Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Is the Israeli Rabbinate an oppressive anachronism?

Bartley Kulp has left a new comment on your post "Conversion crisis - Victory for the Haredim":

Jersey Girl said...

Letter written by the renowned Rabbi Chayim Oizer Grodzinski, zt”l of Vilna to Chief Rabbi Dr. Guedemann of Vienna:

English Translation:

Your honour knows that in the matter of the Zionists and the Mizrachi, I am in correspondence with the Gaonim of this generation, and all of them, have decided that Zionism is the work of the Sitro Achro with all its seductions and incitements, for the purpose of turning Israel from the good path and, that a great danger arises from it for all the Congregation of the Exile—Heaven forbid—and that all those who venture to defend the Zionists, are no better than they."
===============

You are confusing me Jersey Girl. On the one hand you bring in a source in order to prove that the State of Israel is a product of the sitra achra. This is the position of the Badatz Eidat Hachereidit.

They believe that zero participation with the state is permissible for Torah Yidden. This also precludes being a member of the state run and funded rabbinate. It is a perfectly valid shitta and if that is how you hold that is your entitlement. So why are you questioning my logic in dismantling the rabbinate? Why should you care?

Now while you are trying to figure out which shitta you subscribe to, there are about five or so, let us address the questions that you asked me.

You asked, "If I understand correctly, it seems what you want is an "America" in the Middle East; that is, not a Jewish State but a State for Jews. It is true that this fulfills the Zionist dream.

But how does a Levantine "America" fit into the overall culture of the ME?"

I wish that all of the Yidden me included will do tshuva and come closer to Hashem's Torah. It is easier to makarve people in an open society then it is when you have placed demands on them and control their personal lives.

By any modern standard the authority of the rabbinate regarding people's personal lives is regarded by the secular here as oppressive and anachronistic. Today's generation has a din of tinnuk sh'b'nishba and they cannot be expected to listen to what the religious have to say hook, line and sinker. All the more so that we should not be surprised that they resent us when we control who they are permitted to marry or divorce. For example in a world that looks down at the cast system India, state legislated discrimination against mamzerim can be viewed outside of the Torah world as oppressive. This in itself is a chillul Hashem.

I am not G-d forbid implying that the rabbi's should change halacha in order to conform to modernity. The Torah is eternal as is Hashem. I am saying that we should run things as we do everywhere else. With independent batei dinim. The most important aspect of these batei dinim is their autonomy to posken on issues as they see proper without political intervention.

You might say that this will lead to intermarriage and mamzerut. Most Israelis who cannot get married through the rabbinate can fly to Cyprus anyway and then use that marriage certificate at the Ministry of interior. Also forcing non religious Jews to marry al pi halacha is a recipe set up for mamzerut.

"But how does a Levantine "America" fit into the overall culture of the ME?"

My answer is that I personally do not care. In a region where life is cheap, minorities are terrorized and, or murdered, honor killings condoned, slaves bought and sold, woman treated like chattels, and parents hating their enemies more than they love their children, I am not so certain that we should be trying to embed ourselves through emulation in order to mesh with our surroundings here. At any rate we are exhorted by the Torah and Chazal not to emulate the behavior of the surrounding neighbors. So your question regarding fitting in to the fabric of the surrounding society is a stillborn one.

Now to address your next question. You asked, "Can a completely secular Western style democracy ever even hope to SURVIVE among theocratic religiously conservative neighbors? (Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Palestine are ruled completely by Islamic law. Lebanon does not permit intermarriages. Religious issues have been at the center of Lebanon's ongoing civil war.)"

First of all over the past sixty years the regimes in these countries at times have barely survive amongst themselves. In many of them their has been violent regime changes and attempts. Nobody has it easy in the middle east. One conclusion that one can make of this though is that to the degree that these countries westernize, the more stable they become (the Ayatolla revolution non - withstanding).

Also Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and especially Syria are not ruled through Sharia. Lebanon is a perfect example to back up my argument on what can happen to a country that was once lauded internationally for its Leviatan spirit because some outdated status quo laws were being upheld by one part of the population. Does the word "status quo agreement" ring a bell?

You asserted, "Muslim leaders often join Haredi leaders in taking a public stance against things that are offensive to both Jews and Muslims(i.e.the Gay Parade in Jerusalem)."

My answer bogus. It only happened once and it was not something that was syncronized. Do not worry, Rav Elyashuv shlita does not have the mufti's personal cell number. It is also kind of ironic that you used that article to prove your point. Could it be that only when the Arabs see us rioting through rock throwing, burning stuff and causing general mayhem that they see in us a sort a kindred spirit? When we act like a bunch of strung out chimpanzees on amphetamines do they then see a reflection of themselves and only then remember that we are the children of Avraham (Ibrahim as they call him)?

Like I said earlier, the Arab culture is something that I wish not to emulate.

You then used an example of issues that we could could become close with. Here is an anonymous writer.
"I recently read this, on a blog posted anonymously:

"It is my view and a part of my belief as a Muslim and a believer in the one true G-d that there are no contradictions in any of the traditions I have read extensively Jewish scripts and Rabbinical opinions and Islamic law and actually find a harmony in the teaching on doctrinal level.

The only differences arise when those who would have us believe they do things in our name respectively are actually pushing a secularist agenda not fulfilling G-d's Will and law.

The war in Palestine is not Judaism versus Islam but, one set of secularist devils against another set of secularist devils who shroud themselves in the faith of their countrymen to abuse their emotions.

And let it be quite clear for all to see that Muslims do not hate Jews who keep God's commandments and fear him."

These sentiments also seem to be reflected in the December open letter from Muslims to Jews:
"As Muslims and Jews we share core doctrinal beliefs,..... laws and jurisprudence, many significant values and even dietary restrictions. There is more in common between our religions and peoples than is known to each of us.
http://www.israelenews.com/view.asp?ID=1378

I know a lot of Arabs and I find his opinion highly unusual. The only thing that I will agree about with this lone man's assessment is that this is not a war between Judaism and Islam. I would say though that it is a war between Yishmael and the Jews. At any rate he is just one in 375 million Arabs. The person who blew up bus#2 in Jerusalem and the man who murdered the students in Mercaz Harav knew no such respect for Torah Jews. Most Muslim fanatics do not. Again, the only religious Jews that most of these maniacs respect are the ones who are willing to call them master.

As far as I see it, the best way to keep our society strong is through mutual respect for each other. This will help maintain the edge that we have over their (the Arabs) society.

17 comments :

  1. "Now while you are trying to figure out which shitta you subscribe to"

    I subscribe to the upbringing of my parents and grandparents, all Yirei Shamayim Sephardic Jews.

    If you were to read articles from the Ladino newspapers from the 1920s- until they ceased publishing, you would see the same viewpoint that you attribute to Bedatz. The term "religious Zionist" was akin to "kosher pig" in my parents and grandparent's generation.

    "It is easier to makarve people in an open society then it is when you have placed demands on them and control their personal lives."

    With all of the millions of dollars spent each year by the Leib Troppers of the world if this were 1% true, there would not be a 50% intermarriage rate among American Jews.

    "the authority of the rabbinate regarding people's personal lives is regarded by the secular here as oppressive and anachronistic."

    Let's face it, those who are not observant regard anything that has to do with Torah Judaism to be oppressive and anachronistic. They want to be free to live completely like Goyim just like the Jews of Russia and America. The Rabbinute prevents this by making it hard to intermarry.

    "Today's generation has a din of tinnuk sh'b'nishba"

    Tinnuk shinishba has already been discussed on this blog extensively. If a person knows he is Jewish, he knows that he is forbidden to marry a Gentile. Most non Jews know this too.

    "forcing non religious Jews to marry al pi halacha is a recipe set up for mamzerut."

    If a marriage is not witnessed and executed k'halacha, it is not a marriage. The union of a Jew and a Gentile cannot produce a mamzer.
    A non marriage followed by a halachic marriage does not produce a mamzer. Only a halachic marriage, followed by an improper or no Get and an adulterous relationship produces a mamzer. Removing control of marriages and divorces from the Rabbis will produce mamzerut.

    "In a region where life is cheap,

    Islam forbids murder, suicide and abortion as does Judaism. Muslims also forbid euthanasia and needlessly endangering life, just as Judaism does.

    "minorities are terrorized"

    the word dhimmi means protected. Muslims feel obligated to protect the Jewish people (and other minorities) and did so for 2000 years. When the Inquisitors of Christian Spain, Portugal and Italy dumped 500,000 Jews into the sea, to die of famine and disease it was the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire who rescued them. Nearly 500 years later when the Nazis incinerated European Jewry and half a million managed to escape, they found that NO CHRISTIAN country in the WORLD would take them. Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and other Muslim countries accepted half a million Jewish refugees and protected them.
    The King of Morocco risked his own life to save 250,000 Jews from the Nazis.

    "and, or murdered, honor killings condoned,"

    Islam forbids murder just as Judaism does.

    slaves bought and sold,

    Slavery is not forbidden by the Torah. Our standard of right and wrong is from the Torah, right? Anyway, where are slaves traded today?

    woman treated like chattels,

    Islam's laws for women are IDENTICAL to those of Judaism, including civil marriage with a ketuba, divorce written only by the husband, penalties for adultery, family laws, separation of the sexes for prayer, modest dress etc.

    Do you feel that women are treated like chattel in Judaism??

    "and parents hating their enemies more than they love their children,"

    Muslim parents do not hate their children any more than Jewish parents do. Extremists who cloak their hatred in quasi religious doctrine hate their enemies more than they love their children. The parent who takes his children to live without power and running water in a war zone and who teaches his four year old to throw stones at women and babies does not love his children. Sadly we see this reprehensible behavior among misguided extremists who call themselves Jewish and among misguided extremists who call themselves Muslim. Neither the Torah nor the Quran sanction murder and both also forbid suicide.

    "One conclusion that one can make of this though is that to the degree that these countries westernize, the more stable they become"

    How about the very European Lebanon? Algeria, Egypt?? Beirut, Oran and Cairo have each been called the "Paris of the Middle East"

    "The Middle East is a traditionally unstable place."

    We can certainly agree on that.

    "the Arab culture is something that I wish not to emulate."

    Interesting that you mention that because Arabs themselves believe they are emulating Avraham Avinu just as we do.

    Like Avraham they practice charity, welcoming of guests, daily prayer, humane slaughter, modesty, eschew pork and shellfish, ritual washing, and circumcision. Islamic law is based upon the Talmud which Mohammed allegedly learned in a yeshiva. The Koran itself according to legend was first written down by a Jew who signed it and whose initials still appear on each copy.

    All Semitic cultures (Arab and Jewish) are remarkably similar to each other. What is it in Semitic culture that so appalls you???

    "I know a lot of Arabs and I find his opinion highly unusual. "

    I know a lot of Arabs. My family lived in Arab countries for hundreds of years. I understand Arabic and listen to the Arabic media. I and my extended family regularly do business in Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. One of my associates is the daughter of a senior member of the Syrian government and we speak openly and often with each other. Through her I am privy to the sentiments of President Assad who is also personal friends of another family friend. Did you know that the Syrian Consul attends Bar Mitzvahs and weddings in Brooklyn?

    "war between Yishmael and the Jews".

    What war between Ishmael and the Jews? There is a war between Christianity and Islam called the Crusades. Many Jews have become pawns in the Christian Crusades for the Holyland under the guise of Zionism which is a Christian doctrine and not a Torah one.

    "The person who blew up bus#2 in Jerusalem and the man who murdered the students in Mercaz Harav knew no such respect for Torah Jews"

    Nope. And he was not following Islam either. But neither was Baruch Goldstein who is portrayed in the media as a Torah Jew. It is sad when the media portrays criminals and murderers as "religious" Jews.

    "his will help maintain the edge that we have over their (the Arabs) society."

    Please show me where in the Torah it says that Jews should "maintain the edge over their (the Arabs) society." Or over any of the Gentile nations.

    I thought that we were supposed to be in Galut until Moshiach comes, did I miss something?

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  2. Garnel IronheartJune 4, 2008 at 1:46 AM

    How many errors can one person make?

    > The term "religious Zionist" was akin to "kosher pig" in my parents and grandparent's generation.

    How odd! That's the very expression I use to describe the Neturei Karta and their Satmar sympathizers!

    > They want to be free to live completely like Goyim just like the Jews of Russia and America. The Rabbinute prevents this by making it hard to intermarry.

    Because no Jews in Israel would ever think to live common-law with a non-Jewish partner. And here's another word for you: Cyprus.

    > If a person knows he is Jewish, he knows that he is forbidden to marry a Gentile. Most non Jews know this too.

    Don't tell the nice non-Jewish ladies at the local hospital auxilary that. They're all hoping their daughters land a nice Jewish doctor. Funny, the nice Jewish doctors are hoping to land some of those daughters as well and yet they seem to know they're Jewish. I wonder if it's it's possible that most non-religious Jews haven't an inkling that there's any prohibition to marry non-Jews?

    > If a marriage is not witnessed and executed k'halacha, it is not a marriage

    If two different people watch the video on Youtube, does that count?

    > the word dhimmi means protected. Muslims feel obligated to protect the Jewish people

    Yes, this belief belongs right up there with other time-honoured truths like:

    I'm from the government and I'm hear to help you.
    The cheque's in the mail.
    Of course I'll respect you in the morning.

    JG, who invented the concept of putting yellow badges on their Jews? Who invented the ghetto? Who invented mass-slaughter of Jews on a religious, not political basis? It wasn't the Europeans, it wasn't the Chinese and it wasn't the Chileans. It was the Muslim world. Dhimmi means second-class citizen. The only reason "protected" fits in is because anyone who doesn't have civil rights needs to be protected when the majority decides it's pogrom time.

    > Nearly 500 years later when the Nazis incinerated European Jewry and half a million managed to escape, they found that NO CHRISTIAN country in the WORLD would take them.

    Curiously, it was those same darling Arabs of yours who sent large numbers of their boys to fight in Europe on the side of the Nazis so they'd get battle experience for the fight back home.

    > Islam forbids murder just as Judaism does.

    Yes, yes, tell that to any of the victims of the suicide bombers of the last 5 years. Tell that to the thousands of Iraqis who have been killed in the insurgency. Forbid's murder? Hah! Find me a religion that's killed more people in the last 50 years!

    >Slavery is not forbidden by the Torah. Our standard of right and wrong is from the Torah, right?

    And if you knew how onerous the laws are and what a great welfare state they produce, you wouldn't be so snarky.

    > Anyway, where are slaves traded today?

    Oh, oh, I know this one! In the Sudan! By the local... oh what were they called, oh yes: Muslims!

    > Islam's laws for women are IDENTICAL to those of Judaism, including civil marriage with a ketuba, divorce written only by the husband,

    And polygamy. Oh wait, we outlawed that a thousand years ago. But then there's the rule they have about the wife having to walk behind the man in public. Oh, we don't have that one either. And the divorce ceremony must be pretty similar. The man says "Go, go, go" and the woman gets, gets, gets. We don't have that either? Hmmmm, your thesis seems to be as full of holes as the Titanic, dahling.

    > Muslim parents do not hate their children any more than Jewish parents do.

    In Jewish communities, we express love by blowing $50,000 on the kid's bar mitzvah. In Muslim communities, they express love by accepting a $5000 cheque from the local terrorist cell after putting a bomb belt on their kid. I can see the parallels, yes.

    > Neither the Torah nor the Quran sanction murder and both also forbid suicide.

    Oh hang on, I'll go tell all those shahids that they're not going to be getting the 72 black-eyed virgins they were promised by their RELIGIOUS leaders.

    >Like Avraham they practice charity,

    Yes, I'd like to make a donation to the Hamas weapons fund please.

    > welcoming of guests,

    Welcome to my home, Abu Mamzer. Did you bring the guns?

    > daily prayer,

    Oh Allah, please help us slaughter the Yahuds.

    Or my personal favourite: God is a Mouse! (Akhbar, right?)

    > humane slaughter,

    Right, because the victims of the suicide bombers didn't feel a thing.

    > modesty,

    Like that female Saudi TV host whose husband beat her to within an inch of her life because she walked around the house with her arms showing?

    > What war between Ishmael and the Jews?

    Clearly you're so religious you don't own a TV, read newspapers or use the internet. Oh oops, caught you on that last one, didn't I.

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  3. Recipients and PublicityJune 4, 2008 at 2:49 AM

    "Is the Israeli Rabbinate an oppressive anachronism?"

    Better question: Why do MOST rabbis, when they gather in a group, function like a nepotistic, corrupt oligarchy insensitive to the "fifth portion of the Shulchan Aruch (sechel and mentsclichkeit)" more akin to Stalinists and Czarists?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Please educate me:

    "who invented the concept of putting yellow badges on their Jews?"

    Up until now, I had always thought it was the Nazis. Please tell me where, when and your reference if this is not correct. (book, author etc).


    "Who invented the ghetto?"

    'Ghetto' was originally used to refer to the Venetian Ghetto in Venice, Italy where Jews were forced to live. The word "ghetto" actually means "foundry" in Italian, a reference to a foundry located on the same island as the area of Jewish confinement.

    Italy is a Christian country.

    "Who invented mass-slaughter of Jews on a religious, not political basis?"

    The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebachanezzer in 586 BCE. The Babylonians predate Islam by 1400 years.

    "It wasn't the Europeans, it wasn't the Chinese and it wasn't the Chileans. It was the Muslim world."

    Please tell me which mass slaughter of Jews you are referring to. I do not know of ANY mass slaughter of Jews that has EVER taken place under Islamic rule. (The Damascus Pogrom was under Christian rule as was the pogrom in Oran, these were the only two massacres that I know of that even took place in countries that are now predominately Islamic).

    However, I do know that Jews have been expelled 108 times from Christian countries and the list of pogroms and genocides under Christiandom is extensive. Hitler based his life's work on the writings of Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism. (Martin Luther, On Jews and their Lies).


    "Dhimmi means second-class citizen."

    Dhimmi means "protected"- ahl al-dhimma, the people of the dhimma or pact of protection. A non-Muslim subject of a state governed in accordance with sharia law. The term connotes an obligation of the state to protect the individual, including the individual's life, property, and freedom of religion and worship, and required loyalty to the empire,[1] and a poll tax known as the jizya.

    Dhimma were exempt from military service in exchange for a tax equivalent to about $300 per year in today's dollars per male subject of the age of military service. Jews were more than happy to pay this tax which also went to help pay for Jewish courts, government sponsored Rabbis, synagogues and ritual baths. To this day, the governments of Muslim countries are maintaining synagogues as 'Jewish property". Contrast this to Europeans who used our synagogues as stables and other disgraceful uses.

    Here in America we also pay a "dhimmi" tax. We pay $6000/year for a school tax that we do not use and then I pay $8000 dollars per child for schooling. (The US schools are NOT secular, they inculcate Xmas, Easter and Halloween, all Christian holidays).

    Don't get me wrong, Jews have no friends on this earth save Ha Kodesh Barechu. I do not delude myself into thinking that ANYONE loves us. We don't even like ourselves most of the time.

    But Muslims are NOT idolators.And Christians ARE because they worship Jesus as "Lord".

    According to Sephardic Rabbis, if one is forced to choose between a Christian or a Muslim one must give preference to Islam because its laws are not in conflict with our own. (See Rabbi Eliezer Papo in Pele Yoetz for one).

    I DO own a TV and hear the news in Arabic nearly every day. I read at least the Wall St. Journal every day (but also at least one other newspaper in addition). And I do of course use the internet. Our Sephardic Rabbis never forbade the secular media.

    I listen to two radio shows of new music from Egypt and Casablanca regularly. I am a junkie for Arabic techno remix downloaded from Egyptian, Israeli and Moroccan radio stations' sites.

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  5. Garnel IronheartJune 4, 2008 at 3:00 PM

    Okay Jersey Girl, I realize I'll have to speak s.l.o.w.e.r.

     Please educate me:
    Pretty hard to do that to something who already thinks they know all the answers but I’ll rise to the challenge here.
    "who invented the concept of putting yellow badges on their Jews?"

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Jews_in_Arab_lands_(gen).html
    Specifically:
    While Jewish communities in Arab and Islamic countries fared better overall than those in Christian lands in Europe, Jews were no strangers to persecution and humiliation among the Arabs and Muslim. As Princeton University historian Bernard Lewis has written: "The Golden Age of equal rights was a myth, and belief in it was a result, more than a cause, of Jewish sympathy for Islam."

    > Up until now, I had always thought it was the Nazis.
    Uh huh, sure.:
    Dhimmis were also forced to wear distinctive clothing. In the ninth century, for example, Baghdad's Caliph al-Mutawakkil designated a yellow badge for Jews, setting a precedent that would be followed centuries later in Nazi Germany.(5)
    'Ghetto' was originally used to refer to the Venetian Ghetto in Venice, Italy where Jews were forced to live.
    Yes, but in popular usage, ghetto now refers to a settled area where people of one racial or ethnic background live in close proximity to one another, only sometimes by choice. The idea of segregating Jews away from the rest of the population into the dumpy part of town was originated in Arabia.
     The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebachanezzer in 586 BCE. The Babylonians predate Islam by 1400 years.

    First of all, it’s NebuCHADnezzer. Secondly, you didn’t read what I wrote: the destruction of the First Temple, from the Babylonian perspective, was a political matter. Considering how relatively well the exiled Jews in Babylonia were treated, this is quite clear.
     Please tell me which mass slaughter of Jews you are referring to. I do not know of ANY mass slaughter of Jews that has EVER taken place under Islamic rule. (The Damascus Pogrom was under Christian rule as was the pogrom in Oran, these were the only two massacres that I know of that even took place in countries that are now predominately Islamic).

    You know of no mass slaughters and then list two. Hmmmm. Okay, do some of your own research. Before Muhammed, there was a large thriving Jewish community in the Arabian peninsula. After Muhammed, no community to speak of. Where did they all go? Costco?

    > However, I do know that Jews have been expelled 108 times from Christian countries and the list of pogroms and genocides under Christiandom is extensive.

    Your problem isn’t what you know. It’s what you don’t know. Or rather, that you don’t know that you don’t know.

    > Dhimmi means "protected"- ahl al-dhimma, the people of the dhimma or pact of protection.
    Peoples subjected to Muslim rule usually had a choice between death and conversion, but Jews and Christians, who adhered to the Scriptures, were allowed as dhimmis (protected persons) to practice their faith. This "protection" did little, however, to insure that Jews and Christians were treated well by the Muslims. On the contrary, an integral aspect of the dhimma was that, being an infidel, he had to openly acknowledge the superiority of the true believer--the Muslim.
    In the early years of the Islamic conquest, the "tribute" (or jizya), paid as a yearly poll tax, symbolized the subordination of the dhimmi. Later, the inferior status of Jews and Christians was reinforced through a series of regulations that governed the behavior of the dhimmi. Dhimmis, on pain of death, were forbidden to mock or criticize the Koran, Islam or Muhammad, to proselytize among Muslims or to touch a Muslim woman (though a Muslim man could take a non¬Muslim as a wife).
    Dhimmis were excluded from public office and armed service, and were forbidden to bear arms. They were not allowed to ride horses or camels, to build synagogues or churches taller than mosques, to construct houses higher than those of Muslims or to drink wine in public. They were not allowed to pray or mourn in loud voices-as that might offend the Muslims. The dhimmi had to show public deference toward Muslims-always yielding them the center of the road. The dhimmi was not allowed to give evidence in court against a Muslim, and his oath was unacceptable in an Islamic court. To defend himself, the dhimmi would have to purchase Muslim witnesses at great expense. This left the dhimmi with little legal recourse when harmed by a Muslim.(4)

    > Don't get me wrong, Jews have no friends on this earth save Ha Kodesh Barechu.
    No, I think the Costa Ricans still sorta like us. And, curiously, we’re apparently quite popular in North Korea.

    > According to Sephardic Rabbis, if one is forced to choose between a Christian or a Muslim one must give preference to Islam because its laws are not in conflict with our own. (See Rabbi Eliezer Papo in Pele Yoetz for one).

    But this has nothing to do with my points. It’s a non-sequitor.

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  6. Dear Gamel Lionheart:

    Jews in Islamic lands ALWAYS dressed differently than Muslims either by custom or by decree.

    We have been taught that one of the reasons the Jewish people merited to be taken from slavery in Egypt is because they maintained their Jewish mode of dress.

    This served several purposes, some beneficial and some not so.

    1. Jews of course did not fast during Ramadan. Eating, drinking and smoking during Ramadan subjected one to public flogging. Jews wore distinctive garments so as not to be confused with Muslims while eating, drinking and smoking during Ramadan. (I have a friend who is an Iraqi Jew who always liked to wear Arab style dresses and scarves rather than the more Western clothing favored by most Jews. She tells me that she was often publicly scolded while eating during Ramadan.)

    2. Jews were not allowed to carry weapons as "protected" people Muslims are sworn to defend. Distinctive hats and outer garments were customarily worn as a sign that a Jew is unarmed and needs "protection".

    3. Throughout history, Jews in Muslim countries were forbidden to ride horses, wear a red fez, wear shoes or had to dress in black (this is why many Sephardic Jews wear white for the Shabbat, a time when they did not leave their gated quarters and could go without the black cloak. Many Sephardic Jews will not wear black on Shabbat for this reason).

    Life in Islamic lands was FAR from wonderful, but relative to life for Europe's Jews, Jews in Islamic lands prospered.

    In 850, al-Mutawakkil ordered that Christians and all ahl al-dhimma wear honey-colored hoods and belts.

    In medieval times the Church decreed that Jews dress only in black, prohibited Jews from wearing brightly colored clothing. Males were forced to wear ludicrous hats to invite ridicule.

    In Islamic lands, the pledge of protection granted dhimmis the freedom to practice their religion and spared them forced conversions.

    Rulers did break the pledge and scattered throughout history, dhimmis were forced to choose between conversion to Islam and death. Forced conversions occurred mostly in the Maghreb, under the Almohads (ie 12th century), a militant Berber tribe with messianic claims, as well as in Persia. (FYI- Berbers are not Arabs, they are an indigenous African tribal people whose origins are around the Nile. Persians are also not Arabs they are ethnically Indo- European Aryans).

    During the Almohad (Berber) massacre of 1148, Maimonides saved his own life only by converting to their variant of Islam; after Maimonides fled to Egypt, this conversion was ruled void by a Muslim judge who was a friend and patient of Maimonides.

    As a result of Almohad forced conversions several Muslim tribes in the Atlas Mountains, as well as many Muslim families in Fez, are of Jewish descent. (Why hasn't Shalvei Israel gone to the Atlas mountains to bring these thousands of Muslims to Israel?? Why only Christians???).

    In Persia in 1656, Shah Abbas I compelled the Jews from Isfahan to adopt Islam. The order was subsequently withdrawn.

    In 1830, all 2,500 Jews of Shiraz were forcibly converted to Islam. In 1839, Jews were massacred in Mashhad and survivors were forcibly converted. (As a historical point, this was not "Arab" persecution, Persians are Aryans not Semites. Arab Islamic scholars in Egypt and Mecca consider Shia to be infidels).

    The Almohads (Berbers) in Yemen practiced forcible conversion of children based on their belief that every child is born a Muslim. Almohad rulers took Jewish children from their parents and in 1922 an Orphans Decree obligated the state to take under its protection and convert any dhimmi child whose parents had died (later extended to include fatherless children).
    (My beloved friend, daughter of the esteemed Yemenite Chief Rabbi tells me that this is why children as young as 3 years old were betrothed while she was growing up in Yemen in the 1920s.)

    Despite this, Jews in Yemen generally felt secure and even today many do not wish to leave.

    When I was a child attending Kitab, history of the Jewish people was taught extensively along with Humash, Navi and halacha. Today I struggle to find appropriate textbooks to teach the history of Jews in Moorish lands (I am using 40 year old books rescued from the storage closet of a former Kitab along with Rabbi Berel Wein's materials).

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  7. "Baghdad's Caliph al-Mutawakkil designated a yellow badge for Jews,"

    I believe it was a honey colored hat. Today, observant Jews choose to wear distinctive hats. Its kind of ironic, isn't it?

    Bernard Lewis correctly assesses the Jews do not have equal rights anywhere. Even in Israel, many feel that both haredim and Sephardim face persecution and discrimination for their refusal to join the Western secular (Christian) culture of the Zionists.

    "You know of no mass slaughters and then list two."

    These were under Christian rule. Other slaughters of the Jews occurred under the Berbers who are not Arabs (or even according to many Islamic scholars not Muslims) and under the Persians who are Indo European Aryans.

    We were discussing ARAB genocides against the Jews, not genocides against the Jews by Christians or Aryans in what are now Islamic lands. Please educate me and tell me when ARAB Muslims slaughtered Jews, (pre 1948) because I am not aware of any.

    "Costa Ricans still sorta like us. And, curiously, we’re apparently quite popular in North Korea."

    Costa Ricans pray in their mass that "the Lord should remove the veil of ignorance from the Jews so that they should accept Jesus". This is hardly "live and let live". Anyone who does business in the Far East will beg to differ with you regarding their anti Semitism.

    "Your problem isn’t what you know. It’s what you don’t know. Or rather, that you don’t know that you don’t know."

    Please educate me.

    Why do we believe that Arabs are enemies of the Jews, but Christians are our friends?

    Shouldn't even our most recent history show us that Christians want to slaughter us?? (The Nazis were good Christians, they did what they did with the full support of the Churches of Europe and the good Christian people).

    Jews HAVE no friends in the world. But perhaps we can live among Arabs who merely don't like us more readily than we can live among Christians who want to forcibly convert or kill us as part of their basic religious doctrine.

    The tragic part of Zionism is that we have aligned ourselves with Crusading Christians against Arabs who traditionally and throughout history have rescued us from Christian genocides against the Jews.

    Perhaps it is time to shake off our role as political pawns igniting the War of Armageddan in the Christian Crusades (Zionists) and just try instead to live as Torah Jews where ever we are.

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  8. "After Muhammed, no community to speak of. Where did they all go? Costco?"

    Did you know that there were approximately 1 million Jews living in communities in Arab lands in 1948?

    My family does not think that life in Morocco was perfect, but it was pretty decent, especially compared to life in the corrugated tin transit camps in the Negev, without running water or electricity provided by the Israeli gov't.

    My family in Casablanca lived a fairly affluent life in the 1950s. They had a beautiful tiled home with imported French furniture, a new modern electric and gas kitchen, nice gardens and an outdoor fountain for wading in on hot days. They wore designer French clothes and slept on fine French linens.

    They ate meat several times a week and prayed in beautiful synagogues. Their children attended excellent private schools and studied music and arts after school.

    What a shock it was to come to Israel, especially after being promised by the Zionist emissaries a standard of living similar to that which they had left behind in Morocco.

    Then there it is the issue of the "Ringworm Children". My cousins who are all in their 50s now are dying of brain cancer every few months. Their children suffer infertility and other health issues.

    There is no way to reconcile Zionism with Judaism.

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  9. > We have been taught that one of the reasons the Jewish people merited to be taken from slavery in Egypt is because they maintained their Jewish mode of dress.

    Silly me. I thought it was because of the dozen times God promised to do it to Avraham, Yitchak and Yaakov.

    2. Jews were not allowed to carry weapons as "protected" people Muslims are sworn to defend.

    Yes, but if you read the info I linked to, that defence didn't amount to much. Not being allowed to carry weapons in a society full of them is hardly reassuring.

    > Distinctive hats and outer garments were customarily worn as a sign that a Jew is unarmed and needs "protection".

    Oh. In New York that makes you a target for mugging. Go figure.

    > Sephardic Jews will not wear black on Shabbat for this reason).

    So you started by making the clothing sound voluntary, then bring several examples of how it was compulsory. Hmmm....

    > Life in Islamic lands was FAR from wonderful, but relative to life for Europe's Jews, Jews in Islamic lands prospered.

    Yes, that's like saying life under Islam was crap but that's okay because life under Chrisianity was really BIG crap.

    I'd like the no-crap option please, with fries on the side.

    > prohibited Jews from wearing brightly colored clothing.

    Yeah, well you remembered the 70's you'd see that's a good thing.

    > Males were forced to wear ludicrous hats to invite ridicule.

    Ah, you do remember the 70's!

    > Rulers did break the pledge and scattered throughout history, dhimmis were forced to choose between conversion to Islam and death.

    Yes, pretty much almost everywhere and at multiple points in history. Jews in Islam lived under the whim of the ruler. If he was enlightened, then they prospered, relatively. But that was the exception, more than the rule.

    What you have to understand is that you are regurgitating a bastardized version of history that was made up after the 1948 War of Indepedence as part of the Arab propaganda effort against Israel. The Jewish refugees that got to Israel recounted how horrible life had always been for them under Islam and the Arabs, in order to defend themselves from charges of anti-Semitism created the fantasy you believe: that life was wonderful for Jews and it was only those nassssty Zionists who ruined it for everyone.

    > Persians are also not Arabs they are ethnically Indo- European Aryans).

    Wait, Berbers and Persians aren't Arabs? Go on! Next you'll be telling me that neither are Hungarians!

    > During the Almohad (Berber) massacre of 1148, Maimonides saved his own life only by converting to their variant of Islam;

    Sounds civilized and friendly. Yes, I guess you're right.

    > a Muslim judge who was a friend and patient of Maimonides.

    I can imagine the conversion. "Void this conversion or I won't give you your blood pressure pills!"

    > In 1830, all 2,500 Jews of Shiraz were forcibly converted to Islam. In 1839, Jews were massacred in Mashhad and survivors were forcibly converted.

    Again, very interesting in that your last post you defied me to mention any examples of Muslim massacres of Jews. You're so busy undermining your own points you aren't even realizing it.

    > its protection and convert any dhimmi child whose parents had died (later extended to include fatherless children).

    Some protection. At least my Italian friends only want money for their "protection".

    > Despite this, Jews in Yemen generally felt secure and even today many do not wish to leave.

    Newsflash - most of them left in 1950. You may have missed that important bulletin. And they were happy to leave and ecstatic to arrive in Israel.

    > When I was a child attending Kitab, history of the Jewish people was taught extensively along

    I can see what kind of history they taught you. Do yourself a favour. Go out and learn the real version.

    > I believe it was a honey colored hat. Today, observant Jews choose to wear distinctive hats. Its kind of ironic, isn't it?

    Yes, they used to make us wear stupid hats to keep us apart. Now the guys wearing the stupid hats do the same to the rest of us. Funny how history turns.

    > occured under the Berbers who are not Arabs (or even according to many Islamic scholars not Muslims)

    Yes, just like every time a suicide bomber goes off in the name of Islam we're told by grave-faced scholars that it isn't really Islam either. Riiiiight.

    > We were discussing ARAB genocides against the Jews,

    No, Muslim massacres against Jews. You changed the terms of reference in order to avoid losing the argument with all the grace of an elephant in a china shop.

    > Costa Ricans pray in their mass that "the Lord should remove the veil of ignorance from the Jews so that they should accept Jesus".

    Yes, but they're friendly and their embassy was in Yerushalayim until very recently.

    > Please educate me.

    I'm trying. Oh Lord, I'm a tryin'!

    > Why do we believe that Arabs are enemies of the Jews, but Christians are our friends?

    Who says?

    > Shouldn't even our most recent history show us that Christians want to slaughter us??

    Again, I've never contested the evil that Europe has inflicted on us over the last 1800 years. My point, which you keep missing, is that Islam was little better.

    > Jews HAVE no friends in the world.

    Of course not. Have you seen our table manners?

    > But perhaps we can live among Arabs who merely don't like us

    Fine, you go move to Mecca and... what's that you say? They don't let Jews into Mecca? Oh, silly me. Maybe Medina then... no? Okay, some place in Jordan? Oh, it's against the law for a Jew to own property there? Well, maybe Ramallah. I expect you'll love the welcoming committee.

    > Did you know that there were approximately 1 million Jews living in communities in Arab lands in 1948?

    Yes, and a year later there were less than 300,000. Of course, it might be that for the first time in history they had somewhere to get to but I'm just guessing.

    > My family does not think that life in Morocco was perfect,

    Then let them go back. I'm sure the Moroccons will even give them their old house back.

    My grandparents also lived in the maabarot but struggled and eventually owned their own home in Bene Beraq. But then, they loved Israel and all the other Jewish people and were prepared to suffer to achieve because a small home in Israel is infinitely better than a big home in Golus. Maybe that was the difference.

    > They ate meat several times a week

    Big deal. So do I.

    > What a shock it was to come to Israel, especially after being promised by the Zionist emissaries

    Oh please. Did they miss the French linen and piano lessons so much? Was the task of building up our Holy Land instead of chatting lazily on the Atlantic coast such a burden?

    > There is no way to reconcile Zionism with Judaism.

    Of course there is. In the end of days, when all this has come to pass, the Lord our God shall return us to our Land and we shall build it again. Says so right in the Torah, you know, the big book your parents kept next to the take-out menu from the local French restaurant.

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  10. Garnel Ironheart said...

    > We have been taught that one of the reasons the Jewish people merited to be taken from slavery in Egypt is because they maintained their Jewish mode of dress.

    Silly me. I thought it was because of the dozen times God promised to do it to Avraham, Yitchak and Yaakov.
    ===============
    There are a number of medrashim that say that on the merit of not changing their names and language they were redeemed from Egypt. One variation is that they didn't change their style of clothing.

    Aside from that your condescending attitude in your comments is undermining the points that you are making. You are obviously intelligence and knowledge - but so is Jersey Girl. Please stick to the issues and stop trying to play to the audience. The audience in fact has not been cheering you on.

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  11. Dear Garnel Lionheart,

    I appreciate the time you have taken to explain things to me. I am grateful for the opportunity that this blog provides for us all to learn about many many things.

    "Not being allowed to carry weapons in a society full of them is hardly reassuring."

    Jews represent the tiniest minority in the world. Let's face it, if each of the 5.5 million Jews in Israel picks up an Uzi, it won't be much of a defense against 375 million Arabs throwing pebbles!

    I was taught that the Talmud tells us how we are to deal with the Gentile governments. We are to visit them and pay them honor and bring them gifts to appease them and endear ourselves to them.

    When Khomeini took power, the Chief Rabbis of Iran brought what in today's dollars would be a million dollar gift to the Islamic regime. Does this mean that the Jewish community supported Khomeini??

    This was hardly the case, but they did appease him and the 40,000 Jews who remain in Iran are still alive and practicing Judaism.

    When Neturei Karta tried to appease Ahmadinejad in the same exact way, that the Chief Rabbis of Iran appeased Khomeini 30 years earlier, hoping to save the Jews in Israel from a nuclear attack, they were bashed by most of the Jewish world.

    So far, B'H, no bomb!!

    "life under Islam was crap but that's okay because life under Chrisianity was really BIG crap."

    We call this galut, it is everywhere. It is not so much fun in Sderot, Netivot or Beersheva right now either. Israel is still in Galut.

    Just in the past 6 months TWO synagogues in my community in America have been completely gutted by arson. The police of course "have no idea who did it".

    "regurgitating a bastardized version of history that was made up after the 1948 War of Indepedence as part of the Arab propaganda effort against Israel."

    No, I have heard from my parents, grandparents, cousins and extended family.

    I have a huge extended family who have lived in Syria, Algeria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Morocco, Egypt, and one set of my mother's cousins went to Iran in the 60s and lived their until 1978.

    I quote statistics from "citable" sources, but most of my information is from my family, some of whom still live in Morocco.

    I and members of my extended family purchase contract manufactured goods in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Syria. We do business with Muslims on a regular basis. Everyone we deal with knows we are Jewish and treats us with respect, honesty and honor at all times.

    "Yes, and a year later there were less than 300,000. Of course, it might be that for the first time in history they had somewhere to get to but I'm just guessing."

    Most Jews from Arab lands had international citizenships for hundreds of years. My family had French, Italian, Spanish and British citizenship and could go anywhere on the planet within those empires.

    "you defied me to mention any examples of Muslim massacres of Jews. "

    ARAB Muslim. Berbers are African Tribal people and Persians are Aryans. Really, you can look it up.

    Non Muslims have never been permitted to live in Mecca or Medina. Non Mormons cannot go to where the helmet is kept in the Mormon Tabernacle. So???

    No one in my family ever wanted to sell "Hajj 2008" Tee Shirts in Mecca, we have Wildwood NJ.

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  12. I think that there is one thing that I have been quite confusing about and for this I apologize.

    There are 375 million Arabs in the world. Arab is an ethnicity not a religion. An Arab can be a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew. A Jew from Iraq is ethnically an Arab (which in case he did not know, he discovers when he tries to board an airplane in JFK).

    There are between 1 and 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. Only about 18% of the world's Muslims are Arabs.

    By ethnicity 30% of the worlds Muslims live on the Indian sub continent, 20% are Sub Saharan Africans, 17% are ethnic Asians, 10% live in the FSU and China, 10% in Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan.

    There are 5 million Muslims in the US and also in scattered communities in Latin America, Australia and throughout the world.

    I am sorry for the confusion between Arab and Muslim.

    Only a minority of Muslims are Arabs. And also not all Arabs are Muslims.

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  13. Garnel IronheartJune 5, 2008 at 5:49 PM

    > Lionheart,

    Um, it's Ironheart. Lionheart was my 3rd cousin, twice removed on my college roomate's side and we don't speak to that part of the family, not since... the incident.

    > I was taught that the Talmud tells us how we are to deal with the Gentile governments.

    There are many ways that I'm aware of. The ones you mentioned are amongst them. We are also asked to pray for the welfare of the state we live in (Sefer Yirmiyahu, Mas. Avos) and the idea of dina d'malcusa dina isn't a contestable one. We are, as Jews, obliged to be law-abiding, peaceful citizens of whatever country we live in.

    > Does this mean that the Jewish community supported Khomeini??

    Of course not. Just as I don't believe any of the official statements out of the current Jewish community of Iran condemning Israel. The Jews in 1979 were doing what that could to ingratiate themselves to a potential (well, not potentially any more) hostile regime.

    In Marc Shapiro's book on the Seridei Eish, he brings a copy of letters written by the Orthodox Jewish community of Germany to Hitler, y"sh, reassuring him that Orthodox jews shared the Nazis' priorities of orderly society and decent family values.

    > When Neturei Karta tried to appease Ahmadinejad in the same exact way,

    No, there is no evidence that their interactions with Ahmawhatshiname was for the benefit of any Jews in Israel or for preventing a nuclear attack. If one reads their statements and watches the video of their visits, their intent is very clear. They wish to see the state of Israel destroyed along with all Zionists and they see Iran as God's tool in that matter. Theirs is an irrational hatred that has isolated them from most everyone in the Torah community.

    > So far, B'H, no bomb!!

    Yes, but I could argue that it's not because of the NK's but rather because the Zionists have bombs of their own, B"H.

    > in Sderot, Netivot or Beersheva right now either. Israel is still in Galut.

    Yes, but in Israel it's a different type of golus. Out here in North America it's just a quieter variant of the last 1800 years. In Israel, it's the realization that by building the land up one is fulfilling the prophets' visions and moving history forward.

    > Everyone we deal with knows we are Jewish and treats us with respect, honesty and honor at all times.

    I have many Muslim clients and have had no trouble with them. But let me tell you something you might not have realized: that's because the ones that don't like you don't associate with you. In addition, part of Muslim culture is placing a high value on politeness in personal interactions. A guest in a Muslim home is treated like a king even though his host may quietly be thinking about how to stab him when he goes back into the street. You have had positive experiences because you've only interacted with positive Muslims.

    > Non Muslims have never been permitted to live in Mecca or Medina.

    So here was my point - anyone can live anywhere in Yerushalayim nowadays. Restrictions in places like the Temple Mount have to do with tumah and tahara more than Jew or non-Jew. Imagine a society stratified by religion, where you are limited in what you can do, how far you can advance, based on your background? Your family may have done quite well under a benign regime in Morocco. What would have happened if that regime had been replaced by a fundamentalist one? Recall the fate of the Jews of Baghdad who were also doing quite well until the British pulled out.

    > An Arab can be a Christian, a Muslim or a Jew.

    I must disagree. The only Arab who would be a Jew would be an Arab who converted from some other religion to ours, along with his descendants. Jews who can trace, or assume, their lineage back far enough are ethnically Jewish. As many meforshim note, we are not a religion, we are an ethnic nationality of our own.

    And no, I wasn't confused by your assumption. I'm quite aware that Arabs come in different flavours and that there are many types of Muslims.

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  14. Dear Garnel Ironheart,

    I am sorry that I keep misstating your blog name. I will try not to do that.

    "A guest in a Muslim home is treated like a king even though his host may quietly be thinking about how to stab him when he goes back into the street.'

    Muslims believe that once a guest is welcomed into the home, they are sworn to protect him (remember Lot and the Angels).

    "The only Arab who would be a Jew would be an Arab who converted from some other religion to ours,"

    My mother in law has her paternal yichus back to Shimon HaKohen (really). The family went to Iran after the Second Temple was destroyed and stayed until going to Damascus. The family's presence in the Middle East predates the birth of Islam. They are Kohanim who are Arab Jews.

    My father's family (Leviim) went to Morocco in the 3rd century and later migrated to Toledo. They left Toledo in the 1100s after the Christian conquest and went to Alexandria and then Cairo. My father's ancestors' presence in Morocco also predates Islam and they consider themselves to be Moroccan Jews.

    My mother's and father in laws ancestors went to the Ottoman Empire AFTER the Inquisition. They are Signorim; Jews who are originally from Italy.

    Why is it okay for one to be a German Jew, a Russian Jew, an American Jew but not an Arab Jew?

    Jews have lived in every corner of the galut. My family speaks Arabic, listens to Arabic music, eats Arab food (KIBBE!!(stuffed meatballs) djaj im potat,(chicken and fried potatoes) lahm b'agin (meat pies) and khubz (Shabbat bread) are on the Shabbat table each week) and prefers to wear comfortable galabeyas (Arabian dress) in the house.

    How is my family any less Arab than a German Jewish family is German who speaks Judeo German (Yiddish), enjoys zemiros to the tunes of old German marches, eats gefilte fish, egg bread, schnitzel and kugel on Shabbos??

    Is Jamila a girls name that means beautiful in Arabic any less of a Jewish name than Shayna, a girls name that means beautiful in German?

    Judaism is NOT an ethnicity, it is a religion. We get into trouble when we try to define Judaism as an ethnicity and convert anyone with Jewish "blood". This is the root of the problem at hand being discussed on this blog.

    "reassuring him that Orthodox jews shared the Nazis' priorities of orderly society and decent family values."

    William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich discusses Hitler's lack of disdain for Orthodox Jews. His problem was with those who had intermarried with Germans and who had assimilated into German culture.

    Hitler's own father was the offspring of a Jewish man and a Gentile maid. While Hitler's father's half siblings enjoyed wealth and prestige, his father suffered in poverty.

    Hitler writes in his diary that he did not have an issue with Orthodox Jews because they were easy to distinguish from real Germans and they kept to themselves.

    Hitler's collaboration with Zionists (Haavara Agreement) resulted in many German Jews having left Germany before the war began.

    In the Haavara Agreement, the Germans collaborated with Zionists to reach an amicable settlement which would gradually move Jews to Palestine. This was seen as a positive thing by both Germans and Jews.

    Jews who wished to emigrate to Palestine were treated well and assisted by the German government. Zionists wanted Jews to emigrate, and the Nazis wanted Jews to leave. It was a match made in heaven.

    This agreement left many Jews praising Hitler. Jews even nominated Hitler for the Nobel Peace Prize. In short, there was a great deal of support for Hitler from Jewish people.

    "in Israel it's a different type of golus."

    How is golus different in Israel?

    As long as Moshiach is not here, we are all in golus everywhere. Some places are better and some are harder, but it is all golus.

    " In Israel, it's the realization that by building the land up one is fulfilling the prophets' visions and moving history forward."

    These are the words of Rav Schach ztl on this topic:

    Eretz Yisroel is still Golus, and therefore we cannot defy the other nations

    “Klall yisroel is still in Golus until Moshiach comes, even if we are in Eretz Yisroel. This is not Geulah nor Atchaltah D’Geulah. [And since it is still Golus therefore] we are commanded not to defy the nations of the world.” (Letters 1:3)

    We must try to appease our enemies; the Chilonim cannot be trusted to make proper decisions for the country“We are one sheep against 70 wolves, this is not a figure of speech but meant literally and it will remain so until Moshiach comes. Because if this, Jews always lived alone, as a nation, and as individuals, and all of us knew what we face, and that we always needed to act according to the advice of Yaakov Avinu with prayer [to Hashem] and giving gifts (i.e. appeasement) to the nations. As for the third option of Yaakov, “war”, which Rashi says means, “so that the remaining camp will survive”, that is, to run away (See also Ramban) – that is only when the situation arises that someone is coming to kill you, you should kill them, like Yaakov who was summoned by Esav (and prepared for the possibility of Esav trying to kill him). But not everybody can use this rule, for the Chilonim and the non-religious, since they do not care about their own life, they surely do not care about the lives of others (Pesachim 49b). For their outlook is that the Jewish Nation is like other nations, and the truth is, to their lifestyle, there is nothing separating them and the other nations. And so we cannot rely on them to consider every option, and not to do something that constitutes “defying the other nations” (Hisgarus B’Umos)” (Letters 1:4)

    The fundamental error of the Zionists: That Israel has to appear strong
    “…and therefore how can we rely on them [i.e. on Israel] to exhaust every possible [peaceful]option, and not to speak with arrogance, and not to defy the nations of the world (l’hisgaros b’umos). The entire idea of settlements proves it – for that is excessive defiance against the nations, and it stems from the fundamental error of the Zionists, that all that has happened to us is because they did not have their State and their sovereignty, and now that they have a Jewish State, we are a nation like all other nations, and if we appear strong and stick to our wishes, our enemies will back down. Although there are many who profess such ideas, it is a deviation from the approach that was handed down to us from Chazal, and the opposite of what is proper, for we must consider how not to cause any country to have to put up with something because of us, such as oil prices or even questions of investments in businesses or banks, for this adds fuel to the fire to increase hatred for Jews that wasn’t lacking regardless. And this [situation] will not be rectified until Moshiach comes, as the Rambam writes…” (Letters 1:4)

    “There is no shadow of a doubt, that we are obligated to agree to any step for peace, no matter what, for any compromise that can bring peace closer, we are obligated to accept, for much bloodshed will be stopped upon peace, and all talk about the prohibition of Lo Sichanem and Hashem’s promise to give us the land in its entirety, today and in our situation, they have nothing to do with the issue, for it [Hashem’s promise] is not in our hands [but Hashem’s]. On us is lies the obligation to improve our ways in Torah and Mitzvos, and then for sure we will merit that Hashem will fulfill His promise….” (Letters 7)

    As the Nation of Israel, we have always been a sheep among 70 wolves. The hatred against Klall Yisroel is eternal, even when it seems differently. It is only the non-religious who … disagree… During the past 2,000 years, even when we were hunted, we knew we were the Chosen Nation, and we said “ata bachartanu” .. we had our Tzadikim, Tannaim, Amorayim, etc. great Gedolim throughout the generation who accepted the judgement of Heaven, and they never did anything, never took action, due to disillusionment, to defy the nations to kill and be killed. They all had Ahavas Yisroel and Ahavas Eretz Yisroel, and this behavior (not to defy the nations when they persecute us) was well known to our forefathers as Torah and we are obligated to follow it, and not veer to the right or the left.

    “I already wrote you what Chazal said … “The Jews said to G-d, ‘You gave Esav a blessing that he will live by the sword, and you endorse that, and you tell us to hide ourselves (from Esav). Where should we run?? And G-d said to them, ‘Run to the Torah’ “… this is a command for all the generations.

    from Frumteens.com, search on Rav Shach, the exact link is too big.

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  15. Ironheart said:
    "In Israel, it's the realization that by building the land up one is fulfilling the prophets' visions and moving history forward."

    I was taught that these visions described Messianic times. Which visions are you referring to?

    Ironheart then said "the ones that don't like you don't associate with you." "You have had positive experiences because you've only interacted with positive Muslims."

    This bothers me because when I have spoken with Christians about the sins of the Crusades, Catholic Church, or Holocaust they always say "but those weren't 'real' Christians." They were. Same goes for friendly Muslims. They are real Muslims.

    Since you and I both live in the US, and there are a LOT of Muslims here, I think that if they really hated us then we would be the victims of much more anti-Jewish attacks from them. I am not aware of any at all. I think that ALL ( and if not all, then surely nearly all) of the anti-Jewish attacks in this country have occurred from at hands of Christians, not Muslims.

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  16. Garnel IronheartJune 6, 2008 at 4:49 PM

    > Why is it okay for one to be a German Jew, a Russian Jew, an American Jew but not an Arab Jew?

    I think the problem is that we are defining terms differently and this is leading to the confusion.

    I define Jewish not as a religion but as a nationality. As such, your ancestors (I'm amazed they have the lineage, kol hakavod) are Jewish since they are directly descended from Jews. They may have lived in Arab lands but they're still Jewish.

    Which means that for me, the term Polish Jew refers to a Jew who lives in Poland and nothing more. My family was in that land for 500 years but we were never Poles (and if we tried to think so, the Poles were sure to remind us we weren't).

    So for me, your family is Jewish. Of Sephardi persuasion, of former residence in Arab lands, but Jewish.

    And, as a matter of fact, I'm not crazy about Yiddish names either. I mean, a certain Chasidic sect has bestowed the name Mushka on thousands of girls. Mushka is a Ukrainian name, not a Jewish one.

    Somewhere along the line Yiddish was raised to the level of hebrew in terms of Kedushah for some people but I still don't think that it is.

    > Judaism is NOT an ethnicity, it is a religion. We get into trouble when we try to define Judaism as an ethnicity and convert anyone with Jewish "blood".

    I disagree with both terms. We're not an ethnicity, otherwise how to explain the wide variation in skin colour within the group? We're not a religion because religion implies a set of beliefs and rules limited to one's spiritual conduct. Torah is clearly more than that. We are clearly a NATIONALITY whose laws encompass both the civil, criminal and spiritual spheres. Just as anyone can become an American, so too anyone can become a Jew.

    > His problem was with those who had intermarried with Germans and who had assimilated into German culture.

    Yet how to reconcile this with his obsession to wipe out Polish Jewry? It's clear from other parts of Shirer's book as well as other writings that he was obsessed with the idea of "the Jew" and therefoere they all had to be wiped out. In this regard, religious Jews were even more of a threat because they would keep the idea of "the Jew" going.

    > Hitler's own father was the offspring of a Jewish man and a Gentile maid.

    This has never been proven, just like Hillary Clinton's Jewish grandfather.

    > How is golus different in Israel?

    You can still perform several mitzvos us golus types can't. Also, the kedushah of the land is still extant. As well, "the air of Israel makes one wise".

    Also, at the end of the golus, the nevi'im clearly note the land will be rebuilt prior to the arriving of the Moshiach, Gog, etc. Those living in Israel are participating in that prophecy.

    > We must try to appease our enemies

    With all due respect, Rav Schach, zt"l, wrote much of his work in Bene Beraq. He could do this there because those horrible Zionists had built up the country, provided it with basic services and given refuge to hundreds of thousands of religious Jews who then had a place to thrive. These same chilonim stood day and night on the border working to ensure that Rav Schach could sleep quietly at night and learn undisturbed during the day. To dismiss all that bespeaks a terrible lack of gratitude.

    > I was taught that these visions described Messianic times. Which visions are you referring to?

    Look at Zechariah. The narrative clearly states the Jews will return, the land will be rebuilt, and THEN Gog and Magog will show up for war. And only then will God appear, destroy our enemies and the final days will ensure.

    > This bothers me because when I have spoken with Christians about the sins of the Crusades, Catholic Church, or Holocaust they always say "but those weren't 'real' Christians." They were.

    But on the contrary, the Crusades, Inquisition, etc. were the exemplars of Chrisian values. A pope's piety, until the last century, was meansured by his desire to convert Jews and hound those who refused. In the 20th century most Chrisians stopped holding these values because they replaced them with secular liberal values like tolerance and acceptance. Chrisians are easier on us today because they're not observing many of the tenets of their religion.

    > Since you and I both live in the US, and there are a LOT of Muslims here, I think that if they really hated us then we would be the victims of much more anti-Jewish attacks from them.

    I don't live in the U.S. And I am aware of multiple episodes.

    Some, off the top: Binyamin Netanyahu is invited to speak at a university in Quebec. Muslim students riot to prevent him from speaking. A similar situation is aboided in Toronto only a few nights later because of a very large police presence.

    Daniel Pipes, a scholar on Islam, is prevented from speaking at York because the Muslim students threaten violence if he does and the university doesn't want to take chances and hire extra security.

    A Toronto doctor is attacked and his arm broken by Muslim demonstrators during an anti-Israel parade.

    A Muslim professor in Waterloo, Ontario announces to the press that all Jewish Israelis are legitimate military targets because they all potentially serve as soliders.

    Need I go on?

    Same goes for friendly Muslims. They are real Muslims.

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  17. "I define Jewish not as a religion but as a nationality."

    Judaism is a religion. Polish, Russian and Moroccan are nationalities.

    Aryan, Semitic and Hispanic are ethnicities.

    I have read your blog. I am very impressed with your intelligence and sincerity. You seem like a genuinely nice and caring person both personally and professionally.

    Are you aware that the character which you named yourself after, Garnen Ironheart is the hero in a type of literature referred to as Christian allegory?? (ie CS Lewis, Tolkien etc).

    In America and Canada we are so imbued with Christian culture and values that we do not even realize to how great an extent we are affected.

    This is evident when a sincerely observant Jew identifies so personally with a "Christ" allegory in a work of fantasy fiction that he would name himself that as his cyber-psyche.

    This is not a criticism, just an observation.

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