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Mar 26, 2015

State chametz almost couldn't be sold

The elections created an unusual problem.

I would have expected that all the positions held by the last government continue and remain in place until the new government is formed.

It seems though that  all the temporary appointments from prior to the elections (because some of the ministers were fired and needed to be replaced with temporary appointments) have come to an end, as temporary appointments are only good for 3 months. At the time of elections, 3 months had passed and the tmporary appointments came to an end..

One of those temporary appointments was Minister of Finance, originally held by Yair Lapid and then temporarily held by Benjamin Netanyahu.

The problem with this is that with nobody holding the position of Minister of Finance, there was nobody authorized to see the state-held chametz. Only the Minister of Finance, or someone authorized by the Minister of Finance, can sell State assets. With the temporary appointment coming to an end, the position remained empty and there would be nobody to sell the State's chametz.
source: Kipa

uh oh

That's ok. A solution was found.

Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau was involved in searching for a solution. Benjamin Netanyahu was again appointed, temporarily, to return to the role of Minister of Finance (among the other temporary positions he has held). This is a boring solution, and it was not implemented specifically for the purpose of the sale of the chametz, but it solves the problem.
source: Kipa








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insulting polling by Hiddush regarding the Finance Committee position

The Hiddush organization is upset with the fact that it looks like Moshe Gafni of UTJ will be appointed to head the Knesset Finance Committee, rather than one of Moshe Kahlon's people.

I am not sure why some people get upset with whatever the Haredi parties are offered to join the coalition. No matter what they want it is considered outrageous demands, extortion, knavery... and whatever they are offered is called political bribery and corruption.,

The Haredi parties represent a portion of the population. I don't like the system that gives unbalanced power to narrow interest parties, but as long as that is the system, the Haredi parties are no more and no less deserving of any given position than any other political party. There is no reason UTJ demanding the head of the committee is extortion but Kahlon demanding it is perfectly ok.

Back to Hiddush...

Hiddush has published the results of some survey they conducted. According to Hiddush, 87% of the non-Haredi public wants Moshe Kahlon to have the position of head of Finance Committee, while only 13% want Moshe Gafni to have the position.

a. why only poll the non-haredi public? is the Haredi public not part of Israel? Are they not citizens of Israel? Does their opinion not matter? Is the non-haredi public any less biased towards a non-haredi person versus a haredi person than the haredi public is biased to a haredi person versus a non-haredi person?
why is this a legitimate survey? Why do these results bear any significance? If I ask only Druze people, they will surely overwhelmingly choose a Druze candidate for any given position. Only women? Most likely they will choose the female candidate. Only secular? Most likely they will choose the secular candidate? Only dati leumi? They will choose the DL candidate. Only Haredi? They will choose the Haredi candidate.

Not only do I ask why is it legitimate, but it is grossly insulting? Why does one part of society have more of a say than any other part of society? Hiddush is almost saying the same thing Amir Chetzroni said.

The survey published by Hiddush is meaningless because it is biased to the result they wanted.

b. I think by now we have learned the value of polls and surveys. This survey is most likely brought to you by the same people who spent the last 4 months polling the elections. Last week we saw exactly how reliable and unbiased their numbers are.




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Statements by President Rivlin and PM Netanyahu (video)






one comment - often, when politicians, including Bibi Netanyahu, say "baruch hashem" or b'ezrat hashem", people brush it off and say he is doing it to pay lip service for his religious party partners but does not really mean it. When he does not say it, they then get upset - what? he couldn't even say baruch hashem? kochi v'otzem yadi!



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Pesach is Coming - Time for Matzah Baking! (video)








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No Joke: Comedian Joe Piscopo's Seriously Uplifting Visit to Israel (video)







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Passover Funk - "Uptown Funk" PARODY (video)








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Six13 - Uptown Passover (video)







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Mar 25, 2015

PSA: survey regarding child safety book

Important feedback/info is needed regarding the child safety book Please help, by giving the feedback, design the best possible child safety materials moving forward.


25,000 copies of the english safety book and over 5,000 of the Yiddish version were sold. 

This really "moved the needle" on the entire abuse prevention effort in the frum community
The Ivrit book is  halfway through production and the feedback will help them get a better handle from users of the book as to its effectiveness -- along with lots of other questions


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Interesting Psak: freezing and selling mufletot

For years I have wondered how Sefardim manage to put away all their dishes and pots after Pesach and organize so quickly and bake chametz for their Mimouna celebration.

I was told once that they are not like us Americans. We have separate sets of dishes for Pesach, so everything needs to be put away, switched, chametz stuff taken out, etc. It seems many of the Sefardim use their dishes from all year round on pesach as well. They kasher pots and whatever they can, for Pesach, and at the end of Pesach they don't need to put these thigns away. They just use them to cook chametz. They put away what they have deciated for Pesach, but their pots are ok as is, and all they have to do is pull out their flour.

The following psak talks about another solution - they prepare the muflatot, and other delicacies, in advance, before Pesach, freeze it and include it in their sale of chametz. Then after Pesach they take it out of the freezer and freshen it up!

The questioner asks about whether freezing the prepared foods and including them in the sale is acceptable or not.

Rav Shabtai Yagel, a rav in Ranana, answered that this should not be done (that would mean the original solution I wrote about is preferred).

Rav Yagel gives three reasons to avoid this method:
   1. the solution of selling chametz was not instituted in order to buy things before Pesach in order to save them for after Pesach, and definitely not for an individual. Sellign chametz was instituted for commercial purposes - for people stuck with merchandise that they would otherwise take a large loss on and therefore might not bother disposing of it. For private people, we don't want people relying on the sale for real chametz, but people should plan in advance to use up their chametz by the time Pesach comes around. And definitely do not buy or prepare chametz right before pesach for the express purpose of selling it to be used right after.
   2. It is possible that in this scenario, the sale might not even work. There is no intention to actually sell it and transfer ownership - it is really deceit. With normal chametz, people would usually be ok if the gentile decided to come get his chametz and pay in full, but n this scenario, the value is not really of interest to the seller, as she wants he food prepared for her Mimouna holiday, and would not want the gentile to come collect it during the holiday.
   3. because she wants her mufletot, if the gentile would come, she might not even agree to him taking it, even while paying full value. That creates another problem (besides for putting the transfer of ownership into question) - her desire for the continued existence of the chametz.
source: Srugim

So, don't freeze your prep-prepared mufletot. Find a way to make them fresh right after pesach.

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3 bottles of champagne on the wall

The latest in the "Manny Naftali - Sara Netanyahu saga" has Naftali claiming that Sara Netanyahu often drinks 3 bottles of champagne a day.

If Naftali is telling the truth, I am less concerned about her wasteful spending in the Prime Minister's residence, and more concerned that she should be getting therapy for her drinking problem. She should be going to Alcoholics Anonymous, at this rate of drinking.

Maybe it is a sign that the price of water is just too high - it is worth drinking champagne at those prices!

How does she stand straight, or even talk to anybody, when she is drinking 3 bottles of champagne a day?


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Shmitta lchumra coming to a government hospital near you!

The Ministry of Health, in response to a request made by MK Uri Maklev (UTJ), has decided to make changes in the food supply in public hospitals.

A new tender will soon be issued for the supply of fruits and vegetables in government-run hospitals. The new supply will include the supply of "shmitta l'chumra" (I still don't understand the name shmitta lchumra) fruits and vegetables, meaning fruits and vegetables from Arab and/or imported produce, and insect-free greens, for patients that prefer these.

Until now, government-run hospitals have only supplied hetter mechira sourced vegetables to its patients. This created a dilemma among some patients, whether to eat or not - never a good thing for a patient to have to worry about.

The list of government-run hospitals include hospitals such as Sheba (Tel Hashomer), Ziv, Hillel Yafe, Rambam, Poriya, Barzilai, among others. Public hospitals, operated by large operations, have found it financially worthwhile to provide mehadrin kashrut, including shmitta lchumra and insect-free produce, but the government-run hospitals chose the basic level of kashrut, as per the guidelines of the Rabbanut.

sources: INN, Hidabroot

It's always good when people have a choice.






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coalition negotiations are like the afikomen

Elections and coalition negotiations are very timely, falling out right before, and during, Pesach.

It seems to me that coalition negotiations are very much like the afikomen on Pesach night.

The kid finds or steals the afikomen, and because his dad needs it, the kid holds out until dad gives into his demands...

The potential coalition partners are the same - they make their demands, and they hold out as much as possible, knowing that the leading party will give in, at least to most of the demands, because the leading party needs the smaller parties to form a coalition.

This is why the small parties, the narrow-interest parties, wield too much power - more than what they should have based on their size. This is one of the main problems with Israel's electoral system.

And it does not matter which party is the "winning", or leading, party. Whether Labor of Likud, or in the future maybe a different party. In this system, the leading party has to give in to many of the demands of the small parties, in order to form a coalition.



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The Two Lives of the IDF (video)








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Feiglin presents his alternative to the status quo (video)

the video only shows the Feiglin part of the interview. I am curious what alternative the Palestinian in the studio presented...






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A Bissel of Pesach (video)








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11 Things Jewish Friends Just Get (video)









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