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Posts Tagged ‘woman’

Woman Dies on El Al Flight

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

An American woman died on El Al’s Tel Aviv-New York flight on Tuesday.

Medical personnel that happened to be on the flight tried to save her, but weren’t able to. She died 6 hours into the flight.

The woman’s family in New York were informed by El Al, and were waiting at the airport.

Israeli Teen’s Organs Save the Lives of Six People

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Nine organs donated by the family of a 16 year old Israeli athlete have saved the lives of 6 people, providing some comfort to a family heartbroken by the loss of their son.

Gilad Veturi, a student at Ilan Ramon High School in Hod Hasharon collapsed Thursday during sprinting practice and died two days later.

According to Israel Transplant, Venturi’s heart was donated by his family to a 56 year old man, his lungs were transplanted into two men aged 63 and 67, his liver was given to a 64 year old woman, a kidney and his pancreas were given to a 36 year old woman, and his other kidney went to a 24 year old woman.  Veturi’s corneas will be transplanted later.

Bereshit: The Triple Birth of Woman

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

In this week’s Torah portion, within the majesty and mystery of creation, the woman emerges in three successive stages.

First she is an unknown entity taking shape from Adam’s rib. Then Adam gives her a name, “isha,” woman – and formulates the concept. But concurrently the name/concept “ish,” man, emerges. “L’zot yikare ISHA ki meISH lukaha zot – This shall be named woman because from man was this taken” (Bereshit 2:23). Nowhere before does the word ish appear in the Torah. Throughout creation the first human is referred to as “haAdam.” With the appearance of isha, woman, a new aspect is added to essence of the adam: he becomes ish, a man. No longer is he merely a living creature from the “adama,” earth, although he is endowed with superior intelligence allowing him to evaluate other living creatures and take dominion over them. Through the birth of woman he becomes a man.

The next verse, “Thereafter shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his woman, and they shall become one flesh” (Bereshit 2:24), adds a profound new dimension to both concepts.

The second stage is set in the woman’s encounter with the snake. Here woman is revealed as a complex creature: she is both the object and the cause of sin. Recognizing the complexity of her character, the snake chooses her as an instrument of his design. But the woman proves to be not only a passive tool: she is also an active wielder of influence. With considerably less effort than it took the snake to persuade her to take from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, she induces her man to eat from the forbidden fruit. And with her act, indirectly woman has opened for mankind a new world of insight, the knowledge of good and evil, an awareness of ethics and morality which in essence has the potential to elevate humanity above the level of the animal kingdom.

Through her punishment woman reaches the third stage of her development: although it will be done in pain and anguish, she is to bear children. She is to become Mother. Because of this new and essentially central function, woman is given a new name/concept: “Chava,” eve, “the mother of all living” (Bereshit 3:20). In spite the pain of childbirth and the anguish of raising the young, motherhood prevails as woman’s most powerful drive.

In the process of giving birth, when isha-woman and chava/mother reaches the ultimate stage of her being, she becomes the first living creature to give eloquent testimony to that most supreme secret of creation, the mystery of birth. In exclaiming, “I have acquired a man with G-d,” (Bereshit 4:1), she exhibits that insight which Chazal have attributed to woman’s basic make-up. From the word “vayiven,” describing woman’s creation (Bereshit 2:22), the Chazal derive the concept of “binah,” insight as a “built-in” faculty of woman. The woman is given the gift to comprehend and appreciate the role of the Creator in the greatest and most wonderful enigma of our existence — the birth of a child.

Bereishis: Appreciating The Good

Friday, October 12th, 2012

And Adom said, “The woman that you placed with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.” Bereishis 3:12

Adom HaRishon was given one mitzvah: not to eat from the Eitz HaDas. When he transgressed it, Hashem gave him the opportunity to do teshuvah. Not only did Adom not repent, he played the blame game – “It was that woman that You gave to me. You gave her to me as a helpmate and she turned out to be my ruination.”

Rashi quotes the Gemara that calls Adom a kofi tov, one who denies the good. The Gemara explains that this is a trait that has plagued mankind from that moment. Instead of appreciating the good, man has continued to deny the very good that is given to him over and over again.

The difficulty with this Rashi is that it doesn’t seem that Adom was guilty of denying the good. Hashem appeared to him and he felt trapped, caught red-handed. The correct action on his part would have been to admit his guilt and beg for forgiveness. That isn’t what he did. Instead, he shifted the blame. There was, however, a logic to it. “Because she was given to me as a helpmate, I relied on her and trusted her.” After all, the Creator of the heavens and the earth gave him this woman. Surely he could trust Hashem’s choice.

Adom was guilty of not owning up to his responsibility for the act. Maybe he was guilty of being dishonest. He just wasn’t courageous enough to admit that he did wrong. But his sin wasn’t one of not appreciating the good.

Appreciating Our Great Wealth

The answer to this question lies in understanding a different perspective. The Chovos Ha’Levovos gives a parable. Imagine a man who becomes blind at age 35. For the next ten years he does his best to reconstruct his life, but now without sight. Being a fighter, he struggles to create a productive life for himself. One day his doctor informs him of an experimental procedure that, if successful, would enable him to see again. He is both frightened and exuberant. If it works he regains his sight; if it fails, he might die.

He gathers together his family to talk it over. After much debate he announces, “I am going ahead with it.” The operation is scheduled. The long-awaited day arrives. Paralyzed with dread, he is wheeled toward the operating room. Given sedatives, he sleeps through the 10-hour operation.

When he wakes up, the first thought on his mind is to open his eyes. He prepares himself for the moment. He will now find out how he will spend the rest of his life. With his family gathered around, with the doctors and nurses at his side, the surgeon begins removing the gauze. The first bandage is off, now the second. The surgeon says, “Open your eyes.” He does. And he sees!

For the first time in ten years, he looks out and experiences the sights of this world – and he is struck by it all. Struck by the brilliance of colors and shapes; moved by the beauty and magnificence of all that is now in front of him. He looks out the window and sees a meadow covered with beautiful green grass. He sees flowers in full bloom. He looks up and sees a clear blue sky. He sees the faces of loved ones that had only been images in his mind – the sight of his own children whom he hasn’t seen in years. Tears well in his eyes as he speaks: “Doctor, what can I say? What can I ever do to repay you for what you have given me? This magnificent gift of sight! Thank you!”

This emotion, this extreme joy and sense of appreciation, is something we should feel regularly. The feeling of elation that man felt when he regained his sight is something we can feel on a daily basis if we go through the process of training ourselves to feel it. We have this most precious gift called sight, and it is something we are supposed to stop and think about – not once in a lifetime, not even once a year, but every day. A part of our spiritual growth is learning to appreciate the gifts we have. Every morning we thank Hashem for this most wonderful gift of sight. The blessing is meant to be said with an outpouring of emotion.

Sukkot, The GPS And Mind/Body Interventions

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

I sit here mulling over the results of my latest PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography), a nuclear medicine imaging technique which produces a three-dimensional image or picture (in color) of my innards and of the latest actions of the “bad buggars” that have invaded me (as I live through quite a serious case of cancer).

The interesting thing I am noticing in my mind/body reactions is that I am pretty calm and thinking of both the GPS and Sukkot.

The GPS (Global Positioning System) was developed in 1973 and is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges, GPS but you do need some kind of gizmo to get it to work. Its commercial iteration is available for purchase for your car or even to walk around with and can help you find an address when you are lost.

Basically it takes your position and searches for the address you load into it and gives you visual or oral guided directions on how to get there.

I can’t seem to find the author (it may be ChaCha) of these lyrics to the GPS song on Google but I am quoting them:

“I’m driving down a road that I don’t know. I need some help along the way. I can’t see the street signs. Which way do I turn? Then I hear a familiar voice say: ‘Recalculating.’ Where am I and how do I find my way out? Make a U Turn – at the very next intersection.”

While these lyrics are bouncing around my head, I am thinking of Bnai Yisrael not long out of Egypt walking with the help of Clouds of Honor (Ananai HaKavod) directing them and protecting them. It is only generations later when they arrive in Israel (according to the Rambam, Maimonides) that they are told that now that they are home, they have to leave their houses and move into a temporary booth, sukkah, for the week of Tabernacles.

My mind wanders and wonders what Hashem was trying to teach us and alights on kind of weird idea. There is an important lesson here: to keep our internal GPS in tune with our surroundings. There is no better way to appreciate and re-think about where we are and where we are going, if not by stepping back from a place of comfort, in this case our home, and move out to a temporary dwelling.

I am frequently asked how I’ve managed to keep a somewhat even keel during this turbulent period of my life; I say the GPS helps me. This is usually received with a somewhat odd look. I will explain with a personal story.

When the GPS in cars first came out my husband and I had just rented a car at LAX (Los Angeles) and as an introduction Hertz provided one such gizmo free of charge. I sat in the parking lot reading the instructions as my husband loaded our luggage into the car. When he got in I asked him if he wanted a woman’s voice giving directions or a man’s voice.

This turned into a psychological discussion about dealing with authority figures in an area where one feels super qualified. He finally decided, with a twinkle in his eye, that a woman was appropriate as he was used to taking “orders” from a woman. “Oh”, I said with a twinkle in my eye, “for example your mother.” In any case the gender of the voice was easily changeable if he thought differently about it as we drove to our destination.

I should add that we had lived in Los Angeles for over three years and been back many times a year since we left, so we knew short-cuts.

We began with the not-unpleasant female voice saying “take a right” and so forth. There was an area which we were familiar with and did not listen to her as we knew a short-cut. She – the voice on the GPS – began to get somewhat hysterical, telling us to “make a right NOW!!” We didn’t and there was a moment of silence and then she. said: “Re-calculating,” and began to give directions from our new location.

Stories of Yom Kippur

Friday, September 21st, 2012

On Erev Yom Kippur, the Gaon Rav Atshal of Frankfurt (Tifereth Avraham) would usually permit the eating of every doubtful fowl, which was brought before him to decide. He would make all the doubtful cases kosher.

His Beth Din and his disciples began question his actions.

The gaon replied: “He who makes a kosher fowl treif, incurs the wrath of his fellow man (bein adam l’chavairo), while he who make treif fowl kosher incurs the wrath of G-d (bein adam l’makom). We all know that the sin between man and G-d on the holiday of Yom Kippur will be forgiven but the sins between man and his fellow man, the holiday of Yom Kippur cannot help. Therefore, we have to very careful of our fellow man and not incur his wrath or cause him to lose money, especially before Yom Kippur.”

The Power of Saying Kaddish

The following strange experience is brought down in the sefer Ish Al Hachoma, written by Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld’s grandson who heard it from the rav himself.

In the city of Pressburg there lived a wealthy woman whose husband owned a large estate. Every year, before the High Holy Days the woman would come to the Yeshiva Ksav Sofer and make a large donation requesting that the yeshiva appoint a student to say Kaddish for the orphaned souls who left no heirs. This was also to include the many children who left the religion and did not say Kaddish for their parents. The administration gladly complied.

After a while the woman’s husband died and without his guiding hand the business failed and the creditors took away all of the woman’s possessions. Out of desperation she had to seek employment to support her two daughters. Her daughters were of marriageable age and she needed money to make the wedding and provide for a dowry. But alas she had none, for she barely eked out a living, let alone had any money to spare.

She accepted her bitter lot quietly as she struggled to meet the daily living expenses. But now the holidays were approaching and what aggravated her most was that she could not give any money to the yeshiva, for them to say Kaddish for the orphaned souls.

With a bitter heart she approached the administration, explaining her predicament and pleading with them that they continue the Kaddish even though she couldn’t pay them at the present time. “Somehow, G-d will help and I will be able to give you the money like I used to,” she cried.

The administrators were amazed at the sincerity and piety of this woman and they assured her that Kaddish would continue to be said. With a light heart and a smile on her face the woman thanked them. It appeared as if all her worries were now gone. Forgotten was the fact that she needed a large sum of money to marry off her two daughters and how hard she had to struggle to earn the daily bread. As she walked out of the yeshiva she looked up at the Heavens and exclaimed, “G-d, I did my part, now its Your turn, for You are the Father of orphans and the Protector of poor widows. I have no doubt that You will not let us down!”

Walking out of the yeshiva she suddenly came face to face with an elderly man, with a large snow-white beard, who made a very impressive appearance.

“Pardon me,” he said, as he stopped the poor woman. “Are you the widow of the very wealthy man who died recently?”

“Yes,” she replied, wondering who this man could be.

“I owed your husband money,” he said as he questioned her about her present circumstances.

The woman began to cry as she described her extreme poverty. She explained that creditors had taken how all the money her husband left her away and she didn’t know how she would secure the dowry for her two daughters.

“How much do you need for the dowry and to make the wedding?” he asked.

The woman named a figure in the thousands. The man immediately took out his checkbook and wrote out a check for that sum of money and told the woman to cash it the following morning in the local bank.

Miriam Ben-Porat: A Woman of ‘Firsts’

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Miriam Scheinsohn was born on April 26, 1918, in Vitebsk (Belorussia), the youngest of eight children (she had three sisters and four brothers). Soon after Miriam’s birth the family moved to Kovno (Kaunas) in Lithuania, where her parents owned a textile factory.

After finishing high school in Kovno in 1936, she immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine by herself; siblings Binyamin, Reuven and Bella soon followed her. Her brother Shimon managed to escape to Russia and her sister Rachel, to South Africa. Her parents, Chayah and Eliezer Scheinsohn and her brother Pinchas were murdered by the Germans in Lithuania in 1941.

A year after arriving in Palestine, the determined young girl from Lithuania enrolled at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem – “the first female law student at the university.” By February 1945 Miriam Scheinsohn had completed her internship and received her lawyer’s license becoming “the first woman lawyer in the Eretz Yisrael.”

A year later she met and married a fellow Eatern European immigrant, a Polish-born manufacturer, Yosef Rubinstein. They later changed their name to Ben-Porat.

In 1955 Deputy State Attorney Ben-Porat – “the first woman in this position”- became a mother — to daughter Ronit, now a mother of three.

In 1959 Ben-Porat was appointed as a judge in the Jerusalem District Court – another first. In 1975, she became the President of the Jerusalem District Court. From 1964 through 1978, she was also a professor at the Hebrew University, specializing in contracts and commercial notes. She was the only faculty member without a doctorate.

In 1977, she became “the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court.” In 1988, upon reaching the retirement age for judges, she was elected by the Knesset to be the State Comptroller. She was the first woman to serve in this position as well. After five years, she was reelected.

Upon her retirement from the Supreme Court in 1988, Ben-Porat was appointed State Comptroller and Ombudsman for Public Complaints—a position in which she was again the first woman—and she filled this role in a dynamic and innovative manner. She significantly changed the office’s modus operandi replacing scrutiny of government action after the event with preemptive reports and measures intended to prevent improper governmental behavior before it occurred. One example of such action was her report during the Gulf War (1991) about gas masks not fitting the faces of many inhabitants. As a result, they were replaced.

On July 4, 1998, she retired from her position as State Comptroller, although she stayed involved in public activity and writing. She is the author of a variety of articles published in legal journals, of a book on state comptrol (An Interpretation of the Basic Law: State Comptroller, 1998 [2005]), and a commentary on the law of assignment. She remained active in public causes, such as the battle against the destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount. In 1991 Ben-Porat received the Israel Prize, the country’s most distinguished award, for her special contribution to the State.

On July 27, 2012, Miriam Scheinsohn Ben-Porat, a woman who paved the way, a woman of milestones – of firsts — died at the age of 94.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/miriam-ben-porat-a-woman-of-firsts/2012/09/21/

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