Parashat Tetzaveh: Dead Seas

Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Parashat Ve’Ata Te’Tzaveh 5768
I am writing this week’s divrei Torah in the lobby of a magnificent
hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea, that ancient area of Sodom and
Amora and its three sister towns, which were destroyed by HaShem
because of their debased ways. (These five cities are not unique. An
acquaintance of mine, on his return from a visit to San Fransisco,
remarked that if God does not destroy San Francisco, He owes an apology
to Sodom and Amora.)
Now, despite its bad track record, or perhaps because of it, this area
was chosen by the Ariel Institutions of Yerushalayim for its bi-annual
rabbinic conference. For four days, the lowest point on the planet (the
Dead Sea) was launched into orbit of keddusha (holiness) by the
presence of over 200 of Israel’s leading rabbis in a conference dealing
with the Shoah (Holocaust).
It is a constant source of amazement to me how Hashem interlocks the
practical plans of Man with His spiritual agenda: 1- The Jewish nation;
2- This week’s parasha; 3- The place which was designated for the
conference; and 4- The Shoah, all meshed together in synchronization.
As I gaze at …


  By Gerald A. Honigman
     Somebody finally orchestrated justice for a deliberate mass
murderer of civilian men, women, and children the other day. Among his
numerous other exploits, some four hundred of the latter were killed,
maimed, and wounded in an Argentine Jewish Community Center in 1994. 
     Imad Mughniyeh, a chief honcho in Hizbullah, now gets to indulge
in the pleasures of his own personal seventy-two virgins awaiting him
in Muslim Paradise after being blown apart in Damascus. Israel is
blamed as his dispatcher. 
     Hizbullah’s #1, Hassan Nasrallah, rallied thousands of supporters
at Mughniyeh’s funeral in Beirut and warned that Jews everywhere (like
in Buenos Aires earlier), as well as the Jew of the Nations, would pay
     For Nasrallah–as well as the vast majority of his Arab
brethren–Jews are still expected to play their age-old, subjugated,
dhimmi role. Dhimmis were not allowed to defend themselves if attacked
by a Muslim. They could just beg for mercy. Dhimmis could not bring
charges against Muslims, had to pay a “protection tax,” etc. and so
      So, no great surprise that when Israel refuses to act like the
Muslim East’s or the Christian West’s proverbial …

Recent tremors raise fears of potentially destructive earthquake

By Zafrir Rinat and Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz
Service and AP    
Friday's earthquake shook open a large hole on the Temple Mount plaza,
near the Dome of the Rock.
Al-Aqsa mosque officials belonging to the Islamic Movement's Northern
Branch covered the hole with wooden planks following afternoon prayers.

The officials, who also said the quake caused cracks in several local
residential buildings, said the hole was a meter deep, two meters long
and meter and a half wide.
The Islamic Movement blamed Israel for the hole, saying Israel is
digging tunnels in the area that undermine the stability in the area of
the Al-Aqsa mosque. The organization urged Islamic states to take
action to stop Israeli excavations in the area.
Epicenter northeast of Lebanese city of Tyre
A Tel Aviv resident, living on the second floor, said: “We felt the
earth move. The bed was rocking, the doors were moving, and the
chandeliers were swinging.”
In the West Bank, An old house fell onto the main road in Kofin village
west of Nablus, blocking it but not hurting anyone.
The earthquake also shook Lebanon and Syria.
Residents in some areas of Beirut left their apartments and went into

Poisoning suspected in the Kinneret

  The tens of thousands of dead fish discovered early Saturday morning
in the Tiberias marina and suspected to have been poisoned do not pose
any threat to the purity of the water in the Kinneret, Water Authority
spokesman Uri Shor told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night.
The Kinneret.
“We took samples from both the fish and the water and sent them to the
lab. There is no threat to the water,” he said. The Kinneret is the
largest single source of Israel's drinking water.
The Agriculture and Health ministries warned the public on Saturday
afternoon not to eat fish bought from unregulated sources in the marina
or from elsewhere in the Kinneret.
All fishing in the area was suspended. Teams that examined fish in
other markets such as Nazareth did not find any poisoned specimens.
Media reports suggested that fishermen may have used poison to increase
their haul. “The fishermen can put an end to it [the poisoned fish] and
the fact that they don't is very serious. They can end it easily,” Shor
told the Post.
Several dead fish from the Kinneret were being analyzed by research
labs and test results were …

Playing with fire

If a series of reports in The Jerusalem Post this week is accurate,
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is aware of and possibly even directing
clandestine talks on the future of Jerusalem.
The back-channel talks, according to these same reports, are looking at
ways to divide Jerusalem between Jews and Arabs in a way that the city
could be the capital of both the State of Israel and the nascent State
of Palestine.
Such dual-track negotiations have been used before, notably leading up
to the 1978 Camp David Agreement and resulting in the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Veteran diplomats, at least some who have been involved in trying to
find a solution to the century-long Arab-Jewish conflict, believe that
because of the strong, in fact intractable positions both sides hold on
the so-called core issues – final borders of Israel and “Palestinian,”
sovereignty in Jerusalem, the “Palestinian” refugees “right of return,”
the allocation of water resources – solutions are unattainable through
open talks.
The reasoning is that the constituents on both sides – the Israeli and
Palestinian public – will not allow their representatives to go too far
down the road towards compromising on these issues before they pull the
plug on …

Olmert said secretly bartering with PLO on Jerusalem

The Israeli government has been hammered with a succession of reports
in the local press this week charging that it is secretly negotiating
over the future of Jerusalem with leaders in the terrorist Palestine
Liberation Organization.
According to investigations carried out by journalists at The Jerusalem
Post, the back channel discussions are taking place in tandem with the
official talks that have been spurred along under pressure from the
United States.
While the official talks are said to be making little progress, the
secret discussions are dealing with the de facto division of Jerusalem,
with Arab claims to property on both eastern and western sides of the
city being put forward.
PLO/PA official Hatem Abdel Qader was quoted in the Post Wednesday as
saying that the question of Jerusalem is both “on the table and under
the table.”
Jerusalem is Israel's 3,000-year-old capital which, after nearly two
millennia under gentile rule, was restored to Jewish control by the Six
Day War, 40 years ago last year, in what was seen by most Jews and many
millions of Christians as a miraculous answer to unbroken centuries of
During the first decades after 1967, Israeli leaders repeatedly vowed
that Jerusalem would …