Rabbi Simcha Zissel of Kelm (19th century Europe) wrote: "There is no comparison between doing something with enthusiasm and joy and doing it without enthusiasm and joy. If we would do everything with enthusiasm, there is no limit to the elevated levels we would reach. Enthusiasm generates power. A person with enthusiasm is able to overcome laziness and pursue wisdom and higher spiritual levels."
Live today with enthusiasm. "But," you might say, "there are many things I have to do that I'm not interested in doing." But wouldn't you do it with enthusiasm if you were being paid a large amount of money to do it?!
Knowing that you have the ability to generate enthusiasm will transform the entire quality of your life. Hear the inner sounds of enthusiasm. Feel the feelings of enthusiasm permeating your entire being.
Today, pick a task you've been procrastinating - and generate enthusiasm to accomplish it!
US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. Justice Scalia was a strong-willed and polarizing figure on the bench. Here are five little-known facts about Justice Scalia as they relate to the Jewish community.
"Chutzpah" in the Supreme Court
Justice Scalia – a Roman-Catholic judge from an Italian-American background – was the first judge to use the Yiddish word chutzpah in a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
He employed the word – meaning audacity or nerve – in a 1998 case, National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley. Interestingly, in his concurrence with the majority opinion, Scalia felt moved to define some other words: "decency" and "respect", using the American Heritage Dictionary. He apparently felt that "chutzpah" was sufficiently well known to need no such explaining in his written comments.
Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel
Scalia was one of three dissenters in the 2015 case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry, which heard arguments that the United States should describe the place of birth of Americans born in Jerusalem as "Israel".
Americans born in Jerusalem have had their place of birth described on their passports as "Jerusalem" since Israel's founding. Menachem Zivotofsky, an American born in Jerusalem, had petitioned to have his passport reflect his place of birth as "Israel" instead. The case went to the Supreme Court, and many legal scholars thought the Court would recognize his plea, allowing "Jerusalem, Israel" to describe the place of birth on passports of Americans born in Jerusalem.
Instead, the Supreme Court ruled that Jerusalem continue to be listed without the word Israel on US passports. Criticizing his fellow justices, Antonin Scalia wrote that their reasoning was a "leap worthy of the Mad Hatter", and firmly stated his belief that Americans born in Jerusalem should have "Israel" listed as their place of birth on their passports.
In 1989, Antonin Scalia was part of a majority on the Court that ruled that a menorah had the right to stand on public property.
The case – County of Allegheny v. ACLU – was brought by prominent US attorney Nathan Lewin, an Orthodox Jew who has defended Jewish rights before the Court – and was an old Harvard Law classmate and sparring partner of Justice Scalia.
Unlikely Friendship – and Opera
Despite their radical differences on the bench, Justices Antonin Scalia (one of the Supreme Court's most conservative members) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a liberal judge, and one of the Court's three Jewish Justices) were fast friends. The two brought their families on vacations together, regularly went out together, and met up each New Year's Eve. "Call us the odd couple," Scalia recently said. "She likes opera, and she's a very nice person. What's not to like?" (Then added with his trademark wit: "Except her views on the law".)
In 2015, a one-act opera, Scalia/Ginsburg by Derrik Wang debuted, chronicling the pair's unlikely friendship. 82-year old Justice Ginsburg is the heroine of the piece, with Scalia, who was 79, presented as her comic foil. The two judges made a series of joint appearances together, promoting the opera, and pleading for unity and civility across the political divide in increasingly bitter partisan times.
Reading the Talmud
While Justice Antonin Scalia was known for his strong Catholic faith, he also found time to learn about other legal traditions – including Jewish law. Visiting the University at Buffalo Law School in 2002, he met with Adjunct Law Professor and Rabbi Noson Gurary and learned about what Judaism has to say on some pressing legal issues. Justice Scalia later wrote to Rabbi Gurary, expressing his appreciation of learning about Jewish law. "Knowledge of another legal system helped him to understand [the U.S. legal] system" better," Gurary said about Scalia's correspondence.
Later that year, Scalia was one of only three Supreme Court Justices (along with two Jewish Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer) who attended and spoke at inaugural meeting for the National Institute for Judaic Law. That organization – founded by Scalia's old law school colleague Nathan Lewin and his daughter Alyza – provided regular classes and events to educate people about Jewish legal issues. The kick-off event was another first – a kosher dinner for 200, the first served in the Supreme Court.
Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz
On the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
February 15, 2016
Justice Antonin Scalia and I became acquainted many years ago. In our conversations, I understood something about his brilliance and his efforts to get to a permanent understanding of law. His stance on the Constitution seemed to do with his personality, with his belief in constant and permanent standards, and also with the flexibility of his mind.
In his death, America has lost one of its most prominent figures: very straightforward and very courageous, pleasant, without losing his core. With all the brilliance of his mind, he was, in truth, simply a believing person and a good man.
Joint Arab List member Hanin Zoabi at the Knesset, on February 8, 2016. Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Haneen Zoabi is an Israeli Arab member of the Knesset who is frequently in the news for verbally attacking the Jewish State or for actions against Israel, such as participating in the anti-Israel Gaza Flotilla in 2010.
Zoabi also praised the Palestinian Arabs who kidnapped and murdered the three Israeli boys during the summer of 2014, called for a violent uprising against Israel, and has spit in the face of Arab Israeli police officers for being "traitors."
Zoabi, 47, recently again showed her loyalty to those who murder Israelis by making a condolence call, with several other Arab MKs, on the families of terrorists who murdered Israelis, including one American Israeli, Richard Lakin.
Zoabi and her colleagues told the families of the terrorists that they would help to get the bodies of the terrorists released from Israeli authorities. They referred to the terrorists as "martyrs."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was infuriated by the visit, as were many knesset members across several different parties.
"MKs going to console families of terrorists who murdered Israelis are not worthy of serving in the Knesset," Netanyahu said in a statement.
The Zionist Union party issued a statement criticizing the meeting, saying that the visit with the families of terrorists by Arab MKS "encourages more terrorism and killing of innocents."
Zoabi and her two Arab Israeli knesset member compatriots were suspended for several months. They will be barred from attending the Knesset plenum, but will still be able to vote both in the Knesset and in committees.
Zoabi was just given an American media platform from which to respond to the criticism leveled against her.
Newsweek magazine ran an op-ed by Zoabi on Feb 14. Zoabi rejected construing Israel's violence towards Palestinian Arabs as self-defense. The legislator went so far as to say that Israel, because it is an "occupying power," is not entitled to self-defense.
'Self-defense' is the expression the Israelis use in order to justify any extra-judiciary executions as well as their control over others' lives. However, there can be no justification for killing, nor for oppression. The occupier does not have the right to self-defense. We, the occupied, have the full and only right to fight it, by all means recognized within the framework of international law and supported by the international community.
Zoabi, while rejecting Israel's right to defend itself, nonetheless claimed that the terrorists, killed by Israeli authorities while committing terrorist acts, are just as much victims as are the innocent Israelis whom the terrorists maimed and killed.
She also argued that her suspension was evidence of what she claims is an increasingly undemocratic Israel, as well as of Israel's blatant hostility towards Palestinian Arabs, whom she refers to as the indigenous people of the region.
A tragedy is being made worse by those who report it. Or better: fail to accurately report it.
Those of us following with horror the ongoing and escalating weaponization of children by the Palestinian Arab leadership will not be surprised to find corners of the mainstream media for whom the telling of the events entails a reflexive laying of principal blame at the feet of the Israelis.
Reuters professional editors and reporters – along with most of the editors at the news channels who syndicate their stories – manage not to even notice (or pretend not to) how most of yesterday's Arab-on-Israeli shootings and stabbings were done by children. The words child and children are completely absent. This takes determination and, to an extent, talent.
By looking away from the real story – the indoctrination of yet another generation of hope-deprived youngsters and equipping them with the zeal and self-negation that it takes to kill and be killed – ensures more deaths and injuries of children in the days to come. The toll is already far too great.
How great if the Reuters people would take to heart some words we quoted here a few months back [20-Oct-15: Children and what a soulless society can do to them]. An acclaimed leader of oppressed people who understood how this works said:
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." – Nelson Mandela 1918-2013, addressing the launch of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Pretoria, South Africa, May 8, 1995
Mason jarred by BDS
Jackie Mason: Blacklist anti-Israel celebs
'If not for the Jews who created the industry in Hollywood, all these people would never have a job,' veteran Jewish comic says
Jackie Mason (photo credit: International Film Circuit, Inc.
Jews in the US entertainment industry should use their influence to blacklist celebrities who support Israel boycotts, legendary Jewish comedian Jackie Mason said in a radio interview broadcast Sunday.
"If they are determined to persecute Israel, why can't we persecute them? Why can't we put them out of business? Why should we let them get away with it?" asked Mason on "Aaron Klein Investigative Radio," which runs in New York and Philadelphia.
He argued: "Once they know that this is a price they will have to pay for it, I guarantee you won't hear any more about boycotting Israel."
If it were not for the Jews who created the film industry, these Israel critics would not have a job, Mason argued, according to American media outlets.
"These people who profited all their lives from Jewish people, Jewish directors, Jewish producers. Jews created the industry," he said. "If not for the Jews who created the industry in Hollywood, all these people would never have a job and would never be working. So the Jews supported them all their lives. And the Jews made it possible for them to make a living."
Furthermore, Mason told listeners, rather than boycott, celebrities should be praising it.
"If they had any decency, they would want to go out of their way to help Jewish people and to save Jewish people because the State of Israel represents the people who made it possible for them to ever become a celebrity in the first place. If not for them, you would be starving to death today."
Mason also had harsh words for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to isolate and delegitimize Israel internationally. One common tactic is putting pressure on celebrities who visit, or plan to visit, the Jewish state.
"These people want to boycott a beleaguered country that is being persecuted every day by Palestinians," he said. "And they convinced themselves that the Palestinians are the victims when the Jews are helping the Palestinians every day. A Palestinian in Israel can make a comfortable living, can be a citizen, can even be in the government, and we treat them like kings."
Artists who have succumbed to BDS pressure and canceled appearances in recent years have included Lauryn Hill and Elvis Costello.
Regarding this phenomenon, Mason asked listeners: "How they can sympathize with murderers instead of people trying to bring peace on earth, to bring peace even to their own enemies, and even help them make a living? This is the most disgusting thing I ever heard of in my life."