Friday, October 30, 2009

Shabbat Shalom


Tel Aviv is flooded !
You cannot imagine how much it has been raining here since last night.
"Mar Cheshvan" is the month when Noach's Flood started and also ended, and, at the moment, Tel Aviv looks like doomsday. Not due to its sins but in Israel, rain mostly is seen as a blessing. Especially now we need it because the winter periods have been almost dry for the past years. The country even though of importing water from Turkey, as the Kinneret (Sea of Galilae) is drying out.

Any water up in the sky is flushing down on Tel Aviv right now but I think that in Jerusalem it won't be much better. A cold, stormy and rainy Shabbat is awaiting us. However, be grateful and thank G - d for letting it rain, as it says in the "Shema Prayer".

Soon I am going to take the bus back to Jerusalem and don't ask what my plans are. Due to the rain and not the Isur (forbidden) to use an umbrella on Shabbat,  everything has to be planned according to the rain. Although still relatively warm, winter has caught us.

In a way, I love this melancholic darker season. Sitting inside and reading a book instead of having the drive to go to the beach and just getting fried from the sun.
I am glad that it is almost Shabbat because in this weather, the chicken soup is more than tasty.

"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to all of you !

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thoughts on Parashat Lech Leach

Torah Parasha "Lech Lecha - Go to yourself"


G - d told Avraham to go out (Lech Lecha) to a land He would going him.
The simple interpretation is that G - d told Avraham to leave his home, country as well as his father Terach.

But does it only mean leaving your home in order to start a new life somewhere else ?
Maybe, but while taking a deeper look you may realize that moving to another country doesn't only mean separation from your beloved. It does mean that you have to look into your inner being and decide what you really want in life. "Lech Lecha" also means "Going into yourself", meaning: Find out who you really are.

Are you just living because you were born and couldn't change your existence anyway ? Or should do do something useful with your life ? Maybe fulfilling G - d's will ?
"Lech Lecha" always reminds me of my own Aliyah to Israel. Going out to start something new and more positive in any way.

The second interesting point this week's Parasha is making is the reaction of Avraham's nephew Lot. When Avraham told him that they should separate, Lot "opens his eyes and sees the fruitful Jordan Valley". The Talmud Tractates Nazir 23b and Horayot 10b interpret this as Lot is going according to his eyes. He sees something beautiful, thinks of all his benefits and thus makes a decision. He sees and wants without taking any consequences into consideration. Instead of running after his advantages he should have learned from Avraham and use his common sense as well.

In this particular situation the common sense would have rejected a life in Sodom. How can you live in an evil environment where the Sodomites kill poor wayfarers and steal the rest of their belongings ? However, Lot thought of all the wealth and good life despite the immorality of Sodom.

How many times do we just follow our eyes ?
I am also asking this because of the disturbing subject "Intermarriage". Jews follow their eyes without thinking. A pretty woman a gorgeous guy and the heart is lost. Instead of looking at the outer appearance we should concentrate on a person's unique soul. A soul with which we are able to connect and not run after quick artificial preferences. The same applies to any daily situation taking place in our lives.

What we can learn from Avraham and Lot is to go into ourselves and start questioning the priorities in our life.

Shabbat Shalom 

A little Shabbat Atmosphere

Selling "Challot - Bread for Shabbat" in Mea Shearim
Photo: Chadrei HaCharedim

Jerusalem by Night


I found great pictures from Jerusalem on a haredi website. 
Enjoy !

From the Jaffa Gate into the Armenian Quarter (Old City)

The OPHEL next to the Western Wall (Kotel)
Link to the Ophel:

Tower of King David. View from the Jaffa Gate.

More Photos can be viewed here:

Yahrzeit of Rachel Imenu


The Yahrzeit of Rachel Imenu (our foremother Rachel) today causes thousands of Jews to visit her grave near Bethlem.

Another Yahrzeit being celebrated in Israel today is the one of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin who was assassinated 14 years ago. 
I am not at all in favour of the killer Yigal Amir nor to I believe that anything can justify the killing. Although it is sad that Rabin was murdered, we shouldn't forget that Rachel Imenu is slightly more important than the one of a policitian who, in the end, cause Israel severe damages in regard of its own security. Giving up land and handing over weapons to our Palestinian enemy is anything but a peace solution.


Yahrzeit Pictures from Kever Rachel

A new Melody ?

Cartoon: Israel Hayom


There are many voices in Israel claiming that our country may attack Iran soon. In December maybe ?
Obama probably stands behind Israel but what would be his price ?
The demand that Israel has to give up the Golan heights and Samaria (Shomron).

We'll see ...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gerrer Rebbe interrupts his visit to New York


The Gerrer Rebbe decided to return to Israel immediately. His plane is going to land at Ben Gurion Airport tomorrow (Thursday) at 7am.
Reason: The Rebbe's wife is suffering from a lung infection but will be released from the hospital tomorrow morning. However, Rebbe Yaakov Aryeh Alter is not taking any chance and is returning to Israel.

His trip to France is CANCELED ! To an arranged dinner party in Italy he is arriving at the end of this week.


Haredi News Site in Hebrew

Swine Flu Protection in Yiddish


I haven't noticed them in Jerusalem but they are obvious in Tel Aviv: Posters with advise how to prevent the swine flu are almost everywhere. Even as a commercial in the cinema.

Here is a New York advertisement against the swine flu in Yiddish: 


"Wasch die Händ" !

Top row from right to left:

1. Mach es nass - Make it wet
2. Seif - Soap
3. Reib - Rub
4. Schwank - Wash off
5. Wisch ab - Dry
6. Vermach das Wasser - Close the water
7. Giess ab - Rinse
8. Wisch ab - Dry
9. Say "Ascher Yazar"

"Asher Yazar" is the blessing after having been to the restroom. I do not get what no. 9 is trying to say us, as we wash our hands not only after being to the loo.

Update: Swine Flu in Israel


So far, 36 Israelis have died of swine flu.
4330 Israelis are infected with the H1N1 virus.

Arcadi Gaydamak & Yoelish Kroisz

In the middle: Arcadi Gaydamak. To the left with white Kipa: Yoel Krauss


By accident, I came across this picture on a haredi news site yesterday. The picture shows Yoelish Kroisz (Toldot Aharon and also a bit of Neturei Karta) as well as the Russian billionaire Arcadi Gaydamak.

The photo was taken before Gaydamak escaped from Israel where police investigations have been taking place against him for years. Money laudering is only one of the many accuses the police holds against him. France has a warrant of arrest for Arcadi Gaydamak because he once sold illegal weapons to Angola. Yesterday a French court sentenced Gaydamak to six years in jail.

However, Arcadi Gaydamak has returned to Russia after his escape from Israel. He may be totally secular but was always involved with Synagogues or Yeshivot. Even the haredi world, such as the MIR Yeshiva Jerusalem, used him for their donations. Gaydamak used to be more than generous and many religious institutions received thousands of dollars from him.

So, what does the above picture with Yoelish Kroisz (Yoel Krauss) tells us then ?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FOX Fashion and Haredi Modesty

The poster made "kosher" (photoshopped) by the haredi site HAREDIM


"Netive'i Ayalon" is probably THE busiest highway in Israel. Leading in and out of Tel Aviv, thousands of people use it everyday. 

Tel Aviv loves huge advertising posters and you can find them almost everywhere: At Kikar Rabin, the Arlozorov railway interchange and at Netive'i Ayalon. Besides a gigantic poster of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson z"l hanging there (proclaiming that he is the "Meshiach"), Israel's fashion company FOX put up some fashion advertising showing the famous Israeli model Bar Rafaeli (Leonardi Di Caprio's Ex).

The Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv

So far, there is nothing special about hanging up all this annoying advertising posters. However, parts of the haredi society including the haredi online magazin HAREDIM started a complete fuss about the fashion posters from FOX. The posters would be totally immodest and have to be taken down immediately !
The haredi claim was that Israel's secular society also has to think about haredi society and cannot just dump it's "garbage" (immodesty) all over the place. Thousands of Haredim using the Netive'i Ayalon highway cannot look at immodest posters let alone haredi children passing on school busses.

The secular Israeli press a kind of ignored the haredi demand and only started reporting when FOX gave in yesterday. The fashion company has already removed the posters !
"A mistake, as a certain elderly Chassid told me. FOX should have not given in and if it is bothering all these modesty patrol freaks, so look somewhere else and not at the commercials."
The Chassid continued: "What is next ? Women have to ask for permission in order to leave the house ?"

The posters at Netive'i Ayalon put into modesty by the "Haredim Website"


There is no doubt that most of Israel's commercial or any other advertising are garbage. Totally unnecessary and some are even almost pornographic. However, the posters in question were not. You can call them stupid but not immodest.
When haredi society wants to be taken into consideration it should also take other parts of society into consideration and not only itself. What we need is tolerance on both sides and not one society threatening its counterpart.

Will your grandchildren be Jewish ?


The Reform movement is ruining itself through assimilation and intermarriage !

Meir Kahane's views on intermarriage.
He was right, I have to say !

The Gerrer Rebbe in New York


The Gerrer (Gur) Rebbe Yaakov Aryeh Alter is visiting New York at the moment.


Picture of the Day

How about Gitty Grunwald ?

Gitty Grunwald with her daughter Esther Miriam


A little more than a year ago, the press was full of the "Gitty Grunwald" case.
Just to remind you: Gitty is a young American woman who ran away from the Satmar community in Kiryat Yoel. She got divoced from her husband (a Satmarer Chassid) and lost (then, in July 2008) custody for her little daughter Esther Miriam. However, Gitty was allowed to visit her in Kiryat Yoel.

Gitty Grunwald became well - known because the case ended up being published by the "New York Magazine". Here on SHEARIM I published an article called: "Revenge as a state of Emergency" telling about the problems of people (myself) leaving haredi society in order to continue a different lifestyle.

The question is: What has happened to Gitty ever since ? The Gitty - story in the "New York Magazine" contains more than a thousand comments. People promised to be with her all the time. Not literally but, at least, think about her. Where and how is Gitty now ? Has anyone ever done a follow - up ? I started surfing the new in order to find an e - mail address and maybe ask Gitty personally. My search was not too successful but my friend Tamar did a better job but still: No present sign of Gitty Grunwald !

"The Jewish Journal" on Gitty in July 2008

Here we find an interesting comment and this may be true:


Comment by sandyrug on 7/29/08 at 11:35 am
Maybe somone knows if Gitty has succeeded in building up a new life of her own. And what about the custody of her daughter ?

Gitty also set up a blog but has not continued posting anything since 2007. This is all the information we were able to gather.

Swine Flu: Vaccination Considerations

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kashrut: Badatz and a Gentile turning on a stove


The bakery where I work has the Hechsher (kosher certificate) "Badatz (Beit Din Zedek) Belz" or others call it "Machzikei HaDa'at".
Last night I spoke to one of our Mashgichim ( a Belzer Chassid) and asked him how either "Badatz Belz" or the "Badatz of the Edah HaCharedit" are checking on restaurants, cafes, etc. if a Gentile did not turn on the stove early in the morning.

Especially in Jerusalem, countless Arabs work a Falafel stores at the Machane Yehudah Market, in bakeries, cafes or restaurants. What happens if an Arab arrives at work early in the morning and has to turn on the stove in order to start a cooking process. The owner has not yet arrived - so, what should the Arab do ?

A stove has to be turned on by a halachic Jew. In particular, when the business is run with a Badatz Hechsher.

Our Mashgiach told me the following:

If the Arab (or another Gentile) arrives in the morning and the owner has not yet arrived, he has to find a Jew in order to turn on the stove. He could ask a Jew passing by or a neighbour.
He himself (the Mashgiach) has been asked a few times while passing over Machane Yehudah.

"Do you trust the Arab with this ? He basically could tell the owner that a Jew turned on the stove but the truth is that he himself (the Gentile) turned it on." - I asked the Mashgiach.

"No, we don't trust the Gentiles with this but what we ask for is a name and a telephone number. Meaning: The Arab has to find a Jew in order to turn on the stove and the Jew then has to write down his name and phone number onto a special list. This list belongs to the shop owner and is being checked by him and the Mashgiach. Thus, the Gentile is forced to find a Jew to turn on the stove.

Rain in Jerusalem


Baruch HaShem, it is finally raining in Jerusalem. Israel needs the rain so urgently but, as most of you know, the land depends on G - d and His will.
So, let us hope that His will is turning out positive for us !

The Vishnitzer Rebbe Menachem Mendel Hager in Australia


Is he the Vishnitzer Rebbe or not ?
I am neither judging nor getting into a discussion now !
However, Rebbe Menachem Mendel Hager, one of the sons of the Vishnitzer Rebbe Moshe Yehoshua Hager (Bnei Brak), is visiting Australia.

Here are a few photos:

See all pictures here:

A Chassid from a different chassidic group told me that quite a few Chassidim started joining Rebbe Mendele in Bnei Brak. Is this true that his group is growing ?

Yoelish Krauss (Kroisz) arrested


Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, the Toldot Aharon Chassid and a leading member of the Neturei Karta in Mea Shearim, Yoelish Krauss (Kroisz) got arrested by the Israeli police.
Due to the TV - report about the Toldot Aharon, a woman accuses him of having sprayed an irritating substance on her. 

See more at Yeshiva World !

Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe investigated at JFK


"Yeshiva World" reports that the Rebbe of the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak, Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Kahn, was detained in JFK Airport:

Sources tell YWN that upon the Rebbe’s arrival, he was immediately taken by agents into a private room and hassled for more than an hour. He was repeatedly questioned how much cash he was bringing into the USA. After more than an hour of intense interrogation, and searching all the Rebbes belongings, it was obvious that there was no illegal activity involving the Rebbe - and he was permitted to exit the airport.

The Rebbe arrived today for a scheduled visit seeking to raise funds to support his ailing mosdos, some reportedly on the verge of collapse.

This upcoming shabbos, Lech Lecha, the Rebbe will hold a tisch in Boro Park.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shtetl Links


Shtetl Links: A great site for all those doing research

New Riots on the Temple Mount


The Jerusalem police is on high alert. Some Jewish right - wingers had announced a special prayer on the Temple Mount and the Palestinians went mad. As soon as the Jews go onto the Temple Mount to look around, the Arabs just see another attack. It is already a shame that Jews are not to pray on the Temple Mount but only to walk around. Israeli police is not letting Jews pray at the holy site.
As soon as the news about the new prayer was spreading, the Palestinians called for protection. Muslims should come and protect their "holy site" and Mohammed.
Mohammed, by the way, was never in Jerusalem and Islam has absolutely nothing to do with the Jewish Temple Mount. Today the reign over the Har HaBayit is just a statement of political power and the Arab world knows how to use it by spreading the rumour that there were never any Jewish Tempels on the Temple Mount. However, they can lie as much as they want and try to rewrite history but they cannot change a historical fact.

This morning, the Israeli police got attacked by Arab rioters.


Pictures from the Temple Mount

How the Palestinians have been trying to destroy any Jewish sign on the Temple Mount

Tempel Mount Tour

From the Jewish point of view, there are different opinions if today, we (Jews) are allowed to enter the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit). After the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans and the ashes of the Red Hefer (Parah Adumah) disappeared, we are unable to cleanse ourselves from spiritual as well as from physical impurity.
The national religious movement is very much in favour of visiting the Temple Mount today. "We cannot just leave it to the Arabs but have to show Jewish presence !" - so their claim. Haredim, however, are strictly against walking around on the Temple Mount, as we are impure and don't know for sure where the sites are where only the Cohanim (Priests) were allowed to walk. "First the Meshiach has to come and then we will be able to purify ourselves !"

Parashat Noach: Gallery of Parashot


Different haredi / chassidic groups are presenting Parashat Noach in their communities:

Here is the latest edition of the Edah paper "The Edah":

Most Parashot are in Hebrew and some are in English !

This one is in FRENCH:

Some Halachot in English:

Further Demonstration against Karta Opening on Shabbat

New demonstrations against Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat and the opening of the Karta parking lot on Shabbat. In the box on the bottom, the participants are being asked by the Edah HaCharedit NOT to cause any violence !
The demonstration took place at Kikar Shabbat yesterday afternoon.

Gerrer Rebbe in the US


The Gerrer Rebbe left for a visit to the US last night.

Picture of the Day

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yahrzeit: Nir Poraz & Nachshon Wachsman


It has been 15 years now since the two soldiers Nir Poraz and Nachshon Wachsman got killed by Palestinian terrorists.

Last week's Shabbat edition of the Israeli newspaper MAARIV contained an interview with Wachsman's mother Esther who, after his death, became a public figure and a popular member of the national religious party. Esther Wachsman was born in the US and is the child of Holocaust survivors from Europe.
In her interview she accuses the former government (1994) under Yitzchak Rabin to have hastened the rescue of her son Nachshon. Instead to wait and thus gain time, Rabin sent out a rescue squad from the elite unit "Sayeret Matkal". However, the Sayeret was, according to Esther Wachsman, not experienced enough for such a combat but another special trained squad was just pushed away. Obviously Ehud Barak wanted to have his favourite elite unit (the Sayeret) in the picture.

Esther Wachsman continues with the words that after the failed rescue mission, Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin cried. Later on, when Esther and Yehudah Wachsman came to mourn Yitzchak Rabin (in November 1995), his widow Leah told them that she only saw her husband twice crying during his lifetime. One time was when Nachshon Wachsman got killed.

The first part of the video showing Nachshon Wachsman is accompanied by the song "Shema Israel" sung by the popular Israeli singer Sarit Hadad.
The second part showing Nir Poraz is accomanied by a song from Yehudah Polliker.

Exactly 15 years ago, the week Nachshon Wachsman got kidnapped the the terrorists, a friend of mine celebrated a house party. She and three other friends had moved together into a new apartment in the Bavarian town of Fuerth. Then, I lived in the nearby Nuremberg and went to their party. When I arrived I was told that an Iranian guy had also been invited and if I would mind. Yes, I did mind but the guy had already arrived with another Iranian friend.
Muslims tend to bring their own kind when they are invited to a party given by non - Muslims.

I sat down and started talking to some people I kewn but those two Iranians who turned out to have studied with one of the guys moving into the new apartment, kept on staring at me. I have never spoken one single word to them and someone must have told them that I am Jewish.
Eventually I moved on sitting in another room and found some interesting people in the kitchen.

This incident always comes into my mind when I think of Nachshon Wachsman. A day before he was shot, I was stared at by two Iranians. Stared at with pure hatred.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shabbat Shalom


The weather cooled down a bit but it is still going to be a warm Shabbat (25 degrees Celsius, something 80 Fahrenheit).
The Shabbat countdown has begun. People run to the markets and I am rushing back to Jerusalem this afternoon. Usually my Shabbat activities depend on my mood and this week, I feel like something quiet and spiritual. No big meals ( as I am on a diet anyway) and not being around too many people. Just something small and a Synagogue.

Israeli newspapers are always full of bad news and blood. However, this morning when I opened it up, a good news showed up right as a headline. Many Israeli soldiers are being sworn in at the square in front of the Kotel (Western Wall). This also happened last night with a unit called "Shimshon" but the event was different: As soon as a commander of the Kfir unit began to speak, the new Shimshon soldiers held up a sign that they did not join the army in order to pull settlers out of their houses but fight the enemy (called Palestinians, Iran, etc).
It looks like, despite all the secularity in our country, some people finally wake up. Not religiously but rather realize the importance of having a Jewish state and that we have to fight for it in order to protect our existence. Not only G - d alone is supposed to help us but we have to do the first step towards him and show action.

The Kfir commander said afterwards that obviously the soldiers did not know what they were doing and that the whole action was a desecration of the holy site.
This is wrong because the soldiers were a "Kiddush HaShem" and the only people desecrating G - d (Chillul HaShem) are those like the commander, our governement and others who want to be so terribly liberal and stupid. Those people will only realize what damage they have done when the Hamas is knocking on their door and in order to throw them into the sea.

It is unbelievable how Jews can be so ignorant and secular but there always is a certain point in life when many of them finally rebel. Rebel in order to protect their Jewish identity. This is what has kept us alive for all those thousands of years. An ability and strive no one can destroy. All the others left behind on the way seem to be the Erev Rav who are not included in the Jewish nation anyway.

I am proud that some soldiers and their parents finally made a positive point towards the Jewish nation.

"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to all of you !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mea Shearim Mother fired her Lawyers


During this morning's hearing at the court, the "abusive" Mea Shearim mother fired her lawyers David HaLevi and Reuven Bar - Chaim. From now on she will be represented by the lawyers Dr. Aviad Cohen, Dr. Shachar Eldar as well as by the haredi lawyer Devorah Attiah.

Source: Kikar.Net

To be honest: I cannot follow the case anymore. Now the Supreme Court allows the mother to be in Mea Shearim with her children but all the complications with her lawyers and the wheelings and dealings of the people around her ...

Who talks about the three - year - old boy ? Does the individual count or do the Toldot Aharon just see their society at stake ?


How does the mother deal with the outside world ?

Emanuel Ringelblum's Underground Archive in the Warsaw Ghetto

Oneg Shabbat: Emanuel Ringelblum's Underground Archive in the Warsaw Ghetto - Documentary film that makes use of archival films, photographs, works of art, and diaries. The film describes the activity of the underground archive of the Warsaw Ghetto that was created out of a sense of tremendous urgency and at the risk of human life; it also tells the story of Emmanuel Ringelblum who was the motivating force for establishing the archive.

The film appears in Yad Vashem's Holocaust History Museum. The entire collection of the Museum films (including documentary footage as well as testimonies) is available for personal viewing and research in Yad Vashem's Visual Center.

"Oneg Shabbes: Emanuel Ringelblum and the Underground Archive in the Warsaw Ghetto"(2005, The Holocaust History Museum, Yad Vashem)
Director: Reuven Hecker
Producers: Noemi Schory, Liran Atzmor, Liat Benhabib

Source: WeJew

No Money from Xtians


More and more Israeli Orthodox communities like to accept donations from Christian organizations. Even from those Christians claiming the prostelyzing of the Jews as their main goal such as the Evangelists.

No matter if national religious or sometimes haredi, Christian missionary organizations know how to buy their way into Jewish society. People like John Hagee and others have discovered a new way and soon they will ask for something in return.
Not every Christian donating money to Israel may be a missionary or follow an evil purpose. However, most of the time, Jews are not able to differentiate between the various reasons why those donations are floating in.

One famous example is the national religious news site ARUTZ 7 which is accepting Christian money and I heard from an Evangelists that he is allowed to publish there. What exactly, he did not really say.

But not only ARUTZ 7 but also national religious settlements, Hebron or certain so - called "modern - Orthodox" rabbis seem to love the Christian money. In return, some modern - Orthodox communities (in Jerusalem) call for more "solidarity, Christian friendship and understanding, being progressive, etc.
I spoke to several religious Jews who do accept Christian donations and each of them told me that they are willing to accept the money. "Let the Christian give the money but I don't care and don't let myself getting sucked in and missionized".
Nevertheless, the Christian majority has its agenda: "Once the Jews take our money, we demand a share and they have to let us participate in their communities".

The spiritual litvishe leader, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv, now made up a new decree: Accepting donations coming from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his "International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (Keren HaYedidut)" is forbidden !
"Groups that take money from the fund are flouting the Torah's prohibition of idolatry", says Rabbi Eliyashiv.

It is high time that Rabbi Eliyashiv is making such a statement. Statement even when the national religious do not like it ! Many national religious seemingly prefer Christian money and afterwards, join the Christians in their Haredi Bashing.


Who is Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein ?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Israeli Kitchen


A great site with many recipes  !

Noach and the Torah


Every week, I write the Torah Parasha for one of my German blogs. I once picked up a special thought from Rabbi Mordechai Machlis from Jerusalem: "Wouldn't it be a great idea studying the Torah for one year and only concentrating on one particular commentator ?"

I liked the thought and with last week's Parashat Bereshit (Genesis), I started studying each Parasha with the commentary of the Ramban. And by studying Parashat Noach with the Ramban, I discovered a tremendous insight which I would like to share.

The Ramban (Nachmanides, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, 1194 – 1270) on Parashat Noach:

As we all know, Noach did not participate in the sins of his generation and this is why G – d chose to save him and his family from the upcoming flood (Hebr. = Mabul). At a certain point, G – d commanded Noach building an ark (Hebr. = Teva) and take, before the flood is coming about, two animals of each species into the ark. In Bereshit (6:19 – 21) G – d says that those animals would come to the ark by themselves:

"G - d informed Noach that two of every sort of animals would come of their own accord, and he would not find it necessary to hunt for them in the mountains and distant lands (see Parashat Noach / Genesis 6:19 - 21). After that, He commanded him to take seven and seven of every clean beast (Parashat Noach / Genesis 7:2 - 3. Concerning these, G - d did not say that they would come of their own accord but that Noach should take them. These animals were to be sacrificed as whole - offerings and G - d did not decree that they come of their own accord to be slaughtered".
(Quote from "Ramban (Nachmanides)" – Commentary on the Torah by Dr. Charles B. Chavel)

From this we learn that Noach already knew Torah !
Rashi, the Ramban and the Da'at HaZkenim commentate that Noach understood the meaning of "clean" (animal) and thus he figured that those seven clean beasts were meant to fulfill a special purpose.
The Kli Yakar, however, rejects this idea. This alone would not be a proof of Noach knowing the Torah. At the time when G – d commanded him, Noach did not know that after the flood, G – d would permit humankind to eat meat. Before the flood all people were simply vegetarians.
The seven clean animals were Noach's food after the flood. The sacrifice he brought was taken from the other clean animals in the ark.

Regarding the word "clean" concerning the rest of the animals:
"Clean" here stands for not being used for sexual perversions, as it was very common in Noach's generation.

Not only Noach knew many parts of the Torah but also Avraham. I just remind you of the famous story when the three messengers (angels) came to Avraham and he told Sarah to prepare some food. First they ate the dairy meal and only afterwards the meat. From this, many commentators have been drawing the conclusion that Avraham knew Torah and Kashrut (kosher laws). At least up to a certain extend.

Many times we hear from different sources that it is not really necessary to keep the Mitzvot. Our forefathers did not have the Torah and thus were not familiar with all the laws. So, why should we do so ? Isn't this a waste of time ?

First of all, all Jews standing before Mount Sinai accepted the Torah, meaning the 613 Mitzvot. Not, that everyone is able to keep ALL the Mitzvot because many apply to men or to Cohanim (priests in the Temple). Nevertheless, we accepted the Torah (according to the Talmud) at Mount Sinai and especially when our ancestors were in Bavel (Babylon). There is a special verse in Talmud Shabbat describing how the Jews in the Babylonian Exile really accepted the Torah and not only by "force" like at Mount Sinai.

Especially people converting to Judaism should refrain from the statement "the forefathers did not keep the Torah, so I do not need to do so !"

Judaism is a religion of action ! We HAVE to do Mitzvot and this is our whole purpose why we are in this world. Acknowledging G – d as the Creator of everything and keeping his Torah Mitzvot. We do not just sit around, be so spiritual and wait for something to happen. Our task is going out and doing Mitzvot and thus causing a "Tikun Olam – Rectification". Rectifying us and hopefully bringing about Meshiach.

Why I like the Toldot Aharon

The women of Toldot Aharon


So far, the Toldot Aharon have been my favourite chassidic group in Mea Shearim and elsewhere. Another group I really start to like is the Chassidut Vishnitz in Bnei Brak. However, my personal no. 1 are still the followers of Reb Arele (Roth).

I am neither a blind admirer of anyone nor am I especially attracted by the TA. I do agree with them to a certain extend but could not live such a life. In my eyes, one has to be born into that group. If you join them later, it won't be the same.
It is hard for me to describe the exact meaning of this statement but being born into something or joining later as someone coming from the outside is simply not the same.

Why now do I like them ?

Because of their simplicity.
I can only talk about my personal experience with the TA women, however, you won't really meet anyone so terribly arrogant who only is into himself. No one is yearning to be the center of attraction and what you see at the Tish is mainly extremely pious women. very much into Tehillim (Psalms) and prayer. The TA Rebbitzen sits just as everyone else on a metal bench during the Tish of her husband. No special chair, no nothing. You wouldn't even know that she is the Rebbitzen. A few months ago I went to one of her lectures and it was a great experience. If you get to know her you will find a modest educated woman who really is into the Torah life.

This is what impresses me most: The modesty of those group members.

TV - Report about the Toldot Aharon


Last night, a special report about Chassidut Toldot Aharon from Mea Shearim was broadcasted on Israeli TV. The report also mentioned the "abusive" Toldot Aharon mother. 

The report as a whole is quite good and it really looks like Arutz 10 got a permission from Rebbe David Kahn to film.

Here is the link where you can watch the report.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Here goes the Constitution !


You watch: Slowly slowly it is going to happen. The American President is loosing his Barak face and showing his Hussein one instead.

FOX NEWS is in trouble because Obama is singling it out. The President can take anything but criticism.
What else do you expect from a "Messiah" ?

Pajamas Media has the story !

Hooray, Hooray, the Tram is Coming !

Map of Jerusalem's tram


It is scheduled for the end of October: Jerusalem's Tram is finally going to run !
However, don't get too excited !
The municipality is planning test rides ONLY - meaning: without passengers.

Otherwise Jerusalem still is a gigantic construction site or in other words: A Mess.

Jaffa Road in downtown Jerusalem

After all the chaotic discussions about if Jerusalem can afford investing millions of Shekels in a bridge it doesn't really need, the tram is getting into action. 

But another questions is coming up now: Is the monster bridge stable enough or is it going to burst as soon as the tram is crossing on top ? 

My advise is to keep as far away as you can when the tram is traveling over the bridge for the first few times. The municipality and some engineers will tell us to stay calm and that there is no danger at all. Technical equipment has been put in charge and, as soon as a problem shows up, everything is going to be under control.

The only thing we can do is wait. So, lets wait and hope that the municipality is not planning any further monsters called buildings or progress ...

Right: The trains are ready to take off.

Near French Hill / Jerusalem



See what's kosher in Jerusalem and which restaurants work with false certificates:

Kosher News Jerusalem

Update: My Radio Interview on the haredi demonstrations in Jerusalem


Last July I was interviewed by Baruch Spier from "Rusty Mike Radio" of the AACI in Jerusalem. "Rusty Mike" put the interview on its site (podcast) but, unfortunately, it hasn't been activated until today. Now Baruch let me know that the radio has problems with its potcast but is trying to solve the matter.

Maybe you will be able listening to the interview soon:

Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library


Books in Yiddish are available online. The signing up for an online library card is free of charge !

Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library

Picture of the Day

Photo: Sheik yer Mami

Monday, October 19, 2009

Too much in Haredi Society ?


To be honest, I was intending to write about something completely different but I just had this, well, rather disturbing experience. So, I am bothering you with that and maybe someone has the RIGHT halachic answer.

Before I start telling this particular incident, I have to say that although I am not running around in a skirt all the time, I do agree with haredi Judaism. I agree to an extend of letting me not feel comfortable in a national religious synagogue. Especially not when the rabbi or the national religious community members are involved in haredi bashing, such as many "modern - Orthodox" communities in Jerusalem.

When I do go to a synagogue, it will be to 99 % a haredi one. No matter it litvish or chassidish. Furthermore, I cannot stand this national religious, Carlebach or whatever "Flower Power Style" such as freaky hippie clothes and waving the arms around while singing or praying; nor am I into special women's prayers.
I may be modern but I certainly do have a "fanatic" haredi side.

The incident just happened:
I wanted to sit on a chair in order to do something and a woman sitting in a public place was already occupying another chair nearby. Obviously she had put her plastic shopping bag onto the chair beside her. I asked her if the bag belongs to her, as then she may have taken it away because I wanted to sit on the other chair.

The modern - religious (Orthodox ?) "Flower Power" woman said that the bag doesn't belong to her.

I removed the "ownerless" bag for a few minutes from the chair in order to sit on it. Less than five minutes and while getting up, I put the plastic bag back on its former place.

During these five minutes the woman asked me to apologize to her because I had accused / assumed that the bag belongs to her.

I was stunned and said that there is nothing to apologize. I had just asked her with the intention that, if the bag belongs to her, she may take it away so that I can sit on the chair.

Then she started quoting me a certain Halacha that it is forbidden to accuse someone.

I responded that I didn't accuse her of anything and that there is nothing to apologize. I had just asked.

I do have a problem with two things occuring here:

1. I am having problems taking a Halacha from this "Flower Power" woman because she is just not my religious style. Not that I want to sound arrogant but her thing (women's prayers and hippie) is just not for me.

2. Why do people have to go into every single little detail ?
I was asking a question and didn't just throw the bag off the chair.
If this had happened to me and there was such a Halacha, I would not bother another person with this and don't demand an apology. Simple because someone asked a question.