Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why the Europeans Hate Israel - A Theory

It is obvious that the visceral attitude of all the European countries, in varying degrees, to Israel, is one of disdain. Israel is never given the wherewithal to win her battles, cease-fires must be implemented "immediately", and any "peace efforts" are heavily in favor of the Arabs, leaving Israel with indefensible borders. The tint level of the ideological blinders which these nations wear in terms of their ability to correctly identify the aggressor is astounding.
While Esav Sonei L'Yaakov certainly has something to do with it, and, undoubtedly, fear of their ever-increasing Muslim populace plays a role in their political calculus, I think there is something else that lurks in the dark corners of the European psyche when it comes to Israel.
It seems to me that the perception of the Europeans is that Israel, essentially, has no right to exist. But, it is a necessary concession to the Jewish People in the aftermath of the Holocaust. The Europeans must be ravaged by guilt at the wanton mega-pogrom of their Jewish population, and a Jewish homeland was the only way to 'reparate'. As a result, Israel serves as a constant reminder to them of their heinous track record with the Jews, and they hate her. It is like constantly looking at a wagging finger of rebuke for their horrors. And, they can't bear it.
So, they deal with it in the following way - yes, Israel, on the books, "has a right to exist", because of the Holocaust. But she must do everything she can to make sure that the 'rights' of the 'indigenous Palestinians' are not compromised in any way, because the world community, in the eyes of the Europeans, essentially stole Arab land to give it to the Jews to assuage their guilty conscience. And, here's the kicker - this is even at the expense of her own security.
Because Europeans feel better if they can accuse the Jews of aggression against their neighbors, because it makes the Holocaust, and their innate distaste for Jews, as far as that goes, a bit more palatable when they can perceive and portray the Jews as evil. ("See? They are bad types. Hitler had something there.").
And if Israel were to get wiped off the map, the Europeans wouldn't be too upset about getting rid of that annoying wagging finger.
UPDATE: And this just floored me. Iran is a STABILIZING force in the Middle East?
I don't know how the Baalei Tosfos put up with these disgusting excuses for decent human beings for so long.

Please daven for an alumnus

An alumnus of the school where I teach has been called upon for imminent active combat duty in Lebanon.

Please say a quick Tefilla for the safe return of Noach ben Yasmin.

Thank you.

R' Yaakov on "sick" "frum" murderers

From Emes L'Yaakov on Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim Simman 116:1) note 145

Question: Should one daven in Refaenu for a person who is in prison for the crime of murder, since Lich'orah he is sick?

Answer: Certainly not, because he is not sick rather he is a criminal.

And we must fight against this attitude that all sins of a person are because of sickness, rather it all stems from a lack of Yir'as Shamayim, and the proof is that in front of people he would not do what he did, he just has no fear of the Ribbono Shel Olam.

[And perhaps one should daven for him in Hashivenu...]

[Hattip: EW]

Monday, July 24, 2006

Some More Carnivorous (A)Musing

A letter to the editor I saw this week:
Poschim b'chvod achsanyah. My family loves reading this wonderful newspaper, as it is the only newspaper that truly belongs in a Torah home.
I would like to share with you an experience which I recently had, one that I found very disturbing. I opened up a box of heimishe-brand animal crackers and was terribly dismayed to see that a whole array of non-kosher animals are featured! What are we teaching our children, to eat treife animals?! Are we chas v'shalom teaching our children to eat bears and elephants?
Wishing to hear a response,
I remain,
End quote.
I kid you not.
And what's worse, we are teaching our kids to eat unslaugtered cows, Chelev, the Gid HaNasheh, and if we chas v'sholom dip the animal cracker in milk, we are teaching them to eat Basar B'Chalav!
We really have run out of things to work on, haven't we.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Vacation Musings of a Carnivore

Last night I returned from a three day vacation up at Big Bear Lake, a resort town about 2 hours northeast of Los Angeles. One of the attractions for the kids was a trout pond, where you're pretty much assured of catching a fish - even the little kids can do it with a bit of help. They then gut and clean the fish for you.
At any rate, my brother-in-law (he's 14 years old) caught a huge trout, and they gutted it right in front of him. While the fish was jerking and flaying, the fellow sliced open the fish, took out the beating heart, and emptied the guts. It was still jumping all over. My brother-in-law was grossed out - but we had a great dinner.
I figured I'd post something from Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky's Chiddushim on Chullin which related to the Torah's perspective on killing animals. I'm no liberal, but his approach on the following issue will resonate well with those who are of the liberal mindset.
The Gemara in Chullin 16b brings down the opinion of Rabbi Yishmael that in the Midbar the Jews were forbidden to eat "B'sar Ta'avah" - 'meat of desire' - meaning animals not brought as Korbanos.
Rashi explains the source for this is the Passuk (Vayikra 17) that if one slaughters an animal and does not bring it to the Tent - "It shall be considered as bloodshed for that man, he has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from the midst of his people" (I.e. he gets Kares).
Tosfos asks, that this Passuk is talking about Shechutei Chutz - slaughtering a Korban outside of the Mishkan, not just an animal that was not slaughtered there!
R' Yaakov in his Chiddushim to Chullin explains that according to Rashi, the prohibition of Shechutei Chutz and the accompanying Kares penalty is not, as Tosfos would seem to hold, due to any kind of Bizayon to the Beis HaMikdash, which would then have nothing to do with B'sar Taavah, rather it is for the act of slaughtering an animal in a purposeless fashion - for slaughtering it in a way that will preclude you from eating it. (This fits very well into the Passuk quoted earlier - "it shall be considered bloodshed"). So the prohibition, according to Rashi, extends beyond the parameters of not bringing the Korban to the Beis HaMikdash, and includes, according to Rabbi Yishmael, even slaughtering just to satisfy your carnivorous palate, without the elevating aspect of bringing it as a Korban.
Rav Yaakov adds, and notes at the end of the piece that a similar idea is found in the Ramban to Parshas Noach, that after Hakadosh Baruch Hu allows Noach to partake of animals, which is, in a sense, a removal of one aspect of the prohibition to murder, the Torah is quick to add that murder of human beings is prohibited.
Says the Ramban: "Because of the permission to slaughter, He had to say that I have allowed you to spill the blood of all living things except your own, which is (still) prohibited for you..."
Well, I'm happy that we have Hashem's sanction to eat animals these days.
Pat's restaurant in Los Angeles makes a mean rib-eye.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Ralbag on how to treat enemy captives

רלב"ג מלכים א פרק כב, התועלת הל"ד
"הוא להודיע שראוי לאדם כשיפול בידו במלחמה מי שהוא תמיד לו ולעמו לקוץ מכאיב, שלא יחמול עליו, אך יבער אותו מן הארץ, פן ימצא לו מקום אחר זה, אם ימלט, להשחית הוא ועמו לפי היכולת. ולזאת הסיבה תמצא שצותה התורה להכות את המדינים מפני מה שנתבאר שהם צוררים לישראל בנכליהם, וצותה גם כן למחות את זכר עמלק לזאת הסיבה. ולזה סיפר כי מפני ששלח מלך ישראל בן הדד, אשר שמהו השם יתברך בחרמו וברשתו ובמכמרתו, כעס השם יתברך עליו, ואמר שכבר יהיה נפשו תחת נפשו ועמו תחת עמו

"This is to inform us that it is proper for a person, when one who is a constant painful thorn to himself and to his nation falls into his hand in war, that he should not have mercy toward him, rather he should wipe him off the earth, lest he will find a place afterward, should he escape (Transl. note: or be swapped in a hostage deal), to destroy him (the "merciful" captor) and his nation as much as he could. And for this reason you will find that the Torah commands us to smite the Midianim, since it is explained that they are enemies to the Jews with their plotting, and also commands us to wipe out the rememberance of Amalek for this reason.

And therefore (the Navi) tells us that since the King of Israel sent Ben Haddad (the king of Aram) away, after Hashem had placed him in his net, Hashem was mad at him, and he said that it will be his (the king of Israel's) soul (taken) in place of that of Ben Haddad, and his nation in lieu of his nation. "


The Need of the Hour - Bitachon

As the citizens of Israel, especially along the northern and south-western borders, suffer anxiety and casualies, Lo Aleinu, and as the soldiers of the State of Israel engage the mortal enemies of Klal Yisrael and Hashem, may Hashem keep them all safe and return them unharmed to their families, we must bear in mind the words of the Chovos HaLevavos, in his preface to Shaar HaBitachon:

"U'Mi SheBoteach B'Zulas Hashem, Meisir HaElokim Hashgachaso Me'Alav U'Maniach Oso B'Yad Mi SheBatach Alav"

"And one who places his trust in anyone or anything but Hashem, Hashem removes His Providence from him and places him in the hand of he in whom he has placed his trust."

Of course, we need the Hishtadlus of the army to defeat our enemies, but we do not trust in the might of the IDF, nor in the support of the Americans, nor of the world community. For we do not wish to be truly dependent on them. They have all proven to be unreliable support at various junctures in history.

We trust in Hashem to guide the leaders of the State on the proper path to take to defeat our enemies, and in His help that we win this war, waged to protect the lives of his beloved children who dwell in the Land which is under Hashem's direct guidance, the "Eretz Asher Tamid Einei Hashem Elokecha Bah".


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Jak Black on Tznius

Link to Jak Black's blog, where he has an interesting post about what Tznius really means:

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