Thursday, February 19, 2015

Forty Years - 1983

From Barbara Ginsberg’s Desktop


Rabbi Meir Kahane 1983

Forward to the Second Edition

It was in 1982 that I wrote this book, “FORTY YEARS”.  In the seven years that have passed, the words I wrote and the thoughts I put down here have only been sadly affirmed.  The tragedy, the awful national tragedy and catastrophe I wrote about and that need not be, comes closer and closer.  And my people see nothing and hear nothing.  There are those who, in their tragic ignorance of Judaism and Jewish destiny, simply do not understand what they see and what they ear.  And there are those who do not wish to see and do not wish to hear.  And so it comes closer.
My people, my poor people…
More than 2500 years ago, the Prophet Ezekiel spoke, in the name of G-d, to the people of Israel, saying: “If I shall bring upon the land a sword – the inhabitants shall take a man from amongst them, and they shall appoint him a tzofe, a watchman for them.  And when he seeth the sword come upon the land he shall blow the shofar and warn the people.” (Ezekiel 33)

            The tzofe the watchman.  Appointed to see the sword come upon the people of Israel and cry out; to blow the shofar and warn his people!  That is the role of every Jew who can see and hear and understand – and who loves his people.  To cry out, to sound the shofar, to warn them!

            That is why this book was written.  It is the nation shofar of our times.  One will hear it’s warning by reading it, by studying it, by taking it to heart.  May the Almighty give us the wisdom to understand and the courage to act on that understanding.  For the forty years of which I speak, have passed.
            And the days of Judgment are here.
26 Tevet 5749  -  3 January 1989                                                    Meir Kahane

An Introduction

            It is seven years since I wrote the manuscript, FORTY YEARS, and with the passing of the 40 years of which I speak in the book, with the Jewish State now past its fortieth year, the terrible realities of which I wrote hem, become starkly clear.  Terrible visions become awful realization.  The Jewish State crumbles and shakes and shudders before our eyes as the gentile enemies gather strength and momentum and the Jew stands astonishingly impotent and paralyzed – at best – and deeply divided by defeatism, abnormal guilt and suicidal tendencies from within.  The dream of centuries becomes a nightmare; the hope that was never lost becomes a thing to be questioned, doubted, attacked.

            But, of course, it could never be anything else.  The fate of the Jew, despite the foolish arrogance of the secularists and the unfathomable loss of the way of apparently religious Jews, has always been based upon the iron law of Divine determination:  “If you shall walk in My statutes and keep My commandments … I will give you peace in the land and you shall lie down and none shall make you afraid… But if you will not hearken unto Me and will not do all these commandments, and if your soul abhor My ordinances so that you will not do all My commandments but break my covenant…I will set My face against you and you shall be smitten before your enemies; they that hate you shall rule over you and you shall flee when none pursueth you.” (Leviticus 26)


The idea first entered my head as I sat, one day, in Ramle Prison. It was the eve of Tisha B”AV, the tragic commemoration of the destruction of both Temples, the beginning of both terrible exiles.  I sat, reviewing the book of Jonah, with its message of repentance, on the day of national tragedy.  Jonah enters the city of Nineveh, to which he has been sent by the Almighty, to warn them of impending destruction unless they repent.  And as I read, the words of Jonah to the people suddenly leaped out at me:  “In forty years, Nineveh shall be overturned!”

            Forty.  The thought suddenly struck me:  How many times, again and again, does that number arise in connection with sin and punishment?  “And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.” (Genesis 7:12), the punishment of a world flooded for it s sin.  Forty.  And centuries later, as the Jews of the desert “despised the pleasant land” and wept over their “home” in Egypt, the Almighty angrily decreed that the generation of the desert would not enter the Holy Land saying: “And your children will wander in the wilderness forty years and bear your faithlessness.” (Numbers 14:33).  Again, forty.  And the punishment of stripes, whipping, is one of “forty shall he strike him, he shall not increase”, and the atonement for sin and the purification process begin with a study of Torah given forty days at Sinai, continuing in a mikva, ritualarium, whose water must be a minimum of forty S’ah.

            Forty.  Again and again, the number forty connected to sin and punishment.  Why forty?  I do not know except to quote the rabbis in Bamidbar Rabah  5:5: “And why does the Torah obligate forty stripes?  For he (the sinner) violated a Torah given in forty days and brought death unto himself (man) who was created in forty days.  Let him therefore, be whipped forty times and be relieved of his punishment, as was done to Adam who sinned, was deserving of death, and was punished with forty.  For the world was cursed, due to his sin, forty curses:  ten for Adam, ten for Eve, ten for the serpent and ten for the land.”

            And in that tiny cell in prison the thought expanded.  Not only was the concept “forty” tied to sin and punishment, it was specifically connected to the warning of G-d to the sinner, a warning designed to avert that punishment.  Jonah warns Nineveh of impending punishment and this gives them a grace period of forty days during which they might search their souls and change their ways.

            In the case of both Holy Temples, the Almighty gave the Jewish people a period
of forty years of grace; time to think and rethink their ways.  Time to return to Him
and save themselves from that punishment.  In the awful final days of the first Jewish
State, the L-rd tells the prophet Ezekiel: “And thou shall lie again on your right
side and bear the iniquity of the House of Judah, forty days; each day for a year,
each day for a year.”(Ezekiel 4:6)

            And the Biblical commentator Rashi declares: “We learn that the time of the
exiling of the ten tribes until the destruction of Jerusalem there was a period of forty
 years.” Forty years:  The Almighty, having brought down His wrath on the ten tribes of
 Israel, begins the countdown to the terrible day of punishment that is decreed for a
 House of Judah that has turned its back on its G-d.  But one final opportunity is given
them, a grace period.  A grace period of forty years.  And so a prophet is chosen, a
 prophet of grace, of final warning – Jeremiah.  And in the words of the rabbis:  “The
 book of Lamentations was more effective for Israel than the forty years that Jeremiah
 prophesied unto them” (Eichah Rabah 4:27)

            And the Second Temple “Forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple, the lot (for the Yom Kippur sacrifice) never was chosen by the High Priest’s right hand; and the red slip outside the Holy of Holies never turned white (as a sign of divine forgiveness) and the western candle would not light and the doors of the Sanctuary opened by themselves until Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai admonished them, saying: “Sanctuary, sanctuary…I know that you are destined to be destroyed…(Yuma 39b).

            And again: “For forty years did Rabbi Zadok sit and fast in the hope that Jerusalem not be destroyed.” (Gittin56a)

            And again: “For forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple, the Sanhedrin exiled itself (from the Temple) and sat in the market place.” (Avoda Zara 8b)

            Once again, the period of grace.  Forty years.  The final hope of the Almighty that, perhaps, His final warning would be heeded.  The countdown of forty years, the last chance.

And it was then that the full impact of the thought stuck me:  if it is true that in the first Jewish state and in the second, the Almighty granted us a grace period of forty years – is it possible that the same could be true with the third state?  Our state – the State of Israel?

            The thought has become an ongoing one; call it obsessive, if you will.  After all, the final redemption is one that our rabbis have explained as coming in one of two ways – and there is no third.  “In its time, I will hurry it (the Redemption).” (Isaiah 60).  And the rabbis explain:  “If they, the Jews, merit it I will hurry it.  If they do not merit it, it will come in its time”.

            The difference is more than chronological It is a qualitative difference that goes to the very essence of our existence.  A “hurried redemption is one that comes with majestic glory and free of pain and tragedy.  But one that is “in its time”, by the very fact that it comes despite our unworthiness, is accompanied by terrible destruction and holocaust as the deserved punishment that precedes the final glory and salvation.  How important it is for us to avoid this awful and needless suffering!  And how convinced I am that the Almighty pleads with us to do just that; to replace a redemption “in its time” with one that is “hurried”; to search our ways and return to Him  And how convinced I am that just as in the past He has given us a period of grace, so, too today we have been granted it.
            And it becomes clearer and clearer to me that, once again, it is forty years; forty years of warning, admonition, opportunity.  The final chance.

            The State of Israel, that most incredible of miracles, marked the beginning of the final redemption, a redemption born – not out of the betrothal of Jew to his Maker through faith and return – but rather out of the wedlock of Holocaust that was the depths of desecration of the name of G-d, the Hillul Ha’Shem that was mockery, humiliation, and denial of the prowess or very existence of the G-d of Israel.  It was that Holocaust which broke the patience of a G-d of Israel who watched His name mocked and dragged in the gentile dust for 20 centuries.  “Not for your sake do I do this, O House of Israel, but rather for My Holy Name that you desecrated by the very fact of being among the nations.” (Ezekiel 36).

            And so, a Jewish State rose from the crematoria and ashes, not because we deserved it, but because the gentile did.  Because the punishment and awesome wrath of G-d were being prepared for a world that had mocked and humiliated the name of the
L-rd, G-d of Israel.

            The State of Israel, which rose up in the year 1948, I am convinced, is the beginning, not only of the redemption, but also of the grace period granted us.  In the very marrow of my bones, I feel that the Almighty, in His infinite mercy and goodness, gives us the final beseeching opportunity to turn needless suffering into glorious and instant redemption.
            Forty years. The number may not be exact; it may be a few more, a few less, but the period is clear.  Forty years of warning, of heartfelt cry from our Father in Heaven.  Forty years of grace, of a last opportunity to reverse needles disaster, to bring the redemption with grandeur and majesty

            For make no mistake.  The magnificent miracle of return and rise of a Jewish State is surely the beginning of the Final Redemption, but hardly the end.  The true finality, the magnificent era of the Messiah, comes to fruition gloriously and majestically and breathtakingly only if we cleave to the great axiom “If you walk in My statutes…I will give peace in the land.” (Leviticus 26)

            This is the immutable law of the People of Israel.  There is no escaping it. What will be with the Jew; whether his future will be bright or black; whether he will enjoy peace or horrors, depends only on his cleaving to his role, obligation and mission in this world, upon his bending his neck and will beneath the yoke of Heaven.

            “If you walk in My statues… I will give you peace…  But if you will not hearken unto Me… I will appoint terror over you.” (ibid.).
This is the choice; the only choice. All the rest is nonsense. And time ticks away and the decision is in our hands.
Dear Jew, the Almighty gives us this day life or death.  Will be choose life?

My people; my dear and foolish people!  We speak of your life and that of your seed, your children and grandchildren.  Choose wisely!  Choose life!  The magnificence is yours for the asking.  The horror will be yours for the blindness.  Choose life, but quickly; there is little time left.  The forty years ticks away.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Practical, The Rational - 1988

“K A H A N E”

The magazine of the authentic Jewish Idea

July-August 1988            Tamuz-Menachem Av 5748         

The Practical, The Rational

Breathes there a Jew with mind so dead who never has proclaimed allegiance to rationality, pragmatism and the joys of being practical?  To be a person who speaks of “faith” and belief” is clearly to have one foot in the camp of the Ayatollah and no normal Jew would ever dare be brushed with the tar of “fanatic!”  No, the Jewish people is a “normal” people, a rational one, and thank G-d that the normal people is also the most abysmally ignorant of its own Judaism and teachings – otherwise it would surely burn all the Bibles and Talmuds that babble about “cursed is he who trusteh in man.”

And so it follows that trusting in G-d is a quaint thing, to be jollied over at the Jewish Museum and in lecture series, but only an extremist would take it to the light of modern day.  This is a practical world, one in which tough and pragmatic men understand the real realities and make their plans accordingly.  Prayers are wonderful for the holidays and with which to open conventions but let them attempt to escape to the streets to demand equal time and to be taken seriously, and we shoot them down as dangerous fanaticism.

That is why the sophisticates from Peres to the AJC, from Moment to Olam HaZeh reject the past as key to the future and indeed, hallow only the moment, the “zeh”.  We believe only in the things we can see and touch and feel and understand.  Only the logical and rational play any part in our equations; guns, allies, realpolitik, those are the things and stuff of which the real is made of.

And that is why we dare not annex the “occupied territories” (Judea-Samaria-Gaza); and that is why we dare not even talk of removing the Arabs from the Temple Mount; and that is why only madmen should think of expelling or “transferring” the Arabs; and that is why we dare not ever anger the Americans without whom we would be in the sea.

Very well, I am convinced.  Secular logic is, after all, so compelling.  I have decided to convert.  I have decided to accept the religion of pragmatism.  You now behold, before you, a superb example of rationality and practicality.  But to the bitter end. And here, fellow pragmatists and healthy rationalists is the bitter end.

Of course this religious dependence on G-d is absurd.  Of course the reality is weapon and the United States and allies and good will.  Because it is only this that will stand us in good stead when the Arabs produce or receive their first nuclear weapon or decide to use the chemical-biological weapons that are today’s “poor man’s” nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan is on the verge of producing (and may, indeed, have already produced) its own nuclear weapon.  It does not take very much to produce a “primitive”, outdated, atomic bomb, which is limited in scope, say like the one dropped on Hiroshima… And if Moslem Pakistan develops such a weapon does one believe that its devoted faithful will not share it with their oppressed Arab Moslems and Palestinians?  By all means let us be hard headed and come up with a rational answer to that.  Without the nonsense of faith.

And when the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Engineers, General Yoseph Ayal tells us (August 17) that certain Arab states are developing the capacity for chemical and biological warfare, there is no doubt that our practical senses will handle the matter with equanimity and without interference from G-d and his faithful.  My only problem is that in all my pious rationality I really do not know how to deal with the above.  Practicality somehow fails to give me answers as to how to deal with Arab nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in the hands of fanatical Moslems.

And bringing back tongue from cheek, the bitter reality is that the realists have nothing but bitter reality and not the slightest answer to the pragmatic and practical problems that defy rational solutions.  The reality is that Israel faces such awesome practical threats just over the horizon, that a normal, practical, rational Jew, would be insane to stay if he could, somehow, leave the country.  It is only the “impractical”, the “irrational”, and the “dreamers” who have any rational reason to remain.  They believe in G-d .  They have faith in an Almighty and a Torah that decreed there never can be a third exile.  They know that perfect faith and trust in G-d, while observing His commandments, will assure victory over our enemies.  That is why they stay. That is why they are undeterred by the certainty of Arab nuclear and chemical and biological weapons.  Because they pray.  Because they do not miss a mincha – and evening service – or any other kind.  Because they do know that “these may come with nuclear bombs and these with chemical warfare, but we shall proclaim the name of the L-rd.” 

A rational Jew?  That is a rational Jew.  Any other kind, the one who decides to trust in Ronald Reagan is mad, fanatic, extreme, a real Khoumeniite.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Cuckoo's Nest - 1984

From Barbara Ginsberg’s Desktop
The Magazine of the Authentic Jewish Idea
Spring 5744 – 1984

“Though thou poundest a fool in a mortar with pestle…yet will his foolishness not depart from him.” Proverbs 27).
It has surely become a cuckoo’s nest, one huge madhouse.  There is certainly no other explanation for it.  Lebanon and all the insanity of the Begin-Sharon-Lukid policy collapses; the United States deserts Israel without a by-your- leave; Reagan entertains Mubarak and Hussein in the White House (and one can imagine what was privately plotted there); soldiers inside Lebanon are killed and wounded without a response from Moshe Arens while soldiers outside refuse to serve there; the economic index goes up by 14% in ONE MONTH (an annual rate of over 400%); Egypt laughs at Camp David and moves openly back into the Arab fold; three rockets fall on Metulla as “Peace in the Galilee” becomes more of a naked joke; leftists and liberals march in the streets demanding suicide and they gain more and more support in the wake of a paralyzed, tired, frightened government; Arabs grow bolder or simply GROW inside Israel and the territories; and a terrible drought grips the country; in the neighborhoods and moshavim and development towns social unrest grows as crime shoots upward.
And in response:
The city of Petach Tikvah votes to allow legal mass Sabbath desecration with places of entertainment opened wide; the Haifa Theater produces a play, The Messiah, in which words of desecration and abomination are directed against G-d; a group of parents organizes to fight the yeshivot because their children have become baalei tshuva; Yossi Sarid, the Labor M.K. writes an article in Shmuel Shnitzer’s major newspaper, Maariv, to declare his disgust for the Biblical story of Abraham and the sacrifice; the head of the League Against Religious Coercion declares, in Al Hamishmar, that there must be an uprising against the religious including “hangings from lampposts” since without this “things will not go”; Knesset members vow that the law that would make the definition of a Jew one based on halacha, will never pass; and in the Brenner school, a student, member of the Noar HaOved (working youth), burns a Bible in a regular test of “who believes in G-d?

One would imagine that seeing the country disintegrating before their eyes, the Jews of Israel would pause to consider the possibility of Divine anger and punishment.  One would fancy that – seeing shear tragedy and horror loom before them and the utter bankruptcy of both Left and Right, dove and hawk, the socialist and secular nationalist,  - Jews would ponder the reality of secular failure and at least the feasibility of the events that are unfolding being part of Divine retribution for our sins.  One would logically hope for at least contemplation of the need to examine our ways and premises of life, our overview and philosophy of existence.

But no, “though thou poundest a fool in a mortar with pestle…yet will his foolishness not depart from him.”  We remain the children of our fathers, the people, stiff-necked and with uncircumcised heart.  What a pity! What a tragedy! How we will – all of us – pay for the blindness of the fools in the mortar.

I listen to the speeches of the braying secular asses: Shamir, Arens, yes, Sharon and Rafael Eytan, of the dead Tehiya of Geula Cohen and Yuval Ne’eman – of all of the experts and ministers and politicians and, G-d help us.

LEADERS. I listen and wait for the one little word that will show that they understand something.  I hear nothing; they understand precisely that.  I wait for the one little world and so does the world.  It never comes.  And because of that, in its place, will come the awesome horrors upon a people who even the pounding of the pestle cannot help.  I wait for the one little word. G-d. And so does HE.  But the word never comes and no one calls Him. And so, He will not come and help until the awful time has passed.

And in the meantime, Peres and Shamir and Rabin and Arens and Tehiya and Mafdal and the intellectuals and experts and leaders will continue to run about madly in the cuckoo’s nest.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Shma Yisrael vs. Allahu Akbar -1989

From Barbara Ginsberg’s Desktop

 “Beyond Words” is a newly-published seven volume collection of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s writings  from 1960 – 1990 that originally appeared in The Jewish Press, other serial publications, and his privately-published works.
“Beyond Words” also includes a number of extra features:
Chronology of Rabbi Kahane's life.

“Beyond Words” now can be bought at  On the search line, type…  Beyond Words Kahane.

Beyond Words
Selected Writings of Rabbi Meir Kahane,
Volume 6

Shma Yisrael vs. Allahu Akbar

Nowhere was it more clearly seen. The real meaning of the struggle in the Holy Land was never more blatantly revealed than in the stabbing of a Jew in Jerusalem, recently. And now is it important for us to understand this reality, for if we do not we will not have the slightest idea of what the struggle in Israel is all about and, far worse, how to win it.
Yehuda Avahami, a young man who prays daily at the Western Wall, was walking last week through the so-called Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Just inside Sha'ar Shchem (Damascus Gate) he was attacked by an Arab who stabbed him in the back. And here is the crux of the story: As the Arab stabbed the Jew, the Arab shouted in triumph, "Allahu Akbar!" (Allah is great). The Jew, attacked and feeling that he was in danger of death, shouted, "Shma Yisrael!"

And herein lies the real meaning of the struggle. And herein lies the shame of the struggle.
It has become the slogan, the war call, the triumphant shout of every Moslem attack on Jews. Allahu Akbar! The Arab who drove the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem bus over the cliff, shouted it. The Arab who attacked my nephew-soldier on the streets of Jerusalem, shouted it. It is the theme of the struggle of the Moslems against the Jewish state. And it is the theme of attack, of power, of defeating the Jewish enemy, of defeating the G-d of the Jews, of triumph for Islam. Allahu Akbar! is the voice of the Moslem attacking the Jewish victim.
And the victim? He cries out, Shema Yisrael...
Shma Yisrael becomes the symbol of the victim, of the Jew attacked, of the dying Jew. The great concept of Shma Yisrael, which was meant to be the triumphant and powerful and resounding cry of the Jewish victory and the Omnipotence of the G-d of the Jews, becomes a thin, small, quiet voice in the desert. The voice of Kiddush Hashem, Jewish sanctification, becomes one of degradation, of Jewish defeat and death.
And that is Hillul Hashem, desecration of the Name, and that worst of Jewish crimes dare not be allowed to continue lest His awesome wrath rage against us.
"Shma Yisrael!" Hear O Israel! This is the way the mashuach milchama, the priest who was ordained as the one who led the Jews into battle, would begin his speech to the Jewish army, prepared to go into battle:
"Shma Yisrael! Hear O Israel! You are coming near this day to the battle against your enemies. Let your heart not be faint; do not be afraid, do not panic, and do not be broken before them. For the L-rd, your G-d, is the One who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you." (Deuteronomy 20:3-4)

Shma Yisrael is not the plaintive cry of a Jewish victim, but the clarion call of the mashuach milchama, the appointed Priest of War. It is not a numbing prayer of defeat but a certain, assured call of triumph. Not the voice of the victim but the roar of the conqueror. It is the affirmation of the real meaning of Shma Yisrael: "Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One - the only One, the all-powerful One, the all-conquering One, the One who is over all gods, including Allah."
Shma Yisrael is the voice of the Jewish Warrior-Priest to the Jewish warriors, not to the Jewish victims. It is the affirmation of the power and Omnipotence of the Jewish G-d and the assurance that faith in Him guarantees victory. In the words of the Talmud (Sotah 42a):"Why does the message begin with the words 'Shma Yisrael', in particular? Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon Bar- Yochai: the All Mighty said to Israel: even though you only observed the mitzvah of 'Shma Yisrael' in the morning and in the evening, you will not be given over to your enemies."
You think that is an easy thing, Jew? Think again.
Shma Yisrael is the symbol, the utterance of real faith. Real faith. Not the plastic faith of theory in which the Jew pays copious and very "frum", pious, lip service to the All Mighty, only to find a hundred "halachic" reasons why to back away from confrontation with the enemy at the moment of reality. Faith means believing the cry of the mashuach milchama whose Shma Yisrael is an integral part of, "Let your heart not be faint... do not be afraid!" And in the words of the Sifri (Shoftim 192): "They come with the victory of flesh and blood, and you come with the victory of the All Mighty". And the Talmud, Sotah (ibid.), expands on this: "The Philistines came with the victory of Goliath; what was his end? In the end he fell with the sword and they fell with him, and you are not that way. For the L-rd, your G-d, is the One who goes with you, to fight for you..."
We have taken a Shma Yisrael that was meant to be the slogan of Jewish power and Omnipotence of our G-d, and turned it into a plaintive cry of a victim. We took a cry of power and turned it into weakness. "Kol ha'Shem ba'koach! The voice of the L-rd is powerful!"(Psalms 29:4). And if that is true, so must the voice of His people be powerful. "Who is the King of glory? The L-rd, strong and mighty, the L-rd, mighty in battle" (ibid., 24:8). And if that is true, then we must crown Him king in battle by our being strong and mighty in battle.
The reason that the Moslem shouts Allahu Akbar is because we allow him to think so. On that glorious day in 1967 when Jewish troops, the Tzivot Ha'Shem, the host and ranks of the All Mighty, swept into the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, there were no shouts of Allahu Akbar. There was only fear and terror in the eyes and hearts of the Moslems who saw, and felt and knew - "Shma Yisrael, Hashem Echad!"
It was the Jewish retreat and fear of the world, of the nations, that reinstilled in the heart of the Moslem the belief that Allahu Akbar. It was the terrible lack of faith in the words of the priest of battle, "Do not be afraid.... for the L-rd is the One who goes with you, to fight for you," that brought on us this terrible resurgence in faith and strength and arrogance of the Moslem. In direct proportion to Jewish lack of faith and fearful prostration before the gentiles did the Moslems grow in certainty and confidence in Allah. What a terrible indictment of the Jewish people! What a terrible humiliation that Jews, the small and the great, talk about "the prohibition of antagonizing the nations." As if we were still in Pinsk or Casablanca.
And so a Moslem proudly attacks a Jew and cries, Allahu Akbar, and the Jew, in fear, cries out: Shma Yisrael. Not as a war cry but as a death chant. Hillul Hashem!
Written: November 1989
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