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“From the World of Rabbi Kook”
“We have to expand our thinking greatly, by length and width, to the depths and the heights, extending it outward and enlarging it…. And we must move back and forth between the large issues and minutia, between minutia and the larger issues, between individual concerns and concern for the public. We must soar from the noble, from the ideal, to the reality, the material, the practical, and then back again…” (Orot HaKodesh 1:79)

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Rabbi Dov Begon – Founder and Head of Machon Meir
Message for Today: “He Who Distinguishes between Israel and the Nations”

Korach is ostensibly right in his claim against Moses and Aaron that “all the people are holy and G-d is with them” (Numbers 16:3). The entire Jewish People really are righteous and holy. Yet Korach, in his pursuit of honor, did not express the entire truth. True, they are all holy and G-d is with them, yet Korach is ignoring the various differences and levels within the Jewish People. There are different levels of holiness and of leadership and there are different levels to the positions that they hold as well.
Blurring levels creates pandemonium and anarchy, as Rashi comments on the verse, “Tomorrow morning, G-d will show that He knows who is His and who is holy, and He will bring them close to Him. He shall choose those who shall be allowed to present offerings to Him” (Numbers 16:5):
“Moses said to them: G-d established boundaries in His universe. Can you transform morning to evening? Can you nullify the Torah’s decree, ‘It was evening and it was morning’ (Genesis 1:5), and the subsequent distinction? In precisely the same way, G-d distinguished Aaron, making him holy.”
Distinctions within time, place and people stand at the foundation of the entire universe. We have to distinguish between the holy and the non-holy in the realm of time, between Eretz Yisrael and other lands, and between the Jewish People and other nations. As we say in the Havdalah prayer at the end of the Sabbath, G-d “distinguishes between the sacred and the profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the other nations, between the seventh day and the six working days.”
The “Korach” approach ignores the fact that in reality there are different levels and distinctions, there are boundaries and different tasks, within time and place, and amongst people. Today, that approach is the main source of the crises that are facing our beloved people and all mankind.
We must learn, understand and recognize that we have to distinguish between Israel and the nations. We have to realize that Israel is not like the other nations. Rather, it is a kingdom of priests and a holy nation that seeks to bring light and goodness to all mankind.
We must learn, understand and recognize that Eretz Yisrael and the State of Israel are not like all other lands and countries. We have not risen to rebirth in order to establish here a country of all its inhabitants, G-d forbid. Neither have we come here just to eat, drink and rest, or to establish a state for the Arabs – never! We are rising to rebirth in our land in order to bring to fulfillment, for the benefit of the whole world, the vision of the prophets of Israel, that “out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
And just as the view of Korach and his entire camp ultimately lost out, so shall the “Korach” approach that seeks to blur the distinction between the sacred and profane in the life of the individual and the nation speedily be nullified. And through this may we all merit to “a new light shining over Zion” (morning prayers). Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom!

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Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El
“To be a Normal People in Our Land”

Question: I think we have to be like a normal people in our land. We should watch television, surf the Internet and enjoy all the other communications media. I do not deny that there are problems there, but you deal with them and fight against them. The solution is not to ban everything but rather critical viewing.

Answer: I don’t understand what you are saying. Would you bring pork to your dinner table and deal with it? Would you organize Sabbath desecration in your home and then fight against it? It’s true that if someone unwillingly comes up against temptation, he must fight to his utmost against it, to avoid committing the least sin. Yet if someone places himself in the lion’s den, can he be called normal?!
It is true that even on the street people go around dressed in a not normal fashion, hence the Vilna Gaon said, “When a person intends to go to the market place, he should pray and seek mercy lest he fall prey, G-d forbid, to the least bit of sin or sinful thought” (Orchot Chaim, Keter Rosh, 135). He further said, “Even the early sages were not saved from evil thought… If someone removes his mind from evil thought, he thereby coerces the Force of Evil. If, however, he dwells on it, it will cause him great harm” (Ibid., 136).
Yet how could anyone consider arranging for himself cultural activities that arouse his evil impulse, based on the excuse that he will deal with it?! Shulchan Aruch rules as follows:
“It is forbidden to read erotic literature such as ‘The Book of Emanuel’… One thereby violates, ‘Do not turn aside to false gods’ (Leviticus 4)… and he provokes his evil impulse. And those who write such literature, let alone those who distribute it, are classed as those who bring the public to sin” (Orach Chaim 307:16).
All the more so that this applies to today’s movies.
Indeed, according to Rambam, the Torah prohibition against “turning aside to false gods” does not relate solely to idolatry but to taking an interest in any realm that distances one from the main tenets of the Torah (Hilchot Avodah Zarah 2:3). Sefer HaChinuch as well, concludes that the Torah forbids “any thought that causes one to uproot something from the Torah,” and he links this to the verse, “Do not stray after your heart and eyes” (Numbers 15:39).
Regarding that verse, Sefer HaChinuch likewise comments:
“This mitzvah is truly a major tenet of our faith, for evil thought is the father of impurity, and deeds are its children… Sin begets sin and mitzvah begets mitzvah (Avot 4:5). If you train your thoughts on satisfying your evil passions one time, you will be drawn to it many times afterwards… The more one persists in indulging his lusts, the stronger they will become each day. If, however, he avoids them, he will have good fortune all day long” (Chinuch 387).
“Critical viewing” is a spurious buzzword, a mixture of sins, the opposite of G-d’s instruction to us: “Do not stray.” In mid-movie, if something bad starts happening, is the viewer going to turn it off? We mustn’t be naive! Neither should we be naive about the terrible destruction caused to the family and society by television and Internet, and now by the advanced cellular phones. So many families and so many children have been ruined by this! Are we unaware that there is a correlation in all countries between violent films and violent behavior?!
It is true that some claim that there is a correlation but no cause-and-effect relationship. In other words, it is not that watching violent films leads to violent behavior, but that violent tendencies cause people to watch violent films. Unfortunately, the truth is that both points are correct.
Quite the contrary, Rambam states that when someone suffers from a character flaw, he should lean towards the opposite extreme (Shemoneh Perakim, Ch. 4). He says this in regard to the individual, and our master Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook extends this to apply to the whole community as well (Erpalei Tohar). If society is so attracted to the filth of the media, we must cut ourselves off from it entirely.
If one watches despicable programming, containing lewdness, falsehood and violence, is that called being normal?! Certainly not. Rather, it is we, who follow the path of purity, who are the normal ones. We are the ones who breathe fresh, uncontaminated air. Precisely us. We, the pure-minded, are the normal ones.

HELP SAVE GUSH KATIF! : an excellent site for information about Gush Katif and the thousands of Jews living there, and what you can do to help. Visit the site; send a link to everyone you know!

Rabbi Elisha Aviner – Education Corner
Open Letters to Youth : “Forward!”

You ask, “What should I be doing at this time?” A good question. This question has to be asked by every boy and girl whose love of the Land burns within him. During these times, whoever cares about what happens to this country, whoever fears for the future, whoever has the good the Jewish People at heart, feels no inner calm. The storm raging within him gives him no rest. The voice bursting out of his heart and brain calls him to action. Like you, other boys and girls want to act for the sake of Eretz Yisrael and the sake of the Jewish People, and they ask what they should do.
The adults are struggling over this question as well. There is no one answer. Some say: We should pray to G-d and cry out to Heaven! Others say, “We should convince the Jewish People of the rightness of our path.” Still others say, “we should demonstrate and protest as vociferously as we can. And still others say, “We won’t let the government carry out its awful policy. We will stop them by force.” From here are decreed the various activities which are publicized in advertisements and fliers. Some invite the youth to prayer rallies. Others invite them to public relations gatherings, and still others invite them to confrontations with the police and the legal system.
Is there a disagreement between the various approaches? There are two types of disagreements: there are tactical disagreements – is a particular activity effective and is it worthwhile to invest in it? No one argues that it is worthwhile. The only question is whether it helps.
Then there are more fundamental disagreements. For example: Is it right to subjugate the government by means of force? It is right to declare “war” on the government? Must we fear a split in the nation or not? Does nonviolent civil disobedience strengthen the State of Israel or shatter it? Do we need to conquer the heart of the people by pleasant means, or make the planned disengagement harder, even if this involves ways that are liable to arouse anger amongst many citizens?
Even though all the initiators and activists have good intentions, they still disagree on whether particular actions are desirable or not. All of them love the Land and People of Israel. All of them are working for the good of the State, to strengthen and consolidate it. All of them are precious.
Yet communal leadership is a complex matter. Not just running a country but also running a protest and bringing about changes in society requires enormous responsibility. Every little step is liable to touch upon the country’s survival. Sometimes, avoiding an activity will contribute to the country’s survival, and sometimes precisely that same activity will endanger national unity.
Many of our youth are looking for ways to contribute. They therefore enlist in all sorts of activities. Some youth participate in all the activities even when their goals are contradictory (for example, those whose purpose is to arouse public sympathy, and those that arouse public criticism). These youth are excited about taking part, and they do not distinguish between the nature of the different activities, between their quality and character, their roots, goals and repercussions.
No one will deny the great contribution of our youth to activities on behalf of the Land of Israel. They are the backbone of such activities, and they deserve our greatest encouragement. Likewise, no one disagrees that it is very important to do and to act. It is also essential to understand, however, and to delve deeply and to look dispassionately in order to act out of both deep consideration and an exalted spirit.
Towards that end, an activists’ camp has been established, intended for youth (ninth to twelfth grades). The camp will be in session from Sunday to Thursday, July 3-7th, in order for our youth to learn and to do. It will include a marvelous blend of in-depth study towards an understanding of these times. (Lectures will be given by the rabbis of Gush Katif and the rabbis of “Panim El Panim” [Face to Face]. There will be ongoing activities on behalf of the Land and the People of Israel.
And where will the camp be? In the center of the country, since there much work needs to be done, and our youth have a meaningful role – “to reengage Gush Dan [the Tel Aviv area] to Gush Katif and Northern Samaria.” This is a holy, responsible mission in which many youths can participate.
There will be two separate camps – one for boys and one for girls. Girls will participate in the activities in accordance with the rules of modesty.
For details regarding the boys’ camp, call 054-4582694, 054-5684218 or 054-5992900. Regarding the girls’ camp, call 052-8674841 or 050-8649994. Another girls’ camp in the South can be reached at 052-8308213.
Some say: “The fate of Gush Katif is in our hands.” Yet we must add that “our hands” consists of our youth. They can turn the scales in our favor. Therefore, all of our youth are called up to enlist in activities on behalf of Eretz Yisrael, following in-depth study and clarification, and out of great faith in the future of the nation, and steadfast love for the Jewish People. All boys and girls are invited. Let us exalt our own spirits, continue our activism and exalt the spirits of everyone else. Let’s go!

Write a letter of support to Jonathan Pollard, in jail for 20 years because of his love for the Jewish People and our Land! Address letters to:
Jonathan Pollard # 09185-016
FCI Butner Medium
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1000
Butner, NC 27509 (USA)

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