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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘voice’

The Redemption

Friday, April 6th, 2012

In the land of Midyan there lived a pagan priest, Yisro, who was greatly respected by his people. He worshiped idols of stone and wood and so did his countrymen.

But Yisro was not a fool. Indeed he was a clever and analytical thinker, and he soon came to the conclusion that his worship of these idols was futile and foolish. They were not really gods, he saw, and so he called his people together and said:

“My people, I have a very important message to tell you, and I would like you to listen very carefully. I have grown old and I can no longer worship and lead you in the worship of all these gods.

“I call upon you, therefore, to please choose some other man to be your priest. Choose a younger and stronger man, and allow me to retire in my remaining years.”

People Angry

But the people understood Yisro’s real reason for wishing to step down as their priest, and they grew angry.

“Cursed be the man who befriends Yisro and who helps him do his work and who shepherds his flocks!”

Thus was Yisro ostracized, and his life became difficult. However, since he had seven daughters, he called then in and said:

“Since we have no one who is willing to help us any longer, you must become shepherds and take care of our flocks.”

But the people of Midyan would not even allow this, and they made it a point to drive away the daughters of Yisro when they appeared at the well to take water for their flocks.

It was at just such a moment that Moshe, the son of Amram, who had been raised in Pharoh’s palace, suddenly appeared on the scene. He saw the shepherds chasing away the young girls, and he felt sorry for them. He came forward and drove away the bullies, thus allowing the girls to draw water for their flocks.

And the Almighty looked down and saw what Moshe had done.

“Because Moshe did such a thing,” He said, “and because he had pity on strange girls, he shall now be called the servant of the Lord, and the people of the world shall know that My servants are good to all and that their mercies are on all the creatures of the Lord.”

The Sin

And the daughters of Yisro rushed home to their father and excitedly told him about the incident.

“Father,” they exclaimed, “an Egyptian saved us from the shepherds who tried to drive us away from the well.”

Moshe stood outside the home and heard the words of the daughters of Yisro. He did not, however, come forward to correct their mistake.

Because of this, the Almighty said: “Because Moshe did not object to being called an Egyptian, because he did not call out and say that he was a Hebrew, therefore will he not be privileged to enter the Land of the Hebrews, and his bones will not be buried there.”

Thrown Into Prison

When Yisro heard his daughters’ words, he asked them:

“If this man did such a good thing for you, why did you not invite him in to eat? Go, get him.”

And so Moshe was brought into the house of Yisro, and they spoke.

“I am a Hebrew and I come from Egypt,” said Moshe, who then told Yisro all that had befallen him.

Yisro listened carefully to all that Moshe told him and thought to himself:

“Can this be? Can a man who has comfort and wealth give it all up for principle and ideals? I cannot believe such a thing. Surely, there was some evil action that he did. I will have him thrown into prison until the Egyptians send for him.”

And so, Moshe was seized and thrown into a deep and dark pit. There he remained for years and would have surely died of hunger if not for Tzipporah, the daughter of Yisro, who would come secretly every day and feed him. Yisro knew nothing of this, and put Moshe out of his mind.

Redemption

One day Tzipporah approached Yisro. “Father,” she said, “Ten years ago, you placed the man Moshe in the pit. You ordered all to refrain from feeding or giving him drink. Why do you not send one of the servants now to see if he still lives?”

Yisro looked at his daughter in astonishment and said:

“You speak foolishly, daughter, How is it possible for a man who had not eaten for 10 years to live?”

His daughter persisted, however, and Yisro went to the pit where he had placed Moshe. Looking down into the dark hole, he was astonished to see Moshe, standing and praying to G-d for deliverance. He was dirty and haggard, but he was alive.

“It is a miracle!” cried Yisro. “He is still alive after all these years without food and water.”

‘On the Rerouted Train’

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The sudden jerk of the train woke Rena up with a start. She blinked a couple of times realizing she was still on the subway. Her head was pounding from the roar of the tracks. She adjusted her headphones letting the music echo heavily in her ears. Rena closed her eyes again trying to ignore the headache which just wouldn’t go away. She scanned the train car mindlessly. The lone guitarist stringing at his guitar grateful for every penny thrown into his hat; the mother trying to calm her restless children; the punk rocking to his music blasting so loud for all the train to hear. The teenagers boisterously arguing. Rena looked back down at her darkly painted fingernails noticing the chipping nail polish. She took a deep breath as she switched the song on her I-pod and ran her fingers through her long straightened hair, noticing it was beginning to get oily, yearning for a warm shower.

Closing her eyes again, images kept creeping back into her mind. Her brother’s scared face… She tried pushing away the expression on his face when he walked into the bathroom and saw her holding the pills. She tried pushing away the image of her father’s anger. She tried closing her eyes to her mother’s tears. Rena fidgeted with her I-pod trying to blast the music to flood out all her thoughts. But still, between the drumbeats she heard her brother’s confused tone saying her name over and over.

“Rena…Rena!” his tone was surprised. His tone was afraid. His eyes spelled confusion. He slowly let his fingers fall from the door knob as he backed away muttering, “Rena you’re kidding right?”

She shuddered as she remembered her uncontrolled reaction. Slamming the door violently. Screaming for him to leave. It all kept creeping back at her. The loud flush of the toilet, the pills swirling down away forever. Sitting on the hard subway seat, Rena buried her face in her knees trying to block out the sounds of yelling, the endless phone calls, the endless stares from her neighbors and friends. How did she mess it all up? She asked herself over and over. But as she thought of that she heard her mother asking the same.

“Rena what happened? Rena what was wrong? Why did you do this?” And somehow as her mother’s pained voice banged at her mind dripping in guilt, she couldn’t pinpoint a specific answer.

The train came to a sudden screeching stop. Rena looked up, staring at her blank reflection in the subway window. The dark eyeliner outlining her eyes was beginning to run. Loose strands of hair hung in her face blocking her pained eyes. Again she looked around the car noticing the confusion on everyone’s faces. She lowered her music and suddenly heard the conductor announcing, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are sorry for the inconvenience but the M train is being rerouted to the A line. For the M train please transfer at the next stop.”

Rena glanced at the map trying to figure out how exactly she would get to her destination now. Annoyed she looked at the rest of the passengers whose feelings were visible on their faces.   She tried figuring out which train to transfer to as she began thinking about how crazy it made everyone when one train was rerouted. One train off its tracks. One train off the planned route. It messes everyone up. And slowly the stops on the map all came clear. She was on the wrong route.

Rena bit her lip as suddenly she saw her reflection differently. She saw herself as a lost train. Her dripping eyeliner. Her chipped nail polish. Her short skirt. She ran her fingers through her hair nervously as she approached the chassidishe woman sitting with a bunch of children. Pulling out her head phones and tugging at her skirt Rena took a deep breath and anxiously asked, “Excuse me.”

The chassidishe women looked up at her curiously and nodded. “I’m trying to get to Boro Park,” she asked bravely. She made up her mind. She would reroute her train too. The women furrowed her eyebrows and tried explaining which train to take. Rena thanked her and as she got off the train she fished for her phone in her bag full of open candy wrappers and endless packages of gum. Stepping outside onto the sidewalk the sun blinded her in her realization. She turned her phone back on ready to face the phone calls and texts. Sliding the touch screen she dialed her home number, her heart pounding with every ring. The phone to her ear, she slowly started walking down the street, each step feeling heavier and heavier. The rings seemed to go on forever and Rena bit on her nail waiting for someone to pick up.

Councilman: Down with ‘Super Jewish’ Senate Seat

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

NY1 News reports that Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) is about to denounce the creation of the so-called Super Jewish state Senate seat, merging portions of six senate districts into one. Greenfield will argue that the Senate district lines as currently proposed will dilute the voice and power of Borough Park and Midwood. Greenfield will call on the Governor to veto any redistricting lines that include a so-called “Super-Jewish” district.

“Let’s be clear, this is not a Super Jewish district but rather a Super Ghetto district that if allowed to remain in place will cause the Jewish community to lose multiple voices in Albany,” Greenfield said, according to Yeshiva World News. “That will mean less services, less funding and less political power for America’s largest Jewish community right here in Brooklyn. Quite frankly, it will be very easy for the political establishment to marginalize the one senator representing the entire Jewish community. Right now we have six senators representing the Jewish community, and to go to one simply makes no sense. We need at least two, if not three senators, to maximize the community’s political power. That’s why I urge the Governor to recognize this proposal for what it is – backroom politics at its worst – and to veto it.”

Syrian Deputy Oil Minister Defects to Rebel Forces

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

CNN reports that a man identifying himself as Abdo Hussam el Din, the country’s Deputy Oil Minister, announced in a video posted on YouTube that he was defecting from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

“I am joining the revolution of this noble people who will not accept injustice,” the man says in Arabic. “I’ve been part of this government for 33 years and I have acquired many titles, and I do not want to retire serving the crimes of this regime.”

The man in the video appears to be the same as man pictured on the government’s oil website, which says he was appointed deputy oil minister in August 2009.

“I decided to join the voice of the righteous despite the notion that this regime will burn my house and harass my family and will invent many lies,” he states.

Understanding The Mitzvah Of Megillah

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Why is the megillah read in Jerusalem on the l5th day of Adar, in New York on the 14th day of Adar and in Safed and Hebron on the 14th and the 15th of Adar? On what day does an American tourist read the megillah in Jerusalem and when does an Israeli tourist read the megillah in New York? Why is the megillah read twice during the same day, once at night and once during the day? If one can only attend one reading of the megillah, which should one choose? Why does Purim outside of Israel never occur on Shabbat? When Purim in Israel occurs on Shabbat, why is the megillah read on Friday? Can the megillah be recited in English? Can the mitzvah of listening to the megillah be fulfilled over the telephone or the radio? Can a loudspeaker be used?

Those who reside in a city, such as Jerusalem, which was surrounded by a wall in the days of Joshua, recite the megillah on the 15th day of Adar. Those who reside in cities – such as Safed and Hebron – about which there is uncertainty as to whether they were surrounded by a wall in the days of Joshua, are required to read the megillah both on the 14th and the 15th days of Adar. Residents of all other cities recite the megillah on the l4th day of Adar. The reason for this distinction is that in Shushan itself the battle continued on through the 14th day and Purim was celebrated on the 15th. Because Shushan was a walled city in Mordechai’s day, all other walled cities celebrate Purim on the 15th day of Adar. But out of deference to the cities of Israel, most of which had been destroyed before Mordechai’s time, the relevant time chosen by the Sages to determine whether a city was surrounded by a wall was the time of Joshua.

A tourist in Jerusalem who originally planned to leave Jerusalem prior to the 15th day of Adar recites the megillah in Jerusalem on the 14th day of Adar even if, contrary to his original plans, he still finds himself in Jerusalem on the 15th of Adar. If, however, such a person originally intended to be in Jerusalem on the 15th of Adar, he recites the megillah in Jerusalem on the 15th. Conversely, a resident of Jerusalem visiting New York who originally planned to return to Jerusalem prior to the 14th day of Adar recites the megillah in New York on the 15th day of Adar, even if, contrary to his plans, he still finds himself in New York on the 14th day of Adar. If, however, such a person originally intended to be in New York on the 14th of Adar, he recites the megillah in New York on the 14th of Adar.

Reciting the megillah on the day of the fifteenth has greater significance than reciting the megillah at night on the eve of the fifteenth. This is because the daytime reading was instituted by Mordechai and Esther whereas the nighttime reading was subsequently instituted by the rabbis. Accordingly, if circumstances force one to choose one reading over the other, most authorities agree that one should attend the daytime reading. Others argue that rule of ein ma’avirim al hamitzvot, (do not offend a mitzvah by postponing it) requires that one choose the nighttime reading.

Because Yom Kippur can never occur on a Friday, the 14th day of Adar can never occur on a Shabbat. If the 15th day of Adar occurs on a Shabbat, the megillah is read in Jerusalem on a Friday. This is out of the dual concern that people would carry the megillah in the streets and would not be able to give money to the poor on Shabbat.

One can fulfill the mitzvah of listening to the megillah as long as one hears the voice of the person reciting the megillah on one’s behalf. Most poskim agree, therefore, that listening to a live broadcast of the megillah over the radio or the telephone is unacceptable because you are listening to an electronic transmission of the reader’s voice rather the voice itself. According to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a microphone is unacceptable. This is because, according to his understanding, the membrane of the microphone absorbs the human voice and then emits an electronic version of it.

According to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, however, a microphone is halachically acceptable because the transmission is simultaneously activated by the human voice. Rav Yosef concedes that a microphone may be used to amplify the reader’s voice in a case where the reader’s voice would still be audible without it.

Rabbi Sholom Klass: An Appreciation On His 12th Yahrzeit

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Dear Dad,

A dozen years. It seems like a lot and it seems like a few. So many things have changed and some things never seem to change.

What is new: At the offices of your life’s work, The Jewish Press, we have a new Magazine section. It is beautiful and stands on its own. We have features for everyone in it. We also have a brand new website. It took a little while to get it up and running smoothly, but now it is garnering a lot of attention. We will be part of the future in bringing Torah and love of Israel to all in the new computerized age. A year has also passed since your great-grandson Rabbi Raphael Fuchs started his column, A Taste of Lomdus. I have heard tremendous feedback about this Torah column. You would be so proud. And we have lots of other ideas in the planning stage.

We continue to lead the way as a voice for Torah Judaism and for the State of Israel. We are still the place people turn to when they are in trouble, when they need a helping hand, and when they have no one else to turn to. We still hear the voice of the agunah; we still try to help troubled youth who have strayed from the Torah way. Today there are others who also recognize this need, but we were the first to publicize these problems, and you didn’t care about those who ridiculed us.

Under your guidance we were strongly committed to helping those in trouble. These days some problems and troubles have a different face, and when no one else wants to take a stand, we follow the path you set us on and try to help Jewish souls crying out.

Your grandchildren Shandee, Dovid, Meir, Yaacov and Shlomo work for The Jewish Press, just as you always dreamed. I picture you smiling as you see them contribute. And I know that you get nachas from the Torah learning of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It is a beautiful foundation you and Mom constructed for us, and Hindy and I built on it. And so with the help of the Almighty, may it continue with the next generations, and bring elevation to your soul and Mom’s soul in Gan Eden. This year, G-d willing, a few new babies are expected in our families – more descendants of yours.

We move forward, and though we miss guidance from you and Mom in the physical sense, we feel your unseen hand guiding us in all that we do. Whenever I hear my sons or Hindy’s sons giving the exact location of a Gemara quote, I hear your training: “Avu shtayt? – Where is it written?” When we sit at the Shabbos table and divrei Torah are spoken, I know it started with you.

We will continue, with Hashem’s help, to do our best and bring honor to your memory. And we are confident that you will be a meilitz yosher for your whole family and for Klal Yisrael.

New Moderate Rabbis’ Forum an Answer to Religious Extremism

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

A group of more than 100 moderate Orthodox rabbis assembled last week to announce the formation of Beit Hillel, a forum intended to provide a response to the extremist trend within religious Zionism.

“We mustn’t let the extremists do to Religious Zionism what was done to the face of Ruthie Fogel of Blessed memory,” said at the event Science Minister Professor Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz, referring to a recent issue of a religious Zionist publication put out by the Meir Institute, which blotted out the face of terror murder victim Ruthie Fogel, apparently for the sake of modesty (see article image).

The rabbinic get-together was studded with Religious Zionist stars such as Rabbis Yuval Sherlo, Yoel Bin-Nun, and Amnon Bazak.

“We want to establish the clear voice of Torah, which is compared to water, A Torah which people thirst and yearn for, and don’t twist their noses every time it is mentioned in the public arena,” said at the forum Rabbi Haim Navon, a congregation rabbi from Modiin who also teaches in several religious Zionist yeshivas.

Rabbi Navon added: “We didn’t come here to be nice, or to find favor in anyone’s eyes, or to say things people would necessarily enjoy hearing. We wish to make demands on Israel’s society, but in order for these demands to be heard, they must be phrased in a language this society would understand.”

This week, Rabbi Haim Navon emailed the Jewish Press a kind of manifesto describing the aims of the new forum:

“Recently, the Torah has been presented to the Israeli public in a superficial and misleading light. The Beit Hillel Forum was established by a group of rabbis who believe that this is not the true face of Judaism. We believe in the eternity of the Torah of Israel and are completely committed to Jewish Halacha. In our view, only Judaism in its true, illuminating form, with its “paths of pleasantness,” can deliver a meaningful message to today’s Israeli society.

“We believe in incorporating women in public leadership roles. In this spirit we chose to become the first Orthodox rabbinical organization to open its doors to women. We’re not talking about ordaining women rabbis, but learned women will find a home in Beit Hillel, alongside congregational rabbis and Torah teachers.

“We see ourselves as inseparable from Israeli society. True, on occasion we are critical of the manner of public discourse in Israel, but we express our criticism with love and empathy.

“We are devoted to the State of Israel, and think that its continued existence and success are essential to the development of the Jewish nation. We disapprove of attacks on the Zionist vision, which come from a variety of sources within Israeli society.

“We view positively the modern world with its innovations, as long as those fit the Torah of Israel. In our view, secular studies are essential to becoming a faithful Jewish person in our generation.

“We believe that the ideas we present are accepted by the majority of the religious Jewish public in Israel, which function as full partners in the State of Israel and in Israel’s society. We wish to give our voice to this silent majority.

“Our sages taught that the rabbis of the historic house of Hillel treated even their ideological foes with humility and respect. Likewise, we have committed to an open and attentive dialog, even with speakers with whom we disagree.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/new-moderate-rabbis-form-an-answer-to-religious-extremism/2012/02/08/

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