Friday, June 29, 2007

Apple iPhone...

I just don't get it. According to this article, people are already lining up at Apple stores, this article specifically talking about the 5th ave. store in New York. The phone goes on sale this evening at 6 PM. People are waiting in line to buy a $500 or $600 phone that will probably be obsolete anyway sometime in the next 12 months. What's the point? So you can brag you were one of the first owners of an iPhone? Who the hell cares?! Within a year or so, these phones will probably be half the price and twice as good!

What a waste of money!

Sticking It to Wal-Mart...:)

Man pays $4.88 for plasma TV at Wal-Mart

Too bad he got caught...:)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lessons of the Three Weeks

Fair Warning: This one's going to ramble a bit...Sorry.

The Three Weeks will arrive next week. We're going to fast, have 21 days of no music, no shaving (for the guys, anyway), no haircuts, no simchas. The last nine days of those three weeks, at least for Ashkenazim, there will be no eating meat or drinking wine, either (not that I drink wine anyway - yuck!). Then, on the final day, on Tish'a B'Av, we're going to sit on the floor, cry and mourn the tragedies that have befallen us over the last 3300+ years. When it's over, we'll go about our business and eventually start getting ready for Rosh Hashana.

Very nice. Even touching. But what meaning does all this have? For almost 2000 years, since the destruction of the second Bais HaMikdash, we've been doing this year after year after year. And there seems to be no end in sight. Sure, we hope every day that Moshiach will come. Many of us even believe the Geulah has already started with the creation of the State of Israel and seeing frightening prophecies coming alive.

BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Chazal gave us many reasons why the tragedies of Shiv'a Asar B'Tammuz and Tish'a B'Av took place. I'd like to examine two of them and see how far we've come fixing these problems over the last 2000 years.

1. The Bais HaMikdash was destroyed because of Sin'as Chinam - senseless hatred of Jews toward one another. Well, it's been nearly 2000 years, and that hatred doesn't seem to have gone away. I'm not even going to touch any other form or Judaism but Orthodox (and yes, this also excludes the Chareidi/Yeshivish world). Look at us! Rarely do two sect of Orthodox Judaism get along with each other. Rarely do Yeshivas with different outlooks see eye to eye. This person isn't frum "enough." That one is "too" frum.

Come one! Who cares how one dresses or what one eats? Are they following halacha? Are they eating kosher and keeping Shabbos and Taharah HaMishpacha? Do they learn Torah at regular times? Are they part of your overall city/town/village community? Yes, they are. Sometimes we don't necessarily have reason to like one another, and sometimes we even might have reason to dislike one another, but the Bais HaMikdash will only be rebuilt through Ahavas Chinam. You don't like how that person davens? Love him anyway. He may be saying different words in a different order, but who cares? He may eat Kitniyos on Pesach (lucky guy!!), but he is not eating chametz.

2. The Navi (Yirmiyahu) asked God - why did you destroy the Bais HaMikdash? God answered because the Jews had left His Torah and it ways. For the first Bayis, this is a great answer. Yes, they were idol-worshippers, acted immorally, and were murderers. But what about the second Bayis, the Medrash asks? Everyone was "frum" at that time! Answer the Medrash because they didn't learn Torah. But of course they did, is the incredulous reply. Yes, says the Medrash, but they didn't say Bircas HaTorah. Huh? says the Medrash? Of course they did. Ah, but they didn't mean it. They learned Torah as an academic exercise. THEY DID NOT INTERNALIZE THEIR LEARNING. Torah was essentially a fun thing to do and use to exercise the brain, not to internalize its wisdom and make it part of oneself.

Have we learned differently today? I don't believe so. Torah is still widely learned as an academic exercise, a way to create Sugyas, to create halacha, to create chumras. In all my time in Yeshiva, one person who got Semicha there actually came out the way a Ben-Torah should come out. He is compassionate, caring, and an all around great person. Truly a Tzadik who cares about his fellow Jews.

I know I'm being harsh, but it's so disheartening to see that there has been no advancement toward the Geulah Shleima - the completed Geulah.

There is a Memra (saying) that Moshiach will only come when Bnai Yisrael are all Chayavim or all Zakaim. One of my rabbeim in high school once told me a beautiful spin on this saying that is very relevant to the state of the Jewish people today. He said chayavim doesn't necessarily mean everyone is sinful and zakaim doesn't necessarily mean everyone only does Mitzvos. Rather, this is a state of mind.

Zakaim means that I can be Litvish, someone else Chasidish, another Mizrachi, and yet another Sefardi, any one of an infinite number of chasidish groups, Yeshivish, or any other kind of Halacha following Judaism and in this huge fray, everyone gets along, loves another, respects one another, and acknowledges that, while they each have different minhagim or even follow certain different Halachos, Shiv'im Panim LaTorah, there are many ways to be a Torah observant Jew. This would be a utopia, and the ultimate in what it means to be a Jew - B'lev Echad K'Ish Echad - One Nation - Hashem's Nation.

The other side of the coin is not so rosy and is, unfortunately, what we have today: chayavim. In this case it means - Reuvain is Yeshivish, Shimon is Mizrachi, Levi is Chasidish, etc. and each one says the others are not practicing the "Emes" (whatever that means), that the others are not only not practicing Halachic Judaism, but even worse, it's not even kosher to daven in the others' shuls.

I'm not going to sit here and write what group does what and how they act, though I could tell incidents that would shock and despair. Doing so would make me just as guilty as what I am accusing these groups of doing. Rather I would say - be careful when judging another type of Yiddishkeit. If they are following Halacha, then they are following Halacha. What gives anyone else the right to judge anyone else based on a different set of minhagim or a different opinion of what the halacha is. A good example: Ashkenazim do not eat kitniyos on Pesach, while Sefardim do. Does this mean, from the Ashkenazik point of view, that Sefardim eat Chametz on Pesach? I've heard it said yes. This also goes for the minhag of not eating Gebrokhts on Pesach.

Moshiach will only come when we are all Zakai or all Chayav. We are an Am Kshe Oref, aren't we? In 2000 years, we've refused to change our ways, to show Ahavas Chinam, even in a place where Ahava isn't necessarily warranted. The question is, how does one feel any kind of Ahava toward someone who makes you pasul just because you don't do as they do?

Good for the Goose...

Wow! There's so much happening politically, it's hard to know where to start. First, there's the subpoena to the White House. Then there's the White House's rejection, citing "executive privilege." That's a good one. I can't to see what happens on January 19, 2009. This is supposed to be Bush's last day in office. Think it will be? I sure hope so, but the Bush administration has trampled on the Constitution so much, at this point it's just an illegible, shredded piece of paper with no meaning to it whatsoever. Let's all just hope Bush doesn't cite "executive privilege" or "national emergency" (I'm sure his administration will find a way to make one up), or some other story so he can hold on to White House indefinitely.

Then, there's Congress' vote to give themselves yet another pay raise!! They are getting a "cost of living" raise of $4400, bringing their salaries to almost $170,000 a year. Gee, it must be nice to sit on your ass all year, accept political contributions and bribes from lobbyists who are only looking out for their own interest (yay healthcare industry!!), making sure some law get passed that are detrimental to their constituents, and some laws that would benefit us all tremendously (again, yay healthcare industry!!) remain nothing more than vague suggestions.

Want to read all about all this? Check out today's headlines on Reuters, AP, and Yahoo! News.

Final Note: Funny, how now that the Dems have their own version of Kenneth Starr in Leahy, the Republicans are complaining about how unfair all this "Democrat persecution" of the GOP is. Funny how good ol' Kenny wasn't even a member of congress, just a Republican lackey with no political standing and looking for pure Lashon Hara on Clinton (so, he had sex in the Oval Office with someone other than his wife; the job he did as president has nothing to do with that and didn't make him any less of a great president) just to make Clinton look bad, regardless of the amazing job he did in office. Even more funny how the person in charge of the committee investigating actual, political wrongdoings of the Bush Administration is actually a member of Congress who is sick, like the rest of us, of Bush's and Cheney's merry little trampling of the law while believing they are far above it.

Ah, Those Moderates in Fatah...

For all you who think Fatah is so great and moderate and that they no longer call for the destruction of Israel, Arutz 7 published this article today, in which the IDF (Israel Defence Force, aka Tzaha"l) engaged in heavy fighting not in Gaza (though they did that too and knocked off about a dozen terrorists), but in the Shomron city of Shechem (Nablus), where

Heavy fighting took place overnight in Judea and Samaria, with IDF forces searching parts of Shechem, located 25 miles east of Herzilya, to catch wanted terrorists. The IDF waged anti-terror battles in Gaza as well.

Dozens of terrorists laid ambushes for soldiers along the narrow roads of the PA-controlled city of Shechem. Three IDF soldiers were moderately wounded by a bomb and shooting attack in Shechem. They were airlifted to Beilinson hospital in Petach Tikva. Two others were shot and lightly wounded.

The IDF rounded up eight wanted terrorists overnight. A Fatah terrorist was arrested in Shechem and four Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorists were caught near Ramallah. Three others were arrested in Bethlehem and Hevron.
As I said, so much for the "moderate" Fatah. Someone once mentioned the optimism and pragmatism of the Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) Movement and how they think land for peace will work. What they don't seem to get is when you reward terrorism, the terrorism simply becomes worse, as has happened in the past in the wake of the unfortunate Oslo Accords (for which, I might remind you, Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize, which should have been revoked when he turned down final peace with Israel in 2001). It's like a child with bad behavior. If you reward bad behavior, the behavior becomes worse. Same with terrorists, even (or should I say especially) when those terrorists like to hide behind the guise of being a legitimate government.

Now, a solution, at one point, might have been to simply and completely wipe out all the terrorists, but with Palestinian children and society in general being brainwashed to believe the Jews are so terrible and all of us are deserving of nothing less than death, where does it end? Genocide is obviously not an option, nor one I would ever condone. That's just evil.

Perhaps Rabbi Kahane was correct when he advocated expulsion. Yes, I know Kach is considered to be a "terrorist" organization, which is the most idiotic thing I've ever heard. Someone out there spread rumors that Kach advocated killing off ALL the Palestinians, but this is something Rabbi Kahane opposed completely and was not part of the thinking of the Kach movement. Rabbi Kahane advocated expulsion to other Arab lands as a solution if the Arabs in Israel did not want to accept Israeli rule. And expulsion is no less than has happened to the Jews several times over the last 2000 years.

Palestinians: You don't like living under Israeli rule, go to Jordan, or Syria, or any other number of Arab countries. Remember, Jordan was created for YOU, and when Jordan attacked Israel in 1967, Israel conquered land. You don't like it? Take it up with the Jordanian government.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Definitely don't. I know this from personal, and very expensive, experience...

PA Children Learn That Death is Preferable to Life

Gee, there's a surprise. Not that this is news, but it just confirms this is still going on. According to this Arutz 7 article, children in schools are taught it's better to "seek death" while seeking victory.

The irony is, by the time they're done, if they've won, who will live in "Palestine?"

Of course, this ties in to this article, in which a twelve year old Palestinian boy was killed during an Israeli incursion into Gaza. The Israelis, of course, were carrying out counter-terror attacks, which the AP article didn't mention.

Now, obviously, based on the educational system in the PA, this kid must have been thrilled to die!! So, what's the problem?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Well, Now, This Is An Interesting Article...

Came across this article today. It discusses a meeting between the Egyptian and Saudi rulers regarding the current Palestinian political situation. A couple points interested me:

The first was a not-so-true comment made by the Egyptian spokesman:

"We are standing by the elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is a symbol of Palestinian legitimacy, chosen by the Palestinian people in free and fair elections," Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's spokesman Suleiman Awwad told reporters after the meeting between Mubarak and Saudi King Abdullah.
Ok, last I checked, Hamas had actually won the elections, not Abbas, though he did remain president of the PA. Not that I'm siding with Hamas. Or Fatah, for that matter. They're all terrorists. However, it's interesting the author of the article did mention himself the inaccuracy of Awwad's statement.

The second was far more interesting. It seems Iran does not have the widespread support of the Arab world it thinks it has. Neither Egypt nor the Saudis want the Iranians to gain a foothold in the PA for fear that foothold might spread to their own countries and cause chaos and mayhem there:
Egypt and Saudi Arabia have much to lose in the intra-Palestinian struggle. A strong Hamas ruling Gaza could encourage Egypt's own powerful Islamic opposition, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. As a bastion of Sunni Islam and the Arab world's main power broker, conservative Saudi Arabia also worries about Hamas, which has strong links to the kingdom's main foe — Shiite-ruled Iran — and could empower Saudi Islamic militants in the kingdom.
Interesting, that. Now that their own interests might be harmed, suddenly having Hamas rule is not such a good idea for them.

Best Bet of the Century...

And this award goes to: STEVEN SPIELBERG, who is still cashing in on a bet he made with George Lucas 30 years ago. Click on Spielberg's name to find out more...

Stupid Crook Time...

And the "Stupid Crook of the Week" Award Goes To...

Great Post from DovBear...

DovBear wrote a great post about the Wal Mart issue in Monsey, and more importantly, about the evils of Wal Mart in general. I have nothing to add except if anyone is interested in reading more about this and other similar situations, especially about the "outsourcing" of jobs to other countries and taking those jobs away from Americans who really need them, read Senator Byron Dorgan's (D-N. Dakota) entitled Take This Job and Ship It. It's well worth the read.






On Emperor Justinian and G.W. Bush

I got into a short debate with someone on another blog and I seem to have been grossly misunderstood, so I decided to elucidate here.

I made allusions to the similarities between G.W. and Justinian I, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire during the 6th century, AD.

I would like to direct my readers to this article about the time period. I'm going to copy anything out of there as the article explains things better than I can.

Basically, Justinian could not abide by the Western Empire being in the hands of barbarians, and so, he went to war with them and at the same time pretty much devastated, both physically and economically, the land he was trying to reconquer ( and that conquest was short-lived) from the Ostrogoths and Lombards.

Bush is the same. He couldn't stand it that Hussein was still in power. He used false information to fool the public and congress into supporting his war. He has, in his years as president, devastated his own country economically. Republicans can say all they want about how that's not true, but Clinton left the Oval Office with a surplus in the budget. Bush will not be able to say the same. Bush has done little to address domestic issues (except, apparently, the all-important issues of Gay Marriage and Flag Burning). I could go on and on, but I've said all this before.

I also mentioned in this debate that the Arab world now hates the US, and the country they see as the US's proxy in the Middle East, even more than they ever did because of the Bush Crusade. Sure, they hated the US and Israel before. But now it's far worse. See this post.

Medical Applications for Copper

Now, this is great!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Got a Good Chuckle from This...

I, too, like many men, love to grill, although I'm actually the cook in the house. Still, can imagine how the dad must feel...

Chareidi Feudal System...

Rampant poverty. Control by a few elite. Limited (if any) education.

Sounds like the Middle Ages, doesn't it (less the diseases)? Well, it's not. It's the Yeshivish/Chareidi world. The, if you will, other part of the non-frum world.

So many people love to pontificate about how horrible the Conservative and Reform Movements are in regard to Judaism. They don't keep Torah, are Mechalel Shabbos, etc. Ok. But most of them are nice and I'm tired about hearing how awful they are. On a personal level, my in-laws, who are Conservative, have helped us immensely over the years. Can't say the same, except for one instance, of the Chareidi/Yeshivish, or even the regular frum community.

But nobody wants to admit that the Yeshivish/Chareidi community are just as not frum as the other groups. I'm not sure I understand why. Sure, you get the reasons of they keep Mitzvos. So what. It's not even really true. They keep some Mitzvos, the ones they choose to keep, just like the Conservative and Reform Movement.

Instead, what you have a modified version of the Medieval Feudal system. You the overlords, today known as the Chareidi "Gedolim," who essentially control all aspects of one's life, including how one should think. Ed, from a few posts ago, is a blaring example of this. Chareidim no longer think for themselves. They allow their "Gedolim" to do the thinking for them. The result is the "Gedolim" have far too much power over their "peasant" population. The Gedolim have become so powerful, so absolutely powerful, that I fear, as happens with power, they have become corrupt as well. Part of the fault is their own, part goes to their "handlers," the Kana'im who surround these "Gedolim" and control all the "Gedolim" see and hear, kind of the way the evil advisors would to their lord in Medieval society.

These "Gedolim," with their absolute power, control their population by keeping them economically depressed. There is more poverty now in the Chareidi community than there ever was before. But that poverty is also due in part to the "Gedolim" controlling how educated a person becomes. In Israel, in the Chareidi schools, it is assur to learn secular studies past a certain age. In the Chareidi community, women may now only be educated so far, and no more. The Chareidi "Gedolim" fear so much for their power, they can't allow others to figure out there is more the world than their twisted version of the Emes. And certainly not the women in their society. See this post.

And speaking of Emes, the Chareidi version of is apparently the only correct version of it, and anything else is pure sheker. This too goes against a very basic concept of Yiddishkeit - "Shiv'im Panim La'Torah - the Torah has seventy faces" - meaning there's more than one way to skin a cat (pardon the cliche). There is more than one correct way to interpret Torah, and when the Chareidiim reject all other interpretations, they also reject what it is to be Jewish. And by threatening their followers with the indisputable FACT that their is no other Emes, and that to believe so is tantamount to heresy, well, by doing that they have achieved thought control as well.

So it seems to me this is what the Yeshivish/Chareidi community has become - a pseudo-Medieval society that its leaders perpetuate because to change it would mean to lose power.

Baseball in Israel!!

Now I can move there!!!

See here for article and photos from Arutz 7.

So Long, Old Friend. Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen...

Well, my wife and I watched the series finale (actually the last two episodes) of Stargate, SG1, last night. The finale was great, and its theme was time travel (sort of). It was like saying goodbye to an old friend (10 years is about 1.3 years less than a third of my life...).

Yeah, yeah, I know there will be, come this fall, two DVD movies, hopefully the first two of many. But still, this was a great show, lots of fun to watch, lots of (ten years' worth) of inside jokes. And Teal'C. Don't forget Teal'C. Chris Judge played him flawlessly for ten years.

And yes, the show did kind of "jump the shark" once RIchard Anderson, who played the irreverent Colonel, then General, Jack O'Neill (the complete opposite of Anderson's MacGyver, by the way).

But still, it was a GREAT SHOW. And while MASH will ALWAYS be my absolute favorite show, I think Stargate, at the end of the day, will take its place at a very, very close second, above the Star Treks and numerous others.

So long, old friends. Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen...

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Evidence That The Chareidi/Yeshivish World Is in the Process of Self-Destruction

I don't think I've ever discussed this aspect of the Yeshivish/Chareidi world here. This being the topic of education. What's been happening over the last generation or so is that the men in that world are groomed only to sit in Yeshiva and then Kollel all day while the women get educations and jobs.

In Israel, the situation come to the point, as this Ha'aretz article illustrates, where the men just sit and learn and the women are the breadwinners in the family. The women get the education, make the money, run the household.

But, oh, no!! The "Gedolim" in Israel (whose wives and daughters probably had to do the same thing - breadwinning) have caught on the women have gained, in the words of Ha'Aretz, an

accumulation of power, education and status at the men's expense - perhaps too much power, education and status.

This, at least, is one of the explanations for the revolution the rabbis are pushing to change the status of women in ultra-Orthodox society.
The "Gedolim" decided that women basically can't get an education beyond a teaching certificate (which will cause inferior education), and only teachers with a teaching certificate may teach at the seminaries. Those with Masters' degrees are disqualified. Pretty sad.

I'm not going to quote the whole article here. What I want to discuss is these peoples' self destruction.

Are these "rabbis" completely nuts?! Let's see. Less and less education (though apparently, at least for now, these girls will receive the same salaries as those with BA's, until those with BA's object, and rightfully so). Less chance to advance because the "rabbis" are scared of women with too much power. A burgeoning supply of teachers. Eventually, there will be too many teachers and not enough classroom. But, if these girls are only allowed to get a teaching certificate, what are they supposed to do? And this for fear of what? Another women's lib movement?

Come on, "rabbis!!" Knock it off. You can't have everything. Eventually, the complaints to the Education Ministry in Israel will eventually drown out your demands for the same salary for these poorly, through no fault of their own, educated women.

A prominent rabbi in Cleveland recently said there is no such thing as Gedolim any more. I agree with him. These "rabbis" running around act like anything but how a Gadol should act. They are scared of anything that doesn't fit into their little box.

They are, in essence, the Taliban of Judaism. I'm sorry. These people aren't rabbanim, talmidei chachamim, and certainly not gedolim. They are a bunch of little men with over-inflated egos who are scared of losing their power over their population.

The Chareidi/Yeshivish world, at least in Israel, though I'm sure the US will follow suit, is on the road to self-destruction. And you know what? The world will be a better place without them. As I've stated before, these people aren't frum, they just pretend to be. They pretend to internalize their Torah. They pretend to look frum. But their form or Judaism is no more a kosher form of Judaism than that of the Reform Movement. And at least the Refrom Jews are nice to other people...

Hattip: Emes Ve-Emunah.

This Speaks for Itself

Need I say more?

Renewable Energy Bill

So, the Senate passed a Renewable Energy Bill yesterday, after much negotiation and Republican rejection of things that really needed to not be rejected. Read the article here.

Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, wasn't so happy with the results, and with good reason:

Earlier in the day Reid could not hide his displeasure as Republicans blocked one of the Democrats' top priorities, a $32 billion tax package aimed at boosting renewable fuels, energy efficiency and clean energy programs. The Republicans didn't like the $29 billion in additional taxes on oil companies that the plan required to pay for the new alternative energy subsidies.

"Big Oil seems to do pretty well here on Capitol Hill," Reid told reporters, making no effort to hide his sarcasm

Republicans "didn't like the $29 billion in additional taxes on oil companies?!" What, just because they "plan" to pay for new alternative energy subsidies? How about this: Tax them, and the tax money goes to just that goal of finding alternative energy sources and guess what? They don't have to subsidize as much any more.

Of course, if the Democrats hadn't capitulated to Bush and his illegal war in Iraq and far too long was in Afghanistan, those funds might have actually been available. Funny, that.

Boneheaded Idea of the Week

Bibi Netanyahu has suggested Jordan send it's "Badr" Brigade, which is Jordan's Palestinian force, to Yehuda and Shomron saying they can "create law and order..."

Ok, Bibi. You're going to bring in more Palestinians to control other Palestinians? Remember that whole "Right of Return" thing? Don't you think sending in more armed Arabs into Israel controlled land might facilitate that?

Unfortunately, Bibi seems to think PA Prez Abu Mahzen (Abbas) has "good intention." Yeah, right. So did Arafat, right? I mean after all, his intentions must have been noble - he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his "good" intentions...


For the entire article, click here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

International Space Station.

Yes, it's been a great, big waste of money, is way over budget, and way, way off schedule for completion.

Despite all that, it's still a very pretty site when you see it pass overhead, as I did tonight. I took these pictures myself with, of all things, my cell phone. It looked better in real life, and next time, I'll use a real camera.


Ed Tu...Brute?

Sorry, couldn't resist that one...

Ok, debunking time:

Ed, you said Rav Hirsch saw the nolad because he saw what the Zionists would do almost 100 years after the Zionists approached him and asked him to be involved. He saw they would create a country full of Pritzus, etc. etc. etc. 
And yes, he was right. Because he DIDN'T get involved!! If he and the other Rabbanim had gotten involved, it's quite likely things would have been much different (and likely, no one's peyos would have been sheared off...)
Ed, you said my remark about inflated ego and over-self-righteousness was unprovoked (actually you said unprovocked, whatever that means...). Perhaps it was taken as an attack, but it wasn't. It was a reality.
Ed, you said I was clueless about Yehuda Kolko. Maybe in your world he's a hero, but in mine, and pretty much most other normal people, he's a child molester who deserves to rot in jail for the next 100 years. And his crimes were covered up for nearly 40 years. There are many articles and eyewitness account to prove this. R' Maryles' (whom you see as a Kofer) site is a good place to start.
Ed, you said these right wing extremists, you among them, obviously, are Kedoshim. Puh-Leaze! They are repressed nut cases who look for any opportunity to cause mass discord. It was only after a bunch of Rabbanim finally opened their mouths yesterday that they finally, mostly, dispersed, although apparently one of them wanted to plant a homemade bomb along the parade route.
Ed, you said what I said about Emmanuel was Lashon Hara. That's bs, and you know it. I named no names, and this is something that happened over twenty years ago. I doubt you know anyone who lived there at the time.
Ed, you said there is no gay mikva in Geula. Ok, maybe you're right. I should have called it a frum, gay bathhouse. Where children get  molested...
Ed, you called me names and made fun of me. That's ok. I make fun of you all the time. So do a lot of others. I wasn't being sarcastic until you came along. And my invitation stands. Want to act nice and have a good discussion, even a good argument, great. You want to be nasty and abusive, then my original comment still stands...
Bye, now...:)


Looky here, Ed. You got a post with your name as the title.

Earlier today, folks, I told Ed to go to hell. You see, he likes to spout all sorts of crap to defend Chareidim, and even when there is proof he is wrong, he still clings to his misguided views, which are, quite simply, pure shtus. And hevel. There was a discussion going on at Emes Ve-Emunah and someone asked a question on the comments, which I answered.

Ed, of course, became furious because of what I said. Here's the thread:

Ed spewing, I mean yelling:

>This is in due in a large part to the Rabbonim in Europe NOT getting involved with Zionism in the 19th century, even when the Zionist asked them to be involved.

From there:

"Did Rav Hirsch, as a chacham should, see the nolad?"


ed | 06.21.07 - 12:21 pm | #

Ed being blind...
>No. It's never occurred to them because of their inflated egos and over-self-righteousness.

That was downright nasty of you and totaly unprovocked. Why don't you simply stick your head back to your blog and keep it there as you promised you would?

>But then, when something similar happens within their community, as has happened many times, most notably with "rabbi" Yehuda Kolko, it tends to get swept under the rug because, after all, "it can't happen in our community..."

Thanks for proving how clueless you are.

>Part of the problem, of their obsession, is that they are so far to the extreme, that there is nothing to balance it and anything that goes against their ideology gets them all fired up.

Its called Kedoshim Tiyu, words that get conveniently ignored in your semi-secularist lifestyle.

>I used to live in the "frum" city of Emmanuel in Samaria. It was a city of super duper ultra-Orthodox folks. There were two instances, very close to each other, where the wives of two very chasidishe guys in the town turned out to be prostituting when their husbands went to work. This not uncommon in that world,

Harry, that's outright Loshon Hora.

>And didn't I read somewhere that there is a gay mikveh in Geula?

No there isn't.

Then I told Ed to go to hell because he's such a doofus.

Then Ed called me names:
From Barak's (or is it Balak?) blog:

"I invite positive discussion and welcome it. I DO NOT want, and I will delete, anything sarcastic or deriding posted on the comments."

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!!!!!!!!

Yo, Ed. See, it was a discussion until you came along. But, as usual, you had to bring the discussion down to your level of ignorance and blind, stupid faith.

I never called you names, dude. Maybe telling to go to hell was out of line, and Rabbi Maryles did delete the comment, which I appreciate, and for which I apologized, personally, to Rabbi Maryles.

But everything I've said, Ed, I've backed up, either with proof, logic, or simple common sense. Your method is scream 'em down until they can no longer be heard.

In my next post, I'm going to debunk Ed's spews. Stay tuned...

Go to Israel, Have Sex...

So, the big buzz today in the blogging world is using sex to attract tourism to Israel. Pretty sad, but in a society that cares nothing for holiness or religion, it's kind of hard to attract people to come to Israel based on that, isn't it. I don't have a lot to add here, but you can go here, here, and here.


Funny how naive people can be. Or stupid. Or blind. Or all three (like Bush...[sorry, couldn't resist that, but he also has to have evil in his description]).

Arutz 7 has an interesting photo essay about a Peace Now anti "occupation" protest and a counter protest by Women in Green (holding really cool placards that said things like "Rabbi Kahane was right..."). I noticed one picture of the back of a man's t-shirt that says, in Hebrew "Tov Shalom Me'Eretz Yisrael Ha'Shleima - Peace Is Better Than a Whole [unbroken] Eretz Yisrael" - in other words, better to give land away and have peace than keep it and have terrorism rampant.

I find it fascinating these people actually believe the Palestinians would actually be satisfied with pre-1967 borders. First of all, there was no peace before 1967. Israel was in a state of constant alert and officially at war with pretty much the entire Arab World. Second, the Palestinians have stated, at every possible opportunity, at least in Arabic that they want all of Israel and the Jews out of the entire country (though they sing a completely different tune in English). Even a "moderate" like Abbas has still never taken out of the PLO charter that they are aiming for the destruction of Israel, despite numerous demands by Israel and US over the last decade and a half that they do so (don't forget, Abbas is the one who funded the infamous Munich Massacre at the 1972 Olympics and was already then a high ranking member of the PLO; for more info, go here).

But I guess ignorance, in the case of Shalom Achshav Activists, really is bliss.

It's interesting to note that Shalom (peace) and Shalem (complete/whole) have the same Hebrew three letter root: Shin, Lamed, Mem. Do they really thing without a whole, complete Eretz Yisrael "Shleima" there would "Shalom," peace? How can one exist without the other?

On the other hand, if the Jewish Nation can't be at peace with itself, if even Orthodox Jews can't be at peace with one another, how can the Land of the Jewish People be at peace?

In More News Stating the Obvious...

Arab U.S. Prof. Sees PA Society Heading for Nowhere. No. Really?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Funny Thing Happened to Me Today...

I bumped into a former co-Rosh Yeshiva (my old one has two younger, one really old). Dude didn't even recognize me! And to be quite honest, I'm not the most forgettable guy on the planet...

Or am I? :)

But I got my revenge! It took me several seconds to remember Rabbi G's last name! So there! HA!! I showed him!!!

Hamas Anticipates Inheriting Fatah Arms in Judea and Samaria

Maybe this should be a warning against further arming Fatah...If they could do it in Gaza, why not Yehuda and Shomron?

A Moment of Sanity in the Chareidi World...

Who'd have thunk it? According to this article from Arutz 7, some Chareidi Rabbanim in Bnei Brak are telling the protesters to knock it off:

Leading hareidi-religious rabbis say that anti-Gay Pride Parade protests should be put on a low burner. "Prayers are more effective than rallies," they say.

Rabbi Shmuel HaLevy Vozner, Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, and other leading rabbinical sages in Bnei Brak have issued a statement against participation in the "protests and similar events" against the upcoming gay-pride parade in Jerusalem...

"We again warn regarding the gathering of youngsters in the streets of Bnei Brak for protests and similar events," the rabbis wrote, "and we hereby present our position, the position of Torah, that the Sages are not pleased with these gatherings, and whoever studies Torah should guard himself and stay away from them."

The rabbis even say that it is known that the organizers are reckless and "do not have fear of G-d opposite them, and joining up with them is a spiritual danger... A significant number of them are not yeshiva students, but youngsters from other towns who are looking for an excuse to go wild, burn trash bins and destroy public property... Our strength is in our mouths, in prayer to G-d that He will bring down a spirit of purity to enable us to serve Him truly."

A broadcaster on a hareidi radio station told Army Radio today that even participation in "peaceful" demonstrations is not recommended. "We feel that the best way to deal with this issue is quietly," he explained, "so as not to expose our children any more than necessary to this evil [of homosexual behavior]."

Some rav in Bnei Brak must have read my blog, and maybe a bunch of others, denouncing the violence of the protesters.

I especially like the last bit about not exposing children to all this. As I mentioned earlier, none of these kids should even know what sex is, much homosexuality.

The question I have is: Why didn't these Rabbanim say something last week? Further, now that the fires have been stoked to a very high heat, will anyone listen to them? Even after these rabbis' admonitions, the Chareidim still plan on protesting:
At the same time, placards have been posted around the city calling to "bodily block the disgrace" - though without violence. The posters read, "At 5 PM, we will stand at the corner of Agron and King David Streets, and along the way up to Liberty Bell Park, and we will block the march of disgrace with our bodies. There is no need to lift a hand, no need to yell or condemn. We will stand quietly and with a prayer to the G-d of Israel, and we will not move until the organizers of the march and the police understand that the march cannot happen and they will disperse to their homes. We call upon the people for whom Jerusalem is precious to take part." Separate areas for men and women will be available.

They're saying it's going to be quiet, and let's hope it will. But will it, really? I have my serious doubts. We'll all find out tomorrow.

Oh, and the part about having separate areas for men and women? That's just too precious. Might be more tznius in this case to have the men blocking the lesbians and the women blocking the gay men...:)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Pill Industry

Yes, Lemont. Yes it is. Not surprising, though,since the drug industry is one of those lobbies that runs Washington. It's all about the Almighty Dollar...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hilarious, Yet Kind of Sad...

And so, while the Chareidim merrily caused yet another huge Chilul Hashem last night (see previous posts), posters in Jerusalem went up in the middle of the night, right next to the ones calling for protests against the Gay Pride Parade. These posters, however, have a bit of a different tone. They take the high road, perhaps even the moral road, the non-violent road, in complete opposition to the way the Chareidim have been acting these last two weeks.

See these posters for yourself and see how the Chilul Hashem caused by the Chareidim continues as the posters denounce Sin'as Chinam. The Chareidim, in acting so despicably, have given those organizing and supporting the Gay Pride Parade the means to further the Chilul Hashem perpetrated by the Chareidim and make the Chareidim look even worse than they already are by taking the calm, high road.

Hattip: DovBear

Here's a Disturbing Picture...

What's wrong with this picture? After all, it's just a little kid, right?

Wrong. It's a picture of a little kid at the protest against the Gay Pride Parade set to take place in Jerusalem this Thursday.

I can't speak for kids in the US, but when I was this kid's age (probably somewhere between 8 and 12) I had no concept of sex in and of itself, much less of homosexuality. It is EXTREMELY inappropriate to bring children to a protest such as this, children who shouldn't really understand what this protest is about. It just goes to further prove that none of this was done L'Shem Shamayim...

Gay Pride Parade Protest - Chilul Hashem Confirmed

Well, God said, "I'll give you so-called 'Chareidis' another chance to fix the Chilul Hashem you caused six months ago." And Chareidi said, "Yeah, like we're gonna take it..."

Hashem doesn't always give second chances to right a wrong. Here, He did, but in this case, the Chareidim in Israel took that chance and threw back in God's face, essentially telling Him to Bleep Off, because it was more important to burn and smash things and stone a bus than to protest peacefully and let God take care of the rest.

The lack of Emunas Hashem in the Chareidi world boggles the mind. These are people who are supposedly Kana'im in the name of Hashem, and yet when it comes to actually having faith that He knows what He is doing, all that Kana'us comes to nothing. The Chareidi "Gedolim" advocated the violence and did nothing to prevent it, and mentioned here.

All this just proves that at this point, as the Chareidim have taken themselves out of the Klal of be Jewish legitimate Orthodox Jewry, it is time to simply ignore them and treat them as they treat the rest of the Orthodox world, as just yet another form of non-Torah Orthodox Judaism.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Newsweek Article

I came across this very interesting Newsweek article today. It discusses the situation in Gaza and the West Bank.
But what I found more interesting was The US's confidence that Democracy should work for all countries, no matter their cultural background or, more importantly, their lack of desire to be a democracy.
The US fails to understand that not every country needs to be, or even should be, a democracy. Perhaps the US, which has failed miserably to impose its ideals in other countries, should simply stick to governing the US and let other countries worry about their own problems. The US is currently stuck in Iraq with no "exit strategy" because Iraq is not a place that should be a democracy and it is a place that is currently failing as a democracy. Iraq and the Palestinian Authority are clear examples of what happens when a government tries to impose its ideals on a country that does not share the same ideals. It is, in the end, the US's fault, for example, that Hamas ended up in power in Gaza because it was the US that insisted elections be held, despite Abbas' attempts to delay the 2006 elections:

The Israelis didn't want Palestinian elections back in January 2006. Even Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, had been worried about them and kept asking for delays. As early as the spring of 2005, Abbas had warned American officials that he did not have the popular support to disarm Hamas, the Islamist party that turned suicide terror bombings into a standard tactic in Israel and which both Abbas and the Israelis saw was growing in power. But Bush administration officials insisted, confident of the curative powers of democracy. Later, after Hamas stunned the world by winning control of the Palestinian Parliament, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claimed: "Nobody saw it coming."
The line could describe much of what has resulted from George W. Bush's efforts to transform the world—or at least one part of it, the Middle East.

How could you not have seen it coming?! Did you really expect to impose your ideals on other cultures and expect those cultures would simply say, "Oh, yes, US! You obviously know best so we'll just do everything you tell us to do..."?!
The next American president will have to grapple with a Middle East that is messier and quite possibly angrier than before 9/11. But also, in a larger sense, he or she will have to confront anew a harsh lesson in the limits of power. America can only be, at best, a guiding hand behind an international system that is disposed to democracy and open markets. Bush is himself coming to acknowledge this, especially by maintaining a multilateral front with the Europeans to deal with the nuclear threat from Iran. Rice, in her NEWSWEEK interview, acknowledged that the administration had scaled down its hopes for "transformational" policy. "We're laying the foundations for someone else to succeed in the future, and I think that's fine." But right now, success looks very far away indeed.

Gee, thanks Condi! You left the Mid East a mess, the Arabs pretty much hate everyone now, and all you end up doing is saying, "oh, yeah, we're laying the foundation and the next president can clean up our mess." And you "think that's fine?!" Say it like it is!! You screwed up and you don't have any idea how to fix it. So, you just lay the responsibility on someone else!
This is typical Republican Modus Operandi: Screw up the country, the world, and then say "oh, we're laying the foundation for someone else to succeed in the future..." Just lovely. How about from now on we just skip the step of having Republicans in office and try to make the world a better place, since all the Republicans seem able to do is screw it worse and worse every time they're in power, thus making the mess harder and harder for a competent administration to clean it up and put things right.

Along the Lines of Ignorance about Glatt...

...and how so many have been brainwashed about it: Ta Shmah

Hattip: Rafi G

A Smoke-Free Israel?!

And this from this morning Artuz 7:

Head of PM's Economic Council Calls For Smoke-Free Israel

Professor Manuel Trachtenberg, who heads Israel’s National Economics Council, says Israel can and should eradicate smoking entirely – and that the IDF is the place to start.

“Turning Israel into a country without smoking is an attainable goal,” Trachtenberg told a conference on medical development at Haifa’s Technion last week.

Ok, so, like, what planet is this guy from?! Stop cigarette smoking in Israel? ISRAEL?! I mean, smoking is Israel's national pastime! It's like asking Americans to give up sports and movies!

If that happens, Moshiach can't be too far behind...

Poetic Justice?

Saw this item this morning on Artuz 7's News Report:

Hamas Takes Away Peace Prize From Arafat
The home of deceased PLO chief Yassir Arafat was looted Saturday, with Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize taken, along with his various military uniforms. Arafat received the prize together with Israel’s new president Shimon Peres and former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin after signing the Oslo Accords.
That's appropriate!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Random Post of the Day...

Okay, eeww!!. Cicadas on the loose... They are NASTY LOOKING!!!

The First Yeshivish People - More Apologetics

No, they weren't around 50 or 60 years ago. They first showed up in the guise of the Meraglim some 3300 years ago. 

We all know the story. The Israelites wanted Moshe to send spies into Eretz Yisrael (then known as Canaan) to scope out the land and check it out. While there, ten of the twelve tribes (one representing each tribe) decided to speak some Lashon Hara about Eretz Yisrael. Their reasoning, according to the Maharal and the Chiddushei HaRim, were, essentially, that they did not want to join the real world. They had been living in a miraculous state, had their food literally dropped on them from Heaven, were surrounded by the Annanei HaKavod, and got to learn all day without a worry in the world. In contrast, upon entering Eretz Yisrael, they would first have to conquer the land, then live on it, work it, and not be able to learn all day. 
They were afraid, the Maharal and Chiddushei HaRim tell us, that the Israelites' new mission, living and working like everyone else, subsisting off the land and commerce, all the while remembering it would be God's blessing that assured their success, not "Kocham V'Otzem Yadam - their strength and might."
So, the Meraglim made a decision for the rest of the Jewish Nation. Sure, it sounds noble - stay in the desert, be surrounded by Annanei HaKavod, eat Manna, and learn all day, and above all, avoid forgetting the God provides for all our needs.
Sound familiar? Yes, the Meraglim were the first group of Yeshivish people. And you know what they got for their trouble? A really terrible death!
First, it wasn't their decision to make. It was God's.
Second, what guarantee did they have, had they stayed in the desert against God's will and not conquered Eretz Yisrael, that the miracles that had sustained them up to this point would have continued?
Finally, God's idea of how the world works is obviously not to sit on one's keister and learn all day. It's to go out, work, spend time with your family, and be Kovea Ittim La'Torah, not the way the Yeshiva world has it today, where work and family take distant second/third (not necessarily in that order) to learning all day and half the night.
The Meraglim did not derserve a defense. They were WRONG. End of story. 
Good Shabbos 
(Ok, I know I should have posted this last week, but hey! No one's perfect. Even me...:)

Avoid a Chilul Hashem?! What on Earth for?!

Well, looks like trying to judge favorably, to be dan L'kaf Zechus, backfired on me again. In this post, i mentioned an article from Arutz 7 that reported the Eidah Hachareidit had set up a committee to organize protests against the upcoming Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. It looked like, for a while, they would actually take this chance to create a Kiddush Hashem and act legally and in a "menchlach" manner.

Well, as I mentioned, judging favorably has backfired on me. Again. See this article from today's edition of Arutz 7. The Chareidim, who as I've mentioned before, are simply not frum people. They are up to the same old tactics they used last time:

Protestors against the scheduled Gay Pride parade gathered in Jerusalem's hareidi-religious neighborhood of Mea Shearim Thursday, setting dumpsters ablaze and flinging garbage into the street. The enraged residents also hurled stones at a bus traveling through the neighborhood.

If nothing else, what did the bus do?! Very likely, it was probably a "Mehadrin" bus travelling through Me'a She'arim!! (Don't even get me started on that subject...)

Hundreds of observant Jews turned out for the demonstration in Bnei Brak, with some hurling rocks at police and burning several trash containers.

That's just lovely. So much for a Kiddush Hashem. It's really amazing. People are always asking for evidence of God's existence. Here, God blatantly gives the Chareidim a chance to right a wrong made six months ago. And what do the Chareidim do? In a complete lack of belief in God, they go, through this chance God has given them back in His face, essentially spitting at God in the face, and go and create yet another, even larger Chilul Hashem.

That's really sick. I've asked before, and I ask again: Why on earth should anyone ever judge these barbarians favorably? They are not frum, and probably, in fact, barely even Jewish. And I include their leadership in this, since they've done nothing to prevent any of this, and have in fact, stoked the fires with the curse they put on anyone involved in any way with helping put on the parade and guarding those participating in it.

Chareidim, seriously, act the way Jews are supposed to act and stop causing such huge Chilulei Hashem!! You're giving the Jewish Nation a bad name it does not deserve.

Possible Solution to Bush's Vetoing Power?

He'd be dumb enough to fall or it...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Very Interesting Post By Rabbi Gil Student

My wife pointed me in the direction of this post by Rabbi Gil Student. It discusses the fallibility of Talmidei Chachamim and the fallacy of those who believe a halacha should be followed at all times, even when it makes no common sense to do so (and isn't, I add, transgressing a Torah Lav or Aseh). He also briefly discusses the fallacy of having complete Emunas Chachamim and in believing they too were infallible. Rabbi Student quotes Rabbi Herschel Shachter:

I recently met a young talmid chochom who insisted that a certain halacha in Shulchan Aruch must be understood literally, as applying in all cases, even when it made no sense. I argued that it was self understood that one use his common sense, and only apply the halacha when it indeed did make sense. (I later checked the Iggros Moshe of Rav Moshe Feinstein and he wrote exactly the same in that particular instance). This young talmid chochom told me, no, we may not use common sense at all, and even though the halacha – as he misunderstood it – made no sense, he has “emunas chachomim.” I told him that this was a Christian concept (the principle of the infallibility of the posek). Our Torah speaks of the theoretical possibility of a par he’elem davar shel tzibbur, a korban brought in a situation where all seventy one members of the Sanhedrin paskened wrong. The torah tells us that on one occasion Moshe Rabbeinu was about to issue an incorrect psak, until he listened to his brother Aharon and corrected his position.

If God provided for this instance (Par He'elem Davar Shel Tzibbur), does it not stand to reason that gedolim are indeed fallible?

"Acts of Terror?"

Saw this article from Reuters today about the mess in Gaza. It basically describes Hamas' takeover of Gaza and how "jubilant" they are by shooting rifles into the air and parading a dead person (Fatah "Collaborator") in the streets. Then, the White House had this to say:

The White House accused them of 'acts of terror' and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Abbas to emphasize support for Palestinian 'moderates,' but admitted that finding troops for any international force for Gaza would be tough.

OOH!! What strong words!

White House dudes, do you actually think Hamas thugs give a crap that you're accusing them of "acts of terror?" If they even acknowledge your existence, do you think it shames them that they have committed "acts of terror?" Do you think their response is going to be, "Yes, oh, great White House. You're right. What were we thinking? Here Fatah. Take back Gaza. Oh, and here, let us resurrect the dead for you too..."


White House: "Ooh. Oh. You've committed acts of terror. We're gonna accuse you of that to the press. Ooh. Oh. That'll show you bad ol' Hamas people who are supposed to be dialoguing with us rather than running rampant like the bunch of thugs you are."

Hamas: "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Boy, are they ever stupid!"

White House, do you really think they ever, EVER wanted peace? Did you really think they were going to acknowledge Israel?

Oh, and by they way, part of the reason they hate Fatah now is because Fatah is backed by the US. This is all part of that "Arabs now REALLY hate the West" I mentioned here.

Might Have Been In Bizzaro, But True Nevertheless..


Apparently, Hamastan is the new nickname being given to Gaza because of Hamas' takeover. Interesting. It's old news, but I'd never heard of it until today.

Not that I'd object in this case, since the name ends with -stan, will that give George W. an excuse to invade the Gaza strip in his "War Against Terrorism?" Hmm.

Also, for a bit of prophetic irony, head on over to Dry Bones, where the artist reprints a strip from 1976. This is where I first saw the term Hamastan.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Palestinian Civil War

It's just as I predicted. I figured, a long time ago, that once the Israelis get out of Gaza, the Palestinians will probably turn on themselves. And guess what? They have!! I'm not even going to provide links since it's all over the news on every news site imaginable. Even better, Israel can't be blamed for this!! Oh, the articles have tried. One blamed the "Israeli Occupation" and so forth, but it really doesn't stick.

Along the lines of the Aschalta D'Geulah, God is doing the job for us in this case. While the Palestinians are killing each other off, Israel just has to sit back and watch. And if Hamas wins and goes nuts against Israel, does anyone really think, after all the chances Israel has given them, that Israel won't just declare all-out war against them? And who's gonna object this time? Other than Peace Now, that is. And a bunch of bleeding-hearts the world over who will denounce Israel's aggression against the poor, impoverished Palestinians (who, when I once drove through some refugee camps somehow all seem to manage to have big TV antennae on the roofs of their mud huts...).

Just so we're clear on my politics: I'm a liberal when it comes to American politics and policies (domestic and foreign), but I'm pretty much all the way to the right when it comes to Israel and Israeli politics.

What Does The Geulah Actually Mean? Part II

What I find interesting is even with all the evidence pointing to this, many people are, and have been for about 200 years, against going to Israel.

When the Zionist Movement started, many Rabbanim in Europe were approached by the Zionists, asking them to be involved with getting people to move to Israel. And these Rabbanim said no. Chief among them was Reb Shamshon Raphael Hirsch, the famous leader of German Orthodox Judaism who waged a never-ending war against the influence of the Reform Movement. His reason for not wanting to get involved? The Zionist movement was secular movement and he didn't want to give the impression that he supported a non-Torah, non-Orthodox movement, which was what the Zionist Movement was at that time (see Hirsch biography from Mesorah [ArtScroll] Publications). (Here, by the way, is one instance in which ArtScroll did, as far as I'm concerned, write something negative about a Gadol, though they probably thought it was very noble of Rav Hirsch to not be involved with those horrible, terrible Zionists...)

Did Reb Shamshon Raphael Hirsch miss the boat on this? I feel pretty strongly that he did. I understand to the desire to not be seen in a certain light, but what if this was the opportunity to be in the forefront of the Aschalta D'Geulah? What if this was to be the beginning? Even more, imagine how Israel would look today if the early Zionists had had the influence of such great Rabbanim as Rav Hirsch! When the Zionists asked for the involvement of the Rabbanim, the Rabbanim could have said yes and attached certain conditions, such as that the State, when formed, would be a Jewish State, not an Israeli State - a state run according to Torah (and still be a democracy...), a state where Torah would be far more respected than it is now. Perhaps even a state where today no one would dare try to organize a Gay Pride Parade in the middle of the world's holiest city!! Perhaps today there wouldn't be such terrible hatred rampant in Eretz Yisrael between the Chareidim and pretty much everyone else, or more globally, between the religious and the secular.

Eretz Yisrael had lain pretty much deserted for many centuries. Oh, sure, there were settlements here and there, but it never became truly populated until the Zionists started coming in. Why didn't the Rabbanim see this opportunity to return home, grab it, and hang on for dear life? I don't know, but I firmly believe this was absolutely the wrong decision.

The Rabbanim missed this golden opportunity to not only infuse Torah into a secular movement, but to encourage many people to exit Europe en masse, perhaps minimizing the damage of the Holocaust, or maybe even avoiding it altogether!! Did Rav Hirsch, as a chacham should, see the nolad? I don't know. I do know, as I've mentioned before, that Gedolim, no matter how great, are not infallible and they have been known to make mistakes, even grievous ones. If Rav Hirsch were given a second chance and had been shown the future, would he have changed his mind? I would like to think so.

Today, thanks to Rav Kook, who did indeed see the nolad, Religious Zionists who have an unquenchable love for Eretz Yisrael, abound, both in Israel and abroad. They have shown it is possible to live in Eretz Yisrael, be a Zionist, and be religious, all at the same time.

The Geulah, I believe, as do many others, has been in motion for a while now. We are living in the middle of it. The turmoil in the world today, and especially in the Middle East very frighteningly reflects the turmoil described by the Nevi'im when they prophesied about the final redemption.

The Three Weeks are rapidly approaching. It is a time to reflect on our situation, where we are, what we have accomplished, and where we have failed miserably. It is a time to mourn the past, but it is also a time to commit to rectifying the mistakes of that past.

Something to think about.

I Dub Today...

National Mitzvah Day!! Today is, after all, 6/13.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gay Pride Parade - Continued...

Thanks to Rabbi Maryles' heads up on his blog, I came across this article from Haaretz online. Rabbi Maryles addressed the actual protest, which is apparently going to be quite violent. I've already discussed this in this post, so I needn't rehash it. Suffice it to say, though I hoped maybe there would be a different tactic this time. Guess I was wrong.... Oh, well. No surprise, though. Rabbi Maryles covers the rest and I pretty much agree with him.

Instead, I'd like to briefly discuss something else in this article. It seems the Eidah Hachareidis has decided that

All those involved in the matter, those of impure souls and those helping them and guarding them, they will feel in their souls a curse, a bad spirit will come over them and haunt them, they will never be cleansed of their sins, from the judgment of God, in their bodies, their souls and their finances.
Ok, Chareidi dudes. Come on. Do you really think, in 2007, people who are secular, or not Jewish for that matter (how many frum people are marching in the Gay Pride Parade? All who are, please raise your hands...), are going to care about a curse you put on them?! Wake up, you fools!! Aside from the noise you're making, they don't even acknowledge your existence!!

Chareidi dudes, this isn't the Middle Ages and you are not the church. Wake up, join the 21st century, and stop acting like children who stomp their feet and have a temper tantrum every time they don't get their way. Demonstrate peacefully, block the route the GP Parade will take, peacefully, don't burn things, throw rocks, or stab people.

In other words: GROW THE HELL UP!!!


What Does The Geulah Actually Mean? Part I

One of the Rambam's Thirteen Principles, perhaps the most famous, is a statement of belief in the coming of Moshiach:

" Ani Ma'amin B'Bias Hamoshiach B'Chol Yom She'Yavo. V'Af Al Pi She'Yismahameiha, Im Kol Zeh, Achekeh Lo B'Chol Yom She'Yavo - I believe in the coming of Moshiach, that he can come any day. And even though he delays, I will await his coming every day."

It's a very nice affirmation in the belief that not only God has not abandoned us, but that He will indeed redeem us with the coming of Moshiach and the Geulah Shleima.

So how does a Geulah come about? Does Moshiach suddenly show up, tell the goyim to Bleep off, take us all back to Israel, and rebuild the Bais HaMikdash (or have it come in flames down from Heaven)?

Or does it come about slowly, in the course of nature?

I've heard both views. I've heard if we are Zocheh, Moshiach will come suddenly and early. And tell the rest of the world to Bleep off. And if we are not, he will come in through the natural course of history. He will either come on a cloud, in a supernatural, sudden way, if we are Zocheh, or on a donkey, in a natural way, if we are not.

Obviously, it's natural to hope Moshiach comes suddenly, in a supernatural way, in a way the world can't dispute, in a way that when he tells the world to Bleep off, the world will, in fact, Bleep off.

Unfortunately, it seems to be more and more clear that we will not be Zocheh to have a miraculous Geulah. The evidence to this is the State of Israel.

I don't mean this in a negative sense at all. God has given us, through the course of history, our land, or at least a good chunk of it, back. Many believe the establishment of the State of Israel is very much the Aschalta D'Geulah - the beginning of the Geulah.

What I find interesting is even with all the evidence pointing to this, many people are, and have been for about 200 years, against going to Israel.

More in the next post.

Continued from Yesterday...


Monday, June 11, 2007

Absolutely BRILLIANT!!!

This is just GREAT!!!
And for those who don't know, Prickly City is a comic strip drawn by a Republican who seems to be fed up with Republicans. And Democrats. He pretty much calls it like he sees it. Sometimes, he says things with which I do not agree, like eulogizing Jerry Falwell, but sometimes he comes up with a gem like this.


Why Do the Good Die Young?

Today's Candorville:

Either way, it sucks...

Arcady Gaydamak Does It Again.

Say what you will about Arcady Gaydamak and his political aspirations, but he seems to doing lots of good both for the mental well-being of many Israelis from Sderot who have sought refuge in his tent city in the Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv, and now, for the spiritual well-being of both Jews and Arabs in Israel.

This article appeared on Arutz 7's news service today. In short, it reports Gaydamak went and bought 51% of the stock of the Tiv Ta'am non-kosher Israeli supermarket chain. This chain is most famous for being a major provider of pork in Israel (whoever thought one would say such a horrible statement). Gaydamak plans to do some house cleaning and get rid of the treif products in the Tiv Ta'am stores. Further, the stores will no longer be open on Shabbos.

Yes, he plans to run for mayor of Jerusalem. And yes, he plans, if he wins the election, he plans to appoint an Arab deputy mayor. But, he is also now going to do his best to prevent as many people as possible from eating pork in Israel. That's pretty big, and even if at this time some might claim he is doing this to gain political favor and he is not doing all this l'Shma, guess what? Mitoch She'lo L'shma, ba L'shma - eventually it will end up being l'shem Shamayim.

Oh, and by the way. The man bought 51% of the stock of Tiv Ta'am for 80% (yes, that's eighty percent) more than the entire company is worth. And oh, yeah. It also wasn't actually for sale. He made the owners an offer the, well, just couldn't refuse. One doesn't spend that kind of money to become mayor of a city. One spends that kind of money because he cares about Jews.

Now, I don't know if this guy is frum, but he obviously cares very much about Jews and their well-being, be it physical, mental, or spiritual. Does this not make him a gadol? Even if he may not be a talmid chacham?

The question, I believe, will really become: What makes a gadol? Cetainly today, it's not Torah, or at least not Torah alone.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More on the Subject of Apologetics and the "Perfection" of Gedolim...

Rabbi Harry Maryles posted this about an interview with Rabbi Nosson Scherman, the editor-in-chief of ArtScroll publications. Now, I happen to have my own issues with ArtScroll, specifically when it comes to their grammar, which is atrocious, and their translations, which at times are just plain wrong (did anyone here ever read the ArtScroll translation of Shir HaShirim?). But I'll leave that for my next post, perhaps. I would like to focus, as Rabbi Maryles did, on ArtScroll artful whitewashing of Gedolim.

In this interview, Rabbi Scherman makes a very troubling statement:

JP: How do you respond to critics who accuse ArtScroll biographies of whitewashing history by characterizing great rabbis as saints without faults?

RNS: Our goal is to increase Torah learning and yiras shamayim. If somebody can be inspired by a gadol b’yisrael, then let him be inspired. Is it necessary to say that he had shortcomings? Does that help you become a better person? What about lashon hara? You know in today’s world, lashon hara is a mitzvah. Character assassination sells papers. That’s not what Klal Yisrael is all about.

JP: Isn’t it a form of sheker (falsehood), though, to write a biography and knowingly exclude material?

RNS: Why is it sheker to omit lashon hara? It’s not. People say, "Well, why don’t you say that this or that gadol had certain serious character flaws?" So you’re not saying it. Is that sheker? It’s not sheker. Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky once said in a "shmuess" that if you go over to somebody and say, "You know you have a long ugly nose," that doesn’t make you an ish emes [man of truth]. That makes you a rasha [wicked person].

Many people have said to me it's not true that the meforshim, when trying to explain away a troubling incident involving a figure in Tanach, find ways to "prove" that person did not actually commit a sin or make a mistake. I have disagreed vehemently with this. It is true. Was then, is now. And ArtScroll, in the form of Rabbi Nosson Scherman confirms it.

Now, I'm not saying one should publish Loshon Hara about a person. But ArtScroll should also stop deifying these Gedolim. What they should do is make them human, so we can learn from them. When a Gadol is portrayed as a human being rather that as an angel or a perfect being, that portrayal shows us we can strive to be like that person. When shown as a perfect being, how can strive for that? There is no such thing as a perfect human being, no matter how great that person was. Even Moshe Rabbeinu made mistakes, and he paid for them.

Once again, the Chareidi world, this time in the form of ArtScroll, misses the point entirely. Instead of deifying "Gedolim," perhaps they should humanize them, show them as people who lived, loved, and made mistakes as well. A person is someone we can live up to; an angel isn't.

I'll leave you with this: One out shabbos in yeshiva, when there were only about 20 of us in yeshiva for that shabbos, the Rosh Yeshiva decided to pay us the honor of having Seudah Shlisheet with us. During this wonderful hour with the Rosh Yeshiva, when he wasn't being pestered by sycophants, he showed us human side. He regaled us with memories of his youth and sang comletely secular songs he remembered as a child. I truly believe his point was this, and it wasn't a point he could make in front of the entire yeshiva: "I'm human," he was telling us. "Don't treat me like an angel, and don't deify me." He was teaching us how to learn from him, as a human being.

Do you think this story will make it into his biography after 120 years? No. You know why? It's too human. The point, once again, will have been missed entirely.

Friday, June 08, 2007

If You Really Want to Know What LA is Really Like...

Head on over to this post by Esther (who also happens to be my wife). :)

Way too many people who are not from LA, have spent very little to no time there, and who do not currently live there think that LA is this magical land of wonders and great weather. It's not. It's really, really not. I'm from there, my wife is from there, and many of our friends are from there. None of us live there any longer. It's nasty, congested, smoggy, dirty, noisy, people have started gridlocking and double parking, there's no sense of community, and it is way, way, WAY too freaking expensive to live there. And it's absolutely not worth the money. And that's just the tip of the iceberg (forgive the cliche).

Head over to and check it out. And comment!

Just a Reminder

With the Three Weeks fast approaching, our saddest time of the year, it is important to remember why the Three Weeks are the saddest time of year.

We are in Golus. Even those of us who live in Israel (and how I would love to!) are in Golus, even though I do truly believe that having Eretz Yisrael in the hands of the Jews is indeed "Raishis Tzmichas Ge'Ulaseinu - the beginning of our redemption."

We are in Golus for a reason. For many reasons. I'll probably expound on them as the Three Weeks draw nearer.

But we have had, with the formation of the State of Israel and with Israel being in Jewish hands, a taste of the Geulah. And this taste, apparently, seems to be fading fast from the politicians who run the State of Israel, be it through agreeing to give away land (Gaza, Sinai, and now, apparently, even the Golan Heights to Syria - see here and here), or through allowing Shabbos to become a "day of leisure" rather than Israel's official day of rest (see here and here [hattip - Rabbi Harry Maryles]).

As this time of year approaches and we once again are given the bitter taste of the ashes of golus, we have to remember that some of those ashes are from the present, not the past. Giving away a bit of land here and another there, chipping away at Eretz Yisrael, both physically and spiritually, makes the taste of those ashes even more bitter, and makes the golus even stronger.

Here are links to a couple of little songs that, while some will say are Zionist dribble, are truly meant, if one really reads and internalizes the words of these songs, to remind us of the longing we, or at least I, feel about our home.

Yerushalayim Shel Zahav

Background on Yerushalayim Shel Zavav


Background on HaTikva

More later.

Good Shabbos

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Post About California...

So, this cute chick I know, who also happens to be my wife (Hi, dear!!:) wrote an excellent post tonight about the lovely California. Here it is. Enjoy!!

Awesome Picture...

My EXTREMELY Republican, very close friend, sent this to me, and I couldn't resist posting it! After, of course, I picked myself up from the floor after falling over from laughing so hard!! It's funny, but SOOOOOOO TRUE!! Enjoy...

Very Funny!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bush's Continuing Legacy of Being a Complete Disaster

Note to Mother of Very Cute Twins: Don't read this post. It'll just piss you off. It's going to be very anti your president...

So, not only has Bush Almighty, as he apparently sees himself, pissed off the entire Arab World, not only has he screwed up our economy (the Dow Jones closing high doesn't mean the economy is fine; it just means things are more expensive, which they are; and if the economy was so great, why does the Fed keep raising Prime Rate to "give the economy a boost?"), not only has he mostly ignored domestic policy during his reign (except, of course, the all important "issues" of flag burning and gay marriage), not only has he made Israel even more hated by the Arab world because of his wars in the Middle East (see this post), and not only is he a complete idiot, and pretty evil to boot (a very bad combination), now, the Russians are pissed at him and relations with them are at almost the same level they were at during the Cold War, which is to say: Pretty Damn Bad!

According to this article from Reuters, Putin and Bush haven't met face to face since November of last year. In February Putin, rightly, I might add, "accused Washington [read: Bush] of trying to force its will on the world and become its 'single master.'"

The reason for this onslaught by the Russian president? Apparently, the US plans to deploy a bunch of missiles in Poland and in the Czech Republic, which has kind of pissed off the Russians, who believe this will "upset the global strategic balance." Russia said it would aim its own missiles at Europe if Bush went through with his plans.

Bush, in his naive ignorance and lack of grasp of world matters (except, of course, what he sees as his God-given right to do whatever the hell he wants wherever the hell he wants), laughed off Putin's remarks, saying Russia wasn't a danger to Europe.

Now, Russia also played down Putin's remarks and said targeting Europe was just one option, which Putin threatened "hypothetically," that they were considering, and I'm not going to defend Putin. He's a thug. But don't you think Bush has pissed off enough people? Sure, the US is saying they are deploying the missiles as a defense against rogue nations, like Iran and North Korea. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. But did the US consult with Russia, which is still a major world power, before putting missiles, which Russia is afraid can be used for spying, right in Russia's back yard?

"Bush said he hoped to use the summit and his first bilateral meeting with Putin since November to ease Russian concerns." Shouldn't Bush have spoken to Putin in January, during the planning stages, maybe met with him face-to-face, and allayed those fears? Mr. President, what the hell are you thinking?! Or, maybe more the point: Don't you think you should start thinking about consequences your actions and decisions might have BEFORE you make those decisions and take those actions?

Mr. President,

The US is not a world empire. It is one country among many. Stop pissing the world off. You obviously don't know how to play this game. The US has lost more credibility in the last six years than it has ever in history. No president has EVER pissed off as many nations around the globe as you have. You have done, and continue to do, irreparable damage to country!