Thursday, March 30, 2017

Fwd: Rabbi Riskin says no to Women called to the Torah or lead services

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Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Your Best Moments Are Your Best Teachers

Your best moments are your best teachers. We each have moments that are special in our lives, moments when we go beyond what we are usually able to do. Moments when we are especially spiritual and elevated, self-confident and courageous, happy and joyful, kind and compassionate, calm and serene, persuasive and influential, insightful and intuitive, forgiving and understanding, and creative and innovative.

During our best moments, we go beyond our own selves in almost unbelievable ways.

Each best moment in our life sheds light on what we can possibly do and who we can possibly be. Our best moments raise our self-image to a degree that our ordinary moments can't and don't.

Love Yehuda Lave

Windmill in Yemin Moshe taken by my friend S. Simon Jacob

Leading Liberal Orthodox Rabbi: Women May Not Be Called Up to the Torah, Lead Prayers

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, founder rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and later founding chief rabbi of the Israeli settlement of Efrat in Gush Etzion, last week told a conference of Ne'emnei Torah V'Avoda that women should not lead prayers nor receive aliyahs to the Torah in Orthodox synagogues.

Rabbi Riskin, who is among the more liberal Orthodox rabbis, which includes his preparing women scholars to become teachers of Jewish law, was asked in a Q&A session whether his support for educating women halachic advisors contradicted a recent statement from the OU in the US regarding the ordination of female Orthodox rabbis.

It should be noted that the OU report did not exclude women from advising on halachas that have to do with "family purity," a broad term related to the entire scope of family relations in Jewish law. Indeed, Rabbi Riskin noted that he did not think the OU actually prohibited women's halachic advice across the board.

He then stated that women must not take part in some of the central roles in the life of the synagogue: leading public prayer and being called up to the Torah.

The central argument in his opinion had to do with the halachic principle that one who is not obligated to perform a certain commandment is unable to perform it for another. In this instance, women, who are normally absent from the weekly cycle of daily prayers, do not qualify to lead the congregation in prayer on Shabbat. Likewise, since women are not legally obligated to go up to the Torah, they are unable to bless the Torah as representatives of the public at large.

The Ne'emnei Torah V'Avoda conference this year was titled "Babylon and Jerusalem," and dealt with the complex relationship between the Jewish State and Jewish communities in diaspora.

Incidentally, Rabbi Riskin ignored a minority view in the Talmud (Megilah, 23A) as well as the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 282:3), which say minors and women are permitted to go up to the Torah, however, the sages have barred women from participating because of the need to respect the congregation.

One explanation as to this unusual ruling has to do with the fact that aliyahs in past years meant–as is still the case in some congregations today–that you yourself read your portion of the weekly parsha. Since there were men in the community who could not read or right, and so never received an aliyah, it would have shamed them had women been called up while they were not.

While it is to be expected of the Talmud to include a halachic ruling which is eventually denied, it is intriguing that the author of the Shulchan Aruch, Rabbi Yosef Karo, chose to include it in his code, even though it does not change the fact that women are not permitted to go up to the Torah.

Netanyahu told Trump to Postpone Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem

Recently, Barry Shaw, the Public Diplomacy head at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, hosted a panel at AACI Netanya that discussed US President Donald Trump's plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and why it got postponed.  Mark Zell, the head of Republicans in Israel, stated that US President Trump very much wants to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and that he believes that it will happen within the next several months.

However, according to Zell, shortly after US President Trump was inaugurated and the Israeli government realized that he was serious about relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, the Israeli government asked him to take his time in moving the embassy: "That is what is happening. It is not a question of whether to move the embassy. Israel's policy remains unaltered. It is a question of timing. Look, there are things happening in the region."

Jeff Daube, the Israel director of the Zionist Organization of America, confirmed what Zell stated: "I heard in the Knesset sometime after January 20 that Trump was prepared to go forward with the embassy move to Jerusalem but he was told in a phone conversation with Bibi to hold off.  The claim that the Trump administration was backing off from that commitment is not the case. They were asked to back off from that commitment. They were given some very good reasons. The government here is trying to build a covert alliance with some Arab countries. Making a move like that could jeopardize that delicate balance and they would have to back off from even a covert alliance with Israel. The fact of the matter is that Jordan had difficulties with that. They do not want to agitate the population in Jordan. We don't want to destabilize Jordan. If that would cause a problem, perhaps now is not the time to do it."

"I think that it makes sense not to throw the embassy issue into the face of these regional actors," Zell stated. "If the embassy moves, it should happen in a quiet fashion that won't pour fuel on the fire for it is a decision that is likely to be controversial in certain quarters of the region and world. However, it will happen. It just needs to happen in a proper fashion."

Regardless of when it happens, Zell emphasized that it is important for the US Embassy to relocate to Jerusalem in order to declare that the city is Israel's undivided eternal capital city. In addition, Zell believes that it is crucial for it will put an end to the Consular General in East Jerusalem, which serves mainly the Palestinians: "If the US wishes to have diplomatic representation for the Palestinian Arabs, they can do it in an area they are controlling like Ramallah, not Jerusalem.

Daube concurred, stressing that Israel will have a 15 minute hit on CNN no matter what so he believed that this is not a reason not to relocate the embassy. Nevertheless, he emphasized that there are 800 employees in the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and it will take them all time to move. Given that, he suggested that Trump merely not sign the waiver for the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which will automatically compel the US State Department to start to take actions to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Daube also suggests that American citizens born in Jerusalem have Israel written as their birth country on their passports. And, he emphasized that the US Consulate can be made into the US Embassy by merely having the signs switched and by ensuring that the official Ambassador's residence will be in Jerusalem: "They don't have to move the embassy over."

Regardless of how Israel feels about the matter, former Israel Consul General Yoram Ettinger stressed that relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem is an American interest for failing to relocate the US Embassy would reflect weakness on the part of the American administration in the face of Arab threats: "At a time when the President is trying to resurrect US deterrence, failing to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem would further harm US deterrence. Failing to relocate it in the face of Arab threats and pressure will further radicalize Arab positions in the negotiations with Israel.  Therefore, it will introduce another obstacle for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

However, Ettinger believers that Trump for sure will do it: "Relocating the embassy would certainly be in line with Donald Trump's character and state of mind, which is fundamentally anti-establishment and being politically incorrect. Trump's attempt to defy political correctness in Washington can be significantly expressed by relocating the embassy to Jerusalem. I would be very surprised if the Trump administration acts against its own state of mind, its own commitments and thus retreating at the time when there is a need to defy threats of terrorism and assaults on the USA."

By Rabbi Joshua  Hoffman

  The mishkan and the mikdash were the locations on earth where the Almighty's presence was most intensively felt. It was there that a person could reach the potential of his spiritual capacity. Rav Yosef Chaim Schwab has suggested that the ramp leading up to the outer altar serves as a model for this growth. One who reaches for the heights must do so without steps, but rather with a ramp. It must be done gradually, in a well planned manner so that it does not end in reverse. Each person slowly rises at their own pace, based on their own needs, and eventually reaches the height appropriate for him.   We can add that the Torah says that we should not ascend to the altar on steps, so as not to reveal one's nakedness upon it. The midrash derives from this verse the principle of kavod haberiyos, respect for others. If we care about the dignity of stones, we must certainly care for the dignity of a fellow human being. What this means in light of the above interpretation, is that when we are in a process of spiritual growth, we should not employ an approach that makes others feel uncomfortable.   An interesting example of this can be found in parsha Va'eira. When Pharaoh tells Moshe and Aharon that they should worship God in Egypt instead of the wilderness, they answer that to do so would be an abomination in the eyes of the Egyptians, who worship the cattle that they would be slaughtering. Rav Yaakov Moshe Charlop explained, that despite the intensity of the Jew's belief, they felt that they did not want to blatantly affront the Egyptian's religious sensibilities. In the end, we know that the Jews found grace in the eyes of the Egyptians. Perhaps this sensitivity contributed to that grace.

Shania Twain - When You Kiss Me--a beautiful woman singing a love song--don't watch if this offends you

Doctors weigh in as what to do

Subject: The American Medical Association has weighed in...


The American Medical Association has weighed in on Trump's proposed health care package to replace Obama-care:


The Allergists were in favor of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.


The Gastroenterologist's had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.


Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was laboring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.


Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, "Oh, grow up!"


The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.


Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.


The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would "put a whole new face on the matter."


The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.


Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and those lofty Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.


In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the rear ends in Washington!



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Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

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