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



30 Apr 2017

29 Apr 2017

Absolutely speechless

Heroin addict who became a fruit-juice millionaire

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tweets Tribute to Rav Binyomin Kamenetzky zt”l

See the astonishing reason actor Richard Dreyfuss left Tucker Carlson absolutely speechless

27 Apr 2017

Words

Our Words Define Us

Why must one go specifically to a Kohen when he sees a potential Tzoraas? Why can he not go to any Talmid Chochom who has mastered the halachos of Nega'im?

Rav Itzele Volozhin says that the five kinds of tzoraas is a result of five fundamental sins. Tzoraas on one's body comes from overindulging in bodily desires. Tzoraas of Begadim is a result being obsessed with external beauty and constantly running after new clothing. Tzoraas of the head is caused by bad character, corrupt thinking, and haughtiness. Tzoraas in the beard is for sins of the mouth such as Lashon Hara and mockery. Lastly Tzoraas on the walls of one's home, where one is required to remove all his possessions, and ultimately destroy the house, is a punishment for chasing after wealth and possessions.

A person afflicted with tzoraas does not need someone to treat his nega, he needs someone who can heal his mind and soul. While any expert can distinguish a tamei nega from a tahor one, only a Kohen, the Ish HaChesed and the embodiment of Ahavas Yisroel, can get into the head of the Mitzora and help him climb out of his misery and make him whole again.
http://www.revach.net/parshas-hashavua/quick-vort/Parshas-Tazria-Rav-Itzele-Volozhin-Behind-the-Different-Forms-Tzoraas/5336

TORCH Jewish History Series: Christian Antisemitism - Part 1 by Rabbi Yaakov Wolbe

VIDEO: Terror victim’s brother says Rasmea Odeh supporters “have to eat their words”

Reclaiming the word

Reclaiming ‘Jew’

There's No Need to Reclaim the Word “Jew”

Parashat Tazria-Mesora: The Way to Ruin Your Children’s Future

NYU Official Compares College ‘Snowflakes’ to Holocaust Survivors

"בגלל הלימודים"; האדמו"ר ידליק את המדורה ביום ראשון

A friend posted on Facebook an anecdote relating to an individual named Reb Yosef Friedenson, z”l, who was niftar four years ago.

As Reb Yossel and his wife were returning from a vacation in German, they flew by Lufthansa and found that their seats were mistakenly assigned a distance apart. Reb Yossel refused to board the plane despite the threats of the chief administer. He pulled up his sleeve and displayed the numbers tattooed on his arm. He said, “This is the last time we were separated. It will not happen again.”

The executive left for a few minutes and returned to tell them that they had adjoining seats, in first class.

Read more: http://hamodia.com/2013/02/26/farewell-to-reb-yosef-friedenson-zl/

26 Apr 2017

Two words

Emma Green wrote a scathing article a few days ago in the Atlantic about the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.
'Rapaport, the organization’s new board chair, said it is neither a Jewish organization nor a Holocaust organization.'

Today I was reading the about page of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect and came across the following sentences.

'Anne Frank for Mutual Respect is a Jewish voice for social justice dedicated to the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. For us, that means advocating on behalf of all communities, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.'
http://annefrank.com/about-the-center/ 

The April 16th version of the about page did not have those sentences which means they were added recently.

I am sick of this overused phrase of Tikkun Olam and don't have plans to donate to any organization that uses these words to justify its existence. The twitter page of the center is replete with tweets calling out President Trump and his administration while a Facebook posting in January thanked President Obama for advancing mutual respect.

“Tikkun olam” has become such a commonly used term in liberal Jewish circles that it is the basis for a joke, in which an American Jew visiting Israel asks her guide, “How do you say tikkun olam in Hebrew?”
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/tikkun-olam-repairing-the-world/

Where does the concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) originate, and is it a mitzvah (commandment) or does it hold the same level of importance as a mitzvah?

For Jews those Mitzvos include not simply socially or politically correct precepts such as giving charity and engaging in political action, but also observance of the Sabbath, dietary restrictions (Kashrus), daily prayer, and other commandments which seem to have fallen out of favor and are ignored, if not openly denigrated and violated, in some segments of the community, as they substitute the false panacea of something they call Tikkun Olam for the authenticity of true Judaism, clinging desperately to Tikkun Olam to avoid their actual responsibilities as Jews to observe the Torah and the commandments.
Read more of this excellent article at http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2013/6/3/the-fallacy-delusion-and-myth-of-tikkun-olam#.WQDp0YiGPIU=

In our lives for a reason

Fabulous daily emunah lesson over here.


The other day I came across a Facebook post about a special mother and was ready to remind MIC readers to appreciate parents and let them know that they are valued before it is too late. No sooner had the idea popped into my head when I came across another Facebook post about reaching out to children and giving them a hug.
So, let us appreciate both parents and children. Let us say a nice word to our spouse and give a compliment to a friend. These people are in our lives for a reason and we should be grateful for their presence.

Below are the two posts.

Today would have been my Moms Birthday. She has been gone a few years now, and I miss her very much. She was such a great lady, and she was beautiful inside and out. She was a very proud Jew that loved Yiddishkeit, Torah and Israel, and she taught her children how important these things are in our lives. I wish I could tell her how much I appreciate what a wonderful Mother she was, and how much I love her and miss her. I try to be the Mench that she lovingly tried to teach me to be. May she be remembered for Brachas (blessings).

Heard some very sad news about the daughter of a friend who I have not seen in many years. While we have been mostly out of touch (except for Facebook), this news still hit me very very hard. To all of my friends with children - please do me a favor: Give your kids a hug today (and every day, when possible). If you aren't able to see them today, call them or text them to tell them that you love them. You never know if that might be the difference between darkness and light.


25 Apr 2017

The guilty plea

Rasmea Odeh pleads guilty to immigration fraud

Trump to slash foreign aid worldwide, but boost funds for Palestinians: report

Lakewood burglary suspect turns himself in; Police credit TLS and social media

Woman Cleaning for Pesach Discovers Winning Lottery Ticket

On his behalf

New York Times Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day by Defending Iran and Smearing Israel

Teens Honored for Objecting to School Assignment to Defend Hitler’s Genocide Against Jews

Grammy award winning saxophonist Kenny G plays for passengers on a Tampa to LA flight

When a person has the physical symptoms of the spiritual disease Tzara'as... he must call out: ‘[I am] Impure! [I am] Impure!' (VaYikra 13:45). The Gemara inquires why the Metzora is required to call out at all and why use the double expression: ‘[I am] Impure! [I am] Impure!'? (Mo'ed Katan 5a). The Gemara answers that one mention of ‘Impure' is to notify people to stay away so they do not become contaminated. The other mention of ‘Impure' is to inform the public to daven to Hashem for his recovery.

Why does the Metzora need others to daven on his behalf? Why can't he just daven himself? The classic cause for contracting this Tzara'as disease is the habitual speaking of Lashon Hara (Rambam, Tumas Tzara'as 16:10). Lashon Hara essentially refers to non-constructive statements that are either derogatory or potentially harmful to a third party. The Zohar explains that Hashem will not listen to the prayers of habitual speakers of Lashon Hara. That is why the Metzora needs others to daven for him. Deliberately looking for the faults, rather than the merits, of others and talking about them to one's friends brings with it the horrific consequence that such people will not be listened to by Hashem, however strongly they daven and cry out and however many other good qualities that they may have.
http://www.revach.net/parshas-hashavua/quick-vort/Parshas-Tazria-The-Tefilos-of-A-Metzora/2074

24 Apr 2017

Man or beast

Raw Jew-hatred, New York style

Daniel Greenfield has written a post titled ANNE FRANK CENTER FOR MUTUAL RESPECT NOT A JEWISH OR HOLOCAUST ORGANIZATION.

Who Does the Anne Frank Center Represent?

The peace pass

Tel Aviv stabber was in Israel on one-day ‘peace’ pass, official says

US President Donald Trump's message to the World Jewish Congress included strong words of support for Israel.

To all of you tonight who have come from around the world, let it be known. America stands strong with the state of Israel.

One would think that an organization such as J Street, which calls itself pro-Israel, would link to a video of the President's words but, as of now, the site only has an article titled WORD ON THE STREET: REMEMBERING THE SHOAH which bashes the President and his administration.

Pope creates firestorm saying Muslim refugee camps resemble Nazi death camps


UN ELECTS SAUDI ARABIA TO WOMEN’S RIGHTS COMMISSION

22 Apr 2017

True purity

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 97) says that Moshiach will come when every government in the world turns to Apikursus. Rava says, "We see it from the pasuk (Tazria 13:13) 'Kulo Hafach Lavan Tahor Hu;' when a nega spreads through a person's entire body he is tahor." What is the connection?

Rav Shamshon Rephael Hirsch says that white is a distinguished color, the color of purity, righteousness, and innocence. It is the color of a special breed. When every country turns to Apikursus and cloak themselves in righteousness, only then will Moshiach come and spread true purity on the world.
http://revach.net/parshas-hashavua/quick-vort/Parshas-Tazria-Rav-Shamshon-Rephael-Hirsch-When-The-Whole-World-Goes-White/5023

16 Apr 2017

Guerrillas and chimpanzees

Palestinian Official: White House Inhabited by Israeli Settlers

ElderofZiyon recently published a post titled NYT Easter bias against Israel, 1954.
Someone posted a comment regarding the article.

Note the language used in 1954. There was no "border" or "Arab East Jerusalem". They describe an "armistice line" that divides Jerusalem into "Arab and Israeli-held" parts. The Arab-held part, under Jordanian army occupation, was not described as the capital of "Palestine." There was no mention of Palestinian people, only a historical reference to pre-1948 Palestine.

I started looking at terminology used regarding Palestine and Israel from years ago and came across a Chicago Tribune page from 1970. Airplane hijackers were called guerrillas, A map of the region identifies the West Bank as Jordan and Leila Khaled is described as an attractive girl hijacker.

UK Queen Feeds Bananas to Elephants at Zoo

שביעי של פסח: הרב עידו וובר עם וורט לחג

A Passover story

A Story for Pesach/Passover - The Power of Patience

Shabbos Night Live with Rabbi Shmuel Butman: The blessing the Rebbe gave a barren woman and the revelations about the "Seudah of Moshiach."

Husband and wife discover they are biological twins after IVF clinic performs routine DNA test

Spotted: Waiting for Mashiach at Airport

British Student Killed in Mysterious Tragic Circumstances

IsraellyCool asked a question a few days ago. Why Does The Anne Frank Center Keep Changing Its Story?

"In the 2013 version of the Center’s website, is this claim:

Founded in 1977 by Anne’s father Otto, The Anne Frank Center USA, a partner of the Anne Frank House…"

I checked the February 15, 2014 version which states:

Otto Frank started the Anne Frank Foundation, Inc. in New York in 1959, which was incorporated in 1977 as The Anne Frank Center USA. The Anne Frank Center USA, a partner of the Anne Frank House,

The January 1, 2017 version reads:

In 1959, Otto Frank, Annes father, founded our organization as the Anne Frank Foundation, the American partner of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the Anne Frank Fonds in Basel....
In 1977, the organization renamed itself The Anne Frank Center USA. In 2016, the organization expanded its name to the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, 

A statement posted on the AnneFrank.org site includes the following:

We have taken note of various recent statements by Steven Goldstein, director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York, in connection with political developments in the USA. The Center works together with the Anne Frank House in the field of education but is an independent organisation which pursues its own policy. That also applies to the abovementioned statements, which the Anne Frank House has had no involvement with. ... We stay out of the political playing field,
http://www.annefrank.org/en/News/News/2017/April/Statement-about-Anne-Frank-Center/

14 Apr 2017

A press release

A number of days ago Shmuel Rosner wrote an article titled Keep Your Politics Out of Passover.

Passover is for celebrating the transcendent, the mysterious, the eternal, not rehashing worn-out political debates. It is a night to find new meaning in an old script, not to force the text into a preconceived political platform.

Michael Freund opines about the same theme in an article titled FUNDAMENTALLY FREUND: THE PERVERSE POLITICIZATION OF PASSOVER.

For a moment, I thought I was reading a press release issued by the Democratic Party rather than an appendage to the Haggada prepared by a Jewish organization.

An April 7 Facebook post from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect contains a new rendition of a popular song.

Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect now presents this social justice supplement to Dayenu called "Lo Dayenu," it is not enough.

The new stanzas are located on the Facebook page.

D. Pelcovitz explains the word "yehudi."

Where does the name “Jew”, Yehudi, come from? Why are we not called” Hebrew” or “Israelite”, as we were classified in early times? The reason, according to our teachers, is because the root of the name “Yehuda” is to thank — to express gratitude.  ...A Jew must always feel this same sense of gratitude to God, continually recognizing that he is the recipient of heavenly blessings - the antithesis of a sense of entitlement. 
http://huc.edu/ckimages/files/Kalsman/Pelcovitz,%20D%20-%20GRATITUDE%20%20chapter%20from%20Pelcovitz%20and%20Pelcovitz.pdf

I don't know about you but singing to G-d "it is not enough" does not sound like gratitude but rather like a sense of entitlement.

IsraellyCool pointed to an article that was published at the Guardian and later removed but subsequently reinstated.

This article was taken down for review on 12 April 2017, amended to correct and clarify details and republished on 13 April 2017. 

Why did the article need to be corrected? After all, if it passed the editing stage before it was published, it can't be that someone made false statements, can it?

I compared the newly published article with an earlier cached version,

Summary killings was edited to killings,

The italicized words were removed.

As the bus sways through a blasted landscape of rubble and twisted metal, our Palestinian guide points out evidence of what he calls an apartheid society. It is shocking just how many walls there are. “These are apartheid roads,” he says, indicating a sleek dual carriageway stretching for miles. Walled on both sides, and topped with razor wire, this road is for Israelis only. To travel the same route, Palestinians must go five times the distance through a series of grubby checkpoints that are studies in dehumanisation.
Despite unemployment among Palestinians being at 51%... 

because Arabic is eradicated here....

with musicians in Gaza who are "forbidden" to leave the strip was changed to "who faced difficulties."


13 Apr 2017

The changing story

IsraellyCool asks Why Does The Anne Frank Center Keep Changing Its Story?

On the same day that IsraellyCool asked the question, the Wiki entry for Steven Goldstein was modified.

Steven Goldstein is Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, which addresses civil and human rights across America and is the U.S. national organization in the international network of Anne Frank organizations. https://web.archive.org/web/20170223083112/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Goldstein_(civil_rights_activist)

Steven Goldstein is Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, which addresses civil and human rights across America and is the independent U.S. national organization among Anne Frank organizations worldwide.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Goldstein_(civil_rights_activist)

The Clarion Project asks Why is the Dept. of Education Promoting Islam to School Kids?

You can check out the timeline of the modern era over here. The Yom Kippur War is not included in the timeline. The entry for 2001 is not related to a certain event that took place involving airlines but rather "The Second Intifadah is sparked after Ariel Sharon visits the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third most sacred site in Islam."
A wiki entry states, "Sharon did not actually go into the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Intifada

Checking for Chametz

Marvel fires Muslim artist who put anti-Semitic and anti-Christian messages in X-men comic

Rabbi Avi Wiesenfeld - Pesach Burst of Inspiration 5777

Rabbi Fischel Schachter - Pesach Burst of Inspiration 5777

12 Apr 2017

The lesson plan

Blog: A desire for Jerusalem to be capital

The Blaze has a post titled Exclusive: PBS lesson plan encourages students, teachers to sympathize with Islamic suicide bombers.

CNN Documentary Believer with Reza Aslan 4 9 17 -  Many people have opined about this program and how Reza Aslan portrays the haredi sector in Israel. At one point he interviews a representative of Women of the Wall and questions, "So, hurting people's feelings is an arrestable offense?"
I suppose he doesn't have the same question about Jews being arrested at the Temple Mount if they pray at their holiest site.

10 Apr 2017

Politics

Keep Your Politics Out of Passover

Someone left a comment on ElderofZiyon's post titled J-Street Haggadah anything but "pro-Israel."

"They cynically use the bits of Torah that suit their purposes, or that they can twist to fit their needs."

Kelly Beasley writes about another Wikileaks revelation over here.

Viktor Frankl, Passover, and the Meaning of Freedom

מרן שר התורה סיים את כל התורה • תיעוד מיוחד מהבית

Rubashkin Speaks From Prison

7 Apr 2017

Shabbat Hagadol

For those of you who understand Hebrew, there is a not to be missed video on reshet about two women who have been organizing the Pesach seder for 14 years for people who have lost family members. You can view the video over here.

Report: New PA Textbooks More Radical Than Previous Editions

What is Shabbat Hagadol

Citing Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, President Trump Declares Education Day

Parshas Tzav - “Small” Actions Make Great People


3 Apr 2017

Dtzach, Adash, B'Achav

Winning the struggle for religious rights in the IDF

High schoolers’ assignment: Present argument in favor of the Holocaust

The Hagada tells us that Rebbi Yehuda made and mnemonic to remember the 10 makos. Was that all this is about? Is there any significance in the words themselves? The Otzar Divrei HaMeforshim brings a number of explanations for these words.

The Chavas Da'as explains that while we are happy to see the downfall of our oppressors the Mitzrim, since we are in Galus we need to be quiet about our happiness. Dtzach is from Ditza, happiness. Adash is a lentil which is silent and has no opening or mouth as Chazal tell us. Dtzach Adash, our happiness at the seder should be done quietly so as not to make waves in Galus. For this reason we therefore also perform signs of aveilus at the seder like eating an egg. B'Achav, or B'Ahava means that we will continue to struggle in our galus with love for Hashem as we wait for the day of our final geula, when our happiness will be complete and out in the open.

The Hagadah Marbeh L'Saper from the son of the Korban Nesanel says that as part of Yaakov's purchase of he Bechor from Eisav, we had to suffer slavery in Mitzrayim. The entire time Bnei Yisroel were in Mitzrayim they were unhappy with the deal that Yaakov made. Only after they went out, were they happy. Dtzach - only now were they happy. Adash - with the sale of the Bechor for Adashim. B'Achav - that Yaakov purchased from his brother.

The Nefesh Yehonoson says that the mishna in Brachos says we must give a bracha to Hashem for the bad just like we do for the good. Dtzach, in time of happiness, Adash, in times of aveilus when we eat lentils, B'Achav, we accept them both from Hashem with love.
http://revach.net/moadim/hagadah-shel-pesach/Dtzach-Adash-BAchav-The-Secret-Behind-The-Words/3626

Dichotomies

Memorial Service held for Victims of Rasmea Odeh, as Jewish Voice for Peace celebrates her

Visiting Knesset Member to American Jewish Critic: Protecting Israel’s Security Is More Important Than Pleasing You

Simcha With Simcha

Alert and stories on Kushner visiting Iraq withdrawn - Reuters published, "UPDATED: The story "Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner visits Iraq, U.S. official says", The accompanying alert and subsequent update are wrong and are withdrawn."
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/02/trump-son-in-law-jared-kushner-visits-iraq-us-official-says.html

Now what about all the news sites who published the original story? Have they withdrawn the story? It reminds me of the story about lashon hara, "A Pillow Full of Feathers."

Updated: If you click on the link from CNBC the headline now reads, "Trump's son-in-law, Kushner, flies into Iraq with top US general" and there is a correction at the bottom of the article.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story was incorrect and withdrawn by Reuters.

IsraellyCool has video from Rasmea Odeh speaking at the Jewish Voice for Peace Conference in which she got a standing ovation as well as vociferous clapping for statements such as, "I will continue the struggle for the right of return ... and for the establishment of a democratic state on the entirety of the historic land of Palestine."

Aisha Odeh speaks about Rasmea Odeh over here.

2 Apr 2017

A possible discovery

How Does An Avreich From Mir End Up With NIS 13,501,350 In The Bank?

Cemetery Renovations Lead To Possible Discovery Of Ibn Ezra’s Kever

The Hagada tells us regarding the Rasha, "U'Lfi SheHotzi Atzmo Min HaKlal Kafar B'aIkar", because he removed himself from the tzibur he is a Kofer. Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer asks shouldn't it say the opposite way around, since he is a Kofer he has removed himself from the tzibur?

He answers with a story from his Rebbi, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik. A person who had left the Torah way came to Rav Chaim and said that he had a number of questions about Judaism. Rav Chaim said to him that if he has questions, he has no problem to answer them for him. However he doesn't really have questions, he only really has answers. He has answers and excuses why he has left Yiddishkeit, cloaked in the form of questions. However he left Torah because it was convenient for him and he merely concocted the questions to justify his actions. Questions like that can never be answered to the questioners satisfaction.

This is what the Baal Haggadah says about the Rasha. Since he has chosen to remove himself from the tzibur that keeps Torah in order to chase his heart's desires, therefore he is Kofer BaIkar. His Kefira is only a justification for separating from the religious way of life and is not a real theological issue.
http://revach.net/moadim/hagadah-shel-pesach/Rav-Chaim-Brisker-The-Rasha-What-Comes-First-The-Kefira-Or-The-Lifestyle/4475

Morals

Man Returns Library Book 35 Years Later With $200 Check And Author’s Autograph

Moral Mike Pence Won’t Dine With Female Staffers Without His Wife

Panelists Prove Jewish Voice for Peace is Neither