Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jewish life in Cuba today..15 min doc worth watching and hire a Palestinian

Fame and Happiness

Many people mistakenly think that being famous will automatically make them happy.
But happiness depends on what goes on in your mind and not what happens "out there." Hence if you are thinking negative thoughts, you will be sad even if everyone else in the world is speaking about how great you are. Conversely, if you think positive thoughts, you will feel good even if no one gives you honor.
Happiness is dependent on your thoughts and not on what other people say about you, unless you tell yourself you cannot be happy without the approval and honor of others. Robin Williams who just passed away was a prime example of this.

Love Yehuda Lave

Jewish life in Cuba today

Reader Post: Job Opening – Only Palestinians Need Apply

August 22, 2014 | Isa
You have to hand it to the Palestinians, they have managed to convince most of the gullible West (including many in my Facebook timeline) that,
  1. Even though Israel has returned over 90% of land it won, and over 90% of the Arab world refuses to accept Israel, the crux of the problem is one of Israel occupying land and not one of Arabs refusing to accept Israel.
  2. Gazans are living under siege, yet somehow seem to have been able to import enough construction equipment and raw materials to build 10,000 rockets and who knows how many dozens of complex tunnels stretching for miles from which to launch deadly attacks.
  3. If only Israel would withdraw we would all be able to hold hands and live happily ever after whereas actual evidence shows that after Israel did a 100% withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza, both of them used the freedom to initiate war.
  4. Even though Israel has accepted to live in a tiny fraction of historical Jewish land they are actually outsiders in that region.
  5. Even though Israeli Arabs are active in all facets of Israeli life, from the Supreme Court and Knesset to entertainment and sports, and the Arab world expelled approximately 800,000 Jews and has become mostly Judenrein now, after centuries of Jews living there, Israel is the apartheid state.
  6. Even though Hamas uses schools and hospitals to build their tunnels, hide their weapons in, and shoot rockets from, Israel is somehow responsible for the tragic civilian and children's deaths there.
  7. Palestinians don't want Hamas and really just want peace, when they actually voted them into power.
I should look into hiring a Palestinian for my Marketing Department. They're good !

Adding and subtracting from he Torah

Published: August 21st, 2014
Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
This week's Torah portion gives us a curious mitzvah. It tells us not to add or subtract to the commandments (Deuteronomy 13:1). This seems to go against the idea of the ongoing development of Jewish law on the part of the rabbis (Deuteronomy 17:8-13).
Consider, for example, one of the dietary laws. The Torah states that one may not eat meat and milk together. The rabbis take this prohibition and extend it to include the consumption of fowl and milk. Does this extension violate the prohibition of adding to the Torah?
Rambam feels this in fact may be the case. He codifies that if one maintains that fowl and milk are enjoined by Torah law, this extension is a violation of adding to the Torah. However, if the rabbis declared that as an added precaution, because of the similarity between fowl and animal food, fowl together with milk is rabbinically forbidden, then including fowl as a rabbinic prohibition is perfectly legitimate (Laws of Mamrim 2:9).
This idea helps explain a well-known midrashic comment on the Garden of Eden narrative. According to the text of the Torah, Eve tells the serpent that God had commanded that the tree of knowledge not be touched. Eve, however, adds to the decree. As the Midrash explains, God had only forbidden eating, not touching. The serpent then pushed Eve against the tree, declaring, "as you have not died from touching it, so you will not die from eating thereof." In the words of Rashi: "She added to the command [of God]. therefore, she was led to diminish from it" (Rashi, Genesis 3:3,4).
One could argue that Eve acted properly; after all, she, like the rabbis, only tried to protect God's commandment by extending the prohibition to touching. Her mistake, however, was saying that God had actually issued such a command. She should have declared that while God forbade eating from the tree, she decided as a precaution – as a "fence" around the law – not to touch it as well.
Thus, rabbinic law is pivotal. Still, it is important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which are biblical in nature.
One final note: Separate from rabbinic legislation and interpretation is the halachic realm of chumra. Chumra is imposing a very stringent observance of the law. While stringency can elevate spirituality, it is essential to know when a practice falls into the category of chumra and when it does not. Failure to make this distinction can often lead to the chumra becoming the only accepted practice. This can be dangerous because it can lead to a lack of understanding and intolerance of the sometimes-wide range of practices within a certain rabbinic law.
So rabbis can extend the laws when there is a critical need, but they must do so with the realization of their responsibility not to blur the lines set out in the Torah.
Throughout the ages rabbis have done so with the hope that their interpretations and legislations will bring people closer to God and to one another.
About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.