Sunday, 25 December 2016

Who is a Jew?

“The reason why I am speaking of this now is because it is possible that this will have its impact. The proof being, that when I stormed with the issue of Mihu Yehudi (Israeli Government’s illegitimate strategy of registering non-Jews as Jews– editor’s note); as a result they closed several “factories” (government initiated centers with so called “rabbis” who distributed false quickie worthless conversion documents in Russia to countless thousands of non-Jews making them eligible for monetary rights as a new immigrant and who now live in Israel) for mass-producing proselytes not in accord with Jewish Law. This even had the effect, that many of these people who underwent further steps to become genuinely Jewish. Now they realize that there is nothing to be proud of (their fraudulent process of conversion exposed by the Rebbe), so now they attempt to continue their conversions under cover. 

For reference we have the well-known analogy, there once dwelt for a considerable time a group of people in a dark underground pit. After some years a man reached them, and when he saw them dwelling in darkness he was amazed. Upon asking them: “Why are you living in darkness?” they answered him– “this is no darkness, this is light!” Having sat in darkness for so long, they actually thought they were living in light!

The same is true in our times. We are living in the greatest darkness of exile. Regardless, there are people who see darkness as light, and who say (that their activities of bringing from Russia their fictitious converts to Israel – ed. note) we are living in the beginning of the Redemption, the Geula! This is a result of them living for so long in the state of darkness of exile that they see this as light.  Just like this very government representative (a religious man who headed the false conversions operation), when he was told to give up his Knesset seat and to go home and learn some Torah and perform some mitzvos, he replied that this is undemocratic. Since he has occupied his Knesset seat for so long, he must keep his seat!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Publicize the Legal Ruling of the Grand Rabbinical Council of 1936 תרצ"ז

The Lubavitcher Rebbe is with us....
 – The following talk by the Rebbe was spoken several days prior to the gathering of the Sixth World Rabbinical Gathering. Through the course of the gathering not one word was spoken of the safeguarding of the Jewish People in the Holy Land.

Publicize the Legal Ruling of the Grand Rabbinical Council of 1936 תרצ"ז

 To this gathering the Rebbe sent a letter dated the last days of Chanukah 1980 asking for the letter to be read out aloud. The letter was not read out.

The Letter:...With regard to the timely matter, to receive maximum publicity – the decision of the Grand Rabbinical Council – Elul 1936: 

“The Holy Land, the Holy One Blessed be He has set her borders in the Holy Torah, given to the Jewish Nation, the Eternal Nation; any surrender whatsoever with regard to these Holy Lands given to us by the Holy One Blessed be He with regard to her borders, are utterly void”. 

AMONA How the government destroys Jewish towns [1]
Especially since that time, the situation in this regard has become more severe in the most fundamental way, and any surrender whatsoever is actual life-threatening. This is a clear Halachic ruling in the Code of Jewish law, laws of Sabbath 329, may G-d protect us, that the land not be conquered by them with ease. G-d, who protects his People Israel – may He protect each and every one, both in the Holy Land and Diaspora. And speedily, actually in our time, may He put an end to the darkness, the re-doubled darkness of the generation of the footsteps of Moshiach. That He redeem us from our bitter darkness, that he (Moshiach) battle the wars of G-d and succeed, and build the Temple in its rightful place, and bring about the ingathering of the dispersed ones of Israel and the world be filled with the knowledge of G-d.

The Talk: There gather together many tens of Jews all of whom observe Torah and Mitzvos, read the portion of the week regularly, also on those weeks when the true borders of Eretz Israel are delineated. Some read newspapers and know the present world [dangerous] situation. The purpose of this convention is in order to strengthen Torah and Judaism. If this is so, how is it possible that they sat together for three days discussing matters of high importance, accepted good decisions, yet the situation of threat to life of great numbers of Jewish people in Israel is not mentioned? Nobody raises any voice of protest! Thereafter they print an account of the proceedings and good decisions accepted by all and yet not one word is mentioned of the life threatening danger to Jewish life! You respond that you do not want to make public this situation? What does this mean “not make public?” The entire world knows of this situation! You cannot make a secret of this! The only response, which I received, is that since those involved are already over Bar Mitzva, ask them directly! I did so. They replied: “We have already taken action”. I asked: “What action was taken with regard to this situation of danger to Jewish Life?” They replied: “Now is not the time to speak at length about this. On another occasion we will take up the issue. In the mean time there are many good decisions that were accepted and activated.” 

I responded: “Could you ask: there is a Jewish law that a Rabbi who remains silent or who waits until asked on a matter pertaining to Pikuach Nefesh [life threatening danger] is classed as ‘shameful’. “He himself knows of this law! Now, since he is a Jew who knows how to learn, he responded: “The Talmud states: Just as it is a Mitzva to say that which will be listened to, it is a Mitzva to refrain from that which will not be listened to.” They know that they will not be listened to, so they didn’t make a statement. 

I further responded: “This is contrary to Jewish Law! There is an injunction: “Do not stand on your brother’s blood”, meaning, that according to Jewish law when Jewish life is in danger, even if there is only a very slight chance that the warning will help, one is obligated to declare a warning!” 
We are not speaking theoretically. In times gone by, they argued about which way the stamp was glued to the envelope. At the time of the judgment of Beilis in Russia, even after a complete investigation they argued whether or not to punish him. They confronted the prosecution: “You received a letter in which all proofs for conviction were categorically annulled!” Having nothing to answer, he replied: “You know full well that the letter had its stamp stuck [with the head of the Czar] upside down!” This was the response of the prosecution of Beilis.

With regard to our issue– who is talking of a stamp whether the stamp head is up or down?! Here there is no room for discussion; no one needs to be asked. The Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish law] was printed in Tzfas by the leading rabbinical authority of Israel, the Bet Yosef. There we have the clear halachic injunction. The law is not written without the reason, which would leave a loophole to argue “on what is the basis for the Law?”! The reason is given: “lest the land be opened up before them [the enemy]”. 

The classifiers of Jewish law state that this law applies outside of Israel. [Only in the tractate Eruvin, regarding an eruv can it be argued as to whether this applies to Jewish cities only within Israel or also in the Diaspora.] However, commentators of the Talmud and Code of Jewish Law state that this ruling [regarding life threatening danger] is pertaining both to the Diaspora, and in our times without any difference, and brought this ruling into the laws of Shabbos with the reasoning “lest the land be opened up before them [the enemy]”. 

This being the case, there can be no argument whether this applies to this or that area of land, whether it was conquered land or liberated land, given that this ruling applies also with regard to the Diaspora which is not “our country” or “our land”, that which never belonged to the Jewish People. Nevertheless, the ruling is that, given that there are so and so many Jewish People there, [in the event of life threatening danger, this would apply even to one solitary Jewish life], in such a 
case, even if the land ownership belongs to others of the Diaspora, nevertheless since there dwells there a Jew and “the danger of the land being opened up”, therefore this ruling stands with full force.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Lubavitcher Rebbe: Millions of Jewish Lives are in Danger!

Fires burning across Israel
“Someone wrote to me that there is now a new phrase in Eretz Israel – ‘be killed and don’t let go’. 

There is a Jewish Law: ‘allow yourself to be killed and don’t transgress [certain prohibitions of Torah’. 

I asked him: “What is the meaning of this?” 

“Why don’t you understand?” he replied, “let them be killed and don’t let go. 

They are prepared to do anything and everything, even to permit Jews to be killed. The main point is don’t let go of their Knesset Seats.” 

In order to hold on to their Knesset Seats they are prepared to endanger millions of Jewish lives. G-d Save us! May it never happen!” 

Public address Shabbos Parshas Beha’alosech 1970

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Just take a stand! Don’t kneel or bow down!

There is a clear guideline to be learnt from the leadership of Mordechai (not to compromise our principles of faith) ‘as in those days – in our time;’ we take a firm stand ‘not to kneel or bow down’. And this must stand true not only in a synagogue or a house of learning, but openly even at the gates of a king. Even in the presence of Haman, knowing full well his demand that all the servants of the king are obliged to kneel and bow to him. ‘They had informed (Haman) of the nationality of Mordechai (Book of Esther 3.2).’ 

Wherever Mordechai was, not only would he not serve the idol, but would deny its very existence. Even when told of the command of Haman [who had paid the huge sum of 10,000 silver shekels to annihilate the Jews], Mordechai responded: ‘since I am a Jew, I refuse to kneel or bow down.’ 

A Jew must say unequivocally today: ‘I belong to the People of Mordechai who has set the order of action before the eyes of the entire world’. Gentiles would never have initiated such a difficult path for a Jew to tread. The problem has arisen from (the Jewish People) themselves. G-d has in His world a Nation of wise and understanding people, beginning with “heads of your legions down to wood choppers and water drawers”. Amongst these are also those who are afraid and weak hearted arguing ceaselessly: ‘don’t argue even with a minor nation, certainly not with a world power.’ How can the retention by the People of Israel of the Land of Israel be interpreted as ‘inflammatory’? Who is creating an argument here? The Jewish People are doing no more than retaining their G-d given Land!

We see clearly that gentiles themselves would be in agreement with the Jewish People’s presence in the Land of Israel were it not that they see the Jewish People themselves conduct (as the spies did in the land) ‘we saw ourselves as grasshoppers’, and therefore ‘that is how they regarded us’. Just take a stand! Don’t kneel or bow down! See for yourselves that immediately ‘the fear of the Jews will befall them!’ However, this politician is afraid and of a weak disposition. His interpretation (of one who takes this stand) is that this man is a fool who does not understand the world of politics. This man belongs to the yeshiva or house of study, to remain amongst Jews, not amongst cultured individuals, diplomats, world leaders! In his personal affairs this man conducts himself in a religious fashion and declares ‘there is a Master to the world’. Yet, he argues, since we live in exile, we need to conduct ourselves diplomatically. The leadership shown by a diplomat must be to speak untruthfully. The very essence of diplomacy is to convey the situation not as it is; and yet he must remain wary not to be caught in a lie. No one must realize that the declarations are contrary to the truth. So that should he need to regret what he said, he can make an about-turn and say that he never ever said that; it was not he that wrote that; his intention was not this. So to become a successful diplomat one needs considerable training. 

Public address Moitzo’ei Shabbos Vayakheil Pikudei 1979 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Rebbe on Expulsions of Jewish People from their homes

Expulsion and Destruction of Jewish Community of Amona
The Rebbe: “At this moment we are talking of a life-threatening issue. Anything connected with a life-threatening situation has a clear halachic ruling: even when the opposing side is demanding no more than stubble and straw for their animals, since thereby the ‘land will be opened up before them’, there is a clear ruling: one must desecrate the Shabbos, go out to war fully armed against them. This law is brought in the Talmud relating to the city of Nehardo’oh (present day Iraq). At that time there were settlements of Jews living there, and the halachic decision is that it is imperative to desecrate the Shabbos, and go out armed, in order to prevent the land being open to the enemy.”

HaRav Yalles: “Why is there such a storm of protest (from the Rebbe) with regard to the return of Yamit? One can understand the objection to the return of oil wells and its landmass (Sinai) because that is a security matter.”

The Rebbe: “In Yamit there live Jewish People exactly as there did in Nehardo’oh which was outside of the land of Israel, where there were both Jewish and non-Jewish people. The same law would apply to Brooklyn. If, G-d forbid, a nation were to demand stubble and straw the law states that there would be the obligation to go out against them armed even on Shabbos! 

Here we are speaking of Yamit whose residents are exclusively Jewish. It is the intention (of the government of Israel) to drive out the Jewish people from there and give the city to Egypt, at a time when the Egyptians are stating in no uncertain terms that their intention is not just for straw but to get a hold into the infrastructure of the land (of Israel)! 

I am not speaking about the sanctity of the Land.” “The problem with Yamit is that it is a threat to the lives of three million Jews, may it never happen! They (the government of Israel) argue that this is an issue of peace.

Expulsion and Destruction of Jewish Community of Yamit
Have you ever seen something like this before? Two countries are making peace between themselves. One side gives everything, whilst the other side gives nothing in return. Not that what they are giving is insufficient; they are giving nothing whatsoever! 

The only gain is that one will be able to travel to see the pyramids!? Have you ever seen such a great achievement in your life? They (the Egyptians) have no intention of peace at all. What has happened is that after warring for tens of years without succeeding to gain territories, they decided to take the territories through ‘peace’ in the very same agreement which was signed at Camp David by Begin himself, that within five years Israel is obliged to arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians?! Those (in the Israeli government) who argue that the issue is about peace, take upon themselves the responsibility for the security of three million Jewish People!” “Especially those (religious Knesset members) who link this (agreement) with Torah, because they will thereby get a few more dollars for their yeshiva.....” When Rabbi Yalles attempted to defend this matter, the Rebbe remarked: “HaRav Yalles! You are a Cohen and therefore wish to find merit. But these are exactly the facts of the situation!” 

Israel declares: ‘Peace!’ The Arabs declare: ‘War!’ 

The Rebbe: “I never did understand the words of the Talmud: ‘the plaintiff claims: (It is) ‘wheat’, and the defendant responds: [it is] ‘barley’. At this time we see this openly: They [the Government of Israel] remonstrate that this is (a step towards) peace, stating that after this they will make peace with the rest of the Arab nations. Their agreement was that after the returning of the territories [Sinai] no (Egyptian) soldiers will be stationed there. The facts on the ground are that within twenty-four hours they (the Egyptians) brought in soldiers, and when they (Israel) asked them, what’s going on?– they responded, ‘they (the stationed soldiers) are in civilian clothing.’ This response was given to (Israeli) officers, men of intelligence, whereas in reality this answer is appropriate for small children........”

Thereafter the Egyptians travel to the USA and ask for Mirages and demand that they be given arms in greater amounts than Israel. When they (the Israelis) ask them (the Egyptians) ‘are we not at peace, why do you need weapons of war?’ They respond: ‘we need these for war against Libya’. 

All of this shows that the situation is terrifying! Automatically after the handing over of Yamit, the Arabs are drawing 10 kilometers closer to Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak and Kfar Chabad.  Some weeks ago Begin expressed wonder that we are alarmed regarding Yamit since Yamit never was part of Eretz Israel. But, as I have emphasized, the matter at hand is not an issue of the sanctity of Land. We are discussing actual threat to life!! There is an explicit halachic ruling that it is forbidden to hand over these territories! Furthermore, when the issue is one of a threat to life, our Sages state this if there is a delay by the Rabbinical authority by not taking the initiative in publicizing the danger, they earn the title of ‘shameful’, and more so; the Rabbi himself is deemed to have shed the blood!”

Visit of the Gaon Rabbi Eliezer Yalles to the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Second day Chol Hamoed Pesach 1982

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Government of Israel can learn from cheder-children how not to run after the gentiles!

 It’s happened before: a similar narrative is brought in Tanach that G-d caused the kingdom of Aram to suffer a huge defeat in the hands of King Ahab of Israel. Regardless, Ahab runs after him saying: “Listen! Don’t be afraid of me!” From this there were terrible repercussions for the Jewish People. After we already know of this event, why do we need to fall into this pitfall a second time?

Chassidishe cheder kinderlech
There was once a child who learned in cheder. In his first year he studied the story of the sale of Joseph, how his brothers tricked him, threw him into a pit, and sold him to Egypt. He went into a state of shock. The following year, the teacher once again studied with the class the same portion. After the child studied the section, he did not go into shock as in the first year. When those around him were surprised at this, he explained: His brothers already sold him last year! So this year he should have known what was in store for him! He was taken in by their plots a second time round? Such a person is unworthy of pity! 

The story of Ahab in all its details has already happened! The King of Aram gathered around him a huge armed force sure of triumph. He had even planned the division of the land after his victory. But a miracle beyond the bounds of nature took place and they were utterly defeated. They fled leaving behind them all their belongings! Regardless Ahab ran after them explaining that he is persuing “peace” and won’t cause him any harm! Torah narratives are not just stories; they stand as halachic directives with real tangible guidance! Two years ago this exact story took place! 

Israel won an awesome victory (the Six-Day War). Regardless, Israel runs after the Arabs asking that they take everything back and are unwilling to learn from that which befell Ahab. They thereby permit those very same shocking results to be repeated! 
                                                                                  Public address 13th Tamuz 1969 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

The Rebbe said to Benjamin Netanyahu: "Don’t Be Intimidated". 1984

  Newly elected Knesset Member Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Rebbe: The Rebbe said “I had much satisfaction from your first speech in the Knesset. Continue along this approach, for it is the best path to avoid war. You will have to struggle with 119 others in the Knesset, but surely you won’t be intimidated, because G-d is on this side”. 

MK Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Lubavitcher Rebbe 
“Let me tell you something,” said Netanyahu. “In 1984, after I came to the UN as Israel’s Ambassador, I met the Rebbe of Lubavitch. He began speaking to me – he spoke to me for 40 minutes.

“You know what he told me, back in 1984?” Netanyahu asked.

“He told me, ‘you are going to a place of deep darkness and lies, and if you will light one candle of truth, you will dispel the darkness. That is what I tried to do here – to present the truth clearly and with confidence.”

“You will go into a house of lies,” the Rebbe told him in that memorable meeting on Simchat Torah at Lubavitch Headquarters. “That’s how he called a particular institution ...”

The Rebbe said to him: “Remember that in a hall of perfect darkness, totally dark, if you light one small candle, its light will be seen from afar; its precious light will be seen by everyone.” The Prime Minister said that the Rebbe gave him the “mission to light a candle for truth and for the Jewish people.” 

In what appears to have been a profound moment in his life, the Prime Minister, speaking with emotion and admiration for the Rebbe, described in detail his impressions of that Simchat Torah in 770, when the Rebbe danced with the Torah, “bathed in light.” 

Netanyahu ended his speech reiterating the Rebbe’s message, and appealing to his audience to do likewise, and “light a candle for truth and justice for the Jewish people,” this Yom Kippur.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Rebbe's Stand on entering into the Israel Army.

The Gemara states:[1]
Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: Were it not for David, Yoav would not have done battle, and were it not for Yoav, David would not have engaged in Torah. As it is written, “David performed justice and righteousness for all his people, and Yoav ben Tzeruya was in charge of the army.” What does it meant that “David performed justice and righteousness for all his people?” [He was able to,] because Yoav was taking care of the army. And what is the meaning of “Yoav was in charge of the army?” So that David could perform justice and righteousness for all his people.

Yoav and David HaMelech were partners who each valued the other’s contribution. David HaMelech knew that since the Jewish people had enemies, and since Torah instructs us “We do not rely on a miracle,”[2] he needed an army of soldiers led by a mighty general to lead the battles against the enemies of the Jewish people. This general was Yoav.

But David HaMelech himself did not go to war, although he was fully capable of doing so. He chose, instead, to remain behind in order to study Torah and teach it to the people.

Yet Yoav had no complaints. He knew that David HaMelech’s contribution was indispensable. “Were it not for David, Yoav would not have done battle.” He did not view David HaMelech’s choice as shirking responsibility, never mind as cowardice, G–d forbid. He knew that most fundamental principle of the Jewish faith: Success at any endeavor comes not from one’s efforts, intelligence, and strength, but from divine blessings—“it is the blessing of Hashem that gives us wealth.”[3]

Yes, accomplishment require a human investment, for Hashem created the natural order and desires that we follow its laws. But one who relies on his own power and does not combine reasonable efforts with prayers for divine assistance denies the existence of Hashem as “the One Who sustains the entire world with His goodness, grace, kindness, and compassion”[4]—as the Provider of all our needs. The Torah warns us against this: “And you may come to say in your heart that your strength and the might of your hand made you this wealth, but remember that it is Hashem, your G–d  Who endows you with strength to perform deeds of valor.”[5] In particular, “war does not belong to the mighty.”[6]

So Yoav knew that in order to triumph over his foes, he needed divine blessings, and that this depends upon Torah study. But not the Torah study of the soldiers, for a soldier must focus his attention on the technicalities of warfare and cannot simultaneously analyze intricate Talmudic debates. Rather, the material efforts of the soldiers must be complemented by the spiritual efforts of the full-time Torah scholars, for “Torah protects and saves”[7]—Torah study brings protection and safety not only to those who study it, but to the Jewish people as a whole, and therefore to its protectors in particular.

Foolish Bravery

An analogy for this division of roles can be drawn from the army itself. Consider the chief general who sits calmly in his protected headquarters, poring over one classified intelligence report after another, calculating how the war ought to be fought—with what tactics, with which weapons, when to attack, how many soldiers to deploy, and countless other complex considerations. In the course of his duties, he instructs that others be dispatched to the battlefront, while he remains hard at work.

One day, his son and best friend approach him in outrage and accuse him of hypocrisy and cowardice: “How can you do this?! You send us and many others to face mortal danger, while you remain far from harm’s way in your cushy office chair, reading all day? Shame on you! As the verse puts it, ‘Will your brothers go to war while you sit here?’”[8]

Filled with guilt, the general concedes to the pressure, considering himself guilty of reprehensible double standards. He bows his head, clears away all the classified documents, closes down the headquarters, dons army fatigues and a gun, goes to the front, and fights.

Not only would no one benefit from this “sacrifice,” but it would lead to certain defeat and horrendous loss of life, may G–d save us, for both the soldiers and the civilians whom they are protecting.

So, too, on the broader, national level, in order for the army, the general, and everyone else involved in the material war effort to succeed, spiritual war efforts are necessary—devoted, full-time, G–d-fearing Torah scholars.

Spiritual Desertion

But when the Torah scholar lacks fear of Hashem and forgets what his Torah study accomplishes, he can become so captivated with awe for the heroic soldier that he desires to quit learning. He wants to let everyone know that he, too, can wield a gun, earn a medal, and perform daring feats of military prowess.

Just as one who is assigned to the front and abandons it is termed a deserter, so are Torah scholars assigned with the mission of studying Torah day and night who abandon their post, don army fatigues and a gun, and go to fight, are also deserters. Since Jewish military victory depends upon the merit of Torah study, instead of benefiting the war effort, these young men jeopardize it and bring disaster upon the Jewish people, may G–d save us.

Unsung Heroism

In a sense, the Torah scholar is faced with a more difficult challenge than the soldier. Soldiers are lionized. They are given honorable mentions in the newspaper, awarded with marks of distinction, and their exploits and victories are publicly recounted and rhapsodized. They are national heroes.

But far away from the action of the battlefield, the Torah scholar sits and learns without fanfare. His efforts to protect the Jewish people (studying Torah all day is very difficult, as anyone who has done so, or attempted to do so, can testify) confer upon him no elevated status and glory; he goes unknown.

If anything, he is punished for his choice, subjected to constant insults and condemnation by his less religious brethren, who scream at him in self-righteous indignation: “Will your brothers go to war while you sit here?” And not only doesn’t his vital contribution earn him an honorable mention in the media, but the media regularly spews vitriol against the full-time Torah scholar and incites the populace to despise him, branding him a leech and a drain upon society, one who selfishly refuses to “share the burden.”

An Invisible Lifeline

There is a response to their complaint, albeit one that some don’t appreciate because they don’t want to.

The Torah is a “Torah of light”[9] in which Hashem reveals sublime, perfect teachings that illuminate our daily lives with moral clarity and direction. The Torah tells us: Look beneath the material reality.

Even the soldier himself depends upon others whose involvement is not visible. For the soldier to stand and shoot, many other army personnel and others are required to assist the war effort from the sidelines by providing food, technical know how, logistical direction, discipline, funding, and so on.

Likewise, the soldier needs spiritual help from behind the scenes in order to be alive. After all, all his training and weaponry will be of no avail if he is not alive. And the true source of life and safety is Hashem, Who grants us life through His holy Torah, which is “our life and the length of our days.”[10] So for the soldier to be alive, he must be infused with life through the life-giving studies of the Torah scholar.

Rebbe’s sicha of 6 Tishrei 5728.
Translation by Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver by kind permission.

[1] Sanhedrin 49a.
[2] Toras Kohanim on Vayikra 22:32.
[3] Mishlei 10: 22.
[4] Grace After Meals liturgy.
[5] Devarim 8:17,18.
[6] Koheles 9:11.
[7] Sotah 21a.
[8] Bamidbar 32:6.
[9] Mishlei 6:23.
[10] Evening prayer liturgy.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Final Border Status

  There are two ways of negotiating [to determine the borders of the Land of Israel]. The first is to state: I am a Jew. I represent the Jewish People and the Jewish faith. Therefore I ask of you to grant me all that I request.  Since we live in exile, G-d desires that we work through natural means by approaching the minister of that country (who is connected to the heavenly ministering angel of that country) and speak to him diplomatically in his language.  Yet, together with that, the Jew must speak with clarity and determination, stating his demand. This method of negotiating was determined by Abraham our Patriarch who stated: “I am both a non resident and a citizen among you”, meaning, if you will concede and grant the Jew what he is owed, I will accept the status of a non-resident in exile, and to pay 400 silver shekels for the merchandise.  Even given this diminished status, G-d has commanded Jewish entitlement. [As is known the maxim of the Rebbes of Lubavitch, that only the physical bodies of the Jewish People have been put in exile; not the souls.  Therefore a gentile is not empowered to argue that since a Jew is in exile he cannot receive his demand.] However, if the gentile is not in agreement, then the Jew will state his demand as an entitlement, a citizen, and take it without offering payment.

The Northern Border - The Mountains of Hermon
The second form of negotiation with a gentile– in order to determine the borders of Israel– is that the Jew says that our entitlement stems from a certain gentile from London [Balfour] who said that the Jewish People need a homeland.  When the gentile hears this, he comes to the conclusion that this Jew has no basis of entitlement from Jewish sources.  That is why he reverts to claiming his rights from a gentile. His response is:  True, a gentile did state the need of a Jewish homeland, however now, one hundred and forty gentiles disagree. Who is to say that one solitary gentile [Balfour] holds the determining view? [Actually, this argument of the gentile is correct.  He is no master to decide that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People. Rather, this is the Will of G-d who initially granted this land to them (the Canaanites), and consequently took it from them and granted the land to us].  We are in exile (using natural means – praying for the peace of the city.... because through this we will have peace).  Yet our words must be completely truthful with no hint of falsity [which would be contrary to Torah] because falsity will also lead to results contrary to those we anticipated.

Eastern Border - The Jordan River
All the tribulations, which we are living through now, are because Jewish people built their case on that declaration written by a gentile in London! Jewish people regard that gentile as the master who is deciding who should receive “the Land ... upon which the eyes of G-d gaze from the beginning of the year to the end of the year”.  The matter does not end there.  They attempt to find favor in his eyes and subjugate themselves to him, asking another gentile “where are the borders [of Israel]?  Where does the Land belonging to Jewish People end?  What were the loyalties, both apparent and undisclosed, of the those who signed a piece of paper in London? 

This is precisely what the Talmud states: “Our Torah should not be compared to their irrelevant words”. We have an iron wall, the iron words of Rashi [the Torah commentator, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki] at the very beginning of the Torah, when a child begins to learn Chumash with the commentary of Rashi at the age of five. We tell him immediately: “[The Almighty] told His nation of the strength of His Hand when He gave [the Jewish People] an inheritance of nations.”  Rashi does not leave room to teach the child any conjectural interpretations.  Rather, he states with clarity, that there is a country which once belonged to seven nations, [not that they conquered it with the might of their own hands, but rather it was given to them by G-d]; subsequently He took it from them and gave it to us”.

There is absolutely no need to seek advice, come to any compromises, conspiracies, or deals as to where our borders ought to be and which territories belongs to them [the Arabs]!  

G-d Himself delineated and set the borders of the Land of Israel! “This is the Land ....her borders” [Leviticus 34.2].  

They [the government of Israel] have tried all formulas both openly and by secret agreements. Yet, this is the only formula they have not yet attempted with which to go public. This is the only wording which gentiles understand since they study the T'nach [Bible] with the very same verses and same interpretations! 

The Western Border - The Mediterranean Sea
Gentiles already know the interpretation.  Moreover, they know that the Jews also know this correct interpretation.  Yet, the Jew chooses to cut himself off, to ignore his spiritual wealth and power and true demand.  In fact, this is not a demand or request, but a preexisting natural oneness of the Nation of Israel and the Land of Israel, as the Midrash [Tanchuma] explains:  When G-d chose the Nation of Israel from among the nations, and chose the Land of Israel from among all the lands, it is only logical that the land which the Creator chose should be given to the people whom the Creator chose! 

By the use of this simple logic there fall away all questions of borders [of Israel]. Then, not only does the issue no longer cause panic and fear, but even the gentiles will know that the Jews [by demonstrating their rightful demand] are “the most powerful among the nations” [Talmud Beitza], and that the basis upon which they [the Jewish people] take possession [of their rightful lands] is because they [the gentiles] know that “The word of G-d will stand for ever” [Isaiah 40.8].

One is fully entitled to approach the gentile and say to him in straightforward terms [quoting Ethics of the Fathers 5.10]: ‘Possessions belonging to me are mine; possessions belonging to you, are yours’.  You have the entire world; we have a tiny portion of land which cannot accommodate the nations [Talmud Tractate Gittin 57.1]. The Torah commentator Rashi elaborates in his commentary on the Torah portion [B’chukosai 26.32]: ‘That which the verse forewarns ‘The Land of Israel will lie desolate’ [which appears to be a part of the Curses] is actually a blessing.  When the Land is made Judenrein, then gentiles also are unable to take possession of that land!’ [Translator’s note: This ancient prediction mentioned in the Torah, has taken place before our very eyes in Gush Katif which remains utterly desolate of Arab inhabitants and production]. They are only able to move around there temporarily, but can never reside there permanently. This is the very nature of the earth of the Land of Israel. Since all of this [from the Bible] has already been translated into all languages, the nations of the world are well acquainted with this fact. 

The government of Israel sent an emissary, a Jew, to negotiate with a gentile. What does he do? He begins to research non Jewish sources; perhaps there he will find proof for Jewish rights to the Land. When he finally meets with the gentile and begins to prove that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish Nation because Balfour said so, it’s pitiful because the gentile realizes that this is not a legitimate claim. 

The claim must have strong legal justification [recognized also by the gentiles] that the Land of Israel and her borders belong to the Jewish Nation [aside from the greater borders predicted in the Torah portion [Re-ei 12.20], ‘When G-d will broaden your borders’ after the arrival of our righteous Moshiach].  Even if there is need to pay 400 silver shekels, still, the lands are Jewish. The gentile will recognize the truth of this claim, which was not invented in 1948 [with the establishment of the State], but going far back in time to the Revelation at Mount Sinai, and even before that, to the Covenant with Abraham.  Only then will the gentile not be suspicious that if he will grant the Jewish nation one portion, they will not further their demand for another portion, because the Jewish Nation are only asking for that which is rightfully theirs!

The government makes no effort to release itself from slavery to the international community.  They know that their slavery will only end when Jews return to their faith. Then ‘immediately will they be released from their exile’ [see Maimonides].  At this time we are still in a state of Exile, not as is the view of those who are mistaken and mislead others [that 1948 was the time when the exile came to an end, and now we have entered the beginning of the Redemption].   Maimonides states clearly that the exile will be prolonged up until the moment when ‘there will arise a King from the Royal House of King David who will bring all Israel to walk in the footsteps of the Torah, and its breaches will be repaired.

Thereafter Moshiach will fight the wars of G-d and be victorious, [all of this he will achieve whilst the Jewish People are still in exile]’.  Only thereafter will he build the [third] Temple in its rightful place and ‘he will bring about the in gathering of the dispersed ones of Israel.’ 

This is the great test for us to overcome in our times. 

Public address 11 Nissan 1976

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

On giving the Arabs Autonomy

 An additional point of this agreement was that Arabs will receive autonomy, namely, the civil administration in Judea and Samaria will be under Arab control, able to choose their own leaders and conduct themselves as they wish. 

See what took place! Even under Israel army control, Arabs there voted for terrorist organizations! Just imagine what sort of leadership they will vote for when freed of all constraints with their own police force and in possession of deadly arms! 

By granting autonomy we will be binding our hands and unable to take any protective action. Despite the fact that it was agreed that this will come into action only after two to three years; when one agrees in principal to grant this from a perspective of righteousness and honesty, the Arabs would have full right to demand this after just a few years or even after tomorrow. 

The hope is that the same miracle will take place as it did previously after the Six Day War when the Arabs refused to take the lands offered to them. Israel continues to blunder with the very same mistake they have repeated time and time again, like after the Six Day War, after the Yom Kippur War, and when they reached the Suez Canal offering to return conquered lands. By the Grace of G-d there took place a full victory for the Jewish People and great terrains were taken over. 

Regardless, there came along Jews and returned these G-d gifted lands, and now also they repeat those very same mistakes! May it be the Will of G-d that the same miracle repeats itself as before [the mistake and retreat of today is far greater than the previous ones] in spite of the fact that Israel runs after them and begs them to take back those terrains, (nevertheless the Arabs refused the offer!) 

[The reason for their refusal is because they do not want to take these lands because they want everything! Yet, the truthful reason is as our Sages say, “the hearts of Kings is in the Hand of G-d”. This is G-d’s decision.] 

May it be the Will of G-d that in our days also the very same miracle will repeat itself, namely, that the Arabs will once again refuse the offer and all of the Land of Israel with her borders remain in the hands of the Jewish Nation as “the Eternal inheritance to the Eternal Nation”. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Israel's Cease-fire

  “Why do the leaders not learn the message,” asked the Rebbe, “from the results of the retreats in 1948 and in 1956? “Why do they not understand that it is forbidden to agree to retreat from the territories?” 

When I mentioned ‘international guarantees’, the Rebbe replied that no intelligent person would agree to rely on gentiles, certainly not on the assurances of Egypt or Russia who are solely concerned for their own interests. Only after two previous acts of bitter deception did the Six-Day War come. Finally when Israel recognized that the kindness of Nations is sinful, G-d came to their assistance. Everyone then recognized the Hand of G-d and His Wonders. Even the leftist groups openly spoke of this. It was only the charedim who refrained from speaking of this explicitly”. 

“Now men of scant faith have arisen, who want to reach peace with the Arabs, regardless of the fact that they continue to announce that their intention is the destruction of Israel. They continue to believe in the assurances and recommendations of the gentiles. If they would only have agreed to peace talks, okay. But the Government of Israel has agreed to a cease-fire in Suez. So many Jewish soldiers fell in order to prevent Egypt from assembling their missile formations!” 

The Rebbe asked passionately; “how can one not understand that the cease-fire was needed by Egypt solely for war preparations, to strengthen her military standing along the Suez Canal, so that thereafter phantom jets will be of no avail. Every day they are advancing their lines of missiles towards the Canal. The heads of government are beginning to say that the Cossack is acting inappropriately, he is deceiving us. Why don’t they say: Okay let’s talk peace, but we will prevent Egypt from strengthening herself along the Suez Canal. After their army formations are improved, why should they make peace? Further war will break out and more sacrifices will fall. Why? What purpose does this serve? Can there be greater folly than this?” 

At this point the Rebbe could no longer continue to speak. I saw tears of emotion and pain choking him. In a passionate voice he recounted the words of the Haftorah in which the Prophet (Isaiah 50:2) says: “Why have I come (to give you warning) and there is no man (listening), I have cried out, and     there is no response”. 

The Rebbe expressed himself with sharp bitterness against the heads of the Government of Israel. “If today the heads of Government are unsure of their ability to withstand the Nations; if they are fearful and weak, it is better that they leave the task of leadership to others. The Torah metes out neither punishment nor lashes to one who is weak-hearted. Rather the Torah states: “Who is the man who is fearful and of weak heart, let him go and return to his house, and not melt the hearts of his brothers”.  
Interview with newspaper reporter Yona Cohen, 1970

Monday, 4 July 2016

Letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to PM David Ben-Gurion on the registration of children of mixed marriages in Eretz Israel

By the Grace of G‑d
8 Adar I 5719
[February 16, 1959]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

His Excellency
Mr. David Ben-Gurion,
Prime Minister of Israel

Greetings and Blessing:

This is in reply to your letter regarding my opinion on the registration of children of mixed marriages, when the father is a Jew and the mother a non-Jew who did not undergo conversion before the birth of the child. The intent of the inquiry is—as the wording of the resolution has it in the above mentioned letter—“to define instructions that should be in harmony with the tradition accepted in all circles of Judaism, both orthodox and non-orthodox of all trends, and with the special conditions of Israel as a sovereign state which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion as a center of ingathering the exiles.”

My opinion is absolutely clear, in conformity with the Torah and the tradition accepted for generations, that in these matters there can be no validity whatsoever to a verbal declaration expressing the desire to register as a Jew. Such a declaration has no power to change the reality.

According to the Torah and the tradition of ages, which still exists today, a Jew is only a person born to a Jewish mother, or a proselyte who had been converted in conformity with the exact procedure laid down in the authoritative codes of Judaism from ancient times down to the Shulchan Aruch.

The above applies not only to children whose parents or guardians declare their desire to register them as Jews, but to whosoever comes forward to declare his wish to change his status in order to enter the Jewish community. Such a declaration has no force whatever unless he actually fulfills, or has fulfilled, the appropriate conversion procedure as laid down in the Jewish codes and in the Shulchan Aruch, as above.

With honor and blessing,

P.S. I do not cite sources, since there are clear and detailed rulings on the matter in the codes of Maimonides, the Tur, Shulchan Aruch, etc.

All that follows now is merely an additional postscript, written with the intention of emphasizing that even if the following is not accepted, either in part or in full, this does not detract at all from the finality of the opinion I have outlined above. The following remarks are merely a reaction to the account of the situation delineated in your letter.

a) The question of registration, or however it may be described, is not a matter confined to Israel alone. It goes without saying—as explained in your letter—that no one may raise a barrier between the Jews of Israel and those of the Diaspora. On the contrary, all our brethren, wherever they may be, have constituted one people from the moment of their emergence, in spite of their dispersion in all the corners of the world. Consequently, the solution of the problem must be one that is acceptable to all members of the Jewish people everywhere, that is capable of forging and strengthening the bonds between and the unity of all Jews, and certainly not one that would be a cause, even the remotest, of disunity and dissension. Accordingly, even if you may argue that the present conditions in Eretz Yisrael call for a special study of the abovementioned question, those conditions do not restrict the problem to Eretz Yisrael, but as noted constitute a matter of common concern to every Jew everywhere.

b) Belonging to the Jewish people was never considered by our people as a formal, external matter. It has always been defined and delineated in terms of the commitment of the whole being of the Jew, something intimately linked with his very essence and innermost experience. Accordingly, any movement which disregards or belittles any of the procedures in this connection degrades the feeling of belonging to the Jewish people, and cannot but be detrimental to the serious and profound attitude toward the Jew’s inner link with his people.

c) To ease the conditions of transition and affiliation to the Jewish people—particularly in the special circumstances of Eretz Yisrael, surrounded by countries and peoples unsympathetic towards it (that is an understatement)—is to endanger considerably the security of Eretz Yisrael.

d) What emerges from the above points is that even if an attempt is made to avoid the proper solution to the problem by a compromise, such as substituting for the word “Jew” a word of completely secular connotations, this will not constitute a way out, since the damage would remain both with respect to strengthening the bonds of unity with Jews everywhere, as well as from the point of view of inner strength and security.

e) Of course, no argument can be adduced from the cases of people who have been converted in the proper manner and have nevertheless caused harm to the Jewish people. On the other hand, there is the possibility that one who merely makes a verbal declaration of his Jewishness may benefit the Jewish people. The demand for a due conversion procedure is likewise not negated by the fact that there are non-Jewish “saints” who, as the description implies, are for all that still non-Jews.

f) In the frame of reference in which the question was put, the matter of discrimination was mentioned. Discrimination can, however, apply only to granting or withholding of rights, or meting out punishments; it can have no relevance to the question of registration, which has to do with existing reality.

Let me conclude with the hope and expectation that Eretz Yisrael in all its aspects, both present and future, should constitute a factor uniting Jews everywhere, both orthodox and non-orthodox of all trends, by attuning itself in all its affairs more and more to the name by which it is known among all the peoples of the world—“the Holy Land.”

Yours truly,

Rabbi M.M. Schneerson

Letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to PM David Ben-Gurion on the thirst of the youth of our eternal people

By the Grace of G‑d

Adar I 5719

[February 17, 1959]

Brooklyn, N.Y.
His Excellency

Mr. David Ben-Gurion,

Prime Minister of Israel


Yesterday I sent you my official reply to the question of Registration, and I have to apologize for the delay in my reply till now for a number of reasons. What is written further is not official, and not even semi-official.
It was once fashionable in certain circles to suggest that the Jewish religion and religious observances were necessary for those living in the Diaspora—as a shield against assimilation. But for those who can find another “antidote”—in the place of religion, particularly for those living in Eretz Yisrael, within their own society, where the atmosphere, language, etc., (apparently) serve as ample assurances of national preservation, the Jewish religion was superfluous—what need had they to burden themselves with all its minutiae in their daily life? But the trend of developments in Eretz Yisrael in the last seven or eight years has increasingly emphasized the opposite view: That however vital the need for religion amongst Diaspora Jewry, it is needed even more for the Jews in Eretz Yisrael. One of the basic reasons for this is that it is precisely in Eretz Yisrael that there exists the danger that a new generation will grow up, a new type bearing the name of Israel but completely divorced from the past of our people and its eternal and essential values, and moreover, hostile to it in its world outlook, its culture, and the content of its daily life; hostile—in spite of the fact that it will speak Hebrew, dwell in the land of the Patriarchs, and wax enthusiastic over the Bible.
I do not wish to dwell on this painful subject at all for obvious reasons (especially since I see no need for further elaboration). One of the reasons is that I fervently hope that this calamity will not come to pass. Eventually, members of that generation itself will vehemently rise up against that danger, and will take measures to ward off the evil. Indeed, it is just recently that an intense ferment has been felt in Eretz Yisrael and abroad demanding a spiritual content to life; if a deeper probe is made, it becomes evident that the yearning is for something transcending the reason of man.
The thirst of the youth of our eternal people will certainly not be quenched by rationalizations and theories that are the product of contemporary mortals, which will share the fate of those ideologies which made their debut only yesterday and which are no more today. Here is the place for the Law of Moses and Israel, the Oral and Written Law, our independent values dating from the day the Jewish people stood before G‑d, our G‑d, at Horeb, and the great voice was heard which did not stop: “I am G‑d your G‑d . . . You shall have no other gods . . .”
Needless to say, I do not speak here of a theoretical religiosity which serves only as a purely philosophical world outlook, or as the subject of lectures at weekends and holidays. I speak of a pervading and practical way of life, which includes the weekdays too, and all such matters which are usually termed “secular.” Our faith is, after all, essentially one of practical deeds.
Now is the ideal opportunity to transform the whole canvas of life in Eretz Yisrael and direct it into the above mentioned channels. This opportunity is knocking at your door, for you have been granted the ability and privilege to use it to the best advantage, a privilege and opportunity which are not given to every man, and the likes of which have not presented themselves for many decades.
It is more than likely that the aforementioned lines will astonish you. Do I really imagine that by means of this letter I can change or influence an outlook many decades old, and in particular, the outlook of a man who has seen the fruit of his labors? But, since in my opinion the situation in Eretz Yisrael is as described above—the situation in itself, the essential truth of the idea, the unique and most wonderful opportunity granted you—it is they which speak, appeal and demand. I am sure that even without my letter you have often reflected on this. But I could not allow myself to pass over this in silence—at a time when I am engaged in writing on the subject of Registration, which is part and parcel of the general background outlined above. I felt it my duty to refer to this, at least in a private letter to you.
At this opportunity, and begging apology for the delay, I thank you for sending me your booklet. Let me base my next few words on what you wrote in the booklet when referring to Eretz Yisrael: I mean the expression “the Holy Land.” Now, the epithet “holy,” like that of “Jew,” has had its content defined and consecrated by generations of our people, from the time of the Giving of the Law—when the title “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” was bestowed on us, and when the Jewish people were granted the Holy Land according to its borders, “the land of the Canaanite and the Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates”—till the present day and including it.
Yours truly,

Rabbi M. M. Schneerson

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Not relinquishing the Land is bound up with faith in G-d

  The Holy Land is ‘The land into which the eyes of G-d continuously gaze from the beginning of the year until the end of the year’. Since this is ‘The palace of the King’ it becomes even more important that all vital decisions concerning this land be made strictly in accord with the command of the King [G-d].

The Third Temple on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem[Please click on the picture]
This is highly relevant to the territories along the borders of Eretz Israel. It is forbidden to relinquish any parcel of land to a gentile [this being a negative commandment of Torah– “Lo Sichonem”– do not give the Land away]. Any compromises on this issue are forbidden.

Material aspects of the Land of Israel are bound up with its spirituality. That is why legally, its very earth is pure as is the very air, to the extent that our sages [Talmud, Tractate Bava Basra 158.2] state that the air of the Land of Israel makes mankind wise. This negative command of Torah not to relinquish the Land touches one’s faith in G-d. This is because material matters of Israel go hand in hand with the spiritual. 

This is especially so when we speak of a city on the border which is certainly forbidden to be relinquished, as the code of Jewish Law lays down: ‘When gentiles besiege any city of the Jewish people, even if they have not yet arrived but are in the preliminary stages of approach, the law demands us to march forth fully armed, even to desecrate the Shabbos’. The severity of this law is greater with regard to a border city: should a nation that approaches for no other reason than to acquire stubble and hay for their animals, the law demands of us to march forth fully armed, lest they conquer the city, and from there the land will be easily conquered. 

Today the entire [miniscule] land mass of Israel is in proximity to her borders. Every single city has the law of ‘a city on the border’. It is the obligation of each individual Jew to do all within his ability to be armed as needed. Not in order to exhibit personal strength, but because this is the command of G-d, in order to protect very many Jews on the borders. This conduct is demanded by Jewish law. 

All of this [living in Israel, and being armed for war] has no connection whatsoever with the beginning of the Redemption. G-d forbid to say this is the beginning of the Redemption! Maimonides states that the end of the Exile will be brought about by our righteous Moshiach. The sign will be as follows: ‘There will arise a king from the Royal House of King David ... he will compel all of Israel to walk in the ways of Torah and to strengthen her’. Initially Jews need to study Torah and perform Mitzvos, only then will He put an end to the darkness. Our righteous Moshiach [who will be a soul within a body] will fight the wars of G-d and be victorious, ‘build the Temple in her place’ [on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem], and only then will he bring about the ingathering’s of Israel. Yet even now in the exile, even a small village of Jews outside of Israel, has the law to go out to war armed, and desecrate the Shabbos if non-Jews besiege the town. It is forbidden to give away any part of the Land of Israel! 
                                                                                                                          10th Teves 1978