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Monday, December 31, 2007

Rabbi Dov Lior

As captured by the cosmic camera at a recent wedding:



Some info from Wikipedia:

Dov Lior (Hebrew: דב ליאור‎, born 1933) is the Chief Rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba in the southern West Bank. He is also the Head of a Yeshiva in Kiryat Arba,[1] and also heads the "Council of Rabbis of Judea and Samaria".

He was born to a Belz hasidic family, son to Moshe Leibland in Breslau, Galicia. He attempted to board the Exodus, eventually arriving on the Negba a few weeks before the establishment of the State of Israel, where he changed his surname to the Hebrew Lior. In Israel he first studied at the Bnei Akiva Kfar HaRoeh high school yeshiva, and then at Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook's Mercaz haRav yeshiva, where owing to Lior's being an orphan, the Rabbi treated him like a son. Lior was married in 5720 to Bitya, but his wife died of cancer in 5748; he remarried in 5736 to Esther, widow of Rabbi Ephraim Shahor. Lior has 11 children, 55 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Haaretz Editor Asked US Secretary of State to "Rape" Israel

Did you see this one?:
Haaretz’s Chief Editor asked US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to “rape” Israel, using other unsavory terminology as well in his request for American pressure.

The comments were made during a confidential briefing by Rice on September 10, during one of many visits to the Jewish state. The meeting was attended by about 20 heads of the most senior Israeli think tanks and media leaders, including Landau, at the residence of US Ambassador Richard Jones.

Following the briefing, those present at the dinner offered their views and comments on the state of affairs in the Middle East.

Landau, who was seated next to Rice, referred to Israel as a “failed state” politically, and said that a US-imposed settlement is the only thing that can save it. He asked Rice to intervene, going so far as to say that the Israeli government wanted “to be raped” and that it would bring him much satisfaction to see this happen.


These are your journalists, O Israel!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Quickie

I was at a wedding in Ofra the other day. Here's a picture of the Chuppah. Rabbi Yaakov Shapira (on the left), the head of the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva was the mesader kiddushin. Rabbi Dov Lior, the rabbi of Kiryat Arba/Chevron, read the Ketubah:




In an unrelated development, Akiva of Mystical Paths is making aliya! In this post Akiva describes some of the afflictions that the land of Israel is acquired with. (Click here for an explanation.) Akiva, don't worry if you are having difficulties. It means that you are acquiring the land!

Monday, December 24, 2007

HH #146

Soccer Dad did a great job as usual and was nice enough to link to one of my posts. Check it out!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pidyon HaBen in Ramat Vizhnitz

I was in Haifa neighborhood of Ramat Vizhnitz the other day to attend a pidyon haben ceremony. What is Pidyon HaBen?
Pidyon Ha'Ben, the "redemption of the first born son," takes place when a baby is at least 31 days old, and involves "buying him back from a Kohen." (see Numbers 18:15)
Go to the link for more details.

It was the first time that I was in Ramat Vizhnitz. Here's a pic:



Update: A link about Vizhnitz

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ain't Got No Time For Blogging

I feel really guilty, especially about the meme that I haven't done yet.

But I have to put up a link for HH #145!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Menorah

While I was at work my wife and kids toured the Old City and the City of David. Here's a picture that they took of a very special menorah. The Temple Institute made this Menorah which is suitable for the Holy Temple, may it speedily be rebuilt. This menorah used to be on display in the Cardo but now they moved it to a different location in the Old City:

Haveil Havalim #144

Here!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thoughts For Channuka, Day 3:

Rambam, Laws of Learning Torah 6:13:

עוון גדול הוא לבזות את החכמים, או לשנוא אותן: לא חרבה ירושלים, עד שביזו בה תלמידי חכמים--שנאמר "ויהיו מלעיבים, במלאכי האלוהים, ובוזים דבריו, ומיתעתעים בנביאיו" (דברי הימים ב לו,טז), כלומר בוזים מלמדי דבריו. וכן זה שאמרה תורה, "אם בחוקותיי תמאסו" (ויקרא כו,טו)--מלמדי חוקותיי תמאסו. וכל המבזה את החכמים--אין לו חלק לעולם הבא, והרי הוא בכלל "כי דבר ה' בזה" (במדבר טו,לא).

It is a great sin to denigrate Torah scholars, or to hate them: Jerusalem was not destroyed until they denigrated the Torah scholars in her midst, as it is said, "but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets..."(II Chronicles 36:16), that is to say they mocked those that teach His word. Similarly this that the Torah said, "and if ye shall reject My statutes..."(Leviticus 26:15), those that teach My statutes. And anyone that denigrates Torah scholars does not have a portion in The World To Come, and he is included in the verse, "Because he hath despised the word of the LORD..."(Numbers 15:31).
May God save us from this!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Channuka Thoughts

Ever since I published "Rabbi Melamed on the Dangers of Internet" I wanted to write another post on the subject.

The post would deal with your average religious (not ultra-Orthodox) family in Israel. They invest very heavily in their children. The won't send their kids to the regular State run religious schools because the level of these schools is not high enough for them. Instead the children get sent to private schools, and the parents end up spending a lot of money on tuition. Remember that we are talking about a religious families that are often very large!

Now these kids come home from school and what do they find in their home? They find cable television and unfiltered internet. Half an hour in front of either one of them is enough to destroy all of the midot tovot and yirat shamaim that their parents, rabbis and teachers work so hard to implant within them.

One of these days perhaps I will write a post about this. In the meantime this is something to think about as you light the candles.

Channuka: Day 1

The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin

The guy was pretty smart, wasn't he? I came across this quote of his and I'd like to share it with you all:
"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten; Either write things worthy of reading, or do things worthy of writing." -- Benjamin Franklin, May 1738

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet

We had a little earthquake here in Israel today. We also had some rain.

I had never experienced an earthquake until I came to Israel. We've had a few during the past couple of weeks. There is a lot of talk about the possibility of a large scale earthquake that will cause a lot of damage, God forbid. But perhaps one good thing could come out of a major earthquake: It will knock the politicians out of their seats!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Getting Ready For Channuka

If you haven't done so, it's time to dust off the Channukiya, buy oil, wicks, candles, and anything else you might need.

The Jerusalem Municipality is also gearing up for Channuka. They put up some nice decorations on Kanfei Nesharim Street. Click on the pic to get a better view:




Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rabbi Melamed on the Dangers of Internet

Rav Zalman sent an interesting letter to the parents of students learning in his yeshiva. Here is my loose translation of the letter:
Chesvan 5768

Dear parents of the students learning in our yeshiva,
Peace and all the best.

We have been asked by the students of several yeshivot to turn to the parents and request of them that they should not have an internet connection in their home that is not filtered. The boys requested this because the stimuli are so strong that even good children, Heaven fearing and diligent in Torah study, it is hard for them to resist the temptation and they surf to sites that stimulate when they come home. They surf, regret, suffer and again they fail to stand up to temptation and they fall.

It is impossible to describe the psychological damage that this causes to these boys that feel that they are not able to stand up to temptation; this weakens all of the strengths, vigor, and happiness.

Therefore please do not interrogate your sons if they are among those that faltered, do not put them to the test; neither the yeshiva high school students nor those that are after high school. Do not have internet at home that is not reliably filtered.

Internet "Rimon" meets the very best criteria, and I recommend connecting to it.

I'll finish with a great blessing that the boys will ascend upwards in the levels of Torah and the fear of Heaven, with good and straight character traits, and that they will bring honor to you and to all Israel.

Zalman Baruch Melamed


Click on the image below to read the original:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Jerusalem Calatrava Bridge

Here's a pic looking east. The northern end of the bridge has finally been connected to the ramp on Jaffa Street:



Here's the southern side:




Here's a poster at the construction site:



The big pole in the middle still has a long way to go but it is already awe inspiring:

HH #142

Here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fishman's Folly

Tzvi Fishman seems to be stuck sometime in the 1970's, when ethnic humor a la "All in the Family" and "Sanford and Son", was acceptable. I guess that's why he thought he could get away with this:



Apparently he changed the caption to mollify angry readers as he published in comment number 29:29.
Apology and Retraction
Tzvi Fishman, Yerushalayim (21/11/07)
I apologize to anyone I offended with my first photo caption and have replaced it with a substitute. I hope you all like it.


Here's the new caption:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Bloody Good Day

It sure was! Today I donated blood for the first time in more than twenty years!

Magen David Adom came to my workplace and set up a room for donating blood. The last time that I gave blood, over twenty years ago, I felt sick. I was slim back then, and weighed about 130 pounds. I decided that giving blood is not for me.

Times have changed. I'm about twenty pounds heavier now, and I decided that I should give donating blood another try. I prepared myself, eating a good meal about an hour before they stuck the needle in my vein. Before you give blood here you have to fill out a questionnaire. They want to know if you are on medication, if you have certain diseases, if you got a tattoo, and if you keep Leviticus Chapter 18, among other things. They don't accept blood from just anybody.

Giving blood is a great mitzvah, although I must admit that my intentions were not entirely altruistic. When you give blood you and your family are insured for one year that if you need blood from the blood bank you get it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

HH 141 And Other Ramblings

This week's edition of Haveil Havalim can be found by the Yid With Lid.

I'm trying to learn a chapter a day of Mishnah. A friend at work gave me a copy of the "haperek hayomi" calendar. (Click here for a copy). So far so good, as I've learned the tractate of Brachot many times and I have no trouble learning a chapter a day with the Bartenura commentary. I am wondering if I'll be able to keep this up with all of those lesser known tractates in the order of Zera'im, many of which I've never learned.

I have a lot to say about the present political situation here in Israel, but that is really Haveil Havalim.

Friday, November 16, 2007

No Weddings On Yitzchak Rabin's Yahrzeit

This is simply amazing. The "National Authority of Religious Services" lists Rabin's Yahrzeit as a day of "national remembrance" on which one should not marry.



Give me a break!

Correction!: The page is not on the site of "National Authority of Religious Services". The page is from the site of "The Jewish Life Information Center", which the "National Authority of Religious Services" links to from its main page, "http://www.religions.gov.il/." In any case it is pretty pathetic!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Rabinfest 2007: It's not over until it's over

Yogi Berra once said, "It's not over until it's over." Well, The 12th of Marcheshvan is behind us, and the 4th of November has also passed. In spite of this, Rabinfest 2007 is still going strong, and there is no end in sight.

The latest is a ruling by the Israeli Football Association (IFA) against the Beitar Jerusalem Soccer club:
Beitar Jerusalem has been slapped with a two-match crowd ban following the behavior of Beitar's fans during a minute of silence held in the memory of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin this week.

The Israeli Football Association (IFA) delivered the sentence after having found the team guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct with severe circumstances. In addition, a suspended sentence of two additional games without supporters was handed down to the team.
George Orwell fans will love the following from the IFA ruling:
"This was a mass disruption on the part of a significant part of the supporters among Beitar fans. The number of disrupters reached into the hundreds. "The issue at heart is (respecting Rabin's memory), something considered to be a national consensus(CX: you guys got to be kidding) and an assault on it is an assault on our democratic existence(CX: you guys wouldn't recognize a democratic idea even if it slapped you in the face). Due to that consensus, the excess of those supporters shook the country, crossed every red line. This incident has nothing to do with freedom of expression."(CX: It's all about the reaction of people who are sick of having the ideas of the Rabin cult shoved down their throats.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Final Rabinfest 2007 Update?

I sure hope so. Here's the latest festivity:
The left-wing Peace Now organization has demanded that a soccer club be probed because its team's fans booed the name of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin during a moment of silence before Sunday's game. Peace Now did not define what law the fans had broken.

The incident involved the Beitar Jerusalem team, whose management condemned the booing. "We are sure that the overwhelming majority of our fans will join us in condemning the calls," an official said.
The Beitar Jerusalem club will pay the price for their fans' heretical behavior:
The Israel Football Association has decided to punish the Betar Jerusalem soccer club for its fans' behavior at Sunday's game during a minute of silence for slain Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. The fans booed Rabin's name and chanted "Yigal Amir," who is serving a life sentence in prison for murdering Rabin.

The team's fans have been noted for unruly behavior and racist comments at games, but punishment has been rare until the booing was considered embarrassing enough to rule against Betar. The punishment will be decided later in the week, but a fine is the harshest punishment that can be applied, according to Voice of Israel government radio.
Beitar Jerusalem's owner, Arkadi Gaydamak, sides with the Beitar fans:
Russian-Israeli billionaire and Jerusalem mayoral candidate Arkadi Gaydamak said Monday that he would not condemn the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team. Several politicians condemned the team and its fans on Monday after fans whistled and booed during a moment of silence in memory of slain Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin on Sunday.

Gaydamak, who owns the team, blamed the game’s organizers for the incident. Holding a respectful moment of silence “is not appropriate for a soccer field,” he said.
Let's hope that this is the concluding event of Rabinfest 2007!

Update: See also Joe and Batya.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

HH #139

Here!

Rabinfest 2007 Update (4)

Tel Aviv Rally Marks 12 Years Since Rabin Assassination: Nothing new here, just the same old politicians spouting the same old nonsense that only idiots believe.

Amir's Son: Yinon Eliyah Shalom
: I'm against giving multiple names to children. It makes life hard for the gabbai when he has to call them up to the Torah.

Bradley Burston joins Yair Lapid in admitting that the Israeli left did not have the country's best interests in mind when it supported the disengagement:
But for many on the left, slamming the dungeon door on Yigal Amir didn't go nearly far enough. Following the 1995 assassination, the rage of the left - as well as its guilt over its often waffling support of Rabin - was so all-consuming, that it was not enough for its members to see Yigal Amir apprehended, indicted, convicted and imprisoned for the rest of his natural life.

The left wanted to see the right as a whole punished for the murder. The left wanted to see the right as a whole suffer for the crime. The left was willing to wait as long as necessary to see the right punished. Ten years later, the left would get its chance.

When Ariel Sharon floated the notion of expelling all settlers from the Gaza Strip and several settlements in the West Bank, the left kept quiet about the longterm wisdom of Israel taking unilateral actions that bypassed the Palestinian Authority.

How better to pain the right, than to erase entire swaths of the settlement enterprise. How better to pierce the very heart of the national religious right, than to use the Israel Defense Forces to oversee the expulsion of settler families, the demolition of settler homes, the dismantlement of settler schools, synagogues, hothouses, farms and small businesses.

If revenge is a dish best served cold, you couldn't get much colder than the left. There was little concern for the plight and the fate of the settler deportees, the baffled and distraught children, the deeply betrayed teens, the suddenly unemployed and homeless parents.

The right was finally paying the price for the assassination, and the left was there to watch every moment, live and in color, by satellite.

There was little speculation on the left as to the potential consequences of the act, the effect it might have on the rise of Hamas, the chance that jihadists would exploit the pullout to attack Sderot and other border towns, kibbutzim and moshavim within Israel.

There was little willingness on the left and among leftists in the media, to go after the prime minister over a long series of corruption suspicions. After all, this was Ariel Sharon, of all people, the vaunted champion of the right, the very symbol of settlement expansion, who was taking the settlement movement apart, red roof tile by red roof tile.
I know, a little bit of truth and a lot of nonsense.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rabinfest 2007 Update (3)

I probably should have called this post Amirfest 2007.

1) Rafi posted the video calling for the release of Yigal Amir on his blog. I commented there:
What's good about the video is that it reminds of the hell that Rabin created for us in Israel when he brought Arafat and his henchmen here.
Israel after Oslo became a place where people were scared to board a bus.

2) Arutz 7 reports:
The Tel Aviv District Court granted permission Thursday for the brit mila (circumcision ceremony) of Yigal Amir's son to be held in his father's prison, reported Voice of Israel government radio.

Amir had asked the judge to be allowed out of the security prison in order to attend his son's brit on Sunday, the 13th anniversary of the date he assassinated former Prime Minister Yitzchak Amir, according to the Gregorian calendar.

The State Prosecutor asked the court to deny Amir's request, saying "he poses a material threat to public safety."


Update:

3) Yitzchak Rabin Wishes you a Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rav Kahane Yahrzeit

Yesterday was Rav Meir Kahane's yahrzeit. Last night the annual memorial was held in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be there. You can see some pics from the gathering here.

Tzvi Fishman observed the yahrzeit by posting a condensed version of one of Kahane's essays. One part of the essay caught my attention:
The average Jew is sublimely ignorant, comfortably materialistic, stupendously blind, a man utterly lacking in understanding and faith. The practitioner of ritual, the ostensibly “religious Jew,” defies the injunction to live in the Land of Israel and embraces the pagan and unholy earth of Exile.
Hmmmm.

BTW, Fishman also has a real schlager of a Halloween post.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More Eulogies For Rav Shapira zt"l

Last Sunday there was a gathering at the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva marking 30 days since Rav Shapira's passing. Rav Yehoshua Magnes, Rav Shmuel Shapira, Rav Yaakov Shapira, Rav David Chai HaKohen, Rav Tzephaniah Drori, and Rav Shlomo Dichovski delivered eulogies. I wasn't there, but the guys from Yeshivat Beit El were! They put up the eulogies on their site. God bless 'em!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rabinfest 2007 Update (2)

THE CHURCH OF RABIN AND PEACE weighs in on the Amir baby:
Dear CRAP members and supporters,

Shalom Chaverim!
Peace unto you, and peace unto your poodles that leave their aromatic sandal mines on the sidewalk.

Read the rest!

ISM Activists Help Arabs Uproot Israeli Vineyard

(IsraelNN.com:)
12 Arabs who were arrested on Monday for allegedly uprooting 3,000 vines from a Jewish vineyard near Neria last week have confessed to the crime, police said Monday night. Police did not say what evidence led them to arrest the Arabs.

Three British women were arrested over the weekend for participating in the same crime. The women were volunteers with the militantly anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement, a group that brings foreign leftists to Arab cities in Judea and Samaria in hopes that the leftists’ foreign citizenship will allow them to assist local Arab anti-Israel groups with impunity.
See also this post at Israel Matzav and this post at Smooth Stone.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tel Aviv Commute Is Over

A while back I blogged about commuting to Tel Aviv. Thank G-d, I don't commute anymore! My company transfered me to Jerusalem, after I cried, begged, threatened to quit, etc.

The Tel Aviv experience was an eye opener, I must admit. From the short time that I worked in the city, I truly feel that Tel Aviv is in the midst of a Teshuvah process. If you don't believe me, check this out. Tel Aviv is slowly but surely becoming a more observant city.

Here's a pic of Tel Aviv as seen from Yaffo:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

HaMavdil Bein Kodesh LeChol

That's what I call the passage from Rachel Imeinu's yahrzeit to the yahrzeit of Yitzchak Rabin.

Here's a good article about Rabinfest. See also, The Festival of Hate. And last but not least, be sure to pay your respects at The Church of Rabin And Peace.

Monday, October 22, 2007

From the Wisdom of Rav Avraham Shapira

The following is a loose translation of a story that Rabbi Eitan Eisman related in the Komemiut parsha sheet (vol. 70):

Once a woman came to the beit din (rabbinical court), and before the judges said to her husband, "You divorced me." In such a case, according to Jewish law (Even HaEzer 17), we believe the woman.

However, the case seemed strange to the judges. The judges were perplexed, and they were not sure if they should believe her. One of the judges was HaRav Ovadiah Yosef (may he live a long and good life), and he said immediately, "Call Rav Avrum Shapira."

Rav Shapira entered and heard the problem. He turned to the woman and said, "Tell me, when you married your husband you circled him seven times. When you divorced him how many times did you circle him?" The lady replied, "Three times."

"Thank you very much," said the Rav. "You were never divorced, since there is no such custom.

In this way the Rav, with his great wit, saved the rabbinical court from a conundrum.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Don't Miss This!

Yeshiva.org.il, the internet site of the Beit El yeshiva deserves a big yishar koach. Thanks to them, you can now see videos of many of the eulogies that were said for Rav Shapira, some of which I blogged about. Check it out!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yichus

At last week's gathering at Merkaz HaRav, one of the rabbis that spoke was Rav Eitan Eisman. Rav Eisman was the director of the Chief Rabbinate when Rav Shapira zt"l was Chief Rabbi. He had a lot of great stories to tell about Rav Shapira, including the following:

Rabbi Shapira had sons that had reached the age to get married, and he was trying to find them suitable brides. He asked a somebody if he knew of anyone suitable, and the person asked the Rav exactly what kind of girl is he talking about. The Rav responded that the girl must have middot tovot, good character traits. The person than inquired if the Rav also required that the girl have yichus, a prestigious family line. Rav Shapira replied using his great humor saying,"You bring the girl with good middot, and I'll bring the yichus!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It Rained Today!

Let's hope that this is the start of a nice rainy winter.

Rav Amar on Rav Shapira

Rabbi Shlomo Amar visited the Chicago area and Yaak was there. Rav Amar was one of the Rabbis that eulogized Rav Shapira at his funeral.
(I have a picture of Rav Amar at the funeral, but Blogger is having some technical problems. Perhaps I'll post it later.)

Update: Here it is! Rav Amar with one of his rabbis, Rav Rosental from Haifa:



I posted this comment on Yaak's blog:
Shalom Yaak!

I heard the following story recently about Rav Amar:

A yeshiva student saw him and blessed "shechalak mechomato levasar vadam".

Rav Amar expressed his displeasure with the student and told him that although he does know much Torah, he has not reached the level where that blessing can be said on him. He added that there are only two people in the generation that are on that level: HaRav Avraham Shapira (who recently passed away) and HaRav Ovadiah Yosef (sheyibadel lechayim arukim).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rav Ovadia In Merkaz HaRav

Many important rabbis came to the Merkaz HaRav yeshivah to eulogize Rav Avraham Shapira zt"l. Among them was Rav Ovadiah Yosef, sheyibadel lechayim arukim.




I don't always like the politics of Shas, but it is always a thrill to see this Torah giant. He spoke of Rav Shapira's love for the Torah and his greatness as a rabbinical judge. He encouraged the students to increase their study of Torah in order to fill the void caused by Rav Shapira's passing.

Update: Here's an article in Hebrew about the gathering.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Beit El celebrates 30th Year

I just got back from Beit El. They had a special event there marking 30 years for the town and the Yeshiva. Here is an exclusive pic from the celebration:



Rav Zalmen on the yeshiva: "I want the students to learn Talmud in depth like they do in the "Lithuanian" yeshivot, to be happy as the students in the Hassidic yeshivot, and to be able to decide halacha (lifsoq halacha) like the Sephardim."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Like This Picture

My son took this picture during Rav Shapira's funeral procession as it passed through the Geula neighborhood. Click on it to get a closer look:

Monday, October 08, 2007

Joffe The Joker

I just read a terrible "eulogy" of Rabbi Shapira by an guy named Lawrence Joffe. It is filled with many innaccuracies, if not outright lies. A quick "Google" on Lawrence Joffe reveals that he is "a London-based writer who specializes in Middle Eastern politics and culture." After digging a little deeper I discovered that he is not just a writer, but a member of the British Friends of Peace Now. Now that we know who this "London-based writer who specializes in Middle Eastern politics and culture" is, we can understand why he penned such a vile article.

Let the fisking begin:

Israel's Ashkenazi chief rabbi (1983-93), Avraham Shapira who has died, aged 94, was a champion of the settler movement, a revered adjudicator of Jewish law - and one of Israel's most divisive religious figures.

Rav Shapira was not divisive at all. He was a true Torah scholar, Chief Rabbi, full of love for every Jew regardless of his religious observance.

Still active into his 90s he won notoriety - even among fellow Orthodox Jews - when he urged soldiers to disobey orders to evacuate the Gaza Strip in 2005. Shapira believed that the territory Israel had won in 1967 was promised by God and belonged to Jews in perpetuity. "Surrendering" an inch of sacred turf was tantamount to blasphemy, he felt.

The surrendering of land was wrong because we are commanded to settle the land. Rabbi Shapira also warned that surrendering land endangers Jewish lives, and history has proven him right. Only the wicked would deem the fearless instruction of Torah principles as "notoriety."

While such views are commonplace in rightist circles, Shapira's willingness to defy the army signified a huge breach within Israel's "national religious" camp, especially coming from such an establishment figure. His proteges traditionally encourage military service as a patriotic duty. Given that most NCOs now come from Israel's observant minority, the rabbi's stance seemed all the more corrosive.

Shapira's ruling that one must not take part in the destruction of Jewish towns in the land of Israel did not start with the Sharon's plan to expel the Jewish residents of Gaza, which he called "disengagement", and which Joffe calls "evacuation". Not only that, but he was not the only Torah luminary who held this position:
In December 1993, the late Rabbi Shlomo Goren, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and Chief Rabbi of the IDF, published a ruling forbidding Jews to evacuate any settlement in the biblical Land of Israel, which includes Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and declared that Israeli soldiers should disobey any such evacuation orders. He declared that "according to halakhah [Jewish law], a soldier who receives an order that runs contrary to Torah law should uphold halakhah and not the secular order. And since settling the land is a commandment, and uprooting the settlements is breaking the commandment, the soldier should not carry out an order to uproot settlements."

In April 1994, discussion of possible evacuation of the Jewish residents of Hebron caused a number of rabbis, including Chief Rabbi Avraham Shapira, Rabbi Moshe-Zvi Neria of the Bnei Akiva movement, and Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli, to direct soldiers to reject any order to evacuate Jews from Hebron or other settlements.


Shapira invariably warned against violence, and in 1995 he had condemned Yitzhak Rabin's ostensibly religious assassin as a man "without conscience or Jewish morality". Even so, his 2005 edict sparked fears of civil war. One Labour party legislator wanted him tried for incitement to rebellion. In the event only 40 soldiers obeyed his call. The disengagement passed with considerable ideological pantomime and sad tales of personal upheaval, but no serious casualties. None the less, opposition leader Yossi Beilin felt Shapira had misled an entire generation by hinting that divine intervention may stop the process. When the pullout did happen, it left behind the "biggest spiritual crisis in years".

Did Shapira's edict spark fears of a civil war? Joffe should check out some of these "edicts". It seems that either Beilin or Joffe are confusing Rabbi Shapiro with Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, who said, "Hayo Lo Tihye"(it will not be). Some interpreted this as a promise, even though Rabbi Eliyahu explained before the disengagement that this was not his intention.

Gaza was not Shapira's first foray into politics. Soon after leaving the chief rabbinate he co-founded the Rabbis' Union for the Complete Land of Israel. Its 500 clerics attacked the Oslo Accords for transferring land to Palestinians - forbidden under Jewish law, they claimed. In 2003 Shapira asked the Knesset to boycott a ceremony honouring the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. American evangelicals, he claimed, were deceiving Jews and Christians into imagining a "common faith shared by both".


Hmmm, suddenly Joffe remembers that Rabbi Shapira's decision that giving up parts of the land of Israel is against Torah law predated the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Gaza by many years. Not only that, but 500 other Torah scholars, that Joffe disingenuously refers to as "clerics" agreed with him.

Shapira inspired thousands as dean of the Mercaz Ha-Rav Kook Yeshiva, one of Israel's largest talmudic academies and the flagship of religious Zionism. He probably wielded more influence in that post than as chief rabbi, as most settlement rabbis are Mercaz graduates. Many national religious Jews, who make up two-thirds of Israel's 12% observant minority, considered Shapira the gadol ha-dor - greatest authority of his generation on Jewish law.


While he was chief rabbi he was also the dean of Merkaz HaRav. I wonder why Joffe thinks that observant Jews make up only 12 percent of the population:
In terms of religiosity, among Israeli Jews aged 20 and over, 44 percent defined themselves as secular; 27 percent defined themselves as traditional; 12 percent as traditionally observant; 9 percent as Orthodox; and 8 percent as ultra-Orthodox.
And then there is this:
Jewish society in Israel today is made up of observant and non-observant Jews, comprising a spectrum from the ultra-observant Haredim to those who regard themselves as secular. However, the differences between them are not clear-cut. If religious observance is determined by the degree of adherence to Jewish religious laws and practices, then 20 percent of Israeli Jews fulfill all religious precepts, 60 percent follow some combination of the laws according to personal choices and ethnic traditions, and 20 percent are essentially non-observant. But as Israel was conceived as a Jewish state, the Sabbath (Saturday) and all Jewish festivals and holy days have been instituted as national holidays and are celebrated by the entire Jewish population and observed by all, to a greater or lesser extent.

Shapira's tenure at Mercaz was not without incident. Rabbi Tzvi Tau, seen as an obvious spiritual heir, resented being bypassed as rosh yeshiva. Eventually Tau left Mercaz in 1997 to form the more philosophically engaged and Bible-focused Yeshivat Har ha-Mor. Shapira preferred students to study Talmud and halakha (Jewish law). The final straw came when Shapira accepted a state-backed diploma programme at Mercaz.

Pure nonsense! Talmud, Bible, and Jewish philosophy are learned at both institutions.

He was born in Ottoman-ruled Jerusalem. His parents were of European origin and were Jews with deep roots in the holy city. He studied at Jerusalem's Etz Haim (Tree of Life) and Hebron Yeshivas. As his scholarly reputation grew he associated with leading Talmud sages, Yitzhak Ze'ev Soloveichik, Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz, and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein.

If my memory is correct Rav Shapira is a sixth century Jerusalemite. His ancestors were among the students of the Vilna Gaon, who at the urging of their teacher came to settle the land. How many generations does one have to live here to be considered of "Israeli origin?"

There's more, but I'm tired of fisking. Rav Shapira zt"l was a blessing to the Jewish people. That's a lot more than I can say about those creeps who sit in London and preach territorial concessions to Israelis.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sweet Sixteen

The amazing Mr. Bagel does it again.

Shmittah Update

We finally received the vouchers from Otzar HaAretz. Things are a bit confusing, since there are some vegetables that were harvested during the sixth year and do not have kedushat shvi'it (like potatoes) and there are others that were harvested during the shmittah year (like tomatoes). In spite of the confusion, we are doing our best to keep the laws of shmittah. Here is our special repository for peels/leftovers of shmittah produce, which is called a pach shmittah:

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Yoram Egozi z"l

Baruch dayan HaEmet:
A 39-year-old man from Jerusalem died yesterday on a family hike in the Judean Desert, after he fell into a deep ravine. Yoram Egozi fell from the cliff to his death several meters away from his 10-year-old son and a friend of the family. An army doctor was the first to arrive on the scene after Egozi's son and friend called the emergency services. The doctor pronounced Egozi dead at the scene. "We were walking up the trail when he slipped and fell," said the friend. "The child had to witness the entire thing, he had to see his father fall down and then see his body rescued." (Jonathan Lis)


Yoram was a nice guy. You can see a picture of Yoram here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Not So Happy Sukkot

The passing away of Rav Avraham Shapira zt"l has made it very difficult for me to be happy. Sukkot is z'man simchateinu, the time of our happiness, but the tremendous loss of this great Torah scholar and righteous man has cast a shadow on the holiday.

Here's a pic that I took at the funeral. I could not get into the Beit Midrash, where the eulogies were being delivered. So I, along with many others, waited outside of the Yeshiva. A PA system was set up so we could hear the eulogies:



Also, check out what Tzvi has to say.

Update: Here is a pic of the side entrance to the Beit Midrash:



Update: Here's an article in Hebrew describing some of Rav Shapira's Hanhagot. The article mentions the very special arba minim that Rav Shapira had including a huge Yemenite etrog. I would like to add that after davening Rav shapira would let his students and others who had davenned with him notel his arba minim. I did it a few times myself.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Books

Whole I was "out to lunch" I did something which I do not usually do. I read a few books!

Reading books is not the kind of thing that I do in my spare time. I try to learn Torah when I can. For me, reading a book, stam, is a very rare occurence.

To make a long story short, I received a Steimatsky gift certificate. I entered one of the Jerusalem branches of Steimatsky and I didn't see anything that was fitting for a guy like me. Then I remembered that Rabbi Chaim Sabato wrote some books that are considered "modern Hebrew literature" and that I actually might enjoy reading them. So I bought "Emet MeEretz Titzmach" and Te'um Kavanot." The first book contains stories about the Aleppo Jewish community, and the latter describes Rav Sabato's own experiences during the Yom Kippur War. Both books were very good and I highly recommend them.

Later on I bought my wife a book: Mekimi by Noa Yaron-Dayan. It is a largely autobiographical story about a young secular Israel radio/TV star and her return to her religious roots. Like I said I bought the book for my wife but I'm the one who ended up reading it. Mekimi is currently a bestseller here in Israel. I liked the book, although the descriptions of the Israeli Bohemian scene in the first part of the book made me nauseous at times. It was written for secular people and not for Bnei Torah.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Not A Mystery Tree

Seen in Kibbutz Lavie:




With this I wish you all a Gmar Chatimah Tovah, and a very Happy Sukkot.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The White Waterfall In Nachal El Al

While I was out to lunch I had time to visit the Golan Heights with the rest of the X family. Near the village Eli Ad you can enter Nachal El Al. Then you just walk and walk and walk some more. It's worth it, because you get to see this:



Yes, I did take a dip in the pool under the waterfall. A true mechaye!

There is also a black waterfall which I didn't get to see this time around.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy New Year

Shavua Tov, 5768 is here! There is a lot to write about, but time is lacking. For those of you in Israel, don't forget that tonight we "fall back", i.e. change your clocks.

While I was "out to lunch" I visited a place in the Galilee called "Nachal Amud". It's simply gorgeous! It brings to mind the verse (Deuteronomy 8:7), "For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills." Here's an exclusive Cosmic X pic:




The land of Israel is the place where the Torah comes to life!

Monday, July 23, 2007

We Need To Be Faithful To The Torah

This week's Besheva magazine is devoted mainly to commemerating the second anniversary of the destruction of the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria and the expulsion of their residents. I was particularly struck by what the legendary doctor of Gush Katif, Dr. Sodi Namir, had to say.


לד"ר סודי מצידו יש ביקורת נוקבת על הציבור הדתי לאומי, שלוקה לדבריו באי קבלת מרות של הרבנים הגדולים: "אצל החרדים גדלות בתורה זה הדבר הבלעדי והקובע, ולא יקום מאן דהוא ויצפצף נגדו. אצלנו כל אחד תופס מיקרופון, רשאי להביע את כל מה שיש לו. כשאנו נראים כך, התוצאות הן בהתאם". בחירתו של מנהיג חילוני לראשות מועצת יש"ע, היא לדעתו סימפטום נוסף לחולי בציבור הדתי: "אנחנו ציבור שהתורה רק מפריעה לו במובנים מסוימים. לוקחים את המדינה כערך בפני עצמו ומכופפים לזה הכול. מגיעים למצב שיו"ר יש"ע המתחדשת הוא אדם בלי כיפה וזה לא מפריע לאף אחד. אנחנו מעמידים בראשנו אנשים שלא חיים לפי מערכת ערכים של תורה, והרי ראינו לאיזה ערכים מושחתים אפשר להגיע בלי תורה".
A rough translation:
Dr. Sodi Namir has a piercing criticism of the national-religious public, which according to him is afflicted with a lack of acceptance of the authority of the great rabbis. "By the ultra-Orthodox greatness in Torah is the only thing that counts, and nobody will rise up and 'chirp' against it. By us, anyone who grabs a microphone and is allowed to express what he feels. When we appear like this, the results are in accord."

The election of a secular leader as the head of the Yesha Council, is according to his opinion another sympton of illness in the national-religious public: "We are a public that the Torah bothers in certain ways. We take the state as a value unto itself and we bend everything according to it. We have arrived at a situation where the head of the Renewed Yesha Council is a man without a yarmulke and this doesn't bother anyone. We are putting at our head people that do not live according to the Torah value system, and we have seen what corrupt values one can arrive at without Torah."
Is anyone in the national religious public listening?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Who Said It?

Who wrote the following with regards to a "Palestinian" state?:
"The establishment of such (a Palestinian) state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces (more than 25,000 men under arms) into Judea and Samaria; this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other (military) equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Israel will have problems in preserving day-to-day security, which may drive the country into war, or undermine the morale of its citizens. In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence, to impede the freedom of action of the Israeli Air Force in the skies over Israel, and to cause bloodshed among the population...in areas adjacent to the frontier-line."
The answer.

This Is Not A Spam Blog!!!

I wonder why the folks at Blogger think that this is a "spam blog". Could any spammer come up with this kind of blog?

Something To Read

I'm really sorry that I have nothing original to post today. Instead I'll offer up some links:

Matisyahu No Longer Lubavitch. Enjoys Jay-Z and Sipping Wine.

The Nesivos Shalom – Why Are We Mourning?

A Frozen Scream

Welcome to the 12th edition of JPix!

One Beit Din’s Decision

Eretz Yisrael and the Secrets of Torah

HH #126

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jerusalem Calatrava Bridge: Southern Approach

After climbing on a big block of cement I was able to see over the fence and snap this pic:



When will the construction end?

Monday, July 16, 2007

The President is Naked, and so is the Israeli MSM

The election of Shimon Peres as president of Israel is a disgrace. The man who is responsible for so much misery is being given an honor that he surely does not deserve. He was elected by a government and a Knesset that has long lost the support of the electorate.

It's interesting to see how so many Israeli MSM journalists are going all out to "explain" why Peres is fit to be president. They may be fooling themselves, but then again it is not such a big deal to fool such idiots.

See what some other jbloggers have to say.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Temple Mount Destruction

As we approach The month of Av, the month both Temples were destroyed, the destruction of anything that might be left of the Temples is being conducted with the tacit approval of the Israeli government. You can see pictures of the destruction here. Jpost.com has an editorial on the matter.

We want Mashiach NOW!

HH #50,000?

See it at Yid With Lid.

Aliyah Anniversaries

Two jbloggers celebrate: It's two years for Pinchas, and three years for Amechad.

Congratulations to them both!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Thread For Lurkers

Do you lurk here? If so, why do you lurk? Are you too shy to leave a comment? Is it because you have nothing to say? Are you embarrassed that you read this blog? Dear lurker, this is your chance to make your voice heard! Go for it!

Update: Thank you to all the lurkers and non-lurkers who left a comment.

A Mourning Notice In Jerusalem



This is old news. I should have posted this earlier:
Maurice Wohl, one of the most generous donors to the State of Israel, died in London Sunday at the age of 84. He will be buried in Israel on Monday.

Wohl contributed tens of millions of dollars to the construction of public structures, all of which bear his name. These include an amphitheater in Ganei Yehoshua in Tel Aviv, an archaeology museum in Jerusalem and an auditorium in Bar Ilan University. A recently completed convention center in Bar Ilan University is named after his wife, Vivian, who passed away in 2004.

Wohl also established a fund that contributes to the medical community in Israel, and gave out thousands of scholarships to students in Bar Ilan University.


More from Ha'aretz:
Maurice Wohl, the prominent British Jewish philanthropist, will be buried Monday in Jerusalem. Wohl died Thursday in London of heart-related complications. He was 83.

A self-made real estate magnate, Wohl was known for his generosity. The president of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, he was also a benefactor of Bar-Ilan University, Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, as well as many other Israeli institutions.

"When a book is written about the great Jewish philanthropists, there will be a very thick chapter on Maurice," said Zalli Jaffe, vice president of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.

Born in London to working class, Eastern European immigrants, Wohl had long been active in philanthropic causes both in Israel and abroad. He and his late wife, Vivienne, donated the rose garden opposite the Knesset that bears their name, and Wohl was honored with the title "Trustee of Jerusalem" (Ne'eman Yerushalayim). Wohl, also made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE), split his time between his homes in London, Geneva and Tel Aviv.

"He was the kind of philanthropist who believed in charity not because it gave him prestige but because it was right and because it was good for other people," Prof. Moshe Kaveh, president of Bar-Ilan University and a personal friend, said Sunday.

Friends say Wohl's public philanthropy was only a small portion of his largess. "There are so many people in need that he helped privately, quietly and one-on-one," said Rabbi George Finkelstein, director general of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.

The funeral will take place 9 A.M. at the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, followed by burial at the Sanhedria Cemetery.

Mystery #2 Update

A while back I posted this picture of a pomegranate tree:



Back then nobody was able to identify it. Today the tree looks like this:



Notice the fruit! The mystery is gone!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Worth Reading

1

2

3

4

5

Just In Time For My Jerusalem Calatrava Bridge Update

From jpost.com:
A 44-year-old man was holed up in a crane in the entrance to Jerusalem, threatening to kill himself, Israel Radio reported Wednesday morning.

The man, apparently an artist, said he was protesting the ugly appearance of the bridge being built at the entrance to the city.

Police were at the scene trying to persuade the man to climb down from the crane.

The bridge, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, is meant to be used by the Jerusalem light rail, slated to start running in 2008.

While the bridge has been the cause of much controversy, Wednesday's suicide threat was undoubtedly the strongest response the project has yet seen.
Yes, the bridge is not pretty. It will look a lot better when it is finished though :-)>. In any case this is not a cause worth dying for.

Here is a photo of the southern end of the bridge:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Conference on the Future of the Jewish People

Ynetnews has extensive coverage of "The Conference on the Future of the Jewish People" which is being sponsered by The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, or JPPPI for short. They also have a bunch of articles by the JPPPI staff.

I once passed the posh JPPPI office building on Pinsker St. and I was wondering who these people are that want to plan the policy of the Jewish people. Here is what their web site says:
The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI) is an independent think tank incorporated in Israel as a non-profit corporation. The mission of the Institute is to promote the thriving of the Jewish people via professional strategic thinking and planning on issues of primary concern to world Jewry. JPPPI's work is based on deep commitment to the future of the Jewish people with Israel as its core state.

Located in Jerusalem, JPPPI engages in policy-oriented study and analysis aimed at identifying critical issues, developing creative, policy options and analyzing their potential impacts. JPPPI's work serves as the basis for assessments, alerts and strategic policy designs provided to Jewish decision makers, and to opinion leaders and publics at large.
Of course, this costs a lot of money:
The 2007 budget will reach one million and eight hundred thousand US dollars, one million from the Jewish Agency and eight hundred thousand from leading Jewish organizations and philanthropists.
They are not embarrassed to shnorr engage in fundraising:
Professor Yehezkel Dror, the Founding President of JPPPI, and Mr. Avinoam Bar-Yosef, the Managing Director, will be glad to meet interested potential sponsors, in Jerusalem or,at another convenient location.
David Eliezrie of Chabad notices a lack of ultra-Orthodox participation in the conference and asks why this is so:
AN INSTITUTE dedicated to long-term Jewish planning should, at the minimum, pick the brains of those - such as Chabad - who have created a successful modality of Jewish survival in both Israel and abroad. Not everyone in the frum community is prepared for this type of engagement. Some see little value in dialogue with more secular Jewish leaders. However, in the interest of intellectual honesty they should at least be invited.

Failing to do that raises a deeper question. Is not the unwillingness to extend such an invitation merely the mirror image of a narrowness found among segments of the haredi world? Shouldn't the spirit of liberal tolerance prompt organizers to seek partners outside their own world view?
Well I think I know the answer. Chabad, as well as the rest of the Orthodox Jewish world know that Jewish survival is absolutely dependent on learning Torah and keeping the mitzvot:
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil, 16 in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances; then thou shalt live and multiply, and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest in to possess it. 17 But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I declare unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed; 20 to love the LORD thy God, to hearken to His voice, and to cleave unto Him; for that is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
This is not the kind of stuff that the JPPPI, the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government want to hear. But this is what God is telling us. Nothing else will work! A fancy office on Pinsker Street and a 1.8 million dollar budget may provide a livelihood for a few academics. However, the answer to Jewish survival can be summarized in one word: Torah!

Update: Don't forget the copper mirrors.

Mystery Tree #5

Alright, so this one isn't really such a mystery:



Update: Rafi got it right again! The grape vine, as is well known, is one of the "seven species" that the land of Israel was praised for(Deuteronomy Chapter 8):
And thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. And thou shalt eat and be satisfied, and bless the LORD thy God for the good land which He hath given thee.
Of course, the grape vine can lead to problems sometimes:
20 And Noah the husbandman began, and planted a vineyard. 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his youngest son had done unto him.
And then you have this incident:
31 And the first-born said unto the younger: 'Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.' 33 And they made their father drink wine that night. And the first-born went in, and lay with her father; and he knew not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the first-born said unto the younger: 'Behold, I lay yesternight with my father. Let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.' 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose, and lay with him; and he knew not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
Like everything else that God has given us, it can be used for bad and it can be used for the good. It is up to us.

Monday, July 09, 2007

What Really Happened In RBS B

While ynetnews continues to reach new depths of shoddy journalism, Rafi lets us know what really happened in RBS B.

Awesome!

Click!

Brilliant!

Click.

A Monument To Stupidity

I saw this plaque at the base of a tree in Kfar HaMakabiah:



The plaque reads:
Youth Movement "Young Maccabbi"
National Leadership
"In his death he bequeathed us peace"
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin z"l
November 95
Planted by
graduates of the movement as an everlasting memory

Twelve years have gone by and we can look back on Rabin's term as Prime Minister and his "accomplishments" with a little bit of historical perspective. He certainly did not "bequeath us peace". He made what will probably be regarded as one of the most foolish diplomatic deals ever. The Oslo Agreements are a monument to stupidity, naiveté, corruption and evil.

I hope that one day the powers that be in Kfar HaMakabiah will have the wisdom to remove this kitsch from their premises.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Can You Do Math?

If you can, see if you can tell me what is wrong with this statement:
When Ramat Beit Shemesh B was built, most of the residents arrived from the overflowing extreme haredi communities in Jerusalem: Neturei Karta, Toldot Aharon and Satmar. Out of a total 5,000 haredi families in Beit Shemesh, 1,500 families are from these sects.

Today's Catch

Chana Meira Finds A Place To Lay Her Head

Rafi's QOTD

Peace Now Is Evil

Belz In Israel

Halachic Aspects Of Making A BBQ

Long Train Running

About the new Tel Aviv - Jerusalem train line:
The service on the line to Jerusalem, which opened in 1892, was suspended in 1998 due to the poor state of the track. However, it has recently been rebuilt and upgraded. The section of this line to Bet Shemesh re-opened in September 2003, while the remainder of the upgraded line to Jerusalem opened in April 2005 together with the opening of the new Jerusalem Malha Station in Southern Jerusalem. In October 2004, a new line from Tel Aviv to the new Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion International Airport was opened. From there this line will continue as a brand new high speed line currently being built to Jerusalem with a spur to Modi'in. This difficult to construct line will be electrified and make extensive use of long railway tunnels in order to make it possible for trains to achieve high speeds as they make their way from the coastal region to the mountainous Jerusalem area. In its first phase this line will terminate at a new underground station under construction underneath the Jerusalem Central Bus Station in Central Jerusalem. There are future plans to extend the line from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station so that it will connect with the (now upgraded) historic railroad that already reaches Southern Jerusalem. The ride on the new high-speed line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will take 28 minutes. The line is expected to be finished sometime around 2011.


Here are a couple of pics from the building site of the train station in Jerusalem:



Thursday, July 05, 2007

Another Post Of Links

Check 'em out:

JPix - The 11th Edition!

Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky on Showing People a Proper Path

Their Next Generation


Former COS Yaalon: Pal. State No Longer Practical or Relevant

Global Warming

Meme-fied

The amazing Mr. Bagel has tagged me with a meme: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Here it comes:

  • I was born in the same hospital as my mother.

  • My grandmother made the most delicious knishes in the world.

  • My father fought in the Israeli War of Independence.

  • In high school I was one of the captains of the fencing team.

  • In college I joined a fraternity.

  • My blood type is O negative.

  • I own a pair of Crocs which I use as house slippers.

  • I have a "Jewish nose".


Wasn't that interesting [snore]? Since this meme has been floating around for a long time, I am not going to tag anyone else. Have a nice day! :-)>

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mystery Tree #4

This one is easy:



Update: I told you that this was an easy one. Kol HaKavod to Rafi and Jacob.

The fig, as is well known, is one of the "seven species" that the land of Israel was praised for(Deuteronomy Chapter 8):
And thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. And thou shalt eat and be satisfied, and bless the LORD thy God for the good land which He hath given thee.
The fig tree is mentioned in many other places, one of them being Proverbs 27:18:
Whoso keepeth the fig-tree shall eat the fruit thereof; and he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.
Our rabbis understood that King Solomon was referring to the Torah as Rabbi Mendel Weinbach explains:
When King Shlomo compared Torah to the fig (Mishlei 27:18), he conveyed an important message about gaining and retaining Torah knowledge.

Rabbi Chiya bar Abba quoted Rabbi Yochanan (Eiruvin 54a) as to why the comparison was made:

“Just as one constantly finds figs when he approaches the tree (since they do not all ripen at the same time, there are always some available for eating- Rashi), so too will one always find a new taste in the Torah he is studying.”

If this message about gaining Torah knowledge is derived from the comparison to the fig tree itself, there is another message from the words of this passage regarding the protection of that fig tree which yields fruit for its protector.

“One who sees a fig tree in a dream,” say our Sages (Berachot 57a) “it is a message from Heaven that his Torah knowledge is retained and protected in him.”

The fig tree thus conveys the double message of gaining Torah knowledge by appreciating the new thrill which comes with every step of learning, and the need to retain and protect that knowledge through constant review so that we can enjoy the fruits of our study even if we are not lucky enough to see a fig tree in our dreams.
I could write a lot more about figs but today is a fast day and all of this fig talk is making me hungry.
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