Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Bugged by Excessive Chumros

I really enjoyed Rabbi Enkin’s articles (March 10 and 17) on checking for bugs in the preparation of vegetables. Both articles were very well written and his conclusions were spot on. Rabbi Enkin’s description of Rabbi Vaye’s unnecessarily strict conclusions reminded me of several articles that appeared in The Jewish Press several years ago.


About 20 years ago, there was an article about preparing vegetables. This article sparked much controversy. It stated that broccoli couldn’t be eaten because the crowns can’t be properly checked for bugs. The article also stated that Brussels sprouts and artichokes had to be totally taken apart, leaf by leaf before cooking to be inspected for bugs. Beans and lentils must be individually inspected for bugs, rocks and other debris before cooking.

Talk about extreme, unnecessary and useless strictures. Rabbi Enkin is correct that the rabbis of old were so happy to get fresh vegetables that they said Shehechiyanu.

Maybe we should all ask if extra chumros are really necessary. Why not just do as Rabbi Enkin said, take reasonable precautions and enjoy fresh vegetables. After all, if Hashem created vegetables for us to enjoy, how can we prohibit them or restrict how we can eat them?

Harold Rose
Via Email


Historical Revisionism On “Palestine”

Writer Joshua Marks reported in the March 24 edition of the “Jewish Press” a speech made in Paris by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich commemorating the legacy of Likud activist Jacques Kupfer.

Smotrich reminded the audience that the idea of an existence of a Palestinian people is a fictitious lie propagated for political purposes in an effort to delegitimize Jewish demands for our right to the Holy Land. As Joshua Marks correctly observes: “The Palestinian identity was applied solely to Jews in pre-state Israel before 1948, and Palestinian Arab nationalism did not start until the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964.”

The Palestinian mandate divided a territory that was formerly administered by Turkey and then lost as a result of World War I. The current borders of Israel, from the Golan to the southern deserts, and from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, were secured by Jewish blood, defending our land through four wars and ongoing acts of terrorism which seek to destroy our very existence.

The article quoted a Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying: “We condemn the racist, inciting and extremist statements by the extremist Israeli minister against the Palestinian people and its right to exist.”

As a reminder, the Balfour Declaration backed the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. At the time, there was no country known as Jordan. Lord Balfour wrote in a memorandum dated August 11, 1919: “Palestine should extend into the lands lying east of the Jordan.” If anything, Jordan is guilty of “racism” by “occupying 80% of the Palestinian mandate while denying Palestinian sovereignty to the non-Hashemite majority of its population.

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s condemnation and denunciation of the offensive and racist statements made by an official of the Israeli occupational government against the State of Palestine…”

Here we witness Saudi Arabia, without any authority, bestowing statehood to Arabs living in the liberated territories of Judea and Samaria, even while denouncing the Israelis (Jewish nation) as occupiers in their own G-d-given land.

United States State Department spokesperson Ned Price was quoted in the article as stating: “The Palestinians have a rich history and culture…”

Since there never was a country known as Palestine, nor is there a Palestinian language or alphabet, this lie confirms Finance Minister’s Smotrich’s admonition that “‘we need to tell the truth without bowing to the lies and distortions of history, and without succumbing to the hypocrisy of…the pro-Palestinian organizations.”

The article goes on to quote the anti-Zionist “racist” proclamation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh: “The Palestinian people have existed on this land since the history of their Canaanite ancestors…The Palestinian people are the real owners of the land and not the Jewish people.”

There appears to be a double standard of free speech. Arabs are allowed to label the Jewish people as occupiers, but Jewish members of the Knesset are not allowed to label the Arabs as “fake” Palestinians, occupying land which was biblically given to the Jews?

In so far as Finance Minister Smotrich’s display of a map of a Jewish state which includes Jordan, just as Arab countries seek to deny Jewish claims to Eretz Yisrael, it’s about time for the Jewish nation to publicize our “demands.” In a book that predated the 1994 treaty with Jordan, Member of Knesset and former Jewish Press columnist Rabbi Meir Kahane wrote:

“Does the enemy have demands? We will boldly and confidently present demands of our own. Demands for the return of all the lands that are part of historic Eretz Yisrael: the major part of “Jordan,” Lebanon, a large part of Syria, and as far as the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq. There must be Jewish determination never to forget or concede the lost territories. Two can – and must – speak of “lost territories.”

It would appear that the display of a map of Eretz Yisrael that includes all of biblical Israel is a legitimate expression of religious freedom, in this case exercised by a duly elected representative of a religious party. Eventually Hashem will return all of Eretz Yisrael to the Jewish nation.

David Ferster
Great Neck, N.Y.


‘… Who has Formed Man in Wisdom’

Reading the review by Chaim Yehuda Meyer (“Making Asher Yatzar Meaningful,” March 17) brought back such a memory, I am still smiling all these years later.

I am a chaplain in the hospital. One day, as I was “chaplaining” (to use a made-up word) I was directed to a particular room. Upon entering the room, I could see the patient was in great distress.

Realizing her discomfort, I knew I would make this a brief visit. I introduce myself and I comment that I wouldn’t stay but a minute so she could rest. She offers that her pain and discomfort stem from the fact that she has not been able to “go” f or almost a week. She is scheduled for a procedure to correct the problem in an hour.

To keep my word of keeping the visit short, I ask her if I could have her repeat a simple prayer that basically asks of G-d to keep those pipes that should be open – open. And those that should be closed – closed. And may they never get confused. She repeated the Asher Yatzar after me, and I left her.

I continued down to the end of the hall to a room where my next patient was in bed.

As they were going to be released shortly, this meeting was also very short.

I leave this room and start back up the hall when I hear a commotion at the far end of the hallway. As I approach the commotion, I am taken by surprise! The person causing the to-do was my original patient, the one with whom I offered the Asher Yatzar prayer. She is waving her hands above her head and yelling, “It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle!”

Her doctor, who had come down to see her to make sure she was ready to undergo the procedure, was now relieved to know she no longer needed the procedure.

The doctor, upon hearing the woman say it was the miracle of the prayer and pointing to me as the one who shared the prayer with her, states loud and clearly: “Please – go upstairs and see my other patients, they need the miracle of a Jewish prayer too!”

Chaplain Laurie Kurs
East Windsor, N.J.


Those Who Curse You

In the Bible, G-d says to Abram, who will later be given the name Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you I will curse; and the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you” (Genesis 12:3).

World history provides many examples where this can be easily seen. This message is especially important in today’s world where antisemitism is increasing. While many people are aware of the catastrophe that befell the Jews, not many are familiar with the devastation to the nation that embraced Nazism. This warning is needed to show the horrors faced by the German people.

Encyclopedia Britannica cites a total of 4.2 million military dead and missing in Germany during World War II. Historian Rudiger Overmans of the Military History Research Office of Germany published a study in 2000 that estimated the German military dead and missing at 5.3 million, including 900,000 men conscripted from outside Germany’s 1937 borders, in Austria and east-central Europe. Civilian deaths are estimated to be between 350,000 and 500,000.

The severe destruction of German cities and towns by both Allied aerial bombardment and ground warfare left many millions homeless. The devastation of railroads and other transportation facilities brought hunger and starvation to millions too. Territory which had been part of Germany was taken away by the Soviet Union and given to Poland. At the same time, the Soviet Union took more land for itself from Poland.

Also worth noting are the priorities demonstrated by the Nazi government at the critical Battle of Stalingrad. This was one of the most important battles in World War II. At this battle there were upwards of 500,000 German soldiers as well as thousands of other soldiers fighting for the Nazi cause. Opposing them was an even larger number of Soviet troops.

Considering Stalingrad (now called Volgograd) is more than 1,600 miles from the German rail center in Dresden, re-supplying the army was a very critical need of the German army. As a result, there were bureaucratic fights in Berlin as to who would have railroad priority. While the army needed food, fuel and materiel, Adolf Eichmann and his supporters wanted priority to transport Jews and others to the death camps for extermination. Unfortunately for the German army at Stalingrad, Eichmann won that bureaucratic fight.

As a result, the German army did not have sufficient food, fuel or materiel. Approximately half of the German forces were killed and most of the remainder were taken as prisoners of war and most died as slave workers in Soviet prison camps. From the point of view of the mothers of the dead German soldiers, who died of starvation, lack of ammunition, artillery shells, or froze to death in the bitter cold, the decision to prioritize murdering Jews over providing for the needs of German soldiers, who trusted in their cause, lived away from their families and loved ones and suffered in the cold, the priority was very wrong.

For these mothers and fathers, once they found out, Nazism was not as good as promised. People familiar with the Bible may recognize the characteristics of Amalek.

Charles Winfield
Princeton, N.J.


A Primer for the President

If Joe Biden, the president of the United States, makes derogatory statements regarding Israel’s plans to build in the area commonly referred to as the West Bank, would study the international legal situation on this subject, he would then learn the following:

  1. Authorities in international Law (including Professor Stephen Schwebel, the former United States State Department Legal Advisor, and later president of the International Court of Justice) state that Israel has a greater right to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip than anyone else in the world.
  2. It is clearly stated in the Armistice Agreements between Israel and both Jordan and Egypt that the ceasefire lines following the 1948 war are not final borders but are just lines where the fighting stopped.
  3. The United States Joint Chiefs of Staff noted in a secret memorandum the “Minimum territory needed by Israel for defensive purposes.” Amongst other areas, this included most of the West Bank.
  4. The term “Palestinian Arabs” is of recent origin. Even several of their own spokesmen state that it was invented just for tactical reasons to continue their fight against Israel.
  5. Eugene Rostow, a former United States Under Secretary of State and Professor of Law at Yale University, wrote “Since the Palestine Mandate conferred the right to settle in the West Bank on the Jews, that right has not been extinguished, and under Article 80 of the [United Nations] Charter cannot be extinguished unilaterally.”

Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons
Via Email


Academic Appeal

This is for the “Im Yirtzeh Hashem” column (March 24). A recent letter writer lamented that he wants a college graduate for a wife and refuses to meet with a woman who is not one. I suggest that the woman is fortunate, as this man is only looking for a meal ticket and what is all the more ironic is that he is not using his degree to make a living. He dares to reveal his crass conceit that makes him look narish as he is so unaware of his arrogance. Feh.

Bert Zackim
Via Email


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