Colors: Green Color

The Three Weeks are now becoming The Nine Days, and life has just gotten far more difficult. No laundering, no pleasure showers, no swimming, and no pastrami sandwiches. It seems like the big expression around here is simply, “Just Say No!” Therefore, please allow me to change things a bit. I have always trained myself to think differently, so here is a list that you won’t read anywhere else. It is a list of things that you can actually say “YES” to during these Nine Days. I call it my “Nine Ideas for the Nine Days.”

Israel’s new Prime Minister is Naftali Bennett, and I sincerely wish him well. I will daven for his success and hope that Hashem will help him do good things for Israel and world Jewry. Yes, I would have preferred that the elections turned out differently, but they didn’t – and I’m okay with that. When you enter a game, you try everything possible to win, but you must also be prepared to lose. If you’re not ready to lose, don’t play the game.

A p’sak halachah was just given by Rav Yaakov Ariel that is – quite literally – a revolution.  Rav Ariel is one of Israel’s leading poskim and the head of Machon Torah Ve’Ha’artez (The Institute for Torah and the Land of Israel).  Rav Ariel, former chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan, is the author of over 20 Halachic sefarim and the foremost Halachic authority on “Mitzvot teluyot ba’aretz” (Mitzvot connected to the Land).  To really appreciate his incredible p’sak, I need to give some background.

 Jackie Mason made a joke recently that there are three things we can always count on: death, taxes, and antisemitism. While I consider Jackie Mason a very funny guy, that was not a joke; it was 100 percent true, and it brought a few questions to mind – profoundly serious and basic questions that I don’t want you to brush off: Yes, antisemitism is on the rise; so what are you doing about it? And how are you going to defend yourself, your family, and your property?

I have been thinking about this a lot and just arrived at a very strange conclusion. As you know, the last 18 months have been extremely challenging, yet, baruch Hashem, things seem to be returning to normal. School is finishing, camps are about to begin, weddings have returned, shuls are open, and masks are off. There’s so much to do to “catch up,” but before anything else here’s the first thing on the “to-do list”: We need to ask Pharaoh for forgiveness. Yes, Pharaoh – the bad, evil king in Egypt who enslaved our people for over 200 years and killed Jewish babies – that guy.

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