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June 30, 2016 / 24 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘sign’

Jewish Cemetery in Poland Vandalized

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

The AP reports that last Sunday vandals desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Wysokie Mazowieckie, eastern Poland, spraying swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans on tombstones and memorial plaques.

according to the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, the vandals also wrote “This is Poland, not Israel” on one sign at the Jewish cemetery.

Police are investigating the attack, which took place in a town that has tried to preserve the memory of the Jews who lived there. The cemetery, restored six years ago, is not completely fenced in. Michael Traison, an American lawyer who has raised funds to restore the cemetery, said it was the first time vandals attacked it.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Ahmadinejad’s Sister Lost in Iran Election

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

CNN reports that Parvin Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President’s sister, lost her bid for a seat in the parliamentary elections, which is viewed as a blow to the leader and, according to one analyst, a “possible sign of fraud.”

Running in her family’s hometown of Garmsar, Ahmadinejad was defeated by a conservative rival in Friday’s elections for the Majlis, Iran’s parliament.

More than 64 percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls, picking from among some 3,400 candidates.

It’s first time Iranians are voting since the allegations of voter fraud in the 2009 elections, which resulted in huge protests challenging President Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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.

 

Jewish Press Staff

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.

Jewish Press Staff

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.

 

Jewish Press Staff

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!

Elki Rosenfeld

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.

Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/signing-on-shabbat/2011/12/29/

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