Tag: Torah

Massacre in Toulouse

A Call From the Heart by Mrs. Eva Sandle

My heart is broken. I am unable to speak. There are no ways for me to be able to express the great and all-consuming pain resulting from the murder of my dear husband Rabbi Jonathan and our sons, Aryeh and Gavriel, and of Miriam Monsonego, daughter of the dedicated principal of Ozar Hatorah and his wife, Rabbi Yaakov and Mrs. Monsonego.

May no one ever have to endure such pain and suffering.

The spirit of the Jewish people can never be extinguished Because so many of you, my cherished brothers and sisters in France and around the world, are asking what you can do on my behalf, on behalf of my daughter Liora and on behalf of the souls of my dear husband and children, I feel that, difficult though it may be, it is incumbent upon me to answer your entreaties.

My husband’s life was dedicated to teaching Torah. We moved back to the country of his birth to help young people learn about the beauty of Torah. He was truly a good man, loving, giving, and selfless. He was sensitive to all of G-d’s creatures, always searching for ways to reveal the goodness in others.

Don’t Ask – Do Tell

I don’t suggest that driving a Lamborghini resembles riding a skateboard. However, there are similarities; for instance each has four wheels. I don’t suggest that seeking a wife resembles hiring an employee. However, there are similarities; for instance both require a decision on whether a long term relationship would work.

There is no shortage of advice for serious young men courting purposefully, including lists of questions he could pose to the young lady in order to get to know her. Likewise, anyone can find lists of suggested questions to ask a prospective employee in order to get a sense of how that individual might work out.

One problem, of course, is that those very questions are available to everyone and any reasonably alert candidate can devise suitable answers to the anticipated questions.

Let’s learn a superior interview method from Abraham’s chief of staff, Eliezer, sent to select a bride for Isaac. In Genesis 24:21, Eliezer suspects that Rebecca might be the right woman, but is not yet certain. We would expect him to continue his due diligence, perhaps inquiring about her background.

Instead, he presents her with expensive jewelry! Isn’t that a bit premature? Furthermore, the Torah spends many words detailing the jewelry’s precise weight.

…and the man took a golden ring weighing a beka and two bracelets upon her hands, ten of gold was their weight. (Genesis 24:22)

100 top leaders employing Torah to wage war against Obama push

By Bob Unruh

In a stunning formal statement that directly confronts Barack Obama’s presidency-long campaign to promote and normalize homosexuality, a coalition of Orthodox rabbis and respected mental-health professionals says being “gay” is a behavior that can be changed and healed with therapy, if the person has the desire.

“The concept that G-d created a human being who is unable to find happiness in a loving relationship unless he violates a biblical prohibition is neither plausible nor acceptable,” says the document, titled “Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality.”

It states that same-sex attractions can be modified and “healed,” and condemns the “propaganda blitz” that has been launched “to persuade the public about the legitimacy of homosexuality.”

Read all about how homosxuality has invaded Main Street, in “The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom”

“The media is rife with negative labels implying that one is ‘hateful’ or ‘homophobic’ if they do not accept the homosexual lifestyle as legitimate. This political coercion has silenced many into acquiescence. Unfortunately this attitude has seeped into the Torah community and many have become confused or have accepted the media’s portrayal of this issue,” the statement says.

In fact, Obama, shortly after he took office in 2009, signed into law a “hate crimes” proposal that enhances penalties for crimes attributed to “hate” of homosexuality, providing special protections for “gays” that other victims of crime are not given.

“The Torah makes a clear statement that homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle or a genuine identity by severely prohibiting its conduct. Furthermore, the Torah, ever prescient about negative secular influences, warns us in Vayikra (Leviticus) 20:23 ‘Do not follow the traditions of the nations that I expel from before you…’ Particularly the Torah writes this in regards to homosexuality and other forbidden sexual liaisons,” the statement says.

ABC’s of Chanukah (Hanukkah)

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
Everything you need to know about the holiday of Chanukah – Hanukkah.

Chanukah (Hanukkah), the Festival of Lights, begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, and lasts for eight days. On the secular calendar, Chanukah generally falls out in December.

This primer will explore:

(1) A Bit of History
(2) Lighting Instructions
(3) Other Customs

(1) A Bit of History

The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication.” In the 2nd century BCE, during the time of the Second Holy Temple, the Syrian-Greek regime of Antiochus sought to pull Jews away from Judaism, with the hopes of assimilating them into Greek culture. Antiochus outlawed Jewish observance ― including circumcision, Shabbat, and Torah study ― under penalty of death. As well, many Jews ― called Hellenists ― began to assimilate into Greek culture, taking on Greek names and marrying non-Jews. This began to decay the foundation of Jewish life and practice.

When the Greeks challenged the Jews to sacrifice a pig to a Greek god, a few courageous Jews took to the hills of Judea in open revolt against this threat to Jewish life. Led by Matitiyahu, and later his son Judah the Maccabee, this small band of pious Jews led guerrilla warfare against the Syrian-Greek army.

Antiochus sent thousands of well-armed troops to crush the rebellion, but after three years the Maccabees beat incredible odds and miraculously succeeded in driving the foreigners from their land. The victory was on the scale of Israel defeating the combined super-powers of today.

Jewish fighters entered Jerusalem and found the Holy Temple in shambles and desecrated with idols. The Maccabees cleansed the Temple and re-dedicated it on the 25th of Kislev. When it came time to re-light the Menorah, they searched the entire Temple, but found only one jar of pure oil bearing the seal of the High Priest. The group of believers lit the Menorah anyway and were rewarded with a miracle: That small jar of oil burned for eight days, until a new supply of oil could be brought.

From then on, Jews have observed a holiday for eight days, in honor of this historic victory and the miracle of the oil. To publicize the Chanukah miracle, Jews add the special Hallel praises to the Shacharit service, and light a menorah during the eight nights of Chanukah.

Read Entire Story in Aish Torah

How to Make a Yom Kippur Breakthrough

by Azriel Friedman 3 practical steps to becoming great.

Did you ever have a waiter with a big fake smile? Your reaction may have been: “This guy has no interest in serving me. I’m only tipping him the minimum.”

I used to show up on Yom Kippur acting like that waiter. I was willing to play nice. But really I couldn’t wait to get out of shul, and on with my life. God was probably not thrilled with my service.

The first step to preparing for Yom Kippur is to know that God is interested in you exactly as you are now. Pretending doesn’t help. God is acutely aware what is wrong with each one of us and wants to help us get better. He wants us in synagogue for one reason only – to help us become bigger and happier people. Yom Kippur is about being “real” with who we are.

Imagine having a hernia and telling the doctor you are suffering from indigestion. Not only can’t he help, he may even prescribe a medicine that makes you sicker. The same is true on Yom Kippur. We only get the full impact of the day when we make a sincere and honest effort to discover what we can do to be bigger people.

When it comes to making real changes our Jewish sources quote God as saying: “Open for me a hole the size of a needle, and I’ll open it as wide as a huge hall.”

Shavuot a leap of faith

At Mount Sinai, the Jewish people accepted the Torah with the words, na’aseh v’nishma – we will do, then we will understand (Exodus 24:7). Their commitment to keeping God’s Torah was not in any way contingent upon their understanding why they should do so. They were ready to do whatever God would command, irrespective of whether or not it made sense to them.

At first glance, this seems to fly in the face of all we know about Judaism. It is not a religion of blind faith. We define reality by using our mind. Our heart might tell us what “feels good,” but it doesn’t tell us what is the truth. Our emotions often blind us from seeing reality. So how could the Jewish people, at this seminal moment of history, seemingly subjugate themselves to mindless faith? It goes against so much of what Judaism holds dear.

Most of us do not understand how a nuclear bomb works. It makes no sense. You take a tiny particle, invisible even to some of the most powerful microscopes, and you split it in half. And by doing so, you release enough energy to destroy a city.

ABC’s of the Omer

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons The significance, customs and mechanics of counting the Omer.

What is the Omer?

In the days of the Holy Temple, the Jewish people would bring a barley offering on the second day of Passover (Leviticus 23:10). This was called the “Omer” (literally, “sheaf”) and in practical terms would permit the consumption of recently-harvested grains.

Starting on the second day of Passover, the Torah (Leviticus 23:15) says it is a mitzvah every day to “count the Omer” — the 50 days leading up to Shavuot. This is an important period of growth and introspection, in preparation for the holiday of Shavuot which arrives 50 days later.

Shavuot is the day that the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, and as such required a seven-week preparation period. The commentators say that we were freed from Egypt only in order to receive the Torah and to fulfill it. Thus we were commanded to count from the second day of Pesach until the day that the Torah was given — to show how greatly we desire the Torah.

How to Count the Omer

The Omer is counted every evening after nightfall (approx. 30 minutes after sunset), which is the start of the Jewish ‘day.’ (In the synagogue it is counted toward the end of the Maariv service.) If a person neglected to count the Omer one evening, he should count the following daytime, but without a blessing.