The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Posted on: October 18th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
To be perfectly honest, until yesterday, I had never heard of Sarah Silverman. I never saw a photo or a video of her; I never heard her jokes, nothing. While a great deal of junk American culture seeps into the Land of Israel, still we are sheltered from much of it, thank G-d, and I never heard her name mentioned in Israel at all. Until yesterday, when to my surprise and chagrin, I saw the immodest photo of her on the homepage of The Jewish Press, in her sleeveless top and her butt sticking into the air. Gevalt! Reading on about the silly fuss, I was further chagrined
Posted on: October 17th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Almost everyone is familiar with the famous first Rashi on the Torah. He asks why does the Torah begin with the account of Creation? After all, since the Torah contains the commandments which Hashem gave to Am Yisrael, it should have begun the precept concerning Rosh Chodesh - the first commandment given to the Israelite Nation.
Posted on: October 16th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
If Eve had read www.jewishsexuality.com, she wouldn’t have followed after her eyes and got us all kicked out of the garden. If Adam had read jewishsexuality.com, he wouldn’t have eaten the “apple.” Today, we don’t have to make the same mistakes they did. We have the teachings of the Torah and the advice of the Sages to rely upon. While I won’t quote from the holy Zohar here, for people who enjoy the secrets of Torah, there’s a lot more to the snake than his pretty long tail.
Posted on: October 14th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
We live a short walk from the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem. Over the holidays, the hotel was packed with Diaspora Jews from all over the world, but now that the holidays are over, the lobby is pretty deserted. I can’t understand how a self-respecting Jew can leave the Land of Israel and go back to the Lilliputian Jewish life of Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne, or Brooklyn after being in the Land of our Forefathers.
Posted on: October 11th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Browsing through a news website, I noticed that the World Series is just two weeks away. I haven’t followed baseball for 30 years, ever since making aliyah. When I lived in America, and thought I was an American, I loved baseball, like everyone else. But baseball doesn’t interest me anymore. I don’t even know what teams are in the running this year. The World Series has absolutely nothing to do with the Redemption of Am Yisrael, so who cares? But maybe we can borrow a few metaphors from baseball to help America Jews understand that Judaism in the Diaspora is the Little Leagues.
Posted on: October 10th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
If the recent Sukkot overdose of Shabbat, followed by two days of Yom Tov, and another Shabbat followed by two more days of Yom Tov, isn’t enough to get Diaspora Jews to move to Israel, with its force-feeding of gefilta fish day-after-day, until gefilta fish jelly drips out of people’s noses and horseradish pours out of their ears, I don’t know what it’s going to take until Diaspora Jews are fed up with practicing Judaism in a jar.
Posted on: October 5th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
I found some essays penned by Diaspora Jews who succumbed to the Sin of the Spies in their negative reports of the Holy Land. Oy.
Posted on: October 4th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
During the reign of King Solomon, the Nation of Israel was at its prime. We lived in peace in our own homeland. A Jewish government ruled over the country from the majestic city of Jerusalem. All of the people gathered for the Festivals at the Temple three times a year. Jewish law went forth from the Sanhedrin. Prophets communicated the word of the Lord to the Nation and the world. A powerful Jewish army guarded the country’s borders. Torah was studied in great academies of learning. Hebrew was spoken on the street. The leaders of foreign nations flocked to Jerusalem to pay tribute to the Jews.
Posted on: October 3rd, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
There is a special mitzvah on Sukkot to be “ach samaoch.” Only joyous. It is a happiness not dependent on anything external, beyond definition and words. Just to be absolutely joyous in one’s love and worship of G-d. Rabbi Kook describes the sukkah as a whirlpool of joyous energy which is constantly changing each second, reaching ever-higher levels of joy and attachment to G-d.
Posted on: October 2nd, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
To rectify the blemish caused by galut, the Diaspora Jew has to stop being in exile and join the ingathered. He has to actualize the words of his daily prayers, “And gather us together from the four corners of the earth” by getting on a plane.
Posted on: September 30th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
If it did it would die. Just the way the Diaspora is destined to die. The etrog tree doesn’t belong in Brooklyn. The climate isn’t right for it. It’s the same with the lulav, hadasim, and aravot. The four species which we are commanded to take for ourselves on the Festival of Sukkot are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael, just as the Torah is indigenous to Eretz Yisrael, and the Jewish People are indigenous to Eretz Yisrael. We belong in Eretz Yisrael. All of the holidays are intrinsically connected to Eretz Yisrael. The Torah was designed and fashioned by the Almighty to be observed in Eretz Yisrael.
Posted on: September 28th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
One of Rav Kook's public proclamations, sent out all over the Diaspora, years before the Holocaust, was entitled, “The Great Call”: "To the Land of Israel, gentlemen, to the Land of Israel! Let us utter this appeal in one voice, in a great and never-ending cry."
Posted on: September 27th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
L eading up to the holiday of Sukkot, we’ll wrap up our condensed look at Rabbi Kook’s teachings on t’shuva with a few blogs on two of the holidays most important themes – Eretz Yisrael and Torah.
Posted on: September 24th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Inspired by the Holy Nation of Israel, mankind will abandon its vain and misguided paths, and a mighty spirit of t’shuva will be ignited throughout the world.
Posted on: September 23rd, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Rabbi Kook’s advice is to set out correcting the transgressions of the past which are within the person’s reach to correct. This will set into motion a snowball of t’shuva whose inner force will lead him to correct matters more and more difficult, until he succeeds in redressing all wrongs.
Posted on: September 21st, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
The more you learn Torah, the more t’shuva you will be inspired to do — and the more t’shuva you do, the more Torah you are able to learn.
Posted on: September 20th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Sudden t’shuva is different. It seems to come about all at once with superhuman energy and willpower.
Posted on: September 19th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Rabbi Kook has good news. If you are a loser, all is not lost. You too can be a winner. You too can succeed. How? Through t’shuva.
Posted on: September 14th, 2012Blogs → Felafel on Rye
Simply put, to the initiate, the pain that comes with t’shuva is scary. The baal t’shuva is the man of courage. He is the true hero. He is the one prepared to set out on the greatest journey in life.
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