31 July 2009

Comfort, Comfort My People

About the Seven Weeks of Consolation

After the period of bein ha'metzarim, the three weeks of "retributions" in which we mourn the destruction of the Temples, there ensue seven weeks of "consolations" until Rosh HaShanah, of the New Year. The Shabbat after Tisha B'av--the first of the "consolations"--is called Shabbat Nachmu, the "Shabbat of Consolation," as per the opening verse of the Haftara: "'Comfort, comfort my people,' says your G-d" (Isaiah 40:1).

We note that the prophet voices a double consolation: "comfort, comfort my people?." The Sages explain that just as Israel carried out a "two-fold sin" ("Jerusalem has sinned a sin" Lamentations 1:8), and were requited with a "two-fold punishment" ("For she has received double for all her sins from the hand of G-d"--Isaiah 40:2), so too they are consoled in a "two-fold" fashion ("'Comfort, comfort my people,' says your G-d").

Furthermore the Sages state that just as Israel sinned with the word yesh--denoting "something" with independent existence ("Is G-d here [present] amongst us or not"--Exodus 17:7), and were smitten with the word yesh ("Does there exist any pain like my pain?"--Lamentations 1:12), so too they are consoled with the word yesh (" I have what to bequeath [to] those who love Me, and I shall fill their storehouses"--Proverbs 8:21).

On the verse in Job (11:6): "He would relate to you hidden recesses of wisdom, for His salvation is two-fold; and know that G-d exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves," the Sages explain that G-d consoled Moses after he broke the first tablets containing the Ten Commandments. G-d said to Moses as follows:

Don't feel pained about the first tablets that contained no more than the Ten Commandments, for the second set of tablets that I give you will have in them collections of laws, homiletical interpretations and legends. Thus it is written: "He would relate to you hidden recesses of wisdom for His salvation is two-fold." Moreover, you now receive the good tidings that I have forgiven you for your mistake (breaking the tablets), as it says, "and know that G-d exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves."

The tablets were broken on the 17th of Tamuz, the first day of the three weeks of retribution. The aforementioned consolation of Moses is connected with the Torah portion of Va'etchanon, in which the Ten Commandments appear for the second time in the Torah--"For His salvation is two-fold." The portion of Va'etchanon is always read on the "Shabbat of Consolation," the first of the seven weeks of consolation.

In the verse just discussed, the words for "salvation" (tushiya) and "exacts" (ya'she) reflect a play on words. The word tushiya connotes two contradictory understandings: yeshut meaning vigorous strength and tashut meaning weakness and forgetfulness, as explained by the commentators. Accordingly, the phrase "two-fold salvation" hints to both the sin--they sinned with yesh and in a "two-fold" manner, and also to the rectification and consolation--they are consoled with yeshand also in a "two-fold" fashion.

The Work of Repentence

In Chassidut it is explained that with reference to spiritual work and growth, the "double salvation" is the process of repentance. Note what the founder of Chabad Chassidut, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi writes in his Epistle on Repentance (Chapter 9):

In Tanna Dvei Eliyahu we find, "A man commits a sin and is liable to death before the Almighty. What shall he do and live? If he was accustomed to studying one page, he shall study two, to studying one chapter, he shall study two chapters?." This parallels the illustration of the cord severed and then re-knotted--the place of the knot is so much thicker than the unaffected portion. So it is with the "cord" of His possession (Israel)."

When a person sins it is because he feels he is a "something," distinct and removed from G-d who has created him and who enlivens and sustains him, each and every second. This sense of separate existence is called in the Holy Zohar, "the strength of the body" which indicates that there is a "weakness of the soul." The process of rectification therefore entails the nullification of the ego sense of being a "something," which is the "weakness of the body." The sincere efforts made to nullify the consciousness of ego as an entity distinct and removed from G-d will, in and of itself, automatically heighten the power of the soul to cleave to G-d, reflecting the state of "strength of the soul."

However, this is not the ultimate object of the process of repentance. Rather, the ultimate aim of repentance is to achieve the level of consciousness of the "True Something." By cleaving to G-d and His Torah, the created something reflects by himself the essence of G-d, (the word for "essence" in Hebrew is related to the word for "strength"), the only "True Something." In this state one has "strength of soul" and "strength of body" at one and the same time--since the body has been completely purified and rectified.

This is the deep, inner meaning of "comfort, comfort my people." First, "comfort" through nullification of the ego, is "separate something," to the Divine "nothingness" that enables one's existence. Secondly, "comfort" by transforming the human being, the "created something" to a level where one truly reflects Divinity, the only "True Something."

Consolation--The Transformation of Thought

The word nechama (comfort, consolation) connotes a "change in one's thinking" from one pole to its opposite (or as the Radak puts it: "this is the idea of remorse"). We find that G-d--wishing to resemble the human being that He created in His own image--changes His attitude from favorable to unfavorable ("and G-d regretted that He had made man"--Genesis 5:6) and from unfavorable to favorable ("And G-d regretted the evil which He thought to do to His people"--Exodus 32:14). We also find that G-d who is "not--man"--does not, even in the slightest, show remorse or regret ("And also the Eternal One of Israel will not lie--not change His mind; for he is not a man, that He should change His mind"--1 Samuel, 15:29).

After the descent "from the zenith to the nadir" of Tisha B'av, there must necessarily be a change of direction, a change of "mindset." We have reached the lowest point possible; there is nowhere to go but up--"a descent in order to ascend." The new mindset, as opposed to the previous one, revolves around the understanding that the whole purpose of the descent was just in order to ascend. The descent itself is part and parcel of the process of spiritual growth and advancement.

This understanding is just one "consolation," one answer to the question, "Why do we have to experience Tisha B'av?" However, "one should be in a state of repentance throughout one's life" (Talmud Bavli, Shabbat 153a). Each day one must do teshuvah ("repent," in Hebrew similar to the word for "answer") for yesterday's relatively lower level of Divine awareness and service from the new heightened consciousness of Divinity.

How are we then to understand the second level of "consolation" in comparison to the first one? The first "consolation" is that "the descent was for the purpose of ascending." However, the second, more profound "consolation" is--as opposed to the first understanding--"that the ascent was just for the purpose of descending!" This means that the ultimate intention of creation is not that the person progress to a state of complete self-nullification, to the point of losing one's physical existence (as occurred to Ben Azai in the story of "the four who entered the orchard [paradise]" in Talmud Bavli, Chagiga 14b). Rather, the ultimate purpose is "to create a dwelling place for G-d in this lower, material plane" (Midrash Tanchuma, Nasso 7), to reveal G-d's essence in the very physicality of this world.

Thus, the two "consolations"--"the two-fold comforting"--are indeed two distinct levels in the rectification of material existence--"a two-fold salvation." First is the nullification of physical existence to a state of "nothingness." Then follows the purification of the "created something" (physicality, materiality) to reflect the "True Something," namely the Holy One, Blessed be He.

The Segulah of Marriage


There were no greater festivals for Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur. On these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out... and dance in the vineyards. And what would they say? "Young man, raise your eyes and see which you select for yourself...."
(Talmud, Taanit 26b)

After relating how "the daughters of Jerusalem would go out... and dance in the vineyards" and "whoever did not have a wife would go there" to find himself a bride, the Talmud goes on to describe three different categories of "daughters" and how each would call out to her perspective bridegroom:

What would the beautiful ones among them say?


"Look for beauty, for a woman is for beauty."

What would those of prestigious lineage say?

"Look for family, for a woman is for children."

What would the ugly ones say?

"Make your acquisition for the sake of Heaven,
as long as you decorate us with jewels"
(Talmud, Taanit 31a).


Fast Forward : The Commitment

The institution of marriage is comprised of two integral elements: commitment and love. Beneath the chupah (Bridal Canopy), the bride and groom pledge to remain
faithful and loyal to each other; committing their all to bringing happiness and stability to their relationship. While the shared commitment constitutes the foundation of the relationship, it is the passion, love and feelings for each other which bring color and life to the relationship, and makes marriage so attractive. It is this latter element that causes bachelors to surrender their "freedoms," and bachelorettes to put up with a member of the remote-control-hogging, sensitivity-challenged gender. [Rabbi Naftali Silberberg, Committing to Love]


Finding your Soulmate

"The process whereby a man and woman meet, become acquainted with each other and decide whether they are suitable for each other, is not only common sense -- it's actually mandated by Jewish law.
The Talmud stipulates that it is forbidden for a man to marry a woman until he meets her and she finds favor in his eyes, and a woman is not to be married until she is mature enough to make an intelligent decision with regard to her proposed husband. The prospective bride and groom must meet beforehand and both must be fully comfortable with each other and must give their full consent to the match."

"The focus of a date is to determine whether this person one is seeing has the qualities and values which will allow the two of them to live together harmoniously and happily for the rest of their lives. Hence, successful dating is an art; it requires the mind to take control of a domain which traditionally and instinctively belongs to the heart."
Dating the Jewish Way


Revelations About Marriage

"A Time of Finding" refers to the wife who is "Found" through Prayer:
The wife is an integral part of a man. Therefore, until he finds his mate, she is regarded as a "lost item," as indicated by the verse, "He who finds a wife finds good" (Mishlei 18:22)

In order to find this lost item, a man must pray. It is written, "For this ("zot" in Hebrew = "her"), every zealous man must pray to You for a time of finding" (Tehillim 32:6), on which the Sages say, "A Time of Finding" means, "a Wife."

"Finding" the right woman requires "prayer" on the part of the man, who is like one seeking a lost part of himself. [from Revelations About Marriage by M. Glazerson, p. 135]




40 Days of Prayers for You at the Kotel





The Two Trees in the Garden of Eden

The fact that a good marriage is dependent on the abandonment of egocentricity is alluded to in the passage immediately preceding the description of the creation of woman (Genesis 2:9,16-18):

And G-d made grow out of the ground
every tree pleasant to sight and good to eat,
and the tree of life in the midst of the garden,
and the tree of knowledge of good and evil….
And G-d commanded Adam, saying:
You may eat from all the trees of the garden,
But do not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
for on the day on which you eat of it you shall surely die.
And G-d said: It is not good for man to be alone;
I shall make him a helpmate.

[...] In Kabbalah and Chassidut, it is explained that good tainted by selfishness is represented by the tree of knowledge of good and evil, while true, unadulterated good is represented by the tree of life. By commanding Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, G-d was warning him not to mix good and evil by choosing the path of self-centeredness and self-orientation.

[...] The two states of consciousness symbolized by the two trees are primarily expressed in the way man relates to woman. In forbidding Adam to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, G-d was teaching him how to relate to his soon-to-be-created wife: "Do not mix egocentric lust and desire for self-gratification with the experience of true, unadulterated good." The Two Trees in the Garden of Eden by HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh





Illuminated ketubah from Isfahan, Persia, with a traditional shiviti graphic at the top.

Large, richly colored ketubah (marriage contract), decorated with birds, two lions with rising suns, and floral motifs. The groom was Menasheh ben Rahamim, and the bride was Leah bat Yaakov. The combination of a ketubah that also serves as a shiviti tablet is quite unusual. 5639 [1878]

Beautiful Ketubot can be seen at the Judaica Collection

30 July 2009

Beyachad: In a Hopeful Direction

This is another plea of sorts from an Israeli, a Zionist and Official of the State, from JPost.com


A Lesson for Tisha Be'av

Danny Ayalon, deputy minister of foreign affairs
(pictures added by me)

Tisha Be'av is the ancient national day of mourning for the Jewish people. Many disastrous events have afflicted us on this ominous day. We commemorate the date of the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the latter of which began the Jewish people's long traverse into an exile, dispersal and suffering that has lasted for almost 2,000 years.

During those times, Tisha Be'av became synonymous with expulsions and massacres, and was even the date that saw the beginning of the deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka.


TISHA BE'AV must not be just a lesson in remembrance and sorrow, but should also be a day of reflection. We learn from our sages that the Second Temple was destroyed because of one reason: baseless hatred. We know that there were many righteous, learned and God-fearing Jews in the Second Temple period, but many had a view of the world which led them to look unkindly on their fellow Jews.

By contrast, the First Temple was destroyed for three reasons; immorality, widespread murder and idolatry. These are extremely grave sins according to Jewish law. Nonetheless, the first exile lasted for only 70 years whereas the second has lasted for almost 2,000 years.

Why the discrepancy? Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hakohen Kook, of blessed memory, had much to teach on this very point. He explained that the only punishment worthy of baseless hatred is the destruction of our national center.

This means that the Jewish people needed to experience a long hard exile that broke down our established, mistaken frameworks. These frameworks were the source of the division, and Kook asserted that while they existed, the misdeeds, mischaracterizations, baseless hatred and, indeed, the exile these brought, would continue.


After 2,000 years we have finally returned to our ancestral home but we are still suffering from severe divisions among our people, both open and hidden.

The State of Israel faces many challenges that we can only overcome as a united people. We are presented with a growing nuclear threat from Iran, terrorist groups primed to strike once again into our city centers, rockets aimed at our towns and villages in the North and South, and the increasing hatred and delegitimization of Israel around the world.

TODAY, The State of Israel is a thriving pluralist and multicultural society. However, recently we can see major strains of disunity of purpose, and discord. Many see the different elements in Israeli society as the "other" and frequently defame them. Many groups pull their weight as citizens for the good of the country, while others contribute far less. We need to achieve a national solidarity which pulls in the same direction to meet the rising challenges which we face as a nation.

It can surely only contribute to disunity when Israelis of some religions and backgrounds send their children to the front lines in the battles against our enemies and those who seek to destroy us, while others do not. We understand that for religious, ethnic or cultural reasons, many groups feel they cannot contribute fully to the physical defense of our nation. However, there can surely be contributions made in other ways, either through national or communal service. Every community has its sick, its disabled, its aged and its poor.

We call on every Israeli to contribute to the betterment of our society and in this drive become unified for a central purpose.

In a free society like Israel's, every person is entitled to their own opinion. Nevertheless, this does not include inciting violence or hatred for other groups, and especially not for Israel as a whole. Such incitement will essentially lead to the breakdown of our vital national solidarity and weaken our resistance to those who seek the destruction of every one of us.

Regaining our national home was achieved only by standing together. I have heard many amazing stories about the War of Independence in which people from many religions, backgrounds, nationalities and cultures stood side by side on the ramparts to fight for our country. While we retained the right to our differences, we remembered that we were all striving for the same goals.


Now is that time once again.

Our sages and our bitter experiences have taught us that the gravest sin of all is human pride, with its baseless hatred and disunity of purpose, and for that we received the gravest punishment. We cannot allow ourselves to lose sight of what is important even while retaining our right to be and to think differently.

This must be the lesson of Tisha Be'av for us all.

We Are All Jews

I read this on VosizNeias:
A Tisha B'av Lesson - The Cause Of 'Sinas Chinom'? The False Messiahs Of Our Generation!
and so much liked the picture they chose - It says it all.

Originally a JPost article, most worthy of highlighting; and the author says it much better than me in my Plea:


False Messiahs Bring Real Misery

Shabtai Zvi, a false messiah of the 17th century, was born on Tisha Be'av 5386 (1626). During the Inquisition and after the expulsion from Spain (which occurred on Tisha Be'av), many people turned to Kabbala and mysticism, became despondent because of the terrible tragedies, and a tension grew between those who sought stricter halacha and those who resisted authority or wanted halacha to continue evolving.

Due to the tragedies that seemed biblical in their scope, many rabbis of the period declared the messiah's arrival was imminent, providing long proofs and even mathematical computations. Many false messiahs arose, like Solomon Molho, each leading to further suffering, shame and schism. But the fervor would return after each disappointment.

MAIMONIDES wrote in his introduction to the Mishna Torah that people were confused and no longer abiding by halacha, not enough students were in yeshivot and heresy was spreading. Other sages concurred, but sometimes would praise their communities as shining beacons of hope and piety.

The scholars of Yemen throughout the 14th to 16th centuries agreed that many had become less observant. For example, they argued about how to recite kiddush, and complained that nearly no one was tithing the first fruits (since the problems were so widespread, they said few Jews could be reliable witnesses).

In the 17th century there were still those who were skeptical of rabbinic authority and questioned halacha (some became Karaites, and others thought that halacha was becoming stagnant or too strict, rather than progressing with the times and promoting compassion).

ENTER SHABTAI Zvi, who pronounced God's name in public and started declaring certain halachot invalid, while also pronouncing Tisha Be'av and other days of mourning as celebratory days. He eventually converted to Islam and the messianic fervor lost its hold. Muslims and Christians chided the Jews and inflicted suffering on them for having stopped working at their trades and for causing uprisings. It was another terrible tragedy for the Jewish people.

The common denominator in periods when false messiahs have arisen was messianic fervor. Messianism is typically characterized by intense feelings of personal and collective suffering/persecution, mysticism (such as the idea that the sons of light have begun a final battle against the forces of darkness) and by a deep need for someone else (a savior) to fix life's problems.

There's massive discontentment and near hopelessness, accompanied by a desire for personal activism that can be ignited by charismatic leaders.

If there is one thing we can learn this Tisha Be'av and really remember, it is that whenever people are "absolutely sure" the messiah is going to arrive, that is when false messiahs have made things worse. In fact, any time people are absolutely sure about anything is a time to learn humility.

TODAY'S situation is not much different than in those preceding generations, which should be cause for deep introspection. In fact, we are entering the "perfect storm" of messianism, that can sweep up so many and cause violence between those who believe and those who don't. When the world is at peace, then we can know with certainty we are in the Messianic Era.

Magical incantations, the promise of instant solutions and taking esoteric literature literally has many times caused a buildup of false hope and unrealistic expectations, exacerbated fear and anger, and allowed excuses and justifications for inexcusable behavior. Our sufferings, rather than causing us to become insular, can help us become more compassionate people, who look for opportunities to benefit others. Rather than worrying about future salvation, we can instead focus on doing good in the here and now.

The haftara of Shabbat Chazon reminds us that if we want to come closer to God, the first step is the creation of a just, peaceful and loving society. God stresses justice and compassion toward His creations; this is the focus and kavana we've been commanded to have.

This Tisha Be'av, let's learn from our mistakes, like the tragedy of following false messiahs. Rather than focusing on others' angers/fears or our own suffering, or on anything that causes despair, we can instead be like Abraham, who rushed to perform mitzvot even for idolaters. A tragedy need not become a festering wound, as it can help us look outward instead, toward doing the right thing even when it is extremely difficult or dangerous, to remain peaceful, loving, inclusive, compassionate and gently-coaxing people.



Tisha B'Av




Tisha B'Av - 5769
Wednesday 8:10 pm to 8:49 (early) or 9:40 pm (R' Tam)
The Fast of the 9th of Av



Send Your Prayers to the Kotel

On Tisha B'Av I leave the computer on 25 hours, linked to the Aish Live scene at the Kotel to connect visually to those who come to pray.















Gorgeous photo of the Kotel at Night

Aish Live webcam of the
KOTEL

Live WebCam of the (no Mac)
KOTEL






The Western Wall Enters the Twitter Age




The Western Wall Twitter service opened just over two weeks ago, coinciding with the three weeks when Jews traditionally mourn the destruction of the two Temples. The three weeks end this Thursday, on the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, when Jews fast to mourn the day on which both Temples were destroyed.

Prayers can be posted directly to Alon’s Twitter group at http://twitter.com/theKotel. Alternatively, private prayers can be sent by email to tweetyourprayers@gmail.com.

Alon encourages people to publicize their prayers, however, so that others can pray for them as well. A7 article

The Embracing Cherubs



9th of AV


On the ninth of the month of Av in the year 70 CE ...

Out of approximately four to five million Jews in the world, over a million died in that abortive war for independence.

Many died of starvation, others by fire and crucifixion. So many Jews were sold into slavery and given over to the gladiatorial arenas and circuses that the price of slaves dropped precipitously, fulfilling the ancient curse:

"There you will be offered for sale as slaves, and there will be no one willing to buy" (Deuteronomy 26:68). The destruction was preceded by events so devastating that from an objective perspective, it seemed that the Jewish people had breathed its last breath.

[...]

"The Jews are the most remarkable people in the history of the world, for when they were confronted with the question, to be or not to be, they chose, with perfectly unearthly deliberation, to be at any price ... They defined themselves counter to all those conditions under which a nation was previously able to live ... Psychologically, the Jews are a people gifted with the very strongest vitality ... The Jews are the very opposite of decadents." [Nietzsche]


For the full article, visit Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson at his online
Yeshiva

29 July 2009

A Plea

When the Nations of the world are making indecent demands of the sovereign Jews of Eretz Yisrael that they restrict Jewish growth and allow a hostile people to set up camp in the middle of our Land, that could turn against us as they have always said they want to do, I ask: WHY are the Jewish People fighting with one another? Why are some involved in un-kosher activities? Have you forgotten the deception of the “Meraglim”?


The “battle being waged in the name of Shabbos” compares to the battle concerning the “mum on the Korban” (defect on an animal sacrifice that instigated the “Romans”.


Doesn’t this remind you of Kamtza bar Kampza: the scenario from the concluding days of the Second Beis HaMIkdash?


At one point “The ... different fragments of the country [came] together...the Sadducees together with the Zealots. The most assimilated of Jerusalem’s Jews were prepared to work together with the Sages…” to save Jerusalem from being plundered.


But what eventually happened:


“The feuding Zealot parties destroyed these stores [of food] recklessly, in an attempt to force the people into a fatal confrontation … they wanted to fight and to see blood … all the negative influences that led to its fall, the Zealots, the Saducees, and fratricidal warfare between them and their various factions also perished … all that was left were the people and the Torah!” (Meam Loez, Eichah)


In the past issue of HaMishpaha, Yonoson Rosenblum wrote about a discussion he had with a Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim. A 70 year resident of Meah Shearim. Rabbi Pappenheim founded Bayit Lepletot, a residential educational facility for girls whose families are unable to raise them.


Rabbi Pappenheim’s offered four reasons for opposing the recent demonstrations.


Three were practical, concerning their impact on the future of Torah Judaism in Eretz Yisrael, and on the participants.


The fourth was the impact on the Redemption.


He compared the civil resistance of Rabbi Amram Blau’s time, and the “resultant full-scale rioting of hotheads that occurs in our days. Participation in violence (the tools of Eisav) leaves a spiritual mark on the protestors.”


But the greatest damage caused by violent demonstrations is not to the Torah community, but to the Torah and Hashem, kiveyachol. Rabbi Pappenheim quotes his teacher Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, the late chief rabbi of the Eidah HaChareidis, to the effect that the Redemption doesn’t require that all Jews first become fully observant; there need only be some drawing closer to Hashem. The rest, writes the Rambam, Mashiach will do.”


He went on to say, “never has the time been so ripe for such a spiritual arousal … the spiritual hunger of the Israeli youth … was already foretold by the prophet:


“Behold days are coming … when I will send hunger into the Land; not a hunger for bread or a thirst for water, but to hear the words of Hashem … [people] will travel for sea to sea, and from north to east; they will wander about to seek the word of Hashem, but they will not find it” (Amos 8:11-12)


“If we, who claim to represent Torah, make it appear ugly and violent … we guarantee that those who hunger for the words of Hashem will seek them not among us, but in foreign pastures?"


I found this to be a most important aspect to the infighting occurring in Jerusalem during these three weeks, and especially the nine days. Someone has to bring our people together, to work together for the betterment of all Jews, Jerusalem, Eretz Yisrael, and the world as a whole.


Either the Jews are not at peace with themselves and therefore the world will be in a turmoil; or the world is in a turmoil on account [a heshbon of sorts] of the Jews.


Postscript:

Something Rabbi Pappenheim said was revealing:

“Most residents of Meah Shearim DO NOT share his perspective BECAUSE 200 years ago, Torah Jewry began to feel under assault by the forces of Reform. The communities that preserved themselves were those that followed the Austritt principle and cut themselves off from the larger Jewish community… in time, this separation became a loss to Klal Yisrael.”


What is the Austritt Principle?


In essence, because of the ‘reform’ who were in controlling power at the time, the Torah-true Jews who followed Rabbi Hirsch, who said it was inconceivable that an Orthodox Jew could voluntarily belong to a body purporting to represent the Jewish Kehillah, if that body was directed or controlled by people not loyal to the very foundations of Jewry - the unchanging nature of the Torah and Rambam's Thirteen Principles of Faith. And so the Torah-true Jews withdrew and became very insular. ”Rabbi Hirsch's institutions in Frankfurt were called geselschaft - association - not a synagogue or community, in order not to be declared illegal. He fought a long and difficult battle on the legislative front to gain legal sanction for his Austritt Gemeinde (separate community).


Hasn't sufficient time passed that these 'divisions' could be healed by making an honest and ego-free attempt to come together, not in religion, but in humanity, in understanding, in compassion for the trials and errors of innocents, in respect and for the future of Am Yisrael?

Introducing New Israeli Money


Emblazon Belief in Creator on Money


Bill put forth by Shas MK Nissim Zeev proposes printing money with 'We believe in the Creator' emblazoned on them; 'it will serve as daily reminder to all Jews of our faith,' he says.


A new bill was proposed Monday by Shas MK Nissim Zeev that stipulates that Israeli paper money will be emblazoned with the sentence: "We believe in the Creator."

"Money and bills are the center of our life, and it is befitting that the money issued by the State of Israel will be a reminder of Jewish faith," explained MK Zeev. "Even those who don't uphold the mitzvoth will be reminded in this way of the foundation of the religion of Israel."


Zeev continued, "This declaration is a confirmation of the connection between Israel, the Torah, and the principles of the Jewish faith. It should be noted in this context that similar declarations are printed on money issued in other countries, including American bills – 'In God we trust.'"


“The goal of the bill is to remind every Jew that he needs to believe in the Creator. From my perspective, we can start with the larger bills of 100 and 200, and slowly work down to the other bills. We need to know that the bigger the bill, the greater the faith in God. Arabs should not have a problem with the wording because they also believe in the Creator."

28 July 2009

You might like to know:


Jewish Activist Network Radio -

a place to be on Wednesday nights 12 Midnight - 1 AM 620 AM (NYC, NJ and parts of LI)

Streaming at Talkline Communications

To listen (or download) to their in-depth expository interviews, visit JewishActivistNetwork



International Voice of Justice -

Dr. Martha Smith: Tides of anti-Semitism are again rising throughout Europe and the world, as evidenced in the growing Neo-Nazi movement, Holocaust denial and nationalist political movements seeking to promote racial hatred. It is necessary that the atrocities perpetrated against the Jewish people under Hitler be commemorated and are committed to the consciousness of each new generation. It has been said that a people who forget their history are destined to repeat it.


Dr. Smith, a resident of Europe, reported on the level of anti-Semitism in Europe as it plays out in their media and how this growing and alarming trend is unreported in our media. Listen to her eye-opening Interview


No Deal Yet With Israel on Settlements :

Era when Jews were banned from living in different places has ended

"How dare he (Obama) tell the Jews where they can or can't live? The era when Jews were banned from living in different places has ended," said Rabbi Waldman.

"Obama beware. This insolence will bring about the downfall of the American leadership," he said. "Anyone who dares give an order to prevent Israeli life in Jerusalem or anywhere else in the Land of Israel is destined to fall.." article

ANALYSIS-Iran turmoil takes new twist as hardliners fall out

* Ahmadinejad alienates allies in spat with Khamenei

* Rift with conservatives may complicate cabinet formation

* Iran power struggle hampers decision on nuclear diplomacy

BEIRUT, July 28 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has chosen a strange moment to cross swords with his chief patron, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

[This is a key change in ME equilibrium, read]

an ill wind that blows ...

First hand report from an attendee to the Israel Day Parade:

"This is a photo taken at the Israel Day Parade on May 31, 2009. I was standing on 5th Avenue and 58th Street right in front of the Apple store.

"These Muslim terrorists were standing in the Plaza across the street and being protected by the New York City Police. Neturai Karta was standing right next to them with their anti-Israel, anti-Semitic signs.

"First they deny The Holocaust. Then, when it suits their agenda, they invoke it. Hard to believe that the above title was a featured poster/sign which was given a prominent display by The New York City Police Department--who even guarded the demonstrators during the Israeli Day Parade on Sunday, May 31st, 2009.

"Of course we must permit freedom of speech in America. However, where does such freedom end and "screaming 'fire' in a crowded movie theater" begin?

"Providing these evil protestors with a revered spot on Fifth Avenue and 58th street, where hundreds of thousand of schoolchildren marched by, seems rather outrageous and harmful. Common sense dictates that these radical haters who taunted the parade marchers--young and old, with their heinous message, simply be moved one block west.
Or is the purpose of the police force to allow and even encourage incitement?"

To read the rest of this piece, visit
Close Guantanamo Bay ... Re-open Auschwitz



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"an ill wind that blows" - A loss or misfortune usually benefits someone (dictionary.com)

We need to open our eyes and take notice of the "ill wind" blowing in our direction; take it to your heart on Tisha B'Av, and make the necessary preparations.

WHO?

Thought you might like to know:

"About three months ago, World Health Organization* officials agreed to drop their use of the word "swine" and only refer to the flu as H1N1. Their reasoning: No swine, pigs, or hogs in any country in the world have been diagnosed with the illness. H1N1 does have elements of swine flu, but it also has elements of human and avian strains.

H1N1 is not very catchy. H1N1 has also been found to transmit poorly between ferrets. This is significant because flu viruses happen to affect ferrets in ways similar to humans. When ferrets were separated, airborne respiratory droplets were not effective in spreading H1N1. But the virus spread more easily when ferrets were in close contact. And this has been the case so far with H1N1 in humans: high risk of transmission in a close family unit, low risk of transmission in public places.

But while H1N1 is hard to get, an H1N1 vaccine should be pretty easy to come by a couple of months from now.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. government is planning to purchase millions of H1N1 vaccines, which will be distributed free to states. And it appears that public schools will provide the launch pad. Never mind that safety and side effects are still a big question mark. Never mind that the seasonal flu vaccine is known to be less effective among younger children.

Never mind ANY of that. Kids will probably get the first big wave of H1N1 shots. But today, parents are more aware than ever that new vaccines often produce surprising adverse side effects – some of them quite dangerous. So it's going to be very interesting to see if large numbers of parents opt out of the H1N1 vaccine offer."

*received in a newsletter on health issues