Crowning God and Defeating Sin on Rosh Hashanah

Sept. 3 2021

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

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada