Sunday, July 25, 2010

#76 - JEW Land

Today is the 15th day of Av. In Hebrew, this is Yom Tu B'Av - "Day of Tu B'Av". Indeed, as this is my 76th Post, the name of today's date Yom Tu B'Av is the Gematria of 76. In short, it is called Tu B'Av.

One year ago, I also wrote a Tu B'Av post, focusing on the concept of love and dating as it relates to this special day. I named that 38th Post (August '09) - What is this LOVE? - the translation of the name of a book addressing what real love is as in marriage - Mah Zot Ahava, the same Gematria as my name Shimon, which I discovered at a booth shortly before the night of Tu B'Av. I took this as a sign that I would find love and get married in the coming year - and indeed, barely a week went by when my wife-to-be called me for the first time.

Considering in past years when I thought I would have some luck, my Tu B'Avs were left with far more disappointment than luck, hoping that some woman or another that I met at an event on this date would be more than a date, was not interested in me at the end. This is especially bearing in mind that it was none other than Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel, my namesake, who said that it was on this date during Temple times that the women held dances to attract men, the times when it seemed to be a man's world; unlike today when it is basically a woman's world. Also on this very date, Rabbi Shimon Lavi, the one who composed the most popular song in honor of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, called Bar Yochai, passed away on this date. And it is this month that corresponds to the Tribe of Shimon. So, I felt in past years that G-d was teasing me when I felt that I of all people, knowing all this, should have been the very one to have met someone for marriage, to start a Jewish family, to fulfill what the Torah says to do - get married and have children.

But THIS year, I can proudly say, this is my FIRST Tu B'Av of being married to my wife Yael. And so, it is most significant to note that the number of this post is the same Gematria as today's date - Yom Tu B'Av.

While I am at it, let me list the events in Jewish history that made this date very special, as recorded in Talmud Ta'anit 30b-31a:

1) The Tribes of Israel were given permission to intermarry into one another.
2) The Tribe of Benjamin was allowed to marry into the rest of the Jewish people, following a nasty incident which was defended by this Tribe, which subsequently led to a civil war.
3)The last Jews slated to die on Tisha B'Av in the wilderness as punishment for being cry babies on this date of misfortune following the Spies' evil report of the Land of Israel realized that Hashem forgave them when they saw the full moon on Tu B'Av realizing that there was no mistake of the calculation of the month indicating that Tisha B'Av had already passed.
4)Hoshea Ben Elah, the last king of Jewish Samaria, removed the roadblocks that were originally placed to prevent the Jews from making the thrice annually pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.
5)The Jews who were massacred in the city of Beitar were allowed to be buried, and were found to be without decay despite being left out in the sun for a while without burial.
6)The Jews stopped cutting wood for the Altar pyre, celebrating the fact that they finished a Mitzva.

The Talmud goes on to say that around this date, the nights get longer; hence the beginning of the season to learn more Torah at night.

Now this year, I want to focus on a different theme - particularly, the fourth reason for the celebration of this date of Tu B'Av. Anyone who is quite familiar with the Tanach/Bible will know that every single king of Israel in the Samaria region was evil and worshipped idols - including this last king Hoshea Ben Elah. In a moment of goodwill, this king behaved a little less wicked, and though it was a little - a bit too late, because shortly afterwards, 10 Tribes of Israel living in the greater Samaria region were exiled; nevertheless, this marked something good for the Jewish people, even for the few short years that the few good ones - whether they worshipped idols or not - would decide to travel to the Temple for the holidays.

To begin with, it was Jeroboam, the first king of Israel for most of the Jews in Samaria, who ceded from King Solomon's son Rehoboam who wound up being king only over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who set up the roadblocks to prevent Jews from coming to the Temple, afraid that they would leave his kingdom for King Rehoboam. And so, even though the last king of Israel only removed a little evil from the region, and not that he added something good for the Jews per se; nevertheless, removing the roadblocks was at least some small step towards making improvement; and in the long run, this showed that the Jews should have no stopping from coming to the holiest area in the world.

Of course, this leads us to think today about the current state of the Temple Mount, on which Muslim Arabs are allowed free control along with their mosque on the mount, and tourists who walk on the forbidden areas of the Temple Mount as virtually all of us today are unclean with the impurity of the dead. However, observant Jews who dare even move their lips suggesting that they could be praying can be duly arrested, G-d forbid.

What are we talking about here - the holiest area of the world towards which Jews all over the world face when they say the Shomeneh Esrei prayer at least three times daily. And it is this very part of Israel that is most contested by Arabs, though originally purchased by King David and recaptured following the Six Day War. The way that the heads of the government of Israel behave regarding this, they make Hoshea Ben Elah look like he was a Tzadik/righteous person. The High in Hell Court of Israel has denied today's Sanhedrin's annual request to hold a Paschal sacrifice on the Temple Mount, a Mitzva/commandment in Temple times that if not performed, was punished with the spiritual punishment of excision, spiritually cut off from the Jewish people.

NOTE: Both my name Shimon and Har Moriah - the name for the Temple Mount in the Torah(without the usual prefix of Hei for HaMoriah is spelled in the Torah) - have the same Gematria - 466!


Actually, there were two Kahanes who were not afraid to speak the truth, both of whom were murdered by Arabs - Rabbis Meir & Binyamin Kahane - father & son, may Hashem avenge their blood. The Kahane name is no stranger to My ninth post (November '08) featured Rabbi Meir Kahane's 18th Yahrzeit in relationship to Eretz Yisrael/Land of Israel.

Weekly, I see articles on the Parsha from various rabbis in the Zionist camp who write all about Israel, the commandment to live in it, etc. Indeed, in Rabbi Meir Kahane's magnum opus Ohr HaRayohn - "The Jewish Idea", which are both in Hebrew and English, the 18th & 19th chapters are devoted to the general concept of Israel and the Mitzva of living in Israel, respectively. And the 20th chapter - it is the subject of non-Jews in Israel.

Now, before I continue writing about this crucial chapter, Tu B'Av, the name of today's date in short, is the Gematria of 20. And we are presently in the 20th year from the assassination of the "BIG Jew", as the Arabs called Rabbi Meir Kahane upon his murder. And the number 20 is most associated with the concept of self sacrifice
- Abraham was the 20th generation from Adam & Eve who was the first in world history to offer his life for the belief in one G-d and his repudiation of idolatry. And Moses, who asked Hashem to erase his name from the Sefer Torah/Torah Scroll if He would not forgive the Jews for the sin of the Golden Calf, had his wish fulfilled in some small way, though Hashem did in fact forgive the Jews, at least in terms of not destroying them like He said He would originally. This was fulfilled by omitting Moses' name from Parshat Tetzaveh - the 20th Parsha of the Torah, showing Moses' self sacrifice on behalf of his people. Details on this can be found on my 20th Post (March '09).

The point that I want to drive here is that the contents of the 20th chapter of Rabbi Meir Kahane's book is what distinguishes him from most of these Zionistic rabbis, most of whom at best wished that Kahane would not be part of the scene, for besides taking away their prestige as far as they were concerned, Kahane spoke of matters that these rabbis should have but were afraid of speaking about; let alone the fact that were even those with the title of rabbi (I refuse to call them by their title of rabbi whose only credential of being called that is what is on their piece of paper when they completed their regimen of rabbinical studies) who told their students in the IDF that they must listen to the Israeli government and army when told to evacuate their Jewish bretheren from Gush Katif, whose fifth anniversary of its destruction was just commemorated. While everyone speaks of settling the land; and yes, this is a tremendous Mitzva which will also help prevent unwanted earthlings, especially Arabs from trespassing our Holy Land, few will address the problem that the Torah speaks about - actively getting rid of these human rodents.

Many years ago, I attended an activists' meeting over a weekend in New York to which I especially flew to from Florida. At this gathering, Rabbi Binyamin Kahane spoke about how people want to point out to all kinds of events happening in Israel through the Hidden Codes of the Torah, at times seeming to be a nice game. In a very direct way, he pointed out how many years ago, an Arab bombing at the Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem occured during the week that Parshat Mas'ei was read, which includes the following verse, "But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land before you, those of them whom you leave shall be pins in your eyes and a surrounding barrier of thorns in your sides, and they will harass you upon the Land in which you live." (Numbers 33:55).

Some months back, there was a rabbi who used to be a member of the Knesset who passed away. A Jerusalemite of several generations, he was an outspoken person who accomplished much in the way of Judaism and Israel. He was eulogized as one who was fearless, despite the politics surrounding him, gaining much respect for his stance.

The rabbis who eulogized him as fearless were guilty of either one of two things if not both. That is, either ignoring Rabbi Meir Kahane when he truly spoke the truth including in his term in the Knesset before being banned, about which no outcry came from these rabbis - either in preventing or protesting the ban on Kahane's Kach party from the Knesset (because after all, they had their self interest of their own "religious" party in the Knesset), or they forgot what it says in the Talmud in Tractate Moed Katan that one who says false words about a deceased in an attempt to praise him, is punished; and the deceased about whom the false praise in the eulogy was noted is asked why it is being said of him when it isn't true.

And what is the subject in question - the Temple Mount. And so, when both Kahane and the other rabbi were in the Knesset at the same time, there was a discussion between the two of them that went something like this (we will call the recently passed away rabbi as A, and Kahane as B):

A: The issue of the Arabs on the Temple Mount isn't such a big deal.
B: You are afraid.
A: But it's a problem for Jews ascending the Temple Mount (because there are areas on the mount that is forbidden for one to approach with the impurity of the dead)
B: Fine, so Jews will not ascend the Mount. But let us not allow the Chillul Hashem/Desecration of G-d's name of the Arabs being on the Mount either.

My friends, if a rabbi labeled as Ultra Orthodox who is descended from several generations of Jews living in Jerusalem could be afraid to address the Chillul Hashem of Arabs trespassing the holiest area of the world located in Jerusalem, then indeed, we have a very big problem here. Kahane, who was born in New York, who didn't have this rabbi's extensive Jerusalemite background, was virtually the only rabbi-leader who had no fear of speaking the truth. Everyone can talk about Israel, calling themselves Ultra-Orthodox, Zionist, etc., but these titles can mean, as they say in Yiddish, gornisht mit gornish, nothing with nothing, because at the end, if they can't even defend the holiest area of the world, they are lacking a major tenet of Judaism - faith in G-d, which means, not being afraid to say the truth - the word of G-d - regardless if everyone will cry Boo! For crying out loud, we are not living in Israel under non-Jewish occupation which was the case for thousands of years. And for those "Zionistic rabbis" living in Israel - a double moxyoron - who gave their approval for throwing Jews out of Gush Katif, they literally did just the opposite of what the Torah says - and in this case, clearly caused Arabs to live ever much closer to attack Jews. Indeed, when one follows his Yetzer Hara/evil inclination, even common sense seems to be trampled upon.

Finally, we are presently under Jewish sovereignty - howbeit not being ruled under Halacha/Jewish Law, or whatever hasn't been taken over by Arabs as of yet - and regardless of the present Jewish dictators of what is called the State of Israel believe in or don't believe in, or what the Arab squatters will cry about - at the very least, we should be vocal about what we believe in, and do our part to get rid of whoever does not belong in Israel - most especially the Arabs who do not willingly accept Jewish sovereignty, calling all of Israel by the name Palestine, enforcing their lie upon the Anti-Semitic world. And what bothers me the most is when even in what is called very religious circles, Arabs - instead of Jews who badly need to make a living - are hired by Jews, violating both the Mitzvot of the Torah which are giving a helping hand to a Jew of giving him/her a livelihood - the highest form of giving Tzedaka/charity, and getting rid of the non-Jews - the pins and thorns - from the Land. This has also led to much Jewish bloodshed and injuries. Certainly, the ones who hired these ungrateful Arabs will have much to account for on Judgment Day.

Now, getting back to the 20th chapter of Rabbi Kahane's book, there is one quotation in this chapter that comes from this week's Parshat Eikev. As quoted from the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabba 23:7) - "The Holy One, Blessed Be He, said to Moses: "The Land is beloved to Me, as it says "THE LAND THAT HASHEM YOUR G-D ALWAYS SEEKS OUT" (Deutronomy 11:12), and Israel is beloved to Me, as it says "for it is out of Hashem's love for you" (Deutronomy 7:8)." The Holy One Blessed Be He said: "I will have the Israelite people who are beloved to Me enter the land that is beloved to Me"." On this, Rabbi Meir Kahane notes, "It is clear that it is a complete prohibition to give to a non-Jew ownership in the Land of Israel. A non-Jew - whoever it may be - has a completely different standing than that of the Jews, who are the owners of the Land, the Land of Israel. The non-Jew is nothing but a stranger, who is a tenant at best, but not an owner - and ONLY set by the rules and law as that permit him to live in the Land of Israel, even as a stranger and tenant."

And yes my friends, the family name Kahane - whose family consists of Cohanim descended by parental line all the way back to Aharon HaCohen whose Yahrzeit is the beginning of this month, Rosh Chodesh Av - and Yom Tu B'Av "Day of 15th of Av" share the same Gematria - 76, as the number of this post. And along the lines that I noted earlier, there is a crucial theme between the act of Hoshea Ben Elah removing the roadblocks on Tu B'Av, allowing the Jews to come to the Temple
- and Kahane's firm and outspoken stance about removing Arabs from the Temple area,
the holiest spot in the world, as well as from the rest of Israel.

Indeed, Tu B'Av highlights the importance of the Land of Israel - and as especially related to Jews - the Land of Yisrael. Among other events that occured on this happy date, the Tribes of Israel were permitted to intermarry into each other. The reason that this was not the case before was to at least give a chance for the first generation of Jews coming to Israel to properly inherit the Land based on the Tribes inheriting their respective lands, because if a daughter of one Tribe would marry a guy from another Tribe, it would especially present a problem if the father of the daughter didn't have any sons who would inherit his property after he would pass away. Hence, it was only after the first generation who married only into their own immediate Tribes were settled, that the ribbon was cut and now the Tribes could freely marry one into another. This taught them that their relationship with one another would only be complete with their love and respect of the Land. That way, there would be the feeling of the sense that all Jews are part of one big family - not just out of convenience, but that it is only when they are connected with the land that is especially theirs can they feel as being as part of one family - one nation.

Another significant event on this day was the realization of the Jews who behaved as cowards nearly 40 years earlier had their lives spared by Hashem. As the youngest of the group who cried that it wouldn't be a good idea to move to Israel, they received Hashem's goodwill of forgiveness for this sin and were hence allowed to move to Israel after seeing what their older counterparts went through for doing the same sin. After all, Hashem wanted some remnant of the manhood of Jews - beginning from age 20 - who had left Egypt to live to tell the tale of the Exodus - IN ISRAEL, for after all, part of the reason why Hashem wanted to take the Jews out of Egypt was to bring them to Israel. This youngest group of the Jews who were cry babies were TWENTY years old at the time that the evil Spies did the opposite of what their mission was supposed to be - to encourage Jews to move to Israel.

Twenty - representing Abraham who was the TWENTIETH generation from Adam & Eve, who risked his life for his disbelief in idolatry, and who was commanded by Hashem when he was 75 years old - or in relationship to this 76th Post, Tu B'Av & Kahane - he was in his SEVENTY-SIXTH year, to make Aliyah - Lech Lecha "Leave your country, your birthplace, your father's household - to the Land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). And just like Abraham , the 20th generation who made his personal Exodus from the country that he was born and raised him, his surroundings that he knew for his entire life, to all of a sudden, to pack up and move to an unfamiliar land; so too, the Jews who were 20 years old at the time that Hashem made the decree to strike dead on every Tisha B'Av all those from 20 years old and up who cried in vein on this day, would be the living remnant of those who left in the Exodus and would live to complete the journey that Abraham also undertook.

There is one practical difference between the way Israel was in Abraham's days and now. You see, while Hashem promised Israel to Abraham and his descendants; at the time, Israel was in non-Jewish hands, which was beyond Abraham's control to do something about it, because it was not yet time until the Jews would become a nation - one big family - and then and only then would it be possible to address them to see to it that they would get rid of the non-Jews who would not follow the rules of the land as strangers and tenants - with no apologies for doing what Hashem
wants. Unfortunately, as we see in the beginning of Sefer Shoftim/Book of Judges, the Jews were told off particularly for not getting rid of the non-Jews of the Land, which led to spiritual damage as well as physical damage, allowing idolatry to permeate the Land.

Speaking of Abraham's SEVENTY-SIXTH year and his strict stance against idolatry, the Talmud (Babylonian Talmud) on Tractate Avoda Zara, which is about the subject of IDOLATRY, ends with the SEVENTY-SIXTH Daf/double-sided page (the Dafim in the Babylonian Talmud actually begin with Daf 2). And I am reminded of what the rabbis comment on what King David, running from his father-in-law King Saul who was seeking to have King David murdered due to jealousy of him. Basically, King David was saying how King Saul told him to worship idols. Now, despite King Saul being evil for murdering a city of Cohanim, we don't see anywhere where King Saul actually told his son-in-law David to committ this tremendous sin. It is on this that the rabbis step in and comment that King David was referring to the fact that he had to leave Israel to escape King Saul's fury. We learn from here that "Whoever lives in Israel has a G-d while those who doesn't live in Israel do not have a G-d".

It is only in Israel that a Jew can hope to have a special connection to Hashem. And just like in a synagogue where men and women sit separately to avoid all distractions possible; so too in Israel, we can only serve Hashem and relate to Him in the greatest way possible, if we don't allow distractions - non-Jews living in Israel who will not follow the rules of the land. It is then and only then that we can hope not to start getting assimilated and following the customs of the nations around us who worship idols or have heretical ideas which will G-d forbid pollute our spiritual beings. The Land of Israel is called as such because that is what it is exactly - the land of ISRAEL, the nation of ISRAEL - not of non-Jews who have other lands to live in. There was never and can never be a "two-state solution", only as land that is forcibly removed from Jews and declared to non-Jews that it is their land when it really isn't.

As Kahane, near the end of this chapter, states, "The Land of Israel was given to the Nation of Israel, as a separate nation, in order that we should be separated from the gentiles, and their strange habits." Otherwise, there is no point in having our own land. While non Jews who have their own country would not necessarily be negatively affected spiritually by having people of other nations come into the picture, as exemplified by the United States consisting of virtually every nation on the planet; for Jews, living in our land is contingent on following what Hashem says, Who wants us to be the exclusive owners of our Land.

Tu B'Av - a time to reaffirm our love relationship with Hashem, with the understanding that it is only WE who are allowed into the same palace as Hashem's Divine Presence resides, primarily in the area of the Holy Temple, located on the Temple Mount. It is only WE - with no apologies to anyone else - who can truly call Hashem our Av/Father, the name of this month, the midst of which is Tu B'Av, at the time of the full moon, which represents the totality of the Jewish people, the time when the nights which are ruled by the moon which in turn represents the Jewish people, is a time to learn more Torah, infusing dark areas lacking spiritual light with such light.

And as the Torah is compared to the soul while the Land of Israel is compared to the body, it is impossible for one who live in this world without both soul and body. Likewise, a Jew can only be complete if he learns Torah and keeps its commmandments -
"ON THE LAND that Hashem swore to our forefathers to give to us" (Deutronomy 11:21) as mentioned in this week's Parshat Eikev, where near the beginning of this Parsha it states "You shall consume the nations that Hashem your G-d has given you, don't let your eyes pity them, and don't serve their gods, for it is a stumbling block to you" (Deutronomy 7:16), and near the end of this Parsha, "You shall chase out all these nations from in front of you, you shall chase out greater and mightier nations than you" (Deutronomy 11:23).

And as the name of this Parshat Eikev, whose name is associated with keeping Hashem's commandments on the land that He gave us; so too, this very word is used in Hashem's conversation with Isaac after promising him that He will give this land to his descendants, "Eikev - Because Abraham listened to my voice, and he kept My guardings, My commandments, My statutes, and my Torahs" (Genesis 26:5).

Tu B'Av 5770

P.S. It will be a few weeks before I post again. Stay tuned.


Moriah said...

Would it be unseemly to say I'm blown away?

I am.

shimonmatisyahu said...

Thank you for your feedback, Moriah. And my feedback - the name of the Temple Mount in the Torah, a theme in this post, is called Har HaMoriah.

shimonmatisyahu said...

Actually, Moriah, you reminded me of a Gematria. Har Moriah, without the usual prefix given in the Torah of the letter Hei as HaMoriah, is the Gematria of my name Shimon - 466, also a theme in this post!