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May 25, 2016 / 17 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Law’

Pollard Praying for Miracle of Chanukah in Appeal on Parole Conditions

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Jonathan Pollard is appealing to the U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday for easing conditions of his parole that make it impossible for him to work and require him to violate Jewish law on Shabbat.

HaModia reported that the presiding judge at the hearing, on the third day of Chanukah, will be Katherine B. Forrest, who was appointed to her current position four years ago by President Barack Obama.

A New York financial institution had offered Pollard a job after his recent release from prison following 30 years in jail.

However, the parole’s conditions require Pollard to remain under house arrest 12 hours a day, from 7 in the evening until 7 in the morning, preventing him from attending synagogue on the eve of Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

Attorney Jacques Semmelman, acting on behalf of Pollard, previously has filed a brief stating that he cannot find work because he is required to wear a GPS bracelet, which needs re-charring at least once and sometimes twice within 24 hours.

Moreover, he has to remain seated for two hours while the battery for the monitoring system is being re-charged.

His parole conditions also require him to violate the Shabbat by answering the phone if his probation officer calls on the Day of Rest.

Turning on the electricity on Shabbat for the re-charging system is a violation of Jewish law, and even if he uses a “Shabbos clock,” he cannot move from his seat for two hours.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive of the National Council of Young Israel, told the court in an affidavit that when there is a two-day Jewish holiday, which occurs four times day and sometimes if it immediately followed by Shabbat, it would cause more violations of Jewish law.

Rabbi Lerner, according to HaModia, also pointed out that the parole conditions disturb the meaning of Shabbat. He explained:

Lest anyone think the Sabbath is merely a collection of prohibitions, that is not the case at all. The Sabbath is a special day which, if properly observed, provides spiritual respite and growth.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Hollywood Star Zooey Deschanel Converted to ‘Judaism’

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Another Hollywood star has discovered and converted to Judaism, but it is not clear if the change was carried out according to Jewish law.

Zooey Deschanel revealed she converted, shortly before giving birth to a baby girl, at the request of her husband, Jacob Pechenik in June, while she was pregnant. Pechenik is producing an upcoming movie in which his new wife stars.

A wild guess is that it was not an Orthodox conversion, which means that their child is not recognized as Jewish by traditional Jewish law.

Her mother is a Catholic, and her father is a Quaker, but she said they did not object to her conversion.

The star of the New Girl sitcom was quoted by US Weekly as having said:

I don’t attach myself to any one religion. My family is liberal. I was raised in the ‘you can be whatever you want’ kind of way. And in the end, I was like, ‘Eh.’

Zooey, 35, and her husband named their daughter “Elsie Otter,” which sounds as Jewish as “Zooey.”

She said on the Today Show:

We just really liked the name Elsie and then we both love otters, they’re very sweet and they’re also smart. They use tools…they hold hands while they sleep…They’re wonderful animals.

Zooey previously was married to a non-Jew and divorced after two years.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Rabbi Permits Carrying Cell Phone on Shabbat because of Wave of Terror

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, founder and director of the Zomet Institute that is dedicated to the adaptation of technology to Jewish law, has ruled that it is permissible to carry a mobile phone on Shabbat for emergency use.

His ruling is only of several obvious signs that Israelis are preparing themselves for more Arab attacks against Jews.

Police report a surge in the number of daily calls made by worried Israelis to police emergency hotlines. Israelis usually call the police approximately 600 times a day to report suspicious individuals, vehicles, or devices, but that number has soared to 25,000.

Following a terrorist attack in central Tel Aviv on Thursday, Israeli civilians made more than 5,500 calls to the Tel Aviv District Police, more than 7,000 to the Central District Police, and more than 6,000 to the Jerusalem District Police. The police have taken notice of the spike in calls and have reinforced their dispatch centers with experienced officers to provide constant responses and assistance.

Meanwhile, the outdoor equipment retailer Rikushet reported a 400-percent increase in the purchase of self-defense products, mainly pepper spray. Other similar chains have also reported increases in the sales of pepper sprays, stun guns, clubs, and plastic restraints.

Rikushet CEO Dudi Mantin estimated that in the past week, Israelis have spent about $78,000 on self-defense products, Israel HaYom reported.

Josh Carr, an immigrant from South Africa and former commander at the Israel Defense Forces’ Krav Maga martial arts instructor’s school, has posted a Facebook invitation for Israelis to join “a free self-defense course.”

He wrote:

The course will focus mainly on knife defense but will include basic fighting skills and how to react in an emergency situation. This course will not turn you into a superhero, however, it could save your life or the life of someone else.

JNS News Service

Union to Enforce 4th Commandment and Strike the Airport on Shabbat

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Religious coercion has come from the labor union, of all places, but not for the right reason.

The Histadrut announced on Thursday plans to strike the Ben Gurion Airport throughout this Shabbat – from sundown Friday until Saturday night – but don’t think we are on the eve of the Days of the Messiah.

The union’s problem is not Shabbat. Its complaint is that the Ben Gurion Airport Authority is employing too many contract workers, who are outside of the union.

The Histadrut planned to give those workers the chance to obey the Fourth Commandment, as written in Exodus (Shmot) 20, verses 8-11:

Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.                       :

Six days may you work and perform all your labor;

But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord, your God; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities.

For [in] six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.

The Airport Authority and the Histadrut have been talking for a month on the union’s demand to limit the number of contract workers, who now number approximately 500 along with 3,400 unionized employees.

The Histadrut planned to observe Jewish law to the hilt. It not only was going to enforce the Fifth Commandment by not working on Shabbat, but it also was not going to interfere with emergency services, which will operate as usual in line with the dictate that one must work on the Shabbat if it means saving a life.

Later on Thursday, the Histadrut reached an agreement with Airport Authority and called off the strike.

The planned strike came at the peak of the summer tourist season. Air traffic is relatively slow on the Sabbath, but nevertheless there are approximately 200 planes scheduled to take off and land this Shabbat.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

New Rabbinic Ruling Forbids Correcting Torah Reader’s Mistakes in Synagogue

Monday, July 20th, 2015

(JNi.media) According to a reasoned ruling by Rabbi Jonathan Raziel from Ma’ale Adumim, Israel, it is forbidden to correct mistakes made by the reader of the Torah during the reading, even if he mispronounces a word or a phrase, because “reading the Torah on Shabbat and during the week is a rabbinic law,” while the ban on shaming the reader is a Torah prohibition.

The mitzvot (commandments) are divided into those that are delineated directly from the Torah text, and those imposed by the rabbis over the generations. Both are considered part of the Oral Torah, and both are taught through the interpretation of the rabbis, however the mitzvot that are spelled out by the Torah have a higher value, and in cases of a conflict between a Torah-level mitzvah and a rabbinic one, the Torah-level mitzvah supersedes.

The process of reading from the Torah scroll in most synagogues is monitored strictly by the worshipers, because the mitzvah is, literally, to hear the Torah—reading the text silently doesn’t do the trick, and neither does reading it aloud from a printed book. When the reader makes a mistake in pronunciation, skips a word or adds one, it is customary to correct him immediately, and loudly, at which point the reader may go back to the beginning of the verse and read it aloud once more, in the correct way.

Rabbi Raziel, writing in the latest volume of the prestigious halachic journal Techumin, published by the modern-Orthodox Tzomet Institute, presented a view that offered to give up the tradition of correcting the reader.

“This article was born as a result of an unfortunate event that took place a few years ago,” Rabbi Raziel wrote in the introduction to his piece, “when a secular, fatherless boy who had come closer to the Torah and the mitzvot, went up to the Torah at age 15 and read from it. The corrections emanated from the crowd, some tried to silence them, and as a result of the turmoil and confusion, the boy’s feelings were hurt and he left halfway through the reading, with tears in his eyes. He wouldn’t come back to read and eventually left religious practice altogether.”

Rabbi Raziel noted that “in our generation there are often cases of children who do not observe the Torah and mitzvot, who come to the synagogue on their Bar Mitzvah to read from the Torah, even though they don’t always know how to read properly. Such a seminal and emotional event in the life of the child can be harmed by loud corrections from the audience, and therefore we should discuss the question of whether or not there is a need to correct the reader.”

Rabbi Raziel argues that “most authorities believe that the reading of the Torah, even on a Saturday morning, is a rabbinic commandment, and even those who believe it is a Torah-level commandment, concede that it refers to the minimal reading obligation and not the entire weekly portion. Also, all the authorities that the mitzvah or Torah reading on weekday mornings and Shabbat afternoon is rabbinic.”

In any event, even in a synagogue where the public insists on correcting Torah reading errors, Rabbi Raziel believes that “It is absolutely forbidden for individuals from the audience to howl at the reader, so as not to shame him, but they should instead appoint one official to do it.”

He also stressed that “extra care must be taken when the reader is a young person, who is more vulnerable than an adult, because of the possible consequences of a perceived insult.”

Rabbi Nahum Eliezer Rabinowitz, dean of Birkat Moshe Yeshiva in Ma’aleh Adumim, supported Rabbi Raziel’s opinion, saying, “the prohibition against shaming a person, which is Torah-level, supersedes the obligation to read the Torah aloud, which is rabbinic.”

Rabbi Rabinowitz conceded that, according to Maimonides, “the worshipers might not fulfill the commandment of hearing the Torah” if there is a mistake in the reading, but believes it is “better that the worshipers not fulfill their obligation of hearing the reading, than transgress the Prohibition against shaming an individual.”

JNi.Media

Pope Says Catholics should not ‘Breed like Rabbits’

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Catholics should be “responsible” parents and not “breed like rabbits,” Pope Francis commented to reporters while traveling from the Philippines Monday.

He still is against contraception and noted that the church has approved other ways to make sure there are not too many Bugs Bunny Catholics running around

“God gives you methods to be responsible,” he said, adding that natural birth control should be practiced by avoiding relations when a woman is able to conceive.

So much for the first mitzvah in the Bible, unless the Old Testament no longer exists for Catholics.

Jewish law takes a direct opposite approach and prohibits a man from even touching a woman when he is ritually impure and cannot conceive.

The pope is consistent his disregarding ancient texts. Not only did does he dismiss the first mitzvah, he also chose to use rabbits as his analogy instead of citing a Talmudic text in Berachot 22a, where rabbis teach that couples should take it easy on intimate relations and practice a bit of self-restraint and not act like “roosters.”

Maybe the pope prefers rabbits because they are not kosher.

The pope also lambasted “ideological colonization,” meaning countries conditioning aid to the promotion on birth control and permissiveness, if not encouragement, of homosexuality.

“Every people deserves to conserve its identity without being ideologically colonized,” Pope Francis said.

So it seems that the pope wants to encourage the holiness of family by restricting sexual relations, especially if it means having more children who can build more families.

But too much birth control has backfired in the past.

Isn’t the virgin Mary the mother of Catholicism?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Technion Robot Lights Hanukkah Candles – but What about the Blessings? [video]

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

High schools students have programmed a robotic trio at Technion University to light Hanukkah candles as well as pour olive oil for the lighting and serve “sufganiyot,” the traditional fried doughnuts.

“The robots we built are programmed to respond to noise, and start operating upon the sound of three hand claps,” said Mor Pikman, an Ort Bialik 10th grader student participating in the program.

Another student, Kfir Lavie, added, “As part of the program, we developed a special program that makes the robot light Hanukkah candles according to the right order, and then place the candle used for lighting at the spot of the ‘Shamash,’ the ‘attendant’ candle. For humans this is a simple task, but for a robot it is quite complex, and required hours of programming work until we were able to accomplish it in the best possible way.”

“Technion’s Center for Robotics and Digital Technology is a meeting place between high-schoolers and university students who are developing and advancing methods for technology education,” said Associate Prof. Igor Verner, the Head of the Center, and the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies and Technology Education at Technion’s Department of Education in Science and Technology. “The goal of the Center is to teach youngsters about technology through the introduction of a robot…. The movements of the robots they developed on their own, through studies they conducted on a robot’s movement operations.”

In the video below, a human being recites the blessings over the lighting of Hanukkah candles and then lights the candle in the hands of the robot, which – or who – proceeds to light all of the candles and returns the Shamash to its proper place.

There are mitzvahs that a person can perform through a messenger, even a robot, and there are others, such as listening to the shofar on Rosh HaShanah, which cannot be delegated to anyone else.

As for lighting candles, is there a difference between a robot and someone whose arm was amputated and uses prosthesis to light the candles?

But if the students teach the robot next year to recite the blessings, there is no question that it has not performed the mitzvah on behalf of someone else.

Perhaps the students can develop a robot that can digest sufganiyot.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/technion-robot-likes-hanukkah-candles-but-what-about-the-blessings-video/2014/12/23/

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