There are two key steps to gaining self-awareness. First, objectively determine which actions are positive and which are negative.
Second, focus on your own actions to see whether they fall into the category of positive or negative. Before doing any action, ask yourself, "Is this a proper thing for me to do or not?"
Even when you are not in the midst of any particular activity that would call for such inner questioning, think over your previous actions. Become aware of your negative behavior in order to avoid it in the future. Think carefully about strategies that will help you refrain from negative behavior. And of course, be aware of your positive behavior in order to increase it.
What positive behavior do you wish to increase? Today, think about actions you can take to increase that specific aspect of your behavior.
For anyone that wants to wish me Happy English Birthday--today is the day.
Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave
120 pound gifilita fish caught
Rabbi Johnathan Sacks to speak in Jerusalem on Monday May 16th
You have to sign up to go to free event at www.korenpub.com/SacksEvent
Let me know if you are signed up and I will see you there Bli neder
The reaction of many people to my conclusions about the kezayis is one of shock, followed by the question: "So do you yourself really eat such a small portion of matzah and maror?"
This is a very strange question. It also sheds light on problems caused by the evolution of the large kezayis-shiur.
Why on earth would I, or anyone, only eat an olive-sized portion of matzah and maror? The mitzvah comes late at night, after a really long day, when I haven't eaten for hours. Any normal person will eat much more than an olive-sized portion!
The kezayis is a minimum. The halachah says that eating anything less than a kezayis is just not called an act of eating. But any ordinary act of eating is obviously more than the bare minimum!
Does anyone build a sukkah ten tefachim high?!
So why do people wonder if people like me will be eating an olive-sized portion? Probably because the evolution of the large kezayis, along with the change from traditional matzah to Ashkenazi matzah (a.k.a. concrete) and from traditional maror (wild lettuce, sowthistle, etc.) to horseradish, has made eating a kezayis such a tricky and stomach-challenging ordeal that this is all that people aim for. Kezayis becomes not the minimum, less than which is simply not an act of eating, but rather the challenge, the goal. And people become so focused on eating the right quantity that this becomes the main thing that they think about!
But when you eat traditional matzah, and traditional maror (which was the normal hors d'oeuvre in antiquity), and a kezayis is a kezayis, why on earth would anyone only eat a kezayis?
Passover — the Holiday of Vengeance
Rabbi Meir Kahane Writings
Passover — the Holiday of Vengeance
It is the night of the Seder, the eve of Passover. The Jewish family having been told by the child who attends the temple "religious school" that Jews celebrate the Passover with a festive meal, or perhaps having heard the temple rabbi or the local American Jewish committee ignoramus declaim the theme of Passover as being the national liberation struggle of all people and the brotherhood of Man (the love of the Gentiles and Jews), is gathered about the table. The room is filled with people, including gentile guests gushing over the fascinating Jewish holiday. The family has equipped itself with Haggadas so as to do the "thing" properly. They have finished the meal and now the excited youngster (Scott, Brian, Kevin or some such Jewish name) excitedly says "It's time to open the door to Elijah. He comes to every Jewish house." The parents smile; the gentiles smile – how similar to Santa Claus. And, of course, they all rise as the child rushes to open the door. Jew and gentile alike, chant the words prescribed by the Haggada, the Biblical words of the Psalms, that proclaim:
"Pour forth Your wrath upon the nations that do not recognize You and upon the kingdoms that do not invoke Your name. For they have devoured Jacob and destroyed his habitation. Pour forth Your fury upon them and let Your burning wrath overtake them. Pursue them with anger and destroy them from beneath the heavens of the L-rd."
My G-d! What to think! What do the gentiles in the room think?! What a litany of anger and, above all, vengeance! An open prayer and call for the Almighty to avenge Himself upon the nations, to destroy them for what they did to Israel! Is this Judaism? And did not the "rabbi", the temple paragon of Jewish wisdom, the fount of Jewish knowledge admonish us that Jews oppose vengeance, that it is not a "Jewish" concept? And that is why we are supposed to feel ashamed sometimes at the conduct of the Israeli army? And, above all, what will John and Kathy, the gentile neighbors think about the Jews? About us?
Ah, poor Jews; sad little Jews. Conceived in ignorance and born in Jewish know-nothingness. Raised in Jeffersonian and Kennedyian and Jacksonian (Jesse?) Democracy and all the westernized, gentilized culture that is America, and lied to and deceived, and defrauded by secular Jewish ignoramuses-leaders, and Reform-Conservative- Reconstructionist ones; people whose ignorance is so awesome that only their fraud surpass it. The fraud that was created by the counterfeiters of Judaism is astonishingly awesome. They lied to the Jew because they could not bare to tell the truth to themselves. Vengeance, un-Jewish? If so, let us cast out the Bible and Talmud as "un-Jewish". The L-rd is a G-d of vengeance; O G-d of vengeance, arise! (Psalms 94). And the rabbis say: Yes, when vengeance is needed, it is a great thing" (Brachot, 3a). Or let the high praises of G-d be in their throat and a two edged sword in their hand – to execute vengeance upon the nations…" (Psalms 58). Passover. A holiday that was created to commemorate the sanctity of vengeance; the punishment and the destruction of Pharaoh and Egypt that mocked and humiliated G-d by crying: "Who is the L-rd? I know not the L-rd…!"Vengeance so that the world shall know the L-rd and cry, "Verily, there is a G-d that judgeth in the earth…" And: "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth vengeance, he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked." (Psalms 58) And why? For it is only vengeance that proves that there is indeed a G-d in the world., that there is good and evil and punishment for that evil. When the wicked kill and injustice reigns, surely the wicked cry out: "There is no G-d, for if there was He would punish me." And the victim in his agony agrees. When there is no vengeance and punishment and the wicked reign, G-d is pushed from his throne; it is the greatest Hillul Hashem – desecration to G-d's Name, it is "proof" that there is no G-d.
And again, "The L-rd hath made Himself known through the judgement He executes."(Psalms 9) And, of course, the Psalm that is read before the weekday Grace after meals, a Psalm that sends the gentilized Jews rushing from the table in horror:
"O daughter of Babylon that art to be destroyed; Happy shall he be that repayeth thee as thou hast done to us. Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the rock". (Psalm 137).
And the Jews of Ashkenazi who created a prayer of vengeance in memory of the Jews massacred during the Crusades, a prayer that we read each Sabbath and that says: "May He avenge the blood of His servants which has been shed, as it is written in the Torah of Moses, the man of G-d: "O nations, make His people joyful! He avenges the blood of His servants, renders retribution to His foes and atones for His land and His people…And in the holy writings it says: "Why should the nations say, Where is their G-d?
And for the hapless and ignorantly hopeless who raise the half-a-cup of a Talmudic saying that G-d refused to allow the angels to rejoice over the downfall of the Egyptians. Let us forever torment the fraudulent by insisting on honesty and the complete text of the Talmudic saying:
It is true that He does not rejoice but He causes others to rejoice".
Of course the Almighty, the totality of Compassion, the Father of all, grieves for his children – all of them. He does not sing. His angels, who are not of this world, do not sing.
BUT THE JEWS SING – AND ARE COMMANDED TO DO SO. For the very same reason that the very same Almighty who does not sing, does destroy the work of His hands because they are evil.
Yes, of course He grieves that those who were made in His image have so perverted and destroyed the greatness of that image. That those who were made in the image of good, were so evil. In His grief He does not have pity. He destroys them: He knows that evil and He cannot share the same world. And thus do the rabbis declare (Shmot Raba 23): "Then did Moses and the children of Israel sing," this is what is meant by the verse (Psalms 9):"The L-rd is known by the judgment He executes. This speaks of Egypt who G-d smote at the Red Sea." And Shmot Raba 23: "Then did Moses and the children of Israel sing. This is the meaning of the verse (Psalms 93): "Your throne was firm from then." Even though You exist from time immemorial, Your throne was not made firm and You were not made known in the world until your children sang. When You stood at the sea and we sang before You with "az" (then), then were your kingdom and throne made firm.
The incredible perversion of Judaism by confused and guilt-ridden Hellenists! Our rabbis tell us (Midrash Avchir): "And Israel saw the great hand of G-d' – When the Almighty wished to drown the Egyptians, the Archangel of Egypt (Uza) said: Sovereign of the Universe! You are called just and righteous…why do you wish to drown the Egyptians? At that moment Gabriel rose and took a brick and said: Sovereign of the Universe! These who enslaved Your children such a terrible slavery as this, shall you have mercy on them? Immediately, the Almighty drowned them."
Passover – the holiday that decrees the death and destruction of wickedness and not coexistence with it. And that, dear Jew, is why the Torah record for posterity the song of Moses and Israel as the Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea. Yes, collective punishment against the Egyptians, even the Egyptian maids and servants perished because they were happy with the oppression of the Jews. (What can be said of the Arab masses in Israel who danced on the roof tops as the Scuds form Saddam landed in Tel Aviv.)
There is no help for it; Passover is a holiday of sanctification of G-d's name. Of vengeance against the wicked. If the temple rabbi is unhappy, let him stop templing. If the gentile neighbor will be embarrassed, do not invite him. If the Jew is troubled, let him tie himself to the House of Study, a genuine one, and learn real Judaism. Then he will celebrate Passover the proper way, the Jewish way. "Pour forth Your wrath…"
to make one more attempt to push Israel to the cliff's edge. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Obama's last-ditch effort to force Israeli-'Palestinian' 'peace' negotiations is likely to include a UN Security Council resolution which would impose a framework for a deal on Israel and ramp up the international pressure on the Jewish State. Without calling the President out by name, this is PM Netanyahu's response to the Presidents latest plan to isolate Israel. Published: April 1, 2016 Add to favorites. To view your favorites click here
A little Marchi music to make up for the end of the holiday
What different styles of head coverings say about Israeli Jewish men
By Michael Lipka and Angelina E. Theodorou6 comments
What you wear can say a lot about who you are and what you believe. In Israel, for instance, the type of kippa – or lack thereof – worn by an Israeli Jewish man often is strongly correlated with his religious identity as well as some political views.
These skullcaps (also known by their Yiddish name, yarmulkes), are regularly worn by about one-third of Israel's Jewish men, especially the religiously observant. They come in several basic styles, with some more favored by particular Jewish subgroups than others.
Among Israeli men who say they usually wear a large black fabric kippa, a majority identify as Haredi (also known as ultra-Orthodox) Jews (58%). By contrast, most of those who wear a black crocheted or knitted kippa (59%) say they are Masorti ("traditional") Jews. And small black fabric kippot (the plural of kippa) as well as colored or patterned crocheted kippot are particularly common among Dati ("religious," sometimes called "modern Orthodox") Jews.
Meanwhile, among Israeli men who do not usually wear a head covering, 73% are Hiloni ("secular") Jews, and about a quarter (27%) are Masorti ("traditional").
The vast majority of Haredi and Dati men wear a yarmulke or some other kind of head covering (in public, some Haredim prefer a fedora or a shtreimel, an Eastern European fur hat). Masorti men are more divided: 42% routinely wear a head covering, and 57% do not. Virtually no Hilonim wear a religious head covering. (Another Fact Tank post details the differences among these four major Jewish subgroups in Israel.)
While wearing a kippa in everyday life is primarily a statement of religious identity, in Israel, certain types of kippot can indirectly be strong clues about some of the wearer's political views. In fact, the term "kippa sruga" (knitted kippa) is sometimes used to describe "religious Zionists," observant Jews who see the Jewish people as religiously entitled to territory in the region.
The data support such an association. Among men who wear colored or patterned knitted kippot, a majority (63%) say the term "Zionist" describes them very accurately. By contrast, most of those who wear a large black fabric kippa (58%) say the "Zionist" label does not describe them accurately; this group is made up largely of Haredim, some of whom have long been ambivalent about the Jewish state.
Majorities of those who wear a colored or patterned knitted or crocheted kippa agree with the statement "Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel" (65%) and say peaceful coexistence for Israel and an independent Palestinian state is not possible (58%). Likewise, about seven-in-ten men who wear a black crocheted kippa agree that Arabs should be expelled or transferred, including 45% who strongly agree. And fully three-quarters of those who wear a black crocheted kippa (75%) say a two-state solution is not possible.
When asked about their political ideology, most Israeli Jewish men who wear a black crocheted kippa (70%) or a colored or patterned crocheted kippa (58%) say they are on the political right. Meanwhile, most Jewish men who wear a small black fabric kippa (65%) identify as political centrists, as do most Israeli Jewish men who do not wear a head covering at all (55%). Among those who do not wear a head covering, 12% describe themselves as being on the political left – still a small minority, but much bigger than the virtually nonexistent share of men who do wear kippot who identify with the left.
For a full breakdown of the views of men who wear different types of head coverings on several issues, see the tables in this PDF.
British Museum & Evidence of Israelite Slavery in Egypt
A mud brick with straw, stamped with a royal seal that says "House of Ramses ll," and other cool artifacts. by Rabbi Yisroel Roll Facebook252TwitterEmailMore The table of archaeological finds below, presented to me by Dr. John H. Taylor, the curator of the Egypt Department of the British Museum in London, reveals a mud brick with straw which is stamped with a royal seal which says: "House of Ramses ll". The mud brick, seen on the left side of the photo below, is one of 20 held in the basement vaults of the museum, and not exhibited to the public. The brick has been carbon dated to the Israelite period of slavery in Egypt.
Dr. Taylor states that the Israelites did not build the pyramids as is commonly thought. The pyramids were built 100 years after the Israelites left Egypt. What they did build were cities. The Bible states in Exodus 1:11-14, "So they appointed taskmasters over it (the Israelite nation) in order to afflict it with their burdens; it built storage cities for Pharaoh, Pithom and Ramses…They embittered their lives with hard work, with mortar and with bricks…" The Bible further states in Exodus, 5:10, "The taskmasters of the people and its foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, "So said Pharaoh, I am not giving you straw. Go yourselves and take yourselves straw from whatever you find, for nothing will be reduced from your work." In the close up photo of the brick below, one can see the straw and the seal which states, "House of Ramses ll".
Below is a mural of slaves building a structure in Egypt dated from the Israelite period showing a pile of mud bricks similar to the brick displayed on the table above. Dr. John H. Taylor holds curatorial responsibility for ancient Egyptian funerary antiquities, amulets and jewelry. He also provides curatorial supervision for the departmental loans program. These items are sometimes loaned to outside museums and organizations.
Dr. Taylor then showed me a 12-foot iron snake staff found in a pyramid tomb. Shown below, the staff has a cobra head and is wavy and is evidence of the Egyptian magician's staves mentioned in the Bible in Exodus, 7:11-12, "The magicians of Egypt did so with their incantations. Each one cast down his staff and they became snakes; and the staff of Aaron swallowed their staffs." The entire snake staff can be seen at the front of the table in the first photo above. The staff is wave like and when placed on the ground and manipulated by a magician can give the illusion of snake like movement. Egyptian magicians were known to be illusionists.
The wicker basket below is dated to the Egyptian period of the Israelites and is evidence of the use of wicker baskets as recorded in the Bible, Exodus 2: 3, "She could not hide him any longer, so she took a wicker basket and smeared it with clay and pitch; she placed the child (Moses) into it and placed it among the reeds at the bank of the River (Nile). "
The copper mirrors at the far right of the first photo above are evidence of the existence of copper mirrors used by Israelite women to beautify themselves and to entice their husbands to produce children despite the dangers of bringing children into the world amidst a slave existence. These copper mirrors are referred to in the Bible in Exodus 38:8, "He (Moses) made the wash basin of copper and its base of copper, from the mirrors of the legions who massed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. " The 11th century French Biblical commentator, Rashi, comments that the Jewish women used these mirrors to beautify themselves in order to entice their husbands to produce children despite the fear of bringing children into a life of slavery. This attests to the greater faith of the Israelite women than that exhibited by the Israelite men, which faith has continued to sustain Jewish continuity.
The organizer of this private tour to the British Museum is London educator and historian, Rabbi Aryeh Forta who organizes monthly private tours of the Jewish artifacts at the British Museum. Also seen on this tour was a 3500 year old matzah with finger imprints of the matzah maker and silver wine bowls from the palace of Achashverosh mentioned in Megillas Esther.