Monday, February 28, 2011

The National Religious Shomron Settler Movement and its Christian Donations

B”H

“Money makes the world go round” – Not only for some Haredim such as Dudi Zilberschlag or Yehudah Meshi Zahav but especially for the national religious settler movement. While searching for material about today’s police attack on the Gilad Farm settlers, I found this

and this
http://www.blessingisrael.com/

 Not only Netanyahu is trying to play Ghaddafi but the national religious Shomron Jews have put themselves into the hands of extreme idol - worshipers such as the Evangelical Christians.

“Jewish ideology YES but together with Christian idol – worship money !”

A young Haredi and his sexual Depression

B”H

Twice or three times a month he sneaks into this anonymous place in Tel Aviv. Outside, in the streets, he usually snatches one of the free pornographic magazines laying around everywhere and quickly puts it into his pocket. A Haredi shouldn’t do this; follow his Yetzer HaRah and grab dirty magazines in the street. Not in public where everyone can see it. But who cares in a city like Tel Aviv where absolutely nothing seems to be unusual ?

On the other hand, he cannot help it. The feeling appears like an obsession and he is unable to stop it. He goes into the place and looks through the magazine. Not to look at the photos but to search for prostitute phone numbers. 

“Should he ? Should he not ?”

Again he goes outside. Maybe a prostitute is offering her services in the street. He wishes she would come up to him and just ask if he is desperate but none of the ladies shows up. 

Again he goes inside, ashamed of himself but starring at the hooker numbers.
Time is up and he has to pay the place for another hour. 

He walks outside, he goes inside and is starring at the magazine.
“Should he phone one of the prostitutes ?”

He is ashamed and, in the end, he pays for three hours without satisfying his sexual desires. Did he overcome his Yetzer HaRah ?

In two weeks, he will be back …

Nothing but Streimels



B"H

Nice Streimel pictures from a Streimel store in Jerusalem's haredi Ge'ulah neighbourhood. I assume that the guy taking the photos went to the famous "Streimel Center". Actually this was my idea going there and finding out anything connected to the "Streimel issue" but I was always wondering how they react when a woman walks in. Not a future bride buying a Streimel for her future husband but someone ordinary like me.:-)

(Single)Life in Tel Aviv


It was raining like something this morning but now the sun is out again. 

B"H

Interesting what an Israeli newspaper is announcing today: 

TEL AVIV has become the place of SINGLES. 

Less Tel Aviv inhabitants get married but simply remain single. I am not talking about the religious population, of course, but the secular part of society. Even many traditional Jews. 

Israelis in their 30ies or 20ies prefer a single life without any family obligations. Religious Jews like to call this kind of behaviour "selfish" and me, as a single, had to listen to this argumentation quite often. However, I wouldn't always call it "selfish" but when you live in Tel Aviv, your daily survival can be very intense and any obligation around could turn out to be a burden. Having a family with kids is extremely expensive and today's younger generation is more into a career. First have a career and get established; earn enough money, then get married and have children. Who wants to marry and starve ?  

Those people looking for a career and a new job often concentrate on popular job offers called "RE - LOCATION". Today your new company send you here and next week, you may have to work at their branch in the US or somewhere else.

Photo: Miriam Woelke

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yom Kippur: Preparing to appear in front of the King

B”H

PURIM is right ahead and until then, I am going to publish some insights. Here is a brief but very interesting introduction providing us with a high amount of thought.

The source is the Talmud Tractate Megillah 13:

It says in Megillath Esther (Book of esther) 2:12:

And when each maiden's turn arrived to go to King Achashverosh, after having been treated according to the practice prescribed for the women, for twelve months, for so were the days of their ointments completed, six months with myrrh oil, and six months with perfumes, and with the ointments of the women.

The Vilna Gaon (Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman Kremer, 1720 – 1797), compares the appearance of the maidens in front of Achashverosh to Yom Kippur, when the Jews are standing in front of the King (G – d) in order to await His judgment. Meaning, we also must prepare ourselves thoroughly. 

Remark: After Achashverosh killed his first wife Vashti, he was looking for a new wife and all kinds of maidens came to Shushan in order to stand in front of the King and find favour in his eyes.Moreover, YOM KIPPUR is a Jewish holiday and Gentiles have nothing to do with it. On Yom Kippur the Jews are standing in front of G - d in order to get judged by Him. Gentiles are being judged on Rosh HaShana.

The kabbalistic book ZOHAR uses the word “Na’arah – Maiden” also for a person’s soul (Neshama). Hence, the verse means that one's Neshamah is given twelve months to prepare to come before the King (G – d).

The Vilna Gaon further comments that G – d only forgives our sins when we seriously repent. When we do Teshuva (repentance) and, at the same time, intend not to repeat the same mistake but try to improve our actions and behaviour.

The ten days of Repentance (Aseret Yame’i Teshuva) between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur would be too stressful and the Jews sometimes exaggerate in their prayers and Teshuva. Therefore, G – d gives us twelve month of Teshuva in order to show our sincere repentance. 
____________________________________

The entire MEGILLATH ESTHER in English
http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16474

Sunset in Tel Aviv



Photos: Miriam Woelke

Chassidim going to Hollywood


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Destroying Christian Missionary Material

B”H

Jews for J. and further Christian missionaries love to lay out their idol – worship literature (e.g. the New Testament in Hebrew) in self – service laundry places, cafes or even in shopping areas. This morning, I spotted out some ministry books in English at a public place in Tel Aviv. I collected those three idol – worship books and threw them where they belong to: Into the garbage.

This doesn’t only happen in Tel Aviv but also in Jerusalem. Sometimes the missionary hand – outs are not that easy to recognize and the name Joshke only appears hidden after a few pages. Most of the time, however, Christian missionaries don’t have enough brain faking Jewish content and the true meaning of the missionary material becomes very obvious.

The Grave (Kever) of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk in Tiberias






Photos: Miriam Woelke

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shabbat Shalom


Highway to Jerusalem

Photo: Miriam Woelke

B"H

I would love to go to Jerusalem over Shabbat but I simply don't have the time to travel on Fridays. Finishing work about one or two hours before Shabbat comes in can be a real pain.

To everyone going to Jerusaem this Shabbat: Enjoy and include us "slaves" in your thoughts and joy.:-)

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

Rabbi Mordechai Machlis (Jerusalem) on Parashat VAYAKEL


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chassidut Toldot Aharon: "Pappenheim is not one of us !"

B"H

The former Edah HaCharedit celebrity, Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Pappenheim, dared to give an interview to the secular Israeli economy paper "Calcalist" and now he is in trouble coming from his own group: The Toldot Aharon.

Rabbi Pappenheim said in the interview that Haredim prefer working black instead of officially and thus, paying taxes. They simply prefer the cash into their hands.

The Edah HaCharedit and Toldot Aharon are now publishing the statement that Pappenheim is not really from their Chatzer


To be honest, this is basically true, as the Pappenheim family originally came from Munich / Germany and escaped the Holocaust. Once I spoke to a female member of the family and she told me that her parents moved to Jerusalem and joined the Toldot Aharon. 

On the other hand, Rabbi Chaim Shmuel Pappenheim is very brave making such statements. 


Links:

View at the old city of Zfat (Safed)


View at the old city of Zfat (Safed) in Nordisrael. In about two weeks I am going on a one - day - trip up north. However, I cannot say that I miss the north, as I got too used to Tel Aviv again and feel at home here. 

Photo Miriam Woelke

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburgh on Parashat VAYAKEL


LIPA SCHMELTZER sings at a Permishlan - Lelov Chaseneh

B"H

The American chassidic singer LIPA SCHMELTZER sings at a Permishlan - Lelov Chaseneh.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Purim Katan 5771 with the Shomrei Emunim Rebbe

B"H

As far as I notice the location, the Shomrei Emunim Rebbe is celebrating Purim Katan (last Friday) in his Mea Shearim Synagogue. "Tish, Tish ?" - this is the famous question on Erev Shabbat when various Chassidim open the door to the Synagogue and ask whether the Shomrei Emunim Rebbe (who lives in Bnei Brak) is holding his Tish. If so, the event usually starts late and the Rebbe takes his time.

In case you are female and want to visit the Tish: The Synagogue is not very big and the Ezrat Nashim sometimes is a pain, as too many women are glued onto the wooden Mechitzah. Once, a friend of mine and me were almost squeezed to death. 

A great idea of the Shomrei Emunim was to put up a big screen onto the Ezrat Nashim. This took place last on Shushan Purim last year and finally we were all able to see without being squeezed in.

Try putting yourself into someone else’s Position

B”H

Have you ever tried putting your mind into someone else's position ?

Of G – d, of other Yeshiva students, of the Rosh Yeshiva,
the neighbour, the secular Jew, the frum Jew or simply you spouse ?



This is a very famous practice you learn in drama class and even if you are not planning an awesome Hollywood career, it does helps you not only start thinking about the other side but, in particular, getting to know yourself.

The Edah HaCharedit against false Converts



B"H

This week's headline of the Edah HaCharedit newspaper "HaEdah": Haredi Judaism will continue the fight against false conversions (to Judaism). Sephardi Rabbis such as former Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef had agreed to accept converts converting to Judaism during their Israeli army service. Rabbi Yosef here put political reasons before the Jewish religion, as he also is the head of the Sephardi SHASS party and wants to remain part of the Netanyahu coalition. 

Ashkenazi Haredim, however, don't regard Gentiles (mostly Russian immigrants) converting during their army service as Jewish because almost none of them are keeping Mitzvot after the conversion. Young Russians want to be Jewish and the army is providing them with a quick conversion without any Mitzvot or demands. 

The Edah HaCharedit and further leading Rabbis such as Rabbi Eliyashiv were planning a demonstartion against Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef but delayed the actual date of the event. The reason is that Rabbi Yosef made an agreement with Ashkenazi haredi Judaism that those army converts who didn't intend keeping Mitzvot at the time of their conversion, are not Jewish despite their certificate. 

It says in the Talmud that a convert to Judaism must go into his final conversion process with the true and honest intention to keep the Mitzvot. If he passes a Beit Din (Rabbinical Court) with a false intention and lies, he is not regarded as Jewish.

Besides the controversy about Israel's army conversions: There are plenty of other converts lying at Batei Din and throughout their conversion course. Many of them still stick to their old belief in the false Meshiach J. and others just want to live in Israel.

Nature in Downtown Tel Aviv


Photo: Miriam Woelke

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why were Adam HaRishon and Eve (Chava) kicked out of Gan Eden (Paradise) ?

B”H

I cannot help it but Adam and Eve (Chava) always arouse my sympathy. In the end, they didn’t keep the commandment G – d gave them and this simply makes them so human. Others may be upset about their “messing around” but I can understand them.
Their most famous sin was eating from the Tree of Knowledge (Etz HaDa’at Tov veRah) but, according to Rabbinic commentaries, the two “first” humans had caused problems before. The issue with the tree was just the top of the iceberg.

No human being is able to define the Tree of Knowledge. In fact, the entire creation episode the Torah is telling us in Bereshit (Genesis) contains plenty of symbolic language. What was Gan Eden ? Definitely not a tropical place where Adam walked around like Tarzan. Many commentaries claim that Paradise was nothing but an extremely high soul level within Adam and Eve. Fact is that the two didn’t eat an apple but either another fruit (the Talmud gives a whole list of fruits) or they did something completely different and the entire tree – story is just a metaphor. 

Let us assume that Adam and Eve ate from the Etz HaDa’at or whatever they did wrong. Immediately after they sinned, they highest soul levels simply left them. One of the highest souls guaranteeing them eternal life vanished and from one moment to the next, they found themselves in a mortal life.

The question is why G – d had to take them out of the Garden right away ? Chassidut (Chassidism) teaches a deep insight into the matter and, among others, Rabbi Yaakov Koppel (a student of the Baal Shem Tov) gives an explanation in his book “Sha’are’i Gan Eden – Gates of Paradise”: Imagine the two sinned and suddenly they were mortal because their highest soul level had left them. What could Adam and Eve have done now ? Answer: Destroying even more by eating from the Etz Chaim (Tree of Life). This would have caused an even greater disaster and in order to prevent this, G – d kicked them both out of Gan Eden. 



"Sefer Adam HaRishon" lists the plants in Gan Eden according to the Torah Codes. Read more on the subject HERE !

Some Tel Aviv Nature to enjoy

B"H

Spring is slowly arriving. After some days of stormy rainy weather, it was warm in Tel Aviv today. Sunny, blue sky and 20 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow it will even be 23 degrees C. 



Photos: Miriam Woelke

My Blogs are on Christian Missionary Link Lists

B"H

At least one of my German blogs somehow found its way on the link lists of extreme Christian organizations. What those loony Christians like Messianic Jews, Evangelical Christians, Pentecostas, J. Witnesses, etc. intend to do is trying to "learn" about Israel and Judaism. They want to analyze Jews in order to find the "perfect" way of prostylizing them to idol - worship. In addtion to that, more and more fanatic Christians want to live in Israel in order to await their false Meshiach, the Jew J. And, of course, the main fear is not getting their visa extended. How to cheat the Ministry of the Interior and get a visa extention, this is one of top interests missionaries have been trying to figure out. The best ways to lie at the Ministry and the Jews. Stealing and destroying Jewish souls to satisfy their (the missionaries) own idol - worship desires.

All those Anti - Christ Christians are nothing but mentally ill and I hope that our Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai, is going to deport them as fast as possible. It says in the Torah that if the Land (of Israel) doesn't want certain people living here, it is vomiting them out. Hopefully the Kelling family (Kling ... or whatever name they choose) is getting vomited as well as all their confused colleagues !

News from Belz, Toldot Aharon and Slonim

B”H

The Belzer Rebbe has the Minhag to dance with those of his Chassidim on Mozzaei Shabbat, who got married during the week. Last Mozzaei Shabbat, he was dancing with 15 new Chatanim.



The Toldot Aharon Rebbe gave out presents to the best Yeshiva students of his group.



Rebbe David Kahn (right) and his son Rabbi Moshe Kahn (left). 
See all photos HERE !



Last night: A grandson of the Slonim Rebbe (Mea Shearim) got married to the daughter of Rabbi Aryeh Gerlitz (one of the Rashei Yeshivat "Mea Shearim"). See all photos HERE !

Monday, February 21, 2011

Little Notes in the Western Wall (Kotel)


Photo: Miriam Woelke
B”H

I heard a Gentile tourist saying that Jews as well as non – Jews write little notes and place them inside the Western Wall (Kotel) in order to cause G – d to immediately hear their prayers and fulfil their wishes.

True or not true ?

From the Jewish point of view, this opinion is not true.
It doesn’t matter whether you pray in Europe, in Sydney, on Mount Everest or near the Amazonas; G – d hears all prayers and no one needs to travel to Jerusalem’s Kotel in order to get His attention. Moreover, it can take many years until G – d may fulfil your wishes and doesn’t have to take place right away. We particularly learn this from our foremothers Sarah and Rivka who were barren for many years. Nevertheless, they never gave up hope and kept on praying. Eventually G – d changed His mind and let them have a child.

Another opinion is that sometimes we ask G – d to fulfil a wish but only He knows that this wouldn’t do us any good. Only G – d sees the wider picture and there are times when we desperately want something but just don’t get it. I am not talking about the famous lottery win but about a new car, a new apartment or even an ice – cream. G – d may have other plans with each of us and everything happening to us has its reason.

However, the Kotel and the entire Temple Mount differs from the world for one reason: G – d’s Shechinah (Presence) is still resting there. Despite the Muslims and all kinds of idol – worship going on. The Shechinah is there but only weaker than during the days of the First Temple, for instance. The place has more Kedush (Holiness) and our prayers go up straight to G – d. Standing at the Kotel and praying is like a local phone call with G – d. The Talmud teaches us that prayers from the Diaspora first “travel” to Israel, then to Jerusalem and finally to the Temple Mount where they go up to the upper world. The Temple Mount is the location from where G – d created the universe (Even HaShtiah). When Adam and Eve (Chava) were thrown out of Gan Eden, G – d placed them on the Temple Mount. Avraham wanted to sacrifice his son Yitzchak on the Temple Mount (Har Moriah) and Yaakov had his ladder dream there. When the Temples still stood and people sacrificed the Korbanot, the smoke went up straight.

The place may look devastated today but with the arrival of Meshiach, the Temple Mount will return to its former Shechinah level. Nevertheless, already when we pray there now, our prayers go up straight. And the reason is not a note being put into the wall.

Tonight: Anti - Missionary Demonstration in Ashdod


Vicious "Jews for J." hunting for Jewish souls in order to convert them to xtianity. Come and demonstrate against missionary activities in Ashdod !

B"H

Different Rabbis, the Rabbanut as well as the anti - missionary organization YAD LEACHIM (To readers from France: If you click on the link, the site is also available in FRENCH), are the organizers of an anti - missionary demonstration taking place this evening.

The demonstration is going to take place at Rehov Ha'Orgim 28 (Ha'Orgim Street) in the industrial zone of Ashdod. Time: 7pm. 
The organizors received a permission from the local police !

"Jews for J." have raised their evil missionary activities and more and more inhabitants of Ashdod are complaining about such attempts. The following Rabbis support tonight's demonstration in Ashdod: The Pittsburgher Rebbe, the Melitzer Rebbe, the Chernobyl Rebbe of Ashdod, Rabbi Raphael Abuchatzeira, Rabbi Yekutiel Abuchatzeira, Rabbi Yoseph Sheinin, Rabbi Chaim Pinto, Rabbi Shmuel David Gross (Chassidut Gur), Rabbi Chaim Pessach Horowitz (Chassidut Belz), Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Vishnitzer (Chassidut Vishnitz) and Rabbi Shlomo Cherez. 

Don't let those evil missionaries destroy Jewish souls for their 
idol - worship purposes !

Further information in HEBREW at LADAAT !

"Jonah and the Fish" - A Kabbalistic Insight

B”H

Parashat Vayakel (ZOHAR) - About JONAH and the fish, Zohar 198b

Rabbi Abba discussed a text:

G – d commanded the fish to vomit out Jonah but where and when did G – d speak to the fish ?

Rabbi Abba replied that this happened at the time of Creation on the fifth day. Then G – d appointed a certain fish to swallow up Jonah and retain him in its body for three days and three nights and then vomit him out.

The ZOHAR (BOOK OF SPLENDOR) provides us with a fascinating insight on the deeper meaning on the Book of Jonah. Later on, the Vilna Gaon used the Zoharic idea and published his own commentary on Jonah.

It says in the Zohar:

Jonah descending into the ship is symbolic of man’s soul that descends into this world to enter into his body. Why is she called Jonah ? Because as soon as she becomes partner with the body in this world she finds herself full of anger. Man, then, is in this world as in a ship that is traversing the great ocean.

Furthermore, man in this world commits sins, imagining that he can flee from the presence of his Master, who takes no notice of this world. G – d then rouses a furious tempest; to wit man’s doom, which constantly stands before G – d, and demands his punishment. And the man is thus caught by the tempest and is struck down by an illness, just as Jonah “went down into the innermost part of the ship …”.
Jonah was in the belly of the fish which is identified with “the belly of the underworld (Sheol)”. “Three days and three nights” – These are the three days that a man lies in his grave before his belly splits open. After three days, man receives punishment in each organ. In his eyes, his hands, his feet. This continues for 30 days, during which time the soul and the body are being punished together. The soul therefore remains all that time on earth below, not ascending to her place. After that the soul ascends whilst the body is being decomposed in the earth, where it will lie until G – d is bringing about the resurrection of the death (Tchiat Hametim).

As soon as the fish swallowed Jonah it died, but after three days was re
stored to life and vomited him forth. In a similar way the Land of Israel will in the future first be stirred to new life, and afterwards “the earth will cast for the death”.

It has been affirmed that in quitting this world a man has to pass seven tests. The first is the judgement of heaven when the spirit leaves the body. The second is when his actions and utterances march in front of him and make proclamation concerning him. The third is when he is placed in the grave. The fourth is the test of being in the grave itself. The fifth consists in his being consumed by the worms. The sixth is the suffering endured in Gehinom (a kind of spiritual cleansing process). The seventh test is that his spirit is condemned to roam to and fro in the world, and is not able to find a resting place until his appointed tasks have been completed. Hence it behoves man continually to review his actions and to repent before his Master.

While reading this particular verse in the Zohar, I suddenly just felt like Jonah.

Silent Exodus of Jewish Refugees


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Escaping one’s frum Life

B”H

Many many times it has happened to me that in Jerusalem, I saw such obviously holy people on Shabbat. I went to different Shabbatot where there were various people. Some giving a Drasha, others just enjoying or mainly eating. When I looked at all those people I thought that they must be really holy. All those Drashot and talking about the holy Shabbat. I wish I could live like that.

This was in Jerusalem, don’t forget.

Some weeks later, sometimes even only one week later, I saw the same person in Tel Aviv. This happened a lot during my Yeshiva days but even until today. In most cases it is guys doing this.

Suddenly I see the same person in Tel Aviv walking at the beach on Shabbat. There are times when the Kipa is gone. Or I see him going into a non – kosher restaurant like “Subway”. Open on Shabbat and dairy and fleishig being served together. 

When I was in Yeshiva and entered a religious crisis or call it depression, I went to Tel Aviv in order to spend the Shabbat “FREE”. I even went to the cinema on rev Shabbat and I was sure that no one from Jerusalem would see me, as everyone else would apparently celebrate Shabbat. However, I was never really alone, as some more people had the same idea, as I had. Back in Jerusalem we were all frum again and no one ever said anything about the other person’s doing on Shabbat. We simply pretended that we had never seen each other in Tel Aviv.

Shabbat in the Desert

B”H

What is happening when a Jew is getting stranded on an island or in the desert having lots his sense of time ? What about Shabbat ?

The Gemara (rabbinic discussions) in the Talmud Tractate 69b teaches us that the Jew then must count six days and celebrate Shabbat on the seventh day. It doesn’t matter whether the seventh day he counted is really Shabbat or not. However, there is a difference: During the six days he is counting, he is not allowed to perform all kinds of work but only those keeping him alive. Nevertheless, on the seventh day, he should make Kiddush and, when the Shabbat is over, Havdalah.

I just hope that this particular Jew can get hold of some wine / grapejuice, candles or spices.

The Torah in Shemot (Exodus) 20:9 – 10 commands us to work during the first six days of the week and to rest on the seventh day. Here, the Vilna Gaon is asking why the Torah commands us to work during the six days of the week. Why doesn’t it just command us to rest on the seventh day ? The answer lays in “Zachor – To remember the Shabbat”. When we remember what day is Shabbat we will be able to rest and not work. Not even work necessary for our lives.

I am not sure whether I agree to this opinion, as there are many Jews who have to work on Shabbat. Just let us look at the farmer milking his cows, hospital staff or policemen. And what about those Jews working on Shabbat in order to be able making a living ? One always has to look at the background and the circumstances, as, sometimes, life is not that easy.

The Secrets of Ruth Blau

B"H



Ruth Blau (Bloi) was the second wife of the formerly well - known head of Jerusalem's Neturei Karta, Rabbi Amram Blau. Most facts about the two are already known but now I got hold of Ruth's autobiography published in 1979 (in Hebrew). The French original version of the book is called "Les Guardiens de la Cite" and the Hebrew translation is named "Shomrei Ha'Ir - שומרי העיר".

This is the second part of me putting together the content of Ruth's book. 
The first part you can read HERE , the second part is HERE and the third part you can find HERE ! Part 4 can be read HERE !


Now her son Uri broke his silence and answered some questions regarding his mother:



Everyone seems to be so much into Ruth Blau. However, the bottom line is that Mea Shearim has forgotten about her and I have my doubts whether Ruth has ever been a part of the women's society there. To me it looks like she was loning for a leading position on the men's side but always remained behind Rabbi Amram Blau. 
The Mishkenot HaRoim still organize Mishnayiot studies on the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Amram but who remembers Ruth ? Maybe only those who are curious about her life and mind, and this is very sad. Basically no one cares about her.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chassidic Parashot KI TISA

B”H

Here are some chassidic Parashot “Ki Tisa”. Among other Boyan, the Chatam Sofer and the Shomrei Emunim.

Tel Aviv


Friday, February 18, 2011

Shabbat Shalom


At the beach in Tel Aviv

 Photo: Miriam Woelke

B"H

Sometimes I am asking myself what is better: Having Friday off, preparing for Shabbat, maybe do some meditation before entering Shabbat, relax and go to the Synagogue or, as I do at the moment, work on Fridays, finish work 1 - 2 hours before Shabbat and then run. Preparing myself, running to the Synagogue and only then relaxing. 


Maybe the first possibility sounds better because you find the time of preparing yourself but what about people who have to work ? I have to say that it does bother me not finding enough time but, on the other hand, there must be something positive in for people like me working. I remember a story where once a family was celebrating the Pessach Seder. It was in Galut and on the first night of Pessach, they just did everything so right. The husband took his time, explained the Haggadah and everything around was just so perfect and holy. On the second night however, somehow the husband overslept and the family started its Seder only an hour before midnight. They were rushing like mad through the Haggadah and nothing seemed to be holy anymore. The husband was upset because he felt so lost und unconfortable before G - d due to his "stupid" mistake. Nevertheless, the second Seder of rushing through was more appreciated by G - d, as the first one. Suddenly there were some true emotions even by rushing through. And I am convinced that I am going with true emotions into Shabbat because I just know that it is Shabbat. I am looking forward to it whether other who relax may just enter it as usua or as a habit. 


"Shabbat Shalom - Gut Schabbes" to all readers !

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Purim with the Tosher (Tasher) Rebbe

B"H

I found this amazing video showing the Rebbe of Chassidut Tosh on Purim 2007. Chassidut Tosh (TASH in Yiddish) has its "headquarter" in Kiryat Tosh in Quebec / Canada, and, as far as I know, TOSH is an offspring of Satmar. 


Can a sick person heal himself with Torah verses ?


Supernova



B”H

The Gemara (rabbinic discussions) in Talmud Tractate Shabbat 67 is discussing whether a sick person may try to heal himself by saying verses from the Torah. The Gemara actually says that one is permitted to do so in order to heal himself from certain ailments. But how can the Gemara permit it when it states the complete opposite in Talmud Shevuot 15b ?

- One is permitted reading verses from the Torah when he is intending to heal himself from a spiritual ailment (Maharsha and the Rambam in Hilchot Kochavim 11:12).

- If the illness may cause death, one may use verses for healing (Tosafot on Shevuot 15b and Pesachim 111a).

Women wearing Re'ulot

B"H

I found an interesting teaching in the Talmud Tractate Shabbat 65a which immediately reminded me of the "Taliban Mother".

The Mishna says that Jewish women may go out on Shabbat wearing "Re'ulot". 
What does this mean ?

Rashi explains that it refers to women whose entire head is totally covered except for one eye. However, this way of dressing is considered provocative, as it entices men wanting to see more of the face. 

Honestly, I have never thought about that !:-)

This is why it is called "Re'ulot - Poisons". Further, Rashi says that "Re'ulot" are thick coats a woman wraps around herself. On the other hand, the Rambam considered "Re'ulot" to be bells hanging from the woman's clothes. 

The thought that men who see a today's Jewish Burka woman may feel the desire to see more ... Maybe this was true in ancient times but not today. The Breslover Burka women running around in Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem or elsewhere probably cause the opposite, as there is nothing female around them. Not even anything human but just a walking Schmattes. 


The Israeli Army in Social Networks

Meet the IDF Facebook-Twitter Commando



Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburgh on Parashat Ki Tisa


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Eat Healthy" - According to the Medieval Wisdom of the RAMBAM

B”H



Almost two months ago, I participated in a seminar on the Rambam’s (Maimonides, 1135 – 1204) teachings on nutrition. The seminar was held at the Chabad hostel “Ascent” in Zfat / northern Israel. The lecturer was Gil Shachar from Haifa and according to him, the Rambam was almost accurate in his writings on health.
Already the Rambam stated that a man should eat in order to satisfy himself. Eat until the desire disappears and the stomach is filled but don’t overeat. When the stomach is too full, the acids cannot spread and digest the food. 


B12 is being digested last. Eating enough meat is not a guarantee for the body absorbing all the B12. 


Leave your stomach ¼ empty. Too much food, no quality food, inappropriate eating order and time of consumption is not healthy. Overeating or eating the wrong food can cause diseases. Doctors agree that eating a small quantity of bad food is less dangerous than an enormous amount of good healthy food. The body can handle small amounts of toxic substances. 



 
Photo: Gil Shachar


Always remain a little hungry and take your mind off food. How can you avoid too much food ? By only having one dish for a meal. Lots of tasty food leads people to excessive eating because the complexity of flavours increases desire. Each dish is digested on its own and when you eat them at the same time, it is bad for the stomach. Each dish requires a different condition in the stomach, different levels of acids in the stomach. If something is not totally digested, it reaches the intestines with its poison. It can also happen that the stomach is too busy to digest all the vitamins. 


Start with the lighter meal. 

Never mix fruit and other foods ! Pears, grapes or figs must be eaten before the meal. Wait 15 – 20 minutes after eating a light meal (e.g. fruit) in order to empty out the stomach. 



It takes about six hours to digest beef and about three hours to digest chicken. In case the fruit is eaten after the meat, then everything is stuck in the intestines. If the sugar of the fruits ferments inside the intestines, all the vitamins are lost and only calories remain. Nevertheless, there are fruits we may eat during a meal or even afterwards: Avocado, coconut, olives, almonds and nuts. Melon should always be eaten alone.
Do not eat yoghurt with fruit ! Dried fruit are also not too healthy but very fattening.

Don’t drink too much during a meal. Have a hot tea or a soup before the meal.
When you are truly hungry your stomach is empty and clean. Eat with joy because food can also heal the body. “Happiness heals the soul (Shnei Luchot HaBrit). The Shulchan Aruch suggests that we shouldn’t eat while we are fearful, worried or angry. When you eat, sit down and eat slowly.


The Rambam teaches that one should wait 3 – 4 hours before he goes to sleep. The intestines don’t work at night, don’t digest and the stuck food with its toxins go into the blood. The stomach should be empty when we go to sleep. Drink tea without sugar.
Harm when you eat before sleep: Constipation, heartburn, damage the immune system (the immune system especially works while we are asleep), gaining weight, being tired.

Talmud Bava Metziah teaches that a man should have breakfast but not immediately after getting up. Instead, one should move his body (exercises) and eat about an hour later.

The Rambam said that eating white bread is not healthy. Whole wheat is much healthier and has 100% more vitamins and minerals than white flour. Oats, on the other hand, reduce cholesterol in the blood.

Whole wheat bread has to be 100% whole wheat. Watch the ingredients ! Avoid oil in breads ! One may use coconut oil or olive oil but not soya oil or canola.

The Talmud Tractate Eruvin 55 teaches that one should not live in a town where there is no vegetable garden. Healthy nutrition means eating salads and raw vegetables. Add green leaves into a salad !

According to the Rambam, milk is not good for everybody. Only when one digests it properly and is not allergic. However, add honey to you milk. Today, milk is being pasteurized and thus not healthy anymore and we are just left with the cholesterol. The best milk is goat milk (Rambam) !


Cheeses are not good but only very fresh cheese. 


The calcium of the bones keeps away dangerous acids ! Milk contains an acid protein which causes to break down calcium from the bones. Only a small amount of calcium is being absorbed by the body. Consumption of dairy products causes osteoporosis. Your bones and muscles remain strong when you have lots of physical activities.
Avoid animal protein and sodium but consume fruits, vegetables, plant foods, greens, vegetables and beans. This way you avoid osteoporosis.


According to medical research, high amounts of dairy products can exceed the enzymes’ capacity and cause prostate cancer. Meat and dairy may cause a higher prostate cancer risk. 


Don’t involve yourself in dairy diets. High calcium intake may increase prostate cancer.
Not enough vitamin D means a higher risk of cancer ! Vitamin D only from the sun but not on cloudy days. If not, take a supplement.

Milk and cholesterol: Milk is even more hypercholesterolemic than meat fat because it contains more acids.

Milk, yoghurt and ice cream contain a high amount of insulin comparable with the unhealthy white bread.

Milk adds to the human weight.

Don’t consume too much soya milk and don’t consume tofu on a daily basis. Coconut and rice milk is better than soya.

Eat beans and almonds, as they contain calcium.

Ten things cause a recent illness to reoccur: ox meat, eggs, fatty meat, grilled meat (the body is still weak and now needs to digest heavy foods).


Already the Rambam said that eating a small amount of a sweet (e.g. chocolate) after the meal would be good for us.

The Rambam on meat: 


Chicken is easier to digest than meat. Chicken has less cholesterol and fat than meat.
Animal fat is bad. 


Liver has cholesterol and contains toxins. 


There are good fats and bad fats. Avocado and pure olive oil contain good fat.
Eat meat from free animals which grow in nature and not from mass production but avoid fat in meat. Eating meat once a week is enough !


Animal meat is the main reason for breaking down the bones and osteoporosis.
Don’t consume soy products on a daily basis but coconut, almond or rice milk.


The Rambam on fish: 


Fish is bad food. Especially for the elderly. In particular big fish and those fish coming out of bad water. Big fish live longer than small fish and thus have more time to swallow more mercury. Pregnant and nursing women should avoid eating big fish. Eat small fish with white meat from rivers. But don’t eat too much. Today, most rivers and seas are polluted and the fish contain mercury, nickel and other heavy metals. Mercury also gets through air pollution into the rivers. Fish absorb the methyl mercury. Moreover, volcanoes release mercury. 

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Despite all the facts, huge and powerful food industrieskeep on trying to convince us in their commercials to buy their products. Dairy products are healthy and so is fish consumption. This is what most people think and believe. Nevertheless, the opposite is true. What you should at least do is reducing your dairy product consumption and only have meat and fish once a week.


Photos: Miriam Woelke

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The "Generation of Enosh - Dor Enosh"


B"H

130 years after the creation of Adam (HaRishon), Seth (Shet) was born. With Seth, the second generation came into existence. At the age of 105, he begot Enosh. According to the famous Kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534 – 1572), Enosh was a Gilgul (reincarnation) of Abel (Hevel). However, the reincarnation came from the negative side of Hevel. Nevertheless, Enosh, as well as his father Shet, were created in the image of Adam HaRishon and, therefore, didn’t look like animals. 

The generation of Enosh made a vital mistake: The people (including Enosh) used to say that G – d had created the planets and star constellations in order to reign over our planet. G – d Himself had a kind of vanished and now the planets would be in charge of everything. With this belief, the generation started to bring sacrifices to the other planets. 

The Rambam (Maimonides) in his “Mishna Torah” describes the sins of Enosh’s generation. Their deeds were nothing but the first idol – worship taking place in the world. However, the people didn’t rebel against G – d (see Ramban and Rashi). The Midrash (Lech Lecha), on the other hand, states that the people did rebel against G – d and this is why G – d decided to punish them. The oceans swallowed one – third of the land. The former land became sea (see Rabbeinu Bachya). 

In the days of Enosh, it was quite popular praying to the sun. Still in Gan Eden (Paradise), Adam had learnt the language of the trees but he never really used his skill. Enosh did the opposite and actively used the language of the tree for the negative. 

The two Talmud Tractates Sukkah 28a and Bava Batra 134a explain the “Language of the Trees”: It is not a language with whom the trees communicate with each other but what people say about the trees. King Salomon (Shlomo HaMelech), for instance, used natural healing and this is what the language of the trees stands for. Using natural healing remedies from plants. 

Shet and Enosh were created in the image of Adam HaRishon (Zelem E – lo – him) but this would change in the future. G – d also punished the generation of Enosh by making their faces look like apes. Have you ever asked youself where the Neanderthals came from ? Here is you answer: It was a G – dly punishment for the generation and not in order to justify Darwin.

Africa and Europe once used to be one continent but G – d made the oceans swallow a big portion of land (see Talmud Shekalim 17a). The G – dly plan was that mankind should do Teshuva but no one understood the message. There are commentators claiming that Enosh only began his idol – worship practises when Adam died. However, Bialik’s Aggadah is listing another reason for G – d’s punishment:

1. It was hard working the land, as stones were everywhere. 

2. The “Nefillim” fell from the sky and were walking around on earth until the Flood came (see “Pirkei Eliezer”, Chap. 7). 

3. The descendants of Shet got too much involved with the descendants of Cain. The result was that the so – called “Anakim – Giants” were born (see Sefer Seder HaDorot). 

Remark: Please note that the NEFILLIM as well as the ANAKIM need further explanation and not everything should be taken literally ! Were the NEFILLIM really fallen angels or just a concept for something else ? I will look into some commentaries as well as into kabbalistic sources and write a separate article. 


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