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Jul 30, 2006

9 Av Kina for the Gush Katif destruction

If you are looking for the Kina that has been written to lament the destruction of the settlements of Gush Katif, I have made it available here .

NOTE: I am not hereby endorsing the kina nor saying it must be said. if you have questions about it, show it to your Rabbi/posek and ask for your own psak

NOTE 2: Regardless of how you felt during the disengagement period whether it was the right thing to do or not for the future of Klal Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael, it was still a destruction of Arei Yehuda (cities of Judah) and there are halachic ramifications to such destructions, such as having possibly been obligated to rend ones garments (at the time of the disnegagement), the possibility of saying such a kina, among other ramifications..

Did we or didn't we?

I do not understand what is going on. Our government via the media keeps announcing its great successes in the war/conflict/mud wrestling/arm wrestling going on up north. We keep hearing how the air force took out this battery of Katyusha launchers or that one. We took out this stronghold of Hezbollah or that one. We have pushed them further away from the border, we destroyed this town, we killed the head of this division, we took out x number of Hezbollah fighter..

Very nice. But why is there no letup of the Katyusha rockets being fired upon Israel?

With all the great successes Israel has been announcing, you'd think Hezbollah's capabilities would by now have been greatly impaired and they would not be able to fire so much upon Israel. Yet, they have been fiing a steady and consistent 100 or so rockets per day.

How can it be? Are all these announcements simply propoganda so we think the war is being conducted properly and successfully? Are Hezbollah's capabilities much greater (still) than we assumed and are assuming?

I do not understand if we have made any progress in this war or not.

I guest posted on..

The Daf Notes blog. Daf Notes is a blog dedicated to providing insights to the daily daf. It is very interesting and a worthwhile read for anyone learning Daf Yomi.

The authors of Daf Notes have opened a "sister" site called dafnotediscussions in which they and guest bloggers post lengthier pieces based on the daf. These articles are involving hashkafa, mussar, halacha and other issues revolving around the daf. It can be accessed via the sidebar of the DafNotes blog.

I guest posted today (last night really) on the issue of personal limits and the 1 amah space between the heichal of the beis hamikdash and the Kodesh Kodoshim.

If you are so inclined, you can check it out here

Jul 29, 2006

residences for refugees

Yaakova from Aliyah On My Mind has been working hard to arrange residences for refugees from the north to move into. Check out her information at http://www.aliyahonmymind.blogspot.com/

Jul 28, 2006

burgers in Lebanon

Click here to hear Shay and Dror (whoever they are) ordering from a Lebanese Burger King... Pretty funny..

Jul 27, 2006

Of trees and stones (burning)

I just saw a streaming video of the news in which a Katyusha fell in the area of Kiryat Shmona and the fields had caught fire and trees were burning down. The reporter said that in the past few days over 500,000 trees had been destroyed by Katyushas raining down on them (rather than given life by water raining down on them -my addition). He described some of the other physical destructions that have been experienced along the northern border of Israel as well.

This brought to mind a thought. There is a gemara in Kedushin that explains a passuk in tehillim that we thank Hashem because HaShem vented His anger on stones and wood, on the Beis Hamikdash, rather than on Jewish people. Had HaShem poured his wrath on the bnei yisrael, the Jews would have ceased to exist as a nation. Instead He only destroyed the Temple, thus sparing the Jewish nation.

What is happening now in Israel is very similar (and during the three weeks no less!). Hashem is puring out His wrath on stones and trees. Houses are being destroyed. Trees are burning to the ground. Cars are being flattened. Deaths and injuries have been minimal (not to minimize death and injuries, and all those hurt should heal quickly and those killed should find their places in Gan Eden), but the physical destruction has been great.

Hashem must be angry about something. We should fix our ways. We should do teshuva. We must thank Him for taking out His wrath on the physical aspects and not on the people, and take this message from Him to repent and live properly.

Something to think about.

moving video of the IDF

This is an eye-watering video made by the IDF spokes person in dedication to the thousands of soldiers fighting everyday to protect the lives of the Israeli civilians from the terrorists who wish to end them

(HatTip: Bagel Blogger)

relief fund for residents of northern Israel

My friend David Morris, head of the amazing organization described below, asked me to post the following:

"I've Invited 327 War Refugees for Supper, Honey..."

"And Breakfast, Lunch and Supper Tomorrow".

"Actually, There'll be 403 by the Time Tomorrow's Dinner Comes Around."

"And They're All Staying Over, for an Unlimited Period."

"The Good News, honey, is that the Whole of Beit Shemesh is Helping with this Amazing Project."

------------------------------------
Literally thousands of people are fleeing the rockets, missiles, war and terror in the North and South of Israel, for the relatively safe havens of the central areas. The scenes are staggeringly reminiscent of the Katrina refugees crisis, less than a year ago in the USA.
Traumatized, bedraggled, and many newly impoverished.
These families from Naharia, Haifa, Zefat, Tiberias....are desperately seeking an alternative to risking death in their homes, or cowering in crowded, sweltering and dangerous bomb-shelters.

In response to this urgent need, Lema'an Achai, together with a community-wide alliance, including the Beit Shemesh Municipality, The Shaalei Torah, Uziel and Fierst Schools, Community Centers, Local Charitable Groups, Ariel & Bnei Akiva Youth Groups and many, many individuals... have organized group accommodation (mattresses on the class-room floors), food (three meals a day), and all basic necessities.
Furthermore, there are summer camps for the kids, day-trips for the adults, and a system of 'buddy' families, who help each refugee family with their laundry, showers and social needs.

So far three hundred and twenty seven people are being sheltered - they do not have the means to stay in hotels; tomorrow the number is expected to be over four hundred.
The plan, if necessary, is to accommodate over one thousand people, for one month.

Lema'an Achai www.lemaanachai.org and Deputy Mayor Shalom Lerner, have been mandated to raise the funds for this massive humanitarian effort; there are currently no Government Funds available (there's a war going
on..) and so the money either has to be raised privately, or the refugees will have to be sent back to the rockets and terror. Meantime, the phone is constantly ringing with pleas from families, indeed whole communities, now seeking refuge in Beit Shemesh.

In this War, Israel's friends and supporters are not being asked to put their lives on the line.
But they are being asked to help, to the utmost of their ability, with meeting the costs of this humanitarian crisis in Israel.

Please pass this email to your family and close friends, and donate generously to the dedicated Lema'an Achai "Refugee Relief Fund", specifically to meet these emergency needs:-

24 Hour Credit Card Service in Israel - +972 (0)2. 99.999.33

US Tax Deductible Donations:
Checks payable to: "US Friends of Lema'an Achai"
Memo line - "Refugee Relief"
PO Box 532, Oceanside, NY 11572-0532

UK Tax Deductible Donations:
Cheques payable to "Jewish Aid Committee"
c/o Refugee Relief Fund - Lema'an Achai,
40/7 Nachal Lachish,
Ramat Beit Shemesh,
99093, Israel.

Canadian Tax Deductible Donations:
Checks payable to: "Shaarei Tefilah Charity Fund" - Memo Line: Refugee Relief Fund - Lema'an Achai C/O Murray Shore, 31 Marvill StreetToronto, Ontario, M3H 3L2

Israel Tax Deductible Donations:
Checks Payable to "Lema'an Achai - Refugee Relief Fund"
40/7 Nachal Lachish,
Ramat Beit Shemesh,
99093, Israel.

In the (happy!) event that any funds raised are not required for Refugee Relief (the War finishes, the families go home...) they will be used for other critical charitable services.

Any questions - feel free to contact me david@lemaanachai.org , or call me on +972-2-9997107.

Thank you for your most generous support.

"Rak Besorot Tovot" - We should hear only good news.
David

----------------------------------------------------------

David Morris, Chairman
Lema'an Achai - It's All About Caring

www.lemaanachai.org
david@lemaanachai.org

Direct Tel: 02 9997107
Office: 02 9991553
Fax: 02 9992398

40/7 Nahal Lachish
Ramat Beit Shemesh,
99093 Israel.

Jul 26, 2006

WPOTD

(HT: Baleboostah)

peace initiative

Mr. Bagel has posted a video describing a peace initiative between Israelis and Palestinians. It is short and worth watching. You will definitely enjoy it...

Irishmen said Tehillim?

CNN is reporting that a 1000 year old (estimate) sefer tehillim has been found in a bog in Ireland. They were lucky to find it intact and not destroy it in the process of removing it. The greater irony is that it was found open to the page of psalm 83.

Psalm 83 is one of the ones many Jews have been saying the past 2 weeks or so for the welfare of the Jews of Israel. Its theme is "which God hears complaints of other nations' attempts to wipe out the name of Israel”.



What every kiddush club needs!

the standard car ride with kids

Check out this post by Chayei Sarah for a short description of how this whole mess started, in terms we all might be more familiar with!!!

Nasrallah did not expect it..

So Nasrallah's intelligence was as bad as ours!! Nasrallah (or one of his people) said tonight that when they kidnapped the soldiers in the incursion and attack over the border, they did not expect such a harsh response from Israel. They expected a limited action with intense negotiation in which they would acheive their goals of freeing prisoners (and further weakening the Israeli deterrence factor).

In other words, the non-action, non-response attitude of the past few Israeli governments to terror attacks on Israeli citizens gave them the impression that we would do exactly what they wanted.

Israel finally had enough (I wonder why this time was different than other attacks, but maybe I will write about that a different time) and we attacked with the full force (or at least more force than expected) of which we are capable, or at least much greater force than Nasrallah expected. Now we are achieving return of some of our deterrence factor. Nasrallah, if he comes out of this alive and in power, will think twice before his next attack on Israel.

Today we witnessed a small demonstration. Of all places, the leftists had to go into the war zone and in front of the eyes of people who are being attacked with tens of rockets a day raining destruction on their property and threatening their lives and safety they protested against the Israeli response saying we should negotiate rather than kill innocent Lebanese.

Can you imagine that? They went into the war zone to protest the Israeli response. They were spitting in the face of all those people sitting in their bunkers and bomb shelters and saying we do not care about you. We care more about the Lebanese that we do for you.

Wouldn't it have been ironic if a Katyusha had landed in the middle of their little protest, similar to the Katyusha today landing in the mosque!

Why do I put these two seemngly separate issues together in one post?

Because these leftists protesting today were calling for negotiation and calling Israel a band of child murderers. They are upset that we did not respond the way Nasrallah thought we would respond. They are saying we should have played ball with Nasrallah. Nasrallah went and kidnapped a couple of Israelis thinking we would negotiate them back, and they are saying that that is exactly what we should have done.

If Nasrallah had achieved a successful release of the prisoners by this attack, it would have led to further attacks and kidnappings of soldiers and civillians, just as previous attacks led to this one. Nasrallah himself said they expected a limited response with intense negotiation as had occurred in previous situations.

Do they not realize that their solution is what led to this in the first place and would lead to it happening again and again? Do they not understand that? Do they prefer the citizens in the north live in fear and soldiers get kidnapped, over our responding to an attack?

To me it looks like these leftists want the same thing that Nasrallah wanted. Olmert, don't give them what they want. Keep hitting back at them, and hard. Let them know this should never happen again.

Jul 24, 2006

interview with jblogger

and LBlogger (Lebanese blogger) posted!!

Joh Padgett has guest blogged on the Taylor Marsh website. He wrote about the conflict on the northern border and he interviewed an Israeli blogger (me) and a Lebanese blogger (Mustafa from Beirut Spring) to get our views on the conflict.

Check out the website here. Currently his post is at the top, but if it moves down and you want to find it directly, click here

Jul 23, 2006

a very sad situation

Ariel Sharon's medical condition has deteriorated more. He has been in a coma for about 7 months now as a rsult of a few serious debillitating strokes. Now, his kidneys are beginning to fail and his brain tissue is deteriorating.

איך נפלו גיבורים- How the mighty have fallen!

Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is dying a slow, painful death. Ariel Sharon is the man who has been involved in the survival of emergence of the State of Israel since the beginning. This is a man who dedicated his life to ensuring the survival of the Jewish Nation and the Jewish State. He was strong, he was mighty, he was powerful, he was influential. He was despised at times, usually by the left wing for his war mongering, but he kept doing what he felt was right and necessary for the survival of the Jewish Nation. He was brash, he was willing to disobey orders when he felt they were wrong, and he had the courage to do what he felt was right and come out victorious. He took great risks for the State, and by his great courage he overcame the odds.

What a shame a man like this has to be in the process of such a shameful end. This is a death not worthy of such a warrior.

Some will say he is being paid back for his actions of last year in the disengagement. I do not play God and I do not know if that is the case or not, but even in the disengagement, he had the courage to go against the flow and catch everyone off guard with an outrageous act that he felt was right for the Nation (whether or not you agree with what he did).

What a shame a man like this has to be in the process of such a shameful end. This is a death not worthy of such a warrior.

Jul 22, 2006

refuse orders?

Ynet has an article describing an anti-war rally that took place in Tel Aviv today. These rallies are increasing in support and will continue increasing as time goes on. There is nothing wrong with that. We live in a democratic country and people have the right to express their feelings against the war. I would hope that while our sons/daughters/brothers/sisters are out there fighting that we would try to curtail our criticism so as not to demoralize them, but to each their own. If they feel it important enough to protest, let them protest.

I do think they are misguided and wrong about what they are protesting for the most part. They were mostly protesting against the occupation. Either they are mistaken in understanding the cause of the war and the goings on of the war, or they are intentionally rallying against unrelevant ideas just to attract media attention, because occupation has nothing to do with this war. We left Lebanon a long time ago and have no interest in going back (more on that in a later post). They are also protesting against the killing and that is worthy of protest.

There is something else that bothered me. According to the above Ynet article, at this rally there were calls for soldiers to refuse orders and refuse to take part in the war. This is an especially interesting phenomenon. During the disengagement last year some right wing Rabbis, right wing organizations and political leaders called upon soldiers to refuse orders and not participate in what was termed immoral orders. A soldier should never do anything illegal or immoral and if given an immoral order, I do not think "I was ordered to do it" is an acceptable claim. Not to the world courts at least, as we saw in Nazi Germany, Serbia and wherever else it has arisen.

The question is obviously what is considered immoral and at what point should a soldier refuse such orders. I will not deal with that because, except in extreme cases in which the answer is clear, it is generally a gray area in warfare. Everybody thinks their morals are the right ones and anything going against that should be refused. The left wing protests in tel Aviv today think the issue is one of killing innocent Lebanese civillians. It is unfortunate that innocent civillians are being killed, but they are allowing Hezbollah to operate among them and attack us from places that put them at risk. We have to respond and go on the offensive to quell the attacks, otherwise we will have given up the basic rights and obligations of a country, to protect its citizens. But I digress. I will post more on this issue probably tomorrow, maybe Monday (I was interviewed for a different site and the interview touched on these issues. I do not want to preempt the interview being published so I will wait until after that to post on this topic.)

During the disengagement we heard calls from the right wing, or elements within it, to refuse to partake in the disengagement. At the time, the left wing politicians and organizations and even the general public blasted the right for being traitors and calling on soldiers to refuse orders is destroying the army, etc.. Not only that, but the army threatened certain hesder yeshivas with cancleling their offical status because the deans of thos eyeshivas supported and called for refual of orders. Other people were arrested for such calls to refuse orders.

Now the left wing is calling for refusal. Will we see a wave of arrests? Will we see condemnation of the left wing protestors by the general public and the right wing? Will we see a silencing of protestors by violent police and army battalions fencing them in, similar to what we saw against protestors of the disengagement? Will we simply ignore it until the protests get so loud that they force the army's and politicians hands, similar to the protests of the Four Mothers five years ago?
Will the army and politicians use the same tactics they used against the right wing last year? I am waiting to see what happens, but I think I know already..

comment moderation

I have recently been attcked by a comment spammer. I am considering my options and might enable comment moderation, at least temporarily, or maybe bring back the word verification feature..
Or maybe I will try to ignore the spammer for a bit and see if he goes away. I do not want to make it difficult for people to comment, but I do not want spammers driving people away either..

We will see. Suggestions are welcome.

Jul 21, 2006

titles misused

This might be mundane considering their is a war going, however, life goes on and while overwhelmingly bloggers have been blogging about the war, other topics do arise occassionally that are worthy of being looked at.

This week my chavrusah got his semicha. Mazal tov. He is a big talmid chacham and very sincere. He spent a couple of years working very hard to mastering the material and gave a series of shiurim on the topics spanning a period of two years. He worked very hard and decided to cap it off by taking the test and he received his semicha.

Today when I went to learn with him, as I was waiting for hom to arrive, I saw a small booklet on one of the tables. I went over to look at it and saw it was put out by a local shul. They got various mispallelim of theirs to put together "chaburahs" (thouroughly researched essays in Talmud and Halacha) on various topics and they published it in a book.

I flipped through the book and some of the topics looked very interesting and one could see that much effort was invested by those who managed the project as well as by those who wrote the individual essays. Being curious as to who was involved in the project, I went to the Table of Contents. They had listed each essay with the name of the author. The name of the author was written in the form of Harav Yosef Cohen (name is made up).

Granted every single one of these people might be great talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars) and I do not want to take that away from them. They are people who have been learning in kollel for a number of years and are accomplished scholars. However, while I did not know all the people in the list I did know many of them, at least many of the people in the list are not rabbanim. They did not take tests for semicha and they did not do anything to seserve the title of Harav.

It used to be common that people would be called Reb. Reb Yosef, Reb Chaim, etc. Regular kollel guys. I did not like that, but people told me it is meaningless, just a title like saying Mr., but maybe a little more respectable for a man in kollel. Now that has changed and kollel guys are being called Harav.

Last week my chavrusa had told me he was probably going to take the test for semicha and I had encouraged him, as I feel it is very important and worthwhile. When my chavrusa came in today, I told him I changed my mind. I said I do not think you need to bother with the test. He asked why not? I showed him this booklet and said, "Look. All these people got semicha and have the same title you will have, and they did not need to spend a few years learning the material and taking the test. Why waste your time if you can have the title just by spending a few days researching one topic and then writing a 1200 word essay!" Then he laughed and told me he already took the test and got his semicha, so it was too late.. :)


Why does this bother me so much? Because when people abuse titles and use them without respect, it does a disservice and causes a loss of respect to those who do deserve the title.

Would you call someone a Doctor just because he read a chapter of a medical book? No. But if you started calling people doctor, then that would degrade the status of those who spent many years studying medicine and working toward mastering the field.

The same with any title. A title is meant to define a persons status and knowledge. It is also a sign of respect to someone who has put forth effort and successfuly accomplished his task. If any guy can be called Harav for no particularly good reason, that causes people to respect the title less. Then real Rabbonim who have worked years to develop and master themselves, are not looked at with the same level of respect, just because some unworthy person called himself HaRav.

My chavrusah told me a story of a very accomplished Talmid Chacham in England who spent many years publishing some very important works in halacha and mussar. He told me this Rav who had a brilliant mind was once in a shul unfamiliar to him. He was called up to give a speech, and they called him up Harav Hagaon... This man just sat there and did not get up. They approached him and asked him why he refuses to take the pdioum. His response was that they insulted the gaonim and he is not a gaon and does not deserve the title. The Gaonim were from an illustrious period of Jewish history and you cannot just bastardize the title and use it for every smart guy on the street. The title means something and if it does not apply, it should not be used improperly.

Jul 20, 2006

Lebanese TV satire of Hizbullah

Enjoy! Watch to the end, it's worth it!

War pictures

I am not sure why we have this great fascination with pictures of soldiers praying. Most of the pictures I have seen spreading virally around the Net by email and on blogs of the soldiers in this war are pictures of soldiers praying, often with tallis and tefillin. It is nice, but is getting a bit tiring.. Let’s see some other pictures as well…

For all sorts of pictures of the war, check out Baleboostah

Jul 19, 2006

My mother, the terrorist

I brought my mother to the airport last night to head back home. Her vacation with us had come to a conclusion and it was time for her to return home. We left early because she was worried there would be a) extra security checks that might take a long time and slow things down and b) a lot of people trying to get flights out because of the security situation in the country.

My mother was right about a, but wrong about b. There were no lines of people trying to fight their way onto an overbooked flight. Granted we got there very early, but other flights were leaving and we did not see any mass of people trying to escape Israel because of Katyushas falling in the North. That was very heartening.

On concern #a she was right, I think, unless they thought she was a terrorist. They put her suitcases on the x-ray machine and decided they had to open them up. What they saw that made them concerned or suspicious I have no idea.

Digression: The machine that x-rays is pretty cool. It displays on image of the contents of the suitcase on the computer screen and the technician is able to rotate the suitcase (on the screen) and see from different angles so he can get a better idea of what he is looking at.

Back to story: They send us over to the station where they open up suitcases and there were about 10 people in the various lines waiting to be checked. They called us over right away (I do not know why we did not have to wait in line like everyone else. Maybe they were very suspicious of something and wanted to check it out right away) and the handler asked some questions. They asked a number of times if the suitcase had ever been lent out to someone else.

Finally they opened up the suitcase and rooted around looking for something specific, despite the fact that he kept saying he was “stam” looking and not for something specific. It was very unusual. Eventually he found what he was looking for and it turned out to be a Hamsa. I do not know what it looked like in the x-ray machine that made them so suspicious, but they were pretty amused when they finally found it and cleared things up.

I should add I was very impressed the whole time. The handlers were polite, calm and friendly through the whole process.

It turns out my mother is not a terrorist.

Jul 18, 2006

A Barbaric HH #78

A Barbaric Yawp (whatever that means) put together this weeks Haveil Havalim #78. Go check it out.
Lots of reading material..

Jul 17, 2006

a great read over at..

Head on over to Treppenwitz to read a fascinating story used as an analysis of the current situation in Israel..

War Picture of the Day (wpotd)


I hope his prayers help..

Breaking News!!

Lebanese TV and Al Jazeera are reporting that Hizb’Allah has downed an Israeli F-16 Air Force plane. The report is unconfirmed and Israeli officials are currently denying the report.

Let’s hope it is false, and if not, pray for the pilot…

--------------------

Update - it is now being more widely reported by foreign press, includding BBC and Sky News.

I just saw that the Israeli army has said it was not a plane that was shot down, rather a "Meichal Kruzim" which roughly translates as a utensil for making announcements. I guess they use it to drop propoganda flyers in lebanese territory and it was destroyed..

Going crazy

People here are starting to go crazy. The media is beginning to frighten people. They are warning us that people in the Tel Aviv area and northward should be “on alert”, whatever that means. Rumor has it that people are staying indoors at least in the evenings, so as not to be caught outside in case of attack.

People are especially cautious because the army was caught with its pants around its ankles on Friday night. Hizb’Allah shot an Iranian missile at a Navy boat, causing it some damage and killing some soldiers. The army/navy and top brass were completely surprised as it seems our top notch intelligence had no idea that Hizb’Allah had ever acquired such technologies and weaponry.

As a result of that, people are concerned that the information coming out of the intelligence and army might be incomplete and maybe Hizb’Allah has other weapons we do not know about with ranges beyond what they have shot at until now.

So, between the army/media warning us combined with the surprises Hizb’Allah has thrown at us, and the fact that today reports say Katyushas have hit as far south as Afula, along with the promises Hizb’Allah has made (and so far they have kept every single promise they have made) to surprise us some more, people are nervous.

At work we are getting into crisis mode. We had some office-wide meetings to go over and refresh emergency procedures of leaving the office and what to do with merchandise depending on various scenarios. BTW, none of the scenarios included strapping on parachutes and jumping out the window (My office is on the 22nd floor of a building in Tel Aviv, 2 blocks away from the Defense Ministry complex).

Changes in the office have been made to calm people’s nerves and allow for an easier and quicker exit if necessary. I feel it is all a bit over the top, but I guess it is important to keep people calm as much as possible, and if this is what it takes, so be it.

I hope all these preparations are made redundant and none of it will be necessary and that in a couple of weeks we can look back and laugh at how hysterical we seemed…

Jul 16, 2006

Israel at War!!

Baruch Dayan Ha’emes

I will soon be going to the funeral of Mindy Greenberg, a”h. I never met her, but I know many members of her family. She will be buried in the cemetery of Ranana, after a prolonged illness.

Mindy was the daughter of Leo and Shirley Schachter, and the wife of David Greenberg, son of Rabbi Yitz and Blu Greenberg.

May the family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and we should know only simchas in the future.

Jul 14, 2006

Iran willing to pay

According to Israel Army Radio, Iran's president Crazy Ahmed (ahmadinajad) has just made the offer that Iran would pay to repair any damage in Lebanon caused by Israel.

That is good news. You see, when we blew up the electric company of Gaza, Israel ended up with egg on its face and agreed to give electricity for free to Gaza and to help in the rebuilding of the electric grid. Now, with Iran's latest offer, we have nothing to worry about in Lebanon. We can do as much damage as we want. Iran will pay for it, not us.

As a matter of fact, I would suggest we increase our bombing and do much more damage. We should try to bankrupt Iran, while we are at it. The mroe damage we do, the more Iran has to pay!

escalation?

I just got home a little while ago from a local parlor meeting in which Moshe Feiglin, head of Manhigut Yehudit, (who by the way confirmed for me that he is friends with Jameel, though David Shirel had no idea who "Jameel" is and had never heard of him), explained his views and ideas. Maybe I will blog about that tomorrow, as it is late right now and I need to go to sleep.

I got home to see that Haifa was hit with Katyusha rockets this evening. The powers to be have declared that this is a major escalation, and basically that now we will show them. I also recall reading earlier in the day, in response to threats made by Hizb'allah to hit Haifa with rockets, that we have threatened that if they do so we would turn the Lebanese clock back by 20 years, and they should know we have many more rockets than them, and that we would pave over Beirut, and we would bomb not just runways but also cities and neighborhoods, etc..

This whole concept strikes me as being wrong and misplaced.

Why is attacking Haifa an escalation? Is attacking the border not enough? Is raining Katyushas on the whole northern Israel not enough of a reason to "pave over Beirut"? Is shooting Katyushas on Kiryat Shmona, Nahariya and Safed (among other places) not enough? Why is Haifa a major escalation? And now that they hit Haifa will we declare the next farthest hit another escalation that deserves a harsher response?

It is all the same. They attacked our country. We finally decided to respond. Now they are shooting rockets at various cities. Every city is the same. The civilians living in Nahariya are no less important then the citizens living in Haifa nor less than those living in Natanya (which Hizb'Allah has also threatened to hit with rockets). It is not an escalation and the reaction should be harsher to stop the rockets, but not because Hizb'Allah has escalated the conflict, but because that is the appropriate reaction to when your country has been attacked by a foreign government.

Jul 12, 2006

The country is buzzing

The country is buzzing. I just stepped out of my office for a bit to go over to our factory to do some work there. Everybody is screaming at each other. Everyone is upset. Everyone is frustrated.

People are screaming that the Defense Minister is a stupid Moroccan with no experience other than shutting down the country in wasteful strikes. Another is screaming that Olmert is an inexperienced Prime Minister who can’t do anything, the least because his wife and kids are extreme left wing fanatics, so how can he be expected to do anything. Another is screaming about the Arabs and what should be done to them. Another is screaming about the weak Israelis who just want to go shopping and go on vacation and how nobody cares what is going on.

PM Olmert is being put through a test of fire. I do not envy him or the position he is in. I do not know why people voted for him. Everybody knew his positions and lack of experience. The only suggestion I have is that it must be the spin involved in the whole disengagement and election process. Former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon last week spoke out for the first time since the disengagement and said the whole thing had been concocted and planned by spin doctors rather than security people to solve a personal problem of Sharon’s. Obviously the spin was successful and despite the fact that Olmert lost much of Sharon’s support, he retained enough of it because of his spin doctors on the election campaign that he was able to come to victory, albeit weaker than he wanted. Now people are starting to see that they were wrong and Olmert is not the right person for the job. All he knows how to do is continue to talk about his disengagement/convergence plan and say it is still going to happen, despite everything falling down around his ears like a house of cards. His biggest “supporters” who followed him to Kadima have spoken out this week against his plan, yet he still talks like it is written in stone and that is the way it is.

I just heard Olmert yet again on the radio saying something inane like Israel knows how to respond and will respond in the right time and place. We have overcome bigger hurdles and we know how to overcome this. Olmert: people are happy you know how to overcome it, now we want to see you overcome it. Stop talking about how much you know, and let’s see you actually do something.

People are upset. Something is going to happen. People will not let the situation to continue as is.

News junky

If one is a “news junky”, Israel is definitely the place to be. It never seems to be boring and quiet here. Today the action is intensifying again. What happened today?

Well, the Kassems in the south, with more flying over the border and residents of the Western Negev are being told to stay indoors. Then there is the Gaza crisis with the IDF splitting Gaza in two, which is a very serious step. Then there is the near assassination of top terrorist Mohammed Deif. Moving up north we have increased activity on the Lebanese border, as Hizbollah has decided to start attacking Israel again. Then we have the recent newsbreak about the problems President Katzav is mired in, with claims of sexual harassment coming out of the woodwork. Now Hezbollah just claimed 2 soldiers have been abducted from the Northern border (that claim will now be checked by the Israel security services). MK Sofia Landver has just been censured for stealing a plant from a colleagues (MK Ruhama Avraham) office (yes, this seems kind of mundane, but it is so weird I added it anyway).

And it is only 10:45 in the morning! How much more interesting can the day get???

Just add “Never boring” to the list of reasons to make aliyah.

Jul 10, 2006

Gay pride or Jewish pride?

In what can only be described as a stunning turn of events (and possibly be described as hilarious as well), Shas has voted in favor of the Gay Pride Parade.

Huh? You might ask..

That’s right. Today Yahadut HaTorah put forward a vote of no-confidence against the government coalition based on the upcoming Gay Pride Parade. The idea behind it was to either force Shas to vote against the government, thereby causing the government coalition to collapse, or to make fools of Shas in the eyes of its electorate when they vote in favor of the coalition, as they are required to do by their coalition agreement.

So, despite the fact that Rav Ovadia Yosef has already clearly spoken out against the Gay Pride Parade (in what might be the best statement so far in the whole discussion of the event, Rav Yosef has been quoted as saying that the appropriate venue for the parade is Sodom and should be moved from Jerusalem to Sodom), and despite the fact that the parade being in Jerusalem can be considered inflammatory and possibly dangerous (let’s not forget that Jews are not allowed to pray on Temple Mount because it might incite the Arabs to violence, so why should possible violence in this event be ignored?), and despite the objection to the overwhelming majority of Jerusalem’s residents, Shas has decided to vote in favor of the Gay Pride Parade.

Kol Hakavod, Shas. How will you stand before your electorate on the next Party Yom Hadin (next election day whenever that will happen) and persuade them to vote for you as a representative of Torah values?

Jul 9, 2006

HH #77

Batya over at Shiloh Musings (and me-ander) put together this weeks edition of Haveil Havalim (#77) and she did a very thorough job. One of my posts from last week scored the "post of honor".

Anyway, it is full of great posts. Batya really did an amazing job including so many posts from so many sources, so head on over and put on your reading glasses!

what would you do?

I have a friend/acquaintance who runs a yeshiva somewhere in the US of A. I have recently stumbled across a couple of videos in which bachurim of his yeshiva (I have no idea if they are current or only formerly students of his yeshiva) make fun of the yeshiva. It is nothing mean natured or damaging to the yeshiva (I think). Simply harmless videos in which the bachurim satire the rabbeim and the yeshivas policies a bit.

If I send the link to my friend, these boys (if they still learn in the yeshiva) might get in trouble for this harmless fun. If I do not send him the link, maybe I am being negligent on the yeshivas behalf?

What would you do?

New JMusic album out!!

UPDATE-----

I have decided to make this into a sticky post (meaning it will stay on the top as the first post) for a week. I will reevaluate at that point...

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First of all, mazel tov to my wife. She composed two of the songs on this new album and they are great, as is the whole album. Now on to the news…

Simchat Yechiel, run by my friend Ephrayim Naiman, is an organization that sponsors community events for adults and children in Ramat Bet Shemesh, These “events” include, but is not limited to; shiurim, activities, various gmachim, lectures, bike safety instruction, among others.. One of the many great things it sponsors is a choir called Kol B’Rama. This is a choir that consists of local boys and is run by an accomplished musician and choir instructor named Shalom Kinnory and managed by Ephrayim Naiman.

Kol B’Ramah just released their first album. I am biased because my wife composed two of the songs on the album, but I think the album is great. I would even be so bold as to say it is much better than much of the music other boys choirs have on the market. And not just the two songs my wife composed, but the whole album is full of great songs.

I will not write more than this, but will let you decide for yourself. Information about the choir and organization can be gleaned from here and music sample clips can be listened to here. You can order disks via their website as well.

Go ahead and check it out. I am sure you will be happy you did..

Jul 6, 2006

A diplomatic solution? I think not

Ynet had this article in which Abu Marzuk calls (in the name of Mashaal sort of) on Israel to come to a diplomatic solution for the return of Shalit. He says Israel should realize there is no other way and only a diplomatic solution will bring a resolution to the return of Shalit.

I wrote the following in the Talkback section on the article:
Meshaal says the only solution to the problem is a diplomatic solution. Who is he kidding? He did not wait for diplomatic solutions to the problem. He could have negotiated in the peace process and worked out deals in which these prisoners would be released. After all, we released many others, there is no reason we would not eventually agree to release these. Yet Meshaal did not work for a diplomatic solution. He blew up buses and coffee shops. He terrorized Israel. Now his men under his command invaded Israeli territory and killed soldiers and kidnapped a soldier and took him hostage. That is a diplomatic solution? Get it through your head Meshaal. if you don't want a diplomatic solution, we don't need one either. We will search after you until we find you and we will kill you when we do. You are the "Ace of Hearts" in our "deck of cards". And we will continue to pound Gaza until the non-diplomatic solution works.

Resettling Gaza?

This is one of the best articles I have read recently. Love him or hate him, Baruch Marzel definitely thinks out of the box and is willing to do the unusual.

Baruch Marzel has proposed that now that everyone has seen the folly of the disengagement, and everyone sees that the Northern Gaza settlements were crucial as a buffer zone so rockets would not hit Ashkelon, and the Nissanit region to protect Sderot, he claims it is a good opportunity to resettle those areas. Obviously this is the first step in his agenda to resettle the whole Strip.

I do not know why we need to put people in the firing line in order to protect other people. In other words, that should not be the reason to resettle the Gaza Strip. To protect Askelon and Sderot the army needs to destroy the ability to shoot the rockets and on the diplomatic side the desire for quiet (on the side of the Arabs – we already showed how much we want it by the original disengagement) should be pushed. Resettling Gaza, if you believe it should be done, should be done for the purpose of settling the Land of Israel.

Negotiate a deal

I had an idea today I thought I would share with you. I am not completely against negotiating a deal with the terrorists. While I do feel it is wrong to negotiate, I do realize it has been done before and likely is the only method of getting Gilad Shalit back this time (dead or alive – Treppenwitz had a great post on this subject yesterday, take a look at it) is via negotiation.

That being said, I had an interesting idea. If we have to negotiate, it would be better to negotiate from a position of strength. They obviously recognize the value we place on human life and therefore have offered the 1000 to 1 exchange, showing us that an individual Jew is worth so many Arab lives. The problem is if we say yes, it will prompt them to take another hostage next week to secure the release of the next 1000 prisoners we are holding.

As a veiled threat they have begun waving the Ron Arad banner, saying if we do not negotiate quickly, Shalit could disappear like Ron Arad. This makes all us Israelis tremble, as if it happens it means we will never have closure or a conclusion to the situation. Now that they wave the Ron Arad banner, I would like to make my suggestion.

My suggestion is to include Ron Arad in the deal. And not just Ron Arad, but all the captives that are MIA – Yehuda Katz, Tzvi Feldman, Zachary Baumel, Guy Hever, Gilad Shalit, and Ron Arad. If Meshaal returns all these soldiers to us, whether it be in the form of their remains if they are dead (chas veshalom), or in the form of their living bodies, than we will release x number of soldiers (I do not care what number x represents. It could be 1000 for these 6 or 6000 for these 6 or 10000 for these 6, it does not matter).

That’s it. No more games. No more fooling around. Take the high ground. Offer them what they want, if they give us our 6 soldiers we will release x number of their people.

This will put Meshaal in a tight position. Does he have access to the other MIA’s? I do not know, but he threw Ron Arad’s name into the picture, so that means he must know something. If he needs to make it a multi-national effort to retrieve the other 5 soldiers and involve Syria, Iran and whomever else, so be it. Get to work Meshaal and make your contacts locate our soldiers.

And if Olmert won’t offer this deal, maybe Meshaal should.

It would work and there would be tremendous support for it. What Israeli would reject the deal knowing these soldiers have been captives for over 20 years with no end in sight?

Another cool video

Another cool video

New Matisyahu clip

Watch the newest clip of Matisyahu on YouTube . Very interesting interview with a lot of background info on him...

Jul 3, 2006

Call someone else!!!

In the news the past week we have been inundated with everyone “calling on Israel” to do everything from stopping the Gaza offensive (that is doing almost nothing anyway) to releasing the arrested Hamas ministers to cancel the “re-colonization” of Gaza, to you name it whatever else they claim we are doing.

I am sick of it. Stop calling on Israel to do anything. Israel should hang up the phone. We don’t want to talk to you if you call on us anymore. Find someone else to talk to.

Where are all the bleeding hearts calling on the Palestinians to release the captive soldier Gilad Shalit? Where are all the humanitarian concerned organizations and countries calling on the Palestinians to stop killing 18 year olds with a bullet in the head? Where are all the great leaders of the world calling on the Palestinians to stop supporting terror?

Why is it up to us to avert the crisis and his fate is in our hands? Hamas captured him. If they want to avert a crisis, let them release the soldier Shalit and avert the crisis? It is considered humanitarian and acceptable for them to capture and hold Gilad Shalit to no world condemnation (or at best very little), but our response is not acceptable? We are to blame for the crisis?

I am sick of it. Call someone else from now on. I am not picking up the phone any longer. And I hope Olmert hangs up as well.

“And to the House of God we will go with fervor”

The above is a quote from Tehillim. This morning I was zoche to once again go to Har Habayit, the Temple Mount. It has been a number of months since I was last able to go, so I took advantage of the opportunity today and went, despite the group from Bet Shemesh having a very low turnout.

We were presented with a very unique experience and opportunity when, at the last moment, Tuviah Sagiv joined us. Tuviah Sagiv, in case you are not familiar with the name, is the author of the claim that the Temple actually stood a bit further south than what we normally think of. He says the Dome of the Rock is not the place of the Temple, rather the belief that it is is mostly based on Christian and Moslem traditions and not Jewish traditions.

His view is generally discounted by most authorities on the Temple Mount issues, with only a few being machmir according to his opinion and not walking in the part he considers the area of the Temple. The reason for this is that his is a minority opinion and is against the traditions that have been handed down over the generations and that have been written about by chaza”l.

It was a special opportunity to be able to hear his opinion from him firsthand instead of just automatically discounting it. He walked us through the area. What was especially interesting was that he is more machmir, in the sense that he will not walk in the area he considers the Temple area, nor in the area the other opinions consider the proper place. The reason is so as not to upset people, as well as why take the chance..

I am not enough of a master of the sources and issues to have been able to debate him on the topic, and my memory is not good enough to remember the great amount of information and proofs he discussed with us. However, I must say I was extremely impressed by what I considered his honest search for the truth and his willingness to swim against the tides and develop his theory based on his well considered proofs and indications. He had archaeological proofs, as well as textual support and even support from many traditions.

It is not for me to decide who is right and who is wrong regarding the machloket. I do appreciate the seriousness with which he approaches the topic and the forthrightness with which he deals..

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I took the opportunity to daven for personal needs and requests, as well as for the successful return of Gilad Shalit, and all other captive soldiers and Jonathan Pollard. This was a special time as we are about to enter the period of mourning (3 weeks) over the loss of the Temple. To be able to walk on the ground of Temple Mount, feeling the stone and dirt on my bare feet, and think about the destruction as well as thinking about the problems we are undergoing today was a powerful opportunity for introspection and consideration.

Jul 2, 2006

New glasses

I just got my new glasses. I thought I needed a new prescription so I went to a local optometrist and got my eyes checked. It turned out my prescription stayed exactly the same it has been. She told me I might just need new glasses because my lenses were very scratched up.

She gave me a quote for new lenses. They were ridiculously priced. The cost for purchasing new glasses would have cost me between 3800 NIS and 6000 NIS, depending specifically on which level of lenses I would choose. I was not in the mood to go to the bank to take a second mortgage on my home just to get new glasses, so I decided to wait.

A friend of mine told me in conversation about a website he got his glasses on. I asked for some details and he told me he knows a few people who did it and they were all happy so he tried it and it was fine. He got new glasses cheap, for like $15.

I decided I would try it. I figured the risk was worth it. At worst, the glasses would come back the wrong size and maybe a bad prescription and I would have added $15 to the cost of new glasses, but if it came out ok, I would have saved a bucketload of money.

I checked out the website. I sorted through lots of pairs of glasses until I found the frames I wanted that were the right size. They tell you exactly how to measure so you know what size to look for. Then I chose lenses with free coatings. Because of my prescription and multifocal lenses, my glasses cost $62. A little more of a risk, but still worth it I thought.

I finished placing the order and about 2 days later I see the status of my order is “shipped”. This past Friday, about 2.5 weeks later, I got a notice in the mail that we have a package in the post office. My wife went to pick it up and sure enough it was my glasses!

I tried them on and they fit fine. I tried to look out of them and sure enough I could see! It took some time getting used to, as I was used to bifocals with a line and these are transitional multi-focal lenses, but after a little bit of time, I felt comfortable in them.

I spent $62 instead of between $800 and $1200 on glasses. I can’t believe people want to actually ban the internet!!

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