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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘loss’

German Federation Condemns Fans Who Hitler-Saluted Israeli Player

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The German soccer federation condemned an anti-Semitic act involving Kaiserslautern’s Israel striker Itay Shechter, 24, and says such abuse has to be “nipped in the bud” and “we must act decisively.”

Shechter was subjected to a verbal racist attack while training with his German league club on Sunday, when a group of between five and 10 fans in a crowd of at least 100 chanted anti-Semitic slogans and gave Nazi salutes.

Berlin’s Israeli Embassy condemned the insults.

The club’s official fan group has apologized for the situation. The club says fewer than 10 fans were involved and belonged to a hooligan group banned from games.

Shechter, who is on the DL at the moment, has so far scored three goals in 19 league appearances for Kaiserslautern, who are second from bottom of the league.

Sunday’s taunts came the day after his team’s 4-0 defeat by Mainz – their fourth straight loss – in which Shechter did not play.

It’s a known fact that Germans don’t take lightly to losing (see European history 1914-1945).

Halachos Regarding Damaged Property – Replacement Or Reimbursement?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

This week’s parshah, Parshas Mishpatim, discusses various halachos regarding monetary issues. One of the topics revolves around when one damages another person’s property. One is responsible to pay for the damage that either he or his possessions caused.

The Machaneh Ephraim (Hilchos Nizkei Mammon) discusses the following scenario – one breaks an item that is worth $10 at the time that it was broken. On the day that the individual is to pay, the item has devalued and is only worth $8. How much does he have to pay, $10 or $8? Similarly, can he replace the item with an exact replica of the broken item that is now worth less or does he have to reimburse the owner with the cash value of the item at the time it was broken?

The Gemara discusses the halacha of this case regarding when one steals an item. If the item is still intact, it can be returned even if the price has decreased. If the item is physically damaged, one cannot return it and cannot buy a new one at the lesser price; rather, he must pay the owner what it was worth at the time it was stolen. Here’s the question: Does the halacha of repaying for damages follow the halacha of stealing, or does it differ – allowing one to replace the damaged item at a lower price?

The Machaneh Ephraim says that this is in fact a machlokes Rishonim. The Rambam, Rashi, and Tosafos are all of the opinion that the halacha of paying for damages does not follow the halacha of repaying for stealing an item, and thus one may replace the item at a lower price or pay the current lower price. The Raavad and the Rush opine that the halacha of reimbursing one for damages that were incurred on one’s property follows the halacha of paying for a broken stolen item; thus one is obligated to pay the value that the item was worth at the time that it was broken.

We can simply explain that the machlokes Rishonim depends on the following question: When one damages an item is he obligated to replace the item, either with an actual item or with money to purchase an item at today’s price, or is he obligated to pay for the loss that the owner incurred at the time of the damage?

Based on this, the Machaneh Ephraim explains the following machlokes between the Rambam and the Raavad (Hilchos To’en V’niten 5:2) – the halacha is that mi’de’oraysa one can only swear regarding movable objects; one cannot swear on a matter concerning land. If one claims that his fellow dug two holes on his land and thereby cheapened the value of the land and his fellow only admits to digging one hole, he does not have to swear mi’de’oraysa. Generally, when one admits to part of a claim he is obligated to swear mi’de’oraysa. However, says the Rambam, since this oath would concern land he is exempt from swearing. The Raavad argues that this case is not considered swearing regarding land, but rather they are disputing how much money is owed – in which case he is obligated to swear mi’de’oraysa.

The Machaneh Ephraim explains that this machlokes is dependent on the question that we discussed above. The Rambam, as mentioned earlier, holds that when one damages an item he is obligated to replace it. Therefore, when one damages land he is obligated to replace the land. This being the reason that the Rambam considered the dispute to be concerning land, he was unable to swear mi’de’oraysa. The Raavad was of the opinion that one is not obligated to replace the item that he damaged, but rather that one is indebted to pay the owner the value that was lost at the time of the damage. It is for this reason that the Raavad said that the dispute here concerns money and not land – thereby allowing for an oath mi’de’oraysa.

Reb Chaim Soloveitchik raised the following question regarding this scenario -  there only exists two of a certain type of stamp and they both belong to one individual. Since two of these stamps exist, they are each worth $50. If there would only be one of them in the world, it would be worth $100. If someone were to destroy one of the stamps, would he be obligated to pay the owner or would we say that since there was technically no loss of money – as the remaining stamp increased in value – he is not obligated to pay?

Initially, Reb Chaim said that it is dependent on the question that we mentioned earlier. If the obligation to pay, when one damages, is to reimburse the owner for his loss, then in this case where there was no loss one need not pay anything. However, if one is obligated to replace an item that he damaged, and if he is unable to replace it he must then pay for it, then in this case that finds him unable to replace the item he should be obligated to pay for it.

Miami International Conference On Torah And Science

Monday, December 5th, 2011

How does the brain age? Where is the soul and how does one connect with it when the brain is failing? Does memory loss or mind deterioration diminish the quality of an internal spiritually meaning life? What is the Torah’s perspective and neuroscientific position on the relationship between memory, brain and mind/soul? Can medicine effectively treat the body while ignoring the soul? Holocaust and Alzheimer’s: When the mind forgets does the soul remember?

Issues that have become all too relevant because of increasing longevity and Alzheimer’s will be explored by fifteen distinguished rabbis, medical researchers, clinicians and scholars at the Ninth Miami International Conference on Torah and Science from December 22-25 at The Shul, 9540 Collins Avenue in Surfside. The theme for this year’s conference is “Memory, Soul and Brain – The Meeting Point of Torah, Gerontology and Neuroscience.” Schedules, biographies of speakers and abstracts of their papers can be found on line at www.TorahScienceConference.org.

Israel Prize-winner Rabbi Dr. Prof. Abraham Steinberg will speak on “The Biological Interface of the Brain and the Soul.” The world’s leading neuroscientist in the field of mind research, Prof. Kenneth Heilman of the University of Florida-Gainesville, will discuss “The Spiritual Brain,” Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Prof. Moshe Dovid Tendler will present “Ageism – A Perspective from Jewish Law” and Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, will speak about “Repressed Memories among Holocaust Survivors.”

Other speakers include Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar of The Shul, Prof. Oren Stier of FIU, Mrs. Leah Abramowitz, a geriatric social work innovator from Jerusalem, Dr. Yakir Kaufman of Herzog Memorial Hospital in Jerusalem, Dr. Daniel Drubach of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Barry Baumel of the University of Miami, Rabbi Dr. Shimon Cowen of Monash University in Australia, Professor Vera Schwarcz of Wesleyan University and Prof. Joseph Bodenheimer of the Jerusalem College of Technology and editor-in-chief of B’Or Ha’Torah – Journal of Science, Art and Life in the Light of Torah.

The biannual Miami International Conference on Torah and Science was founded by Rabbi Sholom Lipskar and Prof. Herman Branover, a former Soviet refusenik and expert in magnetohydrodynamics. Rabbi Lipskar is joined by FIU’s Prof. Nathan Katz and B’Or Ha’Torah’s Prof. Bodenheimer in organizing this year’s event. These conferences have become an unparalleled event in the field of religion and science, and most of the papers are published in the B’Or Ha’Torah publication.

The sessions – held on Thursday evening, Friday morning, Saturday evening and Sunday morning – are free of charge and open to the public.

The Shul will also host a Torah and Science Shabbaton featuring conference participants as well as FAU’s Prof. Isaac Elishakoff and environmentalist Mordechai Olesky. An elegant Shabbat dinner with the scientists will be held on Friday evening, December 23. Reservations can be made by calling (305) 868-2411, ext. 0. There is a $50 charge for the dinner. Other Shabbat services, lectures and meals are free of charge.

For more information, e-mail spirituality@fiu.edu or lydia@theshul.org.

Fresh, Fast & Low Fat Dinner Recipes!

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

It’s official. My “just had a baby” card has expired. Now that my son is 15 months old, I can no longer pull that out as an excuse for why I have not yet lost the weight. The truth is, I like food too much to skip meals or do any crash diets. This means that portion control is how I will attempt to get back to my pre-baby weight.

Rather than deprive yourself, it’s best to find a balance between indulging your inner foodie without over eating. If you want pizza, opt for whole-wheat thin crust with lots of veggies, and stick to one slice! When making a sandwich, use whole grains or whole wheat and again, pile on the veggies. Below is a fresh and fast lunch idea for a California Veggie Wrap. Can’t give up carbs for dinner? I have included a few delicious dishes that are low in fat, but loaded with flavor!

 

California Veggie Wrap My cousin Tova Cunin lives in California. Not only am I envious whenever I see her photos of the sunny state (I live in NY and winter here can be brutal!) but I also get major cravings whenever she posts a photo of her tasty cooking. For lunch I never seem to have the time to prepare myself something nutritious. I usually grab something on the go; however, her latest meal inspired me as it looks delicious and is easy enough to prepare when in a hurry.

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients: Ezekiel Sprouted grain tortillas Hummus Shredded Carrots 1 red pepper cut into strips 1 avocado, sliced into strips

 

Directions:

Toast the tortilla for less than a minute. Spread on some hummus. Layer the veggies on top. Roll up and cut in half.

 

 

Easy Beef with Broccoli This is an easy way to prepare beef and broccoli without the greasy feeling you would get from ordering takeout! This recipe could also be prepared with mushrooms and red pepper slices. Just add to the pan after cooking the beef.

 

Ingredients:

Broccoli

1 cup rice

1 lb. flank steak, or sandwich steak slices (pepper steak could also be used)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tsp steak seasoning (I use McCormick Montreal Spice seasoning)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon minced ginger

 

Directions:

Steam broccoli & prepare the rice. In a bowl mix together the oil with the soy sauce, ginger and steak seasoning. Marinate the meat for 20 minutes. Heat a wok or frying pan and add 3 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add the sliced beef & brown. Once it is nearly cooked through add the broccoli. Stir-fry briefly. Serve with the cooked rice.

 

 

Tilapia Baked with Cumin The other night I wanted a fresh new recipe for dinner, so I called up my sister-in-law, Sarrit, who told me about the following tasty dish her mom often makes. I am a huge fan of my mother-in-law’s cooking so I knew without a doubt it would taste great. However, I also know that some of her dishes can be somewhat complicated so I was relieved to find out that this one is not only rich with flavor but is also easy to prepare.

 

Ingredients: Tilapia, either whole or fillets Cumin Black Pepper Paprika Salt olive oil 1 onion sliced 1 tomato sliced Several potatoes sliced thinly

 

Directions:

Pour some olive oil and the above listed spices into a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Add potatos, onion, and tomato slices to the pan and coat in the olive oil mixture and then layer.  Rub the tilapia with the same olive oil/spice mixture and place on top of the layered vegetables. Bake at 350 degrees, checking after 45 minutes to see if potatoes are done.

* If you are not using a whole tilapia, and instead are using fillets, check the fish after about 20 minutes and if it is ready take the fillets off of the vegetables and set aside. Return the pan with the vegetables to the oven and bake until potatoes are ready (soft). Then place fillets back on top of vegetables and serve.

 

 

Ginger Chicken Strips When I first had my baby, I couldn’t find the time to warm up a bowl of soup for dinner – forget about spending time in the kitchen to cook! Tired of takeout and literally TIRED, I needed a meal that was tasty and easy to make. This is the dish I put together. It is, indeed, fast and delicious. I even had time to take the photo afterwards! Ingredients: 1 cup of brown rice

Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part III)

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Question: Lately I have seen some young men who though they wear a yarmulke have ponytails or other long unruly hair – I’ve even seen some ear piercings. Somehow I find this behavior to be incongruous. My real problem is that my own nephew and a few of his friends wear their hair in this manner. Even though his parents look upon it as a passing fad, I am at a loss to understand such behavior. Luckily, whether right or wrong, I’ve held my tongue. I wonder what is the proper positive action in this matter.

No Name Please

Via e-mail

Synopsis:  Parashat Acharei Mot includes (Leviticus 18:3),  “K’ma’aseh eretz mitzrayim… u’che’ma’aseh eretz cana’an…lo ta’asu u’bechukoteihem lo telechu – Like the practice of the land of Egypt… and of the land of Canaan… you shall not do, and in their ways you shall not walk [go].” Rashi (ad loc) at first seems to limit the prohibition to practices found in these two most corrupt lands, but then adds that  “ in their ways” refers to going to theaters and stadiums, applying to all lands.  Rashi refers to the gemara (Shabbos 67a and Jerusalem Talmud Shabbos 6:9) where our sages explain “darkei ha’amori – the ways of the Amorites” including carrying a fox’s tooth or similar amulet [either as idolatry or superstition] as not exclusive to the Amorites. Rambam (Hilchot Avodat Kochavim Chap.11: 1) explains that we are not to appear like them in dress, hair and similar matters. He allows one who mingles with the secular authorities (11:3) to dress as necessary. The Mechaber (Yoreh Deah 179: 1-2) rules accordingly.

 

Rema (ad. loc. 179:2) notes that the obligation not to copy the idolaters (today – the gentile society) applies when a practice is done for pritzut – licentiousness or superstition, and other practices (other than those forbidden elsewhere in the Torah) are allowed. We are not required to be different in general, rather we are to avoid pagan and heathen behavior.

 

One’s hairstyle may not be darkei Amori. The Gemara (Bava Kamma 83a) cites a baraita about having one’s hair cut in a komi style, which Rashi explains as leaving a  beloriyoth – a  specific pattern of hair growth which leaves hair either only in the back or on the crown of the head.  This hairstyle is associated with idol worship (see the Mishna Avoda Zara 8a). Rambam’s opinion (Hilchos Avoda Zara 11:1) is debated: Some say he did not interpret growing bangs or forelocks as a transgression, while others (Bach Y.D. 178; Machatzis HaShekel, Orach Chayyim 27) maintain that he did.

 

 

Some people interpret  Mishna Berura (Orach Chayyim 27: sk15) as disallowing forelocks, yet he only discusses hair as a potential  chatzitza  – an interposition between the tefillin shel rosh and the forehead. Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller (Divrei Chamudot, found in Vilna Shas at the end of tractate Menachot) cites Rashba’s view that a head covering [and surely one’s own hair] is not necessarily a chatzitza under tefillin. Rashba also cites the Jerusalem Talmud saying that we see what the preponderance of people do (compare B.T. Berachot 45a). Today we do see that to have some hair in the front is common practice even under tefillin.

 

 

 

*   *   *

 

Interestingly, we may violate the prohibition of darkei ha’amori – following in their ways – without realizing it. An interesting example is the use of birthday cakes with candles, as pointed out to me by my copy editor, Mrs. Bracha Holczer. According to sources that she found, this centerpiece of many birthday parties is grounded in ancient Roman and Greek culture.

Placing A Stumbling Block Before The Blind (Part I)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

It seems that whenever there is a tragedy in the heimishe olam, almost always the horrific, premature loss of life due to a car crash, a drowning, a freak accident or mindless violence/terrorism, it immediately is followed by a chorus of anguished voices screaming out the need to do teshuva.

Somehow, it seems that the two singular issues everyone deems responsible for the numerous misfortunes that have afflicted our community are lashon harah and tzniut – speaking negatively about others and immodesty. While it is never said out loud, one can’t help get the impression that the finger of fault is pointed at women, with the implication that gossiping and showing your elbows, knees or a strand of hair brings Hashem’s wrath upon us.

That attitude, in my opinion, is very misguided, as men too are guilty of a lack of modesty and indulging in idle talk. When one drives a fancy car or wears a watch that costs the equivalent of a year’s tuition, or acts in a way that calls attention to oneself like bragging about a big raise, that is immodest behaviour. And swapping stock market tips during leining or at the kiddush club on Shabbat, is the epitome of lashon harah – harah in this case being bad or very inappropriate speech.

However, equalizing blame is not the point of this article. What is, however, is my belief that across the board, the klal is oblivious of the big picture. Immodesty and lashon harah are just two of many components of a more insidious behaviour that is pandemic in our community – putting stumbling blocks in front of a blind person.

In Sefer Vayikra, 19:14, the Jewish people are exhorted to not curse the deaf, “or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your G-d.” Rashi interprets the word “blind” as being metaphoric, not to be taken literally. Blind can be read as unsuspecting, ignorant, naive or trusting. He understood that this was not merely a statement to help the visually impaired walk without impediment, but rather is a brilliant, all encompassing blueprint as to how to behave properly when dealing with your fellow man.

The basic message to be gleaned from this pasuk is that one should control their “inner beast” and not take advantage of someone weaker or vulnerable; to not “pull the wool” over someone who is uninformed and puts their trust in you; to not mislead the gullible into doing something that is not in their best interest – but is in yours.

The great sage Hillel taught that the Torah revolves around the concept of not doing to somebody that which you wouldn’t want to have done to you; and arguably, the wording of this pasuk is a foundation for this conclusion.

There are so many areas in our daily lives when this G-d given rule should be internalized and utilized, yet to our tragic undoing, voracious greed, preening arrogance, blinding jealousy, chronic apathy and indifference, and blatantly misguided good intentions have caused many to fail miserably in doing so.

I will focus on two huge arenas in our lives where “stumbling blocks” are deliberately and wilfully set up much too often with enormous consequences to the ‘blind” – these being financial matters and shidduchim.

I will begin with an epidemic of what I call the “gelt uber alles” mentality that turns what appears to be erliche Jews into predators. How many people, to their ultimate dismay, or worse, are convinced by seemingly sincere, up-right, kippah/tzitzit wearing sales people, store-owners, tradesmen or handymen to buy something or pay for a service that those selling know is shoddy, over-priced or just a bad fit for the unsuspecting individual and is an injurious waste of his/her time and money?

How many unsuspecting shoppers or diners were sold or served food that was advertised as fresh, but should have been thrown out, yet the owner of the grocery store or restaurant saw that the people were from “yenem’s velt” and not part of the “community” so it was OK to give them, for example, the “fresh” barbecued chicken that was in the refrigerator for several days, warm now from being microwaved and appearing “straight off the grill.”

How many out-of-towners, moving into a new neighborhood, were pressured to raise their offer for a property because the sheitel-wearing, “sleeves up to the wrist” real estate agent told them that there was another, higher offer? But only in her imagination.

How many hard-working baala-battim were told they were one of the lucky few to get in on an amazing money-making venture, guaranteed to double, even triple their investment, a once in a life-time opportunity, offered by a well- regarded member of the “tribe.” At best, some may have lost only money; some however, may have ended up losing their home and savings; other may have been charged as accomplishes to a crime.

In all these scenarios, people assumed that the advice, information or product they were offered was in their best interest; doubting the integrity, honesty or the purity of motive of Torah-observant Yidden was unfathomable. However, these Yidden are guilty of putting stumbling blocks in front of a “blind” person, and as expected, their victims’ physical, financial, emotional and in many cases, spiritual well-being was grossly undermined.

I have no doubt as to what kind of impact this unethical, hypocritical behavior on the part of people they are supposed to look up to, has on young people already teetering off the derech.

In my next column, I will discuss the avalanche of stumbling blocks that have ruined the lives of so many whose dream was to build a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael – but instead ended up trapped in a nightmarish house of horrors.

Mourning Our Losses

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

 

We join all Americans in mourning the deaths of those who perished in the crash in Afghanistan of a military Chinook helicopter on Sunday. The deaths of these young men are a vivid reminder that even in these times of great self-interest and self- indulgence, there are those who selflessly and unhesitatingly put their lives on the line to defend the nation.

 

Our faith teaches us that every life is precious and every individual is a separate world unto him or herself. As one of our great rabbinic authorities has noted, we mourn a death because there never was and never will be anyone exactly like the departed. And of course we can only shudder at the grief each of the families suffered when informed of their loss.

              The episode is also the latest testament to the fact that the greatest power in history has not yet figured out how to make optimum use of its overwhelming might in clashes with fundamentalist terrorists using relatively primitive weapons. It seems inconceivable that, as it now appears, a military helicopter in regular use in Afghanistan was brought down by a run of the mill rocket-propelled grenade.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/mourning-our-losses/2011/08/10/

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