Moses brought the people forth out of the camp to meet God (Exodus 19:17)
It is traditional to spend the entire night of Shavuos reciting or studying Torah until daybreak. This has its origin in the Midrash that relates that some of the Israelites overslept on the morning of the revelation at Sinai, and that Moses had to arouse them for the momentous event. It is generally assumed that denying ourselves sleep on this night is a kind of rectification for our ancestors' lethargy.
Far more important than being an atonement for our ancestors is the message this custom has for us. It is not unusual for us to fail to take advantage of opportunities. We too may "oversleep" for momentous occasions.
Whether opportunity knocks only the proverbial once or several times, each missed opportunity is a loss we can ill afford. Some people regret having overlooked opportunities to buy properties that subsequently escalated greatly in value. Since we lack prophetic foresight, we can hardly fault overselves for this. But there are opportunities which do not require prophecy, such as when Moses tells the Israelites that tomorrow morning there will be an unprecedented Divine revelation, and that they will be hearing the words of God directly from the Almighty Himself. Our Sages related this Midrash so that we should be aware of our vulnerability, that our inertia may result in our failure to take advantage even of a once-in-the-history-of-the-world event.
To avoid overlooking opportunities, we must forever be on the alert. Habit and routine are our greatest impediments. We may have opportunities for spiritual growth today that were not there yesterday, and if we become complacent, we may not notice them.
Today I shall ...
maintain a state of alertness for opportunities that will allow me to grow in character and spirituality.
Love Yehuda Lave
The English Plural for your amusement
We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing,
Grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
And in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And in closing..........
If Father is Pop, how come Mother's not Mop?????
```SOMEONE HAS WRITTEN THESE 10 BEAUTIFUL LINES. READ and TRY to UNDERSTAND the DEEPER MEANING of THEM.
1). PRAYER is not a "spare wheel" that YOU PULL OUT when IN trouble, but it is a "STEERING WHEEL" that DIRECT the RIGHT PATH THROUGHOUT LIFE.
2). Why is a CAR'S WINDSHIELD so LARGE & the REAR VIEW MIRROR so small? BECAUSE our PAST is NOT as IMPORTANT as OUR FUTURE. So, LOOK AHEAD and MOVE ON.
3). FRIENDSHIP is like a BOOK. It takes a FEW SECONDS to BURN, but it TAKES YEARS to WRITE.
4). All THINGS in LIFE are TEMPORARY. If they are GOING WELL, ENJOY them, they WILL NOT LAST FOREVER. If they are going wrong, don't WORRY, THEY CAN'T LAST LONG EITHER.
5). Old FRIENDS are GOLD! NEW friends are DIAMONDS! If you GET a DIAMOND, DON'T FORGET the GOLD! To HOLD a DIAMOND, you ALWAYS NEED a BASE of GOLD!
6). Often when WE LOSE HOPE and THINK this is the END, Hashem SMILES from ABOVE and SAYS, "RELAX, SWEETHEART; it's JUST a BEND, NOT THE END!"
7). When Hashem SOLVES your PROBLEMS, you HAVE FAITH in HIS ABILITIES; when GOD DOESN'T SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS, HE has FAITH in YOUR ABILITIES.
8). A BLIND PERSON asked GOD: "CAN THERE be ANYTHING WORSE THAN LOSING EYE SIGHT?" HE REPLIED: "YES, LOSING YOUR VISION!"
9). When YOU PRAY for OTHERS, GOD LISTENS to YOU and BLESSES THEM, and SOMETIMES, when you are SAFE and HAPPY, REMEMBER that SOMEONE has PRAYED for YOU.
10). WORRYING does NOT TAKE AWAY TOMORROW'S TROUBLES; IT TAKES AWAY today's PEACE.
On a crisp spring morning, I found myself in a lovely, almost surreal setting: an upscale cafe in a quaint, artsy village in Mishkenot Sha'ananim, the first Jewish neighborhood built outside the Old City in late 1860. I sat both matter of factly and full of wonder, sipping pungent coffee on the balcony in continental comfort, overlooking those cherished walls of Mount Zion and the Old City.
I gazed across the busy highway below, up a steep hill that throngs of people were walking up—pilgrims with a song on their lips. They disappeared inside a stoned arch, Jaffa Gate, to approach a golden timeless holy place called the Kotel, to offer up a psalm, a sigh, a tear to the L-rd who made this all.
From the Heart: Women often come to the Kotel with a raw intimate immediacy.
I, too, was there the other day to offer prayer for those in my life in need of healing, and for all the ill among the Jews and the people of our world.
But this morning I sat at the cafe as the cypress bloomed, the birds chirped, the traffic snaked slowly through those endlessly fascinating patient wise hills, now bedecked in spring verdant green. Come July, the parched hills will lay quietly under the fume spitting tour buses and thousands of sandaled feet scurrying up their paths; they'll welcome their returning children, the summer crowds, the Birthright and tourist throngs, waiting thirstily for the winter rains and quieter days to fall again.
Spring Song: The fields bloom and burst with energy, grasses and flowers dancing in the breeze.
Before I found the cafe, I strolled the village grounds—nestled under the protective sails of the Montefiore windmill—and saw this benefactor's carriage on display. I was overwhelmed, imagining the courage, the caring and the chutzpah he had to travel through hostile empires in a tiny carriage; the lack of comfort he must have endured. Down unmarked dirt roads through dense forests swarming with gangs, marauders and lurking danger. The vision and dedication he had just to cross the European continent and get here, but he came to give, to sustain. He established the village to offer decent housing for the Jews cramped in the Old City and built the windmill to provide livelihood.
Seeking Refuge: Painted after a brutal terrorist attack, the blood-stained dove is nestled in the weary, comforting stones.
That carriage is smaller than the minivans that adorn my neighborhood, which, as every suburban mom knows, are a must with heated bucket seats, video players and four-wheel drive. And, of course, you can't travel without gas-station plazas every few miles to refresh, refuel and carouse the nosh aisles. But travel and endure and build Sir Montefiore did.
Walking through the neighborhood park, I happened on a small memorial for fallen soldiers, dedicated to this piece of precious land of depth, dreams and meaning. As I slowly deciphered the Hebrew plaque, I was blinded by tears and a pang in my chest. What it took to secure, to sustain, to defend defies any comprehension.
Embracing Mama: A battle-weary soldier embraces the wall in June 1967.
I tried to envision bombs falling mercilessly, Jordanian snipers picking off any movement, soldiers scurrying up these alleyways up to the walls, bursting into the gates, with screams, smoke, fire and anguish ... all so I can sit and drink this coffee, and a few miles over members of the Knesset can debate and argue, and across the road the pious and the hopeful, the cynical and the believers of every faith, color and creed can approach.
I never tire of sitting near the Kotel, watching and listening to the many languages, styles and varieties of peoples of this earth. Many appear more tourist than spiritual, laden with baseball caps and cameras. But whoever they are, their expressions subtly change, their faces reveal an inner yearning, as they walk up humbly and extend their hands, as they find a spark of hope and reverence and reach up to those quiet stones.
Wall of Connection: An intimate moment, the sun sparkling on the pages of the siddur.
Hevel Hevalim, so much of what we do is fleeting and transient, says King Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Fleeting vanity. So much of our busy and scurrying importance is laughably empty dust, and what place knows it better than these patient stones, waiting for us to finally figure out what is enduring and real—and finally join hands to make this place, this city, this land, this globe, a garden that connects with Him in harmony.
A monochromatic palette emphasizes the quiet meditative atmosphere
Here, in Jerusalem, by the Gates of Zion, you can taste it, feel it, breathe it. The air itself is sweet and laden with a deeper reality. It hints and beckons and calls. Wake up, sweet souls. You're real. I, G-d, am real. Let's be who our hearts and souls know we really are.
One day. Soon. The sweet throngs of humanity standing at the wall, their earnest quiet prayers reach up, the happy bustling sounds at the falafel cafe just up the stairs, the beckoning azure sky and wispy filament of clouds say it's possible.
Of Comely Appearance: "My dove, in the clefts of the rock... your voice is pleasant and your appearance is comely." (Song of Songs chapter 2)
"Our feet were standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem that is built like a city in which all Israel is united together. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May all those who love you have peace." (Psalm 122)
My Land, My Garden: The sun sets over the ancient hills, a stone wall and tree of life.
Miriam Karp is an award-winning writer, artist, Judaic studies teacher and lecturer. Her paintings explore intimate moments in Jewish life. Her first book, Painting Zaidy's Dream: A Memoir of a Searching Soul, shares her story of search. Miriam lives in Cincinnati with her husband and family.
Bein Arim towerPhoto: Miloslavsky Architects
The company to construct the tower, "Bein Arim", just got permission to build. It will be located between Tel Aviv and its very close suburb, Ramat Gan. It is expected to be the tallest building in Israel, standing at 400 meters. Can you believe it?RBP
At the beginning, it was supposed to be only 75 stories tall, but after some changes, it will stand 100 floors of offices tall, featuring hotels and malls inside the giant. The municipality accepted the project to build the tallest tower of Israel, taller than the Empire State building (without the antenna!)
"This Tower can't be a simple building" these are the words of Amnon Schwartz, the architect. "We are planning on a unique triangle shape which each side will face one of the cities taking part in the project: Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan and Givatayim"
This project is part of a full transformation of the entrance of Tel Aviv. Today, it's mostly dominated by the three Azrieli Towers, in the future, it will be set with buildings and gardens covering the current ring road.
FORMER HARVARD University President Neil Rudenstine, left, and former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan share a laugh prior to Harvard University's 351st commencement in Cambridge in 2002. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Tragically, America's long-overdue recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has gone from a consensus-builder that most Americans understood as a question of right versus wrong, into yet another flashpoint pitting Left against Right.
We must rebuild the bipartisan consensus for Israel's fundamental right to choose its own capital. It's essential to understand it as what it is and was: part of a broader fight over Israel's rights as a nation-state and Zionism's legitimacy as a nationalist movement like all other nationalist movements.
Donald Trumpophobes shouldn't allow hatred of the president to trump the Jews' 3,000-year love affair with Jerusalem; Trumpistas shouldn't allow hatred of the president's enemies to Republicanize America's decades-long bipartisan push to recognize Jerusalem.
The lopsided guest list at the US Embassy dedication in Jerusalem caught both Democrats and Republicans behaving badly. With no incumbent Democratic officeholders present, America and Israel couldn't celebrate this achievement as bipartisan.
Typically, in our hyper-partisan, obsessively finger-pointing age, each side blames the other. Democrats grumble they weren't invited; Republicans claim any member of Congress could have joined, but the Democratic leadership banned participation.
Both are responsible, although the greater moral burden rests on those in the charge.
President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have welcomed Democrats as the partners they were in getting America to defy international bullying and act justly, reasonably.
Consider this: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late four-term liberal Democratic senator who lobbied so hard for this move, would have been appalled. True, other Democrats, including Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern and Jimmy Carter preceded him in the 1970s in endorsing an embassy move – yes, that Jimmy Carter. Moynihan introduced legislation in 1983, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1995 rejecting "the absurd suggestion that Israel did not have a right to select its own capital city."
Moynihan was America's ambassador to the UN when the General Assembly passed the infamous Zionism-is-racism resolution in 1975. He understood that the attempts "to delegitimize Israel came in many forms, none more insidious than the twin campaigns to declare Zionism to be a form of racism and to deny Israel's ties to Jerusalem.
Those who ranted against the 'racist Tel Aviv regime' were spewing two ugly lies," he explained. "Both had at their heart a denial of Israel's right to exist."
A partisan Democrat, Moynihan fought Reaganomics passionately. Still, he insisted the fight to recognize Jerusalem be as bipartisan as his successful campaign with Ronald Reagan, then George H.W. Bush, to repeal the Zionism-is-racism act in 1991.
In the 1990s, Moynihan dismissed Nervous Nellies trying to deprive Israel of the capital-choosing choice every other country enjoys. "It does not interfere with the peace process," he scoffed, "because there is no scenario in which Israel would agree to relinquish Jerusalem as its capital."
Unfortunately, partisanship has turned so toxic that neither government had the class to host Moynihan's widow, Elizabeth Moynihan, at the Jerusalem ceremony, or at Israel's diplomatic receptions in Washington and New York celebrating the move.
It was a slight, not an oversight. Moynihan's longtime aide and brother-in-arms throughout the Jerusalem fight – Dr. David Luchins – suggested inviting Mrs. Moynihan, only to be rebuffed.
The – dare we call it – fake news about the embassy move infects history. Luchins shrewdly observed that the Wikipedia entry "United States Recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel" distorts history, reddifying what for decades was a red, white and blue, all-American move demanding basic equity.
The entry hijacks history in service of a too partisan, all-Republican, Trump-oriented narrative: Moynihan, McGovern, Humphrey, Carter – and Luchins – go unmentioned.
FORTUNATELY, THERE'S an easy way to progress (beyond rewriting the entry accurately).
Israel should rename the street in front of America's Jerusalem embassy after Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Next November 10, the 43rd anniversary of Moynihan's stirring speech defending Zionism against the libelous UN Resolution 3379, the United States and Israel should host parallel ceremonies honoring him and celebrating the bipartisan achievement involved in recognizing Israel's capital.
The street leading to what was just renamed Donald Trump Square, can remain named after the late academic David Flusser. Naming the continuation after Trump Square leading to the Diplomat Hotel "Moynihan's Way" wouldn't inconvenience anyone.
Alternatively, rename the German Colony street honoring South Africa's racist Jan Smuts after Moynihan. Either classy act would honor a great friend of Israel, who taught diplomats how to stand tall when defending their country, their allies and democratic ideals.
A bipartisan ceremony in Jerusalem this November, with Mrs. Moynihan attending, would allow Republicans to show the grace and leadership they lacked in May. It would allow Democrats to show the patriotism and good judgment they lacked then, too. It would allow Americans, from Left to Right, to celebrate the remarkable friendship between their country and Israel in this, Israel's 70th year. And it would demonstrate that America's historic bipartisan support for Israel has not only been a gift to Israel, but a gift to America, too. Healthy democracies need some issues on which both parties agree.
Coming four days after what will undoubtedly be divisive midterm elections, this diplomatic do-over would provide the kind of bipartisan patriotic moment healthy countries need, regardless of our opinions about our current leaders – or our squabbling parties.
And it would teach the history more accurately, emphasizing how supportive Americans from Left to Right have been of Israel's right to exist and to function equally, with dignity, in the community of nations.
The writer is the author of the newly releasedThe Zionist Ideas , an update and expansion of Arthur Hertzberg's classic anthologyThe Zionist Idea , published by the Jewish Publication Society. A distinguished scholar of North American history at McGill University, he is the author of 10 books on American history, includingThe Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s.
1938 Revisited: Austrian Freedom Party Official Says Jews Should Register to Obtain Kosher Meat
A proposal by Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) official Gottfried Waldhäusl about the sale of kosher meat, which was published Tuesday in Wiener Zeitung ( Attack on religious freedom?) is causing a storm in Austria. According to Waldhäusl, who has served in the provincial council of Lower Austria since March 22, only individuals who are registered as Jews and those who can prove that they regularly eat kosher should be able, through a special certificate, to purchase kosher meat in his district.
Waldhäusl claims he only wishes to protect animal rights in Austria.
The chances of the Freedom Party lawmaker's proposal being approved are slim, partly because registering an individual religion violates their right to privacy in Austria. But that fact does not seem to calm the nerves of the President of the Austrian Jewish Community, Oscar Deutsch, whose comment on the proposal was: "What frightens me most is that we're talking about lists again. And when they talk about a list of people who are allowed to purchase kosher meat, they actually talk about a list of Jews who live in a traditional way. It gives me stomach ache."
FPÖ, which is a member of Austria's ruling coalition government, is boycotted by Israeli officials despite the good relations between Israel and Austria. The party, whose post-war leader, Anton Reinthaller, was a former Nazi Minister of Agriculture and an SS officer.
The present FPÖ has variously been described as right-wing populist, national conservative, right-conservative, right-national, and far right. The party has traditionally been part of the libertarian camp, with individual members identify as national liberal cultural Germans, and national conservatives.