Saturday, 30 January 2016

Mussar: G-d takes Pride and Joy in each and every Jew

originally posted May 5, 2012

Reb Nosson wrote: "Accept that everything that is said in Rebbe Nachman's holy books about the great pride and joy that G-d takes in each and every Jew, no matter his level, applies also to you!"

(Healing Leaves, p. 58)

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What does this mean to me?

The prophet Isaiah said in G-d's Name: "Yisrael, in whom I am glorified." The great pride and joy that G-d takes in each and every Jew is founded on our potential to reveal G-d's presence in the humble world of action, through the unique pathways of the mitzvos themselves. G-d created the universe so that He would have a dwelling place in the lower worlds. He wanted to have partners here—us—who willingly act to demonstrate that His Kingship extends all the way down to the place where His presence is concealed. This is what makes us His pride and joy; may G-d help us to fulfill our potential.

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A prayer:

Help me always to recognize Your great love, O G-d.
Your love is beyond measure or limit; nevertheless You "constricted" Your G-dliness
and clothed Your love in the holy Torah and its precepts…
Each of Your precepts. is a holy channel through which
You may be perceived.

(The Flame of the Heart , p. 92)

Shalom and Regards,
RRW

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

An Intersectional Failure: How Both Israel's Backers and Critics Write Mizrahi Jews Out of the Story

From RRW
«When asked to speak at certain Zionist functions, many Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa are asked to focus on the mistreatment they experienced under Arab rule—not the ways in which they successfully coexisted with Muslims, or the serious discrimination they have faced in Israeli society after arriving in the Promised Land. In anti-Zionist circles the situation inverts: the hosts are delighted to hear tales of Israeli malfeasance but are deeply hostile if the topic turns to the oppression and expulsion of Jews from Arab countries or if the Jews proclaim a proud connection to Israel. Either way, non-Ashkenazi Jews are engaged with only as far as they support someone else’s narrative. Once they seek to speak in their own voice, their putative allies disappear.
‘Most non-Ashkenazi Jews in the world live in Israel, and so a boycott of Israel functionally acts to exclude most Jews of color from global conversations.’» 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

FORMER JEWS FOR JESUS MISSIONARY SPEAKS OUT

From RRW

Subject: A Cult Victim speaks out
While this video is a few years old, its message is as relevant today as when it was first delivered.

Jews may learn more compassion by listening how a vulnerable Jewish College Age Kid is easy pray to cults. Instead of judging, maybe we need more kindness and empathy.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

JVO Blog: Within Torah, Disagreement Can Breed Love

Jewish Values Online (jewishvaluesonline.org) is a website that asks the Jewish view on a variety of issues, some specifically Jewish and some from the world around us -- and then presents answers from each of the denominations of Judaism. Nishmablog's Blogmaster Rabbi Wolpoe and Nishma's Founding Director, Rabbi Hecht, both serve as Orthodox members of their Panel of Scholars. Nishmablog, over the years, has also featured the responses on JVO by one of our two Nishma Scholars who are on this panel. 

Recently, the Jewish Values Online website has offered a new service -- a blog which presents comments on various topics within Judaism and the Jewish world. See
http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/jvoblog/index?aid=0

Rabbi Hecht is now also a blogger on this site and will be developing a series entitled  
The Distinctiveness of Judaism

His latest post 

Within Torah, Disagreement Can Breed Love
is now available at http://jewishvaluescenter.org/jvoblog/within-Torah


A link is also up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JewishValuesOnline/posts/1096889077009841?fref=nf

Monday, 18 January 2016

Pope Francis at Rome synagogue: God's covenant with Jews 'irrevocable'

From RRW
"“Violence by man against man is in contradiction with any religion worthy of that name, and in particular with the three great monotheistic religions,” Francis told a crowd filling the Great Synagogue just down the Tiber River from the Vatican. “Life is sacred, a gift of God.”
“Every human being, as a creature of God, is our brother, regardless of his or her origin or religious affiliation,” he said, calling on Christians and Jews to “put into practice the logic of peace, of reconciliation, of forgiveness” in the Middle East and elsewhere."

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Mussar: Moed Katan 12b - Adam Hashuv Shani

Originally published on 6/11/11, 9:56 pm.

I've witnessed the following debate among several colleagues.
A. Rabbis should hold themselves to the same Kashrut standards as their communities; that is the law is the same for all
B. Rabbis should hold themselves to a higher standard, because if they take advantage of some leniencies, their congregations will exploit them even more. Give them an inch and they'll take a foot. Alternatively, the trickle down theory, if Rabbis observe at EG level #9, then congregants might make it to #7. But, If Rabbis start at #7 then congregants will be reduced to #5.

The Talmud in Moed Katan strongly suggests that an Adam Hashuv IS held to a higher standard and is EXPECTED to refrain from what is permitted at least in cases that present a side of prohibition.
It seems obvious to me that pulpit rabbis therefore need to be aware of this G'mara and wary of taking advantage of too many kullot
Kein Nireh Lee.

Shalom,
RRW

Friday, 15 January 2016

Monday, 11 January 2016

Anti-Israel historians get a taste of their own medicine

From RRW
 An Opinion piece from the Jerusalem Post
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Anti-Israel-historians-get-a-taste-of-their-own-medicine-439176
"Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr"

Which explains how most anti-Zionists are essentially haters and eventually losers, because their agenda is Hatred.

If they wanted peace and harmony in the Middle East, instead of Anti-Semitism, they'd find a more win-win solution.  
RRW

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Mussar: Learning to Love Toch'chah

Originally published on 5/21/11, 9:50 pm.

Let's face it. Our egos HATE criticism. But when we become less invested in our ego-based identity, we can grow from rebukes and reprimands to become better people
Lest one believe that since toch'chah is a Mitzvah, that we may in turn take license to become insensitive to the other's feelings, that's not so.
For more information see -
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DerechEmet/message/100

Shalom,
RRW

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Mussar: Is Frumkeit reducing Ehrlichkeit?

originally posted on Apr. 5, 2014

There used to be a saying in Europe that "Frumkeit" [Piety] was for Catholic Monks and that Jews were meant to be Ehrlich [Honest]. Has the recent emphasis on Frumkeit actually reduced our Ehrlichkeit quotient?

Kol Tuv,
RRW