Saturday, September 30, 2006

Yad L'achim Is Where It's At

Thank you God for organizations like this one.

Another Woman and Girl Rescued from Torment in Arab Village
12:50 Sep 29, '06 / 7 Tishrei 5767
by Hillel Fendel

A Yad L'Achim special: Eight hareidi-religious Jews in disguise rescued a Jewish girl from her Moslem father's home in the PA-controlled city of Tul Karem, east of Netanya.
Accounts differ as to how precisely the rescue took place, but it was clearly planned thoroughly in advance. The story began several years ago when an Arab man from Tul Karem met a Jewish girl from Ashdod, and it was "love at first sight," according to the Arab. The Jewess has a different version, however; she says he first fooled her into believing he was Jewish - and neglected to mention that he was already married with children. In fact, when the two later married and moved to Tul Karem, the first wife and five children lived nearby, without her knowledge.

continued here...

Friday, September 29, 2006

All Good Things Must Come To An End

That's what I hear at least. Yesterday though, that's what happened. It was my last day of American shiur for a long time--well, regular American shiur that is. The z'man is over after Yom Kippur ends, and since today is Erev Shabbos, and sunday is Erev YK, so yesterday the last day of shiur for the z'man, and my last day of shiur at Yesodei HaTorah. I'm going to miss it -- but I'll be back.

Merkaz Shappira 40 miles
19 days

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Schimmelism Of The Week LIV

Max: 1 hour of learning without batala (wasting time) is better than 2 hours with batala.
DK: Well, 2 is better than 3.
Max: Well, chocolate chip cookies.

I agree, it makes absolutely no sense. That's what happens at yeshiva.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Man Arrested for Blowing Shofar at Western Wall

Man Arrested for Blowing Shofar at Western Wall
13:09 Sep 25, '06
3 Tishrei 5767
by Hillel Fendel

Shades of the 1920's: A Jewish man was hauled off to the Old City police station in the middle of prayer for sounding the shofar during Rosh HaShanah services at the area known as the Kotel HaKatan.

continued here...

Totally ridiculous. You know how the police found out? An arab woman called them, saying it was distubing her children. Well, get out of our city arab woman, and it won't bother your children. Of course though, the arabs can "daven" (lehavdil elef alfei alafos) over loudspeakers in the wee hours of the morning, and nothing does anything to them. I got woken up from my Shabbos nap at our Old City Shabbaton in May by the arabs davening.

And also, why does the police have to beat everybody? What's with that? He was freakin' davening. Fine, they let him finish, but like, still, that wasn't their original plan.

And so it goes...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What Is The Kotel?

I've found that people think too highly of the Kotel. Shifra told me MMY took their girls to the Kotel right after they landed, tired as anything. I was given to letters to put into the walls of the Kotel. Of course I did it, to fulfil their request, but, it felt weird, even though millions have done it before me. Before I left last time, a few people asked me if I'm going to the Kotel before I leave. I said, I don't know, but probably not. They asked why not? I said, I don't have kavanah their. (Update, 1145 pm, someone just asked if I was going before Rosh HaShana.)

Does anyone know what the Kotel is? It's a retaining wall put up by King Herod (not even a Jew!) for the 2nd Beis HaMikdash. On the south side, he put some living spaces I think, for himself. And party rooms to impress honored guests.

That's all it is.

Now don't get me wrong, it's wonderful to have it in our control, and that we can get so close to the Kodesh Kadashim (Holy of Holies) through the tunnels and such. No one is happier than me that we at least have a part of Har HaBayyis. Or, part of the area surrounding it. And that we can daven mamash 90 feet away from the holiest place on earth is wonderful.

But that's all it is, 90 feet away. Some people act as if the Kotel is the Beis HaMikdash itself. But it's not.

So, you ask, what about that midrash that says that God's presense never left the Western Wall?
Well, funny you should ask, but most (if not all) the commentators agree that that line is talking about the western wall of the actual Holy of Holies, not the wall we call the Kotel.

Sorry to burst your bubble folks.

It's funny, one is supposed to go to places like these (the Kotel, burial places of tzadikkim, etc.) to have more kavanah (concentration) in your davening (prayers). But I can never have kavanah at the Kotel -- how can you with 10 different minyanim going on all around you? One of them, of course, being the Sefardi minyan right next to you, where they're screaming every single part of davening? And also, since it's the month of Elul, you hear blasts from the shofar randomly.

It seems to me that some people act as if the Kotel is it. That the Kotel, if it were human, would be called, The Man, and not the Beis HaMIkdash itself (whatever, you get my drift).

How? Quite simply.

When one is davening, where are they supposed to face? No, don't say east. You\re supposed to face Jerusalem. It just so happens that half of the world is east of it. Anyway, what about when you're in Jerusalem? Well, the Beis HaMikdash. What about when you're pretty much there, like near the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount (where the Kotel plaza is)?

Yup, you guessed it -- the Kodesh Kodashim.

So then why, pray tell, do nearly 99% of the people NOT face the K"K, but they face the actual wall itself? And no, the K'K isn't right behind the Kotel, it\s actually quite tot he left a bit. Therefore, when at the Kotel, you shouldn't be facing the Kotel straight, but actually, tilted toward the left. and if you're right next to the wall, then like, an 80 degree tilt. Facing the Kodesh Kodashim. Not the wall itself.

So, what is the Kotel?

A wall built by a non Jew.

Sittin' In The Wrong Chair

Last week one of the rebbeim was telling me a story (I forgot he context as to how it came up, sorry) about how this young kid, 13, 14 years old about. One day, he walks into to Lakewood yeshiva, he wants to learn a bit. He doesn't see any spots open, except this one rickety chair in the front, so he sits down.
As the rabbi told me, he was chucked out of there so fast he didn't know what happened -- he had sat in the Rosh Yeshiva's, R' Shach's (I'm pretty sure it was him) chair.

I don't know what is it about people like that they have to do something like that. Throw him out of the yeshiva for sitting accidently in the rosh yeshiva's chair? He came to the yeshiva to learn some Torah, one of the [if not the] most important things in Judaism, and for such an innocent act he's subsequently thrown out for sitting in the rabbi's seat accidently? I don't like that. Some people have become not frum because of stupid actions like that. They think, this is what Torah is about? and they leave it. That was such a chillul HaShem, doing that. Just throwing "don't embarass people in public" out the window. The Gemara says that it's better to burn in a fire than to embarass someone in public. Why couldn't they act like a mentsch? Why couldn't they say, "Excuse me, but you're sitting in the Rosh Yeshiva's chair, could you please get up"? Why couldn't they? WHY?! It bugs me so much that people can't just act nice towards people, especially when they don't know what's up, how things fly in certain places. I don't care about kavod harav (honor to the rabbi) here, kavod habriyos (honor to fellow people) comes first, plain and simple.

Schimmelism Of The Week LXIII

Tonny: I hate it, flies in this country [israel] are more chutzpadik than in America.
R' Wolicki: Well, they are Israeli.

To All You Beltran Haters II

PROTRADE: Moneyball MVP's
Beltran the most productive Major Leaguer, edging Pujols

Our betting friends say the Yankees' Derek Jeter and Cards' Albert Pujols remain odds-on favorites to win baseball's Most Valuable Player honors. That sounds like a popularity contest to us.
With the aid of a metric like PROTRADE's Moneyball Runs, however, you don't need to rely on popularity to determine who is the most productive. After all, MBR totals a player's overall offensive and defensive performance into one value, adjusting for context in ways that traditional stats -- like RBIs -- don't. Using MBR might not be the definitive measure of on-field performance, but we happen to think it's a pretty good addition to the discussion.

continue here...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Earthquake...Or Not...?

If there was an earthquake near you, you'd think you'd feel it at least a little bit, right? Well, apparently not...

Israel Shaken by Second Quake in 8 Days
16:38 Sep 17, '06 / 24 Elul 5766
by Ezra HaLevi

The second minor earthquake in just over a week shook central Israel Sunday morning, causing no injury or damage. The Home Front Command has issued instructions in the event of a larger quake.

The earthquake, which was felt at 11:25 AM, measured 4 on the Richter scale - slightly less powerful than the 4.5 quake felt last Saturday morning....

Ramat Gan residents told Army Radio that they felt a definite movement of the earth.

What?? TWO in the last week? I haven't felt ANY of them! Later on in the article, it says there was one last Erev Rosh HaShana also. How does this happen? Ramat Gan is near Tel Aviv, past Beit Shemesh, and I didn't feel a thing.

Someone tell me how does this happen?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tomorrow's Dinner: Update

Well, it's no longer "tomorrow's dinner", as I ate it 2 nights ago. But I just wanted to update you on it.
It was the best chicken I ever had. Rebbetzin Wolicki made it. I'm not sure how, but she just put some spices on it, here and there, WOW it was awesome. The best chicken ever. AND she made potatoes too -- darn great ones too.
And the heart...I saved them. Yes them. There were two hearts. No, my chicken didn't have two (although would've been quite quite nice), I took the heart from Daniel's chicken, he didn't want it. Best piece of meat ever. I recommend it for everybody.
And no, there is nothing wrong with it halachically, you just have to kasher it right.

Have a good shabbos everybody.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tomorrow's Dinner

Yup, it's that time of year again. That time where we spin a chicken around our head 3 times and then kill it, so we get forgiven for our sins. If you remember, last year I did shechted my own chicken. Today, Daniel and I went again, this time befoe kaparos, to, "practice," to, "see if we still have it." Well, no need to worry folks, we do indeed "still have it." Rebbetzin Wolicki is nice enough to cook my chicken for me, and I'm going to eat it for dinner tomorrow night.

Oh yeah, it was kosher.

Just thought you'd all like to know.

Schimmelism Of The Week LXII

In Yesodei this year, we are learning Maseches Sanhedrin. I was happy when Rabbi Wolicki told me this, because I had learned Sanhedrin in 11th grade, and I wouldn't have to buy another gemara, just use the one I have from 11th grade.
On the bottom of one of the pages in the gemara, I found this line from my 11th grade rebbe that I wrote down:

R' Beitler: Look, he's choking. Now that's funny.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sotah 9:15

"בעקבות משיחא...והגליל ייחרב...ואנשי הגבול יסובבו מעיר לעיר ולא ייחוננו..."

"In the footsteps of Mashi'ach...
the Galil with be destroyed...and the people of the boarder with go from city to city and will not rest..."

Sounds familiar, no...?

And the line before this?

"...והמלכות תיהפך למינוס, ואין תוכחה..."

"...and the government will turn into heresy, and there will be no rebuke..."
Kehati's commentary: And no one will be able to rebuke because they will be men of sin...

And the party's just getting started...

Mazal Tov Ashira!

Ashira's engaged! Yay!

I love you Ashira!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Back In The Holy Land

Yup, I'm back, and I'm loving it. I'm soooo happy to be back in Eretz Yisrael, in yeshiva, with all the guys. Roth knocked me over when he ran over to hug me yesterday. Shiur with R' Kwass is good so far; bekiyus with R' Lichtman (buy his book!) is awesome as usual, Emes L'Ya'akov with Rabbi W is amazing of course. Just so happy to be here.

Now I just need a phone...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Last Minute Realization

As I sit here waiting for Abba and Peggy to get stuff to eat, I want to share a final thought before I go.

I was thinking today about how I'm going to be able to do it all by myself in Israel with not that much money. It's going to be hard -- but I'm going to be able to do it, I know I can...with HaShem's help of course. I hadn't had a real steady job this summer, I had just done small things for the shul here and there, made a little money. I had worked for Mr Macy last year at his inn. And then it dawned me, what the reason possibly could be, why HaShem had it that I wouldn't have a job this year.

Because I forgot to give ma'aser.

Ma'aser is when one gives 10 - 20% of his/her income to tzedaka (charity). Everyone has to do it, even the person getting tzadaka, he has to give tzedaka also.

I had planned on giving my ma'aser last summer before I left. Then I got to Israel, to yeshiva, and was going to give it to a tzedaka there. And then I just totally forgot and it was the end of the year, and I had not enough to give the amount I had to.

According to this reason, HaShem probably would've thought, he obviously couldn't handle his money right last time, why should I give him another chance?

Learn from my mistake (as I hope I have). Give tzedaka. The Gemara says one who gives tzedaka get's paid back what he gave.

Don't make the same mistake I did.

I hope to see everyone in Israel soon.