Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Failure to Understand the True Mission Doomed Us To Defeat in Afghanistan


 There are few items of bipartisan consensus in the United States. Here is one—the leaders of both political parties decided it was time to leave Afghanistan and to lose the 20 year war with the Taliban. The only dispute that now remains is whether the Trump administration, which had committed to withdrawal by this past May, would have directed the retreat more competently than Biden, who now faces one of the most humiliating debacles in American history.


  1. Torah thought parsha כי תצא
    “When you take the field כי תצא למלחמה against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your power, and you take some of them ושבית שביה,” (Deuteronomy 21:10)
    דברים כ"א י'
    כִּי תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל אֹיְבֶיךָ וּנְתָנוֹ יְקֹוָק אֱלֹקֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ וְשָׁבִיתָ שִׁבְיוֹ:
    כי תצא למלחמה - במלחמת הרשות הכתוב מדבר, שבמלחמת ארץ ישראל אין לומר ושבית שביו, שהרי כבר נאמר (לעיל כ טז) לא תחיה כל נשמה: ושבית שביו - לרבות כנענים שבתוכה ואף על פי שהם משבעה אומות:
    “Of David. The Lord is my light and my help וישעי; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I dread ממי אפחד? When evil men assail me בקרב עלי מרעים to eat up my flesh לאכל את בשרי---It is they, my foes and my enemies, who stumble and fall. Should an army besiege me, my heart will have no fear; should war beset me, still will I be confident.” (Psalm 27:1-3).
    תהלים כ"ז
    (א) לְדָוִד יְקֹוָק אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי מִמִּי אִירָא יְקֹוָק מָעוֹז חַיַּי מִמִּי אֶפְחָד: (ב) בִּקְרֹב עָלַי מְרֵעִים לֶאֱכֹל אֶת בְּשָׂרִי צָרַי וְאֹיְבַי לִי הֵמָּה כָשְׁלוּ וְנָפָלוּ: (ג) אִם תַּחֲנֶה עָלַי מַחֲנֶה לֹא יִירָא לִבִּי אִם תָּקוּם עָלַי מִלְחָמָה בְּזֹאת אֲנִי בוֹטֵחַ:
    My theory. This is a war initiated by Israel, not by God’s commandment. Why? The enemy seeks to eat up our flesh, meaning to kill us. We say twice a day during Elul: (ב) בִּקְרֹב עָלַי מְרֵעִים לֶאֱכֹל אֶת בְּשָׂרִי צָרַי וְאֹיְבַי לִי הֵמָּה כָשְׁלוּ וְנָפָלוּ:. Remember how Trump threatened to blow up North Korea? That got North Korea, for a while, to stop threatening other countries including America. Show we now, with Biden/Harris in appeasement mode, August vacation, whatever, start a war with Iran?

  2. The Trump obsession continues. Biden handled it terribly but I'll betcha Trump would've gotten it worse.
    I doubt it. Trump would've shrugged when warned about the Taliban advancing and Time and the others would say "See, Trump doesn't understand what's happening!" He might have, to prove a point, called in the air force and had them bomb the advancing Taliban columns to at least slow them down a bit. It's not like the Taliban had an airforce (although they do now!). Biden, on the other hand, assured us that the Afghan army could defend itself and instead it completely collapsed. He mishandled this terribly and now all the media has left is "But, but Trump!"

  3. Daf Hayomi Torah thought Sukkah 38a “Mishnah. If a slave, a woman, or a minor recited [the hallel] [Ps. CXIII-CXVIII] to him, he must repeat after them what they say [The Reader used to read the Hallel, and the congregation responded only with certain words (v. infra). Since, however, a minor, a slave and a woman are exempt from the Hallel, they cannot officiate for others, and each individual must repeat it after them word for word.], (and a curse be upon him). If a major recited to him, he repeats after him [only] hallelujah. Where the custom obtains to repeat [the verses] [of Ps. CXVIII, 21-29. Lit., to double], He should repeat; [where the custom is] to say them only once, he should say them once; [where the custom obtains] to recite the benediction [at the conclusion of the Hallel. The opening benediction is obligatory], he should recite the benediction. everything is dependent on local custom. Gemara. Our Rabbis have taught, It has truly [be'emeth, a formula introducing a generally accepted ruling] been laid down that a [minor] son [who has attained the age of training, and who is subject to the duty of saying Grace after meals by Rabbinic law] may recite [the Grace after meals] for his father, a slave may recite it for his master, and a wife for her husband; but the Sages said, May a curse come upon that man whose wife and [minor] sons have to recite the benediction for him!”

    My theory. R. Yossi says that women are exempt from commandments time dependent, such as tefillin, esrog and lulov, sukkah and such. Women are not obligated but can do the commandment and make the blessing---according to some.

    This Gemara supports R. Yossi: “a slave may recite it for his master, and a wife for her husband” The slave here is a Canaanite slave that will be Jewish upon his/her emancipation. The wife here knows the blessings, maybe by heart maybe from a prayer book , and recites for her husband to answer Amen. Beautiful. The grouping of slave, woman, minor in the Mishnah may offend modern feminists, but not me.

  4. “The Failure to Understand the True Mission” No. Torah thought daf hayomi Sukkah 44b: “ Aibu [this Aibu, the father of Rab, is the great-grandfather of the Aibu mentioned later (v. Rashi). R. Eleazar b. Zadok before whom he stood, the grandson of R. Eleazar b. Zadok I, lived in the second century.] related, I was once standing in the presence of R. Eleazar b. Zadok when a man brought a willow-branch before him, and he took it and shook [so Rashi] it over and over again without reciting any benediction, for he was of the opinion that it [the shaking of the willow outside the Temple] was merely a usage of the prophets [only a Pentateuchal or Rabbinical rite requires a benediction]. Aibu and Hezekiah, the maternal grandsons of Rab, brought a willow-branch before Rab, and he shook it over and over again without reciting a benediction, for he was of the opinion that it was merely a usage of the prophets. Aibu stated, I was standing in the presence of R. Eleazar b. Zadok when a certain man came before him and said to him, I possess cities, vineyards and olive trees, and the inhabitants of the cities come [during the Sabbatical Year, when the produce should be hefker (v. Glos.)] and hoe the vineyards and eat the olives [as payment for hoeing the vineyards]. Is this [the payment out of the produce with which all trading is forbidden] proper or improper?This, the other replied, is improper. As the man was about to leave him and depart, [R. Eleazar] observed, It is now forty years that I have dwelt in this land, and I have never seen a man walking in the paths of righteousness as this man. The man thereupon returned and said to him, What should be done? He answered him, Abandon the olives to the poor and pay yourself for hoeing the vineyards. But is hoeing permitted [during the Sabbatical year]? Has it not in fact been taught: “Six years you shalt sow your land, and gather in its yield; but the seventh you shall let it rest and lie fallow. Let the needy among your people may eat of it; and what they leave let the wild beasts eat. You shall do the same among your vineyards, and your olivegroves.” (Exodus 23:10-11). Means, Let it rest from hoeing and lie still as regards the removal of stones? R. Ukba b. Hama replied, There are two kinds of hoeing; one consists in closing up the fissures and the other in aerating the soil [breaking up the clods and allowing the air to permeate to the roots. Lit., to make the trees strong]. Aerating the soil is forbidden [since the tree is thereby improved] but closing up the fissures [which only serves to protect the tree] is permitted.”

    Beautiful. We today make no blessing on the willow-branch ceremony on the 7th day of Sukkah. Why? Merely a usage of the prophets. We’re now entering the Sabbath year 5782. Hertz Chumash p. 317: “may eat. In an ordinary year, the poor could gather up the gleanings of the field, and also take from the ‘corner’ which had to be left unreaped (Lev. Xix, 9f). In the Sabbatical year, there was no harvesting. Proprietor, servants, the poor and the stranger, all had equal rights to the produce (Lev. xxv,6). Even the beats of the field are not forgotten.”
    שמות כ”ג י”א
    וְהַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּשְׁמְטֶנָּה וּנְטַשְׁתָּהּ וְאָכְלוּ אֶבְיֹנֵי עַמֶּךָ וְיִתְרָם תֹּאכַל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה כֵּן תַּעֲשֶׂה לְכַרְמְךָ לְזֵיתֶךָ:


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