"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

27 Nov 2014

Every day is Thanksgiving

Dr. David Lazerson writes about his Thanksgiving moment. He writes about how how a librarian at the school where he was teaching music whose job it was to "save souls" asked him whether Jews believed in Thanksgiving. One of his students saved Dr. Lazerson from answering.

"Shoot, everyday is Thanksgiving to Dr. Laz," he declared. "He says a blessing over everything he eats. Every day! Every time!"

הקבלה של תלמידי ישיבת מיר אחרי הטבח בבית הכנסת

Looking up

A Thanksgiving Sermon delivered in 1851 by Rabbi Sabato Morais.

Rebecca Terrell writes about the history of Thanksgiving in America and quotes Abraham Lincoln who talks about nations being blessed whose G-d is the Lord.

In a video regarding this week's parsha, Rabbi Wallerstein has a question regarding Yaakov Avinu's dream about the angels going up and down a ladder. Why was it a ladder? Why wasn't it steps?
Cause a ladder is the only thing that whether you're going up or down, you're always looking up. So Hashem wantd to show Yaakov Avinu that whether you're going up the ladder, whether you're going down the ladder, G-d is standing on top. Hashem says even when you're falling and you're doing sins, and you're not doing so well, always look up.

The singer in the video below looks up when he sings about Hashem and thanks G-d for all.

26 Nov 2014

Thanks a bunch

"Again she [Leah] conceived and bore a son and declared, 'This time I will thankfully praise Hashem'." Beresheet 29:35

The Talmud says: "From the time of creation there was no person who praised Hashem until Leah came and thanked him upon the birth of Yehudah. (Berakhot 7b)" Could it be that Leah did not express thanks for her first three children? Is it possible Abraham, Yitzhak, Sarah and Ribka never thanked Hashem for their good fortunes? Was there no human being before Leah who gratefully praised G-d?
Read more: http://www.torah.org/learning/tabletalk/5764/vayeitzei.html

This afternoon I heard about how a relative thanked his grandmother for supper.

"I wanted to thank you and show how much I appreciate how you served dinner in shifts, first serving my grandfather and then having to heat up food a second time because I was working late. I especially wanted to thank you because today my manager asked me to do many tasks at work; I put in a great amount of effort and the manager didn't even say thank you when I completed what had been assigned.
I learned a lesson today on how important it is to thank someone so, once again, I thank you for the effort you put into the dinner this evening."

Click here to read a beautiful letter of appreciation that accompanied the delivery of pizza to the Houston police and fire departments.

Below is an individual who shows his appreciation to the Holtzbergs, HY'D, for all that they did for him and his sister.

I will end this post by thanking Hashem for all the good bestowed upon me.
Thank you to my family, my friends and to you all.

Jewish Heritage night

Why UNRWA Perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Donors offer $5,000 for stopping terror attacks

New York Times Israel Correspondent Jodi Rudoren Attacks Critics as ‘Noisy Group of Advocates’

As the Nets gear up for the third season in their new home in Brooklyn, CTeen, Chabad’s global teen network, is planning its 2nd Annual Jewish Heritage Night which will take place in the Nets’ arena, Barclays Center, on the fifth night of Chanukah.
Read more: http://jewishvoiceny.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9273:nets-to-host-chanukah-jewish-heritage-night-at-barclays-center&catid=119:sports&Itemid=321

An IDF commander will no longer be able to prosecute a soldier who has been exempted from shaving his facial hair for religious reasons.
Following the imprisonment of a soldier-student who refused to shave his beard on grounds of religion, as first reported by Ynet, the army has announced that it will change its procedures on the matter.
Read more: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4596009,00.html

25 Nov 2014

Coming under live fire

Former University of Illinois professor Steven Salaita received a standing ovation from Middle East scholars and academics from around the world on Saturday afternoon.

Salaita, who was terminated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty in September for a series of viciously anti-Israel tweets during the Gaza War, seemed overwhelmed by the hero’s welcome.
Read more: http://freebeacon.com/culture/disgraced-anti-israel-professor-cheered-in-washington/

Reader-submitted: Tzevet Hatzolah Seeks to Purchase Helmets after Coming Under Live Fire at Scene of Har Nof Massacre

NFL Star Reggie Bush Joins With Pro-Palestinian Activists in Co-opting Ferguson Tragedy

Meddling in their affairs

Sen. Ted Cruz, ’16 Presidential Hopeful, Woos New York Jewish Donors

Israeli officials have rebuked the U.S. for meddling in their country’s domestic affairs after it voiced concerns about efforts to enshrine Israel’s Jewish character in law.
 Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-25/israeli-officials-rebuke-u-s-on-reaction-to-jewish-state-bill.html?cmpid=yhoo

'I Held a Talmud in One Hand and Fought with the Other'

WATCH protesters loot LIQUOR STORE, smash windows at McDonald’s [VIDEO]

24 Nov 2014

Eliminating machloket

"With the advent of the footsteps of Mashiach, insolence will increase and prices will soar; ..the government will turn to heresy and no one will rebuke them; ...the wisdom of the scholars will degenerate, those who fear sin will be despised, and the truth will be lacking; youths will put old men to shame, elders will rise in deference to the young, a son will revile his father, a daughter will rise up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,...a son will not feel ashamed before his father. ...So upon whom can we rely? -- Upon our Father Who is in heaven." (Sotah 9:15)

The DailyMail reports, Our timid generation of parents: Mothers and fathers are afraid to discipline their children because they will be shamed by them on Facebook says top head.

The ‘Truly Frightening’ Thing a Texas Teacher Allegedly Told One Mother

I just finished listening to Rabbi Daniel Travis speaking about Rabbi Schtenrbach’s Message About The Har Nof Massacre.
Rabbi Travis spoke about working on eliminating machloket. He mentioned that the last argument where someone was completely right and another was completely wrong was the machloket of Moshe and Korach. So, let's remember when we are in the middle of a quarrel that we aren't 100% right and there's room for us to see the other side.

The rabbi also spoke about some people who were saved from the Har Nof massacre. One anecdote that he mentioned I recognized from an email I received this evening from Daily Emunah.

A woman said that her husband prays in that minyan each day of the week except Tuesday, when he prays at a synagogue closer to his home because he comes home to play with his son, a thirteen-year-old boy with Downs Syndrome. After the boy was born, thirteen years ago, his mother went with him to Rebbetzin Kanievsky to receive encouragement. The rebbetzin held the sleeping baby in her arms and said, "You don't even know what kind of protection this precious child will bring you." Now, thirteen years later, it is very clear what kind of protection the boy provided.

Terrifying moments

Oh, Jerusalem by Roger L Simon.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldstein, one of several people seriously wounded in last week's horrific attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem, has described his "miraculous" survival to journalists for the first time.

Speaking with some difficulty from a wheelchair at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem where he is being treated for his wounds, Rabbi Goldstein recounted the terrifying moment two terrorists burst in during morning prayers at Har Nof's Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue.
Continue reading and watch video: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187784#.VHL3kpVATIU

23 Nov 2014

School textbooks

A group that combats anti-Semitism is asking the governor of Tennessee to investigate school textbooks not only because of instances of anti-Semitism but also hundreds of inaccuracies, biases and disinformation, including anti-American and anti-Christian content.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/11/islam-anti-semitism-sneak-into-tennessee-textbooks/#5W7jOSgj7Xmrb6q5.99

KikarHashabat has a video of the wife of Rabbi Moshe Twersky HY'D, saying that her husband was niftar amidst holiness, having gone to the mikvah, having said Shema and in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei when he was murdered.

Maan News reports that  a once considered "high risk" Saudi Arabian "regarded as a previously active member of al-Qaeda" who was held at Guantanamo Bay for 12 years has been sent home.

The review board, composed of representatives from six government agencies, including the State and Defense departments, decided on Oct. 3 that Zahrani no longer represented a threat to the United States.

Jonathan Pollard, on the other hand, has not been released, after serving 30 years.

13 Nov 2014

Good deeds

There's a great Hakoras Hatov anecdote at Collive regarding a Nepalese man who traveled quite a distance to say thank you to Chabad representative, Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz.

Collive also has a story about an unlucky find inside a mezuzah.

ZivugZone.com Approaches 6,000 Members As It Seeks to Make More Shidduchim 

At work and at play

The Jewish Press writes, "Among the different sectors of Israeli women, Hareidi women have the highest percentage in the workforce, according to a Ynet report. The article concludes, "at the end of each day, when they finish bringing home the bacon, with an average of 6.5 children per family, that's when the hard work really begins - at home."

Should the expression "bringing home the bacon have been used?" After all, David Seinfeld just admitted the following in an interview.

 "I think I'm on the spectrum…Basic social engagement is really a struggle. I'm very literal. People talk to me and they use expressions and sometimes I don't know what they're saying."

Perhaps he and others might interpret the expression literally.

INN asks Cover Up? Mosque 'Arson' May Have Been Electrical Fire.
Space heater found at 'price tag' arson site disappears during journalist's investigation into fire's source.

During the State Department Briefing yesterday, Spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked whether she "had a rection to the torching of a mosque in the West Bank today by some Jewish extremists."

MS. PSAKI: Let’s see. The United States condemns the attack against a mosque in the West Bank. We believe that such hateful and provocative actions against a place of worship are never justified. We look to law enforcement officials to quickly investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack. We encourage local authorities to work together with the community to reduce tension, to defend religious freedom, and to work against incitement.

Before the investigation into the fire has been competed, how can Ms. Psaki be so sure that it was caused by hateful action and not caused by an electical malfunction?

Another exchange during the briefing involved an Israëli basketball player.

QUESTION: There are reports that the State Department denied the renewal of an Israeli basketball player who was – the Indiana Pacers were trying to sign or to – I understand that that’s not correct, that it wasn’t denied, but I’m wondering if you can explain what the problem was that led to him being not allowed to play for the Pacers.

MS. PSAKI: Well, as is true of almost – most of these cases, which you referred to in your question, I can’t speak to specifics. I can convey, though, that the Department of Homeland Security handles, among other responsibilities, requests for petitions and extensions and adjustments of status. And often when individuals are requesting for an extension of a stay, that is where their case would go. So that would not be the State Department.

...QUESTION: Okay. And there is nothing – this case is not being handled – or let’s say: Is it correct that this case is being handled the same way other similar cases of foreign athletes are being handled and there is not any difference simply because this guy is Israeli?
Read more: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/11/233963.htm

12 Nov 2014

Dietary laws

The Jewish Divide Over Jerusalem's Most Sensitive Holy Site

Cover Up? Mosque 'Arson' May Have Been Electrical Fire

Lawrence Kadish writes Ancient Kosher Laws Have Lessons for a 21st Century War against Ebola.

Centuries ago, with an understanding of microbes and hygiene still far in the future, Jews observed that those who ate meat from sick or dead animals would often fall ill and die. Similar woes could result from animals not consumed in a timely way after being slaughtered. While they didn't know of trichinosis, they also saw that eating pork could be fatal.
...there was an understanding among Jews that certain culinary behavior triggered serious illness. As a result, dietary laws were put into place by an observant community that sought to protect the individual and public health. They were then codified by religious leaders for the purpose of creating a collective societal memory of what the faithful could and could not consume.
Read more: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4873/ancient-kosher-laws-ebola

In an article titled Keeping Kosher: Jewish Dietary Laws  the author opines about the laws of kashrut.

These prohibitions derive from specific instructions in the Torah, primarily in Deuteronomy and Leviticus. These instructions were then interpreted, expanded and modified by rabbis as Jews encountered new cultures and situations.

Lawrence Kadish makes it sound as if the kosher laws were codified by happenstance, as situations arose. The kosher laws, however, have their roots in the Torah with specific verses issuing prohinbitions as to what may not be eaten.

Charles C. Johnson calls attention to Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch's membership in a certain Harvard Association. Read more here.

Humanizing the attacker

Modern Orthodoxy: A model for the great American Jewish dream

To appease Muslim concerns, school district drops religious holidays from calendar

IsraelMatzav writes Obama State Department prevents Israeli from playing in the NBA.

Seth Mandel has wriiten an article at Commentary Magazine titled Humanity Lost: Jewish Victims of Terror and the New York Times.

A friend in Israel passed along this beautiful remembrance of one of yesterday’s victims of Palestinian terrorist attacks, 26-year-old Dahlia Lemkus, written by Sherry Mandell. She writes that although the New York Times put in the effort to learn about Lemkus’s Palestinian murderer, “We learn nothing about 26 year old Dahlia, who was just getting started in life after finishing college, studying occupational therapy so that she could have a job where she could help people who were sick or infirm or disabled to live in a fuller way.” Mandell proceeds to tell the readers all about Lemkus.

The New York Times writes about the Palestinian who stabbed a soldier at a train station in Tel Aviv the other day. The photo under the headline has the caption "A demonstrator waved a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli soldiers on Tuesday outside a military prison near Ramallah, in the West Bank."
The paper could have chosen a photo of demonstrators throwing Molotov cocktails, but, for some reason, chose to focus on a man waving a flag. It then goes on to humanize the attacker, not the victim.
Sawsan Abu Hashieh said she packed a bag of clothing on Sunday for her 18-year-old son, Nur al-Din, who told her he planned to sneak into Israel to work for two weeks.
...Mr. Abu Hashieh, who became a heroic figure to Askar’s young people overnight, is a militant in what many Palestinians see as a new kind of armed struggle, a leaderless uprising of sporadic outbursts against the Israeli occupation and policies.
The paper attributes the escalation to "fear of a Jewish takeover of the Al Aqsa compound in Jerusalem’s Old City and quote a Hebron community leader, "“Once you actually come and touch the Aqsa mosque, that’s the red line."

11 Nov 2014

The life of Dahlia

Sherri Mandell gives us a glimpse into the life of Dahlia Lemkus in an article titled What they didn’t tell you about Dahlia.

These were the years of the life of Sarah. - These were the years of the life of Dahlia.

Chadrei Charedim reports on the Admor M"Sanz Klozenberg's short visit to Israel tomorrow to fulfill a promise made years ago to a young man that he would participate in his wedding.

INN reports on Marwan Barghouti's words regarding armed resistance.

Arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership to give its backing to "armed resistance" against Israel in a letter published Tuesday as a wave of violence surged, according to AFP.

One comment posted under the INN article included, "I don't understand why he is allowed to make any public statements at all from prison. Especially calls to violence. He is being treated like a visiting head of state."

Free speech?

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed suit in federal court Friday on behalf of a Pine Creek High School senior told that he and a group of other students may no longer informally meet to pray and discuss religious topics during free time as they have for the past three years.
Read more: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/82001?search=1

FreeBeacon has an article titled House Committee Demands Answers on Truthy Project

Taxpayer-funded initiative collected 600,000 political tweets in its ‘database,’ bragged about having conservative Twitter accounts suspended

After State Department Spokesperson Jan Psaki  stated "we urge all parties to exercise restraint," a couple of questions are posed to her.

QUESTION: All right. I’m just going to assume – but correct me if I’m wrong – that when you say all parties’ restraint, you’re talking about the – who are you talking about?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’re talking about the Israelis, the Palestinians – any who are involved in these tension-raising, rhetoric-raising incidents.

QUESTION: Okay. But, I mean, if you’re standing at a bus stop or something and someone runs a car into you or comes up and stabs you, I don't know how – I mean, those people aren’t – don’t need to exercise restraint, do they?

In the first video below (uploaded in 2010), after a member of a member of United Nations Watch criticizes the Commission on Human RIghts, he is told that "any statements you make in similar tones to those used today will be taken out of the record."

In the second video below Ed Miliband is called "brave and principled" for saying "this time Israel has gone too far." Listen and cringe to hear what is acceptable to opine on the BBC regarding the "Jewish lobby."

10 Nov 2014

Where Jewish Temples once stood

A NYT article from 2000 makes reference to the Temple Mount and mentions that the complex is known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif.

A NYT from today refers to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound and makes mention that Israel refers to it as the Temple Mount.

What a difference 14 years make.

Tightly guarded by an Israeli security cordon, Ariel Sharon, the right-wing Israeli opposition leader, led a group of Israeli legislators onto the bitterly contested Temple Mount today to assert Jewish claims there, setting off a stone-throwing clash that left several Palestinians and more than two dozen policemen injured.
...The complex, known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, contains Al Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, sacred shrines of Islam. It is revered by Jews as the site of the First and Second Temples as well as the place where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac.

Tension has risen anew over Israeli-controlled access to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, where biblical Jewish temples once stood.
....Israel refers to the Al-Aqsa compound as the Temple Mount...

The other day I received an email which contained the following definition of ego.

EGO ----- Easing G-d Out

I thought of the above email when I read an article this morning titled HS senior tells Mike Huckabee why she’s fighting to keep ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The way we treat our cell phone

Khamenei Threatens to Annihilate Israel – After Obama Sends Him Secret Letter

Op-Ed: Why and When was the Myth of al-Aqsa Created?

A federal jury found a Palestinian immigrant charged with immigration fraud guilty on Monday for failing to disclose her conviction and imprisonment in a Jerusalem supermarket bombing that killed two people.
Continue reading: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/481660d6167c4b5b83f9916d0e2785ac/jury-deliberates-fate-palestinian-bomb-convict

I received a couple of items in emails this morning which I thought I would pass on to you below. The video below had the subject line, "What a Kiddush Hashem."
I agree.


9 Nov 2014

The soul of Mashiach ben Yosef

Ladaatinfo reports on a lecture delivered by Rabbi Eliezer Berland in which he opined that Maran Hgr"a Ovadia Yosef, z'l  had the soul of Mashiach ben Yosef, only this generation did not merit his revelation and the bringing of "geulah."

Rabbi Benjamin Blech writes about a Jewish perspective on assisted suicide, in the wake of Brittany Maynard's tragic death last week.

Let me be clear. Had Brittany Maynard come to me while weighing her decision to ask for my input I would’ve shared with her my ambivalence between faith and feelings. I could understand her fear of facing an unbearable future. I could empathize to the best of my ability with her desire to avoid seemingly certain horrors. Yet to her question – who has the right to tell me that I don’t deserve this choice? – I would have to answer: “Only the One who has given you the gift of life has the right to end it.” Taking the life of another is called murder. It is not because we have no right to take someone else’s life. It is because we have no right to take away life. So too, we have no right to take away our own existence from this earth.

Rabbi Blech reminds readers that he was presented with a diagnosis by a doctor of "a fatal illness for which there is no cure. Research on the Internet informed me that from the time of diagnosis I would have no more than six months to live. That happened almost three years ago. With great thanks to God and in almost all certainty as response to my prayers and the prayers of countless others, I feel fine today and hopefully look forward to the proverbial 120 years of life."

Thankfully, Rabbi Blech did not choose to end his life and is still writing in his inimitable fashion and imparting words of wisdom to his avid reading audience.