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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘reason’

BULLETPROOF – What’s the Real Reason World Leaders are Coming to Peres’ Funeral? [audio]

Friday, September 30th, 2016

What’s the real reason why world leaders, and even Mahmood Abbas are attending Peres’ funeral? It may not be why you think. Ari gives his take on the matter.

BULLETPROOF 29Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Interior Ministry Cancels Netanya Municipality’s Award, the Reason: Mayor in Jail

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

The Netanya municipality was scheduled to receive the Interior Ministry’s Proper Financial Management Award, which will be given this Monday in a ceremony at the Jerusalem Convention Center to dozens of local municipalities that have met the ministry’s standards. This years the list includes Yavne, Kiryat Bialik, Kiryat Ata and Hod Hasharon, among many others. But at the last-minute this beautiful, coastal city, a third of the way between Tel Aviv and Haifa, was taken off the list.

Netanya has been an award recipient for the past consecutive four years, and the staff at City Hall told Clacalist they were frankly surprised at the decision to withdraw them from the list. A Calcalist inquiry with the Interior Ministry revealed that the decision came after the arrest of Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg Ikar on suspicions of corruption. Israel police arrested Feirberg and several of her colleagues and relatives on September 7, 2016 on charges of bribery, fraud, and abuse of power. Apparently the ministry preferred to err on the side of caution, especially since the current Interior Minster, Aryeh Deri (Shas) has himself served a hefty stint in prison for embezzlement.

The Interior Minister’s Proper Financial Management Award is given once a year to dozens of municipalities in Israel that show proper financial management and responsible behavior on the part of senior officials in local government. The parameters tested include deficits, income, expenses and rates of real estate tax collections. Other areas include proper awarding of bids.

Although it does not spell it out, the rules for the award most likely do not allow for the recipients to be under police investigation.

JNi.Media

Faith Over Reason

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Amongst the hundreds of commandments that God bestows upon the people of Israel, are many that on the surface are difficult to understand. These are classically called “Hok,” or “Hukim” in the plural. King Solomon himself, that most wisest of men, is quoted as stating that the law of the Red Heifer, featured in this week’s Torah reading, was beyond his comprehension.

The Temple rite of the Red Heifer consisted of a rare cow, completely covered in red hair, that was ritually slaughtered and subsequently burned. The resulting ashes were then mixed in water and that water was sprinkled over individuals, purifying those who had been ritually impure because of contact with the dead. What was perhaps most ironic about the rite was that the Kohen doing the sprinkling and having been ritually pure beforehand, became impure by the end of the rite, even though he was the source and cause of purification in others. It’s as if by purifying the other, he absorbs some of the impurity himself.

Nonetheless, the Sfat Emet in 5632 (1872) explains the path to understanding these perhaps incomprehensible commandments. He states that of course every commandment has a reason, but that we can’t understand the reason until after we accept the commandment without an explanation. Then, according to the level of faith, of acceptance of the commandment and the willingness to perform it without understanding, so too will be the level of understanding we achieve.

He further explains that the reasons behind these commandments are actually spiritual matters as opposed to merely intellectual exercises and only the spirit has the capacity to understand, or more accurately to “sense,” the reason behind the commandments.

May we develop the capacity to believe so that eventually we may understand.

Shabbat Shalom,

Dedicated to the Jewish Community of Uruguay on the celebration of its 100th anniversary.

 

Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz

Reflections on the Divine Image

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following sermon was delivered by Rabbi Lamm on October 15, 1960. What’s truly astonishing is how relevant his remarks remain more than 52 years later; indeed, had we not just noted the date on which the speech originally was given, readers likely would have assumed it to be of very recent vintage.

This and 34 other lectures and speeches given by Rabbi Lamm between 1952 and 1976, while he served as a congregational rabbi in New York and Massachusetts, appear in a new anthology, “Drashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages,” published by Maggid, a division of Koren.

The concept of man’s creation betzelem Elokim, in the image of God, is one of the most sublime ideas that man possesses, and is decisive in the Jewish concept of man.

What does it mean when we say that man was created in the image of God?

Varying interpretations have been offered, each reflecting the general ideological orientation of the interpreter.

The philosophers of Judaism, the fathers of our rationalist tradition, maintain that the image of God is expressed, in man, by his intellect.

Thus, Saadia Gaon and Maimonides maintain that sechel, reason, which separates man from animal, is the element of uniqueness that is in essence a divine quality. The intellectual function is thus what characterizes man as tzelem Elokim.

However, the ethical tradition of Judaism does not agree with that interpretation.

Thus, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, in his Mesilat Yesharim, does not accept reason as the essence of the divine image. A man can, by exercise of his intellect, know what is good but fail to act upon it. Also, the restriction of tzelem Elokim to reason means that only geniuses can truly qualify as being created in the image of God.

Hence, Luzzatto offers an alternative and perhaps more profound definition. The tzelem Elokim in which man was created is that of ratzon – the freedom of will. The fact that man has a choice between good and evil, between right and wrong, between obedience and disobedience to God, is what expresses the image of God in which he was born. An animal has no freedom to act; a man does. That ethical freedom makes man unique in the creation.

But how does the freedom of the human will express itself? A man does not assert his freedom by merely saying “yes” to all that is presented to him. Each of us finds himself born into a society which is far from perfect. We are all born with a set of animal drives, instincts, and intuitions. If we merely nod our heads in assent to all those forces which seem more powerful than us, then we are merely being passive, plastic, and devoid of personality. We are then not being free, and we are not executing our divine right of choice.

* * * * *

Freedom, the image of God, is expressed in the word “no.” When we negate that which is indecent, evil, ungodly; when we have the courage, the power, and the might to rise and announce with resolve that we shall not submit to the pressures to conform to that which is cheap, that which is evil, that which is indecent and immoral – then we are being free men and responding to the inner divine image in which we are created.

The late Rabbi Aaron Levine, the renowned Reszher Rav, interpreted, in this manner, the famous verse from Ecclesiastes (3:19) which we recite every morning as part of our preliminary prayers. Solomon tells us, “Umotar haadam min habehema ayin,” which is usually translated as “And the preeminence of man over beast is naught.”

Rabbi Levine, however, prefers to give the verse an interpretation other than the pessimistic, gloomy apparent meaning. He says: “And the preeminence of man over beast is ayin, ‘no.’ ”

What is it that gives man his distinction? What is it that makes man different from the rest of creation, superior to the rest of the natural world? It is his capacity to say ayin, his capacity to face the world and announce that he will not submit to it, that he will accept the challenge and respond “no.”

Rabbi Norman Lamm

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/reflections-on-the-divine-image/2013/02/06/

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