July, 2009 Archives

17
Jul

Widow of Israeli War Hero to be Dispossessed

by admin in Spiritual Growth

On Monday, the High Court in Israel ruled in favor of the far-left organizations Peace Now and Yesh Din and ordered that 11 homes in the Samaria town of Eli be torn down. One of the homes in question belongs to IDF Major Roi Klein, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War when he jumped on a live hand grenade thrown by Hizbullah forces, in order to save his soldiers.

Maj. Klein’s last words, his soldiers later said, were “Shema Yisrael.”

Email readers, click here to view the video report.

The Klein family home is located in the Hayovel neighborhood of Eli. The neighborhood received government support and services over the course of more than a decade, but never received official authorization.

Peace Now claims that some houses were built on Arab-owned land. According to residents of Eli, a part of one building does extend onto Arab land, but the other homes in the neighborhood, including the Klein family residence, were built entirely on state land.

Klein’s final act of bravery led the state to posthumously award him the Medal of Valor, the IDF’s highest honor. Klein was the first to be awarded the medal in more than 30 years.

Klein’s widow, Sarah, declined to respond to the High Court decision that could leave her and her two young children with no home. Neighbors described the news as “a harsh blow,” particularly in light of the fact that it came almost exactly three years after Roey’s death, and shortly before a scheduled IDF memorial ceremony in his honor.

‘Will Your Hand not Tremble?’

Following the ruling, the Land of Israel Legal Forum sent an emotional appeal to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, calling on him to honor Major Klein by authorizing his family’s home and making it legal. “Will your hand, as that responsible for destroying the home of this hero of Israel, not tremble as you sign the demolition order?” asked Forum chairman Nachi Eyal.

“With your signature, you could turn his home ‘legal,’ but you refuse… The law does not require you to destroy the home of a hero of Israel who gave his life for his people,” the letter continued. “If there is any legal way to prevent this travesty, you must make use of it.”

When he gave his life, Klein became a national symbol of bravery and sacrifice, Eyal noted. If Barak allows the Klein family home to be destroyed, “the message sent will be disastrous, for both civilians and soldiers,” he warned.

“If there remains any significance to ‘our duty to the fallen’ – now is the time to prove it,” he concluded

Please help prevent the demolition of Ro”i Klein’s home where his widow and 2 small children live.

http://www.atzuma.co.il/petition/be770/1/

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17
Jul

Amidah: Blessing 5: Expecting More of One’s Self

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Prayer, Spiritual Growth

Another concept here is that we refer to God as our Father and as our King. When it says ‘Father’ or ‘King,’ it means parents or royalty. It doesn’t only mean the male parent, or the male sovereign. It’s just that the generic form in Hebrew is the male form. Let’s say I was running around in Ner Yisrael, when I was a little boy. And we vandalized something that we shouldn’t. I was the head vandal. Now my father is the Rosh Yeshiva. My grandfather, my uncle, they are all at the head. My father’s response was “You should act differently. Don’t you expect more of yourself?” That was it. But that was devastating to me than any punch in the nose. When we ask for forgiveness, we are supposed to feel bushah – shame. Bushah is “I shouldn’t be acting this way. I expect more of myself. God is my parent, and I am acting like this? It’s disgusting. I’m embarrassed.” It’s not regret, or guilt. “It’s just not right. Poshnischt.’”

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17
Jul

Third Paragraph of Shema: Emet: Truth

by admin in Prayer

“God, your Lord, is Emet – Truth.” It appears to be a fundamental condition of our weak nature that we feel so often compelled to deny the truth, both of ourselves, and others. We are, or rather we become, ashamed of who and what we are. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we are overcome by a desperate desire to hide our nakedness to “be somebody”, to assume a goodness or virtue we do not possess.

The Kedusha – Sanctity – demanded of us in the third paragraph must reflect Truth. We may not clothe ourselves in “Piety” or Holiness. Our relationship with God must be based on Truth.

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17
Jul

Tefillah Class 7/16: The 19 Steps To God: Step 3

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Prayer, Spiritual Growth

1. Being Aware of the Words: “Aishet Chayil” is usually translated as “A woman of valor, who can find”. We infer that we search for a true woman of valor. I believe the accurate translation to mean, “(There is) A woman of valor. Who will find her?” The emphasis is on the “finding” as it is in the Talmud: They would ask a groom which verse applies to him: “He who has found a woman has found good”, or, “I find a woman to be more bitter than death”? Most of us have the “Woman of Valor” just in front of us; we must look deep inside her and discover all her virtues, for ourselves. We also spoke of the word “Bitachon” always used by people as a noun, but is always used in the Bible as a verb.)

2. The second Blessing of the Amidah is divided into three steps: 1) You are an Eternal Power, 2) You are a Mechayei Meitim – One Who Gives life to the dead, and 3) You are “Rav” – Expansive – in Your salvation. The rest of the blessing follows these three steps.

3. We focused on Being Aware of the Words in the second section: It does not mean that You (God) give life to the dead, but that You are defined as One Who Gives life to the dead. It is in God’s nature to nurture life, evn in those who are dead – emphasis on spiritually dead.

4. “Ata” is God allowing us to address the Creator in second person, a liberty we do not take with a Rebbi. (We defined a Rebbi as derived from the word “Rav”, which we translated as Expansive: A Rebbi carries the responsibility of refining the capacities of the disciple so that the latter can begin to realize his true nature and grow. Hence, the Rambam’s description of a Rebbi as a “Rofeh Nefesh” – A Soul Doctor.) The permission to address God with such familiarity is to draw us back to Him, to return after we pulled away from the intensity and awe. We tend to pull back when we speak of God as the Gibbor – Mighty One. This is similar to the angels described by Ezekiel as “Pulling back and returning”.

5. The purpose of Creation is fulfilled in the World to Come. The same purpose demands that God be involved in our lives: He sustains life with Life Force”. God expresses His might in through Divine Providence.

6. “He gives life to the dead with Increased Compassion”: God added Rachamim – Compassion – before the creation of Adam and Eve. This basic compassion allowed us the room to explore and make mistakes. Increased Compassion is only after the sin, when we distanced ourselves from the Source of Life _ He continues to be compassionate even when we reject Him.

7. This blessing of Gevurah – Directed Might To Guide Us In Achieving Our Purpose – allows us to connect with that power.

8. We may not make requests during this blessing, but we may joyfully say: “The One Who lifts the fallen” will lift me. “The One Who heals the sick” will heal me.”

9. God’s Might is part of creation and we can draw on it for empowerment, which is the central message of this second blessing.

10. When the Mishna in Avot speaks of “Making our prayer compassion” it does NOT say that we should request compassion, but that our prayer should bring compassion to the world. When we are empowered – through Free Choice – Self Mastery – and Attaching to God – we actually bring an abundance of compassion to the world. Prayer is an opportunity to link heaven and earth.

11. The Siddur – Prayer Book – is a source of spiritual instruction, which is not a matter of mere technique; it has to do with inner transformation.

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16
Jul

A Lesson In How To Sing A Blessing

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Prayer, Spiritual Growth

My wife wasn’t home this morning when I woke up. I was about to sing my morning blessings when she returned home. She went to the supermarket in order to make my favorite cake for me to eat over Shabbat. What a warm and magnificent feeling! Someone loves me so much that she is constantly thinking of me and finding new ways to spoil me. I was overwhelmed.

I took that feeling of having someone care so much for me, love me and think of me and incorporated it in my morning blessings. God loves me enough to give me the gift of His directions in life – Mitzvot. God gave me a multi-level soul, and a Torah with which to access all levels. God gave me brains to draw distinctions, and ears to hear and, if I so choose, listen. He gave me eyes, clothes, a, somewhat, functioning spine. I have feet and shoes. I am alive and awake.

I was flying with joy and the feeling of loving the fact that Someone, besides my wife, constantly cares for me.

It wasn’t just a cake: It was a lesson in how to Sing a Blessing!

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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15
Jul

Appreciating The Gift of Israel

by admin in Spiritual Growth

The following story is offered by Rabbi Sholom Brodt:

Our son Netzach started to go to nursery school when he was about four or five years old. Judy would always send him off with a ‘healthy’ lunch which meant that his sandwiches were usually prepared on dark whole wheat bread. It would happen sometimes that Netzach would come home crying because his friends would make fun of his whole wheat bread that was so different from their white bread. I would sit with Netzach and try to comfort him, explaining that not everyone understood the importance of health food as his mother did and that it was only because she loved him so much and cared about his health that she gave him only the best foods. And even if his food looks different and other children would make fun of it, he needn’t get upset over that.

Netzach stopped crying, looked at me and said, “Tatty, I’m not crying because they made fun of my sandwhich, I’m crying because they made fun of something that my mother did for me.” I’ll never forget that moment of enlightenment. I was stunned by the depth of his words.

Eretz Yisrael is special to us because it is a gift that Hashem gave us. Let us appreciate it. Amen.

The Foundation Stone is grateful to Rav Sholom Brodt, Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo, www.shlomoyeshiva.org

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13
Jul

Some Favorite Quotes

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

Solitude has but one disadvantage: it is apt to give one too high an opinion of one’s self. In the world, we are sure to be often reminded of every known or supposed defect we may have. — Lord Byron

I have never gone to sleep with a grievance against anyone. And, as far as I could, I have never let anyone go to sleep with a grievance against me.

— Abba Agathon, monk (4th/5th century)

If you wish to be loved, show more of your faults than your virtues. -Edward Bulwer-Lytton, author (1803-1873)

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. -Edgar Guest, poet (1881-1959)

Evil is like a shadow – it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it. -Shakti Gawain, teacher and author (b. 1948)

To freely bloom – that is my definition of success. -Gerry Spence, lawyer (b. 1929)

If a man would register all his opinions upon love, politics, religion, learning, etc., beginning from his youth and so go on to old age, what a bundle of inconsistencies and contradictions would appear at last! -Jonathan Swift, satirist (1667-1745)

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13
Jul

Travels in Exile II

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

Who has twisted us around like this, so that

no matter what we do, we are in the posture

of someone going away? Just as, upon

the farthest hill, which shows him his whole valley

one last time, he turns, stops, lingers -,

so we live here, forever taking leave.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Eighth Duino Elegy (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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13
Jul

My Problem With Globalization

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Music of Halacha

The fruit on the left is known by a Jewish name: Mangosteen, although some pronounce it Mangostein. No matter the pronunciation, this magical, tasty and wonderfully shaped creation, one of the benefits of globalization, has challenged my choice of blessings. I will make the blessing for fruit: “Who creates the Fruit of the Tree”. I play out the blessing in my mind: 1) Wonder: The four buds at the bottom of the stem. The reddish-brown-black speckled color of the shell. 2) Wonder #2: Observe and admire whole, garlic-shaped fruit inside thick container. 3) I will check the fragrance of the outside and then the inside of the shell. I will then sniff the fruit, and if it has a special fragrance, I will recite an extra blessing: “Who gives a good fragrance to fruit”. 4) I will take my time opening the fruit into pieces. I will pay careful attention to texture and moisture.

The problem occurs at this point: I must recite a second blessing after “Who creates fruit of the trees”: “Shehechiyanu”: The blessing we recite over a new fruit. The problem, specifically because of globalization is this:

The fruit on the left is a Noni. Just a glance at this fruit and its flowers and buds catches my attention, even before I consider its taste. I want my “Shehechiyanu” to be on the best fruit in front of me, and the Noni certainly offers serious competition to the Mangosteen. You have small, light-green buds, and slightly larger white buds that have yet to unfold, and then you can see the flower with the little world inside its petals. When placed just next to a ripe Noni, as in the photograph, you can see how each buds enlarges as it ripens. I wonder if it is a form of cactus. How shall I choose between the Mangosteen and the Noni for my “Shehechiyanu”?

Just as I am about to flip a coin: which is not a very good way to choose a fruit for this important blessing, some chocolates appear.

One minute: They look like chocolate truffles but they are not. They are Acai berries. I can’t flip a coin between three possibilities of “Shehechiyanu”.

To make things even more confusing, some Goji berries appear.

Each deserves its own “Shehechiyanu”. How shall I choose? That is my problem with globalization!

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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10
Jul

Victory of Life

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

The Ta Phrom Buddhist temple in Angkor Wat stands out from all other structures because the government has chosen to leave the entire site in its overgrown, dilapidated, original state of discovery. The temple is crumbling and being absorbed back into tthe jungle in a manner that is both beautiful and frightening. The giant banyan trees are spilling, at glacial speed, over the tops of the temple walls, wrapping around pillars, and pouring into the nooks and crannies between the bricks. Teratological rhizomorphic tentacles grow over the ruins and each other in thick ancient layers. Green creeping vines bubble up out of every crevice and embrace the collapsing sandstone architecture. In the 1930s, H.W. Ponder, in Cambodian Glory, described Ta Phrom beautifully: “Everywhere around you, you see Nature in its dual role of destroyer and consoler; strangling on the one hand, and healing on the other; no sooner splitting the carved stones asunder than she dresses their wounds with cool, velvety mosses, and binds them with her most delicate tendrils; a conflict of moods so contradictory and feminine as to prove once more – if proof were needed – how well “Dame” Nature merits her feminine title!”

The agony of seeing the ruins of Jerusalem is softened by the powerful signs of life renewed. The city grows, expands, vibrates with energy and passions, and most of all, continues to express the victory of Life over Destruction.

Yet, where Ponder saw “Dame” Nature, we see Menachem Av – The Comforting Father: We are not passive observers to roots, branches and mosses. We are active, empowered participants in this victory of life and hope that pumps through the air and earth of Jerusalem and Israel. Ponder observes Nature. We, see God.

God’s Chesed, or Life Force, permeates this world, and resonates more powerfully in Jerusalem than any other place in the Universe.

Destruction comes only when we fail to witness the miracle of this victory of Life Force. Perhaps this is the essence of Rabbi Akiva’s laughter when he observed foxes prancing through the ruins of the Temple Mount: He appreciated the miraculous victory of Life Force over destruction.

We have survived with this vision of victory flowing through our hearts and souls.

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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