Friday, September 20, 2019

Selichot Prayers start on Saturday night and First Temple Period Seal Discovered in Jerusalem Bears Name of Senior Biblical Official and Van Gogh and Warsaw city tour with the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and a new Torah here at Chabad of Rehavia

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

My brother and I arrived in Warsaw from different directions together. We spent four days in Warsaw. Below are the pictures from the first day. We went to the Polin Jewish museum on the second day and those pictures are on Sunday's blog. Enjoy our first day pictures below.

Love Yehuda Lave

Finding inner peace requires constant acts of "surrender" – letting go of what we think our lives should look like and believing, "Whatever I have is perfect for me."

Warsaw city tour and Jewish Museum 082619 One of Two

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (Polish: Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich) is a museum on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto. The Hebrew word Polin in the museum's English name means either "Poland" or "rest here" and relates to a legend about the arrival of the first Jews to Poland.[1]

The museum's cornerstone was laid in 2007, and the museum opened on 19 April 2013.[2][3] The core exhibition opened in October 2014[4] and features a multimedia exhibition about the Jewish community that flourished in Poland for a thousand years up to the World War II Holocaust.[5]

The building, a postmodern structure in glass, copper, and concrete, was designed by Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma.[6]

1 History
2 Construction
3 Organizational structure
4 Core exhibition
5 Galleries
6 See also
7 Notes
8 References
9 External links

President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the POLIN Museum, 26 June 2007

The idea for creating a major new museum in Warsaw dedicated to the history of Polish Jews was initiated in 1995 by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.[7] In the same year, the Warsaw City Council allocated the land for this purpose in Muranów, Warsaw's prewar Jewish quarter and site of the former Warsaw Ghetto, facing the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes. In 2005, the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland established a private-public partnership with the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the City of Warsaw. The Museum's first director was Jerzy Halbersztadt. In September 2006, a specially designed tent called Ohel (the Hebrew word for tent) was erected for exhibitions and events at site of the museum's future location.[7]

An international architectural competition to design the building was launched in 2005, supported by a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. On June 30, 2005, the winner was announced by the jury as the team of two Finnish architects, Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma.[8] On June 30, 2009, the construction of the building was officially inaugurated. The project was completed in 33 months at a cost of 150 million zlotych allocated by the Ministry and the City, [a] with a total cost of 320 million zlotych.[10][11] It is financially supported by annual funds from the Polish Ministry of Culture and Warsaw City Council.[12]

The building opened and the museum began its educational and cultural programs on April 19, 2013, on the 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. During the 18 months that followed, more than 180,000 visitors toured the building, visited the first temporary exhibitions, and took part in cultural and educational programs and events, including film screenings, debates, workshops, performances, concerts, and lectures. The Grand Opening, with the completed Core Exhibition, took place on October 28, 2014.[13] The Core Exhibition documents and celebrates the thousand-year history of the Jewish community in Poland that was decimated by the Holocaust.[4][5]

In 2016 the museum won the European Museum of the Year Award from the European Museum Forum.[14

What Are Selichot Prayers?

By Menachem Posner

You walk into synagogue. It's well past midnight, but there are dozens of fellow Jews gathered there. In the front, cloaked in a tallit, the leader is about to begin the service. You quickly open your book to "Selichot for the first day." But what exactly are Selichot? Let's have a look together.

Selichot (alt. Selichos) n. communal prayers for Divine forgiveness, said during the High Holiday season or on Jewish fast days.

In a Nutshell

While most Jewish services are held during the day or early evening, High Holiday Selichot are the exception, held in the wee hours of the morning. Drawing from a plethora of biblical verses and rabbinic teachings, they are a soul-stirring introduction to the Days of Awe.

In Ashkenazic tradition (the focus of this article), the first night of Selichot is the biggie, held after midnight on a Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah.1 In some larger congregations this service is led by a cantor and choir, and can take well over an hour. In smaller, more informal congregations, it may take less time than that. All subsequent Selichot are conducted just before morning prayers, generally with less fanfare. Some people (like me for example) will start the prayers on Saturday night before midnight as we don't stay up that late. The OU and other shuls will have early prayers.

The liturgy for the High Holiday Selichot is not found in most prayerbooks; rather, it is found in special Selichot booklets, with a different selection for each day. You can see the complete Hebrew service here.

The actual Selichot are a collage of Torah verses and poetically written Hebrew works in which we ask G‑d to forgive us on a personal and communal level. An oft-repeated phrase is the "13 Attributes of Mercy," which G‑d revealed to Moses at Sinai as the key to forgiveness. This is the core of the entire service, and since it is considered a communal prayer, you may say this line only when praying with a congregation.

For most of Selichot, the leader chants the first and last line of each paragraph, allowing the congregation to read most of the paragraph to themselves.

Here are some landmarks:

  • As we will discuss, there are certain hymns, known as pizmonim, which are read responsively, with the congregation reading a line and the leader chanting it after them. There is a different pizmon at the heart of the service each day.
  • Toward the end, the ark is opened, and a series of verses, beginning with the words Shema koleinu ("Hear our voice"), are recited responsively,first by the leader and then by the congregation.
  • Close to the end, there is the Ashamnu confession, in which we list an alphabetical litany of sins that we (as a community) have committed. We strike our chests when saying each of these sins.

When Are Selichot Said?

We start saying Selichot several days before Rosh Hashanah. According to Ashkenazic custom, the first Selichot are recited on Saturday night after "halachic midnight,"and a minimum of four days of Selichot must be observed. Therefore, if the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Thursday or Shabbat, Selichot start on the Saturday night immediately preceding the New Year. If Rosh Hashanah falls on Monday or Tuesday,2 Selichot commence on the Saturday night approximately a week and a half before Rosh Hashanah. Starting on the Monday morning following the first midnight service, Selichot are recited daily before the morning prayers until Rosh Hashanah (except on Shabbat, since the penitential prayers are inconsistent with this peaceful, joyous day).

Sephardim recite Selichot throughout the entire month of Elul.

Most Jewish communities continue reciting Selichot throughout the Ten Days of Repentance, the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. According to Chabad custom, however, Selichot are not said during these days, with the exception of the third of Tishrei, when Selichot are recited as part of the commemoration of the Fast of Gedaliah.

The fourth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, once asked his illustrious father, the Tzemach Tzedek, why Chabad communities do not continue saying Selichot during the Ten Days of Repentance. "My son," he responded, "now is no longer the time for words. Now we must translate words into deed . . ."

Throughout the Year

Although the focus of this article is on the pre– (and post–)Rosh Hashanah Selichot, it should be pointed that there are versions of Selichot to be said as part of the morning service on the communal fast days of Tzom Gedaliah, 10 Tevet, Taanit Esther and 17 Tammuz (but not the 9th of Av).

There are also special Selichot for those who have the custom of fasting on Behab (Monday, Thursday and Monday shortly after Sukkot and Passover), and even texts to be said in a case of drought or when children are ravaged by plague.

On Yom Kippur, the day devoted to forgiveness, every prayer is followed by Selichot.

More on the Selichot Liturgy

Unlike a conventional service, Selichot does not include the Shema or the Amidah, but it does have some of the same characteristics of a typical service: it begins with Ashrei (Psalm 145) and half-kaddish, and ends with a full kaddish.

The introductory and concluding sections of the Selichot text are the same every day, consisting essentially of biblical passages and ancient prayers. The middle section varies; it contains selections of prayers (piyutim) for each day in a special order, with common supplications such as the repeated appeals to the Divine attributes of mercy. The middle section also has a special pizmon (hymn with refrain) for each day.

The piyutim were composed in the Geonic period and shortly thereafter (between approximately the 9th and 12th centuries of the common era). Their authors include some of the greatest authorities of that time, such as Rav Saadiah Gaon, R. Gershom Meor Hagolah, R. Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi), and members of the group of Baalei Tosafot. Most of them inserted their names by way of acronyms or acrostics. Their compositions invariably use biblical phrases or paraphrases, and oftentimes references to, or paraphrases of, rabbinic teachings. Another common feature of the piyutim is their poetic structure, and most of them follow the order of the Hebrew alphabet. (This is also true of several prayers in the concluding section.)

There are many more piyutim than those that appear in any given service. Different communities made their own selections of which piyutim to recite, and thus evolved a variety of customs or versions for the Selichot. The various texts were originally local choices, but once a custom is adopted on a communal level, one is bound to follow his community's custom and cannot change it by omitting, adding or exchanging piyutim.3

The Midrash relates that King David was anguished when he prophetically foresaw the destruction of the Holy Temple and the cessation of the offering of the sacrifices. "How will the Jews atone for their sins?" he wondered.

G‑d replied: "When suffering will befall the Jews because of their sins, they should gather before Me in complete unity. Together they shall confess their sins and recite the order of the Selichot, and I will answer their prayers."

Footnotes 1.

The time varies depending on the season, and usually doesn't concur with our clocks (see Hours). According to Jewish law, "midnight" is exactly halfway between sunset and sunrise. In the USA, because Rosh Hashanah is observed during Daylight Savings Time, "midnight" is often closer to 1:00 AM than to 12:00 AM.


Due to technical calendar reasons, the first day of Rosh Hashanah cannot fall out on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday.


This section is mostly paraphrased from Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet's introduction to Selichot According to Chabad Custom (Kehot, 2006).

By Menachem Posner Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor at, the world's largest Jewish informational website. He has been writing, researching, and editing for since 2006, when he received his rabbinic degree from Central Yeshiva Tomchei Temimin Lubavitch. He resides in Chicago, Ill., with his family.

First Temple Period Seal Discovered in Jerusalem Bears Name of Senior Biblical Official

By Hana Levi Julian 

A Bulla (seal) bearing a Biblical Hebrew name dating back 2,600 years has been uncovered from dirt excavated in 2013 beneath Robinson's Arch at the foundations of the Western Wall.

The bullae stamps were small pieces of tin used in ancient times to sign documents, and were meant to keep the letters closed en route to their destination.

The "Adenayahu Asher Al Habayit" bulla (seal)Advertisement

This seal is inscribed with the name of an individual with the most prominent role in the king's court in the kingdom of Judea. The Bulla (seal), which was used to sign documents, bears the Hebrew name and title: "Adenyahu Asher Al Habayit" which literally translates as "Adenyahu by Appointment of the House"- a term used throughout the Bible to describe the most senior minister serving under a kings of Judea or Israel.

According to archaeologist Eli Shukron, who conducted the initial excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority just north of the City of David at the Foundation Stones of the Western Wall, "This is the first time this kind of archaeological discovery has been made in Jerusalem. The Biblical title "Asher Al Habayit" was the highest ranking ministerial position beneath the king during reigns of the Kings of Judea and Israel, it is undoubtedly of great significance."

"This tiny bulla has immense meaning to billions of people worldwide," said Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation which operates the site in which the bulla was discovered and the Archaeological Experience where it was uncovered.

"The personal signet of a senior official to a Biblical King from the First Temple Period. This is another link in the long chain of Jewish history in Jerusalem that is being uncovered and preserved at the City of David on a daily basis."

The bulla is approximately one centimeter wide, and according to the type of writing that appears on it, dates to the seventh century BCE – the period of the Kingdom of Judea.

It was covered in dirt that was excavated in 2013 until three weeks ago, when it was uncovered as part of the City of David's volunteer Archaeological Experience by an Israeli teenager.

The City of David Archaeological Experience in Emek Tzurim National Park.

Batya Howen described the moments of the discovery: "I began sifting through the bucket of dirt by washing it under a stream of water, and suddenly I recognized a small piece of black colored metal. To hold such a significant find from 2600 years ago, from the time of the Kingdom of Judah, is an amazing thing," she said.

The name Adenayahu that appears on the bulla appears throughout the Bible. This name belonged to one of King David's sons as mentioned in the Book of Kings. Another individual with that name is mentioned as one of the Levites in the days of Jehoshaphat. Lastly, in the days of Nehemiah, he is mentioned as one of the "Heads of, the people…(Nehemiah, 9:16).

It should be noted that some 150 years ago, French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau discovered a burial cave with the inscription: "Tomb of …..yahu Asher Al Habayit." The beginning of the name had been erased, but the burial site, on the outskirts of the City of David was also dated to the seventh century BCE, much like the recent bulla. Although discovered by Clermont-Ganneau, the inscription was only deciphered by Prof. Nachman Avigad some eighty years later.

The term "Asher Al Habayit" describes the most senior role in the royal hierarchy in the kingdom of Judah and Israel and it appears for the first time on the list of ministers of Solomon. This role is mentioned in the Bible in reference to a number of figures that have a considerable influence in the kingdom and it describes a senior minister who was very close to the king.

For example, "Abdihu Asher Al Habayit," in the Book of Kings I, is mentioned as having served in that role in the Kingdom of Israel, under the reign of King Ahab during times of Elijah the Prophet. As part of his tenure, Abedihu acted against Isabel in administering the kingdom and even saved a hundred of the prophets of the Lord after hiding them in a cave.

Also in this role in the Kingdom of Judea during the reign of King Hezekiah was "Elyakim son of Partiah Asher Al Habayit." According to the book of Isaiah, Elyakim negotiated with Rabshka, one of the ministers of King Sennacherib King of Assyria, who threatened to conquer Jerusalem.

Snake-like micro-robot built to crawl through human brain tested for first time

The super-flexible robot - less than a millimetre thick - is shown slithering through a model of human veins in an astonishing clip

Scientists have designed a minuscule snake-like robot to crawl through the human brain in a major medical breakthrough.

The team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hope their hyper-flexible magnetised micro-robot will make it easier to diagnose and treat blood clots and aneurysms and perform other small-scale operations in the brain.

In a study published in Science Robotics, the robot - which is less than a millimetre thick - is shown able to navigate a model of a human brain badly affected with aneurysms.

Other robots have been based on snakes in the past.

But unlike previous models - which often use hydraulics - the latest robot uses flexible magnetic materials known as ferromagnetic domains to move around.

As it doesn't have to expand or contract to move forward, it can easily get around the narrow, fragile structure of veins in the brain.

The robot is covered in a layer of hydrogel slime, which allows it to travel with as little friction as possible, according to MIT researcher and lead author Yoonho Kim.

"If you don't have that lubricating layer, it gets easily stuck," he said.

Earlier robots - which were made of other materials including rubber - often faced these types of issues moving around tight spaces due to friction.

Now the robot has navigated a model of the brain, the next stage is to test it on humans, with animal trials expected soon.

Brain aneurysms, or weakenings of the blood vessel wall, as well as blood clots, require highly-skilled operations, where split-second decisions can mean the difference between life and death.

Patients often need to be moved from smaller hospitals to ones with more advanced facilities.

But with just a robot and an internet connection, Kim hopes patients will be able to stay at their nearest ER and still be treated.

He believes doctors will one day be able to perform surgeries remotely using miniature robots like his.

This would also mean surgeons could spend less time in the operating room where they are exposed to radiation.

Kim also believes autonomous surgery robots - like self-driving cars - may exist in the future, but insists humans will still have the ultimate control.

"The surgeons need to actually hold the key," Kim said. "Otherwise if something happens, there is a liability."

Love The Netherlands

Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' in a whole new way at the Amsterdam Light Festival

The Shofar It Doesn't Come Easy!  by Rabbi Ephriam Sprecher

Ringo Star of the Beatles had a hit song called "It Don't Come Easy." Was he singing about blowing the Shofar? Because anyone who has tried to blow a Shofar knows for sure that it doesn't come easy. On one hand, the Shofar really is a simple instrument. The Shofar receives air, the air moves through, and the Shofar blasts are heard. However, in order to get clear sounds, the air must resonate inside the Shofar with maximum precision. According to Kabala, when we hear the sounds of the Shofar, we are actually hearing ourselves, for we are G-d's Shofar! In the Rosh Hashana Amida we quote a verse from Bamidbar 23:21 "G-d is with them (us), and the TRUAH of the King is within him (us)." There are 2 ways to understand the word TRUAH that help us appreciate the Shofar sounds on Rosh Hashana. TRUAH means the name of a Shofar blast. According to Kabala, that is how G‑d's voice is heard on Earth. How thrilling it is to be the vessel that brings His voice into this world! Our deeds should proclaim, shout and blast out G‑d's message to the world. How do we accomplish this task to become worthy of being G‑d's shofar? To get the answer to this question we must explore the second meaning of the word TRUAH. TRUAH also means loving friendship "G‑d is with them (us) and the loving friendship of the King is within him (Rashi)." Onkelos explains that TRUAH is G‑d's Divine Presence (SHECHINA). We all have within us a part of the SHECHINA! This idea is also expressed in Devarim 32 "for G‑d is a PART of His People." Thus when we speak about being G‑d's Shofar, we must know that the source of this G‑dliness is not far removed from us, as stated in Devarim 30:14. The G‑dly soul is an integral part of each and every one of us. The message of the Shofar is to let the G‑dly tones ring within us again. We do this by removing our ego, our arrogance and our pride to become a vessel capable to proclaim G‑d's will loud and clear! The analogy being that we must become like the hollow interior of the Shofar and be filled with the Sound of G‑d.

new Torah here at Chabad of Rehavia

See you Sunday with part two of two on our Warsaw Adventure

Shabbat  Shalom

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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