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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘expression’

How to Say: ‘Go Out of Your mind’

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

The English expression to go out of one’s (his) mind gets translated literally into Modern Hebrew:

לָצֵאת מִדַּעְתּוֹ

לצאת  means to go out, while מדעתו  means from his mind. To use this expression, conjugate the verb לצאת, and substitute the וֹ-   ending with the one you wish to mean.

For example:

אִם הָרַעַשׁ כָּכָה יַמְשִׁיךְ, אֲנִי אֵצֵא מִדַּעְתִּי. If the noise continues this way, I’ll go out of my mind.

נִדְמֶה לִי שֶׁהִיא יָצְאָה מִדַּעְתָּהּ. It seems to me that she’s gone crazy.

A synonym for לצאת מדעתו is לְהִשְׁתַּגֵּעַ .

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What Leftists Mean: Support the Savage

Friday, September 28th, 2012

As a looney lefitist in the NY vandalizes approved ads in the subway, under the guise of  “freedom of expression” (while not allowing others to freely express themselves), her message is very clear.

She sides with the savages.  She finds it offensive that Jihad is considered “savage.”  Savages are those who murder in the name of Jihad; those that murdered the U.S. Ambassador to Libya are savages, those that attacked the World Trade Center are savages, those that stab to death Israeli infants and blow up buses are savages.  That’s Jihad.

See the Jihad Supporter here:

CNN and MSNBC Pundit Mona Eltahawy is a supporter of Savage Jihad.  Her billboard could be easily summed up as follows:

Make sure you know which side you’re on.

The Key to Success

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

As we continue on the t’shuva train toward Yom Kippur, I would like to take this opportunity to bless the readers of the Jewish Press, and my friends the world over, with a year of health, happiness, and success.

While the greatest success a Jew can achieve is to live a Torah life in the Land of Israel, success comes in many shapes and sizes. To make sure that your new year will be blessed with success, here’s a wonderful teaching of Rabbi Kook, condensed from our commentary, “The Art of T’shuva,” which has the power to make everyone a winner.

It is no secret that western society is success oriented. Everyone wants to be a success, whether it be a successful basketball player, a successful lawyer, a successful doctor, a successful housewife… the list goes on and on. Success is championed as one of life’s greatest values. Everyone loves success stories. Everyone envies successful people. From the earliest ages, children are taught to admire success. Parents push their kids to be successful. The drive to succeed is reinforced in schools. The competition is fierce to get into top colleges, because they are seen as the doors to success. Working your way up the ladder of success is the mainstay of capitalism. Accordingly, bookstores are filled with dozens of guides on how to succeed.

Accordingly, the poor soul who does not succeed is a loser. In western society, if you are not a success, you are probably very unhappy. Your self-image is bound to be low. The successful people are the winners, and you are nothing more than a bum.

Rabbi Kook has good news. If you are a loser, all is not lost. You too can be a winner. You too can succeed. How? Through t’shuva.

That’s right. The key to success is t’shuva. For when life is looked at through spiritual glasses, for what it really is, the most important thing is neither money, nor honor, nor power, nor fame. The most important thing is pursuing a life of goodness. True success lies in simply striving to be good. For real achievement is measured by what is important to God, not by what society flaunts. In God’s eyes, a woman can be successful without looking like Barbie. A man can be a success without having five or six credit cards and a six-figure salary. The real man, the real success, is the baal t’shuva, the man of Torah.

Rabbi Kook discusses this startling idea in his writings on ratzon, רצון. The Hebrew word ratzon is usually translated as will, or willpower, but the word has a deep connotation which requires some further explanation. He writes:

The will which is forged by t’shuva is the will which is imbedded in the depths of existence, and not the lesser will that concerns itself with the superficial and external facets of life. This (deeper) will is the most fundamental force in the foundation of life, and this is the genuine character of the soul (Orot HaT’shuva, 9:1. See the “Art of T’shuva,” Ch.12).

This fundamental force is the desire to get closer to God. This is the deepest expression of the will. For instance, the desire to eat ice cream is a relatively superficial desire, an offshoot of the desire to eat. On a deeper level, the desire to eat is an expression of the will to survive. While not every man has a desire to eat ice cream, every man does have a will to survive. This will, the will to live, is a deeper phase of ratzon, and something less dependent upon a man’s free choice. This can be seen in an old, dying person. Though racked with sufferings, he still clutches onto life with his last ounce of strength. Even if he lapses into a coma, the will to live in his soul continues to function.

On an even deeper level, buried in the will to live is man’s deepest, most basic will — the will to get close to God. The will to be connected to God finds expression in the will to do good and in the longing for goodness. Just as G-d is good, we should be good. Just as God is giving, we should be giving. Man is the only creature who possesses a free will. Our task is to align our will with the will of our Creator. For the Jewish people, living a life of goodness means living a life filled with Torah, which is God’s will for the Jews. This is our true happiness, as it says, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Tehillim, 19:9).

Islamist Bullying Works: Germany Considering a Ban on Showing of Anti-Muslim Film

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Freedom of expression has been a basic right in much of Germany since the spring of 1945, but the controversy over the film “Innocence of Muslims” may end up with that right being curbed once again.

Der Spigel reports that a group called Pro Deutschland is planning to stage a public showing of the anti-Islam film, which has been the focus of huge protests and violent attacks on American and Western diplomatic missions across the Muslim world over the past week. Pro Deutschland, which only numbers a few hundred members, appears to be putting Chancellor Angela Merkel on the spot, having to choose between civil rights and public order.

Merkel was asked at a press conference on Monday what she thought about the plan to show the film publicly, and she answered that a ban could be justified for the sake of public security. “I can imagine that there are good reasons for this,” she said, referring to a proposed ban on the showing, adding that a ban was being considered by her government.

The chancellor, with a long record of promoting freedom of expression and of the press, is in a bind here. Two years ago she praised Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard for his courage in publishing caricatures that caused riots in the Muslim world. Westergaard himself survived an attempt on his life for his cartoon, which showed the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb for a turban.

By law, Merkel cannot ban “Innocence of Muslims” outright. But given the potential violence that could result from showing the work, she may want to prevent it for now.

There is a legal foundation for this kind of censorship in German criminal law, which states that anyone who publicly “insults the content of religious or ideological views in a manner likely to disturb the public order, will be penalized by up to three years’ imprisonment or a fine.”

In 2006, the Lüdinghausen district court in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia gave a one-year suspended sentence to a pensioner who had stamped toilet paper with the phrase “The Koran, the Holy Koran” and sent it to 22 German mosques and Muslim community centers. The court ruled that this action was not protected by freedom of expression because they constituted a disturbance of the public order.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger this week called for a legal analysis of the situation.

Westerwelle told public radio station Deutschlandfunk that, after all, Germany wants to send the signal that “we remain a tolerant country.”

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the legality of a showing of the provocative film must be examined “for example from the perspective of the right to assemble if security and order are endangered.”

But the justice minister at the same time doubted that a national ban would work in this case, saying it would have “only a limited effect.”

Head of the Green Party’s parliamentary faction Renate Künast told the ZDF radio station that she, too, objected to a ban. Freedom of expression is a cherished value, she said. “We won’t simply throw that away. Our democracy will hold out even if a few crazy people make difficult videos.”

Künast urged people to legally protest the public showing.

In an interview with Der Spiegel this week, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, whose ministry would be the arm of government issuing the ban, said Pro Deutschland was intentionally provoking Islamists. “By doing so, they are recklessly pouring oil on the fire,” he said. “We must use all legally sanctioned courses of action to stop them.”

Aiman Mazyek, head of Germany’s Central Council of Muslims, has called for an outright ban, warning on ARD station that a failure to do so could result in street battles between extremists on both sides of the issue.

Naturally, in such instances, the difference between a warning and a veiled threat are marginal.

But the Liberal Islamic Association (LIB) took a position against a ban. “The more discussion there is about a ban, encouraging a taboo on such content, the greater the damage that is done,” LIB head Lamya Kaddor told the daily Die Tageszeitung. This would only serve to further stoke anti-Islam sentiments that already exist in Germany, Kaddor added.

Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

During The Three Weeks between 17 Tammuz and Tisha B’Av, as we recall the destruction of the Temples, we read three of the most searing passages in the prophetic literature, the first two from the opening of the book of Jeremiah, the third, next week, from the first chapter of Isaiah.

At perhaps no other time of the year are we so acutely aware of the enduring force of ancient Israel’s great visionaries. The prophets had no power. They were not kings or members of the royal court. They were (usually) not priests or members of the religious establishment. They held no office. They were not elected. Often they were deeply unpopular, none more so than the author of this week’s haftarah, Jeremiah, who was arrested, flogged, abused, put on trial and only narrowly escaped with his life. Only rarely were the prophets heeded in their lifetimes: the one clear exception was Jonah, and he spoke to non-Jews, the citizens of Nineveh. Yet their words were recorded for posterity and became a major feature of Tanach. They were the world’s first social critics, and their message continues through the centuries. As Kierkegaard almost said: when a king dies, his power ends; when a prophet dies, his influence begins.

What was distinctive about the prophet was not that he foretold the future. The ancient world was full of such people: soothsayers, oracles, readers of runes, shamans and other diviners, each of whom claimed the inside track with the forces that govern fate and “shape our ends, rough-hew them how we will.” Judaism has no time for such people. The Torah bans one “who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead” (Deuteronomy 18:10-11). It disbelieves such practices because it believes in human freedom. The future is not pre-scripted. It depends on us, and the choices we make. If a prediction comes true it has succeeded; if a prophecy comes true it has failed. The prophet tells of the future that will happen if we do not heed the danger and mend our ways. He (or she – there were seven biblical prophetesses) does not predict; he warns.

Nor was the prophet distinctive in blessing or cursing the people. That was Bilam’s gift, not Isaiah’s or Jeremiah’s. In Judaism, blessing comes through priests, not prophets.

Several things made the prophets unique. The first was his or her sense of history. The prophets were the first people to see God in history. We tend to take our sense of time for granted. Time happens. Time flows. As the saying goes: time is God’s way of keeping everything from happening at once. But actually there are several ways of relating to time, and different civilizations have perceived it differently.

There is cyclical time: time as the slow turning of the seasons, or the cycle of birth, growth, decline and death. Cyclical time is time as it occurs in nature. Some trees have long lives; most fruit flies have short ones. But all that lives, dies. The species endure; individual members do not. Kohelet contains the most famous expression of cyclical time in Judaism: “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course … What has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Then there is linear time: time as an inexorable sequence of cause and effect. The French astronomer Pierre-Simon Laplace gave this idea its most famous expression in 1814 when he said that if you “know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed,” together with all the laws of physics and chemistry, then “nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present” before your eyes. When applied to society and history, this is known as historical inevitability.

Finally there is time as a mere sequence of events with no underlying plot or theme. This leads to the kind of historical writing pioneered by the scholars of ancient Greece, Herodotus and Thucydides.

When Does Free Speech Become Sedition?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

http://fresnozionism.org/2012/06/when-does-free-speech-become-sedition/

In a democratic state where freedom of expression is cherished, can we place limits on expression when the very foundation of that state is attacked? Is there a point at which the state can say “if that’s how you feel, go live somewhere else?”

News item:

Three members of the radical ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion that they had vandalized a Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial earlier this month as well as several additional sites commemorating fallen IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley.

“Hitler, thank you for the wonderful Holocaust” was one of the slogans spray painted some two weeks ago on the open campus of Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust memorial site…

Judea and Samaria District Police found spray cans in the suspects’ homes as well as posters inciting against the state and PLO flags, Army Radio reported Tuesday…

The three, aged 18, 26 and 27, call themselves the “Palestine Jews.” They confessed to the crimes and remarked that they had committed the act out of hatred toward the Zionist entity and the state.

There is no doubt that if they are convicted of the crime of vandalism they should be punished. But is the state required to tolerate residents who express hatred of “the Zionist entity” in any form?

In the US, almost all such expression is permitted (there are exceptions). But the population here is almost 312 million people, and only a tiny proportion of those want to overthrow the Constitution. Israel has about 7.6 million, and when you include fanatics like the “Palestine Jews,” Arab nationalists, Islamists, and extreme leftists or anarchists, it becomes a significant proportion of the population.

Consider the extreme academic Left, which literally dominates academic departments in some Israeli universities. They regularly call for a binational state, support boycott-divestment-sanctions, compare Israel to Nazi Germany, sign petitions favoring a right of return for Arab refugees, etc. (details are here).

Another example is the Israeli Arab (oops, ‘Palestinian resident of Israel’) organization Adalah. Supported by the US-based New Israel Fund, Adalah is openly anti-Zionist, advocating for a right of return, for Israel to admit its guilt and compensate Arabs for the nakba [disaster] that was the founding of the state, change its flag and national anthem, and give Arabs a veto power over all decisions of the Knesset.

Then there is the Islamic Movement in Israel. The leader of its Northern Branch, Ra’ed Saleh, openly supports Hamas and has incited riots in Jerusalem several times with claims that Israel is trying to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque.

The vandals of Neturei Karta have been around for years, appearing at anti-Israel demonstrations around the world. They were paid by Yasser Arafat and even visited Tehran where they embraced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are other Hareidi extremists that are less well-known, but also oppose the Jewish state, while accepting its charity and protection.

When does this become too much for a small state which does not lack for external threats?

There is a word for the behavior of the groups described here — sedition — and a surprising number of liberal democracies have laws against it. Perhaps Israel should as well?

Richard Belzer Fights PC Hordes over Nazi Salute

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

“Law and Order SVU” star Richard Belzer is in hot water over what he insists was a comic homage to the late Charlie Chaplin and not, say, an expression of his fealty to the Nazi tradition.

A spokesperson for the actor told TMZ that he was in a conversation with a reporter about the Charlie Chaplin film “The Great Dictator,” and was re-enacting a scene from the movie in a pose.

Belzer tated: “My grandfather represented Israel in the UN before it was made a nation. I’m a Jewish comedian, and there’s this new thing out, it’s called satire, irony and historical reference.”

He added: “To say that a Jew can’t do that gesture as homage to Chaplin’s masterpiece ‘The Great Dictator’ is like Muslim extremists killing a cartoonist for disparaging Mohammed in his art.”

“The Great Dictator” is a comedy by Charlie Chaplin released in October 1940.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/richard-belzer-fights-pc-hordes-over-nazi-salute/2012/06/13/

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