Saturday 31 January 2015

Mussar: is Your Timing Correct?

Pirkei Avot 4:23
Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says:
Do not appease your fellow in the time of his anger; do not console him while his dead lies before him

Possible Parallel:

4. Is it the right time?
Is it the right time for you? What are your emotions right now? For example, are you speaking from anger, from hurt or from concern?
Is it the right time for the other person? What is their state of mind? Are they paying attention?
Kol Tuv,

Friday 30 January 2015

The Orthodox Sex Guru -
«Marcus, who is 53, is stringently observant. At her synagogue, at the northern tip of the Bronx, the men sit separate from the women, partitioned by a wooden screen. She keeps her legs concealed past the knees, her arms past the elbows. Until menopause, she obeyed the laws that surround menstruation. During the time of her period and for seven days thereafter — for 12 or more days each month, until she was permitted to visit a mikvah and purge herself in the special waters there — she slept apart from her husband and didn't touch him in any way at any hour. In her tainted state, she didn't so much as pass a dish of food directly to him, no matter if she took care that their hands made no contact. To touch the same platter at the same moment was forbidden.»

Kol Tuv,

Thursday 29 January 2015

Jeremy Gimpel on Asra Nomani

Amazing & courageous woman! Asra Nomani's Courageous Quest to Save Islam From Itself
Former Wall Street Journal columnist turned Muslim reformer, Asra Nomani, shares her mission of returning Islam to what she claims are its original self-critical, introspective roots. Are any mosques breaking the segregation barriers she is seeking to introduce? Are Muslims collectively responsible… 

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 27 January 2015

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein marks the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, urging all of us to resist discrimination of every kind so that all may live in liberty, with respect, equality and justice:


We continue to be haunted by the fate of the millions of Jewish men, women and children, as well as Roma, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war and other prisoners and deportees from all over Europe, people with disabilities, homosexuals, and dissidents, who suffered and were killed by this ghastly extermination machine.

"Discrimination and hatred kill and wound thousands of people. They also harm each one of us. They negate the wonderful diversity of individuals and cultures within our shared membership of humanity, and our fundamental and universal human rights," Zeid says

Being right feeds your ego.
Being happy feeds your soul.
~ Lionel Ketchian

January 27 -- 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Aushwitz

As today is the anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz, it is an appropriate time to remember this infamous stain on the history of Mankind. To this extent, we offer a link to the USC Shoah Foundation's 70 Days of Testimony: Leading up to the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

CNN seems to have excerpted certain testimonies for a presentation on its own website in remembrance of Aushwitz on its website. This can be viewed at Voices of Aushwitz

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Sunday 25 January 2015

Halacha's Demand of Tolerance & the TORAH Value of Freedom of Religion

I have been asked by many people how, in the wake of the present activities of ISIS which include intolerance of "infidels", we can understand l'havidil, Yehoshua's actions when he entered Eretz Yisrael. This shiur was in response to such questions.

RBH on "Halacha's Demand of Tolerance & the TORAH Value of Freedom of Religion" on Koshertube

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Saturday 24 January 2015

Mussar: Hilchot Lashon Hara from "The Buddha"

I have found some interesting parallels, on the Internet, to the Torah's View against saying
Lashon Hara
Motzi Sheim Ra

When explaining Hilchot Lashon Hara to an Eino Yehudi, these rules may help.

Check out these guidelines to see how well they resonate with Hilchot Lashon Hara.

«Buddha said there are four things you need to consider before you speak. I would like to call them The Four Golden Rules Of Speech.

1. Is it true?
Is what you are about to say the truth? Are you absolutely sure? If there is doubt, leave it out.

2. Is it kind?
Is what you are saying kind? Is the intention behind it kind as well?

3. Is it helpful?
Does what you have to say add any value for the person? Is there anything they can do with and about what you are telling them?

4. Is it the right time?
Is it the right time for you? What are your emotions right now? For example, are you speaking from anger, from hurt or from concern?
Is it the right time for the other person? What is their state of mind? Are they paying attention?»
There Are Four Golden Rules Of Speech - NEW DAY NEW LESSON | NEW DAY NEW LESSON

Kol Tuv,

Thursday 22 January 2015

The Zohar - Obtaining Ultimate Freedom


The Israelites first had to throw off all the higher forces ruling them, until they entered the domain of the Holy One, and tied themselves to GOD alone

Only then were they rescued from Egyptian Bondage when all forces subjugating them had been discarded and GOD alone had become MASTER.

See Zohar Bo 40a
Hoq l'Yisro'el - Bo Day 2

Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 21 January 2015

OIC and Charlie

The Lawfare Project shared the following link:

The Saudi Arabia-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is planning to sue the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo following its publication of a front cover depicting the Prophet Mohamed.

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Stetson Kennedy and Superman take down the Klan

Stetson Kennedy and Superman take down the Klan
«After World War II, Kennedy and another informant infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and related white supremacist groups, exposing their secrets, helping Georgia authorities revoke the Klan's corporate charter, and testifying against a fascist Klan offshoot known as the Columbians. Kennedy made public such information as secret code words and details of Klan rituals, including a stint where he supplied Klan secrets to the writers of the Superman radio program, culminating in a series of four episodes in which Superman battled the KKK.»
Stetson Kennedy Official Website

This appeared on MLK Day to honor someone who risked his own neck to take down the KKK. The Anti-Defamation League, as well as other fellow infiltrators, also played significant roles.

Kol Tuv,

Saturday 17 January 2015



A cobbler came to the Sage and said,
Tell me what to do about my morning prayers.

My customers are very poor men
who have only one pair of shoes.
I pick up their shoes late in the evening and work on them most of the night. At dawn there is still work to be done if the men are to have their shoes,ready before
they go to work.

Now my question is....
What should I do about my morning prayer?

The sage asked 'What have you been doing till now?

Replied the cobbler,..Sometimes...
I rush through the prayer quickly
and get back to work--but then I feel bad about it.
At other times, I let the hour of prayer go by.
Then too I feel a sense of loss...
and every now and then,
as I raise my hammer from the shoes, I can almost hear my heart sigh ... What an unlucky man I am, that I am not able to make
my morning prayers

If I were God, I would value that sigh..
more than the prayer.. replied the sage.

This sigh.....lives century.......
after.... century

Kol Tuv,

Friday 16 January 2015

War Crimes!--Thoughts for Parashat Vaera, January 17, 2015 | Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals

Here are some news headlines that might appear in some media:




And the accompanying photos will depict Egyptians mourning the deaths of their first-borns. There will be no photos of Israelites suffering in slavery or of Israelite babies tossed into the Nile to die.

Context? Who cares about context? The public needs to be fed half-truths and misleading images. Justice? Who cares about justice? What's important is being "politically correct," slanting the news to increase our circulation and our profits. Truth? We have our own version of truth.

To the media, politicos and anti-Israelites of the world, we quote the imagined words of Moses: "We bring our case not to the media and not to human courts: we bring our case to Almighty God, the true Judge."

Kol Tuv,

Thursday 15 January 2015

Huffington Post: What Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher Grocery Store Have in Common

The question the world should be asking is what Charlie Hebdo has in common with a kosher grocery store. That is the question I address in my latest Huffington Post blog: What Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher Grocery Store Have in Common

Please feel free to comment here or there.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Monday 12 January 2015

40 World Leaders in France Stand Up for Freedom Against the Terrorists. One Major Figure Was Missing.

The Jewish Standard:

Everyone from CNN to the French press is asking why the United States did not send a high-level delegation to join 40 world leaders and hundreds of thousands of citizens in standing up to violent extremism and mourning last week's terror attacks in France.

What do you think?

Kol Tuv,

Sunday 11 January 2015

Je Suis Charlie? Oui! Je Suis Juif? Non!

France mourns Charlie Hebdou victims and in solidarity posts "Je Suis Charlie".

Do you see any French Solidarity with France's Jewish victims? Don't hold your breath.

Kol Tuv,

Saturday 10 January 2015

Mussar: Seichel and Moderation

"The key to experiencing greater fulfillment and pleasure is actually moderation."

The Virtue of Moderation | The Art of Manliness

Does Moderation need to be taught by Rabbis? Or like common courtesy, are they a given for any mature human being?

Kol Tuv,

Thursday 8 January 2015

Eliyahu Safran Derech Eretz Kadma l'Torah: To Be a Mensch

Derech Eretz Kadma l'Torah: To Be a Mensch - OU Torah

«...Rashi notes that when Moshe was commanded to return to Egypt to fulfill his destiny to lead the people from bondage, he first approached his father-in-law, Jethro, and asked his permission. Astonishing! That the Creator of all should command Moses to deliver B'nai Yisrael from their bondage and before doing so Moses asked permission from Jethro?

What lesson can we possibly derive from this incredible tableau? It is as if Moses held up his hand to God and declared, "Hold on while I see if it's all right for me to follow your command."

And if Jethro said, No? What then? Would the Children of Israel continue to languish in slavery? Did Moses not realize exactly what God was telling him to do, and why?

Of course Moses understood God's command, and the profound urgency of the directive. But he also knew that he could hardly fulfill God's commend if he failed at God's desire for him to be a mensch....»

Kol Tuv,

Articles: Palestinians May Face Charges of War Crimes

«From the political point of view this action by Abbas is a clear demonstration of the lack of accountability in any peaceful search for Palestinian political self-determination, a manifestation of his rejectionist behavior and refusal to come to the negotiating table with Israel.

From a legal point of view it appears to be a precarious strategy for him.

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Palestinian acceptance of jurisdiction "since June 13, 2014."

UN Watch:

The International Criminal Court has just announced that they have received Palestinian acceptance of jurisdiction "since June 13, 2014." Note: that is precisely one day AFTER Hamas kidnapped and murdered the 3 boys, which sparked Israel's search and response. The PLO is clearly trying to distort the timeline of this summer's war, and to evade criminal liability.
PLO referral to ICC distorts timeline of this summer's war to evade criminal liability for murder of 3 teens.

Kol Tuv,

Monday 5 January 2015

Shmuley Boteach: The coming boycott of Jewish businesses

The coming boycott of Jewish businesses--by Shmuley Boteach in Times of Israel--12/21/14

«I thought to myself, Is there no respite from all this Jew-hatred? Can we not get away from them even at a Menorah lighting?

The other day Harvard University kicked out SodaStream from their cafeteria for the terrible sin of employing hundreds of Palestinians at a plant in Maale Adumim that treats Arabs as the absolute equals of their Israeli counterparts. Without SodaStream these Palestinian families would be destitute. But Palestinian activists at Harvard, animated by hatred of Israel over love for Palestinian lives, demanded a boycott and the caterer capitulated.»

Kol Tuv,

Sunday 4 January 2015

Shiur Central - 12/30

Kol Tuv,

Huffington Post: Comparing the Israeli-Palestine Conflict to the Holocaust Is Too Simplistic

There was a comment on my last post on Huffington that compared the conflict in Israel with the Holocaust. I found it bewildering. I expressed my thoughts further on this in my latest Huffington Post blog: Comparing the Israeli-Palestine Conflict to the Holocaust Is Too Simplistic

My original title for the post, btw, was 'Rhetoric' but it was changed by the editors. There are already 16 comments on my post on the Huffington Post site, some that I find really sad in that they reflect a desire for a specific conclusion without any true investigation of the facts. That, of course, is against Israel. I am wondering if there is really any point in responding.

Please feel free to comment here or there.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Saturday 3 January 2015

Mussar: Kabbalah Consciousness

"Attaining understanding from your own consciousness is the highest point of spiritual elevation.

That which you learn, you grasp from without, and it descends in its character. How different this is from the expression that rises from the midst of your soul!

That which you learn is at best a profound idea teaching you to draw forth what is hidden in your heart, in the depths of your soul: the essence of what you can comprehend from your consciousness.

Your consciousness streams forth constantly, creative and active.

The supernal creative person does not create but only duplicates. He draws lights, new and alive, from a supernal source to where they have never been—from a place the eagle has not known, where no eye has gazed, no man has passed, none has dwelled.

When such personal greatness is revealed, one's ear is faithful; one's heart hearkens and says nothing that it has not heard from its teachers, the true, righteous prophets, whose mouths are true with the word of G-d."
----- Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook (HaRav)

Kol Tuv,