היכן קבר רחל באמת?

האם אמנם קבר רחל אמנו נמצא בבת לחם?

נכתב ע”י משה צוריאל

Rabbi Moshe Zuriel has published numerous works in virtually all areas of Torah scholarship. The Seforim Blog is grateful that he has chosen to publish his latest essay here.

מפורסם באומה כי קברה של רחל נמצא בבית לחם. יש שם גם מבנה ומצבה המציין כך. וכך כתוב בתורה “ויהי עוד כברת הארץ לבוא אפרתה ותלד רחל ותקש בלדתה וכו’. ותמת רחל ותקבר [נפעל] בדרך אפרתה היא בית לחם. ויצב יעקב מצבה על קבורתה, היא מצבת קבורת רחל עד היום, (בראשית לה, טז-כ).

שוב חזרה התורה לבאר את המיקום, בדברי יעקב ליוסף: “ואני בבואי מפדן מתה עלי רחל בארץ כנען בעוד כברת ארץ לבוא אפרתה, ואקברה שם בדרך אפרת היא בית לחם” (בראשית מח, ז).

אמנם יש סתירה לכך מדברי שמואל הנביא אל שאול: “בלכתך מעימדי ומצאת שני אנשים עם קבורת רחל בגבול בנימין בצלצח” (שמואל-א י, ב). כידוע, בית לחם היא בחלקת שבט יהודה, ולא שייכת לשבט בנימין?

חז”ל היו ערים לסתירה זו, ובארבעה מקומות מצאנו שיישבו הסתירה בדרך דרש [בכל המקומות חזרו על אותו פתרון], כך: בעת שדיבר שמואל עם שאול היו שני האנשים בגבול בנימין בצלצח, והם יוצאים ממקומם כמו ששאול יוצא מהמקום שנמצא בו בעת הדיבור, ויפגוש אותם בקבר רחל שביהודה (תוספתא, סוטה פי”א ה”ט; בראשית רבה פרשה פב, פסקא ט; מדרש שמואל פרק יד; ילקוט שמעוני ח”ב רמז קח-קט). והדוחק מבואר. נוסף על כך, יש סתירה גם בדבר חז”ל. בספרי (פרשת וזאת הברכה, פסקא שנב) “ר’ מאיר אומר בחלקו של בנה מתה” [כלומר בנימין] ועיין שם שהדברים עמומים.

נוסף על כך, שלשה מגדולי הראשונים כותבים כי מתה רחל ונקברה בחלקו של בנה בנימין.

[א] רלב”ג על התורה (בראשית לה, כ. מהד’ מוסד הרב קוק, עמ’ ריג; וכן בסוף פרשת ויחי, עמ’ רסה) קובע שהיא קבורה בחלק בנימין “לפי שכבר ידע בנבואה שהיה המקום ההוא לבניה”. ומה שהכתוב מעיד “היא מצבת קבורת רחל עד היום”, “עד היום” פרושו עד זמן נתינת התורה (שם, עמ’ ריג).

[ב] גם החזקוני (שהיה בדורו של רמב”ן) על בראשית (מח, ז) סבור כי היא קבורה בחלקו של בנימין “כי ידעתי כי אותו גבול יעלה לחלק בניה, וכבודה להיות נקברת בחלק בניה” והוא מצטט מהפסוק בשמואל-א (י, ב) “ומצאת שני אנשים עם קבורת רחל בגבול בנימין”.

[ג] בדברי רמב”ן מצאנו שסותר את עצמו. בביאורו לבראשית (מח, ז, מהד’ מוסד הרב קוק, עמ’ רסא) הוא כותב “ואקברה שם בדרך, כלומר בדרך אשר יעברו בה בניה (בעת שגלו מארצם בימי נבוכדנצר) ושם קברתיה לטובתה, כי היא לא מתה בדרך רק ברמה, שהיא עיר בארץ בנימין, ושם נקברה”.

אבל רמב”ן סותר את עצמו, כי בביאורו לפרשת וישלח (לה, טז) מוסיף על דבריו שהעתיק דברי רש”י וחלק עליו:

“זה כתבתי תחילה, ועכשיו שזכיתי ובאתי אני לירושלם, שבח לאל הטוב והמטיב, ראיתי בעיני שאין מן קבורת רחל לבית לחם אפילו מיל והנה הוכחש הפירוש הזה וכו’ וכו’.

וכן ראיתי שאין קבורה ברמה ולא קרוב לה, אבל הרמה אשר לבנימין רחוק ממנה כארבע פרסאות, והרמה אשר בהר אפרים (שמואל-א א, א) רחוק ממנה יותר משני ימים. על כן אני אומר שהכתוב ש’אומר קול ברמה נשמע’ (ירמיה לא, יד) מליצה כדרך משל, לאמר כי היתה רחל צועקת בקול גדול ומספד מר עד שנשמע הקול למרחוק ברמה שהיא בראש ההר לבנה בנימין, כי איננו שם, והיא חרבה מהם לא נאמר בכתוב ‘ברמה רחל מבכה על בניה’, אבל אמר כי שם נשמע הקול.

ונראה בעיני כי קברה יעקב בדרך ולא הכניסה לעיר בית לחם יהודה הקרובה שם, לפי שצפה ברוח הקודש שבית לחם אפרתה יהיה ליהודה ולא רצה לקברה רק בגבול בנה בנימין, והדרך אשר המצבה בה קרובה לבית אל בגבול בנימין וכך אמרו בספרי (זאת הברכה לג, יא) בחלקו של בנימין מתה, כדאיתא בפרשת וזאת הברכה”. עכ”ל רמב”ן.

ואפשר בקלות לבאר כיצד רמב”ן שינה בדבריו. כי המאמר על בראשית (מח, ז) כתב רמב”ן בהיותו בספרד. וכאשר הגיע לארץ הקודש וראה בעיניו את מצבת קבורת רחל, החליט שהיא קרובה לבית לחם (מיל, כאלפיים פסיעות בלבד) והוסיף קטע לפירושו על התורה, בפרשת וישלח. וכדבריו “זה כתבתי תחילה, ועכשיו שזכיתי ובאתי אני לירושלים”. ונדחק רמב”ן לבאר כי חלקו של בנימין הגיע עד שם.

ויש בזה קושי, כי בבית המקדש עצמו, חלקו של בנימין הגיע רק עד המזבח וצפונה. ומן המזבח דרומה הוא שייך לשבט יהודה. ומה שסבור רמב”ן שהגיעה נחלת בנימין עד קרוב למיל של בית לחם, וכמו מובלעת, היא אוקימתא. בדקנו במפה גיאוגרפית, “רמה” של בנימין היא כתשעה ק”מ צפונה לירושלים (דעת מקרא, ירמיה מ, א, עמ’ תצא) ובית לחם היא תשעה קילומטר דרומה לירושלים. ומה שהרמב”ן סבור היה שהמצבה הזו שראה בעיניו היא האמתית אין בזה שום הוכחה. כי דברי התורה “עד היום הזה” פירושו עד עת מתן תורה (כדברי רלב”ג לעיל). אותה מצבה שראה רמב”ן מי שהוא אחר הקים, ואין אנו יודעים אם ראוי לסמוך עליו.

קושיא גדולה יש על הסבורים שנבוכדנצר וחייליו העבירו את היהודים הגולים לבבל בדרך בית לחם. הרי בבל היא לצפונה של ירושלים. בית לחם היא דרומה. כיצד יעלה על הדעת שהשובים האכזרים והמנצחים יסכימו להעביר את היהודים שהיו באזיקים ושלשלאות, והולכי רגל, בדרך עקומה עד לדרום, תשעה קילומטר? ומי שיציע שמדובר ביהודים תושבי חברון ובאר שבע, והם בדרכם צפונה עברו את בית לחם, עליו לענות על המקרא. מבואר בירמיה (נב, טו) שהגלה רק מתושבי ירושלים. אבל שאר האוכלוסיה בשבט יהודה בערי השדה השאיר בארץ ישראל, למען יהיו כורמים ויוגבים (שם. ועיין מלכים-ב כה, כב).

נראה לומר שהפשטנים (רלב”ג, חזקוני, רמב”ן בהיותו בספרד) ידעו היטב דברי חז”ל בתוספתא, במדרש רבה ומדרש שמואל. והתעלמו מדברי דרש של חז”ל כדי לבאר פשוטו של מקרא.

בכל זאת, כיצד נסביר את הפסוק המזהה, המופיע פעמיים בתורה, שיעקב קבר את רחל “ותקבר בדרך אפרתה, היא בית לחם”? אלא המלים “היא בית לחם” אינן מוסבות על מעשה הקבורה, אלא הם תואר של הדרך המובילה לאפרת, אשר בית לחם נמצא סמוך לאפרת. זאת אומרת, ודאי יעקב קבר את רחל בדרך, וסמוך לרמה, שבחלק בנימין, וכדעת ר’ מאיר בספרי. אבל הדרך ההיא מובילה לאפרת, אשר שם באפרת יש בית לחם, ולא שרחל קבורה שם. יעקב היה יכול לכאורה להביא אותה העירה (בית לחם) אבל נמנע מכך מהטעם שכתב רלב”ג (סוף פרשת ויחי, עמ’ ריג) או מהטעם שכתב רמב”ן (בראשית מח, ז, עמ’ רסב).

ודאי נכון כי השבאים הוליכו את בני ישראל הגולים ליד קבר רחל, בדרכם לבבל, וכדברי רש”י (על בראשית מח, ז) המביא מדרש חז”ל על כך. אבל זה היה אי-שם מצפון לירושלים, בחלקו של בנימין, ולא ליד בית לחם דרומה לירושלים.

רחל נקברה בדרך, ולא בבית לחם. ולכן אין אנו יודעים היום היכן מקום קבורתה של רחל, וכדברי רמב”ן שאין קבר מפורסם ברמה לייחס שם את מקום הקבר שלה.

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מה שנוגע למלת “בעוד כברת ארץ לבוא אפרתה” (בראשית מח, ז) אמנם רש”י הביא בשם ר’ משה הדרשן כי מדובר במרחק מיל בלבד. אבל בקונקורדנציה של דר. שלמה מנדלקורן (ח”א עמ’ 530) ייחס מלת “כברת” לאחות-תאומה באשורית וענינה “גדול או הרבה”. ויש לסייע דבריו גם מדברי המקרא בשאר מקומות “ורוח כביר אמרי פיך”, (איוב ח, ב) “כביר מאביך ימים” (שם טו, י) “כשאון מים כבירים” (ישעיה יז, יב) “כזרם מים כבירים” (ישעיה כח, ב) ועוד. ופרשנות ר”מ הדרשן תמוה, שהרי יעקב אבינו בא לסלק תלונת יוסף בנו מעליו, והרי הוא מקשה על עצמו. אם המרחק הוא רק מיל, הליכה של שמונה עשרה דקות, משום מה לא התאמץ עוד קצת? אלא ודאי להיפך, בא להתנצל שהמרחק הוא רב מלהכניס אותה לאפרת.

כעת מצאתי עוד אחד מגדולי המפרשים האחרונים, הרב יעקב צבי מקלנברג (הכתב והקבלה, על בראשית מח, ז) המחלק שיש מקום הנקרא “בית לחם” והוא הנמצא בגבול בנימין, ויש מקום הנקרא “בית לחם יהודה” והוא נמצא בגבול שבט יהודה. ובחמשה מקומות הוא מתואר כך (שופטים יז, ח; פרק יט, פסוקים א, ב, יח ופעמיים באותו הפסוק). אין מלה מיותרת במקרא. משום מה להוסיף מלת “יהודה” אם לא להבחין שאין זאת “בית לחם” שבנחלת בנימין? ונ”ל סיוע לדעתו, כי מצאנו עוד מקומות בשם “בית לחם”, כמו בנחלת זבולון (יהושע יט, טו).

ואפשר להביא קצת סיוע לדעת “הכתב והקבלה” מהנאמר בנחמיה (ז, כה-כז) על העולים בין שבי ציון “בני גבעון, אנשי בית לחם ונטופה, אנשי ענתות”. גבעון וענתות היו ערי בנימין (יהושע יח, כה; יהושע כא, יח). ושמא כך היא גם בית לחם המוזכרת? והיא אינה “בית לחם יהודה”. [אמנם “נטופה” היא לשבט יהודה, אבל כיון שהעולים משם היו מתי מספר, סונפו לאנשי בית לחם].

From Seforim, here.

Is Israel’s Economy Fascistic?

Fascism: A Bipartisan Affliction

If neoconservatives and progressives truly understood fascism, they would stop using the word as a smear term. That is because both groups, along with most political figures and commentators, embrace fascist ideas and policies.

Fascism’s distinguishing characteristic is a “mixed economy.” Unlike socialists and communists who seek to abolish private business, fascists are content to let business remain in private hands. Instead, fascists use regulations, mandates, and taxes to control business and run (and ruin) the economy. A fascist system, then, is one where private businesses serve politicians and bureaucrats instead of consumers. Does the modern American economy not fit the definition of fascism?

Fascism benefits big businesses that can afford the cost of complying with government regulations, unlike their smaller competitors. Big businesses, which have more political influence than entrepreneurs or small businesses, also significantly benefit from government subsidies. In order to maintain their power, big businesses finance the “deep state” — the network of lobbyists, journalists, think tanks, bureaucrats, and congressional staffers who work behind the scenes to shape government policy.

Obamacare is an example of fascism that is often mislabeled as socialism. Obamacare did not create a government-run “single payer” system as would exist under socialism. Instead, Obamacare extended government control over health care via mandates, regulations, and subsidies. The most infamous part of Obamacare — the individual mandate — forces individuals to purchase a product from a private industry.

Modern America’s militaristic foreign policy aimed at policing and perfecting the world is another example of fascism that enjoys strong bipartisan support. Both right-wing neocons and left-wing humanitarian interventionists claim our supposedly noble goals justify any and all actions taken by the US government. Thus, these supposed human rights champions defend the preemptive war, torture, and presidential kill lists.

Many politicians supporting a militaristic foreign policy are more concerned with spreading largesse to the military-industrial complex than with spreading democracy. This is why some supposed free-market conservatives sound like Paul Krugman on steroids when discussing the economic benefits of military spending. Similarly, some anti-war progressives will support large military budgets if some of the money is spent in their states or congressional districts.

Mass surveillance and limits on personal freedom are additional hallmarks of fascist regimes. While there is a movement to “reform” the police state, few want to abolish mass surveillance, civil asset forfeiture, police militarization, and other police-state policies adopted in the name of the wars on terror and drugs. The federal government has even used force to stop people from selling raw milk! Attempts by progressives to silence political opponents are more examples of how many supposedly anti-fascist Americans are embracing fascist policies.

The growth of the welfare-warfare state has been accompanied by an increase in presidential power. This centralization of power, and the support it receives from the political class is one more indication of the fascistic nature of our current regime. Of course, many in Congress will fight to rein in the executive branch, as long as the occupant of the White House is of the opposing party. Even the fiercest opponents of excessive presidential power instantaneously become lap dogs when their party wins the White House.

For all their alleged anti-fascism, today’s neoconned conservatives and progressives both support the use of force to reshape society and the world. This is the defining characteristic not just of fascists, but also of authoritarians. The true anti-fascists are those who reject the initiation of force. The true path to real free markets, peace, and individual liberty starts with rejecting the bipartisan authoritarianism in favor of the non-aggression principle.

From Lewrockwell.com, here.

Decriminalize Jewish Self Defense Now!

Why Jews Hate Guns

Are they right?
And who are The Shomrim?

 

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by Rabbi Dovid Bendory, Rabbinic Director
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
and Author Alan Korwin, GunLaws.com

 

This white paper is also available as a PDF file
(Three column PDF version also available – ideal for printing.)

 

It’s no secret that one of the largest blocs of people pressing for so-called “gun control” is the culturally (aka not-so-religious) American Jewish community. This confounds many observers who would expect that Jews, with such a stunning history of oppression and murder by humanity’s villains, would cling tenaciously to personal firearms and the ability to protect themselves as the Hebrew Scriptures instruct.

In reaction to the Holocaust, American Jews adopted the phrase “Never Again!” If actions mean anything, they don’t believe it. That’s for someone else to do. How do Jews expect to put teeth behind the words “Never Again!” if not with the ability to apply and project personal force when righteous — and necessary — for survival?

Why then do so many American Jews hate guns and fear gun ownership so much?

Our research identifies ten reasons why these Jews feel the way they do about self defense in general, firearms specifically and your own right to keep and bear arms.

The adamantly anti-gun-rights Jews are bowing to:
1. A desire for utopian moral purity
2. A disproportional incidence of hoplophobia
3. A quest for power through victimization of peers
4. A utopian delusion that if guns would just “go away,”
crime would end and the world would be a peaceful safe place
5. Self hatred and a wish to be helpless, acting out guilt-based
behavioral problems that develop in childhood
6. The Ostrich Syndrome
7. Garden-variety hypocrisy
8. Adulterated religion — Jews In Name Only (JINOs)
9. Feel-good sophistry
10. Abject fear that yields irrational behavior

Despite the modern American Jewish aversion to arms, it has not always been so, and Israeli Jews certainly understand the value of arms. Throughout history, there were Jews who fought in defense of their people and way of life. The Torah is filled with Jews who took up arms in righteous and valiant defensive action. See, for example, The Ten Commandments of Self Defense, (Bendory and JPFO, 2009); or recall, “When Abraham heard that his nephew Lot was taken captive, he took the 318 trained soldiers of his house and pursued the captors,” defeated them, brought back Lot, and exacted retribution with their looted property. (Genesis 14:14)

Contemporary Jews may have largely acquiesced to their WWII inquisitors, but Biblical Jews resisted their Egyptian slave masters and then fought countless fierce battles against invaders and anti-Semites, such as Amelek, the Philistines and Haman.

Jews have been assaulted, accosted, and oppressed by nearly every nation and empire in history, including the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Ottomans and of course modern nations like Germany and the USSR.

Miraculously, Jews have outlasted all those who would annihilate them, typically by using force of arms. Perhaps their liberal modern approach to assault and suffering — “Don’t fight back, it will only make matters worse” — holds lessons for us. Or perhaps not: it is very hard to witness open-pit graves piled high with emaciated corpses without emotional revulsion. How much worse could matters get?

“Culturally proper” Jews will not want to openly face the tortured reasoning of their Faustian bargain behind “don’t make it worse.” That doesn’t make the following reasons any less real or mortally dangerous. And Jews are not alone in relying on these justifications for rejecting the fundamental human right of self defense. Many other gunless people will also recognize their feelings accurately described by what we have found.

We would not dream of interfering with a free person’s freedom to choose and embrace defenselessness or to go gunless. On the other hand, there can be no tolerance for anyone who attempts to force others to behave so dangerously.

 

1. A desire for utopian moral purity

This seems to be the nub. Devin Sper, author of The Future of Israel (SY Publishing, 2004), supported by exhaustive research on the history of the Jewish people, has found that Jews are wont to seek utopian moral purity, and in doing so they reject use of force. By its very nature force corrupts and polarizes. With power and force come allies and adversaries. Taking sides, even righteous sides, conflicts with utopian egalitarianism. As the phrases indicate, these utopian ideals are unattainable.

Although such a rejection of personal power and righteous use of force seems irrational — especially for groups repeatedly murdered by governments and threatened with annihilation — it is a choice they are free to make. Using diverse strategies Jews have survived every attempt to exterminate them while their tormenters have vanished. In Mark Twain’s classic words:

“The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was … ”

We must remind ourselves that Twain wrote this well before the Holocaust. Would his words have been different had he witnessed the government-run atrocities of the 20th century?

Sper documents the fact that the main Jewish texts, the Torah and Hebrew Scripture, are sometimes violent texts that exhort followers to take up arms in many contexts, and tell stories of vast militia and armed actions by the Jewish tribes. Sper points out that many modern Jews — especially liberal Jews — ignore parts of the Torah they don’t like, such as this militarism. See, for example, Esther 8:15 – 9:18, where Jews obliterate their enemies; and when asked what to do the next day, Esther says more of the same. And for good measure, impale the ten killed sons of evil vizier Haman on stakes. In place of this Biblical claim to righteous use of force, contemporary American Jews have constructed a plain-vanilla substitute that is mostly froth and dragons.

Even the annual Passover retelling of the escape from slavery in Egypt glosses over the horrors of slavery and war to the point of a Grimm’s fairy tale — horrifying if you look at it literally and in full detail, but diluted into a story safe for children, complete with drips of sweet wine to soften the gore and savagery.

Before condemning Jews for hypocrisy in forgetting their history, recognize that many religions similarly gloss over aspects of their sacred texts that don’t mix well with their modern sensibilities. How many Biblical literalists cleave to the elements of, say, Leviticus, with its calls for stoning certain women to death (20:27), burning certain daughters (21:9) or instructions on how to manage your slaves (25:45-46)?

 

2. A disproportional incidence of hoplophobia

Hoplophobia, n. Irrational morbid fear of guns (c. 1966, coined by Col. Jeff Cooper, from the Greek hoplites, weapon; see his book Principles of Personal Defense). May cause sweating, faintness, discomfort, rapid pulse, nausea, sleeplessness, nondescript fears, fantasizing, more, at mere thought of guns. Presence of working firearms may cause panic attack, desperate effort at avoidance. Hoplophobe, hoplophobic. http://www.gunlaws.com/GunPhobia.htm

Dr. Sarah Thompson, M.D., in her ground-breaking essay on the subject, Raging Against Self Defense, pointed out that hoplophobes often use the psychological defense mechanism of projection in dealing with their fear. Unable or unsure of their ability to control their own internal conflicts, they project their conflicts onto people around them. They fear losing control, going berserk, shooting people around them or shooting themselves in a mad, chaotic expression of rage. It’s only natural for them to then assume that anyone else with a gun could or would do the same; the occasional madman serves to reinforce their fears.

This explains at last the perpetual hysteria that proclaims, every time a Second Amendment infringement is lifted: we will suffer shootouts at stop lights, slow waiters murdered on the spot, or Dodge City bloodshed as a result. Every new carry-permit law, the repeal of the National Parks possession ban, the expired Clinton-era rifle bans, lifted restrictions for adult gun carry on campuses — all were met with the same barrage of irrational fears. It is a knee-jerk mantra loudly shouted and then brazenly promoted by an unethical media every time.

And the imagined fear? It never manifests. It is but an empty neurotic fantasy. Media corrections are never published, and so the fantasies and lies are repeated and recycled. Shame on those who would forever repeat the same absurd lies, never recant, and refuse to seek help for their neuroses.

We must show tolerance and understand: Facts mean little to people with morbid irrational fears. The fears just continue. Hoplophobes need treatment and sympathy, not laws infringing on the body politic. Some of what we think of as a political issue — so-called “gun control” — is actually a psychiatric condition, a medical problem.

 

Hoplophobes need treatment and sympathy,
not laws infringing on the body politic.

 

The hoplophobic condition also manifests itself as a fear that if the afflicted person had a gun, someone would kill them with their own gun. Of course if this had merit, Jews could have killed their assailants with their own guns throughout history.

Jews and liberals alike appear to suffer from hoplophobia in disproportionate numbers for reasons that beg to be researched. The controversial Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association, now in review for its 5th edition (due May 2013) has yet to recognize or address the widespread phenomenon of gun phobias. We’re told by one expert this is not the purpose of that book: irrational fear of spiders, water, even open spaces, yes; terrifying irrational fear of guns, the very bulwark of liberty, no. Coincidentally, the psychiatric profession has an unusually large Jewish contingent, and its founders were disproportionately Jewish.

 

3. A quest for power through victimization of peers

In our culture, victimization accords moral authority and thus power to the victim. Subjugating or convincing a constituency to accept victimization cedes power to those perpetuating this harmful ruse on their peers. This is despicably immoral — but it is tacitly acceptable and all too commonplace in our victimization culture. Just think of how many “rights” organizations claim moral authority and power through victimization.

Blacks have been largely convinced by their leaders to avoid guns (rap “music” notwithstanding) leaving them reliant on police who are, historically, often perceived poorly by the black community. Who among American blacks trusts police implicitly? Such trust may be irrational, but no one claims humans act rationally all or even most of the time. The people know instinctively they cannot trust government agents for their safety, yet they are left to wish for such illusory protection.

A near-perfect parallel exists with respect to Jews. Governments are historically the greatest threat to Jews (or anyone), responsible for horrendous mass-murder campaigns and pogroms throughout history. Murder by government, democide, is by far the greatest killer of innocent human beings. People imbued with the intoxicating power of government authority exterminated 262 million people in the 20th century, according to political scientist R. J. Rummel. Murderous criminals don’t hold a candle to the deadly threat government poses to the public.

Yet Jewish leaders — in Congress of all places (e.g., Charles Schumer, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Barney Frank, Frank Lautenberg, Carl Levin, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, others) — are the anti-rights leaders on the self-defense gun issue. They are the very strongest proponents of relying on government for safety and of destroying the right of the individual to keep and bear arms. Somehow, America’s liberal Jews expect the police to protect them, a reliance that has failed the Jews throughout history.

As you may already know, police are actually free of any legal obligation to protect you, as documented for all 50 states inDial 911 and Die (Attorney Richard W. Stevens, Mazel Freedom Press, 1999). The U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed this repeatedly, most recently in Castle Rock v. Gonzalez, 545 U.S. 748 (2005).

 

4. A utopian delusion that if guns would just “go away,” crime would end and the world would be a peaceful safe place

This basic liberal tenet of faith has been around since time immemorial, and afflicts Jews in disproportionate numbers. Jews are fond of saying that if guns would just go away, the world would be a better place. They fail to look back in history, to a time before guns existed, and recall the incredible savagery that took place without guns available for protection. Life back then was brutal, and encouraged: “Doom them to destruction: grant them no quarter” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2).

Our world bristling with arms is a more decent and safe place to live than the ancient world. People blind themselves to this reality, and pop culture — when it isn’t promoting Hollywood-style machine-gun silliness — enforces the false notion that a total gun ban would bring world peace.

This utopian “vision” is supposedly supported by Isaiah’s prophecy of a Messianic future, when “they shall beat their spears into pruning hooks”, when “the lion shall lie down with the lamb.” Prophetic it may be, but as instructions for living, it’s a recipe for death and destruction, and Jews are also instructed otherwise (but often prefer to ignore the inconvenient): “Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 4:9). Put down your arms in the face of a vicious enemy and you will suffer the fate of the lamb who lies down with the lion.

America’s Jews often hold to a dangerous related myth that violence never solves anything. Like so many platitudes it is appealing, with enormous first-blush power. Yet it is self-evidently preposterous — any degree of thought spoils the sweet image: Hitler, Hezbollah, Haman and the other hordes are not stopped with peace marches, protest rallies, and clever signs.

 

Hitler, Hezbollah, Haman and the other hordes
are not stopped with peace marches,
protest rallies, and clever signs.

 

Despots are overthrown by force or the credible threat of force. Brutal criminals bent on rape and murder are not held back by intellectual prowess or Messianic visions — they are held back either by the brutal stopping power of a well-aimed bullet or by caging them when captured. It is the unfortunate reality of this harsh world: countervailing force is the only deterrent for aggression. American Jews, irrationally, reject this. They’re free to do so, but they have no legitimate moral authority to drag anyone else into that lethal tar pit with them.

Many Jews also cling to the notion that “it can’t happen here,” which is what many believed even as the Holocaust was taking place. This is ironically contradictory to the simultaneous militance implied by “Never Again!”

 

“Deliberate misuse of guns by miscreants
does not define guns. ”

 

And finally, some Jews hold to the notion that weapons are unacceptable because violence is unacceptable. The fact that guns save lives, guns stop crime, guns protect you, and guns are the reason Israel still stands, are blacked out of any thought process. They would have you believe (and they falsely believe) that guns are designed for murder. Murder is illegal. Guns are properly designed — for protection. Killing to protect is legal, moral, just and virtually universally sanctioned. Deliberate misuse of guns by miscreants does not define guns.

 

5. Self hatred and a wish to be helpless, acting out guilt-based behavioral problems that develop in childhood

The founder of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, the late Aaron Zelman, framed this succinctly with many Jews he met. They would express outrage at Aaron’s classical approach of arming for safety, peace through strength and deterrence as a means of achieving peace and stability (which is Israel’s approach, though he didn’t frame it in those terms). They would emphatically reject the idea that all Jews should be educated to arms and know how to handle and shoot guns for their own safety. He could see through their self-righteous bluster and tell them, “You’re just a self-hating Jew waiting to sniff the gas.”

 

6. The Ostrich Syndrome

Some people are inherently weak-willed and live without a strong moral compass. They are eager to simplify their lives and avoid uncomfortable situations. Unwilling to face the harsh realities of life, they would prefer to ignore guns and pretend the need for self defense will go away if they pay it no heed. It is irrational, yes, but understandable when you consider the psyche that generates such thinking.

These people, Jews and Gentiles alike, will say things like, “I don’t believe in guns,” as if they don’t exist, or as if their purported non-belief makes the subject evaporate and obviates the possibility of encountering a situation in which self defense is necessary. It is foolhardy and dangerous, but an ostrich with its head in the sand probably feels just fine… until it is devoured.

 

7. Garden-variety hypocrisy

While many Jews say they detest guns, they in fact staunchly support guns, so long as the guns are in the hands of “the proper authorities.” On a civil level today, that means the police. So in reality, so-called anti-gun-rights Jews are really very pro-gun-rights, they just want someone else to hold the guns for them. This is not only hypocritical, it is immoral.

 

“So-called anti-gun-rights Jews
are really very pro-gun-rights,
they just want someone else
to hold the guns for them. ”

 

Attorney Jeff Snyder points out, in his globally famous book Nation of Cowards, that expecting other people to risk their lives to save yours cannot be supported in a moral way: “If you believe it is reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?… Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 yearly salary we pay him?” He asks: if your life is worth protecting, whose responsibility is it to protect it? The full weight of his arguments repeatedly come back to personal responsibility.

 

8. Adulterated religion — Jews In Name Only (JINOs)

Arizona-based historian Michael E. Newton, author of The Path to Tyranny (Elephtheria Publishing, 2010), posits that part of the problem rests with Jews who no longer believe in Judaism, and have replaced their previous religion with a popular new one: so-called “social justice.” If a Biblically-based value system no longer drives protection of the G-d-given gift of life, then abandoning the right to self defense poses little moral dilemma. Jews who are only or barely culturally Jewish have little reason to rise up to the standards Jewish Law speaks of explicitly: “If a man comes to kill you, rise early and kill him first” (Talmud, Berakoth 58b).

 

“If a man comes to kill you,
rise early and kill him first”
(Talmud, Berakoth 58b).

 

Newton observes that, “In times of trouble, religious Jews offer prayers to G-d in the hope that He will help. Secular Jews turn to the government instead to protect and defend them. The Bible says, �Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor.’ Not only can we defend our neighbor from attack, in Torah Law we are commanded to do so. That we must also defend ourselves is so patently obvious in Jewish Law that no defense or justification is given for it.

“Who is more religious? The secular Jew who believes government police forces will defend them or the religious Jew who trusts in G-d but also believes that G-d gave us the strength, right, and even the commandment to defend ourselves?”

The entire anti-rights issue on guns may be a tangent to this perhaps larger issue: Why are the nation’s Jews predominantly liberal Democrats, leaning heavily toward statism, socialism, progressivism, and nanny-state protection and social order? Why don’t they instead gravitate toward human freedom, individual rights and responsibility, and avoidance of the heavy hand of government? Liberal Democrats, in large measure, hate guns and gun owners too, so there would seem to be a degree of go along to get along.

And what of the Israel Paradox? American Jews by and large vigorously support armed defense of the Jewish state, yet persistently work to disarm the American public. That such positions are self-contradictory and hypocritical never crosses their minds. These conundrums leave us baffled.

 

Continue reading

From JPFO, here.

8 Ways Modern Halacha Has Been Corrupted

Current State of the Law in Today’s Times
The Web of 8 Factors

Scope: This article is humbly aimed at the entire observant Jewish world: including the religious leadership, talmidei chachamim, talmidei chaverim and “the rest of” Am Yisrael.

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In my humble assessment, there is a “web of 8 factors” that is now disrupting our ability to accurately understand, apply and disseminate Jewish Law – in terms of what is permitted and forbidden. This is having a harmful effect on Jewish continuity, and needs to be taken more seriously. This “web of 8 factors” will be addressed below in detail. The bad news is that many “Observant” Jews are oblivious to the effects of these ensnaring factors, and the interference it sometimes has on the accurate purveyance of Torath Moshe. Unfortunately, some of our righteous Jewish scholars and teachers have also unknowingly fallen prey to this “web of 8 factors.” I suspect that a few might even be shocked after being shown these corruptions.1  From a thousand feet up, this lack of correct understanding and dissemination, which many times translates into a lack of perceived moral clarity, is hurting our people. Besides being fodder for some minim and apicorsim, the ramifications of “non-authentic” dogmatic transmission is also hurting our efforts at Jewish continuity and Qiruv. Come on folks. Our kids want the original stuff, and can smell when something is off. We need to do better. The good news is that this can all be corrected.

Many Jews have instinctively sensed this condition for years, but have not known what to do about it – without being estranged from the community. This lack of guidance leaves many “regular but scholarly Jews” in a state of dazed bewilderment. Unfortunately, the only thing left for them to do is to pick a Rabbi “to hold by” – without understanding the legal implications and liabilities that are still incumbent upon them to fulfill. But what can be done to ease their souls? After all, only qualified scholars can study and understand these issues… right? (To be addressed later).

RaMb’M Raised Red Flag On This Very Issue

On the leadership side, most of our Rabbis and Teachers are moving along with the purest of intentions2. Unfortunately, many box themselves (and their followers) into corners, by forcing themselves to rely upon a roughly-woven mesh of later-day legal precedents and opinions – which have been drastically altered over time. What other choice do they have – is the common explanation. This phenomenon is described further as one of the 8 factors below. Unfortunately, this diminishes the ability to understand and demonstrate the legal issues involved – to their flocks. And while no one would dare deny the greatness and need for strong Rabbonim, the ability to identify and understand the sources is not what it used to be – for anyone. And while no one wants to directly question the leaders of our generation in this respect (by presenting them with a dirty laundry list of corrupted practices), RaMb”M raised a red flag on this very issue – over 800 years ago – when the scholarship was undeniably much higher! In my humble assessment, we really need to replay this warning again, before this generation gets swallowed up (Heaven forbid) in the WEB OF 8 FACTORS.

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Question: But before you start this article, why is it really so important to know what is prohibited and what it forbidden in the first place?

Answer: Well, according to RaMb”M, the ultimate tranquility of earth (and the world to come) depends upon it! So yes, it is really important to get these things right.

RaMb”M answers: “I believe that no one should stroll through the garden of Jewish mysticism unless his belly is filled with bread and meat, by which I mean knowledge of what is prohibited and permitted and similar issues relating to the other commandments. Even though these matters were called ‘minor’ by the sages (who said that Ma’aseh Bereshith & Merqavah is a major matter and the halachic discussions of Abaye and Rava are relatively minor matters), it is still appropriate to master the latter first, since they provide basic mental tranquility to an individual. They are a gift of God to promote social tranquility on earth so that we may inherit the world to come.” (RAMBAM – Maimonides)

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The Web of 8 Factors:

To Avoid The Web of 8 Factors – You First Have To Know What They Are:

In quick summary, the following factors have contributed to our current inability to accurately understand and purvey the requirements of Halakha:

Factor #1) The current refusal by (~ half) of our leadership to admit that all “legislation” that came after Rav Ashi & Ravina’s court is still non-authoritative – even though the exact opposite perception has been (and is still being) perpetuated and popularized to the masses – by many of our “leaders”. My source for this statement is over 40 years of direct observation.3

Factor #2) The ever-increasing level of pilpul & some chidushim (new understandings) – that take unjustified liberties in unnecessarily reinterpreting, coloring or even adding to (or diminishing from) the law. More often than not, these well-intentioned additions wind up causing the exact opposite result that is trying to be accomplished in the first place.4

This is a great sorrow for me – because most of the time – a more detailed (and systemic) analysis of the Mishneh Torah shows these are not real problems in the first place at all – and can be debunked with logic and accurate texts of the Mishneh Torah!

Factor #3) The inability of many of today’s teachers and students to admit that they are not qualified (without intensive study of the Mishneh Torah) to correctly deduce the “fully settled” legal issues that were agreed upon by the last legitimate Sanhedrin (and last court of Rav Ashe and Ravinah). Besides the effects of the long exile, the most basic prerequisite for Talmudic understanding of the Oral Law requires a complete and total mastery of the entire Talmud Bavli AND all of the associated, accompanying works required for its elucidation – in a way that completely, contextually, systemically and fully grasps all of these sources together – in an interconnected way. And over here, we are merely speaking about this as a prerequisite for the possibility of being able to correctly learn or teach Talmud – in order to deduce the LAW (which is a really bad idea). The RaMb”M explains why people in his own society were not fully capable of deducing these things – and EVEN MORE SO does this apply to our own times. If in his own times, people were not qualified, how can anyone seriously think they are somehow more-qualified than people that were much closer in time, place and accuracy to the original source materials? 

Regarding the ability to learn, my Rav haMuvhaq writes:

“Those who just learn Bavli – without all the earlier and basic Israeli texts (Mishnah, Tosefta, Mekhiltot, Sifra, Sifrey, and Yerushalmi) are simply FOOLING themselves (in terms of understanding it). Bavli was written in the context of the earlier works – just as it was written in the context of the TN”K. They often  bring [only] short phrases, referring to the whole of the matter in the earlier work, whether TN”K or Israeli works, and they MEAN the whole matter in its whole context — not just these words taken out of context. Thus, almost no one today has any idea what they are reading in the Bavli, as they jump into the Bavli without the foundations. It is like studying integral calculus without learning arithmetic, algebra, and trig.”

However; all that being said, we should still aspire to learn the texts of the Oral Law. But how so? In this article, we are merely arguing the reason(s) how we should or should not learn or rely upon the actual books of Talmud Bavli and associated works (to deduce the law) – and what should be the priority. In terms of law, the priority is to learn & rely upon Mishneh Torah as our legal filter – for the many reasons listed in this article. About the Mishneh Torah, RaMb”M wrote: “Thus, I have called this work the [Complete] Restatement of the [Oral] Law (Mishneh Torah), for a person reads the Written Torah first and then reads this work, and knows from it the entire Oral Law, without needing to read any other book between them.”

Regarding the need for Talmudic study (and related works), one can click here for more information. Heaven forbid you think we are dissing Talmudic study!

Factor #4) Subjective & strong cultural loyalties, lineages and / or political motives still keep people from objectively examining the accuracy of the traditions they have been handed & continue to transmit. When we are sure, why would correcting them be an affront to our ancestors. 5

Factor #5) Many times, mystical influence is been allowed to trump existing law, when there is no legitimate legal authority to change the law that came from the last legitimate Sanhedrin, which preserved the legacy of Beit Hillel.

Factor #6) Lack of quality study time and commitment. If your not studying at a fixed time, your not learning properly! Stop kidding yourself.

Factor #7) Low study skill levels. For example: an inability or lack of desire to use an “Even HaShushan” dictionary. Another example relates to the lack of a proper Rav or Moreh to learn from in a way that incorporates Hebrew and participation.

Factor #8) Previous censorship of Jewish manuscripts – that continues to have profound effects on our critical manuscripts (even תלמוד בבלי) to this day. For most, this is a hard pill to swallow. There is definitely a ‘lack of access’ to pristinely preserved texts. Although not a major factor, it still plays a role. One famous example can be seen in the terms used to describe the definitions of Gevil (for Sifrei Torah), Qlaf (for Tefillin) and Duchsustos (for Mezuzoth). Some versions distort the meaning of these terms, through the obvious copyist errors. 6

To make matters worse, these problems have been around for hundreds of years now. Without going into all the problems mentioned by RAMBAM (even in his own times), what is a descent truth-seeking Jew or Ben Noach supposed to do today, in order to know the requirements of the law?

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Below, we explain why the Mishneh Torah is this only extant reliable source we currently have, and how it can unite our people.

From Chayas, here.