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December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Rosh Hashana’

Selichot

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Ashkenazi Jews begin saying Selichot tonight, the week of Rosh Hashana.

Selichot are forgiveness prayers that are customarily said before the Rosh Hashana holiday, until Yom Kippur. They’re typically said after midnight.

Jews of Sephardi descent say Selichot for the entire month of Elul, which is the month leading up to Rosh Hashana.

Negotiations With Hamas Moved Up a Day

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Negotiations between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group were supposed to recommence this Wednesday in Cairo, but someone with a Jewish calendar must have finally realized that Wednesday night begins the High Holiday of Rosh Hashana, and the timing was not the best.

So, the “indirect” negotiations were pushed forward by one day, to this Tuesday.

Presumably Israel will tell Hamas to demilitarize, and Hamas will respond by demanding a sea and air port, so they can more easily import larger missiles, then everyone will wish each other happy new year, and go home.

Whether or not an unsatisfied Hamas will launch rockets at Israel during the holidays remains to be seen.

The Power of the Pomegranate

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Hamas Planned Rosh Hashana Tunnel Surprise

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

JERUSALEM – Hamas had been preparing a murderous massive assault on Israeli civilian targets during the upcoming Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashanah – according to anonymous sources in the Israeli security services cited by the Israeli daily Maariv.

Hamas had been planning a surprise attack where 200 fighters would have been dispatched through the dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel. The terror organization aimed to seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians. In total, thousands of Hamas terrorists would have been swarming across Israel, wearing IDF uniforms, which would have further complicated an Israeli response. Reports further indicate that Hezbollah may have planned to join the attack as well, opening another front in the north.

The source stressed that the current unplanned war with Hamas inadvertently thwarted a catastrophic event on an apocalyptic magnitude such as the Yom Kippur War, which would have ‘brought the State of Israel to its knees.’ The destruction of these tunnels takes away from Hamas a strategic weapon it has been working on and investing in heavily for years according to the source.

Each tunnel has arteries, veins, offshoots as well as offshoots of offshoots designed in intricate and complex arrangements. As one Israeli spokesman said, “There are two Gazas, one above ground and one below ground: an underground terrorist city.”

Speaking to the CBC, a senior Israeli defense official said the Israeli military had considerable prior knowledge of Hamas weaponry and tunnels, but was still “surprised” by the extent of both when the current ground operation began. He added that the network had not been detected by aerial surveillance, because Hamas had solved the most obvious problem: how to hide the piles of sand removed from the tunnels. This, he said, was painstakingly taken away, a few bags at a time, and stored out of sight in buildings and underneath greenhouses.

The official said Hamas had diverted huge quantities of cement, imported for civilian construction, into the building of concrete-block walls and roofs for the tunnels. As an example, he cited a 1.7-kilometer tunnel discovered in February 2013 that Israeli engineers estimated would have required 500 tons of concrete – “enough to build a three-story hospital.”

Israel has discovered 31 tunnels so far, and has destroyed several of them by employing bulldozers, explosive and other methods. IDF excavation of the tunnels has resulted in the seizure of tons of Hamas supplies, as well as the discovery of plans for future operations.

Israeli soldiers have already frustrated several surprise assaults by Hamas through tunnels from Gaza into southern Israel. On July 21, ten Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel. They were immediately spotted and eliminated, but the clash cost the lives of two IDF soldiers.

Speaking with Tazpit News Agency, Minister Ya’acov Perry, a member of the Israeli Security Cabinet, commended the IDF for its outstanding achievements. “The IDF is working to uncover a network of underground tunnels that could have created unbearable terrorist attacks,” he said.

He further commended the IDF’s prior intelligence, which enabled these achievements. “I am sure that Israeli technology, which has provided us with the Iron Dome, will provide us with a solution for the terror tunnels as well.” He said various solutions were currently being examined. He further stressed that military capabilities and technological advantages were not enough. A comprehensive reality – changing diplomatic solution must be presented as well.

Writing for Gatestone, Lawrence Franklin says that the construction of network of tunnels used hundreds of tons of concrete that might otherwise have been used by the Palestinians for building homes, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals and libraries.

Fast of Gedaliah

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah.

Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea.

Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover.

On Rosh Hashana, Yishmael Ben Netaniah (a descendant of the royal house) and his team of assassins murdered Gedaliah and those with him. This directly led to the end of Jewish autonomy in Judea, the slaughter of thousands of Jews, and eventually, the end of all Jewish life in the Land of Israel for decades, until the end of the Babylonian exile.

While the assassination occurred on Rosh Hashana, the fast day was placed on the third day of the month of Tishrei, immediately following Rosh Hashana.

The story is recounted in the Book of Yirmiyahu, chapters 41-43.

Arabs Stone Temple Mount Visitors, Try to Block Jewish Entry

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The Temple Mount was opened to visitors on Wednesday morning, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, and masked Arabs took advantage of that and began stoning visitors and policemen in the Temple Mount plaza.

Following the stoning, police entered the Temple Mount in force and scattered the stone throwers, many of whom ran into the mosque to avoid arrest.

It is now quiet on the Temple Mount, and the visits are continuing uninterrupted.

This morning, police also turned around dozen of buses transporting Arabs heading to the Temple Mount.

Raed Salach, the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, called on his Arab followers to prevent Jews from going up to the Temple Mount today.

Raed Salach was previously convicted of funding Hamas, meeting an Iranian intelligence officer, and attacking a policeman for which he went to jail a few times.

The courts just released Salach again today, following an incitement speech last week, with a restraining order of not to get within 30 kilometers of Jerusalem for the next 180 days.

 

Preparation is Key to a Successful Shabbat

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

“It is a Sabbath of Sabbaths for you, and you shall afflict yourselves, It is an eternal statute” (Vayikra 16:31).

This is how our Torah sums up the upcoming experience of Yom Kippur: a Sabbath of all Sabbaths. Rather than use the more colloquially known “Yom HaKippurim,” The Day of Atonementthe Torah reading of Yom Kippur morning uses the above term to summarize the twenty-five hour experience we are about to step into.

This once-a-year “Sabbath of Sabbaths” is not alone; our weekly Shabbat is coined a “Sabbath of Sabbaths” as well (see  Shemot 31:15, 35:2, Vayikra 3:3).  However, there are many distinctions between our weekly Shabbat versus the “once a year Shabbat,” ones that make it highly doubtful that any of us would   naturally state that Yom Kippur is just another Shabbat. After all, the tenth day of Tishrei is devoted to fasting in place of the three obligatory Shabbat meals, praying almost all day in place of far more free time, and abstaining from other prohibitions that are totally permissible on Shabbat. Alas, if G-d decided to coin the same phrase for both, it’s incumbent upon us to try and seek the similarities between these two elevated days in our calendar.  Allow me to extrapolate but one that the former clearly possesses, to which the latter, in my opinion, has not been properly privileged: preparation.

There isn’t a Rabbi or Teacher that preached during the past few weeks, and didn’t state, in some way or another, how vital it is to “prepare” for the Days of Judgment. Teshuva, introspection and other such terms were surely refrains in any sermon or class, imploring us not to “stumble into” Yom Kippur without the proper period of preparation.

And indeed, preparation seems to be exactly what is on the menu at this time of the year. Jews of Sephardic decent began to recite Selichot  prayers forty days before Yom Kippur (Code of Jewish Law, OC 581:1,). Ashkenazic Jewa began Selichot at least fourdays before Rosh Hashana (Rama’s glosses, ibid), allowing at least four days of “inspection” of oneself, as one would inspect a sacrifice for blemishes prior it’s offering (Mishna-Berura, ibid, 6). As we draw closer to Yom Kippur, preparations increase greatly, as articulated beautifully by Rav Solovetchik:

“I remember how difficult it was to go to sleep on Erev Yom Kippur. The shochet (ritual slaughterer) used to come at the break of dawn to provide chickens for the Kaparos ritual, and later the people would give charity…Minchah, vidui, the final meal before the fast (seudah hamafsekes), my grandfather’s preparations all made Erev Yom Kippur a special entity, not only halakhic, but emotional and religious as well.

Erev Yom Kippur constitutes the herald that the Ribono Shel Olam is coming…  (A. Lustiger, Before Hashem, page 60-61).

If all the above preparations are so vital for the “Shabbat” of Yom Kippur, are they not critical also for the weekly “Shabbat?” If both are called “Shabbat of Shabbats,” why should just one require preparation, while we stumble into the other with none?

Indeed, it’s known that “One that was busy preparing on the eve of Shabbat will eat on Shabbat, and one that didn’t prepare will not eat on Shabbat (Tractate Avoda Zara 3a). While this seems like good advice rather than a rabbinical edict (i.e., the prohibition of cooking would prevent one who didn’t pre-prepare food from eating on Shabbat), this is not the only statement that speaks of preparing for the Shabbat. Just as the Code of Jewish Law deals extensively with the Laws of Shabbat, there are endless chapters dealing with the Eve of Shabbat (OC, chapters 249-252, 256 & 270), from what should be done in honor of Shabbat, to what one should refrain from due to the oncoming holiness of the day.

The list goes on and the idea is clear: we are about to enter a twenty-five hour period of time with just family, friends and G-d, without distractions of the email, phone, work and more. If we want to have a profound “Shabbat” experience, it is vital that we prepare for it prior to its commencement.

It is uncanny for any event to turn out successfully without months of preparation,  Thus too, our weekly Shabbat-event, even while refraining from the thirty-nine prohibitions, and making Kiddush, can easily turn into a wasted experience, or G-d forbid, a disastrous one, if not properly prepared for. Thus lamented Rav Solovetchik:

True, there are Jews in America who observe the Sabbath. The label ‘Sabbath observer’ has come to be used as a title of honor in our circles…But, it is not for the Sabbath that my heart aches, it is for the forgotten ‘eve of the Sabbat’ There are Sabbath-observing Jews in America, but there are not ‘eve-of-the-Sabbath’ Jews who go out to greet the Sabbath with beating hearts and pulsating souls… (Pinchas Peli, On Repentance).

And indeed, even if you buy “ready-made” Shabbat food, pay someone to clean your house, and even have someone else bathe your kids, much spiritual and mental preparation is needed for Shabbat to become a true experience; Have you put thought into what will be the topic of discussion at the Shabbat table? Have your kids prepared a Dvar-Torah to share? Which games will you play with your kids over Shabbat? How will you balance your time between your guests and friend, and the time with your husband/wife and kids? Is there inspiring reading material in the house? How will this Shabbat be different from all others?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/preparation-is-key-to-a-successful-shabbat/2012/09/25/

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