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Feb 28, 2010

Damp Purim

walking around in the rain giving out mishloach manos is kind of fun!

Initial Purim Observations

1. I am quite surprised by how much fireworks are being set off by kids. I thought we were way beyond that after the successful anti-fireworks campaigns of previous years.

I remember the firecrackers decreasing each year as awareness to the dangers was hammered into the kids heads, and the tolerance policies of the shuls and schools in the area plummeted to zero.

I don't know what changed, but I don't remember so many firecrackers of different types, as were set off tonight, being set off by so many kids on Purim night in a very long time.

It was definitely surprising, and I have no idea what changed that it became so hefker again in that regard.

2. Boys from many yeshivas head out to communities outside of Jerusalem to take advantage of the extra day of partying provided. Bet Shemesh is a prime target, though I dont know if it is unique to Bet Shemesh or not, because of the proximity to Jerusalem.

Some come collecting money for their yeshivas or for other organizations. Some come just to party.

Most of the yeshiva guys are decent. Some are not. It was really disgusting seeing a few of these guys getting completely drunk, especially at a time where there is no obligation - these boys likely don't have any obligation on this day of Purim, and even if they did because they chose to spend the whole Purim here including sleeping overnight, there is no mitzvah to get drunk at night - only by day (if at all).

I have seen plenty of drunken guys over the years, so it is not unusual. I have also seen some guys get drunk in the spirit of Purim, and then there are some guys who just get drunk using Purim as an excuse.

Seeing these few guys roaming around the neighborhood getting drunk using Purim as an excuse, being wild and ruining other people's parties with their wild drunkenness, is not pleasant. I am surprised the yeshivas let them get so out of control. Perhaps the yeshivas consider - drunk boys in a religious neighborhood or drunk boys in downtown Jerusalem? and they probably much prefer the drunk boys hanging out in a religious neighborhood. However the bad name they leave behind them, and the horrible appearance they leave and the bad taste they leave around them - it might be worth reconsidering. Maybe the yeshivas should have their own parties and keep their own drunk boys under their own watchful supervision - I don't know, but those boys need to be kept on a leash.

Feb 26, 2010

A Message for Purim: The Time is Now (video)

Perfect for a Rainy Purim

Perfect for a rainy Purim - It has never been so convenient to fulfill the mitzva of Matanot Le'Evionim (Lemehadrin)!!

Simply:


Or call this number: 02-99999.33

Cash or checks: to your shul's Lema'an Achai gabbai or your Lema'an Achai street representative; or at Arthur's RBS Pharmacy of Nachal Dolev.

Donations to Lema'an Achai's Matanot Le'Evyonim can be given any time between now and 12.00 midday on Purim day.
All donations for Matanot Le'evionim received before that time will be distributed to needy families ON PURIM DAY ITSELF (Bo BeYom) under the halachik supervision of Rav Chaim Soloveichik and Rav Yaakov Haber.

Now "Smart Matanot Le'Evionim": specify "Smart Matanot Le'Evionim" as you donate - and HALF your donation will be distributed on the day of Purim, and HALF will be distributed to the poor, to assist them also between Purim and Pessach.

All donations to Lema'an Achai are tax deductible (in Israel, USA, Canada and UK - see website for details).

Wishing you all a Purim Sameach and Tizku Lemitzvot!

David & Avrohom

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Morris, Rabbi Avrohom Leventhal
Chairman Executive Director

Lema'an Achai

Tel: 02 9991553
Direct: 02-9997026
Fax: +972 2 9997027

40/7 Nahal Lachish
Ramat Beit Shemesh
99093 ISRAEL.

Feb 25, 2010

Interesting Posts #150

1. Mark guest posts on Dov Bear about minhagim that are hundreds of years old, but their original source was someone's simple mistake...

2. Rabbi Fink comments on a killer whale attack (I wish I had been in the audience) and whether animals should be taken and displayed in zoos or not.

3. The Way writes about Mordechai Vanunu's rejection of a Nobel nomination. Vanunu has left a sour taste for a long time. The Way expresses it very well.

4. Treppenwitz on the addition of some sites to the list of National Heritage Sites, and the worlds reactions.

5. Parshablog on niskatnu hadoros. funny.

Sabra Price is Right (video)

This is a hilarious old clip from 1992 of a SNL show called Sabra Price is Right...

Important questions for important rabbis


The news is just full of Purim quality information nowadays!

Somebody actually felt the need to waste Rav Elyashiv's time, if the article is to be believed, and ask if one is allowed to send a bottle of Coca Cola as part of one's mishloach manot!

And whaddayaknow, he answered yes! What a revolutionary psak!

It is so wonderful we have gedolim available to answer such questions, rather than just the lowly neighborhood or shul rabbis who are clearly not important enough to be asked such important questions. The trivial questions must be saved for them...

I hope this ban becomes more widespread

The newest ban is a ban on fish. Those common fish - salmon, halibut and flounder. It seems they have worms in them, and while the gemara allows such fish and their worms to be eaten, some say these worms are different worms than those the gemara allows and therefore they cannot be eaten. Supposedly Rabbis Kanievsky and Elyashiv supporting banning the affected fish. The ban is being pushed by a Rabbi Karp.

It seems to me this whole thing is a "Purim/Adar joke" of cynical use of a ban for personal gain, and Rabbi Karp is only trying to ban salmon and halibut because of competition. The more popular salmon becomes, the less popular carp becomes.

Anyway, I hate fish - everything about fish. The smell, the taste, the braininess associated with eating lots of fish. I support this ban becoming more widespread and banning even more fish - pretty much any fish that swim in the same body of water is these affected fish should also be banned on the off-chance that they too might eventually become infested.
And the next fish to be banned will definitely be Karp.

The curse of Purim rises again

After the amazingly warm and beautiful weather we have been having over the past two weeks, starting today the forecast is expecting the next four days to be cool and rainy weather.

I don't know if the curse of Purim is true or not, but it sure feels like it. Year after year, no matter what the weather is leading up to Purim, Purim time is always cooler and rainier.

Feb 24, 2010

Interesting Posts #149

1. LoZ heard a Hebrew salutation. While nice, I too had never heard it before...

2. Yachdus continues his discussion on the topic of the halachic aspects of copying music

3. Not Brisk Yeshivish discusses who is a gadol.

4. Joe Settler has a great story about a comment that was said at an OU Kashrut Convention

5. Rabbi Enkin makes the case for keeping two days of Purim in Bet Shemesh

A foreign policy with backbone

After the way Turkey reacted, rightfully so, to the insult Danny Ayalon caused to them in the high-low chair arrangement fiasco, and Israel came back apologizing a couple of times, I am embarrassed reading the following story.
Israel is turning a blind eye to a huge poster showing President Shimon Peres seemingly bowing to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that was unfurled from a crane in an Istanbul suburb on Sunday.

Neither the President’s Residence nor the Foreign Minister would comment on the poster, which superimposed an image of a bowing Peres in front of Erdogan, over the caption “Erdogan, a leader whom the world bows down to.”
[...]
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais that was published Monday, Erdogan said that the Davos incident – which made him a hero in much of the Arab world – ushered in a new Turkish approach to foreign policy.

“That opened a new approach to foreign relations,” he said. “We have a philosophy of strength. It is a foreign policy with a backbone.”
So after they went home crying about a perceived insult and forced Israel to grovel and apologize, they then turn around and insult us right back - and Israel turns a blind eye.

We take it, because we don't want to rock the boat. We don't want to upset Turkey, as that would hurt our wonderful standing and our wonderful relationship with a great ally.

Meanwhile, Turkey has "a new approach to foreign relations... a foreign policy with backbone". While they develop their backbone on our backs, they are saying jump and we are saying how high.

Mehadrin train system (video)

Israel's Channel 2 news ran a report how the Haredim are trying to pressure the Ministry of Transportation to establish the ability for "mehadrin seating" on the Jerusalem light-rail system that is due to begin operating soon.

Diamond heist staged according to script of movie

I saw this story last night on Twitter, and it is crazy stories like these that make Twitter worth it (aside from the great conversation, of course).

The NY Post reported yesterday that 2 people were arrested for their part in a staged diamond heist in 2008.

These two guys, their names sound Indian to me, posed as Hassidic diamond merchants to get into the building. They then went up and staged a heist following a script out of a movie (Snatch) that was about a diamond heist.

It turns out that the whole thing was a sham, the owners had already cleared out the safe, and had hired these guys to stage the heist so they could make an insurance claim.

Computer Smashing Ceremony (video)

While Rabbi Findler is busy smashing computers in his baal teshuva yeshiva, teaching his students a level way to the extreme of society, his students are busy uploading the video to Youtube, pretty much rendering his hands-on lesson moot...

QOTD

Abu Mazen's words are additional proof that the only heritage of the Palestinians is blood, fire and columns of smoke... the whole world will see that while Israel is concerned about a heritage of thousands of years, the Palestinian leadership is busy igniting a dangerous fire that starts with words and can deteriorate to actions. The only losers will be, as usual, the Palestinians.

---- MK Ofir Akunis (Likud)

POTD











President Shimon Peres joined a game of "shesh-besh", a.k.a. backgammon, while he toured the Mahane Yehuda shuk yesterday. Peres first throw yielded double-sixes.
(source: Kikar)

Feb 23, 2010

The Godfather, Bet Shemesh style

Ynet is reporting that people have been sending threatening letters to the mayors office, with bullets included.

The letter, signed by "The Secular Lobby" threatens his life and the lives of his family members saying "this is a war, we will take your life and your families lives, we will make a "big boom" for the religious. we have a lot of power and fire."

Some people are losing their heads and taking this way too far. Nothing about approval of new construction justifies a threat on anybody's life. Buy apartments instead of threatening the mayor. Buy apartments instead of complaining.

Realize when it is time to move on. You fought the battle. You lost. Move on.

---
Update: According to this article on Kikar Shabbos, the threats are connected with the fight over the RBS school building under dispute, not the construction. Mayor Abutbol blames Yair Lapid, who hosted a show recently on the topic of the dispute over the building.

Racheim,heard as never before (video)

This is funny and appropriate for Adar!

A minister is shutting his own ministry

The Ministry of Communications has been avoiding a shutdown for over a decade already. The Finance Ministry has wanted to close it, considering it not necessary to stand on its own as a ministry, and open in its place some sort of organization that would be responsible for oversight of telecom and television together.

The proposal has been rejected for over a decade by Ministers of Communication, each because no minister would ever want his ministry shut down, effectively putting himself out of a powerful job in the government.

Moshe Kachlon, the current Minister of Communications (Likud), has decided he will do what is right for the public and not what is good for himself. He has announced he will be shutting down his ministry and establishing this alternative arrangement for oversight of all communication issues.

(source: The Marker - read the Hebrew article for details how it will work)

Neturei Karta pashkevil about Nazi-themed Purim costumes

When I first heard that in Mea Shearim you could get a costume of a German SS soldier or of a Hitler Youth, I thought that was crazy, but ignored it. Then I received by email an official announcement by the Neturei Karta about the available costumes and why they are selling these.

Basically the idea is that if the Zionists hate talmidei chachomim so much, yet their figures are accepted to be brought into the community, via soldier and police costumes (among others), then for sure it should be ok to use Nazi images as costumes. The hatred of an am ha'aretz towards a talmid chochom is far greater than the hatred of Esav to Yaakov, so if Zionist images are ok, for sure Nazi images are ok.

Is there anything to say other than that these people are certifiably insane?

Feb 22, 2010

Interesting Posts #148

1. Soccer Dad on what happened to Mabhouh

2. Shomer Shekalim has tips for surviving Purim on a low budget

3. Yachdus on the hashkafa of not copying music.

4. Muqata has some exclusive photos of the El Al personal mechitza..

5. Yeshiva Guy is a hostage to doublethought

6. Joe Settler points out a couple of minor victories

QOTD

there is no information proving Israel's involvement in the incident

---- Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

at the same time, Dubai is announcing they have collected plenty of evidence proving Israel's involvement

Rabbi Frosh died, oops, Rabbi Porush died

Oops. Looks like they had no idea who they were writing about, former MK Rabbi Menachem Porush, and just re-wrote the line in English after seeing the Hebrew spelling.

Knesset lobby tours Me'arat HaMachpela (video)

The Knesset lobby for Chevron toured the Me'ara and heard interesting details and stories of its history.

new pashkevil: character assassination

Yesterday a new pashkevil was spread around the neighborhood. This one was not a continuation in the series marketing an as yet un-named haredi supermarket by saying the others are supporting chillul shabbos.

This one was a personal attack on someone for his accusing the askanim of manipulating the gedolim to ban internet sites.

This is not the first time this guy has had pashkevilim spread around against him. I have no interest in defending him, as I normally find his methods of rejecting anybody who is not pure Degel HaTorah to be repulsive. He must really upset some people if they repeatedly attack even the likes of him, who is such a leading haredi PR guy, like this.

Feb 21, 2010

Interesting Posts #147

1. Parsha blog quotes from the Aruch HaShulchan regarding getting drunk on Purim

2. Haveil Havalim #257

3. Frum n Flippin on confused kallahs

4. A Mother in Israel asks what we can learn from the Rav Motti Elion scandal..

5. Parsha blog on breaking a glass under the chuppa and Rav Ovadiah's recent psak

12 Questions

An Anonymous Guest Post

12 Questions For David Morris:

(We'll make it easy---True or False)

1) When your article in the JP first came out , the first claim you made to Rabbi Malinowitz was that you were just a mouthpiece for your Rav, who didn't want his own name on the statements there ( for personal reasons, which you stated , and which were perfectly understandable)True or False?

2)Your second claim ,made a few days later, was that you meant other Rabbonim, not Rav Malinowitz , chas veshalom. True or False?

3)Your third claim, made a few days after that , was that you said nothing wrong, or disrespectful ,or accusatory , in the article. That whoever reads anything like that into the article is just misreading it. True or False?

4)Your next claim, made a few weeks after that, was that there is merely a difference of opinion between Rabbonim about how to deal with the issues discussed, and that's all the article expresses. True or False?



(That's four different interpretations , given within a few weeks of each other)


5) It was patiently explained to you time and time again, by various go-betweens , that what Rav Malinowitz was troubled by--and what he was demanding a retraction of-- was the gist of your article, which was -- RABBIS-BAD, David Morris (and L.A. )--GOOD , (Everyone is invited to see the article and to decide for themselves)
True or False?


6)It was patiently explained to you many times that Rav Malinowitz is only not letting BTYA be used as a public platform for LA to make appeals from (since it would be incongruous to use the "bad guys" as a forum for the "good guys") , but that he is not saying that one should not give money or support to LA . In fact, when people asked him, he would say--"Go give them money, I have no problem with that" .

You , however , continued to state that LA was "banned" in BTYA, and that the Rav was stopping monies from being given to LA because of a personal pique with you. True, or False?

7)When before Rosh HaShana this past year Rav Malinowitz was continuously asked by LA to allow an appeal for them , he refused, saying that that would only happen after a public retraction from the RABBIS--BAD,DAVID MORRIS (and LA)--GOOD article (i.e, nothing had changed). Rabbi HG arranged for a meeting between you and Rav Malinowitz , which took place in Rav Malinowitz's office.
True or False?

8)At that meeting , you suddenly turned to Rav Malinowitz and said "Yes, I am accusing YOU of covering up for child molestors, protecting them,and hampering investigation of them" (or words to that effect)
True or False, David??(Think hard, because Rav Malinowitz spoke to Rabbi HG a few minutes after the meeting.)

9)Sometime after that, the LA Board demanded that you stop speaking about child molestation issues in your blog.True or False?

They also drafted various letters of "apology" , including claims of LA feasance to the doctrine of Da'as Torah ; Rav Malinowitz explained to them that they were missing the point, that there must be a clear explicit public retraction from the RABBIS-BAD,DAVID MORRIS (and LA)-GOOD article, and that Rav Malinowitz doesn't really care all that much if LA claims to follow Da'as Torah or not. There was some back and forth about an apology--Rav Malinowitz recalls, but is not positive, that he was mevatter on an apology, saying that the explicit public retraction would suffice. That never happened, as of today.

True or False?

10) In the present pre-Purim period, Rav Malinowitz was again approached by a few people about allowing an appeal for LA at BTYA. Rav Malinowitz responded to one such e-mail request with an e-mail of his own, sent as "reply to" .So we are not dealing with Rav Malinowitz "re-opening an old issue" , but with a private e-mail response to an individual , in response to repeated requests by LA.
True or False?

11) David Morris went and publicized a private e-mail , which had been sent as a response to a query by an individual. (Make no mistake--Rav Malinowitz stands by every word in the e-mail-------------but how ethical is it to present to the public a private e-mail as if it were written for the public, even one which says "you can show this to whomever you wish"? )

True or False?


12)David Morris used a device plagiarized from Rav Malinowitz himself, though of course in David's case it made absolutely no sense, since it was a private e-mail from Rav Malinowitz that Rav Malinowitz sent a questioner as a response to the questioner's e-mail.

True or False?

You see your problem, David:If you answer correctly,(TRUE to all the questions) , you will be admitting to underhanded unethical conniving behavior. And if you answer even one question as "false" , you will be a bold-faced liar, who therefore should not be trusted with public money. You see the problem that you yourself have created?

Advice: Come clean, apologize (an apology will now probably be necessary) , retract, and a fresh page can start.

P.S. If anyone has any story , or accusation, or complaint, against Rav Malinowitz's handling of any child-abuse case, please stop hiding behind a cloak of anonymity ; give your name, your story, and permission for Rav Malinowitz to answer completely and fully, withholding no information. It can be done through this blog.

FYI

There will be only one post today. When you see it, shortly, you will understand why.

Feb 18, 2010

QOTD

We, the Haredi community, live in a ghetto and want to live in a ghetto. The Haredi public still prefers to use the written and printed word, and nothing terrible will happen if he has to wait until the next day for the news item. He doesn't need to be connected all the time...

--- Rav Mordechai Bloi, director of Committee of Purity and Education

Bloi said this in an interview to Globes about Haredi internet access and advertising on Haredi internet sites.

Interesting Posts #146

1. Temple Mount Updates has a picture of what goes on daily on Temple Mount...

2. A Mother in Israel discusses how the Takanah organization dealt with the Rabbi Elon situation.

3. Daas Torah brings a teshuva from Rav Moshe zt"l about capital punishment

4. Tzedek-Tzedek responds regarding a letter sent against a local organization. He calls the letter a hoax. Reminds of a different, but similar, hoax.

5. Geshmack Dvar Torah explains the kruvim..

Humra: Eyebrow Shaping cannot be advertised in Modiin Ilit

The latest crazy chumroh, established in Modiin Ilit, is that women cannot advertise their cosmetician services.

It seems that seeing an ad for eyebrow shaping is a big turn on for some men and advertising such services is considered not tznua. (source: Kikar Shabbos)

How can women drum up business without being allowed to advertise? It is a shame because so many wives of avreichim, a very popular profession in Modiin Ilit, are cosmeticians, and this will be another blow to them, as tzniyus committees continue finding ways to limit the earning opportunities for women under the guise of tzniyus.

I also feel bad for the guy that can be turned on by something so innocuous as a text ad for "seedur gabot" (eyebrow shaping/arrangement). I just heard about a magazine that printed a picture of a sheitel head (those heads made out of foam) in a magazine. A woman called up to complain saying her husband can be turned on by a sheitel head. They agreed to not print images of sheitel heads again (to their credit they also told her that her husband should see a therapist). In essence they perpetuate the stupidity by acquiescing to such demands). They should have told her that he should not not be reading their magazine if that is the case.

Ahmadinejad becoming a Noahide

Are Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranians interested in becoming Noahides?

Rav Yoel Schwartz, along with all the great work he does in various realms, is also seriously involved in the Noahide community.

Rav Schwartz was contacted via some Turks who were interested in the concept of the Noahide Laws. After he spoke with them, they got in touch with the Iranians and asked Rav Schwartz if he would meet and present these concepts to Ahamdinejad.

It seems that these Turks think that the reason Ahamdinejad is so vocal against Israel is because he sees Israel as the center of heresy against God in the world. Therefore it must be destroyed.

The Turks think that if Ahmadinejad would be made aware of the fact that most Israelis are traditional and keep the basics of the Torah, such as bris milah, along with the fact that there is an established beis din in Jerusalem that deals exclusively with the laws of bnei noah, he would lower his tone and not be so anti-Israel. (source: Kikar Shabbos)

Is Ahmadinejad planning on becoming a Noahide? Why else would knowledge of Israel's involvement with Noahides change his attitude?

keeping quiet over the Dubai hit

The world is still in a tizzy over the assassination of that terrorist in Dubai last week. I don't know why anyone cares so much and is so upset - he was a terrorist. Any country that was "framed" by use of their passports should be thrilled that everyone thinks that "they pulled off such a successful hit in a foreign country".

Regardless of that, news sites are now reporting that the Israeli ambassadors are being called in in various countries to the Foreign Secretaries, most notably in England, to explain why their passports were used in the hit.

I hope the ambassadors are smart enough to not explain anything and to not answer. Israel has not taken credit for the hit, and if the ambassadors say anything but "we know nothing about it" they should be replaced.

19yr old suspected of burning mosque speaks out (video)

He describes one of their methods of pressuring you in investigation is to send you to bed at 11pm and to wake you up at 6am. This is torture? I dont know when the last time was that I got 7 hours of sleep in 1 night!

QOTD

It took me time to understand the Israelis, how they are proud of their overdrafts

---- Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fisher

Feb 17, 2010

Stop making me sick over Martin Grossman

I see some bloggers and haredi news sites have been hanging on every detail of the Martin Grossman execution.

They are busy telling us his last words, what he was doing leading up to the execution, etc.

Is this supposed to give me chizzuk?

It is one thing to say we need to try to get the stay of execution because he is our Jewish brother. It is another thing to make him into something greater than he was. He was a vile murderer, and he probably deserved what he got (he was a cop killer after all), though I feel bad because he was one of us.

I get absolutely no chizzuk by hearing what his last words were or how he put on tefillin before he was taken to die.

By the way, according to a Florida newspaper, he didn't ask for any special last meal. He ate a chicken sandwich from the prison canteen. Does anybody know if prison canteens stock kosher chicken sandwiches?

I don't mean to badmouth him, especially now that he is dead, but the sites that are making him sound like a tzaddik and baal mussar are making me sick.

Tzipi Hotovely at the Jerusalem Conference (video)



Interesting point she makes that there is no need to annex Judea and Samaria. Annexation, Hotoveli says, is for when you are bringing in land that does not belong to you. Judea and Samaria is part of Eretz Yisrael, so there is no need to annex it.

an hour late

I hate going to the doctor. I had to go today. I got there a few minutes before my appointment, and lo and behold it turns out he is running over an hour late.

I had other things to do, other things scheduled, but it was all thrown out of whack because of the doctors office. A few minutes is ok, I can understand it. But an hour behind schedule? Not acceptable.

a bracha with a money back guarantee

Baba Elazar, Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira, was always known as a great man. He is mystical, a kabbalist, he has an empire but he himself supposedly lives very simply, he wears a hood so as not to see anything "not tzanua". I never heard a bad word about him.

As somebody else said to me, these are people who we grew up only hearing great things, and we were brought up believing in the integrity.

The NY Post reports that he is under investigation for running a con by making divine promises in exchange for bucketloads of cash.

The Brooklyn DA is investigating whether a shadowy, Israel-based Kabbalist rabbi bilked vulnerable New York Jews out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by offering divine promises for cash, The Post has learned.

A stream of alleged victims from Borough Park, Brooklyn, to Englewood, NJ, said Rabbi Elazar Abuchatzeira, of Beersheba, Israel, demanded money from them during annual visits to Orthodox Jewish communities in the tri-state area.

"This man is hurting people," said Borough Park businessman Menachem Ellowich, 53, who signed over a check for $100,000 -- shown to The Post -- in exchange for a guarantee that his barren daughter would be able to conceive a child.

She never did.

"He ruined my life. He ruined my finances by making these promises."

"We know about him," said Brooklyn Assistant DA Eileen Ayvazian. "It's an active investigation.

No matter how desperate a person is, I don't know how anybody can give over $100,000 for a promise that he has no gaurantee will come true.

I would suggest that instead of making promises to people, these kabbalists and mystics should be offering brachos and prayers on behalf of people, explaining that there is no guarantee of success.
But he was making promises! A promise that was sold for $100,000 better come true, or else what good is the promise and how can you call it anything but a scam?

I don't know how this fits with the adage "a tzaddik decrees and Hashem fulfills", but clearly these promises were not being fulfilled.

The way they work normally is they get a certain percentage of people where the promises "came true" - the couple who received the promise had the baby, their finances turned around, their disease disappeared, whatever. Those people then go around making a lot of noise, praising these miracle workers.

What nobody realizes is that only a percentage of the promises came true - and who says that had anything to do with the promise? Maybe it is just a matter of statistics that a certain percentage of people will have their issues resolved in an unexplainable way. Nobody hears about the majority of people who received promises and nothing happened.

People - go get brachos from great rabbis, but don't accept promises that cannot be guaranteed. Unless the mekubal is offering a money back guarantee.

HOTD

Knesset Makes 16 Minimum Age for Firearms

---- INN

Feb 16, 2010

Interesting Posts #145

1. Tzedek-Tzedek discusses the latest scandal of abuse, with Rav Motti Elon as the accused. Jameel also comments on the situation.

2. Our BS, eh? had a vnahafachu shacharis in honor of Adar.

3. Yaak points some Hurva news

4. Yeshiva Guy describes life in a dira...

5. Rabbi Enkin on family or individual mishloach manot.

6. The troubling case of Martin Grossman's upcoming execution has been discussed by many blogs. I will just point out Yeranen Yaakov's plea that he should be spared, and Eli Pongo's explanation why he doesn't support a stay of execution. And for one more, HaMavdil discusses the question what acronym should be added to Grossman's name if the execution goes as scheduled. And Yachdus gives credit for the level of areivus clearly felt in the Jewish community, no matter what you think of the specific case.

Mossad Hitman in Bet Shemesh

Time to be a better neighbor.

One of the guys whose name and photo was released as being in the group of Mossad agents that put out the hit in Dubai last week is a resident of Bet Shemesh. He claims it is a mistake and he had no involvement in the hit and is not a hitman or Mossad agent. (source: Haaretz)

Mossad agents always deny these things, so we don't really have any way of knowing one way or the other just by his statement.

pashkevils against mehadrin bus lines

The latest posters plastered around Mea She'arim are against the mehadrin bus phenomenon.

According to Ynet they call out those people who are machmir on "light" mitzvos and lenient about heavy mitzvos. They get on buses and they bother our pure and tzanua women... the only thing they do mehadrin is chilul hashem l'mehadrin, embarrassing others, lashon ha'ra, and damage...

Even the secular still have the passion for the Land of Israel

Yair Lapid writes about the expat law that is being proposed which would allow absentee voting.

The bill which Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to pass this week after being pressed by Foreign Minister Lieberman says that someone can live in this cold, wake up in the morning, clear the snow around his house, get the GMC out of the garage, travel on broad streets, amidst Victorian brownstones, enter a small room, vote for Lieberman, or National Union, or Meretz, determine our fate, interfere in our future, decide what our lives will look like, and then drive back home, kiss Irene or Catherine, and help John Junior write an essay about Lincoln and the Civil War.
The debate about this bill focuses on who would gain from it. Yet this is not the important issue. The problem with this bill is that it is immoral in the deepest sense of the word.

We withstand it because we believe in something and are willing to suffer through all the difficulties for it. If someone does not want to, or cannot, withstand it, he has the right not to live here. But he has no right to tell us how to live.

We live in Israel because we chose to withstand all the difficulties it presents us with. My kid does not travel to school in a yellow school bus, but rather, on the No. 5 bus in Tel Aviv, which once exploded before reaching its final destination.

I disagree with Lapid's conclusion - he opposes the law and I am in favor of it (previous debate on this blog notwithstanding).

Despite my disagreement with Lapid's conclusion, I still enjoyed reading his article explaining his opposition. It is nice to see that secular leftists are still passionate about Israel. Sometimes we get the impression that their only remaining passion about the country is about how much of it we can give away in exchange for a fictitious peace. It was nice to read Lapid's passion about our choice to live here despite the difficulties. Sometimes impressions are wrong.

QOTD

Israel won`t offer concessions on Jerusalem again

------- Minister Benny Begin

Feb 15, 2010

Interesting Psak from Rav Elyashiv: no mikva wearing braces

The latest psak to be making the rounds in the name of Rav Elyashiv is that a woman cannot dunk in the mikvah if she is wearing braces (for anybody from England or other countries where this word might have alternate meanings, it here means the train tracks wired to someone's teeth in an effort to straighten them out, and not to suspenders). The braces would be a chatzitzah and dipping in the mikvah would be futile, as dipping with a chatzitza is not really doing anything.

The psak, if it is true, is a little surprising, as braces are pretty permanent. they are generally connected to the person's teeth for upwards of a year or more. Usually the problems of chatzitz with dental or other accessories, is when the item is only in temporary - for a period usually of less than 30 days, sometimes for up to a few months according to some. I have never heard such a psak for something that is permanent and in for so long without being removed.

I don't know if Rav Elyashiv actually said this psak or not, but it is being quoted in his name.

If it is true, and if this is how we should be paskening, then I see the following ramifications (humorous attitude when reading the following would be appreciated):
  1. any child whose mother wears braces should now be treated like a ben nida for shidduchim purposes.
  2. Any man who wears braces is no longer allowed, according to Rav Elyashiv, to go up to Har HaBayit, as he can no longer dip in the mikva as is required.

If you can think of any other ramifications, add them in the comments

Will a Gerrer Hassid be the new director of Bank Leumi? (video)

This is just strange. Bank Leumi is looking for a new Director, as the Attorney General recently invalidated the recent appointment of the new Director.

The bank is accepting applications. A 26 year old Gerrer chassid is taking advantage of a loophole and is applying for the position.

Yosef Mozeson from Bnei Brak bought himself a couple of shares in the bank in order to meet the requirements to apply for the job. he says he is qualified for the position as he knows "Mishpat Ivri" from his Torah learning, he knows finance from buying stocks on the market, he has run a website (which closed during the Internet ban) and works currently as a journalist for a haredi paper, and he is clean from any police record.

I wish him luck. He says he is seriously running for the position and is arranging meetings with major shareholders to drum up support.

Here is an interview with Mozeson:

מוזסון from bhol on Vimeo.

Did Coca Cola steal the ad from Yotvata? (video)

It seems the Coca Cola Superbowl ad is making waves.. some people are accusing Coca Cola of copying a Yotvata chocolate milk ad from 2002 in their Superbowl ad called Sleepwalker.

They look pretty similar to me..You be the judge:

David Sable on Being Jewish in Business (video)



I have no problem with people, especially from his generation and day, not wearing yarmulkes at work. That was fairly common and understandable. I don't like the way he then turns it into an ideal, almost as a lechatchila position.

Feb 14, 2010

Interesting Posts #144

1. Batya has the Rosh Chodesh Adar edition of Haveil Havalim.

2. Somehow Frum describes the futuristic beis medrash...

3. Frum n Flipping has the answer to the shidduch crisis.

4. Blog in DM discusses how Jewish musicians are being exploited...

5. Tzedek-Tzedek on the epidemic of child abuse

6. Not Brisker Yeshivish wrote a piece on the passing of Rav Chaskel Besser, and of Dr. Lander. Here is one piece I would like to see him respond to in the comments...

7. Yeshiva Guy describes the dead eyes he sees in the guy who has been in yeshiva a long time...

QOTD

Nobody can speak out against me, because I did not advertise or promote [the concert] in the Haredi press. Those who fight against me and my music need to see psychologists.

--- Mordechai Ben David

regarding the continued fight against his concert, despite his having given in to demands to not advertise in the Haredi press, therefore rendering it not a haredi issue.

I say, if he gave in to their demands where he could and could not advertise, he himself has given them the power to continue to making all sorts of other demands. It is his fault. Had he told them where they could jump originally, as Shweckey did when they tried to pressure him, their issues would be completely ignored by everyone involved. Give them a finger and they will take the whole hand, give an inch and they'll take the whole mile.

The hypocricy of Haredi construction

Mishpacha newspaper mentioned in passing, when discussing the future construction in Bet Shemesh, that a vaadat ichlus is being established for people interested in purchasing a home in the "Goloventzitz" section.

The rejection of any "Vaadat Ichlus" is one of the conditions TOV conditioned on their vote in support of further construction in RBS. Granted, that was a vote for RBS C and not regarding the Goloventzitz section which is really privately owned, yet TOV is still, rightfully so in my opinion, against the vaadat ichlus being established.

In response to this vaadat ichlus being established, Eli Friedman, the head of TOV Bet Shemesh, has said that he will work, as a member of the construction committee, on derailing any option of any construction if the vaadat ichlus is not dismantled. (source: Kikar and independently confirmed)

Something I don't understand about establishing vaadot ichlus, especially in a place like Bet Shemesh which is a mixed city, is the hypocrisy.

A successful, so far, campaign was just waged against those who opposed building haredi neighborhoods in Bet Shemesh. The main battle was based on the fact that it is simply racist and anti-haredi to oppose it just because Haredim want to buy houses, and how can anybody discriminate just because the buyer is haredi.

The claim is correct and I agree that Haredim can and should buy houses anywhere [they can afford to] and nobody can stop them in a democratic country, just like everybody else has the same right. Like it or not.

But then for haredim to set up a vaadat ichlus, right after waging a battle against discrimination, to decide who can and who cannot buy in an area, is pure hypocrisy. It is using the legal system to fight discrimination against themselves, but then to go discriminate against others.

Rav Yehoshua Maman

Mishpacha magazine (Hebrew) had a great profile article on Rav Yehoshua Maman. Rav Maman is a 92 year old brilliant Moroccan Rabbi, descended from a line of great rabbis and with lineage traced back to the Rambam, who moved to Israel in 1968, right as he was about to be appointed as Chief Rabbi of Morocco. He said that he felt drawn to Eretz Yisrael and preferred to move rather than stay and be Chief Rabbi.

Many interesting anecdotes about his life and details we were related. One particular anecdote struck a chord with me.

The story goes like this:

Right after he moved to Israel, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav Yitzchak Nissim offered him the job of being the head of a special beis din for gittin issues.

Rav Maman refused the job.

The reason Rav Maman gave for refusing the job was that as a dayan (and chief rabbi of a few different major cities) for 22 years in Morocco never once did he process a divorce - he successfully established shalom bayit in the house and avoided the need for the get. Only once did he do a get, yet after 3 months he succeeded in effecting shalom bayit between them and got them back together.
So after 22 years of not giving a get but effecting shalom bayit, he could not fathom coming to Israel and making a parnassa out of facilitating people give gets. He said, "Here in Eretz Yisrael I should make a living out of dismantling families?..."

Dudu Fisher: Chazonim Oif Probe (video)

Feb 11, 2010

Is the State preventing Haredim from working?

At a conference for accountants by the Dead Sea, Moshe Gafni accused the State of not allowing haredim into the workforce. According to Gafni, the Haredi public has undergone dramatic changes and realizes they need to be a participating factor in the State of Israel, yet the State does not allow them to enter the workforce..

Does anybody have any idea in what way the State prevents anybody from working? How do they prevent Haredim from working/ Aside from being a bad economy and it is tough for anybody to find a decent job right now, how does the State prevent anybody from working, and how do they specifically target Haredim and stop them?

Does he mean the State has not given haredim a special tax break? I haven't heard of such a request, but if there was such a request and it has not been approved, they would still only be on equal footing as everybody else, and not targeted.

Is there a law haredim cannot work? I am not aware of one. And as Gafni himself says, more and more Haredim want to join the workforce, and as he only implies, more and more are doing so.

Is it because of the requirement to do army service? they are still only on equal footing with everyone else, but they (the majority of them) refuse to fulfill the requirement while others do.

Is it because of education, or lack of? Again, what does the State have to do with that? Is Gafni insisting people hire Haredim who are not educated and trained in the various fields of business, just because they are Haredim? When the State insists on adding curriculum to the general education, the Haredi politicians always refuse and get the haredi schools exempted? Does he expect the State to certify them as lawyers and doctors or accountants without getting the adequate education relevant to the field?

Is he talking about personal bias that maybe some employers have against hiring Haredim? What does this have to do with the State? Just like some people are biased against hiring Haredim, some people are biased against hiring fat people, others are biased against hiring women, others are biased against hiring anybody older than 25, etc.

Again, I don't see how Gafni differentiates the Haredim from anybody else in how they can or cannot be in the workforce, and how the State is at fault for it. Anybody who wants to go to work has the ability to apply for the relevant licenses and open a business, or submit his cv to employers in whatever field he wants and apply for jobs. I am not sure how the State prevents anybody from going o work, other than by giving them too much incentive (in the form of subsidies) to prefer to stay home and decide why bother working..

Interesting Posts #143

1. Frum n Flipped feels left behind...as she discusses how haredi society doesnt have answers for the single women, causing them to look elsewhere...

2. Chaviva found some interesting cufflinks..

3. Shomer Shekalim posts an Israeli tax calculator to help you analyze your salary and see if you are paying too much, or too little, taxes...

4. Yeranen Yaakov on Chicago earthquakes

Warning: Imminent Murder on Temple Mount: By Moshe Feiglin

This is a letter that Moshe Feiglin sent to the Chief of Police due to a recent incident in which he was not protected by the policeman when on Temple Mount. Note that Feiglin copied this letter to "The Jewish People"

--------------------------------

Inspector General David Cohen
Israel Police Chief Commissioner
Jerusalem


Re: Warning of Imminent Murder on Temple Mount

A. Background
Exercising its exclusive judgment, the Israel Police under your command prohibits Jews who ascend to the site of their holy Temple from praying there. Every religious looking Jew who ascends the Temple Mount is accompanied by a Moslem wakf attendant and an Israeli policeman, who together, scrutinize his/her lips. A Jew who is suspected of praying is detained or immediately arrested. First and foremost, this anti-Semitic conduct humiliates the Israel Police.

Personally, I have the "privilege" of exposure to this Israeli humiliation on my monthly visits to the Temple Mount. I have no illusions that this letter will bring about any change. The Israel Police has long ago forgotten the nation that created it and sent it on its mission.

Nonetheless, I am obliged to inform you of an event that I experienced yesterday on my ascent to the Mount. It signals the fact that murder of Jews on the Temple Mount is simply a matter of time.

Perhaps, after you have stripped the Jews of all their human rights in the place most holy to the Nation of Israel, you will at least function as a professional force (like the UN) and carry out a fraction of your original role. In other words, at the very least, maybe you will protect the right of the Jews - to live.

B. The Event
Yesterday, I stood opposite the site of the Temple with my back to the El Aqsa mosque. A group of Jews was at my side, listening to my explanations on the Temple Mount. As I was speaking, I noticed an Arab woman, covered from head to toe in robes and scarves, walking towards me in a threatening manner. There was no room for mistake, and all the people in the group noticed this woman. Usually, when a person is walking, he will choose a path that will not force him to collide with another person. But this woman confidently strode straight towards me. I was apprehensive that she would quickly take the few additional steps towards me and through her scarves and robes, draw out a knife and stab me.

As you know, Jews are permitted to enter the Temple Mount from the Mugrabim Gate only. Only Jews must undergo an extensive search to ensure that they are not carrying a prayer book or book of Psalms in their belongings, G-d forbid. The Arabs, on the other hand, may enter the Temple Mount from any of its gates without any sort of security check. This being the case, there is no problem for a potential Arab murderer to enter the Mount with his or her weapon.

I was apprehensive, but unwisely relied on the Israeli policeman who was watching our every move and was standing just a few steps away from our group. Everyone else in the group identified the approaching danger. It seemed clear that the policeman, who was ostensibly guarding us, would also identify the danger and would certainly attempt to defend us.

I forgot, though, that in reality, the role of the police on the Temple Mount has been limited to one issue: Ensuring that Jews do not pray there. They are not there to protect Israeli citizens from Arab weapons and murderers. The policeman who accompanies each Jew is concerned only with his lips - making sure that they are not moving in prayer.

As a Jew, I understand that I am the dangerous factor on the Temple Mount and in order not to encounter your wrath, I acted in accordance with your recommendations. In other words, I relied on the policeman.

The Arab woman came right up to me, pushed me and disappeared into the mosque. As opposed to everyone else in our group, the policeman did not notice what had happened.

C. Conclusions
1. Clearly, if the Arab woman pushed me (through her robes and scarves) with her bare hands, she could have done the same with a knife or other weapon.
2. Under the circumstances today on the Temple Mount, the police cannot create a security belt between the Jewish visitors and the Arabs. The police see the wakf as the real sovereign on the Mount and essentially carry out its orders.
3. The self confidence and motivation displayed by the Arab woman testify to the dangerous situation on the Mount. This reality will encourage and imminently bring about attempts to murder Jews.

D. A personal notification
In light of the above, I hereby notify you that I no longer rely on the Israel Police to protect my life on the Temple Mount. I did not mention the name of the particular policeman in this case and I do not intend to provide you with the names of the people in my group because I do not believe that the police can change the situation. At the very most, you will take the easy route, punish the policeman in question and ignore the background that caused his lack of response. As long as you view the Jews as the danger and as long as they are the focal point of the police surveillance on the Temple Mount, any action that you take in this particular case will be strictly superficial.

However, you must know that if an Arab once again approaches me in a suspicious or threatening manner, I will do my utmost to protect my life and I will also recommend to all the Jews ascending the Mount to do the same.

Moshe Feiglin
Karnei Shomron

CC: The Jewish People

Shaul Mofaz, Kadima, Likud and the expat law

Very interestingly, Kadima is finally taking a stand on something. This proposed law of allowing Israeli expats to vote absentee has upset Tzipi Livni and others in Kadima and has given them something to oppose the government on, despite their lack of any serious opposition until now.

Livni has been getting former generals to sign and speak out that they oppose allowing expats to vote, as only people who feel their future is in Israel should be allowed to. I am not sure why they went with generals as their tactic. It would seem more appropriate for them to have asked "men of spirit" - poets, academics, intellectuals, writers, artists, etc. to oppose this. This is not a security issue, rather more of a philosophical issue.

I have not heard Shaul Mofaz yet express an opinion on the matter, and I wonder why. I wonder if he is not saying anything because he is still looking to join the Likud. And now, according to news reports, activists in kadima have given Mofaz an ultimatum - that if he does not join the coalition by the end of February, they will en masse leave Kadima and join the Likud on their own.

I wonder if he is not speaking out on the expat law so as not to hurt his chances, by upsetting Bibi, of joining the Likud in the near future. While a Likudnik can speak out against Bibi's policy (like Benny Begin publicly opposed the expat law), it might be uncomfortable and inappropriate for someone from another party to oppose it and then to join the party.

Haredi website with a hechsher opens

So here is what it was all about.

The first Haredi website to receive a hechsher to operate is now online. The site was formerly known as "Etrog" and shut down when the whole brouhaha of the internet and haredi website ban was publicized.

Now they are back, with a new name and with a hecsher from the committee for pure communication (or whatever they call themselves today), along with a letter for them to present to advertisers saying they can advertise with them as they are authorized by the rabbonim.

The website is now called "Tog", and they have renewed activity yesterday, with an article about how they are doing the "shlichus" of the rabbonim, just as they were previously under the name Atrog, and just as they were when they closed the site.

Did I forget to mention that "Tog" is owned by Yated Ne'eman? All the other sites are assur, and only theirs is muttar.

Under the niqab

This story just can't be avoided...

DUBAI — An Arab ambassador called off his wedding after discovering his wife-to-be, who had worn a face-covering veil whenever they met, was bearded and cross-eyed, the Gulf News reported Wednesday.

The envoy had only met the woman a few times, during which she had hidden her face behind a niqab, or face-covering veil, the paper said.

After the marriage contract was signed, the ambassador attempted to kiss his bride-to-be, upon which he discovered she had facial hair and was cross-eyed, it said.

The [Shas] Empire Strikes Back

Shas is not giving up so easily in the crazy Yated fight.

After Yated's continued attack against Shas, Shas is fighting back. They have declared a cherem against the Yated, saying advertisers should not advertise with the Yated, saying whoever advertises with the Yated is taking part in raising his hand against Rav Ovadiah.

Their plan is to have Rav Ovadiah call different businessmen and ask them personally to no longer advertise in the Yated. They assume that nobody will reject a personal request from the Rav.

The funniest part is that they say so many people are upset about what the Yated has done that they want to print out bumper stickers that scoff at the Yated and ashkenazy haredi community saying "I did not read the Yated 40 days in a row and saw salvation". (source: Ynet)

Knesset jokes (video)

Feb 10, 2010

Israeli tries to make the idol bow

Will an Israeli take over one of the top positions in television? With Guy Oseary competing to replace Simon Cowell on American Idol, it might just happen...

Interesting Posts #142

1. Jameel comments on some crazy case of a couple stranded at Ben Gurion for 5 days, and that they finally got out...

2. The Rebbetzin's Husband discusses the fallacy of the 70 faces to Torah

3. Parsha blog on the Samaritans dealing with Yitro..

4. HaMavdil on hatred

5. Geshmack Torah explains what money is for in this week's dvar torah

6. A guest post on Dov Bear discussing the impartiality of beis din

QOTD

It would be more honorable to me and my family if I die of hunger rather than consider coaching the Israeli team

----
Hassan Shehata, coach of Egyptian national soccer team

HOTD

Goldstone co-author: Hamas fired only 2 rockets before Gaza war

--- Haaretz

on which day, of the previous 8 years, before the war did Hamas only fire 2 rockets?

Bechadrei returns fire

Finally Bechadrei starts to fight back and attack Yated in return.

Yated ran another scathing editorial against Shas' decision to join the World Zionist Organization. In it they talk about how the gedolim were always against it, how can an organization that calls itself Haredi cast aside Haredi beliefs and take on Zionist beliefs and sit with Reformists whose whole goal is to destroy Judaism.

The editorial then goes on to quote from the director of the Organization for Freedom of Religion and Equality, who is also a former director of Hillel, in an article he wrote about Shas' decision to join WZO. They bring quotes how absurd it is and how it is a basic contradiction for Shas to do this against their own values, and how if this will push Shas to change their ways and appearance than it is worth it and should be advanced with blessings...

They continue to quote form this guy as he attacks Likud for coming up with this merger with Shas to allow it to happen. And how Gafni was clearly right when he said they are more concerned with providing jobs for their people than keeping their ideals... blah blah blah.

So Bechadrei finally returns fire. In a scathing editorial piece on Bechadrei they criticize Yated for the long quotes from this director - someone who he himself has led the fight against the religious and Haredi an dhow dare Yated use him as an example, and how can Yated bring his voice into their pure paper and expose the pure children to his words, etc.

Along the way, the editorial puts down the Yated calling it a pashkevil, and scoffs at the terminology they use to describe the purity of the community while at the same time quoting from one of the most anti-religious people around just because he was attacking Shas.

The editorial does make a good point - all the news sources over the past week or so have reported that Degel and Shas are trying to calm down the fight and make a statement that will allow Gafni to back down and perhaps Shas will reconvene the Council of Sages to re-discuss the issue... and while everyone thought we are on the way to toning down the fight, along comes the Yated and fans the flames...

I guess today is "Bash Yated Day"...

yated names names

After a brief respite that was used to attack Shas for joining the World Zionist Organization, the Yated Neeman is back on the fight against Haredi internet sites (though they also take the time to scream at Shas some more).

In this weeks chinamon edition, Yated writes about how the haredi Internet sites are on their last legs, feeling the crunch as advertisers refuse to advertise on their sites.

What I find interesting about this weeks edition of their stupidity is that they finally name names. While it was previously left vague and just as a general fight against the Internet and Haredi sites, now they listed Kikar Shabbos, Bechadrei Haredim, Ladaat and they even mention that Haredim shut their main site but is still operating a site for not-kosher mobile phones. As an aside, I wrote about Haredim website and their WAP portal back in December - maybe the Yated reads this blog.

Rav Shteinman has refused to participate in this fight saying that it causes more damage than good. His logic is that anybody who did not know about the internet and haredi sites until now are suddenly being exposed and made curious about them. Until now, the Yated left everything ambiguous, but now that they mention names, readers will be curious and look up Bechadrei, Kikar, Haredim and Ladaat, curious as to what they are - perhaps some blame can be placed at the feet of the Yated for the next wave of Off The Derech children, for their part in making these kids curious about what haredi websites are....

Jabotinsky on Jordan (video)

Zev Jabotinsky, in 1934, talking about the East Bank of the Jordan River, aka Jordan


Feb 9, 2010

Interesting Posts #141

1. Life in Mitzpe Ramon checked out Har Gamal

2. Alleyways to Torah has a story about tatoos

3. WBM is hosting a roundup of pro-Israel posts as a way of opposing some anti-Israel sentiments that are going around right now...

4. Double Tapper on the name of the Pakistani president

5. Kylopod on Rush Limbaugh's opinion on Jews and insults

6. Hasya Yaara discusses the hamsa

7. Muqata has a recommendation for the Women of the Wall...

iPod and iTunes - Fail

I don't use iPods and mp3 players much, and I am not too much into the gadget scene.

Ever since my son got an iPod for his bar mitzvah, it has really thrown me for a loop. I help him sync songs onto it.

I have one comment - for a company that is leading edge in making amazing products and software, they could have done a far better job with the itunes software. It is very confusing to figure out how to sync the songs and videos onto the iPod. I synced some video onto the iPod and now all the songs disappeared. It took me a dozen tries to figure out how to get a few video clips on the iPod.

I must say I have been very surprised and disappointed as to how confusing the iPod and iTunes system has been to figure out and use. Apple has always been so intuitive to use and this is so difficult.

Investigative report into the dybbuk

There was an investigative report done on Channel 10 TV show "Shomer Masach" that aired last night.

The report was on the recent dybbuk case of the man from Brazil who was supposedly possessed and he came to Israel for an exorcism that turned out to be unsuccessful. The journalist investigated how these dybbuks and exorcisms worked, and general active mekubalim, speaking with the woman who had supposedly been possessed about 15 years ago and had the dybbuk exorcised by Rav Batzri.

You should watch the whole video..

They walk the viewer through the whole process, with images and clips frmo the recent exorcism attempt and give a lot of background. They also give images from Rav Batzri's previous exorcism. At about 19 minutes into the video they talk to the woman who had supposedly been possessed and had it exorcised. She claims that it is all a fraud and she took part in it. She is now upset at Rav Batzri claiming he never paid her what he promised, and never gave her the copies of the video. She also demonstrated to the journalist how she faked the voice of the dybbuk and played along.

The report continues with other mekubalim and how they snag the public. While they are generally not looking to deceive the public and steal their money, their processes are designed to get people to donate emotionally to their yeshivas and organizations. They spoke with the organizer for the events the mekubalim speak at. He said he represents 15 mekubalim (is he like a talent agent or something?) arranging their events. They don't really take in money at these events, but afterwords is the big take - the people come to the mekubalim and give them lots of money and support over time...

So is it a scam? They speak to 2 analysts - 1 says it is not an intentional scam. He says Rav Batzri probably is not scamming people, but really believes what he is doing is right and true. Why did he pay the woman to fake a dybbuk? He uses these videos to inspire people. Another analyst says it is all about the money and it is a big scam.

I don't know Rav Batzri's intentions, and am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he has no intention to scam people, but it is pretty clear the dybbuk isn't all it is made out to be.

תחקיר שומר מסך - אמנון לוי - פרשת הדיבוק from bhol on Vimeo.

Shimon Peres' views

Shimon Peres, at 86 years old (until 120, pooh pooh pooh) continues to remain energetic and outwork many of his younger peers.

The Marker interviewed Shimon Peres, and you should read the whole interview - very interesting, about the economy, peace, Iran, the Palestinians (it is too long for me to translate to English, sorry), personal items and more.

Absentee Voting coming to Israelis

Yesterday, in a Likud party meeting, PM Netanyahu announced that he is going to propose, as per his coalition agreement with Yisrael Beiteinu, a law that would allow expatriates, or any citizen outside of the country on election day, the right to vote in Israel elections. Netanyahu says the reason is that this would help Israeli expats to continue to feel connected, and eventually return, to Israel. (source: Ynet)

While lots of people from all sectors reside abroad, or travel for business and vacation, the people expected to benefit from this law the most are on the right-wing of the political map of Israel.

Once Israelis leave Israel, they are often disconnected more or less from the country. the people who stay connected the most, and interested in the elections and activity of Israel, are right-ringers and religious people.

This should give an even bigger boost to the right-wing and religious parties. Of course, that is the only reason Netanyahu would even agree to proposing such a law.

QOTD

I am very proud being the mother of the lucky bride, but the planning of the wedding is almost as difficult as the Middle East Peace Process discussions

--- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Feb 8, 2010

QOTD

All those who come with complaints about the positions of Yisrael Beiteinu are those who lost in the elections. They are losers, and the rest are the winners.

------- Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Interesting Posts #140

1. Rabbi Fink comments on one of the Superbowl ads...

2. Hubscubs says everything he needs to know he learned in the Talmud..

3. LoZ is comparing guns

4. Yachdus comments on charedi marketing online

5. Should kollel have term limits?

circle of influence

Early this morning, someone drove around the neighborhood tossing pashkevils around, littering the streets with protest.

A short while later I saw a teenage girl walking, to school I presume. While she was walking, she bent down and picked up every pashkevil that lay in her path.

Mind you, the street was still filthy, littered with them everywhere else. One could argue that she wasn't really doing anything useful by picking up those few pashkevils. I would even say that I didn't bother picking any up (other than the one I wanted to read) because I said the whole street is messed up, my picking up a few will do nothing - it will have to wait for the street cleaner.

Yet this girl picked up every pashkevil she walked across. She must have known that she couldn't affect the whole street, or the whole neighborhood, but she didn't let that stop her from affecting her circle of influence. Kol HaKavod to her.

Avreichim sue rosh kollel

In an unusual din torah yesterday, a beis din in Yerushalayim decided on a lawsuit brought by a group of avreichim suing the Rosh Kollel for not paying their stipends.

Bechadrei reports about a kollel in Yerushalayim that has been very late paying the avreichim their stipends. Just like the kollel is going through difficult financial times, the avreichim are as well, and they desperately need the money. After waiting well beyond their ability, they put a lien on the Rosh Kollel's bank account, and then sued him in beis din for their money.

The Rosh Kollel immediately retaliated by shutting down the kollel. He said he will not have such avreichim in his kollel, avreichim with no middos. He then spoke to his main sponsor about reopening the kollel, the sponsor agreed. He reopened the kollel, without that group of avreichim.

Meanwhile, the case went to beis din. The beis din heard the case and ruled in favor of the Rosh Kollel, against the avreichim. The court canceled the lien on the account, and ruled against the avreichim saying the rosh kollel owes them nothing and their behavior is not befitting that of bnei torah.

Hey - at least they went to beis din to settle their dispute and not to secular court like some recent cases in Bnei Brak...

medical school to suppress Haredi growth

Are Haredim paranoid, thinking everything non-haredi the State does is to oppose Haredim and their growth, or are non-haredim naive for thinking the State is not trying to suppress Haredi growth and expansion?

The State has announced they will be opening the countries fifth medical school, this one in Tsfat and administered by Bar Ilan University. This will also be a precursor to expanding to a full blown university in the heart of the Galil. The intention is to improve educational opportunities in the Galil region, which will improve the quality of life in the area.

The Haredim are upset, claiming this is being done to suppress the Haredi expansion and growth in the Safed area.

I say, Haredim all over Israel are finally getting involved in higher education. Instead of being upset about it, apply to go to school and become doctors. And when it eventually becomes a full fledged university, become businessmen, accountants, lawyers, psychologists, scientists and whatever else they will offer. Take advantage of a tremendous opportunity laying at your door - they are handing you a university, and will need students to fill it.

Geula in mid-March

The Temple Institute writes about the "prophecy" from the Vilna Gaon that after the Churva Synagogue in Jerusalem is rebuilt the process of redemption would begin. The completion of the rebuilding of the Churva is scheduled for mid-March, and the "prophecy" has created some excitement.

The Temple Institute explains the true story and explains it.

I will just quote the conclusion of the article from Machon HaMikdash:

HAVING EXAMINED THE HISTORY of the Churva synagogue, and the source of today's current excitement, it can be stated that heart of the matter is not a prophetic prediction of a precise building-of-the-Temple date, but something, in fact, much more compelling: The taking upon itself by the nation of Israel the performance of prophetic action. The return to Israel and the rebuilding of Jerusalem are precursors to the great event of the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Israel today, unlike two hundred years ago, has the means and the authority to do so. The realization of the necessity for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple and the renewal of the Divine service for the spiritual revival and redemption of all humanity, is growing day by day. Both inside Israel and abroad, the longing for the Holy Temple is becoming a powerful voice for change. May it be G-d's will that we soon begin the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, if not before the 16th of March, then not a day later!

Feb 7, 2010

Bechadrei interviews Yehuda Meshi-Zahav (video)

If you can follow the interview, it is worth a listen. The interviewee is Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, director and found of Zak"A (the interviewer is Bechadrei Chareidim). The most interesting part is where he talks about his past as a member of the Eida Hareidis and its future. Meshi-Zahav went from being an Eida troublemaker (he now calls what he did in the name of the Eida a chillul hashem) to being a torch bearer at Yom Ha'atzmaut celebrations...

Interesting Posts #139

1. Simply Jews is hosting Haveil Havalim #255 - the post-Groundhog Day edition

2. Tonight is the Super Bowl. In honor if that, Somehow Frum has a post about the Diaspora Yeshiva Band and how Avraham Rosenblum always had the dream to play the halftime show at the Super Bowl...

3. Yeshiva Guy has a post about a kid who looks like he will eventually go bad. I must say I am not sure how he got that just from the kid saying a dvar torah at the shabbos table..though the issue is very real..

4. Joe Settler comments on the whole New Israel Fund issue....

5. Torat Yisrael has an article about how Ehud Barak said Israel's continued presence and control over Judea and Samaria is apartheid...

6. Yachdus says thank you to David ben-Gurion for spreading Torah learning in Israel..

7. Jewish Mom posts about the New York Times Millenium Edition in which they printed the Shabbos candlelighting times. The editor said he has no idea what will really be in 2100, but he knows the Jews will still be lighting shabbos candles. Has anybody actually seen the Millenium Edition and know if this is true?

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