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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘sign’

Israel in Discussions to Stationing Israeli Air Force Jets on Cyprus

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to discuss the prospect of stationing Israeli Air Force jets on Cyprus when he visits the island later this month, according to a report by the Chinese news agency Xinua.

According to the report, an Israeli official told Xinua that the discussion “is at the exploratory stage – it’s not clear if it will or won’t happen.”

Relations between Cyprus and Israel have been intensifying since Israel’s fallout with its former regional ally and Cyprus’ adversary, Turkey. In January, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with his Cypriot counterpart to enter into and sign defense agreements.

 

Report: Bedouin Take 70 Hostages at Sinai Resort

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

In a sign of increasing lawlessness in the Sinai, Egyptian media outlets have reported that approximately 70 armed Bedouins have stormed a popular Sinai resort village and are holding its employees hostage.

The hostage-takers are demanding four million Egyptian Liras (over $650,000) for the employees’ release.

Bedouin leaders recently expressed dismay at the exclusion of Bedouin in the formation of a new Egyptian government. “We will not allow a parliament without Bedouin representation,” said one Bedouin leader in a meeting last week.

“We have declared war against the military and will not wait for them to kill us all,” declared another Bedouin leader.

PM Netanyahu to Visit Cyprus in February

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel to Cyprus next month to increase security coordination between the two countries and discuss cooperation on recent natural gas finds in Israeli and Cypriot waters.

In what is said to be the first-ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to Cyprus, Netanyahu will reportedly sign a cooperation agreement relating to the protection of natural gas drilling sites, and also request to station Israeli aircraft in Cyprus.

The natural gas finds in Israeli and Cypriot waters coincide with the dramatic erosion in Israeli-Turkish relations to offer the two countries an opportunity to deepen strategic cooperation.

 

Yaakov’s Three Lives

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

This week’s parshah begins, “Vayechi Yaakov b’Eretz Mitzrayim – And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt [17 years] vayeehi yemei Yaakov –and the sum total of his years [were 147]” (Bereishit 47:28).

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt”l, notes that Yaakov Avinu’s years can be divided into three periods.

First, he resided in Eretz Cana’an, the Holy Land, for 77 years, secluded in “the tents of study,” sheltered from the entanglements of material life.

Then in the second stage of his life Yaakov lived in Charan for 20 years, where Lavan employed him as a shepherd. During those two decades Yaakov married, built a family and amassed much material wealth.

After living another number of years in Cana’an, Yaakov “descended” to Mitzrayim, where he spend the last 17 years of his life.

Yaakov’s quality of life in each of the three stages differed drastically one from the other. The first 77 years in Eretz Yisrael were tranquil and blessed, when nothing alien intruded upon his life of Torah study, tefillah (prayer) and avodas Hashem (service of G-d).

Going fully to the opposite extreme, Yaakov’s sojourn in Charan, in the house of Lavan, was fraught with challenge and struggle. Yaakov had to be on guard every moment to recognize and counteract the deceit and duplicity of Lavan. In order to marry and support his growing family, Yaakov, worked to exhaustion as (in his own words), “heat consumed me by day, and frost at night; and sleep was banished from my eyes” (Bereishit, 31:40). Upon Yaakov’s return from Charan, the malach (angel) told him, “You have struggled with G-d and with men, and have prevailed (Bereishit 32:29).

Yaakov, however, held his own throughout these hardships, and eventually he triumphed. Then came the 17 years that he lived in Mitzrayim, where he experienced for the first time in his life, true galut, being under the yoke of an alien environment. Here Yaakov was compelled to pay homage to Pharaoh, the arch-idol. Then after Yaakov passed on, his body was in the possession of the Egyptian embalmers, certainly idol-worshipper, for 40 days.

After a lifetime in which he either lived within his own self-imposed sacred seclusion or struggled against adversity, Yaakov’s final years were a time of spiritual bondage in a society which the Torah calls “the depravity of the earth.”

In that light, how can Chazal (our Rabbis) comment that the Torah regards these 17 years as the best of Yaakov’s life? This is because Yaakov knew how to utilize his galut in Mitzrayim to impel the strivings of his soul and work towards its aim. Is it not amazing that Yaakov’s descendants were forged into a nation, Bnei Yisrael, under the tyranny and decadent rule of the Pharaohs?

As with all that is written in Torah, we look for the message to apply to our own lives today. As Ramban (Nachmanides) writes in his classic commentary on Sefer Bereishit (The Book of Genesis), “Ma’aseh Avot Siman LeBanim – The action of the forefathers is a sign of what will happen with the children.”

We, too, experience in the course of our lifetimes the three stages of being, which Yaakov knew: sovereignty, struggle, and subjugation.

We hold onto a vision of a transcendent self – a pure and inviolate soul, at the core of our being. Although this essence is not always accessible to us, there are “moments of truth” in our lives in which this spiritual internal truth asserts itself over any outside influence. For most of us these illuminating moments are few and far between. More commonly, we exist in a state of struggle between the passions of our divided hearts. Our old habits and behavior patterns are often deeply engrained and not easy to conquer.

This tension indicates that we have not fully mastered our existence, but it is also a sign that we are alive. This is life at its fullest and most productive. We are resisting the forces that seek to pry us away from our internal truth; we engage them and battle them. This is why we were put on earth – to fight the blinding neon lights – and open our eyes to pure natural daylight.

However, we also know times of powerlessness, when we face circumstances that are beyond our control and ability to resist. Those are moments when it seems that our lives have stopped in its tracks, and we feel locked into a fortress of despair. Keep in mind, “Everything that happened to the Patriarchs…is decreed to happen to their descendants.” Our lives will not follow our forefathers’ in exact sequence and occurrence. Yet the three lives of Yaakov are “signposts” that guide, inspire and enable our own.

Shabbat Shalom!

Signing On Shabbat

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Question: What should a person do if he brings a relative to the hospital on Shabbat and is asked to sign his name? Can he sign if the hospital will not admit the patient otherwise?

Response: I have personally been in such a situation. I explained the religious prohibition to write on the Sabbath and gave them my word that I would sign any and all required papers on Saturday night, when the Sabbath was over. Such an assurance is usually sufficient (especially nowadays with the growth of our community and consequent awareness of our needs among general society).

If the hospital is adamant, however, that one sign in order to be admitted, one may possibly do so based on the following analysis (which is taken from a teshuvah of Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein in Emek Halacha, vol. 1, siman 14).

According to the Mishnah Berurah (Be’ur Halacha 306:11), the overwhelming majority of halachic authorities maintain that writing two letters on Shabbat in any language is a biblical violation. The Rema, however, contends that writing in a language other than Hebrew is only a rabbinic violation.

This Rema seems to contradict an explicit mishnah (Shabbat 103a) that writing two letters in any language is a biblical violation. To resolve this contradiction, Rabbi Yechezkel Landau, the Noda BiYehuda, distinguished between language and script. The Mishnah, according to the Noda BiYehuda, refers to the Hebrew Ketav Ashurit script (the square font found in Sifrei Torah). One cannot write more than two Hebrew letters (even if one is using these Hebrew letters to spell a word in a foreign language) in this script. Writing in any other script is only a rabbinic violation (Noda BiYehuda Tanina, Orach Chayyim 33). Thus, writing one’s name in English on the Sabbath is a rabbinic prohibition, not a rabbinical one.

Based upon this position, Rabbi Goldstein ruled that if a doctor requests a person to sign his name on the Sabbath and refuses to take no for an answer, he may do so. Rabbi Goldstein reasons that the situation concerns a sick person, and it is a she’at ha’dechak since it is impossible to be admitted to the hospital without signing. Hence, in this circumstance, one may rely on the position of the Noda BiYehuda. Rabbi Goldstein ruled that taking care of the sick takes priority over this rabbinic violation.

If a person relies on this ruling, I would suggest that he also sign his name using a shinui. For example, a right-handed person might sign with his left hand and a left-handed person might sign with his right hand. Writing with a shinui would also mitigate the level of prohibition.

Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of seven books on Jewish law. His latest, “Shabbat the Right Way: Resolving Halachic Dilemmas” (Urim Publications), is available at Judaica stores and at Amazon.com.

Israeli medical residents agree to return to negotiations

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Israeli medical residents, who have been on strike for months, with many of them going as far as tendering their resignations, have agreed to return to the negotiating table today.

The two latest sticking point between the residents and the Finance Ministry is the duration of the agreement they are working on, during which time the residents won’t be allowed to strike again, and that residents will need to sign in and out on employee time clocks, a condition originally agreed upon between the Israel Medical association (IMA) and the Finance Ministry in August during the doctor’s strike that preceded this one.

The Finance Ministry wants the residents to sign an agreement for 9 years to prevent a reoccurrence of these strikes in the near future, while the residents want the agreement to last no more than 3 years.

The residents, unhappy with the original agreement their IMA representatives signed off on demanded “social justice” for doctors and decided at that time to continue their protest, strike independently and even resign en masse.

The National Labor Court declared these mass resignations illegal.

Last week, the High Court of Justice ordered the residents back to work while they continued negotiations, but the residents refused to listen to the High Court’s order.

Turning Holocaust Remembrance Into Israel Bashing

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

The German Holocaust foundation Remembrance, Responsibility, Future – EVZ – is in a state of denial concerning misuse of public funds meant to largely compensate the victims of the Shoah but used instead to finance anti-Semitic student exchange programs in Israel and Germany.

The bombshell revelations first surfaced in late September and new disclosures are still unfolding. EVZ provided 21,590 euros to a dubious 2010-2011 student exchange program between an East German high school (Gerhart Hauptmann) and an Israeli Arab school in Nazareth (Masar Institute for Education) to produce a 31-page brochure delegitimizing Israel.

One German student formulated a crude drawing of Orthodox Jewish students with yarmulkes and sidelocks seated in a well-kept classroom with a sign over a world map stating “Jewish School.” Next to that is a dilapidated, overcrowded schoolroom with depressed Palestinian pupils seated below a giant cobweb and a beat-up map lacking countries. A collapsing sign above the students reads “Palestine School.”

Raimund Fastenbauer, the general secretary of Austria’s small Jewish community, told me that “When Germans or Austrians use such stereotypes in excessive criticisms of Israel, this is based, from a psychological perspective, in a secret wish to finally catch Jews in misdeeds so as to exonerate the generation of their own fathers and grandfathers.”

A second student cartoon apparently shows a light-skinned Israeli asking a dark-skinned Palestinian if he wants to be friends. An imposing tank is positioned behind both students, suggesting the Israeli student is compelling the Palestinian student to shake his hand. Advertisement

Compounding the anti-Israel cartoons depicting Israel as a violent state that discriminates against Israeli Arabs are texts that equate Israel with the now-defunct Stalinst East German state.

Arab-Israeli student Majdi Darawshi writes that “I found the histories of Palestine and Germany to be very similar, as people in both countries felt the need to fight for their rights for a better life…”

The oft-repeated likening, in German discourse, of Israel’s security fence and the Berlin Wall is one more manifestation of anti-Israel sentiment. The security barrier has prevented the murders of Israelis by Palestinian terrorists. Invoking parallels between Israel and the former German Democratic Republic is similar to equating Israel with Apartheid South Africa.

The EVZ was founded in 2000 with a contribution of 5.2 billion euros by the Federal German government and German industry to compensate former slave and forced laborers during the Nazi period. A segment – 358 million euros – of the EVZ funds are designed to finance educational projects to combat anti-Semitism and carry forward the memory of Holocaust victims.

When I asked EVZ chairman Dr. Martin Salm about the anti-Israel school literature, he termed it an “ambiguous project publication” and said the illustrations and booklet were “not motivated by anti-Semitism.”

It is, of course, a distinction without a difference.

Tackling contemporary anti-Semitism remains a touchy subject in Germany. Salm, who sits on the Interior Ministry’s commission to combat anti-Semitism, stayed largely mum back in 2009 when questioned about fellow member Dr. Juliane Wetzel’s attacks on Jewish critics as representing “lobby groups” in Germany (the term “lobby” is frequently used as an anti-Semitic code word for supporters of Israel). A third board member, Elke Gryglewski, said Holocaust survivors are “not objective and too emotional” as experts.

The Jerusalem-based watchdog organization NGO Monitor just issued an eye-popping report about a second EVZ-backed school program in which funding was ostensibly misappropriated to finance elements of Holocaust denial and loathing of Israel.

According to the report, between March and July of this year, EVZ contributed funds to a partner agency for a program, “Human Rights – Rights of Occupation,” with German (Anne Frank School in Gütersloh) and Palestinian (School of Hope in Ramallah) students.

The NGO Monitor investigation notes that “while Palestinian participants questioned ‘whether the Holocaust had really happened to that extent,’ the main focus was devoted to alleging Israeli violations and immorality, not on Holocaust education. In July 2011, the Anne Frank School hosted Hajo Meyer, a Holocaust survivor and anti-Israel activist.

“In his presentation, Meyer referred to the ‘criminal state of Israel.’ He also ‘wanted to express that many Jews today feel that no one else suffered like them during the Holocaust which makes them blind for the suffering of the Palestinians under the occupation.’ “

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/turning-holocaust-remembrance-into-israel-bashing/2011/10/18/

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