"Where does it say that you have a contract with G-d to have an easy life?"

the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"Failure is not the enemy of success; it is its prerequisite."

Rabbi Nosson Scherman

31 Mar 2012

Thank you and Happy Passover

Thank you, Joseph Farah, for your article titled 'Palestinianism' equals anti-Semitism and for your erudite words of advice at the end of your piece.

Shabot shalom, Israel. Never compromise. Keep the faith. Happy Passover. Trust in God, not in men, for your future.
Read full article: http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/palestinianism-equals-anti-semitism/

And speaking about Passover, below is part of an email I received about Pesach cleaning.

Berel was off for Bein Hazmanim and eagerly wanted to help. Too eagerly. He said to his wife "Chaya, can I help you do this? Can I do that?"After half an hour Chaya had enough. "Berel," she said sweetly, "the biggest help you can give me is to go to the Beis Medrash and learn!"Two hours later he was back underfoot."Berel! What happened?!" Chaya asked, "I thought you were learning?"Berel said "You know Chaya, I'm really on vacation. How much can I be expected to help!?"

30 Mar 2012

The Hebrew language

Pamela Geller alerts readers to a letter published in the Guardian asking the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre to withdraw its invitation to the Israeli Habima theatre company so as not to be "complicit with human rights violations"...blah blah blah.

I came across a letter in support of BDS which I am not going to link to but contains such pearls of wisdom about the Hebrew language as the following.

"Hebrew is the language of the abuser of human rights."

I take offense when the language in which the Torah and and holy books of my religion is denigrated.

However, there is one instance when I asked that a word in Hebrew should not be written.

Yesterday the Yeshiva World wrote about Councilman David G. Greenfield who voiced his "outrage at advertising company Clear Channel’s decision to allow a sign mocking the Jewish faith to be installed on a billboard overlooking the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Greenpoint.
...In addition to the offensive message contained in the advertisement, Greenfield objects to the group’s use of G-d’s name in its original Hebrew form as written in the Torah. According to the Jewish faith, this name is never written or spoken, so having it included on the billboard, especially in this context, is deeply offensive."

When I saw an article about the sign a couple of months ago, I wrote to the head of the organization. "Knowing that the billboards with the holy name of G-d written on them will be disposed of at a later date in a disrepectful manner causes great anguish to me. I urge you to reconsider going ahead with this particular ad."
Among other things he wrote back something to the effect about the unreasonableness of making non adherehents follow my rules.

For those interested in politics, there's an interesting article at Capital Tonight about redistricting in Ramapo, Rockland County.

As explained in court papers filed by Ramapo Town Councilman Yitzchok Ullman, who successfully sought intervenor status, the situation is as follows:

“The map displays boundary lines so tortured that they could only be the result of gerrymandering based upon religious concerns in that it appears that the district lines have been purposefully manipulated to divide the heavily Chasidic Jewish communities of New Square and Kaser, thereby affecting their voting rights and impairing the effective representation of the districts in questions.”

29 Mar 2012


I just read a great story about blessings. Click here to get inspired.

And here's a nice explanation about the blessing on the trees - Birchas Hailonos.

With blessings to you all.

The wedding day

Chadrei Chareidim reports about that a vehicle in which a groom was riding yesterday, came under attack by a group of Arab rioters. It was his wedding day and, in the afternoon, he and his friend went to Har Hazeitim because the mother of the groom had died a year ago, and the man wanted to pray at the grave before his wedding. On their way, something was thrown at the car. Soon, the occupants were facing a group of Arab youths, aged 16 to 20, who threw large stones at the vehicle. One of the stones smashed the window next to the groom and hit his head, causing bleeding. The driver related that he tried to flee the area but they were surrounded by the youths. The men were able to call security forces and, after initial treatment at tte hopital, the groom was able to participate in the wedding.

Guaranteed this story will not make the rounds of any of the major media outlets. After all, the Palestinian struggle employs methods of non-violence, never mind that Asher Palmer and his young son lost their lives when a rock was thrown at their car. Even Mustafa Barghouti, who spoke at the J Street conference discussed the non-violence repeatedly, throwing in the word apartheid, for good measure. I am able to tell you this, becuase the J Street website has a video of his speaking at the conference as well as any speaker who agreed with their views. The video of deputy Ambassador Barukh Bina, who issued a reprimand to the organization, is nowhere to be found.

The only time the above incident will make news is if the IDF arrests the youths who stoned the car and there will be a world outcry that children are being detained in Israeli jails.
Case in point.

Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General - March 28.

What is the most burning question of the day? Again, Masood is called on to ask the first question.

Question: A couple of questions. About this, yesterday the Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi was addressing a meeting over here and she, of which she alleged, I mean, she says that every day a number of Palestinians are uprooted from their homes by the settlers in, even in West Bank, and that every day that goes unreported. And so many people are killed or picked up by the Israeli army. That’s one thing. And that goes unreported. And there still remains the question of like 8,000 to 9,000 Palestinian prisoners; what has the Secretary-General done until now — recently, recently — to talk to the Israelis about this ongoing…?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, as you recall, yesterday Mr. Robert Serry, the Special Coordinator for Peace in the Middle East, addressed the Security Council and mentioned these things in his report. As you know, the Secretary-General considers, and the UN considers, the settlements in the West Bank in the occupied territories to be illegal. That continues to be the policy of the United Nations. And with respect, what was the other part of the questions?
Correspondent: I mean, I am saying 9,000 prisoners still remain in Israeli jails.
You can read the rest over here.

In the face of this one sided reporting, is there any wonder why Vigilance call after French Jews hit by new attacks?

28 Mar 2012

Unworthy for publication

Last week a thought printed in the Hamodia newspaper caught my eye.

There is a saying attributed to Harav Yisrael Salanter, zt"l: "Not everything one thinks should be said, not everything said should be written, and not everything written should be published."

I was reminded of the above thought when I read an article at FoxNews about MJ Rosenberg.

A senior analyst with the liberal activist group Media Matters tweeted an apology on Tuesday after calling journalist Matt Drudge a racist and accusing him of using a phony photo of Trayvon Martin.
... Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz has branded Rosenberg an anti-Semite for branding pro-Israel Americans with the name “Israel-firsters.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/27/media-matters-honcho-sorry-after-blasting-drudge-for-trayvon-photo/?intcmp=trending#ixzz1qQvK18bv
H/T Memeorandum

CNN has published an opinion piece by Philip Meissner, founder of JewishSafeHavenFund.org, in which he points out the danger facing Jews throughout the world. Click here to read an article worthy for publication.

The mundane things

Harder to cheat

Students taking college entrance exams this fall will have to submit photo IDs with their applications — a key security upgrade following a widespread cheating scandal at a number of high schools on New York’s Long Island, a prosecutor and testing officials announced Tuesday.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/students-sat-subject-stricter-security-regulations-fall-cheating-scandal-article-1.1051577#ixzz1qMgmkbuO

The Huffington Post reports that "a Massachusetts drunken driving charge against President Barack Obama's uncle will be dismissed if he stays out of trouble for a year..
...On Tuesday, the judge ordered him to give up his driver's license for 45 days. But his lawyer said he will apply for a hardship license to allow him to drive to and from his job as the manager of a liquor store in Framingham."

But, if you read this article published at the time of his arrest last year, how could he be entitled to have his license returned?

27 Mar 2012

Good deeds

Kikar Hashabat asks its readers if they took upon themselves to perform a good deed, in light of the recent tragedies. Comments posted include learning more Torah, reciting Tehillim, trying to think positively about others, strenghtening oneself in the laws of Lashon Hora, trying to influence people to make aliyah, to read the "kriat Shema al Hamitah" from the text, etc. After hearing in an interview that Eva Sandler was accustomed to saying the prayer of "Shema" with her children every evening, a reader posted that she would try, bli neder, to do the same with her children, in the merit of the Sandler family. Another wrote about committing not to work on Shabbat and Yom Tov.
May the good deeds tip the scales in our favor.

Below is a short Torah thought on the Parsha which is from last year so the last half minute of the video in which the rabbi discusses the shul's activities has no relevance to this year.

Hester Panim

Yesterday I received an email to say 121 תְּהִלִּים for Aharon ben Leah, who was shot during the Toulouse attack.

Last night I posted about what Hagaon Rav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg z'l said during Purim this year about how Mashiach is at the entrance. The Rabbi also said that the next few weeks will be a time of "Hester Panim." Click here for a beautiful thought about the concept of Hashem hiding His face.
The following is an excerpt from the article.

In reality there is no such thing as 'Hester Panim'. It is only an illusion, the objective of which is to examine us on how we relate to the hiding. Do we continue to seek Him out, or do we give up searching for Hashem the moment that His presence is no longer obvious. The one who strives to the utmost of his ability to search out Hashem, is rewarded in the end with a greater closeness than he ever before was able to achieve.

The other day I posted about a video of Miriam Monsonego in which her brother cries out the verse from 13 תְּהִלִּים of Tehillim.
"עד אנה ה' תשכחני נצח, עד אנה תסתיר את פניך ממני, עד אנה יקום אויבי עלי
How long, O HaShem, wilt Thou forget me for ever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?

As we hear of yer another tragedy in Israel where a father and his young children perished in a house fire, we realize that the words of the Rabbi were prophetic.

26 Mar 2012

At the entrance

Anashnews has an article about Hagaon Rav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg ZATZAL which includes a statement that the Rav made this past Purim.
"The Mashiach is at the entrance."

שיחתו האחרונה של הגרח"פ שיינברג נאמרה בסעודת פורים שחל ביום שישי, בו דיבר לנוכחים ולמקורבי דברים מבהילים ביותר.
אחד מבני הבית מספר ל'מרכז הענינים' על השיחה המרגשת בסעודת פורים שבו דיבר על הגאולה הקרובה :"המשיח ממש בפתח - הוא קרוב, השבועות הקרובים הם בבחינת הסתר פנים לישראל ".

Chadrei Chareidim reports about the parents of Ehud Fogel, who went to pay a shiva call to the family of Miriam Monsenego, who was killed in last week's shooting attack.
The Fogels were asked from where do they draw their strength. Mr. Fogel replied that they are in the midst of the nation of Israel. They draw their strength from them.
Yakov Monsenego said that the only consolation we have is faith - that is our only way."

On a different topic, the Supreme Court has issued a ruling on a case involving Jerusalem - send it back to the lower courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court said a lower court should consider a suit filed under a law that lets Americans born in Jerusalem designate Israel as their place of birth on their passport.

Click here to read the opinions of the judges.

The interview

Chadrei Charedim has an interview in Hebrew with Eva Sandler. She speaks about how important it is to relate to your children and your husband, even if you are tired or busy. She went to bed the evening before the attack and told her husband that she hadn't said the prayer of "shema" with her children, as she was accustomed to every night, since she had returned from visiting her parents and had been busy. She also asks people to take something small upon themselves and that, G-d willing, will hasten the redemption.
She spoke aboout the unity of the people of Israel and how many came to speak to her this past week, even people she did not know. She stated that Hashem gave her the strength to carry on.
When she was asked to describe her children, she said that they were fabulous children, always looking out for each other. She related how her parents took her oldest child to Israel a few weeks ago for a wedding. They were at a toy store and they told him to buy something for himself. He said that he was in Israel enjoying himself so he would like to buy something for his brother who was back home, instead.

Let's take something upon ourselves as Mrs. Sandler requested.

Words that begin with F

Close your eyes and think of words that begin with the letter "f."

"Fun", "friend", "fabulous" and "fantastic" come to mind. But in case you forgot, f also starts another word that I wouldn't want my children to use in their everyday vernacular. So, I don't appreciate these tee shirts that are being sold currently. Nor, do I appreciate a tweet of Reza Aslan who calls Gingrich a f....... imbecile in a tweet. Same goes for this tweet.
If..............is a terrorist than so am I you Islamophobic f... Gellar Spencer et. al.

I googled Reza Aslan and came upon this bio of him. If he is the same man as the one with the twitter account, then, as an internationally acclaimed writer, he should know better than to use the word "than"when he really means "then." And certainly, he can find better "f" words to describe people in a less pejorative fashion.

25 Mar 2012

Giving thanks

by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple

When the parashah speaks about the thanks-offering (Lev. 7:12), the sages say in the Midrash Tanchuma, “In time to come all the sacrifices will be abolished, but the thanks-offering will never cease”. The general view is that this indicates that a person must always feel thankful for the blessings of life. A further rabbinic interpretation says that this specially applies to someone who has never committed a sin (if such a person actually exists!). Why should he or she have a particular reason to bring a thanksoffering? Out of gratitude to God who has protected him/her from succumbing to sin.

Conduct UNbecoming

During the Human Rights Council 19th Session this past week, Charles O. Blaha stated, "The United States continues to be deeply troubled by this Council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel, as exemplified by the creation of yet another one-sided United Nations mechanism related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Far be it from the US to withdraw from the organization. Hey, if you can't beat them, might as well join them.

On Thursday, Reuters reported, "Petrol pumps have run dry and power cuts are blacking out the Gaza Strip because of a dispute over fuel supplies between Egypt and the enclave's Hamas Islamist rulers....Some Hamas sources accuse Egypt of creating fuel shortages to pressure the movement to implement a unity deal with Western-backed Abbas."

On Friday, the first question at the Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General was posed by Masood, who never misses an opportunity to bring up a scathing question relating to Israel.

Question: On this situation that exists now in occupied Gaza ever since Israeli attacks, suddenly there is much shortage of fuel and so forth, and the crossings are still not opened. Has the Secretary-General or anybody in the United Nations talked to the Israeli authorities to ease their stranglehold of [Gaza]?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, the Secretary-General has spoken out on many occasions against the closure of the land routes into Gaza, and that continues to be his policy. I am not sure whether he has spoken recently to anybody there, but as you will recall, he visited the region in February and he had extensive discussions with both Israeli and Palestinian senior leaders, and this was one of the issues that came up.

Question: On the recent shortages of fuel and supplies, there has been no updates that you have?

Deputy Spokesperson: No, our people on the ground are aware. Apparently, there have been a few supplies coming in from Egypt if I am not mistaken, I’ve seen reports about that, but, again, the situation remains problematic, yes. Matthew?

Israel Will Bar Entry of UN Rights Council, Warns Ayalon

24 Mar 2012

Downs and ups

A poignant letter to the Hamodia from a girl who comes from a divorced home was published in this week's issue.
Among her wise words was the following excerpt.

"I once heard that the lines on the graph of an electrocardigram that measures the heart go up and down. A straight line means death, R"L. It is similar with life. Would you like a straight line with no challenges? No, and in order for you to get the ups you must first get a down. And since a straight line means death, Hashem chose us to live; to use the challenge to build the "up." So stand straight and lead the beautiful life you can, and don't forget to thank Hashem for sending you this nisayon, beccause it means that He chose you. He loves us more than you can ever imagine."

Click here for incredible letter written by Mrs. Chava (Eva) Sandler.

19 Mar 2012

The need for prayers

Yeranen Yaakov and IsraelNationalNews, among others, wrote about words uttered by Maran Hagaon Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman this past Saturday night about the need for prayers.

Every prayer is important, even if it does not appear to bring about the desired result, Rabbi Shteinman told his audience. “Even if it seems like it did not help, even if the leader we prayed for dies and it seems nobody paid attention to our prayer, we must know that with the Holy One nothing is wasted. What did not help here, will help elsewhere.”

If you read the comments attached to this article, you will see how someone named Goldy is keeping the recitation of Tehillim going into its 14th cycle as a zechut for Chaim Yosef Meir Ben Miriam Henya, the young boy accidentally struck by a baseball bat.
May he merit a refuah sheleimah bekarov.

18 Mar 2012

Happiness in the face of adversity

A pint-sized Mr. Universe winner who began beefing up his muscles while doing time in a British colonial prison celebrated his 100th anniversary in India Saturday.

Manohar Aich, nicknamed “Pocket Hercules” because of his 4 foot 11 inch-frame, said low stress and happiness in the face of adversity have kept him alive all these years.

“I never allow any sort of tension to grip me. I had to struggle to earn money since my young days, but whatever the situation, I remained happy,” said Aich, winner of the 1952 Mr. Universe title.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/ex-mr-universe-manohar-aich-turns-100-article-1.1041719

"I" and not "us"

by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple
The Torah refers to a nasi, a prince, committing a sin (Lev. 4:27). A Chassidic teacher asks, “How can anyone imagine a prince, a leader of the community, committing a transgression?”

He answers his question by quoting the whole Hebrew phrase, asher nasi yecheta, the initials of which read ani – “I”. If a leader’s ego gets hold of his personality he begins to think only of himself and his own advantage. No-one should enter upon leadership for personal status or benefit. He should never say, “I want to be a leader because I want to be famous, important, rich or powerful”. Leadership is only genuine if it is a means of serving the cause and the community.

The moment a leader realises that he is thinking of “I” and not “us”, he should step down and resign.

17 Mar 2012

Asked and answered

The JPost published an article this past week which reported that "Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor called Wednesday for the dismissal of a UN official who earlier this week tweeted a picture of a Palestinian child covered in blood and falsely claimed she was killed by an IDF strike."

Below is the first question posed and answered during the Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of March 16th.

Question: Ambassador Ron Prosor of Israel has written a letter to Ms. Valerie Amos regarding a picture that Ms. Kuhlood Badawi has used, in which… which is a misrepresentation of events on the ground in Gaza and Israel. Please, your comments.

Spokesperson: Well, a response has been sent, I understand, to the Israeli Permanent Representative from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

It is regrettable that an OCHA staff member has posted information on her personal Twitter profile which is both false and which reflects on the issues that are related to her work. The opinions expressed in her Twitter profile in no way reflect the views of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and nor have they been sanctioned by that Office. The staff member is a national field coordination officer, who is not authorized to speak on behalf of the Office.

There was no association made to the Office in the staff member's private Twitter profile. And just to say that when this issue was brought to the Office’s attention on 12 March, an internal inquiry into the matter was initiated to determine what actions should be taken in line with United Nations rules and regulations. All staff of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs are expected to act in accordance with the obligations of United Nations staff members. And the Office says that it strives to ensure its neutrality and impartiality in all aspects of its work, and it is important that the private actions of staff do not undermine these principles in the countries in which we work.

16 Mar 2012

The vessel of blessing

Recently I have been hearing of more divorces among young couples after less than a year of marriage.

"They got married too young."
"They were both spoiled young children."

I remember hearing Rav Gavriel Ginsberg zt'l, talking about divorces. He said that nowadays, people give up too easily. If the young couple can't compromise on something as simple as the color of the sofa, the man/woman will say, "that's it, I'm going home to my parents."

Tha rabbi's words struck home as I read an article this week titled The 9 Secrets of Happy Couples which points to "certain core values that make some marriages more intimate and resilient than others."
Among the items was the following piece of advice.
3. When the going gets tough, they don't call Mom or Dad

The first task facing all young couples is separating from their families of origin, points out San Francisco-area-based family researcher Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go home for the holidays. But if there's a crisis over whether to have a second child or relocate for a new job, or even if there's good news about a big raise or the results of a medical test, the couple should talk about it together first before dialing Mom. "You wouldn't believe how many people who are getting divorced say to me, 'She was never mine,' or 'His mother always came first,'" Dr. Wallerstein observes.

Read full article: http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/9-secrets-happy-couples-160700887.html

This morning Anashnews published excerpts from the will of the Vishnitzer Rebbe zt'l.
He implores his family members, friends and students to avoid controversy, and strive to be "pursuers of peace."

“lo motzah hakadosh baruch hu kli machzik b’racha elah hashalom”…”the only vessel of which Hashem could place blessing into is one of peace”.

May we follow the words of the Rebbe and work on ending strife, and pursuing peace, whether it be marital harmony or peace amongst our relatives, friends and our people.
Shabbat Shalom!

The love of Torah learning

Ladaatnet reports about a student named Meir Turgeman from the Hesder Yehiva Sha'alvim, who completed the entire Talmud on the eve of his induction to the army.
Mazal tov. May he merit the fruition of the blessing recited at a bris.
Kshem Shenichnas LeBris Kach Yikanes leTorah, leChuppah uleMaasim Tovim! (as he entered the covenant of Bris Mila, he should enter the Torah study, chuppah and good deeds!)

Below is a video taken during the dedication of a Torah at Mishkan Ehud, established in the memory of the Fogel family.

15 Mar 2012

The rush to donate

In Parshas Vayakhel the Torah tells us about the mad rush to donate to the Mishkan. Men and women came, and came... and came. They brought all their finest items including the jewelry that they were wearing at the time. They brought so much that Moshe Rabbeinu had to send messages throughout the camp commanding them to stop bringing.

Were they so generous by nature? Did money have no value to them? Rav Shimshon Pincus says that on the contrary we find that when it came to giving money like by the Korban Tomid, Moshe had to persuade them to give. We also see that by the Eigel the women refused to part with their jewelry.

So what was the secret of the Mishkan that made everybody wildly generous? It was the chance to have Hashra'as HaShechina, says Rav Shimshon. When the Shechina dwells among us everything is beautiful and life is wonderful. It is the ultimate state of being in this world and there is no pleasure that compares to it. They knew this and therefore they eagerly emptied out their vaults for this opportunity.

Rav Shimshon adds that even today there is an opportunity for Hashra'as HaShechina. How? "Ish V'Isha Zachu... HaShechina Beineihen", if a man and women build a harmonious home Al Pi Torah, the Shechina dwells with them. Interestingly, says Rav Shimshon, most domestic discord is over money. Either the husband gets angry when he feels his wife spends too much or the wife is angry because her husband refuses to allow her to spend.

If we understood that we have a chance to bring the Shechina to our homes and live in bliss, every husband would throw all his money at his wife and the wife would spend nothing, simply to merit Hashra'as HaShechina. Our forefathers also deeply cared about money but they knew where to draw the line. They knew that even money doesn't compare to harmony and bliss.

By putting Sholom in our home and sholom with our business partners and friends ahead of money, we to will be zocheh to Hashra'as HaShechina and a Bais HaMikdash Bimheira Biyameinu.

Speaking of the U.N.

John Hinderaker makes a case for "It is time to get out of the United Nations." Despite the fact that one member, Saudi Arabia, bars women from the voing booth, the UN rights council has seen fit to delve into a more pressing concern - US voter I.D. laws.

Honest Reporting discusses how Khulood Badawi hasn't apologized for a false tweet.

Yesterday, we exposed the UN Media Official Responsible for False Photo Tweet.
We also called for UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to dismiss Khulood Badawi. An “information and media coordinator” using Twitter to spread misinformation about Israel has no place in the UN.

In an outrageous show of support, ICAHD supports Badawi and opines, "We firmly hold that Khulood has a manifested right to exercise her freedom of expression on her personal Facebook page. "
Let's see how you support freedom of expression if anyone writes misinformation about your organization on a Facebook page.

14 Mar 2012

On three things the world stands

Shimon HaTzadik was from the remnant of the Men of the Great Assembly and he used to say: “On three things the world stands on Torah, Service (Avodah), and Acts of Kindliness (Gemilas Chassadim).” (Chapters of the Fathers)

If one followed the articles on Israeli Chareidi websites today, they were all about the passing of the Vishnitzer Rebbe zt'l. Checking out the home pages of those sites, the petirah of the Rebbe was the single most important item in the news.
This afternoon I attended a lecture in which the rabbi begin his opening thought with the words from Chapters of the Fathers quoted above. The rabbi said that the Vishnitzer Rebbe zt"l encapsulated all those three things. He was a great Torah scholar, was involved in various institutions of learning as well as in acts of kindness.
The rabbi went on to explain that we lost someone who was a pillar of the world. The loss of such an individaul makes the world shake as a pillar has been removed.
Those who didn't figuratively feel the earth shake upon the loss of such a tzaddik might have literally felt the earth shake as a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan today.
May the Rebbe be a Meilitz Yosher for those who are left behind, bereft of a leader.


A bus crashed into a tunnel in Switzerland, killing 28 people, including 22 children, Tuesday night, police said.

Another 24 children were injured in the wreck, police said.

Most of the children were 11 and 12 years old, said Joren Vandeweyer, a spokesman for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Read full article: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/14/world/europe/switzerland-bus-crash/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

Condolences to those Belgians who lost family members. Hopefully, the case of the accident will be ascertained and measures will be taken to prevent future occurrences.

Less tolerant

Not exactly shocking news for those exposed to them for years, but the respected Pew Research Center has determined that political liberals are far less tolerant of opposing views than regular Americans.

In a new study, the Pew Center for the Internet and American Life Project confirmed what most intelligent Americans had long sensed. That is, whenever they are challenged or confronted on the hollow falsity of their orthodoxy -- such as, say, uniting diverse Americans -- liberals tend to respond defensively with anger, even trying to shut off or silence critics.

WND has an article titled Stunner! Balanced CBS report on Arpaio probe which contains a CBS video with balanced coverage of the issue of the President's birth certificate.
Contrast that with a Huffington Post article in which people questioning the legitimacy of the certificate are called "crazies" etc. Hey, if you can't back up your views with facts, why not resort to name calling?

Ein od Milvado

The Lakewood Scoop has published a request from the father of the young boy who was struck by a baseball bat last week.

Please daven for Chaim Yosef Meir Ben Miriam Henya and don’t let up. Have in mind “ein od milvado” not only by davening but throughout your daily ups and downs.

One comment posted relates, "we are in the middle of the ninth cycle of sefer Tehillim."

Rabbi Paysach Krohn once related that the words "untied" and "united" have the same letters. The difference is where you put the "I."
From the comments posted this past week relating to the young boy, we see how people didn't think of "I" but rather of "we" and became united in their prayers.

I just caught a fabulous shiur which I posted below. For those who understand Hebrew, may the zechut of listening to the words of הרב ניסים יגן זצ"ל stand in good stead for Chaim Yosef Meir Ben Miriam Henya. May he merit a speedy recovery and may we merit a speedy salvation.

13 Mar 2012

Getting it wrong

A March 11th post commented on how JStreet got it wrong when issuing the following statement.

“J Street is deeply concerned about the most recent spate of violence between the Israel Defense Forces and militants in Gaza, which, in three days, has already resulted in over one hundred rockets fired on Israeli cities and towns and airstrikes on Gaza that have killed over a dozen Palestinian civilians...."

J street is wrong. There were not 12 civilians killed in Gaza.

An update followed: J Street has changed the announcement to exclude the reference to the 12 civilians.

An anonymous commenter wrote the following.

So J-Street revised and covered their tracks without explaining why? No apologies, no admittance of wrongdoing? Sorry, not impressed.
Read full comment and article at: http://proisraelbaybloggers.blogspot.com/2012/03/j-street-gets-it-wrong-again.html

Today Israel National News reports the following.
MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) called on former prime minister and Kadima head Ehud Olmert to retract his endorsement of J Street.

"While over one million Israeli citizens have spent four days and four nights in bomb shelters, and do not go to work and school out of fear of the next siren... the terrorists firing rockets at them are not only supported by Iran and Hizbullah, but by the left-wing American Jewish organization J Street," Schneller said in remarks to the Knesset on Tuesday.
Read full article: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/153726

And speaking of getting it wrong, A Soldier's Mother writes about a photo making the rounds with a wrong caption. (for the second time, I may add.)

The photos of Palestinian children being killed twice has to make one believe in the 13th principle of Maimonides - the resurrection of the dead.

7 Mar 2012

The Tehillim chain

Many of you may have read about a 13-year-old boy who was involved in a horrific incident yesterday when he was accidentally struck by a baseball bat in his school. There are over 100 comments at the end of a post at the Lakewood Scoop about the young boy.
Reading through them gives one an idea of how Jews come together at a time of unfortunate circumstance and pray for the well being of someone they consider their brother.

One person suggested started a Tehillim chain - the boy needs our prayers.
Many volunteered to say chapters of Tehillim until the entire sefer Tehillim was said. No sooner had that been done when another person started round 2 of saying sefer Tehillim again.
Another person committed to saying five chapters of Tehillim, as well as giving money to charity and dedicating half an hour of Torah study for "this tayerer zisser bochur who I don’t know who he is."
Someone else wrote that she was crying and praying. A person in Australia related that they recited "Tehillim betzibbur" for the boy.
Perhaps the most poignant comment was the following one.

I heard from a Rebbi in the yeshiva that just this afternoon he had a solo in the purim mesiba and sang “v’zakeini l’gadel banim…”. Please Hashem save him so that he may be zoche to live, be well, and raise a family!!

The comments show people that cry for a brother, even if they don't know who he is. It shows how people all over the world unite in prayer and good deeds in the merit of a positive outcome. These are people who, even not in an election year, can be counted on to demonstrate in action how, "when the chips are down, I've got your back."
This show of unity will not make the news. No one will be invited on a television show to focus on the positive aspects. Only those seeking to disparage or ridicule need apply.
But for me, I was warmed by the coming together of our brethren. Ashreichem Yisrael.

Ayelet Hashachar

by Rabbi Yisroel Jungreis

Haman the Hitler of the Persian Empire threatened G-d forbid to annihilate our people, Esther and Mordechai came forth and summoned the nation to turn to G-d in prayer repentance and fasting. To commemorate that fast every year on Taanis Esther we fast. It is written in the holy book “Kav Hayashar” any individual who needs divine assistance rachamonus- compassion on any issue should say psalm 22, Ayelet Hashachar on Tannis Esther. Just as Esther was helped so to in the merit of Esther and Mordechai Hashem will open the gates of compassion for his children. Purim is called a day of Ratzon a special time of prayer, Yom Ki Purim. Yom Kippur is called a day like Purim the gates of heaven are open. So let us turn to our G-d and open those Gates.

Due to the difficult situation in Eretz Yisrael an effort is being spearheaded in Eretz Yisrael to enlist Yidden worldwide to recite Tehillim at 11:00am on Taanis Esther.

The prakim to be recited are 28,32,79,92, and 22.
Read more: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/120328/World-Tehillim-Effort-for-Taanis-Esther.html

Click here for Perek 22.

6 Mar 2012

The billboards

UPDATE: Click here. H/T VIN

An article caught my eye today about an atheist organization that is planning "to erect billboards proclaiming, “You know it’s a myth… and you have a choice” — one in the heart of a predominantly Orthodox Jewish community in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, N.Y. on Tuesday, and another on Wednesday two blocks from a mosque in Paterson, N.J., which is home to a large Muslim population.

The Arabic word for Allah will appear on the billboard in Paterson while the Hebrew translation of God will be printed on the one in Williamsburg."

I subsequently wrote an email to the head of the organization.

This morning I read an article in the Daily Caller about a series of billboards that are to be put up in religious neighborhoods. I must admit I was perturbed when I saw a billboard with the Hebrew name of G-d. The article states that you don't mean to offend with your billboards but you are, indeed, causing hurt to Orthodox Jews who don't take the name of G-d lightly. I refer you to an excerpt from an article taken from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/name.html.

Jews do not casually write any Name of God. This practice does not come from the commandment not to take the Lord's Name in vain, as many suppose. In Jewish thought, that commandment refers solely to oath-taking, and is a prohibition against swearing by God's Name falsely or frivolously (the word normally translated as "in vain" literally means "for falsehood").

Judaism does not prohibit writing the Name of God per se; it prohibits only erasing or defacing a Name of God. However, observant Jews avoid writing any Name of God casually because of the risk that the written Name might later be defaced, obliterated or destroyed accidentally or by one who does not know better.

Knowing that the billboards with the holy name of G-d written on them will be disposed of at a later date in a disrepectful manner causes great anguish to me. I urge you to reconsider going ahead with this particular ad...

To his credit, the organization head answered promptly, but, alas, not with the - Sorry. I didn't realize the sign would offend certain people. I hereby withdraw it. -response that I had envisioned.

It is interesting to note that in the week that we read in Parshat Ki Tissa how Moshe Rabbeinu beseeches Hashem to reveal Himself in all His glory, an organization is making the news by seeking to diminish G-d's stature.
Tomorrrow night Jews the world over will read the story of Purim in a Megilah which doesn't mention the name of Hashem even once. But Jews acknowledge that it is only through divine help that salvation was achieved.
May we be able to recognize G-d in all our daily activities.

College campus statistics

Liran Kapoano discusses Anti-Semitism on college campuses here.

78% of Jewish undergrads have either directly experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/03/anti-semitism_on_college_campuses_video.html#ixzz1oK9zrZy2

Efraim Karsh discusses The Middle East’s real apartheid.

Here are some pro Netanyahu comments in response to a question posed "What do you think about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at AIPAC?"

United Nations against Israel

Speaking at the AIPAC Policy Conference, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, discussed the importance of stopping the campaign against Israel at the world body.

“Nobody is above fair criticism. But what Israel faces is something very different. It’s relentless, it’s obsessive, it’s ugly. It’s bad for the United Nations, it’s bad for peace and it has got to stop,” Rice said at a session for Jewish religious leaders.
Read more: http://blogs.jta.org/politics/#amb-rice-relentless-obsessive-campaign-against-israel-at-un-has-got-to-stop

Below is a video from April 18, 2007 when 18 rabbis were arrested after protesting Iran's seat at the United Nations.

5 Mar 2012

Anti-Israel activities

Breitbart.com has an audio of Prof. Susan M. Akram of Boston University's School of Law who told anti-Israel activists at Harvard University's "One State Conference" that "there is no legal basis for Jewish self-determination--at all."
Read more: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/03/04/exclusive-audio-harvard-conference-jewish-people-do-not-exist

The Blaze reports about Occupy Oakland plans to hold a major protest of the Israeli President’s visit to a San Francisco synagogue.

It also reports about a troubling video transcribed by MEMRI about a Hamas preacher as well as a warning from the hacker group Anonymous to AIPAC.

Ela Sheb’chol Dor VaDor Omdim Aleinu Lechaloteinu V’HaKadosh Baruch Hu Matzilenu Miyadam.

For the best

The other day I caught a clip of Rabbi Lazer Brody exhorting his audience to "close your eyes and think of the very worst trauma you ever had and now think of how Hashem did everything for the best." He related how a traumatic day subject to enemy fire became the best day in his life as it led him to do teshuva.
I thought of his words as I read an article about a fire at a nursery school.

A fire broke out in a nursery in the town of Elad on Sunday, leaving 18 toddlers and two caretakers lightly-wounded from smoke inhalation.
Employees of the nursery managed to avert a tragedy and put the flames out before any of the toddlers or staff was seriously injured.

Chadrei Chareidim reports of a miracle that transpired after the babies were sent to hospital to be checked for smoke inhalation. One infant who underwent a comprehensive series of tests was discovered to have a birth defect in his lungs which could have endangered his life. As a result, the baby remained in hospital for treatment. In the hospital there was talk of a miracle from heaven, as had the infant not been examined, the defect might have remained undetected until it would have been too late for treatment.

4 Mar 2012

Mor Dror

The gemara in Chulin 139b says that Mordechai HaTzaddik is hinted at in the Torah in the pasuk (Ki Sisa 30:23) of the sweet fragrance used for the Shemen Mishcha called "Mor Dror". The Targum is Meira Dachya which sounds like "Mordechai". Rashi says the Mor Dror is the first of the Besamim as are the Tzaddikim.

Rav Shimon Schwab asks why do we need to base this on the Targum and not suffice with the words of the Torah? He answers that Dror means freedom. We may mistakenly think that Mordechai's greatness was that he helped Klal Yisroel gain a measure of freedom. In reality they were still slaves of Achashveirosh even after Haman's downfall. Rather Mordechai's greatness was that he helped Klal Yisroel gain spiritual freedom and kept them pure which is the meaning of the word "Dachya" that Targum uses to translate Dror.

The meaning of true freedom for Klal Yisroel as transmitted from generation to generation has nothing to do with our political status or self governance in our own homeland. the only true freedom is breaking free from the pressures around us to serve Hashem with purity. This freedom can be achieved anytime and anywhere under any circumstances. We need not the recognition of the world not do we need definable borders. Mordechai taught us this in the dark Galus of Paras, and with that became the true father of the nation and model for all future true Jewish revolutionaries.

Aish articles

Dina Neuman teaches us a lesson in gratitude in an article titled My Inheritance.

Rabbi Shraga Simmons discusses the parallels of ancient Persia and today's Iran in an article titled Purim & Iran.

2 Mar 2012


Click here for a short thought about Parshat Zachor by Rabbi Shraga Simmons.

Denunciation of Israel

Baroness Jenny Tonge resigned the Lib Dem whip in the House of Lords after refusing to apologize for claiming that Israel would not "last forever" and that one day people in the United States would say "enough is enough".

Jonathan Tobin pens an article titled Will Clinton Repudiate Consultant’s Speech at Anti-Israel Conference?

1 Mar 2012

Living life boldly

Just watched fascinating news conference by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County regarding the President's birth certificate. Read more at WND.

The shocking announcement of Andrew Breitbart's death was reported on various websites today.

“Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.”

Sheriff Arpaio is someone boldly striving to find the truth.

And, of course, those in the MSM are either ignoring reporting the news about the conference or busy ridiculing and disparaging the Sheriff. Case in point- a post in the New York Times.