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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘problems’

Shidduch Problems Are Nothing New

Friday, June 17th, 2016

For the past couple of weeks in this column we’ve been discussing shudduchim; specifically the challenges singles face in finding their intended mates.

My husband, of blessed memory, related to me that prior to the Holocaust his father, the revered sage HaRav HaGaon HaTzaddik Osher Anshil HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, tried to make a shidduch for his daughter, my husband’s older sister. She was stunningly beautiful, bright, talented, and blessed with exemplary middos. Her chesed was of legendary proportions, but despite all these attributes there were terrible difficulties in making a shidduch for her.

The reason was simple enough – a prerequisite for a good shidduch in those days was for the girl’s family to offer a substantial dowry. As a rabbi struggling on a meager salary, my father-in-law barely managed to support his family and could not offer the dowry that parents of outstanding boys were seeking for their sons.

Having no option, my revered father-in-law approached various members of his congregation, explained his predicament, and asked for a raise in salary. They were all sympathetic and understanding of their beloved rabbi’s situation. The long-awaited night of the congregational meeting arrived – and, incredibly, the request was voted down.

You can imagine the terrible disappointment. Trying to understand what could possibly have gone wrong, my husband’s older brother, HaRav HaGaon Moshe Nossen Notte, Hy”d, quipped, “It’s like bassar v’cholov [meat and milk]: separately, they’re kosher, but when you combine then, they become treif!”

And so it was that my beautiful sister-in-law was taken to Auschwitz without having known the joy of going under the chuppah.

Why do I relate this painfully sad story? The answer should be obvious. Every generation has its own daunting shidduch challenges. Unfortunately, finding the right shidduch is not a new phenomenon, nor is it limited to our contemporary world.

We, the Jewish people, have always been keenly aware of the overwhelming difficulty inherent in this search. No sooner is a child born than we bless the new arrival with an amazing berachah: “L’Torah, l’chuppah, l’ma’asim tovim – May this child live a life of Torah, go under the chuppah and be an embodiment of good deeds.”

Once, as this blessing was being pronounced at a bris, I happened to overhear a young women laughingly say to her friend, “We Jews are something else. The poor kid just came into this world and we are already worried about his shidduch!”

“Forgive me,” I said to her, “but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation. You are quite correct. From the very moment of birth we beseech the Almighty to guide our child to his designated soul mate, for that is the most daunting challenge to humankind – a challenge so awesome it can make or break a man and leave indelible marks on future generations.

“So it is that even as we wish mazel tov, we understand the wish must go with a prayer that G-d grant the parent the merit of seeing that child under the chuppah. It is a gift no Jewish parent takes for granted. The Torah itself testifies to this by relating in great detail the efforts of Avraham Avinu when he sought a wife for his son Yitzchak. Indeed, one might wonder why the Torah, the holiest of Books, in which G-d proclaims His Divine commandments, would dwell on a parent’s shidduch search. But the question itself is the answer, for the very fact that Hashem devotes an entire parshah to it testifies to its importance. There can be no greater priority for Jewish parents.”

Tragically, in our society parents have little if anything to say. Very often mothers or fathers quietly consult me to see if I can do something for their children, and they invariably add that their children are not to know.

Just consider that for a moment. I, a non-family member, can ask or recommend, but a mother or father has to remain silent. This is the culture we’ve created.

Our father Avraham was the wealthiest, most prominent man in his generation. He had vast holdings – real estate, livestock, servants, etc. The shidduch parshah opens (Bereishis: 24:1) with the Torah relating that Avraham was on in years and had made his last will and testament. He called in the loyal executor of his estate, Eliezer, and charged him with the responsibility of carrying out his will. Amazingly, nothing was said of his material possessions. Avraham made only one demand of Eliezer: that he find a shidduch for Yitzchak in accordance with his specifications.

In our day this would be laughable. The money, the real estate, the livestock – all are of no consequence. The only priority is a shidduch – and that the girl Yitzchak would marry should meet Avraham’s specifications. Obviously the Torah is teaching us something we have yet to learn.

 

To be continued

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Problems with New Russian Ballistic Missile

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Testing of the new RS-28 Sarmat, a futuristic Russian liquid-fueled, multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), super-heavy thermonuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile has been suspended until at least the second half of 2016, TASS reported.

The Sarmat is intended to replace the SS-18 Satan (who says Russians aren’t great at naming things?).

Even though the folks at the he Plesetsk space center have fixed the problems with the launcher and it is ready to handle the Sarmat prototype, there are problems with the missile, a source in the Russian defense industry complex told TASS on Wednesday.

“The missile’s pop-up tests have been postponed until the second half of the year,” the source said, explaining that “the tests were previously postponed because the silo was not ready, and now the missile is not ready.”

According to the source, the retooling of the silo for the Sarmat was completed in April.

A different source in the defense industry told TASS earlier that the pop-up tests of Sarmat were first set for March, then pushed to the second quarter of 2016, and now it looks like they need more time.

Sarmat has a large payload, allowing for up to 10 heavy warheads or 15 lighter ones, or a combination of warheads and massive amounts of substances intended to fool anti-missile systems. It is the Russian military’s answer to the US Prompt Global Strike (PGS), a system that will be able to deliver a precision-guided conventional weapon airstrike anywhere in the world within one hour, just like a nuclear ICBM.

David Israel

Why They Hate Us

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Boy, do they hate America.

I’m on a flight in Tanzania, having left Rwanda where we made a second tour of the genocide sites with the impending twentieth anniversary of the slaughter, when I meet a very fine Pakistani family going on safari.

We exchange pleasantries. They have children studying in the UK, as do many upper-class Pakistani families. My wife and I lived in the UK. We find much to talk about. I relate to them all the Pakistani students I knew at Oxford who were regulars at our events. They tell me of their trip to see the mountain gorillas and how they are enjoying Africa.

Suddenly, the father says to me, “I was in Israel recently. I enjoyed it. But I was disgusted at the treatment of the Palestinians who cannot even go from Bethlehem into Jerusalem.”

I explain to him that the checkpoints are relatively new. “They did not exist when I was a student in Jerusalem. They were set up after a wave of terror bombings killed thousands of Israeli civilians. You can hardly blame Israel from trying to stop the slaughter.”

“The slaughter?” he says, “You mean the way Israel massacres Palestinians every day. And it’s all funded by America, who is the biggest murderer in the world. Just look at the 100 people every day being killed in Iraq.”

I raise my eyebrows, trying to remain calm and provoked. “But that’s being done by Islamic terrorists. What does it have to do with America? We Americans died to liberate the Iraqis. We spent more than a trillion dollars of our national treasure on complete strangers to stop them from being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein.”

He ignores the facts and continues his diatribe. “America is now slaughtering everyone in Afghanistan, just to destabilize the region, and blaming everything on Pakistan.”

“America is trying to save Afghanistan from the Taliban,” I counter, “monsters who brutalize women, fanatics that behead those who don’t conform to their religious extremes.”

“Nonsense,” he says, “the Taliban is infinitely more humane that the Americans and their agents in the Middle East, the Israelis.”

By now I’ve had enough and I go on the offensive.

“Why was Osama bin Laden living in Abbotabad, a mile from Pakistan’s West Point? Who was sheltering a man who killed 3000 innocent Americans?”

And here he makes my jaw drop. “Three thousand Americans dead is nothing, a drop in the ocean, compared to how many Muslims America has killed.”

You may wonder why I am relating this story. It’s an isolated incident, right? But it’s not. It’s a sentiment I encountered in so many parts of Africa where I traveled to Rwanda, to again see the genocide sites and meet with government officials, and then to Arusha in Tanzania, to see the criminal courts where the Rwandan genocidaires were tried.

Readers of my columns will know that I am one of Jewry’s foremost defenders of Islam. I remind Jewish audiences constantly that we dare not de-contexualize the current frictions between Jews and Muslims. Saladin welcomed the Jews back to Jerusalem in 1187 when he captured the holy city from the crusaders who massacred every last Jew. The Ottomans took in large numbers of Jews when we were expelled from Catholic Spain and Portugal. Jews flourished in many Islamic lands where the Koran said they would have to be treated as second-class citizens but should otherwise not suffer persecution. I took Dr. Oz, during our recent visit to Israel together, to see the tomb of Maimonides in Tiberius, explaining that the greatest Muslim ruler that ever lived made the great sage his personal physician. Whenever some of my Jewish colleagues speak of Islam as an inherently violent religion, citing verses in the Koran to prove it, I remind them that there are plenty of verses of our own Torah which can be taken out of context and sound pretty violent. It all comes down to how these passages are interpreted.

But with that being said, there is no question in my mind that Islam is undergoing a modern crisis which perhaps only its clerics and lay leaders can rescue it from. Here in Tanzania there was a terrible story just a week ago when two British female Jewish teenagers were attacked with acid by Islamic assailants.

It’s not that imams and are preaching violence, although many unfortunately do. It’s rather that they preach victimhood. America is to blame for their problems. Israel is to blame for their suffering.

Where are the Islamic leaders and clerics who are prepared to say, “We are responsible for our own problems. We are taking a great world religion and turning it insular and away from secular knowledge rather than finding the balance between the holy and the mundane. We are not empowering women to be the equals of men in all spheres. We Palestinians took the largest per capita foreign aid ever given to a people and we allowed corruption and hatred of Israel to squander the funds on bombs and bullets rather than building universities and schools. We elect leaders democratically who then, like Hamas, or Muhammad Morsi, precede to dismantle democratic institutions. We see the Jews as our enemies rather than using them as an example of what we ourselves should aspire to. They returned to their land after long ago being dispersed by foreign European powers and made the desert bloom. We can surely do the same.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/why-they-hate-us/2013/08/19/

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