Thursday, February 14, 2019

All about the Benjamins... Purim 2019

Benjamin the Jew brings the spirit of Purim to the US Congress

Did you know that Purim is quite literally "all about the Benjamins?"

Yes, Omar* is 100% right. It’s indeed all about the Jews and their "Benjamins.”

A bit of historical context is in order:

Three and a half centuries before common era, Jews were in a precarious state. Antisemitism was rising everywhere. It had been barely seventy years since the previous horrific destruction of Jewish civilization during which time Jews had been murdered by the millions. But alas, just a few decades later, just about everyone had forgotten. Hatred of Jews was once again on the rise.

The superpower nation forbade Jews from returning to their Temple Mount, and all the Jews’ pleas to fortify and secure their ancestral homeland fell on deaf ears. Jews were seen as foreign occupiers, not just in Israel, but throughout the Diaspora too.

To make matters worse, an immensely wealthy individual rose to power as a result of his extensive lobbying efforts.  His anti-Israel position gained legitimacy in the eyes of the public due to his power and prestige. Everyone bowed deferentially to this unsavory fellow, and no one dared call him out for his antisemitic rhetoric.

That is, almost everyone. One individual refused to kneel to this corruption...

A Benjamin!

That's right, a Jewish man who hailed from the Tribe of Benjamin, who had survived the bloody shoah seventy years earlier. Yes, this Benjaminite boldly walked the streets of the capital of mightiest nation on earth, unfazed and undaunted by the powerful antisemitic lawmaker. This Jewish Benjaminite proudly called Jerusalem his home, even though it wasn’t politically correct. Needless to say, the Benjamin stood up and refused to bow. He also lobbied tirelessly to acknowledge the Jews’ eternal right to Jerusalem.**

Of course, all this enraged the antisemite and his powerful faction to no end. After much lobbying efforts, he was appointed to chair the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. Of course, his first legislation was to stymie all the Benjamin’s pro-Israel efforts at reestablishing the Jewish capital in Jerusalem. The new lawmaker effectively halted all (of what he called) “illegal settlement expansions.” But that was just the beginning. From there, he continued his dazzling ascent in Persian politics.

As he reached the upper echelons of power, he used his wealth to influence the government to marginalize the Jews further and single them out for intense hyper-focused and myopic criticism.

"We gotta deal with this Jewish problem,” he said. “These Jews and their Benjamin lobbyists have hypnotized the world. They don’t have the interest of this great nation in mind, they’re not loyal to the laws of the land,” he insisted, “and all they care about is their illegal occupation in Jerusalem.”

The executive listened intently as the powerful anti-Israel lobbyist spelled out his plan.

“Let’s boycott, divest and sanction them!” he urged. “There’s nothing wrong with doing that. We’d be simply exercising our Persian freedom of speech. Surely that will beat them to submission!”

“Anyway, they’re divided and at odds with each other,” he added. “They’re polarized between right and left. They don’t care about each other. Just wait… I bet you a bunch of them will naively embrace our devious BDS efforts in attempt to appear more ‘objective’ and ‘progressive.’ They won’t even care that it unfairly targets their own coreligionists. What fools!”

“They don’t deserve to exist anyway,” he continued. “They have dual loyalties. They control government, the economy, media, entertainment, even sports! They have their slimy tentacles in everything.  Who needs them?”

The executive nodded in tacit agreement, so the ambitious antisemitic lobbyist took it one step further.

“Let’s eliminate them entirely!” he insisted. “That will save us all the BDS effort. Let’s just cut to the chase.”

“They deserve to be liquidated anyway,” he added, “since it’s all part of the cycle of violence. How dare they violate international law with impunity? Who do they think they are?”

“They don’t deserve to be humanized at all!” he railed. “Those privileged white Jews, they are the enemy of all us brown underprivileged Asians. They stole all our privileges. They expropriated us. Time to eliminate them all, for the good of the state!”

“No one will care about their murders,” he concluded. "We’ll just blame it all on the occupation, THEIR occupation. Remember, they’re ‘settlers,’ not humans. They don’t deserve to exist.”

The executive hesitated to go that far. “But what will we do without all those tax-paying Jews? We need all their Jewish Benjamins to offset our deficit,” he countered.

“No worries, Mr. Emperor,” the lobbyist said, pulling out an astronomical sum of money that amounted to many billions of dollars by today’s standards. "Use this for anything you’d like. Build another wall around our capital with it. Build ten walls with it. It’s all yours, sir. Just let me deal with our annoying Jewish problem.”

Just one glance at that huge wad (and huge briefcase) of "Persian Benjamins" was enough.

The executive promptly declared a state of emergency and gave the lobbyist executive powers.

Needless to say, the JPA (Jewish Problem Act) was swiftly signed into law without a single word of dissent from the ruling party. They all turned a blind eye because, you know, party loyalty.

To make matters worse, all 127 nations of the United Nations unanimously voted to uphold the edict.

“Jewishness is racism,” they shrieked in uncharacteristic unison, “it’s Apartheid!” and proceeded to pass 127 resolutions in condemnation of Israel.

“Israel is the very worst offender of every crime on earth!” they thundered. “Jewishness shall cease to exist” they ordered.

The Jews’ fate was sealed. Their proverbial goose was cooked.

But just as all hope was lost, another fearless Benjamin saved the day.

This time, it was a beautiful young female, a direct descendant of the first monarch of Israel, who hailed from the tribe of… you guessed it, Benjamin!

Fearless and bold like her fellow-Benjamin cousin, but far more astute and creative, she proposed an appropriate Jewish response to the dire decree:

“Our vicious enemy invokes our divisions and polarity,” Ms. Benjamin observed. “So let’s strengthen our unity! Go out and gather all the Jews. All of them. The far-right-winger and the far-left-winger, the ultra-religious and the ultra-secular, and everyone in between. The old, the young, males, females, hermaphrodites, all identities and affiliations. Bring them all together, right here, in the capital city, for three whole days. And pray, fast, bond with one another. Forget about our divisions, our differing appetites, preferences or opinions, our material differences... Let's just focus on what unites us… we are all Jews!”

“And I..." she declared with tears in her Benjaminte eyes, "I shall risk my life for my people. I’ll stand up to that cowardly anti-Semite. His billions and his power don’t intimidate me at all. Nor am I frightened by the inherent danger of entering the capitol uninvited and standing up for the truth. Even if I am destroyed, it will have been for a just cause. Pray for me.”

Inspired by her wisdom and self-sacrifice, her cousin readily agreed to organize the three-day vigil.

Well, the rest is history. The young Benjamin woman successfully lobbied for an opportunity to address the executive in the presence of the Jew-hating lawmaker, and after several attempts, finally confronted him! She fearlessly called him out for his atrocious antisemitism!

Sanity prevailed! The anti-Semite was executed on the very gallows he had prepared for the Benjamin pro-Israel lobbyist whom he'd so abhorred.

Due to intense and selfless lobbying efforts of the two Benjamin cousins, the Jews were finally given full permission to defend themselves against all anti-Israel terrorists, in Israel and abroad. A great battle ensued, but fortunately, at the end, all the terrorists were slain.

Several years later, the pro-Israel lobby finally succeeded in prevailing upon the government to allow Israel to reestablish its capital and Temple Mount!

(Parenthetically, it was the next executive of Persia who sanctioned that move. Some historians believe that this successor was actually the son of the brave Benjaminite woman herself. If that’s true, then he was a descendant of Benjamin too, which gives deeper meaning to the phrase, “It’s all about the Benjamin Baby.”)

Well anyway, I hope you enjoyed my history lesson.

The main takeaway is: don’t mess with Jews and definitely don’t mess with their Benjamins.

Let’s reaffirm our unity and we’ll certainly prevail, just like in times of yore. בימים ההם בזמן הזה

The other takeaway is: celebrate Purim!

It's all about those Benjamins. And all Judeans too.

Happy Purim Kattan!***

See you next month in shul (March 20 and 21) as we relive and celebrate the miraculous story of these heroic Benjamins!

Rabbi Michoel Benjamin Green 😊****


* It must be pointed out that “Omar” means to say. While she might not be a Haman herself, she certainly “says” the same types of things that Hamans’ say. Not sure if a simple apology is enough. Seems like she needs to be deprogrammed (or at least rehabilitated) from some rather hideously Hamanistic indoctrination.

** See Yalkut Shimoni Amos 545. See also

*** This year is a leap-year with two months of Adar. As such, the fourteenth of Adar I (February 19-20, 2019) is called "Purim Kattan" (literally the "Miniature Purim"), and the 14th of Adar II (March 20-21) is celebrated as the regular Purim.

**** Bet you didn't know that my middle name is Benjamin!

Let's celebrate all the heroic Jewish Benjamins! Happy Purim!

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Colors of Hate

Hate comes in many colors.

It can wear Yellow Vests1, Purple or Green Robes2, and has even been seen sporting Pink Hats3 and Blue Berets4!

Yes, hate has a vast, colorful wardrobe indeed.

Traditionally, it's been known to dress in Brown Shirts5 and Black Shirts6, but has also worn Blue Shirts7 and Silver Shirts8 too. Most recently, it seems to prefer multi-colored BDS shirts9.

It thrives under Red Flags10, Green Flags11, and even Rainbow flags12.

It’s alive and well in Blue States and Red States, all across the Red, White and Blue.

It’s been seen partying in both Red and Blue parties13, Black Parties14 and especially Green Parties15.

It festers under Red Crosses16 and Red Crescents17 (but never tolerates a red six-point-star unless inconspicuously inside a Red Crystal18).

It bears arms in White Armies19, but is welcomed with open arms by Red Armies20 too.

It reigns supreme under White Supremacy banners, but also ranks among highest-ranking Black Supremacy groups21.

It often rears its head in Black-and-White-checkered keffiyehs, and has even been spotted wearing Black skullcaps and White stockings22!

And hate’s not just Black and White. It can be Brown too23.

Not just Latino Brown, but Asian Brown as well24.

Hate is not confined to one particular hue, tone or pigment. 

Yes, hate is a chameleon indeed. It can blend into any color virtually undetected. It finds its way into every color, race and ethnicity.

It can be fair as an Aryan blonde with Blue eyes, or as dark as a brunet vying for seventy Dark-eyed virgins.

In truth, hate doesn’t have a color.

It is the colorless glue that binds Red, Green, and Brown to form a Red-Green-Brown Alliance25!

It is difficult to wash out, since it tends to brainwash its unsuspecting host. In fact, once one’s vision is stained by hate, the hater can ironically accuse his hated of Whitewashing or Pinkwashing26, while failing to see his own blatant hypocrisy!

Hate can pose as Blue Smurfs27, Green Frog28, or Red Elmo29.

Hate comes in Orange30, Neon Pink31, Emerald Green32 and even in the Color Purple33!

Don’t be fooled by its camouflage. Don’t let it color your vision.

Don’t attempt to whitewash, blackwash, brown-wash, red-wash, blue-wash, yellow-wash, orange-wash, or pinkwash it.

Don’t forge alliances with it, even if you think it benefits an underprivileged color.

There can be no intersection with hate.

There’s nothing to like (or love) about hate.

Don’t fall for its color.

Call it what it is.


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Friday, May 25, 2018


Have you heard of "jewfish?"

No, I'm not referring to gefilta, schmaltz herring or lox. There's an actual species called "jewfish!"

Interestingly, the jewfish is the largest kosher fish edible to Jews. Sounds rather Jewish to me! (And stick an "f" into "Jewish" and you get "jewFish")

Its newer more-"culturally-sensitive" name is the "goliath grouper," and appropriately so, as it's one heck of a giant fish! Some jewfish grow to longer than 8 feet and as heavy as 800 lbs! Don't mess with a jewfish! (And don't mess with the Jews either, for that matter).

Just like their Jewish namesakes, jewfish are fond of the tropics, and congregate near the South Florida coast.

There's even a place in the Florida Keys called "Jewfish Creek!"

However, unlike Jews, jewfish are NOT snowbirds, or maybe I should say, "snowfish." They don't ever migrate northward to colder Atlantic waters. They prefer to stay in the tropics year-round.

The origin of the name "jewfish" is somewhat of a mystery (kind of like how Jewish survival is a mystery too), though some speculate that it may have originally been "jawfish" due to its large mouth (reminds me of some Jewish bigmouths I know), so it might be more about semantics than Semitics.

Unlike Jews who prefer cohesive Jewish community, jewfish are solitary. Oddly, they are called "groupers" yet don't swim in groups! In Australia, they're called "gropers," but jewfish don't grope anyone either! Likewise, Jews are NOT groupies, and we certainly don't condone groping anyone. We Jews are ashamed of recent high-profile Jewish gropers, and think they should be locked up! A shanda!

Like Jews in Israel, the jewfish defend its territory when threatened, with aggressive body language. They have been known to attack divers, and were even seen attacking large lemon sharks! As I said, don't mess with jewfish!

Like Jews, jewfish are highly inquisitive, and fearless too, which unfortunately made them easy prey (prey, not pray) for spear fishermen.

Sadly, for this reason, jewfish are considered "critically endangered," and harvesting them has been banned since 1990. They also reproduce very slowly, so it will still be a while till their population rises to sustainable levels, even though their numbers have been recovering substantially since the ban.

(It's too bad, because unlike inferior "gefilta" ("poor-man's fish") jewfish is considered superior high-quality fish meat. Jewfish is a type of sea bass, the very largest variety!)

However, here's where their similarities to their human namesake ends, for unlike jewfish, Jews are NOT endangered! If anyone is in danger, it's the enemies of the Jews!

And Jewish population is on the rise, and so is Jewish pride and identity!

So celebrate your Jewishness! (and if you're a jewfish, then celebrate your jewfishness! ;) 

Our numbers might be small, relatively speaking, but we're the "big fish in the pond" of planet Earth.

Take a lesson from the jewfish and have NO FEAR!

In the words of our Jewish sages:

"The whole world is a very narrow bridge. The main thing is to have no fear at all!"

(Curiously, there is a bridge called the "Jewfish Bridge" in Key Largo that carries US1, connecting the Florida Keys to US mainland! A long narrow bridge indeed!)

(And since lots of Jewish Floridians traverse that bridge, it might as well be called the "Jewish Jewfish Bridge!")

Hurray for jewfish!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Never Again

Can't get psyched up for Holocaust Remembrance Day. Reasons:

1. Children getting gassed in Syria. Haunting images of last week's horrific massacre scar my psyche.

2. Jews being poached in Land of Israel for a whopping 3-million-dollar bounty per head, courtesy of PA (=UN, EU, US, etc). It's open season for Jews. Rammed with cars, plowed down with trucks, gunned down, chopped up with kitchen knives. Instant wealth and celebrity status for Jew killers.

3. Israel sandwiched between genocidal rogue regimes of their own creation, funded by nations of the world. Preschools, primary schools, summer camps, & media there teach children to hate and murder Jews, much like Nazi propagandist and Hitler Youth indoctrination of the thirties.

4. 85-year-old Holocaust survivor brutally murdered in Paris, Jewish woman beaten & tossed out of window to her death, synagogues firebombed in Europe, antisemitism rising worldwide. Outspoken Jew hatred surging on the left and right.

5. Jewish state blamed for virtually all of world's problems by prominent body representing nearly all the world's nations. Said body & its members states demand that entire regions be ethnically cleansed of Jews. No ethnic cleansing, no peace.

6. Pariah of the world once again, Jewish state reviled and deplored by academia and media. Serious worldwide effort to boycott, sanction, and divest from Jewish state. Athletes from Jewish state barred from open participation in international sports competitions. Prominent US Jews lecture Israel on why it's wrong to killl genocidal jihadists who are shooting at their own soldiers.

7. Jews declared illegitimate among the nations. Singled out for international condemnation and scorn. 3,000 years of Jewish history brazenly denied. Most ancient and holiest Jewish sites vandalized and ancient Jewish artifacts trashed.

8. Rockets fired from rogue police state (with stated genocidal mission) onto Jewish state every now and then. World aghast with condemnation when puny Jewish state attempts to defend its citizens.

9. Nearly-nuclear Iran encroaching in on their stated target, the world's only Jewish state, from close range. Six million Jews again in perilous jeopardy.

World is silent and inactive. Again.

What do they mean when they say "Never Again?" Are they serious?

It's more like: "Oh no. Not Again!" לא תקום פעמיים צרה.

What do we hope to accomplish by just passively remembering the horrors of the past, yet we stand by helplessly witnessing the horrors of the present?

At the very least, let's change the slogan to "No more" or "Let's actually stop it now, because it's happening again."

That would be far more respectful to the memories of the millions of victims of the Nazi genocide, as well as to the memories of the thousands of victims of the contemporary Oslo-inspired genocide that persists to this day.

Actually, the most appropriate slogans are "Moshiach Now!" and "Enough Galut!" (exile).  For once we experience the True and Complete Redemption, the Galut and its horrors & holocausts will truly be gone for good... Never Again.

Awesome Israel Initials

Do you know what these Hebrew letters refer to?

In the recent two decades, ever since the onset of the sms/internet/mobile-phone-era phenomenon, acrostics like LOL and ASAP have become ubiquitous. Everyone can easily recognize their emphatic meanings.  What you may not know is that Jews have writing this way for centuries, perhaps millennia.

It was not only a means to conserve ink, paper, and time, although those were presumably the major factors. The deeper significance is to express how obvious or inherent an idea is to the readers, so obvious that it was redundant to even spell it out. The mere initials invoked powerful feeling that transcend words.

The acronym above is an excellent example. Used widely throughout Jewish literature to refer to what had been then known as Palestine,[1] it is comprised of two phrases:

The first initials (אה"ק) define the location and describe its significance, while the second (תובב"א) is a prayerful wish, concluding with an article of faith. It’s truly remarkable how a few letters can convey such a wealth of meaning.

For those who aren’t familiar with the nuances of the Hebrew original, I'll delineate them here.

It stands for: “אַרְצֵנוּ הַקְדוֹשָׁה, תִּבָּנֶה וְתִכּוֹנֵן בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ אָמֵן.”

It means: “Our Holy Land, may it be rebuilt and securely-reestablished speedily in our own days, Amen!”

Simply put, it refers to the land of Israel. However, although it only contains eight initials, it expresses eleven simple but powerful ideas:

1.   אַרְצֵ  – land.

We refer to a land, not a state. The state is great, as it helps the people live in the Land. However, while the state is only 70 years old, the Land is 3,330 years old. The state owes its existence (partially, at least) to the United Nations and other international sponsors. The Land owes its existence only to its Divine Creator, and to no one else. Also, the “state” doesn’t include territories outside of its official internationally-recognized state borders, especially if there are other inhabitants in these areas who wish to have a different (or mutually-exclusive) state. The Land includes the entire expanse of the land, irrespective of any modern political realities. A Jew in Hebron is living in the Land, but not necessarily within the state.

2.   נוּ  – our.

It is our land. The Land has been granted to us, the Children of Israel, as an eternal inheritance. While most lands belong exclusively to the citizens of the particular state within whose boundaries the lands are geographically located, this Land Is different. It is inherently “our land,” and as such, belongs to all of us. A Jew living in Hebron is living in his own Land, not just in the the Land. In fact, he’s living in my land too, and in yours as well. He’s living in our land. Unlike all other lands, this Land belongs to every single Jew worldwide, irrespective of citizenship or location.[2]

3.  קְדוֹשָׁה – holy.

It isn’t just any land, or a land we love simply because it’s ours. We acknowledge that it’s sacred soil irrespective of whether it’s ours. We cherish it because of Whose presence is manifest there.[3] It is not merely beloved or cherished.[4] It is hallowed.

4.  הַ)קְדוֹשָׁה) – the (holy).

It’s not just one of many sacred lands. It is “the” holy land with definite article. The one and only Holy Land. This Land is inherently different from the rest of the mundane earth.[5] It is the location of G-d’s unique “home” on earth. It’s where G-d feels at home, and consequently, so do we.

5.  תִּבָּנֶה  – may it be built. It’s not talking about big buildings, skyscrapers or stadiums. This is a common misconception. It refers to the construction of more Jewish homes, enough for all the Jews on earth to return and resettle our ancestral land. Even more essentially, it refers to the construction of G-d's home, the Holy Temple. That’s what we mean when we refer toירושלים הבנויה, “Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem." Its ultimate building needs to be built.

6.  וְתִכּוֹנֵן  – and may it be securely established.

It's not enough for Jewish homes to be built throughout our Land. They need to be securely established for all time.

7.  בְיָמֵי – in days.

We envision and anticipate an actual time, a real day in the future, when the Temple will indeed be built on its proper site, and all the exiles will indeed return and securely resettle the Land.

8.   נוּ   – our.

In our days. May this come to fruition quite literally in our lifetimes.

9.  בִּמְהֵרָה – speedily.

Not just in our days, but speedily in our days. Not just in decades, years, or even months from now. In our days, and with speed. In other words, TODAY. In fact, we can’t even mention our Holy Land by name without immediately expressing our heartfelt yearning for reconstruction of the Temple and the ingathering of the Exiles to occur speedily in our days!

10.  אָמֵן – Amen.

This means: “So be it. It's true. I truly believe this statement and mean it quite literally. It’s not just a hopeful wish, but something that I know and affirm to be true. It’s an article of faith.[6] I know that this wish will indeed become fulfilled.”

11.  !(אָמֵן– Amen at the end, with implied emphasis.

This is a final amen. Generally, one does not respond “amen” after his/her own blessing or prayer. It’s superfluous, since one is always supposed to mean what he/she says, without any need to affirm it.[7] It’s only recited after hearing someone else’s prayer or blessing, and expresses agreement, shared belief and affirmation.

However, there’s a notable exception. One recites “amen” only if it’s to signify the end, ultimate finality, that there’s nothing after it.[8] It implies "Amen. Period."

Why is this significant here? Our sages taught that the ultimate Redemption is different from all the others in that it will never be followed by an exile, “גְאוּלָה שֶׁאֵין אַחֲרֶיהָ גָלוּת” in Hebrew, unlike the exodus from Egypt or the return from Babylon, victory over the Hellenist Seleucids or Persian-era Hamanists. All those salvations were later followed by a subsequent debacle, destruction and exile. The final redemption is truly final, complete and permanent. That is why we call it “גְאוּלָה הָאֲמִיתִּית וְהַשְׁלֵמָה ," the "True and Complete Redemption."

That's why “Amen” is recited at the end of our own prayerful wish and affirmation of faith concerning the rebuilding and secure reestablishment of our Holy Land and G-d’s eternal city. We are affirming our belief that it will be built and securely-reestablished permanently, and will never again be destroyed. And that will be the wonderful final chapter of the story of man on earth, a grand finale that will last to eternity.

May it be speedily in our days. Amen!


[1] See Tanya, Igeret Hakodesh, preface to Epistle 27.
[2] No need to call it the “Promised Land” anymore, since it has already been given and eternally deeded to us. The promise has been long since kept and fulfilled millennia ago. Now, it’s simply “Our Land.”
[3] It was cherished by our Patriarchs and Matriarchs before it was granted to them, and even before it was ever promised to their descendants.
[4] As its also referred to in TaNaKh, “ארץ חמדה,” the “cherished” or “desired” land. In fact, etymologically speaking, the very word “ארץ” (land) is a cognate of “רצון”, desire.
[5] קדוש, usually translated as “holy,” actually means “separate” or “removed from,” i.e. beyond the mundane.
[6] אמונה means belief. אמת means truth. Both are cognates of אמן.
[7] Consequently, saying “amen” after one’s own blessing is considered derisive and disrespectful in most cases.
[8] For example, some recite “amen” at the last of a group of blessings to signify that it is the end. See Berachot 45b, Rashi “הא בבונה ירושלים.” Furthermore, we recite “amen” after our own blessing in “Boneh Yerushayim,” the third blessing of Grace, to indicate that it is the end of the Biblically-required blessings. See Shulchan Aruch Harav, Orach Chayim, 188:1.