web analytics
September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘chance’

Abbas’s Classic Thug Extortion Trick

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Watching Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas make his speech to the UN General Assembly, I suspect the same jolting thought passed through my head as it did for a lot of the viewers’: “Isn’t this guy meant to be the moderate?”

Coming so soon after the latest Hamas rocket-barrage against Israel, the almost physical need to hold onto that dead paradigm can still occasionally override most of the facts. On one side are the Palestinian rocket-launching squads about whom nothing apparently can be done. Then on the other side are the other Palestinians, led by moderates, who just want to sit down and negotiate if they could only find time out of their busy schedules.

Even those of us who know and follow the Palestinian Authority can find ourselves slipping into this narrative: These are the moderates and those are the extremists, and we have to choose between the two.

Except that then you get another golden opportunity to hear Mahmoud Abbas in full moderate flight mode, and you have to rethink it all over again.

When Abbas stood up to take the floor in front of the UN and the world last Thursday, he might have started with a concession. He might have started with a bid for peace or a reaching out to the Israelis. But no, he started once again, in time-honored fashion, with an attack on Israel. And the usual array of hilarious untruths and half-truths.

“Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly…”

Not even a full sentence in and already the “Wrong” buzzer sounds. “Palestine” comes today? Which Palestine? Gaza? West Bank? “Palestine” is not a single entity. It is hopelessly divided. It makes the average boxing tournament look like a meeting of minds.

After all – and as he must surely know – Abbas himself has not even been to the Gaza since 2007. And not because the wicked Zionists have stopped him from doing so, but because his Palestinian brothers in Hamas have such a bad track record for shooting and hurling from high buildings most of Mr. Abbas’s erstwhile Fatah colleagues in Gaza, as during the 2007 Hamas coup.

But, undeterred by such trivialities, Abbas continued:

“…at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs.”

The what? Martyrs? Oh well, perhaps it’s just a stylistic thing…

“…of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families, their men, women and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their future and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace.”

Israeli aggression? Wiping out?

The question all of this begged for me, as I’m sure it did for plenty of others, was this: Does this sound like the opening number of somebody eager to engage in a peace process? Or the audition of a man who is hoping that he can take back extremism from the extremists?

Mahmoud Abbas spent his speech claiming that this was the last chance for the peace process. In reality, it was simply the last chance for Mahmoud Abbas to remain in charge. In recent weeks he has been phoning around the foreign ministries of Europe explaining that if they don’t back him this time in the non-state statehood bid, then it is all over and all we have to deal with is Hamas.

This is, of course, the classic thug extortion trick. They come to your door and tell you that you have to hand over the money. Not because they are going to do anything so bad if you don’t, but because their friend here is really, really mad, and they’re only just managing to hold him back.

On Thursday the UN General Assembly, with only a few brave souls holding out, finally gave in to this man’s gangsterism. Many of them did so in order – they thought – to avoid the rocket-firing terrorism of Hamas. So they ended up by backing the diplomatic terrorism of Mahmoud Abbas.

What he does with his new-found power we can already guess. He will use it – as he used his time on the UN stage – not to further the peace process, but to retard it, principally by demonizing the only negotiating partner that he, or any other Palestinian leader, will ever have.

Laptop Liability

Friday, November 30th, 2012

“Hi, Levi,” said his friend Moshe. “I’ve got a project to work on for the next two months. By any chance, do you have a spare laptop you’re willing to lend for the duration?”

“Funny that you’re asking,” replied Levi. “I just bought a new laptop but am planning to keep the old one as a spare. If you want to borrow it for two months, that’s fine.”

“Great!” exclaimed Moshe appreciatively. “When can I come by for it?’

“I’m not home today,” said Levi, “but any time tomorrow would be fine.”

The following day, Moshe came by and picked up the laptop.

A week later, while Moshe was working in the library, Baruch came by to visit. “I see you got yourself a laptop,” Baruch said. “When did you buy it?”

“Actually it belongs to Levi, a friend of mine,” said Moshe. “I borrowed it for two months to work on the project.”

While they were talking, Baruch accidentally knocked the laptop off the table. It fell to the floor and cracked.

Moshe picked up the laptop and examined it. “It’s ruined,” he said to Baruch. “The laptop is smashed and cannot be repaired. You’ll have to pay me for the laptop.”

“It wasn’t your laptop,” said Baruch. “I don’t owe you anything. When Levi asks for his money, I’ll pay him. For all I know, he’s not going to ask you to pay, anyway.”

Moshe called Levi. “A friend of mine, Baruch, broke the laptop you loaned me,” he said.

“Although I bought a new laptop, I still want the old one,” said Levi. “You’ll have to pay for it.”

“Baruch ruined the laptop, though,” Moshe said to him. “Ask him for the money.”

“I don’t know Baruch; I have nothing to do with him,” replied Levi emphatically. “You borrowed the laptop, you are liable for it. Either pay or get the money from Baruch and give it to me.”

Levi contacted Baruch, “Levi said that I should get the money from you,” he said.

“You’re responsible for the laptop,” said Baruch. “After you pay Levi, I’ll pay you, not beforehand!”

Frustrated, Moshe went back to Levi. “Baruch refuses to pay me until I pay you,” he said, “but why I should pay if he damaged the laptop? I don’t have the money to lay out.”

“It’s not fair that you push me from one to the other,” said Levi. “My head is spinning! Let’s take it up with Rabbi Dayan.”

Levi and Moshe went to Rabbi Dayan. “Who is liable for the laptop?” asked Levi. “Moshe, who borrowed the laptop, or Baruch, who damaged it?”

“The Gemara (B.K. 111b) addresses a similar case,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “If someone steals an item and then another person comes along and consumes it, both are accountable to the owner. The thief is liable because he stole the item. Nonetheless, the item still belongs to its owner, so that the one who consumed it damaged his property. Therefore, the owner can collect from either party, or even partial payment from one and partial payment from the other. The same is true in your case.” (C.M. 361:5)

“But I didn’t steal anything here,” objected Moshe. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“True, but a borrower is accountable to the owner for his item, even if lost through uncontrollable circumstances (oness),” replied Rabbi Dayan. (C.M. 340:1) “Thus, you owe Levi. Still, since the laptop was Levi’s property, Baruch is also liable toward him, so that Levi can collect from either of you.”

“Can I demand payment of the laptop from Baruch now, or only Levi?” asked Moshe. “Does Levi owe me anything?”

“Because you are responsible to pay for the laptop, and Baruch caused you a direct loss (garmi) by breaking it, he has accountability to you also,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “On the other hand, let’s say Levi were to forgo payment, you would not be able to demand payment from Baruch, since he did not damage your laptop and did not cause you any loss.” (See Pischei Choshen, Geneivah 4:34)

“What about the fact that I don’t have use of the laptop to finish the project?” asked Moshe.

“The Nesivos (341:11) suggests a novel idea regarding this,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Since you borrowed the laptop for two months, you have a legal right to use the item for that time; Moshe could not demand it back until the two months were up. Therefore, the Nesivos maintains that the value of that usage, the laptop’s depreciation, is owed to you, the borrower – not Levi, the owner. This only applies, though, if the item’s nature and the duration of the loan are such that the usage entails an accruable depreciation of the item. (See Chukei Chaim – Hichos She’eilah 2:12; P.C., Pikadon 9:14)

Yeshiva Toras Chaim/Dr. Abe Chames H.S. Open House

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The Dr. Abe Chames High School of Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes will hold its annual Open House for prospective ninth grade talmidim and their parents on 19 Teves, Sunday evening, December 2 at 7 p.m. The Open House provides an opportunity to meet the roshei hayeshiva, principals, administrators, teachers, rabbeim and current students, as well as a chance to tour the facility and learn about the yeshiva’s Judaic and secular programs.

Prospective talmidim and their parents will hear from the yeshiva’s rabbeim and teachers regarding curricular and co-curricular goals. They will also meet with current students, who will convey what it’s like to be a talmid at YTC.

Located at 1025 NE Miami Gardens Drive in the vibrant Jewish community of North Miami Beach, Yeshiva Toras Chaim is proud to be celebrating its 28th year of excellence in Jewish education.

For further information about the Open House or any of the yeshiva’s programs, visit www.ytcteam.org or call the high school office at 305-944-5344, ext. 200. Inquiries may also be directed to ytc@ytcteam.org.

A Thank You from JewishPress.com

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Dear Readers,

We would like to thank everyone who has opened their hearts and offered to open up their homes this coming Shabbat to residents of the south . We received close to 100 hosting offers, and given the short notice this is truly a great accomplishment and a tribute to all our readers.

We have worked very hard with many of the organizations taking part in this to match up households with guests, based on availability and other parameters such as family sizes, region, etc. There are many organizations working on this and we shared lists to try for the greatest chance of success.

If you were not contacted at this point than you will probably not be for this coming Shabbat (I may be wrong).

If you were contacted – lucky you – I am envious. Please write us and tell us how it was.

We will keep all your names on file for a few weeks in case the need is still there. Should you be needed in the future you will be contacted (you can always decline at that point).

Thank you again for being the wonderful people you are and for being loyal readers of the Jewish Press.

Shabbat Shalom

Dovid Schwartz
Publisher
JewishPress.com

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Dear Rachel,

As a longtime reader of your column, I don’t recall you ever addressing the problem of a single with my perspective. I am nearly thirty and fear that I’ve missed my zivug. I ask those who would be quick to accuse me of being picky, choosy and too fussy to first listen to what I have to say and then to carefully consider what they’d have done in my shoes.

Ten to twelve years ago I was a desirable shidduch prospect but was forced to put my aspirations and shadchanim on hold at the insistence of my parents who were most adamant about not letting me marry before my older sibling. She was two and a half years my senior and hadn’t yet found her bashert.

One year led to another, and I watched helplessly as my friends got engaged and my dreams flitted away.

A bit of background: My family is chassidish where the commonly held belief is that skipping over a child would leave him or her stigmatized and the impression of being “damaged goods” would then hinder the future chance (of the one skipped over) to land a shidduch. I must add that not all families where I’m from are equally prudish and stuck in their ways; there are instances where younger has gotten married before older, but they are far and few between. For the most part, much importance is placed on marrying off children according to chronological age.

A couple of years ago, tired of being viewed as a pity case and finding myself isolated as my friends had long since married and were raising families of their own, I decided to leave home. Since I had a decent paying job I was capable of supporting myself. I moved to another borough, expanded my horizons and my education, made new friends and began to lean somewhat towards modern orthodoxy.

At the same time I kept up with my family and to this day visit frequently, many times for Shabbosim. I must admit I often find myself wishing things had worked out differently. Had my parents not intervened in the way things were progressing for me way back, I know that today I’d be playing the role of a contented house frau busying myself with raising my children and living a typical chassidish lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s not like I don’t go out or that people don’t fix me up, although with each passing year the pool of singles for my age bracket shrinks substantially. The mix of my background and current persona also complicates finding that someone I would feel comfortable with, or for that matter would be comfortable with me. And of course the older I get the harder it becomes to get a decent date.

With all of the changes I’ve made in my life, at the core of my being I am very lonely. That inner sense of belonging eludes me; I miss the chassidish environment and so far find that nothing for me matches the warmth that permeates the chassidish home.

I am not asking for advice, nor do I expect you to have any for me. I know full well that it is up to me to choose my direction and the kind of life I want to lead. The reason I am writing to you is because I know that The Jewish Press has many readers in the chassidish community and I am hoping my letter will talk to their hearts. While I am the type who appreciates old-time values, I strongly feel that some of that old shtetl mentality desperately needs to be rethought.

To parents who face the dilemma of listening to shidduchim for a younger child who has an older sibling still waiting in the wings: Please consider the ramifications of your stubborn refusal to be open-minded. If something comes along that sounds too good to pass up, think twice before you do for you may be pushing away the younger’s rightful zivug and may end up with more than one unmarried child to contend with in your golden years.

Thank you, Rachel, for letting me get this off my chest.

Missed the boat

Many Happy Returns

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I never thought I would see the day when “Yossie” would smile. He was not an unhappy man, but rather very serious in demeanor. He never said hello, or any words, to his customers other than those absolutely necessary.

Whenever I went to his store, I felt uncomfortable. It was as if I was invisible. I would greet him when I entered and thank him when I left, but there was never any response. In time, I realized there would never be one. Despite this personality flaw, Yossie’s business was flourishing. His prices were fair, and he was an honest man.

I had not been in his store for a couple of years. My husband was not as bothered as I was by Yossie’s rudeness, and so he was the one who generally went there. Recently, though, I reluctantly found myself there. I’m glad it worked out that way for a number of reasons. I got to see Yossie in a different light, and I also got the chance to give my sister a special surprise.

I was waiting my turn to be served when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A woman’s lightweight jacket was hanging on a hook.

Without thinking, I called out to Yossie, “To whom does that green jacket belong?”

He turned to me and quietly responded that it had been left in his establishment about two years ago.

“It’s mine. I can’t believe it. I gave up on ever finding it!”

Yossie looked away, but not before I caught the pleased smile on his face. Who would have ever thought that he would hold onto an abandoned object for such a long time, hoping someone would one day claim it? Who would have thought this could make him smile?

The story does not end here, not without telling you of the story surrounding my missing jacket.

Over the past several years, my sister and I have found ourselves traveling back and forth from Israel to America in order to spend time with our elderly parents.

Whenever possible we chose to fly together, thereby giving each other physical, as well as emotional, support. Most of our trips revolved around our parents, but we also tried to squeeze in quick shopping trips, bringing back gifts for our children and their families.

Two years ago, during the fall season, we found ourselves packing our suitcases yet again. To my dismay, I discovered that I could not find my lightweight green jacket.

I searched everywhere, but concluded that I had simply left it somewhere and would have to buy a new one in America.

I take a limited amount of money with me whenever I travel, and I really am very careful with how I spend it. This way, I can buy something for everyone on my list.

Before I knew it, I had spent almost all of the cash I brought and did not have enough left over to purchase a jacket.

While shopping one day, my sister came over to me with a lovely jacket in her hands.

“Do me a favor,” she said, “and try it on for me. I am too tired to try it on myself, and we are the same size.” I knew she had been planning to buy this particular item herself, and so I tried it on for her.

In the end, she bought it for me. She refused to take it for herself, as she still had another jacket at home while I did not. She said she could always buy the jacket for herself on our next trip.

The next time we traveled to America, as well as on subsequent travels, we searched in vain for another jacket like the one she bought me. We either found one in the wrong size or wrong color, or not quite the same style. I always felt bad to be wearing her “dream” jacket, while she was still searching for hers.

Now, I finally had my chance to rectify the situation.

While still in Yossie’s store, I called her. “Rivky, what is that item you are always searching for in America? Well, guess what? I have it for you!”

Egypt’s Finance Minister: IMF Deal by this Weekend

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The Egyptian government will most likely sign a memorandum of understanding with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.5 billion loan before the weekend, Egypt’s Finance Minister Momtaz El-Said told reporters.

Al Ahram reports that Egypt’s government is planning to eliminate subsidies on gasoline, in line with IMF recommendations, in order to convince the IMF that it is serious about economic reform and to close the deal.

The Egyptian government needs the $4.5 billion loan to reduce its budget deficit, which stands at 11% of GDP, as well as manage a balance-of-payments deficit that has so far cost more than $20 billion in foreign reserves, since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak last year.

Government officials have proposed austerity measures, including cutting fuel subsidies, raising sales taxes on goods and services, taxing stock exchange IPOs, higher taxes on phone calls, cars, cigarettes, liquor, carbonated drinks, coffee beans and water-resistant cement.

Weatherman calling for food riots with a chance of mayhem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypts-finance-minister-imf-deal-by-this-weekend/2012/11/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: