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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Haveil Havalim #118

10 of the Third Month 5767

Haveil Havalim #118 - Meta-Blog Carnival

I would like to begin this edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival with some reflections,...some meta-blogging reflections.

But, first, I had better introduce and/or remind those of you reading this what the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival is:

Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Soccer Dad. The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanities.'

Before I first hosted Haveil Havalim, only about four months ago with edition #101, a fellow blogger sent me the link to a blog entry, and asked me if I had seen it, yet.

I hadn't. It was somehow connected to a "Jewish" blog which I abhorred, and found to be juvenile, ridiculous, offensive, and horribly misguided. I previous had on-line "dealings" with the owner of that blog, and found this individual to be...juvenile, ridiculous, offensive, and horribly misguided. This got me thinking. What if this individual submitted a blog post to Haveil Havalim while it was my turn to host? It was suggested to me by the same experienced and helpful, fellow blogger who sent me that link, somewhat connected with that juvenile, ridiculous, offensive, and horribly misguided blogger, that while hosting, I would have to consider including submissions of ALL blog posts, even those with which I disagreed.

I am NOT a pluralist. Although I have some surprisingly open views regarding some issues, I have even more very narrow views on others, such as Torah and Israel. I have been called a "right-wing extremist," a "religious fanatic," and even a "Jewish terrorist" (See this cute post from Satiricohen). I'm not sure where they got that last one from, unless they witnessed me not so politely, giving various drivers of UN vehicles directions to Ben-Gurion International Airport, where they would be able to catch the next flight OUT of Israel. But, that couldn't possibly be an act of terrorism, as the laughter of the UN workers clearly indicated that they had not been terrorized. Besides, where I come from originally, that's just called civil disobedience. Go figure. But I digress....

I asked myself, as someone with such narrow views, "How could I possibly host a pluralistic blog carnival?"

It was too late. I had already made the commitment. "I need to follow though on my commitments" was the repetitive response resounding in my head. So, I took it upon myself as a challenge. Recently, I had been exercising my open-mindedness muscles. This would be a test of their tolerance and stamina.

Now, to me, open-mindedness means listening, or in this case reading, as well as trying to understand,...but not necessarily agreeing with everything I read or was trying to understand.

But, still I asked myself, "Wouldn't I be compromising my principles by condoning and supporting pluralism?" Even though I was only really organizing a series of opinions on issues, could I possibly allow myself to help publicize those blogs, with which I adamantly disagreed?

I'll be completely honest. I didn't know the answer to this question; I still don't know the answer to this question.

A few months pass, and guess what happens, a blog entry I had submitted, Pork Is Still Not Kosher, was rejected because it was "offensive." OK. So, it wouldn't be the first time that one of my blog entries was considered offensive. No big whoop.

But, wait a minute. Wasn't this supposed to be a pluralistic blog carnival? Not only that, but it was considered "offensive" by none other than someone who self-identifies as "religious" (Read: Orthodox) and "right-wing."

I asked Soccer Dad what the pluralistic story was. He basically said, "Nope. There really aren't any guidelines." He said it a lot more eloquently, though.

Why I didn't ask him this question about hosting guidelines four months ago, I have absolutely no idea. Just slipped my mind, I suppose.

But, now at least you know. The cat's out of the bag. Quite possibly, many of you are already best friends with the cat or hate the cat, and have already been making informed decisions about whether to volunteer to be a host,...or not.

No guidelines, not yet, at least....

Until then, I guess blog hosts can get away with holding readers hostage with long and involved introductions. Well, hey, you could've skipped it, right?

Meanwhile, I believe that Soccer Dad is wondering why I had to turn the nice, little cat, that was in the bag for some of us, into a potentially ferocious monster.

OK. Now, let's get to it....


Torah:

TorahIn light of the fortieth anniversay of the recapture, and subsequent giving up, of Har HaBayith (Temple Mount), Rabbi David Bar-Hayim gives us an overview of our connection with the Miqdash (Temple) as a nation.

Sultan Knish takes a look at who is a Jew, or rather...who is called "Yehudi."

Reb Chaim HaQoton examines the misswah of mezuzah, and its implications for women.

Liorah, Walking On Fire, provides her take on the Parshath haSotah, while Faith at "That's So Queer" delves into the prohibition against getting tattooed.

Rafi of Life In Israel reflects on some Halachic terminology which disturbs him.

Israel:

Map Of IsraelBatya's reflections In G-d's Honor move us into the Israel section of Haveil Havalim, as it truly exemplifies the connection between Torah and the Land. Her story of traveling and trying to get into Qever Rahel reminds us that life in Israel can be adventurous, yet challenging. Was the chaos intentional?

Another spiritual connection is made with the Land by Rabbi Neil Fleischman through his reflections and poetry in Jerusalem And Other Heart Thoughts

David Bernstein of The Volokh Conspiracy gives us two posts about life in Israel, one about the Iraqi Jewish experience and one about the true identity of some non-Jews, which will probably surprise you.

To add to the recent buzz and controversy surrounding Jewish-Christian dialog here in Israel, I find that Yisrael at My Right Word decided to give it a go, and if Israel IS a "Jewish state," Yisrael wants to know why people get excited when we demand rights for Jews.

Boker Tov, Boulder! gives her team recommendations for Israeli leadership, and I tell you why I believe that the National Religious Party has really done it this time. Batya at Me-Ander seems to agree with me,...at least in part.


Israel In The News:


First up in the news, Joe Settler wants to know who's reading your mail?

Avi at Tel-Chai Nation reports on the on-going battles of the IDF vs. Hamas YSh"W. Freedom Fighter at Joshuapundit analyzes the situation and Israel's choices, and gives his recommendations. Seawitch also gives an overview of recent events in and around Azza, but also covers Lebanon, in Palestinian & Lebanese Casualties.

Marty Peretz at The Spine wonders who those "Palestinian refugees" are anyway.

By the way, who are Palestinians anyway?

Schvach Yid chimes in with his take on the Middle East.

Meryl Yourish reminds us Why Checkpoints cannot be dismantled.

Posted at Barbara's Tchatzkahs Alana Suskin shows a much different take on Israeli policy in Yehudah and Shomron. Barbara also brings us Ralph Peters A Taste For Terror.

Then there's more on the Qassam Rocket Attacks from Back Spin.

And to wrap up news from the south, I wanted to make sure you are aware of No'am Bedein's work getting the news directly out of Sderoth, and into your homes. No'am is a student at the Sderoth College, and experiences the latest headline news first hand. His latest post is video special, "Behind The Headlines." (Thanks to Sultan Knish for pointing me to this link.)

Batya muses on one result of the rocket attacks.

Regardless of ones political and religious views, attending to the news in Israel can be intense. Only yesterday, there was a shoot out in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon HaNatziv, as Avi reports.

On the lighter side of things, Smooth Stone posts for us "Israel's Good Deeds Around the World" from the Israel Highway.

Israeli "Slices Of Life:"


Ra'anana Ramblings fruitlessly tries to tame her father-in-law's shopping habits in "These Bags Overfloweth."

Jameel @ The Muqata recounts the true story of a Hebrew word mix-up between father and son, which may cause you to do a double-take.

And, check in with West Bank Mama how your kids' sports teams may act a little differently in Israel than in other countries.

Baka Diary gives us The Good, The Bad and The Ugly sides of life in Israel.

Finally, Doodlehead gives the ultimate slice of life in Israel of a yeshivah bokhur with some stuff, no clocks.


With Torah and Israel, the combination of the two brings us to two recent holidays:

Hag HaBikkurimHag HaQatzir1. Shavu'oth, not only the Z'man Matan Torah (commemoration of the giving of Torah), but also Hag HaBikkurim, the bringing of the First Fruits in the Land of Israel to the Beth HaMiqdash and Hag HaQatzir, the festival of reaping, expressed in the bringing of the two breads made from the first reaping of wheat to Beth HaMiqdash as well.

2. Yom Yerushalayim, the day commemorating the recapture and reunification of Jerusalem, this year marking its fortieth year.

Shavu'oth:

Matan TorahBatya asks Do You? Or Don't You? (learn all Shavuot night). And Alan of Laz-A-Fare looks into this custom of learning all night and the full meaning of its connection with Shavu'oth.

Heaven Will Split, a nice Shavu'oth memory comes from Seraphic Secret

The next two could have been placed under humor, but since it's the season....

Hesh of Frum Satire gives us,...well,...a "unique" perspective on Shavu'oth.

Dzeni of "Not Quite Perfect" also lightens things up a bit with her Shavu'ot 5767 edition of the Sinai Star Journal.

Yom Yerushalayim:

Rabbi Shlomo Goren
Daniel Pinner discovers a hidden miracle of the Six Day War, forty years ago.

And, David Wilder reminds us that it was also the fortieth anniversary of the Liberation Of Hevron.



Aggadoth:
(stories)

Bloggers can be great story-tellers, so why not have a special story section?

But, before you read Rafi's "Good Sportsmanship," you had better get the kleenex.

Robert of Seraphic Secret also reminds us that Jewish aggadoth can be poignant and personal in "Ties That Bind."

News from Outside of the Homeland:

Jameel @ The Muqata reports on the NYPD harassment of a YU student, and "brings it home" with a comparison to a similar situation in Israel.

Jan at Secular Blasphemy reports on the Norwegian government's tricky business...with Hamas YSh"W.

Smooth Stone and Yid With Lid and have had about enough with Amnesty International or Am-Nasty International, as Yid calls it. Yid With Lid also reports on Holocaust records being opened and their implications for the future.

Bookworm reports on a Nobel Laureate who doesn't take a British boycott of Israeli products lying down.

Former US President Jimmy Carter was in the news this week. See what Yid says regarding President Carter's comments about a certain colleague, and what Cheat Seeking Missiles says about a ruckus being caused by his book.


Media Watch:

Here's a media bias item from My Right Word, this one on the Brazenly Balanced BBC.

Soccer Dad looks at the Washington Post's Post's Leap Of Logic, regarding the current predicament of the Israeli leadership.

And Yid With Lid looks into the mind of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

Photo-trickery in Azza? Elder Of Zion thinks so in Three Photographers Two Wire Services

Omri at Mere Rhetoric wants to know the answer to the question: The Zionists Are So Evil They Even Stop Ambulances At Checkpoints. Why Would They Do Such A Thing? Don't worry. This is not one of those posts which challenged my open-mindedness.

Music:

Hey, guess whose birthday was just last week. I'll give you a hint: He's musical. For the answer, though, you'll have to ask Scott of the Powerline Blog.


Sports:

Did you know that the first Israeli was recently selected to play in the WNBA?

I was not aware of that. Read more about Shai Doron courtesy of Mark at Sportsyids.


Humor:

Satiricohen of the pan style="font-weight: bold;">Israeli Satire Laboratory publishes a ground-breaking interview with a little known participant in a failed genocide attempt.

Snoopy The Goon at Simply Jews tries to put to rest some myths surrounding a Zionist plot.


Meta-Blogging:
(blogging about blogging)

Dag gives us a moving, personal experience of a great side benefit to the JBlogshphere.

Rabbi Without A Cause receives a threat of being "outted", and must defend himself,...in a very clever way. He also wasn't sure if this post should be categorized as Torah, humor, or neither. I say it's meta-blogging!

And, so now that this week's Meta-Blogging Edition (Have you figured out why I called it that, yet?) of the Haveilim Havalim has been concluded, you are probably wondering how challenging it was to my open-mindedness muscles. Well, to be honest, yes, it was challenging in places. But, I believe I was fair. In other words....

Please submit your complaints to the management.

JIB Award WinnersBy the way, who won this year's JIB Awards anyway?! Inquiring minds want to know....

Please send your posts for next week's edition of the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival via the Blog Carnival Submission Form. I found this to be very helpful in organizing your posts this week. Plus, it doesn't look like we have a host for next week, so there wouldn't be any other place to send your links to. If you're interested in hosting please contact Soccer Dad at dhgerstman at hotmail dot com.

...And speaking of blog carnivals, check out this month's Kosher Cooking Carnival hosted by Batya at Me-Ander, and the current edition of the bi-monthly JPix Blog Carnival hosted by Rafi at Life In Israel.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

NRP: They've Really Done It This Time

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Naso 5767

MK Zevulun OrlevHillel Fendel of Arutz 7 reports that National Religious Party [NRP] MK Zevulun Orlev claims to have 56% public support for his recently introduced, Sabbath-Sunday Bill.

"Orlev's bill would change the official approach to Sabbath as the country's day of rest. Though businesses and government offices would continue to be closed, places of entertainment would be permitted to open - and public transportation, now banned in most cities on the Sabbath, would be available for that purpose. The bill stipulates that such transportation and entertainment would be carried out with maximum sensitivity to the religious public."

This has come up before in the Knesseth. Former MK Yosef "Tommy" Lapid of the ardently secular, and now pretty much defunct, Shinu'i Party had proposed this change.

Yes. You DID you read that correctly: The arch-secularists were the last to propose such a bill.

What is Orlev thinking?!

Down With The NRP!I'll tell you what he is thinking. Recently, the NRP voted to include non-religious party members. At the time I believed that this decision was made out of desperation, in an attempt to revive a dying political party, and to secure their precious seats in Knesseth:

The "National Religious Party: Discuss Amongst Yourselves"

Not only does this blatant act of encouraging public Shabbath desecration support my suspicions, it goes further by showing just how desperate the NRP really is.

Orlev's spokesman, Moshe Inbar confirms this, saying that:

...that lumping the two sectors [religious-zionist and traditional] together is in keeping with the NRP's new policy of "opening its gates" to the traditional community.

The blatant manipulation of the polls to produce a statistically insignificant figure of 56% is irrelevant. This proposed bill reveals even more of the already exposed true colors of the NRP:

What the people want (Read: what will get us re-elected) is more important than what The Almighty wants, following Torah.

Rabbi MK Yitzhak LevyFortunately, Rabbi MK Yitzhak Levy, formerly of the NRP, and now of the National Union Party, remains the voice of reason within the "National Religious Camp," saying that the bill paves the way for further deterioration in the character of the Sabbath in the State of Israel.

This reveals something else, which those of you who have been paying attention have already been noticing for the past several years:

There are TWO "National Religious Camps," not one, one which cares about Torah, and holds it in place where it should be held, above Israeli, secular law, and another, which,...well...how can say this?...does not, and wants to tell you that "it's a lot more complicated than that."

It's not.

There's no better word to describe men like MK Zevulun Orlev than a word used in Yiddish:

Shaigetz*

Well, now that I've put down MK Zevulun Orlev's idiocy from the the perspective of the right, I'll go you one further, and argue from the perspectives of the center and of the left.

Remember how I mentioned that such a bill had been proposed before?

Well, for reasons, right or wrong, then Education Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) adamantly opposed Lapid's bill, suggesting that if a two-day weekend should be created, then it should be Friday-Saturday. Government offices were already moving toward a Friday-Saturday weekend, and schools could easily be adapted to do the same. Friday was already only a half-day in schools. Since the late 1990's some high schools had already begun to opt for longer school days Sunday through Thursday, in exchange for Fridays off.

In fact, then Minister Livnat eventually pushed through a shift for all schools to begin moving toward a Friday-Saturday weekend, arguing that extending the regular school day, and closing schools on the already "half-day" Friday would save millions of sheqqels.

That shift has now almost been completed, and for quite some time, we all thought the former MK Lapid's dream of turning Israel into a "proper," European country was dead.

Then, along came a spider...by the name of Orlev.

From the left, I am very surprised that no one, to the best of my knowledge, has raised the issue of the Muslim work week, in which many take Fridays off. Friday is also a celebratory day in the Muslim calendar. It would make sense to make the Israeli weekend Friday and Saturday, both for pragmatic reasons, and in order to foster unity amongst Jews and Arabs (gag!).

Perhaps Mere"tz Party members are also more concerned with their precious seats in Knesseth, than with their Arab buddies, knowing full well, that your average Israeli on the street is right of center, and couldn't care less about Arabs, and wouldn't even flinch, and maybe even crack a smile, as well as crack open a bottle of champaign, if they were to disappear suddenly.

***********************************

*Shaigetz - adapted from the Hebrew sheqetz, a reference to creepy-crawly things on four legs as an abomination, not to be eaten (Lev. 11:20-23).

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Pigs Frown Today

3 of the Third Month 5767

Previously, I opined on the issue of Jewish-Christian dialog and cooperation in Pork Is Still Not Kosher.

A special committee of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel was debating whether to allow such participation in an upcoming Jewish-Christian womens event.

I am happy to announce that after some reconsideration, the rabbinic Committee to Stop Missionary Dissemination reaffirmed its ruling to ban participation in this event.

Rabbi MK Benny Elon, head of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, was not pleased by the decision, but said he would, of course, honor it.

The committee members ruling unanimously against event participation included:

Rabbi Simha Kook
, Chief Rabbi of Rehovoth
Rabbai Yitzhak Peretz, Ra'anana
Rabbi Sha'ar-Yashuv HaKohen,* Chief Rabbi of Haifa

(*replacing the absent Rabbi Yehuda Deri, Be'er Sheva)

In addition, Ze'ev Shtieglitz of the anti-missionary organization Lev L'Achim believes that he can put any questions to rest regarding the motivations and activities of organizations previously considered "innocent" of any wrong-doing.


...he has evidence of actual missionary activity by these groups. "For instance," he told Arutz-7, "ICEJ Liaison Officer Doron Schneider is the head of the Messianic Jewish community in Maaleh Adumim... The pastor of the Brit Olam Jewish-messianic congregation received his salaray from Bridges for Peace... But more than that: Dr. George Giacumakis, the one-time Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ICEJ, has said straight out that it is hoped, through various 'friendship' organizations with Jews, and by giving financial and political support to Israel, that Jews will start showing interest in Christianity."


I'll bet you never knew there was a "messianic Jewish community" in Ma'aleh Adumim.

...or in Ariel

...or in Beth-Shemesh

It' time that you knew.

The full story by Hillel Fendel about the committee's ruling can be read here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fatah, Nissan, & Azza

Mossa'ei Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Bamidbar 5767

The Kalashnikover Rebbe pointed this one out to me from tonight's Ha'Aretz front page on-line:

Fatah-Nissan
Fatah gunmen leaving their positions in Gaza on Saturday, following a truce agreement between Fatah and Hamas earlier in the day. (Reuters)


Without the caption, doesn't this look like a magazine ad for Nissan? I would like to suggest that this is not very good publicity for Nissan, not very good at all.

By the way, we would also like to know what is it with terrorists and pick-up trucks? Have you ever noticed that terrorists like to hop into the back of pick-ups? What's up with that?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ya'aqov's Soup (recipe)

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Bamidbar 5767

Introduction:

This recipe was designed for yeshiva bokhurim who want a break from being panned out to families for Shabbath meals, and just want to hang out with the guys for a change.

On Friday night, a traditional, Yerushalmi dinner is made up of hallah, fish, and salads, (all of which can be bought). It it then topped off with chicken soup. (Below, I will provide some quick and easy ideas for adding to this simple dinner.)

I thought it would be too hot for soup these days. But, after last Shabbath (Parshath Behar-Behuqothai), when it got pretty chilly, and soup was indeed called for, I decided to post this recipe.

There are, of course, many of you who couldn't possibly imagine any Shabbath without soup. I, on the other hand, prefer not to heat up my small apartment during the summer months, by having the plata on all night and day. Nonetheless, summer nights in the Shomron (Samaria) are usually cool enough to warrant a nice bowl of soup. So here's a tip plug the plata into a Shabbath clock, and have the plata turn off.

I'm sure some of you are all up in arms right now, either because I dare to have a Shabbath clock turn the plata off on Shabbath, or that I do not always have hot food on Shabbath day (like when it's 38C/100F outside!), or probably both.

(eyes rolling)

I'd just assume address those issue in another post, if you don't mind.

Now, getting back to the issue at hand, soup, don't think that yeshivah bochurim can't cook. Some of them just don't think they can,...or don't want you to find out that they can.

Just in case there are one or two out there who cannot cook, I have designed this recipe to be tediously user-friendly. So, please bear with me.

The Name:

I hope it doesn't sound too gaivadiq, the name of this soup I mean. It wasn't my idea, but that of a former roommate.

When I lived with roommates in the Qiriyath Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem ("Qamash" for short), the apartment on Shabbath was often a-buzz with guys from any number of different yeshivoth in the area, even from as far away as Har Nof.

We'd hang out, sing, tell stories, then walk around the block, so as to get a little activity after a big meal.

I do not mind saying that more than one young man, who was only beginning to explore Torah and religious observance, came away knowing that keeping Shabbath did not have to mean being bored out of your mind.

Ingredients:

2 medium, brown (or yellow) onions
1 carrot
4 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of celery
1 large
qishu (Israeli green squash - looks like light green zucchini)
1/2 medium
qolrabi (I have no clue what this is in English.*See picture & note below.)
1/2 c. chopped parsley - fresh, of course!
8 pieces of chicken


Preparation:

Start boiling some water in a three liter pot. Fill it about half-way.

Cut up the vegetables like this:

Peel the onions and chop them into eighths. Make sure to cut off the hard bits of root at the bottom. They taste nasty, and prevent the onion from falling apart naturally in the soup. And, since you might not learn such dinim, unless you worked in the kitchen, or your mother taught you, I'll tell you that if there's a black spot on the root of the onion, throw it out. If there's a black spot on the skin, don't sweat it. Just peel it off.

Skin the carrot. Cut it length-wise.

Peel the garlic. Chop it up, as small as you can.

If you don't have a peeler for the three items above, don't sweat it. Use your fingers. The carrot can simply be washed well, and the peel won't kill you.

Break the celery in two. Break it. Don't cut it. This way, the "strings" of the celery will become exposed, and you will able to strip them from the stalks. Why is this necessary? Trust me. You don't want to be chewing on these strings nor have to pick them out from between your teeth.

Now, if you can't skin the qishu, it's not the end of the world. I don't know why, but it tastes better when it's skinned. I suppose because it absorbs the chickeniness of the soup. Cut off the top and bottom, as close to the ends as possible. Cut it into thirds. If you cannot or do not want to skin it, then poke the pieces through the middle with a knife.

You will have to skin the qolrabi, and that includes the fibrous layer under the skin. Use a knife. Chop it into quarters, and then skin it. Save two pieces for next week in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If you don't want to hassle with that, then throw all of the pieces into the water, which should be boiling by now.

Throw the rest of the vegetables and parsley in.

Put the chicken in. It bought it frozen, and forgot to defrost it, it's not the end of the world. It's just going to take longer.

Fill the pot with water, so that the level is about 3/4 inch from the top.

Bring the soup back to a boil.

Reduce the flame. It should be bubbling a little. That's called "simmering."

After about 10 minutes, begin skimming the cream to brown-colored foam off of the top. Do this a few more times while the soup is simmering. Otherwise, the soup will not have a very nice consistency.

Leave the chicken in for not more than 45 minutes, other wise the chicken will completely lose it's flavor. You can, of course, leave the chicken in, cook for an additional 30 minutes, and serve it that way, for the least amount of hassle.

I recommend you remove the chicken, though. Place the pieces in a foil pan, sprinkle spices like garlic powder, onion powder, sweet paprika, and my special ingredient, soy sauce. I prefer American over Israeli brands. Fresh spices are always better. But, dried spices are fine if you are not going to use spices very much or very often.

Then throw it into a toaster oven, if you have one, for 50 minutes on 175C (350F). This way you will have an additional course for dinner. Prepare some pasta according to the directions, which is very difficult to mess up, and there you go, a home made, yet fairly easy Shabbath dinner for you and your friends.

Best of all, when you're at home, you get to be the boss of your own schedule, and you have the opportunity to do the misswah of Hakhnasath Orhim (hosting of guest).

Now, if you are, or are like a Me'ah Sha'arim traditionalist, I know what you're going to stay:

"That's not chicken soup! There are too many vegetables in it! It's gonna be too sweet!"

OK. But, it's not called chicken soup; it's called Ya'aqov's Soup.

And, if you don't follow these directions to the letter, then it's just not Ya'aqov's Soup.

Variations:

add a small basket of chopped mushrooms

or

leave out the celery for those friends who cannot stand celery, although I cannot imagine why,

or

Replace the parsley with about half as much fresh dill.

or

In the fall, add some chunks of pumpkin or butternut squash

******************************
qolrabi
* Morfix On-line Dictionary
translates qolrabi as "kohlrabi, turnip cabbage..." whatever the heck that means.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Little Divine Displeasure Perhaps?

Yom Yerushalayim 5767

Arutz 7 reports:

Main J'lem Day Event Cancelled Due to Heavy Rains:

(IsraelNN.com) The official ceremony marking 40 years since the unification of Jerusalem has been canceled, after heavy, unseasonal rains caught the nation's capital by surprise Wednesday. The ceremony was to take place at Ammunition Hill.

There are traffic stoppages throughout the city, and a crater has opened up on Bar-Lev Way (highway no. 1), near Yehudai Border Police Base. The Mount Scopus tunnel is flooded and closed to traffic. At the Church of Gethsemane, two monks were rescued by police after they were caught in the flood. Tourists were also trapped at Shiloach. Several homes in Wadi Joz were flooded.


Gee. Forty years, to the day, after the recapture of Jerusalem, on a day of rejoicing, and for many the saying of Hallel and Al HaNissim, there are unseasonal rains and flash floods.

Celebrations for a day soiled by Knesseth passage of a method for new land giveaways to the Arabs, and continued rocket bombardment of the Northern Negev, had to be canceled.

Forty years ago, after recapturing the Har HaBayith (the Temple Mount), it was given over to the Wakt (Muslim religious authority). Since then the Sinai Peninsula was won and given back, finalized by the expulsion and destruction of the coastal town of Yamit. Jewish resettlement of Azza was encouraged, and then destroyed, along with its counterparts in the northern Shomron.

Jews are still "not allowed" to pray on Har HaBayith.

Oh, yeah, HaShem promised he'd never use flooding for the destruction of the world.

But, he never said anything about expressing His displeasure.

It's possible.

With whom is HaShem displeased?

With members of the evil government regime?

Or with those of us who allow the government regime to continue on its path of destruction of Jewish lives, Jewish homes, Torah, and attempts at undoing HaShem's work,...His miracles?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pork Is Still Not Kosher

Mossa'ei Shabbath Parshath Behar-Behuqothai 5767

Hillel Fendel on Arutz 7 reports that the Chief Rabbinate is to Review its Recent Ban of the Christian-Jewish Conference, Woman To Woman, sponsored by the "Bridges For Peace" organization.

The original report on the Chief Rabbinate Nixing the Christian-Jewish Conference can be read at this link.

Everyone seems to be chiming in on this one, so why shouldn't I?

Rabbi MK Benny ElonRabbi MK Benny Elon, head of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, and Sandra Oster-Baras, Director of the Israel Office of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, and resident of Qarnei Shomron, were not happy with the decision.

And, although I do not know the specific opinion of Arutz 7 radio show host and Land Of Israel co-founder Jeremy Gimpel, I think I'll drag him into this anyway as well.

Rabbi MK Benny Elon, head of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, and Sandra Oster-Baras believe that they are very strict in investigating Christian organizations for missionary before engaging in any dialog, and that the advantages of communicating with Christian allies outweigh any of the disadvantages.

I mention Jeremy Gimpel here, as there was allusion to a show he had done with a representative of a Christian organization in the report on the review of the Rabbinate's Ban. Jeremy was also kind enough to be in touch with me last summer, with answers to my questions about his organization, Land Of Israel. He assured me that he an his partner Ari Abramowitz had no interest in co-dependently convincing goyim to like and accept us, one of my pet-peeves. Rather they were only interested in disseminating information.

CamelThere is a midrash on Parshath Sh'mini in Sefer Wayiqra (Leviticus 11:4-7), regarding four mammals which are expressly forbidden for consumption, the camel, the badger (or hyrax), the rabbit, and the pig.Hyrax The first three are not kosher because even though they chew their cuds, they do not have split hooves. The pig is not kosher because even though it possesses split hooves, it does not chew its cud.

RabbitThe midrash suggests that these four, non-kosher animals represent the four malkhuyoth (kingdoms) which have dominated over the Jewish People. The pig, interestingly enough, often sits with its split hooves out, as if to say, "Look at me! I'm kosher." It also appears to chew its cud, moving its mouth in a similar fashion. In other words, it lies, literally, through its teeth.Pig The pig represents the current and final kingdom, that of Edom.

That's the midrash.

Who is Edom? Rome (Bereshith Rabba, etc).

Who is Edom now? the new Rome...the European Union, the Catholic Church,...how about the Christian world?

The first three animals listed are not kosher due to their paws, or "hands" and "feet," just like the first three malkhuyoth which ruled over the Jewish were hard on us physically, for the most part, enslaving, pursuing or killing us.

Whereas the pig's non-kosher attribute is in and around the mouth, the part of the body responsible for speech.

The primary weapons of the Christians are their mouths,...their words. They try to convince us of their lies. They entice not so knowledgeable Jews with their knowledge of Hebrew, the Bible, and Jewish history. They steal away Jewish souls, and imprison them.

There really is no other way to describe it.

There is, of course, another midrash suggests that the pig is so-named hazir the Hebrew for lashon hozer (to return).

I'll believe when I see it.

Nonetheless, in this blogger's humble opinion, this "return" of the currently ruling malkhuth of Edom to being kosher is only when the Mashiah arrives, and the Christians finally accept and admit that they were wrong, and begin to repair the damage they have done to Am Yisra'el for the past 2,000 years.

In the meantime, let us please remember one of the many things which set us apart from Christians, as well as from the many others who call themselves "Jewish."

We do not make decisions based on what nor how we feel. Rather we have a hallachic process which we follow based on the combination of Torah shebiKhtav (Written Torah) AND Torah sheb'al Peh (Oral Torah).

I know that all of the afore-mentioned Jews believe that the hallachah supports their activities.

But, what do the experts in Jewish Law, like Rabbi Simhah Kook ShLIT"A, say? ...not to mention Rabbi Avraham Shapira ShLIT"A, former Chief Rabbi of Israel, and Rabbi Dov Lior ShLIT"A of Qiriyath Arba-Hevron....

I know for a fact that they have yet to rule that pork is kosher.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

More On The 2007 JIB's: Did You Do This, Too?

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Behar-Behuqotai 5767

JIB Awards Voting
Would you like to know how long it took me vote?

WHEW!

A VERY long time. No, it's not the fault of the JIB Awards site.

It's mine, all mine.

For many of the categories, I checked out the results first. I then made a point of voting strategically, so that the blogs and blogs posts I did NOT like would have less of a chance of winning.

Needless to say, this took me a while.

Did you do this, too?

I'm evil aren't I?

NYAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Show Me The Money

21 of the Second Month 5767

Someone pointed out two consecutive news flashes to me on Arutz 7 yesterday:


City Councils Struggle in Arad, Mitzpeh Ramon

then 15 minutes later...

Israel to Give $5 Million to Darfur Refugees

Those in the Israeli government want to join the big boys in Europe, throwing money around in Darfur.

"Look at us! See? We're just like you...concerned with the same, politically-correct issues you are! Please love and accept us!"

What brings me to make such a bold assumption?

On the issue of Kaf Zkhuth (giving the benefit of the doubt), the Ramba"m is clear. When examining the actions of evil people, the opposite must apply. One is required to assume that an evil person's apparently positive actions are covering up ulterior motives.

So, when considering the actions and motivations of the Israeli government, this concept regarding why [certain] people do what they do must be applied.

In all honesty, the financial struggles in Arad and Mitzpeh Ramon, are not necessarily due to lack of funds, rather disagreements among city council members.

Nonetheless, the headlines strike a chord of truth.

Can Israel really afford to donate money outside of the country? Should it anyway?

The prevailing Hallachic opinions dictate that one should not give away so much of your income that you harm your family.

So, what about the Jews who need it, like the hungry children, the homeless, the laid-off teachers, the lonely hayalim bodedim (soldiers without family in Israel)? Five million dollars (20 million sheqqels!) can go a long way.

And, if the Israeli government is so desperate to give money away to non-Jews, maybe it could give it to Druze communities. Hey, it would even be a vote-getter.

As I have said, time and time again, the attitude seems to be that...

If a non-Jew, a black American, for example, gives money to a black charity, it's "self-empowering." If a Jew gives to a Jewish charity, it's elitist or even racist.


More self-hatred and co-dependence.

What are YOU going to do about it?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Um,...Hello?! RaShB"I Didn't Die on Lag b'Omer

18 of the Second Month 5767

Last year in a set of courageous newpaper interviews, Rav Avraham Kosman revealed his research demonstrating that Rabbi Shimon Bar-YoHai [RaShB"I] did not actually die on 18 Iyyar, the 33rd day of S'firath haOmer (counting of the Omer, See Lev. 23:15-16).

The article in the Shofar newspaper is in Hebrew, so I will give you the highlights:


1. One of the bases for believing that RaShB"I died on "Lag b'Omer" comes from a manuscript of Rabbi Hayim Vital. Rabbi Vital ZTz"L, talmid muvhaq of Rabbi Yitzhaq Luria ZTz"L, the AR"I, supposedly mentions this date as the day of death of RaShB"I. Yet, an examination of the original reveals the abbreviation "shin-mem" for "shemeth" haRaShB"I (died), to be a scribal error. The original reads "simhath" haRaShB"I (happiness, festive day).

2. Leading Qabbalist of modern times, Rabbi Yosef Hayim meBagdad, the Ben Ish Hai, confirms this notion that RaShB"I did not die on this date,...

3. ...as does Rabbi Hayim Yosef David Azulai ZTz"L, the "HID"A."

4. And, even if this were the anniversary of death of RaShB"I, the Hatham Sofer was very much against the idea of celebrating on such a day. "Do we celebrate on Moshe Rabbeinu's anniversary of death?"

5. A little known event also occurred on this date in the year 4123 (363 CE). The Byzantine emperor of the time had granted permission for Jews to rebuild the Temple and to re-institute the sacrificial service. Yet the night they were to lay the foundation, Jerusalem was hit by an earthquake, a day of sorrow.

Many (not all) Jews go through S'firath haOmer, looking horrible with hair and beards (those that normally trim or shave) out of control, completely ignoring the precedence of honoring Shabbath over aveluth (mourning practices), in commemoration of the fall of Rabbi Aqiva's talmidim during this time period.

Before the standardization of the calendar of Hillel, when Tisha b'Av, the date of the destruction of of the first and Second Temples, among other things (Mishnah , would fall on a Friday, men would cut their hair on the preceding Thursday, in honor of the coming Shabbath (Mishnah Ta'anith 4:7)! Yet, heaven forbid they should cut their hair kavod Shabbath (in honor of Shabbath).

However, whatever the Simhath RaShB"I was, it seems to take precedence over the expression of aveluth during S'firath haOmer.

Huh?

Now I'm really confused.

The case here appears to be that the humra of the minhag of the inyan takes precedence over the hallachah.

Unfortunately, "Lag b'Omer" is not the only manifestation of confused priorities amongst the Jewish People.

I supposed that is because, as we learn in Megilath Esther, everything is hafukh before Ge'ulah (time of redemption).

Friday, May 04, 2007

The National Religious Party: Discuss Amongst Yourselves

Erev Shabbath Qodesh Parshath Emor 5767

Just Say No to the NRPFor those of you who ever watched the Saturday Night Live TV show back in the 90's will recall the regular segment "Coffee Talk", a pretend TV talk show hosted by Linda Richman (played by Mike Myers).

One of the trademarks of this segment was that whenever Linda got upset or verklempt as she put it, she would give her audience and viewers at home a topic to discuss, while her welled-up feelings had a chance to pass.

The topics she suggested for discussion always had the same format, such as...

"The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, Roman, nor even an empire. Discuss amongst yourselves."

I take the time to mention this, so that you will understand the context when I say that my suspicions are now confirmed.

"The Israeli National Religious Party [NRP] is neither national, religious, nor even a party."

Yesterday on Arutz 7, it was reported that NRP Opens Ranks to Masorti Population:

...Members of the party's central assembly ratified a resolution to allow those who are not religious but keep many Jewish traditions, often known as Masortim, to join the party....

Now, in all fairness to the NRP, maybe it's just coming clean, and being honest about its true constituency. After true masortim (traditional Jews) have supported the NRP for years, as have many secular Jews in Yehudah & Shomron.

Nah!

It's all just to get more votes, as its presence in the K'nesseth has been in steady decline for,...well, years.

My biggest concern is that now so-called "Conservative" Jews, calling their movement the "Masorti" Movement in Israel will eventually get their hands into NRP policy-making. The left-wing Meretz Party is beginning to lose its appeal to some of these "Jews," and since their ulterior motive is to spread their psuedo-Torah lies by any means necessary, I suggest we be on the look-out.

The shadiness of the NRP's religiosity is also demonstrated by its regarding of rabbis. When NRP officials asked former Sefardi Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu ShLIT"A if they could include women on the NRP list of candidates, they received a "NO" response. Of course, they went ahead and included women anyway, stating that they had "other" rabbis.

Well, gee, if you're not actually interested in holding to a response which runs counter to what you have decided already, then at least be smart enough to ask only for his "hypothetical" opinion, or better yet, don't ask him in the first place.

As far as being "national," I suppose it depends on what you mean by "national." The NRP IS most definitely nation-wide and nationally-known.

But, when it sits on a Baraq or a Sharon government, what kind of "national interests" does it demonstrate?

None.

Neither taunts nor threats from his own constituents deterred NRP head Zevulun Orlev from parting with his precious seat in the Sharon government of expulsion.

That brings me to why the NRP isn't even a party. Some time ago, Effie Etom and Rabbi Yitzhaq Levy left the NRP to for their own Religious Zionist Renewal Party, which was soon absorbed into the National Union Party led by Rabbi Benny Elon, and including Dr. Aryeh Eldad and Uri Ariel.

In desperation, and under the pretense of Ahduth Yisra'el (Jewish unity), the NRP followed suit, attaching itself in a two-year commitment to the National Union Party.

It doesn't really function as a party anymore, but rather as a faction. And, as I stated above, the NRP's decision to "come out" as open to non-religious members is only its latest, last-ditch effort to keep its head above the political party surface.

And, just when I thought the NRP was finally dead....

(sigh)

I'm feeling verklempt....

I'll give you a topic....

The National Religious Party is neither national, religious, nor even a party.

Discuss amongst yourselves....
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