Monday, February 26, 2007

Are you ready for some... Shmittah? (AUDIO)

One of the most special things that comes along with living in the Land of Israel is the privilege of being able to keep many Mitzvot that are simply not relevant to the Jew of the Exile.

Many of these Mitzvot are known as Mitzvot HaTluyot Ba'Aretz - Torah commandments that are incumbent upon a Jew living in the Land of Israel.

This coming year, 5768, will be a Shmittah year - the one year, out of every seven, when the Jew in Israel must allow the Land of Israel to lay fallow, (it's actually much more complex that that, but we'll get to that a little later on) and more importantly, being that I made Aliyah only four years ago, this will represent my very first opportunity to fulfill the Mitzva of Shmittah.

Shmittah has additional significance, as being one of the Mitzvot that only becomes Biblically mandated once the majority of the Jewish People are living in the Land of Israel - something that has not happened since the destruction of the first Temple 2,500+ years ago, and which is scheduled to happen at some point in the next 25 years.

In preparation for the upcoming Shmittah year, I helped to organize a weekly, English language, Shmittah shiur in my community. The shiur is scheduled to run from now until the start of the Shmittah year, and I will be posting each installment of the shiur, along with the accompanying source sheets.

The first, weekly English Shmittah Shiur can be listened to by clicking here. (MP3 format)

The shiur is being given by Rabbi Gedalia Meyer of Ma'aleh Adumim, and he welcomes any questions that listeners might have ( .

Tizku l'mitzvot!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Adam Sandler does the Temple Mount...

One finds the motivation behind Adam Sandler's classic hit, The Hanukkah Song, (aside from $$$), in the opening lyrics of the song:
When you feel like the only kid in town without a x-mas tree, here's a list of people who are Jewish, just like you and me...
Well, after reading this article in the Jerusalem Post, one might get the feeling that there exists unanimous opposition amongst Rabbinic sages towards Jews ascending to the Temple Mount.

So, following in the footsteps of Adam Sandler...
When you feel like the only Jew in town who believes it's o.k. to ascend the (Temple) Mount, here's a list of Torah sages who agree with you, none of whom should anyone discount...

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

How 'Bout a Little Jewish Pride!

IMPORTANT NOTE: I will be posting regularly at the revamped KUMAH - Mega-Blog. Many of the posts that I will be writing there will not be cross-posted here... (In other words, you'll have to visit both sites).

A recent survey, which sought to determine how "patriotic" Israelis felt towards their country, indicated a very frightening trend that calls the very future of the Jewish State of Israel into question.

Of the many survey questions, the responses to two of the questions in particular highlight the existential threat facing Jewish State.
Jews: To what extent do you consider yourself an Israeli patriot?

Very much: 36% Great: 31% To an extent: 26% Not at all: 7%
Pretty good. Among the Jewish citizens of the State of Israel, 93% consider themselves to be patriotic to the State of Israel to some degree.

However, when the responses to the above question were broken down by age, we find far fewer reasons for optimism:

60+ years old: 84%
50 - 59: 73%
40 - 49: 64%
30 - 39: 65%
18 - 29: 51%

These figures indicate that there exists a dramatic decline in patriotic feelings towards the State of Israel the younger one is. In other words, the present generation of Jewish Israeli young adults is the least patriotic towards the State of Israel.
Jews: Would you be willing to move and live in another country?

Certain no: 58% Think no: 19% Think yes: 17% Certain yes: 6%
Nearly 80% of the Jewish population in the Jewish State has no intention of ever leaving. Great news.

However, if we take a closer look at the 25% of Jewish population in the Jewish State who expressed a willingness to consider leaving Israel, broken down by age, we find a very troubling picture:

60+ years old: 13%
50 - 59: 17%
40 - 49: 23%
30 - 39: 27%
18 - 29: 33%

Consistent with the first question, where the older one was, the more patriotic they felt towards the State of Israel, here, the older one is, the less inclined they are to ever consider leaving Israel. At the other end of the spectrum, we find the very opposite. The younger one is, the less likely they are to have patriotic feelings towards the State of Israel, while they are the most likely to consider permanently leaving Israel.

At the recent Herzliya Conference, Nobel Prize Laureate, Prof. Israel Aumann warned that the Jewish State of Israel is presently facing an existential threat. He was not referring to the specter of a nuclear Iran, but of the sword hanging over the throat of the Jewish State, known as post-Zionism.
Without motivation, we will not endure. What are we doing here? Why are we here? What are we aspiring to here? We are here because we are Jewish, we are Zionist, because of our ancient bond to this land; we aspire to realize our 2,000-year-old hope of becoming a free nation in our land, the Land of Zion and Jerusalem. Without this profound understanding, we will not endure. We will simply no longer be here; post-Zionism will finish us off.
The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Do we have the motivation to take up this challenge and fight to restore the sense of national pride and purpose to the Jewish People and State?

Our future depends on it.

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