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“From the World of Rabbi Kook”
“Those who truly love and fear G-d, …when they face trials, suffering great pain and insult from every direction, must stand ready against all those forces that would destroy G-d’s inheritance and cause a rift in the nation that is united and one in all worlds.” (Erpalei Tohar 102)

Rabbi Dov Begon – Founder and Head of Machon Meir
Message for Today: “The Proper Way to Deal With Crises”

“The Israelites marched a three days’ journey from G-d’s mountain” (Numbers 10:33). Rashi explains that they walked such this distance in one day, because G-d wished to bring them into the Land immediately. Yet then began a chain of calamities that delayed their entering the Land for forty years.
The first calamity came when they left Mount Sinai “like a child escaping from school” (see Ramban). In other words, they disengaged from the Torah. After that, “The people began to complain, and it was evil in G-d’s ears” (11:1). They resented walking in the desert. Rather than trusting in G-d and walking joyfully, they walked as though they were being forced to.
Then came the another crisis: “The mixed multitude among the Israelites began to have strong cravings, and the Israelites began once again to weep, “Who will give us meat to eat?” (11:4). The worst calamity came with their betrayal of Eretz Yisrael, when they said, “Why is G-d bringing us to this land to die by they sword. Our wives and children will be captives? It would be best to go back to Egypt!” (14:4). This was followed by a terrible punishment, “Your corpses will fall in this desert” (14:29).
In our own generation, we are undergoing great crises and instability like those of the desert generation. Our first crisis is the abandonment of Torah learning – like a child escaping from school. The second crisis is a result of the first – there is no trust in G-d and no joy along the way. Rather, people complain about everything, even when things are going well. The third crisis involves people’s immersion in permissiveness and materialism – “Who will feed us meat?” The worst crisis in our generation is the way people relate to Eretz Yisrael as though it were a land that consumes its inhabitants. There are some people unwilling to pay the price of the struggle and the war over our holding on to it. They created the plan of disengagement from our birthplace, the land of our life’s blood, with the intent of handing it over to a foreign, hostile people!
We must search out the causes of these crises and repent in a fitting manner. First of all, we must return to our holy Torah. We must lovingly educate our children, hundreds of thousands of Jewish children, in the Jewish tradition. After all, the Torah includes everything good, “for there is no good but Torah”.
By such means we will be able to accept the hardships on the individual, public and national level in a good spirit and deal with them. After all, everything is for the good. “Everything that G-d does is for the good” (Berachot 60b). By such means, we will also be able to make due with little, and we won’t pursue materialism and permissiveness until they make us fall prey to violence, drunkenness and drugs and all sorts of other curses. By such means we will love our people and our beloved Land, and won’t abandon it to our enemies, G-d forbid. Through us will be fulfilled the words of Calev ben Yefuneh, whose personality was similar to his name, “Calev,” for he was “kulo lev” [all heart]: “We shall surely go up and inherit it. We can do it!” (Numbers 13:30). Looking forward to complete salvation,
Shabbat Shalom!

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)

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner – Chief Rabbi of Beit El
“We Undertake Heaven’s Yoke”

Hear O Israel! Hashem is our G-d. Hashem is One.
Hear O Israel! This land is ours. This land – this one land.
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its cunning.
If I forget you, O Gush Katif, and obviously Northern Samaria.
Jerusalem and all of Eretz Yisrael are one.
So say the holy nation who dwell in Zion.
So holds the fine nation with the warm heart.

Regarding this Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook says:
“Government for the people – Not the people for the government.”
What a surrealistic image! How Kafkaesque!
This whole destruction – G-d forbid –
Is being carried out by one man
In an immoral, brutal, scheming manner.

If our Prime Minister quit tomorrow,
The first step to take in leading the people
Would be a plebiscite.
And then, through the media
We would see clearly where the majority is.
In the meantime, the Chief-of-Staff has spoken,
So he was fired.
The Head of the General Security Service spoke,
He, too, was fired.
“The wisdom of their wise men has perished;
“The prudence of their prudent men is hidden” (Isaiah 29:14).
The Prime Minister lives in despairing fear
Of a small gang of gangsters.
He does not believe in the power of the nation.
He forgets their valor during “Defensive Shield.”
He schemes betrayal of his nation and land.
No good will come of it.
Only the threat of missiles on Netanya and Afula.

Our Prime Minister is locked in on an immoral mission impossible.
Our government is deaf and blind.
It cannot see that after 2,000 years of exile
We have risen from the dust, We have risen to rebirth!
It is a blind government
That knows not what is happening in Katif
A government suffering mental disengagement.
Listen, my brothers. Tell me yourselves,
What you think about what I’m going to tell you.
An important Knesset Committee went down to Gush Katif
They took a tour of all parts of the Gush.
Afterwards one Knesset member said, with admiration,
“Truly a great and enormous enterprise!
But where are the caravans for the eviction?” Unbelievable!
You want to throw people into the street and destroy their life’s work?
You are captive to political terminology.
You’ve forgotten that there are people there with a life story!
You’re about to bring tragedy upon them. You have to repent.
The government must repent. And like always, we all must repent.
With G-d’s help, Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook’s words shall be fulfilled:
“Let all the idiotic, illusory spider webs of the world’s thieves
Explode and be smashed against the Steel Fortress,
the mighty rock of us all –
our young and old, our sons and daughters, our bodies and souls,
The counsel of the King of this and all worlds
Who calls to the generations declaring: Jerusalem shall be resettled,
The Mountains of Judea and Samaria, Jericho, Sinai and the Golan,
Shall be rebuilt.” (LeHilchot Tzibbur)
We walk with our people, with our country, with our army.
We are loyal and have faith that we shall surely ascend.
We can do it!

Be sure to catch Rabbi David Samson’s weekly Torah insight on “Israeli Salad” at (produced in cooperation with Machon Meir).

Rabbi Elisha Aviner – Education Corner
“What’s the problem?”

This article is addressed to girls who do not “make due with the minimum” when it comes to serving G-d, but instead strive to ascend in holiness. There are many levels of strictness in keeping the laws of modesty, from the very least to the very most. We mustn’t mock any level. Any effort is to be praised, and G-d does not withhold the reward of any living creature.
At the same time, we have to recognize that there really are many different levels and sublevels. Chiefly, it is forbidden to make light of any added effort. Rather, it must be encouraged. Just as it is forbidden to mock a little bit of effort, so is it forbidden to mock a great deal of effort.
There are women who recognize the importance of the laws of modesty and undertake the principles of modesty, but have a difficult time keeping the minor details with the major details. Despite their sincere desire to have a modest appearance, the results are only partial. A gap forms between the longing and the implementation. Many factors can cause this: A woman may not have been accustomed to keeping the laws of modesty from early childhood. She may belong to a society with inferior norms of modesty, and she many not succeed in being liberated from its influence. She may not be sensitive enough to matters of modesty and may not understand why her appearance is improper.
Even if it seems to someone as though a woman’s strides in the realm of modesty are lacking, he mustn’t make light of them. They probably required an enormous effort. We must therefore say, “According to the pain, so the reward.” There are women who keep a high standard of modesty, scrupulously following all of its precise details, not conceding in their regard even when the norms of modesty around them are very low. They don’t succumb to the dictates of their social environment and are uninfluenced by them. They look neither left nor right, but preserve their spiritual and behavioral independence in the realm of modesty. It’s no easier for them than for anyone else, but they rejoice in their chosen way of life.
What am I leading up to? Today, immodest dress norms have penetrated even amongst girls who generally strive scrupulously to keep even strictures. The style is to wear short shirts, often tight, in which every arm movement, and every bend forward, reveals what is supposed to be covered. When the girls are asked why they are wearing shirts that aren’t long enough, they answer, “What’s the problem?!” The answer is that there is a problem. True, there are worse problems. The norms of dress on the street are beneath all criticism, and even in religious society there are worse problems than this in the realms of modesty and in other realms. Yet, as mentioned above, whoever aspires to holiness out of a sense of spiritual independence will not look either left or right. She will not make due with being relatively better than others, neither will she take comfort in there being worse problems. Rather, she will strive to advance in her service to G-d.
As it seems, many of the girls are unaware of the problem, hence their response, “What is the problem?!” We mustn’t be surprised. Precisely amongst girls who are scrupulous about modesty and are not preoccupied with emphasizing their bodies before others a lack of understanding can develop regarding what detracts from their modesty. I am not just trying to look favorably. I am really describing the reality.
Therefore, the beginning of the solution is to inform the girls that there is a problem. It is logical to assume that henceforth girls for whom modesty is important will distance themselves from the problematic style of short shirts. This is no simple mission. It is not easy to swim against the tide and to save oneself from the enormous steamroller effect that style has on every girl. Even so, here is the test of autonomy, freedom and independence. Which will prevail – personal independence or style?
I shall conclude with a general remark. Our response to the erosion in the realm of modesty in society has to be to increase our own modesty. We are taught this behavioral principle by Rambam, who declared that the best path is the middle road, with a slight bend away from the path of natural attraction. That is the golden mean.
This principle, mentioned by Rambam in relation to the individual, applies to the public as well. If within society there is an unsavory attraction to a particular direction, we have to bend a bit in the opposite direction. That is the rationale of our sages’ decrees. When the Jewish People revealed weakness in a particular direction, our sages issued a decree in order to tip the scales a bit towards the other side. When that negative tendency ceased, our sages nullified their decree in order to preserve the middle path.
In our own times, there is a very strong leaning in general society in the direction of immodesty in external appearance. All the dams have burst, and it seems that matters will only get worse. Therefore, the proper response is increased scrupulousness regarding modest external appearance.

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