Friday, 9 January 2009


taken from : ornot2be profile in Stumbleupon (


taken from :

Gateway Pundit: 1,000 St. Louisans Pack the JCC to Show Support For Israel

Gateway Pundit: 1,000 St. Louisans Pack the JCC to Show Support For Israel

Israel Matzav: Pre-Sabbath link dump#links#links

Israel Matzav: Pre-Sabbath link dump#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'Humanitarian aid'?#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'Humanitarian aid'?#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Biting the hand that feeds you#links#links

Israel Matzav: Biting the hand that feeds you#links#links

Israel Matzav: Show Kassams falling on Facebook#links#links

Israel Matzav: Show Kassams falling on Facebook#links#links

Israel Matzav: Israel defiant?#links#links

Israel Matzav: Israel defiant?#links#links

Rehovot Terror Attack #links

Rehovot Terror Attack #links


The Guardian announces today, rather breathless from excitement, that Obama will initiate talks with Hamas. Although if you read their own article carefully, it's hardly clear how much this will be new:

"You could do something through the Europeans. You could invent a structure that is multilateral. It is going to be hard for the neocons to swallow," he said. "I think it is going to happen."

But one Middle East expert close to the transition team said: "It is highly unlikely that they will be public about it."

The gloating is fine; everybody needs a good gloat now and then. The substance is more important. Israel has long been talking with Hamas through intermediaries, primarily the Egyptians; the Guardian fails to note that the group which stands to lose the most from a political rehabilitation of Hamas is Abu Mazen's government, a move Obama may be wary of taking even if it would make the Guardian happy.

I have no problem with the Americans hearing directly from Hamas how Hamas sees the world. After all, assuming they start talking, they're going to have to talk about something. If they stick to global warming and economic measures for stimulating the economy, who cares? Once they approach the subject of Hamas living with Israel, what exactly will they talk about? A Hamas demand that Israel disband all its settlements in Gaza as a confidence building measure, perhaps? More likely, the American interlocutors may find Hamas is the problem, not Israel. Amir Taheri reminds why.
taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


The most popular article on the website of Time Magazine this morning is titled Can Israel Survive Its Assault on Gaza? It's long, and I didn't manage to read it all way through. Unlike the malice of the Guardian, which intrigues me, the article at Time is simply clueless. Whoever put it together has no understanding of the Middle East, past present or future, and no clue about human nature. I suppose I ought to parse it to expose the utter silliness of the folks at a magazine that must have many millions of loyal readers, but I can't seem to find the energy.

Jeffrey Goldberg sums it up:

Which one will last longer: Israel, or Time Magazine? I'm betting on Israel.

The Economist is a different matter. Unlike the Guardian and its ilk, (and, I have to believe, Time Magazine), the Economist probably comes as close as any media outlet to being influential, both because it's an intelligent paper which respects the intelligence of its readers, and thereby may win their reciprocal respect, and also because it really tries to know what it's talking about. It even regularly publishes letters from its readers chiding it on its inaccuracies.

It's not a Zionist paper, by any stretch of the imagination. When it unfairly blamed Israel for the outbreak of violence that was the second intifada, in October 2000 ("Israel must give up its greed for Palestinian territories and accept a Palestinian state") I canceled my subscription and mostly shunned them for a number of years. (Come to think of it, I never canceled my subscription to the Guardian. Probably because I never had one). By and by, however, I inched back: Israel beat the 2nd intifada because Arik Sharon didn't read the European press and thus was unaware we had no choice but to abjectly surrender to the Palestinians; various Islamists forced an awareness of their maliciousness on at least some people, and so on. It also must be said that the Economist is not antisemitic. Exasperating at times, but it's a free world and most people with opinions exasperate somebody most of the time.

This week's cover story at the Economist is titled "The Hundred Years War", accompanied by a dramatic photo. The very title appealed to me, because it puts the historical depth of the issue right where it belongs, at the very beginning and over-arching everything else. The article delivers on the promise of the title. There's about, oh, 10% of it which I'd quibble with, but these days it's not so common to find an article about Israel where one disagrees with a mere 10%.

Until the very last paragraph. After all the reasonably balanced analysis, what's the bottom line?

There is a limit, however. Taking Hamas down a peg is one thing. But even in the event of Israel “winning” in Gaza, a hundred years of war suggest that the Palestinians cannot be silenced by brute force. Hamas will survive, and with it that strain in Arab thinking which says that a Jewish state does not belong in the Middle East. To counter that view, Israel must show not only that it is too strong to be swept away but also that it is willing to give up the land—the West Bank, not just Gaza—where the promised Palestinian state must stand. Unless it starts doing that convincingly, at a minimum by freezing new settlement, it is Palestine’s zealots who will flourish and its peacemakers who will fall back into silence. All of Israel’s friends, including Barack Obama, should be telling it this.

Some Arabs emphatically and fundamentally reject the right of Jews to control any part of the Middle East, as the Economist tells in the article itself, so what's the solution? Israel must give up land and Obama must force it to do so.
taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (

Hamas Presents: The Divine Victory

Israel Matzav: 'Youths' riot in support of Hamas in Oslo#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: 'Youths' riot in support of Hamas in Oslo#links#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Breaking: Security Council 'close' to resolution; Israel: They won't dictate to us; UPDATE: Agreement reached?#links#links

Israel Matzav: Breaking: Security Council 'close' to resolution; Israel: They won't dictate to us; UPDATE: Agreement reached?#links#links

Israel Matzav: Democrats' antipathy to the Gaza operation?#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Democrats' antipathy to the Gaza operation?#links#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: God is on our side#links#links

Israel Matzav: God is on our side#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: Hamas killing 'Palestinians'#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: Hamas killing 'Palestinians'#links#links

Israel Matzav: Red Cross attacks Israel over Gaza find#links#links

Israel Matzav: Red Cross attacks Israel over Gaza find#links#links

Israel Matzav: Vatican calls Gaza a 'concentration camp'#links#links

Israel Matzav: Vatican calls Gaza a 'concentration camp'#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: Damage from Nahariya rocket attack#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Video: Damage from Nahariya rocket attack#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Raw video: Givati Brigade in Gaza City#links#links#links

Israel Matzav: Raw video: Givati Brigade in Gaza City#links#links#links

911/WTC - View From Space Station


Exclusive: Cruel and Usual Punishment:

The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law
The Editors

In her latest book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, author Nonie Darwish paints a chilling description of what lies ahead for Western civilizations that continue down the road of political correctness and appeasement as Islamic (Shariah) law creeps its way into free societies across the globe. Darwish, who was born in Cairo, and moved as a child to Gaza with her family, was raised Muslim – her father founding Palestinian fedayeen units which launched terrorist raids across Israel’s southern border. When Nonie was only eight, her father was assassinated by the IDF, after which he was recognized as a shahid, or martyr for Islam. Darwish immigrated to the United States in 1978.

Islamic Law and the ensuing threats to Western civilization are subjects Darwish discusses with a passion and knowledge borne only of one who grew up within it can have. Having left Islam as an adult and having converted to Christianity, she has shared her experiences in Islam with her first book, Now They Call Me Infidel. Now with her second book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, she explains in layman’s terms the meaning of Shariah law and the implications that face those who embrace it. Nonie Darwish visited with to discuss the book:

Renee Taylor for FSM: What are some of the implications for Western civilizations of accepting Shariah law into their societies?

Nonie Darwish: Today, Muslims have moved to Europe, America, Australia and Canada. They argued for Shariah law and got it. In England now, they are practicing marriage and inheritance laws. It is important for the West to realize and understand that Islamic law does not give equal rights to all. It discriminates between men and women. There are laws for Muslims, laws for non-Muslims. Women and non-Muslims have much more oppressive laws, giving Muslim men authority over them. If we allow such laws, we will find ourselves approving discrimination in our society between people. That is totally against Western democracy and values, especially the U.S. Constitution. I wrote this book because it is very important for the West to understand what they allow. Shariah law itself was not part of Islam when Mohammed died. It was created by the Muslim heads of state because Islam was moving very fast to conquer many countries. They needed Islamic law to rule over all these lands. It is inspired by the Koran and by the Hadith sayings of Mohammed. All areas of Islamic society are rooted in Islamic law, which is tyrannical law.

Slavery, for example, has never been abolished by Islam. If you read Muslim Shariah law, it is full of regulation of slaves. Sexual slavery of women captured in war is allowed, which was practiced by Mohammed. Even today, sexual slaves are accepted and all over the Middle East. Honor killings are rooted in Islamic law. For example, the murders for which a Muslim will never have punishment: to kill an apostate, to kill an adulterer – which is usually a woman, and honor killings. If you allow the killings of an apostate or an adulteress woman in the form of vigilante justice under Islamic law, you are endorsing honor killing. There are so many laws you cannot imagine that are brutal and unfair. A woman, for example, cannot divorce her husband, only a man can divorce her. I have an entire chapter in my book about the Muslim marriage contract. All of this is to open the eyes of the West to something totally against their own value system and democracy.

RT: With the world at risk, why do you think other countries are not taking the situation seriously? There seems to be a lot of appeasement.

ND: Unfortunately, there is no united policy across the West with regard to radical Islam. I believe the reason is there are so many Muslim countries around the world and many of them are oil rich and use oil as a weapon blackmailing Western countries. Appease them and assimilate them. Under Shariah, one of the major threats of a Muslim head of state is jihad. There is a law in Shariah law that says the head is to move Muslims to establish their religion. He must organize jihad against non-Muslim countries. They must be conquered. Why the West is in denial, I do not know. That is why I wrote the book, to inform the average Westerner what Shariah is. The book deals with all aspects of Shariah, what jihad is, and the obligations of Muslims to kill Jews and Christians and any non-Muslims in the jihad to who do not accept Islam.

That is why, unfortunately, when a Muslim leader stands up for Israel, he is labeled an apostate because he is doing something against his own Islamic law. A Muslim head of state must continue the Jihad against non-Muslim countries, especially those who neighbor a Muslim country. When President Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel, he was assassinated. The reason was he violated Islamic law which demanded he be at permanent war with a non-Muslim adjacent state. This is happening everywhere. In India, Kosovo, Chechnya. If the West stays in denial, we will see the same in France.

RT: How can the average citizen get involved in understanding Islamic Law and how it is going to affect them and their way of life?

ND: It is very important that we separate the law of Islam from the religion of Islam. You see, a religion is private. When a minority comes to a country, they have a relationship with their god. The minute they begin to enforce a law on that country, that act goes into the realm of politics. It goes into the realm of the law of the land. That also violates our separation of church and state, the separation of mosque and state. The West doesn’t understand that under Shariah law, there is no separation of mosque and state. The mosque is the state and the state is the mosque. The West which prides itself on freedom and democracy, freedom of speech, equal rights for women and minorities, they have to understand that this is not a religious right. Muslims will say you are depriving them of their religious rights. No, you are not. This is political Islam. It has nothing to do with a personal relationship with God. It is about trying to control the country which they have immigrated to. America has fought so hard for women’s rights – are we going to start honor killings? There was an honor killing of two beautiful young girls in Texas by their father who was from Egypt, a taxi driver. He was not caught because he left the country. There are so many horrible laws. We must never think this is a religion because the duty of a religion is to protect you with rights. A religion doesn’t discriminate and torture and that is a violation of your rights, a violation of church and state.

A majority of Muslims are much like everyone else. What I am talking about is not the people – the problem is the law which discriminates and oppresses. There are so many oppressed people in the Muslim world. Look at the eyes of the people in the West Bank of Gaza or in Iraq or Egypt. The bottom line in every society is the law. Under Islamic Shariah law, the testimony of a woman is half that of a man. If a man and a woman go to court, guess who wins? This is what I am talking about – I’m not talking about the people, I’m talking about the law. If people don’t have justice under the law, they are living in a jungle. There are stocks and bonds sold from Islamic countries in American called Shariah finance. The profits from such financial deals go in the pockets of those Muslim countries. They use these profits to enforce Shariah law across Africa and other poor countries.

RT: Do most Muslims outside the political hierarchy understand and support Shariah law? Or would they like to see an end to it?

ND: There are some movements against Shariah, but they are calling them apostates and killing them. Unfortunately, under Islamic law, in all the books of Shariah, to deny Shariah is equal to denying Islam. The penalty is death. That is why there is no feminist movement in the Muslim world. I know two feminists in the Middle East, one in Egypt and one in Baharain. The one in Baharain was advocating divorce. She is now prevented from speaking or writing. The one in Egypt has a fatwah against her and had to leave the country because she could not protect herself.

RT: What do you think it would take to stop the encroachment of Islamic law into the West?

ND: The West must understand what Islamic law is without political correctness. The dictatorships in the Middle East are the creation of Shariah law. The only thing the West wants from the Middle East is an honest transaction of here is our dollars, give us your oil, but the Muslim world wants to blackmail the West to convert it to Islam. It is a very high price for oil.

RT: Why do you think non-Muslims, with all the information out there regarding Shariah law, are ignoring the warning signs?

ND: My book is the first book ever to explain Shariah. hariah books themselves are rarely translated into English and very few people want to go into the legal terminologies. I studied for one year to be able to explain Shariah in a way that it is understandable. I did a lot of quotations from Shariah and explained them. It is all documented. The West must wake up and start understanding because Shariah law says that for Muslims it is obligatory to lie if the purpose of the lie is the furtherance of Islam. Many Muslims don’t even know what Shariah law is exactly. They have lived under it for so many years.

RT: Do you believe that, under any circumstance, Shariah law and Western law can co-exist?

ND: No It is totally opposite and if we allow it among Muslims it is not going to end there.

RT: We have had several instances in the United States where Muslims sued their employers for prayer times during work hours, cab drivers refusing to carry passengers with alcohol….

ND: That is how they operate. You have women who want to cover their faces to get a driver’s license. You cannot bend the rules. The police must be able to look at your face and your license to identify you. So what do they want? They want to completely abolish our laws and put in their own laws. It doesn’t work this way.

RT: How does the “peaceful Muslim”, who says they don’t advocate the violent teaching of the Koran, reconcile their beliefs?

ND: I don’t understand. I personally cannot reconcile my beliefs, which is why I left Islam. It is very clear that Jews and Christians are infidels. The Koran has very derogatory words for them. Muslims are ordered not to talk to them, that they are filth. Some Muslims just do the five pillars of Islam – to pray and to fast… To them, that is their religion, which is very minimal and they are happy with those five pillars. They ignore 99% of their religion and only concentrate on the prayer. When something like 9/11 happens, they are silent because they know if they speak out against Jihad, they become apostates. That is why so many Americans are left wondering why are they silent. As much as they might be good people and citizens, they don’t commit crimes, by being silent against the tyranny of radical Islam, they are really feeding the monster. They are not standing up against it.

RT: What are your thoughts on the situation in Israel and what do you think Israel must do to stop Hamas?

ND: It is rooted in Shariah. Why is it an eternal problem for Muslims? Why do they want to destroy Israel? Many Muslims don’t want to tell you the truth. They don’t want to tell you it is their intention to destroy Israel completely. Jews have rooted themselves under Islam. Islamic law does not want them to govern themselves in the Middle East. Muslims these days don’t want to say it is their holy laws to totally eradicate Israel. They complain of occupation. Israel left Gaza. In response, Gaza took all their missiles to the border and started bombing Israel again. This is something the West doesn’t understand. At the end of every Friday prayer, I used to always hear that the Jews and the Christians must be destroyed. This is something we grew up hearing every day. It is such a radical system.

RT: Is there anything we haven’t touched on that you would add for our readers?

ND: The dynamic of the Muslim family, because of polygamy, is very different. Giving one man/one woman marriage has given them [women] respect and honor. If you start giving away the one man/one woman marriage in the West, we give away our future. The reason the Muslim world is so angry is because the Muslim marriage has no dignity and it humiliateswomen. A Muslim woman is so insecure in her marriage and there is no trust between the family members. That is why the Christian marriage and family unit is the most blessed thing America has.

RT: Thank you so much, Nonie, for your valuable insights into Shariah Law and how it threatens us right here in America, too. We are most grateful to you for your candor and courage.

ND: Thank you.

The book is titled Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Lawavailable from and other booksellers. For more, visit
taken from B'NAI ELIM (

Roadside Rambles: Rally- Part III

Roadside Rambles: Rally- Part III

Roadside Rambles: Rally- Part II

Roadside Rambles: Rally- Part II

Roadside Rambles: Rally- Part I

Roadside Rambles: Rally- Part I


The Rambam (Maimonides), the 12th century rabbinical giant, outlines the stages one must go through to do Tshuva, repentance. Among others stages, one must recognize what one has done wrong, sincerely regret it, take upon oneself never to repeat the transgression and be tested. It's that last stage which is interesting: it cannot be said that a sinner has truly repented until he or she has withstood the temptation of doing it again.

I mention this for what it tells us about human nature. NOT because I regard Hezbullah as having done repentance of any sort.

However: it was a telling event, this morning, when someone not from Hezbullah shot katyushas at Nahariya.

At the end of the war of summer 2006 Hezbullah celebrated its great victory over Israel. That in itself proves nothing. Nasser's Egypt celebrated its victory on the 7th day of the Six Day War: so what. And in Gaza, even if the IDF ends up killing all of the Hamas fighters but leaves three fellows still alive, they'll loudly declare victory. Hezbullah's claim in August 2006, however, was more than hollow declarations, in that the war really had been something of a draw.

After the celebrations, however, there were indications Nassrallah had a clearer idea of reality than he'd been pretending. He admitted in an interview that had he foreseen the vehemence of the Israeli onslaught he'd never have provoked it. He lives underground, rarely appearing in public. Most interestingly, the past two weeks he has been fulminating against Israel (and Egypt), but fulminations are sterile. For all his bravado, he never lifted a finger to assist Hamas when they could have used it.

Michael Totten suggests we read Tony Badran's analysis of what happened today, and since Badran knows about Lebanon and I don't, I won't argue with him when he says Hezbullah had to know about the intention to shoot those katyushas this morning. However, his thesis seems to be that the Iranians had to have somebody make some gesture from Lebanon, so they chose a minor player to make a minor gesture in a way that would give major deniability. This suggests a wariness in provoking Israel that is very healthy. It stems, I'm guessing, both from the pain inflicted in 2006, and the frightening demonstration this time that Israel has gotten its act together.

It's a bit weird to read a rocket attack on Israel as a positive sign, I admit, but the world is often a weird place, since it's populated by people.

All of this has been an introduction to some thoughts about the cease fire in Gaza which seems to be approaching, one way or the other.

I'm in favor. As a matter of fact, I'm in favor irrespective of the minutiae of the details of the agreement, although I hope the details will be the right ones. The reason I'm almost automatically in favor, however, is that it looks like this time we won, and the important players all know it.

The single most important player is Israeli society. We proved to ourselves that after the fiasco of 2006 we got back on our feet and proceeded to fix what needed fixing; having done so, we regained the confidence to defend ourselves efficiently. Since our enemies aren't about to disappear, our renewed confidence in our abilities is very important.

The second important player is Palestinian society. This is the second time in six years that we've demonstrated to them the limits of our patience, and our ability and willingness to act very forcefully when they cross those limits. I'll say it in the most black-and-white way possible: When we really get fed up we're very nasty, we're united in being nasty, and world opinion washes off our back like water off a duck. Yet the Palestinians, unlike the rest of the world, see us close up. Listen to all those Gazans as they damn us when we kill civilians. They keep on saying things like "the Israelis see we're civilians, they knew it's a school, how come they didn't behave as expected and refrain from shooting?" You've never heard Iraqi or Afghanistani victims using that sort of reasoning when mourning their dead.

The Palestinians have thus seen us close up for worse but also for better, and may have a clearer understanding of us than the world's media does.

My point is that the relative tranquility in the West Bank these past two weeks as we've been pummeling Gaza must mean something; moreover, if you listen to Avi Issacharoff and others who know what they're talking about, it may just be possible that many Gazans, too, have understood that Hamas is never going to lead them anywhere they'd like to go. If they follow the Hezbullah model, this may mean they'll continue to fulminate, but they'll hesitate to shoot. Palestinian laws mandate Palestinian elections sometime this year. I don't know if Hamas will allow them to happen, but if they do, perhaps they'll lose?

The final major player is Barack Hussein Obama. Ultimately, should it ever come to it, Israel can and will resist even an American president if he tries to force us to do something we really don't want to do. As I never tire of saying, the Jews are the oldest living group in the world because they insist on it; as a general statement, however, it hasn't hurt that they've often had a good understanding of power structures around them.

When it comes to forging reality, the Guardianistas are impotent. They pontificate, but no-one listens. The same goes for the UN, the EU, and the International Boy Scouts. Not so the President of the United States. He does make a difference. I don't know what the events in Gaza mean for Obama, any more than any of you do. We'll have to wait and see.

taken from : Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations (


Israel is at war. Battling to destroy Hamas, a band of evil people bent on killing and destroying as many Jews as they can. What does a country at war look like? How do people feel? What are Israelis’ reactions to the situation where thousands of soldiers are called up to the front, and where the Jew-haters fire missiles into areas that are closer and closer inland? (The fact that they have been firing missiles onto Jews and their homes, kindergartens, shops, streets for years, even before the Disengagement, and why this has not really bothered most people, is for another time.) I’ll give you a taste of what it’s like to be living in a country that’s at war.

Everywhere you go, you hear people worrying about the ‘Southerners’ - the Israelis who live in the south of Israel, which is the main focus of the missiles from our enemies in ‘Aza (Gaza).

When the news comes on on the news, the bus driver turns up the volume, and everyone is totally silent until it’s over (that’s really something for a busful of Israelis)

Army Radio played ‘Shir Lama’alot, Esa Einay el Heharim…’ (’A Psalm of Ascents; I raise my eyes to the mountains…’) the other day, in support of the soldiers and the residents of the south, and perhaps as some sort of prayer for them.

I also heard Army Radio broadcasting a short interview with the mother of a soldier who had been injured in the war. Her main message: it was miraculous that he was only injured as much as he was injured: thank G-d.

Everywhere you go, you see banners and posters declaring support of the IDF and of the residents from the south.

Also on the radio: a software company started a website where families from the south can be paired up with ‘adopting’ families from other areas, so that they can get some peace and quiet from the terror and anxiety and worry of living in a place where at any moment a missile could land on your roof or head. Families can apply anonymously if they wish.

An initiative of the Chief Rabbi of Rechovot pairs volunteers with soldiers who are in the battlefield, where the volunteer gets the soldier’s Hebrew name, and prays and does Mitzvot as a merit of protection for that soldier. (Want to participate? Send an email to )

Organizations are bringing southern residents into the centre of the country for visits, to stay for a while, to take their minds off the situation… Individuals are actively getting involved too.
People are praying for the soldiers’ safety and success, and for the safety of the residents of the south.

I feel a sense of great unity of purpose amongst Israelis of all types and leanings, in the justice and necessity of this war.

Do you have a special story about the war, about a heartwarming response to the situation of the Israelis in the south, or about a strong supportive gesture for the soldiers? Add it in a comment!
May our beloved soldiers succeed in stamping out all evil in ‘Aza, and in destroying our enemies. May they bring calm and tranquility over all of our Land, and may G-d protect and safeguard our soldiers and all our brothers and sisters, precious Jews, especially those in the south, within range of the missiles that our enemies are firing at us.
taken from :


“AFTER WATCHING the rosh yeshiva of the high school being interviewed about their son, the Netanels go into their house. I am left standing outside alone with Yonatan’s father, Rabbi Amos, and what am I going to say? Anything I can think of is just going to demean the worth of their beautiful child. But thank God the tears come and I break down and he holds me. So instead of me comforting him, he comforts me.

“God does not give us trials we cannot withstand. The ways of the Redemption are hidden from us, but it’s still the Redemption.”

Some call them simpletons, but those who know them can only thank God that people like these exist in our world. “

taken from :



By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: VAYECHI Gen. 47:28-50:26. Haftara: I Kings 2:1-12.


"And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years" (Gen. 47:28). These were "good" years (17 is the gematria of TOV = "good") as opposed to the first one hundred and thirty years of Jacob's 147-year life. The first hundred and thirty years were riddled with suffering. Through the suffering Jacob endured while struggling to build his family, the House of Israel, he rectified Adam's 130 years of separation from Eve (see Rashi on Genesis 4:25), during which Adam wasted his seed and created demons, instead of peopling the world with Bney Adam.

G-d's first command to Adam was "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and conquer it" (Gen. 1:28). As explained by Rabbi Nachman (Likutey Moharan II:7), this commandment is fulfilled not by producing anthropoid monsters but by giving birth to, raising and educating true Children of Adam, who bear the TZURAH ("form") of ADAM, who was made "in the image of G-d".

Ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, their generations were flawed. Cain killed Abel, Canaan sodomized Noah, the Sodomites wanted to sodomize the angels, the kings of Egypt and of the Philistines and the crown prince of Shechem kidnapped women, Ishmael lived by the sword, Esau was a rapist.

Only Jacob was SHALEM, "Whole" or "Perfect" (Gen. 32:18): Jacob bore the true TZURAH of ADAM, of whom it is said: "And upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness having the appearance of ADAM upon it from above" (Ezekiel 1:26). When man perfects himself, G-d shines through him and is thus revealed in the world.

Jacob is sometimes called Yaakov, sometimes Yisrael. Yaakov is "small" ("Yaakov her SMALL son" Gen. 27:15; "How will Yaakov rise, for he is SMALL" Amos 7:5). In his "small" aspect -- his time of struggle and suffering (MOCHIN D'KATNUS, "constricted consciousness") -- Jacob signifies that the revelation of G-d is as yet incomplete and is still proceeding in stages. But Yisrael, Israel, is Jacob's name of greatness -- "for you have struggled with G-d and with men and you have prevailed" (Gen. 32:29).In his "great" aspect (MOCHIN D'GADLUS, "expanded consciousness") Jacob -- Israel -- signifies that G-d's greatness is revealed and manifest in the world.

This was the case at the time of the Exodus from Egypt and the Giving of the Torah, when the entire world shook with G-d's self-revelation. It was the case during the reigns of King David and his son Solomon, who built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. And it will be the case again in the near future, when G-d's House of Prayer for All the Nations will stand in the center of the world on Mount Moriah in the Holy City of Jerusalem. [The intensity of the hatred in much of the world today for all that goes by the name of Israel signifies how far the world is from HaShem. But "the people that go in darkness will see great light and those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, light has shone upon them" (Isaiah 9:11).]

Our parshah of VAYECHI puts the seal on the first of the Five Books of Moses, the book of Genesis (Bereishis), portraying Jacob, the rectified Adam, in his "good" years at the end of his life. They are good years, because Jacob is now reunited with Joseph, who is in his place of true glory ruling over Egypt. Jacob's main love was essentially for Rachel. It was for her that he served Laban, and it was because Joseph was Rachel's firstborn that "Israel loved Joseph out of all his sons" (Gen. 37:3). While Leah signifies the "hidden realm", Rachel signifies G-d's glory revealed in and through this world. This comes about when Jacob-Israel (=ADAM, the Soul complete with its Nefesh, Ru'ach and Neshamah levels) conquers Esau (=the Serpent, ASIYAH, the realm of material activity), using this world to build a sanctuary for G-d.

Our parshah of VAYECHI also contains a number of specific allusions to the Temple in Jerusalem, as in Jacob's blessing to Judah (Gen. 49:11) and especially his blessing to Benjamin (ibid. v. 27). The Temple Altar stood in the territory of Benjamin, son of Rachel. Thus in Jacob's funeral procession, his twelve sons carried him up to the Land of Israel in the same positions in which their descendents the twelve tribes encamped around the Sanctuary in the Wilderness. Jacob and his sons, the House of Israel, are the Sanctuary in which G-d dwells in the world. "And I will dwell within them" (Exodus 25:8).

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Jacob spent the final "good" years of his life fulfilling the commandment to be spiritually fruitful -- by educating the young, especially his grandson Ephraim (see Rashi on Gen. 48:1: "Ephraim was habitually with Jacob learning"). Jacob'sfinal blessings, will and testament to his sons, with their harsh chastisements, were also intended to be educational.

According to tradition, "At the time when Jacob our father assembled his sons in Egypt at the hour of his death, he commanded and spurred them on in the unification of the name of G-d and that they should follow the path of HaShem that Abraham and Isaac his father walked. He asked them and said, 'My sons, maybe someone among you is flawed and does not stand with me in the Unification of the Name.?' They all answered and said, 'Hear Israel HaShem our G-d HaShem is One' -- that is, 'Hear from us, our father Israel, HaShem our G-d HaShem is one'. The old man answered 'Blessed be the Name of the Glory of His Kingship for ever and ever!' And this is why all Israel has the custom of repeating the expression of the praise used by Israel when he was an old man after this verse". (Rambam, Laws of Recital of Shema Ch. 1:4).

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Jacob's death-bed blessings to his sons contain some of the most beautiful flights of Biblical poetry. It is noteworthy that Onkelos, author of the best-known Aramaic Targum (= "translation") of the Five Books of Moses, departs here from his usual practice of giving the simplest, clearest PSHAT (= "simple meaning") of the Biblical text except where DRUSH, Midrash, "searching out" beneath the surface is absolutely indispensable. However here, as in the case of some other highly poetic passages (the Song at the Sea, Bilaam's blessings, the Song of Moses -- HA-AZINU -- and his final blessings), Onkelos felt obliged to introduce MIDRASH into his Targum in order to bring out the essential meaning of the text, which contains allusions to all historical periods and especially the time of Mashiach.

Thus it is Onkelos who informs us that SHILOH (Gen. 49:10) is Mashiach. The Tribes are compared to various animals. Judah is a lion, Issachar is a wide-boned donkey, Dan is a serpent, Naftali a gracious hind, Benjamin a preying fox. In the case of Jacob's children, the animal qualities are elevated in order to destroy the wicked and give the victory to G-d. Thus Onkelos translates Gen. 49:14-15 as: "Yissachar will be wealthy in possessions and his inheritance is between the boundaries. And he saw that his share is good and that the land produces fruits. And he conquered the territories of the nations and destroyed their inhabitants and those who remain of them will serve him and pay him taxes." Onkelos translates the blessing of Benjamin (v. 49:27: "Benjamin is a preying fox, in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the prey") as: "In the land of Benjamin the Shechinah will dwell (= TISHREI) and in his inheritance the Holy Temple will be built, in the morning and in the afternoon the priests will offer sacrifices and in the evening they will divide the rest of their portions from the other offerings".

Onkelos himself was a GER TZEDEK ("righteous convert"). He was the son of the sister of the Roman Emperor Titus." It is said that before Onkelos converted, he raised the spirits of Titus, Balaam, and Yeshu from hell in order to find out the truth. All three confirmed that the nation of Israel is held in the highest repute in the world to come (Gittin 56b, 57a). Onkelos learned Torah from Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus ("Rabbi Eliezer the Great") and Rabbi Yehoshua, who were outstanding students of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai and were also the teacher-partners of Rabbi Akiva. Onkelos' Targum is the first and most authoritative "commentary" on the Torah.

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When Joseph went up with his brothers to bury Jacob, "they came to the threshing floor of Atad (= bramble)" (Gen. 50:10). According to Rashi, "It was surrounded by brambles. All the kings of Canaan and princes of Ishmael came to war, but when they saw the crown of Joseph hung on Jacob's ARON (= Ark), they all stood and hung their crowns and surrounded him with crowns from the threshing-floor which was surrounded by a fence of brambles.

The kings and Canaan and princes of Ishmael were confounded by the ARON, the holy ark of Jacob, crowned with the crown of Joseph.

According to tradition, this took place on during Chanukah-time. Jacob's HISTALKUS (ascent) was on 15th Tishri, the first night of Succos. The Egyptians wept for him seventy days, upon which Joseph and his brothers went up to Israel to bury him. The seventieth day after 15th of Tishri is 25th Kislev, the first day of Chanukah. The initial letters of the four Hebrew words in the verse "and the dweller of the land of the Canaanite saw" are the permutation of the name of HaShem that holds sway in the month of Kislev (see Kavanos of Rosh Chodesh Musaf prayers).
There is an integral conceptual connection between Jacob's funeral procession and Chanukah, which is the time of the inauguration of the Temple. Jacob's twelve sons, the holy House of Israel, under the leadership of Joseph the Tzaddik, were taking Jacob -- the archetypal House-Builder -- to his final, eternal house and home in the Cave of Machpelah, the resting place of Adam and Eve as well as the patriarchs and matriarchs.

The funeral procession was a "rehearsal" for the formation in which the twelve tribes would would bring the Ark of the Covenant up from the wilderness and into the Holy Land. This is paradigmatic of the building of the Holy Temple, the House of G-d on the spot where Jacob had his dream of the ladder: "This is none other than the House of G-d and this is the Gate of Heaven" (Gen. 28:17). That place is alluded to in the opening word of the Torah, BEREISHIS, the letters of which, when re-arranged, spell out BAYIS ROSH, the House that is Head (=Tefilin shel Rosh). It was to that place that Joseph promised his brothers that they would return from Egypt: "G-d will surely redeem you and bring you up from this land to the Land which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob" (Gen. 50:24).

CHAZAK! CHAZAK! VE-NIS-CHAZEK!"Be strong! Be strong -- and we will be strong!"

Shabbat Shalom!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

--AZAMRA INSTITUTEPO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 IsraelWebsite:
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