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August 24, 2016 / 20 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘period’

Young Olim from U.S. Celebrate Their First Shavuot in Israel

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Jerusalem, May 22, 2012 — As the Jewish holiday of Shavuot approaches this weekend, Nefesh B’Nefesh, which works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency for Israel, organized a special celebration yesterday in Ein Yael, Jerusalem for new Olim to better prepare them for their first Shavuot in Israel.

At the event, the children, accompanied by their parents and Nefesh B’Nefesh staff, prepared for Shavuot by assembling delicious baskets of fruit, which is a customary tradition in Israel during this period.

“I’m so excited to be celebrating my first Shavuot in Israel,” said seven year old Nachi Jerozolim, who made Aliyah with his parents from Woodmere, NY last August. “It is so much fun to be living in a Jewish country where everyone around me is getting ready to celebrate the same holiday.”

Jewish Press Staff

Israel Marks Record 345,000 Visitors in April

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Some 354,000 visitors arrived in Israel in April 2012, 19% more than in April 2011 and 12% more than in April 2010, Israel’s record tourism year. The number of incoming tourists reached 296,000 in April 2012, 13% more than during the same period last year and 11% more than in April 2010.

“The consistent increases in the number of visitors entering Israel contributes to the national economy and increases employment,” said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, who attributed some of the influx to the Tourism Ministry’s marketing and improving the tourism infrastructure in Israel.

Based on Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics data released Wednesday, more than a million visitors arrived in the first third of 2012, 6% more than during the same period in 2011 and 4% more than in 2010. A similar increase was recorded among tourists during Jan-April 2012, with about 933,000 tourists visiting Israel, 4% more than the record set for the same period last year.

There was an increase on those arriving by air with 793,000 entries during Jan-April 2012 (3% more than during the same period last year). About 140,000 tourists crossed into Israel by land, 8% more than the same period last year. Given the political instability in Egypt, there was a significant increase in arrivals through the Taba border crossing, with 42,600 tourists, an increase of 30% compared to the same period last year.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Q & A: Harsh Punishments (Part III)

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Question: I find it very difficult to understand the punishment of death that was meted out to Rabbi Akiba’s students. If he was so great, we can assume that his students were of a superior caliber as well. If so, why did they deserve such a harsh punishment?

Zelig Aronson
Queens, NY

Answer: We began our discussion by citing the prohibition of marrying or cutting our hair for a minimum period of 34 days between Pesach and Shavuot. We observe these signs of mourning to commemorate the thousands of Rabbi Akiba’s students who died during this period.

We sought to explain the reason these students deserved such a harsh punishment. We cited a similar story concerning the Nadav and Avihu, whose hasty actions led to their fatal transgression of issuing a ruling before their master Moses, for which they were killed. Hashem is very exacting with those closest to Him. Thus, Rabbi Akiba’s students were punished even though their sin may have been minor.

* * * * *

My mashgiach ruchani, HaRav Hersh Feldman, zt”l (the Mirrer Mashgiach), delivered a “schmooze” many years ago (see “Yemei Hasefira” in his Tiferet Tzvi p. 197) on the death of Rabbi Akiba’s students.

Rabbi Feldman begins: “Other than the ctual prohibition as well as the gravity of the punishment and the tum’ah, the ritual impurity that is visited upon a person due to his haughtiness, we see that the traits of modesty and humility assist one in the acquisition of Torah knowledge.

“Our Sages (Ta’anit 7a) expound the verse (Isaiah 55:1), ‘Hoy kol tzamei lechu lamayyim… – Ho! Everyone who is thirsty, go to the water…’ The ‘water’ here is the Torah, for which we thirst. Our sages ask, ‘Why is the Torah compared to water?’ Just as water flows from an elevated place and settles in a lower place, so do the words of Torah exist only in an individual whose understanding [and very being] is humble.”

Rabbi Feldman continues by citing the Gemara in Eruvin (13b): “For three years there was a dispute between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. These said, ‘The halacha is in agreement with our views,’ and those asserted, ‘The halacha is in agreement with our views.’ A Heavenly voice went forth and proclaimed, ‘Both are the words of the living G-d, but the halacha is in agreement with Beit Hillel.’

“The Gemara asks, ‘Now, since both are the words of the living G-d, what entitled Beit Hillel to have the halacha in agreement with their rulings?’ [This is the general rule; there are exceptions. In 18 circumstances the halacha is actually in accord with Beit Shammai – see Shabbos 13b and 17b; see also Rambam, Perush HaMishnayot on Yevamot Ch. 3, stating that when Beit Hillel rule stringently and Beit Shammai are lenient, the halacha generally follows the latter.] The Gemara answers: Because Beit Hillel were easygoing and very humble, and they would study their views and the views of Beit Shammai, and more so, they would always mention the views of Beit Shammai before theirs….”

Rabbi Feldman asks: “Since Beit Hillel were more easygoing and modest than Beit Shammai, is that [sufficient] reason to set forth the halacha in accord with them?

“We must explain: For one to hear and understand his fellow’s view and follow the logic of his reasoning to its natural conclusion, one must be graced with refined traits. One must not bear enmity to one’s fellow, nor be jealous of him, nor be contemptuous of him, which would be the result of boastfulness or haughtiness. A person who is conceited and haughty will not expend any effort to come to an understanding of his fellow’s view. Why? Obviously he considers his fellow’s view to be insignificant. It is surely not worth his while to exert any effort at understanding it. With such an approach he will never be able to comprehend his fellow’s view with any clarity.”

Rabbi Feldman continues: “Beit Hillel, however, who were easygoing and modest, traits that emanate from humility, expended great effort and toiled at understanding the views of their fellows [Beit Shammai] and to give them credit. This they did without any trace of negative personal motives. They would treat the views of their fellows deferentially, with the greatest respect, so that they would understand their decisions.

“More so, they would repeatedly study their views… They would even cite those [Beit Shammai’s] views before their own. If, after all that, they reached the conclusion that Beit Shammai’s view was incorrect and the halacha should not be as Beit Shammai established, then it was clear that the halacha should indeed follow Beit Hillel.

“This was so because weighing, deciding and understanding the matters in question was arrived at after clear analysis, without any preconceived personal notions.”

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Parshas Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 18                                                   5772
New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
May 4, 2012 – 12 Iyar 5772 7:36 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

Sabbath Ends: 8:47 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Acharei Mot-Kedoshim
Weekly Haftara: Ha’lo Ki’venei Kushiyim (Amos 9:7-15)
Daf Yomi:  Me’ilah 19
Mishna Yomit: Yevamos 2:1-2
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 51:3-5
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos  Kiddush HaChodesh chap. 9-11
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 4:51 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:22 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: Ch. 3 Sefiras HaOmer: 27

This coming Motzaei Shabbos  and Sunday, the 14th of Iyar, is Pesach Sheni. Some do not say Tzidkas’cha at the Mincha service of the preceding day.

It is customary to eat matza at one meal at least, even with chametz in the house [at the table] – based upon the Mishna in Pesachim 95a: “…On the second [Passover, i.e. Pesach Sheni] one may have in his house both chametz and matza.” (The Talmud ad loc. explains that this halacha is derived through exegesis of the Thirteen Principles.)

This coming Wednesday evening and Thursday  is Lag BaOmer – the 33rd day of the Omer – a break in the sorrowful period when we do not cut our hair or rejoice with music. On Lag BaOmer we may cut our hair and hold weddings and other celebrations with music. There are various minhagim regarding the exact length and time frame of this mourning period. See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 493, where these minhagim are clearly delineated. We do not say Yehi Ratzon at conclusion of Torah reading nor do we say Tachanun on Lag BaOmer as well as the day preceding.

 

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

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

It’s My Opinion: Countdown

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The days after Passover are referred to as sefirot, a semi-mourning period, marking a terrible plague that killed thousands of students of the great sage Rabbi Akiva. Tradition tells us that these deaths were the result of his students not being sufficiently respectful to each other.

The practice of sefirot involves the “counting of the omer.” We mark the days until this period is over. On the 33rd day, which has become known as Lag B’Omer, the students stopped dying. The day is joyful and celebrated with bonfires and festivities.

It is human nature to be involved in a countdown mode for many of life’s passages. Children count the days to their birthdays, the end of the school year, etc. Adults often engage in counting down the days until vacation or even retirement.

As a result of this mindset, we often miss the lessons and messages and experiences of today. We fail to process what is in front of us. Instead, we anticipate what is ahead.

In our rush to anticipate the future, we often lose the ability to truly experience the present. We miss precious moments. We can’t wait until the baby will be in school, the children will be on their own, or we will finally be out of the rat race the working world. A lifetime can pass us by and we didn’t even live it.

The present is a gift. Let us unwrap it and use it wisely.

Shelley Benveniste

Q & A: Harsh Punishments (Part II)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Question: I find it very difficult to understand the punishment of death that was meted out to Rabbi Akiba’s students. If he was so great, we can assume that his students were of a superior caliber as well. If so, why did they deserve such a harsh punishment?

Zelig Aronson
Queens, NY

Answer: Last week we discussed the prohibition of not marrying or cutting our hair for a minimum period of 34 days between Pesach and Shavuot. We observe these signs of mourning to commemorate the thousands of Rabbi Akiba’s students who died during this period.

We also sought to explain the reason these students deserved such a harsh punishment. We cited a similar story concerning the Nadav and Avihu, whose hasty actions led to their fatal transgression of issuing a ruling before their master Moses, for which they were killed.

* * * * *

The Rambam (Hilchot Talmud Torah 5:2), based upon the Gemara in Eruvin 63a, rules that a person who issues a halachic decision before his master is punished with death (by Heaven’s hand). The Hagahot Maimoniyot (ad loc.) cites exceptions to this rule. For instance, a person may issue a ruling before his master if he sees the ruling clearly recorded in books written by great halachic authorities.

Moses, in his humility, obviously saw no slight to his person when his students, Aaron’s sons, issued their halachic ruling, but he was aware of their infraction. He sought to console his brother on his tragic loss, stating that the untimely death of those who are nearest and dearest to Hashem serves as a means of His sanctification.

Nadav and Avihu and the students of Rabbi Akiba were so great that, like other tzaddikim, they were judged in a very exacting and demanding manner – “kechut hasa’ara – like a fine strand of hair.”

We find the following incident in the Talmud (Yevamot 121b): It once happened that the daughter of Nehonia the well digger (he would dig water wells for the benefit of those traveling on the roads and byways) fell into a large cistern, and people reported this to R. Hanina b. Dosa. During the first hour R. Hanina told them, “All is well.” In the second hour he again said, “All is well.” At the third hour he told them, “She is saved.”

R. Hanina then asked her, “My daughter, who saved you?” She replied, “A ram came to my aid with an aged man leading it.” (Rashi notes that this was our Patriarch Abraham.) The people observing this incident asked R. Hanina b. Dosa, “Are you a prophet?” He replied, “I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but this I do know: Should the work in which a righteous man is engaged (for the benefit of others) be the cause of disaster for his offspring?”

The Gemara continues: R. Abba stated, “Even so, his [Nehonia’s] son died of thirst. The verse (Psalms 50:3) states, ‘u’sevivav nis’ara me’od – His surroundings are exceedingly turbulent.’ ” This teaches us that Hashem deals with those near Him even to “a hair’s breadth,” i.e., very strictly. Rashi (ad loc.) explains that the word “nis’ara – turbulent” in this verse can also be read as “sa’ara – hair.”

The Maharsha (ad loc.) notes: If this is the manner in which Hashem treats those nearest and dearest to Him, how much stricter will He deal with the wicked.

The students of Rabbi Akiba were so great and close to Hashem that they were punished for even the slightest infraction.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Record High for Incoming Tourism in First Quarter of 2012

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Based on data released today by the Central Bureau of Statistics, the first quarter of 2012 registered an all-time record high for incoming tourism to Israel.

During the months of January through March, 2012, there has been an increase of 2% compared with the same period last year, and an increase of 1% compared with January through March of 2010, (the previous record high for incoming tourism).

The information from the Central Bureau of Statistics further shows that the first quarter of 2012 maintains the stability of tourists entering Israel – the current number stands at 637,200 entries, same as of March of last year.

In addition, in March, 2012, there were more than 41,000 day visitors recorded, compared with approximately 23,000 day visitors recorded in March, 2011, an increase of 78%.

The geopolitical situation in Egypt last year apparently led to a decline in day visitors’ entry and now there has been an improvement and a return to the norm. Further testament to this is evident in the amount of entries registered through the Egyptian border, compared with March 2011.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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