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May 27, 2016 / 19 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Man’

Arab Attacks 60 Year Old Man at Abraham’s Well in Hebron

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

A video uploaded to YouTube by English Spokesperson for Hebron David Wilder shows a stream of blood on the rocks of the Abraham’s Well underground spring, following a near-fatal rock attack by a local Arab on a 60 year old Jewish man who came to immerse in the spring.


Jewish tradition connects the Patriarch Abraham – the central figure connecting Judaism and Islam and one of three great Jewish patriarchs buried in Hebron – with the small natural spring, saying it was the place where Abraham and his wife Sarah would go to purify themselves.

On Wednesday, a 60 year old resident of Kiryat Arba went to perform a cleansing immersion at the site, and when he reached the bottom of the stairs, was attacked by an Arab who threw a large rock at his head.  The man was found unconscious on his back at the bottom of the stairs leading to the well.  He regained consciousness at a Jerusalem hospital, to which he was evacuated by paramedics.

Malkah Fleisher

Psychiatrist: Man Who Set Himself on Fire at Tel-Aviv Rally Attempted Suicide in 2005

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

On Saturday night, during a rally for social justice in Tel Aviv, Moshe Silman, 58, set himself on fire, becoming the symbol that organizers of the march for social justice needed to make their case that much more compelling. Indeed, the Facebook pages of many activists quickly filled up with statements like “His story is the story of all of us.”

Daphni Leef, one of the most notable leaders of the social justice movement last Summer and this time around, stated: “This is the responsibility of the Israeli government which is not taking care of its citizens.”

But while it is true that Silman, who is currently out of danger and in stable condition at the Shiba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, has experienced a series of personal failures in his encounters with the authorities who appear, from the record, to have treated him quite heartlessly, it is also clear that Silman’s case is by no means typical.

A psychiatric report was uploaded to the Rotter.net website, which was attached to Silman’s law suit against Israel’s social security administration, reveals a man raised by a violent father, himself a Holocaust survivor, who used to beat Moshe mercilessly. So much so, that the latter left home at age 14 to escape his father’s wrath. He lived on the streets as a teenager, used drugs and supported himself by breaking into cars. He attempted to rehabilitate himself through his military service, but was ultimately discharged on psychiatric grounds.

Silman was unable to forge steady relationships with women, nor was he ever able to hold on to a job for a long time. He ended up leaving for America and bandied about until he decided to return to Israel some time around the year 2000 (his ability to recall dates and chronological events is impaired, according to the report).

His attempt to establish a business ended in abysmal failure, as he was unable to cope with clients, debt payments and the different government offices. To get out of debt he made his mother sign a mortgage in his behalf which he was unable to pay back. In 2005, after he was evicted for lack of payments from an apartment he purchased in Jaffa, Silman attempted suicide. According to the report, he took pills and slashed his wrists.

The psychiatrist, Dr. Hillel Ma-Naim, recommended at the time that a great deal of support be given by the state to Silman, pointing out that his ability to save money is “highly limited.”

Ynet quoted eye witnesses who said that Silman read out a letter before pouring flammable liquid over himself and setting himself on fire. He wrote, among other things: “The State of Israel robbed me and left me with nothing.”

The letter continues: “I blame the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Yuval Steinitz for the constant humiliation the citizens of Israel have to endure on a day-to-day basis. They take from the poor and give to the rich.

“I can’t afford medication or rent. I paid millions in taxes, I served in the army and in the reserves until I was 46. I won’t be homeless and that is why I am protesting against all the wrongs the state imposes on people like me.”

An examination of the material attached to Silman’s 2005 law suit reveals a system that keeps on battering an individual who is mentally unable to cope with the elementary requirements of running a business and caring for himself. But the failure here appears more of Israel’s health and social service authorities to identify and extend help to a deteriorating client, than an example of the lack of social justice in Israel.

Yori Yanover

Midrash and Talmud

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Man is seldom satisfied with his life. Even when he has done great things, amassed vast amounts of wealth and achieved great fame, he still yearns for more and his soul is not fulfilled. “No man dies with even half of his ambition fulfil­led,” say Chazal.

Thus was it with the conqueror, Alex­ander the Great. Here was a man who top­pled empires, before whose armies people trembled, who set his stamp on lands as far away as India. Still he was not satisfied. He yearned to do something that no man had ever done. He yearned to fly high above the heavens.

Alexander And His Flight

Despite all the mighty deeds that he had done, Alexander was still not satisfied.

“Unless I do a thing that was not ac­complished by all the kings who have preceded me, men will never remember me for real greatness.

“They will only say that once there was a king named Alexander who went and made war and conquered many na­tions and gathered a vast amount of booty and set his heel on the heads of people.

“This is all good, but there must still be something that I do that has never been done by any other man from the days that G-d made the world till the present.”

The Eagle

And so, Alexander ordered that his men capture the most gigantic eagles they could find. Once they had gathered several enormous birds, he chose the greatest among them.

“Starve the bird for two days,” he ordered his men.

At the end of the time, Alexander took a large piece of meat and stuck it on his spear. He then climbed on the back of the hungry eagle and he raised his spear high in front of the eagle’s beak.

The starving bird immediately tried to reach the meat and flew into the air. Higher and higher he climbed as he vainly tried to reach the meat, which hung tantalizingly just before him.

The Earth So Small

Higher yet, the eagle climbed, until Alexander was surrounded by swirling clouds. Looking down to the earth far below, he saw that the towns, forests and rivers appeared as dots and ribbons. He looked to where his great army was camped and he could see nothing but little dots. Alexander’s heart thereupon grew light and his head swelled:

“Who is like me and who can compare unto me? I sit here alone looking at the lit­tle ants below me.”

Another Thought

Suddenly, however, a second thought entered the Greek emperor’s mind.

“If my great army, with all its hordes of men, appear to me to be so small, what do I appear like to my army below? Probably, I have disappeared from view and am like nothing in their eyes!”

The thought was a bitter one and destroyed the great happiness that he had felt just a moment before.

Turning the spear with the meat downward he looked at the earth as his eagle turned to descend. The land rushed forward to meet him and he could now see the people becoming larger and larger in his eyes.

“I, too, am becoming larger in their eyes,” he thought.

When he had descended from the back of the eagle he gave orders that a statue of himself be made and in his hand a round ball –symbolizing the earth – be placed. “This shall be so the people will remember me,” he said.

Can The Dead Wake

One of the great differences between the rabbis and the Tzedukim was over the question of whether the dead will someday be resurrected. Our rabbis, of course, maintained that this was a cardinal prin­ciple of the Torah, that the A-Mighty would some day awaken the dead, while the Tzedukim denied this great article of faith.

One day, one of the leaders of the Tzedukim approached Gevihah, the son of Pesisah:

“Shall the dead really rise? How is it possible? If people who once had the breath of life in their nostrils eventually die and become still and cold, how shall those who are dead ever hope to live?”

Gevihah then asked the man:

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Germany, the Laws of Man and the Laws of God

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Judaism is about tradition; but more, it is about order. It is about living as human beings and what sets us apart from animals. Paramount among the differences between man and animal are the laws we create or are created for us, at least for those who have faith and believe in a Higher Authority. I do.

I accept that there is a God for so many reasons. As Ben Gurion once said, to be a realist in Israel, you have to believe in miracles. Miracles are not random acts of coincidence. Random acts can happen, here or there, but when the missiles miss by a few minutes or a few meters on a consistent basis, you begin to believe. When a country shoots 39 missiles at a highly populated area, and one person dies…of a heart attack, you know. When you wake up and see this land and what we have done with it, you have faith.

There are, we believe, laws of God and laws of man. Observant Jews believe that laws of God must be followed; laws of man respected when the respect is justified, necessary, agreed upon, and lastly, do not conflict with the law of God. Jews are commanded to circumcise their sons on the eighth day of his life (barring any health issues which take precedence). When the law of the land goes against the law of God, we follow the laws of God because the laws of man can change according to the whim of man.

Germany has just decided that circumcision is not to be allowed in their oh-so-humane country. They, who perpetrated the most barbaric acts in the history of man, believe this simple act is barbaric. The anger that burns inside me has come to a boil and I cannot be diplomatic so I will be honest. To the Germans, I have nothing to say. When I was in Poland, I could not see the living because my eyes focused on the dead. All that I saw was the world they knew. I’d like to go back to Poland some day to see the beauty of the land because for the eight days I was there, I could only see the ashes, the cemeteries, the concentration camps and mass graves. The signs of the living – a young couple stealing a few kisses in a Jewish cemetery; Polish families walking their dogs and picnicking next to the graves of hundreds of Jewish children – these signs upset me, depressed me, and yes, even angered me.

I have never been to Germany; doubt I will ever go. It was painful to go to Poland; Germany would be agony. I have nothing to say to the Germans – they are man, nothing more. They can make all the laws they want. They did in 1933, in 1938, and they will in 2012. Their laws are nothing when compared to the laws of God. Germany has outlawed circumcision. All that means is that it is time for Jews to leave Germany – not just the young ones contemplating having children, but all Jews.

If you are not prepared to uphold the law of a country, you have the option to leave it. If you want to be able to circumcise your son according to the law of God, leave Germany. Now, before it is too late.

A Soldier's Mother

A Psychological Look Behind Jihadist Terror

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s “Man Pointing” gesticulates ominously. Emaciated, skeletal, and tormented, the iconic sculpture is an artistic expression of humankind’s stalwart march toward suffering and recurring annihilation. Resembling the Swiss creator’s gaunt and unnaturally elongated figure, each of us has now become both a potential observer and a prospective casualty.

Today, as I have pointed out before in The Jewish Press, each of us is more or less threatened by jihadist sacrificial murder, a distinctly homicidal ethos that reassuringly (for the perpetrators) masquerades conveniently as “martyrdom.”

Where is Giacometti’s man pointing? Does he gesture toward the masses of still likely victims, or, judgmentally, to the always unrepentant murderers? Does his extended finger indict an entire species, or, rather, does it cast focused responsibility only upon certain discrete individuals or groups? Understood in terms of terrorism, especially the chemical/biological/nuclear threat now hanging perilously over the United States and Israel, the long finger points knowingly in several directions.

In the final analysis, the problem of all jihadist terrorism, including WMD terrorism, is a matter of primal human behavior. Moreover, such behavior is always the result of compelling private needs, and of seemingly irresistible collective expectations.

More than almost anything else, sometimes even more than the normally overriding drive to avoid death, human beings need to belong. This ubiquitous requirement can be expressed more or less benignly, as in familiar sports hysteria, or tumultuous rock concerts. Or it can be expressed grotesquely – in genocide, war, and terrorism.

Oddly enough, the underlying dynamic is always the same. In all cases, the individual person feels utterly empty and insignificant apart from his/her membership in the “herd.”

Sometimes that herd is the State. Sometimes it is the Tribe. Sometimes it is the Faith. Sometimes it is the “Liberation” or “Revolutionary” movement. But whatever the particular herd of the moment, it is the persistent craving for membership that can bring the terrible downfall of individual responsibility, and the terrifying corollary triumph of the collective will.

Unless certain of our fellow humans soon learn how to temper their overwhelming desire to belong, the prevailing military and political schemes to prevent and control anti-American and anti-Israeli terrorism will fail. To succeed, therefore, we will likely benefit more from an understanding of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung than Carl von Clausewitz.

Today, the overwhelming desperation to belong is most evident in the Arab/Islamic world. How significant is this desperation to a real understanding of anti-American and anti-Israel terrorism? The philosopher Nietzsche can be helpful. Aware of the substantial harm that can be generated by the immense attractions of membership, Nietzsche declared with remarkable prescience: “To lure many away from the herd, for that I have come. The people and the herd shall be angry with me. Zarathustra wants to be called a robber by the shepherds.”

The most primary dangers of jihadist terrorism now stem from the combining of certain susceptible individuals into war-centered herds. Not every herd is terroristic, of course, but terrorism cannot take place in the absence of herds. When individuals crowd together and form a herd, the destructive dynamics of the mob may be released, lowering each person’s moral and intellectual level to a point where even mass killing may become altogether acceptable.

To understand what is happening behind the news, one must first recognize the manifest irony of terrorist objectives. Publicly, all Arab/Islamic terror is sacred violence, animated by the presumed will of Allah. In reality, however, the net effect of suicide bombings and mass slaughters is always to drown out any hint of godliness. By definition, there is simply no room in such “tactics” for human empathy, compassion, comity, or kindness.

In the presumed name of God, Arab/Islamic terror imposes upon the world neither salvation nor redemption, but rather the breathless rhythm of ritual murder and voluptuous killing. Although the killers would have us believe that God is their sole inspiration and their special witness, the inevitable end of all the delirium they create is despair. In the supreme irony of Arab/Islamic terror, the most conspicuous result of all this delirium is to prevent Man from remembering God.

To begin urgent investigations of already ongoing Arab/Islamic jihad against the United States, our scholars and policy makers should look closely at human meaning. To prevent expanding violence against the United States and Israel, Arab/Islamist terrorist groups must somehow be shorn of their capacity to bestow meaning. Even before this can happen, however, those individuals who turn to terrorist group membership must first discover more private sources of belonging. An underlying cause of terrorist crimes is always the continuing incapacity of individuals to draw authentic meaning from within themselves.

Louis Rene Beres

NY Post Spreading Misinformation, Jew Baiting Humor

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Should we be offended by this NY Post headline?

An April 13 short item in the Post, on the number of inmates inside the NYC jail system who receive kosher meals, was headlined: “20 inmates fat on glatt.”

Now, is this a suggestion that City jail kosher meals be made more healthful, perhaps with larger salad portions and less fatty, albeit kosher, meat – or was this a callused NY Post insult to Jewish criminals who are so insolent, they won’t even eat pig like a decent Christian convict?

As to the actual information in this tiny and offensive bit: The Post cites City officials who say that some 20 of the city’s 12,500 prisoners are receiving meals certified as “glatt kosher,” which the paper is only too happy to inform is “the strictest level of kosher certification.”

The Post says three servings of what it dubs “special chow” costs taxpayers $6.92 a day. Of course, this would mean that kosher prisoners would be consuming meat morning, noon, and night, which certainly would make them “fat glatt.”

David Seifman, who’s been working for the Post since 1982 and has been City Hall bureau chief since 1989, does not know, apparently, that “glatt” is not Yiddish for “really, really kosher,” but a statement suggesting the slaughtered animal in question has been examined for internal blemishes such as a punctured lung, which would have nullified its kosher slaughter.

Seifman has compared “regular kosher” with “glatt” jail food and discovered that the former costs only $6.46 a day, a whopping savings of 46 cents a day. Man, those Jew criminals are really glutton for their glatt… (I’ll bet that “regular kosher” probably means eggs, toast, meatless soup and veggie loaf, which aren’t labeled “glatt” because no cow was involved in their preparation).

Steifman adds that “halal meals are a relative bargain at $4 a day — not much more than the $3.82 standard fare served to 7,000 inmates.”

Some of that bargain may have to do with the fact that there are a great deal more than 20 Muslim prisoners in the system. I’m just guessing.

Steifman says the City is looking for new bids for its jail food. It’s a much better approach than looking for more kosher prisoners, so they could shop wholesale…

Yori Yanover

The Mercy Of Hashem

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

“Speak to the Jewish people and they should take to Me terumah; from each man whose heart so motivates him, you should take My terumah.” – Shemos 25:2

The entire Jewish nation – every man, woman, and child – experienced the revelation of Hashem on Har Sinai. They saw Hashem as clearly as humans can, and they attained a level of prophecy. Now they were being offered one of the greatest gifts imaginable: Hashem Himself was going to dwell among them. They were going to experience Hashem’s presence regularly, and have the opportunity to participate in the building of the greatest edifice ever created – Hashem’s dwelling place in this world. The gold, silver and copper, the wood, hides and oil will all come from the people themselves: “from each man whose heart so motivates him.”

It should come as no surprise that the people offered their donations to the Mishkan with zeal and enthusiasm. After a short while Moshe had to turn away more donations; there was more collected than could be used.

Interestingly, the Ba’al Ha’Turim explains that when Hashem told Moshe to ask for contributions, He told him to ask in a gentle tone. Since it means people will have to part with their money, please speak softly.

This Ba’al Ha’Turim is very difficult to understand. Why would Moshe have to make this appeal in a gentle manner? This wasn’t a tax the people were being forced to pay. It wasn’t some despot demanding an exorbitant bribe. This was a moment in history – the people of Israel were being given this great opportunity to be a part of building the house of Hashem, and they understood it for what it was. Why would Moshe have to speak softly? Surely they would give willingly.

The question is even more pointed because the Jewish people were fabulously wealthy. Hashem promised Avraham Avinu that when his children would leave bondage, it would be with great riches. Right before the Jews left, they went to their Egyptian masters and “borrowed” gold, silver, and all types of valuables. They despoiled Mitzrayim, walking out with wealth that had been gathered for hundreds of years.

They were being offered the chance to convert some of that wealth into one of the greatest honors given to man – to become a builder of the Mishkan. If every contribution was given willingly, and the entire generation had enough to give, and it was a great honor to give, why would Hashem be concerned that Moshe gently coax them into giving?

The answer can be best understood when we focus on man’s relationship to his Creator.

Hashem’s Relationship to Man

The Chovos HaLevovos explains that if you to take the most generous, loving person that you have ever met and then multiply that mercy by ten thousand ten thousands, you won’t begin to reach the love Hashem has for each of His creations. The one concept that must be firmly embedded in the mind of every Jew is that Hashem is more concerned for his good than he is, and Hashem loves him even more than he loves himself.

This love manifests in many ways. Chazal tell us that Hashem has mercy on the money of Yisrael, as if to say Hashem feels badly that the Jewish people have to spend money, even on mitzvahs. Granted it is for their good, and granted it is the greatest investment they could ever make, but, it means parting with things valuable to them, and if it could be, Hashem feels badly. Hashem is the Giver, always wishing to share of His good, to give more, not to take. This seems to be the answer to the question on the Ba’al Ha’Turim: There is no doubt the chance to contribute something toward the Mishkan is a great honor. Anyone whose donation would be accepted would bear a mark of nobility he would cherish for years. But it involved his giving. He had to part with some of his wealth, and Hashem, if it could be, felt badly.

It was as if Hashem were saying: “It must be difficult. You have that precious gem, that beautiful gold. I feel badly even asking.” Even though the act of giving had taken something fleeting and turned it into the greatest investment, something that would remain with them for eternity, at the moment the person gave over those stones, it was difficult on some level. Hashem felt his pain and said: “Moshe, please be gentle with them.”

This is a fantastic illustration of the extent of Hashem’s concern for us, and the extent to which He is sensitive to our feelings. When we focus on the loving kindness Hashem showers on us daily, we grow in our apperception of that love, and then reciprocally we feel an overwhelming sense of appreciation and love for our Creator.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-mercy-of-hashem/2012/02/22/

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