Friday, February 29, 2008

Master Of Puppets

אוי לו לדור ששופט את שופטיו

As I was driving home one evening, my daughter asked from the back seat: “Tatty, what’s this building?” – “This is a government building”, I answered.
-The ‘Government’ lives here?
-No, sweetheart, the government doesn’t
live anywhere. People who work for the government come to work here.
-So where does the government live?
-Zisseleh, the government doesn’t live anywhere. It’s not a person; it’s a group of people.
-The government is not a person? So what is it? A
This got me laughing so hard I nearly drove into the opposite lane. I guess governments and puppets go so well together it’s the first thing that comes to the mind of a six years old who never heard the term “puppet government”.

On one hand one could argue that despite the lack of the slightest legal authority, and in the face of much criticism and animosity from several directions, our rabbis, leaders, do a tremendous job. If not for our steadfast faith in the Creator and his human emissaries, this feat would be impossible. Sure, some will dismiss this as mere cultish adherence and pure fanaticism. Nothing can be farther from the truth. No cultish leader can be harshly criticized by his constituents and retain that same constituency, especially in an environment where everyone is free to leave at will. Many actually leave their enclave – to join another one, more suitable for them.

But on the other hand, it can be argued that compared to what can –and should- be accomplished, we are not exactly the shining stars we’d like to believe we are. Not only because we are over-influenced by the surrounding Western culture. Not only because man naturally rejects authority, seeks comfort and pleasure, and loves to indulge in intellectual acrobatics to justify the above said. Not only because man loves to hide his natural shortcomings behind this or that good deed or quality he possess – and often uses as a moral high-ground do defame others. All these do, indeed, play a major role in the state of Orthodox “leadership”. But they certainly aren’t the only factor.

I don’t know how tired the reader is of me saying this over and over, but I’ll say it again, nonetheless. There is no Orthodox Jewish leadership. There are many rabbis, many gabbais, and far more secluded groups than we can afford. Many decry the power and authority of the “rabbinate”, or “the rabbinical establishment” – and in many aspects they are right. But the fact of the matter is, that there isn’t a well-organized and structured leadership and governance. There are many small groups that are run independently, and often at odds with one another.

And this is precisely the problem. Because every time a rabbi has a better idea of running things or of what “real” Torah is about, a new group forms around him, essentially turning their backs on other groups. Thus, there is no overseeing or restraining leaders. Dissent can be dealt with in the form of either leaving the group or keeping it to the back of the shul – and even there it has to be toned down.

It seems that most “leaders” and rabbis can be bamboozled and misled all too easily. I’m not sure why it is so, but am fairly convinced that the main reason is that deep down, they don’t truly care about Clal Yisroel. A harsh accusation, I reckon, but there is more than one indication to this. Most everyone cares about his own yeshiva, family and community. Seldom does it go beyond that – mostly in the form of some incredibly innovative charity which will eliminate hunger, poverty, disease and tragedy forever. The fact that rabbis are being turned into poster boys in the process doesn’t seem to bother too many people. If someone would argue that they are willing to undergo this humiliation, I’d be willing to swallow it. But can anyone explain me why in this case Covod Hatorah doesn’t matter? And if they really care so much about all Yidden, why resolutions to cancel charity concerts two weeks before the event are acceptable?

I’d be willing to accept well thought resolutions if they’d spell out that since such events inherently carry with them many pestiferous side effects that can be corruptive. If they’d claim that such gathering are a step toward Western Culture, I’d understand. But how can great sages irresponsibly sign (or at least not outright denounce the fact that their names were used without permission) these decisions without the slightest concern for the organizers’ parnossah – not to speak about the fundraiser itself?- The answer, probably, is “השוחד יעבר עיני חכמים ויסלף דברי צדיקים”. The ‘gvirim’ and rich benefactors, who, by means of their support and donations become immune to criticism, carry the rabbis after them.

And how can the wealthy get away with this? Because most “unwealthy” play Mr. Rich. Big house, big car, big spending, fancy-schmancy clothing, luxury hotels for Yomim Tovim are almost universal staples. (Why doesn’t anyone ban hotels for Yontev? Answer: the holy rabbis get rich with lectures while sleeping on silk sheets and super-duper ultra comfy mattresses. A wooden board was good for Rav Avigdor Miller זצוק"ל, but I guess today’s gdolim –there are 33 in the USA only, and Lipa Margulies is one of them!- need some extra comfort to come up with some extra wisdom. That’s what you call a “dor yasom”).

Are the filthy-rich entrepreneurs on whose arms many rabbis hang ever being confronted by ordinary folks? Except on blogs, no. Why? Because it is very easy to bark at the moon on the ‘net (like I do right now) without getting into personal conflict. And most likely, if such a confrontation would occur, Mr. Rich would answer “עד שאתה אומר לי טול קיסם מבין שינך טול קורה מבין עינך” as the standards are not set only by the rich. Today everyone seems to take it for granted that la dolce vita is his unalienable right. Ironically, the standards of gashmius are very often set by the loudest opponents of ‘daas Torah’ and rabbis.

Such confrontations are not pleasant. But this must be, I imagine, one of the main reasons for the strict rules of loshon hora – instead of spreading rumors, talk to your brother first! This is part and parcel of “ישראל עריבים זה לזה”. It is not easy and must be done tactfully in order to avoid quarrel and rifts. But this was exactly the trait that made Yehoshua great “שיכול להלך כנגד רוחו של כל אחד ואחד” – he had the ability to ‘go against’ – to present his opposition to- anyone without getting into a battle.

We have a puppet government allright. But who’s pulling the strings?

© Joseph Izrael 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Ghost Of Cain

Because ideas have consequences” – Hillsdale College motto.

What constitutes a red line, not to be crossed at any cost? According to “anti-establishment” luminaries of free speech, such as Dov Bear, Shmarya Rosenberg, UOJ and Harry Maryles, it’s anything that anyone disagreeing with them says – especially Michael Savage, anyone who dares wear a hat and a jacket, and of course yours truly.

But a תלמיד מובהק (faithful disciple) of theirs, a graduate of Dov Bear’s brown shirt academy, has crossed a line I believe all of us must stand up against. Not that the aforementioned openly endorsed or encouraged what he said – they’re smarter than that. But their endless spewing of hate, sneer and denigration of great people has bore its bitter fruit.

So Mr. Secular Jew, as I mentioned, frequent commenter and darling at Shmarya and Dov Bear’s sites, a mere two days after Rav Shmuel Berenbaum’s passing compares him to a Nazi! That’s right: he said it plainly, overtly, proudly, - unlike his mentors’ cunning weasel words.

But first, let us deconstruct Mr. Secular “Jew” the fallacity of his disgustingly vicious claim:

Rav Berenbaum’s “ban” did not factually ban anything. Any living man on planet earth, regardless of race, creed, color or religious affiliation, could, at any moment, walk into any bookstore carrying the book and buy it. Now it is true that many “ultra orthodox” stores refused to carry the book, but the store next door did! Following his argument, we should indeed join MK Yair Tzaban (MAPA”M) in his statement – which he made publicly, from the Knesset’s podium, no less- that the Torah is comparable to Mein Kampf. (Actually, I’m pretty sure that Dov Bear and Secular Jew agree with Tzaban).

Interesting to note that Mr. S. Jew didn’t feel compelled to compare the Israeli government to the Nazis; the Israeli government that banned, from all bookstores, Ben Hecht’s book perfidy, which documents in great detail how the Mapai party and Jewish Agency betrayed the Jews of Romania and Hungary and not only refused to help in rescuing them, but boycotted and sabotaged any efforts of others in the salvation efforts.

Barry Chamish’s book “Who killed Yitzchak Rabin” was also taken off the shelves by the Israeli government. Mister Secular didn’t have an urge to compare them to Nazis for that.

When Jews were being dragged out of their homes by Israeli soldiers –who were all, without exception, given the option not to do so- at a time when Arab terrorist were (and still are) shooting mortar shells into Israel and Ukrainian Nazi gangs were roaming the streets of Haifa and Tel-Aviv and the media turned a blind eye to them, Secular Jew hasn’t found enough outrage in him to compare the actions of his secular government to the actions of the secular Nazis.

Perhaps Mr. Secular is really appalled by the fact that Charedi rabbis don’t want their students exposed to the Theory of Evolution, a sacred secular cow of the secular academic establishment. Maybe Mr. “Jew” is not aware of the fact that the very same academic establishment –and very probably not independently of their infatuation with Evolution- promotes moral relativism, a school of thought that equates the Nazis with their victims, the Israelis with Apartheid and Nazism, decry religion of in all forms (except Islamic Jihad) but condones, and in several instances even fiscally aided terrorist organizations, and covered up, aided and abetted terrorists in their midst.

But I think that the real reason for Secular “Jew”’s odious words is entirely different. I believe that Mr. Secular is trying to outscream his conscience. He is trying to outscream a conscience that reminds him, every time he sees, hears or reads about and observant Jew, that he is doing the wrong thing. The mere existence of the orthodox Jew, who lives his life as a Jew, is a reproach to someone who bases his ‘Jewishness’ on mere genetics. In other words – racism. For if not the Torah, what gives Mr. Secular the right to call himself a Jew, to abstain from marrying Gentiles and to live in the land of Hittites, Canaanites, Jebusites, Philistines and Palestinans?

Since Mr. Secular found an inspiration in the form of hateful blogs, he only took it a step further and said what others only dared to hint at.

So thank you Dov Bear.
Thank you Smarya.
Thank you UOJ.
Thank you rabbi Maryles.
Congatulations on the great faithful disciple you’ve produced!

© Joseph Izrael 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Corrosion Of Conformity

Please forgive me for sounding like a hoarse parrot – but I just can’t keep quiet. Wherever I turn I see dishonesty, cunning, and an absolute disregard for truth and honesty. Yes, of course, I know that “ שערי תרוצים לא ננעלו – the gates of excuses were never locked”, but come on…

The heilige “Hamodia” endorses Hillary… Yes, yes, of course, I know all the teirutzim on the book… it’s only for the Democratic nomination blah blah blah… so why no endorsement for a Republican candidate? Because Orthodox Jews are never Republicans? Humm, I thought Dov Bear paskened that we’re all “GOP Juden”… I guess even He can be wrong once in a while…

And let’s face it: besides her Presidential Majesty, Hillary Innocent Clinton, who would give a damn about New York’s hook-nosed cloak-clad population? Barack Non-Terrorist, Non-Hussein O’Bama? Mitt Romney who wants to throw our dear Mexican builders out of the country, and then all our dropouts will have to start working in supermarkets? Hucklabeery Finn the evangelist? John McCocaine?

Obviously, only Her Eminence Queen Clinton –wink wink- will remember –wink wink- how we put her in office, -wink wink-. And how our innocently jailed non-criminals were pardoned –wink, wink- by her “husband”. Oh, her husband’s closest friends are murderers, rapists, shakedown experts, con artists, world-class terrorists and pornographers? So what? Why not lighten the picture by throwing in a few rabbis? Hey, for money, isn’t everything kosher veyosher?

I just can’t understand it. When Mordechai the Jew banned Seudas Achashverosh, all the Persian bloggers made fun of him, said he’s a fanatic, and invents new chumras everyday. Then, when he refused to bow down to Hamany Clinton, they all screamed that he endangers all Jews. But now those who claim to be Mordechai’s representatives shamelessly bow down to the worst possible people. How come these heilige hassidim don’t back up from a promoter of homosexual marriage?

And it gets even better: the “Hamodia” is endorsing her! There are also a bunch of paid ads and letters from America’s best and brightest swindlers, shakedown experts and con artists with shterimels supporting her!

Just a little note of warning: being a bit too close to the Clinton Clan can be somewhat dangerous! But I guess one has to have a good teacher to become a pro criminal!

And I thought people falling for Hucksterberry Finn, who stays in the race for the sole purpose of stealing Romney’s votes is bad… I thought falling for serial liar, amnestizer, tax-raiser, and spinmeister (helped block 150 seats of good Supreme Court District judges and now boasts about having helped Alito and Roberts… cockroach!) leftist bum who runs on his lie “I’m a Reagan Conservative” was bad… I guess I was wrong!

I guess holy men are at the White House's most ethical president's side.

© Joseph Izrael 2008

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Chains Of Misery

Take a look at your grocery bill: dozen eggs, 4qts milk, 3lbs chicken, 2lbs tomatoes, Muenster cheese, coffee, bar of chocolate. What goes into the price you paid? Many things: raw materials, labor, transportation, - often including import costs, i.e. additional labor of shipping companies and port workers- and then again the same for all the packaging materials in which these items come, and then again the same for the distributing/marketing companies and your retailer. And it carries one more heavy item: taxes. That’s right – even though most grocery items are sales tax free, all of the above mentioned must pay their taxes – businesses and employees alike. In other words, the more taxes each employer and employee has to pay, the higher the cost of each component of your groceries and their way of reaching your hands.

Employers, of course, prefer lower-wage employees. What their shortsightedness sorely misses, is the fact that they must compensate their imaginary gain with higher taxes – public education, social benefits and the additional burden of unemployment benefits for natives who lost their jobs to immigrants. In other words, when you buy chicken, you must pay for all public services consumed by all the employees in the process: farmers, transportation, slaughterhouse, etc. Not to mention all the money that leaves the country.

Would the societal norms not push for a degree at all costs – often sponsored by the State, read: the taxpayer- and sneer at blue-collar jobs, value work ethic, integrity and honesty over fame and fortune, and would the mega-corporations be less corrupt, blue-collar wages would be all taken by natives. But since in this day and age every ignoramus who can barely spell “New York Yankees” gets some BS degree from some community college, and goes into “journalism”, “acting” or “education” –read: welfare and unemployment sucking- until the most aggressive and knavish get lucrative do-nothing, all-important bureaucratic “jobs” (examples include “director of diversity training at University of Busytown, USA” or “administrator of job satisfaction quality of the Nevermore branch of the Stargazers’ union”) with skyrocketing salaries and even more heaven-rocketing retirement packages. (Makes you wonder why we get angry at all when we hear someone say it’s a mitzvah to steal from the government…)

In short, 12 to 20 million less illegal immigrants in the USA would put that much jobs for immediate availability, cut unemployment, crime, education costs, prison and police costs, and the out-of–control welfare abuse. (Although I have a feeling that the Agudah and similar organizations fear once our brothers of Mexican origin are gone home, their constituents (i.e. Orthodox Jews) would come under scrutiny. Why this is wrong will be clarified shortly.)

An interesting item - the recent ‘housing bubble’ and its subsequent burst is tied directly to illegal immigration (as well as corruption and the Federal Reserve’s stupidity or willful blindness): the immigrants created higher demand for housing. The contractors bought up lots of properties to build condos and other cheap constructions, squeezing as many housing units on as small a property as possible. Because of the Fed’s low rates, people –entrepreneurs as well as individuals- borrowed money –money they had no clue how to give back, but hey, “the rates were low!” to buy investment houses. Those who were quick made a killing - those who came later got killed. Too many units were built, and the Mexican’s minimum wages and food stamps were not enough to cover rent, and the big mansions built on dreams and illusions went on foreclosures. What happened to the Orthodox Jewish housing market is a microcosmic mirror reflection of this.

If the illegal immigrants are ח"ו amnestized, the Orthodox community can kiss their darling politicians goodbye. The immigrants understand less, vote more, demand less, and it will be a lot easier to pull the wool over their eyes. The very arms on which dignified Rebbes and important Roshey yeshiva used to hang will stab us all in the back. “הוו זהירין ברשות שאין מקרבין לו לאדם אלא לצורך עצמן, נראין כאוהבין בשעת הנאתן ואין עומדין לו בשעת דחקו” The boots which you diligently licked will kick you in the face faster than you can say “gevald!” Goobye cheap housing! Goodbye Yeshiva freebies! Goodbye seudos Achashverosh! Goodbye shopping with food stamps while being clad in thousands of dollars in clothing! Goodbye uncontrolled building permits, grants, “congregations” and parsonage deductions!

As far as media attention goes, I don’t think the focus on Jews will grow significantly. The Skverer Rebbe doesn’t hold an exclusive patent for milking the government – there are enough people of his ilk who do at least as good a job as he does (Al Sharpton comes to mind…) The education system is corrupt enough to outweigh any and all OJ corruption. So don’t worry gentle rabbis, you don’t have to rush to inculcate our yeshivaleit with unbending honesty and integrity. The government has known for a long time what the Gecko just discovered: “If you want a lot of friends – giving away money, fffhhhooo – no’ uh ba’d ideah!” Just keep on encouraging a life of luxury and no restraint for all. But please don’t foist on us the immigration disaster. I’m not sure Mexican gangs -hardened killers, rapists and drug dealers- can be kept at bay with kol korehs, takonos, issurim and gdorim.

The war on terror, Iraq, and even the appointment of Supreme court judges – are all important issues, but in the long run will be solved, regardless of who is president. But if immigration is not solved now – you can kiss your country goodbye.

The coming Tuesday is erev rosh chodesh Adar. The Agudah issued an anouncment to daven and do tshuva on this day, in face of the situation in Erets Yisroel. It is also Super Tuesday. Daven the best candidate wins. Go out and vote. And for heaven’s sake, do the right thing.

© Joseph Izrael 2008

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fool For Your Loving (No More)

I was angered and frustrated to see Harry Maryles1 endorse John McCain for president. What’s the big fuss, you may ask, who cares about a retired, self-aggrandizing busybody pompously “endorsing” this or that candidate? Why even notice him?

There are several reasons. One being the fact that Rabbi Maryles reflects the apathy, ignorance, stupidity, emptiness, but more than anything the burning desire to be “moderate”, “mainstream”, and “reasonable”, prevalent not only in Hollywood, Greenwich Village, but unfortunately in the world of Orthodox Judaism as well. And no, don’t start pointing fingers at only YU and the carbon-conscious RCA: Mishpacha magazine just published an article about the primaries – the word “immigration” wasn’t mentioned even once, and not one interviewee spoke of either Romney or Alan Keyes. What are the Jewish leaders concerned about? The “war” in Iraq, the heilige economy, and most importantly, how much freebies they can squeeze out of each candidate. It seems that Jewish “leadership” still operates by the model of “I am in the West, but my heart is in the East” – and your brains are on Jupiter, your honesty and integrity, it seems, ceased to exist altogether. Only the immediate benefit matters, the jar of peanut butter, one more buck, one more seat at the next Seudas Achashverosh, all coated with false concerns about what’s going on 3000 miles away.

Really now, are you concerned about the war? So please, tell me dear Community Leaders, Rabbonim, Shtadlonim and Askonim, what have you done to end the war sooner, to make our troops safer, to save the Marines falsely accused of murder? Have you protested the appointment of fat bureaucrats as strategists and wartime decision makers? Have you protested politicians and journalists teaming up to falsely accusing and staging Dreyfus trials for Marines? Because when Rabbis were falsely accused of child molestation you were pretty quick to react, right Mr. Shafran2 ?

As for domestic security – what steps were taken to protect schools from terrorism? Are there armed guards in our schools? Is there any emergency plan in place? Alarm system? Or have the "shtadlonim"- the selfless community volunteers lined their pockets again with our children’s safety?

Oh, but McCain is tough on national security! So tough he proposed a bill to –well, not amnestize, - but to turn 20 million “illegal immigrants” (read: the rabble that is unwanted even in Mexico, who all come here only to work hard, at jobs Americans won’t do) into honorable citizens, and to leave our borders wide open. For we know, of course, that Arab Terrorists are too stupid to enter the country via Mexico or Canada. Besides the fact that our staunch allies, the governments of the aforementioned countries, wouldn’t allow terrorists on their soil. Besides, terrorists trying to infiltrate the country is a conspiracy theory invented by extremist right-wingers. That’s why we need strong national security for, and will achieve it by to kissing John’s mark of Cain.

The other reason is, that Maryles presents himself as opposing “the establishment”. There can be no greater dishonesty than a self-proclaimed challenger of the establishment endorsing an establishment darling like Cain. Cain is being cajoled by the Republican party’s ultra-liberal “old girls network”, as Michael Savage calls them, in the same exact way Gerry Ford was propped up at Barry Goldwater’s detriment, Nixon and Bob Dole against Reagan. Mr. Maryles, since you’re so hell bent on winning the war on Iraq, can you please teach us who, in your opinion, is better disposed to do this job? In case you don’t know, Dr. Maryles, there are now more contractors than troops in Iraq, our troops are bound by irrational rules of engagement and have to fear for their lives from terrorists as well as politicians and journalists trumping up false charges against them. Is John Cain, part and parcel of the Republican Aristocracy with an extremely leftist vote record, more likely to challenge the Iraqi status quo than Romney, an outsider to the oligarchy?
Who, in your opinion, Rabbi Maryles, is a better candidate to put a halt to the endemic welfare abuse and corruption ubiquitous practically everywhere? Rubber-cheeked Cain, knight of the Re-Pub-Li-Clan or Romney, who built his fortune with his own hands (as opposed to the war-hero adulterer who inherited his fortune from his wife?) Why, Rabbi Maryles, I thought you were against parasites bending over their gmoras and living on government handouts! Who, according to your estimates, would better fight terrorism – a man who opposes the horrible torture of waterboarding (almost like the Gas chambers) even terrorists, or Romney, whose greatest crime is being a Mormon?

Rabbi Maryles, Agudath Israel, RCA, UJA, JCC; is there anything, anything, in the world – your honesty, decency, integrity and good judgment - you wouldn’t sacrifice on the altar of Centrism and moderation? Or are you just trying to endorse the most likely candidate and then gloat “I told you so!”?

Let’s daven our Gentile neighbors aren’t as stupid as us Jews, and despite their Brittney Spears3 canonizing media will elect the only candidate in whom we at least can have a faint hope to pull this country together again.

1. Author of the sterile but popular blog “Emes VeEmunah”.
2. Official spokesmouth for Agudath Israel. Agudath Israel – a once great organization established to help Klal Yisroel, today a country-club of factotums whose mission is to get rich on the backs of stupid Jews who believe them.
3. A famous American prostitute, to whom American youth –largely ignorant of Ernest Hemingway and Herman Melville- look up as their role model. She is endorsed by the New York Times, which also endorses John (Mc)Cain.

© Joseph Izrael 2008