"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

31 Mar 2014

A flash mob

SimplyJews pointed me to the video below of Alan Dershowitz speaking about the U.N a few years ago.

Rabbi Dovid Hazdan of the Great Park Synagogue South Africa, arranged a flash mob at a major supermarket Pick 'n Pay in Johannesburg to draw attention to the display of Kosher for Pesach products that are available.
Read more and see video: http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=29720&alias=supermarket-crowd-music-surprise

30 Mar 2014

The pre-marked "X"

A local couple called 10News concerned after they received an envelope from the state's Obamacare website, Covered California. Inside was a letter discussing voter registration and a registration card pre-marked with an "x" in the box next to Democratic Party.
Continue reading: http://www.10news.com/news/local-couple-upset-after-receiving-pre-marked-voter-registration-card-from-covered-california-03282014

The Wall Street Journal has an article titled Advice for a Happy Life by Charles Murray.

1. Consider Marrying Young
2. Learn How to Recognize Your Soul Mate
3. Eventually Stop Fretting About Fame and Fortune
4. Take Religion Seriously
Read more:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304418404579465244191453008 

Below is a video taken at the Achiezer school, as the Gross boys returned to cheder for the first time since the family members became ill after an exterminator was called to their house. Tragically, the two younger sisters passed away but the boys were able to return to school after an extended stay in hospital.

The camera is rolling

Chris Christie apologizes for ‘occupied territories’ remark.

I just caught the video below at VIN about a man who claimed he was unfairly ticketed and has the video footage from a dashcam camera he installed in his car to prove it. At the end of the video, the journalist interviewing the man proclaimed, "So wherever you go, someone else's camera is likely rolling too."
What a powerful message for us if we pause to think about who is recording our actions.

The second video below teaches us a message of "It's all in the attitude."


Visit Jewish.TV for more Jewish videos.

29 Mar 2014

The Hobby Lobby Case and kashrut

The Wall Street Journal published highlights from the Supreme Court case involving Hobby Lobby, "whether for-profit companies with religious objections should have to pay a fine for not covering contraceptives in workers’ insurance plans without a co-pay as required by the Affordable Care Act."

Justice Samuel Alito: According to the media, Denmark recently prohibited kosher and halal slaughter methods because they believe that they are inhumane. Now, suppose Congress enacted something like that here. What would the — ­­what would a corporation that is a kosher or halal slaughterhouse do? They would simply –­­ they would have no recourse whatsoever. They couldn’t even get a day in court. They couldn’t raise a [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] claim. They couldn’t raise a First Amendment claim.

Donald Verrilli: Well, I’m not sure they couldn’t raise a First Amendment claim, Justice Alito. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/03/25/highlights-from-the-hobby-lobby-arguments/

Stu Bykofsky writes about the treatment Alan Dershowitz received at after a screening of  “The J Street Challenge.”

Dershowitz caught the most flak from the hard-line Zionists, who believe that since God gave that land to the Jews, no compromise should be permitted, it might even be sacrilege. When Dershowitz said Israeli settlements on that land impede peace, he was booed.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/253043296.html#Br1ltlcl2KSwQmxS.99

Chabad Lubavitch rabbis have published a letter to "Establish Day of Prayer in Wake of Tragedies."
Read more: http://crownheights.info/chabad-news/431227/rabbonim-establish-day-of-prayer-in-wake-of-tragedies/

28 Mar 2014

Interesting video links

Israel Empowered has an interesting video and accompanying text on How the Jews will return to Israel.

Ben Shapiro opines to Sean Hannity about why Mr. Hannity will not like the movie Noah. "Because it is a complete reversal of what the biblical narrative is in terms of sin."
Listen to him over here.

Lonely Conservative points out that last month Harry Reid stated, "“Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America."

This week Mr. Reid stated, "“Mr. President, the junior senator from Wyoming has come to the floor several times recently talking about the fact that examples that he and others Republicans have given dealing with ObamaCare, examples that are bad, I’ve called lies. Mr. President, that is simply untrue."


Rabbi Wallerstein delivers an excellent lecture relating to the parsha in a video titled Parashat Tazria: You Can!
He really drives his points home with vivid illustrations and anecdotes about refraining from speaking lashon hora, adopting a "yes, I can" attitude and focusing on the positive that Hashem has bestowed upon us.
It is one thing to talk about refraining from speaking badly about someone, but when one hears that the Chofetz Chaim had all of his teeth at the end of his life because he guarded his mouth so Hashem guarded the tzaddik's mouth, one is more inclined to take the prohibition seriously.
Click here to listen to a worthwhile shiur.

27 Mar 2014


LifeInIsrael reports about the Rolling Stones concert which is to take place a few minutes after Shavuot ends in Israel.

On Twitter Lahav Harkov had a contest going for #RollingStonesShavuotPuns. Mine would be that they should change their name to "Throwing Stones" and perform in Mea Shearim or RBS B..

A rolling stone gathers no moss is an old proverb, credited to Publilius Syrus, who in his Sententiae states, People who are always moving, with no roots in one place, avoid responsibilities and cares. As such, the proverb is often interpreted as referring to figurative nomads who avoid taking on responsibilities or cultivating or advancing their own knowledge, experience, or culture.

How about A rolling stone gathers no mitzvot?

Rabbi Eli Mansour discusses why a woman after childbirth is to bring an Ola sacrifice.

Parashat Tazria begins with the laws of a “Yoledet,” a woman after childbirth, who was required in the times of the Bet Ha’mikash to offer special sacrifices several weeks after delivering a child. Specifically, she would bring one animal as a Hatat (sin offering), and another as an Ola (sacrifice which is completely burned on the altar). 
Continue reading: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/WeeklyParasha.asp


Khaled Abu Toameh writes about a mass rally that took place in the Gaza strip on March 23.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry may be able to force Abbas, under threats and pressure, to sign a "framework agreement" with Israel. But as this week's rally of hatred in the Gaza Strip shows, even after the signing of an Israeli-Palestinian "peace" treaty, a large number of Palestinians will not abandon their dream of destroying Israel .
H/T badblue

Allen West writes about the case of Hobby Lobby which is now being argued in the Supreme Court;

The employers at Hobby Lobby want to provide quality healthcare coverage to their employees — but not against their convictions and faith beliefs. Have we come full circle in America where we now punish those who possess a Judeo-Christian faith?
...It’s not the government’s place to force measures that violate the fundamental right of the individual to freedom of religion and its exercise thereof. What the progressives are seeking to do is actually establish a religion of their own: post-modern liberalism.
Read more at http://allenbwest.com/2014/03/hobby-lobby-case-reveals-single-payer-agenda-liberal-scotus-judges/#vueApgwPY5Fd5v7t.99

The other day I wrote a parody of the Rolling Stones song "Saatisfaction" expressing my dismay that the concert is scheduled to take place in Israel 6 minutes after Shavuot ends. Knesset Member Nissan Slomiansky of Bayit Yehudi has also expressed his dissatisfaction with the concertdate.

 "It's unthinkable that such a show will cause a mass desecration of the holiday by hundreds of thousands of people," he explained. "It's illogical to force the Israel Police to work from 2 pm, operate an entire system and violate the holiday marking the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people. There is no way of participating in this mass event without actually desecrating the holiday."

This isn't the first time Slomiansky launches a battle against Shuki Weiss. "Last time he tried to bring Depeche Mode on Tisha B'Av, and eventually they didn't come," the MK said. "No one would let this happen on Memorial Day. There is something wrong here. Is money the only important thing? What about our values?"

Jewish Canadian Parliamentarian Says He Was Poisoned by Russia in 2006

William A. Jacobson has posted some videos from speakers at the University of Michigan who spoke before a vote on an anti-Israel divestment resolution which was rejected.
Click here to watch. Below is one of the videos in which a student "rejects claims Blacks must vote to divest."

26 Mar 2014

In the footsteps of the Messiah

A fellow blogger who is a real mentsch pointed me to an article at the Daily Mail about a British teen who died in a suicide pact with her boyfriend after shooting a cop.

"Alexandria Hollinghurst wrote a barrage of abuse in the vindictive suicide note to her mum, Jane Hollinghurst..."

 The blogger titled the email Sota 49b: Daughter against her mother. ‏


An AP article discusses President Carter's opinions about the boycott against Israel and the demand that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.

"I don't see how the Palestinians or the Arab world can accept that premise, that Israel is an exclusively Jewish state," Carter said.
"This has never been put forward in any of the negotiations in which I was involved as president, or any president, before (Benjamin) Netanyahu became prime minister this time. And now it has been put into the forefront of consideration," he added.
..."Israel can claim 'We are a Jewish state.' I don't think the Arab countries will contradict that Jewish statement. But to force the Arab people to say that all the Arab people that they have in Israel have to be Jews, I think that's going too far," Carter said.

Did anyone demand that all the Israeli Arabs have to be Jews?

In an address at the Annapolis Conference, Prime Minister Olmert opined,  "On conclusion of the negotiations, I believe that we will be able to reach an agreement which will fulfill the vision of President Bush: two states for two peoples. A peace-seeking, viable, strong, democratic and terror-free Palestinian state for the Palestinian people. A Jewish, democratic State of Israel, living in security and free from the threat of terror – the national home of the Jewish people." http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2007/Pages/Address%20by%20PM%20Olmert%20at%20the%20Annapolis%20Conference%2027-Nov-2007.aspx

UN Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947 called for, "Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in Part III of this Plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948. The boundaries of the Arab State, the Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem shall be as described in Parts II and III below."

Yet President Carter states that the idea of an exclusively Jewish State wasn't put forward until Prime Minister Netanyahu became prime minister this time.

What did Sota 49B have to say about truth in the footsteps of the Messiah?


In denial

In the State Department briefing of March 25, which can be viewed here, at the 18:50 mark, a journalist asks the State Department Spokesperson about Israeli violations.

QUESTION: -- on the Israeli behavior. I mean, we have seen increased incessant violations of Palestinian camps and cities and so on. Today, this morning, as a matter of fact, the Israeli forces went into the Polytechnic University and beat up a guy, arrested him. They beat up a number of professors and so on, unprovoked. We have seen this pattern in the last few days. Are you talking with the Israelis about – as far as scaling back this very aggressive behavior in the last week or so? http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/03/223927.htm

The Palestinian anews agency reported that, "The Israeli force grabbed 23-year-old Jaber Rujub, from the nearby city of Dora and a student in Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron, while he was standing outside the university campus."

Can the reporter please enlighten me as to where he read about the Israeli forces going into the University and beating up professors?

The Huffington Post has an article about an interview between Josh Zepps and Steven Schama in which I got upset when the author opined, "The bible is not a history book. The Bible is kind of a magnificent piece of imaginative poetry."

I must admit I was further irate when I heard Mr. Zepps ask, "Could I put it this way that you are implying that Orthodox right-wing Jews are un-Jewish? "
The author's response was that they were "in denial about what the complicated reality of Judaism, as well as Jewish culture, has been."

I might suggest that some people other than right-wing Jews are in denial.

While the JPost writes  Report: US agrees to free Pollard for extended Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, YnetNews quotes Jen Psaki. "There are no plans to release Jonathan Pollard at the moment,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Wednesday. “Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage against the United States – a very serious crime. He was sentenced to life and is currently serving his sentence.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4503562,00.html
So while the U.S. spokesperson feels that a person convicted of a serious crime should serve his sentence, the U.S. has no problem pressuring Israel to release prisoners convicted of serious crimes before they have served their sentences.

17 Mar 2014

Ki Eshmera Shabbat

Jason Miller writes about the story making the rounds on the internet about a Jewish man who was saved from boarding the Malaysian flight because his travel agent wouldn't book him a ticket to travel on the Sabbath. He begins his article by discussing the Purim holiday and then wonders whether the travel agent story is a hoax or a legitimate happening.

"Even if this story is eventually proven to be legitimate, it doesn't mean that Shabbat or God saved his man from being on that fateful plane last Saturday morning. It's happenstance."

This past Sabbath we read the verse, "Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving Egypt." The work "Amalek" has the numerical equivalent (240à to the word "safek" -doubt.

... Amalek denies that any power runs the world. It's all blind, accidental, happenstance. As Rabbi Tzaddok says, they believe in nothing.

In the video below the rabbi sings a piyut sung in many Jewish households on Shabbat.  כי אשמרה שבת
Towards the end of the video he discusses the meaning of the words. "If I  keep Shabbat, then G-d will reward me and watch over me."

This week I heard a rabbi who asked why in the Al Hanisim of Chanukah, we refer to Bnei Yisrael as the people of Israel but in the Al Hanisim of Purim we refer to them as Yehudim.  He answered that on Purim the fight was against the nation of Amalek who said everything that happens is by chance. The word "Yehudi" has its root in "modeh" to thank and to admit. We admit that there is a G-d  who doesn't run the world according to happenstance.


A friend of mine lost a massive amount of weight a few years ago through OA (Overeaters Anonymous.) She gained back some of it over the past year. I was surprised to see that some of the criticism I voiced about the program was echoed in the words of a doctor in an article that I read this morning.

Dr. Lance Dodes was interviewed about the effectiveness of the AA program.

Q: AA promotes complete abstinence; you argue that this can contribute to feelings of failure.

A: Abstinence as a goal is not evil or bad. If you can be abstinent, that’s better than not. But in AA, it does have this rigid, moralistic quality, specifically, in the way they treat you when you have a slip. If you haven’t had a drink for six months and you have a beer, your number of days sober, according to AA, goes to zero. That’s horribly moralistic, completely unwarranted, and it makes no sense, scientifically or clinically. For people who don’t do well, it’s very disheartening: Not only are you an alcoholic or an addict, but you haven’t been able to work the program.

An article in the Daily Mail this morning is about Sarah Ferguson's 3 stone weight loss this past year.
A 2009 article details her 3 stone weight loss which means she gained it back and had to lose it all over again. All I can derive from her weight gain and loss history is that addiction is a life-long struggle.

16 Mar 2014

Describing ourselves

On March 11, CapeGazette published an obituary of Walter George Bruhl Jr. What makes the obit so special is that Mr. Bruhl had written it before his passing.

He was surrounded by his loving wife of 57 years, Helene Sellers Bruhl, who will now be able to purchase the mink coat which he had always refused her because he believed only minks should wear mink.
...Instead of flowers, Walt would hope that you will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor unfortunate soul in his name.
Read more: http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/walter-george-bruhl-jr-dupont-co-retiree/1139838

It gives us pause to think what we would write to describe our own lives.

Mahmoud Abbas should be happy with the description he received by Aaron David Miller in an article at CNN.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President who will sit with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday to discuss the state—and the fate--of Secretary of State John Kerry's peace process is a good man and most likely the best partner for peace negotiations that Washington, this Israeli government or any other is likely to have. He's rational, enlightened and a leader who eschews both violence and the dream that somehow, sometime, the armed struggle, or demography will deliver Palestinians their state.

Purim and the Plane

CrownHeightsinfo has posted two letters from the Lubavitcher Rebbe relating to Purim.

In honor of Purim, we present a letter from the Rebbe in which he responds to a law professor who asked “How can a humane, civilized person today accept the Biblical commandment to wipe out the entire nation of Amalek?” A second letter is presented as well, in which the Rebbe derives a lesson from Queen Esther.

The Rebbe begins his response to the first letter in a particularly insightful manner.

I am in receipt of your letter. I must confess that I hesitated whether or not to reply to the letter, not being certain whether the question was prompted by a genuine desire to ascertain the truth or, as it unfortunately happens all too often, it might be a case where the inquirer hopes that his query will remain unanswered and thus lend support to his preconceptions.

The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is pictured in a T-shirt with a Democracy is Dead slogan as fears emerge he could have hijacked the plane as an anti-government protest.http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/missing-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh370-3248001#ixzz2w7WzNdVw

Well, I suppose if they don't conduct backgorund checks for the U.S. President, we can't expect background checks for pilots either.  Meanwhile, some witnesses have spotted the plane in different locations of the world. For further info, take a look at the videos below.

Rabbi Yehudah Steinberg answeers the question Who was Achashverosh?
1. It happened in the days of Achashverosh - he is [the same] Achashverosh who ruled over a hundred and twenty-seven countries from Hodu to Kush.
IT HAPPENED IN THE DAYS OF ACHASHVEROSH - HE IS [THE SAME] ACHASHVEROSH. The verse is seemingly repetitive. Isn’t obvious that Achashverosh is Achashverosh? Rashi answers that the verse is telling us that Achashverosh remained the same wicked Achashverosh from the beginning of this story until the end. 1 Therefore, the verse says, “It is the same Achashverosh from beginning to end.” These few words contain one of the most important keys to understanding the story of the Megillah.
Continue reading: http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/purim/megila1.html

15 Mar 2014

Foxman's request

Abraham Foxman calls on Facebook to remove a page called "Ritual Jewish Murder" which Facebook has indicated does not violate its community standards.

We do not believe that Facebook intends to send a message that it is insensitive to the enormous harm the blood libel has caused throughout Jewish history. The easiest way for the company to make that clear would be to exercise the discretion it certainly has to remove the page.

Ian Buruma at the Guardian asks an interesting question.

Why did Jews in some countries - in particular Denmark - fare better than in others? Bo Lidegaard's heart-warming account solves a mystery
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/13/countrymen-untold-story-denmark-jews-escaped-nazis-bo-lidegaard-review

A Message from the Kalever Rebbe for Purim 5774

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk (1787–1859), known as the Kotzker Rebbe, was one of the great and influential Chassidic masters of the 18th century. As a child he was asked, “Where is God?” Young Menachem Mendel replied, “God is everywhere!” In his later years he was asked by his Chassidm the same question but gave a very different answer. “Where is God, you ask, wherever you let Him in.”

What accounts for the divergent responses? A child sees everything with a fresh sense of wonder and marvel. Innocent and unburdened by the weight of life‘s challenges, he possesses a clarity of vision that beholds the Divine underpinning of every aspect of human experience. As we age and encounter difficulty and disappointment, there are two responses we can offer to understanding why things don’t develop as smoothly as we would like. Often, the immediate response is to increasingly deny God’s involvement in affairs of this world, attributing our troubles to random happenstance. Alternatively, we can assimilate the eternal lessons of our holy Torah which teaches that all of the circumstances in our lives are orchestrated by Hashem for our ultimate good, even if we can’t recognize it in the moment. Our mandate is to remain loyal to Hashem’s Torah, His instructions for life, confident that its path will lead to salvation and fulfillment.

The story of Purim highlights the truth and veracity of this second approach. Initially, the Jews of ancient Persia blamed righteous Mordechai for the terrible decrees of destruction that befell them. After all, it was his stubborn resistance to bow before the evil Haman that imperiled their very existence. They saw simple cause and effect in the way things developed.

Mordechai, however, a man steeped in the knowledge of Torah and committed to its steadfast observance, understood that when a decree of national magnitude was leveled against the Jewish people, it was a clear sign from Above that the entire nation was being called to Teshuva, repentance, and that the only way they could be saved was by strengthening their dedication to Torah observance.

Viewed in its totality, the Purim narrative now takes on much deeper meaning than a random series of events. The twists and turns and surprising resolution become a clear sign of the hidden hand of God guiding events every step of the way, all of which was intended to awaken the Jews to this very reality.

Consider, Mordechai sent Esther to beseech King Achashveirosh, literally a suicide mission since visiting the King uninvited was sure grounds for the death penalty. Nevertheless, Esther demonstrated her determination to sacrifice for Hashem, His Torah and His people, casting concerns for her own welfare aside. Even so, when Achashveirosh spared her, she acted in a manner that would confound the Jewish people’s hope by inviting their arch enemy, Haman, to a special party with the King. This spurred the Jewish people to greater levels of repentance as they realized their last and only hope was deliverance from Hashem.
Finally, even as Mordechai was rewarded by Achashveirosh for having saved his life in an earlier incident, the people’s sense of despair intensified as they realized the King was no longer indebted to Mordchai and Haman would now be free to do with them as he pleased.

In the end, the trajectory of history was reversed in an instant. Haman was hung on the very tree he had designed to kill Mordechai. Against all odds, the Jewish people prevailed against their enemies and Mordechai was appointed to the position of Prime Minister of Persia, second only to King Acashveirush.

The Jews then realized, much with the childlike clarity of the young Kotzker, that God is indeed everywhere. And they re-accepted the Torah in their days with a complete and unconditional love that surpassed that of their ancestors who had originally received the Torah at Sinai. For while the Sinai experience was accompanied by open revelation of God’s presence, the Purim story taught us that Hashem is here even when we can’t see Him. And when we live in accordance with His will as manifest in our precious Torah, we will merit discerning His outstretched hand in all of our affairs.

So, let Hashem into your lives and see His presence throughout the world.

I convey to you my sincerest wishes of abundant blessing, joy and spiritual fulfillment for you and your families on this Purim festival and always.
Special Thanks to: Rabbi Avraham Shalom Farber and Yehudah Leib Meth, for the Translation

14 Mar 2014


Yeranen Yaakov asks Connection Between Draft Law and Rockets?

MIC asks, "Connection between Atzeret and rain?"

An anti-draft rally in Jerusalem this past Sunday, called for by the country’s leading haredi rabbis and billed a Million Man Atzeres (assembly), drew hundreds of thousands of demonstrators.
...The peaceful demonstration, which included no speeches, featured the reading of several passages of Tehillim, selichos, a special prayer for rain, and kabbalas ohl malchus shamayim (accepting the heavenly yoke).

The rains began to pour across the country on Saturday, after two months of winter that has been some of the driest in history, in many places. Both the heavy rainfall and cold air this week are the result of mid-latitude depressions from the central Mediterranean Sea, explained Dr. Amos Porat, head of the Israel Meteorological Services climatology department.

Devarim 11: 13-14

And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day... that I will give the rain of your land in its season.

Ladaatinfo points to results of a survey which shows that 66% of haredim are satisfied with life, compared with 30% for the secular.

This week we read a special maftir that inspires us to remember what Amalek did to us, hate them, and accept upon ourselves the mitzvah of destroying the nation’s evil seed and everything it represents. Seemingly, Amalek’s unparalleled hatred for the Jewish People is so significant in Hashem’s eyes that it was deemed fitting and even necessary that such a menace be eliminated.
...Why do we only have a mitzvah to exterminate Amalek? What about all the other anti-Semites?
...Rav Chaim Friedlander gives a different answer . He claims that the threat of Amalek isn’t just physical. It is spiritual as well. Amalek represents the atheistic viewpoint that everything that happens in our lives is random happenstance. In Amalek’s eyes, there is no such thing as hashgacha pratis.

13 Mar 2014

The Former President's Machtenista

Former President Bill Clinton is going to bat for his daughter’s mother-in-law, former Rep. Marjorie Margolies, who is running for Congress again.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/bill-clinton-marjorie-margolies-pennsylvania-104569.html#ixzz2vsgHi1YJ

After reading about Former President Clinton helping out his machtenesta, I was reminded of the time that Leah Averick a'h, co-author of In-laws: It's All Relative, asked me some questions about in-law relationships.
I found an old article in the Chicago Reader about the author.

"Do you know why the Messiah is supposed to come from the house of David?" Averick suddenly asks her audience. "Because he was the great-great-grandson of Ruth, who was nice to her mother-in-law."   

May we enjoy good relationships with our in-laws and merit the coming of the descendant of Ruth.

Taanit Esther

KikarHashabat has a video of Rabbi Mordechai Gross praying at the kever of Rav Shmuel Shmelke Klein z'tl, a great-great-great grandfather of MK Yair Lapid.  Scrolling down to the bottom of the article, one can read the inscription on the tombstone which describes a Torah Sage who learned Torah day and night, who loved the people of Israel and who lifted the spirits of the depressed.

Rav Klein's grandaughter married Rav Yosef Nechemia Kornitzer zt'l. Coincidentally, I received an email by Rabbi Eli Mansour this morning with a devar Torah about Purim in which he mentions a thought by Rav Kornitzer zt"l.

We read in the Megilla of how Ahashverosh wanted to repay Mordechai for saving his life, and he summoned Haman to ask him what would be an appropriate way of honoring somebody. Haman, incorrectly assuming the king was referring to him, suggested that the person should be dressed in royal garb and marched through the city on the king’s chariot. Ahashverosh immediately ordered Haman to do so for Mordechai.

Hazal teach that when Haman went to get Mordechai, he found him delivering a Torah class. Specifically, he was teaching the laws of “Kemisa,” the procedure performed in the Bet Ha’mikdash when a Minha (grain offering) was brought. The Kohen would take a handful of the offering and place it on the altar, while the rest was eaten by the Kohanim. After listening to Mordechai’s words, Haman said to him, “Your handful neutralized my decree against your nation!” Somehow, the law of Kemisa which Haman learned by listening to Mordechai indicated to him that his plot to eradicate the Jewish people would fail. The obvious question is, what does the Misva of Kemisa have to do with Haman’s decree against the Jews?

Continue reading: https://www.dailyhalacha.com/WeeklyParasha.asp

Chadrei Charedim reports that the winner of a lottery drawn last night in which the proceeds went to
fund grooms from Bobov was none other than Menachem Stark!! The 18,000$ prize will be transferred to his wife and orphans.

As I posted last night, ''The work Kav Ha’yashar...writes that the day of Ta’anit Ester is an especially auspicious time for our prayers to gain acceptance in the merit of Ester and Mordechai. The Kav Ha’yashar therefore advises those in need of divine compassion to set aside some time on Ta’anit Ester and recite the 22nd chapter of Tehillim (“Lamenase’ah Al Ayelet Ha’shahar”), followed by a prayer for whatever it is that they need. In this prayer one should explicitly invoke the merit of Mordechai and Ester."

Click here to recite Tehillim 22. In the video below, Rabbi Glatt gives a brief explanation of the chapter. At the beginning of the video, the rabbi wishes a refuah sheleima for Sara Rivka bat Mindel a'h. Unfortunately, she passed away. May her neshama be zocheh to an aliyah in the zechut of learning Tehillim.
Click here for a lengthy explanation in Hebrew of  תהילים - פרק כב.  


12 Mar 2014

A letter of condolence

CrownHeightsinfo has posted a letter of condolence written by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to Mrs. Sara Lieberman upon the passing of her mother, Mrs. Rashi Gansburg . Today the Chabad community was shocked by the news of the passing of Mrs. Lieberman's 37-year-old daughter, Mrs. Rashi Minkowicz, OBM. Click here to read the letter in which the Rebbe talks about mourning and having faith that everything Hashem does is for the best.

More about the young mother of eight can be found here. May her family know no more sorrow. BDH.

Chadrei Charedim reports that, in light of the passing of four shluchim recently, there will be a hisorerut gathering at Kfar Chabad tomorrow afternoon, Taanit Esther.

The work Kav Ha’yashar...writes that the day of Ta’anit Ester is an especially auspicious time for our prayers to gain acceptance in the merit of Ester and Mordechai. The Kav Ha’yashar therefore advises those in need of divine compassion to set aside some time on Ta’anit Ester and recite the 22nd chapter of Tehillim (“Lamenase’ah Al Ayelet Ha’shahar”), followed by a prayer for whatever it is that they need. In this prayer one should explicitly invoke the merit of Mordechai and Ester. http://www.dailyhalacha.com/Display.asp?ClipID=2290

3 Mar 2014

Anyone listening?

A relative attended the rally yesterday. After hearing that Yair Lapid said the mass gathering of so many chareidim actually proved the necessity of the draft law, my relative was asked whether the rally accomplished anything. Was anyone listening?
She responded that it was enough for only One to listen - Hashem heard the prayers.

YnetNews reports UAE airline 'erases' Israel from regional map.

You've got a friend

Below is an excerpt from the Oscar acceptance speech given by the winner of the best actor award, Matthew McConaughey.

There are a few things, in fact, three things, ... that I need each day - one of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to and another is someone to chase. Now, first off, I want to thank G-d, because that's who I look up to.He has graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Laughton who said “When you’ve got G-d you’ve got a friend, and that friend is you…”

John Podhoretz writes about an interview with President Obama by Jeffrey Goldberg in an article titled The President’s Prophetic Threats to Israel.

The Palestinians, in Obama’s view, do not actually need to make changes; astonishingly, he says, they’re ready for peace. “The Palestinians,” the president says, overlooking every piece of polling data we have about the opinions of the Palestinians, “would still prefer peace.
...Ah. So that 2011 poll that says 60 percent of the Palestinians reject a two-state solution is bunk—a poll whose findings have not been contradicted since.
...All of this is folderol, anyway, because the president clearly thinks peace is solely Israel’s to make, and basically, Binyamin Netanyahu should listen to Obama’s mother and rip off the band-aid: “One of the things my mom always used to tell me and I didn’t always observe, but as I get older I agree with — is if there’s something you know you have to do, even if it’s difficult or unpleasant, you might as well just go ahead and do it, because waiting isn’t going to help. When I have a conversation with Bibi, that’s the essence of my conversation: If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?”
Now that’s some chutzpah right there, because of course the president is invoking the words of Hillel, the ancient Jewish sage, as a rhetorical tool against the Israeli prime minister. Of course, Obama leaves out the key words of Hillel’s famed plaint, which are: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?”
Read more: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/03/02/the-presidents-prophetic-threats-to-israel/?utm_campaign=twitter&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

2 Mar 2014

Tuned in

Ladaatinfo has a video of dancing in unity at the atzeret today which can be viewed here.

WND has an interesting article titled Where did Bible's verse numbers come from?

Rashi in the first pasuk in Vayikra says that Hashem called to Moshe with a voice so powerful that it splits cedar trees.  Yet only Moshe Rabbeinu heard it.  If so, ask Rav Moshe Feinstein, what was the purpose of the powerful voice?

Rav Moshe answers that this teaches us that the voice was meant to be heard by us as well.  Although we did not hear it and only heard Hashem's commandments from Moshe, with regard to accountability we are responsible as if we heard it first hand.  The fact that we only heard it from Moshe does not mitigate our obligation because it was said loud enough for us to hear had we been tuned in.

Rav Moshe adds that this is the reason why all our neshamos stood at Har Sinai.  We needed to hear the Torah first hand.  Even if we were born in later generations, the original hearing adds to our accountability.  Similarly, says Rav Moshe, a Bas Kol goes out 40 days before a child is born declaring who will be their zivug. This adds a degree of responsibility beyond the mitzva in the torah to get married, even though our neshama only heard it before it entered our bodies.

Expressing support

A good Chodesh to all.

KikarHashabat reports that Israeli singer Yehoram Gaon expressed support for the rally which is to take place today, not beacause he is against sharing the burden but because of the hatred that exists for those who learn Torah.
He quoted the verse from Zechariah:

 'לא בחיל ולא בכח. כי אם ברוחי אמר ה' צבאות'

Born in Kuwait and raised a Muslim, Mark Halawa was taught that Jews are bad. Everything he learned about Jews warned him to keep his distance.
This information was challenged when Halawa learned because his grandmother was born Jewish, he also was Jewish.

Karin McQuillan writes an excellent assessment about the President's "My Brother’s Keeper" initiative.
Conservatives accept the reality that the only way to combat life’s unfairness is to strengthen personal responsibility.  The work ethic, education and sacrificing for your children is the sure way that people in this country have progressed.  Destroy the motivation to be responsible, to work hard and live clean, and you have destroyed a person.  Despite all the good intentions in the world, no anti-poverty program has decreased poverty.  What it does achieve is that American poverty is bought and paid for by Democrats, and the payoff is a 90% voting block worthy of Stalinist Russia.
We don’t need a $200 million dollar committee.  The Census Bureau already has the figures.  The cure for poverty is within everyone’s grasp: finish high school, get married, defer your first child until you are 21.  Your chance of being poor is 2%.  Your chance of joining the middle class is 72%. 
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/03/who_is_my_brothers_keeper.html

Michael Curtis asks a question about International organizations such as OXFAM and Amnesty Interntational.

What is it about these supposedly good will international organizations that makes them so disproportionately obsessed with and so biased against the State of Israel and its citizens? What makes them so little aware, in any consistent way, of issues in the other 192 countries in the world?
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/03/no_charity_for_israel.html

Palin Mocked in 2008 for Warning Putin May Invade Ukraine if Obama Elected

1 Mar 2014

The call

Hamodia has an editorial titled Time to Answer the Call which relates to the calls of the Gedolei Eretz Yisrael regarding the draft law. The article concludes with the following anecdote.

Harav Shimon Schwab, zt”l, described a conversation he had with the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, when he had merited to spend Shabbos Parashas Vayakhel-Pikudei 5690 (1930) in the presence of this spiritual giant.
“I am a Kohen, perhaps you have heard,” the Chofetz Chaim told him.
“Yes,” Harav Schwab replied.
“Are you also a Kohen?” The Chofetz Chaim asked.
“No,” he answered.
“A pity!” the Chofetz Chaim remarked, and related that when the Beis Hamikdash will be rebuilt, everyone will sense a great longing to have a part in the avodah of the Beis Hamikdash, but  only Kohanim will be able to do so.
“This is all because when Moshe Rabbeinu said ‘Mi laShem Eilei — Whoever is for Hashem should come to me,’ and all of the bnei Levi gathered, your great-great-grandfather heard and didn’t run to Moshe,” the Chofetz Chaim continued. “[Therefore] he, and his descendants lost the merit of partaking in the avodah in the Beis Hamikdash.
“When Mi laShem Eilei is called, all must run, otherwise one loses out,” the Chofetz Chaim concluded.
Our generation is once again being tested, and the call from Eretz Yisrael is one of Mi laShem Eilei, let us be sure to respond to the call.