"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

25 Oct 2012

The monarch's accountability

Samuel 1 15
26 And Samuel said unto Saul: 'I will not return with thee; for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.'

Samuel II 12
13 And David said unto Nathan: 'I have sinned against the LORD.'

Two Spanish courts have rejected demands that King Juan Carlos take a paternity test to prove that he is the father of two extramarital children, according to two rulings seen by AFP.
The courts said that under article 56 of the constitution the monarch cannot be held accountable.

Avoiding Sabbath desecration

AnashNews reports about a letter to Israelis written by Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger requesting people to avoid desecration of the Sabbath this coming Saturday which is Rachel Imenu's Yahrzheit. Thursday has been designated as the "yom hilula" but people may still want to visit the kever on Saturday evening.

Since Rachel's Tomb is in a sensitive area and requires coordination with military and police forces, security must be arranged several hours before visitors are to arrive. Therefore, Rabbi Metzger appeals to Israelis not to arrive at the tomb till at least 8:30 on Saturday evening so that the security forces will not have to desecrate the Sabbath by arriving before the end of the holy day in order to secure the area.

Parsimonious visa issuance talk

To describe Yaakov's departure from Be'er Sheva the Torah uses the word VaYetzei. Rashi famously comments that a tzaddik's departure makes an impact as he takes with him the beauty, glory, and luster of the place. When Avrohom left his father's house it says, "Lech Licha," why did it not say, VaYeitzei?

The Chassam Sofer answers that Yaakov left a city steeped in Torah and Yiras Shamayim, that were the hallmarks of all those that came far and wide to be under the influence of Avrohom and Yitzchok. These good people appreciated Yaakov, and therefore, his departure was a blow to the entire atmosphere of the city. However, when Avrohom left his city, it was almost entirely under the influence of Nimrod and his heretical beliefs. Avrohom was a pariah. Therefore, his leaving did not impact anyone in the city. In fact, they were quite happy to see him go.

In this week's parsha we read about Avrohom Avinu departing to the land of Canaan. I doubt he had to apply for a visa to enter the country. Today a question was posed at the State Department briefing about a certain individual as to whether he obtained a visa to the U.S.

QUESTION: Are you familiar with a guy named Khader Adnan, a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement in the West Bank? He was in an Israeli jail, went on a hunger strike, the Israelis released him. But now, he apparently has gotten a visa to come to the United States to speak at American University next week. I’m wondering if, in fact, this is correct. Did he get a visa? And if he did, considering he’s the leader of a designated – or a branch of a designated terrorist organization, how he managed to get this visa.

MS. NULAND: Matt, I don’t have anything on it today. You know how parsimonious we are about talking about visa issuance, but let me see if there’s anything we have to share on that. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/10/199595.htm

24 Oct 2012

Trump announcement

After all the speculation about Donald Trump's big announcement, here it is.

Serving time

French authorities unveiled a scathing report of the country’s domestic intelligence agency on Tuesday, which describes its investigation into Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah as an operation flawed from beginning to end.
The damning report mainly highlighted a lack of coordination and communication within France’s domestic intelligence agency, the DCRI, in its handling of Merah. A young man with a turbulent past, Merah had at least 15 previous criminal convictions,...
Read more: http://www.france24.com/en/20121023-french-intelligence-botched-toulouse-gunman-investigation-merah-valls-investigation

An ex-convict was arrested on Tuesday on charges he fatally shot a Long Island police officer in broad daylight Tuesday near the Belmont Park racetrack and then killed another driver not far away during a carjacking, authorities said.
The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Darrell Fuller, who was on parole after serving time for attempted murder, authorities said.

23 Oct 2012

Saying the Sh’ma out loud

Should Anat Hoffman, the head of the group, “Women of the Wall”, have been arrested for wearing a tallit and saying the Sh’ma out loud at the Kotel?

Click here to read an answer supplied by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.

Gratitude to parents

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach writes a fitting tribute to his mother on the occasion of her 70th birthday.

I have often wondered why the Bible includes ‘Honor your father and mother’ among the ten most important moral commandments, right up there with not murdering or stealing. Perhaps the reason is this. Gratitude is the mother of all virtues, without which humanity is fundamentally underdeveloped and wholly incomplete.
Read more: http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/10/22/a-tribute-to-my-mother-on-her-70th-birthday/

22 Oct 2012


As of tonight, which is Monday according to the secular calendar but already Tuesday (Yom Shlishi, the 7th of Cheshvan) in the Jewish calendar, Jews in Israel will start inserting the formal request for rain in the 9th blessing of the thrice-daily Amidah prayer. Thus will officially begin the rainy season in Israel, which will go on until the first day of Passover.
Continue reading: http://baltimorejewishlife.com/news/news-detail.php?SECTION_ID=1&ARTICLE_ID=33055

I received an email this morning reminding me of the Yahrzheit of Rachel Imenu on October 27th.

One of the most important days in the month of Cheshvan is the 11th, which commemorates the day of passing of our matriarch Rachel. Rachel was Jacob's most beloved wife and was the principal of his household and thus the principal of the entire house of Israel.

From the first day of the year, the 1st day of Tishrei, the 11th day of Cheshvan is the 41st day. 41 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word "eim," which means "mother," thus the 11th of Cheshvan is truly the Jewish Mother's Day.Since the time of her burial- more than 3000 years ago, the Tomb of Rachel has always been a special place for prayer.

Tzidkat Rashbi will have a special messenger reciting your prayers in Beth Lechem at the tomb of Rachel Imeinu on the day of her passing away, 11 Cheshvan. If you can't be there, send a messenger.

All prayers we receive will be forwarded to Kever Rachel and to Meron.

Click here for more details.

Prophetic elections

The Tosefta (Sotah 13:4) writes: משמתו נביאים האחרונים חגי זכריה ומלאכי פסקה רוח הקודש מישראל
Once the last prophets -- Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi -- died, the prophetic spirit ceased in Israel.

Additionally, the Talmud (Bava Batra 14b) writes: וחגי זכריה ומלאכי סוף נביאים הוו
Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi were the end of the prophets. http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/17727/who-is-the-last-prophet-in-judaism

Apparently, staff of a CBS affiliate haven't read the Talmud because the station has made a prophecy relating to the Presidential election which is to take place in a few weeks' time.

The 2012 presidential election is still more than two weeks away, but on Friday a CBS News affiliate in Arizona called the race for President Barack Obama.

For 17 seconds, Phoenix, Arizona CBS News affiliate KPHO ran a lower third graphic that showed that Obama had won the Nov. 6 election over Gov. Mitt Romney with 99% of the precincts reporting. The lower third graphic appeared around 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 19, during an episode of “The People’s Court.”
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/21/cbs-news-affiliate-calls-2012-presidential-race-for-barack-obama-weeks-ahead-of-election/#ixzz2A0IGkJ2c

I guess they're hoping for a self fulfilling prophecy.

21 Oct 2012


The Medrash Tanchuma says that the first test Avrohom faced, leaving Charan, was as difficult as the last one, the Akeida. That's why both tests begin with the words "Lech Licha". This Medrash is hard to understand because we know that each test was increasingly difficult, like a mountain that Avrohom needed to climb to get to the top.

Rav Elyashiv says that most people fail in life due to inertia. They can't bring themselves to take the first difficult step. The gemara in Succah (52b) says that when Hashem will finally kill the Yetzer Hara, the Tzaddikim will look at the Yetzer Hara and shed tears about the impossibility of overcoming a huge mountain, while the Resha'im will stand by and cry, lamenting how they were unable to overcome a hairsbreadth. What does the Yetzer Hara actually look like, a mountain or a hairsbreadth?

Rav Elyashiv says that both are true. At first the Yetzer Hara is weak and flimsy. The difficulty in overcoming him, is that you need to get up and fight, which is a huge hurdle. As you move down the path he gets bigger and stronger. The Resha'im who could never get past the first step, see the weak Yetzer Hara, while the tzaddikim see the mountain. Both are equally challenging in their own way.

Although the first test of Avrohom to leave to a land of promise was not as challenging, the mere fact that it was the beginning of his journey made it most difficult. No less than the last test which he faced already battle hardened, but a test so great it was like no other.

Homeschoolers win victory

Back in February of this year, the Blaze reported the following:

In Sweden, homeschooling is severely frowned upon. In fact, unless there’s a viable reason, it is virtually impossible for parents to educate their children at home. 
...School authorities came to the home of Rabbi Alexander Namdar and his wife Leah on Jan. 26 to serve the family with a notice, reports say. Four of the couple’s children are currently studying online at an international school. If the family does not comply and immediately begin to send them to government-run educational facilities, they will be fined the U.S. equivalent of $2,400 per week.
Continue reading: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/swedish-officials-threaten-to-fine-jewish-parents-2400-per-week-for-homeschooling-their-children/

WND in now reporting "Embattled homeschoolers claim victory."

Citing the rights of religious freedom and home education, a Swedish appeals court ruled unanimously that homeschooling parents in Gothenburg are allowed to educate their children at home in line with their faith.
“For us, we’re tremendously happy – thank God, thank God – that the judge had the sensitivity and intuition to understand,” mother Leah Namdar told WND.
“The bedrock of a healthy society is belief in God, and one of the challenges in Sweden in general is the sense of many, many people in the country living without belief in God,” she said, adding that the ruling reflected respect for people’s religious needs.
Read full article: http://www.wnd.com/2012/10/embattled-homeschoolers-claim-victory/

20 Oct 2012

Jewish leaders

Rachel Gartner wrote an article relating her opinion about ads Pamela Geller ran in metro stations.

Judaism teaches anyone who has the ability to intervene but does not is held responsible [by God] for those sins because they had the ability to intervene against them.
...If we don’t speak out, sin multiplies.

It is interesting how non-Orthodox rabbis use Judaic teachings to justify their opinions but have no problem disregarding biblical teachings that don't mesh with their world views.

Ms. Geller published a letter she received from a rabbi who supported her and who produced examples of  intelligent Jewish females inluding Sarah, Yocheved and Esther. He concluded the article with his opinion that "women do remain the best Jewish leaders."

I learned that Ms. Geller was under fire  from all kinds of directions and lobbying groups. One, for example was a “1,800 member strong, Rabbis For Human Rights.” That’s a group of Reform and Conservative “rabbis,” a fact which inherently means they have no credible voice, from a traditional Talmudic standpoint.

Two Jews - three opinions? I believe a true Jewish leader should follow traditional Jewish teachings. Vehamyvin Yavin.

12 Oct 2012

Rabbis for

The 5 Towns Jewish Times has published a mission statement of rabbis for Romney here.

The New English Review published an article at the end of August titled Rabbis for Obama versus Rabbis for Romney.

Don't you think that rabbis for Romney is the better alliteration?

Below is Rabbi Meir Soloveichik speaking at the Republican National Convention.

11 Oct 2012

The diamond planet

Forget the diamond as big as the Ritz. This one's bigger than planet Earth.

Orbiting a star that is visible to the naked eye, astronomers have discovered a planet twice the size of our own made largely out of diamond.

The rocky planet, called '55 Cancri e', orbits a sun-like star in the constellation of Cancer and is moving so fast that a year there lasts a mere 18 hours.
Continue reading: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/11/us-space-diamond-planet-idUSBRE89A0PU20121011

The following is an excerpt about precious stones found in Sanhedrin 100a.

R. Johanan was sitting and teaching: The Holy One, blessed be He, will bring jewels and precious stones, each thirty cubits long, and thirty cubits high, and make an engraving in them, ten by twenty cubits, and set them up as the gates of Jerusalem, for it is written, And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles.

A certain disciple derided him saying, 'We do not find a jewel even as large as a dove's egg, yet such huge ones are to exist!'

Some time later he took a sea journey and saw the ministering angels cutting precious stones and pearls. He said unto them: 'For what are these?' They replied: 'The Holy One, blessed be He, will set them up as the gates of Jerusalem.'

On his return, he found R. Johanan sitting and teaching. He said to him: 'Expound, O Master, and it is indeed fitting for you to expound, for even as you did say, so did I myself see.'

 'Wretch!' he exclaimed, 'had you not seen, you would not have believed! You deride the words of the Sages!' He set his eyes upon him, and he turned in to a heap of bones.

Praying and recognizing the need

Rabbi Frand discusses the importance of prayer in a parsha thought at Torah.org.

The beginning of the second perek [chapter] of the Chumash says: "These are the products of the heavens and the earth, when they were created on the day of Hashem G-d's making of earth and heavens. [Bereshis 2:4] This summary of creation is followed by a difficult pasuk [verse] to interpret and even to translate: The presumed translation is "Now any tree of the field was not yet on the earth and any herb of the field had not yet sprouted, for Hashem G-d had not sent rain upon the earth and there was no man to work the soil."

Rashi interprets that even after the 6 days of creation, there was still no grass. Despite the fact that the Torah stated on the third day of creation "and the earth brought forth vegetation, herbage yielding seed" [Bereshis 1:12], Rashi explains that they did not emerge from the earth on that day but they stood on the surface of the ground until the sixth day.

The Torah explains in perek 2 pasuk 5 why the grass did not come out –"because there was no man to work the soil". Rashi interprets this to mean that there was no one who could recognize the goodness of rains. In other words, there was no human being around to appreciate the rain and to ask for it. When Adam was created and he understood that the world had a need for rain, he prayed that rain should fall. In answer to man's prayer, rain fell and the grass, trees, and all the vegetation of the earth then began to grow.

We learn a couple of interesting things from this Rashi. First, we see that the first prayer in the history of the world was Adam, the first man, asking for rain, shortly after his creation. We also learn that G-d was not merely waiting, as it were, for man to recognize the need for rain before bringing the rain, but G-d was waiting for man to pray for rain. Rav Aharon Kotler in Mishnas Aharon says that from here we learn that if a person does not pray for that which he needs, it can be there waiting and ready for him, but if he does not pray to G-d for it, it will not come.
Continue reading: http://www.torah.org/learning/ravfrand/5770/bereishis.html

10 Oct 2012

European anti-Semitism

Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet “condemned “ Tuesday “attacks of an anti-Semitic nature” waged against a Socialist Party (PS) candidate in next Sunday’s municipal elections in Belgium.

Yves Goldstein, a senior advisor to Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx, who is placed second on the party’s list system for Schaerbeek, one of 19 Brussels constituencies, was accused of being a “Zionist” by rival candidates from the same constituency, which is home to a large Muslim community from Turkish and Moroccan origins.
Continue reading: http://www.ejpress.org/article/62270


Robert J. Lefkowitz, a Jewish physician and path-breaking biochemist from New York, has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Brian K. Kobilka, a researcher at California’s Stanford University.

Lefkowitz told a news conference by telephone he was asleep when the phone call came from Sweden.
"I did not hear it - I must share with you that I wear earplugs to sleep. So my wife gave me an elbow. So there it was, a total shock and surprise," he said.

One organization which is not asleep is Camera which alerted readers to Wall Street Journal's Creative Cartographers.

The Wall Street Journal seems to have jumped the gun a bit, drawing "Palestine" over the West Bank in a map accompanying a News Hub broadcast. ...This is not the first time that the Wall Street Journal has incorrectly used the term Palestine.
Read full article: http://blog.camera.org/archives/2012/10/wall_street_journal_maps_pales.html

You can see the labeling on the map at the 2:33 mark.
H/T Israel Matzav


9 Oct 2012

The Nobel Prize

Serge Haroche, a French-Jewish physicist, has won the Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with David Wineland from the United States.
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012 went to the scientists "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems," the website of the Nobel Prize said.
According to the BBC, the pair developed solutions to pick, manipulate and measure photons and ions individually, allowing an insight into a microscopic world that was once just the province of scientific theory.
Haroche, who was born 68 years ago in Casablanca, Morocco, told Le Figaro that he "had a hard time understanding" the news when a representative of the Nobel Prize committee called him on his cellular phone to say he had won what is considered the highest form of recognition of scientific excellence.
Continue reading: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/french-jewish-physicist-wins-nobel-prize-along-with-american-colleague-1.468913

A friend of mine shares the same surname as the esteemed physicist and her father is also from Morocco. I will call her soon to find out if she is related.

7 Oct 2012

Developing our potential

Matzav has an interesting article by Rav Zev Leff titled Rav Leff On Parshas Bereishis: Why is it “In the Beginning?”

Eretz Yisrael provides a setting where we can develop our potential to be a uniquely sanctified nation. (This, it should be noted, is the very antithesis of secular Zionism, which envisions Eretz Yisrael as a setting for us to develop at long last into a nation like all other nations.)
Read full article: http://matzav.com/rav-leff-on-parshas-bereishis-why-is-it-in-the-beginning-4

Jeffrey Folks writes about atheists in an article titled Prohibiting Cheerleaders the Free Exercise of Religion.

This, of course, was not what our Founders intended by the First Amendment "church and state" clause. What the clause prohibits is "the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." What atheist groups are attempting to do, with the full cooperation of Obama's Justice Department, is precisely what the Constitution disallows: the prohibition of religion expression. Had they intended to forbid the free exercise of religion, the Founders would not have justified independence on the basis of rights with which all men are "endowed by their Creator." Nor would they not have concluded the Declaration with "a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence." Nor would leaders like George Washington have invoked God dozens of times in their inaugural and farewell addresses to the American people.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/10/prohibiting_cheerleaders_the_free_exercise_of_religion.html#ixzz28clH00fJ

Early in the summer of 1952, after his first year of dental school at Emory University in Atlanta, Perry Brickman received a letter from the dean. It informed him that he had flunked out.

Mr. Brickman was mystified. He had been a B-plus student in biology as an Emory undergraduate and had earned early admission to dental school. He had never failed a course in his life.
Over the next few weeks of that summer, Mr. Brickman found out that three of his classmates had also been failed. All of them happened to be Jewish. Yet instead of fighting back, Mr. Brickman and his friends searched for other dental schools and swallowed a shame that lasted decades.
Continue reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/education/emory-confronts-legacy-of-bias-against-jews-in-dental-school.html?src=me&ref=general

Good Yom Tov!

Nazis in the news

Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis seized an estimated 650,000 works of art, taking them from Jewish families and grabbing so-called “degenerate” art — including works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and van Gogh — off the walls of German museums. Many of the plundered paintings and other works were destroyed, but others were sold abroad with the cash going back to the Nazi war machine.
It took 50 years, but Jewish families thought they might finally receive some justice for this massive theft.
Continue reading: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/that_nazi_loot_art_is_mein_18eatpbSRGsvvvUlrDROII/0

The European Jewish Parliament (EJP) deplored the announced participation of Geneva’s Mayor, Remy Pagani, in the 4th session of the "Russell Tribunal on Palestine" which is taking place in New York on 6-8 October.

"His own support for this mockery of justice is highly harmful to his credibility and to his city's reputation," the Jewish body said in a statement on Friday.

The European Jewish Parliament stressed that this year's Tribunal will be chaired by Stephane Hessel who recently told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the Nazi occupation was "relatively harmless" compared to the "Israeli occupation of Palestine".

The EJP denounced the the so-called "Tribunal" whose sole purpose, it said, "is the demonisation and delegitimisation of the Jewish State of Israel."

Read full article: http://www.ejpress.org/article/62188


The following is an excerpt from a Torah thought by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.

The name Hoshana Rabbah is not Biblical; Num. 29:32 refers simply to “the 7th day”. Hoshana Rabbah means “the great Hoshana“; hoshana is a prayer for salvation, based on two words, hosha na, “please save”. The term hoshana is also applied to the bundles of willow twigs which are beaten until the leaves fall off; an early name for the festival was yom sh’vi’i shel aravah – “the 7th day of the willow”.
The link with willows is suggested by the prayers for rain said on Sukkot. Willows need adequate water, and according to the Mishnah this is the time of year when the Almighty decides whether the coming year will have enough rain.
There is a belief that God told Abraham that if his descendants are not forgiven on Rosh HaShanah, they will be forgiven on Yom Kippur; if they are not forgiven on Yom Kippur they will be forgiven on Hoshana Rabbah. This makes the 7th day of Sukkot our final chance of forgiveness during the month of Tishri. The Jerusalem Talmud (Rosh HaShanah 4:8) commenting on Isa. 58:2 (“They seek Me day by day”), says there are two days when people seek God – Rosh HaShanah and Hoshana Rabbah. http://www.oztorah.com/2008/10/hoshana-rabbah-the-unknown-quantity-festival/

A guten kvittel to all.

6 Oct 2012

Trading gunfire

An Islamist suspected of a grenade attack on a Jewish market was shot and killed by police in the north-eastern city of Strasbourg on Saturday and 11 others detained in what prosecutors called a "vast anti-terrorist operation".

Elite police squads carried out simultaneous operations against a network of radical Islamists in the Paris region and in Strasbourg, Nice and Cannes early on Saturday.

The raids were connected to a September 19 incident in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles in which two men, including the suspect killed on Saturday, threw a grenade into a Jewish kosher supermarket, wounding one person and causing minor damage, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.

5 Oct 2012

Clouds of glory

The following is an excerpt from an email by Rabbi Eli Mansour.

The Misva to reside in a Succa for seven days and nights serves to commemorate the Ananeh Ha’kabod, the “clouds of glory” that encircled Beneh Yisrael as they traveled through the wilderness and provided miraculous protection from the harsh elements. (This follows the view of Rabbi Eliezer; Rabbi Akiba maintained that the Succa commemorates actual huts in which Beneh Yisrael dwelled during their sojourn through the wilderness.)

The question is asked, why is specifically the miracle of the Ananeh Ha’kabod deemed worthy of commemoration? During the period of desert travel, God sustained Beneh Yisrael with manna that fell from the heavens each morning, and with a supernatural well that accompanied them throughout their journeys and supplied water. Curiously, there is no Misva commemorating the miracles of the Manna and the well. Out of all the miracles that God performed for our ancestors in the desert, only the Ananeh Ha’kabod are commemorated through a special Misva. Why was this miracle singled out for commemoration?

Continue reading: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/WeeklyParasha.asp

News from Newsmax

As Jews the world over recently finished fasting on Yom Kippur, Charlotte Libov asks Is Fasting the Secret to Mitt Romney’s Good Health?

Mormons often fast on the first Sunday of each month and donate the money they would have spent on food to the poor and needy.

“Fasting offers an array of health benefits,” says Chauncey Crandall, M.D., one of the nation’s top cardiologists. “Studies show that it works, and I recommend it.”
Read full article: http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/headline_health/Mitt_Romney_fasting/2012/10/03/478219.html?promo_code=EE9E-1&utm_source=jpost&utm_medium=nmwidget&utm_campaign=widgetphase1

Two suspects in the Sept. 11 killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya American ambassador and three colleagues have been arrested at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, Kanal D television reported Thursday.

The suspects, identified as Tunisians, were detained late Wednesday as they attempted to enter the country with fake passports, Kanal D said.
Read more: http://www.newsmax.com/newswidget/arrests-Tunisians-Stevens-killing/2012/10/04/id/458732?promo_code=EE9E-1&utm_source=jpost&utm_medium=nmwidget&utm_campaign=widgetphase1

Talking turkey and gobbledygook

This evening I came across an article by Herb Geduld about a supposed origin of the word "Turkey."

In describing King Solomon's fabulous wealth, the Bible (I Kings 10:22 and II Chronicle 9:21) speaks of a ship that Solomon had in Tarshish on the Spanish southern coast which brought "zahav, v'kesef, shenabim, v'kofim, v'TIKKUYIM." — Gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks — to his palaces.

...We now take an almost 2,500 year historical leap to 1492 and Columbus' discovery of America. Despite the fanciful speculation to the contrary, most historians now agree that there was only one person of known Jewish birth on Columbus' First Voyage, but he was a very significant one.

Luis de Torres, a Jew baptized shortly before Columbus' fleet sailed, was the interpreter of the expedition. He is described in Columbus' diaries as a man "who had been a Jew and knew Hebrew and Chaldean and a little Arabic," and Columbus brought him along in case he met the "grand Khan."
Luis de Torres did not meet Khan, but among the many wonders he and his exploration parties did discover was a large wild bird with a head and body very similar to the peacock. The male even had a feather display which, while not as spectacular, resembled the peacocks. De Torres, with his background of Biblical Hebrew but poor ornithological knowledge, called this bird a tukki, which over the centuries has been corrupted into our "turkey."
Read full article: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/herb/turkey.php3?printer_friendly

In a State Department Briefing this afternoon, Victoria Noland was posed the following question.

QUESTION: Can I talk Turkey?

Undoubtedly, the journalist wanted to pose a question about the country of Turkey but, after I read the question, the phrase "talking turkey" immediately sprung to my mind.

As most of our esteemed readers know, turkeys don't actually have the power of speech. "To talk turkey" means to speak plainly about a difficult or awkward subject ("Let's talk turkey about your credit history, shall we?").

After perusing the State Department Briefing transcript, I thought that perhaps Ms. Nuland should indeed "talk turkey" and speak plainly about awkward subjects asked of her. As a case in point, when she was asked about events that had transpired in Libya, she indeed did not give plain answers but spoke gobbledygook. Gobble. Gobble.

4 Oct 2012

Closing one's eyes

It is outrageous that closing one's eyes or wearing a t-shirt can get some people into hot water.

The Jerusalem Police closed off the Temple Mount to Jews Thursday after receiving intelligence that Muslims intended to attack Jewish visitors there.
...After the Muslim prayers on Tuesday, Arabs began shouting "Allahu akbar" toward Jewish groups but police kept them from getting too close. On that day, police arrested Likud's Moshe Feiglin, who was questioned and later released.
Moshe Puah, whose father Michael Puah is Director of Feiglin's Jewish Leadership faction, was arrested for closing his eyes on the Mount. A policeman claimed that the act constituted prayer.
Read full article: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160545

A high school teacher at Charles Carroll High School in Port Richmond, Philadelphia, is under investigation after allegedly ordering a student to remove a pro-Mitt Romney t-shirt. In addition to purportedly telling the female pupil to take off the clothing, the teacher also supposedly compared the shirt to a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
Continue reading: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/teacher-under-fire-for-allegedly-telling-student-to-remove-pro-romney-t-shirt-likening-it-to-kkk-clothing/