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February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘death’

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.

Neturei Karta Observe Arafat’s Yahrtzeit in Ramallah

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Last Sunday, representatives of Neturei Karta participated in the annual memorial service in Ramallah marking the day of the passing of PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat. They stood out in the crowd in their black clothes, each wearing identification tags over a background of a Palestinian flag.

During his speech at the gathering, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas restated his intention of petitioning the United Nation’s general assembly this month to grant the Palestinian Authority the status of an observer state.

Abbas said he is determined to carry out his plan, in spite of pressure and threats from the United States and Israel.

“We will make our request as early as this month, and, within a day or two, the Arab League will let us know exactly on which date this month to do it,” Abbas declared, adding: “Even though they don’t want us to petition the UN. We will not deny the legitimacy of Israel and we do not wish to deny it, but we do want to undermine the legitimacy of the settlements.”

Abbas also referred to the circumstances surrounding Arafat’s death eight years ago and said that Russian experts requested the Palestinian Authority to join the French and Swiss team which will investigate the “strange” death, as he put it.

Title: One Shot

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Author: M. Wiseman
Publisher: Israel Bookshop Publications

One Shot, authored by M. Wiseman, is an emotional drama that focuses on issues faced by some teens nowadays.

In Suburbia, U.S.A., lived three extraordinary young men, Baruch, Nadav and Rafi. Nadav and Rafi have been friends forever, and Baruch joins the crew in his later teens. Pain is the bond that brings the threesome together. Baruch and Nadav have emotional pain and Rafi suffers from a physical pain; he discovered that he had advanced-stage cancer. The cancer was serious – too serious for the doctors, so they eventually stopped treating him.

Nadav’s older brother, Ari, who was very gifted, decided that his parents were too paradoxical for him; they told Ari to follow the Torah, but didn’t fully do so themselves. In a fit of rage he left home. Nadav pondered his brother’s words and found himself full of questions. From then on Nadav became the bad boy to his teachers and had a hard time learning Torah. That was why he became attached to the charismatic Rafi, who had the ability to help him in times of crisis.

Baruch had a different challenge. His parents wanted him to learn in a kollel in Lakewood after learning in Israel and getting married, but Baruch couldn’t do that. The worst part was, he wished he could. Baruch also attached himself to Rafi, seeking inspiration.

Baruch, Nadav, Rafi – they were all afflicted with different types of pain. Did they all overcome it?

One Shot is a very inspiring book with serious themes including death and fulfilling one’s potential. The prologue and epilogue, stressing that the Torah was given to everyone, were extremely meaningful and true. M. Wiseman’s writing style, playing the part of author and narrator, is also very good. Sometimes she even has a conversation with the reader. One Shot is definitely an emotional and worthwhile read, and I would recommend it for all teenagers.

B’nai Brith Canada: ‘Silence Is Not An Option’

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Some of you are looking at the title of my column and wondering two things – why I am writing about B’nai Brith Canada – arguably Canada’s version of the Anti-Defamation League and why would it be of interest to anyone who does not live in that country – as most of you don’t.

It’s because I think you will sleep slightly better at night – as I do – knowing there is an additional organization in North America whose mandate is to fight anti-Semitism – – one that is quite loud and insistent.

B’nai Brith Canada was created in 1875, making it the oldest Jewish organization in Canada. From inception, its agenda has been the promotion of human rights and battling anti-Semitism and racism. Now more than ever, their staff, who for the most part are observant Jews, takes very seriously the Biblical injunction to “watch over your soul.”

B’nai Brith Canada has repeatedly exposed the biases and prejudices of the powerful United Church of Canada. This summer the Church voted to boycott products exported from Israeli businesses in the West Bank and expressed remorse for previously asking Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state.

B’nai Brith Canada has not hesitated to take legal action against the Church for its anti-Semitic rhetoric – which resulted in an apology from the Church.

The organization is meticulous in keeping an eye on Jew-hatred in all it’s manifestations, and is very vocal when it comes to supporting the State of Israel – in particular Yesha. Its Parliament Hill office connects regularly with politicians, civil servants and ambassadors, providing a strong voice on issues of concern to the community.

A decade ago, B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, was the only human rights organization given intervener status by the court in the hate crime trial of David Ahenakew, a national chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. In an interview he gave in December 2002, Ahenakew stated that Jews were a “disease” and that Hitler was justifiably trying to “clean up the world” when he “fried six million of those guys.” (Unlike in the US where “freedom of speech ” can to some extent, legally allow the spewing of racist remarks, Canada has made hate speech a criminal offence).

If I were a cartoonist, I would draw B’nai Brith Canada as a ferocious, tenacious dog, determinedly biting down on the ankle of a surprised and panicked thug.

Very recently, B’nai Brith was alerted that a costume store in Montreal was selling what looked like a concentration camp uniform bearing a Star of David made of yellow and red triangles. The store apparently rents costumes to theatrical groups but makes them available to the public for Halloween.

Due to the organization’s intervention, the offensive costume was removed.

There are those in the community who feel that B’nai Brith is made up of a bunch of “fear-mongers.” They insist that Jews are safe in North America; that America and Canada have a track record of being a goldeneh midina – a golden land for the Jews with incredible freedoms and rights. Yet it wasn’t that long ago that there were signs on hotels saying, “No Jews or dogs allowed.”

And there is the infamous statement allegedly made by an immigration official after WWII who insisted, in regards to Jews coming to Canada, “none are too many.”

In 1939, both countries denied entry to over 900 Jewish refugees on board the MS St Louis, who were desperately trying escape genocide in Europe. The ship was forced to return to Europe. While some countries took in handfuls of Jews, most returned to their countries, where several hundred ultimately perished in the death camps.

(B’nai Brith Canada recently published a student resource book on Canadian immigration policies of the past, present and future titled, Welcome to Canada? to educate a new generation of youngsters, many of whom are first generation Canadians, whose parents come from the four corners of the world. The story of the St. Louis is included).

Those who are confident that there will never be a return to the days when Jews were persona non grata are in extreme denial.

No one wants to dwell on unpleasant realities. It’s easier not to think about loss or death – or anti-Semitism and the potential ominous threat to you and your loved ones. Maybe you do for a few minutes during a Shoah commemoration, but allowing it to infiltrate your daily life is too hard, too stomach churning, too depressing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/bnai-brith-canada-silence-is-not-an-option/2012/11/09/

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