Wednesday, January 3, 2018

London Haradi Court consults Sommet for Shabbat Solution

Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor
Enjoy the Sun

There is great pleasure in appreciating the warmth and glow of the sun. Many people only appreciate daylight and sunshine when they feel satisfaction from some financial profit or have just received honor or other pleasures.

Don't overlook the light shining on the world.

Love Yehuda Lave

London Haredi Court Consults Tzomet on Shabbat Digital Water Meters


Photo Credit: Combustion2016 via Wikimedia
Control panel (illustration)

The Orthodox community in London has been troubled by a city plan to replace the old water meters with digital units which would cause the desecration of Shabbat whenever one turns on a simple faucet.

After seeking a solution from local engineers, the London Badatz (religious high court of justice), possibly the most stringent Haredi organization in the city, decided to approach the Tzomet Institute in Gush Etzion, Israel, for help Makor Rishon reported Friday.


The Zomet Institute (acronym for Tzivtei Mada veTorah – Teams of Science and Torah) is an Israeli high-tech, non-profit organization specializing in IT equipment and electronic appliances designed to meet Halakhic issues in the modern world.

The Zomet Institute is affiliated with Modern Orthodox Judaism, but its head, the late Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, had an ongoing consulting relationship with Haredi rabbis, most notably the late Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach.

Tzomet head Rabbi Menachem Pearl told Makor Rishon that the London Badatz had been asked by the local court to provide a halakhic opinion on or offer a substitute for the digital meters. "One of the engineers the approached in the UK was able to explain to them what the electric circuit was doing on Shabbat, but was unable to offer solutions," Rabbi Pearl explained.

According to Rabbi Pearl, "there are digital water meters in Israel as well, which challenge our ability to keep the Shabbat, because turning on a faucet would close an electric circuit. Another problem is that the instrument keeps writing numbers which is a kind of writing, which constitutes a transgression even if it is done indirectly (grama) – and is only allowed in case one stands to incur a loss. The only time grama is permitted for a private need is to put out a fire in one's house."

The solution Tzomet came up with was to introduce a small change to the code governing the digital meters so that they record changes every 100 liters (1 liter = 1.05 quarts). "It is reasonable to assume that even if one takes a shower on Shabbat, the water use would not reach 100 liters, and so the counters would not write numbers each time one turns on a faucet in the house," Rabbi Peral explained.

An elderly couple was busted driving through Nebraska with more than $300,000 worth of marijuana that they told police was for "Christmas presents."

York County Sheriff's Deputies pulled over a pickup truck Tuesday after it failed to use a blinker and drifted over the center line, and were met by the potent scent of raw marijuana wafting out of the veichle. The driver, 80-year-old Patrick Jiron, and the passenger, 70-year-old Barbara Jiron, told officers they were driving from northern California to deliver holiday goodies to Boston and Vermont, reports NPR.

The elderly pair admitted to the officers they were carrying contraband and consented to a search of their trunk, where police found 60 pounds of marijuana wrapped in dozens of bags, along with containers with concentrated doses of THC.

"They said the marijuana was for Christmas presents," Lt. Paul Vrbka of the York Country Sheriff's Office told the York News-Times.

Lt. Vrbka said the couple remarked to the Sheriff's Deputies, "they didn't know it was illegal to transport marijuana in Nebraska."

Police cited Barbara Jiron but did not jail her for unspecified medical reasons. Patrick Jiron, who was released after posting 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, faces charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp, reports York News-Times.

The massive marijuana haul carries an estimated street value of $336,000.

Is It Really about Jerusalem?

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Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90
Arabs throwing rocks in Jerusalem. (archive)

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

The protests that have swept the West Bank, Gaza Strip and large parts of the Arab and Islamic world in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital show that most Arabs and Muslims still have not come to terms with Israel's right to exist.


The protests also provide further evidence that many Arabs and Muslims, including, of course, the Palestinians, continue to view the US as an enemy and "big Satan" because of its support for Israel. Trump's announcement is just another excuse for Arabs and Muslims to vent their long-standing hatred for Israel and the US.

For the Palestinians, Trump's announcement simply provided the latest opportunity to step up their violent and rhetorical attacks and threats against Israel. As such, there is nothing new about the Palestinian protests that erupted after Trump's announcement.

Palestinian terrorism against Israel is one of the oldest stories in the book. The many shapes it takes, from rock-throwing to stabbings to shootings to suicide bombings and rockets, began long before Trump's announcement and will continue long after it. Hardly a day passes without an incident of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

However, because most of the violent attacks do not injure or kill Israelis, they are ignored by the media. Clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli soldiers are as old as the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have even become part of the norm. Shootings and car-ramming attacks? Well, they have been taking place almost every week for the past few decades.

It is disingenuous, then, to claim that Trump's announcement triggered the latest spate of Palestinian violence. At most, the announcement catalyzed the Palestinians to amplify their ongoing terror attacks against Israel. The announcement has also contributed to exposing the Palestinians' long-standing vicious hatred of the US, regardless of who is sitting in the White House — a Republican or Democratic president.

The Palestinians are on record as failing to distinguish meaningfully between Republicans and Democrats, because the US is, in any event, supposedly "controlled by the Zionist lobby." Consider what political analyst Qais Qadri said during the last US presidential race:

"There is no difference between the Republicans and Democrats with regards to their hostility towards the Palestinian cause. We are weaker than the Jewish lobby to cause any changes in American policy."

Thus, the Palestinian hostility towards the US has nothing to do with Trump himself, but rather concerns general American policies, especially US support for Israel. True, many of the Palestinians who took to the streets in the past week did burn effigies of Trump, but they also torched US flags and chanted slogans accusing the US as being an enemy of the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.

This uproar is more about hating the US and Americans than protesting a purported change in the status of Jerusalem. Otherwise, why would a Palestinian shop owner hang a sign at the entrance to his business that reads: "Dogs and Americans Not Allowed to Enter"?

Or why would Palestinians launch a campaign to demand the closure of all American institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in helping the Palestinians build a viable future Palestinian state? That is just another example of how the Palestinians are shooting themselves in the foot to satisfy their craving to demonize the US. It is worth noting that the campaign against US institutions also states that the Palestinians' real goal is to "liberate Palestine, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river." In other words, this means that the true goal of the Palestinians is to destroy Israel.

This brings us to the issue of anti-Israel incitement, which has long been an integral part of the Palestinian campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel and Jews. This campaign, especially through the Palestinian media, began long before Trump's announcement; it gained momentum after that. It is hardly the case that Palestinians were teaching their children to accept Israel's right to exist and live with it in peace before Trump's announcement. On the contrary: for many years now, the Palestinians have been doing their utmost to indoctrinate their children and deny any Jewish attachment or history to the land.

This incitement reached its peak last week, when Palestinian Authority (PA) President delivered a speech before the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey. Abbas claimed that the Jewish history of Jerusalem is false and declared that there will be "no peace in the region and in the world" without a Palestinian state and Jerusalem as its capital. Even the left-wing lobbying Jewish group, J Street, condemned Abbas's "divisive and inflammatory rhetoric."

Yet, why do Abbas's remarks come as a surprise? He is simply reiterating the official, long-standing policy of the Palestinian Authority. Where has the West been when Palestinian leaders have declared outright, decade after decade, that Israel has no right to exist and Jewish history is nothing more than lies?

This week, we received yet another reminder of how Palestinians deny Jewish history. The PA's Ministry of Information released a statement in which it dismissed the existence of the Western Wall, Judaism's most sacred site. Referring to the Western Wall by its Islamic name, the ministry said: "Al-Buraq was, still is and shall be a Palestinian, Arab and Islamic site."

This Palestinian denial of Jewish history did not start after Trump's announcement. In fact, it has nothing to do with the announcement and has always been the public position of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and all Palestinian groups and leaders.

Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are furious not because of any purported change in the status of Jerusalem. They know full well that Trump's announcement will not change anything on the ground and is mostly symbolic. They are not angry because the US embassy is about to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. They are well aware that such a move is unlikely to happen any time in the near future. Besides, why would the PA, which claims it wants East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, oppose moving the US embassy to West Jerusalem?

The answer is simple. It is because the Palestinians and Arabs view all of Jerusalem as an "occupied" city, just as they view all of Israel as an "occupying" power. The protesters on the streets of Arab capitals and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip appear to be more honest than their leaders when they chant: "Palestine is 100% Arab and both parts of Jerusalem, east and west, will be the eternal capital of Palestine!"

Let us get things straight, finally. The Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims cannot stomach the fact that Israel exists, period. Their real problem is not with Trump's recognition of the reality — that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Rather, they have a problem with Israel's very existence. They see no difference between East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem. For them, the entire city is "occupied," the same way that Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle, Acre, Nazareth and Tiberias are "occupied" cities.

Palestinians and their fellow Arabs and Muslims hated Israel and the US before Trump's announcement and they will continue to do so after it. For them, Israel has no right to exist, pure and simple. Yet, events do provide cover: Before the announcement, they used Jewish visits to the Temple Mount as an excuse for their rejectionism and terror. This time, they are using the Trump announcement.

Palestinian behavior has made their message as clear as water: the conflict is not about an embassy or a settlement or a fence or a checkpoint, but about the very presence of Jews in this part of the world

Why Is Challah Braided?

Technically, the Shabbat (and holiday) meal can be started with any two whole loaves of kosher bread. In fact, the word challah simply means "loaf" in Hebrew. However, the long-standing Jewish custom is for these breads to be braided.

The Twelve Loaves of the Temple

In the hymn sung by many during the Shabbat meal and composed by the great mystic Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, known as the Arizal, we read:

May the Shechinah ("Divine Presence") be surrounded
by the six loaves on each side [of the table];
and may they correspond to the two sets of six loaves
and the other articles [of the Holy Temple] . . .

In other words, we are praying that our 12 loaves of challah evoke the 12 showbreads that were placed on the Table (Shulchan) in the Holy Temple.

Some people make a point of placing 12 breads on their Shabbat tables or using a "pull-apart challah" made of 12 mini rolls. But most of us have just two loaves—so how do we arrive at the number 12?

The challah loaf is generally oblong, resembling the Hebrew letter vav, which has the numerical value of six, so the two loaves would equal 12. 1 Many also braid each challah loaf with six strands, 2 also bringing the total to 12. 3

Since the 12 showbreads were replaced every week on Shabbat, the custom to use oblong or braided challahs applies to Shabbat, whereas during the holidays, there are various different customs. For example, during the High Holidays, round challah is preferred.

Meaty Bread

Since bread is commonly eaten together with either meat or dairy, Jewish law forbids either meat or dairy ingredients to be placed into ordinary loaves of bread, as a precaution. This applies even if one is planning to eat the dairy bread with dairy foods or the meat bread with meat foods, since there may be leftovers.

There are some exceptions, however, and meat or dairy may be mixed into bread if either a) the loaves are very small and there is no fear of leftovers, or b) they are made in a unique shape and will be immediately recognized as either meat or dairy.

Since challah bread for Shabbat was regularly baked in the oven together with meat (and sometimes even flavored with fats), people would braid them, so that they would be visually different from parve bread, which may be eaten with both meat and dairy. 4

(Note: Since it has become common to bake braided challah without meat ingredients (perhaps based on the other reasons listed here), braiding would no longer be a solution to bake an actual meat challah.)

Reserved for the Day

The sages explain that the Shabbat day meal is to be more honored than the night meal. As such, some have the custom to only use braided challah for the day meal, honoring it with this unique form of bread. 5

Rectangular Challah: G‑d's Name

There are some who don't braid the challah at all, and rather shape it into rectangular loaves, which evoke the vav in G‑d's name. As the mystics explain, the small piece of challah that we first cut off after the Hamotzi symbolizes the small letter yud, and the two hands (each with five fingers) holding the challah bread correspond to the two heis (each numerically equivalent to five), completing G‑d's name. 6

In the merit of honoring the Shabbat, may we merit the "great Shabbat" with the coming of Moshiach!

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed ascends Temple Mount

Leading rabbi, who has favored Temple Mount ascent in past writings, this morning joins dozens of Jews who ascend Mount daily.

Contact Editor
Mordechai Sones, 21/12/17 14:21

Rabbi Melamed on the Temple Mount
Rabbi Melamed on the Temple Mount
Yakov Vineberger

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Rabbi of the Samaria community of Har Bracha and the founder of the community's Hesder yeshiva, ascended the Temple Mount Thursday morning.

Rabbi Melamed's arrival represents a significant boon to those who ascend the Temple Mount, after the rabbi had already expressed himself in favor of ascending the Mount in purity according to halakhic rules, writing that Harav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, late head of Jerusalem's Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, would have changed his opinion against ascending were he alive today.

Rabbi Melamed referred to the importance of ascending the Temple Mount for two consecutive weeks in his regular column in the newspaper B'Sheva as part of his writings on the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Goren zt"l.

הרב אליעזר מלמד בעלייה להר הבית
צילום: אברהם בלוך

Rabbi Melamed wrote: "Based on three main reasons, it is permitted and proper to ascend to the Temple Mount in Tahara (purity):

  • A) The many testimonies that for more than a thousand years after the destruction, the great Sages would pray on the Temple Mount;
  • B) For three-hundred years Jews were not allowed to ascend the Temple Mount, until doubt arose as to where the Temple was located (which takes up an area of less than 10 percent of the Temple Mount).However, following the Mount's liberation it was possible to re-measure the territory and determine with certainty where the Temple was located, and in any case, where it is permitted to ascend in purity; and
  • C) The threat to Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount."

Rabbi Melamed also addressed the great Torah scholars who forbade pilgrimage to the Mount, and especially the attitude of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Hakohen Kook zt "l on the issue.

"In my humble opinion, it would appear that if Rav Tzvi Yehudah Hacohen Kook would see that the excessive caution about ascending the Mount leads to the loss of sovereignty and turns the Mount into a source of hatred against Israel, he would agree with Rabbi Goren that it is permitted and commanded to ascend. In my further humble opinion, he would have relied on Rabbi Goren's halakhic inquiries regarding the permitted places to enter."

הרב אליעזר מלמד בהר הבית
צילום: יעקב וינברגר

Spokesman of the Temple Organization Headquarters Asaf Fried welcomed Rabbi Melamed's joining the expanding ranks of Temple Mount visitors."The redemption of the Mount and the Temple's return received great reinforcement today with the ascent of Rabbi Melamed," says Fried.

While many rabbis, among them Rabbi Goren, promote ascending the mount, there are as many rabbis who forbid ascending the mount citing halakhic reasons and do not view it as a way to assert sovereignty. However, Fried notes that during Hanukkah many rabbis, leading more than a thousand Jews, ascended the Temple Mount for the first time since its liberation.

See you tomorrow
Love Yehuda Lave
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