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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Shtikel Purim Torah





There are many new years throughout the Jewish calender. Rosh Hashanah is the main new year but there are others such as Tuv b'Shvat which is the new years of trees and Rosh Chodesh Nissan which is the new years of kings. Pesach is the new years of the Jewish holidays. Rebbe Nachman once said regarding this, “All beginnings started from Pesach but now...” Reb Natan said that from the Rebbe's gestures it was clear he meant Purim, i.e. Purim was now the holiday from which everything would start. Purim is the holiday of flip-flops and opposites. All year long we are studious and responsible yet on Purim we not only allow ourselves to get completely drunk but are expected to. Instead of dressing like respectable people we dress in light-hearted costumes. Why is it that Rebbe Nachman made this statement about Purim and why is it that everything is backwards from how it normally is on Purim?

Chazal says that in the time to come we won't celebrate any of the old holidays except for Purim which will continue to be celebrated even after the Mashiach comes. Why is this? By all our major holidays we say “Zecher l'yetziat Mitzraim” (in remembrance of the exodus from Egypt) because they all center around the miracles that happened when we left Egypt. We recognize these miracles because we always go after the biggest chiddush and the miracles that occurred during the exodus from Egypt were the greatest ever witnessed in the history of humanity therefore it would be a lesser statement of Hashem's greatness to proclaim lesser miracles. Yet when Mashiach comes Hashem will perform miracles that are even greater than those of Yetziat Mitzraim and therefore we won't need to remember those miracles anymore. But unlike the other main holidays which were based on the past redemption, the redemption of Purim was actually based on the future redemption of Mashiach which has yet to happen. This is why we will still celebrate Purim even after Mashiach comes. This is also why everything in Purim is backwards of how things normally are- instead of reaching into the past redemption and pulling the kedusha forward like the other holidays, Purim pulls into the future and pulls the kedusha backwards to the past.

Sefer Daniel describes a statue with a head of gold, arms of silver, thighs of copper, and legs of iron with the feet are made of part iron and part clay. Then four kingdoms are described corresponding to the four parts of the statue. The last part of the statue- the iron with some of the feet iron and some clay is described as a divided kingdom. The statue and kingdoms represent the four nations which will oppress the nation of Israel- the four exiles. The gold is Babylon, the silver Persia, the copper Greece, and the iron is Rome and by extension Edom and modern day America and Europe. Exile, or GaLuT (גלות), has the same root as MeGiLLah (מגילה) suggesting a link between the Megillot and the exiles, but there are five Megillot and only for exiles. Where is the fifth exile? In the iron part of the statue at the very bottom it becomes partially mixed with clay and the kingdom is divided. In the current exile of Edom that we are in, we are reaching the end of it and the kingdom is becoming divided by a new rival to America and Europe- Islam and the arabs. The fact that it is in the feet of the statue corresponds to sefer B'reshit when three angels came to Avraham and he asked them to wash the dust off their feet. Rashi comments that this is because the angels appeared to Avraham as arabs and since arabs would worship the dust on the feet he wanted to prevent them from doing their idolatry. Just like clay is mixed in with the iron, the fifth exile is mixed in with the fourth one. A hidden exile connotes a hidden megillah- the Megillat Ester as Ester means hidden. How is this exile we are now in hidden? Because the concealment is so deep that it's a concealment within a concealment- the concealment is such that people don't even know they are in it and therefore don't know to try and get out. Many of us have returned to Israel and we have a government here, yet right here we are still in spiritual galut. Many Jews don't even know there's a G-d or anything it says in the Torah. Yet this is the exile of the “Megillat Ester.” Megillah can be read as “MeGaLeh” or “reveal.” This Megillah is the revealing of the hidden. Since the clay was at the feet of the statue- the end, this current exile is nearing its own end when the hiddeness of Hashem will be revealed to the world.

In Sefer Daniel it tells of a rock that will smash the statue and then become a mountain that encompasses the world and a kingdom that will never be destroyed. This rock and kingdom is Israel when Hashem brings the final redemption. This time and experience can most be tapped into on Purim when we are spiritually speaking actually in the future redemption at the present. How do we know that we are currently tapping into the future redemption right now? At what point in the Megillat Ester do things start to turn around from bad to good for the Jews? In the sixth chapter when the king realizes that Mordecahi was never rewarded for reporting the conspirators who had planned to assassinate him. In second chapter of the megillah the name of one of the two conspirators written Bigtan (בגתן) yet in chapter six when the things start turning around his name is written Bigtana (בגתנא) with an extra aleph. Hashem was showing that by implanting that aleph into the bad situation He would turn it all around into a redemption. So to with our current and final exile, Hashem doesn't even need to make a new situation but can take this very one itself and make it a redemption, for what happens when you implant the aleph into the root of GaLuT? You get GEuLah (גאולה) (redemption)! It should be Hashem's will that we tap into the future redemption this Purim and help bring it in it's entirety soon and in our days, amen.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Some Old Friends Wish You a Happy Hanukkah








Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Putting it on the Line for Jerusalem




There are no shortage of people in this world who have opinions, and that is doubly true within the Jewish people.

Much rarer is the individual who is prepared to stand behind those opinions - those beliefs - when they are not popular, and when it places one squarely within the minority.

King David, who, throughout his life, embodied such a quality, wrote in Tehillim (119; 46):
I will also speak of Your (G-d's) testimonies before kings, and shall not be ashamed.
Recently, over 100 million people had the opportunity to witness a more modern example of such conviction...

Dr. Mordechai Keidar, a professor at Bar Ilan University's Dept. for Arabic Studies was recently interviewed by Al-Jazeera's top journalist, Jamal Rayyan. (The interview can be found above).

In the interview, Keidar was asked if Israel's decision to continue building throughout Jerusalem - in areas over the "Green Line" - represented the metaphorical nail in the coffin for the peace process.

Keidar responded:
"To tell you the truth I don't quite understand this. Must Israel ask permission from some other authority in the world? It has been our capital for 3,000 years. We have been there since the time your forefathers used to drink wine, bury their daughters alive, and pray to multiple gods.

So then, why must we speak about this? It has been our city for 3,000 years and will be for eternity."
Rayyan then asserted Islam's claim to Jerusalem, as stated in the Koran. To which Keidar responded that Jerusalem is not mentioned even a single time in the Koran.

Rayyan decided to try a different approach:
"Let's talk politics, please. Doesn't this decision oppose the Road Map, which determines that Israel will halt construction of the settlements in Jerusalem?"
To which Keidar responded:
"The Road Map does not mention Jerusalem. Jerusalem is outside of negotiations. Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, Period! We cannot discuss Jerusalem in any way. You return to this issue time and again, but Jerusalem is not referred to in the Road Map. My brother, go and read the Road Map...

My brother, Israel does not involve itself in housing that Qatar constructs in the Qatar Peninsula. What do you want with Jerusalem? Jerusalem is ours for eternity and no one, not Al-Jazeera or anyone else, has any say in it. Jerusalem is solely a Jewish city and no one else has any connection to it."
How refreshing to see how one can assert the right of the Jewish people to a Jewish state in Israel, not through apologetics and guilt, but out of conviction and pride. To know that our right to a Jewish state in Israel is not limited to history dating back 60 years - to the Holocaust - but that our connection to this Land predates that of the Christians or Muslims by thousands of years.

And to do so in front of 100 million viewers who don't agree with a word of what you're saying...

King David would be proud.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Welcome to The Happiest Place On Earth!



Guess what? Israel is the happiest place in the world! So concludes noted Asia Times Online columnist Spengler after compiling the number of suicides in counties against their fertility rates, arguing that those choosing to create life and avoid death must be happy. And not only does Israel score higher than everyone else, she scores leaps and bounds higher, simply blowing away the competition.

It this fantastic article Spengler explains why this is so. And in a nutshell it's about Jews keeping the Torah together as a nation. He explains how we declare in the Aleinu prayer "G-d did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us the same as other families of the Earth. G-d did not place us in the same situations as others, and our destiny is not the same as anyone else's."

On her 60th birthday Israel remains a nation UNLIKE any other. And that is precisely the secret of her happiness.

The articles is below and I have bolded important portions.

Hat Tip: DQ
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Why Israel is the world's happiest country
By Spengler

Envy surrounds no country on Earth like the state of Israel, and with good reason: by objective measures, Israel is the happiest nation on Earth at the 60th anniversary of its founding. It is one of the wealthiest, freest and best-educated; and it enjoys a higher life expectancy than Germany or the Netherlands. But most remarkable is that Israelis appear to love life and hate death more than any other nation. If history is made not by rational design but by the demands of the human heart, as I argued last week , the light heart of the Israelis in face of continuous danger is a singularity worthy of a closer look.

Can it be a coincidence that this most ancient of nations [1], and the only nation persuaded that it was summoned into history for God's service, consists of individuals who appear to love life more than any other people? As a simple index of life-preference, I plot the fertility rate versus the suicide rate of 35 industrial countries, that is, the proportion of people who choose to create new life against the proportion who choose to destroy their own. Israel stands alone, positioned in the upper-left-hand-quadrant, or life-loving, portion of the chart [2]. Those who believe in Israel's divine election might see a special grace reflected in its love of life.

In a world given over to morbidity, the state of Israel still teaches the world love of life, not in the trivial sense of joie de vivre, but rather as a solemn celebration of life. In another location, I argued, "It's easy for the Jews to talk about delighting in life. They are quite sure that they are eternal, while other peoples tremble at the prospect impending extinction. It is not their individual lives that the Jews find so pleasant, but rather the notion of a covenantal life that proceeds uninterrupted through the generations." Still, it is remarkable to observe by what wide a margin the Israelis win the global happiness sweepstakes.

Nations go extinct, I have argued in the past, because the individuals who comprise these nations choose collectively to die out. Once freedom replaces the fixed habits of traditional society, people who do not like their own lives do not trouble to have children. Not the sword of conquerors, but the indigestible sourdough of everyday life threatens the life of the nations, now dying out at a rate without precedent in recorded history.

Israel is surrounded by neighbors willing to kill themselves in order to destroy it. "As much as you love life, we love death," Muslim clerics teach; the same formula is found in a Palestinian textbook for second graders. Apart from the fact that the Arabs are among the least free, least educated, and (apart from the oil states) poorest peoples in the world, they also are the unhappiest, even in their wealthiest kingdoms.

The contrast of Israeli happiness and Arab despondency is what makes peace an elusive goal in the region. It cannot be attributed to material conditions of life. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia ranks 171st on an international quality of life index, below Rwanda. Israel is tied with Singapore on this index, although it should be observed that Israel ranks a runaway first on my life-preference index, whereas Singapore comes in dead last.

Even less can we blame unhappiness on experience, for no nation has suffered more than the Jews in living memory, nor has a better excuse to be miserable. Arabs did not invent suicide attacks, but they have produced a population pool willing to die in order to inflict damage greater than any in history. One cannot help but conclude that Muslim clerics do not exaggerate when they express contempt for life.

Israel's love of life, moreover, is more than an ethnic characteristic. Those who know Jewish life through the eccentric lens of Jewish-American novelists such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, or the films of Woody Allen, imagine the Jews to be an angst-ridden race of neurotics. Secular Jews in America are no more fertile than their Gentile peers, and by all indications quite as miserable.

For one thing, Israelis are far more religious than American Jews. Two-thirds of Israelis believe in God, although only a quarter observe their religion strictly. Even Israelis averse to religion evince a different kind of secularism than we find in the secular West. They speak the language of the Bible and undergo 12 years of Bible studies in state elementary and secondary schools.

Faith in God's enduring love for a people that believes it was summoned for his purposes out of a slave rabble must be part of the explanation. The most religious Israelis make the most babies. Ultra-Orthodox families produce nine children on average. That should be no surprise, for people of faith are more fertile than secular people, as I showed in a statistical comparison across countries.

Traditional and modern societies have radically different population profiles, for traditional women have little choice but to spend their lives pregnant in traditional society. In the modern world, where fertility reflects choice rather than compulsion, the choice to raise children expresses love of life. The high birthrate in Arab countries still bound by tradition does not stand comparison to Israeli fertility, by far the highest in the modern world.

The faith of Israelis is unique. Jews sailed to Palestine as an act of faith, to build a state against enormous odds and in the face of hostile encirclement, joking, "You don't have to be crazy to be a Zionist, but it helps." In 1903 Theodor Herzl, the Zionist movement's secular founder, secured British support for a Jewish state in Uganda, but his movement shouted him down, for nothing short of the return to Zion of Biblical prophecy would requite it. In place of a modern language the Jewish settlers revived Hebrew, a liturgical language only since the 4th century BC, in a feat of linguistic volition without precedent. It may be that faith burns brighter in Israel because Israel was founded by a leap of faith.

Two old Jewish jokes illustrate the Israeli frame of mind.

Two elderly Jewish ladies are sitting on a park bench in St Petersburg, Florida. "Mrs Levy," asks the first, "what do you hear from your son Isaac in Detroit?" "It's just awful," Mrs Levy replies. "His wife died a year ago and left him with two little girls. Now he's lost his job as an accountant with an auto-parts company, and his health insurance will lapse in a few weeks. With the real estate market the way it is, he can't even sell his house. And the baby has come down with leukemia and needs expensive treatment. He's beside himself, and doesn't know what to do. But does he write a beautiful Hebrew letter - it's a pleasure to read."

There are layers to this joke, but the relevant one here is that bad news is softened if written in the language of the Bible, which to Jews always conveys hope.

The second joke involves the American businessman who emigrated to Israel shortly after its founding. On his arrival, he orders a telephone, and waits for weeks without a response. At length he applies in person to the telephone company, and is shown into the office of an official who explains that there is a two-year waiting list, and no way to jump the queue. "Do you mean there is no hope?," the American asks. "It is forbidden for a Jew to say there is no hope!," thunders the official. "No chance, maybe." Hope transcends probability.

If faith makes the Israelis happy, then why are the Arabs, whose observance of Islam seems so much stricter, so miserable? Islam offers its adherents not love - for Allah does not reveal Himself in love after the fashion of YHWH - but rather success. "The Islamic world cannot endure without confidence in victory, that to 'come to prayer' is the same thing as to 'come to success'. Humiliation - the perception that the ummah cannot reward those who submit to it - is beyond its capacity to endure," I argued in another location. Islam, or "submission", does not understand faith - trust in a loving God even when His actions appear incomprehensible - in the manner of Jews and Christians. Because the whim of Allah controls every event from the orbit of each electron to the outcome of battles, Muslims know only success or failure at each moment in time.

The military, economic and cultural failures of Islamic societies are intolerable in Muslim eyes; Jewish success is an abomination, for in the view of Muslims it is the due of the faithful, to be coveted and seized from the usurpers at the first opportunity. It is not to much of a stretch to assert that Israel's love of live, its happiness in faith, is precisely the characteristic that makes a regional peace impossible to achieve. The usurpation of the happiness that Muslims believe is due to them is sufficient cause to kill one's self in order to take happiness away from the Jewish enemy. If Israel's opponents fail to ruin Israel's happiness, there is at least a spark of hope that they may decide to choose happiness for themselves.

Why are none of the Christian nations as happy as Israel? Few of the European nations can be termed "Christian" at all. Poland, the last European country with a high rate of attendance at Mass (at about 45%), nonetheless shows a fertility rate of only 1.27, one of Europe's lowest, and a suicide rate of 16 per 100,000. Europe's faith always wavered between adherence to Christianity as a universal religion and ethnic idolatry under a Christian veneer. European nationalism nudged Christianity to the margin during the 19th century, and the disastrous world wars of the past century left Europeans with confidence neither in Christianity nor in their own nationhood.

Only in pockets of the American population does one find birth rates comparable to Israel's, for example among evangelical Christians. There is no direct way to compare the happiness of American Christians and Israelis, but the tumultuous and Protean character of American religion is not as congenial to personal satisfaction. My suspicion is that Israel's happiness is entirely unique.

It is fashionable these days to speculate about the end of Israel, and Israel's strategic position presents scant cause for optimism, as I contended recently. Israel's future depends on the Israelis. During 2,000 years of exile, Jews remained Jews despite forceful and often violent efforts to make them into Christians or Muslims. One has to suppose that they did not abandon Judaism because they liked being Jewish. With utmost sincerity, the Jews prayed thrice daily, "It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to acclaim the greatness of the One who forms all creation, for God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us the same as other families of the Earth. God did not place us in the same situations as others, and our destiny is not the same as anyone else's."

If the Israelis are the happiest country on Earth, as the numbers indicate, it seems possible that they will do what is required to keep their country, despite the odds against them. I do not know whether they will succeed. If Israel fails, however, the rest of the world will lose a unique gauge of the human capacity for happiness as well as faith. I cannot conceive of a sadder event.

Notes

[1] There are many ancient nations, eg, the Basques, but no other that speaks the same language as it did more than 3,000 years ago, occupies more or less the same territory, and, most important, maintains a continuous literary record of its history, which is to say an interrupted national consciousness.

[2] The countries shown in the chart are:

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

JPost: Now Those Nutcase Righties Will Attack!


(AFP)

Here’s the spin the self-hating, murder-loving, religious-hating, Arab-loving, G-d-hating, grossly irresponsible – and frankly downright dangerous - extreme left wing media. Oh, they also happen to be exceptionally clueless. That or they just are malicious liars but I’m trying to be optimistic.

Take Amir Mizroch, news editor for the Jerusalem Post. He still just doesn’t get it!

Let me sum up his article entitled: Attack will be seen in Messianic terms

In a nutshell Mizroch claims that those “Nutcase Religious Zionists” are going to be so “seething with anger” that they are going to run into the streets shooting wildly blowing up anything that moves!

Moron! (I’m not name calling – it’s a scientific term.)

(Parenthetically, more evidence of his sheer stupidity is demonstrated in this flatly false assertion: “Very few people outside the religious Zionist population have even heard of Mercaz Harav, let alone know somebody who studies there.”)

Mizroch continues, “There may even be some on the fringes of the settlement movement who will want to take the law into their own hands and carry out a revenge attack, maybe even against targets in East Jerusalem, where it looks like the killer came from.”

Let me give you a clue Mr. Mizroch. Have you ever looked inside the Torah? Do you even know what a Torah is? Or should we say “Very few people outside the religious Zionist population have even heard of a Torah, let alone looked inside one?”

Sir, since we know very few people outside the religious Zionist population even own a Bible I’ll just have to fill you in here.

The angel of G-d said to her, “You are pregnant, and will give birth to a son. You must name him Ishmael, for G-d has heard your prayer. He will be a wild-ass of a man. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him.” (Genesis 16:11 – 12)

Wild-ass men shoot rockets at innocent civilians. Wild-ass men blow up public buses in the middle of cities. Wild-ass men brutally murder defenseless teenage Yeshiva students in cold blood. Wild-ass men fire their weapons into the air at funerals demanding revenge and then hand candy out to their children when it transpires.

The Jews - even those “right-wing nut-job Jews” are not wild-ass men. (Wise-guy leftists are itching to yell out “Baruch Goldstein” – very good. The fact that you remember his name proves how unique he is. Now can you name even one Arab terrorist that blew himself up on a bus? What’s that? No? Why not? Oh, I see. There are just too many?)

The way Mizroch writes you would think that at the funerals on Friday all the Jews were firing their weapons into the air. Guess what? They didn’t. Jews aren’t the wild-ass men. So stop your shameful, hateful, attacks – incitement even - that claim that the Jews are something they are not!

Amir Mizroch – Wow, what a dork! (Now I’m name calling!)

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Horrific And Depressing Photos Of The Attack (Graphic)


I did not take the following photos. They are a collection of various media photos and government press office photos which I found posted on a messageboard. I debated if there is any purpose in posting these here. I concluded that they are important for the sole purpose of gaining an understanding of the situation - to see it with our own eyes. To see it and to feel more connected with our holy brothers so that we could daven with the proper kavanah for a speedy redemption and an end once an for all to these atrocities. Tonight our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and indeed all of kal yisrael - since we are all the very same family.

Be warned the photos below are rather graphic and do contain blood. If you do not want to see them - don't scroll down.
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Israeli police deployed inside the 'yeshiva,' or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem on 06 March 2008 after two Palestinians dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jewish yeshiva students entered and shot and killed at least eight Jewish students, wounding another 15, according to Israeli police. The two Palestinians were killed and one was wearing a suicide bomber's belt, which did not explode.
[Later reports said 7 students were murdered, and fewer were wounded - two seriously and that there was only one terrorist. Later reports also said the belt turned out to be for more ammo.-P]

Israeli police detain a suspect as he is led down stairs with a sweatshirt pulled over his head inside the 'yeshiva,' or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem on 06 March 2008 [I do not know who this "suspect" is or was since later reports said there was only one terrorist who was killed. -P]


Israeli medics rush a seriously wounded young Israeli to an ambulance outside The Wohl Torah Center, a 'yeshiva,' or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem on 06 March 2008 [Please say tehillim for the wounded. As soon as we have a list of names we will post it. -P]





A handout photograph supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) showsIsraeli medics hold up a prayer shawl soaked in blood that has a bullet hole as they clean up inside the 'yeshiva,' or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem on 06 March 2008


A handout photograph supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) shows bullet holes and blood stains inside and what appears to be the body of one of the two Palestinian gunmen inside the 'yeshiva,' or Jewish seminary, in Jerusalem on 06 March 2008

More Photos Here...

UPDATE2: Please say Tehillim for Naftali ben Gila from Sderot, Yonatan ben Avital, Shimon ben Tirza, Nadav ben Hadas, Reuven ben Naomi and Elchanan ben Zehava

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Revenge of the Hajj Heat Rash




WARNING: The article you are about to read is not in any way related to sophisticated political analysis or higher spiritual thought. It's just darn funny.

Hajj Pilgrims Offered Relief From Chafed Thighs
July 16, 2007

RIYADH -- Help is being offered to Muslims afflicted by chafed thighs during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Gazette reported Saturday.

Worshipers at the annual event are to be offered "seamless trousers" for the first time to guard against chafing, the English language daily said.

The trousers are designed to be worn under the ihram, the loose-fitting white robe worn by Muslims undertaking the pilgrimage.

"Pilgrims often complain of sore thighs because of friction as a result of long walks. The trouser will protect the thighs," the paper said.

The pilgrimage, which is expected to next take place in December, is one of the five pillars of Islam that all able-bodied Muslims must undertake once in a lifetime if they have the means.

Nearly 2.4 million people flocked to holy sites in Saudi Arabia earlier this year to perform the Hajj, including more than 1.6 million from outside the kingdom.

In January 2006, 364 pilgrims were killed in a crush during the pilgrimage's stoning ritual.

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Dear Ahmeds and Fatimas,

Shalom from Israel! Sorry about the shifshuf (but that's how it is in our crazy Middle East, right?). I'm so happy for you... seamless pants, that's great - and novel!

I found somemore info in our shared quest for a chafe-free lifestyle. Just hand over all Jewish captives, and you can have it.

Okay, you got me! I'll give it to you for free - like everything else:

HOW TO PREVENT CHAFING

Chafing often occurs on the inner thigh, groin area, armpits, nipples, etc. as a result of sweating, and friction from body parts rubbing together, or friction from clothing. The best treatment for chafing is prevention.

Stay hydrated - Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Among other things, staying well hydrated will help prevent chafing by allowing you to perspire freely. When you stop perspiring your sweat will form salt crystals on your body increasing friction.

Clothing - Select snug fitting (but not tight) clothing. Shorts or jog bras that are too tight or too loose will create friction and rubbing.

Choose breathable, wicking fabrics .... Coolmax, Supplex, Polypro, etc are good choices. No cotton!

Clothing should have few seams, flat seams, and small flat stitching.

Do not wear untested clothing on a long walk and never wear unwashed new clothing.

Stay Dry - Use talcum powder or cornstarch to stay dry. (Gold Bond is highly recommended and can be found in most drug stores. Two Toms Blister shield is another good option.)

Lubricant - When you increase your mileage all other efforts may fail. It is time for real preventative. There are a variety of lubricants on the market. They are readily available at most running stores. Many people use petroleum jelly because it is inexpensive and easy to find. I don't really like the consistency, and find it doesn't stay on as well as many of the sports/running products.

Make your own lubricant - with this recipe I found on a couple of the running boards. Mix equal parts A & D ointment (diaper rash cream) and Vaseline (1 cup each). Then add vitamin E cream and Aloe Vera cream (1/4 cup each) to improve consistency and smell. (Mixture should be stiff, yet applicable.) It not only protects skin from chafing but can help heal the skin and also is helpful with blister prevention. Low cost and effective. Measurements do not have to be accurate.... this is not baking!

Treatment - The general treatment for chafing is to treat the area by washing with soap and cool to luke warm water. Then apply an antibacterial ointment or antiseptic spray, cover with a bandaid or sterile gauze. This works well, but I prefer A and D ointment. (Yes, the diaper rash ointment!!) It relieves pain and itch, promotes healing, and keeps the area lubricated so you can continue walking without discomfort. After this product was recommended to some fellow walkers it soon became known as "Magic A & D" it works so well.

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I hope you guys have a super-awesome hajj this year, filled with all those cool tramplings and self-flagellatings that make you guys so fun.

Love,
Your Sister By The Same Mister,
Malkah



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Sunday, June 03, 2007

You Just Don't Get It!




My Sefardi former roommate used to tell me that Ashkenazi Jews have no idea how to deal with Arabs. That only the Sefardim understood how to because they lived with Arabs for hundreds of years and understood the Arab mind set. And so when a Torah Giant like Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, shlita, (former Sefardi Chief Rabbi) implores the Prime Minister to carpet bomb Gaza to stop the Arab attacks - he is not only speaking with the full wisdom of the Torah but also from an intimate knowledge of Arab culture. But when Western thinking people hear this they will cringe - like shooky who commented on this very blog - "And last time I checked, killing of innocents is forbidden by Judaism." Yet anyone who feels this way and can't understand how a great rabbi could advocate such "an evil notion" feels that way simply because they are clueless as to Arab culture and to Arab ideology.

My Rebbe back in Queens, Rabbi Shafier, (www.TheShmuz.com) discussed this in depth. If you want to truly understand the middle east conflict in a new light you must watch this video. It will be an hour very well spent. It gets really good 20 minutes into it - though I strongly recommend listening to the whole thing as the first 20 minutes are necessary to explain the last 10 minutes.

Here are some excerpts:

...and the fact that the United Nations doesn't have a clue, the fact that the European Union doesn't get it, is a rather curious fact. But what is even more astounding is the fact that most secular Israelis don't get it. They don't get it. They assume it's our fault. Clearly we've been too oppressive. Clearly we're a totalitarian regime. We've occupied their land - even though again, there was no Palestinian people before 67 - Jordan is their place - they're not oppressed - the Arabs in Israel have a better standard of living than the Arabs in all the other Arab countries. But we're too oppressive and the average secular Israeli feels guilty and has a real problem dealing with our participation in the "Palestinian oppression."

...There is no answer to anti-Semitism. There's no logical reason, no sociological factor, no logic based on history, it's a very different sort of animal you are dealing with.

...If you'd like to understand why is it that western culture can't get it it's because the Palestinian people, what they speak about, what they dream about, has no basis in Western culture. You see, if you live, eat, sleep and drink the acquisition of wealth, if making it means a bigger house, a fancier car, and you assume everyone is like you, you have a very difficult problem understanding why a 20 year old will strap 20 kilos of explosives to his chest, to destroy himself just to take a few Jews with him. And because there is no logical answer within the context of your ideology the answer clearly has to be that Israel is doing something so heinous to them, so criminal, that we can't even understand it, but it's clear that they're being oppressed.

But the Palestinians make no beef about it. They say clearly. It's not about the homeland. It's not about occupation. It's about religion. It's about God. It's about the Jews. Their charter says it. They say it. And no one gets it. And the reason why no one gets it is because it doesn't fit in to Western culture.

Because you see, when you talk about God I get a bit uncomfortable. I'm not really sure I believe in God to being with, and to believe that people actually give up their lives for God? It doesn't make sense!

And rather than believe what they say, rather than listen to their words, the UN, the European Union, the vast majority of the population of the world, believe some very, very silly ideas.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Exclusive: Meeting of the Elders, 10/05/07


the Elders when they were a bit younger

The Elders have met again. This took place last Thursday in the vicinity of the Temple Institute. Sorry it took me this long to get the info, but you're not going to get this anywhere else so just be grateful!

Anyhow, this meeting was devoted to a Stages Plan and to updates regarding the tunnel work currently being painstakingly carried out under the Temple Mount. When I say painstaking, I am understating to the maximum degree: the digs are performed by teams that include archaeologists and explosive experts - this is not just your ordinary tunnel. Plus there are acoustic issues - it's important that the people praying in the mosques don't hear the guys chiseling away. Sipur mehahaftara as we say!

So the tunnel part is confidential, I was not even allowed to look at the protocol dealing with that.

As for the Stages Plan, here is the relevant section:

Reb Moishe ben Duvid: Hey, why do Jews have big noses?

Reb Itamar ben Fishel: Because the air is for free, yes we know that one! Go on if you want to present your plan!

Reb Moishe ben Duvid: OK OK. So here is the plan I suggest. I have been speaking with Reb Effie [Eitam] about this by the way, he is leaking the plan in bits and pieces so the public can get used to it.

Stage A as you see in this chart is to make the public discourse in Israel a bit more aggressive and violent, get the pacifists in the media to gradually shut their yaps. This is progressing nicely. The tone is less sissyish and more violent, and this is good. I am seeing graffiti that says 'Kahana Tzadak' and it is not getting wiped away as fast as it used to.

Stage B is to get 'the cocktail' in government. I say cocktail because while we do not have a leader who can cure us from our AIDS, we can, through a combination of leaders, hold off the Arabs for quite a while. The cocktail looks like it will include Netanyahu and Eitam.

Stage C is to whack the Israeli Arab population over the head as we say. This we will accomplish by staging a provocation and then getting the 'cocktail' to declare martial law throughout the major Arab concentrations, from the Galilee to the Negev. There will be a curfew for at least a year, probably much longer, and it will be strictly and harshly enforced.

Stage D will be to convince the government to start bombing the Arabs in Yehuda Shomron and Aza, and show the world that we can be as mean, crazy and underhanded as the worst of them if need be. We don't play by the rules when the other side doesn't.

Stage E will involve a 1948-style expulsion of 90% of the Yesha Arabs.

Stage F will involve resettling 2-3 million Jews who will stream here, mostly from the USA, as a result of the massive anti-Semitic wave stage E will engender.

Stage G will involve getting some serious allies with us as we prepare for Stage H, the showdown with the Mohammedans. This means Zionist Christians but also countries like India and possibly Africa [I must say I agree with him: some sub-saharan African countries were the only ones who did not boycott the Jerusalem Day event! They have a simple, true belief, they love us and we need to be less racist and accept their love - G.R.].

Stage H will be the showdown! If we lose we die. If we win - we get tons and tons of oil and we die laughing!

(general laughter)

END OF PROTOCOL

That's all I have for now.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Little Mosque on the Prairie


I'm one of those American/Israeli Jews who never really divorced herself from American pop culture. Not that I was so into it to begin with, but I'm still more entertained by American content than by Israeli. And I have a weakness for TV. This moral turpitude has led me to discover a wide and wonderful world of programming on the internet, seeing as I'm so far away from my good friends at NBC and CBS.

Every once in a while, you not only find something entertaining, but you find something educational or important.

On one sunny afternoon, unable to soothe my TV gluttony, I perused a site and found a series whose title made me laugh out loud - Little Mosque on the Prairie.


Online Videos by Veoh.com

At the website www.alloftv.net, you can watch all the episodes that have been syndicated so far. Produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, this show is meant to show you how sweet, regular, and downright endearing Muslims are, and what a pleasure it would be if only you could have some in your neighborhood. A more brilliant and subtle-yet-unsubtle piece of propaganda one nary has the privilege to witness.

So I propose we come up with some counter propaganda- so far, I have "Little Third Temple on the Prairie", "Days of Our Pascal Offerings", "Afikomen Break" (a drama about a lost Afikomen and the angsty attempts of the family to find it and eat it) and "CSI" (Coming Soon to Israel, a show about how ALL the Jews want to make aliyah, and how easy, fun, and economically satisfying it is). There's also "The Cosby Show", about that nasty incident involving Pinchas and public impropriety, but I think that's a more Cinemax niche.

Touche to Arabia - nice work. Darn it.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

That ISP Commercial With the 'Kravi Zeh Hachi' Guy in 'Iran'


The following ad plays on some of the deepest emotions of many Israelis - the very fantasies that allowed the Oslo Accords and their various reincarnations to occur and the instincts that make folks like Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert state plainly that a "political horizon" must be created, whether or not one exists in reality.

This is not a bad thing necessarily. There is nothing wrong with yearning for a time when we can minagev hummus in Tehran (though the video clip could not even be filmed there, but was shot in Turkey I believe), but making connections over the Internet (the commercial is for an Israeli Internet Service Provider) is truly more likely to bring that day about than surrender of our birthright piece by piece.

What is even more likely to bring this day about is the Sinaitic Road Map for Peace, aka the Torah. And I'm not talking about going through as many motions as possible until the Temple falls out of the sky, but about implementing the national obligations that have fallen upon us since our return to our land (establishment of a Sanhedrin, observance of the Shemitta year, the assertion of the kind of sovreignty over the Temple Mount that would enable the obligation to bring the Korban Pesach to be actualized, etc.).

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Led Zepplin Knows Purim




Led Zepplin (one of the great bands of all time) has a song - it is called Gallows Pole. I find it to be a great Purim anthem, and I shall explain.

Here is the song and here are the lyrics of "Gallows Pole":

"Hangman, hangman, hold it a little while,
Think I see my friends coming, Riding a many mile.
Friends, did you get some silver?
Did you get a little gold?

What did you bring me, my dear friends, To keep me from the Gallows Pole?
What did you bring me to keep me from the Gallows Pole?"


[What is this silver and gold that the song refers to? Could it related to the strory of Haman's attempt to destroy the Jews? Here is the text of the Megilla:

3;8. Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not observe the king's laws, so it is not in the king's interest to let them remain.
9. "If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king's business, to put into the king's treasuries."
10. Then the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews.
11. The king said to Haman, "The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please."]

The song continues:

"Hangman, hangman, turn your head awhile,
I think I see my sister coming, riding a many mile, mile, mile.
Sister, I implore you, take him by the hand,
Take him to some shady bower, save me from the wrath of this man,
Please take him, save me from the wrath of this man, man."


[The wrath of which man? Who must the Jews be saved from?

7;3. Then Queen Esther replied, "If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request;
4. for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king."
5. Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, "Who is he, and where is he, who would presume to do thus?"
6. Esther said, "A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!" Then Haman became terrified before the king and queen.]

The song continues:

"Oh, yes, you got a fine sister, She warmed my blood from cold,
Brought my blood to boiling hot To keep you from the Gallows Pole
,
Your brother brought me silver, Your sister warmed my soul,
But now I laugh and pull so hard And see you swinging on the Gallows Pole"


[Who is this fine sister? You can guess...

2;15. Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her.
16. So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus to his royal palace in the tenth month which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17. The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.]

The song ends:

"Swingin' on the gallows pole!"

[Yes indeed, may we seen Haman swinging on the gallows pole!!

7;10. So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king's anger subsided.]

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Propaganda - My Fave




First of all, how incredibly cool is this new blog? I love the smell of Neo-Zionism in the morning. Smells like victory.

Amidst numerous calls we'll be making for a better Israel on this blog, we'll be adamantly calling for real Jewish control over the Temple Mount and the ultimate rebuilding of the Third Temple (hey - it's good for everybody).

Just in case you weren't aware, this is actually what this "second Intifada" is about - control of the Temple Mount (which is code for spiritual control over the Holy Land).

I am no fancy political analyst, but I predict major violence throughout Israel in the next 2 weeks, and onward, because of (or rather, on the pretext of) construction by Israel at the Mugrabi gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Some of you may recall a certain destructive earthquake 3 years ago which destroyed this path to the Temple Mount, revealing an ancient arch, and significantly reducing the size of the women's section at the Western Wall. Israel built a rather ugly wooden ramp on to the Mount as a temporary fix, but is now embarking on an 8 month project to revitalize the ramp and extend it (foreboding good times of massive Jewish ascent to that area, I hope).

In response, the local Arabs are swinging from the trees. Both Fatah and Hamas have issued raging, testosterony vows of havoc and terror if Israel touches any of their mosques (remember: this is about rebuilding a bridge outside the Temple Mount, in the Jewish Quarter), creating a rare moment of Jew-hate-inspired unity between warring Arab factions.

Israel National News, JPost, Haaretz, Ynet, and all the others have articles up on this story. However, I found the real gem at a website that we Jews don't often visit: Hamas'.

I dare say that such boldly delicious propaganda is rarely found in languages you or I could read, so I invite you to the capital of Flavor Country:

Israel starts demolishing parts of Aqsa Mosque amidst world silence
Feb 6, 2007, 11:25

Occupied Jerusalem - The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) started on Tuesday destroying two rooms and a bridge leading to the Maghareba gate, one of the entrances to the Aqsa Mosque.

Two Israeli bulldozers were involved in destroying the Muslim landmarks in the early hours of Tuesday morning amidst reports revealing that Israeli settlers were actively involved in the demolition...

Israel alleged that it was constructing a permanent pathway connecting the Western Wall adjacent to the Aqsa Mosque in place of an old way, which was destroyed by snowfall.

Palestinians, for their part, belied the Israeli allegations, and accused the Israeli occupation government of conspiring to finally destroy the Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest Muslim shrine world-wide, and to install the alleged Third Temple on its ruins.

They also refuted Israeli claims that the old pathway was destroyed by snowfall, affirming that the road’s foundations were weakened by the persistent IOA excavations under it over the past years.

Palestinian Chief Justice Tayseer Al-Tamimi affirmed that the IOF troops sealed off all roads leading to the occupied city of Jerusalem and beefed up security measures in an attempt to prevent angry Palestinian masses from blocking the IOA plans.

He also noted that the Israeli occupation government exploited the recent unfortunate inter-Palestinian fighting in Gaza Strip and the West Bank to execute their plans.

"The Aqsa Mosque is in real danger and needs Muslim support to defend and spare it the rancorous Israeli conspiracies", Tamimi asserted as he urged Palestinian masses to organize massive demonstrations against the IOA procedures.

... The PA Awkaf (endowment) ministry hailed efforts of the Islamic Movement in unveiling Israeli connivances against the Mosque, adding that the Movement was the only party blocking the IOA atrocities against the Aqsa Mosque amidst unexplainable silence on the part of Arab and Muslim leaders and peoples.

... In the past, Israeli fanatic groups, which are secretly sanctioned by the IOA, attempted to storm and demolish the Aqsa Mosque, including the 1969 attempt to burn it at the hands of a Jewish settler of Australian origin, and the desecration attempt that former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon carried out in the Mosque in the year 2000, which triggered the Aqsa intifada, among other attempts.


That was cute.

Now, I want to share with you some related information, about excavations in the City of David, and the incredible finds (and the incredible lies of our enemies). Listen to this great interview with Doron Spielman, Director of Development at Ir David.

Press "Play" below to listen the interview with Doron Spielman





He speaks about the recent discovery of an ancient stairway from the Shiloach pool all the way to the Temple.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Undercover Jewish Settlers of the Palestinian Authority


So I live on what the Road Map for Peace established as an "unauthorized outpost." The arbitrary date chosen in order to define such a community was the day Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister for the first time (after all, he was the one accepting the Road Map from the aptly named Mafia of nations referring to themselves as "The Quartet" [were their foreign ministers sitting together at a banquet some time and the Russian official suddenly came up with that clever name?])

Normally, life is quite pastoral in Sde Boaz. It is the highest point in Gush Etzion, overlooking all the main roads, Jerusalem, Jordan, the Mediterranean and the Ela Valley. We have very real relations with the local Arab farmers who tend old vineyards behind our homes and who, in turn, ensure that their progeny do not get involved in the local Jihad groups active in the neighboring villages of El-Khader, Husan and Nahlin.

To make a long story short (with the help of a link), this happened over Shabbat Tu B'Shvat: Click here for English, here for Hebrew (includes video)

Incidentally, one of the "Internationals," as she called herself, has a blog and blogged about her excursion to Sde Boaz.

I am excited for her reply to my hasty, unedited missive in her comments section. I am pretty sure she is going to apologize for taking part in destroying our orchard and ask if she can volunteer to do kind of a habitat-for-humanity gig on the hilltop building our first permanent house. And as she reveals in her blog, she is a Jewess.

I have this theory that the Neturei Karta folks who set up a synagogue in Ramallah, all the ISM Jews living in villages around Judea and Samaria - in Area A (full PA control) - all of them: undercover settlers. These are just folks that are sick of the bourgeoisie settlement enterprise and looking for the real Chumra of Yishuv Haaretz - the real stringent application of the Biblical mandate of settling every part of the land.

MK Davis, rock on. You have led the Jewish resettlement of Beit Oumar, under the guise of radical politics, and for that I salute you.

And thank you for the intelligence photos of the fellow in the yellow jacket who escaped arrest with help from the violent internationals (who are also depicted in the act) and other photos of a young man down by the very trees which were destroyed.

I hope I didn't blow your cover.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

"My Enemies Make Me Wise"




Who is More Passionate About Israel: Jews or Arabs?
From Simon Jacobson

Riddle time. Take this little multiple-choice test (and don't peek at the answer below).

Ok, ready?

Who is the author of the following quote?

"[the Jews are] more afraid to fight for the Promised Land than they are of G-d. For this reason, the Jewish people does not find it hard to break the covenant between G-d and Abraham, which awarded the Land of Israel to the Jewish people for all generations. That is why G-d has despaired of the Jews. After bequeathing them every possible means for securing victory and independence, G-d found His effort had been in vain."

Choose the author.

1) Israel's Labor party.

2) Rabbi Kook.

3) The Satmar Rebbe.

4) The Lubavitcher Rebbe.

5) Gush Emunim.

6) Al Qaeda.

7) The Christian Right.

8) Likud.

9) Woody Allen.

10) Agudah.

11) All the above.

12) None of the above; it's a fabricated quote.

The answer is #6! The quote is from a five-page essay published in Al Qaeda's new print-Internet magazine Zerwat al Sanam (Tip of the Camel's Hump). The article appears under the alias of Abu Zubeida al-Baghdadi and is titled: How Should Islam Relate to the Jews?

Here are excerpts from the article (translated from the Arabic by debka.com):

Al Baghdadi divides Muslim lore on the Jewish people into two stages.

"Stage One: Allah decided to test the Jews when they were still an oppressed people [in Egypt]. He seeks to lead them to the path of faith and victory and therefore urges them to conquer the Land of Israel. But the Jewish people's main weakness emerges at this early stage. Its shoulders are too feeble to carry the heavy burden; the Jews always aspire to victory, but they are not willing to devote the necessary effort, sacrifice or sweat to achieve this end.

"The Jews have learned and must still learn that there is no victory without sacrifice.

To this day, the Jews have not discovered that which heaven imparted to us [the Muslims], that Allah grants victory only to he who dares cross the threshold and face danger alone. But the sons of Israel want G-d to go before them and win their victory for them."

The writer here differentiates between God's authentic representatives and Jews who, he says, make cynical use of the divinity.

"Stage Two: Throughout the generations it transpired that Jews, unlike Muslims, do not fear Allah and are incapable of understanding that the world?s moving force is fear of Allah, not of people. For example, they are even more afraid to fight for the Promised Land than they are of G-d.

"For this reason, the Jewish people does not find it hard to break the covenant between G-d and Abraham, which awarded the Land of Israel to the Jewish people for all generations.

"That is why Allah has despaired of the Jews. After bequeathing them every possible means for securing victory and independence, G-d found his effort had been in vain. Therefore the time has come to get rid of the Jews, because that is Allah's wish," al Baghdadi concludes.

There you have it.

Believe me when I say that I cringed when I read these lines. And I cringed even more when I cited them in this week's article. The last thing I want to do is quote Al Qaeda dogma and its virulent Jew baiting anti-Semitism. And the last thing anyone of us needs are violent killers of the innocent lecturing Jews about breaking G-d's covenant.

But, as the Psalmist says "from my enemies I have become wise" (Psalms 119:98). Sometimes you have to enter the belly of the beast to learn deeper truths about ourselves and our battles.

In this case we enter not the lion's den, but the "tip of the camel's hump." Interesting that a camel's hump is a reference among Islamic militants to the "epitome of belief and virtuous activity." Hump indeed!

I therefore want to make it absolutely clear that I see no virtue or merit in the words of the camel's hump other than another dangerous, ranting call to violence veiled in theological shrouds. Make no mistake: We have witnessed the blood curdling hatred of Islamic radicals in their jihad against the infidels and the hated Jews, and are not deceived by any of its attempted justifications.

Yet, regardless of the terrorist's brutal intentions and their sub-human behavior, we can learn much even from their philosophical masquerade.

An adversary can help us expose our own vulnerabilities and what needs fortifying. Look at the place the opposition attacks, and you learn what you need to protect. Just like pain directs us to a problem (or in a reverse analogy: anti-bodies lead us to identify an infection), enemies, not friends, can often direct us to the root of the predicament.

The first thing we learn is that we are faced with a religious, ideological war. Whether the secular West likes or not, the enemy bluntly sees the conflict between Islam and the West as a religious-territorial battle rather than a moral-social one.

The enemy clearly has strong beliefs. However distorted, we cannot deny their passion and their single-minded focus. Which compels us to ask ourselves: What do we believe in with equal passion? Do we have an ideology, a vision that we can be proud of and feel driven to share with the world?

The second question we must ask is an even harder one to face: Is there any truth to al Baghdadi's argument that the Jews do "not find it hard to break the covenant between G-d and Abraham, which awarded the Land of Israel to the Jewish people for all generations"?!

Is he correct in saying that the Jewish people are "are not willing to devote the necessary effort, sacrifice or sweat to achieve" victory in conquering the Land of Israel, that they are "incapable of understanding that the world's moving force is fear of G-d, not of people," and that "they are even more afraid to fight for the Promised Land than they are of G-d"?!

Remember, regardless of this writer's reprehensible intentions, he brings up a powerful point that we must ask ourselves: Why are Jews living in Israel in the first place? Why should 5 million people insist on creating an oasis amidst 250 million plus Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East?!

I for one absolutely believe that the Jewish people in their heart of hearts know that Israel is the Promised Land and the Holy Land. They know that it is their homeland and are willing to do whatever is necessary to live in the Promised Land. They are ready to fight and do find it hard to break the covenant between G-d and Abraham.

The only reason that it doesn't always appear that way, thus provoking the question, is because of a profound apathy coupled with ignorance that has descended on our generation (and generations past), which is concealing our souls and our innermost beliefs.

Much can be said about the causes and forces that have shaped contemporary assimilation. Finger pointing is not the issue at this point. We are all victims - or survivors - of a deep-rooted erosion of spiritual integrity that has accumulated over the years, and is perhaps the greatest challenge of our times.

Mind you this is not a phenomenon exclusive to Israel, but a global one. We live in a materialistic universe, a prosperous and technological world, with the freedom to do as we wish, which tends to cause complacency to spiritual values, and blunts our ethereal sensitivity to our deepest beliefs. Most people living in a free society today cannot answer the question: What are you passionately ready to fight for?

As deep as the problem is around the world, in Israel the spiritual dissonance is amplified. In the center of the universe - where battles have been raging from the beginning of time - one can simply not afford to be complacent. Apathy in this region is tantamount to death.

It should therefore come as no surprise that Jews in Israel (and world over) struggle with their spiritual identity and their relationship with their land.

Hence, the challenge posed by the enemy, whether the Jewish people are ready to fight for "the covenant between G-d and Abraham, which awarded the Land of Israel to the Jewish people for all generations"?

Let us not be naive and believe that if the Muslim radicals suddenly saw all Jews as devout and G-d fearing they would drop their arms and embrace the Jewish right to the Promised Land.

But it sure makes you think about what we should be focusing on in these trying times.

Sometimes even a camel's hump can teach us a thing or two.

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