Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Shlomo Aryeh Rothman, of Beit Shemesh, charged with sexual assaults on a 13-year old haredi child,


A man accused of performing indecent acts on a small boy was indicted Monday morning in a Jerusalem district court.

Shlomo Aryeh Rothman, a 21-year old resident of Beit Shemesh, has been charged with a series of sexual assaults on a 13-year old haredi child, whom he lured into his car from outside of the synagogue in which the boy prayed.

Rothman, who had visited the area of the synagogue several times, selected his victim and offered to give him a ride in his car. [...]

The boy’s parents were made aware of the attacks after the victim began exhibiting erratic behavior, locking himself in his room and avoiding contact with others. The family contacted police with their concerns, eventually leading to Rothman’s arrest.

Woman's purpose is to be subordinate and supportive of the Man: Rav Dessler

It has become obvious that the true attitude of Judaism towards women has become deliberately obscured or ignored in the modern age. The consensus that women are subordinate to men is a message is that not welcome by many and clearly goes against the values of our present society. There are those who try to explain that this subordination means that  women are more important, or more spiritual or at least equal to a man. However that is not an accurate understanding of the consensus of accepted Torah sources and it is at best a distortion of what words mean. The question and challenge for us is whether we accept this message or we develop an alternative view of true equality and individuality or do we simply continue in a state of confusion and denial?



Update: I have added a number of sources which clearly shows that subordination if the consensus view and not a minority or extreme view.

Additional sources of wife's is required to be subordinate to husband:

Rashi (Bereishis 1:28): And conquer the world – this word is spelled without a “vav” which allows it to be read as “he should conquer her”. This teaches that the male should conquer the female so that she doesn’t go out freely and regularly. (Bereishis Rabba 8:12). It also teaches that it is the man whose nature is to conquer is given the command to have children and not the woman (Yevamos 65b).

Tanna D'Vei Eliyahu Rabba (9): Why was Yael different than all the other women in that a great salvation of Israel came about through her hands and she killed the enemy general Sisra? Our Sages say that it was because she was a proper (kosher) woman and did the will of her husband. From this our Sages say that there is no proper woman except one who does the will of her husband.

Sefas Emes (Bereishis 3:16): And even though this is a good characteristic for a woman [not to ask directly for sexual intercourse]. The gemora that states that it is a good characteristic for a woman might be understood to mean that it is good because she hasn’t deviated from that which G d commanded and therefore she doesn’t ask directly for sexual relations as the result of being cursed by G d (Maharsal). And the reason that Rashi goes into what seems unnecessary length since he has already explained that she is not brazen...is to emphaze that everything in their relationship is up to the husband. Thus even though she doesn’t want intercourse but he does he can pressure her to comply. Or if he isn’t interetested in sexual relations, then even though she is interested she can not force him. That is the significance of Rash stating, “It is from him and not from her.”

Toras Chaim (Eiruvin 18a): Originally G d thought to create two human beings but in the end He only created one. Because if He created two, then both would be on the same level and the wife would not be subordinate to her husband and there would be fights between them. Therefore He only created one and the woman was created from the tail so that the husband should be the more important one and she should be subordinate to him. But what is the need to have a verse describing G d’s thoughts since it didn’t actually happen – and it seems to be just a history lesson. A possible answer is that the thoughts of G d are definitely brought into fruition. That means that a person who doesn’t merit, his wife will rule over him and she will not be subordinate to him – just as the initial thoughts of G d. This is expressed by the statement that if he merits she will help him and be subordinate to him. If he does not merit she will be his opponent because they are now equal in level and she will not obey him.

Bereishis Rabbah (8:12): And subdue her – A man is required to rule over his wife so that she doesn’t go out to the market. That is because every woman who goes out to the market place will eventually come to grief. This is learned from Dina as it says in Bereishis (34:1) And Dinah went out…and she got into trouble as it says and Shechem saw her. R’ Chanina says the law is in accord with this view.

Eiruvin (100b): She is wrapped like a mourner, banished from all man and imprisoned in a jail [because the honor of the king’s daughter is within – Rashi].

Menoras Hame’or (2:176): Even though the woman is the mate of the man – she should not view her husband as an equal but rather as her master as it says in Tehilim (45:12), Because he is your master and you should bow down to him. And the woman should love her husband and he rules over her as it says (Bereishis 3:16), And your desire shall be to your husband and he shall rule over you. And if you view him as your master he will love you and you will be in his eyes as a sister as we see that Sarah refered to Avraham as master (Bereishis 18:12) and if you minimize talking to what is necessary then you will be even more beloved to your husband. And if you speak before him with grace and humility and if your eyes are attentive to him in the manner that a servant is attentive to her mistress – then you will be greatly valued and honored in his eyes. It relates in a Medrash that a certain Sage told his daughter when she was being taken her husband’s house, “My daughter, stand before him as you would before the king and serve him. And if you should act as a mother to him, he will be to you as a servant and will honor you as a privileged lady. However if you dominate him, he will be forced to act as your master and then you will be degraded in his eyes like a common servant. Embellish and praise him amongst his friends. And if guests come to him, whether relatives or friends – welcome them graciously and offer them generously in order to honor you husband in their eyes. Take good care of his house and all that he has and in this way you will find favor in his eyes and you will be the crown of your husband. Thus it says in Misheli(12:4), A virtuous wife is a crown to her husband.

Menoras HaMe’or (Marriage Chapter 10 page 34): There was a certain woman who made a wedding for her daughter. When she took her to her chasan’s house she said to her, “My daughter you should stand before your husband and serve him with awe and then he will lower himself with you and will become like your servant and honor you as royalty. However if you insist on dominating him then he in turn will dominate you and will not consider you have any significance and he will act as your master and you will be in his eyes debased like as slave.”

Ohr HaChaim (Bereishis 3:16): And to the woman He said...Corresponding to the issue of lust... G d said, And to your husband will be your desire that you will lust after him constantly. There is in this two aspects of the curse. 1) She will lust but will not have the freedom to satisfy it rather it will all depend on her husband and this aspect is also included in the statement “He will rule over you.” 2) In reality her desire is never fully satiated. This is a major difference between men and women. A man is capable of being fully satiated while a woman can not. It is truly a great curse that she is never able to satisfy her desires. ... In addition she thought she would remove G d’s great control because she wanted to be like G d...and as punishment G d added another layer of control and subjugation - her husband.

Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): And thus our Sages have commanded that the woman honor her husband to an extreme degree and the fear of him should be on her and she should do all her deeds according to what he says and he should be in her eyes as a ruler or king. She should orient her activities according to that which he desires and stay away from that which he hates. This is the manner of the daughters of Israel and the children of Israel who are holy and pure in their marriages. In this way the community will be pleasant and praiseworthy.

Melamed HaTalmidim (Miketz): And thus it is proper that every husband should rule over his wife. It is an embarrassment for him when his wife rules over him. And surely when his wife is constantly with him it is necessary to rule over her. If he does so then it is proper that he be included in the group of the perfectly righteous.

Rav S. R. Hirsch (Bereishis 4:7): And to your husband will be your desire and he will rule over you. This versus describes the relationship between the woman and her husband. The intent or this verse is clearly not describing a situation of constant warfare. As if the woman is always plotting against the man and tries to conquer him but the man is stronger and because of that he always is the dominant partner. Rather the verse is describing the longing the wife has for her beloved husband and she finds fulfillment to her essential being by devoting herself totally to the desires of the man and accepting the activities of her husband.

Rabbeinu Bachye (Bereishis 3:16): And he will rule over you – this punishment – that the husband should be the ruler and tells her what to do – is because she ordered him to eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and thus it was measure for meaure.

Rabbeinu Bachye (Bereishis 3:16): And towards your husband will be your desire – Even though the wife is enslaved under the control of her husband and the normal situation is that a slave escapes from its master in order not to be enslaved – but there was a Divine decree that her desire should be to her husband. She therefore wants to be enslaved by him. Thus her behavior is the opposite of the normal way.

Ibn Ezra (Bereishis 3:16): And your desire – meaning your obediance. The reason why you will obey all that he commands you is because you are in his control to do as he wants.Esther (1:22): Every man should be the master of his house and his household should speak his language.

Rashi (Esther 1:22): And speak his language - He can force his wife to learn his language if she is only fluent in another language.

Ibn Ezra (Esther 1:22): He should be the master of the house - That means he rules over his wife and she should not deviate from the customs of those who speak his language – not even to speak a different language...

Rashi (Devarim 22:16): And the father of the girl spoke – This teaches that a woman is not allowed to speak in the presence of a man [if the matter concerns him also].

Redak (Bereishis 3:16): And to your desire will to your husband - And even though giving birth will be painful, nevertheless you will still have a strong lust to have sexual intercourse with your husband. And he will rule over you – to order you to do what he wants like a master rules his slave.

Rashi (Bereishis 3:16): And your desire will be to your husband – to have sexual relations even though you are not so arrogant as to directly ask for it. And he will rule over you because everything is from him and not from you.

Rav Tzadok (Dover Tzedek page 41): Berachos (17a) asks, What is the merit that women have – to achieve the World to Come? [Concerning the pshat see Sotah 21a] The reason that this is a question is that women don’t have a mechanism for self-perfection as men do with Torah study. The gemora replies that their merit comes from assisting their husband and children in learning Torah... In other words their perfection is not acquired directly but only through their husbands and children. The husband is oblgated to provide her food, clothing and sexual relations while the son is obligated to honor her and fear her as is said in Kesubos (64a), A woman asks for a staff in her hand (son to support her) while alive and a spade for her burial. In other words her faults and imperfections are completed by the actions of others. Thus she draws perfection from them and her defining nature is being controlled or taken care of by others. That is why the Torah says your husband “will control you.” In contrast the woman is described in Kiddushin (30b), That she is in the domain of others and she has no control or any power and that is why whatever she acquires is automatically acquired by her husband. In fact the only genuine power she has is that her husband is obligated to her in order that he provide what she lacks and this is also true for the son as we mentioned before.

Torah Temima (Bereishis 3:16): And he will rule over you - we learn from this that a woman asks for intercourse through her actions while the man asks for it directly and this is a good trait for women (Eiruvin 100b). Even though the trait of modesty is a good trait, nevertheless it is a curse that she can’t openly express her desires to her husband. It should be noted that this doesn’t explain the language “And he will rule over you” in terms of its literal meaning of having a master… Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar (Chapter 14) notes that this is one of the curses of a woman and she should have her ear bored as a permanent slave and as a maidservant. The Radal says that this teaches that it has been decreed that a woman always has to pay attention to the words of her husband. It is logical that the reason for the practice of piercing a woman’s ears for jewelry is an allusion to the fact that she is enslaved to her husband as is noted in Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar. If so then why isn’t the expression in this verse “He shall rule over you” explained according to this understanding [and instead the gemora says it means that she can’t asked openly for intercourse]? … Nevertheless it definitely would appear that the verse doesn’t lose its literal meaning and that is also meant. Therefore in terms of the relationship of a husband and wife, the wife is obligated to accepted the authority of her husband as we find in the Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): “Our Sages have commanded that the wife view her husband as a king and lord.” Aside from the language of this verse this idea of ruler ship can also be seen in the Sifre…that a woman does not have permission to speak before her husband. This is also possibly the source that Pesachim (108a) that a woman does not have to recline at the Pesach Seder in the presence of her husband. The reason being that he rules over her. She is exempt in the same way that a student is in the presence of his teacher. He cannot recline in the manner of freedom because of his fear and respect of his teacher. It is logical that this is the reason that a woman who does not fulfill the wishes of her husband is called a moredes (rebel). Since it is an obligation to accept him as king and lord [as stated in Rambam] therefore when she does the opposite - it as if she had rebelled against the kingdom. …

Maharal (Bava Metzia 59a): Rav said that a person should always be carefully not to oppress his wife because since she is sensitive and readily cries it is easy to make her feel oppressed. Thus we see that it is only his wife that he needs to be exceedingly careful not to hurt her feelings since she is ruled by him and therefore is much more likely to cry than other people who are not so easily oppressed. In other words because his wife is under his control she is more likely to be hurt by his words and cry when he wrongs her. In contrast a non Jewish slave is by nature not so affected by oppression and even a female Jewish slave does not readily cry because she has accepted the servitude to her master. Furthermore a female slave was not created for the purpose of being under his domain. It is only the wife who was created to be under the rule of her husband and as it says (Bereishis 3:16), And he shall rule over you. Therefore when she is oppressed it has a very strong impact on her. Furthermore in truth a wife does not accept being ruled by her husband because she views herself as his equal. In contrast a slave fully accepts that his master rules over him and therefore is not impacted as much as a wife who views herself as important and therefore is devastated when she is not treated with care.

Chasam Sofer (Chullin 142a): There is no question that the main issue at Mt. Sinai was that men listen. In other words that they listen and accept the yoke of Torah and mitzvos in their hearts. However in contrast to the women, there was no such concern for their acceptance in their hearts. Women needed to learn enough so that they would not say, “I don’t know” or “I didn’t hear” about this mitzva ever. However there was no concern for their acceptance of the yoke of Torah. That is because it is the obligation of the husband to force all the members of his household to serve G d. G d wants it that way so that the Torah is not dependent on women who are not serious. She needs to follow after the direction of her husband. Therefore the hearing and accepting of the Torah was connected to the men while only superficial learning was associated with the women. Then the children would come and see this amazing thing of how their fathers subjugated themselves to G d and His Torah and they would grow up also being G d fearing

Daas Zekeinim of Baalei Tosfos (Bereishis 3:16): There is a difficulty: why was the woman created from a rib, and not some other organ? So that she should be bent at the ribs and subservient to her husband.

Zohar (1:22a): A woman can not doing anything without the consent of her husband.


Michtav M’Eliyahu (volume 4 page 116): Eiruvin(18a) states that initially Adam and Eve were created with a single body that had two faces (partzuf) and that afterwards they were separated into two distinct individuals. The “body” (guf) is defined as the lowest aspect of the soul (as we explain elsewhere). And that is where man has his free-will. And this that Adam and Eve shared a common body means that initially the woman was not created except to enable man to have offspring – and therefore she didn’t have independence and free-will. But rather their free-will i.e., their body was one. It is important to understand that Adam was extremely wise i.e., his comprehension of truth was great. We can see this from that fact that he gave names to all the living creatures. That means that he was able to recognize the true nature and purpose of all creation. Thus the Torah says that all the names that Adam gave – that in fact was the creature’s name i.e., that Adam’s understanding was in agreement with that of G-d’s. (Chizkuni). In addition Adam himself had not sinned in any manner and in fact had not even thought of sinning. This can be seen from the fact that later he did not eat from the Tree of Life except to do what his wife wanted. That is because his comprehension was so great that when he was the sole agent of free-will it was impossible to seduce or corrput him. At that point before they were separated, there was no equality between the force of the Good Inclination and the force of the Bad Inclination. Therefore G-d separated the woman from him and gave the woman her own free-will. By this separation G-d strengthened the power of the Evil Inclination until between the both of them there was now an equality between the strength of the Good Inclination and the Bad Inclination. (This of course is understood to be according to their level in the Garden of Eden.) The question is why were they created in this manner with a single body and then separated – in a manner that the Evil Inclination was not a meaningful force against the Good Inclination? The answer was that it was done in order to establish the predominance of the Good Inclination and to strengthen man’s recognition of truth. In this way he would be aided later on against the seduction of the Evil Inclination. So in the initial creation, woman was only a utensil for the man and she had no independent free-will as we explained before.

In truth, even now the woman’s nature and free-will is to be a utensil for the man as it states in (Sanhedrin 22a), A woman is unformed (golem) and doesn't not establish a covenant except with the man who makes her into a utensil. Thus the nature of woman is to experience respect and importance through the respect and importance given to her husband. [This can be explained by saying that the purpose of the woman is from the aspect of “ner mitzvah” (the candle of a mitzva) while that of the man is from the aspect of “Torah ohr” (the light of the Torah). [See Zohar Teruma 166a). Thus the work of the woman is in preparing and fixing the material aspects of the mitzva and good deeds i.e. the preparation of the candle (the physical needs i.e., the home). In contrast the work of the man is to become elevated in Torah and to light the candle with the light of the Torah so that the spiritual light of the Torah fills the home. And just like a candle with the fire is nothing so is the fire without a candle – because it can not provide illumination (Zohar Teruma 166a). Thus the work of the man and the work of the woman complement and complete each other].

Monday, December 5, 2016

NYPD Muslim cop targeted with bias slurs hailed as hero by father whose daughter she saved


As cops arrested a Brooklyn man they say shouted anti-Muslim slurs and threatened an off-duty hero cop wearing a hijab in Brooklyn, the father of a girl she saved from a fire expressed sympathy for her.

“She’s my hero no matter what religion she’s from,” Felipe Arroyo, 41, said of Officer Aml Elsokary, 34, who pulled his daughter Kayleigh and his mother Carmen Delrio, 60, from a burning apartment building in Brooklyn in 2014.

“She's always been my hero for saving my daughter.”

Cops charged Christopher Nelson, 36, of Bay Ridge on Sunday with threatening Elsokary during a shoving match Thursday with her 16-year-old son, officials said.[...]

The NYPD Muslim Officers Society thanked the Hate Crime Task Force and the Warrants Division for making quick work of the investigation.

“All we can say is the officer is shaken up and so is the society and the Muslim community,” President Adeel Rana said in an email. “It is very sad to hear these events taking place in this great diverse city.” Elsokary, one of the NYPD’s nearly 1,000 Muslim officers, wears a hijab whether she’s working her post in the 90th Precinct or off-duty like she was on Thursday.[...]

Demonstrators, meanwhile, gathered in Grand Central Terminal on Sunday afternoon to protest anti-Islam hate crimes that targeted both Elsokary and Baruch College undergrad Yasmin Seweid.

Three white men walked up to Seweid on Thursday night on the 6 train near E. 23rd St. and chanted “Donald Trump! Donald Trump!” before ripping her bag off her should and trying to pull off her hijab.

“Oh look, a (expletive) terrorist,” they said, according to Seweid. “Get the hell out of the country! You don’t belong here!”

Cops continued searching for the men on Sunday.[...]

Phony Abuse Ring stories not limited to Sanhedria Murchevet


Man opens fire in restaurant targeted by anti-Clinton "PizzaGate" fake news conspiracy

A man who said he was investigating a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place fired an assault rifle inside the Washington, D.C., restaurant on Sunday injuring no one, police and news reports said.[...]

The suspect entered the location and pointed a firearm in the direction of an employee of the restaurant, the MPD said in a statement. The victim was able to flee and notify police. The suspect fired an undetermined number of shots inside of the restaurant, according to the MPD.

During a post arrest interview, the suspect also revealed that he came to the establishment to self-investigate “Pizza Gate,” the MPD said in a statement.

As CBS affiliate WUSA reported previously, using the hashtag #PizzaGate, an imaginary story about the popular pizza shop was spread across social media and websites associated with the “alt-right” movement, accusing its proprietors of allowing Bill and Hillary Clinton and her former campaign manager to run a child sex slave ring from the business.

As a result, the pizza place has been hammered by thousands of threats and bizarre, unsubstantiated tales about child sex trafficking online for weeks.

WUSA reported that they found two women, who declined to give their names, banging on the patio at the pizza place in late November. The women were looking for the alleged tunnels used to traffic children.

“All of this is an underground tunnel that helps take the kids and transport them back and forth so they can can do these rituals,” said one of them. “They are putting a lot of curses and spells over the city. They are kidnapping the children who are missing. They were never missing because D.C. know where they are.”[...]

Friday, December 2, 2016

Are women "in the image of G-d?"

We are all familiar with Bereishis (1:27): And G-d created the Man in His Image. In the image of G-d He created him. Male and female He created them.

It seems from this verse that only Adam was created in the image of G-d and not Eve. This implies that only Adam was human and not Eve and by extension that only males are human and not females. I am going to explore this question - to see where it goes and the implications for male-female relationships as well as society as a whole.




There is a major dispute as to how the male and female humans were created.
Nahman b. R. Hisda expounded: What is meant by the text, Then the Lord God formed [wa-yizer] man? [The word wa-yizer] is written with two yods, to show that God created two inclinations, one good and the other evil. ... Or again as explained by R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar; for R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar said: God created two countenances in the first man, as it says, Behind and before hast Thou formed me.  And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman. Rab and Samuel explained this differently. One said that [this ‘rib’] was a face, the other that it was a tail.

 According to the view  (Berachos 61a) that man was initially created male and female - basically two individuals joined together - it makes sense that the verse uses the singular form because there was initially only one entity created - that was eventually divided into two distinct entities. But according to the view that Eve was made from Adam's rib or tail - it would seem that she is more of an appendage than a distinct human being. She was only made to allow procreation and provide support (ezer kenego) for Adam. 

What are the consequences for saying that women are not in the image of G-d and does anyone actually say that women are inferior, subordinate beings because they lack the image of G-d?
Abarbanel (Bereishis 1:27): Even though Man was created as male and female, they were not both equally perfected. And even though they were the same species they were not equally in the image of G-d. That is why the verse states, “In the image of G-d He created him (singular), male and female He created them.” In other words only Adam was created in the image of G-d because he was the reason and purpose for Creation. It was only for the necessity of procreation that Man was created as male and female. In fact there is no mention of male and female being created in the image of G-d but only for procreation. Gender is found in all animals and it has nothing to do with the image of G-d. From this we can understand why the Torah doesn't say “man according to his species” but it does say that man was created male and female were created by G-d. That is because man is different than other animals in which the female is on the same level as the male and is fully equal to him in nature and that is why it says about them “according to his species” without giving the male any superiority to the female.  However it is different concerning man because the male is the reason for creation of humans and he alone was created in the image of G-d. Thus the Torah states in the singular grammatical form, In the image of G-d He created him. That is because the male is the one who comprehends mysteries of wisdom and not the female about whom our Sages (Yoma 66b) said, “There is no wisdom in a woman except for the spindle” That is because the creation of the female was only an afterthought to provide the man with a helper and for the purpose of procreation as the Torah states later. So in summary we see that man was originally created alone in perfection while she was made afterwards in order to serve him. So here it just states the fact that she was created but it is only later (Bereishis 2:18-24) that the details if her creation are given. However that understanding seems to be inconsistent with the view (Eiruvin 17a) that male and female were in fact created at the same time as two entities joined together back to back. However in fact our assertion that woman lacks the image of G-d and is inferior to the male is also consistent with the view that Man was created as a hermaphrodite.  In other words man was created with an additional form from which woman was made. Thus it was like man had two aspects (pirtzuf) of male and female as an androgynous being (a Greek word describing a person who has both male and female sexual organs). However the Man was in fact a male in reality while the female aspect was only subordinate and an appendage to the male entity - in order to make a woman from it later. Thus we can explain that when it says Man was created male and female, it means that since the dominate concern was to create an intelligent being whose purpose was intellectual - for that purpose there was no need for the female and thus it was not proper to create with him the female. However this verse of “male and female He created them” teaches that in fact it was not so but rather G-d wanted that man would be created not only with the intellect but also with a non intellectual material aspect...  So even though according to this second view that Man was created with both male and female aspects but the two aspects were not equal in perfection but rather it was the male aspect – the primary one - which was created with the image of G-d.  Man was created as male and intellectual and only secondarily as female to enable the making of a second subordinate entity to serve the male
Aside from the Abarbanel  there is the Netziv.

Netziv(Bereishis 1:26): Let us make man – G-d did not say, “let us make a being like an animal in our likeness” and afterwards call him ‘man’ as is actually written later in Bereishis (5:2). But the phrase, “let us make man” means that there is no need to give man this name – rather his character shows that he is man. But if so it is difficult. Why is it written afterwards that G-d called their name man – which implies that there was a need to give a name...? But rather the matter is like this – that man is different from all the species since all the species were created in such a way that the species was unitary in its purpose and character; which is not the case for man who rose in G-d’s thought to be of two types of character. The one would be cleaving to his G-d, ready and serving in the world like an angel does in the Heavens. And the second is such that he would be political and take care of his own needs; even though he would nonetheless do the will of G-d, it would not be on the level of the first. And behold, according to the first characteristic he is automatically man (adam) based on the phrase ‘I will be similar to the most High – meaning that within him are included all the powers of creation and he rules over everything. And behold he is like the firstborn son of a king who rules like the king. And because of this, everyone understands that he is the son of the king in that they see him ruling over every detail. Which is not the case with the son of the king who is not the firstborn and the king merely makes him rule over some detail and his fellow over another detail and so too with all those that govern the kingdom. It comes out that all of them together are simlar to the king; but each one by himself is only similar to the king when he is given the name of ruler over that detail that he governs. And thus is man – the indiviudal of spiritual sstture is different then the simple individual. And in Shabbos (112b), they hinted to these two types of men. And it is stated in the first version of a particular thatement “this is not a man” and in a second version “thisis an example of a man” –the bexplanationof this being a man of spiritual stature. But the general human species is called man by the nature of the matter in that they as a group rule over the entire creation. And this is according to G-d’s plan. (And so too with the name Israel which indictes being higher thant the nature of creation and the running of the world. It will be explained later in Vayishlach that the whole nation is called Israel, but concerning individuals some are called by the name Israel and some have not reached this.) And if so in the statement “let us make man” its explanation is [that it refers to] the general species of man and it is certainly called man even without being given the name since in this general species is the creation dependent and in this detail they are simlar to the Creator. And Adam specifically before he sinned was worthy of being called man without being given the name; but after he sinned he was given the name of man and it will be explained further.“According to our likeness” – the image is according to our likenss and automaticallly man – who is clothed in it – is in the likeness of G-d and in this is the power of man.
Netziv (Bereishis 1:27) In the image of G-d  - all of nature was included in him. And from the time that it arose in the though and word of G-d that there should be nature, then G-d was called with the name Elokim. And since all of nature is included in man – behold – he is in the image of G-d. But this is not the case except in the man of stature as Adam was before the sin. Afterwards...."Male and female He created them." The verse does not come to explain that this species, more so than all the other creatures, has a male and a female. Rather, [it comes] to teach you that they are two beings, as will be explained below. This is because the male of this species is not at all similar in his character to the female of the same species. As Kohelet says: "One man among a thousand I have found; but a woman among all those I have not found" (Kohelet 7:28). That is, that a man of virtue resembling his Creator in the image of God is found one in a thousand; Which is not the case regarding women – who only fits the second description of man – who is only described as being man 

================
Image of G-d defined:

Physical Appearance of the body:

To properly understand the issue it would be helpful to have a clear understanding of what "the image of G-d" means. There are clear sources that it refers to physical appearance.  Avoda Zara (43a-43b):
Sanhedrin(38b):,, Bereishis Rabbah(8:3-11): Avos deRabbi Nossan (chapter 32).

Sanhedrin(46b): AS IF TO SAY WHY WAS HE HANGED? — BECAUSE HE CURSED etc. It has been taught: R. Meir said: A parable was stated, To what is this matter comparable? To two twin brothers [who lived] in one city; one was appointed king, and the other took to highway robbery. At the king's command they hanged him. But all who saw him exclaimed, ‘The king is hanged!’12 whereupon the king issued a command and he was taken down.Sanhedrin(46b):[[ AS IF TO SAY WHY WAS HE HANGED? — BECAUSE HE CURSED etc. It has been taught: R. Meir said: A parable was stated, To what is this matter comparable? To two twin brothers [who lived] in one city; one was appointed king, and the other took to highway robbery. At the king's command they hanged him. But all who saw him exclaimed, ‘The king is hanged!’12 whereupon the king issued a command and he was taken down.

Avos deRabbi Nossan(Chapter 2) Adam was born circumcised as it says and G-d created man in His image


רש"ר הירש (בראשית א:כז) ויברא אלהים את האדם בצלמו. ביטוי זה נשנה כאן פעמים מספר, והרי כאן הדגשה מיוחדת: לבושו הגופני של האדם הוא ראוי לאלהים והולם ייעוד אלהי. כך לימדתנו תורה להכיר ולהעריך את כבודו האלהי של הגוף. ואכן, לא באה תורה רק לקדש את הרוח, אלא בראש ובראשונה: לקדש את הגוף. הנה זה היסוד לכל מוסר אנושי: גוף האדם על כל יצריו וכוחותיו נברא בצלם האלהים; ושומה על האדם לקדש את גופו כראוי לייעודו האלהי. אין לך דבר, החותר תחת כל מוסר, כאותו רעיון תעתועים, המפצל את נפש האדם: הוא מודה בכבודה האלהי של הרוח ומורה לה להתעלות לעולמות עליונים; ואילו לגוף הוא מרשה שרירות משולחת רסן, להתהולל כבהמה בכיעור החושניות; ולגאוני הרוח אף יעניק חנינה מיוחדת - על כל שחיתות מוסרית של הגוף. לא כן ייעוד האדם, כפי שנצטייר בתורת ה'. קדושת הגוף ושמירת צלמו האלהי הן יסוד מוסד לכל זיכוך מוסרי ותנאי לכל מעלה רוחנית. וככל שהרוח מבקשת להתעלות, כן גוברת הדרישה לקדושת הגוף. שעה שהקב"ה כרת ברית עם ישראל, וכך חזר והקים את האנושות הטהורה, - פתח במצות מילה, המקדשת את הגוף. ומצוות רבות הכתובות בתורה לא באו אלא לצורך תקנת הגוף: להוליד את הגוף, לזונו ולקיימו בהכשר טהרת הצלם; למען יוסיף הגוף להיות צלם אלהים - ולא טמא, שקץ ותועבה: 

רש"ר הירש (בראשית א:כו): בצלמנו - כבר הוכחנו שם (עמ' 526), ש"צלם" - קרוב ל"שלם" ("שלמה") ול"סמל" ("שמלה") - מציין רק את הלבוש החיצוני, את התבנית הגופנית. נמצא "בצלמנו" =בלבושנו; הוה אומר: אם יתגשמו ויתלבשו בלבוש חיצוני - כל החסד והרחמים, כל האמת והמשפט והקדושה של הנהגת ה', - הם יתלבשו באותו לבוש, שהבורא חלק לאדם. כבר תבניתו הגופנית של האדם מעידה עליו שהוא בא כח לאל, אלהות עלי אדמות. צלמו של אדם הוא -:
Intellectual achievement 

Other sources indicate it is intellectual achievement concerning abstract philosophical thoughts or Torah.


Rambam(Moreh Nevuchim 1:1):[[כבר חשבו בני אדם, כי צלם בלשון העברי יורה על תמונת הדבר ותארו, והביא זה אל הגשמה גמורה, לאמרו נעשה אדם בצלמנו כדמותנו, וחשבו שהשם על צורת אדם, רוצה לומר תמונתו ותארו... אבל הערתנו בזה הפרק היא לבאר ענין צלם ודמות, ואומר כי הצורה המפורסמת אצל ההמון אשר היא תמונת הדבר ותארו, שמה המיוחד בה בלשון עברי תאר, אמר יפה תאר ויפה מראה... וזהו שם שלא יפול על השי"ת כלל חלילה וחס, אמנם צלם הוא נופל על הצורה הטבעית, רוצה לומר על הענין ההוא באדם, הוא אשר בעבורו תהיה ההשגה האנושית, ומפני ההשגה הזאת השכלית נאמר בו בצלם אלקים ברא אותו, ולכן נאמר צלמם תבזה... ויהיה הנרצה באמרו "נעשה אדם בצלמנו" הצורה המינית, אשר היא ההשגה השכלית, לא התמונה והתאר... אמנם דמות הוא שם מן דמה, והוא גם כן דמיון בענין... וכאשר ייוחד האדם בענין שהוא זר בו מאד, מה שאין כן בדבר מן הנמצאות מתחת גלגל הירח, והוא ההשגה השכלית, אשר לא ישתמש בו חוש ולא מעשה גוף ולא יד ולא רגל, דמה אותה בהשגת הבורא אשר אינה בכלי, ואם אינו דמיון באמת, אבל לנראה מן הדעת תחלה, ונראה באדם מפני זה הענין, רצוני לומר מפני השכל האלקי המדובק בו, שהוא בצלם אלקים ובדמותו, לא שהשם יתברך גוף שיהיה בעל תמונה. (חלק א פרק א)

Olam Habah for women

A related question is whether women get Olam Habah. See the commentaries on Berachos (17a) which asks what is the basis that women get Olam Habah - and answers because they provide a support system for their husband and children to learn Torah. The clear implication is that those women who don't provide a support system for Torah learning - do not get Olam Habah.

Similarly the ignorant will not get Olam Habah unless they support Torah study

Kesubos(111b): R. Eleazar said; The illiterate will not be resurrected, for it is said in Scripture, The dead will not live etc.11 So it was also taught: The dead will not live. As this might [be assumed to refer] to all, it was specifically stated, The lax will not rise, [thus indicating] that the text speaks only of such a man as was lax in the study of the words of the Torah. Said R. Johanan to him: it is no satisfaction to their Master that you should speak to them in this manner. That text was written of a man who was so lax as to worship idols. ‘I’, the other replied, ‘make an exposition [to the same effect] from another text. For it is written in Scripture, For thy dew is as the dew of light, and the earth shall bring to life the dead. him who makes use of the ‘light’ of the Torah will the ‘light’ of the Torah revive, but him who makes no use of the light of the Torah the light of the Torah will not revive’. Observing, however, that he was distressed, he said to him, ‘Master, I have found for them a remedy in the Pentateuch: But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day; now is it possible to ‘cleave’ to the divine presence concerning which it is written in Scripture, For the Lord thy God is a devouring fire? But [the meaning is this:] Any man who marries his daughter to a scholar, or carries on a trade on behalf of scholars, or benefits scholars from his estate is regarded by Scripture as if he had cleaved to the divine presence. Similarly you read in Scripture, To love the Lord thy God, [to hearken to His voice,] and to cleave unto Him. Is it possible for a human being to ‘cleave’ unto the divine presence? But [what was meant is this:] Any man who marries his daughter to a scholar, or carries on a trade for scholars, or benefits scholars from his estate is regarded by Scripture as if he had cleaved to the divine presence.

Ramchal(Derech HaShem Chapter 2):[[

Rambam(Moreh Nevuchim (3:27;54)

Zohar(2:247b):


Rashbash[1](#324):[[
Pnei Yehoshua[2](Berachos 17a):[[
Chavrusa[3](Berachos 17a):[[



[1] שו"ת הרשב"ש סימן שכד
לפי שהנשים אף על פי שאינן מחוייבות ללמוד תורה אבל זוכות הן לחיי העולם הבא בזכות התורה שמלמדין את בניהם ומוליכין אותם לבית הספר ובזכות שמשמרות את בעליהם עד שבאים מהישיבות, כמו שנזכר בפרק היה קורא אמר ליה רב לר' חייא נשים במאי זכיין, כלומר במה הם זוכות לעולם הבא, אמר ליה באקרויי בנייהו לבי כנישתא ובאתנויי בנייהו בי רבנן ומנטרן לגברייהו עד דאתו מבי רבנן, אם כן אעפ"י שאינן מצוות בתלמוד תורה אבל זוכות הן לחיי העולם הבא בשכר שמסייעין בו. אמנם אם יש יתום ויתומה להשיא, יותר ראוי הוא לפי דעתי שיניחוהו להם, שהרי מוכרים הם ספר תורה לישא אשה כדאיתא בפרק בני העיר.
[2] פני יהושע מסכת ברכות דף יז עמוד א
שם גדולה הבטחה שהבטיח הקדוש ברוך הוא לנשים כו' אמר ליה רב לר' חייא נשי במאי זכיין באקרויי בנייהו כו'. ולכאורה יש לתמוה דמאי קשיא ליה לרב מעיקרא נשים במאי זכיין הרי נצטוו על כרחך מצות לא תעשה כאנשים וכן בכל מצות עשה שאין הזמן גרמא עד שהוצרך לתלות באקרויי בנייהו כו' ועוד דנראה דאיהו מותיב ואיהו מפרק מדלא קאמר דמהדר ליה ר"ח לרב באקרויי בנייהו. והנראה לענ"ד בענין זה לפי שנראה בעליל בהא דאמר לעיל גדולה הבטחה הם ג"כ דברי רב עצמו שכ"ז הוי מרגלא בפומיה והכל סובב אל מקום אחד לפי מאי שפירשתי דהא דהוי מרגלא בפומיה הוא ענין מוסר שצריך אדם לזכך כל רמ"ח אבריו ושס"ה גידיו בעה"ז על ידי קיום רמ"ח מצות עשה ושס"ה מצות לא תעשה כדי שיוכלו כולם ליהנות מזיו השכינה כדפרישית ומשום דלפי"ז לא שייך הך מילתא כי אם באנשים שמקיימים רמ"ח מצות עשה משא"כ בנשים כשתסיר מהם מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא כיון דפטורות ישארו אותן אברים פגומים ולא יוכלו ליהנות מזיו השכינה, ומש"ה מסיק רב במילתיה דאפילו הכי גדולה הבטחה שנתן הקדוש ברוך הוא לנשים וכדי לפרש דבריו אמר ליה רב לר"ח הני נשי במאי זכיין והיינו כדפרישית ובהא מסיק שפיר באקרויי בנייהו ובאתנויי גברייא ונטרין כו' נמצא כיון שהן מסייעות לבעליהן ולבניהן ללמוד תורה לשמור ולעשות כל תרי"ג מצותיה הרי שיש להם שכר אפילו במצות עשה שלא נצטוו עליהם וכן בתלמוד תורה אף על גב שלא נצטוו עליהם ושכר תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם אפ"ה יש להם שכר בכולן וכדאשכחן דדריש ראב"ע ברפ"ק דחגיגה [דף ג' ע"א] בפרשת הקהל כדי ליתן שכר למביאיהם, כן נראה לי בישוב אגדות אלו:
[3] חברותא - הערות ברכות דף יז עמוד א הערה (27
(27). ביאר הגר"א כי אף על פי שיש לנשים הרבה מצוות, הזכות לעוה"ב תלויה במצוה הקשורה בתורה, שהיא ה"אור" המגן על האדם תמיד, ואילו שאר מצות נמשלו ל"נר" שמאיר רק לפי שעה, ואין די בקיומן לזכות בעולם הבא, והוסיף מהרי"ל דיסקין [בריש תורת האהל] ש"עמי הארץ אינם חיים" כי החיות תלויה באור התורה, וכפיה"מ להרמב"ם בפרק חלק ששכר עוה"ב בהתעצמות הנפש במושכלות, וראה שמירת הלשון [יג] ולב אליהו [ויגש]. והפני יהושע ביאר לפי דרכו, שמאמרים אלו באו לעורר האדם לזכך נפשו לעידוני העוה"ב, ולכן מקשה הגמרא, שהרי נשים אין להם תורה, וגם פטורות מהרבה מצוות, ונמצא שהרבה אבריהם לא יוכלו להנות מהעה"ב, ועל כך השיבה שיש להם חלק בכל תורת בניהם ובעליהן. [וראה בשיחות מוסר צה, שתשובת הגמרא, שזכותן בסיוע לתורת בעליהם ובניהם גדולה מזכות תורה שילמדו בעצמן]. וע"ע ביערות דבש [א א].

Possible resolution


The sources dealing with physical appearance appear to apply to both men and women and Jews and  non-Jews. However clearly the Rambam and others understand image of G-d as an intellectual characteristic. From the issue of Olam Habah it would seem that the idea of image of G-d as well as the spirituality for Olam Habah need to be fulfilled by proper development through Torah and mitzvos and that only the potential is given. But there is a clear distinction between men and women.

 Men have the image of G-d and get Olam Habah if they are talmidei chachomim while women are not inherently and independently in the image of G-d nor do they get  Olam Habah or at least not that of the tzadikim. 

Women's only choice is for true spirituality is that  they subordinate their existence to the talmid chachom who is the true image of G-d. This is what the Abarbanel and Netziv both seem to indicate. Thus there are those who themselves are spiritual beings (inherently in the image of G-d through Torah and mitzvos) and there are those who by association and assistance of the  focus of creation (man)  get spiritual status (and they are only said or described as being in the image of G-d). Theoretically women could become talmidei chachomim and do all the mitzvos - but that is not their role. The concept of woman is one who provides support for the talmid chachom and her spiritual perfection is thus indirect- ezer kenegdo.


This distinction seems to fit all the sources

[to be continued]

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Toldot/Vayeirah - True Education and Intrinsic Motivation by Allan Katz

Guest post by Allan Katz

Toldot begins with Yitzchak=Isaac and Rivkah = Rebecca praying in separate corners in their home asking G-d to bless them with a child. Verse 25:21 tells us that G-d answered Yitzchak's prayers rather than Rivkah's. The reason given is that there is no comparison between the prayers of righteous child – Isaac who is a son of righteous parents and of a righteous child- Rebecca of wicked parents.

Rabbi Dessler explains that Rivkah's efforts of rejecting her evil family's ways and becoming a righteous person are praiseworthy and meritorious. Yet Isaac's challenge was much more difficult. Isaac could have easily become a carbon copy of his father and carried on his tradition of serving G-d through doing chesed and loving kindness. Isaac did not content himself with that. He forged a new and unique path of serving G-d through holding himself to the highest standards of observance, self discipline, courage and strength= ge'vu'rah.

Rabbi Dessler explains that the education we receive from our parents, teachers, friends and from the different environments is very much a passive form of education. Even if kids study hard, the motivation is external and the product of this learning and exposure is more about acquiring good habits that are done in a rote manner - 'mitzvat anshim me'lumada 'and imitating role models than changing from the inside. Real education and personal development takes place when the child is internally motivated and overcomes personal challenges and struggles.

We see this principle also in how G-d relates to Abraham's nephew, Lot. G-d sends angels to destroy the city of Sodom and to rescue Lot who was residing there. What did Lot do to merit him being saved ?. The Medrash explains that Abraham and his wife Sarah went to Egypt with Lot because there was a drought in the land of Canaan. In order to protect himself, Abraham said that Sarah was his sister. If he would have said that she was his wife he would have been killed and Sarah would have been taken to be the wife of someone else, most probably Pharaoh. Lot was sensitive enough to the situation and kept his mouth shut. He did not, even by mistake reveal the true situation. Lot was thus rewarded for his silence.

The Saba from Slabodkah is surprised that from all the positive actions that Lot did, it was his ' silence' that merited him being saved. Lot displayed lots of courage, commitment and even risked his life when he invited the angels to be guests in his home. Is this not a more meritorious act than just keeping quiet and not handing his uncle over to be killed?. The Saba from Slabodkah explains that Lot was challenged in the area of money. He had separated from Abraham in order to settle in the rich and fertile area of Sodom. Inadvertently revealing or hinting that Abraham was Sarah's husband would have made him very wealthy. Abraham would have been killed and Lot would have been given presents from the Egyptians as he was now Sarah's only relative. Lot's display of chesed in inviting the angels to his home was due to the education he received in Abraham's home and not a product of his own struggles in this area. Keeping quiet was about dealing with a personal challenge.

Education does not have to be just about kids meeting parents and teachers expectations for good behavior and great grades. Education can be also about meeting kids concerns and hopes and becoming life long learners. When kids needs for autonomy , competence and relatedness are being met , kids become self determined and intrinsically motivated. Autonomy is not about independence but interdependence and being self directed. Kids become and feel competent when they aquire real life and learning skills, assessment is feedback and a conversation and not just a spreadsheet with test scores and grades. When learning is about cooperation and building a community of learners, kids feel they are related, have a sense of belonging where they can support others and feel supported.

Discipline and behavior problems are solved through discussion using collaborative problem solving and helping kids reflect on how their behavior impacts on others. With poor and challenging kids – both academically or behaviorally problems are solved by punishing bad behavior or rewarding obedience and using incentives or level systems to motivate kids to do better. They also get a different type of education.

Deborah Meier says that rich kids are “expected to have opinions,” and poor kids, who are expected to do what they’re told. Schools for the well-off are about inquiry and choices; schools for the poor are about drills and compliance.''

The education that all our children deserve ' starts with students’ interests and questions; learning is organized around real-life problems and projects. Exploration is both active and interactive, reflecting the simple truth that kids learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions. Finally, success is judged by authentic indicators of thinking and motivation, not by multiple-choice tests. ' – Alfie Kohn

Parents and teachers always ask how they can motivate kids to do better. The mantra of the Collaborative problem solving approach CPS is' kids do well if they can and not kids do well if they want to '. Kids would rather do better and be successful , if not it means that in the past their concerns have not been heard , and that they have been pushed back and been rejected so often .In any case adults can't motivate kids , we can only provide the conditions which help kids to motivate themselves.

Constructivist and CPS academic and socio-moral learning principles which rich kids are getting are needed even more so for challenging kids because they are lacking so many skills.

These approaches promote real education based on intrinsic motivation. The child has a say in his education , something that matters to him more than anybody else. Kids are thus given the opportunity to explore their personal interests and challenges and make real changes to their lives.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Donald Trump’s Lies About the Popular Vote


One big fear in the weeks leading up to the presidential election was that Donald Trump would try to delegitimize the results by claiming rampant voter fraud — a bogus specter he had raised throughout the campaign, particularly as his polling numbers got worse.

In that scenario, of course, Mr. Trump was the loser. No one imagined he would say the election was rigged if he won. And yet here we are.

On Sunday, President-elect Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets complaining about calls for recounts or vote audits in several closely contested states, and culminating in this message: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

This is a lie, part of Mr. Trump’s pattern, stretching back many years, of disregard for indisputable facts. There is no evidence of illegal voting on even a small scale anywhere in the country, let alone a systematic conspiracy involving “millions.” But this is the message that gets hammered relentlessly by right-wing propaganda sites like InfoWars, which is run by a conspiracy theorist who claims the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax — and whose absurdities Mr. Trump has often shouted through his megaphone, which will shortly bear the presidential seal. Mr. Trump added more fuel to the fire with the false claim of “serious voter fraud” in California, Virginia and New Hampshire — all states that went for Hillary Clinton.

In addition to insulting law-abiding voters everywhere, these lies about fraud threaten the foundations of American democracy. They have provided the justification for state voter-suppression laws around the country, and they could give the Trump administration a pretext to roll back voting rights on a national scale.

And why is Mr. Trump so hung up on the popular vote in the first place? After all, he won where it counts — in the Electoral College. And yet, in the three weeks since his victory, Mr. Trump has already admitted at least twice that he would prefer the presidency be determined by the popular vote, and not by 538 electors. It’s clear he feels threatened by Mrs. Clinton’s popular-vote lead — now more than 2.3 million and expected to exceed 2.5 million; as a percentage of the electorate, that is a wider margin than five presidents enjoyed. With support for third-party candidates added in, 54 percent of voters rejected Mr. Trump.

So maybe his touchiness is understandable. Like most people, Mr. Trump senses the fundamental unfairness of awarding the presidency to the loser of the popular vote. In fact, he made that argument himself, back on election night in 2012, calling the Electoral College “a disaster for democracy” when he believed, incorrectly, that President Obama would lose the popular vote and still win re-election. (In recent weeks he’s changed his tune, calling it a “genius” idea.) What Mr. Trump may not know, given his lack of interest in American history, is that the Electoral College was designed specifically to enhance the influence of white voters in Southern states, which were allowed to factor in their large slave populations.[...]

But if he’s truly worried about the legitimacy of the 2016 election, why doesn’t he call for a recount?

How to Manipulate Donald Trump

Slate  This week, in a volley of angry tweets, Donald Trump ridiculed the “badly defeated ... Dems,” claimed he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” and said anyone who burned the American flag should lose their citizenship or spend a year in jail. Trump’s outbursts set off alarms. How could he believe such nonsense about voter fraud? Why would a man who had just been elected president gloat, threaten protesters, and insult half the country? What’s going on in his messed-up head?

To understand Trump, you have to set aside the scripted speeches he gave before his election and the canned videos he has released since. You also have to set aside the caricature of him as a Klan-loving, Nazi-sympathizing woman hater who will deport every immigrant he can find. Instead, look at the four interviews he has given since his election: to the Wall Street Journal, 60 Minutes, the New York Times, and a group of TV anchors and executives. In these exchanges, all of them conducted outside the behavior-warping context of the campaign, you’ll see how squishy he is. Trump did run a despicable campaign, and he’s a menace to the country and the world. But it’s not because he’s a strongman. It’s because he’s a weakling. [...]

1. He’s all about reciprocal love. In the campaign, Trump often played on fear and hate. He targeted Muslims, refugees, undocumented immigrants, and any other scapegoat that served his interests. But deep down, what he wanted was the love of his adoring crowds. Emotionally, he’s a child. He can love others, but only if they love him first. And that’s how he sees his presidency. In his interview with the Times on Nov. 22, he explained that his job is “taking care of the people that really have proven to be—to love Donald Trump.”

2. His reflexes are vindictive. When Trump was down in the polls, he railed against Hillary Clinton, the press, and fellow Republicans. On election night, he said those grudges were over. But they weren’t. In post-election tweets, he berated CNN, Saturday Night Live, and the cast of Hamilton. He blasted Democrats for supporting ongoing recounts, even after they conceded the election and said they just wanted to make sure the recounts were fair. He summoned TV executives to Trump Tower on Nov. 21, called them the “dishonest media,” and scolded them for underestimating him. The next day, in his meeting with the Times, he bragged that he had stiffed job requests and pleas for campaign help from two Republican Senate candidates who had failed to support him. That’s how Trump behaves on his political honeymoon. Imagine what he’ll do when the going gets rough.

3. His ego is fragile. After winning the Republican nomination in May, Trump gloated about it for months. Now he’s gloating about the election. In tweets and interviews, he has crowed that he beat Clinton “easily.” On Tuesday, he ran another victory lap, trumpeting the addition of Michigan to his “landslide.” To understand how central this is to Trump’s sense of himself, check out the first 19 paragraphs of his interview with the Times. Invited by the publisher to give opening remarks, Trump spoke at length, not about the future but about his genius and prowess on the campaign trail. In his Nov. 11 interview with 60 Minutes, he bragged about the number of Twitter followers he had gained.

A president-elect who is self-assured doesn’t behave this way. Nor does he snap at a late-night sketch comedy show. Nor does he summon TV executives to complain that particular pictures they have aired are unflattering to him. Trump does these things because he’s deeply insecure and easily wounded.

4. He craves approval. Trump often comes across as indifferent to the feelings of others. That’s misleading. He cares intensely about being respected and loved. Consider his twisted relationship with the Times. For two weeks after the election, he tweeted that the paper was “nasty,” “failing,” and “looked like fools in their coverage of me.” Despite this, he requested a meeting and showed up at the paper’s offices to wag his tail. He promised Times staffers an immigration bill that “even the people in this room can be happy” with. He told them “it would be, to me, a great achievement if I could come back here in a year or two years … and have a lot of the folks here say, ‘You’ve done a great job.’ And I don’t mean just a conservative job, ’cause I’m not talking conservative. I mean just, we’ve done a good job.” Yes, Mr. President. Good boy.

5. He’s easily soothed by flattery. Trump is a champ at nursing grudges when he feels cheated, threatened, or disrespected. But his grudges, like his commitments, can be washed out by small doses of affection. He speaks glowingly of generous post-election phone calls he received from the Clintons and the Bushes. He has praised both families in return. Those threats to prosecute Hillary? Never mind. Trump also can’t stop clucking about his Nov. 10 meeting with President Obama. At least three times, Trump has claimed to have “great chemistry” with the man he had never previously met and had repeatedly denounced as the worst president ever. That’s how easily Trump’s wrath can turn to warmth—and vice versa.

6. He’s a softie. If Trump hurts a lot of people as president, it won’t be out of malice. Calling Clinton a “nasty woman” from the safety of a podium, or threatening a few flag burners with the same jail penalty she supported, is easy. But Trump doesn’t have the stomach to face down millions of angry Americans. On 60 Minutes, he backed away from talk of deportation, criminalizing abortions, and reopening the legal debate over same-sex marriage. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, said Trump, the worst thing women might have to endure is that “they’ll have to go to another state.” As for LGBT people, he pleaded, “I mentioned them at the Republican National Convention! And everybody said, ‘That was so great.’ ” Trump might not understand the effects of his policies or appointments, but he knows what he needs: praise. He’s not an attack dog. He wants to be petted.

7. His emotional softness makes him morally weak. Trump’s critics see him as a thug who will damage the country and the world through aggression. That could happen. But he’s far more likely to usher in bad things by being a lapdog when we need a watchdog. To take a small example: Three men who had partnered with Trump in a real estate project in India met with him after his election, took pictures with him, and posted the pictures to promote the venture. When the Times asked Trump about this, he pleaded: “What am I going to say? ‘I’m not going to talk to you’? ‘I’m not going to take pictures’? … On a human basis, you take pictures.[...]

Trump is a patsy for Russian President Vladimir Putin, too. He effused to the Journal about a “beautiful” letter Putin sent him after the election. “I would love to be able to get along with Russia,” Trump told the Times. He claimed, based on reactions at his rallies, that getting along with Russia would also make Americans happy: “I’d say this in front of thousands of people. … ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia? Wouldn’t it be nice if we went after ISIS together?’ … And the people [would] stand up and give me a massive hand.”

Trump treats the presidency the way he treated The Apprentice: It’s all about ratings. There’s no limit to the moral lines he would cross to give the audience what it wants. In the Times interview, he said he might withdraw his support for waterboarding if it were found to be ineffective at extracting useful information. But he added: “If it’s so important to the American people, I would go for it. I would be guided by that.”

8. He substitutes popularity for standards of conduct. Trump sees the moral universe in terms of feelings, not rules or reasons. He told the Times he could combine his presidency and his business any way he chose. Anything he did to limit conflicts of interest, he asserted, would be out of the generosity of his heart. He also suggested that he didn’t have to sweat conflicts of interest because voters, by electing him, had shown they didn’t care about them. “Prior to the election it was well known that I have interests in properties all over the world,” he tweeted. “Only the crooked media makes this a big deal!”[...]

9. He confuses controversy with mystery. Because Trump deals in emotions rather than facts, he’s easily swayed by intensity. Even in matters of science, he’s more affected by the number of people who believe something than by the evidence for their beliefs. “There are few things where there’s more division than climate change,” Trump told the Times. “There are people on the other side of that issue.” He went on: “My uncle was for 35 years a professor at M.I.T. … He had feelings on this subject. It’s a very complex subject. I’m not sure anybody is ever going to really know.”[...]

10. He’s obtuse to the pain he inflicts. If Trump cares so much about feelings, why doesn’t he see all the fear and stress he has caused? Because that would require him to accept criticism, and his ego can’t handle it. On 60 Minutes, he batted away questions about his invective during the campaign, insisting that “my strongest asset is my temperament” and that he “can’t regret” anything he’d said. If some folks are upset by his election, that can’t be his fault, so it has to be theirs. “There are people, Americans, who are scared, and some of them are demonstrating right now, demonstrating against you, against your rhetoric,” Stahl told him. Trump seemed baffled. “That’s only because they don’t know me,” he said.

Trump is virtually lobotomized. Unable to acknowledge his role in stirring up hatred and fear, he blames others. When Stahl told him that “African Americans think there’s a target on their back,” and “Muslims are terrified,” he shrugged that such fears were “built up by the press, because, frankly, they’ll take every single little incident … and they’ll make [it] into an event.” In his interview with the Times, Trump claimed that low black turnout showed how popular he was: “A lot of people didn’t show up, because the African-American community liked me.” The vanity of this man is bottomless.

11. He feels the pain of his allies, not the pain of people different from him. Trump sees no need to reassure the ethnic or religious communities he targeted in the campaign. On Nov. 10, when he visited the U.S. Capitol, a reporter called out, “Are you going to ask Congress to ban Muslims from entering the country?” Trump heard the question, replied, “Thank you, everybody,” and walked away. The next day, in his interview with 60 Minutes, he belittled reports of racial slurs from his supporters, calling them “a very small amount.” When a Times staffer asked him about a conference of Trump sympathizers who had “pledged their allegiance to Nazism,” Trump expressed surprise that reporters were still pestering him about such things. “Boy, you are really into this stuff,” he said. He uttered four words of intransitive boilerplate—“I disavow and condemn”—and moved on.

But when people who feel threatened by Trump challenge his friends, he rushes to defend his friends. On Nov. 18, Vice President–elect Mike Pence went to see Hamilton. After the show, the cast delivered a short speech to Pence on behalf of “the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us.” The message concluded: “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” Trump responded by attacking the cast on Twitter, charging that they had “harassed” Pence and violated the theater as “a safe and special place.”[...]

12. He’s easily manipulated. Having a fragile, approval-craving narcissist as president isn’t the end of the world. It just means that to get him to do the right thing, you have to pet him. In Trump’s post-election exchanges, we have several useful models. The first is Obama, who gave Trump a tongue bath in their 90-minute meeting on Nov. 10 and may have saved his signature legislative achievement in the process. Three days after that meeting, Trump told the Journal he was reconsidering his pledge to abolish Obama’s health insurance program: “Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced.”

The second model is Times columnist Tom Friedman. In the group session at Times headquarters on Nov. 22, Friedman worked Trump like a horndog in a bar, trying to get him into bed on climate change. “You own some of the most beautiful links golf courses in the world,” Friedman told Trump. “I’d hate to see Royal Aberdeen underwater,” the columnist added. When Trump ragged on windmills, Friedman whispered sweet nothings: “General Electric has a big wind turbine factory in South Carolina.” Trump, eager for approval, told the Times staffers about his “many environmental awards” and bragged, “I’m actually an environmentalist.” By the end of the session, Friedman had Trump eating out of his hand.

The third model is a story Trump told about his threat to narrow the First Amendment. During the primaries, Trump had pledged to “open up our libel laws so when [journalists] write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” But in his meeting with the Times, Trump said someone had later warned him, “It’s a great idea, softening up those laws, but you may get sued a lot more.” “You’re right, I never thought about that,” Trump recalled telling this person. And that reflection led Trump to assure the Times that on the question of libel laws, “You’re going to be fine.”

The fourth model is Jim Mattis, the retired general who met with Trump on Nov. 19 to be considered for secretary of defense. Trump asked Mattis about waterboarding, which Trump supported. “I’ve never found it to be useful,” said Mattis, according to Trump’s account of their conversation. “Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, and I do better with that than I do with torture,” the general told him. Trump told the Times that he was “very impressed by that answer,” especially because it came from “the toughest guy.” Waterboarding, Trump concluded, was “not going to make the kind of a difference that maybe a lot of people think.”

That’s how you move Trump. You don’t talk about ethics. You play the toughness card. You appeal to the art of the deal. You make him feel smart, powerful, and loved. You don’t forget how unmoored and volatile he is, but you set aside your fear and your anger. You thank God that you’re dealing with a narcissist, not a cold-blooded killer. And until you can get him safely out of the White House, you work with what you have. People in other countries have dealt with presidents like Trump for a long time. Can we handle it? Yes, we can.

Diaspora pedophiles increasingly use Israel as ‘a haven,’ activists charge


The text message came in Hebrew and English. “A warning to the citizens of Israel: JCW [Jewish Community Watch, an organization that monitors child sex abuse] has received credible information that [redacted] has plans to return to Israel in early November, with intentions of moving to the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem. The authorities in Israel have been notified, as well as local community leaders.”

The text message, sent to thousands of people on the JCW update list, raced through Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood. According to New York’s sex offender registry, the person in question is a Level 2 sex offender, at moderate risk of reoffending. The message continued with more background and allegations against the immigrant offender.

“In 2007, [redacted] had escaped to Israel through Canada in an effort to evade arrest from the police in New York. He was formally charged in absentia with 8 counts of deviate sexual intercourse with two 13-year-old minors on the same day his aliyah status was approved. Months later [redacted] was extradited back to NY where he was convicted in 2009 and served time until his release in February 2012. Currently [redacted] still holds Israeli citizenship under the alias [redacted].”

According to Shana Aronson, the Israel operations coordinator for Jewish Community Watch, the text message is a public service.

“People have a right, after they serve their time, to live their life,” said Aronson. “But the community has a right to know who they are. They shouldn’t be vilified any more than is necessary to protect the community. But nothing is more devastating than a repeat offender. It’s infuriating. It could have been prevented.”

One of the country’s founding pieces of legislation, the Law of Return allows any Diaspora Jew to receive citizenship in Israel. But child rights activists contend there is a dark loophole to the law which allows Jewish pedophiles to effectively flee court-mandated supervision in their home countries and move to Israel with a clean slate.

In a grassroots effort to deal with the problem, activists and concerned parents are starting to raise awareness on social media, issuing “warnings” via text message, Twitter, and Facebook to parents in neighborhoods where convicted or alleged pedophiles are moving. But their unregulated efforts are also drawing a backlash.

On November 24, the Jerusalem District Court held the first procedural hearing in a case from convicted pedophile Yona Weinberg, who is suing child rights activist Yakov Horowitz. Horowitz tweeted out a warning to parents in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood after Weinberg moved there.

In his suit, Weinberg, from Brooklyn, New York, accuses Horowitz of slander and libel for encouraging parents to treat him like “a terrorist with a machete.”

However, child abuse activists say that especially in the case of Israel, these social media warnings are warranted.

“There’s a danger that Israel is becoming a safe haven for pedophiles and alleged perpetrators,” said Manny Waks, a survivor of child abuse and the founder of Kol V’Oz, an advocacy group addressing child sex abuse in the global Jewish community. “Of course, any criminal can flee to another country, but it’s about getting the visa to remain there. Because Israel welcomes all Jews, they’re protected from that perspective,” he said

A registered sex offender under supervision in their home country will not have that supervision transferred to Israel when they receive citizenship. A convicted criminal can make aliyah if the Interior Ministry approves their application, especially if the person has already served their sentence or the crime was a misdemeanor.

Jewish Community Watch says that 32 pedophiles in their database have moved from countries around the world to Israel in the past decade. By contrast, during the same period it has tracked just 12 Jewish pedophiles that have moved abroad from their homelands to countries other than Israel.

When sex offenders move to other countries, there is no international procedure in place for how to monitor or supervise them in their new country. However, international visa requirements make it difficult for nonresidents to live long-term in a new country. Israel is a particularly attractive destination for sex offenders, because the Law of Return allows all Jews to receive citizenship in a very short period of time.

In another, related issue, alleged pedophiles — suspected but not formally charged with any crime — sometimes flee to Israel before authorities get involved. In close-knit Jewish communities, especially among the ultra-Orthodox, a distrust of authorities and tradition of keeping problems “within the community” means that allegations of abuse can arise well before victims notify law enforcement. This gives the purported pedophiles ample time to flee to Israel and apply for aliyah.

If there are no ongoing legal cases against them at the time of their application, they are approved for citizenship in Israel. Even if the authorities in their home countries do move to press charges after the aliyah process is completed, Israel is often reluctant to extradite citizens, meaning the perpetrator can continue to live in Israel and move about freely.[...]

Approval for a convicted criminal to make aliyah, i.e, immigrate to Israel, would depend on “the nature of the crime, when it was committed, and what has transpired in the interim,” said Jewish Agency spokesperson Avi Mayer.

In 1954, the Law of Return was adapted to exclude “a person with a criminal past, likely to endanger public welfare.” Mayer said that only the Interior Ministry determines what kind of criminals are considered to “endanger public welfare.”

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad said any aliyah application coming from someone who was convicted of a crime goes to a special committee within the Interior Ministry, though the final say for rejecting an applicant rests with the interior minister. Hadad refused to comment on what kind of crimes render a person inadmissible for aliyah.

Even if the Interior Ministry is aware that a convicted sex criminal is under supervision in their home country, only an order from the Israeli courts can place a convicted criminal under supervision in Israel, explained Prison Services spokesman Assaf Librati. Israeli courts are unlikely to hear a case if the crime happened in another country, he added. The Prison Services monitors pedophiles convicted in Israel.

But Librati added that sex criminals are unlike other types of criminals, a position echoed by many activists. “If someone robbed a bank and served their time, they don’t need continued supervision,” he said. “But if someone abused children, they will need ongoing supervision, even if they already served their time.”

Librati called the Prison Services’s inability to monitor these pedophiles a “hole” in the law that allows convicted sex offenders to roam freely in Israel.

Just 19 countries around the world have a national sex offender registry, according to the US Department of Justice (PDF). Of those, the US is one of the few countries that makes their registry public, a situation which has its supporters and detractors. The US national registry is easily searchable on the National Sex Offender Public Website or the new mobile app. Israel has a private national sex offender registry, which only Israeli police and prison services can access.

In Israel, people who want to work in schools and with children are often asked to provide a teudat yosher from the police, which states that the person is a citizen of good standing who does not pose a risk to children’s welfare.

But because the list only relates convictions in Israel, someone who was convicted of sex crimes in another country could obtain this document in Israel, clearing them to work with children.

Jewish Community Watch is controversial in the child rights field because it publishes an online “Wall of Shame” with photos and information about accused child molesters, sometimes even before authorities convict or even arrest the alleged perpetrators. This raises concerns about vigilante justice and false accusations, though Aronson insists the organization’s internal vetting process before putting someone on the Wall of Shame is rigorous. Other organizations are more cautious, only naming perpetrators who have been indicted or convicted.

Aronson said that while the Israel branch of Jewish Community Watch does not take part in the Wall of Shame, the organization considers it an important tool when law enforcement does not adequately address abuse. It sends out updates via text message about once a month of Jewish pedophiles in its database who are getting out of prison or moving to a new community, either within the same country or abroad.[...]

Horowitz said he will be at the trial, which has already set him back more than $5,000. “Not only is there no sex offender registry, you can get sued and have to hire a lawyer and go to court just to warn parents,” he said. “No way that I’m allowing a sex offender to silence people who warn parents about sex offenders.”

“My client isn’t denying that he was convicted in New York years ago,” said Weinberg’s lawyer, Eytan Lehman.

Lehman noted that it is legal to publish information about the conviction. “[Horowitz] claims that Mr. Weinberg fled from the States, running from a federal investigation, and this is a complete lie, and when you write lies you will be sued for libel,” he said. Lehman said that there is no open police investigation into his client.[...]