Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
In January1989, Rabbi Besser was in Washington as Agudah’s representative at the inauguration of the first President Bush. As he sat on the dais reserved for dignitaries, quietly studying his small volume of Talmud, he was approached by two cardinals from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who greeted him cordially.
When he returned their blessings, the cardinals asked if they might ask the rabbi a question. He quickly turned his eyes heavenward. “Please, Lord, help me with this one,” Rabbi Besser implored the Master of the Universe.
“What is that you are studying, rabbi?” the cardinals asked.
“The Talmud,” he replied.
“We thought so. Tell us, it is said that the Talmud contains everything in the human experience, is that so?”
Again, a quickly uttered plea for divine intervention. “Yes, that’s so,” said the rabbi.
“If so, does the Talmud discuss today’s inauguration?” they queried, with a note of triumph.
Rabbi Besser’s prayers were answered. “Well, I am in the midst of studying the tractate Rosh Hashanah right now,” he said. “It discusses four beginnings of the year – and one of those is Tu B’Shevat, the new year for trees. So you see, your eminences, if the Jewish people observe a holiday for trees, surely that includes Bushes, too!”
Rabbi Chaskel Besser – mentor, role model, teacher, unparalleled storyteller, friend – passed away a few days short of his 87th birthday. I miss him dearly, and I think I always will.
About the Author: Rabbi Yossel Kanofsky is the spiritual leader of Kehillat Shaarei Torah in Toronto.
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The importance of the caucus on organ harvesting in China, sponsored recently by the Liberal Lobby in the Knesset, cannot be exaggerated. On the surface, the caucus’s topic seems odd. Knesset members and other VIPs were called together to discuss horrors being perpetrated by the Communist regime in China against what the government there calls “regime opponents.”
My mother, the eldest daughter of Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, was niftar last month at the age of 92. She took her last breath in her home in Efrat, Israel, next door to the shul that was my father’s for 24 years before his passing in 2007.
It comes down to his being famous.
Following the Boston Marathon bombing, one crucial point will likely remain overlooked. The most loathsome aspect of this or any other terror bombing attack on civilians will always lie in the inexpressibility of physical pain. While all decent people will abhor the idea of bombs expressly directed at the innocent, whether here or in other countries, none will ever be able to process the very deepest horrors of what has been inflicted.
It’s only natural to see increasing evidence of Jerusalem’s glorious Jewish past being unearthed, quite literally, under modern Israeli sovereignty. The new archaeological finds are also very timely – as the Arab onslaught attempting to detach Jerusalem from its Jewish roots gains steam, the facts on the ground, or “under” the ground, show quite otherwise.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, “tefillot avot tiknum” – “prayer was established by the avot.” The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established prayer: “Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem” – “And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before God.”
Nearly 13 years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak journeyed to Camp David to end the conflict with the Palestinians. With the approval of President Clinton, he offered Yasir Arafat an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and in part of Jerusalem. Arafat said no.
The news that the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative groups has brought renewed spotlight on a 2010 lawsuit filed by the pro-Israel group Z Street, which alleges it was also singled out by the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status.
In an editorial last week (“Circling the Wagons”) we noted the efforts by the administration and its supporters to dismiss allegations that the government’s spin on the Benghazi attack was designed to shield the president and that the IRS was improperly used to stifle opposition to Mr. Obama’s reelection.
As the controversies besetting the Obama administration continue to grow in number and intensity, the prospect that President Obama would seriously consider military action against Iran, should that country continue its drive to become a nuclear power, becomes more and more remote. So we welcome the current enhancement of sanctions against Iran on the federal and New York State levels.
To his parents’ friends, he was “Mrs. Greenberg’s disgrace,” but to sports fans he is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Jewish baseball players of all time. Long before Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg excited Jewish sports fans with his prowess on the baseball diamond.
To eat is to live – to keep our physical bodies alive. For without the body, there is nothing. No experience. No memory. No joy and no hardship. But man, unlike animals, eats to live and to enjoy. So how should a Jew respond when he is challenged as to why he imposes upon himself not just ceremonies dedicated to the enjoyment of eating but even more to the limiting of what he can eat?
Neither Secretary of State Kerry nor the president he serves seem to understand Russia’s goals in the Middle East.
You might think that six Khamenei followers might split the hardline vote but don’t worry as that will be taken care of in the ballot-counting if necessary.
He was a beautiful Jew.
Anyone – Jew or non-Jew, religious or secular, chassidic or yeshivish, man or woman – who encountered or exchanged words with Rabbi Chaskel Besser came away with a smile, feeling a little more pleasantly disposed about the topic at hand or the world at large.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/memories-of-a-beautiful-jew/2010/03/11/
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