Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Fires of Lag Ba'Omer

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Uncertainty Is Inevitable

In many areas of our lives uncertainty is inevitable. You will cause yourself much needless pain if you unrealistically demand certainty. Even in extremely important areas of our lives we are likely to be uncertain.

If you can let go of unrealistic demands for certainty, you will actually achieve more peace of mind than if you were certain!

What is the proper attitude? Try to be as certain as possible, and accept that any remaining uncertainty will not exacerbate your situation.

I as the son of a German Jew like to be on time and have my life certain.

The only thing that is certain however, is uncertainty.

This week while looking for a new apartment, I was stood up by a broker. To add insult to injury, I made an appointmnet with him the next evening and he stood me up a second time. One has to live with uncertainty.

However, the good news is that it works both ways. Last night I was out at the Lag Bomer parties and took the fire pictures below. While looking for the right party, someone I didn't know invited me over and asked me if I wanted to eat something. He then gave me the best barbequed steak I had ever eaten. Someone I didn't know feeding me the best quality steak!! Sometimes uncertaintly is for the best. Maybe he was the angel Gabriel or Elijah Ha Novi. Now that I think it over I should have asked him for my bershert as well!!

 Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave  

On Friday May 20th at Oz veGaon in the Kush Etzion, I heard Ari Soffer speak to the women in Green. Aris Soffer is managing editor of Arutz Sheva English.

He spoke about returning Soverignty to the Jewish people here in Israel.

Today on a trip I returned with the OU on an all day bus trip to the  Gush to learn about its history and its battles. Ben Gurion said if it had not been for the heros of the battles against Kush Etzion there would be no Jewish Jerusalem.

The Fires of Lag BaOmer

from the local park

The holiday with the funny name by Lieba Rudolph

I tried saying it effortlessly, like I'd been saying it all my life.

"We're going to New York for the Lag BaOmer parade," I announced to my parents 28 years ago.

I figured, my parents knew what "New York" and "parade" were—maybe they would just let the "Lag BaOmer" part slide. Because if they asked me what Lag BaOmer was, my answer sounded like it was coming from someone else. Less than one year earlier, a

I tried saying it effortlessly "log" was something you put in a fire, and I had no idea what a "BaOmer" was. I just knew it sounded too funny to say with a completely straight face.


Still, I needed to tell my parents something about the reason for my trip. So I repeated what I had learned from our rabbi: "Lag BaOmer is the day Rabbi Akiva's students stopped dying, so it's a day of celebration." This would be my ready reply for years to anyone who asked about the holiday.

Of course, there was no fooling my parents back then. They knew and I knew that Rabbi Akiva and his students meant nothing to any of us, including me.

So why did our family follow the Rosenfelds, our rabbinic family in Pittsburgh, on a drive to New York (not Manhattan, mind you, Brooklyn!) to participate in a holiday that we knew nothing about? We had absolutely no frame of reference for it—no historical context, no experiences, no deeper lessons—gornisht. As in, nothing.

Partly, I wanted to go out of curiosity: Could "fun" and "Jewish" actually go together? But I also went because I wanted to know more. About Judaism. About my heritage. About a holiday with a funny name that had been on the Jewish calendar for thousands of years, yet had been on mine for less than one.

I can't say that Lag BaOmer really resonated with me at the beginning. There aren't any mitzvahs associated with the holiday. You don't have to say certain prayers or eat certain foods. Our community holds a picnic celebration, but there's nothing you have to do because it's Lag BaOmer. Which means it was easy to dismiss Lag BaOmer as a "minor holiday," especially during those years when providing my children with the basics of Judaism was already a huge commitment.


It's easy to dismiss Lag BaOmer as a "minor holiday" only recently, since the fog of child-raising has lifted, that I can absorb more of the holiday's significance. It's hard to believe I missed it all these years. Because Lag BaOmer is also the yahrtzeit (anniversary of passing) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who authored the Zohar, the first book of Jewish mysticism. Rabbi Shimon unlocked the soul of Judaism in the second century, although only the most spiritually enlightened were allowed access to it. Today, the Zohar's essence flows through the teachings of Chassidism, with its wellsprings of self-knowledge available to any Jew, in any language, at any time. Rabbi Shimon opened the spiritual channel for us to know that G‑d is One. And that we are all created with an essential purpose—to reveal that Oneness.


"BaOmer" may always sound a little funny to me, but I've been nourished by these wellsprings, and I can honestly say that they have made all the difference in my life.

Share and Share alike (animal story)


THE AMAZING TALENT OF JIMMY DURANTE. Many of his songs were written by him including this one.

Subject: Lost Words From Our Childhood

Words gone as fast as the buggy whip! Sad really! The other day a not-so-elderly (65) lady said something to her son about driving a jalopy and he looked at her quizzically and said, "What the heck is a Jalopy?" OMG (new) phrase!  He never heard of the word 'jalopy'!


She knew she was old but not that old...


Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this and chuckle...


by Richard Lederer


About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology.  These phrases included "Don't touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry."


Back in the day we had a lot of 'moxie'.  We'd put on our best bib and tucker to straighten up and fly right.  Heavens to Betsy!  Gee whillikers!  Jumping Jehoshaphat!   Holy moley!


We were 'in like Flynn' and 'living the life of Riley', and even 'a regular guy' couldn't accuse us of being a 'knucklehead', a 'nincompoop' or a 'pill'.  Not 'for all the tea in China'!


Back in those days, life used to be 'swell', but when's the last time anything was 'swell'?


Swell has gone the way of 'beehives', 'pageboys' and the 'D.A.'; of 'spats', 'knickers', 'fedoras', 'bobbiesoxers', 'poodle skirts', 'saddle shoes' and 'pedal pushers'.


Oh, 'my aching back'. 'Kilroy was here', but he isn't anymore.


We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, 'Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!,, or, ,This is a fine kettle of fish,! , we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent, as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.


Poof, go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind.  We blink, and they're gone.  Where have all those phrases gone?


Long gone:  The milkman did it .  Hey!  It's your nickle'.

'Knee high to a grasshopper'.


Well, 'Fiddlesticks'!   Going like sixty. I'll see you in the funny papers.  'Don't take any wooden nickles. 'Heavens  to  Murgatroyd'!                    

It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than 'Carter's little liver pills'.


This can be disturbing stuff !


We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times.


For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age.


We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It's one of the greatest advantages of aging. 


'See ya later, alligator!'

This is too true to be funny .

 The next time you hear a politician use the         
Word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending
YOUR tax money  .  

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,         
But one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.


A billion seconds ago it was 1959.


A billion minutes ago the Temple in Jerusalem stood  .


A billion hours ago our ancestors were
living in the Stone Age.


A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.


A billion dollars ago was only 
8 hours and 20 minutes,
at the rate our government
is spending it.


While this thought is still fresh in our brain... 
let's take a look at New Orleans ...
It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.


Louisiana Senator,         
Mary Landrieu (D)
was asking Congress for  
To rebuild New Orleans . Interesting number...
What does it mean?


Well .. If you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans  
(every man, woman and child)
You each get   $516,528


Or... If you have one of the 188,251 homes in
New Orleans , your home gets   $1,329,787.


Or. If you are a family of four...
Your family gets $2,066,012.


Washington, D.C.     

Are all your calculators broken??


Building Permit Tax         
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax (Fed)
Federal Unemployment Tax (FU TA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax  
State Income Tax  
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax  
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
(And to think, we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes)




Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago...        
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.


We had absolutely no national debt.         
We had the largest middle class in the world.
And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.