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Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

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Mar 31, 2008

interesting background on the Burqa woman (video)

how she met her husband, what she used to be like, why she did what she did, get it all here!

and in more Shefa Shuk cherem news...

...if you are not yet sick of it, Globes is reporting (the Hebrew version of the article has more details) that the manager Shef Shuk, Uri Kaminsky, has resigned. Not because of business being bad, but because his personal Rabbi, Rav Steinman, told him to resign because of the cherem.

As well, the Cmmitee for Gaurding the Shabbos (under the auspices of the gedoilim), has publicized today in the various Haredi newspapers advertisements calling ont eh public to only shop in stores that keep Shabbos, and not to buy in any of the businesses of the Alon Group, including Blue Square and Shefa Shuk.

It seems that the cherem is final, while negotiations are still under way....

Kibbutz Ha'Dati weighs in on the cherem on Shefa Shuk

Ynet reports that The Kibbutz HaDati movement has rejected the cherem on Shefa Shuk, even after the Rabbonim of the Dati Leumi (or some of them) community have come out in favor of it.. The Kibbutz Ha'dati movement is part of (a large group within) the NRP.

The scretary of the Kibbutz Ha'Dati Org, Nehemia Rafel, has announced, "Using boycotts is not our way, and definitely does not effect any additional Shmiras Shabbos or additional Ahavas Yisrael. I am against businesses opening on Shabbos, both from a Halachik standpoint and from a social standpoint, but I am against sanctioning a boycott.

The use of boycotts in the Haredi sector is well known, and more than a few have been harmed by it, including Rav Kook and Rav Soloveitchik zt"l.

Boycotts are not designed to fight just against the problematic issue, but to harm all the assets of the person boycotted. That is not our way. We need to differentiate between a cherem and a consumer boycott, which is an important tool in the socio-economic system.

Placing a cherem on Dudi Weissman (owner of Shefa Shuk), at the same time as public transportation and other services are running unhindered on Shabbos, raises questions as to the real motivation behind the boycott.

They claim that Rav Eliyahu and the rest of the Zionist Rabbonim joining the Haredi cherem has no indication of what the stance of the National religious public is. "The Kibbutz HaDati was among the first to define a social contract in Israel, one of whose central chapters is the States character and Shmiras Shabbos. But until it is accepted, every citizen has to follow the law that defines very clearly the rules for opening businesses on Shabbos."

I remember in the days before the disengagement, the NRP was still taking part in Ariel Sharon's government, despite the clear direction Sharon was taking ni bulldozing his plan through against the wishes of his party and his government partners. The NRP was coming under a lot of criticism at the time for giving Sharon a base of power from which to launch his disengagement, despite the fact thay they were against the disengagement.

The NRP responded that, as political parties always do when they want to excuse themselves for staying in the government (see Shas now as an example), they they can do more to thwart the plan from within (we all know how successful and realistic that was).

After much public debate on the matter, they asked the Rabbonim of the NRP - Rav Mordechai Eliyahu and Rav Avraham Shapira (zt"l) what they should do. The Rabbonim declared very definitively that the NRP should leave the government.

Despite the Rabbinic decision, the NRP decided to stay in, for the time being (they left the government at a later point in time). The NRP brushed away all criticism that they went against the Rabbinic decision by saig that the NRP asks advice of its rabbonim, but it has never obligated itself to follow such advice. The NRP is not subordinate to its Rabbonim the way the Haredi parties are subordinate to theirs.

Their response now to the cherem on Shefa Shuk (whose whole status still remains unclear), is reminiscent of that response from the NRP pre-disengagement.

This is our year! (video)

Thanks to hubscubs, I found the following video... Today is Opening Day for the new MLB season and this, of course, is the Cubs year to finally win it. 100 years of waiting is long enough.

UTJ attacks Shas over Beitar Elite

The news is reporting that UTJ is stepping up its protest activity against the government - specifically against Olmert and Shas.

They are upset about the freeze on building construction. Because Olmert tells Shas that jerusalem is not on the table, despite everyone else (including those doing the actual negotiating) saying it is actively being discussed, Shas has chosen to believe Olmert and say Jerusalem is not on the table and therefore they have no reason to leave the government coalition.

UTJ has found the next weak spot and have decided to attack there. Beitar Elite is a Haredi "settlement" in the Gush Eztion area. Building contruction there has been frozen. This is a big blow as there is a shortage of homes availabel to the Haredi public, which has a high level of natural expansion.

Shas has promised that there would be no freeze in Beitar, yet the facts on the ground are that no new construction has received permits from the PMO.

UTJ has opened up a war, both with pressuring Olmert and trying to force Shas to threaten to leave the government unless permits are given for construction in Beitar.

These are signs that went up last night in Bet Shemesh. I assume they also were put up in Yerushalayim and other places...
It says "Shas is freezing Beitar", clearly laying the blame on Shas in an attempt to pressure them to pressure Olmert...

Mar 30, 2008

Cholov Yishmoel Only!

Somebody just send to me this great ad. It is a spoof on the ads for going away to all sorts of remote places for Pesach...

Belzer Bar Mitzvah (video)

Here is an interesting clip about the recent Belze Bar Mitzvah..

They are obsessed with women

Now that the big news has broken, we have to look back and try to figure out how it happened and what our take-away ought to be.

A number of months ago, several RBS residents reached out to Rabbi Yakov Horowitz (Rosh Yeshiva of Darchei Noam in Monsey and head of Project Y.E.S. of Agudas Yisrael) for guidance regarding the violence perpetrated by the kannoim of Bet Shemesh, after which Rav Horowitz bravely wrote several columns condemning the violence in the strongest terms here and here.

At the time, Rav Horowitz said something that turned out to be very prescient.

Rabbi Horowitz said that anybody who is violently forcing his chumrohs on others, and especially those who are physically assaulting women are prime candidates for being sexual predators, pedophiles and wife beaters. He repeatedly told us that over the course of time, it will become evident to all that a disproportionately high percentage of these thugs are not only abusing the women on the buses, but are committing far worse on those close to them. He said that, in his view, these people have a distorted and perverse obsession with women and sexual matters, as opposed to, lehavdil, true tzadikim, whose minds are preoccupied with torah and avodah. Tzadikim and true Chassidim make chumros – on themselves. And never resort to violence on others.

Yesterday, I spoke with Rabbi Horowitz about the subject and he pointed me to the sefer Kav Ha'Yashar chapter 52. The sefer says, I will summarize it briefly, that "A person who busies himself all day with davening with kavanah, and he walks with his tefillin all day long (an unusual behavior – a super-frum chumrah, as men typically remove their tefilin before leaving shul) - it looks like this person is very pious. You think that he must be a kosher and straight person who deals constantly with the holy work of heaven. But you do not really know what is in his heart. As Shlomo HaMelech wrote (in Koheles) - don't be too righteous or too evil, and Chazal said be wary of the "tzvu'im" (hypocrites) - they look like prushim (people who separate themselves from materialism), but they act like zimri, and then they request reward like Pinchas. Rather you should look for someone who is really a tzaddik" – one who is an honest and decent man.

When I asked Rabbi Horowitz what his guidelines were regarding healthy chumros and those mentioned above, he identified three areas:

  1. The chumroh is within the realm of the Torah and established Mesorah, and not way beyond what Mesorah advocates.
  2. The chumroh is personal and not imposed upon others. When a person is obsessed with forcing (as opposed to appropriately inspiring or encouraging others other people to keep those chumrohs), that is an indication something is wrong.
  3. When the person advocating the chumroh is ready to resort to violence to ensure that others adhere to it, that is a clear indication that something is wrong.

Rabbi Horowitz said that the concept of, “Kadesh atzmecha b’mutar lach,” taking on chumrohs – essentially removing oneself from things that are halachicly permitted) is a wonderful thing – especially in these times when society around us is in a moral free-fall. But a chumroh is personal. Nobody has any right to impose his own chumrohs on other people – especially through violence. .

I would like to add my thoughts to those of Rabbi Horowitz.

We, as members of frum society, are quick to denounce any public display of kulah. Yet we never see a public denouncement of people who are keeping chumrohs or any public display of chumrohs. The reason we do not is because we do not want to be seen as less frum or not accepting of someone who wants to do a chumroh and come close to Hashem.

Yet in essence it is the same thing. Just like we denounce the Kulah phenomenon, we need to equally denounce the chumroh phenomenon (not personal chumrohs, but when it meets the criteria mentioned above by Rabbi Horowitz).

I remember once I went to an oneg shabbos with a well respected guest Rabbi. He had a question and answer session and the discussion was centered around dressing Haredi. He said what he said, and I asked why there is such an issue with how to dress and that everyone should look the same. His answer was that dressing the part puts you in the social group. Once you are part of the group, in appearance, you can get away with a lot. If you look the part, they are forgiving on many things you might do not in accordance with the social group. He did not mean anything like what is going on here, he just meant issues of individuality on small scales. But it really includes people doing all sorts of things, even leading to the phenomenon discussed here.

Just because someone dresses from and talks with the words of Hashem, chumrohs Torah, does not mean he is someone that is really within the pale, and it does not mean he is somebody who's ways we need to accept.

This is a phenomenon that is something we should be wary of. When we see these people, just because they look super-frum and talk super-frum, we should be very, very wary of them. Their behavior is an indication that there is more going on behind the picture.

Back to the burqas and the kannoim. The Burqa ladies were not, as far as I know, imposing their way on other people. She had her group of followers, and maybe she used charisma or subconscious methods to get them to follow her, but they seemed to be non-violent and even unobtrusive - just doing their own thing.

The last person you would have expected to hear about this from is the Burqa woman. Yet we see that is where it happened, in the worst kind of way. As the police said, they have never seen anything as bad as the situation they are investigating in this case.

Just as it happened there, "al achas kama v'kama", how much more so, we must be wary of the public display and aggressiveness in enforcing chumrohs on the public.

Tzniyus is not a matter of a hemline or a sheitel style or a thickness of stocking (technical details notwithstanding). Tzniyus is a way of life of being modest and living the way Hashem wants us to. When the outcry is in public to, for example, separate the genders on the buses (and there is nothing wrong with separate buses, just the enforcing and insisting on them when it even comes to the point of using violence) or hang signs or tell people what to wear when they go certain places, that is no longer tzniyus, but the opposite of it.

Haveil Havalim #160 The Waffle edition

Haveil Havalim is the weekly roundup of the week's best posts (judged by the host of the edition from all posts submitted, so "best" might have a very varying definition) of the jblogosphere. Jack is running the show, and doing a great job of it signing up new hosts and ensuring most of us get our waffles (via Jameel). So, if you want a chance at a waffle breakfast and are willing to host an edition of HH to get that chance, be in touch with the guy who has no regrets..

I am not a very organized person, so breaking posts down into groups, as other bloggers have, is a heck of a lot of work for me. Also, there is always so much overlap in the groups that I have a hard time figuring out whether a specific post should go into the Israel group, the politics group. the Jewish group or the miscellaneous group. So instead I decided to nt use groups and just leave it all mixed up. So, enjoy your reading...

Lion of Zion discusses whether women need to have the trop printed in their siddurim...

Batya at Shiloh Musings describes how grammar is often used as a way of distorting the truth..

Come Running continues writing about the actors of Sesame Street she has met...

Yitz thinks Jews need to feel gratitude to Islam..NOT!

Ben-Yehudah gives us his 10 Agorot about the borders of Jerusalem and political barriers..

Batya, in The Eye of the Storm, urges everyone to make aliyah quickly before the dollar is completely worthless!

Schvach Yid talks about "Jews by Choice"

The anti-racist blog hangs it up and says goodbye...

Moti paints a graphic image of what he thinks will happen if Obama is elected..

Shoshana got a perspective on Judaism from an outsider, by going to shul..

Rabbi Sears, guest posting by A Simple Jew, has 2 fascinating stories of shalashudos...

Barbara brings a Purim related article about Jews in exile and how they should relate..

Among the big news this past week, one story really stood out. That would be the arrest of the leader of the group of women who wear Burqas. Many bloggers wrote about the story, myself included. Other blogger who discussed various aspects of the incident were A Mother in Israel, The Muqata, Frumhouse, Lion of Zion, and Jewlicious.

Jack, in an amazing act of self-promotion, has announced the "Second Annual Link to Jack Day".

Ben-Yehuda tells us about the Halamish brothers who will be going to jail for defending their own village from infiltrators..

Batya will be in the U.S. this summer and will be available for speaking arrangements... Be in touch with her....

Gila puts her life into perspective, 6 years ago, after having survived injury in the Mahane Yehuda suicide bombing attack. And then she puts it into more perspective today as well...

Daniel Saudners deconstructs Bible Criticism.

I take this post to mean Batya does not want to get rid of her wrinkles...

A Mother in Israel learned lessons from the Burqa story about being part of a supportive community.

Soccer Dad introduces the lightest, smallest cellphone ever - created by an Israeli company!

Yid With Lid tells Condi before her upcoming trip to the MidEast that even animals naturally protect their kids, yet Palestinians kill their kids...

Mottel had an opportunity to spend Purim on the Virginia Tech campus 9the one where the shooting massacre took place a while back in which a Jewish professor gave his life heroically while protecting his students), and took it. He posted these two posts with thoughts and pictures...

Shira wrote a bunch of posts about Purim and events that transpired in her family. She links to them here and here.

Yitzchak comments on Hassan Nasrallah recent diatribe against Israel....

Yid With Lid points out the plight of Jewish refugees who's situations have been ignored.

Robert Avrech thought of The Seven Samurai as his new granddaughter was named in shul..

Benji at What War Zone says TGIT..

The Shadchun has dating tips for all you singles out there!

The new blog opened up recently called "Jobs in Israel". If you have a job to offer, let him know, and if you are looking for a job he has postings and lists various resources you might be interested in...

Dofan Akuma asks some questions on a classic story of Rabbi Akiva

Aidel Knaidel is engaged! Mazel tov!

ProfK talks about her sentimentalism with Pesach coming up, with some of the changes of celebrating Pesach over the years..

RivkA accepts that she will always have cancer..

JoeSettler says it is reeducation time in Israel, while he reviews the recent court case of Yekutiel Ben Yaakov..

Miriam compares Judaism to a few movies...

Wanna keep track of what is going on in Jerusalem? The Big Felafel posts a few sites that will help you keep abreast of the local events...

The Jewish Worker has the numbers on the Yeshiva world in Israel..

Jameel @ The Muqata points to the OU and notices that in their recent showcase on emerging Jewish communities, not a single community in Israel was included...

Popel is distrubed the MLB is starting the season in Tokyo rather than in the USA...

The Rebbetzin's Husband explains the appeal of Jeremiah Wright

Yehudi says there is no Palestine..

A Soldier's Mother ask "Do you know where your children are"?

Mar 28, 2008

Burqa boy let go

Just a brief update - the news this morning (on the radio) said that the Burqa boy (the husband) was released from custody today and will remain under house arrest during the investigation. The Burqa babe (the wife) remains under arrest.

Anybody out there with legal knowledge of what this might mean and indicate?

I suspect that indicates the husband was less involved with what was going on. He will likely be in trouble for lesser charges of not informing the authorities of the beatings and incest, but it seems he was not actually part of the abuse itself.

Mar 27, 2008

Rav Eliyahu joins the cherem on Shefa Shuk

It is hard to keep track of where the cherem on Shefa Shuk stands - is it already in cherem, as some articles and declarations say, or is it only under threat of cherem as other articles and declarations indicate?

Regardless, Ynet (in Hebrew) is reporting that the issue is no longer limited to the Rabbonim of the Haredi world. The Rabbonim of the National Zionists have jumped into the fray as well.

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Zfat and son of former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, has signed on to a possible cherem. Along with him have signed Rabbis Zalman Melamed, Dov Lior, Chaim Druckman, and others.

Rav Eliyahu said, "Whomever is concerned with the country should boycott Shefa Shuk even if he does not keep Shabbos. The Haredi public has decided to boycott Shefa. We can join them. It is fine. It will strengthen the power of Shabbos. The power of the Jewish Nation."
Further, Rav Eliyahu said, "Whomever is concerned about the welfare of the country needs to do his part, to stop the wealthy from buying out the whole country, making his profit off the back of the little citizen. The giants are destroying the small businessmen, they are forcing them to work, against their will, seven days a week, from sunrise until death."

"Their lack of care affects all our lives. Their lack of care is the energy behind factories harming the environment for more profit. It is the energy behind factory owners paying minimum wage salaries, causing them to hire contract workers with no benefits. Exploiting hundreds of workers for their trips to Switzerland. Not allowing them to sit during their work hours. They destroy every value for more millions in their own bank accounts."

"Don't worry - the owners of Shefa Shuk are not like the small businessmen. They do not work on Shabbos, God forbid. They might even be religious. Only their poor [wretched] workers have to desecrate Shabbos on their behalf. Therefore I requested from my wife that she not buy any food there. It would be difficult for me to digest [such food]."

MBD and Helfgot singing on Purim (video)

Many many moons ago, I went to Yeshiva with the Rechnitz brothers. Now they are putting on an annual Purim concert in Los Angeles bringing in the biggest starts in the Jewish music world.

Here is a clip from this years concert. This clip is of MBD and Chazzan Itcha Meir Helfgot teaming up to sing a song together...

The rules of Tzniyus

If you were wondering how to tell if your blouse or skirt are kosher and tzniyusdik, you will be pleased to know that there are flyers and posters being passed around and hung up that describe exactly what the correct parameters are...

So, check out these flyers and compare them to your collars and hemlines...

(SheitelTip: Israluv)

The Burqa Boy turns up

A benign update on the whole burqa scandal --

People were wondering where the husband was in the all this. Why was he not arrested? How did he not know? Where was he this whole time?
I heard on the radio late last night that the husband has been abroad for the past month. He arrived yesterday back in Israel. He was met by the police at the airport and was immediately taken in for questioning.

Rumors had it that he hated his wife because of what she did and turned into, and was hardly ever home because of her. If that rumor is true, I do not know why he never divorced her.

We will soon find out what his role in all this was...

I thought Jewish guys can't dance...oh, they can't (video)

Mar 26, 2008

mechina program to develop leadership

--------------------------------------------referral ad-----------------------------------------------------

There are a number of options available, and decisions to be made, in Israel for young men of army age, as they finish their studies in High School, and choose upon what path they will embark for their future.

They have to deal with the army, so some will choose a full time (haredi or haredi style) yeshiva and they will apply for a dichui, or deferment of their army service. Others will go to a Hesder Yeshiva in which they split their time between learning and army service over, generally, a period of 5 years. Another option is to go directly to the army and serve 3 years. Yet another option is the mechina option.

Mechina is a system that is a few years old and has gotten very popular in recent years. You defer your army service for a year. During that time you go to a school, or yeshiva, that is called a mechina. While you learn many things, a main focus of the mechina is to spend the year preparing for the upcoming army service. Preparation is concentrated in the physical training, the mental, and the social.

The popularity of this system has led to a sprouting of such institutions all over Israel, each with different religious levels and some completely secular (though most are for boys who would otherwise be hesder candidates but do not want hesder).

A new mechina has opened up, called the Leadership Yeshiva Academy. It looks like they really put a lot of effort into developing a good system for a serious guy who wants a mechina program to learn for a year and prepare for the army.

LYA has a comprehensive Torah curriculum, along with courses given on political and social issues of Israel and the Middle East.

It looks like they really have worked hard to develop a program that will produce young men of leadership skills and capabilities.

Heck, who knows? maybe they will even produce a future Chief of Staff or Prime Minister. We keep hearing in the news the lamenting of the lack of leadership skills among the younger generation. Maybe LYA is the solution....

---------------------------------------end of referral-------------------------------------------------------

the demise of the Burqa babes

It looks like the phenomenon of the Burqa cult might be seeing its last days.

Yesterday a woman was arrested for heavy duty child abuse and heavy duty sexual molestation. From the brief descriptions I have heard and read, it makes Dave Pelzer's story seem boring.

The woman arrested was part of the Burqa club. As you saw in the news clip I posted earlier, she was wearing her burqa in court along with her multiple layers of clothing to hide any body shape that might appear.

The whole story is shocking, but, as I said, no group is immune from having sickos and crazies. So they were a bit eccentric and weird (some might call them a cult) and were behaving way beyond what people consider "within the pale". But as long as they were harmless, so it was just a curiosity, at least for me.

But this is a whole new ballgame. Now, if it was just a member of the group, that would be one thing. Every group has crazies, so you cannot judge a group just because of one sicko within it. For example, if there is a Rabbi caught, as there has been, abusing his students, that does not mean all Rabbis are bad. Lehavdil, if the Church has a minister who is caught abusing altar boys, as has happened, it does not mean the whole church is bad (I am not saying the church is good - I am just saying don't judge the whole group by the minister who was evil).

So one lady in the group was a sicko. That does not mean the whole group is evil.

But now I have just come into more information. The woman arrested, it turns out, was none other than Rabbanit Bruriah keren, herself. The founder and leader of the group. So the group is not just an eccentric group with on sicko as a member. the group is rotten from the core.

BTW, this information has been confirmed by my source - he confirmed it with her neighbors and with the police.

So now that she has been arrested and her evil exposed, hopefully that will be the demise of this evil group of people.

Not only that, but her son in law is Binyamin Friedman - the leader of the kannoim in RBS B that have been the source of all the violence in the past. The question is if the expose revealing all that she has done will now put a damper on Friedman's activities, and the support he has had from the local Rabbonim of the Eidah and of the even more extreme Rabbonim...

Touring Eretz Yisrael: Ramat Gan: The Safari

That's right. You read the title correctly... There is a Safari in Israel. No need to go down to Africa to traipse through land populated with dangerous animals. You can do it right here in Israel! In Ramat Gan/Tel Aviv there is a Safari.

My parents are here visiting, so I took the day off and we went to the Safari.

My wife thought this was cute...
and this is the demon ostrich
this giraffe was really cool.. we were feeding him, but not human food - only the leaves he normally eats. He has the longest tongue I have ever seen...

The Muppets want Sam the Eagle back!
You can't see it here, but these guys (elk? gazelle?) had some nasty chest hair... This one guy took a liking to us and kept coming up to my car window...My son thought he was going to ram his horns through the window and kill us all.

and then there was this baby zebra prancing around.....

Burqa babe arrested (video)

This one is not quite as funny as the one Jameel posted the other day... This woman was arrested today for, allegedly, abusing her 12 children (or some of them). She, allegedly, abused them physically and sexually.

She is a member of the group/cult of women who wear burqas along with multiple layers of clothes, claiming tzniyus as the ultimate goal and motive.

This just shows you that just because someone claims to be more religious, does not mean they are not crazy or sick. There are crazy and sick people in every group, no matter how secular or how religious they might be...

Mar 25, 2008

Road sign

I always get a kick out of this road sign, but I never have a camera handy when I pass it...

I suspect it means "Pregnant women crossing"... :-)

Hockey fights are the greatest (video)

Hang in there watching the fight - it is worth it to wait until the goalie gets mixed up in it...

Headline of the Day (hotd)

Shas Ministers' wives do not listen to Rav Ovadia Yosef

----Israel Today (Yisrael HaYom) newspaper (among others)

As many people commented - The Shas ministers don't listen to him, so why should their wives!!!

Some background - Rav Ovadia Yosef is famously against women wearing sheitels, rather they should be covering their hair with hats or tichels in his opinion. The outstanding psak among the sefardim, from what I understand, is generally like Rav Ovadia Yosef.

I did not pay enough attention to the story to understand why this suddenly got into the news now. Somehow the discussion came up before Rav Mazuz, a very important Sefardi Rabbi, and he spoke very harshly against the fact that many sefardi women, including the wives of most of the Shas ministers (who are closest to Rav Ovadia so they should be listening to him all that much more) wear sheitels, against the psak of Rav Ovadia.

It has been true for a very long time. Many, many sefardi women wear sheitels. I suspect it has to do with the drive to be ashkenazy and appear ashkenazy and copy the ashkenazy, but that is just my guess.

One more interesting thing that Rabbi Mazuz said was that this is just as bad as chilul shabbos. I am not sure if he meant the fact that they do not listen to Rav Ovadia is just as bad as chilul shabbos, or if he meant wearing sheitels is just as bad as chilul shabbos..

Mar 23, 2008

Dick Cheney in Jerusalem (video)

Lemaan Achai Purim newsletter

Lemaan Achai printed a very funny Purim newsletter... in hard copy it was in limited release, so many people did not get to see it. So for the rest of you who did not get to see it, here it is in digital format....

Read this doc on Scribd: Publication1

Most unusual Shalach Manos I received...

Being that Purim came out on Friday, there were basically two options for starting the Purim Se'udah. Either to start it at around 11:30 or so, or two start a late Se'udah and use the method of "poress mapah" which means basically letting the meal run into shabbos and splitting it with a break for Kiddush, concluding the meal eventually and davening shabbos maariv late.

We chose to use the method mandated by the Rama, and begin our se'udah early at about 11:40.

I was so tired from a busy morning, little sleep the nights leading up to Purim and a very hectic week, that the wine I drank made me very tired and knocked me out. So I am laying there sleeping in my drunken stupor, and I get woken up. Somebody had come by to deliver shalach manos to me. He woke me up and I saw (after needing a few minutes to figure out where I was and what I was looking at) he was dressed up like Jameel!

(sorry person dressed up like Jameel - this is the best pic my daughter got. So if you want me to use a better, more flattering, pic, email one to me.)

The shalach manos he gave me was a plate of, that's right, WAFFLES!

and I ate them this morning...

They were very good. I even am willing to go out on a limb and say they were the best, and only, waffles I have eaten in the past 15 or so years...

So for all of you who are skeptical about the big waffle debate and prefer to spread Lashon Ha'Ra about good people, I am here to give testimony to the fact that everything is true and I got my waffles!

HH The Purim is Over Edition

Jack has posted this week's edition of Haveil Havalim - the Purim is Over Edition...

Mar 20, 2008

Headline of the Day (hotd)

09:50 Bank notes spew out of drainage pipe in Tiberias, police investigating (Haaretz)

They must have been dollars, with the way the exchange rate has been dropping... :-)

Purim joke/humor

I received this Purim joke by email....

Why didn't Esther receive Mordechai's e-mail, warning her about Haman's plan to kill the Jews?

She had an Achash-virus.

Local RBS Tzedaka: brochures correct the poster

Normally this would not be newsworthy enough to warrant scanning and posting... but after yesterday's brouhaha, it seems appropriate...

This morning I woke up to find by all the doors in my area (I saw it by my door and my neighbors door... I did not check the whole neighborhood, but assume it was delivered around the whole area) the following brochure from the Kupa for Mattanos L'Evyonim. It is a fold up, and the inside gives information about the Kupa and PR stuff, which I did not scan. I only scanned the cover that is relevant to this discussion...

Notice the change in the English from yesterday's posters - now they are calling on people, in the name of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, to give preference to the local organizations over organizations from outside RBS. Much more in the spirit of what Rav Kanievsky said!

Kol Hakavod.

I have no idea if this brochure was changed because of the discussion that took place here, or maybe a lot of people called the Kupa offices and bothered them, or maybe they realized on their own, but it is nice to feel that the discussion here was able to make a difference and not just be a bunch of people venting...

Mar 19, 2008

Local RBS Tzedaka: corrupting the words of Rav Kanievsky

With Purim knocking on our doors, along with all the yeshiva boys the past few days collecting for their various yeshivas, we have all been deluged with emails, signs, posters, flyers in our mailboxes, notices in the shuls, paper plates on the shul bimas, advertisements, etc. telling us to donate our Matanos L'Evyonim to this or that organization, this or that poor person, this or that Tzedaka fund, the poor of this or that city.

When Rabbi Perlstein and the gabbaim of the Kupa shel Tzedaka of RBS A went last week to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Rav Steinman, and Rav Lefkowitz, and discussed the cherem on Shefa Shuk and its ramifications for the Kupa, they also were there to get a bracha and haskama for the Kupa shel Tzedaka of RBS A.

Now, I have no idea what transpired when they were there. I was not there, and I have not heard firsthand any accounts...

I also have no idea why they should need to go to Rav Kanievsky and the others to get their haskama and a declaration that we should be giving them tzedaka. They are a local Kupa, with the supervision of local Rabbonim along with the longstanding bracha and approval of other national Rabbonim and gedolim. Why should they all of the sudden feel the need to go to Rav Kanievsky and get a declaration that we should give them our tzedaka?

Ok, but they felt the need to go get Rav Kanievsky's bracha adn declaration. The result of that meeting can be seen on posters displayed around RBS A.... and below:
Now, I was not there and can therefore not quote Rav Kanievsky. All I have to go on is the sign itself. In the sign there is a discrepancy between the Hebrew, which seems to be a quote from the letter written, or at least signed, by Rav Kanievsky, and between the English, which is what the sponsor of the poster is telling us to do as a result of the declaration of Rav K.

The Hebrew reads (excerpts really), (my translation) "It behooves you to give precedence to the poor of your neighborhood, and to donate to the local Kupa Shel Tzedaka of RBS A before giving to the poor of other cities."

Now, I suspect the need for this was because the Kupa saw all the posters and flyers from charities from all over the country, though mostly from Bnei Braq and Jerusalem, with declarations from various gedolim saying each one was the best for mattanos l'evyonim. The Kupa must have felt people would give precedence to these charities over the local ones, and therefore got Rav K to say that the local Kupa has priority over the ones from other cities.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky has no idea who Lemaan Achai is, what they do, or that they even exist. I would guess the same is true of another local charity called the "Kupa shel Tzedaka of Mishkenos Yaakov". Nobody told Rav Kanievsky about them, so he has no knowledge of them.

So, the Kupa managers, who sponsored and put up the signs around the neighborhood, then took Rav Kanievsky's declaration and gave us instructions for our tzedaka based on his words. But they do not fit with what he said (or wrote).

the instructions given to us are, "Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita instructs all residents of RBS A to give preference to the local Kupa shel Tzedaka when giving their mattanos L'evyonim."

But that is not true, and all I have to go on what the Kupa showed us. Maybe the Kupa spoke to Rav K and told him about other organizations and Rav K said the Kupa is better, but the Kupa did not quote that for us, so I assume it did not happen.
The Kupa quoted for us from Rav Chaim Kanievsky that the local Kupa has preference over the poor of OTHER CITIES. Not over other local kupot tzedaka, such as Lemaan Achai and Kupa shel Mishkenos. Rav K does not even know about the existence of the other kupot tzedaka, and he did not say the Kupa has preference over them.

This is another example of misleading, or even false, advertising to get us to give our tzedaka money to one over the other.

If they were going to do this, they could have at least arranged Rav Kanievsky to give a bracha to anyone who donates to them, just like the other Kuppot Rav Kanievsky signs off on promise. At least then, people would be getting a bracha out of the deal. but they did not even do that.

No poor person should be hurt or missed on Purim, or any other time, because of false advertising. The poor of the Kupa need our tzedaka, just as the poor of Lemaan Achai need it and the poor of Mishkenos need it. The poor of RBS A need it.
Let us support all our organizations fairly, each person according to his preferences as to how his tzedaka money should be used, and not allow misleading advertisements to sway us that one is better than the other.
The Kupa has issued a clarification (not through me, but I saw it and am therefore posting it)

The signs that were hung up regarding Rav Chaim Kanievsky Sh'lita urging
everyone to give to the Kuppah Shel Tzedakah were intended (and actually
state EXPLICITLY in the Hebrew) to urge people to give to their local
"Kuppah" before giving to the "national" non-local Kuppahs (whose signs are
plastered all over the country).

The message has absolutely nothing to do with giving to Lemaan Achai, which
of course is just as local as Kuppah Shel Tzedakkah RBS A.

paying half price for your bus ticket...

MK Yaakov Cohen (UTJ - Agudas Yisrael) has proposed a law in the Knesset that today was brought up for its first reading and vote.

The law Cohen proposed is that if a passenger on the bus has to stand because the bus is full, he should only pay half price for the bus ticket. Cohen says the purpose of the proposed law is on the one hand to compensate the passenger for having to stand, and on the other hand to urge the bus companies to deal with the situation of passengers riding unsecurely and being packed in. If the bus company knows it is making less money and they can only make the full price by finding solutions to get these passengers to sit safely and securely (i.e. probably by adding buses onto the routes where this happens regularly), they will find and implement these solutions.

The law passed its first reading in Knesset today.

In anticipation of it passing through completely and being implemented as law, I have a few questions to ask about situations I can see arising and I wonder how the law would deal with them.

For example, let's say I have a seat, but the bus fills up only later. Suddenly I see an old man get on, and there are no seats to be had. So I stand up and offer him my seat. Who gets the discount? Me or the old man? I already paid for my ticket, will I get a refund? Will the old man have to pay me for the half price discount he received because he got onto a full bus?

Another - will the bus driver have to keep walking up and down the aisles at every bus stop looking for empty seats so he can tell passengers alighting that they get the discount or that there is a seat available?

Another - let's say a passenger has to stand because the bus is full, so he gets the discount. But then the bus empties out over the course of the ride, and now seats are available. Does the passenger have to pay the difference?

Another - what if there is a seat available but it is next to a woman, or a woman getting on and the seat available is next to a man. Let's say this passenger refuses to sit next to someone of the opposite gender. But let us also say that he does not want to make a big deal out of it, so he chooses to stand. Does he qualify for the discount because he is standing, even one can say for "religious reasons" and for him no seat is available - sitting there is not an option? or can he not demand the discount because technically a seat is available?

and there was this guy approaching me...

I was in the makolet last night picking up a few things. As I am walking out, a teenager begins walking over to me.

Nowadays, in the days before Purim, when you see someone you do not know coming over to you, especially if it is a teenager/yeshiva boy, I assume it is someone collecting for some yeshiva or organization. So I subconsciously get into my hunker down stance and start rooting around in my pocket looking for loose change to give to the young man and try to get away as quickly as possible with as little damage as possible.

I know that does not sound nice, but so many yeshivas and organizations come around in the days before and during Purim that I cannot afford to give a reasonable donation to each of them. I prefer to give to the local tzedakas over the yeshivas, and I prefer to give to yeshivas I know and have what to do with over yeshivas I never heard of. But I also do not turn people away empty handed, so I give them a few shekels of my loose change and wait for my preferred tzedakas to come by for the more reasonable sums of tzedaka.

So this guy saunters over to me and i start rustling around for loose change. he approaches me and sticks out his hand and hands something to me! I was shocked, but thought it must be a notice about an organization that needs money or something, though I had not noticed him holding anything noticeable.

I look at what he handed me and it was a candy (a taffee) and a little piece of paper saying "The RBS branch of Bnei Akiva wishes you a Happy Purim"It did not matter that I am not part of Bnei Akiva. It did not matter that I was wearing my black kipa. It was a surprise, and a very nice gesture.

As I went to my car, I watched him and his friend helping him. They walked over to everyone who passed by and handed them a candy and a note. It did not matter how they were dressed and what they looked like.

Kol Hakavod!

Mar 18, 2008

Together 4 Israel (video)

an incident with the Sadigura Rebbe about relations with Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been visiting Israel. Today she is set to deliver a speech in the Knesset in German. This has set off a debate whether she should be forced to speak a different language, such as English, not speak at all, or allow her to speak in German.

Some say let her speak, she is a friend of Israel. The holocaust was a long time ago, let's move on, etc. Others say that it is reprehensible to have to hear German in our Knesset. German is the language with which our parents and grandparents were slaughtered. Holocaust survivors were tortured with German and should not have to hear that in the Knesset of Israel. Some MKs said they will walk out and refuse to be present for a speech in German in the Knesset.

I am of the opinion that it is not a big deal and it is time to move on. We take so much money from Germany, that having to listen to a speech in German should not be so offensive. And if you do not want to listen, change the channel on your TV or radio.

But better than my opinion is this newspaper clipping (I do not know what paper it is from) from 1961 that I found on an Israeli Hebrew forum. The newspaper clipping relates a story involving the Sadigura Rebbe and is fascinating and sheds light on current events.
The author relates an incident in which he accompanied the Sadigura Rebbe went to a funeral of a chassid in Tel Aviv. The author spends some time describing the regalness of the Rebbe and his demeanor and how he greeted the taxi driver.

The taxi got to a certain intersection and there was an unusual atmosphere. The Rebbe asked what is going on and the taxi drivers response was that there is a world conference of mayors.

As the taxi pulled up to the house of the deceased, they saw the whole area lined with all the different flags of the various countries participating. Suddenly they heard the sounds of the National Anthem as the President of Israel arrived in the area. The Rebbe became very emotional and asked the driver to pull over to the side. He closed his eyes and listened to the anthem.

When it was over and they began moving again, the Rebbe said, "If all the nations of the world are honoring our anthem, how can we treat it with disrespect!? One should not continue driving when he hears our anthem. These are things that need to be treated with full respect."

As the taxi continued on its way, the Rebbe continued, "Just a few short years ago, we were nothing in the eyes of the nations. downtrodden, worthless. Now, with the kindness of Hashem, representatives from all over the world are coming to us to learn from our accomplishments. It is impossible to understand those who do not see the greatness in this."

The author writes that he said to the Rebbe, "Even representatives from Germany have come. There are those who think that we should not allow them to step on our land. "

The Rebbe contorted his face in dissatisfaction and shook his head "no". The Rebbe said, "This is an approach that is not correct. We do not have a community that can allow itself [the luxury of] boycotting a large nation. We are a country, and countries have obligations." After a pause for contemplation, the Rebbe continued, "our accounting of the Jewish nation with the German nation, we have yet to come to. We cannot do this, only Hashem, the avenging God, can do this. But that has nothing to do with the relations between the State of Israel, as a state, and between Germany. We are not even allowed to talk about boycotting Germany. Do not forget that we do not have so many nations that support us. If there is a nation that wants normal relations with us - we should not refuse it."

donate online your mattanos l'evyonim

If you are looking for a simple way online to donate your mattanos l'evyonim for Purim to a worthwhile charity supporting the poor, consider donating to Lemaan Achai.

A direct link for donating can be found here...

Mar 17, 2008

Quote(s) of the Day (qotd)

it should be the Interior Minister who decides who is Jewish and who is not, not a rabbi.
----MK Yossi Beilin (Meretz)

you people do everything in the ugliest way, so as to make sure that others don't join Judaism.
----MK Marina Solodkin (Kadima)

This was said during a meeting with Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar about the conversion process he is insisting on using.

About Yossi Beilin's comment, I would say the Interior Minister is able to decide who is Israeli. Not who is a Jew. Just because he was appointed to a position by a politician means he can decide who is Jewish? On what basis? he has a job in Israeli politics and that is it. A Rabbi is right for deciding who is a Jew (I say nothing about the specific criteria being debated or used). It seems to me more appropriate for a Rabbi to decide who is a Jew than for the Interior Minister.

About Marina Solodkins comment, isn't that exactly what the Gemara and Shulchan Aruch say should be our attitude toward conversion? Not doing things in the"ugliest way" part, but doing whatever possible to ensure others do not join Judaism. That is what we are supposed to do. Only after we see someone is really committed do we accept him with open arms. But at first we are supposed to dissuade them as best as we can.

modern day fanatics compared to Mordechai

guest post

Purim questions from soldiers in the IDF.

My shul, Beis Tefilla Yona Avraham, in conjunction with Pirchei Shosham Shulchan Aruch Learning Program, has made available for Purim a great shiur in pdf format.

It is a compilation of questions about Purim and how to deal with its various obligations while on active duty, asked by soldiers in the IDF. It is very interesting, and is available for you to download and learn from.


And while you are there, feel free to look around the shul's general shiurim website and download a plethora of shiurim on a wide range of topics in mp3 format.

Mar 16, 2008

Rav Chaim Kanievsky talks about Arab labor

Now, I normally would not write about this because many others already (among others) have, but I have a different twist on it that nobody else mentioned... so bear with me.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky was asked, in light of the recent terror attack on Yeshivas Merkaz HaRav by an Arab from East Jerusalem, by representatives of yeshivas whether they should fire Arab employees and whether they should avoid hiring Arab employees.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky's response was that according to Halacha it is prohibited to hire Arab employees, especially in a Yeshiva, because it causes a danger to lives. After all, we are in a war with them! He further expressed his amazement that people would hire Arabs in the first place, saying "Are there no Jews who need work?"
Rav Kanievsky also said this should be publicized. He repeated that they should not hire Arabs (or any non-Jew), but should employ Jews and give parnassa to Jews. When the difference in price between hiring a Jew and a non-Jew is so great, then the Chachamim allowed one to hire a non-Jew due to the prohibitive excessive cost. But when we are talking about Arabs, it is a danger to life [and not allowed, even when there is a great difference in price].

I am not really sure what the big deal is and why this is making waves... my friend Chaim (not Rav Chaim Kanievsky) has been saying this for years already.

It seems the Haredi public likes to hire Arabs to save some pennies, so this is a big shock to this community to hear that we are at war with the Arabs and that they mean us harm. We have deluded ourselves to thinking they are our friends and are only against the evil Zionists, so to hear Rav Kanievsky call them the enemy and instruct us to not hire them, is a big deal...

I wonder though whether this would have any effect on whether one should or should not be eating Arab produce during this shmitta year. The Shmitta year has caused a dilemma for many consumers - among the Haredi public almost all reject use of the hetter mechira, and the importing of produce from Europe is on too small a scale to supply everyone with veggies, and basically the only solution for the Haredi public has been to purchase Yevul Nochri - Arab produce (technically it refers to any produce grown by any non-Jew, but the overwhelming majority is Arab produce).

Now that Rav Kanievsky has said they are our enemy and we should not be supporting them, even if it means paying more for Jews, will this have any effect on the purchasing of yevul Nochri in the Haredi consumer market?

Link of the Day

A Simple Jew has a guest post from a Jew serving in Iraq in the US Army...

comparing the Shefa cherem to the El Al cherem

The Mishpacha newspaper (Hebrew) had a small piece on the Shefa Shuk cherem that was announced. They spoke with Yitzchak Goldknopf, the guy who runs the "Committee for the Sanctity of the Shabbos" and asked him a few questions.

Mishpacha asked what is different about this situation than other places that are open on Shabbos that have not been banned. First of all, Goldknopf said, "This is not just a conventional chillul shabbos, but a complete uprooting of shabbos from its essence. The motto of this chain that is mechalel shabbos is that people no longer need to go traveling out to the mall to buy on shabbos, but now they can do so in their own neighborhoods. ..."

Mishpacha asked if it so serious, why did they only ban (for now) having business dealings with Shefa Shuk, but they did not ban people from going shopping in the stores (yet)? Why is this different than the cherem that was put on El Al a year ago?

Goldknopf answered, "Also in the El Al situation the gedolim never prohibited consumers from travelling on El Al. They just declared that there could be negative ramifications from travelling on El Al. This is exactly the same - we hinted to the public and we hope they will get the message."

Mishpacha asked, "And if they continue to be mechalel shabbos?

Goldknopf responded, "From the start,w e have had no desire to boycott anybody, but we do whatever the gedolim instruct of us. What is definite is that those who guard the shabbos, will not lose out because of it."

There was a little bit more in the blurb, but these are the most interesting points.

I particularly found striking that he now says the gedolim never prohibited travelling on El Al during that crisis. We all remember the rash of cancellations of tickets. People were encouraged to lose all that money cancelling tickets and changing flights and it was never even declared assur?

I did a search to look for the original kol koreh declaring the cherem on El Al and could not find it. The best I could find was my series of posts on the topic and the post with the saying El Al has agreed to not be mechalel shabbos and that it will soon be possible to say the breach of trust between El Al and the haredi public has been repaired. Also, I found this post from Yeshiva World where it seems from the article pretty clear that the kol koreh was actually prohibiting travel.

I will continue to try to find the original kol koreh to see what they actually signed on and whether they prohibited travel or just warned El Al in it.

If they prohibited travel, why did they not (yet) prohibit shopping in Shefa, and if they did not prohibit travel, why did they pressure so many people then to lose so much money?

Yankees play new jewish baseball player

What a great 60th birthday present, even though Billy Crystal struck out...

Haveil Havalim - the Almost Purim Edition

is up over by Jack... I have not yet had time to go through it, but it looks like fun....

Mar 15, 2008

Local RBS Tzedaka: cherem on Shefa Shuk: Kupa shel Tzedaka gets the short end

3 weeks ago I wrote about a new Haredi consumer cherem on Shefa Shuk. The reason for it was the parent company also owns other chains of stores that are open on Shabbos. technically, by shopping in Shefa, one is doing business with someone who is mechalel shabbos, even though the Shefa chain is not.

The cherem was published this week in the Haredi press (in the Yated and Hamodia). If I understood correctly, they were working on an arrangement, which might be why it took so long to publicize. It must not have worked out, so they have now publicized it.

There is an interesting twist in the cherem that Ynet is reporting on today. Surprisngly, this national Haredi cherem directly affects Ramat Bet Shemesh and the Kupa shel Tzedaka in a way other than whether you can shop in Shefa or not.

The local RBS Kupa has an arrangement with the local branch of Shefa. They issued a membership card for shoppers. Any shopper who uses the membership card when shopping in Shefa, 3% of the purchase (maybe 3% of the profits?) will be donated by Shefa to the Kupa Shel Tzedaka.

Rabbi Perlstein and the gabbai tzedaka of the Kupa went to Bnei Brak to meet with Rav Chaim Kanievsky. Rav Chaim Kanievsky told them that the owners/managers of Shefa support chilul shabbos and they have the status of non-Jews from which one cannot accept Tzedaka. Rav Kanievsky stressed that the arrangement between the Kupa and Shefa must be cancelled right away.

(I thought one cannot take money from a non-Jew to build a shul. I was not aware one cannot take such money to support the poor).

As a side note, I was in Shefa today to pick up a few things, and I saw no indication that anybody was paying attention to this cherem. Where the tznius signs are flying high from the walls outside Shefa, I am expecting, for consistency's sake, to soon see signs announcing the cherem and that it is assur to walk inside the store.

Mar 14, 2008

Israel nearly kills Shimon Peres

Israeli President Shimon Peres has spent the last few days visiting France.

Yesterday he was the guest of honor at the Paris Book Fair. A bunch of Arab countries protested his honor because of crimes against humanity Israel has perpetrated against the Palestinians.

Peres made his entry and was mobbed by journalists and admirers. The crowd knocked over a huge sign that said "Israel" which collapsed on Peres.

It was deflected by an adviser's arm (that guy is in the hospital with a broken arm, and two others were hurt as well... that is how big and heavy the sign was) and his bodyguards took the precautions used during assassination attempts.

Peres' daughter said her father "was saved miraculously".

how to spread strep on Purim

I just could not resist posting this...

the following is the content of an email that was just sent out to the local email list...

Subject: psssst ....Wanna spread Strep Germs All Around this Purim? EASY!


It's much TOO easy to spread strep germs around.

But please:

1) If you're going to handle outgoing Mishlo'ahh Manos with open [even almost-healed] cuts or sores on your hands, and refuse to first cover your hands with CLEAN disposable rubber gloves; or

2) If you tend to lick your fingers, or to wipe your nose, while preparing food, or you begin food-preparation without proper soap-washing of hands;

BY ALL MEANS, TELL THE RECIPIENT ABOUT YOUR FOOD HANDLING, in effect that should warn him/her to save the food for burning Erev Pesahh.

A Happy & Healthy Purim to All

That's a riot!!!

Mar 13, 2008

Greens affect the status of Purim in Jerusalem

Purim in Jerusalem is always an interesting discussion.

Because the original Jerusalem was a walled city - from the time of Joshua - Purim is celebrated on the 15th of Adar instead of on the 14th as it is celebrated in most places.

The discussion, though, is what is considered Jerusalem. Today's Jerusalem is many times larger than the Jerusalem of old. Jerusalem was easy to define when it was just the Old City, and even when it had expanded to a few more neighborhoods just outside the walls.

But nowadays, with jerusalem having expanded in all directions many miles away, west to Har Nof, north to Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, French Hill, Neve Yaakov, etc., south to Talpiot and Gilo, the discussion becomes much more interesting.

How far outside of ancient Jerusalem can still be considered Jerusalem? Is it whatever the Municipality of Jerusalem declares as being part of the city? Whoever pays the arnona tax to Jerusalem? The ramification of the question is what day to celebrate Purim if you live in Har Nof or Ramot, for example.

A common factor when discussing Jerusalem is the territorial continuity. As long as there is housing with no break up to where you live, generally that will be considered, at least according to most Poskim, as Jerusalem. Places that are a bit further spread out, with gaps of land in between, are more difficult to decide.

I remember from when I lived in Har Nof that there were a number of people, mostly followers of Rav Moshe Sternbuch I belive, who held that Har Nof is questionable whether it qualifies as Jerusalem or not. As a result, they would read the Megilla on both the 14th and the 15th (Note - this is a minority opinion). I do not know if this applies anymore and what they do because the areas in between Har Nof and Givat Shaul have been built up and filled in in recent years, so there is a much greater level of territorial continuity connecting Har Nof to Jerusalem than there used to be.

The other side of Jerusalem, the north side, is an even bigger problem. Ramot and Ramat Shlomo are really far away from Jerusalem, and there are large tracts of empty land separating them on the roads toward Jerusalem. But they are part of modern Jerusalem. So do they read on the 14th or 15th of Adar?

I understand that due to this being an unresolved question,, they too read on both days. I do not know if this is a minority opinion in Ramot, or what percentage of the people do this, but I know it is done. I understand that Rav Ovadia Yosef is one of the poskim who say that people living in these areas should read on both days, so I assume there are a lot of people who must be keeping two days (not like in Har Nof where it was a small number of people, in my day)

Some people tried to solve the halachic dilemma this year. the assistant mayor of Jerusalem, Eliezer Samchayoff came up with a solution in which he would create territorial continuity. Doing that would solve the problem and Ramot would become halachically, according to everybody I guess (if that is possible), part of Jerusalem.

Samchayoff's solution was to place 30 caravan houses in the empty areas between Ramot and Ramat Shlomo. This would cover the gap of about 700 meters, by being placed at intervals that the local Rabbis with the advisement of Rav Ovadia would declare as being proper to effect the continuity.

As the project was being put into place and being prepared to be implemented, the "Green" groups protested it, saying that because these caravans were going to become permanent (which would be necessary to create the territorial continuity), they cannot just be put down, but they would need building permits from the government.

Due to the short time frame involved, Samchayoff scrapped his plans for this year, but expects to be able to have everything in place for next Purim.

So the residents of Ramot who follow those poskim still need to read the Megilla on both the 14th and 15th this year.

I can only imagine the internation stir this would have caused had it gone into effect - we would have seen headlines saying Israel is destroying the peace process by unilaterally building in Jerusalem.

Satmar Rebbe outdoes Rav Segal

Looks like I made a mistake... In my previous post I said that Rav Don Segal has gone beyond even the Satmar Rebbe.

From this article today printed in the new Haredi newspaper "Yom Chadash", it seems the Satmar Rebbe did not want to be outdone.

The Rebbe, who previously said, "the shooting is like the burning of the Beth Hamikdosh, he continued to say "although its a modern yeshiva [most likely he meant a pro Zionist philosophy] its a very sad era for klal yisreol, that in middle of torah learning an evil 'Rotzech' can walk in, and spray shoot torah learning Bochrim", has now amended his statement.

He said, "This attack happened not in a place of danger, but in the middle of the city (Yerushalayim). It could have happened anywhere, in any yeshiva, but it happened specifically in a Yeshiva associated with the "Mizrachi" stream.
We cry for the murdered and for the pain of the families, but we also have to relate to the pain of the Divine Presence. Causing someone to sin is worse than killing him - the people of Mizrachi are the greatest "Causers of sinning" in this generation. They were a bridge between Haredi and secular, and killed tens of thousands of souls. We need to ask Hashem to stop the murders of the body, but also the murders of the soul."

There you go. He came out on top and outdid Rav Segal.

Mar 12, 2008

Rav Don Segal reveals the cause of the terror attack on merkaz HaRav!

(I also posted this, first, as a guest post on DovBear.. I am wondering which post will get more responses)..

Vos Is Neiz is reporting (and now Haaretz is as well, but with no details) that Rav Don Segal, known as "The Mashgiach", has announced the reason, the casus belli, for the terrorist attack on Yeshivas Merkaz HaRav last week in which 8 bachurim were slaughtered by an Arab.

Rav Don says the reason is because the Jews came to Eretz Yisrael in a fashion in which they were "oiver" on the three oaths that the Gemara says Hashem had made the Jewish nation take. The three oaths are:
  1. Not to return to Eretz Yisrael by force (like a wall)
  2. Not to rebel against the nations of the world
  3. the Nations would not overburden and oppress the Jews too much depending on the opinion in the Gemara, another opinion of the third oath is that the Jews would not sin too much thus causing a delay in the coming of the Mashiach)
Rav Don said the Jews of Eretz Yisrael are in great danger because of the rebeliion against the three oaths. He also said that only Torah and Miztvos provide protection .

Rav Don is a great Rabbi, ethicist, and mashgiach. He also happens to be pretty extreme in his views. While that is well known, I was not aware that he has gotten so extreme that he has gone way beyond even the Satmar Rebbe.

But to comment on what he said, if Torah and Mitzvos are what provide the protection to jews nowadays, how could the attack have occurred in a yeshiva while the boys were learning?
Also, did Rav Don mean all attacks that happen nowadays are because of the three oaths - even the attacks on Haredim (such as the #2 bus that blew up in a suicide attack a few years ago, along with various smaller attacks in which Haredim were the target)? Are all acts of violence attributed to this cause, or only the attack on the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva because they are, so to speak, the flagship yeshiva of the Natioal Religious movement in which the State of Israel is "idolized"?

make Sunday a Day of Torah to prepare for Purim!

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Purim in Israel, outside of Jerusalem and a few other cities, falls out this year on a Friday. That actually works out very well because Friday is a short day and it will be difficult to find time to do everything that needs to be done.

If the WebYeshiva was having this series of Shiurim for Purim on Friday, we would all really be up a creek trying to find time to participate. It would be impossible.

Instead, the Web Yeshiva is having this series of great Shiurim for Purim, on Sunday. It gives us a few days heads up to prepare properly for Purim. And even better, it is all free.

The special Yom Iyun for Purim will boast a lineup of teachers such as Rabbis Twersky, Brovender, Zuriel, Geller, Mrs. Saks, Mrs. Twersky, and more. The shiurim lineup will include topics such as:
  • Why don't we Recite Hallel on Purim?
  • Secrets for Life - From the Pages of the Megillah
  • Where is the Kedusha in Megillat Esther?
  • Purim - A Holiday in Disguise
  • How the Jews Beat Haman - Understanding the Particular Power of the Jewish People
and much much more...

So head on over, see the itinerary, register, and enjoy a day of great Shiurim from the online WebYeshiva!

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Gad Elbaz music in Sderot (video)

Gad Elbaz has been involved recently in a few projects to raise awareness of what the residents of Sderot are going through. Elbaz most recently recorded this new song and music video in Sderot, with children of Sderot.

Headline of the Day (hotd)

14:24 Barak: Palestinians have no desire or ability to fight terror (Haaretz)

I love how politicians make statements that they have no problem contradicting later. I would like to file this one away for a later time when Barak announces that the PA is a true partner for peace and is putting forth great effort in fighting terror...

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