Beyond the Cusp

May 11, 2016

Israel Remembrance and Independence Day

 

Today is Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron), and tomorrow is Israeli Independence Day (Yom Haatzmaut). On the Gregorian calendar it will be on Sunday, May 15, but on our Hebrew calendar it is tomorrow. There will be fireworks and celebratory activities all across this small but vital nation and the vitality will definitely be on display for all to see. But that independence came at a price which must be respected and have its day which is why we have Remembrance Day, or Memorial Day, one day before, today. Today we mourn all those lost to anti-Semitic terrorism, anti-Zionist terrorism and anti-Israel terrorism which have a shared root directly related to Independence Day and a more historic foundation, for some possibly remembrance also goes back in their hearts ever further than the official definitions. Officially we are remembering all those lost to terrorist strikes, all our soldiers lost in the battles and wars we have been forced to fight to continue to even have a nation, the six million souls lost in the Holocaust and for me the souls lost to the wars fought as recorded in the Bible and to all the pogroms, cleansings and other atrocities all but impossible to imagine from both sides of the great history of the Jewish People. Most people are familiar with only the modern anti-Semitic history of Europe and Russia and are unfamiliar with the similar history for those Jews who resided amongst the Arab world as well as Spain where when the Muslims were pushed back across Gibraltar and back into Northern Africa that the Jews too were cleansed from Spanish lands despite that the Jews were often victims alongside the Christians when there was persecution in Muslim lands against the non-Muslims. And then there was the particularly troublesome part in the Holy Lands.

 

The conquest of the Holy Lands by Islam, then the Crusaders, then Islam, then more Crusaders and finally Islam, took its toll on the Jews still residing in our homeland but powerless to free it of either curse. Both were a curse as when the Muslims attacked, the Jews were slaughtered right along with the Christians; and when the Crusaders attacked, the Jews were slaughtered right along with the Muslims. The one constant was whoever was trying to conquer the Holy Land and Jerusalem in particular, the Jews were always on the wrong side as far as the attackers were concerned and often we were also seen as part of the enemy to whoever was defending against the attack; so the killing of Jews wholesale was always the outcome. These Jews I also remember because their only sin was to be living in our natural and ancient homeland. We had been thriving in this homeland when these forces of religious intolerance were still sacrificing their own to idols, before the Roman Empire, before Alexander the Great, before Darius and Cyrus and the Persians and before the Babylonians and Phoenicians and were only preceded by the Egyptians of that era, a different group than today’s Egyptians, the Minoans and the Hittites, Moabites and other peoples who existence has disappeared into the dust and only records stand in edifices still baffling modern engineers and archeologists. All the fallen throughout Jewish history should be remembered even if they also have their own holiday as they also were defenders of these lands.

 

 

Sculpture Dedicated to Soldiers Depicting Fallen Soldier

Sculpture Dedicated to Soldiers Depicting Fallen Soldiers

 

 

One might ask why dampen our spirits one day before our celebrating the wondrous miracle of the reestablishment of our ancient land into the modern world? The answer is so that we never forget and Never Again has additional meanings. And not to fret, the greatest transition in a national mood can be witnessed tonight as Jews across Israel go from somber remembrance to unbridled joy in a matter of seconds. We have had a history which has prepared us well for such shifts in our national mood. Remember Haman from the Megillah of Esther where we went from condemned to all be murdered across the Persian Empire in a single day and were instead decreed we would be permitted to defend ourselves without punishment from the King and we triumphed and survived by the thinnest wisp of smoke once again. We had faced similar threats before and would again and again as we are again today as most of the Islamic world has sworn to destroy us starting with our “partners for peace” the Arab Palestinians and Hamas, Hezballah, Islamic State and Iran and those are just for starters. Do not get us going down this road because it is not a road for great worry, we have faced these odds before and we are still here, and I do mean here as in right here in our ancient homelands where we belong no matter what the United Nations or the community of nations and a special shout down to the European Union and all the rest in Europe who support whoever is fighting against Israel despite our posing them no threat. We have survived threats just as severe before and we will very likely face others just as dire in the future. When your peoples have survived for over three-thousand-years you have some history and you have faced threats to end your existence and survived and thus are confidant, rightfully so, that you will continue to do so.

 

There are stories of rulers from France to Russia to the tips of Africa where they asked their wise men and advisors to define or explain such concepts as eternity, the Creator and a whole list of other things which defy definition as they imply that which is limitless and will last throughout the ages even well beyond their empire or other human measure of time and the answer given was always the Jews. Mark Twain once wrote, “The Eternal Jew” which reads:


If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.

His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him.

He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, and no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

 

His commentary is a good place to leave these thoughts. Today in Synagogue we will all say prayers of remembrance and tomorrow we will quote prayers which are triumphant, one of the rare moments we do so. Then again, after three-thousand-years we have good reason to celebrate the fact we are still here to attend services but first to the memory of all who made our continued existence their worthy sacrifice and to Hashem who has walked with them whether they knew so or not. And perhaps that is the thread that binds the Jew to their heritage and gives them their spark, Hashem and His Torah which has been the glue that binds every Jew to his brothers and sisters no matter their path through the ages. Our thanks to our soldiers, our defenders and a remembrance to those from amongst our midst, the great sacrifices that were made and to our future; and may it serve Hashem well, with pride and humility, another opposing set of ideals we Jews have learned to hold simultaneously, or are at least still mastering.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 10, 2016

Why Demand Palestinians recognize Jewish State?

 

The first definition which we need to understand is that under the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States defines the exact requirements which when met in sufficient qualitative and quantitative manner is considered to be a viable state and that is all that is required for a nation to be considered a state. Once a nation qualifies as a state it then has the right to define itself as it pleases. Israel easily qualifies as a nation, a state and thus has the right of a state to define herself. Israel decided at her founding what the definition of the State of Israel was, it is the Jewish State, the nation state where any Jew choosing so is welcome as a citizen, period. There is no question and this recognition as the Jewish State requires no recognition of any other nation, organization or group, fini. I hear some of you now asking, then why do so many Israeli politicians and statespeople demand that the Arab Palestinian leadership recognize Israel as the Jewish State as a requirement for peace if Israel does not require their recognition to be the Jewish State? There is the crux of the argument and it is vital to understand. The Arab recognition, be it the Palestinians, Saudi Arabians, Egyptians, or any Arab or Muslim nation being demanded to recognize Israel as the Jewish State is so as to establish their acceptance of the chosen definition taken by Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People and end the constant attempts to flood Israel with Arab refugees from anywhere and everywhere in the Arab world changing the demographics and ending Israel as the Jewish State. Once they recognize Israel as the Jewish State the Arab and Muslim worlds will necessarily need to then treat their refugee problems internally or anywhere outside of Israel. That is the importance and not the actual definition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People.

 

Another false concept is that defining Israel as the Nation State of the Jews is not a religious definition such as the Islamic State of Iran, the Saudi Arabian definition that Islam is the sole recognized religion permitted to actively practice within its borders or any of the other states declaring their religious base is Islamic. The declaration that Israel is the nation state of the Jews means the Jewish People as a peoples, a racial distinction and not necessarily a religious one, though the citizen permitted in for having Jewish roots though having these Jews as a people also practicing Judaism would be a huge plus, but it is not a requirement for citizenship. Do not worry if this confuses you as there are many Israelis who resent many of those allowed in because they have the correct maternal ancestral lines who are atheist and this drives them right up the wall. That does not change the fact that one whose maternal line can be traced to a maternal matron who was a Jew is sufficient for their entry into Israel as a Jew whether they practice or not. Those who are driven almost out of their tree over these non-practicing Jews who they place one step further removed from Judaism than the reform Jews in the United States or Europe should calm themselves and try to arrange marriages between marginally or newly returned to Judaism Jews, or even religious Jews, in relations with the non-practicing Jewish people whose parents may even feel extreme animosity towards the religious and were raised that religion is, as described by Karl Marx in his analysis and critique of religion and is perhaps one of the most famous and most quoted writings where he chimed that, “religion is the opiate of the masses.” We need remember that love conquers all and if a particularly religious person and one who never lived a religious life become close, more often than not the advantages of the religious life will likely win over the irreligious person if for no other reason than curiosity, especially if the religious person appears to be happier and seem to know some secret that their other has no knowledge over. Given some number of generations and one will find that Israelis will grow closer and more observant and religiously Jewish and believing in Judaism and not merely being a Jew by the religious links of their grandmother, great-grandmother or even more remote but maternally unbroken links.

 

 

A map of Israel should any of the nations of the world actually be honest and truly be seeking peace which can only be attained should Israel have the most defensive borders imaginable.

A map of Israel should any of the nations of the world actually be honest
and truly be seeking peace which can only be attained should Israel
have the most defensive borders imaginable.

 

 

You might be wondering why we keep referring to the maternal links over that of the paternal side of the family. This is because this is the link which Judaism values such that your father being Jewish would be due to his maternal links to the religion historically. For some reason the maternal link is the important linkage to being a Jew. Yes, this stands in contrast with most other religions where if either parent were of the religion, then the children must be of that religion. Of course that might be a bit conflicting if the mother was say Episcopalian and the father Sunni Muslim, this leaves a child who is both and neither and guaranteed to garner the ire of one group and the acceptance of the other. For Israel, they rely on the ancient preference and definitions of our society from as far back as three-thousand years past as it has been throughout the entirety of the time from them to the modern Jewish State of Israel.

 

Another truth about Israel as the Jewish State, it has existed for the past three-thousand years, for over one thousands of those years as an independent State of the Jewish Peoples. Small segments of time the independence of the Jewish State managed to reestablish itself throwing off the yoke of their occupiers. This was ended when the Roman Empire dispersed the Jewish People to the far reaches and throughout their empire in a concerted effort to destroy the Jews as a people. Torah was the glue which held our people as a people and continued our attachment to our ancient homelands no matter where we resided. There has never been a period in all of history where there has not existed a Jewish presence in the areas which made up Eretz Yisroel. Further, open any Jewish prayer-book and open it to a random page and read those pages and you will see reference after reference to Israel, our home for all times. The end of the Passover Seder, Jews throughout the world read the line, “Next year in Jerusalem.” So, Israel is and always was the home of the Jewish People and is defined as such in all the Jewish writings including prayer books, Torah, Talmud, commentaries and numerous other sources from all the creative arts. Studying the history of the Jews and one cannot help but find their links to the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The claims that the day will come when we reconnect with our lands titled Israel are finally being realized. This return was prophesied over two-thousand years ago and has been inevitable are proving correct. This return is the culmination of events put into place and predicted by our prophets making centuries back making ours the chosen generation who will witness the handiwork of Hashem’s reestablishment. We truly are the Chosen People who are being blessed to bear witness to the final return of the Jewish People to their land. This return is the placing of the muscles and outer skin upon the dry bones which first were gathered to the land and given sinew to hold together. This generation is witness to the ending of the physical construction being completed leaving only the mind to be renewed and out Jewish faith be reestablished. To witness even the smallest glimpse of this process is enough of a miracle, Dayenu.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 11, 2016

The Death of the Reformation and Spread of Islam

 

The reformation of Christianity broke Christian faith from its ties to a corrupt Vatican and Papal excesses. One of the main differences and unanswered complaints against Rome was the selling of absolution to wealthy aristocracy thus allowing the Church to gain material gain for forgiveness of the sins of the most wealthy while the poor were left facing condemnation despite their hard lives and desperate need for an understanding Church. This was to prove to be a strange affair when now many Protestant churches are forgiving sins as a last resort to gain membership, a move the most religious blame for the death of their denominations and the currently swelling ranks of Evangelical churches which preach a return to Scripture and taking a literal interpretation of faith. A large part of the decline of the old Churches has been their evolutionary drift away from their austere origins and seeking new interpretations which often twist doctrine to the breaking point and many even further until their doctrine bears little resemblance to the origins of Christianity.

 

Christianity is far from alone in this as Judaism has also had its reformation though we just refer to them as the Reform and Reconstructionist Movements. The Reconstructionist Movement has been true to its name and built a form of Judaism which is more form and less Judaism and allows virtually any doctrine to be accepted through democratic vote. They are more of a political leftist haven wishing to have a claim of affiliation with Judaism which may have once existed but died long ago and now exists largely in name only. The Reform branch of Judaism can be viewed as including the branch of Conservative Judaism as their movement to the left politically and more permissive form of Judaism at a slower rate, but was in all reality the same smorgasbord cafeteria Judaism where you went through the Halachic Laws and chose the ones with which one was comfortable and discarded those which were considered onerous or simply too difficult. The Reform Movement permitted women ordained as Rabbis, mixed marriage ceremonies even having a dual role of Priest or Minister and a Rabbi officiating, and eventually Gay unions. The Conservative movement has reached these concessions in most congregations currently. The intermarriage and eventual loss of connection with Judaism and complete assimilation has come close to fruition for Reform Jews so much so that some congregations have begun a return to traditions and a stricter interpretation of Torah. This last gasp attempt to retain a sufficient attachment to Judaism is guaranteed to fail and the death of these two movements will arrive when their members, who wish for an actual and lived faith, will simply return to the Orthodoxy and the rest will have absolutely no use for their faith at all. The final straw will be acceptance of complete Bar/Bet Mitzvah Ceremonies done completely in a language other than Hebrew and the use of scripture in books in lieu of Torah Scrolls as the Torah Scrolls will be seen as a revenue business rather than a strict actualizing of tradition and the steadfast holding to tradition which predates history.

 

Just as traditions, Halachic stringency, community, and a holding to the word and original interpretations and applications of the law and of Torah of the Orthodoxy, especially as it currently thrives in the majority of areas in Israel and in its strongholds in the United States and Europe will be the only form of Judaism practiced in the world, so will the traditionalist branches of Christianity which will survive and will slowly reconnect, independent of Europe and possibly even independent of Rome and the Vatican, as Europe is about to be subsumed by Islam and Christianity erased from the landscape of Europe completely. The influx of the Syrian refugees and the terrorists implanted will be the ones who finally get to dictate the future of what was once the stronghold and bastion of Christianity, the Church and the seeding of Christianity throughout the world. The battle for the heart of Europe is in its closing chapters and Christianity in the Middle East and North Africa will die alongside each other in the next half century. What remains to be seen is whether the conquest of Europe will cause a reformation within Islam as it spreads over all of Europe and begins its march into Asia.

 

This will not be Islam’s first foray into the Far East. Islam needed some fierce troops to act as their shock troops when attack and taking their nascent faith out of Mecca and Medina into the Middle East against the remnants of Persia, Alexander’s Greece, Rome (the Byzantines), the remainder of ancient Egypt from the Polemic Egypt and the rest of the tribes across Northern Africa and against the impervious walls of Constantinople whose wall withstood everything thrown at them for over two centuries. The Christian stronghold held behind its walls, its impressive and unprecedented walls with the possible exception of Troy, Jericho, Jerusalem and China, hunkered down and secure but the siege cannons (see below) employed by Mehmed II were a match for any wall ever built, breached the walls and Constantinople was named Istanbul to the shuddering horror of Christians throughout Europe as it spelled potential doom. Meanwhile Islam had torn across Northern Africa and onto Spain only to finally be halted at Tours, France by Charles the Hammer Martel who routed the Islamic juggernaut turning back into Spain where they were finally vanquished by the Spanish Inquisition instigated and plied by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The needed shock troops for the Islamic forces were tempted to join the Islamic armies. These troops were found with the spread of Islam into Indonesia around 1200s and the Philippines in mid-1300s. This provided the additional forces and shock troops which propelled Islam into Spain along with Berber troops who provided the main force for Islam in Western Europe.

 

 

Great Turkish Bombard Siege Cannon Utilized by Mehmed II in his Siege and Breaking of the Impenetrable Great Walls of Constantinople

Great Turkish Bombard Siege Cannon
Utilized by Mehmed II in his Siege
and Breaking of the Impenetrable
Great Walls of Constantinople

 

 

After being blunted by Martel in France in Western Europe and at Vienna in Eastern Europe, Islam settled down and had its internal challenges. A war with the United States over the Barbary Pirates twice revealed that the young United States, even back in those early days, was fully capable of projecting power eventually settling as the Ottoman Empire. This final iteration ended during World War I when the Ottoman Empire chose to back the Austro-Hungarian Empire against the Allies resulting in the Allied European powers redrawing the borders and establishing new borders throughout Central and Western Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. There are constant denunciations of the European colonialism in the Middle East and Northern Africa while the world is totally ignoring the thousand years of colonial occupations by the Arab powers which exploded from the Arabian Peninsula around 700 AD. Islamic nations were released from their colonial occupations between the 1920s through the earliest 1950s making the longest of colonial occupations to under half a century, a negligible timeframe when compared to the Islamic occupation, which when one thinks about it, continues despite the European marshalling after World War I.

 

Islam is awakening and started their new rise smashing against the nascent state of Israel over 1948 through 1949 and renewed aggressions in 1967 and 1973 while instigating terrorism from the 1920s through and continuing to this very day. Islam is taught that their warriors are invincible and must never face defeat as Allah cannot be defeated and any defeat is a form of shame on Allah inflicted by his believers. This has been the root of the war against Israel and the reason that no peace can be attained not because the Jews are refusing to sacrifice but because the Arab Islamists refuse to accept anything short of the annihilation of Israel and the complete and total victory of Islam against the Jew. The other problem is rampant though unrecognized anti-Semitism in the halls of power added to the fear of a resurgent Islam cripples the west and the United Nations from being a fair or honest arbiter which is why the pressure is always placed on Israel to sacrifice and provide tempting morsels until there are no morsels short of surrender of Israel itself left to give; yet the demand made even this day by United States Vice President Joe Biden is for more flexibility by Israel in giving even more where there is nothing left to give. The Presidency of Barack Obama has granted Israel one favor by their complete and total aggressiveness against Israel in their dealings and complete refusal in recognizing any right of the Jews to their homeland has been their laying bare the unadulterated aggressiveness to force Israel without any trace of Arab acceptance of the right of Israel to exist in any border and their and the rest of the world’s complete acceptance of the sacrifice of Israel on the alter of Islamic appeasement as if such would even in the slightest appease and soothe the savage beast. The reality is this complete and unadulterated desire to sacrifice Israel before the alter of Allah, the modern alter of Baal and the Arabic Moon god, has empowered Islam to believe that Europe itself, the stronghold of Christianity for two-thousand years is as fragile and weakened with no real faith or force from above and all but devoid of the graces from Heaven is an empty trampling shell ready for the onslaught by Islam and the complete surrender without so much as a fight as they are willingly inviting Islam to take the leading role in their future as they desire no longer to control their own destiny. The European people no longer care about the future as they have few if any children and have already surrendered their future to Islam and hope only that the chains of their servitude weigh lightly on their posterity leaving that as their only legacy.

 

The question is no longer how far into Europe Islam will spread nor whether or not the Churches of Europe including the Vatican itself will survive; all are already surrendered to Islam and the toll in blood and treasure the sole remaining variable. The hope of the West and Christianity must be to save the treasures of the museums, art galleries and the Vatican vaults by removing them to safe keeping be that the United States, Canada, South America or wherever the society is still resilient and holding sufficient faith that they will not fold before Islam in quiet remission as Europe appears prepared to submit herself. The question to pose to Europe is whether they feel that their societal history and the greatness which went before is worth saving. If the Europeans believe that their history has any value today then they must necessarily be prepared to make not only a sacrifice to preserve it before the ravages of Islam as displayed so graphically by the Islamic State, but also find a belief around which to rally and find the means of restoring both a next generation and the desire for the continuing generations after that into the future or there will be no European museums of art, literature, sculpture and her grand cathedrals will be disembodied from all things Christian and Islam will literally paint the entire last twelve centuries of Christendom from the pages of history with a sweeping of the continent removing every last vestige of Christianism. The Reformation, which was designed to restore and defend Christianity from what they saw as the defaming of the religion of Christ which they accused the Pope and the Cardinals of the Catholic Church, will now end with the loss of unity of Christendom and be a contributing factor to the death of Christendom in Europe. There are those who complain that had only Christianity had not fragmented in the reformation, then Christianity would today remain unfragmented and stand a chance of withstanding the coming onslaught of Islam and perhaps may have preserved political core strength which would resist inviting masses of Islamic refugees within the halls and gates of Europe. Perhaps a unified Church might have held the societies within its halls and adapted such that retaining a Europe which retained sufficient pride, valuing and love of European history and the valuable contributions in art, music, literature and religious thought that they desired to continue the traditions to the next generations, something requiring a next generation.

 

The real crippling of Europe is that lack of a following generation of native Europeans which has left Europe in the start of a downward spiral where the next generation will have less population than the current generation and in all to many nations far less leading to an unrecoverable trend from which Europe, and any society, cannot recover without unparalleled leadership. Such leadership is not represented by the likes of Angela Merkel or unfortunately any of the current national leftist leaders. Can Europe be saved or has Europe fallen in silent surrender brought on by the current generations live for today, who cares about tomorrow selfish attitude. The question is bordering on asking how long will Europe survive before surrendering to Allah as has every Muslim since the Seventh Century, not whether Europe will fall. What a sad ending to such a noble past, the likes of Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Nobel, Curies, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Chaucer and Bach amongst so many others from such a rich history and additionally those who excited the imaginations of the founding fathers of the American colonies when crafting a new nation of the United States, Locke, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Hume and Rousseau amongst others. For such a history to fall and be erased and vanquished forever will be a sin beyond compare throughout known history. The loss will be painful to watch but we may all live long enough to experience these horrific death throes of Europe and hopefully witness an epic struggle saving all that which can be readily moved to safer climes as less than an all-encompassing effort would be a crime laid atop that sin of the death of all Europe. This is one time we pray we are completely wrong and Europe awakens in time to save themselves, and this prayer had best be heeded by the United States and any other Western nation whose population currently relied too heavily on immigration, legal and otherwise.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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