28 August 2016

What Does It Really Mean to Be "A Light to the Nations"?

24 Menachem Av 5776

Know that mixing with gentiles either through going to them or bringing them to us, diminishes our light and darkens the world. And know, too, that anyone who facilitates their entry and presence in Eretz HaKodesh has a share in the sin of any idolatry that they commit and any Jew that they deceive. It would be better for such a person that he had never been born.

For the answer to the question posed in the title, see...
Light to the Nations Series - Part 1

25 August 2016

Parashat Eikev 5776

22 Menachem Av 5776
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Shabbat Mevorchim

We're one week before Rosh Chodesh Elul and the beginning of the Forty Days of Awe. Time to start getting serious. Here are a few quotes from the parashah which really stand out in my mind.

...You shall faithfully observe all the Instruction that I enjoin upon you today, that you may thrive and increase and be able to possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your fathers.

...Bear in mind that the LORD your God disciplines you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore keep the commandments of the LORD your God: walk in His ways and revere Him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land,....

...When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Take care lest you forget the LORD your God and fail to keep His commandments, His rules, and His laws, which I enjoin upon you today.

...Remember, never forget, how you provoked the LORD your God to anger in the wilderness: from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you reached this place, you have continued defiant toward the LORD.

...And when the LORD sent you on from Kadesh-barnea, saying, “Go up and take possession of the land that I am giving you,” you flouted the command of the LORD your God; you did not put your trust in Him and did not obey Him. As long as I have known you, you have been defiant toward the LORD.

...And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God demand of you? Only this: to revere the LORD your God, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and soul, keeping the LORD’s commandments and laws, which I enjoin upon you today, for your good.

...Love, therefore, the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His laws, His rules, and His commandments.

From the Haftarah:

I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, They shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. And all mankind shall know That I the LORD am your Savior, The Mighty One of Jacob, your Redeemer.

Rabbi Kahane on the Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael and the "Specialness" of Am Yisrael

21 Menachem Av 5776

Most of the Torah and halachah that deals with the issue of non-Jews in Eretz Yisrael is for two reasons: 1) it is a foregone conclusion that Eretz Yisrael is where Jews should be living; and, 2) it's the only place where we have the mastery over our own will and laws. 

What is the halachah for living among the non-Jews in the Diaspora? When we are living in their lands, we are their guests. It is up to us to steer clear of them - to be good citizens (as long as their laws do not conflict with God's law) and to try to keep ourselves and Judaism alive - to survive and not to assimilate, either their religion or their culture.

Orthodoxy has traditionally forbidden interfaith dialogue and interaction while the Heterodox movements embrace it. (That should tell you something right there.) 

In the interests of truth, clarity and compliance with the Creator's will as expressed in His Holy Torah, here are some links to previously posted excerpts from Rabbi Kahane's Or HaRa'ayon: The Jewish Idea.

Some Halachot regarding non-Jews in Eretz Yisrael

Excerpts from The Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael by Rabbi Meir Kahane

Torah perspective: They really must go – Rabbi Meir Kahane

Or HaRa'ayon, Vol II, Ch. 20 - The Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael

24 August 2016

Did Rabbi Meir Kahane Really "Get Ger"?

20 Menachem Av 5776

For those unfamiliar with the false messianism* of the "Ger" cult, I'll encapsulate it. Two self-described "Orthodox" rabbis, American olim, started a "movement" which they call "Ger" and claim it is based on recovered ancient knowledge, i.e. the "Torah of Shem". 

In short, it claims that nearly every reference to "ger" in the Torah is referring to gentiles and even claims that the righteous Ruth, the quintessential convert, never became a Jew, but remained a gentile. A blog post is too limited to get into this matter in great detail. For our purposes today, it's enough to address this blatant slander of Rabbi Kahane's name.

I owe who I am today as a Jew to Rabbi Meir Kahane. There is no Torah teacher I admire more. He was the embodiment of Emet and to have his name associated in any way with such a corruption of the Torah and Torah sources is something that I cannot remain silent about.

Unfortunately, Rabbi Kahane did not live long enough to witness the exponential growth of missionary infiltration into Israel or the tragic deterioration of what passes today for "Orthodox" Judaism. In 1990, he was invited by Vendyl Jones to participate in the First Noahide Conference, which he graciously did. But, the rabbi was addressing people he understood to be true Sons of Noah as described by our Torah and Sages and not the perversion of that ideal that exists today.

Those who today lay claim to Vendyl's legacy recently organized the Vendyl Jones Memorial Conference. It was essentially a "Ger" conference. Simply by virtue of his having been in attendance at the original, Rabbi Kahane's name figured large in the pre-conference publicity and one of the lectures was dedicated to his contribution to "Ger".

That's really rather funny because, were he here with us today, Rabbi Kahane would be their most feared and intractable enemy.

A portion of that lecture has been transcribed below. It speaks for itself.
...When it came time for the conference I was just kind of playing around with Meir Kahane, again it's the Vendyl conference and Meir was there and the 1990 thing so I talked to my good friend... so he's like Meir Kahane this and Meir Kahane that and, in fact, I'm only friends with this guy because I was teaching Kol HaTor Mashiach ben Yosef and he kept telling me Meir Kahane taught about Mashiach ben Yosef, too, so I thought...maybe he's alright. So, I bought the book [Rabbi Kahane's Or Hara'ayon] coming up to this conference. I don't know how you would translate it into English . It's not so translatable. The concept of light or the idea of light, I don't know how you call it... so, I started to research it coming up to this conference and I saw very quickly, I was looking through the Table of Contents, you know, where's the Ger, where's the Ger, there's gotta be Ger here, um, and there was.
There was a chapter about the non-Jew. And so, I opened it up and I did it pretty quick. I wasn't planning on hashing it out to that extent and I'm seeing, maybe he got Ger, maybe not, I don't know, this is, ...usually I don't get stumped by Ger stuff, but this one, he's got me. Literally, I'm not sure...maybe he didn't get it, he's wrong because everyone said he was wrong, he says he's right but we say he's wrong, but I don't know, maybe he did get it, I don't know, so I ruled in my own mind, he didn't get it, no, he didn't get it, he didn't get it and I gave a look again and ...I'll give it to him, maybe he got it a little bit, but he's not saying what we're saying because the difference is, this is where the teaching's gonna begin, Ger Toshav, whatever that is, can really go one of two ways, it's gonna be our friend the Ger, our good Ger, he's an awesome guy, you can call him all these different terms in the Torah, Ger Chasid and all your friendly Ger, and then there's your slave Ger, he's our servant, he makes us coffee, so I'm saying I think he's making slave Ger, [Rabbi Kahane's] not our friend. He doesn't know the Chasid Ger, he doesn't know him, so pewey on Rav Meir Kahane, right? But, he got Ger a little bit so I'll give him some respect. And I kept looking at it, and I just kept, you know, because he words it very difficult so either he really didn't get it or he got it so well,....

So, he started to win me over, because remember how many are getting Ger on this level? I say the Lubavitcher Rebbe...he gets Ger 10 out of 10, he is your best friend, Rebbe Nachman got ger 10 out of 10, he is your best friend, ...Rav Aharon Soloveitchik...the Ger authority of all time...[Rabbi Soloveitchik's book Od Yisrael Yosef Bnei Chai] is like the Ger Bible...when you get your Ger friends in Torah, it's a select company, it's a select company, not many people make my personal Mount Rushmore. when you tell me Rav Meir Kahane is gonna be on my Mount Rushmore, man it better be worth it, alright, I'm telling you, you better earn your way up there because otherwise you're saying that the Gerim are slaves, this and that, we don't have that, alright? Our friends Rashi, Rambam, these are our Ger friends, alright, we do not pervert the Ger line. So, I was willing to even come here tonight and say that he got it just on emuna alone. I read enough about it, I live a busy life with all my other things, I'm not devoting that much time to this sefer, it's just not worth my time. He's Meir Kahane and then something changed. It's called a nice flight in the air so I had my eleven hours on Sunday, I was being kind of rough, I knew it was good and I knew I had what to talk about, ok, but I would give it a B+, ...which means he knew the sources and he was coming through, alright, and he was not a threat, and it would be interesting content for tonight...I mean he got a lot of things right, but not Ger.
After describing his 11-hour flight with a few jokes, the speaker returns to the subject of Rabbi Kahane and seems to imply that after spending further time perusing Or HaRa'ayon, he came to a different conclusion...
I had this gap of time and I'm telling you it was bomb after bomb after bomb, and I think he's the world record-holder. He's my guy. He came through. Meir, Rav Meir Kahane, he is the Ger guy. He is the one. I'm telling you he got it on levels I've never, he gave answers to questions.... this guy got it on such a level all you can say is he even got the little dinky Ger or maybe Ger is that big as someone who gets the truth is gonna get Ger, go to Ger, and it wasn't so small and random after all. Anyone on a path of truth is gonna run into Ger and we see it in our lives and our learning. It's not an accident... The Ger is the whole Torah. It's the path to Mashiach.... The challenge is to unite these two visions [i.e., the current Ger movement and what Rabbi Kahane taught regarding ger toshav].
B"H, Rabbi Kahane can speak for himself through the works that he left behind. So, you be the judge.

The Ger Toshav: Excerpts from The Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael by Rabbi Meir Kahane in Or HaRa'ayon, Chapter 20

Although the following is not particularly concerned with Rabbi Kahane, I'm including it here since it is part of this lecture given in Rabbi Kahane's name and it will demonstrate for you just how 'OFF' this so-called movement is...
[Concerning the Yefe Toar - the foreign woman taken in war] ...those women are called Ger, they're kosher to a Jew, even the Cohen Gadol can and did marry those women. How many of you have ever heard of Ruth? She was a Ger. And she was not a convert and she married a Jew. And that child becomes a Jew. I taught this in England. The midrash Rabbah on Parshas Naso, which is one of the biggest collections of Ger Torah that exists says, if a woman sanctifies her womb with modesty and purity of the Jewish code of excellence, let's call it, she marries a Jew, that child is a Jew. That's what became of Ruth and Boaz which gave us King David eventually. I taught that in London and they're like, no, no way... he admitted it was true, but his fear was you're gonna promote intermarriage with that and I said, you need to be a little smart about it. I found a book in Modiin by a rav today who is popular... it is literally written there, in stone, that a ger toshav in a time of jubilee can marry a Jew. And Ruth was the example. So, I guess I learned it ok. ...Ger woman allowed to Jewish man. ...Ger is the fourth house of Israel.
It actually gets worse, but we're short on space here. To conclude, NO WAY would Rabbi Meir Kahane, ztz"l, Hy"d, "Get Ger"!! Or agree to have his name associated with it in any positive way or that his writings would be characterized as supporting it. I have no doubt whatsoever that every legitimate student of Rabbi Kahane would agree with me. And all of them will be provided with a copy of this blog post for reference.

23 August 2016

Kudos to J-TV

20 Menachem Av 5776

I said I'd let you know the result of my email complaint. Nehemiah Coopersmith of J-TV responded kindly and promptly.

It's news to me that he is a jew... how do you know that?
I sent your email to the head of JTV asking for clarification.
if he's a jew we will take it down asap

To which I wrote...

His Hebrew name is the first clue. And then there's this...
Hananya Naftali
I'm the Israeli Jewish Christian who sometimes talk to the camera [link removed] and writes about life in Israel. 
 When you go to his link, it brings you to his introductory video in which he says... "My name is Chananya, I'm an Israeli, I'm Jewish by blood and Christian by faith."

And Nehemiah wrote right back...

crazy! we're are taking it down asap, and I was in touch with the editor at JTV who obviously didn't know this. it was a mistake
thanks for bringing it to our attention

I finished with...

So, I got to it originally through who also did not vet it before posting it. We all have to be a lot more careful in the future. The thanks goes to one of my readers "Shifra R" who brought it to my attention.

Thank you ever so much for being so prompt in your response and for taking responsibility to take the offending video down. I and my readers are happy to know it was a mistake and not intentional.

Kol tuv. Tizke l'mitzvot!

I'm happy it was resolved so quickly and cordially. It really is worth it to take the time to get involved. Many thanks again to Shifra!!

Just When You Think It Can't Get Worse...

20 Menachem Av 5776

UPDATE: I received a prompt reply from J-TV and the offending video has been removed. I hope all involved will be much more careful in the future.

(H/T to Shifrah)

Following is a copy of an email I composed and sent to and J-TV.

Shalom Webmaster,

I just left a message for you, including my phone number, on your voicemail. I am following it up now with this email. 

My name is Devorah Chayah Shem Tov and I am a Jewish blogger with a large readership. One of my readers contacted me with regard to a questionable webpage on your site. I have decided to make it the subject of my next blog post and would like to give you an opportunity to respond. I will also be contacting J-TV who it appears was the originator of the content.

This is the page in question: 

Israeli-Christian Pro-Israel Activist

Meet Hananya Naftali, a savvy 21-year-old social media activist who supports Israel.

Can you please explain to me, and to my readers, why is featuring and giving positive coverage to an apostate Jew who is proud to proclaim himself a convert to Christianity in the Land of Israel?  We would like to know how this content is found to be consistent with the stated goals of both and J-TV.

Someone somewhere has some explaining to do.  We'll be very interested to hear it.

Thank you for your attention to this very important matter,
Devorah Chayah Shem Tov @Tomer Devorah

I'll keep you posted on what response, if any, that we receive. If you'd like to make your own views known on this subject, write to and/or or leave a comment here and/or here.

...An observant Jew who is a passionate believer in Jewish education, Anisfeld was wrestling with how to transmit his love of Judaism to his peers.

“It is a message poorly transmitted, if at all, so there was an apathy about Jewish identity,” Anisfeld told The Times of Israel. “My idea was to create a new, high quality, online global Jewish media channel.”

...We aim to engage both Jews and non-Jews who want to understand Jewish culture.”

If It Doesn't Sound Right, It May Not Be Right

19 Menachem Av 5776

I am 62 years old. I have been a kosher Jew for one-third of my life - a life which was dedicated from a very early age to a serious, ongoing and deep search for the truth. As a result, my internal truth-meter became very highly developed and, until today, it has never failed me. 

Truth be known, I think every real Jewish neshamah has such an internal truth-meter. It is honed and perfected through Torah learning. If you have been fortunate to sink your spiritual roots deep into authentic Torah, then your internal truth-meter should be most reliable.

I urge every one of you to tune in to your own internal truth-meter and do not be afraid to test every teacher. No matter who he is or how great his name, listen carefully and critically to what is being taught and measure it by what your truth-meter tells you. If you hear something that sets little alarm-bells going off in your head, don't dismiss the warning because the teacher has a big reputation. Even Moshe Rabeinu erred in his lifetime. 

I heard those alarm bells loud and clear just this morning. Examine the sources, focus on the big picture and see if reality bears out the purported facts.

Hamavin yavin.

22 August 2016

"The Story of Us"

19 Menachem Av 5776

(With Thanks to Devorah Esther)

A true righteous convert invites you to share her journey as she explains her connection to the Jewish People. (Watch upcoming issues of Mishpacha Magazine for the whole story.)