web analytics
September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘foundation’

Shabbat, The Foundation Of Our Heritage

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The term for Shabbat as an “Oasis in Time” belongs to Abraham J. Hershel. While describing the Shabbat and its beauty he suggested that the Shabbat is an oasis in time. For a brief moment, as we usher in the Shabbat, time, as we know it, stands still. All our unpaid bills, office hassles, and professional aggravations are put on hold as we dedicate one day to God.

For six days prior, we pretend to believe that we are in control of our lives and our destiny. We think we have the power to make choices and to effect change in this world – that we are in control of our own destiny. Shabbat comes along and sobers us up. It literally becomes a reality check. No, we are not in control. In reality, we can only affect a very small portion of our lives.

When I describe the central theme of Shabbat to my students, I always focus on that point: that Shabbat is a time when the Jewish People recognize their mortality and in essence declare that G-d is in control of the universe.

Almighty G-d is truly the one who shapes our destiny and the destiny of the entire world. When Shabbat enters, we acknowledge this with modesty and introspection. We recognize that we are only a speck in this great world and only a small impression in the unfolding of time.

For me Shabbat represents one of the foundations of Judaism. There are so many laws and concepts in Judaism that baffle me and that I have little understanding of. But Shabbat is the one practice in Judaism that resonates so clearly of its authenticity and truthfulness.

As an educator I have always believed that teachers should realize this as well. Shabbat is not a time to burden students with extra homework assignments. Instead, it is a time for students to focus on their families and the interrelationships of a successful family. When we really get down to it, the basis of all of Judaism is centered around the family. Synagogues and day schools are both important but they take a secondary role to the importance of one’s family. The essence of Shabbat is the uniting of one’s family; completing homework assignments only serves to take away from the spirit of the day.

In the secular world this idea became a reality in the small town of Ridgewood, N.J. Parents were so concerned and involved with the success of their children that they loaded them down with every conceivable extracurricular activity. They became “hyper” parents, transporting their children to and from sports, music and dance activities, losing site that they were destroying the very essence and fiber of what a family should be. They finally recognized that they were working against themselves. “Let’s plan a night where nothing is planned,” said Marcia Marra the original organizer of this evening. The idea was “designed to let families do whatever they wanted.” This would be a time when families would focus solely on improving the dynamics of their family. No baseball games, no ballet lessons, no band or sports activities – just a time to relate to what is really important in life: loved ones and family.

The experiment was successful. People started looking forward to doing it again next year. It afforded families a chance to step back and appreciate the true blessings that they had in their transient existence. It made them realize that all those extracurricular activities that they provided their children, though important, pales to the importance of the time spent with family.

The Jewish people were given this gift every week. Those Jews who take advantage of this great treasure savor every minute of it. They focus on the enduring aspects of their lives: our Torah, our families, and our children. For the Jewish people, the experiment in Ridgewood was not something new.

For us it is called the Shabbat, an oasis in time.

Rabbi Mordechai Weiss

The Foundation Stone: Parshat Shoftim: Seeking Justice

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

A woman, suffering serious financial hardship due to the dishonesty of outwardly observant friends who are supported by the community, declares her rejection of Torah beliefs.

A man who rightfully prides himself on his honesty leaves a hearing before a Rabbinical Court wondering where was justice.

A six-year-old girl, after overhearing her parents speak of the injustice of the UN sponsored Schabas Commission is terrified that we live in a world without justice.

 

“Righteousness, righteousness, shall you pursue (Deuteronomy 16:20),” teaches us that righteousness in a specific case is insufficient. We must seek to create an environment in which people expect justice.

 

Whether speaking to us of a king, a prophet, the desire for vengeance, war, or even an unsolved murder, the Torah insists that we create an environment in which that woman would feel confident that her community would provide justice.

 

We are obligated to insist on rabbinical courts that provide us with the security of justice so that man will never leave a religious court convinced he would have done better in a secular court.

 

We are told that our society must be so clearly just that a child will not shiver whenever she hears of the UN or the NY Times.

 

The Torah clearly holds community leaders responsible. The High Priest is held responsible when someone accidentally kills someone else (Numbers 35:28). City elders are responsible for the unsolved murder of a stranger (Deuteronomy 21:6). “But you shall remove the innocent blood from your midst when you do what is upright in the eyes of God (21:9).” What shall we do when we lose our sense of what is just and upright in the eyes of God?

 

“Restore our judges as in earliest times, and our counselors as at first; remove from us sorrow and groan; and speedily reign over us, You, God, alone, with kindness and compassion. Blessed are You, God, the King, Who loves righteousness and justice (Daily Prayer).” Rabbeinu Yonah understands this almost as a challenge of God: How can You expect us to follow Your ways if you abandon us to a world without justice (Berachot 19b on Rif)!

 

Our obligation is to create a strong sense of justice in our homes, schools and communities. “Righteousness, righteousness, shall you pursue,” in all we do, in every conversation, in every interaction with a child or stranger, with every word we speak to or of another. If we succeed in developing a strong sense of justice in our homes and communities, perhaps our prayer for God to restore justice will be justly heard and accepted.

 

Rabbi Simcha Weinberg

The Foundation Stone: A Sense Of Place

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

A sense of place, especially God’s place, is frequently too far, inaccessible, and unreachable. The man, who lost his job and money, loses his place in his community, if not his home. A sick child stuck in a hospital away from her family loses her sense of place. The desperate mother who enters a synagogue for the first time in years to pray for that sick child will often feel out of place. A young man, leaving the safe walls of Yeshiva to work “out in the world,” will struggle to find his place.

A child, with whom parents are angry or who overhears parents arguing, a student in trouble at school, a couple experiencing tension, all feel out of place. Israeli families that live close to Gaza and are too terrified to return home, have lost their place. European Jews, experiencing the open anti-semitism on the streets, have lost their sense of place, as have we, post Tisha b’Av, when we mourned the historical destructions of Jerusalem. And yet, now, as we begin the approach to Rosh Hashana, hear God calling us home. What are those who have lost their home to do?

We can, of course, find our place in the abstract and ethereal. Yet, we are warned, “Beware for yourself lest you bring up your elevation offerings in any place that you see (Deuteronomy 12:13).” The Ha’amak Davar explains that one who seeks to elevate his relationship with God will strive to do so wherever he is, but must do so only in a place that is set aside for such elevation, such as the Temple, synagogue, or study hall. What are we to do when we cannot go to the Temple, and when we feel out of place in a synagogue or study hall?

This week’s portion, Re’ei, speaks of our need for a sense of place, how difficult it often is to find, and how we must protect others’ sense of place. It also guides us in how to manage the experience of ‘no place.’ It addresses the sanctity of the Land of Israel, private altars, and the proper place to eat sanctified foods, a place for the blood of slaughtered animals, the wayward city, and the Pilgrimage Festivals. We are taught to be sensitive to the poor person’s loss of place, and forbidden from eating a fish that carries its home, its place: shellfish.

Our experience of distance from the proper place is described in the laws of the Second Tithe that must be eaten in Jerusalem. “If the road will be too long for you, so that you cannot carry it [Second Tithe], because the place that God, Your Lord, will choose to place His name there is far from you, for God, your Lord, will have blessed you, then you may exchange it for money, wrap up the money in your hand, and go to the place that God, your Lord, will choose (14:24-25).”

There is a step in our service of God that encourages us to wrap up all the moments, insights and experiences that lack a proper place, so that, when found, we can bring them to the right place.

I recently read a quote from J.G. Ballard, “One of the things I took from my wartime experiences was that reality was a stage set. The comfortable day-to-day life, school, the home where one lives and all the rest of it, could be dismantled overnight.” I realized that when moving from one city to another, changing jobs, or while in extended stays in hospitals in Argentina and Germany, I have always sought to find my place in things that could not be dismantled. I find my place when I wrap myself in Tallit and Tefillin and pray, when sitting at a Shabbat table, and, most of all, when I study Torah. I then wrap up those experiences by incorporating them into my regular prayers, studies, and service. I hold on to those places inside of me, waiting for the opportunity to bring them to that place that God will choose for me. I carry those places inside of me, much as Noah grabbed a vine from the Garden of Eden to carry on the Ark and replant in the new world so that the Garden would remain a real place.

When Rosh Hashana begins to call out with the Elul Shofar blasts, its invitation to come home, I hear it in all those internal places I have managed to wrap up. As long as those places inside resonate to the call, I know that I will one day reach that place that will never be dismantled.

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom

 

Rabbi Simcha Weinberg

3 Justice Department Field Offices Wanted to Investigate The Clinton Foundation.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

One of the greatest sins of the Obama administration has been the absolute destruction of the Department of Justice. Once the agency tasked with keeping American government honest, the DOJ has now become a designated political hit squad led by the White House. The latest evidence: three separate DOJ field offices wanted to fulfill the FBI’s request to investigate the Clinton Foundation, but the DOJ turned them down.

The Clinton Foundation has, of course, been under heavy fire for its significant coordination with the State Department. The Clintons used the Foundation as a slush fund; big donors were then granted special access to Hillary and her aides at the State Department.

And the DOJ doesn’t care.

Most Americans now shrug at such improprieties.

That’s because Barack Obama has hollowed out whatever moral core was left at the DOJ. As early as 2011, former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams revealed that the DOJ had dumped its investigation into the Black Panthers for voter intimidation for racial reasons. According to Adams, “The end result when racial extremists dominate such a powerful division of federal law enforcement is, in a word, lawlessness.” Adams reported that the DOJ hierarchy implemented a “long campaign of political resistance to the Panther lawsuit that ultimately resulted in the dismissal of most of the case – after we had effectively won it.”

And of course, the DOJ, headed by Eric Holder was involved in corrupt dealings from Fast and Furious gunwalking to the racially-motivated investigations into the Trayvon Martin shooting and the Michael Brown shooting. The Holder DOJ spied on journalists from both the Associated Press and Fox News. They refused to prosecute the IRS’ Lois Lerner for clearly abusing her power in targeting conservative 501(c)3 applicants. In June 2012, Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress, and Obama promptly defended him by utilizing executive privilege.

Now, Loretta Lynch’s DOJ has become the rightful heir to Holder’s dishonorable legacy. But that’s no surprise: when government is this big and this powerful, Democrats will use that power to their own advantage.

No wonder Hillary Clinton can sleep well at night. She knows that no matter what she does, her defenders at the DOJ will shield her from harm.

Ben Shapiro

Late Entertainer Joan Rivers Enriches Jewish Causes

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Iconic comedienne Joan Rivers generously left her enormous wealth to family, friends, and even members of her staff but she also made sure to leave money to charity groups as well, including several Jewish organizations.

Rivers, a proud Jewish woman, was caught on film this past July by TMZ, giving her opinion on about Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge and the “killing of civilians” by the Israeli army in Gaza.

“Let me just tell you if New Jersey was firing rockets into New York we would wipe them out. If we heard they were digging tunnels from New Jersey to New York we would get rid of Jersey.”

Rivers, 81, lost her life in September due to cardiac arrest after a minor elective procedure on her vocal cords in a Manhattan clinic.

She named her only daughter, Melissa, as executor of her will and manager of her trust.

Rivers’ 2014 will was filed in New York State Surrogate’s Court and gave her daughter “the broadest and most absolute permissible direction” over some $150 million.

Among the Jewish organizations to whom she left bequests were the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Jewish Guild Healthcare, Jewish Guild for the Blind, and the Jewish Home and Hospital Foundation in Manhattan.

Feisty to the end, Rivers added a provision to her will that anyone who tries to challenge either the will or the trust would be disinherited.

 

Hana Levi Julian

On the Job but Not Getting Paid?

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

I’m very glad Congress and the president decided to make sure the uniformed military will get paid during the government shutdown.  That was the right thing to do.  The move averts a game-of-chicken mistake made in late 1995, when Bill Clinton was dispatching troops to Bosnia while their pay was in jeopardy.

As long as preparations are made beforehand, meanwhile, there’s enough in the trusts to make sure Social Security and veterans’ pension payments go out next month as well as this month. That’s a relief to millions of elderly who can’t just go start harvesting vegetables or sweeping floors if their checks don’t come in.  We can assume Congress will keep a sharp eye out for the potential problems, and make provision for them.

That leaves our Border Patrol, FBI, other federal law enforcement agents, federal firefighters, and air traffic controllers, some of the 80% of federal workers who will remain on the job during the shutdown.  At least some of them are reportedly being required to work without their latest-due paychecks being in the bank, until the government is “open” again.  It’s not fully clear how many or which of these workers are having to show up for work with their pay suspended.  I’ve seen reports that suggest some are being paid; other reports seem to indicate that law enforcement and essential-services people are working without pay (i.e., presumably, pay delayed, not “pay never coming”).

In any case, as happy as I am to see the EPA and other agencies off the job, I’m concerned about morale among the hard-working law enforcement and essential-services folks.  They do a tough job 24/365, and a lot is being asked of them today, and for as long as the shutdown lasts.

We can hope the shutdown will last only a couple of days.  Presumably, Congress will be looking out for these workers, and have a care for the hardships they will face if the shutdown goes longer than that.  (In extremis, much could probably be done, even within the current debt ceiling, through issuing IOUs to the Social Security trust fund.)  As with those in all professions, the younger workers – with kids, mortgage and college-loan payments, living paycheck to paycheck – will be the hardest hit.

If the shutdown does become extended, those who have the means can consider donating to organizations that provide a helping hand to these particular federal workers in their time of need.  Here are some links to get you started:

Federal Law Enforcement Foundation

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Foundation

Wildland Firefighters Foundation

Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (especially for non-law enforcement personnel; air traffic controllers are members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, or NATCA, a labor union with some funding for mutual aid, as well as its own charitable foundation)

I (Heart) Public Safety Network (umbrella network coordinating various forms of assistance to public-safety programs, public-safety workers, and their families)

Note:  per the Washington Post summary at the first link, U.S. Postal Service workers should be getting paid on schedule.  Except for its annual requests for bailouts, USPS is “self-funding,” and should last through the shutdown, however long it goes.

J. E. Dyer

Al Aqsa Mosque Collapsing, But only in English

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

From the English section of the Al-Ray News Agency:

Gaza, Alray – Al-Aqsa Foundation and Cultural Heritage Organization said that an area collapsed near the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem late Tuesday.

The collapse happened near the Bab as Silsila, on the western part of the mosque, according to an eyewitness.

“It is the second collapse near the western wall in 5 years,” Cum’a Usayle, an eyewitness said.

Usayle told Anadolu Agency, “The collapse has caused a deep hole there. It is dangerous for the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It poses danger especially for children and women.”

No security precautions around the area have been taken by Israeli officials so far. There is also no statement about the event.

Al-Aqsa Foundation and Cultural Heritage Organization accused Israel of paving the way for demolishing the Al-Aqsa Mosque by building new settlements and digging dozens of tunnels.

Unfortunately, no photos of this collapse. I’m always amazed that none of these “eyewitnesses” ever seem to have their phones with cameras on them to document these Zionist crimes.

But certainly the Al Aqsa Foundation web page will have this story, right? Well, no, it doesn’t.

Surely the Arabic al-Ray site will have more details! Um, no, they don’t.

Arabic Twitter users must be in an uproar, right? Well, outside of the “OccPal” account that took the information from Al Ray – nothing. (Turkish media is also picking it up.)

Just a single, seemingly fake story. One that very possibly will be on hundreds of websites by tomorrow.

Too bad!

Now there are photos are the Al Aqsa Foundation site. Here’s the best one:

hole7

However, this hole is not on the Temple Mount, but in someone’s house nearby (they say 20 meters from the Mount, near the Chain Gate) My understanding is that Israel has been digging on the southwest corner, nowhere near any houses and not near that gate, although the older revelations of existing tunnels do pass near that point.

Visit Elder of Ziyon.

Elder of Ziyon

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/guest-blog/al-aqsa-mosque-collapsing-but-only-in-english/2013/08/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: