Sunday, September 27, 2020

Show Me your Face


Yom Kippur is the day we take off the mask, so to speak.


The charade of living our lives independently from G-d is over. We take off the veil and show our true colors.

During the Inquisition, Jews who had been forcibly baptized in Spain and Portugal used to live a lie, pretending to be Catholics outwardly but surreptitiously practicing Jewish observances in the secrecy of their homes. Even after they left to freer lands, many of their descendants still maintained the guise of crytpo-Jewish life, all year at least. Once a year, they'd come to shul... on Yom Kippur, and rejoin the Jewish community.

This posed a dilemma to the community. How should they regard these "once-a-year" Jews who live as Catholics year-round, who had publicly abandoned their faith, a shameful and heretical act in the Jewish religion?

Wise and saintly rabbis understood that these lost errant sheep were also Jews, and must be welcomed back into the fold, even if for one day.

It was instituted that before the Kol Nidrei prayer, when we absolve all vows, the cantor would proclaim:

"By the authority of Omnipresent One and by the authority of this congregation, by consent of both the Heavenly Court and earthly we permit praying together with those who sinned."

Kol Nidrei was then recited by all. Everyone disavowed all oaths, both by choice or under coercion. The liturgy concludes:

"And may the entire congregation of the children of Israel be forgiven, as well as the stranger who dwells among them, for all the people went astray.

"And G-d said to Moses: 'I have forgiven them as you requested!'"

These wayward Jews were now forgiven. All fake identities were forgotten, and all masks removed. They were now Jews like all others, if at least for one day, one awesome day that defined their true quintessential selves.

My dear friends, on this awesome day of Yom Kippur, please remove the masks, the artificial façade that obscures your Divine essence.

Your face is not meant to be covered. [1]

You are created in the image of the Divine, the tselem Elokim. This is your face. Your eyes, nose and mouth. Do not obscure it.

Do not allow society to reduce you to a faceless member of the herd.

If Heaven-forfend, you have bought into this polytheistic cult of facelessness, I beg you , I implore you... do NOT stand before G-d on this awesome day with a mask on your face. Do not symbolically place a masach (mask, but also a partition or curtain that separates, מסך המבדיל, as in מסך ברזל -- the accursed 'Iron Curtain') separating between you and G-d, and between you and your fellow human being, who is also created in the image of the Divine.

It must also be pointed out that wearing a mask outdoors (where there is no eruv) is a grave violation of the sanctity of Yom Kippur, since Judaic law does NOT consider a mask an article of clothing, but a load that one carries, an act that is Biblically prohibited on this holiest day. [2]

At the very least, do not pray while wearing a mask. It is a desecration of prayer, a desecration of your tselem Elokim.[3]

"Turn your face to me," G-d pleads, "and I shall turn My face to you."

Please heed G-d's impassioned plea on this awesome day.

That's the motto of this year, 5781.

Show the world your beautiful face. Let your light shine. [4]

Don't fall for the specious arguments of those who wish to obscure your Divine essence with a piece of cloth. [5]

No more facades. Shine the light of your face. And let the light of G-d's face illuminate the world.

Shana tova.


Notes:

[1] See Likutei Torah by the Arizal. Nose, mouth, and ears must always be uncovered, without any obstruction. That is how our Creator intended it.

[2] It is the halachic opinion of this author, and in consultation with numerous worldwide authorities on Judaic law, that it is strictly forbidden to wear a mask outdoors on Sabbath or Yom Kippur, unless perhaps an N-95 mask, but even that is rather dubious.

It does NOT make it okay to wear a mask just because the government requires it. Just as it was forbidden to wear a yellow star outdoors on Shabbos, even if the German government required it.

[3] Wearing masks has pagan origins. It was NOT done in Biblical time, and is NOT regarded as a normal garment in Judaic tradition. Instead, it was a rite of polytheistic worship. This ritualistic mask-wearing still exists today in various pagan cults that are still extant. In a societal sense, Jews don't wear masks. Except on Purim when it's an obvious joke, and perhaps has kabbalistic significance to nullify all masachim barriers. And even on Purim, it is strictly forbidden to pray while wearing the mask. One must remove it before reciting words of prayer or blessings, as Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch ruled definitively in a responsum.

[4] In the Jewish calendar, this year is numerically תשפ"א, Tav-Shin-Pay-Aleph.

In Hebrew, that is acrostic for: "השנה תהא שנת אור פניך" -- May it be the year (that we go by the) light of Your face.

The small number 81 is פא is a reversal of אף af, which means nose, but can also be associated with anger. Why? Because when one is angry, his breathing is short and he feels his nostrils getting heated up. Hence "חרון אף -- burning of nostrils" means wrath. When you wear a mask over your nose, you feel the hot air in your nostrils. This is charon af, quite literally. Let's stop this wrathful madness now, at least on this holy day.

Parenthetically, תשפ"א is also a metathesis of "תשאף" -- "You should inhale (freely, without obstruction)."

As a pictogram, the letter פ"א pay means mouth. As an ideogram, it denotes openings and apertures. Paleographically speaking, the mouth is meant to be open, without obstruction or hindrance of any kind.

[5] Statistical arguments have no bearing in Judaic law. In order to make the case to cover one's breathing, i.e. nose and mouth, there must be actual scientific evidence that your not wearing a mask poses actual medical risk to any person. There is no such empirical evidence. Moreover, breathing without obstruction is an essential freedom. In order to infringe, the government must exercise strict scrutiny. This would require actual scientific evidence that asymptomatic transmission occurs in a numerically significant number of cases, and that masks indeed stop the spread of the pathogen. Statistical speculation is insufficient. Today's PCR test is not even diagnostic, so there is no actual proof that someone without symptoms is necessarily a carrier of any virus, let alone contagious.

Some argue that Moses wore a veil (see Exodus 34:29). Rashi points out that this was out of respect to the G-dly light that emanated from his face, so that it shouldn't be on display for all to see and feast their eyes on. It was an act of honoring G-d, not out of deference to any human beings or human-ordained regulations. Furthermore, he removed his mask when communicating with G-d (in prayer) AND when teaching Torah to the children of Israel.

See here my previous blog post on this topic.






Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Heads or Tails?

 


Rosh Hashana literally means "head of the year."

The Bible commands us to sound the ram's horn on this day.

Not coincidentally, the horn extends prominently from the top of the ram's head.

Indeed, Rosh Hashana is the time of Year to use your own Head.

Do not be a tail that follows obsequiously behind the dog that wags it. Don't be a hind to the hound.

Be a head instead. Think for yourself. That's how you will get ahead. That's how we will all get ahead.

That's why we implore G-d to "sound the great shofar for our freedom."

Freedom is only possible when you use your mind. If you blindly follow the herd, you are not free by definition.

When you use your own mind, you will likely face antagonism by those who insist that you follow the herd.

That's why you will need a formidable and prominent horn to fend off herd-enforcing predators.

Be resolute, fearless, and loud.

Be a ram's horn and blast the truth.

Blast it long and hard (tekia).
Blast it with humility & a broken heart (shevarim).
Blast it out and shake up the status quo (teruah).

Shake up the silence and complicity.
Shake up the adversary's narrative which all tails blindly wag to.

Demand truth, accountability, and objective morality.

Sound the shofar of your freedom.

Acknowledge the sovereignty of G-d and none other.

Reject blind subservience to human masters in public and private sectors.

Declare yourself free from pharmaceutical and media overlords.

Cast off your chains of subjugation.

Remember the Torah's timeless words etched in the iconic bell that was rung on the day our nation came into being:

"Proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live on it. It shall be a year of Shofar Blasts for you, and you shall return, each individual to one's own birthright. You shall all return to [what is safest for] one's own family." [1]

Freedom is your birthright. Reclaim it.

Don't ever sacrifice it for the sake of an alleged herd.

Sound your shofar throughout the land and proclaim freedom for all and for each individual.

Blast it a hundred times and more, even if it sounds repetitive.

Blast it out unambiguously and boldly.

Don't hide behind a mask. Don't cower under a tallis.

Don't be an ostrich with your head in the sand.

Take off that mask and show your face. Let your true colors shine.

Stop being a sheep. Be a ram's horn.

Call out to G-d from a place of constriction and He'll answer you with expansiveness. [2]

Cry out from your narrow & constricted world view. Open your mind to accept an expansive and liberating reality, a G-dly reality.

By sounding your shofar, you'll invoke the great shofar that will usher in a time of true freedom, the ingathering of all exiles and ultimate Redemption.

So what will it be for you this Rosh Hashana? Heads or Tails?

"Behold, I placed before you this day good and evil, life and death." Freedom or subjugation.

Choose freedom, "so that you and your children may live." [3]

May we be heads and not tails -- יהי רצון שנהיה לראש ולא לזנב.



Notes:

[1] Leviticus 25:10
[2] Psalms 118:5
[3] Deuteronomy 30:19

Monday, September 14, 2020

Sound the Shofar of Freedom

Three times daily we implore G-d in prayer:

"Sound the great shofar for our freedom."

As we prepare to sound the shofar and usher in the new Jewish year this Sunday, it's high time we assess the precarious state of freedom in our present day.

In case you haven't been paying attention, freedom is in serious jeopardy here in the United States and around the world.

Fear and dread are historic ways with which tyrants have exploited populations to willingly cede their freedoms.

Pandemic panic and pandemonium have recently accomplished just that. Quicker than you can say "social distancing," government has already begun to encroach on our precious freedoms in ways hitherto unimaginable.

Without any strict scrutiny, the state has shut down our houses of worship, banned our gatherings, violated our bodily autonomy, forcing masks on our faces, all without providing a shred of scientific evidence that asymptomatic carriers pose significant risk to anyone. And they are poised to do much more... brace yourselves for adult vaccine mandates.

Truth be told, this sort of medical tyranny is not without precedent.

For years, government has enforced a mandatory vaccine policy on school-age children while we were asleep at the wheel. They threw us a doggy bone. "Religious exemption" was the paltry concession prize we were "benevolently" rewarded for tolerating their benign despotism.

And in recent months and years, just before the Wuhan virus was unleashed, states began to take back these religious exemptions, by default forcing all children to comply with their mandated vaccine policies without exception.

Of course, the state had no right to meddle with religious freedom, since the First Amendment was inviolable to begin with. In past articles [1], I've lamented the grave injustice of vaccine mandates altogether.

In the spirit of sounding the Shofar of freedom, let's make it known to all that Judaism strongly advocates medical choice.


Vaccination must be a choice. It may not be coerced.

If you want 99% vaccination compliance, move to Communist China. It's unattainable here in Land of the Free.

If you are so panic-stricken by disease, perhaps you shouldn't live in a free society where bodily autonomy and First Amendment rights are sacrosanct.

China might be a better fit for you. They enforce compulsory vaccination with no exceptions, so you'll feel right at home. They tend to force-sterilize people too, but hey, as long as you're not an Muslim Uighur or some political dissident, and you only have one child, you should be just fine.

Some have asked me: "Does that mean you want measles to return?"
My response:

Not necessarily, but I'd prefer a return to measles of the fifties any day before submitting to medical dictatorship.

I don't want disease. I just want freedom. But if freedom comes with a price tag that includes increased risk of any particular disease, then so be it.

Tyranny is far more dangerous to humanity than any microbe ever was.

Give me freedom or give me death.

I simply yearn to breathe free. I do not wish to be part of a new huddled masses in my own country, marginalized and persecuted by an all-powerful pharmaceutical lobby driven by its insatiable profit margins.

No, I do not want your medical bondage.
Nope, I will not join you in your dependency on pharmaceutical products.  

I will not accept anything less than freedom.

Freedom to choose what I put into my body.

Freedom from dubious ingredients like:
  • glyphosates
  • fluoride
  • aluminum adjuvants
  • thimerosal mercury
  • dna from murdered human beings in a cruel procedure of live dissection,
  • substances that carry risks of carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, infertility
  • substances that haven't been evaluated for carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, infertility
to name a few, and many more morally objectionable ingredients that I never consented to.

If I am forced to choose, I prefer natural dangers to man-made ones.

As King David observed (and we cite in the Selichot liturgy): "I am greatly oppressed; let us fall now into the hand of G-d; for His mercies are great; but into the hand of man let me not fall." (Samuel II 24:14) -- נִפְּלָה נָּא בְיַד ה' כִּי רַבִּים רַחֲמָיו וּבְיַד אָדָם אַל אֶפֹּלָה

So while I might applaud researchers' efforts to develop a safe vaccine for a coronavirus or any virus, I will oppose a mandate with every fiber of my being.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Stop the Blame Game


Beware the trap of blaming people for disease.

The base instinct to fault others is a typical human response to tragedy or panic, but it leads to nowhere good.

We must NOT fall prey to believing the mainstream narrative that unmasked or unvaccinated people are guilty of spreading disease.

It is HATE speech and incitement.

It's utterly false and contrived.

There is no evidence that asymptomatic individuals cause transmission of this disease in any numerically significant number of cases.

This sort of hate speech that exploits the American people's fear of a deadly disease is savage, primitive, and downright un-American.

It's unscientific, feebleminded, and infantile.

It's an anachronism in modern society. One would hope that we've progressed from the depraved indoctrination tactics of Hitler, Stalin, Salem witch hunters, and medieval Catholic clergy who scapegoated Jews for the Black Plague.

It is intolerable and unconscionable.

If you have been guilty of giving voice to this egregious fabrication on social media, I implore you to cease and desist at once.

Forget about petty politics, virtue signaling, or trying to sound woke or in vogue.

You're playing with fire.

In the name of justice and truth, stop fanning the fire of hate.

By all means, feel free to proudly wear your mask and get your flu shot, but do NOT unleash your tongue against those who do choose differently. Do not revile or denounce them, and do NOT accuse them of spreading disease.... because the most LETHAL disease in the world -- historically and in our times -- is hatred, and YOU are spreading it.

Stop spreading disease.

I've sounded the alarm about this disturbing and deadly societal trend in a recent post. Public health officials and media have stoked the fires of hate with their toxic narrative. We must reject it at all costs.

There's too much at stake.

Their objective is medical tyranny and their method is fear-mongering, scapegoating, intimidation and incitement.

No, the ends do NOT justify the means.

Instead, it's high time we promote healing instead of perpetuating the illness of hate.

Choose tolerance over division. Truth over falsehood.

Freedom over tyranny.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Yearning to Breathe Free


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

Is the right to "breathe free" no longer guaranteed in the so-called "Land of Liberty?"

Isn't my prerogative to "breathe free" protected by the Bill of Rights?

Isn't the freedom to breathe without obstruction implicit in the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"

Recently I was asked:


"Is there a 'religious exemption' to mandatory mask policy?"

I responded:


Ask better: should anyone even need an exemption?
What about bodily autonomy and the Nuremburg Code?
Who gave state the right to interfere with your breathing in the first place?

"It's to protect people," or so goes the official party line.

There may be some benefit to masks in curbing the spread of disease, but does this alleged benefit justify violating a healthy individual's personal autonomy?

No, it doesn't.

Mask proponents will counter: "How do you know that the individual is healthy? May she's an 'asymptomatic carrier?'"

Answer:

Maybe so, but there's nothing you can do about that, unless you can prove that this person is actively contagious or at least that she was recently exposed to someone who was actively contagious. Alternatively, you'd need to empirically demonstrate that a significant segment of the asymptomatic population is indeed contagious with a deadly disease.

Otherwise, keep your hands off her mouth and nose. And keep your hands off the Bill of Rights too while you're at it.

You have no right to interfere with my civil rights or bodily autonomy. My body, my choice.

The only way you may suspend my rights is if you can prove with strict scrutiny that I pose an actual risk to you or anyone else.

There has been no "strict scrutiny" with regards to mask mandates. It's all based on statistical models. It has never been scientifically proven that asymptomatic carriers are contagious in numerically significant cases, at least not nearly enough to give government sweeping powers that effectively deem every healthy person a "risk to society" as a "contagious asymptomatic carrier" by default.

It doesn't matter if some, many, or all virologists think societal masking is an effective way to stop the spread of virus in a population.

Bodily autonomy is sacrosanct.

People who are afraid are welcome to stay indoors, or wear N-95 protective ventilators before venturing out. They may NOT enforce ventilators on anyone else in the public domain (unless that person is known to be contagious).

All this aside, let's address the question I was asked above. Does the mandatory mask policy infringes in anyone's religious freedom?

Answer:

Yes, it violates a basic tenet of the world's original Abrahamic faith, Judaism.

Deuteronomy 4:16: "You shall guard your souls exceedingly well." This means that you are entrusted with the obligation to safeguard your own health. Yes, we also have communal responsibility towards others, but that is secondary.

Our sages taught: "Your life comes first before the life of your fellow."

Breathing is synonymous with life itself. The Biblical Hebrew term for your life-giving soul is nefesh, "breathing."

Another synonym for soul is neshamah, also "breathing."[1]

Breathing is sacrosanct. The term pikuach nefesh means saving lives, but literally it means "searching to save anyone who's still breathing" (i.e. in a collapsed building).

The world's most competent expert in your own well-being is... YOU.

The Code of Jewish Law[2] rules:

If it's Yom Kippur and a person says: "I need to eat," even if he doesn't claim his life might be endangered by not eating...he should immediately be given food until he says: "Enough."
We do not assume that he is a wicked person [who wishes to violate Yom Kippur]. Instead, the assumption is that he feels that he indeed requires this food, for a person’s own heart knows the bitterness of his soul. Therefore, even if a hundred doctors say that he does not need to eat, and even if they say that food will harm him, we listen to the patient. [It is assumed that] he certainly needs [to eat], because he knows that it is Yom Kippur, and he nevertheless requests food.

Takeaway:

I am the most reliable expert concerning my own life, i.e. my breathing.

If I feel that I cannot breathe properly with a mask, I am Biblically prohibited from keeping the mask on my face.

It is irrelevant if all the doctors on earth clinically observe me and insist that the mask does not impede my breathing. 

I am entitled to assert my need to unobstructed breathing, irrespective of any "professional" opinion. It's irrelevant if public health ideologues claim that my unhindered breathing poses some sort of statistical risk to society.

Like flight attendants always say, make sure you can breathe before worrying about the breathing of another.

How much more so when your breathing endangers no one except for an alleged statistic and political agenda.

So take off that mask and breathe freely with pride. You are observing G-d's law, and you're unabashedly asserting your religious freedom in the process.

Savor your freedom like a breath of fresh air.

Inhale air that's rich in oxygen, the only nutrient that government hasn't figured out a way to tax us for.

Exhale with joy. Know that you are embodying the last verse in Psalms, "Let every soul praise G-d, Hallelujah!" as interpreted phonetically by our sages, "With every breath of air that you breathe you are praising your Creator."[3]

Don't let anyone force a mask over that divine act of lauding your Creator.

To sum it up, current "mandatory mask policy" threatens to destroy the very fabric of our republic and jeopardizes the freedoms we all hold dear. 

When these unjust policies are policed, we no longer live in a free society, but in a police state.

"Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" cried Lady Liberty of old. That's all ancient history now.

Today's USA mercilessly forces masks onto the faces of her citizens.

"I can't breathe" cries the individuals who are gasping for a breath of freedom.

"Too bad, stop being selfish!" yells public health police. "Your breathing is 'endangering' others! Your freedoms endanger 'public health'!" they shriek menacingly. "No more freedom for you."

Today's USA is creating new "huddled masses" of citizens who yearn to breathe free.

The medical tyranny of today's America has marginalized an emerging population nationwide. These despised individuals are tempest-tossed, wretched, and downtrodden by media, state, and medical elites, the "ruling class" of contemporary society. These families are the huddled masses who dare to defy the robber barons of our era, the omnipotent pharmaceutical industry and their government enablers.

They are reviled simply because they brazenly insist on taking ownership of their own health and medical choices. These are the brave men, women and children who refuse to bow down to the idol of 'public health.' No, they will not be masked or muzzled.

Welcome to the "huddled masses" of 2020, hated and persecuted for their outrageous desire to "breathe free."



Notes:

[1] Also ruach, "wind."
[2] Orach Chayim 318:1
[3] Bereshis Rabbah 14:9, based on Psalms 150:6 -- "על כל נשימה ונשימה שאדם נושם"