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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

Shlissel (Key) Challah: The Loaf of Idolatry?

Friday, May 6th, 2016

The post was originally published in 2011, but as this is the week some might bake shlissel challah, we are republishing the article.

JUDAIC STUDIES ACADEMIC PAPER SERIES, Authored by Shelomo Alfassa: The Origins of the Non-Jewish Custom Of “Shlissel Challah” (Key Bread) “The Loaf of Idolatry?

You can read it all here, or see the following key point from the research paper:

– Every year Jewish women, young and old, partake in the Ashkenazi custom to place a key (such as a door key to a home), inside the dough of a loaf of bread that they bake. This custom is known as shlissel challah—shlissel from the German language shlüssel (key) and challah or hallah from the Hebrew for bread.

– The baking of a key inside a bread is a non-Jewish custom which has its foundation in Christian, and possibly even earlier, pagan culture. At least one old Irish source tells how at times when a town was under attack, the men said, ―let our women-folk be instructed in the art of baking cakes containing keys.

– Keys were traditionally manufactured in the form of a cross, the traditional symbol of Christianity, a physical item all Christian commoners would posses in their home. On Easter, the Christian holiday which celebrates the idea of Jesus “rising” from the dead, they would bake the symbol of Jesus—the key shaped like a cross—into or onto a rising loaf.

– The modern Jewish custom of baking the symbolic shlissel challah, annually takes place on the shabbat immediately following the holiday of Pessah, when tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of religiously observant Jewish women practice this observance.

– In Christianity, baked goods associated with keys are commonly called “Easter breads,” and in Europe they are also known as ‘Paschals,’ as the holiday of Easter in the East is known as “Pascha” or “Pascua.” This is most likely the reason Christians often call Easter breads baked with keys Paschals.

– While the custom is said to be mentioned in the writings of Avraham Yehoshua Heshel (the Apter Rav: 1748-1825) and in the Ta’amei ha-Minhagim (1891), there is no one clear source for shlissel challah.

And while people will say there is a passuq (Biblical verse) attributed to it, there is not. And, even if there were, a passuq that can be linked to the practice is not the same as a source.

Micha Berger, founder of the AishDas Society, [orthodox] calls this type of logic “reverse engineering,” it‘s like drawing a circle around an arrow in a tree, and subsequently declaring the arrow is a bulls-eye. The idea of baking shlissel challah is not from the Torah; it‘s not in the Tannaitic, Amoraitic, Savoraitic, Gaonic or Rishonic literature.

– Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim19 of Mesora.Org [orthodox] teaches that:

The Torah teaches that Hashem punishes the wicked, and rewards the righteous. It does not say that challah baking or any other activity will help address our needs…When the matriarchs were barren, they did not resort to segulas, but introspected and prayed… Nothing in Torah supports this concept of segula; Torah sources reject the idea of a segula… baking challas with brachos cannot help… segulas are useless, and violate the Torah prohibition of Nichush [good luck charms]. It does not matter if the charm is a rabbit‘s foot, a horseshoe, a challah, key or a red bendel. The practice assumes that forces exist, which do not, and it is idolatrous. – On the far end of the scale, it can be said that shlissel challah observance is a nothing less than “the way of the Amorites.” It is precisely this type of behavior and observance which Jews are supposed to separate themselves from, so it doesn’t go on to influence our thoughts and deeds. Am Yisrael was not created to lose itself in such folklore, and Judaism without disciplined study is nothing but folklore. Judaism allows and encourages the use of our minds. It‘s never too late to realign our path with Torah sources, not blind faith practices which are trendy, in, or cool.

– Educated Jews should help to promote Torah sources to our friends and neighbors, not false practices which are of non-Jewish origin and have nothing to do with Judaism.

100 Amens to that!

Jameel@Muqata

Australia: Update on the Kiddush Herring Dispute and Stabbing

Monday, April 18th, 2016

JewishPress.com received a number of updates and reports (and a lot of jokes) from members of the Australian community regarding the Kiddush Herring Dispute and Stabbing.

The CSG – Community Security Group of Victoria released the following description of the event:

At 12:18pm on Saturday 16 April, one community member stabbed another community member at Rambam Shule on Hotham Street, St Kilda East. The offender was identified but has not yet been apprehended.

It is believed that an altercation occurred inside Rambam between these two community members. The perpetrator then left the Shule, intoxicated, and is believed to have returned to his home to obtain a kitchen knife. He then returned back to the Shule and stabbed a different community member. He left the scene on foot and continued to pose a threat to other community members.

Which implies that perhaps Schnapps was also involved in the Herring dispute.

A number of readers asked, why was herring being served in a Sephardi shul?

A member of the Australian community who wishes to remain anonymous clarified some of the points to JewishPress.com:

1) The incident occurred outside the Rambam Sephardi Synagogue which is directly opposite the Chabad Yeshivah Centre.
2) The incident did NOT happen at the Kiddush or even inside. Synagogue members were unaware of the incident until they came outside.
3) The two who had been arguing and the third person who intervened and was stabbed were not regulars at the minyan. They were there for a Shabbat Chatan being celebrated upstairs in the Ramban Sephardi Bet Knesset.

JewishPress.com will continue to followup on this story as it develops.

Keep those reports and comments coming in, and Refuah Shleimah to the wounded man.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Australia: Man Stabbed at Kiddush Following Herring Dispute

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

During the Shabbat morning kiddush at a synagogue in Melbourne, Australia, one of the men stabbed his fellow synagogue mates, moderately wounding him in the upper body, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat.

The Age reports the attack happened near the Yeshiva Synagogue. Kikar HaShabbat says it happened at the Rambam Synagogue.

According to witnesses, a fight broke out between the two over some herring that one didn’t want to pass to the second. The man then picked up a knife and stabbed the other man, to the shock of everyone else there.

Hatzalah quickly treated the man and he was taken to the hospital.

Thanks to our Australian readers an update to this story can be read here.

Jewish Press News Briefs

There’s Hope for the Left After All

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Sometimes, when all you hear are the radical and loud voices from the extreme left, such as from the No Israel Fund, the Reform movement’s IRAC, and Meretz, you think they exclusively and unanimously represent everyone on that side of the spectrum – all the secular, all the non-Orthodox and all the Leftists.

But now we know they don’t.

A Meretz councilwoman from Raanana tried to initiate a boycott against a popular restaurant in Raanana

The owner recently decided he wanted his restaurant to be closed on Shabbat – and the Meretz city councilwoman went on a rampage, posting her boycott call on the Meretz-Raanana page.

But instead of getting backing and support – she was strongly rebuked by her own constituency, with hundreds of responses from people who were utterly disgusted, repulsed and embarrassed by her actions and anti-religious beliefs.

When you read these responses, you realize that these radical leftwing leaders don’t properly or fully represent their constituencies, and they are very much like the Arab MKs who are obsessed with acting as anti-Israeli 5th columns in the Knesset, rather than working to improve the quality of life of the citizens that voted them in.

It’s responses like these that show me can all live together.

While our society does have many political and religious differences, perhaps those differences are in truth exaggerated and overstated by these radical organizations and their leadership seeking to maintain, fund and promote themselves via a supposed struggle, schism and conflict that no longer actually exists, and which, in reality, has evolved into a straightforward, healthy and respectful diversity of thought among our different sectors.

Today, that is what I’m choosing to believe.

Here are some of the responses:

Nitay Sheinenzon: “As a member of the Meretz party I express objection and repulsion over this shocking post. Every time a place decides to become kosher and offers service to the religious public, it is blessed, every business that decides to rest on the Day of Rest according to our tradition is legitimate, and I wish them a good day of rest and Shabbat Shalom.”

Nir Koren: “Really? Boycotting a restaurant because it’s kosher? As a Meretz voter, activist and member of the Meretz Conference, I am ashamed that this announcement was posted on a page with my party’s name on it.”

Arik Meshulam: “As a complete atheist, I don’t give a hoot which restaurant is open on Shabbat and which is closed. If a person has decided to close his restaurant on Shabbat, it’s his business, why would you force him to keep it open? It’s his private restaurant. You’re just as bad as the religious people who force businesses to close on Shabbat.”

Erez Wohl: “I join the extreme leftists who think this post is embarrassing. We thought we were past the phase of hate for the religious in Meretz L.”

JoeSettler

Meretz Call to Boycott Restaurant Closing on Shabbat Backfires

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

A popular eatery in one of the more upscale communities along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline has decided to “go kosher” and close its doors on the Sabbath.”

But the decision made by the Raanana River restaurant has disgruntled members of the Meretz party. The local branch went so far as the launch a boycott of the restaurant via Facebook.

“Starting this weekend, the River Raanana has become a shomer Shabbat restaurant, closed on Friday nights and Saturdays,” wrote Idit Diamant on the Meretz Ra’anana Facebook page.

“As there are very few restaurants in Ra’anana that remain open on Friday nights and fewer that make deliveries I personally feel hurt by this change,” she wrote.

“I call upon all those for whom this is important to do as I do and to go also during the week to restaurants that remain open on the Sabbath.

“It is important that the greater public in Ra’anana will make known its opinion and support those businesses that stay open on the Sabbath if we want someone to care about our needs.”

Someone who saw the post was upset enough about the boycott to try and launch a counter demonstration.

“I want to point out that I personally oppose religious coercion in any form; I believe everyone should be free to practice their faith as they see fit, but this post disgusts me,” the writer commented.

“This week I have a meeting in Ra’anana, and of course I am going to eat there, to show my support for [this restaurant,]” the commenter wrote in the post.

 

Additional Details (JNi.Media)

Idit Diamante happens to represent Meretz on the Ra’anana city council, and serves as chair of the transportation committee and the ethics committee, and serves on the Audit Committee, the committee to promote the status of children, to anti-drugs committee, anti-violence committee, subcommittee for planning and construction, the budget distribution committee, and the support committee. She’s a busy lady.

The Ra’anana mayor, Zeev Bielski, represents an independent, local party, aptly named “Ra’anana that We Love.” They have 6 members on the council. Meretz is part of the coalition in Ra’anana, with one of three deputy mayors, Ronit Weintraub. Another deputy mayor is Haim Goldman, from the United Religious List. So it’s not as if Meretz doesn’t know how to get along with religious folks. But that’s a different story.

A mother of four grown boys, Dr. Idit Diamante is a physicist and an engineer, a researcher and hi-tech consultant, who has been in local public service since 1998. On her profile page she states her dedication to women’s causes and to reliable, transparent politics. Heaven knows why, in a moment’s rage, she trashed all that rich experience and seemingly a cool headedness and let her spoiled rich girl’s insensitive side shine through.

Now, here comes the wonderful part about this story: it received close to 300 responses since Friday afternoon, many of which were, predictably enough, from right-wingers who let her have it, as you can imagine. But the most wonderful responses came from people who defined themselves as Meretz members, left-wingers, atheists, who hated it just as much!

Nitay Sheinenzon: “As a member of the Meretz party I express objection and repulsion over this shocking post. Every time a place decides to become kosher and offers service to the religious public, it is blessed, every business that decides to rest on the Day of Rest according to our tradition is legitimate, and I wish them a good day of rest and Shabbat Shalom.”

Nir Koren: “Really? Boycotting a restaurant because it’s kosher? As a Meretz voter, activist and member of the Meretz Conference, I am ashamed that this announcement was posted on a page with my party’s name on it.”

Arik Meshulam: “As a complete atheist, I don’t give a hoot which restaurant is open on Shabbat and which is closed. If a person has decided to close his restaurant on Shabbat, it’s his business, why would you force him to keep it open? It’s his private restaurant. You’re just as bad as the religious people who force businesses to close on Shabbat.”

Erez Wohl: “I join the extreme leftists who think this post is embarrassing. We thought we were past the phase of hate for the religious in Meretz L.”

Finally, a cute post by Daniela Mizrachi: “A good week to everyone and good tidings. Ms. Idit, thank you so much for saving us a lot of advertising expenses, and thank you, everyone, for your support and understanding, we’ll be happy to have you over — River Restaurant, a river of oriental tastes.”

Bon appétit.

Hana Levi Julian

In Heated Debate on Shabbat Law, MK Zohar Questions Left’s ‘Enlightened socialism’

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

(JNi.media) A heated debate erupted in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday over a bill to ban commercial activity on Shabbat, despite an earlier agreement to postpone the vote to a later date.

The bill, introduced by MK Miki Zohar (Likud), would ban all commercial activity on Shabbat, apart from restaurants, bars, places of public entertainment, gas stations and pharmacies—which must apply for permission from the economy minister.

While presenting the bill to the Plenum, MK Zohar said “this law is a Jewish social law, but without the claim that this is a law of religious coercion, why would all the socialists vote against it? We know that the Tel Avivian public supported the Zionist Camp, and the Tel Avivian public has a problem with my law. The Zionist Camp is afraid of [Tel Aviv Mayor] Ron Huldai and is abandoning the values of socialism to gain the votes of Tel Aviv’s residents.”

“We will protect the weaker businesses. Where is your enlightened socialism? Where did it disappear to? Tel Aviv has repeatedly forgotten the Jewish idea… This country will forever remain a Jewish and democratic country, and as such, it obligates us to observe one day of rest a week, and that will be on Shabbat, whether you want it or not. Call me a dark and messianic person who forces religion on people – I will continue along my path faithfully until the end. My victory is the victory of the Israeli people,” he added.

Zohar’s remarks caused an uproar among members of the opposition, and MKs Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid), Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp), Michal Rozin (Meretz), Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) and Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Camp) were ejected from the hall after being called to order a number of times.

In the current situation, despite sanctioning Shabbat as the day of rest in the Law of Hours of Work and Rest (1951) and similar legislation, the day’s special status is violated widely, especially by vendors, while enforcement has been completely eroded, according to the bill’s author. The new bill prohibits shopping malls, for example, from staying open on Shabbat, barring specific appeals to the economy minister.

Under the bill, opening a business on Shabbat will constitute a civil offense, and business owners would be able to sue peer businesses that operate on Shabbat for damages incurred by the illegal competition. Violating the new law could result in a minimum fine of about $1,000, as well as a prison sentence of up to one year. In addition, conditioning rental or work contracts on Shabbat work will be prohibited, and it will not be possible to compel a business owner to work on Shabbat as a condition of renting space in a shopping mall, nor will the mall be allowed to fine such an individual for staying closed on Shabbat.

The accompanying notes to the bill state that the lack of enforcement has led to the formation of “enclaves,” particularly in Tel Aviv, where the “rest laws” are ignored completely. “The increasing violations of the law stem from the narrow economic interests of commercial elements, and the lack of proper enforcement,” say the notes. “This reality has a devastating effect on the values which the weekly day of rest seeks to protect, as well as on the rule of law and the public’s trust in the law.”

JNi.Media

Pollard Praying for Miracle of Chanukah in Appeal on Parole Conditions

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Jonathan Pollard is appealing to the U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday for easing conditions of his parole that make it impossible for him to work and require him to violate Jewish law on Shabbat.

HaModia reported that the presiding judge at the hearing, on the third day of Chanukah, will be Katherine B. Forrest, who was appointed to her current position four years ago by President Barack Obama.

A New York financial institution had offered Pollard a job after his recent release from prison following 30 years in jail.

However, the parole’s conditions require Pollard to remain under house arrest 12 hours a day, from 7 in the evening until 7 in the morning, preventing him from attending synagogue on the eve of Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

Attorney Jacques Semmelman, acting on behalf of Pollard, previously has filed a brief stating that he cannot find work because he is required to wear a GPS bracelet, which needs re-charring at least once and sometimes twice within 24 hours.

Moreover, he has to remain seated for two hours while the battery for the monitoring system is being re-charged.

His parole conditions also require him to violate the Shabbat by answering the phone if his probation officer calls on the Day of Rest.

Turning on the electricity on Shabbat for the re-charging system is a violation of Jewish law, and even if he uses a “Shabbos clock,” he cannot move from his seat for two hours.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive of the National Council of Young Israel, told the court in an affidavit that when there is a two-day Jewish holiday, which occurs four times day and sometimes if it immediately followed by Shabbat, it would cause more violations of Jewish law.

Rabbi Lerner, according to HaModia, also pointed out that the parole conditions disturb the meaning of Shabbat. He explained:

Lest anyone think the Sabbath is merely a collection of prohibitions, that is not the case at all. The Sabbath is a special day which, if properly observed, provides spiritual respite and growth.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pollard-praying-for-miracle-of-chanukah-in-appeal-on-parole-conditions/2015/12/04/

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