Archive for April 2016
“His speech affliction was worse than his shaking. It was really hard to listen and look at him at the same time. He said, ‘I have only a few minutes for you because I know you’re all busy American businessmen!’ You know, just a little dig there.
“Then he asked, ‘Can anyone tell me what the lesson of the Holocaust is?’ He called on one guy – it was like being called on in the fifth grade – and not knowing the answer. The guy said something benign like, ‘We will never forget?’ “The Rabbi completely dismissed him. Rabbi Finkel was looking around the table to call on someone else. We were all sort of under the table, looking away, hoping he would not call on any one of us. Personally, I was sweating. He called on another guy, who I thought had such a fantastic answer. ‘We will never, ever again be a victim or bystander.’ “But the Rabbi said, ‘You guys just don’t get it. Okay, let me tell you the essence of the human spirit. As you know, during the Holocaust, the people were transported in the worst most inhumane ways imaginable. The people thought they were going to a work camp but we know they were sent to concentration camps. After hours and days in this horrific corral with no light, no bathroom and extreme cold, they arrived at the camps. The doors were swung wide open, and they were blinded by the light. Men and women were separated, mothers from daughters, fathers from sons. Eventually, they were sent to the barracks. “As they went into the sleeping area, only one person was given a blanket for every six. The person who received the blanket had to decide before going to sleep, ‘Am I going to push the blanket to the five other people who did not get one, or am I going to pull it towards myself to stay warm?’ These are the types of questions they asked themselves. “Rabbi Finkel paused for a moment. Then he said, ‘Gentlemen, it was during this defining moment that we learned the power of the human spirit, because we pushed the blanket to five others. That is the lesson of the Holocaust!’ “With that, he stood up and said, ‘Take your blanket. Take it back to America – and push it to five other people!'”
There is a follow-up to this story. Apparently Mr. Schultz later returned to Israel and visited Rabbi Nosson Tzvi again. This time, he pulled out a blank check, signed it and told Rabbi Finkel to fill it out for whatever he wants. Rabbi Nosson Tzvi asked him, “I can fill out this check for whatever I want?” Mr. Schultz answered in the affirmative. Rabbi Nosson Tzvi picked up his pen and wrote out the check for $1400. Then, he handed the check to Howard Schultz, and told him to take it across the street to the scribe (Sofer), use it to buy a pair of Tefillin, and promise to put it on every day. His Yeshiva was millions of dollars in debt, and Rabbi Nosson Tzvi worked very hard to raise money for the Yeshiva, but he thought about his fellow Jew first
|This article was constructed with the help of either writings, lectures or shiurim of Rabbi’s, Yissachar Frand, Yossi bilus, Asher Hurzberg and Mrs. Leah Kohn|
L o y a l t y
We’re loyal to our jobs; we’re loyal to our country; we’re loyal to our spouse; we’re even loyal to our sports teams (Go, Mets)!! Loyalty is something we do. There are even loyalty programs that reward buyers for sticking with company brands. Perhaps we should even start a loyalty program with our “Cup of Coffee” newsletter. This notion of loyalty programs proposed by major US companies has steadily grown in popularity. Between 2008 and 2012, U.S. loyalty memberships increased by 10 percent per year – reaching on average over 23 memberships per household.
However, a McKinsey study showed that those that spend more on loyalty, or have more visible loyalty programs, grow at about the same rate – or slightly slower – than those that do not. Oops! Never mind about that proposal for our “Coffee”. Despite relative underperformance in terms of revenue growth and profitability, over the past five years, market capitalization for companies that greatly emphasize loyalty programs has outpaced that of companies that don’t. In other words, companies are still hoping and yearning that they will be rewarded with customer loyalty in due time. Nevertheless consumers, for the most part, are not loyal. Perhaps, human nature is such that, people want to believe that loyalty is important to all and therefore companies are banking on that premise.
The beginning of Parshas Tazria deals with the laws of purity and impurity associated with childbirth. At the end of the 40 day period of impurity and purity following the birth of a male, or at the end of the 80 day period of impurity and purity following the birth of a female, the mother is required to bring “a sheep within its first year for an olah-offering and a young dove or a turtle dove for a sin-offering” to complete her purification process [Vayikra 12:6].
WHY SPECIFICALLY THE YOUNG DOVE OR TURTLE DOVE?
Even though there are many kinds of kosher birds, the only kinds of birds that may be brought as sacrifices on the Altar are the young dove [ben-yonah] and the turtle dove [tor].
The Ramban writes that the Torah singled out torim as an appropriate species for karbanot-sacrifices, precisely because of their loyalty to each other. The tor [turtle dove] has a unique quality in the fact that it mates for life. If its partner is taken away from it or killed, it will not seek out another mate, but will seemingly mourn – as it were – for the first mate for the rest of its life. This unique quality makes them the optimum choice for spiritual elevation sought by the one bringing a bird sacrifice. The Ramban adds that even though bnei-yonah do not share this quality, they have an alternate characteristic which makes them appropriate. The young dove (the only kind of “ben yonah” which may be brought) has the trait that they always return to their nest. Most birds will never return to their nest once a human being touches it. The bnei yonah are an exception. They have such loyalty to their nests that they will return despite the fact that human hands may have tampered with the nest. The Ramban writes “So too Israel will not switch from loyalty to their Creator and His Torah forever.” Therefore, according to the Ramban, torim and bnei Yonah are the bird species used in the Bait HaMikdash because they share the quality of loyalty with the Jewish people
Of course, how is it possible to talk about loyalty and not discuss the most sacred union built on loyalty, namely the one between husband and wife?
Our beloved and popular king, whom we often associate with royalty, David had a wife who was the daughter of the previous king, Shaul. When David beat Goliath he was rewarded, as promised, the king’s daughter Michal. Now, Shaul was under much pressure from having to deal with the popularity of David, as David killed the heavily favored Goliath, and Shmuel’s prophecy which said that it was David who will reign after Shaul.
We learn in the Navi that Shaul was jealous of David and wanted to kill him. Interestingly, both David and Shaul were hailed righteous and have their sacred place in heaven. Hence the reader has to realize the difficult situation the two are in for, as there is no good guy or bad guy in this historic chain of events. Saul knows this prophecy to be already in motion, given that he has already experienced a loss of the special divine connection granted by God to leaders of the Jewish people. Even so…..
“…Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with a spear; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the spear into the wall; and David fled, and escaped that night. And Saul sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him and to slay him in the morning; and Michal David’s wife told him, saying: ‘If thou save not thy life tonight, to-morrow thou shalt be slain.’ So Michal let David down through the window; and he went, and fled, and escaped. And Michal took the teraphim, and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats’ hair at the head thereof, and covered it with a cloth. And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said: ‘He is sick’. And Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying: ‘Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.’ And when the messengers came in, behold, the teraphim was in the bed, with the quilt of goats’ hair at the head thereof. And Saul said unto Michal: ‘Why hast thou deceived me thus, and let mine enemy go, that he is escaped?’ And Michal answered Saul: ‘He said unto me: Let me go; why should I kill thee?'” (I Samuel, 19: 10 – 17)
The above passage relates one incident in the ongoing conflict between David and Saul. In this instance Michal (who is both David’s wife and Saul’s daughter) is directly involved in the sequence of events. She finds herself in the middle of the struggle between the two men and is forced to choose between two family members whom she loves and admires and who are important pillars of the Jewish nation. Because of her equally deep connection to Saul and David, Michal will most likely cause great pain to whomever she does not ultimately assist.
Michal’s decision is a difficult one, but her responsibilities under the circumstances in which she finds herself are outlined by Jewish law. The Torah obligates a married woman to act first and foremost in support of her husband, if he is in need. As the text relates, Michal does so by helping David to escape from their home, and then creating a “stand-in” so to speak for her husband, by disguising a life size statue with a wig of goat’s hair and placing it in bed under the covers. She next tells Saul’s men who have come for David that her husband is sick and cannot be extradited to the palace. This ruse buys time enough for David to escape to safety.
Michal’s obligation to her father, Saul, runs diametrically opposite her responsibilities to David. Specifically, the Torah prohibits a child from causing pain to a parent – and Michal knows her father will suffer, once he finds out she has orchestrated David’s escape. Thus, under the inordinate pressure of a life or death situation, Michal must quickly make her decision and act. She does so, with great loyalty to Torah, by saving David, as Torah dictates she must. And having acted within the parameters of Jewish law, Michal might have stopped at this point and found consolation for her own distress as well as for the inevitable pain of her father. She might have admitted to herself that – like many difficult decisions in life – this one involved human suffering.
While others in her position may have chosen this route to resolution, Michal pushes onward, and this is where she distinguishes herself as a great Jewish heroine. She insists upon re-evaluating the situation and in doing so, she comes up with a plan to spare her father any pain, by relating to her father a second version of what has transpired with David. When Saul realizes that Michal has enabled David’s departure, he asks her, “Why hast thou deceived me thus, and let mine enemy go, that he is escaped?” The answer Michal contrives – “He said unto me: Let me go; why should I kill thee?” – implies for Saul’s benefit that David did not want to harm his wife in order to prevent her from informing Saul of his escape. In addition, her response conveys the message that, even when his own life is in danger, David is careful not to inflict harm on another. Michal suggests to her father that, for the sake of their marriage and because of his true love for his wife, David had virtually begged Michal to assist him and to gain for him the extra time necessary for his escape to safety.
Michal suggests to her father – hoping he will conclude on his own – that David is a person of high caliber, who has a high regard for the life of each and every individual, who cherishes his marriage, and whose character Saul might well reassess. From this point of view, Saul may reconsider his own decision to kill David. Seeing how David cares so deeply for the life of others, Saul may ultimately conclude that David wants neither to harm him nor rebel against him. Michal’s subtle appeal to Saul takes place on an emotional level, as a daughter’s request that her father reconsider his opinion of the husband she so loves and esteems.
Michal’s plan works. For the moment she convinces Saul to cease his pursuit of David.
There is an amazing story pertaining to the great Rabbi Chaim Berlin. He would often read the Shir Hasirim to the congregation on Shavuot, as per the Ashkenazi custom, and would get choked up when reading the passage “Your eyes are beautiful like a dove”. The Sages suggest that King Shlomo was referring G-d talking his children, bnei Yisrael. When asked, why he would react that way, he respond that as a mohel he was once approached, discreetly, by someone who wanted him to perform circumcision on his son. However the father emphasized “there will not be a minyan (quorum of ten men) present” for he did not want anyone to discover that he was Jewish. The Rabbi complied and the circumcision was performed with only the Mohel the father and a close friend present.
Sometime later, the Rabbi reached out to the father and asked “I don’t understand. It seems like you’re completely removed from Judaism where you don’t even resemble in any way, being a Jew, why would you care then if your son is circumcised?
The father answered, “I made my choice not to practice Judaism however if my son ever decides to pursuit the idea of being Jewish I don’t want the brit Milah to be an obstacle, to stand in his way, if he wants to return.”
Rabbi Chaim Berlin would cry when reading this particular passage, for a dove never strays too far from the nest for he knows that no matter what, he’ll always return. The same thing applies to us Jews. Even though we stray a bit far in our hearts we always know we can return. That is loyalty!
Michal offers today’s couple an example of exemplary conduct, even under duress. Given that we spend a great deal of time under the duress of day to day life in our fast paced world, Michal remains a role model who performed loyalty to her husband, a trait that G-d seeks in all of us.
A final story. When Rabbi Pinchas Sheinberg’s wife was very ill laying in a coma at the hospital, the old and frail Rabbi would make it his business to visit her every day. One of the nurses asked the Rav Sheinberg, “Rabbi why do you come here every day? She doesn’t see you”. He replied “I’m not here so my wife to see me; I’m here to see my wife”..
On the seder night one can basically ask and receive a favorable response more so than on any night. The reason is G-d had mercy on the Jews that night even though we didn’t deserve it. It says USHMA TZA’AKATAM-he heard our screams and he had mercy.
Speech is a gift given to humans that thereby differentiates them from other species. It connects the heavens (spiritual) to earth (physical). In essence this is how we communicate with G-d. Anyone who understands the laws of prayer is aware that without verbalization our prayers are not as potent. Speech connects the world of thought to world of action. We then have to ask a basic question – If speech is essential for prayer to reach the eavens, how then did G-d just,hear our screams and respond? Didn’t we say verbalization is required? We see how clever Pharoah and the Egyptians were. They worked the poor Jews to exhaustion till they couldn’t think and express themselves. This was done by design. They knew the power of the Jew is through his mouth and they planned to stifle that weapon.
Now we see what a merciful night the seder is. Even without the speech, without the bridge between heaven and earth, G-d still listened and released us from bondage. However, today is our chance to correct, or perhaps one should say, fill the void, of not having speech that night. On the seder night we use our speech as a vehicle that transcends our prayers, our love, our commitment to G-d. We use the seder as a platform to accomplish the power of speech. The fifth step of the haggadah “Maggid-to tell over” so we can V’HEGADEDA L’BINCHA-tell our children. We arouse our children’s curiosity and encourage them to ask questions. Any child would automatically ask question after they recite the MA NISHTANA. How many fathers have come to me and asked me “What do I answer my son when he recites the 4 questions? This night is a night where everything is open for disscussion. Apparently the section following the MAH NISHTANA is the response by the patriach of the family, answering the child.
Miss Lorraine Schwartz wishing a happy Passover to all and would also like to dedicate in loving memory of her beloved grandfather Hanan ben El-Chanan and Ester, also in loving memory her beloved grandmother Rachel bat Tziporah, her mother Shulamit bat Rachel, her aunt Nava and her uncle Shmuel and Pinchas ben Efraim Cohen. MENUCHTAM BEH GAN EDEN…on behalf of their merit may the whole family see much success
Mr.and Mrs. Rafi Fouzailoff for peace and unity in the world especially among our Jewish nation, wishing all a chag kasher v’sameach to all of am Yisrael and we would also like to dedicate for refuah shelema Nomi bat Mazal and Yehuda ben Tzipora and Meyer our beloved brother in law
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gad hatzlacha to all.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gad in loving memory Diana bat Sophie and for the hatzlacha, bracha and refuah shelema to all of klal Yisrael
The Alibayof family dedicating in loving memory of their father Shmuel Naman ben Yael and Joe’s mother-in-law Ruth bat Rivka and the brothers Aunt Aliza MENUCHATAM B’GAN EDEN
Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Gil in loving memory and honor of his parents Akiva and Esther Gil MENUCHATAM BEH GAN EDEN, may their ZECHUT be a bracha on the children, grandchildren and great grandchild
Mr. Jimmy Fellus and family dedicating in loving memory of his grandmother Rachel bat Shalm MENUCHATA B’GAN EDEN may on her zechut the family see much bracha
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Tali Ambalu in loving memory of the seven children that were killed NISHMATAM B’GAN EDEN
Anonymous for the health, parnasa AD BLI DAI- B’SHEFA, hatzlaha bracha, and abundance of Torah to Rafael ben Yehuda, Gavriel ben Yehuda, Yehuda ben Avraam, and their entire family as well to all of klal Israel. BEKAROV also a refuah shelema to Riva bat broocha Berta bat Osnat
Mr.and Mrs. Jack and Nora Abraham wishing everybody a chag kasher v’sameach
Ramin Nassimian and family would like to wish MAZAL TOV!! on the marriage of Robin and Mikey Rendel as well as Esther and Jason Rachmanim…..may both couples build a BAYIT N’EMAN B’YISRAEL, AMEN!!
MAZAL TOV!! to Kordvani and Ebrani families on the engagement of Mirriam to Mark…may they build a BAYIT N’EMAN B’YISRAEL…AMEN!!
Kordvani family would like to wish a refuah shelema to Shimon ben Chana
Mr.and Mrs. Isaac Cohen may all the revakim and revakot find their true zevugim this year AMEN!!
Mr. Michael Assouline, wishing success and a happy Pesach o all of am Yisrael may Michael have success in all his endeavors and parnasa ad bli dai!!!
Mr. and Mrs. Lev ((Larry) Kimyagarov wishing all of am Yisrael a Happy and kosher Pesach….and may Hashem bless us all with briyut and abundance of parnasa
Mr. and Mrs.Boris and Bella Kikov in loving memories of he seven children that were killed MENUCHATAM B’GAN EDEN
Dr. and Mrs.Yitzchak Rachmanian wishing parnasa and well being to his family and to all of klal Yisrael also l’lui nishmat Sion ben Nissan, Eliyahu ben Mashiach
Mr. and Mrs. David Itzhakov wishing a chag kasher v’samech to all
The Inoyatov family would like to dedicate l’ilu nishmat their grandfather Avraham ben Frecha MENUCHATO B’GAN EDEN
Mr.and Mrs. Yitzie Laub and family in loving memory of his father Aharon ben Yitzchak and also his father-in-law Avraham Yaacov ben Aharon MENUCHATAM BEH GAN EDEN
MAZAL TOV ON THEIR ANNIVERSARY!! TO…Mr. and Mrs Yehuda an Elana Aharonov, may they have hatzlacha bracha and see much nachat from their children..AD MEAH V’ESRIM AND ALWAYS K’MO ZUUG YONIM
The Abraham family would like to dedicate in loving memory of their father Yehuda ben Rachel MENUCHATO B’GAN EDEN
Mr. and Mrs. Yves (Avi) and Bracha Behar in loving memory of his mother Devorah bat Rina MENUCHATA B’GAN EDEN
Anonymous refuah shelema Gavriel ben Yocheved
Anonymous for the safe release of our beloved Rachamim
Mr.and Mrs. Eduard Kurayev for hatzlacha and bracha to all of klal Yisrael
Mr. and Mrs, Michael Aharonoff wishing hatzlacha bracha shalom u’briyut to the whole wide world
The Yusupov family in loving memory of their beloved mother Raya bat Mazal Yosipov MENUCHATA B’GAN EDEN
Malidani Jewelers, the meirov family for the refuah shelema Liza bat Sara Moshe ben Adina Yaffa bat Rivka Shlomo ben Yaffa and all of klal Yisrael
The Natanov family wishing hatzlacha to all of Am Yisrael
Anonymous for the refuah shelema of Avraham ben Rachel
Rabbi and Mrs. Uri and Ricky Sklaar for the well being of yours truly and all of klal Yisrael and may there be more Cups of Coffee this coming year
Mr. David Bodenhiem in loving memory of his father Naftali ben Avraham MENUCHATO BEH GAN EDEN
Anonymous hatzlacha to all of klal Yisrael
Shoshana Roza bat Ester
Shura Yoshua bat Chusni
Frumit bat Esther Malka
Yissachar dov ben Tzipora Faiga
Nissim ben Rachel
Oshrat bat Esther
Aliza Ruchama bat orly
Rachel Esther bat Mirriam
Ruth bat Keshuar
Tovah bat Mirriam Leah
Liza bat Sara
Moshe ben Adina
(Jerry)Chaim Yaacov Lev ben Sarah
Ruth bat Ahuva
Yitzchak ben Minu
Channa Leah bat Sarah
Avraham ben Karmela
Tzvia bat Leah
Yechezkel ben Bracha Parvoneh
Shimon Yaacov ben Henya Faiga
Asher ben Nurit
Shmuel ben Bat Sheva
Meir Chai ben Menashe and Mazal
Avraham ben Rachel
R’ Efraim ben Rachel
Ruth bat Aliza and Jacob
Baruch ben Tamara
Daniel Refael ben Channa
Devorah bat Rachel
Anonymous refuah shelema to all of klal Yisrael
Tovah bat Mirriam Leah.
Gavriel ben Yocheved
Leah Taub bat Mirriam
Irina bat Sonya
Shura bat Mira
Elana Bracha bat Adina
Sharon ben Shmuel Sarah
Irina bat Sonya
Ruth bat Keshvar
Yitzchak David ben Shulamis
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We eat it at the pesach seder. Our family actually consumes it throughout the holiday. It makes a healthy snack and could be considered enough for a meal.
Its color and texture are meant to recall mortar (or mud used to make adobe bricks) which the Israelites used when they were enslaved in Ancient Egypt as mentioned in Tractate Pesahim (page 116a) of the Talmud. The word “charoset” comes from the Hebrew word cheres – חרס – “clay.”
Charoset is one of the symbolic foods on the Passover Seder Plate. After reciting the blessings, and eating a matzah “sandwich” combining charoset andmaror, the remainder is often eaten plain, spread on matzah.
Take dates, raisins, pomegranates, dried apricots, apples, dried plums, all kinds of nuts( walnuts, almonds etc.) place them in a blender or food processor in small batches. Pulse (turn the machine on and off quickly) several times until the nuts, dried fruits and apples are the desired size. Ad wine before serving