Tuesday, January 31, 2006

not the mashiach

Apparantly we have just discovered for sure that I am not the mashiach. I know this is disappointing to all of you (except my wife), but I am dealing with it rather well. My neighbor mentioned it to me first and said that now I didn't have a chance to be king (to the relief of my wife).

This was all revealed a couple days ago when Rav Kaduri passed away. Rav Kaduri was a known kabbalist. Not the kind that milks you out of all your money and calls you Esther, but the kind that just learned Kabbala. I actually don't know what kabbalists do, but I read a story about Babi Sali's grandfather that he flew across the sea on a flying carpet because he missed his boat. I used this story against a sefardi who told he he didn't believe that the bais hamikdash courtyard expanded to fit more people then could physically fit in. He said it was scientifically impossible, and therefore it was allegorical and meant that a lot of people were there. I answered him, that I don't know exactly what happened back then, but if believes that Babi Sali's grandfather flew across the sea on a flying carpet then he should have no problem believing that 100 people could fit in a place where only 50 people could physically fit.

Anyways, that's all tangental. The crux of the story is that I have never met Rav Kaduri. I've never even seen him (other then a picture in the paper). I heard that Babi Sali and also some other rabbi promised Rav Kaduri that he would meet mashiach. I also heard that he met mashiach either last year or a couple months ago. That basically knocks me out of the running. It also knocks a bunch of other people who I know out of the running. But for all of you who have actually met Rav Kaduri, it is possible that you are the mashiach and we are waiting for you.

(unless, of course, he met mashiach ben yosef and they haven't annointed a mashiach ben david yet. But I'm not holding my breath)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

hamas = PA

The majority of palestinians voted that they preferred Hamas to any of the alternatives. Hamas kicked Israel out of Gaza, sure they had a lot of help from Fatah, but the Fatah leadership kept condemning the actions. Now that they have succeeded in making Israel kneel once by leaving Gaza, they plan on doing it again and again. They have already threatened that if any of the tax monies that Israel has promised not to hand over was late, then there would be a lot of dead bodies in Israel. Israel responded by handing over the money and declaring that it was because the new government hadn't been formed yet. But if Hamas is given the government, then they won't pass over another penny. (Laugh. snort. whatever.) Olmert doesn't have the cajones to stand up to Hamas. He helped push the Gazan retreat and now he is giving money to official terrorists. These are the same terrorists who Israel spent a lot of effort getting the world to condemn. Now that Israel has to deal with them, and they will deal with them, they will lose all their credibility. Especially after the first suicide bomber paid for with money that Israel collected for them.

My mom asked me if I was nervous now that Hamas was in power. To tell you the truth, I don't see any difference between this regime and the prior regime. Is there anyone who believes that the past government was not involved in terror attacks? The al aqsa brigades is the Fatah military wing. The Hamas also has military and political wings.

One thing that the elections show us very clearly is that when democracy is given to an immoral group of people, they will vote immorally. Remember, when God thought the people of Sodom and Armora were bad, he didn't try to install a democracy, he wiped them all out. Complete nuclear destruction, and as far as we know only 1 person survived. Even today, thousands of years later the effect of that destruction can be seen in the dead sea area. This desert full of nothing is the place the Torah describes as having the greenest pastures and fresh water.

What we learn from this is democracy will not fix moral corruption, only death can do that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

public apology

A couple days ago I published a disagreement that I was having with my older brother and sister-in-law on my blog. I now feel that was the wrong place to put it. If I had something to say to him in writing, I should have used e-mail.

The discussion was of a private nature and I was wrong to start it in a public place.

This blog will not be used to air dirty laundry anymore.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

analysis: players and pawns

First of all it is worthwhile to check out today's Dilbert, just to give you a little perspective. Though to be completely honest, the thought of Hitler at an ice rink doesn't bring forth any images whatsoever.

Who are the pawns?

We have a situation going on in this country where the teenage religious youth are being callously played against the middle by both sides in a massive power struggle that is threatening to upset the delicate balance on which this country was built.

Any psychologist could virtually predict the moves that known idealistic youth are going to make given certain inputs. That being the case, both the police and the settler leadership should have been prepared for the recent Hevron uprising and what will follow. There are psychological ways to deal with these issues and there are plenty of marketing ways to stem the tide and present a completely different picture. This should be a fight of amongst adults - people who think with their heads. The problem here is not one of incompetence, it is an overabundance of competance. The political echelon wants to incite the youth so they get good pictures showing that settler youth are no better then the arabs they constantly point at. The settler leadership wants to use the children to make it seem like these are little children who are acting irresponsibly, while they work the diplomacy side in a more reasonably acceptable fashion.

The kids are pawns.

Having worked with teenagers in a youth group setting, I have seen first hand how easy it is to manipulate and confuse them. It is simple to quote facts without basis and how to present unrealisms as realities by twisting emotions. If you learn your subject matter, you can figure out exactly what to say to push buttons and cause reactions.

This is how teenage kiruv works, this is how cults work and this is how drug dealers work.

Other pieces in the game include
  • the adult settlers who by and large moved to the settlements for an improved lifestyle and because of their zionistic ideals.
  • joe secular israeli who by and large have their opinions formed by the mass media.

Who are the players?

According to a ridiculous book that I read, the bad guys are souls of the eruv rav. (All of whom died in the desert.) The book wasn't as ridiculous in its content as much as it was in its presentation. It was what I will describe as a powerpoint book. The first footnote on the first word of the book was something like: The structure of this book makes it impossible to use proper grammer and sentence structure. Basically, each sentence or fragment was its own paragraph. It used manipulative phrases such as "we both know," to bring the reader to the side of the author. The book was written in an impact style, no meat - just statements which implied facts. Just like a powerpoint presentation. I know of companies that have banned powerpoint because of its ability to capture an audience without telling them anything.

You can see the marketing here, trying to make a large impression on maleable minds.

The government, with its endless resources of youth psychologists knows exactly what to do and how to do it to cause a reaction. Announcing the 2000 police officers are going to remove 20 children from the Hevron marketplace is one example of a way to cause a huge brawl. Haven't they ever heard of PsyOps?

Remember one of the methods that the IDf uses to get terrorists to give in? It is not a threat that we are coming in with 2000 people. It is asking a neighbor to go and talk to the guy and explain the reality of the situation. That works because the terrorist know that when there are 15 people from an elite IDF unit outside he will not escape alive if he tries to make a break for it. He is able to hear the voice of reason coming from someone who speaks his own language.

We are looking at an example of cynical manipulation of teenagers as pawns in a serious bid for power. The messianic zionist Israelis who are trying to bring the Mashiach by their love of the land against the anti-messiah post-zionist Israelis who are trying in their own defeatist way to become a proud member of the European community.

In this game, I am not a player, I am an observer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

the (sucky) legitimate government of Israel

I've been reading a number of "right-wing" blogs that are trying to delegitimacize the current government in Israel. The basic idea is that since the public voted for the Likud and not Kadima and kadima only has 13 knesset members then Kadima had no right to take the prime ministership (and government ministeries...) with them. The ideas are based around the fact that the current government sucks, is a minority, and is going against the ideas of the people who voted for them. People also feel that the Likud should have retained the prime ministership after Sharon dropped out instead of going to Olmert. These are nice and interesting ideas and reflect the ignorance that people have of the political process.

Even though the government might suck, it is quite legitimate. As we've mentioned before democracy does not equal morality. In a democratic Palestinian society, where the government votes to destroy Israel (or even in an Athenian democracy with a referendum of all the people) , that would not nullify their status as a democracy. It would mean that they are bad people who vote for bad things. We should then hope that our elected representatives order our army to wipe them out first.

What they're missing here is that if any other person in the Knesset could have gotten 60 MKs to support him then he can take over the prime ministership. The leadership of the country has less to do with who's in charge of any specific party as much as who can pull a majority together.
As such, after the public voted for their favorite parties to be MKs the MKs then vote on who becomes prime minister. A no confidence vote win is when 61 or more MKs vote that they do not support the government anymore. At that point either the government falls and there are new elections within 90 days or someone else can come up with 61 or more supporters and the President will appoint him prime minister.

Nobody voted for the Likud to head the government. Knesset members voted for Sharon to head the government. Sharon appointed Olmert as his replacement, as stipulated by Israeli law. He could have appointed anybody he wanted from any party, including Shimon Peres.
If another member of the Likud had the support of 61 MKs and the leader of the Likud didn't, then that person, not the party, would have taken over the government. If a party with 2 MKs (I think that's the minimum) could make enough deals to get enough support, then they would be prime minister.

The Likud tried to make a deal with Labor offering the prime ministership to Amir Peretz, but he refused to play ball (a dumb idea from his perspective, in my opinion, but probably very good for Israel as a whole and society at large).

Monday, January 16, 2006

good business year

I had my end of year review today at work. I summarized my work for the year in 4 short sentences. The hard part is sitting down and thinking, did I do 4 sentences worth of work this year which are worth mentioning? Then my boss asked me if I actually thought that one of the items I mentioned was worth mentioning or not because it didn't seem to him like I spent that much time on it. I explained that I felt it was a very important step for the company, so even though it only represented a small amount of time, it represented a significant contribution.

All in all it was a very good year for both the company and I. I explained to them where I wanted to be in 5 years and how that fit in with my vision of the company. Obviosuly I didn't explain my whole plan, because then they would have had me commited.

I can imagine that this is how it works with God when you die. You sit down opposite him and a ministering angel and he gives you your grade for the year and how he thought you did. Then you get to tell God what you liked and didn't like about your life. There's a discussion about how things could have been better and what the next 2000 years will be like.

Then he gives you your harp and sends you to heaven.
Or he doesn't.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

the end

Is the world on its way to an end? What exactly does that mean?

In this past weeks Torah Protion, Yaakov wanted to tell his children about the end of days, but the midrash says he was unable to because the divine countenance left him. He suspected his children of being sinners, but they said shema yisrael hashem elokeinu hashem echad. He was then comforted and gave them their blessings. That is the midrashic explanation, but if you look at the text of the pasuk, which my chavrussa (study partner) likes to do, you will see a slightly different story. Yaakov said he would like to tell them about the end and then they gather around and he starts talking about each one of his sons in what is commonly called the birchas yaakov. According to the textual explanation, the paragraphs about the sons, the fathers of the tribes of Israel, is a prophesy of the future and what will come at the end of days. There have been reports that many of the "lost tribes" have been found in rural, secluded places living as Muslims, Christians or other such folly. It would be interesting to see which of this prophesy actually applies in today's terms to the people who they are claiming belong to various tribes. Is the warrior tribe in northern afghanistan really Gad, about whom he said "Gad is a unit of soldiers?"

What is very interesting is the other major religions are also expecting an end of the world, or something similar.
Christians believe in the apocolypse, which basically includes a world war until Jesus comes to save the whole world.
I just read about the Hidden Imam who Muslims believe will come with Jesus. (sounds like Eliyahu Hanavi with Mashiach)

In any case, my point is that the majority of religious people in the world today believe that great upheavals will be coming. Whatever form it is in is irrelevant, because everyone knows that they are right and they may just be in their own parallel.

What happens in the next year will be very exciting and scary. Living in Israel, I think we have center stage to the upcoming fireworks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

no biz with robertson

Israel has decided not to do business with Pat Robertson, a Christian evangelical, because he said that he believes that the prime inister was struck down by God as a punishment for the disengagement.

What a load of crap.

Since when did belief in God forestall a business relationship in Israel? Israel!!??!
Just because someone in the tourism ministry disagrees with his assessment of the situation should not affect a business relationship. He didn't say he hopes the prime minister gets struck down. He didn't say he's happy the prime ministers brain started bleeding.
That happened without him.
All he did was give religious reasons why the prime minister cannot stand up today. I don't see that belief as preventing any relationship with the State of Israel. People who believe in God, whether they be Jewish or other religion, must know that when the prime minister of Israel is struck with a serious medical condition that it is not by accident. Some people may believe that we don't know if it was the disengagement or some other reason, but all religious people who believe in divinical intervention must know that God was involved in this stroke and then further brain bleed.

Sure calling the prime minister a sinner isn't going to get you points, but he is an admitted sinner. If you've been following the news recently you'll see a lot of pictures of Sharon wearing a kippa. As if the newspaper portraying him as religious will confuse God and cause him to wonder if he struck the wrong person.

muslim israeli fighter pilot??? I think not.

The funny thing is that if it was done without the press and without making a big deal about it, I don't think I would have had any issues with it. But stick it in the paper and make it into an issue and I certainly don't want a Muslim defending Jews.

It has worked in the past, but only temporarily. Whenever Muslims swear to defend Jews it has turned into a temporary halt on the persecution, but never has it meant anything more then when Arafat declared his intentions for peace with Israel.

"It's good for the moment to say things like this, but when it gets down to it, we really want them all dead"

If he hadn't turned to the media, though, it would have been a different story. It could have been a nice arab boy who wanted to help his home country Israel and kill other Muslims. It could have been worked out with supervision and care (and maybe a remote control automatic pilot, in case his plane suddenly got lost over tel aviv). Do a security check to make sure that neither he nor his family or friends are in the employ of Iran. And finished. Once it's public, I don't want to hear about it anymore. It becomes a cause for the liberals and self-haters who preach equality when they don't have a clue as to the meaning of that word.

And he went to the media before he got turned down, because he wanted to make this into an international spectacle. The IAF was right in not taking him under those circumstances.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

tenth of teves

On this tenth day of teves, when the evil nevuchadnetzer started the siege against Jerusalem, we should pray.

We should pray that Jerusalem is besieged no more.

We should pray for strength and fortitude against our enemies who seek to destroy us.

We should pray for mashiach to come and bring us back the Jerusalem that we lost back then.

And we should all say Amen.

Monday, January 09, 2006

brother in law's stroke

Just to clarify, my brother in law recently had a stroke and he:
  • was not old and fat
  • disclaims any knowledge of Shimon Peres
  • Couldn't have been bribed even if he wanted to be
  • did not give away the land of Israel
  • was not hit by any pulsa denora.
Even with all of that, I would not dare to suggest that it was a medical accident. It is obviously part of God's greater plan. We may never know the reason why he and his family (and mine) are suffering like this, but I would say that calling it an accident desecrates the natural workings of the world.

the why of the stroke

A big topic in Israel right now is why did the Prime Minister have a stroke. The common answers are (listed from physical to metaphysical):
  • He was fat and old
  • Shimon Peres
  • Real evidence was found against him that he accepted bribery
  • He gave away the land of Israel
  • The pulsa denura got him
While Shimon Peres is the most obvious and logical answer, I'm looking at the land of Israel answer, as Pat Robertson (the christian evangelist) believes. This theory was given a huge boost in possibility when Rabbi Weinreb of the OU discounted it immediately and completely. When an Orthodox Jewish rabbi hears nonsense coming out of a preachers mouth, he usually laughs and ignores it. When he hears something correct that's when the denial comes in hard and fast. You will never hear Rabbi Weinreb get up and declare (for example), Pat Robertson is a nutcase Mary couldn't have been a virgin.

Now a commonly asked question, mostly jeeringly, is if God is punishing the evil, sinning, Prime Minister, why didn't he stop the withdrawal? A stroke a month or two before the evacuation would have done wonders for the communities of the FGK (former gush katif). The answer to that is obvious with a quick glace through history.
Scroll back to Titus, who destroyed the second Bais Hamikdash (temple). God let him through the door to do his dirty work. And then (according to tradition) while he was boasting at how he killed the Jewish God, a little mosquito flew in through his nose and hammered at his brain, driving him slowly insane.
None of the rabbis got up after that and said, we're not really sure why Titus died. Maybe it was just a coincidence.
The fact is that God decided the Bais Hamikdash had to be destroyed and he sent Titus. God decided the Jews in Spain needed to be shaken up and he sent the Inquisition. God decided that the Jews needed a smack and bang the gas chambers of Germany sprang up. Exactly what caused God to get mad at us, I'm not really sure. But we know things like this don't happen by accident.

Did God want the communities of Gaza torn down and their residents sent off to find dig new root? The answer is obviously yes. We did what we could. We davened, applied political pressure and our bribery-laden lobbying didn't work either.

God saw what was offered and he said, "Nope. Gaza's going down."

That didn't let the guy who implemented it off the hook, though. He didn't do it in the nicest of ways as the latest Comptroller's report should have told us. He ignored the rabbis who told him that it was improper for a Jewish government to do this. After he was finished God's work. God looked at him and said, you scum bag. And then he smacked him.

This is the second prime minister who had the pulsa denora thrown at him. It is also the second prime minister in a row to be working close with Shimon Peres.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

god bless

First of all, God bless Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. May he live till 120 years old. Hopefully he'll have enough sense now to retire and live out the rest of his life playing with his grandchildren.

God Bless Randal McCloy who was the lone survivor of the West Virginian exploding mine mishap. He's in critical condition and needs our hopes and prayers. If you have a free moment, find out what hospital he's in and send a card.

God Bless Jerry Groves, Marshall Winans and the rest of them all who did not make it out of the mine alive, as was first reported. They have moved from almost heaven, to the real thing.

God Bless Terry Helms who was first reported to be the only casualty.

God bless the friends and family of the miners who have been suffering through this tragedy.

As old grampa isy would say "you can't win for losing" and "I'm slow as molasses and just as slow"

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

i wuz tagged

I reckon it would be wrong and unsportsmanlike to ignore muqata's meme tag.
Here goes:
Four jobs I've had in my life
  • Day Camp Counselor
  • Chicken plucker
  • Database Programmer
  • Ice Cream scooper
Four movies I could watch over and over:
(I haven't seen a movie in a while, so bear with me here)
  • Star Wars
  • Chasing Amy
  • Die Hard
  • A Few Good Men
Four places I've lived
  • Morgantown, WV
  • Oak Park, Mi
  • Milwaukee, Wi
  • Maalot, Israel
Four TV Shows I Love to watch
  • Sledgehammer
  • The Cosby Show
  • Knight Rider
  • A-Team
Four places I've been on vacation
  • A rodeo in Cody, Wyoming
  • Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Rock City, Georgia (borders 7 states, very cool place)
  • Disney World
Four websites I visit daily
Four of my favorite foods
  • Cherry Pie (Slap your grandma good!)
  • Pizza
  • American steak
  • homemade peanut butter

Four places you'd rather be

  • The hills (wait...I am in the hills :-)
  • in bed
  • on the beach
  • hiking

Four books I'll read over and over again

  • Breishis
  • Shmos
  • Bamidbar
  • Devarim

(Nothing against vayikra, but it's my least favorite of the 5 and if I have to leave one out)

Who gets tagged?

  1. Dag
  2. Sal (You can post as anonymous in the comments)
  3. Train Talk

back in the strip

Well it seems like we're fully entrenched back in gaza again. We've retaken Alei Sinai and Dugit. When I was last in the area, actually 2 times ago - the last time I helped setting up a moved greenhouse, but that's neither here nor there-, we went to the religious beach. Not a separate beach. There were both males and females there. What made it a religious beach (as it was called by the secular guy who we asked where we could find a beach) was the fact that most of the people were voluntarily wearing clothes. Women were covered properly (even in the water) and men were in the water without shirts. It was a very cool experience.

Back to politics.

Now that the plishtim have convinced us to retake part of the strip, how much longer before they convince us that we need a permanent presence there. Maybe we should build settlements there so we have an excuse for constant military protection. OH WAIT. we tried that already. The prime minister decided that it was in our best interest not to be there anymore. I must have missed the newspaper coverage on how wrong he was.

Maybe next time we take it over and start settlements, we will build one in Rafiach, so as to prevent terrorists coming in over the Egyptian border. What a concept, settlements for peace. The more settlements that are built, the less land they have to shoot rockets.

Unless you feel that we should go back to the original partition plan of 1948 and accept the "suicide borders." Then the Arabs will be happy. They think they have enough militarty might now to finish off what they tried back then. Throwing Israel into the sea. As Ahmadinejad said, the State of Israel was Europe's Final Solution as they hiped the Arabs would get rid of the couple Jews they left behind.

Stupid Europeans. Stupid Iranians. Stupid Prime Minister.
We're not leaving yet.

Monday, January 02, 2006

honorable mention

We got mentioned in havel havelim for the first time this week.
Check it out.

its the end of chanukah

I'd say we had a very enjoyable chanukah. The kids got a bunch of presents, we saw family and friends and life is good. Last night we gave my 2 son's action figures. The first one got a crappy spiderman and the second got a cool ninja turtle (called tzavei ninsha in Hebrew). The crappy spiderman, was not purposefully crappy. My wife, God bless her, said that it cost the same amount as the ninja turtle., but it was so crappy they didn't even paint the back of it, His back was all red and it broke within 2 minutes of him getting it.

You might expect torrents of tears and hysterics from the first son who is prone to those kind of fits. Especially when his brand new spiderman's leg snapped away from the body. (I couldn't find the piece that broke off, so it is possible it was broken to begin with). He came over to me and asked very nicely if I could fix it. So I told him I would have to fix it overnight. We decided it wasn't fixable and we should get him a decent toy instead, so this morning he had his choice of either spiderman or a ninja turtle like his brother and he picked the ninja turtle. I'm very proud of him.

Last night was also a milestone night in other parts of the family. My oldest daughter(7) slept at her friend's house for the first time. My wife was very nervous about it, but she slept there the entire night and didn't even call home once.

8 candles up, 8 candles down. Finish this holiday and start getting ready for...Purim!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

celebrating the new year

Nobody wished me a Happy New Year when I came into work this morning. Which isn't that odd, I suppose as we celebrated the new year in September. But there is still a festive atmosphere in certain sectors in Israel that do celebrate the new year in a way quite different then the Jewish New Year is celebrated.
What is most odd is that certain Israelis take pride in not celebrating the Christian New Year. I just heard my boss (not religious) explain to his children (after they heard someone talk about parties last night) that we as kosher jews do not celebrate goyish holidays.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I heard on shabbos that a former gazan rabbi is preaching that the modern eirav rav (mixed multitude of non Jews who left Egypt) is the non-religious and that they don't have a Jewish soul. I heard this third person, and I'm sure that I didn't get the whole concept, but it just strikes me as missing part of the picture.

I see it in a different light that one of the major problems of the Jews before the exile was the splitting of Judea and Israel into separate kingdoms. Or, if you will, into the religious and non-religious kingdoms. The need to stay unified, even while disagreeing is of utmost importance to the Jewish nation. It is possible to vociferously disagree and even to reject someone's opinions and philosophy out of hand and still love them as people. Just because you reject their basis of life does not mean that they are to be treated as trash.

We had a great time this weekend first with our chanuka party, who's secret location was the Old City of Jerusalem. All those who saw a large group in the Old City may have witnessed our Chanukah party. Or they may have seen a bunch of old epople wearing Crusader crosses on their name tags. (different group)
A good time was had by all and the weather was good enough that we gathered outside and spent a good 2 hours together.

Shabbos in Karmei Tzur was enjoyable and relaxing. After shabbos we got pizza in efrat and headed back to the galilee, where space is open and cows roam free.

It's good to be home.