Sunday, January 31, 2010

Enjoy G - d's Creation !


Photo: Tapuz


Rabbi Mordechai Machlis gave an interesting teaching last Shabbat (Erev Tu be'Shevat):

Actually there is a positive commandment to enjoy G - d's creation ! Tasting His fruit, for instance. As we also celebrate on Tu be'Shevat.

What does it mean "enjoying G - d's creation ?"

Of course, each of us has a different kind of understanding of what exactly "pleasure" is. G - d, however, created this world with all kinds of beauties: nature, food, music, etc. Our Mitzvah is to enjoy all this. Otherwise G - d could have created an empty world without any trees, tasty food or drinks. Then we were only doing our Mitzvot and Tikunim (soul rectifications) and that's it. Instead, G - d created a beautiful world and we must enjoy it and thank Him for the creation (as we do with the blessings).

"Pleasure" always means "pleasure within the halachic frame". Enjoying His food doesn't mean that a Jew can run around and eat what he likes. Many people misunderstand the concept but don't realize how much we can enjoy even if we stick to Halacha. Enjoyment also means Judaism and Mitzvot.

Further, "Enjoyment" means that we have to open up and look around in the world. See all the "pleasures" G - d has created for us. Some people like traveling, others love eating. What we should not to is closing ourselves up in our little community and keep separated from anything outside. Should, for instance, a strict chassidic group shut itself into it's backyard in order not to let any "impurity" in ?

Can this "keeping too separate" still be an enjoyment of life ?

Old and new Pictures of Rebbes on Tu be'Shevat

Where do I find myself as a female eating any of those fruit ?

Nowhere because those events (food) are only for MEN !

Look at the fruit masses of the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe !!!

Everything is arranged in detail: The most organized chassidic group BELZ.

Dushinsky: Small but nice. Except for the women who won't speak to outsiders.

See all pictures HERE !

Ruzhin - Boyan: Hachnasat Sefer Torah in Beit Shemesh


Last week, Chassidut Ruzhin - Boyan celebrated a new Torah scroll (Hachnasat Sefer Torah) in Beit Shemesh. Here are some nice photos:

The Boyaner Rebbe Nachum Dov Brayer with the new Torah scroll.

All Photos HERE !

Chassidic Parashot (Beshlach)


The latest edition of all kinds of chassidic (and some other) Parashot (Beshlach). In Hebrew, Yiddish and English. If you are lucky, you can also find French.

Among others, the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak. I am mentioning the Avraham Yitzchak, as we can read that there will be a great wedding within the group this coming Wednesday (Parashat Yitro). As far as I understood, a grandson (Rabbi Shalom) of Rebbe Shmuel Yaakov Kahn is getting married.

The Haredim against "Yesh"


The latest Mea Shearim flyer (front and backpage) is warning the supermarket chain "Yesh" to continue having it's products delivered from companies working on Shabbat. I found one of those flyers in Malchei Israel Street (Ge'ulah / Jerusalem) last Friday night.

However, it wasn't clear to me if the so - called "Mishmeret HaShabbat HaArzit" who published the flyer is warning "Yesh" because the supermarket itself is producing items on Shabbat or rather its suppliers.

"Yesh" belongs to the Israeli supermarket chain "Supersal" and was founded for the haredi public in order to cause competition to the existing haredi chain "Shefa Shuk".
"Shefa Shuk" was boycotted by Chassidut Gur and some other haredi groups because their branch "AM:PM" is open on Shabbat. As a result, "Supersal" saw its chance and founded "Yesh. Nevertheless, "Yesh" has never become as productive as "Shefa Shuk". Now, even "Yesh" is finding itself under haredi attack.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Star Fruit and the Apple




The Shabbat meal at Rabbi Mordechai Machlis was packed last night. Mainly with seminary girls and Yeshiva guys. Henny Machlis, the Rabbi's wife, has her family visiting from New York and her mother, Mrs. Lustig, told an incredible Tu be'Shevat story everyone liked.

An apple tree was standing next to a star fruit tree and because the fruit of the star fruit tree looked so nice and shiny, the apple tree became jealous. It complained to G - d that it wants to grow star fruit as well and no more apples.

On weekends, many people were having trips and found shade under the apple tree. They picked the apples and made jam or apple cake. Everyone enjoyed the apple tree but the tree kept complaining to G - d that it wants to bear star fruit.

Then, one day, an apple fell off the tree and the fruit opened up. This was the first time, the apple tree ever saw it's fruit from the inside. And what did it see ? A star !

At this point, Mrs. Lustig cut an apple and showed us the star pattern around the pits.

The apple tree was growing stars the whole time (inside the apples) and didn't know about it. It just had to come a moment were it discovered it's hidden stars.

The same with human beings. Also we have hidden stars inside of us and we just have to open up in order to discover them.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Shabbat Shalom


Shabbat, Tu be'Shevat, Shabbat Shira + Parashat Beshlach. The Jews are leaving Egypt and crossing "Yam Suf - the Red Sea". All together this sounds so spiritual and many interpretations have been written.
However, when I studied the Ramban's (Nachmanides, 1194 - 1270) commentary on this week's Parasha, I found myself confronted with a question which has been bothering me for a long time. Although the Ramban, based on Rabbeinu Bachya (Spain, died in 1340), provides an answer, we will never know for sure.

"Why is it that the Israelites always started complaining ? They witnessed all the miracles G - d Himself did for them but, after a while, they started being rebellious. No food, desert, no future. Wouldn't it be better to return to Egypt ?"

On the other hand, the Israelites showed trust in G - d. Today they complained, tomorrow they were being loyal to G - d.
How is that ?

Both commentators have the same answer:

Because there were different groups within the camp. Each group had a different agenda and thus, conflicts arouse. Moshe's task was being a leader of all people and solve the conflicts. Today we would call this "Mission Impossible".

When we study the Parasha today, we are completely sure of ourselves that, if we had been in the desert, we would have not been among those rebels. We, of course, would have trusted in G - d, being overwhelmed by the miracles and totally religious. No more doubts and Yetzer HaRah - only G - d, Mitzvot and prayer. How there be any doubt about it ? We would have been so terribly frum, unbelievable.

Is this true ?
Look at us. Many of us live in Jerusalem but do we appreciate living there or aren't we just get used to our environment. Being in Jerusalem, having kosher food everywhere, Synagogues, religious books, etc. Anything you want but the truth is that we get used to it and forget the miracle of being in Israel.

We should compare the two situations and then question ourselves if we had reacted so much better in the desert at the times of Moshe. Humans are humans and we always tend to complain but also trust in G - d.

This Shabbat I will be in Jerusalem myself and I may forget about the excitement I should show due to the need for sleep. Well, at least I don't rebel.

"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" !

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Lecha Dodi" Likrat Kallah

"Lecha Dodi" is sung during the evening prayer Maariv on Erev Shabbat (Friday night). With this song, we are welcoming the "bride" Shabbat !

Haredi Bashing Again


Lately, I have been referring quite a lot to the subject of "Chozre'i be' She'elah - Frummies becoming secular" or "Leaving the Fold". Whatever expression you prefer.

Of course, I am interested in this particular topic because I am still looking (hoping to find) for answers why I didn't succeed in joining a chassidic group although I was on my way. I basically know the answer (if there is only one) but I keep on searching. Maybe someone shows up with a new idea, who knows.

Anyone is free to leave haredi society and become secular or remain "modern" observant. Even those who live in extremly closed groups. Somehow people who really want to leave, eventually find a way out. Not mentioning the private problems they are going to face with themselves.

The majority of those people leaving is simply "leaving". They leave, may ask for help and continue their lives. None of them is making his way to Hollywood in order to set up a movie about his personal sufferings in the past. Sometimes those "off - the - derech" people may be in the newspaper, but most of them keep quiet because they are busy getting adjusted to a new life. They don't make a fuss about themselves but live. Work, get an education, find a place to live, a new home, new friends, a place in society ...

And many do not hate their parents or haredi society but close the chapter in their life. What I don't understand are the few cases of haredi bashing afterwards. People leaving and then only looking back in anger. Maybe they have a reason but, at the same time, they should realize that not the entire haredi society can be blamed for their misery. There are many many positive things happening in haredi society and not everyone is a molester or an blind extremist.
In fact, I have met more nice people than the opposite. Of course, there are always black sheep in society and nothing is perfect. However, not every haredi woman is suffering and not every haredi direction is limited, extreme or evil.

I think that we should always find the balance between the negative and the positive side without getting carried away one - sided !

Jerusalem's Mahane Yehudah before Tu be'Shevat

Yahrzeit in LELOV


Rebbe David Biederman's, (1746-1814), Yahrzeit in Lelov / Poland

This year, around 150 Chassidim arrived in Lelov to commemorate the Yahrzeit of Rebbe David who once was a disciple of the "Chozeh of Lublin". And - Lelov has a new Rebbe: Rabbi Aharon Biederman got officially appointed.

Further pictures from Lelov taken by the same person Lucja Morawska:

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis on Parashat Beshlach

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis on Tu be'Shevat

Tu be'Shevat


This Shabbat (Parashat Beshlach) is also "Tu be'Shevat - the New Year of the Trees". I thought about writing something chassidic and spiritual but Chabad was faster. :-)

I would just like to add that, as far as I know, Satmar is having a Seder wie 18 different kinds of fruit.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sarah Einfeld goes Fashion


A few days ago, the Israeli photographer Miri Davidovitz took fashion photos of the Gur runaway Sarah Einfeld. Obviously a German fashion magazine ordered some photos.

See you on Shabbos !


A new project has been launched in order to connect Jews to Shabbat, Shidduchim and Judaism.

Those of you (all over the world) interested, here are the details:

I was told by the organizers that the entire service is FREE OF CHARGE !

Jerusalem Statistics

When we look at the figures carefully, we notice that, although the Jews are still in the majority, the Palestinians are catching up. Personally I don't believe that we will ever live in an Arab reigned Jerusalem - however, if Jewish Israelis keep on leaving Jerusalem, the Arabs may become equal (in amount).

Polish Bishop accuses Jews of "Holocaust Exploitation"


Again, a Catholic bishop speaks out against Israel and the Jews:

The majority of people killed in the death camps were gypsies, Poles, Italians and Catholics and not at all Jews !

Are we surprised ? Any bishop can say anything he wants as long as the German Nazi pope himself feels sorry for the Palestinias and accuses Israel of hostile activities towards Gaza and other areas.

I took over Carl's entire text on the subject:

One year ago on Monday, Pope Benedict XVI granted a reprieve to a Holocaust-denying bishop. Now, a Polish bishop, Tadeusz Pieronek, has allegedly told an Italian website that Jews "exploit the Holocaust."

"While it is undeniable that most of those who died in the concentration camps were Jews, there were also gypsies, Poles, Italians and Catholics on the list," Tadeusz Pieronek wrote on the website

"So it is not permissible to appropriate this tragedy for propaganda," he said in the posting, two days ahead of the 65th International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"There were lots of Poles, but this truth is often ignored today," added Pieronek, 75.

"The Holocaust as such is a Jewish invention," said the former spokesman of Poland's Bishops Conference. The Shoah is "used as a propaganda weapon and to obtain advantages that are often unjustified," he charged.

Pieronek, who was a friend of the late Polish pope John Paul II, added: "You could speak just as forcefully and establish a day of remembrance for the many victims of communism, persecuted Catholics and Christians and so on."

Accusing Jews of "intolerable arrogance," he said they "enjoy good press because they are supported by powerful financial means, enormous power and the unconditional backing of the United States."

Pieronek also criticized Israel for building a separation wall between its territory and the West Bank, which he called "a colossal injustice against the Palestinians, who are treated like animals and whose (basic) rights are violated, to say the least."

Calling for a day honoring the Palestinians, Pieronek lamented that "with the connivance of international lobbies, we don't talk about these things much."
Pieronek is now claiming that the quotes are 'out of context.'

Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek of Cracow, one of Poland’s most prominent religious figures, said on Monday that he was misrepresented in an Italian Catholic news web site interview in which he was quoted as saying that the Holocaust was a "Jewish invention", according to the PAP Polish news agency. Bishop Pieronek told the Pontifex.Roma web site on Sunday, “Seeing the photographs of the [Gaza] wall we can conclude that a colossal injustice has been committed against the Palestinians, who are treated like animals and their rights are being violated." He continued. “Let them establish [the international lobby] a Memorial Day for them also.”

Pieronek says the interview printed on the Italian web site bares little resemblance to the one that he gave the journalist. He explained, “I have not seen the printed text of the interview, which I have given but have not authorized. But if I were to believe in what I hear from the media then it looks as though the final form of the interview was the idea of the journalist that I had spoken to, as the text is full of vague statements."

Well, here's a Google translation of the Italian web page where Pieronek gave the interview. I've done enough translating to know that Google translations aren't always the most accurate, so if anyone speaks Italian, the original interview is here and I'd appreciate hearing from you whether the translation is accurate. Assuming that this is what Pieronek actually said, it is correct that the allies (and the Catholic church!) did almost nothing to save Jews during the Holocaust. But if the following is anything close to what he actually said, it's indefensible.

Concentration camps is undeniable that most of the dead were Jews, but gypsies in the list are Poles, Italians and Catholics. So it is not lawful possession of that tragedy to make propaganda. The Shoah as such is a Jewish invention, one could then speak with the same force and set a day of remembrance, even for the many victims of communism, Catholics and Christians persecuted and so on. But they, the Jews enjoyed a good press because they have strong financial resources behind it, enormous power and the unqualified support of the United States and this promotes a certain arrogance that I find unbearable. "Considers that, at least in part, the Shoah is exploited? "Of course it is. It is used as a weapon of propaganda and to obtain benefits often unjustified. I repeat, is not historically true that only Jews have died in the camps, many were Poles, but today these truths are almost ignored, and you proceed with this joke against Poland. Again, if your TV from the Pacific Annunziata, made statements on Poland, would do well to learn better. He told a joke. "Excellency, believes that today the Israelis respect the human rights of the Palestinians?" Seeing pictures of that wall is undeniable to say that you make a colossal injustice against the Palestinians are treated like animals and their rights Humans are nothing short violated. But these things, complicates international lobbies, talking little. We face a day of remembrance for them. Of course, none of this denies the shame of the concentration camps and the aberrations of Nazism. "
For the record, it is also a documented fact that many Poles collaborated in the Holocaust and murdered Jews who attempted to return home after the war. Pieroneck ignores that.

Weather Change and Tu be'Shevat in Jerusalem


17 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country but Jerusalem remains cold with 12 degrees. The Jerusalemits still wear gloves and I was frozen to death this morning. Baruch HaShem, I am going back to Tel Aviv tomorrow. Hopefully catching some warmer sun than in the Holy City. :-)

Until than, life consists of work, work, work ...

For those of you who are in Jerusalem this Friday:

From 10.00am - 3.00pm: Tu be'Shevat celebrations are going to take place at Kikar Zion (Zion Square). It will be crowded but, at least, the sun is coming out.

By the way: I suppose that the Mahane Yehudah Market is also organizing special events for the New Year of the Trees, but watch out: Prices for dry fruit and everything connected to the Tu be'Shevat Seder will be up !!!

The Bakery

The Jerusalemer bakery where I, among other places, work

The shop downstairs

Left: Our present fruit cake for this week's Tu be'Shevat.
Right: Our regular creme cake.

Various kinds of baked goods with chocolate, raisin or nut fillings.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Latest Streimel Use

60th Anniversary in Chabad

Chabad is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the reign of the seventh and last Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Rebbe passed away in June 1994.

Sixty years ago, Rebbe Menachem Mendel replaced his father - in - law, Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn.

Picture of the Day

Separation fence (to Palestinian territory) at Modi'in Illit (Kiryat Sefer)

27 January: International Holocaust Memorial Day


Even if many people in this world don't consider Jews as Holocaust victims anymore but rather prefer doing so with another nation due to their terrorist activities, I would like to present some JEWISH facts:

Stealing Jewish Children during the Holocaust

The Vatican and its stolen Jewish Possessions

Rabbi Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal changed his Mind

The Satmarer Rebbe and the Kastner Transport

Video: Eastern European Chassidim during the Holocaust
Do we have the right to question the Holocaust ?

The Rebbe's Survival

Besides Christian anti - Semitism, Arabs have been using the same anti - Semitic cartoon, symbols, pictures or ideologies.

Jew - Hating Cartoons from the Muslim and Arab World

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Birthday" Insights


Kabbalists (I think it was Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, 1534 - 1572) claim that a Jew looking for his Tikun (soul rectification) in this world should look at the Parasha where he was born. It happens plenty of times that each of us starts asking for our individual task in this world. What is our Tikun and what do we have to do ? How do we find out what exactly it is ?
If, at all !

Kabbalists explain that each of us should have a close look at the Torah Parasha which was read when he was born. In the Parasha he will find his Tikun. Just look at the Mitzwot mentioned in the Parasha and then you know what you should keep or fix. 

There actually exists a further kabbalistic idea that your real birthday takes place on the day your mother received you.

I feel a little betrayed because when I look at my birthday (the day I was born) Parasha, I could faint. So many Mitzwot and so much to rectify. :-)

Why was I born when Parashat YITRO is read ? Isn't this mean ? :-)))

Why isn't every Jew an anti - Missionary ?


It is nothing new that Christian missionaries try to infiltrate into Jewish (in particular "national religious") Yishuvim (settlements). And, therefore, it is not surprising that many of those Yishuvim accept Christian money. Missionary money !

Some justify themselves by saying: "Well, we take the money from the Christians but what do we bother ? Are we converting to Christianity ? No, we take their money and this is it !"

"Esav Exposed" has some shocking answers on that !!!

Picture of the Day

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis on Parashat BO

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Leaving the Fold


Young American and Canadian Chassidim leaving haredi society.

This report was shown on the Israeli YES last week !

Holocaust Remembrance 27 January


This Wednesday, the world is going to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the freeing of Auschwitz.

Maybe not the entire world, as, today, Israel is seen as an aggressor and the world still suffers from rising anti - Semitism. Nevertheless, here are a few interesting links showing the vitims who should never be forgotten !

Rescue of Rabbi Mordechai of Bilgoraj

Rabbi Mordechai of Bilgoraj


Today, Chassidut Belz is commemorating the escape of Rabbi Mordechai of Bilgoraj from the Nazis. Rabbi Mordechai was the half - brother of Rebbe Aharon Rokeach and the father of the present Belzer Rebbe Yissachar Dov.

When I look at his picture I can say that his son, the present Rebbe, just looks like his father !


Bilgoraj today

איזו דרך

Where is my Way (in Life) ?

Chassidic Parashat BO


All kinds of different Parashot (BO) in Yiddish, English and Hebrew can be found HERE !

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis on Parashat "Bo"


After a longer period of time, I went to one of Rabbi Mordechai Machlis' Shabbatot (Jerusalem) last night. I came late and his house was packed with people. At least sixty or seventy Shabbat guests were there. The atmosphere was very nice although I found myself squeezed in at one of the tables. Together with a mother and all her daughters. Next to us were lots of American seminary (frum) girls seated.

The Rabbi had a very good teaching which should make all of us think. Usually we go from one Torah Parasha to the next. Study one Parasha after the other and as soon as one Shabbat is over, its Parasha seems a kind of forgotten.

"Coming out of Egypt" - We all know that the Israelites left their spiritual darkness in order to start a new life and receive the Torah. The question is: "What about us today ?"
Are we that much better ? Don't we live in our own darkness even with the Torah ?
Rabbi Machlis said that every Shabbat we are leaving Egypt. Our "Egypt" meaning the weekdays where we are busy and sometimes full of worries. Shabbat comes in and we enter (or should enter) a completely different world. Uplifting ourselves and forgetting our worries for a few hours. 

Sometimes the simple teachings are the best because they really relate to our daily lives.

However, Rabbi Machlis had another Rabbi as a guest. Rabbi Aryeh (unfortunately I didn't get his last name) from Detroit (Michigan). Rabbi Aryeh stated that a Torah believing Jew has his questions but do they keep him away from keeping the Torah ? A wise Jew has his questions and may ask them but not abandon Torah.

Rabbi Machlis answered with a teaching from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach:
There are so many people in this world walking around with answers. All they have is answers. Other people only walk around with questions but don't have an answer.
If those two groups met each other, Meshiach would come immediately !

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shabbat Shalom

Searching for a meaning in Life


Tel Aviv back and forth or vice versa - this is how my life looks. Despite all the heavy rain showers and flooded streets in Tel Aviv, my biggest personal surprise was the positive reaction on my writings in Hebrew. Not only that but the amount of readers.
Not to mention my spellings mistakes but people don't seemed to be bothered too much. I am improving and I hope I am succeeding in doing the same in English.:-) Through my Hebrew writings I found a few new friends. Believe it or not - in Jerusalem: Frum Haredim.

I was planning to write a more or less spiritual soul root explanation on the Erev Rav (Mixed Multitude) before Shabbat but couldn't make it anymore. So, at the beginning of next week, I am trying to get this done.

One of the Ten Plagues of this week's Parasha is "Darkness - Choshech". Lets admit: Each one of us has times of his own spiritual darkness. Depression, doubts and negative personal events.
Our task is to overcome all that. Throw all negativity into the garbage and simply be happy ! Nevertheless, reality is that even the Breslover Nanas sometimes do look unhappy.

There are things in life we have to deal with; if we like it or not. Trying to find answers and thus, a solution should eventually cause us leaving the darkness. But until then, you can still make look your life a little more shiny.

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ticket to Tel Aviv


Passenger to the bus driver from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv (no. 405): "A ticket to Tel Aviv".

Bus driver: "One way or with return ?"

Passenger: "Without return (to Jerusalem)".

Bus driver: "Why not (return to Jerusalem) ?"

Yiddish Paris

Ashkenazim don't go to the Synagogue


The two Knesset members. Me'ir Porush (Yahadut HaTorah) and Ariel Attias (Sephardic SHASS Party) stated that a religious Jew cannot be a member of Israel's left - wing party KADIMA. How could any Thora believing Jew give land back to the Arabs or any non - Jew ?

Indeed, Zipi Livni's KADIMA party looks like a popular party among the Ashkenazi population in Tel Aviv, Herzliya and other secular coast areas. Ariel Attias also made the claim that the vast majority of Israel's Ashkenazi Jews doesn't go to a Synagogue at all.

Attias' statement is very true and it is not only him saying it out loud. In fact, it is well - known that when the massive Aliyot from the European Zionist or secular movements arrived in Israel, countless Eastern European Jews forgot about their heritage and became secular. Especially the German Jews who have never been too religious anyway. At least not after the Haskalah and the entire Reform Movement had spread.

Sephardic Jews, on the other hand, have mostly remained traditional. Countless Sepharadim are religious and if not, they still keep kosher, go to the Synagogue or keep Shabbat. They didn't throw away their entire Jewish identity in order to assimilate and just be like the rest of the nations. 

Ariel Attias didn't intend to say that all Asheknazi Jews became secular and thus lost their heritage. However, enormous parts of today's  Israeli Ashkenazi population couldn't care less about Synagogues and Torah traditions.

Yahrzeit: SEFAT EMET


Yesterday was the Yahrzeit of the famous SEFAT EMET from Chassidut GUR !

Update: Swine Flu in Israel


I thought it was over but, obviously, I am wrong: 
So far, 87 Israelis have died of swine flu ! 

What you should read ...


Interesting blogs:

Shomer Negiah (unfortunately not too updated)

Jewish Refugees (from Arab countries) 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Buy my Publications !


I am a regular visitor of public libraries. I spend many hours in the Jewish departments, either in Jerusalem (National Jewish Library) or in Tel Aviv (Beit Ariella), in order to prepare different articles and do research. 

Most of the time, I do not refer to all the other regulars at the National Jewish Library in Jerusalem. I am very much aware that there are plenty of cliques busying themselves with networking but I am not that type; I hate creeping around others and try making a good impression in order to have a book / article published. Even more though, as many of the regulars are neither religious nor traditional. Just ordinary secular university professors or authors. Thinking of themselves as so terribly important. 

One spiritual hippie looking woman who I rather know by sight thinks of herself as very religious. Spiritual (Carlebach and Breslov mix) dressed in those white (pure) clothes and writing prayers for women. About ten days ago she came up to me and asked me to publish her new book on my blogs. Usually she hardly ever speaks to me but when she saw her networking chance, she grabbed it. No matter what ...
She has a new book out and I can buy one NOW !
I told her that I am not interested but she stuck onto me.
Her new book is our and I can have a brief look. Two or three minutes; otherwise I have to buy it but she doesn't have too many copies yet.

I was so fed up with her and told her that I don't recommed books I haven't really read. 
She was offended, took her book and has never spoken to me since.
Whether I had the book recommended or not, she would have not spoken to me anyway. It is all about networking but where is G - d in this context ? Where is Rabbi Nachman the woman had written about. All great historical rabbis seem to serve some people own ego today. 

I just find it terrible to ask for a favour in order to keep your "career" going. However, this kind of behaviour seems to be very common today.

Leaving the Fold

Chabad is just everywhere !

Tuesday, January 19, 2010



In particular many parts of haredi society are very much into miracles. Some argue that Sephardic Jews are those being more superstitious than others. Nevertheless, when you talk to Haredim they always let you know about recent miracles. Sometimes in a very stereotype way:
"G - d has been performing a miracle for us by saving our (haredi) neighbourhoods from terrorist attacks because we keep the Mitzvot".

G - d created the universe in form of miracles; above nature as we understand it. The Rambam (Maimonides, 1135 - 1204) does not deny the existence of miracles and, as most of us know, the Rambam (Nachmanides, 1194 -1270) was very much into miracles. It was him explaining that the words of the Prophets such as Yeshayahu (Isiah) 11:6 are to be understood in a literal sense. Yes, there will be changes in the animal kingdom in the times of Meshiach. Other commentators state that the verse in Yeshayahu is nothing else but a metaphor standing for peace among the nations and the Jews.

In Chassidut, it is the Zaddik (righteous) having the power to perform miracles. But what really is a miracle and what is nature ? Don't we sometimes consider a certain occurence quickly as a miracle because it is just so unnatural and unbelievable ?
I think it was the Rambam saying that when G - d created the world, He already wove into each thing the potential to behave supernaturally. Example: When G - d created water, He invested with it the power to split, and this potential became reality when the Israelites left Egypt, as we will see in next week's Parashat Beshlach.

Various miracles only took place on a temporary basis. Once, and for a very short period of time. Afterwards the miracle was over, everything went back to normal (nature) and the incident never repeated itself.

The Talmud Tractate Pesachim 54a teaches us that ten things were created at twilight of the first Shabbat eve. Among others the Man (Manna), the donkey's mouth (see Parashat Balak) or the opening of the earth's mouth where Korach stood.
Meaning that those occurences didn't take place as a spontaneous miracle but had been planned from the time of creation; interwoven by G - d into His creation and waiting for the special moment to take place. "There is nothing new under the sun" (Kohelet - Ecclesiastes) hinting to G - d's involvement and plan.

It says that miracles do take place but the question is how we relate to them. Do we take everything literally and get excited or are (also) able to recognize the hidden miracles in the cause of nature interwoven by the creator ?

Picture of the Day

Yesterday's rain showers in Jerusalem

 Haredim (here at Kikar Shabbat) covering their hats with plastic bags in order to protect them from the rain.

Pictures from the Yahrzeit of the Baba Sali


This year's Yahrzeit of the Baba Sali, Rabbi Israel Abuchzeira, was commemorated on 10 January. According to the worldy calendar !

Here are some photos from the event in Netivot:

All pictures may be viewed HERE !

Further Links:

Photos from the Baba Sali grave

My Trip to Sderot and Netivot

Bug Free Tu Be'Shevat


Have a BUG FREE Tu Be'Shevat !

The Pope visits the Synagogue in Rome

Psalms - Chapter 79

1. A song of Asaph. O God! Nations have come into Your heritage, they have defiled Your Holy Temple, they have made Jerusalem into heaps.