Women don't realize how powerful they are. The success of her family, her children and even her husband's income depend on her power. But like other types of raw power, it must be channeled in the right direction.
Political correctness and/or financial interests are preventing many of our elected representatives and spiritual leaders from opening their mouths. With ISIS on our borders and a renewal of missile fire in the South and mounting tensions in the north, someone must protest the Israeli-government sanctioned public debauchery in our holy homeland.
The Tel Aviv Municipality and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism have been playing with fire in recent years, flaunting Tel Aviv as one of the world's best gay tourist spots. Every year, thousands take the streets in a public display of debauchery, fully sanctioned by the Municipality and the Government. In fact, this past year, two ministers from Bibi's "Likud" ruling coalition party, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev and Communications Minister Ofer Akunis, proudly participated. I can't link to the articles in the media that write about it, because the photos are disgusting.
I don't believe that the religious members of the coalition will say a word, for they won't want to rock the boat now that they're back in power with their heads in the dinner plate in a narrow coalition. Yet, either the Israeli Government should strongly wash its hands of any support of public debauchery, or Aguda and Shas should bolt the government. Such a government doesn't deserve another day in power.
More of us must make our voices heard. I fear what is likely to happen if no one protests the continued public debauchery here in our holy homeland. Let us be on record, once more, that this is a much greater danger than Iranian or North Korean nukes. In fact, such public debauchery, on a spiritual level, fuels the engines of our enemies, for as our sages say in the "Ethics of the Fathers", every transgression creates an accusing angel. Mass public transgressions, sanctioned by the government, create doomsday spiritual forces. We must be courageous enough to stand up and protest.
This week's Emuna News Roundup talks about the connection between Yom Kippur and the continuation of rapid-succession natural disasters around the world, the double threat of North Korea and Iran, terror in Israel and an ethics lesson from professional sports:
Our sages tell us that the most difficult job that the Satan ever had to do was to bring all the calamities upon Job, yet keep him alive. The Midrash says that Hashem told the evil angel, "Break the barrel but don't spill the wine" (Yalkut Shimoni, Job, 2:893), a task that was even challenging for an archangel to do. Yet, despite setbacks here and there, Job weathered his excruciating tribulations with faith and was subsequently rewarded with even greater abundance than he enjoyed before he was tested.
Don't ever forget that the Satan, or any other entity in the spiritual or material realm, can do nothing without Divine sanction. Everything comes from Hashem, no matter who or what the messenger is.
So many people - the vast majority - and even the so-called "observant", have been beside themselves in attempting to separate between the recent one-after-the-other natural disasters and between Hashem, Heaven forbid. They don't want to face the fact that the disasters come directly from Hashem to stimulate us to do teshuva; what's more, they're angry at me for saying so. But even though they consider themselves "observant", the holy Rishon (13th CE sage) and prime student of the Ramban, Rabbenu Bachiya, said in his classic "Kad Hakemach" (see entry "Hashgacha") that anyone who denies Hashem's personal Divine Providence over everything is a heretic.
My mission, as is our goal here at Lazer Beams and with everything we do in Breslev Israel and Emuna Outreach, is to spread emuna. We don't debate with heretics, missionaries or any others with non-emuna goals. Nor are we democratic or politically correct. We are aligned with Torah alone, via the Shulchan Aruch Code of Jewish Law and our poskim of today, the great tzaddikim and particularly Rebbe Nachman of Breslev osb"m and our esteemed teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a, the tzaddik that Hashem has chosen to spread emuna to millions of people around the globe, both Jews and non-Jews. We don't force anyone to come here and to read our essays or listen to our shiurim. Nor do we try to force our opinions on anyone, as opposed to the massive pressure of the non-emuna media. Yet, we are the compassionate, for we're the ones who want to end the calamities, not perpetuate them as the "business-as-usual" folks do.
Don't take my word for it: see what the holy Rebbe Yonatan Eibshitz says in his classic book of his famous teachings, Yaarot Dvash (Forests of Honey) 1:10: "If one views misfortune as an accident rather than as a Divine warning to repent, they will continue to suffer." Consequently, the greatest cruelty on earth is denying that Hashem is using the natural disasters to wake us up, especially now, a mere week before Rosh Hashanah! Why? Such an attitude only brings on more tribulations and heartache.
When a powerful earthquake hit Japan in 1923 that destroyed Tokyo and Yokohama while killing over 100,000 people, news of the disaster reached The Chofetz Chaim. Despite the fact that he was in Radin, Russia, he himself fasted and urged all Jews to repent.
We pray that the 6.3 million Floridians who have long to return home, are able to soon. We pray that the homeless from the hurricanes of the Caribbean and the earthquakes of Mexico rebuild their homes and their lives. We pray that the folks of California, Oregon and Washington breathe clean air again with no smoke. We pray that no child on earth should ever hear the wail of missile-red-alert sirens. Yet, if we want those prayers to be answered, we have to do teshuva - each of us, whatever he or she can, to get closer to Hashem. Ignoring Hashem's wake-up calls will only trigger more fires, floods and war. Haven't we had enough?
Every human must feel responsible for the world, for he or she is literally capable to put an end to suffering. Let us all respond to Hashem in loving teshuva. Look at Hashem's love: who else could bring such record-breaking disasters yet with so few fatalities? This is Ezekiel's prophecy to the letter (Ezekiel 18:32), who says in the Name of Hashem, "I do not want the death of the dead, but that they shall return to Me and live." So once again, Hashem has ordered the Satans of disaster to to break the barrel (homes and infrastructure) but preserve the wine (human life). He loves us and He wants the best for us. Let's return to Him and call His Name. There's no time to waste.
With all the turmoil in the world, I sat down with my esteemed and beloved teacher, Rabbi Shalom Arush (image above, when he was speaking in LA and I was translating for him), may Hashem bless him with good health and length of days, to hear the clear voice of Da'at Torah, the proper Torah outlook and perspective on current events. Here's what he says about the top-trending news:
US and North Korea: "As Moshiach gets closer, Hashem is beautifying the world more and more. We see this with our own eyes. Hashem is building the world and beautifying the world. As far as the leaders of both countries who threaten each other back and forth, Hashem is laughing at them. They can go ahead and push buttons, but the buttons won't work."
Iran and Hizbulla's threats against Israel: "If the USA's and North Korea's buttons won't work, then neither will Iran's or Hezbulla's."
Terror in Spain and in the rest of Europe: "We deeply mourn the victims of the terror attacks and send our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. The terrorists come in the name of their evil, dark-side beliefs. The only way to fight them is with emuna, with true faith. This is the message for all of us, to strengthen our emuna to the extent that the light obliterates the darkness."
Charlottesville and racism: "Hashem loves all His children, irregardless of their color or race. To hate a person because of color is to hate the Creator Who created that person. Therefore, all the racists, no matter what religion they may profess, are far away from the Creator. To be a rascist, one must be a heretic, arrogant and totally devoid of emuna. The proof of equality among all men is that we are all obligated by the mitzva of emuna, to believe in Hashem. This is the same for non-Jew and Jew, for black, white or any other color."
Gog and Magog: "Both Rebbe Nachman and the Chafetz Chaim said that Gog and Magog would be a spiritual war, but a terrible one. The Evil Inclination has never been stronger in history, and by way of technology and the mass of online abomination, it is spiritually murdering people and tearing them from Hashem, Heaven forbid. Gog and Magog are the chatrooms, the texting, the screens and social media that render people zombies, unable to think, communicate or read. It's destroying families. People walk in the streets and dangerously drive their cars while their eyes are glued to their screens. They're addicted to texting and email, checking their smartphones every 30 seconds. This is Gog and Magog. The only way to fight this war is to get the screens out of our lives and to return to emuna, Torah and prayer. Few people will heed me, even in the religious world, because they're so badly addicted to the venom of their smartphones. I feel so sorry for them and the excuses they make to keep them. I pray that Hashem will have mercy on them."
Moshiach: "He'll conquer the world with his prayers, without firing a single shot."
EMP: "Don't worry about it. If Hashem wants someone to have lights in their home, they'll have lights."
Politicians and International Leaders: "Only Hashem decides, and the fate of the world is in His hands alone."
Surviving this Generation: "Strengthen yourself and your family in emuna. If you want the best protection of the best insurance policy in the universe, help spread emuna. That's what we're all here to do and that would really beautify the world."
Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu have changed their opinions radically, especially in the matter of Jerusalem and settlements in all areas of the Land of Israel. Despite earlier statements to the contrary, building is virtually frozen in those parts of the Land of Israel beyond the 1967 border, which Israel recaptured from Jordan in the Six-Day War. Not only that, but building in Jerusalem's post-1967 neighborhoods is frozen too, an unfortunate phenomenon that has caused the housing prices all over Israel - especially in the religious communities - to skyrocket.
Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu, who previously enjoyed good relations with Putin and Russia, have both had the red bear turn from friend to foe. With America, it's a dramatic worsening of relations and a new Cold War. With Israel, Russia has now placed combat forces on our Northern border.
Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu are suffering from aggravation from present and/or former close staffers.
There's more to say, but the above suffices.
What's behind all this?
The Torah tells us in this week's portion Ekev that the Land of Israel is under Hashem's personal supervision (see Deuteronomy 11:12), for she is the Land of Hashem's love (Malachi 3:12). What's more, Jerusalem is called "Hashem's city" and the Temple Mount "Hashem's sanctuary" (Tractate Berachot 44a). Hashem takes special care and interest for that which He loves so dearly.
Mr. Trump should ask himself two questions:
Who put him in office despite the tremendous odds against him? and,
Why, after his initial popularity, are the tables turning completely against him?
Mr. Netanyahu would be well-advised to ask himself the same questions. Elul is almost here and it's time for soul-searching.
Emuna answers to the above questions are simple. The entire world, like it or not, revolves around Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. The Almighty put both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu in office to be loyal trustees of His beloved Land of Israel and His holy city of Jerusalem. When they fail to be trustworthy trustees of this treasured trust and even hinder the ingathering of the exiles by obstructing construction and development in all areas of the Holy Land, then they pay a dear price. This explains what we're seeing in current events today.
As you always hear on Emuna News, there is no such thing as coincidence - world events are Divinely orchestrated. This week is exactly 12 years since the Israeli Government, then headed by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmart, destroyed Jewish settlement in Gush Katif (Jewish Gaza) and parts of Northern Samaria, unilaterally giving the land away in the fiasco known as the Disengagement. All the politicians who engineered this debacle were severely punished from Above. Sharon, after a terrible stroke, spent 8 years in a coma before he died. Olmart went to prison for a series of offenses. King Solomon says, "There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9); in other words, history is repeating itself. I feel sorry for people without emuna, including both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu; if they only knew what was happening to them, they could rectify their wrongdoing.
It's not too late for both Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu to repent and to make good on their original promises to promote the building of Jerusalem and Greater Israel. Will they? I don't think so. Both are choosing paths of political acrobatics and expedience. They should be aware though that acrobats sometimes suffer dangerous falls. Between emuna and acrobatics, they'd be much better off by choosing emuna. So would we all. Blessings for a lovely new week!
The Three Weeks are over and Tisha B'Av is past, but my soul still cries and my eyes are far from dry. Last night at the Kotel, the Western Wall remnant of our Holy Temple, you could literally smell the fresh-burnt ashes of the fire that destroyed our Holy Temple 1,947 years ago to the day...
Writing about this subject - the public contamination of Jerusalem - is like cleaning a cowshed, not exactly the activity one would choose to do in August, especially in the heat of Israel. Yet, Halacha (Jewish Law) states that "he who has the power to object, yet fails to object, is caught up in the crime" (Shulchan Aruch, Yora Deah 147:1). Hashem sends surprising messengers. I hadn't planned on writing about today's Impurade in Jerusalem, but last night, an Israeli-Arab professor from Hebrew University asked me by way of a mutual friend, Dr. Nissan Yacubov, may Hashem bless him, why the rabbis of Jerusalem aren't coming out in full force against the abomination parade in Jerusalem, which is not only condoned by the Israeli Government but financed in a large measure by the Jerusalem Municipality.
"This is the reason that Allah has entrusted Al Quds ("the holy" in Arabic, the nickname for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount) in our hands. The Quran is very specific in its prohibition against homosexuality, as is the Torah. Such a repulsive display of abomination could never happen in East Jerusalem. Yet on the Jewish side of town, not a single voice of objection is heard. Why?"
I sent an answer to the esteemed professor, "I am in no way spokesman for any rabbinical group. But, my guess is that they don't want our children to know that such a thing exists, so they remain silent." I felt embarrassed by my explanation. Here, the Muslim professor, an intellect by every sense of the word and by no means a firebrand from the streets, had no problem in standing up for his religion's standard of ethics. So what in the world are we ashamed of?
The Torah forbids quite a few things, many of which defy human logic for the Torah is God-given. One may not murder or steal; he or she must also refrain from eating pork, shrimp, and milk mixed with meat. Homosexuality as well is not only forbidden, but condemned as an "abomination".
Every human has the right of free choice, as long as they don't impinge on the rights of others. Behind closed doors, let people do as they please, even if it includes eating ham-and-cheese sandwiches with one's same-sex partner. Yet, flaunting one's flagrant violation of Torah in public, on the streets of our Holy City, not only crosses every red line of ethics and morality but impinges on the rights of those who don't want to expose their children to such abomination. The parade participants have no right to flaunt their brazen trampling of Torah Law in public, especially in the Holy Land, and all the more so in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
It is definitely not politically correct to speak up against the Impurade, who wave their counterfeit flag of tolerance. But, Torah and the lie of political correctness, known as chanupa in Torah, don't go together. So davka, now in particular, we cry out in protest to today's planned public parade of debauchery and abomination. We vehemently protest the public display that honors the transgression of Torah and in the strongest possible terms denounce the Government's condoning and support of it. This is not democracy, but suicide.
The Land of Israel is not at all tolerant. The Torah warns in stiffest terms, "For the inhabitants of the Land who were before you committed all these abominations, and the Land became contaminated. Let not the Land disgorge you for having contaminated it, as it disgorged the nation that was before you" (Leviticus 18:27-28).
The Torah protests the contamination of Jerusalem's streets, the Land of Israel protests, Jerusalem itself protests, and we too join in the protest. If we want true sovereignty in our Holy Land and in our Holy City, we must do what we can to preserve their sanctity. Today, Jerusalem weeps, and so do we.