The aim of this blog is to point out the "hidden" hand of God in the daily events of our lives and to give strength
and encouragement to those anxiously awaiting the final redemption - may it come speedily in our time.

25 May 2016

What's Not to Love About Lag Ba'Omer Celebrations?

18 Iyyar 5776
33 Days of the Omer
(4 Weeks and 5 Days)
Hod sh'be'Hod

As someone who could never really get into the whole public display at Lag Ba'Omer, it was gratifying to read the following...

...Yes, it is that time of the year again. Lag Ba’omer is ... here. And with it, all the hype and solicitations for trips to Meron, Chai Rotel Mashkeh donations, upsherin, bonfires, and the like.

So it is time to review what our holy Ashkenazic mesorah is about relatively recent Lag Ba’omer innovations, to avert confusion be”H, and help save people from getting swept away by all the hype generated by those with stakes in promoting such a holiday.

As the חתם סופר [Chatam Sofer] famously wrote in a teshuvoh (יורה דעה רלג, last column on bottom left of page linked to), we do not go along with the making of a new Yom Tov not mentioned in Shas and poskim. We don’t go along with making a holiday of the day a tzaddik passed away (aka hillulah), when the gemara mentions such a day as a day of fasting. In the mesorah of Ashkenaz that is called a yohrzeit, and is a day of fasting and introspection. We don’t make a small village in northern Eretz Yisroel the focus of a giant pilgrimage, more than ירושלים עיה”ק [Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh].

...What many people don’t realize with all the Meron hype, is that many gedolim, and I am not just talking about גדולי אשכנז, but also great Chassidishe Rebbes and Sepharadic gedolim, deliberately do not participate in this event.

Rav Schach זצ”ל told his talmidim not to go to Meron (hat tip to Rafi). להבדיל בחל”ח, Rav Elyashiv שליט”א, as of a few years ago, had never gone to Meron. He stated, as was reported in the Jerusalem Post, that he feels closer to רשב”י learning a blatt gemara.

If the Chasam Sofer voiced reservations about the Meron pilgrimage close to two hundred years ago, when the attendance there was much smaller than it is nowadays, would his reservations not be much greater today? (Source)

The part I underlined above really spoke to me. It's exactly how I felt when I read this...

1000s Unable to Get Bus Tickets to Meron for Lag B’Omer

...Chairman of the Knesset Ombudsman Committee MK Yisrael Eichler is calling on the Transportation Ministry to take the necessary steps to make additional buses available. Eichler on Tuesday evening explained that in some chareidi areas, ticket sales have halted as all the available buses are full.

Eichler maintains that instead of hiring buses from private companies as was promised would be the case, the sale of tickets has stopped in some areas and people are told there is no room for this year’s trip to Meron.

After consulting with Israel Police and private bus companies, Eichler has learned that from a technical standpoint, there is no reason additional private buses cannot be charted to resume the sale of tickets.

I was in Yerushalayim today and it hurt me to see such large throngs of people in the streets and on the sides of the road preparing to leave Holy Yerushalayim to travel to Meron. I've never seen this kind of crowd preparing to go to the Kotel Hama'aravi in the same numbers.

The Plague of Darkness Will Be Repeated

17 Iyyar 5776
32 Days of the Omer
(4 Weeks and 4 Days)
Netzach sh'be'Hod

"At that same time the Holy One blessed be He will awaken his power against all the nations of the world and the King Mashiach will be known in all the world and the Kings of the world will unite to go against him and many of the evildoers of the Jewish people will unite with those nations to wage war against the King Mashiach and then the world will darken for 15 days and many of the Jews will die on those days of darkness and on this episode it is written (Isaiah 60:2) “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you”. (Zohar ha Kadosh II, 7a)"

~ The Modern Erev Rav

20 May 2016

"Bye Bye Bogey"

12 Iyyar 5776
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
27 Days of the Omer
(3 Weeks and 6 Days)

This headline made my day: "Minister Ya'alon quits"

Of course, we may be going from the frying pan into the fire with Lieberman, but meantime, the man responsible for unjustly locking up and torturing Meir Ettinger and others and falsely accusing Elor Azaria of murder has now lost all power to do similar damage to other good Jews.

Bye Bye Bogey
By Moshe Feiglin

The best thing that has resulted from the political storm churning through Israel is the ouster of current Defense Minister Bogey Ya’alon. That was not Netanyahu’s original intent. He wanted to bring the Left into the government, and it is a good thing that Labor MK Shelly Yehimovitz prevented that from happening. My assessment is that the new government will not be qualitatively different from its predecessor and except for a change of style, it will be more of the same. But all of that is behind us now. The most important thing is that Ya’alon was ousted. We can only hope that it is not too late.

Bogey Ya’alon, trumpeted as the new savior by the Right and settlers, turned out to be (surprise, surprise) a strategic disaster for Israel’s security – and no less than that – for the state of its democracy and liberty. I believe Ehud Barak’s testimony that Ya’alon was the man who tipped the scales against an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Such an attack – even if it had failed to achieve its tactical goal – would have restored Israel’s strategic stance according to which the State of Israel was not established to once again rely on US or British pilots. Even if an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities had failed, it would have made it crystal clear that Israel’s strategy is based on the adage of our Sages, “If someone rises to kill you, kill him first” – whether the attacker is a powerful country overseas or a knife-wielding terrorist in Hebron. But Ya’alon preferred the strategy of containment upon which he was raised in his youth on a leftist kibbutz. He upgraded Iran’s world status and opened the door for its great victory over Israel.

Two years ago, during Operation Protective Edge, Ya’alon led the strategy of containment of the Hamas. The political-security echelon, headed by Ya’alon, emitted confused orders, laden with concepts that included everything – except victory. The result was that after almost two months of goal-less fighting, the IDF had suffered 70 casualties in the tunnels and alleyways of Gaza, left two bodies of Israeli soldiers behind – and retreated. Bogey Ya’alon is leaving behind an army that has become the most sophisticated junkyard of modern arms and advanced technology that exists. He leaves behind the largest, strongest and most inflated army that Israel has ever seen. But it is an army that is incapable of winning any battle. Except for the real battle that Ya’alon introduced: the battle against the settlers.

Under the instruction and with the encouragement of Ya’alon, a new stage in Israel’s history has unfolded. Under pressure from the media and the Left, tens of minors were arrested and severely tortured (with the full support of the Jewish Home party) for no reason other than to keep the Left happy with Bogey. The absolute majority of the youth were released without an indictment – but they did suffer serious emotional damage that will likely haunt them the rest of their lives. (Apparently, the house in Duma was burned by the Arab locals, as was the case before and after the event in question).

But worst of all was Ya’alon’s participation in the quiet ‘trend’ of the military coup that was beginning to take form in Israel.

The shooting of the terrorist in Hebron presented Israeli society with a choice between two approaches: The Jewish perspective, according to which the elimination of a terrorist willing to die in order to murder Jews is ethical and imperative – and the European approach, lacking morality, seamlessly equating between good and evil: The type of approach that turns Nazis into victims and the Jews into the new Nazis.

The upper echelons of the IDF, educated and advanced over the years on the basis of loyalty to these ideas, suddenly became the great hope of the Left. The soldier from Hebron was turned into a national enemy. The Chief of Staff explained that “If someone rises to kill you, kill him first” is not the IDF’s strategy. The Deputy Chief of Staff equated those who subscribe to that value with Nazis. The radical Left Ha’aretz newspaper rather openly called for a military coup and the Defense Minister, Moshe Bogey Ya’alon, backed up and encouraged this entire process on every stage and at every ceremony.

I have no great expectations of Lieberman. Rightist ideology and power bereft of clear purpose always becomes a double-edged sword. It would behoove us all to remember former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was no less rightist and forceful than Lieberman. But all that we can say to Ya’alon is good-bye and good riddance.
~~~~~~~~

~ Shabbat shalom ~

19 May 2016

"We Are At The Start of Turbulent Processes"

11 Iyyar 5776
26 Days of the Omer
(3 Weeks and 5 Days)

So says this latest Debka article...

Israel switches defense chiefs in surprise political move

Wednesday, May 18 was one of the most intense days in Israeli politics in recent years, with countless strange headlines that Zionist Camp party chairman Yitzhak Herzog was about to become foreign minister. It became clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to appoint Avigdor Lieberman the head of the right wing “Yisrael Beitenu” party as defense minister instead of Moshe Ya’alon, in exchange for the support by the small party, with just six Knesset members, for his coalition.

...Zionist Camp party leader Herzog claimed Wednesday night that Netanyahu agreed to give him the defense portfolio one year after his party joins the government. If that was true, it needs to be asked if Netanyahu has turned Israel’s security into personal political capital that can be passed within several hours from an irresponsible and extremist left-wing party (even according to Herzog’s definition) to an opportunist right-wing party.

...The defense portfolio crisis did not end with Lieberman’s appointment, it is just beginning,
The incumbent, Moshe Ya’alon, announced Wednesday night that he will not give up the portfolio and will not submit his resignation.

I'll be happy to see Ya'alon go, but I do not trust Lieberman... or Netanyahu... or any of the government for that matter. However, I do trust Hashem Yitbarach. And as Rabbi Pinchas Winston likes to point out in King David's Psalms...

"That which is wondrous in our eyes is from Hashem."

18 May 2016

"Rejoicing at the Downfall of Our Enemies" - Continued

11 Iyyar 5776
26 Days of the Omer
(3 Weeks and 5 Days)

Rav Yehuda Richter Shiur on Rejoicing at the Downfall of Our Enemies



Another Step Up

10 Iyyar 5776
25 Days of the Omer
(3 Weeks and 4 Days)

Exclusive: US warplanes intervene in Syrian war

On Tuesday, May 17, the US expanded its involvement in the war in Syria, and for the first time since the war began in 2011, US F-16 fighter-bombers bombed radical Syrian rebels fighting Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah forces near Aleppo,....

...the American airstrikes will help Syrian President Bashar Assad, just like the Russian bombings have done.

...There are now no less than ten air forces engaged in the Syrian war: those of the US, Russia, Israel, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Syria, Turkey and Jordan.