"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
25 Apr 2012
As I write this, another memory comes to mind. My father, HaRav HaGaon HaTzaddik Avrohom HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, would often tell us, “When difficult days come upon you, always remember that if G-d gave you those challenges it is so that you should help others find their way when they are confronted with their own struggles and life’s tests.”
Read full article: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/i-will-keep-dancing/2012/04/25/
As the family of Reb Eliyahu Deri z”l, father of former Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri, sit shiva, I was touched at how all those at the shiva house got up to show respect when they heard the siren commemorating fallen Israeli soldiers.
24 Apr 2012
Click here to read answer by Benjamin Rose. It is interesting to read the comment below the devar Torah posted by Matis.
Read full transcript: http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2012/db120423.doc.htm
We have time for one or two questions. Masood?
Question: Now, number one, I wanted to ask you, now that you talked about this Palestinian question and that it took, I mean, Gaza is not united, but the West Bank and so forth, and then in the background of this meeting happening on the Holocaust. Has the Secretary-General talked to the Israeli authorities about releasing thousands of Israeli, I mean Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails who have not been had recourse to law? That is the bottom line. Will he be in talking, once again, to the Israeli parliamentarians or Knesset leaders who hear about this issue?
Deputy Spokesperson: The Secretary-General, as you know, Masood, and we said it when he visited the region in January/February, spoke extensively to leaders of the region; he expressed his views. His Special Representative there, Mr. Robert Serry, is in daily contact with Palestinian and Israeli authorities; they know what the Secretary-General’s views are. And again, Mr. Pascoe, this morning, again reiterated the Secretary-General’s views at the Security Council. I would invite you to read his speech, which is available in our office.
Question: Yes, sir, my question is basically related to the events that are going to take place here today. In that, in the backdrop of that, which is also a very solemn event about the Holocaust, is a very solemn event, and it is a very tragic event that happened. But, the arrest and incarceration of thousands of Palestinians without recourse to law is also tragic.
Deputy Spokesperson: Nizar?
Question: [inaudible] regarding this Holocaust event. Is the Secretary-General going to raise the issue of implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone’s committee report? Is he going to raise that, I mean this, this ceremonial, rather, I mean, one representing [inaudible]?
Deputy Spokesperson: Well, this is a ceremony marking the Holocaust and I think we are going to leave it at that. I don’t have any further information.
Question: [Inaudible] accountability, of course, that being implemented with regard to those perpetrators of the Holocaust and [inaudible] example of that, these people who committed similar crimes a few years ago still aren’t touched, and there doesn’t look like there is a will among the international community to pursue, bringing them to justice. Isn’t that a part of [inaudible]…?
Deputy Spokesperson: I didn’t, I can’t hear; the microphone isn’t turned on properly.
Question: I, I said, since Eichmann and the likes of Eichmann were tried, shouldn’t there be some accountability for those who perpetrated crimes as established in the Goldstone report and bring, being brought to justice, rather than just remembering the past?
23 Apr 2012
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday he was denied entry into Afghanistan because of his critical views of that country’s government.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0412/75467.html#ixzz1st51ockP
If you google "Gunter grass denied entry," you will find articles with subjects such as "Israel's ban on Günter Grass is undemocratic," "Denied entry into Israel criticized," "to ban him is infantile pique." Let's see which articles will be written about Rep. Rohrabacher's ban.
..."On the other hand, when it comes to their direct dealings with Jew haters, Westerners not only fail to confront them about their prejudice. They enable it. For instance, at a townhall meeting during her visit to Tunisia last month, Hillary Clinton was asked how US leaders can be trusted when during elections, "most of the candidates from both sides run towards the Zionist lobbies to get their support."
Rather than reject the anti-Jewish premise of the question — that Jews exert inordinate control over US politics or that there is something wrong with candidates expressing support for Israel — Clinton treated the question as legitimate."
Read full article: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0412/glick042012.php3
22 Apr 2012
A man named Avi consulted Dr. Ha'etzni after regaining some weight he had lost.
“I’m a mess, the world’s a mess and my future is even more so,” he told her. Avi recalled that a few days before, he was at the supermarket and saw a couple looking at him and whispering to each other that ‘it is too much.’ He thought they were saying he was obese, but in fact, upon getting closer, he heard them complaining he had put more than 10 items of groceries in his shopping cart even though he was in an express line.
Noting his lack of self-confidence, Ha’etzni asked if something good happened to him in the past week, and he remembered he had been appointed to head a new project at work and even won a small sum with a lottery ticket.
“This story illustrates a central idea in cognitive psychology, mood congruent memory, in which people tend to pull out memories that suit their current moods.”
Read full article: http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=266995
Aish.com has an article about a husband whose changed way of thinking saved his marriage.
Speaking about rocks, Chadrei Charedim has an article about a thirteen-year-old boy and his friends who were attacked by Arab boys aged 8 through 10 who threw rocks at them while they were making their way home from evening prayers at the Kotel on Friday evening. One boy used a slingshot and a rock hit the thirteen-year-old in the eye. Doctors at Hadassah hospital suspect that he may lose sight in that eye, as a result of the attack. Please pray for a refuah sheleima for Natan ben Sarah.
21 Apr 2012
The sefer, Ta'amei HaMinhagim, (page 251) writes that the Jewish month of Iyar is a time for refuah (healing). אייר is an acronym for אני ה' רפואך (I am HaShem, your Healer). Additionally, he cites the B'nai Yissaschar, who teaches that most weakness and illness come from foods which are harmful to a person's nature or composition. The Rambam (Hilchos De'os 4:15) writes likewise. See also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch chapter 32.
The mahn began to fall in this month (on the 16th day of Iyar 2448). It was the perfect food, from which no sickness, pain or even waste matter resulted (as Dovid HaMelech refers to it in Sefer Tehillim--"lechem abirim"). It even cured those who were ill. Therefore, HaShem left the curative nature of the month in effect for all generations. Accordingly, Iyar is a time of segulah l'refuah.
On another subject, there is an interesting podcast of a discussion between Peter Beinart and Richard Baehr at American Thinker. Click here to listen or download.
20 Apr 2012
If you click on this link which identifies this week's parsha, you will see the following.
Shmini Israel: Tazria-Metzora
As last Saturday was Pesach for those outside of Israel, the Torah reading was about the holiday. However, in Israel, Pesach had ended on Friday so the Torah reading on Saturday was the weekly parsha of Shemini. So, now we have to play catch up. As I usually post a thought about the weekly parsha, I wasn't sure whether to write about Shemini or Tazria-Metzorah. Then, I received a great Torah thought on Parshat Shemini by Rabbi Frand sent by Torah.org and decided to go with it.
This week's parsha contains the first occurrence of the laws related to identifying Kosher animals, fish, and fowl in the Torah. The pasuk says: "But this is what you shall not eat from among those that bring up their cud or that have split hooves: the camel (gamal), for it brings up its cud but its hoof is not split (parsah einenu mafris) – it is impure to you; and the hyrax (shafan), for it brings up its cud but its hoof is not split (parsah lo yafris)– it is impure to you; and the hare (arneves), for it brings up its cud, but its hoof is not split (parsah lo hifrisa) – it is impure to you." [Vayikra 11:4-6].
There is a striking inconsistency here. With the camel, the verb used to discuss the fact that the hoof is not split is conjugated in the present tense: "Parsah einenu MAFRIS" [the hoof IS NOT split]. Yet with the shafan, the verb is in the present "Parsah lo YAFRIS" [the hoof WILL NOT BE split]. Finally, with the arneves, the verb used is in the p ast tense: "Parsah lo HIFRISA" [the hoof WAS NOT split].
This is glaring. The terms should all be present, all future, or all past tense. There has to be a message here in the fact that the Torah uses a different form of the verb for each of these three animals.
I saw a beautiful homiletic thought on this matter. When someone is about to pronounce "Tameh" [Impure] on a species or on any entity, one needs to be aware of its past, its present, and its future. Unless one is aware of the situation in the past, present, and future, one does not know the whole story and should not be so quick to pronounce the words "Tameh hu" [this one is impure].
19 Apr 2012
Alana Goodman has penned an article titled NJDC’s False Claims About Eric Cantor.
Ben Shapiro discusses an anti-Semitic cartoon in an article titled Occupy Facebook Page Touts Jew Hating Cartoon. If you try to access the cartoon, a message now appears, "This content is currently unavailable."
12 Apr 2012
And speaking about food, the following is an excerpt from a daily halachah email I received authored by Rabbi Eli Mansour.
When Yom Tov falls on Friday, Halacha forbids cooking or making any preparations on that day for Shabbat, unless one follows the procedure known as "Eruv Tavshilin." The Eruv Tavshilin is made on Erev Yom Tov; thus, if Yom Tov falls on Friday and Shabbat, one would make the Eruv Tavshilin on Thursday, before the onset of Yom Tov. One takes a Ke'zayit (the volume of an olive) of bread – or, on Pesach, Matza – together with a cooked food – our practice is to use an egg – and sets them aside. He then makes the formal declaration stating that through this Eruv it will be permitted to cook, bake and make any preparations necessary on Yom Tov for Shabbat. Without making an Eruv Tavshilin, one may not prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbat.
11 Apr 2012
Another voice from the past is telling the stories of the Holocaust.
Violins that outlived the owners who played them in the death camps and Jewish ghettos are being brought back to life by Amnon Weinstein in his shop in Tel Aviv. As Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance) gatherings occur around the world in April, 18violins tracked down and repaired by Weinstein will be unveiled in Charlotte, N.C.
Read full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/holocaust-violins-live-to_n_1416223.html?ref=religion
Jacques Berlinerblau has penned an article Is It Anti-Zionism or Anti-Semitism?
Abraham Foxman discusses the same subject in an article titled Revisiting Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism.
The other day I read an article by Mr. Tobin which I quite liked and blogged about it. But, in this case, I did not send the author an email with words of appreciation for his writing. So, I am about to correct that. As soon as I finish this post, I plan to write another email to Mr. Tobin, complimenting him on his fine article.
And speaking of words of appreciation, I would like to thank the Chazan who sang a beautiful rendition of "Hallelu" during the Yom Tov prayer this past Sunday. For those who missed it, here it is below.
10 Apr 2012
"The Chofetz Chaim says that most occurrences of Lashon Harah happen because the violator did not give the benefit of doubt (lo danu l'kaf zechus) to the person about whom he spoke. The root of the problem thus does not start with one's mouth. The problem ultimately begins with a negative assessment. A person makes a judgment or assessment about someone and the problem is in the assessment. If, writes the Chofetz Chaim, people would always take the trouble of giving their fellow man the benefit of the doubt, Lashon Hara would not begin."
As one watches the videos below, one cannot help but resolve not to jump to conclusions. There is another side to the story of which we are unaware.
"There were once some highwaymen in the neighbourhood of R. Meir who caused him a great deal of trouble. R. Meir accordingly prayed that they should die. His wife Beruria said to him: How do you make out [that such a prayer should be permitted]? Because it is written Let hatta'im cease? Is it written hot'im?5 It is written hatta'im! Further, look at the end of the verse: and let the wicked men be no more. Since the sins will cease, there will be no more wicked men! Rather pray for them that they should repent, and there will be no more wicked. He did pray for them, and they repented."
I was reminded of this incident in the Talmud when I read an article this morning about a judge who ruled that "praying for God to hurt someone is not illegal."
Is it okay to ask God to do harm to another person? The theology of such “imprecatory prayer” may be a matter of debate, but a Dallas judge has ruled it is legal, at least as long as no one is actually threatened or harmed.
Read full article: http://www.religionnews.com/politics/law-and-court/Praying-for-God-to-hurt-someone-is-not-illegal-judge-rules
9 Apr 2012
One of the most disturbing aspects of modern American Jewish life is the almost obsessive desire of many Jews to universalize every aspect of Jewish belief while downplaying the original meanings of customs and ritual.
... This year, there are more egregious examples of this trend. The National Jewish Democratic Council has published a new version of the “Four Questions” from the Haggadah that is a paean, not to the liberation of the Jews from Egypt, but to the wonders of Barack Obama, to whom the NJDC directs Americans to express thanks rather than their Creator.
Read full article: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/04/06/dems-turn-passover-into-obama-worship/
Click on the link to the new version of the four questions and tell me if you don't agree with Mr. Tobin, as well.
The Lakewood Scoop reports Hispanic Men & Women Dressed As Jews To Collect Money Stopped By Police
The above article reminded me of an incident that Rebbetzin Jungreis wrote about in a column a number of weeks ago titled Purim Afterthoughts.
This year, a Hispanic-looking man wearing a yarmulke came through my door and announced he was collecting money for himself and his family. He explained that they were in dire need of support.
As I mentioned, I always have a tray of cake on the table and invite all those who come in to make a berachah. On my counter I also happened to have some food I was preparing. Without asking, this man went to the counter and helped himself to the food.
“I didn’t hear you make a berachah,” I said. “I always like to say ‘Amen.’”
He ignored me and just went on eating. I became suspicious and doubted he was a Jew.
“Do you know how to say ‘hello’ in Hebrew?” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Do you know what we do as we enter and depart from a house?”
This time he answered “yes,” placing his hand on his lips and making some kissing sounds in the direction of the door.
“What is this called?” I asked, pointing to the mezuzah.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“I don’t think you’re a Jew,” I said. You just want to collect money from Jews.”
Before sending the man on his way I told him, “I will give you a few dollars because it is Purim and we are a compassionate people. But please don’t try to take advantage of our goodness in this way again.”
ADL's Regional Director Derrek L. Shulman also released a statement regarding the crimes:
"When two incidents of hate occur near a temple at the start of a major Jewish holiday, it reminds us that anti-Semitism still exists and demands that all members of our shared community confront acts of hate as attacks on everyone who values decency and respect."
Read full article: http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/crime_files/crime_watch/anti-semitic-message-left-on-brighton-couples-car-during-passover-20120407
On a different topic, Breitbart has a piece titled Exodus: MJ Rosenberg Sacrificed For Media Matters' Sins.
In his twitter account, Mr. Rosenberg discusses the Times piece about Mitt Romney and Netanyahu, suggesting, "the 4% of US Jews who vote based on Israel r all voting 4 Romney. Obama shd write them off" and further opining that "if Romney wins, Netanyahu will openly run US policy."
8 Apr 2012
First up was Mitt Romney.
"Ann joins me in wishing everyone sitting down for a Passover Seder a joyous time with family and friends."
I was about to present the award to the President for using the Hebrew words, "chag sameach."
"President Obama wishes a chag sameach to all those celebrating Passover this weekend."
But then I came across Newt Gingrich's twitter feed and decided to cast my vote for him.
"Netanyahu needs the full support of the United States. I will always stand with Israel."
6 Apr 2012
For those who understand Hebrew, there is an article about a conversation between Rabbi Ben Zion Kook and Avivit Shaer which is worthwhile reading.
Naomi Zeveloff writes about Jewish views on patrilineal descent.
When it comes to Jewish continuity, intermarried couples in which the wife is Jewish fare far better than intermarried couples in which the husband is Jewish. According to the National Jewish Population Survey of 2000–2001, Jewish women who marry non-Jewish men are more than twice as likely (47 percent) to raise their children as Jews than Jewish men who marry out of the faith (28 percent).
Read full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/patrilineal-descent-jews-still-find-resistance-_n_1403385.html
It is very curious that the mitzva of Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim is expressed by Chazal as one of verbosity. The Gemara tells us that the matza is called Lechem Oni," she'onim alav devarim harbeh". This is reinforced by the author of the Haggada, who stresses from the outset, "Vechol hamarbeh lesaper biyetzias mitzrayim harei zeh meshubach". In general, we find that the rabbis discouraged long- windedness as it says in Pirkei Avos: "Vechol hamarbeh dvarim mayvee chet." This is reiterated in Masechet Pesachim: " A teacher should teach his student in the shortest fashion." Reb Chaim Vital, the great kabbalist of Tsfat, understands the name "Pesach" as Peh Sach, the mouth converses. Why is the idea of speech so intrinsically connected with our chag?
It would seem that telling our story of freedom is distinctly different from other Mitzvot which are expressed orally, like, tefilla. Normally,speech is just a vehicle for the fulfillment of the mitzva, which involves communication; but in the case of the Pesach Seder, the mitzva lies in the speech itself. The essence of the mitzva is not only the communication, but also the expression of freedom that the speech represents. The more we speak, the more the atmosphere of freedom has been achieved.
Continue reading: http://www.darchenoam.org/articles/holidays/ar_pesach_rys.htm
Lesley Morris bought two packets at the Borehamwood branch of the supermarket on Wednesday, only to discover when she unpacked them that one was not kosher for Passover. Both packets had been on display next to each other in the store's designated Kosher for Passover section.
5 Apr 2012
The petition links Pollard's plight to US President Barack Obama's announced intention to award Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Obama, you mentioned in your Passover greetings that tomorrow night, Jews around the world "will give thanks for the blessings of freedom while remembering those who are still not free."
2 Apr 2012
Speaking about forgiving, AnashNews has a story about a class of seminary students who weren't getting engaged while the parallel class had no such problem. One girl remembered that they had hurt a girl's feelings. They went to consult Rav Steinman who advised them to be careful in not hurting other people and to finish sefer Tehilim and they should see a salvation.
Speaking about remembering, Matzav has an article about Sholom Rubashkin’s appeal heading to the Supreme Court for consideration today.
Please have Sholom Mordechai ben Rivka in your prayers.
1 Apr 2012
Anyway, author Sara Yoheved Rigler says that the happiness of winning won't last forever.
In fact, psychological studies do indicate that people have a “set happiness level.” One study revealed that whether a person wins the lottery or becomes paralyzed from the neck down, three to six months after the event, his/her happiness level returns to what it was before.
This finding bothered Professor of Psychology Robert Emmons of the University of California in Davis. He launched an experimental investigation for a way to “nudge up the happiness set point.” His experiments revealed the agent that indeed produces long-term happiness: gratitude. Prof. Emmon’s experiments showed that keeping a gratitude journal increases long-term happiness levels by 25%.
Read full article titled Passover & the phenomenal power of choosing to be grateful.
“I was hit with a tear-gas bomb on the side of my head and my back,” Dr. Barghouti said in a telephone interview from his hospital bed. “My scalp is injured, my right ear has problems, and they are checking to see if I have any spinal injury.”
The Israeli military spokesman’s office, in a set of Twitter messages and later over the telephone, said Dr. Barghouti had not been hit by an Israeli canister but had been attacked by other Palestinians. A few Palestinian witnesses offered a similar account.
...At the Qalandiya rally in the West Bank, a set of posters and a map put up for the rally showed Palestine consisting of all of Israel as well as the West Bank and Gaza. A demonstrator, Yusuf Abdulrahman al-Turk, when asked if he favored a two-state solution, replied: “We want all of Palestine. The Jews have no right to even one inch.”
Mondoweiss offers an update provided by Palestinian eyewitnesses including Jalal Abukhater that Barghouti was attacked by Palestinians.
In fact at Jalal's twitter account, there is an exchange between him and Budour.
"@Budour48 I'm deeply ashamed of what has happened, he just shouldn't have made a public hero of himself out of it by obviously lying!"
MaanNews reports that "A witness in Qalandiya, Jalal Abukhater, says Mustafa Barghouti was indeed the victim of an attack on partisan grounds."
Finally, here is Elder of Ziyon's take. Mustafa Barghouti was injured by Arabs, not the IDF.
Click here to listen to Mustafa Barghouti talking about the BDS movement before a vote last Thurdsay by the ParkSlope food coop.
Hint : Palestinian - nonviolence - Gandhi - Martin Luther King
Israel- opression, segregation, apartheid....