Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shlomo Riskin -- Bad Moral Luck?

"Evangelical Christians and Jewish people will stand together, declaring a God of love, not hatred, and calling for peace, not violence," said Rabbi Riskin, who recently launched the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel” (From a press release; see here)

The American philosopher Thomas Nagel has pointed to a phenomenon he calls “circumstantial moral luck”. There are people who find themselves in circumstances in which they act immorally. His example is the Germans who supported Hitler in the 1930’s. Certainly, they are deserving of moral censure, because they chose to act immorally. But had these same Germans emigrated before Hitler came to power, they would not have had the opportunity to act immorally. It was their “bad moral luck” to be in Germany.

Well, it is not exactly the bad moral luck of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, to be deeply implicated in the immorality of the settlement enterprise. After all, he chose to leave the United States to lead Efrat – arguably one of the most harmful, and certainly the most hypocritical, of the West Bank settlements. (See my "There are no kosher settlements.") Still, had Rabbi Riskin stayed in the United States, he may have had a pretty decent career as a liberal orthodox rabbi. Riskin was never an intellectual or for that matter, much of a talmid hakham. But he was very good at presenting a liberal version of traditional Judaism back in the late sixties and early seventies, and he was a bridge-builder between various communities, Jewish and non-Jewish, in New York.

But seduced by the dark side of religious Zionism, and driven by the dream of empire-building on cheap land, he emigrated to Israel and founded (with Moshe Moshkowitz) the town of Efrat, a sprawling settlement built entirely on Palestinian private and public land that never ceases to expand into, and pollute, the surrounding region. Through this his life-project, Riskin has caused more tragedy and pain to more Palestinians than any other rabbi of modern times, certainly more than Meir Kahane and his ilk.

Yes, that is a tough judgment. Let me explain what leads me to make it.

You see, it hurts me, as an orthodox Jew, when an ethnic chauvinist like Meir Kahane spouts racist pap in the name of traditional Judaism. It hurts me more when a cultured rightwing rabbi like Rabbi Dr. Nahum Rabinowitz appeals to John Locke (!) in order to protest against the evacuation of settlers, But it hurts me most when a “liberal modern orthodox rabbi” like Riskin offers moral justifications for his stands that are so transparently self-serving, and, well, so extraordinarily bad. And, it is not just his arguments, but the consequences of his actions for the surrounding Palestinians of the growth of the Efrat, which should pain any decent human being.

To be sure, the initial goal behind Efrat – the creation of a model Torah community in the Land of Israel which would be tolerant of others (at least other Jews) and would offer a liberal vision of Judaism – was a noble one for an orthodox rabbi. One cannot fault Rabbi Riskin for his idealism and his yetzer ha-tov (good inclination). But to build such a community within the 1967 borders was virtually impossible. The availability of West Bank land a stone's throw from Bethlehem, and government subsidies for building in the territories, were too much of a temptation. The yetzer ha-tov bowed to the realities of the yetzer ha-ra’ (evil inclination) eased by the aforementioned moral rationalizations.

Take, for example, Riskin’s constant appeal to the “Israeli national consensus”. Already in the late 1970s, he was questioned about the wisdom of building a town on land that was not even annexed by the State of Israel. “Don’t worry,” I heard him tell a potential resident in 1979, “Gush Etzion is in the national consensus. It will never be given back.” I was not sure what he meant by that: Rabin had said around that time that he would not mind traveling to the Etzion Bloc with a passport. The facts that nobody in the world recognized the legitimacy of the settlement movement; that Efrat was even not in the Etzion Bloc, but only in an imagined Etzion bloc that knows no borders, and that the settlements were not entirely uncontroversial even in Israel – did not give him pause.

Another example: Although Efrat was built entirely on Palestinian land, Riskin subscribed to the fiction (which was official Israeli dogma then and now, though few besides Riskin actually believed it) that Palestinian public land could be cultivated for Jewish settlement. Of course, it subsequently turned out that most of the land was not public land, but private land, that the public/private distinction made no difference to anybody outside of Israel, and that the Fourth Geneva Convention, according to everybody in the world except for some Israeli and Jewish lawyers, forbade the expropriation of the Occupied Territories by Israel. Any argument in a storm.

With the advent of Oslo, Riskin could no longer masquerade as the liberal orthodox rabbi who was willing, “theoretically”, to trade land for peace. He wasn’t even ready to consent to a temporary freeze on Efrat’s expansion that was declared by the second Rabin government, on one of those rare occasions that Israel attempted to adhere to its commitments on settlement freezes. Like the “states-rights” segregationists of the sixties, Riskin appealed to a higher law. In one of the most farcical moments of the Oslo years, he was arrested, draped in a tallit and holding a Sefer Torah (!), on a hill outside Efrat.

Here were some of his self-serving justifications made to reporter Ira Rifkin in 1995, the year which outed him as a rightwing extremist in moderate's garb:

"But this land is too small for a separate Palestinian state. It's a prescription for war, and I don't want to commit suicide -- that's also an ethical value," he said.

Riskin’s first justification was not unreasonable, then or now. After Israel had prevented the establishment of a Palestinian state for almost a half-century and, contrary to international law and common-sense morality, had expropriated Palestinian land for Jewish settlement and denied both the right of self-determination and Israeli citizenship to the occupied population, the resultant Palestinian state that had international legitimacy since 1947 was, and is, not obviously viable. But it was the conclusion that he drew that showed the defects of his reasoning. After all, the territory allotted to the Zionists by the 1947 partition plan was also tiny and raised the question of that state’s viability. But rather than work to see how a viable Palestinian state would be possible, which would have been a just way to proceed, he decided to deny 3 ½ million people under occupation, and millions of people in exile, any sort of self-determination in their homeland. And why? In order to expand his Torah community, complete with red-roofed villas and swimming pools. (A comparison of the water allotment to Efrat per capita to that of the neighboring El Khader boggles the mind.)

Here is another Riskinesque argument from the same article:

[When Efrat was founded] "It was unthinkable that Israel might one day consider giving up this community, and we're not going to leave here.”

Unthinkable? Perhaps. The city of Efrat was illegal under international law, but not under the law of the occupier. Before the First Intifada, Riskin could, like a nineteenth-century British colonialist, rely on his self-declared good relations with the village chieftain of neighboring El-Khader to ease any doubts. The land-grab was in full swing, and Riskin could, in his mind, fall back on the idea that Efrat was in the national consensus.

But anybody with half-a-brain and not motivated by blind nationalism and a lust for expansion could see that there was something – how should I say – “risky” about building over the Green Line. The sole Israeli argument for Jews settling the Etzion bloc was that it had been settled by Jews prior to 1948, an argument that can justify the return of millions of Palestinians to Israel. But for Israelis like Riskin, the Jews have a right of return to their pre-48 places of residence, but the Palestinians do not.

So that is why Riskin in 1995, betrayed by the Palestinans of the First Intifada in 1987, and by the Rabin government in 1993, had to resort to another argument:

“Turn the other cheek is not a Jewish ideal.”

Well, “turn the other cheek” is certainly not the ideal of a mafioso, barbarian, or tyrant. But Riskin’s option in the late seventies was not of turning the other cheek but rather of driving people from their lands, people who had rights to those lands even if they had made war on Israel from them, which many of them had not. (By the way, anybody familiar with Jewish writings on ethics know that “turning the other cheek” is a Jewish ideal. To say otherwise is to appropriate an anti-Jewish Christian stereotype, which many modern European Jews, mostly secular, did. As usual, the orthodox later adopted the apologetics of their secular brethren.)

"To the victor belongs the spoils if the victor is moral," he added. "For the immoral loser, there can be no spoils."

Ribono shel olam, it is hard to know which is more offensive – the sheer stupidity of the remark or the obtuse moral premise on which it is based. Even if the Palestinian people had, without any provocation, declared an offensive war on Israel, they STILL would have the same right to self-determination as the Israelis had. The question was never one of who started the war, but what people had the right to a state. And it was internationally recognized (though, as Rashid Khalidi points out in the Iron Cage, not recognized enough) that the Palestinians had a right to a state. And who gets to decide who is the aggressor and who is immoral – the victor? Who declared the Palestinians the aggressors? Israel?

Riskin’s decline -- or his display of his true colors -- continued. After 1995, if not considerably earlier, he abandoned the argument of “Gush Etzion” for the fundamentalist arguments of Gush Emunim. Suffice it to say that when the question of the illegal outposts arose, all pretence of Efrat’s “legality” was thrown to the winds. In the Fall of 2007 he supported the settlers of Givat Eitam, an expansion of Efrat that was illegal, even by Israeli expansive legal standards. See here. So, given his downward moral spiral of the last thirty years, should we be surprised that the rabbi who marched with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma in the sixties (he says) is now allied with conservative Christian evangelicals like the Reverend John Hagee?

Now, it is not unusual for orthodox Jews to make common cause with conservative Christians on social issues -- and against liberal Jews. That tradition goes back at least as far as fifteenth-century Spain – just read the praise of Christian thinkers by such Jewish conservatives as Isaac Abravanel and Isaac Arama, etc., against earlier Jewish thinkers” such as Joseph ibn Kaspi and Moses of Narbonne (thinkers who had been led astray, according to Abravnel and Arama, by Arabic Aristotelianism.) And in the nineteenth century, the first orthodox Jewish political party made common cause with Polish Catholics in their fight against Jewish liberals. The coalition managed to win a seat in the Austrian parliament for the orthodox chief rabbi of Cracow. The coalition of orthodox Jews and conservative Christians is as Jewish as bagels and lox.

What is irksome in the Riskin-Hagee partnership is that what brings them together – outside of their shared lust for the Holy Land – is their common hatred for Islam. “Islam itself seems poised for world domination,” opines Rabbi Riskin, “following a line of jihad-inspired Wahhabi fanaticism.” Pretty soon he will have us reading the Protocols of the Elders of the House of Saud, I suppose.

Contrast Riskin’s new rightwing “Center for Jewish Christian Understanding and Tolerance” in Efrat with the more inclusive “Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies” in Baltimore. Both groups were founded for the purpose of fostering understanding between two religions. Yet when the Baltimore Institute saw the ignorance and growing prejudice of Jews and Christians against Islam, it hosted a lecture series last spring, inviting four prominent experts on Islam to explain “What Jews and Christians Need to Know About Islam.” Whereas Riskin’s group’s mission statement raises the specter of “confused and concerned masses threatened to be overwhelmed by material secularism on the one hand and Islamic fundamentalism on the other.” In other words, Riskin’s group has bought into the bigotry of the Christian right against Islam. Nary a mention of moderate Muslims.

Of course, Rabbi Riskin is savvy enough to know about the moderate Muslims. But God forbid he should mention them, or how they are the majority of the world’s billion plus Muslims. That would ruin his lucrative coalition with the Christian Islamophobes.

You know, the yetzer ha-ra’ (“evil inclination”) works in mysterious ways. Instead of fighting bigotry (which would include, in my mind, fighting Islamic, Christian, and Jewish bigotry) it seduces “moderate” rabbis like Riskin into sanctifying bigotry. How ironic that in order to justify Jewish dialogue with Christians, Rabbi Riskin cites the following passage from Maimonides’ Code of Law.

"There is no human power to comprehend the designs of the Creator of the Universe since our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts. Hence all of the words of Jesus the Nazarene and of the Ishmaelite who came after him (Muhammad) served to pave the way for the King Messiah and to repair the whole world to serve the Lord in unison, for it is written, (Zephania 9:3), 'I shall make all the people pure of speech, so that they all call upon the name of the Lord and serve Him with one heart.'

"How so? The entire world has been filled with the words of the Messiah and the words of the Torah and the words of the commandments, and these words have been disseminated even to faraway islands, and to many nations of uncircumcised hearts, who are now dealing with these concepts and with Biblical commandments…"

Now, as Rabbi Riskin knows, Maimonides considered Islam to be a monotheistic religion and, theologically less objectionable than Christianity. Maimonides preferred Islam to Christianity, although he was certainly familiar with fanatical Muslims like the Almohads, who had forced him and his family to leave Spain. But on Riskin’s interpretation, Maimonides’s statement justifies a partnership only with Christians. Muslims – even non-Arab Muslims -- are dropped from the team.

The truth is that Maimonides’ statement justifies nothing of the kind. It doesn’t speak of partnership or tolerance; rather, it is an attempt by a medieval thinker to fathom why God would allow such “false” religions as Islam and Christianity to thrive. If, however, we want to use Maimonides for the sake of interfaith understanding, we should at least be true to the symmetry he posits between the two religions, Islam and Christianity. But to do that, one would not have to be a truly liberal orthodox rabbi who believes in fostering understanding between religions for its own sake (such as Rabbi David Rosen, whom you should read about here), and not one who speaks with the voice of a liberal Jacob, but wears the garb of an Uzi-wielding Esau. Not a rabbi who divides his moral universe into those who support his empire and those who do not.

U-ve-khol zot. And yet…Rabbi Riskin has been a moderating force in some areas of orthodoxy, such as the participation of women in advanced Torah study, and the plight of the agunah. What a pity that he had the bad “moral luck” to be caught up in the settlement enterprise. When the Jews leave Efrat – and by God they will, sooner or later (unless they live there under the jurisdiction of the state of Palestine, may it speedily be built),-- some of Riskin’s legacy may be salvaged in his institutions of Torah learning.

Unless they succumb to the morality of their founder.


Anonymous said...

The fundamental(ist) point is that religious Zionism is a just another form of (neo-)Sabateanism.

Just as when the Sultan said convert from Judaism, they did, so when the false Messianism of 'Greater Israel' said convert, they did.

There were many, many good and loyal Jews who when presented with Shabtai Zvi and his promise of release from the galut to utopia were just as 'morally unlucky' as Riskin!

Richard said...

one small correction: it's "John Hagee" not "Chuck Hagee." Maybe you're thinking of Chuck Hagel though I'd take him over Hagee any day!

Otherwise terrific story & I knew nothing about this unholy alliance.

Anonymous said...

This article as is typical of the post Zionist movement is full of lies and recreations of history. the easiest to diprove is the accusation of the taking away od arab lands as anyone who has ever been to Efrat sees the many Arab owned grape yards which sit in parts of Efrat as privately owned land was NEVER taken from Arab residents. The jewish settleement movement was built for the most part on the un-occupied hilltops as the Arab farmers created their cultivated land in the valleys where they could benifit from the gathering rainfall running off the hills.

And of course the fact that the Arab states have been using the so-called palestinians as pawns while their politcial leaders line their pockets the billions of dollars given by the world to help them, while keeping them in squalid homes with no infrastructure, or creating a wave of terror accross the world, has no part in his theory of justice.

The world is full of self-hating Jews. This is just another one of them.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks that the author was unable to disguise a personal hatred for Rabbi Riskin in this most un-academic flame:-)(

Jerry Haber said...

Richard, I stand corrected. Believe it or not, I was led astray by a google search.

Jerry Haber said...

To my two anonymous critics, shavua tov!

Anonymous I. There is nothing amusing in stealing land from the Palestinians to build a settlement, and then building it around token vineyards where it is not convenient (yet) to throw out the owners.

Apparently, you never heard of my former neighbor, Pliah Albeck, who used every legal trick in the book to rob Palestinians of their lands by declaring them "public lands." But I want to make this clear -- all public land on which Efrat is built is stolen from the Palestinian people, according to international law.

According to anonymous 1, if Syrian were to invade and capture the Galilee, it would have every right to settle Syrians on land owned by the Israeli government, since it is not private land. Anything which is not occupied, according to you (citing no doubt, Ottoman law) would be fair game for the Syrians.

It is this sort of moral muckery that makes me sick. I much prefer the out and out gazlanim of the West Bank who say that all of Judaea and Samaria is Eretz yisrael, and no Arab has any property rights, even if they have owned it for generations. Lo tehanem!

But if you still insist on the private/public distinction, I refer you to Peace Now's latest Settlement Watch report, which shows how much of the settlements, including Maale Edumim, is built on private land.

Anyway, if these self-deceptions allow you to sleep at night, then geh gesund.

As for being a self-hating Jew, I have no problems with myself. It is the ethnic chauvinists who pose as Jews and desecrate Hashem's name that I have problems with. The pasuk says not to hate your brother, but Rashi adds, "your brother in mitzvot." These kanaim may be my people, but when it comes to mitzvot, they are, at best, tinokot she-nishbu.

Anonymous II. God forbid that I should hate Rabbi Riskin. Where did you get that from? I am irked by the shallowness of his moral reasoning, and the tone of my post may have been gratuitously mean-spirited (especially that line about not being a talmid hakham, which I regret, because even if it is true, it is not nice to say, and what does it add to the post?

On the contrary, the point of my article was that, in some ways, Riskin was morally unlucky, that he is a man with a lot of zekhuyot to his name.

Still, full disclosure -- I have met Rabbi Riskin a few times, and talked with him twice, and I bear him no personal ill will. We have never had personal dealings, nor am I related to people who has had dealings with him.

I am surprised that nobody has yet given the Ben Shlomo response -- "Yeah, you claim Riskin is being hypocritical, but what about Tel Aviv University being built on the lands of Sheikh Munis, or all the leftwingers who live in Baka, Katamon, and Talbieh in Jerusalem. Who's being hypocritical, here?"

But that's another post.

Anonymous said...

Yitzchak Rabin personally came to Lincoln Square Synagogue and asked people to move to Efrat.

Jeffrey R. Woolf said...

I will forego the opportunity to indulge in a dialogue of the deaf. My residence in Efrat, with which I have no moral qualms at all, obviously puts me on the dark side of Zionism (a votre avis). I would simply like to clarify the points I made in my comment (which seems to have disappeared from your site).

1) Muslim opposition to Zionism has nothing to do with Justice. It has to do with violation of waqf land by kafirs, and their sense of impugned honor. Arab culture, as noted by Shuka Porat, is a fundamentally honor/shame affair. I described you as manufesting signs of cognitive dissidence for projecting your structure of values upon the principle, alternative system that characterizes the Arabs.

Magnes, and his cohorts, gave perfect, Euro-centric expression to precisely this error.

2) I, by the way, am not a messianic religious zionist. I subscribe to Reines Zionism, as expounded by Rabbi Soloveitchik. Israel is a wonderful gift given us by God. Territorial compromise is a theoretical possibility, if there is someone to talk to. There is, however, no (a priori) religious obligation tohand over parts of Israel's patrimony to forces who do not possess the intellectual or religious tools to accept the presence of a Jewish polity in the Land of Israel.

3)Historically, while there has been a Jewish People for three millenia (in the terms set forth by Anthony D. Smith), there is no such equivalent Palestinian People. They are a good example of Benedict Anderson's 'Imagined Communities.' However, the distinction is irrelevant since they now believe it to be true.

4) The issue of 'stolen Palestinian Land' is a chimera. The Left says that anything not purchased outright by the JNF is Arab (which means Dahaisha and the syrian Golan are Jewish owned), while the Right says that everything but privately held Arab Land is State Land. The entire debate is infertile casuistry. Under the Turks, one took possession where one's rock fell. The reality is the same today. Facts on the Ground equal ownership.

Jerry Haber said...


Quick comments; as you pointed out, our differences are deep.

1) "Muslim opposition to Zionism has nothing to do with justice." Like the flowers that bloom in the spring, this has nothing to do with the case, or with anything I wrote, anyway.

Perhaps you were referring to the Arab claim that it was unjust to give the Jews a state. I assure you, that if you read the representations of the Arabs to the various commissions, including the Peel, you will see this point made repeatedly. As you know, Porat was referring to something else, entirely. (Palestinian nationalist consciousness was largely due to Palestinian Christian, as you know.)

2) You will forgive me if do not respond to this condescending comment which smacks of the typical superiority of the Western colonialist.

3) As for "Jewish people," well, I don't need to tell you , of all people, that there are varying conceptions of that. Read Moshe Rosman's latest book on Jewish history, and you will see that he brings various interpretations of the unity of Jewish people and Jewish history. You have bought into the religious Zionist narrative; that's your prerogative.

But even if one concedes that the Jews constitute a people, that doesn't entail that they have a right, or any people, to a state, or if they do have such a right, it must be at the expense of another people. It pains me to have to repeat the obvious.

The Palestinian sense of national identity is more recent than the Jewish sense of national identity, but so what? Statist nationalism is a very recent phenomenon of the Jews -- in fact, it took the holocaust and the birth of the state of Israel to make Zionism dominant among the Jews. Mah inyan shmitah, etc.?

4) According to your reasoning, if a Palestinian National Fund started buying tracts of land in Israel (if it could -- Israel has taken care to see that it cannot), then the Palestinians would have a national claim to that land. How does that follow? Private land purchase does not affect sovereignty, or should not, anyway. The fact that the JNF purchased land simply means that in a Palestinian state the JNF has legal title to that land, unless it is expropriated by the Palestinian goverment.

But, anyway, a challenge: please give me the non-Zionist experts in international law who accept the legal arguments of Israel's distinction between private and public land on the West Bank, a classic case of using "halakha" (in this case, Ottoman precedent) le-taher et ha-sheretz.

Finally, your comment that "Facts on the ground constitute ownership." That, in a nutshell, is the tragedy of the liberal orthodox Jew, the oleh to Efrat, who begins with koah ha-zekhut and ends with zekhut ha-koah, and by "justifying" throwing Palestinians off their land by saying that they really never owned it, or worked it.

Ben Bayit said...

The Jews will have left Acco, Lod and Ramle well before they have left Efrat.

Jerry Haber said...

To Ben Bayit:

Amen, brother!


Anonymous said...

what exactly makes gush etzion 'palestinian land'? it was founded and settled in by halutzim until its residents were brutally murdered in 1948. nineteen years later, halutzim of a new type returned to the gush (some taking the place of their relatives who had been killed there) and they started living there. palestinians were occupiers for 19 years until the jews got back their rightful home. jerry, why dont you go tell moshe moshkowitz and chanan porat that gush etzion is 'palestinian land'! shame on you for defaming all those who died trying to defend solidly jewish land in 1948.

Jerry Haber said...


The Gush is the land of the Palestinian people because it was taken in a war (1967) and according to the Geneva Convention, territory cannot be acquired by war, whether defensive or offensive.

The fact that Jews owned the land before 1948 (not "the Jews" but "Jews") gives them as much right to it, and no more, than the rights of the Palestinians to land in what is now called the State of Israel. Jews have no more or less ownership rights -- and claims for compensation -- than do Palestinians.

But I will make a deal with you -- I will concede that Jews have a moral right to return to Gush Etzion if you concede that the Palestinians have a moral right to return to land they owned in the State of Israel.

You can't have it both ways -- affirming Jewish rights and denying Palestinian rights -- unless your morality is that of the mafia, i.e., only members of the family have rights.

Why is this so hard for some to get?

Tamar Orvell said...

Yikes. This is rough territory, your blog. Lots of disagreements and totally different world views represented. How ever to deal with such a mix "on the ground" (to use a tired phrase oft-quoted to justify one's point of view) while the rockets reign down on babies and the phosphorous burns their cousins on "the other side" of the human family? I am endlessly wrapping my brain around the paradox of being human. A little lower than the angels sometimes and much lower other times.

Two examples. I was in Efrat 24 hours last spring visiting a Hesder grad who was my chavruta in the USA the year he volunteered in a Religious ZIonist program. One of the brightest kids I've known. Yet lacking wisdom and doubt. Nothing in the Efrat enterprise is wrong. It is pure heaven (for him).

Another case. RIskin in the USA has a good style. At a Yom Hashoah observance in Washington, DC, some years ago, he scored points with me when he challenged the cry: Where was God during the Shoah? And he gave for me the only answer: a question: Where was humanity? Clever, not wise. Pretty talk about others while engaging in vile actions toward "other" others.

Your posts and comments section are pure education. I thank you for your patience, endlessly putting the facts out there/here.

myron said...

in 1971 or 1972 Knesset Speaker Reuven Bareket visited Kibbutz Kfar Etzion and was asked what he thought about the plans to build Efrat.

"What side of the highway (60) is it on?" he asked.

"On the East side" he heard in reply.

"Then we are against it. Only settlements in the Etzion bloc West of the highway will be kept by Israel."

Makes you wonder?? .The question and naive and uninformed.another example of how the enterprise of "minor border adjustments got so messy.

Justin White said...

It is hypocritical of someone who is an oleh to Israel to turn around and criticize a man like Rabbi Riskin. All of Israel was seized from other peoples. The Left cannot formulate an argument against the settlement of Israel when the State of Israel was constructed out of settlements!

Justin White said...

How many times in the Torah, and other places in Judaism does it say that the Land of Israel is the inheritance of the Jewish people? You are an Orthodox Jew-you can't claim ignorance like your fellow Ashkenazic counterparts who are not observant! The Talmud in the Passover tractate states:

R. Johanan said: Three are of those who will inherit the world to come, viz.: he who dwells in Eretz Yisrael; and he who brings up his sons to the Study of the Torah; and he who recites havdalah over wine at the termination of the Sabbath.
פסחים קיג-א

I hope "Jeremiah" is saving wine for havdala because he is trying to convince Jews that it's wrong to settle their own Land:

The city of Efrat was illegal under international law, but not under the law of the occupier.

Wow! In the past 2,000 if Jews had blindly followed the laws of other people and not their own, they wouldn't have returned to Israel!

Leviticus 20:23
And you shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you; for they committed all these things, and therefore I loathed them.

Jews cannot follow gentile laws that conflict with the Torah, as you see above.

myron said...

Yes, i made havdalah tonight and i settle the land..but like Abraham before me, when his and his "brother" Lot's shepherds fought he told Lot, time to partition the land, take your pick.

Abraham's children do have an inheritance in the land...notice children is plural..

We must learn to live in the complex reality where moral imperative, political integrity and utopian dreams must find their proper balance.

Anonymous said...

Greatest extant blog concerning the conflict. All the posts and most of the comments represent seriously deliberated points over matters which are highlighted as being universal rather than ascribable to particular peoples or places. This is a nice change from the usual essentializing of peoples and cultures which are usually found on the hyperbolic blogosphere. Depth of the content, which heralds much literature and philosophy of many creeds and brands presents perspectives which are timeless and applicable is also much appreciated.
Keep up the great work Jerry!

Crapola said...

What a lot of biased hating hogwash
Why cant you get your facts right, before posting all the crap

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PALESTINIAN LANDS, the Arabs made up this diabolical Jew hating nonsense for years, when they see that cannot win.