Thursday 30 April 2015

Huffington Post: When Religions Preach Discrimination Are Their Freedoms Worth Protecting?

The issue of balancing freedom of religion and gay rights within our society is a matter which we must address. I expressed my thoughts on this in my latest Huffington Post blog: When Religions Preach Discrimination Are Their Freedoms Worth Protecting?

My original title for the post, btw, was 'Discrimination and Freedom of Religion' but it was changed by the editors. Their title perhaps served to garner more attention to the article but it also somewhat did not, I feel, portray what I was thinking. 

There are presently 9 comments on my post on the Huffington Post site. Please feel free to comment here or there.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Stanford University Fraternity Vandalized

The Jewish Standard:

Stanford University fraternity vandalized with Nazi graffiti & swastikas!
The Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity house was painted with swastikas Saturday night, along ... 

Kol Tuv,

Monday 27 April 2015

Emergency campaign for Nepal

NATAN International Humanitarian Aid, the Israeli coalition of volunteering non-governmental organizations, is seeking your support to send relief missions to Nepal.
NATAN deploys professional volunteers in psycho-social therapies to provide aid to the victims.
To donate please click here 



Emergency campaign for Nepal Come share in this emergency call for relief and do your part.

Kol Tuv - Best Regards

Saturday 25 April 2015

Mussar: Ending Rechilut

Derech Emet:

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan:
A method of breaking the gossip habit would be to take the Biblical verse:
[Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 16]
and repeat it every day for a 20 to 30 minute period, like a mantra. 
As one works on it, the message is gradually absorbed, and the self-control necessary to avoid gossip is attained.

SOURCE: Jewish Meditation
(chapter 18,page 163)
by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, 1985 CE

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan was an Orthodox Rabbi who lived in New York City from 1935 CE to 1983 CE. 
He wrote approximately 60 booksabout Torah topics, including the English translation of Yalkut Meam Loez, which is around 20 hardcover volumes. 
He was also an expert scientist,
his name was listed in THE WHO'S WHO OF AMERICAN PHYSICS.

Kol Tuv,

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Baruch Dayyan Ha'emet - Cantor Sidney Selig A"H

From the Cantoral Council of America
«We regret to inform you of the passing of Cantor Sidney Selig in Jerusalem. Cantor Selig was a longtime member of CCA and served on both the Executive Board and Board of Directors. For many years, Cantor Selig served the Ohav Sholaum Congregation in Washington Heights, NY.

Mrs. Inge Selig will sit shivo at 14 Jabotinsky, Apt 16 until Monday morning, April 27th.»
Cantor Selig was my predecessor at
Congregation Ohav Sholaum. We were quite friendly until he made aliyah and lost touch.

Kol Tuv,

Saturday 18 April 2015

Mussar: Be Stoic in the Face of Criticism

"This is to be insulted and bear the insult, beyond words. This is why the ministering angels[9] refer to the Holy One, Blessed is He, as 'the patient King.'

And this is the meaning of the prophet's words: "Who is a God unto Thee?" He means: 'Thou, the good and merciful, art God, with the power to avenge and claim Thy debt, yet Thou art patient and bearest insult until man repents.'

Behold this is a virtue man should make his own, namely, to be patient and allow himself to be insulted even to this extent and yet not refuse to bestow of his goodness to the recipients."
The Palm Tree of Deborah: Chapter I

Kol Tuv,

Saturday 11 April 2015

Mussar - The Palm Tree of Deborah Intro

The Palm Tree of Deborah -
Chapter I: Attributes 1-2

It is proper for man to imitate his Creator, resembling Him in both likeness and image[1] according to the secret of the Supernal Form.[2] Because the chief Supernal image and likeness is in deeds[3], a human resemblance merely in bodily appearance and not in deeds debases that Form. Of the man who resembles the Form in body alone it is said: 'A handsome form whose deeds are ugly.' For what value can there be in man's resemblance to the Supernal Form in bodily limbs if his deeds have no resemblance to those of his Creator? Consequently, it is proper for man to imitate the acts of the Supernal Crown, which are the thirteen highest attributes of mercy[4] hinted at in the verses:

Who is a God like unto Thee, that beareth iniquity
And passeth by the transgression of the remnant of
His heritage?
He retaineth not His anger for ever,
Because he delighteth in mercy.
He will again have compassion upon us;
He will subdue our iniquities:
And Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of
the sea.
Thou wilt show faithfulness to Jacob, mercy to
As Thou has sworn unto our fathers from the days
of old.[5]
Hence it is proper that these thirteen attributes, which we shall now expound, be found in man.

The Palm Tree of Deborah: Chapter I

Kol Tuv,

Monday 6 April 2015

Para aduma born?

It seems that a para aduma was born recently in New Jersey. See further this video on Koshertube.

What does it mean? I am not sure. Para adumas are rare. The video is worth watching not only because of the question of what this may mean but also in watching how the Jewish farmer has responded to having this animal and in how the Rabbi on the video responded to the case. Both, in my opinion, are to be commended.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Thursday 2 April 2015

The God Code:The Secret of our Past, the Promise of our Future:Amazon:Books

Product Description
A coded message has been found within the molecules of life, deep within the DNA in each cell of our bodies. In this book what we once believed of our past is about to change. Through a remarkable discovery linking Biblical alphabets to our genetic code, the 'language of life' may now be read as the ancient letters of a timeless message. This message is the same in each cell of every man, woman, and child, past and present. During his extensive 12-year study of the most sacred and honoured traditions of humankind he has discovered tangible and unprecedented evidence that we are all part of a greater existence. Review
Author and computer systems designer Gregg Braden wrapped this entire book around the premise that God's name is literally encoded into every human body. According to Braden's logic, the basic elements of DNA--hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon--directly translate into specific letters of the Hebrew alphabets (YHVA), which then translate into the original name of God. Braden's hope is that knowing that God's signature is carried within each cell of the estimated six billion humans on earth will give humankind the evidence we need to overcome our differences and renew our faith:
Beyond Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Native, Aboriginal, white, black, red, or yellow; man, woman, or child, the message reminds us that we are human. As humans, we share the same ancestors and exist as the children of the same Creator. In the moments that we doubt this one immutable truth, we need look no further than the cells of our body to be reminded. This is the power of the message within our cells.
One could argue that this melding of spirituality and science may be the next frontier in human evolution. Nonetheless, skeptics could also argue that this DNA=YHVA equation is an eerie coincidence, instead of a quantum breakthrough--like folding a $20 bill in a certain shape and seeing the twin towers in flames (Braden dispels such skepticism by asserting that the "odds that this relationship has occurred by chance are approximately 1 in 200,000"). This is neither a consistent or easy read. Some passages are filled with dense, analytical stretches of cross referencing ancient texts with modern science. Others are more prosaic as Braden explains his beautifully optimistic hope for peace on Earth. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly
In this dense, tangent-filled book, bestselling author Braden (The Isaiah Effect) argues that every human being has the name of God literally embedded in his or her DNA. Braden's research relies heavily on the kabalistic technique of assigning numerical values to each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. He begins by correlating the essential elements of the human body (hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon) to their Hebrew equivalents, then he calculates their alpha/numeric values and finds that these elements spell out the Hebrew letters for God-YHVH. Braden attempts to make his explanations of this complicated process clear and free of scientific jargon. Despite his efforts, however, the chapters tend to drag, and the book contains many unnecessary digressions. He actually spends the first half of the volume discussing the theories of creationism and evolutionism, so that he doesn't reach his God-DNA arguments until midway through the book. After he does explain his finding, Braden spends the last section of the book ruminating on its possible implications. He speculates that "through the primal act of creating human life, God shared a part of himself as he 'breathed his breath' into our species." He wonders if "we will allow...the diversity within Christian, Hebrew, and Muslim values" to divide the world irrevocably. He speaks of scientists who believe it is possible for humans to one day live in a perfect world, free from disease, decay and war, should man truly understand that every person, no matter what race or religion, is made of the same stuff, and made by the same creator. Braden's message of unity is an appealing one, but this book's rambling style makes for a laborious read.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Brilliant and insightful- I urge all of you to embrace the message of THE GOD CODE. I see Gregg Braden as one of our great visionaries. -- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

About the Author
Bestselling author Gregg Braden has been a featured guest at international conferences, and media specials, exploring the role of spirituality in technology. Braden is considered a leading authority on bridging the wisdom of our past with the science, medicine, and peace of our future. Greg visits the UK regularly to give sell out talks and lectures.

Kol Tuv,

Wednesday 1 April 2015

On Conversion to Judaism

Guest Blogger:
R Elchanan Poupko

"The topic of conversion to Judaism is of ever growing academic, scholarly, and political interest and has come to the news headlines often recently.
In this captivating and relevant article, Rabbi Dr. Chaim Shertz of Harrisburg PA-a scholar and thinker in his own right- examines, outlines and illuminates the topic of conversion with breathtakingly and captivating clarity.

He examines the topic from its very earliest sources-to its contemporary relevance. The article promises to be a great read for those who find this topic close to their hearts."

Kol Tuv,