Thursday, January 31, 2008

Please Pray For...

the complete recovery of HaRav Yisrael Noach ben Hinda.

Dvar Torah: Mishpatim

The State of Israel is a miracle. There is absolutely no doubt about it. The return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland after being dispersed all over the world is more than the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. It is a major league, big time miracle. The rebirth of the Hebrew language as a spoken language is no small feat either. The Torah renascence that we are experiencing here in Israel with the proliferation of institutions for Torah learning is also a phenomenon that fills the heart with happiness.

However, Israel does have its problems. The judicial system here is a great cause of shame. This is not because that it is more or less corrupt than they judicial systems of other countries. So why I am so embarrassed by the present judicial system in Israel? What exactly is wrong with the Justice Ministry, the Israeli High Court of Justice, and all of the other parts of the Israeli judicial system?

The problem is that Israeli law is not based on Torah. It is a mixed multitude of laws derived from the laws of the Turks, the British, and the Knesset. (To our great shame some of the most anti-Torah laws come from the Knesset. Remember the "hitnatkut"?). This is an intolerable disgrace that should not and cannot be ignored by anyone that believes in Torah. With all of the joy that accompanies all of the good things in our Third Jewish Commonwealth, the fact that the return to Zion did not include a return to Torah law is an insult to our holy Torah.

Jewish law clearly forbids using these courts. Take a look at this Rambam (Laws of Sanhedrin 26:7):

כל הדן בדייני עכו"ם ובערכאות שלהן אף על פי שהיו דיניהם כדיני ישראל הרי זה רשע וכאילו חרף וגדף והרים יד בתורת משה רבינו שנאמר ואלה המשפטים אשר תשים לפניהם לפניהם ולא לפני עכו"ם לפניהם ולא לפני הדיוטות היתה יד העכו"ם תקיפה ובעל דינו אלם ואינו יכול להוציא ממנו בדייני ישראל יתבענו לדייני ישראל תחלה אם לא רצה לבא נוטל רשות מבית דין ומציל בדיני עכו"ם מיד בעל דינו

Yes, this Rambam also applies to the Israeli Judicial System. It doesn't matter how many menorahs and magen-davids are inscribed on the courtroom walls. It doesn't matter if the judge wears a yarmulke or not. It doesn't matter if he or she knows how to sprinkle his or her legal opinions with verses from the Torah or quotes from Chazal. These courts are not what the Torah intended. They are a desecration of God's name.

So what can we do? First of all one include a clause in any contract that he signs that any disagreement with regards to the contract will be decided by a rabbinic court. One should always try to solve any legal problem that he might have in a rabbinic court. One should never seek justice in the Israeli Judicial System without receiving permission from a rabbinic court.

It's Still Snowing in Jerusalem

I tried going to work today. The usually traffic laden streets of Givat Shaul in Jerusalem were almost empty. The palm trees on Kanfei Nesharim Street received a white coating:

A mortally wounded umbrella on Beit HaDefus Street:

This reminded me of an old post:
But the last rainstorm has not been without its victims. If one walks around Jerusalem, the victims can be seen every so often abandoned and lying on the ground near the sidewalks. I’m not talking about the homeless. I'm talking about the umbrellas that could not stand up to the Israeli mountain winds. I do a lot of walking and I usually have to replace my umbrella every one to two years. You walk down the street with the top of the umbrella pointed head on into the wind. Then of a sudden the wind changes direction and comes under the umbrella. It would be nice if at that moment you would lifted up into the air and spirited across the puddles like Mary Poppins, but that just does not happen. The untimely gust of wind turns your umbrella inside out. The average umbrella will survive this trauma several times, but sooner or later the fabric will tear and the arms will bend. It is not suave to walk around Jerusalem carrying an umbrella that looks like a television antenna. Of course this is not an excuse to litter. I guess the people who threw down their umbrellas were too worried about getting wet to find a dumpster to throw their umbrella into.

It has been said, “If you build a better mousetrap, the whole world will beat a path to your door.” Who will build the better umbrella that can handle Jerusalem’s winds?
Snow clouds cover a section of the Jerusalem Forest:

Did I mention that that the office building where I work was closed?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Snow Pics From The Holy City

The tip of a tall cypress tree sways during the snow storm in Jerusalem this morning. The winds will die down, the snow will melt, and the cypress tree will remain.

Bad news for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. A new candidate for Prime Minster emerged today:

He'll probably do a better job than the current one.

It's Snowing, It's Sticking

The weather forecasters got it right! School is out and the kids are happy. I probably won't be going to work today. I'm not to happy about that because it will probably cost me a vacation day.

Here's a pic of a lemon tree covered with snow. It is probably asking itself,"What in the world is going on?"

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Will It Snow and Will It Stick?

What's going to be? Everybody is talking about snow:
Although snow is not that unusual in Israel, Tuesday’s storm is expected to dump more of the white stuff than normal, with some forecasts predicting snowfalls of up to 25 inches in the northern part of the country.

Jerusalem is likely to see up to 10 inches by the end of the storm and even the southern regions could see two inches or so.
The tension is killing me!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

HH #151: A New Era

Soccer Dad has passed the ball to Jack, and Jack has put up the latest edition of Haveil Havalim. Thanks for the link, Jack!

And thank you Soccer Dad for everything that you have done for the jblogosphere.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Putting Pressure On Shas

Here's the latest political poster making the rounds in Jerusalem:

The sign says:
For Sale!
Capital City,Prestigious, In Excellent Condition, 3000 Years
For Details: Eli Yishai

Eli Yishai, Don't Sell Jerusalem

The problem is, Shas is immune to criticism. During the "Oslo era", the Israeli Right tried to apply pressure on Shas to leave the Labor-Meretz-Shas government. The pressure did not work then, and it probably will not work now. Shas is interested in the dissemination of Torah. For that they need to be in the government in order to receive as much money for their institutions as possible. When Rabbi Ovadia Yosef decides that it is time to leave the government, they will. Let's hope that it won't be too late.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do The Dhimmi

Bar Kochva Lives!

I recently attended a lecture by Gershon Bar Kochva from Midreshet Hebron. He talked about the city of Hebron, from biblical times until now. It's been a long time since I visited Hebron, and after hearing the lecture I decided that I've got to visit Hebron soon. If you ever get a chance to hear this guy, don't miss it!

Here's a pic:

Update: When I put this post up I forgot to give it a title (*blush*). Now it has one.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where are the Protests?

Why aren't people taking to the streets to protest the disastrous policies of Ehud Olmert? Caroline Glick has the answer:
Simply stated, between the media's intimidation and the official harassment of citizens who dare to protest or even disagree with the government's policies, the public has simply lost faith its ability to influence the course of the country. This sense of disenfranchisement has demoralized the public into silence.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Mast Is Up!

They finally finished the mast:

The mast is supposed to support cables that will support the bridge. It looks like the top of the mast will be visible from many parts of the city. Time will tell if the bridge will be an eyesore or a cherished landmark, a white elephant or an important part of Jerusalem's transportation infrastructure.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

HH #149 Is Up

Rafi G., the guy from RBS who enjoys eating his own pets, has put up Haveil Havalim #149 - The "Vengeance upon the Nations" Edition. He did a great job, and was nice enough to link to one of my posts. Thanks Rafi.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Canada Hospital Wants To Hasten Patient's Death

From Cross Currents:
This week Jerusalem Post health reporter Judy Siegel reported that Samuel Golubchuk, the 84-year-old frum Jew from Winnepeg, whose doctors seek to remove him from his ventilator and feeding tube, had awakened. Today’s Email brought a further up-date from Dr. Leon Zachorowicz, a frum neurologist, who has submitted an affidavit in the case. Dr. Zachorowicz describes Mr. Golubchuk as “awake, alert, has returned back to his baseline, sitting up in a chair at times, more interactive, and shaking hands purposively.”

Nevertheless his doctors still seek to kill him, and are contesting the matter in court, including moving to exclude Dr. Zachorowicz’s affidavit and those of other experts on the grounds that they arrived too late. Apparently winning to them is more important than Mr. Golubchuk’s life. Indeed in a similar case recently in Calgary, involving an elderly Chinese man, whose family contested the doctors’ decision to cut off life support, and won, the patient eventually improved so much that he was able to walk out of the hospital and return home. Nevertheless the doctors continued to pursue an appeal. Presumably they wanted to bring him back to the hospital and kill him.

There is a hearing this afternoon that might well determine Mr. Golubchuk’s fate. His name is Chaim Shmuel ben Pinya. His son Percy can be reached at The family is looking for support to help finance the costly litigation.

Friday, January 11, 2008

What To Eat On Tu Bishvat

First of all, a little bit about Tu Bishvat:
The 15th day of the month of Shvat marks the beginning of the "new year" for trees.

Tu B'Shvat is the new year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees for tithing. The Torah states that fruit from trees which were grown in the land of Israel may not be eaten during the first three years; the fourth year's fruit is for G-d, and after that, the fruit can be eaten. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B'Shvat, no matter when in the year it was planted.

It is customary to plant trees and partake of the fruits of the land of Israel to mark the occasion.
The funny thing is that instead of eating "fruits of the land of Israel to mark the occasion", many will bless on dried figs from Turkey or apricots from California, וּכְדַי בִּזָּיוֹן וָקָצֶף.

The good news is that Kommemiut and Otzar HaAretz have are marketing a plate of Tu Bishvat fruits that are from the Land of Israel. I picked one up today. Here's a pic of the plate in my shopping cart, full of veggies from Otzar HaAretz:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bush, Free Your Captive: Jonathan Pollard

I just took a night stroll through the Kiryat Moshe of Jerusalem and I saw this:

The sign says, "Bush, Free Your Captive".

Under the picture of Islamofascist Haniyeh is the name Gilad Shalit, who is being held captive in Gaza. The names of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser are under the picture of Nassrallah the war criminal. Under the image of George W. Bush is the name Jonathan Pollard.

I've already stated many times that the continued incarceration of Pollard is a stain on "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Pollard is in jail because he is a Jew, and not because of any crime that he committed. Bush did not put him in jail,but he has the power to set him free. As long as he doesn't, he is in some pretty bad company.

Deputy Prime Minister and Shas Chairman Eli Yishai, who attended the event, forwarded a letter from Shas spiritual leader the Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to Bush. Yosef asked the president to free jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

Yosef's plea was sent along with a letter from Pollard's wife Esther, asking Bush to pardon her husband, who has been incarcerated for 22 years.

Some Truth From The Sultan

Sultan Knish telling it like it is:
Israel has no democracy anymore. It is ruled by a man supported by less than ten percent of the country and by a party illegitimately put into power by a dead man. This same government ruthlessly suppresses dissent and bribes its coalition partners. Non-violent protesters are kept detained for months. Ruthless brutality is practiced along with ethnic cleansing of Jews by the will of this government.
We want Mashiach now!

Update: This just in from Yisrael Medad:
Just five minutes ago I spoke with Tzvi Fishman. I had called him to let him know that I spied him on Channel One TV news holding up the poster reminding President George W. Bush of the Holy Bible's promise of God to the Jewish People that the Land of Israel is the patrimony of the Jewish People. It is Eretz-Yisrael and not Ertetz-Yishmael.

But Tzvi told me that while he is delighted that his sign was seen by hundreds of thousands, he himself was detained by the police and as of this moment is still in detention.

May he be released soon.

Update: Arutz 7 has a video of Fishman getting arrested.

The Amazing Mr. Bagel Is Back


By the way, according to Blogger, this is post number 1000!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Welcome To Jerusalem President Bush

I hope that you enjoy your stay in the holy land. If you feel like a lame duck, you should know that Mr. Olmert is even lamer than you are. The next time elections come around, we're going to throw him out on his ear.

Please tell your Jewish friends back in the U.S.A.(I'm sure that some of your best friends are Jewish) that it's time for them to go home to Israel. Remember, no matter what Ehud tells you, Jerusalem is not for sale!

Update: George, check out this article article by Caroline Glick!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Rav Ovadiah Wants Pollard Free

This is very good:
During US President George W. Bush's visit to Israel this week, Yishai plans to give him, via Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a letter from Shas spiritual leader and Israel's former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, appealing for freedom for Jonathan Pollard.

Yeshai did not say if he had confidence that Olmert would actually hand over the letter to Bush. It will be recalled that Olmert's predecessor Ariel Sharon, in February 2002, was given a letter on behalf of Pollard signed by 110 Knesset Members to give to Bush, but - it was later found out - never delivered it to its destination. Similarly a few months later, when Sharon met again with Bush in Washington, the issue of Pollard was not raised. Olmert, too, has been roundly criticized in the Pollard camp for all but ignoring him.

Rabbi Yosef's letter explains the importance of the concept and religious obligation of "freeing captives" in Jewish tradition, and the urgency of the Pollard case in particular.

Better Late Than Never

HH #148

It's Time For A Jerusalem Calatrava Bridge Update

Looking east on Kanfei Nesharim Street the middle mast of the bridge can clearly be seen. It still hasn't reached its full height:

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