Sunday, October 21, 2018

A First: Court Orders Interior Ministry to Recognize Private Orthodox Conversion By David Israel -

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Pray For Others

Pray for the welfare of others, even when they are not aware you are praying for them.

Every person we meet has needs for which we can pray: success in spiritual matters, success in financial matters, good health, a good marriage, raising children properly.

Saying a quiet prayer for the people you meet, even complete strangers, will give you positive feelings toward them. Through this, you have as much to gain as the recipient of your prayers.

Love Yehuda Lave


A First: Court Orders Interior Ministry to Recognize Private Orthodox Conversion By David Israel - 5 Tishri 5779 – September 13, 2018

The Jerusalem District Court, for the first time, has ordered the Interior Ministry to register as a Jew a woman who converted to Judaism without the approval of the chief rabbinate. Following the ruling, hundreds of converts who used the Giyur K'Halacha independent conversion program should finally be able to register as Jews in Israel.

Giyur K'Halacha provides an Orthodox conversion process to all Israelis who wish to join the Jewish people, with a particular focus on children. The network says it has helped some 600 individuals, about 480 of whom are children.


"The court's decision paves the way for thousands who seek State recognition to turn to Giyur K'Halacha," said Rabbi Seth Farber, Director of Itim, an organization dedicated to helping Jews navigate the religious bureaucracy in Israel.

"Since the State refuses to convert children without their mother's converting as well, Giyur K'Halacha has an enormous responsibility to help unify the Jewish people," Rabbi Farber said, noting: "It is the only Orthodox court that converts children in Israel without insisting the families be 100% observant."

The ruling, reported Thursday by Yedioth Ahronoth, followed the petition of a woman who immigrated to Israel years ago from the former Soviet Union under the Law of Return, but like hundreds of thousands of other olim from that part of the world, was not recognized by the Chief Rabbinate and the Interior Ministry as a Jew. She began a conversion process offered by the Chief Rabbinate, but quit it.

Attorney Elad Kaplan who represented the woman on behalf of Itim, along with attorneys Esther Bisvar and Reut Kalinberger, said that his client had asked to be converted at a Zionist court that would recognize her Jewish identity. Two years ago, the woman received her Orthodox conversion from the Beit Din of Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, Dean of the Maale Gilboa Yeshiva, which is part of the Giyur K'Halacha network, and not affiliated with the Chief Rabbinate.

In March 2016, the High Court of Justice ruled in an expanded panel of nine justices that conversions in private Orthodox courts in Israel should be recognized. Since then the Netanyahu government has been dragging its feet about complying with the ruling – this included appointing an independent committee whose recommendations have been ignored, and a legislative attempt on the part of Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) to reverse the high court's ruling by making the Chief Rabbinate the only authority for conversions.


 Record Holiday Int'l Travel For Israelis Due To "Open Sky" Cheap Fares Chaya V     Thursday, 13 September

It is the Jewish High Holiday season in Israel and the streets are eerily empty. This is not only due to the holidays but also because a significant portion of the population has high-tailed it out of the country for what will be an almost three-week long break that started with a long weekend on Thursday, September 6.

September is expected to continue to break record passenger traffic at Ben-Gurion International Airport with more than 2.2 million passengers on 14,000 international flights, a 15 percent increase in international passenger traffic compared to the same period last year.

Since the beginning of 2018, 15 million passengers on international flights have passed through Ben-Gurion Airport, an increase of 13% over last year.

September 6 will likely be recorded as an all-time high for outgoing traffic at Ben -Gurion. The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) readied itself for the September rush, warning travelers to check-in four hours before the scheduled departure time, translating to about three and a half hours of standing in various lines before boarding with barely any time for duty-free shopping. Even those travelers able to check-in online were advised to come extra early.

Airlines operating flights out of Israel. Of the top 10, half are low-cost. Image courtesy of IAA

Why the exodus? For one thing, international air travel is more available and affordable than ever before, since Israel signed the Open Sky Agreement, enabling many low-cost airlines to enter the marketplace. According to the IAA, half the top 10 airlines operating in August were low-cost: Wizzair, EasyJet, Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Aegean Airlines, Pegasus Airlines and Ukrainian International Airlines.

This year, Greece – with sunny beaches, blue water and attractive package deals — was the top holiday destination for most Israelis, followed by Turkey, Ukraine, Italy and Russia.

Turkey made second place not as a final destination but as a transit point. Turkish Airlines operates many convenient flights from Tel Aviv to a wide range of destinations around the world.

Ukraine takes the number three spot bolstered by the annual High Holiday pilgrimage of the Breslov Hassidic sect to the town of Uman in Ukraine. Tens of thousands of followers gather for the Rosh Hashana "kibbutz," a prayer service held at the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.

It wasn't always like this. In fact, at one time, traveling abroad was quite frowned upon as unpatriotic; the province of the bourgeoisie.

Israel's new biometric passport. Image via Wikipedia

This attitude was summed up perfectly by the late, great humorist Ephraim Kishon, who chronicled the Israeli temperament so accurately and well, as in his story "The Travel Bug," excerpted here:

"Israelis, they say, are more entitled to travel than other people. Firstly, one should remember that the greater part of our population was not born here, but voluntarily chose this country as their fatherland, so it is only natural that they should hark back to the old country now and then, to compare things and check whether their choice was a wise one.

"But the main cause for our urge to travel aboard is, beyond any doubt, the Government's opposition to it.

"It is said that the frustrated Government's secret agents are patrolling the tourist playgrounds of the world, leaving behind warning messages for Israeli traitors. Be that as it may, it is a fact that one of the Ionic columns on the Acropolis features an inscription engraved in well-formed Hebrew characters:

"Snob! Have you been to Tiberias yet?"

Which brings us to the topic of domestic tourism in Israel, which is also expected to peak in the coming weeks. Figures for September won't be in until after the holidays but Central Bureau of Statistics data for the first seven months of 2018 show that hotel overnights by Israelis totaled 1.55 million in July, 7% more than in July 2017.

Compared to 2017, domestic travel spending is expected to grow by 4.1% in 2018 to ₪26.3 billion from ₪25.3 billion.

The majority of Israelis looking to vacation near to home still favor Eilat and the Dead Sea. And despite the threat of potential terror attacks, Israeli tourists are flocking to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt for affordable vacations in accommodations ranging from luxury hotels to beach villages.

One should study Torah and do mitzvos even if not for their own sake, for doing so will eventually result in study and performance for their own sake (Pesachim 50b).


This Talmudic statement has given rise to questions by the commentaries. Why is the Talmud condoning study of Torah for ulterior motives? What happens to the emphasis on sincerity in observance of Torah and mitzvos?

Acting "as if" can be constructive. If a person who suffers from a headache goes on with his or her activities "as if" the headache did not exist, that headache is more likely to disappear than if he or she interrupts activities to nurse the headache. "Rewarding" the headache by taking a break only prolongs it.

Study of Torah and performance of mitzvos require effort, may be restrictive, and may interfere with other things one would rather do. Under such circumstances, there may not be great enthusiasm for Torah and mitzvos. However, if one nevertheless engages in Torah and mitzvos "as if" one really wanted to, the resistance is likely to dissipate. The reasoning is that since one is determined to do so anyway, there is no gain in being reluctant, and true enthusiasm may then develop. On other hand, if one were to delay engaging in Torah and mitzvos until one had the "true spirit," that spirit might never appear.

It is not only permissible but also desirable to develop constructive habits by doing things "as if" one really wanted to.


Today I shall ...
... try to practice good habits, and do those things that I know to be right even though I may not like doing them.

Here is something to think about from Yom Kippur

Why Did Jonah Run Away? By Yehuda Shurpin Art by Shoshana Brombacher The Story of Jonah and the Fish in a Nutshell

The story of Jonah is one of the more intriguing and enigmatic stories in the Bible.

A prophet named Jonah is commanded by G‑d to warn the people of the Assyrian city Nineveh of their impending destruction if they don't repent of their wicked ways. Instead of gladly following G‑d's command, Jonah tries to "escape" from G‑d and hops onto a boat heading in the other direction. When sudden storms threaten to sink the ship, the sailors determine that someone on board must be at fault. They cast lots, and the lot falls on Jonah. Jonah tells them he is at fault for running away from G‑d and they should throw him overboard. A miracle happens and a large fish swallows Jonah alive. While in the belly of the fish, Jonah prays to G‑d for three days and eventually agrees to fulfill his mission. The fish spits Jonah out, and he goes to warn the inhabitants of Nineveh, who then repent of their sinful ways.

Read the story of Jonah and the fish.

Why Didn't Jonah Listen?

The story has clear messages about the power of repentance and that one can never run from G‑d. It is for that reason that it is read as the haftarah on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, when we contemplate G‑d's judgment and repent.

Yet parts of the story remain very puzzling.

Jonah wasn't some average Joe who decided to go his own way and not to listen to G‑d. He was a righteous man, a tzadik and prophet who was commanded directly by G‑d to go to Nineveh and warn them. Why did he disobey?

Afraid of Success

The Midrash explains that what Jonah feared most was that he would actually succeed in his mission and the people of Nineveh would repent. He feared this for two reasons:1

a) Jonah knew that the Jewish people of his time2 were also far from perfect and in great need of repentance. In fact, G‑d had sent numerous prophets to inspire them. And yet, they did not harken to their warnings. If the people of Nineveh were to repent, how would the People of Israel look in contrast? The prosecuting angels would be able to say, "Look, the heathen inhabitants of Nineveh repented. Yet, Your own people aren't heeding your words, even after they have been warned so many times!"

b) Jonah also worried that if he warned Nineveh of their impending doom and they repented, and the decree would be averted, the people would claim that he was a false prophet. "Look," they would say, "you told us that our city would be overturned, but then nothing happened!"

Glaring Question of Love

Surely Jonah knew that "G‑d has many messengers"3 and that if he didn't go, G‑d would just find someone else. So what did he expect to gain by disobeying?

Furthermore, Jonah certainly also knew that a prophet who holds back from prophesying is liable for death at the hands of heaven. Yet he tried to run away. Not only that, but he seemed perfectly fine with the notion of being thrown overboard in the midst of a raging storm rather than prophesy as G‑d commanded him. Why not just fulfill the mission? What did Jonah hope to accomplish?

As we explained above, Jonah was afraid of how the people of Israel would look in contrast to the penitent Ninveans. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that Jonah's reluctance demonstrates something remarkable about Jonah and the lengths he was ready to go to protect his fellows from harm. He preferred to disobey G‑d and condemn himself to death rather than make his nation look bad before G‑d. Even if the harm would ultimately come (since "G‑d has many messengers"), then he, Jonah, wanted no part in it.

On Yom Kippur, when we read the story of Jonah, we read the story in its entirety—not just the part about the people of Nineveh repenting. For the lesson of the story on this awesome day is not just about the power of teshuvah or that one cannot run from G‑d; it is also there to teach us how precious our fellow is and how careful one needs to be not to do anything that may have a negative effect on him or her.4 Ultimately, it is the love and kindness we show our fellow that guarantees not only a good year but a year in which we merit the ultimate redemption!

Footnotes 1.

See Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 10.


Commentaries identify him as also being the "one of the sons of the prophets" that the prophet Elisha sent to anoint Jehu as king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. See commentaries to II Kings 9.


See, for example, Midrash Breishit Rabah 10:6; Rashi on Exodus 16:32, 23:7.


Sichot Kodesh, Parshat Chayei Sarah 5737, par. 20, p. 256.

by Yehuda Shurpin

He [the God-fearing person] will not fear evil tidings, his heart being firm in his trust in God (Psalms 112:7).


Is a person supposed to take steps to provide for oneself, or should one rely completely on God to take care of everything?

If relying on God is taken to mean doing nothing for oneself, this is certainly not the Divine will. The Torah says that God will bless you in all that you do (Deuteronomy 15:18), which obviously means that God expects us to do for ourselves.

But one's trust in God is all important. Some people have the capacity to do things for themselves, but are unable to put their capabilities into action because of intense anxiety. For example, some students who know their material thoroughly report that their minds go blank when they take an exam. They may fail the course not because they lack the requisite knowledge, but because they panic and are unable to use the knowledge they have. A person who has firm faith and trusts in God is much less likely to become a victim of such paralyzing anxiety.

While there are such things as panic or anxiety attacks that are medical problems and require treatment, there is also a variety of anxiety that is due to feelings of insecurity and apprehension. This kind of anxiety is greatly mitigated by a firm trust in God.


Today I shall ...
... try to develop a firm trust in God, that nothing terrible will happen to me, and then go on to use my God-given abilities.

See you tomorrow

Love Yehdua Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego
United States


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