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Jan 31, 2006

Poll - but is it reliable?

I do not know how this poll changes the realities of the local political scene, but they polled the question "After Hamas' electoral victory, who should one vote for in knesset"?
The results are a resounding vote for the Likud party over Kadima (56+% to 16+%) with other parties filling out the balance...

The Golden Globes award to Paradise Now gives legitimacy to suicide bombers

I received this attachment in my Inbox this morning. Nothing more needs to be said.

Last night the Palestinian movie "Paradise Now" won the Golden Globe award. The movie shows the route that two young Palestinians take to become suicide murderers, up until the minute they board a bus in Tel Aviv filled with children.

The movie looks professional. It was made with great attention to detail, but it is extremely dangerous – not only to the Middle East, but to the whole world.

My son Asaf, almost 17 years old, was a high school student in the eleventh grade who loved computer science. One day after school he boarded a bus home, as usual. Along the way, a suicide murderer from Hebron, 21 years old, a computer science student at the Hebron Polytechnic, exploded on the bus.

17 people were killed, 9 of them school children aged 18 or less.
My son Asaf was killed on spot.

I watched the movie "Paradise Now" trying to understand what it is trying to say, what message it carries?
That the murderer is human? He is not.
That he has doubts? He has none. After all, he is willing to kill himself along with his victims.
That the Israelis are to blame for this brutal killing? Are the Israelis to blame for the Twin Towers in New York, the night club in Indonesia, the hotel in Egypt, the shop in Turkey, the restaurant in Morocco or in Tunis, the hotel in Jordan, the underground in London, the train in Spain? And the list goes on and on.

What makes this movie award-worthy? Would the people that awarded this movie the Golden Globe do the same if the movie was about young people from Saudi Arabia who learn how to fly airplanes in the USA and then use Islamic rituals to prepare themselves for their holy mission, crashing their airplanes into the Twin Towers in New York City? Would this movie get an award then?

This movie tries to say that suicide murder is legitimate when you feel you have exhausted all other means. But a suicide murderer who boards a bus kills 15 or 20 innocent people, so how about a suicide murderer who walks into a city with a biological bomb and kills 10,000 people or 100,000 people? Is that still legitimate? Where does one draw the line?

I believe that the world should draw the line at one person. The killing of even one person is not legitimate. My son was almost 17 years old, he loved surfing, he loved loud music. Now he is gone because a suicide murderer decided it's legitimate to blow himself up on a crowded bus.

Granting an award to this kind of movie gives the filmmakers a seal of approval to hide behind. Now they can say that the world sees suicide bombing as legitimate. By ignoring the film's message and the implications of this message, those that chose to award this film a prize have become part of the evil chain of terror and accomplices to the next suicide murders – whether they kill 17 people or 17,000 people.


Name: Yossi Zur
Phone: +972-54-4248912
Email:
Yossi@blondi.co.il
Web: www.Blondi.co.il

Jan 30, 2006

Tzedaka Spam

We get tens of items of Tzedaka spam each week. What is tzedaka spam? Tzedaka spam is usually colorful brochures and flyersstuffed into mailboxes that tell a story of someone who has recently died leaving x number of orphans who have nobody to support them or a poor avreich (man learning in kollel) who has 12 kids and now has to marry one off, an avreich who is so poor that he cannot afford to pay for his extremely expensive medications for his cancer, etc. These flyers go on to request money - often a commitment of a small amount per month or a one time donation. They always have the support of a list of many usually well-known Rabbis, oftentimes it is the same Rabbis on many of the flyers.

If one takes the time to actually read some of these stories, they are heart-rending. How can one not feel compassion for these downtrodden? How can one not feel the intense need to help and mail off a check?

The thing is, most people do not bother reading these flyers. In my apartment building, the garbage can by the front door of the building is always filled to overflowing with these flyers that people removed from the mailboxes and threw right into the garbage. I almost never read them. I remove it from my box and toss it right into the bin.

I recently read one and it was unbelievable how much bad fortune could befall one person. This man was deathly ill with some form of cancer. The medicine he needs is not covered in the national healthcare basket of medicines, so the price is exorbitant and well beyong his capabilities. Despite all that, the medicine is only dealing with the side effects and pain, and it will extend his life by a few months. If he does not get the medicine and treatment, he will die in x number of months. He has 7 children and can't put bread on the table because his medicines are so expensive. It went on to say he considered not even taking the medicines, so as not to be a burden on people, especially because the medicine will not save his life, but merely extend it for a while. After many consultations with doctors and Rabbis, he decided to ask for help in raising the money.

This is just one example. Many of them tell similar stories of poverty and serious life threatening illnesses. Some are simply calls to support a tzedaka fund from one city or another. Some of them promise that certain great Rabbis will bless you or pray for you if you send a donation of x amount or more, etc..

Why do we mostly ignore these pleas for help. Do we not want to feel bad not sending money, so we don't even bother reading it? Do we not want to know about the troubles of our fellow Jews? Are we so cynical that we think that he had it coming and if he needed money so badly let him go get a job? Can we not afford sending each one money, as there are so many and it is never ending, so we just don't bother? Do we have different priorities for what we do with our tzedaka monies? Maybe the story is not true, or at best exaggerated for shock effect? Why must I send them a check when I have poor people in my own neighborhood?
I know I have rationalized my not giving, and even my not reading these flyers, with each one of these thoughts, at different times.

Some people I know read each one, say a short chapter from tehillim and will put a small check for a couple of dollars in the mail to each one. I think most of us (based on an informal survey of garbage cans near the different buildings mailboxes) choose to ignore the requests. But should we?
Are we simply trying to avoid the responsibility of helping a Jew in need (by not reading them, one can plead ignorance) or is it justified?

Welcome to Israel!

Google is in the process of founding a new Research and Development center in Israel.

Jan 29, 2006

Is God striking them down one by one?

Ynet is reporting that Chaim Ramon, one of the highest profile members of the Labor party who switched over to Kadima, has suffered from a heart attack. Refuah Shleimah.

Got rid of Haloscan

I was advised to get rid of Haloscan's commenting system, and after looking around the web a bit for info, I followed the advice.
The drawback is that I lost all the comments..

New Meretz election campaign upsetting people

The Marker, Israel's leading business daily, reports that the newest series of billboards cropping up around the country have begun to raise eyebrows. The billboards are advertising a clear political message, though it was unknown who was behind that message. No longer.

The message displayed on the billboards were derogatory in nature, specifically calling the left wing voters "Arab lovers" and "Leftist idiots" (my translation) among other things.

The billboards raised people's ire and in some places there were reports of vandalism.

It was discovered today that Meretz, the ultra secular liberal party, is behind those billboards. There goal was to be provocative and wake up the left wing lethargic voters, who generally can't be bothered to show up and vote. The reasoning goes, that if they think the right wingers are slamming them, they will take it personally and get off their lazy behinds and go vote.

Now we just have to wait to see what the backlash is after people find out about this underhanded ploy.

Rav Kadouri's funeral

is taking place now. He should be a meilitz yosher for the rest of us...

The next thing to be made assur..

I saw a little news article in the Mishpacha newspaper (Hebrew edition). The blurb said that the Roshei HaYeshivos have become aware of a new problem in the yeshivas. They have found more and more talmidim using mp3 and mp4 players to record shiurim and to listen to music.

You might ask, so what is the problem? Good question. The article goes on to explain that the Roshei Hayeshivas are concerned because they cannot control what is being listened to. They have no way of checking what music a talmid is listening to. Many of them are not familiar with how to navigate the menus on the player and even the ones who are familiar to an extent have a difficult time with it. They cannot control the situation. If a student uses a discman/walkman, the rebbe can take out the cassette/disc and see wat the kid is listening to and punish accordingly (if the music is not deemed kosher by the rebbe's standards). With the mp3 players, the situation has become too hefker.

The article said that the Roshei Hayeshivas have brought the issue to the gedolim and are looking for a solution how to deal with the problem.

Do you know what is in your ice cream?

Do you know what you are eating or putting on your lips?
The FDA will be changing their labeling rules to require products that contain bug juices (used as colorants in foods and makeups) to list an insect based ingredient as insect based rather than the real name (or in addition to), so consumers will know that the product contains insect based juices. This will allow them to decide whether they object to that or not and purchase or not purchase the product.

I have not clarified the halacha on this, but I remember from my youth that the issue had arisen then as well. I had relatives who were students of Rav Aharon Soloveitchik who would not eat sprinkles and other candies of sorts (I think jelly beans as well) because their coating contained these bug juices. I also remember that most people did eat them and it was only some people who were being machmir.

It looks like the issue is more widespread than a few select candies.

Jan 26, 2006

What is happening with Olmert?

Why is he not responding to the PA election results? Why is he not giving the country direction in the wake of the uncertainties raised? Many other countries have already responded with statements, why has Olmert not yet responded?

I do not think his decision to allow voting in East Jerusalem is what caused Hamas to win. Their victory was too great to be based on that issue alone. I think it was the general atmosphere created by the politicians (who later founded and joined Kadima). They delegitimized Fatah (though Fatah deserved it) and would not speak to Abu Ala. They decided to do things unilaterally, meaning Abu Ala, who was considered moderate by most analysts, had nothing to take credit for and no gains to show his people. That is aside from the rampant corruption that has always been found in the PA leadership that people must have been sick of. So they voted for Hamas to effect a change.

Don't get me wrong - Olmert did us a great injustice and caused terrible damage (IMHO) by allowing them to vote in East Jerusalem. Note that he did this against the wishes of Ariel Sharon. Sharon had said he would not allow it to happen. By Olmert vascillating on the subject and allowing the vote in E Jerusalem, he has thrown the status of Jerusalem up in the air and opened what will become a can of worms, that can only end badly for us.

Hamas electoral upset?

Right now it looks like it might have happened. The election results announcement has been delayed...

Ezzie posted a new blog roundup

He posted some great posts, so head on over and take a look!

Ezzie's Blog Roundup for 1/26

more on the internet in the religious world

I was just chatting with Ezzie about this and decided to write about here.
Many have discussed the Ultra-Orthodox ban on the internet in lakewood, Israel and other strongholds of the Haredi public, including myself briefly on this site. I have previously written on this, and now wish to add to the discussion some more.

My position on this is that the Rabbis who are against it have no chance of succeeding in accomplishing a full internet ban. The internet is too pervasive in our lives for most people to give up. the internet is too useful in our lives to give up. People pay their bills online, track their bank accounts, trade stocks, do business, communicate with friends and family, use voip telephones, find valuable and pertinent information along with many other uses that improve our daily life and save us time rather than standing in lines and travelling to banks and whatever else. This all in addition to the entertainement factor involved.

Of course there are dangers involved in using the internet. People must be mature adults and use it wisely and avoid the pitfalls (obviously different people will think differently as to what is a pitfall and what is acceptable), but the problems with it are not a good enough reason to throw the whole thing away. Should one not walk down the street because he might see an inappropriately clad woman or advertisement?

Not only is it useful, but as I said it is too pervasive to get rid of. Case in point: The other day I was reading some blogs and I was following links and I stumbled across a very interesting blog (no, I do not remember the name). The blog was written by a Bais Yaakov girl from Lakewood. The posts were very interesting and I noticed that almost every single post had comments numbering in the hundreds!! I followed her links and clicked on some of the names in the comments and was astounded to realize that almost all the names there and all the linked blogs were also Bais Yaakov girls from every part of America. There is this whole blogging thing going on, not just by 30 year olds , but by Bais Yaakov girls! As I said, it is too pervasive to get rid of.

The Rabbonim should accept the fact that the Internet is here to stay. Once they accept that, they can possibly have more influence on helping people improve their use of the Internet, both in time of usage (to avoid addictions) and in content of usage (to avoid inappropriate content).

Jan 25, 2006

Why must they be so blatant?

Is there no end to the sleaziness in politics? Must we find out about more underhandedness, coverups, and corruption every single day?

Tonight I heard on the radio a report that Kadima had announced that Yitzchak Ben Aharon, a very prominent supporter of the Labor Party, had given his support to them (Kadima). They quoted a letter he had sent to Ehud Olmert saying he is with him and ready to help. Kadima publicized this letter now in order to make it appear that another very influential Laborite was switching allegiances to Kadima.

The problem is that after Kadima made their announcement, Labor announced that it is patently not true and Ben Aharon is a strong Labor supporter with no intentions of switching to Kadima. They asked Ben Aharon himself and lo and behold the truth comes out. He is a strong supporter of amir Peretz and is working to help Peretz be victorious. He has no intentions of leaving Labor for Kadima or any other party.
So what was that letter all about? It turns out that he sent that letter to Olmert right after Sharon had been hospitalized and Olmert was appointed Acting PM. He was being magnanimous in a time of crisis offering his support and assistance. at no point did he intend to switch to Kadima. Not only that, he only sent the letter on condition that it be private and not used for political purposes. Ben aharon was being compassionate in a time of crisis, much the way that Bibi and Peretz announced they were putting their campaigns on hold and were behind Olmert and ready to assist in whatever he needed. Did that mean they were switching to Kadima? Clearly not and neither was Ben Aharon planning any such move.

Why must our leaders be so blatantly dishonest? Is there no leader or politician who can run on a platform of honesty and integrity?

Lapid resigned!!

Good riddance!! he brought nothing to the local political scene other than hatred and more divisiveness. You won't be missed, Yosef.

Unique Jerusalem

Now the city sidewalks of Jerusalem will be clean!!

PA elections today

For the first time in 10 years the PA is back in the electoral process. What will be, nobody knows. Hamas looks very strong electorally. Even if they win, how bad will it be? Will they lead the Middle East into the abyss with renewed violence or will they moderate their stance as they have suggested recently?

The next PM will be more than just a PM it seems..

According to the information attributed to Rav Kadouri it looks like he will also be the Mashiach. It is hard to believe with the current lineup of political candidates, who the nation can possibly call upon to lead us and qualify for mashiach status. There must be another candidate who has not yet announced his candidacy...

Rav Kadouri's situation slightly improved

Rav Kadouri's situation has slightly stabilized. Refuah Shleimah.

Jan 24, 2006

Another criminal joining Kadima?

Ynet reports that Aryeh Deri has been noticed building his power base in Kadima, renewing his old flaming friendships with Olmert, Haim Ramon, and Roni Baron. Is he setting up to join and get a nice position in Kadima? Only time will tell. Deri denies it all, saying Olmert asked him for advice in relation to Haredi issues and he answered just as he would answer anybody else.

Rav Kadouri health update

It seems Rav Kadouri's situation has deteriorated yet some more. He is reportedly in "seriously critical condition" and the next few hours are crucial.. Refuah Shleimah.

Good news if you are..

.. an IKEA fan.. IKEA might open a second branch soon.
If it happens, you will not have to shlep all the way to Netanya just to buy those funky IKEA lightbulbs..

How much more can we take?

As time goes on we are finding out that the Sharons bought their way into power...
How much more will we find out???
The more important question is how much more do we need to find out before people stop iconizing Ariel Sharon?

Do they think we are stupid?

Little by little we are finding out how they tried to deceive us completely regarding Ariel Sharon's condition. Last week they revealed that they knew about his rare brain disease after the first stroke but did not announce it for political reasons. This despite the fact that Ariel Sharon said publicly he is allowing full disclosure of his medical record, and the doctors then saying they are telling everything to the public.
Now, it turns out, there is yet another, far more serious disease that they also kept hidden from us.
Don't get me wrong, if there is no law of full disclosure even for PM candidates or serving PM's, they are under no obligation to tell. I support the idea that there should be full disclosure, as we need to know what is influencing the PM's decisions and whether he is capable of making important decisions. But if there is no such law, then he has no obligation to tell. In this situation Sharon announced he is telling everything, the doctors announced they will reveal everything, and then they only gave out a small amount of the actual info.
This, in my mind, is a small deception. I call it small because it is really unimportant and he did not have to tell us anything anyway. What does concern me is if they tried to deceive us regarding this, when they could have just covered it up by saying there is no need or obligation to tell, on what other issues of greater national importance did Ariel Sharon deceive us as well?
The initial announcement of openness was obviously a ploy to garner support for Sharon and Kadima, but now we see that he was treating us like patsies and fools.
Yet the people still are iconizing him like the Dalai Lama or the prime minister of North Korea. Maybe we are fools, just as he thought...

Jan 23, 2006

Chardal had a great post about how a true Gadol B'Yisroel looks at his fellow Jews of all stripes. Compare this with the rioting last week and many times in the past in Ramat bet Shemesh and in many other areas around Israel. The self appointed "gedolim" and the "gedolim" with political agendas are the ones who get upset whenever there is a "breach" in their communities and then proceed to respond with violence/force.
A true gadol is the one who shows Ahavas Yisrael to all Jews, even the ones who are not religious, or not dressed exactly the same as your specific group. This gadol, while he may wish the person was more religious and may hope to somehow influence the person to improve in his religion, loves the jew regardless and sees the good in him. He sees the Jew in him. To quote, "The student felt uncomfortable due to all the women dressed in less than modest attire and contemplated whether or not to comment on the situation. While the student was considering whether or not to say anything, Rav Gustman, looking at the building on the street, commented: "Look at Yerushalaim in its building (ירושלים בבניינה), How much we have merited ...".

This addresses Harry Maryles' post here as well.

I made into Haveil Havalim #54!!

Haveil Havalim #54
Aside from my honorable mention (thanks Jack for getting me in), it is a great blog roundup.

Jan 22, 2006

He said it as a joke?

Haggai Amir threated PM Sharon's life from prison.
He claims he said it as a joke. Is he nuts? Considering who his brother is and what he is sitting in jail for (even if you have questions regarding the assassination that only Barry Chamish deals with), Haggai Amir claims he threatened a PM's life as a joke??!! He would be better off pleading insanity now..

and a damning secret it is!

JoeSettler finally revealed his secret.

Assuming the above is true (and I believe it to be so), Peace Now has shown again that they are not interested in the law or personal property rights, but they have their own agenda and will do anything to accomplish it, even if it means to put some poor Arab at risk of getting beheaded or getting Jews thrown off their legally owned land.
Shame on you Peace Now.

Jan 19, 2006

suicide bomb in tel Aviv

So a terrorist just blew up a shwarma stand (and himself) in Tel Aviv injuring at least 16. (is this the place they got the shwarma from to stick under Ariel Sharon's nose last week?)
Refuah Shleimah to all injured.
I guess the Palestinians decided not to let the Hebron residents test Olmert alone, rather they decided to test him as well. let's see how he reacts.. will he come down as harshly with them as he called for coming down on the "settlers"?

Ron Arad Le'Hofesh Nolad

I see a sign everyday next to my office that is displayed prominently that says Ron Arad Le'Hofesh Nolad (to paraphrase with a free translation - Ron Arad was meant to be free).

The latest announcement from Hezbollah is very confounding. Will the story of Ron Arad ever come to a close? At least with Eli Cohen we know where he is and what happened to him. We want his bones back for a proper jewish burial of a hero of Israel, but at least we know his fate and status. With Ron Arad, we have no idea. Some say they have strong indications he is dead, some say alive, some say he was alive until 1987 then disappeared, etc.. We have no idea where he is or what his status is.
Daven for Ron Arad and his family and all of Israel that we should be reunited with Ron, hopefully alive but if not at least so he can get the proper burial and closure for his family and Israel that a jewish hero like he deserves.

Give up the Old City/Har Habayit?

Most Israelis will sacrifice for peace but are against giving up the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
This is a very encouraging poll that indicates there is still a pintele yid in most Jews in israel, even the most secular of them. This pintele yid tells them that there are red lines and not everything is negotiable. Why should the Palestinians have such strong red lines that they can say no unless we get temple Mount and right of return and hot pizza every Wednesday (or whatever they want) and not have to give up on anything, while we have to be willing to talk about anything with no red lines. This article shows that we jews also have red lines.
Last night at our daf yomi siyum we got into a discussion (don't ask how..I do not remember other than last nights daf discussed a non-kohen goign into the kodesh kodoshim to do repairs and remove impurity) about negotiating Har Habayit with the Palestinians. One person had revolutionary idea suggesting that our problem has been until now that we, the religious public, has always been on the outside of the negotiations. We never took the negotiating of peace into our own hands, rather we always relied on the secular parties to negotiate on Israel's behalf, always relying on the hope that said leaders would stay within certain redlines that were acceptable by us. Ariel Sharon proved that hope to be false. We can no longer rely on such leaders to negotiate according to what we want. Sharon gave away Gush katif while an extremely large public stood on the side with the ability to do nothing (protesting was like screaming into a paper bag - nobody listened, nobody cared). In the future, the argument was presented, everything will be negotiated. You can be sure that the next PM, be it Olmert, or Netanyahu or anybody else from the not-religious political parties will reopen the negotiations and you can be sure a lot more will be offered than ever before. If we know in advance that they will negotiate Har Habayit (because that is upon what negotiations collapsed between Arafat and Barak - everything else was supposedly worked out), we should be involved and establish red lines in advance that we would settle for half of Har Habayit (because, he argues, if we do not than we will lose the whole thing). It might even be prudent to set up a political party with this as its platform (while Manhigut Yehudit puts Har Habayit in its program, MY is not a political party. Rather it is an entity within the Likud and therefore beholden to the Likud's lines to a major extent. the little power MY holds precludes their being anything other than a marginal voice on these issues).
Let me tell you this guy got an earful. Everybody was screaming at him that we also have top have red lines and why should we offer half, etc.. The above article shows that most Israelis would reject such a negotiating stance and therefore our red line should not be half of Har habayit, but we want the whole thing.

Jan 18, 2006

Rav Kadouri needs our prayers

Israeli news sites are reporting that Rav Kadouri's condition has taken a turn for the worse, Supposedly, he has been attached to a dialysis machine due to failure of his kidneys. His family and doctors are saying the next couple of hours are crucial. Refuah Shleimah.

G Sharon's company swindling the public

Tiv Taam caught red-handed selling rotten meat.
Tiv Taam is the largest producer and supplier in israel of non-kosher meats. Gilad Sharon is a partner in this company. The company was caught adding spices to rotten meat and trying to pass it off as spiced schwarma or other spicy meat items. I doubt Gilad Sharon had direct involvement in the affair, but the trend and scruples of the Sharon family are clear and unwavering. Do not forget Gilad Sharon, the son of Ariel Sharon, is a major partner in the largest company in Israel selling non-kosher meat to jews.

finally finishing eruvin

Tonight we will be concluding massechet eruvin in Daf Yomi. It is about time. The attrition rate was very high because eruvin is so hard and complicated. It was so hard that Meorot (major pushers of Daf Yomi shiurim in Israel) even rented the International Conference Center (Binyanei Ha'Uma) in jerusalem and made a big event of the siyum the other day, as a way of trying to get people back and motivated to start the new tractate of Pesachim..
No matter how complicated it was, one has to really appreciate the last 6 or 7 daf.

Jan 16, 2006

Haredim think they own the world

Haredim once again show "brotherly love".
The Haredi abuse of the genral populace has gotten way out of hand. Where do they get off thinking they own the place and have final say on who moves in and who does not, let alone how somebody dresses or what time of day they can sit in a restaurant to eat at night!
It is high time they were put in their place. If they wish to move to an open city, they need to come to terms with the fact that anyone who so desires has the right to purchase a home in the same city and live there. If the Haredim are so against living and mixing with people of other streams of Judaism, they should move to Haredi Yishuvim and other places that are closed communities that have "vaadot kabbala". The mere fact that you choose to live in a city, means you must be willing to accept others as they are.

Israel again leaves a soldier behind..

Pollard's appeal of status rejected by Israeli court.

I have made a reversal in my opinion. When the Pollard affair first happened I was one of those people who felt that he broke the law by spying, even though he did it for Israel. He took risks, however noble, and was caught. He deserves to sit in jail - from the US standpoint. Israel always should have worked to get him released as an agent, but from a US standpoint, he deserved to pay the time.. I also used to say that the fact that everyone in the legal and federal communities are so against him and his release must indicate that his crimes were much worse than we know.I did not support his being freed nor did I participate in the many activities in support of Pollard during the 80's.
Since then, as Pollards incarceration has gone on and on, I have had many opportunities to rethink my position. We have seen many other agents and spies, and others who have committed far worse crimes, get off in the legal system with much lighter punishments. Even if he deserved the sentence he got, he has clearly served his time and suffered enough.
Jonathan Pollard needs to be let free, if not for his own sake and his family's sake, for justice's sake.
How could Israel leave a son behind?

buying appliances online

Last night I won a bid on an Israeli auction site for my largest online purchase yet. A new refridgerator. We will see how smooth it goes and how professional they are with following up. So far it looks like it will work out well.
Amazing how things have improved so greatly here and it is so easy to get things done now..

Is Rav Kadouri's illness a test of our faith..

..or does it mean we are not worthy, yet again?
Meaning, we all know that Rav Kadouri announced (or his followers did) that Rav Kadouri had met with the Mashiach and he is ready to come. We know that Rav Kadouri had a bracha that he would love to see the mashiach. We also know that Rav Kadouri said Ariel Sharon would be the last PM and his would be the last government before the coming of the Mashiach.
So both Ariel Sharon and Rav Kadouri are now in critical condition in the hospital, yet Mashiach has not come. While it could still happen and Rav Kadouri could also still get better, it seems like the precitions are not coming true.
Should we follow the Rambam and not deal in such matters until it actually happens? Why would Rav Kadouri have announced it if we were not meant to believe it? Has it not happened because we were not worthy, but we were extremely close?
I do not know any of the answers, but Achake Lo B'chol Yom She'Yavo..

I know who the 4 women were..

4 women mother the Jews..
The 4 women are clearly Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah (maybe sub Bilha and Zilpa for Sarah and Rivka). I do not understand how they could trace it to 4 women in Europe 2000 years ago.. seems unrealistic. But if you go back to the 4 matriarchs, it makes sense..

Jan 15, 2006

Will Hebron be Olmert's Achilles Heel?

Ehud Olmert, the Acting PM of Israel, has ordered a crackdown of forces on the rioting of the Hebron settlers in the Casbah.

Some background: The area in Hebron under discussion was owned by Jews until the massacres of 1929. This is agreed upon by everybody invloved. The Supreme Court of Israel has agreed to this ownership as well. After the massacre, the remaining Jews left Hebron, never relinquishing their rights to the property. The Arabs took over the area and more recently the Jews have taken it over as a result of shootings. The surviving family members of the original owners have said that they allow the Jewish community of Hebron to use the property, so it is only the non-owner Arabs who are upset.

The government of Israel has now declared that the Jews of Hebron must give back the area of the casbah to the Arabs who were using it (though not owners, as ownership is still held by the Jews who were massacred and their families). This is a blatant violation of ownership rights. While I could understand if the government would not send in people to take it over from the hands of the Arabs, once the Jews have gone in on their own (and they had returned to the area already a few years ago - not this past week) the government of Israel should be supporting those Jews and not throwing them out. Is the government on our side or the Arab side of the dispute??? Sorry for the digression.

If Arabs cause problems anywhere in Israel in the near future, Olmert better beware. What will people think if they see Olmert cracking down on Jews but not on Arabs? Will people give him the same freedom that they gave to Ariel Sharon, just because he was Sharon's yes-man? He has not yet done anything to earn the people's trust and freedom.

Why call her Haredi?

Jerusalem Post held an interview with Tzviya Greenfield (whom i wrote about earlier as being a Haredi woman running for a slot on the Meretz list). You can read the JPost article about it here.
While it is a very interesting article, I fail to understand why she is called Haredi. Is it the media just trying to sensationalize the phenomenon of a religious woman in the ultra-secular Meretz party and because she lives in a fairly Haredi neighborhood, they use the term liberally and call her Haredi? If you read the article you will see that her views are diametrically opposed to those of the haredi public. While she has a right to her views and you may agree or disagree with them, that does not mean she should be called Haredi, and my calling her not Haredi is in no way saying her view is incorrect or illegitimate. She can have her opinion, but do not go arount touting it under the guise of being Haredi. There is nothing Haredi about you Ms. Greenfield.

One point I did like and agree with was what she said regarding her worldview in differences of opinion, "Religious people believe that if something obligates them it must obligate others," she says. "I do not believe that. I believe the other is autonomous, free to make his or her own decisions. At the most I would like to convince them of my opinion or at least make them understand my perspective, to reach a shared agreement that allows us both to live together."

resolution of davening quandry - what do you think?

So, I spoke to my rav regarding the quandry I mentioned and here is his solution. He said it is better to daven at the minyan that allows me to be there the whole time, but to work on training myself to slow down for shmoneh esrei and have kavanah. So, even though it will take some time and for a while I will daven with little kavanah, in the long run that is better.

And they criticize the Ultra-Orthodox for being undemocratic!

The ultra-orthodox parties often come under criticism from the secular parties for being undemocratin in the methods used to select candidates as representatives in Knesset. The Haredi parties make their selections solely at the discretion of the parties leading Rabbis. Their is no input by the constituents or primaries or any other form of voter participation in the selection process.

Shinui just had primaries to select its Knesset list for the upcoming elections. Shinui party head Tommy Yosef Lapid squeaked out a narrow victory, but his deputy and second in command Avraham Poraz was voted out by the constituents. Lo and behold, Lapid is throwing a fit and may leave the party unless Poraz is gauranteed a high spot. That is democracy? Ignoring the voters wishes?
Kadima: This was a problem from day 1, but the excuse for them is that they have no system in place yet for selecting. no members, no party institutions, nothing. They have to, at least for the first elections they are participating in, have their reps selected by some sort of decision of one person or small group of people. The best we can hope for is that the process in Kadima will change next time around.. This is democracy?

Are the Rabbis of UTJ and Aguda any less honest and morally/ethically sound that for them to choose the reps is inappropriate but for Ariel Sharon (now Ehud Olmert) and Tommy Lapid it is ok. Do they really claim the moral high ground over the great Rabbis of our generation?

matzah minyan or kavanah quandry

Here's the story: I am in a bedieved situation. I have been davening in minyan P recently but unfortunately I have to leave after shmoneh esrei due to time constraints. The benefit with this minyan is that I have been improving my level of kavanah and this minyan is conducive to that. My schedule has recently slightly changed a small amount which allows me to return to Minyan R in which I used to daven. The problem with this minyan is that it is a matzah minyan (18 minutes or less - actually it is not that fast, but is still pretty fast). When I daven there, I have no (read: zero) kavanah, but I get to stay for the whole davening.
Now, I am not looking for you to tell me that I should leave both and look for a different minyan or change my morning schedule to allow me a good minyan and to be there the whole time. I am currently not able to do that. It is either minyan P or minyan R.
So what is preferable - daven with kavanah but leave early (including missing torah reading and everything else after shmoneh esrei) or daven the whole thing with a minyan but with little or no kavanah. What is better?

Is this what Chabad has come to?

or is this the belief of just one crazy guy?
Sit down before you click on this!

Jan 12, 2006

Were we trainjacked today?

So I take the train to work and today the train was unusually packed that even the aisles were full of standing commuters. The train at some point stopped between stations and sat for a while. Nobody (in my area) seemed to know what was going on, but eventually it became clear that somebody had fainted (hope that was it and she is better) and they got her off the train into the hands of trained medics.
As the train began moving there was suddenly a burst of Arabic over the PA system. Everybody looked startled and puzzled, and I am sure the thought that we were being trainjacked went through not just my warped brain. After a moment or so, the guy on the PA laughed and switched back to Hebrew. It happened again a few minutes later to everybody's amusement.
Look at that, in Israel even an Arab can be a security guard, despite the mideast conflict and tension.

response to a post on independant morality

A very thought provoking post on independant morality.
My response to some of the points (there were some points I did not discuss but might later):
Actually in Judaism we do say just that point (though I do not remember hearing it in relation to sleeping with your sister). The Bible talks about eating only certain foods and the commentators say that our attitude when refraining from eating prohibited foods is not supposed to be how much you detest pork or snail or cheeseburgers (or whatever), rather I wish i could eat that slice of bacon that smells so wonderful, but as a Jew I have self control and do (or at least try to do to the best of my abilities) what God wants of me, rather than what i want. If he does not want me to eat pork, I will not eat pork. If he does not want me to sleep with my sister, i will not, no matter how appealing she is (ugh).
I do agree with your premise, however, that there is a certain amount of inate morality even without the Bible dictating such morality. The problem is that humanity will uphold such morality only temporarily while it is convenient and eventually we find that humanity digresses back to the middle ages where it was ok to sleep with your sister (or kill or steal, etc..). Humanity will always find an excuse to justify what they want to do and explain how it is moral. In nazi germany it was moral to kill Jews and Gypsies. In Cold War Soviet Union it was moral to repress freedom and individuality. The examples can be researched and be analyzed, but there is widespread immorality and it is usually somehow declared justified and moral.
If one uses the Bible as a base for morality rather than a man made decision on what is moral and what is not (as society changes, morals change), then the morals are (fairly) absolute. While they can be, and are, perverted as well for personal gain, if one is honest and keeps to those morals, s/he will be consistentin his actions and morals.
I do agree with you that one persons virtues should not be exclusive of others. Everybody sees the world through his/her own pair of glasses sees virtue in other things. One person is no more of an authority on virtue than the next.

Rabbinic abuse of power

Blog in DM has a good analysis of Rabbinic abuse of power (though he did not call it that).
I agree with his analysis but take it a step further. Not only do the Rabbonim conceal the truth from the people, they cloak it in daas torah, thereby disrespecting the vast majority of the public who do realize that there is a power play happening rather than a true fight for truth. That is a travesty and an abuse of power.

When the Rabbonim abuse their power and influence and use it for personal kavod or some othe ragenda that is not truth, they hurt everybody. People respect the Rabbonim less (even the honest ones with integrity) and people will hesitate from conferring with the spiritual leaders on issues that really do need consultation.

Jan 10, 2006

High level medical care - for the PM

It is all over the news today. After receiving promising results to various stimuli that caused the PM to move his right arm and leg and slightly the left arm, the doctors decided to take the tests one step further.
They decided to test Ariel Sharon's sense of smell and see his reaction. They brought a schwarma into the hospital room in the hope of jogging the PM's sense of smell. Only in Israel.

Stuff the ballots with..

I was walking down to the Kotel this afternoon. On the way down there was a parked car with a sign tied to the back of it. The sign called for people to use a protest vote in the upcoming elections on March 28. This is the interesting part: The sign said as a protest everybody should stuff the envelope with a piece of toilet paper instead of a ballot, as a protest for the way the government treats its citizens and the corruption that is rampant.

Somebody always knows better!

Throughout Ariel Sharon's treatment and care, we have been inundated with news on the issue. A very troubling event has been the constant interviews with doctors not involved in the case.
We keep being told that Dr. X or Dr. Y said the care he received was faulty because of reasons x y or z. He hsould had this done instead or something else and they were negligent for doing what they did.
First of all, if you were a bigger expert than the doctors on the case, you would have been selected for treating the Prime Minister. Second, why do you think you know better than doctors that are currently treating him? You are not aware of all the fine details of what is happening - you only know what is released to the public!
Let the doctors do their work and let us assume they are doing their best and working as hard as they possibly can to provide the PM with the best possible care. When it is all over you can call and lead an investigation to decide whether he was treated properly or mishandled.
Now is not the time.

More Sanhedrin news.. Bnei Noach

Bnei Noach

Kol Hakavod. You've gotta love good ol' Vendyl..

Sanhedrin news..

The process of renewal of Sanhedrin

When the Sanhedrin first began, they were very secretive as to what the process had been and how they restarted the semicha. They told people only unofficially and only parts of the issues they had dealt with and support of Rabbonim they had received. Even when telling over the names unofficially, people doubted and therefore scoffed at the renewal of the Sanhedrin, asking what kind of authority they think they have, especially with no support from the "gedoilim", etc..

The Sanhedrin just held a conference dealing with many issues, the focal point being relations with Bnei Noach. While I was not there, as I could not make it due to prior commitments (specifically work), the above article in Arutz 7 says they announced for the first time the stages of the renewal of the Sanhedrin and officially had the support of Rabbis Elyashiv and Yosef. and Rav Moshe Halberstam from teh Eida Ha'Chareidis of Yerushalayim was the first musmach who then was masmich Rav Levanoni and others.
This is big news. Now it is public info that the "gedoilim" support it. If the yeshivish public want to continue scoffing at the Sanhedrin, the askanim will have to force the hand of Rabbis Elyashiv, Halberstam and Yosef to deny the report. Otherwise they will have to accept the renewal and all it's ramifications.

Great job Rakevet Yisrael!

I went today to the airport to greet my parents as they arrived from the US. I went on from there to work via the train station. I must say they did a beautiful job with the station. They made it efficient, convenient and beautiful. The entrance to the station was right next to the doors of the terminal for arrivals.
Great job Rakevet Yisrael!

Jan 9, 2006

As the hemorrhaging begins..

I saw a fresh poll this morning that Kadima will, as of today, garner 37 seats. Note that 2 days ago they were as high as 42 seats. It will be a slow slide down, but Ehud Olmert does not have the skills nor popularity and charisma that Ariel Sharon had. There is no way he can maintain the support for Kadima at the same level as Ariel Sharon would have.
The only problem is that as long as Ariel Sharon stays in the picture on forefront of people's consciousness, Kadima will retain a lot of Sharon's supporters, simply as a pity vote.. If he leaves the picture, the hemorrhaging of Kadima will happen at a much faster pace..

It is the only chance they have

Didn't I say just yesterday the very same thing??!!
But then again, that is the only chance kadima has to win, so it is to be expected they would take advantage of the situation. The question is when the other players will figure out how to fight back..

Jan 8, 2006

video of MBD news blurb

MBD
Thanks to the Life of Rubin blog for pointing this out.

Olmert is very suave

How is it that for everybody else it looks bad and inappropriate to deal in politics now, while Ariel Sharon is incapacitated and things are sensitive and unclear, yet Ehud olmert can go on dealing in politics unabated?
He meets with Peres to convince him to stay in kadima, he tries to recruit Barak, etc.. He is dealing in politics and everybody accepts it. Yet Amir Peretz and Binyamin Netanyahu have to call for a halt to political dealings during these times..

Jan 7, 2006

are they secular or not?

Isn't it amazing that even the most secular, liberal Jews are calling upon people to pray for Ariel Sharon's well-being, and they themselves are praying as well. Do they suddenly believe in God?
Not only that, but anybody who says they are not praying for Sharon (e.g. Baruch Marzel) comes under tremendous criticism, as though they are killing him.

Secular Jews really do believe in God.

Jan 6, 2006

The difference between Pat and Crazy Ahmed

So, Pat Robertson is at it again. This time, Sharon's storke is a result of cutting up Gaza.
People are comparing PR to the Crazy Ahmed president of Iran. I do not think there is a comparison. While Pat Robertson might have diarrhea of the motuh and ften say things that are inappropriate (time to assasinate Chavez is another example of this), he is not the same as Crazy Ahmed. Crazy Ahmed called for Sharon's death and moving Israel out of the Middle East to Europe among other crazy statements. Pat Robertson did not say he wishes Sharon to die, rather gave his biblical interpretation of events that have happened. While maybe inappropriate, he is well within reason for explaining it the way he wants.
Here in Israel I have heard a number of explanations whispered (nobody is brash enough yet to actually say these things out loud during this sensitive time), which I will not repeat here, at this stage. Right now, it is inappropriate.

Jan 5, 2006

great tune to download

in order to learn Al Hamichya by heart.

"Crazy Ahmed"

Since I cannot pronounce his name, I will just call the president of Iran "Crazy Ahmed". Well, Crazy Ahmed is at it again. Just when you thought you have heard it all from him, he comes up with something even nastier...

"Crazy Ahmed"

Somebody needs to shut him up, and fast.

Different Strokes..

This article has an explanation of the progression of strokes that have plagued Ariel Sharon. This article makes it understandable to the layman..

Is Kadima the first casualty?

This might be a bit premature, and some might say inappropriate at this stage, to talk about, but very soon the analysts will re-evaluate the whole election playbook and will redo all the polls. Whatever happens to Ariel Sharon now (may he have a refuah shleimah), it seems like it will be impossible for him to remain as PM (even if he miraculously has a complete recovery). We wish him well, but the country must continue functioning and preparing for the future.

What will be with Kadima and the elections? Will they continue with unabated support, as they have until now? Will Ehud olmert enjoy the popularity Ariel Sharon has in drawing supporters and potential voters to kadima? Will they still sweep the upcoming elections as has been predicted until now? The Kadima ministers have been quick to say that Kadima is not a one-man party and is made up of more than Ariel Sharon. They are trying to inspire confidence in the people that they are worthy of our votes, even without Sharon at the helm.
I reject that premise. People were flocking to Kadima solely because of Sharon. Nobody was excited by Olmert or Bar-Ron or Ramon or any of the other politicians. Au Contraire - the politicians themselves were flocking to Kadima because of Sharon's popularity and they were trying to ride his coattails.
Nobody was attracted to Kadima as an independant party. nobody even knows what Kadima stands for. They have not yet decided who would be its representatives (after Sharon) and they were only in the early stages of the process of writing and proposing a party platform. Get that? Nobody knew what Kadima stands for! They all (including the politicians) flocked there because of Sharon. With Sharon out of play, nobody has any reason to support Kadima (except for each politicians personal friends, family and personal supporters).
Kadima, in my opinion, will drop drastically, and possibly not even be the third largest party come election time.
The next question is, what will be with all those pols who bolted their natural parties to join Sharon? Will they try to hang on to Kadima? Will they bolt and form new parties? Will they attempt to return to their former parties? I for one hope that the Likud and Labor parties refuse to allow any of them back into their ranks. Thsi will be a great opportunity to clean up the benches of power in Israel and freshen the party lists with new, energetic and idealistic people.

We are living in interesting times...

Refuah Shleimah

So, Ariel Sharon's situation looks like it keeps deteriorating. Everybody in Israel is sitting on "shpilkes" waiting to see what will happen, as is everyone praying for him as well.
In the meantime, Ehud Olmert has taken over as Acting Prime Minister. There are many legal difficulties and questions arising, due to laws that seem to conflict in this situation..
We all pray that God should take care of Israel and Ariel Sharon during these trying times.

Jan 4, 2006

Buy stock (or maybe options) in Kadima

Today's polls indicate Kadima continuing to rise. You might be better off buying options instead of shares. The polls results released today are from a poll taken before the latest information on the bribery scandal. Kadima shares might starting going down in price soon..

I'll C U

new website for finding where things are happening

"Earthquake" in Israel

Earthquake in Israel over new evidence against PM.

Looks like there might only be one fatality - Kadima. But that remains to be seen...

Jan 3, 2006

A real oxymoron

So, Tziviyah Greenfield, a Hareidi mother from Har Nof, has run for a slot on the Meretz party list and placed highly. I remember when she went out on a limb in the elections that Ehud Barak was running, and subsequently won, for Prime Minister and announced her support for Ehud Barak and Labor party, despite the Hareidi parties obviously not supporting that position.
It sounds like an oxymoron - a Hareidi representative of Meretz. Meretz is the ultimate liberal party and now even they have the gushpanka of a religious member.
This raises the question again what is Hareidi? Who is Hareidi? What are the prerequisites for being Hareidi? Does Tziviya Greenfield not count as a Hareidi anymore because of her decision to be a part of a party that has always been very liberal and usually anti-haredi?
There are a couple of ways the term hareidi is used. There is the political/social type of Hareidi usage. That is someone Hareidi is someone who supports the Hareidi parties and votes for UTJ. Such a person believes in the platform of the Hareidi public and follows the rules set forth by the Rabbis and will dress according to the uniform of the Hareidi public (white shirt, black pants, hat and jacket, etc..)
There is another way of defining Hareidi. The word "Hareidi" comes from the word "hareid" which is used in the Torah as defining someone who trembles before God and is careful about doing the right thing because of fear of God. My Rav has told me a number fo times, that it is not wearing a white shirt that makes you hareidi. Somone who is careful with his actions and tries to do everything properly and puts Torah as the central focus of his life - that is someone who is Hareidi.
I think according to both ways of looking at a Hareidi, being a member of Meretz is pretty weird. Her mantra of "Live and let thrive" can be used to support other parties as well - there is no need to go to such an extreme as Meretz...

Is there a point to such a ban?

One of many articles ragrding Rabbis banning internet access.
Is there a point to such a decree/gezeira/ban? How many times will they ban it before they give up?
People need it for work. People use it for pleasure. It does not matter. Very few people are giving it up. I do not have a link, but I have read articles recently that indicate internet use is on the rise, even in the religious public.
My question is based on a gemara. The gemara tells us that a decree that the people do not (or is it, cannot?) keep is cancelled automatically. Now, I am not sure what the process for this is. Is it a natural process, meaning they try to make a decree they feel is appropriate and they keep hammering it in to us but we keep ignoring them (or at best finding ways not to ignore but rationalize not listening - e.g. I need the internet for work) and eventually they just give up and leave us alone about it, or do the Rabbis have to declare it cancelled in some form or another?
I suspect it is the former, rather than the latter.
I still do not know how long it will take them to give it up, but I guess they are obligated to try to do what they think will save Judaism and Yiddishkeit.
When do they decide it is a gezeira that the people cannot (will not) abide by?

Aych Naflu Giborim (how the mighty have fallen)!

Even the most stalwarts of The Idea of Greater Israel are now proposing a new platform that allows for territorial concessions (under certain conditions).
How could this happen? Isn't this what the NRP has always stood for?
After their performance during the disengagement, this is not that much of a surprise.. To remind you, during the crucial days of voting and deciding the scope of the disengagement, NRP refused to "disengage" from the government coalition saying they could have more influence from within and hoped to minimize the disengagement. Had they dropped out early, it would have caused a political earthquake that might have caused the government to collapse, as it would have generated early momentum against the disengagement, and possibly more Likud MKs would have "rebelled" (a misnomer, as it was Ariel Sharon going against the Likud platform and Likud referendum, not the "rebel" MKs). They chose not to, and the rest is now history. This is logically the next step.
So what are they offering their constituents now as an ideal? They have discussed the importance of Jewish Education. If that is their only issue, they will be deemed as irrelevant as many other one issue parties, especially as most people do not find that issue to be overly important (when comparing it to security and the economy).
If they do not complete the merger with Ichud HaLeumi (in itself a bad idea), many polls have already begun showing the NRP may not even pass the minimum threshhold for joining the next Knesset.

Jan 2, 2006

If/when Sharon goes under..

Ehud Olmert will fill his shoes as PM.
Let's not forget, Olmert is so unpopular that he only placed 33rd on the Likud list last elections after a very high profile election campaign. He is only in the position he is in because of favors owed to him and alot of brown-nosing to Sharon. He is the one who is slated to run the country when Sharon goes under and continue if there should be any complications. A guy the people do not like nor trust.

Jan 1, 2006

Going under the knife

Ariel Sharon will be going under the knife on Thursday to fill the hole in his heart. The joke going around Israel is the surgery is actually to look for a heart, as people noticed it has been missing the past few years. He should be out of commission for a day or two then back to work.
Funny thing is, if anybody else was having this type of surgery, or recovering from a stroke, they would be told by the doctors that they have to stay off their feet for a week at least and take it easy for 6 weeks. Sharon can go back to his full schedule after a day or two. What is it about him that makes him much stronger than normal people? Anybody with his height:weight:age ratio would have been dead already many times over from cardiac arrest and super high cholesterol, but Sharon keeps on going...

Aliyah Revolution

Aliyah Revolution

one of the great things about it..

One of the great things about life in Israel: no need to deal with the goyish holidays. Here, all holidays are Jewish. No need to deal with being bombarded with Christmas and New Years or any other holiday.
The closest we get to it is when they sell decorations for sukkos and some unsuspecting importer imports by mistake some Christmas decorations for the sukka. V'Zehu. Nekuda.

A bunch of opportunists..

I don't get it. How is it possible that a bunch of politicos who their whole lives have held views diametrically opposed to each other can sit with each other in the same political party and look each other in the eye? How can guys like Tzachi Hanegbi, Meir Sheetrit, Ariel Sharon and others sit with those the likes of Haim Ramon, Shimon Peres, Dalia Itzik and a group of Arab politicians suddenly drop all their ideaologies and opinions they have held their whole [political] lives and all of the sudden think all on the same line.
It still makes no sense. Are they all opportunists, thinking that Kadima is their only chance at retaining a job as MK/Minister? Do they have no scruples and ideals that they feel are important? or do they really think Kadima is what will save the State of Israel and bring us to peace and security (and therefore worth giving up all previous ideals for the new ones hat have not yet even been decided)?
I still don't get it.

Feiglin bows out..

Feiglin bows out..
The whole thing does not make much sense. I am not sure what bibi was thinking. Manhigut Yehudit (Feiglin's group within the Likud) is not a one man show (unlike Kadima). While Feiglin may be the highest profile member of Manhigut and the one with the greatest name recognition, he is far from the only one capable and competent.
Now that Feiglin has agreed to drop out, Michael Fuah (his second in line) will join, and then Manhigut will still have a rep in Knesset (if he places high enough).
Maybe Bibi was only interested in keeping Feiglin himself out just for public appearances, but not too many people would notice that Manhigut has a different representative in...

lessons while ripping up my garden

So we've got this retivut problem (retivut is Hebrew for moisture. Ours is worse than moisture in the walls). Some background - we have an above ground porch which the builder supposedly sealed and made into a "garden" of sorts. We laid grass and some plants. We had some problems with water leaking through to the parking lot below since day 1. It had been fixed a number of times. Recently it became worse than a leak and whenever it rains (and we usually pray that it should rain alot) it pours into the rooms behind the lot beneath our "garden".
Back to the point. So we call in this guy who is supposed to be the authority oin retivut and sealant. He came very highly recommended. Unfortunately he is workign on a big project right now, so he can only deal with us during his "in between" time. He mentioned the job would get done quicker (and a bit cheaper) if I would do the digging rather than waiting for his team to dig up the garden. So I have spent the last 2 - 3 days/nights digging up a certain part of my garden. (He is coming tomorrow to look at the results).

We had a Ficus plant/tree in the corner of the garden, right above where the main part of the leak was. We suspected that its roots had possibly destroyed the sealant beneath the topsoil. I had to move it to start digging. So I had to break some of the roots that had broken through the bottom of the large flower pot it is in and I move it out. The I begin digging. I found a tremendous amount of roots going in every possible direction and at great distances from where the plant had been sitting. I am digging and digging and digging and I keep finding more root (yes, I found places where the root had gone into the sealant).

As I am digging this up, I find myself totally amazed at the root structure. I have come to respect it. I began to think about it and realized that just like the plant - the roots are the most important part of our growth. If we lay good, strong roots, it will be difficult to come later and uproot. Even if we have problems later and get distracted from our goal and purpose, the strong root structure we laid earlier will overcome our distraction and allow us to be led back to our path.
Lay those roots now. Create a strong foundation for yourself and your children. Those roots will be the source of their/your emotional strength later in life.
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