Crowning God and Defeating Sin on Rosh Hashanah

While everyone knows that Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year, the main themes of the day’s elaborate liturgy are divine judgment and divine kingship. In a sermon on the day’s significance, the great 20th-century sage Joseph B. Soloveitchik focuses on the latter, especially the image of the Jewish people crowning the Ribono shel Olam, the Master of the Universe, as their King. He then proceeds to connect divine kingship to Amalek, the archetypal enemy of Israel who attacked the Israelites as they were leaving Egypt, as described in Exodus 17:8-16. Next Soloveitchik quotes the Zohar, the central text of Jewish mysticism, which refers to Amalek as toldin d’tohu—the offspring of formlessness, using the same word that describes the primordial chaos of Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form (tohu) and void (va-vahu).” He weaves the texts together in a remarkable fashion. (Yiddish with English subtitles. Video, 6 minutes.)

Read more at Ohr Publishing

More about: Amalek, Judaism, Repentance, Rosh Hashanah

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security