A person whose main focus in life is self-improvement will feel the greatest joy on days when his tests are the most difficult.
A righteous person once said that the happiest moment in his life was when some people tried to humiliate him in an extreme way, and he was able to remain calm and serene. He realized on that day that he was able to cope with insults with total inner peace.
Difficult life situations are not a contradiction to having a pleasant life. Rather, the ultimate level to strive for is when all difficulties serve as tools for joy and happiness. This is an essential Torah concept, which guarantees that if you follow it 100 percent, then your life will be 100 percent full of happiness and joy.
Love Yehuda Lave
Jerusalem Protesters Give Mayor Barkat a Taste of the Muezzin Noise They Suffer Through
TPS / Tazpit News Agency Jerusalem Jews protested having to endure the loud sound of the Islamic call to prayer, even during their sleep.
"There is a 'noise regulation' law in Israel restricting the amount, duration, source and timing of noise [in the public sphere] and the Muezzin calls are an infringement on that legislation," rights activist and Jerusalem City Council member Aryeh King told TPS.
"Over the last year, the muezzins have ramped up the volume to insane levels, not only for [prayer calls] but also for weddings and other celebrations," he said.
King said that in 2015, the Jerusalem City Council budgeted half a million shekels to enforce those regulations and to find technological solutions to resolve the issue. However, in October 2015, Mayor Barkat decided to reallocate this money for other pressing matters.
"I tried to convince him [Barkat] not cut the budget, and he promised to redistribute the funds on that issue during 2016. But a year has gone by and nothing has been done, which is why we decided to protest," King said.
The activists came at 6 am to perform the muezzin call and claimed that they actually showed consideration to Barkat and the neighbors by not doing so at the actual time that they are routinely woken up.
"This morning we had to shatter the tranquility of Beit Hakerem in Jerusalem as part of our struggle with the muezzin noise [with] loudspeakers in order to emulate the sounds of mosques disturbing thousands of families in the various neighborhoods of Jerusalem," said Yossi Davidoff, one of the organizers.
Police removed the protesters after a few minutes.
King said that the Arab community suffers from this issue no less than their Jewish neighbors.
"I brought Arab residents to testify at the Knesset and they have said the same thing: 'You live 500 meters away from the loudspeakers, but we live only five meters away,'" he related.
"There are three parties who have jurisdiction to deal with this issue on their own – Ze'ev Elkin's Ministry of Environmental Protection, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and, Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan," King said.
Erdan recently gave a countrywide order for the police to enforce the noise regulation law.
On Wednesday, Nir Barkat charged Jerusalem Municipality General Director Amnon Merhav with the task of formulating a plan together with the police to effectively regulate and supervise compliance with the law as well.
"Anybody who has not been woken by the muezzin in the morning or in the evening will never understand how annoying it is," King said. "This will not be our last protest in front of the Mayor's house."
Andrew Friedman contributed to this article.
TPS / Tazpit News Agency
About the Author:TPS - The Tazpit News Agency provides news from Israel.
Jewish 'Pluralists' Rage as Rabbi Riskin Gives Only One Finger, Not Entire Hand
Leftwing writer Judy Maltz on Wednesday offered a living illustration of the popular adage "give them a finger, and they'll take the whole hand." Reporting for Ha'aretz on Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, spiritual leader of Efrat in Gush Etzion (Rabbi Riskin's Unwelcome Message to Fans of Jewish Pluralism), who this week told the Jewish Agency Board of Governors that he objects to their idea of an alternative conversion court, Maltz noted that she and other advocates of the Reform movement in Israel were disappointed. After all, Riskin has been "a driving force in promoting greater roles for women in Orthodox communities in recent years, and has also advocated for greater acceptance of the LGBT community in Orthodox congregations."
And so, employing the logic of "you gave me your finger, why not the whole hand," Maltz wrote: "By breaking with traditional Orthodox views about women and homosexuals, Riskin and his cohorts were seen as natural allies for the Reform and Conservative movements in their struggle for greater religious pluralism in Israel – especially after daring to challenge the Chief Rabbinate not only on conversions, but also on marriage laws. Hence, the disappointment following Sunday night's gathering."
If ever there were clear proof to the danger of a slippery slope in the tolerance of non-halakhic Jewish movements by Orthodox Jews — Judy Maltz has just provided it. Mostly because she fails to perceive Rabbi Riskin as a halakhic person, preferring instead to view him as someone for whom—like herself—his politics is his faith.
Halakhic Jews, whether they are black-clad Haredim or Liberal Orthodox in running spandex, live their daily lives through their commitment to the yoke of the sages. Our standards may differ on absolutely everything, but we all base all our decisions on our interpretation of Jewish law, whether independently or by consulting our halakhic authority. Which is why when Liberal Orthodox rabbis support a more egalitarian approach to women in the synagogue, or embrace LGBTs, they anchor their decisions in Jewish law as they interpret it — not their personal preferences. Of course, their interpretation of halakha would certainly be influenced by their personal biases, everyone's does, but in the end they follow the law. This is also why Haredim who object to yeshiva students' military service anchor their opposition in their interpretation of Jewish law.
Maltz does not get it. She makes the argument that since ultra-Orthodox Jews already view the modern Orthodox as Reform Jews in disguise, the question is not whether or not they are inclined to defy Jewish law, but rather "how far are liberal Orthodox Jews willing to push the envelope," as she puts it.
In other words, since Rabbi Riskin has already said that Reform Jews should be allowed to have their section of the Kotel, for instance, why won't he recognize the legitimacy of Reform conversions?
A year ago, Rabbi Riskin responded to a report in Haaretz, that a Beit Din conversion panel was asking converts only to declare a general obligation to Judaism, without declaring that they would observe the commandments and live according to Jewish law, as prescribed by the Rabbis. Riskin was mentioned as favoring this approach, and he responded urgently that he is " all for observance of the commandments and the genuine and meaningful process that leads to it." He added that "construing my position in any other way is misleading and a simplistic interpretation that ignores the many layers and nuances of the issue."
There are three fundamental requirements of a male convert, two of a female, according to Maimonides: acceptance of the yoke of the sages through the observance of the commandments, circumcision, and immersion in a ritual bath (Hilkhot isurei Bi'ah 14:5). No matter how loving and accepting of Reform Jews Rabbi Riskin may be, expecting him to violate these clear rules and to side with a Reform conversion that denies the rule of halakha is an insult. And it should be a lesson to Liberal Orthodox Jews who fail to make a distinction between embracing the other and embracing the other's subversive ideology.
Maltz cites Rabbi Steven Wernick, chief executive officer of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, who expressed his disappointment that Riskin was not inclined to use his influence and stature to promote greater acceptance of non-Orthodox Judaism in Israel. "He is doing great things for pluralism in Israel, but only from within Orthodoxy," he said.
Rabbi Riskin tried to put a leash on this cat and take it on a walkie when he told Maltz he would accept Reform conversions should the Reform agree to the requirements of "immersion in the mikvah, circumcision, and basic knowledge and practice of Judaism."
In other words, just as soon as hell freezes over…
About the Author:David writes news at JewishPress.com.
I am glad he spent the 25 hours builidng this great domino triple spiral instead of me
Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Meir Kahane- Parshat Noach
NO REST IN THE EXILE
"'And [Noah] sent forth a dove...but the dove found no rest for the sole of its foot, and it returned to him into the ark' (Genesis 8:8-9). Rabbi Shimon said: Had it found a resting place it would not have returned. And similarly does it say: '[Israel] sat among the nations and found no resting place' (Lamentations 1:3). Had they found a resting place they would not have returned to Eretz Yisrael. And similarly: 'And among those nations you shall find no peace, neither shall the sole of your foot have rest' (Deuteronomy 28:65). Had they found a resting place they would have never returned" (Bereishit Rabba 33:6).
The divine proclamation is clear: There will be no rest for the Jew in the Exile because if there would be rest and tranquility and comfort and ease, the Jew would NEVER return to Eretz Yisrael. How well the Rabbis knew the Jews!!!
No amount of Halacha, no amount of admonition, no amount of religious observance would ever convince the overwhelming majority to leave an Exile in which they find ease and rest for the soles of their feet. And that is why there is an iron law of Judaism that decrees that the Exile shall never be anything but a place of terror and fear and tragedy.
I wonder if the average Jew knows how much he is hated in America. I wonder if the average Jew has the slightest knowledge of the immense, deep, poisonous venom that is Jew-hatred in the United States. I doubt it. We live in our ghettos, our increasingly golden ghettos, and see and hear nothing, and we sit satisfied in our glatt isolation that so enables us to escape from the reality of the vicious bile and venom. We live in our worlds of dreams and illusions and know nothing.
Can we imagine what will be if, G-d forbid, there is an economic collapse of massive proportions? Can we imagine what will be if the American economy bursts- an economy that is one huge balloon filled with the gas of huge debt, unbridled spending and borrowing, trade deficit, a banking and savings and loan system that sits on the thin ice of loans that can never be repaid, an economy that is one huge fraud as jobs and products slip away into the Japanese-Asian orbit?
Can we imagine what will be when the violent American who has been hopelessly spoiled by 40 years of unprecedented prosperity and wallowing in the mud of materialism suddenly faces economic ruin? Can we imagine what will happen when the life of three automobiles to a family, VCRs, a TV in each room, vacations, fun, fun, fun - suddenly comes to a screeching stop?
Such a person will become a wild animal, literally incapable of accepting a life of sharp economic displacement. He will follow anyone who promises to restore him to the days of beer and daisies. And the scapegoat will be - the Jew.
And so, I do not even bother any longer to persuade Jews of the halachic obligation to live in Eretz Yisrael, of the positive reason for going there. They will not go. Together they sit in the fleshpots, in a sensational display of Jewish unity against leaving the golden land. Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox, all bound in a pledge of allegiance to the good life and all that for which it stands.
I can only warn them about the ultimate halachic scholar for the Jew in the Exile. Who is that? Why, surely, the gentile.