Land, along with the building of the Temple. As the simple meaning cannot be that simple in this context, one can’t help but wonder – is this a reference to the Ger? It is uncanny that the halls of the Jewish People today have a structure, one that was premised on a specific and certain intent. Based on The Midrash explanations, the image of the Temple [that they are obviously in] can be easily recognized in today’s religious strata, as a remnant of the Temple from the viewpoint of the Ger - he who sat in observance in those days, as he does today, serving the Lord with Derech Eretz, and in cooperation with the Jewish People.

We sit today towards the end of six thousand years of Jewish/Ger history that dates back to the days of Shem [and Abraham]. The Ger saw Shem, and gazed backwards into the Garden with Adam [as a rectification, the mission of Israel & Torah], took part in the creation of prayer and laying the Temple’s foundations, they paved a path alongside Israel in their halls [fashioned as the Temple in wisdom] while adjoined with the prophets as eternal scribes, all while setting the tone of the Jewish Exile [being now well equipped with halls and creative wisdom] and riding the spiritual inertia that would reduce NASA to drool amidst the precision of God and his handiwork, as his plan drifted into exile.

All of time can be told from the lens of the Ger, and just as the story was created then, our light at the end of this tunnel is poetically similar to when the Jews and Gerim were launched into a foreign orbit. In 1948 [Abraham’s birthday – a similar parallelism to Mincha?] the Israeli State was created out of thin air, and there were suddenly mass Aliyah to the Land. At that time and onwards to 1967 and beyond, how many Righteous Gentiles would awaken to realize that their hearts would bleed Ger and Toshav. The Temple is due to come from God in some way shape or form, and the halls are slated to return. The End is a success in the merit of Torah study and Prayer, and we are to always visualize Zion as rebuilt in our days.

 Six Thousand years will have gone by in Creation, and all that Hashem holds dear to him, as a tool to connect to him, was personally crafted by His Gerim. The process of return has begun, and soon we will have the Temple, halls, and Jews and Gerim [Toshavim] existing in real time as the blueprint of the Ger would suggest.

To look into the Ger, is to literally see Jewish History told, much like Mercury is the Scribe to the Sun’s journey’s [Talmud Shabbos], both making truly remarkable tales within relativity! To solve ancient riddles to the entire proverbial Why’s” – is to simply remember the Ger, and always never forget, for through his eyes, all of time was captured. Let not the word “Ger” be another unrecognized term in the Torah, for all too often we glance over the Torah’s secrets, as the deepest wells of inspiration are passed off as coincidental anomaly , as is often the case in our Parsha with “Mincha.”

If Mincha can tell a portion of its History with the Ger, producing a viable six thousand year saga of exile and redemption, a working understanding of the Torah no less, imagine then what the rest of Creation has to say about its affiliation with the Ger; for as Parashas Vayikra has already made clear through its allusion - a word to the wise…give ear to the Ger, and connect the dots already! But as Shem and Abraham would have it, before getting wrapped up in the Ger, don’t forget to pray Mincha.

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