"Where does it say that you have a contract with G-d to have an easy life?"

the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"Failure is not the enemy of success; it is its prerequisite."

Rabbi Nosson Scherman

1 Oct 2014

The seconds of our lives

I caught the video below (in Hebrew) at ladaat.info where a man explains how he doesn't go a day without learning Gemara. He speaks about coming home after a full day's work and learning in his spare moments, including when he travels to and from work, to weddings and on airplanes. When he sees people on airplanes, sitting and dreaming, while they can be utilizing their time to learn from a sefer, he considers it "bitul torah" and it is painful for him to witness.
Incidentally, approximately a month ago, I was on a 4 hour plane flight and I witnessed something I had never seen before. A father and a son sat in the seats opposite the aisle from me and they began to learn non-stop from the beginning of the flight till the end. It was incredible to see such dedication and concentration.

Yesterday I posted about the repentance of Rabbi Eliezer ben Dordia.

Hearing that nothing in the universe was prepared to intervene on his behalf, Rabbi Eliezer Ben Dordia proclaimed, "This matter is dependent upon me alone," as he placed his head between his knees and wept until his very soul departed. So great was this repentance that a Heavenly voice emerged and extolled, "Rabbi Eliezer Ben Dordia is destined for the life of the World to Come." This drama provoked Rebbe (Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi) to weep and intone, "Some may acquire eternal life after many years and others after only one hour."

...Rebbe, witnessing the transformation of Rabbi Eliezer Ben Dordia and the acceptance of his repentance, began to cry: "One may acquire his world in one moment." What infinite treasure lies within each and every second of our lives if we are given the capability of transforming ourselves in any one moment! "Imagine what we could make of ourselves," Rebbe thought, "if we truly took advantage of all of the moments of our lives, crafted by our Creator."

On the last Yom Kippur of his life, the Gaon, Rav Yehudah Leib Chasman, z’tl, the mashgiach of Yeshivas Chevron, returned to his house after neilah, due to his weakness from the fast.  A minyan of bochurim accompanied him.  Rav Chasman’s face was shining was happiness that he was zocheh to complete the fast.  As the bochurim sat down to await the time to daven Maariv, Rav Chasman told over an insight from Yonah.    

Rav Chasman said, “Yona Hanavi told the men on the ship to ‘lift me and throw me into the sea.’  The words ‘lift me’ seems to be extra.  What was Yona adding with these words?  Wouldn’t it have been enough if he said only, ‘Throw me into the sea’?

“The answer is that Yona was requesting that they delay throwing him into the sea as much as possible – even for a split second.  Because there is nothing more valuable in the world than the life of a human being.  Even when death has already been decreed, it’s still worthwhile to lengthen one’s life as much as possible.  Who knows how valuable the life of person in his last moments!
The mashgiach concluded, “We have to understand that we now still have another moment of kedushas Yom Kippur!  Come, let us grab hold of it, do not weaken! Let us not lose this precious stone without a thought!

30 Sep 2014

Deflecting responsibility

Western Journalism writes, "When Obama told “60 Minutes” on Sunday that the rapid rise and spread of ISIS could be blamed on intelligence failure, that set off a firestorm of angry reaction. Intelligence officials adamantly defend their expertise and actions, arguing that the blame is not theirs, but the president’s for failure to act on their repeated warnings." http://www.westernjournalism.com/just-disclosed-apalling-obama-habit-proves-hes-danger-america/

Incidentally, can the folks at Western Journalsim correct their "apalling" spelling mistake in the headline of the above article?

It is interesting that I came upon the above article about deflecting responsibility soon after reading a Torah thought titled "It all Depends on Me."

The author of the article relates the well known incident of Elazar ben Durdaya accepting personal responsibility for his deeds.

The word Elazar is a juxtaposition of two words "Keil ozeir" - "G-d helps" - and Durdaya, which in the language of the Talmud (Avodah Zara 32a) is the sediment which falls to the bottom of the wine barrel. This episode is a metaphor to teach us that Elazar, "Keil ozer" - "G-d helps" - "durdaya" - "the one who is compared to sediment" - the one who has fallen to the lowest level and is like the sediment which he lost all its wine qualities - when he comes to the realization that " 'Ein hadavar talui ela bi' - 'It all depends on me' - and I am the one who has to express sincere remorse and make the effort to change."


The Rebbetzin

Incredible story at Collive about Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson, OBM, which will give you goosebumps. Click here to read.

There's a video at YouTube of an anti-Israel demonstration at where UC Berkleystidents sauing they support the intifada.

Many Have Undertaken to Light Candles Early to Assist Sick Children R”L 

29 Sep 2014

The Tehillim advocate

Collive reports on a young boy in need of our prayers.

Mendel Cotlar, a boy who created a video about the power of prayer, is in need of our prayers after being in a coma since Rosh Hashana.
...Last week, on Rosh Hashana 5775, he underwent an emergency surgery and remains in a coma ever since. Please say Tehillim for Menachem Mendel ben Eta Leah for a full and speedy recovery. http://collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=32209&alias=tehillim-advocate-needs-prayers

Check out the first video below and be inspired by a young boy's words.

The ending words of Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech at the U.N. included a verse from Tanach.

Isaiah, our great prophet of peace, taught us nearly 3,000 years ago in Jerusalem to speak truth
to power.
למען ציון לא אחשה ולמען ירושלם לא אשקוט עד יצא כנגה צדקה וישועתה כלפיד יבער 
For the sake of Zion, I will not be silent.
For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still.
Until her justice shines bright,
And her salvation glows like a flaming

The U.N. speech

Shiloh Musings opines, No Matter How "Sharp" Bibi's U.N. Speech, The World Will Still Prefer the Arabs.

MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry characterized the beheading of a woman in an Oklahoma food plant last week as “workplace violence” and tossed aside the possibility that Alton Nolen’s conversion to Islam was a factor when he allegedly carried out the murder.
Read more: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/09/29/msnbc-host-calls-muslim-converts-beheading-of-woman-in-oklahoma-food-plant-workplace-violence/

Reuters reports on U.S.-led raids that hit grain silos in Syria.

The strikes in Manbij appeared to have killed only civilians, not fighters, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory which gathers information from sources in Syria.
"These were the workers at the silos. They provide food for the people," he said.

Below are a couple of comments I located when searching for Israel- civilian casualties. Will John Kerry and State Department Spokesperson Psaki say the same about America preventing civilian causlaties?

“Hell of a pinpoint operation,” John Kerry sardonically cracked.
Asked whether the U.S. believes Israel has not done enough to prevent civilian casualties, Psaki said: "We believe that certainly there's more that can be done."

TheYeshivaWorld posted about a sefer Torah that was found in an Arab's home. One person commented, "he probably wanted to change all the yitzchaks to yishmaels."

More Arab Destruction to Kevarim on Har HaZeisim – This Time While Police Watch

A former inmate writes about 8 Blessings I Received In Prison.

28 Sep 2014

Roving rabbis

NPR has an interesting article titled In The Rural West, 'Roving Rabbis' Reach Isolated Jews.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday met an influential Jewish group here and conveyed that India was proud of the community's acknowledgment that it has been an integral part of Indian society for 2,000 years and never suffered any discrimination.
Continue reading: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/narendra-modi-in-america-meets-jewish-group/1/393218.html

Howard Feldman asks Liverpool and the Jews: Do we walk alone?

"עדות מאומן: "הגעתי לפה חילוני ואני חוזר שומר שבת


Officials say a group of pro-Palestinian protesters are again blocking an Israeli-owned commercial ship from unloading its cargo at a port in California.
Continue reading: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/378a77ad67f44389ae26051656ff2ec7/california-protesters-block-israeli-owned-ship

The Israelis who buy farmland to let it lie fallow

A Ferguson police officer was shot Saturday night, according to St. Louis County Police Department spokesman Brian Schellman. The officer, a woman, is still alive, Schellman said.
Continue reading: http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2014/09/27/breaking-ferguson-police-officer-shot-on-duty-multiple-threats-documented-prior-to-attack/

YidwithLid writes, "According to Al Jazeera, more than 27 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Tuesday's U.S. led air strikes in Syria."
He concludes, "The reports of civilian casualties in Syria have drawn no condemnations from the MSM, any expressions of outrage from the White House or U.S. State Department. Maybe they don't believe the Al Jazeera report, even though they accepted the Hamas-generated reports at face value. Is it because in their minds Syrian civilians are worth less than those in Gaza or is it due to an inherent prejudice against the the nation of Israel and/or Jews worldwide? "

27 Sep 2014

Deleting a tweet

Liverpool have deleted a tweet wishing their Jewish supporters a happy new year after it was met with a series of antisemitic messages on the club’s official account.
The club marked Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year in the Hebrew calendar, with a tweet on Friday that read: “Liverpool FC would like to wish all our Jewish supporters around the world a happy new year. #RoshHashanah”. However, the tweet was removed several hours later.
Continue reading: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/sep/26/liverpool-delete-jewish-new-year-tweet-antisemitic-messages

A NYT piece titled  Europe’s Anti-Semitism Comes Out of the Shadows contains a photo with the caption,  "RECALLING HATE Jewish residents of Mechelen, Belgium, gathered this month to remember the Holocaust." I told my friend's daughter that the caption was not true as I recognized some people in the photo as being residents of Brussels or Antwerp, certainly not Mechelen residents.
"You see, you can't believe everything you read in the paper," I told her.
"The only thing you can definitely believe that is true which is published in a paper is the price," her mother chimed in.

A Message from the Kalever Rebbe for Rosh Hashanah 5775

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will fly to the United States Sunday morning to counter-punch Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and also meet with President Barack Obama.
Read more: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-to-hit-back-at-abbas-in-united-nations/2014/09/27/

24 Sep 2014

Seeking wisdom

At Jewish High Holidays, seeking wisdom, rebirth

שיחת הגר"ג אדלשטיין: על מה נתפלל ב'ראש השנה'

Arab-Israeli Priest to UN: ‘Israel Only Safe Haven For Christians in Middle East’ (VIDEO)

Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s ongoing refusal to publicly defend the University of Illinois’ decision not to hire an academic whose anti-Semitic tweets sparked a national controversy is causing concern among local Jewish community leaders who feel that Quinn should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the school.
Continue reading: http://freebeacon.com/issues/anti-semitism-controversy-embroils-illinois-governor-quinn/

A reminder to prepare an eruv tavshilin. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

23 Sep 2014

The new year

Abraham Foxman reflects on the new year.

In terms of anti-Semitism globally, by any measure the year 5774 was an annus horribilis for the Jewish people. The passions whipped up by those protesting the war in Gaza led to open displays of hostility against Israel. Those displays gave way in many instances to ugly anti-Semitic outbursts, while leading some to act out violently against Jewish institutions, homes and businesses.
Who would have thought we would hear chants of "death to the Jews" on the streets of Berlin in our lifetime? Who would have thought that Jewish stores would be marked and face boycotts, that Jews on the streets would be attacked in broad daylight?

A Chance To Wish IDF Soldiers a Sweet and WET New Year!

Short & Sweet: Mind-Blowing Insight Into Rosh Hashanah, Part I