"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

28 Nov 2015

Blue eyes

The NYT has an article about Paris's new vulnerability, in the wake of the attacks this past month.

Below are two excerpts from the article in which various individuals opine about the attacks.

A small older woman hovered near the statue of Marianne, fumbling with her umbrella and her purse. She brought a candle to honor the dead, but it was too wet that day, she said, so she would come back later.
“I came also to pay respect to the victims of 1939-44,” she said. “The victims of the Holocaust are the same,” casualties of the same kind of hatred.

  ...Asked about the attacks in Paris, Mahdi, 21, born in France to Moroccan parents, said, “It’s a Zionist plot.” Why? “I’ve seen these videos that prove it,” he said, declining to provide his last name. “It’s the Zionists and it’s all about money.”
His friends all agreed.
Another video, he said, proved that Mohammed Merah, who in 2012 killed Muslim French soldiers and then Jews in Toulouse in the name of Al Qaeda, “really had blue eyes” and was not a Muslim at all. “They pretend that Muslims are the terrorists, but it’s not what religion is about,” Mahdi said. “We as Muslims are always humiliated.”

Swastika is a symbol of peace, elite school tells sixth-graders

Tony Schwartz writes about his atempt to spend less time on the internet in an article titled Addicted to Distraction. If you find yourself agreeing with what he wrote, perhaps it's time to rethink how much time you spend on the internet.

I was spending too many hours online, checking the traffic numbers for my company’s website, shopping for more colorful socks on Gilt and Rue La La, even though I had more than I needed, and even guiltily clicking through pictures with irresistible headlines such as “Awkward Child Stars Who Grew Up to Be Attractive.”

27 Nov 2015

Parshat Vayishlach

Parshas Vayishlach - A Dose of Inspiration

Charges after alleged assault at Adass

Ancient Jewish community endures on Tunisian isle

Parashat VaYishlah: We are the Answer to Yaakob’s Prayer

INN has an article titled Germany: Teacher fined for erasing swastikas

Court fines elementary school teacher 1,000 euros for painting over swastika graffiti to hide them from students.

One comment posted under the INN article caught my eye.

"We live in a day when right is wrong, black is white, good is bad and day is night."

Compare and contrast

Parshas Vayishlach: Jealousy Rots; Envy Can Redeem

"האדמו"ר מויז'ניץ: "ממחלוקת לא רואים ברכה

Compare and Contrast
"We are free to worship the Almighty as we choose....Let us thank G-d for the bounty and goodness of our nation."
Thanksgiving message, President Regan, 1985

"Thanksgiving is a day for food and football and for hoping the Turkey didn't turn out too dry." Thanksgiving message, President Obama, 2015

26 Nov 2015

Two choices

CNN wipes Israel off the map

Help a lost Family in a Tragic Time

Law students in huge show of support for UT-Austin Israel Studies Prof. attacked by BDS

Glenn Beck interviews, a man who was diagnosed with ALS.

“If I were only given two choices, choice one is to be totally healed but return to my former relationship with God or, choice two, live with this wretched disease but have my current relationship with God,” Paine told Beck. “I’ve already made the choice. I’ll keep what I have.”
Click here to watch a powerful excerpt from the interview.

His words remind me of the curse received by the snake. Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb writes about the insight we can learn from the snake's punishment. Below is an excerpt from his article.

This idea is reminiscent – and the inverse – of a famous insight of R. Menachem Mendel of Kotzk regarding the punishment of the nachash, the snake, after the sin of the Etz Ha-da’as. The nachash is punished for its role as the instigator of the whole affair by having to eat the dust of the earth. (3:14)

The Kotzker is bothered by this choice of punishment; after all, it resulted in the fact that the snake is never wanting for sustenance. While other creatures must struggle to find food, the snake never experiences that problem. This actually appears to be a great blessing; where is the punishment?

He suggests that the very fact that the snake is never wanting is itself the punishment because there is, therefore, no need for it to be dependent on Hashem. And when there is no dependence there is also no relationship. And the absence of a relationship with God is the ultimate curse that any creature can receive.
Read full article: http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/739260/Rabbi_Dovid_Gottlieb/Parshat_Toldot-_Relationships

A relative once related to me, "If I had tons of money, I would donate millions to Chai Lifeline."
She had seen the amount of help Chai Lifeline provided to her nephew and niece, who had a number of children with medical issues.
This past weekend, a Shabbaton was held in Lawrence for 150 children, family members and Chai Lifeline counselors. Due to a miscommunication with the caterer, there was no Shabbos lunch awaiting the crowd who had assembled at the synagogue. When women in Lawrence heard the news at shul, they went to their homes to bring food from their Shabbos tables. A veritable feast was prepared in a matter of minutes.
Mi keamcha Yisrael.

25 Nov 2015

Feeling the pain

Feel the Pain

Emuna Daily lesson

Guests Fly to Cheer Grieving Bride

Students Forced to Pay Attention Achieve Higher Grades

Documents Reveal How Anti-Israel Group at California Public Universities Got Campus Funding for Highly Charged Political Activities

Reuters has an article titled Palestinian stabs Israeli soldier and is shot dead: army
The violence, fueled in part by Muslim agitation over increased Jewish visits to East Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound - Islam's third holiest site and also revered by Jews as the location of two biblical-era temples, prompted Kerry to come and sound out both sides on Tuesday.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/25/us-israel-palestinians-idUSKBN0TE1QI20151125#fLyXUyaEOkDlZRZ1.97

EXCLUSIVE: Texas School District Assigns Islamic State Recruiting Homework to Teach ‘Critical Thinking’

The holiday ad

A Yeshiva student and his grandmother represent the joy of Chanukah in an ad for one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies.
Read more and view ad: http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=38018&alias=bochur-in-tylenol-holiday-ad

Mrs. Sigal Buchris Speaks About Her Daughter, Terror Victim Hadar Buchris HYD

Why 20,000 Israelis are suing Facebook over Palestinian attacks

מסר הרב ניר בן ארצי שליט"א ליהודים בארץ ובעולם כולו - וישלח - י' כסלו תשע"ו

The Obama Administration and the Anonymity of Jewish Death

Owner of New England Patriots Pays Shiva Call to Ezra Shwartz's Parents During Game

Einstein once kept kosher, and 7 other Jewish facts for relativity’s 100th b-day

The Blaze reports Leaked Emails Reveal Suspended CNN Reporter Worked With Clinton Aide to Target Rand Paul in 2013.

Parashat Vayishlach: The Shelah HaKadosh Reveals The Amazing Underpinnings Of Yaakov’s Encounter With Eisav

24 Nov 2015


Rabbi Shmuel Silber on Parshas VaYishlach: Vayishlach: Introspective Identity - Excellent Torah thought.

Everything or a lot – the key to happiness

Staying on the topic of happiness, the Daily Mail reported today about Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 16, who had fled Austria to Syria. It seems that "Sabina insisted she was enjoying life in Syria, where she felt free to practise her religion in a way that she did not in Austria."
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3331846/Teenage-Islamist-poster-girl-fled-Austria-join-ISIS-beaten-death-terror-group-trying-escape-Syria.html#ixzz3sRw2g0bq

Unfortunately, one can't ask the girls if they are still enjoying their lives as they don't seem to be alive anymore.

A reader at TLS posted an idea if an offer to donate money to a charity of his choice is rejected by an individual who gets to decide whether his brother should be cremated or receive a Jewish burial.

In the event that the large amount of money raised is not taken, it would be very appropriate to it donate to Poile Tzedek – the shul in New Brunswick that had a fire where all the Sifrei Torah were burnt.

Mark Knoller tweeted about President Obama bestowing the Presdential medal of freedom on the likes of Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand and Itzhak Perlman.

"I didn't know you were Jewish, Barbra," kids Pres Obama, as he mentions Streisand's childhood in Brooklyn.

Listen to Itzhak Perlman play John WIlliams' theme from Schindler's List. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qLePhm-xGs … Hard not to tear up.

No difference

Watch: New England Patriots' moment of silence for Ezra Schwartz

Below is an excerpt from the State Department briefing of November 23rd regarding Ezra Schwartz.

...it has come to the notice of some people that both the – when the President and the Vice President spoke about American victims of terrorism last week, they mentioned the Americans who died in Mali and in Paris, but didn’t mention the American who died in the West Bank. And I’m not asking you to – the White House is the place to ask about why that happened or why they said what they said, but I’m just wondering, in the Administration, more broadly, does it regard these acts – all of these acts as terrorism? And if so, does it have – do you have a different – are there different kind – does the Administration believe there are different kinds of terrorism?

MR TONER: No, I don’t think so. You’re speaking about the death of Ezra Schwartz, and John spoke about it from the podium on Friday. And I know the – Secretary Kerry did reach out to his family personally today. Look, I mean --

QUESTION: So you believe that – so the Administration believes that the attacks that killed --

MR TONER: I don’t want to – also want to parse out the --

QUESTION: -- all three of these people are the same? There’s no difference between one terrorist attack and another attack?

MR TONER: Again, I don’t want to necessarily parse out the word – the definition of terrorism, but we – yes, I think we would view them as terrorist attacks. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2015/11/249907.htm#TERRORISM

Scottish university staff accused of anti-Jewish discrimination

One student told Scojec: "I was told by my university that either I sit exams on Shabbat or I fail."

In another case, a student said she no longer went to the business school or library and was worried about attending classes "due to fear of being harassed or attacked". http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14096083.Scottish_university_staff_accused_of_anti_Jewish_discrimination/

PJMedia reports MSNBC's 'No-Fly List Is Islamophobia' Poster Boy Arrested in Turkey as Part of ISIS Cell

Disinvited: College cites ‘safety concerns’ to cancel Robert Spencer speech

Judicial Watch opines on what led to Harry Reid's abrupt retirement.

CHAZAQ Event with R’ Dovid Orlofsky on the “Power of Kindness/Chesed”

23 Nov 2015


Attorneys representing the family of Ahmed “clock kid” Mohamed sent a letter to Irving, Texas, officials demanding $15 million in compensation for “damages” as well as written apologies from the city’s mayor and police chief.
Read more: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/11/23/ahmed-clock-kid-mohameds-family-demands-10-million-from-city-of-irving-and-thats-not-all/

Is Ezra Schwartz's family suing for damages?  Is an AVIS customer suing for damages?

As many are aware, the AVIS car rental company found itself in the news regarding employees denying rental of a car to a man with an Israeli driver's license. The man had no problem renting from the company on previous occasions.
AVIS writes on its Facebook page:

...We are aggressively investigating the customer’s allegations regarding the handling of this matter, as we do not tolerate any form of discrimination. So far, our ongoing investigation suggests that this customer is unfairly maligning us with unfounded allegations.

The post has been replaced and the comments under the post have been deleted. The page now reads:

We have investigated the denial of a rental that recently occurred in Manhattan. We have found that we have been inconsistent in applying our policies with respect to documentation requirements with this customer, who has rented from us in the past without providing a second form of identification. We are committed to providing an outstanding car rental experience to our customers and believe that we should have done better here. We have spoken with the customer and apologized for the misunderstanding that occurred as a result of this inconsistency in applying our documentation policy, and the customer has accepted our apology.

An individual asked if any employee had been fired but AVIS responded, "the customer has requested that no one lose their job over this."

The FBI has published its 2014 Hate Crime Statistics, anti Jewish hate crimes tops the religious list.

These Interviews Of Muslims In Paris Are Mind-Boggling: ISIS Terror Attacks Were ‘Jewish Actions’

Vayishlach - Rabbi Yitzchok Isbee


Hadar Buchris, the vibrant young woman who was murdered Sunday by an Arab terrorist, discussed the deteriorating security situation with friends just ten days ago.

"Listen, I get it: we need Messiah now!!!," she wrote friends from the Chabad House in Pushkar, India, in an internal WhatsApp group.
Read more: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/203796#.VlLbUnarTIU

The Gemara says that a person is allowed to have "Shiminis ShebeShiminis of Gaavah" - 1/8 of an 1/8 (1/64) of arrogance. What is the meaning of this unusual terminology - "an eighth of an eighth"?

The Vilna Gaon explains, the Gemorrah means the 8th pasuk in the 8th parsha. Parshas VaYishlach is the 8th parsha and "Katonti Mikal HaChasadim" is the 8th pasuk. A person's level of haughtiness must be on the level that he is unworthy of anything. - "I have been diminished by all the kindness and all the truth you have done for me." Whatever Hashem does and will do for me is not coming to me. It is a gift from Hashem, "Katonti" - I am unworthy!

Maharsha explains that a person who has more than 1/64th of Gaavah is considered a showoff. An allusion to this is that "Gas" - "Gimmel" Samach" - 63 - means haughty. http://www.thejewisheye.com/rev_pvayishlach.html

Jake tapper of CNN tweeted Hadar Buchris, 21, stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist today while waiting for a bus in the West Bank.

מה שלמדתי מהחסיד שגר בקומה הראשונה