30 November 2009

Will the Real Zionists Please Plant a Tree

This was the end of an exciting day for Amara, who heads a Jewish National Fund greenhouse at Golani Junction. [....]

Like a proud father who nurtured his children, he walked through the rows of seedlings.

"These are seedlings of high quality from every respect - thickness, shape, health, development of its roots," he said.

The seedlings originate from locations throughout the country where seeds were collected and were planted at the greenhouse under conditions favorable to their species.

A bumpy ride along a dirt path comes to an end at the foothills of the settlement of Ateret, at the edge of what will be Ruwabi. Dozens of people are there to plant, ranging in age from youth to people in their 60s, waiting for the truck with the seedlings.

Everyone brought tools from home. One person has a metal hoe with a serial number dating back to Ottoman times.

"This is a very old hoe which belonged to my grandfather," he tells the JNF people, who are amazed by the fact.

Michael Weinberg of the JNF acknowledges that there is a great deal of "professional pride in the project. We are helping in any way we can."

Kneeling to touch the earth, he is optimistic: "There are excellent conditions here."





Are we Jews now building up our homeland for the Arabs?

After G-d, your G-d brings you into the land about which He swore to your fathers Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, to give you great and wonderful cities, which you did not have to build, houses full of good things, which you did not have to put there, and wells that you did not have to dig, and vineyards and olive trees which you did not have to plant, you will eat and be satisfied. Be careful not to forget G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt (Devarim 6:10-12)

29 November 2009

New Guy on the Blogk


Introducing

Yossi Gestetner

I do not have a wish to live under fear of the Spanish Inquisition or in the era of Communist Soviet Union. You might however wonder on occasion what happened to the Democracy of the United States, particularly if you get caught up the wrong way with the law.

Here is the list:

• Civil Rights were transformed into Affirmative Action, and have brought endless instances of Reverse Discrimination.

• Freedom of Speech is your right as long someone does not take you to court for libel, defamation, or go figure whatever crazy law lawmakers on all levels of governments voted into the books since 1789.

To read more of his

Opinions shaped by Facts not Idiology

please visit

Yossi

27 November 2009

Shabbat Shalom - Parshas Vayeitzei













Shabbat Shalom - Parshas Vayeitzei
***
Chanukah is the 25 Kislev - December 11

Hamakom

Let us focus on the word “in the place” במקום , we will begin with a theological perspective.

One of the connotations of God is “the Place,” which can be rendered more understandably as “the Space.” In Hebrew the word is: המקום . In the midrash1 we find the following teaching on our parshah:

Why is God’s Name connoted and he is referred to as the Space? Because He is the space of the world, and the world is not His space.

Said Rabbi Yosi ben Chalafta: We do not know whether God is the space of the world or whether the world is His space. From the verse: “Behold, there is space with Me”2 we conclude that He is the space of the world, but His world is not His space!

Said Rabbi Yitzchak: From the verse, “The abode of eternal God”3 we can not know [based on this verse] whether God is the abode of the world or whether the world is His abode. But, from the verse “God, you have been our abode,”4 from this verse we know that God is the abode of the world and that the world is not His abode.

This can be likened to a warrior who was riding on his horse and his weapons were hanging from both sides [of the saddle]. The horse is secondary to the warrior, not the warrior to the horse. This is the subject of the verse: “When you ride on your horses, your chariots bring deliverance.”5

Thus, from the sages, our verse is the first source in the Torah that reveals that God is the space of the world, but the world is not the space of God. To be more exact, from our verse, the Rabbi Yosi ben Chalafta says that one might still think that the world does give space to God. What does this mean? Let us look at the classical philosophical interpretation of this question and the inner Kabbalistic and Chassidic interpretation.

Philosophy vs. Kabbalah

From a philosophical point of view, every theology needs to address the question of the relationship between God and creation. This question can be asked from a number of different perspectives. It can be asked from a causal perspective, for instance one might ask, is God the underlying force acting behind everything. It can be asked from a time perspective: Is God free of time limitations? In other words, does He create time, or is He bound by it. In the Midrash quoted the question of God’s relationship with the world is asked from the perspective of space, meaning the container, if you will, of reality. The philosophical question is then: “Is God contained within space, or is He not?” The philosophical-theological question has to be answered with either a yes or a no. If you answer in the affirmative, the world is the space within which God exists, then you would be defined a pantheist—most nature oriented beliefs (like Wicca or Shinto) are pantheistic and experience God as imminent. If you would answer in the negative, God is not limited only to the space of the world, they you would be defined as a transcendentalist—the so-called monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam understand God to transcend reality—there can be no direct experience of God, for God is not actually present in our reality.

But, from the Kabbalistic perspective, which reveals the depth of Jewish theology,6 this is not a yes-no question. It is a relative question. God is both contained within the world and at the same time not limited by the space of the world. Because God is Infinite, He exhibits both aspects.

The aspect of God that is contained within space, in the world, is called the light that fills all worlds (אור ממלא כל עלמין ). The aspect of God that is not limited by space is called the light that surrounds all worlds (אור סובב כל עלמין ).

Thus, the Kabbalistic mind does not interpret this midrash as asking whether or not God is so and so (contained or not contained in space), but rather which verse refers to his filling light aspect (contained) and which verse refers to his surrounding light aspect (transcendent, not limited).7 The question that is of interest is which verses reveal the imminent nature of God’s Presence, and which verses refer to His transcendent Presence.

Did Jacob Find Himself or His Wife?

Let us now return to the arguments found in the quoted midrash. Rabbi Yosi ben Chalafta says that from the verse in our parshah, “He arrived in the place,” we might have thought that God is contained within the world. Translated into Kabbalistic/Chassidic terminology, we might have thought that this verse refers to God’s filling light, the light that fills all worlds.

This would seem to be an appropriate interpretation because in the Arizal’s conceptual scheme, the light that fills all worlds, the imminent nature of God is revealed by the ray of infinite light that permeates the void, a state alluded to in the verse: “Then your light shall burst forth like the dawn….”8

The word for “burst forth” in this verse is יבקע , which permutes to spell “Jacob” יעקב , indicating that Jacob himself is the personification of this aspect of God.

How fitting it would be that Jacob would arrive at, that is experience the light that fills all worlds, the imminent experience of God, which is the essence of his own soul. Nonetheless, Rabbi Yosi ben Chalafta says this is not clear from this verse, and that when another verse is taken into account: “Behold, there is space with Me,” a verse spoken to Moshe Rabbeinu who is considered to be an embodiment of the inner aspect of Jacob,9 it is clear that this was not the light that fills all worlds that Jacob experienced, but rather the revelation of the light that surrounds all worlds, the transcendental nature of God. In Kabbalistic language, the first revelation of the light that surrounds all worlds is called the great circle, or the kingdom of the Infinite. This aspect of God is alluded to in the verse:

“The woman of valor is the crown of her husband.” Like the crown that is round, the great circle precedes, as it were, all imminent revelations. Since the surrounding light is associated with a woman of valor and the imminent revelations with her husband, it is clear that the masculine and feminine aspects of reality correspond to the imminent and transcendent revelations of God, respectively.

Relative to the soul, the body is feminine. Thus, in the future, the woman of valor, the body, will be the crown of the soul, her husband; the body, which does not have an imminent experience of God, will be able to reveal to the soul a transcendent experience.

By Jacob, clearly the feminine with which he is to unite as the soul unites with the body, is Rachel. Indeed, as we have pointed out earlier,

“He arrived in the place” ויפגע במקום is equal to the value of Rachel רחל (238) plus one-half the value of “Rachel” 119: ויפגע במקום = 357 = 238 ┴ 119.

As explained previously, according to Rabbi Avraham Abulafia, the consummate wholeness and root of anything is revealed when it is illustrated in the format of a whole and a half.

1. We have brought the reading found in Yalkut Shimoni on the verse “He arrived….” See the alternate sages mentioned in Midrash Bereisheet Rabbah 68:9.

2. Exodus 33:21.

3. Deuteronomy 33:27.

4. Psalms 90:1.

5. Habakuk 3:8.

6. One of the greatest scholars of our generation has remarked on several occasions that Kabbalah is Judaism’s official theology.

7. Chassidut makes it clear that neither aspect of God is God Himself, both are just categories of the revelation of the Infinite Light of God which itself unites both aspects in a paradoxical consummate Oneness. See in length the discourse “Ha’omnam” in Sefer Hama’amarim 5643, pp. 94ff.

8. Isaiah 58:8.

9. In the language of the Zohar: “Moshe on the inside, Jacob on the outside,” or in the language of the sages: “One may not have mercy for someone who has no knowledge.”

By Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, Gal Einai at Inner.Org

About Gal Einai

In Hebrew, "Gal Einai" means: "open my eyes." This name was adopted from the verse: "Open my eyes that I may behold wonders from your Torah" (Psalms 119:18), which expresses our goal of increasing awareness of the Torah and its relevance to every area of life by revealing the hidden, inner dimension of Torah, a source of wonder, inspiration and insight for all.

Gal Einai's central goal is to encourage the study of the Torah, particularly from the perspective of its inner dimension, as revealed in the teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidut. The Torah is God's greatest gift to humanity, and is relevant to all people, both Jews and non-Jews. Studying the Torah, committing to it, and applying its teachings in your everyday life will change your life as an individual.

Under the leadership of Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, our goal is to open the world's eyes to Divine consciousness, spreading it to every household, classroom, and community on earth.

In Kabbalah and Chassidut we learn that God is all and all is God. He is everywhere--in every facet of our lives. Our challenge is to discover God and to connect to Him in all that we do …. Harav Ginsburgh's teachings on Jewish mysticism touch every area of our lives, from the mundane to the sublime. In his innovative books and lectures, he elucidates even the most abstract concepts in Jewish mysticism, and relates them to contemporary issues in science, psychology, mathematics, marriage, economy, education, meditation, parenting, philosophy, medicine, politics and the arts. These teachings, geared toward people of all backgrounds, reach thousands throughout the world and show us how to incorporate Divine consciousness into every aspect of our lives.

It’s a matter of semantics ...

Who were the Pilgrims ?

[since much of America celebrates ‘Thanksgiving Day”]


The Pilgrim saga began with a group of religious dissidents who believed it was necessary to separate from the Church of England. Persecuted in England, these "Separatists" moved to Holland in 1607/1608. The group, joined by other colonists recruited by the venture's financial backers, began the move to America in 1620. Early Plymouth records refer to all passengers from the first four ships as "First Comers." These ships were the Mayflower (1620), the Fortune (1621), the Anne and the Little James (1623). The term "Pilgrim" was not generally used until the early 1800s.


There is no single definition of "Pilgrim." Many families, Separatists and non-Separatists and Separatist sympathizers alike, traveled to America in several ships in the 1620s. However defined, the story of these Pilgrims has provided inspiration for centuries.


* * * * *

A Lesson in Semantics

  • pil⋅grim = an original settler in a region. The life of early settlers (pilgrims/pioneers) was not easy. The men and women had to be strong. At times, they lived in fear of [the enemy of the day]. Each day they worked hard. The clothes got washed. The cows got milked. The children were taught.
  • pi⋅o⋅neer = person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others; to be the first to open or prepare (a way, settlement, etc.).
  • synonym = leader, trailblazer, forerunner, pathfinder.


Who were the early Jewish

Pilgrims/Settlers/Pioneers?


Avraham Avinu, when Hashem told Avram to leave his country, his family, his home, and go to the Land I shall show you to become a Nation. In the year 1741 BCE, Abraham began his long journey from Haran to Canaan - a journey which would change the history of the world and have a profound effect on the development of most major religions. Throughout the ages there has been a fascination with Jewish history. People have questioned the "miracle of the continual existence of the Jewish people" - this despite the almost consistent world delight in their persecution and ridicule. "I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday."


Myriad Jewish families throughout history, after much persecution, fled from country to country, and as pilgrims started life over countless times, until 1948, when the Jewish People returned to their ancient homeland and became pilgrims and pioneers and settlers in every area within their inheritance, building and cultivating the land, producing cities, farming techniques to benefit the entire world, and raising generations of lovers of the Land of Israel.


So, now tell me, why is it that America

can celebrate Thanksgiving Day

ln honor of the pilgrims that established one of the greatest countries on the face of the earth, but a few thousand ‘settlers’ cannot stake out a home for themselves on barren soil, under sparse conditions, in a tiny tract of land that is their ancient homeland; being a tiny tract of land along the mediterranean coast, a land that the G-d of history, the world and universe, told Avraham Avinu to go to and cultivate, and that his ancestors would inherit this same land?


AND now, the elected leader of the same American country

that celebrates its pilgrims, settlers and pioneers

on a day of "Thanksgiving"

has the audacity

to do the following:


Spies have been traveling around Judea and Samaria in recent weeks, asking residents about construction in their towns and passing the information back to Washington.


* * * * *

And so a brave and honorable Israeli says the truth:


“Any piece of information, no matter how insignificant it seems, can be used against us by a hostile element. The talks that they are having with our people is the first step in a large intelligence gathering and supervisory network that Mitchell is building here. It would be very strange for us, of all people, to cooperate with something that will be used against our own government.”


“It’s great chutzpah of a foreign government to openly collect information and supervise a country on that country’s own territory. We must not cooperate with this brazenness.”


“Beyond our non-cooperation,” ... “we must also take active steps on this matter. We must announce that we are closing our gates before them, showing that they not in charge here, and not only don’t we owe them an accounting, they don’t even have a right to ask for one.”

26 November 2009

Finally ... pardoned!



Courage Pardoned

הנשיא צריך לחון יותר טורקיה

Fine Furried Friends Enjoying Their Thanksgiving









[pictures borrowed from Ms Huffington]

Don't Be A Turkey!













25 November 2009

Shining some light on the topic

Akiva at Mystical Paths (please read his post first) has focused a spotlight on "lighting" that spurred me to the following.


Thomas Jefferson once stated:

"If

people let the government decide

what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under

tyranny."



Edison's Lightbulb


Well, here's a video extolling the benefits of CFL lighting: that the "Greenie" movement produced - and it is a bit convincing. The content of mercury In one lightbulb is rather innocuous, but in combination with all the other places one finds mercury, it is another piece in the toxicity puzzle that makes up our daily lives:



Now, just take a look and listen to this next video, but first here’s some info on mercury:


"Mercury can be found in new energy efficient light bulbs, Vaccines, Fish, High Fructose corn syrup, toxic or Toys R Us toys, not only Chinese, etc.


"Mercury is the most toxic element on earth, next only to highly radioactive Plutonium used in nuclear bombs. When I first learned about mercury in vaccines, I though this was just another conspiracy theory to dumb down population, I didn't think it was real at first. Who in the right state of mind would put mercury a very well known NEURO-TOXIN in vaccines and call it a medical miracle since 1937 and it still is being used. Let's see where else we could use mercury, oh yes, in your teeth, called the dental amalgam. That is right folks our doctors think that mercury is toxic everywhere except our own bodies.


"It is not debated whether mercury is toxic, and mercury compounds are thousand times more toxic than mercury alone. It is debated whether the amount of mercury used is high enough to cause any damage. Mercury is about 1000 times more toxic than lead, also mercury and lead have synergistic relationship.


"If 100 people are exposed to mercury and lead together in the amount that cause 1% fatalities when exposed separately, you will get 100% fatalities, a 100 fold increase in toxicity. Mercury and lead are 100,000% more toxic together than separate.


"The amount of Ethyl-Mercury used in vaccines is 25mcg or 0.000025 grams Ethyl-Mercury


"0.000000001 grams Poison IVY

Let's look at poison ivy, only 1 billionth of a gram is enough to cause a rash (that is outside of your body, just think what would happen if it was inside), so it takes 25,000 that is 25 thousand times less poison ivy to cause a reaction than we inject little children with mercury. Of course we're talking about allergic reactions, and doctors assume no one is allergic to Mercury or Mercury compounds or any other substance used in Vaccines.


"I'll say one thing no matter how much sand you throw into car's engine, any amount of it causes damage. Mercury is basically sand in your engine, it affects body on very basic level, inhibiting enzyme production, which are responsible for all bodily functions. Mercury toxicity can affect any and every organ especially nervous system and it can affect any function of your body. You can get weak, tired, digestive issues, etc etc.""




Back to the Lightbulb

Let's shed some light on Electricity and the Lightbulb

Thomas Edison's greatest challenge was the development of a practical incandescent, electric light. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't "invent" the lightbulb, but rather he improved upon a 50-year-old idea. In 1879, using lower current electricity, a small carbonized filament, and an improved vacuum inside the globe, he was able to produce a reliable, long-lasting source of light. The idea of electric lighting was not new, and a number of people had worked on, and even developed forms of electric lighting. But up to that time, nothing had been developed that was remotely practical for home use. Edison's eventual achievement was inventing not just an incandescent electric light, but also an electric lighting system that contained all the elements necessary to make the incandescent light practical, safe, and economical. After one and a half years of work, success was achieved when an incandescent lamp with a filament of carbonized sewing thread burned for thirteen and a half hours.


There are a couple of other interesting things about the invention of the light bulb: While most of the attention was on the discovery of the right kind of filament that would work, Edison actually had to invent a total of seven system elements that were critical to the practical application of electric lights as an alternative to the gas lights that were prevalent in that day.

1809 - Humphry Davy, an English chemist, invented the first electric light. Davy connected two wires to a battery and attached a charcoal strip betwween the other ends of the wires. The charged carbon glowed making the first arc lamp.

1879 - Thomas Alva Edison invented a carbon filament that burned for forty hours. Edison placed his filament in an oxygenless bulb.


1906 - The General Electric Company were the first to patent a method of making tungsten filaments for use in incandesent lightbulbs. The filaments were costly.


1910 - William David Coolidge (1873-1975) invented an improved method of making tungsten filaments. The tungsten filament outlasted all other types of filaments and Coolidge made the costs practical.


1991 - Philips invented a lightbulb that lasts 60,000 hours. The bulb uses magnetic induction.


A biographer of Edison once noted:

"His mother had accomplished that which all truly great teachers do for their pupils, she brought him to the stage of learning things for himself, learning that which most amused and interested him, and she encouraged him to go on in that path. It was the very best thing she could have done for this singular boy."


As Edison himself put it:

"My mother was the making of me. She understood me; she let me follow my bent."


Quotes:

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”


“The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense.”

More light on the topic:
More about Thomas Edison and his inventions.
Timeline history of the incandescent lightbulb.


A Vicarious Walking Tour


of where the Chief Rabbinate of Israel forbids a Jew to go.

The tour focuses on the present structures, but does not deny the previous existence of the two Jewish Temples. It begins with a 5 minute intro which you can skip (as I did), and then goes on to 32...360-degree panoramic views, which you can virtually walk left and right to get a greater perspective. But, if you click on the 'wide view' view, your eyes will expand likewise.

If you wish, you can skip the audio for each picture, and read the written text under the pictures, or just enjoy the pictoral views.


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

After that tour, if you live in or are visiting Israel, contact The Temple Institute for a guided Jewish Tour of permissible areas of the Second Temple; depicted on that page are those areas relevant and important to Jews.

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


I have always wanted to see a map of the Silk Route, the ancient trail that the ancient Jews traveled in their commerce of spices, perfumes, and other items.

And it is perhaps along these same pathways that many from the Ten Tribes traveled in search of a place to settle after being scattered from Eretz Yisrael.

Well, if you click on the "about us" on the page of the 'Virtual Tour' on the right side of the page is a listing for "Traveling the Silk Roads", and when you click on this a beautiful map appears, for those who may be interested like me.

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


Tisha B'Av 30 July 2007

The Temple Institute began work on the sacrificial altar Thursday, Tisha B’av, the day the Second Temple was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago.


Building of the 3rd temple is problematic. Any attempts to do so will trigger war with the Muslims. The Muslim Dome of the Rock is on the temple mount. Some say that the exact site of the temple is not at the Dome of the Rock but just 330 feet to the north of it (The Northern Conjecture, Three Theories on the location of the temple). So building the 3rd temple will in no way violate the space of the Dome of the Rock. I am highly skeptical that the Muslims will allow the construction of the 3rd temple so close to their beloved Dome of the Rock. The coming larger middle east war will likely see this temple mount issue resolved.

The Sambatyon Found?

Marco Polo's journey across the heartland of Asia from Europe to China along the old Silk Road has long been the stuff of mystery and romance.

For 1500 years - until the opening of the world's sea lanes in the 16th and 17th centuries rendered it obsolete - the Silk Road teemed with camel caravans laden with silk, porcelain, tea, paper, medicinal herbs and spices that wended their way from Asia to Europe, returning with gold, silver, wool, horses, colored glass and wine.

Actually, a better name is Silk Route, as it wasn't a single road but a labyrinthine network of caravan tracks, exchange posts and bazaars linking Europe with Turkey, Persia, Central and South Asia and China.

Traversing it from end-to-end took about 200 days, although no caravan went the entire distance. Rather, caravanners were short- or medium-distance haulers who met in various market towns to barter and pass along their goods. Probably the most significant effect of this route was not the exchange of goods but ideas (technologies and religions) between West and East.

Few women are seen on the streets of rural Pakistan, and were heavily veiled. In one very traditional village a woman was supposed to go outside her house only three times in her adult life - when she married, if she needed to go to a hospital, and when she died.

We spotted a father and daughter below in a market stall, and thought about her future as a Muslim woman in an increasingly fundamentalist society. The girl was young enough that a photograph [...could be taken] with her proud father's permission ... perhaps the only photo he would have of her.



The roiling Indus River rushes head-long through this deep gorge from Tibet down to the Arabian Sea. The construction of the highway was a joint venture by Pakistan and China, but obviously not an economically viable one as the traffic along it is minimal. It was intended by China as a gesture of friendship with Pakistan - or, more precisely, a slap in the face at its old rival, India. The road took 20 years to build (1959-79) and cost one life for every 1.5 kilometers of its 1300-kilometer length from Rawalpindi, Pakistan to Kashgar, China


NOTE: “roiling” = verb = to move or proceed turbulently.

“turbulent” = being in a state of agitation or tumult; disturbed: = characterized by, or showing disturbance, disorder: the turbulent years = given to acts of violence and aggression:

Could this be the Sambatyon?

The full story of someone's tour of the area can be read here .

24 November 2009

Feathery Divertimento

Some like rock, some like pop, and others like the 'brothers'
but I like nature's a cappella