Beyond the Cusp

September 22, 2019

Avigdor Lieberman, the Deal Breaker

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 1:54 AM
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Introduction of Issues
As leader of the Yisrael Beitenu Party, Avigdor Lieberman has decided to use the leadership position to mount attacks upon the Haredi and religious Israelis. His complaint revolves around a set of complaints including that public transport be allowed to operate on the Sabbath; the recruitment law which requires every citizen, including all Haredi, serve in the IDF; and for all Yeshivot students and other Torah and religious oriented education students be required to attend regular general state education system which allows for their Torah and religious specific education on their own time. One can only but imagine what his next demand might be at some future critical points such as, well, cutting all public subsidizing of religious oriented schools which are not licensed as having certified general education systems and then Synagogues and on and on. Perhaps he would call for expanding on the court order demanding co-ed seating at a religious concert where the vast majority preferred separate seating and most others might feel some disappointment but worthwhile to hear the concert in Synagogues, the Western Wall and everywhere else where this practice of separation is currently enforced.

 

Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman

 

 

Dear Avigdor Lieberman

 

Avigdor Lieberman, you have been moving inexorably leftward to such an extent that these claims of being conservative is starting to ring hollow. We understand that you support the IDF and this is commendable. But your rubbing elbows with the Blue White Party, a group which has stated their support for the Two State Solution paradigm with surrendering lands to provide the Palestinian Arabs their own state up to the, as Gantz stated very early in the campaign, Separation Barrier. You entered into vote sharing with the Blue White Party which completes cementing your leftward drift reaching a point well past center. Your claims, just as those of the four generals and Yair Lapid, that you support the right-wing and the Israelis living in the Shomron appear as valid as the claims of the average apparatchik spreading disinformation. Your demands of Netanyahu for your support in the April elections was not made with any degree of honesty. You knew that those demands would force the Haredi Parties out of the coalition leaving Bibi with about the same situation we are facing once more, the only government available would be a unity government with Blue White which would break-up the Likud Party with many of the religious and honest conservatives fleeing to the other right wing parties which stand stronger on these issues. Your antics will eventually lead to Jewish Home, National Union–Tkuma and New Right gaining in strength where they will be able to control the discussions and sooner or later take over some future, sooner rather than later, coalition. These are your positions and the items upon which you have decided to take your stand. One of your main complaints is that the secular population and non-Jews not be forced to lead a religious life by the state. Allow us to discuss this point even if it is but the smallest part of your crusade.

 

Your demands go far beyond freeing those who would rather not be put out by religious laws and be free to desecrate the Sabbath with the blessings of the law and the State. Instead, you would instead force by the law to reside in a secular state which would force their allowing vehicle traffic on their streets on Shabbat and that Torah education be pushed into the region of an elective such as after school clubs except with a heavy study load. You have left no room, by your own admission, and refused to allow for any compromise or middle ground. Maybe there can be some middle ground such as allowing each city, township, community and neighborhood be permitted to decide such laws concerning Shabbat and whether they preferred to observe the Sabbath. Also, perhaps a certain amount of secular education could be considered to be met by any Yeshivot and other Torah or religious oriented education, in order to receiver accreditation or certification which could make them more attractive to those who desire a balanced education. The schools which fail to meet the standards would not be shuttered and those which choose to remain with their current education system be permitted to do so. People could decide for themselves which educational opportunity they wish for their children. All that is needed is for more free choice and as broad a selection be allowed to be presented to the public. There has to be some happy medium by which both communities, religious and secular, be allowed to choose for themselves. As far as the draft issue, a real sticking-point for the past few governments, could be set allowing for a percentage of the Yeshivot and other Torah or religious oriented education systems be permitted deferments. The enlistment from the Haredi and religious communities has been rising over the past decade and is predicted to continue as their communities have been slowly moving towards what you would call normalization. Your stance that it is unfair that the secular public is forced to obey religious laws and your solution is for the religious community to live under secular laws, which often makes their lives impossible as they would prefer to live them. You are simply demanding that everything be done under your preference and who cares about those who have different views and desires.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 17, 2019

Has the Time Come for Women as Rabbis?

 

We understand that the obvious answer is, ‘No,’ and that there really is nothing to debate, but when has that stopped us. There are the numerous arguments put forth by the Open Orthodoxy or New Orthodoxy, Modern Orthodoxy, Neo-Orthodoxy or the more realistic, Reform Judaism with a few additional Commandments. The crux of the problem is, as almost anybody who has read anything about this tempest in a teapot, the ordination of women as Rabbi. The easy answer is to stand with the nearly unanimous decision by virtually every Poskim, the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and declare from the rooftops while standing next to a scarecrow of a man playing his violin and scream, “Tradition!” But that is taking the short road to an answer which leaves out all the intricacies and ignores the pressures and times of modernity. Women’s rights will need to be addressed at some point, but that point has not yet arrived. Far too many of those in positions to accept this challenge are mired in the rules and morals of early in the past century. Then women took care of the home and the men took care of the world just as the Bible and Torah instruct are the responsibilities of each gender. The world had gone through a period of rocketing change with gender roles being blurred and the responsibilities often being turned on their heads. But Judaism has not survived by being reckless and rushing to accept every change which has come down the halls of time. Tradition has been the watchful eye which kept the boat upright and it is not about to allow for the boat tipping too far left just as it kept it from tipping too far right as the political pendulum has swung back and forth.

 

 

The best approach might be to take small steps and see how they work and if they place too much of a burden or cause things to become difficult or produce side-effects which are arduous, then the small steps can be retraced and a return to normalcy. It is not as if Judaism has not gone through some tumultuous traumas. When we left Egypt we found that the generation which had been in Egypt were not fully capable of change and this resulted in forty-years of wandering almost aimlessly in the dessert until a new generation could be born and reach age. Then, with a fresh population unencumbered with the ravages of slavery and dependence filled with self-confidence was capable of the task of winning a homeland. Then Joshua, one of the two spies who came back with a report of a land ready to be taken, the other was Caleb. The fight was probably far more difficult than it would have been for the Israelites when they first perched on the borders of what is today Israel. But in time the lands were conquered and became the initial state of Israel (see map below). That was how nations were built and how many an empire would start out, taking a small regions for their own and then embarking on greater conquests often incorporating the conquered people initially into their empire as full citizens. This was the name of the game and the Jews started with no king or queen but lived only with the guidance of Judges and Prophets. Prophets continued into their period with Kings which turned sour all too quickly. Then there came the years of conquest by foreign empires with short stints of self-rule. Eventually the Jews, as they had come to be known as most were Judeans by birth, as they were from the Tribe of Judah, were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire, with some even thrown into slavery in further lands, and there appeared to be no way for this small group surviving such treatment. The Jews remained dispersed throughout the world and only in the past century and a half have really begun to return to the ancient homelands reestablishing the nation of Israel. So, yes, we have seen dire times and persecutions and even the Holocaust, a persecution unparalleled in, at the least, modernity. We survived and remained a people through one factor; we remained steadfastly true to our holy books and based it all on Torah. The Torah became our homeland, portable and able to be applied in any region, setting, situation and so forth. This is partly why the leaders of the Jewish Faith, not necessarily the Jewish Nations but the faith, remain resistant to change, without foresight to see what is over the horizon, one remains reluctant to change, especially change that appears to be drastic, that which has guided and kept your people as one through the harrowing threats of history.

 

Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Original Borders for Israel

Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Original Borders for Israel

 

So, perhaps, in the not too distant future, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel might venture into permitting equal seating for men and women in a section of the main hall, not necessarily the entirety. They could permit those synagogues which were inclined to set aside an area where husband and wife, of course with children, to be seated together but leave sufficient space for those opposed to such a liberal concept to sit where this area is not bothersome. Yes, we know some people will find it bothersome that a synagogue in the next town allows such seating and they will claim it unnerves them. Change is not easy, ask the Vatican, as we Jews have been about traditions and the literal applications of the rules for far longer than the Christians have. Perhaps there might be some other half-step we have not considered, but change will need to come in small doses as we Jews are a stiff-necked and stubborn people, or so our Torah tells us. Still, we have changed and kept pace with the world as when we reestablished our homelands, we did not return to a monarchy as it last was nor did we try to rely on prophets and judges as even earlier times, nope, we went with a parliamentary democracy and one far more convoluted than even the European versions. Even the Jews who returned home making Aliyah often comment on how Israel has made a parliamentary system of government even more contentious than their home countries could have imagined. For further proof, simply start to read and follow the machinations and other finagling which are sure to play out along the way to the April 9, 2019 Israeli elections and see for yourself.

 

We have somehow gone from Exodus Chapter fifteen verse twenty and twenty-one where it says, “Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel (tambourine) in her hand, and all the women came out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam called out to them, Sing to the Lord, for very exalted is He; a horse and its rider He cast into the sea.” This was then and today there are numerous groups within Judaism where men are forbidden to see women dance or perform or even hear them sing as it became considered immodest. There is proof that we can change, and not always in a more progressive direction despite the uncomforting fact that many times the Jews were at the forefront of revolutionary change. Too often these very same revolutions turned against the Jews and persecuted them claiming they were the enemies of the state they assisted in forming. Such was the case in the Soviet Union and in other cases before that and since. These such outcomes went quite some distance in imprinting caution in the Jews who survived, escaped or were fortunate enough to read of these events from a distance into a dread for change. We have held to our traditions which for centuries slowly drifted to being more and more conservative as this is the result of persecution. The Jewish People are barely a full generation beyond what was a cataclysmic conflagration to our people who lived on the European continent as the Germans and the Russians took their turns persecuting and executing Jews. This did not endear that generation or the following ones to favor radical change, well, except in the United States where much of the radical changes politically and culturally have manifested. They may have found their start in America or in Europe, but if it did not play in America, it likely did not play for very long.

 

Change in Judaism has mostly run at a slow pace making sure that the ground was solid before taking that next step. Wild and reckless are not exactly words which have described the religious Jewish communities. Insular, reactionary, conservative, traditional, stoic, intractable and other similar adjectives have all been used, even by Jews themselves, in defining the Jewish communities, as there are in the United States and Europe as well. Still today in Israel, there are religious communities which all live in a closed community which one need apply and be interviewed, fact-checked, virtually investigated and their religious credentials checked and rechecked before they are permitted to reside within the community. These are some of the communities where the most influential leaders of the Jewish community reside. Asking these individuals to change something so central to Judaism is something which is simply not going to play well. The fact that there are congregations, mostly, if not solely, in the United States and Canada trying to introduce such changes to the Orthodox community, as it has been initially only in Reform and Reconstructionist and later spread to Conservative, is potentially the initial steps. For Jews, though, simply playing well in America is not sufficient for it to become accepted, it must play in Israel. Were the RCA to accept such a change, an alteration in what has been tens of century’s worth of tradition, then perhaps it might be considered by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, though the RCA does not tend to make such moves without working with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The two operate very much in tandem with much and often deep communication and coordination. This is due to their being the two organizations which preside over the two largest Orthodox communities in the world, one all of Europe does not match. The first sign that there might be a crack in the bricks through which changes will eventually pour through would probably be the permitting, even only on special occasions, for married couples to sit together. Currently, the men sit in one area and the women in a separate area simply because having the women sitting with the men is considered a potential distraction. What some Rabbis might notice is having the wives sit separate from their husbands also provides distraction as they may wish to see how the other is doing or even suddenly realize something which urgently need be communicated, but that is what cell phones are for, right? Kidding aside, the experimentation with women being ordained as Rabbis will very likely have to wait until it starts to make cracks into Israeli society, and that might be closer than we think. No matter the number of Open Orthodox (by whatever name they decide to use this week) Synagogues who have women as assistant Rabbis or Rabbinical interns or outright Rabbis, they will remain shunned, rejected and refused continued sanction by the RCA as they remain lockstep and in sync with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. No matter how many influential American Rabbis join a bandwagon calling for the liberation of Orthodox Judaism, that change will not be leaving the station any time soon. Wait for coed seating to be accepted universally, and then, just maybe there will start to be the inkling of a discussion on going further. First coed seating will need a full period of testing, say about a century or two, then we can talk. Should things go faster than this, it will be a surprise and a sign that the Jews have begun to feel safe and beyond threat in Israel. Currently, we have bigger fish to fry then even coed seating, let alone women as Rabbis.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 30, 2017

Greatest Threat Israel Faces

 

There have been quite a number of articles since the election of President Trump listing the presumed greatest threat Israel is facing and we figured, why not give our thoughts. Before we delve into the deep end, why not list a number of the reasons we read about. They list from Hamas and Hezballah to Syria or Iran. Still others believed it to be the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas while others thought Jordan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The list actually does not end there as some have listed the extreme left or the extreme right or just plain extremists. Europe and the United Nations were mentioned with some degree of frequency while some came close with post-modernism. Basically, it appears that Israel needs some friends as enemies she has plenty.

 

In our opinion, Israel has problems far closer to home than all those we mentioned above. Her biggest challenge are those willing to allow the dream of Zionism to die withering on the vine by sacrificing in the name of peace. This is one of the goals of Fatah as a means of destroying Israel as the Jewish State. Do not take our word for it as it is the same words of senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki who states,

“In my opinion, the two-state solution will bring about Israel’s collapse. If they leave Jerusalem, what will all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People be worth? What will the sacrifices they have made be worth? They accord a spiritual status to Jerusalem. The Jews see Judea and Samaria as their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse…to implode. Then we will be able to go forward….” (ANB/TV, May 7, 2009)

Abbas Zaki, despite being a Fatah official or because he is a Fatah official, is absolutely correct. The lifeblood of the Israeli spirit is Zionism and the love of the land, the idea, the history and the entire story. Zionism has been apart of Jewish life and incorporated into Judaism through prayers, rituals and practices. The end of the Passover Seder Jews read in their Haggadah, “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Jews throughout history have moved to Israel, very often into Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria even more than the areas which today make up Israel. Reading in the Torah the verses which instruct the Children of Israel (Jacob) to conquer the lands promised as their inheritance west of the Jordan River read as if they applied to the founding of Israel and the war brought against the nascent nation by the Arab world. The verses include Numbers 33:53 through 33:55 which come with an instruction and a dire warning which was not obeyed by the biblical Jews. as it was not completed in 1948, leaving parts of Judea and Samaria in Jordanian hands which has been a problem for Israel ever since. Read the verses below.

(33:53) You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to occupy it.
(33:54) You shall give the Land as an inheritance to your families by lot; to the large, you shall give a larger inheritance and to the small you shall give a smaller inheritance; wherever the lot falls shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers, you shall inherit.
(33:55) But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle.

The Jews did not drive all the tribes from the land and that cost them through years of war with the Philistines and the Phoenicians and other enemies finally being conquered by the Babylonians and after them the Persians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, Muslims, Ottomans and finally the British before finally establishing the Jewish state of Israel. On dawn of the morning of May 15, 1948, when Israel was to celebrate their first day as a nation, they were attacked by the Arab world and lost approximately one fourth of the lands promised under the Mandate System which was part of the San Remo Conference codified in the Treaty of Sèvres and backed once more under Article 80 of the United Nations Charter all of which define the eastern border of Israel as being the Jordan River. Jordan illegally occupied the area known at that time as Judea and Samaria and Egypt illegally occupied Gaza. Israel has since released and renounced claims to the Gaza passing it to the Palestinian authority who lost it to Hamas and the rest has been conflict after conflict just as promised when the Hebrews did not conquer the entirety of the land as instructed by Hashem. Even when Jordan attempted to annex the lands they illegally occupied, they were rebuffed even by the Arab world and only Great Britain and Pakistan recognized the annexation attempt. Even the United Nations rejected their claims yet today the world is telling Israel that they have no claim to those lands. Under International Law, Israel not only has legal claim to all of the lands west of the Jordan River, as almost all of the Palestinian Arabs are from other nations and arrived in these lands after 1920 and the majority after 1945, Israel has a legal right to deport them either into Jordan or to whichever Arab or other nation they can claim citizenship. Anybody over the age of twenty-five and having a passport will most likely have a Jordanian passport. Most children’s parents have Jordanian passports. Jordan claims they are not Jordanian yet the majority of their identification papers are Jordanian. Even the original Biblical definitions of the land as pictured below show the Jordan River as the eastern border and the picture of the original twelve tribes from the book of Joshua shows the routes he used in conquest and the original Tribes of Israel which were founded on both sides of the Jordan River (see one further down).

 

Promised Land Boundaries as given in Numbers 34:1-12 and Ezekiel 47:13-20

Promised Land Boundaries as given in
Numbers 34:1-12 and Ezekiel 47:13-20

 

 

Israel Through the Ages Joshua Enters to the Twelve Tribes

Israel Through the Ages Joshua Enters to the Twelve Tribes

 

The Zionist Dream to have the lands of our forefathers has existed in various forms over the three thousand years since Abraham bought a cave and a field as the burial areas for his family. This drive was expressed in the Song of Babylon which was a song by the priest of Israel after the sacking of Jerusalem and the burning and destruction of the First Temple when demanded of them song and mirth by their conquerors. The love of Zion, the root of Zionism, was in the hearts of the Jews as they rose up to throw off the oppressive rule by the Greeks and then the Romans (twice). It has been in the hearts of Jews as they faced oppression in lands across the face of the earth be they in Europe, Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere even to include the United States when early in the Civil War, General Grant and his Order No. 11 of December 17, 1862, expelling all Jews from the territories under his command which included much of Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi.

 

Many Jews when in times of mortal danger prayed for the Messiah to come and sweep them away to return to their promised lands as foretold in scripture. Synagogues all have their Ark holding their Torah Scrolls aligned with Jerusalem everywhere in the world. More specifically, they are aligned with the Temple Mount and the site of the two Temples. Jews pray facing to Jerusalem. Jews are buried with a small amount of soil from Jerusalem, preferably from the Mount of Olives Cemetery. This is so they will have a part of Zion with them in their eternal resting place. There are near countless rites which involve the Holy Lands and Israel throughout Jewish life and even unto death all because every Jew believes that Israel, all of Israel, is special and has meaning beyond what can be understood in simple earthly logic. Yes, there are also those Jews who do not feel the Zionist pull just as there are Jews who are not religious and often these two go hand in hand. But there are Zionists who are not religious Jews and religious Jews who are even anti-Zionist claiming that Jews must await the messiah and then the Messiah will bring them home. Hashem helps those who help themselves, so the Jew must establish the return to all of the lands and then the time of the messiah will be that much closer. This is another reason that so many who wish to prevent the Jews their destiny and especially their messiah demand to keep parts of the land from the Jews. In time the remaining Jews, mostly the Jews of the United States as the largest community outside of Israel, will divide into two groups, those who make Aliyah and come home and those who leave the religion and are lost from their brethren forever and their children will likely not even be told they have Jewish parents as their parents will no longer feel as Jews. A little known fact outside of Judaism is that less than one in four Jews came out of Egypt in the Exodus as the majority felt safer being protected and ruled by the Egyptians and they are lost to the Jewish people to this day. The rule was the same when returning from the Babylonian Exile, less than one in four returned to Israel with most preferring the richness of life with the Persians who had conquered the Babylonians. The same rule will likely apply to the remaining Jews from the United States and elsewhere. But the Zionism has already brought many Jews home and should we lose our desire to settle the land, then we will lose the desire to do what it takes to retain the land and our will being broken will falter and we will lose Israel. Abbas Zaki of Fatah was correct in what he stated and we sadly know he was right and just hope that the rest of Israel realizes the truth before they make any disastrous decisions. But to go into that would be pure politics, and this is not the time for our discourse in that realm.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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