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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Heaven’

‘Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven’ at the Met [video]

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Between the year 1000 and 1400, roughly the time of the crusades (1095-1291), the city of Jerusalem became the most significant place in the known world, an object of desire to people from as faraway as Britain and even Scandinavia and Iceland to India. This universal preoccupation with Jerusalem, ushered a most creative period in the city’s history, the subject of a new exhibition opening Tuesday, Sept. 26, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The exhibition, “Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven” demonstrates the enormous influence of the city, sacred to the three monotheistic religions, on the art of that time.

“While Jerusalem is often described as a city of three faiths, that formulation underestimates its fascinating complexity,” says the exhibition’s web page. “In fact, the city was home to multiple cultures, faiths, and languages. History records harmonious and dissonant voices of people from many lands, passing in the narrow streets of a city not much larger than midtown Manhattan. This will be the first exhibition to unravel the various cultural traditions and aesthetic strands that enriched and enlivened the medieval city.”

More than 200 works of art have been gathered from some 60 lenders worldwide, with a quarter of the objects arriving from Jerusalem, including key loans from the city’s religious communities, some of which have never before shared their treasures outside their walls. “Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven” bears witness to the crucial role that the city has played in shaping world culture, a lesson vital to our common history.

The following are notes from the museum’s website, accompanying the exhibition.

“Beginning in about the year 1000, Jerusalem captivated the world’s attention as never before. Why did it hold that focus for the next four centuries?

“A kind of Jerusalem fever gripped much of the world from about 1000 to 1400. Across three continents, thousands made their way to the Holy City—from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions alike. Generals and their armies fought over it. Merchants profited from it. Patrons, artists, pilgrims, poets, and scholars drew inspiration from it. Focusing their attention on this singular spot, they praised its magic, endowed its sacred buildings, and created luxury goods for residents and visitors. As a result, the Holy City shaped the art of this period in significant ways.

“Dramatic circumstances, including natural disasters, political turmoil, intense religious fervor, and an uptick in world travel, brought new attention to the city. In the 1030s, the Fatimid caliph who ruled over Jerusalem forged an agreement with the Byzantine emperor to rebuild the Holy City after a series of earthquakes and the malfeasance of his predecessor. In 1099 European Christians achieved their improbable dream of conquering Jerusalem. In the wake of their bloody victory, they created glorious buildings and works of art for nearly a century. In 1187, the military leader Saladin (1137/38–1193) retook the city and rededicated its Islamic sanctuaries. In the late 1200s through the 1300s, Mamluk sultans blessed with stable reigns promoted the city as a spiritual and scholarly center.

“Throughout these years, the city was home to more cultures, faiths, and languages than ever before. As the site of both conflict and coexistence, it inspired art of great beauty and fascinating complexity.”

One of the exhibition’s many galleries is named “The Absent Temple.” It cites instructions from an early 11th century guidebook for Jewish pilgrims regarding a visit to the Temple Mount: “If you are worthy to go up to Jerusalem you should observe the following procedure: If you are riding on a donkey, step down; if you are on foot, take off your sandals, then rending your garment say: ‘This our sanctuary was destroyed.'”

But even with no Temple to visit, Jewish pilgrims flocked to medieval Jerusalem. They came to mourn the destruction of the Temple and pray that it would one day be rebuilt. Their prayers largely took place not within the city but around its walls. They made a circuit of the city’s gates—a custom that was revived after the liberation of Old Jerusalem in 1967—concluding at the eastern Gates of Mercy, built over an ancient gateway to the Temple. There they might scratch their names and prayers into the stone. They then ascended the Mount of Olives, the historic site where it is believed that the Divine Spirit will return at the time of Redemption. This significant spot east of the city afforded the best vantage point from which to gaze upon the Temple platform.

The installation features specially commissioned videos that provide subtle glimpses, as through windows, of the varied and colorful panorama of Jerusalem with its ever-present medieval monuments. Complementing the videos are short interviews with some of the fascinating men and women who maintain the city’s medieval legacy.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 899, September 26, 2016–January 8, 2017

JNi.Media

Storming the Gates of Heaven

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The parents of Hallel Ariel, the 13-year-old girl who was murdered by an Islamic terrorist while she was asleep in bed, entered the Temple Mount today via the newly renamed “Hallel Gate” (formerly called the Mughrabi Gate). The name change isn’t official – yet, but it will be official one day.

Hundreds of supporters joined them, and the police even allowed a handful of them onto the Temple Mount.

Ministers and MK at Hallel Gate

Hundreds of people wanting to enter the Temple Mount

Photo of the Day

A Meeting Made In Heaven

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

On a Thursday, Shlomo* had been in and out of the hospital over the last few years. Among the most difficult times for him, was when he could not be home for Shabbat with his family. This time, however, he was told that he would go home that day. He just needed to wait for a portable oxygen tank to be brought to him.

The day dragged on, and yet the promised oxygen unit had not yet arrived. He was eventually informed that the unit would be available late that evening. It would be too late in the day for Shlomo, who tired easily now. They would wait until the morning, Erev Shabbat.

The next day, while Shlomo waited for his release, another family waited for help. A call had gone out to the emergency line. An ailing man of almost 90 had stopped breathing. CPR was applied by first responders. An ambulance team arrived. The old man’s heart beat was restored, but he was in critical condition. They rushed the man to the hospital, accompanied by his wife and son, Pinchas.

Meanwhile, Shlomo was getting upset. There were more delays in regard to the arrival of his oxygen. The unit finally arrived at 2:00 pm. There was still time before Shabbat to drive home with his wife. In the end, it was not meant to be. No doctor could be found in time to sign a release for Shlomo. Once again, he would be spending Shabbat away from home.

Shlomo was trying to deal with his disappointment when a new patient was wheeled into his room. A curtain was closed around the bed of the new arrival. He was accompanied by his tearful wife and his son Pinchas.

Shlomo and Pinchas looked at each other in amazement. They had been neighbors for many years. Their families knew each other well. Pinchas told his friend how he had felt that he would need to be with someone he knew to help him and his mother through a very difficult Shabbat. Hashem granted him and his mother this chesed.

Shabbat was fast approaching. The old woman stood next to Shlomo’s wife during a very emotional lighting of the Shabbat candles. As the old man lay unresponsive in his hospital bed, Pinchas found some grape juice and made kiddush for all of them. The two friends sang zemirot and shared divrei Torah. The two women sat quietly talking.

Early Shabbat morning, Shlomo and his wife took a short walk through the halls of the hospital. They were not gone long, but when they returned, Pinchas told them that his father had passed away. Once things settled down, the two friends went to the hospital shul. Later on, they also discussed some of the laws involved in aveilut in this case.

Meanwhile, Shlomo’s wife wondered where the newly widowed woman was. She found her sitting in a corner, alone. She went over to her and put a comforting hand on the distraught woman’s shoulder and sat down next to her. While Pinchas found comfort in his tefillot, his mother was comforted by sharing tears and memories with a very caring woman.

Shlomo no longer questioned why his discharge had been delayed. His meeting up with his friend that erev Shabbat was Yad Hashem at work.

*Names and some details have been changed to protect the privacy of the families.

Debbie Garfinkel Diament

MK Ahmed Tibi: If You Don’t Speak Arabic, You Won’t Go to Heaven

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Yesterday was “Arab Language Day” in the Knesset.

MK Ahmed Tibi used the opportunity to speak about the Arab language and the Jewish people. He started his talk in Arabic, before switching to Hebrew…

From the Knesset podium he informed the other illustrious Israeli MKs that MK Taleb Abu-Arar taught him that morning that “in heaven the language spoken there is Arabic, and if the Jews want to go to heaven, they need to take this into account. So start learning Arabic gentlemen, or you’ll go somewhere else…”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein quickly retorted, “It does sound like heaven. No one there is going to be be able to bother me, since I don’t understand Arabic.”

From Tibi’s laughter, and that of the MKs – it was all hopefully said in jest.

Video of the Day

Is the Lab-Created Burger Kosher?

Friday, August 9th, 2013

By Yehuda Shurpin

Question:

Scientists have recently demonstrated that they can now take stem cells from a cow and build them into hamburgers that look, feel and (almost) taste like the real thing. What does Jewish law have to say? Is this considered real meat? Is it kosher?

Response:

This is a fascinating question that needs to be studied carefully by expert rabbis when the issue becomes more practical and Petri-dish burgers become an affordable option. But here are some preliminary thoughts on the subject to give you some perspective.

Meat from Heaven

What makes this question so intriguing is that this is an example of how those seemingly fantastic Aggadic tales in the Talmud are nowadays becoming a starting point for new halachik questions.

There is actually a discussion in the Talmud about whether meat that does not come from an animal is considered kosher, although the origin of the meat in this case was even more miraculous:

A story of Rabbi Shimeon ben Chalafta, who was walking on the road, when lions met him and roared at him. Thereupon he quoted from Psalms: “The young lions roar for prey and to beg their food from G‑d,”1 and two lumps of flesh descended [from heaven]. They ate one and left the other. This he brought to the study hall and propounded: Is this fit [for food] or not? The scholar answered: “Nothing unfit descends from heaven.” Rabbi Zera asked Rabbi Abbahu: “What if something in the shape of a donkey were to descend?” He replied: “You ‘howling yorod,2’ did they not answer him that no unfit thing descends from heaven?”3

Miraculous meat appears again in the Talmud, although this time it was man-made:

Rabbi Chanina and Rabbi Oshaia would spend every Sabbath eve studying the “Book of Creation”4 by means of which they created a calf and ate it.5

In discussing this story, later commentators debate whether such an animal would require shechitah (kosher slaughter) in order to be eaten.

Rabbi Yeshayah Halevi Horowitz, known as the Shelah, writes that it is not considered a real animal and does not need shechitah.6

Others write that while a technical interpretation of Biblical law may not require such an animal to be slaughtered, the rabbinical prohibition of “marit ayin” (not engaging in acts that look misleadingly similar to forbidden activity) would necessitate slaughter–lest an onlooker think that ordinary meat is being consumed without shechitah.7

Test-Tube Beef

So far we have discussed “miracle meat” that came from heaven or was created by spiritual means. Some commentators defined this meat as miraculous because it did not come from a naturally-born animal. But do we consider any meat that does not come from a naturally-born animal to be “miracle meat”? Or does it need to come through an actual miracle? How about test-tube meat, which does come from actual animal cells? In this case the dictum that “no unfit thing descends from heaven” obviously would not apply. Here are some of the issues that will need to be explored:

The Cells The scientist extracted the cells of a real animal and used them to grow the tissues in a Petri dish. If, and that is not a small if, the mere cells are considered substantial enough to be called meat, this may present a problem. In addition to the prohibition of eating a limb from a living animal,8 there is an additional injunction not to eat any meat that was severed from a live animal.9

This is an issue for non-Jews as well as Jews, since Noahide law dictates that non-Jews may not eat even a minute amount of meat that was separated from a living animal.10

For Jews, if the cells are considered real meat, then presumably they would need to be extracted from a kosher animal that was slaughtered according to Jewish law.

Another consideration is that there is a halachik concept, “the product of non-kosher is itself not kosher, and the product of that which is kosher is itself kosher.”11 While at first glance this would seem to imply that the cells need to come from a kosher source, it is not clear whether the above rule would apply to microscopic cells that were extracted from an animal.

Chabad.org

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/is-the-lab-created-burger-kosher/2013/08/09/

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