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Bulletin 22 April 2011

22 April 2011/18 Nissan 5771

IDF nabs terrorist butchers of Jewish family
Sunday, April 17, 2011 | Ryan Jones

The Israeli army on Sunday confirmed the recent arrest of two young Palestinian Arabs for the March 11 slaughter of the Fogel family in the northern Samaria Jewish community of Itamar.

An army spokesman told Israel Radio that 18-year-old Hakem Awwad and 19-year-old Amjad Awwad confessed to the murders of Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their young children, and that they showed absolutely no remorse for their crime.

Reenacting the murder, the young suspects told security officials that they infiltrated Itamar at around 9 PM armed with knives. They proceeded to enter a home that was empty and stole an M-16 rifle that they found there. The killers then broke into the Fogel home, found the bedrooms of 11-year-old Yoav Fogel and 4-year-old Elad Fogel and stabbed them to death. They then entered the parents' bedroom, where they struggled with and overcome Udi and Ruth Fogel.
After exiting the house, Amjad told officials that he could not resist the urge to go back in and kill 3-month-old Hadas Fogel, who was left crying amidst her parents' blood.

Amjad also said that had he known there were two other children sleeping in the house, he would have killed them, too. Following the attack, the youths returned to their nearby village and informed various family members of their villainous deed. An uncle helped hide the knives, burn the bloody clothes and get rid of the M-16 rifle they had stolen. Other family members helped cover up the murder in other ways.

Security officials believe the Awwad boys acted on their own volition, and were not following the orders of an established terrorist organization, though they were widely praised by such organizations.
Beit Ariel Main Acc: ABSA, Sea Point Branch Acc no. 4049515399

Israel has been facing an increasing phenomenon of young Arabs engaging not only in stone throwing, but cold-blooded murder. Security officials and Israeli lawmakers have attributed the trend to poor parenting, to put it lightly, and have noted that Palestinian parents are more often than not ready to help their children cover up such crimes, rather than discipline them.

It is also important to note that Palestinian society views the killers of Israeli Jews, and especially Israeli "settlers," as national heroes, increasing the motivation to engage in such violence.

Parashat Kedoshim — “Holy ones”
Leviticus 19:1-20:27; Ezek. 22:1-19 (A), Ezek. 22:2-20 (S); Ephesians 1:1-14
Here is the riddle. To be made holy, a thing must be separated from its context, clearly defined and demarcated, by God. He is the sanctifier. Yet somehow, we are to contribute to that holiness. We are to 'be' holy. The answer to this riddle is in the curious and oft repeated liturgical formula, "who has sanctified us with His commandments."
In Jewish practice, it is customary to preface the performance of a mitzvah with a brief blessing. For example, one who is about to put on the tzitzit is to say, "Blessed are you LORD our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us regarding the command of the tzitzit." I have heard believer’s object to this prayer by arguing that “we are not sanctified by the commandments; we are sanctified by Messiah’s blood."

We are sanctified by Messiah, (1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:11, Hebrews 2:11) by faith in Messiah, (Acts 26:18) by the sacrifice of Messiah, (Hebrews 10:10, 14) by the blood of Messiah (Hebrews 10:29) and by His Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16). These are all true and marvelous statements. Our separation is not by virtue of our own heroic achievement. Rather we have been set apart by Messiah. He is the one who sanctifies, sets apart and makes holy.

Yet sanctity is a cooperative process. We are not idle spectators, watching from the by lines. God sanctified the Sabbath, and yet He tells us to keep it holy. Sanctity is definition. It is borders. It is limits. And, we have an important role to play in maintaining sanctity. For example, the sanctity of the Sabbath is not dependent upon us at all. Though we profane her for 24 hours, her actual sacred status is not at all diminished. She has been declared sacred by God, and there is nothing we can do to disrupt that sanctity. But we can profane her in regard to our own participation. By profaning the Sabbath, we rob only ourselves of experiencing her sanctity. So too, with our sanctity.

We are declared holy and separate on the basis of our redemption in Messiah. Our sanctity arises from Messiah’s righteousness, His sacrifice and His blood. Yet we can rob ourselves of experiencing that sanctity by stepping outside of its bounds. If we cross the boundaries and demarcations of our own holiness, we rob ourselves of the sanctity with which Messiah h as invested us.

The boundaries of sanctity are none other than the commandments of God. To cross them is to step outside of sanctity. To keep them is to remain within sanctity.

Why Do We Count the Omer? by Yeruchem Eilfort

From the second night of Passover until the day before the holiday of Shavuot, the Jewish people engage in a unique mitzvah called Sefirat haOmer – The Counting of the Omer.

Lev 23:9-16
9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
10 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the
land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf
of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.
11 'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on
the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
12 'And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of
the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD.
13 'Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with
oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink
offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin.
14 'You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the
same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a
statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
15 'And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from
the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths
shall be completed.
16 'Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a
new grain offering to the LORD.

The Torah commands us during this time each year to count seven complete weeks for a total of 49 days. At the end of the seven-week period we celebrate Chag HaShavuot – the Festival of Weeks.

This is considered a mitzvah and so, the count which takes place each night, is preceded by a blessing. However, we may only recite the blessing if we have not missed a single night of counting. If we have omitted the counting even one night during that stretch, we may no longer recite the blessing, but instead must listen as our friend says the blessing and then do the counting.

During the times of the Holy Temple, at the end of counting a special grain offering was brought. This offering was waved in different directions, similar to how the lulav is waved during the holiday of Sukkot, to demonstrate G-d Almighty's all-encompassing presence. Why do we count these days?

Well, there are several reasons foremost of which is that the counting of the 49 days demonstrates how excited we are at the impending occasion of receiving on the Torah, celebrated on Shavuot. Just as a child often counts the days until the end of school, or for an upcoming family vacation, we count the days to show our excitement at again receiving the Torah (as we do in fact receive the Torah in a renewed sense every year).

We also learn that this period is meant to spiritually prepare and refine ourselves. When the Jewish people were in Egypt nearly 3,400 years ago, they had assimilated many of the immoral ways of the Egyptian people. The Jews had sunk to an unprecedented level of spiritual defilement and were on the brink of destruction.

At the last possible moment, they were miraculously redeemed by the mighty hand and outstretched arm of their G-d. They underwent a spiritual rebirth and quickly ascended to the holiest collective state they had ever reached when they camped at the foot of the mountain of revelation to receive Torah. They were so holy, in fact, that they were compared to angels. It was during that 49-day period that they underwent such a radical transformation.

From the lowest lows (in Egypt) to the highest heights (at the foot of Mount Sinai) in just seven weeks!

The commandments of the Torah are not meant merely as our history, but instead represent on ongoing life-lesson for every Jew. We view the Torah as freshly received every day of our lives and approach it and its commandments with appropriate vigor.

So too must we digest the lesson of the counting of omer.

It is specifically during this time that we strive to grow and mature in our spiritual state. Obviously, this is our heart’s desire. To draw closer to the Lord for are we not instructed in 2 Peter 3:18 ‘to grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord”?

This ought to be our daily focus and desire but in great wisdom, HaShem has set aside a period in time each year where we can focus on this noble endeavour!

The Torah does not allow us to become satisfied with our current level of spirituality. Instead it tells us to set high goals for ourselves and then methodically strive to reach that goal. Once a year – between Pesach and Shavuoth – we strive in the Spirit to attain this goal.

The growth that occurs during this time is akin to a marathon. We pace ourselves and seek to improve day by day until we reach the day that we again receive the Torah. In this process we look deep within ourselves and work on all of our negative attributes. If we are challenged in the realm of acts of kindness, we go out of our way to do more charitable works. If we are lacking in the area of justice, we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards and are exacting and demanding in our personal behavior and habits. And so it goes for all of our traits.


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