Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, November 26, 2023
Shavuah Tov,

Rabbi’s Note: This article was sent to me by our long-time friend in Israel, Ken Shostack.  It clearly identifies the issues of this war as idealogical and not territorial.  October 7th to Israel is what September 11th was to the United States.  You can’t defeat an ideology; Almost 80 years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, there are still Nazis in the world, but they don’t have the power of a state to promote their ideology.  That’s what we had to do to ISIS, take away their statehood, and that’s what Israel has to do to Hamas.  This article explains all that and more.  It took me six minutes to read it.  Please give it six minutes today.  End RN.

Israel-Hamas Conflict Is The West’s War Too
Written: NOVEMBER 24, 2023 

Gideon Sa’ar is a minister in the Israeli Government, a member of the Security Cabinet and chairman of the New Hope Party.

In 2005 Israel withdrew from Gaza. It uprooted every Israeli and every community. Every Israeli grave was relocated. All soldiers were withdrawn, and military bases shuttered. Israel unilaterally withdrew to the pre-1967 border.

Gaza has always been an epicenter of hate, incitement, and terrorism against Israel. Since Israel’s withdrawal, instead of choosing prosperity and peace, instead of developing Gaza into the Singapore of the Middle East, Hamas and Islamic Jihad decided to use the entity as a launching pad for their armies to wage their war against Israel.

In the past decades and elsewhere in the Middle East (Lebanon, Yemen and others), Islamist terrorists have taken control and created “terror states” that operate and function completely differently from normal sovereign states.

They’re not just a “terrorist organization” acting within the territory of another country. They control every aspect of the territory they occupy and exploit resources and civilian populations for their war effort. This is the phenomenon of a terrorist state.

The barbarous attacks of Hamas on October 7 against Israeli civilians were an act of state madness, aside from the utter immorality of mass murder and rape. It is not rational to start an all-out war against a much stronger country. But their rationale is different. It is fanatical.

To grasp the antisemitic and psychotic state of mind of this movement, it is enough to read Hamas’s founding charter.

According to Hamas, the murder of Jews is a religious commandment. According to the charter, Jews, in their minds, are responsible for every war or destructive historical event, including those where Jews themselves were victims. Among the events, the French Revolution, the Communist Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, the founding of the League of Nations (to control the world), and the establishment of the UN.

In their eyes the entire land of Israel is sacred to Muslims until the resurrection of the dead and therefore nobody has the authority to relinquish any part of it whatsoever.

To try and legitimize the barbaric massacre that took place on October 7 is as absurd as trying to find justification for the perverse, murderous attack by al-Qaeda against the U.S. on September 11 2001. It’s the same madness, the same extremism, the same cruel murderousness.

The reason for the attack on Israel was simple: Hamas wants to destroy the state of Israel. Hamas’ conflict with Israel is not a territorial one, it is a total ideological one.

Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, radical Islam has become an ideological rival of the democratic West. Radical Islam totally rejects Western values and wants to destroy Western civilization — so much for Francis Fukuyama’s theory of “the end of history.”

Strategically, as it did on September 11, or during terror attacks inspired, encouraged and sometimes organized in European cities, radical Islam always seeks to attack people as well as nations on their own soil and in their own homes. It’s an attempt to undermine a sense of safety and security and to instil fear. Hamas’ charter states that no one will enjoy peace and security unless under the control of Islam.

There is only one way to deal with terror states. Total war that ends with the destruction of the regime and its military capabilities — like the war the United States led against ISIS or like the Second World War. Truth be told, you cannot wipe out an ideology — after all, there are still Nazis in the world. But the danger they pose today is different from the Nazi regime.

Radical ideologies are far more dangerous when they control or form a state, or a territorial caliphate. That is why the United States, along with its allies in the Middle East and Europe, decided it couldn’t allow Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State to persist. The same goes for Hamas.

During the nine-month-long battle for Mosul, the world saw ISIS use thousands of people as human shields. Thousands were kidnapped and executed who didn’t want to be human shields. ISIS terrorists shot civilians who sought to flee to safety. Hamas operates in the same way.

The Hamas terrorist, in some cases, is less than one mile from where our citizens were butchered, beheaded, and cold-heartedly slaughtered. But make no mistake, Israel is the West’s frontline in the Middle East — Israel is certainly not the end game as far as radical Islam is concerned. And Israel’s war against radical Islam is also the West’s war — even if it refuses to acknowledge that.

Israel is grateful to the United States, to its people and the administration led by President Joe Biden for unwavering friendship that is once again standing up to the test. But the loss of moral clarity and compass in some of America’s top university campuses is extremely concerning — so too are the pro-Hamas protests in American and European cities with participants baying for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Israel has no choice but to inflict an absolute defeat on Hamas. This war comes after six previous military rounds when Israel didn’t utilize its full might against Hamas. Since 2007, when Hamas seized control of Gaza, Israeli citizens have been subjected time and again to constant rocket, missile, and mortar fire on their homes.

The war being waged by radical Islam against the West and its values is only at its start. Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Hamas are the opening chapters in a war against the West and its values. In fact, radical Islam already has a grip on many European cities.

It is imperative for the West to learn an important lesson that Israel knew in the past and unfortunately forgot in recent times: It is better to fight your enemy on their territory rather than wait for them to come to you.

Patience and tolerance towards a radical ideology that doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of your way of life is the greatest enemy of peace and coexistence. If the Western way of life is important and meaningful, then there must be a willingness to stand up and fight for it against its foes.

Israel’s war against Hamas is crucial to the safety and security of its citizens but not only to them. It is also vital to the security of the democratic West and to the United States.


Evil In The End Of Days
by Rabbi H Michael Weiner

Rabbi’s Note:  We’ll get back to our study of Romans tomorrow.  Today, I’m feeling the need to write something else.  We are in a battle between good and evil., and it’s not that Jews are good and Muslims are evil.  Yeshua is good and Satan is evil.  Satan is just showing us who he really is.  His administration is an administration of death, pain, suffering and torment.  End RN.

Genesis 4:9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

Let’s pause for a moment to answer Cain’s question.  Cain is defiantly lying to God.  The truth is that we all have a responsibility for the wellbeing of others, we are all our brothers’ keepers.  This is why we care for the needy.  In Judaism, acts of kindness are called “Mitzvot.”  Any act of “Tzidakah” (righteousness) is considered a Mitzvah, a “good deed.”

Let me ask you another question… How hard is it to keep a secret?  The answer is… almost impossible.  It only takes one person to NOT keep a secret, and the silence of everyone is necessary to keep one.  The attack on Pearl Harbor is one example of a secret kept.  The attacks of 9/11 is yet another example of a secret kept.  If only one person had told any of those secret plans the element of surprise would have been eliminated, and potentially, lives saved.

The attack by Hamas on October 7th (Simchat Torah) was planned in secret for at least two years.  The date was changed by the Iranian leader, but ultimately set.  Nobody told.  Not one of the 17,000 workers that entered Israel from Gaza every day – told.  Hamas celebrates that 41 Jewish babies were murdered on October 7th.  Everyone who knew in advance and kept silent has blood stained hands.  Even journalists who were imbedded with the terrorists knew.  They have blood on their hands.  I pray Israel will hold them accountable for their war crimes.

I’ve been a police chaplain with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department for 22 years.  In my initial training (yes, I still remember) the importance of keeping a confidence was forcefully communicated.  Because I’m a rabbi and pastor, I already knew that.  But, there is an exception.  There is no chaplain confidentiality when it comes to the safety and security of a child.  Neither may pastors keep silent when there is suspected child abuse.  Authorities must be notified.  Children, who are the most vulnerable among us, must be protected.

Now I want to jump off my “soapbox” and share the spiritual implications of all of this conflict.  First, our cornerstone verse… Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Secondly, God has a purpose for evil.  It is only through the darkness of evil that we know how good the light of God is.  Abraham was told about this before he slept.  Genesis 15:16 “And they (Abraham’s children) shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”  It’s not until Joshua, chapter 10, that God makes a display of victory over the iniquity of the Amorites.

God’s ultimate plan is to allow righteousness and evil to grow together.  Matthew 13:30 “‘Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”  The “wheat” are the followers of Yeshua.  Everyone else is weeds.  Hebrews 12:14  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Rabbi Trail:  Here I agonized over which verse(s) of Hebrews 12 to quote.  Ultimately, I settled on verse 14, but the whole chapter applies (I just couldn’t quote the whole thing here), so please read it and tell me what verse you would have chosen.  End RT.

The Scriptures promise deception in these end of days.  1Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.   Steady yourself in the presence and power of God.  Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

These are trying times, and they are only going to get more trying.  Revelation 14:12  Here is the perseverance of the kedoshim—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Yeshua.  Read the context of that verse.  We must stand fast… no matter what, we must keep our gaze fixed on Yeshua.  Shalom shalom.