Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And Avraham Sent His Children East

Galus China coming under way [the concept of a galus being eternally prepared, such that it never actually happens, thus they galus themselves by their preparation] with the Erev Rav securing the depths of Tumah. Are the Erev Rav who are fueled by the Amalekite Erev Katan ready to erect their false Zion?

Middle East Forum:

Since their establishment in January 1992, Israeli-Indian relations have improved dramatically. Israel has emerged as a major Indian trading partner in the Middle East with bilateral trade rising from a meager US$100 million to over $6.6 billion.[1] Cooperation in the military-security arena has similarly grown,[2] and there are widespread popular exchanges between the people of the two countries. The Israeli ambassador is the most sought after diplomat in New Delhi after his U.S. counterpart, and Indo-Israeli ties seem extraordinarily robust. Yet failure to acknowledge the limitations of this relationship would be costly.

Delinking the Peace Process

On January 21, 2008, India launched a closely-guarded Israeli-built radar spy satellite to begin gathering valuable intelligence data. According to Israeli reports, the satellite would "dramatically increase Israel's intelligence-gathering capabilities regarding ... [Iran's] nuclear program, since the satellite can transmit images in all weather conditions, a capability that Israel's existing satellites lacked." India's Israel policy falls into three broad phases. Beginning in the early 1920s, the nationalist leadership adopted a pro-Arab position, which largely continued until January 1992. Its recognition of the Jewish state in September 1950 did not materially alter this stand. The adoption of a pro-Arab stand was seen as critical for its interests in the Middle East and was pursued through a pro-Palestinian foreign policy. While it did not identify with the Arab extremism of that period, recognition without relations was the hallmark of Indian policy until January 1992.

The end of the Cold War and the transformation of the global order brought an end to this zero-sum approach as New Delhi concluded that, in order to make a difference in this new era, it was both possible and necessary to maintain normal relations with the Israelis and the Palestinians, who seemed to be moving toward a historic reconciliation. Shortly after the decision to normalize relations with Israel was announced on January 29, 1992, the two countries opened diplomatic missions and paved the way for increased political, economic, cultural, and security cooperation.

After the Congress party returned to power in 2004, bilateral relations moved to a third and more complex phase. In a radical departure from its pre-1992 position, New Delhi began to delink bilateral relations from the vagaries of the peace process. While disagreements with Israel over the peace process had earlier prevented full normalization of relations, New Delhi quietly began to pursue the peace process as if there were no bilateral relations with Israel and to pursue bilateral relations as if there were no differences with Israel over the peace process. This move was not only inevitable but has also been critical for the consolidation of the bilateral relations.

However, New Delhi continues to maintain some of its core pre-1992 positions vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Most importantly, it continues to support the pursuit of Palestinian political rights that will result in the formation of a sovereign and independent state coexisting with Israel. Ever since its decision to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the "sole and legitimate" representative of the Palestinians, political ties and interactions have improved and strengthened between the two parties with the PLO mission in New Delhi granted embassy status in early 1980. At that time, the Israeli representation was still confined to a consulate in Mumbai, which was often described as India's diplomatic Siberia. In November 1988, India was among the first countries to recognize the "state of Palestine," proclaimed by the PLO in Algiers, and began receiving PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, as heads of state. In the wake of the Oslo agreement, in 1993, India opened a separate mission in the Gaza Strip. As has been the practice in the West, the Gaza mission reported directly to the Foreign Office in New Delhi and not to the Indian embassy in Tel Aviv. When the situation in Gaza became more difficult, the mission was moved to Ramallah in the West Bank in 2004.

New Delhi's staunch support for the Palestinian political position was vividly illustrated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who spoke to the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) on September 24, 2011, a day after Abbas applied for Palestinian U.N. membership. Singh described the continuing non-resolution of the Palestinian question as "a source of great instability and violence" in the Middle East, reiterating New Delhi's "steadfast" support for "the Palestinian people's struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secured and recognizable borders side by side and at peace with Israel."[3] A year later, on November 29, 2012, India was among the countries that sponsored the UNGA resolution granting nonmember observer state status to the Palestinians.

On all the major issues concerning the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, such as settlements, borders, refugees, or the security fence, normalization has not resulted in a dilution or shift in New Delhi's positions, sometimes stated explicitly but more often conveyed through its voting pattern in the U.N. Indeed, with only two exceptions—the 1991 U.N. vote repealing the 1975 "Zionism equals racism" resolution and the Durban conference of 2001—there has been no marked difference in India's voting pattern on the peace process since 1992.

The Jerusalem Question

The most striking aspect of New Delhi's recent position toward the Middle East has been the unprecedented focus on Jerusalem. Its support for an independent Palestinian state in the past had been expressed without any explicit reference to Jerusalem. In January 2005, upon his election as Palestinian Authority president, Abbas sent a letter to India's junior foreign minister Ahamed that made explicit reference to East Jerusalem. Conveying his gratitude for New Delhi's congratulatory message, Abbas expressed hope that "with the help of India and other friends," the people of Palestine would be able to "practice and restore their inalienable national rights and establish their independent state with holy East Jerusalem of 4/6/1967 borders as its capital."[4] This did not influence New Delhi's position. For example, in a statement following Hamas's electoral victory in January 2006 and welcoming "the holding of free and fair elections," the Ministry of External Affairs observed that the elections "have strengthened the democratic process in Palestine." It hoped that the new government "representing the will of the Palestinian people" would continue to pursue the peace negotiations, "leading to the establishment of a viable, united, and sovereign State of Palestine living in peaceful coexistence with the State of Israel."[5] There was no reference to Jerusalem.

According to WikiLeaks cables, the issue cropped up in August 2008 when Rajiv Sikri, secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs and the third senior-most diplomat in the ministry, visited Israel as part of the routine bilateral exchanges between the two foreign offices. According to one Israeli diplomat serving in New Delhi at that time, Sikri appeared "more often to be the representative of the Palestinians, rather than India." The cable further added:

The Israelis went all out for this visit, supplementing the formal Foreign Office talks (led by Deputy Director-General for Asia and Pacific Amos Nadai) with a call on Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. [Israeli deputy chief of mission Yoed] Magen reported that Indian ambassador to Tel Aviv, Arun K. Singh, seemed shocked by Sikri's unreformed positions on issues like disengagement, adding that the Indian delegation appeared completely unmoved by changes sparked by Arafat's death, the Gaza withdrawal, and strengthened India-Israel ties. "It was like nothing had changed," the Israeli DCM concluded.

According to the Israeli diplomat, "Because Sikri insisted that the draft joint statement should be datelined Tel Aviv (vice Jerusalem), the Israelis refused to issue any document."[6]

The insistence on a Tel Aviv dateline was a reversal of the Indian position since 1992. This issue first cropped up during the visit of Arjun Singh, a senior minister in P.V. Narasimha Rao's government, to Israel in June 1994. The occasion was the signing of the first bilateral agreement that envisioned periodic consultations. While the Israeli government wanted the capitals to be identified as the alternate venues, India was not prepared to explicitly recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. At the same time, identifying Tel Aviv was equally problematic and would have caused tension and unpleasantness. An innovative compromise was reached by agreeing that meetings would be held alternatively in India and Israel.

But the issue of East Jerusalem has remained problematic since the first public reference to the city in July 2009 by Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee. He reiterated the position during a visit to India by Mahmoud Abbas, referring to a "state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital."[7] Since then, references to East Jerusalem have become a regular feature in many of New Delhi's statements and declarations on the Middle East.

Convergence but No Agreement on Iran

On the face of it, both countries are in sharp disagreement over the threat posed by Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Since normalization in 1992, Iran has figured prominently in Israel's interactions with India. In March 1993, Indian foreign secretary (permanent under-secretary) J.N. Dixit visited Israel for the preparatory work relating to the forthcoming visit of Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres. The Israeli media was eager to learn more about New Delhi's possible nuclear cooperation with Tehran.[8] Nearly two decades later, Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna faced similar questions on Iran and its nuclear program.[9] During the visit of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to India in September 2003, the Israelis added another concern—technology leaks. Fearing that sensitive military technology supplied to India could be re-exported or leaked to Tehran,[10] the Israelis sought and obtained guarantees against such possibilities. In the words of one Israeli official accompanying Sharon, "We got answers to the questions raised, and we are satisfied with the answers."[11]

In recent years, Tehran and its nonconventional weapons ambitions have emerged as the principle security concern for Israel and have dominated its foreign and security policies. New Delhi, by contrast, appears indifferent toward these developments. Interestingly, if its Defense Ministry rarely discusses Tehran's nonconventional program, the general tendency of the Indian intelligentsia is to view this program as a corollary of the perceived threat posed by Israel to the Islamic Republic. That New Delhi's sensitive strategic assets on its western coast are within striking distance of Iranian missiles is rarely discussed in public.

Even on a direct bilateral level, New Delhi has maintained a studied silence over many anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic remarks by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In October 2005, responding to one of his statements that Israel should be "wiped off the map," an official Indian spokesperson merely reminded reporters that India had recognized Israel "decades ago" and had diplomatic relations with it.[12] While Israelis see Iran as the epicenter of international terrorism, Indians view the Islamic Republic as a partner in fighting terrorism, especially in Afghanistan. India and Israel, thus, are not on the same page over Iran. But there remains a series of subtexts that reflect a more complicated picture.

First and foremost, Tehran has not made Israel an issue in its bilateral relations with New Delhi. Meaningful improvements in Indo-Iranian ties happened around the same time as normalization and consolidation of Indo-Israeli relations. Except for an initial protest at the time of the 1992 decision, Tehran has remained indifferent to New Delhi's burgeoning relations with the Jewish state. While Pakistan and, at times, Egypt have made noises over the military dimension of Indo-Israel relations, Iran has remained seemingly indifferent and passive, apparently content with the growth and intensity of its own relations with India.

Second, in the wake of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's visit to Tehran in April 2001, there were agreements and expectations over increased military cooperation between the two states. Over time and under pressure from Washington, New Delhi appears to have backtracked on some of its earlier initiatives. As one analysis put it: "Following the 2005 nuclear deal between New Delhi and Washington, Israeli concerns over the relationship between India and Iran began to dissipate. U.S. pressure on India to end all military relations with Iran appeared to have been a condition for the nuclear deal."[13]

Also, under U.S. pressure, New Delhi has substantially reduced its export of oil products to Tehran. Despite its large hydrocarbon reserves, due to sanctions and atrophy of the domestic oil industry, Tehran relies heavily on imports to meet its growing demand for oil products. India has been one of its principal suppliers. Oil products have constituted a sizable portion of India's total exports to Iran, and between 2005 and 2009, they accounted for over a third of New Delhi's total exports to Tehran, reaching a peak in 2008-09 when India exported over a billion dollars worth of oil products to Iran; this dropped to just over $180 million during 2009-10 and has been declining since then.[14] On the more serious issue of Tehran's nuclear ambitions, New Delhi has sided with Washington. Despite some initial foot-dragging and uncertainties, since September 2005, it has firmly expressed disapproval of the Iranian pursuit of a nuclear program. In actions by both the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. Security Council, New Delhi joined the majority in opposing Tehran's nuclear ambitions. India's September 2005 vote at the IAEA was severely criticized within the country, especially by the communist parties, as surrender to U.S. hegemony.[15] India's carefully constructed neutrality evidently does not extend to the Iranian nuclear question.

The delicate balance with which New Delhi has been handling its relations with Iran and Israel came into sharp focus in 2003. In January of that year, Iranian president Mohammed Khatami was the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations, the highest honor bestowed on a visiting head of state. During Khatami's visit, both countries signed the Delhi declaration, which set the tone for cooperation in various fields, including energy. A few months later, in September, New Delhi rolled out a red carpet welcome for Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Both countries issued a Delhi statement, whereby they pledged to cooperate toward achieving peace in their respective regions. On both occasions, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the host and this evenhandedness remains the public face of a complex Indian balancing act.

On the substantive level, there are more Indo-Israeli convergences on Iran than meet the eye. New Delhi's connections with Tehran are due to its energy security concerns, which must not be misconstrued as support for or endorsement of Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Like Israel and many Arab countries, India is wary of a nuclear Iran. As Prime Minister Singh put it in an elliptical fashion, New Delhi's decisions at the IAEA over Tehran were influenced by "our security concerns arising from proliferation activities in our extended neighborhood."[16]

Delinking the Indian Foreign Office

There have been a number of high-level visits between India and Israel during the past two decades. Notable among these have been the visit of President Ezer Weizmann in December 1995-January 1996 and Prime Minister Sharon in September 2003, but no reciprocal visits from India have taken place. Nor have there been visits by the defense ministers of the two states, and reciprocal visits have primarily happened at the level of foreign ministers. Silvan Shalom was in India in February 2004, and Shimon Peres has been a frequent flyer, visiting India four times (May 1993, August 2000, January 2001 and January 2002). Two of these visits took place when he was minister for regional cooperation under Ehud Barak. From India, Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh visited Israel in July 2000 and S. M. Krishna in January 2012, as did Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister L. K. Advani in June 2000. There have also been visits by numerous other ministers, officials, and other functionaries.

The picture remains uneven. While there have been periodic foreign ministry level contacts, ministerial visits, especially from India, have been few and far between with principal functionaries refraining from visiting Israel. On several occasions, planned visits by defense ministers have not materialized because of the rapidly-changing political landscape in the Middle East. Even those Indian leaders who visited Israel in the past could not do so as ministers. Official contacts at the senior level have been kept to the barest minimum.

It was the Congress Party, under Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao that normalized relations; yet, the present Manmohan Singh-led Indian government has been rather coy toward Israel. Though a number of junior ministers have visited Israel, senior leaders have carefully skipped the country. They have, however, been willing to travel to Israel's Arab and Iranian neighbors.

Since 1992, for example, there were three state visits between India and Syria: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and President Pratibha Patil visited Damascus in 2003 and 2010 respectively while Bashar al-Assad visited New Delhi in June 2008. Similarly, since 1991, there have been six state visits between New Delhi and Tehran, including a brief stopover by President Ahmadinejad in April 2008.

This political pattern of limited direct contacts at the highest echelons with Israel was maintained by senior officials of the government. Since 2004, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has had three national security advisers: J. N. Dixit, M. K. Narayanan and Shivshankar Menon. While Dixit announced the normalization of relations in January 1992, Menon served as India's ambassador to Israel in the mid-1990s. Yet none of them visited Israel. This partly explains the considerable media attention to Foreign Minister Krishna's arrival in January 2012, which was in fact promoted within India as a regional visit that included the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

High level political contacts are important for their visibility, direction, and significance. Ironically, these appear neither important nor a precondition for Indo-Israeli relations. Two factors have contributed to this autopilot like mode of the bilateral relationship. To begin with, the decentralized nature of the Indian federal structure has immensely benefitted Israel. The introduction of economic liberalization in the 1990s gave the provincial states of the Indian Union greater autonomy to pursue their individual economic agendas. Enjoying new openness and opportunities provided by economic liberalization, state governments began engaging with foreign countries to promote their economic rather than political interests.

For both Congress and opposition-ruled states, Israel has become a favorite destination. Unlike the Union government in New Delhi, the states have been unconcerned with the vagaries of the Arab-Israeli peace process since, as specified in the Indian constitution, foreign policy is beyond the jurisdiction of the states. They pursue their economic agenda, especially agriculture, water management, power generation, and farming without any overt political motives, designs, or controversies. Their agendas are focused on their states' welfare and have thus largely remained noncontroversial. Without attracting undue attention or negative publicity, various state chief ministers and their officials have visited the Jewish state and sought economic cooperation and investments. Even the communist parties, which have been critical of India's policy toward Israel, have not hesitated to seek economic opportunities through cooperation with Israel for states under their rule.[17]

These interactions at the state level have brought three tangible benefits to the bilateral relationship:

They have significantly broadened its horizons and brought tangible benefits to millions of Indians who are not even remotely concerned with foreign policy. Not many countries, including prominent Western countries, have achieved the reach that Israel has managed in two decades. They provide a strong economic content to the bilateral relations, which is at the national level skewed in favor of the military-security component and make state ties stable, viable, and mutually beneficial. Interactions with state governments offer Israel a critical alternate channel, especially when the attitude of the Union government is dominated by the international political climate, and of late, coalition compulsions. In contrast, India's Foreign Ministry has to balance bilateral cooperation with concerns and conflicting pressures from other countries of the Middle East. Support for the Palestinians still enjoys a considerable constituency in the country. Hence, the ministry's ability to take initiatives is significantly hampered, bogged down as it often is over issues such as Jerusalem, settlements, statehood, or recurring cycles of violence. It is even possible to suggest that when it comes to Israel, the Ministry of External Affairs is not the principal player on the Indian side. The task of pursuing relations has been taken over by less political and more specialized ministries of the Indian government. Most prominent among them are the ministries of defense, agriculture and, of late, infrastructure. Professional and pragmatic in their approach, they are indifferent toward the vagaries of the peace process but are concerned with tangible benefits and are in the forefront of promoting bilateral relations with Israel. The absence of top-level ministerial visits, for example, has not prevented the chiefs of Indian and Israeli security establishments from periodically visiting and interacting with one another. The same holds true for the ministry of agriculture and its current head Sharad Pawar.[18] Thus, while the Foreign Office makes politically correct noises, other departments of the government have been adopting professional and nonpolitical approaches toward Israel.

The marginal role of the Foreign Office will not change until New Delhi becomes a stakeholder in the Middle East peace process. While supporting a two-state solution, negotiated by the concerned parties, India is not an active player. It was present at the Annapolis conference in November 2007 and has been providing aid and assistance to the Palestinian Authority. But it has yet to assume any meaningful role, especially one that reflects its growing economic power and influence, in promoting the peace process. For instance, economic investment in resource-starved Jordan would considerably reduce some of the ongoing tensions in the Hashemite kingdom and, in the process, reinforce the Jordanian-Israeli peace. Until such initiatives are undertaken, the Foreign Office will continue to have marginal influence in Indo-Israeli relations.

Are Muslims Moving beyond the Palestinian Question?

New Delhi's prolonged absence of relations with Israel has often been attributed to official concerns over possible backlash from its substantial Muslim minority population. Under the British, it had the largest Muslim population in the world and currently has the third largest Muslim community in the world (Indonesia and Pakistan being the other two). With over 120 million followers, no government in India could be indifferent to how Muslims view and perceive the Middle East, especially Israel. In the past, Indian leaders expressed their concerns to Israeli counterparts in private; but of late, there has been some open discussion of the views of the Muslim population and its perceived opposition to Israel.

India's pro-Palestinian position is due partly to the domestic Muslim factor. The junior foreign minister Ahamed, for example, has been more vocal in criticizing Israel than other members of the government. Ahamed represents the Indian Union Muslim League, a small regional party within the ruling UPA coalition in the state of Kerala. Partly because of the league's support base and partly due to his own convictions, his interactions have been confined to Arab and Islamic countries of the Middle East—in other words, every place except Israel. Since joining the government in 2004, he has visited the Palestinian territories three times but has consciously avoided meeting Israeli officials.[19] There is no information in the public domain to indicate that he has interacted with Israel in his official capacity as minister of state for external affairs. By not meeting Israeli officials and through his anti-Israeli statements, Ahamed has sought to pacify hardliners within his party.

At the same time, and contrary to conventional perception, one could note a perceptible shift in the attitude of the Indian Muslim community toward Israel. Middle East violence often generates strongly negative reactions from the Muslim community. Sometimes this leads to public protests organized by Muslim groups, as during Sharon's visit. But the community is not blindly and rabidly anti-Israeli. Younger Muslims are eager to understand and learn from Israel and to engage with their Israeli counterparts. One tangible shift is the steady increase in the number of Muslim students who wish to study in Israel and even apply for scholarships offered by the Israeli government.[20] Not that they have turned into Zionists, but unlike their parents and grandparents, younger Muslims appear willing to pursue a dialogue with the Jewish state despite the differences. This is a far cry from the Three Nos enunciated by the Arab League in Khartoum in September 1967: No recognition, no negotiation, and no peace with Israel.

Friendship, Not Alliance

Military cooperation has assumed greater salience in bilateral Indian-Israel relations. Most notable is that Israel has become India's second largest arms exporter after Russia. Considering that Israel does not export platforms such as tanks, aircraft, and ships, this is no mean achievement.[21] Growing military cooperation extends beyond arms sales to technology upgrades, joint research, and intelligence cooperation. Despite its possible implications for use against Iran, on January 21, 2008, India launched a 300-kilogram Israeli satellite into orbit. According to Israeli media reports, the satellite "will dramatically increase Israel's intelligence-gathering capabilities regarding the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, since the satellite can transmit images in all weather conditions, a capability that Israel's existing satellites lacked."[22] As manifested by the sale of the Phalcon advanced airborne early warning system (AWACS), this budding military cooperation between the two countries enjoys the understanding and support of Washington.[23]

At the same time, military ties are not without their share of problems, and unless attended to early, they could give way to a major crisis. Some of the defense deals are tainted with allegations of corruption and the payment of bribes. Though these are primarily Indian problems, Israel cannot be absolved of all responsibility—some of the prominent names among the Israeli defense industries are already blacklisted from competing for defense contracts in India. Though similar charges have been leveled against other countries, Israel is more vulnerable because of India's historic baggage and prolonged non-relations.

Second, excessive focus on military cooperation could lead to a "securitization" of the bilateral relations and bring along uncertainties due to political pressures or changes. Israel-Turkey relations, for instance, were heavily characterized by cooperation in the military arena. But the arrival of the Justice and Development Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan not only changed the political climate but has reduced the military component as well. New Delhi should be wary of similar developments. Third, Israel is also facing stiff competition from other countries, most notably France. Since it does not export platforms, it has to coordinate and synchronize its technological expertise with others emerging as major players in India's defense market.

More importantly, both countries have carefully avoided depicting their relations as an alliance, something Washington failed to do in its relations with India. Partly because of the difficulties with which relations were established in 1992, and partly due to their reading of the bilateral convergence and differences, both countries describe themselves as friends of one another. This mature handling of its ties with Israel is also manifested in the manner in which New Delhi has sought closer ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran since the early 1990s. Its problems with Tehran have more to do with India's burgeoning ties with the United States than its friendship with Israel.


The normalization of relations has not transformed India into an ally of Israel. Nor has it caused it to abandon its erstwhile positions vis-à-vis the Palestinians. But by gradually delinking the unending saga of the peace process from bilateral relations, New Delhi is moving toward a more mature understanding and closer friendship with Israel. Recognition by both countries of the limitations and potentials of the relations has enabled them to avoid pitfalls of grandiose visions. Israel is no longer India's suitor; nor is it an ally. But both are emerging as a mature, dependable, and accommodating couple.

Islam's Kiss of Death In The Making

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Fire of the Ger - Lag B' Omer Special In Tzfat

Click Here For Download/Link To Parashas Emor - Rabbi David Katz

Click Here For Article!

[it is recommended to cover both forms of material for best comprehension]
  • Beis Hamikdash Shlishi - Ezekial
  • Zar - Members of Israel
  • Priests and High Priests
  • Truth Conversion
  • Parasha in Zohar and Haftorah Highlights
  • Shem, Tamar until David and Solomon
  • The Light of Messiah
  • and more
Don't Forget Class Times:

Motzie Shabbat 10 P.M. - Parasha Shavua
Wed 11 P.M. - Ger / Noahides in Torah

*3rd Class Coming Soon! [now accepting donations of energy boosts to give class!]
- I plan on launching a 3rd new class series once the summer kicks in and I can feasibly commit to it and my schedule eases up, hence the comment above. Stay Tuned in all seriousness, as I am shooting for Prime Time Sunday Night U.S. The class will cover Noahide Shabbat based on Oral Torah sources and Tradition, along with a return to the popular Torah of Shem series.

Click Here To Access/Register For The Yeshiva

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gerim and The House of Prayer At Sinai

 Parashas Emor
 Sechel Is a Ger In This World
 Rabbi David Katz

Parashas Emor is literally ground breaking in the realm of exciting and even Messianic Torah that highlights the richest flavor of the World of Gerim. Inside we find many enlightening topics such as the heavily prophesied Third Temple, nature of conversion, giving gifts to the Ger, and much much more. To choose one topic over another would literally be highway robbery as each of these topics rightly deserve ample airtime; with that said the scope of this article will break protocol and classic form, in attempt to illuminate in a terse style the essence of each fascinating topic relating to the World of Gerim. The goal in mind is that this should satisfactorily outline each revelation, and provide a proper foundation that can be expounded upon in the audio accompaniment that is issued with each written article employing the subject of Gerim / Noahides in Torah.

The first highlight in the Parsha that really resonates with essential Ger Torah is the law that the Torah enforces concerning the daughter of the priest who endures illicit behavior. The Torah recognizes her behavior as falling under extreme punishment and as such she is to be burned alive at the stake. What would certainly seem as extreme in nature the Torah has divine logic in carrying out punishment in such matters; interestingly enough in all of the inherent intensity of this command is buried in the heart of the Ger.

The Torah’s first and quintessential Priest was one who can be seen as a father of sorts of the Gerim, and this is none other than Shem the son of Noah, also known as Malki Tzedek, he who was a priest to God above.  Shem had five sons, including a firstborn son and there is not to leave out his daughter Tamar, who would embody the concept of the “Daughter of the Priest.”

Shem’s son would go on to bring out this illustrious lineage [of priestly and kingly nature] through such nobleman as Ever [of whom he would engage his Yeshiva with] and even onwards towards Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sons [i.e. Judah for example, one of the Twelve Tribes].

Running parallel to this framework was Tamar his daughter who married two [and was promised a third] sons of Judah, who both died in perversion of wasting their seed so as to avoid placing pregnancy upon Tamar and her deep beauty. Before Judah’s third son could be given privilege of Tamar through Levirate Marriage, Tamar took matters into her own hands and seduced Judah, the Tribe’s patron, through perceived harlotry. Judah succumbed to Tamar’s plot, she conceived, Judah was unaware of their actions from lack of intent, and suddenly his daughter in law was being found of harlotry – punishable by burning at the cross, for her father was Shem.

The story does have a happy  ending however, as Judah repented due to Tamar’s scheme at seeking repair to the fruit of her womb, and they bore together twins who would resurrect the souls of their dead brothers who came before them. “Zerech and Peretz” would go on to find the Messianic Kingdom, and Shem’s mission [as a priest that produced the incentive of Tamar] was a success of imparting the Priesthood into the new creation of Israel. Tamar was able to achieve all that she set out to do, and she is ironically identified by her association with Emor’s intense statute of the illicit daughter of the priest who is burned from corruption. However that’s where the stories differ; Tamar was perfectly righteous and in accordance with her father who happened to father Gerim, as opposed to Emor’s daughter of the priest who in under a wicked influence.

The next three topics revolving around the Ger are in relation to the Holy Temple, found on the site that was originally designated as the Place of God by Shem who was a Priest to God Above, Zion. The three specific Ger categories are: the Zar [stranger; slightly different in connotation from Ger, as in Avodah ZAR-ah], the Temple Offerings by the non-Jew, and the Temple of Messiah – Ezekial’s Temple that is destined to come to Earth built and from the Hands of Heaven.

In Israel there are three main distinctions that classify the Israelite Nation: Priest, Levite, and Israelite. The Hebrew letter shin that carries three “heads” portrayed by the letter “vav” – three times joined by a point depicted by the letter “yud” demonstrates a viable map of Israel under these terms. However unique to the letter Shin as the mysterious four-headed shin that symbolizes the Gerim who join with Israel. In Temple terms anyone who is not a Priest, ironically is called “zar” – strange or foreign.

The novelty of this item is that under these terms even a Levite [and all the more so every non-priest] is called a stranger/foreigner in regards to the Temple. Often in Torah law, text will come to permit a zar to perform priestly tasks when the occasion calls for such intervention. Our Parsha, Emor is one of the locations where a Zar is called to duty in the performance of particular offerings. Yet Emor even goes a step further in relation to various other verses, and that there are even times when  the non-Jew [associated with idolater] is allowed to offer to Hashem in the Temple, to which the commentaries realize, “then even all the more so a Ger!” Thus future potential Gerim and the Gerim themselves have a function in the Temple, and embody the makeup of the powerful illumination that graces a Man’s head tefilin, the counterpart to the regular Shin [that stands for God’s Name] , the mystical four-headed Shin that alludes to future status’ of Gerim amongst Israel.

The Temple of which is spoken here has been any of the previous forms of worship of Hashem, while there is yet another unknown level of revelation – God’s Third and final temple.

The Parsha speaks about the holiday season from Passover to Shavuot symbolized by the waiving ceremony of barley [the Omer] in the Temple, followed by a Meal Offering that ushers in Shavuot proper. However the Talmud takes issue with this concept in the midst of the current exile [of which we are devoid of the Temple and God’s Presence], and explains the ceremony under the rabbinic code of which there is no Temple. This begs the obvious question amongst the Rabbis as to what is the nature of the law change when the Holy Temple will be built by the sons of Shem on Zion. The Talmud explained by Rashi offers a brilliant answer, one that stands eternal until the moment we receive revelation of the End.

Rashi says the Third Temple, Ezekiel’s Temple is prophesied to descend from the Hands of Heaven at the time Passover’s first night of Yom Tov exits into Chol Moed [intermediary days of service]. This Temple is built by God Above, and descends completely built and functional, miraculously, and is sacred beyond destruction. Once this condition comes to be, it is called a House of Prayer, one of which the Gerim will be present in standing as One with Israel as prophesied by Isaiah, in the sanctification of God having created the World under the account of Shabbos lore. This Third Temple [that is built in the image below by the hands of Messiah and Shem as the Righteous Priest] represents the repair of schism between Gerim and Jews and is the unity expressed in the World before God forever.

The final revelation of the Ger in the Parsha worth noting is that of the blasphemer who is born of a Jewish Mother and an Egyptian father and the nature of his status in Israel in regards to the nature of his sin in relation to Noahide Laws of divine rebellion.

The Torah gives account a youth born of a Jewish mother and an Egyptian father, [the one that Moses killed] who went out speaking ill of the Divine. After the Torah delves into the matter briefly, Hashem declares the boy worthy of death penalty for blaspheme, a din that carries weight for the entire World. The Talmud Sanhedrin takes up this matter [amidst the Noahide Laws] and renders that for all intents and purposes the Ger and Jew share the same severity for blaspheme, and the death penalty in evoked. The law in uniquely rendered by the Torah verse that seems to suggest both the Ger and Jewish points of view should be taken into account, and the Ramban explains exactly why.

Rashi goes on record as saying that this youth “converted” which seems superfluous being that his mother is Jewish while only his father is foreign, thus no need to convert. The Ramban then takes liberty in showing the nature of conversion in the negative – as per Sinai.
At Sinai all Jews underwent proper conversion, as Sinai was the biggest mass conversion in the history of the World, designed by God since the days of Abraham and Shem had conspired to achieve the Sinai Revelation upon their fateful meeting at Zion. Thus the youth converted as everyone else, but the revelation is that he chose to go after his mother and forsook his father, clinging to his mother and is a standard Jew by law and without any lesser quality of a Sinai experience.
The point to notice here is that Rashi says he converted, and therefore every usage of conversion is derived from “Ger”, leaving us to analyze if this was a Ger convert or Ger Gentile. Since we are shown that he actually converted in face of the idea that perhaps he was a Ger [which is aligned with the fact the law rendered from this applies particularly to the Gerim], we are now in position to see the difference between types of Ger process.

The Ger undergoes a shortened process than that of the convert, with the ramifications being that of the status is now either Jewish or non-Jewish. From this youth and the commentary it is illuminated that a convert is someone who literally binds his soul/nefesh withIN the Jewish People, whereas the Ger is bound with Israel, either as a one off [Ger Tzedek Vadai] or as a gradual entrance to Israel [Ger Tzedek] as opposed to the convert [Ger Gamur].

The Torah shows the Ger how he is able to tangle his soul in realistic terms with greater or lesser intensity in a realistic fashion that decides the fate of the person for the remainder of his years and eternal spiritual implications. Neither can go back to idolatry as it once was, yet one is an entirely new creation [and Jewish] as opposed to renewed [and a Ger]. The subject and frequency in the Torah of each mention of Ger outlines the new spiritual path for both, aided by the ways of the Ancient, i.e. Pre Sinai, and the tradition from Adam to Noah that was perfected and implemented into “Israel” [Abraham] by Shem [and Ever academies of learning].  

Thus we see Parashas Emor truly is the threshold before Sinai, as Parashas Behar will actually begin with the greetings from Sinai. The Mission of the Torah is clearly expressed in Emor through the lens of the Ger, one that depicts precedence within the Temple, permanent presence of all Gerim, and how the ultimate expression of Israel will appear before God, one that includes Jews and non-Jews, working in harmony under One common Torah in the World [which the Parsha calls “Mishpat Echad” - one law (where common)].

How ironic it is, that Sinai can be defined as the build-up of Gerim that composes reality, while today there should be greater focus on the portion of Torah that emphasizes “for you too were Gerim in a Land not of your own” [in face of the protection and Love of Gerim commands throughout the Torah]; how easily we have seemed to have forgotten, and sadly, it comes at the expense of Sinai. Yet Sinai forever shall stand as the Kindness Hashem endures for His creation(s), and what better kindness has Hashem been involved with [and invested in] since Sinai, than his preservation and love for the Gerim –who as the fourth head of the Shin, take a stand in aiding Hashem in delivering redemption.

Some might take the [redemptive] gifts of Emor for granted much like Sinai, [like the corners of the field that are preserved for the Gerim], but rest assured, the Ger sees Parashas Emor as not only his birthright, but as a destiny, and date with reality. In times where all other pulses have run dry, the Ger rages on like a return to Glory Jordan River, only this time, they will bring Moses in, even if by his payot [side curls] symbolic of Hashem’s abundant Kindness that clings to the Ger in Parashas Emor.

Don't Forget Audio Shiur - Parasha Motzie Shabbat  10 P.M.
                                           Wed 11 P.M. Torat Gerim / Noahide

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shem - A High Occupation of G''er

Click Here [download link] For Shem Up Close - Ger Series # 5

  • Shem - Malki Tzedek
  • Tree of Life and Shem
  • Sarah and Shem
  • Yeshiva of Shem and Ever
  • Genesis and Torah of Shem and Ever
  • Judah, David, Solomon - and Shem?
  • ...and much much more
Class Time: Wed 11 P.M. - Torah of Ger / Noahide
                    Sat 10 P.M. - Parasha Shavua [based on article]

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

The God of China Speaks!

China has conjured images of Niezche, proclaiming God is dead [i.e. religion is vain and false]. Will God lay the proverbial axe and declare China is dead? [while allowing Jews to continue to eat Chinese food?]


China is struggling to get its estimated 100 million religious believers to banish superstitious beliefs about things like sickness and death, the country's top religious affairs official told a state-run newspaper. Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, said there had been an explosion of religious belief in China along with the nation's economic boom, which he attributed to a desire for reassurance in an increasingly complex world.

While religion could be a force for good in officially atheist China, it was important to ensure people were not mislead, he told the Study Times, a newspaper published by the Central Party School which trains rising officials. "For a ruling party which follows Marxism, we need to help people establish a correct world view and to scientifically deal with birth, ageing, sickness and death, as well as fortune and misfortune, via popularizing scientific knowledge," he said, in rare public comments on the government's religious policy. "But we must realize that this is a long process and we need to be patient and work hard to achieve it," Wang added in the latest issue of the Study Times, which reached subscribers on Sunday. "Religion has been around for a very long time, and if we rush to try to push for results and want to immediately 'liberate' people from the influence of religion, then it will have the opposite effect and push people in the opposite direction."

About half of China's religious followers are Christians or Muslims, with the other half Buddhists or Daoists, he said, admitting the real total number of believers was probably much higher than the official estimate of 100 million.

Wang did not address specific issues, such as what happens after the exiled spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism the Dalai Lama dies, testy relations with the Vatican or controls on Muslims in the restive Xinjiang region in the west. Rights groups say that despite a constitutional guarantee of freedom of belief, the government exercises tight control, especially over Tibetans, Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and Christians, many of whom worship in underground churches.

"LURE FOR UNREST" Beijing also takes a hard line on what it calls "evil cults", like banned spiritual group Falun Gong, who it accuses of spreading dangerous superstition.

Still, while religion was savagely repressed during the chaos of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, the government has taken a much more relaxed approach since embarking on landmark economic reforms some three decades ago. The ruling Communist Party, which values stability above all else, has even tried to co-opt religion in recent years as a force for social harmony in a country where few believe in communism any more.

China had avoided the religious extremism which happened in some places with the collapse of the Soviet Union or the religious problems seen with immigrants in Europe and the United States, Wang added, something to be proud of. Still, China could not rest on its laurels.

"Religion basically upholds peace, reconciliation and harmony ... and can play its role in society," Wang said. "But due to various complex factors, religion can become a lure for unrest and antagonism. Looking at the state of religion in the world today, we must be very clear on this point." 

Live Long and Prosper

Kohanim & Torah: Expansion of Sechel

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Click Here For Article of Acharei - Kedoshim

[* Both forms of media are recommended for full comprehension!]

Don't Forget Class Times:

Sat 10 P.M. - Parsha Shavua
Wed 11 P.M. - Torah of the Ger / Noahide

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Back To School - Enrolling With Shem and Ever!

Parashas Acharei – Kedoshim
Like A Holy High Priest Amongst Us

Rabbi David Katz

In this week’s Parsha [Parshiot] there is an absolute wealth and abundance of what may be perhaps the richest Noahide/Ger Torah in existence. The concepts range from observance of Yom Kippur, the relationship between the Ger and meat consumption [A Ger is defined by a meat standard that is given to him as the basis of the bridge of charity between the Jew and the Ger. This quite literally opens the door to an entire culture of how the Ger would operate in his kitchen in processing food, as one of Torah’s main topics is understanding meat and its properties; meat is the subject of “Yoreh Deah” – the classic rabbinic ordination program. The fact that the Ger is joined in the prohibition of blood, which begs for his proper education is mind boggling as to the potential for wisdom into the domain of the Ger.], “a Ger who learns Torah is compared to the High priest, “Love your fellow man”, love the convert [who was a Ger, and is now a Ger Gamur (a finished Ger)], don’t taunt the Ger, etc. One can clearly see the implications at this juncture in the Torah, and the years to come will be exciting once we reach these sacred Parshiot in Torat – Kohanim; however for the duration of this current article, we will delve into the Ger who is compared to the High priest when engaged in learning Torah, and how this has direct implications into his daily life on a [intellectually] moral level, as he strives for holiness in his priestly service.

The Talmud Bava Kama [38] cites a famous discussion of the Ger derived from the verses in Vayikra 18: 4-5 in that a Ger [Nachri; someone coming out of idolatry who still straddles the fence in many regards, if not intentionally, then as a subject of duress due to lack of specific knowledge] who is occupied with Torah is compared to the High Priest, as the term “Adam” [Man”] is referenced in Hashem’s adjuring “Adam” to keep his ways, i.e. through Torah and its learning. Under the heading of “Adam,” the Talmud explains that any range of people, spanning from the Nachri to the High Priest share in the nomenclature “Adam” and are all appropriately fit to learn and consume Torah.  What we shall find, is that it is the Torah that leads the Ger into the domain of this “Adam;” as the Ger becomes enveloped with the affiliate Wisdom, he will leave the non-kosher world of yesteryear behind, as he walks into new paths of righteousness with endless possibilities, while shedding corporeality of a limited perception [of even the Noahide Laws that while uncommitted, served as a shackle and chain towards death.

The Commentator the Rosh comments on the famous Ger Toshav passage [Avodah Zara 64b] that a Ger Toshav of the slightest sense [he who is a Nachri abroad; only in Israel is he deemed a Ger Toshav (ger TOSHAV) by merit of denouncing idolatry and maintaining consumption of unkosher main] is effectively only halfway out of his non-Torah ways, and as such he will find himself buried in a death penalty on his journey, by simply just not knowing enough.

The Rosh goes on to explain that the further he commits himself to Noahide laws, Torah study, and Jewish familiarity in a Holy setting [where the Jew has a mitzvah to engage in holy and Torah matters] death is removed, and he merits to be a truly Righteous gentile of the Pious of the Nations, and if he so wishes he may decide to be a Ger Toshav [GER toshav]. He effectively has a golden ticket to become whatever he may so please, as the gates of righteousness open to receive him to the extent he wishes to enter, either, heart, body, or soul. The Ger simply has the power to remove death from the World, coupled with the Jewish cooperation and axiom, “charity saves you from death.” The Ger is then empowered with a mastery of Hashem’s Torah and ability to walk erect in righteousness, fearing not of death due to ignorance, having made it his duty to know Hashem and His ways. The Nachri who chooses not the path of Torah will find himself with many accusations that he will fail to rise up against.

For this the Talmud urges [even] the Nachri to learn and be [even] occupied with Torah. Such service of God will bring a sense of enlightenment upon the Ger and an attraction of the Jew, due to realized revealed common affairs in Torah. This new dynamic will pull the Nachri along on his path, and the Talmud praises him for his additional commandments [either proper acceptance Seven laws of Noah, or northward to any set number of Torah precepts that he may wish to take on for himself, enjoying full liberty of his being compared to a High Priest occupied with service of God] with the comparison to the High Priest. The Talmud [according to commentary – Maharsha] points out that the Ger when learning about commandments actually will embody the makeup worthy of the performance; for example learning about Offerings [which he may absolutely take part in, and should be noted is well beyond the scope of the normative “7 – law- limit-stay-in-parashas-noah-mentality”] will inspire the Ger to actually emulate the High Priest in his nature.

Along with learning Torah on this level, the Torah will affect the Ger in all areas of life, but perhaps none more important than his mind and ability to perceive [Hashem and his divine logic countering limitations within man]. The Torah makes a tremendous hint in this area by placing the Torah command upon all of Mankind next to laws of immorality, which the Talmud Sanhedrin makes mention that the Ger [World] will/has adopted these prohibitions in a way paralleling the Jewish command.

It is interesting to experience the two radically different paths each nation takes to achieve the same degree of holiness. The for all intents and purposes is straightforwardly commanded as such [to be holy, and not to profane through illicit affairs], and his opportunity for mind expansion in the study and restraint from immorality is evident in the specific Talmud on these issues, as a source for inspired learning, such that it even serves as a major basis of construct in the World to Come.

The Ger on the other hand, takes a different path to achieve the same goal, such that one could suggest it is the exact inverse of the Jewish tradition. Where the Jew is simply given a complete referendum and then is obliged to use his mind to experience the Light of holiness, the Ger must use his mind [from the holy light he has ingested from the study of Torah] in order to come to the straightforward command. The two unique experiences enjoyed by both Nations present the always schism for the sake of repairing schism, and yields distinct and unique identity to two legions of God. In this light both are holy, both are learned under Torah, and both see their fruits in this World and the Next. The stumbling block that is to be avoided due to logic of man in face of God and High Intellect, is to be aware of positive and negative principles in learning, i.e. male and female distinctions of the Torah mind; faculties of Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge. One must keep in mind the tone of God’s voice, being able to ascertain if this is command or good counsel.

The Jewish indoctrination to Holiness through prohibition of immorality [Arayos] comes as straight forward command while the path of the Ger [in this area] is largely derived from good counsel. This connection between the Learning Torah precept being juxtaposed with Arayos illuminates a wealth of revelation as to the nature of each, in and of themselves, joined or in isolation. The clearest example that expresses this entire idea is the true nature of the six forbidden relationships of the Ger. It would seem that there should be more, and with applied Torah focused for the sake of achieving “Man” one will uncover not only the Jewish equivalent [albeit by another approach than the straightforward], but the search and journey will yield exponential revelation that is relevant in every area of Torah, worthy for both Jew and Ger.

This is just one dynamic pitted against the infinite. One can ponder how much Torah can bubble up and surface from within the Ger when he commits to Torah in his unique way, and when in close proximity with the Jewish Nation for the sake of benefit and development that strengthens them both eternally. [* both camps suffer stunted growth through the exclusion of its counterpart; history is case in point, while this example is made possible via being conscious of both paths simultaneously and mutually]

The loophole in Noahide Arayos is the exclusion of the Father – Daughter union in the degrees of separation. This is a Kabbalistic necessity [based on “Wisdom nests in Malchus” – “father dwells with daughter” in the imagery in kabbalah; this model follows the true wisdom corresponding to the next world where evil is non-existent, and carries a different connotation, similar to the secret of Abraham and his sister/wife] and subject of discussion Talmud Sanhedrin. The Noahide simply is a reflection of Kabbalistic truth and recipient of Hashem’s deepest [and hardest to comprehend] kindness, as evidenced by this odd exclusion, as perceived by logic of man.

However when one examines the full scope of discussion, beyond one’s wildest dreams in terms of capacity to understand by breath of Torah knowledge, the equation eventually equates, and only by stretching beyond the realm of possibility. For the natural separation from this type of Arayos “correcting” God’s loophole, one must realize that there are commands beyond God’s Seven Laws, much like “pilpul” [God’s spice to Torah, Torah of Shem] where one experiences understanding the matter within the matter. The Journeyed Ger will find beyond Seven Laws, an oral tradition accompanying the law, three laws of nature from wisdom, thirty messianic laws, ten statutes of creation, etc.

Like a treasure hunt, the Ger must conceive of his entire universe in order for his black and white world to enjoy shades of grey. For the unbalanced and risky nature of his good counsel [that poses as shoddy command; again, divine logic in face of mortal logic] one must open his entire being to the light of God and take in his universe, as this is his inheritance! [Beyond his wildest dreams!] To such an extent he will find a highly complex and mechanically sound World that can only operate and exist by the hand of God. The Ger’s displeasure with God is in his disobedience to pursue God. The Ger who truly seeks to walk the universe on a path  of righteousness will merit to witness the Divine, ironically similar to permitting that which should be obviously prohibited; only now it is beyond one’s dreams and is a bestowal of the most holy – truly in alignment with the subjected material  in rectified element.

Thus the entire World is commanded in the study of Torah. The Jewish people were once Gerim, who were charged with spreading Torah for the benefit of Mankind, to help them reach their goals of enjoying the rights of Man. For the Jew to maintain course, he must adhere to the Torah, for he was once a Ger as well! The Ger is placed by God in every situation and domain, all for His glorious End of Days, when the revelation of God will fill the universe, and the Ger – Jewish Brotherhood will thrive into eternity. The Torah shows no predisposition as to who has the right to experience this light, as it clearly states that the Nachri should learn Torah – AND LIVE! His life is destined to look and feel as the High priest enjoying full status of “Man” as he was created in the image of God.

Let the Nachri serve as the eternal remembrance to those that ever lived - they lived on account of the Word of God, as he daily speaks to Man. The job of Man then is to unify “MANkind” so that we may enjoy His light together and forever such that no one is left behind. For that, Torah must fill the universe, and it will, for it says, “in those days the Land will be filled with the knowledge of God. Thank God, Thank God for His Torah, and thank God for His Torah that brings to light Mankind, Amen.

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