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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Chapter One’

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter One: Anatevka

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Nemerov, the district Police Commissioner, reared his horse in the air.

“Three days,” he warned. “The Jews of Anatevka have three days to clear out of the area.”

Tevye spat in disgust at the ground. “Three days,” he brooded. Three days were all the authorities were giving the Jews to sell their belongings and evacuate the village they loved.

It didn’t matter that the Jews had lived in Anatevka long before the Russians. The Police Commissioner didn’t care that Tevye’s great-grandfather, may his memory be a blessing, had cleared the forest by the lake and built the first house in the region. It didn’t matter to the Czar and his soldiers that for as long as anyone could remember, the Jews had dutifully paid the taxes which had laden the Czar’s table with food, while the pantries of the Jews remained bare. Nor did it matter to them that the Jews had cleaned out the stables of the Russian landowners, chopped their wood, sewed their garments, and delivered their milk. It didn’t matter that a Jew would bow in respect when a Russian passed by, just to keep peace. Nor did it matter to them that the decent folk of Anatevka had no other place to call home. They were Jews, and that was that. The Czar, may he and his loved ones be cursed, had made his decision in the interests of the motherland. His order was final. The Jews had three days to get out. The butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers of Anatevka had been declared enemies of the state.

The usually goodhearted milkman spat in anger as the Police Commissioner and his soldiers rode out of the village. Then he looked up at the heavens and prayed.

“My Father and King, Whose ways are perfect and just, and Who does only good to His people – even if we can’t understand Your kindness in throwing us out of our homes – after the Jews of Anatevka have journeyed to some faraway land, may the Czar and his Cossacks be swallowed up into the earth.”

Not that all Russians were as wicked as the Czar and his soldiers. After all, the same God had created all people, Jews and Russians alike. Loving God meant loving all of His creation. But sometimes, it wasn’t so easy. When someone kicks you out of your home, and treats you like dirt, it’s hard for a man to be grateful.

Where would they go? Tevye didn’t know. To Broditchov, in a distant part of Russia, where the pogroms had not yet struck? To America? To Poland? To the Land of Israel? To England? Or France? Tevye didn’t have time to think up a plan. He would simply go along with everyone else in his village, wherever the Almighty led them. After all, had Abraham known his destination when God told him to leave his birthplace for some faraway land? As the Torah says, “And Abraham believed!” He trusted in God. Without complaining, he packed up his belongings and went.

Tevye’s head kept spinning like it did when he drank too much vodka on Purim. There were so many things to arrange. How do you pack a lifetime into three days? Maybe he should have pulled the Police Commissioner off of his horse and given him a good thrashing. Maybe he should have rallied the Jews to rebellion. But what would that have accomplished? Reports of pogroms had reached them from all over Russia. Burnings, lootings, evacuations, the slaughter of innocent women and children. Just because they were Jews. How could they rebel? Did the Jews have an army? Did they have weapons with which they could fight? Was Tevye Judah the Maccabee, that he could rally people to follow him? What kind of resistance could the lowly Jews muster?

Tevye trudged back to his tiny castle, the home he had built long ago with more youthful hands. Was a house merely pieces of wood that a man could so easily sell it? What about all of the years, the memories, the joys, and the sorrows? True, Tevye thought, he could have survived just as well without all of the sorrows, but that was the life of a Jew. There were good times and bad. A house could be sold, but what about all of the memories engraved in the planks of the walls? Well, he supposed he could take his memories with him.

Title: The Light of Thirty-Six: Accessing the Hidden Light of Creation on a Daily Basis

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Title: The Light of Thirty-Six:


Accessing the Hidden Light of


Creation on a Daily Basis


Author: Pinchas Winston


Publisher: Thirtysix.org


 


 


   Readers and nervous newshounds wondering how to become more spiritual in a hurry can take steps toward meeting that goal by studying The Light of Thirty-Six: Accessing the Hidden Light of Creation on a Daily Basis. Read and re-read the book. Invest time, effort and thought into your spirituality-seeking process so you can act on the book’s lessons seriously, not superficially.

 

   Author Pinchas Winston’s decades of deeply insightful research into Jewish spirituality focuses on the significance of Chanukah, Ohr HaGanuz and specific numbers related to them – particularly 36, 25, and 11. These and other numbers important to Jewish spirituality are explored in this paperback, too. The introduction indicates that ” the number eight symbolizes our unique relationship with God a supernatural level of existence ” Readers will then learn why ” all redemptions of the Jewish People are miraculous” and that numbers 70, 112 and 240 also spell out spiritual lessons. They’re explained later in the book.

 

   By page 17 in Chapter One of Section One, you and the text will be speeding along into far deeper insights about the importance of the holy light hidden within creation. You’ll realize that you’re learning how to access it on a daily basis. These insights, Winston points out, are major lessons of the Chanukah holiday. Page 40 presents them in two thought-provoking paragraphs. Chapter Four expands on the lesson by pointing out oft-overlooked implications of the essential differences between Yaakov and Eisav plus Yaakov’s struggle with an angel who changed his name. The segment also summarizes the spiritual depth of Yaakov’s journey over the river Yabok, how it puts the Y2K event into a spiritual context and provides spiritual lessons for eternity let alone facilitating geula.

 

   The author expounds on the above until Section Two. Readers will then be more ” able to see the hand of God in even the darkest moments trust that God is running the show and that all is for the good” (p. 164). Fine and dandy, you might think. What are nervous newshounds and readers to do in case of war? Pages 165 through 199 tell you in specific detail.

 

   When you reach the conclusion of The Light of Thirty-Six you’ll be tingling with the realization that ” we are, in turn, trusted by The Holy One Blessed be He, Who hands over the ability to perform miracles to man” and how we know that this is so.

 

   Ease your blood pressure and frightened mind. Read The Light of Thirty-Six: Accessing the Hidden Light of Creation on a Daily Basis often, perhaps just before bedtime. Sleep is a great tool for processing valuable information and letting you waken with confidence.

 

 

   Yocheved Golani is the author of E-book “It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge”  (www.booklocker.com/books/4244.html).

Title: Getting Our Groove Back – How to Energize American Jewry

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

         Scott Shay is the co-founder of Jewish Youth Connection, chair of UJA Federation of New York’s Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal and a successful businessman. His 2007 book, Getting Our Groove BackHow To Energize American Jewry contains sharp insights, nearly flawless objectivity and some terrific advice.

 

         Shay identifies critical problems in present-day American Jewish life: a dwindling sense of importance of Jewish identity evidenced in rising intermarriage rates and decreasing synagogue and Jewish school enrollments; poor parental role models who refrain from substantive involvement in Jewish affairs, inconsistent standards for conversion to Judaism; diverse categorizations of Jewish identity when it exists (Reform, Reconstructionist, variations of Orthodoxy); poor educational standards that don’t inspire K-12 students, and the cognitive dissonance that results from donations by allegedly Jewish charities to non-Jewish (sometimes anti-Jewish) causes. These and other factors cited in the book undermine potential Jewish identification and unity. Shay supports his eloquent assertions and conclusions with relevant statistics.

 

         Shay offers intelligently-considered solutions to the problems identified in this 304-page hardcover book: inspirational trips to Israel, better educational standards for adults and children plus increased pay for attracting superb teachers, involved clergy who go camping with the kehillah or participate in youth groups, increased birth rates, a cessation of spending on causes unrelated to Jewish interests, organized protests regarding media misrepresentation of Jewish realities, and other good ideas.

 

         But some of his advice falls flat. Recommending to non-Orthodox streams of Jewish life to standardize their conversion processes and definitions of “Who is a Jew” or to reinvent their bloated bureaucracies into cohesive “mini-movements” while promoting kashrut, matrilineal descent and other activities that these organizations reject is wishful thinking. Non-Orthodox movements will likely resist the imperative to re-define themselves out of existence!

 

         The author missed some significance in the opening quotes of Chapter One and on the last page of his book. They are from Talmud (Bava Batra 7a): “The community is Israel’s rampart” and the oft-quoted “The day is short/The task is great/It is not up to you/To complete the work/Yet you cannot concede it/All beginnings are hard/If not now, when?”

 

         They’re predicated on accepting G-d as the One Who Determines the Rules in Life. Unless that premise is absorbed by and acted upon by all Jews, the collective American Jewish groove will continue grinding down like the gears on the book’s cover. Perhaps the author can include inspirational insights about optimal Jewish identification and activity by Rabbi Y. B. Soloveitchik, z”l, Chassidic commentators, past and present, plus other inspirational sources, in updates of his present book.

 

         Getting Our Groove Back – How To Energize American Jewry still deserves close reading and follow-up. Social scientists, clergy, Federation officials and anyone interested in the thriving success of American Jewry (parents included) should study its pages closely. Enacting suggestions consistent with the supreme premise of Judaism (G-d rules, you comply) can result in quantum improvements to Jewish life and collective Jewish insight. They’re excellent starting points for increasing successes in proudly identifying, and thriving, as Jews.

 

         Yocheved Golani is the author of “It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry if I Need To: A Life Book that Helps You to Dry Your Tears and to Cope with a Medical Challenge” (Booklocker, USA).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-getting-our-groove-back-how-to-energize-american-jewry/2007/08/15/

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