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August 25, 2016 / 21 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘prayers’

The Prayers Of A Lifetime

Friday, July 29th, 2016

To the Nazis, he was A-7713, the number burned into his arm in a concentration camp. However, to the rest of the world, Elie Wiesel was an unwavering voice for the six million Jews who were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Half a century ago, before Holocaust education became commonplace, Mr. Wiesel began publishing his searing accounts and, by extension, urged the world to stand up and prevent genocide and torture against all people. He was a man of conviction, encapsulated in his own words: “We must always take sides.”

Elie Wiesel with Rabbi Yitzchok Avigdor

Elie Wiesel with Rabbi Yitzchok Avigdor

He spoke to world leaders about the lessons of brutality he had personally endured. He campaigned against modern-day despots and decried terrorists. His cause was the defense of people of all faiths, nationalities, and countries against oppressors.

A Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, he was a friend to presidents and prime ministers, yet his conscience always came first. He was not swayed by the winds of contemporary politics and warned the West of the growing danger of Iranian aggression and the need to halt its quest for nuclear weapons.

His most famous moment came when President Ronald Reagan scheduled a visit to Bitburg, a German military cemetery where some SS troops were buried. Mr. Wiesel confronted the president during a 1985 White House ceremony conducted in his honor. “I belong to a people that speaks truth to power,” Mr. Wiesel said. “That place, Mr. President, is not your place. Your place is with the victims of the SS.”

But there was another side to Mr. Wiesel, a more personal aspect to this man who did so much to change the world. Mordechai Avigdor, whose family shared close ties with Mr. Wiesel, shared his recollection of the time he davened at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue on Selichos night. After the chazan had finished and people headed for the door, Mordechai made his way over to Mr. Wiesel, a longtime family friend. However, he had to wait – Mr. Wiesel was still praying, slowly and carefully.

But, Mordechai adds, Elie Wiesel’s shul membership had an incredible history. More than seventy years ago, a few Jews secretly gathered to form a minyan in the midst of the horror that was the Buchenwald concentration camp. Broken in body but maintaining their spirits, they risked their lives to gather one Shabbos and daven. The ba’al tefillah was Mordechai’s grandfather, Rav Yaakov Avigdor, chief rabbi of Drohobycz, Poland in pre-war Europe. Amongst the congregants were Elie Wiesel and Yossel Friedenson, the late editor of Dos Yiddish Vort. Undeterred by the lack of siddurim, Rav Yaakov enunciated each word of the tefillos clearly to allow the mispallelim to recite the prayers along with him. After the minyan concluded Shacharis, those assembled assumed that Rav Yaakov would begin Mussaf immediately as the obvious absence of a Sefer Torah or even a Chumash would preclude any form of krias haTorah.

Letters from Elie Wiesel to Rabbi Yitzchok Avigdor. The one in Yiddish is written to congratulate Rabbi Avigdor on his 50th wedding anniversary. (Avigdor Collection, Amud Aish Archives)

Letters from Elie Wiesel to Rabbi Yitzchok Avigdor. The one in Yiddish is written to congratulate Rabbi Avigdor on his 50th wedding anniversary. (Avigdor Collection, Amud Aish Archives)

 

However, that was not to be. To the amazement of the bedraggled group of prisoners, Rav Yaakov proceeded to recite the entire parsha from memory. In Mordechai Avigdor’s words, “It was a chizuk for a lifetime. Elie Wiesel, my grandfather, Buchenwald, and the minyan. From that moment, our family had a connection with him. We were all kinsmen, landsleit.”

Rabbi Dovid Reidel

A Beautiful Morning in Jerusalem

Monday, May 30th, 2016
Photo of the Day

Jewish Bride Arrested at Temple Mount on Her Wedding Day

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Just after 11 am this morning (Thursday, July 30) Israel Police arrested a Jewish bride who ascended to the Temple Mount for a contemplative moment prior to her nuptials scheduled for later in the day.

The reason for the arrest is not yet clear.

Police on the Mount are known to arrest Jews for “infractions” as specious as moving one’s lips, and whispering words which might appear to be prayers — or even might actually be prayers — even though the Supreme Court legally upheld the right for visitors to the site to pray.

Only Muslims have actually been allowed by security forces at the Temple Mount to pray, however, regardless of what the law says.

Authority over the Temple Mount, although technically overseen by Israel, is actually controlled by the Kingdom of Jordan via the Islamic Waqf Authority.

Rehavia Piltz, attorney for the bride, is allegedly on the way to the police precinct to request an expedited release so the bride will make it to her chuppah on time, according to Rotter.net.

The police have continued to routinely violate an Israeli law guaranteeing “freedom of worship” which is declared in the Declaration of Independence and among the nation’s set of Basic Laws.

Israel’s Supreme Court recently upheld the right of Jewish visitors to pray on the site, considered the holiest of all in Judaism. It is the third most holy in Islam.

Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Malka Aviv ruled in the first week of March of this year that the Israel Police ban on prayer at the site has been implemented “without appropriate consideration, was arbitrary and only out of concern for the consequences of the broadcast.” In addition, she wrote, “Police must make sure that Jews are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.”

The decision was handed down in the case of Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick, founder and director of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation. Glick was the target of an assassination attempt that nearly succeeded last October; he was shot by a radical Islamic terrorist four times at point-blank range after speaking at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. He was shot for his continued activities in bringing the Temple Mount into the forefront of Israeli politics.

The rabbi challenged a two-year ban by Israel Police that barred him from entering the Temple Mount after he had been spotted on a Channel 10 broadcast praying on the site. He was represented by attorney Aviad Visoly.

Glick was awarded half a million shekels in compensation for losses to his livelihood – he leads tours on the Mount – and another NIS 150,000 in damages, to be paid by police.

Hana Levi Julian

Knesset Synagogue Bars Reform and Conservative Jews from ‘Mixed Prayer’

Friday, November 28th, 2014

American rabbinical students from the Conservative movement studying in Israel were prevented from holding afternoon prayers with men and women together in the Knesset synagogue, JTA reported.

Haaretz reported that the decision was handed down by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and the students were offered alternative place to pray. Reform and Reconstructionist students also were in the group at the Knesset, where the synagogue is designated as Orthodox.

“A lot of the students were very upset and shocked,” said Rabbi Joel Levy, director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, who submitted the request on behalf of the students, told Haaretz. “You’d think that the Knesset would be a place of ingathering of the Jewish people, but actually we learned that it has boundaries that don’t include liberal Jews. Paradoxically, this decision served as an appropriate end to our conversation about religion and state in Israel.”

(One wonders if they are equally as upset and shocked that no Jews are allowed to pray on Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.)

So here we go again. The Knesset implicitly a place that is not for the “ingathering of the Jewish people” because the synagogue is Orthodox.

Not only that, but “liberal Jews” are not allowed.

The minute they throw around the term “egalitarian prayers,” Orthodoxy has three strikes against it.

Once Judaism is defined by secular values, it becomes a monopoly of the liberals, who are tolerant of everyone who accepts them and then close the doors on anyone who challenges their power.

Power is what the argument is all about. It is the same issue that is behind the Women of the Wall movement, which gathered hundreds of thousands of supporters in the United States but which in practice cannot come up with more than a few dozen people –perhaps 100 on a sunny day – to demonstrate,  whoops – pray,  at the Western Wall once a month.

So here comes the Masoriti movement to the Knesset, where it wants their students to have a real spiritual experience and pray – men and women together – in the legislature’s synagogue.

When the Orthodox Jews set the rules, it is called a monopoly.

When the “liberals” set the rules, it is called democracy.

It would be interesting to know if the students at the Knesset have an afternoon prayer service every day, or is it only when they visit the Knesset?

And if they do, why cannot they respect the sanctity of the lace where there is a minyan of Jews every day, three times a day, instead of grabbing headlines for their “egalitarian” agenda that they think is “modern” and superior?

Okay. We gave them their headlines, just like we did with the Women of the Wall.

I wish the students an enjoyable visit in Israel but ask, “Why is it that Orthodox Jews make up such large numbers of those who move to Israel?”

Do the Reform and Conservative Jews visit Israel and go “home” because there is no mixed seating in the Knesset synagogue?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Clean Up the Wall

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Western Wall’s employees, remove thousands of handwritten notes placed between the ancient stones of the Kotel, the Western Wall, Judaism’s second holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The operation is carried out twice each year: before the Passover festival in the spring and at the Jewish New Year in the fall.

The prayer supplications will be buried on Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives).

Photo of the Day

Selichot

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Many Jewish communities have the custom of saying Selichot (forgiveness prayers) during the entire month of Elul, leading up to the High Holidays.

Photo of the Day

Jordan Says Law Prevents Jews from Praying on Temple Mount

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Jordan’s State Minister for Media Affairs warned on Monday that Israel’s allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount and “allowing extremist settlers to violate the sanctity of Al Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police and army, will ignite violence and religious extremism in the region.”

Jordan’s official Petra News Agency reported that the minister, Mohammed Momani, pointed “to the religious importance of Al Aqsa Mosque to 1.7 billion Muslims as it is one of Islam’s three holiest sites and Islam’s first Qiblah.”

No mention was made that the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site, and the Jordan Times stated, “By law, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site and although non-Muslim visitors are permitted, such high-profile visits by right-wing government figures are very rare and tend to stoke tensions.”

The statement referred to Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who frequently visits the Temple Mount and did so on Sunday, prompting Arabs to riot and throw rocks at policemen.

“Jordan rejects Israeli escalation in Al-Aqsa as well as measures that allow radicals to violate Al-Aqsa under protection of police and occupation forces,” Momani said.

Contrary to the Jordanian report, there is no law barring Jews from praying at the Temple Mount. The Chief Rabbinate, citing Jewish laws, forbids Jews from ascending to the location where the First and Holy Temples once stood. An increasing number of national religious rabbis allow and often encourage Jews to ascend to certain parts of the Temple Mount, after immersing in a mikveh (ritual bath).

The “law” against praying on the Temple Mount is imposed by the Muslim authorities on the Temple Mount, whose a ”custodianship” was granted by Israel to Jordan, the same Jordan that closed all holy sites to Jews and Christians during its occupation of the Old City of Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria from 1949 to 1967.

The question remains why the Arabs are so afraid that a Jew will pray on the Temple Mount? The standard answer is that they are afraid that Jews will eventually build a synagogue there. The Arab world loves to be paranoia that the Jews in Israel secretly want to undermine the Al Aqsa mosque and cause its collapse, making way for the building of the Third Temple.

That idea is ridiculous, if for no other reason than 99 percent of the construction workers in Israel are Arabs. Can you see Arabs going to work to build the Third Temple in place of the Al Aqsa mosque?

But there is another reason the Arabs don’t want Jews praying there, or anywhere else for that matter. God might listen to the Jews’ prayers.

The Muslims are big on making themselves heard. The loudspeakers at every mosque in the world, especially in liberal Israel, produce enough noise pollution to put a Madonna concert to shame.

The loudspeakers routinely drown out Jewish prayers at the Patriarchs’ Cave in Hebron and often at the Western Wall. It brings to mind the shouts of the idol worshippers whom the Prophet Elijah challenged to offer sacrifices and bring rain to break a drought.

When the rain did not come, he asked them, “Wha’ happened? Maybe your gods are asleep? Yell a bit louder and wake them up.”

When the idol worshippers gave up, Elijah offered sacrifices, doused the altar with water and prayed to God, Who responded with a holy message – rain.

The Muslim idiots don’t realize that the essence of Jewish prayers are the Shema, recited out loud with the second verse said in a faint whisper that no one except the worshipper and God can hear, and the Silent Prayer, known as the Amidah, which is recited three times day.

God responds to prayers, not noise, and the more noise Jordan makes, the more God is going to hear the whispered prayers of Jews, even those prayers that cannot be said on the Temple Mount because of Islamic paranoia, which is the real incitement to violence.

The video below shows one of those Muslims on the Temple Mount cursing Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who was ushered by policemen off the Temple Mount lest his presence “incite violence.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jordan-says-law-prevents-jews-from-praying-on-temple-mount/2014/03/18/

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