"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 Feb 2013

Divine guidance, mazal and perseverance

A friend of mine related to me that her daughter had a weekend with fellow classmates and the girls were told to prepare a hasgacha pratis story.
This morning I read an incredible story about a young man who demonstrated perseverance who "chanced" upon a man who ultimately offered him a job.

An unemployed teenager who embarked on a 10-mile walk through the snow for a job interview saw his dedication pay off after another restaurant owner, impressed with his work ethic, offered him a job at his business.
Continue reading: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/9895948/Jobless-Indiana-teenager-rewarded-for-long-walk-in-the-snow.html

If you don't happen to meet your future employer on the street, in addition to your effort, it would probably be wise to daven, as well.
Rabbi Paysach Krohn offers advice on how to pray in the video below.

Heartening stories

Chadrei Charedim reports about a couple who were married for 33 years and were finally blessed with a first child, a daughter. The man, who is a Rav, stated that even after the birth of his first daughter he continues to pray for those who have not yet achieved their wishes of having a child.

What a lesson for us to never give up hope, whether it's in terms of finding our zivug or something else that we have been praying for over the years. I am also impressed that, at the height of his joy, the Rav is able to reflect on the unfortunate situations of others and continues to pray for them.

Chadrei Charedim also has an article about a man who has two children and lives with his parents who found out that he won a lottery of 17 million Israel shekel.

"אני עובד קשה אך מאמין תמיד שישועת ה' כהרף עין וזו האג'נדה שלי, על פיה אני חי"

He plans to give a tenth to charity, to buy a flat and to help his family.

"It is imortant for me to make people happy, and now I have received a gift from G-d and, after all, I am only the messenger.

U.S. President Barack Obama has no intention of releasing Jonathan Pollard from prison, despite the fact that over 70,000 thousand people have already signed onto an online petition calling for Pollard’s release, Channel 10 News reported on Wednesday.
...Leftist writers A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman, Nobel Prize winning chemists Dan Shechtman and Aaron Ciechanover and the heads of major Israeli hospitals are also among those who signed the petition to Obama.

While it is discouraging to hear the news, I was heartened by the support of Israelis from all ends of the spectrum. May their unity find favor and may Jonathan Pollard be released speedily.

TheBlaze has an article about a student with a menatal disability who was allowed to play the last minutes of a basketball game. A video of what happened is posted below.

27 Feb 2013

The 17th of Adar

Today, Wednesday the 17th of Adar, in honor of the yahrzeits of Reizel, the mother of the Chasam Sofer,  and Rav Shimon, the Michtav Sofer, the son of the Chasam Sofer, I have posted two stories regarding the two great individuals.
The first deals with the circumstances of the Chasam Sofer's birth and the second relates to the Michtav Sofer's acceptance as Rov of Krakow.

Rabbi Moshe Sofer was born on Tishri 7, 5524 (September 14, 1763) in Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany. His father, Rabbi Shemuel, was a man filled of wisdom and the fear of G-d, and he became known for his work as a scribe. This was a family profession, hence the name Sofer (“scribe” in Hebrew). Rabbi Moshe’s mother was known in town as Reisel the Tzaddiket because of her many acts of charity.

What follows is the story of Rabbi Moshe Sofer’s birth: For twenty years, Rabbi Shemuel and his wife Reisel were unable to have children, and they both multiplied their prayers, fasts, and gifts to Tzeddakah. At the end of these twenty years, Reisel conceived and gave birth to a boy. She felt the birth approaching on the day before Shabbat Teshuvah, around nighttime, and she was very much afraid of profaning Shabbat because of it. She sent for the Rav of the town, Rabbi Avraham Abush, and asked him to help her by ordering that they wait until she give birth before welcoming Shabbat in Synagogue, for normally Shabbat was received very early. Accepting her request, the Rav said, “It is certain that the child who will emerge from this Tzaddiket will be among the great men of Israel.” That child, of course, was Rabbi Moshe Sofer. http://www.hevratpinto.org/tzadikim_eng/105_rabbi_moshe_sofer_the_chatam_sofer.html

The townspeople of Cracow waited in anticipation of the arrival of their new rov. A small minority had preferred a different rov and they were not too happy with the majority vote.

They decided that during the new rov's first drosho they would ask him some difficult questions and thus lower his dignity in the eyes of those present.

They did not reckon however with Rabbi Shimon Sofer's keen perception. As he walked up to the bimah on that first day, he had a feeling that some of the crowd were planning trouble. As a result, he began his drosho somewhat differently than he had planned.

"When I was a child living in Pressburg, there was a Jew who opened his shop on Shabbos. My father, the holy Chasam Sofer zt"l, instructed me to go to the Jew and inform him in the name of the rov that he was to close his shop. I did as I was told, but the brazen Yid laughed in my face, telling me not to bother him with such unimportant matters.

"I repeated his reply to my father, who told me to go to him again and say that if he doesn't close his shop he will be punished from Above. This time the shopkeeper became annoyed and warned me that if I dare to come again he'll thrash me thoroughly. I expressed my fear to my father that he would carry out his threat, but the Chasam Sofer commanded me, `Go to warn him a third time, and if he tries to hit you I'll teach you now one of the Holy Names of Hashem and that will protect you.'

"When the shopkeeper saw me approaching for the third time, he raised his fist in anger and strode towards me. I concentrated on the Name my father had taught me, and when the fellow reached my side he fell to the ground in a dead faint.

"Morai verabosai," announced Rabbi Shimon. "If you have come to argue in Torah with me lesheim Shomayim, so that the light of truth should shine forth, you are welcome to do so and the Torah will be glorified and strengthened. However, if your intentions are lo lishmoh and you have come to harm me, I will have you know that I still remember the Sheim that my father taught me."

Immediately the troublemakers were gripped by fear and they never dared to trouble the rov. http://www.chareidi.org/archives5772/kisiso/fsksavsfkss72.htm

The Holocaust and its symbols

Swastikas and other racist symbols painted on Jewish graves in Auckland can never be fully removed and will serve as a constant reminder of the pain and suffering of the holocaust, a religious leader says.
Robert Moulden was sentenced to 320 hours of community work, nine months of supervision and ordered to pay $3000 in reparations when he appeared at the Auckland District Court today.
Read more: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10868157

On a program of the Dutch NTR TV station, a number of Dutch Turkish youths said that they approved of the Holocaust.
Read more: http://badnewsfromthenetherlands.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/turkish-youths-approve-of-holocaust-on.html

26 Feb 2013

Religious accommodations

Getting schoolchildren to eat green vegetables is anything but easy. Getting students in ultra-Orthodox schools to eat these vegetables as part of their school lunch could soon become impossible.
Representatives of ultra-Orthodox groups have been petitioning the government, in meetings and through correspondence since last October, to exempt their schools from the legal requirement to serve leafy dark green vegetables as part of a menu eligible for federal funding.
Their reason has nothing to do with the taste of spinach, kale, or cabbage. It is because these and other leafy greens might be infested with tiny insects that would render them non-kosher. The groups have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find substitutes that would maintain the nutritional benefits of these vegetables without having ultra-Orthodox children risk eating food that might contradict their dietary laws.
Read more: http://forward.com/articles/171666/ultra-orthodox-schools-resist-mandate-on-vegetable/?p=all#ixzz2M2WK5A00

A Dutch appeals court has upheld a $90 fine against an Orthodox Jew who refused to show police an identity card, citing religious reasons.
Read more: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/158398/Dutch-Court%3A-Jews-Not-Exempt-From-Carrying-Their-ID-Cards-On-Shabbos.html

The Jews

At PMW, Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik point to an op-ed published by Palestinian news agency Ma'an.

"One wonders if the Jews belong to some other kind of human species... From where does all this evil and destructive energy derive? Do all the other nations deserve all this evil and hostility, just so that Jews may control them?"
Read more: http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=8600

National Review discusses an individual who is rooting for Chuck Hagel.

Chuck Hagel may not be having much luck winning over Republican senators, but at least someone is aware of his moral fiber — Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam. Yesterday he delivered his annual address at the Saviours’ Day convention in Chicago, Ill. In the speech, he praised Hagel for standing up to the “Jewish lobby,” and said Hagel was being punished only for stating what Farrakhan has argued for decades.
H/T Memeorandum

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Monday blasted an Oscars sketch in which potty-mouthed film star bear Ted joked about Jews in Hollywood, calling it "offensive and not remotely funny". ..."It only reinforces stereotypes which legitimise anti-Semitism. It is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs," he said.
Read more: http://www.channel24.co.za/Movies/News/Jewish-group-offended-by-Oscars-sketch-20130225

A hot air balloon flying over Egypt's ancient city of Luxor caught fire and crashed into a sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 foreign tourists, a security official said.

It was one of the worst crashes involving tourists in the country already struggling with a decimated tourism industry, two years after the 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak.

According to an Egyptian security official, the balloon carrying 21 tourists caught fire, which triggered an explosion in its gas canister, then plunged at least 300 metres from the sky. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/02/26/egypt-hot-air-balloon-crash.html

Who is going to be the first to blame the Jews for the balloon disaster?

25 Feb 2013

A seeing eye

Contemplate three things, and you will not come to the hands of transgression: Know what is above from you: a seeing eye, a listening ear, and all your deeds being inscribed in a book.
Pirkei Avot 2:1

One woman broke up with her fiance after she caught him on “street view”, cheating.

One woman was searching for an address on the Russian version of Google street view. She saw someone who looks very familiar to her, who she thought might be her fiance. She zoomed in and sure enough it was him with another woman.
Continue reading: http://www.yourjewishnews.com/2013/02/w6721.html

Does the story above give us pause to contemplate the truth of what was written in Pirkei Avot centuries before Google view came into being?

Coins of fire

The Medrash tells us that in order to explain the mitzva of the Shekalim, Hashem took out a coin of fire from underneath his Kisei HaKavod and showed it to Moshe. Rav Elyashiv asks two questions. First, had Moshe Rabbeinu never seen a coin in his life? Second, what exactly is Hashem doing hiding coins under his Kisei HaKavod?

He answers with a Tosfos in Chulin (42a) that Moshe couldn't understand how money, the most earthly of all creations, can save someone's neshama (Kofer Nefesh). So Hashem showed him a coin. Which coin? The gemara in Bava Basra (11a) says that during a hunger year Munbaz HaMelech emptied out his treasure chest to feed the poor people. His family became very mad that he was squandering the royal wealth. To this he replied that he is not losing the money, he saving the money up in Shamayim in a place where it will last forever while they squander money down on earth where it will eventually disappear.

Rav Elyashiv says these are the coins that Hashem took out to show Moshe. The coins that are given for tzedoka with Mesiras Nefesh are precious and are saved by Hashem under the Kisei HaKavod. Moshe understood that coins are made of destructive fire. They cause jealousy, cheating, stealing, and murder. Hashem showed him that coins can be made out of productive fire. Coins given for tzedoka can light the world and warm the world with their "Holy fire". On these coins Hashem said "Kazeh Yitnu". If the people give in this fashion then even coins can be Kofer Nefesh and money can redeem your soul.

Purim photo galleries

The Guardian has a photo gallery of Purim celebrated around the world over here. One particularly stunning photo is captioned " Balloons and masks adorn the walls of the main synagogue in Bucharest as people attend the festival." Click here to see the magnificent photo of the Bucharest synagogue.

The Independent manages to politicize its Purim gallery by labeling one child as a Jewish settler girl as opposed to a Jewish boy in another photo. 

Click here to see Children of Israeli settlers wearing costumes walk past an army vehicle as they celebrate the annual Purim parade. Click here to see A Jewish settler, dressed in costume, stands near Israeli soldiers as they guard a parade for the holiday of Purim in the West Bank city of Hebron. Click here to see  A Jewish settler girl walks in the annual Purim parade as an Israeli soldier looks over the procession in the West Bank city of Hebron.
Other captions include Two Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys dressed in costumes during the Purim festival in the town of Bnei Brak as well as Jewish children wear costumes during the Purim festival.

Breitbart discusses a 2009 report co-authored by Chuck Hagel "that called for U.S. troops to lead a peacekeeping force that would patrol the future borders between Israel and a Palestinian state."  

24 Feb 2013

The pizza delivery

An ultra-Orthodox groom, bride and wedding guests were surprised when a pizza deliver man walked in to the wedding hall and handed the groom a pizza. Apparently, friends of the groom had set up the prank.

"Your wife will not cook dinner every night,” the uploader of the youtube video said as the reason for the prank.
Read more: http://www.yourjewishnews.com/2013/02/jv1593.html

USA today has a video of a "couple in Sarasota, Fla., lost 150 pounds between the two of them using hypnosis where they essentially were hypnotised into thinking they had had gastric bypass surgery."

I have a suggestion. How about hypnotizing everyone the couple comes into contact with into thinking that the couple lost weight?

Speaking at a Manhattan breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York and the Downtown Alliance, New York Senator Chuck Schumer opened up today about President Barack Obama’s choice for Defense Secretary, former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel.

Schumer explained that the embattled nominee, accused by the conservative right of being anti-Israel through the year, “almost had tears in his eyes” as he when he was told that the expression “Jewish lobby” is a culturally insensitive term towards Jews.

My suggestion is that Senator Schumer should invite Chuck Hagel to the Purim Seudah and to procede to get him inebriated. At that point Senator Schumer can question former Senator Hagel about his true feelings. In fact, why not require every candidate who undergoes Senate confirmation hearings to be drunk at the time of the grilling by members of Congress?

23 Feb 2013

A cordial decline

Below is an excerpt from Friday's State Department briefing.

QUESTION: The meeting between Palestinian negotiators Saeb Erekat and Secretary Kerry. I spoke with Mr. Erekat today, and he basically cordially wouldn’t answer.

MS. NULAND: Imagine that, Said. Imagine that.

QUESTION: He actually says to defer to you. He’s saying that you will say whatever you want to say. So could you share some of the substance of the meeting with us?

MS. NULAND: I think I’ll decline that generous offer that you’ve given me, Said. I think, as you know, this – cordially, in fact – as you know, this diplomacy depends on it being handled diplomatically.

A happy Purim to those celebrating today!

22 Feb 2013

Shabbat Zachor and lateral thinking

Rabbi Eli Manour discusses Shabbat Zachor and the significance of Torah learning in his weekly parasha insight.

On Shabbat Zachor, we read the final three verses in Parashat Ki-Teseh which command us to remember the unprovoked attack launched against our ancestors when they left Egypt by the nation of Amalek. This attack occurred in a place called Refidim, and the Sages teach us that this location was so named because while Beneh Yisrael were there, “Rafu Yedehem Min Ha’Torah” – they became lax in their engagement in Torah study. It was on account of this laxity, we are taught, that G-d brought upon us the vicious attack of Amalek.
Read more: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/WeeklyParasha.asp

An article in the Blaze and the ensuing discussion in the comments section reminded me of a puzzle a friend posed to me last week. I am posting the question so that you will have something to discuss at the Purim seudah, if there is that awkward moment of silence.

Suppose that you are standing in a hallway next to 3 light switches, which are all off. There is another room down the hallway, where there are 3 incandescent light bulbs – each light bulb is operated by one of the switches in the hallway. Because the light bulbs are in another room, you can not see them since you are standing in the hallway. How would you figure out which switch operates which light bulb, if you can only go the room with the light bulbs one time, and only one time?

Click here for answer.

TheBlaze writes about a student's clever response to a test question.

A coin is flipped and then a die is rolled, what is the probability of rolling an odd and then flipping a tails,” the question reads (with no question mark).

“0% because you flipped the coin first,” the clever response says.
The comments posted under the article contain examples of lateral thinking including:
A man walked into a bar and asked the barman for a glass of water. They had never met before. The barman pulled a gun from under the counter and pointed it at the man. The man said “Thank-you’ and walked out. Why should that be so?
 “Which of the following numbers are divisible by 2. 2 5 6 9 12 16"

14 Feb 2013

Good people out there

Everything is in it

In a mishnah in Pirkei Avos (5:6) (popularized by Shweky ; - ), Ben Bag Bag states "Hafoch ba hafoch ba, de'kula ba - Turn it and turn it, for everything is in it." In other words, all of the wisdom of the world can be found in the Torah, albeit often expressed cryptically and with brevity - leaving it to Torah scholars to tease out the details through diligent study. http://www.chizukshaya.com/vayishlach/

A Canadian Rabbi delved into Biblical verses and says that from there—from the Torah’s narrative and the derivative teachings found in rabbinic commentaries—he learned the answers to life’s everyday moral questions. In order to share the practical insights he gleaned over decades of study and teaching, Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Lazer Gurkow, spiritual leader of Beth Tefilah synagogue in London, Ontario, Canada wrote Reaching for G-d: The Jewish Book on Self Help.
Continue reading: http://crownheights.info/chabad-news/372908/book-offers-practical-advice-from-biblical-narratives/

I attended a lecture the other day in which the rabbi spoke about the second chapter of Megillat Esther. He pointed out that we have a custom that when we recite a devar Torah, we attribute it to the author. We learn this from the 22nd verse in chapter 2.
And the thing became known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther told the king thereof in Mordecai's name.
Esther told the king, in the name of Mordechai, that there was a plot to kill him.

The video below explains how we learn about giving a ring at a marriage ceremony from this week's parsha.

13 Feb 2013

Being happy

In honor of Chodesh Adar (Mishenichnas Adar Marbim BeSimcha), below are two articles about happiness.

Genetics can determine more than just the way you look.
As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported Tuesday, recent research indicates that they also play a part in how happy you are, and how happy you could be.
Read more: http://matzav.com/study-happiness-is-partially-genetic
H/T Matzav

Dawn Gluskin writes about happiness being a choice.

As often as possible, I'm a look-on-the-bright-side kind of girl. I choose to be grateful for whatever I have, instead of focusing on the have-nots. I view life's challenges as blessings-in-disguise because of the lessons attached to them. I have not always viewed life through this lens, but as a result of shining the light on my own negative thought patterns over the years, I've learned to keep a positive outlook and have gained more happiness and inner peace. I love to share my optimism with others and it is usually well-received.
Continue reading: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-gluskin/positive-thinking_b_2623144.html

The ill-advised outfit

Disgraced designer and convicted anti-Semitic ranter John Galliano ignited a new round of outrage yesterday — dressing like a Hasid to attend pal Oscar de la Renta’s Fashion Week show in New York.
The provocative fashion pariah sported the ill-advised outfit — replete with long jacket, hat and curly “peyos,” or sidelocks — as he exited a friend’s Manhattan apartment en route to de la Renta’s West 42nd Street design studio.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/oy_he_did_it_again_5stJIvOqFBmBMtK8pMUpRL

12 Feb 2013

What's in a label?

A slaughterhouse and a meat firm have been raided by police and food safety officials probing alleged mislabelling of horsemeat as beef.
...Meanwhile, Waitrose withdrew its Essential British Frozen Beef Meatballs after pork was detected in two batches.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21434077

There are not many occasions when a reporter needs a grasp of Latin. But one came on Monday when the Pope made a short announcement.

Most of the reporters present had to wait for the Vatican's official translations into Italian, English and languages that people actually speak.

But not Italian wire service reporter Giovanna Chirri, who had clearly been paying attention in secondary school. Her Latin was up to the job and she broke the story of the Pope's resignation to the world.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21412604

So, in the interest of learning Latin, (you never know when it will come in handy) here are a few phrases from Wiki.

Auctoritas non veritas facit legem
authority, not truth, makes law

humilitas occidit superbiam
humility conquers pride

in regione caecorum rex est luscus
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Nihil sine Deo
nothing without G-d

Sydney Smith reports on how the Washington Post was duped by a satirical article and had to issue the following edit.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that Sarah Palin had signed on as a contributor to the Al Jazeera America news network. The blogger cited a report on the Daily Currant Web site as the basis for that information without realizing that the piece was satirical.
Read more: http://www.imediaethics.org/News/3750/Sarah_palin_joins_al_jazeera_washpost_duped_by_satire_article_.php

The resignation

Yeranen Yaakov discusses Pope Benedict's resignation over here.

As European countries involve themselves in regulating kosher meat, the scandal involving horsemeat found in Europe continues to grow.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is due to meet food industry representatives for the second time in a week to discuss the horsemeat crisis.

Mr Paterson told the Commons on Monday that it appeared "criminal activity" had been at the heart of the scandal.

MPs will discuss the issue after Labour called a debate on Tuesday afternoon.

It comes after some Tesco Everyday Value spaghetti bolognese, withdrawn from sale last week, was found to contain 60% horsemeat.

Joshua Gelernter discusses kosher meat regulation.

The English tried expulsion, the Italians tried ghettos, the Spanish had the Inquisition. The Russians had the Pale of Settlement. The Germans had gas chambers. And after the Germans were stopped, having got only half the job done, Europe’s better elements thought that perhaps enough was enough. For the first time in its collective history, overt Jew hatred was shunned in polite European society.
And so, Europe’s profound (Freudian?) Semite-loathing needed other outlets. The number-one outlet these days is, of course, spewing bile at Israel. But another, more fringe, outlet is obstructing Jews’ religion. Mainly, by outlawing kosher meat.

Kosher slaughter of animals is illegal in Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, where laws require that animals be stunned before being killed. A similar ban is being accommodated in Holland and discussed in Britain. The two sides of this fight, as it’s understood by Europeans, are supporters of religious freedom on the one hand and opponents of animal cruelty on the other.

Everyone who sees the argument that way misses the point. The regulations of kosher slaughter aren’t an archaic religious tradition flying in the face of “animal rights”; they’re PETA’s progenitor.

11 Feb 2013

All the days

The following is taken from Revach.

In this week's parsha in the words of some of the items donated to the Mishkan we find a Remez to all the days that we read from the Torah. Both the readings during the week and Krias HaTorah on Yom Tov. They are: Zahav, Kesef, Nachoshet

Zahav is for the weekly readings:

Shabbos = 7 =
Thursday = 5 =
Monday = 2 =

Kesef & Nachoshet are for special days:
Kippur (Yom Kippur) =
Succos =
Pesach =
Neiros (Chanukah) =
(Rosh Chodesh & Rosh Hashanah)
Shavuos, Simchas Torah
& Shemini Atzeres
Taanis (all the Fasts) =

Safe to eat, safe to confirm?

The BBC reports:
All processed beef products are safe to eat but consumers must be prepared for more unwelcome news in the ongoing horsemeat scandal, the government says.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said "nothing seen so far presented a health risk".

Mr Paterson, who is to update MPs later on the latest developments, said it looked as if an "extensive" criminal conspiracy may have taken place.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21406653

Israel Matzav reports on President Obama's pick for the head of the CIA, John Brennan, who, according to a former FBI agent, converted to Islam.

Additionally, Israel Matzav posts about Chuck Hagel's description of Aaron David Miller - he's Jewish. As every speech he made over the past number of years is being scrutinized, analyzed and interpreted, it gives me pause to reflect on how every word I utter will be judged. The videotapes will be shown and I just hope I will not be subject to the same grilling as the nominee for Secretary of Defense.

Reuters writes that "Israeli police detained 10 women at one of Judaism's most sacred sites on Monday for wearing prayer shawls," including "Susan Silverman, a reform rabbi who is a sister of U.S. comedian Sarah Silverman."

Silverman said the Orthodox tradition barring women from wearing prayer shawls amounted to "spitting on Sinai", naming the site where the Bible says God handed the ancient Israelite leader Moses the 10 Commandments.
"All Jews are in a covenant with God, regardless of their gender," she said.
Continue reading: http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCABRE91A08G20130211

Can we expect to be invited to the bris?

Wishing you a good Chodesh. Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Besimcha.

10 Feb 2013

Arranged marriages

This morning a friend told me about an article I had missed in the New York Times from last month about arranged marriages.

Arranged marriages can work “because they remove so much of the anxiety about ‘is this the right person?’ ” said Brian J. Willoughby, an assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. “Arranged marriages start cold and heat up and boil over time as the couple grows. Nonarranged marriages are expected to start out boiling hot but many eventually find that this heat dissipates and we’re left with a relationship that’s cold.”
...“In the secular world, a lot of the times a couple will fall in love with each other and then at that point they lose objectivity,” said Rabbi Steven Weil, the executive vice president at the Orthodox Union in New York. In arranged marriages, however, “there is a lot of homework, a lot of energy spent, before a young man and woman fall in love with each other. For that reason, the parents are involved. But obviously it’s the decision of the young man and woman, but a parent knows a child.”

Regarding the couple in the video below, it seems that father did not know best.

Turned on their heads

As Rosh Chodesh Adar is upon us (Sunday and Monday) and we begin to entertain thoughts of the holiday of Purim and venafoch hu, here are three articles which are all about things being turned on their heads.

Breitbart reports Dem Ohio Poll Watcher: I Voted For Obama Twice.

Gay Fouse writes about Judith Butler's speech at the BDS event in Brooklyn College this past Thursday.

How ironic that she speaks of her right to free speech. Would she then condemn the so-called Irvine 11 when they disrupted the speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren a couple of years back at UC Irvine?

  1. "Judith Butler signed the petition
  2. about 2 years ago
Stop the Prosecution of the 'Irvine 11'
Apparently not. So I conclude that she doesn't care much about the right of the Israeli ambassador to speak.

Additionally, Mr. Fouse posted a comment at the end of the article in which he writes, "One of these young men is now a law student at Harvard and boasted that he felt he was accepted because of his participation in the Irvine 11."

Pamela Geller posts Huffington Post Masks Religious Identity of U.K. Acid Attacker: Changes Report from "niqab" attacker to "masked"

9 Feb 2013

No horsing around

The French government promised on Saturday to punish those found responsible for selling horsemeat in beef products at the heart of a growing scandal that started in Britain but is quickly spreading to France.
Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon said an investigation had found that the horsemeat had originated in Romania, although there were links with French, Dutch and Cypriot firms and a factory in Luxembourg.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/09/britain-food-horsemeat-france-idUSL5N0B925H20130209

Kosher meat, anyone? I am not saying a kosher meat scandal cannot occur but it is unlikely that a fraud on such a large scale can happen.

8 Feb 2013

Mishpatim (Shekalim)

In the wake of this weekend's expected snowstorm in the Northeast, Kikar Hashabat reports on Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi's prediction from a few months ago about another storm.

Two different versions

In searching this morning for the speeches presented by Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti at the BDS event at Brooklyn College last night, I only came across Judith Butler's remarks. Does anyone have a link to what Omar Barghouti said?

Judith Butler stated, "I presume that you came to hear what there is to be said, and so to test your preconceptions against what some people have to say, to see whether your objections can be met and your questions answered. In other words, you come here to exercise critical judgment, and if the arguments you hear are not convincing, you will be able to cite them, to develop your opposing view and to communicate that as you wish. In this way, your being here this evening confirms your right to form and communicate an autonomous judgment, to demonstrate why you think something is true or not, and you should be free to do this without coercion and fear."

Below is a video produced by Stand with Us which questions some of Omar Barghouti's statements of the past. So, which side's version of events do we choose as truth?  And what about those members of the audience who only heard one side? 

2 Feb 2013

The BDS Brooklyn College event

New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson ripped Brooklyn College Thursday for its plan to hold a BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) event against Israel with the co-sponsorship of the school’s political science department.
Read more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it_iCTQT9YQ

1 Feb 2013

Bein adam leMakom - Bein adam lechavero

The 1st half of the 10 Commandments are ‘bein adam leMakom’, between man and Hashem, and the 2nd half are ‘bein adam lechavero’, between man and man. The Mabit points out that the ‘bein adam lechavero’ commandments were written on the tablets in much fewer words, though in much bigger font size, than the bein adam leMakom commandments. This was in order to emphasize to us the importance of the mitzvot that are bein adam lechavora. Derech eretz, being a mentsch, behaving correctly towards others, is a pre-requiste to receiving the Torah.
Read more: http://www.shortvort.com/yisro-parasha/11297-3-thoughts-in-one-derech-eretzbeing-a-mentsch-is-a-pre-requisite-for-receiving-the-torah-i-heard-all-3-from-rav-yechiel-emmanuel