"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 Mar 2011

Shop till you drop

Reading United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks made in Uruguay in support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Opens in Montevideo, one notices the onus is placed on Israel. There is no mention of divisons within the Palestinian factions, no mention of the rocket attacks on Israel and a call to open border crossings into Gaza, despite Israel's capture of a freighter carrying Iranian-made weapons for Hamas. "A way must be found for Jerusalem to emerge as the capital of both Israel and Palestine."
In a keynote address, Saeb Erakat called for leading the "way by boycotting imported goods made in Israeli settlements."
Read full article: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2011/gapal1191.doc.htm

Incidentally, the StandWithUs organization is urging individuals to buy Israeli goods today to counter the global anti-Israel boycott day.
Counter the anti-Israel boycott called for March 30, 2011. * Shop at stores that sell Israeli products. * Tell store managers you are there to counter the boycott. * Ask the manager to show you the store's Israeli products * Buy any Israeli products you can use. Make March 30 a record day for sales of Israeli products!!

29 Mar 2011

The three legged table

The Gemara (Ta'anis 25a) tells the story of R' Chanina ben Dosa and his wife. R' Chanina, it is said, made do with so little, that from one Shabbos to the next all he ate was a small measure of carob. Once his wife complained about their extreme poverty. "How long are you going to make us suffer like this," she asked. Rabbi Chanina prayed, and a golden table-leg was given to him. That night, his wife had a dream in which she saw all the righteous in Gan Eden sitting at tables with three legs, while R' Chanina and his wife had a table with only two. "If that's the case," she said, "I don't need it; I'd rather suffer than to diminish our Olam Ha- ba!" He prayed again, and the golden leg was taken back. The Rabbis taught: The second miracle (the revoking of the leg) was greater than the first, for normally things may be granted from Heaven, but they are never taken back!

My son related to me an incident that had occurred to him while traveling on the train yesterday morning. Someone had left his keys on one of the seats of the train. As my son was exiting the train, he spotted the keys. He and a fellow passenger decided they would remove the keys and would hand it in to the lost and found department in the station. As they left the train, they saw a man running frantically towards the train. They ascertained that he had indeed left his keys on one of the seats and they returned them to him, no worse for the wear. I asked my son if he had received a reward. He looked at me incredulously. "A reward? Here? Do I want a two legged table in Olam Haba?"
Yesterday evening I chanced upon an article that I chose not to post. Leave it for some other blogger to rationalize that it's not lashon hora if it has already been publicized in the media. As for me, I would rather work on achieving the reward of a three legged stool than getting temporal satisfaction from having a popular blog post for the day. Baruch Hashem, other bloggers felt the same way.

In praise of Israel

I knew that the message was understood when one of our students asked, “I see Palestinian neighborhoods all over Israel, what is the problem with Israelis having neighborhoods (settlements) within Palestinian areas?” His point was poignant as it highlighted Israel’s preparedness to live in peace with its neighbors and the refusal with which this has been met.
Read full article: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4048670,00.html

Commander of the Delegation, Brig. Gen. Shalom Ben-Arieh and the Israeli Ambassador to Japan, Nissim Ben Shitrit, brief the aid delegation upon their arrival to the town of Minami Sanriku in the Miyagi Prefecture.

28 Mar 2011

Facebook depression

I could have posted something that would have generated more traffic, but I won't.
Teens who frequently use Facebook have more to worry about than lost homework time. A new condition dubbed "Facebook depression" may affect teenagers who spend a significant amount of time on the social-networking site, researchers warned in the latest issue of Pediatrics Journal. The problem, researchers found, was that the popular website's constant feed of status, picture and message updates gave users a skewed view of reality, which could make vulnerable kids feel like they aren't good enough.

You don't have to be a teenager to suffer Facebook depression. Facebook will monitor a page calling for a third Palestinian uprising against Israel but will not remove it. http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/03/28/3086590/facebook-to-monitor-intifada-page-wont-remove-it

And here is an article that did a good job of getting me depressed.

2 Mar 2011

Parshat Shekalim

Resh Lakish said "On the first of Adar, an announcement is made concerning the Shekalim." (Masechet Megillah)
The first of the Four Special Shabbatot is Shabbat Parshat Shekalim. It occurs either on the last Shabbat of the month of Shevat, or on the Shabbat which in that year coincides with Rosh Chodesh Adar, or on a Shabbat early in Adar. A special reading, taken from Parshat KiTisa (Shemot 30:11-16) is appended to the regular Torah reading.

Read full article to obtain a fascinating overview about Parshat Shekalim which will be read this coming Shabbos.

1 Mar 2011

Paying the piper

First was the news about the German Foreign minister's resignation over plagiarism charges.
Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a charismatic Bavarian aristocrat who charmed the electorate and was widely seen as a future chancellor, announced his withdrawal from politics on Tuesday amid a mounting controversy over his doctoral thesis, which has been exposed as heavily plagiarized.

Next came the news about allegations of plagiarism by Colonel Gadaffi's son.
The London School of Economics has confirmed it is investigating allegations that Colonel Gaddafi's son plagiarised his PhD thesis.
Read full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12608869

Finally, as Dior fired its creative director, John Galliano, after a video surfaced of the designer making offensive remarks, it behooves us to remember that there is a day of reckoning. We might get away with certain actions, for a while, but, eventually, we will have to pay the piper.

Concentrate on three things and you will not fall into the grip of sin: Know what is above you — a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all your deeds being recorded in a book.
Ethics of the Fathers

With pride

“I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today. In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way. I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.” Natalie Portman
Read full article: http://runway.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/natalie-portman-condemns-galliano/?hp

"He lived a long and rich life as a true American patriot," said Sen. Joe Manchin, "and I hope that his family's loss is lightened with the knowledge that he was loved and will be missed by so many."
I came across an article about the Frank Buckles titled Buckles, last WWI doughboy, dies at 110 in W.Va.
Click here to read about a man who lied about his age to be able to enlist in the army and served his nation with pride. - A pity we don't have more of those like him around.

Kosher food, anyone?

Rabbi David Saperstein was interviewed recently by JTA about comments made by Glenn Beck regarding Reform Judaism.

“His description of the Reform movement ignores the fact that we're the largest segment of American Jewry,” Saperstein said. “It has been over the last 30 years the fastest growing liberal theological denomination in America. And that is true because of the richness of the religious, spiritual and faith fulfillment it offers a very diverse constituency that defines our movement.

Rabbi Saperstein was the main speaker at the J Street Conference opening session this past Saturday night. I posted that I wouldn't be at the conference because "it would be quite hard to attend the opening session scheduled so close to the end of Shabbos. In addition, my husband likes to daven with a minyan and I didn't see any prayer services mentioned in the conference schedule."
I also wondered if I would be able to obtain kosher food but imagined it would be provided as a participating organization was rabbis for human rights.

Well, now I have my answer about the availability of kosher food. Click here to read full article.

Where is the religious fulfillment?