Monday, April 30, 2007


Chaim writes: "Why not do a khesed l'umim khatas and open up the rich world of Chasidus to our common "pal" DovBear?

You have more credibility with him than I do and he has written off the entire movement and it's towering personalities as an illegitemate reformation of his dearly beloved Judaism."

An intriguing concept. What Chaim seems to be saying is that if I try to persuade DovBear of the validity of Chassidus it will have greater weight than if someone such as himself makes the attempt.
Given DovBear's chosen blog name, I believe that he is much more knowledgeable about Chassidus than I ever could be - Dov Baer was the oldest son of Shneur Zalman, who succeeded his father as leader of the Chabad movement. The choice of the name 'Dovbear' for his blog suggests a more than passing familiarity not only with Chassidus, but also with Lubavitch.

It will also be remembered that Shneur Zalman is the author of Tanya, that being a fundamental text of Chabad, which I have mentioned reacting strongly against in the past.

[Rather than going into any detail over that incident, I'll just say one word: klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos, klippos!]

I believe that DovBear will get the best impression of chassidus from interacting with chassidus and Chassidim - just as I fear that whatever not so favourable impression he may have gotten of chassidus was from interacting with chassidus and Chassidim. Alas, Chaim, it will still be up to you and others within the Chassidishe velt to impress Dov.

[As we say in Tamarao, "Angsuo atawa peksuo, kutamto bage na kayo" (red affair (a happy event) or white affair (mourning), it portions entirely to you).]

Further to the phrase ‘Chessed le umim chatas’.

Chatas is derived from cheyt, indicating that something is not up to snuff, does not measure up, is insufficient. There is also a connotation of unintentionality, as the term chatas is a sin offering, meaning an offering to atone for an accidental sin.

In the discussion between Herod (disguised) and Baba ben Buta (recounted in Bava Basra 4), Baba ben Buta said: “Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rab -- that Daniel was punished because he gave advice to Nebuchadnetzer, as it is written, “ ve chata’ach be tzedkah ferok… teheve archah li shelevsach (atone for your sin through tzedaka… that you may have tranquility for a long time).” And twelve months were gained by Nebuchadnetzer.

There is a question from this, namely ‘how do we know that Daniel was punished for giving that advice?'
Thus: 'va tikra Ester la Hasach' (and Ester hailed Hasach), from which we can understand that as regards Daniel, the name Hasach suggests ‘Chaschuhu’ - they cut from him (his greatness).
But also it is explained as meaning that governmental affairs were decided (hasach) by recourse to his advice.
In that case, how also can we know that he was punished?
By reason of him being thrown into the lions den do we know this.

This whole discussion raises a question, namely how sincere is the sin offering if one thereby seeks to engineer amelioration? Or, put differently, if one from whom one can presume an ulterior motive performs a good deed, what is the weight of that deed?

One of the constants in the Talmud is the presumption of a certain validity given to Jews, and the equal assumption of a flawedness to Gentiles. This is because one should be able to take for granted a commonality of motives and ideals among one’s own, but one necessarily has to question whether an outsider shares those motives and ideals. In the case of Jews, there is the assumption of a responsibility towards God which should inform much of their habitus, and the concept that service of the divine is not a bargain with each side benefiting from the deal but rather that one performs such things as tzedaka because they are the right thing to do (the idea being that giving to the poor both rectifies an imbalance and fulfills a task entrusted, besides being an act of faith.

Plainly put: A Jew is supposed to perform chessed because it is inherent in being a Jew.

[Whether such a chezkas kashrus actually worked out in practice is a different subject, as is the question of Jewish persons whose actions placed them outside of civilized society.]

In terms of actions with an ethical or moral base, most Gentiles in that age were bribing their idols to do things for them, ergo the motives that caused Jews and Gentiles to act charitably had to be assumed to differ. The presumption of an ulterior motive to the Gentile’s actions is encapsulated in the phrase ‘chessed le umim chatas’ – charity among the nations is flawed (their good deeds lack something). One can assume that a charitable act committed by an idolator necessarily has an ulterior motive, because the pattern of bribing the idol in return for rewards not only inculcates the attitude that doing good gets rewarded, but also posits a bargaining position vis a vis the divine.

Both of these ideas are farkert.

And, unfortunately, common.

Hence the popularity of segulos.

Engaging in prayer or ritual with the intent of profiting thereby is, more or less, tantamount to superstition and witchcraft, and decidedly against the spirit of Judaism.

A rereading of both the Chapters of the Fathers and the book of Iyov will make much clear. One acts a certain way because it is right to do so, and one should not think in terms of reward

[In light of how much Iyov lost, that it all turned out rather well in the end should perhaps be considered the booby prize.]

Yonah, on the other hand, will teach how unpredictable things can be.


On a different note: there were two comments on Dovbear's blog that particularly caught my eye.

Mar Gavriel wrote:
"Right. One of the most chilling pesukim in this morning sedro (which I leyned at the Kotel, as I often do) is: וְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר-יִקַּח אֶת-אֲחֹתוֹ בַּת-אָבִיו אוֹ בַת-אִמּוֹ וְרָאָה אֶת-עֶרְוָתָהּ וְהִיא-תִרְאֶה אֶת-עֶרְוָתוֹ, חֶסֶד הוּא--וְנִכְרְתוּ, לְעֵינֵי בְּנֵי עַמָּם; עֶרְוַת אֲחֹתוֹ גִּלָּה, עֲו‍ֹנוֹ יִשָּׂא."
I am somewhat unclear about the connection between psook 20:17 ("ve ish asher yikach es achoso bas-aviv o vas-imo ve etcetera) and preceding commentaria in that thread. On one level I can understand the reference, but nevertheless I seek explication. Zeit azoy git, tayere Mar Gavriel.

The other comment was:
"careful now - you might have a problem of hatmana b'davar hamosif hevel (or maybe its just samuch and OK)"

Hatmana refers, among other things, to the box with hay or straw used in country districts of the Netherlands in olden days to preserve the heat in a pot of food. The hay or straw insulated the vessel and thus kept the food warm. The writer of the comment seems to posit that kedusha is an active force, energy (that can be added, affecting an increase in heat), rather than necessarily a passive state. Which is fascinating.

[Of course, the statement hatmana be davar hamosif hevel also brings up such things as bishul akum, blech, stirring up ashes, kliim both sheni and shlishi, and much else involving shabbes food and kashrus - so much material that I might do a separate posting at some point, bli neder.]

Then I saw the name with which he had signed himself (michael ben drosai), and nearly bust a gut. Who else could make a shabbes-food related comment but someone with that nom de guerre? How absolutely perfect. And how utterly delicious.


This is stark raving insanity:,7340,L-3393292,00.html

"Lycra has become very popular among haredi women in recent years. The fabric stretches over the body and, according to rabbis, enhances those parts that should be hidden and exposes parts that should be concealed."

Evidently the worthy rabbonim are horified, horified they will tell you (at the drop of a ......wait for it! ...... black hat) about the shocking choices offered to women who do not know any better.

Conceivably they have seen too much. Or observed too often. Or in any case looked and taken in. I shall not speculate on whether it was a zeppelin of a woman, or an elf.

[Actually, shocking clothing is something that I've been bellyaching about for years, but I've trained myself to not see cleavage and belly buttons - so heck, those young ladies could waltz around the Financial District exposing themselves entirely, and believe me my eyes would go out of focus in no time.]

But some rebbeim know better. And they have resolved to clarify what clothing and which stores are acceptable for frumme womanhood. Listen to them, and you will not be misdressed. They will issue certifications of modesty to those stores which meet their standards.


I can understand shatnez issues. I canNOT understand issuing hechsherim on matters of style, fashion, bad-taste, or how the woman in question intends to wear the article of clothing.

A bikini, worn under a chador is odd but one hundred percent tzniusdik. A chador worn during a wet chador contest on the other hand would be quite zesty, and might very well be immodest.

And a wonder-bra, well, let us not go there.... even though it might be worn under the thickest of sack-cloth bag-dresses.

[The most tzniusdikke dresser was undoubtedly Tamar, given that Yehuda did not recognize any part of her. That's 'reassuring', and food for thought.]

The idea of rebbeim carefully examining women's clothing is suspect. And rather deviant.

I would not wish to associate with rebbeim who have so queer a fetish. Nor hear about it.

I would suggest, for rebbeim who do not wish to witness the wet-chador contest, that dark glasses are not only the height of tzenua, but ferociously shtotty.
Or they could veil themselves.

In any case, gentlemen, stop looking. Fer heaven's sake, stop looking.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Chaim asked: " All this info on Rebbes seems to be copied and pasted from another source. care to share the source of your info?"

Actually, tayere Chaim, it is a condensation of notes from reading different sources. Some of the information comes from RavSig ( , some from Artscroll. Much from the internet - several different sources, some of which contradict each other. And much else from books I own. It's a patchwork.

The condensation of notes is an msword file of several hundred pages, representing several years of looking things up, jotting them down, comparing, and looking them up again when I find contradictions or differences. If I find several different sources that give the same data, and one or two sources that say something else, I'll try to figure out why they differ. Sometimes ten or twenty different webpages all copied the same incorrect source. Often what appear to be different sources are actually pastings from an original source - which may have erroneous data to begin with.

There is also a fascination with the sequence of data... mention of Rav Simcha Bunim leads to trying to find out who he was, which brings up the Chiddushei HaRim, whose thought was furthered by the Sfas Emes....

But if you mention Rav Simcha Bunim, you must also mention Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, which brings up the Chozeh of Lublin....

The interweave of all the pieces is fascinating.

And it highlights two different chains of inheritance, one being family relationships, the other being teacher-student relationships. Rabbi Ploni (*), who was the student of Alef, who was a student of Beis, whose teacher Gimmel also taught.....

[Note: both of these are different facets of the chain of person to person transmission all the way back to Sinai. Often the teacher-student transmission is the greater of the two. Hence the commandment to ‘discuss it, and teach it to your sons and sons’ son’, as it says in Devarim 6:7 "Ve shinantam le bneicha, ve dibarta bam be shivteicha b'veiteicha, u velechteicha va derech, u veshachbeicha u vekumeicha" (And you will teach them diligently to your children, and discuss them when you sit in your home, and when you walk on the road, and when lie down and when you get up).]

[Sidetrack: Ploni (Ploni Almoni = John Doe) seems a clear cognate of Fulan, which is often borrowed from Arabic into the other Muslim languages, meaning 'so-and-so', 'whomever', 'old whatsis-bucket'.]


Now, how does the looking up thing work out in practice?

Here's an example.

E-kvetcher (, upon reading a previous post, commented: " Cossacks! - reminded me of this scroll down to read the contents of the letters!"
Which directed me to the "Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of Turkey", that being a lyrically nasty letter which they (the Cossacks) wrote as their answer to a demand that they submit to the Sultan's authority.

To make complete sense of it one needs to know that Cossacks were originally Ruthenian peasants who fled to the steppes to get away from taxes and exploitation in Poland and Russia. Later they were militarized to protect the boundaries of Russia, particularly from the barbarians south of the border.

[There is much more detail about the Cossacks here: and here: ]

Zaporozhian host & Pereyaslav
It helps if one looks up who the Zaporozhian host were. A little research will clarify that these were the Cossacks based in the Ukraine along the Dnieper, formerly an independent polity, but after the treaty of Pereyaslav autonomous under the Tzar.

[Pereyaslav: a fortified border settlement of Kiev founded in the tenth century, destroyed by the barbarian hordes in the thirteenth, garrison and council city of the Cossacks in the Ukraine in the seventeenth century. The treaty of Pereyaslav tied the Ukrainian Cossacks to the Russian state as an autonomous hetmanate.]

Further reading brings up the name 'Grigory Potemkin'. Who was Grigory Potemkin?

To quote from a Wikipedia entry (here: ), Prince (Reichsfürst) Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin-Tavricheski (September 13, 1739 (NS: September 24)–October 5, 1791 (NS: October 16)) was a Russian general-field marshal, statesman, and favourite of Catherine II the Great. He is primarily remembered for his efforts to colonize the sparsely populated wild steppes of Southern Ukraine, which passed to Russia under the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji (1774). Among the towns founded by Potemkin are Kherson, Nikolaev (Mykolayiv), Sevastopol, and Yekaterinoslav (now Dnipropetrovsk).

Kuban hat
While reading all this, one may remember that images of Cossacks show them wearing a type of furry tarboush. What is that thing called? Research will lead one through some interesting stuff ("Cossack slut: an Eastern-European trollop whose fashion sense is stuck in the Reagan era"), including pictures of Kuban style hats (so-called for the Cossacks from the Kuban river area, mostly Krasnodarsky Krai - it is the classic squatty fur pill box with a coloured inner cap visible from the top) and a definition of an ushanka (earflap hat; a hat with flaps that can be tied up, or tied at the chin to cover the ears), and papakha (a tall fur pillbox or cylinder hat, originally from the Caucasus, which was part of cavalry and Cossack uniforms under the tsars, though limited to officer ranks under the Soviets, after a period of being out of favour because of Cossack resistance to the Reds). But no clear indication of what the Kuban Cossack hat may have been called - possibly papakha or papakhi, but I have not been able to confirm that.
Hmmm, I'll have to keep looking.

Chassidic hats
The hat thing reminded me of the fur hats worn by Chassidic rebbes.
In brief: Shtreimel = fur hat which is round and flatter than it is tall. Spodek = a barrel shaped fur hat favoured by Gerrer Chasids. Kulpak = a cone shaped fur hat.
But note that spodek means a plate or saucer, which seems to imply a shape more like what is commonly identified as shtreimel. One source says that Satmarrer Chossids wear shtreimlech, another says only Russians wear them. And a third states categorically that a kulpak is a tall skullcap made out of fur. There are surprisingly few good sources for information on head gear on the internet. Tzarich iyun.

Hetman and Petliura
Back to the letter of the Whatsobunny Cossacks to Sultan Thingyding.
A word catches my eye: HETMAN. I remember reading about the Ataman Simon Petliura (yemach shemo) back in the seventies. So, what does 'hetman' mean? And is it the same as 'ataman'?

Hetman is explained as derived from German Hauptman (same as Dutch 'hoofdman'), whereas 'ataman' is presumed to be from Turkic: Ata (father, hence chief) with 'man' postfix. Both terms mean more or less the same thing: leaders of Cossack bands and cavalry troops. It is quite possible that they are actually the same term, and equally possbily the etymological truth resembles neither of the explainations given. The title is, in any case, obsolete.

And again, back to the epistle of the Thinggangdooki Haidamaks to the Grand Poobah of Turkey. One of the famous hetmans listed in the article is 'Bohdan Khmelnytsky'. A very familiar name. Bogdan Chelmnitski yemach shemo was the Cossack chieftain whose violent revolt destroyed the Jewish communities of Poland and the Ukraine. His name has cropped up in several places. Unfortunately the wikipedia article (here: ) about him appears to be mostly hagiography, with only scant reference to the terror that he and his followers inflicted on what had been a flourishing Yiddishe velt.

Shabbasai Zvi
The article does mention Shabbasai Zvi, however. I'll have to reread those books about Shabbasai Zvi which I bought a few years ago. Maybe I should look up Jacob Frank. And I should probably also see if some of my books about Turkey and Turkish history and society have anything to say about the Donmeh.

[Donmeh: a sect of crypto-Jews or Sabbateans, being the descendants of the followers of Shabbasai Zvi who ostensibly converted to Islam but maintain some cultish behaviours from the good old days of false messianism - comparative religion meets avodah zara, possibly some fascinating stuff here. Now mostly resident in Istanbul.
I read somewhere that many Turkish politicians untill the seventies or eighties were Donmeh, but that is probably nothing more than another conspiracy theory about the Jews. I'll have to retrace my steps and try to remember where I read that, and what it was that I read. Betcha that the Donmeh are also accused of being Masons and CIA stooges.]

And back to rebbeim
So, in conclusion, yes that letter from the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of Turkey is a riotous hoot (though absolutely un-printable, for all of its eloquence), and as you can see one thing which you look up will lead to other things. Which you also look up. And at some point you see a relationship with something else. It simply happens.

Looking up one Chassidic rebbe leads to another Chassidic rebbe. Behind each rebbe you will find more rebbes. If one rebbe said something, some other rebbe probably said something that is somehow also relevant. Or someone quoted him, in a context that relates to something else.


Chaim G. writes:
Followed the link to Rabbi Pinky Shmeklestein. Was revolted.

BOTH We Jews also have a trinity. Yisrael, v'Oraysa V'Kudhs brikh hu khad hu ="Israel, the Torah and G-D are one". Hence loving Jews and loving the Torah are two sides of the same coin. One who loves Rabbi Pinky Shmeklestein despises Torah. As you are indeed a Philo-Semite I beg you case and desist your "uncovering the nakedness" of Rabbi Shmeklestein at once!

[This was his reaction to Dovbear's posting 'Better Know a Blogger' about this blog, in which it became apparent that there was a connection between myself and Rabbi Pinky Schmecklestein. See here:]

Tayere Chaim,

I can understand your reaction. And I don't expect you to 'get' it. Not everyone does.

Think of the Yeshiva Chipass Emes phenomenon as part of a broad-perspective approach to the Judaic world. A different way of learning, a way of focusing on the texts and the traditions without breaking one's head over the rocks. Or even, merely a way of tumbling the material around in one's head.

Your initial reaction was against the absurdity and irreverence (oh, and also probably the potty humour). But your reaction was immediate, and intense, and reflected a life-time of conditioning. Which explains precisely what you are and where you are coming from.

[And aren't you still the same person you were before your exposure to YCE?]

Not everyone has your background or comes from that environment, and some, even of impeccable Jewish origins, have not come anywhere near Yiddishkeit or studying the material their whole lives. And there are also those who have fled.
Yeshiva Chipass Emess brings the material up - that people react, however they react, is good. They're reacting. They're looking at material that you, me, Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein, and many other people, all consider worth time and effort. And they're relating to it.
It is up to them how they choose to approach the material afterward. In its own way, it's a test. If they don't explore any further, that is their lookout.

We don't all look at it the same way, but we're all looking at it, and making it our own.

[If anyone took the Schmeckelsteinian interpretation as the straight deal, one could be absolutely certain that they had no sense of humour, lacked a functioning brain, and would be eternally incapable of dealing with any other interpretation also.
At the Yeshiva we have fortunately not met anyone like that - other than the occasional putz trying to cope with a terminal case of shverre Yushkaism. Most literalists have such blinkers that they cannot see the Yeshiva.]

One can laugh at something while nevertheless remaining passionately committed to it. Sometimes the contrast is what throws it into sharpest relief, often stepping back gives one a better perspective.
It is not only possible to see things from different angles, it is essential. Taking only one approach to a subject yields only a mono-dimensional familiarity. A flatness, a lack of depth and perspective.

And as a friend put it, "someone who cannot laugh at religion probably shouldn't have religion".

A war metaphor: There is a blindfolded man on a battlefield - he cannot see the attack, where it is coming from, or the danger he himself is in. But once the blindfold is removed......

A shabbes metaphor: A man spends hours happily studying on shabbes, his neighbor simply eats tsholnt, belches, and has a good long nap. When they meet and compare what the other is doing, they're baffled at how the other one spends the day. But each tries the other's approach a few times, and while they don't change their habits, what they have experienced gives them a new appreciation for shabbes, and for each other.

A language metaphor: After many years of learning proper text-book French, the brilliant student visited Paris. And realized that he should have also read French newspapers, magazines and cheap novels, because while he understood every word that was said to him, he had no clue what they were actually saying.

A food metaphor: Chrain and charoses - different in taste, in association, in way of approaching the memory of Egypt. Is a seder without both complete? Now extend that idea to everything else on the peysach table. No single element makes the seder, but all of them together make it whole.

There are different ways of experiencing. Whether they are valid, well, that depends on the individual.

Four men entered paradise. Ben Azzai died, Ben Zoma lost his mind.....

And the point of that tale is that Elisha Ben Abuya was already a lost case before he saw paradise, while Akiva, because of what he already was, "entered in peace and left in peace".
What they were determined how they would react.

I'm certain that people are capable of digesting the Schmeckelsteinian point of view without indigestion. That they can enter in peace and leave in peace. In fact, I'm convinced the better the person, the better they will be after experiencing the Schmeckelsteinian point of view.

On a final, and somewhat absurdist note, at a party a long time ago, a friend who could not eat cake rubbed it on her face instead - thus experiencing it to the fullest despite her inability to eat it.
Her perception of cake was not the same as everyone else's, but it was just as valid.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Chaim G. has a guestpost on Dovbear's blog (here: in which he shares a vort by Reb Hanoch of Alexander about tzara'as, lashon hara, and rechilus.

[Note Chanoch of Alexander was a talmid of the Kutzker, whom Chaim G. also mentions. More about both below.]


Pursuant thereto it is perhaps worthwhile to consider what tzara'as is.

Tzara'as is commonly translated as leprosy, yet a review of symptoms, causes, and cures will make clear that while it may metaphorize Hansen's disease it is by no means the same ailment.

[Please reread Parshas Tazria (She Bears Seed, Seifer Vayikra, psookim 12:1 through 13:59) and Parshas Metzora (Diseased Individual, Seifer Vayikra, psookim 14:1 through 15:33).]

The mistranslation is based on mediaeval misconceptions and ignorance. As is clear from the many descriptions of leprosy dating from the middle ages, mediaeval man considered almost every ailment that marked the skin as leprosy, and believed all such diseases to be highly infectious, virulent, and untreatable. The number of people cast out during the middle-ages for even such common conditions as acne or psoriasis was correspondingly enormous. Since then, as science progressively differentiated among skin ailments, the term leprosy has been more narrowly defined, eventually limited to Hansen's disease.

Hansen's disease is a slow infection that can only be caught be long exposure to another infected party. While it isn't curable, it can be arrested and suppressed (for accurate up-to-date medical information please consult a physician).
One risk is that because the sufferer will have been infected for a long time before symptoms are manifested, there will be a likelihood that housemates have caught the disease - hence in the middle-ages entire families were expelled together, thus guaranteeing the spread.

[Except, of course, if they were rich and powerful - nobles and wealthy merchants were usually spared isolation and banishment. Unless the Church failed to get some of their money.]

What clinches the argument that tzara'as is NOT leprosy is that buildings and objects are also subject to tzara'as - and, if remaining infected despite purificatory rituals, must be abandoned.

It is better to think of tzara'as as a broad spectrum of manifestations characterized by spottiness, ranging from nervous skin afflictions and allergic reactions, to seepage, molds, and mildew in buildings, and manufacturing flaws in materials that only became apparent after use and under certain conditions. The exact determinants are not clear, but the key concept is a blemish that spoils perfection – similar to unacceptable sacrificial animals, women during Nidah, and Kohanim in spotty relationships.

[If the whiteness or scaliness completely covered the person or object (perfection) it was not tzara'as.]

Tzara'as, as a symbolic version of leprosy, was the result of lashon hara - the telling of negative things about another, and in the Torah a method is given for "curing" the metzoro.
The incidence of a multitude of skin-ailments which were not alleviated by rituals, especially during an age in which possible dermal manifestations of malnutrition, parasitic infections, and lingering or chronic ailments were not uncommon, must have lead to many people being accused of speaking ill of others so horribly that they could not be purified.

How bitterly ironic.


[Hanoch of Alexander, the Kutzker, plus other important linkages.]

Hanoch of Alexander: Rav Chanoch Henich HaKohen (1798 - 1870), A disciple of the Kutzker (1787 - 1859) who followed Rav Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Ishbitz (1804 - 1854) upon the split in 1839 or 1840 between the Kutzker and the Ishbitzer. He was also influenced by Rav Simcha Bunim of Pshishcha (1767 - 1828).
He was noted for his deep understanding of both nigla (the revelationary side of Torah) and nister (the mystical side of Torah).

He became the Rebbe of Alexander at the age of 68 after the death of the Chiddushei HaRim. Upon his death four years later he was succeeded by the Sfas Emes.

[His surname is also given by some sources as 'Levin' and 'Szatten-Levin', rather than as HaKohen. HaKohen ('The Priest') is usually merely a title of descendants of Aaron.]

The Kutzker: The Tzaddik of Kotsk, Rav Menachem Mendel ben Leibush Morgenstern (1787 – 1859), the grandfather of the Shem Mi Shmuel. He was a student of the Chozeh of Lublin (1745 - 1815) and of Rav Simcha Bunim of Pshishcha (1765 - 1827), whom he succeeded.

The Kutzker founded a chassidishe derech which is still in existence, though not numerous. He was reclusive, and at times extremely anti-social, coming out of his room only to hammer home the pursuit of truth (emes) and justice (din). His disciple the RIM founded Gerrer Chasidus, which at one time had many tens of thousands of followers in Poland and Gallicia.

Rav Simcha Bunim of Pshishcha: Simcha Bunim (or Binem) Bonhart (1765 - 1827), a student of the Maggid of Koznitz (Rav Yisroel ben Shabbasai Hopstein, 1737 - 1814) and the Chozeh (seer) of Lublin (Rav Yakov Yitzchok Horowitz, 1745 - 1815). One of his students was the RIM, also called the Chiddushei HaRim.

The RIM: Rav Yitzhok 'Feige' Meir Alter of Rothenburg (1799 – 1866), first Rebbe of Ger, also known as the Chiddushei HaRim (innovativa of the RIM, that being the title under which his writing appeared), had also been a student of Rav Simcha Bunim of Pshishcha. His grandson the Sfas Emes succeeded him to Ger. The Rim was a descendant of Rashi, and hence of the lineage of King David. Note: Chiddushei means 'new things of', and hence innovations of, or even insights of. It is a term used in reference to Torah and Talmud scholarship.

The Sfas Emes: Rav Yehuda Aryeh Leib ben Avraham Mordechai Alter (1847 – 1905), second Rebbe of Ger (which is now Gora-Kalwaria), called Sfas Emes (Lips Of Truth) after his most famous book. The greatest influence on the Sfas Emes was his grandfather, the Chiddushei HaRim. The Sfas Emes was the father of the Imrei Emes (Rav Avrohom Mordechai Alter, 1866 - 1948).

One of the Sfas Emes' students was Rav Yekusiel Yehudah ben Tzvi Hirsch Halberstam (1905 – 1994), a great grandchild of Rav Chayim Sanzer, and founder of the Sanz-Klausenberger dynasty, which has branches in Kiryas Sanz in Israel, Boro Park in Brooklyn, Union City in New Jersey, and in Williamsburg.

Now note that there is a connection between Bobov and Sanz-Klausenberger – The Bobover Rebbes are descendants of the eldest einiklach (grandson) of Rav Chayim Zanzer (the Divrei Chayim), Shlomo Halberstam. His son, Ben Tzion Halberstam (1874 – 1941), was murdered by the Germans in 1941, but succeeded by his son Rav Shlomo Halberstam, who eventually rebuilt Bobov in the U.S.

Note: Rav Chanoch is the Alexander because that is the town in which he settled after having been rabbi of Krushnyevitz. The Chiddushei HaRim, the Sfas Emes, and subsequent iterations are Ger, after the town where Rav Yitzhok Alter had been rebbe, and where his grandson later became rebbe.


Nigeria barely had an election, and already decisions are being made there that will have earth-shattering reverberations.

Oh yes.

I received the letter below from a correspondent in Ghana, who is either a very promising future literateur, or has some dysfunctional relatives.

Or both. I'm holding out for both.

--- --- ---

From: "Junior William"
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2007 13:54:23 +0200

Dear, Sir/Madam.

My name is promise junior Williams. I am the first and the only son of Late barrister. Eze William. My father was shot dead on Monday morning 16th april on his way back from the electoral house, after the primary election in my country nigeria .

His client won the election, on their way back home his client oppositions hired some bad guys against him as they where driving home the bad guys attack them and my father and some of his client boys get shot and some died instantly, although my father did not die instantly, but he letter died. But before his last breath in his private hospital he called me on his bed side and told me to contact his secretary for the documents of the sum of Us$18.000.000.[eighteen million dollars] Which he deposited in a private security company in London for safe keeping with my name as the next-of-kin.

Presently I am in Ghana the nearest country to Nigeria because my uncle has planed to kill me so that he can take all my fathers property. My life is in danger. But I have finally left every thing for him, because I have to get this fund out immediately.

According to my father instruction, he told me to search for an America, British or an European person to help me claim the fund as his business partner before the security company, considering my age.

Please I need you to reply me and I will give you more information about how you will claim this fund. Meanwhile I get your contact trough google when I was searching for a sincere person to entrust this project with. Your telephone is required incase you want to hear my voice. Please do not hesitate to help me. I will appreciate your urgent reply to enable me give you more direction. Thanks.

Urs truly Junior Williams.

--- --- ---

Now, as you have probably guessed, I am indeed an America, British or an European person.

Unfortunately, what with my busy schedule robbing little old ladies and conning well-meaning Christians out of their childrens' college funds (that super-mega-multi-church WILL be built soon, I promise!), I barely have time to engage in my favourite pursuit (clubbing fluffy little kittens for fun AND profit), so I have no time to take Mr. Junior Williams up on his very kind offer.

But maybe YOU can contact him.
At the very least, send him some "greentings", and console him about his father (deceased) and his uncle (murderous).

Be sure to sign it Sir/Madam, so that he knows it comes from a friend.

It would be the very least somebody could do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


In a comment string on a Dovbear blog guest post by Ed (browny points to Dov for exemplary hachnoses orchim, by the way), I wrote that something reminded me of both Maoist propaganda from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution era, and Christian Sunday school pablum. After which I was somewhat critical of inspirational fluff and cotton wool.

SM, who causes havoc by sometimes showing up at black-hat shuls wearing a kippah srugah and a t-shirt, responded: "Read an Art Scroll 'Biography'. Or indeed a Feldheim 'Biography'. No wonder Charedim believe in daas torah. The people they read about never do anything wrong and are always right in what they suggest. I truly believe that in taking the non-critical hagiographic approach to such extremes you create a generation who cannot face the fact that their heroes have ever done anything which is not 100% pure and true. That is propaganda and Jews, of all people, should resist it."

This immediately reminded me of the biography of the Chofetz Chaim which I read three years ago. I shall NOT commit lashon hara by stating who the author was, or what utter soft-in-the-head balderdash it was, but merely mention that it failed to inspire, failed to intrigue, and but for a super-human effort on the part of the reader, failed to hold any interest whatsogevaltever.

What I'm fairly certain I did not gather from that book (because I had gathered it before I bought the book) was that the Chofetz Chaim was a Chassidic master from Radin in Lithuania (Rabbi Yisroel Meyer Kagan HaKohen, 1839 – 1933) and author of several works: Ahavas Chesed (loving kindness), Nidchei Yisroel (the scattering of Israel), and several others, including works on halacha (law) and haskafah (philosophy).

The work for which he is most famous is the one by the title of which he is known: Chafetz Chayim (choose life), which is about lashon hara (evil tongue – gossip, speaking ill others, and doing ill by speaking of others).
[A book which goes into any detail about something, even if in utter opposition thereto, can function as a ‘how to’ - the choice is yours. It’s a zesty subject. Watch Fox news for actual examples of lashon horo in practice.]

The term Chofetz Chayim is taken from Psalm 34:13 - 15 “Mi ha ish he chafetz chayim, ohev yamim lirot tov?” ('Who is the man that choses life, and loves days in which he sees good?'). “Netzor lashonecha me ra, u sfateicha midaber mirma,” (Hold your tongue from evil, and your lips from voicing deceit), “Sur me ra, va ase tov, bekesh shalom ve radefehu!” (turn from evil and do good, look for peace and pursue it).

Note, by the way, that ‘Kagan’ is a transcription of Kohen.

As a measure of his character, and veering somewhat into the sweet puffy cotton wool propaganda realm nevertheless, consider the following:
The Chofetz Chaim had a brilliant student at the yeshiva he founded in Radin, who married, and eventually stopped studying, as the needs of providing for a family took up more and more of his time.
One day the Chofetz Chaim ran into him, and urged him to resume his studies, even if only by joining a group for the study of one blatt (one folio page, side a and b) of Talmud a day. The student apologized, but indicated that this would be of little use – he used to devour ten blatt a day, surely one blatt would be as nothing? A mere one blatt! Myeh! Better to wait until he would again have all the time in the world, and then return to his studies.

The Chofetz Chaim told him of a man who was warned by his doctor to stay away from the baths, because in his weak condition they would prove too enervating. One day he passed the bath-house, gave in to temptation and went inside, enjoying the heat and steam for several hours. After a while, it affected him, so badly that he believed he would faint. Mustering all his remaining strength, he rushed to the Mikvah to cool off. But what was this? The door was locked! He wailed in despair. Someone came at his calling, with a basin of cold water to pour over him and relieve his discomfort.

Now surely this man did not say “that basin is not enough, what good will that do? I will have the mikva or nothing!” And so it is with study.
As Hillel says in Pirkei Avos (2:5), “Do not say ‘when I have leisure I will study’, for perhaps you may never have leisure.”

The Chofetz Chaim should actually be better remembered for the Mishna Berura (teachings clarified), which is a six volume gloss on Orach Chayim presenting a spectrum of opinions concerning the halachos of prayer, service, shabbes, and yomim tovim.
It is one of the major works. a sehr bavuste sefer.



Orach Chayim = A section of the Shulchan Aruch, the well-known compendium of Halacha by Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488 – 1575), containing also the opinions of his famous predecessors, and usually printed with the commentary of the Rama. The Orach Chayim deals with laws concerning daily living and holiday practices.

Shulchan Aruch = ‘The Set Table’; a monumental compendium of Jewish law, reflecting a Sfardic bent, hence subsequently augmented with the Mapa (tablecloth) by Harav Moshe Isserles (the Rama, 1530 – 1572), which gives the Ashkenazic points of view. The Shulchan Aruch is probably the most well known compendium of Jewish law, but tends towards Sephardic custom, which is why the Mapa is always printed in the same book for the Ashkenazic point of view. Custom (minhag) has the weight of the law of the land.

[Whence, by the way, that term 'set table'? From Psalm 23, second verse: "Gam ki eileich be gei tzal-mavet, lo ira ra, ki ata imadi. Shivteicha u mishanteicha, heimah yenachamuni. Ta'aroch le fanai shulchan, neged tzorerai, dishanta va shemen roshi, kosi revayah. Ach tov va chesed yirdefuni kol yemei chayai, ve shavti be veit Adonai le orech yamim." ('Indeed, though I walk through the dale of the shadow of death, I shall not fear evil, because You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they console me. You have set before me a table, opposite my enemies, You have anointed me head with balm, my cup overflows. Verily goodness and righteousness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will settle in the house of the Lord to the end of days').]

The Rama (the ReMa) = Rav Moishe Ben Yisroel Isserless (born 1525 or 1530 in Krakow, died 1572). Author of the Mappah (tablecloth), which is a supplement to Yosef Karo's Shulchan Aruch (the set table).

Yosef Ben Efraim Karo (1488 – 1575), native of Toledo in Spain, who at four years of age left Iberia with thousands of others in the expulsion – an event which directly benefited the Ottoman empire (where Yosef Karo’s family settled), and a few generations later also proved a blessing to Amsterdam (when the “Portuguese” Sfardim settled along the Amstel river).

He is, in reference to the Shulchan Aruch, often called the ‘mechaber’ (author).

In addition to the Shulchan Aruch, Rav Karo was also the author of the Beis Yosef (a digest and commentary on the Arba Turim (four rows) of Rav Yakov Ben Asher, 1270 – 1340). In it, he analyzes the rulings and traces them to their sources in the Talmud. The Beis Yosef is frequently printed as commentary in the Arba Turim, which demonstrates how indispensable it is for study.

He was also the brother in law of Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz (1500 – 1580) and the teacher of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (the Ramak, born circa 1522, died 1570).

Rav Moshe Cordovero was the teacher of Rabbi Chayim Vital Calabrese, the author of Ohr Yakar (Precious Light; a commentary on the Zohar) and Pardes Rimonim (The Pomegranate Garden; a compendium of Kabala). Rav Moshe received smicha (rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Yakov Beirav (circa 1474 – 1546).

Rabbi Shlomo AlKabetz (born 1500 in Salonica, moved to Tzfat in 1535, died 1580), also ordained by Rabbi Yakov Beirav, was the author of Manot HaLevi, Bris HaLevi, Beis HaShem, Avotos Aheva, Ayalet Ahavim, and, finally, a song - Lecha Dodi (Come, o beloved), for which he is perhaps most famous.


Note: what follows is a tentative text. I'm still wondering about this stuff. I don't know yet exactly what I think, but I am keen to hear what you think.

Bilaam knew the intent of his creator: a midrash states that Bilaam knew precisely when HKBH would blow, and used that knowledge advantageously to curse. But Bilaam, while knowing when HKBH would utilize his midas ha din (characteristic of justice, the just aspect of the deity), did not know when He would instead apply his midas ha rachamim (quality of compassion).

Rashi explains that because of the prayers of the righteous, the midas ha din becomes the midas ha rachamim, whereas the evil of those who are wicked transforms the quality of mercy into the harsh exercise of justice (commentary on Parshas Noach).

So if it was not in accord with the will of the HKBH, a curse such as commanded by Balak the king of Moab could very well have played out like that scene in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, in which opening the Ark Of The Covenant turns into a howling apocalypse for the baddies.

Per Rashi, the world was first created with the midas ha din, and when it became apparent that something was missing in the world, midas ha rachamim was used.
[From this one could shper that the midas ha rachamim is especially suited to women. This is not necessarily wrong, but does not seem quite right either. One provides for those one loves with both, one protects those one loves with both. ]

The midas ha din is tempered by the midas ha rachamim, and intercourse with other people should be informed by both, being incomplete otherwise.

An example of the midas ha din being tempered by the midas ha rachamim is the allowance of a monetary restitution in lieu of an eye for an eye. The midas ha din demands an eye, the midas ha rachamim permits a payment of the value of the eye.
[Exacting the precise penalty stated (the eye) would leave something missing (a sense of the fairness of justice).]

The midas ha din judges strictly and finds the world wanting, the midas ha rachamim judges gently and sees worth in the world. The midas ha din opposes whatever and whoever is not perfect, but the midas ha rachamim excuses flaws and keeps them in existence.

This is somewhat like the modern American conception of Karma, but if the balance in the world implied above actually worked out so perfectly, there would be no hester panim, and the presence of the divine would be proven. The indescribability of the divine necessarily implies that if there were such a balance, it would not be apparent to us – we do not know, we cannot know.
There are causes for everything, but there will be the appearance of semi-random progression.
The semblance of chaos and the absence of the divine may be no more than a sign of the unknowability and actual presence of the divine.

Or not. It’s a question of faith.

What we are left with is that instead of assuming order in the world, we ourselves can, and probably must, impose order on our own scale and through our own actions. Raw reality tempered by tolerance. Order through midas ha din as interpreted through midas ha rachamim.


Anti-Semite = A Cossack who boasts that several of his friends are Jewish; a Goy.
Self hating Jew = Someone who in rebellion against his mother socializes with the Anti-Semite next door; an Apikoros.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


My view of the Bay Area Women In Black is formed by my exposure to their anti-Israel rhetoric, their participating in demonstrations alongside rabid anti-Semites, and their support for terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.

Well, the Bay Area is more loopy than the rest of the country. And it is quite likely that what was not a bad idea a long time ago got taken over by a bad crowd.

So, for comparison, I decided to look at other Women In Black. Specifically, I decided to see what the Dutch WIBs were like.
The reason being that my bilious perspective on Europeans has been caused by a decade's worth of reading Dutch Newspapers, blogs, and discussions on the internet - and surely there can be no better example of the thought-world of a liberal Western European democracy than that of the country which started the whole liberal humanist political tradition? A country which is probably the prime exemplar of successful liberalism?

[Having lived there for the better part of two decades, I have been much exposed to Dutch ideas and political ideologies. Plus I speak, read, and write Dutch fluently - that, too, determined my choice.]

Result below. Translation in square brackets underneath the large text, commentary underneath the translation.

Vrouwen in 't Zwart Amsterdam houden een wake op
Vrijdag 4 mei 2007

[Women in Black Amsterdam will hold a wake on Friday May fourth 2007]

Comment: May fourth is the day when the Netherlands remembers the occupation in WWII, and commemorates those who perished during that period (in the Netherlands, over three quarters of the Jewish community was wiped out, largely with the active co-operation of Dutch civil authorities and the proportionately largest collaborationist movement of occupied Europe). Many Dutch were betrayed by their fellow countrymen - that also is, in theory, remembered.

By this choice of day the Women In Black of Amsterdam seek to draw a comparison, and hijack what should be a non-political and solemn event. Given their support for the Hamas, notabene listed as a terrorist organization even by the European states, this is obscene.

vanaf 12:45 uur
op het SPUI in Amsterdam (bij 't Lieverdje)
[From 12:45 onward, on the Spui (by the statue of 't Lieverdje']

ISRAEL: Stop de invasies in Palestijns gebied, landconfiscaties, uitgaansverboden, omsingeling van steden, uithongering van de burgers
[ISRAEL: stop the invasions in Palestinian territory, landconfiscations, movement restrictions, encircling of cities, starvation of citizens.]

Comment: PALESTINIAN ORGANIZATIONS: Stop launching rockets, kidnapping, shooting, and attempts to commit atrocities! ARABS: Stop funding the most violent and psychotic of Palestinian groups! EUROPE: Stop voicing support and understanding for acts of terror and anti-Semitism!

5 jaar Intifada en 39 jaar bezetting: meer dan genoeg!
[Five years of Intifada and 39 years of occupation: more than enough!]

Comment: I agree. So does Israel. Unfortunately, unless the Palestinians become more willing to take responsibility for their own security and clamp down on terrorists, the only alternative to occupation is withdrawing, and subsequently attacking every time another rocket crosses the border. Realistically they would also have to create a strip of no-mans land as wide as the range of Palestinian missiles to ensure safety, increasing it every time and at each point where a missile crosses over into Israel. That does not seem like the optimum desired result, does it?

Beëindig de bezetting van de Westoever en Gaza
The wall must fall - Weg met de annexatie muur
Ontruim alle sinds 1967 gestichte nederzettingen
Jeruzalem, hoofdstad voor twee volkeren!

[End the occupation of the Westbank and Gaza / The wall must fall - away with the annexation wall / Evacuate all settlements founded since 1967 / Jerusalem, capitol for two peoples!]

Comment: Gaza is no longer occupied, much of the westbank is administered by the locals, the wall has proven very effective in preventing terror attacks (less attacks each year despite ever more attempts), the Palestinians are NEVER going to get Gush Etzion back (we do remember what was done to it between 1948 and 1967), and you might as well forget about Jerusalem, which was not granted to Israel by the UN solely because the Catholic nations did not want the Jews to control the city. Does that influence what the world thinks should be done with Jerusalem? Is that why they refuse to acknowledge the permanent Jewishness of the city? Is that why so many Europeans and their American sympathisers can overlook the fundamental place that Jerusalem has in Judaism and Jewish identity?

The portion liberated in 1967 was largely the old Jewish quarter; please remember what the Jordanian army did there in 1948. Besides, any thought of returning the Kotel to the Arabs is absurd, and considering that the Muslims can still worship at the mosque of Omar, which is still administered by the Waqf, there is no reason for any further concession on the issue of Jerusalem.

De Israëlische regering is verantwoordelijk voor:
[The Israeli government is responsible for:]

Dagelijks tientallen doden, niet alleen in Gaza , maar ook in de West Bank door het Israëlische leger. Na de grootscheepse bombardementen afgelopen zomer op de electriciteitscentrale en watervoorzieningen in Gaza als collectieve strafmaatregelen tegen de Palestijnse bevolking, waardoor honderduizenden geen stroom en water hebben, ziekenhuizen niet kunnen opereren, medicijnen en voedseltransporten het land niet in kunnen,is Gaza nu hermetisch afgesloten, ter land door roadblocks, ter zee -de haven is verwoest en geblokkeerd en in de lucht. Leden van de wettig gekozen- Hamas regering en vele parlements-leden zijn gearresteerd zijn en zitten in de gevangenis!
[Daily tens of dead, not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank, by the Israeli Army. After the massive bombardments last summer on the electrical plant and the water suppliers in Gaza as collective punishment against the Palestinian population, whereby hundreds of thousands lack current and water, hospitals cannot operate, medicines and food transports cannot enter the land, now Gaza is hermetically sealed - by land because of roadblocks, by sea because the harbour is destroyed and blockaded, and by air. Members of the legally chosen Hamas government and many parliamentarians have been arrested and are in jail!]

Comment: The Israeli government is responsible for the safety and security of her own citizens, and it would be lovely if the Palestinian organizations showed as much concern for theirs, instead of daily attempting to kill Israelis.
That they are not as successful at whacking Jews as Israel is at interdicting murderous Palestinian ventures is not the fault of the Israeli government - it seems somewhat suspect and patronizing to blame the Israelis for the failures of the Arabs. Yes, those massive bombardments were horrible - so were and are the barrages of Qassams, killings, terror attempts, and ongoing weapons smuggling and bomb-making in Gaza.

Earlier it was claimed that Gaza was occupied, here it appears that it is not - which, of course, is the reason why the amount of Palestinian war-materiel that has entered Gaza in the last year has shot through the roof. It can also in no way be argued that Qassams and bomb-vests are defensive in nature.

As regards the legally elected Hamas government members, what is overlooked is the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization devoted to destroying Israel and harming Jews everywhere, an organization which additionally advocates the destruction of the west, and the imposition of Islamic law in Europe and North America.

Need I remind you of the many times Hamas have urged their followers to kill Americans? Why should Israel tolerate them? And why should we criticize Israel for interfering with the plans of what is one of the more murderous branches of the Muslim Brotherhood (an organization that has also given us inter alia Al Qaeda and the Salafi thugs in North Africa)?

Asserting that the Hamas government was legally elected is immaterial. That murderers and racist thugs could even stand for election is more than fairly disgusting, and that Palestinian law permitted that is unacceptable. That it was legal does not mean that it was right. Chinese law permits the execution of homosexuals for being gay (as do the laws of several other 'exemplary' states), Saudi law circumscribes the rights of women, Jews, and Christians, Russian law is draconian. Many Muslim countries legally permit and encourage wife-beating, dictatorships utilize their laws for repression, and apparently our own laws permit incarceration of foreigners in Guantanamo without recourse.

Further, Palestinians are no great respecters of law - unless extrajudicial killings of accused prisoners is legal, unless honour-killings are legal, unless assassinations of political rivals is legal, unless advocating the murder of Jews and Christians is legal.

And if that is indeed so, their law needs much reform.

-De bouw van de apartheidsmuur [ 2 keer zo hoog als de Berlijnse muur], die de Palestijnen hun land en werk afpakt en hen opsluit in ghetto's. Israël is in hard tempo bezig de muur te voltooien, door hen aangeduid als afscheidingshek , maar door de Palestijnen de apartheidsmuur wordt genoemd. Terwijl velen in het westen denken dat de muur als veiligheidsmaatregel wordt gebouwd, ziet de werkelijkheid er totaal anders uit.
[The building of the apartheid wall (twice as high as the Berlin wall), which robs the Palestinians of their land and employment and shuts them up in ghettoes. Israel is at a rapid rate busy completing the wall, by them referred to as a separation fence, but called by the Palestinians the Apartheid wall. While many in the west think that the wall is being built as a security precaution, the reality is entirely different.]

Comment: I note the loaded terminology here - apartheid, Berlin Wall, Ghetto.

Firstly, apartheid is an inappropriate term, given the huge differences between what the Boers were up to versus what the Israelis are up against. The Berlin Wall never protected either group whereas the security fence keeps bomb-belt wearing Palestinians from showing off their explosive sartorial splendour in Israeli buses and Pizzerias. And the term ghetto is more appropriate to the mellas in which Jews in parts of the Arab world used to live than to the vast areas of Arab-occupied villages and cities.

I for one applaud the building of that wall - I only wish that it had been started earlier, as then the lives of the Schijveschuurder family (five of whom were killed in 2001 when Sbarro's Pizzeria was bombed) would not have been ended.

It is particularly poignant that a Jewish family whose prior generations had been in the Netherlands as long as mine have been in the new world (nearly four centuries) was terminated in the one place on the planet where, more than anywhere else, they should have been safe.

Considering that Palestinians celebrated that despicable act, even gloatingly creating an exhibit of the restaurant at En-Najah University in Nablus, complete with blood spatters and mock human body parts, I really need to ask why anybody would be pro-Palestinian? What moves people to advocate for a group which celebrates the death of innocents? Why do Europeans rationalize such brutality and formulate fig-leaves for such murders? Why do some Americans excuse such murder as understandable and in fact evidence that the objects of their underdog-love are actually profoundly suffering human beings?

By the way, Hamas and Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Do not ask me to forgive or forget that Hamas and Islamic Jihad killed people with whom I have much in common, then boasted about it, and were celebrated for it by their tribe.

De muur loopt voor een groot deel door Bezet Gebied, i.p.v. op de zogeheten Groene Lijn, de na-oorlogse Israëlische grens van 1967. In het noorden zijn tientallen dorpen met ongeveer 25.000 mensen opgesloten tussen de muur en de Groene Lijn. 72.000 mensen in het noorden worden van hun bouwland afgesneden, dus beroofd en meer dan 40 grondwaterbronnen worden geconfisceerd. De Israëlische bulldozers hebben tien-duizenden meters waterleidingen verwoest, die voor de landbouw van levensbelang zijn.
[The wall runs for a large part through Occupied Territory, instead of along the so-called Green Line, the post-war Israeli border of 1967. In the north there are tens of villages with approximately twenty-five thousand people shut up between the wall and the Green Line. Seventy-two thousand people in the north have been cut off from their farm-lands, ergo robbed, and more than 40 groundwater wells have been confiscated. The Israeli bulldozers have destroyed over ten thousand meters of water pipes, which are of crucial importance for agriculture.]

Comment: Until the Palestinians and the other Arabs stop trying to destroy Israel and kill Jews, there is little reason to take their interests into account - the wall exists only because of their actions.

If the world does not demand that Russia return the huge portion of Poland they seized at the end of WWII, Poland return the giant wedge of Germany that they got in return for yielding to the Russians, and Japan allow the Ryukyus to be independent again, among many other examples of territories having changed ownership, then why should only ONE country in the entire world be required to yield on war-borders? If the world really wishes a measure of rectification on this issue, rather than haranguing Israel it would be better to persuade the Palestinians to embrace peace, and to convince the Arab nations to stop cheering Palestinian terror and cease funding Palestinian proxy armies.

De hele operatie leidt naar verwachting tot 10% land - confiscatie van de Westelijke Jordaan en kost ongeveer 1,2 miljard dollar. Met veiligheid heeft de muur weinig van doen, wel met vernedering, omsingeling, uithongering, confiscatie. Terwijl vele joodse nederzettingen, zoals de grote nederzettingen stad Ariel door het geschuif met de muur plotseling in Israël blijkt te liggen.
[The whole operation is expected to lead to confiscation of ten percent of the land of the Western bank of the Jordan and costs approximately one point two billion dollars. There is little connection with safety, instead (it is for) humiliation, encircling, starving out, confiscation. While many Jewish settlements, like the large settlement city Ariel, by shifting of the wall all of a sudden turn out to lie within Israel.]

Comment: More loaded terminology. I'm sure that activists on the other side believe every word of it. Note particularly the use of the word "Jewish" - is that to remind good little bigots of the evils of da Jew?

You know, I actually do not have a problem with holding on to a portion of the Westbank. Like, for instance, Gush Etzion, all of Jerusalem, Ariel, many of the settlement blocks, and even such towns as Nablus and Jericho. Violence and stridency will not convince me otherwise.
Though I will concede that from a security point-of-view it is better to have mostly Palestinian areas well within artillery range than anywhere within the wall.

Toestemming voor nog een muur is onlangs door het Israëlische Parlement gegeven. Hierdoor wordt het de facto onmogelijk gemaakt om een Palestijnse staat op te richten.
[Permission for another wall has recently been given by the Israeli Parliament. Thus making it defacto impossible to create a Palestinian state.]

Comment: What makes it defacto impossible to create a Palestinian state is their high level of violence and low level of competence and incorruptibility.
Pyromaniacs should not be trusted with gasoline, thieves and murderers should not be trusted with guns, and, at present, Palestinians can not be trusted with a state.

-Het dagelijks doden van burgers, waaronder veel kinderen vooral in Gaza.
[The daily killing of citizens, among whom many children especially in Gaza.]

Comment: Jews do not have children?

-Buitengerechtelijke executies van Hamas leden ,door de VN veroordeeld als zijnde onwettig, waarbij vooral onschuldige omstanders worden gedood.
[Extrajudicial execution of Hamas members, which the UN has stated as being unlawful, whereby mainly innocent citizens are killed.]

Comment: Israel tries to minimize civilian deaths. Unfortunately, that sometimes means choosing between possible civilian deaths on the Israeli side versus possible civilian deaths on the Palestinian side. I applaud their concern for their own citizens, and wish that the Palestinians would show more concern for theirs.

And so forth and so on. Note that the Dutch text above was taken from the site of Women In Black Netherlands (here: ).
They have branches in Amsterdam, Groningen, Haarlem, Maastricht, and Utrecht.



Further to the Schijveschuurder family referenced above, the members of the family who were killed are:

Mordechai Schijveschuurder, 43 years old (the father, who made aliyah in 1984)
Tzira Schijveschuurder, 41 years old (the mother)
Ra'aya Schijveschuurder, 14 years old (daughter)
Avraham Yitzhak Schijveschuurder, 4 years old (son)
Hemda Schijveschuurder, 2 years old (daughter)

The four children who were left behind are Meir, Bentzion, Chaya, and Leah.

It should especially be noted that the Schijveschuurder family were friends of Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo (whose ancestors entered the Netherlands at the time when mine were leaving).
[I have a connection of sorts to Rabbi Cardozo, so there was only one real degree of separation.....]

Rabbi Cardozo, as the name shows, is of Sfardi heritage. The Sfardi Jews in the Netherlands enjoyed many years of safety in Amsterdam, until Germans and Dutch collaborators brutally turned off that light. Rabbi Cardozo also made aliyah.

Why have so many Dutch Jews left?

That is not entirely a rhetorical question, as I'm sure you realize.


The New York rabbi protest arrest has been noted overseas also, but, like in the US, has not been given much airtime. Or printtime.

[One could suspect that that is because rabbis are well-mannered and educated, unlike many other protestors - but that would lead to a nasty crack about the other side, and I would not ever want to say anything nasty about the other side, heaven forefend - such nice sincere folks, those angry protestors breaking windows and screaming death threats. Really. And so very macho and studly too! Priorites, dear readers, priorities.]

Here's what a Dutch news and opinion blog ( has to say about the arrest:

Massale arrestatie van vreedzaam protesterende Rabbi’s bij de UN.
[Massive arrests of peacefully protesting rabbis at the UN]

Helaas is niets hiervan in het nieuws gekomen. Op 17 april jongslede hielden een 50 tal Rabbi’s en rabbinale studenten een protest op de trappen van het UN gebouw in New York.
[Unfortunately none of this made the news. This past 17 April, around fifty rabbis and rabbinic students held a protest on the steps of the UN building in New York.]

Een vreedzaam protest zoals u uit onderstaande video kunt opmaken. Men hinderde hoogstens wat voetgangers die het gebouw in of uit wilden. Desalniettemin greep de politie vrijwel direct in en arresteerde (voor zover mij bekend) 18 tot 20 protesterende Rabbi’s. Kennelijk kun je beter roepen dat "de echte holocaust" onderweg is, of dat je hoofd eraf gesneden zal worden. Dan laat men je al snel met rust onder het mom van "religieuze gevoeligheid".
[A peacefull protest, as you can observe from the video below (see site in question). Mostly a few pedestrians who wished to enter or leave the building were hindered. Nevertheless the police intervened almost immediately and arrested (as far as is known to me) 18 to 20 protesting rabbis. Apparently it is better that you scream that "the real holocaust" is occurring now, or that heads will be cut off. Then they'll leave you alone because of religious sensitivities (note: sarcasm).]

The rest of the article is here:’s-bij-de-un/

Per the article, the reason for the protest was "the constant disregard by the UN of the nuclear programme and the continuing threats by Iran to destroy Israel. The protesters requested the UN to exclude Iran from the security council and other departments because the threat to exterminate the entire population of another UN member is a serious criminal issue, and according to the rules of the UN should be seen as a declaration of war. The absurdity that Iran can even be a member of the UN is überhaupt a shanda" (yes, schande in Dutch means exactly the same in Yinglish!).

One of the responses, by someone named Tristan, is worth quoting in full:

Iran is het grote gevaar voor de staat Israel; men gaat gestaag door met het nucleaire programma wat onvermijdelijk een confrontatie met Israël zal opleveren.
[Iran is the greatest danger to the state of Israel; they continue their nuclear programme without interruption, which will without a doubt yield a confrontation with Israel. ]

De verbale agressie ten opzichte van het Israëlische volk laat geen geen ruimte voor misverstanden; volledige vernietiging van het Joodse volk is hier het doel.
[The verbal aggression as regards the Israeli people leaves no room for misunderstanding; complete destruction of the Jewish people is the goal here (Iran's goal - not the writer's own). ]

De holocaust wordt ontkend en afgedaan als Joodse propaganda en ondertussen bewapend men Palestijnse ‘vrijheidsstrijders’.
[The Holocaust is denied and rejected as Jewish propaganda, and in the meantime they arm Palestinian "freedom fighters" (sarcasm quotes!).]

In Nederland is een partij als de SP 100 procent voor de Palestijnen en is men blind voor de aspiraties van Hamas en Hezbollah; vernietiging van het Jodendom en het invoeren wereldwijd van de Sharia.
[In the Netherlands a party such as the SP (Socialist Party - actually the melding of the old Moscow Communists, the two different revolutionary Maoist factions, and various other Marxist elements, with a glib marketing department veneer so as not to frighten the mice) is one hundred percent pro Palestinian, and one is blind about the aspirations of Hamas and Hezbollah; destruction of Jewry/Judaism and world-wide imposition of Shariah.]

Ondertussen werkt Cohen aan zijn prestige-project; de Westermoskee.
Werken aan de eigen ondergang; waar hebben wij dit meer gezien tijdens de Duitse bezetting?
[Meanwhile, Cohen (Job Cohen, labour party burgomaster of Amsterdam, actually one of the good guys) works on his prestige-project; the Westermosque (the proposed great mosque in one of the more Islamic neighborhoods of Amsterdam. But given the rivalry between Turkish-Dutch, who are mostly blended in and middle-class, and Moroccan-Dutch, who are still not acclimatized and have a higher rate of illiteracy, stridency, extremism, and legal "issues", once it is built it will probably keep the trouble makers occupied with each other.). (space) Working on ones' own downfall; where else have we seen this..... during the German occupation?]

It's nice to know that the threat of Iran is not bagatellized by everybody over there. The sad thing is that Tristan represents precisely the type of Dutchman most likely to come over here. Some of the Dutch are giving up on the place, and, with good reason, bailing out.

Further note: Steg, who alerted me to the Dutch language article, stresses that the entire thing was *pre-arranged* and *pre-orchestrated* between the protesters and the police. They went there specifically in order to get arrested, to make the protest more dramatic. The police weren’t picking on or persecuting them at all.

Please read his post:

And especially take in the photographs. It is a very worthwhile posting, about a very worthwhile action. It should have been deemed more newsworthy.

NOTE: The Socialist Party, which is the modern-day guise of the Stalinists (both Mao and Moscow), have the voting loyalty of over twenty five percent of the Dutch. Together with the Partij van de Arbeid ('Labour Party'), they account for the fact that nearly as many Dutch support Hamas and Hezbollah as are pro-Israel. Pro-Israel Dutch are mostly elderly, and the distance from the events of the middle of the twentieth century grows greater each year, so it is quite possible that in the next few years more Dutch will support terrorists and anti-Semites than Israel.

Monday, April 23, 2007


This past Saturday, like previous Saturdays, Women In Black demonstrated against the war, against Israel, against US aid to Israel, and against Jewish statehood, in front of the Grandlake Theater in Oakland.

[WIB has promoted speakers who deny Israel's right to exist, and stood with activists who have demanded the destruction of Israel. Women In Black can be described as a peace group pretty much the same way Kahane Chai can be described as a peace group. But the question is: which of those two would you rather have on your side? If you had to choose?]

And so, like previous Saturdays, I headed across the bay with my protest sign and bad attitude to counter protest them. Every Saturday we've been gathering opposite Women In Black to prove that their hateful attitude is not uncontested, that their anti-Israel point of view is not without opposition, and that their silent vigil is naught more than a fig-leaf for terrorism.

Normally their number and our number do not differ very much. They get approving honks from passing cars, we get approving honks from passing cars.

[And from Sikh busdrivers - good man, sat sri akal, ji]

This Saturday, despite the low temperatures and gloomy overcast, the sun shone brightly, and warmth enrobed our endeavor.

We were joined by over five dozen congregants from Beth Abraham. Who stood with us singing Hebrew songs and holding banners and pro-Israel signs. As their rabbi said: "this is our community, and we will not allow it to be taken over". More or less. His exact phrasing escapes me at the moment (I'm still in a happy daze, as I'm sure you understand).

The best retrospective term for this weekend is from German: Schadenfreude.
Imagine the expression on the face of someone who just bit into a giant fewmet - a particularly ripe and juicy one at that. Imagine how appalled and disconcerted, nay, repulsed and disgusted even, that face would look.

Precisely that expression was on the sour faces of the fifteen or so Women In Black when they saw Rabbi Bloom and his congregation marching down the hill. They were so disturbed that they even placed a call to the Oakland Police Department, perhaps fearing for their lives.

[So, after Rabbi Bloom and his sanhedrion of congregants had departed, the local constabulary cruised by a few times, did not see any bloodshed or mayhem, and eventually casually inquired about events. It is possible that the phrase "panicky weasels" may have shown up on the report that was eventually filed. I sure hope so.]

Certainly the mental health of the Wibbies was under siege, but their physical health was never in any danger from our side. We were too busy grinning from ear to ear. It was good. It was refreshing. It was the most encouraging thing to happen in a while.

Despite the chill and overcast, it was the sunniest of Spring days. Even after nightfall, when the rain was bucketing down, it was sunny and springlike.

Kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell, kvell.

And neener, neener, neener.

Thank you, Rabbi Bloom, for making my day. I know I speak for all of us when I say that you have made us very happy. We appreciate the support. And we very much look forward to this next Saturday.


In other news, Jimmy Carter will be at Zellerbach Hall on the UC campus next week. His coming here is not without controversy. If I weren't such an utter cheapskate, I would burn his most recent book in the middle of Sproul Plaza. I bought the damn thing, it was my money, I can do with it whatever the divvil I want.
But again, I'm a bit of a cheapy. So I'll probably settle for a less pyromaniac expression of disgust.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Background: On April 17th. around two dozen Rabbis were arrested at the United Nations for a deliberate act of civil disobedience, which was to protest and draw attention to the unacceptable and dangerous political direction of Iran.
[Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has called for Israel's destruction, denied that the Holocaust ever happened, used extremist and racist rhetoric, and encouraged acts of terrorism. Iranian state policies consistently contravene both the charter and the spirit of the UN - not that that is in any way unusual. Still.]

Read this post for more about the protest:

The news was overshadowed by the Virginia Tech nutter, but nevertheless it has been mentioned in the media, and on the blogs.

Some of the blogs cater to an ultra Hhareidi clientele. Such as Yeshiva World News.
Normally I can read Yeshiva World news with perfect equanimity.




The YWN term used to describe the rabbis who were arrested was "rabbis". Between quotes. Because to the frock-coat crowd, if it ain't ultra-orthodox, it ain't a rabbi. As many angry YWN commentators said repeatedly. With vitriol.

I cannot say that I agree with them.

[And I assert my right to disagree with them, not only about this but about any issue. Their version of Judaism should be as subject to critical examination and debate as any other Torah-based ideology. That they claim to be the only and ultimate arbiters of Judaisms and have the presumption to find other Judaisms wanting, is neither here nor there. Like any claim of infallibility, it should be challenged and put to the test. Repeatedly.]

The term rabbi is an acknowledgement and should be seen partly as a courtesy title. It is NOT a battlefield ranking among savage combatants.

The banner of Torah scholarship is not a spiked club for bashing heads.

I never thought it possible that there could be so much foaming at the mouth over what is as abstruse a bunch of differences as the machlokes between the scholars of Northern France and the scholars from Sefarad over the suitability of the Rambam’s writings as reading material.

You already know my opinion of the East Bay Womyn’s Empowermynt Wicca Minyan and similar odd experiments, so it will probably not surprise you then that I tend to think of rabbis from the reconstructionist, or New Age, or even the far too acclimatized strains of Reform as being not fully rabbinic. Not all rabbis are rabbis.
On the other hand, you may have also noted that I think of some of the utterly shtrenge rabbonim as being quite a bit too much. Starkers, even. Not so much rabbis as Talmudic bonk jobs.
Still, there’s an awful lot of very meaty rabbi-ism in Conservative, Modern O and Ultra-Orthodox. Rather a worthwhile spectrum. Much good scholarship and Torah there too. One may justifiably call scholars who have met certain criteria by the term rabbi – even, exceptionally, some of the Reform.
If that is the title that estimable people know them by, it is also respectful to refer to them with that term. It is the proper appellation for a completed scholar. Both chezkas kashrus AND common courtesy apply.

Some of the commentators on Yeshiva World News, however, are nuts. And are by no means examples of good scholarship and Torah, let alone derech eretz. They do, however, have a talent for loshon horo. I consequently have to wonder how many “rabbis” are among their ranks, and how rabbinic those rebbeim really are.

The term sinas chinam was used in some comments. It was more than justified.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Rabbosai, it has come to my attention that wives are dropping their husbands off in front of kollel each morning on their way to work.

Ah shandah!

Not only do they waste time when they could be working, they distract the other kollel guys.
[Guys, try not to hang out in front shooting craps, and ladies, how about those mini-skirts?]

Takka, driving is untzniusdik and dangerous, because of the temptations of the Goyishe velt.
A frumme Yid should never live beyond walking distance - chos ve chollileh you should patronize retailers from outside the community, or krieg a taiva for products advertised on billboards alongside the road with hot shikses wearing less clothes and a gitte spankung megn sie bakumen.

Rabbosai, anything those shameless hussies advertise is issur - they certainly do look tasty on those signs, don't they? All dense and juicy with meaty goodness. That ruddy look. Those patties. Sizzling, and dripping juices. Buns.
And the zesty condiments, pickles, and cheeses.

Treif, all of it.

To guide your food decisions, the administration of this blog is pleased to publicize a list by Yeshiva Chipass Emess West Coast (in beautiful downtown San Francisco, close to great shopping, world-class restaurants, and the theatre district) of unreliable kashrus certifications, as published by the Rosheshiva of YCE-WC, the Rabam shlita soll sein stark und gazunt.

The following should be avoided at all cost - anything bearing these hechsherim is treifus gamur:
Association for Reliable Kashrus; Atlanta Kashrus Commission; Beis Din of Crown Heights Vaad Hakashrus; Blue Ribbon Kosher; Budweiser; California K Igud Hakashrus of Los Angeles; Chabad Lubavitch Arizona; Chabad of South Nevada; Chicago Rabbinical Council; Cohen's Baco-Bits (the true taste of chazzer at the price of kosher); Congregation Arugas Habosem; Congregation Kesser Israel; Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar; Coordinated Kosher Supervision; Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Detroit (K-COR); Debraciner Rav; Diamond K; Double U Kashrus Badatz Mehadrin USA; Fishnet Stockings; Florida K and Florida Kashrus Services; Hisachdus Harabanim; Hisbodidus Fershizzle; International Kosher Supervision; Jersey Shore Orthodox Rabbinate; K’hal Adas Jeshurun; K’hal Adas Vishnitz; K’hal Chizuk Hadas of Flatbush; Kashrus Council of Lakewood N.J.; Kehilla Kosher; Kehillas Yaakov Pupa, Monsey; Knesses Israel Torah Center; Kof-K Kosher Supervision; Kosher Certification Service; Kosher Shmosher as long as he loves a steak; Kosher Supervision of America (KSA); Kosher Supervisors of Wisconsin; National Kashrus (NK); Lemon Curry? Microsoft Windows™; My drecky cousin Shloime; New Square Beis Din of Kashrus; Orthodox Vaad of Philadelphia; Rabbinical Council of California (RCC); Rabbinical Council of Orange County & Long Beach (Orange K); Scroll K; South Palm Beach Vaad (ORB); SPAM™; Star-K Kosher Certification; The Kosher Food Council of Northern California; The Lehigh Valley Kashrus Commission (LVKC); The Nirbater Rav; The Organized Kashrus Laboratories (O/K); The OK Corral; The Tzerdrayter Rov; The Udvarer Rav; The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations (OU); The Volover Rav; Tofu; United Mehadrin Kosher; Vaad Hakashrus of Buffalo; Vaad Hakashrus of Denver; Vaad Hakashrus of K’hal Machzikei Hadas of Belz; Vaad Hakashrus of Kiryas Yoel; Vaad Hakashrus of Mechon L’Hoyroa; Vaad Hakashrus of Northern California; Vaad Hakashrus of Raritan Valley; Vaad Hakashrus of Rochester (VKR); Vaad Hakashrus of the Capital District; Vaad Harabanim of Flatbush; Vaad Harabanim of Greater Seattle; Vaad Harabanim of Greater Washington; Vaad Harabanim of San Diego; Vaad Harabanim of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway; Vaad of Lancaster; Vaad Harabanim of Yehupitz; Young Israel of Plainview; Young Israel of West Hempstead, Young Israel Period.

Unfortunately, Yeshiva Chipass Emess West Coast has not yet succeeded in forcing the food-industry to adopt our rigid standards for kashrus and subsidize my sabbatical in Hawaii for the next few years, so until foods with our kosher certification are available, consider moving to Boro Park, or, if you’re really desperate, eat Osem meals-on-the-go. You’re a goy kadoish, fercrapssake!

-----The RABAM

PS. Sorry about the Yeshiva dining hall being closed down indefinitely. The Health Department are a bunch of stinking anti-Semites, no matter what you heard. Those were pets.


For more verter from the Rabam, go here:

The Rabam received shmicha from Harav Pinky Schmeckelstein, soll sein shtark und gazunt biss a hundert zwanzig, who is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chipass Emess. The certificate is framed and hangs above his desk, I have seen it myself. The Rabam is a descendant of both the Proliczer Rov and the Baal Ha Turetz.

Please also visit the yeshiva at:
And Harav Pinky Schmeckelstein's blog at:

Pursuant thereto, we are pleased as topsy to recommend Harav Pinky Schmeckelstein's riezige sefer, The Collected Writings of Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein on the Weekly Torah Reading.

Which you may purchase here:

Buy several copies. Even buy one for your horrible mechutenista and her troll mishpoche. Give them to your friends for Chanukkeh, or Peysach, or Valentine's day. Or whenever you give presents. Kretchmatch? Vierte Juli? Yom ha Armistice?


What do the crazed killer at Virginia Tech, the slaying of three Christians in Turkey, the massacres in Darfur, World War Two, and the Sunni carbomb that blew over one hundred and forty Shiites to smithereens in Baghdad today have in common?


It's the fault of Bush, America, and the Jews.

Most specifically, the Jews.

At least that is what several people in the Netherlands believe.

I ain't kidding.

Astute readers of the comments underneath Dutch newspaper articles on the internet and visitors to Dutch internet fora will have noticed that there are two underlying practices to much Dutch commentary. The first one is 'azijnzijken', the second is 'miereneuken'.

[Azijnzijken = Micturating vinegar; making spiteful remarks no matter how inappropriate, because one just doesn't like somebody or something. Vicious slander, lashon horo.
Miereneuken = Committing congress with ants; finding fault, no matter how much of a stretch, no matter how irrelevant, no matter how small-minded it proves one to be.]

The other thing that these same astute readers will have noticed is the conflation of radical Islamic, European Communist, and Neo-Nazi rhetoric.

Because of this it is hard to figure out the ideology of commentators.

Often one part of their bushwa can seem right-wing paranoid, while another part goes off in a different direction entirely. The European left adheres to the same conspiracy theories as the European right. And our ultra left and right often mirror that pattern (American extremists seem incapable of original thought, and imitate the Europeans - especially when criticizing the US and sneering at Americans).

The Dutch and German neonazis say virtually the same thing about the US as the communist activists in Western Europe.

They aver that the US is controlled by Zionists who wish to declare a holy war against Islam on behalf of Israel and big business interests, in order to end up controlling the world. Communists stress the business connection a bit more; neonazis stress the evil Jewish connection. The racists on both sides connipt their fits about the Jews, asserting that it is because of Jews that there are problems with non-whites – again, slight variance: communists claim that the draining of the third world (resources, labour) is a Jewish business plot, neonazis insist that the presence of the third world inside Europe is an attempt to weaken the Aryans.
In the rhetorical scrimmage, the extremes often support each other – their actual political involvement is mostly hypothetical, whereas making points and pushing ideas is daily business.

This pattern spills over into dialoguing with our own opposition here in the Bay Area – it is often hard to tell where they are coming from and what their underlying ideological basis is – the anti-Semitic strain is often at odds with much else.

Anti-Semitism is a religion. Of course, so are Marxism and Satanism. ‘Nuff said.

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