Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Israel Is Tops.”
In just 73 years, with G-d’s miraculous help, we have a Jewish State that is top-ranked in the entire world: Israel is ranked overall #30 in Best Countries in the World.
In our 4,000 year history as a people, we suffered long and painful exile at the hands of the Babylonian and Roman Empire, but then in 1948, we were given another miraculous chance for the Jewish State of Israel. So far, we are doing great by all measures; now we have to make sure to keep it up for good.
Since Iran has rejected any new negotiations or participants to the Iran nuclear deal, we must assume that the flaws of JCPOA will not be resolved and that Iran’s existential threats remains unabated. Further, Iranian elections this coming June 2021 are forecasted to bring more dangerous Iranian hardliners to power. Therefore, regardless of whether the US reenters the deal with Iran now, it will only mean a short term stopgap for restrictions placed on the Iran’s dangerous program for weapons of mass destruction. The end game for the Ayatollahs has not changed in gaining nuclear destructive capability and threatening Israel, the Sunni Muslim states, and the western world with this.
While reentering the Iran nuclear agreement buys the world some time, and not that much frankly, the US, Israel, and other key allies will need to continue planning in earnest for what comes after the failings of the JCPOA deal, and that will most assuredly bring us back to the massive and devastating bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities with the Mother of All Bombs (MOABS) and other highly advanced weapon systems fitted for this. (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal of Jane’s Combat Simulation for Israel Air Force Video Game)
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, Sheep No More.
In thinking about sacrifices as animal substitution for consequences to man, we can also reverse this logic to explore what sacrifices can teach us about consequences to man in their relationship to the Jewish people. In this particular case, I am thinking about Jewish responses to those who desire to be our friends and want to build kind and productive relationships with us or the opposite, to our enemies, who seek to persecute, attack us, and make the Jews their korban, victims.
In short, traditional korbanot in the Temple can teach us not only about how animals can substitute for people in our sacrifices to G-d for thanksgiving, communion, and acknowledging of consequences and teshuva (repentance) for our wrongdoing, but also how the Jewish people can relate to the nations of the world in everything from full peace, positive engagement, acts of guilt and sin against us, and even full-fledged war. Sacrifices teach us that while peace is always the desired state and fiery war a last resort in our self-defense and preservation, we know that after thousands of years of anti-Semitism, persecution, and Holocaust, we are no longer the sacrificial lamb on anyone’s Temple altar. (Source Photo: Pixabay Free Image)
In essence, the Jewish Temples have been not only physically buried over, but also the site has been historically Islamicized despite the Temple Mount’s intrinsic holiness to all three major religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism). In short, this is a very sensitive issue that is likely anchored in facets of intolerance and religious rivalry, as well as pretenses of superiority and dominance, rather than ultimately on the shared connection we have through both our genetic and spiritual lineage as Abraham’s decedents.
We absolutely want to have a peaceful and productive coexistence with all people, but just as Israel has risen from the Valley of Dry Bones, so too the day is coming soon when the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt in shinning glory and we can worship G-d just as we did in times before. What will be special about the 3rd Temple is that it will not only be for the Jewish people, but for all the world’s people to come together harmoniously to recognize and worship the one true and faithful G-d of us all. 😉
From Palestinian riots to revolts, from Palestinians engaging in a civil war against Jews to the Arab League nation-states waging an all-out war against Israel, from Palestinian organized terrorism to raging intifadas, from the Palestinians driving United Nations resolutions to International Criminal Court investigations of Israel, the Palestinians are waging an endless war against Israel, rejecting numerous offers of peace for their people’s autonomy and self-determination.
Through never-ending Palestinian rejection of one peace proposal after another, and instead choosing to have “all or nothing” of Palestine, the Palestinians have embraced armed and violent struggle as well as economic, political, and judicial warfare against Israel. Unfortunately, the Jewish people will need to continue in their ultimate struggle for survival. After 2,000 years of Jewish exile, and suffering under incessant persecution, inquisitions, expulsions, pogroms, the Holocaust, even now with the State of Israel, the one Jewish homeland and our refuge, the attacks continue against us from Palestinians choosing to wage an endless, bitter war instead of looking to make a lasting, beautiful peace.
When we act up and fight with each other, then in the end, we will really only end up hurting ourselves.
Tomorrow can be better than today and yesterday, if we learn to live in peace and brotherhood with each other, and understand that hurting another is really only hurting ourselves in the end. G-d’s holiness dwells among us only when we stop the silly bickering and infighting, and love each other, and Him, with all our heart and soul. (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, Success, “Israeli Cuisine Style.”
This notion of success and failure in life makes you think about not only the imperative to be successful in our lives, but also to question what does that success even mean and look like? Is success really the goal or is the journey with its growing pains and lesson learned the real goal towards purifying our souls?
When we read the Ten Commandments, we are reminded of what the foundational elements of success in life actually are all about: How did we treat others (were we compassionate and giving)? Did we behave as Mensch’s in our lives? Did we try our best to do the “right thing” by our fellow man and by G-d? If you can answer in the positive to these latter questions then maybe you have achieved real success, regardless of what any culinary chef or life maven would tell you!
From Amalek to Iran, Israel can never be caught off-guard again and this means both operationally as well as from mistaken assumptions and thinking. Operationally, we need to always have the best technology, intelligence, planning, and training, as well as continually test those with Red Teaming to simulate enemy attacks and our readiness to counter with winning defensive and offensive operations. Moreover, we need to be on our guard in our thinking, as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak says in his book, My Country, My Life, that when he became head of Aman (Defense Intelligence), he sought to address the problem of misperceptions, overconfidence, and groupthink by strengthening “a unit whose sole function was to play devil’s advocate.” They would begin “with the opposite conclusion, and through a competing analysis of data and logical argument, try to prove it.”
Just as when we left Egyptian servitude, we defeated Amalek through a combination of our faith and fight, so too we will be successful in defeating those that threaten the modern State of Israel. Like Moses we all must turn to Hashem, and like Joshua, the Israel Defense Forces must stand ready to defeat all our enemies, as many times as it takes, to achieve a secure and lasting peace.
From Antifa on the alt-left burning our cities this past summer to the storming of the Capitol this week by a mixed group, including those on the extreme right, a friend sent me this photo of the protester with a shirt that says “6MWE”. Unbelievably, it means: Six Million Wasn’t Enough! I can only imagine our martyred men, women, and children from the Holocaust just over 75 years ago, rolling over in the graves at this disgusting, anti-Semitic and genocidal insignia.
To those evil haters who dare say 6MWE, I say: Am Yisrael Chai and absolutely Never Again!