Standing up for whats right vs responsible speach

There has been much debate in the community about Jews attacking one another in public.

It is truly disturbing that this is happening so much and being exploited by our enemies.

However, just like crooks and child abusers love to hide behind “loshon horoh” and rogue Rabbis love to hide behind “kavod Talmid Chochom” to avoid justice, those who are hurting their own people from within love to hide behind “Jewish unity” to keep their public image and support.

and just like the Halacha is clear that the laws of loshon horo do not apply when there is risk to someone else involved, and the laws of honouring a Talmid Chochom are pushed aside when that Talmid chochom is involved in public abominable behavior, so too, it is clear that when someone publically betrays his own people, he is to be shamed in public.

Our prophets never held back from publically rebuking the people when they were out of line.
some of them were persecuted or even killed for it, but who did history show to be right?

When my father attacked Jews who didn’t do enough to fight Apartheid from the pulpit, he was told not to make Jews look bad in public- who did history vindicate?

yet we must proceed with great caution and great יראת שמים and balance everything we do very carefully.

In the era of social media, very little is private anymore.
Everyone has to be careful what they post or even say or do in front of others, and know that it could be shared, screen-shot, and quoted everywhere.

It is a fine-line I tread with great trepidation, and ask my friends to hold my hand when I waver.

As Chazal warned us so long ago  וכל מעשיך בספר נכתבים
“and all your deeds are being written in  a book”
(Avos 2/1)

To influence others positively , you need to fear G-d.

To influence others positively , you need to fear G-d.

ואמר רבי חלבו אמר רב הונא: כל אדם שיש בו יראת שמים – דבריו נשמעין, שנאמר: סוף דבר הכל נשמע את האלהים ירא וגו’.

“and Rabbi Helbo said in the name of Rav Huna: Any man who has fear of heaven- his words will be heard, as it says [Kohelet 12] “at the end of the matter, everything will be heard, Fear G-d…”

(Brachos 6a)


Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook זצ”ל once sent one of his students to convince the government not to destroy a Jewish settlement. He came back unsuccessful.

Rabbi Kook admonished his student, telling him that he must lack fear of heaven, as the Talmud clearly says that someone who has real fear of heaven will be able to convince people to do the right thing.

[Heard from Rabbi David Samson]

Whether one agrees with Rav Zvi Yehuda or not on the matter discussed , the message is clear.

If we want people to listen to us, we need to believe. We need to be genuine.

If people don’t listen to me even when I am right , I obviously have only myself to blame.

A 9 Av call from Nizaar

A 9 Av call from Nizaar

Tonight, my wife took a phone call from “Jack”, who when I answered the phone, introduced himself as Nizaar.

I realized that the man “STOP THE BDS” had publically condemned for threatening to “petrol bomb ” the Cape Town Israel rally, had found my phone number, which is no secret, and knew that I was an admin of the South Africa “STOP THE BDS” page, which is also no secret.

He was calling in panic to tell me that someone had posted all his details and his wife’s details on the comments threade and he feared not only for his legal situation but for his and his family’s safety, which of course none of us had any intention of threatening.

He assured me that he was not serious, and pointed out that he had used the FB suffix “lol” after the threat.

We had a long, frank, and constructive conversation and I offered to convince STOP THE BDS international and regional groups to remove the post if he publically committed to renouncing hate-speech and violence and debating in a civil manner only.

He agreed in writing via FB message to one of the admins, and the post was removed.

shows how powerful FB is, how a civil and calm conversation can bring about desired results, albeit after much pressure, and how We live in an age where Hashem gives us the tools to stand up for ourselves.

We might just meet for coffee at the Cape Grace, or maybe even the King David, one day.

השבינו ה עליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם

A 9 Av thats feels

Reading Eicha tonight was somehow more meaningful to me than ever

There was no need to try and think back 2000 years- the events of the past weeks, however miniscule in comparison to the Holocaust described in this moving book, all seemed to be described here so poignantly and prophetically.

Almost every possuk had immediate relevance.

Here a few that jumped out at me ,leaving me either in tears or numbed with cold.

קלים היו רדפינו מנשרי שמים

“Our pursuers were swifter than eagles of the sky”

Eicha 4/19

I thought about missiles and 15 second warnings in Sederot.


על אלה אני בוכיה עיני עיני ירדה מים

Over these I do weep, My eyes keep flowing with water

Eicha 1/16


I thought of our boys, our murdered teens, our fallen soldiers, our dead


כל איבי שמעו רעתי  ששו

All my enemies heard of my plight and rejoiced

(Eicha 1/21)

I thought of those who hate us, in the Middle East, in Europe, in South Africa, in America , around the world, who are being targeted by the same terrorists as us, but hate us so much, they still have to condemn us.


כל רעיה בגדו בה

All her friends have betrayed her

(Eicha  1/2)


I thought of Obama and Kerry and the Brazilian government and some of our “allies”  in Africa  and South America who voted against us in the U.N. and some of whom even recalled their ambassadors.


חטא חטאה ירושלים

Jerusalem has sinned greatly

(Eicha 1/8)


I thought of our own Sinas Chinam (causeless hatred) for one another and for other people and how we were so busy fighting amongst ourselves since the last election that we didn’t pay attention to what Hamas was digging under our noses.


פקד עונך בת אדום גלה על- חטאתיך

He remembers your iniquity, daughter of Edom, he will uncover your sins

[Eicha  4/22]

I thought of all those who cover their inbred anti-Semitism with “concern for Palestinians”


השבינו ה עליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם

Bring us back to you, Hashem, and we shall return, renew our days as of old.

[Eicha 5/21]


We need this now as much as ever!


Bringing Ebola to America



Now this is a tough one- bringing an Ebola patient back to the U.S. for the first time ever for treatment.

Is this wise?

On the one hand, with the number of flights coming in and out of West Africa, it seems inevitable that some-one will come back infected, and this might be a unique chance to work on a cure and heal with dedicated man at the same time.