Wednesday, February 28, 2018

R. Meir Simha haKohen

"R. Meir Simha haKohen of Dvinsk suggests that murder of gentiles cannot be atoned for by capital punishment because the murderer must achieve kappara for both murder and hillul hashem."

Meshekh Hokhma, Shemot 21:4.

Yitzchak Blau
Tradition 34:4

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Levaya of Rav Shmuel Auerbach zt'l

Today I attended the levaya of Rav Auerbach zt'l. It was an extraordinary experience.  I saw people crying, men, women. I saw torn shirts and jackets from kriah. I saw a sea of people. It was at least 150,000. For some reason Yeshiva World News is reporting 10s of thousands. This is false. The Israeli government and the newspapers tend to underreport attendance at levayas so as to undercut the importance of Torah. Israel is so political and people hide the truth all the time. They don't deal in facts. They deal in points of view. Facts are secondary. I hope that YWN is not underreporting because the Rosh Yeshiva was anti-Zionist. Someone told me the military radio reported 100,000.

I attended a college that had a football stadium with 100,000 people and I saw what 100,000 people look like on the street and in a stadium many times. This was way more. It was a sea of black hats that extended as far up the road and down the road as I could see.

We stood there for two hours listening to hespidim as the crowd grew and grew. And then we walked the 6 or so kilometers to Har HaMenuchos. This throng of people moving through Jerusalem out to the highway and up to the cemetery. There was such awe of Torah and tzidkus in the air. And not a policeman in sight. With yirei shemayim it's not necessary. They policed themselves.

Really incredible. Such a loss for the nation, for the world.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Linked Article: It’s Not an F-16, It’s God -- Rogel Alpher, Haaretz

It’s Not an F-16, It’s God

Rogel Alpher, Haaretz

Since World War I, countless fighter jets have been downed. Planes of the British, German, Japanese, Soviet, U.S. and other armies have been downed over Europe, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Pacific Ocean and every other possible battlefield on every continent. They didn’t simply plummet to earth due to technical failure; they were shot down by other fighter planes or by anti-aircraft fire — despite being the best fighter planes of their time, flown by the best pilots humanity has ever created, pilots no less skilled than those of the Israeli air force, even if they were goyim.

Yet it seems news of a downed fighter has never before been met with the shock and dismay that greeted the terrible tidings that an Israeli fighter plane was brought down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire about a week ago. Israeli Jews were beside themselves. Their attitude toward the burning fragments of their fighter plane was as if a tribal totem had been blown up and torched, true desecration; as if their national pride had been castrated.

What a religious ritual was conducted over that plane. In the history of aerial warfare, it’s doubtful that any plane has ever been treated so religiously, like a false god revealed as mortal, Superman dropped from the sky, against all odds.

For Israeli Jews, air force jets are divine; the air supremacy they are supposed to afford is a divine supremacy that gives them the powers of omnipotent gods. The planes are supposed to be invulnerable, and the pilots who fly them are supposed to be angels. Angels do not commit human errors.

Images of the direct hits by Israel Air Force fighter jets on small, remote targets on the ground — images that are shown on television, eliciting awe from viewers, in which the crosshairs of the plane’s gunsight could be seen homing in on its target — attest to the superpowers of this divine plane and its angelic pilots.

They see everything from on high. Like God, nothing, no matter how small or how hidden, escapes their eyes. Nothing can escape their vengeful divine fire.

Like God, the Israeli fighter jet is omnipresent and can reach anywhere. It has a long arm. It’s the perfect predator, king of the skies. It’s an eagle, while Israeli Jews’ enemies, the Iranians and the Arabs, are nothing but rabbits and mice that flee in panic for their burrows and holes.

How much awe and respect the Israeli fighter jet inspires in the hearts of Israeli Jews! During the Independence Day flyover, they wave tiny flags at it and clap for it. In their hearts, they bow down to it.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Land

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, "We mourn over that which brought about that destruction (of the Temple - author), we take to heart the harshness we have encountered in our years of wandering as the chastisement of a father, imposed on us for our improvement, and we mourn the lack of observance of Torah which that ruin has brought about. . . It (this mourning - author) obliges us to allow our longing for the far away land to express itself only in mourning, in wishing and hoping; and only through the honest fulfillment of all Jewish duties to await the realization of this hope. But it forbids us to strive for the reunion or possession of the land by any but spiritual means." (Horeb, 1981: 461