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November 26, 2015 / 14 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘death’

The Doll’s Tale

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Dear Readers:

The following short story is fictitious, but the situation of Jewish children during the Holocaust being raised by gentile families or in Catholic convents and orphanages is not. While some were re-united with family members who survived the death camps – many were not, and remain lost both physically and religiously. This story is in memory of all the lost children. May they be reunited with their families with the coming of Moshiach.

The Doll’s Tale

Nine-year-old Ruchi was not at all upset when her brother and cousins nicknamed her “Ricki.” She liked the sound of it and it certainly suited her – had it been up to her, she would have been a boy. Boys had more fun and never had to wear dresses and other girly clothes. Her brother Dovi got to wear pants, giving him the freedom to hang upside down on the monkey bars in the park, and to turn cartwheels – while she was prohibited from doing such fun things – because hanging upside down while wearing a skirt was not tznuisdik. After all, she wasn’t three anymore!

And then there was the matter of the ridiculous gifts she got on her birthday or from out of town guests. Dovi would always get a fun toy like a truck, while she, without fail, would be given a useless doll with a smile plastered on its plastic face. Ruchi’s only consolation was that forthwith, the dolls would become perfect targets for Dovi’s water guns or darts. Often they would play “barber” delighting at the pale, pink head that would surface, the outcome of the doll’s “haircut.”

Yet Ruchi was to gain a deeper appreciation for these plastic entities than she would ever had imagined.

The 180-degree change in her attitude took place when she and her family traveled to Israel for the bar mitzvah of the grandson of Bubbi’s older half-sister, Malka. Malka was a rare entity, a child survivor of the Holocaust. She had been born in Poland – unlike Bubbi, who had been born in Israel several years after the war had ended.

Sadly, Malka had passed away three years earlier, at the young age of 65, just months after her and Bubbi’s father. Malka had had a massive stroke, brought on, it was said, by her extreme distress upon losing her father.

Erev Shabbos, Ruchi watched in wide-eyed astonishment as the bar mitzvah boy’s mother lit the candles, hugging a very ragged, ripped up cloth doll. After her tefillah, she kissed it, as did her children.

“What was that all about,” she asked her 11-year-old cousin, Chana, as they lay in their beds that evening. “Why did your mom do that – is that a family minhag? It’s weird!”

It was then Chana told her the story that would forever change Ruchi’s view on dolls.

It was 1942, in Nazi-occupied Poland, and their great-grandfather, Shimon, was beside himself. It was only a matter of days before he, his wife and daughter would be taken out of the c transported to the camps. A former employee of Shimon’s dry-goods store, a Polish girl who appreciated her kind and generous boss, had sent word that her aunt, a highly-placed nun at the convent on the outskirts of town, would hide his child.

Shimon was torn between his desperate desire to save his child’s life, and the horrible thought of placing her in this completely foreign environment.

Two days before a mass deportation, Shimon surrendered his three year old, blond haired daughter, Malka, into the waiting arms of a nun. He and his wife had left her crying inconsolably, fiercely clutching a Raggedy Ann doll – a gift from a relative in America and her constant companion.

Three years later, a gaunt and battered Shimon returned to his town, alone; his beloved wife Zisel had starved to death. While he was incarcerated in Auschwitz, thoughts of finding his little Malka were what kept him alive.

Shimon had been hearing horror stories of Polish families that had been entrusted with Jewish children deliberately disappearing with them. Sometimes, even if the child was found, he, or she, refused to leave the only home he knew, denying any connection with the walking scarecrows who showed up claiming to be kin. The child would make the sign of the cross to protect himself from the sickly looking vagabonds who belonged to the people who had killed the beloved savior.

Happy to Death

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Gotta’ love the following Ma’an Palestinian news agency report:

One Citizen Dies and 3 wounded by Gunfire Celebrating the Victory of the Resistance

Gaza – Ma’an – A citizen died and 3 others were wounded in shooting in the air to celebrate the victory of the resistance.

A government spokesman for the Ministry of Health Ma’an about the death of a citizen and the wounding of 3 others in Dar Al Shifa, by Gunfire celebrating the victory of the resistance.

The ministry appealed to citizens not to fire in the air.

And I say – go ahead, fire in the air, you’ve earned it.

The Final Deaths of the Mumbai Massacre

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

In an odd conflation of coincidences, Israeli and Indian violence have been ricocheting across the continents.

Mira Scharf, the wife of a Chabad rabbi in India and a “shlucha” (a female emissary) to New Dehli, India, returned home to Israel this month for a memorial service for the Mumbai Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka.  The Holtzbergs were brutally murdered in the Mumbai massacre exactly four years ago.

While in Israel, Scharf, a pregnant mother of three, became one of the first Israeli victims of this current Hamas-Israel violence. She and two others were killed in a rocket attack in Kiryat Malachi on Thursday, November 15.

And tonight, the circle closes with the hanging death of the last surviving Indian gunman from that brutal three-day rampage on Mumbai that claimed the lives of 166 people, including Rabbi Holtzberg  and his wife.

Pakistani citizen Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab was hanged during the night in a secretive procedure in India, following a four year trial.  Kasab was sentenced to death by the Bombay High Court last October.  He was convicted on various charges, including waging war against India.  His mercy petition was rejected by the President of India, on November 5.

Sentenced to death by the Bombay High Court in last October, Kasab was convicted on charges ranging from treason to waging war against India. His appeal in the Supreme Court was turned down in August.

“It is a warning for those trying to instigate terror attacks in India, as well as succour for those who have suffered due to these attacks,” said BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

As many as 166 people were killed when Lashkar-e-Taiba militants attacked different targets in India’s financial hub on Nov. 26, 2008. Over 300 people were injured in the attacks.

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab before his capture.

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab before his capture.

Kasab was filmed walking through Mumbai’s main train station carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and a knapsack on his back.  During his interrogations, many of which were filmed, Kasab admitted his involvement in the murders, described his role in the massacre.

When police asked Kasab, 21 at the time, what he understood about jihad, he told them, “it [Jihad] is about killing and getting killed and becoming famous.” “Come, kill and die after a killing spree. By this one will become famous and will also make Allah proud.”

Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India are locked in violent religious hatred similar to that between the Arab Palestinians and Israel. The Pakistani government chose not to claim Kasab’s body, and consequently he was buried in India.  His was the last death of the Mumbai massacre.

Setting Up Child Murder

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Here’s a picture of a Hamasnik with his toddler boy on an outing together. Daddy appears well prepared for battle with the ruthless Zionist occupiers — baby boy not so much.

Do Arab parents love their children? Yes.

Is the man in this picture out of his mind, exposing his child to certain death? Also yes.

I say, instead of dropping bombs on Gaza, let’s drop an army of psychiatrists, with fold-up couches.

It’s just too crazy over there.

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Children And Corpses
‘A Body Lying In The Sun…’
(Shabbos 43b)

As a general rule, functionless items (i.e., non-utensils which are not designated for any use), such as stones and broken utensils, are muktzah on Shabbos and may not be moved. These types of items belong to a category of muktzah called “muktzah machmas gufo” – inherently muktzah. A human corpse is included in this category and may not be moved on Shabbos except under certain conditions.

A Loaf Of Bread And Kavod Ha’mes

The Gemara on our daf states that if a dead person is lying in the sun on Shabbos and in danger of decaying, it is permissible to move him or her via means of a loaf of bread or a child. That is, one should place either the loaf of bread or child on top of the corpse. Doing so permits one to carry the corpse (since there is a non-muktzah item on top of it). Our sages permitted this action only because they were concerned for kavod ha’mes, the dignity of the deceased.

A Moment’s Interruption

The source for this leniency is, as the Gemara explains (supra 30b), the story of David Hamelech’s death. David knew he would die on a Shabbos and therefore engaged in Torah study ceaselessly every Shabbos in order to keep the Angel of Death at bay. However, one Shabbos, as he was sitting in his garden studying, the Angel of Death caused the trees to stir, whereupon David ascended a ladder to investigate the source of the noise. As he was ascending, the ladder broke causing him to fall to his death. Shlomo Hamelech, seeing his father lying out in the sun and worried his corpse would begin to decay, sent for the Sages, asking them what to do. They replied that he may move the corpse, albeit only after placing either a loaf of bread or child upon it.

The Ran (novella, ad loc.) explains that the Sages did not mean that only a loaf of bread or child may be utilized in a case like this. Rather, any non-muktzah object is acceptable.

What About The Bed?

Rabbi Akiva Eiger (novella, ad loc.) reasons that if all non-muktzah objects are acceptable, the bed of the deceased should suffice. Why, then, does the Gemara state that a child or loaf of bread is necessary? The Rashash answers that a corpse’s bed is not sufficient because it is considered tafel – a subordinate object to the deceased.

His Clothing?

Interestingly, the Mordechai (siman 312 and cited by the Mechaber, Orach Chayim 311:4) opines that in the event that the corpse is clothed, there is no need for any other non-muktzah object since the clothing serves the same purpose that a child or loaf of bread would.

The Beis Yosef (to the Tur, O.C. 311), however, argues that a corpse’s clothing is subordinate to the deceased and can never be considered a substitute for a child or loaf of bread.

The She’lah (cited by Ba’er Heitev, Orach Chayim 311, sk11) adduces proof for the Beis Yosef’s position from the incident concerning David Hamelech’s death (as cited above). The Gemara relates that he collapsed on Shabbos when he momentarily interrupted his Torah study. Clearly he was dressed at the time. Nevertheless, Shlomo was instructed to place either a loaf of bread oa child on his father’s body before moving it out of the sun. According to the Mordechai, placing a child or loaf of bread should not have been required since David was clothed at that moment.

Rules For Royalty

In defense of the Mordechai, the Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 311, sk16) argues that David Ha’Melech’s situation was different in light of the Gemara in Sanhedrin 52b which states that a king’s clothing and personal effects are burned after his death (because it would be considered disrespectful to the king if they were subsequently used by ordinary people). Since the king’s clothing was prohibited for use by others, they were muktzah. Therefore, the fact that David was clothed was not sufficient, and it was necessary to place a loaf of bread or child on him.

Resisting War, Terrorism, And Genocide (Second of Three Parts)

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Israel, with an understandable desperation, still seeks to discover some discernible correctness and reassuring clarity in the theatre of world politics. However, the polite diplomatic meanings with which it is pressed to “make peace” remain squalid and elusive. Ominously, these meanings continue to seethe menacingly.

A sometimes alien mythology can help Israel to better understand its remaining options. In ancient Greek myth, as recounted by Albert Camus, the pagan gods had condemned Sisyphus to roll a great rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. Unceasingly. By rendering this dreadful judgment, the Greek deities had imposed a mysterious punishment of interminable labor. But, at the very same time, they had also revealed something more difficult to understand.

Even useless labor need not be meaningless. Such labor could also be heroic.

Israel now faces the prospectively endless task of pushing a massive weight up the mountain. Always. And, with near certainty, the great rock will always roll right back down, to its point of origin.

There is, it would appear, no real chance that the rock will ever remain perched, fixed, securely, reassuringly, at the summit. Why, then, should Israel even bother to push on? It is not a silly question.

For Israel, long-suffering and always in mortal danger, there is no easy solution to its primal security problem. In the fashion of Sisyphus, the Jewish state must now accept the inconceivably heavy burden of a possible suffering without end. There is, of course, always reason to hope, but for now at least the only true choice seems to be to continue pushing upward, with no apparent relief, or to sigh deeply, lie prostrate and surrender (that is, to follow the “peace process” to “Palestine”).

What sort of sorrowful imagery is this? Can anyone really be shocked that, for the beleaguered people of Israel, a Sisyphean fate must lie beyond their ordinary powers of imagination? Expectedly, Israelis still search formally for ordinary diplomatic solutions. They look, commonly, into politics, into personalities, into leaders, into tangible policies. They seek remedies, answers, peace settlements, cartography, disengagements and realignments. They examine, sometimes meticulously, the whole package of ordinary prospects that would allegedly make Israel more “normal” and hence more “safe.”

But safety will never come to Israel through banality or compromise. Israel is not “normal,” nor should it be made normal. For reasons that are bound to be hotly debated and argued for centuries, Israel is unique.

To deny this uniqueness, and to try to figure out ways in which the eternally tormenting stone might finally stay positioned on the top of the mountain, forever, is to seek superficial answers to extraordinary questions. Above all, it is to misunderstand Israel’s special place in the world, and to subject all Israel to what the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard had called (as a generic affliction) the “sickness unto death.”

Significantly, the decidedly worst fate for Israel is not “merely” to have to endure one war after another, or, to continue with our metaphor, even to have to keep rolling the rock up the mountain. Rather, it is to try to buy its way free abjectly, from its own irresistible destiny and torment, by falsifying itself.

For each individual on earth, his or her personal existence is wholly improbable. Consider that the number of possible combinations for the human DNA molecule is ten to the 2,400,000,000th power. This means that the odds of any one of us being “me” are one in ten to the 2,400,000,000th power.

These are not betting odds.

Similarly, one can readily imagine that these not very promising numbers apply as well to nation-states. Still, when we speak of Israel, the singular Jewish state, we must enter into an entirely different and incomparable kind of calculation. In essence, Israel’s existence is both more and less probable than the life of any single human individual.

The apparent paradox lies in Israel’s special origins, and also in its absolute and incontestable uniqueness.

Let us return to the Greek myth. We recall that Sisyphus is a heroic and tragic figure in Greek mythology. This is because he insistently labored valiantly, despite the apparent futility of his efforts.

Today, Israel’s leadership, managing to more or less disregard the nation’s special history, still acts in ways that are neither tragic nor heroic. Unwilling to accept an almost certain future of protracted war, terror, and possibly even genocide, one deluded prime minister after another has sought to deny Israel’s special situation in the world. Hence, he or she has always been ready to embrace, unwittingly, the then-currently-fashionable codifications of collective suicide.

Report: Radiation Expert Says “No Way” Arafat Was Poisoned by Israel

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Dr. Roland Masse, a teacher of radiopathology at Percy Military Training Hospital, where PLO chairman Yasser Arafat was hospitalized before his death on November 11, 2004, has given the first interview related to Arafat’s death in eight years, telling The Times of Israel that there is “absolutely no way” the blood libel blaming Israel for poisoning the leader is true.

In the days leading up to the exhumation of Arafat to test him for polonium poisoning, Masse told The Times of Israel polonium poisoning symptoms would have been “impossible to miss” and said Arafat was tested at the hospital – which specializes in radiation detection – for radiation poisoning.

Masse said Arafat’s blood work did not present any of the symptoms of polonium poisoning, but did show a decrease in platelets.

Masse said that “abnormal levels of radioactive polonium Swiss scientists said they found eight years after Arafat’s death this July would have meant he was put in contact with such high levels of the material that doctors could not have missed it.

Masse was responsible for supervising national radioactivity in France in the 1990s as head of the Bureau for Protection against Ionizing Radiation.

When Arafat arrived at Percy, he was diagnosed with a blood disorder which caused blood clots throughout the body, a condition which could have been caused by a number of diseases.

Arafat’s condition deteriorated quickly, he fell into a coma on November 3, and died eight days later.

Arafat’s tomb will be exhumed on November 26 for further investigation.

Rumors have circulated around the Arab world that Israel is responsible for Arafat’s death – Israel has denied this allegation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/report-radiation-expert-says-no-way-arafat-was-poisoned-by-israel/2012/11/14/

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