Viktor Frankl, a Jewish physician who spent the years of the Second World War in the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Dachau, related, "I remember my dilemma in a concentration camp when faced with a man and a woman who were close to suicide; both had told me that they expected nothing more from life. I asked both my fellow prisoners whether the question was really what we expected from life. Was it not, rather, what life was expecting from us? I suggested that life was awaiting something from them."
The person who feels despair and discouragement is asking the wrong question. He asks what the world is giving him. As soon as he changes his question to what is the good that he can do, he will always be able to find an answer.
Love Yehuda Lave
Purim 2016 in Jerusalem
The Lev Haolom orgainsaion and its support for Judia and Samaria
19 new olim landed in Israel last week thanks to secret mission by Jewish Agency. 50 Jews chose to remain in Yemen. 92 By Matt Wanderman
First Publish: 3/21/2016, 8:58 AM
The new arrivals
Today (Monday), Israel completed a secret operation to rescue some of Yemen's last remaining Jews.
The plane landed early this morning with 19 new olim, including the heads of the local community. Rabbi Saliman Dahari, who came with his parents and wife, also brought a Torah scroll dating back to the fifteen or sixteenth century. Five of the passengers came from Sana'a, while the other fourteen are from the city of Rayda.
Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky said, "This is a highly significant moment in the history of Israel and of Aliyah. From Operation Magic Carpet in 1949 until the present day, The Jewish Agency has helped bring Yemenite Jewry home to Israel. Today we bring that historic mission to a close. This chapter in the history of one of the world's oldest Jewish communities is coming to an end, but Yemenite Jewry's unique, 2,000-year-old contribution to the Jewish people will continue in the State of Israel."
Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara (Likud), who played a significant role, has also stated: "I am happy to have achieved this very important goal for my Jewish brothers in Yemen to come to Israel. There is no higher purpose than to save lives in Israel.
"We successfully brought Jewish families that were threatened by death and assimilation. I thank the Prime Minister and the head of the Jewish Agency who supported my desire to bring over the Yemenite Jews, whatever the price.
"The aliyah of Yemenite Jews was my top priority during my campaign for the Knesset and I am happy that we have succeeded in achieving this important goal."
The US State Department helped with the project's organization, which took much of the past year.
Though the fighting in Yemen is primarily between the Saudi-backed government and the Iran-backed Houthi jihadists, it has been particularly hard on the country's dwindling Jewish population. The Houthis' motto is "God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam," and the group has threatened to attack Jews unless they convert.
The Jewish Agency has rescued about 200 Jews from Yemen over the past few years.
Fifty Jews still remain in the country, having declined the offer to come to Israel. All live in a closed compound next to the US embassy. A number are elderly and some have relatives who were forced to marry Muslim men.
The Writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane HY"D
The Writings of Rav Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane HY"D
PURIM- DRINKING FOR CLARITY (1998)
The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 695:2) brings down as law the words of our sages' in Megillah (7b): "A man is required to mellow himself (with wine) on Purim until he cannot tell the difference between 'cursed be Haman' and 'blessed be Mordechai'". Many fine Jews have pondered this somewhat bizarre utterance, and have given different explanations.
Is the phrase teaching us that we should get absolutely "plastered" on Purim, to the point where our minds cannot distinguish properly? It seems odd that the sages would encourage such a thing. After all, Purim, like any other holiday, is intended to convey to the Jew certain IDEAS. Since one of the central ideas of Purim is the struggle between good and evil; between Mordechai and Haman - why would the sages want to muddle and obscure these concepts? Furthermore, the expression, "to mellow oneself" does not connote that one should be "rip-roaring drunk," and certainly it is not likely the sages would endorse such a state of mind.
Our teacher, Rabbi Kahane, HY"D, offers a powerful explanation to this question. The point is not that one should drink until he becomes confused and says, "Cursed be Mordechai", G-d forbid. Rather, he should understand that there is no difference between blessing Mordechai and cursing Haman, between blessing the righteous man and cursing the evil one. Both are mitzvot. It is a mitzvah to FIGHT and CURSE the evil-doer precisely the way it is a mitzvah to BLESS the righteous man. The two are equal, complementing one another.
JEWISH COMPLEX: THE MERCY OF FOOLS
Let us develop this idea. It would not be a shocking revelation if we said that Jews in our generation, as well as in past generations, have a serious problem with the concept of cursing and hating evil. Despite the fact that this subject is a central part of Judaism, permeating the Tanach, Mishnah, Talmud, and halacha, for all kinds of reasons it is difficult for Jews to internalize the need for the burning out of evil, and the hating of the evil-doer. It is a hang-up we are familiar with from the days of King Saul (who in his misguided mercy spared Agag the Amalekite, which eventually brought upon us the episode of Haman!!!!!) - until this very day, where mercy on enemies and murderers has brought us to the brink of tragedy.
For the record, Queen Esther did not fail in this area. After the first day of Jewish vengeance against their enemies, Achashveirosh asked her if she had another request. She answered: "If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do tomorrow also according to this day's decrees, and let Haman's tens sons be hanged upon the gallows." In other words, Esther did NOT have the galut complex of taking pity on a fallen enemy. On the contrary - she requested that the Jew-haters be killed one more day.
DRINKING STRAIGHTENS OUR THINKING
When the sages tell us that we should not distinguish "between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai", they are coming to tell us: You are required to mellow yourselves with wine, so that you will not hesitate to come to the full understanding that the concept of "Blessed is Mordechai" is EQUAL to the concept, "Cursed is Haman". That is, HATRED OF EVIL IS NO LESS IMPORTANT OR FUNDAMENTAL THAN LOVE OF GOOD, AND THERE IS NO ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. Purim is the time to elevate ourselves in our thinking. Precisely by getting a little tipsy on wine, we can remove the usual inhibitions and hesitation, which commonly prevent us from cursing and hating evil!
The Rav has taught us something tremendous. Purim is NOT a holiday of drunken confusion and chaos, or for casting off our heavenly yoke. On the contrary. Purim is the day to cast off the HYPOCRISY of our everyday lives, and to sever ourselves from the phony self-righteousness which causes us to not want to condemn the wicked. Getting mellow or tipsy on wine straightens us out. If foreign, un-Jewish concepts permeate our thoughts all year round, on Purim we reveal our authentic, uninhibited selves. Without apologies, without "the mercy of fools" (as termed by the Ramban); without being "more righteous than our Creator" (as the midrash depicts Saul when he refuses to kill Agag)