Sunday, May 31, 2009
Haveil Havalim #219 is up at DovBear....
I am hosting next week's edition. So, please start sending in your posts (not more than three, please) via the on-line submission form.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
There is an expression in the tremping (Israeli hitchhiking) world, שעות הרחמים (The Hours Of Mercy). It refers to the hours just before the onset of Shabbath, when it is generally considered not a good idea to set out on a journey, lest one should get stuck in some town unexpectedly, or worse, in the middle of nowhere, and then "poof," it's Shabbath.
Yet, Jews set out a couple hours before Shabbath anyway. We do not do this intentionally. I have only done this if I am traveling to the next town or two. Even though Shabbath has been coming in later and later, I will sometimes glance at the clock on Erev Shabbath, and wonder where the time has gone. I have a shower, assuming I won't make it to the miqweh when I get to where I'm going, dress in my Shabbath clothes, throw a few essentials into a shopping bag, and then it's out the door!
Generally speaking, we also have contingency plans. Boys can crash at a yeshiva, if they get stuck along the way. From Elon Moreh and Shavei Shomron in the north, to Jerusalem, all the way down to Susya, south of Hevron, there are many yeshivoth in Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria). Likewise, girls know where the girls' schools are along the way. Teen-aged men and women from Yehudah and Shomron, generally seasoned trempistim, after their first couple of years of high school, have a networking system all their own. They can also call their parents for suggestions of who they know in particular towns where they've gotten stuck, so that they can show up to their houses as a "surprise Shabbath guest."
If I am on my way to Jerusalem, for example, I happen to know people in Eli, Shiloh, and Ofra where I could theoretically crash, if it didn't look like I was going to make it to my intended destination. If I am still stuck at Tapu'ah Junction, I can always just walk back up the hill, and spend Shabbath at home.
For some reason, though, there always seem to be tremps. Once, on my way to Shiloh, I got a ride from someone from Beth El, an hour and half before sheqi'ah (sunset). Another time, I received a ride to Eli with about the same time to spare.
The reason this time period shortly before Shabbath is called "The Hours Of Mercy" is actually two-fold. I have reports of tremps appearing out of nowhere, as well as drivers stopping for trempistim when they, themselves are in a hurry, and may not even have any room. They find a way to make room, knowing the urgency of the situation, whether the trempist was acting irresponsibly or not.
I have heard various stories of Jews who have not been so fortunate. One man who was waiting for a tremp in front of a town in the Shomron. He realized he was not going to make it to his destination. So he started walkin up the hill to the town, stowed away his muqtze (items forbidden on Shabbath) at the guarding booth, and found a family to take him in after tefillath aravith (evening prayer).
There is also the story of a certain, fellow blogger, who shall remain nameless, who just showed up in Yitzhar one Erev Shabbath. Sounds kind of hutzpadik [AND intentional], huh? Well, apparently not everyone in Yitzhar thought so, as this fellow blogger claimed he had a great time there.
So, yet another reason why the hours just before Shabbath are known as "The Hours Of Mercy," to those of us who travel the roads by the hesed (kindness) of strangers is the mercy shown by the Jews who open up their homes to their fellow, unexpectedly "stuck" Jews, perhaps doubling the power of their misswah of Hakhnasath Orhim (the taking in of guests).
Photos taken from my bedroom window in K'far Tapu'ah, NOT on Shabbath.
Don't forget to check out my comprehensive guide to Tremping.
Rafi G. at Life In Israel commented on the Israeli media's back and forth on the issue of Haredim moving into the secular, upper/upper middle class neighborhood of Ramat Aviv in north Tel-Aviv: Le-SheeTascha Criticism.
I took the opportunity to comment, focusing on the neighborhood itself:
I lived in one of the absorption centers in Ramat Aviv several years ago. I remember the ruckus caused by 20 Chabbad yeshiva bochurim coming to live in the neighborhood.
I remember praying tefillath minhah by them in their unmarked, second floor apartment yeshiva.
I remember the ruckus when Chabba"d opened a men's miqweh.
I remember the secular Ramat Aviv table set up next to the Chabbad tefillin table, the nasty things they yelled at them, and printing of "Secular Ramat Aviv" posters as shiva announcements and posting them all over.
I remember when Ramat Aviv residents protested the then new mall being closed on Shabbath. They later realized how noisy it would be and stopped their fight against the frum mall owner.
Remember the brief protest against the Azza expulsion by sleeping in Ramat Aviv streets? They would have none of that. They protesters were quickly forced to "move along."
It's a nutty, and apparently paranoid place.
At least one resident, a certain former MK Michael Kleiner, is not anti-religious, and is proud of his frum son. May he be an influence to them all.
To Ramat Aviv residents:
We're coming whether you like it or not.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Unlike the sometimes boring and sometimes Christian-loving, English version of Arutz 7 (Israel National News), the Hebrew weekly "b'Sheva" sometimes has an interesting headline worth mentioning.
The headline refers to the Jewish strongholds, recently demolished, such as Ma'oz Esther near Kokhav HaShahar, Mitzpeh Avihai and Federman's Farm near Hevron, or set for demolition, such as Havath Gil'ad, not too far away from Qarnei Shomron.
Menahem Begin was in power when Yamit was destroyed. Ari'el Sharon was behind the destruction of Gush Qatif and the rest of Azza. And now, Binyamin Netanyahu is at the plate. What will the extent of his damage be?
Of course, the underlying message from this Nation Union Party cheerleader is...
"We're still angry that enough residents of Judea and Samaria voted for the Likud to rob us of one or two seats in Kenesseth. So, we're going to rub their noses in it ever chance we get!"
And speaking of the National Union Party...
MK Aryeh Eldad announced that Jordan already is a palestinian state, calling to mind his former colleague Rabbi Benny Elon's The Right Road To Peace plan.
Yet, his current colleague MK Michael Ben-Ari corrected him, stating that Jordan is actually part of Israel:
“The people of Israel have no right to give up our claim to any part of the Land of Israel,” he said, adding, “Both banks of the Jordan River are ours.”
MK Aryeh Eldad should take a lesson from the Jewish strongholds in Judea and Samaria. One of their underestimated uses was pointed out to me today: While the focus is on them, the focus is off all the other building taking place within established towns, albeit much of it was approved years ago.
If the world thinks that we are getting ready to take control of the ancestral territories of Re'uven and Gad, the western portion of modern day Jordan, perhaps the focus will be taken off of Judea and Samaria,...a strategy not very likely to be adopted anytime soon, not even by the Nation Union Party.
After all, like the headline says, "Only The Likud Can?" Here's a snippet from the Likud Party Platform:
The Jordan River as a Permanent Border
The Jordan Valley and the territories that dominate it shall be under Israeli sovereignty. The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel. The Kingdom of Jordan is a desirable partner in the permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians in matters that will be agreed upon.
Either PM Netanyahu is playing games with the U. S., or the Likud's platform will be changed or just ignored, just like former PM Sharon ignored the voice of his constituents.
Of course, if you believe that Netanyahu is really in charge, then I have some swampland to sell you in Salfit.
Shifty Shimmy is the one really calling the shots....
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This month's edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival (#42) is up at Food History, which by the way has a great tag line...
Check out Gillian Pollack's presentation of KCC!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Did you ever wonder what the heck someone from Riyadh, Saudia Arabia is doing reading your blog??
(The image is a segment from the May, 2009, Esser Agaroth ClustrMap.)
What about Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates also popping up on the radar from time to time?
I can understand Singapore. There are Jews in Singapore.
Just mistakes right? EVERY month? What if someone in Riyadh is really checking out Israeli blogs,...for intelligence information?
If they can hack into other sites and Facebook pages, then why not check out blogs?
After the failed plot to bomb the Riverdale Jewish Center, I really don't understand why my fellow Jews in the U. S. don't see the writing on the wall, and get out already.
This is not the first, and it won't be the last. Right now, attacks in Los Angeles (1999), Seattle (2006), and San Francisco (2006) seem like ancient history, don't they? They seem few and far between. There doesn't seem to be much of a pattern here, does there?
How long will that last?
American Jews will tell me that I am crazy and alarmist. Others will tell me they must wait for Mashiah, before they leave galuth (the diaspora). They believe that HaShem took us into galuth, so only HaShem can take us out. They fact that there are several misswoth, and authorities which tell the opposite story, does not seem to be there concern.
Still other American Jews will tell me that if they leave America, then they will be letting the terrorists win.
If only we applied that attitude in Israel; we would be invisible.
Don't you get it? America is NOT your home. You belong here in Israel. The economic problems, worries about finding a job, learning a new language, and interacting with Jews of several cultures completely different from your own, are totally irrelevant.
Get out while you still can.
See more at SHUVA - The Emergency Aliyah Movement
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Sorry to put a damper on your Yom Yerushalayim celebrations, but Jewlicious posted a photo on twitpic, on which I just couldn't resist commenting, not on Jewlicious's post of the photo, but of the concept. (Photo Tip-off: Occidental Israeli)
By the way, it is a nice photo of Jews entering the Old City through the Shchem Gate, with indirect, "Magic Hour" lighting. But, why was it decided to go through that gate? Is it supposed to be such a big deal?
My comment:The great victory of 42 years ago, the miracles which HaQadosh Barukh Hu (The Holy One, Blessed Be He) performed for us, deserve a little more umpf than gawking at women dancing, as if Israeli flags make it kosher.
Good. The mamlachtim (undying state loyalists) are doing something right.
Hmm...nah, wait a minute. It probably wasn't their idea. But if it was, it was for wimpy, "symbolic," reasons. What will they do now when they ban us from entering through this same gate on Shavu'oth, due to the previous week's "provocation?"
They should have gone through Sha'ar HaAryoth (Lions Gate) or Sha'ar HaP'rahim (Flower Gate) and marched through the Muslim Quarter.
How many of those pictured in the photo will say Al HaNissim tonight and tomorrow?
...I doubt it will be very many. I doubt that very many of their Roshei Yeshivoth has even mentioned the existence of such a thing.
(Adam Lambert photo: Daniel Than via Wikimedia; Kris Allen photo: Taylor Brown via Wikimedia)
The Orthodox Jewish grandmothers and great-grandmothers who volunteer where I work in Jerusalem are the ones responsible for getting me hooked on the talent show American Idol. I am, by far, not the only one who got hooked this season, either. I have heard from more than a few American ex-pats in Israel that they, too, followed this season of American Idol, even though they would normally never condone, let alone participate, in such narishkeit.
Self-described, Jewish agnostic Adam Lambert, my San Diego "homeboy" is the reason why. Just like former Arkansas Gov. and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee was routing for Christian, "milk and cookies boy" Kris Allen from his home state, Jewish American grandmothers in Israel were routing for their fantasy grandson, Adam Lambert.
They will, of course, be disappointed, when they see Israel's airing of the results this Saturday night, that is, if someone hasn't ruined it for them already. Kris Allen won.
The news media had already predicted the results, although many also said that it shouldn't matter: The contestant with the wider range voice and the greater overall talent was not going to beat out the contestant with the tried and true, Christian-family, vote-getting profile.
(FoxNews.com) "I'm sorry, I don't even know what to feel right now. This is crazy," said a stunned Allen, 23, of Conway, Ark.
As host Ryan Seacrest said in announcing the result of the viewer vote, "The underdog, the dark horse, comes back and wins the nation over."
My theory is that Adam's raw talent and his evocation of Broadway most every time he took to the stage got these American-Israeli bubbes hooked on Adam, not to mention that he is a sweet, Jewish boy. Don't let his bad boy, rocker wardrobe and hair fool you. He comes off as sweet, polite, and, yes, humble, in addition to being incredibly comfortable on stage, the big four litmus tests applied in adopting a Jewish grandson.
The bubbes were undeterred by certain "controversial" photos and videos which would normally be considered a great shandah in many Jewish homes. "So, what? He might not make anyone a grandmother anytime soon, but the boy can sing..."
You will definitely not have to worry about Adam Lambert, after being voted American Idol's runner-up. While Kris takes Nashville and Branson, Adam will be taking Los Angeles and New York. If he doesn't make it as a rock star, he will make it on Broadway. If by some unlikely chance, Broadway doesn't work out, he can always make aliyah, and give the Israeli music industry a run for its money. Are you listening, Aviv Gefen?
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sounds kind of gaivadik, doesn't it? Such an inflated ego to think that anyone would want to join some two-bit (let alone two-cent) blog's "fan" group, no?
No arguments here. But, if you check your statistics even once in a while (everyday??), then you know where most of the traffic to your blog originates. For some reason, other than organic and direct traffic, Facebook brings the most referral hits on Esser Agaroth.
Why? I have no clue. But, I decided to run with it, and see what other ways I can expand upon these results from Facebook.
Eventually, we will see if this Facebook group helps at all. In the meantime, check it out, and see if this might be the tool for you as well.
Special thanks to Life In Israel and Benji Lovitt for the advice, and to Frum Satire and Life Of Rubin for the inspiration.
Today, while shopping at the local "Yesh" supermarket in Ari'el, I noticed a new brand of meat being carried at the butcher's counter, "Fleish." What really caught my attention was the heksher, the kosher certification. It's from the OU.
Now, I had already heard about this brand, that it was OU-certified and that can be found in Jerusalem. I just hadn't yet see it with my own eyes. So, of course, I had to photograph it.
The butcher behind the counter asked me why I was photographing this meat.
I explained to him, that yes, I know it looks strange to photograph meat, but I wanted to show my friends this American te'udath kashruth (kosher certification) I had found in the middle of the Shomron (Samaria).
I'm sure he still thought I was nuts.
Months ago, when I first heard about the OU certifying restaurants, I asked one of their mashgihim (supervisors) as well as another representative from the OU in Israel, why the OU felt the need to provide certifications here.
The answer was simple. The OU symbol and standards are well-known by Americans. When they visit Israel, seeing the OU symbol saves them the guess work of sifting through unfamiliar, albeit reliable, te'udoth kashruth. The same goes for adding the OU certification to products marketed here in Israel.
There are actually 12 restaurants, food producers, and caterers listed in Israel bearing the OU certification. Yet, I happen to know of a few more, not yet listed.
Until recently, much of what was to be found in stores with an OU certification was overstock of items designated for export. Just like the Israeli Chief Rabbinate investigates the kashruth of products entering Israel, the OU sends its experts to factories around the world, preparing to send their products to North America.
For more information on OU-certified products and kashruth in general, visit OUkosher.org.
Click here for my Kashruth Certification Guide For Israel
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Haveil Havalim #217 is up at Shiloh Musings AND at Me-Ander. It's the Discount Edition edition.
...and don't forget to wish our host blogger Batya a Happy Birthday!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Today News1 reports that the Depeche Mode concert tour is in danger of being canceled.
After the show in Israel, two of Depeche Mode's concerts have been canceled, in Athens and in Istanbul, following the illness of the lead singer David Gahan. It is possible that this will be the end of the tour.(Tip Credit: Sophomore 74 Studios)
But the day before, DepecheMode.com, the group's official website, had already reported that...
Depeche Mode have been forced to cancel two shows on their 'Sounds of the Universe' tour, yesterday's show in Athens (May 12) and tomorrow's show in Istanbul (May 14), due to the illness of singer Dave Gahan.
Dave fell ill with a severe bout of gastroenteritis shortly before he was due onstage in Athens which resulted in his immediate hospitalization. At this stage, Dave's primary concern is to return to full health and resume the tour as soon as possible.
Fans in Athens and Istanbul have been advised to hold onto their tickets as an announcement will be made shortly with regard to rescheduled dates or cancellation.
But, since this statement was made, it looks as if shows scheduled for Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, have also been canceled. Still, we will have to wait and see if this really is the end of this tour.
The Tel-Aviv (Ramat Gan) show was the official opener of the "Sounds Of The Universe" tour, not counting the "warm-up" show played four days beforehand in Luxembourg.
At the group's Tel-Aviv press conference, a connection was made between opening in Tel-Aviv with the cancellation of the group's Tel-Aviv show three years ago due to the Second Lebanon War. That show, scheduled for the night following Tisha b'Av, was supposed to have been the closing show of "Touring The Angel."
Andrew Fletcher (synthesizers) said...
"As you must remember, we were very disappointed on the last tour, which would be the last [show] of Touring The Angel, when we had to cancel the show. But instead you've got the show of Tour of the Universe...."
(Tip Credit: Israelly Cool)
The show three years ago was reported to have been canceled not for political reasons, but due to the safety concerns of the group's crew.
At the time, I suggested that the show might have been canceled, as it was on a night when listening to live music is forbidden. So now, you might be asking the question, "Then, why wasn't canceled when it was a day before Lag b'Omer? And why were concerts in Athens and Istanbul canceled, but the concert in Israel was allowed to carry on? And am I making way too much out of all this? I don't know.
There are a few more interesting things to point about Depeche Mode and its Israel connection. They concern the lead singer, David Gahan, seen here visiting the Kotel (Western Wall).
His birthday falls on 5 b'Iyyar, Israeli Independence Day (1962).
In the Gregorian calendar, it fell last Shabbath, the day before the concert.
In addition, various conflicting reports have been made about his connection to Judaism. One is that his biological father is Jewish. One is that his parents converted to Judaism, after he was born, but reverted back to Christianity. David himself has also made mention of his affinity for Judaism.
But, enough about the band....
Throughout this post, the question many of you may have had burning a hole through your brains is whether or not I ended up going to the concert myself. No, I did not,...even though a friend claimed he had acquired passes to the after party at the Tel-Aviv Port (where the three band members actually did show up...kicking myself, kicking myself...).
There really wasn't much to discuss and debate, after I found that I had no way to get home after the concert, nor anywhere else to spend the night, except for the beach (been there, done that). So, the issues of whether I should go or not, and why I should or should not go, turned out to be moot.
Well, there's always next time....
Vos Iz Neias? sent New York Rabbi Yair Hoffman out to interview Rabbi David Bar-Hayim.
The two-hour interview is spread out over 12 video clips, and can be found by clicking here, or by clicking on the first installment below.
After viewing the entire interview, it appears that it covers a variety of topics, including several about which I myself am asked by friends and acquaintances, as a student of Rabbi David Bar-Hayim:
1. What Machon Shilo is and what its goals are
2. Machon Shilo's shitah (approach) of determining halachah le'ma'aseh (day-to-day questions of Jewish Law) is actually not a new shitah, but rather quite similar to the shitoth of the Ramba"m, the GR"A, the Netziv, and the Hazon Ish.
3. How Machon Shilo regards the Talmud Yerushalmi vs. the Talmud Bavli
4. How Machon Shilo views and relates to the Shulhan Arukh
5. Rabbi David Bar-Hayim's relationship with, and view of Yeshivath Merkav HaRav Kook
Through the course of the interview touches upon various issues, such as Birkath HaHammah, the prayer for rain, the Jerusalem Eruv, Biblical criticism, Islam, Galuth (diaspora), and Aliyah.
Monday, May 11, 2009
My neighbor Jewish rights activist Yekutiel, recently made the news, having been "banned" from entering the United Kingdom. Some of Yekutiel's responses are interspersed below in blue.*
Jewish Telegraph: Zionist Chief Backs Ban On "Violent" Guzofsky
The leader of Britain's major Zionist organisations has supported the Home Office decision to ban a Jewish activist from entering Britain.
Yekutiel Guzofsky, who lives on Kfar Tapuach on the West Bank, has been placed on a government no-entry list - which also includes a Palestinian child killer, an American neo-Nazi and a former Ku Klux Klan leader.
Zionist Federation co-president Professor Eric Moonman told the Jewish Telegraph: "The man is a villain and a person we don't need in this country. It would be an enormous embarrassment to British Jewry if he was allowed into the country. Even if he now regretted what he said, that is irrelevant. People are judged on their past records."
A Home Office spokesman said Guzovsky was the leader of a violent group and actively involved with military training camps. She added: "He is considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and to provoke others to terrorist acts. Guzofsky supported the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, of the Israeli prime minister: "One day, with God's help, he and his representatives will be tried for treason."
I support the assassination because I said Rabin should be put on trial??
He also backed Israeli Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Muslims at a mosque in Hebron in 1994.
Gusofsky said: "Baruch Goldstein did what he did out of a love for the Jewish people. We don't condemn anybody who is targeting the enemies of the Jewish people."
I support Dr Goldstein because I would not condemn him, and these views merit equal footing with murderers and Nazis in their eyes...??
...Guzofsky was the leader of Kach in America - a group which is now outlawed in the US and in Israel. A far-right political party, Kach was founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in the early 1970s and won seats in the Knesset in 1984.
...it is a poor state of affairs when I am labeled as the "number one Jewish terrorist"...G-d help us.
The real news here, though, is the disgusting support for the ban by Prof. Eric Moonman, co-president the "Zionist" Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. Moonman's response is reminiscent of the Judenrat collaborators of World War II. The reward you receive from the goyim, Mr. Moonman, will not be as great as the punishment you receive in HaOlam HaBa for your vile lashon hara against a Jew, who incurs continual hardship and harassment fighting to defend the rights of Jews in YOUR true homeland, Eretz Yisra'el.
Yekutiel puts his life on the line, fighting for freedom of speech, fair treatment within the Israeli Justice system, improved prison conditions, and for the right of the Jewish People to reside peacefully in the Jewish Homeland, free of Arab terrorism, all issues which, unless I am mistaken, you would support as well.
Six days a week, Yekutiel fights for the rights Jews, whether they live in the Shomron or Sderoth or Tel-Aviv. Then, every Shabbath, even though strapped for money, he finds a way to host an average of 20 Jews, religious and secular, Zionist and Hassidish, most all of whom are perfect strangers. He feeds them, gives them a matress, and teaches them about our historical connection to the Land surrounding us.
Save for the "Three Weeks" and "Omer" periods, Yekutiel also hosts a combined Jewish music concert/Melaveh Malkah every Saturday night, a popular meeting place for youth and adults alike, attracting many youth away from the various trappings of downtown Tel-Aviv and the like.
You, on the other hand, still live outside of the Land, you profess to support, yet you clearly have the means to live a comfortable life in Israel, setting the ultimate example for your fellow British Jews. You collaborate with the goyim against one of your own. And you call yourself a Zionist??!!
I am willing to assume that you have done helpful things for your community in the past. Unfortunately, you just managed to erase much of that with your current actions. You certainly no nothing of halachah (Jewish Law). That's for certain.
You are truly lost. May HaShem help you find your way back.
*From the Kahane Forum.
See also "British anti-Semitism alive and well"
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A while ago, I opened up my GeoCities account to find the message below. For years I have used GeoCities as place to store images for my blog and elsewhere on the Web.
After careful consideration, Yahoo! has decided to close GeoCities later this year.
You can continue enjoying your GeoCities service until then — we just wanted you to let you know about the closure as soon as possible. We'll share more details this summer. For now, please visit the help center for more information.
And so, I have begun the painstaking process of transferring all of my graphics to Picasa, a Google product, and then changing the image location links throughout much of my HTML code.
I have started with my sidebar, and after that, intend to work my way back through previous posts, unless of course, any of my fellow bloggers can come up with a better idea, and I certainly hope that you do.
YNET: Yishai: Opening Kiryat Arba-Hebron Route Dangerous
Interior minister [Eli Yishai] rebukes decision to open West Bank road to Palestinian traffic, demands matter be put to cabinet vote....
...Sunday saw the committee [on alleviations given to the Palestinian population in the West Bank] decide to allow the Zion Route – leading from Kiryat Arba to the Cave of Patriarchs in Hebron – to be open to Palestinian travel. The decision was made as part of the government and the defense establishment's effort to ease the daily life of the Palestinian population in the area and bolster moderate Palestinian influences.
Dangerous?? Really?? You think?
Well, I hope this means Minister Yishai has finally begun to listen to the only Sha"s Member of Knesseth who makes any sense, Nissim Ze'ev, seen here putting his money where his mouth is by moving into Beth HaShalom, Hevron, in the fall, 2008, before the expulsion of its residents.
The Sha"s Party has often been accused of moving wherever the wind blows, well the wind with thickest wallet that is. Could times be a changin'?
I am not optimistic.
Check out Rabbi David Bar-Hayim's audio shi'urim on Sephirath HaOmer and on Lag b'Omer by clicking here, or download them directly by clicking on the links below.
Sephirath Ha Omer: The Bar Kokhba connection
The Misswah of Sefirath HaOmer: If You Skip a Day, Do You Make a Bracha?
Sephirath HaOmer: How Did the Talmidhim of Rabbi Aqiva Die?
Lag B’Omer: A Holiday With No Reason
Rabbi David Bar-Hayim, Rosh Machon Shilo, can contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haveil Havalim #216 is up at Jack's Place (Random Thoughts - Do They Have Any Meaning?).
It's the Happy 40th Birthday Jack Edition edition.
Check it out, and don't forget to wish Jack a Happy 40th!
Saturday, May 09, 2009
11. Calling New York a holy city
10. The Meretz Party
(Like my Photoshopping?)
6. Hyphenated Surnames
5. Surnames period
(Try "son of"/"daughter of," your profession, HaKohen, HaLevi - if applicable, or even "from..." )
4. A non-Hebrew First Name
(I guess Aramaic is OK,...sort of.)
3. Inviting Christians to live in Israel
2. Mens' Wedding bands
List your favorite un-Jewish things below in the comments section!
1. All [non-Hassidishe] Ashkinazy Jews are bound by the Mishnah Berurah.
2. The concept of Dina Malkhuth Dina is applicable in Eretz Yisrael.
3. "Da'as Torah" is an acceptable answer to a halachic question.
4. With the exception of the "minhag" of keeping two days of Yom Tov outside of Eretz Israel, minaggei avoth are binding and for the most part minhaggei hamaqom are not, al pi halachah.
5. A black hat and tie make you frumer than someone without a black hat and tie.
6. A skirt barely to the knees, with a slit, a tight blouse, and a sheitel (wig) down past the shoulders is modest dress.
With the "best of intentions," certain Jews wanted to "protect" us, but ended up keeping us down,...as in a galuth-minded way of life, rather than a ge'ulah-minded way of life.
And why to you suppose these shams were able to take off in the first place? We were too numbed-out in galuth, and some of us were too concerned with fitting in with the goyim to pay attention.
No. 6 is one of those consequences, a hint of rebellion against those galuthi forces, yet the wrong approach for the wrong reasons.
All you really have to do is learn halachah, learn every sugiyah to the end, without skipping or ignoring the conclusion.
Please leave your favorite shams below in the comments section!
Friday, May 08, 2009
With regard to the impending visit by the head of the Catholic Church (and former Hilter Youth member), former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau should be commended and encouraged for having been publicly critical of the Pope, pointing out that...
1. The pope agreed to reinstate Bishop Richard Williamson, who denied the Holocaust, and who said there was no systematic murder of Jews, and...
2. that the pope announced that his representatives would attend [the Durban II Conference] and that he blesses the participants.
Rabbi Lau also made the following statement...
Despite the above, Rabbi Lau says, “We must not rebuff the visit. We need not bend over backwards or flatter him, but it should not be rejected. This is a visit initiated by the pope himself so that he can follow in the footsteps of his predecessors. We must welcome him, if only for the fact that millions of Jews still live in the Diaspora, and many of them in places where the Catholic Church is strong, such as Latin America, Poland, Ukraine and elsewhere. We must not give our enemies ammunition or pour fuel on the fire; we must not endanger even one Jew.”With all due respect to Rabbi Lau, the only and final solution for the problems he states is to help the Jews in question, as well as all Jews, to settle in Israel,..but legitimately so, not through the pussy-footing around of the un-Jewish Agency which cares more about the goyim in the Ukraine than the Jews.
This, of course, begs the question, what happens, when many of those Jews simply do not want to leave galuth (the diaspora)? We have already seen this with Jews in South Africa, Lebanon, and Syria, to name a few.
Unfortunately, they need some kind of kick in the pants. May HaShem not have to kick them too hard, and may it not be too late.
Furthermore, following Rabbi Lau's own logic, didn't he himself just endanger Jews with his "provocative" statements?
(Source: Rabbi Lau: No Need to Flatter the Pope -- or to Rebuff Him by Hillel Fendel)
Thursday, May 07, 2009
JPost: AIPAC Delegates To Lobby for Two-State Solution
While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is refusing to explicitly endorse a two-state solution to resolve the Palestinian conflict, participants at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference will this week be urging their elected representatives to press President Barack Obama for precisely that....Vice-President Joe Biden encouraged the acceptance of a two-state solution. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich "blasted the Obama administration for setting itself on a collision course with Israel and endangering the Jewish state." However, he also "added that creating prosperity among Palestinians was important, and that the US should be helping their leaders grow their society and crowd out Hamas."
...In this year's lobbying effort, to take place on Tuesday, the AIPAC thousands will be asking their congressmen to sign on to a letter addressed to Obama that explicitly posits the need for a "viable Palestinian state."
Why? So, they will be strong enough to build a state?
Sorry, guys, but we "Jews" already beat you to it. Two thousand years in galuth (the diaspora) has trained us, all too well, in the art of co-dependence and self-destruction.
Other "Jewish Organizations" which require a name correction include...
ADL: "Anti-Defamation of Islamic Terrorism League"
“The ADL strongly condemns Geert Wilders' message of hate against Islam as inflammatory, divisive and antithetical to American democratic ideals.(Tip credit: Nurit Greenger, Los Angeles; In addition, Debbie Schlussel has been exposing various ADL shenanigans.)
This rhetoric is dangerous and incendiary, and wrongly focuses on Islam as a religion, as opposed to the very real threat of extremist, radical Islamists.”
Mr. Andrew Rosenkranz
Florida ADL Regional Director and
All directors of ADL National Organization
The Israel Project Against Torah
"The Israel Project is a new national non-profit, non-partisan educational organization devoted to ensuring an accurate portrayal of Israel - a democracy where all citizens have freedom of speech, press, religion and a right to vote (except for Torah-observant Jews).
The Israel Project was founded by three American mothers who were (way too) concerned (and culturally co-dependent) that Israel's image in the media could cause an increase in anti-Semitism at home and abroad." (In other words, be worried about what the goyim think of Israel, than what we think of ourselves.)
According to halachah (Jewish Law), non-Jews have severe limitations on their rights to reside in Israel, and have NO right to vote, let alone to rule over Jews, even on local councils or in the IDF.
Israel does NOT have freedom of speech for those dissenting with government opinion, to which The Israel Project aligns itself, whether just or unjust. Leftists may do whatever they want in Israel, including entering Hevron and other parts of Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria) to incite the Arabs to riot and destroy agriculture projects and property.
Furthermore, The Israel Project supports the inclusion of non-Torah-based "Jewish" groups and "clergy" in Israeli society, a further watering down of the Torah-based society in which Jews are obligated to live, leading to the even destruction of everything identifiably Jewish.
Aren't you proud to be an American Jew? Organizations like these used to make me cower in shame. But then I realized something. Most of their members may be Jewish, but the organizations and certainly their ideas are not.
Does that sound too harsh to you?
Think about it some more, and you'll realize why I call them American un-Jewish organizations.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Netanyahu: No Preconditions for Peace Negotiations
Avraham Zuroff, 11 Iyyar 5769/May 5, 2009
(IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday night addressed delegates to the pro-Israel AIPAC convention currently taking place in Washington, D.C. Netanyahu related to several main points in his address, which was broadcast by satellite from Israel. Most prominent was his call for negotiations with Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders.
“We are prepared to resume peace negotiations without any delay or any preconditions. The sooner, the better,” he stated. (Read more...)
Happy now? Yes, I'm addressing YOU, all of you so-called, "right-wing," religious Jews, and assorted "settlers," who wanted to strengthen Netanyahu with their vote for the Likud.
Netanyahu has turned out to be nothing more than one of Shimon Peres's puppets.
Would a few extra National Union mandates have helped? Who knows? Probably not.
But they would have sent an important message to the world and to a Netanyahu government, or would have been a strong oposition to a Livni government. And those idiotic Jewish Home Party MK's might have come crawing back, begging for forgiveness (Nah! Probably not).
So, nu? Are you happy now?
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Several months ago, I received a tremp (ride) from Jerusalem to Ofra, the first leg on my trek home. As we turned into Ofra, another car was blocking ours from completing the turn into the town. I personally did not think it was a big deal, but the driver of the tremp thought otherwise. At the top of his lungs, this long-time resident of Ofra yelled at the driver of the offending vehicle, finishing his tirade with...
My eyes popped out of my head in shock.
Sure, I can think of several reasons why this driver who parked his car could have been "in violation of the Torah." One could say that he was putting others in danger by parking there. One could also say that he was sending the message to other drivers that it was OK to park there, thus encouraging others to endanger people's safety in the same way. Etc., etc.
But the breaking of any old Israeli law equating a violation of the Torah? I think not.
And, no, I am not encouraging people to go around violating Israeli law.
We don't even have to get into how the concept of "dina malkhuth dina" (the law of the land is the law) does not apply in Eretz Yisra'el. It doesn't, by the way, but that's another controversial blog post for another time.
No. He was talking about the mamlachti (undying state loyalist) concept that everything about the State of Israel is sacrosanct, and that anyone thinking that Torah and Israeli law are NOT fully compatible is "confused, and doesn't really understand Rav A. Y. Kook's teachings, let alone the Torah."
Now you know one of the reasons I moved out of Ofra.
Here's another one for you...
Upon crossing the street on a red light, I was told that this, too, was a Torah violation, again, not because I was leading an unattentive Jew into a potentially dangerous situation, and not because I was modeling potentially dangerous behavior to on-looking children (against which I have no argument), but specifically because I was violating Israeli law.
I mean, seriously, where do these people come up with this crap?!
a. The Mamlachti-Datti (state religious) schools?
b. The Mechinoth (pre-IDF study) programs?
c. Certain yeshivas?
d. All of the above?
If Moshe Rabbenu appeared before them to tell them that their thinking was off, they would probably have him arrested for hasatah (incitement/sedition).
Some frightening thinking, some frightening thoughts....
Monday, May 04, 2009
I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door
Feels like fire
I'm so in love with you
Dreams are like angels
They keep bad at bay-bad at bay
Love is the light
Scaring darkness away-yeah
I'm so in love with you
Purge the soul
Make love your goal
-The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul
Flame on burn desire
Love with tongues of fire
Purge the soul
Make love your goal
I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door
When the chips are down I'll be around
With my undying, death-defying
Love for you
Envy will hurt itself
Let yourself be beautiful
Sparkling love, flowers
And pearls and pretty girls
Love is like an energy
Rushin' rushin' inside of me
This time we go sublime
Lovers entwine-divine divine
Love is danger, love is pleasure
Love is pure-the only treasure
I'm so in love with you
Purge the soul
Make love your goal
The power of love
A force from above
Cleaning my soul
The power of love
A force from above
A sky-scraping dove
Flame on burn desire
Love with tongues of fire
Purge the soul
Make love your goal
I'll protect you from the hooded claw
Keep the vampires from your door
A beautiful poem, no?
These words are also the lyrics to one of my favorite, slow songs, "The Power Of Love," by Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1983), not the first musical group which comes to mind when reading the content of Esser Agaroth. In fact, many of you will cower when you see this group's photos and read its bio.
So is it hakhmath hagoyim (non-Jewish wisdom)? Or is it a foreign influence from which we must withdraw.
I don't exactly struggle with this question, but I do go back and forth on the proper approach to it constantly.
Would I say to some kid from the Me'ah She'arim neighborhood, "Hey, come with me to a concert." No, of course not.
Would I share song lyrics as poetry with a 30-year-old, hassidishe friend in B'nei Braq who has an interest in music. Yeah, I might. Is that bad?
Not only would I be careful about sharing the music, but also the content of the lyrics. But would that lead him to investigate Western culture and popular music further? And, then where would that lead him?
Maybe it's just OK for someone like me who was already exposed to such music in Southern California (and for my frum friends from New York, London and Antwerp who were exposed to the same), and survived relatively unscathed. Or is it?
Just how powerful is the power of love?
Please opine below.
Tremping into Jerusalem Erev Shabbath, I had an opportunity to take a picture of the huge billboard at the entrance to Shiloh, Shevuth Rahel, and their surrounding hilltop communities. The sign next to the blond haired, blue-eyed boy, dressed up in a Kohen Gadol (High Priest) costume, reads "Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria), the story of every Jew."
The billboard is part of the YeSh"A (Judea, Samaria, and Azza) Council's latest attempt at a public relations campaign to win over the hearts of "regular" Israelis, living on the coast, in the Gallil, and in the Negev.
The campaign is not only codependent and a waste of taxes, but also just plain crap.
The photo from the campaign's official website shows children who are all light-skinned and pug-nosed. There is not even a parallel English site. If there were, then this display would at least make a little sense, playing on the sympathies of their Christian "friends" and wealthy American Ashkinazim. Nope. They didn't even think of that, did they? (Is an English version hidden somewhere under a completely unrelated URL?) I am very surprised about this, too, as this photo more reminiscent of Christian, school Bible plays and Christmas videos, than of anything Jewish.
Although one point of the campaign is to remind Jews that Yehudah and Shomron comprise the heart of the Jewish Homeland (true), thus "the story of every Jew,"
The photo also does not present any boys with long payoth (side locks) or large kippoth (male head coverings). Bigdei Tzitzith (fringed garments) are conveniently hidden underneath the children's costumes, even though during the periods represented, such garments were worn where they can be seen, much like today's hilltop youth.
This was an obvious attempt to avoid any associations with hilltop youth which they consider to be an "extremist" element. The irony is that more than a few of such "extremists" (my eyes are rolling) live in Shiloh's surrounding hilltop communities, as well as in Shiloh itself.
If the YeSh"A Council thinks that gaining the support of the Israeli public actually means something, then they are living in a fantasy world. Do they actually think that the numbed-out Israeli public will come out and protest further expulsions of Jews?
Look what happened when YeSh"A residents went door to door (Ofra to Holon, Shiloh to Qiriyath Ono, etc.) to convince Likud Party members to vote against the proposed party policy to pull out from Azza (A reasonable idea, no?). Sure, sixty percent of those who voted in the referendum, voted against the proposal. However, then Prime Minster Ariel Sharon ignored his party's wishes, and expelled 8,000 Jews from their homes anyway.
Re-vamped, re-re-vamped, or not, the YeSh"A Council collaborated with the government in the expulsion of Jews from Azza. When Neve Deqalim resident Efraim Tashnady approached the local authorities and "rabbis" in Azza about what the plan was to resist the expulsion, the response was to pray. He was dumbfounded (Hebrew).
I am dumbfounded that there are Jews willing to place their faith, yet again, in the YeSh"A Council. Sure, good Jews like Shomron Council Head Gershon Mesiqa, are members now. But when people like Danny Dayan as YeSh"A Council's head, and Sha'ul Goldstein and Pinhas Wallerstein with their hands on its cookie jar, people are nuts for even giving it the time of day.
The YeSh"A Council receives its budget directly from the Office of the Prime Minister. In most "normal" countries, this would be called a conflict of interest.
So, just what exactly does the YeSh"A Council have in mind this time?
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane HY"D was right when he said we should just LET them all think we're crazy and violent. Then maybe they'll just leave us alone.
The head of the Catholic Church is expected to arrive in Israel shortly. His itinerary includes traveling to his "holy" sites in the Gallil and furthering the desecration of the Temple Mount with his presence. The Israeli Government has already had to convince him to postpone his trip to the Gallil, so that the expected traffic jams and increased security concerns on Lag b'Omer will not be exacerbated. In regard to his visit to the Temple Mount, more than a few questions have been raised. Will he be allowed to pray there, even though Jews are banned from doing so? Must we depend on the Arabs to protest what we Jews should be protesting?
Meanwhile, Jewish "friends" and collaborators (Yes, I wrote "collaborators," albeit some are unwitting collaborators.) are calling upon their Jews to chill out, or rather numb out, to the threats raised by welcoming such an enemy of the Jewish People into Eretz Yisrael.
From "All For The Pope"
Toby Klein Greenwald, 6 Iyyar 5769/April 30, 2009
My credentials: I am an Orthodox Jew and a Zionist who believes that we should welcome people of all nations and religious persuasions to Israel, as long as they do not try to missionize us. I have some dear Christian friends, including one who is a Catholic nurse.
This is not about friendship. It's not even about Christians. It's about Israel and the image we want to present to the world....
Typical "Orthodox" Zionist,...one who doesn't know halacha. But, it's really not the role of women to know these things anyway. Ellen Horowitz, former Jerusalem City Councilwoman Mina Fenton, and Tomer Devorah are exceptional women. I suggest we pay closer attention to them, as well as to The Key To Redemption, Esav Exposed, and the recently established JewishIsrael.com.
They cannot come here. They are ovdei avodah zarah (practicers of forbidden worship).
The "right" has aligned itself with the Christians to counter balance the "left's" Arab/EU support,...and donations.
(How much money does Israel National News get from them? Will A7 have the guts to publish this comment? They didn't mind publishing Ruth Matar's letter bashing Rabbi Sim
We must separate from Yishma'el AND from Esau.
Publicly missionizing or not, they all have one goal. The weapons of the Arabs are their swords; the weapons of the Christians are their tongues.
Who will stand by and listen, even defending their right to speak?
Who will reject their lies, and rip their tongues out?
Follow-up Post: The Pope's Visit And The Final Solution
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009
The drunken debauchery, spring of shaving cream, the bonking on heads with hammers, albeit with plastic ones, hail back more to Roman practices than to anything even remotely Jewish. (Yes, that goes for currently accepted Purim practices as well.)
When the Jewish People celebrate gaining sovereignty over the Jewish Homeland for the first time in 2,000 years, why on earth would we do so with customs from our latest occupier and oppressor,...Rome?
Al HaAish (barbecue)
Definitely based on Jewish practices, this custom of barbecuing on Independence Day is a reminder of the Qorban Pesah (may we merit to bring it at the next opportunity). What do you think a shwarmah b'laffah is? Those of us who eat thick and pliable matzoth on Pesah know. Just add some bitter herbs.
Why say Hallel on 5 b'Iyyar, and not on some other date?
Many of my Torah Zionist friends have asked me this question. According to my rav and teacher Rabbi David Bar-Hayyim, the answer is simple. This was the date that the British pulled, out thus leaving the Jewish People particularly vulnerable to annihilation by the Arabs. Just because the "state" in its current state, does not cancel the miracles HaShem made for us.
It was also the first time the Jewish People gained sovereignty over the Jewish Homeland for the first time in 2,000 years. (It does not matter whether we no longer have it or not.)
We did not cancel Hallel on Hanukkah simply because the Hashmonaim failed us in future generations by killing Jews and setting up avodah zarah, etc. Likewise, we do not cancel Hallel on Israeli Independence Day simply because the state, government, and various regimes (three completely different things) have failed us.
It doesn't matter who founded the state, and defeated our enemies.
Why not say Hallel, and celebrate on the date commemorating the end of the war?
Just open your eyes, and look around you. The war isn't yet over.
Continued from Some Thoughts On Israeli Independence Day 5769
Yehuda HaKohen of the Zionist Freedom Alliance (and Israel National Radio) sent out an article from The Jewish Press (which lately I have been calling the non-Jewish Press), praising the participation of Yisrael Eldad, the Leh"i and Irgun during Israel's War of Independence.
Israel's Founding RevisitedYou will not get any arguments here.
Elliot Resnick, Yom Ha'Atzma'uth 5769
...In The First Tithe, Israel Eldad, who ran the underground Lehi movement (sometimes known as the Stern Group) together with future Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir and Nathan Yellin-Mor, argues that the British would never have left Palestine in 1948 had the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and Lehi not forced them out. He also defends his group's deadly terrorist tactics and unique Zionist vision, which included the building of the Third Temple....
But, let us see what he has to say in response to the reply I sent him...
1. Why does the mamlakhti (undying state loyalist) camp of the religious Zionists like to call Rabbi Meir Kahane, and those associated with him "extremist?"I'm not holding my breath.
2. Why are yeshivas like Har HaMor and B'nei David living in the fantasy that everyday is 6 b'Iyyar 5708?
3. What's stopping us from using the same strategies now? Fear and lack of emunah (faith)?