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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘honor’

Respect For Our Fellow Human Beings

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

How often we, even the greatest among us, tend to forget the respect and honor due every single human being. Every one who walks the face of the earth was created in the image of G-d and carries within him the Divine Spark. Therefore, when we insult any human being we are really insulting the Almighty Himself which is the worst of all sins.

Unfortunately, because we are all fallible, even great men, learned and wise may sometimes slip, so we must always be on our guard. The Talmud illustrates this for us in the following story.

The Ugly Man

Rabi Elazar the son of Rabi Shimon was a great man and scholar. He learned day and night and the fame of his Torah teachings spread throughout the land.

One day, after spending a period of time with his rebbe in the town of Migdal Eder, he took his leave and set off for home. He was in a wonderfully happy mood. His heart was singing and he was joyful as he contemplated weeks spent in Torah and study. How much knowledge he had acquired. How much Torah he had studied.

As he rode on his mule along the banks of the lazy river he was filled with pride in his achievements and he pitied the average person who could not learn the wonderful secrets of G-d’s Torah. In fact, his heart was filled with too much pride.

As he continued riding he came alongside a traveler who was walking in the same direction. As Rabi Elazar rode past wrapped in his thoughts, the stranger called out a greeting.

“Peace be unto you, Rabi.”

Insults Him

Rabi Elazar looked down from his mule and perceived that the stranger was truly the ugliest man he had ever seen. Without thinking he answered disdainfully:

“How ugly are you! Are all the people of your town as ugly as you?”

The man turned a deep red from shame, but he turned to Rabi Elazar and answered:

“I do not know about that but I suggest that you go with your complaint to the One who made me. Yes, I suggest that you go to the Almighty and say: ‘How ugly is the utensil that You have made’”

Rabi Elazar Shaken

Upon hearing these words the great Rabi Elazar immediately realized that he had committed a grievous sin. He was a G-d fearing man and he knew that at all costs he must beg forgiveness, for all the prayers and repentance in the world and the day of Yom Kippur itself would not wipe away a sin done to a fellow human being until the latter forgave him.

Jumping down from his mule, Rabi Elazar prostrated himself on the ground before the man and cried:

“You have humbled me. I beg of you to forgive me for my foolish words.”

Man Is Unmoved

The traveler, however, far from an understanding person, was in no mood to be mollified. He was still too angry and insulted.

“No,” he answered. “I will not forgive you! I will not forgive you till you go back to my Maker and tell him these words: ‘How ugly is the utensil that You have Made.’”

It was here that Rabi Elazar showed the greatness that lay within him. Instead of getting on the mule and riding off, he continued walking on foot after the man and humbling himself. All the way he pleaded with the man to forgive him.

The man, however, had a hard heart and refused. Down the long road, all the way to the city, passersby we astonished to see the ugly man followed by the great and famous rav pleading for forgiveness.

They Reach The City

Soon they could see the first buildings of the city ahead. The entire population had turned out eagerly to welcome with joy their famous rebbe, returning to teach and guide them.

Imagine their shocked surprise and consternation to see him walking wearily after a simple stranger!

“Welcome Rabi Mori,” they cried out.

The stranger looked at them and asked:

“Who is the one whom you call ‘rabi’?”

“Why, the man who walks behind you,” the people replied. “He is the great Rabi Elazar the son of Rabi Shimon.”

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Remembering Shabbos

Friday, August 17th, 2012

How the Sages of the Talmud used to honor Shabbos! Each day of the week was only an introduction to the coming Shabbos and everything was done with an eye towards Shabbos.

The great sage Shammai would buy a particular choice animal during the week and his family would say, “Come, let us slaughter the animal so that we may have the good meat for our meal today.”

But Shammai would answer, “No, I will not slaughter this today. I will rather wait till Friday and slaughter it for Shabbos. In this way we can honor the Shabbos day properly.”

The next day, if he found an even choicer animal, he would again reject the request of his family to slaughter the animal.

“No,” he would say, “This is even a choicer animal than the first. Therefore, let us save this one for Shabbos and now slaughter the first one.”

In this way Shammai shopped and ate in honor of Shabbos.

Hillel Different

The other great sage, Hillel, was different. When he saw that the members of his household were doing as Shammai did, he said:

“It appears to me that it is not correct to save all the good food for Shabbos and make the rest of the week’s food drab and tasteless. Let us rather eat the choice food when we get it and have trust in the Almighty that He will give us out food daily in mercy.

“Let us eat now and trust that G-d will send us choice good for Shabbos, too.”

The great Hillel did not content himself with only being good personally but he also desired to teach and guide others along the proper path. He would do so, however, not with anger and admonition, but through kindness and soft words.

Thus, one day, as he was walking alone the road he met several people who were carrying wheat with them to sell in the marketplace in Jerusalem.

“Peace, my brothers,” said Hillel. “Tell me, what is the price of a measure?”

“Two dinarim,” he was told.

A Higher Price

Walking further Hillel came across another group of farmers bringing their wheat to market. Once again, he hailed them and asked how much a measure of wheat was.

“Three dinarim,” they replied.

Hillel was greatly disturbed. He saw that these men wanted to raise the price of wheat and that the poor people would be the ones most hurt.

“That is odd,” he said. “I met some farmers before who told me that the price of a measure was only two dinarim. Why are yours higher?”

The Men Grow Angry

When the men heard Hillel’s words they reacted angrily and said: “You foolish Babylonian, don’t you realize the those people live near the city and it takes only a few hours to reach Yerushalayim? We, however, live far from the city and we have carried the wheat on our shoulders all night. We are entitled to ask more money because of the burden.”

Hillel listened calmly to the angry and insulting words and replied: “Why do you grow so angry, my brothers? I did not insult you. I simply wanted to know the price of wheat.”

Hillel’s simple words calmed the men and made them realize that their own guilty conscience had made them lash out at him in an attempt to rationalize.

They realized that they were really at fault for raising the price and they were ashamed. Hillel noticed this and he began walking with them. He taught them how important it is to do good and justice and to have pity on the poor.

They Repent

The men heard the words and took them to heart.

“Blessed are you, Hillel,” they said, “for you have returned us to the path of goodness. From now on we will never close our hearts to the plight of our fellowman. We will not raise the price of wheat, but we will have trust in the Almighty from Whom comes all bread and sustenance.”

Greater Than All Else

The Honor of Torah takes precedence over all else and even the simple person who comes with Torah in his hands is one to whom we defer.

Rabbi Sholom Klass

El Al Dithers on Honoring Cheap Fares

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

An El Al spokesperson said the airline had not decided whether or not to honor round-trip tickets to Israel that were offered erroneously for prices as low as $330.

On Wednesday afternoon, the airline issued the following statement via Twitter: “Thanks for your patience. Details/decisions re incorrect fares that were briefly sold on Monday are not finalized. We will update tomorrow.”

The announcement came two days after El Al codeshare flights from several U.S. cities to Israel went on sale for bargain-basement prices due to an error by a subcontractor handling El Al’s winter promotional fares. The round-trip tickets ranging from $330 to $460, including all taxes and fees, were for travel between November and March and included layovers in Europe.

On Monday, El Al said via Twitter that it would honor the tickets, which reportedly numbered in the thousands.

“An outside company posted incorrect fares on travel websites, so all tickets sold will indeed be honored,” the company wrote at around 6 p.m., once the inexpensive prices were no longer available.

But on Tuesday, the airline appeared to backtrack, suggesting in a comment to The New York Jewish Week and later in emails to JTA that El Al had not decided conclusively whether or not to honor the purchases.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it found out about the incident late Tuesday. A department spokesman, Bill Mosley, told JTA that “We’re looking into it.“

JTA

Luncheon Honors Wallenberg And L.A. Residents

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Both houses of Congress unanimously passed bills awarding World War II hero, Raoul Wallenberg, with the country’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, in recognition of his heroism in saving 100,000 Jews during the waning days of the Holocaust. The legislation is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama shortly.

(L-R, standing) Ben Hoffman, board member (Lakewood); Jonathan Zalisky, Healthplus Amerigroup; Stanley Treitel, board member (LA); Leon Goldenberg, board member; Abe Biderman, board member; Senator Johnny Isakson; The Honorable Emil Fish, honoree; Ezra Friedlander, CEO Friedlander Group; Andrew Friedman, esq., luncheon co-chairman/LA fire commissioner. (L-R, sitting) Sidney Greenberger, Ken Abramowitz, Peter Rebenwurzel, board members.

Attorney Andrew Friedman of Los Angeles was co-chairman of a congressional luncheon held on Capitol Hill on July 12, honoring Los Angeles residents Andrew Stevens, Stanley Treitel and Emil Fish. The luncheon featured Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who introduced the legislation, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA-Jr.), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT-Sr.), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR-Sr.), Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI-Sr.), Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-08) and other members of Congress.

Jeanne Litvin

Should You Sell Your Inheritance?

Friday, July 27th, 2012

 Just because someone else owned them, it doesn’t mean they’re good investments.

What did you do when you received a purple vase decorated with green stripes and gold roses as an inheritance from your late Aunt Minnie? Did you give it a place of honor in your breakfront, hide it away in the attic, or did you follow your spouse’s instructions and “sell that hideous thing because at least you might get some money for it”? Chances are that you wouldn’t dare sell the vase, simply because of its sentimental value.

When it comes to a financial inheritance, such as stocks or bonds, you would be surprised how many people keep holding onto these positions for sentimental reasons.

If you do inherit some money in the form of stocks or bonds, you have two possible options:

1. You could sell the positions and start from scratch.

2. You could keep them and try to maintain the portfolio.

Under the right conditions, either decision could work for you.

For example, if the original owner didn’t have a solid reason for holding them, but did so anyway because at the end of his life he really wasn’t thinking so clearly about money anymore, why do you need to keep them? If these investments aren’t doing so well, do you really need them?  Even if these investments were suitable and worked well for the person who left them to you, consider if they are appropriate for you and fit in with your overall financial plan. You may well be better off selling them and investing the money into something else that would be a lot more suitable for your personal situation and aspirations. And last, but by no means least, an investment is not an old vase. Whereas the worst thing that could happen to you by holding onto Aunt Minnie’s vase is that you have another dust collector in your living room, holding onto an investment for sentimental reasons can have a negative impact on your portfolio.

On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that you should automatically sell the investment just because you have inherited it. Take a look at it (preferably with the help of your financial adviser) and ask yourself whether you would have invested in this particular position if you didn’t inherit it. If the answer is positive, then keep it.

Sometimes, a person receives an inheritance and doesn’t know what to do, simply because they have never invested before.  The world of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds may not be familiar territory for everyone. If this is the case for you, consider taking the free course on “3 Tips to Dealing with Inheritances.”  If you anticipate receiving, or giving, an inheritance one day, this is knowledge you must have.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Nadler Renews Call for IOC to Observe Moment of Silence

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

On Thursday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) joined Members of Congress in observing a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli Olympians and coaches murdered by terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympics, 40 years ago this summer. Nadler urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to open its ceremony tomorrow with a moment of silence to remember those 11 Israelis and the darkest hour in the history of the Olympics. To this end, Nadler has joined Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) in cosponsoring a bipartisan resolution urging the IOC to observe the minute of silence – an initiative that passed the Senate and has the support of President Obama. And Nadler joined other elected officials in New York to launch a petition to Remember Munich.

Nadler issued the following statement:

“This summer, we remember the attack 40 years ago that shocked the entire world, struck the very heart of the nation of Israel, and grotesquely undermined the spirit of solidarity that the Olympic Games represent. Unfortunately, despite a worldwide call for a moment of silence at the start of the Games in London tomorrow, including a resolution that my colleagues and I cosponsored in the House, the International Olympic Committee has, inexplicably, refused this simple and painless gesture.

“This is not only insulting to the memories of the Israeli athletes who were murdered in Munich, but it is also not in keeping with the tradition of good will that permeates the Olympics. While we can’t make whole the lives lost and families devastated in 1972, we can and must continue to honor the significance of their sacrifice. So, let us honor them now and remember the unspeakable tragedy of that day 40 years ago.”

The 11 Israelis killed on September 5 and 6, 1972, were: Moshe Weinberg, Yossef Romano, Ze’ev Friedman, David Berger, Yakov Springer, Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Gutfreund, Kehat Shorr, Mark Slavin, Andre Spitzer, and Amitzur Shapira.

Jewish Press News Briefs

A ‘Spontaneous Minute’ Will Speak Louder Than IOC’s Roaring Hypocrisy

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games get underway in London in two days and three hours [check it here]. An online petition calling for sixty seconds of silence at the opening ceremony in memory of the eleven Israeli Olympians murdered in the Munich Olympic village exactly forty years ago by Palestinian Arabs has gotten more than 107,000 signatures. But it has failed to move the Olympic games organizers.

The families of the Munich 11 have tried for four long and lonely decades to obtain appropriate and respectful recognition of the Munich massacre from the International Olympic Committee. [We wrote about this earlier: “20-Jul-12: The Olympics, terror, cowardice and wisdom“] Now that it is clear they have finally and absolutely failed, the widow of one of the Munich dead says people sitting in the stadium at Friday’s opening ceremony should stand up and observe what she calls “a spontaneous minute when the IOC president begins to speak”. She’s absolutely right. The rest of us who will not be there should be doing everything we can to spread the word.

How did the organizers articulate their objection? Insensitively.

“We feel that the Opening Ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said Saturday. [Source: CNN]

How did the widows object to the objection? Determinedly, and with admirable dignity.

“If you believe that the 11 murdered athletes must be mentioned, stand for a spontaneous minute when the IOC president begins to speak,” said Ilana Romano, wife of Yossef Romano, a weightlifter who was murdered in the 1972 attack. The media, she said, should follow the lead of NBC sportscaster Bob Costas [it’s explained here], who has pledged to hold his own on-air minute of silence. “Silence your microphones for a minute in memory of our loved ones and to condemn terrorism,” she said… The IOC, led by president Jacques Rogge, has steadfastly refused [the request for a minute of respectful silence]… [The widows behind the petition] were in London to present the petition to Rogge in a last-ditch attempt to get him to agree. They were due to meet on Wednesday night, after Rogge postponed a Tuesday meeting. [Source: Times of Israel]

It’s not as if we lack a precedent. The victims of 9/11 were honored by the IOC at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah:

Sixty thousand people stood as one in respectful silence at the start of the program when the tattered American flag, recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center disaster, was carried into the stadium by eight U.S. athletes accompanied by three New York Port Authority police officers. The silence continued as the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed the national anthem with a kind of haunting dignity seldom heard in an age of embellishment. [Source: 2002 report in the San Francisco Chronicle]

So  why, really, is the IOC opposed to remembering the Israelis? Their deaths, unlike those of the tragic victims of 9/11, were integrally bound up with the Olympics, after all. There’s a deeply disturbing answer. According to Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee vice-president

The threats to boycott the opening ceremony made by Arab states in the event of an official minute of silence have led the IOC to mark the 40 year anniversary in other ways, including a minute of silence on Monday inside the Olympic Village, led by IOC President Jacques Rogge. The Arab boycott “had been a possibility, according to some of our advice”, Bach said according to Israel’s Channel 2 news. [Source: Algemeiner.com]

Craven is not a strong enough word for the IOC’s conduct in this affair. If, as appears to be the case, this is why the IOC has decided what it decided, then those of us who understand the reasoning behind an “Arab boycott” and the hatred it represents must do everything we can to take back and publicly honor the memories of the Munich dead: stand for a spontaneous minute when the IOC president begins to speak.

Like many things in life, this is far too important to be left to the officials. If we’re not on the side of the victims, then we are giving our support to the killers and those who stand with them. 

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/a-spontaneous-minute-will-speak-louder-than-iocs-roaring-hypocrisy/2012/07/26/

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