Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Obligation To Work

From: The Jewish Press

The Obligation To Work
By: Chananya Weissman
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

We live in a world where no truth can be taken for granted. It is difficult for me to imagine that the premise of this article would even need to be discussed in any prior generation, let alone bear the status of an "underdog" opinion. Nevertheless, the notion that it is an obligation for Jewish males to support themselves and those dependent on them has become so unpopular that in many circles those who work for a living are looked down upon as Jews who somehow do not have a proper fear of heaven.

In the absence of prophets, Hashem speaks to us in two ways: through His Torah and through His handiwork. Indeed, the very nature of the world that Hashem created reflects the necessity for Man to work. If it were true that the ideal lifestyle is to completely immerse oneself in Torah study, then a critical mass of people attaining this ideal lifestyle would spell the death of the human race.

It is inconceivable that the ideal state of existence in this world would be one that could not sustain itself without nature-defying miracles. (This is one of the great refutations of the Christian sects that promote celibacy as the holiest lifestyle.) Consequently, the nature of Hashem’s handiwork dictates the necessity to work as a component of the ideal and intended lifestyle.

The physical frailty of human beings also indicates that Hashem intended for Man to work. Had Man been created in such a way that he did not require constant expenditures on physical needs, the average person would have little interest in working – and the world would grind to a halt. It is only because of our physical needs and interdependence on one another for survival that society functions and can progress.

Although Hashem indeed made it necessary for people to work in order to survive, the reasons to work do not end at survival. After all, the need for survival is merely the mechanism by which Hashem compels people to work. But there is a deeper purpose to working that transcends one’s selfish needs: contributing to yishuv ha’olam, the needs and development of society.

When viewed in this light, whether one is a world-class surgeon or a truck driver, he fulfills the will of Hashem through his worldly labor. The world needs a healthy supply of manpower and talent in all occupations, and the Jewish people should be amply represented – should, in fact, serve as role models for others.

Of course, Hashem expects one to properly balance his physical pursuits with spiritual pursuits. The proper balance will vary from person to person, but it is not a mainstream Jewish lifestyle to be engaged exclusively in the physical or the spiritual, nor is involvement in the physical world to be denigrated as less than ideal. It is in the physical realm that one’s achievements in the spiritual realm are brought to life and have the greatest impact on civilization.

While there is certainly no shortage of Torah sources that admonish us not to place primary importance on the physical world, which is temporary, there is also a wealth of Torah sources that emphasize the importance of working and supporting oneself.

In Parshas Noach the dove returned to the ark with an olive branch to indicate that it is prefer- able to subsist on a bitter sustenance that nevertheless comes directly from Hashem (through one’s own work being blessed) than to subsist on handouts (Sanhedrin 108B). The Maharsha notes that we in fact pray for this regularly in Birkas Hamazon: "Please, Hashem our God, don’t cause us to be dependent on the gifts of people nor even their loans, but on Your full, open hand…in order that we not be humiliated."

Indeed, subsisting on charity is consistently portrayed in Torah literature as the harshest of fates. "A poor man is considered like a dead man" (Nedarim 64B). "Make your Shabbos profane (by not honoring the day with special food) rather than make yourself dependent on others" (Shabbos 118A).

Our parents and grandparents understood and appreciated the degradation of accepting a handout, let alone asking for one. Many of them scraped by week after week, yet continued to work all kinds of unglamorous jobs with pride and determination to support themselves and their families. Accept charity? Over their dead bodies, they would have snapped.

Nowadays, it has become fashionable to snub supporting oneself as being beneath a true Torah Jew, and prominent rabbis regularly endorse charitable "causes" that our ancestors would have treated with a wary eye. Their determination, work ethic, pride, and keen sense of priorities are largely absent in our generation. The ideal is now portrayed as someone who is "completely immersed" in Torah study to the exclusion of all worldly interest and involvement.

In Torah literature, however, supporting oneself through the labor of one’s hands, is portrayed as the ideal. Working for a living – and working as a contribution to society and personal development – is consistently spoken of in the highest of terms. In fact, an entire chapter of Pirkei Avos D’Rabbi Nasan, chapter 22, has been dedicated just to drive home this point, filled with statements by many of the most prominent authors of the Mishna. A selection:

Shemaya said, "One is obligated to love work and to engage in work."

Rabbi Eliezer said, "Work is great, for just as the Jews were commanded regarding Shabbos, so were they commanded regarding work, as it says ‘Six days you shall work and do all of your work.’ "

Rebbe said, "Work is great, for people speak negatively about all those who don’t work. From where does he eat? From where does he drink?"

Rebbe further said, "Work is great, for those who are engaged in work always have some money on hand."

Rabbi Yosi said, "Work is great, for anyone who is not engaged in work is responsible for his own death. How so? Through idleness he will run out of money for food and may come to misappropriate money belonging to hekdesh."

Rabbi Eliezer said, "Work is great, for one who benefits the value of even one peruta from hekdesh is a transgressor, yet laborers in the Bais Hamikdash receive their wages from hekdesh."

Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said, "Work is great, for every tradesman takes pride in his trade. He goes out with his uniform or instrument and takes pride in his trade. Even Hashem called attention to His own work…"

They further said, "Work is great, for even if one has a dilapidated courtyard or garden, he should go and involve himself with them so that he should be involved in work."
These sources sing the praises of working, as a source of livelihood, as a source of personal gratification, as a protection from sin brought about by self-imposed poverty, and, without question, as a mandate from Hashem. And they are referring to skilled labor or physical labor, not Torah study. Torah study is a companion to work, not a substitute.

The Pnei Yehoshua notes an apparent contradiction between a comment of Rashi in Bava Kama 100A and another in Bava Metzia 30B. In one place Rashi interprets "the house of one’s life" as the study of Torah, whereas in the other place he interprets it as learning a trade through which to support oneself.

The Pnei Yehoshua explains that these are two sides of the same coin. Moshe was informing the Jews that with their study of Torah they should not neglect to acquire a trade. This is in line with the teaching in Pirkei Avos (2:2) that Torah that is not accompanied by "the way of the land" (meaning working) is destined to fail. Acquiring a trade is the primary "life" of Torah study.

The Medrash Rabba comments on Koheles 9:9 that the pious of Jerusalem earned that distinction by working in the winter and learning Torah in the summer. (This is quoted by the Ran in Brachos 9B.) Others have it that they divided their days into thirds, one part each for prayer, Torah study, and working.

In the Rambam’s hierarchy of charity, the highest level is making the poor person self-reliant so that he no longer needs charity. Suggestions include offering him a job, teaching him a trade, or giving him a free loan to further a business enterprise.

My father once offered a job to a young man who was shnorring money during morning prayers. (He was one of those professional, enterprising shnorrers who come from out of town in vans full of shnorrers to collect in various shuls. I sometimes wonder how one gets one of these limited spots in what is surely a competitive new industry.) The young man scoffed at my father’s offer, claiming he makes more money collecting – this from someone with no education and no discernable skills.

In our day, subsisting indefinitely on charity is not a last option that is painfully resorted to, but a business decision – if not a dream for those fortunate enough to merit it. What would the Rambam say?

There is a mitzvah to help someone load his animal with merchandise that has fallen off. The Torah qualifies this mitzvah by applying it only to situations in which the owner of the animal participates in loading the animal (assuming he is physically able to do so). However, if the owner crosses his legs, sips some lemonade, and tells you to do a mitzvah and work on his behalf, there is no obligation to help him. One who performs work for this person, who expects others to do more for him than he is prepared to do for himself, is known in the vernacular as a sucker.

It is true that there is a tradition of wealthy businessmen making private arrangements to support outstanding Torah scholars in exchange for a share in the mitzvah. There is no precedent, however, for the welfare communities and the widespread intentional impoverishment that we are witnessing today. This brings neither glory to the Torah nor Torah scholarship to the Jewish people.

While Chazal emphasize maximizing one’s time to learn and encourage certain individuals to make a career of learning and teaching, this never was – nor was it ever meant to be – popularized for the masses. And Chazal themselvesemulated their model of working to support oneself and one’s family.

The great luminary Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch summed it up best:
But as help and support for necessitous poverty is ensured under the regime of Jewish Torah law, Zedaka does not shame the recipient who requires it. Yea in the spirit of this law, one who is unable to work, or is out of employment, or, out of misplaced pride, goes short himself, or makes his family go short in the necessities of life rather than to resort to Zedaka to which he is entitled is taking a grave responsibility on himself – it is as though he is spilling blood (Yerushalmi at the end of Pe’ah).

But just this law lays very great value on retaining self-independence, on restricting oneself to the bare necessities of life, on taking on what in the eyes of the thoughtless world is looked down on as the very lowest work to avoid having to recourse to charity. Nowhere in the world is honest work to gain an independent living held in such high esteem and honor as was the case in ancient Jewish circles.

Our greatest spiritual heroes, whose light still illuminates us, and to whom their age and all ages looked up to, and still look up to full of respect and honor, a Hillel, a Rebbi Yehoshua, a R. Chanina and R. Auchio, a R. Huna all lived in the most straightened circumstances and earned their living as a woodchopper, cobbler, porter, drawer of water, and by their example taught the maxim, "live no better on Sabbath than on the rest of the week and be independent"; "skin carcasses in the open market and get paid, and do not say ‘I am a priest, am a learned man, such work is beneath me.’ "

At the end of Pea, the Mishna says: "He who does not really require Zedaka and still takes it, will not be allowed to leave this world without having to resort to charity out of dire necessity. But he who really could be entitled to take charity but manages to live without doing so will not leave this world in his old age without having supported others out of his own fortune." (Hirsch Commentary on the Torah, Judaica Press edition, Devarim page 275).
These powerful words are a stinging rebuke to our generation. If the comprehensive words of our Sages are not enough to cause us to rethink the proper balancing of our priorities, an increasingly grim reality eventually will.

If the many thousands of able-bodied Jewish men who decline to contribute to the economy decided to support themselves while still devoting themselves to Torah study, countless millions of tzedakah dollars would become available – perhaps even to the extent that providing a solid Jewish education to all of our children could become readily affordable. Is this not a more appropriate use of our resources? Would this not build a better foundation for the future?

We can dismiss the exhortations of Chazal and rationalize the status quo, or we can make important changes before change is thrust upon us against our will. The choice is ours.

Rabbi Chananya Weissman is the founder of EndTheMadness ( His collection of original divrei Torah, "Sefer Keser Chananya," can be obtained by contacting him at

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Israel Baseball League Game Time: 6:13PM

They really do have the games scheduled to start at 6:13PM... says so right on the offical website. Watch the movie below then click here for more info including how baseball is found in the Bible...

If you can't view the video click here

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Progress on the Jerusalem Light Rail System (Photos)

Crossposted on Kumah.

Construction is taking place all over Jerusalem for the new light rail system that is promising us swift transportation all around town. Already much of the route is being used for busses and taxis and soon enough the trains will be joining them. Here are some pictures of the progress so far. I took these yesterday and today on Hertzl Boulevard.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Liberal College

Well Brandis found millions of more "Jews" in America. Maybe they could use the same faulty logic to find they aren't losing millions of dollars but gaining millions of dollars?

If it's a half dollar... No, better! Even if it's a quarter of a dollar we'll call it a dollar..." Reports:

Brandeis Losing Millions after Hosting Carter

Brandeis University has lost large donors following its hosting former President Jimmy Carter, whose book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid has caused a storm of protest. One student on the faculty-student committee said he was told the appearance cost the prestigious university $5 million.

"These were not people who send $5 to the university. These were major donors, and major potential donors," Brandeis professor Jonathan Sarna told the New York Jewish Week.

Carter's visit also cost the university $95,000 for logistics and security.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Only In Israel #8: A Tale of Three Cities

I have the esteemed privilege to be able to spend Shabbat all over this wonderful land that Hashem gave us as a gift along with his Torah. The past three weeks I spent Shabbat in Beit-El, Bnei Brak, and Ramat Beit Shemesh, respectively. And while all three places certainly have their differences I find they have some wonderful things in common.

For example in all three neighborhoods one would be very hard pressed to find a car on Shabbat. In all three one will find the streets full with many children playing and enjoying Shabbat. They are the future of the Jewish people! Can anything be more exhilarating?

In all three one will experience Shabbat on a higher more intense level than is possible in many other places on earth. Sure I could think of a handful of other places, (Tzfat springs to mind, and I've always been impartial to the Old City of Jerusalem) but nearly all of them are in Eretz Yisrael.

So attention Brooklyn Jews: when the siren goes off in Boro Park (and now Flatbush) in a futile attempt to build a "mini-Jerusalem" and "recreate" the atmosphere of the real Jerusalem, just remember you can't beat the real thing! So why risk upsetting the goyim (and make no mistake. They do get annoyed hearing the siren each week) when you are guests in their kind country when instead you can simply come home and play Jewish music over the loudspeakers for a half hour on Erev Shabbos because it's our home and we make the rules!

Take the Kumah challenge: Visit Eretz Yisrael and spend Shabbat on any Yishuv or any of the places I mentioned and you'll experience what Shabbat is really all about!

It's a little secret which we shouldn't keep to ourselves but everyone here knows that the Jews of Chu"L simply have no idea what they are missing. I thank Hashem every day that I am somehow worthy of experiencing Shabbat in Eretz Yisrael every week!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rav Kook ZT"L and Dating In Israel

Crossposted on Kumah.

These are the laws that you must set before [the Israelites] (Exodus 21:1)

This week's parsha contains many laws which Hashem gives Moshe on Sinai. As is well known some of these laws are better kept by our generation than others. Included among these well kept laws are the Halachot of dating.

Oh, where to begin! For the sake of sanity I will focus on one small law bearing in mind it is just a teaspoon in an ocean's worth of lunacy.

Did you know it is forbidden for a woman to date a guy that has a different kind of kippa from the kippa community she was born into? The reason for this is explained in a famous medrash.

G-d tells Moshe:
Moshe, I am not giving the Torah to one Jewish nation, but to many, many, small nations of different kinds of Jewish people - and under no circumstances are any two Jews from different "factions" ever to date one another or heaven forefend to marry each other - this is strictly forbidden!

At this point Moshe speaks up:
But Master of The World, surely there are some other factors that people could use when dating is concerned, like common interests, commitment to Torah, goals in life, that sort of thing?

Moshe, Moshe, answer me this: What will their friends think if they marry someone who is a different kind of Jew?

They will think that all of the Jewish people are part of the same nation!
was Moshe's reply.

Indeed! So now do you understand why we can't allow that to happen?

So baroch Hashem I find myself relieved and inspired in my quest for my bashert. Relieved that our generation has not faltered in keeping the kippa communities divided and inspired by the many examples I have personally witnessed time after time.

Now blogging about my past dates is not something I (nor I imagine any guy would) look forward to doing. But I'll swallow this bitter pill if it helps address this issue even a tiny bit.

So there we are sitting in the Coffee Shop on Emek. This was a young lady that had only dated in hotel lobbies as per another important dating halacha. The only reason she agreed to come to Emek Rafaim is because she never heard of it. See, first I suggested meeting in a cafe in the center of town but she declined since that would violate another dating halacha: she might be seen on the date! Perhaps it was do to my cynical attitude toward this halacha, but I then suggested if the center of town was too busy how about Emek Refaim? To my surprise she had never heard of it and graciously accepted.

Still I find it truly ironic (if that's the word to use, perhaps pathetic is better suited) that a religious Jew in New York City will eagerly go into a Starbucks and pick up a grande latte because, after all, "all coffees are kosher" but not order coffee in the Hillel Cafe or Coffee Shop because... well, the hashgacha is only rabbanut! What will people think?

So no, she didn't order the coffee. She ordered a Coke and looked upset when they brought her a glass with a lemon in it. She promptly removed the lemon. It was at this point that I realized she was probably not delighted about me failing to show up in a suit, tie and black hat. My blue shirt labeled me an outcast to her community.

Ahh, worried about trumos and masser? I asked. That's why you took out the lemon?

She nodded.

The date itself actually went incredibly well but after asking her out again via the shaddchin, (I couldn't ask her directly as that would violate another dating halacha!) the reply was (and I've heard this before) "she needs someone more Israeli-Charadi." In other words someone that would wear only white shirts and only date in hotel lobbies and only for an hour at a time. I broke too many rules. What would her friends think?

Then there was another fine woman I had the privilege to date. I was thoroughly impressed the moment I met her. She was enthusiastic about Israel and Aliyah like myself. She was passionate about Rav Kook. It was at this point that I realized perhaps I sinned by showing up in a suit and hat? And perhaps I sinned even greater by taking her to a hotel lobby? Regardless the date went remarkably well. The discussions were very intense. We enjoyed loads of common interests, and shared views on everything we discussed from the most mundane topics to the section of gemarah she was learning.

Rav Kook ZT"L came up several times. I shared a story I read online. I quote it here already in progress:
...Suddenly a small group of hotheaded [Jewish] extremists fell up the rabbi, showering him with waste water. The Chief Rabbi was completely drenched by the filthy water. Emotions soared and tempers flared.

By the time Rav Kook had arrived home, news of the attack had spread throughout the city. Prominent citizens arrived to express their repugnance at the shameful incident. One of the visitors was the legal counsel of British Mandate. He advised Rav Kook to press charges against the hooligans, and promised that they would be promptly deported from the country.

The legal counsel, however, was astounded by Rav Kook's response. "I have no interest in court cases. Despite what they did to me, I love them. I am ready to kiss them, so great is my love! I burn with love for every Jew."

Such was Rav Kook's attitude, shortly after the humiliating act.

And so when the time came and I asked her out again (in this case without going via the Shaddchin since I knew she wasn't machmir with that halacha) she said that she thought about it a lot "and was really impressed, and really enjoyed our discussions, but you are just not the way I pictured my husband."

Oh, I understand. You pictured your husband wearing a kippa sruga, possible sporting a beard, wearing an untucked button down shirt, jeans, and sandals. In other words, someone from your 'clan.' I understand.

I understand. What would your friends think if you married a guy who honored Shabbos (yes, not 'Shabbat') by wearing a black hat? They would think you went off the deep end! I understand.

I understand. What would Rav Kook think?

Rav Kook would be proud.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

How to Get Through Medical School with Pinky and The Brain

Thursday, February 08, 2007

New Study: 7.4 Million U.S. "Jews" (Yes, I Used Quotes)

Cross posted at

When a study claims there are 7.4 million Jews in America Neo-Zionists get scared. Why? Simple. Because previous studies have suggested two conclusions:

1. Only Orthodox Judaism is growing. All other factions are either intermarrying into oblivion or identifying less and less with the Jewish people and

2. Overall the Jewish population in America is shrinking and has no future. (Remember Zeev Bielski and A.B. Yehoshua?)

Other studies have suggested that due to many factors the Jewish population in Israel is growing. This would mean in a few years the majority of those who are halachiclly considered Jewish will reside inside Israel and therefore many halachot will become Torah obligations, not just Rabbinic ones, and that the ingathering of the exiles can be considered complete.

Yet a study just came out that makes this remarkable "7.4 million Jews" claim. Here's how the NY Post reports it:


February 8, 2007 -- America's Jewish population is far larger than previous estimates, a new survey shows.

There are as many as 7.4 million Jews in the United States, researchers at Brandeis University said yesterday.

They said the last authoritative survey was taken in 2000-01 and erroneously put the figure then at 5.2 million Jews. It counted practicing Jews; people who said they had no religion but thought of themselves ethnically as Jewish; and anyone with even one Jewish parent.

The Brandeis survey used the same categories and came up with 6 million to 6.4 million, a figure higher than would be expected by normal birth rate. But the researchers said their figure could shoot up to between 7 million and 7.4 million by adding an additional 1 million people who "might be considered Jewish" based on their backgrounds as kids of intermarried parents.

The Brandeis researchers said the earlier survey grossly undercounted non-Orthodox families, did not include "substantial numbers of young and middle-aged individuals" and was wrong to say the Jewish-American population had been in a state of decline since 1990.

"Our analyses tell us that the Jewish community is larger and more diverse than most had thought," said Brandeis Professor Len Saxe.

On the surface this new study seems to declare that:
1. Non-Orthodox Jews are doing great too, and
2. Orthodox Jews are overrated, and
3. The Jewish population in America is growing!

For those of us that follow halacha however this study does not disprove the previous conclusions, (that the ingathering of the exiles will soon be halachically complete) and may even strengthen them.

First let's get something out of the way. What is a Jew according to this study?

The same thing that was a Jew according to the NJPS.

And I quote from that study:

"For purposes of this report, a Jew is defined as a person:
-Whose religion is Jewish, OR
-Whose religion is Jewish and something else, OR
-Who has no religion and has at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing, OR
-Who has a non-monotheistic religion, and has at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing."(page 13)

The halachic definition of a Jew is one whose mother is Jewish or one who halachically converted.

The study (which you could download and read for yourself here) relies heavily on unproven assumptions. Previous studies, they claim, underestimated non-Orthodox Jews because they must be harder to reach. That's solid logic if I ever heard it. Got a lower representation than you wanted? Just say, "oh, well, obviously there are more. We just can't reach them."

Look forward to this headline: "Pinchas proves extraterrestrial life exists." See I did a study. I called beings and asked them if they are extraterrestrial life forms but since AT&T doesn't provide long distance service to other planets they are a bit harder to reach. Not wanting to underestimate them I included them in my results.

Here's how they concocted this argument. Are you ready for this?

1. "Families with several school age children, typical of many Orthodox families, have more people available to answer the telephone and may be more likely to be at home. This makes them easier to reach." (page 19)

2. "This fits with our earlier conclusion that non-Orthodox Jews may be more difficult to reach than non-Jews (particularly for telephone surveys) because of their socio-economic distinctiveness." (page 29)

Okay, okay. I know. Purim came early this year! Now after you've stopped laughing and caught your breath it gets better. These researchers are clearly disconnected from the Orthodox Jewish reality, namely that we have a life too and don't sit at home all day waiting by the phone for that survey researcher to call us.

The researchers claim that prior studies "systematically undercounted certain groups..." Namley, "...young adults (18-29 year olds). Young adults are particularly difficult for telephone surveys to reach. An increasingly serious research problem is that these individuals are the most likely to use cellular telephones as their exclusive personal telephone." (page 20)

And we all know that non-Orthodox 18-29 year old Jews use cell phones far more than their Orthodox counterparts. After all, we Orthodox Jews all have black beards and live in Lanchester, Pennsylvania and build barns and plant corn.

What this study shows is that all new studies will begin including more and more people as Jews when they are halachiclly not Jewish at all. And that in fact the halachiclly Jewish percentage of these results will continue to shrink.

Consider this:

"There is increasing evidence, for example, that more intermarried families are choosing to raise children Jewishly. If that trend continues, it portends an increase in the Jewish population." (page 31).

To me it portends an increase in the non-halachic "Jewish" population.

The paper concludes:

"Acknowledging the controversial nature of the present findings, we hope that this report will provoke productive discourse. The larger, more diverse, character of the population suggests that debate about the future of the Jewish community in America needs to encompass multiple viewpoints that address the concerns of the different groups making up the overall community. It suggests, as well, a broadened set of discussions with other Jewish communities around the world, in particular, Israel." (page 34)

In English: Israel should become (or remain) less connected to G-d because so many American "Jews" are.

"Just as Jewish identity is regarded as fluid, and may change in intensity over the lifespan, the character of the population, too, may shift as norms about marriage, child-rearing and religious practice evolve." (ibid.)

In English: Israel should accept, if not encourage, intermarriage, having less kids, and not believing in G-d.

They are the ones that are scared. They need to keep telling themselves it's safe to be a non-religious Jew in America today. They keep telling themselves their future is bright. They should know better. They do know better.

Neo-Zionism is winning. Torah Judaism is winning.

Keep the Torah! Make Aliyah!


Okay. Timeout is over. One of my major projects was redesigning, rebuilding and relaunching B"H that's done and it's doing great. So now I'll try to get back to blogging both here and there... This below I posted there today.

Capitalism: Good for the Jews

Yes, like Yechiel and Alex I too watched the Superbowl. And I must say during it, E-Trade aired an absolutely brilliant ad about Bank Leumi. Okay, they didn't say it was Bank Leumi but we all know that's where the thirty second spot took place - or perhaps it was at some other bank in Israel.

"On one leg," the gist of the ad (which you could view here or above) is people get robbed by their own bank in broad daylight. And that's exactly what has been going on in Israel for too long! It's like this: you could either put your money in a checking account and watch it melt, or put it in a savings account and watch it freeze.

Put it in a checking account and watch all the creative fees the banks come up with, essentially excuses not to give you your hard earned money back! Whoever heard of having to pay a bank for the privilege of withdrawing money from the ATM of the very bank and even of the very branch your account is held in?

And if you put it in a savings account, as any Israeli banker will tell you, "to offset the fees," you can kiss that money goodbye for at least 18 months, and if you are lucky with the minimal interest you earn you might just actually offset those checking account fees - maybe... Hey, it could happen.

Ahh yes, Neo-Zionism. It's not just ranting about what's wrong with the country but proposing real working solutions for improving the future of our Jewish State.

Probably the single greatest accomplishment of Bibi Netanyahu was appointing Stanley Fischer as head of the Bank of Israel. Last week the Bank Governor made headlines yet again: "Bank of Israel looks to decrease fees" declared the Jerusalem Post. "Association of Banks director: The fees issue does not justify legislative intervention," elaborated Globes.

Short term thinking has dominated, nay, plagued this State for way too long. Arutz-7 reported that several weeks ago "major banks announced they would raise fees up to 100 percent in a move that would net them additional profits amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars." But this bank-get-rich-quick-scheme ultimately would harm our economy. Not only that but according to Fischer the current fees are already harming the socialist inclined country.

"In Western countries that exhibit high levels of banking competition, a simple fee system is the norm - one that doesn't entail excessive numbers of charges and often allows clients to avoid charges on ordinary checking accounts," the Bank of Israel said.

The former Citigroup International President knows that while the Socialist model of "give me more money today" might work well to jump start a nation, one that has matured and desires long term growth needs healthy western capitalistic thinking that encourages free market competition and customer service while we're at it.

If Fischer gets his way, and it looks like he just might, you can expect your bank to finally start treating you like a mensch. And you know what? If my bank starts showing me some respect I might just show them respect back and lend them more of my money. And maybe - just maybe - they will actually get more customers and ultimately make more money this way. Everyone will have more money to spend and the economy will flourish. It's called long term thinking.

Am Yisrael Chai! Capitalism Chai!