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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘posthumous’

Parshah Behaalotecha: Moses and the Challenge of Adaptive Leadership

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

In this week’s parshah, Moses has a breakdown. It is the lowest emotional ebb of his entire career as a leader. Listen to his words to God:

“Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? … I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me – if I have found favor in your eyes – and do not let me face my own ruin” (Numbers 11:11-15).

Yet the cause seems utterly disproportionate to its effect. The people have done what they so often did before. They complain. They say, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11: 5)

Many times before, Moses had faced this kind of complaint from the people. There are several such instances in the book of Exodus, including a very similar one:

“If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3).

On these earlier occasions Moses did not give expression to the kind of despair he speaks of here. Usually, when leaders faced repeated challenges, they grow stronger each time. They learn how to respond, how to cope. They develop resilience, a thick skin. They formulate survival strategies. Why then does Moses seem to do the opposite, not only here but often throughout the book of Numbers?

In the chapters that follow, Moses seems to lack the unshakable determination he had in Exodus. At times, as in the episode of the spies, he seems surprisingly passive, leaving it to others to fight the battle. At others, he seems to lose control and becomes angry, something a leader should not do. Something has changed, but what? Why the breakdown, the burnout, the despair?

A fascinating insight is provided by Professor Ronald Heifetz of Harvard University.

Heifetz distinguishes between technical challenges and adaptive challenges. A technical challenge is one where you have a problem and someone else has the solution. You are ill, you go to the doctor, and he diagnoses your condition and prescribes a pill. All you have to do is follow the instructions.

Adaptive challenges are different. They arise when we are part of the problem. You are ill, you go to the doctor, and he tells you that he can give you a pill – but you are going to have to change your lifestyle. You are overweight, out of condition, sleep too little, and are exposed to too much stress. Pills won’t help you until you change the way you live.

Adaptive leadership is called for when the world is changing, circumstances are no longer what they were, and what once worked works no more. There is no quick fix, no pill, no simple following of instructions. We have to change. The leader cannot do it for us.

The fundamental difference between the books of Exodus and Numbers is that in Exodus, Moses is called on to exercise technical leadership. The Israelites are enslaved? God sends signs and wonders, ten plagues, and the Israelites go free. They need to escape from Pharaoh’s chariots? Moses lifts his staff and God divides the sea. They are hungry? God sends manna from heaven. Thirsty? God sends water from a rock. When they have a problem, the leader, Moses – together with God – provides the solution. The people do not have to exert themselves at all.

In the book of Numbers, however, the equation has changed. The Israelites have completed the first part of their journey. They have left Egypt, reached Sinai, and made a covenant with God. Now they are on their way to the Promised Land. Moses’s role is now different. Instead of providing technical leadership, he has to provide adaptive leadership. He has to get the people to change, to exercise responsibility, to learn to do things for themselves while trusting in God instead of relying on God to do things for them.

Sarkozy Grants Merah’s Victim a Posthumous Wedding

Monday, March 26th, 2012

It may seem a bit macabre, but the terrible tale of multiple killings of innocents in Toulouse continues to yield messages of hope, peeking through the scenes of blood and gore. It began with the heartfelt plea for increased light that was issued by widow and grieving mother Chava (Eva) Sandler. Now the pregnant girlfriend of one of the Toulouse gunman’s victims has said she will marry her murdered partner in a posthumous ceremony.

Paratrooper Abel Chennouf was among Islamic fanatic gunman Mohamed Merah’s first victims – he was shot dead a week and a half ago at an ATM in Toulouse.

Speaking through her attorney, Gilbert Collard, Chennouf’s pregnant girlfriend, Caroline Monet, 21, announced she was requesting presidential permission to get married to her late partner at an official ceremony.

According to Collard, posthumous marriages may be sanctioned in France under very special circumstances. The decision is in the hands of the President of the Republic.

Attorney Collard said that President Nicolas Sarkozy has given his approval for the ceremony.

The AFP described Caroline Monet as being so “heavily pregnant” when she was attending a military commemoration ceremony in her late partner’s memory on Thursday, that she was had to sit in a wheelchair.

In the past the girlfriends of two policeman killed while on duty in Marseille and Lyon received presidential authorization to marry their fallen mates.

Yori’s Jewish NuzeKlips, Feb 29/12

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Hello, my holy Jewish brethren and sistren, hope you’re in a mood to learn about all the stuff our planet has to offer in areas of interest to the people of the book (we used to call ourselves People of the Bookmark, but that’s just so geezertalk, might as well be reminiscing over how we got that steam engine installed and Yankel Hershkowitz said it’ll never work – but I’m digressing).

But before we start, I gotta’ share this joke with you, if it’s ancient don’t hate me, I’m trying my best here. This secular guy complains to his friend that his eldest boy did T’shuva. A year later they meet again, and the secular guy is in tears – his second oldest son did T’shuva. Another year goes by, and he’s just destroyed – his youngest boy up and did T’shuva. So his friend tells him, You know, with this happening to so many of your children, it sounds really serious, maybe you should check your mezuzahs?

A YIDDISHE ROBBERY

Man arrested in Theft of Synagogue Artifacts

Religious artifact stolen from Queens synagogue

Religious artifact stolen from Queens synagogue

The Daily News just reported that Police arrested Efram Sanders, 28, who lives just three blocks from the Congregation Ohel Rachel Degel Israel Synagogue on 68th Drive in Kew Gardens Hills Tuesday, on suspicion of stealing more than a dozen religious artifacts.

Sanders was picked up after he took the stuff to a pawn shop, police said. You see? Can’t trust those pawn shop owners – you drop the loot, you turn around, and they call the cops on you.

Rabbi David Sheinfeld said Sanders had visited the synagogue in the past but was not a member of the congregation.

You think maybe they didn’t give him an aliyah so he took Hotza’ah v’Hachnassah instead? (that’s when you’re called to take out the Torah – which, let’s face it, he did).

Look at us, telling jokes about synagogue theft. If it wasn’t Adar time…

THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND THE JEWS

Rabbi Esther Reed

Rabbi Esther Reed

The New Brunswick, NJ, Daily Targum, reports on a panel of representatives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam discussed gender roles in religion yesterday at the Cook Campus Center. (Panel explains gender differences in religion).

So what did the rabbi say – right? Who has the strength to listen to the whole thing until you finally get to the rabbi? Not to worry, they served up the rabbi first.

Rabbi Esther Reed, associate director for Jewish Campus Life at Rutgers Hillel, said followers of Judaism do not believe that a man and woman are inherently different.

So now you know that a rabbi is capable of speaking through a variety of cavities, not necessarily the oris (that’s Latin for mouth, because Latin is the last resort of the scoundrel).

“I personally do not believe that gender is a fixed thing,” Reed said. “I don’t believe God made human beings so that men are made one way and women another way.”

Oh, man, I could have taken this story to such amazing places, but I can’t, because they’ll take away my G rating. So use your imagination and by all means go, go…

Thank God for Imam Moustafa Zayed, who set the record straight, saying, “One gender can do what the other does, but the two elements cannot fill themselves and their worth unless they complement each other and complete each other.”

And this is how monotheism’s good name was rescued by a child of Abraham, but from the shikse…

LATTER DAY THIS

Congrats on this hilarious retort to All Hat No Cattle

Congrats on this hilarious retort to All Hat No Cattle

Are you worried that one day, after you shut your eyes permanently and walk toward the light, some creepy Mormon would sneak up to your grave and baptize you against your will? (For a full view of the funny, funny image on the right, go to All Hat No Cattle – make it go viral.)

Mormon ritual is no threat to Jews, declares Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, who says he knew that some Mormons, eager to save the souls of dead Jews, had taken to submitting the names of Holocaust victims for posthumous baptism.

“The discovery didn’t trouble me at all. In Judaism, conversion after death is a concept without meaning; no after-the-fact rites in this world can possibly change the Jewishness of the men, women, children, and babies whom the Nazis, in their obsessive hatred, singled out for extermination. I found the Mormons’ belief eccentric, not offensive. By my lights, their efforts to make salvation available to millions of deceased strangers were ineffectual. But plainly they were sincere, and intended as a kindness.”

Elie Wiesel Wants Romney to Denounce Mormon Posthumous Baptisms

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

The Boston Globe wrote Saturday that Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel wants Mitt Romney to speak out against the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing Jews.

“He is a Mormon, and since he’s running for president – the highest office in the world, not only in America – he should know what is happening, and he should have said simply, ‘It is wrong,”’ Wiesel, a professor at Boston University, said in an interview.

Wiesel’s comments could put Romney in the uncomfortable position of defending one of his church’s rituals that is little understood outside the world of Mormonism and has been the source of controversy with Jews in the past.

Romney’s campaign said yesterday that any questions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be directed to the church.

The church acknowledged earlier this week that Wiesel’s name and the names of his late father and grandfather had been entered into a genealogical database as candidates ready for posthumous rites.

Secret Posthumous Mormon Baptism of Holocaust Victims, Jewish Leaders

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The secret posthumous baptism of key Jewish figures by the Mormon church has caused outrage in the Jewish community and led to an apology by Mormon leaders.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned the Mormon church for performing baptismal rites on the parents of Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Wiesenthal’s parents, Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal, according to the Associated Press. The baptisms took place in late January at temples in Arizona and Utah.

The proxy ceremonies are believed by Mormons to allow the deceased into the afterlife by giving them the Gospel.  Names are submitted by Mormon Church members, and are then given baptisms without their presence, or the presence or even notification of their families.

After Jewish groups protested the practice of baptizing members of their faith without their consent or the consent of the families of the deceased, the Mormon Church issued a promise in 1995 not to continue the practice.

Yet records indicate Wiesenthal’s parents, Asher and Rosa Rapp Wiesenthal, were baptized in proxy ceremonies performed by Mormon church members at temples in Arizona and Utah in late January.

The Mormon Church has baptized many figures involved in the Holocaust – and not just Jewish victims, such as Anne Frank.  Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were also baptized by the Church in separate ceremonies decades apart, with Hitler being “bound” to his parents in a ceremony in 1993.

Other Jewish figures, such as the great Jewish sage and scholar Mamonides (Rambam), Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein, and author Elie Wiesel have also been baptized, as well as hundreds of Holocaust victims.

“We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon temples,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in a statement by the Associated Press.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints replied with an apology in a statement issued Monday.  “We sincerely regret that the actions of an individual member of the church led to the inappropriate submission of these names [of Wiesenthal’s parents],” Micharel Purdy, spokesman for the Church said.  “We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person’s ability to access our genealogy records.’’

The discovery of many posthumous baptisms has been conducted by Helen Radkey, a former Mormon who has dedicated herself to uncovering this practice and the specific individuals who have been baptized.  She also found that the family members of several US political figures – the mother of President Barack Obama and the atheist father of presidential candidate Mitt Romeny – had undergone the ritual.

Haggadah Aims To Make Rav Soloveitchik ‘Come Alive’

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Among the many posthumous additions to Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s literary legacy, one book always seemed conspicuously absent: a Soloveitchik Haggadah in English.

No more. Last month Rabbi Menachem Genack, rabbinic administrator for the Orthodox Union’s Kashruth Division, filled the void with the publication of The Seder Night: An Exalted Evening (OU Press).

A student in Rav Soloveitchik’s shiur for close to 20 years, Rabbi Genack compiled the Soloveitchik Haggadah commentary from audiotapes, class notes, and Rav Soloveitchik’s previously published writings.

 

 

Rabbi Menachem Genack

The editor of two previous works by Rav Soloveitchik, Rabbi Genack also serves as spiritual leader of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Englewood, New Jersey, and lectures at Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school. The Jewish Press recently spoke with him about the new Haggadah and the legacy of Rav Soloveitchik, whom he, like many others, affectionately refers to as “the Rav.”

The Jewish Press: What inspired you to put this Haggadah together?

Rabbi Genack: Part of our mission here at the OU (and mine as well) is to make the Rav’s Torah and chiddushim available to a large audience. To that end we started by publishing the Rav Soloveitchik Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur machzorim last year with ArtScroll, and we’re planning in the future to put out a kinos, siddur, bencher and Megillas Esther from the Rav as well. All of those projects are well into development.

How is this Haggadah different than other haggados, or is it different?

Well, it’s substantially different because it’s the Rav’s material Anybody who ever heard Rav Soloveitchik’s shiurim will always remember the first shiur he heard because it was so mind expanding and transformative. It opened up new horizons for a person.

Sometimes in the Rav’s printed word, his language – while still very eloquent – is more obscure, not as accessible. What we tried to do is capture, to the extent possible, the eloquence and excitement that anybody who ever went to a shiur of the Rav experienced. We wanted to make a Haggadah that made the Rav come alive.

In the last 10-15 years, tens of books by Rav Soloveitchik have appeared on the market. How do you view this development?

I think there’s a thirst to learn about Rav Soloveitchik. He was just sui generis, in a class by himself – both in terms of the excitement and dynamism of his presentation and in terms of the power of his insights. When you heard his insights, they were so compelling you would say, “Oh, that’s so obviously true.” But until he presented it, it wasn’t so obvious.

Describe your relationship with Rav Soloveitchik.

I was a talmid of his. I started going to the shiurim at Moriah [a synagogue on Manhattan's West Side] when I was in high school, and then I continued going to his shiurim [in Yeshiva University] even after I was working here at the OU. I used to shuttle back and forth. I was not so foolish as to leave something so extraordinary.

I also worked with Rav Soloveitchik in publishing some of his halachic material and yahrzeit shiurim – every year Rav Soloveitchik gave a shiur for the yahrzeit of his father in front of close to 2,000 people. I used to come to his apartment every Wednesday and work with him. The Soloveitchiks in general are perfectionists and have an aversion to publishing, so I often urged him to publish – and I guess I convinced him at some stage.

This Haggadah is OU Press’s first publication. Why did you start OU Press and what will some of its future publications be?

Well, we’ve published books before. We published four volumes of Rav Soloveitchik’s chiddushim on different mesechtos or topics (Yoreh De’ah,Hilchos Aveilus,Meseches Challah and Meseches Gittin) and another three are coming out this year. We also published 23 issues of a halachic journal called Mesorah that contains chiddushei Torah from Rav Soloveitchik and contemporary halachic issues in kashrus.

But we started OU Press as a platform for scholars to publish their works, and we hope the Rav Soloveitchik works I mentioned earlier will be the engine for this. For instance we recently spoke to Menachem Leibtag, a young scholar who is an expert in Tanach and is working on a sefer about different themes in Sefer Bereishis. Over time we hope to publish many seforim and books that will hopefully capture the imagination of our constituency .

OU Press is not meant to supplant what everybody else is doing. We’re just trying to serve our constituency directly.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles//2009/02/11/

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