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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘period’

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.

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.”

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

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.

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.

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.

Riding the Teenage Roller Coaster: Understanding Terminated Relationships

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The life of a typical adolescent may often combine difficulties and complexities. Adolescents are often faced with issues related to peer pressure, academic stress, and potential family difficulties. Friendships and relationships often serve as outlets for adolescents during times of difficulty and turmoil. Relationships and feeling connected to others also impacts personal feelings of identity and self worth. This article attempts to provide guidance in understanding how adolescents will often deal with terminated relationships. Understanding the underlying dynamics is important for determining the normalcy of reactions and the specific emotions and feelings that occur when relationships are terminated.

During the period of adolescence, the primacy of peer relationships relates to the formation of identity. As Erik Erikson suggests, the formation of identity is the designated task of the period of adolescence. The ability to form connections strengthens individual identity and prevents a person from feeling isolated. Therefore, the termination of a strong friendship or relationship could potentially produce a ‘grief related reaction’. Similar to the stages of grief and loss suggested by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a teenager will often move through stages of anger, sadness, helplessness, bargaining, and acceptance when dealing with a terminated relationship. The loss of a critical friendship and relationship is at times seen as related to the loss of a person’s own individual identity.

This may explain the level of reactions experienced by teenagers. At times, teenagers will put up a mask or a shield around their feelings. This shield can either be manifested as withdrawal or even as intense anger. The specific reaction may be based on the specific relationship and the specific coping abilities of the parties involved. Withdrawal, while it is may be certainly rooted in anger or sadness, does not necessarily imply that the teenager is heading on the road toward a depressive episode. However, it is important to help the teenager understand the thoughts and feelings associated with each particular reaction. Some common negative thoughts may relate to feelings of vulnerability and distrust from the breakup of a strong relationship. Teenagers may question their ability to trust or love, and may try to bargain with themselves that they wish that things could be different. It is not uncommon for a teenager to feel that ‘things will never be the same’.

Beyond Erikson’s theory of identity, there are additional ‘Theories of Energy’ that suggest that part of our energy, or our ego development, relates to feeling connected to other people. These theories maintain that a person relies on the energy of other people to enhance their own identity and self. A lack of feeling connected (or feeling this energy from other people) may create symptoms of withdrawal, isolation, anger, and sadness. It is important to help teenagers recognize the inherent dynamics that are prevalent in a terminated relationship before symptoms become exacerbated.

In order to promote healing and growth, I would like to suggest some helpful tips when speaking to teenagers who are experiencing changes and volatility in their relationships:

1) It is important to help teenagers understand their reactions and feelings. As mentioned, the severity and intensity of reactions may be ‘more normal’ for this specific time period in their life. Helping them to understand this may be a beginning step for growth and healing

2) Helping teenagers to identity healthy coping skills are critical in attempting to counteract feelings of isolation and hopelessness. Promoting connection over withdrawal will allow individuals to maintain their specific energy levels as they navigate through some difficult times

3) While often difficult, feelings of vulnerability and distrust can often be channeled to new experiences and new relationships. Helping teenagers to learn from the past can often promote feelings of hope and optimism related to the formation of new friendships and relationships.

Noticing changes of behavior can often be the first step to engaging your teenagers in meaningful discussions about social changes and difficulties. One should never hesitate to seek outside guidance and counsel when looking to help their teenage children navigate difficult ‘social waters’.

Mark Staum, LCSW, is a social worker at The Frisch School in Paramus, NJ. He works with hundreds of teenagers and parents on many issues specifically related to the period of adolescence. Mark is a former therapist at The Center for Applied Psychology in Monsey, NY, and presently maintains a private practice in Monsey, NY and Teaneck, NJ. Mark has trained at The Ackerman Institute for The Family and has additional training in child and family therapy. To learn more about Mark, please visit his website, www.markstaum.com. For any questions or comments on this article, please contact Mark at mstaumlcsw@gmail.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/health/riding-the-teenage-roller-coaster-understanding-terminated-relationships/2012/03/14/

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