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The Week In News


OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The ‫ טור‬quotes a fascinating ‫מדרש‬ which states that the number of words in the whole ‫ שמונה עשרה‬add up to 1800, corresponding to the exact amount of ‫ מלאכים‬that are always ready to receive the ‫ תפילות‬of ‫כלל ישראל‬. (‫)טור סימן קי״ח‬


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The Week In News

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News


CONTENTS COMMUNITY Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers, If someone were to offer us a choice between 1) complete satisfaction and happiness with what we have and 2) as much money as we want, which would we take? As we re-enter our work lives, where we will exert ourselves till the next yom tov

JEWISH THOUGHT Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Weekly Daf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

FEATURE Is the IDF Prepared for War? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

(Can’t wait!), it would be good to remember that money, success, and power are a means to an end. In and of themselves, they are at least neutral, if not corrupting forces. How many families are split due to financial disagreement? A friendship too may shred at the altar of power. True, we must work hard to be able to support ourselves, our spouses, and fam-

LIFESTYLE Emotional Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

ilies. But as we head into the months ahead, we need to remember: monetary success exists for us, we don’t exist for it.

NEWS Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Hashem told Noach, “Bo el hateiva.” The holy Baal Shem Tov learned this as a commandment to each of us facing the raging waters of earning a living: bo el




hateiva, come into the words into prayer and study. They will give strength and shelter us from the stormy sea. Once we climb inside their protection, the waves and challenges of life will lift our boat instead of sink it. Yet, ultimately, we are commanded “Tzei min hateivah;” we should “go out” from the words and cocoon of holiness. Take the strength you now have, and go out in the world; be extremely successful at what you do, and do it as a frum Yid. Demonstrate that you are courteous, refined, thoughtful of others. Noach was able to withstand the pressure of the entire world being immoral, filled with individuals who were selfish and callous towards one another. Surely, we can face up to the mockers of our generation and proclaim boldly that we need to live moral, ethical, and G-dly lives. First by example, but then vocally if necessary. Our journey through exile is almost over—let’s be the best closer we can. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM

The Week In News

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Teichman Family invites you to a special hazkarah celebrating the life of

Mr. Sol Teichman, Z ”L Sunday, October 14th 15365 Magnolia Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 5:45 pm Mincha – Teichman Beis Medrash, 3rd Floor Magnolia Campus 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Memorial Program – Teichman Auditorium, 3rd Floor Magnolia Campus Siyum Addresses and Tehilim led by Communal Leaders 8:00 pm Maariv, followed by light refreshments


TheHappenings Week In News

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Hachnassas Sefer Torah Inaugurates New Home for LINK Kollel Rabbi Eli Stern

Photo: David Horwatt


The LINK Kollel in Los Angeles offered the public its first glimpse of its new building—still under construction—as it held a joyous hachnassas sefer Torah on the Sunday before Yom Kippur, September 16th. Hundreds of people from all walks of life joined together to celebrate the arrival of the new sefer, lovingly dedicated by Mr. and Mrs. Armand Azeroual and their children, Mr. and Mrs. Avy Azeroual, in honor of the bar mitzvah of their beloved grand-

son and son, Even (Amram Eliyahu). The LINK Kollel, which is beginning its 17th year of service to the Jewish com‫־‬ munity, recently purchased their new home on Pico Boulevard. The funds raised that Sunday, from the community’s generous sponsorships of the five sefarim of the Torah and their 54 parshiyos, were dedicated to underwriting the considerable costs of the new building’s construction. As the last stitches of the sefer Torah

were being auctioned off, the crowd was treated to a beautiful concert by the renowned singer, Avraham David. In honor of this special occasion, three close associates of Mr. Avy Azeroual flew in from New York: Rabbi Mendel Tress, Rabbi Zevy Shick, and Rabbi Eli Breiner. Their presence greatly enhanced the simchah. With great fervor and joy, the crowd danced the sefer Torah to its new home at the Magen Avot Shul led by LINK’s Rosh

Kollel, Rabbi Mordechai Lebhar, about six blocks away. Pico Boulevard, the major east-west thoroughfare of the frum community, was closed in both directions in honor of this special occasion. Upon the parade’s arrival at Magen Avot, the dancing reached its climax, and the other sifrei Torah were taken out to greet the new scroll. Then, all the sefarim were escorted into the shul with one final burst of joyous accompaniment.


OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



Living with the The Week In Times News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home


Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

We begin the study of Parshas Noach and we cringe. We read that the world became corrupt – “Ki malah ha’aretz chomos” – and it sounds like our world today. Behavior never imagined a few years ago is front and center, inescapably flaunted. Accusations are accepted as fact, reputations ruined by insinuations. People are guilty until they can prove their innocence to a lynching populace and media. Justice is no longer just, and fairness is a word with no meaning. Intelligent thought is so yesterday, and rational conversations are as rare as discussions based upon facts. People are targeted, intimidated and trashed. People act out of fear and are afraid to speak out and confront bullies who dominate them. Only the politically correct are permitted to speak; others are vilified and not tolerated and vilified. People are afraid to be frank and truthful lest the thought police destroy them. People are divided and at each other’s throats; friends who disagree become enemies. Our culture has become overtly hedonistic, as people worship and pursue pleasure. Honesty, decency, helping others and contributing to the common good are not cool. Accomplishments don’t count anymore. Vanity is in and modesty is out. Regrettably, our communities are not immune. The same ills confronting the general world are all too apparent in ours. We cannot closet ourselves. Ignoring the world’s depravity makes it more dangerous, as it seeps in through insipid ways. We must face the truth and confront the decadence before it sweeps us up as well. In the headlines over the past few weeks were daily depictions of what happens when politicians abandon simple basic principles of fairness to advance an agenda. From the day the candidate for the Supreme Court was nominated, before his past and his rulings were studied, the Democrat party leadership announced that they would vote against him. They didn’t

have to know anything about him other than his party affiliation and the man who nominated him and they knew that he was unfit for office. A circus developed as they searched for ways to torpedo the nomination. Never was his judicial leadership questioned, even as everything else about the man who had seemed the perfect candidate was publicly destroyed. After decades of an exemplary public life, uncorroborated stories were splashed in front of the country as fact to tarnish an opponent. Thankfully, most of this took place over Yom Tov and we were otherwise occupied, but the stain on the nation as well as the ensuing acrimony and division remain. There is no need for us to become

drive for honor, motzi’m es ha’adam min haolam, cause man’s death.” Kayin was brought down by kinah, the dor haflogah by kavod, and the dor hamabul by ta’avah. By studying their failings and what transpired to them, we are reminded to rectify ourselves. Just last week, we studied in Parshas Bereishis the creation of man, formed when Hashem blew His spirit into a clump of dirt, “afar min ha’adamah” (Bereishis 2:7). A combination of dirt and G-dliness, man has the ability to rise to the heavens, yet he can also sink to the dirt. The physical body and spiritual soul are in a constant struggle. Our challenge is to allow the soul to control the body. Hashem waited ten generations from

People are afraid to be frank and truthful lest the thought police destroy them. engrossed with the details, but there are lessons to be learned about public and private behavior. The sorry saga portrayed how ego and the deep the desire for power can sink man. The Sefas Emes (556) writes that the Chiddushei Horim related in the name of the Kozhnitzer Maggid that the reason the parshiyos of Kayin, the dor haflogah and the dor hamabul are included in the Torah is because every person possesses the failings that caused those three periods of destruction. Chazal teach (Avos 4:21) that “kinah, jealousy, ta’avah, lust, and kavod, the

Adam until Noach. Until Noach, man had become dragged down by his physicality. Noach was the first glimmer of hope. When he was born, his father declared that this child will bring us comfort and help us derive food from the ground, which Hashem had cursed following the sin of Adam Harishon (Bereishis 5:29 and Rashi ad loc.). In his younger years, Noach was of great assistance to mankind, as he developed farming tools and implements, but he was destined for greater things. While Noach found favor in the eyes of Hashem, licentiousness overtook man and the populace was overcome by the pursuit

of physical gratification and self-indulgence. As the base tendencies overcame man, the world became full of tumah. Hashem decided to kill all living beings, destroying a civilization defiled by evil and decadence, allowing Noach to give the world a second chance and a new beginning. This week’s parsha reintroduces us to Noach, defining him as an “ish tzaddik tomim hayah bedorosav” (6:9). We accept the Torah’s testimony as fact, and for all time Noach is known as a righteous person. But the rabbis disagree whether Noach was only great in comparison to his generation, when everyone else was evil, or if he would have been considered great in a righteous generation, such as that of Avrohom Avinu, as well. We wonder about the need to minimize the greatness of the man through whom Hashem refashioned the world. The Chofetz Chaim (Chofetz Chaim Hachodosh) answers the oft-repeated question and says that those who point out that Noach was only great in his time want to teach us that a person who behaves properly in an inferior generation is considered a tzaddik tomim. Observing the type of world we live in is not an excuse for us to give up and say that we cannot be great. Everyone can achieve greatness. Everyone can achieve greatness, no matter their surroundings and the cultural milieu in which they find themselves. Living in a period such as ours obligates us to strengthen ourselves and work to support Torah and goodness. The value of - and reward for - engaging in meritorious acts to improve ourselves and our brethren in times such as these is so much greater than in times when such efforts are not as vital. Those who remain apathetic and self-centered risk being affected by the decadence and forfeit their chance at living a blessed life. But there is the dichotomy of man. As great as a man is, he can never rest. At the beginning of the parsha Noach was referred to as an ish tzaddik, but later he became an ish ha’adomah. Life is a constant battle. We must always remember that and dedicate ourselves to what is real and eternal. If we forget our obligation, our resolve becomes weakened and we lose. Rav Yeruchom Levovitz notes that many of the stories of the Torah involve people’s battles with the yeitzer hora

Living with In theNews Times The Week

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

(Daas Torah, Noach 8:21). A person can’t say that he doesn’t want to be involved in fighting his whole life, for man is born with a yeitzer hora (Rashi, Bereishis 8:21). All through life, we are confronted by a choice of life and good, or evil and death (Devorim 30:15). There is no middle ground; there is no option for neutrality. We either do good or we do bad. We must choose. We can be an ish tzaddik tomim or an ish ha’adomah. It is up to us. If we remain cognizant of the greatness we can achieve, we can succeed despite the many prevalent challenges. We can err and slip, but we have the ability to raise ourselves and prevent the failure that leads to destruction and death. With proper faith, we are able to confront all of life’s provocations. Like Noach, we can act with moral

clarity and decency, improving the world and ourselves. We can be dedicated to winning battles for ourselves and others and earn the blessings of the tzaddik who is blessed with chein and protection. When Rav Meir Shapiro erected the building of Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin, which he headed, he was burdened by crushing debt that would have broken a smaller man. He always maintained his faith that Hashem would help him in his mission to teach Torah and never faltered. On the day the yeshiva moved into the building, his beloved students gathered around him for some words of inspiration. He told them that his perseverance in getting the building completed was a credit to Chaikel the water carrier. He explained. The Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah (16a) teaches that man is judged on Rosh Hasha-

nah. The Gemara (ibid.) cites Rabi Yosi, who says that man is judged every day. The Baal Shem Tov explained that there is no dispute. He illustrated this with a story about Chaikel the water carrier. One day, Chaikel passed the home of the Baal Shem Tov. The founder of chassidus asked him how his day was going. Chaikel unhappily responded that he worked too hard and earned too little. The next day, Chaikel again passed the door of the Baal Shem Tov, who again asked him how he was doing. Chaikel happily told the rebbe that thanks to Hashem, he still had strength to earn an honest living. The Baal Shem Tov explained that the money a person will earn throughout the year is decided on Rosh Hashanah (Beitza 16a), but every day a person deals with his

fate differently. One day he is sad about it and one day he is happy with his lot. “I was like Chaikel,” said Rav Shapiro. “There were days when the difficulty of my task weighed on me and setbacks weakened me. But the next day, I became encouraged when considering that I was constructing this magnificent yeshiva, and with joy I was once again empowered.” In our lives, as well, the daily pressures are ever present. Challenges test us. Problems seem to set us back. If we maintain our faith and proper perspective, we can overcome all obstacles and thrive. May we be blessed with the strength of body and purpose to be tzaddikim in our day.

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The Week In News

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News Torah Musings

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

How Much for Your Integrity? Sarah Pachter

Our family was walking through the Century City Mall one afternoon, when my son was drawn to the Microsoft Store. It was so crowded with people that we wondered, Is this some kind of a grand opening event? But when we peered through the glass panes, we saw that it was not a grand opening after all, just a line of people waiting to test a new virtual video game. At the front of the line, stood a young lad wearing virtual reality goggles and making motions as though he were climbing a mountain. Twenty people stood behind him anxiously waiting to play. The anticipation in the air was palpable. With a look of excitement in his eyes, our son begged us to stop and allow him to play. I figured I could run errands while my husband took the kids to wait in line. We planned to meet up afterwards. Walking back towards the Microsoft store an hour later, I saw my son looking somewhat disappointed. Pretending I didn’t notice his sour face, I asked brightly, “How was the game?” His face still sad, he replied that he didn’t get to play. “Why? Was the line too long? We can go back if you would like.” Shuffling his feet while looking down, he said, “No…I wasn’t old enough.” “Oh, bummer.” My husband then added, “Yeah, but there were five-year-olds playing.” At this point, I was utterly confused. Our son was 11, how could that be? Children were technically supposed to be 12 years of age in order to play the game, and each parent was asked their child’s age before playing. Despite others’ willingness to lie, my husband was not comfortable with being dishonest. Josh was certainly disappointed, but we felt a tremendous lesson was learned that day. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition hoping to teach our children Jewish values, which include being an honest person.

We hope and pray the school will join us in our desire to impart lessons in integrity, honesty, and depth of character. But sometimes all it takes is a Sunday family activity and children will learn through our actions what really matters most. What will we choose to reinforce in our child’s mind? If we decide to stretch the truth in order to gain a few dollars or a fun experience, we take what we are trying to teach our children about the value of honesty and allow these lessons to slip right through our fingertips. Children are like sponges; we can preach all we want about honesty, but if we ourselves are not honest, what are we teaching our children? There is a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that represents a fundamental lesson to parenting: “Your actions are so loud that I can’t hear what you are saying.” What does this really mean? To illustrate, a developer was renovating a home and came to the site to speak with the contractor. The head contractor was not present, but one of his workers was on the premises working long hours that day. The worker approached the developer and said, “The contractor has not paid me and keeps telling me it’s because you did not pay him. But I see you give him the money each week, and I know he is lying and stealing from me.” He continued, “I know what he did with the money he owes me…he went and bought himself a motorcycle!” The developer was infuriated that the contractor would lie and act in such a manner. Especially since he himself was providing sufficient funds for him to pay his workers. He was shocked at the audacity. After inspecting the property, the developer was ready to leave, and the worker decided to finish up. As the developer was locking up, the worker glanced up at the sky and said, “I think it’s going to rain.” Skeptical, the developer looked up towards the clear night and politely answered, “Huh. You think so?” “Yup!” the worker confidently answered,

and he began to cover up the outdoor equipment, and anything that could rust in the wet and cold. Pointing to the electric wood cutter that the worker was covering, the developer asked, “Is that yours?” The worker responded, “No, it’s the contractor’s. He forgot about his tools. He left them here, and I wouldn’t want them to get destroyed.” Sure enough, it rained the next day. The developer was in awe of this simple construction worker. Here he was being lied to, was owed money, and yet was still willing to protect the tools that the contractor so irresponsibly left outside. This simple worker demonstrated honesty and integrity to its core. Gadlus, greatness, can be learned from moments like these. Integrity is who you are when no one can see you. You can boast to others about how honest you are, but seeing it in action solidifies the impression. These are the moments our children pick up on. The Torah writes: Rivkah, mother of Yaakov and Eisav.1 Rashi is puzzled by the passuk’s redundancy. If Rivka is the mother of Yaakov, we can au-


(Bereshit 28:5)

tomatically infer that she is also the mother of Eisav, as they are brothers. Stating both names is redundant, something the Torah typically avoids at all cost. Rashi writes an answer that I have not forgotten, although I learned many years ago: I don’t know. Rashi did not have to bring up the question at all! He could have casually passed right over this sentence, written nothing, and protected his image. Yet, he was notably honest. He did not know something and admitted it. He was not willing to fabricate an answer, no matter how logical it would sound, and no matter what people would think. Where is honesty like that today? For a five-dollar discount, we lie. For a three-minute video game, we contort the truth and rationalize. This teaches our children a lesson, one we may regret years later. Integrity is a lesson learned and practiced at all ages. Teaching our children to tell the truth in all situations, like when asked your age to test a new video game may disappoint them at the time, but they will walk away from the situation knowing in their hearts that being honest was the right thing to do. Take the example of John Owen, who was asked to be the running mate of William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States of America. Owen declined the offer because he did not feel it would be honest. At the time, he was leader of the Whig party (the Republican and Democratic parties did not exist as they do today). His role was to choose the party’s candidate for presidency; hence, he believed it would be wrong to accept such a position. He felt it would be akin to appointing himself, and therefore he deemed it necessary and honest to decline. President Harrison died just weeks into his presidency from pneumonia. Had Owen accepted such a position, he would have become the tenth president of the United States. In a further representation of his character, John Owen was known to reiterate that he never regretted his decision, not even for an instant, for doing what is right was his ultimate priority. He acted with honesty and integrity. Juxtapose this idea to today’s politicians, and we can see quite a stark contrast. Whenever faced with a test in the area of honesty, I think of this man. If someone was willing to give up being the president of the United States of America to do what is right, then certainly I can maintain my integrity in smaller moments. Next time you are in a position where you may gain slightly by telling a lie, remember Rashi or the John Owens of the world. Surely, we can follow these examples by making honest choices, and thereby bring more light into the world. Who is wise? One who learns from everyone. From the construction worker to the potential president of the United States, and of course the great Rashi, let us learn the lesson of honesty wherever it can be taught.

‫ונשמרתם מאד‬ .‫לנפשתיכם‬

The Week In News

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News Torah

OCTOBER 11, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Weekly Daf Does “‫ ”על‬mean “on” or “next to”? Rabbi Shmuel Wise, Maggid Shiur of Thursday’s daf (62a) discussed this question as it pertains to how the Shavuos lambs and loaves are waved. The gemara brings several tannaim who grapple with the contradictory implications in the passuk regarding which part goes on top: initially the passuk implies that the lambs go on top, but the verse later implies the opposite. In the opinion of Rebbi, the lambs and loaves are placed next to each other. But, the gemara objects, the passuk says that each item goes, “‫על‬,” literally “on,” the other? The gemara explains that Rebbi’s approach here is based on an opinion that he expressed regarding the placement of the spoons of frankincense with the lechem hapanim. Even though the Torah says to put the frankincense “‫ ”על‬the stacks

of lechem hapanim, Rebbi says that it is placed on the Shulchan next to the stacks, for the word “‫ ”על‬here is interpreted as “next to.” Rebbi establishes the validity of this interpretation from the word “‫”על‬ which is stated by the curtain that separated the Kodesh Kodashim, where the Aron was located, from the rest of the Mishkan. The Torah says to put the curtain “‫ ”על‬the Aron. Since we know that the curtain did not cover the Aron we have to say that “‫ ”על‬there means “next to.” We likewise interpret “‫ ”על‬by the lechem hapanim and the Shavuos lambs to mean “next to.” It’s not immediately clear how Rebbi makes the leap from the apparent meaning of “‫ ”על‬by the curtain to the word “‫”על‬ by the lechem hapanim and the Shavuos lambs: Surely Rebbi agrees that the literal

meaning of this word is “on.” So, while we are indeed forced to work with a different interpretation by the curtain, why does it follow that we should assume the secondary meaning in these other contexts? Now regarding the Shavuos lambs we can answer that what forces Rebbi’s secondary interpretation is the fact that according to the conventional interpretation the passuk would be contradicting itself (as explained above: the lambs cannot be both on top and on bottom). But our daf does not provide any basis for assuming the secondary interpretation by the lechem hapanim. Tosafos in Sotah (37a, heading “‫ )”מאי‬sheds light on the matter. Tosafos there explains that Rebbi argues that it

makes more sense to put the frankincense next to as opposed to on top of the lechem hapanim, for putting the frankincense on top of the bread runs the risk of causing the bread to break. Furthermore, (as we see on our daf from the way Rebbi responds to Chaninan ben Chachinai) Rebbi feels that placing the items of an offering one on top of the other is not a respectable way to present the offering. The upshot of this is that everyone agrees to the literal definition of “‫”על‬ which is “on.” Rebbi just has specific reasons to depart from that literal interpretation in each context.

Emotional Health

Self-Transcendence, Part 2 Rabbi Dov Heller, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Are you a kind person? A kind person is someone who consciously chooses to give people pleasure and avoid causing them pain. Kind people are givers and live in a self-transcending way. People who are not kind are takers and live lives of self-absorption. Takers view life as an opportunity to gratify their needs and desires, believing that gratifying their desires and being successful will lead to personal fulfillment. They think of themselves first, and others second. Although this strategy may result in moments of pleasure, in the end, it leads to a life of emptiness and isolation. Givers view life as an opportunity to give others pleasure. They seek to unite harmoniously with others through giving. Giving is the path of self-transcendence and is always deeply fulfilling. We can never fill ourselves through taking. The only way to fill the self is by transcending the self. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler reported that one winter day, he was walking in the forest and saw a pack of wolves that had

discovered a carcass. Immediately they began fighting each other for the food. In the end, the strongest wolf of the pack was left standing and devoured the carcass, while the others lay bleeding and dying in the snow. As he reflected upon this savage scene, he compared it to those whose lives are dedicated to their own success and fulfilling their personal ambitions. The victor in the battle of life fueled by personal ambition also comes out wounded, ill, and exhausted. And if this is the fate of the victor, what is there to say about the vanquished? In a society like ours that values competition, winning, and personal success above kindness, giving, and being in service, most people end up losers. He concludes, “What we learn from all this is that the ambitious one, the hungry one is the most miserable of all G-d’s creatures.” Taking is easy. Giving is hard. Becoming a giver requires constant practice and discipline. This is so, because the natural tendency of a human being is to take. Children are self-absorbed and takers. Adults

who never consciously practice giving behave like self-absorbed children. Most of us are certainly kind and giving from time to time, but how deeply engrained in the fiber of our being is the desire to give? Do I love giving and love being in service to others? Is giving and serving my passion? Is it my primary drive? Is my purpose in life to be in service to others or myself? Is my ambition driven by a desire to take or to give? If you would like to discover the truth about yourself, ask your spouse or a close friend if you are a giver or a taker. Here are some guidelines to help you become a kinder, more giving, and more self-transcending person: Strive to greet every person with a warm, friendly smile. A warm facial expression is a powerful way to give pleasure to others Once a day, consciously choose to build someone up with a sincere compliment. Perhaps, the greatest pleasure we can give others is to give the gift of encouragement. One of the ways people hurt others is

by gossiping. Avoid speaking in a derogative way about someone unless there is a legitimate reason for doing so. Kind people don’t cause pain through unkind words. Review your week, looking closely at your interactions with others. Identify all the ways you caused pain to others such as getting angry, being critical or judgmental, not being punctual, being impatient, selfish, cheap, etc. Choose one type of error and try to eliminate it entirely. True kindness is measured by the small things we do or don’t do daily. Building character requires hard work. There are no short cuts to becoming a truly kind and giving person.

Dov Heller is in private practice offering psychotherapy and personal mentoring for individuals and couples. He can be contacted at You may also visit his website at


Feature The Week In News

OCTOBER 29,| 2015 | The Jewish OCTOBER 11, 2018 The Jewish HomeHome

Is the IDF Prepared for


By Tzvi Leff


ince its establishment in 1972 to assist the Defense Ministry with supervising the military, the office of the Ombudsman (known officially as the Chief Complaints Officer) has never been at the center of a controversy like the one that is currently rocking Israel’s defense establishment. It typically deals with smaller issues: lack of hot water in the showers, poor food, a soldier being left on base for an extended period of time without leave. With few enforcement powers, the IDF Ombudsman is not well known and the average Israeli probably would not recognize the Ombudsman if he bumped into him on the street. The Ombudsman’s annual report traditionally receives little

attention by the media and is barely read by the military’s higher ups. That’s what makes the current controversy so remarkable. Over the past year, the current IDF Ombudsman, Major-General (res.) Yitzhak Brick has been issuing a series of increasingly dire reports warning that the army is drastically unprepared for war. According to Brick, the state of the ground forces will render the military unable to battle highly dangerous foes such as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. At first glance, Brick’s allegations seem absurd. The IDF is renowned for an expertise and technological ability unparalleled by any other military. Its

Merkava 4 tank is considered among the best in the world, and the new standard-issue Tavor X95 rifle has earned rave reviews; the U.S. military recently purchased Israeli technology that shoots down anti-tank missiles; and in recently years, the Israeli air force, backed by a pinpoint-level accuracy of intelligence, has successfully prevented Iran from smuggling advanced and highly accurate missiles to Hezbollah. According to Brick, however, the Gideon Plan, the massive multi-year restructuring plan that the army implemented starting in 2015, has consumed large amounts of spare ammunition. Even worse, it caused a dearth of career officers and left the

remaining soldiers exhausted from the resulting overload of work. The five year Gideon Plan was the IDF’s attempt to drastically revamp its ground forces in order to successfully fight asymmetrical warfare. Whereas the Israeli army has traditionally focused its training on fighting against large, organized nation-states like Syria and Egypt, the focus is now on battling paramilitary guerrilla terrorist groups that fight from within residential environments.


srael’s main immediate enemies are Hamas and Hezbollah. With Hamas, the military is still scrambling to learn how to deal with the maze of subterranean tunnels that lie


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Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot

beneath the Gaza Strip. With Hamas, the main threat is combatting its estimated 150,000 rockets that can hit anywhere in Israel and fighting in South Lebanon’s forested landscape. In order to adequately protect the country, the military needs to undergo a paradigm shift: unlike past wars, which took place against formal, organized enemies, today’s battles no longer consist of tank divisions stopping the Syrians and the Egyptians as was the case in the Six Day War. Neither can the air force be deployed to eliminate the enemy when Hamas terrorists are surrounded by civilians. While the air force has made tremendous strides over the past decade in revamping itself to meet today’s challenges, the ground forces have lagged behind. The ground forces are composed of the infantry, tanks, artillery, and combat engineering troops, and are the branches of the IDF that do the brunt of the fighting. However, the work of the ground forces in recent years has been less than satisfactory, the most notable example being the military’s disappointing performance in Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The Gideon Plan is the military’s way to assure the political echelon that it can still deliver a decisive win on the battlefield. However, the army’s shift to fighting on an ever-changing landscape has been difficult. “The Ground Forces are a huge mass of troops and adapting them to the conditions of modern warfare is expensive and difficult,” admitted former ground forces commander Major General Guy Tzur in an article he


IDF Ombudsman, Major-General (res.) Yitzhak Brick

wrote detailing the new initiative. The main thrust of the Gideon Plan is eliminating redundant troops and units in order to save money that can be invested in ammunition and new technology. As part of the effort, 2,500 professional soldiers were shown the door, 100,000 reserve soldiers were cut, and mid-level officers are automatically dismissed if they do not reach the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the age of 32. In addition, reservists who are not dismissed receive better gear and a vastly expanded training schedule. Until now, lack of funds forced many reserve units to train on a biannual basis, but with the Gideon Plan these reserve infantry and tank brigades are being called up twice a year for a week of maneuvers.


he defense establishment has looked at these cuts as a source of pride, contending that the Gideon Plan will result in a leaner, more mobile army better equipped to take on Hezbollah and Hamas in packed urban areas. “The idea is to create a younger military,” an IDF officer told the Times of Israel when the plan was rolled out in 2015. “One that is slimmer, stronger, more focused, better trained.” But Ombudsman Brick contends in a series of increasingly scathing reports that the cuts have decimated the IDF and leaves Israel dangerously vulnerable to an enemy attack. “Due to manpower cuts and the dissolution of career officer positions, one officer carries out the job that in the past would have been handled by two or three people,” he wrote in his first report in May, adding that the cuts

“compromises the ability of the IDF to meet tasks.” “It is impossible to hold the rope on both ends,” Brick wrote. “On the one hand, the tasks are increasing – and on the other there is extensive cross-cutting of manpower.” Brick stressed that while the military was indeed getting younger, career NCOs (non-commissioned officers) were being drummed out of the military and having their positions filled by inexperienced conscripts. “Compulsory service soldiers in the position of company sergeant, as good as they can be, are not a replacement for seniority and experience,” Brick said. Brick’s alarming report was met with overwhelming resistance by the IDF, with generals anonymously sniping at Brick in the media over what they said was his lack of authority to probe the army’s readiness for war. “No wonder Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said a few weeks ago that he had read the Israeli media and understood that the IDF was not ready for war and Israel was deterred by Hezbollah,” one high ranking officer told the Al Monitor magazine. “Unfortunately, some people would rather spread unfounded fear and glorify Israel’s enemies instead of checking the numbers, the facts and the situation as it is.” In September, Brick released a second position paper that contained more dire warnings about the army’s critically depleted state. The result of months of meetings and surprise inspections he carried out at military bases all over the country, the paper echoes Brick’s previous concerns and leaves off with even

worse estimates than before. Brick, whose decade-long tenure will soon come to an end, concluded by calling on cabinet ministers, the powerful subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the IDF leadership to appoint a committee to investigate the readiness of the ground forces for war.

Ever since then, the IDF is always afraid that somewhere, somehow, they are missing the next giant armed conflagration that threatens to destroy the Jewish State.


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This report launched a new round of squabbling with the IDF. His findings were pointedly rejected by Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, who not only rejected his conclusions regarding the military’s state of readiness but claimed that the IDF is currently at full combat readiness. In a highly irregular move, Eisenkot sent a letter to the members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the parliamentary body overseeing the military, where he insisted that the army is “at a high level of fitness and readiness for war with regard to any threat scenario. As the person responsible for the readiness of the army for war I state that the IDF is prepared for any mission required of it, an army with intelligence and air superiority, ground capability and rich operational experience that is tested daily in every arena of war.” Eisenkot acknowledged that “combat readiness will always be lacking. There are gaps and they exist alongside risk management and priorities. We, the commanders, are responsible for adjusting the process

of building the force to preserving the IDF’s quality and superiority in the present and for exploiting the window of opportunity to adapt the IDF to the challenges of the future.”


rick’s onslaught was effective in bringing the issue of the IDF’s combat readiness to the fore: amid mounting public pressure, at the end of September Eisenkot commissioned IDF Comptroller Brigadier General (res.) Ilan Harari to conduct an examination of issues Brick raised. The examination will fall within reviews conducted by the IDF Comptroller in cooperation with Major-General (res.) Avi Mizrahi and other senior reservists, with transparency and cooperation of all IDF units. Within 45 days, a final report will be presented to the Knesset, the security cabinet, and the IDF General Staff detailing the findings of the committee. However, the establishment of an internal commission didn’t satisfy Brick, who fired off a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense

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Minister Avigdor Liberman contending that the panel was insufficiently independent to adequately probe the military. In the document, Brick alleged that “the IDF’s condition is worse than it was at the time of the Yom Kippur War” and contended that the Chief of Staff had done everything possible to thwart the investigative panel’s establishment. “In my opinion, an internal panel led by IDF Comptroller Brig. Gen. (res.) Ilan Harari, which was appointed despite the chief of staff, does not have the ability to contain the severity and complexity of the deep flaws,” said Brick. Besides sending the letter to Netanyahu and Liberman, Brick leaked it to the press, guaranteeing that his accusations would gain maximum visibility. Brick’s decision to invoke the Yom Kippur War is telling. The 1973 surprise attack by Egypt and Syria caught a self-confident and arrogant military completely off-guard, leading to a terrible war that at times threatened the existence of the State of Israel. The shockingly unprepared IDF, and the total failure of top political echelons to properly oversee the army that had been too euphoric from its historic victory in the Six Day War, caused a deep trauma in the armed forces that still haunts it today. The war left almost three-thousand Israeli soldiers dead with many more injured, and the IDF was forced to answer to the public how it had let itself be taken so badly by surprise. Ever since then, the IDF is always afraid that somewhere, somehow, they are missing the next giant armed conflagration that threatens to destroy the Jewish State. The Yom Kippur War also had a major influence on Brick. When the war broke out in 1973, then-Captain Yitzchak Brick was a young company commander. During the opening hours, his outmanned and outgunned forces were cut to pieces, suffering massive amounts of casualties. Brick himself was seriously injured after being hit by an anti-tank missile, but he returned to the battlefield just in time to lead a successful attack that destroyed a team of Egyptian commandos. After the battle he cobbled together a team of tanks and managed to stop the Egyptian advance. For his actions under fire, Brick was decorated with Israel’s second high-

est commendation. By the end of the war, Brick was one of the only members of his unit that remained alive. His friends say that the experience of being helpless on the battlefield as a result of shoddy intelligence estimates explains his gloomy reports about the IDF’s lack of readiness today.


he question of the IDF’s combat readiness can probably not be answered by one without extensive military experience and deep knowledge of Israel’s security establishment. What is clear is that the next upcoming war is rapidly approaching. The Syrian civil war is finally winding down after eight bloody years, leaving the Hezbollah militia highly trained and well-armed. At the onset of 2006’s Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah possessed 12,000 rockets. Twelve years later, the number has ballooned to between 130,000 and 150,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles, more than most NATO nations. With a total area smaller than the State of New Jersey and with 70% of Israel’s population crowded into its center region, Hezbollah’s massive arsenal has the ability to lay waste to Israel’s home front and kill thousands of civilians. Down south, Gaza is near collapse. Thirteen years after Israel pulled out its 9,000 residents, the Hamas terror group is unable to effectively run the strip. With electricity only a few hours a day and more than half of the population without a job, analysts say that the region is headed for a humanitarian disaster that will deteriorate into an armed conflict with Israel. With all of the aforementioned developments, Israel cannot allow its military to deteriorate. In a recent interview with Ynet, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserted that the army is operating at its highest possible level. “We’re at the highest level of preparedness since the Six Day War,” Lieberman insisted. “The IDF is a massive machine with hundreds of thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of different military instruments – from planes to APCs and sniper rifles. “When I compare it throughout the years – since 1967, we haven’t been as prepared as we are today.” Let’s hope that he’s right.



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Russia and India Close Arms Deal India has agreed to buy S-400 surfaceto-air missile systems from Russia. The deal was signed during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi for his annual summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. New Delhi signed the arms deal despite warnings from the United States that such a deal may lead to sanctions under U.S. law. The contract, which is estimated to be worth more than $5 billion, gives the Indian government the ability to shoot down aircraft and missiles at an unprecedented range. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the “deal was signed on the fringes of the summit.” The United States has said that countries that trade with Russian intelligence and defense sectors would face automatic sanctions under the sweeping legislation known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). State Department

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spokespersons have said that the sanctions act is meant to be focused on countries that acquire weapons systems such as the S-400 missile batteries. Last month, America imposed sanctions on China for their purchase of combat fighters and the S-400 missile system from Russia. Experts say that India is hoping that the sanctions will be waived as they are to be seen as a deterrent against China’s bigger and superior military.

China Holds Interpol Head The Chinese Ministry of Public Security has announced that the head of Interpol is being held and investigated for corruption. Meng Hongwei has been accused of accepting bribes and other non-specific crimes by the Chinese government. Zhao Kezhi, the top law enforcement official, said that Meng “insisted on taking the wrong path and had only himself to blame (for his downfall).” Meng, who was also a vice minister of public security in China, went missing last Thursday after taking a flight from Interpol headquarters in France to Beijing. Chinese authorities had originally been tightlipped about Meng’s whereabouts but later admitted to having detained him after his wife reported him missing to authorities in Lyon, France, where they live. His last contact with her was an emoji of

a knife with instructions to “wait for my call.” There has been a wide-ranging campaign against corruption since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012. Meng is one of the highest-profile figures to be taken in for questioning so far. The Chinese president has promised to catch both “tigers and flies” in his quest to root out corruption at all levels. In its announcement of the investigation, China’s Public Security Ministry said the probe was “correct, wise and shows the determination of [President Xi]’s administration to continue its anti-corruption drive.” Meng has been the head of Interpol since 2016. In a press conference, Grace Meng, his wife, said that concern for her husband is a matter that “belongs to the international community.” She added, “Although I can’t see my husband, we are always connected by heart.” Interpol is the global policing agency that co-ordinates between police forces around the world, including – ironically – searches for missing and wanted persons.

$1.3M Worth of Animal Parts Burns Myanmar authorities destroyed hundreds of seized elephant tusks, pangolin scales and other animal parts, worth a total of $1.3 million on the black market, last

Thursday as part of a crackdown on illegal wildlife trafficking. Authorities set fire to pyres stacked with 277 pieces of elephant ivory, 1,544 antelope horns, 180 tiger bones and other confiscated item weighing more than 1.4 tons at a government compound in the capital, Naypyitaw.

“It is crucial to sustainably conserve our country’s natural resources, including land, water, forest, mountains and wildlife, for the sake of our future generations,” Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Ohn Win said during the ceremony. Myanmar, which lies in the notorious “Golden Triangle” region bordering Thailand and Laos, is at the heart of the global trade in illicit wildlife, with goods smuggled mostly to China. A report by conservation group Save the Elephants this week said China’s recent ban on the ivory trade had done little to stop the “prolific growth” in trade in the Myanmar-China border town of Mong La, where there has been a 60 percent growth in new ivory items seen for sale in the past three years.

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