בס׳ד

"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



26 Sep 2012

The address

The bad news is that the Iranian President used the term "uncivilized Zionists" in his address to the United Nations today.

Known for past fiery denunciations of the United States and Israel, which he refers to as "Zionists," Ahmadinejad cited what he termed the "continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation."
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57520670/ahmadinejad-calls-9-11-tragic-slams-israel/

The good news is that AFP reports, "This will be Ahmadinejad's last appearance at the UN General Assembly as he is scheduled to stand down next year at the end of his second term as president." http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gHmkqBfUlhY0tIb9hRW6FgGVODLg?docId=CNG.de604054b6d86086cf9ea9d62727675f.81

25 Sep 2012

V'Shavta

In the parsha of Tshuva (Nitzavim 30:2-3) one pasuk says, "V'Shavta Ad Hashem Elokecha", you will return to Hashem. The next pasuk says, "V'Shav Hashem Elokecha Es Shivuscha", Hashem will return you. If Klal Yisroel returns by themselves why does Hashem need to return them?

The Imrei Kedesh from Starlisk answers that the gemara Sanhedrin 97b says that if Bnei Yisroel does not do tshuva on their own Hashem will empower a leader as cruel and blood thirsty as Haman to wake us up to do tshuva.

This is the meaning of the two pasukim. Ideally "V'Shavta", we will recognize the error of our ways without any pressure or threat. However if our comfortable environment blinds us and makes us deaf to the words of the Torah, then "V'Shav Hashem", Hashem will send a loud and clear message that we can't possibly sleep through.
 
Wishing you a Gemar Chatima Tova.

In custody

Michael Mukasy asks the following question:

Are senior Obama administration officials considering transferring to Egypt a poisonously influential Islamist cleric serving a life term in federal prison for trying to unleash a war of urban terrorism in the United States? That's the impression several officials have given over the past three months, apparently out of fear that if the cleric dies in U.S. custody, American outposts in the Middle East could be overrun by vengeful mobs.
Continue reading: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444358804578014531735055120.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Why do State Department officials not have the same concerns about vengeful mobs in relation to Jonathan Pollard?

Let's have in mind Yaakov Yuda Ben Sheindel (Yanki Ostreicher) , Sholom Mordechai ben RivkahYehonatan ben Malka,  Warren Weinstein and Alan Gross when we recite our prayers. May the year of 5773 (Tav Shin Ayin Gimmel) be the year of Tehei Shenat Eit Geulatam. (and Eit Geulateinu, I might add.)

RTT news reports All Eyes On Obama Middle East Policy In United Nations Speech.

Not all eyes - As the President is scheduled to speak at 10:10 EST, those Orthodox Jews in Australia who have already ushered in Yom Kippur will not be watching the speech.

Daven

The Orthodox Union (OU) and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) today called upon all congregations to dedicate a specific moment during their services on the upcoming holy day of Yom Kippur to pray for an end to the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. The OU and RCA leadership issued the following statement:

“On Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Jews worldwide spend the day in fasting, prayer and repentance. Yom Kippur is not a day for politics.

But Yom Kippur 5773 is different.

Continue reading: http://www.lakewoodlocal.com/2012/09/24/ou-daven-on-yom-kippur-to-end-iranian-threat/

Mary Price writes about the excessive sentencing guidelines for first time offenders.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will review the case of Sholom Rubashkin, who has attained cause celebre status for the remarkable events surrounding his trial and sentencing.

...Hopefully, Mr. Rubashkin's case will be heard, and he won't have to wait for a fair punishment. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-price/sholom-rabashkim-sentence_b_1911180.html

Please continue to daven for Sholom Mordechai ben Rivkah.

24 Sep 2012

War

Ladaat Net reports about Rav Amnon Yitzchak speaking during the shiva for his mother about impending war which may well be the war of Gog and Magog.

Below is the first of four videos describing the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

A cartoon

Tundra Tabloids has a chas veshalom (heaven forbid) cartoon posted regarding the President's second term. Click here to view.

Not on Yom Kippur

A Bay Ridge civic group has cancelled the neighborhood’s largest political debate — a heated back and forth between four pairs of candidates that stunned Jewish residents for being scheduled on Yom Kippur.

...Debate organizers realized they erred when Brook-Krasny, a Jewish emigre from the former Soviet Union, told them that he would have back out.

“Any other holiday I would be able to attend, but Yom Kippur I cannot do it,” the six-term legislator said. http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/35/39/br_debatecancelled_2012_09_28_bk.html

At the end of this video, one can see a sentence informing people that "beginning September 24th, the Supreme Court will meet to decide if they will hear Rubashkin versus the United States."

Please have in mind Sholom Mordechai ben Rivkah when reciting the blessing of matir asurim this morning.

A 1997 video of Rabbi Paysach Krohn speaking about Aseret Yemei Teshuvah was uploaded a little while ago. Click here to be inspired.

23 Sep 2012

iPhones and iPads

A little while ago I read on a website that Rav Chaim Kanievsky had instructed people to burn Apple iPhones. My immediate reaction was to think to myself that so many times reports are publicized about what the leading Rabbis said, only to find out later that the Rabbi never made such a statement.

A couple of minutes later, I was perusing the Matzav site when I came across this statement.

Reports claiming that Maran Rav Chaim Kanievsky said that anyone who owns an Apple iPhone should burn it are false, a source close to Maran tells Matzav.com Israel.

Continue reading: http://matzav.com/source-rav-chaim-never-said-to-burn-phones

I am sure that a certain flight attendant wishes she never had an iPad in her possession.

Police say a Nevada man who lost his iPad on an airplane used an app called Find My iPad to locate it inside the Oregon home of a flight attendant.

...The flight attendant for Horizon Air allegedly told officers that a passenger brought her the tablet saying it was found on a seat. She said she never used the iPad and planned to turn it over to airline officials, but police found some of her personal information on it including her husband's birthday.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/23/wendy-ronelle-dye-ipad_n_1906099.html

Heartfelt prayer

Lazer Beams has invited readers to join him in prayer this afternoon.

Join me on Israel National Radio today, where Tamar Yonah and I will be saying the prayer for Moshiach at exactly 5 PM Israel time, which is 11 AM EDT (East Coast USA).

A Soldier's Mother beseeches, "Say a Prayer Today...Please." Click here to view the prayer in various languages.
Ariela asked to get the word out at http://www.alljewsasone.com/

Click on the above link to know when to say the prayer in your time zone.


May we be zocheh to see the fulfillment of our heartfelt prayers.

Worth a thousand words

The New York Times has a photo of an Israeli soldier helping a Sudanese refugee and describes the attack that took place on friday where one Israeli soldier was killed.

"Another military spokesman, Eytan Buchman, said the men entered Israel at Har Harif, about halfway between Eilat and the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, through one of the last parts of the 150-mile fence Israel has been building since 2010. The soldiers they attacked were providing water to African migrants stopped at the border, military officials said, though another nearby unit quickly engaged the men."
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/world/middleeast/israel-kills-3-attackers-on-border-with-egypt.html?_r=0

VIN has a moving photo of an Israeli soldier hugging the little brother of late soldier Netanel Yahalomi.

Oh deer

Pereq Shira - Chapter 5
The Deer says: "And I shall sing of Your might and I shall rejoice of Your kindness in the morning, for You were a fortress for me and refuge on the day of my oppression." (Psalms 59:17)

http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/Perek%20Shira%20English.pdf

21 Sep 2012

Shabbat Shuva

Rabbi Zvi Teichman writes about this week's parsha and repentance in an article titled Parshas Vayailech - Reality Check.

The Holy Shelah, quoting the Sefer Chareidim, cites six segulos that can affect forgiveness:

(של"ה מסכת יומא פרק דרך חיים מו) 1) Answering יהא שמיה רבא..., the response in Kaddish of yehei shmei rabba, with great zeal.

2) Adhering with enthusiasm to the laws of Shabbos.

3) Reciting daily the שירת הים, Az Yashir, with a vociferous joy as on the day we experienced the splitting of the sea.

4) To suffer easily the taunts and insults of others, being מעביר על מדותיו, exercising restraint in not getting annoyed by others.

5) התבודדות; the art of detaching oneself in isolation from normal routine in order to explore and develop oneself through meditation and introspection.

6) To listen intently to the words and advice of the wise who address, and seek to inspire, the masses.

The 13 attributes

13 Sep 2012

Communication

I love this season approaching the High Holidays when everyone goes out of their way to greet you with a smile and wish you a blessed new year. I was shocked yesterday morning when someone who normally doesn't give me the time of day me wished me a happy and healthy year. This morning, someone who was drving her car stopped (she was the only car on the road in either direction) and wished me a blessed year.

Judy Montagu has written an article in the JPost about the power of a smile.

The “Tzaddik of Jerusalem,” Reb Aryeh Levin (1885-1969), would make a point of greeting the street cleaners he passed early in the morning on his way to synagogue. He understood their thankless, low-paid, repetitive job and expressed his appreciation of its value.

The disciples of another 20th-century sage, Rabbi Chaim Friedlander, noticed the warm smile on his face even when he spoke on the telephone.

Someone asked him why he bothered since the other person couldn’t see his smile. “He can hear it,” the rabbi responded.
Read full article: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=284720

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis has been wrting about the tragedy of family breakdowns in the Jewish Press over the last few weeks. She rightly observes the differences between how children were raised in her generation and how they are raised nowadays.

Now let us take a glimpse at the homes of today. When parents and grandparents enter the house they consider themselves fortunate if the children acknowledge their presence with so much as a grunt as they sit glued to their computers or whatever else they are absorbed in. When grandparents get up to leave after a visit, it is they who have to go up to the children to give them a kiss and say goodbye.

Read full article: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/the-curse-of-family-breakdowns/2012/09/12/

Those of you who unfortunately are not on speaking terms with family members, why don't you hang up a picture on your fridge of the estranged family member, smile at the photo and ask G-d to shower that person blessings during the new year. Perhaps he/she will be able to feel the positive feelings emanating from you.

When Americans are attacked

I just listened to Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) speaking on the House floor about the attacks on the US Embassies. He suggested a novel idea that the rules of engagement should allow our soldiers to win. At around the 15 minute mark, he began to talk about the treatment of Israel and about Holocaust denial. The speech runs around 20 minutes but worthwhile listening to. As someone posted on YouTube,  "Why is this man not running for president!!!?"
H/T The Blaze



The attack

The search for those behind the provocative, anti-Muslim film that triggered mobs in Egypt and Libya led Wednesday to a California Coptic Christian convicted of financial crimes who acknowledged his role in managing and providing logistics for the production.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ifWYKzUPaqJJsJ5aj-58K0JCL1Fg?docId=91c9d18979f24144ba8ea358237f046f

A post on the UN website regarding condemnation of the attack in Libya related the following;

"Mr. Stevens was reportedly paying a short visit to the city when the consulate came under attack, and the extremists are said to have attacked the location in protest against an anti-Islamic video produced by an American-Israeli real-estate developer."
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42867&Cr=libya&Cr1=

Will the United Nations website change the above sentence after reading the article linked to at the top of this post?

In his remarks about the attack, President Obama stated, "Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died."
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/12/remarks-president-deaths-us-embassy-staff-libya

FoxNews reports about a chilling message sent by one of the diplomats before his death.

“Assuming we don’t die tonight,” the message, which was first reported by Wired, read. “We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/12/diplomat-killed-in-libya-to-fellow-gamers-assuming-dont-die-tonight/?intcmp=trending#ixzz26IhDW2wJ

12 Sep 2012

The truth

The Obama administration suspects that the fiery attack in Libya that killed the American ambassador and three other diplomats may have been planned rather than a spontaneous mob getting out of control, American officials said Wednesday.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/middleeast/us-envoy-to-libya-is-reported-killed.html?pagewanted=all

After AP reported that "An Israeli filmmaker based in California went into hiding Tuesday after his movie ...sparked angry assaults ...U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya," Jeffrey Goldberg posted an article titled Muhammad Film Consultant: 'Sam Bacile' is Not Israeli, and Not a Real Name.
H/T memeorandum

In fact, if you take away the S from Sam you are left with ambacile or "imbecile."

Where can one find the truth?

Moshe emes vetorato emes.



Learning and protests

The BBC reports about Israel's ultra-Orthodox fight to be exempt from military service.
Among those interviewed was a student in a Bayit VeGan yeshiva.

"We are continuing the way of the Bible," says one student. "The Jewish way, to be Jewish - this isn't just about genes or a nation, it's a religion. And the reason we are in Israel is because of the Jewish religion. Our right to live in Israel is because we are Jews.

"So what secular people should respect, and understand, is that what we are doing when we study in the yeshiva is giving us all a right to be here."

In other words, learning and piety are as essential to Israel as knowing how to handle a gun...
Read full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19492627

As news of the death of Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya has been posted at various sites, various reasons were attributed to his death.
The violence was part of a protest against an American amateur film “Innocence of Muslims” deemed offensive to the Prophet Muhammad. A similar incident took place in Cairo, Egypt’s capital. ....The attack against US citizens may also be a retaliation tactic by Gaddafi loyalists for the arrest of the regime’s former Intelligence Chief Abdullah al-Senussi, journalist Zaid Benjamin’s wrote on Twitter.
http://rt.com/news/us-ambassador-libya-killed-946/

I was dismayed when an Israeli Charedi website headlined the article by stating that the ambasssador was killed: The reason - a film..... Firstly, the reason for his death was that his time was up. Secondly, he died because gunmen fired rockets at his car.



11 Sep 2012

Truth

The following is a Torah thought by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.

The Kotzker Rebbe had a shrewd interpretation of the opening phrase of the sidra, “You (attem) are standing this day, all of you, before the Lord your God” (Deut. 29:9).

The Rebbe pointed out that the letters of attem, you, are the same as those of emet, truth. Truth, he said, is what gives human beings the capacity for standing and stability. Even the shape of the letters indicates this; the aleph stands on two legs, the mem has a firm horizontal base and the tav has two legs. The word as a whole, and each of its letters, has staying power.

By way of contrast, the opposite, sheker (falsehood), ein lo raglayim – “has no legs to stand on”, as the rabbis remarked. The shin of sheker, in Torah script, swivels on a narrow base, and the kuf and resh each have only one leg.

Sheker is bound to topple over, whilst emet stands firm. A comforting thought at a very difficult moment in world history when people and nations tell lies without compunction and the injudicious media peddle half-truths without conscience. It is hard to live at such a time, and hard to keep constantly vigilant to expose the falsehoods and argue for the truth, but in the end nothing can withstand the power of truth, and sheker is bound to collapse.
http://www.oztorah.com/2008/09/truth-stands-firm-nitzavim/

Being held accountable

More than 20,000 Chicago teachers walked off their jobs Monday, straining traditional Democratic Party alliances and adding fuel to a national debate over whether teachers should be held accountable for failing public schools.

...Unlike teacher strikes in the past, both Emanuel and the union agree this one is not primarily about money. Officials in the nation's third-largest school district have offered teachers a 16% pay raise over four years and other benefits. Instead, a key sticking point involves how the district will evaluate teachers under a 2010 Illinois law that requires test scores to be figured into teacher reviews.

This year Chicago Public Schools began rolling out a new system in which student test scores would count for 25% of a teacher's performance rating. It would increase to 30% in two years. The union believes the system is too heavily weighted toward test scores and could put thousands of teachers out of work.
Read full article: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-chicago-teachers-strike-20120911,0,1301512.story

Seventy-nine percent of the 8th graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade-level proficient in reading, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/us-department-education-79-chicago-8th-graders-not-proficient-reading

As we approach the High Holidays when we are held accountable for our actions during the previous year, why should teachers not be held accountable?

In other news, reporting on a wedding between two men, the New York Post writes, "Spies said the onstage ceremony was traditionally Jewish — with the exception that Roth and Jackson stomped on two glasses rather than one."

That's the only exception?

10 Sep 2012

Less than equal

Shani Boianjiu wrote an article in the New York Times about her experience serving in the IDF. 

One of the reasons religious Jews claim they cannot serve in the I.D.F. has to do with the presence of women, who make up about 30 percent of the army. Last year, several religious soldiers walked out of a ceremony in which a woman sang. Evidently, this is one more thing women are not allowed to do. My encounter with ultra-religious men in the army was the first time I entered a world in which being myself meant existing in a universe where the rules for what I could or could not do rested primarily on my gender. As a female soldier, the so-called burden equality issue has a flip side: It would mean having to accept the burden of serving alongside thousands of individuals who see me as less than equal. For them, I could never be a soldier first; I would always be a woman, whose actions may spell danger to their most deeply held beliefs.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/opinion/sunday/what-happens-when-the-two-israels-meet.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general

As the U.S. men's open tennis championships are being held in New York today, I would suggest that Ms. Boianjiu write about the lack of inclusion of women in the men's open, as well as their separation in Olympic sports. After all, if men and women are to be treated equally, why is there no protest of  separate women's and men's finals?

'Eit Geulateinu

Yesterday I posted some people's suggestions for the acronym of the coming Jewish New Year, תשע"ג

One person commented on the post:

What about 'Eit Geulateinu?'
(the time of our redemption)

A relative told me that he saw a sign hanging in the synagogue:
תהא שנת עשירות גדולה
May it be a year of great riches

Perhaps when the sign reads "Eit Geulateinu" in all the shuls and when we all wish for "May it be the year of the time of our redemption", it will be so.

The YeshivaWorld reports that "HaGaon HaRav Aaron Leib Shteinman Shlita has called on the tzibur “to learn and daven as there are bad gezeiros ahead for Am Yisrael”.

Let us hope this will be a year of itzur gezeirot, the halting of bad decrees.

"Yeisei V'Lo Achminei," meaning, let Moshiach come but do not let me be alive to see him (Sanhedrin 98b). Rebbi Yochanan said that he'd give it the privilege of greeting Moshiach in order to avoid living through the terrible days of the Ikvisa D'Mishicha. With the Geula so close at hand why will they be worse than the rest of the Galus?
Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz says that since the Shechina is with us in the Galus we are protected. However, at the end of the Galus, when it is time for us to return to Eretz Yisrael, the Shechina will need to leave the galus and come to Eretz Yisrael to prepare and facilitate our return. During those waning day of the Galus, we will be left on our own without protection and endless tragedies will befall us. Only then will we realize how fortunate we were to have the Shechina with us.

How does Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz know that the Shechina will return to Eretz Yisrael before us? The pasuk (Nitzavim 30:3) says, וְשָׁב וְקִבֶּצְךָ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים. Chazal tell us that the word וְשָׁב, which means, He will return, proves that Hashem is with us in the Galus, or else it should say, "V'Heishiv," He will return us. Rav Yehonoson Eibshitz says that we see from here that first וְשָׁב, Hashem will return to Eretz Yisrael. Only after the groundwork is laid, וְקִבֶּצְךָ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, will He bring us back from among the nations.
http://www.revach.net/dafyomi/article.php?id=5153

9 Sep 2012

5773


Ladaat Net has a forum titled

Here are some of the entries:

תהא שנת עשירות גדולה
May it be a year of great riches
תהא שנת גאולת עולם
May it be a year of world redemption

ת'הא ש'נת ע'ליי'ה ג'דולה




The court case

Orly Taitz's site has a post with the following headline:

Attorney Orly Taitz will be challenging Obama in two states in two days: September 24 MS and September 26 in IN. Other states to follow at later dates.

There is an interesting discussion going on in the comments section as to whether Orly should be at a court case on September 26, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, with some readers weighing in on the subject.

Lea writes:

Dr. Taitz,
Various rabbis have questioned whether you are committing a grave sin by failing to follow the requirements for Yom Kippur. I have argued to them that you are exempt because you are involved in matters of national security. Do you think that is the correct argument or do you suggest I try a different argument?

Eliad writes:

Dr. Taitz can follow the holy traditions as long as she does not eat and drink for 25 hours starting the night before the Indiana hearing, does not wear leather shoes, does not bathe or wash, and does not wear any perfumes, make-up or jewelry on Yom Kippur. She is a beautiful woman, so I don’t think the abstinence from bathing, wearing jewelry, perfumes, make-up, or fancy clothes will detract from her beauty. She is also a woman of enormous strength, so I am confident that fasting will not affect her well-know legal skills. Tzom kal!!!

Personally, I feel that she should ask for an alternate date but, knowing the court system, she might be granted a date which is after the elections, which makes her case moot. What's a yid to do? Oy, vey.

8 Sep 2012

Selichot

As the Ashkenazi community begins reciting selichot this evening, below Rabbi Yosef Slotnik discusses the differences between the Ashkenazi and Sefardi communities in terms of the customs of
reciting selichot.



1 Sep 2012

Spending it wisely

In the brachos it says (28:2) "U'Va'u Olecha Kol HaBrachos HaEileh V'Hisigucha"; The brachos will come on you and it will reach you. The Chasam Sofer asks, if the brachos come on you of course they reached you? He answers that Hashem gives us much bracha in our lives. What do we do with the riches he sends our way? Do we blow it on nonsense? Are the things we purchase transferable to the next world? When Hashem sends us bracha it must help us reach our goals or else it is not a bracha. Hashem promises that if we serve him with happiness we receive his material rewards we will spend it wisely making it a true bracha.
http://www.thejewisheye.com/rev_pkisavo.html