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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Tishrei Memories

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have come and gone. It is time to return my beloved Machzor to the bookshelf. Gifted to me by my beloved parents, of blessed memory, for my bat mitzvah, it is one of my most precious possessions.

When I daven from it, I stroke its silky pages. Its front and back book covers are long gone. The years melt away and I am a young girl again, clad in my new Yom Tov outfit and shiny black patent leather shoes. Soon I will skip home for Mommy’s yummy Yom Tov pot roast and mashed potatoes.

Sometime later in the afternoon, we will march hand in hand to the Hudson Bay for Tashlich, convinced, as Mommy assured us, that we would be much lighter after having thrown breadcrumbs into the water, symbolizing our aveirot.

Before we know it, Sukkot is on its way. We will join the other children at our rav’s sukkah to decorate it. How we got the paper chains to stretch from one end of the sukkah to the other is beyond me since I don’t recall a ladder helping the little ones reach the ceiling.

In those days, before the advent of global warming, Sukkot actually signaled the beginning of the cold, crisp weather.

The highlight was Simchat Torah – as my joy knew no bounds. As a teen having attended YU Seminars, I could not wait to showcase some of my new dance steps and wonder why everyone else seemed to be apathetic fuddy-duddies!

The years passed. I married and moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where sukkah-hopping kept us visiting one another from morning until evening. Following several years there we lived a military life. We were the chaplain and rebbetzin on a UK Air Force base. Our sukkah was lovingly built by the non-Jewish spouse of one of our congregants.

Returning to the present, as my children marry and set up their own homes and traditions, I hope that they will carry some fond memories of their own childhoods in Crown Heights. There, neighbors, especially in the building where we have lived for many years, have the opportunity to spend some quality time together for at least one precious week until, in the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l, “V’Yaakov halach ledarko.” We depart, taking all the strength from our spiritual work during Tishrei to hold us in good stead for the coming year.

Lynch of Jews on Temple Mount Averted

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

A group of 30 Jews who regularly ascend to the Temple Mount after conducting ritual preparations in order to pray and assert a Jewish presence at Judaism’s holiest site were attacked in the morning on Thursday by a group of Arabs shouting out to “Kill the Jews!”

According to a report in Israel’s Rotter, the group arrived at the site at 8:55, and began making its regular way around the outer circumference of the area when a horde of approximately 200 Muslim men and youth began to form, yelling “Allah HuAkbar!” and “Death to the Jews!”

Only one policeman was present as the throng approached the Jews, two of them kicking Jews in the group.  In a few moments, 10 policemen ran from the other side of the Mount, arresting 5 men and dispersing the crowd.

Tornadoes Tear Through New York City

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Two tornadoes touched down on the edges of New York City in the morning on Saturday, causing a power outage and hurling debris, but causing no serious injuries.  An additional tornado warning for the area is still in effect.

The first tornado touched down in the Breezy Point section of Rockaway, Queens.  The second, with winds up to 110 miles per hour, landed in Canarsie, Brooklyn.

On Friday, a tornado in Oklahoma killed four people, including a child.

Parshas Ki Tavo

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Vol LXIII No. 36 5772
NYC Candle Lighting Time
September 7, 2012 – 20 Elul 5772
6:57 p.m. E.D.T.
Sabbath Ends: 8:02 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Ki Tavo
Weekly Haftara: Kummi Ori (Isaiah 60:1-22)
Daf Yomi: Berachos 37
Mishna Yomit: Nedarim 3:9-10
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 117:5 – 119:1
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Shegagos 9-11
Earliest Tallis and Tefillin: 5:33 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:41 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: 3-4

This Saturday night after midnight (12:53 a.m. E.D.T. NYC), or in the early hours of the morning, we start to recite Selichos daily until erev Yom Kippur. The Sephardic (Spanish, Portuguese, Mediterranean and Oriental) communities already started on the 2nd day of Rosh Chodesh Elul. Rosh Hashana will be Monday and Tuesday of the following week.

The following chapters of Tehillim are being recited by many congregations and Yeshivos for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael: Chapters 83, 130, 142. – Y.K

Forced Evacuation of Migron Completed

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

September 2nd – Following the High Court of Justice’s ruling from last week, the residents of the community of Migron, in the Benyamin region, were forcibly removed from their homes this morning. Large police forces arrived at the community early this morning, knocking on doors and serving the residents a court order to evacuate their homes. A few families offered passive resistance, but most of the fifty families left on their own accord.

Most of the children were evacuated last night by the residents to shield them from possible trauma. Most of the families were evacuated to the nearby Ofrah guest house, waiting for the completion of their new community on Givat Hayekev.

The community’s legal status was in dispute for the past six years, as Arabs claimed they own the lands on which the community resides. The residents, on their part, have recently purchased most of the individual plots specifically under debate. Despite that, the High Court ruled in favour of the Arab plaintiffs.

A few youth, who are not residents of the community, came to Migron to offer resistance, but were overpowered by the police forces.

This morning, hours before their forced evacuation, the residents of Migron planted tree saplings, explaining that they were planting the trees now in preparation for their future return to Migron, when the trees will be full grown.

Eitay Harel, one of the founders of Migron stated today: “This is a sad day. I want to promise myself, the residents of Migron, our feeble Prime Minister and our brethren from Peace Now who are engaged in destruction – I wish none of them to suffer the pain that we are experiencing now, the pain of bereavement, but we sang the Tikvah, the national anthem. Our hearts are pierced, but we will return. We believe in all our hearts that this story will end with the establishment of two communities. We are ashamed that there are Jews who work to betray the Land of Israel. I am sure the truth will be revealed, we own the land and there is no one who contests this point. They have produced mere claims for the sake of destruction. We are tearful and enraged, but we will channel these energies to arise from the dust and resettle the land.”

Police Release All Jewish Boys Accused of Firebombing Arab Cab, No Charges Filed

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The last of the youths detained in the fire bomb (Molotov cocktail) case have been released.

Honenu attorney David HaLevi stated: “The detention was superfluous and meaningless. The release proves it.”

This morning, without a court deliberation, the remaining two minors from Bat Ayin detained on suspicion of involvement with the fire bomb incident in Gush Etzion approximately two weeks ago have been released at the police station. The third Bat Ayin minor detained in the case was released by the police two days ago. All of the suspects in the case have been released. The police have not announced plans to file an indictment.

This morning at the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim two youths aged 12 and 13 suspected of throwing a fire bomb at an Arab taxi driving on Route 60 in Gush Etzion approximately two weeks ago were released. The youths were detained on Sunday of this week along with another youth, also aged 12-13, and taken to the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police Station in Ma’ale Adumim. After the court extended their remand twice over the course of a week, Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Yaron Mintkevich ordered that the youths be released this morning, unless there is a development in the investigation.

This morning, as stated above, the police chose not to bring the youths to a court deliberation in order to demand a remand extension, and released them at the station. Their parents arrived to bring them home after almost a week in remand.

In an announcement reported to the media, the youth released two days ago said that the police treated them roughly during interrogation, which was unpleasant for them. According to him on the first day of the remand he and the other two detainees received very little to eat. They were frequently yelled at and threatened as their payot (sidelocks) were pulled during interrogations that lasted for hours, throughout the five days of their remand.

Honenu reports that the police violated the rights of the minors repeatedly: an adult was not present during their interrogation as in required by law, they were denied a meeting with an attorney for an entire day, their alibis were ignored during interrogation and in court, among other violations. Following the refusal by the police to allow the detainees to meet with an attorney, Honenu attorney Adi Kedar filed an urgent request for a deliberation on the violations of the rights of minors. After the court accepted the request and scheduled a deliberation, the police allowed an attorney to meet with the youths.

Honenu attorney David HaLevi, who represented the youths, all of them aged 12-13, gave his concluding remarks on the detention: “As we have stated in every possible forum, the detention of these youths was superfluous and meaningless: a false detention. The police conducted the investigation brutally, severely violating the rights of my clients. The release of the remaining youths today is proof of the false detention and speaks for itself.”

Visiting Residents: the Daily Plea of Elul

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

“Resident”- a person who maintains residency in a given place.

“Visitor”- a person who pays a visit; caller, guest, tourist, etc.

School has begun anew on this side of the ocean. It’s hard to find adequate words to describe the joy of parents during the course of this week. Beyond having their children fill their days with study rather then play, having them use time rather than waste it, and being in a secure environment rather than everywhere and anywhere, there is an added benefit to having our children back at school- routine!

No longer will parents have to rack their brains in finding past times and activities to fill the days and weeks of this pro-longed vacation. Each morning, they will wake up at a given hour, eat their breakfast at a fixed time, and have a schedule of classes and objectives that they will meet…each day.

Routine is a blessing: it provides an on-going consistency to our lifestyle, and creates a sense of devotion, as it’s done each and every day. It’s no wonder that when the Sages debated as to the most important verse in the Torah (introduction to the “Ein-Yaakov”) the verse that surprisingly “won” the debate was the verse that commands the Kohen (on-call in the Temple) to offer (Bamidbar 28/4) “The one lamb…in the morning, and the other lamb… in the afternoon.” As surprising as it sounds that such a technical command should triumph “Hear Oh Israel the Lord is our G-d the Lord is one,” or ” you shall love your fellow as you love yourself,” it seems clear that consistency in performing the commands of G-d each day supersedes the sporadic, one-time thrillers of sorts. It is therefore not surprising that our religion has always favored action over (just) thought (Tractate Avot 1/17) with even the intellectual exercise of studying Torah being a means for us to fulfill the commandments (conclusion of the Talmudic debate, Tractate Kidushin 40b).

But while a consistent, steadfast routine is indeed a value, and while remaining a devoted “Shomer Torah Umitzvot,” consistently adhering to the dictates of Jewish law, is a daily, elevated, worthy, and obligatory aspiration, there is also an undesirable side-effect to it as well; it becomes boring:

I don’t know many who have great joy to wash their hands three times each morning (Code of Jewish Law, 4/2), brush their teeth twice each day, or pray the same exact prayers (with the small exception of Monday/Thursday, and the “Psalm of the day”) each morning, afternoon and evening every day.

I have failed to see the “Minyaner” frequenting the synagogue thrice daily, who indeed feels the words that open the Code of Jewish Law (1/1- “One should rise like a Lion to stand in the morning to do the will of the commander”) when he walks into the shul in the early AM. The fatigue of waking up so early, together with seeing the same Tefillin & Siddur, usually does not allow the “lion” in him to express himself.

I am still waiting to see the smile and joy that one should have when he has the privilege of stating a blessing before and after eating his breakfast/lunch and dinner.

The list can easily go on, and I’m sure you can fill it with many more examples from your daily routine. But let’s take the example most fresh in our mind as August comes to an end: driving around the neighborhood on the first day of school. I’m sure you see excitement, smiles and a sense of anticipation in the air (at least in the eyes and lips of Parents…!) But will we see that same scene during the fifth week of school?!

Our Sages, while clearly giving credit to the consistent routine (as shown above) also stated (Yerushalmi, Tractate Megilla 4/1) that when hearing the semi-weekly Torah reading, one is forbidden to lean on the Bima, as; “…just like it was given with fear and awe, so we must act with fear and awe.” Did any of us feel this “fear and awe” during this week’s laining?

Continuing on the same theme, while many naturally “shuckle” while learning Torah, how many feel the verse, describing the feeling of the Jews at the tip of Mount-Sinai, where (Shemot 20/15)…” the people saw and trembled,” the source for swaying to and fro during study (see Baal HaTurim ibid, Machzor-Vitri 508) Is the movement of the body during the daily Daf-Yomi a reflection of a “trembling” sensation when trying to decipher the holy word of G-d? Or more logically a Jewish habit?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/visiting-residents-the-daily-plea-of-elul/2012/08/30/

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