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EVERY CHILD IS IN NEED OF SPECIAL EDUCATION
– THE STAR 12 MOSHIACH OF THE SHOW
Sholom Ber Crombie
4 D’var Malchus 28 Parsha Thought 31 Viewpoint 32 Moshiach & Geula 36 Shleimus HaAretz
TOUR OF 20 GEULA YERUSHALAYIM OF OLD
Menachem Mendel Arad
ON THE VERGE OF THE 40 NEXT EXPULSION
Sholom Ber Crombie
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A selection from the Rebbe Rashab’s Hemshech Ayin-Beis (pg. 146-148), dealing with t’shuva at the levels of Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama. * Presented in the Month of Elul, when we make a soul-assessment of our service of G-d throughout the year.
Translated by Boruch Merkur
The failure to serve G-d with love and fear, although it is a subtler deficiency than deficiencies of behavior, such as outright transgressions or hedonistic behavior – the resulting blemish is more pronounced, insofar as the person is of a greater spiritual stature.Just as there is a unique service of G-d associated with each level of the soul, the Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama – the three aspects of the soul that are invested within the body – so too with regard to t’shuva, returning to G-d through repentance: there is a unique manner of t’shuva corresponding to each of these dimensions of the soul. T’shuva at the level of Nefesh entails that “the Nefesh that has sinned” should return to G-d in repentance [thereby correcting the person’s sins]. T’shuva at the level of Ruach is as it is written, “And the Ruach shall return to the L-rd, etc.” And t’shuva at the level of Neshama is described in the verse, “My Ruach and my Neshama shall be gathered unto Him, etc.” To elaborate on the different qualities of repentance associated with each of these three levels:
NEFESH: CHANGING ONE’S WAYS
Nefesh is associated with the realm of action, as discussed earlier. Repentance at this level is on account of improper behavior, etc., being extremely embittered in one’s soul for having committed a sin or transgression. The person is stricken with regret for it, and resolves firmly in his heart to leave his wicked ways and depart from the paths of evil, as it is written, “Let one who is wicked leave his path, etc.” This manner of repentance is called “abandoning sin.” That is, correcting one’s behavior, changing one’s former ways from one extreme to another. For when the embitterment of one’s soul is sincere, when regretting his past is in earnest, then his commitment and resolve for the future is likewise sincere and he changes his ways completely. T’shuva at the level of Nefesh in general also includes repentance for embracing hedonism (hisgavrus ha’chumrius), even with regard to permissible activities. That is, repentance not for actual sins and transgressions per se, may G-d have mercy upon us, but for one’s mere attraction towards materialism – i.e., the fact that
he is powerfully drawn after the nature of his Animal Soul – as well as his inability to separate himself from it. Since he is powerfully bound to materialistic things he is actually compelled towards hedonism and unable to detach himself from it. But being embittered by his condition brings salvation to his soul, freeing him from materialism and enabling him to resist his natural compulsions, changing his manner in this respect. Repentance at the level of Nefesh also entails repentance for the [general] lack of the acceptance of the yoke of Heaven, especially in the case where one has actually cast aside the yoke, no longer maintaining within himself fear of the Almghty. One must do t’shuva for this and draw upon himself this quality of submission before G-d.
RUACH: T’SHUVA FOR NOT FEARING AND LOVING G-D
T’shuva at the level of Ruach is repenting for one’s shortcomings in arousing in himself love and fear of G-d. Indeed, there is an obligation upon each and every person to love and fear G-d; it is a Mitzva among the Mitzvos of the Torah that is incumbent upon every single Jew. In addition to it
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being an obligation, by arousing in oneself love and fear of G-d, the Jew refines and corrects his Animal Soul. Purifying the Animal Soul constitutes the ultimate purpose for the descent of the soul into the physical world; it is the reason for which it was created. Moreover, it is impossible for the Animal Soul to assume the quality of Adam [a term that refers to the virtue attainable by Man] unless one experiences actually love and fear of G-d in his heart, which comes about specifically through hisbonenus, meditation. One may, however, compel and subdue the Animal Soul simply by means of summoning the strength of the Nefesh in overpowering the Animal Soul, a process that does not require love and fear of G-d per se (and certainly not the love and fear of G-d that is brought about through hisbonenus). In fact, by harnessing the strength of his Nefesh he weakens the Animal Soul, both in terms of 1) deterring its hedonistic behavior, and thereby weakening its materialistic nature, and especially by means of 2) compelling it [to act in accordance with G-d’s will]. However, overpowering the Animal Soul in this manner does not serve to “carve out,” as it were, the “inner form” of the Animal Soul, establishing its character. This transformation is only possible by means of experiencing a love of G-d that is brought about through hisbonenus. Hisbonenus affects the character of the Animal Soul, insofar as it engenders even the “natural intellect – ha’seichel ha’tiv’i” with the understanding of G-dly concepts. In fact, the goal is that the arousal of love in the G-dly Soul also inspires the Animal Soul to love G-dliness.
The deficiency in arousing love and fear, however, causes pain to the soul, insofar as it has not fulfilled its intent for having descended into the physical world. The soul suffers especially on account of the fact that the Animal Soul is prevailing, causing timtum ha’lev, apathy towards G-dliness. Timtum ha’lev causes the middos (emotional attributes) of one’s G-dly Soul to lie dormant, unaffected by [the contemplation of] a G-dly concept. The soul is extremely pained by this, for so long as the person fails to serve G-d, his Animal Soul strengthens significantly and the G-dly soul weakens, etc. And who can fathom what may result from this, G-d forbid?! T’shuva at the level of Ruach is in response to this deficiency – “And the Ruach shall return to the L-rd,” stimulating the emotional attributes [to love and fear G-d].
INWARD T’SHUVA VS. EMOTIONAL T’SHUVA
As we have said, the first level of t’shuva, t’shuva at the level of Nefesh, is repentance for wrongful deeds. (The latter includes succumbing to hedonism, inappropriate behavior [even though the person’s actions may not be outright forbidden]. Indeed, the actions of the hedonist are those of an animal, especially when it amounts to casting off the yoke of Heaven, which is the source of all the various kinds of evil, may G-d have mercy upon us, as discussed in other places.) Certainly when a ruach tahara, a pure spirit, descends upon this person and arouses him to repent for his wrongful behavior, his inadequacies affect him literally in the innermost aspect of his
soul, even more so than for having neglected serving G-d by arousing love and fear [i.e., t’shuva at the level of Ruach]. In general, t’shuva at the level of Nefesh is repentance solely for improper behavior, sincerely regretting one’s misdeeds in the inner aspect of his soul, to the point of motivating him to change his behavior, refraining from his previous ways and changing them completely with a firm resolve, etc. T’shuva at the level of Ruach, on the other hand, is repentance for shortcomings that are more subtle, not having actually transgressed the Torah, G-d forbid. (Such a person is, of course, not considered like an animal; he is merely not considered Adam, etc.) Nevertheless, the second level of t’shuva, t’shuva at the level of Ruach, is more desperate, more driven by emotions than at the level of Nefesh. (This more impassioned t’shuva is when the t’shuva itself [not just the person] is at the level of Ruach.) The reason why repentance for these more subtle inadequacies is with a greater emotional response than t’shuva at the level of Nefesh is simply because one who is only at the level of Nefesh does not have so much emotional excitement [in serving G-d]. (That is not to say that he has no emotional response at all, for every person contains within him all levels, including the level of Ruach, and so on. However, the enthusiasm of someone at the level of Nefesh is tempered.) Thus, the corresponding t’shuva at the level of Nefesh does not have such an emotional quality, although [as we have said] it is accompanied by the arousal of a more internal
Continued on pg. 10
Issue 892 • �
EVERY CHILD NEEDS SPECIAL EDUCATION
Rabbi David Klapman speaks about children with learning problems and says: Every child needs “Special Education,” i.e. education that meets his needs.
Interview by Nosson Avrohom
WARNING: CHILDREN ON VACATION!
I’d like to begin with a relatively simple question, one that is practical now during vacation. Parents are faced with children who complain they are bored. Should parents solve the problem or have the children decide on their own what to do with their free time? Saying “I’m bored,” is a request for help and a parent needs to find out what’s going on. If a child in Crown Heights would say that to me, I would understand him because there aren’t any open areas to play in and options for play in the neighborhood are limited. But in many Chabad communities in Eretz Yisroel and the world, this isn’t a problem. A parent needs to ask the child: What would you like to play? What do you like to do? And then help the child out. Many parents are rattled when a child says he is bored. There is no need to be rattled; just take action. If a child loves to read, provide him with books. If he
likes playing ball, buy him a ball. Another complaint that parents hear during vacation is when a child says he has no friends. What should a parent do? That’s complicated. What does the child mean when he says that? Is it –“They all hate me and don’t want to be my friend?” Or – “I have no friends because I’m looking for one good friend and haven’t found one yet?” Or is it – “I’m on the outside of the social circle because of the way I dress, the way I smell, or because I lack social skills?” Each of these underlying issues will have another solution. If a child doesn’t know how to act in social situations, I would teach him social skills. I would show him how he himself would react if people related to him the way he relates to others. If it’s a situation in which a child is rejected due to external factors, then it is the parents’ responsibility to see to it that he bathes and is dressed respectably. If a child is looking for one special friend, I would teach him how to identify a good
friend; it’s the advice of Chazal, “acquire a good friend,” but in the meantime, I would teach him how to develop his social skills with the rest of the children. This is even though I don’t think it’s the parents’ job to find friends for their children. It’s a natural process that needs to happen through our children themselves and we should not be directly involved. In general, if a child is approaching us, that means he is asking us to get involved and help him. So help him, but don’t get overly involved. Summer vacation is more unrestricted. There are fewer time constraints than during the school year. We hear a lot about setting boundaries. Why is this so important and how can we go about this properly? One of the astonishing terms the Rebbe coined was, “Lights of Tohu in Vessels of Tikkun.” Vessels are the foundation which contain the Lights and enable them to be expressed. Vessels are limitations. Demonstrating the setting of boundaries is vital. If the adult does not set boundaries
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for himself, then the attempt to do so with a child won’t work. A parent needs to think about what their red lines are. The best way to impose this is when the child understands that the parent is serious about the matter. Take Shabbos as an example. Why won’t a child consider desecrating Shabbos? Because he knows that this is a red line he cannot cross. We need to convey our other red lines in the same way, and demonstrate that we seriously mean it. Respecting those limits will cause us to respond in a positive way. We always need to look for the positive; it’s been shown to work. If we love the child and treat him the way he ought to be treated, he won’t try to break the rules (and there will be less need to resort to punishments in the event that he does cross the line). When you talk about a parent setting an example, what do you mean? When we want a child to do something, learn Torah for example, he has to see us learning and loving Torah. If a child hears about Ahavas Yisroel but sees his parent acting in the opposite way, it won’t work. A child copies his parents. You mentioned love. Is that only between parent and child or also between teacher and student? Definitely between teacher and student too. A teacher must love his students. No less important than learning with the students is loving them. If a child feels he is loved, he is less inclined to disturb in class and more willing to listen. Ahavas Yisroel is a Torah obligation. A teacher must love his students. If he doesn’t, he has to think about whether he is in the right profession.
A lot is said these days about personal empowerment of the child, based on the belief that this is one of the most effective ways of helping him. How is this done? It is important that every child experience success. A child cannot be allowed to undertake something that we know he will fail at. We need to give the child tasks that are challenging but which we can be quite sure he can master. We cannot lie to a child and make believe we are really trying hard in a game, when he knows that we are letting him win; that’s not empowerment. I will teach him strategies in the game so he can win. As a teacher, I won’t give a test to a child that I know he will fail. I would rather give him a worksheet instead. I have no interest in implanting within him a sense of failure. This is true in every area. The more experiences of success a child has, the greater his confidence, which will lead him to making more of an effort in his learning and what we ask of him.
SPECIAL EDUCATION AND ITS RAMIFICATIONS
When we say “Special Education,” what do we mean? Special education is geared to that specific child. I really dislike the label “Special Education,” because I think every child is special; every child has his strengths and weaknesses and we should know what they are in order to help him progress. In a way, the principles of Special Education should be applied to every child. The Rebbe writes in the HaYom Yom that a person needs to think about the chinuch of children for at least half an hour a day. The goal is to match
the type of chinuch to the child’s nature. This is not just a parent’s obligation, but the teacher’s too. I don’t ask a teacher to spend a half hour on every child, but at least half an hour about his students in general. By what yardstick do we decide which children will get Special Education and which children will be in a regular classroom? First and foremost, I think we need to be wary of labels. I hear, for example, a teacher saying, “This child’s problem is ‘organic.’” A term like that removes the responsibility from the teacher because if the child is that way, what he does won’t help and therefore, he is excused from trying. I saw a letter from the Rebbe about children who are mentally retarded. The Rebbe writes that in working with these children, one must assume the problem can be solved, even if the medical means have not been discovered yet. Thinking this way affects
Issue 892 • �
how we work with a child. We are not talking about retardation here, but about problems with concentration and learning which are far easier to resolve. You asked about classes. I am a big supporter of mainstreaming children. I think that if a teacher in a regular classroom is guided properly, this kind of classroom will do a lot both for the “regular” kids as well as those with special needs. When all kinds of children are in one classroom, they learn from one another. If we put all those needing help in one classroom, who do they have to learn from? Is there any logic to concentrating all problem learners in one class? Are you saying there should be no Special Ed classrooms? Under the current circumstances, that approach would fail, but if we allocated the right resources, it could benefit everyone. In mainstream classrooms they would learn to accommodate every child, even those who are different, and the children labeled as “special” would not be set up to learn only from other “special” children and remain with the sign of Cain all their lives. You speak about combining Special Education with regular education, but our demands of a child with learning problems will always be less, so won’t he feel different regardless? True, he will be different. Nobody is just like someone else. Children without deficits will learn to grow and be more accepting of these differences. Nobody is perfect. Rashi says that the mitzva of tz’daka means we provide the person with everything he lacks. What does that mean? For one person, it means a loaf of bread. For another person, tz’daka would mean buying him a new Mercedes (or as the Rambam puts it, a servant to run before him). The child who is different is part of the Jewish people. The interaction will contribute to Ahavas Yisroel on both their parts. The younger the age in which we mainstream them, the more successful we will be. What should alert a parent that his child has a problem learning? A parent usually knows. Those who are not in denial will see it immediately. The child comes home from school feeling sad. He doesn’t know what was taught in class, he doesn’t go over the review sheet because he somehow “forgot” it. A good teacher will inform the parent about the child in the lower grades. A parent with older children can easily compare what her older children were like to this child and see that there is a problem. Can you differentiate between a child with emotional problems that were acquired for various reasons (environmental etc.) and a child who has a learning problem he was born with? It is very hard to differentiate. A child with learning problems who is frustrated by his lack of success in the classroom will more readily develop emotional problems. Conversely, a child with emotional problems will have problems listening in class. There are professional evaluations which test for this. There can be endless causes, even if it doesn’t seem as though the child went through anything in particular that contributed toward his problem. There are children who underwent traumas during birth or in utero. The birth could have been complicated or during the pregnancy the mother may have suffered the loss of a family member. When you identify an emotional problem in a child, is it important to treat it immediately or can you wait and hope that things will sort themselves out? This is a situation of safeik pikuach nefesh (a possible danger to life). It is possible that a child will overcome his difficulties, but it is also possible that he won’t, and then we are talking about no less than a safeik pikuach nefesh. This question can be asked regarding chilul Shabbos too. Why desecrate the Shabbos for a sick person when he might get better without our desecrating the Shabbos? We know that the Torah does not accept this reasoning. It is not the Jewish approach. Furthermore, we know that generally, things do not work out on their own. On the contrary, when a child is frustrated, it only gets worse and the chances of it resolving itself are minimal. Anyway, we are not supposed to rely on miracles and for a child to overcome his problems on his own, a miracle must occur. When should we ignore a child’s negative behavior and when not? In principle, ignoring is negative. A child interprets it to mean you don’t care. Sometimes, ignoring is in a child’s best interest but that is only when we thought it through and concluded that it is a good idea. To make it into a way of life is a big mistake. If the premeditated disregard is made by an informed decision, that’s another story. That’s not a matter of “I don’t have the strength, so leave me alone.” Ignoring when you’ve thought it
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through means, “I am sure you are all right on your own; I rely on you.” The child feels good with this kind of disregard. There is a certain type that every teacher, and certainly principals and guidance counselors, have dealt with. After years of a child being a “red flag” to their teachers, he is diagnosed as having attention problems. The doctor recommends medication and the parents refuse. What should be done? It’s a complicated situation. First, the decision to give medication belongs to the doctor and not the teachers. I sometimes hear a teacher say that a child needs this or that medication. What makes them qualified to say that? What medical knowledge do they have? And yet, I understand the teachers who are having a hard time teaching a lesson with a hyperactive child in the classroom. As for the parents, they need to be understood too. What parent is happy to put their child on daily medication? Personally, my approach is to oppose medication. I would try all kinds of other things, but if we really tried everything and nothing is working and the doctor says to give medication, then the parent has to realize this is pikuach nefesh. The child cannot progress without the medication and will continue to slide. This must be said very gently; this is not Tylenol but a powerful drug. You absolutely cannot approach a parent aggressively about this. I sometimes find it hard understanding parents who, after trying all possibilities, still refuse to provide the proper care. It is neglectful and they should not be surprised if the results are severe, even dropping out. When
Rabbi David Klapman is an only child who was born in Chicago in 1966. He grew up in a traditional home and attended public school. In the afternoon he attended a Conservative Talmud Torah. When he finished high school, he attended college where he encountered the Jewish Hillel campus organization and met the shliach, Rabbi Aharon Goldstein. This is when he first got a taste of Chassidus. He went to 770 for the first time in 5746 as part of an annual Shabbaton with Chabad. When he completed his degree, he went to learn in the yeshiva for baalei t’shuva in Morristown, Tiferes Bachurim, for two years. Then he went to Eretz Yisroel and learned in Ohr HaT’mimim headed by R’ Shneur Zalman Gafni. There, he completed his smicha. He married and settled in Tzfas and continued learning in the kollel Tzemach Tzedek. When it came time to make a living, he concluded that he was interested in special education. He was accepted to Columbia University where he received a Master’s degree in education. He was given the green light by the Rebbe to pursue these studies which he finished in 5753. He returned to Eretz Yisroel and began working in the field of special education while teaching at the Michlalah College for Women in Bayit Vegan and other places. He is a sought-after lecturer and advises many schools in his area of expertise. This past year he has been heavily involved in the development of the new yeshiva Tomchei T’mimim in Emanuel. It was hard to get this interview because R’ Klapman is in over his head with work, but due to the importance of the subject and the shlichus he sees in chinuch, he set aside some of his precious time. Those who know R’ Klapman, know that his educational approach is not necessarily conventional, but it is successful.
a child drops out it comes from a lack of caring for a child.
CHILDREN IN THE ERA OF GEULA
You work in a yeshiva now
Issue 892 • �
and many parents consult with you. We know that yeshiva is not an easy place to be for a child who is having difficulties, and many of these children end up dropping out. Does a child with problems belong in yeshiva? It depends on how much frustration the child has accrued over the years. You can’t compare one child to another. I would check to see what a child’s strong points are and check out the yeshiva to see how many students are in each class. I would look to see if there are other children with similar problems. If there are too many students like this in one class, the teacher will have a hard time handling it. I would also check to see how experienced the staff is with problems like these. This is all if the student comes with some study habits. If he has no study habits, after having been neglected for years and he did not learn a single daf Gemara in his life (there are children who spend their school years out in the hall or in the principal’s office), it will be impossible to include him in a mainstream yeshiva program. It’s not because of his problem, but because of the neglect. It’s not his fault. It’s a situation that could have been prevented if they had addressed it properly. If, from the time the child was five, the parents helped him or gave him a tutor, or sent him for treatment, he would easily fit into a yeshiva despite his shortcomings. It all depends on the parents. To summarize my answer: a child with learning problems who is handled correctly, can generally fit into the yeshiva system. The Rebbe said the Geula is already here in the world and we merely need to open our eyes to see it. How do we teach a child to live with Moshiach and in the atmosphere of Geula? It is easier for children. “These are my anointed ones,” i.e. the schoolchildren. As long as we don’t ruin them, they get it. In order to instill it deeper, we need to do as the Rebbe said and learn inyanei Moshiach and Geula. Today, there are plenty of books that speak to children. There can also be contests in school on these subjects. The main thing is for a teacher to “live” with it and be a role model for the students.
Continued from pg. 5
awakening in the essence of his soul. Whereas, the soul of one who is at the level of Ruach is more inclined to an impassioned service of G-d. Thus, his t’shuva is with great fervor, repenting with great emotion for his failure to reveal within him the kochos of the G-dly soul [i.e., love and fear of G-d].
T’SHUVA WITH BITTUL VS. T’SHUVA FROM THE HEART
Indeed, enthusiastic t’shuva is superior in the same sense that serving G-d with devotion of heart is greater than serving Him out of duty, even though the latter manner of service – serving G-d with bittul, transcendence of ego, and acceptance of the yoke of Heaven – pertains to the very core of one’s being, as discussed above. (The truth is that the failure
to serve G-d with love and fear, although it is a subtler deficiency [than deficiencies of behavior, such as outright transgressions or hedonistic behavior] – the resulting blemish is more pronounced, insofar as the person is of a greater spiritual stature. It is thus written, “for man is a tree in the field, etc.”: Just as with regard to a tree that bears fruit, the fruit at the top of the tree, when they fall to the ground, land further away from the tree, so too with regard to the Tree of Life, which bears souls. Whoever is at a greater spiritual height is subject to fall to greater depths, may G-d have mercy. Therefore, one whose soul is great enough to approach serving G-d through love and fear, his failure to do so makes him further away from G-d and more predisposed towards evil, G-d forbid. That is, in virtue of the fact that a stain on fine garments is worse [than a stain on
inexpensive clothing], etc., the person of high stature [should he fail to achieve his potential] is liable to become more steeped in evil, G-d forbid. Thus, there must truly be a correspondingly greater repentance for this person’s shortcomings.) T’shuva at the level of Ruach, insofar as it shares the virtue and quality of the aspect of the soul called Ruach, is with more elicitation of emotion (especially if the person at the level of Ruach [also] must repent for some transgression, G-d forbid; then the repentance is indeed with greater fervor.)
THE NESHAMA KNOWS WHAT IT’S MISSING
Now, t’shuva at the level Neshama, the third level of the soul, is on account of the failure to attain comprehension of the Divine or for the neglect
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of contemplating G-dliness. Acquiring Divine knowledge and meditating on G-dly concepts are obligatory pursuits for each and every Jew, just as Torah study in general is obligatory, and especially the study of the inner dimension of the Torah, as mentioned in Igeres HaKodesh – Kuntres Acharon in the maamer beginning with the words, “To understand what is written in Pri Eitz Chayim.” There, the Alter Rebbe writes: “Attaining knowledge of hishtalshlus, the incremental descent of G-dliness through the worlds, is a great and lofty Mitzva. In fact, it is superior to all of the other Mitzvos, as it is written, ‘You shall know today, etc.’ ‘Know the G-d of your father, etc.’ Indeed, it brings one to attain wholeheartedness, etc.” Insufficient devotion to this Divine service requires repentance, primarily with regard to one’s failure to assimilate G-dly concepts in his mind. That is, even when the person meditates upon a G-dly concept, he is not engaged by it intellectually (the concept is not absorbed and integrated into his mind, and the message has not been communicated), nor is his mind aroused. These shortcomings are on account of timtum ha’mo’ach, one’s mind becoming uninspired by Divine knowledge. (Of course, there are varying degrees of severity of this condition with regard to one’s inability to assimilate and integrate knowledge, as well as the lack of its emotional elicitation, and so forth.) T’shuva for this condition entails being embittered over the fact that a G-dly concept escapes the person’s grasp, his soul is not illuminated by it. His emotional response is, therefore, strictly superficial.
This form of repentance is even more internal than t’shuva at the level of Ruach. (T’shuva at the level of Neshama is indeed more inward and deep, for just as the Divine service at the level of Neshama is deeper – being at the level of the essence of the mind, as discussed above – so is the repentance at this level internal and deeper in the soul.) Being at the level of Neshama, certainly the person has knowledge and comprehension of G-dliness. And when he is aroused to do t’shuva for his disinterest, etc., this person knows what he has been distanced from [i.e., he knows the greatness, the profundity of the G-dly knowledge he has forsaken]. This distance genuinely and powerfully affects the person in the inner aspects of his soul. Indeed, in his own esteem, he is literally a sinner, a transgressor, and he is very embittered in his soul, as if he had committed sins, may G-d have mercy. On account of his having attained knowledge of the Divine, he is keenly aware of how negative and bitter is his departure from G-d. (Indeed, in a state of repentance at this level, the awareness is acute, like having an inner perception of G-dliness.) Thus, he returns to G-d with all his heart and all his soul, from the depths and the most innermost aspect of his soul. And in so doing, he removes the concealments and coverings, truly becoming a vessel to G-dly light, a light that shines in his soul, mind, and heart.
THE POWER TO REPENT AND TO PERSERVERE
All these levels of repentance draw energy and assistance from Above, both with regard to the repentance itself, as well as for
continuing to maintain what the penitent has achieved. For example, regarding the level of Nefesh, the capacity is drawn from Above to be sincerely embittered by one’s former regrettable ways and unworthy interests, granting him a firm resolve to change his path, etc. And G-d “examines one’s heart and reins”: Knowing very well the strength of the individual’s positive resolution, G-d helps the person from Above, both in order that he should be aroused to repent as well as that he should follow up with perseverance. This then is the meaning of the words, “(Master of our strength) Rock of our stronghold, Shield of our salvation, etc.”: “Master of our strength” is the general power in the soul for repentance that comes from [the recognition of one’s] distance [from G-dliness]. That is, from the perspective of one’s essential Jewish spark (which is the essential point of his heart, called “K’nesses Yisroel,” the essential point of Malchus within each and every Jew), his distance from G-dliness affects him to the core of his soul, and he is aroused to a complete t’shuva in order to gain closeness to G-dliness. “Rock of our stronghold, etc.,” on the other hand, refers to the particular levels of Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama, as they are manifest within the worlds Bria, Yetzira, Asiya, each at its respective level. All of the above refers to the transcendent manifestation of Malchus, which is drawn upon the aspects of his soul, be it from Bria or Yetzira or Asiya. These are, in fact, the particular K’sarim within the four worlds, Atzilus, Bria, Yetzira, and Asiya, both in general and in particular.
L’ilui nishmas Rivka bas Shmuel Ber
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MOSHIACH: THE STAR OF THE SHOW
You may have read and seen pictures of the makeover of the Vaspi home. The Vaspis, who underwent major tragedies, are unusually hospitable and giving people. The “Extreme Makeover Yisroel” program chose to renovate this Lubavitcher family’s home. * Beis Moshiach spoke with R’ Einav Vaspi and got a behind the scenes look at the work his family does and what it was like to be the stars of this TV program.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Photos by Hadas Peretz
hoever knows the Vaspi family from Yesod HaMaala, remembers the hard times the family underwent in recent years, as well as their endless generosity. Along with the tragedies – the terrible car accident they were in, and the drowning of their daughter Menucha Rochel, they always stood out as a family who gives without limits to whoever is in need, no matter whom. They live on the banks of the Jordan River and their home is always open. Whoever is in need of a roof over their head, a hot
meal, or a place to sit, knows how to get to the Vaspis. Up until two months ago, there was no lock on their house. The Vaspi home is always open, day and night, summer and winter. Someone who was evicted from his home said that he lived for half a year in a caravan that the Vaspis made available to him in their yard. A single mother of eleven children was helped by the Vaspis when her rental lease expired and she could not rent another apartment. Others found their way to the Vaspis when they began their t’shuva process and
sought a warm home that would adopt them during this sensitive time. Unofficially, the Vaspi home is a Chabad house in every respect. They host dozens of people every Shabbos and hold farbrengens every Thursday night. *** A few years ago, the family car was hit by a bus. Their daughter Shaina was the most severely injured and had a leg amputated. After a long rehabilitation, she returned home with her parents determined to increase their
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chesed and to have a class for girls in their house. They had barely gotten over the accident when they were hit with another tragedy. Their two year old daughter drowned. This left the family reeling but immediately after the Shiva, Einav and his wife Anat decided to designate part of their yard to host spacious classrooms for the girls’ school they had started, which until then had been housed temporarily in caravans. A preschool that they had started ten years ago also got its own
permanent building. In the summer after the tragedy, the family, along with friends and residents of the moshava, inaugurated the classrooms and preschool. These schoolrooms became an inseparable part of the Vaspi home, just like all their acts of chesed and hospitality. One of their close friends explained that Einav and Anat knew that their consolation would come through increasing their activities and becoming more involved in chinuch.
DOING FOR EVERYBODY ELSE
Throughout this time, the Vaspi family lived in an old house. They invested all their money into their chesed and chinuch activities. Their home, which had become the home of hundreds of people, was dilapidated. The roof was threatening to cave in, the foundations were shaky, and the tiles had fallen off. This didn’t bother the Vaspis, but their friends decided to see to it that they had a house that was
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after the American version), during the course of which the construction team built the Vaspis a new house in five days. The work was filmed and became a series called “Extreme Yisroel,” in which the family and their chesed work were highlighted. The program generated huge interest on the part of Israelis of all walks of life and made a huge Kiddush Hashem. The tens of thousands of Jews who watched the program saw, many for the first time in their lives, the energy of the Rebbe’s shluchim who devote their lives to their fellow Jews. When speaking to Einav about the program, it is important to him to emphasize that it was all about conveying a message of Geula and hiskashrus to the Rebbe. Indeed, during the course of the program, viewers were exposed to the belief in the Rebbe as Melech HaMoshiach as the production team stressed the presence of the Rebbe in the lives of the Vaspi family. Throughout the program the hosts of the show spoke about the Rebbe, hiskashrus and shlichus. In one of the scenes the viewers saw the children playing with cards with the most valuable one being the “Melech HaMoshiach” card. During the five days that the house was being renovated in front of the cameras, the production team worked hand in hand with the Lubavitcher friends of Einav from the yishuv, and this close quarters interaction led to many discussions about emuna, Judaism, and hiskashrus to the Rebbe. Rabbi Yaakov BenAri, the shliach to the kibbutzim, showed up every day and spoke with the members of the team. While this was going on, the show’s producers sent the Vaspi family on vacation to a yishuv in the Golan. In their absence,
INSPIRATION FROM 770
During the program, the home designers paid a visit to the 770 replica building in Kfar Chabad. They said they were looking to derive inspiration there with which to design the Vaspi house, and they realized there was no better place than the Rebbe’s home in Kfar Chabad. They met R’ Yossi Ginsburg there, the Vaspis’ mashpia. He told them about this wonderful family and their endless giving to the community. When the house was completed, it was painted a Bordeaux red, reminiscent of the bricks of the Rebbe’s house, 770. Even when it seemed as though the paint company had forgotten precisely which color they wanted, the editor and producer insisted that they not change from the color that had been picked since “this is the color of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s house.” During the visit to 770, the show’s producers got an idea from R’ Yossi about the mezuza for the Vaspi house. He suggested they make a mezuza cover out of wood in the shape of 770. Although you can purchase 770-mezuzos in Kfar Chabad’s Judaica stores, this mezuza was handmade by a professional woodworker. The result is magnificent. At the end of the program you see the rav of the yishuv, R’ Reitzes, putting up the mezuza at the festive Chanukas Ha’bayis. This is probably the only mezuza in the world like it, with 770 etched into the wood with exactitude and beauty. far more suitable for people who devoted their lives to others. I asked Einav how he built classrooms and a preschool in his yard when his own house was not in great shape. He said, “Before Menucha Rochel died, we had set aside a sum of money to renovate the house, but we accrued debt at the schools and decided to dip into those savings and pay off the debt. Then the Rebbe sent us renovations that helped us more than what we had originally planned to do.” The Vaspis found themselves the stars of a new reality television program (modeled
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Einav’s friends Eren Cohen and Kobi Lubinsky took over their activities. After five days, the Vaspis returned to the house that used to have a leaky ceiling, no kitchen cabinets, and was falling apart. They discovered, to their delight, a rebuilt home that was designed with their needs in mind. The front part of the house contains the living room and the area used for public activities, while the inner part of the house contains the bedrooms. This is a huge change for the family which was used to their entire home being open to the public. The change is not meant to adversely affect their work, G-d forbid, but to augment it. The renovation team compensated for the loss of public space as a result of the new division with a spacious garden designed to serve everyone on the yishuv and, of course, the work the family does. In the center of the yard there is a place for the Thursday night farbrengens which are attended by dozens of people.
SURPRISING PHONE CALL
A few days after the broadcast of the program, we spoke with Einav. He said he had gotten a lot of feedback after the television broadcast, and the producers had told him that the program had made a huge splash and they were constantly getting reactions to it. Einav explained how it came about. “One day, the producer of the program called me and said she had heard about our family from a neighbor who had once lived near us in Yesod HaMaala. She thought that ours is a story of public interest and they wanted to help renovate our house to suit our needs. They sent a team who
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clear that they had connected to the spiritual idea behind all the activities. When I saw the receptiveness of all the people involved in the production, I had the sense that the Jewish people are ready for the Geula. It was very clear to everyone that they were completely invested in trying to do good. Starting from the producer, the editor, the host, the construction crew, all of them were tuned in to every detail. They tried very hard to see to it that it was all done on the highest level, from a spiritual standpoint, and that it would suit the spiritual ideal that the house represents. “They consulted with R’ Yossi Ginsburg, rav of the Chabad community in Ramat Aviv, when questions arose. Many segments were deleted from the program only because they were not 100% from a religious propriety perspective. When, in production, it was felt that certain segments were not in keeping with the spirit of the program, they were edited out. We consulted constantly, even about the narration. “When we left the house, the producer sent us the girls’ tambourine and said it was possible they wouldn’t finish the program because Moshiach would come, so we had better take the tambourine along.”
Gan Simchat HaChayim
The Rebbe’s answer in the Igros Kodesh that the crew had etched in wood
examined the house and found it suitable for their program. The roof was in terrible shape and in general, the entire house was in poor condition. They saw that the house needed a lot of work and that this would help us in what we do. “Part of their investigating had to do with our work and they became very excited by it.” The program emphasized
the connection with the Rebbe. It seems that the producers really connected with the idea of shlichus and decided to pass along the Rebbe’s messages. “While the work on the house was going on the atmosphere was very special. Everyone felt a sense of shlichus, the workers as well as the producers of the show. They all said that the project with us gave them a different feeling about the entire program. The producers said that they were happy they started with our house because it gave the staff the motivation to continue with the program. They felt a strong connection to the work that we do here. The entire week was like one long farbrengen.” Did they understand the significance of a Lubavitcher home which is a Chabad house in every respect? “We did not say it’s a Chabad house, but they chose to define it as such and to emphasize that aspect of it. It was very
PRIME TIME FARBRENGEN
Did you talk with the production team during the program? “I wasn’t there, but they constantly told me what was going on and there was the feeling that something big was happening. People wrote to the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh and opened to astonishing answers. Some got into one-onone conversations. One woman
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The newly designed children’s rooms
on the team committed to koshering her kitchen. They kept calling me with questions that came up. I remember that when the designer showed up for the first time to see the house, he sat down near our library and began reading sifrei Chassidus.” What did the people of Yesod HaMaala think of all this? “They were very involved. People were always going over to help. That was an important element of the deep connection that was created. All the locals who went to see the production told the team that this was the right choice of a place to renovate. We were told that in some cases people wonder, why were they picked to have their home renovated, but in this case, everyone was totally into it and were happy about it. I think that if they did a film about what went on behind the scenes, it would be fascinating. “We kept on hearing the contractor and the producer saying, ‘b’ezrat Hashem.’ The producer also told us that there was no way they could finish the production within five days, but miracles occurred. By the way, the host/narrator of the program, Amos Tamam, received a gift from us, the book Modaot
Yehudit on Tanya. He put the title page on his blog and said that it had a great impact on him. He also said he received a lot of positive feedback on his blog.” One of the scenes in the program is the farbrengen that takes place in Einav’s yard every Thursday evening. Local residents come by and sit around a fire and farbreng. Einav says this is the highlight of the week. “There is a farbrengen every Thursday. We say l’chaim and farbreng. Sometimes a guest mashpia comes. We always have music and a barbecue. The atmosphere is fantastic. People open up and talk. This farbrengen is the anchor for the entire week.” During the program an improvised farbrengen takes place with Einav’s friends from Yesod HaMaala and the people from the television program. The farbrengen is filmed to show the viewers what takes place at the Vaspi home. “It was a real farbrengen,” says Einav. “Although I wasn’t there, I heard that it was powerful. All the participants put on t’fillin and made good resolutions. They wanted to show what
the farbrengen we have every Thursday is like, but it turned out to be an authentic farbrengen. “We told the editors about the clear and encouraging answer we opened to in the Rebbe’s letters about our work in Yesod HaMaala. The producer insisted that R’ Yossi find the answer for them and then had it engraved on a piece of eucalyptus wood. They hung it in the entrance to the house so everyone can see it. In general, they were very respectful of the work and realized that our outreach is an inseparable part of our home.”
A SCHOOL L’ILUI NISHMAS THEIR DAUGHTER
Eren Cohen, one of Einav’s friends, was a regular throughout the program and was involved in the construction while Einav was away from home. He is a Lubavitcher Chassid who lives in Kibbutz Chulta which is near Yesod HaMaala. He and Einav grew up together and each of them became a baal t’shuva. Eren describes the unique educational enterprises that operate in the Vaspi yard: “Ten years ago he started a preschool, on his own, in a building on the yishuv. Then a
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are dealing with the bureaucracy now. The Education Ministry ordered all private schools to be closed, as a result of which there is an attempt to deny us a permit. Exposure on the program helped us because the people opposing us got to see what we do in a very impressive way. “I would like to give kudos to the entire staff of the preschool, girls’ school, and boys’ school, R’ Benny Maslis, the principal of the boys’ school, and Mrs. Halperin, principal of the girls’ school. They all do outstanding work and boruch Hashem, they are always going ‘from strength to strength.’”
The producers with Einav
The producer insisted that R’ Yossi find the answer for them and then had it engraved on a piece of eucalyptus wood. They hung it in the entrance to the house so everyone can see it.
girls’ program was started which is attended by girls in the area. The classes in the Vaspi home turned into a full-fledged school. “It became necessary to vacate the building that the preschool was in and so the preschool moved to a caravan in Einav’s backyard. When the school for the girls grew, it became necessary to have proper classrooms for them. Then another section of the yard was designated for them with several caravans. “A school for boys was started and we asked the local city council for land in order to build a proper school, one for girls, one for the preschool, and one for boys. “That year, the Vaspis’ two year old passed away and Einav and his wife decided to keep the preschool and the girls’ school on their property. We built classrooms and a building for the preschool. “Many people from the yishuv took part in the construction. The fact that the classes now had a formal place of their own made them more respectable. “Most of the girls who attend the school are from the area, from the kibbutzim and yishuvim or from nearby cities like Kiryat Shmoneh and Rosh Pina. They want individual attention in a natural setting with animals, and a Chassidishe atmosphere. “Another amazing thing about the program,” says Einav, “has to do with the certification for running the girls’ school. We
NOURISHING BODY AND SOUL FOR THE TOURIST TRADE
Einav works along with the shliach and rav of the yishuv, R’ Yaakov Reitzes, who has been the rav in Yesod HaMaala for decades. “R’ Reitzes arranges the programs and we try to help. Every Yom Tov we do outreach activities throughout the region with the thousands of soldiers who serve in the area. We try to see to it that not a single soldier along the border will miss out on the joy of the holiday. On Chanuka we give out menorahs and donuts. On Purim we distribute mishloach manos and arrange the reading of the Megilla. During the second Lebanon war we circulated among the thousands of soldiers, put t’fillin on with them, and brought them joy. Our outreach extended into Lebanon, at all the outposts. “Of course, there are all the daily and weekly activities, like Shabbos hospitality for young people from the yishuv and the
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areas around it, or guests who come for Shabbos. We recently had the Chabad yeshiva of Ohr Yehuda for Shabbos and the driver loved the Shabbos atmosphere. A week ago he called and asked if he could spend Shabbos with us because he wants to keep Shabbos again and he feels that this is the best place for him.” A major part of Einav’s work focuses on the Jewish tourists in the area. The tourist service that they run also helps finance their other projects. As part of the tourist package that they provide, they offer meals for groups of tourists who come from all over the country and the world, guided jeep tours, Shabbos hospitality and organized trips. Under the umbrella of Jewish tourism they help the shluchim and many Chabad houses who are interested in providing their mekuravim with authentic Jewish experiences, for body and soul. Many religious families also enjoy Einav’s jeep trips or exclusive gourmet meals on the banks of the Jordan. “Previously, all the work was done in our home. People who
needed help would come at all hours and the house was really always open. The producers of the program wanted to make a separation between the private part of the house and the public part. Thanks to them, there is more of a separation between the home and our work. This is only meant to help us in our work so we will be more effective. “Now there is a clear delineation between the various parts of the house and the yard in a way that makes it userfriendly for the various mosdos and the family. The yard is divided so that there are low walls within the yard that separate the preschool and the school, and the private part of the yard. There are also areas that are open to all like the petting zoo and places to sit. “It was important to me that with the new design people see that this is the Rebbe’s home. The house used to
be completely open and when people would ask me why, I would say I don’t understand the question since this is the Rebbe’s home. Today, the house projects a respectable image, and the new design enhances that respect so that the entire house conveys respect which is fitting for the Rebbe’s house. The new design, which includes a library in the entrance, gives you a good feeling so that everyone feels good in the house. I think that is how the Rebbe’s house ought to be.”
Anywhere, Anytime !
CHITAS INYONEI GEULA & MOSHIACH RAMBAM SHIURIM IN LIKUTEI SICHOS KODESH
LIVE SHIURIM 0NLINE
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Issue 892 • �
GEULA TOUR OF YERUSHALAYIM OF OLD
Doron, and his wife Ayelet, Oren run what they call “Yerushalayim shel Maala – A Center for Tourists with Spirit and Neshama,” through which they teach Judaism and Chassidus to thousands of tourists a year. * Join me as we take part in a tour!
By Menachem Mendel Arad
echov Yaavetz 8 is where we were headed that fine morning in Yerushalayim. A spacious yard invites us to enter the “Merkaz Moshiach U’Geula – Midrechov Ben Yehuda.” You are invited to join us at the headquarters of “Yerushalayim shel Maala – A Center for Tourists with Spirit and Neshama.” If I wasn’t used to it from my previous visits, I would definitely have wondered about the odd combination; how does a Moshiach center and a tourist center go together? On second thought, what could interest a tourist in Yerushalayim more than to experience the anticipation for the Geula, to ponder the glorious moments of our history when we
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had the Beis HaMikdash, and to feel how touring the alleyways of Yerushalayim not only reminds us of what we once had, but also lets us know what to expect any moment? There are homes and families in Yerushalayim that remain untouched by the years of galus, fast-paced technology and upheavals. At the Moshiach and Geula Center we meet with R’ Doron and Ayelet Oren, a couple on shlichus who work together and separately with youth, running the yeshiva Oro shel Moshiach for baalei t’shuva and managing a dynamic Chabad house in one of the busiest areas of Yerushalayim. This is in addition to exciting work with tourists from Eretz Yisroel and abroad. About a year ago, their place was nearly completely burned down, but following encouraging answers from the Rebbe in the Igros Kodesh, they decided to start over again in a much grander way. The impressive results were there in front of me. The place is spacious and aesthetically pleasing. In the beis midrash I saw an astonishing sight. Together with talmidim from the yeshiva were sitting thirty eleventh graders from the Eshel HaNasi school in Beer Sheva, in pairs. I went over to one of them to ask what brought him here. It turns out that their school arranges an annual three day trip to Yerushalayim. They can choose what they want to see and experience. Many of them choose to experience the artistic and musical scene and to come in contact with people of culture and the theater. Said Roi, “We chose to encounter Judaism in Yerushalayim and that is how we got to Yerushalayim shel Maala.” Roi told me about the
program of “Learning in Pairs” which he was participating in when I went over to him. The boys learn Gemara and Chassidus together for three days, and will experience all the tours and attractions of Yerushalayim shel Maala. At the end of a three day program like this last year, one of the students went to learn in yeshiva, directly from the kibbutz in the south of the country. A group of women from WIZO (Women`s International Zionist Organization) are waiting for the shlucha in the nearby park. Mrs. Oren gets ready to go out and we joined her.
11 CHILDREN IN FORTY SQUARE METERS
The tour began in the Nachlaot neighborhood. The neighborhood has eighty shuls belonging to different segments of the frum world. This neighborhood, which is a collection of thirty-two old neighborhoods, was started by people from the old yishuv which is what the Jews who ventured beyond the walls of the Old City were called. Many neighborhoods like Shaarei Chesed, which we walked through, are comprised of houses with tin roofs alongside beautiful homes. There is a variety of styles – renovated homes and ancient homes that have remained the same since they were built over a hundred years ago; spacious apartments and tiny ones; and the population consists of students as well as large families. In the middle of the day we were hosted by a Lubavitcher family consisting of eleven children in a tiny home. There was a minimum of space but endless simcha radiating from every corner and from people’s
faces. The group, numbering about twenty women, entered one by one and we followed them. We passed a minuscule kitchen with an industrial oven from which wafted the smell of fragrant challos. The house was immaculate but the mother apologized for the chaos following the birth of her grandson. The new mother was resting there and the baby was sleeping peacefully in the living room. My children said the p’sukim, Shma Yisroel and Yechi with the baby and were given candy. We were dumbfounded, the women tourists even more so. “How did you raise eleven children in a house like this?” they wanted to know. Ruti, the mother, smiled and said, “Hashem gives the strength. It’s all in your mind.” She explained that at night, the table in the living room is moved aside and the bed opens into four parts with two children sleeping on each section. The older ones are in yeshiva or seminary. As for the clothing, toys and everything else? Everything has its place and what there is no room for gets put up in the boidem (crawl space) located over the living room. To me and to the visitors along with us, this was the highlight of the visit which had just begun. The stereotypes were shattered. Their view of ultra-Orthodox Judaism gained a different perspective. One of the women said that she had a stunning villa built and at a certain point, it turned out that unlike the original plans, half a room was missing. “We made a big deal out of this and felt it was the end of the world. Now I see how one can be content in two rooms and feel as though all the world is yours!”
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Ruti smiled and dropped another bombshell. “I did not grow up in Yerushalayim, nor did I grow up in a large family. I grew up in Afula and was an only child in a huge house. My parents became baalei t’shuva through the family of R’ Shimon Rosenberg (father of slain Rivky Holtzberg), and I began hosting these tours four years ago, in memory of Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg, may Hashem avenge their blood. “I won’t say it’s easy for me, but I thank G-d for what I have and don’t cry over what I don’t have. I try to do the maximum with what I’ve got, and boruch Hashem I am successful (she also runs a bakery out of her house). “One day, irreligious soldiers called me and said, ‘Ruti, we are on the base and we made challa and took off the dough and said the bracha just as you taught us.’ Someone else who was here decided to keep Shabbos. ‘You reminded me of my home when I was a child. I also grew up in a religious home and you reminded me of those holy moments of Shabbos. I want my children and grandchildren to experience Shabbos too.’” but get to experience it too.” The Orens came up with a program that they call “Erev Chassidi b’Yerushalayim.” Unfortunately, I did not have the time to experience it, but I must say I am amazed by this idea which is ingenious in its simplicity. What happens on an Erev Chassidi? A special Chassidic farbrengen for groups of tourists. A mashpia comes, the tables are laden with refreshments including kugel and chulent, authentic Yerushalmi food, and he farbrengs with them. He tells them his life’s story, he says l’chaim with them, and they sing Chassidic songs together, sometimes accompanied by music. I figure that some of you think this program doesn’t sound touristy, but the tourists and their guides love it. Every week there are two evenings of these farbrengens. As we marvel at their creativity, Mrs. Oren modestly offers a disclaimer. “We have no special talents or abilities. We have the Rebbe MH”M who guides us, step by step, through the Igros Kodesh. All the creative ideas are a direct result of answers from the Rebbe.” We continue the tour on the streets of Yerushalayim and Mrs. Oren is happy to supply us and the readers of Beis Moshiach with tourist trade secrets and tips for shluchim: “Today, tourism is one of the most important aspects of the Israeli economy. Every local municipality would love to develop the tourist trade in their city. For some reason, many Chabad houses limit their work to the people of their city when they can reach thousands of tourists a year. “Even in non-touristy places,
EVERY CHABAD HOUSE CAN DEVELOP A TOURIST ANGLE
When we left the house, Mrs. Oren told us her thoughts about
“Tourism is different than it used to be. Tourists go places, let’s say China, not in order to see the Great Wall, but to experience China. They want to visit with a Chinese family, eat Chinese food, talk with the locals, and get a sense of the mentality. This is what we provide tourists, the Chassidic feel of Yerushalayim.”
Boruch Hashem, I am always happy.” It was time for a Challa Workshop. The table was moved to the center of the living room and each woman was given a piece of dough. As they kneaded and braided it, they learned the halachos of separating challah dough. At the end of the tour, the women come back and get the challa they made and which hopefully their husbands will cut the following night after making kiddush. After all, how can they leave with challa without deciding to make kiddush and have a Shabbos meal the next night? Right before we left, Ruti told us about the feedback she gets. the tourist industry: “Today, tourism is different than it used to be. Tourists go places, let’s say China, not in order to see the Great Wall, but to experience China. They want to visit with a Chinese family, eat Chinese food, talk with the locals, and get a sense of the mentality. This is what we provide tourists, the Chassidic feel of Yerushalayim. “Chassidus teaches us not to look at what I’ve got to offer but at what the other person needs. Tour guides are constantly looking for something new and exciting. This is what we give them. Tourists who come our way not only see Yerushalayim,
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a Chabad house can come up with a ‘pilot program’ which will offer visitors from outside the city a ‘Jewish experience,’ ‘Jewish music,’ a ‘Chassidic experience,’ ‘challa workshops,’ ‘meet a Jewish scribe,’ etc. By the way, sometimes you can do big things with a minimal outlay of money by simply letting people into the homes of Anash and letting them see a Chassidic home, authentic Jewish life, in the 21st century. For your information, we (the shluchim couple) would be happy to offer advice on this subject to any Chassid who is willing to open his house to touristshlichus. You wouldn’t believe how every home can turn into a story and every family into an experience.” Miri, the tour guide who is listening to our conversation, said, “We once visited a family and a fascinating discussion ensued with the parents. The tourists could not believe how a family can live without a television. ‘So how do you occupy the children?’ they wondered. I’ll never forget how the woman pointed at one child who was reading a book, at two others who were working on a puzzle, a girl who was helping her in the kitchen, and another girl who was playing with a little brother.” Our conversation was interrupted every time we passed by interesting sights in the neighborhoods. For example, we passed by a book gemach – a bookcase, mostly with books in English, with an open glass door. Whoever wants a book takes it and must remember to return it. On another corner, we saw a gemach for bread, which consisted of a plastic closet with bread and rolls that were donated by bakeries. People pass by, take bread and put the money it
A farbrengen at the Center with IDF soldiers at the end of a tour
costs into a tz’daka pushka. The money collected in the pushka will be given to the needy. The Lubavitcher guide spoke about how the neighborhood of Shaarei Chesed came to be. Its name suits it as is apparent in the severe enactments imposed on the residents of the neighborhood. For example, “No member may build protruding overhangs, build out into the street, cause any harm to the life of the neighborhood and its residents. No spilling garbage in a public place. To beware and not cause damage to others: no loud noises, no smoke fires, no maintaining a coop or pen. All water cisterns belong to all members of the neighborhood equally. Whoever maintains a quarrel and was warned three times and did not cease, shall leave the neighborhood ...” It is amazing to see how one experience is worth a thousand words. Go and explain to someone that there are concepts like the mitzva of g’milus chassadim that are real and practical. That people truly
think about others and give of their time, energy and money, for others. Here, in one short visit, it all comes to life. When we pass by interesting sights, like the sun dial on the wall (that is no longer working), people are surprised to see an ancient clock that used to serve the residents of the neighborhood, and they get to hear a Chassidic tale about the Alter Rebbe and a sun dial. When we pass by the home of the posek, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach z’’l, or the tzaddik, R’ Aryeh Levin z”l, the tourists hear stories about them and their connections to the Rebbe. We see cisterns of water that served the people of a courtyard and “wedding courtyards” where they set up chuppas on Friday afternoons (because of the poverty, so as to save on the expense of the wedding meal which was combined with the Friday night meal). After visiting a home and being exposed to simple, religious lives, concepts like “being satisfied with little,” and
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“spiritual life versus material life,” and “who is rich – he who is happy with his lot,” take on new meaning. The women cannot help but contrast the showy weddings of today with the modest weddings of yesteryear. One of the truly jarring moments on the tour is crossing Rechov Betzalel which separates between the two parts of Nachlaot, the religious part from the irreligious part. Allow me to quote one of the tourists from a previous tour, Mrs. Ronit Bar Ari, a senior manager in a marketing firm, under the heading “Yerushalayim of Yesteryear and Yerushalayim of Today – Two Houses Away.” “When we left the small house and had merely crossed the street, we returned to the 21st century, to a busy street opposite a theater. Fifty meters away and two separate ways of life. I must say, it’s a jolting experience.” It is amusing to hear the group of tourists discuss among themselves, “Why are the Lubavitchers in the less religious part of the neighborhood? Their Rebbe wants them not to separate themselves from the secular world but to work together and draw them close to Judaism. They even go on shlichus to places like India and Thailand where there are no Jews ...” “We have a horaa from the Rebbe that on each tour, we take the tourists to visit a Chabad mosad, so we always go into the Chabad house in Nachlaot that is run by R’ Sholom Ber Crombie, or the Moshiach Center on the Midrechov, or the Chabad shul,” said Mrs. Oren. “The cooperation and achdus among Anash is fantastic.” As she continues her talk to the tourists, we get to see the power of achdus. Here, in this obviously Lubavitcher spot, is the place where the Rebbe takes center stage, where shlichus and mivtzaim are spoken about, as well as writing to the Rebbe. “On Chanuka we have a program called Ner Mechaber (Connecting Lights) which is a menorah tour in the Old City or in old neighborhoods, in the course of which the group splits up and visits a Chabad, Yerushalmi family. They taste donuts or latkes, are present when the menorah is lit, hear the story of the miracles from the children, and get involved in a religious-Yerushalmi holiday experience.” The idea was hatched one year when there was an outpouring of incitement against religious Jews on the usual issues. The Orens came up with a way of uniting the two sides in an experiential and meaningful way. The feedback was extremely positive. So who says that you need to leave the house for mivtzaim? Sometimes, mivtzaim require opening your home and bringing in mekuravim. We wanted to hear a story about the tours and heard two from Mrs. Oren: “Last year, a day before Erev Yom Kippur, a woman by the name of Chani Seiner from Kibbutz Yahel called me. She didn’t ask whether she could come, but simply announced that she had to come to us for the Slichos tour that night. She was on her way (a four hour trip). Although we really had no more room, I couldn’t refuse her. She came and thoroughly enjoyed it. As a result, she comes every year on Chanuka and each time, she brings a group from the kibbutz. Her daughter, who is in high school, decided she wanted to do her term paper on the topic of religious women. “In general,” said Mrs. Oren, “the bond created between the hosts and guests is wonderful. They exchange phone numbers or email addresses and keep in touch. It becomes like shluchim and mekuravim, a personal relationship. One year, we had a group that came and decided they did not want to split up, including for the Chanuka program when they are usually divided among families. “Hashem helped and there was a family willing to host the entire group. Afterward, we saw the tremendous hashgacha pratis. When they went to this Lubavitcher family, it turned out that the father and the head of the group were good friends from the not so distant past. The lights of Chanuka reconnected them.
IN THEIR MERIT, WE WILL BE REDEEMED
Another interesting stop was 11 Rechov HaKalir, one street below that of the Chabad shul, the home of Zelda the poet. Zelda’s maiden name was Schneersohn (her married name, Mishkovsky) and she is the Rebbe’s first cousin. Her father, R’ Boruch Sholom Schneersohn, was the brother of R’ Levi Yitzchok, and her grandfather was the famous Chassid, Radatz (R’ Dovid Tzvi) Chein. Her poems were, and still are, national treasures of Israeli literature because of their oldworld Yerushalmi flavor. She writes free verse without rhyme and expresses her deep faith, which touches the hearts of religious and secular alike. In many of her poems she refers to Chassidic stories which she heard while growing up. We did a short reading of
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A shiur at the Moshiach Center
A bar mitzva tour
her poetry and continued to the Weingrut home. They are Chabad Chassidim who live down the street. The mother is also a Chassidic writer. As part of the unique and varied approach of Yerushalayim shel Maala, they also offer a “meet female artists” tour in which women tourists meet Chassidic-Yerushalmi creative women. Each one tells her story, brings the women or girls into her workshop, and gives a class in her area of artistic expertise whether drawing, composition, baking, or creative writing. It’s a simple house, clean and orderly. On the wall is a picture of the Rebbe, on the table are refreshments, hot and cold drinks, and a pushka in the shape of the Beis HaMikdash. Shaul Yonasan and Ora welcome us warmly. She stayed with the women and he told me his thoughts about the tourists. He took out a letter that his wife received from a visitor who is not yet religious: Hello, I met you while on the Chanuka tour. You and your children listened as your husband lit the candle and the sparks that illuminated the room moved us
all, particularly the things that you said. It showed me another perspective of the woman’s voice which senses, feels, and pulsates and which was foreign to me until then. I was happy to read the book and I continue to look through it, bit by bit. May my blessings accompany you. The Weingrut’s home consists of four rooms. It is actually not their apartment but a “dirat hekdesh.” A dirat hekdesh is one of the foundational elements of the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood. Many houses were donated to the hekdesh fund for the express purpose of giving them to families to live in for a token fee, in exchange for fulfilling the will of the donor to have shiurim and do acts of chesed in these homes. The Weingruts dutifully fulfill this charge. One room is devoted to Torah study, where R’ Shaul Yonasan teaches grooms before they marry and Ora teaches brides. Mrs. Weingrut tells the women about the books she has written while raising six children. Ohr HaLevana (The Light of the Moon) is poetry about women’s service of Hashem according to the months of the year, and Ohr Shivas Ha’yamim (The Light of
the Seven Days) is on the parsha. Towards the end, she read to them one of her poems, “In their Merit, we will be Redeemed in the Future.” The women are very impressed; the words of the poem touch them. They go over to thank their hostess and, at her request, they put a coin in the pushka “to hasten the Geula and the building of the Beis HaMikdash speedily in our days.” One of the young women went over to Mrs. Weingrut and said, “I am about to get married. Would you be willing to teach me for my wedding?”
The tour ends. Noontime approaches and we still did not experience even half of what Yerushalayim shel Maala does. The group of tourists returns to the buses while Mrs. Oren quickly goes to pick up her children from school. We return to headquarters, the Moshiach and Geula Center. We want to hear when it all began and about the couple’s Geula plans and to see how every detail of the artist trade and tourism can be enlisted in the service of the Geula.
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At the Moshiach Center we meet Doron again. He is busy talking to top flight artists about starting an impressive Visitors Center within the Moshiach Center. Some of the details of the room are already prepared and Doron tells us about some of them. “The purpose of the Visitors Center is to utilize artistic mediums to provide a visitor with the basics of Torah, the Creation and its purpose, the Geula and its prophecies. On the one hand it needs to be absorbed within a few minutes; on the other hand, we want it to make a lasting impact.” There on the floor are strips of stained glass. Oren points and explains how each set of ideas behind the art. Here, facing the wall of Geula, will be the time and place to answer the question: What is the connection between the Rebbe’s shul and the depiction of the moment of Redemption? In this Visitors Center there will be a large plasma screen with video segments of the Rebbe, his work in the world, and the fulfillment of the prophecies of Geula in the world. There will be a table and chairs to write to the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh. As we spoke, three talmidim from the yeshiva went out to change places with the group that is manning the yeshiva’s t’fillin stand. Just about every visitor to the Midrechov comes Rebbe’s answer and suggested that they learn one Mishna a day in a structured cycle so that we would finish all the Mishnayos in a short time. There was a tremendous response. Since then, the storeowners on the Midrechov learn a Mishna a day, some of them in depth and some of them by heart. Boruch Hashem, the business situation improved but more importantly, they feel very happy and satisfied with their accomplishment.” More and more people walk into the Center every minute. One wants to put on t’fillin, another wants to open a Jewish book or to sit and learn with a talmid from the yeshiva, another one wants to write to the Rebbe. The office of Yerushalayim shel Maala is in one of the rooms of the Center. From here, emails are sent to thousands of people who have passed through the place and want to remain in touch. This is where the booking of tours takes place and where sichos, letters and horaos of the Rebbe are translated into action. On the desk are many thank you letters alongside formal requests for organized tours from community centers, travel agencies, schools, Chabad organizations, etc. The phones don’t stop ringing with tour guides wanting to book a tour.
I found the stop at Kikar Battei Machseh to be the most gripping of all.
across the t’fillin stand. One of the bachurim told me about a wonderful initiative that came through an answer from the Rebbe in the Igros Kodesh: “Thanks to the light rail train, a lot of businesses in Yerushalayim, particularly on the Midrechov, were adversely affected. Until now, you could drive your car everywhere, but now it’s limited. We spoke to many business owners on the Midrechov with whom we have developed a personal relationship through the t’fillin stand, and they told us about this. We decided to write to the Rebbe and to ask for a bracha for them. The answer we opened to was addressed to R’ Eliezerov and it said that for success in business and parnasa the Mishnayos should be divided among the balabatim. “We went to all the business owners and told them the
stained glass depicts another aspect of creation: the inanimate, vegetation, animals, humans. Over them will be a window with special lighting that will express the idea of the neshama which is above everything. On another side, the practical mitzvos will be artistically displayed, through which a person connects with his neshama, connecting it to Hashem, and by doing so with all ten s’firos of the soul, achieves Geula. On the Geula Wall, a wall built in a circular shape, there are sketches already. From the finished parts we get a sense of the message. Yerushalayim is spread out at the bottom of the wall and heavenly clouds are bringing the Beis HaMikdash and 770 to Yerushalayim. Every group of tourists will be assigned a guide who will explain the
THEATRICAL BAR MITZVA TOUR
We went back out, this time, for a “Theatrical Bar Mitzva Tour.” Honestly, I did not know what that means either. If I understood it correctly, it’s a tour in which the guide is an actor who plays different roles according to the time, place and message he wants to convey. It’s a simple and ingenious idea. Boys flock to Yerushalayim to celebrate their
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bar mitzva with their families. All the ceremonial customs, like the throwing of candies, are done, but if the boy did not undergo proper preparation, he can miss out on the highlight of the occasion, taking on the yoke of mitzvos. The guide-actor on this particular tour was a baal t’shuva and a real character named Chaviv. He’s a talented and charming guy. He played numerous roles and was hilarious too. To my surprise, when he introduced himself by name the crowd became excited. Apparently, Chaviv was a known actor in the not-frum world and he still teaches drama. Chaviv leads the excited family through the streets of the Old City. We will go to four places during the tour. At the first stop, near the Sephardic shuls, Chaviv plays a Sephardic boy celebrating his bar mitzva. In a delightful way and with plenty of humor, he dramatizes the customs of those holy communities. In first person, he describes the bar mitzva they made for him in Casablanca, about the help, solidarity and brotherhood that prevailed among the families before the celebration. In other locations, he tells a Jewish or Chassidic story that happened to him, supposedly, when he was a boy. When we arrived at the Tzemach Tzedek shul in the Old City, he puts on old world Chassidic garb and plays a Chassidishe boy in Russia who is walking to his Rebbe where his bar mitzva will be celebrated. Chaviv conveys the excitement, the significance, and the privilege of taking on the yoke of mitzvos. I found the stop at Kikar Battei Machseh to be the most gripping of all. While wearing a
visor cap and holding a baseball bat, he acted the role of an American kid, sensitive, spoiled, and smart. He acted out the story of the bar mitzva boy who had yechidus with the Rebbe in the course of which the Rebbe taught him a lesson in avodas Hashem from the game of baseball and how this later helped him. With incredible skill, Chaviv taught the message “we must always choose good.” When we arrived at the concourse outside King David’s tomb, as everyone sat on the stairs the actor played the role of a Yerushalmi boy from the Old City of yesteryear. The tour group is hypnotized by his description of a bar mitzva celebration back then. They were not magnificent affairs. The emphasis was on the preparation, the drasha and the Torah. Nothing was lacking and the joy was tremendous. After this, the bar mitzva boy and his family go to the Kosel with song and dance. Now, he and his family know what to pray for. As we walked on the Bar Mitzva Tour, a group of bas mitzva girls walked by. They
passed the same places we went to but in a different order, for tznius purposes. The girls’ tour is called B’Ikvos Nashim and the messages are tailored to the audience. At each stop there is a topic and personality, starting with Chana, the mother of Shmuel, then Ruth, Chana and her seven sons, Suleika, Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel, and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka. Upon our return to the Moshiach Center, exhausted, we see a full moon overhead that illuminates the streets. To our surprise, it looks as the day just began at the Center. In the yard a sheva brachos is taking place and the main hall is already set up for an Erev Chassidi with the mashpia, R’ Zalman Notik. We leave just as dozens of people walk in. When they leave for a night tour after a farbrengen with Chassidic stories, niggunim and l’chaim, they will certainly talk differently; Geula talk, no doubt. On our way out we hear Chassidic music playing, a Geula song, and I think how this place is so ready for the Geula. We are ready and waiting.
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STONED TO DEATH WITH LOVE
By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg
ANOTHER ENIGMATIC MIDRASH
One of the more enigmatic Midrashic texts elaborates on the words in this week’s parsha: “If you shall build a new house make a fence around the roof.” The Midrash makes the following puzzling statement: When G-d said “if you shall build a new house…” the ministering angels asked Him, “why did you give the Torah to Israel?” He replied, “Did I not write in the Torah ‘You shall not take G-d’s name in vain?’” The ministering angels retorted, “Did You not write in the Torah the section concerning the rebellious son?” He replied to them, “The rebellious son incurs the penalty of stoning.” What is the connection between the Mitzva to erect a safety fence so that no one falls off the roof with G-d giving the Torah to Israel? And how do these two themes connect with the commandment not to take G-d’s name in vain and the rebellious son?
THE NEW HOUSE: A NEW CHALLENGE
“Building a new house” can be understood on many levels. In addition to its literal meaning, it can be understood as a reference to the time a person is born, that is to say when the soul descends from on high and takes up residence in a new home, i.e., the body. For the soul, the entire experience of coexisting with a physical body is uncharted territory. When the soul is in Paradise, it knows no temptations and has none of the challenges that confront a soul when it is enclosed within a body. The new house can also be understood to refer to the entire world, which G-d created so that, through our efforts, it will eventually become His home. The world that G-d created and is a home to all of His creatures is to be transformed into a new home, one that fully expresses its G-dly identity. Indeed, this is what the Messianic Age is all about. It is the time when we shall see the fruit of our labors, performed over the long history of our observance of the Torah and its Mitzvos: when the old world is finally, and for all time,
transformed into a G-dly world, a totally new world. However, there are many pitfalls along the way in the soul’s journey—as well as the collective journey of all humanity—to build this new home. The Torah therefore commands us to erect a fence to prevent falling off the path. When a soul is disembodied, it faces no pitfalls; there is no threat of falling, in the moral and spiritual sense of the word. However, as soon as our souls enter the material world to start their new venture, they find so many hurdles, obstacles, traps and challenges that without special protective measures we will likely fall. If we fall that means that the journey of the soul into this world was in vain, and G-d’s home—both the macro and the micro—will remain incomplete.
THE ANGELS’ ARGUMENT
When G-d decided to give the Torah to Moses on behalf of the Jewish people, the angels protested. Why, they asked, would G-d give Divine wisdom to mortals? Moses responded that humans need the Torah precisely because it was designed for us mortals to use to refine ourselves and enable us to transform the world into a new house. However, whenever the
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Jewish people seem to falter and frustrate G-d’s plan to make this world a G-dly edifice through our observance of the commandments, the angels return with a formidable challenge to G-d, “If building a new home is so fraught with danger that without a fence, i.e., extra measures of security, humans are likely to fall, then the house will never be completed. Why then send any soul into this hostile world armed only with a Torah, where the likelihood is that it will not be observed properly.” Some days, it seems that the angels had a valid argument.
IT’S NOT IN VAIN
G-d’s response was “Did I not write in the Torah ’You shall not take G-d’s name in vain’?” How does that respond to their challenge? These words literally mean do not swear falsely or needlessly thereby unnecessarily invoking G-d’s name. They can also convey the message that anything to which G-d attaches His name, His imprimatur, cannot possibly be in vain. Every soul contains Divine energies that are represented by G-d’s name. The most essential of Divine names is known as the Tetragrammaton. It is comprised of the letters Yud, Hei, Vav, and Hei. The Yud, which is a dot, represents the faculty of chochma, the intuitive flash of insight that is the very first and most abstract expression of the soul. It is the faculty that is most receptive to apprehending G-d. The Hei, an expansive letter, is representative of the soul’s intellectual ability to analyze and draw inferences and make G-d’s presence grasped by the human mind. The letter
Vav—which is a straight vertical line—is representative of the soul’s emotions, which, like the vertical line itself, enable the person to relate to and connect with others and so is the part of our soul that generates feelings of love and reverence for G-d. The final letter, Hei, represents the power of speech and action through which the soul can have an impact on the physical world. Our soul is thus G-d’s instrument in making this world a G-dly world. We were given the Torah to help the soul release its G-dly energy. Torah, the Zohar states, is G-d’s name. However, unlike the soul, the Torah cannot be clouded by the physical world, although it deals with physical concepts and situations. The overt G-dly light, contained in and transmitted through Torah, empowers us to reveal the Divine imprimatur of our soul.
to the commandment in this week’s parsha, which deals with a hypothetical case in which an adolescent who stole meat and wine was initially chastised with corporal punishment. If he persists, the ultimate punishment is death. The Talmud states that this case was purely hypothetical. The legal technicalities needed for conviction were deliberately made so onerous that it is impossible for the rebellious child to get the death penalty. Why then does the Torah speak of a crime for which there is no chance of punishment? It is to teach us the danger of neglecting our responsibility for the moral education of our youth. That neglect can lead to the most heinous crimes and the total breakdown of society. We must, therefore, adopt the strongest measures to nip the problem in the bud.
It is to teach us the danger of neglecting our responsibility for the moral education of our youth. That neglect can lead to the most heinous crimes and the total breakdown of society.
G-d’s response to the angels thus was that ultimately the “house” will be built. G-d’s name, i.e., the combined power of the soul and Torah, cannot possibly fail. G-d’s name cannot be in vain.
THE REBELLIOUS SON
The angels were still not convinced. Their next “challenge” to G-d was: “Did You not write in the Torah the section concerning the rebellious son?” They were referring of course
The angels thus argued, aren’t humans very much like the errant child who cannot be rehabilitated? If so, what are the chances that the Torah will have a salutary effect on the people? When a human is young, he or she is prone to rebellion, leading to utter destruction of the “house.” The Jewish people started their sojourn in the desert with constant rebellion. How can they be trusted with the Torah to build a new house when they are simultaneously contributing to its demolition?
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THREE DIMENSIONS OF STONING
G-d’s final response to them was: “The rebellious son incurs the penalty of stoning.” Commentators explain that the severity of the punishment was meant as a deterrent to the rebellious son. Knowing the harshness of the penalty serves as shock treatment for the recalcitrant child. On a simple level, G-d’s response to the angels is that knowing the consequences of undermining the fulfillment of G-d’s plan to create a new house will motivate us to return to G-d and commit to the Torah with that much more vigor. The very stark realization that we can destroy everything we have built will be enough to jolt us into compliance. On a deeper level, one can also say that “stoning” is intended as a metaphor. According to the Talmud,
when G-d offered the Torah to the Jewish people they responded enthusiastically with the words “Naaseh v’nishma-We will do and we will listen.” Yet, the Talmud also states that G-d uprooted Mount Sinai and placed it over their heads and threatened to crush them (“stone” them) with the mountain unless they accepted the Torah! How can we reconcile these two diametrically opposite characterizations of the Jewish people’s acceptance of the Torah? Did they accept it willingly or did G-d have to threaten them with stoning? One of the answers, found in Chassidic literature, is that the mountain G-d placed over them was a mountain of love. The mountain was like the chuppawedding canopy that expresses the overwhelming love and protection afforded to us by G-d. This manifestation of love was so powerful that they could not possibly refuse G-d.
Perhaps the meaning of stoning here, at least with respect to the rebellious son, is that he will ultimately return to G-d, Who, we believe will not allow any Jew to be left behind as we move into the Messianic Age. G-d’s unlimited love and compassion for us will envelop us. We will be “stoned” with love. On a deeper level yet, according to the ancient Kabbala text Seifer Yetzira, a stone is a metaphor for letters. Two stonesletters can create two houses, i.e., two words, etc. G-d’s response to the angels meant that the letters of the Torah contain so much positive energy and light that even the wayward child, or the spirit of rebelliousness within us, will not undermine the “New House.” On the contrary, the letters of Torah that we read and learn will actually facilitate the completion of the house in which G-d will ultimately take up residence.
Check it out!! Educational and Fun!!
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WINDS OF CHANGE
By Rabbi Yisroel Harpaz
he world is changing. New technologies are plummeting us to lower depths of disconnectedness or propelling us greater heights of interactivity, depending who you ask. Power is shifting in the stage for global military and economic superiority. New paradigms are being created in virtually every field of inquiry before we even have time to adjust to the old ones. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The world is definitely changing, but human behavior has for the most part remained the same. It is ironic that we find a way to dispose of the offensive byproducts of our existence through gentrified sanitation control mechanisms, but that we somehow ignore the equally offensive and dangerous byproducts of unhealthy and insensitive living; that we continue to innovate devices and software that enable and encourage uninterrupted communication, but we spend little time or energy improving the substance of that communication and interaction. It is especially ironic when the spiritual technology to deal with these maladies of the mind and heart have been around for over two centuries. The areas of life readily accessible for improvement – thought, speech and action – are termed “garments” in Chassidic thought. They are part of us, but at the same time somewhat external, like our clothes. The garment metaphor implies that every healthy human being has the ability to control their thought, speech and action much the way we change or remove our clothing.
Even thought, the most elusive of the three garments because we cannot easily remove it entirely except through intense concentration and meditation, is quite malleable when we consider that we can turn our thoughts effortlessly from one subject to another. Speech and action are even more controllable, since we can simply hold ourselves back from speaking or acting offensively. Our inner feelings and our intellects, on the other hand, require years of painstaking, incremental advancement to fully master; we cannot easily change how we feel our how we understand certain things the way we can change how we speak about them or react to them. But just because the area is superficial, doesn’t mean our approach to it has to be. It is tempting to dismiss the outer garments as inconsequential, superficial manifestations of who we are, but mastering them is the secret to experiencing growth and discovering the inner self. Unlike the intellect and emotions, the outer garments are completely under our dominion; I might not always be able to dictate how my mind processes ideas or how my heart experiences emotions, but I can always control what I think about, what I say, and what I do. Always. The outer garments provide the most fertile ground for change because they are malleable by even the gentlest force of will. This approach should not be confused with the cognitive behavioral approach of medieval ethicists and modern psychiatrists,
who crush the human spirit by denying us its power. The idea of controlling the outer garments does not focus on treating symptoms through behavior modification. Though this is sometimes necessary in extreme situations when time or circumstances do not allow for the process of real change to play itself out, it is never really desirable. Behavior only deals with the outer self, and ignores completely the inner self and the power I have to transform from within. Denying this power is an excuse, an escape from the responsibility it entails; it is much easier to say that I cannot, and meekly wither away, than to acknowledge that I can, and face the subsequent battle. This is why the term garments is used, to emphasize that the cognitive behavioral approach to change – where we condition ourselves to overcome addictions or negative behaviors through physical consequences or stimuli (much the way dogs are trained) is, quite literally, only skin deep. The individual is not transformed by the process, which ignores the cause of the malaise. In some cases the behavior is improved, but often at the expense of real inner discovery. I could spend my whole life continuously modifying my external behavior without ever changing who I am. Or I could empower myself to change what I am into, which garments I immerse my being into – changing not merely what I think, but what I am into thinking; not what I say, but what I am into speaking; not what I do, but what I am into doing. Reprinted with permission from Exodus Magazine
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MOSHIACH & GEULA
THE KING – MOSHIACH – IS IN THE FIELD!
By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon
Dear Readers sh’yichyu, We are standing in the month of Elul and preparing for the holy month of Tishrei. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Chassidus Chabad knows the famous parable that the Alter Rebbe – founder of Chabad – said regarding the paradox of the month of Elul. On the one hand there are great spiritual revelations during this month, yet, the 29 days of the month are not regarded as a Yom Tov. To explain this seeming enigma he brings a parable of a “King in the field”: The king’s usual place is in the capital city, in the royal palace. Anyone wishing to approach the king must go through the appropriate channels in the palace bureaucracy and gain the approval of a succession of secretaries and ministers. He must journey to the capital and pass through the many gates, corridors and antechambers that lead to the throne room. His presentation must be meticulously prepared, and he must adhere to an exacting code of dress, speech and mannerism upon entering into the royal presence. However, there are times when the king comes out to the fields outside the city. At such times, anyone can approach him; the king receives them all
with a smiling face and a radiant countenance. The peasant behind his plow has access to the king in a manner unavailable to the highest ranking minister in the royal court when the king is in the palace. In one of his Maamarim (Meluket 4), the Rebbe explains an amazing irony about the time when the king is in the field. Being that the king is so accessible, it does not arouse in the people of the field the desire to come and take advantage of the great opportunity that is available to them. Dear Readers! We are currently in a special “twilight era.” For over 90 years the Rebbe was revealed to the world. Hundreds and thousands of people were inspired by him and his actions. His love of every Jew and constant optimistic messages aroused and melted the hearts of even the most frozen hearts. Thousands stood on long lines to get a dollar, Lekach, Kos Shel Bracha etc. form his holy hand. We also know that very soon the Rebbe will be revealed to the world as the long-awaited Melech HaMoshiach. He will teach Torah to all the Jewish people of all the generations. The entire world will be inspired again by his leadership. Now, however, we are in the
“in-between” era, when “the king – Moshiach – is in the field.” We do not see the Rebbe in all his regal majesty. It is not the “inthing” to come and connect with the Rebbe – as a king – today. Today it takes special Emuna – faith – to stay connected with the king. Dear Chassidim! Please take advantage of this time and connect with “the king in the field.” The Rebbe tells us (HaYom Yom 24 Sivan): “You ask how you can be bound (m’kushar) to me when I do not know you personally. The true bond is created by studying Torah. When you study my maamarim, read the sichos and associate with those dear to me – the chassidic community and the T’mimim in their studies and farbrengens, and you fulfill my request regarding saying T’hillim and observing Torahstudy times – in this is the bond.” Now is our opportunity to connect ourselves and others with the Rebbe. He is “in the field” waiting to hear from us and grant our requests for all that we might need physically and spiritually.
Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.
32 � • 10 Elul 5773
Boruch Hashem, Elul 5770 5773
jhanv lkn r"unst e"f ,uthab ,j,
P .O.B. 288 Brooklyn, New York 11225
URG REQ ENT UES T! HUNDREDS OF FAMILIES ANXIOUSLY LOOKING FORWARD FOR YOUR GENEROUS ASSISTANCE!
To every member of the Lubavitcher community:
During this month of preparation for Rosh Hashonoh, the ”head” of the New Year, we fondly recall our Rebbe’s words that this is an especially auspicious time for strengthening our deep bond of Hiskashrus with the ”Rosh Bnei Yisroel,” the ”head” of the Jewish people and leader of the generation. Our Rebbeim explain that an important way to strengthen Hiskashrus is by participating in an organization is Kupas Rabbeinu, which seeks to continue many of the Rebbe’s activities and concerns without change from the way he would conduct them himself.
the Rebbe’s activities and concerns, consequently, by supporting an organization that brings together a number of these activities, the Hiskashrus is greater and stronger. Such
Every year at this time, the Rebbe would call upon us to contribute generously to help needy families with their extra expenses for the coming month’s many Yomim Tovim. This also coincides with the special emphasis during this month of giving extra Tzedokah, (indicated in the Hebrew letters of the word ”Elul,” as explained in many Sichos etc.), as a vital way of preparing ourselves for the new year and arousing Divine mercy upon us. See sicho in the Hebrew text of this letter. We therefore appeal to every individual man and woman to contribute generously to Kupas Rabbeinu, enabling us to fulfill the Rebbe’s desire to help all those who anxiously await our help. The greater your contribution, the more we can accomplish. Please do not forsake them! Your generous contribution to Kupas Rabbeinu will be the appropriate vessel for receiving the abundant blessings of the Rebbe, who is its Nasi, that you may be blessed with a Ksiva Vachasima Tova for a good and sweet year, materially and spiritually. May it help to bring the full revelation of Moshiach - our Rebbe - immediately now! Wishing you a Ksiva Vachasima Tova for a good and sweet year,
In the name of Vaad Kupas Rabbeinu Rabbi Sholom Mendel Simpson Rabbi Yehuda Leib Groner
P.S. Of course, you may send to Kupas Rabbeinu all contributions that you would send to the Rebbe; all will be devoted to the activities to which the Rebbe would devote them. You may also send Maimad, Keren-Hashono (this coming year 5771 - 385 5774 – 385 days), Vov Tishrei, Yud Gimmel Tishrei Magbis etc. to Kupas Rabbeinu. P.S. Please send all correspondence only to the following address. KUPAS RABBEINU / P.O.B. 288 / BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 11225 Eretz Yisroel address: KEREN KUPAS ADMU"R / P.O.B. 1247 / KIRYAT MALACHI / ISRAEL
MOSHIACH & GEULA
THE STORY OF RABBEINU YECHIEL
At that point, Rabbi Yechiel began to laugh from within the coffin. All those gathered saw him do so. * From this story we learn that in these cases, the tzaddik maintains or assumes a physical presence in the world. * Source materials compiled by Rabbi Shloma Majeski. Translations are in bold. Underlining is the author’s emphasis.
Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur
Chida’s Shem G’dolim (Part 1, Maareches G’dolim, 11b) further discusses the ability of a tzaddik to return to the physical world following his passing, citing at length a story of Rabbeinu Yechiel, who had the ability to return to the world posthumously and visit his household, much in the manner of Rebbe Yehuda HaNasi, discussed in the Gemara: I found the following in the Megillas Starim of Rabbeinu Moreinu HaRav Chaim Vital, zatzal, written in his pure handwriting, literally from his holy hand: I discovered this in a letter written by Rabbeinu Yehuda, son of the Rosh, brother of Rabbeinu Yaakov, Baal HaTurim. The text has not been quoted here, however, in its entirety: Since I left Germany in my youth, I didn’t have the opportunity to hear all the stories [of my relatives there]; just those that I had heard from my father, zal, and my
great aunt, zal. They told me about my grandfather, HaRav Rabbeinu Yechiel, zal, who was born in the year 4970. When Rabbi Yechiel was fifteen years old, he had a good friend in yeshiva whose name was HaRav Rabbeinu Shlomo HaKohen, zal. The two made a covenant that each of them would share mutually in their Mitzvos and good deeds. It is the Ashkenazic custom to bring a wax candle [to shul on Erev Yom Kippur] to be lit the entire night and the following day of Yom Kippur. It so happened that year, on Yom Kippur, that the wax candle of Rabbi Yechiel, which he had placed in the shul, had gone out. Seeing that his candle had been extinguished, he became extremely fearful, and on Chol HaMoed [Sukkos] he passed away. It was the custom of the Ashkenazim to place the coffin of the deceased upon a large stone near the graveyard. They would open the coffin to see if
the position of the body of the deceased had become agitated on account of being moved, or whether it was laying straight. HaRav Rabbeinu Shlomo HaKohen, zatzal, approached within four cubits of the coffin and wept out loud, saying before the gathering of people: I hereby remind Reb Yechiel, my master and friend, before those gathered here today, that he should remember the covenant he and I had made. At that point, Rabbi Yechiel began to laugh from within the coffin. All those gathered saw him do so. One time, a number of days following Rabbi Yechiel’s passing, Rabbi Shlomo was sitting and studying in the beis midrash in the daytime, when he saw Rabbi Yechiel sitting with him, studying halacha. Rabbi Shlomo asked him how he was doing, and Rabbi Yechiel answered that things are very good for him in Gan Eden. There he has a seat among all the pious men of the generation. Rabbi Shlomo told him this: Dear master, with whom I have a covenant, I am amazed that you apparently have permission to appear to mortals. Rabbi Yechiel responded, saying: You should know that I do have permission to go to my household as before, but I don’t wish to do so, lest they say: This tzaddik exalts himself beyond all the tzaddikim in Gan Eden! Six months after that visit, and after his passing, at midnight, on the night of Shabbos, Rabbi Yechiel appeared to his wife when she was awake. He said to her: What are you doing here? Hurry, get up! Take your sons
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and daughters and quickly get them out of here, for tomorrow the Gentiles are going to kill all the Jews! Such a decree had been issued upon the Jews of all the surrounding areas as well, but we have prayed for the salvation of those Jews and our prayers have been accepted. We did not succeed, however, in saving this place. So Rabbi Yechiel’s wife got up and left, saving my father, zal, and his brother. Then she returned to save her possessions. They all left on Shabbos night – my father, zal, and his brother, Rabbi Chaim, zal, Rabbi Yechiel’s wife and her six sisters, etc. I have copied the above from the letter cited, as well as from what Rabbeinu Yehuda wrote to his sons. I was selective in quoting and I abridged the text. Here ends the words of Rabbeinu Moreinu HaRav Chaim Vital zatzal, handwritten by him personally with his holy hand. *** One way to interpret, “lest they say: This tzaddik exalts, etc.,” is in reference to the tzaddikim in Gan Eden, for even in Gan Eden there is reason to want to conceal ones deeds and privileges. This concept is found at the end of the chapter HaMadir [the 7th chapter of Meseches K’subos], where it speaks about how, in Gan Eden, Rebbe Yehoshua ben Levi was not presumptuous about himself to say that a rainbow did not appear in the sky in his lifetime [signifying there was no need for such a Divine warning, on account of his profound righteousness]. Rather, when Rashbi asked him, “was a rainbow visible in
your days?” He replied, “yes.” Look it up there at length. […] It appears, however, that a more accurate interpretation, of “lest they say,” is in reference to people in this world [that Rabbi Yechiel should not appear as overly proud to living people]. Curiously Rabbi Yechiel does not follow the reasoning found in Perek HaNoseh regarding Rabbeinu HaKadosh, where it says: “Every Friday evening [after his passing], he would visit his house. Having learned [that the word had gotten out about his posthumous appearances], Rebbi stopped visiting, so as not to shed an unflattering light upon the earlier tzaddikim.” The reason for this divergence may be that Rabbi Yechiel may have meant what he said even were the matter only known by the members of his household [since, “the word hadn’t gotten out” about his visits], as if he were saying, “lest the members of his household themselves say…” Moreover, regarding the apparent inference from Rabbi Yechiel’s words that all tzaddikim have this capacity [to appear in the physical world, in contrast with the above Gemara] – that is an expression of his humility, so as not to suggest that he is greater than the other, average tzaddikim. There is room to pursue this topic further, but this is not the appropriate forum. Let us suffice with saying the following: For several years I wondered about the Jewish custom of making pilgrimage to pray by the graves of tzaddikim, though one mustn’t say Krias Shma or pray within
four cubits of a corpse or in a graveyard, as outlined in Eitz Chayim siman 71. Indeed, according to Rambam, one has not fulfilled his obligation in doing so, even post facto. Likewise, I used to be puzzled by what is written in Seifer Emek HaMelech – that Avrohom Avinu, a”h, joined in to make up a minyan, as well regarding what Rabbeinu HaAri, zatzal, did in the shul, and the like. My quandary continued until I discovered in Seifer Chassidim siman 1129 that Rabbeinu HaKadosh would appear - not in shrouds but wearing fine garments in honor of Shabbos. Rebbi would [make Kiddush and thereby] discharge members of his household of their obligation to make Kiddush on Shabbos. [That is, from this story about Rebbi, we learn that in these cases, the tzaddik maintains or assumes a physical presence in the world.] For tzaddikim are called alive [even after their death], unlike others who die and are free of the obligation to do Mitzvos. The quotation ends here. The above settles our minds about all the topics of investigation mentioned above, and even more.
Issue 892 • �
SHLEIMUS HA’ARETZ / INTERVIEW
the historical right to Eretz Yisroel
In a most insightful interview with Beis Moshiach, former MK Professor Aryeh Eldad speaks about the Bayit Yehudi Party: “They are taking risks with our future”, and the prime minister: “He is advancing a dangerous proposal that will leave us with less than the 1967 borders.”
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry
imes have been very troubling lately for Professor Aryeh Eldad. He watched with incredulous eyes as the ideological right-wing Knesset Members gave a “security net” to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and enabled him to stabilize his coalition government. He knows all too well that this is exactly how the expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron passed into law. At the time, he was one of the more dominant MKs fighting with all his strength, albeit unsuccessfully, against the disengagement plan. His Knesset colleagues from the National Religious Party remained in the coalition and gave Sharon the solid parliamentary support he needed to crush the Jewish settlements. Today, Professor Eldad operates outside the political system. Portrayed as an ultra-extremist, the Ichud Leumi (National Union) Party pushed him into an unrealistic spot on its list of candidates in last winter’s elections, believing that he would again seek to prevent their joining the government. There were those who claimed at the time that
“anyone born in opposition has no place with us.” Thus, Eldad was left out, but he has no regrets. In his role as chairman of a professors’ association on diplomatic and economic strength, he is trying a new diplomatic initiative – the only one of its kind to pursue the “not one inch” approach that also denies full Israeli citizenship rights to the Arabs of Yehuda and Shomron. According to Eldad, he wakes up each morning in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. He does this with great dedication, even though he is no longer in public office. Ten years ago, he gave up his profitable career as a renowned physician, and won a seat in the Knesset, representing the Moledet faction founded by the late Rechavam Zeevi, may G-d avenge his blood. During his first parliamentary term, the expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron was approved, and as a form of protest, he moved to the northern Shomron settlement of Sa-Nur. In the period preceding the expulsion, he would give
out special medals of bravery to people arrested during the antidisengagement demonstrations. He was not afraid to call for non-violent civil disobedience against the Sharon government, and he became greatly admired by the Israeli public. They saw him as a leader who remained undaunted as he spoke with a clear voice against this catastrophe orchestrated by the Israeli Government. However, his crowning achievement is the presentation of his political initiative, which proposes the full annexation of Yehuda and Shomron under Jewish sovereignty, and the granting of Jordanian citizenship to the Arabs living in this region. This is the only proposal of this type that does not give Israeli citizenship to the local Arab population. The plan stipulates that the Arabs living in Yehuda and Shomron can remain Israeli residents, but they only receive citizens’ rights from Amman. According to Eldad, this is the only plan that can possibly stop the creation of a Palestinian state.
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BACK TO THE SAME OLD POLICIES
Eldad is aware that his positions are not within the mainstream of Israeli society. Yet while he doesn’t wear a kippa, he is not embarrassed to speak about his faith in the Tanach and the Greater Land of Israel. “This is a two-sided religious war, as we are here because of the Tanach,” Eldad said. “It wasn’t because of the Balfour Declaration or the United Nations partition plan, which are merely Gentile documents that recognized the historical right of Jews to Eretz Yisroel as stated in the Tanach. Many secular Jews resist this notion because the Tanach doesn’t resonate with them. “The Arab asks: ‘By what right are you dwelling here?’ The Iranian fundamentalists are not interested, and rightly so, about how Jews were persecuted in Europe. ‘You have problems with the Germans,’ they say, ‘not with us. Why are we to blame? This is our land – the property of the Wakf.’ The Israeli leftist asks himself: ‘Why am I here? Because my parents raised me here? That’s merely an accident of history, and it doesn’t transform my existence here into something justified.’ The Arab is right and the Iranians are right, when they say that anti-Semitism cannot be a justification for modern colonialism.” Are you worried when you see the Bayit Yehudi Party sitting in a government that is conducting negotiations with the terrorists? The Bayit Yehudi Party is acting in exactly the same
fashion as did its predecessor, the National Religious Party, on the eve of the Gaza disengagement. If someone thought that the presence of the Tekuma faction within “the Jewish Home” would give it a more nationalist platform, he has been proven dead wrong. Today’s political situation reveals that there is no political force within the governing coalition that intends to protect Eretz Yisroel. The only Knesset Member who speaks openly on this matter is Moshe Feiglin (Manhigut Yehudit). He says that this is the final opportunity to stop Netanyahu, and if he can’t be stopped now, we won’t be able to stop him at a later stage. Therefore, Feiglin declared that he would vote against the proposed state budget, because once the budget was passed, the government would continue its dangerous peace initiative unabated. As soon as the budget battle was behind us, Bibi was free to act
on the diplomatic stage with the support of Shas, Meretz, and the Labor Party. Feiglin is the only MK faithful to the cause of Eretz Yisroel who was prepared to vote against the government, as he understood that Netanyahu is quite serious and now is the time to stop him. In your opinion, what is motivating the other Knesset Members to conform to the governing coalition? They are relying upon G-d to harden Pharaoh’s heart and prevent the Arabs from coming to any peace agreements. They are gambling with our future, since there are presently no obligations between the two sides. We have to do everything in our power to stop this government and not take any dangerous risks. In other words, we have to topple the government. I didn’t say that. It would be enough if the Bayit Yehudi MKs would have proclaimed their opposition to the budget, and with the support of an additional fifteen ideological MKs from the Likud Party, they could have prevented the release of the terrorists. They could have given the prime minister an ultimatum, but there was no one there to stand firm against him. As a result, he released the terrorists and sent a negotiating team to Washington, because he knows that no one is prepared to oppose him. What do you have to say to your former party colleague, MK Uri Ariel, who is now sitting in the government as a Cabinet minister? There are some excellent
Issue 892 • �
SHLEIMUS HA’ARETZ / INTERVIEW
people in the government today. Yet, they surmise that since nothing will come out of the new round of talks with the Arabs, it’s preferable to sit quietly in the coalition. The law clearly states: “The Government is collectively responsible to the Knesset; each Minister is responsible to the Prime Minister for the field of responsibility with which the Minister has been charged.” In other words, while a minister can oppose government decisions, once they have received Cabinet approval, he is totally accountable for putting them into practice. The fact that he voted against the release of the Arab terrorists will do him no good once it has been adopted by the government. From that moment on, Uri Ariel bears the responsibility to implement national policy just as does Prime Minister Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Gideon Saar, or any other Cabinet member. They will either be full partners in all government decisions or they will have to resign from the Cabinet. Then why don’t we have to bring down the coalition? There’s no need to do that. Netanyahu will not commit political suicide. There was a need for an ultimatum. The twelve Bayit Yehudi MKs and the Eretz Yisroel loyalists in the Likud Party could have told him, “You can’t pass the budget if you free these murderers and send a negotiating team to Washington.” However, they didn’t do that, and another month or two from now, he’ll make further concessions in the Washington talks, and by then it will be too late to intimidate him politically. Once the negotiations get underway, if they try to make further threats, the prime minister will tell them that if they leave the coalition, he’ll simply replace them with Shas or Labor. He wouldn’t be able to bring Labor or Meretz into the government to pass the state budget, but they would happily support him in giving away portions of Eretz Yisroel. What are your expectations for the prime minister’s diplomatic initiative? Netanyahu will quickly try and advance the diplomatic negotiations, and in truth, the only thing that can stop him will be if G-d hardens the Arabs’ hearts. He has already recognized a Palestinian state, their rights to Yerushalayim, and the need to release terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands. Netanyahu has today crossed all red lines. He is a weak prime minister who has already conceded on everything, and he’s prepared to give it all away to the Arabs. Has he agreed to return to the June 1967 borders? Of course. He’ll go back to the 1967 borders and more than that. He’s even ready to make border adjustments. In other words, he’ll give them more territory in the Negev, the Arava, or in other regions. Netanyahu is now discussing the surrender of all territory that had been under Jordanian control prior to June 1967 to the Palestinian Authority. As for territory remaining under Israeli sovereignty, i.e., Maale Adumim, he’ll compensate them with land beyond the Green Line – an “exchange of territories.” up 9,000 votes short. Eldad is now writing a new book about the myopia of Israeli nationalist leaders. “I am planning to write a book dealing with the problem of vision among right-wing leaders in Eretz Yisroel. A study on eye diseases would be in order when discussing their common use of the expression, ‘You don’t see there what you see from here.’ From Begin to Sharon, from Olmert to Netanyahu – every time a right-wing politician became prime minister, he adopted the policies of Peace Now. Yet, when you come to him with complaints, he says that you don’t see there what you see from here. “For some of them at least, this stems from the fact that their ideological creed was merely a political tool and not a part of their character, especially in Sharon’s case. He was never an ideologue in the cause for the Greater Land of Israel. He once ridiculed me before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the eve of the disengagement, when I asked him what would happen on the day after, if they started firing missiles at us from Gaza. “He lowered his glasses, looked at me, and said, ‘Doctor, don’t worry. We also have cannons.’ I responded that I already knew that from foreign sources, but we both knew that we couldn’t use them. He then said, ‘Things that you see here, you don’t see from there.’ This was an insult to my intelligence. Even Olmert and Netanyahu used this excuse. I once considered proposing legislation that anyone who wants to be prime minister first has to sit behind the desk in the Prime Minister’s Office, in order to see the view from there
A LACK OF VISION AMONG NATIONALIST LEADERS
During the last election campaign, Eldad left the splintering “Ichud Leumi” Party and ran for the Knesset on an independent list together with his parliamentary colleague, Dr. Michael Ben-Ari. However, their efforts to win re-election came
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in advance. In the end, I didn’t make the proposal, and that’s a pity.” What are you doing today to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state? Today, while it’s harder for me to take effective action, I continue my efforts to try and sway public opinion. Next month, I will be organizing a conference in Yerushalayim on this issue for 350 public figures from all over the world. The title for my initiative is “Jordan is the Palestinian state.” Essentially, what are the main elements of your proposal? In the framework of the political revolutions engulfing the Arab world – the so-called “Arab Spring” – revolution will apparently come to Jordan as well. This means the fall of the Hashemite kingdom in Amman, leaving us along our eastern border with a country that is a Palestinian state in every practical sense. The Palestinians essentially control the country, as they constitute 70-80% of today’s Jordanian population. Whether we like it or not, this is the reality of the situation. No one will ask us for our opinion, just as no one asked the United States when Mubarak was deposed in Egypt or regarding any other toppled Arab regime. Therefore, I suggest that we make use of this change to develop an alternative option for dialogue on the Palestinian problem. According to the current state of affairs, diplomatic negotiations are stalled, and it will continue to serve our cause the longer they remain stalled. The problem is that when a breakthrough occurs, the only option that they will discuss is the establishment of a Palestinian state on the western bank of the Jordan
River. According to my proposal, we must prepare for a possible regime change in Amman with the Palestinian majority taking over. Subsequently, when this happens, all the Arabs living in Yehuda and Shomron will become Jordanian citizens. While they can stay in Eretz Yisroel as residents, they will have no national rights, only their personal rights as human beings. They will not be able to vote in Knesset elections, nor will they have any influence upon parliamentary legislation to turn Eretz Yisroel into a bi-national state. This model already exists with the 250,000 Arabs living in East Jerusalem, carrying standard blue identity cards, yet they have not been enfranchised for national elections. This is how we’ll solve the demographic problem, and we can also grant full annexation to Yehuda and Shomron without relinquishing our sovereignty.
a resident and a citizen. The Arabs who chose to live in the Jewish state would be granted residency status with citizenship in the Arab state. In other words, the Jewish state would provide all their municipal services and they could vote in Arab parliamentary elections. You were recently picked to chair an association of professors on diplomatic and economic power. What are your plans for this forum? While this forum has been a bit inactive in recent years, I’m planning to pursue greater influence through the world of academics and present our diverse ideas in scholarly public discussions. We are presently working on a position paper, writing to newspapers, and bringing a totally new and distinctive viewpoint to this vital national issue. It will explain to the world about the
From Begin to Sharon, from Olmert to Netanyahu – every time a right-wing politician became prime minister, he adopted the policies of Peace Now.
danger in the establishment of a Palestinian state and the need to present viable alternatives to the diplomatic impasse. The image created for the nationalist camp is that while the people are with them, the intellectuals are not. This is a false representation, and the political left is taking full advantage of it. I have a little experience in this area. I know that Knesset Members are somewhat sensitive about complaints, reviews, public reactions, etc. I recognize these sensitivities and hope that I can properly exploit them in this arena.
Do you have a model for such a reality already existing in the world? We have the model that the United Nations proposed in its partition plan for creating the new Jewish state. As the UN proposal was first drafted, it created two states – Israel for the Jews and Palestine for the Arabs. Then, they discovered that the future Jewish state would be home to 600,000 Jews and (l’havdil) 450,000 Arabs. When the United Nations realized that it would be most difficult for the Jews to sustain their new country with such a large Arab minority, they offered a distinction between
Issue 892 • �
ON THE VERGE OF THE NEXT EXPULSION
The prime minister is determined to carve out a place for himself in the annals of history as the one who established the permanent borders of the Jewish state. This will then mark the stage of “turnabout is fair play.” The ultra-Orthodox MKs will become those pursued by their colleagues from the Bayit Yehudi Party, who will beg them to cooperate in all Knesset votes against the Netanyahu government.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry
n the very near future, it appears that the Knesset Members from the Bayit Yehudi Party will begin chasing after their fellow parliamentarians from the ultraOrthodox factions. Prominent representatives within the settler community, including Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, are keenly aware of this new and unpleasant reality. They have already wasted countless hours, desperately trying to convince wavering chareidi MKs to join the fight. This happened a decade ago during the battle
against the expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. It happened again in the battle against the settlement freeze and the dismantling of Jewish outposts, and it occurred only recently in the fight to save Migron and Amona. However, all these skirmishes were merely a promo for the real battle facing us now against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The prime minister will now use all means available to advance the “peace talks” and bring forth a new policy initiative for uprooting Jewish settlements and giving away land to the
terrorists. Mr. Netanyahu, who shows weakness on every front, is expected to try his luck with the perilous course of submission and surrender through worthless peace agreements. He is determined to etch a place for himself in the annals of history as the one who established the permanent borders of the Jewish state. This will then mark the stage of “turnabout is fair play”: The ultra-Orthodox MKs will become those pursued by their colleagues in the Bayit Yehudi Party, who will beg them to cooperate in all Knesset
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votes against the Netanyahu government. It will not take long before this new reality takes hold. Talks began last week in Washington between the Israeli Cabinet minister in charge of diplomatic negotiations and the representatives of the Palestinian Authority. To create the proper environment for this festive ceremony, the prime minister caved in once again. He agreed to release 104 Arab murderers, many with Jewish blood on their hands. This is the price he had to pay for the terrorist leaders to agree to return to the bargaining table. It’s as if the government of Israel had to apologize for trying these murderers and sentencing them to lengthy prison terms as the law mandated. The media calls them “security prisoners” – not murderers tried like any other killer, but “security prisoners” whose crimes have a semblance of justification. The government of Israel has given paramount importance to the release of these prisoners. The only question revolved around who their victims were. If they were guilty of random acts
of bloodshed, they will face the judgment of the criminal justice system like any other lawbreaker. However, if their victims were Jews – men or women, young or old – they merely have to wait until the next prisoner swap to secure their eventual freedom. Yet, the real story is not just the release of 104 Arab terrorists (may their names be erased). This is merely a temporary diversion from the main issue. The prime minister is planning a massive dismantling of dozens of settlements throughout Yehuda and Shomron, including territorial concessions on a scale far wider than anything proposed before. The essential argument focuses upon whether this includes a return to the pre-June 1967 boundaries, and that speaks volumes about his real intentions. Even if the “Bayit Yehudi” Knesset Members are correct in stating that the government is not discussing a return to “the borders of Auschwitz,” the question speaks for itself. For his part, Mr. Netanyahu is following a most dangerous path. He is prepared to give away more than his predecessor, Ehud Olmert.
THOSE WHO DIDN’T WANT TO LISTEN
No one can come with complaints against the prime minister. He has made his plans quite clear to everyone. Even before the elections, he declared that he would be the prime minister to establish a Palestinian state ch”v, and he was determined to reach a “peace agreement.” Only one party refused to face this reality, choosing instead to become one of Netanyahu’s main coalition partners. The representatives of the “Jewish Home” Party, which harvested tens of thousands of votes based on its commitment to protect Eretz Yisroel, charged blindly into Bibi’s open arms. They would not allow the facts to confuse them, preferring to close their eyes and their ears as they ran breathlessly to join the government. Less than six months after the formation of the governing coalition, the disillusionment has already set in. Suddenly, these politicians understand that they were misled by their party chairman, Naftali Bennett, who
Issue 892 • �
joined forces with the enemies of the ultra-Orthodox sector to fight against the Torah world and prepare for the next expulsion. Their tremendous satisfaction with their electoral success gave them selective hearing. They ignored Bennett’s unequivocal declarations that he had no problem negotiating with the terrorists. Those who supported this party, dedicated to its autonomy plan and further territorial compromises, are now paying a heavy price. They have seen their votes go for more concessions, the release of more terrorists, and the establishment of a Palestinian state. In the meantime, this coalition has managed to wreck the yeshivos, deprive tens of thousands of poverty-stricken children of their daily bread, and tear down the protective walls of traditional Judaism. Those politicians who succeeded in destroying the world of Torah will now be compelled to pursue their chareidi counterparts, who will give them the same disgusting political treatment as they take their revenge at the expense of the territorial integrity of Eretz Yisroel. they really imagine that they could wage open war against the Torah world and still remain immune from counterattack? As the new parliamentary term began, with a fierce struggle expected against Netanyahu’s settlement dismantling, the roles would soon be reversed. How could they have been so insensitive, turning their back on the chareidi MKs who pleaded with them during their time of distress? A couple of weeks ago, during one of the nastiest nights the Knesset has known, all the Bayit Yehudi MKs voted for the “equal sharing of the burden” bill. According to this legislation, only 1,800 exceptional Torah scholars will be permitted to learn in yeshivos and kollelim after the age of twenty-two, while the rest will be forcibly drafted into the army. Even those who do not devote their entire lives to Torah study realize the tremendous value of those in the ultra-Orthodox community occupied full-time as genuine Torah scholars. They fully appreciate that their study serves as an important means for protecting the Jewish People as a whole. The founders of the modern Jewish state also understood the true value of Torah study, as they granted military exemptions to its scholars. However, the national religious MKs voted with the coalition, while their chareidi colleagues rent their garments in sorrow and mourning. According to the new campaign by the extreme leftwing Peace Now movement, the prime minister is expected to pass legislation on the next round of settlement evacuations with help from the ultra-Orthodox MKs, who will abstain in the Knesset vote. This will provide the government with the necessary majority, similar to what the Shas Party did when it helped secure the passage of the initial Oslo Accords twenty years ago, and when “Yahadut HaTorah” joined Sharon’s coalition on the eve of the disengagement from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. It appears that the extreme left is correct in its observation. The big loser in all these maneuvers will be the Jewish People.
WHAT DID THE REBBE SAY ABOUT THIS?
“We find something truly incredible here: Those leaders who agreed to go against the Torah and agreed to pass this wretched legislation – the law on ‘Who is a Jew?’ – these same people now proclaim that they know that they are about to harm the territorial integrity of Eretz Yisroel. “And just as they reached out and signed, they have used all forbidden methods inconsistent with justice and honesty in order that this law should hold firm, to the point of saying the opposite of the truth, even things likely to be revealed, etc.”
The problem is not only the Jewish values that these Knesset Members trampled upon; it’s their total lack of sound political judgment. What exactly could they have been thinking? Did
TO BRING MOSHIACH NOW!
42 � • 10 Elul 5773
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