Florida Massacre (I)
In my previous letter, I indicated that it was unfortunate that The Jewish Press did not write an editorial on the Florida shooting. Nowhere in the letter did I suggest what such an editorial should say.
If The Jewish Press wanted to advocate better mental health assistance and improved resources at schools for troubled children, I would have no objection.
But by not writing any editorial at all, not even advocating the obvious need for better background checks and raising the age requirement for automatic weapons, the paper may have been signaling that as long as the current political leadership in the U.S. shows some support for Israel, we, the Jewish community, are not going to say anything about other critical issues, even when five members of the Jewish community were killed for no reason.
Mr. Hecker, I voted against Obama twice as well as against John Kerry. But to say that it’s good enough that Trump “urged the NRA to change to some of its policies” is absurd. Trump recently spoke openly about how members of his own party are afraid of the NRA. The NRA has no intention of changing, and when we surrender our right as American citizens to advocate for sensible laws, we are telling reasonable pro-Israel Republican candidates (e.g., Jeff Flake and John Kasich) that there is no point in trying to moderate the party’s policies.
Worse, we are telling a whole generation of young voters, including those in Florida, that their only hope for change is to vote Democratic, even if some of those candidates are liberal.
Florida Massacre (II)
Reader Yosef Tannenbaum criticizes the Jewish Press for having “no editorial about…the ease with which guns are bought in America,” and asks, “Is it possible that after so many young people were slaughtered The Jewish Press has nothing to say?”
The Jewish Press has had plenty to say, as it presented its readers with something far more important than the guns issue. It published an absolutely superb article, “It’s Not Too Many Guns, It’s Too Few Prayers,” by Molly Resnick, which deals with the fundamental problem
behind the school-shooting chaos. This article should have been on the front page of every newspaper in the country. In a nutshell, Resnick’s article shows how a lack of discipline, moral values, and belief in a Higher Power is the root cause of school massacres.
The focus on gun control and security to the exclusion of a child’s background and culture is like having involved discussions about what size mop and what shape pail to buy to deal with a leak in the ceiling without ever considering fixing the leak.
Gun control will probably save a few lives here and there, which is great, but it’s doubtful it will solve the overall problem. The focus on gun control is a typical leftist M.O. that gives one the feeling and appearance of working on a solution. The question of whether it has any
chance of accomplishing anything is of little consequence to the left.
Furthermore, the notion that a breakdown in moral values may be the underlying culprit in school violence is a topic that will never be discussed by the left, since the left is probably the single greatest cause of moral decay in this country. The decay is so bad that when Vice
President Mike Pence said he wouldn’t dine alone with a woman who wasn’t his wife, it became fodder for ridicule. The left doesn’t even have the decency to respect another person’s values.
You might say: Talk about moral values sounds great in theory, but would it really solve anything? First, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that gun control will solve anything; at this point it’s just a theory based largely on wishful thinking. On the other hand, there is some hard evidence to suggest that a moral-based background and upbringing can solve the school violence problem; ever hear of a yeshiva student shooting up a yeshiva?
Pesach Buyer Beware
The long-standing custom among Ashkenazic Jews is to refrain from eating kitniyos on Pesach. In recent years, though, some kosher supervisors (including the largest, the Orthodox Union) have begun to certify kitniyos as Kosher for Pesach. While logic dictates that there is nothing wrong with kitniyos being approved for Sephardim, I wish to point to a potential serious michshol (stumbling block).
I was in my local Stop and Shop’s Pesach aisle and saw mustard by a company called Shneider’s that bears the Star-K symbol without an indication of Passover approval. There is a corresponding certification, in Hebrew, from Rabbi Eliezer Schneebalg of London. Underneath these hechsherim, in English and Hebrew, is a certification from the Badatz Beit Yossef of Israel. This certification includes the words “Kosher for Passover kitniyoth.”
While a learned person may understand the kitniyos limitation, one not so discerning may reasonably conclude that this product is permitted to all Jews for Pesach and that it is endorsed as such by the Star-K, one of our country’s most respected kashrus organizations. Yet such is not the case!
A more egregious example is a tahini product that is imported by Lieber’s Chocolates, a leading brand. This product carries no major certification. It does, however, have a large sticker that states, in English, “Kosher for Passover.” Nowhere on the package does it state in English that the product is kitniyos; one must know how to read the Hebrew (or be aware that sesame is kitniyos) to make that determination.
I ask kosher consumers to pay extra attention this season while doing their Pesach shopping.
I once spoke to my late relative, Rav Avrohom Genechovsky, zt”l, before Pesach and he told me the following insight. If you compare the two words chametz and matzah, you will see that they have almost the exact same letters; the only difference is a small opening between the hey of matzah and the ches of chametz.
What’s the message? The only differentiating factor between a life of matzah and that of chametz is but the smallest of protrusions. One can break through an impure life of chametz and enter the realm of the purity of matzah through infinitesimal change.
My first cousin in Otniel, Rabbi Yakov Nagen (Genack), shared the following thought to an audience that included Dafne Meir the night before her murder by an Arab terrorist. He said the key message of chametz is not to let time pass by without taking advantage of every moment. He said that is how you overcome the guiles of the evil inclination. Dafna Meir, a”h, approached my cousin after the shiur and said she was inspired by the message. Such a woman of valor left this world appreciating the greatness of each moment.
Combining the messages of my two relatives, perhaps one could say that breakthroughs can be made at any time and when the breakthrough is made, the goal is to live every moment with passion and self-awareness.