Mixtures of Considerations and Beliefs

The laws of ‘issur v’heter’ teach us that even things that are inherently good, may be forbidden if they are mixed * Mixing considerations of disproportionate magnitudes is harmful; for example, when a mother spends too much energy on the clothes she will wear to her daughter’s wedding, at the expense of her main responsibility – helping her daughter, the bride * Mixing various fundamentals of ’emuna’ is harmful, such as evading responsibility and guilt in the name of the belief that everything is controlled by God *As separate ideas, belief in providence does not detract from belief in free will and responsibility for one’s actions * The new leadership in Britain deserves to be praised for its support of Jews and Israel

Forbidden Mixtures

We find in the Torah that there are species which, by themselves, are kosher, but when mixed together, are forbidden. Such is the case with meat and milk – each of them separately are permitted, but it is forbidden to cook and eat them together. This is also true in regards to kilayim (a hybrid) of wool and linen, or vines with grain or vegetables, grafting of trees, and plowing an ox with a donkey. An important basis arises from these commandments – that occasionally there are good ideas and values that when mixed ​​together, can cause great damage.

Types of Mixtures

Occasionally, it involves a mixture of two ideas of disproportionate magnitudes, and as a result, placing the less significant matter on equal terms with the greater consideration, disrupts everything. Other times, it involves two corresponding ideas that when mixed together, distorts a person’s rational thought.

For example, it is becoming of a person to eat foods he finds tasty; but if one is deathly ill and certain foods may endanger his life, but nevertheless, he continues eating them, then he commits the crime of mixing up considerations of two disproportionate magnitudes, and risks his life. All the more so, if one avoids taking life-saving medication because of its bitter taste. An example of mixing of two parallel ideas is, for example, mixing the concepts of ​​Divine Providence and ​​freedom of choice. I will discuss the two types of mixtures below.

An Analogy from Wedding Preparations

Everyone agrees that it’s appropriate for a woman meriting to marry off her daughter, to honor the event, and go out of her way to buy a nice dress for the wedding, and matching shoes. But compared to the very participation in her daughter’s wedding, the dress and shoes of the mother, are not important. Therefore, the mother’s main effort should be directed at assisting the bride to prepare for the wedding, finding nice clothes for her and all the accompanying details, while her own preparations, with all its importance, should be secondary.

If, due to the fact that the mother cannot not find matching shoes she decides not to attend her daughter’s wedding, she is of unsound mind, mixing together considerations of totally different magnitudes. Such a mixture is analogous to cooking meat with milk: the dress and shoes are in the sense of milk, and the very participation in the wedding, is in the sense of meat.

Even if the mother is able to invest as much time and energy in her daughter’s preparations for the wedding as herself, still, just by the very act of equating two considerations of disproportionate magnitudes and merits, she betrays her responsibility and from then on, all the preparations she makes for the wedding will become a stumbling block. Instead of her daughter the bride taking enjoyment in her mother’s beautiful clothes it will arouse jealousy and frustration, because they will reflect her mother’s selfish character – that even in before her daughter’s wedding, she thinks mainly about herself, attempting to grab center stage. As a result, even when she makes an effort to help her daughter find a nice dress for the wedding, her actions will be tainted with egoism, and it will be impossible escaping the thought that it isn’t her daughter she cares about, but rather, her main goal is boasting about her daughter in front of everyone.

The Story of a Reckless and Murderous Driver

A certain person was used to driving his jeep recklessly. His friends warned him about the potential danger, but he enjoyed driving fast and ignored their words. One day, he carelessly crossed into an oncoming lane, collided with a family car, and killed all the occupants – the parents and two children. When he realized the consequences of the accident, he was in shock, horror, and sorrow; despair filled his heart. The police acted towards him harshly, but he understood them – after all, four dead…. At night, he had trouble falling asleep, remembering his friend’s warnings advising him to drive carefully, and grave feelings of remorse and grief terrified his sleep. How could he continue living? Even his wife was unable to console him.

And it came to pass that in the morning his soul was stirred, and he suddenly had an insight. After all, he thought to himself, the Sages had said: “No man bruises his finger here on earth unless it was so decreed against him in heaven.” Consequently, he wasn’t the one who killed those people – God Himself condemned them to die, and he was only the poor guy chosen carry out the decree. In truth, he was not at fault, and his friends who had warned him to drive carefully had treated him erroneously, because in essence, their warnings hinted at a certain contempt for God, as if to say it’s not God who runs the world. The policemen who reprimanded him also acted improperly, because, after all, there was no connection between his driving and what happened. Everything comes from God, King of the World, who decreed that this family should die, and most probably they had sinned gravely, and deserved to die. In any case, even if they weren’t completely wicked, no matter what, it was a decree from Heaven that all of them be killed, and it has nothing to do with him. God’s calculations are beyond his reach; all he must do now, is to strengthen himself with all his might, in faith in God, to remember, and know that everything is Divine providence from God, and there is no connection whatsoever between his reckless driving and the deaths of these four people. Against all of his detractors, he must fight for his innocence and prove in court that it was the father of the family who veered out of lane. And even though in truth, he was the one who veered out of lane, since God directs everything, therefore, despite his having swerved he is innocent, because even his swerving out of lane was directed by God, in order to carry out the verdict of the family. True, he still has to contend with his conscience gnawing at his heart; consequently, to overcome his “weakness of faith”, he will go to receive a blessing from the “tzadikim“. They, upon seeing the purity of his heart (for indeed, he will give a nice contribution to the ‘kollel‘ under their patronage), will bless him that he should be acquitted. He will even ask from the “tzadikim” to curse the representatives of deceased family and the evil lawyers who level harsh words against him.

Mixing Free Will and Divine Providence

The sin of this man is that he mixed two different ideas – free will, and Divine Providence. When a person is careful to separate these two ideas, he understands that faith in Divine Providence in no way diminishes man’s responsibility for his actions. These are two systems that must exist concurrently, but when mixed together, both of them break down; belief in Divine Providence turns into terrible egoism, without a hint of true faith, but rather, complete idol worship, because man uses the power of faith to justify himself, but in actuality he is serving himself, and as a result, his moral responsibility for his actions goes awry.

The murderous driver must first recognize the severity of his terrible crime, have complete regret and remorse for all of his reckless behavior, accept the punishment he deserves, and contemplate how he can correct his ways henceforth. Also, he must do everything in his power to appease and benefit the grieving family, and to set up a memorial in memory of those killed in the accident. After this, he must believe that even from this awful place which he has reached, he can return in complete repentance – until from all his sorrow, regret, and rectifications, all his sins will be forgiven, and at that point, he can also believe that everything came from God, and was for the best.

A Different Story about a Reckless and Murderous Driver

Some people react differently. For example, someone who was used to driving recklessly and ran over and killed four family members, but, unlike the previous man, he understood he was completely guilty, his heart was filled with sorrow and regret, he recalled the warnings of his friends, and realized just how right they were. For entire days, he could not sleep properly. Minutes after dozing-off, in his mind he would picture those killed, and would wake up in horror. He stopped bathing, did not brush his teeth, and could not even eat – the grief and despair completely destroyed his appetite. His friends told him he had to see a doctor to get sedatives, and if that did not help, he should get psychological help. But he refused, because when they mentioned this, pictures of the deceased ran through his mind. And in his heart he thought, how could he worry about himself, about his lack of sleep, about his normal eating and drinking, when right now, the bodies of the people he had run over were rotting in their graves. Thus, gradually, the murderous driver cut himself off from the entire world, stopped worrying about his family, went insane, and died at an early age.

He also committed the crime of mixing of issues. Indeed, he is obligated to regret, repent, and do everything to atone for his sin. However, simultaneously, he must take care of his health so he can fulfill his duties towards his family, in order to repent, and so he can do whatever possible to elevate the souls of the people he ran over.

Theresa May

As terrorists attacks in the name of Islam continue to haunt Europe, and while most of the Western world’s leadership has yet to understand the danger of Muslim violence – and in its moral blindness, is still wont to blame Israel for the conflict in Eretz Yisrael, we can gain a certain amount of comfort and satisfaction from the newly appointed government in Britain, headed by Theresa May.

In her speech to the members of the Bnei Akiva a year ago on Israel’s Independence Day, Theresa May called attention to a deep and meaningful point which few leaders of the nations of the world understand. Several times she mentioned that, unlike all other peoples, Jewish survival is not a given. Over the individual Jew, his country, and over his people, there is a constant existential threat, and the Jewish nation must constantly defend itself against repeated attempts to destroy her.

Hopefully, a leader meriting such wisdom and sensitivity will have the moral courage to stand with Israel. The new Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, is also known to be a friend of Israel, to the point where during his recent visit Israel, the Arabs refused to host him in Ramallah because of his determined stance against any kind of boycott of the State of Israel.

In contrast to the majority of Israel’s media, who suffer from a lack of knowledge and impaired moral judgment, it would be fitting for those media personalities with a strong Jewish identity to take note during these days when we read the Haftarot of consolation, the positive processes occurring in the global arena. And in this manner, we will all pray that Am Yisrael merits fulfilling its great, Heavenly-designated mission, by sanctifying the name God and repairing the world, and merit, along with the entire world, true peace.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting, informative, and thought-provoking articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at:
http://en.yhb.org.il/

Blessing on Viewing the Olympics

A person impressed by athletes and their accomplishments should acknowledge the source of their strength * The blessing “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has such [beauty] in his universe” was fixed over seeing a strikingly beautiful, strong and impressive creature, including athletes * One is not required to take interest or admire athletes * A blessing is recited when seeing the athlete in person, and not in a photo * An Olympic record can be used as a criterion to know over whom to recite a blessing * A blessing should be recited over every individual species, and likewise, over champions in each sports category * A blessing should not be recited over an athlete who behaves immorally, or a woman athlete who is not dressed modestly * How much more so should we admire Torah scholars, and settlers of the Land of Israel

Should a Blessing be Recited over a Sports Champion?

Currently, when billions of people around the world are following the Olympic competitions and athletic achievements, it’s worthwhile examining the question: What is the proper way of relating to these athletes, and is it appropriate to admire them and their accomplishments?

Indeed, our Sages fixed the reciting of a bracha (blessing) upon seeing a strikingly beautiful person, animal, bird or tree for the first time: “Baruch Ata Hashem, Elokeinu Melech Ha’olam, she’kacha lo ba’olamo” (‘Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has such [beauty] in his universe’) (Berachot 58b).

Seeing creatures with special beauty or abilities arouses feelings of astonishment and admiration, excitement and all sorts of thoughts – occasionally adoration, and at times, envy. Idolaters deified particularly beautiful beings, made sculptures in their forms, and worshiped them. By bowing down to these creatures, they felt a certain connection to them, and partners in their greatness. Today as well, many people admire beautiful individuals and accomplished athletes, to the point where such people are called beauty or sports idols.

By means of reciting a bracha, we remember that this wonderful and unique phenomenon also comes from God, in the sense of: ‘What miracles you do, Hashem!’ (Psalms 92:5). In this way we can connect and elevate our feelings of admiration and excitement to the root source of emuna (faith). By doing so, our knowledge of the greatness and wonders of creation broadens, we thank God for having seen with our very eyes these unique creations, and receive inspiration to also reveal the greatness within ourselves – every person in his own specialty.

In a similar way, our Sages fixed a bracha upon seeing a king: “Baruch Ata Hashem, Melech Ha’olam, she’chalak me’kvodo l’basar v’dam” (‘Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who imparted [some] of His glory to mortals’) to remind us that everything comes from God.

The Blessing over All Wonders of Creation

It is important to note that the blessing “she’kacha lo ba’olamo ” is not a blessing unique to man, for indeed it was fixed over all beautiful creatures – humans, animals, and plants; anyone who sees a unique creature, and is excited over seeing it, recites the blessing.

The bracha unique to man is recited over the wisdom of Torah and science, “She’chalak May’chach’mato lee’ray’av” (‘Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who imparted [some] of His wisdom to those who fear Him’) upon seeing a Torah scholar with exceptional wisdom, and “She’natan May’chach’mato l’basar ve’dam” (Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who imparted [some] of His wisdom to mortals) upon seeing a wise non-Jewish person.

Yet, among people who have reached unique athletic achievements there is also a combination of natural talent and human efforts, by means of which they were able to express their natural talents.

The Blessing is Optional

Although our Sages fixed a bracha to be recited upon seeing a person with special physical abilities, this does not mean there is a mitzvah to take interest in such sporting activities; rather, seeing as many people are naturally awed by this, for such people it would be proper for them to bless God upon seeing such athletes.

One Must Actually See the Person, and not a Film or Image

This blessing was fixed over actual eye sight, and not seeing the athlete through an image or a video. On the other hand, one does not necessarily have to recite the blessing on seeing the competition itself; rather, even if afterwards someone met the exceptionally capable athlete, and the meeting aroused excitement and admiration, he should recite the blessing over seeing him, in order to direct and elevate his feelings in an appropriate manner.

Over Which Creatures Should a Blessing Be Recited?

In general, it can be said that any creature that ordinary people admire and even go out of their way to see, is a sign that a blessing should be recited over it. For example, if there is a horse celebrated for its beauty and strength in comparison to other horses, and is admired by horse enthusiasts who would even go to see it – anyone who marvels at such a horse should recite the blessing upon seeing it. This is also the case upon seeing especially beautiful or large trees, or dogs and cats known for their unique beauty, to the point where people go to see them.

Similarly, when one sees a person who is especially beautiful or strong, or particularly agile and fast, who people regularly marvel at, and even go out of their way to see, the blessing “she’kacha lo ba’olamo” should be recited.

In a case where the athlete’s exceptionality is evidenced by a world record he set, this is unquestionably a unique phenomenon, and it is proper for anyone impressed at the sight of the record-holder to recite the blessing “she’kacha lo ba’olamo.”

A Blessing Should Be Recited For Each Species Individually

A blessing is recited over every species individually. If one sees an especially attractive cat and is impressed, a blessing should be recited; and if afterwards, one sees an especially attractive dog and is enthralled – another blessing is recited. The same holds true if one then sees an especially attractive horse, a particularly beautiful cedar tree, or an exceptionally fruit-bearing fig tree – seeing as he is impressed by each and every one of them, and although they were all seen on the same day – one should recite a blessing over each and every one of them individually. However, if one saw two species together at the same time, he should recite one blessing and have kavana (intention) for both of them.

Likewise, someone who sees a record-holding short-distance runner should recite a blessing, and if afterwards he sees a champion long-distance runner – he should recite another blessing; the same is the case for all different categories of sports – someone who is impressed should recite a separate blessing over each category. But one who sees all the athletes together, such as at the closing ceremony of the competition – should recite one blessing over all of them.

How often Should a Blessing Be Recited?

In principle, blessings over visual sightings are recited every thirty days. For example, someone who saw Mount Tabor and recited the blessing “oseh ma’aseh vereishit” (‘Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who forms the work of Creation’), if after not having seen it for thirty days, he sees it once again, and is impressed – he should bless. The same is the case for the Mediterranean Sea or the Sea of ​​Galilee. However, in regards to the blessing “she’kacha lo ba’olamo” a doubt arose whether seeing the same sight after thirty days arouses new excitement, and therefore the halachic ruling is that only one blessing is recited over each creature, or person (Peninei Halakha: Berachot 15:13). Nevertheless, it appears that if the athlete upon whom one had recited the blessing achieved a special feat – such as breaking a record – one who sees him after thirty days and is impressed, should recite another blessing.

Should a Blessing Be Recited Over a National Champion?

In the Olympics where athletes from all over the world gather, a blessing should be recited only over the gold medal winners, each one in their respective fields, for they are the outstanding world athletes. But in every individual country, blessings can be recited over the national champions, because in their own country they are unique in their field, just as one recites a blessing over impressive mountains in every country – even though in a different country, such mountains might not be considered so impressive. It follows, therefore, that after a national competition, someone who is impressed by the achievement of a national champion should recite a blessing upon seeing him.

A Creature Born Through a Halachic Prohibition

A question arose: Can one recite a blessing over an attractive creature produced through a halachic prohibition? For example, should a blessing be recited over a fruit tree grafted in a halachically prohibited way? Or should a blessing be recited over an attractive mule born in a prohibited manner of breeding a donkey and a horse? Or should one bless over an especially attractive person who is a mamzer (bastard), i.e., someone born of incest?

In the opinion of Rabbi Yaacov Hagiz, the author of ‘Hilchot Ketanot’, it is not proper to bless and praise God over a creature born in a prohibited manner. However, in the opinion of Rabbi Yaacov Emden, author of ‘She’elat Yavetz’, since according to the strict law, only the action of harkava (grafting one species onto the stock of another) or har’ba’ah (the prohibition of mating diverse kinds) is prohibited; but after the fact, one is permitted to use the mule, or eat the fruit of a grafted tree, and also, a mamzer can also be a Torah scholar – consequently, if the person is uniquely handsome, the blessing “she’kacha lo ba’olamo” should be recited upon seeing him.

Seemingly, it is possible to learn from this matter in question that if the sports champion is known for his immoral behavior, it is not proper to recite a blessing over seeing him.

A Blessing Over a Particularly Beautiful Person

The blessing “she’kacha lo ba’olamo” was also fixed over seeing a particularly beautiful person. Since the concept of beauty is often elusive, when a certain person is acknowledged in the eyes of the masses as being exceptionally attractive, such as actors known for their beauty, it is a sign that they are indeed among this category, and one who is impressed upon seeing them should recite a blessing. A blessing can be recited over each person only once, and an additional blessing cannot be recited after not having seen them for thirty days. When one sees an additional particularly beautiful person within thirty days of having seen the previous individual, as long as one is not sure that he is clearly more handsome, a blessing should not be recited over him. But if thirty days have passed from the previous sighting, and one is impressed at the beauty of the second person, even if one is in doubt whether he is clearly more beautiful than the previous person, but nevertheless, he is not less handsome – a blessing should be recited (Peninei Halakha: Berachot 15:12-13).

On Seeing a Woman

A woman who sees a particularly beautiful woman and is impressed by her beauty should recite a blessing. The question is – what’s the halakha for men? In the past, there were men who recited blessings over particularly beautiful women, and we as have learned in the Jerusalem Talmud: “One who sees handsome people or beautiful trees says, ‘Blessed [art Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe,] who created handsome creatures in his world.’ Once, R. Gamaliel saw a beautiful gentile woman and recited a blessing on her account. They asked: Was it R. Gamaliel’s practice to gaze at women? It must have been that he encountered her along a winding street… and he could not avoid passing close by and looking at her” (Berachot 9:1).” In other words, he saw her without intending to do so. However, it appears that today a man should not recite a blessing upon seeing a beautiful woman for several reasons, most importantly, because it would be deemed as being extremely immodest.

Women Athletes

Similarly, a man should not recite a blessing upon seeing a woman athlete who is not dressed modestly, because the general halachic rule is that it is forbidden to recite a bracha or speak any words of holiness while facing a woman who is dressed immodestly (S.A., O.C. 75:1;4). And it is also forbidden for a man to go see women who are not dressed modestly, or are exercising in a way that could stimulate him.

However, after the competition, if a man meets a female athlete with a successful record who is dressed modestly, and he admires her achievements, he can recite a blessing. In this way, religious and traditional men serving in public roles, such as ministers, Knesset members and mayors, can also express their appreciation for female sport champions.

Admiration for Good and Righteous People

Out of the admiration for physical blessings and sports achievements, it behooves us all to learn a ‘kal v’chomer’ – all the more so, should we be aroused to appreciate, respect and admire people who merit contributing to the whole of humanity through their wisdom and good deeds, and furthermore, to extol the best and finest people who contribute through their actions to the building of the Torah, the nation, and the Land.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting, informative, and thought-provoking articles by rabbi Melamed can be found at: http://en.yhb.org.il/

When Tisha B’Av Falls on Shabbat

Pregnant and nursing mothers who find it difficult to fast can be lenient when the fast is postponed * It is a mitzvah to wash oneself before Shabbat; Sephardim can do so in hot water * It is forbidden to mourn on Shabbat, therefore we eat and are happy as usual, including the pre-fast meal * The time from sunset on Shabbat until
the end of Shabbat is an intermediate period of time when it is forbidden to eat, but on the other hand, noticeable signs of mourning are also prohibited * After Shabbat is over Havdalah is recited verbally, but not over wine * An ill person who eats on the fast day must make Havdalah, ideally over a drink other than wine * One should not eat before Havdalah after the fast * When the fast is postponed, there is no mourning the following day

Pregnant and Nursing Women

In general, pregnant and nursing women are obligated to fast on Tisha B’Av but are exempt from the minor fasts, such as the 17th of Tammuz and the Tenth of Tevet. But when Tisha B’Av is postponed, as it is this year, the obligation of the Tisha B’Av fast is more similar to that of the minor fasts. Indeed, due to the severity of the of the fast’s importance, ideally, when it is not difficult, pregnant and nursing mothers should also fast; but if there is any difficulty whatsoever, they are exempt, even though they are not considered ill. In practice, it turns out that about 90% of pregnant and partially nursing women do not need to fast.

Women who nurse full-time, or nearly full-time, do not need to fast, so as not to diminish their milk supply.

Washing before Shabbat Chazon

It is a mitzvah to wash oneself before Shabbat, including before Shabbat Chazon, and even before Shabbat Chazon that falls on Tisha B’Av, because mourning on Shabbat is prohibited. The minhag (custom) for Ashkenazim is to wash with warm water whose temperature is not pleasurable, but also does not cause any grief. The minhag for Sephardim is to bathe in hot water as usual (Peninei Halakha: Z’manim 8:21).

The ‘Seudah Mafseket’ Meal on Shabbat

When the eve of Tisha B’Av falls on a weekday, customs of ‘aveilut‘ (mourning) already begin at the ‘seudah mafseket’ (the pre-fast meal): in this meal we do not eat two cooked dishes together, we sit on the floor and do not sit together, like a mourner whose close relative had just died and sits on his own (Peninei Halakha: Z’manim 9:1-3).

But when the eve of Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat, it is forbidden to show any sign of mourning, for the general rule is there is no mourning on Shabbat. Therefore, if Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat, the fast is postponed to Sunday, and on that Shabbat we eat meat, drink wine, and even serve a meal fit for a king. We also sing Shabbat songs as usual, for there is no mourning on Shabbat.

The Intermediate Period of Time between Shabbat and the Fast

There is an intermediate period of time between Shabbat and the fast, during which Shabbat has not yet ended, but the prohibitions of the fast have already begun. This happens because we are unsure when one day ends and the next day begins – at sunset, or when the stars emerge. Therefore, the period between sunset and the emergence of the stars is ambiguous, being possibly day, and possibly night. It is called “bein hashmashot” (twilight). And since there is a mitzvah to add time onto Shabbat, the holy day continues until a few minutes after the stars emerge. Consequently, the time between sunset and shortly after the emergence of the stars is both Shabbat and the fast. During that time, it is forbidden to do anything that would appear like a custom of mourning, because we do not mourn on Shabbat. On the other hand, after sunset we avoid doing anything that is not necessary for the sake of Shabbat, like eating, drinking, washing, and anointing.

‘Seudah Shlishit’

Therefore, we eat seudah shlishit (the third Shabbat meal) like we do on any other Shabbat, including the singing of Shabbat songs. However, we stop eating and drinking before sunset (in Jerusalem at 19:29, Tel Aviv 19:28, and Haifa 19:30), and this is not considered harming the honor of Shabbat because there is no obligation – from a Shabbat perspective – to continue eating seudah shlishit after sunset. It is also fitting to refrain from singing joyous songs after sunset, and doing so does not constitute an expression of mourning, for people do not generally sing happy songs all the time on Shabbat.

Other Laws of the Intermediate Period of Time

We also refrain from washing and anointing ourselves after sunset, and this is not considered harming the honor of Shabbat because, after all, one does not continuously bathe on Shabbat in any case. However, one who relieves himself during ‘bein hashmashot’ should wash his hands normally, for if he washes as required on the fast, he is, in effect, mourning on Shabbat.

We remain in our Sabbath clothing, keep our shoes on, and continue to sit on chairs and greet each other until a few minutes after three, mid-sized stars appear in the sky (in Jerusalem 20:03, Tel Aviv 20:06). Then, we say ‘Baruch ha’mavdil bein kodesh le’chol’ (‘Blessed is He Who separates between the holy and the mundane’), by which we take leave of Shabbat. Afterwards, we remove our shoes, take off our Shabbat garments, and change into weekday clothes.

Some people have the custom of removing their shoes already at ‘bein hashmashot’, because wearing comfortable shoes is one of the prohibitions of Tisha B’Av, and since in any case, one is not obligated to wear shoes at all times on Shabbat, removing them at sunset does not involve harming the honor of Shabbat. However, it is clear that if a person takes off his shoes and other people in his company realize he is doing it for the sake of mourning, it would be forbidden. Therefore, the accepted practice is to remove shoes after Shabbat is over.

When changing clothes from Shabbat to weekday garments, one should wear clothing that was already worn the previous week because one may not wear freshly laundered clothing on Tish’a B’Av.

Evening Prayer

Many communities have a custom to delay Ma’ariv (the Evening Prayer) until around fifteen minutes after Shabbat ends, in order to give everyone time to take leave of the Shabbat at home, remove their shoes, change their clothes, and come to the synagogue for Ma’ariv and the reading of Eichah in weekday clothes.

Havdalah on Tish’a B’Av When it falls Out on Saturday Night

The fast begins immediately after Shabbat, making it is impossible to say havdalah over a cup of wine. Therefore, we postpone saying this form of havdalah until after the fast. Nevertheless, we say havdalah – “Ata Chonantanu” – in the Ma’ariv prayers or “Baruch ha’mavdil bein kodesh l’chol“, after which we are permitted to do work.

Blessing over the Havdalah Candle

We recite the blessing over fire on Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night), because this blessing is not dependent on the cup of wine. Rather, it is an expression of thanks to God for creating fire, which was revealed to Adam on the first Motzei Shabbat. The custom is to recite the blessing after Ma’ariv before the reading of Eichah, because people light candles at that time.

Women also recite the blessing over fire. If they are in the synagogue, they hear the chazan’s blessing and gain pleasure from the light of the candle lit close to them; if they are at home, they light a candle and recite the blessing (see, Peninei Halakha: Shabbat 8:1, footnote 1).

Havdalah Over a Cup of Wine after the Fast

At the end of the fast, before eating or drinking, one must say havdalah over a cup of wine, which includes two blessings: ‘Al ha’gefen’ (‘on the wine’) and Ha’Mavdil (‘He Who separates’). No blessing is made on spices or fire.

Havdalah for an Ill Person Who Ate on Tisha B’Av

A sick person who needs to eat on Tish’a B’Av, must say havdalah over a cup of wine before eating. In such a case, it is proper to use ‘chamar medinah’ [a distinguished beverage other than wine] (preferably something intoxicating, but any ubiquitous drink, like coffee, will do (see, Peninei Halakha, Shabbat, vol. 1, 8:4). If one has no such beverage, he should say havdalah over grape juice, and if even that is unavailable, he should say havdalahbe’di’avad – on wine, and drink a cheek-full (around 40 ml.). If a minor who has reached the age at which we teach him to recite blessings is present, it is best to let him drink the wine instead of the sick person. A minor who eats on Tish’a B’Av need not say havdalah before eating.

‘Kiddush Levana’

The custom is to postpone ‘Birkat HaLevanah’ (the Blessing of the Moon) until after the fast, because the blessing must be recited joyously, and we decrease our joy during the Nine Days. Many people are accustomed to saying it immediately after the Ma’ariv prayer at the conclusion of the fast, but it is improper to do so, le’chatchilah. After all, it is difficult to be happy at that moment, when we have yet to drink, eat, wash our faces and hands, or put on regular shoes. Therefore, each community should set a time – an hour or two after the fast – for the recitation of Birkat HaLevanah, and in the meantime, everyone will have a chance to eat something, and wash up. This way, they will be able to say the blessing joyously. Where there is concern that pushing off Birkat HaLevanah may cause some people to forget to say it, the congregation may say it immediately after the fast.

Mourning Customs on the Day after Tisha B’Av

The Babylonians conquered the Beit HaMikdash on the seventh of Av, setting it ablaze on the ninth of the month, late in the day, and it continued burning throughout the tenth of Av. Since the majority of the Temple actually burned on the tenth of Av, the people of Israel have a custom not to eat meat or drink wine on that date. According to Sephardi custom, the prohibition lasts the entire day, while Ashkenazim observe this custom only until midday. Many have the custom not to take a haircut, bathe in hot water, do laundry, or wear laundered clothes on the tenth of Av.

But this year, when the fast is postponed until the tenth of Av, mourning customs do not continue after the fast has concluded, and one is permitted immediately after the fast to wash in hot water, to do laundry, and wear freshly laundered clothes. Although, in the opinion of many authorities, one should refrain from eating meat and drinking wine after the fast, because, having fasted on that day, it is not proper to immediately enjoy eating meat and wine. There are other authorities, though, who are lenient in regards to eating meat and drinking wine after a postponed fast (Peninei Halakha: Z’manim 10:20).

Minors

As is true regarding all other mitzvot, we are commanded to educate our children to keep the mitzvot relating to Tish’a B’Av and mourning over the churban (destruction of the Holy Temple). Since children are weak, however, it is impossible to teach them to fast when they are young. Therefore, we train them to fast a few hours, depending on their strength, only starting from age nine. They should not fast the entire day (Rama of Panow 111). When feeding children on Tish’a B’Av, one should give them only simple foods, in order to teach them to join with the community in mourning. Many people are careful to teach their children who have reached the age of chinuch (education) – from around six years old – not to eat or drink on the night of the fast.

At the age of chinuch, we teach them not to wear leather sandals or shoes, and not to apply ointments or bathe for the sake of pleasure (Peninei Halakha: Z’manim 10:21).

May it be God’s will that out of our mourning for the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, we will soon merit its’ building, in joy.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and informative articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at:
http://en.yhb.org.il/

Laws of the Nine Days

Joyous events are forbidden during the Nine Days, but study tours and seminars are permitted * One should not do construction work or renovations if they are not absolutely necessary * One should not purchase items that bring joy, except if delaying the purchase will cause a loss * Crocs shoes are forbidden to be worn on Tisha B’Av * This year, according to Sephardic custom, there is no prohibition of doing laundry since Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat and the fast is delayed until Sunday, but it is proper not to shave the week before * What items are forbidden and permitted to be laundered according to Ashkenazi custom * In Israel today, the prohibition of bathing during the Nine Days is not applicable * Swimming for health purposes should also be avoided

Travel and Leisure

Our Sages said in the Mishna: “When the month of Av enters, we diminish our joy” (Taanit 26b). Consequently, during the Nine Days, joyous events such as trips, vacations at hotels, and friendly gatherings, should not be held. Only events whose primary purpose is educational or public-oriented may be held. Therefore, it is permitted to organize study tours and seminars, even though they are somewhat joyful. A person who needs to rest for health reasons is permitted to go on vacation to a hotel or health resort during these days.

The Blessing “Shehecheyanu” on Seeing a Friend after Thirty Days

Q: Should someone who meets a very good friend at one of these seminars held during the Nine Days, whom he hasn’t seen for thirty days and is happy to see, recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing, or, perhaps since it’s the Nine Days, he should refrain from blessing?

A: He should recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing, because if he does not recite it at that moment – he misses out on the blessing. When the poskim (Jewish law arbiters) wrote that it is proper to be careful not to recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing during the Three Weeks, they were talking about a situation in which one could postpone reciting the blessing until after Tisha B’Av, but when not reciting the blessing will result in its’ loss, one should recite the blessing immediately.

Construction and Renovations

Seeing as we diminish our joy during the Nine Days, it is forbidden to build a ‘biynan shel simcha‘ (a building that is expressly built to make people happy and as a luxury), such as expanding one’s house or building a terrace, without any great need to do so. Someone who started to build before the Nine Days should stipulate in the contract from the outset that construction should be terminated during the Nine Days. If one was negligent and did not make such a stipulation, he should ask the contractor to stop work during the Nine Days. If the contractor refuses, there is no need to break the contract with him.

When the expansion of one’s house is vital, such as a person who lives with his family in a cramped apartment, he may build an additional room during the Nine Days. One may also do any type of construction that is designed to prevent damage.  For example, if a wall is about to fall, one may knock it down in an orderly fashion and rebuild it, even if he does not need the room in which it is found and there is no danger involved, because doing it this way prevents damage.

Painting and Repairs

It is also forbidden to whitewash or paint one’s house during the Nine Days, because such actions are considered unessential pleasures, for a person could manage to live in an apartment without them. 

During the Nine Days it is also forbidden to make renovations intended for decorative or luxury purposes, such as replacing shutters, cabinets, curtains and other costly, pleasurable, and unessential things.

For the Sake of a Mitzvah

It is permissible to build, plaster, or paint for the sake of a mitzvah, such as building a synagogue or a school. And anything needed for the public- good is considered a mitzvah-need, and is permissible.

Contractors and Construction Workers

Jewish contractors and laborers are permitted to continue building houses and apartment projects during the Nine Days, since they are intended for residential purposes, and not for luxury. In addition, construction is their livelihood. Also, in Eretz Yisrael, it is a mitzvah to build houses. Nevertheless, plastering and painting should be postponed until after the Nine Days, but if doing so will cause a great loss – it is permitted.

Moving into a New Apartment

In general, one should not move into a new apartment, whether purchased or rented, during the Nine Days – partly because of the happiness it entails, and also because there is not a ‘siman tov‘ (good sign) during these days. But if delaying entry will cause a large loss, one is permitted.

Joyous Transactions

During the Three Weeks we refrain from buying anything over which the blessing ‘Shehechiyanu’ is recited when purchased. When the month of Av enters, we curtail our joy, including limiting the purchase of joyous items. In other words, one may not buy extraneous items such as jewelry, clothing, fancy utensils, new furniture, or a family car, even if in practice one does not receive the items until after Tisha B’Av. Even to begin look into purchasing options is forbidden during the Nine Days because this also entails a certain amount of joy.

However, a person who comes across an opportunity to buy something at a special price that will cause him joy, and has good reason to believe that if he waits until after Tish’a B’Av he will miss out on the deal, may purchase the item during the Nine Days. It is best, however, to bring it home, or begin using it, only after Tish’a B’Av.

It is preferable to curtail even ordinary, non-joyous transactions. For example, one who usually makes a big shopping trip and stocks up on food and household items only once every few weeks should ideally do so before or after the Nine Days.

Transactions for the Sake of a Mitzvah

One may buy joyous items if they are needed for the sake of a mitzvah. Therefore, one may purchase tefillin or holy books during this period, because they are mitzvah accessories, and the standard custom is not to recite Shehechiyanu over them. However, someone who is extremely happy when purchasing such items would be required to recite Shehechiyanu, and consequently, it is forbidden for him to buy them during the Nine Days.

Crocs Shoes are forbidden to be worn on Tisha B’Av

It is forbidden to wear Crocs shoes on Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur. True, the Rishonim and the Achronim were in disagreement about whether the prohibition of wearing sandals also applies to non-leather materials; however, their disagreement concerned times when shoes made of other materials were not comfortable for walking, and only the poor, having no other choice, would wear them in public; therefore, some poskim did not consider them as shoes. But today, when good-quality shoes are produced from various materials, and even people who buy shoes often prefer them, any shoe which people normally wear in public even in rock-strewn places – are forbidden to be worn on Tisha B’Av. This is the halachic decision of Rabbi Yaakov Ariel shlita.

One who does not have canvas or rubber shoes for Tish’a B’Av is permitted, when necessary, to buy them during the Nine Days.

The Prohibition of Laundering and Shaving for Sephardic Jews

The Rabbis forbade us to wash clothes during the week in which Tish’a
B’Av falls. Ironing and dry cleaning are included in this prohibition, and this is the Sephardic minhag (custom).

This year, Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat, and the fast is postponed until Sunday. The poskim are in disagreement as far as the din (law) concerning the previous week; in practice, the minhag is to be lenient, and in such a situation, there is no ‘shavua she’chal bo’ (week in which Tish’a B’Av
falls), and consequently, Sephardic Jews are allowed to do laundry for the entire week without restrictions.

However, in regards to taking a haircut and shaving, it is appropriate for all Sephardic Jews to be machmir (stringent) this year, and not shave during the week before Shabbat (see, Peninei Halakha: Z’manim, 8:23, footnote 7).

The Prohibition of Laundering According to Ashkenazi Custom

Ashkenazi Jews follow a stricter custom and refrain from washing clothes during all of the Nine Days, and only the clothing of babies and children who customarily get their clothes dirty are permitted to be washed.

Just as it is forbidden to wash clothing during this period, it is also forbidden to wear laundered clothing. This prohibition also includes spreading fresh linens on a bed, and putting a freshly laundered tablecloth on a table.

Since the prohibition against wearing laundered garments lasts several days, it is customary to prepare a sufficient amount of “used” clothing for this period, as follows: Before the prohibited time begins, one wears a number of different articles of clothing, each one for an hour or more. In this way, the garments lose their status of “freshly laundered” and may be worn during the prohibited period. One who failed to do so, may take a laundered garment, place it on the floor and even step on it, and by doing so, it is no longer considered freshly laundered, and may be worn.

During this period one may wear clean underwear and socks and change filthy hand towels. Since people are accustomed nowadays to changing these articles frequently, changing them does not entail any aspect of pleasure; rather, simply the removal of something repulsive. A person who wishes to be machmir can place them on the floor before wearing them.

In a time of need when one has no clean underwear left to wear, they may be washed – even for adults. When possible, it is preferable to add them to a load of laundry being done to wash clothing for young children.

Bathing During the Week of Tisha B’Av

Although the Sages determined that bathing on Tish’a B’Av alone was forbidden, the Rishonim were custom to refrain from bathing on the days preceding Tish’a B’Av as well. In Spain (Sfarad), many were strict not to wash themselves with hot water during the week of Tish’a B’Av, while in Germany (Ashkenaz), where the climate was cooler and people perspired less, the custom was not to bathe at all during the Nine Days –even in cold water. Only in preparation for Shabbat Chazon would they partially bathe themselves in cold water.

Thus, according to the Sephardic custom, l’chatchila (from the outset) one may bathe during the week of Tish’a B’Av, provided one uses lukewarm water that causes neither suffering nor pleasure.

It seems that today, even according to the Ashkenazi minhag, one is permitted to bathe. First, because one may rely on the Sephardic minhag, because their custom was established in a similar climate to that of Eretz Yisrael. Additionally, in our times hygienic and washing habits have changed completely. In the past, when people did not have running water in their homes, bathing was considered a special occasion of pleasure and indulgence. Nowadays though, most people are accustomed to bathe regularly, and it has become a routine practice, devoid of any special pleasure or pampering.

Therefore, both Ashkenazim and Sephardim are permitted to bathe normally during the Nine Days and the week of Tisha B’Av, including shampooing one’s hair as usual, provided it is done in lukewarm water that is not a pleasure to remain in for a longer period of time, but on the other hand, the water is not so cold that the bather will suffer from them.

A person who smells from foul body odor due to a lack of bathing is obligated to shower, and should be careful not to be machmir in this minhag, so as not to cause a desecration of God’s name.

Bathing in a Pool or Ocean

If the objective of bathing in a pool or ocean is for pleasure, it is forbidden already from Rosh Chodesh because we are required to curtail our joy.

But when bathing or swimming is intended primarily for health purposes, such as people accustomed to swimming every day in a pool for half an hour, according to Sephardic custom it is permitted until Shabbat Chazon, and according to Ashkenazi custom one should be machmir for all of the Nine Days, but someone wishing to act leniently, has authorities on which to rely.

However, if a person’s doctor instructs him to swim for health reasons, he may do so l’chatchila until the eve of Tisha B’Av.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and thought-provoking articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at:
http://en.yhb.org.il/

Tyranny of the Minority

The IDF is undergoing a process of value erosion, ​​expressed both in harm to Jewish values, and weakness against the enemy * The cause is the extreme secular culture, whose positions have greatly influenced the IDF top brass * The radical secular left controls the media, courts, and academia, and is also training future generations in these fields * Their positions are not acceptable to the general public, as reflected by a downturn in the humanities in academia and the readership of secular left-wing newspapers * There is something to learn from the secular left, the problem is their domination and tyranny * In the short-term, problems in the IDF should be corrected, and in the long term –to bring about balance in public institutions

Freedom of Expression

Following last week’s protest letter signed by hundreds of rabbis in support of freedom of expression, I was reminded of the times six years ago when I was placed in the eye of the storm as a result of expressing my halachic opinion that the commandments of the Torah come before military orders. My position was severely attacked by the Defense Minister and officers of the General Staff, and of course, the secular media. Because of my refusal to retract the basic position that halakha comes before military orders, the yeshiva of Har Bracha was removed from the Hesder program (a year-and-a half ago the yeshiva was reinstated, and to prevent future risk, and so I wouldn’t have to worry about openly expressing Torah positions, a few months afterwards I decided to resign from my official position as dean of the Hesder Yeshiva).

Not long ago, at the request and plea of the person responsible for arranging symposiums for officers in the Operations Division, I gave them a talk. A representative of the PLO spoke to the officers before I did. After the lecture, I was asked about the Torah’s position in regards to a case in which a conflict arises between a military command and halakha. I replied that in a case of ‘pikuach nefesh’ (saving of lives), the military command should be carried out, because ‘pikuach nefesh’ overrides even Shabbat. But in case where there is no ‘pikuach nefesh’, one must comply with the halakha. As a result of my answer, a scandalous directive was issued by the staff of the Defense Minister at the time, Mr. Ya’alon, calling for all public bodies connected to the IDF to refrain from any association with me. To my regret, and to the shame of the Ministry of Defense, this directive is still in force.

The Erosion of Values in the IDF

Over ten years ago I had already cautioned about the complex process occurring in the army, where on the one hand, it is easier for a religious soldier to pray and keep Shabbat and kashrut thanks to the increase of religious commanders, especially in combat units; on the other hand, however, a process of empowering leftist secular views is taking place, which is eroding national and religious values, as noted by Rabbi Yigal Levenstein in his lecture that dealt with the imposing of liberal, pluralistic values in their extreme secular interpretation, at the expense of Jewish and national values.

In general, it is possible to say that during these years the IDF shifted to the secular left, and the results are evident on the battlefield, where the IDF is unable of expressing its full strength, and also forced to bear too many casualties.

The reasons for this process occurring in the IDF were not devised by the General Staff, but rather, are a reflection of the cultural reality of the radical secular population, and the fierce and escalating struggle over the religious and moral character of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. Hence, the main arena of the ​​conflict is not within the framework of the IDF, but rather, the setting for the struggle of the minds and identity of the Jewish population is in academia, the media, and in all educational and cultural institutions. What is worth noting, regretfully, is that senior officers in the IDF are unduly influenced by the radical secular positions. Within this framework, religious soldiers are forced to listen to female singers, as well as lectures whose nature runs contrary to Jewish beliefs transmitted for generations.

Not one official representative of the religious community sought to boycott or harm soldiers or officers with different opinions or beliefs, or people whose personal behavior is incompatible with the values ​​of religious soldiers. All that the right-wing and traditional public demands is that there be no coercion of radical secular positions on IDF soldiers, and in view of that, not to accept radical feminist positions demanding total equality between men and women in all units, irrespective of traditional values ​​of modesty, and also in flagrant violation of the rules of ‘Appropriate Integration’ (‘Ha’Shiluv Ha’Ra’ui’) which, only a few years ago, were agreed upon and guaranteed by all parties of the military command.

Attitude towards the Enemy

The same holds true in the attitude towards the enemy. Senior military commanders such as the Deputy Chief of Staff have the audacity comparing – even if only by insinuation – IDF soldiers to Nazis. And when criticized for this, not only do they fail to apologize, but even continue encouraging officers to say things that are unacceptable to the public, namely, extreme anti-nationalistic positions. The Chief of Staff also caused severe damage with several utterances about Jewish tradition, national values, ​​and the justness of our cause, such as his assertion that the phrase, “if a man comes to kill you, rise early and kill him first”, is nothing but an obsolete saying. Even as the public was faced with terrorist attacks in the streets, and one of the first questions concerning most people was: did they kill the terrorist? – the Chief of Staff saw fit to preach about saving terrorists from harm even when a certain amount of danger still existed, while insulting the public, who justifiably want to ‘rise early and kill first, someone who comes to kill them’.

The Attitude towards the Soldier, Elor Azarya

The most flagrant expression of the IDF leadership’s harmful position is its repulsive attitude towards the soldier Elor Azarya who, even if he erred in judgment in the middle of a life-threatening incident, is not an enemy, or a criminal. Nevertheless, IDF officials had the audacity to initially blame him for murder – the most severe charge, but now, when they realized that from a legal standpoint such a serious accusation is unjustified, they were kind enough to agree to settle for manslaughter. Not only that, but in a rare move the army enlisted a shrewd lawyer to successfully incriminate the nineteen year-old soldier with manslaughter. Why couldn’t they be satisfied with the usual military lawyers? Consequently, the Azarya family had to hire private lawyers as well, but the public at large who understood that the soldier Elor, even if he made a mistake, had fought on their behalf – raised more than six hundred thousand shekels within a few hours to finance his defense.

At the same time, the IDF top brass hurls ugly accusations at soldiers who they suspect of brutal and immoral behavior – identical to the positions of the extreme left. And it is not pleasant to say, but to a certain extent, similar to the positions of our enemies who accuse us of executing terrorists without trial, while in fact, these terrorists came with the intention of killing Jews – even if “only” with a knife or a pair of scissors, or if they were young.

The Struggle for the Character of the Media

Presently, the media is controlled by leftists, not because they are particularly talented, but also because for three generations the leftists have run the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and Galei Tzahal (army radio station), and also educate and train the next generation of broadcasters and journalists.

One might say that in recent times a number of privately-owned newspapers and regional radio stations have been launched. However, since they are private, their budget is relatively small. Except for ‘Yisrael HaYom’ (‘Israel Today’), which indeed has proven its iron hand to the rest of the newspapers, all the other media outlets funded by tens of millions of shekels a year must contend with the IBA whose budget is nearly a billion shekels a year, and Galei Tzahal which is financed by taxpayer’s money, and what’s more – receives for free to their ranks the most talented and ambitious youth for journalistic work – at the expense of the IDF. In such a situation, it is extremely difficult for private media outlets to compete with the public media organizations who, at the expense of the taxpayers continue promoting leftist positions, while increasing tensions in society and causing constant harm to the national and traditional public.

This is the situation in regards to the ongoing conflict with our Arab enemies, and in relation to Jewish values as well. For example, when the debate erupted about the appointment of the IDF Chief Rabbi, almost all of the broadcasters who’s salaries are paid from the public coffers, distorted and misrepresented his words – some intentionally, and others out of pitiful ignorance – and by doing so, disgraced the Torah and the mitzvah of ‘eshet yefat to’ar’ (a beautiful woman among the prisoners), failing to understand the moral depth this mitzvah represents. The same holds true in regards to debates concerning the LGBT parades.

Academia

The same applies to the Humanities and Social Sciences faculties in academia. For decades, with public funding of billions of shekels annually they have been controlled by leftists who nurture other leftists similar to themselves or even more radical, and deliberately obstruct the progress of people on the right, under the pretext that nationalistic and traditional worldviews run contrary to the spirit of academia.

It’s no wonder then that the number of students in the humanities is gradually declining. The views of the lecturers are so radical and repulsive there are hardly any young adults willing to listen to them without being nauseated.

The clearest expression of the public’s displeasure, including sane leftists, to the positions of the radical left, is the steady decline in the number of readers of the ‘Haaretz’ newspaper, to the point where its weekend readership totals only 4.3% of the public. Even ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’, which reflects secular views is also declining slowly but surely, with most of its readers finding interest in its colorful stories, despite its secular/leftist views.

Mutual Respect

It is important to emphasize that the intention is not to suppress leftists from expressing their views. We do not wish to retaliate or harm their civil rights, such as freedom of speech, creativity, and the right to demonstrate. Not just that, but undoubtedly among the extreme left there are many who have good intentions and numerous good deeds. Consequently, their contribution to society is essential, and we can learn from them as well, along the lines of our Sages statement: “Who is wise? He who learns from all men” (Avot, 4:1). Kal v’chomer (all the more so) with regards to intelligent and caring individuals, our Jewish brothers. And we agree with their allegations against the tyranny of the majority, but under no circumstances will we agree to accept the tyranny of the minority who, in order to strengthen their standing and continue ruling – in spite of being defeated in democratic elections – often enlists support among the Gentiles, and in some cases, doesn’t hesitate rallying support from our enemies as well.

Summary

The struggle, therefore, should be directed in the short-term to correcting the flaws in the IDF, preventing secular coercion by the radical left, and strengthening national values. And in the long-term, to promote the development of Torah-imbued and spirited people, both nationalistic and traditional Jews, for a significant change in the composition of leadership in the judicial system, in the broadcasting system, and in the humanities in academia, and also to prevent the continued dominance and coercion of the radical secular left.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and thought-provoking articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at:
http://revivimen.yhb.org.il/

Appointment of Judges: ‘Fear No Man’

The appointment of the judges in Israel is akin to the mitzvah “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns“, and their authority should be expanded beyond family law * The importance of prompt judicial appointments, and without delays * Appointment of judges according to ethnic grouping is not pertinent, and appointment by party affiliation is categorically improper * The imposition of a veto on certain Zionist judges because of their lenient rulings is contrary to the Torah * In the present case, it was important to expedite the appointment of judges, but in the future, representatives of the ‘Bayit HaYehudi’ party should stand firm on Torah principles, in opposition to the Haredi veto * The Seventeenth of Tammuz: The laws of the ‘Aneinu’ prayer

Choosing Judges

In the last year a path was found – partly through compromise, and partly owing to capitulation to the Haredi veto – and twenty-two judges were appointed to the regional Rabbinical Courts, and ten judges to the Supreme Rabbinic Court. This was not easily accomplished, and who knows if a decision on the appointment of judges to the Supreme Rabbinic Court would have been reached without the intervention of the secular High Court. Currently, however, a blessing can be recited over the successful completion: on a small-scale version, the State of Israel has merited fulfilling the mitzvah of appointing judges, as the Torah says: “Appoint yourselves judges and police for your tribes in all your settlements that God your Lord is giving you, and make sure they administer honest judgment for the people”(Deuteronomy 16:18). True, the judges have jurisdiction only over family laws, but if we are deserving, and the judges sanctify God’s name, the public will call for the expansion of their areas of jurisdiction, until the country is governed completely by Torah law.

Do Not Delay Justice

Thanks to the new appointments, the judges will be able to fulfill their job properly and decide cases quickly for as long as justice is delayed, disputes rapidly escalate, as our Sages learned from the verse: “Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14): At first, a dispute is similar to a small trickle of water that drips out of a dam, and if it is not clogged immediately, it widens into a strong current, destroys the dam, and becomes a terrible flood (Sanhedrin 7a). Likewise, our Sages said in the Mishna: “The sword comes upon the world for the procrastination of justice” (Avot 5:8). Procrastination of justice is when ruling on a law is postponed and suspend for several days (Rashi and Rambam, ibid). This is why we were commanded to appoint judges in each city, so that people with quarrels could have immediate access to them to settle their disputes.

The Flaws in Electing Judges

After expressing satisfaction about the very appointment of the judges, it must be noted that the process of selection of judges and rabbis by their ethnic origin and party affiliation is extremely flawed. True, it is a mitzvah to appoint for each and every tribe judges from of their own tribe, because, coming from the same tribe, they can better understand their fellow kin. Thus, the court system should comprise judges of various ethnic groupings, because an Ashkenazi Haredi dayan (judge) can better understand an Ashkenazi Haredi litigant, and a Moroccan dayan can better understand litigants of older Moroccan heritage. But since the majority of various ethnic groups live together, reasonable judges who grew up in communities comprised of members of all the various ethnic groups should be able to understand the majority of the public, and consequently, there is no need to be so precise about ethnic assignment. Besides, even in cases where it would be fitting to refer litigants from a certain ethnic group to judges who understand them better, this is not done, because the composition of presiding judges is determined by region and surname. In any case, there is clearly no place for the appointment of judges according to political affiliation.

The Sin of the Haredi ‘Herem‘: The Uprooting of Torah

Even worse, during the election process it became clear that the Haredim imposed a total veto the appointment of Zionist rabbis who tended to rule leniently on certain laws. In this manner, the Haredim are destroying the Torah world, because judges and rabbis are commanded to be faithful to the Torah without fear of any person. This is the only way they can arrive at the truth. If rabbis who tend to rule leniently are afraid to learn and draw conclusions because of the price they may have to pay due to their decisions, their voices will be silenced. And when the voices of lenient rabbis are silenced, the voice of the machmirim (stringent) are also harmed, because they will not be able to thoroughly clarify their own positions. This is how the Haredi ‘askanim’ (wheeler-dealers) and rabbis who back them uproot substantial portions of the Torah from Israel.

This morally depraved position is not new. The colossal disputes between the different Haredi groups and sects, the derogatory terms used against rabbis from opposing Haredi camps, and above all, the practice of humiliating Zionist rabbis have turned the haramot (censures) and the uprooting of portions of the Torah into sins which they tread upon without remorse. As our Sages said: “Once a man has committed a sin once and twice…
it appears to him as if it were permitted” (Yoma 86b).

What to Do In the Future

The dilemma that reliable public officials faced was understandable. Had they insisted on the truth, the court system would have reeled and collapsed. Henceforth, however, they should never capitulate to the Haredi veto, but rather, place the principles of the Torah above all, and refuse further compromises on Torah positions which certain members of the Haredi public are mistaken.

It is advisable for public officials to announce that from now on they will totally oppose any appointment of a rabbi or dayan who is not faithful to the Torah, including things that the ‘askanim’ of the Haredi public and some of their rabbis disregard. Let us reiterate the positions upon which a candidate for the Rabbinate or Dayanut (rabbinical judge) should be clear:

1) His stated position that according to halakha (Jewish law), the conversion of any rabbi of an accepted Orthodox community who is recognized within his community as being faithful to Torah cannot be annulled, and he approves the conversion as valid. A candidate for the post, of course, is entitled to believe that l’chatchila (from the outset), such gerim (converts) should not be converted; he can also believe that the State of Israel has the authority to determine whose conversions will be recognized for civilian registry; but from a halachic point of view, he must admit that conversions performed by Orthodox rabbis cannot be annulled.

2) His stated position that settling the Land of Israel is a great and all-inclusive mitzvah upon which the future of Clal Yisrael depends, and consequently our Sages said that this mitzvah is equal to all the other mitzvot.

3) His stated position that there is a great mitzvah to serve in the I.D.F. This does not contradict the provision of postponement for yeshiva students, and does not contradict the position that as long as the army fails to allow a religious soldier the opportunity to properly observe mitzvot, it is reasonable, or even appropriate, to postpone army service. However, someone who says there is no mitzvah to serve in the army to protect the people and the country, denies the Torah and is not fitting to serve as a rabbi or a dayan.

4) His stated position that there is great value in learning secular studies both to understand the wisdom of the Creator, and for the purpose of earning a livelihood and bettering the world, and that there is no prohibition to study core subjects at an elementary age. Of course, one can argue whether it is worthwhile to learn secular studies at an elementary age, or for whom it is appropriate; but anyone who claims that it is forbidden, adds a prohibition to the Torah – in contradiction of the Torah – and is not fitting to serve as a rabbi or a dayan.

This is the most just response, balancing and correcting the sin of the Haredi ‘askanim‘ – disqualification in exchange for disqualification, and correcting the misrepresentations.

In my estimation, many Haredi rabbis agree to some extent with the principles I mentioned, realize that this is the position of the Torah, and therefore, such a position does not entail prior disqualification of all representatives of the Haredi public for rabbinical positions and dayanut.

The Likud’s Position

It turns out that in practice the Likud party, because of practical considerations, supports the position of the Haredim. With the support of the Likud, two judges who invalidated the conversions of Rabbi Lookstein were just elected to the Supreme Rabbinical Court – Rabbi Elimelech and Rabbi Nahari. They acted in contradiction to the position of the Chief Rabbis, and moreover, in contradiction to the position of halakha, and contrary to the Jewish tradition of generations. This is the evil phenomenon that has spread throughout the Haredi community. The Likud party supported dayanim who represent this phenomenon (afterwards, they claim it’s impossible to get along with the Chief Rabbinate, and support the recognition of Reform Jews).

And despite this being the position of the governing party, officials of the Bayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) party should publicly express their position, and let the Likud representatives make their own accounts. Should it please the Likud, let them continue selling the Rabbinate and the rabbinical courts to the Haredi wheeler-dealers; let the public see, and judge who to vote for at election time. In all likelihood, precisely a clear position such as this will straighten-out the Likud party. In the meantime, while positions are unclear, the Likud permits itself to support dayanim that invalidated conversions by recognized rabbis, such as Rabbi Lookstein.

The Position of the Yesh Atid Party

The voice of the opposition, and foremost the Yesh Atid party, has also been silent. They are making political calculations that it is better to curry favor with the Haredim, or at least, not to criticize them harshly. They fulfill the “mitzvah” of their “secular religion” in the meantime by denouncing Zionist rabbis, such as the Chief I.D.F. Rabbi-elect, Rabbi Eyal Karim, who formerly was an officer in Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit), and commander of the Sayeret Tzanchanim (elite unit of the Paratroopers). It’s important to take note of this method of the Yesh Atid party and inform the public, so as to minimize their ability of deceiving voters and harming the State of Israel.

The Aneinu Prayer on a Fast Day

The Rabbis prescribed that we add a special blessing for the fast, called Aneinu, in our prayers.  The cantor inserts it in between the blessings of Go’el Yisrael and Refa’einu when he repeats the Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharit and Minchah.  He says it only if there are at least six people in the congregation fasting, and he has to be one of them (SA 566:5).

Individuals, however, do not say Aneinu as a separate blessing in their silent prayers.  Rather, they insert it in the middle of the blessing of Shomei’a Tefillah (Ta’anit 13b).  There are various customs as to when we say Aneinu.  Some say that one should recite Aneinu in all three prayers of the day.  And even though we do not fast at night, one should say it in Ma’ariv because the day as a whole is called a fast day.  Yemenite Jews and some Sephardic Jews follow this custom.  Most Sephardim say Aneinu only when the fast is in effect.  Therefore, on the minor fasts they say it in Shacharit and Minchah, and on Tish’a B’Av, they say it also in Ma’ariv (based on Ra’zah, KHC 565:17).  Ashkenazi Jews are accustomed to saying Aneinu in Minchah alone, because they are concerned that perhaps someone will say it in Shacharit, become weak during the day, and break his fast.  Then, his statement “on this day of our fast” will turn out to be a lie.  Therefore, they say Aneinu only in Minchah, because one who has fasted this long will most probably complete the fast (based on the Geonim and Rashi; Rama 565:3).

 

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and thought-provoking articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at:
http://en.yhb.org.il/

Early Childhood Custody

Early childhood custody gives excessive preference to women in the case of divorce * If necessary, it is a mitzvah to divorce; but often, a marriage crisis can and should be solved to prevent suffering from the family * Through the regulation of the ‘ketubah’, Chazal established balance between husband and wife, and created a situation preventing either side from rushing into divorce * When children automatically remain with the mother and the father must pay their child support, it’s no wonder that almost 90% of divorce cases are initiated by women * Crowd sourcing: Halachic questions concerning the absorption of glass and metal utensils

Problems with Early Childhood Custody

There are two problems with early childhood custody where, in the case of divorce, the mother automatically gets custody of the children, and consequently, the father must pay her full alimony. In consequence, even when the children mature they usually remain with the mother after having done so for so long, and often, even develop a certain animosity towards their father.

The first problem with early childhood custody is that it encourages divorce by granting excessive power to divorced women, as will be explained below. The second problem is the absence of the father in the education of the children, who need both parents, even though they are divorced. In this article, I will deal with the first problem.

The Torah’s Attitude towards Divorce

According to the Torah when a couple cannot find a way of living peacefully together, in spite of all the sorrow, it is a mitzvah to divorce. Often, however, marriage crises’ can be resolved, and only if adequate efforts are not made to solve the crisis will it lead to divorce, resulting in great suffering for the husband, wife, and children.

Various surveys indicate that after five years, about half of the people who initiated divorce wish they had worked harder to restore their marriage. In all probability, even among those who say they are satisfied with their divorce, some regret it in their hearts, but lack the emotional strength to reach this painful understanding, and thus, say divorce improved their lives.

In order to avoid unnecessary divorce, our Sages enacted the ‘ketubah’. Additionally, couples finding themselves in a marriage crisis are advised to do their utmost to reach ‘shalom bayit’.

The Gradual Process of the ‘Ketubah’ Enactment

Human relationships are built on a certain sense of balance. When that balance is disrupted, relations are shaken. Even in the past when earning a livelihood involved hard physical labor, and as a result, men’s economic status was greater than that of women, it was crucial to find a balance between men and women. So we have learned in the Talmud, in the Tractate of Ketubot (82b), that in a gradual process, the optimal balance point was arrived at.

Initially, so that men would not take divorcing their wives lightly, our Sages enacted that every husband, even if he was poor, would have to pay his ex-wife at least two hundred zuz in the event of divorce. This was an amount of money a person could live on for an entire year, and this was the basis of the ‘ketubah‘. The more financially established a couple was, the higher the sum of the ‘ketubah’ was, seeing as it was determined in negotiations between the families of the bride and groom. It is important to understand: This enactment was not determined just for the benefit of women, but rather to reinforce the institution of marriage. For if it was easy for men to divorce their wives, women would also be deterred from marrying, because they would be nervous that perhaps in a time of crisis, men would divorce them. Therefore, our Sages enacted the ‘ketubah‘, and determined that its sum would be a significant figure, so that it would cause financial pain to a woman’s husband, and make him think twice before rushing to divorce his wife.

However, our Sages did not want to put in writing that all of a husband’s assets would be collateral for the ‘ketubah’, so as not to hurt real-estate transactions essential for maintaining a farm; for if buyers were aware that the land they wished to purchase was mortgaged to the ‘ketubah‘, they would be nervous about buying it.

The Search for Balance between Spouses

However, the Talmud in Ketubot goes on to say that since it was not determined that the husband’s assets were mortgaged to the payment of the ‘ketubah‘, there were women who refrained from marrying, preferring to stay single. They were afraid that despite the obligations of the ‘ketubah‘, if husbands were to fall into financial difficulties, they would divorce them, and throw them out of the house empty-handed, because in actual fact, they had no money to pay them. Thus, our Sages enacted that the sum amount of the ‘ketubah’ would be deposited in the home of the woman’s parents, and thus, even if the husband fell into financial difficulties, the sum of the ‘ketubah’ was guaranteed.

However, it turned out that when the cash money was deposited in the home of the woman’s parents, many men felt that it did not belong to them, and in times of anger, would tend to divorce their wives more frequently. Because in reality, during marriage, almost every couple experiences times of crisis; but since the value of marriage is understood, and the couple also realizes that divorce is an expensive and painful ordeal, they resolve their differences and get back to living agreeably. But when the ‘ketubah’ money was left with the woman’s parents, it was easy for an angery husband to divorce his wife in a time of a crisis, because there was no need to withdraw the money from his own pocket.

Therefore, our Sages enacted that the sum of the ‘ketubah‘ remain in the couple’s home, and be exchanged for fine vessels. Wealthy women whose ‘ketubah’ was substantial, bought silver and gold utensils while the poor purchased simple ones, and in the case of divorce, the woman would take the vessels of her ‘ketubah’, and leave.

However, it turned out that in this situation as well, husbands did not sense a significant financial loss in divorce, because they did not consider these vessels as belonging to them, and in a time of crisis, with relative ease, the husband would write his wife a ‘get‘ (bill of divorce) and tell her: “Take your vessels, and leave.”

The Balance Point of the Enactment of Shimon Ben Shetach

Therefore, Shimon ben Shetach enacted that all of a husband’s assets be mortgaged for payment of the ‘ketubah’. This was the optimal balance point, for on the one hand, the payment of the ‘ketubah‘ caused pain for the husband, since he had to remove cash from his pocket, or was forced to sell property to pay the ‘ketubah‘; on the other hand, the payment of the ‘ketubah‘ was assured, because all assets of the husband, including land he owned while married and later sold, were mortgaged for the payment of the ‘ketubah’ (this enactment was also a financial success, because by means of it, assets of the ‘ketubah’ were invested in resources that could bear fruit for the benefit of the family).

An Illustrative Example from the Kibbutzim

Among kibbutzim, as a result of their privatization, the probability of divorce significantly decreased (according to the thesis of Ro’i Bass, 2010 at Haifa University, under the guidance of Prof. Bar-Ilan, and Prof. Palgi). Beforehand, the kibbutz had taken care of all the member’s needs, and a couple’s decision to divorce carried no economic consequences. The kibbutz took pains to provide each one of them with an apartment, and continued providing for the needs of the children as before. However, after privatization, each one of the divorcing couple had to pay for his own apartment and continue providing for their children’s needs, which became more expensive after the divorce. In such a situation, couples thought twice before deciding to divorce, and some of them found ways to get through the crisis and remain married. Many of them are happy they did so.

The Damage of Early Childhood Custody

Early childhood custody granted excessive power to women and radically affected the balance between a couple, because it made divorce profitable for women – they were now confidant that no matter what, the children would remain with them, while the husband would have to pay their alimony, estimated at the average cost of child support – at least NIS 2,000 a month, per child. If a father fails to pay, Bituach Leumi (Social Security) pays in his place, and the husband is chased after by bailiffs, seizing his possessions and proceeds towards the payment of alimony. About half of all men earn less than 7,000 shekels a month, and if they have to pay child support for two children, they must pay about 4,000 shekels a month. Besides that, they have to pay rent for their own apartment, buy food and clothes, provide for their children when they come to visit, and assist them in special cases not included in regular child support. It’s no wonder that in such a situation, nearly ninety percent of divorce cases are initiated by women.

Women who detest men, provoked today by various organizations, argue that men are closed-minded, violent, evil, and deserve to be punished for what they, and their predecessors, have done to women for generations … However, reasonable folks, fond of people, understand that in both sexes there is good and bad. And when women are given excessive power in divorce agreements, the percentage of divorce rates rise. Presumably, many divorced women would argue that this is not true because, subjectively, they feel deprived. However, it seems that anyone who contemplates honestly divorce cases he is familiar with will find that in most cases, men have lost a lot more.

However, if we measure the situation of divorced women down the years, their situation may be worse off. But in times of crisis and anger, women who initiate divorce think only about the near-term, and within this range of time, they have the upper hand.

In all probability, after early childhood custody is annulled, the divorce rate will decrease. It’s too bad that good and decent Members of Knesset fail to understand this, and in the meantime, heighten the suffering of men, women, and children.

Halachic Questions for Experts in Metal and Glass Utensils

In this paragraph, I turn to experts and all interested parties with a request for help and assistance in clarifying a halachic issue. Recently, I have engaged in studying the laws of meat and milk and their mixtures. From the Talmud and Rishonim it appears that the sides of utensils made of metal absorb a great measure of the flavor of foods cooked in them, to the point where even if the utensils are cleaned, one can still taste the flavor of the food absorbed in the utensil in a subsequently cooked food. And because it is impossible to estimate just how much taste is released from a utensil, our Sages were ‘machmir‘ (stringent), and considered all sides of the utensil as if they are fully absorbed with the taste, unless a trustworthy Gentile tasted the cooked dish, and failed to discern the prohibited flavor.

About eight hundred years ago, halachic discussions concerning glassware arose, and the Rishonim were divided about their status – if they absorb, or not. In practice, according to tests conducted recently (by Rabbi Yair Frank and Rabbi Dr. Dror Fixler), it has been shown that metal and glass utensils absorb only a tiny bit, to the point where it is impossible to taste the flavor absorbed in the utensil.

My questions are: 1) Have there been significant changes in the composition of metal since ancient times, or perhaps the absorption in question also includes foods stuck to the utensil, which were difficult to remove without modern detergents, which were only invented some two hundred years ago? 2) Is it possible that the taste absorbed in the utensils or stuck to them could be stronger than its volume, i.e., the taste of one such gram of food stuck to the utensil could be ten times stronger than the taste of a gram of the cooked dish itself? 3) Why did halachic discussions concerning glassware begin only eight hundred years ago: were glassware utensils for use in kitchens not produced earlier? 4) Is it possible to say that the utensils made of glassware discussed were used only as a ‘kli sheni’ and not as a ‘kli rishon’ used to cook on fire, because if used on fire, they would crack? 5) When was fireproof glassware invented?

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and thought-provoking articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at:
http://en.yhb.org.il/

No to Soldiers Bodies for Terrorists!

Lives should not be endangered for the return of a fallen soldier’s body * A person’s essence is his soul and not his body, and the souls of fallen IDF soldiers are certainly among the righteous * Refusing to release terrorists in exchange for soldiers’ bodies continues their heroism, and thus, elevates their souls * Actions to return the bodies should be directed against Hamas, and not convey Israel’s weakness * Expressions of weakness strengthen terror; in contrast, construction should be increased to make clear we are not budging from our land * As long as they are not buried, Hadar Goldin and Oren Shaul H’YD are in a similar category to that of Moshe Rabbeinu, whose last resting place is unknown

The Bodies of the Fallen Soldiers

Following the agreement with Turkey which apparently benefits the Hamas terrorist organization who control the Gaza Strip, the just claim for the return of the bodies of our holy soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin, and Sergeant Oren Shaul, for burial in Israel, has emerged once more.

However once again, there are those who apparently prefer to turn the whole issue upside down, ignore the rest of the important ideals, and unwittingly be used as a tool in the hands of the wicked terrorists who take advantage of their naivety in order to damage Israel’s honor, security, and values.

Therefore, it is essential to remember that while it is a mitzvah to bury the dead in a Jewish grave, it is forbidden to harm the security of even one Jew to accomplish this. As we have learned, it is forbidden to desecrate Shabbat to bury a dead person, whereas for the doubtful saving of a human life it is a mitzvah to violate the Shabbat; kal v’ chomer (all the more so) is it forbidden to cause risk for even one person in order to fulfill the mitzvah of burial, and therefore it is forbidden to release any terrorists for the soldiers’ bodies. Similarly, we have learned that according to strict halakha, it is forbidden to remove casualties from the battlefield on Shabbat; nevertheless, because Rabbi Goren ztz”l saw that the leaving of the bodies damaged the morale of the soldiers in the battle, and consequently their success, he ordered the desecration of Shabbat for the evacuation of casualties from the battlefield.

The Soul and the Body

It is important to be precise: To our great dismay the soldiers have died, and thus, the issue is the return of their bodies, and not living soldiers. Moreover, saying that a dead body is the person himself is extremely hurtful to the dignity of the dead, because the essence of a person is his soul and life, while his body is only a utensil within which he lives. After death, the soul remains alive to the extent one clung to eternal values, while the body decays and returns to dust.

The Holy Soldiers

Our Sages revealed to us that people who are killed ‘al Kiddush Hashem’ (in sanctification of God) on behalf of all of Israel, merit a high level in Gan Eden (heaven), to the point where “no creature can attain to their place in heaven'” (Bava Batra 10b). The meaning is that all ordinary people, who are termed ‘creatures’, are unable to stand among them, because they have merited to be on the level of the tzaddikim (the righteous). And without a doubt, the soldiers who with their very bodies defended the people and the country, are also included in this level.

Souls in the Eternal World

The essence of a person is his soul, and not his body. It is explained in the Talmud that after the death of a person, he is judged in the heavenly court. The tzaddikim ascend to Gan Eden, the beinonim (intermediate people) are punished in Gehinom (hell) to the extent of their tikun (correction) and then rise to Gan Eden. The wicked are condemned to twelve months in Gehinom, and then “their bodies are consumed, their souls are burnt, and the wind scatters them under the soles of the feet of the tzaddikim” (Rosh Hashana 16b; 17a). We see that, come what may, even the wicked enter Gan Eden, on the basis of the feet of the tzaddikim with whom they had a positive connection in their lives. It is explained that after the completion of tikun olam (correction of the world), even these wicked people are resurrected in Techiyat HaMeytim (Resurrection of the Dead) thanks to those tzaddikim (see, ‘Takanat HaShavim’ 15, 76; 106). And as we have already learned, the soldiers who gave their lives are also considered on the level of the tzaddikim, and therefore, evil people who had a positive connection to them, after the completion of the tikun, will warrant Techiyat HaMeytim in their merit. The extremely evil people are punished for a longer period of time, to the extent of the effect of their wickedness in this world, and after their evil influence is over, they are lost forever.

How Can One Help Elevate a Soul?

As is known, it is a mitzvah to recite Kaddish (the mourner’s prayer), give charity, and increase one’s Torah study on the anniversary of the deceased, because on that same day, he is judged once again in heaven for his actions. Seemingly one could ask: The person has died and was judged for his actions, so why is he judged every year anew?

However, since there are people in the world who still remember him, he is judged according to the extent of influence he had on his children and acquaintances. If it becomes clear that due to the effect he had on them in his lifetime they continued to do good deeds, his virtue is even greater than that of when he died. But if the opposite is true, God forbid, it turns out that his negative influence continues to bear bitter fruits, and caused his children and friends to be negligent in Torah, mitzvot and good deeds; in retrospect, it becomes clear that his sins and failings were graver, and must be punished for this in Gehinom – or at the very least, his place in Gan Eden must be lowered. Therefore, when his children and friends say Kaddish, give charity, perform mitzvot and study Torah in his memory, they greatly assist in the elevation of his soul (iluy neshama), because all the good deeds are being done in his merit.

Do Not Blemish the Merits of the Holy Soldiers

This is also true concerning the holy soldiers killed in a milchemet mitzvah (defensive war). If their bravery is neglected by overemphasizing their physical bodies that have yet to be buried in Israel, this blemishes their merits. And if as a result of this the government surrenders to our wicked enemies and releases terrorists, it will severely blemish their merits – the exact opposite of all their aims in their self-sacrifice. For after all, what is the sorrow of the holy soldiers who have not yet been buried in Israel compared to the enormous reward for their devotion for the sake of Israel? The more heroism their relatives and friends add in their name and memory, thus the holy soldiers are further elevated. And, ‘l’fum tzara agra’ (according to the effort, is the reward) – as the torment of their not being buried in Israel grows, but nevertheless their relatives and friends stand up to the test, are not depressed, and do not give-in to the enemy, thus the holy soldiers themselves are further elevated in Gan Eden, and even their relatives living among us in this world, are elevated in the merit of their holy merits.

On the other hand, if the propaganda about returning the bodies causes cowardice among the public, and especially among soldiers, this will ruin all they worked for in their lives. They did everything they could to fight the wicked, and as a result, their souls merited supreme status in Gan Eden; but for the sake of their bodies, which are insignificant compared to their souls, the order of things is turned upside-down, and their sacred mission is undermined.

The Correct Message

At this point I must express my great appreciation for the open statements expressed by Prof. Simcha Goldin, in the name of the families of the holy soldiers. For example, I will mention a few things he said (3/18/16): “Steps should be taken against Hamas that will cause them to return the bodies.” “As long as we are active rather than passive, as long as it is clear to everyone that the State of Israel will determine the price that Hamas will pay for not returning the corpses, as long as we continue in this direction – we are doing okay.” “Hamas must pay the price for not returning the body of Hadar.” In other words, Hamas are the ones who have to pay the price, and not the State of Israel. Israel has to be active – on the offense, and not the defense, the ones to punish, and not the ones to be punished.

The public demonstration of the Shaul family against the transfer of “humanitarian aid” from Turkey to Hamas is also correct. They do not demand concessions from the government, but rather, that it not provide assistance to Hamas as long as it continues in its viciously despicable trade of bodies.

The Huge Test

Who knows if we would be able to withstand the challenges faced by the families of the holy soldiers and settlers who gave their lives for the sanctity of God, the nation, and the Land of Israel, who, in spite of the pain, are required to muster-up emotional strength, and take a courageous stand. Concerning this, we pray daily: “Do not cause us to be tested or brought to disgrace.” This test, in all its awesome intensity, now stands at the doorstep of the Goldin and Shaul families. And yet, the truth must be said: to the best of their ability, they should think less about the soldiers’ bodies, and instead, engage as much as possible in the heroism of their lives, their values,​and their legacy. This is the befitting stance which honors the memory of the holy soldiers. The more the parents adopt this position, the more they elevate the soul of their son in Gan Eden, because by remembering him thus, they add truth and holiness in this world.

It is worthwhile mentioning Miriam Peretz, who lost two of her sons, the heroic commanders killed in the sanctity of God, the nation, and the Land of Israel. Though her son’s merited burial in Israel, who would not have empathized with her had she sunk into sadness, and raised grievances against God, the government, and army commanders. But she chose the path of publicizing their exemplary bravery, and imparting their legacy to the young.

Disappointment with the Government

It is fitting to identify with the profound disappointment and sense of betrayal that the Shaul and Goldin families feel in view of the agreement with Turkey. They can be trusted when they say that the Prime Minister had made explicit promises, but did not keep his word.

Regrettably, we have felt the powerlessness of the government to punish or exact a heavy toll from our wicked enemies over the last few days, when they brazenly permit themselves to murder a 13 year-old girl and the father of a family, and what’s more, dare to celebrate all over Gaza, Judea and Samaria, and even in the villages that the murderers came from, which are allegedly under blockade.

Had the Prime Minister kept his previous promises, allowing tens of thousands of units to be built in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, this could have brought a bit of consolation. In the long-term, victory, peace, and security depend on this, because the entire war is about the Land of Israel, and victory depends on whether we are able to clarify in the most explicit terms that we intend to continue building and holding on to all parts of our holy land. And the more our enemies try to harm us, the stronger our grip on the country will be, so that all of our enemies understand that indeed, an iron wall stands in front of them, and they will never be able to break our spirit and stop the process of the return of Israel to its land.

The Holy Soldiers and the Merit of Moshe Rabbeinu

Concerning Moshe Rabbeinu, our nation’s greatest figure, it is written: “No man knows the place that he was buried, even to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:6). By means of concealing his burial place, a clear separation was created between his individual, physical body, and his great collective soul, and thus, the illumination of his soul and legacy continues in Israel with greater intensity. While it is true that we must act to bring the bodies of Hadar and Oren for burial in Israel, for now, to a certain degree, they have risen to the distinction of Moshe Rabbeinu, may he rest in peace.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and thought-provoking articles can be found at:
http://en.yhb.org.il/

Muslims and “Political Correctness”


The policy of Israel’s police on the Temple Mount is a continuation of the anti-Semitic, Diaspora course of action: No matter who is at fault, the Jews are punished * In the name of “politically correct” dialogue and talk about human rights, Obama and his colleagues in the U.S. fail to identify the problem of Islamic terrorism by name, and thus, cannot treat it * For the same reason of “political correctness”, media commentators fail to accept the fact that the majority of Britain’s who supported leaving the E.U. want to rid themselves of the dangerous Muslim immigrants and agitators * Jews who go up to the Temple Mount and live in Judea and Samaria are a moral example for the entire world * In Memory of Dr. Irving Moskowitz z”l

 

‘Har HaBayit’ (The Temple Mount)

 

On Monday, the Israeli police announced that the Temple Mount would be closed to Jews and tourists until the end of Ramadan. The reason: incessant violent rioting by Arabs against visitors to the site, and police officers. The rioters amass stones, bottles, iron bars and who knows what else in the al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to attack Jews, tourists, and anyone they define as enemies of Islam, from within the mosque.

 

Justifiably, this situation calls for the closure of the Temple Mount to all Muslims, but unfortunately, the Israeli government continues to uphold the long-standing tradition contrived during the cursed days of exile: if the Jews riot, the Jews are punished; if the Gentiles riot, the Jews are punished. In other words no matter what, and just to be on the safe side, the Jews must be punished because somehow or another, the Jews are always guilty. The next day, Jews were banned from going up to the Temple Mount, so instead, the Arabs threw stones down at the Western Wall and an elderly, seventy-three-old woman was slightly injured.

 

Why Isn’t the Al-Aqsa Mosque Closed?

 

When the Israeli police suspected there were some students in Yeshiva ‘Od Yosef Chai’ in Yitzhar who were allegedly conspiring to commit a crime, in the name of the law they broke in to the Yeshiva, removed all the students, meticulously searched every room, and took over the study hall for a year and three months, without taking into account it being a sacred place of prayer and Torah study.

 

If this is the way the police act in the name of law and justice towards a Yeshiva and a synagogue in a Jewish state and in a case of unproven allegations, kal v’chomer (by even greater force of logic) should they act similarly when it is certain that the Al-Aqsa mosque functions as a focal point for global incitement, where small arms and light weapons are stored, and serves as a regular shelter for rioters; how much more so should the police take over the mosque, remove all destructive weapons, arrest and imprison the rioters and inciters, and close it for a few years until it becomes crystal clear to all wishing to pray in its gates, not to dare incite or riot ever again. Instead, it was the Jews who were expelled from our holiest place in the world for no reason whatsoever – except our being Jewish, which is anathema to the Muslims who forcibly seized the Temple Mount with murderous violence.

 

Not only did the government not close the mosque, but they continue to allow Muslims to destroy the remains of the Temple, degrade the holy site with soccer games, parties, riots and voicing blasphemies. All this under the pretext that the status quo which the Israeli government undertook requires it. In the entire State of Israel the status quo concerning the laws of Shabbat, kashrut, weddings, the status of the religious courts, and anything to do with Judaism has been eroded and undermined in the name of human rights, but only on the Temple Mount is the status quo is preserved meticulously – contrary to all rules of justice and human rights. In short, we continue to accept the basic premise of anti-Semitism, that the status of a Jew and his rights will always be inferior to any other claim.

 

A Wonderful Illustration

 

Now is the time to relate a happy story I heard from an eyewitness to the event. A traditionally religious couple, both wise and educated, were unable to have children for a several years. They had undergone various tests, but could not find a cure for their problem. A relative of theirs’ suggested the woman immerse herself in a mikveh (a ritual bath), go up to the Temple Mount according to the laws of purity, and there – whisper a prayer in her heart – maybe she would be worthy to get pregnant. After a few months the woman decided to take his advice, and in that same month she became pregnant.

 

In truth, this is not surprising: after all, the Temple Mount is the holiest site in the world, the ‘talpiot‘ [a compound of the Hebrew words tel (hill) and piyot (mouths)], “the hill to which all mouths turn in prayer”, and therefore prayers on the Temple Mount have more of an impact than anywhere else.

 

From the Temple Mount to Orlando

 

The problem on the Temple Mount, the site of our Holy Temple, is the source and prototype of the problem facing the world in recent years. For example, in Orlando, a Muslim murdered forty-nine people, and wounded dozens more. During the attack, the murderer swore allegiance to ISIS and Islam, declaring that he had killed in their name. In response, U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama and those who think like him, saw fit to address the issue of gun control, hatred of LGBT, and mental health problems of those suffering from unemployment – but by no means did he agree to utter the words “Islamic terrorism.” When a problem is not identified, it cannot be solved.

 

It’s fair to assume that if Israel dealt properly with the difficult problem of the Temple Mount, closing the mosques and arresting inciters and rioters at the slightest trace of disturbances or agitation, we would serve as a moral and a practical example to the entire world about how to deal with riotous, violent, and murderous Islam. For in truth, the entire world looks to the State of Israel which has had to deal with Arab hatred and terrorism from its inception. But when we act feebly on the Temple Mount, several moral and conscientious people throughout the world think there is no way to deal with the problem, and the terrorist attacks continue, and are intensifying.

 

Britain and the European Union

 

The same problem (Islamist violence), whose name is forbidden to be mentioned according to a considerable number of world leaders, led to the majority of UK citizens to vote in favor of leaving the European Union. Even the pollsters and commentators are apparently prohibited from mentioning the name of the problem, and for that reason erred in all their assessments.

 

Out of a policy of multiculturalism, equality, and aiding the powerless, the leadership of the European Union in Brussels urges EU countries to accept millions of Muslim immigrants, ignoring the incitement voiced by many of the Muslim immigrants against European culture, while at the same time, adopting a tolerant approach towards increasing acts of Muslim violence. In practice, out of a belief in values they consider as liberal, the EU ignores the terrible moral injustices that breed hotbeds of crime, violence, exploitation, prostitution, drug trafficking and terrorism.

They fail to understand that the conflict is not a result of different types of food or music, or even because of the language of prayer or religious practices, but because there are numerous Muslims who hold a fundamental, religious position of hatred and contempt for those who are not Muslim, and this belief allows them to exploit non-Muslims without remorse. This was how they behaved in the past, and there is absolutely no reason for them to act differently in the future.

 

Blindness in Analyzing the Results of the Referendum

 

When I read the results of the referendum and the media commentaries surrounding it, I could not believe how “political correctness” had blinded the commentators, to the point where even the so-called “experts” are incapable of analyzing the results correctly. All of them mentioned that among the young voters and the residents of London, a majority were in favor of remaining in the EU, as though to say the marginal British population had decided for the “real” Britain’s – the Londoner’s – and adults had decided on the future of young people, without having to bear responsibility for their own decision.

 

I was forced to conduct my own search for various sources of information on the Internet, and I found that already in 2012, it had become clear that the white British population had turned into the minority in London, and their numbers stood at 44.9% of the cities’ residents. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of immigrants have moved to London. I found that the proportion of Muslims in all of Britain is approaching 5%, and I found that the percentage of young people among Muslims is much higher than among the British, such that the young Muslims total about 10%, while among adults, they number only a few percent.

 

Based on these facts it can be assessed that in London as well, the majority of Britain’s voted for leaving the Union, but for obvious reasons, Muslims and other immigrants voted in favor of remaining. However, “political correctness” has stupefied the commentators and politicians opinions, and as a result, they talk about a variety of different reasons – everything except the main problem – the EU’s attitude towards Muslim immigrants.

 

Israel also suffers greatly from the EU’s position, which does not recognize our national rights to our own land – similar to their not recognizing European peoples’ right to maintain their national character. For someone who finds this consoling – the first ones to suffer from this policy are most probably the EU citizens themselves.

 

The Settlers: The Vanguard in the Struggle for Morality and Justice

 

A reader might ask: What can I do in face of all this? There are a number of answer: First, to strengthen ourselves in the study of ‘Torat emet’ (true Torah); to continue fulfilling the mitzvah of yishuv ha’aretz (settling the land); to go up to the Temple Mount in purity according to halakha; and at election times, to vote for trustworthy representatives who are capable of advancing worthy causes.

 

The learning of ‘Torat emet’ is the type of study which aspires for ‘tikun olam’ (repairing the world), i.e., the realization of the values ​​of justice and truth – for the ‘clal’ (the collective) and the ‘prat’ (the individual), for Israel, and for all of the nations.

 

Through the mitzvah of ‘yishuv ha’aretz’, we fulfill the Torah’s values ​​in practice. For all the beautiful ideas in the Torah do not count if there aren’t Jews who are willing to fulfill them devotedly. In the face of lies, violence, terror and hatred of Israel stand the settlers – inhabiting the neighborhoods surrounding the Temple Mount and throughout Judea and Samaria, and in their very existence, declare to the entire world that there are still men of truth and faith who do not capitulate to terror, hatred, and boycotts. Their enemies falsely accuse them every type of libel in the world, but they remain true to their beliefs and values, continuing to work and succeed. They do not give up on the right, the mitzvah, or the obligation to settle the land bequeathed by God to their forefathers and themselves, but on the other hand, do not wish ill for any Arab or Muslim who is willing to act decently.

 

When the people of Israel, by way of its’ Torah scholars and settlers, succeed in withstanding all the pressures, and are able to expand the settlement of Judea and Samaria, this provides all the positive forces in the world the faith and power not to give in to terrorism and violence, and to be prepared to fight for justice and faith. The stronger we become in the mitzvah of settling of the land and recognizing its value, the more instrumental we will be in helping the entire world to fight the wicked, and to base their lives on justice, morality, and peace.

 

Dr. Irving Moskowitz, of Blessed Memory

 

This column is dedicated to the ‘ilui neshama’ (elevation of the soul) of the late philanthropist and physician, Dr. Irving Moskowitz z”l, one of the exceptional people who was worthy of accurately diagnosing the ills of Western society, and understood that the remedy for these maladies will come from the most holy places – from Jewish settlement surrounding the Temple Mount, and from the study halls of the Torah of Eretz Yisrael.

 

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and informative articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at: http://en.yhb.org.il/

Milk and Meat in World Politics

In accordance with the principle of the prohibition to mix milk with meat, it is also forbidden to mix insignificant matters with important ones, and major and minor considerations * For the communists all ideals ​​were equal; consequently, they rejected important considerations in favor of economic equality alone * In the liberation of South Africa the value of life itself was overridden by the desire to correct discrimination; until today, death and crime run rampant * The I.D.F. Deputy Chief of Staff, Yair Golan, confused the killing of Jews and the killing of Arabs, ignoring the moral disparity between the two people’s attitudes towards murder * The world’s leftists must forgo the relatively easy question of individual rights, in order to save the world from the overall Muslim threat

The Idea Arising from the Prohibition of Mixing Milk and Meat

Last week I began developing the idea arising out of the prohibition of cooking milk and meat, according to which it is forbidden to mix considerations of different magnitudes. I will now attempt to examine the terrible damage this sort of mixing causes the state of affairs of various nations.

In order to understand the matter properly, we must first review some of the uniqueness of this prohibition: meat alone is kosher, milk alone is kosher, but together, they are explicitly and strictly forbidden, for not only is such a mixture forbidden to be eaten, it is also forbidden to cook milk and meat for a non-Jew, and it is forbidden to receive benefit from such a mixture. Our Sages went even further and added a ‘sayag’ (a safeguard, or ‘fence’) to this serious prohibition, and forbade eating milk after having eaten meat. They even went as far as to prohibit a person eating meat to have milk on the table at the same time, or vice versa, lest he forget and eat them together. We see, therefore, that our Sages found it necessary to strongly reinforce the separation of meat and milk.

As I wrote last week, meat is considered a food for adults. Its’ preparation to be eaten is complex and complicated involving ritual slaughter; milk, on the other hand, is basically considered a food for infants, whose preparation and consumption is simple. Meat represents considerable and complex existential considerations, while milk expresses relatively small and simple considerations. Each one of them in its place is good and proper, but a person who mixes them confuses judgment and destroys the moral capacity to examine the world appropriately and work to repair it.

The Left’s Concept of Equality

The major sin of the ideological Left is that it equates and mixes everything together – questions of lesser magnitude about the conditions of individual’s lives, with the big questions about the very existence of life and death. They also equate and mix relatively small questions about salaries and profits, with existential questions about the basic motivation of an individual to initiate and develop.

The first motivation is, of course, positive. There are many problematic injustices in the world – exploiters who earn more than they deserve, and hard-working people who are underpaid. But the attempt to solve all the problems in one formula that equates everyone’s rights and financial status, while doing away with all elements hindering this one-dimensional equality – such as religious faith, personal talents, and free enterprise – is a terribly simplistic solution with disastrous results.

Like in the sin of cooking milk with meat in which everything gets spoiled, also, countries that were ruled by an exceptionally problematic monarchy, received instead a dreadful dictatorship that damaged the lives and basic rights of the individual far beyond what they had previously experienced (similar to the spoilage of meat), and also affected the quality of life of all the residents (spoilage of the milk). This is still occurring in North Korea.

The Experience of Russia and China

For several years in Russia people began realizing that the attempt at communism had led to disastrous harm in their personal lives and rights, yet even upon taking leave of communism , the Russian’s erred by mixing considerations of dissimilar degrees. Instead of first worrying about life itself, preserving governmental and social stability and orderly economic life (in the sense of ‘meat’) and in a gradual and moderate process release more individual rights (in the sense of ‘milk’), they treated everything equally, and created terrible chaos. The result of the early years was appalling: Unemployment soared, all sectors of industrial and agricultural production plummeted, crime ran rampant, millions of children and youth became homeless and began roaming the streets searching for food and alcohol, and the ill failed to receive treatment due to a lack of medicines and medical equipment. Life expectancy dropped by nearly ten years. Although formally the situation of human rights was excellent, life itself was appalling. For more than ten years they have tried to reverse the damage caused by affording full and unchecked rights, and in most areas they have not been able to return to the general standard of living that prevailed in the Soviet Union before its dissolution.

By contrast, in China they also realized that the communist system had failed, but there, they are conducting a gradual process of unchaining the economy and burden of government. Life expectancy is on the rise, the economy is growing, people are not dying of starvation, and law is maintained (in the sense of ‘meat’ being kosher). True, China’s human rights record is awful (in the sense of ‘milk’ being spoiled), but it is in a constant process of moderate improvement, with the objective of developing a leadership that can lead the country to prosperity, freedom and liberty, in accordance with Chinese tradition.

South Africa

An additional example of the terrible consequences of mixing milk with meat can be learned from the experience of South Africa. Undeniably, the discrimination against black people there was awful, and the white regime should have worked vigorously and wisely to improve their situation until they reached complete equality. But it should not have been forgotten that the white government maintained law and order, and provided sustenance and healthcare on a relatively high level for all of the population. Rectifying discrimination is in the sense of ‘milk’, compared with life itself, which is in the sense of ‘meat’.

However leftist groups, with good intentions, provoked fury throughout Western countries to condemn and boycott South Africa. When confronted with the argument that a radical change would hurt the very existence of the organized and responsible regime, in the sense of what our Sages said: “Pray for the welfare of the government, because if people had no fear of it, they would swallow each other alive” (Avodah Zara 4a), they replied: ‘Nothing justifies prejudice and discrimination, and it is the duty of every moral person to fight against them with all their might to change at once and essentially, the legal status of the blacks.’ By doing so, they cooked meat with milk. The abysmal results were summarized by the journalist Adi Garsiel in his column in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, Dec. 12, 2013:

“Every day in South Africa 50 people are murdered. In other words, every three days more people are killed there than in Israel in a year. And even when comparing the statistics by population size (in South Africa there about 53 million inhabitants), the results are gloomy: The murder rate there is 15 times higher than in Israel. In a survey conducted four years ago, 25% of men admitted to having participated in a rape. According to one estimate, there are half a million rapes annually in the country. The AIDS epidemic is rampant there, with approximately 5.5 million residents suffering from the virus, or carriers of it. The unemployment situation is bleak: 28% of the work force in South Africa is unemployed (approximately 50% of young people are out of work). Rampant crime has caused a mass exodus of one million white residents. Many of those who remained, including the country’s Jewish population, live in fortified compounds and secluded neighborhoods.”

“For the past twenty years, life expectancy in South Africa has declined by about 15 years on average. In 1992, the last year of apartheid, life expectancy of the general population stood at 64.5; twenty years later, it stood at 49.5 – the second-to-last place out of more than 220 countries.

Everyone suffered, and still suffer, from the implementation of equality laws in an uncontrolled manner; however, the blacks were hurt more than the whites. First and foremost, life and order should have been maintained in spite all the problems (in the sense of ‘meat’), while at the same time, work to gradually improve the conditions and rights of the blacks (in the sense of ‘milk’).

The Obscene Words of the Deputy Chief of Staff

The remarks of the Deputy Chief of Staff on Holocaust Remembrance Day, according to which he sees developments in Israeli society that are reminiscent of the years before the Holocaust, also violated the mixing of milk with meat. One can criticize various symptoms in Israeli society, but to compare them to Nazi Germany is an appalling crime.

How can one compare, or even find a similarity, between the Nazi beliefs, which called for the need to eradicate an entire people from the face of the earth and subjugate scores of nations, fixed these evil positions in legislation and even mobilized the German people and its cronies to wage war for it –  to the situation of the State of Israel, which has found itself in a battle of survival against the Arab enemy for over a hundred years during which from time-to-time, a minute number of individuals break the law and carry out criminal acts against the Arabs.

Leftists like to equate everything by saying: “Murder, is murder, is murder.” This is not true! There is a difference between murder stemming from a systematic worldview and supported by a broad population, and murder stemming from violent individuals whom all of society condemns.

The Moral Abyss between Israel and the Arabs

The gap between Israeli and Arab society is beyond belief. The accepted leaders amongst the Arabs as being moderate (PA), award payments to families of terrorists and name city squares and streets after them. Key elements in Arab society support parts of the Nazi ideology. The Mufti, who became the role model for them, passionately joined in support of the Nazis and in a meeting with Hitler, may his name be blotted out, requested that when Germany conquered the Land of Israel, the Arabs would be given the right to kill and annihilate all the Jews. By contrast, in Israeli society there is not one group of people that supports the murder of Arabs not within the framework of the army, and a war of defense.

Nevertheless, the Deputy Chief of Staff uttered these slanderous remarks. He is probably used to reading such vile things in the ‘Ha’aretz’ newspaper, to the point where they have become standard for him, without giving thought to their awful meaning, and that’s why he said such despicable things in his speech. Had he understood the severity of what he said, he would have realized the need to apologize and resign, or at the very least, regret and apologize publicly and completely to the Jewish people.

The Left’s Mistake in Relation to Islam

The world is currently facing a severe threat posed by ideological and violent Muslim activism. In order to deal with it properly, we must realize that we are talking about a wide-ranging clash of cultures, which, to a certain extent, necessitates treatment similar to that of rules for times of emergency. In spite of this, leftist intellectuals still equate and mix-up between the overall threat and that of individual crimes, and as a result, attempts to protect the rights of individual Muslims impairs the ability of the West and the moderate forces in Islam to fight and curb extremist Islam, and consequently, the whole lot gets damaged and ruined. Islamic fighters are strengthened by this to continue to sabotage, harm, destroy and demolish, and in the meantime, the living conditions and individual rights in all countries suffer – it begins in Islamic countries, and is spreading with waves of immigration to Western countries, as well.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, and was translated from Hebrew. Other interesting and informative articles by Rabbi Melamed can be found at: http://en.yhb.org.il/

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