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Baltimore, MD - July 19, 2017 -The Vaad HaRabbanim of Baltimore has decided to change the name of the popular learning program in all Baltimore shuls known as Avos Ubanum to כל הנערים . The new name will allow all boys in the community to experience the excitement of learning, prizes, raffles and refreshments. While the former name did connote the beautiful tradition of Mesorah, it left out a certain segment of the community.  What happens to the boy who R”L does not have a father, or who has a father who is not involved in his life?  Several years ago, for example, a ...
Alan will be in the Baltimore-Washington are August 10-11th. To schedule a personal consultation or a group seminar during this time, please contact us: call 516-568-5027 or email alan@alanfitness.com High blood pressure is no joke.  Having high blood pressure can have several negative effects on your health, many of them can lead to premature death.  HPB or hypertension, can lead to damaged or narrow arteries.  That in turn decreases blood circulation throughout the body.  It can weaken your arteries as well and result in an aneurysm, which can result in internal bleeding and ultimately, death. High blood pressure can also damage your heart causing heart attacks or heart failure.  It also can have a pronounced negative effect on the blood vessels in your brain.&n...
A U.S. Army soldier based in Hawaii pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of attempting to support the Islamic State group. Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was arraigned in federal court in Honolulu after a grand jury indicted him last week on four counts of attempting to provide material support to the group. The indictment and an FBI affidavit filed previously allege that Kang met with undercover agents he believed were part of the Islamic State group. He allegedly provided them with classified military information, a drone, military equipment and training in combat fighting. Kang may suffer from service-related mental health issues that the government was aware of but neglected to treat, his defense attorney, Birney Bervar has said. Bervar is seeking a mental health evaluation for Kang, w...
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will return to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a second day of private meetings with congressional investigators, this time for a closed-door conversation with lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee. Kushner on Monday answered questions from staff on the Senate’s intelligence panel, acknowledging four meetings with Russians during and after Trump’s victorious White House bid and insisting he had “nothing to hide.” He emerged smiling to publicly declare, “All of my actions were proper.” A quiet insider who generally avoids the spotlight, Kushner is the first top Trump lieutenant to be quizzed by the congressional investigators probing Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential ele...
President Donald Trump urged Republicans to “step up to the plate” for Tuesday’s crucial Senate vote on their bill eviscerating much of the Obama health care law. The stage was set for high drama, with Sen. John McCain returning to the Capitol to cast his first vote since being diagnosed with brain cancer. No stranger to heroic episodes, the Navy pilot who persevered through five years of captivity during the Vietnam War announced through his office that he would be back in Washington for the critical roll call on beginning debate on the legislation. The 80-year-old has been at home in Arizona since he revealed last week that he’s undergoing treatment for brain cancer, but a statement said he “looks forward” to returning for work on health care and othe...
House Republican whips heard from a special caller at their meeting Monday night — Majority Whip Steve Scalise. The Louisiana Republican is recovering from a gunshot wound at a Washington hospital. He phoned in to thank everyone for their hard work and tell them he looked forward to working through his recovery. The congressman’s spokesman Chris Bond says Scalise is in good spirits. Scalise expressed his appreciation for the two U.S. Capitol Police officers who were injured but managed to kill the gunman. Scalise and four other people were injured June 14 when a man opened fire on a Republican baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. The 51-year-old congressman was struck in the hip and the bullet tore into blood vessels, bones and internal organs. He has undergon...
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Fox News Channel on Monday clarified, but didn’t apologize for, a weekend segment that The New York Times said falsely accused the newspaper of revealing intelligence information that enabled Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to elude capture by U.S. forces two years ago. Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said Fox was guilty of “sheer hypocrisy” because the network had also reported about a U.S. raid that netted valuable intelligence soon after it took place. The dispute between the two news outlets was magnified by White House attention. A “Fox & Friends” report Saturday was headlined, “NYT foils U.S. attempt to take out al-Baghdadi.” President Donald Trump was apparently watching, because less than a half hour later he tweeted t...
President Donald Trump’s pick to run the FBI represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for nearly a year before a mandatory retainer agreement was signed, according to records obtained by a New York City radio station. Christopher Wray began representing Christie in September 2014 during the George Washington Bridge lane-closing investigation, but a formal agreement wasn’t approved until August 2015, WNYC reported Monday. A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office said it had no comment. Wray didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment. Wray’s firm, Atlanta-based King & Spalding, has been paid $2.1 million since Christie hired him in 2014. Three former Christie aides were convicted or pleaded guilty in the...
A federal judge on Monday indefinitely stopped the deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqis who fear physical harm if kicked out of the U.S., the latest in a series of decisions in favor of the immigrants. The injunction by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Detroit will allow the Iraqis, many of whom are Christian, to stay in the U.S. while they try to persuade immigration courts to overturn the deportations based on risks back in their native country. The 34-page order was released Monday just hours before an earlier ruling was set to expire. Roughly 230 people are in custody. The remaining 1,200 are not locked up but could be arrested at any time. “Each petitioner faces the risk of torture or death on the basis of residence in America and publicized criminal records. Many will ...
It reads like a page out of Chelm. Terrorists murder Israel police officers. Israel puts up metal detectors to ensure that people do not go up there with guns to shoot and murder people. The Vatican has metal detectors as does the White House and Westminster Abbey. The Palestinian Authority screams bloody murder – or rather, “How do you Israelis prevent some of our people from committing bloody murder if they want to?!!” And the world sides with those who do not want the metal detectors. Indeed, eventually the Israeli government capitulates and decides to use alternative technology instead of the metal detectors. Chelm. But our issue lies with halacha. Should the detectors remain in place? Should the government have capitulated? BACKGROUND Over fifty years ago, for ...
Parsha Hashavua
The Temple Mount, the Metal Detectors, and Halacha

It reads like a page out of Chelm.


Terrorists murder Israel police officers. Israel puts up metal detectors to ensure that people do not go up there with guns to shoot and murder people. The Vatican has metal detectors as does the White House and Westminster Abbey. The Palestinian Authority screams bloody murder – or rather, “How do you Israelis prevent some of our people from committing bloody murder if they want to?!!”


And the world sides with those who do not want the metal detectors. Indeed, eventually the Israeli government capitulates and decides to use alternative technology instead of the metal detectors.


Chelm.


But our issue lies with halacha. Should the detectors remain in place? Should the government have capitulated?


BACKGROUND


Over fifty years ago, for the first time in nearly two millennium, the Temple mount came under Jewish control. There were open miracles in the battle, where enemy forces threatened to annihilate Eretz Yisroel and its people. A bomb landed on the Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. Miraculously, it did not detonate. And of course, we got the Kotel back – a place we could not even visit for nineteen years – since the Jordanians captured it in 1948.


The Temple Mount is the holiest place on earth where Hashem’s Divine Presence was and is still most concentrated. The Kotel is the last remaining wall that surrounds Har HaBayis, the Temple mount and is called the “Wailing Wall” because Jews have gathered before it to cry over the loss of the Temple, the Beis HaMikdash.


OBLIGATION TO MAINTAIN SANCTITY


The fact that we do have sovereignty over the Temple Mount and its regions obligates us in maintaining its sanctity.


Technically, gentiles should not be allowed to enter the inner section of the Temple Mount – from the “Chayil” and further in (See Mishna Keilim 1:8 and Tzitz Eliezer 10:1:10 for the contemporary application).


AN OLD INSCRIPTION


Indeed, in 1871, Charles Clermont Ganneau, a French archaeologist and diplomat, found a stone with an inscription in Greek which forbade entry to all gentiles past that point. Thus a travel agent should not promote a tour to Israel for gentiles who will ascend to the inner section of the Temple Mount. Indeed, it is even forbidden for a videography editor to request a gentile to film sections of the Temple Mount because he will stay there longer on account of the request.


LO SECHANAIM


There is, of course, the issue of “Lo sechanaim” – the prohibition of giving over land that is in Jewish hands in Eretz Yisroel to gentiles (See Shulchan Aruch YD 151:8 and Rambam Hilchos Avoda Zarah 10:3-6). The Rambam holds that the prohibition applies to Muslims as well, notwithstanding the view of the Raavad and the Tur (CM 249). The Chazon Ish (Hilchos Shvi’is 24:3) and the Netziv (in his Responsa Maishiv Davar Kuntrus HaShmita 58a) are also of the opinion that Lo Sechanaim applies to Muslims.


Allowing the Waqf to exercise an ownership type of control of Har HaBayis is probably the apogee of “lo sechanaim” violations, and a chillul Hashem. On the other hand, enabling excessive aivah risks lives.


IMPORTANCE OF LO SECHANAIM


The prohibition of buying and selling on Shabbos is a Rabbinic violation. The reason is because one may come to violate the Torah prohibition of writing on Shabbos. However, there is an exception to the Rabbinic violation of conducting transactions on Shabbos. The halacha is that when purchasing land in Eretz Yisroel from gentile hands, it is permitted to violate the prohibition of Amira L’Akum in order to facilitate the sale on Shabbos itself! We see from this halacha how very important this ideal actually is. If this is true for land in Eretz Yisroel how much more so must it be true for Har HaBayis.


DOES NOT SET ASIDE PIKUACH NEFESH


No matter how important it is, however, avoiding the violation of lo sechanaim would not set aside Pikuach Nefesh. See Rav Ovadiah Yoseph zt”l Techumim Vol. X p. 34-47. There may, however, be a difference between lo sechanaim of Har haBayis and other areas of Israel.


TWO OPPOSING PIKUACH NEFESH ISSUES


There is also another important point. We have here two opposing Pikuach Nefesh factors. On the one hand, having the metal detectors seems to infuriate the Arabs, causing them to stab and kill more.


On the other hand, removing the metal detectors will cause them also to stab and kill more. So which would cause less loss of life.


It is this author’s belief that ultimately, allowing the world to dictate to Israel might empower agitators further and that would lead to more loss of life.


PREVENTING MURDERS ON HAR HABAYIS


Rav Yitzchok Isaac Sher once asked (Leket Sichos Mussar Vol. II #134) what the significance is of the statement in our Hoshanos – Hoshana Goren Arnon – Who cares if Har HaBayis was a storage house for grain? What value is it?


Rav Sher explained it based upon a statement of Rabbi Akiva – that any beautiful place initially was a place where idol-worship flourished. Har haBayis, however, miraculously never served in that capacity (See Ramban AZ 46b).


Whether it is a place of Avodah Zarah or murders – it would be the same thing. We do not want Har HaBayis to become a place of abomination. This is not just for Jewish life – but even those of the Muslims who are killed in the act of terrorism.


Similarly, in the Kinos of Tisha B’Av we recite, “Al Har tziyon sh’shamaim oy ki nitan alav shikutz m’shomaim –And on the Mountain of Zion woe! For it has been given to abominations.”


Because of these factors, it would seem that Israel should not capitulate on this Chelm point.


THE KOTEL


While we are on the topic, we should also explore more about the kedushah of the Kotel itself.


There is a verse in Ovadiah (1:17) that states, “And on the Mountain of Zion shall be the salvation.” The Emek HaMelech (14:134) writes that this verse teaches us that the prayers of the righteous and great people of Yerushalayim at the Western Wall are what saves the world. He writes that their tears and supplications keep the world intact, and were it not for their prayers at this most holy of places the world would be destroyed.


PRESENCE OF SHECHINA


The Midrash tells us (Shmos Rabbah 2:2) that the Shechina, the Divine Presence, has not budged from the Western Wall. The presence of the Shechina, according to the Alshich (VaYikra 25:29),
is the surety the promise, that Hashem will ultimately redeem us.


SIGN OF HOPE


These two sources indicate to us a positive, hopeful aspect of the Makom HaMikdash, in our times. It is a place of enormous Kedusha – holiness, and one which brings current salvation to the world now, and the hope and promise of the ultimate future redemption of the Jewish people. This is remarkably inspiring and uplifting.


SADNESS AND PAIN


Yet at the same time, the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash evokes deep feelings of sadness and pain. We rip Kriyah when we see it. It is not just a regular Kriyah but the more serious one that occurs near the heart itself. When we rip Kriyah, the ripping should never be repaired completely.


The destruction should move us. Indeed, the Mishna Brurah (561:4) writes that on the day that a person first sees Yerushalayim in its state of disrepair it is proper and appropriate for that person to refrain from eating meat and drinking wine.


WHERE TO FACE


It is important to note that when dealing with the Bais HaMikdash and davening at the Kotel ,our focus must on HaKadosh Boruch Hu and not on the physical aspect of the Kotel itself. Indeed, a fascinating point, recently confirmed by Rav Chaim Kanievsky, is that when davening at the Kotel one should not face completely toward the Kotel. Rather, one should face left toward the Kodash HaKadoshim.


DEBATE WHETHER NOWADAYS IT’S A MITZVAH


Another question arises as to whether there exists a Mitzvah to go to Eretz Yisroel during the Shalosh Regalim even in its current state of destruction. The Rambam in Hilchos Chagiga (1:1) states that there is no Mitzvah because the obligation is only to bring a Korban Chagigah and Olah and to appear in the Temple. The opinion of the Tashbatz (Responsa III # 201), however, at least according to the way most achronim understand him, is that there is indeed a Mitzvah of Aliyah l’regel, even nowadays when there is no extant Beis HaMikdash. This is also the view of the Sdei Chemed, the Chasam Sopher (Yevamos 44a), and the Aruch LaNer. The RaN in Taanis (first Mishna) also writes this.


Rav Elyashiv zatzal was careful to observe this Mitzvah and go to the Kotel every Yom Tov. When he got older and could no longer make the walk he would do so during the latter days of the Yom Tov – the 7 days of Tashlumim. [Once, my brother-in-law accompanied him on the way back from the Kotel on Yom Tov and had asked him where one puts up a Zecher l’Churban in a house if there is no place to put it opposite the door. He responded that one should place it above the door in such an instance.]


The fact that we currently have access to the Kotel, thus has remarkable relevance, as we can now fulfill this Mitzvah of the Tashbatz,


The ideal method of performing the Mitzvah, however, is on the first day of the Yom Tov as Rav Elyashiv had observed it. This can be seen from the words of the Rambam in Chagiga 1:1. So, whoever is in Yerushalayim and can make the walk to the Kotel on the first day of the Yom Tov should definitely do so. If one can afford to go to Eretz Yisroel for Yom Tov from Chutz LaAretz, then one should do so as well.


May Hashem bring us all yeshuos and nechamos.


The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com

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