The seal of G-d is truth (Sanhedrin 64a)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Looming Bedouin Intifada

On July 7, 2014, the residents of the Negev town of Omer learned a painful lesson on the subject of abnormal Bedouin psychology. They witnessed the true nature of these purported “noble denizens of the desert” when an estimated 150-200 enraged Bedouins descended upon the town. They certainly weren't there to sell cheap fabric and carpets. They hurled rocks and molotov cocktail bombs at cars. A local district judge discovered the power of these explosive cocktails, when one of these incendiaries blew up his car. (Note: When the media uses the term “molotov cocktails” it sounds like a mixed drink. Molotov cocktails are bombs!)

Earlier attempts to reach the police were unsuccessful. And so, a preventable Arab riot occurred, because no one in the precinct picked up the phone. Now Omer isn't Tel Aviv or even Beersheba. There were no other emergencies. The only emergency was the impending bedouin riot that could and should have been prevented!

On this occasion, the riot received coverage. The July 8th issue of The Jerusalem Post featured an article, “Beduin attack in Negev town shocks residents,” which reported on this latest Bedouin riot. I found the headline a bit histrionic. Shocked? To quote the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, who understood Arabs more than any tenured leftist professor at Ben Gurion University; “I'm always shocked when people are shocked.” This is nothing new. Naive liberals take years to see what intelligent, self-respecting, people already know. The Bedouins hate Israel and view us as thieves.

Not surprisingly, Omer's clueless mayor, Pini Badash, expressed shock when he was interviewed by The Jerusalem Post:

We sought coexistence with the Bedouin and now it blew up in our face.”

Strangely enough, Bedash admitted that Hamas and the Islamic Movement were behind the attack and that their influence on the Bedouins was growing. An anonymous Omer security official concurred. So why was he shocked?

In 1981, Rabbi Meir Kahane was sitting in Ramle Prison under the immoral orders of the infamous Administrative Detention Order, used by the British to break the spirits of Jewish heroes. He took advantage of the situation and authored his critical work, They Must Go! which documents the Arab demographic threat to Israel. In the preface, (pg. 1-2) he noted the following, which speaks volumes about Israel's judicial system:

On my right was a Bedouin Arab, imprisoned for the rape and murder of a Jewish girl in the Negev area of the country.The possibility of his having been apprehended would have been slim if not for the fact that he added greed to his original sin. Having buried the body in a well, he applied for the reward by contacting the police to say that he had “discovered” it. Incredibly, his life sentence had been reduced, and he was preparing to go home after having served a mere eighteen years.”

The Bedouins of Israel

Not surprisingly, many Jews are astounded when they read about such incidents, which usually don't make the papers. If they are given attention, it is in the form of a blurb on page 100 of the local paper. Such an image is contrary to the one of the “happy” Bedouin that Jewish organizations and the Israeli government like to propagate. The mythology that Bedouins are “good Arabs” who love Israel. Such patronizing does nothing to convince the Bedouin about how he feels.

Most Jews have no understanding of the true Bedouin nature, which stands in opposition to the fictitious romanticized version that celebrates them as charming throwbacks to an ancient time. The mentality of the Bedouin is based on the violent blood code of the desert: strength and ruthlessness. A defective morality that might see your host feed you fruit and tea in his tent, and then butcher you that same night under the desert moonlight. The diligent researcher can find a treasure chest of horror stories of Bedouin atrocities that are rarely given proper media coverage. For centuries, Bedouin tribes butchered each other, as well as strangers who were unfortunate to cross their path. In much of the Middle East, this ancient code continues. Declaring yourself an “Abrahamic brother” to a hostile Bedouin tribe will not instill any familial sentiment in their hearts. They will butcher you.

Several years ago I accompanied a friend who runs a canine search and rescue unit to a small farm near the town of Ofakim in the Negev. The owner of the farm was surrounded by hostile Bedouins who demanded protection money. While the larger neighboring farms all paid them off for fear of having their greenhouses torched, or the unpleasantness of an unwanted evisceration, he alone refused to be extorted.

First they poisoned his dogs. Then they vandalized his farm. And then one evening as darkness fell, a gang of Bedouins descended upon him with knives, stabbing him repeatedly. Thank G-d he survived. The farmer wasn't around during our visit. A lone teenager was tending his farm, without any gun or a knife. I left him a walking stick for protection. My understanding is that the farmer has since abandoned his farm. No one could help him. The army never deals with Bedouins. The police don't deal with anything. Other than sporadic incidents, the Bedouins are untouchable.

Several years back, there was the Shai Dromi incident where a Jewish farmer got into trouble for killing a Bedouin intruder. Although he was acquitted of manslaughter, he was imprisoned for a month. Eventually they passed the “Shai Dromi Bill” which states that you have a right to protect yourself. Easier said than done. Despite his acquittal on the more severe charges, Dromi was convicted for illegal possession of weapons. Do you think it's easy to procure a gun license in the south? Think again. If Dromi could have obtained one legally, he would have.

Authentic Bedouin” Experiences

Route 40 takes you through the heart of the Negev, where you can't help but notice the extent of the unbridled land-grabbing of Bedouins. Naive tourists clap their hands with glee at the occasional "Camel Crossing" signs, or watching herds of ravenous goats (many of them stolen from Jews) devour everything green. There is nothing amusing about these signs. Their history is written in Jewish blood.

The signs should read“Bedouin Camels Crossing” since the current verbiage gives the uninformed traveler the false impression that wild camels sometimes cross the road. While one isn't happy to hit a deer or other wild animal, there is no malice involved when an unknowing animal strays too close to the road. The careful driver is aware of this. There are no wild camels today in Israel, nor even in the expanses of the Arabian Desert. They are all Bedouin owned camels and their owners deliberately let them wander. It would be easy to fasten them to a secure location. Too many Jews have been killed or spend the rest of their lives in comas as a result of collisions with camels. Hitting a camel at any speed is like hitting a truck. I knew a man with a wife and kids whose car collided with a camel several years back. He almost died from the impact. Today he has brain damage.

Were Israel a normal country, the Bedouins would be severely punished for this outrage. Listen to the draconian response from the regional leaders. After several such unfortunate incidents, the authorities running the Negev Region of Southern Chelm, required that all camels have ID tags attached to their ears. The Bedouin wasn't phased by this. Proving that Bedouin chutzpah and craftiness easily trumps the Jewish “kup,” they simply snipped off the camel's ear. Many of these earless camels are now crossing the Negev roads.

Be careful driving at night. Heaven Forbid, hitting an earless camel is just like hitting a regular one.

Rahat In The News

Leftists portray the Bedouin town of Rahat as a "moderate" one. Here are a few highlights from the enlightened town of Rahat.
  • 2008: Two Bedouins were indicted for their involvement with Al Qaida.
  • 2010: Four Bedouins were arrested for throwing firebombs at motorists on Route 40.
  • 2010: Officials of the Israeli Land Administration entered Rahat to demolish an illegally built mosque. A thousand Bedouins rioted, hurling stones at police, who responded with tear gas and arrests. You never saw video footage of these rioting Bedouins, because that would have exploded a carefully cultivated image. So would the image of 700 Israeli riot police trying to contain a powder-keg of Arab rage.
Did you read about these incidents? Probably not. You can chalk that up to the notorious “gag order” that is official government policy. The firebombing of Route 40 several years ago occurred around Pesach. In addition to not wanting to think that the Bedouin is a menace, they were also terrified that frightened tourists would cancel their trips to Eilat. Who wants to be firebombed?

Lest we forget the celebrated Bedouins of the Judean Desert, all that describes his Negev brothers applies to him as well. Except that the tribes of this region are generally viewed as the “poorer” more “nebach” examples of their stronger more well connected Negev counterparts. One thing to consider when traveling the Dead Sea region. The Judean Desert Bedouins have a terrible proclivity for leaving washing machines and tires on the roads at night. And you wouldn't want to hike Wadi Qelt by yourself. If you think the Negev Bedouin has places to hide (or bury) things, consider the thousands of sinkholes and chimneys throughout the Dead Sea Region, that plunge down into unknowable depths.

Here are some other Bedouin highlights from recent years.
  • 2009: Nine Bedouin terrorists from Shfaram had their charges reduced, after blocking a highway with burning tires and throwing stones at drivers. Evidently, the earlier charges of forming a terror cell wouldn't stick, thanks to their Arab lawyer and Israel's legal system.
  • January 2013: Two Bedouin brothers were arrested for plotting terrorist attacks in the South. These attacks included suicide bombings, shooting sprees, vehicular terrorism etc.
  • In May of 2013, Bedouins hurled a large stone at a woman driver near Kfar Retamim. Several days earlier, Bedouins attacked a car with metal bars. The driver was accompanied by his pregnant wife. Fortunately, they fled when he withdrew his gun.
  • Bedouin rock attacks against Jewish motorists have risen tremendously in 2014, particularly after the onset of Operation Protective Edge.
These are just a tiny sample of Bedouin crimes. The majority are never discovered. You want an authentic Bedouin experience and not the sanitized “Birthright” tourist trap experiences that provides glatt kosher shish kebab, and a guarantee that you will wake up in the morning?

The authentic Bedouin......
  • brazenly squats on government land under the noses of the authorities, and creates shanty towns which become havens of criminal behavior.
The authentic Bedouin......
  • enters “military zones” without recourse. The “Fire Zone” signs only apply to you and I. I have seen it myself. A Bedouin women with a herd of goats crossing the shooting range of a local military base. Try that yourself. Count the minutes before you find yourself handcuffed. I give you five.
The authentic Bedouin......
  • litters the Negev with filth and pollution, and engages in grotesque unsanitary practices that would have looked primitive in the days of the Black Death. His goats (often stolen from Jews) and donkeys litter the desert with their feces, pollute the few pristine water sources, and devour critical vegetation like a herd of locusts. They are an environmental nightmare. (As a general rule, environmentalists ignore the Bedouin's ecologically disastrous habits, and even tout them as examples of ecological living. Pursue any ecological degree in Israel, and you will find that a major part of the curriculum is dedicated to glamorizing Bedouins, and excoriating anyone who suggests that we didn't steal the land from them.)
The authentic Bedouin......
  • is polygamous and collects state funds for every child. The deluded tax payer funds his many wives and children.
The authentic Bedouin......
  • beats his wives as if it were a religious mandate. A study back in 2012 by Itach-”Woman Lawyers For Social Justice”, reported that 97% of Bedouin women suffered some form of physical violence by a relative. Sexual violence is rampant.
The authentic Bedouin......
  • doesn't pay taxes or medical fees. Steals water and electricity. Bedouin woman with no paperwork or identity are given medical full treatment without questions. Who are you? What is your ID #? Nothing. Your local southern branch of Klalit or Maccabi has a unique way of dealing with these mysteries. They pull down a fat folder bearing one word on the cover -BEDOUINS.
The authentic Bedouin......
  • steals pipes, siding, cables, railroad tracks, cars, air conditioners, goats, sheep, horses, trucks, tractors, public art (and selling it for scrap metal), even ATM machines!
  • runs extortion rings which squeeze money out of Jewish businesses and farms. Those who refuse suffer theft, beatings, arson/other property destruction, and sometimes death.
The authentic Bedouin......
  • smuggles drugs, weapons, prostitutes, etc. Into the country.
The authentic Bedouin......
  • is becoming radicalized, and by all accounts, active terrorist involvement is increasing. I remember reading about a 16 year old Bedouin girl who arrived at the Shoket Junction border police base, armed with a pistol. Her dreams of becoming a shaheed went unfulfilled, when she was shot dead before she could murder anyone.
In the absence of any evidence, I suspect that Bedouins played a role in creating Hamas's vast network of tunnels. They are already piercing the border with their illegal smuggling ventures which treat the border as if it were swiss cheese. Is it not reasonable to assume that their knowledge of both sides of the border, and uncanny ability to cross it with ease would make them a valuable asset to Hamas? As noted earlier in this article, by all honest appraisals they are increasingly engaging in terror.

During the pre-state years, many Jews were murdered on the rural roads of southern Israel. They were butchered by the grandfathers and great-grandfathers of the Bedouins you see today. Across the road from Sdei Boker, a beautiful park commemorates a Kibbutz woman who was murdered by Bedouins in the early years of the State. As some Leftist academics will explain to you, the unfortunate woman didn't “understand” the “cultural norms “ of the local Bedouins.

Lest one think that such past incidents may have rendered Kibbutz residents sensitive to “right wing”” sentiments, they will proudly inform you that Bedouins guard their agricultural fields at night. I was informed of this lunacy by a Kibbutznik, who proceeded to tell me (without batting an eyelash), that the Kibbutz has many problems with Bedouin vandalism/theft. I looked at him as if he were from another planet.

The wonderful civil defense group, “Hashomer Hachadash”, has assisted many Jewish farmers throughout the South and other regions. But they can't be everywhere all the time. And their resources are insufficient to combat the Bedouin menace. Were there not so many southern military bases, the Negev would be as dangerous today, as it was back when the Negev was no-man's land. The Bedouin wishes to remain anonymous. But given the opportunity, and a little carelessness, one can still feel the Bedouin blade in one's belly. Just a few months ago, a young Jewish man barely escaped a lynching by a gang of Bedouins, while waiting for a tremp outside of Beersheba. I am certain that no one reported on this. I read nothing of the incident.

Lest one think that mere proximity to the highway means anything, I can assure you that what occurs five feet off the highway in the Negev is an entirely different world. The lawless Bedouin can murder a Jew and melt into the night. No personal documentation, no fingerprints. He doesn't exist.

The government's incessant fear of a Bedouin uprising prevents them from addressing the problem. So they appease them with grotesque land deals, for land that never even belonged to them. Many years ago, there was an unsuccessful attempt to require that Bedouins show documentation for their land. Overwhelmingly, they had nothing to prove evidence of “ownership.”

Ironically, the clueless left puts forth two contradictory images of the Bedouin when defending them. On the one hand:
  • They were landless nomads who roamed the Middle East. As these leftists would have it, only Israel's colonial expansionism curtailed their ancient way of living.
  • On the other hand, these same frauds simultaneously insist that Israel is stealing Bedouin land today.
Generally speaking, the portrayal of the landless Bedouin is historically accurate. Granted, they would violently fight for a region they might be temporarily inhabiting, but they didn't necessarily fight for eternal rights, since they intended to move on. Furthermore, the next season might see another region of the desert more accommodating in terms of vegetation for their herds, and available water sources. As a rule, Bedouin tribes fought for what they wanted, and as an ironclad rule, might always made right. Every dirty trick of deceit and ambush would be used to slaughter other tribes that posed a threat to them. Tribal warfare often involved complicated arrangements based on confusing kinship ties that might backfire on the involved parties. But one thing is certain. They were not people who could point to any one spot and state, “this is where we live.” They were historically landless.

And yet despite this historical reality, and the inability of Bedouins to prove ownership, the spineless government policy has become even more entrenched. The new “Begin Plan” on the horizon is an impending nightmare, since it rewards the Bedouins for their brazen land-grabbing.

You think the South is dangerous today, as Bibi continues his insane policy of appeasing Hamas while they continue to shower us with rockets? Hamas will only be one Arab front in the South, when the Bedouin rage reaches its's boiling point. It is only a matter of time before the Bedouin fifth column wages an intifada of their own. And when they do, they will set the entire southern region on fire.

Unfortunately, the Leftists will only wake up when they can no longer drive down to Eilat.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The War Against The Soul: Esau Rising!

Yahadut doesn't differentiate between those who slaughter Jews and those who prey on our souls. Chanukah commemorates the physical revolt of the Maccabees against the Greeks, who waged war against the Torah. The criminalization of circumcision and Shabbat was akin to a knife at the Jewish throat since the death of the Jewish soul signifies the death of the Jewish nation. And so, we Jews have always reacted viscerally when a Jewish soul is threatened, just as a mob of bloodthirsty anti-semites compels us to act on behalf of our brethren.

The dark days of the Crusades bears witness to this nightmarish fact. The tragedy of screaming Jewish mothers and fathers taking the sword to their children, and then themselves, because a time of shmad was upon them. Mesirat Nefesh personified. No one loves their children more than a Jewish mother and father. And yet, under the threat of their Jewish child being raised under the cross, they did the unimaginable.

We have many enemies throughout the world. The Arab/Islamic world stands out as today's number one enemy since they are actively trying to exterminate us. Our many spiritual foes desire our souls. They wish to convert us. Many religious Jews recognize the danger of the former, but not the latter. They have forgotten centuries of mass slaughter from those who merely wanted us to fall on our knees and kiss the cross.

Today, they prey on us with love. A very smart tactic; the clever exchange of the sword for the dove. The missionaries are enjoying historically unprecedented success due to this tactical shift. Baruch Hashem, there are many wonderful organizations and individuals out there combatting the spiritual threat. The excellent website Jewish Israel is another goldmine of meticulously researched, documented information. Jewish Israel has a plethora of information and documentation relating specifically to the subjects of this article.

Hayovel” (The Jubilee) and “The Harvesters”
As I see it, there is another threat today, which represents a new category of missionary. These soul snatchers are planting a parasitic vine that will ultimately strangle those within the religious camp. This foe doesn't wear a “Jews for Jesus” cap. Nor does he actively portray Jesus as kosher-- for the moment. He is far too clever for that. And he is as patient as an adder. They call themselves “Hayovel”--The Jubilee.

This enemy has toned down his rhetoric, for the most part, when he's sitting with Jews. If in the past, his websites were a window into their goals, they have since sanitized them and rendered them “neutral” to the untrained eye. (Although video footage can be readily found which exposes their real agenda.) This new missionary came to Israel to assist Jews in the vineyards of Samaria, and fulfill (in their distorted interpretation) the words of the prophets. Whole communities have ensured that “The Harvesters,” as they call themselves, feel welcome.

I could not believe my eyes when I first saw the many videos documenting this terrible phenomenon. One particularly disturbing clip featured a grotesque spectacle of religious women with skirts and men with kipot dancing with missionaries. One of the greatest examples of Chillul Hashem that I have ever seen in Israel. I would venture to say that never before in Jewish history has such an insidious threat to the Jewish soul occurred right under the noses of Jews. Jews who go to minyan thrice daily and learn Torah have allowed the cross to be put up in their homes. Metaphorically speaking of course. But the door is open for them. Like the mythical Dracula, these spiritual predators have been invited in.

Hayovel has reached a section of the Jewish populace that they never could have imagined would be available to them. Close knit Torah oriented Jewish families have never been an easy prey. Under the guise of helping Jewish farmers tend their fields and vineyards in the Shomron, these missionaries have come to the hills of Samaria. Jews with kipot are ecstatic .Too many Jewish farmers have eagerly embraced this halachically prohibited free labor.

A reputable insider source has informed me that volunteers have even set up a tent in Har Bracha where they worship and pray to Jesus every morning before heading to the field. The tent is also used for speakers to address them. And these folks aren't here to merely visit. Part of their plan is to plant roots and remain in Eretz Yisroel.

For those who may find this incredulous, this age of social media and Youtube videos can confirm everything. There are numerous videos of prominent religious Jews sitting in meetings with the infamous Tommy Waller (of the notorious missionizing Waller family) inviting thousands of x-tians to join "The Harvesters."

The Torah's Perspective

How does one deal with spiritual contagions in Israel? Let's take a look at the authentic Bible.

Deuteronomy 12:3: "And you shall destroy their name from this place." (This week's portion of the Torah reading.)

Judges 2:1-2: "'The angel of the L-rd came up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, "I made you go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the Land which I swore unto to your fathers, and I said....'You shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land. You shall smash their altars..."

As sons of Abraham, we have an obligation to bring the knowledge of The One to the world. In order to spread the knowledge of G-d, we have to first comprehend that knowledge ourselves. The Torah prohibits gentiles from living in Israel unless they accept the Halachic conditions of "resident strangers." The definition of “resident stranger” varies according to different Halachic positions. Maimonides would represent a more stringent approach. The Halachah understands that even fine, non-hostile gentiles (with the exception of "resident strangers") can adversly affect the spiritual integrity of Am Yisroel. Many Jews have readily adopted the pro-Israel evangelical lobby in the war against the Arabs and Islam. This is no ally. The evangelists have a stated goal of wanting to convert Jews. To endanger the Jewish soul means we have gained nothing and lost everything.

Confrontation: Spitting On Rav Soloveitchik's Psak Halachah

On one level, several prominent leaders of "modern-orthodoxy" contributed to this outrageous phenomenon, and laid the groundwork for sanitizing their agenda. They have created a new forum for discusion/meetings which previously never existed. In recent years, many of these individuals abrogated their Rebbe's psak Halachah, and engaged in one form or another of "interfaith-dialogue." Rav Soloveitchik (of blessed memory) had a consistent position: that Jews are prohibited from engaging in any form of religious discussion, debate, or dialogue with members of other faith communities. His so-called students are trampling upon his psak Halachah. His classic essay “Confrontation” articulates his position fully.The Rav would become physically ill were he alive today to see this outrage.

In recent years, one of these rabbis went so far as to adopt the language of the missionary. He was featured in videos where he called Jesus "rabbi jesus," and even used such ideologically loaded terms as "branches" or "grafting" that are laden with unmistakeable x-tian associations and interpretations.

Another individual (not a talmid of the Rav) used the written word to “kasher” Jesus. Without getting into the nuances of his work, there is no definitive evidence that a specific historical Jesus existed that has any commonality with the various contradictory and mythical gospel accounts. The scholarship was premised on one particular historian's viewpoint, which is contested by other scholars; and the end result is that it reads like a polemic which reimagines Jesus as a palpable figure for religious Jews. It is agenda driven. (The Rambam and Ramban's unique perspectives provide some insight into the Jewish perspective on Jesus. Let the diligent reader explore this on his own.) Whether Jesus was a real Jewish figure, a composite of several figures, or based upon two different figures in the Gemara, Judaism does not venerate his memory. If he existed, he was not a good Jew.

There is no common ethic between Torah and a theology that requires man to accept another man as a deity and a savior to find salvation. Truth be told, interfaith dialogue with x-tians or any member of another faith community on matter of religion has always been viewed as contrary to Halachah. There has always been a consensus on this issue across the wide spectrum of Torah leaders. Even among those groups that have no interest in converting Jews. Certainly, those who prey on Jews for conversion are enemies. We aren't allowed to meet with them or accept charity; no hosting them in Eretz Yisroel. They are evangelical. Their stated mission is to draw Jews to the cross.

As the bloody headlines inform us daily, Islam is a scourge upon the earth. It is natural for Jews to want allies against them. But to align ourselves with those who wish to convert us is insane. Even if it is in their distant dream of a messianic redemption. Righteous gentiles who want to assist the nation of Israel may have opportunities to do so, but it must always be in accordance with Jewish law. This is where proper poskim need to come into the equation, since it is purely an Halachic matter. But those who are evangelical cannot have any foothold in the country!

The Harvesters” and others like them have an advantage over other missionaries. They are mingling, and spending considerable time with Jews in the vineyards. They are forging friendships and finding a commonality that is blurring the distinction between gentile and Jew. “The Harvesters” have discovered that strumming folk songs based solely on “Old Testament” verses, while tending to the fields, have opened doors to them. Some of their women even cover their heads with mitpachot.

What will happen, (and Heaven Forbid, it is almost a certainly that it will,) when some infatuated Jewish boy falls head over heels for the pretty blond girl in the field who he sees for weeks at a time. His name is Daniel, and she likes the Book of Daniel. She has a nice smile. She plays the guitar and enjoys evening strolls as the sun sets. So does he. What about the mirror equivalent? A Jewish girl who finds a rugged southern gentleman, who believes in the notion of a creator, never mentions Jesus, and works his boots off in the field. A mentch, right?

Unlikely scenario? I think not. I think that it is more unlikely that this won't happen, if things persist as they are. Frankly I wouldn't be surprised if such “meetings” are already occurring.

Not Anti Gentile!
This is not meant to be taken an an anti-gentile polemic. Heaven Forbid. Without getting into the complicated Halachic issue of whether Jewish theology deems christianity an appropriate religion for gentiles, all authentic Jewish positions are in agreement with one thing: it is prohibited for Jews. I believe that perfection of the self and Divine reward is available to jew and gentile alike, provided they follow the proper framework. Maimonides required the non-Jew to follow the 7 Laws of Noah. I will venture to say this: Gentiles have the same responsability as Jews; to accept the true Creator. The rising phenomenon of the Bnai Noach community in the U.S. and across the world shows that it can be done.

It should be noted that despite his rigid Halachic stance regarding x-tianity and Islam, Maimonides notes that we don't understand G-d's plan, and perhaps the former two faiths will be a vehicle for man to ultimately draw close to the truth. In short, since they are better than a purer paganism, or polytheism, they represent man heading towards the truth. Ultimately, The Almighty Himself will judge each man/woman to the extent that they dedicated their lives to uncovering the truth of His Name.

One thing is clear: those who desire to convert Jews are our enemies. Those who try to make christianity more acceptable by blurring the lines between us cannot remain in Eretz Yisroel. And those Jews who cannot (or will not) see this with the clarity of true Jewish thought, will play the role of one who stands idly by his brother's blood.

The Imminent Danger
A spiritual contagion is growing in the Shomron. They are aided by religious Jews who, for economic and political reasons, have eagerly taken Brother Esau's hand. Most native born Israelis have no understanding of the evangelical personality, and are ill-equipped to read their pulse. The leading anglos who abet them generally lack the intellectual sophistication and/or integrity to see the problem. Some are naive puppets in a war they don't even realize is raging around them. But the fact remains: this is an unprecedented phenomenon in Jewish history.

If Am Yisroel doesn't stand up and make a public outcry over this, it won't be long before “the Harvesters” claim their first victims, as Jewish boys and girls are exposed to a confusing and strange admixture of the holy and profane. It will happen.

We endured centuries of mass burnings, lynchings, mutilations, and the endless wrath of the sword to preserve our Torah. Every Easter season, Jews in Europe feared for their lives. And all they wanted from us was to abandon Torah and embrace Jesus. We resisted as long as our Torah values remained intact. In modern times, as our understanding of Jewish concepts began to erode, we became vulnerable. Our ancestors would roll in their graves if they could see that missionaries are picking grapes for us in Eretz Yisroel. Our zaidies would scream and cry out to the Heavens at this madness.

Hamavdil bein Kodesh l'chol, bein yisroel le'amin....”
He who separates the sacred and the mundane, between Am Yisroel and the rest of the nations”. (Havdalah)

In the hills of Samaria, leaderless flocks of Jews are going off with Brother Esau into the dark night. They are drinking non-kosher wine. And they don't even know it.

Let all people of Torah stand up and loudly shout to our brothers in the Shomron, “Ad Kan!” Enough is enough! We would be wise to adopt the position of our chareidi brothers who understand what the missionaries want, and can see the danger with 20/20 vision.

Almighty in heaven! Save us from Brother Esau!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Talking To The Dead

Author's Note: I am not a posek (halachic decisor) and these are merely my philosophical reflections on what I maintain is the proper Torah approach on such matters. The nuances and complexities related to these issues are numerous and hardly monolithic, and they are the source of great debate and discussion in the world of Halachah. I want to emphasize the following: For any and all Halachic matters related to this article, please consult a reputable, Torah observant, Halachic authority. May Hakadosh Baruch Hu grant us the cognitive faculties to follow His will.

While doing research on an unrelated topic, I stumbled upon a website which compelled me to take a closer look into the unfortunate world of those within Judaism who corrupt Torah for profit. Tragically, the Torah world is replete with popular superstitions masquerading as Judaism, and a plethora of examples can be found online which show the pernicious depths to which some of these vultures will sink, in order to propagate their poison and profit from the process.

The human condition being what it is, people are naturally vulnerable to their tactics. For too many Jews, proper Halachic prayer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu lacks the attraction of a vial of holy water from an alleged wonder worker, or an amulet under a pillow to aid a woman during childbirth. And then of course there are those who are drawn to graves like a bear to the beehive. Many visit these shrines and actually pray to the dead, either inadvertently or with definite intent. Consulting the dead is a biblical prohibition ( Deuteronomy 18:11). It is important to note that the Rambam (Avelus 14:13) even prohibits appropriate prayer in a cemetary, and other Rishonim argue likewise.

(As an aside, most of these graves are actually fabricated. This is not to say that there aren't graves with credible traditions. In truth, no one knows who lies within many of these tombs. Sometimes it's even an old imam or a nun! Their association with the real personalities with whom they bear their names are often based on inaccurate Byzantine traditions, modern distortions, or inventions of charlatans. Thus one finds “discovered graves” from the 1980's bearing a purported ancient tradition. The site might even develop into a tourist attraction, along with some fantastic and outlandish, forbidden ritual that “prove” efficacious for something.)

It is terrifying that people within the Torah camp are actively undermining yahadut and damaging Jewish souls. The campaign is both organized and disorganized, an amalgam of misguided foolishness and those with more premeditated intent. It has no leader, and it has a thousand heads. While many have good intentions, the end result is that they create Jews with corrupted notions of Judaism.

Others are not so innocent. Some have created profitable businesses to spread their wares. Sophisticated websites inform the deluded and the desperate, that for merely sharing their credit card number, distinguished torah scholars will pray for them at a grave or at the kotel. I refer to them as “kabbalah” vultures because they are the predators behind this phenomenon, though naturally they know nothing of Kabbalah. Kabbalah with a lowercase “k”, if you will, or the pseudo-academic qabbalah with a “q”. They are as far from the notion of true Jewish metaphysics as Mecca is from Manhattan. But they prey on those who are both attracted and vulnerable to foolishness, and propagate a childish notion of tefillah that has more in common with Santa Claus.

The common theme resonating among all these groups is ignorance of Torah ideals, and the fact that their religious worldview has more of a pagan influence than they could ever imagine. In fact their ideology reads like a page from Sir James George Frazer's anthropological work on pagan religion, “The Golden Bough.” From a Torah perspective, ignorance is never bliss. Ignorance of The Almighty inevitably leads to one form or another of idolatry, either outright, or the idolatry of distorted viewpoints. As such, the only solution is to expose the problem and provide a proper Torah perspective.

There is a laundry list, nay, an entire collection of encyclopedias, of nonsensical segulot floating around. Rites and rituals that are reportedly efficacious for finding one's eventual partner, having children, attaining financial success, or curing disease. All of them are nonsense and many are forbidden according to Torah. They are in direct opposition to our forefather Abraham's mission, and they constitute a biblical prohibition.

"You shall be perfectly faithful to Hashem your G-d." (Deuteronomy 18:13)

Amuqah: The Search For One's “Bashert”
The popular superstition of visiting the purported grave of the Tanna, Yonathan Ben Uziel, at Amuqah, stands out as today's quintessential ritual for finding one's "bashert" (significant other). (Without getting into the complicated and problematic hashkafic question of the term bashert, which is premised on an unjewish belief in predestination, I will simply retain the word as a semantic, out of expediency.) An ancient custom we are told, which as it turns out, isn't quite so ancient. The fiction connected to the Amuqah shrine was actually invented in the 1950's by an unscrupulous tour guide who cashed in on people's pain. And much like other creators of fiction, this monster lives on. There is nothing ancient about this foolish ritual. Furthermore, this tragic ritual has even descended to the level where undignified women have been known to drape certain "garments" on the tomb in the hope of finding their match. While most of those who propagate the Amuqah mythology condemn such practices as obscene and contrary to Torah, they are also to blame. As we see throughout the Torah, the pagan drive often leads to sexual impropriety.

The website for Amuqah details the institutions and personalities related to the site, and features information about different rites other than the standard Amuqah ritual one for finding a spouse. It reads like a children's book, but there is nothing charming about it. Thus, we also have the “Talis from Amukah that frees your mazal”, the little known “Shidduch Shofar”, and the “Segulah of shidduch Wine”. And all I could think was this: This is the Judaism of the Gaonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim?

The cult of Amuqah is grotesque, because it asserts that The Almighty in His wisdom, created a system, where the fulfillment of one's ultimate happiness is premised not on chesed, or self-perfection but on a pilgrimage and foolish rites.

Young people, and those creeping on into older batchelorhood, are naturally anxious about finding a spouse. I want to emphasize one point. Every effort should be made to help all Jews find marriage partners, whether it be in the form of proper introductions or ideal creating opportunities/events for them to meet. There is a genuine shidduch crisis in the Jewish world today for a host of reasons which I will not dissect here. And the issue requires our attention, because it is an emergency. But perverting jewish concepts is never an acceptable solution, even if the ritual or rite in question has a placebo effect on one's confidence.

Most Jews who go to Amuqah or other shrines, whether they be fertility shrines, marriage shrines, or parnasa shrines, are to be pitied. They are fine people, but are desperate and vulnerable to all types of suggestions. Furthermore, they are the byproduct of a Judaism devoid of intellectualism. "Captured babies", if you will. Their teachers and rabbanim cultivate these superstitions. In the absence of true Torah wisdom, man invariably turns to soothsayers. Torah Jews denigrate superstitious practices, since they are contrary to reason. As Rambam teaches us, a foolish custom is no custom.

It could be argued that relying on various halachic positions which maintain that it is permissible to visit graves of righteous people, (not praying to them mind you, this is forbidden according to all!) is dangerous, since many Jews end up praying to the Tzadik. Many simpletons will bring up the biblical story of Calev and the spies, as some sort of proof for visiting graves. As if Calev, who was one of the gedolei hador, was praying to the dead, Heaven forbid! In the hostile environment of the sinful meraglim (spies), Calev went to the Machpela to derive strength from these great Jews. He reflected on the tribulations of the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs, and strengthened himself in the knowledge that he and Yehoshua could persevere.

If and when a Torah individual visits a grave, he reflects on the life of the gadol and turns away (both literally and figuratively). Out of sight, and out of mind. There are those who posit that they are merely asking the tzadik to pray for them. Chazal also addressed this issue, both from the perspective of whether the dead can actually do anything for us, and if it is halachically permitted. In short, the popular notion of a "meilitz yosher" (intercessor) is dangerous and halachically and hashkafically problematic. It is foolish to needlessly subject oneself to the problematic issues relating to biblical prohibitions. We have no need of intermediaries. We pray directly to The Creator.

Entire movements within "orthodoxy" propagate a Judaism of outlandish folklore and "Jewish mysticism." One who has any sense of yahadut knows that such practices and beliefs are often an expression of 2000 years of living with goyim, either x-tian or Muslim. As far as those who purport to be wonder-workers, they are all charlatans, and those who would send you to them are delusional or worse. No proper Torah authority, no genuine gadol, ever engaged in such practices themselves or encouraged others to do so.

Prayer: Halachic Not Primitive

Man can call out to Hakadosh Baruch Hu at any time, and in any tongue. There is a concept of halachic tefillah (issues related to time, place, etc.) and a Jew must adhere to them. And then there is man's individual right to call out to G-d in general. (Tehillim would certainly be an expression of this, albeit on a more elevated level.) The main problem with so-called hitbodedut (self seclusion) that many are attracted to is that it presupposes a false relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu based upon primitive thinking. Hashem is not "our friend" as these practitioners are wont to believe. Such childish notions (while understandable for a child) are anathema to yahadut, along with other infantile notions such as those who conceptualize G-d (Heaven Forbid) figuratively. According to Maimonides such beliefs are heresy. Contemporary expressions of hitbodedut are certainly deviations from Judaism, and the influence from foreign cultures is apparent when one reads the literature.

Jews should abandon questionable practices and emulate David Hamelech who used the majesty of the creation and the natural world to reflect on The Almighty. This is indeed a Jewish endeavor, because it solidifies in the mind of any true thinking person that there is a G-d. As such, even an overnight in the forest can be a Jewish expression and an intellectual endeavor, albeit without the constraints of "dry intellectualism." I personally remember with fondness escaping by myself to some wilderness “to get away from it all”. It can be healthy and clear your head. But to enter the forest for the purpose of screaming out "Aba" to the heavens like an escapee from an asylum is an entirely different matter.

Naturally, there is significant danger anytime man approaches the natural world without the intellect. As the Rambam teaches us, this was the original mistake of the people in the days of Enosh, who started to worship the stars as both worthy of such service and an expression of honoring The Almighty. Instead of learning from nature and reflecting on the source of all creation, their flawed thinking degraded into overt deification of nature. They became idolaters.

The native American tribes personified this. They accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge about the earth. They mastered the science of the interconnectivity of ecosystems, the patterns and behaviors of animals, tracking skills, and weather. Furthermore, they respected the earth and didn't waste natural resources. The problem? They deified nature. We see this mentality today among many “secular” Israelis who find “spirituality” in the idolatrous East, and bring back Hindu ideas and other forms of nature worship. A return to the ideology of idolatrous Canaan.

A Jew must always use his intellect to understand Torah concepts. This is not akin to the pursuit of a secular philosopher. Yahadut requires man's full intellectual involvement. At the end of the day, since there are concepts we can't possibly understand (along with notions that the Torah prohibits us to ponder about) we are obligated to follow the tradition, even in the absence of a cognitive understanding. Our best efforts are limited. Even Moshe Rabbenu had limitations. Abandoning one's seichal is akin to idolatry, since it leaves one vulnerable to any emotional experience or encounter.

This is not to denigrate or deny the emotions. As human beings we have emotions, and we needn't apologize for them. But our emotions must always be guided and tempered by Torah. And Torah can only be understood with intellect. There is no such thing as Jewish mysticism. A thousand books have been written on this fictitious subject. The root of the problem is that a large number of Jews have a distorted notion that Kabbalah is a mystical system. As such, when the people behind the phenomena of an Amuqah speak in broad generalities about “practices approved of by many reputable mekubalim”, they earn a forbidden certificate of kashrut. My question invariably is this: Who are these nameless, amorphic, “mystics”?

The best way to resolve this tragic mindset is to understand definitions of concepts. Let us first define Kabbalah. The mere mention of the word conjures up perverted ideas that have no basis in authentic Jewish thought. If one wants a definition of a Torah concept, one refers to the Gedolim of Torah. The great Gaon Rav Cham Zimmerman (of blessed memory) noted the following:

Kabala has nothing to do with mysticism. That is why all our Chachamim and Gedolei hador were against Shabtai Zvi's fraud, deceit , and mystical absurdities. Kabala is only a continuation, a perush on all aspects and units of Halacha, how they pertain to the mental-ruchniyot worlds.....
Kabala is built on pure logic. People who are ignorant in Halacha can tell us nothing in Kabala.” (Torah and Reason, pg. 22)

Emotions Follow Intellect

In Judaism, emotions always follow knowledge, never the other way around. Practitioners of hitbodedut and shrine-hopping (shrine hoppers if you will) do the exact opposite. They construct (or deconstruct) "knowledge" based on their own primitive needs and emotions. This isn't Judaism.

Jewish superstitions are not harmless folklore. They distance Jews from The Creator. I don't believe that it's better to let Jews keep their narishkeit intact. Certainly not when a particular practice involves the possible abrogation of biblical prohibitions. In this specific case, at the very least, going to Amuqah skirts the periphery of prohibitions relating to idolatry, in the form of praying to the dead. (For that matter, so does writing kvitlach to dead people.) And the periphery drops right into the abyss. If you love your fellow Jew, you will do anything within the stretch of your arm to save them.

I have tremendous sympathy for the suffering of Jews who inadvertently pursue a false path that masquerades as "holiness." Heaven Forbid that one should feel anything but love for such unfortunates. They are not culpable for false ideas that were taught to them by those they venerate. Yet losing oneself in a false system is a Jewish tragedy, and it will not bring comfort to them. And ironically, those who pursue strange paths in order to draw nearer to the Creator, are in actuality distancing themselves from Him.

This is a critical point, and yet it can be a tremendous comfort. We have the ability to pray directly to The Almighty. What can be more comforting to Man than this constant opportunity?

Man (both Jew and gentile) requires no conduit to Hashem. The authentic Torah approach is to turn directly to The Almighty. May Hakadosh Baruch Hu protect His chosen nation (as well as all righteous gentiles pursuing the truth of His name) from all spiritual contagions, and from those who would spread them like a virus in the name of the Torah.

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